Episode 2: David Mills Ph.D. - The Microbiome & Health

DR. David Mills, Ph.D.

We delve into the importance of the microbiome to human health. Dr. Mills studies the prebiotic importance of Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMO's) in breast milk on infant health, and the importance of this co-evolution of bacteria and humans in overall health.  

Dr. David Mills is a professor of Food Microbiology at the Food Science Department at University of California, Davis, and he studies the importance of bacteria on gut health, in fermented foods, and in beverages. 

Today we are discussing his work in human milk oligosaccharides (HMO's) on infant health, and how these HMO's serve as a model for the importance of a co-evolution of microbes and humans for long term health. We delve into all aspects of microbiology in health and disease, what foods we should be consuming for optimal microbial flourishing, as well as what we can learn from non-industrialized countries on microbial diversity.

Show notes:

5:00 - Dr. Mill's evolution into studying human milk and gut bacteria, and what he's learned about the infant gut microbiome.

7:30 - How do we develop a microbiome?

10:25 - Why would bacteria want to colonize an infant? What is the benefit to the baby, and the bacteria?

11:05 - How do Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA) influence infants (and adults)?

12:05 - Is the process of microbial colonization and SCFA formation similar in adults?

13:15 - Which types of foods and probiotics are best for optimal bacterial formation in the gut?

19:00 - Babies' gut comprises of 90% colonization with B. Infantis. How does this evolve as you get older? Discovery of Bifidobacteria in the last century.

20:45 - Difference in bacteria in kids from non-industrialized to industrialized nations. Have we lost some specific species and strains with c-sections and antibiotic use?

22:30 - Is diversity or type of strain more important for a healthy microbiome?

27:00 - Breast versus formula fed babies and microbiological differences. Are there consequences of one versus the other?

31:00 - Inoculating babies after a c-section with mother's vaginal bacteria.

33:15 - How he would change this phenomenon of developed vs non-industrialized bacterial differences.

36:05 - How can we relate human milk oligosaccharide infant studies to adult health? How can adults alter their microbiota for increased health?

38:15 - If someone has (gut) dysbiosis, how do you fix it?

40:10 - How quickly does a gut microbiome change? Peter Turnbaugh's examination of giving subjects an all meat versus all fiber diets.

42:10 - What are his food choice heuristics? What did he eat the previous day?