While most American Gut participants will participate privately, some have chosen to make their data public. Lots of great and interesting microbiomes are joining the project-for example, author Michael Pollan (author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma), ultramarathon runner Dean Karnazes, and Shannon Ford (Mrs. United States 2011) have all joined the project! If you need some inspiration-that one last push before you take the plunge-you can find their stories-and others-right here!


“I can tell you the exact date that I began to think of myself in the first-person plural — as a superorganism, that is, rather than a plain old individual human being. It happened on March 7. That’s when I opened my e-mail to find a huge, processor-choking file of charts and raw data from a laboratory located at the BioFrontiers Institute at the University of Colorado, Boulder. As part of a new citizen-science initiative called the American Gut project…”

Read Micahel Pollan’s 2013 New York Times Article on his American Gut experience here!

“Shannon Ford, Mrs. United States 2011 who has celiac disease and eats a gluten-free diet, had less than 50 percent Firmicutes in her gut. These points on the chart are far from hard-and-fast patterns—and in fact are somewhat perplexing—so researchers looked for other variables that might be determining the composition of our guts.”

Read this 2013 Scientific American blog post that discusses Michael Pollan’s and Shannon Ford’s American Gut results (written by Katharine Harmon Courage).

“The trillions of microbes that live in our guts and on our skin have the power to affect our health in big ways — from stomach disorders and autoimmune diseases to acne and mood. The secret life of what scientists call our microbiota has remained largely obscured, however, because many of the organisms in the gut can’t be grown in a lab.”

Katharine Harmon Courage, an award winning freelance journalist and editor, wrote a riveting four part blog about her American Gut experience. Read her story here!



“Benjamin Franklin was the original citizen scientist.  He embodied the definition of a scientist as someone who thinks about the nature of the world in order to devise ways to better the lives of others.”

Read American Gut participant John Moore’s take on citizen science and his contribution to microbiome citizen science through American Gut here.

“I am home to four rare types of bacteria, one of which hasn’t even been named! This makes me feel special—and a little concerned. My results will be added to their study data. The project is ongoing and you can participate, too.”

Read American Gut participant Maria Reidelbach’s entertaining and informative piece on what researchers have learned about the microbiome-and her reaction to her own American Gut results-here.