Search Bloguru posts

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).

First Human Test (of its kind) Confirms Exposure to UVB light improves gut health

First Human Test (of its kind)...
A study published December 05, 2019 by the European Society for Gastroenterology and Motility found that UVB exposures over a one-week period increased the gut microbiota diversity in humans. The study was led by Dr. Bruce A. Vallance from the University of British Columbia and the Women’s Health Research Institute in Vancouver (Canada). Skin exposure to UVB light increased "alpha (within-subject) and beta diversity (between-subjects) in the gut microbiota" in subjects who have not taken vitamin D supplements before the study. The study showed increases in key strains such as Lachnospiraceae, Ruminococcus, and Clostridiaeae.

UVB exposures over a one-week increased the gut microbiota diversity of the group with vitamin D insufficiency to the same level as that of the group that started the study with sufficient serum vitamin D levels. The exposure to UVB positively influenced key gut microbiota such as Lachnospira and Fusicatenibacter.

This is the first study that reports changes in the human gut microbiota in response to UVB light. As decreased exposure to UVB light. Decreased vitamin D production has been associated with the rise in chronic inflammatory diseases. Previous studies relating UVB light to gut microbiota have been conducted on mice. Herbsprout previously reported on UBC's earlier research on the subject. Visit this link to read more,

People Who Wowed This Post

What do Kimchi and Sauerkraut have in common?

Both kimchi and sauerkraut are fermented foods. Consuming fermented foods can be healthy for your gut. They help maintain a rich variety of healthy microbiome in your gut.

Fermented foods are naturally rich in probiotics. It is recommended that you consume fermented foods once or twice daily, including foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, cultured yogurt, kefir, pickles, and cultured sour cream. Foods that contain prebiotic fibers are also important for your healthy gut. These include popular vegetables such as onions, garlic, and asparagus.

Get to know your body, because every body is different and our probiotic and prebiotic needs can be very different from one person to another.

People Who Wowed This Post

How gut bacteria keeps us healthy

How gut bacteria keeps us hea...
If you've been reading this herbsprout blog, you know that our body's microbiome content can contribute to keeping us healthy and can also create havoc to our body if brought out of balance. Last blog we see that "antibiotics" can save us from these unwanted bacteria. However, since our body needs most microbes to survive, let's take a look at why.

Our gut bacteria helps us stay healthy in a number of ways. These include:

1. they make healthy vitamins for our body by harvesting nutrients from the food we eat;
2. they prevent anxiety and depression;
3. they can prevent neurological diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, autism, and Alzheimer's;
4. they prevent "leaky gut" which contribute to obesity and diabetes 2;
5. they balance our immune system and control inflammation;
6. they produce serotonin, the "happy chemical"; and
7. they help prevent heart disease.

People Who Wowed This Post

"We are running out of antibiotics"

Scientists at Northeastern discovered a new bacteria that is Gram-negative, according to a November 19, 2019 report published by This is significant because gram-negative bacteria, which include E. coli and Salmonella, have an additional, outer membrane that protects them from many antibiotics. "This extra protection is why gram-negative bacteria are at the top of a list of 'priority' pathogens that need to be targeted with new antibiotics, compiled by the World Health Organization", according to the report.

"We are running out of antibiotics," says Kim Lewis, who directs the Antimicrobial Discovery Center at Northeastern, where the discovery of darobactin was made. "We need to be looking for novel compounds with no pre-existing resistance in the clinic or the population."

Yu Imai, a postdoctoral research associate in Lewis' lab, discovered the compound from Photorhabdus bacteria that live inside the gut of a nematode, a tiny parasitic worm found in soil. It's the first time, Lewis says, that the animal microbiome was found to harbor an antibiotic that promises to be useful for humans.

For more information, see

People Who Wowed This Post

Green tea, esp. fermented, may prevent weight gain

Green tea, esp. fermented, ma...
Green tea, commonly consumed in Asia, has been reported to have an antiobesity activity, and the alteration of gut microbiota composition is a main means of action. According to an April 2019 report by scientists at China Pharmaceutical University (see description below) when sundried green tea was fermented, it restored the increased Bacteroides/Prevotella (B/P) ratio and significantly decreased the F/B (Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes) ratio in HFD (high fat diet) mice after 8 weeks of treatment. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), the main type of catechin in green tea, could inhibit the formation of rat abdominal adipose tissue after a 4-week treatment regimen. The natural antioxidant catechin is an anti-inflammatory that repairs cell damage and helps fight cancer.

In their study, it was revealed that EGCG-treated rats showed a dramatic decrease of Clostridium spp. and an increase of Bacteroides in feces. Moreover, Chang et al. of China Pharmaceutical University (see source detail below) reported that a water extract of Ganoderma lucidum (Curtis) P. Karst. (WEGL) prevented weight gain and fat accumulation in HFD-induced obese mice. Furthermore, endotoxemia and insulin resistance were found to be improved by WEGL for the modification of gut dysbiosis. The F/B ratio and levels of endotoxin-bearing Proteobacteria were also restored to normal levels. However, several bacteria increased (Parabacteroides goldsteinii, Bacteroides spp., Anaerotruncus colihominis, Roseburia hominis, and Clostridium), which negatively correlated with obesity. The authors suggested that WEGL or polysaccharides could be used as prebiotic agents for the treatment of obesity and modulating obesity-related metabolic disorders.

Lonicerae japonicae flos is famous for its anti-inflammatory activity and has widely been used in Asia for years. In animal studies using HFD-fed animals, administration of unfermented Flos Lonicera (UFL) or fermented Flos Lonicera (FFL) significantly reduced body weight (BW) and adipose tissue weight and decreased lipid accumulation in the liver with ameliorated serum total cholesterol, HDL, and triglyceride levels. As suggested by the authors, alterations in the relative abundance of Lactobacillus spp., Bifidobacterium spp., and B/F ratio in the intestinal tract were supposed to be one of the mechanisms of UFL or FFL. In addition, the amount of Bifidobacterium spp. in the cecal pool of HFD-induced mice was increased by pomegranate peel extract (PPE), which is known for its beneficial effects, including anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activities.

Source: State Key Laboratory of Natural Medicines, Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis and Intervention, Department of Basic Medicine, School of Basic Medicine and Clinical Pharmacy, China Pharmaceutical University, 24 Tongjiaxiang, Nanjing 210009, China.

People Who Wowed This Post

Key foods/ herbs for your daily health

Key foods/ herbs for your dai...
Probiotics such as fermented foods include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, among others with live cultures support a healthy gut.

Prebiotics help feed the microbiome in the gut such as fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains. This is why vegans and vegetarians support a rich diversity of gut bacteria.

Mental health is as important as anything to your overall health. Stress and anxiety have been implicated in multiple aspects of health and disease. Keep your gut-brain axis healthy. Of course, the general consensus for a person to have adequate sleep is 7-9 hours regardless of age.

It's a good idea to keep clean, but it's equally important what you use to clean. If you use nondisinfectant, biodegradable cleaners, you can avoid damage to your microbiome. Studies found that test patients had high levels of a certain bacteria called Lachnospiraceae in their gut among those using disinfectants, which has been connected to obesity.

Vitamin D is a hormone we need to maintain healthy bones, and breast, prostate, and colon cells. There is growing evidence that it is also linked to a healthy gut microbiome. Our bodies produce Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight or adequate Vitamin C from other sources.

People Who Wowed This Post

The Health of Silicon Valley's health disruptors amid uBiome bankruptcy

In the wake of uBiome's filing for Chapter 11 and then closing its doors on October 31, 2019, it's timely to review the status of startups in healthcare.

The uBiome bankruptcy appears to be a mere hiccup due to mismanagement, although this year's health startups were largely health services such as cloud services. Apertiva and ChronicCareIQ topped the 2019 list of CIO magazine. Also making the list were other Saas health tech companies Duxlink Tele-Hospital, a platform that integrates clinical data with wearable tech and remote access. Finpay also tops the list as a financial management platform. The range of services is capped off by PatientPop which bills itself as a complete practice growth solution for health practitioners.

Health service startups aside, disruptors in healthcare include well known entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg’s $600 million funded biotechnology center in Silicon Valley.

Biohub made a big splash a few years ago. BioHub’s premier project is to create a vast directory of human cells, which it calls a “cell atlas.” (source: Antonio Regalado, MIT Technology Review, October 31, 2016). Stanford researcher and BioHub Co-President Steven Quake and BioHub are also part of a consortium of researchers around the globe who are collaborating to map the millions of cells in the human body. Scientists at BioHub and elsewhere are inspecting tens of millions of human cells for their molecular signatures, among other things, to track the body’s specific immune system responses to different treatments such as radiation.

Like other venture funded companies collecting gut samples (Viome), uBiome claimed a database of nearly 100,000 gut samples collected from its early adopter consumers the company refers to as “citizen scientists”, according to a 2016 TechCrunch article (Sara Buhr, November 01, 2016). “The GI tract is teeming with bacteria and research suggests the wrong kind may play a role in diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cancer, liver disease, obesity, irritable bowel syndrome and a number of other maladies.”
Apparantly the company owed millions of dollars to insurance companies related to illegal billing practices for which they are under criminal investigation, according to a Business Insider article (see ). It appears the company seeks to come out of bankruptcy with new management.

UBiome features a new SmartGut screening test kit that you can buy online for an estimated $89 which aims to identify “dozens of microbial genera and species” using a 16S rRNA gene sequencing method. However, the 16s rRNA gene sequencing is a twenty year old technology that offers very limited insights and is prone to inaccuracies, claims competitor company CEO Viome's Naveen Jain.
The above example are just a snapshot of disruptive innovators in the healthcare space.
#datascience #disruptors #funding #healthinnovation #healthstartups #healthtech #unicorncompany

People Who Wowed This Post

Institutional Innovations - DNA sequencing issues

Institutional Innovations - DNA ...
A November 15, 2019 report published by calls for a multiplatform approach for researching structural variation (SV) in genome interpretation. "Identifying structural variation (SV) is essential for genome interpretation but has been historically difficult due to limitations inherent to available genome technologies," says the report. Detection methods have helped scientists discover thousands of SVs, showing their relationship to disease and possible effects on our biology. (see ). By multiplatform, the article recommends testing on a variety of platforms and approaches, not relying on a single one, comparing results from different research labs and institutions around the world.

So much focus particularly in tech media has been about disruptive innovators and startups in the healthcare field. What about innovations by these more traditional institutions such as research institutions and hospitals?

Highly customizable and personalized healthcare solutions are at the cutting edge of disruptive innovation. You do not need to be an established entity to drive these disruptions, but you can be. The innovative applications of a person’s DNA sequence such as the tool for synthesizing DNA invented by biologist Leroy Hood’s Institute for Systems Biology, offer customizable health care at a genetic level, called genotyping. Seattle area’s Swedish Health Services has been recognized nationally for providing personalized health care using Dr. Hood’s DNA sequencing.

Another example, the creator of the CRISPR Cas9 technology, CRISPR Caribou Biosciences CEO, Dr. Jennifer Doudna invented the ability to edit our genetic code. Doudna showed how CRISPR, or "clustered regularly-interspaced short palindromic repeats", "bacteria’s natural defense system could be turned into a 'gene editing' tool to cut DNA strands", according to the Genetic Literacy Project. In addition to founding CRISPR, she teaches chemistry and molecular biology at University of California Berkeley. Both Hood and Doudna are said by peers to be viable candidates for the Nobel Prize.

Dr. Hood helped his associates at Swedish Health Services (Swedish Hospital and Providence Health Systems) play a leadership role in innovation, according to former Swedish CEO Anthony Armada in my interview with him for the Northwest Asian Weekly. “On the clinical side, for example, Swedish is the first to apply truly ‘personalized medicine’ using genotyping. Genotyping is a fingerprint of who you are genetically,” he adds. “For example, there can be five potential cures for a particular cancer. Genotyping can test and determine which of the five offers the best results, the least risk, and the best course of action for that particular patient” (source: NW Asian Weekly, Chris Beer). Thanks to help from Dr. Hood, the founding father of genomics, the hospital is lead the country in the medical and scientific applications of genomics.
#DNAsequencing #ai #artificialintelligence #bacteria #datascience #genomics #gutmicrobiome #healthinnovation #healthtech #machinelearning #mindbody #structuralvariance

People Who Wowed This Post

Microbial treatments for Parkinson's still premature

Microbial treatments for Parki...
While scientists found a direct connection between Parkinson's disease and our gut microbiome, a November 11, 2019 report by the Journal of Parkinson's Disease and Neuroscience News concluded "there is currently no consensus on PD-specific changes in microbiome composition and their pathophysiological implications due to inconsistent results, differences in methodologies and unaddressed confounders,” observed Dr. Scheperjans, MD, PhD, Department of Neurology, Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.

While several findings were replicated in various studies, such as an increase of Verrucomicrobiaceae and Akkermansia and a decrease of Prevotellaceae, the investigators also found numerous differences.

There is no standard procedure established for clinical research on the subject, making the results difficult to collectively evaluate. "Procedures for collection, storage and shipment of the stool samples varied considerably; almost all studies used different DNA extraction kits; different DNA sequencing protocols were used; and different bioinformatics and statistical methods can further lead to different results." In addition, the study populations differed considerably between studies in terms of age, percentage of females and Parkinson’s disease characteristics, such as disease duration and the clinical subtype.

"It is important to emphasize that no microbiota-based treatment for PD exists to date," says Dr. Scherperjans. "We advise PD patients not to start self-treatment with probiotics or undergo fecal microbiota transplantation without consulting with their doctors in order to avoid potential harm.”

However, research has determined a connection between gut microbiome and PS progression, though further studies are needed to identify how they are connected. This blog is a continuation of the earlier blog entry, "Parkinson's may originate in the gut":
#Braindiseases #Parkinsonsdisease #autism #effectormolecules #mentalhealth #microbiomes #molecules #neurotransmitters

People Who Wowed This Post

Who will be the next "Lebron James" or "MJ"?

Who will be the next "Lebron ...
“I was asked whether we could use genomics to predict the next Michael Jordan," said Jonathan Scheiman, Ph.D. This question was posed to researchers at the 254th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), August 20, 2017. "My response was that a better question is: Can you extract Jordan's biology and give it to others to help make the next Michael Jordan?" To answer that question, microbes seemed like a good place to start, according to the Science Daily News reporting on the same ACS conference.

"We are more bacteria than we are human," says Scheiman, a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of George Church, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School. "The bugs in our gut affect our energy metabolism, making it easier to break down carbohydrates, protein and fiber. They are also involved in inflammation and neurological function. So perhaps the microbiome could be relevant for applications in endurance, recovery and maybe even mental toughness."

The research on stool samples of athletes found for one that a particular microbe breaks down lactic acid, which spikes during long distance running or intense exercise and can cause soreness and fatigue. Another study of Olympic athletes found another gut microbiome that breaks down carbohydrates and fiber.

Can these specific microbiome strains be extracted and transferred to another person? Yes, it's been tried but results have been mixed. More testing and research is needed.

People Who Wowed This Post

  • If you are a bloguru member, please login.
  • If you are not a bloguru member, you may request a free account here:
    Request Account