One of the most common questions I am asked, both when I am lecturing as well as on social media, focuses on the length of time it takes to change a person’s gut bacteria after dietary changes are made. Many would assume that these changes, which represent an adaptation of the gut microbes to a new diet, might take weeks or months. No doubt, people are anxious to know the answer to this question as they are becoming more and more aware of the critically important role of our gut microbes in determining our general health, weight, and risk for diseases including diabetes, arthritis, coronary artery disease, and even cancer.
In a recent study authored by Harvard researcher Lawrence David, the diets of six males and four females between the ages of 21 and 33 were manipulated in various ways. The subjects maintained a specific change in their diets for four days and assessments of their gut bacteria were made while on a new diet for six days thereafter. Continue reading
So much attention is focused, and rightfully so, on the emerging role of the human microbiome as it relates to our health as well as our risk for disease. But keep in mind that microorganisms permeate the entire biosphere. Bacteria are found in the highest reaches of our atmosphere all the way down to the depths of the ocean. And as we are now learning, just as they do in humans, they play an important role in the health and functionality of these ecosystems as well.
In today’s video, I explore a broad view of the idea of the microbiome well beyond the anthropocentric.
We hear more and more concern about the impact glyphosate, the lead ingredient in RoundUp, is having on the microbiome. While correlation does not mean causation, and while some of the science on this issue is still evolving, what we can say is that it does change the balance of the bacteria in the microbiome, setting the stage for leaky gut and autoimmune disease.
New and exciting research is revealing a strong connection between our mood and the various bacteria that live within our intestines. This is certainly a sobering notion. Think of it: the bacteria living within the digestive system are, to some degree, involved in determining whether we are happy, sad, anxious or even depressed.
In a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, researchers in the Netherlands explored the idea that changing the array of bacteria in the gut by giving a multispecies probiotic supplement could have an effect on mood. The study provided the probiotic to 20 healthy individuals, none of whom had a mood disorder, over a four week period. A similar group of 20 individuals received a placebo over the same period. At the conclusion of the study, both groups underwent an evaluation to determine their reactivity, in terms of cognitive function, to sad mood. This is a fairly standard research tool that assesses depression. Continue reading
Brain Maker, as well as Grain Brain, places a focus on healthy fat consumption, which sometimes can be difficult for vegans and vegetarians. Frequently, questions come in about how to adapt this type of lifestyle for people who follow a vegan/vegetarian diet. The good news? It’s easy to customize the recommendations of Brain Maker to be vegan or vegetarian-friendly, and, even better, some of the most important foods in Brain Maker are already such!
In this video interview with Johns Hopkins gastroenterologist Dr. Gerard Mullin, we explore the fascinating relationship between gut bacteria and our general health as well as the pivotal role of changes in the microbiome in obesity. There’s a lot of actionable information that Dr. Mullin provides that will help you make lifestyle changes for better health.
Visit a grocery store or vitamin shoppe today, and you’ll instantly be overwhelmed by the myriad probiotic supplements available to you. With so many different types of probiotic strains and different brands, it may be hard to determine which is best for you.
My advice: focus on the five key Lactobaccilus and Bifidobacterium strains I identify as key in Brain Maker, and look for a supplement that has anywhere from 10-50 billion units/capsule.
Watch this video for more advice on probiotics, including the best conditions for consumption.
In this video interview with Dr. Derrick MacFabe we discuss the fascinating new research that connects changes in gut bacteria to autism spectrum disorder. Dr. MacFabe is on the leading edge of this research so I hope you find this interview as intriguing as I did.
Frequently, I see members of this community write in with concerns on how taking an antibiotic may be disrupting the balance of their gut microbiome. Certainly, this is a valid concern, as even the word’s root definition troublingly means “against life.” In today’s video, find my advice for how protect the delicate balance of your microbiome while on antibiotic, the very same strategies I use when I find myself on one.
If you’ve read Brain Maker, than you understand how important probiotics are for your health. They play a key role in helping you build the balanced gut microbiome that facilitates optimal health. Beyond just a probiotic supplement though, fermented foods are a natural way for your to work probiotics into your diet, and the options are both plentiful and enjoyable. From kimchi to sauerkraut to, in fact, pickles, fermented foods are a nutritional powerhouse that should work their way onto your plate at your next meal.