Hear from Andrea M. Rediske, PhD about the species in your feces
Do you know any good poop jokes?
No, they’re all too corny.
Andrea M. Rediske spends a lot of time thinking about poop. Well, not just poop — but hey you’re listening now, right? A professor of biology at Valencia College, Andrea teaches numerous pre-nursing students on the importance the human microbiome, and your poop. She will be speaking to attendees of Science Night Live on Saturday, October 6 on the importance of poop, our gut, and how the millions of microbes inside of us impact our lives every single day.
We caught up with Andrea to discuss her life, interests, and of course… poop.
OSC: How did you get your start in science?
Andrea: My 8th grade biology teacher Mrs. Moore launched my interest into science. She had us bring in all these different types of water, like pond water, muddy water, or water from puddles and we could look at the samples under the microscope. I remember being fascinated by the little life form moving in the water. There was so much life that was too small to see with the naked eye.
OSC: From kombucha to kimchi, gut health has become a hot topic. Why do you think people are paying attention now?
Andrea: Well I think the Human Microbiome Project really shed light on what’s going on inside our body. In this study, researchers found bacteria in places we never thought possible, and the project gave us a sense of coexistence with our microbes. We used think of microbes as the enemy (bacteria, fungi, viruses) and thought we had to protect ourselves from them as to not get sick. It was almost like a war. The Human Microbiome Project instead showed us how intimately involved our bacteria is with us. It also helped us to understand how certain conditions arise from a disrupted microbiome. Things like Crohn’s disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Celiac disease can be caused by a disruption in gut flora.
OSC: What’s one thing about your poop and gut health that no one knows?
Andrea: I don’t want to give too much of my presentation away! But I will say, when people say things like “I trust my gut” or “I have a gut instinct,” there’s really a lot of truth to that. The bacteria that live in our gut impact our mood, and our ways of thinking and feeling in ways of we’ve never imagined.
OSC: What are some tips for people who want to get their gut healthy?
Andrea: I do want to reiterate that I am not a medical doctor, and I am not giving advice on what to eat, but I will say this: there’s no conclusive clinical evidence of one particular diet that cures the gut flora. From the evidence I see in scientific literature, there is no one cure-all, but consuming fermented foods like kombucha, and yogurt can help boost a healthy gut, along with high fiber, nutrient rich, whole foods.
OSC: Is there anything we haven’t talked about that you’d like to mention?
Andrea: I decided to talk about poop because we don’t often realize how the bacteria and the microbes in our gut impact our lives. The studies I’m going to be talking about show how microbes influence our mood, depression, weight loss, obesity, mental illness, and even diabetes. I hope I’ll be able to share evidence about how bacteria in our gut impact us every single day. People often look at poop as the enemy — it’s dirty, it’s gross, and it’s stinky. What I want to help people understand is we need to make friends with our gut bacteria, because they have an impact on our lives in ways that we may not recognize or appreciate. So, what I’m saying is: it’s time to make friends with your poop.
Catch Andrea M. Rediske, PhD talk about all things poop at the last Science Night Live of 2018 on Saturday October 6. This event is for adults 21+ only. Tickets are available for $16 online only, you can purchase them here. https://old.osc.org/science-night-live/
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