Tag Archives: gluten

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


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






The Problem with RoundUp and its health effects


The Problem with RoundUp and its health effects
Sometimes during a debate it becomes obvious that one side is simply not telling the truth. Such seems to be the case when considering RoundUp, currently still promoted as the safest herbicide ever produced. It is also the most commonly used, with a recorded 187 million pounds used by US farmers in 2007. More current usage is not known, but estimated at over 200 million pounds in the US. The maker of RoundUp, Monsanto, continues to maintain that it is nontoxic and completely safe. This belief permeates to those who use it, with readers offering comments at the end of the article defending its safety. Most homeowners use RoundUp to control weeds, and most farmers use it liberally on crops. This is possible because of genetic modification of crops to permit resistance to glyphosate, permitting the killing of weeds without killing the crop. Recently articles have been published online suggesting that the problem with wheat causing celiac disease or gluten sensitivity has more to do with residual levels of glyphosate than with gluten content. The suggestion that pre-harvest spraying of crops with glyphosate to reduce weed content, promote dessication and improve yield is typically met with a hailstorm of accusations of “pseudoscience” and “fearmongering.” There are usually some vehement denials that pre-harvest spraying is ever carried out. An example of one such article can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/n9rtzpn

With this in mind let us consider two questions: Is glyphosate toxic, and are crops really sprayed prior to harvest?

The reason that glyphosate is “considered safe” is that it inhibits a metabolic pathway in plants known as the Shikimate pathway. This inhibition interrupts the plant’s metabolism and kills it. Humans and other eukaryotic species do not have a Shikimate pathway, and so the claim of safety appears to be scientifically sound…or is it? All eukaryotic organisms including humans have cellular power-producing structures known as mitochondria. These structures are where energy is produced so that the cell and the organism have fuel. Mitochondria, however, are really not of human origin. Thought to be the end result of ancient indwelling symbionts (endosymbiont theory if you’d like to look that up) mitochondria are more similar to bacteria than human cells. Their DNA is circular, just as bacterial DNA is circular. This isn’t some new discovery as geneticists have been using this mitochondrial DNA to track the human family tree for years. You see, mitochondrial DNA is matrilineal-it is only inherited from the mother, not from the father. This provides a unique opportunity to track one side of the family tree more accurately than is possible with human DNA. It’s also the first clue to glyphosate’s toxicity, as bacteria have a Shikimate pathway! Predictably mitochondria also have a Shikimate pathway. There is already a research paper stating this (Mesnage, Seneff). There is also an effect in the microbiome, as glyphosate is more toxic to some microorganisms than to others, causing an imbalance in this critical ecosystem. Kruger found that glyphosate reduced the inhibition of Clostridium (a pathogen) by Enterococcus species, causing imbalance and disease. A differential toxic effect was found in chickens by Shehata, who showed the glyphosate inibited beneficial microbial species yet did not inhibit pathogenic ones. Changes in gut bacteria in humans can alter serotonin levels, affecting behavior, mood and susceptibility to brain trauma (Morley). The microbiome living in our intestines are critical to our health and are vulnerable to changes in intestinal function (Matthews). It has been found that at very dilute concentrations, far less than commercial farming uses, glyphosate reduces intestinal motility (Chlopecka). This would result in more constipation, dramatic shifts in population dynamics and an increased risk of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) due to reduced motility allowing contents of the colon to move into the small intestine. Glyphosate has been found to trigger pathways producing cellular apoptosis (think cell sepuku) and increased reactive oxygen species producing damaging oxidation (Chaufan).
There is always someone who, in the comments following an article critical of Roundup, offers to drink a glass of it to prove its safety. This is ill advised, as glyphosate is far from nontoxic. Instead, it has been found to produce respiratory depression, bradycardia (so, you can’t breathe and your heart slows), acidosis, hyperkalemia, cardiac block or arrythmia and death. Hemodialysis and intubation are required to help the patient survive, as there is no antidote to glyphosate poisoning (Garlich, Gress).

Okay, so Roundup is definitely toxic in many ways even at small doses. What about all of the people who argue that it is not recommended for use before harvest? Doing a basic search on the internet looking for pre-harvest advice as a farmer provides some insight into this! Monsanto itself provides a “Pre-Harvest Staging Guide” for using RoundUp: http://tinyurl.com/q2o8f96. North Dakota State University published “Glyphosate as a Pre-Harvest Aid in Small Grains” July 2014: http://tinyurl.com/ll98tfj. Michigan State University published something similar for soybeans: http://tinyurl.com/o6f5dqy. University of Arizona Extension also got in on the game, publishing a guide to pre-harvest spraying of wheat to kill broad-leaf weeds: http://tinyurl.com/ljs6547. Similar publishing can be found at http://tinyurl.com/l69bdzc, http://tinyurl.com/kbem9ht, http://tinyurl.com/k6o4lwf, and http://tinyurl.com/m7nxm6a.

You might notice that many of these organizations providing pre-harvest spraying guidelines are university agricultural programs. If you’re not familiar with ag programs, you might even wonder why they would recommend such a practice in light of the research information on glyphosate’s biologic effects (and there are many more articles showing its effects; I didn’t even scratch the surface really!). The old adage of “follow the money” could never be more accurate: http://tinyurl.com/mhyvwzy, http://tinyurl.com/ctw2aq7 as the codependent relationship that has evolved between Monsanto and institutes of higher education is both diabolically brilliant and nauseatingly common.

If you needed more reasons to shop for organically grown fruits and vegetables or use grains other than wheat, you now have them. If you think just avoiding wheat will solve the problem, consider that the same recommendations exist for barley, oats, flax, canola, peas, lentils, soybeans and dried beans (page 31 of http://tinyurl.com/q2o8f96 lists all of these as recommendations for pre-harvest spraying in Canada, and others list ‘small grains’ in the guidelines: http://tinyurl.com/o994mk2).

We have arrived at a time in history when the business interests of corporate entities often take precedence over the health needs of society’s human members. When we allow large corporations to control what is taught in schools and what guidelines are imposed by government, we can count on one thing-being counted out of the deal.

References quoted:
1: Shaw CA, Seneff S, Kette SD, Tomljenovic L, Oller JW Jr, Davidson RM.
Aluminum-induced entropy in biological systems: implications for neurological
disease. J Toxicol. 2014;2014:491316. doi: 10.1155/2014/491316. Epub 2014 Oct 2.
Review. PubMed PMID: 25349607; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4202242.
2: Gress S, Lemoine S, Séralini GE, Puddu PE. Glyphosate-Based Herbicides
Potently Affect Cardiovascular System in Mammals: Review of the Literature.
Cardiovasc Toxicol. 2014 Sep 23. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 25245870.
3: Chłopecka M, Mendel M, Dziekan N, Karlik W. Glyphosate affects the spontaneous
motoric activity of intestine at very low doses – in vitro study. Pestic Biochem
Physiol. 2014 Jul;113:25-30. doi: 10.1016/j.pestbp.2014.06.005. Epub 2014 Jun 24.
PubMed PMID: 25052523.
4: Morley WA, Seneff S. Diminished brain resilience syndrome: A modern day
neurological pathology of increased susceptibility to mild brain trauma,
concussion, and downstream neurodegeneration. Surg Neurol Int. 2014 Jun 18;5:97.
doi: 10.4103/2152-7806.134731. eCollection 2014. Review. PubMed PMID: 25024897;
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4093745.
5: Mahendrakar K, Venkategowda PM, Rao SM, Mutkule DP. Glyphosate surfactant
herbicide poisoning and management. Indian J Crit Care Med. 2014
May;18(5):328-30. doi: 10.4103/0972-5229.132508. PubMed PMID: 24914265; PubMed
Central PMCID: PMC4047698.
6: Schinasi L, Leon ME. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and occupational exposure to
agricultural pesticide chemical groups and active ingredients: a systematic
review and meta-analysis. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2014 Apr
23;11(4):4449-527. doi: 10.3390/ijerph110404449. Review. PubMed PMID: 24762670;
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4025008.
7: Mesnage R, Defarge N, Spiroux de Vendômois J, Séralini GE. Major pesticides
are more toxic to human cells than their declared active principles. Biomed Res
Int. 2014;2014:179691. doi: 10.1155/2014/179691. Epub 2014 Feb 26. PubMed PMID:
24719846; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3955666.
8: Samsel A, Seneff S. Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue
and gluten intolerance. Interdiscip Toxicol. 2013 Dec;6(4):159-84. doi:
10.2478/intox-2013-0026. Review. PubMed PMID: 24678255; PubMed Central PMCID:
9: Chaufan G, Coalova I, Ríos de Molina Mdel C. Glyphosate commercial formulation
causes cytotoxicity, oxidative effects, and apoptosis on human cells: differences
with its active ingredient. Int J Toxicol. 2014 Jan-Feb;33(1):29-38. doi:
10.1177/1091581813517906. Epub 2014 Jan 16. PubMed PMID: 24434723.
10: Garlich FM, Goldman M, Pepe J, Nelson LS, Allan MJ, Goldstein DA, Goldfarb
DS, Hoffman RS. Hemodialysis clearance of glyphosate following a life-threatening
ingestion of glyphosate-surfactant herbicide. Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2014
Jan;52(1):66-71. doi: 10.3109/15563650.2013.870344. PubMed PMID: 24400933.
11: Krüger M, Shehata AA, Schrödl W, Rodloff A. Glyphosate suppresses the
antagonistic effect of Enterococcus spp. on Clostridium botulinum. Anaerobe. 2013
Apr;20:74-8. doi: 10.1016/j.anaerobe.2013.01.005. Epub 2013 Feb 6. PubMed PMID:
12: Shehata AA, Schrödl W, Aldin AA, Hafez HM, Krüger M. The effect of glyphosate
on potential pathogens and beneficial members of poultry microbiota in vitro.
Curr Microbiol. 2013 Apr;66(4):350-8. doi: 10.1007/s00284-012-0277-2. Epub 2012
Dec 9. PubMed PMID: 23224412.

The Symbiont Factor is now a paperback, available on Amazon!

After a year and a half of having a second job as a new author, my first book is finally available in print! A comprehensive, thoroughly referenced guide to how our gut bacteria influence physical and mental health: The Symbiont Factor is now available on Amazon as a paperback! If you ever wondered if and why probiotics are healthy you should read this book. Please share with your contacts 🙂     http://tinyurl.com/pe2g4xt

Is it possible to have gluten sensitivity reactions from eating meat? Yes…and here’s why:

If you have been following my blog posts and tweets, you know that I’m really against gluten in the diet. Many people have antibodies to gluten itself, resulting in gut inflammation, systemic inflammation, discomfort and a whole host of cascading health problems. Some people do not have antibodies to gluten, but have a type of autoantibody: antibodies to transglutaminase, the enzyme that breaks down gluten in the digestive process. And, some people have antibodies to gliadin, a protein that is one of the by-products of the breakdown of gluten. We perform blood tests for gluten sensitivity in our office (well, we obtain the sample and mail it to the lab!) as well as salivary tests for transglutaminase and gliadin. But, once you suspect or know you have a sensitivity, how do you avoid it? Traditionally, that answer is straightforward: avoid wheat and most grain products. Meat should be safe, right? The Paleo diet is considered a gluten free diet, and yet…what if some meats contained transglutaminase? How could that be, you ask? It is apparently used as a “glue” to bind smaller pieces of meat together to make a bigger piece of meat. Think…cold cuts. Many brands of cold cuts are not shaped like normal meat! When I was a teenager and worked in a deli, a big roast beef was tied together with string. Today, it’s just…a big piece of unnaturally shaped meat. Transglutaminase is used to glue these together. Here’s an article about it: http://bit.ly/1n9neeI plus a research article on antibodies:  http://1.usa.gov/TU1Seh

The moral of the story? If it doesn’t look like a normal piece of meat…it probably isn’t. Ironic that people avoiding gluten could still have similar reactions while eating meat, isn’t it?

Natural Remedies for Pain vs. NSAIDS

One of the most common pain classes of pain relievers are NSAIDS. This stands for non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs and these are available over the counter (Ibuprofen, Motrin, Tylenol and aspirin are examples) and by prescription (Indocin, Mobic, Toradol and many others). It is estimated that up to 90 million prescriptions for NSAIDS are written in the US every year. This rate of prescribing is estimated to cause as many as 16,500 deaths per year and many more hospitalizations.

What is not discussed as often is the role of NSAIDS in damaging intestinal linings and gut bacterial populations. The damage causes enteropathy, or damage to the intestines. This damage results in altered/abnormal gut bacteria populations, a condition known as dysbiosis. Increased intestinal permeability also creates increased inflammation.

Abnormally increased inflammation is one of the things that causes pain! Isn’t that what NSAIDS are used to treat? It gets more interesting: Increased intestinal permeability is one of the underlying factors driving many conditions like Crohn’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Asthma. All three of these conditions are very serious and painful!

Inflammation is the common denominator in pain of most types. Gut bacteria play a huge role in the control of inflammation as the symbiont colony helps to manage the functions of the immune system. Anything that is damaging to the gut bacteria is likely to also increase inflammation and pain syndromes. It has been found that NSAIDS cause damage to gut bacterial colonies. It is even possible that the damage to the intestinal walls is in part due to dysbiosis triggered by the drugs!

Instead of taking NSAIDS and causing all of these problems, consider other more natural approaches to temporary pain relief. Some of these approaches and products have a great deal of research supporting their use. Probiotics would be one recommendation, for the reasons stated above: maintaining normal immune function goes a long way to inhibiting inflammatory pain pathways. A second complimentary product would be curcumin. This spice is possibly the most researched natural anti-inflammatory substance we know of today, and it does not cause the problems that NSAIDS cause.

A healthy lifestyle that includes reduced stress, probiotics, a prebiotic/gut bacteria-healthy diet and non-harmful anti-inflammatory supplements such as curcumin can go a long way to reducing chronic pain! More information about the relationship between symbiotic bacteria and pain reduction strategies will be found in The Symbiont Factor which is on track to be published in June 2014.