• Efforts To Curb Obesity, Diabetes & Arterial Disease In Recent Decades Have Been A Misdirection. Origin Of Aging & Disease Rooted In Gut Bacteria

    Posted April 21, 2016: by Bill Sardi

    Rates of obesity and diabetes rose in an era of endless diet books, calorie counting and low-fat diets. Something was obviously amiss. Arteries still become atherosclerotic on the 5-A-Day Plant Food Diet Promoted By Public Health Authorities. In contrast, people in Japan are leaner and healthier and live longer without local gyms and myriads of medications or even dietary advice. France has the most centenarians per capita and eats a diet rich in fats and cholesterol.

    In a complete denunciation of modern medicine, the profit-making schemes of health plans and political efforts to make healthcare available to all come to an abrupt halt with a policy-bending report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that shows access to healthcare does not deliver health. It does deliver treatment.

    “Health cometh not from healthcare” says preventive cardiologist John Mandrola who summarizes this report by saying: “the key determinant of a population’s health is not gleaming new medical centers, but individual behavior.” [MedScape April 2016]

    According to an editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Assocation, only about 10-20% of positive health outcomes are accounted for by delivery of health care. [Journal American Medical Association April 10, 2016]

    According to a recent authoritative report only 3% of Americans live a healthy lifestyle, defined as being physically active, eating a healthy diet, avoidance of tobacco (which takes 10 years off a person’s life), and having a lean body shape. [Mayo Clinic Proceedings April 2016]

    The key marker of health was found to be zip code. Maps show almost a 15-year disparity in longevity between the most healthy and least healthy zip codes and this figure had nothing to do how much doctoring was going on. Income is the predominant factor. [Journal American Medical Assn. 2016]

    As Dr. Mandrola says: “It’s about time Americans wake up to the fact that the medical profession does not determine a population’s health.” Skip building new medical centers and buying screening vans and build more parks and bike paths, says Dr. Mandrola. It is individual behaviors that determine the health of a population, largely lack of exercise, obesity and tobacco use. Most of the credit modern medicine takes for improved health numbers emanates from a steep decline in smoking rates, not an increase in the availability of new medicines or other treatments.

    Maybe the country needs a President who would embody healthy behaviors to set an example of the rest of the population rather than a chief-of-state who says “broccoli not.”

    It’s not just exercise and avoidance of tobacco

    But it’s not just exercise and avoidance of tobacco. An animal experiment reveals this U-turn in our understanding of health.

    In a series of experiments researchers raised genetically identical mice in a germ-free environment and then instilled their digestive tract with intestinal bacteria collected from obese women and their lean twin sisters. The mice ate the same amount of food but the animals that received bacteria from obese humans grew heavier and had more body fat than mice with implanted microbes from a lean twin sister. The overweight mice also exhibited a less diverse community of gut bacteria. [Scientific American 2014; Science 2013]

    The aftermath of this discovery is about to revolutionize modern health care and the entire food and dietary supplement industry.

    Tim Spector, a geneticist at King’s College in London, says modern medicine has been on the wrong track for decades and that the key is to (get this) eat cocoa and drink coffee and red wine, components of the Mediterranean diet. [Daily Mail UK] But not for the reasons you might think.

    Yes, these foods provide polyphenols, strong anti-oxidants that are three times more abundant in the Mediterranean than the American diet. But they aren’t working directly to improve health. Come to find out polyphenols in olives, wine, coffee, tea, and cocoa, are prebiotics, that is, they foster the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract.

    Dr. Spector put his young son on a fast-food diet for a few days and found it reduced the diversity of bacteria in his gut. The ratio of more beneficial bacteria to less beneficial bacterial was adversely altered.

    Come to find humans have about four pounds of bacteria totaling trillions in numbers that exceed the number of cells in the entire body. However, increased consumption of supplemental “good” bacteria Acidophilus and Bifidus as provided in yogurt or dietary supplements are not the full answer either.

    Polyphenols, provided in berries, pomegranate, turmeric spice, cranberry and grapes (and 1000-fold more concentrated in fermented grape juice, aka wine), will do more to raise the ratio of good to bad bacteria than any probiotic dietary supplement.

    Ninety percent of the bacteria in the digestive tract is composed of two families: the Firmicutes (pronunciation) and the Bacteroidetes (pronunciation). When the latter predominates over the former, there is less inflammation, less plaque that clogs our arteries and greater burning of calories instead of energy storage.

    Obese individuals not only exhibit a composition of gut bacteria that favors Firmicutes over Bacteroidetes, but also exhibit a reduction in gut bacteria diversity. [Digestive Diseases 2016]

    Does this explain why the wine-drinking French consume a high-calorie, high-fat diet and don’t pay the price for it?

    Recently researchers fed laboratory mice choline, a nutrient richly provided in eggs, which generated a toxic molecule known as TMAO (trimethylamine N-oxide), which fosters clumping of blood platelets and blood clots. [Cell 2016]

    In another similar study laboratory mice were given choline and resveratrol, the most studied polyphenol in red wine. Resveratrol favored the growth of Bacteroidetes over Firmicutes (Bacteroidetes increased from 20.6% to 34.0% at the expense of Firmicutes 60.1% to 50.1%) and abolished a noxious chemical (trimethylamine N-oxide or TMAO) to improve the production and flow of bile in the liver, which in turn retards accumulation of fats (cholesterol) in artery walls.

    Researchers said (paraphrased): “This study demonstrates resveratrol improves the dysregulation of the gut microbiota induced by a high-fat diet, increases Bacteroides-to-Firmicutes ratios, and increases the growth of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium in mice.” [mBio April 2016]

    Who would have ever thunk this a decade ago?

    Truly, modern medicine has reached a turning point, away from emphasis on calorie and cholesterol reduction and towards a greater understanding of how gut bacteria control weight and overcome obesity. It is only recently proposed that polyphenols, a group of natural molecules such as quercetin, resveratrol and catechin obtained, for example, from apple peel, grapes, wine, tea and coffee respectively, by virtue of their fermentation products in the digestive tract (intestines), exert a weight-lowering effect.

    Supplementation of the diet with polyphenols, which favors the growth of a class of bacteria in the digestive tract called Bacteroidetes over Firmicutes is now proposed for weight loss [Chemical Biological Interactions 2011]

    It wasn’t till 2010 that researchers at Emory University in Atlanta first reported that gut bacteria not only defend against infection but also can control weight and efficient use of energy to burn rather than store calories as fat as evidence by a change in the composition of gut bacteria. [Science 2010]

    Five years later researchers wondered about the remarkable observation that wine-drinkers often exhibit lean bodies and better heart and blood vessel health and whether this was due to changes in gut bacteria. Ten obese and ten healthy males were given 272 milliliters per day (9-10 ounces or two 5-oz. glasses) of red wine or dealcoholized red wine. Wine only altered the bacteria of the obese subjects. De-alcoholized red wine favorably compared to alcoholic wine which suggests the polyphenols in wine favorably affected the gut bacteria. The beneficial effect of red wine molecules (polyphenols) was indirect via the changes in the gut bacteria. [Food & Function 2015]

    The beneficial effect of polyphenols on gut bacteria and health is not confined to laboratory animals.

    When 9-10 ounces (272 milliliters) of red wine, or about two 5-ounce glasses, was given to 10 obese and 10 healthy adult males for 30 days, both wine and dealcoholized wine produced was a significant increase in beneficial intestinal bacteria and favorably altered markers of heart health. This study suggests red wine solids rather than alcohol are responsible for the gut bacteria-altering effects of red wine and a red wine pill would suffice to mimic the effects of wine. [Food & Function 2015]

    How many bacteria occupy the human digestive tract?

    There are about four pounds of bacteria that reside in the human digestive tract that number in the trillions and outnumber the cells in the body. [Current Obesity Reports 2015]

    While there are 400-500 species of bacteria in the human digestive tract, just two classes of bacteria comprise 90% of the bacteria: Bacteriodetes and Firmicutes. The proportion of these is either a marker or controller of health. In obese people, more Bacteriodetes are excreted into human waste than Firmicutes, which results in Firmicutes domination over Bacteriodetes that is characteristic among obese individuals. [Nutrients 2015]

    Why not probiotics which are already widely available?

    Probiotic dietary supplements have recently been described as “snake oil” and “quack medicine” and probiotics mischaracterized as “commercialized medicine.” [BMC Medical Ethics 2012]

    However, the science underpinning probiotics is growing.

    Strikingly, the provision of certain types of beneficial Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria to the gut of animals has been found to reduce the absorption of fats similar to the way a fat-blocking drug (orlistat) works. [Federation European Biochemical Societies Open Bio 2016]

    The importance of maintenance of gut bacteria is emphasized by the fact Bifidobacteria can generate vitamins K, B12, biotin, folate (B9) and thiamine. (B1) [Journal Applied Bacteriology 1991]

    Advancing age affects intestinal bacteria characterized by a decline in the population of Bifidobacteria. [Current Opinion Clinical Nutrition Metabolic Care 2003] It is also posited that probiotic supplementation to mice prolongs their life. [PLoS One 2011]

    The World Health Organization defines probiotics as “live micro-organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.”

    Probiotics are live bacteria in foods (yogurt), fermented dairy products like kefir and also in pills.

    Acid-forming bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidus are widely known to inhibit growth of pathogenic bacteria via acid production. [Immunology Cell Biology 2000]

    Certainly probiotics are useful during and after a course of antibiotics to reduce the onset of diarrhea. [Journal American Medical Assn. 2012]

    But there is more to probiotics than control of undesirable bacteria.

    Probiotic therapy, the addition of beneficial bacteria to the digestive tract, stimulates the immune system. The body perceives these non-pathogenic bacteria as a biological threat and activates immune defenses. [Critical Review Food Science Nutrition 2014] Advancing age results in a decline in the immune system called immunosenescence that results in an increase in infections. Delivery of prebiotics and probiotics has been demonstrated to increase immunity in aging adults. [International Journal Vitamin Nutrition Research 2012]

    Another mechanism by which probiotics work is they cleave to cells (enterocytes) that line the intestines and thus prevent attachment by pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria. [Immunology & Cell Biology 2000]

    However, there are drawbacks to probiotics.

    While beneficial bacteria In the form of probiotic dietary supplements (Acidophilus and Bifidus) are considered healthy, a small number of infections (1.7%) have been directly traced back to intensive dairy probiotic consumption by individuals. So probiotics are safe but aren’t entirely safe. [Postȩpy Hygiene and Experimental Medicine 2014]

    Another drawback of probiotics is the futility of thinking a few billion friendly bacteria will make any difference in a sea of trillions of bacteria in the human digestive tract. It’s like thinking a handful of grass seed would make a meaningful difference when spread over an entire golf course.

    However, it was Elie Metchnikoff who said in his book, The Prolongation of Life, published in 1907, that:

    “The dependence of the intestinal microbes on food makes it possible to adopt measures to modify the flora in our bodies and to replace the harmful microbes by useful microbes.”

    But there has been concern that many probiotics do not provide live bacteria. Even Wikipedia continues to report: “only products containing live organisms shown in reproducible human studies to confer a health benefit can actually claim to be a probiotic.” [Wikipedia]

    Some yogurt-based sources of probiotics are heat-treated after fermentation, which kills most if not all of the active bacteria in the product. Because of this problem the National Yogurt Association has a certification program to identify products with live cultures and a seal that identified those products on their label. [AboutYogurt.com]

    While early studies noted that heat-treatment used to kill off probiotic bacteria produced dead probiotics that are of no value health wise, the scientific understanding of probiotics has changed. A subsequent study that used radiation to reduce the metabolic activity of probiotics without destroying their cellular structure demonstrated that live bacteria are not required to produce a beneficial effect. [Nutraingredients.com 2004; Current Opinion Gastroenterology 2005]

    Is the bacteria count important?

    Unlike probiotics, prebiotics like polyphenols stimulate a whole indigenous population of Bifidobacteria to grow. The prebiotic effect is the number of Bifidobacteria per gram of feces the volunteers had before supplementation of the diet when the prebiotic regimen begins. So a continued ingestion of prebiotics over time may be needed to favorably influence health. [Journal Nutrition 2007]

    Further unfounded criticism

    The fact that both dairy and non-dairy sources of probiotics can increase body weight has been offered as a drawback of these products. [Microbial Pathogenesis 2012] But this criticism is unfair and reveals bias and an effort to demean advancements in probiotic applications in health promotion. [Beneficial Microbes 2012]

    Weight gain in young growing animals and humans (example: prematurely born babies) may be beneficial and cannot be extrapolated to suggest probiotics promote obesity in full-grown adults. Probiotics are believed to play a role in creating lean adults. [Microbial Pathogenesis 2016]

    A critical review of the role of probiotics in weight control concludes that: “probiotics… can affect food intake and appetite, body weight and composition and metabolic functions through gastrointestinal pathways and modulation of the gut bacterial community.” [Nutrition Metabolism 2016] Probiotics may promote weight gain in growing children and weight loss in obese adults. [Microbial Pathogenesis 2016]

    However, probiotic yogurts may or may not help control weight among obese adults when compared with other weight loss measures (low-fat diet). [American Journal Clinical Nutrition 2016]

    Do animal studies apply to humans?

    What is observed in the animal laboratory is not necessarily duplicated in human adults.

    Most laboratory animals, except for guinea pigs, internally produce their own vitamin C whereas humans have a genetic defect that makes them totally dependent upon the diet for vitamin C. Individuals with adequate vitamin C blood levels oxidize 30% more fat during moderate exercise than vitamin C-deficient individuals. [Journal American College Nutrition 2005]

    Furthermore, responses to probiotics and prebiotics are highly individualized. There are many other factors that come into play in real life that don’t exist in a controlled laboratory experiment. For example, a high-fat/high calorie Western processed food diet laced with artificial sweeteners and combined with loss of sleep can quickly alter the human gut bacteria to an obese pattern. [Postgraduate Medicine 2015]

    What about gastric surgery for weight control?

    Of interest, weight loss surgery (reduction in the size of the stomach via surgery or gastric banding, also known as bariatric surgery) alters the gut bacteria in both mice and humans. Transfer of gut bacteria from post-bariatric surgical patients to mice results in weight loss of these animals and fashions a leaner animal. [Journal Internal Medicine 2016]

    While gastric banding or gastric bypass surgery has been observed to favorably alter gut bacteria composition to a more lean pattern, it appears the body attempts to store iron rather than utilize it among very obese individuals (iron storage levels/ferritin rise). [Obesity Surgery 2009]

    Weight loss surgery facilitates more efficient iron absorption from the diet and increased iron availability to produce new red blood cells. [Scandinavian Journal Surgery 2014] Probiotics seem to produce a similar effect. [British Journal Nutrition 2015]

    The goal now is to mimic the effectiveness of weight-loss surgery medicinally or nutritionally to produce “medical bypass” without surgical intervention. Efforts to increase calorie burning, improve bile production and flow, and alter appetite without surgery are possible and the manipulation of gut bacteria may play a critical role. [International Journal Obesity 2014]

    How polyphenols work

    Be ever reminded, it is not the polyphenols themselves but their transformation products that have the ability to modify microbial balance in the digestive tract. [Anaerobe 2013] Polyphenols should be described as great transformers that exert their beneficial influence indirectly via metabolized forms. [Journal Agriculture Food Chemistry 2009]

    There is little argument that polyphenols can significantly reduce weight among obese individuals via provision of glycans. Glycans are sugar-like molecules (saccharides) that attach to a wide variety of other molecules. [Molecular & Cellular Proteomics Today 2013]

    Polyphenols generate glycan-degrading enzymes, which are associated with their weight-lowering effect. [Chemico-Biological Interactions 2011]

    The Firmicutes class of gut bacteria have fewer glycan-degrading enzymes that Bacteroidetes. Polyphenols repress via their more active glycan-degrading enzymes repress Firmicutes more so than Bacteroidetes. A polyphenolic-rich diet is proposed for weight loss. [Chemical Biological Interactions 2011]

    Polyphenols also exert an indirect longevity effect. Whereas meat and dairy consumption favor development of adult-onset diabetes and weight gain via their ability to provide the amino acid leucine that over-activates mTOR (target of rapamycin) gene, polyphenols inhibit mTOR and exert anti-obesity effects. [World Journal Diabetes 2012]

    From where cometh polyphenols?

    The old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” may be rooted in the polyphenols and fiber in apples that promote beneficial bacteria in the human gut. [Nutrients 2015]

    Inflammation is associated with advancing age. Inflammation in the gut is the focus of age-related inflammation. As an example of what prebiotic polyphenols can do, apple decreases gut inflammation when fed to healthy mice. [Journal Nutrition 2014]

    Individual polyphenol molecules extracted from berries, grapes, olives and fruits such as quercetin and resveratrol are ideal as dietary supplements and have been shown to exert powerful ability to promote healthy bacteria in the digestive tract, with quercetin not only being found to be the strongest polyphenol compared to seven other others but is also considerably superior to the widely heralded resveratrol. [Journal Physiology Pharmacology 2012; Journal Nutritional Biochemistry 2015]

    What is the correct dose of polyphenols?

    While polyphenols are being extolled as prebiotics that are more effective than probiotics, it should also be noted that excessive intake of polyphenols can promote oxidation and tissue destruction. Polyphenols are safe, but not safe at all doses. [Free Radical Biology & Medicine 2004]

    It is commonly stated that polyphenols are not biologically available. For the most part, polyphenols are not absorbed into the blood circulation nor the small intestine and are rapidly excreted via the kidneys. But polyphenols are highly metabolized (linked to other molecules) as they enter the large intestine. It is these polyphenolic metabolites that produce many of the beneficial health effects known to polyphenolic-rich foods like wine, grapes, pomegranates, apple peel, etc. [BioMed Research International 2015]

    Total intake of polyphenols in the American diet is around 1000 milligrams/day versus 1800-3000 milligrams/day in the Mediterranean diet. [Food Chemistry 2007; American Journal Clinical Nutrition 2005] For comparison, in rural Mexico where sweetened drinks are widely consumed to produce obese humans, polyphenol intake from foods and beverages was estimated at just 181 milligrams per day! [Public Health Nutrition 2012]

    Other prebiotics

    Rice bran oil changes the metabolism of polyphenols and intestinal bacteria. When rice bran oil was combined with a polyphenol (isoflavonoid daidzein from soy) the amount of bile in fecal excrement was greater than animals fed lard (fat). Lactobacillus species were higher in rice bran fed animals. Bile is made from cholesterol and the excretion of bile therefore reduces arterial accumulation of cholesterol. [International Journal Molecular Sciences 2012]

    Rice bran enhances the levels of lactic acid bacteria (Bifidus) and is suggested as an economical prebiotic for use in pet foods. [FEMS Microbiology Ecology 2011] Rice bran has been shown to increase Lactobacillus species and therefore reduce Salmonella entry into cells in the small intestine. [BMC Microbiology 2012] Heat stabilized rice bran has been shown to improve the composition of bacteria in the intestines in healthy humans including Bifidobacteria species. [Nutrients 2015]

    What about probiotic and prebiotic combinations?

    It is suggested the combination of polyphenols as prebiotics with probiotics such as fermented dairy products (yogurt) would be advantageous. [Biomedical Research International 2015]

    It is possible that combinations of prebiotics such as beta glucans (more about beta glucans below) and polyphenols can optimally address unhealthy bacterial profile in the human digestive tract of overweight individuals. [Journal Diabetes Complications 2015]

    Dietary fiber and polyphenols work to promote health via their ability to produce biologically active compounds within the gut microbes. [Current Medicinal Chemistry 2006]

    Are probiotics and prebiotics solely confined to address diabesity?

    If you think the idea of establishing healthy bacteria in the digestive tract is relegated to address lesser problems of morbidity like diabetes, obesity and weight control rather than life-threatening events, better think again.

    Scientists have just uncovered a link between gut bacteria and the severity of a stroke. In the animal lab, mice given a transplant of “good” bacteria via a fecal transplant were resistant to brain damage caused by an experimentally-induced stroke. [Scientific American 2016]

    In laboratory animals the provision of probiotics lessens heart enlargement and heart failure. [Circulation Heart Failure 2014] A metabolite of gut bacteria TMAO (trimethylamine-N-oxide) that is formed from dietary nutrients choline and carnitine, is linked with arterial disease. Major cardiac events are associated with consumption of choline or betaine via elevated TMAO levels. [European Heart Journal 2014] TMAO via increased carnitine intake from red meat consumption may also contribute to cardiovascular disease risk. [Nature Medicine 2013] “The way to a healthy heart may be through a healthy gut microbiota.” [Proceedings Nutrition Society 2014]

    What about beta glucans?

    Another class of nutrients that promote healthy bacteria in the digestive tract are beta glucans. These are sugar-like molecules (polysaccharides) that are naturally found in the cells walls of cereals (barley, rice bran, oats) and fungi (mushrooms). Beta glucan dietary supplements are more widely offered as immune stimulants rather then promoters of good bacteria.

    Of note, the US Food & Drug Administration allows a health claim for food that contain 750 milligrams of soluble fiber (beta glucan) for heart health. [Title 21: U.S. Code Federal Regulations, FDA 2015]

    Beta glucans are highly fermentable in the intestines and enhance the growth of acid-forming bacteria (acidophilus, Bifidus) and adhere to the lining of the digestive tract (the enterocytes) to inhibit attachment by pathogenic bacteria. [International Journal Molecular Science 2014]

    Larger beta glucans (high molecular weight) derived from whole grains, particularly from barley which is the richest natural source (barley 3-11%, oats 3-7%, wheat less than 1% beta glucans) have been found to promote the growth of Bacteroidetes over Firmicutes in the intestines of humans which is characteristic of non-obese individuals and to reduce markers of cardiovascular disease. The daily dose of beta glucan used to achieve this effect is 3000 milligrams. [Frontiers Microbiology 2016]

    What about gluten-free diets?

    Bucking a health trend to adhere to gluten-free diets, the consumption of a gluten-free diet by healthy adults for 30-days decreased the number of healthy bacteria and increased the number of unhealthy gut bacteria. [Gut Microbes 2010; British Journal Nutrition 2009] It has been noted that wheat and to a lesser extent barley are the primary sources of natural prebiotics in the North American diet. [British Journal Nutrition 2010]

    What to make of fecal transplantation of beneficial bacteria?

    The idea of fecal transplantation of healthy bacteria from one person to another, regardless of its demonstrated effectiveness, should be ridiculed as evidence of how modern medicine detests nutritional supplements, in particular polyphenols. A human clinical trial using “poop” pills has already been launched to address obesity in human subjects. [Washington Post Jan 14, 2016]

    While this yucky approach gains widespread attention in the news media, it is also the most expensive way to address a problem that may require continual treatment. Fecal transplants may be effective both medically and cost-wise to treat a life-threatening infection such as Clostridium-difficile infection for which it has a 90% cure rate, but it is not practical for common use to control weight. [Science Daily 2016] Even the idea of freeze-dried “poop” capsules should be rebuffed. [Medical Daily 2016] Patent applications for “poop” pills are based on methods of production and donor selection. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel March 12, 2016]

    A lot of scheming entrepreneurs are likely to make millions when there are much more cost effective non-patentable prebiotics at hand. University-based medical centers plan to make billions of dollars off of patented “poop” pills while ignoring more economical approaches.

    Why wait for “poop” pills?

    Researchers write: “from the evidence it is reasonable to manage growth and metabolism of gut bacteria with specific prebiotics and polyphenols…. Well designed supplements that contain the better ratio of omega-3 fatty acid (fish/flax oil) and antioxidants, specific probiotic strains and selected polyphenols and prebiotics could be useful in metabolic syndrome prevention and treatment.” [International Journal Food Science Nutrition 2014]

    Concern over artificial sweeteners

    Like choline, artificial sweeteners may adversely alter the microbiome, the community of bacteria in the intestines, and indirectly facilitate the buildup of fatty plaque in arteries (atherosclerosis). [Nature 2014] Despite being calorie-less, artificial sweeteners like saccharin, sucralose and aspartame induce glucose intolerance. Artificial sweeteners may promote obesity and diabetes. This adverse effect is also mediated by disturbance of the normal composition of bacteria in the human intestines.

    At least in lab animals, artificial sweeteners result in high blood sugar (glucose) levels, meaning sugar was not being utilized and converted to energy. But lab animals given table sugar (sucrose) had normal blood sugar levels!

    When laboratory mice were given antibiotics to kill off (sterilize) all their gut bacteria the microbial population returned to its original makeup and blood sugar was controlled. This biological phenomenon doesn’t appear to be restricted just to laboratory mice. A study of 381 humans confirms that users of artificial sweeteners are more likely to be overweight. [Scientific American 2015]

    This information then begs the question: do artificial sweeteners by their alteration of the normal composition of gut bacteria also accelerate the buildup of fatty plaques in arteries just as choline does?

    The answer to that question appears to be yes, artificial sweeteners can potentially increase atherosclerotic plaque in arteries. [Molecules & Cells 2011]

    We now know these deleterious effects induced by artificial sweeteners may be mediated by disruption of bacterial colonies in the human gut. The Food & Drug Administration needs to convene an immediate meeting of public health officials to reconsider the use of artificial sweeteners.

    Of interest, artificial sweeteners run opposite to the natural sweetener stevia and its fractions (steviosides and rebaudiosides). Stevia-based sweeteners, 300 times as sweet as table sugar, do not appear to significantly alter gut bacteria. When compared to an anti-diabetic drug (Gilbenclamide, aka Micronase, DiaBeta, Glynase), the natural sweetener stevia actually outperformed the drug in its ability to control blood sugar and favorably altered circulating blood cholesterol levels. [Suppversity.com]

    Call to review all foodstuffs and dietary supplements

    The call to review all foodstuffs, sweeteners and dietary supplements, given the new understanding of how gut bacteria influences health, is urgent.

    Jeffrey Gordon of Washington University in St. Louis says: “We need to think about designing foods from the inside out.” The importance of knowing just how baby foods, hospital foods, even army rations, affect gut bacteria is of critical importance. [Scientific American 2014]

    Don’t think every prebiotic needs to come in a package or pill. Prepared prebiotics data back to the 4th Century BC with the fermentation of cabbage into sauerkraut. [Global Advances Health Medicine 2014] Sauerkraut provided many strains of acid-forming Lactobacillus strains. [World Journal Microbiology Biotechnology 2013] Commercialized sauerkraut is also available, though with its undesirable sulfite preservatives. In this modern world, it is not likely many consumers will be making home-made sauerkraut. ©2016 Bill Sardi, Knowledge of Health, Inc.

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