home_coverA group studied the effects of apples in a mouse model to determine if there was a positive consequence in the changes related to bacterial communities and inflammation markers.[1]

Apples are rich in polyphenols, which provide antioxidant properties, mediation of cellular processes such as inflammation, and modulation of gut microbiota. In this study we compared genetically engineered apples with increased flavonoids [myeloblastis transcription factor 10 (MYB10)] with nontransformed apples from the same genotype, “Royal Gala” (RG), and a control diet with no apple.

A free to indexaccess paper published in the Netherlands Journal of Medicine in Feb 2015 explores the opportunities for health care management by understanding the role of the commensal organisms in the human gut, whilst there are many hundreds of papers published every month now on the microbiome and implications for care, there is still much to be learned.[1]

Old views are being changed rapidly and that throws up confusion and concern, indeed the clinical principles explored since Metchnikoff mainly by non conventional clinicians have obvious but inconsistent implications, and as we constantly discover subtle variations in composition and gene variances relating to the organisms that reside in and on us, the implications are that we need to develop some additional skills (knowledge) to really make this metabolic organ work with us.

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The incidence of chronic illness, autoimmune disease and multiple conditions that manifest as inflammatory driven and functionally depleting states are exponentially rising, presenting clinicians with increasingly complicated cases to manage and resolve. Yet genetic drift alone cannot account for the rapid increase in incidence, and lifestyle and environmental pressures are recognised as strong candidates for cause and resolution.[1] Hence, it is increasingly rare that a single point of intervention of treatment or modality is adequate to mitigate risk or resolve problems of these illnesses and as such a multipoint approach is increasingly attractive and necessary.

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Athletes, particularly those at the top of their profession appear to be are big winners when it comes to their gut microflora. A recent paper suggests that exercise has a direct effect on microbial composition and related gastrointestinal health. The article ‘Exercise and associated dietary extremes impact on gut microbial diversity’ was published in the international journal GUT.[1]

The relationship among the gut microbiota, exercise and related dietary changes has received much less attention. Loss of community richness/biodiversity has been demonstrated in obesity studies while increased diversity, which has been advocated to promote stability and improved ecosystem performance, is associated with increased health in certain populations. This has led to the suggestion that microbiota diversity could become a new biomarker for health status. It has been suggested that monitoring the gut microbiota annually to determine changes in the composition and stability could be sufficient to detect health status changes.

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The microbiome is one of the most exciting discoveries of 21st century biomedicine, and scientific heavyweights as prominent as Craig Ventner, whose company sequenced the human genome, are now sequencing the microbiome. The microbiome is the ecological community of commensal, symbiotic, and pathogenic microorganisms that literally share our body space–the mass of trillions of microbes that live on and in your body. Most of them are in your large intestine, but they thrive in your mouth, on your skin, and even in your bloodstream. The human gut contains on average: 40,000 bacterial species, 9 million unique bacterial genes and 100 trillion microbial cells. These hundred trillion microbes render us a walking, breathing ecosystem–more microbe than man.

“Diet is a central issue when it comes to preserving our gastrointestinal health, because by eating and digesting we literally feed our gut microbiota, and thus influence its diversity and composition,” says the distinguished microbiota expert Professor Francisco Guarner (University Hospital Valld’Hebron, Barcelona, Spain).

If this balance is disturbed, it might result in a number of disorders, including functional bowel disorders, inflammatory bowel diseases and other immune mediated diseases, such as coeliac disease and certain allergies. Also, metabolic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, and perhaps even behavioural disorders, such as autism and depression, can be linked to gut microbial imbalances. Although a disrupted microbial equilibrium can have many causes — infectious pathogens or use of antibiotics among them — the role of our daily food and lifestyle is crucial. Thus, the maintenance of our gastrointestinal health is to a considerable extent in our own hands.

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Gut Bacteria Trigger Autism

Wednesday, 29 January 2014 by | Comments: 1

Our gut microbiota can influence our state of mind, including our mood and behaviour. In the recent issue of Cell, scientists reported that the compositional and structural shifts of microbes and associated metabolites can trigger autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptoms.[1] (2013, Cell 155,1451).

Neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), are defined by core behavioural impairments; however, subsets of individuals display a spectrum of gastrointestinal (GI) abnormalities.

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Interactive Bacteria Chart

Friday, 08 June 2012 by

The journal Scientific American in their June 2012 issue looked at the social network of the bacteria in our digestive tract and on our skin. As I have previously stated the role of our commensal bacteria as significant players in our health and function is becoming more and more understood. Whilst those of us involved

It will be of no real surprise to know that the incidence of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is common. Around the world it is estimated that some 10-20% of the population suffer from it. This is not an inconsequential number, and apart from the miserable statistics, it comes with loss of function, misery, anxiety, pain, bloating, altered bowel habits and loss of quality of life.

Whilst a clear explanation of the cause remains somewhat elusive, there is an increasing acceptance that the relationship between the brain-gut axis, central nervous system, peripheral stress response, infection, dysbiosis, barrier defects, inflammation and immune imbalance play significant roles in the causation.

Functional gut problems, such as those classified by the Rome criteria as IBS are a significant health problem for many people. The use of probiotics as a single or multiple intervention offers a potential route to resolution, but the data is as yet inconsistent and in need of further clarification. This is the opinion of a group from Thames Valley University in a recently published review.[1]

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