new research on the microbiome as related to health and disease

YOUR MICROBIOME….
MAKING OR BREAKING YOUR HEALTH!

“The body harbors a vast array of microbes that are collectively known as the microbiota. Increasing attention is being paid to the role of the gut microbiota in the health of the host.  An important factor that has been demonstrated to alter the composition of the gut microbiota is exposure to psychological stressors. Evidence indicates that the commensal microbiota are involved in stressor-induced immunomodulation……  impact of psychosocial stress on immunity, and present evidence that stressor-induced alterations in the composition of gut microbial communities contributes to stressor-induced immunomodulation and neurobiological sequelae”  From the abstract of the current issue of Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology (Effects of Stress on Commensal Microbes and Immune System Activity)

There are any number of reasons to be taking care of your MICROBIOME as though your life depends on it.  Namely because it does.  Fail to grasp this simple fact — a fact touted for decades by those far enough ahead of their time to be espousing the HYGIENE HYPOTHESIS — and you will dramatically increase your chances for becoming sick with almost any disease you can name.  Think I’m overstating my case?  Follow along as I show you some cherry-picked studies on this topic from the past week.

  • GERM THEORY OF DISEASE AND INFECTIONS:  According to the September 15 issue of Experimental Biology & Medicine (Enteric Immunity, the Gut Microbiome, and Sepsis: Rethinking the Germ Theory of Disease) we need to be shifting our paradigm on sickness and disease, and, as the title suggests, “rethinking the germ theory of disease“.  The germ theory says that germs are bad and must be destroyed by any means possible — usually ANTIBIOTICS.  I can always tell who still subscribes to this way of thinking by looking at who carries the little container of hand sanitizer on their purse.  Pay attention.  “Breakthroughs in the last decade provide strong credence to the idea that our microbiome plays an essential role in immunity, where a human host and its [bacterial] colonists seem to exist in a carefully negotiated armistice…. In this review, we re-examine the notion that intestinal contents are the driving force of critical illness… Based on the data in hand, we hypothesize that sepsis induces imbalances in microbial populations residing in the gut, along with compromises in epithelial integrity [Leaky Gut Syndrome]. As a result, normal antigen sampling becomes impaired….. putting the gut, and its complex immune network of cells and bacteria, at the center of aberrant immune responses during and after sepsis.”  Not to mention before sepsis.  If you want to see the alternative to the germ theory of disease, READ THIS.  By the way, I showed you a few weeks ago another of the many mechanisms about the way your Microbiome shapes your immune system (HERE).

  • INFLAMMATORY ILLNESS:  Think this category is not huge?  If you are interested in seeing just how massive it really is, and how many diseases CHRONIC INFLAMMATION really causes, just follow THIS LINK.  The September 9 issue of Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism (Linking the Microbiota, Chronic Disease, and the Immune System) agrees with my assesment. “Chronic inflammatory diseases (CIDs) are the most important causes of mortality in the world today and are on the rise. We now know that immune-driven inflammation is critical in the etiology of these diseases. Many CIDs are associated with significant shifts in the microbiota toward inflammatory configurations, which can affect the host both by inducing local and systemic inflammation and by alterations in microbiota-derived metabolites.”  Inflammation is ubiquitous in America, and is for the most part driven by our crappy diets, which feeds the dysbiosis in our injured Microbiomes.  Speaking of dysbiosis…..

  • CHANGES IN MICROBIOME HELPS DRIVE INFLAMMATION, WHICH IN TURN DRIVES DRIVES SCAR TISSUE / FIBROSIS: This week’s issue of Hepatology (Changes in Blood Microbiota Profiles Associated with Liver Fibrosis in Obese Patients: A Pilot Analysis) shed some light on what I said in the previous bullet, with an emphasis on the fact that FIBROSIS (microscopic SCAR TISSUE) is always the result of some sort of underlying inflammation.  The 15 authors of this study (all MD / Ph.D types) had this to say. “In view of the suggested role played by bacterial translocation in liver disease and obesity, we sought to investigate the relationship between blood microbiota and liver fibrosis in European cohorts of patients with severe obesity… We have shown that changes in blood microbiota are associated with liver fibrosis in obese patients.”  Not surprisingly, I have tons of information on my site linking antibiotics and the associated DYSBIOSIS to OBESITY

  • EPIGENETIC FACTORS NOT ONLY CONTROL INFLAMMATION, BUT CONTROL YOUR GENETICS AS WELL:  I was GRADUATING FROM HIGH SCHOOL the year that the Human Genome Project began.  It was completed, 19 years later  in 2003.  In similar fashion to the schpiel given by LBJ concerning his (failed) war on poverty and disease, the money and effort spent on the HGP was going to do likewise.  Not only are sickness and disease still around, they are far more entrenched in American society than they were even a decade ago.  Here’s why.  We know that “bad” genes that carry the information for sickness and disease are frequently not expressed in truly healthy people, with the opposite being likewise true.  Case in point, the study from next month’s Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology (Inflammation, Genetics, Dysbiosis, and the Environment: New Paradigms for Diagnosis in Complex Chronic Gut Syndromes).  “The role of the microbiome alongside interaction with the environment, are now recognized as key players in complex diseases.  An awareness of overlap in chronic gut syndromes has been clarified by the realization that inflammatory pathways involved in chronic gut disease can arise through variable gene expression that is influenced by the environment in susceptible individuals.”  What does this second sentence mean?  Only that you are not nearly the product of your genes as you have been led to believe — an idea usually by doctors who get out of confronting their patients by blaming everything on bad DNA inherited from your ancestors.  This is tough to swallow, as it ultimately makes us responsible for our own health (HERE).

  • LUNG HEALTH AND YOUR MICROBIOME:  The journal FEBS Letters (Linking Microbiota and Respiratory Disease) concluded that, “An increasing body of evidence indicates the relevance of microbiota for pulmonary health and disease. Independent investigations recently demonstrated that the lung harbors a resident microbiota. Therefore, it is intriguing that a lung microbiota can shape pulmonary immunity and epithelial barrier functions. Prominent microbiota at other body sites such as the intestinal one may also contribute to pulmonary health and disease.  With focuses on asthma and respiratory infections, we discuss how microbiota of lung and gut can determine pulmonary immunity and barrier functions.”  When the authors speak of epithelial barrier functions, they are speaking of a common syndrome very much like Leaky Gut Syndrome (aka Increased Intestinal Permeability) known as “Leaky Lung Syndrome” (BTW, there is also “Leaky Brain Syndrome” as well as other “Leakies”. 

  • ALZHEIMER’S DEMENTIA:  I have already shown you some of the things that contribute to ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE — tops on the list being the over-consumption of simple carbs and sugar.  The October issue of the medical journal, Scientific Reviews (Role of Gut Microbiota and Nutrients in Amyloid Formation and Pathogenesis of Alzheimer Disease) agrees, saying that, “It has been hypothesized that alterations in the composition of the gut microbiota might be associated with the onset of certain human pathologies, such as Alzheimer disease, a neurodegenerative syndrome associated with cerebral accumulation of amyloid-β fibrils. It has been shown that bacteria populating the gut microbiota can release significant amounts of amyloids and lipopolysaccharides, which might play a role in the modulation of signaling pathways and the production of proinflammatory cytokines related to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease. Additionally, nutrients have been shown to affect the composition of the gut microbiota as well as the formation and aggregation of cerebral amyloid-β. This suggests that modulating the gut microbiome and amyloidogenesis through specific nutritional interventions might prove to be an effective strategy to prevent or reduce the risk of Alzheimer disease.”  Controlling inflammation via diet and nutrition?   What a novel thought.  The problem is, few doctors have anything meaningful to say about it to their patients, instead opting to prescribe drugs (HERE).

  • LEAKY GUT SYNDROME, AUTOIMMUNITY (PARTICULARLY TYPE I DIABETES), AND CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE:  Last week’s issue of Current Pharmacological Designs (The Role of Microbiota and Intestinal Permeability in the Pathophysiology of Autoimmune and Neuroimmune Processes with an Emphasis on Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Type 1 Diabetes, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) put the biscuit in the basket by going “Big Picture” on us. “In steady state conditions, intestinal immune homeostasis is maintained by a sophisticated bidirectional dialogue between the microbiota and the intestinal immune system. The breakdown of immune homeostasis following the development of gut inflammation, caused for example by gut dysbiosis, and the consequent increased intestinal permeability, is increasingly considered to be the ultimate source of the systemic immune activation and T helper / TH-17 regulatory cell imbalances, and maybe neurological disturbances, seen in autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease. Increased intestinal permeability… is a likely cause of the severe fatigue and an almost bewildering range of neurocognitive, neuroimaging and overall symptom presentations seen in patients with a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.”  If you are chronically ill and don’t understand LEAKY GUT SYNDROME, you are shooting yourself in the foot.  Take three minutes to read the link.  And if you are interested in seeing the TH-17 System (cellular apoptosis / death) in action as it relates to autoimmunity, HERE it is.

  • PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS:  This, folks, covers a lot of ground and builds on the bullet above.  The very same issue of the very same journal published a study called Gut Microbiota and the Emergence of Autoimmunity: Relevance to Major Psychiatric Disorders.  Despite the fact that the authors are looking for pharmaceutical solutions for AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES, the authors revealed that, “Autoimmune phenotypes are prevalent in major psychiatric disorders. Disequilibria of cellular processes occurring in the gastrointestinal tract likely contribute to immune dysfunction in psychiatric disorders. As the venue of a complex community of resident microbes, the gut in a homeostatic state equates with a functional digestive system, cellular barrier stability [Leaky Gut Syndrome] and properly regulated recognition of self and non-self antigens. When gut processes become disrupted as a result of environmental or genetic factors, autoimmunity may ensue.  These investigations demonstrate changes in behavior and brain biochemistry directly attributable to alterations in the gut microbiome.  Autoantigens are produced by extrinsically-derived food and microbial factors bound to intrinsic components of the gut including receptors present in the enteric nervous system.”  Interesting that they mentioned food as being a potential causal factor.  Can you guess what the number one food associated with autoimmunity is?  Grains, and most particularly GLUTEN.  Nothing else is even close.

  • MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS:  The same journal published yet another study in their “Autoimmunity” issue; this one called Multiple Sclerosis, Gut Microbiota and Permeability: Role of Tryptophan Catabolites, Depression and the Driving Down of Local Melatonin.  This shouldn’t be news to you as I’ve already shown you in several studies (HERE) that MS is intimately linked to Microbiomes gone south.  This latest of offerings suggests that,  “Alterations in gut microbiota, coupled to increased gut permeability are now widely recognized as having a role in the etiology, course, and treatment of many medical conditions, including autoimmune and neurodegenerative disorders.  Given the wide array of biological factors and processes that have been shown to be altered in MS, including changes in the gut, this allows for a better integration of the diverse array of pathophysiological processes linked to MS. Such pathophysiological processes include increases in oxidative and nitrosative stress, pro-inflammatory immune responses, especially T helper, TH-17 cell proliferation and activation, tryptophan catabolites, pain, fatigue and increased levels of depression. By raising levels of immune activation, increased gut permeability and alterations in gut microbiota impact on all of these MS-associated processes. Alterations in the regulation of local melatonergic pathway activation is proposed to be an important hub for such pathophysiological processes in MS, allowing for the increased frequency of depression that may be prodromal in MS, both in the first episode as well as in relapses, to become more intimately associated with the etiology and course of MS.  Changes in the gut are evident in the early stages of MS, including in pediatric MS, and may interact with pro-inflammatory genetic susceptibility genes to drive the biological underpinnings of MS.”  If there’s one thing you need to understand about DEPRESSION, it’s that the meds used to treat it are largely based on outright fraud in the so-called EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE

  • BRAIN & NERVOUS SYSTEM:  Last week’s issue of the European Journal of Neuroscience published a study called Thinking with Your Stomach? Gut Feelings on Microbiome Modulation of Brain Structure and Function.  In this study, the authors reiterated a theme we have noticed repeatedly in today’s post — that, “The gut microbiome, the entire microbial ecosystem occupying the gastrointestinal ecological niche, can impact almost every organ in the human body, not least of which being the brain. The gut microbiome has been found to signal to both the developing and adult mammalian brain, modulating both health and disease states.”  When it comes to taking care of your brain and nervous system (not to mention your overall health), it’s really a “no-brainer” — take care of your Microbiome!  One of the ways you can do this can be found HERE.

  • CHEMICAL EXPOSURE DESTROYS YOUR MICROBIOME:  Speaking of no-brainers; the fact that chemicals (drugs, vaccines, food additives, makeup, perfume / cologne, environmental toxins, etc, etc) destroy bacteria is at the top of the list.  Two of the big-name chemicals currently in the news are bisphenols (aka BPA) and ethinyl estradiols, both of which are hardcore XENOESTROGENS (aka “Endocrine Disruptors”).  How do they go about causing ESTROGEN DOMINANCE in females, while feminizing males?  Seems obvious in light of today’s post.  It’s largely occurring in the Gut.  Case in point, the new study from this month’s issue of Gut Microbes (Effects of Exposure to Bisphenol A and Ethinyl Estradiol on the Gut Microbiota of Parents and Their Offspring….).  “Gut dysbiosis may result in various diseases, such as metabolic and neurobehavioral disorders. Exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), including bisphenol A (BPA) and ethinyl estradiol (EE), especially during development, may also increase the risk for such disorders.  Gut flora and their products may thus be mediating factors for the harmful effects of these chemicals.  Both BPA and EE induced generational and sex-dependent gut microbiome changes. Many of the bacteria, e.g. Bacteroides, Mollicutes, Prevotellaceae, Erysipelotrichaceae, Akkermansia, Methanobrevibacter, Sutterella, whose proportions increase with exposure to BPA or EE are associated with different disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), metabolic disorders, and colorectal cancer.”  Be honest with me folks.  Are you even remotely surprised by this?  If you have even a single shred of common sense, of course not!  For those interested, take a look at my post called ENDOGUT, which as you might guess, is all about the connections between your endocrine system and Gut.

  • FARM ANIMAL PRODUCTION:  I’m fortunate because in my region of RURAL MISSOURI, we either HUNT DEER or have unlimited access to ORGANIC BEEF.  As a hardcore advocate of the PALEO DIET for treating those with autoimmunity and epithelial barrier issues (“The Leakies”), it’s certainly handy.  Although it’s ever so slow, the commercial farming industry seems to at least be getting the memo that there is a huge market for pasture-fed meat (chicken included) that has not been raised with antibiotics, growth hormones, or tons of chemicals.  Case in point, the new article in Frontiers in Veterinary Science (Gut Health: The New Paradigm in Food Animal Production).  The author states…….  “Optimal gut health is of vital importance to the performance of production animals. Gut health is synonymous in animal production industries with animal health.  The GI tract is responsible for regulating physiological homeostasis that provides the host the ability to withstand infectious and non-infectious stressors.”   Honestly, I could have cited this entire paper.  If you are a farmer / rancher and raise food animals for a living (lots of you around here do), I would suggest you take the five minutes it will require of you to read this short paper in its entirety (HERE).

One thing I must note when looking at these studies is that despite the wide range of terms used to describe the phenomenon, Leaky Gut Syndrome is mentioned repeatedly and shown to be intimately associated with Autoimmune Diseases (HERE IS A LIST OF THEM).  This despite the fact that many — probably the majority — of practicing physicians deny its very existence, claiming it’s a figment of the imagination of “health nuts” and natural healers.  Just shows you how far ahead of their time these folks really were when it came to overall health as related to GUT HEALTH.

As you also may have noticed, not one of these studies was more than ten days old.  What does this tell you?  Only that the single hottest area of biomedical study right now is the Microbiome.  How can you take care of yours?  For starters, stay off of ANTIBIOTICS as though your life depends on it.  Stay away from RIDICULOUS VACCINES (or HERE).  And for Pete’s sake, stop feeding the resulting dysbiosis with its food-of-choice —- SUGAR

If you are chronically ill — especially if you are struggling with autoimmunity — you owe it to yourself to at least look at what creating your own personal EXIT STRATEGY can do.  And while you are looking at my GENERALIZED TEMPLATE for solving your own health problems, do not, and I repeat DO NOT, overlook the importance of FECAL MICROBIOTA TRANSPLANTS.  They are by far the most powerful medicine available in the battle to solve autoimmunity — natural or pharmaceutical.

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