Healthy Gut Bacteria – Diversity is the Key

I recently had the opportunity to interview Dr. Mark Plotkin, a renowned ethnobotanist who has spent almost three decades studying traditional plant use with the traditional healers of tropical America. Previously, he served as Research Associate in ethnobotanical conservation at the Botanical Museum of Harvard University and now serves as president of the Amazon Conservation Team, an organization dedicated to studying and raising global awareness of the ever-increasing rates of bio-diversity loss in the Amazon region.

Dr. Plotkin made it very clear to me that it is this diversity that allows the Amazon region to respond to changes in climate and other environmental pressures. He further revealed how the diversity of flora and fauna in the Amazon actually influences the health of the entire planet, providing a measure of resilience, or lack thereof, in terms of responding to environmental changes.

This interview really stuck with me. These concepts moved me, and resonated greatly with the understanding we have  of what goes on within each and every one of us. Like the Amazon, we are, in great measure, very much dependent upon the diversity of the organisms that live within us. Diversity equals resilience. Continue reading


The Amazon and Global Health – An Interview with Dr. Mark Plotkin

As you are all aware, we’ve been posting a lot of information centered on the pivotal role of the diversity of gut microbes in terms of health and disease. Now it’s time to take a broader view.

In today’s interview I explore how loss of biodiversity on the planet, and specifically in the Amazon, poses a threat to the health of our planet. While we jump from micro to macroscopic in our scope, the underlying principles are remarkably similar, as you will learn from my discussion with my long-time friend, Dr. Mark Plotkin.

Dr. Plotkin was educated at Harvard, Yale and Tufts University. He is a renowned ethnobotanist who has studied traditional indigenous plant use with elder shamans (traditional healers) of Central and South America for much of the past 30 years. Continue reading