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Its ALL About Your Gut!

Your gut

 Hygiene Hypothesis - we are "dummying down" our immunity systems!


The gut and bacteria: Microbiologists discovered that we are made up of 90 per cent bacteria. Nine out of every ten cells in our bodies are not human but belong to these microbial species (most of them residents of our gut)1. Your gastrointestinal (GI) tract is your first line of defence against bacterial and fungal toxins. By the time you reach early adulthood, your GI tract is populated by some 400+ species of bacteria weighing about 2kg! 2. Some research says only 15% of certain bacteria make it through the digestive acids. High concentrations (one to 10 billion) are commonly required to ensures that a sufficient number of friendly bacteria survive the very hostile stomach environment and end up in the lower intestine.
Gut feelings: The future of psychiatry may be inside your stomach. The right combination of stomach microbes could be crucial for a healthy mind.



1. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2339307/As-new-book-says-processed-food-killing-friendly-bacteria-gut--Can-eating-home-pickles-fight-infections--obesity.html#ixzz2mia1IX43


Inflammatory Models of Mental Illness: The Role for the Gut  
Working with this premise, where is the best place to begin when we consider how to modify inflammatory states in the body, naturally? You guessed it, it’s the gut. Housing >70% of our immune system, the gut is our interface between the outside and inside world, separated by one-cell-thickness. The resident microorganisms, outnumbering by 10:1 by our human body cells, develop an ecosystem through postnatal exposures, in the vaginal canal, through breastfeeding, and the immediate environment.  Disruption to the balance of bacteria through medication exposures, gluten, herbicides, stress, and infection can set the stage for the innate immune system to prepare for attack. Depression, associated with compromised integrity of this intestinal barrier, becomes the swirling storm of inflammation, impairment of cellular machinery (i.e. mitochondria), oxidative stress, and inflammation in a carousel-like forward rotation. Specifically, depression is associated with elevated levels of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a nutrient-binding, inflammatory toxin produced by bacteria that are intended to remain in the gut. If depression is a downstream collection of symptoms, and inflammation, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial dysfunction are driving these symptoms, what is at the source? It appears, from data in animals and humans, that disruption to our gut ecology may be a major player, and the microbiome has stepped to the forefront of cutting-edge psychiatric research.  
Enter psychobiotics: “a live organism that, when ingested in adequate amounts, produces a health benefit in patients suffering from psychiatric illness.”  A review by Dinan et al. encompasses the clinical basis for the use of probiotics in mental health with reference to animal studies in which behavioral changes resulted from exposure to bacterial strains such as bifidobacterium and lactobacillus. In placebo-controlled trials in humans, measures of anxiety, chronic fatigue, and depression and anxiety associated with irritable bowel syndrome.  
The therapeutic clinical applications of probiotics have been limited to a handful of strains out of the more than 7000 at last count. It appears that colonization is not an expected outcome of probiotic supplementation, and that genomic communication between bacteria and immune receptors may account for anti-inflammatory effects.  
Ancient Wisdom  
Given how little is known about therapeutic applications of different strains, it may make sense to defer to ancestral practices that confirm the importance of probiotic exposures. In these foods such as lactofermented kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut, and other traditional vegetables, microbes are acting on the food, and the food is then acting on our microbes.  
What do bacteria accomplish in the gut? Do they just help with digestion? According to Selhub et al., they:  

• Direct protection of the intestinal barrier;

• Influence on local and systemic antioxidant status, reduction in lipid peroxidation;

• Direct, microbial-produced neurochemical production, for example, gammaaminobutyric

acid (GABA);

• Indirect influence on neurotransmitter or neuropeptide production;

• Prevention of stress-induced alterations to overall intestinal microbiota;

• Direct activation of neural pathways between gut and brain;

• Limitation of inflammatory cytokine production;

• Modulation of neurotrophic chemicals, including brain-derived neurotrophic factor;

• Limitation of carbohydrate malabsorption;

• Improvement of nutritional status, for example, omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, dietary


• Limitation of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth;

• Reduction of amine or uremic toxin burden;

• Limitation of gastric or intestinal pathogens (for example, Helicobacter pylori);

• Analgesic properties. 

Given widespread fermentation practices in traditional cultures, it appears that this dietary wisdom may serve to ameliorate gut-based inflammation and promote optimal nutrient assimilation as described in this review: “Traditional dietary practices have completely divergent effects of blood LPS levels; significant reductions (38%) have been noted after a one-month adherence to a prudent (traditional) diet, while the Western diet provokes LPS elevations .” In addition to increasing bioavailability and production of minerals, neurochemicals, and fatty acids, fermented foods actually produce methylfolate, an activated form of folate required for methylation: brain chemical synthesis, detox, and gene expression. Because of the complex coevolution of bacterial strains, cultivated through our food supply, and complementary to our inner microbiomes, we have an opportunity to use therapeutic foods to reeducate an immune system that has been drawn off course. Psychobiotics have the potential to modulate multiple different relevant factors at once: “This could manifest, behaviorally, via magnified antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, reduction of intestinal permeability and the detrimental effects of LPS, improved glycemic control, positive influence on nutritional status (and therefore neurotransmission and neuropeptide production), direct production of GABA, and other bioactive chemicals, as well as a direct role in gut-to-brain communication via a beneficial shift in the intestinal microbiota itself.”.

It is therefore compelling to consider the power of reconnecting to the natural world through our food; communicating through our guts to our brains, that nutrients are plentiful, our bodies are safe, and that our inflammatory systems can be put at ease. It is under these circumstances that the infinite complexity of the endocrine, immune, and gastrointestinal systems can play out, unhindered in support of mental health and wellness.



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Probiotics as Foundational Supplements



Probiotics have in recent years been drawing a great deal of attention not only from the scientific community but also from the press at large, and for good reason. Research has shown that these friendly microorganisms, which have been traditionally associated with the digestive category, offer so many more health benefits than could have been ever imagined. They play a role in immunity, cardiovascular health, cancer, weight regulation and of course digestive health to name a few. As important as their role may be in health maintenance unless you use a quality probiotic and ideally pair it with a prebiotic you may not be getting all the benefits you hoped for.

 The number and diversity of microbes in our gut is astounding.  The small intestine has per gram of fluid contents between 1 thousand to 1 million bacteria. The number jumps exponentially in the large intestine to between 100 million to 100 billion per gram of contents. There are between 400 to 500 different species that are known and they weigh between 3 to 4 lbs. Thirty percent of the solid matter that makes up your feces is in fact bacteria1. As if these numbers weren’t hard enough to imagine it’s hard to believe there are 100 times more good bacteria in our intestines than cells in our body!

 Where do we get our probiotics? There are two principal sources; fermented foods and probiotic supplements. Fermented foods have been around for thousands of years. Over 3500 years ago fermented milk was already being consumed. Aside from fermented dairy foods like yogurt fermented vegetables have also been around for a very long time; sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, kefir & kombucha to name a few. Not only do fermented foods provide benefits by way of their probiotics but they also provide metabolites produced by these probiotics and often the foods themselves are rich in bioavailable nutrients, phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, etc.

 Although probiotic supplements don’t have the long standing history that fermented foods do they offer some very unique advantages. For starters you can closely control the dose in supplement form. This is not possible with fermented foods and in fact several studies have proven that many of today’s commercial yoghurts contain either too little or no active probiotics despite label claims. When using a probiotic from a quality manufacturer you can be assured of its potency. In fact quality probiotics should state their minimum potency at expiration. With probiotic supplements you can choose specific therapeutic strains. One other obvious advantage of fermented foods is the portability of supplemental probiotics.

 We know how many microbes reside in our gut and how we can get them there but when were we first exposed to probiotics? It should be noted that a mother’s womb is a relatively sterile environment as is the gut of a baby before birth. So how does first exposure occur; the answer is when the newborn passes through birth canal (i.e. vaginal canal)? Further exposure occurs from breast milk (largely probiotics of the genera Lactobacillus). This raises the important question, what of infants born by C-section? Numerous studies have proven that children born by way of C-section are often at greater risk of health complications than babies born via the birth canal. Atopic diseases like eczema and asthma are more prevalent as are allergies later in life. The bacteria that first colonize the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) are the ones that stay with you for life. This reinforces the need for breast feeding and supplementation when c-sections are performed.

 Whereas probiotics are good for our health pathogens are the polar opposite. These microbes infect the host and bring about disease or illness. Examples would include C. difficile, Candida albicans, E. coli (specific strains), Salmonella, H. pylori, etc. One of the important roles of “friendly” microbes is to keep these bad microbes (pathogens) in check. This is accomplished by a number of cleaver means. Probiotics can produce lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide & acetic acid. These compounds acidify the intestines keeping harmful bacteria at bay. Bacteriocins are also naturally produced and these act as antibiotics that kill pathogenic microbes. Surfactants are also produced and these compounds keep pathogens from adhering to the intestinal wall.

 When too many pathogens are present in the GIT dysbiosis is the net result. There are numerous reasons why someone may suffer from dysbiosis; poor diet & digestion, weakened immune function, chronic constipation, and likely the biggest offender antibiotics. A 2 week course of high dose antibiotics can decimate your normal gut microbes.  Symptoms of dysbiosis include fatigue, flatulence, poor complexion, inability to lose weight and constipation/diarrhea to name a few.

 Some of the documented benefits of probiotics were mentioned in the first paragraph but there are so many more conditions that can benefit from supplementation; eczema and psoriasis, uritogenital infections, crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, leaky gut syndrome, lactose intolerance, and even mood and behavior!

 With all the benefits that one can derive from probiotics it’s once again important to remember that not all probiotics are of the same quality as has been demonstrated in several published studies. Look for a probiotic that provides complete protection (oral, small/large intestine and vaginal support).Look for multi strain formulas, these have been shown to be more protective than single strain formulas. Look for human sourced microbes. Unlike dairy and vegetable strains only human strains can adhere to the lining of the gut. All others are transient and therefore don’t provide the same degree of protection. Look for a formula that is potent. Ensure the product uses all the known means of ensuring both potency and stability (cryoprotection, addressing moisture, heat and oxidation).  All species should be both acid & bile salt tolerant.

 Probiotics should not be seen as a once in a while supplement especially given today’s environment and poor dietary habits. Leading authorities have gone on record stating that probiotics should be thought of as daily foundational supplements. This was best said by Dr. Michael L. McCann “Probiotics will be to medicine in the 21st century what antibiotics & microbiology were in the 20th.”

By: Nelson Narciso Categorized in: Health & Wellness ArticlesTags: Probiotics

About the Author

Nelson Narciso is recognized as one of Canada’s leading sports nutrition educators and is a frequent speaker at holistic conventions, holistically oriented institutions, high schools, colleges and for amateur and professional athletes and sports teams across Canada.




{In a nutshell, dummied down specially for normal folk like me}: Calcium and minerals are in our saliva to remineralize teeth but if our mouths have sugar and too much bacteria where the pH is too low then demineralization occurs as there is too much acid in our mouth. Saliva is always trying to buffer our civic mouth to make it a pH of close to seven. When it is a base pH remineralization occurs. It all comes down to chemistry…
Sherry Priebe, RDH, BDSc, MSc.
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Fermentation Support Forum

Is It Possible to Get Too MUCH Fermented Food in Your Diet? http://bodyecology.com/articles/too_much_fermented_food.php#.VO5ZKkZ0zZ5
One Mouthful of Delicious Sauerkraut = 1 Bottle of Probiotics!?


When to eat probiotic foods for maximum benefit: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/should-probiotics-be-taken-before-during-or-after-meals/
Healthy Gut Flora Could Prevent Obesity, Rat Study Suggests:



Early Gut Bacteria Regulate Happiness: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120612115812.htm
Tending the Body’s Microbial Garden: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/19/science/studies-of-human-microbiome-yield-new-insights.html?_r=3&pagewanted=1&hp&
Your Inner Ecosystem: (This is a 45-minute radio program on NPR.) http://onpoint.wbur.org/2012/06/20/bacteria-2 
Complex World of Gut Microbes Fine-Tune Body Weight: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120606102710.htm
Wider Variety of Bacteria on Skin Discourages Mosquitos:


How Your Microbiome May Affect Your Mood:


Microbiome: How bugs may be crucial to your health:


Viewpoint: How do our bacteria help us?: This would be a good one to share with family & friends who don't understand why you're eating all that "weird food." Less scientific and an easier read.)  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15356016
Probiotics may hold key to improving mental health | CTV News http://www.ctvnews.ca/mobile/health/health-headlines/probiotics-may-hold-key -to-improving-mental-health-1.2212893
Gut Health from a GI-focused Naturopath's perspective: http://www.drmattnd.com/articlesinformation/articlesinformation.html#.UPbfpic0WSo
Exploring The Invisible Universe That Lives On Us — And In Us (Beautifully animated short video!) http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/11/01/242361826/exploring-the-invisible-universe-that-lives-on-us-and-in-us
Soil Microbes And Human Health – Learn About The Natural Antidepressant In Soil http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/antidepressant-microbes-soil.htm
Stomach acid good for you: 3 tests http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/3-tests-for-low-stomach-acid/
about acid and your teeth http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/oral-care/procedures/remineralization-of-teeth.htm
An apple is worse for your teeth than a fizzy drink | Daily Mail Online http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2046847/An-apple-worse-teeth-fizzy -drink.html#ixzz3Q3DkwAoj
What to eat to keep your teeth - Delta Dental http://www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/nutrition.html
Mouth-Healthy Eating http://www.colgateprofessional.com/patient-education/articles/mouth-healthy- eating
Crazy Herb Lady: Vinegar Craving http://herbal-lady.blogspot.ca/2012/10/vinegar-craving.html?m=1
You And Your Gut Flora | Paleo Leap http://paleoleap.com/you-and-your-gut-flora/
What is GAPS? | Loving Our Guts http://www.lovingourguts.com/what-is-gaps-2/
Why Yogurt and Probiotics Make You Fat and Foggy | Bulletproof https://www.bulletproofexec.com/why-yogurt-and-probiotics-make-you-fat-and-f oggy/
Food allergy vs. food intolerance: What's the difference? - Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/food-allergy/expert-answers/fo od-allergy/faq-20058538
Most Plastic Products Release Estrogenic Chemicals: A Potential Health Problem That Can Be Solved http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3222987/
Fermenting for Foodies | where good food comes to those who ferment http://www.fermentingforfoodies.com/
Are Kombucha and Other Fermented Foods Toxic Because of Their Aldehyde Content? http://alifeunprocessed.blogspot.se/2012/05/lacto-fermented-dandelion-soda.html?m=1


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Debunking the Botulism Fear


Food Preservation


Fermented fruits and vegetables. A global perspective. Table of contents. Produced by:  Agriculture and Consumer Protection of the United Nations


Stomach acid good for you: 3 tests http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/3-tests-for-low-stomach-acid/
Beta hcl http://scdlifestyle.com/2013/10/4-common-betaine-hcl-mistakes/
Sodium Nitrate Vs. Sodium Nitrite