Changes Uncovered in Gut Bacteria of People with Multiple Sclerosis

Summary: A new study reveals changes in the gut microbiomes of untreated and treated multiple sclerosis patients.

Source: Bingham and Women’s Hospital.

Study finds alterations in the gut microbiomes of treated and untreated MS patients.

A connection between the bacteria living in the gut and immunological disorders such as multiple sclerosis have long been suspected, but for the first time, researchers have detected clear evidence of changes that tie the two together. Investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have found that people with multiple sclerosis have different patterns of gut microorganisms than those of their healthy counterparts. In addition, patients receiving treatment for MS have different patterns than untreated patients. The new research supports recent studies linking immunological disorders to the gut microbiome and may have implications for pursuing new therapies for MS.

“Our findings raise the possibility that by affecting the gut microbiome, one could come up with treatments for MS – treatments that affect the microbiome, and, in turn, the immune response,” said Howard L. Weiner, MD, director of the Partners MS Center and co-director of the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Disease at Brigham Women’s Hospital, . “There are a number of ways that the microbiome could play a role in MS and this opens up a whole new world of looking at the disease in a way that it’s never been looked at before.”

Weiner and colleagues conducted their investigations using data and samples from subjects who are part of the CLIMB (Comprehensive Longitudinal Investigation of Multiple Sclerosis) study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The team analyzed stool samples from 60 people with MS and 43 control subjects, performing gene sequencing to detect differences in the microbial communities of the subjects.

Samples from MS patients contained higher levels of certain bacterial species – including Methanobrevibacter and Akkermansia – and lower levels of others – such as Butyricimonas – when compared to healthy samples. Other studies have found that several of these microorganisms may drive inflammation or are associated with autoimmunity. Importantly, the team also found that microbial changes in the gut correlated with changes in the activity of genes that play a role in the immune system. The team also collected breath samples from subjects, finding that, as a result of increased levels of Methanobrevibacter, patients with MS had higher levels of methane in their breath samples.

Image shows a graph.

The researchers also investigated the gut microbe communities of untreated MS patients, finding that MS disease-modifying therapy appeared to normalize the gut microbiomes of MS patients. The researchers note that further study will be required to determine the exact role that these microbes may be playing in the progression of disease and whether or not modifying the microbiome may be helpful in treating MS. They plan to continue to explore the connection between the gut and the immune system in a larger group of patients and follow changes over time to better understand disease progression and interventions.

“This work provides a window into how the gut can affect the immune system which can then affect the brain,” said Weiner, who is also a professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. “Characterizing the gut microbiome in those with MS may provide new opportunities to diagnose MS and point us toward new interventions to help prevent disease development in those who are at risk.”

ABOUT THIS MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS RESEARCH ARTICLE

Funding: Funding support for this work included grants from the NIH/NINDS, The National Multiple Sclerosis Society and from The Harvard Digestive Disease Center.

Source: Haley Bridger – Bingham and Women’s Hospital
Image Source: This NeuroscienceNews.com image is credited to Howard Weiner, Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Original Research: Full open access research for “Alterations of the human gut microbiome in multiple sclerosis” by Sushrut Jangi, Roopali Gandhi, Laura M. Cox, Ning Li, Felipe von Glehn, Raymond Yan, Bonny Patel, Maria Antonietta Mazzola, Shirong Liu, Bonnie L. Glanz, Sandra Cook, Stephanie Tankou, Fiona Stuart, Kirsy Melo, Parham Nejad, Kathleen Smith, Begüm D. Topçuolu, James Holden, Pia Kivisäkk, Tanuja Chitnis, Philip L. De Jager, Francisco J. Quintana, Georg K. Gerber, Lynn Bry and Howard L. Weiner in Nature Communications. Published online June 28 2016 doi:10.1038/ncomms12015

CITE THIS NEUROSCIENCENEWS.COM ARTICLE
Bingham and Women’s Hospital. “Changes Uncovered in Gut Bacteria of People with Multiple Sclerosis.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 12 July 2016.
<http://neurosciencenews.com/ms-gut-microbiome-4663/&gt;.

Abstract

Alterations of the human gut microbiome in multiple sclerosis

The gut microbiome plays an important role in immune function and has been implicated in several autoimmune disorders. Here we use 16S rRNA sequencing to investigate the gut microbiome in subjects with multiple sclerosis (MS, n=60) and healthy controls (n=43). Microbiome alterations in MS include increases in Methanobrevibacter and Akkermansia and decreases in Butyricimonas, and correlate with variations in the expression of genes involved in dendritic cell maturation, interferon signalling and NF-kB signalling pathways in circulating T cells and monocytes. Patients on disease-modifying treatment show increased abundances of Prevotella and Sutterella, and decreased Sarcina, compared with untreated patients. MS patients of a second cohort show elevated breath methane compared with controls, consistent with our observation of increased gut Methanobrevibacter in MS in the first cohort. Further study is required to assess whether the observed alterations in the gut microbiome play a role in, or are a consequence of, MS pathogenesis.

“Alterations of the human gut microbiome in multiple sclerosis” by Sushrut Jangi, Roopali Gandhi, Laura M. Cox, Ning Li, Felipe von Glehn, Raymond Yan, Bonny Patel, Maria Antonietta Mazzola, Shirong Liu, Bonnie L. Glanz, Sandra Cook, Stephanie Tankou, Fiona Stuart, Kirsy Melo, Parham Nejad, Kathleen Smith, Begüm D. Topçuolu, James Holden, Pia Kivisäkk, Tanuja Chitnis, Philip L. De Jager, Francisco J. Quintana, Georg K. Gerber, Lynn Bry and Howard L. Weiner in Nature Communications. Published online June 28 2016 doi:10.1038/ncomms12015

Targeting the Gut-Brain Connection Can Impact Immunity

Summary: Researchers report that manipulating dopamine signaling in the nervous system of C. elegans can control inflammation in the gut.

Source: Duke.

Drugs aimed at nervous system act on immune system as well.

There’s a reason it’s called a gut feeling. The brain and the gut are connected by intricate neural networks that signal hunger and satiety, love and fear, even safety and danger. These networks employ myriad chemical signals that include dopamine, a powerful neurotransmitter most famous for its role in reward and addiction.

Duke University researchers have shown that manipulating dopamine signaling in the nervous system of the nematode worm C. elegans can control inflammation in the gut.

The study, which appears Aug. 12 in Current Biology, provides a proof of principle that the immune system can be controlled using drugs originally designed to target the nervous system, such as antipsychotics.

“We are talking about an existing set of drugs and drug targets that could open up the spectrum of potential therapeutic applications by targeting pathways that fine-tune the inflammatory response,” said Alejandro Aballay, Ph.D., a professor of molecular genetics and microbiology at Duke School of Medicine.

“It is a big leap from worms to humans, but the idea of targeting the nervous system to control the immune system could potentially be used to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune disease, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and Crohn’s disease,” Aballay said.

Recent research suggests that the wiring between the gut and the brain is involved in many other maladies, including autism, anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

Aballay believes that C. elegans provides an excellent model for dissecting this complex cross-talk between the nervous system and the immune system. This tiny, transparent worm has a simple nervous system, consisting of only 302 neurons compared to the roughly 100 billion neurons in the human brain. Yet the worm also has a very basic, rudimentary immune system.

Aballay and his team first stumbled upon the gut-brain connection a few years ago when they were studying the immune system of C. elegans. The worms were subjected to a barrage of chemicals in search of immune activators that could protect against bacterial infections. Out of more than a thousand different chemical compounds, they identified 45 that turned on an immune pathway. Curiously, half of those were involved in the nervous system, and a handful blocked the activity of dopamine.

In this study, Aballay decided to examine the effects of dopamine and dopamine signaling pathways on immunity.

Image shows a C. elegans.

Graduate student Xiou Cao blocked dopamine by treating animals with chlorpromazine, a dopamine antagonist drug used to treat schizophrenia and manic depression in humans. He found that these worms were more resistant to infection by the common pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa than counterparts that hadn’t received the drug.

When Cao then treated the animals with dopamine, it generated the opposite effect, rendering them more susceptible to infection.

The researchers believe their findings indicate that dopamine signaling acts by putting the brakes on the body’s inflammatory response so it doesn’t go too far.

“Worms have evolved mechanisms to deal with colonizing bacteria,” Aballay said. “That is true for us as well. Humans have trillions of microorganisms in our guts, and we have to be careful when activating antimicrobial defenses so that we mainly target potentially harmful microbes, without damaging our good bacteria — or even our own cells — in the process.”

“The nervous system appears to be the perfect system for integrating all these different physiological cues to keep the amount of damage in check,” Aballay said.

Aballay plans continue his studies in C. elegans to identify the different cues involved in fine-tuning the immune response. He also thinks it is worth looking at different analogues or different doses of dopamine antagonists to see if their effects on psychosis can be separated from their effects on immunity.

ABOUT THIS NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCH ARTICLE

Funding: The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (GM0709077 and AI117911).

Source: Robin Smith – Duke
Image Source: This NeuroscienceNews.com image is credited to Alejandro Aballay Lab, Duke University.
Original Research: Abstract for “Neural Inhibition of Dopaminergic Signaling Enhances Immunity in a Cell-Non-autonomous Manner” by Xiou Cao and Alejandro Aballay in Current Biology. Published online August 11 2016 doi:10.1016/j.cub.2016.06.036

CITE THIS NEUROSCIENCENEWS.COM ARTICLE
Duke. “Targeting the Gut-Brain Connection Can Impact Immunity.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 11 August 2016.
<http://neurosciencenews.com/immunity-gut-brain-connection-4829/&gt;.

Abstract

Neural Inhibition of Dopaminergic Signaling Enhances Immunity in a Cell-Non-autonomous Manner

Highlights
•Inhibition of dopamine signaling protects against bacterial infections
•Chlorpromazine enhances immunity by inhibiting a D1-like dopamine receptor
•Dopamine signaling regulates p38 MAP kinase activity
•Dopaminergic neurons control immunity in the C. elegans intestine

Summary
The innate immune system is the front line of host defense against microbial infections, but its rapid and uncontrolled activation elicits microbicidal mechanisms that have deleterious effects. Increasing evidence indicates that the metazoan nervous system, which responds to stimuli originating from both the internal and the external environment, functions as a modulatory apparatus that controls not only microbial killing pathways but also cellular homeostatic mechanisms. Here we report that dopamine signaling controls innate immune responses through a D1-like dopamine receptor, DOP-4, in Caenorhabditis elegans. Chlorpromazine inhibition of DOP-4 in the nervous system activates a microbicidal PMK-1/p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway that enhances host resistance against bacterial infections. The immune inhibitory function of dopamine originates in CEP neurons and requires active DOP-4 in downstream ASG neurons. Our findings indicate that dopamine signaling from the nervous system controls immunity in a cell-non-autonomous manner and identifies the dopaminergic system as a potential therapeutic target for not only infectious diseases but also a range of conditions that arise as a consequence of malfunctioning immune responses.

“Neural Inhibition of Dopaminergic Signaling Enhances Immunity in a Cell-Non-autonomous Manner” by Xiou Cao and Alejandro Aballay in Current Biology. Published online August 11 2016 doi:10.1016/j.cub.2016.06.036

Microbes manipulate behavior and mood, obesity and cancer

microbesIt sounds like science fiction, but it seems that bacteria within us – which greatly outnumber our own cells – may very well be affecting both our cravings and moods to get us to eat what they want, and often are driving us toward obesity.

In an article published this week in the journal BioEssays, researchers from UC San Francisco, Arizona State University and University of New Mexico concluded from a review of the recent scientific literature that microbes influence human eating behavior and dietary choices to favor consumption of the particular nutrients they grow best on, rather than simply passively living off whatever nutrients we choose to send their way.

 A Power Struggle Inside the Gut

Bacterial species vary in the nutrients they need. Some prefer fat, and others sugar, for instance. But they not only vie with each other for food and to retain a niche within their ecosystem – our digestive tracts – they also often have different aims than we do when it comes to our own actions, according to senior author Athena Aktipis, PhD, co-founder of the Center for Evolution and Cancer with the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCSF.

Are we at the mercy of our gut bacteria? The above image illustrates how microbes can “pull our strings,” driving us to crave foods that give them the nutrients they need, including fat and sugar.

While it is unclear exactly how this occurs, the authors believe this diverse community of microbes, collectively known as the gut microbiome, may influence our decisions by releasing signaling molecules into our gut. Because the gut is linked to the immune system, the endocrine system and the nervous system, those signals could influence our physiologic and behavioral responses.

“Bacteria within the gut are manipulative,” said Carlo Maley, PhD, director of the UCSF Center for Evolution and Cancer and corresponding author on the paper. “There is a diversity of interests represented in the microbiome, some aligned with our own dietary goals, and others not.”

 

Fortunately, it’s a two-way street. We can influence the compatibility of these microscopic, single-celled houseguests by deliberating altering what we ingest, Maley said, with measurable changes in the microbiome within 24 hours of diet change.

“Our diets have a huge impact on microbial populations in the gut,” Maley said. “It’s a whole ecosystem, and it’s evolving on the time scale of minutes.”

 

There are even specialized bacteria that digest seaweed, found in humans in Japan, where seaweed is popular in the diet.

 

The Connection Between Digestive Tract and Brain

 Research suggests that gut bacteria may be affecting our eating decisions in part by acting through the vagus nerve, which connects 100 million nerve cells from the digestive tract to the base of the brain.

Microbes have the capacity to manipulate behavior and mood through altering the neural signals in the vagus nerve, changing taste receptors, producing toxins to make us feel bad, and releasing chemical rewards to make us feel good,” said Aktipis, who is currently in the Arizona State University Department of Psychology.

In mice, certain strains of bacteria increase anxious behavior. In humans, one clinical trial found that drinking a probiotic containing Lactobacillus casei improved mood in those who were feeling the lowest.

Maley, Aktipis and first author Joe Alcock, MD, from the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of New Mexico, proposed further research to test the sway microbes hold over us. For example, would transplantation into the gut of the bacteria requiring a nutrient from seaweed lead the human host to eat more seaweed?

The speed with which the microbiome can change may be encouraging to those who seek to improve health by altering microbial populations. This may be accomplished through food and supplement choices, by ingesting specific bacterial species in the form of probiotics, or by killing targeted species with antibiotics. Optimizing the balance of power among bacterial species in our gut might allow us to lead less obese and healthier lives, according to the authors.

“Because microbiota are easily manipulatable by prebiotics, probiotics, antibiotics, fecal transplants, and dietary changes, altering our microbiota offers a tractable approach to otherwise intractable problems of obesity and unhealthy eating,” the authors wrote.

Implications for Obesity, Diabetes and even Cancer

The authors met and first discussed the ideas in the BioEssays paper at a summer school conference on evolutionary medicine two years ago.

Aktipis, who is an evolutionary biologist and a psychologist, was drawn to the opportunity to investigate the complex interaction of the different fitness interests of microbes and their hosts and how those play out in our daily lives. Maley, a computer scientist and evolutionary biologist, had established a career studying how tumor cells arise from normal cells and evolve over time through natural selection within the body as cancer progresses.

 In fact, the evolution of tumors and of bacterial communities are linked, points out Aktipis, who said some of the bacteria that normally live within us cause stomach cancer and perhaps other cancers.

 “Targeting the microbiome could open up possibilities for preventing a variety of disease from obesity and diabetes to cancers of the gastro-intestinal tract. We are only beginning to scratch the surface of the importance of the microbiome for human health,” she said.

 The co-authors’ BioEssays study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, the Bonnie D. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation and the Institute for Advanced Study, in Berlin.

 UC San Francisco (UCSF), now celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding, is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy, a graduate division with nationally renowned programs in basic, biomedical, translational and population sciences, as well as a preeminent biomedical research enterprise and two top-ranked hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco.

 

Leaky gut, leaky brain, eat your garlic and pickles by C Guthrie

pickles

Your intestines are home to a great deal of your digestive system, nervous system, and immune system. Here’s how to keep them healthy.

Modern life is hard on your gut. Your entire digestive tract can be affected by stress, processed foods, alcohol, medications, and bacteria.

All that chronic irritation can lead to inflammation and, eventually, to a lot of little pinprick-style leaks in the very thin and delicate lining of your intestinal wall.

And even a tiny leak can cause surprisingly big problems. A healthy gut is very selective about what gets passed into your body. But a leaky gut can release undigested food particles, bacteria, and toxins into your bloodstream, leading to a potentially outsized immune response.

If the damage to the lining of your gut is bad enough that such substances regularly leak through, it can wreak havoc on your health.

The long list of conditions associated with leaky gut syndrome (a.k.a. increased intestinal permeability) include acne, allergies, arthritis, asthma, autism, and many more.

The long list of conditions associated with leaky gut syndrome (a.k.a. increased intestinal permeability) include acne, allergies, arthritis, asthma, autism, and many more.

Alessio Fasano, MD, director of the Center for Celiac Research & Treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children in Boston, recently discovered that leaky guts can even lead to autoimmune disorders.

And it’s a bit of a vicious cycle: “Our bodies can only fight so many fires at one time,” explains Liz Lipski, PhD, CCN, author of Digestive Wellness. “If someone is suffering from chronic stress, disease, or inflammation, the normal repair and maintenance of the gut gets deferred.”

What damages the gut? Lipski and other experts say the top culprits include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, as well as sugar, alcohol, processed foods, and any foods that trigger an allergic response. Other irritants include chronic stress, toxins, and microbiome imbalances.

Given how commonplace such irritants have become in our lives, it’s not surprising that intestinal-permeability problems are pervasive, says Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, coauthor of Real Cause, Real Cure: The 9 Root Causes of the Most Common Health Problems and How to Solve Them. “These days,” he asserts, “virtually everybody’s gut leaks to some degree.”

DAMAGE CONTROL

Leaky gut syndrome has been treated by the integrative and functional-medicine community for years. But now, more of mainstream medicine is acknowledging it, too.

So what’s changed? Our understanding of the microbiome, for one thing.

The discovery that human health and behavior are profoundly influenced by a huge population of microorganisms living predominantly in our guts shook up a lot of docs, says Leo Galland, MD, a conventionally trained internist in New York City who now serves as director of the Foundation for Integrative Medicine. “Western medicine’s acceptance of the leaky gut model has been nothing short of a sea change.”

Symptoms of a leaky gut vary. If the leakage is minor, symptoms will generally be confined to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, explains Tom Sult, MD, a Minnesota-based physician and author of Just Be Well. Typical results? Bloating, gas, or cramps.

More significant leaks are more likely to produce bodywide symptoms, he says, including fatigue, joint pain, rashes, respiratory issues, asthma, and autoimmune responses — including psoriasis.

More significant leaks are more likely to produce bodywide symptoms, he says, including fatigue, joint pain, rashes, respiratory issues, asthma, and autoimmune responses — including psoriasis.

As the condition of the gut degrades, notes Sult, the health impacts can be dramatic. So if you think you may be experiencing the symptoms of a leaky gut, it’s wise to address it promptly.

The good news, says Galland, is that the cells of the intestinal lining replace themselves every three to six days. This means that, given the proper support, your gut can repair itself quickly.

Here are the “five Rs” — remove, replace, reinoculate, repair, and rebalance — recommended by our panel of gut-health experts.

REMOVE

With leaky gut, the first step is to identify and remove the source of gut-lining irritation, rather than attempting to suppress its symptoms with drugs.

Start an elimination diet. Removing common irritants like sugar, dairy, gluten, soy, and the chemical additives found in many processed foods can provide surprisingly quick relief, says Galland, who notes that sugar alone is enough to cause gut problems for many. A properly conducted elimination diet can help you pinpoint which foods are causing trouble: Eliminate a food for two weeks, then reintroduce the food, and keep notes on its effects.

Begin a food journal. Write down what you eat and how it affects you. If you feel bloated, fatigued, or gassy, add that food to your elimination list. “Most likely,” says Lipski, “your gut is telling you what foods it is sensitive to. You just need to listen.”

Limit use of alcohol and NSAIDs

Alcohol taxes the liver and steals nutrients from the gut. NSAIDs inhibit the body’s production of prostaglandins, substances needed to rebuild the intestines’ lining. “If you use a full therapeutic dose of NSAIDs for two weeks, there is a 75 percent chance you will develop a leaky gut that doesn’t go away when you stop taking the drug,” says Galland. If you are dependent on NSAIDs for pain management, work to reduce your total load as much as possible, advises Sult.

Root out infections. Leaky gut can be instigated by any number of pathogenic microorganisms and parasites that thrive in the gut’s warm, mucosal environment. If food-level interventions aren’t helping, find a healthcare practitioner to run tests and treat you. Because “all the nutrients in the world won’t help you if you have a parasite,” says Lipski.

REPLACE
The second step is to give your body what it needs to rebuild the gut lining. Lipski likens the inside of the small intestine to a towel covered with millions of little loops (called villi), which in turn are covered with millions of little fibers (called microvilli). If the gut is leaky, those fibers get matted, hampering regrowth and the absorption of nutrients from food. It’s a vicious cycle, because the villi need those nutrients to revive.

Eat plenty of whole foods. The body needs the components in real, fresh food to repair damage and rebuild healthy new tissue. Whole foods are full of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, plus enzymes the small intestine needs to heal.

Prioritize nonstarchy vegetables and lean proteins. And eat plenty of good, whole-food fats — they help strengthen cellular membranes.

As your body heals, it will get rid of toxins and byproducts through your large intestine. You’ll need lots of fiber to eliminate that toxic waste material as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The best high-fiber foods are colorful vegetables, berries, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole-kernel grains. Aim for 30 grams of fiber a day. Lipski suggests supplementing with 1 to 2 tablespoons of psyllium seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, or oat bran. If you have gluten sensitivities or are doing an elimination diet, stick with flaxseeds (also a good source of omega-3s) or psyllium seeds, which you can sprinkle in smoothies, or on hot cereal or granola.

Many of our experts also suggest supplementing with a good multivitamin, since nutrient deficiencies commonly accompany leaky gut conditions, even in those eating a healthy, whole-food diet.

Take digestive enzymes

The villi and microvilli projections are covered with digestive enzymes that your body needs to break food into component parts: carbs, fats, and proteins. In a leaky gut, enzyme support is crucial to healing and rebuilding villi, says Sult.

Taking supplemental enzymes before you eat gives the GI tract a jump-start on digestion, making food easier to break down and nutrients easier to assimilate. Take one or two capsules with meals three times a day or as needed.

In most cases, the villi rebound over the course of a few weeks, but it may take well over a month, notes Sult. Only a small percentage of people will require lifetime enzymatic support

Supplement with glutamine

The most plentiful free amino acid in the body, glutamine supports immunity and digestion by fueling the cells that line the small intestine. “Glutamine heals the intestinal lining more than any other nutrient,” says Lipski. She recommends taking 10 to 20 grams daily.

Get more omega-3 fatty acids

The gut uses them to calm inflammation and rebuild healthy cell walls. In animal studies, adding essential fatty acids improved the tight junctions between the gut lining’s cells and enabled the gut to fend off additional injury.

In addition to recommending several helpings of omega-3-rich foods, including coldwater fish, nuts, seeds, avocado, and purslane, Sult advises many of his patients to take a daily concentrated fish-oil supplement, preferably one with at least 3,000 milligrams of EPA and DHA. Look for a fresh, high-quality refrigerated oil that is tested for heavy metals and other impurities.

REINOCULATE
Once your body has patched up the leaks in the gut, you need to help it grow a healthy layer of good bacteria — flora that help protect the GI tract and assist with digestion. These beneficial bacteria strengthen your immune system, improve metabolism, help your body make vitamins, and aid in the absorption of minerals. The two most important groups are lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.

Once your body has patched up the leaks in the gut, you need to help it grow a healthy layer of good bacteria — flora that help protect the GI tract and assist with digestion.

Add a probiotic

High-intensity probiotic support rejuvenates and replenishes a microbiome damaged by antibiotics or a poor diet. Sult recommends a high-potency probiotic of at least 50 billion active cultures twice daily. For added insurance, he says, choose one that is enteric-coated, meaning it will ferry the bacteria through the stomach’s acid and release them into the alkaline intestines.

Eat fermented foods

To get your good probiotic bugs to stick around, says Sult, you’ve got to eat daily servings of prebiotic- and probiotic-rich foods such as kefir, yogurt (dairy or nondairy), sauerkraut, tempeh, and kombucha.

Other perks of fermented foods include lowered inflammation, increased blood-sugar control, and improved antioxidant status. “The only way to make a robust, permanent impact on gut flora, short of a fecal transplant, is with dietary change,” he says.

REPAIR AND REBALANCE
Once you’ve got your gut on the road to wellness, it’s time to focus on lasting lifestyle changes. Sliding back into the habits that caused your leaky gut will only invite the return of health problems you want to avoid. Here are two key strategies for supporting ongoing gut health:

Before taking your first bite, look at your food and take in its aroma. This will trigger the cephalic phase of digestion, an initial release of enzymes that help break down your food.

Eat mindfully. Before taking your first bite, look at your food and take in its aroma, advises Kathie Swift, MS, RDN, nutrition director for Food As Medicine at Washington’s Center for Mind-Body Medicine and author of The Swift Diet. This will trigger the cephalic phase of digestion, an initial release of enzymes that help break down your food.

As you eat, chew thoroughly, paying attention to your food’s flavor and texture. Avoid multitasking or rushing while you eat. Take pauses and breaths between bites, allowing your digestive system to keep pace. (For more on digestive health, see “Functional Wellness, Part 3: Digestive Health“.)

Calm your central nervous system

Under stress, the body’s nervous system kicks into fight-or-flight mode — the opposite of its rest-and-digest mode. Recalibrate by cultivating a calmer, more centered state. Consider a daily meditation or yoga practice. Or on a stressful day, swap heavy weightlifting for a tai-chi class. “When you change your thoughts,” says Sult, “you change your physiology.”

Most of the problems associated with leaky gut syndrome occur in your small intestine, but all the organs of your digestion are involved — and impacted. The information here is compiled from Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, coauthor of Real Cause, Real Cure, and Liz Lipski, PhD, CCN, author of Digestive Wellness.

Mouth: Not chewing food thoroughly can be a setup for digestive troubles. Mechanically breaking your food down to a liquid state makes your stomach’s job easier. It also mixes in digestive enzymes that begin dissolving proteins, carbs, and fats even before you swallow.

Stomach: Your stomach digests food with enzymes and acids, distilling it into a slurry that moves into the small intestine. If digestion is incomplete, food particles enter the small intestine. And if the gut lining there is irritated, those particles can pass into the bloodstream, setting the stage for inflammation and food sensitivities. Incomplete digestion can negatively affect your assimilation of nutrients and encourage the overgrowth of bad bacteria and yeasts.

Lymphoid Tissue: Throughout your small intestine, lymphoid tissues called Peyer’s patches are your first defense against pathogens sneaking through the gut lining. They are an important player in your immune system — about two-thirds of which is located in the gut. We eat about five pounds of food daily; our body’s digestive and immune systems have to process it all, filtering or neutralizing anything problematic — like food-borne chemicals and bacteria — from the good stuff our body needs. It’s a big job. Add undigested food particles to the mix, and the immune system can become overtaxed.

Large Intestine: As your large intestine continues to break down food, the colon extracts water from the slurry for use elsewhere in the body. A solid stool of waste forms and is sent to the rectum. In the absence of adequate fiber, however, elements of slow-moving waste can reenter the system, creating a variety of inflammatory and toxicity problems throughout the body.

Small Intestine: Your small intestine is like a 25-foot-long conveyor belt. Only tiny, digested molecules of fats, proteins, and starches are absorbed through the intestine walls into the bloodstream. But if you have leaky gut syndrome, the filter is defunct and large molecules leach into the bloodstream, where the immune system attacks them.

Gut Lining: The lining, or mucosa, is just one-cell thick (thinner than tissue paper) and has the total surface area of a tennis court. Keeping that lining intact is a big job — particularly if it’s under a continuous assault from processed foods, sugar, food intolerances, stress, toxins, alcohol, infections, and medications that irritate and inflame it. That chronic inflammation can eventually lead to leaky gut syndrome.

Tight Junctions: Your gut lining is made of millions of single cells; tight junctions form the seals between them. When these get irritated and inflamed, they loosen up, allowing undigested food particles to slip through into the bloodstream, triggering food allergies and stressing the immune system.

THE FOOD-ALLERGY CONNECTION

When you have a leaky gut, your gut lining allows larger-than-normal molecules of food to pass into your bloodstream. If a particle of undigested corn, for example, leaks through, your body may treat it like a foreign invader, attacking it just to get rid of it. “From that point, corn receives a physiological tag telling your immune system it’s a bad guy,” explains Lipski. And so a food allergy is born.

THE AUTOIMMUNE CONNECTION

Every autoimmune disease has three components, explains Alessio Fasano, MD: a genetic predisposition, an environmental trigger, and a leaky gut. The presence of undigested food particles and other noxious substances can play a big role in putting your immune system into overdrive and turning against the body itself — the classic onset of an autoimmune disorder.

ELIMINATION DIET

The Institute for Functional Medicine is pleased to provide Experience Life readers with access to IFM’s proprietary Elimination Diet Comprehensive Guide and Food Plan. Please click HERE to view and download IFM’s Elimination Diet.

BY CATHERINE GUTHRIE
Catherine Guthrie is a Boston-based science writer and contributing editor to Experience Life.

———-

Get your probiotic and dietary supplement here:

http://www.teamasantae.com/clubalthea/

And for cell repair

http://www.gogyv.com/clubalthea

———

For holistic caregivers and referral to home health agencies (for homebound bayarea seniors), text 408-854-1883 or email motherhealth@gmail.com

About Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease

Similarities of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease

In taking care of my senior client with Parkinson’s and Dementia, I noticed the past and present health issues: constipation, metal toxicity (skin,hair,eyes) as shown in the body, lack of iron, magnesium and potassium, excess sugar consumption, low levels of Dopamine, intestinal health issues and high levels of anxiety/stress.  She had been caring for her husband who is bed-bound for 10yrs and her siser just recently died.

Each day, I find ways to bring her to good health thru massage, whole foods and herbs (turmeric, ginger,rosemary,eucalyptus oil), information, company/conversation and 10-hr caregiving from Motherhealth caregivers in the bayarea ( 408-845-1883 , motherhealth@gmail.com)

Her major health issues include intestinal health, immune system, vision, memory and prescription medications overload.  Her Azheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are aggravated by more than 10 medications and 1 narcotic which affected her brain size (shrinking). We know that the third cause of deaths in the USA is prescribed medications.

Dopamine level in Parkinson is low

Parkinson’s disease is associated with low levels of Dopamine.  Our intestinal gut produces dopamine which is a neurotransmitter. Common symptoms include mood changes, focus issues, insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, and, in particular, compulsive overeating resulting in weight gain. As a brain neurotransmitter, dopamine influences well being, alertness, learning, creativity, attention and concentration. Dopamine also affects brain processes that control movement, emotional response and is the source of the brain’s power and energy.

Foods highest in L-tyrosine (natural building block of Dopamine) include:

  • Fava beans
  • Duck
  • Chicken
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Oatmeal,
  • Mustard greens
  • Edamame
  • Dark chocolate
  • Seaweed
  • Wheat germ

Effect of heavy metals toxins in our thyroid

Even the names of the different forms of thyroid hormone reflect the number of iodine molecules attached — T4 has four attached iodine molecules, and T3 (the biologically active form of the hormone) has three — showing what an important part iodine plays in thyroid biochemistry.

Iodine deficiency is one of the three most common nutritional deficiencies, along with magnesium and vitamin D.

Since iodine is so important for thyroid function, wouldn’t you expect to see an increase in hypothyroidism with insufficient iodine levels?  Yes, and that is exactly what we have seen.

This means that your thyroid problem could actually be an iodine deficiency problem.  If you feel sluggish and tired, have difficulty losing weight, have dry skin, hair loss, constipation or cold sensitivity, it could all be related to hypothyroidism.

More than 100 years ago, iodine was shown to reverse and prevent goiter (swelling of your thyroid gland) and to correct hypothyroidism. But we now understand that iodine’s effects are much farther reaching.

Iodine has four important functions in your body:

  • Stabilization of metabolism and body weight
  • Brain development in children
  • Fertility
  • Optimization of your immune system (iodine is a potent anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-viral and anti- cancer agent)
  • While iodine levels have fallen, there have been simultaneous increases in rates of thyroid disease, breast cancer, fibrocystic breast disease, prostate cancer, and obesity in American adults, and an increase in mental retardation and developmental delays in American children.

Why are Iodine Levels Dropping?

Iodine deficiency is on the rise in the United States. Simple supplementation may not be the answer as the following issues also need to be addressed.

Recent national survey data suggest that just over 11 percent of the total U.S. population, and over 7 percent of pregnant women, and nearly 17 percent of all reproductive-aged women, are deficient in iodine.

The Total Diet Study, performed by the FDA, reported an iodine intake of 621 µg for 2 year-olds between 1974 and 1982, compared with 373 µg between 1982 and 1991. During this same time period, the baking industry replaced iodine-based anti-caking agents with bromine-based agents.

In addition to iodine’s disappearance from our food supply, exposure to toxic competing halogens (bromine, fluorine, chlorine and perchlorate) has dramatically increased.

You absorb these halogens through your food, water, medications and environment, and they selectively occupy your iodine receptors, further deepening your iodine deficit.

Fluoridation of water is a major contributor to iodine deficiency, besides being very damaging to your health in many other ways.

Additional factors contributing to falling iodine levels are:

• Diets low in fish, shellfish and seaweed
• Vegan and vegetarian diets
• Decreased use of iodized salt
• Less use of iodide in the food and agricultural industry
• Use of radioactive iodine in many medical procedures, which competes with natural iodine

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease can have multifactorial causes from metal toxins (metals in white flour,chlorine,fluoride,mercury,aluminum,others), lack of important nutrients such as Vit D, Calcium and Magnesium,stress,insomia,sugar,and other hormonal and metabolic causes.

We have to nourish our bodies each day with whole foods, oxygen,water,light energy,and positive emotions.

————–

Contact Connie at Motherhealth Caregivers for bayarea caregivers 408-854-1883 motherhealth@gmail.com for 24/7 care for your seniors.