indexThe growing knowledge in research communities concerning the symbiotic relationship we have with our bacterial organism population is increasingly reflecting that which we have been discussing for many years – namely the use of antibiotics (and many of our current lifestyle habits) is not a benign event in terms of microbiome outcomes. It seems that even short pulses of widely used antibiotics (amoxicillin and tylosin in this paper) can lead to long-term development changes in mouse pups, including increased body mass and bone growth and changes to the gut microbiota, according to a study published in Nature Communications.[1]

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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NEUThe relationships between magnesium deficiency and human health are extensive. Whilst this is an animal model the possibility that some of the benefits seen from magnesium supplementation may be mediated through its effects on the gut microbiota is an interesting twist.

The paper published in Acta Neuropsychiatry in Feb 2015 sheds some light on the possible mechanisms involved.[1]

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Oh Boy… the journal Nature has this week (9.10.14) identified the insidious effect of consuming ‘diet’ or non caloric sweeteners on the burgeoning mass of human adipocytes and they have really taken a good run at it.[1]

Non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) were introduced over a century ago as means for providing sweet taste to foods without the associated high energy content of caloric sugars. NAS consumption gained much popularity owing to their reduced costs, low caloric intake and perceived health benefits for weight reduction and normalization of blood sugar levels.[2] For these reasons, NAS are increasingly introduced into commonly consumed foods such as diet sodas, cereals and sugar-free desserts, and are being recommended for weight loss and for individuals suffering from glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

The gut microbiomes of young children appear to fail to fully recover from the trauma of early-life malnourishment, even after they are treated with more-complete diets, according to a 2014 study published in Nature.[1]

In this paper the research team led by Jeffrey Gordon of the Washington University in St. Louis sampled the gut microbiomes of healthy and malnourished children in Bangladesh and discovered that the microbiomes of children who were underfed and whose diets lacked essential nutrients looked less like those of adults and more like those of younger, healthy children.

The findings present a possible explanation for the commonly observed complications that malnourished children suffer even after they are treated with a standardised food regimen, including stunted growth, cognitive delays, and immune system problems. The researchers have suggested that the immature gut microbiomes of malnourished children may be partially responsible for some of these long-term impairments.

Cheap Way To Study Your Microbiome

Wednesday, 19 June 2013 by

I think it is fair to say that I have written a few posts on the evolving nature of the relationships we enjoy with the commensal and non-commensal organisms we share our human structure with. This area of interest has excited scientists from around the world and many millions of pounds have been and are been invested in the understanding of why and how these organisms contribute to health and disease.

Microbes and Us

Friday, 23 December 2011 by

Over the past several years, studies have revealed an astonishing diversity in our so-called microbiome. A five year project utilising researchers from around the world has been constructed to identify our mutual cohabitants that define our microbiome.[1] In Europe the MetaHIT project has pulled 8 countries and 13 academic partners together to add further data to this project.[2]

Microbes Are What You Eat

Thursday, 14 July 2011 by

Most nutritional therapists and others that regard the role of the bacterial populations in the human gut as being a significant part of our capacity to operate and function in health or otherwise, understand that food choice has an effect.

A recent study on mice published in Science raises some very interesting early observations.[1] The same group published an earlier study exploring the same strategy.[2] Aware that food choices alter bacterial colony ratios and may favour certain bacterial species over others, mice were impregnated with a small number of commonly found human bacteria (10) and then were fed, via human pureed baby food concentrations of 4 commonly consumed ingredients. The researchers state that some 60% of the variation in species is attributable to dietary food choice.

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Michael Ash BSc, DO, ND FDipION

The fields of immunology, microbiology, nutrition, epigenetics and metabolism are rapidly converging utilising a systems biology methodology to explain our intimate relationships with our microbial cohabitants. For over 30 years data has been building to scientifically support the hypothesis that intestinal cohabitants operate in a collective manner with macro and micro food intakes to shape and define our immune systems from an early age. The result is a collective impact bound by mutual cooperation that may have unintended consequences including a wide range of pathologies.

Most Nutritional Therapists are comfortable in the concept and application of concentrated essential fatty acids especially fish oils as a means of altering abnormal inflammatory pathways in the body. Some EFA’s are perceived to be anti-inflammatory and others pro-inflammatory. Whilst the simplistic dichotomy of interpretation (Omega 3 Anti/Omega 6 Pro) has kept many a student content that they have mastered the art of complex fatty acid biochemistry – the reality is that cell membranes operate in a state of competitive inhibition with fatty acids of all carbon chain lengths and their role is highly sophisticated and complementary.

So…the paper out in the journal Cell this month (Sept 2010) from the lab of Prof. Olefsky at the University of California is a really exciting addition to the extensive research available – in that it elegantly describes a key anti-inflammatory mechanism using a G-protein coupled receptor.[1]