Shortly, I'm headed out camping for the weekend in the Sacramento River Delta with family, so thought I'd pop up some random things for you to check out over the next couple of days.
Let's begin with notable books. I've not read these cover-cover, but skimmed and poked around in them enough to know that 1) they're worthy reads, and 2) it's a whole new beginning in terms of books on the gut biome and related things like prebiotics and probiotics...and that the one I and my collaborators are laboring over will be the best and most complete, guaranteed.
A critically important and startling look at the harmful effects of overusing antibiotics, from the field's leading expert.
Tracing one scientist’s journey toward understanding the crucial importance of the microbiome, this revolutionary book will take readers to the forefront of trail-blazing research while revealing the damage that overuse of antibiotics is doing to our health: contributing to the rise of obesity, asthma, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer. In Missing Microbes, Dr. Martin Blaser invites us into the wilds of the human microbiome where for hundreds of thousands of years bacterial and human cells have existed in a peaceful symbiosis that is responsible for the health and equilibrium of our body. Now, this invisible eden is being irrevocably damaged by some of our most revered medical advances—antibiotics—threatening the extinction of our irreplaceable microbes with terrible health consequences. Taking us into both the lab and deep into the fields where these troubling effects can be witnessed firsthand, Blaser not only provides cutting edge evidence for the adverse effects of antibiotics, he tells us what we can do to avoid even more catastrophic health problems in the future.
From asthma to Crohn’s disease, everyone knows someone who suffers from an allergic or autoimmune disorder. And if it appears that the prevalence of these maladies has increased recently, that’s because it has—to levels never before seen in human history. These days no fewer than one in five—and likely more—Americans suffers from one of these ailments. We seem newly, and bafflingly, vulnerable to immune system malfunction. Why? One possibility is that we have systematically cleaned ourselves to illness; this belief challenges deeply entrenched notions about the value of societal hygiene and the harmful nature of microbes. Yet scientists investigating the rampant immune dysfunction in the developed world have inevitably arrived at this conclusion. To address this global “epidemic of absence,” they must restore the human ecosystem.
This groundbreaking book explores the promising but controversial “worm therapy”—deliberate infection with parasitic worms—in development to treat autoimmune disease. It explains why farmers’ children so rarely get hay fever, why allergy is less prevalent in former Eastern Bloc countries, and how one cancer-causing bacterium may be good for us. It probes the link between autism and a dysfunctional immune system. It investigates the newly apparent fetal origins of allergic disease—that a mother’s inflammatory response imprints on her unborn child, tipping the scales toward allergy.
An Epidemic of Absence is a brilliant, cutting-edge exploration of the dramatic rise of allergic and autoimmune diseases and the controversial, potentially groundbreaking therapies that scientists are developing to correct these disorders.
~ While some of you may know that collaborator Tim Steele and I did a totally fun (lots of lafs: fart jokes, poo and fecal transplant jokes, etc.) recording the other day with Dave Asprey for an upcoming vidcast/podcast on Resistant Starch, primarily, he previously did a show with my other collaborator and long time friend—going back to 2008—"Dr. BG (link removed)," now fully outed as Grace Liu, PharmD. There's a decent amount of "chop" in the audio which they're working on re-recording for the iTunes podcast version, but in the meantime, here's the transcript.
This is how far a mother will go.
Your daughter has been sick for more than four years with a severe autoimmune disease that has left her colon raw with bloody ulcers. After multiple doctors and drugs have failed, you are frantic for her to get better. Then you send her disease into remission, virtually overnight, with a single act of love. “Who wouldn’t do that for their daughter?” you say. It’s like a miracle, you say. “An overnight magic wand.”
You’ve agreed to do it again – twice – for strangers. You’ve seen first-hand how effective it can be and you felt so badly for the patients and their families. Had you donated blood or plasma, no one would blink. But this? You can’t tell anyone else about this because of how they might react.
(Read the rest; it's a long, though marvelous piece)
Increased intake of dietary carbohydrate that is fermented in the colon by the microbiota has been reported to decrease body weight, although the mechanism remains unclear. Here we use in vivo11C-acetate and PET-CT scanning to show that colonic acetate crosses the blood–brain barrier and is taken up by the brain. Intraperitoneal acetate results in appetite suppression and hypothalamic neuronal activation patterning. We also show that acetate administration is associated with activation of acetyl-CoA carboxylase and changes in the expression profiles of regulatory neuropeptides that favour appetite suppression. Furthermore, we demonstrate through 13C high-resolution magic-angle-spinning that 13C acetate from fermentation of 13C-labelled carbohydrate in the colon increases hypothalamic 13C acetate above baseline levels. Hypothalamic 13C acetate regionally increases the 13C labelling of the glutamate–glutamine and GABA neuroglial cycles, with hypothalamic 13C lactate reaching higher levels than the ‘remaining brain’. These observations suggest that acetate has a direct role in central appetite regulation.
Just as in butter eating folks, I doubt vinegar dousing folks are getting any more acetic acid to their colons as the former are getting butyric acid to theirs. It requires a digestion resistant substrate (by which the colonic bacteria then produce both as their "shit") such as resistant starch and other fermentable fibers found primarily in plants. Sorry. Don't shoot the messenger.
~ Do you want totally weird ass dreams? Well, Adel is a good communicator on that level (hint: resistant starch).
...She graciously tweeted me the other day to thank me for the work here, and I'm delighted to share her experiences and observations with you.
~ Alright, let me conclude with a family update. I'll be seeing mom & dad in a few hours from now at camp, so it's apropos, methinks.
Way way back, like 2008 and 9ish, I was all up in arms about how my Type 2 Diabetic mom was doing so well on very low carb Paleo. The honeymoon was short lived. She lives with fasting BG in the 160-180 range, now, even keeping very strict at 73-yoa. No amputations, and I got her eyes. I barely need reading glasses only, at 53. I think that was probably the point she took them up, and has never had actual corrective lenses.
...Anyway, about a week ago I get an email from dad. Back up. In that same 2008/9 timeframe, as my dad (now 76) was alarmed that his fasting glucose was so high. I had no idea of physiological insulin resistance at the time. It was rather embarrassing. On the other hand, he lost a lot of weight, was active, and felt good. So, he was at about 130 FBG. He sent me a chart the other day, all measurements from his regular provider checkups and he's now at an FBG of about 100.
Wow, best ever as far back as I can remember. RS does work.
Mom had been taking RS via Bob's Red Mill Potato Starch for months, and I recently introduced her to Amla (Indian Gooseberry). Here's a very compelling post I did about how it reduces blood sugar better than the drugs. Those damn ancient Indians of India! What do they know?
Mom emails me this morning.
First time in YEARS, no insulin today. My levels have been so much better with the starch and recently I started taking the Amla and they have been going down. With the lower bg levels and less insulin levels I have started to lose weight. Only a few pounds but it's something. I am happy.
Want to talk to you about probiotics this weekend and which one I should be taking.
She followed up when Beatrice congratulated her.
No insulin yesterday. This morning 101. Never ever had figures like this in morning. They were always high even with insulin at night.
...I immediately sent her all my Amazon Associates links. Click it. Grab that cookie, give me a piece! It's only all of what I'm about. Peddling stuff, creating a niche fad, etc.
Yep, it's all just a fad. That's what literally dozens of American LC Diet Gurus who failed both of my parents would have you believe. "Their carbs aren't low enough." "They're cheating." Oh, they're cheating, eh (euphemism for living!)? Well, probably, but it looks like RS, Amla, and maybe SBO probiotics covers that?
So that's bad? Is LC a religion? Oh, yes, it is. It's Hezbollah, as certainly as Vegan is Shiite. Two sides of the same coin, dime's worth of difference.
In other news, Mr. Mark Sisson is adept at discerning writing on walls. He's been unstoppable posting about issues of the gut biome recently. Here's his latest, near and dear to moms. Did you see his Definitive Guide to Resistant Starch?
Or, listen to Shiite (or is it Hezbollah?) LC Diet Authoritarians who stopped thinking very much in 1972, when their Prophet Atkins came on the scene.
Be malleable and thinking, like Sisson, or just do this because it's easy and comforting.
You're choice, but either way, have fun and enjoy your one and only life on planet earth.
...A footnote, for my German readers, who are my heritage primarily (dad immigrated with family in 1952):
Darm mit Charme ("Charming Bowels") – which has sat atop the German paperback charts for the last eight weeks and shifted more than 200,000 copies in the process – may deal with defecation, constipation and other bowel movements, but its message is far from flippant: our gastrointestinal tract is not only the body's most under-appreciated organ, but "the brain's most important adviser".
In the book, which was published in Germany in March and whose UK rights have already been bought by Scribe, Enders argues that we are unduly proud of the complex achievements of our brain and heart, while regarding our bowels as little more than a shameful tube that produces "small brown heaps and farting noises".
Here's a 12-minute talk she did (in German), but some of my readers translated it and subtitled the video.
The world is changing dramatically and rapidly and I understand and embrace that. I fart in the general direction of all who don't.
Check out my Gut Microbiome, Soil-Based Probiotic, and Resistant Starch Primer For Newbies if you haven't. Also, make sure you understand the integration that Probiotics might be the 'genetic component of obesity' everyone talks about, but hasn't integrated but 1% of in terms of ALL the genes (which is laughable).