Is the Key to Happiness in Our Microbes?

Guest BloggerMicrobiome Environment

Imagine if microbes could make you smile.  Plenty of new research suggests that unhappiness, at least in the guise of depression and anxiety, may stem from the gut-brain axis and what transpires along the route. A new paper describes the many challenges inherent in the intricate science and suggests a way forward. Gregor Reid of Lawson Health Research Institute in Canada laid … Read More

Childhood Obesity: New Study on Microbes

Guest BloggerMicrobiome Environment

Our children are getting fatter. Too much food and not enough exercise are the chief culprits for this global epidemic. Among other contributors, the microbiome is under suspicion. Studies done mostly in animals but also some humans suggest why the microbiome is involved. Microbes: mechanisms of action in obesity Increasing energy harvest Changing host metabolism Activation of innate immunity Lowering … Read More

As Fatty Liver Spreads, Probiotics Enter the Fray

Guest BloggerClinical Corner

liver

With obesity off the charts, big pharma is racing to bring new drugs to market. Many of the newbie medications tackle the metabolic downsides of obesity: glucose intolerance, high cholesterol and fatty liver. While drugs may be somewhat effective, they can be costly (especially in the United States) and all come with some unhealthy side effect or more. Finding safe … Read More

Breast Cancer and Probiotic Link Largely Untapped

Guest BloggerClinical Corner

breast cancer

With breast cancer a leading cause of death among woman globally, it’s no surprise that billions of dollars are spent searching for better outcomes. Much of the largess is poured into cancer drugs and other treatments. Relatively little is spent exploring a microbiome connection. That’s a shame because breast microbiota may be fertile ground for intervention. How so? First, microbial composition … Read More

In Melanoma, Microbes Show Game in the Skin

Guest BloggerClinical Corner, Microbiome Environment

Skin: We ignore it, tattoo it and burn it on beaches and tanning beds. Besides its brutish name, skin also gets little respect for its crucial job of protecting the human body from toxins and dehydration. Skin is the largest organ we have, beating out big hearts and hungry stomachs by a long shot. It is a complex ecosystem home to … Read More

Bowel Prep for Colonoscopies Disrupts Microbes

Guest BloggerClinical Corner, Microbiome Environment

anatomy colon

Colonoscopy is the gold standard for finding and removing polyps which could cause colon cancer. Prepping for the test requires imbibing volumes of laxative solutions to cleanse (via diarrhea) the bowel for better viewing. Not fun, but the doctor needs to see a clear picture. One interesting question which rarely comes up is how do these cleansers—usually sodium phosphate or … Read More

Fiber Gives Microbes Much to Chew On

Guest BloggerClinical Corner, Microbiome Environment

Lentils, black beans, broccoli, mango, raspberries— slivers of the fibrous firmament—taste better than chips or fries and  work for us instead of against. A high-fiber diet helps prevent a litany of diseases including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Scientists have teased out many clues for how it works; only recently however have they targeted the microbial world. In a … Read More

Exercise Improves Microbe Mix in Lean People

Guest BloggerClinical Corner, Microbiome Environment

healthy people

Baby, we were born to run. Despite that innate need to move, few of us do enough exercise for optimum health. Even our microbes will vary depending on movement. For example, endurance athletes harbor different microbes than sedentary people. A new study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign tracked changes in the guts of 32 non-exercisers who started a … Read More

Can Probiotics Clear Human Papillomavirus?

Guest BloggerClinical Corner, Microbiome Environment

cancer

Imagine a virus that most people harbor at some point in their lives, usually unaware of it because our fine-tuned immune systems clear them, yet for an unlucky number–usually women—it can be a death sentence. The pathogen is called human papillomavirus (HPV), the main cause of cervical cancer. A German virologist named Harald zur Hausen won the Nobel prize for … Read More

As Asthma Rates Rise, So Does Interest in Microbes

Guest BloggerClinical Corner, Microbiome Environment

asthma and microbes

Progress is not always pretty. Polluted air, water and soil are part of the price tag on fast cars, potent drugs and cheap beef. Health can suffer. Faced with environmental toxins, our bodies secrete cytokines which induce multiple responses played out in the lungs, airways and immune system. This specific type of allergy named asthma is episodic or chronic inflammation of … Read More