diet soda, microbiome, and the relationship between infections and mental disorders / brain disease and allergies

FOLLOW THE BOUNCING BALL
DIET SODA DESTROYS MICROBIOME, WHICH CAN LEAD
TO INFECTIONS, ALLERGIES, AND BRAIN DISORDERS

Diet Soda Microbiome

“Can infections in childhood trigger the development of neuropsychiatric disease? A study by Köhler-Forsberg et al in this issue of JAMA Psychiatry provides strong epidemiologic evidence that severe infections, as well as exposure to antiinfective agents, place children and teenagers at greater risk for developing neuropsychiatric illnesses. By studying Danish medical records from more than 1 million individuals, the team found that the risk of developing mental disorders in children (age 18 years or younger) was increased by more than 80% after a hospitalization for severe infection. Likewise, the use of medications (specifically antibiotics) to treat infections was linked to a 40% greater risk for mental disorders after exposure. For certain mental disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, the risk increase was particularly high, reaching a staggering 8-fold risk increase in teenagers.”  The opening of an editorial (Harbingers of Mental Disease—Infections Associated With an Increased Risk for Neuropsychiatric Illness in Children) concerning the JAMA study we will be discussing

If you haven’t figured out that diet soda is far worse than regular soda, not only in its plethora of nasty side effects, but as far as the fact that people who drink it have been shown to gain more weight than consumers of regular soda (HERE), you’ve probably been living under a rock.  Although you can find me talking about a few of the reasons why over the course of nearly a decade of posts (see previous link), it seems to boil down to two issues —– EXCITOTOCICITY and microbiomal derangement.  Excitotoxins, MSG and ASPARTAME, are chemical compounds that stimulate nerves (pain pathways included), with the goal of enhancing flavor or sweetness.  They also suppress and destroy the hypothalamus — the part of the brain that among other things, tells you when and when not to eat. 

Today’s topic, however, has to do with the way that artificial sweeteners adversely affect GUT HEALTH, and most specifically one’s MICROBIOME (the number and number of strains of bacteria and other ‘bugs’ found naturally both in and on healthy people) — something I showed you several years ago (HERE).  A brand new study from the journal Molecules (Measuring Artificial Sweeteners Toxicity Using a Bioluminescent Bacterial Panel) is showing the same thing.  This collaboration between teams of scientists from Singapore, Israel, and Italy has shown once again that artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, saccharine, neotame, advantame and acesulfame potassium-k or ACE-K) create DYSBIOSIS at extremely low levels (1mg/ml).  The same was found to be true of ten different artificially sweetened sports drinks.

“Artificial sweeteners have allegedly been linked to adverse effects such as cancer, weight gain, metabolic disorders, migraines, type-2 diabetes, vascular events, preterm delivery, kidney function disorders, liver antioxidant system, hepatotoxicity, immune system disruptions and alteration of gut microbiota activity.  These sweeteners are most commonly used as food additives. Many different population groups consume the added ingredient, with or without their knowledge. This is especially common with athletes who devote full-time care to their diet, which often include sport supplements to improve their physical performance in trainings and competitions. In several registered products’ patents, it is clearly stated that artificial sweeteners are added to electrolyte drinks and food supplements. As a result, the average consumption of artificial sweeteners is higher in athletes.  Moreover, artificial sweeteners have been identified as emerging environmental pollutants. They are resistant to wastewater treatment processes, therefore they are continuously introduced into the water environments. Several environmental studies have confirmed the widespread distribution of ace-k, saccharin and sucralose in the water cycle… at concentrations among the highest known for anthropogenic trace pollutants.”

How is this related to infections?  By now most people have heard that sugar feeds both cancer (HERE) and infections (HERE), but what they may not realize is that these effects could actually be magnified in consumers of diet soda.  This is because twenty years ago we learned that 80% of the immune system is found in the Gut (HERE), meaning that anything that adversely affects your microbiome is going to increase your chances of developing infections.   Allow me to show you yet another reason than infections — in this case “treated infections” — can be a big deal.

the latest issue of JAMA Psychiatry (A Nationwide Study in Denmark of the Association Between Treated Infections and the Subsequent Risk of Treated Mental Disorders in Children and Adolescents) has shown a link between treated childhood infections and a wide array of mental disorders, including SCHIZOPHRENIA, OCD, personality and behavior disorders, mental retardation, AUTSIM, ADD / ADHD, conduct disorders, OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER, and tic disorders, which were all considered among the first tier of diseases tied to infections.  How can we be surprised?

I’ve previously discussed some of the problems associated with the viruses that cause mono (EPSTEIN BARR & CYTOMEGALO VIRUS).  I’ve also explained to you how Strep can lead to something known as PANDAS / PANS.  And just the other day I showed you that a growing number of researchers believe that Alzheimer’s, of all things, is caused by a chronic brain infection (HERE).  When it comes to what chronic infections can do to you, the list is long and it’s scary.  Point #1, the researchers determined that the more / worse infections a person had, the greater their chances of developing a brain disorder.  Point #2 was that standard care (ANTIBIOTICS and psychotropic medications) caused a much higher chance of developing a BRAIN-RELATED issue — an 84% increase and 42% increase respectively).  Stay with me for point #3.

“Previous studies of adults have indicated that severe infections are associated with an increased risk of mental disorders. Potential mechanisms include direct influences of infections in the central nervous system, immune activation, and inflammatory mediators, as well as alterations in the microbiome.”

Interestingly, this is one of the same mechanisms by which VACCINATIONS are believed to cause neurological damage. But I regress.  Point #3 is that the control group for the people given antibiotics consisted of people who received penicillin since the researchers could not find enough people who went to the doctor with some sort of infection but were given nothing (something I talked about YESTERDAY ON FB).  This begs the question of whether the brain disorders are more likely being caused by antibiotic-induced dysbiotic changes to the microbiome (HERE) rather than the infections themselves; something the researchers also pondered.  This question becomes all the more relevant once we realize that 95% of all upper respiratory infections (flus, colds, sinus infections, sore throats, etc) — the number one reason for doctor visits due to infection — are viral, which do not respond to antibiotics other than making them worse.  Speaking of worse…….

A few days ago Dr Alexandra Santos of Kings College in London published a piece for the BBC called Why the World is Becoming More Allergic to Food, that should make us all stop and take notice.  “The rise in allergies in recent decades has been particularly noticeable in the West. Food allergy now affects about 7% of children in the UK and 9% of those in Australia, for example.”  What you need to understand is that these numbers do not take sensitivities such as GLUTEN or DAIRY into account (yes, they are also exploding), which while similar, are immunologically different than allergies.  Furthermore, notice that this phenomenon is happening in the West.  What was interesting was the medical response; we don’t really know what’s causing the problem, but we’re trying to combat it anyway. 

Even though many — arguably the vast majority — are almost solely the result of a population growing up SYSTEMICALLY INFLAMED, how are most ALLERGIES ‘combated’ here in the West?  You already know the answer — drugs, chiefly from the family of IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPPRESSORS (remember that inflammation is an immune system response).  Once you begin to understand the process by which allergies develop (thanks to over-the-top amounts of INFLAMMATION, the body starts sees harmless substances or certain foods as invaders and subsequently starts attacking them), you can start appreciating why inflamed living is so detrimental.  Why exactly do people in urban areas of the West seem to be more susceptible (allergies are much less likely for FARM DWELLERS)?  And why are they becoming increasingly allergic to foods that since the dawn of time have been considered “staples” —– milk, GRAINS, peanuts, SOY, tree nuts, EGGS, fish, etc, etc? 

“Factors may include pollution, dietary changes and less exposure to microbes, which change how our immune systems respond.  Migrants appear to show a higher prevalence of asthma and food allergy in their adopted country compared to their country of origin, further illustrating the importance of environmental factors.  One explanation is that improved hygiene is to blame, as children are not getting as many infections. Parasitic infections, in particular, are normally fought by the same mechanisms involved in tackling allergies. With fewer parasites to fight, the immune system turns against things that should be harmless.  Another idea is that vitamin D can help our immune system develop a healthy response, making us less susceptible to allergies. Most populations around the world do not get enough vitamin D for several reasons, including spending less time in the sun. In the US, the rate of vitamin D deficiency is thought to have almost doubled in just over a decade.”

There’s a lot of meat here folks, most of it having to do with the HYGIENE HYPOTHESIS — the idea that if humans are not exposed to bacteria, germs, and parasites early and often, then our immune systems never really develop properly, and we are left with CHRONIC INFECTIONS.  After all, it was only two short years ago that experts predicted that within three decades, antibiotics would be killing more people than cancer (IF I’M LYIN I’M DYIN).  If doctors would stop handing out prescriptions for every sniffle, sneeze, or cough that comes along and start explaining to their patients the reasons THIS CLASS OF DRUG IS SO DANGEROUS,  not only would national health increase, our national waistline WOULD SUBSEQUENTLY DECREASE (or HERE) as well.

As for PARASITES, just like bacteria, there are good and bad (certain autoimmune disease are actually being put into remission by purposefully infecting people with HELMINTHS / worms).  Vitamin D levels are usually easier to control than most people think (HERE).  And even though POLLUTION was touted as a cause of allergies (probably true on some level, but far more true with ASTHMA and autism — STUDY), there is more at play than that, especially considering that immigrants from the third world tend to have more allergies as they move to America; one of the least polluted nations in the world, despite what you’ve heard or been told (VISIT THE THIRD WORLD SOMETIME if you ever want to see what real pollution looks like).

Because everything we are talking about today has to do with systemic inflammation, I created a simple (and extremely generic) online handout to give people some ideas on how to get started with a program that could diminish their inflammatory load.  HERE you are, my gift to you, no strings attached.  Just make sure to spread the wealth by showing us some love on FACEBOOK, as it’s still one of the best ways to reach the people you love and care about most.

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