By Sayer Ji
Could bacteria and related microbes, widely believed to be a primary cause of disease, explain how we are capable of surviving through the self-created chemical nightmare of industrialized society?
Environmental chemical exposures number in the tens of thousands among industrialized populations. Our water, air, food, and now bodies, are saturated through with xenobiotic chemicals (compounds foreign to our biochemistry) most of which did not even exist on the planet before the industrial revolution of the late 19th century. The problem of their bioaccumulation is so severe that one autopsy study performed back in 1985 when things were arguably better, revealed that 48% of the livers and 46% of the spleens of the 465 autopsies analyzed showed signs of mineral-oil induced lipogranuloma.
Remarkably, our bodies are equipped with detoxification systems (such as the cytochrome P450 superfamily of enzymes), whose intelligent design makes it possible to degrade chemicals that did not even exist at the time in the distant past that these elaborate enzyme systems evolved – almost as if we were predesigned to be able to survive the burgeoning, geometrically expanding chemical onslaught of the past century.
Eventually, however, our elaborate and resilient detoxification systems become overloaded, which naturally leads to the emergence of acute and chronic diseases – diseases that the conventional medical establishment often pretends do not have an environmental origin, and therefore are treated by suppressing symptoms of poisoning with new, patented toxicants and biologicals known as pharmaceuticals. This approach has resulted in our becoming the sickest organism ever known to inhabit the Earth.
Thankfully, we are not alone. We have helpers all around and within us. Friendly bacteria (and beneficial yeast), with which we co-evolved, and have formed symbiotic alliances with, with cells numbering in the trillions. It has been proposed that our very definition of self should be updated to include these “others,” and that humans are truly a “meta-organism.” This is no metaphor, because if you take away these bacteria, we die. Learn more on the topic by reading my essay How The Microbiome Destroyed the Ego, Vaccine Policy, and Patriarchy.
In order to bring this relationship into clearer focus, let us look at a few things these bacteria do for us, that we aren’t very good at doing for ourselves:
- Perchlorate Toxicity – perchlorate is an ingredient in jet fuel and fireworks that widely contaminates the environment and our food. It is now found in disturbing concentrations in breast milk and urine, and is a well-known endocrine disrupter capable of blocking the iodine receptor in the thyroid, resulting in hypothyroidism and concomitant neurological dysfunction. A recent study found that the beneficial bacterial strain known as Bifidobacterium Bifidum is capable of degrading perchlorate, and that breast fed infants appear to have lower levels than infant formula fed babies due to the breast milk bacteria’s ability to degrade perchlorate through the perchlorate reductase pathway.[i]
- Pesticide Toxicity – Lactic acid bacteria strains isolated from the fermented cabbage dish known in Korean culture as kimchi were shown capable of degrading four different organophosphorous insecticides using these poisons as a source of carbon and phosphorus.[ii] [iii]
- Vaccine-Toxicity – As we have documented in depth in the past, the unintended adverse health effects of vaccines often far exceed their purported benefits. This is especially true for so-called “attenuated” live vaccines, such as oral polio vaccine, which have recently been linked to tens of thousands of cases of childhood vaccine-induced paralysis in countries like India. Oral Saccharomyces boulardii, a beneficial form of yeast, has been found in an animal model to prevent oral polio vaccine-induced IgA nephropathy, a form of immune-mediated kidney damage. [iv] Additionally, probiotic bacteria have been found to positively regulate the two poles of immunity (TH1/TH2), which vaccines often upset by inducing hypersensitization via over-activation of the adaptive/humoral (TH2) pole of immunity.[v]
- Bisphenol-A Toxicity – Bisphenol A is an omnipresent petrochemically-derived toxicant with endocrine-disrupting properties. It has been shown to accumulate in the human body, and has been linked to a wide range of health problems. Bifidobacterium breve and Lactobacillus casei have been found in the animal model to both reduce the intestinal absorption of BPA and facilitating its excretion.[vi]
- Chemotherapy Toxicity – No chemical category is more fraught with life-threatening risks than chemotherapy – ironic, considering it is used to treat already terribly sick people. Some chemo-agents, such as the nitrogen mustard class, are so toxic that they bear chemical weapons designations, and are banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention. There is evidence that the probiotic Bifidobacterium breve is capable of reducing the adverse effects on immune health induced by chemo-agents.[vii]
- Aspirin Toxicity – Some chemicals we eat prophylactic ally, like aspirin, despite the fact that they cause small bowel injury and other serious adverse health effects. Even though aspirin’s adverse health effects far outweigh by number its purported health benefits, millions take it on a daily basis without full knowledge of how it is affecting them. The bacteria known as Lactobacillus casei has been found to decrease the mucosal damage done by aspirin.[viii]
- Sodium Nitrate Toxicity – Many foods today are preserved with nitrates, which may form DNA-damaging nitrosamines. Lactic acid bacteria extracted from kimchi have been found to degrade sodium nitrate.[ix]
- Gluten Toxicity – Wheat has increasingly been identified as a contributing factor in a wide range of health problems; research on 300 potential adverse health effects can be found in our Wheat Toxicity Database. It has been known for some time that longer duration of breastfeeding (a plentiful source of probiotics) is associated with a delayed onset of celiac disease. It is possible that breast milk probiotics may have something to do with this.[x] Bifidobacteria may reduce the immuntoxic properties of gluten peptides by further degrading them into non-toxic peptides.[xi] Interestingly, the oral cavity has recently been found to contain bacteria capable of degrading gluten, indicating there may be other gluten-degrading microorganisms within the upper gastro-intestinal tract, and that thoroughly chewing your food would reduce the potential antigenicity/immunotoxicity of wheat gluten peptides.[xii]
These are only a few examples of the health benefits of probiotics and related microbes, with special consideration towards reducing the adverse health effects of chemicals and toxins. There are hundreds of additional health benefits of probiotics that we have indexed, now numbering over 200, with three dozen distinct beneficial mechanisms of action that have been characterized, e.g. anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, immunodulatory, etc.
To gain deeper insight into how the microbiome profoundly extends our genetic capabilities read my essay How The Microbiome Make Us “Supra Human.“
- [i] C Phillip Shelor, Andrea B Kirk, Purnendu K Dasgupta, Martina Kroll, Catrina A Campbell, Pankaj K Choudhary. Breastfed infants metabolize perchlorate. Environ Sci Technol. 2012 May 1 ;46(9):5151-9. Epub 2012 Apr 20. PMID: 22497505
- [ii] Kye Man Cho, Reukaradhya K Math, Shah Md Asraful Islam, Woo Jin Lim, Su Young Hong, Jong Min Kim, Myoung Geun Yun, Ji Joong Cho, Han Dae Yun . Biodegradation of chlorpyrifos by lactic acid bacteria during kimchi fermentation. J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Mar 11;57(5):1882-9. PMID: 19199784
- [iii] Shah Md Asraful Islam, Renukaradhya K Math, Kye Man Cho, Woo Jin Lim, Su Young Hong, Jong Min Kim, Myoung Geun Yun, Ji Joong Cho, Han Dae Yun. Organophosphorus hydrolase (OpdB) of Lactobacillus brevis WCP902 from kimchi is able to degrade organophosphorus pesticides. J Agric Food Chem. 2010 May 12;58(9):5380-6. PMID: 20405842
- [iv] Alper Soylu, Sema Berkta?, Sülen Sario?lu, Güven Erbil, Osman Yilmaz, Belde K Demir, Yahya Tufan, Didem Ye?ilirmak, Mehmet Türkmen, Salih Kavukçu. Saccharomyces boulardii prevents oral-poliovirus vaccine-induced IgA nephropathy in mice. Pediatr Nephrol. 2008 Aug;23(8):1287-91. Epub 2008 Apr 30. PMID: 18446380
- [vi] Kenji Oishi, Tadashi Sato, Wakae Yokoi, Yasuto Yoshida, Masahiko Ito, Haruji Sawada. Effect of probiotics, Bifidobacterium breve and Lactobacillus casei, on bisphenol A exposure in rats. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2008 Jun;72(6):1409-15. Epub 2008 Jun 7. PMID: 18540113
- [vii] Mariko Wada, Satoru Nagata, Masahiro Saito, Toshiaki Shimizu, Yuichiro Yamashiro, Takahiro Matsuki, Takashi Asahara, Koji Nomoto. Effects of the enteral administration of Bifidobacterium breve on patients undergoing chemotherapy for pediatric malignancies. Support Care Cancer. 2010 Jun;18(6):751-9. Epub 2009 Aug 14. PMID: 19685085
- [viii] Hiroki Endo, Takuma Higurashi, Kunihiro Hosono, Eiji Sakai, Yusuke Sekino, Hiroshi Iida, Yasunari Sakamoto, Tomoko Koide, Hirokazu Takahashi, Masato Yoneda, Chikako Tokoro, Masahiko Inamori, Yasunobu Abe, Atsushi Nakajima. Efficacy of Lactobacillus casei treatment on small bowel injury in chronic low-dose aspirin users: a pilot randomized controlled study. J Gastroenterol. 2011 May 10. Epub 2011 May 10. PMID: 21556830
- [ix] Chang-Kyung Oh, Myung-Chul Oh, Soo-Hyun Kim. The depletion of sodium nitrite by lactic acid bacteria isolated from kimchi. J Med Food. 2004;7(1):38-44. PMID: 1511755
- [x] Nedeljko P Radlovic, Marija M Mladenovic, Zoran M Lekovic, Zorica M Stojsic, Vladimir N Radlovic. Influence of early feeding practices on celiac disease in infants. Croat Med J. 2010 Oct 15;51(5):417-22. PMID: 20960591
- [xi] J M Laparra, Y Sanz. Bifidobacteria inhibit the inflammatory response induced by gliadins in intestinal epithelial cells via modifications of toxic peptide generation during digestion. J Cell Biochem. 2010 Mar 1;109(4):801-7. PMID: 20052669
- [xii] Eva J Helmerhorst, Maram Zamakhchari, Detlef Schuppan, Frank G Oppenheim. Discovery of a novel and rich source of gluten-degrading microbial enzymes in the oral cavity. PLoS One. 2010;5(10):e13264. Epub 2010 Oct 11. PMID: 20948997
Neutralizing the breakdown of gut microbes may be the key to maintaining a healthy heart. How? A compound in some red wines, olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and grape seed oils known as DMB can alter gut microbes in a way that might help prevent heart disease.
In a recent study, researchers from the Cleveland Clinic and UCLA’s division of cardiology targeted mice’s gut microbes with DMB, and found the compound suppressed atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) from developing in the rodents without any serious side effects.
“This new approach shows that one can target microbes to inhibit atherosclerosis,” said study senior author Dr. Stanley Hazen, section head of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic.
The findings might explain why people who eat a Mediterranean diet appear to have a lower risk of heart disease and better gut health.
The Los Angeles Times explains that when we eat eggs, meat, and high-fat dairy products, they are broken down by a group of microorganisms in our guts. This results in trimethylamine, which is then “attacked” by a group of liver enzymes, producing a byproduct called trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO).
People who have had heart attacks often have high levels of TMAO. This byproduct is also a sign that someone’s arteries have narrowed and they are at risk for having a heart attack.
The findings suggest that by interrupting the chain of events that leads to the production of TMAO, we might also ward off the types of fatty buildup in the arteries that cause heart disease.
Video: 4 Ways to Boost Your Gut Health
Countering the Negative Impact of Fatty Diets
The team discovered DMB treatment did not kill the mice’s gut microbes. That could mean gut bacteria are significantly less likely to become resistant to DMB as they would to an antibiotic.
The technique, dubbed “drugging the microbiome,” basically counters the negative impact of fatty diets. The researchers have written that the study offers “proof of the concept” that being able to alter gut microbes in such a fashion might allow people to continue to load up on fatty food with fewer ill effects on their arteries.
Hopefully it would be used to help people transition to a healthy diet and not merely become a crutch that allows them to continue to gorge on fast foods, though some research suggests high-fat diets are actually not to blame for heart disease (fast food is terrible for many reasons apart from its fat content).
“Our work opens the doors to therapies for many chronic diseases where gut microbe participation is implicated,” Hazen told Live Science.
Past efforts to lower TMAO in an effort to decrease heart disease risk have centered on suppressing the enzymes in individuals that convert TMA, another compound produced by gut microbes. When gut microbes digest choline, lecithin and carnitine, they excrete TMA, which then gets converted into TMAO.
Researchers’ attempts at lowering TMAO were initially stymied by the fact that this approach causes liver damage, resulting in a buildup of TMA that causes a toxic fishy odor.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both sexes and claims about 610,000 lives in the United States every year, accounting for 1 in every 4 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It is often linked with atherosclerosis.
Los Angeles Times
Author: JULIE FIDLER
Read more: http://naturalsociety.com/gut-microbes-key-better-heart-health-6887/#ixzz46GxYaUxu
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Scientists: We Can’t Do Anything About The Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs That Will Soon Kill Millions Of Us
The “wonder drugs” that we have been using since the middle of the last century are rapidly losing their effectiveness, and medical authorities are warning that the emergence of very powerful antibiotic-resistant superbugs represents “one of the gravest threats in the history of medicine“. Of course the “wonder drugs” that I am talking about are known today as antibiotics. These drugs attack bacteria, and when they first began to be developed back in the 1950s and 1960s they were hailed as “miracles” that would save countless numbers of lives. Well, it turns out that nature is having the last laugh. All over the planet bacteria are developing resistance to these drugs, and scientists are warning that they can’t really do anything to stop these superbugs. With each passing year these superbugs are gaining ground, and there appears to be not much hope on the horizon of being able to fight them. In fact, no new classes of antibiotics have been invented since 1987, and none are being developed right now. Meanwhile, scientists are telling us that many current antibiotic treatments will be completely obsolete by the year 2030. Are you starting to understand why so many high profile members of the scientific community are using the words “catastrophic threat” to describe this crisis?
An article about these superbugs that appeared in the Independent the other day got a lot of attention all around the world. That article claims that prominent British doctors are warning that these superbugs could undo “a century of medical advances”…
Drug-resistant “superbugs” represent one of the gravest threats in the history of medicine, leading experts have warned.
Routine operations could become deadly “in the very near future” as bacteria evolve to resist the drugs we use to combat them. This process could erase a century of medical advances, say government doctors in a special editorial in The Lancethealth journal.
That sounds quite serious.
So what would life be like without antibiotics?
Well, before antibiotics were invented if you scraped your knee and got an infection, there was a good chance that they would cut off your leg…
In the period before World War II … people that got infections, they had to cut it out. They had to cut off limbs, cut off toes, because there weren’t antibiotics. And oftentimes, when people talk about the fact that we might have to go back to a pre-antibiotic age, that’s what they mean — that a simple scrape on the playground could be fatal.
Are you ready to go back to such a time?
You might not have to wait long. According to one very prominent doctor quoted by the Daily Mail, we have already reached the end of the age of antibiotics…
A high-ranking official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared in an interview with PBS that the age of antibiotics has come to an end.
‘For a long time, there have been newspaper stories and covers of magazines that talked about “The end of antibiotics, question mark?”‘ said Dr Arjun Srinivasan. ‘Well, now I would say you can change the title to “The end of antibiotics, period.”’
And all over the world the number of people becoming infected with these superbugs is rapidly growing.
In fact, right now 23,000 people a year are being killed by these superbugs in the United States alone…
More than two million people are infected by drug-resistant germs each year, and 23,000 die of their infections, federal health officials reported Monday. The biggest killer by far is C. difficile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports in its first big overview of a growing problem.
Doctors have been warning of the problem for decades, yet up to half the prescriptions written for antibiotics are unnecessary, the CDC report says. And all these unneeded antibiotics are making the superbug problem worse.
Most Americans have never even heard of many of these superbugs, but they can be extremely deadly…
C. difficile has become a scourge of hospitals and infection is often made possible when patients are heavily treated with antibiotics to fight other infections. It can cause unstoppable diarrhea and the latest treatment doesn’t even involve antibiotics, but a transplant of so-called good bacteriafrom healthy patients.
CREs are a group of bacteria that resist even the strongest antibiotics. They include Klebsiella pneumoniae, which saw its infection rate jump 550 percent between 2001 and 2011.
“CRE is a nightmare bacteria we reported on in March, bacteria that can resist virtually all antibiotics,” Frieden said.
Gonorrhea may not be immediately life-threatening, but it’s developing resistance to the drugs that used to easily treat it.Patients can be left infertile, and, in January, Canadian researchers reported that seven percent of patients weren’t cured by the only pill left to treat gonorrhea.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Experts are warning that we could soon see millions of people a year die from these superbugs all around the globe.
So why haven’t we heard more about this?
Why is this not being widely publicized?
Some are suggesting that some of the governments of the western world are engaged in an effort to keep this under wraps. For example, just check out what has been going on in Canada…
The federal government is hobbling efforts to control antibiotic-resistant microbes by sitting on reports about bacteria that sicken and kill thousands of Canadians each year, several doctors say.
Infectious disease experts say Ottawa is treating national microbial surveillance reports like “sensitive government documents.” And the doctors are so frustrated, they are releasing the data they can obtain on their own website.
“Otherwise, it’s years before we see it on the federal website,” says Dr. Mark Joffe, president of the Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease Canada (AMMI), which represents physicians, clinical microbiologists and researchers.
What would the motivation be for doing this?
Are they trying to avoid panic?
Or is a more sinister motive at work here?
Ultimately, this is a crisis that is only going to get worse as time goes by.
Antibiotic-resistant superbugs are rapidly spreading and becoming more powerful.
Meanwhile, scientists all over the world are telling us that there is not a thing that they can do to stop them.
The era of antibiotics has come to an end, and nobody is quite sure what is going to happen next.