homepage blog, I outlined the health issues related to biotoxin exposure and reviewed
the resultant Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) in susceptible
individuals. This blog is a continuation of dealing with mold exposure and goes
into detail about environmental mold testing. It is meant to be a resource
guide for those who are concerned they may have mold in their dwelling.
listed to a podcast with Chris Kresser and Mike Schrantz on how to test for
mold. Mike currently owns and operates Environmental Analytics, LLC, an
environmental consulting firm. Through my studies and this podcast, I've
compiled some caveats and considerations related to environmental testing for
use air sampling, which may be helpful in some situations, but has several
Not all molds float in air (some are
heavier, some are lighter, some settle out quicker, some dry, some are too "stick.".)
- The sample itself may be accurate, but
limited by a "grab sample." A "grab sample" only collects about 5 minutes'
worth of air and may not represent the whole house.
- Some heavier molds
may be on the surface and only show up minimally in the air sample, making
the air sample appear normal
the "guru" on this topic, recommends ERMI (Environmental Relative Moldiness
Index) using the lab Mycometrics. This method involves getting a sample of dust
off of surfaces or using a vacuum to collect dust. Then, you send it in for assessment
via a DNA test.
issue with ERMI is quality of labs and that the test is dependent on good
quality of probes and primers. Therefore, you must pick your lab wisely.
Other Caveats and Considerations of
- You should collect more than one sample
- Some mold is hidden within walls/foundation and may
not be detected
- Some mold can only be detected under certain
conditions (temperature, moisture, etc.)
- Neither methods consider the mold outside the home
and the change inside, only a professional can do that
- ERMI is an average of what molds are considered a
problem, some people may be sensitive to some at lower levels or another
species not tested
review of mold in the home is thoroughly outlined by Harriet Ammam, a
toxicologist from Washington State Department of Health. She states that there
are four categories of health effects of mold: allergy, infection, irritation
(mucous membrane and sensory), and toxicity. She lists the following caveats,
though some of them have been revised as more research has been indicated:
Few toxicological experiments
involving mycotoxins have been performed using inhalation, the most probable
route for indoor exposures. Defenses of the respiratory system differ from
those for ingestion (the route for most mycotoxin experiments). Experimental
evidence suggests the respiratory route to produce more severe responses than
the digestive route (Cresia et al.,
from low level or chronic low level exposures, or ingestion exposures to
mixtures of mycotoxins, have generally not been studied, and are unknown...
of multiple exposures to mixtures of mycotoxins in air, plus other toxic
air pollutants present in all air breathed indoors, are not known.
of other biologically active molecules, having allergic or irritant
effects, concomitantly acting with mycotoxins, are not known.
of mold spores and fragments varies, depending on instrumentation and
methodology used. Comparison of results from different investigators is
rarely, if ever, possible with current state of the art.
many mycotoxins can be measured in environmental samples, it is not yet
possible to measure mycotoxins in human or animal tissues. For this reason
exposure measurements rely on circumstantial evidence such as presence of
contamination in the patient's environment, detection of spores in air,
combined with symptomology in keeping with known experimental lesions
caused by mycotoxins, to establish an association with illness.
of individuals exposed indoors to complex aerosols varies depending on
their age, gender, state of health, and genetic make-up, as well as degree
contamination in buildings can vary greatly, depending on location of
growing organisms, and exposure pathways. Presence in a building alone
does not constitute exposure.
of patients' environments generally occur after patients have become ill,
and do not necessarily reflect the exposure conditions that occurred
during development of the illness. ... (you can read the full article and
list at the link below)
Testing with Experts:
Due to the
caveats, self-testing is rarely accurate. You can try and find professionals in
your area by visiting the following site: http://www.acac.org/find/database.aspx.
Look for professionals with CIEC, CMC, or CMI certifications. Another option
would be to set up a consult with experts here: http://environmentalanalytics.net/contact-us/
What Happens if Mold is Found...or if it
Isn't but Symptoms Are Present
a good question! In my homepage blog I go through these tips, so visit it
Kresser. RHR: How To Test
Your Home for Mold, with Mike Schrantz. February 2016. https://chriskresser.com/how-to-test-your-home-for-mold-with-mike-schrantz/
Shoemaker RC. Inside Indoor Air Quality: Environmental Relative Moldiness Index
Ammann, HM. Is
Indoor Mold Contamination a Threat to Health? http://www.mold-survivor.com/harrietammann.html
Cleanup and Remediation: http://www.cdc.gov/mold/cleanup.htm
Atadtner A. Mold
Testing - Air Quality Lab Interpretation. Healthy Building Inspections and
Testing. February 14, 2013. http://healthybuildingscience.com/2013/02/14/mold-testing-air-quality/
the National Exposure Research Laboratory (NERL). https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/about-national-exposure-research-laboratory-nerl
J. Gangneux, T. Reponen, L. Wymer, S. Vesper, AND P. Le Cann. Correlation
between environmental relative moldiness index (ERMI) values in French
dwellings and other measures of fungal contamination. SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL
ENVIRONMENT. Elsevier BV, AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, 438:319-324, (2012).
on ERMI: https://nlquery.epa.gov/epasearch/epasearch?querytext=ERMI&fld=&areaname=&areacontacts=&areasearchurl=&typeofsearch=epa&result_template=2col.ftl&force=no&filter=sample4filt.hts
I know it's
not just me that is "in love with the bugs" and all they do for us. I think the
whole world's really gone buggy. I'm talking about our microbiota, the ecology
of bugs that live in and on us. They interact with our own cells and modulate our
biology in so many ways.
get a cool study on critters and share it on social media, people tend to get
excited and show it with their little hearts and likes. However, I got bugged
recently by a blog that made a conclusion that probiotics weren't effective due
to one review of seven studies. The authors determined there was no change in
fecal microbiome population with their ingestion; therefore, probiotics weren't
a good health tool. What!?
So, I had to
write a blog on my homepage in defense of the actions of probiotics. I went beyond
poo population changes, even though other studies have found changes in fecal
samples by swallowing bugs. For example, a recent review on weight loss did
determine there may be a small, but significant effect, of taking probiotics in
certain populations, though there were some limitations in the trials. Although
swallowing critters to lose weight is still pretty controversial, their effects
on our health in so many other ways isn't. In fact, there were two recent
studies on their role in multiple sclerosis.
For example, there
was a study from Science Daily finding
an association between those with multiple sclerosis and the ratio of "bad
bugs" to "good guys" in their belly. Following this, a few weeks later, was another
study on the same topic.
article, researchers found that 60 subjects with multiple sclerosis (MS) had
different compositions of gut microorganisms as compared to their 43 healthy
counterparts. Furthermore, they discovered that the MS patients that were being
treated had different gut populations than the untreated patients. What I found
fascinating with this study is that the scientists didn't just study
populations of microbial changes with the fecal samples, they also assessed
serum levels of immune markers (cytokine and inflammatory measurement) and
correlated alterations in genetic expression of certain immune cells (T cells
and monocytes). Finally, they measured methane in breath tests, as a
rudimentary marker of methane producing bacteria present. Quite an experiment!
(Hence, the long list of authors in the reference section needed to carry out
such a feat!)
Daily reported on these findings as stated below:
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. 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.
So, if anyone
had a doubt that these little critters are modulating our immune response,
these two studies that show which ones are present in our guts are associated
with an autoimmune disease such as MS, may turn some into believers! This
association wasn't a big surprise to me though, I think almost everything can
connect back to the gut. I had a hunch on the connections between gut bugs,
coffee, and MS a little while back, if you remember (see here: http://dr-lobisco.com/how-gut-bugs-link-coffee-nutrient-depletion-h-pylori-to-multiple-sclerosis/).
treat your belly bugs good with lifestyle and diet and they will treat you
well. Read more here.
Zhang, Yucheng Wu, Xiaoqiang Fei. Effect
of probiotics on body weight and body-mass index: a systematic review and
meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials. International Journal
of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 2016; 67 (5): 571 DOI: 10.1080/09637486.2016.1181156
NB, Bryrup T, Allin KH, Nielsen T,
Hansen TH, Pederson O. Alterations in fecal microbiota composition by probiotic
supplementation in healthy adults: a systematic review of randomized controlled
trials. Genome Medicine.2016; 8:52.
Versalovic J. Effects of probiotics on gut microbiota: mechanisms of intestinal
immunomodulation and neuromodulation. Therapeutic Advances in
Gastroenterology. 2013;6(1):39-51. doi:10.1177/1756283X12459294.
Logan AC, Bested AC. Fermented foods, microbiota, and mental health: ancient
practice meets nutritional psychiatry. Journal
of Physiological Anthropology. 2014. DOI: 10.1186/1880-6805-33-2
Ahmed M, Prasad J, Gill H, Stevenson L, Gopal P: Impact of consumption
of different levels of Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 on the intestinal
microflora of elderly human subjects. J Nutr Health Aging. 2007, 11:
Iowa Health Care. Link between gut bacteria, MS discovered: MS patients show
lower levels of good bacteria. ScienceDaily.
June 2016. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160627125355.htm.
Women's Hospital. Changes uncovered in the gut bacteria of patients with
multiple sclerosis: Study finds alterations in the gut microbiomes of treated
and untreated MS patients. ScienceDaily.
12 July 2016. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160712130221.htm.
Gandhi R, Cox LM, Li N, von Glehn F, Yan R, Patel B, Mazzola MA, Liu S, Glanz
B, Cook S, Tankous S, Stuart F, Melo K, Nejad P, Smith K, Topcuolu BD, Holden
J, Kivisakk P, Chitnis T, De Jager PL, Quintana FJ, Gerber GK, Bry , Weiner HL..
Alterations of the human gut microbiome in multiple sclerosis. Nature Communications. 2016; 7: 12015
just finished posting a blog on my homepage on the power of nurturing our
nature for optimizing health outcomes. I discussed the effects of childhood
adverse events and parental styles on children's physical, emotional, and social
well-being. You can read about this and how other environmental factors impact
health outcomes here. With this information, you can gain a better
understanding of your own emotional responses and discover how your lifestyle
choices can influence your well-being.
did you know that one of the most powerful healing modalities can't be found in
a technique, dietary theory, supplement, or medicine?
this blog, I want to focus on one of the most important "environmental exposures"
we have- our connections to others. Studies strongly support that isolation is
an independent risk factor in heart disease and mortality. In fact, recently I
just read an article on how single moms have a higher risk of heart issues.
According to Health Day:
Compared to married mothers with jobs,
single working mothers in the United States have a higher risk of heart disease
and stroke, researchers found. They're also more likely to smoke -- a known
heart risk -- than women with other work and family patterns, said Frank van
Lenthe, co-author of the new study.
Losing the support of a partner, along
with the second income, "may cause stress and result in unhealthy
behaviors," said van Lenthe. He is an associate professor of social
epidemiology at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
a related study, it was found that married people who suffered a heart attack
were more apt to recover than single people. The study was comprised of 25,000
adults in England and the researchers reported that those with a spouse had a
14% less chance of dying than their single comparisons. Don't worry, this
doesn't necessarily mean that you single people should run out and get married,
just for the sake of heart health.
review of the impact of social relationships and disease outcomes found that
just as positive social support can decrease risk for many illnesses, negative
relationships can cause health detriments. Therefore, it's the quality, not
necessarily quantity, that is thought to create the positive benefits in
wellness and disease risk.
these social patterns are thought to start in childhood, once again suggesting
the importance of parental influence early in life. However, social ties vary
with lifespan, with intimate partners being most important in later adulthood.
Knowing this, single, older adults, may want to make sure their emotional
intimacy is met in their loved ones and friendships.
health and social support has also been shown to provide benefit in relieving
depression. Depression is connected to various physical ailments and
cardiovascular risk. In a recent study, it was found that those who had
emotionally healthy relationships had a greater chance of complete recovery
from depression than those without productive relationship ties.
nurture is important, genetics also play a role in our ability to form
connections. For example, those with low activity in the gene related to
oxytocin were found to have a harder time decoding emotional facial cues and
tended to be more anxious about relationships in one study. A 2009 study also
linked genetic variations in oxytocin with social empathy and stress
reactivity. This is interesting considering that
this hormone is also linked to mental health and autism risk.
what is the takeaway? Click
here to read my previous article on how to boost the "love hormone."
Furthermore, you can take steps to reach out and heal emotional traumas to
support building stronger relationships. On my homepage blog, I also discuss
the impact of essential oils for emotional health and other factors important
in nurturing our nature.
social isolation, and behavioral and biological health indicators in older
adults. Health Psychol. 2011
Jul;30(4):377-85. doi: 10.1037/a0022826.
Working Moms Carry a Heart Burden. Health
Day. June 16, 2016. https://consumer.healthday.com/cardiovascular-health-information-20/misc-stroke-related-heart-news-360/single-working-moms-carry-a-heart-heavy-burden-712037.html
a Boost for Heart Attack Survivors.
Health Day. June 8, 2016. https://consumer.healthday.com/cardiovascular-health-information-20/heart-attack-news-357/married-folks-may-have-a-heart-attack-advantagee-711705.html
D, Montez JK. Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy. Journal
of health and social behavior. 2010;51(Suppl):S54-S66.
in five formerly depressed adults are happy, flourishing. Science Daily. June 7, 2016. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160607120808.htm
Depression Overview. PubMed Health. January 17,
and cardiovascular disease: a clinical review. European Heart Journal. November 25, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/eht462
'Love Hormone' Gene May Be Key to Social Life. Health Day. June 21, 2016th https://consumer.healthday.com/mental-health-information-25/behavior-health-news-56/low-levels-of-oxytocin-gene-may-impair-social-skills-712110.html
Rodrigues SM, Saslow
LR, Garcia N, John OP, Keltner D. Oxytocin receptor genetic variation relates
to empathy and stress reactivity in humans. Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
This week, on my
homepage, I provided a summary of the top news for the month of June in health,
nutrition, and medicine. In my introduction, I discussed the theme of lifestyle
medicine as a preventative and effective strategy in reducing risk of various diseases.
There is a large amount of research in this area and in this blog I review some
of the studies on how exercise impacts the brain and body.
But first, I wanted to discuss one of my favorite studies
this month. It was based on how a personalized intervention program actually
reversed Alzheimer's disease in 10 subjects!
Reversal of Cognitive Decline in Alzheimer's Disease with Personalized
published in Aging reported on ten
case studies, including subjects with genetic risks, who showed reversal of
Alzheimer's disease using a comprehensive, personalized approach known as the MEND
protocol. In this method, doctors assess an individual's medical history,
genetics, lifestyle, lab work, and current medications and use these results to
find the best FDA-approved medications, supplements, and lifestyle changes for
that specific patient's needs. Results prior to the intervention and after were
based on quantitative MRI and neuropsychological testing.
summarize the amazing findings in their discussion as follows:
These observations provide further
support for the previously reported finding that the personalized protocol for
metabolic enhancement (note that the metabolic evaluation included parameters
shown to affect Alzheimer's disease pathophysiology, such as homocysteine ,
glucose , and inflammation , as well as numerous others as previously
described ) in Alzheimer's disease leads to the reversal of cognitive
decline in at least some patients with early Alzheimer's disease or its
precursors, MCI (mild cognitive impairment) and SCI (subjective cognitive
impairment). To our knowledge, the magnitude of the improvements documented in
patients 1 and 2 is unequaled in previous reports: in patient 1, the increase
in hippocampal volume from 17th percentile to 75th percentile
supports the marked symptomatic improvement that he (and others) achieved on
the protocol. In patient 2, quantitative neuropsychological testing
demonstrated improvements of up to three standard deviations (CVLT-IIB, from 3rd
percentile to 84th percentile), with multiple tests all showing
marked improvements. These findings complement and support the marked
subjective improvement already published for this patient .
and Movement for Memory Boost
new study with 72 participants randomized them into three groups: exercise
prior, four hours later, or no exercise, in relation to the completion of a
memory task. 48 hours later, the participants returned to assess their memory
and have a brain scan of representation of the task in the memory region.
According to Medical Xpress, "The researchers found that those who exercised
four hours after their learning session retained the information better two
days later than those who exercised either immediately or not at all. The brain
images also showed that exercise after a time delay was associated with more
precise representations in the hippocampus, an area important to learning and
memory, when an individual answered a question correctly."
not just interval training that may boost brain function. In a pilot study with
older adults, it was found that yoga caused changes in neural connections in
the brain and memory improvement. The study was a small group comparison
consisting of 25 subjects with cognitive impairment. The researchers assessed
yoga versus memory enhancement training for 12 weeks. According to the study, "The yoga group demonstrated a statistically
significant improvement in depression and visuospatial memory. We observed
improved verbal memory performance correlated with increased connectivity
between the DMN and frontal medial cortex, pregenual anterior cingulate cortex,
right middle frontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, and left lateral
occipital cortex. Improved verbal memory performance positively correlated with
increased connectivity between the language processing network and the left
inferior frontal gyrus. Improved visuospatial memory performance correlated
inversely with connectivity between the superior parietal network and the
medial parietal cortex."
Exercise May Help Adults Cope with ADHD (Attention
Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
In a recent study with 32 young men with ADHD
researchers at the University of Georgia found that exercise helped the
subjects with focus and motivation. According to Science Daily, the participants "cycled at a moderate intensity for 20 minutes on one day, and on
another day sat and rested for 20 minutes as a control condition. The
participants were asked to perform a task requiring focus both before and after
the different conditions, and researchers noted leg movement, mood, attention
and self-reported motivation to perform the task. As a result, researchers
found that it was only after the exercise when the participants felt motivated
to do the task; they also felt less confused and fatigued and instead felt more
energetic. Interestingly, leg movements and performance on the task did not
change after the exercise--rather, the exercise helped the young men feel
better about doing the task."
Intervention Works for Diabetics at Risk
from a recent lifestyle intervention program developed at the University of
Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health demonstrated the positive impact on
diabetes and heart disease risk using the Group Lifestyle Balance program. The study consisted of
223 participants who had prediabetes and/or metabolic syndrome. The program was
modified from the lifestyle intervention program used in the highly successful
U.S. Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). The DPP previously demonstrated that
weight loss and physical activity outperformed drugs in preventing diabetes or
metabolic syndrome. According to a recent report on the study in Science Daily, "Group Lifestyle Balance is a 22-session program administered over a
one-year period aimed at helping people make lifestyle changes to lower their
risk for diabetes and heart disease. The goals of the program are to help
participants reduce their weight by 7 percent and increase their moderate
intensity physical activity (such as brisk walking) to a minimum of 150 minutes
Read more on the
power of lifestyle medicine on my current blog here.
J Alzheimers Dis.: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/27060939/
previously the importance of the microbiome. You
can click here if you need a quick intro or refresher on the role of the
bugs that line our insides and outsides. I also just wrote a blog on why the
topic of the microbiome continues to be at the forefront of scientific
research. You want to make sure you check that out to discover why it is important
to consider that killing them off may not be the best idea and how to prevent
growing the bad guys to begin with a healthy gut.
against. "Biotic" = Life. Antibiotic. What happens when we kill our belly bugs
in an attempt to rid of disease? (I
wrote about this here. This is why I like the use of essential oils to
modulate the immune response and keep happy bugs in place.)
Do Antibiotics Blunt
Health Day recently
reported on a study linking antibiotics to reduced breastfeeding benefits:
Researchers found that babies who
were prescribed antibiotics while they were breast-feeding or shortly afterward
were prone to infections and obesity.
"In breast milk, unlike in
formula milk, the infant receives bacteria from the mother and specific sugar
components that promote the growth of certain [gut] bacteria," explained
lead researcher Katri Korpela, from the immunobiology research program at the
University of Helsinki in Finland.
The finding indicates that the
health benefits of breast-feeding are largely due to how it helps a baby
develop intestinal bacteria (microbiota), and that antibiotics disturb that
development, she said.
Drugs and Bug Effects in
Children- Antibiotics Effect Baby's Microbiome
A June 15, 2016
article in Science Transitional Medicine
reported the following on the significance of a new study:
Despite widespread use of
antibiotics in children, the effects of antibiotic exposure on the developing
infant gut microbiome have remained underexplored. Here, Yassour et al. present a longitudinal study
capturing how the gut microbiome responds to and recovers from antibiotic
perturbations. Antibiotic-treated children had less stable and less diverse
bacterial communities. Antibiotic resistance genes within the guts of these
children peaked after antibiotic treatment but generally returned rapidly to
baseline. Delivery mode (vaginal versus cesarean) also had strong long-term
effects on microbial diversity. These data give insights into the consequences
of early life factors such as birth mode and antibiotic treatment on the infant
Birth mode, and Diet Shape Microbiome Maturation During Early Life
A second study, released on the same day in Science Transitional Medicine was summarized as follows:
intestinal "microbiota," that is, the community of microbes inhabiting the
human intestinal tract, undergoes many changes during the first 2 years of
life. Bokulich et al. now show
that this pattern of development is altered in children who are delivered by
cesarean section, fed formula, or treated with antibiotics, compared to those
babies who were born vaginally, breast-fed, or unexposed to antibiotics. Future
studies will determine whether these disturbances influence the health of these
Antibiotics Make More Bad Bugs Grow?
study released on June 15, 2016 in Nature
was reported by Science Daily. The
Gastroenteritis is a common side
effect of taking antibiotics. While diarrhea may be mild and clear up after
antibiotic therapy is completed, in some cases, it can lead to colitis, an inflammation
of the colon, or more serious conditions that cause abdominal pain, fever and
Bäumler's research found that
oral antibiotic treatment increased the synthesis of a host enzyme that
generates nitric oxide radicals, which can oxidize sugars into sugar acids,
such as galactarate, a key driver of Salmonella
FEEDING HAPPY BUGS
Walnuts for Belly Bugs and Colon
to a study by the University of Connecticut, found in Cancer Prevention Research, as reported by Science Daily:
To figure out why walnuts were
beneficial, the UConn Health team collaborated with Dr. George Weinstock and
colleagues at The Jackson Laboratory. Weinstock's lab took fecal samples from
the mice and analyzed the communities of bacteria living in their digestive
tracts. They found that walnut consumption tended to push the gut microbiome
toward an ecology that was potentially protective against cancer. It's not
clear exactly how this works, but there are clues. For example, previous
research has shown that some gut bacteria digest fiber into compounds with
anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce tumor initiation. The microbiome
analyses also reflected interesting differences between male and female. Males
on walnut-free diets tended to have less-diverse gut flora than females. Adding
walnuts to the diets of male mice brought their microbiomes closer to those of
female mice on either of the diets. Whether this change contributes to the
protection seen in male mice remains to be determined.
The Competition and Cooperation
of Diet in Our Bodies with Our Bugs
wonderful article in the Annals of the
New York Academy of Sciences describes how some foods make our gut bugs and
our cells work together for health, and others cause a competition to ensue:
Diet has been known to play an
important role in human health since at least the time period of the ancient
Greek physician Hippocrates. In the last decade, research has revealed that
microorganisms inhabiting the digestive tract, known as the gut microbiota, are
critical factors in human health. This paper draws on concepts of cooperation
and conflict from ecology and evolutionary biology to make predictions about
host-microbiota interactions involving nutrients. To optimally extract energy
from some resources (e.g., fiber), hosts require cooperation from microbes.
Other nutrients can be utilized by both hosts and microbes (e.g., simple
sugars, iron) in their ingested form, which may lead to greater conflict over
these resources. This framework predicts that some negative health effects of
foods are driven by the direct effects of these foods on human physiology and
by indirect effects resulting from microbiome-host competition and conflict
(e.g., increased invasiveness and inflammation). Similarly, beneficial effects
of some foods on host health may be enhanced by resource sharing and other
cooperative behaviors between host and microbes that may downregulate
inflammation and virulence. Given that some foods cultivate cooperation between
hosts and microbes while others agitate conflict, host-microbe interactions may
be novel targets for interventions aimed at improving nutrition and human
example is the harmful fats and sugars found in the Western diet, which is
consumed by both the host (our cells) and pathogenic bacteria. The authors
state, "... these results suggest that diets high in fats and refined sugar can
(1) fuel harmful ecological change in the gut, and (2) escalate the intensity
of host countermeasures in the form of inflammation and possibly altered
IS THE SOLUTION TO JUST SWALLOW
may be helpful for many, but remember, we all have our own unique microbiome
related to our diet, environment, and lifestyle factors. Furthermore, it is now
understood that it's more about the immune modulation of using specific bacteria,
which actually create more diversity in our guts and better metabolites,
rather than haphazardly throwing down billions or trillions of high dose
probiotics that may or may not be a match to our own unique microbiome
why I usually suggest a reasonable amount of probiotic counts with
multi-strains that have been clinically tested for immune modulation. If I can,
I try to find a probiotic with specific bugs that have been shown in some
studies to modulate specific issues in my clients. Unfortunately, the research
still isn't perfect in clinical trials, but we are getting there.
best way to keep a healthy gut is diet and lifestyle. Then, it's finding a probiotic
that is right for you. If your gut isn't happy still, and you are taking a
probiotic, that's probably "not it." The good news is; they are pretty darn
safe...but if they aren't working, it may be a waste of bugs and dollars.
This past week, I sent an E-blast out to my essential oils subscribers
discussing some cool studies on rosemary oil. Below is the E-blast revised
preview provided online as an exclusive to my Saratoga.com readers. I then
expand more on the topic of this beautiful aromatic oil on my current homepage
Serendipitous Event Leading to Rosemary Exploration
I am an avid follower of some of the pioneers in natural medicine, such
as Dr. Mercola, and more recently, Dr. Eric Z. Recently, both of these health
warriors happened to visit my inbox via their articles on rosemary oil in quick
succession. (See the
links below.) Whenever something like
this happens, I pay attention to it. I feel it could be a prodding to explore
deeper on a subject and share what I learn with my readers. As it so happened,
I found that this popular oil was, in fact, missing from my essential oil database!
(I do; however, at least reference it for brain health here).
So, as with any blog or article on essential oils, I went through all the
references listed at the end. I do this in order to dig deeper into my
understanding and improve my clinical expertise with these precious secondary metabolites.
I found some great studies and did some more research myself.
One thing that can get confusing with essential oils blogs is when
references to studies are on the extracts of the herb verses the essential oil,
which may have different active constituents. I have been caught in this
mistake a few times myself. Therefore, these blogs will continue to focus on
the oil itself.
Another prod for me to dig into rosemary oil happened just a few hours
prior to my writing this. It was an article in Science Daily. It reported on a study that showed reversal of
Alzheimer's disease in 10 subjects! The treatment was personalized medicine
that consisted of a "complex, 36-point therapeutic personalized program that
involves comprehensive changes in diet, brain stimulation, exercise,
optimization of sleep, specific pharmaceuticals and vitamins, and multiple
additional steps that affect brain chemistry."
The connection was strengthened. We know that essential oils have a
profound effect on the brain, which you can read more about here and here. I then remembered a 2009 study in Psychogeriatrics
which demonstrated how aromatherapy can help those who need brain support, and
it used rosemary as one of the oils in the trial.
The abstract from the full study reads:
OBJECTIVE: Recently, the importance of non-pharmacological therapies for dementia
has come to the fore. In the present study, we examined the curative effects of
aromatherapy in dementia in 28 elderly people, 17 of whom had Alzheimer's
METHODS: After a control period of 28 days, aromatherapy was performed over the
following 28 days, with a wash out period of another 28 days. Aromatherapy
consisted of the use of rosemary and lemon essential oils in the morning, and
lavender and orange in the evening. To determine the effects of aromatherapy,
patients were evaluated using the Japanese version of the Gottfries, Brane,
Steen scale (GBSS-J), Functional Assessment Staging of Alzheimer's disease
(FAST), a revised version of Hasegawa's Dementia Scale (HDS-R), and the Touch
Panel-type Dementia Assessment Scale (TDAS) four times: before the control
period, after the control period, after aromatherapy, and after the washout
RESULTS: All patients showed significant improvement in personal orientation
related to cognitive function on both the GBSS-J and TDAS after therapy. In
particular, patients with AD showed significant improvement in total TDAS
scores. Result of routine laboratory tests showed no significant changes,
suggesting that there were no side-effects associated with the use of
aromatherapy. Results from Zarit's score showed no significant changes,
suggesting that caregivers had no effect on the improved patient scores seen in
the other tests.
CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, we found aromatherapy an efficacious non-pharmacological
therapy for dementia. Aromatherapy may have some potential for improving
cognitive function, especially in AD patients.
Thought from Dr. Sarah
I have seen profound effects with integrating aromatherapy and essential
oils in my practice. This holds true in all areas of wellness and in those who
complain of memory issues and mood imbalances. I find diffusing, inhalation,
and topical applications particularly effective for brain support, as the sense
of smell is powerful for emotions and cognition.
Here's a link to a
previous blog with some applications on using essential oils for emotions and
brain health. (Note, make sure you read the labels to determine which oils are
safe for ingestion).
Pre and post testing show reversal of memory loss from Alzheimer's
disease in 10 patients. Science Daily. June 16, 2016. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160616071933.htm
Dr. Eric Z. 4
Rosemary Essential Oil Benefits and Uses. http://drericz.com/4-rosemary-essential-oil-benefits-and-uses/
Refreshing Rosemary. http://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/rosemary-oil.aspx
Kimura Y, Tangiguchi M, Inoue M, Urakami K.
Effect of aromatherapy on patients with Alzheimer's disease. Psychogeriatrics. 2009; 9: 173-179.
The power of food as medicine is profound. I've written previously about
of factors involved in brain health. Although the list can be quite long
and confusing, one of the most powerful ways to preserve and support our
cognitive function is found at the end of our forks.
For example, there is now research that shows that improving blood
sugar by dietary measures could protect the brain and that diet quality
modulates thought and mood. Furthermore, different nutrients such as healthy
essential fats, vitamins, and minerals have all been shown to contribute to
supporting mental processing. In the same
blog mentioned above, I summarized several specific studies that support the
importance of the quality of the diet for keeping our mental faculties.
Recently, there have been some headlines in the current research that highlights how certain
nutrients and foods are powerful for brain health. Below is a brief summary of
some of them.
Supplement Could Save the Aging Brain
A recent rodent study confirmed that a dietary supplement containing a
blend of thirty vitamins and minerals exhibited anti-aging properties that
could prevent and even reverse brain cell loss. The researchers believe that
this mixture could be applicable in the future to neurological diseases such as
Alzheimer's, ALS and Parkinson's.
In this study, the little mice were bred to have widespread loss of over
half of their brain cells. They munched on this mixture of nutrients on tiny
bagel pieces fed to them by their caretakers. Science Daily reported:
researchers found that it completely eliminated the severe brain cell loss and
abolished cognitive decline.
research suggests that there is tremendous potential with this supplement to
help people who are suffering from some catastrophic neurological
diseases," says Lemon, who conducted the work with co-author Vadim
Aksenov, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Biology at McMaster.
Interestingly, the rodents also exhibited improvement in vision and
smell. In the abstract of the original article, the authors concluded, "We know
of no other treatment with such efficacy, highlighting the potential for
prevention or amelioration of human neuropathologies that are similarly
associated with oxidative stress, inflammation and cellular dysfunction."
and Minerals for Potential Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury
This month, in Brain Research,
researchers reviewed several nutraceutical therapies for brain injury in
experimental models, "including vitamins (B2, B3, B6,
B9, C, D, E), herbs and traditional medicines (ginseng, Gingko
biloba), flavonoids, and other nutrients (magnesium, zinc, carnitine,
omega-3 fatty acids)."
They concluded, "While there is still much work to be done, several of
these have strong potential for clinical therapies, particularly with regard to
for Improving Cognition in Combination with Training for Down Syndrome
Down's syndrome is the most common genetic cause of intellectual
disability. Science Daily reported on
a recent study in which a compound in green tea combined with cognitive
training produced better outcomes than cognitive training alone in young adults
with Down Syndrome:
just published by the researchers in The
Lancet Neurology presents the results of a clinical trial led by the
Integrative Pharmacology and Systems Neuroscience Research group of Dr. Rafael
de la Torre with 84 persons with Down's syndrome aged 16 to 34 years. "The
results suggest that individuals who received treatment with the green tea
compound, together with the cognitive stimulation protocol, had better score in
their cognitive capacities," states Dr. de la Torre. However, studies in
larger populations have still to be done.
The component in green tea, ECGC (epigallocatechin gallate) was previously
shown to inhibit the excess of the DYRK1A gene in mice, which is associated
with many of the deficiencies of cognition and neuronal plasticity in Down's
Deficiencies Common in Young Migraine Sufferers
According to Health Day:
people who suffer from migraines have vitamin deficiencies, new research finds.
studies are needed to elucidate whether vitamin supplementation is effective in
migraine patients in general, and whether patients with mild deficiency are
more likely to benefit from supplementation," said lead study author Dr.
Suzanne Hagler in a Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center news release.
She is a headache medicine fellow in the hospital's division of neurology.
included children, teens and young adult migraine patients who were treated at
Cincinnati Children's Headache Center.
percentage of them had mild deficiencies in vitamin D, riboflavin and coenzyme
Q10 -- a vitamin-like substance used to produce energy for cell growth and
maintenance, the researchers said.
As our population ages, many are concerned with their memory and
maintaining cognitive function. Lifestyle measures and nutrition have been
shown to modulate brain health, even improving mental function at the genetic
level! Isn't it nice to think that when you feed your body healthy, you could
be nourishing your brain power as well?
Speaking of keeping our bodies healthy, I just wrote another blog on
clove essential oil. Read all the benefits of this oil here.
Improving blood sugar control could help prevent dementia in patients
with type 2 diabetes, study suggests. ScienceDaily. 14 September 2015.
Barnes JN, Joyner MJ. Sugar highs and lows: the impact of diet on
cognitive function. The Journal of Physiology. 2012;590(Pt 12):2831.
Harvard Health Publications. Blood sugar on the brain. April 1, 2015.
Deans E, Ramsey D. Medscape Psychiatry: Commentary-How Diet Influences
Mental Health: New Findings, New Advances. Medscape. UPI. February 11, 2016.
Psaltopoulou, T., Sergentanis, T. N., Panagiotakos, D. B., Sergentanis,
I. N., Kosti, R. and Scarmeas, N. Mediterranean diet, stroke, cognitive
impairment, and depression: A meta-analysis. Ann Neurol. 2013; 74: 580-591.
Gómez-Pinilla F. Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function.
Nature reviews Neuroscience.
Sugar in the Blood! How Essential Oils
Can Support Balance
Can essential oils really help with supporting healthy blood sugar
levels? Previously, I discussed how flavonoids could be used to modulate sugar
in the blood. For example, rodents imbibing grapefruit extract and helichrysum
demonstrated positive changes in measurements of insulin resistance, oxidative
stress, inflammation, and weight. (Note:
remember to be careful of medication
interactions with grapefruit oil.)
Recently, I wrote an article on sugar addiction to be published in the Natural Path. It inspired me to publish
this blog that was originally sent as a E-blast to my essential oils subscribers.
In it, I will focus on the use of essential oils for blood sugar support.
(Well mice and rats)
The following is a list of several studies that support how certain oils
modulate blood sugar in rodents:
1. In one study with rats, cinnamon oil of the linalool chemotype
(specific secondary metabolite at the highest levels in the oil) was shown to
have a benefit on blood sugar and relieve oxidative stress at a certain dose.
2. In another study, a specific type of lavender had blood sugar lowering
effects and also decreased oxidative stress in our four-pawed rodent friends.
3. In a well-done study, which even analyzed the oil constituents (a lot
of them don't), little diabetic rodents exhibited very impressive results
regarding the use of lemon balm oil (Melissa
off.) The study demonstrated that lemon balm alleviated many of the
damaging effects that high amounts of sugar in the blood can cause. Specifically,
the lemon balm positively impacted lipids, insulin response, liver enzymes, and
various cellular signaling pathways.
4. In another study, the synergistic effects of essential oils for blood
sugar were tested. For the trial, researchers combined several blends of essential
oils and tested them in hypertensive and diabetic rats. The researchers found
beneficial effects on blood sugar with the oil blends.
5. A mouse study reported blood sugar lowering effects, oxidative stress
protection, insulin enhancement, and a decrease in alpha-amylase using Korean
6. One study that compared the use of Rose-scented geranium (Pelargonium
graveolens L'Hér.) to an antidiabetic medication reported that the oil could be
more effective in decreasing glucose and effecting liver and kidney antioxidant
functions than the drug:
administration of two doses of essential oil of Pelargonium graveolens L'Hér. together with glibenclamide which
is known by its antidiabetic activities and used as reference (600 μg/kg b.w.),
for four weeks, the serum glucose significantly decreased and antioxidant
perturbations were restored. The hypoglycemic effect of P. graveolens at the dose of 150 mg/kg b.w. was significantly (p< 0.05) more effective than that of glibenclamide. It
is through the histological findings in hepatic and renal tissues of diabetic
rats that these beneficial effects of geranium oils were confirmed.
Remember the effect of stress on blood sugar and how essential oils can
modulate this response and hormones (cortisol-insulin connection)? This can impact blood
sugar levels. One study also listed potential uses for oils to use as support
in those who were struggling with blood sugar issues. These included using the oils to cleanse wounds,
support for the stress response, and supporting mood.
Essential oils have been shown in rodent models to modulate pathways
related to blood sugar and the damaging effects of too high amounts in the
blood. In human trials, essential oils have prolific evidence for modulating
stress and hormonal response. Taken together, there is good evidence that
essential oils support healthy glucose levels.
If you want more on essential oils and their clinical use, click here.
Shih-Chieh Lee, et al., Chemical Composition and Hypoglycemic and
Pancreas-Protective Effect of Leaf Essential Oil from Indigenous Cinnamon
(Cinnamomum osmophloeum Kanehira). J. Agric. Food Chem. 2013: 61 (20), pp
J Buckle. Diabetes and Aromatherapy. Diabetes
Spectrum. August 2001; 14(3). 124-126
Sebai H, Selmi S, Rtibi K, Souli A, Gharbi N, Sakly M. Lavender
(Lavandula stoechas L.) essential oils attenuate hyperglycemia and protect
against oxidative stress in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Lipids in Health and
Disease. 2013;12:189. doi:10.1186/1476-511X-12-189.
Chung MJ, et al. Anti-diabetic effects of lemon balm ( Melissa officinalis)
essential oil on glucose- and
lipid-regulating enzymes in type 2 diabetic mice. Br J Nutr. 2010 Jul;104(2):180-8.
Talpur N, et al. Effects of a novel formulation of essential oils on
glucose-insulin metabolism in diabetic
and hypertensive rats: a pilot study. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2005 Mar; 7(2):193-9.
Anti-Diabetic Potential of the Essential Oil of Pinus koraiensis
Leaves toward Streptozotocin-Treated Mice and HIT-T15 Pancreatic β Cells. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry.
Boukhris M, Bouaziz M, Feki I, Jemai H, El Feki A, Sayadi S. Hypoglycemic
and antioxidant effects of leaf essential oil of Pelargonium graveolens
L'Hér. in alloxan induced diabetic rats. Lipids in Health and Disease.
Essential Oils and Medication Interactions:
Dr. Z: http://drericz.com/diabetes-oils/
This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential
oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been
tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in
the United States, and oils labeled as "100% pure" need only to contain 5% of
the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes
toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin.
This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to
diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your
doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.
May 2016 was a month that inspired health and inspiration to many
integrative doctors. This is because there were many articles that supported
the transformation of medicine into a more broad-based and inclusive model.
In my latest blog on my homepage, I discuss the topic of the "Re-connection
and Integration of the Mind-Body in Modern Medicine- May 2016 Top Holistic and
Integrative Health Reads."
In the past,
I discussed how another topic, the microbiome, may be a
discovery that unites the conversations between conventional viewpoints and
missed any of the important news on the tiny inhabitants that line our inner
tubes and outer
layers, you will want to skim through this
is finding that these critters have an impact on almost anything you can think
of in regards to modulating health!
a May 4th article in Science Daily
from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute reports:
Scientists have grown and catalogued
more than 130 bacteria from the human intestine. Imbalances in our gut microbiome
can contribute to complex conditions and diseases such as obesity, inflammatory
bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome and allergies. This research will
enable scientists to understand how our bacterial 'microbiome' helps keep us
healthy and start to create tailor-made treatments with specific beneficial
mentioned article published in Nature,
researchers were able to come up with a unique method to study the behavior of
our little buggy friends (via a combination of whole-genome phenotypic
analysis, culture methods, and fecal specimen study of six healthy
individuals). The goal was that this method would allow ways to accomplish
microbe transfer between humans via their encapsulation into a pill,
potentially replacing the "yuck factor" of those fecal transplants (more on
that later). The research may also allow the scientific community to better
understand these critters by finding ways to culture them and keep them alive,
as most are not oxygen loving. The answer was speculated to be via spores!
the way we
treat our "bug forest" in our bodies (mostly by lifestyle choices such as
diet, exercise, stress, sleep, etc.) has major implications. This is not only related
to our own health, but potentially using our healthy bugs to help others with a
less desirable mix of friendly-crawly-friends.
it was also recently found that our bug residents are also fighting to keep us
flexible in stressful circumstances. They don't only respond to their
environment but also offer resilience when food is scarce, changing the
diversity in our bellies. (Another explanation for how diet modulates our
health). Science Daily reported:
In a recent paper in the journal Nature Microbiology, researchers
working with Frank Schreiber have shown that individual cells in bacterial
colonies can differ widely in how they respond to a lack of nutrients. Although
all of the cells in a group are genetically identical, the way they process
nutrients from their surroundings can vary from one cell to another. For
example, bacteria called Klebsiella oxytoca preferentially take up nitrogen
from ammonium (NH4+), as this requires relatively little energy. When there
isn't enough ammonium for the entire group, some of the bacteria start to take
up nitrogen by fixing it from elementary nitrogen (N2), even though this
requires more energy. If the ammonium suddenly runs out altogether, these cells
at least are prepared. While some cells suffer, the group as a whole can
continue to grow. "Although all of the bacteria in the group are
genetically identical and exposed to the same environmental conditions, the
individual cells differ among themselves," says Schreiber.
of focusing on the progress we are making, I wanted to review some more of the top
articles in May 2016 that focused on our buggy foods and summarize them here
Speaking of the Yuck Factor...
stool transplants are approved for treatment of an infectious gastrointestinal
disease caused by Clostridium difficile. Health
Day reported on another application of fecal transplant:
Stool transplants helped ease
debilitating symptoms and heal the colons of tough-to-treat ulcerative colitis
patients, new research shows.
Australian scientists said the
findings could pave the way for such transplants to be used on a more
widespread basis. Transferring fecal matter from healthy donors into these
patients alters the composition of their gut bacteria, circumventing one of the
drivers of ulcerative colitis, experts said.
Immunizing with Bugs
study published in PNAS demonstrated
that vaccinating with a specific strain of bacteria modulated the immune
response in stress-induced pathology.
The hygiene, or "old friends,"
hypothesis proposes that lack of exposure to immunoregulatory microorganisms in
modern urban societies is resulting in an epidemic of inflammatory disease, as
well as psychiatric disorders in which chronic, low-level inflammation is a
risk factor. An important determinant of immunoregulation is the microbial
community occupying the host organism, collectively referred to as the
microbiota. Here we show that stress disrupts the homeostatic relationship
between the microbiota and the host, resulting in exaggerated inflammation.
Treatment of mice with a heat-killed preparation of an immunoregulatory
environmental microorganism, Mycobacterium
vaccae, prevents stress-induced pathology. These data support a strategy
of "reintroducing" humans to their old friends to promote optimal health and
Why Use Bugs, Because Killing Them
with Antibiotics Have Negative Effects
a new study reported in Science Daily
Antibiotics strong enough to kill off
gut bacteria can also stop the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus, a
section of the brain associated with memory, reports a new study in mice.
Researchers also uncovered a clue to why -- a type of white blood cell seems to
act as a communicator between the brain, the immune system, and the gut.
Our Baseline of Skin Bugs
A new study,
reported in Health Day relating to an
article in Cell, discussed that our
skin may have a "baseline" of buggies. Although it has been found previously
that our skin microbiota can be disturbed by cleansers and environmental
factors, it appears that there does exist a population of critters on our skin
that stay put:
The skin's "microbiome" --
containing bacteria, fungi and viruses -- is thought to be important to human
health. Segre said it can help the body resist nasty germ invaders and maintain
the barrier between the skin and inner organs. The new study aimed to discover
how stable these skin germs are over time. This can help researchers understand
what happens when skin disease develops, Segre said.
For the study, Segre and colleagues
analyzed 17 skin sites of 12 healthy volunteers three times over two years. The researchers found that skin germs as a
whole remained fairly steady, although individuals have their own
"One person had a higher amount
of fungi on their skin, another person had a lot of bacterial viruses on the
side of their nose," Segre said. She thought these collections of germs
might be temporary, but "when we examined the person's skin community a
year later, it was still true."
Germs on the feet were the most
variable of all, but it's not clear why. One possibility, Segre said, is that
the feet encounter a lot of temperature differences. Dr. Stanley Spinola, a
scientist who praised the research, said the variation seen in feet may have
something to do with moist areas between the toes or differences in footwear --
from sneakers to leather shoes to flip-flops or none at all.
How is this research useful?
"The study shows over a long
period of time, our skin microbiome stays pretty stable although we encounter
different environments," said Spinola, who is chair of microbiology and
immunology at Indiana University School of Medicine. This is helpful because it gives researchers
insight into the normal variation, allowing scientists to better study how
disease causes differences, he said.
Next Time Some One Tells You to 'Eat
Worms", You May Want To!
a recent article in Science Daily
intestinal worms may assist with immunity in a surprising way. Yes, our belly
bugs also contains worms that modulate our health, not just bacteria. Science Daily states:
In order to fight invading pathogens,
the immune system uses "outposts" throughout the body, called lymph
nodes. These are small, centimeter-long organs that filter fluids, get rid of
waste materials, and trap pathogens, e.g. bacteria or viruses. Lymph nodes are
packed with immune cells, and are know to grow in size, or 'swell', when they
detect invading pathogens. But now, EPFL scientists have unexpectedly
discovered that lymph nodes also contain more immune cells when the host is infected
with a more complex invader: an intestinal worm. The discovery is published in Cell Reports , and has significant
implications for our understanding of how the immune system responds to
The Intelligence of Nature and
Nurture- How Mamma's Hormones Effect Baby's Food
write-up by Science Daily from the
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, researchers explored the "role
of human milk hormones in the development of infants' microbiome, a bacterial
ecosystem in the digestive system that contributes to multiple facets of
A new study finds that hormones in
breast milk may impact the development of healthy bacteria in infants' guts,
potentially protecting them from intestinal inflammation, obesity and other
diseases later in life.
studied were insulin and leptin. The authors analyzed the stool samples of
thirty infants exclusively breastfed- 18 were from normal weight moms and 12
were from obese mom to determine the bacterial population and the metabolic
effects. They found the following:
In addition, researchers found
significant differences in the intestinal microbiome of breastfed infants who
are born to mothers with obesity compared to those born to mothers of normal
weight. Infants born to mothers with obesity showed a significant reduction in
gammaproteobacteria, a pioneer species that aids in normal intestinal
development and microbiome maturation.
Gammaproteobacteria have been shown in
mice and newborn infants to cause a healthy amount inflammation in their
intestines, protecting them from inflammatory and autoimmune disorders later in
life. The 2-week-old infants born to obese mothers in this study had a reduced
number of gammaproteobacteria in the infant gut microbiome.
some other noteworthy briefs:
The Microbe-Gene Connection Found in
study found a connection between a gene variation found in Crohn's disease
patients and a certain bug that modulates inflammation in the gut. The study
has implications for treatments that effect bacteria in our bellies versus
focusing on drugs, which have a poor efficacy rate for Crohn's disease.
According to this study summary by Science
Investigators found that the
beneficial effects of Bacteroides fragilis bacterium, one of billions of
microscopic organisms that normally inhabit the human gastrointestinal system,
were negatively impacted by variations in the ATG16L1 gene.
These genetic variations increase the
risk of developing Crohn's disease, one of the two common forms of IBD. As a
result, the bacteria were prevented from carrying out one of their critical
functions: suppressing inflammation of the intestinal lining...
"Given the low percentage of IBD
patients who respond to drugs directed at the immune system, these results
could point the way to improving treatment by identifying patients who might
best respond to manipulation of bacteria in their digestive tract," said
study co-author Stephan R. Targan, MD, director of the F. Widjaja Foundation
Inflammatory Bowel and Immunobiology Research Institute.
The Microbiome Transfer to the Next
gene-microbe interaction study, Science
A genome-wide association analysis of
over 1,000 twins in the UK supports that some parts of our microbiomes are
inherited and shaped--not through a spread of microbes from parent to child,
but through our genes. The results, revealing new examples of heritable
bacterial species--including those related to diet preference, metabolism, and
immune defense -- appear May 11 in Cell
Host & Microbe's special issue on the "Genetics and Epigenetics
of Host-Microbe Interactions."
the article abstract:
Repeat sampling of subjects showed
heritable taxa to be temporally stable. A candidate gene approach uncovered
associations between heritable taxa and genes related to diet, metabolism, and
olfaction. We replicate an association between Bifidobacterium and the lactase (LCT) gene locus and identify an association between the host
gene ALDH1L1 and the bacteria
SHA-98, suggesting a link between formate production and blood pressure.
Additional genes detected are involved in barrier defense and self/non-self
recognition. Our results indicate that diet-sensing, metabolism, and immune
defense are important drivers of human-microbiome co-evolution.
Finally....the Announcement of a New Gut
the HuMiX, and it supposedly works like the "real thing". Science Daily states:
Scientists have now proven that a
model of the human gut they have developed and patented -- HuMiX -- is
representative of the actual conditions and processes that occur within our
intestines. With HuMiX, the researchers can analyze the complex interactions
between human cells and bacteria, predict their effects on health or disease
onset, and study the action of probiotics and drugs.
microbiome has profound impacts on our health and disease risks. What I love
regarding research with the microbiota (our critter populations in and on our
body) and the microbiome (genes of the buggies) is that it proves there is a
connection between our environment and lifestyle (exposures, food choices,
exercise, stress, etc) by how both modulate these critters. Furthermore,
there's ways in which our genes can modulate our microbiota and how our
microbiome modulates our genetic expression. All of this research is proving
the important concept of personalized healthcare- not just our biochemical
individuality, but our unique bug blueprint as well!
Make sure to
read more on the new healthcare here.
'Bugs' as drugs: Harnessing novel gut bacteria for human health. Science Daily. May 4, 2016.
Hilary P. Browne,
Samuel C. Forster, Blessing O. Anonye, Nitin Kumar, B. Anne Neville, Mark D.
Stares, David Goulding, Trevor D. Lawley. Culturing of 'unculturable' human
microbiota reveals novel taxa and extensive sporulation. Nature, 2016; DOI: 10.1038/nature17645
EAWAG: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. Science Daily. May 9, 2016.
Stool Transplant Soothes Tough-to-Treat Colitis in Study. Health Day. May 23, 2016.
Immunization with a heat-killed preparation of the environmental
bacterium Mycobacterium vaccae promotes stress resilience in mice. PNAS. May
2016. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1600324113.
Cell Press. Antibiotics that kill gut bacteria also stop growth of new
brain cells. Science Daily. May 19, 2016.
The Skin Microbiome.
Dr. Kara Fitzgerald Web Site. April 14, 2016.
Your Healthy Skin Germs
Stay Put, Despite Cleaning-Findings suggest your 'microbial fingerprint' is
important to well-being. Health Day.
May 4, 2016.
Fédérale de Lausanne Intestinal worms boost immune system in a surprising way. Science Daily. May 5, 2016.
Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Breast
milk hormones found to impact bacterial development in infants' guts:
Intestinal microbiome of children born to obese mothers significantly different
from those born to mothers of healthy weight. Science Daily. May 4, 2016.
Medical Center. Genetic variants in
patients with crohn's disease prevent 'good' gut bacteria from working. Science Daily. May 6, 2016.
Cell Press. Twin
study finds that gut microbiomes run in families. Science Daily. May 11, 2016.
Goodrich, Emily R. Davenport, Michelle Beaumont, Matthew A. Jackson,
Rob Knight, Carole Ober, Tim D. Spector, Jordana T. Bell,
Andrew G. Clark, Ruth E. Ley. Genetic
Determinants of the Gut Microbiome in UK Twins. Cell Host
& Microbe, 2016; 19 (5): 731.
University of Luxembourg. New human microbiome research tool: Gut model
HuMiX works like the real thing. Science
Daily. May 11, 2016.
How Many People Really Are
I reviewed the various problems regarding the current diagnostics and estimates
of number of people affected by Lyme disease. As far as surveillance, the CDC lists
the limitations of their methods on their website which includes:
under-reporting, lack of state funds to classify and monitor cases, different
times of closing of estimates per year (between the CDC and different states), changes
in case definitions throughout the years, and surveillance by county of
residence, not county of exposure. (So, is it really 300,000?) Due to the fact that
our biodiversity of deer, rodents, and mammalian creatures is declining due to
our environmental fingerprint, we will probably see a continued rise in cases
in the years to come.
Then, There's the Issue of Testing...
This is a huge controversy. Actually, for any
diagnosis and lab use, there are issues with validity and reliability. I discussed
that more in previous blog (http://dr-lobisco.com/the-problem-with-lab-numbers-labels/).
According to one article in the Journal
of Clinical Microbiology (1999), the following issues crop up in diagnosis
using the CDC's two-tier diagnostic system for Lyme disease. These can occur within and among different labs on
the immunoblot testing due to:
- Subjective interpretation by the lab
extract validity (measurements vary with different forms of B. burgdorferi and different antigens
can be read and misinterpreted due to their same molecular mass)
- The expression of the antigen is related to how it is cultured in the lab and the growth
phase of the critter, this can vary between labs and specimens
argue that this method is meant to be for surveillance only. In fact, the National
Notifiable Disease Surveillance Data System for Lyme Disease (Borellia burgdorferi) CSTE Position
Statement(s) states on the CDC site, "This surveillance case definition was
developed for national reporting of Lyme disease; it is not intended to be used
in clinical diagnosis." (https://wwwn.cdc.gov/nndss/conditions/lyme-disease/case-definition/2011/)
The Diagnosis Issues and More
diagnosis of Lyme disease is based on a test that many feel is inadequate.
Furthermore, even if the tests were 100% valid and reliable, different people
have different immune responses. This makes one single test relating to one aspect
of the immune response lacking in usefulness for many. I discussed why this
critter is so hard to catch previously. Here is a review of these factors:
agents with entry of the tick saliva, making it hard to detect at "first
phase, and antigenic variation makes the critter the "master of
disguises" using unique mechanisms to evade antibiotics and the immune
system's detection. Furthermore, most tests only look for one species, but
different species with differing genetics can lead to different symptoms and
differing immune responses (Borellia
garini, Borellia afezlii, Borellia hammseli, Borellia miyamotoi)!!
some evidence that Borellia is
becoming resistant to antibiotics in vitro, meaning the bug may be getting
smarter to our attempts to kill it.
seclusion which means not only can spirochetes and bacteria change forms and
trick our immune system, they can also hide in our bodies by binding to certain
substances in the body. This makes them "invisible" to the immune
5. Borellia can
secrete proteins to adhere to cells and pierce through their walls so they can
"hibernate." Then, they come out of hiding when the immune system least
bug has become so smart it can go around iron poor environments and thrive on
manganese. It can also produce a DNA base critical for its survival!
read more about this in this blog,
where I gave a brief summary of Lyme disease, its complex and various symptoms
(it is known as "the great
mimicker"), the problem with its "posse" of co-infections, the controversy
with treatment, and the existence of chronic Lyme disease (which I get into more below).
there are some new methods and tests for Lyme disease which offer some promise.
These new methods are evaluating the person's genomics, searching for the actual protein in
the serum (verses the immune response to it), a urinary antigen test, and more. I
wrote about some
of these on this site here. This may help with finding the critter faster, which
could prevent chronic issues. However, will it help with treatment? I do not
know for sure.
you can see there are a lot of "issues" and many factors involved for one
little bugger, right?
The Big One... Controversy That Is...
of chronic Lyme disease, there is a schism about this that runs pretty deep in society
and in medicine. It ranges from indifference or lack of knowledge of the
disease to those afflicted and suffering hopelessly. On the medical forefronts,
there are many "Lyme literate physicians" (LLMDs) who have education in the chronicity
of Lyme disease and dig into the treatment and pathology of the critter
with antibiotics and other methods. The opposing position is one in which some
physicians feel that Lyme cannot be chronic and that other factors are at play
related to the symptoms:
These facts would seem to support
that individuals with different genetic variations and immune robustness will
respond differently to an infection with the spirochete. Still, the
Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) does not believe in chronic Lyme
and typically will not treat a Lyme patient beyond acute management. On the
other hand, the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS)
group does believe that Lyme can and often persists beyond a few weeks, and are
willing to treat someone beyond the four-week period. These two groups
represent the schism in LD and differ in treatment.27
According to Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious
Disease, the evidence for chronic Lyme Disease (CLD) is robust, 28-35
and recognizing it could facilitate efforts to avoid diagnostic delays of two
years and durations of illness 4.7-9 years...
the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also acknowledges a chronic form of Lyme
disease called "Post-Treatment Lyme
Disease Syndrome." Their website states here:
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also acknowledges a chronic form of Lyme
disease called "Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome." (http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/postlds/index.html)
The Power of Holism: A
Naturopathic and Functional Medicine Perspective
complexity in diagnosis, various symptomology, immune evasion by the critter,
and chronicity, many Lyme disease sufferers struggle with finding solutions and
physicians who will understand their concerns. My method is to treat the whole
person and balance their body, mind and spirit, not just go after the bug.
here to learn about a new model and integrative perspective on my homepage blog where I go into detail about treating the whole person versus killing the bug.
for Disease Control and Prevention. Lyme Disease. http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/
Clin Microbiol. 1999 Dec; 37(12): 3990-3996.
Infect Dis. 1997
Jul;25 Suppl 1:S31-4.
BMJ. 2007 Nov 3; 335(7626): 910-912. http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/resources/Halperin_2012_Chap4_JohnsonB.pdf
Dis Clin North Am.
2008 Jun; 22(2): 217-234.
APM: Immune Module. Lyme Disease. Rancho Mirage, CA. March 2015.
and Drug Resistance.
disease clinics of North America. 2008;22(2):217-234.
of Biological Chemistry, 2013.
ScienceDaily. March 21, 2013.
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As a New York State Licensed Aesthetician, New York State Licensed Nail Specialist, and the Director of Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa, Reisa combines her love of spa services and healing arts to achieve optimum skin and nail health, create greater overall wellness and bring forth our optimal, individual beauty.
"I believe that the day spa should be an instant getaway; a place that is quiet without being stuffy, relaxed, elegant and yet entirely comfy. You should feel warm and welcome, surrounded by people who care about you and what they are doing. This is the environment we strive to create at Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa. Here, you are never just the "next" number; we allow ample time for your services, offer a flexible schedule and can be reached after hours. After all, to me, spa craft is not really a business, it's a lifestyle."