Gut: The Inside Story Of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ
© 2015 Giulia Enders
Through the teeth, past the gums, look out stomach, here we come! Gut is a tour of your innards, of the surprisingly clean but bustling twists and turns of the digestive system. “Wait a second,” say you, “I’ve had this tour before. Mary Roach did it in Gulp!”. Well, yes, and she did take you the entire way — from the mouth right out the other end, none the worse for the wear. Gut is different, however. The author is a touch more serious, for one thing; while never lacking in humor, she doesn’t provide a constant effusion of fart and poop jokes. Enders provides more of a thoughtful study of how the gut impacts us, particularly in our microbiome. This is a mix of Roach’s Gulp and I Contain Multitudes: a study of our intestinal habitat and the fauna thereof. I bought this primarily because I was interested in the ways our gut can influence our psychology. I’ve heard reports of there being neural cells active within the gut, and while there is a chapter on the “vagus nerve”, it wasn’t as extensive as I hoped. The author conveys the impression that the nerve collects and conveys feelings of general un-ease and distress within the body, providing the brain with its first reports of problems within. More extensive are the chapters on the bacteria within us — how they change depending on our diet, how they can contribute to our health or diminish it , that sort of thing. This ground was covered more extensively in 10% Human and I Contain Multitudes, but a review of this subject is perfect in a book on the gut: 90% of our bacteria live there, after all.
If you’re interested in the digestive system — and who isn’t, really? — Gut is a quick, fun read that takes its reader more seriously than Gulp, and includes more concrete information from an actual M.D.