Monday, June 26, 2023

News You Can Use: "Hunter-gatherer lifestyle fosters thriving gut microbiome"

From the journal Nature, June 22:

Samples from the Tanzanian Hadza group included species previously unknown to science. 

The human gut is teeming with trillions of microbes, but most studies of this vast community have focused on people living in urban regions. Now, a team of researchers has sequenced gut microbiomes from Hadza people — members of a hunter-gatherer society in northern Tanzania — and compared them with those from people in Nepal and California1. The study has found not only that the Hadza tend to have more gut microorganisms than people in the other groups, but that a Western lifestyle seems to diminish the diversity of gut populations.

The Hadza had an average of 730 species of gut microbe per person. The average Californian gut microbiome contained just 277 species, and the Nepali microbiomes fell in between. People with a farming-based lifestyle had an average of 436 microbe species, whereas those who live by foraging had an average of 317.

The team also found species in the Hadza microbiomes that were not present in the Californian samples, such as the corkscrew-shaped bacterium Treponema succinifaciens. Only some of the Nepali microbiomes contained this microbe, suggesting that the bacterium is dying out as societies become more industrialized.
Redressing the balance...


Sounds enticing but I'm not sure I'm committed enough to a healthy gut biome to live a lifestyle without derivatives.

Possibly of interest:
"Early farmers and hunter-gatherers got it on with each other, study says" (looked vaguely like Fabio)
If you blur Fabio.
A lot.

The facial reconstruction of a hunter-gatherer from Spain (somehow clean-shaven). Illustration by Serrulla y Sanín

"The Worst Mistake In The History Of The Human Race" – 1987 article by Jared Diamond
Diamond, at least since Guns, Germs and Steel, has struck me as lightweight, just coasting, trying to force observations into a prejudiced worldview. I know his impressive c.v. but it had gotten to the point where any time I read something of his I thought of Churchill's comment:
A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.
It turns out that he was like that a quarter century ago.
More spleen venting below....
This neo-Rousseau-ish babble makes me want to grab a mongongo nut and crack it on his head.

Painting the image of hunter-gatherer superiority he makes no mention of the agricultural peasants of the middle ages who worked between 180 and 260 days per year, the rest of the time being taken up with Sundays, feast days, holidays, fair days etc.

Denigrating the division of labor he makes no mention of the benefits that he has personally derived. I would estimate his Sasquatch-sized ecological footprint to be equivalent to 500-1000 Bushmen.

In many ways the best thing he could do, if he truly believed what he writes, is join the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement instead of jetting off to his next book-signing.

In the meantime we have 7 billion people to feed.

Huh. I guess I was sort of crabby that day in 2011.

Two more:
"Why We Work"
Don't let the short little nine letter title fool you, there is a lot to chew on in this piece.