Dare-13-what_do_i_really_want_via_tThis post originally appeared on Follow @iammarkmanson on Twitter.

Everybody wants what feels good. Everyone wants to live a carefree, happy and easy life, to fall in love and have amazing sex and relationships, to look perfect and make money and be popular and well-respected and admired and a total baller to the point that people part like the Red Sea when you walk into the room.

Everyone would like that—it’s easy to like that.

If I ask you, “What do you want out of life?” and you say something like, “I want to be happy and have a great family and a job I like,” it’s so ubiquitous that it doesn’t even mean anything.

A more interesting question, a question that perhaps you’ve never considered before, is what pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for? Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out.

mBio150pxwide-11Now there will be those tempted to see this as a pitch for drinking more red wine….but let’s try and keep this in perspective, you see a this research looked at a compound found in red wine, resveratrol.  It found that it reduces the risk of heart disease by changing the gut microbiome, according to a new study by researchers from China. The study is published in mBio, an open-access journal published by the American Society for Microbiology.[1]

The authors are recorded as stating:

“Our results offer new insights into the mechanisms responsible for resveratrol’s anti-atherosclerosis effects and indicate that gut microbiota may become an interesting target for pharmacological or dietary interventions to decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases,”

Focus May 2016What you can’t digest may make you stronger—at least in the case of prebiotics—those unique plant fibres that nourish the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Prebiotics, called oligosaccharides because they are actually long-chain, natural ‘sugars,’ profoundly benefit health and well-being. First identified twenty years ago by Marcel Roberfroid of the University of Louvain in Belgium1, prebiotics have already attracted and stimulated wide-ranging research in nutrition and medicine. New developments in molecular microbiology are allowing scientists to accurately measure the impact of prebiotics on our health, and have led to novel insights about how to protect and nourish a healthy gut.2 As Roberfroid wrote in 2010: “A large number of human intervention studies have…demonstrated that dietary consumption of certain food products can result in statistically significant changes in the composition of the gut microbiota…The prebiotic effect is now a well-established scientific fact.”3 He is echoed by cardiologist Stanley Hazen, MD, PhD, of the Cleveland Clinic, who studies gut microbes and their metabolites in mice. “If I had to choose and guess,” Hazen told Nature Medicine in July of 2015, “I would say that a prebiotic is going to be more potent than a probiotic, actually, in terms of shifting the microbial composition.”4



The relationship between the gut and the nervous system—which includes the brain, peripheral, immune and enteric nervous systems—has become a hot area of research over the last 20 years. There is a proposed ‘axis of emotion’ that is subject to a constant reciprocal exchange of information using neural, immune, endocrine, metabolic and emotional pathways.

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518a2LmsVfL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_Part of the work undertaken by all practitioners involved in helping people to change behaviour is predicated by their negotiation techniques used to achieve compliance, partnership and progress. Do you find that when working with clients and patients in which you can see many areas of change that would benefit them, that you become frustrated by their apparent intransigence to shift behaviour? It’s quite normal that resistance occurs, no-one likes to make whole scale changes as they see problems rather than solutions. Learning a skilled approach to negotiation can really assist with the transformations needed and get your clients on side and engaged.

Whilst it may at first seem a strange subject to cover, the ‘art of negotiation’ in clinical management, outside of acute intervention is an arena in which both parties are trying to achieve an outcome different from today, but may have different interpretations of how to get there.

Managing the process of change takes skill and experience, the following suggestions have been modified from a series of articles extracted from the excellent blog site Farnham Street and changed to better reflect the reality of a clinical situation.

cover_natureA paper in Nature back in 2014 noted that artificial non-caloric sweeteners (NAS) when consumed by mice had a detrimental effect of their metabolic health and microbiota, and the authors suggested that this connection may be an indication of risk in humans who consume these additives. The study used three artificial sweeteners: saccharin, sucralose (which is Splenda®), and aspartame.

World Life Expectancy

Wednesday, 16 March 2016 by

248828_532029486825621_1378888775_nThere are of course many explanations posited for why some people experience a long and healthy life and others do not. They are always of interest and depending on personal preferences may well either support the lifestyle being undertaken or challenge deeply held views, and we know that isn’t always welcome.

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homecoverWhat? This is the act of applying vaginal bacteria to new-borns, not delivered vaginally to ensure exposure to the mother’s microbiome. Whilst at present, we don’t yet know whether the many conditions associated with C-section—including reported higher rates of allergies, asthma, atopic dermatitis, and even an association with autism diagnosis—are due to lack of exposure to the maternal vaginal microbiome to which, until recently, every surviving mammal had been exposed at birth.[1] Numerous people are considering this to be a prudent approach, as declining diversity of bacterial cohabitants are linked to increased problems with immune regulation and subsequent development of illness.

08A review article in Gastroenterologica e Dietologica explores the evidence for the use of LGG as a therapeutic probiotic.[1] Probiotics are becoming increasingly important in basic and clinical research, but they are also a subject of considerable economic interest due to their expanding popularity. They are live micro-organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit to the host.

From this very well-known definition, it is clear that, unlike drugs, probiotics might be useful in healthy subjects to reduce the risk of developing certain diseases or to optimise some physiological functions. They also may offer some advantages in already ill persons in relieving symptoms and signs, e.g. people with acute diarrhoea.

indexA fascinating open paper was published in microbiome in 2013, and its suggested conclusions are now more prescient than ever, as the relationship between genotype, phenotype, and metabolic repertoire in the microbiome is understood to be non-linear.[1] The requirement for a certain functional diversity to ensure a well-functioning cooperative intestinal microbiota is crucial to break down various complex dietary compounds and divide metabolic tasks among different community members.