Over the past several decades, we have gained immense insight into the world of the human microbiome. The observations made using techniques like Fecal Microbiota Transplant and microbial sequencing are contributing to a new paradigm of what it means to be human. We now know we are not alone in our own bodies. We have a compilation of trillions of microbes living in and on us. They are working together with our cells as a complex ecosystem, one that defines us as a holobiont. Through the lens of the human microbiome we are challenged to approach health like we do ecology. We can begin to think about how every choice we make is interfacing with this ecosystems.
Andrea McBeth is a Naturopathic Doctor with a passion for shifting perspectives toward microbiome-centered health. Her scientific background includes a degree in biochemistry and research pursuits in various areas of molecular and cellular biology. After years working in cancer research, she left academia and the hospital to be a full-time patient advocate for a family member with cancer. That experience and her own journey of chronic pain and autoimmune disease led her to the pursue healthcare and advocacy using the tools of naturopathic medicine. As a licensed N.D. in Oregon and Washington, she focuses her clinical care on functional gastrointestinal and autoimmune issues. In conjunction with her functional medicine practice, she founded and runs a stool bank that provides Fecal Microbiota Transplant for the treatment of resistant Clostridium difficile infection as well as investigational applications for other microbiome therapies.
Through her work with Fecal Transplant and as a functional medicine physician, she believes strongly that we will need to be creative in our ways to save the microbial diversity of the human microbiome for the sake of our health. Just as climate change is ravishing the Earth’s biodiversity, so too, our microbiomes are being decimated by Western lifestyles. Standard American diets, overuse of pharmaceutical medications, beauty products, and the loss of everyday interactions with natural soil and plant microbes are all contributing to this loss. She posits that our approach to saving our health and planet will need to be as multifaceted as the ways in which we are destroying it.