“WHERE THINGS SO SMALL CAN HAVE A MASSIVE IMPACT ON YOUR HEALTH.”
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).
Medical News Today reported December 24 2020 new research from Japan's University of Tsukuba that gut bacteria helps create important chemical brain messengers such as serotonin and dopamine, positively impacting one's sleep patterns.
"We found that microbe depletion eliminated serotonin in the gut", according to Prof. Masashi Yanagisawa quoted in the Medical News Today article.
We already know that avacados are good for us. A large part of the reason is avacados are high in monounsaturated heart healthy fiber.
A study by the University of Illinois Division of Nutritional Sciences was conducted on 163 young adults who ate avocado every day, according to a December 14 2020 article in Neuroscience News. Researchers found a greater abundance and diversity of gut microbes that break down fiber, reduced bile acids, and increased short chain fatty acids among the test subjects, according to Sharon Thompson, graduate student of the University of Illinois nutritional science program.
The study was led and co-authored by Dr. Hannah Holscher, assistant professor of nutrition in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.
Thanks to nanopore technology, we can trace microbes from years past. A new “nanopore” genetic sequencing device from Oxford Nanopore Technologies uses fewer reagents and chemicals to process the samples than do previous generations of sequencing technology, according to a Wired magazine article quoting Guadalupe Piñar, a microbiologist at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna.
The sequencer is sensitive enough to take what little DNA the researchers can dab off of drawings without damaging valuable articles and relics, and identify an array of microbes.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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).
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."
HERBSPROUT ADVISORY BOARD:
●Dr. Sabine Hazan, Founder and CEO, Progenabiome and Ventura Clinical Trials;
●Jenny Pandol, Co-owner/founder/ COO, Microbiome Learning Center;
●Naveen Jain, Founder & CEO, Viome
●Hans Parge, ex-Pfizer director;
●Rob Greenlee, VP, Libsyn;
●Cindy Postma, essential oils;
●Chris Kenji Beer, herbs & microbiome;
●Ely Diana, translation/ support services.
Cindy Postma has been a writer and editor across all disciplines. She has been an instructor of Asian studies at Kings College (Cambridge), Columbia, and Cornell. She received her PhD from Kyoto University, Masters from Columbia University, and undergraduate from The University of Washington. She is proficient in four Asian languages and French.
I am Chris Kenji Beer, Herbsprout writer and editor. I come from a family of health nuts. My mom was a psyche major and shared her Japanese culinary tradition. Uncle Tetsuo was and cousin Satoru Harada is a surgeon. Aunt Shigeko was a dietitian in Hiroshima before complications from the nuclear fallout took her life.
I am currently enrolled at Bastyr University's Ayurvedic Health Advisor program. In the past, I spent many years researching health care. I was published on the topic "Japanese Health Care for the Elderly" by the U.S. - Japan Foundation, and as co-author of health care reports for National Conference of State Legislatures Health Services Program, NW Asian Weekly, & as Editor/ co-Publisher of Asia Pacific Economic Review. Email us with questions or comments @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
The contents of this webblog is not intended to be used to treat, cure, mitigate, or diagnose any medical condition. The readers must consult your doctor before you make any changes that could affect your health.