Tag Archives: yogurt

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.

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

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

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

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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!

When is an Ice Cream Sundae not ice cream? Synbiotic Deception!

IMG2015

So, time for a treat, right? Here’s an example based on my book, The Symbiont Factor. Before reading the rest of this, open the picture and look closely. Doesn’t that look like the best vanilla ice cream/butterscotch/hot fudge sundae ever? LOL clever deception…in fact, it is plain greek yogurt, with tahini and blackstrap molasses! Why you might ask? Probiotic and Prebiotic combined with healthy fats that are metabolized into cancer-fighting agents…let me explain. Gut bacteria metabolize sesamins in sesame into mammalian lignans that are powerful substances that protect agains some cancers along with other benefits. The yogurt of course has some probiotic bacteria (I had a probiotic capsule right before eating this) and blackstrap molasses has great nutritional value (it is basically the nutrients that were removed when white sugar is made!) It is also a good source of antioxidants. Lactobacillus rhamnosus, another beneficial symbiont, can be cultured on blackstrap molasses as can other good bacteria. It serves as a prebiotic. So, this is a synbiotic treat masquerading as an ice cream sundae!
References:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23387872
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19537732
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16549449
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19103324
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7765100
https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jgam/54/4/54_4_237/_pdf
tinyurl.com/m4agxd5

New Video about Gut Bacteria, Probiotics, Brain!

Well, I had some time between patients yesterday, and, having watched just enough cute cat videos and ignored enough political/religious arguments on Facebook-I decided to do something useful and create a video. This short video should help to make sense out of probiotics, gut bacteria, and how they affect us mentally/emotionally. Check out my new video about gut bacteria and probiotics! http://tinyurl.com/oyvvwt2

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!

Exercise, Bodybuilding, Testosterone and Probiotics!

Testosterone is central to growing muscle and getting in shape, for both men and women. Now before you think I’m endorsing injecting testosterone, understand that what I’m talking about is getting your body’s natural production and usage of testosterone up to where it should be. After all, if you could grow muscle or get in shape more like you did as a teenager, you would get more out of exercise, right?

There are many factors affecting testosterone, such as sleep (or lack thereof), inflammation, and gut bacteria. Yes, those microscopic organisms who outnumber human cells 10:1 and whose gene count dwarfs our human DNA! They don’t just help digestion, but also help manage our endocrine system which produces our hormones-including testosterone!

The bodybuilding community is beginning to catch on to the fact that gut health and probiotic bacteria can play a big role in muscle growth. Here is a great article about this very thing: http://bit.ly/1mVz5gE. A very well written and entertaining article, by the way!

It isn’t quite as simple as just taking probiotics, of course, although that is a great start. To establish and improve gut bacterial colonies, you should also learn about how mood and behavior impact gut bacterial health, and what steps can be taken to optimize diet and chemical exposure for maximum gut bacterial benefit. The result can be reduced inflammation (which permits harder workouts!) and better testosterone levels (which maximizes the benefits of the exercise!).

More information about how to accomplish these goals, as well as preventing health problems related to gut bacterial imbalances, can be found by reading The Symbiont Factor. You can check it out here: http://amzn.to/1jz3kPt

 

A Good Guide to Breathing Exercises to Help your Gut Bacteria

In The Symbiont Factor (http://amzn.to/1jz3kPt), I explain that one of the most important variables that we can influence to improve our gut bacteria is autonomic tone. When we are stressed, we become sympathetic (think “fight or flight”) dominant and this functional pattern inhibits digestion and gut mobility. This inhibition is also very harmful to beneficial gut bacteria! So, what can be done short-term to reverse this pattern? Breathing exercises. When under stress, most people suppress their breathing, contributing to sympathetic autonomic tone. When you take deep breaths instead, it stimulates your parasympathetic system, and this is the system that makes your gut function improve. Gut bacteria thrive in this functional pattern!  Now the only question is how to learn to improve breathing dynamics and build a “better-breathing” habit. One resource that I found tremendously helpful in learning this came from one of the sports I participate in: Freediving.  There is a great book called Breatheology, written by Stig Severinsen, which deals with specifically that: how to improve our breathing. You can find the book here: http://amzn.to/1nQYwAr. FYI-as I’m in Arkansas, I earn nothing from that link/referral; I’m listing it purely because I think it is that good! Of course, it makes a nice complement to the book I wrote…