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The Broken Brain Podcast: The Power of Dirt in Building a Healthy Brain and Microbiome with Dr. Maya Shetreat

The Broken Brain Podcast: The Power of Dirt in Building a Healthy Brain and Microbiome with Dr. Maya Shetreat


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Do you let your kids play in the dirt or have hand wipes ready for them at every turn? In a society that fears dirt and considers it undesirable, science is showing that we are losing diversity of bacteria on our skin and in our guts which impacts our immune systems and our brains.

In our 7th episode of The Broken Brain Podcast, Broken Brain Executive Producer Dhru Purohit and Dr. Maya Shetreat—dirt expert, neurologist, and Functional Medicine practitioner—talk about the role of dirt and microbes in the body. In this discussion, you’ll learn all about hormesis, how small stresses actually stimulate the body to become more resilient. Plus, Dr. Shetreat talks about many ways to get your children outside (let them play in dirt…let them eat some dirt!) and the importance of a whole body approach to health that includes the physical, emotional, and spiritual.

This episode is packed with tips for parents and caregivers to cultivate a healthy microbiome in little people. Even if you’re not caring for little ones, you’ll be encouraged to put down your phone and take a walk in the woods.

In this episode, we dive into:

  • Dirt and the instinct to be sanitary (1:27)
  • Fearing dirt and bacteria (4:38)
  • Implications of a sterile environment (7:57)
  • Steps to a healthy microbiome (11:15)
  • Hormesis: Small stresses that are good for us (15:35)
  • Encouraging loved ones to get outside (22:25)
  • Fear of independent play (26:52)
  • Dr. Shetreat’s approach with patients (34:08)
  • How to create change in your daily life (41:02)
  • What whole body health looks like (49:39)
  • Dr. Shetreat’s inspiration and resources (51:50)

I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did.

Wishing you health and happiness,

Mark Hyman, MD

PS: If you’d like to learn more about Dr. Shetreat’s book The Dirt Cure or The Terrain Institute, you can find her at www.dirtcure.com.

Mark Hyman MD is the Director of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, the Founder of The UltraWellness Center, and a ten-time #1 New York Times Bestselling author.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.