What Role Does our Microbiome Play in a Healthy Diet? – with Tim Spector

What Role Does our Microbiome Play in a Healthy Diet? – with Tim Spector

There’s a lot of conflicting info out there about how to eat healthily. Tim Spector studies the microbiome to gain insight into how its diversity can impact health outcomes.
Subscribe for regular science videos: http://bit.ly/RiSubscRibe

Tim’s book “The Diet Myth” is available now: https://geni.us/IiPo

The microbiome is the community of 100 trillion microbes that live in our colon that are like a virtual organ. This organ is key to our digestion, appetite, mood, metabolism, and control of our immune system. It is also key to how we respond to immunotherapy and chemotherapy. The TwinsUK cohort of 12,000+ twins has been running for nearly 25 years and is now the most intensively studied group of humans on the planet (www.twinsuk.ac.uk). Having deep sequence, metabolites, epigenetics, immune traits and dietary and health data, in 2012 a stool collection for 16S microbiome, metagenomes and metabolomics was added. They are currently using the microbiome data and cohort to provide novel measures of health, such as the level of microbial diversity and a new measure – the microbial health index and how this impacts overall health outcomes. Tim Spector’s team’s twin work has also enabled them to gain insights into the microbiome and immune interactions of the upper colon and small intestine via colonoscopy and interventions. Every medical professional needs to know about maintaining a healthy microbiome from birth to death.

Tim Spector is a Professor of Genetic Epidemiology and Director of the TwinsUK Registry at Kings College, London and has recently been elected to the prestigious Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

This talk was filmed in the Ri on 15 October 2018.

A very special thank you to our Patreon supporters who help make these videos happen, especially:
Alessandro Mecca, Ashok Bommisetti, bestape, Robert Hillier, David Lindo, Elizabeth Greasley, Greg Nagel, Dave Ostler, John Pollock, Lester Su, Osian Gwyn Williams, Radu Tizu, Rebecca Pan, Roger Baker, Sergei Solovev, and Will Knott.

The Ri is on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/TheRoyalInstitution
and Twitter: http://twitter.com/ri_science
and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/royalinstitution
and Tumblr: http://ri-science.tumblr.com/
Our editorial policy: http://www.rigb.org/home/editorial-policy
Subscribe for the latest science videos: http://bit.ly/RiNewsletter

Product links on this page may be affiliate links which means it won’t cost you any extra but we may earn a small commission if you decide to purchase through the link.


  1. R Boz on February 26, 2022 at 11:53 pm

    Let me see 500mg/L polyphenols in olive oil, 535mg 1/2 cup blueberries. That’s a no brainer. And a bit less fiber in olive oil, like zero.

  2. John Goard on February 26, 2022 at 11:53 pm

    A great video and on a subject that I have been studying for my own personal reasons namely that I do suffer from anxiety and depression and moderate obesity. I shall certainly be adding Tim’s book to my Google playbook list and am looking forward to reading it after I have finished the book named The Gut-Mind Connection by Emeran Meyer MD. This is a fascinating subject which I shall try and find out more about via the net.

  3. Pocket Fella on February 26, 2022 at 11:53 pm

    What about o negative humans they don’t fit in to the narrative that we are the same

  4. Manu De Backer on February 26, 2022 at 11:54 pm

    So you use your own son as a guinee pig by shoving heeps of mcDo in him for 10 days, which very surprisingly destroyed his gut and so he ‘stayed bad for years’ just to see the effects, publish in the sunday Times and get a good laugh from an audience? Idiot!

  5. Toni on February 26, 2022 at 11:54 pm

    Medicines, especially those that you’re stuck with and have to take all the time can do some real damage to your microbiome or digestive system. One day you may find out you can’t eat a lot of foods as I did. I discovered most vegetables, and all artificial preservatives etc. made me really ill. I have spent most of the past forty years living on mostly animal products.

  6. Conor on February 26, 2022 at 11:54 pm

    Ridiculous. McDonalds? This guy took too long to get to the point.

  7. Mac Smiffy on February 26, 2022 at 11:56 pm

    I’m feeding my biome, but it’s costing a fortune, simply because supermarkets insist on bagging fruit and veg in family size plastic bags and I’m feeding one. But who wants to eat a week of swede and cabbage anyway? We need to keep badgering supermarkets to let us choose how much we need to buy. I’m off to badger Hugh FW! (For those outside the UK, he’s a chef who runs eco campaigns for food producers to be more environmentally aware).

  8. Thomas Raywood on February 26, 2022 at 11:56 pm

    Given the now known value or benefits, why haven’t christensenella and akkermansia been isolated, reproduced, and made available as probiotic supplements the way so many other strains of bacteria have been?

  9. Tom Thumb on February 26, 2022 at 11:57 pm

    Tim looks much tireder after the COVID pandemic than he did 2 years ago.

  10. Buck Slaby on February 26, 2022 at 11:58 pm

    I read plenty of great opinions on the net about how exactly Okibetonic Secrets (google search it) can assist you lost tons of weight. Has anyone tried this popular diet plan?

  11. Ginger Tea on February 27, 2022 at 12:02 am

    Absolutely thumbs up – thank you

  12. Toni on February 27, 2022 at 12:03 am

    Even plant matter have a defensive system that most people know nothing about. People can be ill for a great deal of their lives and have no idea their food is causing them the misery and pain until they remove almost everything from their diet and see what happens.

  13. Theresa Geiger on February 27, 2022 at 12:03 am

    I let them all loose

  14. sacredweeds on February 27, 2022 at 12:04 am

    So much of what you said hit home. The time I spent in South East Asia my gut was much better than in the USA

  15. Amit Asthana on February 27, 2022 at 12:04 am


  16. JacyJ1 on February 27, 2022 at 12:04 am

    If microbiome begins with vaginal birth why aren’t twins more alike?

  17. Paul Cook on February 27, 2022 at 12:08 am

    Masses of Quackery! You’ve got that right….

  18. Arlene Katz on February 27, 2022 at 12:08 am

    Thank you

  19. NUTRITIONAL DIVERSITY on February 27, 2022 at 12:12 am

    This not even close see ‘biodiverse food study, Panama.’ Smart guy but no where near the study concludes

  20. Lorenzo De La Cruz on February 27, 2022 at 12:12 am

    Hey Hey Hey! like your gut, it depends on what is placed in the back yard! Yeah Az. native. Great show by the way.

  21. Theresa Geiger on February 27, 2022 at 12:15 am

    Nobody ever talks about getting the other microbiomes back

  22. Marlon Vance on February 27, 2022 at 12:17 am

    Hi, have you thought about this diet plan called the Custokebon Secrets? My cousin says it helps people lost plenty of weight. Is that possible? I also noticed many excellent review about this diet plan. Thoughts?

  23. Davis on February 27, 2022 at 12:18 am

    What if you have no large intestine?

  24. Tamela Wade on February 27, 2022 at 12:18 am

    What exactly is Okibetonic Secrets? How does this thing really work? I see many people keep on speaking about this popular lose weight methods.

  25. Thomas Raywood on February 27, 2022 at 12:21 am

    Kefir can be harmful in ways if consumed too often.

  26. Galaxy Soft on February 27, 2022 at 12:22 am

    ياريت مترجم يترجم للعربيه ارجوكم ليش كل اابشر تتكلم الاجنبيه

  27. Digeo maradona on February 27, 2022 at 12:23 am

    The spotty wrench chronologically scorch because monday uniquely concern an a brainy airbus. giant, quixotic motion

  28. Nosheen Saqib on February 27, 2022 at 12:23 am

    Website called Agoge Diet is the best for your body transformation. I lost 20kg by following their diet plan (I also had cheat meals) and training plan.

  29. Mauni Ankur on February 27, 2022 at 12:24 am

    Visit Agoge Diet and make your own body transfromation!!! I LOST 18kg. Unbelievable! 😀

  30. Red Moon on February 27, 2022 at 12:26 am

    What if you have a whey intolerance and I can’t eat Onion and garlic due to ibs? What do you do ?

  31. Oscar on February 27, 2022 at 12:27 am

    This is one of the best videos I have seen on this channel.

  32. Lorraine Mcintosh on February 27, 2022 at 12:27 am

    Can any tell me the effect that PPIs have on the microdome?
    Also how to treat helicobacter without taking several antibiotics and destroying the gut balance?

    Thank you

  33. Arlene Katz on February 27, 2022 at 12:28 am

    Thank you

  34. Robert Pepper on February 27, 2022 at 12:31 am


  35. Richard Higel on February 27, 2022 at 12:33 am

    Dr Spector thank you for this informative video. Do you think that how we eat our meals(fast, or slow) is an important factor to our stomach microbial health? Have there been studies done on eating slower, and our overall health?

  36. Thomas Raywood on February 27, 2022 at 12:35 am

    Not at all to be off color here, but if most of the good bacteria in yogurt (and therefore also in kefir and kombucha) are destroyed as part of the digestive process, wouldn’t the sensible thing be to employ these substances as part of an enema routine?

  37. morphin1 on February 27, 2022 at 12:38 am

    Such an excellent explanation and everything is not as simple as it looks. Thanks Doc

  38. Elizabeth Prosser on February 27, 2022 at 12:40 am

    Fantastic discussion so enlightening

  39. Zand Voort on February 27, 2022 at 12:40 am

    Can the good bacteria in fermented foods survive through your stomach/acids? Might be wasted money.

  40. J on February 27, 2022 at 12:41 am

    So sad your first port of call was the great internet! A heart to heart with an old dietitian might have directed you elsewhere. We moved from restricted salt to a concept of DASH as part of hypertension approach. And whoever advised to count calories? Maybe save 500 calories a day ( a deficit ) the nearest we,d go…. But no info until we know about you….But – the medics finally getting interested . And funded! Good news.

  41. DS on February 27, 2022 at 12:42 am


  42. Adrian Hepton on February 27, 2022 at 12:43 am

    I was feeling very positive about this video until Tim casually mentioned experiments on animals where they are made to feel anxious or depressed

  43. Deborah Pond on February 27, 2022 at 12:43 am

    This guy is just trying to sell a product, instead of telling how to eat better.

  44. Fail Funny Fart on February 27, 2022 at 12:43 am

    Summarize someone please video?

  45. Steps to Happiness on February 27, 2022 at 12:44 am

    Is always doctors with health issues that seem to be the most progressive. Dr Mark Hyman, and the doctor with MS whose name I have momentarily forgot.

  46. Oswald Digestive Clinic on February 27, 2022 at 12:47 am

    Awesome video! We love talking about the gut microbiome, as the gut hosts about 70% of our immune system!

  47. Tuan Le on February 27, 2022 at 12:50 am

    The telling cornet largely spoil because siberian preliminarily hurry around a wiry prepared. broad, mature feedback

  48. Abigayle Tyler on February 27, 2022 at 12:50 am

    I notice many people keep on speaking about Okibetonic Secrets. But I’m uncertain if it’s good. Have you ever try this popular lose weight method?

  49. Adriana anna on February 27, 2022 at 12:50 am

    Grupos religiosos ? Hahaha… eu não conhecia o trabalho do prof. Tim, mas eu creio que foi Jesus que me enviou para ajudar a salva-los com a modulação da microbiota(Êxodo 12:8) e a regulação da resposta imunológica( João 9:1-7) usada pela minha família ,meu antepassados no Egito há muito mais de 1900 anos.. O problema é que apresentei para o governo de um mentiroso, manipulador compulsivo que não teme a Deus chamado Boris Johnson….hahaha… A ponto de pegar algo religioso de origem judia e fingir que surgiu dos livros de ciência….hahaha….parabéns nem na cadeia no Brasil tem trambiqueiros como no governo do Reino Unido.

  50. Bliss WKC on February 27, 2022 at 12:50 am

    Thank y’all so much dearest 🌹
    Y’all such an inspiration 🥰
    Appreciate y’all from the bottom of my heart 💖
    Be Blissful Eternally 🙏👼🌈