A biodiversity hypothesis.
Biodiversity hypothesis states that contact with natural environments enriches the human microbiome, promotes immune balance and protects from allergy and inflammatory disorders. We are protected by two nested layers of biodiversity, microbiota of the outer layer (soil, natural waters, plants, animals) and inner layer (gut, skin, airways). The latter inhabits our body and is colonized from the outer layer. Explosion of human populations along with cultural evolution is profoundly changing our environment and lifestyle. Adaptive immunoregulatory circuits and dynamic homeostasis are at stake in the newly emerged urban surroundings. In allergy, and chronic inflammatory disorders in general, exploring the determinants of immunotolerance is the key for prevention and more effective treatment. Loss of immunoprotective factors, derived from nature, is a new kind of health risk poorly acknowledged until recently. The paradigm change has been implemented in the Finnish allergy programme (2008-2018), which emphasized tolerance instead of avoidance. The first results are promising, as allergy burden has started to reduce. The rapidly urbanizing world is facing serious biodiversity loss with global warming, which are interconnected. Biodiversity hypothesis of health and disease has societal impact, for example, on city planning, food and energy production and nature conservation. It has also a message for individuals for health and well-being: take nature close, to touch, eat, breathe, experience and enjoy. Biodiverse natural environments are dependent on planetary health, which should be a priority also among health professionals.