I love microbiome research.  I have been doing it for 10+ years.  Microbiomes are both incredibly interesting and important.  They play roles in all sorts of aspects of the planet including many aspects of the biology of multicellular organisms like plants and animals.  And I personally believe that we will find more and more important connections between microbiomes and the health and well being of plants, animals, other organisms, and ecosystems.

However many people oversell the microbiome (something I call "microbiomania") and misrepresent what we know about it now.  Here are some posts on this topic.

Posts tagged "overselling the microbiome"
Posts tagged "overselling the microbiome award"

Direct Links to Overselling the Microbome Awards and Related Posts
  1. October 31, 2018. And today in #microbiomania (aka overselling the microbiome) - ridiculous claim from Raphael Kellman's book marketing group
  2. March 26, 2018. Retraction of paper on "Gut Makeover Diet" and the microbiome retracted for fundamental flaws including that it did not in any way look at the microbiome #overselling #hype #microbiomania 
  3. October 9, 2017. Offensive overselling of the #microbiome in breast cancer from the Cleveland Clinic
  4. July 22, 2017. Today in misleading, dangerous, overselling of the microbiome - UNC on babies and cognitive development
  5. July 4, 2017. Human microbiome studies really are oversold, new study suggests #UCLA #Microbiomania
  6. June 30, 2017. Thank you Gizmodo and Ryan Mandelbaum for anti-poop-doping story
  7. June 28, 2017. More awful reporting on the "poop doping" claimed by Dr. Lauren Peterson
  8. June 21, 2017: Irresponsible reporting on "poop doping" from the Washington Post
  9. June 12, 2017: Kudos to Bicycling Magazine for pedaling so so so much overselling of the microbiome
  10. May 1, 2017: Overselling the microbiome award: Marie Claire for its "article" on Mother Dirt
  11. March 9, 2017: Kissing between humans and Neanderthals? Could be oral - anal contact too. Or neither.
  12. July 22, 2016. Today's misleading overselling the #microbiome - U. Chicago on Alzheimer's and gut microbes
  13. July 14, 2016. Overselling the Microbiome Award for @nytimes on thumb sucking, nail biting protecting from allergy
  14. July 10, 2016. Today in Overselling the #microbiome: Lick-hiker's guide to Inner Strength
  15. December 31, 2015. Microbiomania and Fecal Transplants
  16. September 08, 2015. Today's awful overselling of the microbiome - Robynne Chutkan on libido
  17. August 12, 2015. TWIMO: This week in microbiome overselling - how the microbiome destroyed the Ego, Vaccine Policy, and Patriarchy
  18. July 26, 2015. Possibly the worst press release on the microbiome ever: Greenlaw and Ruggiero and the third brain.
  19. May 27, 2015. Overselling the mcirobiome award: Dr Roizen's Preventative and Integrative Medicine Conference
  20. March 14, 2015 Overselling the microbiome award: Dr. Raphael Kellman at MindBodyGreen
  21. March 14, 2015 Some silly microbome ideas from @DeepakChopra and @rudytanzi
  22. February 15, 2015 Overselling the microbiome award: CBC Fresh Air & JA Tetro on kissing microbiomes
  23. January 1, 2015. Really shameful overselling the microbiome from the American Society for Microbiology regarding lupus.
  24. December 6, 2014 Some history of hype regarding the human genome project and genomics
  25. October 30, 2014 Rediscovering some critical terms of use in microbial discussions: #microbiomania and #microbophobia
  26. August 26, 2014: Overselling the Microbiome Award: The Microbiome Diet Book
  27. June 10, 2014: Please make it stop - overselling the microbiome award for rugby, exercise, microbiome stories 
  28. May 23, 2014: Overselling the microbiome award - many - for stories about placental vs. oral microbiomes
  29. May 1, 2014: Overselling the microbiome award: Time Magazine & Martin Blaser for "antibiotics are extinguishing our microbiome" 
  30. April 27, 2014: Overselling the microbiome award: Mercola/Perlmutter onfecal transplants for severe neurological dysfunction
  31. April 9, 2014: And in non shocking news of the day - more overselling of the microbiome
  32. March 12, 2014: Overselling the microbiome award of the week: Science News on "Bacteria that Trigger Crohn's"
  33. January 27, 2014: Winner of the biggest & best overselling of the microbiome -@theallium on Salmonella Diet
  34. January 21, 2014: Overselling the microbiome story of the week: aging in fruit flies vs humans
  35. November 03, 2013: Short post- a bad taste in my mouth for overselling the microbiome
  36. August 30, 2013: Overselling the microbiome award: Swiss National Science Foundation on smoking, weight gain and bacteria
  37. August 28, 2013 Overselling the microbiome award: VIB press release saying "Intestinal flora determines health of obese people"
  38. July 03, 2013: Lies, damn lies, and press releases - trouble with recent PR about autism and microbiomes
  39. March 25, 2013: First multiple "Overselling the microbiome award": the Daily Mail article on Germs
  40. January 19, 2013: Overselling the microbiome: University Bern press release uses slight of hand to make mouse study seem to be about people
  41. December 11, 2012: Award: Ridiculous, absurd, offensive overselling of the microbiome from Chalmers & Gothenburg
  42. November 10, 2012: Overselling the microbiome award of the month: Integrative medical group of Irvine
  43. October 22, 2012: Today's "Overselling the microbiome award" Crohn's Disease and Bacteria
  44. September 10, 2012: Overselling the microbiome award: MedicalDaily on Effects of Sugary Drink
  45. August 19, 2012: The microbiome in the news: risk of overselling but not always bad coverage
  46. May 27, 2012: Dubious Press Release from Cedars-Sinai linking Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Bacteria in Gut
  47. March 30, 2012: Overselling the microbiome award: Scientists look to mummies for obesity cure
  48. March 14, 2012: Diabetes & H.pylori - a correlation but no known causation despite authors claims
  49. September 19, 2010: Probiotic use spreading, lots of money being made, known benefits still murky
  50. September 12, 2010: Probiotics are the new viagra & the risks of overselling of probiotics
  51. August 25, 2010: Overselling the microbiome award #2: The Marshall Protocol
  52. August 18, 2010: Overselling the microbiome award: Stephen Barrie on pre and probiotics at the Huffington Post

Other links of relevance with discussions of microbiome hype


  1. Hi, I just found this blog in my search for new information about the microbiome. Lots of useful stuff here, thanks :)
    A friend of mine mentioned candida overgrowth in the gut and its effects on the body, based on some articles he read online. I checked them out, but they looked a little fishy to me. The thing is, I haven't found much against this claim, except another blog by a microbiology PhD student.
    Can you post something about Candida albicans? It would be really helpful.

  2. This is fantastic; I started a report of the microbiome a few weeks ago for an undergraduate course, and was quickly wrapped up in the many miraculous claims and insinuations all over the literature and news. This blog kind of brings it full circle; Thank you!


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