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HerbSprout Microbiome Blog -


Herbsprout is a webblog and podcast dedicated to sharing the health benefits of herbs, food, innovations related to our gut microbiome. Herbsprout seeks to bridge the vast chasm dividing the mainstream medical community, alternative medicine, and Asian medicine, especially of China (TCM), India (Ayurveda), and Japan (eJim & Kampo).

What is butyrate, and why are they so very important?

Here is one of the "symbiotic" relationships we have with the bacteria in our gut. There are three main short chain fatty acids (SCFA) - acetate, propionate, and butyrate - that are produced by our gut microbiome. Butyrate is a byproduct of your gut microflora breaking down prebiotic fibers and serve as food for the cells that line the walls of our gut. When we consume prebiotic foods, our gut bacteria ingests these foods and produce the short chain fatty acids (SCFA). It has been linked to health benefits such as reduced cancer risk, weight loss, reduction in hypercholesterolemia, improved electrolyte/mineral absorption and a healthier immune system.

Some good butyrate sources to include in your diet would be beans, muesli, cooked plantains, unripe bananas, cooked potatoes and cooked rice, as they upregulate the production of butyrate in your body. On the other hand, butter and ghee are directly ingested sources of butyrate and thus highly recommended for use in cooking!

More reading about the benefits of butyrate:

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Gut microbiome discovery bring new meaning to "follow your nose"

Gut microbiome discovery brin... Gut microbiome discovery brin...
A May 31 2020 study by University of Antwerp, Belgium reported hy Science Alert brings new meaning to the Fruit Loops Toucan famous saying, "follow your nose, it always knows."

University of Antwerp microbiologist Sarah Lebeer and her team analysed nose bacteria from 100 healthy volunteers and 225 people with chronic rhinosinusitis, a condition of swelling and pain in the nasal passages. They found that lactobacilli, particularly Lacticaseibacillus, were abundant up to 10x more in healthy participants.

See article here, .
#ai #bacteria #cardiovasculardisease #datascience #gutmicrobiome #health #healthinnovation #healthtech

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Keystone Species "key" to healthy gut

Keystone Species "key" to heal... Keystone Species "key" to heal...
Just as keystone species in wildlife are important for a healthy ecosystem, the same is true of the microbiota in our gut. Probiotics are the foundation for gut health and overall immunity, according to Jenny Pandol, Executive Director of the Microbiome Learning Center.

"We need certain strains of bacteria to modulate the gut. While it’s true we need to be taking high quality probiotics and perhaps many OTC may be ineffective, the opposite is true with quality probiotics added to the diet along with other lifestyle and diet modifications."

"There are certainly trusted brands and yes, the gut Microbiome can change day to day and even meal to meal," says Pandol..

"The key is to have balance with certain keystone species that modulate the ecosystem. They are like body guards keeping things in check and keeping pathogenic organisms from over growth. Different microbes thrive on different fibers so depending on what you eat certain microbes will thrive."

The following gut bacteria are among the keystone species we need for a healthy gut: Bifidobacteria, Akkermansia, christendsenella, clostridia, bacillus subtilis species. We need Lacto but they aren’t considered keystone, adds Pandol.

There a few quality probiotic supplement brands that stand out in quality, among others. These are Terra flora , Megaspore, Designs for Health, Metagenics to name a few.

More information about the Microbiome Learning Center is available here:

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Microbiome is everywhere in wildlife from fish to honey bees

Microbiome is everywhere in w... Source: Adobe stock images Source: Adobe stock images
A May 11 2020 article by suggests that healthier fish from the fish farm industry which makes up almost half of what we eat (45%) begins with healthier gut bacteria in the fish. Research on "fish guts" is led by the aquaculture or fish farming industry to bring benefits to consumers; healthier fish, cheaper but higher quality produce, according to the report (1).

Reseachers are applying and testing the effects of alternative plant and insect based proteins to feed fish. These have different effects on the fish gut microbiome, and ultimately their health.

Gut microbiome populations exist in almost everything we consume, from fish and red meat to honey. Social bees collect microbes like Bifidobacterium from feeding on fermenting honey, according to an April 14 2020 study by University of Washington candidate Lila Westreich (2). She wrote about this in The Conversation. Westreich found that social bees collect microbes like Bifidobacterium from feeding on fermenting honey, according to the article (2). Research published in Plos One found 13 lactic acid bacteria that inoculate and preserve pollen in the hives. These include Lactobacillus kunkeei, and Alpha 2.2 (Acetobacteraceae), found in stored pollen and honey (3).

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#bacteria #datascience #diet #gutmicrobiome #health #healthinnovation #healthtech #herbalmedicine #herbs #mentalhealth #plantnutrition #probiotics

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Ketogenic diet affects your health by changing gut microbiome

Ketogenic diet affects your heal...
It is believed that the ketogenic diet lowers inflammation in our bodies, may treat autoimmune disorders, and promotes weight loss and heart health, according to a May 20 2020 article by Medical Express. The goal of ketogenic diet is to reach a state of ketosis where a lower carb intake leads the body to break down stored fat for energy.

Based on studies of both humans and mice, ketogenic diets dramatically reduced the common probiotic Bifidobacteria. However, the studies also found that the ketogenic diet reduces the gut microbial content of phyla Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Firmicutes, and 19 different bacterial genera. The studies were led by Peter Turnbaugh, Ph.D., a University of California San Francisco associate professor of microbiology and immunology, and a member of the UCSF Benioff Center for Microbiome Medicine.

With the lower level of carb intake, based on studies of mice, a ketogenic diet may lead to some of the effects of ketosis quite quickly. Ketosis is not necessarily good for you as acidic byproducts can build up in our bodies called ketoacidosis.

See Medical Express article here, . The article was first reported in the Cell,
#ai #bacteria #cardiovasculardisease #datascience #gutmicrobiome #health #healthinnovation #healthtech #ketogenicdiet #obesity

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Ginseng & Ginger are two healthy TCMs during stressful times

Source: getty images Source: getty images Ginseng & Ginger are tw...
A May 17 2020 article by Yahoo News suggests you might consider incorporating some traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) ideas into your daily practice. There's much to choose from- qi gong, acupressure/ acupuncture, teas and tonics, and food. Yahoo News recommended these TCM remedies in this order.

Given that food and teas are more prevalent and widely used, let's look at it from the opposite order. Beginning with the universally accepted herb ginger, which contains Gingerol. Regular consumption of it couldn't hurt. Gingerol is the main bioactive compound in ginger that is anti-inflammatory and a digestive aid. This is based on studies referenced by the Healthline article below.

Ginseng has also been tested and proven to boost the immune system with its bioactive compounds, ginsenosides and gintonin, according to WebMD. Regarding both ginger and ginseng, there have been broad but varying unproven claims that these food based herbs provide other benefits such as lowering blood sugar and treating cancer. However, consuming them in moderation can help and is recommended.

For more information see: ; and
#ai #bacteria #datascience #diet #gutmicrobiome #health #healthinnovation #healthtech #herbalmedicine #herbs #mentalhealth #plantnutrition #probiotics #psychobiotics

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Connection found between anti-obesity statin drugs & gut Bacteroides 2

According to a May 06 2020 Nature article, statin drugs, a common medication for lowering cholesterol, also known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, are a class of lipid-lowering medications that lower risk of cardiovascular disease. They are the most common cholesterol-lowering drugs, able to reduce illness and mortality, according to Wikipedia.

The study referenced in the Nature article analyses human faecal samples, and classifies them into one of four groups called enterotypes, depending on the abundance of particular microbial species. These groupings are termed Bacteroides 1 (Bact1), Bacteroides 2 (Bact2), Ruminococcaceae (Rum) and Prevotella (Prev). Bacteroides 2 are associated with inflammation, and more Bacteroides bacteria than Faecalibacterium microbes.

The authors unexpectedly discovered that there were significantly fewer of the Bact2 enterotype than expected in obese individuals who were taking cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins. The authors found a connection between these gut microbes and the statin drugs, but further research is needed to determine the nature of that connection. According to the article, "molecules such as trimethylamine oxide, which are made by gut bacteria, might accelerate atherosclerosis, and their presence is associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes, including death."

And study in the European Union called the MetaCardis project ( including nearly 900 participants whose data they analysed, also found a higher prevalence of the Bact2 enterotype with a higher body-mass index and obesity.

See article, .
#ai #bacteria #cardiovasculardisease #datascience #gutmicrobiome #health #healthinnovation #healthtech #obesity

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Three Classical Text of Ayurveda

Three Classical Text of Ayurveda
There are three main classical text of Ayurveda:

1) Charaka Samhita - is the book of internal medicine and includes the eight systems of the body. This also comprises the basic concepts of Ayurveda, the Ayurvedic School of Physicians.

2) Sushruta Samhita - is the book of surgery. This book includes detailed description of surgical instruments and what they are used for, not only surgical instruments familiar to the west, but also eastern instruments such as needles for Chinese acupuncture, for example.

3) Ashtanga Sanraha & Ashtaga Hyridayam - The Hridayam over 7,500 verses, is written in poetry and prose. Both works have been dated about the same time and are believed to come after the Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita. It outlines the sub kapha doshas for the first time with emphasis on treating the physical body.

More information about the Ayurveda classical text is available at The Ayurveda Institute,
#Indianmedicine #ayurveda #bacteria #diet #easternmedicine #gutmicrobiome #health #herbalmedicine #herbs #plantnutrition #spices

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More links of gut microbiome to the brain

Pavlov's classical conditioning... Pavlov's classical conditioning with dogs. source: Shutterstock
A May 17 2020 article in Neuroscience News published proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, brings us more evidence of the brain-body connection. If you took psychology classes in college you are familiar with Ivan Pavlov's stimulus- response tests on dogs. Since his revolutionary research back in the mid- 1800s, this has come to be known as "classical conditioning". The brain-gut connection dates back to Pavlov's work. Peter Strick director at the University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute, is quoted in the article referring to Pavlov's famous research that the "central nervous system uses environmental signals and past experience to generate anticipatory responses that promote efficient digestion."

Dr. Strick and his associate Dr. David Levintha, professor of gastroenterology at Pitt, were able to trace the connection of signals between the gut and brain's rostral insula in mice confirming the connection of one's emotional, past experiences and contextual knowledge to the gut.

A January 29, 2020 article on points to a couple of studies that suggest there is another connection between our gut microbiome and autism.

John Cryan, a biochemist at University College Cork in Ireland, was among the first researchers to investigate how gut microbes affect social behaviour. In 2014, he reported that germ-free mice — those lacking the typical mix of gut microbes — avoided other mice, shunned new social situations and groomed themselves excessively. “It started to crystallize that the microbiome was involved in many aspects of behaviour,” Cryan says.

Clostridia bacterial pathogens, for instance, generate propionic acid in the gut — a short-chain fatty acid known to disrupt the production of neurotransmitters. Propionic acid also causes autism-like symptoms in rats.

Deficits in beneficial gut bacteria might also affect social brain function. In 2017, Cryan reported that when mice with an autism-like condition had lower levels of Bifidobacterium and Blautia gut bacteria, their guts made less tryptophan and bile acid — compounds needed to produce serotonin3. And children with autism have been consistently found to have lower levels of Veillonellaceae, Coprococcus and Prevotella gut bacteria.

(Source: , and ).

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eJIM and CAM - Japan's role in east-west relations; why not medicine too?

It is not by any means anything unique for Japan to play a role in East- West integration and collaboration. From the opening up of Japan in 1848 when American Commodore Perry reached its shores to promote trade to the introduction of western Christianity at the arrival of the Jesuits led by Francis Xavier in 1549, Japan has always played an integral role in East- West relations.

Fast forward to this century, in his final interview with Asia Pacific Economic Review writer Steve Barth, Edward Demming reached the pinnacle of Japan's role in integrating western management principles into Japan, which in turn reversed by way of the likes of UCLA professor William Ouchi and his bestselling book on Japanese management style, "Theory Z". Japan has always been a synergistic doorway to the west, and arguably the west's most valuable portal to the east.

So why not in health care? Japan is one of the world’s most technologically advanced health care systems while at the same time still holds onto traditional medicine or Kampo. Japan Ministry of Health and Welfare created acronyms for its role in integrative medicine, and published it in cooperation with Shimane University Medical School. It believes the Japanese health care system is uniquely placed in facilitating the integration of evidence- based Japanese integrative medicine or eJim. The more common term used today is "complementary and alternative medicine" or CAM which Japan seeks to bring into the mainstream core of its healthcare offerings. And it claims to be doing it backed by science, the aforementioned "evidence- based Japanese integrative medicine", or e-Jim (see for more information).

When we talk about eJIM however, it inevitably leads back to the origins of healthcare in Japan over a thousand years ago, traditional Japanese medicine or Kampo, and beyond the island's shores to China and TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) (see ). So how has Japan integrated traditional Kampo and alternative medicine into its modern western health care system?

The integration has become seamless, including widespread insurance coverage for Kampo. Today, Japan is taking it a step further, and -- a step deeper with proven, "evidence- based Japanese integrative medicine" or eJIM. Japan and other Asian countries like Singapore, India and China, are studying the chemical properties of herbs and foods, and making key connections to their influence on everything from our gut microbiome to our immune system.
#CAM #ai #alternativemedicine #bacteria #datascience #diet #eJIM #gutmicrobiome #health #healthinnovation #healthtech #herbalmedicine #herbs #integrativemedicine #plantnutrition #spices

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