It’s hard to believe how “new” the idea of a healthy microbiome was back when I wrote my book, Boost Your Health with Bacteria, a decade ago.
It was around the same time that the National Institutes of Health first launched the Human Microbiome Project—with the goal of mapping the components of a healthy microbiome, and pinpointing the diseases associated with it.
And now, scientists are working hard on the project’s second phase. In fact, they have been since 2013. And things are really starting to heat up, with new reports on the specific mechanisms behind gut bacteria’s role in disease coming in by the day.
So let’s dive right into the latest updates…
Imbalance triggers inflammation
Researchers from Harvard and MIT teamed up to bring us this new study—the first to show the actual biochemical processes behind microbiome disruption and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Not to be confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), IBD includes chronic conditions like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, which are disease processes driven by immune dysfunction. The main goal of the study was to identify the exact role that changes in the microbiome play in fueling IBD.
The team’s work confirmed previous findings—linking IBD to lower microbial diversity, and disruptions in the balance of gut bacteria responsible for inflammatory responses. But new tools allowed these researchers to take things a step further and identify why these changes took place.
For one thing, results showed that IBD sufferers have fewer bacterially-generated chemical metabolites in their guts during disease flare-ups.
This could be for a variety of reasons—including lower levels of good bacteria, poor nutrient absorption, and greater frequency in urgent bowel movements. Ultimately, the result was a destabilization of the gut’s ecosystem… and an accompanying increase in inflammation.
The researchers also found that, when IBD patients were symptomatic, they had lower levels of vitamins B5 and B3 than people without IBD.
This was particularly interesting to me. Because long before we ever really knew that much about gut health, I would always give pantethine—which is the more absorbable form of B5—to my patients with any IBD-related disorder.
And now, I know exactly why it contributed to their improvement.
The right way to restore your gut
The gut microbiome plays host to trillions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Every person is working with a different setup… but the effects of disruption are universally damaging.
Gut bacteria plays a key role in a number of major diseases. IBD is just one of them, affecting more than three million people worldwide, and counting.
Not to mention, this study only looked at a handful of common bowel disorders. So you can just imagine the kind of information we’ll end up with once researchers really start to widen their focus…
In the meantime, here’s what we know: Different forms of IBD have distinct effects on the composition and activity of your gut’s microbial population.
This study looked at everything from polyunsaturated fatty acids and bile acid derivatives, to immune response pathways, in order to arrive at that conclusion. Unfortunately, researchers were also clear about the ultimate goal here—which is, of course, to develop new drugs.
And honestly, what else did you expect? For all of the interest sparked by this “new” holistic way of understanding disease, it’s hard to imagine American medicine ever being anything but myopic and profit-hungry.
Yes, patients in the throes of disease deserve fast relief from treatments that actually work. But the bottom line to healing your gut boils down to what you eat and drink. So there’s no reason to sit back and suffer while you wait for new treatments to come along—especially if they’re expensive and laden with side effects.
Be proactive about your diet and supplement program and you’ll feel like a brand-new person. It may sound too simple to be true—but I assure you, in most cases, that’s really all it takes.
In fact, I devoted significant portions of the March and April 2019 issues of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives, to this very topic. Subscribers have access to these articles, and more, in my archives.
So if you haven’t yet, I urge you to sign up today. Because I’d love for you to see for yourself what a difference microbiome rehab can make.
“How microbiome is disrupted during IBD: Human Microbiome Project.” Science Daily, 05/29/2019. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190529131202.htm)