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HerbSprout Microbiome Blog -


Herbsprout is a webblog and podcast dedicated to sharing the health benefits of herbs, food, innovations, and 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).

Microbiome's connection to autism

Microbiome's connection to aut...
Research is being administered about the influence of gut microbiomes on everything from autism, multiple sclerosis, PTSD, Parkinson’s Disease and brain health to cancer, depression, obesity, diabetes and weight loss. It has become widespread as major research institutions and universities are conducting studies on the subject.

An article in The Guardian, “Gut bacteria regulate nerve fibre insulation” (Mo Costandi, April 05, 2016) claims that “alterations in our gut bacteria composition may be connected to a wide range of neurological and psychiatric conditions, including autism, chronic pain, depression, and Parkinson’s Disease.” Psychosomatic Medicine reported that “various factors play a role (in PTSD), including a lack of social support and low levels of the neurotransmitter neuropeptide Y (see British Psychological Society blog, November 22, 2017).

Research on mice in early 2019 done by MIT and the University of Massachusetts Medical School found similar impacts of identifiable microbial strains. Researchers found that the gut microbiome composition of the mother’s gut can influence whether maternal infection leads to autistic-like behaviors in offspring. They also discovered the specific brain changes that produce these behaviors. The same MIT report also referenced a 2010 study where all children born in Denmark between 1980 and 2005 found that severe viral infections during the first trimester of their mother’s pregnancy led to risk for autism by three times.

In a 2016 Science paper, Drs. Gloria Choi and her husband Jun Huh found that types of immune cells known as Th17 cells, and their effector molecule, called IL-17, are responsible for this effect in mice. IL-17 then interacts with receptors found on brain cells in the developing fetus, leading to irregularities that the researchers call “patches” in certain parts of the cortex known as the somatosensory cortex. When the researchers restored normal levels of brain activity in this area of the brain, they were able to reverse the behavioral abnormalities. They were also able to induce the behaviors in otherwise normal mice by over stimulating neurons in the somatosensory cortex.
#Braindiseases #microbiomes #autism #effectormolecules #molecules #neurotransmitters

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Will gut bacteria replace drugs as medicine?

In a paper published Wednesday, August 28, 2019 in the journal Nature, scientists found that certain bacteria molecules can interact with protein receptors in mice, receptors which humans also have. The specific receptors found by microbiologist Sean Brady and his team at Rockefeller University, made the connection that certain gut bacteria are making molecules that improve glucose regulation in mice, a key step toward harnessing molecules to treat illness.

In Brady's study, signaling molecule in the bacteria known as N-acyl amides are involved in signaling pathways, helping the body regulate itself. Knowing this could enable us to use microbes to not only address symptoms as so much of modern medicine does, but apply healthy microbes to treat the source of an illness.

See Popular Science article,

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Can you get drunk without drinking alcohol? Yes.

Too much junk food? Too much junk food?
The answer is yes, and it's more common than you think. Researchers have discovered a new culprit to liver damage without even picking up your favorite alcoholic drink. That culprit is the bacteria in your gut, specifically a strain called Klebsiella pneumonia.

Not everyone's k. pneumonia creates liver damaging levels of alcohol. This gut bacteria produces a large amount of alcohol in the body in a select number of people. These bacteria reside in over 60% of patients who contract non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), in some leading to fibrosis and in fewer, the life threatening cirrhosis of the liver. An estimated 25% of the human population has alcohol producing bacteria in their body.

So "what's the point?" quoting the local AA meeting reading. "The point is" . . . well, watch what you eat. Apparently, non-alcohol induced inebriation is triggered by eating too much carbo- rich, sugary foods, according to a study by co-author Jing Yuan, a professor and director of the bacteriology laboratory at the Capital Institute of Pediatrics in Beijing. He recently shared his team's findings with Live Science (see article, ).

The good news is that even if you're an "alcoholic" without consuming even a drop of alcohol, the new finding offers opportunity to diagnose and treat NAFLD early. . . And a solution- "put down that sprinkle donut!"
#microbiome #guthealth #alcohol #drinking #liverdisease #liverdamage #gutbacteria

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"Miracle bugs" - Microbial Influences on MS

"Miracle bugs" - Microbial Infl...
Research suggests that microbiomes influence brain health in a variety of ways.

Innovative entrepreneurs and researchers are able to isolate, using Ai, specific strains of bacteria that directly affect the neuro-degeneration of MS (multiple sclerosis) patients, as one of many examples.

Miracle “bugs”

Getting down to specifics, one study identified a connection between bacterial strains Akkermansia muciniphila and Acinetobacter calcoaceticus, and multiple sclerosis. A study conducted by the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) found a connection between gut microbiomes and neuron-degeneration characterized by MS (September 11, 2017 Online Edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). In the study, postdoctoral UCSF researcher Egle Cekanaviciute, PhD, and collaborators found specific species of bacteria in the gut among 71 MS patients they analyzed that were not present in 71 healthy control subjects. The study found that Akkermansia muciniphila and Acinetobacter calcoaceticus—triggered human immune cells to become pro-inflammatory, while another found at lower than usual levels in MS patients — Parabacteroides distasonis—triggered immune-regulatory responses. Sergio Baranzini, PhD, a professor of neurology at UCSF explains in the article that “twins only share an MS diagnosis about 35 percent of the time.” Baranzini and Cekanaviciute’s studies took the research a step further, to identify the effects of specific microbiomes – the increased presence of ones that cause harmful effects versus the decreased presence of ones that are helpful – how they actually impact human health.

This demonstrates concrete evidence associating the role of microbiomes and MS. Baranzini and Cekanaviciute’s research took the research a step to the next level. It identified the effects of specific microbiomes - the increased presence of ones that cause harmful effects versus the decreased presence of ones that are helpful - how they actually impact human health. With this knowledge, scientists have the tools now to potentially cure degenerative diseases like MS for the first time!

The brain – microbial body connections seem endless, as the engine of microbial research redefines the health care industry.
#gutmicrobiome #bacteria #healthinnovation #datascience #ai #artificialintelligence #machinelearning #mindbody #healthtech

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Chinese herbal impacts on gut health

Radix Scutellariae also known ... Radix Scutellariae also known as baical skullcap seed/ root is the root of Scutellaria baicalensis, the source of the 2,000 year old Chinese medicine Huang Qin.
In addition to animal studies, several studies of natural products have been performed on human gut microbiota. Gegen Qinlian Decoction (GQD), a traditional Chinese herbal formula, reshaped the gut microbiota in a clinical study by China Pharmaceutical University (see reference below) in which 187 T2D (type 2 diabetes) patients participated. The data showed that the symptoms of T2D, such as fasting blood glucose levels and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels, were ameliorated in GQD-treated patients, with increased amounts of beneficial bacteria, including Faecalibacterium, Gemmiger, Bifidobacterium, and Escherichia. Radix Scutellariae (baical skullcap seed/ root) in GQT is the main herbal component that facilitated the potent inhibition of MMP-2. MMP-2 (matrix metalloproteinase-2) contributes to cancer cells migration and the progression of breast cancer, among others. GQT is also widely used to treat diarrhea and inflammation symptoms in various gastrointestinal disorders. (see

Another clinical study involving ten obese Korean women was conducted to investigate the antiobesity activity of the water extract of Ephedra sinica Stapf. This study revealed that, in seven of the ten obese women, BW and body mass index (BMI) were decreased after administration of this herb. (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. Contact Qinglong Guo; and Na Lu; ).
#herbs #herbalmedicine #plantnutrition #health #spices #diet #gutmicrobiome #bacteria #healthinnovation #datascience #ai #artificialintelligence #machinelearning #mindbody #healthtech

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Parkinson's may originate in the gut

Researchers found evidence that Parkinson's disease is formed from α-synuclein (alpha-synuclein) proteins and their dysfunction begins in the intestine. Parkinson's disease happens when these proteins build up and solidify, which damages nerve cells.

Parkinson's symptoms include shakiness in the hands and limbs, difficulty walking, dizziness, rigidity, dementia, difficulty thinking, among others. Parkinson's disease patients often already show progressed nervous system damage at the time of diagnosis.

The good news is the damaged a-synuclein proteins originate in the small intestines and migrate slowly up to the brain. It is now possible to detect pathological a-synuclein in the gut up to twenty years before diagnosis, according to Per Borghammer who led the study, a professor at the Department of Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University, Denmark. If detected early in the gut, treatment can begin even before symptoms begin to show in the Parkinson's patient.

The research was originally reported September 13, 2019 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science news release on its Eureka Alert!


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100x+ more Microbial DNA in our bodies than human DNA!

100x+ more Microbial DNA in ...
Yes, it is true. Our bodies have more microbiome DNA than human DNA. There are roughly 20,000 of our own human DNA in our body. There are an estimated two to twenty million microbiome DNA in our body.

DNA of these gut microbiomes are sophisticated and adaptable. They are able to take in pieces of DNA, then incorporate them into their genomes. These tiny microbes are a flexible learning machine that seeks out resources in its environment they ingest for useful purposes. The microbes undergo a trial and error process to solve all the problems, trying new proteins until it finds one that addresses its needs.

A “keystone species” microbe that resides in the human gut is the ruminococcus bromii. It is a dominant member of the suite of human gut microbiome that triggers energy and it digests resistant starches by breaking down and releasing enzymes from these starches. The ruminococcus bromii primarily reside in the colon. The function of it as a keystone species enables the proper functioning of other downline microbial activity, much in the same way that the presence of wolves in Yellowstone Park is a keystone species to maintain a balance in the park’s ecosystem.
#gutmicrobiome #bacteria #healthinnovation #datascience #ai #artificialintelligence #machinelearning #mindbody #healthtech

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What about ginseng root and gut health?

What about ginseng root and gu...
We know that ginseng is healthy for the body. But how does ginseng promote health? and is it beneficial for the long term? The short answer is yes, it is generally beneficial to our microbiome health for the long term.

A report in the July 2018 Journal of Ginseng Research (Volume 42, Issue 3; see and a separate June 2018 study by Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Systems Biomedicine, Shanghai Center for Systems Biomedicine (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, P.R.C.; see article,, investigated the effect of Ginseng extracts on the structure of gut microbiota.

This report found positive affects of the "host-gut metabolism, immune system, the anti-inflammation process and the gut intestinal microbiota structure" when consuming ginseng extract over the long term. The research was based on the application of a 16S rRNA microbial sequencing technology. For example, the increased abundance in tested host groups of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, interleukin 4 (IL4), and IL10 and immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels demonstrated that Ginseng extracts contribute to enhancements of probiotics. Results may vary from person to person.

A 2015 Journal of Ethnopharmacology reported that out of the 7 Chinese traditional herbs, red ginseng is the most effective in promoting the growth of probiotics including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

In a 2019 study by the Basic Medicine and Clinical Pharmacy, China Pharmaceutical University, the antiobesity effect of ginseng varied when the composition of gut microbiota was altered. The abundance of Subdoligranulum, Oscillibacter, and Akkermansia in the gut associated with changes in BW and BMI, whereas Lactobacillus was linked to body fat percentage
#herbs #herbalmedicine #plantnutrition #health #spices #diet #gutmicrobiome #bacteria #healthinnovation #datascience #ai #artificialintelligence #machinelearning #mindbody #healthtech

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Is The Current Health Care System Obsolete?

Disruptive innovators believe the current health care system is broken or dysfunctional at best in so many ways. Today’s health care and technology has advanced beyond the system’s ability to control it. As the system becomes large, it becomes an organism set up to survive; it believes that only the stake holders of the system matter – “the hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance companies. The customers are just a nuisance the system has to deal with in order to get paid,” according to Naveen Jain of Viome. "That is why the system is completely broken at this point. Pharmaceutical companies have become a parasite of humanity. Their sole purpose is to keep you sick." When you have a chronic disease and you have a CEO of a pharmaceutical company who says that 'the best drug we develop is the one that people must take for the rest of their life.'

The best drug is not the one that cures the disease, the best drugs are the ones that suppress the symptom so that you must take it for the rest of your life. That kind of system is essentially using people as guinea pigs to keep making money from us.” Today, “90% of health care costs are going toward chronic diseases”, so the burgeoning class of biotech and health care entrepreneurs is filling the gap to solve the problems of diseases.

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Modern Medicine Aligns with Asian Traditions

Ginger and Turmeric are amo... Ginger and Turmeric are among the key herbs for a healthy Ayurvedic based diet.
It is striking how the holistic health traditions of Asia seem to parallel modern innovative Ai driven health care pursuits. This includes data driven, microbial gut research, food- based solutions, and preventive holistic health care to support a healthy mind and body.

Perhaps modern medicine is circling back coincidentally with traditional Asian health care traditions, such as India’s Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurvedic medicine is an over 3,000 years old Indian holistic healing approach that depends on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit, to paraphrase WebMD.
Ayurveda proponents believe that your chances of getting sick -- and the health issues you develop -- are linked to the balance of your three doshas, each of which controls different body functions. The three doshas are Vata dosha (space and air); Pitta dosha (fire and water); and Kapha dosha (water and earth).

Ayurveda not only endorses the belief that the mind and body are intimately interconnected, it goes beyond mind and body to suggest we have interconnections with our environment and spirituality. According to Ayurveda, disease develops when we disconnect from nature and the five elements in nature and within our minds and bodies - earth, water, fire, air, and space.

Japan's Shinrinyoku

Likewise, Japanese health care evolving from the Shinto and Buddhist traditions seek to integrate our connection to nature with our physical and spiritual health, and recommend regular “Shinrinyoku”, or “bathing in the forest”. Ayurveda seeks to integrate the mind, body and spirit to promote health and wellness, as stated by the National Institute of Health. The Ayurvedic approach considers each individual’s unique needs for food and application, even lifestyle.

It parallels modern science- based approaches that include healthy living. It supports the belief that the fundamentals of even meditation are factors influencing our overall health, such as slowing down, being present, mindful, and conscious in our breathing. In these holistic traditions, the fundamentals of Hinduism and Buddhism are a worthy consideration, not necessarily to replace western traditions but to complement them.
#gutmicrobiome #bacteria #healthinnovation #datascience #Japanesehealth #Ayurvedicmedicine #dosha #ai #artificialintelligence #machinelearning #mindbody #healthtech

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