GUT BUGS ARE CRITICAL FOR OVERALL HEALTH & AUTOIMMUNITY PREVENTION
TH-1 DOMINANT DISEASES
THYROID PROBLEMS (Graves / Hashimoto's), 90% of thyroid issues are autoimmune.
Type I Diabetes
Chronic viral infections (PANDA, CMV/EBV, or HERPES are good examples)
ROSACEA or Vitiligo
TH-2 DOMINANT DISEASES
ALLERGIES & ASTHMA, including ECZEMA, histamine intolerance, hives, hay fever, nasal drip, massive mucus production, IgE / eosiniphil response, etc
COPD not caused by smoking
IBD / IBS (Ulcerative Colitis, not Crohn's)
MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity)
CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME (or HERE)
THE TH-17 SYSTEM
A decade ago, a group of rheumatologists published a study (TH17 Cells in Human Disease) in the journal Immunology Review (their bibliography contained 300 books and studies) which concluded... "Our understanding of the role of T cells in human disease is undergoing revision as a result of the discovery of T-helper 17 (Th17) cells, characterized by production of interleukin-17 (IL-17). IL-17 is a highly inflammatory cytokine. Inflammation and pathogenesis induced by Th17 cells is a result of the pro-inflammatory cytokines these cells produce." Some of the specific diseases mentioned in this study that are affected by TH-17 include "psoriasis, inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), allergic asthma and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic sclerosis / fibrosis, lupus, reactive arthritis, MS, endometriosis [yes, it's autoimmune], VKH, type I diabetes, autoimmune thyroiditis, asthma, allergic disease, atopic dermatitis, eczema, contact hypersensitivity, atopic rhinitis, IBD, periodontal disease, and cancer." The authors also mentioned almost every type of infection (fungal, bacterial, viral, parasitic, mycobacteria, etc, etc) you care to mention.
A very cool study from a 2015 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation (Pouring Fuel on the Fire: Th17 Cells, the Environment, and Autoimmunity) had more to say on the topic. From the title, we already know that epigenetics is going to play a huge part in this study. "Unfortunately, the incidence of a number of autoimmune diseases, particularly those in which the IL-23/IL-17 axis has been implicated, has risen in the last several decades, suggesting that environmental factors can promote autoimmunity." What are some of the "environmental" factors specifically mentioned by these Harvard researchers? Whether or not your body is in a state of HOMEOSTASIS, Gut health (MICROBIOME), and yes, diet. "Both obesity and dietary fat intake can alter the production of cytokines involved in Th17 differentiation and potentially predispose to the development of autoimmunity." It's why your choice of fats you eat is critical if you want to get healthy and stay healthy! Bottom line concerning TH-17......
"Interactions between diet, the microbiota, and intestinal immune cells can markedly alter both systemic immune function and host metabolism, and this appears to be largely mediated by cytokines, particularly those in the IL-23/IL-17 axis. While the past several decades have seen marked changes in diet, it is also likely that improvements in hygiene, the development of antibiotics, and widespread vaccination have resulted in significant changes in the intestinal microbiota. This raises the possibility that altered regulation of cytokines as a consequence of changes in diet, metabolism, and commensal microbes, particularly in the intestinal microenvironment, may contribute to the increased incidence of autoimmune diseases, especially those involving the IL-23/IL-17 axis."
Re-read that paragraph if you didn't quite grasp it's importance. Researchers from Harvard said (in a round about way of course --- they likely value their careers as much as you or I) that both HYGIENE and VACCINES play a big role in developing autoimmunity. This is why genetics is a dying science --- eipigenetics is where everything is headed (see earlier link). This means that the things you do to your body and put into your body have the power to either turn on or turn off the genes that experts tout as the root of sickness and disease. In other words, you are not nearly as defined by your genetics as you have been led to believe.
THE AUTOIMMUNITY, DIET, GUT HEALTH, VACCINE, CONNECTION
A 2008 issue of Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology (Infections and Autoimmunity: A Panorama) verified exactly what I showed you earlier; that "Chronic and multiple infections with viruses, such as Epstein-Barr virus and cytomegalovirus, and bacteria, such as H. pylori, may, in susceptible individuals, play a role in the evolvement of autoimmune diseases." Interestingly enough, I've also provided you plenty of information on chronic infection from ROOT CANALS as well as the relationship between H. PYLORI INFECTIONS AND WEAK STOMACH ACID (GERD).
Listen to what the Journal of Autoimmunity had to say about this relationship in a late 2016 study called A Clinical Update on the Significance of the Gut Microbiota in Systemic Autoimmunity. After revealing to us that "in recent years," incidence of certain autoimmune diseases has tripled, the authors revealed why. "...The increasing incidence of autoimmune disease is due to considerable shifts in the bacterial communities resident the gut, collectively known as the gut microbiota, following a change in diet and the widespread introduction of antibiotics. Furthermore, a growing body of evidence suggests that the gut microbiota plays a role in the development of a range of autoimmune diseases including inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, type one diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis." If you follow my site you already know all this.
After looking at over 150 studies, researchers from Europe published their review in September's issue of Frontiers in Immunology (Modulation of Multiple Sclerosis and Its Animal Model Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis by Food and Gut Microbiota), stating that, "Although the cause of MS is not known, the infiltration of peripherally activated immune cells into the CNS has a key pathogenic role. Accumulating evidence supports an important role of diet and gut microbiota in immune-mediated diseases." These authors went on to discuss the fact that MS can be caused, or better yet modulated, by factors that can largely be controlled (ANTIBIOTICS, DYSBIOSIS, MICROBIOME, and even FMT).
Two years ago this month, a Spanish study (Antibiotics and the Human Gut Microbiome: Dysbioses and Accumulation of Resistances) carried by Frontiers in Microbiology showed just how big a factor antibiotics are in the destruction of Gut Health and subsequent development of autoimmunity.
"The human microbiome is overly exposed to antibiotics, due, not only to their medical use, but also to their utilization in farm animals and crops. Microbiome composition can be rapidly altered by exposure to antibiotics, with potential immediate effects on health, for instance through the selection of resistant opportunistic pathogens that can cause acute disease. Microbiome alterations induced by antibiotics can also indirectly affect health in the long-term. The mutualistic microbes in the human body interact with many physiological processes, and participate in the regulation of immune and metabolic homeostasis. Therefore, antibiotic exposure can alter many basic physiological equilibria, promoting long-term disease. Atopic, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases have been linked to gut microbiota dysbiosis, and, in some cases, significant associations have been established between these diseases and the intake of antibiotics during early life. Clearly, the effects of antibiotic-induced dysbiosis will be even more relevant if they occur early in life, a critical period for maturation of the immune system and establishment of immunological tolerance."
July's issue of Microbiome (Control of Lupus Nephritis by Changes of Gut Microbiota) published a study by a team of 20 authors showing that the same thing is likely true of LUPUS. "Systemic lupus erythematosus, characterized by persistent inflammation, is a complex autoimmune disorder with no known cure." But after treating people with Lupus with certain "good" bacteria, the authors concluded that said treatment, "Inside the kidney skewed the Treg-Th17 balance towards a Treg phenotype." If you recall what both of these systems do (Treg -vs- TH-17), it's easy to see why this is huge.
And just last summer, the journal Nature published a collaboration between one of the Ivy League schools (Columbia) and a lab in California (La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology --- an institution whose chief goal is new and improved vaccines) called T Cells from Patients with Parkinson’s Disease Recognize α-Synuclein Peptides that concluded that yes, PARKINSON'S is in fact an autoimmune disease.
I've shown you how big a factor antibiotics are in starting the body down a path to autoimmunity, but now let me talk about diet. I've said forever that in the average chronically sick or chronically inflamed American, antibiotics typically cause the dysbiosis (the ratios of commensal bacteria or other micro-organisms are out of whack), but the situation is propagated by our collective HIGH CARB LIFESTYLES. This thought process is not coming from thin air (although many would claim that's what resides between my ears)
Six years ago, authors from the University of British Columbia published a study in the journal Nutrients called Diet-Induced Dysbiosis of the Intestinal Microbiota and the Effects on Immunity and Disease. Although the gist is readily seen from the title, here are their conclusions.
"The GI tract functions as a major immunological organ as it must maintain tolerance to commensal and dietary antigens while remaining responsive to pathogenic stimuli. If this balance is disrupted, inappropriate inflammatory processes can result, leading to host cell damage and/or autoimmunity. Evidence suggests that the composition of the intestinal microbiota can influence susceptibility to chronic disease of the intestinal tract including ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome, as well as more systemic diseases such as obesity, type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Interestingly, a considerable shift in diet has coincided with increased incidence of many of these inflammatory diseases. It was originally believed that the composition of the intestinal microbiota was relatively stable from early childhood; however, recent evidence suggests that diet can cause dysbiosis, an alteration in the composition of the microbiota, which could lead to aberrant immune responses."
This is why the very earliest microbial exposures --- VAGINAL BIRTHS and BREAST-FEEDING YOUR BABIES --- is so darn important! And beyond diet, when you notice that they mention how susceptible the immune systems are in babies and young children, we need to realize that this issue of aberrant immune responses and abnormal tolerance goes beyond diet to the increasingly ridiculous VACCINE SCHEDULE being promoted in Westernized nations. It should concern you that the number of studies on ALUMINUM and it's potential to foul both the microbiome and the brain are increasing exponentially. In fact, I would say that this issue is at critical mass and virtually impossible to hide any longer (although BIG PHARMA continues to try).
Another study from two years later (a collaboration between Yale, MIT, and several European institutions) was published in Current Asthma and Allergy Reports --- Role of “Western Diet” in Inflammatory Autoimmune Diseases. The authors started out by saying, "Developed societies, although having successfully reduced the burden of infectious disease, constitute an environment where metabolic, cardiovascular, and autoimmune diseases thrive." This, folks, is exactly what I have been harping on by continuing to beat my "HYGIENE HYPOTHESIS" drum. Thanks to any number of factors (vaccines included), we see that we have traded acute infectious diseases (FLU is a great example) and most particularly the childhood diseases that everyone used to get, for CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY AND NEUROLOGICALLY DEGENERATIVE DISEASES (not to mention autoimmunity).
"Living in westernized countries has not fundamentally changed the genetic basis on which these diseases emerge, but has strong impact on lifestyle and pathogen exposure. In particular, nutritional patterns collectively termed the 'Western diet,' as well as frequent consumption of processed and ‘fast foods’, promote obesity, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease. These factors have also gained high interest as possible promoters of autoimmune diseases. This review discusses the current knowledge relative to the association of “Western diet” with autoimmunity, and highlights the role of T cells as central players linking dietary influences to autoimmune pathology"
I would suggest you read these last two studies as they are free online. But reading alone isn't going to solve your problem. What do you plan on doing to get better? The first thing to do is understand that pharmaceutical drugs are not going to solve this problem. But then again, neither are supplements. In the same way that many churchgoing folk would rather give money than time (it's way easier), many chronically ill people --- maybe the majority of chronically ill people --- are looking for a magic bullet in the form of a supplement. In other words, they want to continue with the same detrimental lifestyle that helped get them to this point in the first place, but somehow counteract / antidote it by taking supplements (many of which are touted as "immune system boosters"). In case you haven't heard, MONOTHERAPIES in the absence of lifestyle changes are meaningless for anything other than short term responses.
There are certain foods, however, that settle the immune system. First and foremost among these are good fats --- things like COCONUT OIL, OMEGA THREES, EVOO, avocados, and even SATURATED FATS that come from grass-fed livestock (this would include BUTTER and EGGS as well as meat and poultry). Vitamin D is critical as well (along with two of the other fat soluble vitamins, A & E). And don't forget about GLUTATHIONE. In many cases, fermented foods can also be beneficial. As for probiotics, just remember that while potentially extremely beneficial, they can also cause real problems (HERE, HERE, and HERE).
And while I am not going to list them for you (the internet abounds with lists), it's critical that you grasp the fact that certain herbs tend to stimulate TH-1, while certain herbs stimulate TH-2. What does this mean? Allow me to give you an example of how this could actually work against you. A person who is TH-2 dominant (see the earlier list of TH-2 diseases) gets all excited about anti-inflammatory herbs such as THE YELLOWS, resveratol, dark chocolate, green tea, pycnogenol, quercetin, and who knows what else. Little do they realize that these are all TH-2 stimulants. In other words, if you are chronically ill, study up on this issue and use it to your advantage instead of your detriment.
I get it; the whole thing can get very complex. Bottom line, as your Gut goes, so goes your immune system. It's why natural healers were talking about healing the Gut long before it was popular or supported by mountains of peer-review. How do you solve the two sides of the coin that make up most common Gut problems (DYSBIOSIS and LEAKY GUT)? For starters, take a look at THIS POST.
IS IT PURELY COSMETIC OR A
PORTENT OF CHRONIC HEALTH ISSUES?
Depending on the individual, Rosacea can be triggered by everything from sunlight, to heat, to cold, to certain foods or drinks (alcohol, for instance, is frequently associated with the big red roasceatic nose otherwise known as rhinophyma), to the mites that cause mange, to ENDOCRINE ISSUES, to ROS (free radicals), etc, etc, etc. However, there are numerous studies associating VARIOUS KINDS OF DYSBIOSIS with Rosacea, one of the most common being something known as SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), which is itself intimately related to IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome -- recently discovered to be an autoimmune disease).
For instance, back in 2010, the June issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Increased Incidence of Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth During Proton Pump Inhibitor Therapy) showed that among the several hundred patients studied, "SIBO was detected in 50% of patients using PPIs, 24.5% of patients with IBS, and 6% of healthy control subjects." I've previously shown you not only how bad PPI'S are for both overall and GUT HEALTH, but I've shown you that because they weaken one of the body's first defenses against microbial invaders (strong stomach acid --- see next link), they are heavily associated with H. PYLORI as well. In fact, listen to the conclusions of a study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology (Extra-Intestinal Manifestations of Helicobacter Pylori: A Concise Review).
"Those of Northern European and Celtic origins appear to be at highest risk of rosacea. It is estimated that the prevalence of rosacea is 1%-10% in fair-skinned populations. Generally, adults over the age of 30 are affected and occurs more often in females. It is thought that inflammation plays a crucial role in its pathogenesis. Inflammatory mediators from an altered innate immune response leading to generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as nitric oxide appear to be part of the mechanisms of disease. Current evidence most supports extraintestinal manifestations with H. pylori in immune thrombo-cytopenic purpura, iron deficiency anemia, urticaria, Parkinson’s, migraines, and rosacea."
Although there are a number of bacteria that pop up as potential culprits, research keeps pointing to H. Pylori as the chief pathogen in developing Rosacea. A three month old study from Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology (Rosacea and Helicobacter Pylori: Links and Risks) essentially confirmed this by concluding, "Microorganisms have been addressed in a variety of studies as pathogenic factors. Mite-related bacteria, staphylococcus epidermidis, chlamydia pneumonia, bacterial toxins, and antimicrobial peptide." Which brings me to another issue we need to address; what are antimicrobial peptides.
Antimicrobial peptides are simply proteins that have antibiotic properties (MOST PHARMACEUTICAL DRUGS DO AS WELL). While this can be a good thing in the case of peptides, if these proteins get out of balance in your body, they cause dysbiosis. A great example is found in a study from a decade old issue of Nature Medicine (Increased Serine Protease Activity and Cathelicidin Promotes Skin Inflammation in Rosacea). In this study it was noted that, "Acne rosacea is an inflammatory skin disease that affects 3% of the US population over 30 years of age and is characterized by... the release of cathelicidin antimicrobial peptides. Here we show that individuals with rosacea express abnormally high levels of cathelicidin in their facial skin and that the proteolytically processed forms of cathelicidin peptides found in rosacea are different from those present in normal individuals."
What studies have repeatedly shown is that individuals with rosacea, SIBO, IBS, and other gut-related problems have something in common as far as treatment is concerned ---- antibiotic therapy frequently resolves their problem. In fact, I addressed this in my last post on FMT (Fecal Microbiota Transplants). The problem is that while antibiotics might be viable for the short term (as long as you are serious about following up with a Gut Health Restorative Protocol --- HERE); over the long haul, if there are no lifestyle changes made, the ANTIBIOTICS WILL MAKE PEOPLE WORSE! 100% of the time. Why? Because when you take antibiotics, you destroy the bacteria that live in your Gut (there's no way around it). This means that you are destroying as much as 80% of your immune system (HERE). Speaking of immune systems, let's briefly look at a study that got a lot of play in the press last year as far as connecting the dots concerning the Rosacea / immune system relationship.
A group of Danish researchers looked at the link between Rosacea and a number of CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY DEGENERATIVE and AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES in over 40,000 patients, almost 2/3 of which were women. What did they find? According to results published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (Clustering of Autoimmune Diseases in Patients with Rosacea), "Rosacea is a common inflammatory skin condition that shares genetic risk loci with autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes and celiac disease. Rosacea is associated with type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis, in women." Having Rosacea doubled the chances of these autoimmune diseases (CELIAC, RA, MS, and T1D).
Besides dealing with underlying INFLAMMATION by addressing Gut Health issues (see earlier links), one interesting Rosacea treatment that I saw come up in the research literature a number of times was LOW LEVEL LASER THERAPY. For instance, September's issue of the International Journal of Women's Dermatology (Laser Treatment of Medical Skin Disease in Women) revealed that, "There are four types of rosacea: erythematotelangiectatic, papulopustular, phymatous, and ocular. Patients may have one or any combination of these types. In the arsenal of treatment for dermatologists, lasers offer a safe and efficacious way to treat some forms of rosacea." There were any number of similar studies specifically touting laser treatment of Rosacea.
Bottom line; you need to deal with Rosacea like you would deal with any number of other health-related issues --- including autoimmune and inflammatory issues. Firstly, remove the triggers that drive the inflammation. Although there are potentially a slew of them; knowing about the intimate relationship between GRAINS and autoimmunity immediately brings gluten to mind (HERE). Secondly, address the lesions themselves with a laser (this is an arena where whoever treats you will have to be very careful around the eyes). While Laser Therapy will not likely solve the long-term underlying causes of the Rosacea, it will likely allow for rapid improvement in its appearance --- a huge morale booster since this disease affects the face. Thirdly, get with the program as far as Gut Health is concerned (and take a closer look at the relationship between GUT HEALTH AND SKIN). Also, it's important to be aware that dysbiosis is almost always associated with some form of "THE LEAKIES".
CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY ILLNESSES OR AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES? WHY FMT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT, AWESOME, AND RADICAL TREATMENT OPTION YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF!Read Now
ME AND MY MICROBIOME
WHY FECAL MICROBIOTA TRANSPLANT IS THE HOTTEST TREATMENT OPTION AVAILABLE FOR CHRONIC ILLNESS
"Though new to the Western medical world, FMT has been described 1,700 years ago by an ancient Chinese researcher of the fourth century named Ge Hong, who first used what he called ‘yellow soup’ to treat his patients with severe diarrhea." From Dr. Liji Thomas' (MD) article on News-Medical dot net, History of Fecal Transplant
"Gut microbiota is known to play a main role in regulating both health and disease in humans. Strategies for the therapeutic modulation of gut microbiota are therefore expected to give a relevant contribution in the management of disorders associated with its impairment. Among these options, one of the most renowned is fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT). Moreover, it was shown to be a promising therapy for the management of several noncommunicable disorders, including inflammatory bowel diseases and metabolic disorders." From next month's issue of the Italian journal, Minerva Gastroenterologica Dietologica (Fecal Microbiota Transplantation: Past, Present and Future Perspectives)
"The microbiota-gut-brain axis (MGBA) regulates the reciprocal interaction between chronic inflammatory bowel and psychiatric disorders. This interaction involves... antibiotic-induced dysbiosis. Perturbation of microbiota was accompanied by a general inflammatory state and alteration of some endocannabinoidome member in the gut [the endocannibinoidome is the system of neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors found in both the central nervous system (including the brain) and peripheral nervous system, and known to regulate cognitive processes, fertility, pregnancy, pre and postnatal development, appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory, as well as mediating the pharmacological effects of cannabis]. Behavioral changes, including morphological rearrangements of non-neuronal cells in brain areas controlling emotional behavior were detected." From September's issue of Brain, Behavior and Immunity (Antibiotic-Induced Microbiota Perturbation Causes Gut Endocannabinoidome Changes, Hippocampal Neuroglial Reorganization and Depression in Mice)
"The use of prebiotics as an aid for the development of a healthy gut microbiome is equally as important in maintaining gut homeostasis. Breastmilk, a natural prebiotic source, provides optimal active ingredients for the growth of beneficial microbial species. However, early life disorders such as necrotising enterocolitis, childhood obesity, and even autism have been associated with an altered/disturbed gut microbiome. Subsequently, microbial therapies have been introduced, in addition to suitable prebiotic ingredients, which when administered, may aid in the prevention of a microbial disturbance in the gastrointestinal tract." From an Irish study published in last month's issue of Frontiers in Nutrition (Microbial Therapeutics Designed for Infant Health)
Although there are any number of studies showing the benefits of PROBIOTICS for the same problems we will be discussing today, there are many others showing them to be not only ineffective, but actually causing side effects (HERE). For chronically ill individuals, PROBIOTICS CAN'T COMPETE WITH FMT. Why not? Feces contains the bacteria that make up most of your MICROBIOME --- anywhere from a few hundred, to in some cases, a few thousand strains. The very best probiotics have maybe 20 strains (most have no more than a handful). What this means is that just like vitamins (HERE), probiotics are actually capable of causing DYSBIOSIS (abberations in the numbers of bacterial strains or ratios of strains to each other). And if you have dysbiosis, you can almost assure yourself that you are going to have "THE LEAKIES" as well --- leaky brain, leaky cord, leaky lung, leaky gut, etc, etc, etc. In other words, this is a big reason that FMT is literally light years ahead of probiotics or thinking you can cure hardcore diseases simply by consuming fermented foods (HERE).
Today I am giving you yet another post on why it may behoove at least some of you to start looking into FMT. FMT has been the medical standard of care for people who come down with C. DIFF infections (these are almost always picked up in a hospital setting by those who have had lots of ANTIBIOTICS --- the number one cause of all the various forms of dysbiosis, as well as the treatment-of-choice for said infections). But let's forget about C. Diff for a moment. Peer-review is so loaded with studies on FMT for things other than chronic C. Diff, I am going to go out on a limb and say that for at least half a decade, it's the single most amazing treatment option out there. Unfortunately, most of you have either never heard of it, or you've brushed it aside because it sounds "gross" (kind of like THIS, but not so funny). Using the most current research available, allow me to show you why when it comes to FMT, you need to get up to speed.
For those of you who have not been on my site before, just days ago the journal Cell Host and Microbe (The Human Microbiome and Obesity: Moving beyond Associations), stated that "Mounting evidence indicates that the gut microbiome responds to diet, antibiotics, and other external stimuli with speed and high precision and in ways that impact a variety of metabolic conditions." The authors concluded with an info-gram showing that altered microbiomes are intimately related to (I am loosely quoting here and adding my own links) antibiotics, GENETICS / EPIGENETICS, EXERCISE, DIET, energy intake [what and how much you eat], ADIPOSE TISSUE, exposure to human touch (or a lack thereof), in-utero environment, social status, HPA-AXIS, AGE, STRESS, BRAIN, IMMUNE SYSTEM, HYGIENE, not to mention both MALE and FEMALE HORMONES. Oh, inflammation was on the list as well. Of all these, the buck stops with inflammation. Figure out how to solve inflammation and at the very least, you have the potential to get better without living life stoned on THE BIG FIVE or something worse.
I've already mentioned the relationship between one's microbiome and one's level of inflammation --- a big deal because inflammation not only always leads to fibrosis, fibrosis in its many forms just happens to be the leading cause of death in the US (HERE). What can you do about this inflammation? My grandfather, who was one of the smartest businessmen I ever knew, not only ran a large Kansas farm, but exposed me to some "interesting" home remedies, many of which, looking back on, were geared directly at resolving inflammation (not sure where the sixty year old ceramic jar of home-rendered skunk lard came from, but I can vouch for it's efficacy in drawing out boils). When he used to talk about the way his family treated a puncture-wounded foot when he was a kid (think stepping on a nail here), the "cure" was to go walk around in the cattle pen barefooted in order to prevent infection. In light of the crazy-sounding nature of said treatment, microbiome is the only thing that makes sense. Let's look at one of the more "interesting" ways that people are purposefully transferring / receiving microbes.
BRAND NEW RESEARCH ON GUT HEALTH AND FECAL MICROBIOTA TRANSFER
GUT MICROBIOME MADE SIMPLE
DIY FMT MADE RIDICULOUSLY SIMPLE
- MICROBIOTA, IMMUNE SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT IN INFANTS, AND THE EFFECTS OF VACCINES ON SAID MICROBIOTA: Listen folks; when you look at the number of children (let alone adults) who suffer with chronic illnesses, you should start to notice a pattern. Unfortunately, we are screwing up our children's internal ecosystems from the very moment they are born (HERE is one of the chief ways), which in turn can screw up almost anything you can imagine. This month's issue of MMBR published a study called The First Microbial Colonizers of the Human Gut: Composition, Activities, and Health Implications of the Infant Gut Microbiota, in which they discussed the importance of early-infant colonization by good bacteria since babies are born without a microbiome (their first exposure is via mom's VAGINAL FLORA). "Microbes colonize the neonatal gut immediately following birth. The establishment and interactive development of this early gut microbiota are believed to be (at least partially) driven and modulated by specific compounds present in human milk. Various studies have linked certain features of the microbiota/microbiome, such as reduced diversity or aberrant composition, to intestinal illnesses in infants or disease states that are manifested at later stages of life, including asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, and metabolic disorders. Thus, a growing number of studies have reported on how the early human gut microbiota composition/development may affect risk factors related to adult health conditions." When baby's Gut is not colonized properly, bad things result not just in their present, but in their future. Two months ago a study by ten Georgia State University researchers was published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity (The Microbiota Influences Cell Death and Microglial Colonization in the Perinatal Mouse Brain) which revealed that the mammalian fetus develops in a largely sterile environment, and direct exposure to a complex microbiota does not occur until birth. Our results suggest that direct exposure to the microbiota at birth influences key neurodevelopmental events and does so within hours. These findings may help to explain some of the behavioral and neurochemical alterations previously seen in adult mice. This early-onset dysbiosis-induced MICROGLIAL ACTIVATION actually killed cells in specific parts of the brain. The icing on the cake is that just last month, a group of Italian researchers, writing in Frontiers in Medicine, stated that, "Bacteria located in both colostrum and mature milk can stimulate the anti-inflammatory response by stimulating the production of specific cytokines, reducing the risk of developing a broad range of inflammatory diseases and preventing the expression of immune-mediated pathologies, such as asthma and atopic dermatitis." So, you're not BREASTFEEDING for at least the first year of you child's life? Better rethink that decision.
- FMT AND YOUR METABLOME: Related to the microbiome, the METABOLOME is the sum total of the chemicals your body manufactures to keep you in HOMEOSTASIS -- many of which are made by bacteria. A study from this month's issue of Mass Spectrometry Reviews (....Targeting the Crosstalk Between Gut Microbiota and Brain in Neurodegenerative Disorders) concluded that, "The emerging development in mass spectrometry technologies has shown promise in the discovery and quantitation of neuroactive small molecule metabolites associated with gut microbiota and brain. Significant progress has been made recently in the characterization of intermediate role of small molecule metabolites linked to neural development and neurodegenerative disorder, showing its potential in understanding the crosstalk between gut microbiota and the host brain. These metabolic pathways allowed the microbiota to impact the regular function of the brain, which can in turn affect the composition of microbiota via the neurotransmitter substances. The dysfunctional interaction of this crosstalk connects neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and Huntington's disease." For those of us who believe that MEDICATIONS are one of the chief ways people screw up their internal ecology, this study is a must-read, and particularly in light of the fact that I have previously written about FMT research on both ALZHEIMER'S and PARKINSON'S.
- FMT AND SKIN CONDITIONS: Although there are hundreds upon hundreds of studies linking everything from PSORIASIS, ACNE, ECZEMA, and many others (all are inflammatory, and many are autoimmune) to abnormal microbiome (dysbiosis), I could not find any 'current' studies on using FMT for these. What I did find, however, were scads of testimonials on various sites from around the world (mostly message boards where commenters were not selling anything) telling how they "cured" (their word, not mine) skin problem X with FMT. Just for you Mike L out on the East Coast; a study from this month's issue of Experimental Dermatology (The Akkermansia-Muciniphila is a Gut Microbiota Signature in Psoriasis) discussed this strain of bacteria as associated with the TH-17 CELLULAR APOPTOSIS SYSTEM and psoriasis.
- FMT AND pH (ACID BLOCKERS / PPI'S): Speaking of drugs that among their numerous side effects are sure to foul your microbiome, PPI's (Proton Pump Inhibitors) are one of the worst offenders. Take a gander at the study in this month's issue of Cancer Letters (Gastric Microbiota: An Emerging Player in Helicobacter Pylori-Induced Gastric Malignancies). I've already shown you why it's not only normal physiology, but critically important to have MEGA-STRONG STOMACH ACID (including the fact it keeps nasty critters like H. Pylori away (see link), but this new study goes even further. "The complex diversity of nonpathogenic microbes that colonize the human body, known as microbiota, exert considerable effects on physiological homeostasis, and immune regulation. Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacterium that frequently colonizes human stomach and is a major pathogenic agent for peptic ulcer diseases, gastric cancer, and mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma. Due to its acidic pH and peristaltic movements, the stomach has been considered a hostile environment for most microorganisms, however various commensal microorganisms are capable of colonizing the stomach. Recent pieces of evidence indicate that commensal gastric microbes or their metabolites influence the capability of H. pylori to colonize the stomach and directly modulate its pathogenicity and carcinogenic potential." And guess what decreases stomach acidity, while increasing whole-body acidity ---- all while being a known cause of cancer itself? That's right folks, sugar and junk carbs (HERE).
- MORE MICROBIOME AND HPA-AXIS: One of the hallmarks of the majority of our population who lives in a state of CONSTANT SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE is an inability to sleep, coupled with a constant fatigue or exhaustion. Going back to Y-2K (The Sympathetic Nerve -- An Integrative Interface Between Two Supersystems: The Brain and the Immune System in the journal Pharmacology Review) we see simply from looking at the study's title that there is an intimate relationship here. Bear in mind, however that the authors were not interested so much in manipulating the microbiome as they were in creating drugs. "Pharmacological manipulation of the sympathetic-immune interface is reviewed with focus on new therapeutic strategies in the treatment of experimental models of autoimmune diseases, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome." A study from the January 2017 issue of Nature Reviews (The Mucosal Immune System: Master Regulator of Bidirectional Gut–Brain Communications) bears out this relationship by revealing, "The messengers of this complex dialogue include neural, metabolic, endocrine and immune mediators responsive to diverse environmental cues, including nutrients and components of the intestinal microbiota (microbiota–gut–brain axis). We are now starting to understand how perturbation of these systems affects transition between health and disease." BTW, this study talks extensively about TREGS.......
- YOUR MICROBIOTA CONTROLS AND TRAINS TREGS (T-REGULATORY CELLS): TREGS are T-Regulatory cells, previously known as T-suppressor cells (they prevent the immune system from running away with itself, which almost always leads to AUTOIMMUNITY). This month's issue of the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism (Gut Microbiota in Health and Disease) concluded that "Intestinal regulatory T (Treg) cells are critical to maintaining immune tolerance to dietary antigens and gut microbiota." After discussing a number of things now known about the relationship between Tregs and one's microbiome, the author goes on to describe several examples, saying that, "This cutting-edge method may lead to the evolution of an altered disease concept." Isn't it interesting that I just wrote an article dealing with this very topic --- microbiota as a common denominator in virtually all disease processes (HERE)
- FMT AND INSULIN RESISTANCE, CARDIOMETABOLIC SYNDROME / PRE-DIABETES: CARDIOMETABOLIC SYNDROME (aka Metabolic Syndrome, Syndrome X, or Pre-Diabetes) affects well over half our nation's adult citizens (HERE), not to mention an exploding number of children and teens. For instance, just two short weeks ago Molecular Metabolism published a study called Host-microbiota Interaction Induces Bi-Phasic Inflammation and Glucose Intolerance in Mice (in other words, the inflammation occurred both early and later). Last month's copy of Cell Metabolism (Improvement of Insulin Sensitivity after Lean Donor Feces in Metabolic Syndrome Is Driven by Baseline Intestinal Microbiota Composition) said that, "The intestinal microbiota has been implicated in insulin resistance.... Lean donor FMT in obese metabolic syndrome patients improves insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity at six weeks after FMT was significantly improved, accompanied by altered microbiota composition. We also observed changes in plasma metabolites [some of the "metabolomic" changes discussed earlier]. The beneficial effects of lean donor FMT on glucose metabolism are associated with changes in intestinal microbiota and plasma metabolites." This is why the body composition of your donor is such a big deal --- something I will discuss at length later on. There was also a study on dysbiosis being associated with coronary artery disease (hardening of the arteries otherwise known as arteriosclerosis). This month's issue of Beneficial Microbes (The Gut Microbiome Composition is Linked to Carotid Atherosclerosis) revealed that the amount of a bacteria named M. Racemosus, "had the same impact in the model as waist-to-hip ratio, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, fasting triglycerides or fasting glucose, suggesting that its relative abundance in the gut may be a relevant biomarker for cardiovascular risk." Did you catch that? A certain bacteria is as good a marker of heart disease as all the stuff you are tested for in the clinic.
- FMT HELPS RESTORE SEROTONIN PRODUCTION: Fun Fact --- MELATONIN (your sleep hormone) is made from serotonin, and a full 90% of your serotonin is manufactured in your Gut (HERE). A study from September's Scientific Reports (Dysbiosis Contributes to Chronic Constipation Development via Regulation of Serotonin Transporter in the Intestine) dealt with the fact that the neurotransmitter serotonin is much more than a chemical that affects only the brain. "Chronic constipation is a globally prevalent functional gastrointestinal disorder with the prevalence 2–20% and is accompanied with intestinal dysbiosis. Mice which received fecal microbiota from patients with constipation presented a reducing in intestinal peristalsis and abnormal defecation parameters including the frequency of pellet expulsion, fecal weight and fecal water content." All this means is that what I showed you in my link on CONSTIPATION is true --- the number one factor is dysbiosis.
- FMT AND OBESITY: The combination of DIABETES and obesity is not only so common that it is frequently called "Diabesity" in the scientific literature, there are hundreds of studies linking gut bacteria to your weight (it's at least part of why ANTIBIOTICS MAKE YOU FAT). In fact, I have covered this many times previously in my NUMEROUS FMT POSTS. A study on the relationship between inflammation, obesity, and cognitive decline (Inflammation and Gut-Brain Axis Link Obesity to Cognitive dysfunction) was published in this month's issue of Current Opinions in Pharmacology. "Obesity prevalence is increasing steadily throughout the world's population in most countries and in parallel the prevalence of metabolic disorders including cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes is also rising, but less is reported about excessive adiposity relationship with poorer cognitive performance, cognitive decline and dementia. Inflammation may eventually spread from peripheral tissue to the brain, and recent reports suggest that neuro-inflammation is an important causal mechanism in cognitive decline. This inflammatory status could be triggered by changes in the gut microbiota composition." Let me give you another; when you think of neuro-inflammation, you had better be thinking of ALUMINUM --- something that is found in almost every vaccine and antiperspirant.
- FMT AND NEUROPSYCHIATRIC PROBLEMS: Earlier this month, the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity (Microbes and Mental Health: A Review) stated that, "There is a growing emphasis on the relationship between the microorganisms inhabiting the gut and human health. The emergence of a microbiota-gut-brain axis to describe the complex networks and relationship between the gastrointestinal microbiota and host reflects the major influence this environment may have in brain health and disorders of the central nervous system (CNS). Bidirectional communication between the microbiota and the CNS occurs through autonomic, neuroendocrine, enteric, and immune system pathways. Perturbations of the gut microbial community have already been implicated in multiple host diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and inflammation, while recent evidence suggests a potential role of the microbiota-gut-brain axis in neuropsychiatric disorders, such as depression and anxiety." Another study, this one from Curent Neuropharmacology concluded the same thing --- "The microbiota-gut-brain axis might provide novel targets for prevention and treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders" --- before discussing FMT. Believe me when I tell you that both DEPRESSION and ANXIETY are big deals in Western civilization. Earlier this month and earlier this summer, the journals Neurotherapeutics (Anxiety, Depression, and the Microbiome: A Role for Gut Peptides) and BioPsychiatry (Harnessing Gut Microbes for Mental Health: Getting From Here to There) dealt with gut peptides, concluding that "The conceptual development of the microbiome-gut-brain axis has facilitated understanding of the complex and bidirectional networks between gastrointestinal microbiota and their host, highlighting potential mechanisms through which this environment influences central nervous system physiology. Communication pathways between gut microbiota and the central nervous system could include autonomic, neuroendocrine, enteric, and immune systems, with pathology resulting in disruption to neurotransmitter balance, increases in chronic inflammation, or exacerbated hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity." I've already shown you that experts are doing FMT for these sorts of problems --- much more in other countries than in PHARMA-RUN America.
- MICROBIOME AND MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS: The relationship between microbiome and MS is nothing new (HERE and HERE). However, some brand new research has helped shed even more light on this issue. About three weeks ago, ten Italian researchers publishing in Frontiers in Neurology (Immunological and Clinical Effect of Diet Modulation of the Gut Microbiome in Multiple Sclerosis Patients) concluded that "Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease of the central nervous system (CNS) characterized by demyelination and mediated by an auto-reactive immune process directed against central neural tissues. Pathogenesis of autoimmune disorders, including multiple sclerosis (MS), has been linked to an alteration of the resident microbial commensal community and of the interplay between the microbiota and the immune system. Dietary components acting on microbiota composition, could, in principle, result in immune modulation and, thus, could be used to obtain beneficial outcomes for patients. Evaluation of clinical parameters showed that in the high-vegetable/low-protein diet group the relapse rate during the 12 months follow-up period and the Expanded Disability Status Scale score at the end of the study period were significantly reduced. Diet modulates dysbiosis and improves clinical parameters in MS patients by increasing anti-inflammatory circuits. Because Lachnospiraceae favor Treg differentiation." Paleo, Paleo, Paleo folks --- Don't be afraid of either the protein or FAT as long as it's the right kind of fat. Another study, this one from this month's Neurotherapeutics (Intestinal Permeability in Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis) dealt with MS and LEAKY GUT saying, "Recently the influence of intestinal permeability on brain function has greatly been appreciated. Previous works showed an increased IP that preceded experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis development and worsened during disease with disruption of tight junctions. We found that an alteration of intestinal permeability is a relatively frequent event in relapsing-remitting MS. The results led us to hypothesize that gut may contribute to the development of MS." This is not a surprise as virtually every single individual with chronic illnesses is going to have problems with barrier dysfunction --- and not just in the gut, but in a wide array of tissues and organs as well (the "leakies" I discussed earlier).
- FMT AND EPILEPSY: Once you realize that MANY CASES OF SEIZURE DISORDERS, INCLUDING EPILEPSY are autoimmune, you'll start to realize why FMT (along with the Ketogenic diet from last link in the previous bullet) might just be the cat's meow. A study that was published just after our big flood (HERE) in the World Journal of Gastroenterology (Fecal Microbiota Transplantation Cured Epilepsy in a Case with Crohn’s Disease) talked about a young lady with a 17-year history of Crohn's Disease (stick around --- we'll address Crohn's in a bit). Note that this is a case study. "A 22-year-old girl, with a 17-year history of epilepsy, was referred to the Second Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University in May 2015 because of unsuccessful CD treatment. The initial presentation was at the age of 6 years, with generalized seizures of loss of consciousness and unexplained chronic diarrhea. The patient had more than 120 seizures every year between the ages of 6 to 13. FMT showed positive response of more than 20 months seizure-free without using antiepileptic drugs." Say this sentence very slowly: They put healthy people's poop inside of her and "cured" her epilepsy! If you've ever known anyone with seizures, stop and let the magnitude of this wash over you for a moment. I don't care who you are, this is cool!
- MICROBIOTA AND HEAD INJURIES: What about people who have neurological issues, but they are the result of HEAD INJURIES instead of a "disease process"? Interestingly enough, head injuries are highly related to the development of autoimmune diseases (HERE). A study from the January 2018 issue of Nutrition (Head Injury Profoundly Affects Gut Microbiota Homeostasis), concluded that "Head injury induces a hypercatabolic state [your body is breaking itself down faster than it is building itself back up], dysimmunity [autoimmunity], and septic complications that increase morbidity and mortality." For the record, bear in mind that many of these infections (sepsis) are autoimmune --- HERE is an example. BTW, it only took four days for the rats used in this study to "profoundly" have their microbiome affected by their head injury.
- FMT AND THE IMMUNO-COMPROMISED: The brutal truth is that while some people have a disease process that leads them to be severely immuno-compromised, the most common reason for people whose immune systems are extremely suppressed is the drugs they are given. This is because IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPPRESSION IS THE SINGLE MOST COMMON MEDICAL THERAPY in the United States! The April issue of Frontiers in Immunology (Immune Responses to Broad-Spectrum Antibiotic Treatment and Fecal Microbiota Transplantation in Mice) concluded that "Compelling evidence demonstrates the pivotal role of the commensal intestinal microbiota in host physiology and the detrimental effects of its perturbations following antibiotic treatment. broad-spectrum antibiotic treatment resulted in profound local (small and large intestinal), peripheral (mesenteric lymph nodes), and systemic (splenic) changes in the immune cell repertoire that could, at least in part, be restored upon FMT." This study is amazing and free to read in its entirety.
- FMT AND THE HYGIENE HYPOTHESIS: One of my favorite topics on GUT HEALTH is the HYGIENE HYPOTHESIS --- the idea that in order to properly train a developing immune system (see earlier stuff on Tregs), it must be exposed to some germs --- not just COLDS OR FLU, but real childhood diseases like people used to get before vaccination's went HOG WILD (sounds crazy but stick with me). Last month's issue of Cell (Wild Mouse Gut Microbiota Promotes Host Fitness and Improves Disease Resistance) published a study by 14 NIH scientists that basically said that wild mice are different than lab-raised mice because of the amount of germs and diseases (not to mention SOIL AND OTHER ANIMALS) they spend their lives around. What's truly amazing is that this "advantage" can be transferred via FMT. "Among 21 distinct mouse populations worldwide, we identified a closely related wild relative to standard laboratory mouse strains. Its bacterial gut microbiome differed significantly from its laboratory mouse counterpart and was transferred to and maintained in laboratory mice over several generations. Laboratory mice reconstituted with natural microbiota exhibited reduced inflammation and increased survival following influenza virus infection and improved resistance against mutagen / inflammation-induced colorectal tumor genesis." Why is this so critical to know? We have a veritable explosion of ALLERGIES in this country, with no end in sight. The European authors of the September issue of Nature Immunology (The Immunology of the Allergy Epidemic and the Hygiene Hypothesis) agreed, coming to some interesting conclusions of their own (and none too popular with most US researchers either --- at least THOSE WHO VALUE THEIR CAREERS). "The immunology of the hygiene hypothesis of allergy is complex and involves the loss of cellular and humoral immunoregulatory pathways as a result of the adoption of a Western lifestyle and the disappearance of chronic infectious diseases. The influence of diet and reduced microbiome diversity now forms the foundation of scientific thinking on how the allergy epidemic occurred. We propose that barrier epithelial cells are heavily influenced by [i.e. they are leaky leaky leaky leaky leaky leaky] environmental factors and by microbiome-derived danger signals and metabolites, and thus act as important rheostats for immunoregulation, particularly during early postnatal development. Preventive strategies based on this new knowledge could exploit the diversity of the microbial world and the way humans react to it, and possibly restore old symbiotic relationships that have been lost in recent times, without causing disease or requiring a return to an unhygienic life style." So, thanks to vaccines, we have traded acute childhood diseases that everyone used to get (and AS HYGIENE IMPROVED, HAD LOW MORTALITY), and traded them for a veritable patchwork of chronic degenerative inflammatory and autoimmune diseases --- diseases that don't kill you outright, but they destroy you nonetheless, body and soul (HERE).
- FMT AND ASTHMA: Allergies and ASTHMA go together like beanies and weenies as verified by a study from the August issue of Allergologia et Immunopathologia (Future Prospect of Fecal Microbiota Transplantation as a Potential Therapy in Asthma), which concluded that, "There is convincing evidence from both human and animal studies suggesting that the gut microbiota plays an important role in regulating immune responses associated with the development of asthma. Certain intestinal microbial strains have been demonstrated to suppress or impair immune responsiveness in asthma experimental models, suggesting that specific species among gut commensal microbiota may play either a morbific [makes you sick] or phylactic [keep you from getting sick] role in the progression of asthma. The faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is a rather straightforward therapy that manipulates the human gastrointestinal (GI) microbiota, by which a healthy donor microbiota is transferred into an existing but disturbed microbial ecosystem. In this review, we provide several insights into the development of FMT therapy for asthma." The fact that between 8 and 10% of our entire population has asthma should not be lost on my readers.
- FMT AND AUTISM: As you already know if you follow my site, I have a ton of info on AUTISM --- particularly as it relates to Gut Health (HERE). New studies continue to back this up, with several studies that I have already dealt with in other capacities this year leading the way (click the links).
- FMT AND BLOOD & BONE DISORDERS: When you read this, just remember that bones make blood, and that OSTEOPOROSIS is caused by inflammation. Now, take a listen to the results of this study from a dozen Polish researchers (Fecal Microbiota Transplantation in Patients With Blood Disorders Inhibits Gut Colonization With Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria) that was published in August's Clinical Infectious Diseases. "Patients with blood disorders colonized with antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB) are prone to systemic infections that are difficult to treat. Reintroduction of commensal bacteria can lead to eradication of enterococci. Twenty-five FMTs were performed in 20 participants (including 40% who had neutropenia) who were colonized by a median of 2 strains of ARB. The primary endpoint [eradication] was reached in 60% of the FMTs and more frequently in cases in which there was no periprocedural use of antibiotics. Among participants 75% experienced complete ARB decolonization. There were no severe adverse events. FMT in patients with blood disorders is safe and promotes eradication of ARB from the gastrointestinal tract." Just one month earlier, the journal Calcified Tissue International (Gut Microbiota, Immune System, and Bone) concluded that, "It is well documented that the gut microbiome (GM) can interact with immune cells, dendritic cells [nerves], and hepatocytes [liver], producing molecules such as short-chain fatty acids, indole derivatives, polyamines, and secondary bile acid. The receptors for some of these molecules are expressed on immune cells, and modulate the differentiation of T-effector and T-regulatory cells [Tregs]: this is the reason why dysbiosis is correlated with several autoimmune, metabolic, and neurodegenerative diseases. Due to the close interplay between immune and bone cells, GM has a central role in maintaining bone health and influences bone turnover and density. GM can improve bone health also increasing calcium absorption and modulating the production of gut serotonin, a molecule that interacts with bone cells and has been suggested to act as a bone mass regulator."
- GUT MICROBIOTA AND MUSCLE WASTING: Exercise is good, but not all exercise is created equally. If you go back and look at earlier links, you'll see why I am such a monster proponent of adding at least a few minutes of strength training to whatever else you happen to enjoy doing (you will lose 10% of your muscle mass per decade after the age of 30 unless you are resistance training). Last month's issue of Calcified Tissue International (Gut Microbiota Contribute to Age-Related Changes in Skeletal Muscle Size, Composition, and Function: Biological Basis for a Gut-Muscle Axis) concluded, after revealing just how important lean body mass really is for a variety of purposes, that "Aging is associated with a decrease in muscle mass and function (sarcopenia) that is associated with a loss of independence and reduced quality of life. Gut microbiota, the bacteria, archaea, viruses, and eukaryotic microbes residing in the gastrointestinal tract are emerging as a potential contributor to age-associated muscle decline. Specifically, advancing age is characterized by a dysbiosis of gut microbiota that is associated with increased intestinal permeability, facilitating the passage of endotoxin and other microbial products into the circulation." So in some ways, FMT could almost be called a proverbial fountain of youth.
- FMT AND ARTHRITIS: According to the NIH (Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases) rheumatic diseases include everything from OSTEOARTHRITIS, POLYMYALGIA RHEUMATICA, TENDINOSIS/TENDINITIS, GOUT, BURSITIS, KNEE PROBLEMS, AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES (click for a list), RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS, JRA, and a whole host of others. Now listen to this; the September issue of Clinical Rheumatology (The Role of Gut Microbiota in the Pathogenesis of Rheumatic Diseases) revealed that "Rheumatic diseases refer to many diseases with a loss of immune self-tolerance [autoimmunity], leading to a chronic inflammation, degeneration, or metabolic derangement in multiple organs or tissues. Over the past decades, emerging studies suggested that alteration of intestinal microbiota, known as gut dysbiosis, contributed to the occurrence or development of a range of rheumatic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, ankylosing spondylitis, systemic sclerosis, and Sjogren's syndrome." The article went on to discuss the potential of microbiota-targeted therapies to prevent or cure rheumatic diseases, one being FMT
- LIVER DISEASE, INCLUDING HEPATIC ENCEPHALOPATHY: When the liver cannot DETOX / BIOTRANSFORM, toxins build up in the blood and affect the brain, causing something called hepatic encephalopathy (HE), with symptoms being forgetfulness, sweet-smelling breath (ketoacidosis, not to be confused with ketosis that people on the ketogenic diet work hard to achieve) as well as shaky upper extremities, disorientation, cognitive dysfunction, and slurred speech. There are studies showing FMT to be beneficial for a wide array of liver problems, but HE is where these people will all end up if not dealt with properly. The June issue of Hepatology (Fecal Microbiota Transplant from a Rational Stool Donor Improves Hepatic Encephalopathy) revealed that HE is a common reason for hospital readmissions (hospitals get severely docked financially for readmissions that occur within a certain time-frame) and then concluded that, "FMT with antibiotic pretreatment was well tolerated. Cognition improved. Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score transiently worsened post-antibiotics, but reverted to baseline post-FMT. Postantibiotics, beneficial taxa, and microbial diversity reduction occurred with Proteobacteria expansion. However, FMT increased diversity and beneficial taxa." A similar study, this one in last month's issue of the World Journal of Gastroenterology (Fecal Microbiota Transplantation Prevents Hepatic Encephalopathy....) stated something quite similar. "FMT enables protective effects in HE rats, and it improves the cognitive function and reduces the liver function indexes. FMT may cure HE by altering the intestinal permeability and improving the toll-like receptor (TLR) response of the liver." TLR's are markers that help identify receptors on pathogens, and are handy for marking baddies for the immune system's search and destroy missions.
- FMT AND ALOPECIA (HAIR LOSS): Before you get any wild ideas, understand that alopecia is not the same as male pattern baldness. Also, the most common reason by far that people get FMT, at least here in America, is for C.Diff infections. Writing for the September issue of the ACG Case Reports Journal (Hair Growth in Two Alopecia Patients after Fecal Microbiota Transplant) a group of five gastroenterologists saw alopecia cured (hair regrowth) in people being treated for C.Diff. "Alopecia areata (AA) is an autoimmune, inflammatory condition of the hair follicle. It is classified as patchy, totalis, and universalis, depending on the degree of hair loss. AA is one of the most common autoimmune disorders, affecting about 4.5 million people in the United States. Onset typically occurs in younger patients, with 66% presenting before age 30 and only 20% presenting after age 40. It is thought to be a T-cell-mediated autoimmune disease that attacks the hair follicle. Notable improvement in AA was observed after FMT was performed for recurrent C. Diff infection." It is no longer uncommon to find instances of people having FMT for C. Diff and getting cured of something else (kind of like THIS).
- FMT AND CANCER: I've got plenty of cool stuff on CANCER on my site, much of it (including OTTO WARBURG'S WORK) having at least in some way to do with the microbiome. This relationship is also why ANTIBIOTICS ARE A KNOWN CAUSE OF CANCER. How much does Gut inflammation caused by dysbiosis affect cancer? That question was answered in the August issue of Seminars in Immunology (Microbiome, Inflammation and Colorectal Cancer), when the authors concluded that, "Chronic inflammation is linked to the development of multiple cancers, including those of the colon. Inflammation in the gut induces carcinogenic mutagenesis and promotes colorectal cancer initiation. Additionally, myeloid and lymphoid cells infiltrate established tumors and propagate so called "tumor-elicited inflammation", which in turn favors cancer development by supporting the survival and proliferation of cancer cells. In addition to the interaction between cancer cells and tumor infiltrating immune cells, the gut also hosts trillions of bacteria and other microbes, whose roles in colorectal inflammation and cancer have only been appreciated in the past decade or so." Research that was published just a few short weeks ago in Science (Gut Microbiome Influences Efficacy of PD-1-Based Immunotherapy Against Epithelial Tumors) by a team of almost fifty researchers and physicians showed that when dysbiotic rats with cancer that were resistant to certain types of tumor-blocking medications were given FMT from rats that were not resistant, the medication (chemo) started working. To sum it all up, August's copy of Carcinogenesis (Microbiota in Digestive Cancers: Our New Partner?) concluded that, "There is much evidence about the gut microbiota's contribution to carcinogenesis, involving proinflammatory and immunosuppressive signals. At the same time, it seems increasingly clear that commensal microbes can modulate cancer therapy efficacy and safety, in particular innovating treatments as immune checkpoint inhibitors." This is just one of the many reasons that it should be criminal for doctors --- especially CANCER DOCTORS --- not to be educating their patients about the importance of Otto Warburg's work, and the importance of DIET IN GENERAL.
- PRE & POST-FMT ANTIBIOTICS, AND WHICH METHOD OF FMT IS BEST: There are many ways that different physicians and facilities do FMT. There is the colonic route (putting it in through your rear end), the nasogastric route (a tube is run through your nose down into the top of the bowel), and the pill route (feces is freeze dried, capsulized, and taken orally). Everything I have seen to date points to the colonic route as not only being the best, but probably the safest as well --- more so than the nasogastric route. August's issue of the Journal of Hospital Infections (Comparative Effectiveness of Fecal Microbiota Transplant by Route of Administration) agreed by stating, "Overall, nasogastric delivery of FMT was less effective than lower endoscopic delivery. When patients were stratified by illness severity, nasogastric delivery achieved similar cure rates in healthier individuals, whereas lower endoscopic delivery was preferred for relatively ill individuals. Nasogastric delivery may be less effective than lower endoscopic delivery." Some doctors will want to clear out the dysbiosis prior to the FMT. While one could probably achieve this with COLONIC IRRIGATION, researchers writing in the June issue of Frontiers in Microbiology (Preparing the Gut with Antibiotics Enhances Gut Microbiota Reprogramming Efficiency by Promoting Xenomicrobiota Colonization) concluded just what we see in the title --- "These results suggest that FMT relied on the available niches in the intestinal mucosa and that preparing the gut with antibiotics facilitated xenomicrobiota colonization in the intestinal mucosa." I am always leery of antibiotics, but clearing out BIOFILMS can at times prove exceedingly difficult without resorting to this class of drugs. Case in point of being leery of antibiotics, the August issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases (Early Antibiotic Use Post-Fecal Microbiota Transplantation Increases the Risk of Treatment Failure) also made some conclusions as seen in the study's title --- "Antibiotic use within the first 8 weeks post fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) may disrupt microbial engraftment and limit FMT effectiveness." This, folks, is why I strongly recommend you do whatever needed to KEEP YOUR FAMILY OFF ANTIBIOTICS (fortunately, MY KIDS have never had to take them).
- ETHICAL ISSUES; WHO MAKES THE BEST DONOR? Yes, there are some big ethical issues here, the first being whether you should have the FMT done via COLONOSCOPY. The second being what should the donor look like (this is absolutely critical and I cover it for you HERE). Be aware that one of the things that the labs that do FMT are starting to do is pool donor feces.
INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE & FMT
"We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis assessing the effectiveness and safety of FMT in IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) through January 2017, with clinical remission established as the primary outcome. 53 studies were included. Overall, 36% of UC, 50.5% of CD, and 21.5% of pouchitis patients [due to colostomy, they have an artificial, surgically created rectum] achieved clinical remission. Sub-analyses suggest remission in UC improved with increased number of FMT infusions and lower gastrointestinal tract administration [as opposed to nasogastric infusions]. Most adverse events were transient gastrointestinal complaints [gas, bloating, discomfort, etc]." From the October issue of Crohn's & Colitis (Fecal Microbiota Transplantation for Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis)
"Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) represent a growing public health concern due to increasing incidence worldwide. The current notion on the pathogenesis of IBD is that genetically susceptible individuals develop intolerance to dysregulated gut microflora (dysbiosis) and chronic inflammation develops as a result of environmental triggers. Among the environmental factors associated with IBD, diet plays an important role in modulating the gut microbiome, influencing epigenetic changes, and, therefore, could be applied as a therapeutic tool to improve the disease course." From the September issue of Nutrients (Diet, Gut Microbiome and Epigenetics: Emerging Links with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases and Prospects for Management and Prevention). The authors talked about the FODMAP diet here.
"Ultra-processed foods are ready-to-heat and ready-to-eat products created to replace traditional homemade meals and dishes due to convenience and accessibility. They could impact the prevalence of autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes and celiac disease. Ultra-processed foodstuffs can induce gut dysbiosis, promoting a pro-inflammatory response and consequently, a "leaky gut", associated with increased risk of autoimmunity. In addition, food emulsifiers, commonly used in ultra-processed products could modify the gut microbiota and intestinal permeability, which could increase the risk of autoimmunity. In contrast, unprocessed and minimally processed food-based diets have shown the capacity to promote gut microbiota eubiosis, anti-inflammatory response, and epithelial integrity." From this month's issue of Foods (Old Fashioned vs. Ultra-Processed-Based Current Diets: Possible Implication in the Increased Susceptibility to Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease in Childhood)
- CROHN'S DISEASE AND FMT: Back in July (PRIME TIME FOR THE CURRENT RIVER) the journal Scientific Reports (Multiple Fresh Fecal Microbiota Transplants Induces and Maintains Clinical Remission in Crohn’s Disease Complicated with Inflammatory Mass) concluded, "Crohn’s disease (CD) is characterized by a transmural inflammatory process, which may lead to the formation of intraabdominal inflammatory masses or abscess. Twenty-five patients were diagnosed with CD and related inflammatory mass by CT or MRI. All patients received the initial FMT followed by repeated FMTs every 3 months. The primary endpoint was clinical response (improvement and remission) and sustained clinical remission at 12 months. 68.0% and 52.0% of patients achieved clinical response and clinical remission at 3 months post the initial FMT. This pragmatic study suggested that sequential fresh FMTs might be a promising, safe and effective therapy to induce and maintain clinical remission in CD with intraabdominal inflammatory mass." BTW, almost 3 of 4 people studied improved their mass with FMT.
- FMT AND ULCERATIVE COLITIS: An August systematic review and meta-analysis of 18 studies was published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics (Fecal Microbiota Transplantation for the Induction of Remission for Active Ulcerative Colitis). "Despite variation in processes, FMT appears to be effective for induction of remission in UC, with no major short-term safety signals. Clinical remission was achieved in 39 of 140 patients in the donor FMT groups compared with 13 of 137 in the placebo groups. Clinical response was achieved in 49% donor FMT patients compared to 28% of placebo patients." The July issue of Free Radical Biology & Medicine (Fecal Microbiota Transplantation Could Reverse the Severity of Experimental Necrotizing Enterocolitis Via Oxidative Stress Modulation) showed even better results for a form of IC known as NEC or Necrotizing Enterocolitis. Right behind Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS), NEC is the next leading cause of morbidity in preemies (it causes the bowel to die due to lack of OXYGEN). "Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) has been used successfully to treat a variety of gastroenterological diseases. FMT eliminated ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) production and promoted Nitrous Oxide production in experimental NEC mice. FMT decreased the extent of proinflammatory signalin in the intestinal mucosa tissue, and suppressed intestinal apoptosis [pre-programmed cellular death] and bacterial translocation across the intestinal barrier [Leaky Gut Syndrome], which was accompanied by decreased inflammatory cytokine levels [less inflammation], altered bacterial microbiota, and regulated lymphocyte proportions. FMT is effective in a mouse model of NEC through the modulation of oxidative stress and reduced colon inflammation." Super cool, but a similar study on children with UC was published in last month's issue of the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition (Fecal Microbial Transplant In Children With Ulcerative Colitis) revealing that, "Remission or a 20-point improvement of PUCAI scores were seen in 60% of children receiving FMT versus 28% receiving placebo. More importantly, children receiving FMT did not require escalation of therapy in contrast to 71% receiving placebo. No serious adverse events related to FMT. Bloating and fever were adverse events that were considered related to FMT." Notice the "transient" side effects that most people get with FMT.
- IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME: Irritable Bowel Syndrome is an Autoimmune Disease that is caused by inflammation, but is not "officially" part of the IBD family of diseases. We do know that there is a huge connection between SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) and IBS (HERE), that tends to respond like gangbusters to cutting FODMAPS out of the diet. Back in June the World Journal of Gastroenterology asked a question via a study title, Can Fecal Microbiota Transplantation Cure Irritable Bowel Syndrome? "IBS is the most prevalent functional GI disorder in developed countries. It is estimated that IBS affects 10%-15% of the adult population and strongly impairs quality of life, work productivity, and social function as well as inflicting substantial costs to health care systems. Accumulating evidence indicates that the gut microbiota plays a significant role, and alterations in gut microbiota among IBS patients have been described frequently. IBS symptoms are characterized by chronic abdominal pain and altered bowel habits, including diarrhea and/or constipation, in the absence of organic or structural causes. In the final analysis, treatment of 48 patients was evaluated. Treatment revealed an improvement in 58% of cases." Last month's issue of Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Fecal Microbiota Transplantation Versus Placebo for Moderate-to-Severe Irritable Bowel Syndrome) concluded almost the same thing, with about 65% of the treatment group getting the results they were looking for. "FMT induced significant symptom relief in patients with IBS. No serious adverse events could be attributed to FMT."
Again, let me reiterate. If you are chronically ill or overweight, as are the vast majority of American adults (as well as a huge percentage of our nation's children), at least start researching what it is going to take for you to restore your Gut Health so that you can start the process of truly regaining your life. Fortunately for you, I have lots of information on this topic completely free on my site (see below).
GUT HEALTH, BRAIN DYSFUNCTIONS, AUTISM, AND CHRONIC INFECTIONS / DYSBIOSIS
This thought process was once again confirmed when a husband and wife team made up of Harvard Medical Professor, Dr. Huh Jun-ryeo, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Dr. Gloria Choi, worked together on a pair of similar studies showing how autism is related to Gut Bacteria (MICROBIOME). While this is certainly not news (see link in previous paragraph), what is news is the fact that they actually discovered the exact part of the brain that these bacteria are affecting --- S1DZ. Here is what Dr. Choi's team of 15 researchers concluded concerning S1DZ from their cherry-picked abstract in last month's issue of Nature.
Viral infection during pregnancy is correlated with increased frequency of neurodevelopmental disorders, and this is studied in mice prenatally subjected to maternal immune activation (MIA). We previously showed that maternal T helper 17 cells promote the development of cortical and behavioural abnormalities in MIA-affected offspring. Here we show that cortical abnormalities are preferentially localized to a region encompassing the dysgranular zone of the primary somatosensory cortex (S1DZ). Moreover, activation of pyramidal neurons in this cortical region was sufficient to induce MIA-associated behavioural phenotypes in wild-type animals, whereas reduction in neural activity rescued the behavioural abnormalities in MIA-affected offspring. Sociability and repetitive behavioural phenotypes could be selectively modulated according to the efferent targets of S1DZ.
What does this mean in English? Follow along. Mom gets some kind of virus while she's pregnant. Truth is, she might never even realize she was infected since it's likely as not she didn't exhibit severe symptoms. Regardless, said infections have the potential to activate her immune system in the form of something known as T-17 CELLS (this system causes pre-programmed cellular death -- HERE), which in turn stimulates a very specific part of the brain --- the somatosensory cortex. Overactivate or overstimulate this area and you'll end up with aberrant behaviors --- behaviors that these authors describe as being repetitive and affecting social interaction. If you've ever been around autistics, you know that these are the behaviors that seem to characterize them most.
What does the somatosensory cortex (S1DZ) of the mouse brain do? According to a study published in a 2004 issue of The Journal of Neurophysiology (Two Distinct Regions of Secondary Somatosensory Cortex in the Rat: Topographical Organization and Multisensory Responses), this part of the brain is responsible for, "the integration of somatosensory information with information from other sensory modalities. In this study, we used auditory, somatosensory, or combined auditory/somatosensory stimuli." Again; what are the very things that autistic children have issues with? Neurologically coordinating sensory input (sight, smell, touch, sound, taste, etc). Because these brain systems are not working properly in autistics, it's easy to send them into overload.
The paper by Dr. Huh (Maternal Gut Bacteria Promote Neurodevelopmental Abnormalities in Mouse Offspring) showed similar findings (much of the technical stuff is the same, or at least similar, so I am leaving it out. "In humans, epidemiological studies suggest that exposure of fetuses to maternal inflammation increases the likelihood of developing autism spectrum disorder. Pregnant mice that had been colonized with human bacteria that induce intestinal TH17 cells were more likely to produce offspring with MIA-associated abnormalities. Overall, our data suggest that defined gut commensal bacteria with a propensity to induce TH17 cells may increase the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders in the offspring of pregnant mothers undergoing immune system activation owing to infections or autoinflammatory syndromes." And not only this, but when his team stimulated areas of the brain that receive input from S1DZ, they were able to ''reverse the sociability deficits [and] halt the repetitive behaviors". Super cool, but we can't stop now.
Because of the controversy surrounding VACCINES as related to AUTISM, the question that must be answered is whether it's possible for the nasty chemicals and metals found in most vaccines (MSG, formaldehyde, ALUMINUM, MERCURY, and an array of others), not to mention things like GLYPHOSATE that we are essentially being bathed in, to cause disruptions of the normal commensal bacteria (Gut Flora)? Although a simple Google search gives us mountains of information on the topic (my site has quite a bit as well), let's look at a 2015 study from the oft-maligned MIT professor, Dr. Stephanie Seneff (the title alone --- Aluminum and Glyphosate Can Synergistically Induce Pineal Gland Pathology: Connection to Gut Dysbiosis and Neurological Disease --- should tell you where this is going). Citing almost 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers in her bib, Dr. Seneff concluded....
Many neurological diseases, including autism, depression, dementia, anxiety disorder and Parkinson’s disease, are associated with abnormal sleep patterns, which are directly linked to pineal gland dysfunction. The pineal gland is highly susceptible to environmental toxicants. Two pervasive substances in modern industrialized nations are aluminum and glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide, Roundup. In this paper, we show how these two toxicants work synergistically to induce neurological damage. Glyphosate disrupts gut bacteria, leading to an overgrowth of Clostridium difficile. Its toxic product, p-cresol, is linked to autism in both human and mouse models. p-Cresol enhances uptake of aluminum via transferrin. Anemia, a result of both aluminum disruption of heme and impaired heme synthesis by glyphosate, leads to hypoxia, which induces increased pineal gland transferrin synthesis. Premature birth is associated with hypoxic stress and with substantial increased risk to the subsequent development of autism, linking hypoxia to autism. Glyphosate chelates aluminum, allowing ingested aluminum to bypass the gut barrier. This leads to anemia-induced hypoxia, promoting neurotoxicity and damaging the pineal gland. Both glyphosate and aluminum disrupt cytochrome P450 enzymes, which are involved in melatonin metabolism. Furthermore, melatonin is derived from tryptophan, whose synthesis in plants and microbes is blocked by glyphosate. We also demonstrate a plausible role for vitamin D3 dysbiosis in impaired gut function and impaired serotonin synthesis. This paper proposes that impaired sulfate supply to the brain mediates the damage induced by the synergistic action of aluminum and glyphosate on the pineal gland and related midbrain nuclei.
What can I really say about this study that she didn't already say? For starters, there are many studies linking autism to issues with serotonin production (HERE), one going all the way back to 1977 (I was 10 for Pete's sake). Neither is it difficult to find studies linking metals to dysbiosis (HERE are several from a NZ dentist). Dr. Seneff goes on to invoke things like INTESTINAL PERMEABILITY and other LEAKIES, DYSBIOSIS, HYPOXIA, ANEMIA, BIOTRANSFORMATION, C. DIFF (the chief reason doctors prescribe FMT's) and others. And just like the other studies discussed today, all of it drives INFLAMMATION and is driven by inflammation And here's the rub.
I sometimes sound like a broken record, but the word "inflammation" is used so often in our society that that I find most people don't have a clue what it really is. Oh, they think they understand what it is, but I would be willing to guess that in my little town of 3,000 people, you would be hard-pressed to find a handful of people (doctors included) who could adequately explain it. Unfortunately, if you don't know what inflammation is, as well as the reasons it can be both good and bad --- sometimes at the same time --- it's hard to formulate a plan for at least slowing it down and managing it. Fortunately, you won't need to re-invent the wheel. There are simple protocols that can completely "cure" some of you, help many of you, and even if they don't seem to be helping, will not likely cause ugly side-effects seen in so many of today's pharmaceuticals (HERE).
I get it; you might need to visit a SPECIALIST IN FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE. However, once you realize that the vast majority of disease process and even chronic pain share the same common denominators (HERE), a simple-to-understand DIY PROTOCOL like this begins to make more sense. As is always the case, be sure and check in with your doctor first; wouldn't want you doing anything without that big white-jacket 'Thumbs Up' now, would we. And in light of what we learned today; if you happen to be a pregnant mother (or for that matter, a woman who might become pregnant), do you really want that ridiculous flu shot (HERE)?
THE GUT - MICROBIOTA - BRAIN AXIS: MOST DISEASE STATES ARE DIFFERENT MANIFESTATIONS OF THE SAME UNDERLYING ISSUESRead Now
MOST DISEASES ARE JUST DIFFERENT MANIFESTATIONS OF THE SAME THING
(THE GUT / MICROBIOTA / BRAIN AXIS)
"In two different animal models of hypertension, there is decreased expression of several tight junction proteins in the gut and a concomitant increase in intestinal permeability. Furthermore, their data show that in the spontaneously hypertensive rat model, the increase in permeability is a result of increased sympathetic nerve activity before the development of hypertension. They therefore conclude that there is a direct, causal link between the sympathetic nerve activity derived from the central nervous system and increased gut permeability. They further hypothesize that the changes in gut permeability result in hypertension and cause a shift in the types of bacteria that are present in the gut. Finally, they have shown that the changes in sympathetic activity resulting in increased gut permeability are also associated with an increase in inflammatory cells within the intestinal wall."
Catch what they are saying here (I have a very cool diagram I created down the page). Even though I had SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE at the #4 position in my list from the link at the top of this page, the authors of this study -- both cardiologists -- are saying that it is actually the starting point. Furthermore, these changes in autonomic nervous system function lead to the INCREASED GUT PERMEABILITY (Leaky Gut Syndrome) that causes HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE. This is why I can say with authority that giving people high blood pressure medications is NOT ACTUALLY CHANGING HOMEOSTASIS, but instead covering the symptom (in this case, HBP) by forcing a short-term physiological change. How is this done? For starters, most people with hypertension are going to end up on drugs known as beta blockers.
Also known as beta-adrenergic blockers, these drugs block your adrenergic system. When you think adrenergic, think adrenaline. The thing to remember is that the medical community does not call adrenaline adrenaline any more, they call it by its other name, epinephrine. Whatever you decide to call it, when you block it, you block the sympathetic side (fight-or-flight) of the Autonomic Nervous System. While this will likely decrease your blood pressure, you automatically change the function of everything in your body (you slow it down). While this might sound good on the surface (most health issues tend to hyper-stimulate the sympathetic side of the ANS), as you might imagine, the side effects of this drug (according to Mayo Clinic) frankly suck --- tiredness, fatigue, weight gain, depression, and others. These authors also revealed that beta blockers actually increase your triglyceride levels, while decreasing your "good" cholesterol (HDL). Most people on these drugs complain of DIMINISHED LIBIDO as well.
The bottom line is that the drugs and vaccines we are consuming from cradle to grave, while in certain cases possibly adding years to our life, are not necessarily adding life to our years (HERE). Read between the lines in this study from the May 2013 issue of Trends in Neuroscience (Gut–Brain Axis: How the Microbiome Influences Anxiety and Depression). "Within the first few days of life, humans are colonized by commensal intestinal microbiota. Here, we review recent findings showing that microbiota are important in normal healthy brain function.... the relation between stress and microbiota, and how alterations in microbiota influence stress-related behaviors. New studies show that bacteria, including commensal, probiotic, and pathogenic bacteria, in the gastrointestinal tract can activate neural pathways and central nervous system."
What do we learn from the study's abstract, that stress causes mental issues, and that mental issues cause stress (DEPRESSION falls under the massive category of "INFLAMMATORY DISEASE," which is why SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE always leads to some sort of stress --- again, see link at top of page). Furthermore, with infants being "colonized" by mom's good bacteria "Within the first few days of life," should we be even slightly surprised that VACCINES given in these first few days can cause serious problems? It helps explain why AUTISM is always concurrent with some sort of Gut / Bowel issue. Also be aware that what we are talking about today are "Axes," and that an Axis cuts both ways (metabolic and neurological pathways are bidirectional).
Case in point is a study from a five year old issue of Psychoneuroendocrinology (Regulation of the Stress Response by the Gut Microbiota: Implications for Psychoneuroendocrinology), which shows that not only can inflammation cause Gut issues, Gut issues can cause stress, and stress causes inflammation (you could work it backwards as well). Mechanism? That durned leaky gut. "Stress induces increased permeability of the gut allowing bacteria and bacterial antigens to cross the epithelial barrier and activate a mucosal immune response [inflammation], which in turn alters the composition of the microbiome and leads to enhanced HPA drive [HPA AXIS]. Increasing data from patients with irritable bowel syndrome and major depression indicate that in these syndromes alteration of the HPA may be induced by increased gut permeability." Here's the crazy part of this. Give me ten minutes and I could show you a hundred studies showing the same thing (I'll show you a few more momentarily).
Here's what's doubly crazy. If you you go back a century or so, you will find that there were many sanitariums (Clearview may have been the most well known) treating mentally ill people using CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS as well as therapies like COLONIC IRRIGATION. Why? Firstly because the drugs for treating these conditions had not been invented yet (PEOPLE WITH SEIZURE DISORDERS WERE TREATED WITH KETOGENIC DIETS), and secondly, it worked. The adjustments (particularly upper cervical specific) toned down the sympathetic nervous system, thereby reducing inflammation; and the colonic irrigation worked to clean out the Gut. All you have to do is look back at a 1932 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine to see this (Colon Irrigation in the Treatment of Mental Disease). Furthermore, once you understand that about 90% of the body's Serotonin and Melotonin are made in the Gut, this all begins to make more sense. But get ready because I am going to throw you a bit of a curve ball.
When people become inflamed, they end up with diseases on these two lists (HERE and HERE) as well as CHRONIC PAIN. Naturally, because their doctor, along with about a trillion TV commercials, told them drugs (medications) were the only way to roll, they tend to first reach for their medicine cabinet and pull out some OTC antiinflammatory medications. Unfortunately, there are only about a jillion studies linking NSAIDS to intestinal permeability (Leaky Gut) --- an almost universal component of chronic disease. But they are not the only drugs that lead to Leaky Gut --- not by a long shot.
Antibiotics always cause at least some degree of dysbiosis (HERE) --- a problem that will always be found concurrently with increased intestinal permeability. Similarly, CORTICOSTERIDS --- an extremely powerful class of anti-inflammation drugs --- causes increased permeability as well, because they SUPPRESS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM. While this might not seem like a big deal on the surface, once you realize that 80% of your immune system is housed in your Gut, you can start to see the propensity for collateral damage. And when we talk about AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES, no one can act shocked by the fact that extremely harsh chemotherapy drugs cause permeability as well (these include the "mab" class of biologics --- monoclonal antibodies --- used to treat autoimmune diseases). The truth is, in the same way that Dr. Art Ayers warned us years ago that all drugs have antibiotic properties (HERE), it is starting to appear that the same thing is true concerning intestinal permeability as well.
Other things that are known to cause intestinal permeability include coffee, GRAINS (yes, GLUTEN is a biggie, but any grain can be problematic), LECTINS, TOO LITTLE STOMACH ACID (far more common than the opposite), alcohol & SUGAR (they are metabolized along similar pathways and can both lead to dysbiosis and CANDIDA OVERGROWTHS --- especially true of HFCS). If you have food allergies or PARASITES, you are at risk for increased permeability as well. And here's the rub. Things that cause your Gut to become "Leaky" (increased permeability) have been shown by mountains of peer-review to cause other epithelial barriers to leak as well. These include, but are not limited to your brain ("Leaky Brain"), spinal cord ("Leaky Cord"), nervous system ("Leaky Nerve"), lungs ("Leaky Lung"), etc, etc, etc (HERE).
Oh, and for the record, to show you some of the evidence pointing to the fact that antidepressants themselves are likely contributing to the very issue that's causing them in the first place --- intestinal permeability --- take a look at this study from the University of Michigan (Depression, Antidepressant Medications, and Risk of Clostridium Difficile Infection) that was published in BMC Medicine. After looking at the medical records of nearly 17,000 individuals who had come down with C. DIFF, they determined that those with C. Diff were 37% more likely to have been diagnosed with Major Depression. "Our complementary studies reveal that adults with depression and those that use specific anti-depressants seem to be more likely to experience C. diff infections." And we haven't even touched on the fact that ALUMINUM also causes intestinal permeability --- something we learned 20 years ago in a 1997 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Mechanisms of Aluminum Absorption.....). The importance of knowing this comes into view when you realize just how much aluminum we (the American public) are being exposed to on a daily basis (see link). Interestingly enough, most SSRI ANTIDEPRESSANTS contain FLUORIDE --- a toxic byproduct of the aluminum manufacturing process (i.e. Prozac's official name is Fluoxetine).
THE GUT-BRAIN-MICROBIOTA AXIS
WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD!
What you have to do is figure out how big a wrench it's going to take to jam the gears and stop this vicious cycle. Remember, drugs might change your symptoms, but they never stop the cycle. What I would like to do right now is take a quick look at some of the studies that show this cycle, and how this dysfunction all works together in unison (I chose these particular studies because if you are interested, you can look them up and read them in their entirety). The point of doing this?
For those of you who are deep into these and other similar disease processes, you need to realize there is hope (stick around and I'll prove it to you). One critical fact you must grasp before we begin is that it is not as likely as you have been led to believe that your children will be condemned to the same fate as you simply because of their genetics. Why not? Science has given genetics way too much importance as far as the development of most diseases is concerned. What do I mean by this? If you don't understand the difference between genetics and epigenetics as related to chronic inflammatory degenerative illnesses and autoimmune diseases, it is imperative that you take five minutes to read THIS POST on the topic. Also, if you are not sure what INFLAMMATION is (hint; it's not swelling or infection), don't bother continuing because it won't make sense.
- PARKINSON'S DISEASE: Listen to the conclusions from a two year old issue of the World Journal of Gastroenterology (Brain-Gut-Microbiota Axis in Parkinson's Disease). Make sure to look for all five entities mentioned in the cycle above (BTW, this is quoted word-for-word). "Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterized by alpha-synucleinopathy that affects all levels of the brain-gut axis including the central, autonomic, and enteric nervous systems. Recently, it has been recognized that the brain-gut axis interactions are significantly modulated by the gut microbiota via immunological, neuroendocrine, and direct neural mechanisms. Dysregulation of the brain-gut-microbiota axis in PD may be associated with gastrointestinal manifestations frequently preceding motor symptoms, as well as with the pathogenesis of PD itself, supporting the hypothesis that the pathological process is spread from the gut to the brain. Excessive stimulation of the innate immune system resulting from gut dysbiosis and/or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and increased intestinal permeability may induce systemic inflammation, while activation of enteric neurons and enteric glial cells may contribute to the initiation of alpha-synuclein misfolding." Why am I at least somewhat concerned about this nasty creature named by doctor Parkinson? I undoubtedly carry the gene (HERE). And for those who are not sure what GLIAL CELLS are (you'll see them come up time and time again), just click the link.
- NEUROPSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS: This collaboration (Gut-Microbiota-Brain Axis and Effect on Neuropsychiatric Disorders with Suspected Immune Dysregulation) between Greek and American scientists / physicians was published in HHS Public Access, and is one of the most amazing put-it-all-together studies I have yet to see on this topic. "Brain function and psychological make-up are now increasingly considered to have a reciprocal relationship with the gut. Disruption of the gut microbiota (dysbiosis) is known to contribute, among others, to the pathogenesis of GI diseases, and reported to directly induce inflammation and pain. Accumulating evidence suggests that the gut microbiota maintain bidirectional interactions with critical parts of the central nervous system (CNS) and the immune system through direct and indirect pathways. These involve the endocrine (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis), immune (chemokines, cytokines), autonomic nervous system (ANS), and enteric nervous systems forming the microbiota-gut-brain axis. Antibiotics, environmental and infectious agents, intestinal neurotransmitters / , sensory vagal fibers, cytokines, essential metabolites, all convey information about the intestinal state to the CNS. Such interactions appear to influence the pathogenesis of a number of disorders in which inflammation is implicated such as mood disorder, autism-spectrum disorders (ASDs), attention-deficit hypersensitivity disorder (ADHD), multiple sclerosis (MS) and obesity (Obesity has been called a psychiatric disease) and is associated with depression and other neuropsychiatric disorders). Neuro/immune-active substances derived from the intestinal lumen can penetrate the gut mucosa, be transported by blood, cross the blood-brain-barrier (BBB) and affect the CNS. Acute stress increased GI and BBB permeability. Moreover, chronic stress disrupted the intestinal barrier and permitted penetration of luminal antigens, microflora metabolites, toxins and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) into the systemic circulation and the CNS." Did you notice that all five aspects of the cycle were present in full-blown Technicolor and Dolby Surround Sound?
- MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS: So, in light of everything that I've shown you, should we be even bat an eye when articles like STAT'S Gut Germs Play Role in Multiple Sclerosis, are published? No way! While it's certainly good to know (I've discussed this link at least twice before --- HERE and HERE), the real question remains; what are you doing about this since your doctor isn't doing much of anything other than prescribing more drugs? In the first of two brand new studies, both from last month's issue of PNAS, researchers compared the MICROBIOMES of 71 people with MS and 71 without MS. What they found was that "specific bacterial taxa were significantly associated with MS" (dysbiosis). But interestingly enough, they also found that there was a certain strain of bacteria that was "reduced in MS patients." Because the researchers believed this bacteria was associated with antiinflammatory properties, they introduced feces from the MS group into mice that had been genetically raised to be "germ free". The result was mice with fewer TREGS (T-suppressor cells that dampen immune system responses as to prevent autoimmunity) and fewer antiinflammatory cytokines, leaving them with symptoms of MS ("experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis"). In the second study, the authors took identical twins, where one had MS and the other did not. They noticed that when they transplanted feces of the MS twin into mice that had been genetically raised to express "spontaneous brain autoimmunity," those mice were much more likely to develop an "MS-like autoimmune disease." I need to note to you; one major difference in MS patients is that they tend to have low sympathetic function (as opposed to high), which often results in heart, bladder, and bowel issues. By the way, I found studies over two decades old (Digestive Diseases and Sciences --- Multiple Sclerosis Patients Have Increased Intestinal Permeability) that showed this link via their title. The moral of this story is NEVER underestimate the importance of GUT HEALTH in dealing with chronic conditions!
- CHRONIC "LEARNED" PAIN: This two year old study was done at St. Louis' Washington University and published for the International Anesthesia Research Society (Identification and Treatment of New Inflammatory Triggers for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome: Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth and Obstructive Sleep Apnea). "Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), formally known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy, is a neuropathic pain disorder that may fail to respond to current therapy... There is a known relationship of CRPS and the gastrointestinal tract. Dysbiosis (alterations of the microbiome) and increased intestinal permeability (which is present in SIBO) have been reported in CRPS, and these two conditions also cause chronic systemic inflammation. IBS is common in CRPS although the relationship has hitherto not been elucidated. In multiple studies, SIBO was found to be present in up to 50% of IBS-d patients." IBS and IBD are both known to be autoimmune, while SIBO is typically the result of a sensitivity to FODMAP-CONTAINING carbohydrates. And as you might imagine from its old name (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy), the sympathetic side of the ANS is hyped to the max in those with CRPS.
- INTENSE EXERCISE: Just ten short months ago, the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition published a study called Exercise-Induced Stress Behavior, Gut-Microbiota-Brain Axis and Diet: A Systematic Review for Athletes. The European authors concluded that "The demands during intense exercise can initiate a stress response activating the sympathetic-adrenomedullary and hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axes, resulting in the release of stress and catabolic hormones [these break your body down], inflammatory cytokines and microbial molecules. The gut is home to trillions of microorganisms that have fundamental roles in many aspects of human biology, including metabolism, endocrine, neuronal and immune function. The gut microbiome and its influence on host behavior, intestinal barrier and immune function are believed to be a critical aspect of the brain-gut axis. Recent evidence in murine models shows that there is a high correlation between physical and emotional stress during exercise and changes in gastrointestinal microbiota composition. Diet is known to dramatically modulate the composition of the gut microbiota. Due to the considerable complexity of stress responses in elite athletes (from leaky gut to increased catabolism and depression), defining standard diet regimes is difficult." There are the five; together again for what hopefully turns out to only be a 'limited engagement'.
So, what are you supposed to do if you have these or other inflammatory, degenerative, or autoimmune disease? The first thing you must is learn everything you can about it you can and make yourself an expert. Thanks to the internet; some diligent study on your particular condition (use PubMed or other databases of medical studies, as well as message boards), and a large percentage of you will be as knowledgeable as your doctor(s) on your particular issue. Face it; the gap between the cool stuff coming out of medical research (the stuff I showed you today) and the standard fare of CRAPPY DRUGS or WORTHLESS TESTS you get at your doctor visits makes the Grand Canyon look like the tiny ditch in your front yard. Be willing to step out of the box just a bit and watch what happens!
Secondly, using said information, sit down and create yourself a top-to-bottom EXIT STRATEGY. Although you may have to modify your plan along the way for any number of different reasons (including new information coming available) purpose in your heart to stick with it and work it as though your life depends on it --- because it probably does. Fortunately, I have created an extremely generic template for making this happen (HERE). For many of you, this is all you'll need. For the rest, there are people out there versed in FUNCTIONAL NEUROLOGY and FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE that can likely help. One last thing. If you are chronically ill, DO NOT go to sleep tonight without learning the basics of one of the hottest topics in the medical research field right now --- FECAL MICROBIOTA TRANSPLANTS.
BRAND NEW RESEARCH SHOWS THAT AUTISM IS A KICK TO THE GUT
The October 2014 issue of Bioessays (Altered Brain-Gut Axis in Autism: Comorbidity or Causative Mechanisms?) had this to say about one's MICROBIOME (the total number and species of gut flora living in a particular individual, as well as the sum total of their genes) in relation to autism.
"The concept that altered communications between the gut microbiome and the brain may play an important role in human brain disorders has recently received considerable attention. Gastrointestinal symptoms are a common comorbidity in patients with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), even though the underlying mechanisms are largely unknown. In addition, alteration in the composition and metabolic products of the gut microbiome has long been implicated as a possible causative mechanism contributing to ASD pathophysiology, and this hypothesis has been supported by several recently published evidence models. Recent evidence in one such model is characterized by alterations in behavior, gut physiology, microbial composition, and related metabolite profile....."
In other words, not only do the authors admit that we've known about the Gut / Autism link for a very long time, they believe that the evidence points to the fact that Gut problems are not merely "comorbidites" --- concurrent heath issue that are related to but not caused by --- but are actually "causative". There are numerous studies espousing essentially the same thing. On top of this, many studies indicate that there is a direct relationship --- the worse the autism, the worse the problems with the Gut. Let's see if today's study backs these assertions, and more importantly, if there might be a solution somewhere in the mix.
- GENETICS OR EPIGENETICS IN RELATION TO TOXICITY: This review talked about the relationship between GENETICS AND EPIGENETICS, essentially telling us that while there is definitely a genetic component in as many as 50% of the children with autism, there are a wide array of potential epigenetic triggers. What are these triggers? The authors specifically listed, "dysregulation of the immune system, inflammation, exposure to environmental toxicants, and environmental factors." INFLAMMATION is self-explanatory, and can itself dysregulate immune system function --- not surprising considering we've known for two decades that 80% of the immune system resides in the Gut (HERE). As far as exposure to toxic chemicals, they are legion (HERE is a common one). There is another one we'll talk about at the end of the paper that I don't want to touch on yet. Many autistic kids have problems with their BIOTRANSFORMATION SYSTEMS as well -- problems for which there are now actually tests. Lastly, let me mention that not all "environmental exposures" are bad --- many are both good and vital for health (HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE).
- GI SYMPTOMS: These would include some of the same symptoms commonly seen in those with SIBO / IBS (CONSTIPATION, diarrhea, and gas --- the later two often being extremely foul smelling --- cramps, bloating, and abdominal pain). The authors stated that of these, constipation was the number one symptom, experienced by 85% of those with autism. Oh, they also said, "Furthermore, the observed symptoms are associated with the severity of ASD." In other words, the worse the autism, the worse the Gut symptoms are likely to be.
- PREGNANT MOM'S DIET MATTERS: The authors quoted many studies showing that high fat diets by mom led to various forms of DYSBIOSIS (altered microbiome) in their children. As I have shown you repeatedly, however, I would assert that the amount of fat has far less to do with this phenomenon than the kind of fats being consumed (HERE), as the kind of fats you consume either drive or squelch inflammation. Bear in mind that although this was not talked about (not sure why), we know through mountains of research that SUGAR FEEDS INFECTION, and that dysbiosis is essentially an infection. Honestly, this bullet is a no-brainer. In other words, why would we think for even two seconds that pregnant mom's diet does not matter? Interestingly, one of the only foods specifically mentioned in the entire study was GROUND BEEF --- in a beneficial way. It increased microbiomal diversity.
- ANTIBIOTICS, EITHER MATERNAL OR FOR BABY: I sound like a broken record here, but THIS POST shows you why I believe antibiotics are the single worst thing you can do to your health or the health of your family. "The composition of the microbiota of children who were treated with antibiotics during the first 3 years of life is less diverse in terms of both bacterial species and strains. A population-based cohort study revealed the use of various antibiotics during pregnancy as a potential risk factor for ASD/infantile autism." Because Gut Health is everything, ANTIBIOTICS have the potential to mess up your health (or the health of your child --- born or unborn) in ways that we are only just beginning to figure out.
- DYSBIOSIS IS ASSOCIATED WITH AN ARRAY OF DISEASES AND POOR HEALTH OUTCOMES: I have shown you time and time again that when it comes to your overall health, the HEALTH OF YOUR GUT is everything. Thus, we should not be surprised that anything that causes dysbiosis (HERE are a few of them) has been shown by any number of studies, including this one, to be associated with increased incidence of ASD. I would add one warning here, and that's that ANY AND ALL DRUGS act at least to some degree as antibiotics (they kill bacteria), some much more than others. Quite interestingly, today's study talked about non-bacterial forms of dysbiosis such as MOLDS, YEASTS (Candida), and fungus. Not surprisingly, Candida was heavily associated with ASD.
- BREAST FED -VS- FORMULA FED MATTERS WHEN IT COMES TO AUTISM: I've talked about this before (HERE), but today's study mentions it as well. "The early feeding pattern also influences the gut microbiota of infants and is associated with ASD. Formula-fed infants present an increased species richness accompanied by an overrepresentation of Clostridium difficile (C. DIFF) compared with breast-fed infants. Breast-feeding for more than 6 months is associated with a lower risk of developing ASD. Penn studied infants with an older sibling diagnosed with ASD in the San Diego area and found that breast-feeding might protect the infants against GI symptoms. As an individual's diet diversifies with increasing age, the gut microbiota gradually stabilizes." Along these same lines, not being delivered vaginally (HERE) was a risk factor for ASD as well. One of the ways that cutting-edge birthing facilities are getting around this is to swab C-sectioned babies with secretions from mom's vagina.
- AUTISM IS INFLAMMATORY / NEUROINFLAMMATORY: We already know this, but today's study beat this point like a drum, talking about SPECIFIC INFLAMMATORY MEDIATORS (we collectively refer to these as "inflammation") include cytokines such as, "interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-6, interferon-γ (IFN-γ), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α)." These are some of the same mediators you will see in almost every inflammatory disease you care to research.
- LEAKY GUT SYNDROME & LEAKY BRAIN SYNDROME: Although it had to do with head injuries caused by whiplash, I showed you how this works just the other day (HERE). For starters, be aware that gut hyperpermeability is considered by these authors to be to top of the mountain as far as understanding autism is concerned. "The fundamental factor underlying the relationships between ASD and the gut is the increased permeability of the intestinal tract of ASD individuals, referred to as a “leaky gut”." And here's the rub; because the mechanisms are essentially the same, infants / children who develop a leaky gut tend to develop LEAKY BRAIN SYNDROME as well (a dysfunctional BBB or Blood Brain Barrier), which allows the inflammation from the bullet above access to the brain. "An increased intestinal permeability results in a higher antigenic load from the gastrointestinal tract. Lymphocytes and ASD-associated cytokines are present in the circulation and cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Subsequently, IL-1β and TNF-α bind to brain endothelial cells and induce immune responses in the brain."
- AUTISM, THE HPA-AXIS, GUT METABOLITES, AND NEUROLOGICAL DEFICIT: Not only is there tons of information out there relating microbiome to brain function in terms of Autism, there is about a hundred times more relating them to virtually any neurological issue you care to name. Be aware that dysbiotic organisms are making chemicals that do some funky things in the body, some of which include, "affect ASD-like behaviors through the vagal pathways; cross the BBB and induce ASD-like behaviors; provoke autistic-like behaviors; results in hyperactivity, repetitive behaviors and abnormal motor movements; similar to the behavioral and electrographic changes detected in humans with ASD; leads to impaired social behavior; alters neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine; impairs learning and increases depression-like behaviors; shows abnormal social behaviors, nonstandard communication, and repetitive behaviors...." I cherry-picked these from across several paragraphs, but believe me when I tell you that this is a tiny fraction of what's in there.
This is all great to know --- especially for those of you with very young children or those who may be getting ready to start a family. But what about those of you who already have a child or children with autism? The numbers are massive and growing every day (HERE), with current stats showing 1 in 32 children are autistic. When it comes to autism, the point at where the rubber meets the road is the point that something can be done about it. And although the authors of this study admit that, "At present, there are no effective therapies for ASD," they go on to show that there are any number of studies that are at the very least, promising. I've always said that in regards to the Gut, the restoration effort is two-pronged and involves restoring both the microbiota and the function of the body's barrier systems (cord, gut, brain, nerve, lung, etc, etc). The cool thing is that it is all done in essentially the same manner.
- RESTORING THE MICROBIOME: These authors talked at length about both PROBIOTICS and PREBIOTICS (fiber), mentioning lots of studies showing benefits of both. While I am a huge fan of both, the truth is, for every study showing that probiotics are beneficial, you can find one saying they are not. This is why when the authors discussed FMT (Fecal Microbiota Transplant), they hit the proverbial nail on the head. I truly believe that when it comes to really sick people (this would include a significant portion of those with ASD), FMT blows the doors off of probiotics (HERE'S WHY). There are any number of other things that you can do to help restore microbiome as well, most having to do with diet. These would include yogurt, kefier, kombucha, fermented veggies, etc, etc, etc. My opinion is that making your own (especially if you can get your hands on RAW MILK --- raw goat's milk even better) is the way to go. Why raw? Commercial products are pasteurized, and pasteurization is specifically for the purpose of killing bacteria. Bacteria, folks, is exactly why we want to consume the stuff in the first place.
- RESTORING GUT BARRIER FUNCTION: The authors did not really talk at length about this, assuming I guess, that if you take care of everything else, this bullet will take care of itself, which is frequently the case. The biggest way to do this is by changing your.......
- DIET: This is a biggie --- particularly in an age when HIGHLY PROCESSED CARB-BASED DIETS are the norm. From reading between the lines, my best guess would be that many of these kids have severe CARB ADDICTIONS. These go along with addictions to casomorphins and glutomorphins as shown by other studies (HERE). Of course, the diets I usually recommend for those with autism would be the PALEO (GAPS) or in some cases, KETOGENIC --- always based on WHOLE FOODS. Why? "A gluten-free and/or casein-free diet improves ASD behaviors, physiological symptoms, and social behaviors. The ketogenic diet is a high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet and results in reductions in the total gut microbial counts, increased sociability, decreased repetitive behaviors, and improved social communication in an ASD animal model." Because there is a freaky amount of research on the link between GLUTEN AND NEUROLOGICAL ISSUES, I don't think these authors spent nearly enough time on the subject, considering the numbers of studies on the topic. Just be aware that changing the diets of autistic children can prove challenging simply because this study talked about other studies showing that kids with autism, and particularly if they have Gut issues, tend to be highly picky eaters, rejecting protein, fruits, and particularly vegetables (HERE).
- ANTIBIOTICS: Because research continues to largely point to autism as one of the myriad of dysbiosis-based neurological / psychological pathologies, we should not be surprised that there are those out there who want to treat this creature with ANTIBIOTICS. The problem with this approach is that in similar fashion to C. Diff that I mentioned earlier, the cause and the cure are the same --- antibiotics --- which sets up vicious cycles. The one thing the authors mentioned that made a degree of sense was something called MTT (Microbiota Transfer Therapy), which is essentially an FMT preceded by two weeks of antibiotic therapy and in some cases COLONIC IRRIGATION or similar. I have not looked to see if it is as effective as FMT's are. I do remember a post from DR. ART AYERS saying that he was not a huge fan of "colon cleanses".
The authors concluded by saying, "multiple studies show that an abnormal gut microbiota is related to ASD. Many recent clinical studies have shown that treatments that regulate the gut microbiota result in improvements in ASD symptoms." This is super cool information for those of you who have autistic children. It means that if you are willing to step outside the box just a little bit, there's hope. The thing you have to remember is that the average therapist / physician who is treating autistic children is practicing way behind the times as far as current peer-review is concerned (HERE), and not likely to be up on much of this. My opinion is that if you ever hope to make any sort of real changes with your autistic child, you'll probably need to follow some of the advice provided in this study.
One final point for those of you who are still in the process of having children and growing your families; remember at the beginning of the post where I said I wanted to talk just a bit more about a particular "environmental toxicant and environmental factor"? There is no way we can control all of the zany amount of pollutants and toxic chemicals we or our children are exposed to on a daily basis. Just remember that no matter what our "TRUST-US" GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES continue to say concerning the autism / vaccine debate, the tide is slowing turning concerning what some of these toxicants might be.
In similar fashion to the way that Dr. Dean Burk was vindicated for decades of assertions that he was derided and criticized for --- that fluoride is indeed a CARCINOGENIC TOXIN ---- we are seeing some interesting studies come to light on things like MERCURY, ALUMINUM, formaldehyde, and other "VACCINE ADJUVANTS," that the government and mainstream medicine continues to say are safe. While these might be safe for many children --- possibly even the majority of our children --- when we start giving infants shots on day one, there is no conceivable way to test children for tolerance to such shots. Test?
Thanks to genetic testing, there are ways to know whether certain aspects of an individual's DETOXIFICATION SYSTEMS are working properly or not --- a huge deal considering the massive number of people with genetic mutations in their methylation pathways (MTHFR) --- some studies are saying as many as 50%. This will make more sense once you actually look at the CDC's own list of goodies commonly found in vaccines (HERE --- things I already mentioned plus formaldehyde, MSG, and others).
I find it interesting how numerous medical researchers are climbing on the autism / BPA bandwagon, for no other reason than, while I feel it's a valid target, it's definitely a politically correct target. Even suggesting the potential that vaccines could be one of many causes of dysbiosis in susceptible children or infants is not going to win you any favors with those funding your research. If he had not passed away a few years back, you could ask one of the 20th century's premier biomedical researchers, DR. HUGH FUDENBERG, whether or not studying vaccines as related to neurological damage has the potential to be career suicide.
GUT FLORA AND GUT HEALTH
THE MICROBIOME AS AN ENDOCRINE ORGAN
"The gut microbiota has recently been recognized as a key environmental factor driving metabolic diseases. In fact, the gut microbiota is even seen as a separate endocrine organ, which is involved, through a molecular crosstalk with the host, in the maintenance of host energy homeostasis and in the stimulation of host immunity. Shifts in gut microbial composition caused by external factors can result in a dramatic alteration of the symbiotic relationship between gut bacteria and the host, which promotes the development of metabolic diseases. In particular, the gut microbiota is believed to contribute to metabolic diseases via stimulation of low-grade inflammation." From a 2016 issue of Genome Medicine (Impact of the Gut Microbiota on Inflammation, Obesity, and Metabolic Disease)
There are two ways I typically date things; music and sporting events. 1976 was the year that the defending champion Big Red Machine (Cincinnati Reds) led by Joe Morgan, Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, and Ken Griffy, swept the hated Yankees (hey, I was a Royals fan). The Steelers squeaked by the Cowboys in the Super Bowl. And set to the background of the imminent Bicentennial celebration, the pre-Larry Celtics won yet another NBA Championship. Boston, Kansas, and the Eagles were on top of the music world, and Dr. KD Buchanan of Belfast Ireland's Royal Victoria Hospital was publishing a study called The Gut as an Endocrine Organ. Huh?
Not that I knew (or cared) one iota about this last fact in 1976 --- for Pete's sake I was only nine years old --- but it shows you that despite not being "officially" considered one of the ENDOCRINE ORGANS, people have been talking about THE GUT as a hormone-producing gland for a very long time (actually Bayliss and Starling were making some of these discoveries in the late 1800's).
We know that the Gut itself produces a number of hormones, but what about the bugs that live there (Gut Flora / MICROBIOME)? Considering what we already know (adipose tissue acts as an endocrine organ --- HERE, Gut Health plays a critical role in almost all aspects of health --- HERE, and fouled up flora can cause almost every health problem imaginable --- HERE), it shouldn't surprise us to see Gut Flora playing the role --- quite probably a significant role ---- as an endocrine organ. Let's just look at a few recent papers on this topic. Oh, and just for fun, here are a few of the songs people were listening to in 1976.
(1976) FLEETWOOD MAC "MONDAY MORNING"
- BLAME IT ALL ON YOUR GUT / MICROBIOME CONNECTION: Two years ago next month, FEMS Microbiology Reviews (Microbial Endocrinology: The Interplay Between the Microbiota and the Endocrine System) concluded that, "We now know that microbes influence metabolism, immunity and even behavior. One important but understudied mechanism appears to involve hormones. Although the precise pathways of microbiota-hormonal signaling have not yet been deciphered, specific changes in hormone levels correlate with the presence of the gut microbiota. The microbiota produces and secretes hormones, responds to host hormones and regulates expression levels of host hormones. We categorize these interactions by the different functions of the hormones, including those affecting behavior, sexual attraction, appetite and metabolism, gender, and immunity." This last sentence is interesting because I firmly believe that just like other neurological issues such as AUTISM, a significant part of our nation's gender dysphoria can be tied to disturbances in the microbiome, right along with ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS, MASS QUANTITIES OF SUGAR, and incessant CHEMICAL EXPOSURE.
- IBS, SIBO, FODMAPS, AND THE LINK TO THE NEUROENDOCRINE FUNCTION OF GUT FLORA: In 2012, the World Journal of Gastroenterology (Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Diagnosis and Pathogenesis) stated, "The pathogenesis of IBS seems to be multifactorial, with the following factors playing a central role in the pathogenesis of IBS: heritability and genetics, dietary/intestinal microbiota, low-grade inflammation, and disturbances in the neuroendocrine system (NES) of the gut. One hypothesis proposes that the cause of IBS is an altered NES, which would cause abnormal GI motility, secretions and sensation. All of these abnormalities are characteristic of IBS. Alterations in the NES could be the result of one or more of the following: genetic factors, dietary intake, intestinal flora, or low-grade inflammation. It is noteworthy that the role of FODMAPs and fibre on IBS symptoms is associated with intestinal flora. Moreover, differences in the diet, intestinal flora and inflammation affect the NES of the gut. The release of different gut hormones depends on the composition and quantity of ingested food, as the food content of FODMAPs and fibre, intestinal flora and the subsequent fermentation can increase intestinal osmotic pressure. This change in intestinal pressure can stimulate hormonal release, such as the release of serotonin. Likewise, inflammation and the release of secretory products from immune cells effects hormonal release and the proliferation of gut endocrine cells." I have not yet mentioned it, but 90% of your body's serotonin is manufactured in the Gut (HERE), which is why DEPRESSION is largely an inflammatory disease of the Gut. And as far a herititilbity, remember that thanks to our knowledge of epigenetics this is not nearly as big a deal as many would have you believe (HERE). Not sure what SIBO and FODMAPS are? That's why I left you the links.
- THE GUT MICROBIOME AFFECTS STEROID PRODUCTION I: A 2015 issue of Acta Pharmica Sinica B said, "Bile acids are hormones that regulate their own synthesis, transport, in addition to glucose and lipid homeostasis, and energy balance. The gut microbial community through their capacity to produce bile acid metabolites distinct from the liver can be thought of as an “endocrine organ” with potential to alter host physiology, perhaps to their own favor. We propose the term “sterolbiome” to describe the genetic potential of the gut microbiome to produce endocrine molecules form endogenous and exogenous steroids in the mammalian gut." Too many of these bile acids are associated with things like gallstones and even colon cancer, as well as having the potential to adversely affect FATTY ACID METABOLISM. Follow along because in part II this process gets really crazy really fast.
- THE GUT MICROBIOME AFFECTS STEROID PRODUCTION PART II. A BOOST FOR BODYBUILDERS? / BANE FOR THOSE CONCERNED WITH PCOS: What if there were a Gut bacteria that could turn the stress hormone CORTISOL --- a hormone known for its ability to make you fat --- into a precursor for testosterone? If you are one of Dr. Eric Serrano's merry band of hardcore strength athletes, this might (emphasis on might) be a good thing if you could somehow harness the process without creating a dysbiotic imbalance in the flora. However, if you are a female who is already epigentically prone to PCOS, it could prove disastrous. Four years ago this month, the Journal of Lipid Research discussed this potential in a study titled Clostridium Scindens: A Human Gut Microbe With a High Potential to Convert Glucocorticoids into Androgens (BTW, the term androgens refers to testosterone or its precursors). The rub is that according to THIS STUDY from 1988, the very precursor being discussed here (11β-OHA) is used, "as an indicator... of excess androgen production in women with polycystic ovaries."
- ENDOCRINE DYSFUNCTION (MICROBIOME INCLUDED) NOT ONLY MAKES YOU FAT BUT ADDICTS YOU TO UNHEALTHY FOODS: Just last year, Dove Medical Press published Recent Findings Within the Microbiota–Gut–Brain–Endocrine Metabolic Interactome. These researchers concluded that, "There is no question that each species of gut bacteria engage in complex biochemistry with the host and host systems, which we refer to here as “co-metabolism”, namely, the metabolism that occurs between the microbiome and host metabolic systems, eg, metabolism derived from such organs as the liver, the kidney, and other human metabolic processes and enzymes, In terms of one’s brain chemistry, leptin, ghrelin activity, and so forth are associated with the microbiota, and neurotransmitters involved in craving particular types of food, more than satiety factors, are the influence found with particular gut microbiota that can influence or help determine the types of foods you crave. Furthermore, the gut microbiota can reduce leptin sensitivity and the expression of obesity suppressing neuropeptides," An incredible study that's free and online helps explain why ADDICTIVE FOODS grab hold of brain and hijack normal neuroendocrine pathways.
- OBESITY, MICROBIOME, ENDOCRINE FUNCTION, AND FMT: Last year, Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology (The New Era of Treatment for Obesity and Metabolic Disorders: Evidence and Expectations for Gut Microbiome Transplantation) concluded that yes, "microbes residing in the human gastrointestinal tract have been found to act as an endocrine organ." They went on to talk about the relationship between DYSBIOSIS and OBESITY by stating, "Despite the promotion of numerous strategies for the prevention and treatment of obesity, most patients are refractory to treatment. Thus, new approaches are currently being sought to reduce the financial, social, and health consequences of the obesity epidemic. Recent research has implicated these microbes as having a significant role in the development of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Fecal microbiome transplantation has been suggested as a new method of altering the gut microbiota that may lead to beneficial metabolic changes." One more reason that FMT is the single most amazing therapy that no one you know has ever done -- at least for anything other than C. DIFF.
- GENETICS, EPIGENETICS, AND THE ENDOCRINE-LIKE GUT FLORA: A likewise excellent overview of this whole process --- this one from a 2013 issue of the Journal of Endocrinology (The Gut Microbiome: The Role of A Virtual Organ in the Endocrinology of the Host) --- spells it out. "In this review, we look at some of the best-characterized functions that only the gut microbiota plays and how it interacts with the host's endocrine system and we try to make it clear that the 21st-century biology cannot afford to ignore this facet of biology, if it wants to fully understand what makes us human. In the last decade, the paradigm that the human genome is the predominant driver of host health has shifted towards a more superorganism-based viewpoint, with the microbiome playing a significant role in influencing host physiology and function." Once again we see epigenetics (factors you can control) trumping genetics (factors you cannot). This is why it is critical to understand that your genetic makeup does not have as much power over your health as you have been led to believe (HERE).
- GUT FLORA PRODUCES NUMEROUS SUBSTANCES THAT ACT AS HORMONES, INCLUDING VITAMINS: In 2014, Oxford's Molecular Endocrinology (Minireview: Gut Microbiota: The Neglected Endocrine Organ) concluded that, "The gut microbiota performs a number of essential protective, structural, and metabolic functions for host health, including food processing, digestion of complex host-indigestible polysaccharides, pathogen displacement, and synthesis of vitamins. As well as a direct action on the gut mucosa and the enteric nervous system (ENS), the metabolic output of the gut microbiota gives it a reach well beyond the local GI compartment. Thus, considering the ability to influence the function of distal organs and systems, in many respects, the gut microbiota resembles an endocrine organ. Through this lens, the microbiota produces numerous chemicals of a hormonal nature that are released into the bloodstream and act at distal sites." There were plenty of studies talking about the hormone we call Vitamin D as well as others. My favorite expert on this topic of Gut-manufactured vitamins is Dr. Art Ayers (HERE). The other thing you need to be aware of is that despite what anyone tells you, there is a difference between natural vitamins (WHOLE FOOD VITAMINS) and synthetic chemical vitamins (HERE, HERE, and HERE).
- GUT FLORA PRODUCES HORMONES THAT AFFECT THE HEART VIA INFLAMMATORY PROCESSES: Last Fall, the journal Molecular Metabolism (How Gut Microbes Talk to Organs: The Role of Endocrine and Nervous Routes) concluded that, "Changes in gut microbiota composition and activity have been associated with different metabolic disorders, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiometabolic disorders. Recent evidence suggests that different organs are directly under the influence of bacterial metabolites that may directly or indirectly regulate physiological and pathological processes. We reviewed seminal as well as recent papers showing that gut microbes influence energy, glucose and lipid homeostasis by controlling different metabolic routes such as endocrine, enteric and central nervous system. These dialogues are discussed in the context of obesity and diabetes but also for brain pathologies and neurodegenerative disorders. The recent advances in gut microbiota investigation as well as the discovery of specific metabolites interacting with host cells has led to the identification of novel inter-organ communication during metabolic disturbances." INFLAMMATION will destroy your life in 10,000 different ways if you let it (click the link for a short list)! Tens of thousands of studies along these lines. Stick around and I'll show you how to help prevent / reverse the process.
- CHEMICAL ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS ADVERSELY AFFECT THE GUT FLORA: An outrageously cool study from the March 2016 issue of Biofilms and Microbiomes (The Gut Microbiota: A Major Player in the Toxicity of Environmental Pollutants?) talked about the microbiome as an endocrine gland, and then discussed some of the ways that toxic chemicals (we frequently refer to these as "ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS") can foul the endocrine system up via fouling up the microbiome. "Exposure to environmental chemicals has been linked to various health disorders, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer and dysregulation of the immune and reproductive systems, whereas the gastrointestinal microbiota critically contributes to a variety of host metabolic and immune functions. The literature indicates that gut microbes have an extensive capacity to metabolise environmental chemicals that can be classified in five core enzymatic families unequivocally involved in the metabolism of over 30 environmental contaminants. There is clear evidence that bacteria-dependent metabolism of pollutants modulates the toxicity for the host. Conversely, environmental contaminants from various chemical families have been shown to alter the composition and/or the metabolic activity of the gastrointestinal bacteria, which may be an important factor contributing to shape an individual’s microbiotype." In other words, your microbiome plays a huge part in your DETOX AND BIOTRANSFORMATION pathways. These chemicals have the ability to foul your microbiome to the point they can no longer clear said chemicals from their human environment, creating a vicious cycle. HERE is another study that throws heavy metals (ALUMINUM and MERCURY), PESTICIDES, FOOD ADDITIVES, and ANTIBIOTICS into the microbiomal mix as well. And if you are curious about BIOFILMS & HERXHEMER REACTIONS, just click the link.
- THE BRAIN, MICROBIOTA, DEPRESSION, NEUROENDOCRINE, NEURO-DEGENERATION CONNECTION: In 2013, the Polish journal Zurnal Mikrobiologii I Immunobiologii published a study called Intestinal-Brain Axis. Neuronal and Immune-Inflammatory Mechanisms of Brain and Intestine Pathology. This study began by saying, "Mutually directed connections between intestine and brain are implemented by endocrine, neural and immune systems and nonspecific natural immunity. Intestine micro flora as an active participant of intestine-brain axis not only influences intestine functions but also stimulates the development of CNS in perinatal period and interacts with higher nervous centers causing depression and cognitive disorders in pathology." After discussing the critical role of the MICROGLIA / GLIAL CELLS, it's final conclusions were that, "Glia implements neurotransmitter, immunologic, barrier and motoric functions in the intestine. An interconnection between intestine barrier function and hematoencephalic barrier regulation exists. Chronic endotoxinemia as a result of intestine barrier dysfunction forms sustained inflammation state of the brain with consequent destabilization of hematoencephalic barriers and spread of inflammation to other parts of the brain resulting in neurodegradation development." Catch this because it is important. The Gut Barrier System (can anyone say "Leaky Gut?) is intimately related to the BBB (Blood Brain Barrier). When EITHER SYSTEM FAILS, the result is Leaky Gut Syndrome and Leaky Brain Syndrome, that allow inflammation to infiltrate the brain and CNS (which also causes "Leaky Cord / Nerve Syndrome". For the record, you can read about all of the various forms of "the leakies" simply by clicking the link.
- THYROID PROBLEMS AND DYSBIOSIS: The August 2015 issue of the journal Endocrine (Does Microbiota Composition Affect Thyroid Homeostasis?) "The role of the intestinal tract is crucial in the metabolism of nutrients, drugs, and hormones, including exogenous and endogenous iodothyronines as well as micronutrients involved in thyroid homeostasis. However, the link between thyroid homeostasis and microbiota composition is not yet completely ascertained. A pathogenetic link with dysbiosis has been described in different autoimmune disorders but not yet fully elucidated in autoimmune thyroid disease which represents the most frequent of them." Many experts have been talking about this link in detail for years (HERE).
Here's the thing folks, not only could I have come up with way more bullets, I could have come up with numerous studies under each bullet. If you have not yet figured out that GUT HEALTH is a critical aspect of your overall health --- a veritable deal-breaker if it goes south --- it may prove difficult to truly regain or maintain your health. And this doesn't even touch on the importance of FASCIA AS AN ENDOCRINE ORGAN. To see what regaining your health and vitality (not to mention a normal weight) might look like, all you need to do is take a look at THIS SHORT POST. Oh; and don't forget to like, share, or follow on FACEBOOK as it's the best way to reach those you care about most with high-impact health related information.
WHAT IS THE HYGIENE HYPOTHESIS AND WHY IS IT THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT OF YOUR HEALTH YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF?Read Now
THE HYGIENE HYPOTHESIS
MAKING OR BREAKING YOUR FAMILY'S HEALTH
Simple; if you are not being exposed to a wide array of germs and organisms (bacteria, viruses, molds, fungi, PARASITES, etc) from the time you are born, your chances of developing any number of diseases goes up significantly. The kicker is that once you lose Immune Tolerance (OR FAIL TO ESTABLISH IT IN THE FIRST PLACE), your body begins seeing itself --- its various organs, glands, cells, tissues, enzymes, etc --- as foreign. And once the body recognizes something as foreign, it begins attacking. Can anyone say AUTOIMMUNITY?
Although people have been talking about this theory for centuries, the first person to actually coin the term 'Hygiene Hypothesis' was one David Strachan, a Professor of Epidemiology at London's St. George's University. His discoveries were published in a 1989 issue of the British Medical Journal (Hay Fever, Hygiene, and Household Size). Interestingly enough, he began that study by saying, "Hay fever has been described as a post-industrial revolution epidemic". In other words, Hay Fever was not an issue as long as people largely lived agrarian lifestyles, with regular exposure to dirt, dust, manure, animals, etc, etc, and were not being exposed to the medications we'll discuss in a moment. He went on to say that, "infection in early childhood, transmitted by unhygienic contact with older siblings," prevented said allergic diseases (Hay Fever) in the younger siblings. Needless to say, in a society whose physicians basically promote cradle-to-grave germophobia, this idea went over like a proverbial lead balloon --- at least initially. But by Y2K momentum was shifting.
Quick history fact; the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. In the early 1990's, Dr Erika Von Mutius, a German pediatrician, ran a series of experiments comparing the rates of ASTHMA and ALLERGIES between East German children who typically grew up poor and dirty under the effects of COMMUNISM-INDUCED POVERTY, and West German children, who on average had about as high a standard of living as you'll find anywhere in Europe. She expected to see that cleanliness really is next to Godliness; at least as far as allergies and asthma were concerned. Instead she saw the exact opposite. The dirtier the children, the less likely they were to have A&A. Today there are literally thousands upon thousands of similar studies --- many having to do with autoimmune diseases (HERE'S ONE). To see where Dr. Erika's work has taken her over the past two decades, HERE is a cool study from last March's issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology that sums up this topic.
Are there legitimate physicians and researchers who actually know their way around this subject, yet still deny the Hygiene Hypothesis exists? Sure there are --- kind of. After reading last July's Perspectives in Public Health (Time to Abandon the Hygiene Hypothesis: New Perspectives on Allergic Disease, the Human Microbiome, Infectious Disease Prevention and the Role of Targeted Hygiene), I began to see what the "deniers" looked like and were really after. Despite having to admit that the premises of the Hygiene Hypothesis are real --- "Evidence suggests a combination of strategies, including natural childbirth, breast feeding, increased social exposure through sport, other outdoor activities, less time spent indoors, diet and appropriate antibiotic use, may help restore the microbiome and perhaps reduce risks of allergic disease." --- the scientists went on to complain that what they hated most was that one of their medical words (hygiene) had been hijacked. Thus, their demand that, "The term ‘hygiene hypothesis’ must be abandoned." I saw this same theme repeated in numerous articles and studies --- never denying that the phenomenon is real, but detesting the language used to describe it.
Case in point; writing for PNAS back in February (News Feature: Cleaning up the Hygiene Hypothesis), Megan Scudellari made essentially the same appeal, which carried two distinct points. The first is what I talked about in the last paragraph --- that the term "Hygiene Hypothesis" does not really explain what's going on because it's too broad, covers too much territory, and alters the common medical meaning of the word "hygiene". The second had to do with the fact that even though the data does not lie (there is an inarguable relationship between hygiene --- or the lack thereof --- and a slew of health-related factors and diseases), the Hygiene Hypothesis cannot be true because there is no one-size-fits-all probiotic "cure".
"The second major concern among researchers is a lack of evidence demonstrating how to reduce rates of allergic and autoimmune diseases. Although there are hundreds of observational and epidemiological studies supporting a more nuanced theory that moves beyond the hygiene hypothesis, there are only a few randomized, controlled prospective studies testing interventions to reregulate the immune system. These include an experimental infection with helminths to treat IBD, which met with mixed results, and probiotics treatments for illnesses ranging from severe acute pancreatitis to eczema. In some cases, probiotics alleviated symptoms, but, in others, they had no effect."
Scudellari's mistake is that she is looking at this problem through the lens of other medical treatments. Your testosterone is low? We'll just give you some testosterone (HERE). Not enough insulin to lower your blood sugar? We have drugs that do the same thing (HERE). Feeling a bit down because presumably your body is not making enough neurotransmitters (serrotonin / dopamine)? We'll start pumping the ANTIDEPRESSANTS. And of course all women need HRT.
The problem is, not only does this short-sighted approach always fail over the long run, it suppresses your body's natural negative feedback loops, frequently leaving you worse than when you started (when's the last time insulin helped a TYPE II DIABETIC actually solve their problem?). And here's the rub; there are only about a jillion studies showing that all of these problems are INFLAMMATORY IN NATURE and intimately linked to one's MICROBIOME (the numbers and ratios of the various strains of bacteria found in the Gut). If that's really the case, why can't we just give everyone a probiotic? It's really quite easy to understand.
Scudallari is certainly right about one thing --- studies on PROBIOTICS are all over the map (my friend Dr. Eric Serrano -- an OB/GYN, past head of a major ICU, expert in FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE, and nutritional specialist for elite strength athletes --- sometimes lectures on the potential side effects of probiotics). For every study that "proves" a certain disease can be beneficially affected by taking a probiotic, another study seems to "prove" otherwise. In other words, probiotics are the definition of a 'mixed bag'. Frankly, I'm not surprised, and you shouldn't be either.
Depending on whose research you look at, a normal human microbiome contains something like 300 to 600 strains of bacteria, give or take. These bacteria must work in tandem with each other; like members of an orchestra. All it takes is one member out of tune or rhythm for the music to start sounding "off". Get a few more members off key or out of rhythm and the whole thing starts devolving into chaos.
It's why even though I do not do them in my clinic, I have a DOZEN OR SO ARTICLES on FMT (Fecal Microbiota Transplants); one of them explaining why taking generic probiotic formulas with 1, 2, 8, or even 15 strains of bacteria, is not going to be enough to reestablish and heal the microbiota of many people --- especially really sick people (HERE). But when the alternate to probiotics is DANGEROUS DRUGS, what have you got to lose? Worst case scenario, it doesn't work. What are you out? A couple bottles of probiotics? Who cares! And as for those weird studies showing amazing benefits for many people purposefully being infected with parasitic worms known as HELMINTHS, there isn't "a" study as in one, there are dozens of such studies; many of which show promising results for those with IBS or IBD that has not responded to anything else.
Today, there are tens of thousands of studies concerning the HYGIENE HYPOTHESIS --- many, if not most, having to do with the MICROBIOME (on Pubmed, search for Gut Flora, Microbiome, Microbiota, Hygiene Hypothesis, Autoimmunity, etc, etc). The thing that's so astounding is that you can name virtually any disease that's NOT 100% GENETIC (something like Down's or Cystic Fibrosis), head on over to PubMed, and find studies linking it to GUT HYGIENE. In fact, I just showed you how all diseases are intimately related to each other and are only slightly different variations of the exact metabolic dysfunctions (HERE). You can also find thousands of studies showing how severely antibiotics affect your natural "hygiene" as well --- causing almost every disease you can imagine, including cancer (HERE).
WHAT'S THE POINT?
We already know that antibiotics will destroy your health in more ways than you can shake a stick at (Hygiene Hypothesis in action --- HERE). We also know that most drugs, to at least some degree, act like antibiotics (HERE). The cherry on top is that the absurd number of CHEMICALS (vaccines included --- see some of the links in the next paragraph) that we are exposed to daily always have deleterious effects on gut flora and microbiome (HERE); never beneficial.
If you are interested in reading more on this topic, I put several posts together (HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE). If you are chronically ill or dealing with CHRONIC PAIN, you might want to take a look at THIS POST as well. The super cool thing about my site is that I have nothing up my sleeve and am not trying to sell you anything. I'm simply trying to help you find the most up-to-date information in the field of natural health --- information that will hopefully help you begin the process of transforming your health and your life. Oh; and if you like what you are seeing, be sure to like, share, or follow us on FACEBOOK.
WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SIBO (SMALL INTESTINAL BACTERIAL OVERGROWTH) AND IBS (IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME)?Read Now
SIBO (SMALL INTESTINAL BACTERIAL OVERGROWTH)
AND IBS (IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME)
WHAT'S THE RELATIONSHIP?
The September issue of Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Diseases (Gastrointestinal Bacterial Overgrowth: Pathogenesis and Clinical Significance) said that, "Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is defined as the presence of an abnormally high number of coliform bacteria [bacteria present in the large intestine and feces] in the small bowel. The most common symptoms associated with SIBO include diarrhea, flatulence, abdominal pain and bloating. The prevalence of SIBO in IBS varies from 30 to 85% depending on the source used. The prevalence of SIBO in liver cirrhosis is 50% and in celiac disease, the prevalence of SIBO in some studies is also estimated to be 50%. Interestingly, in asymptomatic morbidly obese patients the prevalence of SIBO was noted to be 17%." In other words, SIBO is far from uncommon.
As far as IBS is concerned, About IBS dot com says that, "Irritable bowel syndrome is the most common functional gastrointestinal disorder with worldwide prevalence rates in the area of 10–15%. IBS is the most common disorder diagnosed by gastroenterologists and accounts for up to 12% of total visits to primary care providers. There are between 2.4 and 3.5 million annual physician visits for IBS in the United States alone." MedScape parrots these statistics, adding to it that "only 3.3% are medically diagnosed." In essence, this means that these doctor visits are being driven by the very worst of the worst. The others --- like many of you --- are just sucking it up and living with it. BTW, I saw a major study from the past few months saying the international prevalence of IBS could be be over 20%. That would be 1 in 5 or about 65,000,000 Americans and about 1,500,000,000 worldwide.
As for the gas --- one of the single most distinguishing characteristics of both SIBO and IBS --- it is both foul-smelling and toxic. That's right; toxic. Several studies actually discuss IBS/SIBO-associated health issues in relation to CDT's (Cytolethal Distending Toxins), about which Wikipedia says, "toxins produced by certain gram-negative bacteria that trigger cell cycle arrest, leading to the enlarged or distended cells for which these toxins are named. Affected cell lines (including human fibroblasts, epithelial cells, endothelial cells, and keratinocytes) die by apoptosis [programmed cellular destruction]. CDT's are classified as AB toxins, with an active ("A") subunit that directly damages DNA. Many of these bacteria infect humans. Bacteria that produce CDTs often persistently colonize their host." In other words, not only are these creatures vile, they can be tough to get rid of as well. We'll talk more about how that's done later in the post. Oh, and don't ever underestimate the importance of the epithelial cells they mention (THE LEAKIES) or FIBROBLASTS.
Because the stomach is (OR AT LEAST SHOULD BE) extremely acidic, it acts as one of the defense mechanisms preventing bacteria from getting into the small intestine from the top of the GI tract (for an overview of digestion, ENDOGUT is the place to go). At the beginning of the small intestine the relatively few bacteria found there will be gram positive and at the end of the GI tract, they'll be gram negative. Due to the gas producing features of these bacteria, the bowel (large intestine) distends, compromising the doorway between small and large intestine (the illeocecal valve), thus allowing large amounts of gas to enter the small intestine. Interestingly enough, these gasses can be easily tested for using various breath tests. Hydrogen-based gases tend to cause diarrhea, while methane-based gases tend to cause constipation. One of the hallmarks of IBS for many individuals is that they make both gasses, depending on what they eat --- one reason they have alternating diarrhea and constipation
Although there are some physicians and researchers who say that the relationship between IBS and SIBO is controversial (for instance, this month's issue of Current Opinion in Gastroenterology published a study called Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth as A Cause for Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Guilty or Not Guilty?), my humble opinion is that peer-review is clear on the subject. Not only is there a relationship, the scientific literature shows it to be both robust and underestimated --- a thought echoed by the title of a study in the August 2015 issue of Neurogastroenterology and Motility (Possible Underestimation of SIBO in IBS Patients).
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of the SIBO / IBS relationship, I want to show you a few things you need to at least thinking about. Because IBS is autoimmune, and because autoimmune diseases tend to travel in packs, there are very specific health issues that have been associated with this problem. Not surprisingly, it's been linked to INCREASED INTESTINAL PERMEABILITY in the large intestine (do not confuse this with diarrhea) as well as autoimmunity itself (HERE). Other studies have linked things as seemingly unrelated as rosacea (facial redness) and RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME (both are autoimmune diseases) to both SIBO and IBS. We'll get to the Depression / IBS / SIBO link shortly.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SIBO AND IBS
- The March 2017 issue of Gut and Liver (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth and Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Bridge between Functional Organic Dichotomy) revealed who is most susceptible to the IBS / SIBO combo. "Female gender, older age, diarrhea-predominant IBS, bloating and flatulence, proton pump inhibitor and narcotic intake, and low hemoglobin are associated with SIBO among IBS patients." What should we take away from this? Remember that ANEMIA is a deal-breaker as far as fixing any chronic issue is concerned. Also, women are far more likely to develop autoimmunity than men. I'll deal with PPI's later. Furthermore, we see why the breath tests work so well. "Eighty percent of the gases like hydrogen and methane are eliminated with the flatus and the remaining 20% are absorbed and exhaled by lung, which can be measured in breath." Lastly we learn about the, "paradigm shift in understanding this disorder, hitherto thought to be predominantly psychogenic in nature." In other words, even though the problem is FUNCTIONAL AND NOT PATHOLOGICAL, it's not simply in the patient's head as was believed for decades.
- Last June's issue of Gastroenterology Research and Practice (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Clinical Characteristics, Psychological Factors, and Peripheral Cytokines) dealt with the INFLAMMATION both created and caused by this issue, saying "Bacterial products, such as endotoxins, can affect gut motility. Gut bacteria are also important for activating an immune response. Immune-mediated cytokines have multiple actions. there is a large body of work demonstrating that patients with IBS have low-grade immune activation, and associations between psychological state and stress and immune activation have been detected in mucosa. Results from animal experiments suggest that low-grade gut inflammation can alter gastrointestinal tract motor function and that gut motility abnormalities can further predispose to bacterial overgrowth.... Previous studies have confirmed that anxiety and depression are more common in patients with functional gut and intestinal disorders than in the healthy population, particularly in patients with IBS, as confirmed here. Anxiety, depression, and life event stress were more prevalent in patients with IBS than in healthy controls." Inflammatory ENDOTOXINS (lipopolysaccharides) are commonly seen in the IBS / SIBO combo, while ANXIETY / DEPRESSION are both considered to be inflammatory disorders.
- Just so you are aware, this is not just an adult problem --- not by a long shot. Back in 2009, the journal Pediatrics published a study called Prevalence of Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth in Children with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The authors, seven gastroenterologists from Rome's University of Sacred Heart Gemelli Hospital, concluded that, "The prevalence of abnormal [breath test] results were significantly higher in patients with IBS (65%) with respect to control subjects (7%). Results from this study suggest a significant epidemiologic association between SIBO and IBS in childhood." What does this ultimately mean for your children? Stick around to find out.
All of this is great information and important to know if you struggle with this problem. But so far, I haven't covered much having to do with addressing / solving / fixing the problem. This section is short folks, and is where the rubber meets the road as far as dealing with IBS and SIBO are concerned! Oh; as far as diagnosis is concerned, you can do the breath tests, but honestly, if you have problems with gas coming from either end of your digestive tract after a meal, you have some degree of SIBO.
TREATMENT OF SIBO AND IBS WITH SOMETHING THAT CAUSES THE PROBLEM IN THE FIRST PLACE.... ANTIBIOTICS
ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS FOR IBS & SIBO
A year ago in January, the World Journal of Gastroenterology asked a question via the title of a study --- Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome an Infectious Disease? Listen to their own conclusions. "Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common of all gastroenterological diseases, with a worldwide prevalence of 7%-21%. The presence of small intestinal bowel overgrowth (SIBO) has been documented in patients with IBS and reductions in SIBO as determined by breath testing correlate with IBS symptom improvement in clinical trials. The incidence of new onset IBS symptoms following acute infectious gastroenteritis also suggests an infectious cause. Alterations in microbiota-host interactions may compromise epithelial barrier integrity, immune function, and the development and function of both central and enteric nervous systems explaining alterations in the brain-gut axis." Not surprisingly the authors concluded that IBS is an infectious disease.
Don't, however, confuse infectious with communicable (at least in most cases). Due to the pressure of the excess gas, the bacteria is being forced up the small intestine from the bottom via post-meal distension and bloating --- the most defining characteristic of IBS / SIBO. This pressure opens the illeocecal valve, allowing both gas and bacteria into the small intestine. But besides ANTIBIOTICS, which we know will automatically create more dysbiosis, what can be done? For starters, let's look at a study done by nine gastroenterologists from the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Internal Medicine (Herbal Therapy Is Equivalent to Rifaximin for the Treatment of Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) and published in the May 2014 issue of Global Advances in Health and Medicine.
"SIBO is widely prevalent in a tertiary referral gastroenterology practice. Patients with SIBO have chronic intestinal and extraintestinal symptomatology which adversely affects their quality of life. Present treatment of SIBO is limited to oral antibiotics with variable success. One hundred and four patients who tested positive for newly diagnosed SIBO by lactulose breath testing were offered either rifaximin 1200 mg daily vs herbal therapy for 4 weeks. Of the 37 patients who received herbal therapy, 46% had a negative follow-up LBT compared to 34% of rifaximin users. Adverse effects were reported among the rifaximin treated arm including 1 case of anaphylaxis, 2 cases of hives, 2 cases of diarrhea and 1 case of Clostridium difficile. Only one case of diarrhea was reported in the herbal therapy arm, which did not reach statistical significance. Herbal therapies are at least as effective as rifaximin for resolution of SIBO. Herbals also appear to be as effective as triple antibiotic therapy for SIBO rescue therapy for rifaximin non-responders."
Did you catch that folks? Nine GI specialists from a major medical institution said that HERBAL TREATMENT is not just as good as, but better than, the medical standard of care --- rifaximin. Furthermore, said herbal remedies are at least as effective as the triple antibiotic therapy given to those who don't respond to rifaximin. Let the magnitude of these conclusions sink in for a moment. Not surprisingly there are some very good herbal formulas out there. There is also some total junk. The bottom line, however, whether we are talking about antibiotics or herbs, there are other steps that must be taken if you hope to solve the SIBO / IBS combination over the long haul.
- CHANGE YOUR DIET: Foods that produce gas (sugar -- especially fructose in the form of something called FODMAPS) must be eliminated. I've dealt with FODMAPS extensively in the past. FODMAPS also happen to mimic the GI portion of Gluten Sensitivity (HERE). Also be aware that FIBER and many common PROBIOTICS have the potential to cause bloating and distension as well. For those of you with hardcore sugar / carb addictions, THESE POSTS might be right up your alley. Bottom line is that you will need to be on a FODMAP-free, GLUTEN FREE, PALEO DIET that cuts all GRAINS and BEANS as well as DAIRY and many FRUITS. You'll also want to focus on consuming GOOD FATS. I always recommend an ELIMINATION DIET to figure out exactly what you are sensitive to.
- GET OFF THE ANTIBIOTICS: I've shown you in the past why antibiotics are arguably the single most dangerous drugs that people are regularly prescribed from cradle to grave (HERE). Worse yet is that the more of them you take, the more you'll need because they hammer the bacteria that make up 80% OF YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM. Antibiotics create all sorts of physiological vicious cycles that will sooner or later destroy your health (see first link in bullet).
- GET OFF THE PROTON PUMP INHIBITORS: Without going into great deal here, suffice it to say that the acid-blocking drugs known as PPI'S are both extremely common and heavily associated with the double-headed monster known as IBS / SIBO. BTW, the warning labels on these drugs say that you cannot be on them more than three times a year for more than two weeks at a time.
- ADDRESS MOTILITY ISSUES: Based on the work of FUNCTIONAL NEUROLOGIST Dr Ted Carrick, there are exercises to address the motility issues by stimulating certain parts of your brain, your cranial nerves, or your enteric nervous system. Some of these include gargling, gagging, and ENEMAS / COLONICS. As your healthcare provider because all of them might not be right for your particular situation.
- ADDRESS GUT HEALTH: Because many of those dealing with these sorts of issues can't do fermented foods or probiotics, it makes it tough to not only address their intestinal permeability issues, but their MICROBIOME as well. Depending on what's feeding the problem or how severe it is, FMT might prove beneficial in some situations.
Every day there are people getting off the MEDICAL MERRY-GO-ROUND by creating their own EXIT STRATEGIES. And while there are no one-size-fits-all "cures," there are steps to take that will help most of you not only understand what's wrong with you, but start successfully addressing it as well.
LEAKY GUT SYNDROME: THE MOST IGNORED, MISUNDERSTOOD, MISREPRESENTED, AND MISDIAGNOSED HEALTH PROBLEM IN AMERICARead Now
NEW RESEARCH ON INCREASED INTESTINAL PERMEABILITY
(LEAKY GUT SYNDROME)
Cells are tightly packed, having slight spaces in between for tiny particles (nutrition) to pass.
Due to inflammation, the junctions between cells gets wider. Bigger molecules enter the bloodstream.
As the process continues, large gaps form, allowing a vast array of nasties into general circulation.
If I had time to do it, it would have been easy to find hundreds of similar online statements concerning LEAKY GUT SYNDROME. In light of the thousands upon thousands of peer-reviewed studies on the subject, this has become the biomedical equivalent of denying the Holocaust. When you start digging into the research, you quickly realize that the two sides of the coin representing true "Gut Health" (MICROBIOME / DYSBIOSIS and epithelial barrier dysfunction --- LGS) have, along with FECAL MICROBIOTA TRANSPLANTATION, arguably been the hottest topics in health-related research for at least half a decade. What makes denial that much more egregious is the fact that there are several simple and inexpensive DIY home-tests for Intestinal Permeability.
As for the reasons for this denial, it's simple. The average physician is locked into where they put their faith and what they do --- drugs and surgery. Once one realizes that not only are there not any medications that effectively treat LGS, but that lots of medications --- not just ANTIBIOTICS --- actually cause (or at least contribute to LGS and dysbiosis -- HERE), it's easy to see why keeping their heads in the sand is the usual modus oporandi. Or shutting you down if you bring it up to them. "Oh Mrs Johnson; you've been reading Schierling's qackery again, haven't you?"
Leaky Gut goes by any number of names in the scientific literature, although it is becoming more common to actually see it referred to as such. In today's post we are not going to cover Gut Epithelial Barrier Dysfunction / Intestinal Hyperpermeability (LGS) as it relates to common problems such as DEPRESSION, OBESITY, DIABETES, etc, etc --- if you want those, they and numerous other "mainstream" diseases can be found under my previous articles on the topic (see earlier link on LGS). Today I am going to show you the weird stuff, using peer-review from the last few months, I want you to see a few of the crazy numbers of crazy health issues that are related to Leaky Gut Syndrome. What I really want you to pay attention to as you read this is just how far apart mainstream medical practice is from mainstream medical research --- a gap I've repeatedly said makes the GRAND CANYON LOOK LIKE A DITCH.
(All quotes are cherry-picked due to restraints on time and space)
- ROOT CANALS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH LEAKY GUT SYNDROME: I've shown you previously how many experts believe ROOT CANALS act as reservoirs of occult infection. Just last week, the journal Molecular Neurobiology (Increased Root Canal Endotoxin Levels are Associated with Chronic Apical Periodontitis, Increased Oxidative and Nitrosative Stress, Major Depression, Severity of Depression, and a Lowered Quality of Life) revealed that, "Evidence indicates that major depression is accompanied by increased translocation of gut commensal Gram-negative bacteria (leaky gut) and consequent activation of oxidative and nitrosative (O&NS) pathways. There were significant and positive associations between CAP (chronic apical periodontitis) or root canal endotoxin with the vegetative and physio-somatic symptoms of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale as well as a significant inverse association between root canal endotoxin and quality of life with strong effects on psychological, environmental, and social domains. It is concluded that increased root canal lipopolysaccharide accompanying CAP may cause depression and a lowered quality of life, which may be partly explained by activated O&NS pathways, especially NOx thereby enhancing hypernitrosylation and thus neuroprogressive processes. Dental health and "leaky teeth" may be intimately linked to the etiology and course of depression, while significantly impacting quality of life." Just click the link to see that this thought process is becoming mainstream, even though experts on natural health (that both happened to be renowned dentists --- Drs. LEE & PRICE) were talking about this dilemma 80 years ago. Hang with me because we'll talk more about lipopolysaccharides (endotoxins) momentarily
- INTESTINAL HYPERPERMEABILITY IS A KNOWN LINK BETWEEN METABOLIC SYNDROME AND MOOD DISORDERS: One of the drums that I've beat over and over again is that numerous health issues --- particularly CHRONIC PAIN SYNDROMES, CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY DISEASES, and AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES --- should be viewed systemically, as whole body health issues. Listen to what the journal Progress in Neuropsychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry (Shared Metabolic and Immune-Inflammatory, Oxidative and Nitrosative Stress Pathways in the Metabolic Syndrome and Mood Disorders) said just two short weeks ago. "This review examines the shared immune-inflammatory, oxidative and nitrosative stress and metabolic pathways underpinning metabolic syndrome, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder. Shared pathways in both metabolic syndrome and mood disorders are low grade inflammation..... and increased bacterial translocation (leaky gut). Mood disorders should be viewed as systemic neuro-metabolic disorders." Bacterial translocation simply means that the tight junctions between the epithelial cells of the Gut lining have gotten loose enough to start allowing bacteria through. Not pleasant or healthy. It's caused by inflammation. Figure out what's driving your inflammation, solve your Leaky Gut!
- LEAKY GUT CONTRIBUTES TO ALCOHOLISM AND VICE VERSA: Last month's issue of Neuropharmacology (A Role for the Peripheral Immune System in the Development of Alcohol Use Disorders?) concluded that, "Preclinical studies have largely supported that alcohol-consumption induces the development of an important neuro-inflammation and this neuro-inflammation contributes to alcohol-drinking behaviors. Ethanol in particular interacts with the intestine to develop a gut dysbiosis and an increase in gut permeability, that allows the liberation of bacterial fragments to the systemic circulation and induces a pro-inflammatory response in the systemic circulation and peripheral organs, and in particular the liver. Peripheral cytokines or activated peripheral cells may cross the blood-brain barrier and activate neuro-inflammation. In humans, peripheral inflammation and intestinal dysbiosis are related to symptoms of alcohol use disorders, such as depression, anxiety and alcohol-craving, However, the dysbiosis, could also participate in a different manner to the symptomatology of the addiction, possibly by interacting with the stress system, by interfering with the sleep processes and altering the abilities for social interactions. The role of the gut suggests that interventions with probiotics or prebiotics might in the future be of interest for the treatment of the addiction." We shouldn't be surprised considering what we know about dysbiosis as related to sugar consumption (it's the fuel), and the fact that alcohol is metabolized in the body like sugar. Speaking of sugar.....
- SUGAR CONSUMPTION CAUSES INCREASED INTESTINAL PERMEABILITY: Why should we be surprised considering sugar feeds both cancer and infection (HERE and HERE)? In a March study from the Journal of Nutrition (Intestinal Barrier Function and the Gut Microbiome Are Differentially Affected in Mice Fed a Western-Style Diet or Drinking Water Supplemented with Fructose) we see just how bad sugar affects the Gut. "High fructose intake increased endotoxin translocation 2.6 and 3.8 fold in the groups fed the control diet + fructose and Western Style Diet + fructose, respectively, compared with the control group." Among an array of other problems you can read about if you want to, this diet caused certain strains of bacteria to increase by 33,000% (not a misprint) --- the ultimate definition of dysbiosis. "The consumption of a Western Style Diet or high fructose intake differentially affects gut permeability and the microbiome." Never forget that as bad as white sugar is, HFCS is worse.
- OVERWEIGHT PREGNANCY CAUSES INCREASED INTESTINAL PERMEABILITY Last month's issue of Metabolism (Increased Intestinal Permeability, Measured by Serum Zonulin, is Associated with Metabolic Risk Markers in Overweight Pregnant Women) revealed that, "Increased intestinal permeability with subsequent metabolic endotoxemia (elevated circulating levels of bacterial lipopolysaccharide), has been introduced as a novel initiator of obesity related metabolic disturbances in non-pregnant individuals. Serum zonulin was analyzed using ELISA, and markers for metabolic endotoxemia (LPS), inflammation (high-sensitive C-reactive protein and glycoprotein acetylation GlyA), glucose metabolism (fasting glucose and insulin), and lipid metabolism were measured. Higher serum zonulin concentration associated positively with LPS, inflammatory markers, insulin, insulin resistance, and triglycerides, and negatively with insulin sensitivity. Increased intestinal permeability contributes to metabolic endotoxemia, systemic inflammation, and insulin resistance in overweight pregnant women."
- LOSING WEIGHT HAS BENEFICIAL EFFECTS ON LEAKY GUT SYNDROME: The most common cause of Fatty Liver Disease (Hepatic Seatosis) is obesity. January's issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Gut Permeability is Related to Body Weight, Fatty Liver Disease, and Insulin Resistance in Obese Individuals Undergoing Weight Reduction) concluded that, "Intestinal permeability is increased in obese patients with steatosis compared with obese patients without. The increased permeability fell to within the previously reported normal range after weight reduction." In other words, the more obese one is, the greater the chances of both a Leaky Gut and a Fatty Liver. The cool thing is that both can be effectively dealt with via WEIGHT LOSS.
- WESTERN DIET, ENDOTOXEMIA, AND THE LEAKY GUT: Endotoxemia is defined by Dictionary dot com as "The presence of endotoxins in the blood, which, if derived from gram-negative rod-shaped bacteria, may cause hemorrhages, necrosis of the kidneys, and shock." We've talked a couple of times about lipopolysaccharides. Just realize that they are synonymous with the word endotoxin. In other words, the whole mess is essentially the result of dysbiosis. Last month's issue of the American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology, and Metabolism (Western-Diet Consumption Induces Alteration of Barrier Function Mechanisms in the Ileum that Correlates with Metabolic Endotoxemia.....) bore this out when it concluded that diet is related to dysbiosis, and that, "ileal mucosal defense impairment induced by Western Diet feeding contributes to metabolic endotoxemia." The study's title shows exactly how this is related to a Leaky Gut (altered barrier function).
- ANOREXIA NERVOSA RELATED TO LEAKY GUT SYNDROME: January's issue of the European Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (Food Matters: How the Microbiome and Gut–Brain Interaction Might Impact the Development and Course of Anorexia Nervosa) starts out by saying, "Anorexia nervosa (AN) is one of the most common chronic illnesses in female adolescents and exhibits the highest mortality risk of all psychiatric disorders (less than 50% of patients with AN fully recover). Evidence for the effectiveness of psychotherapeutic or psychopharmacological interventions is weak." After talking extensively about the Gut / Brain / Endocrine System Axis (read about it on ENDOGUT) the authors concluded that, "There is growing evidence that the gut microbiota influences weight regulation and psychopathology, such as anxiety and depression. A “leaky gut”, characterized by antigens traversing the intestinal wall, was demonstrated in an animal model of AN, and could underlie the low-grade inflammation and increased risk of autoimmune diseases found in AN. The so-called “leaky gut” (increased intestinal permeability) might facilitate the transfer of potentially pathogenic members of the microbiota (i.e. “pathobionts”), metabolites, toxins or lipopolysaccharides from the gut lumen to the lamina propria and on to the mesenteric lymph nodes, from which they may reach systemic circulation, especially in the case of an aberrant immune response Moreover, starvation has a substantial impact on the gut microbiome...... This review discusses how consideration of gut–brain interactions may be important for treatment regarding the determination of target weight, rapidity of weight gain, refeeding methods and composition of the diet which might all be of importance to improve long-term outcome of one of the most chronic psychiatric disorders of adolescence." Incredible study, although it leans toward veganism as opposed to the types of diet I prefer my chronically sick patients to eat (GAPS, PALEO, KETOGENIC, etc). Plainly stated, anorexic individuals need quality protein and plenty of it. Not impossible, but certainly tougher to do without eggs, fish, RED MEAT, etc, etc, not to mention the beneficial effects of animal fats on the brain (HERE).
- EXERCISE AFFECTS INTESTINAL PERMEABILITY IN TWO DISTINCT WAYS: Two months ago, the March issue of Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity published an amazing and detailed study called Exercise Modifies the Gut Microbiota with Positive Health Effects, with a bio alone that was worth the price of admission. While the authors showed that exercise is undoubtedly beneficial as far as GUT HEALTH is concerned, they provided a caveat that I have warned people about (particularly hardcore runners) for a long time --- that too much exercise can actually cause intestinal hyperpermeability. "Prolonged exercise also determines an increase of intestinal permeability, compromising gut-barrier function and resulting in bacterial translocation from the colon [into the blood stream]." Conversely, "Low intensity exercise can influence the gastrointestinal tract, reducing the transient stool time [making you regular] and thus the contact time between the pathogens and the gastrointestinal mucus layer. As a consequence, it seems that exercise has protective effects, reducing the risk of colon cancer, diverticulosis, and inflammatory bowel disease. Collectively, the available data strongly support that exercise appears to determine changes in the qualitative and quantitative gut microbial composition with possible benefits for the host. In fact, stable and enriched microflora diversity is indispensable to the homeostasis and normal gut physiology [is your Gut leaky or not?] contributing also to suitable signaling along the brain-gut axis and to the healthy status of the individual. Exercise is able to enrich the microflora diversity; to improve the Bacteroidetes-Firmicutes ratio which could potentially contribute to reducing weight, obesity-associated pathologies, and gastrointestinal disorders; to stimulate the proliferation of bacteria which can modulate mucosal immunity and improve barrier functions [LGS], resulting in reduction in the incidence of obesity and metabolic diseases; and to stimulate bacteria capable of producing substances that protect against gastrointestinal disorders and colon cancer."
- LEAKY GUT SYNDROME AND GULF WAR SYNDROME: I have heard any number of theories about what causes Gulf War Syndrome --- exposure of DIET SODA in ALUMINUM CANS to extreme heat, freaky numbers of freaky VACCINATIONS, chemical warfare, etc, etc, etc. Without getting into that debate, the March issue of PLoS One carried a study called Altered Gut Microbiome in a Mouse Model of Gulf War Illness Causes Neuroinflammation and Intestinal Injury Via Leaky Gut and TLR4 Activation. This rather amazing study by a team of 16 MD / Ph.D researchers concluded that, "Many of the symptoms of Gulf War Illness that include neurological abnormalities, neuroinflammation, chronic fatigue and gastrointestinal disturbances have been traced to Gulf War chemical exposure. Using an established rodent model of Gulf War Illness, we show that chemical exposure caused significant dysbiosis in the gut that included increased abundance of phylum Firmicutes and Tenericutes, and decreased abundance of Bacteroidetes. Altered microbiome caused significant decrease in tight junction protein Occludin with a concomitant increase in Claudin-2, a signature of a leaky gut. These events signified that gut dysbiosis with simultaneous leaky gut and systemic endotoxemia-induced TLR4 activation contributes to Gulf War chemical-induced neuroinflammation and gastrointestinal disturbances." Whatever chemical(s) caused this crap; the resultant Dysbiosis and subsequent sequelae have proved a nightmare for many who were exposed.
- STRESS LEADS TO INCREASED INTESTINAL PERMEABILITY: A study done by a team of 15 researchers working for our military and published in the American Journal of Physiology: GI and Liver Physiology (Changes in Intestinal Microbiota Composition and Metabolism Coincide with Increased Intestinal Permeability In Young Adults Under Prolonged Physiologic Stress) showed yet another way that stress fouls up the system. "Findings demonstrate that a multiple-stressor military training environment induced increases in intestinal permeability that were associated with alterations in markers of inflammation, and with intestinal microbiota composition and metabolism." Yes, it's true; living in a state of SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE is bad news for your Gut. The cool thing is, there are actually ways to measure this stress (HERE), and do something about it (more to come momentarily).
- LEAKY GUT RELATED TO FEMALE INFERTILITY / PCOS: Far and away, the number one cause of INFERTILITY in America is PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). The January issue of PLoS One (Alterations in Gut Microbiome Composition and Barrier Function Are Associated with Reproductive and Metabolic Defects in Women with PCOS) concluded that, "Women with PCOS frequently display overweight, insulin resistance, and systemic low-grade inflammation. To date, no published data on the gut microbiome in human PCOS patients exist, though there have been recent reports of alterations in the fecal microbiome in PCOS rodent models. Data on gut permeability in PCOS patients are likewise scarce, though an increase in serum zonulin, a regulator of tight junction function, has been reported. We found significant or borderline significant increases in several parameters of intestinal barrier dysfunction and inflammation in PCOS patients. Zonulin is a regulator of tight junction function in humans and serum levels correlate with in vivo gut permeability assessed by lactulose/mannitol test. The serum zonulin increase observed in our study is in accordance with recent studies in PCOS patients and obese individuals, where serum zonulin was correlated with measures of insulin resistance and fecal bacterial colony count. Zonulin, calprotectin, LPS, and blood lymphocytes were associated with gut microbiome parameters, indicating support for the gut barrier-endotoxemia-inflammation mechanism.... Similar to the gut microbiome, gut barrier changes may become more pronounced in specific PCOS phenotypes, such as those with more pronounced insulin resistance and/or obesity." Want to get pregnant but are having trouble? Before spending tens of thousands on IVF, click the links above.
- ANIMAL STUDIES GALORE: I'll not delve into these here, but I saw study after study on Leaky Gut Syndrome in all manner of farm animals, including cattle (both beef and dairy) as well as chickens.
- CERTAIN PARASITES MIGHT BE PART OF A NORMAL MICROBIOME AND HAVE A BENEFICIAL AFFECT ON INTESTINAL PERMEABILITY: A January study published in Tissue Barriers (Helminths and Intestinal Barrier Function) concluded, "The data available on direct effects of helminths on epithelial permeability are scant, fragmentary and pales in comparison with knowledge of mobilization of immune reactions and effector cells in response to helminth parasites and how these impact intestinal barrier function." The study talked about helminths in relationship to Autoimmune Diseases. Although it's not difficult to find studies showing how PARASITES cause problems, there are actually a large number of studies showing the benefits of treating certain INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISORDERS with helminths (parasitic worms).
- AGING'S EFFECTS ON INTESTINAL PERMEABILITY: Last month's issue of Cell Host and Microbe (Age-Associated Microbial Dysbiosis Promotes Intestinal Permeability, Systemic Inflammation, and Macrophage Dysfunction) concluded that, "Although there were no gross differences in intestinal architecture, permeability was higher in the colons of old mice. Consistent with evidence of increased permeability in the colon, where bacterial numbers are highest, levels of the bacterial cell wall component muramyl dipeptide were also significantly higher in the plasma of old mice compared to young mice. Thus, increased leakiness of the gut is a consequence of aging." Fix your Gut and not only will you live better, you will likely live longer.
- PROTEASES AND INTESTINAL PERMEABILITY: Proteases, also known as 'Proteolytic Enzymes,' break down proteins to peptides and amino acids via a process known as hydrolysis. Six short weeks ago, the World Journal of Gastroenterology (Regulation of Intestinal Permeability: The Role of Proteases) came to some interesting conclusions concerning proteases. "The gastrointestinal barrier is the body’s largest surface separating the external environment from the internal. This barrier serves a dual function: permitting the absorption of nutrients, water and electrolytes on the one hand, while limiting host contact with noxious luminal antigens on the other hand. To maintain this selective barrier, junction protein complexes seal the intercellular space between adjacent epithelial cells and regulate the paracellular transport. Increased intestinal permeability is associated with and suggested as a player in the pathophysiology of various gastrointestinal and extra-intestinal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease and type 1 diabetes. The gastrointestinal tract is exposed to high levels of endogenous and exogenous proteases, both in the lumen and in the mucosa. There is increasing evidence to suggest that a dysregulation of the protease/antiprotease balance in the gut contributes to epithelial damage and increased permeability. Excessive proteolysis leads to direct cleavage of intercellular junction proteins, or to opening of the junction proteins via activation of protease activated receptors. In addition, proteases regulate the activity and availability of cytokines and growth factors, which are also known modulators of intestinal permeability." I'll be anxiously awaiting more studies because many people are helped with their chronic conditions by supplementing with proteolytic enzymes.
- HERBS, BOTANICALS, COLOSTRUM, AND PROBIOTICS HAVE BENEFICIAL EFFECTS ON GUT PERMEABILTY: There are scores of studies on various PLANTS and PROBIOTICS, showing their mostly positive effect on LGS (I say mostly because even though most of these studies show benefit, some show no effect --- not sure I've seen any studies on people getting worse).
- OTHERS: Truth be known, I found studies linking Leaky Gut to all manner of physical ailment.
Those in the field of natural health have been proven correct time and time again --- when it comes to restoration of health, it all starts with healing the Gut. Furthermore, there's not a day go by that I don't see people using these timeless truths to solve their chronic health problems. HERE is a post on how to get started.
GUT HEALTH AND FMT ARE IN THE NEWS YET AGAIN: UNDERSTANDING WHY COULD HELP YOU SOLVE YOUR CHRONIC PAIN AND CHRONIC ILLNESSRead Now
GRASPING ITS IMPORTANCE GOES A LONG WAY TOWARD
SOLVING YOUR CHRONIC PAIN AND CHRONIC ILLNESS
Your microbiome is the name given to the number and type of the various species of BACTERIA, MOLD, virus, YEAST, fungus, PARASITES, etc, that live in and on your body. And while it might sound disgusting, a healthy microbiome not only keeps you healthy, but has been shown by peer-review to be potentially capable of reversing a wide array of chronic conditions, while a Dysbiotic Microbiome (a microbiome made up of too many "bad" bacteria, or more accurately, the improper ratio of bacteria and other organisms to each other) can literally destroy you, being a causal factor in almost every (NON-GENETIC) disease that has thus far been studied.
I've previously shown you studies where scientists have taken obese mice, transferred feces from healthy mice into their bowel and made them thin (Fecal Microbiota Transplants otherwise known as FMT), then turned right around and reversed the process, making them fat. This process has been done with other diseases as well. Just listen to some of the cherry-picked results of a study (Transplantation of Fecal Microbiota From Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome Alters Gut function and Behavior in Recipient Mice) by two dozen researchers, gastroenterologists, immunologists, and physicians from around the world, and published in the edition of Science Transnational Medicine that hit the shelves just three days ago........
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the most common gastrointestinal disorder worldwide, is characterized by abdominal pain and altered gut function and often is accompanied by anxiety. An association between intestinal dysbiosis and IBS has been reported, but the functional relevance remains unknown. To evaluate a functional role for commensal gut bacteria in IBS, we colonized germ-free mice with the fecal microbiota from healthy control individuals or IBS patients with diarrhea (IBS-D), with or without anxiety, and monitored gut function and behavior in the transplanted mice. Microbiota profiles in recipient mice clustered according to the microbiota profiles of the human donors. Mice receiving the IBS-D fecal microbiota showed a taxonomically similar microbial composition to that of mice receiving the healthy control fecal microbiota. However, IBS-D mice showed different serum metabolomic profiles. Mice receiving the IBS-D fecal microbiota, but not the healthy control fecal microbiota, exhibited faster gastrointestinal transit, intestinal barrier dysfunction, innate immune activation, and anxiety-like behavior. These results indicate the potential of the gut microbiota to contribute to both intestinal and behavioral manifestations of IBS-D and suggest the potential value of microbiota-directed therapies in IBS patients.
Allow me to help you break this down and digest it because what just happened in this abstract is nothing short of amazing proof that the "healers" of generations gone by were correct all along --- "All health begins in the Gut: Heal the Gut, Heal the Body". The first thing I want you to understand is that IBS is an autoimmune disease. AUTOIMMUNITY simply means that your body has, for various reasons, decided to start attacking itself in some capacity. Also be aware that this is frequently precluded by sensitivities to GRAINS, most particularly Gluten-containing grains (HERE).
Although we tend to think of Dysbiosis in terms of having too many bad bacteria and not enough good, this is only partly true. Just remember this simple little ditty --- "Ratios Rule". It's not so much about the absolute numbers of the various strains of organisms as much as it is about having them present in the correct ratios. Anything (I mean anything) that fouls up these ratios, has the potential to adversely affect your health (ANTIBIOTICS of course are the worst, but ALL DRUGS act as antibiotics, as can even VITAMINS in certain circumstances). DYSBIOSIS is the name given to the state of having fouled up ratios of bacteria in your digestive tract or on your body (which means folks --- it's very possible to be "TOO CLEAN" --- both inside and out). Just realize that Dysbiosis is bad on levels that we are just beginning to figure out.
The researchers took groups of people with and without IBS, transplanting their feces into the bowels of GMO mice that were bred to be "germ free" (they had no bacteria of any sort in their innards). After an amount of time, stool samples of these mice were looked at, and not surprisingly, knowing what we know of FMT, were found to match that of their human donor. Interestingly enough, the IBS group and control were similar taxonomically, meaning that they grossly had the same species of bacteria in their guts. However, probably due to subtle differences in ratios, they differed differed dramatically in their Metablomic Profiles.
Your Metablome is everything (I mean everything) found in whatever sample you happen to be looking at. So, as opposed to the bacterial profile (numbers and species of various bacteria), the Metablome would describe the "Small Molecule Chemicals" found within any given sample of tissue, fluid, etc, etc, etc. The defining factor of what makes a "Small Molecule" small (less than 900 Daltons), is that it not only has a low molecular weight and a very tiny molecular size, it is small enough to diffuse across cellular membranes.
Oh; I almost forgot to mention; not only is the Metabolmic Profile looking at the makeup of certain sugars, Organic Acids (think OATS TEST here), Vitamins, Nucleic Acids (DNA & RNA), Fatty Acids, ANTIOXIDANTS like GLUTATHIONE, amino acids, cellular metabolites, etc, etc, but the Metablome consists of artificial or exogenous chemicals as well (chemicals from outside the body). This means that DRUGS, XENOHORMONES, and the huge array of potential toxins (HERE'S A FREAKY ONE to contemplate) are also part of one's Metablome. As would make sense, most drugs are purposely manufactured to be very small (under 500 Daltons) so that they readily diffuse into your cells.
The result was that the the IBS mice had "faster GI transit times" (can anyone say diarrhea? --- which along with periodic bouts of CONSTIPATION, is the hallmark of IBS). The IBS mice also showed "intestinal barrier dysfunction". This describes the flip side of the Gut Dysfunction coin ---- Leaky Gut Syndrome. And here's the bite about LGS. Not only do the majority of the medical profession pooh pooh its very existence, be aware that there will be other "Leakies" likely tagging along with (Leaky Lung, Leaky Brain, Leaky Cord, Leaky Nerve, etc, etc (HERE). And finally, "activation of the innate immune system". Your immune system is not only made up of bacteria (AT LEAST 70% AND AS MUCH AS 80%) as well as GLIAL & MICROGLIA, but it is made up of generalized chemical responses. Although it's way oversimplified, think of your innate immune system as INFLAMMATION --- the group of chemicals and WBC your body manufactures in order to deal with various sorts of tissue damage (as opposed to Adaptive Immunity, which would describe the antigen / antibody response).
The end-product of this mess? By transplanting the dukie from unhealthy people into germ-free mice, the researchers created --- whallah --- IBS; complete with the anxiety (not surprisingly, both ANXIETY & DEPRESSION) along with everything on THIS LIST are considered "inflammatory" diseases. The astute among you should be salivating at the not-so-hidden potential in this study. If scientists can do such amazing things transplanting unhealthy dukie, what might happen if they decided to transplant healthy dukie into unhealthy mice --- or maybe even unhealthy people?
It's already been done folks, and for the love of Pete; if you have serious chronic illnesses or weight issues (especially if you have a history of EVEN A TINY AMOUNT OF ANTIBIOTICS), don't walk away without reading to the end. Get on the bandwagon and start studying FECAL MICROBIOTA TRANSPLANATION. I have provided you tons of peer-review, all laid out in a neat and orderly fashion, including what to look for in a donor, as well as DIY advice (for the record, the advice is not mine and I would never recommend anyone try this on their own without the express written consent from their doctor --- although the world wide web abounds with stories of people doing just that). It's why the generic protocol I have provided you (free of charge of course) has FMT as part of it (HERE --- HERE'S a cool post on Functional Medicine as well).
As a special bonus to various friends and patients dealing with MS (or for that matter, PARKINSON'S, ALZHEIMER'S, EPILEPSY, or whatever), make sure to look at these specific posts on the topic (HERE, HERE, and HERE, along with a post that carries a short video from a physician with MS that pulled herself out of a wheelchair nearly two decades ago --- DR. TERRY WAHLS --- just by changing her diet). As a special bonus, even though the authors of today's study concluded their study with the promise of using their data to create, "microbiota-directed therapies," HERE is why probiotics (which BTW, I am a fan of) can never be a tiny fraction as effective as FMT for truly sick individuals.
A NEW CURE ALL?
THE LATEST RESEARCH ON HEALTH AS RELATED TO THE MICROBIOME AND FECAL MICROBIOTA TRANSPLANTS
Bowel health has been a known factor in overall health for thousands of years. Yet what do we continue to do here in America? We go out of our way to destroy the health of our collective guts, in every conceivable way (HERE'S A NOVEL ONE). As I've already shown you, both ANTIBIOTICS and NON-ANTIBIOTIC DRUGS destroy the diversity of the bacteria that make up what's known as your MICROBIOME (the bacteria that live in your Gut and urogenital tracts, and on your skin). The resulting imbalance of "bad" bacteria to "good" bacteria (or even an imbalance in the ratios of various types of "good" bacteria) is known in science as DYSBIOSIS, which is then fed by sugar and highly processed carbohydrates. However, medicine in the form of various DRUGS are not the only exogenous chemicals that cause Dysbiosis. Let's discuss for a moment the role of vaccines in Dysbiosis.
Although it is very politically incorrect to say so --- a career-busting death knell (ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAPPEN TO BE A SCIENTIST) --- vaccines; especially the MONSTER NUMBERS PEOPLE ARE BEING COERCED INTO TAKING TODAY, are dramatically disrupting the body's ability to achieve something called HOMEOSTASIS. In plain English, VACCINES are responsible for the disruption of health, largely via disruption of one's microbiome. I've shown you the mechanism via something known in the scientific community as the "HYGIENE HYPOTHESIS". Let me give you an example from the April issue of Gut (The Gut Microbiota Plays a Protective Role in the Host Defense Against Pneumococcal Pneumonia). This European study helps make the case, while addressing today's topic; FECAL MICROBIOTA TRANSPLANTATION.
While not discussing pneumococcal vaccine specifically, this study says that, "Pneumonia accounts for more deaths than any other infectious disease worldwide (3.5 million, although this number is probably an underestimation). Antibiotic treatment led to a significant drop in the microbial diversity, which was significantly reversed by transplantation of normal feces. We found that the gut microbiota protects the host during pneumococcal pneumonia, as reflected by increased bacterial dissemination, inflammation, organ damage and mortality in microbiota-depleted mice compared with controls. FMT in gut microbiota-depleted mice led to a normalization of pulmonary bacterial counts." Instead of doing things to normalize immune system function, what are we doing here in America? We're telling people that along with FLU VACCINES THAT HAVE BEEN PROVEN TO BE NEARLY 100% INEFFECTIVE, they need to get an annual pneumonia vaccine as well, which actually destroys Gut Health, leading to infections, including pneumonia itself. Lest you think I am inferring too much from this study, lets move to another.
The same month as the study above, the journal Clinical & Transnational Immunology published a similar study called Bugging Inflammation: Role of the Gut Microbiota. This study began by saying, "The advent of vaccination and improved hygiene (antibiotics such as penicillin) have eliminated many of the deadly infectious pathogens in developed nations. However, the incidences of inflammatory diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, obesity and diabetes are increasing dramatically." We could spend a month dissecting these two sentences made by scientists at Australia's Monash University. Since we don't have time, let's take a quick peek at what they have to say about the Hygiene Hypothesis as it relates to health and disease.
"Decreases in early-life microbe exposure owing to increased hygiene, parallel major increases in the incidence of inflammatory diseases. Owing to this association, researchers have proposed two hypotheses to describe the recent drastic increase in the incidence of inflammatory diseases. The hygiene hypothesis was proposed as an explanation for the increasing prevalence of inflammatory diseases in the Western world. The hygiene hypothesis is hinged on the proposition that early-life exposure to diverse microbes help the immune system develop and differentiate infectious from harmless agents. Previous studies have shown that children raised in rural areas have more frequent microbial exposures and lower incidences of asthma, leading to the belief that a cleaner environment, such as with improved hygiene, results in a dysregulated immune response and consequent development of inflammatory diseases. This creates a lack of diversity in the microbiota, and is thought to cause an underdeveloped immune system, predisposing the host to a range of diseases. Therefore, the contribution of both urban/rural setting and antibiotic use have been shown to influence microbiota composition and diversity, induce a dysregulated immune response and leads to the development of inflammatory diseases."
Because researchers tend value their jobs (who could blame them?), they would not dare directly attack, or even raise questions about vaccinations. However, in this case someone had the cahonies to do an end-run and take a shot at the unprotected flanks. Despite growing numbers of scientists taking this 'contrarian' position, our government continues to spout their status quo; that vaccinations don't really have any side effects other than the ones mentioned at the beginning of THIS POST. While not denying that the reactions seen toward the end of the link exist, authorities claim they are extremely rare. As you can see, bolstered by current peer-review (particularly if it comes from outside the United States) researchers are gaining small measures of courage to at least discuss / mention this issue. A prime example can be found in the January issue of the World Journal of Gastroenterology (Gut Microbiota in Autism and Mood Disorders). In this study a half dozen Italian researchers concluded that.....
"Available evidences display that the impairment of gut microbiota plays a key role in the development of autism and mood disorders. The gut microbiota is involved in the maturation of the immune system: it stimulates innate immunity in the early years of life, leading to the maturation of the gut-associated lymphoid tissue, and acquired immunity, through stimulation of local and systemic immune responses. Known, finally, is the role in the synthesis and metabolism of certain nutrients, hormones and vitamins, and clearance of drugs and toxicity. Recent data show the strong correlation between dysbiosis and conditions such as obesity, allergies, autoimmune disorders, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and psychiatric disorders. Due to these new evidences about the fundamental role of gut microbiota in the alteration of immune, neural, and endocrine pathways, the so-called “gut-brain axis” is acquiring new significance, even if the communication routes are not still defined. In the last few years, much research has been done in this direction, underlying the importance of dysbiosis in the etiopathogenesis of pathology such as autism, dementia and mood disorder. The evidence of the inflammatory state alteration, highlighted in disorders such as schizophrenia, major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder, strongly recalls the microbiota alteration and highly suggests an important role of the alteration of GI system also in neuropsychiatric disorders. In particular, the dysbiosis and the consequent alteration of intestinal permeability lead respectively to the production and spread into the bloodstream of ......."
Firstly, much of this study will be lost on you if you did not at least browse the previous link (it's short) as having a firm understanding of the HYGIENE HYPOTHESIS. Secondly, we see that AUTISM is tied directly to GUT HEALTH (HERE as well). Thirdly, did you catch the reference to LEAKY GUT SYNDROME ("intestinal permeability" allowing all sorts of toxic junk to be "spread into the bloodstream")? And fourthly, the authors put the cherry on the sundae by revealing that FMT is a viable option for treating those with Autism (the study related it to the "amelioration of specific symptoms" in autistic children).
Do you think that vaccines might have the capability of fouling / corroding / destroying Gut Health? If not, you've been swallowing too much of what the taxpayer-funded government-led propaganda machines continue to distill. Their distortions of the truth and outright lies are just another of the many examples of the unholy alliance between BIG PHARMA and our GOVERNMENT (including the FDA) --- one more reason SCIENCE-BASED MEDICINE is often anything but. But beyond antibiotics, medications, vaccinations, dysbiosis, a leaky gut, and their relationship(s) to any number of health issues, diet is also at play here. After Bugging Inflammation discussed the importance of DIETARY FIBER as a prebiotic food source for our microbiomes, they mentioned that.......
"It is becoming increasingly clear that the aforementioned hypotheses inadvertently [or maybe even intentionally] influences the composition of the host gut microbiota / microbiome. The microbiota harbour essential genes required for the metabolism of food intake, indicating an additional role in energy harvest and homeostasis. Many factors in the hypothesis, such as antibiotic use and dietary components, influence significantly on the composition of the host gut microbiota. The resultant dysbiotic microbiota could prove to merge both the hygiene hypothesis and the diet hypothesis into one, and contribute to the risk of inflammatory disease development. However, this also raises an exciting opportunity whereby altering the microbiota may also present as a potential modifiable component or therapeutic target for inflammatory diseases. Factors in both the ‘hygiene hypothesis' and the ‘diet hypothesis' converge on microbiota modulation. The factors proposed by the hygiene hypothesis (such as early childhood exposure to microorganisms and the use of antibiotics) and... FMT."
The first thing I would ask is why aren't more practicing physicians talking about diet since it's importance is reinforced over and over again in the peer-reviewed science (HERE)? And while the authors tout both PROBIOTICS and FMT as effective therapy against any number of INFLAMMATORY and AUTOIMMUNE illnesses, they readily admit that, "Human studies have shown that probiotics have minimal effects on the composition of the gut microbiota, and is usually undetectable after 2 weeks post-ingestion." Unfortunately they are correct. The April issue of Genome Medicine (Alterations in Fecal Microbiota Composition by Probiotic Supplementation in Healthy Adults: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials) takes this concept even farther by stating, after reviewing studies on the efficacy of probiotics for treating "healthy adults," that there was a, "lack of evidence for an impact of probiotics on fecal microbiota composition." Firstly, this study tells us absolutely nothing about using probiotics to treat "unhealthy" patients, of which there are hundreds, if not thousands of studies touting benefits for. And secondly, even though I see numerous patients who respond like gang-busters to probiotic therapy; for the chronically ill patient, FMT is frequently a far better option (HERE'S WHY).
What I am going to do now is show you a few studies from our current calendar year (2016) that help prove that while I might be slightly off my rocker, I'm not totally off my rocker, although there are plenty out there that would vigorously debate this.
- WHAT LEADS TO DYSBIOSIS? The June issue of Clinical & Transnational Immunology (New Insights Into Therapeutic Strategies for Gut Microbiota Modulation in Inflammatory Diseases) stated that, "The interaction between the gut microbiota and the host immune system is very important for balancing and resolving inflammation. The human microbiota begins to form during childbirth. C-section delivery, formula feeding, a high-sugar diet, a high-fat diet and excess hygiene negatively affect the health of the microbiota. Considering that the majority of the global population has experienced at least one of these factors that can lead to inflammatory disease, it is important to understand strategies to modulate the gut microbiota." Think about it for a moment. There are lot's of C-SECTIONS here in America (ONE IN THREE). Most citizens are LIVING THE HIGH CARB LIFESTYLE. Children are often given formula instead of being breast fed (HERE). And as you'll see from other studies we'll discuss momentarily, science is saying that all it really takes to completely foul up your microbiome is a single round of antibiotics (HERE and HERE). As for those worried about a diet high in healthy fats (HERE or HERE), don't be, as the authors are talking about "high fat" diets as they relate to JUNK OR HIGHLY PROCESSED FOOD. BTW, the study discussed the benefits of FMT.
- BLOOD PRESSURE REGULATION: Last month's copy of Circulation Research (Hypertension-Linked Pathophysiological Alterations in the Gut) revealed that, "Sympathetic nervous system control of inflammation plays a central role in hypertension. The gut receives significant sympathetic innervation, is densely populated with a diverse microbial ecosystem, and contains immune cells that greatly impact overall inflammatory homeostasis. The increase in blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive rats was associated with gut pathology that included increased intestinal permeability and decreased tight junction proteins. These changes in gut pathology in hypertension were associated with alterations in microbial communities relevant in blood pressure control. A dysfunctional sympathetic-gut communication is associated with gut pathology, dysbiosis, and inflammation, and plays a key role in hypertension. Thus, targeting of gut microbiota by innovative probiotics, antibiotics, and fecal transplant, in combination with current pharmacotherapy, may be a novel strategy for hypertension treatment." There's that Leaky Gut / Dysbiosis / Inflammation thing again. Quite interesting considering that SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE is best measured by Heart Rate Variability, which has itself been shown to be better than blood work for measuring systemic inflammation (click the link).
- POST-STROKE ORGAN FAILURE: What happens when blood pressure is not dealt with? CardioVascular Accidents (CVA's) which are also known as strokes. Last month's issue of Critical Care (Successful Treatment with Fecal Microbiota Transplantation in Patients with Multiple Organ Dysfunction Syndrome and Diarrhea Following Severe Sepsis) provided a case study of two elderly gentlemen who had been diagnosed post-stroke who were both suffering with, "multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS), cerebellar hemorrhage and cerebral infarction, septic shock, intestinal dysbiosis and severe watery diarrhea.... Following FMT, MODS and severe diarrhea were alleviated in both patients. Their stool output and body temperature markedly declined and normalized..... associated with a decrease in the patients' fecal output and in the levels of plasma inflammation markers." No idea whether or not these individuals regained neurological function, but FMT bringing people out of multiple organ failure is rather astounding no matter how you slice it.
- CARDIOMETABOLIC SYNDROME & OBESITY: Because my site has at least a dozen studies showing that antibiotics lead to obesity (obesity is part of the METABOLIC SYNDROME) --- PARTICULARLY IN CHILDREN --- it should come as no surprise that there are tons of studies on using FMT to treat those with Metabolic Syndrome (aka "PRE-DIABETES"). I am going to give you a few from this year. The September issue of the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine (Treating Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome with Fecal Microbiota Transplantation) had this to day on the subject. "Alterations of this complex physiological bacterial population associated with negative functional outcomes or disease, known as dysbiosis, can cause low-level inflammation and altered intestinal homeostasis. Dysbiosis is linked to a variety of ailments, including obesity and its associated metabolic disturbances. One way to modify the human gut microbiome is by transplanting fecal matter, which contains an abundance of live microorganisms, from a healthy individual to a diseased one...." While this might initially sound gross, it usually starts sounding much more tolerable once the possibility of living life at a healthy weight is contemplated.
- CARDIOMETABOLIC SYNDROME AND OBESITY PART II: The April issue of Nutrients (The Intestinal Microbiota in Metabolic Disease) showed that, "microbial changes in diseased subjects have been linked to adiposity, type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia. Gut bacteria exert beneficial and harmful effects in metabolic diseases as deduced from the comparison of germ free and conventional mice and from fecal transplantation studies." This next study is particularly interesting in light of what we know about SUGAR BEING CANCER'S FOOD OF CHOICE. The July issue of Current Oncology Reports (The Gut Microbiome and Obesity) stated that, "Animal and human studies have implicated distortion of the normal microbial balance in obesity and metabolic syndrome. Bacteria causing weight gain are thought to induce the expression of genes related to lipid and carbohydrate metabolism thereby leading to greater energy harvest from the diet. There is a large body of evidence demonstrating that alteration in the [microbiome] leads to the development of obesity...." February's issue of Frontiers in Cellular Infection and Microbiology (The New Era of Treatment for Obesity and Metabolic Disorders: Evidence and Expectations for Gut Microbiome Transplantation) put the icing on the cake when they revealed that, "The microbiome has been implicated in the development of obesity. Conventional therapeutic methods have limited effectiveness for the treatment of obesity and prevention of related complications. Recently, microbes residing in the human gastrointestinal tract have been found to act as an "endocrine" organ, whose composition and functionality may contribute to the development of obesity. Therefore, fecal/gut microbiome transplantation (GMT), which involves the transfer of feces from a healthy donor to a recipient, is increasingly drawing attention as a potential treatment for obesity." They are correct about interventions for the obese being ineffective (HERE). Fortunately for you, there are literally hundreds of studies on FMT / GMT for treating OBESITY.
- POLY-CYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME: Because PCOS is causally linked with sugar and carbohydrate metabolism (it's typically treated with the same drugs doctors treat DIABETES with), it should come as no surprise that we are starting to see studies on the topic as it relates to FMT. The April issue of PLoS One (Association Between Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Gut Microbiota) stated that, "Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most frequent endocrinopathy in women of reproductive age. It is difficult to treat PCOS because of its complex etiology and pathogenesis. After treating PCOS rats with Lactobacillus and fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) from healthy rats, it was found that the estrous cycles were improved in all 8 rats in FMT group. These results indicated that dysbiosis of gut microbiota was associated with the pathogenesis of PCOS." If you are heavy, hairy, and have unusually severe menstrual problems, it's likely you have PCOS.
- CONSTIPATION: Because so many of the problems commonly treated with FMT are intimately associated with diarrhea (C. Diff, COLITIS, Crohn's, Regional Illitis, etc, etc), it should be noted that one of the recent studies was on CONSTIPATION. Published in the April issue of the Archives of Medical Research (Fecal Microbiota Transplantation in Combination with Soluble Dietary Fiber for Treatment of Slow Transit Constipation: A Pilot Study), this study said that, "Intestinal microbiota and soluble dietary fiber play an important role in intestinal microecology, which is closely related to gut motility. Regulating intestinal microecology comprised of fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) and fiber supplementation is becoming a novel therapy for functional gastrointestinal disease. The patients showed an increased stool frequency from 1.7 per week to 4.8 per week and an improved stool consistency after FMT combined with fiber. This is a pilot study confirming that FMT combined with fiber may improve symptoms experienced by constipated patients by regulating intestinal microecology, without any serious adverse events." Hardcore constipation (no pun intended) can be virtually impossible to solve without FMT.
- WHAT ABOUT FMT AND / OR ANTIBIOTICS WHILE PREGNANT? The June issue of BMC Medicine (Antibiotic Use During Pregnancy: How Bad Is It?) came to essentially the same conclusions I've trying to warn women about for decades. "Perhaps the most clinically relevant aspect of the pregnancy microbiome is antibiotic treatment during pregnancy. Antibiotic treatment during pregnancy is widespread in Western countries, and accounts for 80% of prescribed medications in pregnancy. The use of antibiotics during pregnancy has also been associated with increased risk of asthma in early childhood, increased risk of childhood epilepsy, and increased risk of childhood obesity. Antibiotic usage during pregnancy undoubtedly affects the bacterial environment of the mother and of the fetus A single course of antibiotics perturbs bacterial communities, with evidence that the microbial ecosystem does not return completely to baseline following treatment. Antibiotics in pregnancy should be used only when indicated, choosing those with the narrowest range possible." The thing about treating pregnant women; most doctors (natural or allopathic) are at least to a significant degree, running scared because if something happens to either mama or baby they are likely to end up on the wrong end of a lawsuit. Thus, you are not likely to see FMT recommendations for pregnant women anytime in the near future. To reiterate; be warned that giving your child antibiotics, whether in the womb or out, is possibly the SINGLE WORST THING YOU CAN DO FOR THEIR FUTURE HEALTH. And because the vast majority of antibiotic prescriptions in America don't meet official criteria (standards of care), they are considered unnecessary to begin with.
- ANTIBIOTICS ARE THE MAJOR DESTROYER OF HEALTH IN CHIDREN PART II: In a recent study (The Effects of Antibiotics on the Microbiome Throughout Development and Alternative Approaches for Therapeutic Modulation) from the "Harvard of the Midwest" (St. Louis's own Washington University), researchers publishing in the April edition of Genome Medicine stated that, "Human-associated microbes perform an array of important functions, and we are now just beginning to understand the ways in which antibiotics have reshaped their ecology and the functional consequences of these changes. Mounting evidence shows that antibiotics [adversely] influence the function of the immune system, our ability to resist infection, and our capacity for processing food, and effects on diseases such as malnutrition, obesity, diabetes..... It is becoming increasingly apparent that there exist several disease states for which a single causative pathogen has not been established. Rather, such diseases may be due to the abundances and relative amounts of a collection of microbes [dysbiosis]. A dysbiotic microbiome may not perform vital functions such as nutrient supply, vitamin production, and protection from pathogens. Dysbiosis of the microbiome has been associated with a large number of health problems and causally implicated in metabolic, immunological, and developmental disorders, as well as susceptibility to development of infectious diseases. Critical developmental milestones for the microbiota (as well as for the child) occur, in particular, during infancy and early childhood, and both medical intervention and lack of such intervention during these periods can have lifelong consequences in the composition and function of the gut ecosystem." Have I mentioned to you yet that staying away from antibiotics is the best thing you can do for your family? By the way, the authors spoke at length about turning dysbiosis around with a therapy that's been in use for the better part of two millennia ---- FMT.
- DEPRESSION & BEHAVIOUR: I've already shown you how the microbiome is intimately linked to Autism. Now let's look at DEPRESSION and other similarly related diseases of the brain. In a fascinating study similar to several done previously related to both obesity and FMT, researchers in this month's issue of the Journal of Psychiatric Research (Transferring the Blues: Depression-Associated Gut Microbiota Induces Neurobehavioural Changes in the Rat) took feces from 33 human patients diagnosed with, "major depression," (as well as 33 controls) and transplanted it into 66 'normal' rats. The results were astounding. "We demonstrate that depression is associated with decreased gut microbiota richness and diversity. Fecal microbiota transplantation from depressed patients to microbiota-depleted rats can induce behavioural and physiological features characteristic of depression in the recipient animals, including anhedonia [an inability to experience pleasure from activities usually found enjoyable, e.g. exercise, hobbies, music, sexual activities or social interactions] and anxiety-like behaviours, as well as alterations in tryptophan metabolism. This suggests that the gut microbiota may play a causal role in the development of features of depression...." August's issue of Clinical Psycopharmacology and Neuroscience (Fecal Microbiota Transplantation and Its Usage in Neuropsychiatric Disorders) showed that, "The interest in microbiota-gut-brain axis and fecal microbiota transplantation is rapidly increasing. New evidence is obtained in the etiology and pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric disorders. In this review, neuropsychiatric areas of use of fecal microbiota transplantation have been discussed in the light of the current information. It is pointed out that microbiota plays the decisive role on immune function and interacts with human cells. Micro damage to the intestinal epithelial wall may occur by the changes of the microbiota, and intestinal epithelial permeability may increase. Thus, the microorganism-induced harmful substances can be released into the systemic circulation and can initiate an immune response. This condition is called “leaky gut”. There is strong evidence that intestinal microbiota dysbiosis may play an important role in the etiology and pathogenesis of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, mood disorders, depression and anxiety disorders. FMT is a fairly reliable application. Serious side effects have not been reported." Speaking of side effects......
- SIDE EFFECTS IN FECAL MICROBIOTA TRANSPLANTATION: After having looked at hundreds of studies on FMT, I have yet to see one mention anything other than similar to what's mentioned in the last bullet point concerning side effects. Bear in mind that most of these studies are looking at FMT performed on very sick patients, who are often dying of C. DIFF INFECTIONS (FMT is the medical standard of care for dealing with these patients after antibiotics have failed twice, which they usually do because the infection itself is caused by antibiotics, usually in a hospital setting). February's Journal of Hospital Infections (Adverse Events in Fecal Microbiota Transplant: A Review of the Literature) stated plainly that, "The vast majority of adverse events of FMT appear to be mild, self-limiting and gastrointestinal in nature." The May issue of Clinical Endoscopy (Fecal Microbiota Transplantation: Current Applications, Effectiveness, and Future Perspectives) revealed that, "The high success rate and safety in the short term reported for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection has elevated FMT as an emerging treatment for a wide range of disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, myoclonus dystopia, multiple sclerosis, obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and autism. FMT may be safe and well tolerated with few serious adverse events, even though it is often administered to patients with significant medical comorbid conditions." PLoS One stated in their August issue (Systematic Review: Adverse Events of Fecal Microbiota Transplantation) that, "A total of 7,562 original articles about FMT were identified in this study... The total incidence rate of adverse events was 28.5%." Holy outhouses Batman, that's a lot of adverse events! However, the question we need to be asking is how serious were said events? "The commonest attributable adverse event was abdominal discomfort, abdominal pain, increased stool frequency, flatulence, bloating, cramps and other nonspecific symptoms. The second commonest attributable adverse event was transient fever." About 3% of patients had "transient" (short-lived) FEVER, while the others who had side effects had common GI issues such as gas.
SAFETY SIDE NOTE: Please realize that in most cases, the people getting FMT's, are seriously ill. The vast majority of those receiving transplants are getting it because they have recurrent C. Diff --- a nasty, and often deadly, bacterial infection caused by the very thing used to treat it. Also be aware that of the people who died in the PLoS study (yes, there were something like eight deaths at least somewhat associated with the procedure), they were not dying from being infected by someone else's feces. They were dying because of instead of using a simple "Retention Enema," many of these people were having the transplant done via endoscopy (the upper GI style was far more dangerous than the lower GI style). Unfortunately, one of the dirtiest of the many dirty little secrets in the practice of medicine is that colonoscopies come with some serious and common side effects (HERE). This is why I am not suggesting you try this on your own. Many people do, getting fantastic results. This is why I have to warn you from time to time that my site is meant for informational purposes only, and is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any diseases. If you feel your disease(s) may have been cured due to the information on my site, immediately report it to the proper authorities so they can give you your disease back.
- DOES THE DONOR MATTER? According to the May issue of Future Microbiology (Does the Donor Matter? Donor vs Patient Effects in the Outcome of a Next-Generation Microbiota-Based Drug Trial for Recurrent Clostridium Difficile Infection), "the specific donor did not affect the outcomes." However, I would warn you that this study was done on very sick people --- people dying of recurrent C. Diff infections. I would argue that when it comes to treating people with the other sorts of health problems we've discussed today, the donor very much matters. For a list of what one should be looking for in a feces donor, all you have to do is CLICK THE BUTTON (honestly, it's mostly common sense).
This, folks, is the real poop on the matter. If you are chronically ill or have done everything under the sun to lose weight to no avail, FMT is something to look into and at least explore. Even though it sounds gross, it's been proven to be both safe and effective for any number of health-related issues. I'm not sure what more folks want. And not that I am suggesting that my readers rush out and do it, there are ANY NUMBER OF SITES that actually show you how to do an FMT, DIY-style. All of this is why FMT is an integral part of THE POST I give people who are desperately in search of solutions to their chronic health conditions.
MAKING OR BREAKING YOUR HEALTH!
- GERM THEORY OF DISEASE AND INFECTIONS: According to the September 15 issue of Experimental Biology & Medicine (Enteric Immunity, the Gut Microbiome, and Sepsis: Rethinking the Germ Theory of Disease) we need to be shifting our paradigm on sickness and disease, and, as the title suggests, "rethinking the germ theory of disease". The germ theory says that germs are bad and must be destroyed by any means possible --- usually ANTIBIOTICS. I can always tell who still subscribes to this way of thinking by looking at who carries the little container of hand sanitizer on their purse. Pay attention. "Breakthroughs in the last decade provide strong credence to the idea that our microbiome plays an essential role in immunity, where a human host and its [bacterial] colonists seem to exist in a carefully negotiated armistice.... In this review, we re-examine the notion that intestinal contents are the driving force of critical illness... Based on the data in hand, we hypothesize that sepsis induces imbalances in microbial populations residing in the gut, along with compromises in epithelial integrity [Leaky Gut Syndrome]. As a result, normal antigen sampling becomes impaired..... putting the gut, and its complex immune network of cells and bacteria, at the center of aberrant immune responses during and after sepsis." Not to mention before sepsis. If you want to see the alternative to the germ theory of disease, READ THIS. By the way, I showed you a few weeks ago another of the many mechanisms about the way your Microbiome shapes your immune system (HERE).
- INFLAMMATORY ILLNESS: Think this category is not huge? If you are interested in seeing just how massive it really is, and how many diseases CHRONIC INFLAMMATION really causes, just follow THIS LINK. The September 9 issue of Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism (Linking the Microbiota, Chronic Disease, and the Immune System) agrees with my assesment. "Chronic inflammatory diseases (CIDs) are the most important causes of mortality in the world today and are on the rise. We now know that immune-driven inflammation is critical in the etiology of these diseases. Many CIDs are associated with significant shifts in the microbiota toward inflammatory configurations, which can affect the host both by inducing local and systemic inflammation and by alterations in microbiota-derived metabolites." Inflammation is ubiquitous in America, and is for the most part driven by our crappy diets, which feeds the dysbiosis in our injured Microbiomes. Speaking of dysbiosis.....
- CHANGES IN MICROBIOME HELPS DRIVE INFLAMMATION, WHICH IN TURN DRIVES DRIVES SCAR TISSUE / FIBROSIS: This week's issue of Hepatology (Changes in Blood Microbiota Profiles Associated with Liver Fibrosis in Obese Patients: A Pilot Analysis) shed some light on what I said in the previous bullet, with an emphasis on the fact that FIBROSIS (microscopic SCAR TISSUE) is always the result of some sort of underlying inflammation. The 15 authors of this study (all MD / Ph.D types) had this to say. "In view of the suggested role played by bacterial translocation in liver disease and obesity, we sought to investigate the relationship between blood microbiota and liver fibrosis in European cohorts of patients with severe obesity... We have shown that changes in blood microbiota are associated with liver fibrosis in obese patients." Not surprisingly, I have tons of information on my site linking antibiotics and the associated DYSBIOSIS to OBESITY.
- EPIGENETIC FACTORS NOT ONLY CONTROL INFLAMMATION, BUT CONTROL YOUR GENETICS AS WELL: I was GRADUATING FROM HIGH SCHOOL the year that the Human Genome Project began. It was completed, 19 years later in 2003. In similar fashion to the schpiel given by LBJ concerning his (failed) war on poverty and disease, the money and effort spent on the HGP was going to do likewise. Not only are sickness and disease still around, they are far more entrenched in American society than they were even a decade ago. Here's why. We know that "bad" genes that carry the information for sickness and disease are frequently not expressed in truly healthy people, with the opposite being likewise true. Case in point, the study from next month's Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology (Inflammation, Genetics, Dysbiosis, and the Environment: New Paradigms for Diagnosis in Complex Chronic Gut Syndromes). "The role of the microbiome alongside interaction with the environment, are now recognized as key players in complex diseases. An awareness of overlap in chronic gut syndromes has been clarified by the realization that inflammatory pathways involved in chronic gut disease can arise through variable gene expression that is influenced by the environment in susceptible individuals." What does this second sentence mean? Only that you are not nearly the product of your genes as you have been led to believe --- an idea usually by doctors who get out of confronting their patients by blaming everything on bad DNA inherited from your ancestors. This is tough to swallow, as it ultimately makes us responsible for our own health (HERE).
- LUNG HEALTH AND YOUR MICROBIOME: The journal FEBS Letters (Linking Microbiota and Respiratory Disease) concluded that, "An increasing body of evidence indicates the relevance of microbiota for pulmonary health and disease. Independent investigations recently demonstrated that the lung harbors a resident microbiota. Therefore, it is intriguing that a lung microbiota can shape pulmonary immunity and epithelial barrier functions. Prominent microbiota at other body sites such as the intestinal one may also contribute to pulmonary health and disease. With focuses on asthma and respiratory infections, we discuss how microbiota of lung and gut can determine pulmonary immunity and barrier functions." When the authors speak of epithelial barrier functions, they are speaking of a common syndrome very much like Leaky Gut Syndrome (aka Increased Intestinal Permeability) known as "Leaky Lung Syndrome" (BTW, there is also "Leaky Brain Syndrome" as well as other "Leakies".
- ALZHEIMER'S DEMENTIA: I have already shown you some of the things that contribute to ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE --- tops on the list being the over-consumption of simple carbs and sugar. The October issue of the medical journal, Scientific Reviews (Role of Gut Microbiota and Nutrients in Amyloid Formation and Pathogenesis of Alzheimer Disease) agrees, saying that, "It has been hypothesized that alterations in the composition of the gut microbiota might be associated with the onset of certain human pathologies, such as Alzheimer disease, a neurodegenerative syndrome associated with cerebral accumulation of amyloid-β fibrils. It has been shown that bacteria populating the gut microbiota can release significant amounts of amyloids and lipopolysaccharides, which might play a role in the modulation of signaling pathways and the production of proinflammatory cytokines related to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease. Additionally, nutrients have been shown to affect the composition of the gut microbiota as well as the formation and aggregation of cerebral amyloid-β. This suggests that modulating the gut microbiome and amyloidogenesis through specific nutritional interventions might prove to be an effective strategy to prevent or reduce the risk of Alzheimer disease." Controlling inflammation via diet and nutrition? What a novel thought. The problem is, few doctors have anything meaningful to say about it to their patients, instead opting to prescribe drugs (HERE).
- LEAKY GUT SYNDROME, AUTOIMMUNITY (PARTICULARLY TYPE I DIABETES), AND CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE: Last week's issue of Current Pharmacological Designs (The Role of Microbiota and Intestinal Permeability in the Pathophysiology of Autoimmune and Neuroimmune Processes with an Emphasis on Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Type 1 Diabetes, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) put the biscuit in the basket by going "Big Picture" on us. "In steady state conditions, intestinal immune homeostasis is maintained by a sophisticated bidirectional dialogue between the microbiota and the intestinal immune system. The breakdown of immune homeostasis following the development of gut inflammation, caused for example by gut dysbiosis, and the consequent increased intestinal permeability, is increasingly considered to be the ultimate source of the systemic immune activation and T helper / TH-17 regulatory cell imbalances, and maybe neurological disturbances, seen in autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease. Increased intestinal permeability... is a likely cause of the severe fatigue and an almost bewildering range of neurocognitive, neuroimaging and overall symptom presentations seen in patients with a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome." If you are chronically ill and don't understand LEAKY GUT SYNDROME, you are shooting yourself in the foot. Take three minutes to read the link. And if you are interested in seeing the TH-17 System (cellular apoptosis / death) in action as it relates to autoimmunity, HERE it is.
- PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS: This, folks, covers a lot of ground and builds on the bullet above. The very same issue of the very same journal published a study called Gut Microbiota and the Emergence of Autoimmunity: Relevance to Major Psychiatric Disorders. Despite the fact that the authors are looking for pharmaceutical solutions for AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES, the authors revealed that, "Autoimmune phenotypes are prevalent in major psychiatric disorders. Disequilibria of cellular processes occurring in the gastrointestinal tract likely contribute to immune dysfunction in psychiatric disorders. As the venue of a complex community of resident microbes, the gut in a homeostatic state equates with a functional digestive system, cellular barrier stability [Leaky Gut Syndrome] and properly regulated recognition of self and non-self antigens. When gut processes become disrupted as a result of environmental or genetic factors, autoimmunity may ensue. These investigations demonstrate changes in behavior and brain biochemistry directly attributable to alterations in the gut microbiome. Autoantigens are produced by extrinsically-derived food and microbial factors bound to intrinsic components of the gut including receptors present in the enteric nervous system." Interesting that they mentioned food as being a potential causal factor. Can you guess what the number one food associated with autoimmunity is? Grains, and most particularly GLUTEN. Nothing else is even close.
- MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS: The same journal published yet another study in their "Autoimmunity" issue; this one called Multiple Sclerosis, Gut Microbiota and Permeability: Role of Tryptophan Catabolites, Depression and the Driving Down of Local Melatonin. This shouldn't be news to you as I've already shown you in several studies (HERE) that MS is intimately linked to Microbiomes gone south. This latest of offerings suggests that, "Alterations in gut microbiota, coupled to increased gut permeability are now widely recognized as having a role in the etiology, course, and treatment of many medical conditions, including autoimmune and neurodegenerative disorders. Given the wide array of biological factors and processes that have been shown to be altered in MS, including changes in the gut, this allows for a better integration of the diverse array of pathophysiological processes linked to MS. Such pathophysiological processes include increases in oxidative and nitrosative stress, pro-inflammatory immune responses, especially T helper, TH-17 cell proliferation and activation, tryptophan catabolites, pain, fatigue and increased levels of depression. By raising levels of immune activation, increased gut permeability and alterations in gut microbiota impact on all of these MS-associated processes. Alterations in the regulation of local melatonergic pathway activation is proposed to be an important hub for such pathophysiological processes in MS, allowing for the increased frequency of depression that may be prodromal in MS, both in the first episode as well as in relapses, to become more intimately associated with the etiology and course of MS. Changes in the gut are evident in the early stages of MS, including in pediatric MS, and may interact with pro-inflammatory genetic susceptibility genes to drive the biological underpinnings of MS." If there's one thing you need to understand about DEPRESSION, it's that the meds used to treat it are largely based on outright fraud in the so-called EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE.
- BRAIN & NERVOUS SYSTEM: Last week's issue of the European Journal of Neuroscience published a study called Thinking with Your Stomach? Gut Feelings on Microbiome Modulation of Brain Structure and Function. In this study, the authors reiterated a theme we have noticed repeatedly in today's post --- that, "The gut microbiome, the entire microbial ecosystem occupying the gastrointestinal ecological niche, can impact almost every organ in the human body, not least of which being the brain. The gut microbiome has been found to signal to both the developing and adult mammalian brain, modulating both health and disease states." When it comes to taking care of your brain and nervous system (not to mention your overall health), it's really a "no-brainer" --- take care of your Microbiome! One of the ways you can do this can be found HERE.
- CHEMICAL EXPOSURE DESTROYS YOUR MICROBIOME: Speaking of no-brainers; the fact that chemicals (drugs, vaccines, food additives, makeup, perfume / cologne, environmental toxins, etc, etc) destroy bacteria is at the top of the list. Two of the big-name chemicals currently in the news are bisphenols (aka BPA) and ethinyl estradiols, both of which are hardcore XENOESTROGENS (aka "Endocrine Disruptors"). How do they go about causing ESTROGEN DOMINANCE in females, while feminizing males? Seems obvious in light of today's post. It's largely occurring in the Gut. Case in point, the new study from this month's issue of Gut Microbes (Effects of Exposure to Bisphenol A and Ethinyl Estradiol on the Gut Microbiota of Parents and Their Offspring....). "Gut dysbiosis may result in various diseases, such as metabolic and neurobehavioral disorders. Exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), including bisphenol A (BPA) and ethinyl estradiol (EE), especially during development, may also increase the risk for such disorders. Gut flora and their products may thus be mediating factors for the harmful effects of these chemicals. Both BPA and EE induced generational and sex-dependent gut microbiome changes. Many of the bacteria, e.g. Bacteroides, Mollicutes, Prevotellaceae, Erysipelotrichaceae, Akkermansia, Methanobrevibacter, Sutterella, whose proportions increase with exposure to BPA or EE are associated with different disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), metabolic disorders, and colorectal cancer." Be honest with me folks. Are you even remotely surprised by this? If you have even a single shred of common sense, of course not! For those interested, take a look at my post called ENDOGUT, which as you might guess, is all about the connections between your endocrine system and Gut.
- FARM ANIMAL PRODUCTION: I'm fortunate because in my region of RURAL MISSOURI, we either HUNT DEER or have unlimited access to ORGANIC BEEF. As a hardcore advocate of the PALEO DIET for treating those with autoimmunity and epithelial barrier issues ("The Leakies"), it's certainly handy. Although it's ever so slow, the commercial farming industry seems to at least be getting the memo that there is a huge market for pasture-fed meat (chicken included) that has not been raised with antibiotics, growth hormones, or tons of chemicals. Case in point, the new article in Frontiers in Veterinary Science (Gut Health: The New Paradigm in Food Animal Production). The author states....... "Optimal gut health is of vital importance to the performance of production animals. Gut health is synonymous in animal production industries with animal health. The GI tract is responsible for regulating physiological homeostasis that provides the host the ability to withstand infectious and non-infectious stressors." Honestly, I could have cited this entire paper. If you are a farmer / rancher and raise food animals for a living (lots of you around here do), I would suggest you take the five minutes it will require of you to read this short paper in its entirety (HERE).
One thing I must note when looking at these studies is that despite the wide range of terms used to describe the phenomenon, Leaky Gut Syndrome is mentioned repeatedly and shown to be intimately associated with Autoimmune Diseases (HERE IS A LIST OF THEM). This despite the fact that many --- probably the majority --- of practicing physicians deny its very existence, claiming it's a figment of the imagination of "health nuts" and natural healers. Just shows you how far ahead of their time these folks really were when it came to overall health as related to GUT HEALTH.
As you also may have noticed, not one of these studies was more than ten days old. What does this tell you? Only that the single hottest area of biomedical study right now is the Microbiome. How can you take care of yours? For starters, stay off of ANTIBIOTICS as though your life depends on it. Stay away from RIDICULOUS VACCINES (or HERE). And for Pete's sake, stop feeding the resulting dysbiosis with its food-of-choice ---- SUGAR.
If you are chronically ill --- especially if you are struggling with autoimmunity --- you owe it to yourself to at least look at what creating your own personal EXIT STRATEGY can do. And while you are looking at my GENERALIZED TEMPLATE for solving your own health problems, do not, and I repeat DO NOT, overlook the importance of FECAL MICROBIOTA TRANSPLANTS. They are by far the most powerful medicine available in the battle to solve autoimmunity --- natural or pharmaceutical.
THE HEALTH OF YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM IS BASED ON THE HEALTH OF YOUR GUT
Some T-Cells "help" other Immune System cells prepare for battle. Some actually attack the invaders themselves. Others remember what the body has been attacked by in the past, which makes future attacks easier. Still others help to tone down or dampen ("regulate") Immune System responses so they don't burn out of control. And that's just for starters. Suffice it to say that T-Cells are of critical importance because they perform such a wide array of Immune System functions.
Not only does your bone marrow (the living, inner, blood-rich portion of long bones) make both white and red blood cells, it is where your T-Cells originate as well. All T-Cells are the same when they are made, but due to the effects of the thymus --- a small lymphoid organ found behind the sternum but in front of the heart --- they are differentiated into the various sorts we just talked about, as well as a few others. One of the specific kind of T-Cells (those that keep Immune System reactions in check or "regulated") is known as TREGS or T-Regulatory Cells. When TREGS get fouled up, one of the more common problems is that one's Immune System will begin to mount responses to self. Your body attacking itself is not a good thing, and is widely known as AUTOIMMUNITY.
In this particular study, the authors gave experimental mice a group of antibiotics that wiped the Gut free of bacteria. For you certified germophobes out there (you know, those of you who keep the little bottle of hand-sanitizer strapped to your purse), this probably sounds fantastic. It's not (HERE and HERE are why). The result of this study was that under the effects of the antibiotics, neither TREGS nor CD4 Cells (the T-Helpers) developed correctly. Why is this? Because, as the authors concluded, "Both Treg and CD4 development strictly depended on the resident microbiota." What does this tell us in plain English?
Firstly, note the word strictly, and realize that there's no way around it. Secondly, this study reinforces what I have warned you of numerous times; that ANTIBIOTICS (as well as non-antibiotic drugs with ANTIBIOTIC PROPERTIES) are IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPPRESSORS --- one of the single worst things you can do for your overall health not to mention the health of your children (HERE). And unfortunately, it doesn't take as much as you might think to cause problems --- serious problems (HERE). And thirdly; although they did not talk about it, for all their benefits, Probiotics are frequently not enough to restore one's Microbiome after taking antibiotics (HERE).
If you want to solve the curse of DYSBIOSIS (along with "THE LEAKIES," what happens when you take antibiotics), stop taking antibiotics and then feeding the resultant beast with sugar (HERE). Oh; as if we should be surprised, the authors concluded that this information might be helpful for those struggling to cope with IBS. I would agree --- if they actually presented their results in a pragmatic "Big Picture" fashion as far as overall health is concerned (HERE).
ENEMAS AND COLONICS
AN ANCIENT REMEDY FOR MODERN TIMES
The people of bygone eras understood this quite well. Not only was an enema one of the first forms of treatment against a wide array of health issues, but until about 50 or 60 years ago, it was that way in our hospitals as well. Talk to some old-timers. They'll tell you that virtually no matter why you were admitted to the hospital, the first thing you got was an enema. Why? Doctors had not yet forgotten that the body's ability to heal is directly proportionate to what what's going on in the Gut. My how things have changed.
Because we live in a society that has been brainwashed to believe that the practice of medicine must always be high-tech and involve lots of DRUGS AND DIAGNOSTIC TESTS, not only are enemas not done in the average hospital setting today, they are looked upon with eye-rolls by the average practitioner. When might an enema or colonic be a good idea for those not so inclined to follow a "medicine-first" approach? Follow along as I walk you through a primer on Gut Health.
Both ANTIBIOTICS and NUMEROUS OTHER DRUGS destroy the good bacteria that make up what's commonly referred to as your "MICROBIOME". When you have an abnormal ratio of 'good' bacteria to 'bad' bacteria (or other organisms such as YEAST, MOLD, PARASITES, etc, etc), the end result is something called "DYSBIOSIS". Although doctors certainly check for acute infections such as C. DIFF, they do not care much about Dysbiosis (which are technically chronic infections), nor do they test for it even though there are some great tests out there (the link on parasites tells you how said testing is done). Why not? Because, as I just showed you, most Dysbiosis begins with a medical intervention --- usually in the form of drugs. Once you understand what dysbiotic infections eat, you can start thinking about defeating them.
If you want to dry Dysbiosis up at it's source, you'll have to quit feeding it. Unfortunately, if you are a dysbiotic bacteria living in the average American Gut, every day is Thanksgiving and Christmas combined. Allow me to explain. In 1900, the average American consumed less than five pounds of sugar per year, and almost zero processed carbohydrates. Today people are eating about 160 pounds of sugar per annum. This constitutes a 3,200% increase in annual sugar consumption in the past 120 years. This doesn't even begin to touch on the mass quantities of processed carbs and white flour we are collectively consuming. Why is it such a big deal? Because the food-of-choice for the nasties mentioned in the paragraph above is --- you guessed it --- sugar and highly processed carbs (carbs that rapidly convert to sugar in your body. In other words, sugar feeds infection (HERE).
Beyond the obvious Gut-related problems with your Immune System and DIGESTION, Dysbiosis is going to lead to any number of equally as serious, but less well-known problems. For instance, were you aware that 90% of your body's neurotransmitter Serotonin is made in the Gut (HERE)? Or what about the fact that the vast majority of T4 (the inactive form of thyroid hormone) is converted to T3 (the active form) in the Gut (HERE)? There are any number of others (HERE). Conclusions are not difficult to draw. If you have problems in your Gut, it's going to affect your health in one fashion or another --- always adversely.
The obvious solution to this problem is to feed your Microbiome what it needs. For most of you --- particularly those of you who are struggling with CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY DEGENERATIVE DISEASES, AUTOIMMUNITY, or CHRONIC PAIN ---- this is going to require a LOW CARB approach of some sort (for numerous reasons I am a huge fan of the PALEO DIET or the many similar), with plenty of the right kind of fiber (HERE). You also might, depending on the severity of your problem, need to be looking into the new frontier in healthcare --- FMT. However, you might also benefit from enemas or colonic irrigation.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ENEMAS & COLONICS
There were dozens of "before" and "after" pictures --- the "before" images being of people with wide assortments of SKIN CONDITIONS --- some of them incredibly nasty. The "after" picture would show the 'stuff' that came out of the colon as well as the change in the person's skin --- usually dramatic and usually within a matter of weeks. The material that came out of the bowel might remind you of a shed snake skin, only, as you might imagine, far thicker and usually quite disgusting (these are the 'mucoid plaques' that attach themselves to the wall of your colon).
True Story: A person I know quite well suffered from MIGRAINE HEADACHES from the time she was in grade school until about 10 or 12 years ago (three decades). A series of Colonics solved her problem. The material that was washed from her bowel was, in her words, "orange and fuzzy" --- obvious characteristics of a CANDIDA OVERGROWTH. All of this raises a simple question --- what is the difference between an enema and Colonic Irrigation?
An enema typically works via gravity feed (DIY bags or kits range from $10.00 to $70.00 and are available online or at your local drugstore) or by using a special syringe or bulb to insert / 'inject' water into the bottom part of the bowel. The bulbs are more commonly used with infants or younger children (plenty of info on YouTube). The thing is, a colon is five feet long. Thus, with the 'Colonic', various means are used so that the entire length of the colon can be reached / cleaned with water, not just the lowest portion. There are numerous approaches to health and wellness, as well as solving chronic health issues. No matter which approach(s) you take to dealing with LEAKY GUT SYNDROME, IBS, Dysbiosis, or others, Colonic Irrigation is a therapy that can easily be integrated into THIS or other protocols.
MORE PROOFS OF THE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR MICROBIOME AND THE FACT THAT WE ARE TOO CLEAN: THUMB-SUCKING AND NAIL-BITINGRead Now
CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS....
EXCEPT WHEN IT'S NOT
Why Thumb-sucking and Nail-biting Can Actually Improve One's Microbiome & Immune System
Researchers quizzed parents to see if their children (over 1,000 children born in 1972-73 were part of New Zealand's Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study) were thumb-suckers or nail-biters (approximately 1/3 were) when they were young. They then looked at medical records to see what sort of problems these individuals were prone to as adults. After controlling for pets, parents with allergies, breast-feeding, and numerous other factors, the authors concluded that, "Children who suck their thumbs or bite their nails are less likely to have atopic sensitization [allergies] in childhood and adulthood."
How does the Hygiene Hypothesis work? Babies are born relatively sterile. Their first environmental bacterial exposure comes from MOTHER'S VAGINA & MOTHER'S MILK (as well as skin-to-skin contact with family members). Without exposure to a wide array of bacteria and other microorganisms from a young age, the Immune System --- 80% of which RESIDES IN THE GUT --- is much more likely to view non-pathological organisms as a threat. This ramps up the Immune System to the point that people (both children and adults) start reacting against things they should not react to; mounting Immune System responses against dust, pollen, animal dander, etc, etc, etc. The end result is increased amounts of eczema (atopy), asthma and allergy.
Are we too clean as a people --- as a nation? For many of us, the answer is a resounding yes (HERE). There are any number of articles floating around the world wide web of people who are "curing" allergies, eczema, dandruff, as well as a wide array of SKIN PROBLEMS simply by bathing / showering way less frequently, for a much shorter duration, and / or not using soap or shampoo when they do bathe.
This concept of "over-cleanliness" affects you on the inside as well, and is a big reason why giving your children / babies antibiotics can destroy their health --- potentially for the rest of their lives (HERE). It also helps explain why the absurd numbers of VACCINES being given today --- particularly worthless vaccines such as those for the FLU --- not to mention the DRAMATICALLY INCREASING NUMBERS of vaccines on the horizon, while certainly helping contain short-term childhood illnesses (measles, mumps, WHOOPING COUGH, etc, etc) are unfortunately trading them for long term CHRONIC DEGENERATIVE INFLAMMATORY DISEASES. Allow me to show you some interesting studies on Atopic Sensitization as it relates to the Hygiene Hypothesis.
- Let's hit Atopic Sensitivity as it pertains to Vaccines first. A 2009 study (Allergic Disease and Atopic Sensitization in Children in Relation to Measles Vaccination and Measles Infection) that was published in the journal Pediatrics came to some rather amazing conclusions. After comparing the rate of allergies in nearly 15,000 children who contracted the measles to children who did not (these are the same 15,000 you'll see in the next study), the authors determined that, "In the whole group of children, atopic sensitization was inversely associated with measles infection..... .....inverse associations were observed between measles infection and "any allergic symptom" and "any diagnosis of allergy by a physician."" In other words, Measles is protective against Atopic Sensitization.
- In the April, 2006 journal Allergy (Allergic Diseases and Atopic Sensitization in Children Related to Farming...), children who grew up on farms were compared to children who did not. After looking at at almost 15,000 children from the same general parts of Europe, researchers concluded that, "The prevalence of allergic diseases has increased rapidly in recent decades, particularly in children. Growing up on a farm was found to have a protective effect against all outcomes studied, both self-reported, such as rhinoconjunctivitis, wheezing, atopic eczema and asthma and sensitization. This study indicates that growing up on a farm..... may confer protection from both sensitization and allergic diseases in childhood."
- This is not surprising after looking at a study that came out two years later, in August of 2008. Researchers published their study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology called Prenatal Exposure to a Farm Environment Modifies Atopic Sensitization at Birth. This study of almost 1,000 Austrian, Finnish, French, German, and Swiss women / babies, compared the cord blood from those who lived on farms to those who did not. "Previous cross-sectional surveys have suggested that maternal exposure to animal sheds during pregnancy exerted a protective effect on atopic sensitization in children lasting until school age. There was an inverse relationship between maternal exposure to animal sheds and cord blood IgE levels against seasonal allergens. Maternal exposure during pregnancy influences atopic sensitization patterns in cord blood. The (microbial) context of allergen contact possibly modifies the risk of atopic sensitization."
- Probably no study shows the Hygiene Hypotheseis clearer than The Role of Atopic Sensitization in Flexural Eczema: Findings from the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood, which was published in a 2008 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Researchers compared rates of asthma, eczema, and allergies in people from third world nations, to those in Westernized nations. Although people from the third world might have any number of other health-related problems, "The age- and sex-adjusted odds ratios for a positive association between eczema and atopy [had] a significantly stronger association in affluent compared with nonaffluent countries. The combined population attributable fraction for atopy in flexural eczema was 27.9% for affluent and 1.2% for nonaffluent-country centers." This is more than a 2,300% difference!
- Not quite three years ago, the Dermatology Times published an article called Probiotics May Decrease Atopic Sensitization, which dealt with a study from the journal Pediatrics. In their article the authors stated, "When administered prenatally and postnatally, probiotics significantly reduced the risk of atopic sensitization. Probiotics effectively reduced total immunoglobin E." Interesting to be sure, but pay very close attention to this next sentence. "Administration of Lactobacillus acidophilus was associated with increased risk of atopic sensitization compared to other strains, researchers noted." This helps explain why people can actually develop DYSBIOSIS from taking too much of one strain of good bacteria, including acidophilus (HERE and HERE). It's also why people with a really messed up Gut might have to look into FMT in order to improve their health.
What to do next? THIS POST gives a few pointers on things to do in order to normalize your immune system. By "normalize," I mean normalize. We see lots of articles on supplements or diets that claim to "boost" one's Immune System. In some cases, this is well and good. However, never forget that it is an overactive Immune System that attacks things it should not, including your own body. It's why TREGS (T-Regulatory Cells, previously known as T-Suppressor Cells) are such a critical part of a properly-functioning Immune System.
GUT HEALTH NOT ALL THAT IMPORTANT FOR YOUR BABIES?
As I've shown you before, EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE is often all over the place as far as results of studies are concerned. For instance, it wasn't that long ago (actually, many doctors are still guilty of this) that we were all being told that eggs and red meat cause HIGH CHOLESTEROL, and butter and SALT are bad for you. Now we know this is false. In similar fashion, I take exception to Yong's conclusions.
While C-Sections aren't the end of the world, VAGINAL DELIVERIES are extremely important for exposing babies to their first (good) bacteria. And as for his antibiotics-are-not-that-bad-for-your-baby-or-young-child stance, I would argue vehemently to the contrary. As I have shown you previously, ANTIBIOTICS are one of the single worst drugs you can put in your body as far as destroying your health is concerned (just browse the titles under the previous link). I've also shown you that the FIVE OR SIX ROUNDS OF ANTIBIOTICS PER YEAR that most parents consider to be no big deal ("normal"), have far bigger consequences than they could have even dreamed. In fact, I've gone out on a limb and shown parents that the antibiotics they continue to give their children are decimating their future health (HERE). Yong essentially admits this in the cherry-picked paragraph below.
"The gut microbiomes of malnourished Malawian infants mature slower than usual. The babies end up with communities that are less efficient at harvesting energy from food, which contributes to their low weight and weak bones. Possible culprits include gut diseases, poor diets, antibiotics, or combinations of all of the above. The point is: we don’t know. It’s a field that needs to move away from simply looking for changes to working out if those changes matter, from finding statistical significance to establishing actual significance."
I'll tell you what. You wait for more research and I'll trust my gut. My gut? That 's right; GUT HEALTH is arguably the number one factor as far as one's overall health is concerned. And nothing destroys it quicker than medications (HERE) --- most particularly antibiotics. Despite the recent interest in the MICROBIOME (it's been one of the hottest areas of study in the field of medicine for at least the past half decade), there is nothing new under the sun. Listen to what Drs. Paul Clayton and Judith Rowbotham wrote in a 2009 issue of The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (How the Mid-Victorians Worked, Ate and Died).
"Analysis of the mid-Victorian period in the U.K. (defined as the years between 1850 and 1870) reveals that life expectancy at age 5 was as good or better than exists today, and the incidence of degenerative disease was 10% of ours. Their levels of physical activity and hence calorific intakes were approximately twice ours. They had relatively little access to alcohol and tobacco [or non-snake oil pharmaceutical medications]; and due to their correspondingly high intake of fruits, whole grains, oily fish and vegetables, they consumed levels of micro- and phytonutrients at approximately ten times the levels considered normal today. They were almost entirely free of the degenerative diseases which maim and kill so many of us, and although it is commonly stated that this is because they all died young, the reverse is true; public records reveal that they lived as long – or longer – than we do in the 21st century."
Fewer DEGENERATIVE INFLAMMATORY DISEASES and a fraction of the amount of AUTOIMMUNITY? We shouldn't be surprised at all. I would argue that much of this was probably due not only to consuming lots of PRE-BIOTIC FIBER in their diets, but because they ate lots of fermented foods as well (kraut for instance). Furthermore, they were not tainted by all the drugs that DESTROY AND ALTER one's microbiome. Although the concept of the HYGIENE HYPOTHESIS was certainly not the model that the ancients based their theories on, healers of antiquity understood a simple concept that modern doctors (RESEARCHERS, NOT PRACTICING PHYSICIANS) are finally rediscovering. It was the great physician Hippocrates who stated 400 years before the time of Christ that, "all disease begins in the gut." And ever since, natural healers have been beating the same drum --- heal the gut, heal the body.
Although Yong is correct in saying that we have a long way to go as far as our understanding of the exact mechanisms of our collective microbiome, I believe he is missing the mark in his assessment of this situation. Remember that it's the medical community who still largely denies that INCREASED INTESTINAL PERMEABILITY exits, let alone is a health problem of epidemic proportions. And they even less often mention it's just as ugly twin sister --- DYSBIOSIS. When Yong's article is viewed through the lens of the curative potential of FMT, it almost becomes egregious. Every study on antibiotics is scarier than the one that came out before it. Because we know that at least half of all prescriptions for such are inappropriate or unnecessary, I suggest you do what it takes to keep yourself and your family off these and OTHER DRUGS.
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).
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