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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).

several studies link dysbiosis of our gut microbiome to depression

several studies link dysbiosis o...
Yet another study has linked depression to disruptions in our gut microbiome, according to a December 03 2020 article by Medical Express. Several institutions in China and two in the U.S. researched the matter originally published in the journal Science Advances. Previously, major depressive disorder (MDD) studies have found the gut microbiome species Coprococcus and Dialister were depleted in patients with depression (1), whereas butyrate-producing Faecalibacterium and Coprococcus bacteria are linked to higher quality of life.

Specifically, this team of researchers studied fecal samples from 156 MDD patients, individuals with MDD. They found 47 bacterial species, 50 fecal metabolites, and three bacteriophages that were different from their control group of 155 non-MDD or healthy individuals (2). The differing, depleted gut bacteria species in MDD patients include 10 species from the bacteriods family, 29 from blautia, 5 from eubacterium, 3 from clostridium, according to the Science Advances report (3).




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The most commonly used herbicide affects our gut microbiome

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A study by the University of Turku announced by Science Daily on November 20 2020, determined that 54% of the human gut bacterial species have some sensitivity to glyphosate, the most commonly used herbicide. The results are based on a bioinformatics tool developed by Docent Marjo Helander at the University of Turku.

Helander plans to further research the A rich and diverse microbial community is living in soil, on plant surfaces, and in animal guts. It is possible that even low glyphosate residue may indirectly affect pest and pathogen occurrence in these communities.

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Vitamin D - gut microbiome connection

Vitamin D - gut microbiome c...
Researchers at the University of California San Diego were able to demonstrate that the makeup of a person's gut microbiome is connected to their levels of active vitamin D, according to a November 30 2020 Medical Express article.

It is believed and confirmed by numerous studies that vitamin D has important health benefits such as lowering risk of cancer, heart disease. A clinical study of more than 25,000 adults found that found that vitamin D supplements has no health benefits at all as originally believed.

Said author Deborah Kado, MD, director of the Osteoporosis Clinic at UC San Diego Health as quoted in the Medical Express, "it doesn't matter how much vitamin D you get through sunlight or supplementation, nor how much your body can store; it matters how well your body is able to metabolize that into active vitamin D." This points to the conclusion that bacteria plays a role in metabolizing vitamin D, adds Kado.

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Some Antidepressants can be unhealthy for our gut microbiome

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According to a December 01 2020 article published by the Massive Science Consortium, scientists at the University College, Cork measured the effects of different antidepressants on common gut bacteria on petri dishes.

Scientists found that antidepressants inhibited the growth of gut bacteria. The study found that desipramine and aripiprazole were particularly detrimental to our gut bacteria. This research points to opportunity to reduce negative side effects of antidepressants.

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Gut bacteria triggers virus protecting response

Gut bacteria triggers virus pro...
A November 19 2020 article in Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News reported a study of mice by Harvard Medical School researchers who were able to pinpoint gut microbes that trigger an outer membrane (OM) polysaccharide A (PSA) of immune cell molecule that releases virus-repelling type 1 interferons. This discovery could help with drugs that boost antiviral immunity in humans.

According to the article the findings reveal that the protective response arises from immune cells residing in the walls of the colon. These dendritic cells release protective interferons when stimulated by the PSA molecule residing on the outer surface membrane of the Bacteroides fragilis gut bacterium.

The research identifies bacteroides fragilis, which is present in the gut of most humans, is triggering "immune cells in the colon to release interferon-ß (IFN-ß), an important immune chemical that confers antiviral protection," according to the report.

Taking the research a step further, the study found that the same antiviral triggering function exists in an entire class of microbial molecules. The research was led by Dennis Kasper, PhD, professor of immunology in the Blavatnik Institute at Harvard Medical School and first reported in Cell titled, “Commensal Microbiota Modulation of Natural Resistance to Virus Infection.”

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Gut bacteria producing SCFAs found to be the culprit behind Alzheimer’s disease

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Some of the most important research on our gut microbiome and health centers around its link with brain diseases. A November 13 2020 report by Medical Express confirmed that Scientists once again verified links in the imbalance of our gut microbiota and the development of amyloid plaques in the brain which lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

Previous research confirmed a correlation between alterations of the gut microbiome and Alzheimer’s, while this research by the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG) in Switzerland takes it a step further identifying more specifics about this connection. The research was led by neurologist Giovanni Frisoni, director of the HUG Memory Centre and professor at the Department of Rehabilitation and Geriatrics of the UNIGE Faculty of Medicine.

Said Frisoni in the Medical Express article, "high blood levels of lipopolysaccharides and certain short-chain fatty acids (acetate and valerate) were associated with large amyloid deposits in the brain. Conversely, high levels of another short-chain fatty acid, butyrate, were associated with less amyloid pathology." Each of these short-chain fatty acids are produced by certain gut bacteria. The next step in this project is to determine which specific strains of gut bacteria are building the amyloid plaques (1). Moira Marizzoni, a researcher at the Fatebenefratelli Center in Brescia and first author of this work, confirmed this through a study of 89 individuals, successfully correlating certain gut bacteria with "the quantity of amyloid plaques in the brain," explains Marizzoni (2).

While this is only a theory based on connecting two indirectly related reports, the above article and the article below confirming that specific gut bacteria strains produce memory boosting molecules (see"related stories" second article). It might also follow (though not confirmed yet) that the same strains may play a role in preventing, treating Alzheimer’s disease and/or symptoms. Further research would need to connect Lactobacillus, L. reuteri, and additional strains of Lactobacilli that were linked to improved memory might to also similarly improve memory problems among Alzheimer’s patients.

In other research led by Dr. Qin Chuan,Key Laboratory of Human Diseases Comparative Medicine, Ministry of Health, Institute of Medical Laboratory Animal Science, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS), SCFAs were reduced in mice with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), including amyloid deposits and other abnormalities in AD mouse intestine (3).

1.; and;

Related stories:

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Zebrafish show similar response to butyrate as humans

Zebrafish show similar respon...
Butyrate and the role of certain gut bacteria in making butyrate continues to gain in reputation as an aid in calming inflammation. An October 20 2020 study by the Centenary Institute found that the inflammatory immune cells of zebrafish embryos are calmed by the addition of butyrate, reducing inflammatory markers on macrophages.

Butyrate is an important "short chain fatty acid" molecule that is produced when good bacteria ferment dietary fiber in the gut. According to the Medical Express report, "zebrafish neutriphils use the same receptor as humans to 'sense' butyrate and activate anti-inflammatory benefits."

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How chemicals in household products affect your gut microbiome; 家庭用品に含まれる化学物質が腸内細菌叢にどのように影響するか

How chemicals i...
A November 12 2020 news release from Washington State University reported (in the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Eureka Alert!) that children with higher levels of common household chemicals known as phthalates and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in their blood had a reduction in the amount and diversity of gut bacteria, while increased levels were associated with a reduction in fungi populations. These substances are commonly present in household products such as detergents, plastics, soap, shampoo, and hair spray.

Generally, a high diversity of gut bacteria and fungi are known to support a healthy immune system.

The study of fecal matter of 69 toddlers and preschoolers was led by Courtney Gardner, assistant professor in the Washington State University Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, as part of her postdoctoral research in collaboration with Duke University.

Interestingly, Gardner also found several types of bacteria that have been used to clean up toxic chemicals in the guts of these tested children.






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Gut Dysbiosis an early cue to onset of brain diseases; 腸内毒素症は脳疾患の発症への初期の糸口

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Evidence continues to shows the gut microbiome is altered early in both Parkinson's, dementia and Multiple Sclerosis patients, according to a November 10 2020 article in the Conversation.

Parkinson’s disease gut dysbiosis, often as constipation or diarrhea, is common. Gut problems may be present several decades before typical symptoms appear, according to the article.

Research has shown gut microbes appear to play a key role in sending and receiving the signals to and from the brain, such as stress signals. One way microbes do this is they produce proteins that carry messages to the brain. Another way is through the vegus nerve which physically connects the brain to the gut.

While this communication for the most part is generally healthy and benign, unhealthy microbiome can transmit harmful pathogens and abnormal proteins to the brain when the gut microbiome is in a state of dysbiosis. Studies show this can lead to a number of brain diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Huntington's, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and dementia.

The gut microbiome plays a critical role beyond being an indicator. Another study by the University of California San Francisco found that "immune cells produced in the gut play a protective role during multiple sclerosis (MS) flare-ups," according to a November 22 2020 article by the New Atlas. Scientists demonstrated how these immune cells "travel up to the brain and potentially help shift a disease flare-up into remission."

While more research is needed in this field, a change in diet, a diet rich in fiber, or consumption of probiotics can potentially prove to be an effective remedy for patients experiencing the onset of dysbiosis.

Other related stories:







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Antarctic is home to life giving nitrogen microbes

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An October 28 2020 article in The Scientist says researchers found nitrate fixing microbiome in the Antarctic. This select group of microbes are known as diazotrophs.

A key building block of life, they can pull N2 gas out the air or from water and convert it into ammonium, a process called nitrogen fixation, according to Deborah Bronk, a chemical oceanographer of the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in Maine.

Nitrogen fixing was previously believed to only be possible in warmer climates. A separate but related study made similar findings reported just two days earlier in The Scientist by Naomi Harada, a geochemist at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology and co-author Takuhei Shiozaki. They found cyanobacterium UCYN-A was the major diazotroph, previously believed to only be found in tropical regions, according to Shiozaki.

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