PodcastProductivity & Lifestyle

How The Micro Biome Regulates Health: Jessica Richman of uBiome

“Bacteria are not our enemies. They’re our friends. And we should learn how to cultivate them…”
— Jessica Richman

Greetings, SuperFriends!

Today, we have a special treat for you. We’re going to talk about poop!

Just kidding.

But actually, not really.

That’s because we have Jessica Richman, the Founder and CEO of a company called uBiome, with us, to discuss the rapidly growing field of the “micro biome.”

You might be familiar with the micro biome, otherwise known as the 100 trillion bacteria and microorganisms living in your body, and you might know a little bit about why it’s important. You might not. Fortunately, we’ll get into that in the interview. Plus, we’ll talk about poop. So get excited.

My guest today has quite impressive credentials, from Stanford and Oxford to Clarendon and Fulbright Scholarships. She’s worked at Google, McKinsey, Lehman brothers, the Grameen bank, and more. She’s spoken at TEDMED, and has been featured in Wired, Scientific American, NPR, Fox news, ABC news, just to name a few.

Her company, uBiome, is in the business of making micro biome testing accessible to millions of people. You simply take a swab of your cheek and/or a piece of toilet paper, send in the same, and get detailed results of what bacteria are in your body, how much, and what they do. You’re able to learn how much more effectively your body metabolizes different kinds of nutrients, see how sensitive you are to different things like caffeine, and even learn about steroid biosynthesis in your body. It’s pretty darn cool.

In this episode, we’ll not only learn why all of this is so important, but also what you can do to promote the health of your own micro biome, the power of citizen science, and much, much more.

As always, please take a moment to share your thoughts with me on Twitter (@gosuperhuman), and if you haven’t already, please remember to leave us a review on iTunes or Stitcher.

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In this episode, we discuss:

  • Jessica Richman’s background as a young entrepreneur, computer scientist, and economist
  • What exactly is the “micro biome” – and why should you care?
  • What is at stake, and what can happen if your micro biome gets screwed up
  • How does digestion work, and why are bacteria so important for it?
  • What is uBiome, what does they do, and what are they working on next?
  • What are the challenges with this technology, and why is it moving slowly?
  • How often does your micro biome change, and how often should you get tested?
  • Which factors make for a healthy (or unhealthy) micro biome & what can you do?
  • What is “pre-biotic fiber” and how do you get more of it?
  • Jessica Richman’s thoughts on modern hygiene and how it may or may not be making us sick
  • How common are gut issues in the population?
  • Which health issues are related to the micro biome? (It may surprise you)
  • Fecal transplants: what they are, and how they could benefit society
  • Citizen science, and why Jessica Richman and I are so excited about it
  • How can business accomplish more in science than governments can?
  • Comparisons between 23andMe and uBiome as companies
  • How big is uBiome, how much money have they raised, etc?
  • When will micro biome testing become mainstream?
  • What are Jessica Richman’s thoughts on probiotics, and does she recommend any?
  • Why Angel List is so incredibly powerful for entrepreneurs & investors
  • Books and papers Jessica recommends

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Favorite Quotes from Jessica Richman:

“The earth is the body that all of us live on… we are the body that all of these bacteria live on.”
“What we’re discovering is that the micro biome relates to just about everything in human health.”
”There isn’t a single, healthy gut micro biome. It’s a really complex system.”
“You and I would probably not be here if antibiotics didn’t exist. However, you know, nothing is without tradeoffs.”
“Mice can be made obese by giving them a fecal transplant from an obese human. That’s super interesting, right?!”
“Often, you don’t need to know causality. You just need to know that these two things frequently co-occur…”
“Business allows science to exist on a greater scale than would be possible in the grant-funded system that we have.”
“Probiotics work very differently in different people.”
“Citizen scientists can do whatever they want with their own poop, and they can find really interesting things that could be beneficial to the rest of us.”
Jonathan

Jonathan

Jonathan Levi is a serial entrepreneur, published author, and lifehacker born and raised in Silicon Valley. Since 2014, Jonathan has been one of the top-performing instructors on online learning platform Udemy, and has snowballed this success into the launch of his rapidly growing information products company, SuperHuman Enterprises, which produces such products as the award-winning Becoming SuperHuman Podcast; the bestselling "Become a SuperLearner" print, digital, and audiobooks; and numerous other online courses through it’s own online training portal, SuperLearner Academy. Jonathan’s media products have been enjoyed by over 130,000 people in 200 countries. He is based in Tel Aviv, Israel.