Scientists are finally starting to understand the gut and brain connection, and this understanding can lead to huge breakthroughs in regard to various mental disorders, and how what’s going on in the gut could actually be a culprit for many of these illnesses. Many are surprised to learn that an estimated 90% of the serotonin produced by the body actually comes from the gut! This may lead us to believe that proper nutrition, gut microbiome, and digestion might be a key component to a healthy mind.

 Recently, bacteria have been discovered in the gut that depends solely on one of the chemicals in our brains for survival. These bacteria consume a molecule known as GABA; this molecule is crucial for calming the brain. This shows directly how gut bacteria can affect our mood.

Philip Strandawitz and his colleagues from Northeastern University in Boston have recently discovered that a species of recently discovered gut bacteria, called KLE1738 could only be grown if it was provided with GABA molecules. While announcing his findings at the annual meeting of the American Society of Microbiology in Boston last month, Strandawitz said, “Nothing made is grown, except GABA.”

GABA acts by inhibiting signals from nerve cells, which calms down the activity of the brain. This is why it’s so surprising that a bacteria in the gut needs it in order to grow and reproduce. Interestingly enough, low levels of GABA are directly linked to depression and other mood disorders. The findings of this study just provide further evidence that the bacteria in our gut are directly affecting the function of our brains.

What Does This Mean For Treatment Of Depression?

An experiment performed in 2011 showed how a type of gut bacteria called Lactobacillus rhamnosus can actually alter the GABA activity in the brains of mice, as well as directly influencing how the mice are responding from stress. Researchers involved in this study found that this effect disappeared when they surgically removed the vagus nerve, linking the gut to the brain, in the mice. This suggests that it plays a role in the influence that gut bacteria have on the brain.

Now, Strandawitz is looking for other gut bacteria that consume, or alternatively produce GABA. This way he can test their effects on the brains and behavior of animals. This research may eventually lead to alternative treatments for various mood disorders including depression and anxiety.

Is It Really As Simple As Diet?

Perhaps. We can’t really say for sure, but having a healthy gut can relate to having a healthy mind. There are more and more instances being documented from people who have completely changed their diets, and the impact it has had on their mood, symptoms of depression and, believe it or not, on autism as well.

There are many different contributing factors leading to an imbalance of gut flora, which in turn can lead to various mental and physical issues. Overuse of antibiotics without taking probiotics can cause this, not being breastfed as a baby could lead to gut issues down the road, also, being born from a C-section can also cause issues later on, as the beneficial bacteria that would normally be passed to the baby during birth is bypassed. These factors and more can lead to many different ailments and allergies.

After all our guts go through, it is no surprise that many of us are struggling with so many health disorders and allergies, but having this awareness – that so much is dependent on an optimal functioning gut and digestive system – is the first step towards taking back our health!

I highly suggest the book, Medical Medium by Anthony William, where these topics are explored on a much deeper level.

Have you changed your life by changing your diet and bringing balance to your gut flora? Let us know your story!

Much Love


EM- Verenging: EM-Actief (zoals Microferm) wordt gebruikt als probiotica. Er zijn mensen die merken dat ze bij het drinken van EM-Actief minder tot geen negatieve hebben!

Gut bacteria found to trigger gene that protects against type 1 diabetes


Researchers have discovered that a powerful guardian gene known to protect against a variety of autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes, is triggered by the bacteria in our gut. This finding offers a clue to the complex interaction between our genes, immune system and gut microbiota.

Scientists at the Harvard Medical School set out to investigate what factors influence the activity of a powerful gene complex known as the human leukocyte antigen (HLA). It has been known for some time that specific variants of HLA genes in humans and major histocompatibility complexes (MHC) in mice can protect against diseases such as type 1 diabetes, but how that influence is exerted has been a mystery.

The team focused on gut bacteria as being a potential catalyst for modulating the genes’ activity. In a series of experiments, non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice engineered to carry a guardian gene were treated with gut bacteria killing antibiotics at various times in their development.

The mice treated with antibiotics during the first six weeks of life were found to subsequently develop symptoms of early stage type 1 diabetes despite holding the protective guardian gene. On the other hand, when treated with antibiotics at between six and 10 weeks of age, the mice still displayed signs of genetic diabetic resistance.

These results imply that early-life formation of gut microbiota has a significant effect on gene modulation influencing immune system behavior. The experiment also delivered antibiotics to mother mice in the 10 days before giving birth and discovered this also disrupted their offspring’s genetic protections. This particularly highlights the influence of a mother’s microbiota on her offspring.

Exactly how the bacteria in the gut affects gene activity is still unknown, but the researchers suggest that this offers clear evidence of how disrupting the early development of an individual’s gut microbiome can usurp any genetic predisposition and alter proper immune function.

“Our findings need to be borne out in further experiments,” says co-lead of the study Diane Mathis. “However, our results powerfully illustrate the notion that early antibiotic exposure can modulate disease risk and that avoiding or at least minimizing antibiotic treatment in infants and pregnant women during critical periods of development may be a good idea.”

The last experiment the team conducted involved fecal transplants from mice with the guardian gene to mice without that genetic protection. The mice receiving the fecal transplant displayed a reduction in pancreatic cell inflammation, the general marker signaling the onset of type 1 diabetes. This solidifies the role gut bacteria plays in regulating our immune system and suggests future treatments for autoimmune diseases could be targeted at the gut microbiome.

The new research was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source: Harvard Medical School

Onze bron:

Your Gut Can Help Fight Depression and High Blood Pressure


By Dr. Mercola

Trillions of bacteria live in your gut, influencing your body’s homeostasis daily. Far from being restricted to the confines of your intestinal tract, your gut microbiota is intricately tied to other body systems via a number of complex pathways, including the gut-brain axis and a recently revealed gut-brain-bone marrow axis, the latter of which may influence your blood pressure, mood and more.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that your brain, your immune system and your gut microbes are intricately linked, so it’s not a stretch to add bone marrow to the list of connections. Immune cells stem from bone marrow, and bone marrow inflammation, which may result from high blood pressure, is known to be caused by a signal from the brain. In a study published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology, researchers further revealed that immune cells in bone marrow play an important role in signaling between the brain and gut.1,2

Gut-Brain-Bone Marrow Connection Revealed

In an animal study, researchers replaced natural bone marrow in mice with bone marrow cells from genetically engineered (GE) mice. The marrow had been modified to be deficient in adrenergic receptor beta, making it less responsive to messages from the brain.

“In this way,” researchers wrote in The Conversation, “we could investigate how the host brain-immune communication will modify gut microbiota. Indeed, by studying this new mouse model, we determined that our nervous system — directed by our brain — can modify the composition of gut microbiota by communicating directly with the bone marrow immune cells. The brain, therefore, can change our gut microbiota indirectly by talking to the bone.”3

In short, when bone marrow was less able to communicate with the brain, a “muted inflammatory response” was observed in the gut, which in turn led to a more diverse (i.e., healthier) microbiome. The study shed light on one of the complex ways your gut health may be implicated in that of your heart and brain, with researchers noting:4

“In the context of cardiovascular disease, this muted inflammatory response appears to be beneficial, as it leads to beneficial lowering of blood pressure in our experimental mice.

Most interestingly, a link between gut microbiota and our mental health has recently become clearer. In particular, some have suggested that gut microbiota influence the stress and anxiety pathways in the brain in a way that can alter mood and behavior both positively and negatively, giving a whole new meaning to the term ‘gut feeling.'”

Imbalanced Gut Microbes Play a Role in High Blood Pressure

Imbalanced gut microbes, known as gut dysbiosis, have been previously linked to heart disease and high blood pressure, but a recent animal study shed further light on the unique connection.5 Researchers gave rats antibiotics for 10 days to wipe out their natural microbiota, then transplanted hypertensive microbiota into rats with normal blood pressure. Rats with high blood pressure, in turn, were transplanted with normal microbiota.6

The results were surprising in that the rats treated with hypertensive microbiota developed high blood pressure, while the transplantation of normal microbiota led to only a slight reduction in blood pressure among the hypertensive rats. “We conclude that gut dysbiosis can directly affect SBP [systolic blood pressure],” the researchers wrote, adding that manipulating gut microbiota, such as via the use of probiotics or eating fermented foods, may be an “innovative treatment for hypertension.”7

However, it’s not the first time such a link has been revealed. A systematic review and meta-analysis of nine randomized, controlled studies found significant benefits among people with high blood pressure who consumed probiotics in products like yogurt and milk.8 On average, compared to a placebo, the probiotic consumption lowered systolic blood pressure (the top number) by 3.56 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by 2.38 mm Hg.

It appeared that at least 100 billion colony-forming units of probiotics a day were necessary to trigger such improvements, and the benefit was only seen in those who consumed probiotics for eight weeks or more. In 2015, meanwhile, certain gut microbes, namely firmicutes and bacteroidetes, were associated with increased blood pressure in rats.

“Products of the fermentation of nutrients by gut microbiota can influence blood pressure by regulating expenditure of energy, intestinal metabolism of catecholamines, and gastrointestinal and renal ion transport, and thus, salt sensitivity,” according to research published in the journal Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension.9

Probiotics Found to Benefit Gut Diseases, Mental Health

The addition of beneficial microbes has been found to benefit people struggling with serious gut diseases, including necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), which often occurs in premature infants and can be fatal. An Australian study revealed that probiotic supplementation significantly reduced NEC risk and mortality in preterm neonates, lowering the incidence of NEC in premature babies by at least 30 percent.10

Probiotics have also been found to benefit irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), of which disturbances in the gut microbiota are often seen.11Compared to placebo, probiotic therapy was found to reduce pain and symptom severity among people with IBS,12 and probiotics are also known to prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea in children.13

On the mental front, a small study involving adults diagnosed with IBS and depression found the probiotic Bifidobacterium longum provided depression relief. At six weeks, 64 percent of the treatment group had reduced depression scores compared to 32 percent of the control group that received a placebo.14

Those receiving the probiotic also reported fewer symptoms of IBS and improved overall quality of life. At the end of 10 weeks, approximately twice as many in the treatment group were still reporting lower levels of depression.

Interestingly, functional MRI scans revealed a link between reductions in depression score and actual changes in brain activity, specifically in areas involved in mood regulation, such as the amygdala. As noted by Dr. Roger McIntyre, professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at the University of Toronto, who was not involved in the study:15

“We know that one part of the brain, the amygdala, tends to be red-hot in people with depression, and it seemed to cool down with this intervention. It provides more scientific believability that something in the brain, at a very biological level, seems to be affected by this probiotic.”

Are Personalized Probiotics the Answer?

As for which strains of probiotic are best, the answer may be harder to come by. Emma Allen-Vercoe, a microbiologist at the University of Guelph in Ontario, told Scientific American, “Bacterial strains are so genetically different from one another, and everybody has a different gut microbiota … There will probably never be a one-size-fits-all probiotic.”16

Studies suggest, for instance, that some people may benefit more from probiotics than others if they’re “low” in a certain variety that is then added to their diet. As Scientific American reported:17

“In other words, their gut ecosystems had a vacancy that the probiotic filled. That is exactly the kind of insight that clinicians need to create and recommend more effective probiotics. If a doctor knows that an individual with severe diarrhea has an undersized population of a particular beneficial microbe, for example, then prescribing the missing strain should increase the chance of a successful treatment.”

Other research has looked into the benefits of certain strains of bacteria, such as Bifidobacteria, which tend to be abundant in babies’ intestines but typically make up less than 10 percent of the gut microbiome bacteria in adults.18 Low levels of Bifidobacteria, in turn, are linked to chronic diseases like celiac disease, diabetes, allergic asthma and even obesity, while supplementing with them has been found to benefit IBS, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, psoriasis, depression and more.19

Another type of bacteria, lactobacillus, has been shown to reduce anxiety in animal studies,20 while taking a probiotic with eight different bacterial strains reduced aggressive and ruminative thoughts in a study of adult volunteers.21,22

The Lectin Connection and How Leaky Gut Can Destroy Your Health

It’s important to be aware that gut dysbiosis, also known as leaky gut, is not only a major gut disrupter linked to digestive disorders, but may also contribute to other chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s and possibly cancer. If your gut is leaky, your blood-brain barrier is also leaky, which means toxins can go right into your brain, affecting your cognitive and mental health.

Further, leaky gut can be triggered by a number of factors, including imbalanced gut microbiota that result from dietary factors, such as the consumption of sugar as well as lectins. This latter component is very important. Lectins are plant proteins, sometimes called sticky proteins or glycan-binding proteins, because they seek out and bind to certain sugar molecules on the surface of cells. There are many types of lectins, and the main difference between them is the type of sugar each prefers and binds to.

Some — including wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), found in wheat and other grass-family seeds — bind to specific receptor sites on your intestinal mucosal cells and interfere with the absorption of nutrients across your intestinal wall.

As such, they act as “antinutrients,” and can have a detrimental effect on your gut microbiome by shifting the balance of your bacterial flora — a common precursor to leaky gut. Dr. Steven Gundry, author of “The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in ‘Healthy’ Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain,” makes a strong case for a lectin-free diet, stating:

“Our microbiome is, I think, our early warning system, because about 99 percent of all the genes that make up [the human body] are actually nonhuman, they’re bacterial, viral and fungal … [from which] we’ve uploaded most of the information about interacting with our environment … because the microbiome is capable of almost instantaneous changing and information processing that we actually don’t have the ability to do.

We’re beginning to realize … that the microbiome is not only how we interact with plant materials … like lectins, but probably more importantly, our microbiome teaches our immune system whether a particular plant compound is a friend or foe [based on] how long we’ve known that plant compound. There are lectins in everything.

But the longer we’ve interacted with lectins and the longer our microbiome has interacted with them, the more our microbiome kind of tells our immune system, ‘Hey, guys, it’s cool. We’ve known these guys for 40 million years. Chill out. They’re a pain, but we can handle them.’

From an evolutionary perspective, if you look at modern foods — say the grains and the beans, which we started interacting with 10,000 years ago, which is a blink of time — our microbiome [regards them as] foreign substances … [T]here’s no lectin speed dating in evolution.”

Lectins are strongly associated with autoimmune disorders of all kinds, primarily by triggering leaky gut. They’re found in many of our most cherished foods, such as:

Potatoes Eggplants Tomatoes Peppers Goji berries Lima beans
Cashews Peanuts Sunflower seeds Chia seeds Pumpkin seeds Kidney beans
Squash Corn Quinoa Soybeans Wheat Lentils

In addition, according to Gundry, glyphosate, which is not only sprayed on GE crops via Roundup but also is used to desiccate wheat in the U.S., is also highly problematic, decimating your microbiome and increasing leaky gut. It’s yet another reason to eat organic as much as possible.

To learn more, I highly recommend picking up a copy of “The Plant Paradox,” especially if you’ve already cleaned up your diet and still struggle with excess weight and/or health problems. Certainly, anyone with an autoimmune disorder would also be wise to take a closer look at lectins.

How to Support a Healthy Microbiota

Supporting your microbiome isn’t very complicated, but you do need to take proactive steps to encourage its health while avoiding factors known to cause harm. In addition to the lectin information above, consider the following recommendations to optimize your microbiome:

Do Avoid
Eat plenty of fermented foods. Healthy choices include lassi, fermented grass fed kefir, natto (fermented soy) and fermented vegetables. Antibiotics, unless absolutely necessary, and when you do, make sure to reseed your gut with fermented foods and/or a high-quality probiotic supplement.
Take a probiotic supplement. Although I’m not a major proponent of taking many supplements (as I believe the majority of your nutrients need to come from food), probiotics are an exception if you don’t eat fermented foods on a regular basis Conventionally-raised meats and other animal products, as CAFO animals are routinely fed low-dose antibiotics plus GE grains loaded with glyphosate, which is widely known to kill many bacteria.
Boost your soluble and insoluble fiber intake, focusing on vegetables, nuts and seeds, including sprouted seeds. Chlorinated and/or fluoridated water. Especially in your bathing such as showers, which are worse than drinking it.
Get your hands dirty in the garden. Exposure to bacteria and viruses can help to strengthen your immune system and provide long-lasting immunity against disease.

Getting your hands dirty in the garden can help reacquaint your immune system with beneficial microorganisms on the plants and in the soil.

Processed foods. Excessive sugars, along with otherwise “dead” nutrients, feed pathogenic bacteria.

Food emulsifiers such as polysorbate 80, lecithin, carrageenan, polyglycerols and xanthan gum also appear to have an adverse effect on your gut flora.

Unless 100 percent organic, they may also contain GMOs that tend to be heavily contaminated with pesticides such as glyphosate. Artificial sweeteners have also been found to alter gut bacteria in adverse ways.23

Open your windows. For the vast majority of human history, the outside was always part of the inside, and at no moment during our day were we ever really separated from nature.

Today, we spend 90 percent of our lives indoors. And, although keeping the outside out does have its advantages it has also changed the microbiome of your home.

Research shows that opening a window and increasing natural airflow can improve the diversity and health of the microbes in your home, which in turn benefit you.24

Agricultural chemicals, glyphosate (Roundup) in particular is a known antibiotic and will actively kill many of your beneficial gut microbes if you eat foods contaminated with it.
Wash your dishes by hand instead of in the dishwasher. Research has shown that washing your dishes by hand leaves more bacteria on the dishes than dishwashers do, and eating off these less-than-sterile dishes may actually decrease your risk of allergies by stimulating your immune system. Antibacterial soap, as it too kills off both good and bad bacteria and contributes to the development of antibiotic resistance.


Probiotic cure for peanut allergies shows long-term success


Sometimes the slow, measured pace of medical research is frustrating. On average it takes about 12 years for a new drug to move from discovery to general practice, but each step towards approval is important as it validates whether or not these new medicines actually work and are safe. A new four-year follow-up study on the efficacy of a probiotic-based peanut allergy cure has revealed the majority of the original participants are still displaying tolerance to peanuts, paving the way for the final phase of trials to bring the treatment to the public.

In 2013, a team at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, completed a study involving over 60 children suffering from peanut allergies. Over 18 months the children either received a placebo or a combination of the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus with a peanut protein. At the end of the study 82 percent of the children receiving the probiotic treatment could safely eat peanuts.

“It appears that we have been able to modify the allergic response to peanut such that the immune system produces protective responses rather than a harmful response to the peanut protein,” said pioneer of the therapy Professor Mimi Tang, four years ago after the original study was published.

A big question that remained was whether this degree of peanut tolerance would hold over the long term. Now four years later the long-term data is in – and it’s extraordinarily positive. Eighty percent of those subjects that were tolerant of peanut by the end of the original study were still regularly eating peanuts years later with no problems.

“These children had been eating peanut freely in their diet without having to follow any particular program of peanut intake in the years after treatment was completed,” says Professor Tang of the recent follow-up work.

The research also suggests that a tolerance-based treatment for food allergies could be a realistic and effective target for addressing other food allergies.

The next step for the researchers is to move into Phase III clinical trials, which are often considered the most expensive and time-consuming part of the development process as they involve large patient groups across multiple locations. In the US the FDA can sometime approve treatments to market while they are still undergoing Phase III trials.

The team at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute has already jointly set up a company called Prota Therapeutics with a goal of moving this treatment through to public use as quickly as possible. No specific timeframe has been outlined, but the treatment should be available in the near future and could dramatically change the lives of many people suffering from this dangerous allergy.

The new follow-up study was published in the journal The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.

Source: Murdoch Children’s Research Institute


Kitchen sponges are festering germ dens—and sanitizing them doesn’t help


EM-Vereniging: “De sponsjes een tijdje in een oplossing van 1 op 10 Wipe & Clean laten staan zorgt ervoor dat de sponsjes fris blijven en langer meegaan. Een bakje met die oplossing bij de gootsteen waar je het sponsje steeds inlegt is ideaal als je stank wilt voorkomen. De regeneratieve micro-organismen domineren dankzij het gebruik van EM en voorkomen stank.”

Some germy places in the house include the kitchen faucet and sponges. Typically people wash their hands after handling raw meat in the kitchen and frequently use sponges or cloths to wipe germs from surfaces in the kitchen.  (photo: pixabay).

Scientists have long thrown shade at the unassuming kitchen sponge. The household staple skulks in sinks amid dirty dishes and soggy food scraps, sopping up and amplifying microbial forces capable of invading clean food spaces. The savvy kitchen-goer may think they have this situation locked down—a simple toss through a sanitizing dishwasher cycle or a sizzling swirl in the microwave… and done. Sudsy germsplosion averted.

Nice try, says science.

In a comprehensive study of 14 household sponges and their microbial inhabitants published in Scientific Reports, researchers confirmed that kitchen sponges are indeed domestic abominations. Moreover, any sterilizing attempts only seem to temporarily free up sponge-space for potential pathogens, which rapidly recolonize the festering scrubber.

According to the authors, led by Markus Egert of Furtwangen University in Germany:

From a long-term perspective, sponge sanitation methods appear not sufficient to effectively reduce the bacterial load in kitchen sponges and might even increase the shares of [disease-linked] bacteria… We therefore rather suggest a regular (and easily affordable) replacement of kitchen sponges, for example, on a weekly basis.

Now, the researchers haven’t soaked up all possible data points of sponge science. But their study offers the most comprehensive look yet at the nasty sink-dwellers.

Taking top and bottom samples from 14 household sponges used in Germany, the researchers extracted genetic material to sequence and identify microbial inhabitants. They also used a method to tag active, breeding microbes with fluorescent markers and visualize them in the sponge material using 3D confocal laser-scanning microscopy.

Data squeeze

The sequencing harvested more than 220,000 raw DNA sequences, which represented 9 phyla, 17 classes, 35 orders, 73 families, and 118 genera of microbes. As other, smaller studies reported, the researchers found that bacteria in the family Moraxellaceae dominated sponge space, accounting for about 36 percent of microbes in samples. These germs are typical on human skin and have been found all over kitchen surfaces that tend to be cleaned with sponges—counters, fridge shelves, faucets, and stoves. They’re also found on dirty laundry and are known to give clothes a stinky smell.

Otherwise, the researchers found Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Actinobacteria were primary phyla. Five of the 10 most common operational taxonomic units—basically like species—were closely related to bacteria associated with moderate diseases.

In terms of concentration, previous studies had pegged sponge germ density around 107–109bacterial colony forming units per sponge. Assuming that only about one to three percent of bacteria can be grown in labs into colonies, those estimates match the new data. Egert and his colleagues found densities as high as 2.5 x 1010 and 5.4 x 1010—that’s 25 to 54 billion—bacterial cells per cubic centimeter of sponge. The 3D visualizations showed ubiquitous distribution of microbes throughout the sponge, with dense biofilm-like structures on the sponge surface.

The researchers noted that a few of the sponge owners had said that they cleaned them regularly, either by microwaving or using hot-soapy washes. Those sponges didn’t have fewer microbes than the others, but they did tend to have more bacteria related to those that are linked to disease.

(A) Kitchen sponges, due to their porous nature (evident under the binocular (B) and water soaking capacity, represent ideal incubators for micro-organisms. Scalbar (B): 1mm.

sponge samples:

Pie charts showing the taxonomic composition of the bacterial kitchen sponge microbiome, as delivered by pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA gene libraries of 28 sponge samples (top and bottom samples of 14 sponges, respectively). For better readability, only the 20 most abundant orders and families are listed.

3D model of the bacteria in the sponge sample 6b. Volume–renderings of a confocal stack showing sponge auto fluorescence (cyan); Gam42a–stained bacteria (blue) and EUB338MIX–stained bacteria (red); where Gammaproteobacteria appear purple for the overlap of red and blue, while other bacteria remain only red.

Analysis of bacteria in sponge sample 9b. Maximum projections of confocal stacks, showing EUB338MIX–stained bacteria in red (A) and sponge auto fluorescence in cyan (B); (C) is the overlap; and (D) is the 3D model.

“Presumably, resistant bacteria survive the sanitation process and rapidly re–colonize the released niches until reaching a similar abundance as before the treatment,” the authors concluded. “Whether this has any consequences in terms of clinical relevance remains to be demonstrated,” they add. But the work highlights “an amazing bacterial colonization of kitchen sponges” that they hope will “create even more awareness for kitchen sponges as hygienically relevant microbial incubators.”

Scientific Reports, 2017. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-06055-9  (About DOIs).


Nederlands artikel:

Een keukensponsje schoonmaken, dat doe je door het in kokend water te steken. En als je een fan bent van lifehacks, heb je er misschien al eens eentje in de microgolfoven gestoken. Maar volgens een nieuwe studie is dat niet voldoende om alle bacteriën te vernietigen.

Sponsjes in je keuken zijn een broeihaard van bacteriën en zelfs regelmatig schoonmaken kan dat niet verhelpen. Dat is de conclusie van een team wetenschappers, die een analyse maakte van de bacteriën op sponsjes, ook diegene die schoongemaakt werden. “Onze data suggereren dat sponsjes die volgens hun gebruikers regelmatig schoongemaakt werden, niet minder bacteriën bevatten dan de ‘vuile’ sponsjes”, staat in de studie, gepubliceerd op het online wetenschapskanaal Scientific Reports.

“Vermoedelijk overleven resistente bacteriën de schoonmaakbeurt en koloniseren ze snel tot dezelfde hoeveelheden dan voor de poetsbeurt”, staat er. “Verdere analyse is nog nodig, onder meer met reiniging van sponsjes in een gecontroleerde omgeving. Maar onze data zijn een aanwijzing dat je sponsjes best niet te lang bijhoudt, zelfs niet als je ze regelmatig reinigt.”



De darmflora en hoe je bent wat je eet


Voor een goede gezondheid hebben we bacteriën nodig. Pas sinds een paar decennia wordt telkens weer duidelijk hoe de invloed van de darmflora een stuk verder reikt dan de darmen. Een juiste samenstelling van het darm microbioom helpt lichaam én geest. In dit artikel: de laatste probiotica-onderzoeken zodat je weer op de hoogte bent.

Probiotica en onze gezondheid

(meest recente onderzoeken)

Activatie killercellen

Probiotica kunnen de natuurlijke killercellen activeren (natural killercells, NK-cellen). Dit is belangrijk voor de gezondheid, omdat NK-cellen (witte bloedcellen) zieke cellen doden. Het gaat dan met name om de lactobacilli- en bifidobacteriastammen (L. acidopholus en B. breve). 1

Gunstige veranderingen in darmflora

Kefiranofaciens is te vinden in kefir. Deze bacteriesoort koloniseert (bij muizen) succesvol de darmflora en de darmwand, Toen de streng gedurende een week intensief werd toegediend, bleek het voor een toename van boterzuur-producerende bacteriën te hebben gezorgd. Ook de hoeveelheid Lactobacilli was toegenomen. 2

Preventief effect bij infectieuze ziekten kinderen

Lactobacillus paracasei voorkomt infectieuze ziekten bij jonge kinderen. Dit bleek toen kinderen de bacteriesoort nuttigden via koemelk. 3

Gunstig bij inflammatoire darmziekte

Onder inflammatoire darmziekten vallen colitis ulcerosa en Crohn’s. De samenstelling van de darmbacteriën is bij deze ziekten ernstig verstoord. De resultaten met probiotica kunnen wisselend zijn. VSL#3 bleek wel voordeel te bieden. Het voordeel van dit was gelijk aan dat van 5-ASA (mesalazine).4 VSL#3 is een product met de hoogst beschikbare concentratie bacteriën.

Bij diarree

Diarree bij oudere mensen, die veroorzaakt wordt door Clostridium difficile kan aangepakt worden door Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus bulgaricus en Streptococcus thermophiles. Deze zitten in Actimel. L. bulgaricus wordt gevonden in yoghurt. De resultaten bij ouderen met diarree bleken wel wat wisselend.

Bifidobacteria en de algehele gezondheid

Bifidobacteria hebben een positieve werking op de gezondheid in het algemeen. 5 Hetzelfde geldt voor Lactobacilli. 6 In gefermenteerde yoghurt of kefir zijn verschillende van deze soorten te vinden.

Voor neuroprotectie

Via de brein-darm as communiceert het gastro-intestinale systeem met het centrale zenuwstelsel. Om deze reden wordt gesuggereerd dat controle over de darmflora de symptomen van neurodegeneratieve ziekten kunnen verlichten. 7

Bij gastro-intestinale stoornissen

Suppletie van probiotica kan gastro-intestinale stoornissen en auto immuunziekten voorkomen. Vitamine D draagt samen met de vitamine D receptor bij aan het beschermende effect van probiotica. Zie tabel voor de verschillende probioticastammen en hun werking. 8

Koreaanse gefermenteerde voeding

In Koreaanse gefermenteerde voeding, zoals gefermenteerde groenten (kimchi), zit L. plantarum. Van L. plantarum is bekend dat het de immuunrespons verbetert, de groei van pathogenen remt en dat het toxines bestrijdt. 9 Kimchi is ook verkrijgbaar in poedervorm.

Als je je darmflora gezond wilt hebben en houden, kun je kunstmatige zoetstoffen beter vermijden. Acesulfaam-K verandert het gewicht, de stofwisseling en tevens de samenstelling van de darmflora bij muizen, meldt PLOS One. 10 Dit effect is ook bekend bij mensen en geldt ook voor andere kunstmatige zoetstoffen.

Zoals je ziet heeft elke bacteriestam weer een eigen specifieke werking. Dit kon je ook lezen in de vorige artikelen over probiotica. Toch hoef je je niet te beperken tot een stam. Met meer stammen oogst je meer voordelen. Dus varieer lekker met probioticarijke voeding. Je doet je immuunsysteem een plezier (75% van het immuunsysteem zit in de darmen). Diversiteit is belangrijk, want het ontbreken hiervan staat in verband met auto immuunziekten en ontstekingsaandoeningen. Probiotica helpen de stofwisseling en ondersteunen de opnamen van vitaminen en mineralen. Behalve deze rijke bronnen van probiotica, eet je ook veel vezels en yoghurt om de goede bacteriën de kans te geven te floreren. Volgens experts kun je de samenstelling van de micro-organismen in de darmen vrij snel veranderen; de een noemt een paar dagen, volgens de ander kan het binnen een maand. Wees consequent en geef niet op!


EM- Vereniging: EM-Actief (zoals Microferm) wordt met succes gebruikt als (super)probiotica

U bestaat voor de helft uit microben, en dat is goed nieuws


Ze zitten met triljoenen op en in ons, beschermen ons tegen ziektes, sturen ons gedrag, en zetten zelfs onze definitie van menselijk leven op zijn kop. Microben zijn niet langer boosdoeners in de wetenschappelijke wereld. Ze kunnen miljoenen mensenlevens redden. Daarom springt ook Bill Gates op de kar.

Dieren – wij dus ook – zijn zelfstandige wezens die in de darwiniaanse strijd om te overleven af en toe worden aangevallen door vieze kleine beestjes die ons ziek maken en dreigen te doden. Zo keken wetenschappers jarenlang tegen microben aan. Maar ze moeten hun opvatting dringend bijschaven.
Want, zo stelt de Britse wetenschapsjournalist Ed Yong, er raast een revolutie door de biologie, de gezondheidszorg, de farmasector, de ontwikkelingssamenwerking, de architectuur en misschien zelfs de filosofie. Want hoe kunnen wij als mens beweren dat we onafhankelijke wezens zijn als de helft van de cellen in ons lichaam niet van ons zijn, maar van microben, die met miljarden op onze huid, onder onze oksels en in onze darmen leven? Ze sturen ons immuunsysteem aan, ze breken giftige stoffen af, ze helpen ons voedsel in te nemen, en meer zelfs: ze sturen volgens sommige onderzoeken ook ons gedrag.
‘De nieuwe wetenschappelijke inzichten over microben zijn de belangrijkste revolutie sinds Darwin,’ zegt Yong via Skype vanuit zijn kantoor in Washington D.C. Het boek dat hij erover schreef, ‘I contain multitudes’, net in het Nederlands vertaald als ‘De microben in ons’, werd in de Verenigde Staten een bestseller. Yong, een gerenommeerde wetenschapsschrijver die onder meer voor The Atlantic en National Geographic werkt, kaapte er de belangstelling van Bill Gates mee weg. In een onlinegesprek met Yong stak de stichter van Microsoft zijn bewondering niet onder stoelen of banken: ‘Ik ben overweldigd door het feit hoeveel van zulke micro-organismes er bestaan en hoe ze ons leven beïnvloeden.’

Mannelijke pissebedden

U en ik bezitten elk zo’n 40 triljoen microben. De verzameling van die piepkleine eencellige wezens – op de breedte van een mensenhaar passen er een paar tientallen – wordt het microbioom genoemd. Ze leven in alle mogelijke delen van ons lichaam, van de tandplak in onze mond tot zelfs in onze cellen. In onze darmen alleen al leven er meer dan er sterren in de Melkweg zijn. ‘Als wij eten, doen zij dat ook,’ schrijft Yong. ‘Als we op reis gaan, gaan ze mee. Als we dood gaan, eten ze ons op. Ieder van ons is een dierentuin op zich, een kolonie omsloten door één enkel lichaam. Een collectief van een veelvoud aan soorten. Een hele wereld.’

Het zou één jaar duren voor onze samenleving ineenstort, mochten de microben verdwijnen. Ze helpen planten aan stikstof en vormen zo de basis van heel onze voedselketen.

Het was de Nederlandse amateurbioloog Antoni van Leeuwenhoek die 350 jaar geleden de eerste microben ontdekte, door onder meer zijn tandplak onder zijn zelfgebouwde microscopen te leggen. Toch bleven microbes jaren in de obscuriteit, of werden ze enkel beschouwd als overbrengers van ziekten.

Met zijn ademhaling brengt een mens elk uur ongeveer 37 miljoen bacteriën in de lucht.

Onze microben beïnvloeden ook onze woningen. 24 uur na de verhuizing naar een nieuwe plek overschrijven we de daar aanwezige microben met onze eigen micro-organismen.

Bacteriën blijven in sommige gevallen heel verwoestende wezens. Door een alliantie aan te gaan met een dennenkever hebben ze in de VS sinds 1999 16.000 vierkante kilometer naaldwoud vernietigd.

Door muggen met de wolbachia-bacterie te injecteren zouden wetenschappers het dengue- virus over 10 tot 15 jaar een aanzienlijke slag kunnen toebrengen.

Uw rechterhand heeft slechts een zesde van de bacteriesoorten gemeen met uw linkerhand.

Die microben bestaan al miljarden jaren langer dan de planten en de dieren. ‘Dieren mogen de kers op de taart zijn, maar bacteriën zijn de taart zelf’, zei de paleontoloog Andrew Knoll ooit. Ze hebben de meest onmogelijke plekken op aarde gekoloniseerd: barre vulkanische bronnen kilometers diep in de oceaan, waterdampen in hoge wolken, kokende warmwaterbronnen, en radioactief afval.

Volgens de razendsnel evoluerende wetenschappelijke inzichten kunnen ze veel mensenlevens redden. Neem de wolbachia, een van de succesvolste bacteriën die vooral in insecten leeft. Het is een fascinerend wezen: hij manipuleert het seksleven van zijn gastheer voor zijn eigen voortbestaan. Omdat hij zich enkel in eitjes kan voortplanten, verandert hij het geslacht van mannelijke pissebedden en zorgt hij ervoor dat bepaalde wespensoorten enkel nog uit vrouwtjes bestaan die zichzelf voortplanten door te klonen.

Maar dezelfde wolbachia zou wel eens miljoenen levens kunnen redden. Door de bacterie in muggen te injecteren zijn wetenschappers erin geslaagd het virus te onderdrukken waarmee die muggen dengue of knokkelkoorts overbrengen, een ziekte die jaarlijks 400 miljoen mensen treft. In Australië werden zo al meer dan 300.000 muggen uitgezet. Voor het eerst in de geschiedenis hebben wetenschappers er een populatie insecten in het wild zo getransformeerd dat ze geen ziekten voor de mens meer verspreiden. De uitdaging bestaat er nu in dezelfde techniek in andere, meer getroffen delen van de wereld toe te passen. Wolbachia zou ook kunnen helpen om het zikavirus en de parasiet die malaria overbrengt te dwarsbomen.

Daarom is een filantroop als Gates zo geïnteresseerd in het boek van Yong. ‘De Gates Foundation investeert miljoenen in onderzoek naar het effect van bacteriën op tropische ziekten’, zegt de wetenschapsjournalist. ‘Mijn boek trekt niet alleen zo veel belangstelling omdat de nieuwe inzichten over microben de definitie van ons leven op zijn kop zetten, maar ook omdat ze de wereld enorm kunnen helpen.’

Ontregelde thermostaat

Bacteriën sturen als een soort managers onze immuniteit en gezondheid aan, schrijft Yong. Ze hebben er misschien zelfs voor gezorgd dat we als mens geworden zijn wie we zijn.

Hij maakt dat hard aan de hand van de werking van moedermelk. Die zit vol complexe suikers, maar baby’s kunnen die vreemd genoeg niet afbreken. Gelukkig zit hun buik vol met bepaalde bacteriën die dat in hun plaats doen: ze zetten de suikers om in vetzuren die de baby wel opneemt. Moeders die zogen, voeden dus hun baby niet, maar wel de bacteriën die de baby voeden. Wellicht dankzij die bacteriën heeft de mens zulke grote hersenen kunnen ontwikkelen. Want andere zoogdieren hebben ze niet, of toch niet in zo’n grote hoeveelheid.

Yong vergelijkt onze bacteriën met een thermostaat die ons immuunsysteem regelt. Maar de jongste jaren loopt het vaak fout, getuige de opmars van allergieën en auto-immuunziekten. Door het feit dat we in steeds kleinere gezinnen opgroeien, verhuisd zijn van de stad naar het platteland, vooral bewerkt voedsel eten, is die thermostaat ontregeld geraakt.

We worden te weinig blootgesteld aan microben, waardoor ons immuunsysteem grillig en onervaren wordt. De ziekenhuisbacterie, die in de Verenigde Staten jaarlijks verantwoordelijk is voor 1,7 miljoen infecties en 90.000 sterfgevallen, zouden we daarom niet alleen moeten bestrijden door dure bacterieresistente vloeren te leggen. Volgens Yong moeten we net de vensters opengooien en extra bacteriën naar binnen laten stromen, die de schadelijke kunnen verdringen.

Microben zouden zelfs onze architectuur kunnen veranderen. Door planten in ventilatiesystemen van gebouwen te zetten of bolletjes op te hangen die bepaalde bacteriën verspreiden, zou je het microbioomsysteem van hele steden kunnen aanpassen in ons voordeel. Zo is Luke Leung, de toparchitect die de wolkenkrabber Burj Khalifa in Dubai heeft gebouwd, een microbioomfanaat geworden.

Kankercellen elimineren

De meest veelbelovende doorbraken vinden wellicht in de gezondheidszorg plaats. Door de bacteriën van muizen te manipuleren zijn in labo’s over de hele wereld al talloze onderzoeken gevoerd die zouden kunnen leiden tot nieuwe therapieën tegen obesitas, allergieën, darmkanker, diabetes, multiple sclerose en ondervoeding. Maar Yong tempert al te luid hoerageroep. ‘Hebben microbiële veranderingen buiten de gereguleerde omgeving van laboratoria en het atypische lichaam van laboratoriummuizen werkelijk een effect op onze dagelijkse gezondheidstoestand?’

Veel wetenschappers blijven sceptisch over de groeiende hype rond de genezende kracht van microben, maar farmagiganten als Johnson & Johnson zijn alvast op de kar gesprongen en pompen miljoenen in onderzoek naar het microbioom. Probiotica, vaak in yoghurt zoals bij Yakult, zijn al een miljardenbusiness, maar de effecten op onze gezondheid zijn nog altijd niet bewezen. Dat zou in de toekomst kunnen veranderen.
Het is niet ondenkbaar dat de dokter van de toekomst u een gepersonaliseerde pil voorschrijft met daarin bacteriën die een ziekte genezen, uw immuunsysteem herstellen, kankercellen elimineren of zelfs gifstoffen in medicijnen omzetten. ‘Pas sinds kort weten we genoeg over de microbiële wereld om met het manipuleren ervan te beginnen. Onze pogingen staan nog in de kinderschoenen en ons zelfvertrouwen is soms overdreven, maar het potentieel is enorm’, zegt Yong.


Wat ons wereldbeeld helemaal ondersteboven gooit, zijn de studies die suggereren dat microben ons gedrag kunnen aansturen. Yong geeft het voorbeeld van de hersenparasiet Toxoplasmose gondii, die zich alleen kan voortplanten in katten. Als hij in een rat terechtkomt, stuurt hij via het aanmaken van dopamine de hersenen van die rat aan, zodat die in plaats van weg te lopen plots wordt aangetrokken door katten en ernaartoe loopt. Weg rat, kat blij en de Toxoplasmose gondii kan zich weer voortplanten.

‘Waarom zouden bacteriën in onze darmen niet op dezelfde manier ons gedrag kunnen aansturen?’, vraagt Yong zich af. Onderzoek bij muizen toont een verband tussen darmmicroben en symptomen van autisme en schizofrenie aan. De fysieke connectie bestaat in elk geval: de nervus vagus is een lange, vertakkende zenuw die prikkels overdraagt tussen de hersenen en de darmen.

Je kan de redenering nog verder drijven. Voelt u zich ook schuldig dat u honger krijgt telkens als u een frituur passeert? Wel, sommige bacteriën in uw lichaam gedijen op vet. Andere op planten- vezels. Welke maaltijd u kiest, bepaalt dus welke wezens in uw darmen worden gevoed. Dat brengt Yong tot de vraag: ‘Als de microben bij het eten van de ‘juiste’ dingen dopamine vrijmaken, een stof die tot genot leidt, krijgen ze dan zo inspraak in uw menukeuze?’
Met andere woorden: u hebt zelf geen zin in friet, het zijn uw bacteriën. Yong: ‘In welke mate het gebeurt, weten we niet zeker. Maar dat bacteriën onze hersenen kunnen veranderen, is bijna zeker. Dat is een verontrustende gedachte.’