Tag Archives: fermented

Stress, Microbiome, Inflammation and the Pancreas & Liver

flow chart stress intestinal function inflammation

Sometimes things happen that seem to come out of nowhere. It happens to all of us, usually when we least expect it because we are busy taking care of others or life in general. So here’s a scenario: Imagine that one day your blood sugar suddenly skyrockets and your Medical physician informs you that your liver and pancreas are not functioning properly. What could cause this? Well, many things could, but the one thing in common is inflammation. If the pancreas is inflamed, the Islets of Langerhans sometimes stop producing insulin and blood sugar doesn’t get stored, so it jumps up. If the inflammation is early in life, the immune system may go to the point of forming antibodies to the Islets, destroying them and causing Type 1 diabetes. If the body becomes inflamed later in life, cells may not respond to insulin anymore, causing Type 2 diabetes. But if the pancreas is inflamed, it doesn’t work properly. The liver can be implicated too, as it stores extra energy (glucose) reserves for when you need them. Liver inflammation can also cause diabetes. While these changes are all known to occur in people that are obese and have an unhealthy diet, how is it possible for it to happen this quickly, and in someone who isn’t obese? The answer lies in the fact that the immune system is mostly controlled by our gut bacteria and GALT, or gut-associated lymphoid tissue, dendritic nerve endings, and other points of information exchange between the microbiome and the host immune system.

Research has shown that exposure to short-term social/emotional stress causes alteration of the gut microbiome. This altered microbiome in turn does not control the immune system approriately, resulting in increased systemic inflammation (which can make the social stress worse, as both the inflammation and the altered microbiome affect brain function and mood). See the illustration above, which is from my book The Symbiont Factor.

Another factor that can alter the microbiome and trigger widespread inflammation is short term dietary change, to a less beneficial diet. In research terminology, a diet that causes microbiome demise, inflammation and disease is called a Western Diet. It is used to produce a sick lab animal to study, and mimics what the average American consumer eats every day.

Sleep is absolutely necessary for a healthy microbiome, and disruptions of our circadian rhythms and sleep cycles has been shown to disrupt our microbiome and cause inflammation.

Exposure to air affects our microbiome too! Air is actually replete will huge numbers of human skin cells and bacteria from other people in the vicinity. The longer we are in a space with other people, the more we inhale parts of their microbiome combined with the microbiome of the space. These organisms then influence our own microbiome, so if the exposure was to unhealthy microbiomes, the result can be…inflammation once more.

Sometimes the scenario can revive imbalances and infections we’ve had before, such as chronic viral infections (shingles, for example, or herpes) or chronic bacterial infections such as Lyme disease-where the organism was in a dormant state due to good immune function-waiting for an opportunity.

Ok, so…can we picture a scenario where all of the above are combined? Stress, bad food, interrupted sleep with no real dark/light cycles, and lots of sick people/bad bacteria? Bingo-it’s the place where we send people to get well: a hospital.

What should we do to recover from this systemic inflammation?

  1. Regular sleep, hitting the bed and waking same time every day, preferably in a multiple of 90 minutes. So, 6 hours, 7.5 hours, 9 hours so that we don’t interrupt a sleep cycle. No lights, no devices at night. No bright little blue “charging” LEDs.
  2. Healthy food, and preferably some of it fermented. There is a great fermented oatmeal recipe earlier on this blog, and many areas have private individuals making fantastic fermented vegetables. Here in coastal Maine, “A Stone’s Throw to Health” is one such business, with handcrafted ferments by Sheila Perloff-Eddison.
  3. Avoid deep fried food, hydrogenated fats, sweets, gluten. Even if you’re not gluten sensitive, eating it when you’re inflamed raises the odds of you becoming gluten sensitive. No fast food. Real meat, vegetable, greens, fruit.
  4. Probiotic Bifidobacteria, in double the normal doses. Add prebiotic inulin, pectin, FOS, GOS supplements to help feed the newly introduced organisms.
  5. Curcumin is hugely effective for reducing inflammation, improving insulin sensitivity, healing liver and pancreas. Not turmeric, which is 5% curcumin, but 95% curcumin-the real stuff. I take 6-8 capsules a day, minimum, if I’m injured or inflamed. It works better than drugs-check out the Ghosh study in the bibliography below.
  6. Some other products, such as jerusalem artichokes/sunchokes, jicama, artichokes, asparagus, pomegranate, rhubarb, ginger have been shown to have fantastic prebiotic and anti-inflammatory benefits.
  7. Make a point of, several times per day, praying or meditating on peaceful/optimistic and loving thoughts while breathing deeply. The physiologic effects improve autonomic tone and gut function, helping to recolonize healthy bacteria while healing gut membranes.

 

Sources:

Fermented Vegetables: http://www.astonesthrowtohealth.com/

Curcumin: http://progressivelabs.com/product.php?productid=17110&cat=0&page=1

Inulin: http://www.amazon.com/Prebiotin-Prebiotic-Fiber-8-5-Powder/dp/B001RVFSFS/ref=sr_1_2_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1459361720&sr=8-2&keywords=prebiotic

For more info: http://www.amazon.com/Symbiont-Factor-Microbiome-Redefines-Humanity/dp/1500553948/

Fermented oatmeal recipe: https://thesymbiontfactorblog.com/2016/01/26/super-synbiotic-breakfast-improved/

 

Bibliography:

Rhubarb extract prevents hepatic inflammation induced by acute alcohol intake, an effect related to the modulation of the gut microbiota.

Neyrinck AM, Etxeberria U, Taminiau B, Daube G, Van Hul M, Everard A, Cani PD, Bindels LB, Delzenne NM.

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2016 Mar 18. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201500899. [Epub ahead of print]

PMID:26990039

Combination with Red ginseng and Polygoni Multiflori ameliorates highfructose diet induced metabolic syndrome.

Kho MC, Lee YJ, Park JH, Cha JD, Choi KM, Kang DG, Lee HS.

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2016 Mar 9;16(1):98. doi: 10.1186/s12906-016-1063-7.

PMID:26961224

Free PMC Article

Chronic Psychological Stress Disrupted the Composition of the Murine Colonic Microbiota and Accelerated a Murine Model of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Watanabe Y, Arase S, Nagaoka N, Kawai M, Matsumoto S.

PLoS One. 2016 Mar 7;11(3):e0150559. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150559. eCollection 2016.

PMID:26950850

Free PMC Article

Early Alterations in Glycemic Control and Pancreatic Endocrine Function in Nondiabetic Patients With Chronic Pancreatitis.

Lundberg R, Beilman GJ, Dunn TB, Pruett TL, Freeman ML, Ptacek PE, Berry KL, Robertson RP, Moran A, Bellin MD.

Pancreas. 2016 Apr;45(4):565-71. doi: 10.1097/MPA.0000000000000491.

PMID:26918872

Hepatoprotective Effect and Synergism of Bisdemethoycurcumin against MCD Diet-Induced Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Mice.

Kim SB, Kang OH, Lee YS, Han SH, Ahn YS, Cha SW, Seo YS, Kong R, Kwon DY.

PLoS One. 2016 Feb 16;11(2):e0147745. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147745. eCollection 2016.

PMID:26881746

Free PMC Article

Protective Role of Dietary Curcumin in the Prevention of the Oxidative Stress Induced by Chronic Alcohol with respect to Hepatic Injury and Antiatherogenic Markers.

Varatharajalu R, Garige M, Leckey LC, Reyes-Gordillo K, Shah R, Lakshman MR.

Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2016;2016:5017460. doi: 10.1155/2016/5017460. Epub 2016 Jan 5.

PMID:26881029

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Targeting arachidonic acid pathway by natural products for cancer prevention and therapy.

Yarla NS, Bishayee A, Sethi G, Reddanna P, Kalle AM, Dhananjaya BL, Dowluru KS, Chintala R, Duddukuri GR.

Semin Cancer Biol. 2016 Feb 4. pii: S1044-579X(16)30003-7. doi: 10.1016/j.semcancer.2016.02.001. [Epub ahead of print] Review.

PMID:26853158

Preventive effect of curcumin on inflammation, oxidative stress and insulin resistance in high-fat fed obese rats.

Maithilikarpagaselvi N, Sridhar MG, Swaminathan RP, Sripradha R.

J Complement Integr Med. 2016 Feb 4. pii: /j/jcim.ahead-of-print/jcim-2015-0070/jcim-2015-0070.xml. doi: 10.1515/jcim-2015-0070. [Epub ahead of print]

PMID:26845728

Curcumin Attenuates Oxidative Stress and Activation of Redox-Sensitive Kinases in High Fructose- and High-Fat-Fed Male Wistar Rats.

Maithili Karpaga Selvi N, Sridhar MG, Swaminathan RP, Sripradha R.

Sci Pharm. 2014 Nov 4;83(1):159-75. doi: 10.3797/scipharm.1408-16. eCollection 2015.

PMID:26839808

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Oral Probiotic VSL#3 Prevents Autoimmune Diabetes by Modulating Microbiota and Promoting Indoleamine 2,3-Dioxygenase-Enriched Tolerogenic Intestinal Environment.

Dolpady J, Sorini C, Di Pietro C, Cosorich I, Ferrarese R, Saita D, Clementi M, Canducci F, Falcone M.

J Diabetes Res. 2016;2016:7569431. doi: 10.1155/2016/7569431. Epub 2015 Dec 8.

PMID:26779542

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Curcumin prevents paracetamol-induced liver mitochondrial alterations.

Granados-Castro LF, Rodríguez-Rangel DS, Fernández-Rojas B, León-Contreras JC, Hernández-Pando R, Medina-Campos ON, Eugenio-Pérez D, Pinzón E, Pedraza-Chaverri J.

J Pharm Pharmacol. 2016 Feb;68(2):245-56. doi: 10.1111/jphp.12501. Epub 2016 Jan 15.

PMID:26773315

Alternating or continuous exposure to cafeteria diet leads to similar shifts in gut microbiota compared to chow diet.

Kaakoush NO, Martire SI, Raipuria M, Mitchell HM, Nielsen S, Westbrook RF, Morris MJ.

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2016 Jan 14. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201500815. [Epub ahead of print]

PMID:26767716

Curcumin prevents inflammatory response, oxidative stress and insulin resistance in high fructose fed male Wistar rats: Potential role of serine kinases.

Maithilikarpagaselvi N, Sridhar MG, Swaminathan RP, Zachariah B.

Chem Biol Interact. 2016 Jan 25;244:187-94. doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2015.12.012. Epub 2015 Dec 20.

PMID:26713546

Curcumin protects against gallic acid-induced oxidative stress, suppression of glutathione antioxidant defenses, hepatic and renal damage in rats.

Abarikwu SO, Durojaiye M, Alabi A, Asonye B, Akiri O.

Ren Fail. 2016 Mar;38(2):321-9. doi: 10.3109/0886022X.2015.1127743. Epub 2015 Dec 27.

PMID:26707166

Curcumin upregulates Nrf2 nuclear translocation and protects rat hepatic stellate cells against oxidative stress.

Liu Z, Dou W, Zheng Y, Wen Q, Qin M, Wang X, Tang H, Zhang R, Lv D, Wang J, Zhao S.

Mol Med Rep. 2016 Feb;13(2):1717-24. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2015.4690. Epub 2015 Dec 17.

PMID:26676408

Curcumin Supplementation Decreases Intestinal Adiposity Accumulation, Serum Cholesterol Alterations, and Oxidative Stress in Ovariectomized Rats.

Morrone Mda S, Schnorr CE, Behr GA, Gasparotto J, Bortolin RC, da Boit Martinello K, Saldanha Henkin B, Rabello TK, Zanotto-Filho A, Gelain DP, Moreira JC.

Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2016;2016:5719291. doi: 10.1155/2016/5719291. Epub 2015 Nov 23.

PMID:26640615

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Biological and therapeutic activities, and anticancer properties of curcumin.

Perrone D, Ardito F, Giannatempo G, Dioguardi M, Troiano G, Lo Russo L, DE Lillo A, Laino L, Lo Muzio L.

Exp Ther Med. 2015 Nov;10(5):1615-1623. Epub 2015 Sep 17.

PMID:26640527

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Curcumin prevents the non-alcoholic fatty hepatitis via mitochondria protection and apoptosis reduction.

Wang L, Lv Y, Yao H, Yin L, Shang J.

Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2015 Sep 1;8(9):11503-9. eCollection 2015.

PMID:26617882

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Curcumin attenuates chronic ethanol-induced liver injury by inhibition of oxidative stress via mitogen-activated protein kinase/nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 pathway in mice.

Xiong ZE, Dong WG, Wang BY, Tong QY, Li ZY.

Pharmacogn Mag. 2015 Oct-Dec;11(44):707-15. doi: 10.4103/0973-1296.165556.

PMID:26600714

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High Fat High Cholesterol Diet (Western Diet) Aggravates Atherosclerosis, Hyperglycemia and Renal Failure in Nephrectomized LDL Receptor Knockout Mice: Role of Intestine Derived Lipopolysaccharide.

Ghosh SS, Righi S, Krieg R, Kang L, Carl D, Wang J, Massey HD, Sica DA, Gehr TW, Ghosh S.

PLoS One. 2015 Nov 18;10(11):e0141109. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0141109. eCollection 2015.

PMID:26580567

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Structural & functional consequences of chronic psychosocial stress on the microbiome & host.

Bharwani A, Mian MF, Foster JA, Surette MG, Bienenstock J, Forsythe P.

Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2016 Jan;63:217-27. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.10.001. Epub 2015 Oct 9.

PMID:26479188

T-Helper Cell-Mediated Islet Inflammation Contributes to β-Cell Dysfunction in Chronic Pancreatitis.

Talukdar R, Sasikala M, Pavan Kumar P, Rao GV, Pradeep R, Reddy DN.

Pancreas. 2016 Mar;45(3):434-42. doi: 10.1097/MPA.0000000000000479.

PMID:26474432

Curcumin Induces Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma Cell Death Via Reduction of the Inhibitors of Apoptosis.

Díaz Osterman CJ, Gonda A, Stiff T, Sigaran U, Valenzuela MM, Ferguson Bennit HR, Moyron RB, Khan S, Wall NR.

Pancreas. 2016 Jan;45(1):101-9. doi: 10.1097/MPA.0000000000000411.

PMID:26348467

Curcumin inhibits lung cancer invasion and metastasis by attenuating GLUT1/MT1-MMP/MMP2 pathway.

Liao H, Wang Z, Deng Z, Ren H, Li X.

Int J Clin Exp Med. 2015 Jun 15;8(6):8948-57. eCollection 2015.

PMID:26309547

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Curcumin attenuates ethanol-induced hepatic steatosis through modulating Nrf2/FXR signaling in hepatocytes.

Lu C, Zhang F, Xu W, Wu X, Lian N, Jin H, Chen Q, Chen L, Shao J, Wu L, Lu Y, Zheng S.

IUBMB Life. 2015 Aug;67(8):645-58. doi: 10.1002/iub.1409. Epub 2015 Aug 25.

PMID:26305715

Curcumin pretreatment mediates antidiabetogenesis via functional regulation of adrenergic receptor subtypes in the pancreas of multiple low-dose streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.

Naijil G, Anju TR, Jayanarayanan S, Paulose CS.

Nutr Res. 2015 Sep;35(9):823-33. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2015.06.011. Epub 2015 Jul 2.

PMID:26255758

Pancreatic β-Cells Limit Autoimmune Diabetes via an Immunoregulatory Antimicrobial Peptide Expressed under the Influence of the Gut Microbiota.

Sun J, Furio L, Mecheri R, van der Does AM, Lundeberg E, Saveanu L, Chen Y, van Endert P, Agerberth B, Diana J.

Immunity. 2015 Aug 18;43(2):304-17. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2015.07.013. Epub 2015 Aug 4.

PMID:26253786

iNKT and MAIT Cell Alterations in Diabetes.

Magalhaes I, Kiaf B, Lehuen A.

Front Immunol. 2015 Jul 2;6:341. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2015.00341. eCollection 2015. Review.

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Innate inflammation in type 1 diabetes.

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Transl Res. 2016 Jan;167(1):214-27. doi: 10.1016/j.trsl.2015.04.011. Epub 2015 Apr 29. Review.

PMID:25980926

The dynamics of the human infant gut microbiome in development and in progression toward type 1 diabetes.

Kostic AD, Gevers D, Siljander H, Vatanen T, Hyötyläinen T, Hämäläinen AM, Peet A, Tillmann V, Pöhö P, Mattila I, Lähdesmäki H, Franzosa EA, Vaarala O, de Goffau M, Harmsen H, Ilonen J, Virtanen SM, Clish CB, Orešič M, Huttenhower C, Knip M; DIABIMMUNE Study Group, Xavier RJ.

Cell Host Microbe. 2015 Feb 11;17(2):260-73. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2015.01.001. Epub 2015 Feb 5.

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The impact of diet and lifestyle on gut microbiota and human health.

Conlon MA, Bird AR.

Nutrients. 2014 Dec 24;7(1):17-44. doi: 10.3390/nu7010017. Review.

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Curcumin enhances recovery of pancreatic islets from cellular stress induced inflammation and apoptosis in diabetic rats.

Rashid K, Sil PC.

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2015 Feb 1;282(3):297-310. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2014.12.003. Epub 2014 Dec 23.

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Curcumin ameliorates streptozotocin-induced liver damage through modulation of endoplasmic reticulum stress-mediated apoptosis in diabetic rats.

Afrin R, Arumugam S, Soetikno V, Thandavarayan RA, Pitchaimani V, Karuppagounder V, Sreedhar R, Harima M, Suzuki H, Miyashita S, Nomoto M, Suzuki K, Watanabe K.

Free Radic Res. 2015 Mar;49(3):279-89. doi: 10.3109/10715762.2014.999674. Epub 2015 Jan 28.

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Curcumin improves high glucose-induced INS-1 cell insulin resistance via activation of insulin signaling.

Song Z, Wang H, Zhu L, Han M, Gao Y, Du Y, Wen Y.

Food Funct. 2015 Feb;6(2):461-9. doi: 10.1039/c4fo00608a.

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Curcumin ameliorates testicular damage in diabetic rats by suppressing cellular stress-mediated mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum-dependent apoptotic death.

Rashid K, Sil PC.

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2015 Jan;1852(1):70-82. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2014.11.007. Epub 2014 Nov 11.

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The gut microbiota modulates glycaemic control and serum metabolite profiles in non-obese diabetic mice.

Greiner TU, Hyötyläinen T, Knip M, Bäckhed F, Orešič M.

PLoS One. 2014 Nov 12;9(11):e110359. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0110359. eCollection 2014.

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Resveratrol and curcumin enhance pancreatic β-cell function by inhibiting phosphodiesterase activity.

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J Endocrinol. 2014 Nov;223(2):107-17. doi: 10.1530/JOE-14-0335.

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Exposure to a social stressor disrupts the community structure of the colonic mucosa-associated microbiota.

Galley JD, Nelson MC, Yu Z, Dowd SE, Walter J, Kumar PS, Lyte M, Bailey MT.

BMC Microbiol. 2014 Jul 15;14:189. doi: 10.1186/1471-2180-14-189.

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Gut microbiota, probiotics and diabetes.

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Nutr J. 2014 Jun 17;13:60. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-13-60. Review.

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A maternal gluten-free diet reduces inflammation and diabetes incidence in the offspring of NOD mice.

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Curcumin attenuates diet-induced hepatic steatosis by activating AMP-activated protein kinase.

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Super Synbiotic Breakfast, Improved!

A while back I wrote about a synbiotic (prebiotic fiber + probiotic bacteria) fermented breakfast, and I’ve improved significantly on it since then so here is an update!

The concept of a synbiotic ferment is to give the beneficial bacteria a headstart before they get introduced into the body by eating them-and then include enough fuel for the journey and any upcoming microbial challenges. With this in mind, a new study was published that verified that prebiotic fibers can selectively benefit specific bacteria down to the species level. That is very useful to know! (Chung) As a note, the best way to read this blog post and many of my others is to right-click on each of the references below and open them in new tabs, take a look at each one, then read the rest of the blog post. Then, you can skip back to the research article when you see something connecting it. The research articles about these ingredients show benefits such as increased testosterone in men, reduced body fat, increased insulin sensitivity/reduced weight gain, prevention of cancer, reduced LDL cholesterol…in other words, fairly profound benefits of letting our microbial friends have their way with the breakfast food before we consume it!

This isn’t a chemical formula, so the proportions can vary a bit and not ruin things. I tend to be someone who cooks by feel and adds a bit of this and a bit of that, so take that into account LOL. I’ll approximate what I usually use and you can adjust accordingly if need be. Note that the picture of adding the grated apple isn’t included, as the day I took these pics I didn’t have an apple! I’ll add it later though. For now, follow the text more than the pictures please 😉

Ingredients:

  • One cup gluten free oats, uncooked
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup Kefir (I make my own with coconut milk; use what you have!)
  • 3 tbsp ground Flaxseed
  • 3 tbsp Inulin powder
  • One organic apple, peeled and grated
  • Enough extra coconut milk to make it totally wet with enough fluid to cover but not make soup (or your fave milk/substitute, but not vanilla or chocolate flavored stuff as the bacteria don’t seem to like that)

Mix all the ingredients in a glass bowl, and place on top of your fridge or other convenient place that isn’t too cold or too warm. Put a saucer under and over the bowl, as it can get frothy and try to escape! Now leave it alone for at least 24 hours, 36 or even 48 if you’re bold. When it’s a bit foamy feeling if stirred, and smells fermented, it’s ready to eat. I take 1/4 to 1/3 of the batch in another bowl, then add a handful of walnuts and some more coconut milk, and sometimes some maple syrup or molasses-just a spoonful-and even a sprinkle of cinnamon. If you heat it, you kill the bacteria so it’s probably much healthier cold. Enjoy!

References:

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

Practical use of fermented and anti-inflammatory foods during stressful times!

For the last month or so, I’ve been hauling boxes and driving a crazy number of miles. I still have another epic trip to make, getting my horse to bring him to Maine. The last trip involved pulling a very heavily loaded 30 foot trailer, and was super stressful and fatiguing. What have I been doing to maintain my brain health and energy level? Many things, actually!

Fermented oatmeal is really versatile stuff. I wrote about it in a previous post, and have been using it extensively. Adding some ground flax seed before fermentation, and walnuts/raisins/coconut milk and maple syrup afterward yields a simple and tasty treat. It’s easy to keep in a cooler while on the road and eat a bit from time to time.

I’ve also been keeping a jar of kimchee in the cooler, and often take a few bites of it during roadside stops (yes, I’ve been traveling alone mostly. On the last run, my two cats didn’t seem to mind the smell-perhaps knowing they had worse in store for me!)

Kefir and yogurt of course help to maintain a low anxiety level and good digestive function during stressful drives. As I follow a Paleo diet pretty closely, I opt for coconut kefir (make my own) and coconut yogurt usually. I’ve also made a point of deep breathing from time to time to keep my autonomic function balanced and prevent constipation or reduced circulation.

Smoked salmon is one of my favorite road foods. I love it on a gluten-free bagel, but will eat it straight out of the wrapper as well (more paleo, right? certainly feels primal eating fish with my fingers as I go down the road…) Get the kind that doesn’t have artificial color and additives if at all possible. I’ve also often eaten sardines at rest areas, as the high omega-3 content of both items should help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation secondary to pushing the brain and body this hard.

Of course, taking a good probiotic/prebiotic with a combination of Lactobacilli and Bifido organisms is a good choice, as both reduce inflammation and anxiety. Snacking on fruit, both fresh and dried, provides some good “road nibbles” while nourishing those beneficial organisms.

Doesn’t this sound like it would help maintain concentration and health while on the road? Compare that with the average person’s choice of fast food and soda while traveling and I think there is quite a contrast!

A quick how-to: Fermented oats with flax. A Synbiotic Breakfast!

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Tonight I thought I would share one of my favorite fermented foods: oatmeal, with ground flax seeds. Since it is made with kefir (fermented milk or, in this case, fermented coconut milk) and includes fiber to feed the microbes, it is more than a probiotic, it is a synbiotic. This is really easy to make, and fermented oats have been found to be very healthy. The fermentation releases more of the nutritional value of both items. Has some sour taste, but not strongly so-I got used to it quite quickly and enjoy it now.

I use coconut kefir that I make myself (see a previous post for this) but you could also use commercial kefir. Yogurt can work but more slowly as it doesn’t have as much bacteria. The first step is adding one cup of oats (preferably organic, but this is what I had today) to a bowl:

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Then, add about two tablespoons of ground flax seeds:

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Now the critical ingredient-the symbionts! Add 1/2 cup of kefir, then 1/2 cup of coconut milk:

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Stir the whole mess up until all the dry ingredients become wet:

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I usually put a plate over it to keep dust and such out of it:

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Then, it goes on top of the fridge next to another batch of coconut kefir!

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I typically mix this in the morning, and leave it up there until the next morning. Then, I add blueberries, cut up peaches, some walnuts, maybe a little maple syrup even. Mix it all together, and enjoy!

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC526387/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26130143

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25644341

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25267244

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22457771

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26113960

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24140807

A Kefir Orange Creamsicle drink!

So, you’ve been buying or making kefir, and looking at ways to incorporate it into daily life…Here is one tasty treat I’ve found:

Mix equal parts of unflavored kefir (I make coconut kefir because I have lymphocyte sensitivity to dairy but regular kefir would work great) with vanilla soy or almond milk and orange juice, then mix. That’s all there is to it! of course if you freeze it in those handy popsicle maker ice trays, it becomes creamsicle treats. I’m sure if you prefer vanilla flavored kefir, such as Lifeways, that would work out well also-just a bit sweeter if you like that.

This simple drink is great with breakfast, as a snack, or an evening probiotic nightcap before bed. It’s yet another easy way to add some probiotic goodness to your day! Try it out and be sure to let me know how it works out for you, ok?

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!