Oral Glutathione Supplementation Is Bioavailable After All

Way back in 2007, Art De Vany used to talk about his glutathione supplements and upon looking into it, I heard from numerous sources that it's simply not bioavailable taken orally. Glutathione is generally regarded as the body's master anti-oxidant.

Glutathione (GSH) is an important antioxidant in plants, animals, fungi, and some bacteria and archaea, preventing damage to important cellular components caused by reactive oxygen species such as free radicals and peroxides.[2] It is a tripeptide with a gamma peptide linkage between the carboxyl group of the glutamate side-chain and the amine group of cysteine (which is attached by normal peptide linkage to a glycine).

It's not an essential nutrient, since we synthesize it ourselves from the amino acids L-cysteine, L-glutamic acid, and glycine. So, two studies:

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Longtime reader and email correspondent Scott Miller excerpted this from the full text of the first study.

...Witschi et al. (1992) have observed no increase in plasma GSH levels after a single oral supplementation of GSH to healthy human volunteers at 0.15 mmol/kg body weight. The present study confirmed these results [Figure 5(a) and (b)]. Based on these results, it has been suggested that the oral supplementation of GSH does not affect blood GSH levels.

It has been demonstrated that plasma proteins, including albumin, can bind to low molecular weight thiol-compounds through a disulfide bond. Therefore, there is the possibility that supplemented GSH may be transported as a conjugate of protein in the blood, and this has not been examined. In the present study, the effects of the supplementation of GSH on plasma protein-bound GSH levels were examined...

...The present study also demonstrated that only a negligible amount of GSH was bound to plasma protein before the supplementation of GSH. However, the protein-bound GSH significantly (P < 0.01) increased from 60 to 120 min after the oral supplementation of GSH. This is the first report to demonstrate an increase in GSH in the human blood fraction by the oral supplementation of GSH. The protein bound form GSH level in plasma after supplementation of GSH is much higher (>1000 times) than other food-derived peptides such as Val-Tyr 25 and Ile-Pro-Pro 26, but less than the food-derived collagen peptides in human blood.

It has been thought that orally administered GSH is successively degraded to cysteinyl-glycine, cysteine, and glycine by γ-glutamyl-transferase and peptidase. Cysteine could be used for GSH synthesis in cells. Increased levels of protein-bound GSH might be derived from the newly synthesized GSH. The present study also detected fragment peptide (Cys-Gly) and precursor peptide (γGlu-Cys) as protein-bound form in human blood, which suggests some GSH is synthesized from degradation products of GSH.

However, an early study by Kubo (1968) that used 35S-labeled GSH and paper electrophoresis has suggested that GSH could be directly absorbed from the small intestine into rat portal blood. Therefore, there is a possibility that supplemented GSH is directly absorbed into human blood and bound to plasma protein. To solve these problems, further studies on the metabolic fate of supplemented GSH that use 13C-labeled GSH are in progress...

And from the second study.

GSH levels in blood increased after 1, 3 and 6 months versus baseline at both doses. At 6 months, mean GSH levels increased 30-35 % in erythrocytes, plasma and lymphocytes and 260 % in buccal cells in the high-dose group (P < 0.05). GSH levels increased 17 and 29 % in blood and erythrocytes, respectively, in the low-dose group (P < 0.05). In most cases, the increases were dose and time dependent, and levels returned to baseline after a 1-month washout period. A reduction in oxidative stress in both GSH dose groups was indicated by decreases in the oxidized to reduced glutathione ratio in whole blood after 6 months. Natural killer cytotoxicity increased >twofold in the high-dose group versus placebo (P < 0.05) at 3 months.

Life Extension Glutathione, Cysteine and C, 750 mg. The question is, how much do you need, and is there a potential downside? It's all very complicated, all intertwined—in my view—with hormesis, autophagy, apoptotic clearance, and the push-pull, yin-yang relationship between methylglyoxal and glutathione. I'm intuitively resistant to the idea that if some is good, more must be better. So many processes seem to have opposing counterparts—inflammation being a classic example. Yes, chronic inflammation is bad, but many forms of acute inflammation are beneficial. Negative feedback mechanisms are enhanced by opposing positive feedbacks, and vice-versa. It's the way nature operates to balance on the head of a pin.

Those keeping tabs might recognize that much of this kind of thinking was recently introduced in part 1 of a new series: The Hormesis Files: Chronic Ketosis and The Case of The Missing Glutathione. Part 2 is coming soon, probably first part of the new year. But here's one of the many relevant portions from that first post, which I encourage you to read.

Ketogenic Diets, Hormetic Oxidative Stress and Glutathione

What Dr. Eades couldn't have known, back in 2008, is that the same group of researchers (sans Jarrett) published another exciting paper in 2010—again with rats—showing that a ketogenic diet appears to produce its therapeutic benefits with a hormetic dose of oxidative stress, which activates the cytoprotective nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2)-signaling pathway. The Nrf2 pathway activates genes that are involved in detoxification of chemicals and antioxidant defense. That kind of stress is a good thing, at the right dose. The Nrf2 pathway itself is described by some as a key hormetic pathway and has been linked to longevity. And in fact, some studies suggest that trying to avoid low levels of oxidative stress is counterproductive.

However, the researchers stumbled onto a potential troubling side effect of ketogenic diets after a few weeks...

...If you didn't catch that, what this study showed is that chronic ketogenic diets (3 weeks) appear to deplete the liver of glutathione in the same way as taking Tylenol every day!

So, perhaps those most in need of supplementing glutathione, now that we know it's bioavailable, would be those on low carb and ketogenic diets—as well as those who take Tylenol, or perhaps other analgesics or NSAIDs.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Mythmas

I don't think anyone came up with the reference for Santa as God Lite before I did, in around 1993.

The Story of the WWI Christmas Truce

Last time I brought this up was a Christmas time post in 2006. Time to haul it out again.

640px Illustrated London News  Christmas Truce 1914
WWI Christmas Truce, 1914

From Wikipedia (a worthy cause to donate to this time of year)

The Christmas truce (German: Weihnachtsfrieden; French: Trêve de Noël) was a series of widespread but unofficial ceasefires along the Western Front around Christmas 1914. In the week leading up to the holiday, German and British soldiers crossed trenches to exchange seasonal greetings and talk. In areas, men from both sides ventured into no man's land on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to mingle and exchange food and souvenirs. There were joint burial ceremonies and prisoner swaps, while several meetings ended in carol-singing. Men played games of football with one another, giving one of the most enduring images of the truce.

And: Soldiers Against War - The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce by John V. Denson; Quoting from Stanley Weintraub, Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce.

"Lieutenant Geoffrey Heinekey, new to the 2nd Queen’s Westminster Rifles, wrote to his mother, ‘A most extraordinary thing happened. . . Some Germans came out and held up their hands and began to take in some of their wounded and so we ourselves immediately got out of our trenches and began bringing in our wounded also. The Germans then beckoned to us and a lot of us went over and talked to them and they helped us to bury our dead. This lasted the whole morning and I talked to several of them and I must say they seemed extraordinarily fine men . . . . It seemed too ironical for words. There, the night before we had been having a terrific battle and the morning after, there we were smoking their cigarettes and they smoking ours."

"War is the health of the state," Randolph Bourne, 1918. From Wendy McElroy:

The thrust of Bourne's essays is to attack the sanctity of war by showing how it leads to the moral collapse of society by kicking out the props (the principles) of peaceful interaction upon which society rests.

In essence, Bourne addressed the moral consequences of war upon a post-war society which had abandoned individualism in favor of "the herd-machinery." He eloquently argued that post-war America would be morally, intellectually, and psychologically impoverished. By this observation, Bourne did not mean that peace time America would struggle under the increased bureaucracy that never seems to roll-back to pre-war levels. Many historians have made this point. Bourne addressed the less tangible, though arguably more significant, costs of war. For example, post-1918 America would be burdened by intellectuals who had "forgotten that the real enemy is War rather than imperial Germany." In converting World War I into a holy war, the intellectual and psychological groundwork was being laid for future instances of what he termed "the sport of the upper class" -- global conflict.

Merry Christmas spirit.

Update: Turns out there's a 2005 French film that tells the story. It's not on Netflix, but it's free streaming on Amazon Prime.

I Got Big Farts Today From a 2 Million Year Old Paleo Staple

I've blogged previously about Tiger Nuts. I like to munch on them, soaked for a day or two. I've also done a couple of batches of horchata experimentally—you're better off eating your food.

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Not Raw Potato Starch RS2, Raw Tiger Nut RS2

This morning, I had about 12oz of that left. So I agitated the hell out of it to dislodge the raw RS2 sediment, drank it to finish it off. 3-4 hours later and the fartage commences, reminiscent of the early potato starch experiments.

No, I didn't get heartburn. I hear that you're supposed to. I didn't. Nor has potato starch ever given me heartburn. Scotch, yes. ...Should I mix raw PS in scotch and see what happens?

In terms of the farts, I thought well, the starch is isolated and concentrated. On the other hand, this has been a staple going back over 2 million years for some primates and hominoids. Baboons still eat a lot of them, a fact that led to its discovery as an ancient raw RS2 rich staple food that rivals red meat and mother's milk in terms of nutrition.

But I keep hearing that it's very very very bad, and it's going to ruin your potential hawtness; and nobody is going to sext you or email you nude pics anymore—if you use raw RS2. Even "doctor(s)" say so.

...Look, you're welcome to be as dazzled by incomprehensible, often contradictory bullshit all you want; that seeks to craft a hawtness set of Clavin Hein gut bugs—all in a realm where the top researchers and clinicians are throwing in the towel and punting by means of a poop transplant—a therapy that will seem like bloodletting in 100 more years. But it works, so yea! No, they don't just need more "AKKERMANSIA!!!!"

JFC.

Alright, a few papers.

So, you're wondering: where is this all going? You are. I don't mind disagreements at all and there is tons to debate and will be for years. I'm looking forward to it. But this is a different matter—a fucking far different matter—from veiled hell-hath-no-fury bad faith dealing that's so fucking  psycho depraved that it will seek to scare people in the thousands who have actually benefitted greatly from the simple addition of RPS, as evidenced on this blog from personal anecdotes in over 10K comments over two years.

...And all under the name of a fraud: blithely accepting that people assume she's a MD or equivalent. And she's been doing so since 2008 or earlier. Well, I never saw the harm before, but now I see she's willing to do harm.

So I have to bake. Tiger Nut flour cuntcakes.

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“Paleo Approved” Fat Gluttony is Still Gluttony

 This popped up in my Twitter feed last evening, by Angelo Coppola.

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Then, I see "That Dead Paleo Guy" do a wisdom add deal on it, beginning right here.

The behaviour we are seeing with people drinking fat shows who is mostly to blame for the diet advice of the last 30 years. We have railed against and blamed the dietary guidelines for "force feeding" us carbs and starving us of fat...

When you look at the recent literature that suggests SFA (in the context of real food) is not the bogieman we thought, no where in that literature does this translate into drink large amounts of SFA. That is the doing of opportunists and the ignorant and gullible looking to lock onto the next quick fix. Who shall we blame in the future if that comes back to bite?

In NZ, the DG's for fat have been one-third of total energy intake. This is nothing like the 97-99% fat-free rubbish. Paleo "dietary guidelines" - eat real food, consisting of unprocessed plants and animals....translated by most popular sites - have your coconut sugar/maple syrup brownies, chocolate chip quinoa cookies...but just be careful with your date, coconut sugar, and carrot cake - because carrots have a high GI and lots of carbs.

Amen. Here's what he said in his signoff post from That Paleo Guy.

And when it comes to where Payleo™ is currently sitting, it is a case of “it isn’t me, it is you.”*

*The current paleofication of everything from chocolate fudge sundaes to celebrity chefs drives me completely mental.

Yep. But more than that for me is what I see as plain old gluttony. The meme is: if it's "Paleo Approved," eat as much of it as you like; no, in fact, show off by pigging out and most especially, with fat. Or, don't touch that potato or those legumes. They'll make you fat, give you diabetes and kill you. Here, buy these glutenfreealmondflourlowcarbpaleo BROWNIES instead!

Here's my bottom lines.

  1. Eat real food that you source and prepare yourself most of the time.
  2. Tend toward macronutrient agnosticism and mix things up.
  3. Eat foods primarily in whole and not isolated & added form. So, easy on the isolated, added fat (like butter, cream, coconut oil, olive oil), added protein (like whey), and added carbohydrate (like sugar & syrups)

For me, just eating more mindfully that way and especially, cutting out most added fat other than dribbles here & there has made a tremendous difference. More on that later.

So, Jamie Scott has a new blog, Re|Evolutionary.

“Paleo” then was a nice simple heuristic – a shorthand if you like – for expediting the understanding of why that sugar-coated cereal with all its ticks, stars, and promises, is something you should perhaps best avoid. Or why the fat in eggs and avocados won’t likely kill you. Or why InstaTwitFace doesn’t count as socialisation. Or why 400km on a bicycle per week, bent into the shape of a question mark, and fueled by syrups, is probably not healthy movement – especially if you are already pulling 40 hours per week at work positioned and fueled in much the same position.

Couched in these terms, many people had that ‘ah ha’ moment where the cogs suddenly clicked into place and they were able to exact some very big lifestyle changes, on many fronts, and make them stick in the long term. I know this as both one of those people whose clogs clicked, and as someone who has catalysed the similar clunking of cogs in my role as a nutritionist and exercise professional.

I'd encourage you to read that whole first post. Hopefully, you won't expect of yourself that you have to agree with every single thing in order to reap value from it. At a minimum it should make you think.

I always thought Paleo was rather bulletproof in terms of corruption and by virtue of its evolutionary foundation, had built-in self correction.

I think Jamie has persuaded me that I was wrong about that.

So Much Love to Life; Life Love

Just a stub for a post, what I've been up to and I do this because above everything else, this is the season to be having lots of fun with those you love the most.

I was up at the cabin last Tuesday, tout seul. Got arranged for cleaners (actually, the old cleaners, but I groveled and we got some stuff sorted out—very happy). Up to my bro's in Placerville Wednesday afternoon for a couple of days and Beatrice arrived noon Friday with the furry rat killer brats. Then, we headed out with my parents for three nights at Stateline, NV (South Lake Tahoe).

IMG 2824
Nearing Echo Summit

Dinner was on hand once we landed, at Lakeside, where they have an all the time steak and lobster special for $20. It's a 6oz sirloin, 4oz lobster. Both very nice. Plus, they have these on the menu, flown in daily.

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Half Oysters

I kicked the mango relish to the side. And, I prefer a mignonette, but the lemon and some cocktail sauce works OK. After, I had prime rib which was just OK. Seems mediumish was the rarest cut they had, so it was brownish pink, not pink pink. Everyone else had the S&L special.

Saturday was a weird ass day for me. We had breakfast at Hard Rock Cafe in Harvey's around 10am and after that, I never felt like Richard the rest of the day. There was like this mild, persistent stomach ache. It never manifest to anything more. We ended up watching the SF game in the Straw Hat Pizza Sports Bar (a small gluten free pizza, Buffalo wings). At a point, I'd had enough. Walked back and went to bed at 8pm. Soon after, I got a reply text from the Gnollish J. Stanton, coincidentally feeling off himself.

Ass out of bed next morning at 7:30. Felt like shit. We were in some cottages just 100 yards form Harvey's so hobbled over, hit the Starbucks for a small OJ and a Tall double shot whole milk latte. Thanks a latte, Starbucks; because, I began feeling like Richard again soon after. Headed up to the sport's book, hit the WiFi, and wrote and published a post about fake doktors. Went out and walked a shit ton. Got a text from the rest and met them to split an omelet with Bea for breakfast. Perfect.

Dad and I went to Harrah's to watch some Sunday football, where he brought up Earl Grant. He and mom used to go see him perform in the casino nightclubs in Reno in the 60s. Played both piano and organ, and sang. Didn't know who he was talking about until he brought up Ebb Tide. Yes! You had an album and I wore that song out before I was 10. Anyway, I sit here writing as I listen to The Very Best of Earl Grant I snagged off iTunes (includes Ebb Tide). 21 songs for $12. A voice as gentle as as Jonny Mathis, more power when it counts and he plays piano and organ at the same time. I'm a super sucker for organ. Love Booker T, for instance. Any recommendations?

After arrangements via text, J shows up, meets my dad, and we head off down to the Heavenly Village to chat for a coupla. It would be disingenuous of me to bring up J, whom I always meet up with when in Tahoe, without mentioning that he got a bit "uncomfortable" (his word) with two specific things I did (and which have noting to do with what others have told me he's probably pissed about). I told my dad: "well, J and I need to go talk Paleo and I think he may have some scolding to do."

In the end, J is J and Richard is Richard and we always get along swimmingly. 80% of our 2-hr convo was tossing around all manner of stuff about root causes of the obesity epidemic, nothing off limits.

I think J would not mind me telling you that you may soon see more of him and his absence over a few months is completely the result of really, really nice stuff happening for him personally. He's one very happy man, such a pleasure to share company with.

...He did need to point out one angle to me though, of the fountain in Heavenly Village.

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In a few weeks the fountain will freeze over for the winter and the water will take on a certain opaque quality.

...Bea and I are spending a night here at the cabin before returning to San Jose tomorrow, where here parents fly in, the afternoon.

Sunday Church for Humans: Look Ma, I’m a Doctor!

I encountered a very strange phenomena when I was about 10 and my parents discovered the wonder scam of having all your sins washed away by the blood of Jesus, commonly referred to as being "born again."

Chief among the peddlers of this cultish, separation racket (divide and dominate) are the Fundamental Baptists. When the pastors of the mega-churches in this realm aren't busy having affairs with wives of the congregation—and youth pastors administering to the sex education of the girls—they're busy rubbing elbows with one-another such that their respective "bible colleges" confer honorary doctorate degrees on one another.

Consequently, every pastor, many assistant pastors and even some prominent deacons are all Dr. [insert name]. Hilariously, they all go around calling each other Dr. this and Dr. that, adorning every name tag, plaque, and written word with their title. When speaking of themselves in conversations with others, yep...and then he said "Dr. Nikoley, I feel so blessed to have your guidance."

Barf.

Here, and I spent like 10 seconds googling for a list of conference speakers for a fundie event: Trinity Baptist Church, Arlington, TX Conference Page.

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Out of 17 speakers, 12 are "Dr.," and I'd bet you anything that the vast majority are either honorary, mail order, or some other silly thing, like having a PhD in Mother Goose.

Actually, conferring honorary doctorates is nothing new at all. There are millions of them. Most prominent politicians, entertainers, business magnates and philanthropists have stacks of them—and from places like Harvard, Yale, Stanford, etc....not Bumfuck Indiana Baptist Bible College. Laf.

One other aspect is so-called professional doctorates, the most common being the juris doctorate: a law degree. But have you ever known an attorney to go around calling himself Dr? Moreover, while most law schools require a bachelor's degree for admission, not all do. Conceivably, you could go right from high school to law school and in three years get a JD. Then you can call yourself Dr. Smith, even if you never take or pass the bar exam.

And pursuant to getting a certificate to practice pharmacology at a Rite Aid or Walgreens near you, you'd get a professional doctorate called a PharmD, typically a 4-year program (compared to 3 years for a JD, and about 12 for an MD or PhD). Even the program at UCSD, however, does not require a bachelor's degree as prerequisite, but instead the equivalent of 2 years of core curriculum. So, in all, a PharmD is at best a master's degree, but could be as little as a bachelor's.

The more interesting question is why people go around calling themselves Dr., writing themselves as Dr. everywhere, when they are not some form of a Medical Doctor or have spent the 4 years as an undergrad, followed by an average of 8.5 additional years to earn a PhD (and most folks I know with earned PhDs don't often refer to themselves as doctor).

So why is it people do this? Feel free to speculate, but for me it's all about being perceived as an authority who:

  1. Doesn't like being questioned.
  2. Doesn't like to have to explain.
  3. Wants to have a scammy advantage over others who aren't "doctors."
  4. Wants to have an army of sycophants to defend them when questioned or "attacked."

OK, tune in again, where Dr. Nikoley will tell you more about what he thinks about everything, all of which you will be expected to accept without question.

Partisanship Rots Your Brain

No wonder it's so popular, the "ideal" way to organize society—into ideological factions where the "winners" get to loot from the "losers."

Now and then I get a comment on the blog and I just know I have to blog something about it.

Recent research explains the paradox of why VLCers/Ketoists see the evidence that Eskimos were never in ketosis as a good reason for everyone to eat a ketogenic diet and was summed up with: “When people are misinformed, giving them facts to correct those errors only makes them cling to their beliefs more tenaciously.” (Marty Kaplan). This cartoon illustrates the problem.

thinking-conf-bias

Kaplan's article isn't perfect, as toward the end, he uses "climate change" as an example, without noting that there are lots and lots of people, like myself, who are skeptical of some of the [fraudulent] data, conclusions, predictions, asserted causes, outcomes, all without denying that warming appears to be taking place.

Autoimmune Diseases and the Gut Biome

After posting this morning about "winding down," I ended up wanting to add a sub-section to the Autoimmune Diseases section in Chapter 8 of the book: The Gut Microbiome In Disease Pathology (html version). Thanks to Tim Steele for his major contributions to this as well. Hopefully you'll see that the intended style is layman accessible, but well referenced for the geeks. Didn't take the time to make it pretty for the blog (the link above has footnote links and links to citations), so here's just a plain text:

AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES

A well established aspect of the gut microbiome is its close relationship with host immunity, essentially comprising 70% of the immune system.[1] It’s no longer mere speculation that the composition of our gut microbes have a profound effect on the creation, training, maintenance, and actions of our immune system. An imbalance of intestinal microbes can cause an imbalance in our immune system, leading it to attack us instead of the pathogens it’s supposed to eradicate or keep in check. Here’s a partial list of autoimmune conditions that have been linked to disruptions in gut microbes:

* Addison's Disease
* Alopecia
* Ankylosing Spondylitis
* Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS)
* Autoimmune Hepatitis
* Behcet's Disease
* Bullous Pemphigoid
* Castleman's Disease
* Celiac Disease
* Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
* Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Neuropathy (CIDP)
* Churg Strauss Syndrome
* Crohn's Disease
* Endometriosis
* Fibromyalgia
* Infertility
* Giant Cell Arteritis
* Glomerulonephritis (Autoimmune Kidney Disease)
* Graves' Disease
* Guillain-Barre Syndrome
* Hashimoto's Thyroiditis
* Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
* IgA Nephropathy
* Interstitial Cystitis
* Kawasaki Disease
* Lichen Planus
* Lupus
* Meniere's Disease
* Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD)
* Multiple Sclerosis
* Myasthenia Gravis
* Narcolepsy
* Pemphigus
* Pernicious Anemia
* Polyarteritis Nodosa
* Polymyositis
* Primary Biliary Cirrhosis
* Psoriasis
* Raynaud's Disease
* Reiter's Syndrome
* Rheumatoid Arthritis
* Sarcoidosis
* Scleroderma or CREST Syndrome
* Silicone Immune Toxicity Syndrome
* Sjogren's Syndrome
* Stiff-Man Syndrome
* Type 1 Diabetes
* Ulcerative Colitis
* Vascular Dementia
* Vasculitis
* Vitiligo
* Wegener's Granulomatosis

Those with one or more of these autoimmune conditions are likely to have a diet high in modern, industrial Frankenfoods or one lacking in sufficient fibers our gut bugs recognize as food—but most likely both. The immune system keeps the body healthy by providing a fine balance between attacking invaders and maintaining healthy tissues. In autoimmune diseases, this delicate balance fails and the immune system attacks healthy tissue.

Let’s take a brief look at a few autoimmune conditions positively identified with altered gut microbes.

Rheumatoid Arthritis -

In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks membranes that line the joints, causing painful swelling, stiffness, and a loss of function in fingers, wrists, or other joints. Often thought to be triggered by factors such as smoking and stress, it’s now known to be related to gut health; i.e., diet related, ultimately.

A specific type of gut bacteria, Prevotella copri, is found in over 75% of those newly diagnosed. When lab animals were implanted with Prevotella copri, they developed symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. While this is not enough for scientists to develop a cure, it does give them clues toward developing new treatments, treatments that will almost certainly target gut microbial dysbiosis.

Ankylosing Spondylitis -

Ankylosing Spondylitis is an autoimmune disease that attacks the spaces between vertebrae in the spinal column, hip joints, and other locations throughout the body. It’s a disfiguring, painful disease that’s closely associated with the gut microbe Klebsiella pneumoniae. Beneficial microbes Bifidobacteria, Lactobacilli, and other core species prevent Klebsiella from turning invasive.

While Klebsiella pneumoniae is a normal inhabitant of the human gut, it’s often associated with urinary tract infections, upper respiratory tract infections, and wound site infections. When it grows uncontrollably in the respiratory tract it can lead to deadly pneumonia.

The microbe’s association with ankylosing spondylitis has a clear genetic factor, with 90% of patients expressing the HLA-B27 genotype.[2] One hypothesis put forth is that this genetic signal could trigger the disease by enhancing the growth and perpetuation of the Klebsiella microbes in the bowel. In an attempt to slow the growth of the now pathogenic bacteria, the immune system mistakenly attacks the human tissues, thus causing the disease. Strings of protein in Klebsiella bear resemblance to human joint tissue. This molecular mimicry is the underlying mechanism behind all autoimmune disease and a growing number of modern diseases that heretofore had no clear medical pathophysiology—such as essential hypertension.[3] [4]

A common treatment for ankylosing spondylitis is to restrict all fermentable fiber from the diet in order to starve the gut microbes, achieving results similar to the overuse of antibiotics, or the practice of very low carbohydrate and ketogenic diets.[5] [6] This approach may have short-term therapeutic value but an unforeseen drawback may be further damaged immunity and gut health in the long term, leading to unintended consequences. The immune system lines the entire gut and atrophies without butyrate and contact from the beneficial microbes that regularly consume fermentable fiber.[7]

Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1D) -

Type 1 diabetes results from autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. As has been harped on plenty, factors that influence gut health—for better or worse—are factors that ultimately influence the function of the immune system—for better or worse. It’s so closely tied together, it’s a testament to the intricacies of the gut, gut microbes, and our resulting immune system. Gut bugs modulate its function through what is essentially training the immune system—in particular T cells—as mentioned earlier.[8]

The gut and pancreas also share several critical links and so problems with the gut are often reflected in the pancreas. Altered gut microflora have been linked to T1D in animal and human studies, and are normally thought to be a function of intestinal inflammation, gut permeability, and food allergies.[9] Children with T1D are more susceptible to certain infections and do not normally develop tolerance to cow’s milk. These complex interactions are currently the target of new approaches to prevention and treatment.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis -

“Hashi’s” is a condition where the thyroid gland is attacked by a combination of immune processes that can manifest as high or low thyroid levels, but most usually the latter. It has the distinction of being the very first disease to be recognized as an autoimmune condition.

Mounting evidence suggests that not only intestinal pathogens, but symbiotic ones can influence an overblown immune response against thyroid tissue. And more recent studies reveal that not only the gut commensals, but also oral microorganisms such as periodontal bacteria, may play a role.[10]

To muddy the waters even further, an association between celiac disease or gluten sensitivity and autoimmune thyroid disorders is well established, with about ten times as many with gluten issues also having thyroid issues than is observed in the general population.[11] Curiously but not surprisingly, this link may exist due to a molecular similarity between gliadin, the protein portion of gluten and thyroid tissue.[12] In all, one intuitive way to regard the process is that a leaky gut, as addressed previously, allows gliadin into the bloodstream where it’s attacked by the immune system as a foreign invader, with “similar looking” thyroid tissue getting caught in the crossfire.

What remains to understand is which strains of intestinal flora help, and which hurt. As we’ve seen a number of times thus far, it’s not as simple as good guy vs. bad guy. “Good guys” can be bad if there are too many of them or they’re out of proportion with other “good guys.” And “bad guys” can be non pathologic if still other “bad guys” (or “good guys”) are keeping them in check. A 2012 paper demonstrates just how complex the picture is.

Multiple lines of evidence have demonstrated that probiotic organisms such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus confer health benefits on the host. For instance, oral administration of probiotics to mice induced IL-10 production and prevented the development of autoimmune diseases including type 1 diabetes and colitis. This probiotic-induced anti-inflammatory effect is reportedly mediated by dendritic cells. However, series of in vivo and in vitro studies have demonstrated that certain probiotic strains exacerbated colitis and encephalomyelitis, enhanced interferon-γ (IFNγ) production and reduced regulatory T cell (Treg) activity, indicating that attention should be paid when choosing a probiotic strain to treat autoimmune disorders. In experimental autoimmune thyroiditis (EAT), a murine model of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, probiotic strains Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 and Bifidobacterium lactis HN019, which had been shown to enhance splenocyte IFNγ production in mice, exhibited neither stimulatory nor inhibitory effect on the disease development. Taken collectively, the presence and the role of intestinal dysbiosis and the effect of alteration in the gut microbial composition remain to be investigated in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.[13]

Unfortunately, the standard of treatment for low thyroid (hypothyroidism) is effective enough for most people by the administration of synthetic thyroid hormone to treat the symptom, that little has been done in the mainstream to investigate the underlying cause: in order to develop more fundamental therapies or recommended lifestyle changes for better management, or even a cure.
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[1] Wu, Hsin-Jung, and Eric Wu. "The role of gut microbiota in immune homeostasis and autoimmunity." Gut Microbes 3.1 (2012): 4-14.
[2] "HLA-B27 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." 2004. 17 Aug. 2014 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HLA-B27>
[3] Schwimmbeck, PETER L, DT Yu, and MB Oldstone. "Autoantibodies to HLA B27 in the sera of HLA B27 patients with ankylosing spondylitis and Reiter's syndrome. Molecular mimicry with Klebsiella pneumoniae as potential mechanism of autoimmune disease." The Journal of experimental medicine 166.1 (1987): 173-181.
[4] Tervaert, JWC. "Hypertension: an autoimmune disease[quest] - Nature." 2011. <http://www.nature.com/hr/journal/v34/n4/full/hr201115a.html>
[5] "LOW STARCH DIET." 2012. 3 May. 2014 <http://www.spondylitis.org/about/low_starch_diet_summer2012_spondylitis_plus.pdf>
[6] Ebringer, A, and C Wilson. "The use of a low starch diet in the treatment of patients suffering from ankylosing spondylitis." Clinical rheumatology 15.1 (1996): 62-66.
[7] Rashid, T. "The Link between Ankylosing Spondylitis, Crohn's Disease ..." 2013. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3678459/>
[8] Vaarala, O. "Gut microbiota and type 1 diabetes." The review of diabetic studies: RDS 9.4 (2011): 251-259.
[9] Jaimie Dalessio. "Gut Bacteria May Prevent Type 1 Diabetes - Digestive Health Center ..." 2013. 19 Jan. 2014 <http://www.everydayhealth.com/digestive-health/gut-bacteria-may-prevent-type-1-diabetes-2306.aspx>
[10] Mori, K. "Does the gut microbiota trigger Hashimoto's thyroiditis?." 2012. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23200063>
[11] Sategna-Guidetti, C. "Autoimmune thyroid diseases and coeliac disease." 1998. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9872614>
[12] "The Gluten-Thyroid Connection - Chris Kresser." 2011. 18 Dec. 2014 <http://chriskresser.com/the-gluten-thyroid-connection>
[13] Mori, K. "Does the Gut Microbiota Trigger Hashimoto's Thyroiditis ..." 2012. <http://www.discoverymedicine.com/Kouki-Mori/2012/11/27/does-the-gut-microbiota-trigger-hashimotos-thyroiditis/>

Winding Down For A While in a Room With a View

I'm up here at my brother's place in Placerville. View from my office window this morning.

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As you can see, it comes completely decorated and includes a resident Shih Tzu named Kobe.

Arrived last evening after a day and night at the cabin in Arnold, where "Groker" (Jaime Perez), "Nicole Ocampo," and "Stark Soze" amused themselves trolling Wooo's blog (Who? Wooo. Who? Wooo. WoooWho). Jaime was the avoid conflict, understanding, peacemaker, questioning kinda dude. Nicole's mom knew Richard in Olongapo, PI way back. Stark is an asshole misogynist who always gets carried away and in that vein, blew up the whole deal. I was saving it up for a YHBT (you have been trolled, in ASCII art) post, but Soze always ruins everything he touches.

Plus, I didn't bother to light up a proxy server to spoof IP addresses. Clever one, that Who. Oh for the USENET days, where nobody with an AOL account knew the Unix shell commands to find out that stuff. On the other hand, the whole troll did have the desired result of keeping a bunch of hens cackling about what an evil and loathsome man Richard is.

Bea—who has nothing but sympathy from cackling hens—is still in San Jose, last day of school, headed up here tomorrow AM with the two rat killer brats. Then, we head to South Lake Tahoe for three nights with my parents.

...I made another batch of Horchata de Chufa, my version. Soak the Tiger Nuts for a couple of days, until they swell up and have a water chestnut consistency, then dump in blender, add more water, pulverize, strain through cheesecloth. No sugar. Plenty sweet as it is. This is 12 oz bag of nuts to a full quart of water.

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Funny thing about that sediment. I think it's mostly raw resistant starch, RS2 to be more precise. You know, that stuff that's so bad for you while RS3 is manna from heaven—in spite of the fact that human ancestors have been eating raw Tiger Nuts for eons before RS3 was even possible from cooking and cooling. Baboons are chowing down on them to this day.

If you were to take a few tablespoons of raw potato starch, add water, shake it up, let it settle and turn the bottle on its side, it's going to look a lot like this. Non-Newtonian Fluid time.

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I Googled for 'spaniards drop dead from horchata consumption.' No hits. Nonetheless, be very careful out there, in spite of admonitions that it's probably safe to go in the water.

...I took a 5-minute hang glider flight vicariously this morning. Among the best vids I've ever seen, professionally shot by the Red Bull team from a helicopter. The scenery is breathtaking—wish I knew what location. Oh, it's done to Pink Floyd music. Hard to go wrong: hang gliding and Pink Floyd. Oh, there's great aerobatics, too

Louder than words from Matjaz Klemencic on Vimeo.

I may blog some more substantive stuff over the next couple of weeks but not going to worry about it if I don't feel the compelling urge.

Happy festivities, wherever you may be.