Tag Archives: ADD

New book cover, and ebook price is cut to $6.99!

Hi Rez Cover ebook gut brain

I’ve been working on rewriting my book description, as I’ve never liked the one I used. So, today’s post is all about updates on TSF. I’m working on the next book too, and it’s all about applying the information from TSF to everyday life! So, here’s the update so far, with a linky at the bottom:

What if many of the things you thought you knew about being human did not actually work the way you were taught?

What if scientific research into gut bacteria had revealed huge amounts of information about their role in human function, health, emotions and appetite and healthcare hadn’t caught up at all?

What if you could find out the key to controlling your weight without starving yourself or undergoing dangerous surgery?

What if the book you’re looking at could teach you about the explosion of scientific research on the microbiome, without you having to read a few thousand studies to understand it?

You’ve probably heard that our gut bacteria vastly outnumber our human cells, and our gut bacteria’s gene pool includes more than one hundred times the gene count as our human cells. What does that mean and how does it work?

If you’re interested in knowing more about “what makes us tick” physically and emotionally, how to hurt less and age more gracefully, then this book is for you!

If you’re tired of books that state the author’s opinion or make broad claims without scientific backing or support, this book includes about 1300 peer-reviewed research studies, and the e-book has links to those studies on the National Library of Health/National Library of Medicine.

One of the inspirations for this book was research published by the late Prof. Eshel Ben-Jacob, a brilliant Israeli researcher. I was able to share this book with him before he passed away, and this is what he said about it:

“This excellent and long needed book presents in a clear and sound manner the recent dramatic findings about our gut bacteria. These thousands of trillions microorganisms living inside us play a crucial role in regulating our well-being throughout life. The new message is of great importance to the entire medical community, life sciences researchers, as well as the general public. Realizing the role of gut bacteria can help each of us to better understand the effect of nutrients, as mediated by the gut bacteria, on our body in health, in disease and in special times, such as pregnancy, nursing or periods of high stress. For example, we now understand that the massive use of antibiotics in children, adults and agriculture has endangered our vital microbiome and is liable to cause diseases such as Type 2 diabetes on a global scale. The gut microbiome is emerging as a vital part of humanity, without which health and happiness are severely compromised. The time has come for this knowledge to be widely understood!”

Professor Eshel Ben-Jacob, International member of the American Philosophical Society

Professor of Physics
The Maguy-Glass Professor
in Physics of Complex Systems
School of Physics and Astronomy
Tel Aviv University, 69978 Tel Aviv, Israel

http://www.amazon.com/Symbiont-Factor-Bacteria-Microbiome-Redefines-ebook/dp/B00LV6H1UY/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1443640302&sr=8-6

ADHD and the Microbiome: Any useful connections?

ADHD

Life sometimes keeps us quite busy, doesn’t it? I apologize to you, my readers, for the scarce blog posts. I’ve been in the process of pulling off an epic home move of about 1700 miles! So, I write this post while in a campground in Lamoine, Maine USA where I’ve been hunting up a new home for my family and I.

I did quite a bit of research reading about ADHD recently, and thought I would share a few thoughts about it.  Most of these thoughts are summarized in the flow chart drawing I created; refer to it when reading this blog post and you’ll see what I mean. What can be learned from a simple uBiome stool sample that can help with ADHD? Well, it turns out that there is quite a bit to look at there! As usual, this isn’t meant to replace your physician’s advice, and it is an example-which may not exactly describe your situation. You should consider using uBiome to run your (or your child’s) sample to see what your particular situation consists of.

The first thing to consider is the imbalance that frequently occurs in a microbiome. You see, it isn’t just about how many species of bacteria live in your gut, it is also about the relative numbers of those species. uBiome, after processing your sample, shows this in the simplest way by clicking on Taxonomy tree. In this format, the larger circles indicate larger populations while the smaller ones indicate, well, smaller. Clicking on each allows one to expand the data down from the phylum level all the way down to the genus level (remember, all life is cataloged by Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species. We usually use Genus, Species to identify organisms, such as Homo sapiens or Helicobacter pylori.) When expanding these circles, often there is an obvious imbalance. At this point, I’m going to share some very specific information, and some or all of it may not apply to you or your child. It is an example of how a uBiome analysis can correlate with a condition and symptoms, directing some interventions. One recent patient case was a good example; the only large circles were Firmicutes, which is not such a bad thing. Opening that led to Clostridia being dominant, while Bacilli was minimal. This is meaningful because Bacilli includes Lactobacillus-one of the definite “good guys” that keep things working well. The phylum Actinobacteria was also minimal, significant because it includes another desirable genus, Bifidobacterium. This organism is an initial colonizer of the gut, tames the immune system, and also works with Lactobacillus to produce BDNF.

BDNF stands for Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor, and it is necessary for the brain to develop new connections and grow/adapt to the life an individual leads. It is needed for plasticity, that ability of the brain to learn and adapt as needed. Low levels of BDNF are associated with ADHD. Your microbiome helps your brain to produce BDNF. Remember that a big part of what your brain learns to do as you grow up is actually blocking things out, not paying attention to more of them. It is a learning process, and in order to concentrate to accomplish tasks we must learn to attenuate non-essential information. This is also necessary for the brain to conserve fuel, because having a neural response to every incoming signal would burn a lot of fuel-in fact, enough to run out in some areas and cause Oxidative Stress.

Oxidative stress can result from depressed levels of antioxidant reserves or from too much stimulation. When nerve cells get overstimulated, they build up waste products and the energy-producing mitochondria become damaged. This is a “cellular death spiral”, because as soon as the mitochondria become damaged, the cell’s capability to metabolize fuel and produce energy is compromised, leading to more oxidative stress and further damage. This has been identified as part of the disease process in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s as well as ADHD and Autism. One of the problems that can promote Oxidative Stress is Inflammation.

Inflammation occurs when the immune system become too reactive and begins to attack tissue that is “self” and not “intruder/enemy”. Bifidobacteria are known for helping to dampen the immune inflammatory response, and a deficiency of Bifido contributes to inflammation. Again, inflammation is a key building block of…yes, all the same neurologic diseases. Low levels of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus are also significant because these organisms produce a neurotransmitter called Gamma Amino Butyric Acid or GABA.

GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, and calming drugs or herbs often boost GABA levels. Valerian root or Valium (copycat drug companies, you know?) are good examples as is Kava Kava. Low levels of Lacto and Bifido gut bacteria result in low levels of GABA at the brain. Low levels of GABA at the brain result in less inhibition…ergo, more stimulation! And, the process continues in a positive feedback loop.

It is interesting to note that one intervention that helps elevate GABA and BDNF is exercise. Kids with ADHD are known for often being hyperkinetic, so if you wondered why, it is their brain’s way of balancing the equation to save nerve cells! When kids are reprimanded by teachers and parents are shamed into medicating their children’s “high energy”, it can be detrimental to the developmental process for this reason. This doesn’t mean that doing nothing is better, as a child must be able to focus in order to be able to learn. It just means that medicating their energy level down does not address the root causes of the problem.

So, what would be some natural interventions? First, improved nutrition. Any food that is causing more inflammation needs to be removed from the diet. Often that is sweets (note that Clostridia like sweets) and sometimes specific items such as gluten containing foods. Adding probiotics that contain the Lacto and Bifido organisms (in this patient example) can of course be helpful, but more so if they are also fed the prebiotic fibers that they need to survive (again, ideally this is case-specific). Both can be added to a fruit and vegetable smoothie that is tasty. Neuroprotective supplements such as N-Acetylcysteine will help to minimize the neuronal damage that is occurring. Also DHA/Omega-3 oils are neuroprotective and have been shown to help with ADHD. Curcumin can also reduce the neuroinflammation and is protective as well. It can also help settle gut function and heal the membranes of the intestines if they were inflamed too. Eating less processed food and more fresh (organic as possible) fruits and vegetables helps.

All of these steps are best carried out after having a stool sample analyzed for gut bacteria. Only after seeing the “bacterial census” is it possible to be extremely specific. A different patient’s samples could result in different recommendations! Please contact me for more details should you wish to find out more or schedule an analysis. This does not have to be done locally, as I only need the data from uBiome and a patient questionnaire to determine recommendations. Some of the supplements recommended are not case-specific, such as NAC, DHA/Omega and Curcumin as these will help most types of situations as will a healthier diet. The probiotic formulation is ideally case-specific, as is the prebiotic fibers and these will preferentially feed some categories of organisms more than others.

With proper lab work and specific interventions, it is possible for many individuals with ADHD to control and manage their situation more effectively. For some, it will be more of a cure, with no medication needed. For others, it may mean less medication is needed or the medication works more effectively. It is important to realize that we are all different, and our situations are also different!

Sources for supplements: http://progressivelabs.com/   You’ll have to register to order from them, and it requires specifying who referred you. Please feel free to put my name on that line, and then you will be able to receive your supplements directly from the same manufacturer I use!

References:

Clipboard: 27

1.

TNF-alpha inhibition prevents cognitive decline and maintains hippocampal BDNF levels in the unpredictable chronic mild stress rat model of depression.

Şahin TD, Karson A, Balcı F, Yazır Y, Bayramgürler D, Utkan T.

Behav Brain Res. 2015 Jun 23;292:233-240. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2015.05.062. [Epub ahead of print]

PMID:
26112756
2.

Effect of dietary supplementation of Bacillus subtilis B10 on biochemical and molecular parameters in the serum and liver of high-fat diet-induced obese mice.

Lei K, Li YL, Wang Y, Wen J, Wu HZ, Yu DY, Li WF.

J Zhejiang Univ Sci B. 2015 Jun;16(6):487-95. doi: 10.1631/jzus.B1400342.

PMID:
26055910

Free PMC Article

3.

Enteric short-chain fatty acids: microbial messengers of metabolism, mitochondria, and mind: implications in autism spectrum disorders.

MacFabe DF.

Microb Ecol Health Dis. 2015 May 29;26:28177. doi: 10.3402/mehd.v26.28177. eCollection 2015.

PMID:
26031685

Free Article

4.

Clinical trials of N-acetylcysteine in psychiatry and neurology: A systematic review.

Deepmala, Slattery J, Kumar N, Delhey L, Berk M, Dean O, Spielholz C, Frye R.

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2015 Aug;55:294-321. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2015.04.015. Epub 2015 May 6. Review.

PMID:
25957927
5.

Gastrointestinal dysfunction in autism spectrum disorder: the role of the mitochondria and the enteric microbiome.

Frye RE, Rose S, Slattery J, MacFabe DF.

Microb Ecol Health Dis. 2015 May 7;26:27458. doi: 10.3402/mehd.v26.27458. eCollection 2015.

PMID:
25956238

Free PMC Article

6.

Comparing interval and continuous exercise training regimens on neurotrophic factors in rat brain.

Afzalpour ME, Chadorneshin HT, Foadoddini M, Eivari HA.

Physiol Behav. 2015 Aug 1;147:78-83. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.04.012. Epub 2015 Apr 11.

PMID:
25868740
7.

Probiotics as potential antioxidants: a systematic review.

Mishra V, Shah C, Mokashe N, Chavan R, Yadav H, Prajapati J.

J Agric Food Chem. 2015 Apr 15;63(14):3615-26. doi: 10.1021/jf506326t. Epub 2015 Apr 6.

PMID:
25808285
8.

A possible link between early probiotic intervention and the risk of neuropsychiatric disorders later in childhood: a randomized trial.

Pärtty A, Kalliomäki M, Wacklin P, Salminen S, Isolauri E.

Pediatr Res. 2015 Jun;77(6):823-8. doi: 10.1038/pr.2015.51. Epub 2015 Mar 11.

PMID:
25760553
9.

Increased levels of plasma glial-derived neurotrophic factor in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Shim SH, Hwangbo Y, Yoon HJ, Kwon YJ, Lee HY, Hwang JA, Kim YK.

Nord J Psychiatry. 2015 Mar 9:1-6. [Epub ahead of print]

PMID:
25753832
10.

Evaluation of improved γ-aminobutyric acid production in yogurt using Lactobacillus plantarum NDC75017.

Shan Y, Man CX, Han X, Li L, Guo Y, Deng Y, Li T, Zhang LW, Jiang YJ.

J Dairy Sci. 2015 Apr;98(4):2138-49. doi: 10.3168/jds.2014-8698. Epub 2015 Jan 23.

PMID:
25622870
11.

The role of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor genotype and parenting in early life in predicting externalizing and internalizing symptoms in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Park S, Kim BN, Kim JW, Jung YK, Lee J, Shin MS, Yoo HJ, Cho SC.

Behav Brain Funct. 2014 Nov 25;10:43. doi: 10.1186/1744-9081-10-43.

PMID:
25425456

Free PMC Article

12.

Gut microbes and the brain: paradigm shift in neuroscience.

Mayer EA, Knight R, Mazmanian SK, Cryan JF, Tillisch K.

J Neurosci. 2014 Nov 12;34(46):15490-6. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3299-14.2014. Review.

PMID:
25392516

Free PMC Article

13.

The Physiology of BDNF and Its Relationship with ADHD.

Liu DY, Shen XM, Yuan FF, Guo OY, Zhong Y, Chen JG, Zhu LQ, Wu J.

Mol Neurobiol. 2014 Oct 30. [Epub ahead of print]

PMID:
25354496
14.

Excitatory GABA induces BDNF transcription via CRTC1 and phosphorylated CREB-related pathways in immature cortical cells.

Fukuchi M, Kirikoshi Y, Mori A, Eda R, Ihara D, Takasaki I, Tabuchi A, Tsuda M.

J Neurochem. 2014 Jun 26. doi: 10.1111/jnc.12801. [Epub ahead of print]

PMID:
24965890
15.

The effects of gut microbiota on CNS function in humans.

Tillisch K.

Gut Microbes. 2014 May-Jun;5(3):404-10. doi: 10.4161/gmic.29232. Epub 2014 May 16. Review.

PMID:
24838095

Free PMC Article

16.

Prevention of cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder, and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder.

Strickland AD.

Med Hypotheses. 2014 May;82(5):522-8. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2014.02.003. Epub 2014 Feb 12.

PMID:
24581674
17.

ROS and brain diseases: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Popa-Wagner A, Mitran S, Sivanesan S, Chang E, Buga AM.

Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2013;2013:963520. doi: 10.1155/2013/963520. Epub 2013 Dec 5. Review.

PMID:
24381719

Free PMC Article

18.

The role of microbiome in central nervous system disorders.

Wang Y, Kasper LH.

Brain Behav Immun. 2014 May;38:1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2013.12.015. Epub 2013 Dec 25. Review.

PMID:
24370461

Free PMC Article

19.

BDNF mediates adaptive brain and body responses to energetic challenges.

Marosi K, Mattson MP.

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Feb;25(2):89-98. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2013.10.006. Epub 2013 Dec 19. Review.

PMID:
24361004

Free PMC Article

Select item 2423216820.

Oxidative Stress and ADHD: A Meta-Analysis.

Joseph N, Zhang-James Y, Perl A, Faraone SV.

J Atten Disord. 2013 Nov 14. [Epub ahead of print]

PMID:
24232168
21.

Prebiotic feeding elevates central brain derived neurotrophic factor, N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor subunits and D-serine.

Savignac HM, Corona G, Mills H, Chen L, Spencer JP, Tzortzis G, Burnet PW.

Neurochem Int. 2013 Dec;63(8):756-64. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2013.10.006. Epub 2013 Oct 16.

PMID:
24140431

Free PMC Article

22.

Exercise ameliorates cognition impairment due to restraint stress-induced oxidative insult and reduced BDNF level.

Kwon DH, Kim BS, Chang H, Kim YI, Jo SA, Leem YH.

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2013 May 3;434(2):245-51. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2013.02.111. Epub 2013 Mar 25.

PMID:
23535373
23.

Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder scores are elevated and respond to N-acetylcysteine treatment in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.

Garcia RJ, Francis L, Dawood M, Lai ZW, Faraone SV, Perl A.

Arthritis Rheum. 2013 May;65(5):1313-8. doi: 10.1002/art.37893.

PMID:
23400548

Free PMC Article

24.

Effect of n-3 supplementation on hyperactivity, oxidative stress and inflammatory mediators in children with attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder.

Hariri M, Djazayery A, Djalali M, Saedisomeolia A, Rahimi A, Abdolahian E.

Malays J Nutr. 2012 Dec;18(3):329-35.

PMID:
24568073
25.

Psychiatric disorders and mitochondrial dysfunctions.

Marazziti D, Baroni S, Picchetti M, Landi P, Silvestri S, Vatteroni E, Catena Dell’Osso M.

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2012 Feb;16(2):270-5. Review.

PMID:
22428481
26.

Chronic treadmill running in normotensive rats resets the resting blood pressure to lower levels by upregulating the hypothalamic GABAergic system.

Hsu YC, Chen HI, Kuo YM, Yu L, Huang TY, Chen SJ, Chuang JI, Wu FS, Jen CJ.

J Hypertens. 2011 Dec;29(12):2339-48. doi: 10.1097/HJH.0b013e32834c628f.

PMID:
22002337

Oxidative stress in psychiatric disorders: evidence base and therapeutic implications.

Ng F, Berk M, Dean O, Bush AI.

Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2008 Sep;11(6):851-76. doi: 10.1017/S1461145707008401. Epub 2008 Jan 21. Review.

PMID:
18205981

11 Easy Steps to Improving your Microbiome and Symbiont-healthy Lifestyle!

So today I thought I would share some simple practical microbiome advice!

Steps to a Healthy Microbiome
1. Start noticing how tense, stressed or up-tight you may have become. Dedicate a few minutes several times a day to taking an emotional census of this, then focus on deep breathing and refocusing your attention on a positive, healthy or loving thought and emotion. Notice how you feel afterward!

2. Be honest with yourself about what you eat or drink. I know many people who eat a great deal of sweets or fast food, making an excuse for each time “it’s a reward for such-and-such” or “it’s just a one-time treat” and my favorites “it’s just a little” and “gotta die from something”. All of these statements are simply our imbalanced gut microbiome craving something and then our mind making excuses for not eating healthier. Be honest with yourself and look at what you’re really eating!

3. Sleep is critical-if you’re not sleeping enough it is very challenging to build a healthy microbiome. We should sleep at least 7 1/2 hours per night and preferably 9 when possible. Notice these are both multiples of 90 minutes, which is the typical length of a sleep cycle that the brain goes through. Waking up halfway through one makes us feel sluggish and irritated-complete your sleep cycles by planning on it!

4. Learn to observe your mood, your bodily functions and their timing in relation to your diet. Did you get sleepy, sluggish and mildly irritated after lunch? You may have eaten something that triggered an inflammatory response in your gut, which then affects the brain. Do you cough or sneeze after eating certain foods? This can also be a clue. If you’re not having a daily bowel movement of normal consistency; not loose and not stone; then your gut bacteria/gut/immune system are imbalanced in function and you have homework to do.

5. Eating organic or wild meat or fish is much better than normal store-bought meat. The antibiotic residues in farmed meat that is not organic are sufficient to seriously imbalance your gut bacteria with long-term consequences. I believe this may be one reason that many people get healthier when they eliminate meat from their diet-no meat is better than unhealthy meat.

6. Eating homegrown or organic vegetables and produce helps also, because if it isn’t it probably has significant RoundUp glyphosate on or in it. These residues are very toxic to beneficial gut bacteria.

7. Limit your use of chemicals such as Roundup. It’s poisoning the planet’s microbiome, and it starts with your microbiome. Pesticides and solvents are also quite harmful so if you must use them, wear protection and use ventilation to avoid inhaling fumes.

8. Read and understand the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guidelines for medical antibiotic use, and hold your doctor to them. It will help you to understand when you really do need them and when you actually don’t. I haven’t personally taken antibiotics in at least 28 years and intent to extend that as long as possible.

9. Drink filtered water or spring water. Sweet soft drinks are bad for gut bacteria, and so is chlorinated municipal water.

10. Eat or drink some fermented foods such as natural sauerkraut or kombucha tea, yogurt (if not dairy sensitive) or kefir. You can even make your own. Along with taking good probiotics (which should be selected specifically based on your microbiome profile) this can help maintain a good population of healthy gut bugs.

11. Learn more about the microbiome and its tremendous effect on health, both physical and emotional. One great starting point, if I might suggest it, is my book The Symbiont Factor which you can find on eBay. I put a crazy amount of work into making it the best referenced comprehensive scientifically based book on the subject.

I hope these simple suggestions help you to start your own journey toward a healthier and happier Symbiont lifestyle!

The Brain as a Puppet: Gut Bacterial Control of Human Development and Behavior

Human intelligence brain medical symbol represented by a close up of active neurons and organ cell activity related to neurotransmitters showing intelligence with memory and healthy cognitive thinking activity.

Human intelligence brain medical symbol represented by a close up of active neurons and organ cell activity related to neurotransmitters showing intelligence with memory and healthy cognitive thinking activity.

One of the most fascinating discoveries of the last decade is the extent of influence that our bacterial microbiome has on our brain. We are really quite used to thinking of “ourselves” as a singular identity and yet our very mind may be more of a chorus than a solo. Trillions of bacteria all compete to have their needs met and their voice heard, and all of them have the ability to alter the very function of our brain at the most fundamental level. Several research papers have documented this (see references below in case you feel I’m off my rocker for saying some of the things I’m going to say 🙂

Today’s researchers are examining the many ways that gut bacteria can communicate with the human brain, and have found many pathways. The symbionts can alter the sensitivity of our neurotransmitter receptors, can release molecules that mimic neurotransmitters, produce neurotransmitters and release them into blood circulation, inflict pain or stimulate pleasure. What is the motive and why would they do this? How did bacteria learn Pavlovian training and use it to manipulate our mood, behavior and activity? The answer goes back quite far, but comes down to one thing: survival. From the beginning of evolution, bacteria have influenced the development of the multicellular organism. In many ways, you could look at bacteria as the most basic unit of life although this is generally a title attributed to the cell. Cells themselves are composed of structures that may have originated as bacteria that learned/evolved cooperative relationships. Today’s robotics researchers are studying spontaneous collective functioning as well, a parallel interest of mine. We now are fairly certain that gut bacterial symbionts not only guide the development of the human brain after birth, but influence its development before birth as well. To take that thought a step further, previous generations of symbionts have guided and facilitated the evolution of the human brain itself. Their genetic reservoir of DNA “data” is orders of magnitude greater than that of the human host, and has the ability to evolve and adapt on-the-fly during a lifetime. This gives the potential for intragenerational evolution as well as intergenerational, allowing us to evolve a bit during our lifetime and then pass this on to our children (unless they are born by caesarian section or blasted with antibiotics and vaccinations at a young age, but…that is the subject of other posts!) During our lifetime, from our earliest moments, our symbiont organisms are constantly tweaking our behavior and senses to suit their needs. In a way, we are the machine that permits them to live as a multicellular organism in a far more advanced manner, and in a world that many of them cannot survive in without us. It’s as if we built a gigantic robot that could house the entire human population (except, well, there are more gut bacteria in one human than there are humans on the planet) and used this robot to live in places that we normally could not survive in. We would certainly guide the robot to find foods that we can benefit from and do things that aid our survival. Gut bacteria do exactly that, and very elegantly. It isn’t coincidence that obligate anaerobes cause us to be stressed, which makes us breathe shallowly, tense up our muscles so they burn up oxygen, and even begin to develop apnea during the daytime and at night. What is the result? less oxygen in the gut, and that is what an obligate anaerobe benefits from. Our eating behavior is controlled by gut symbionts, to the point that some can inflict pain directly if we don’t eat something they need or trigger euphoric feeling when we give in and eat what they need. This is the reason that “diets” are so challenging, and particularly so for the obese individual-we are Pavlov’s dog, and the trainer has a cattle prod in one hand and a direct brain pleasure stimulation in the other. What will be your choice today? Yes, we can overcome that and eat a diet of “our” choosing, but only successfully after that diet and behavior changes result in changes to the microbiome. You see, once the microbiome is fed a certain way, the organisms that survive on that diet are the ones that become dominant. You can “starve out” harmful/nonbeneficial organisms, but it isn’t easy or pleasant. During a recent podcast interview with the entertaining and brilliant Clint Paddison (The Paddison Program for Rheumatoid Arthritis) he explained to me that fasting is a primary step in recovery/healing from RA. So, you see, we are as much the puppet as the master-it’s a two way street and while the host influences the symbionts, it works both ways. Symbionts can change our very perception of our world, altering our senses to guide our behavior to their benefit.

Ok, so with these thoughts in “mind” consider what the true effect of our diet is. Every single thing you eat and drink or even breathe alters symbiont bacteria to favor those that thrive on the substances in question. Eat a lot of fast “food”? You’ve selectively feeding the organisms that thrive on that. The problem is that apparently most of them are not beneficial to host health! We should also consider that all of these changes to gut bacteria as a result of our eating/drinking/breathing have consequences to our mental function. Everything from mental clarity, intelligence, emotional stability, personality-our very potential as human beings-is influenced by the bacteria that live in our gut. So which do you want to feed, the ones that may make you feel ill mentally and physically or the ones that could help you reach your true potential and live as long and healthy a life as possible?

If you’re intrigued by this discussion even a bit, you should consider reading the reference articles below. If you’d like to understand the subject better but want to read it in English and not research-ese, then please read my book, The Symbiont Factor. You can find it on Amazon as an e-book or paperback at the following link: http://tinyurl.com/p7mx6hh

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25401092

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25772005

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25103109

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25974299

Top Ten Reasons that the Microbiome Matters:

As I’ve been busily shutting down one clinic to open another, I’ve logged many miles of driving-which has given me time to think about the microbiome as well (really!) Why would the microbiome matter? Here’s my top ten list, as a microbial tribute to David Letterman’s years of late night entertainment:

10. It guides the development of the human brain early in life

9. It influences our moods, desires, behaviors throughout life

8. The microbiome helps develop and guide the immune system

7. Our HPA axis (Hypothalamus, Pituitary, Adrenal) is heavily influenced by the microbiome early in life, which determines our response to stress…

6. The human microbiome can alter the way our brain’s receptors respond to neurotransmitters, changing it significantly.

5. If our microbiome becomes imbalanced (dysbiosis) it can cause inflammation, brain dysfunction, immune dysfunction, changes in appetite, obesity, depression…and many other problems

4. The microbiome is extremely vulnerable to antibiotics from doctors or in (non-organic) meat that we consume. Once species die off and diversity is lost, dysbiosis results

3. Glyphosate, the most commonly used herbicide on the planet, is toxic to gut bacteria (and also mitochondria that supply our cells with energy)

2. Gut bacteria are true symbiont organisms; they aren’t “hitching a ride” but are indeed a part of us that functions more like a vital organ. They are part of why we are alive; death of the microbiome causes disease and aging!

1. The only source of energy that fuels this planet is sunlight, and only plants (true plants, algae, cyanobacteria) can process sunlight into biomass. After that, only bacteria can digest plants to produce energy…so everything from termites to cattle including us can only digest plants because of our gut bacteria. No gut bacteria? very very bad news!

So, get out your copy of my book, The Symbiont Factor, and read up on the microbiome, okay? Oh, you don’t have it yet? Be good to your bugs and buy a copy then!

http://tinyurl.com/kh4g8nm

The Next Book after The Symbiont Factor

What’s the perfect diet to host as healthy a microbiome as possible and live a healthy life? well, that turns out to be different for each person…our microbiome and our body live in a balance, with “the ideal microbiome” depending on several variables. How do you figure it out? That is going to be the subject of my next book! I know that there are so many books about diet, and this is not going to be one of them. It will be more about how to understand your body, making useful observations, deciding what tests to have run, understanding what those tests mean and deciding what to change to op I realized that I did not include much information about what to do in The Symbiont Factor. I wrote it more to set the stage by understanding the role of the microbiome in health; why it’s important in other words. If you’re making your way through the book or have already finished it, you will understand what is coming in the next book much better!

Mood: Does it affect gut symbiont health and intestinal function?

flow chart stress intestinal function inflammation

What are the causes of dysbiosis and resultant dysfunction/disease? One cause that seems to be greatly underestimated may be simply our mood! Human beings, having been gifted with large frontal lobes, are capable of experiencing and expressing a variety of moods. Our bodies respond to these moods with different functional states, some of which have been categorized. These are “fight or flight (or sometimes, fight/flee/fortify)” or “wine and dine”.  There are many more physiological functional arousal states that we could elaborate on, but many of them could make this blog post NSFW. We’ll just assume that your imagination can fill in the blanks with how the body responds to the mind! With the brain-gut connection in mind, and being also cognizant that it’s a two-way street since the gut influences the brain, what would be the influence of stress? One that comes to mind right away is a reduction in gut motility. This changes the environment in which the microbiome exists, and will change the demographics of the microorganisms. What about the effects of peristalsis on the small intestine? If there is less peristalsis, wouldn’t it make it easier for colonic organisms to migrate to the small intestine? If transit times increase, different stages of food digestion could release different nutrients, feeding different organisms. When do we cross from fermentative to putrefactive dominance? Using one of the concepts in The Symbiont Factor, this two-way function of gut/brain/gut axis can cause a positive feedback loop. If gut organisms that flourish during emotional stress can also alter neurotransmitter function at the brain, wouldn’t that predispose the brain to perceive stress following stressful events? What if that is why sometimes after a stressful day we just have more stress, no matter what happens? It is as if our very perception of our environment is vulnerable to plasticity. If this is allowed to happen without our conscious intervention (things like deciding to meditate or do some yoga even though you’re angry) the combination of evoked brain plasticity with gut symbiont evolution could be what makes it hard to shake off stress! Ironically, this same plasticity is probably an evolutionary advantage, allowing genetic selection of the microbiome on an ongoing real-time basis to adapt to circumstances. The problem is that our modern circumstances provide constant chemical and emotional pressure to this system, resulting in “learned dysfunction” of both the gut and the brain!  This highlights the importance of “mental housekeeping” and lifestyle choices in determining our “perceptual future”. If you don’t want the world to seem as stressful, start taking care of mind, body, and symbiont health!