Jeff Leach

jeff [AT] or jeff.leach [AT]

Jeff’s interest in modern diet and the gut microbiome began more than a decade ago when his daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. As with other autoimmune diseases, an underlying genetic susceptibility must exist for type 1 diabetes to manifest but an environmental component (trigger) is necessary. With advances in metagenomics and huge government initiatives like the recently completed Human Microbiome Project, its becoming increasingly clear that the gut microbiome plays a significant if not causal role in the development of type 1 diabetes, other autoimmune diseases, and modern (ecological) diseases in general.

DSC_2189In an effort to raise awareness about the changes in human ecology that have given rise to diseases of the modern world, Jeff launched the Human Food Project to blur the line between the science and the general public. He also co-founded American Gut, the world’s largest open-source/crowd-funded microbiome project in the world (also includes British Gut, Asian Gut and Australian Gut). Jeff is a Visiting Research Fellow within the Department of Twin Research & Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London.

Research interests include how social organization and behavior affect the spread of microbes between social groups, the impact of acculturation and seasonality on the gut microbiome among traditional groups in Africa, public health policy, ethnography, foraging and pastoral societies, and evolution of the human microbiome from our Mio-Pliocene ancestors to modern primates and humans.

Select Published Papers

Aashish R. Jha, Emily R. Davenport, Yoshina Gautam, Dinesh Bhandari, Sarmila Tandukar4, Katharine Ng, Jeff Leach, Susan Holmes, Guru Prasad Gautam, Jeevan Bahadur Sherchand, Carlos D. Bustamante, Justin L. Sonnenburg. Gut microbiome transition across a lifestyle gradient in Himalaya (PLOS Biology, Nov 15, 2018)

Amanda PeBenito, Lama Nazzal, Chan Wang, Huilin Li, Melanie Jay, Oscar Noya-Alarcon, Monica  Contreras, Orlana Lander, Jeff Leach, Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello, Martin J. Blaser. Comparative prevalence of Oxalobacter formigenes in three human populations. Scientific Reports volume 9, Article number: 574 (2019

Gabriela K. Fragiadakis, Samuel A. Smits, Erica D. Sonnenburg, William Van Treuren, Gregor Reid, Rob Knight, Alphaxard Manjurano, John Changalucha, Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello, Jeff Leach, Justin L. Sonnenburg. Links between environment, diet, and the hunter-gatherer microbiome (Gut Microbes, 2018


Samuel A. Smits, Jeff Leach, Erica D. Sonnenburg, Carlos G. Gonzalez, Joshua S. Lichtman, Gregor Reid, Rob Knight, Alphaxard Manjurano, John Changalucha, Joshua Elias, Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello, and Justin L. Sonnenburg. Seasonal cycling in the gut microbiome of the Hadza hunter-gatherers of Tanzania, Science Vol 357, Issue 6353, Aug 2017, pp 802-806.

Leach, J.D. Stepping from Nature’s (Microbial) Wheelhouse.  Cultures – American Society for Microbiology, Fall 2016

Leach, JD. Please Pass the Microbes, Nature, Vol 503, No 7478, pp. 33, 2013.

Leach, JD. The Human Microbiome. Optimum Nutrition, Autumn Issue, 34-35, 2013.

Leach, JD. Ghosts of our African Gut. Paleo Magazine, Dec/Jan 2012, 40-42.

Leach, JD. Letter to the Editor: Low carbohydrate-high protein diet and incidence of cardiovascular diseases in Swedish women: prospective cohort study, British Medical Journal 2012;344:e4026

Leach JD & K Sobolik. High dietary intake of prebiotic inulin-type fructans from prehistoric Chihuahuan Desert. British Journal of Nutrition. Vol 103 (11):1558-1561

Leach, JD. Dirtying up our diets. Op-ed, New York Times, June 21, 2012.

Leach, JD. Dishing up the dirt that’s good to consume, Op-ed, The Sydney Morning Herald, June 27, 2012.

Leach JD (in review) Probiotics versus prebiotics? an evolutionary perspective. Network Health Dietitians Magazine (UK)

Leach JD, 2009. Revised energy conversion factor for undigested carbohydrates and implications for resource ranking in optimal foraging theory. North American Archaeologist. Vol 30, No. 4. 393-413.

Leach JD Aug 22, 2008. Wiping out bacteria on lettuce has downside, LetterUSA Today.

Leach JD July 28, 2008. Gut Check, Op-edSan Francisco Chronicle.

Leach JD. 2008. Prebiotics nothing new, says evolutionary hitchhiker. Functional Ingredients Magazine, June 2008.

Leach JD. 2008. Are daily dietary fibre recommendations too low? an evolutionary perspective. Network Health Dietitians Magazine May, 2008.

Leach JD. 2007 Paleo Longevity Redux. Letter to the Editor, Public Health Nutrition. 2/8/2007

Leach JD. 2007. Prebiotics in Ancient Diets. Food Science and Technology Bulletin (2007),
4 (1):1-8.

Leach JD. 2007. Evolutionary perspective on dietary intake of fibre and colorectal cancer. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2007) 61, 140–142

Leach JD Jan 22, 2007. Fighting E. coli the old-fashioned way, Op-edSan Francisco Chronicle

Leach JD. 2006 Reconsidering Ancient Caloric Yields from Cultivated Agave in Southern Arizona. Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science. 39(1): 18-21.

Leach JD, Gibson GR, Van Loo J. 2006. Human Evolution, Nutritional Ecology and Prebiotics in Ancient Diet. Bioscience & Microflora Vol. 25, No. 1. pp 1-8

Leach, J.D., Rastall, R.A. and Gibson, G.R. 2006. Prebiotics: Past, Present and Future, In Gibson, G.R. and Rastall, R.A. (eds) Prebiotics: Development and Application. John Wiley & Sons Ltd., pgs 237-248.

Leach, J.D., Bousman, C.B. and D. Nickels. 2005. Comments on Assigning a Primary Context to Artifacts Recovered from Burned Rock Middens. Journal of Field Archaeology 30(2): 201-203.

Leach, JD. 2005. Sharp increase in cook-stone use in the Chihuahuan Desert during periods of agricultural intensification. Antiquity 79(304):

Leach, J.D., Bradfute, T. 2004. Cultural Response to Demographic and Environmental Stress During the Classic Mimbres Period (AD 1000-1130/40), Southern New Mexico: the Cook-Stone Evidence. Antiquity 78(300):

Leach, J.D. 2003. Learning from Once-Hot Rocks. University of Leicester Bulletin 25:9.

Johnson, D. R. Mandel, M. Petraglia, and Leach, J.D., 2002, Site Formation Processes in a Regional Perspective, Geoarchaeology: An International Journal Vol 17, No 1:3-6.

Leach, J.D. , Mauldin, R.P., Kuehn, D. and Morgan, G.,  1999, Late Wisconsin-age Proboscideans from Southern New Mexico.  Texas Journal of Science, 1999, 51(2):195-198.

Leach, J.D. , Hunziker, J., Mauldin, R.P. and Harris, A., 1999, A Bison sp. From Lincoln County, Southern New Mexico. Texas Journal of Science, Vol 51.

Leach, J.D. , 1998,  A Brief Comment on the Immunological Identification of Plant Residues on Prehistoric Tools and Ceramics: Results of a Blind Test. Journal of Archaeological Science 25, 171-175.

Mauldin, R.P., Leach, J.D. , Monger, H.C., Harris, A. and Johnson, D., 1998, A preliminary report on the Dry Gulch mammoth site, Lincoln County, New Mexico. Current Research in the Pleistocene 15:114-116.

Leach, J.D. , Mauldin, R.P. and Monger, H.C., 1998, The Impact of Eolian Processes on Archeological Site Size and Characteristics in West Texas and Southern New Mexico. Bulletin of the Texas Archaeological Society 69.

Leach, J.D. , 1998, Site Formation Processes and the Origin of Artifacts in Plow-zone Provenances: A Case Study from the Rio Grande Valley, Texas. North American Archaeologist Vol 19, no. 4:343-361.

Leach, J.D. , Nickels, D., Moses, B.K. and Jones, R., 1998, A Brief Comment on Estimating Rates of Burned Rock Discard: Results from an Experimental Earth Oven. La Tierra 27(1).

Leach, J.D. , Peterson, J, 1997, Evidence for Mimbres-Mogollon Mortuary Practices in the Desert Lowlands of Far West Texas. Texas Journal of Science, Vol. 49(2):163-166.

Pingitore, N.E., Villalobos, Leach, J.D., Peterson, J.A. and Hill, D., 1997, Provenance Determination from ICP-MS Elemental and Isotopic Compositions of El Paso Area Ceramics. In Materials Issues in Art and Archaeology V, pp. 59-70, edited by P.B. Vandiver, J.R. Druzik, J.F. Merkel and J. Stewart. Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings Volume 42, Pittsburgh, PA.

Pingitore, N.E. Jr, Hill, D., Villalobos, J., Peterson, J.A. and Leach, J.D., 1997, ICP-MS Isotopic Signatures of Lead Ceramic Glazes, Rio Grande Valley, New Mexico, 1315-1700. In Materials Issues in Art and Archaeology V, Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings Volume 42, pp. 217-227, edited by P.B. Vandiver, J.R. Druzik, J.F. Merkel and J. Stewart. Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings Volume 42, Pittsburgh, PA

Mauldin, R.P and Leach, J.D., 1997, The Padre Canyon Folsom Locale, Hueco Bolson, Texas. Current Research in the Pleistocene, Vol. 14:55-57.

Nickels, D.L., Tomka, S.A.,  Leach, J.D. and Moses, B.K., 1997, The Moos Site: A Late Paleoindian Component Site Along Leon Creek, South-Central Texas. Current Research in the Pleistocene Vol. 14:68-69.

Leach, J.D., 1997, Looking for Sites in All the Wrong Places: Secondary Formation Processes and the Origin of Artifacts in Plow-Zone Proveniences. In Proceedings of the Ninth Jornada-Mogollon Conference, El Paso, Texas, pp. 151-165, edited by R.P. Mauldin, J.D. Leach and S. Ruth. Centro de Investigaciones, Publications in Archaeology No. 12 and The University of Texas at El Paso.

Mauldin, R.P. Leach, J.D. and Ruth, S. (eds.), 1997, Proceedings of the Ninth Jornada-Mogollon Conference, El Paso, Texas. Centro de Investigaciones, Publications in Archaeology No. 12 and The University of Texas at El Paso.

Leach, J.D., 1997, Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy Analysis of Green-Glazed Ceramics and Unknown Green Substances. In Proceedings of the Ninth Jornada-Mogollon Conference, El Paso, Texas, pp. 4, edited by R.P. Mauldin, J.D. Leach and S. Ruth. Centro de Investigaciones, Publications in Archaeology No. 12 and The University of Texas at El Paso.

Leach, J.D., Alamrez, F. and Buck, B., 1996, A Prehistoric Reservoir in Far West Texas. Bulletin of the Texas Archaeological Society 67:133-144.

Leach, J.D., Holloway, R.G. and Almarez, F., 1996, Prehistoric Evidence for the Use of Chenopodium (Goosefoot) from the Hueco Bolson, Texas. Texas Journal of Science, Vol. 48(2):163-165.

Leach, J.D. and Mauldin, R.P., 1996, Immunological Residue Analysis: The Results of Recent Archaeological and Experimental Studies. Texas Journal of Science, Vol. 48(1):25-34.

Mauldin, R.P., Leach, J.D. and Amick, D., 1995, On the Identification of Blood Residues on Paleoindian Artifacts. Current Research in the Pleistocene, Vol 12:85-87.

Leach, J.D. and Mauldin, R.P., 1995, Additional Comments on Residue Analysis in Archaeology. Antiquity 69(266):1020-1022.

Leach, J.D. and Peterson, J.A., 1995, Test Excavations at Tigua Ysleta del Sur Pueblo. Cultural Resource Management: News and Views, Vol 8(1):21.

Leach, J.D., 1994, Archaeological Investigations in the Eastern Hueco Bolson: Findings from the Hueco Mountain Archaeological Project. In Mogollon VII: The Collected Papers of the 1992 Mogollon Mogollon Conference Held in Las Cruces, New Mexico, pp. 115-128, edited by P. Beckett. COAS Publishing and Research.

Leach, J.D., 1994, Immunological Residue Analysis: The Hidden Evidence from the Meyers Pithouse Village. In Archaeological Investigations of the Meyer Range Pithouse Village, Fort Bliss, Texas, pp. 275-285, edited by J.A. Peterson. Fort Bliss Publications. (with M. Newman).

Leach, J.D., 1993, The Monger Site: Test Excavations at FB13327, Fillmore Pass, Fort Bliss, Texas. The Artifact Vol 31(2):47-55.

Leach, J.D. and Burgett, G., 1993, The Hueco Mountain Archaeological Project. In Texas Archaeology: Newsletter of the Texas Archaeological Society, Vol 37(2).

Leach, J.D., Almarez, F., Buck, B. and Burgett, G., 1993, Preliminary Investigations at a Prehistoric Reservoir. The Artifact, 31(2):33-45.
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6 Comments Add yours

  1. elan star says:

    aloha jeff

    1. elan star says:

      When will your new book be out in audio format??? I have a LARGE e mail list of those interested in its audio format.

      1. Jeff Leach says:

        shoot me an email jeff AT humanfoodproject DOT com 🙂

  2. Evelyn Tully Costa says:

    Did you ever get your microbes sequenced after the FMT with your Hadza buddy? Please forgive me if I missed it somewhere else. Were you able to ascertain if a) you were able to colonize any of his microbes and b)you able to wipe them out with wonderful western diet?

  3. Darren Smithson says:

    I think you’re doing phenomenal work. Ive just had my American gut project results back and have 68% akkermansia in my gut, have you come across this before? If not do you know a good contact who might have info? Ive had MS for 18 years or longer and Im trying to find answers with diet and the environment. Sorry to bother you but many thanks for reading.


  4. Valeria Isabel says:

    Estimate Professor

    I have been looking and researching papers related to prebiotics in S. Korea. Also there is a program call Microbial human [미생물 인간] of the TV channel EBS, where I had the opportunity to know about you. I would be very grateful if you could take a little of your time and answer few questions.

    > Present Status of Korean Probiotic Market:
    – The nutrients of the Pre/Probiotics of the FOS are not made from hydrolyzation of inulin, but from fructo-oligosaccharides extracted of sugar oligosaccharides.
    – The Korea Food and Drug Administration accepts inulin as chicory root extract only.
    – Inulin from agave it’s more pure and rich in content.

    > Inquiries:
    1. Does Fructooligosaccharides extracted from inulin and Fructooligosaccharides extracted from sugar has the same efficacy?

    2. In case the efficacy is different, What is the difference between fructooligosaccharides extracted from sugar and fructooligosaccharides extracted from agave inulin?

    3. Is Agave a prebiotic?

    The purpose of my inquiry is to let know the exact information of prebiotics in Korea and the important point of view of experts in the field.

    Thank you very much.

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