I’m very excited to bring you this research study from my friend Dr. Emeran Mayer. It’s a very intriguing report that demonstrates not only how changes in the gut bacteria correlate with irritable bowel syndrome, but, in addition, how these changes in the gut bacteria correlate with the size of various brain areas.
In addition, the authors were able to correlate how the changes observed in the gut bacteria actually linked to early life trauma. This seemingly connected the dots between early life trauma and the observed differences in brain morphology.
I understand this may sound complicated, but hopefully the video will make this more understandable.
The prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is continuing to increase in the United States. Current data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that the prevalence of autism currently stands at 1 in 68 children, with incidence rates of 1 in every 42 boys and 1 in every 189 girls.
Without question, it’s been very difficult to try to determine what may be causing this virtual epidemic to be worsening over time. Over the past five years, researchers have been focusing their efforts in an attempt to relate risk for autism to events occurring not in the brain, but in the gut. Continue reading
I recently had the opportunity to interview Dr. Mark Plotkin, a renowned ethnobotanist who has spent almost three decades studying traditional plant use with the traditional healers of tropical America. Previously, he served as Research Associate in ethnobotanical conservation at the Botanical Museum of Harvard University and now serves as president of the Amazon Conservation Team, an organization dedicated to studying and raising global awareness of the ever-increasing rates of bio-diversity loss in the Amazon region.
Dr. Plotkin made it very clear to me that it is this diversity that allows the Amazon region to respond to changes in climate and other environmental pressures. He further revealed how the diversity of flora and fauna in the Amazon actually influences the health of the entire planet, providing a measure of resilience, or lack thereof, in terms of responding to environmental changes.
This interview really stuck with me. These concepts moved me, and resonated greatly with the understanding we have of what goes on within each and every one of us. Like the Amazon, we are, in great measure, very much dependent upon the diversity of the organisms that live within us. Diversity equals resilience. Continue reading
While it may not be currently approved by the FDA, or even a mainstream treatment in general, fecal transplant offers a powerful means of resetting the gut microbiome. By simply transplanting fecal matter from a healthy host to that of an individual suffering from one of any number of health concerns (from obesity to autism to multiple sclerosis), fecal transplant offers an opportunity to rebalance the gut microbiome, and sets the stage for a return to better health.
Antibiotics are an incredible, life-saving tool that we have in medicine. In fact, they are arguably one of the greatest medical discoveries of our time.
However, in America, we see injudicious use of antibiotics, not only in our own bodies, but in the animals that give us the food we eat. In fact, 70% of the antibiotics we use in America today are fed to livestock! Why is this something we should be worried about? Learn more in today’s video.
We are now learning that differences in the various species of bacteria that live within the intestines actually have a profound role in regulating metabolism. For example, researchers have demonstrated that when fecal material (rich in intestinal bacteria) from an obese human is transplanted into the colon of a normal laboratory rat, the animal will gain significant amounts of weight even though it’s diet remains unchanged.
One explanation for this phenomenon has to do with the idea that certain species of bacteria are actually able to extract more calories from food that is consumed. So transplanting these thrifty bacteria allows the animal to actually obtain a higher calorie delivery to its system, even though the diet wasn’t changed.
In fact, researchers have now characterized the complexion of the gut bacteria in humans associated with obesity in contrast to the gut bacteria found in lean individuals. Obese individuals have higher levels of one large class of bacteria called Firmicutes and lesser amounts of another large group, the Bacteroidetes bacteria. The reverse is true, by and large, in those who are lean.
What if I told you that your gut bacteria have a large role to play in levels of BDNF, or brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which acts like growth hormone for the brain? In this video we look at probiotic supplementation and other ways to stimulate this brain protective hormone.
Yes, it’s true! Simply by engaging in basic lifestyle adjustments like regular exercise and smart dietary adjustments, you can increase production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, in your body, which stimulates the healthful development and production of your brain.