A woman suffering from a Clostridium Bacteria infection, which causes severe diarrhoea and abdominal pain.
Received a faecal Microbiota transport, and yes it is exactly how it sounds. A poop transplant.
After a somewhat awkward transplant, it resulted in a tremendous success.
All of the woman's ailments were cured and she was free from all previous pain.
However, the successful transplant left behind one particular side effect. Over a period of 16 months, the woman gained 34 pounds.
And this happened despite persistent diet and exercise efforts. She even went on a medically supervised liquid protein diet and still could not get the weight off.
In this case, the woman's donor was her 16 years old overweight, but otherwise healthy daughter.
Could it be that the bacteria present in her daughter, was making it more difficult for her to lose the weight? Despite all her efforts?
A study seemed to confirm this, where it's been found that transplanting the microbiota of lean mice into other mice actually prevents them from gaining weight.
So it looks like a microbiota transplant can transplant body types, but what about Your personality?
Your body has approximately 1000 different species of microbes that live within Your body.
The bacteria that reside within you actually outnumber your human cells ten to one.
And the importance of their function is becoming more apparent as we learn more things about them.
However its very difficult to see how tiny microbes within your gut influence your cognition and brain function.
The relationship between the microbes that populate your gut and how your brain operates becomes apparent when we take these microbes out.
Scientists observing microbe-free mice, living in sterile environments, quickly noticed that these mice have personality traits that are very different from other mice with gut-microbes functioning normally.
The microbe-free mice were found to be more prone to taking risks. And freely explored their environment without hesitation.
Risk-taking might be good if you are a young entrepreneur, but the kind of risk these mice engage in leaves them susceptible to predators.
The mice begin roaming freely without abandon, out in the open. An excellent strategy for quickly getting killed.
Not only are the mice unusually reckless, scientists also noted that these microbe-free mice have many memory-related defects.
The book "The Good Gut" by Erica and Justin Sonnenburg describe how a group of researchers put normal and microbe-free mice through some memory tests.
First, the mice were given five minutes to explore two new objects. A small ring, and a large checkered ring.
Then the objects were removed for 20 minutes.
After that, the large checkered ring and a new object, a star-shaped cookie cutter, were put in the cages.
Predictably, the mice with normal microbiota checked out the cookie cutter and paid less attention to the checkered ring.
Because they already knew what it was.
However, the Microbiota free mice explored the new cookie cutter but spent just as much time checking out the old object.
It seemed that these mice had completely forgotten an object they had just seen twenty minutes earlier.
The forgetfulness of in these mice may be caused by the fact that the microbe-free mice have lower levels of BDNF.
BDNF or Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor is a powerful protein important for learning and memory.
It stimulates the production of new brain cells and strengthens existing ones. Low levels of BDNF are linked to depression and anxiety.
In 2011 a research group at MacMaster University did an experiment with two different types of lab mice.
One type had a personality that was the mouse equivalent of anxious, and the other type was sociable and extroverted.
To set a metric for how nervous the mice were, They put them on an elevated platform and recorded how long it would take them to step down.
The mice with the anxious personality spent on average four and a half minutes, slowly and carefully making their way off the platform.
The extraverted mice, on the other hand, jump down in seconds.
Then the scientist switched the microbiota of the two types of mice and did the test again.
The mice with the extroverted personality, After receiving the Microbes of the anxious mice, now took over a minute to get off the platform.
And on the other hand, After getting the microbiota of the extraverted mice, the anxious mice got off the platform a whole minute quicker.
What this group showed was that their Behaviour patterns and levels of anxiety were dependent on which microbes were present in their gut.
One other thing, remember BDNF, The protein that we should like to have more of for better brain function?
Well, turns out the microbiota switch that made the more anxious mice confident.
Also increased their levels of BDNF.
The change in microbiota not only made observable changes in behaviour but chemical changes in the brain as well.
In fact, there are all kinds of chemistry going on in the gut that can affect the brain.
There is even research Identifying which microbes Produce which neurotransmitters.
For example, it is estimated that 90% of our serotonin Is produced in the gut, and it's been found that some of this serotonin is produced by four microbes specifically.
Candida, Streptococcus, Escherichia, Entrococcus.
Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, found in fermented drinks like Kefir and Kombucha, produce something remarkable called Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid or GABA for short.
GABA a chief inhibitory Neurotransmitter has Significant relaxing and anti-anxiety effects.
Bacillus and Serratia produce a motivation Euro transmitter, Dopamine.
So we basically have this mass of little Drug factories sitting in our gut pumping out different substances that affect our brain.
In fact, the gut and its microbes appear to affect the brain so much that preclinical research in rodents suggests that probiotics have antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects.
Probiotics are basically substances you can take orally to stimulate the growth of microbes.
One study found that Bifidobacterium containing probiotics had antidepressant effects on par with the antidepressant drug citalopram.
I used to think that the only benefit of fibre was that it helped you poop However considering Dietary fibre isn't food for us But for are microbes.
A diet rich in fibre from a variety of sources should also be good for our mental health.
This information about the gut microbiome makes you start to wonder how many mental afflictions can be traced back to disruptions in Gut Health.
For example, a diet rich in Fibreless, processed foods, refined carbohydrates, or the unmitigated use of antibiotics. These examples cause absolute havoc to the health of your microbiome. And this could be the cause of so many mental afflictions we see today.
Antibiotics can be a Lifesaver when absolutely necessary. However, Wide Spectrum antibiotic doesn't just Kill the offending bacteria. But all essential kinds of bacteria get caught in the Crossfire too.
This is like poisoning your cat while trying to exterminate cockroaches.
In the United States alone, tens of millions of people are prescribed antibiotics for minor Afflictions.
60%- 80% of children taken to the doctor complaining of a bad sore throat or sore ear will walk out with an antibiotic.
It's estimated that people will Take 30 courses of antibiotics before the age of 40.
But the highest prescription rate was for children under the age of 2.
1365 courses of antibiotics are prescribed to just 1000 babies.
Could all these antibiotics affect young gut microbiome and brain development? The research seems to suggest so.
A 2012 paper By Dr Derek Macfabe describes what happens to rats when they are injected with something called Propionic acid or PPA.
The PPA caused peculiar changes in the rat's brains.
Neuroinflammation increased, as well severe oxidative stress and glutathione depletion.
The rats began to display abnormal movements. Repetitive interests, Cognitive defects and impaired Social interactions.
Basically, the results of these injections were very similar to Autism Spectrum Disorders.
And PPA is a fermentation Product of bacteria namely Desulfovibrio Bacterioidetes and Clostridia.
It was found that patients with autism Have more species of the clostridia bacterium living in their gut. And have high levels of PPA in their faeces.
It is estimated that in one-third of patients Autism doesn't show up until 18-24 months.
Several reports from parents say that their children were developing normally until they received antibiotics.
According to Dr Sydney Finegold, Antibiotics wipe out or suppress several organisms in the gut.
But clostridia is one of the ones that persist.
A CBC Program titled the autism enigma features a woman who explains how her Son's behaviour changed drastically after six courses of antibiotics over a two and half month period.
After which he was diagnosed with severe autism.
She eventually came across information about clostridia bacteria and discovered an antibiotic called Vancomycin.
It was specifically designed to target the Clostridia Bacteria.
After she finally found a doctor who was willing to test her theory they tried the antibiotic. And it had impressive effects.
Within a matter of just a few weeks, her son became calm,
he was aware of his environment again and was completing puzzles for the first time.
The antibiotic brought improvements to the child that was temporary but significant.
These results brought about further studies.
It was discovered that out of ten children treated with vancomycin, eight of them had temporary but significant improvements in their symptoms.
This idea that autism could be the result of a disturbed gut is gathering more and more Data.
A narrow gut ecosystem would also explain the very common Gastrointestinal issues Autistic children suffer from.
It is estimated that 70% of children with autism have gastrointestinal issues.
Autism is just one of the Disorders that can be linked To a disruption in Gut Health.
And research on the gut microbiome Is growing quickly.
To say the gut microbiome is important to health is the understatement of the year.
Dr Martin Blaser Says that losing your entire microbiome would be nearly as bad as losing your kidneys or liver.
However, unlike your kidneys or liver, your microbiome can be changed with what you put in your mouth.
I guess Hippocrates knew what he was talking about when he said all disease begins in the gut. And let food be thy medicine.
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