Gut by Giulia Enders

I’m the first to admit that I had never paid much attention in biology classes but then again I have never known anyone who would explain the human body and its processes in such a fascinating way as the author of the Gut (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️), Giulia Enders. I have only recently realised how little I have known about my own anatomy and organ systems but if your biology classes were anything like mine, I’m sure I’m not alone. What is more, such detailed studies on our bowels are relatively recent and this book, first published in 2015 being a best seller with over 5 million copies sold (as of 2018), makes me believe that the hunger for knowledge about our bodies is worldwide.

Giulia Enders, a young and incredibly talented scientist with infectious enthusiasm in an accessible way explains why we should stop treating our digestive system as a black hole, in which food disappears without a trace as soon as we swallow it. Scientists, like Enders, have only recently started paying more attention to our bowels’ connection with the rest of our body and the results of their work clearly presented in this book are nothing short of mind-blowing.  

In a charming way (the original title is Darm mit Charme – Gut with Charm) embellished with colourful metaphors and her sister’s drawings, Giulia explains why there is so much more to our digestive system than what comes out at the end of it. Starting with some basics on how we (and how we should) poop, burp and fart, Enders covers the structure of the gut, food intolerances and allergies as well as the role of the gut flora and good and bad bacteria. To me, the most interesting chapters were on our immune system, how it is built as well as the gut and brain connection, which receives increasingly more attention from scientists all over the world. 

I learned about this book through Basia Tworek’s blog and a podcast she co-hosts, JOGAPDEJT. It was fascinating and a very educational read I devoured within a couple of days. I feel that Enders introduced me to a subject I would like to explore more (two books on my list I will follow are the Good Gut by Justin and Erica Sonnenburg and I Contain Multitudes by Ed Young) and gave me the knowledge I was able to turn into confidence before a visit to a gastroenterologist.