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Microbiome

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“Exercise is one of the best ways to improve your gut health. Like I’m fond of saying, if you’re not moving, neither are your bowels. Runners and other people who exercise regularly actually have better bowel movements, not as hard, bigger, and more frequent – what I like to call stool nirvana. A January 2018 University of Illinois study sheds light on why exercise might be so important for our gut, as well as overall health. The study found that exercise alone can positively alter the gut microbiome…” Watch the video to learn more! While exercise has incredible benefits for the microbiome, can it help you lose weight? Check out our article Does Exercise Help You Lose Weight.

Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) receives an FDA safety alert due to adverse reactions in two individuals who underwent FMT and received stool from the same donor. The stool, infected with extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli (E. coli) – a multi-drug resistant organism (MDRO) and therefore very challenging to treat – was administered to two immunocompromised adults, resulting in one death. FDA Takeaway: The FDA identified that more screening is needed throughout the stool donor process, including specific questions addressing risk factors for MDRO stool colonization and rejection for those donors who are at high risk – as well as testing for MDRO colonization in donor stool. FMT is an FDA approved therapy for recurrent C. diff. While research shows that FMT may result in positive improvements for some other conditions – inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), infectious diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and severe antibiotic-associated diarrhea – the…

Introduction Inulin is a soluble fiber that is not absorbed in the small intestine – it’s constructed of fructose molecules linked in a way that prevents breakdown. Instead, it acts as a prebiotic, meaning it feeds beneficial bacteria (including Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli) in the large intestine that play an important role in improving bowel and overall health. Gut bacteria convert inulin into short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which act as the main energy source for the cells that line your colon. SCFAs also contribute broadly to disease prevention, immune function, and good health. The benefits of dietary inulin are well documented. Inulin has been associated with promoting microbial balance, improving weight loss (10 to 30 grams/day for 6 to 8 weeks), controlling diabetes, and relieving constipation (15 grams/day for up to 4 weeks). Studies also show that inulin may help increase calcium absorption (8 grams daily), prevent colon cancer, and treat…

Scientists have created E. coli bacteria using a 100% man-made genome. While the bacteria is “unusually shaped and reproducing slowly”, scientists say it’s alive and is four million base pairs long, four times larger than the synthetic genome built 9 years ago. The study was conducted so that scientists could better understand how living things code genetic information. Researchers believe this is possibly a first step in creating organisms that produce and deliver medicine and may also answer questions about the origin of the genetic code and how and why it’s constructed in such a “redundant” way. New York Times

Does a microbiome exist in utero, or is the environment sterile up to the moment the baby exits the womb? This has been an area of much debate in the scientific community. While some studies show the intrauterine environment to be sterile, others have uncovered bacteria in the uterus and placenta, showing that an intrauterine microbiome does in fact exist. A new review study adds evidence to the idea that if colonized, the intrauterine environment is contaminated. Researchers of the study propose that maternal stress causes a disruption of bacteria in one region of the mother’s body – oral cavity, gut, or vagina – triggering the transfer of bacteria (or what scientists refer to as bacterial translocation) to the intrauterine environment. This transfer of bacteria, scientists believe, may trigger an immune (or inflammatory) response that leads to neurodevelopment insufficiencies in the fetus. Science Direct Takeaway: While we are far from uncovering the truth…

Adults spend approximately 93% of their time indoors and babies up to 98% of their infancy indoors. Yet, the built environment (which includes our manmade surroundings – the homes and cities we live in, the parks we play in and paths we walk on, the cars we drive, the offices we work in, and even the water systems we drink from) can be one of the most toxic and microbe-unfriendly places on earth. John Bower, founder of Healthy House Institute, states, “Walking into a modern building can sometimes be compared to placing your head inside a plastic bag that is filled with toxic fumes.” Studies have shown that built environments are lacking in beneficial bacteria and diversity and are instead rich in disease-causing microbial communities. Because we spend so much of our modern lives in manmade surroundings, it’s safe to say that the built environment has the potential to make…

Glenn had been on various antibiotics for cystic acne for seventeen years. His skin would initially respond well, but after a year or two the cystic lesions would return, and his dermatologist would switch him to a different antibiotic. Ten years after he first started taking antibiotics Glenn began to have persistent loose stools and weight loss. He experimented with cutting out dairy and tried to increase his calories, but no matter what he ate, he still had diarrhea and trouble gaining weight. Evaluation of his digestive tract eventually revealed a diagnosis of celiac disease, and he was put on a gluten free diet (GFD), which he adhered to strictly. His doctor reassured Glenn that after a few months on the GFD his diarrhea and weight loss would improve, but two years later nothing had changed. Repeat evaluation showed the signs of celiac disease had completely resolved, and his small…

Overview Acne is the most common skin condition in the US, affecting approximately 50 million Americans each year. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), 85% of those between the ages of 12 and 24 experience minor to severe acne. The condition can extend into one’s thirties and forties, and studies show that acne in adults is on the rise, affecting 15% of adult women. We go through life thinking that acne is a normal human occurrence – a rite of passage as one transitions from childhood into adulthood. Yet, in less developed parts of the world, acne is virtually non-existent. Why is this? Why is acne such a common condition among Americans and essentially unseen in more indigenous cultures? There is one main difference between them and us. Societies living in rural environments are intimately connected with the earth and eat a traditional, microbiome-friendly diet, rich in plant fiber…

Did you know there’s a strong link between your oral and gut health… and in turn, your overall health? Think of the GI tract as one, continuous connection throughout your body, with your mouth serving as the main entrance point. Just like the gut microbiome, there are important bacteria in your mouth (which harbors over 700 different species) that not only help to keep your teeth healthy, but also serve as the first line of defense for your body. In fact, a 2019 study published in the Journal of Oral Microbiology showed that gut microbiome balance starts in the mouth! The delicate ecosystem and interplay of the bacteria between our mouth and our gut (and our gut to our mouth) helps to prevent disease. Therefore, a balanced gut-oral microbiome axis is critical to our overall health and wellbeing. Oral bacteria can spread throughout the body and has been associated with a…

Altering the gut microbiome improves anxiety, but not with probiotics. Researchers analyzed 21 studies, including over 1,500 participants, which looked at altering gut bacteria to improve anxiety. 14 of the studies used probiotic interventions, while 7 of the studies used non-probiotic (or dietary) interventions. Results found that the non-probiotic interventions were significantly more successful in reducing anxiety than probiotic interventions. 45% of the probiotic interventions and 80% of the non-probiotic interventions had positive effects on anxiety. BMJ Takeaway: Researchers say that these results are consistent with the idea that food is the best way to ignite change in the gut microbiome. Secondly, the probiotic studies may have been less successful due to the fact that many of them used multi-strain probiotics, which resulted in differing microbial alterations, as well as a short study period (one to two months), which may not have allowed enough time for the probiotics to take root…