Your gut is your second brain

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Your gastrointestinal tract is now considered one of the most complex microbial ecosystems on earth, and its influence is such that it’s frequently referred to as your “second brain.”

Nearly 100 trillion bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microorganisms compose your gut microbiome, and advancing science has made it quite clear that these organisms play a major role in your health, both mental and physical. Your body is in fact composed of more bacteria and other microorganisms than actual cells, and you have more bacterial DNA than human DNA.

In the interview above, originally aired in 2015, Dr. David Perlmutter discusses the importance of gut health, the connections between your gut and brain, and the role your gut plays in your health, and in the development of autoimmune diseases and neurological disorders.

Mental Health Is Rooted in Gut Health

Indeed, the connection between your gut and mental health appears to be so strong that some have proposed probiotics may one day take the place of antidepressant drugs.

According to an article published in the June 2013 issue of Biological Psychiatry,1 the authors suggest that even severe and chronic mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder, might be eliminated through the use of certain probiotics.

Two strains shown to have a calming influence, in part by dampening stress hormones, are Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifdobacterium longum. Others may have similar effects, although more research is needed to identify them.

Using MRI scans, Dr. Emeran Mayer, a professor of medicine and psychiatry at the University of California, is also comparing the physical brain structure of thousands of volunteers, looking for connections between brain structure and the types of bacteria found in their guts.

So far, he has found differences in how certain brain regions are connected, depending on the dominant species of bacteria. As reported by NPR:2 “That suggests that the specific mix of microbes in our guts might help determine what kinds of brains we have — how our brain circuits develop and how they’re wired.”

Your Second Brain

The human gut has 200 million neurons — the equivalent of a cat’s or dog’s brain. And, if an animal is considered intelligent, your gut is equally smart. Your gut also houses nearly 100 trillion microorganisms, which influence everything from biological to emotional functioning.

Your upper brain is home to your central nervous system while your gut houses the enteric nervous system. The two nervous systems, the central nervous system in your brain and the enteric nervous system in your gut, are in constant communication, connected as they are via the vagus nerve.

Your vagal nerve is the 10th cranial nerve and the longest nerve in your body, extending through your neck into your abdomen.3 It has the widest distribution of both sensory and motor fibers.

Your brain and gut also use the same neurotransmitters for communication, one of which is serotonin — a neurochemical associated with mood control. However, the message sent by serotonin changes based on the context of its environment.

In your brain, serotonin signals and produces a state of well-being. In your gut — where 95 percent of your serotonin is produced — it sets the pace for digestive transit and acts as an immune system regulator.

Interestingly, gut serotonin not only acts on the digestive tract but is also released into your bloodstream, and acts on your brain, particularly your hypothalamus, which is involved in the regulation of emotions.

While we’ve known that the gut and brain communicate via the vagus nerve, researchers have only recently come to realize that gut serotonin regulates emotions in a much more complex way than previously thought. Not only can your emotions influence your gut, but the reverse is also true.

When Things Go Wrong in the Gut-Brain Axis

Researchers have been able to better examine the gut’s influence on emotions by studying people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which affects 1 in 10 people, and is characterized by digestive difficulties and severe abdominal pain. This, despite the fact that no organic malfunction in the digestive system can be found.

One theory posits that IBS is rooted in dysfunctional information flow between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain. But what could be causing these communication problems? One theory is that the problem originates in the intestinal wall, and that IBS is the result of faulty communication between the mucosal surface of your intestines and the nerves.”

Research shows that in patients with IBS, the nerves in the gut are far more active than in healthy people, which has led researchers to speculate that the pain IBS patients suffer is the result of a hypersensitive nervous system.

Others have noted that IBS is frequently brought on by stress or emotional trauma. To dampen hypervigilance in the nervous system, some researchers are using hypnosis to help ease IBS patients’ pain.

While the brain is still receiving the same kind of pain signals from the gut, hypnosis can make your brain less sensitive to them. So, pain that was previously intolerable is now perceived as tolerable. The effectiveness of hypnosis has been confirmed using brain imaging, showing hypnosis in fact downregulates activation of pain centers in the brain.

Similarly, Dr. Zhi-yun Bo, a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine who specializes in abdominal acupuncture,4 has been able to treat a wide variety of health conditions, both physical and mental, from acute pain to chronic illness and depression, by needling certain areas of the belly.

The Gut as the Seat of the Subconscious

Another intriguing idea is that your gut may in fact be the root of, or at the very least a part of, your subconscious mind. Your gut can send signals, to which your brain responds, even though those signals never reach conscious awareness.

Your ability to think positive thoughts and feel emotionally uplifted is actually strongly associated with the chemical messages broadcast by your gut. Serotonin released during sleep has also been shown to influence your dreams.

The striking similarities between the gut and brain, both structurally and functionally, have also led scientists to consider the possibility that the two organs may share diseases as well. For example, Parkinson’s disease,5 a degenerative neurological disease, may actually originate in the gut.

Parkinson’s Disease — A Gut Disorder?

Parkinson’s affects nearly a half-million people in the U.S.6 According to recent research7 published in the journal Neurology, Parkinson’s disease may start in the gut and travel to the brain via the vagus nerve.

The study participants previously had a resection of their vagus nerve, often performed in people who suffer from ulcers to reduce the amount of acid secretion and reduce the potential for peptic ulcers.8

Using the national registry in Sweden, researchers compared nearly 10,000 people who had a vagotomy against the records of over 375,000 who had not undergone the surgery. Although the researchers did not find a difference in the gross number of people who developed Parkinson’s between the groups, after delving further they discovered something interesting.

People who had a truncal vagotomy, in which the trunk of the nerve is fully resected, as opposed to a selective vagotomy, had a 40 percent lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. The scientists adjusted for external factors, such as diabetes, arthritis, obstructive pulmonary disease and other health conditions. According to study author Bojing Liu, of Karolinska Institutet in Sweden:9

“These results provide preliminary evidence that Parkinson’s disease may start in the gut. Other evidence for this hypothesis is that people with Parkinson’s disease often have gastrointestinal problems such as constipation that can start decades before they develop the disease.

In addition, other studies have shown that people who will later develop Parkinson’s disease have a protein believed to play a key role in Parkinson’s disease in their gut.”

Protein Clumps Implicated in Parkinson’s Originate in the Gut

Indeed, mounting research suggests we may have had the wrong idea about Parkinson’s all along. As mentioned by Liu, there’s other compelling evidence suggesting this disease may have its origins in the gut. Research published in 2016 actually found a functional link between specific gut bacteria and the onset of Parkinson’s disease.10,11,12

In short, specific chemicals produced by certain gut bacteria worsen the accumulation of proteins in the brain associated with the disease. What’s more, the actual proteins implicated in the disease actually appear to travel from the gut up to and into the brain.

Once clumped together in the brain, these proteins, called alpha-synuclein, form fibers that damage the nerves in your brain, resulting in the telltale tremors and movement problems exhibited by Parkinson’s patients. In fact, the researchers believe alpha-synuclein producing gut bacteria not only regulate, but are actually required in order for Parkinson’s symptoms to occur.

The link is so intriguing they suggest the best treatment strategy may be to address the gut rather than the brain using specific probiotics rather than drugs. In this study, synthetic alpha-synuclein was injected into the stomach and intestines of mice.

After seven days, clumps of alpha-synuclein were observed in the animals’ guts. Clumping peaked after 21 days. By then, clumps of alpha-synuclein were also observed in the vagus nerve, which connects the gut and brain. As noted by Science News:13

“Sixty days after the injections, alpha-synuclein had accumulated in the midbrain, a region packed with nerve cells that make the chemical messenger dopamine. These are the nerve cells that die in people with Parkinson’s, a progressive brain disorder that affects movement.

After reaching the brain, alpha-synuclein spreads thanks in part to brain cells called astrocytes, a second study suggests. Experiments with cells in dishes showed that astrocytes can store up and spread alpha-synuclein among cells …”

Over time, as these clumps of alpha-synuclein started migrating toward the brain, the animals began exhibiting movement problems resembling those in Parkinson’s patients. Findings such as these suggest that, at least in some patients, the disease may actually originate in the gut, and chronic constipation could be an important early warning sign.

The same kinds of lesions found in Parkinson’s patients’ brains have also been found in their guts, leading to the idea that a simple biopsy of your intestinal wall may in fact be a good way to diagnose the disease. In other words, by looking at the intestinal tissue, scientists can get a pretty clear picture of what’s going on inside your brain.

These findings are now steering researchers toward looking at the potential role the gut might play in other neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and autism, as well as behavioral disorders.

The Immune System in Your Gut

In addition to digesting food and allowing your body to extract energy from foods that would otherwise be indigestible, your gut bacteria also help determine what’s poisonous and what’s healthy, and play a crucial role in your immune system. Your immune system is to a great extent educated based on the information received from your gut bacteria.

So, exposure to a wide variety of bacteria helps your immune system stay alert and actually optimizes its function. Bacterial colonization begins at birth, and things like antibiotic use by the mother or child, birth by cesarean section, bottle feeding instead of breastfeeding and excessive hygiene can all impair a child’s immune function by limiting exposure to beneficial bacteria.

Researchers have also discovered that humans can be divided into three enterotypes14 — three distinct groupings based on the makeup of our gut microbiomes, and the difference between them lies in our capacity to convert food into energy. All three groups produce vitamins, but to varying degrees.

Curiously, these enterotypes do not appear to be related to geographical location, nationality, race, gender or age, and the precise reason for the development of these enterotypes is still unknown. Diet is one possible, and likely probable, factor.

In the future, researchers hope to be able to determine how various bacteria influence health and the onset of diseases. Already, scientists have identified bacteria that appear to predispose people to conditions such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, liver disease and cardiovascular disease.

Experimental data also show different gut microbiota can have a determining effect on behavior, for better or worse, and probiotics have been shown to dampen emotional reactivity, reducing the effects of stress.


Why Earthworms are Important and how to Boost them

Earthworms are one of the most important organisms in soils. Earthworms mix together different layers of soil and incorporate carbon in the form of organic matter into the soil. It’s within this process of mixing that disperses the organic matter throughout the soil and makes the nutrients held in it available to plants. In addition earthworms propagate microorganisms in their gut adding to the biological population in the soil. Earthworms when present improve the soil physical, chemical and biological properties and acts as soil conditioner. They do this is through:

  • Fragmentation
  • Aeration and soil aggregation
  • The breakdown of organic matter in soil
  • Release of plant available nutrients
  • Secretion of plant growth hormones
  • Performing their role in nitrogen fixation
  • Carbon dynamics
  • Microbial production
  • Phosphorous dynamics
  • Reducing compaction
  • Increasing water infiltration

But their population in soil is threatened by a number of soil and environmental factors. Agricultural practices like heavy tillage operation, intensification especially over stocking, overuse of chemical fertilisers and the proliferation of agri-chemicals also contribute in the reduction of earthworms in soil.

How to encourage earthworms

Because of all of the important functions earthworms perform in our soils it is crucial to have a soil teaming with life. Earthworms do not like soil that is too acid, alkaline, dry, wet, hot or cold, their presence is a good indicator of soil conditions suitable for plant growth.Below is an outline of the way in which you can encourage earths in your soil.

Regular liming

Earthworms do not like acid soils. The addition of lime raises pH and also adds calcium. Earthworms need a continuous supply of calcium, so are absent in soils low in this element.

Increase soil organic matter

Earthworms feed on soil and dead or decaying plant matter, including straw, leaf litter and dead roots etc. They are the principal agents in mixing dead surface matter with the soil, making the carbon more accessible to decomposition by soil microbes. Examples of this include crop residues and stubble, green manure crops pasture residues.

Reduce use of some fertilisers and agrichemicals

Highly acidic fertilisers and some agrichemical (especially fungicides) can reduce worm numbers.

Soil moisture

Moisture is crucial for the survival of worms. They can lose 20% of their body weight each day in mucus and castings. Groundcover such as pasture or stubble reduces moisture evaporation. Decaying organic matter (humus) holds moisture in the soil. In the heat of summer some earthworm species burrow deep into the soil and are inactive until soil moisture returns.

Improve drainage

Worms need oxygen to survive so a reasonably aerated soil is essential. This explains why worms aren’t present in anaerobic and heavily waterlogged soils.

Reduce soil compaction

It is difficult for earthworms to move through heavily compacted soil, so keep vehicle and animal traffic to a minimum in wet conditions.

Reduce cultivation

Ploughing soil reduces earthworm numbers. Researchers have found that after four years, zero-tilled paddocks had twice as many worms as cultivated soils. However, shallow cultivation may not affect worm numbers.

Microbes and Earthworms

Microbes and earthworms play an important role in the soil ecosystem sometimes referred to as the soil food web.  This soil food wed consists of both small and large organisms with the smallest being the microscopic bacteria and fungi that are attracted to the plant exudates and consume organic matter, nitrogen, and nutrients. These organisms hold the nutrients in their body, and when they die they become slow release fertilisers for the plants. They also are food for the second level of organisms that exist in the soil, such as nematodes and protozoa. These organisms are then fed upon by millipedes and earthworms and other organisms. The soil ecosystem has a huge amount of biodiversity. In addition, previous studies have documented earthworm movement toward microbial food sources which shows how crucial it is to promote healthy biological activity in your soil. EM can play in role in this, as a microbial inoculant consisting of bacteria, yeast and fungi that can deliver significant inputs of microbes to your soil. EM will also play a role in stimulating native soil microbes to produce a healthy functioning biological soil, which in turn encourages earthworm activity.

In the below video a Northland Dairy Farmer, and Avoca Soil Consultant , Tony Johnston do a soil assessment and worm count to look at the effect of EM on his soil.



EM Happy Animals – Vladivostok, Russian Federation

The NGO Museum of Wildlife – Zoo Sadgorod is a scientific and cultural-educational institution, which keeps animals of local fauna and exotic animals from different parts of the world in Vladivostok, Russia.

Sign board of “EM-Vita”, EM secondary product at the zoo

– Zoo Overview –
Scale: 2ha
Number of animals: 274 (approximately 49 variety of animals at 2018)
Highlight: 10 species are listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation and 5 species are listed in the Red Book of Primorsky Region


Fox specie facing extinction

Since June 2014, the zoo management decided to use the EM product for animals, EM-Vita, as a trial.
The immediate challenge was to eliminate persistent odors in fox cages.
To treat this problem, EM-Vita was added daily to animals’ water and sprayed in animals cages.
After 15 days the objective was successfully achieved and they decided to apply EM-Vita periodically.
They clean and wash twice a week cages using diluted Activated EM・1 (AEM) and then, stop the use of disinfectants.
During warm season, they spray AEM three times a week onto ceilings, partitions, internal and external walls of animal holding areas. In winter such operation is carried out only in warm rooms.

Since EM products have a pH below 3.3, pH on the treated surfaces reduced to 4.5; as almost all viruses become inactive at pH below 4.5, they apply AEM as a safe and effective alternative to chemicals.

EM-Vita is also added to drinking water for animals and birds.


After using EM products during one year, they see the following results:

  1. Animals and birds improved digestion and immunity system. Particularly, good results were seen in rabbits.
  2. Animals ceased to suffer from being upset with gastrointestinal tract during the autumn and spring, when the transition from juicy forages to dry ones and vice versa occurred.
  3. Unpleasant smells in the territory of the zoo disappeared. This was not only appreciated by visitors and staff, but also by residents living nearby.
  4. The number of flies, bedbugs and other harmful insects decreased significantly.
  5. The number of animals stress factors decreased.
  6. Use of medicines, antibiotics and disinfectants decreased.
  7. Animal excrement became less fetid and easier to compost.

EM-Vita is an EM secondary product available in Russia only

For further information please contact our partner in Russia at:

OOO “Primorskiy EM-Center”
Mordovtseva Str, 8D, Vladivostok 690091 Russia
Tel: 8-800-333-65-95 (free call)
Fax: +7-4232-205-864

EM lezingen bij Willemstein hoveniers | Waddinxveen | 10 nov

Zaterdag 10 november organiseert Willemstein Hoveniers een speciale middag over Effectieve Micro-organismen (EM). Je kunt twee lezingen bijwonen. Eentje zal gaan over Bokashi en de andere over het gebruik van EM in huis & tuin. De lezingen worden verzorgd door Simone Vos van EM Natuurlijk Actief.

Sjaak Willemstein is meerdere keren verkozen tot Duurzaamste Hovenier en werkt al vele jaren met EM: “Ik ben een groot tegenstander van kunstmest en spuiten met gif. Ik heb juist zeer goede ervaringen met biologische beheermiddelen. Zo wordt bij de aanleg van de tuin direct een bacterie- en schimmelcultuur (Effectieve micro-organismen) in de grond aangebracht. Hierdoor wordt het bodemleven geactiveerd en kunnen de planten hun voeding beter opnemen. Daardoor zijn ze sterker en minder vatbaar voor ziekten en aantastingen. Mijn uitgangspunt is: als de bodem op orde is, leeft de beplanting optimaal. En wanneer de beplanting vitaal is komt het leven in de tuin pas goed op gang. Insecten, vogels en kleine dieren vinden uw tuin. Een levende duurzame tuin is mijn streven.”

De open dag is van 13-16 uur bij Willemstein hoveniers, Noordeinde 99 in Waddinxveen.

Meer informatie op Willemstein hoveniers.


How long does it take for your gut bacteria to recover after antibiotics?

As we rapidly discover the importance a rich and diverse gut microbiomehas on our overall health, some researchers are beginning to ask what the impact of widespread antibiotic use has been on our gut bacteria. A new study has closely examined the regrowth in gut bacteria after major antibiotic interventions, revealing that while much of our microbiome does recover, some species could be permanently eradicated.

The research focused on 12 healthy male subjects, each of who was initially subjected to a four-day treatment comprising three strong antibiotics designed to almost completely eliminate most bacterial species living in their gut. The participants were then monitored for six months to analyze how the microbial flora in their gut recovered.

The initial results were somewhat positive, with most bacterial species reappearing after around one and half months, but not everything returned to normal. At the six-month point the researchers discovered that nine common species of bacteria had still not reappeared in most of the subjects. No conclusions have been made by the researchers to link the missing gut bacteria to specific health effects, but Oluf Pedersen, lead on the study, does suggest recurrent antibiotic use may confer permanent gut bacteria alterations over a person’s lifetime.

“It is good that we can regenerate our gut microbiota which is important for our general health,” explains Pedersen. “The concern, however, relates to the potentially permanent loss of beneficial bacteria after multiple exposures to antibiotics during our lifetime. There is evidence that Western populations have a considerably lower diversity of their gut microbiota than native people living in certain parts of Africa and Amazonas. One possible explanation for this may be the widespread use of antibiotics in treatment of infectious diseases.”

Looking forward, Pedersen suggests a large takeaway from this research should be more cautious deployment of antibiotic treatments. Alongside the looming threat of antibiotic-resistant superbugs, this new study now adds persistent damage to the gut microbiome as a side-effect of our broad overuse of antibiotics.

Maintaining a healthy, and diverse, gut microbiome is not as simple as taking some probiotics alongside a course of antibiotics. In fact, several recent studies have suggested probiotics may have several adverse side effects. The most effective way to repopulate a diminished microbiome may be through autologous fecal microbiota transplants, using stool samples taken from patients before they undergo powerful courses of antibiotics.

Ultimately though, the most pressing course of action is to simply be more conservative about when we take antibiotics. “Antibiotics can be a blessing for preserving human health,” says Pedersen, “but should only be used based upon clear evidence for a bacterial cause of infection.”

The new study was published in the journal Nature Microbiology.

EM Mudballs Event in Latin America

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The “World EM Mudball Day” was declared as a memorial day, since one million of EM Mudballs were thrown in the Gurney bay by the Malaysian Government of Penang State in August 8, 2009, with the presence of Dr. Teruo Higa.

This year, EMRO’s partner in Latin America also joined the “World EM Mudball Day” activities, and the EM Mudballs events were held in many countries.

You can see the host countries and how many EM Mudballs were used in those events below.

· Costa Rica 2,600

· Belize 2,000
· Chile 1,000
· Argentina 1,000
· Ecuador 2,858
· Brazil 500 ( River Purification Project )

· Brazil 10,000

Bekijk het fimpje hieronder of ga naar:


Het dubbeldikke EM Magazine nr. 20 is uit!

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Het nieuwe EM magazine 20 is uit!

Boordevol interessante artikelen over EM en het (praktische) gebruik ervan.

EM Vereniging België heeft weer hard gewerkt aan een interessant magazine. Het dikste nummer tot nu toe, 80 bladzijdes dik en staat boordevol inspirerende prachtige artikelen!

Een voorproefje kunt u hier lezen: Piramidehuis met EM, Bouwen naar oeroude voorbeelden, een artikel in EM Magazine 20, 2018

Dit keer een met onder andere artikelen over:

  • EM technologie voor gezond wonen
  • Fijn stof en schadelijke stoffen in huis
  • Bouwen naar oeroude voorbeelden: Pyramidehuis met EM (NL), Een dôme met EM (B)
  • Portret van dr. Higa
  • EM-Activiteiten, een terugblik
  • Lezers getuigen
  • Wat is EM?
  • Boekentips, over en rond EM
  • Het principe van harmonisering van bomen
  • Stromen langs de weg van minste weerstand
  • Hoe EM een ecosysteem herstelt
  • Hondenvoeding onder de loep
  • 15 jaar intensief gebruik van EM in de tuin
  • De basisproducten voor het behandelen van uw vijver
  • EM technologie tegen zoutschade, van zeezout naar meststof
  • EM Curacao helpt toeristencomplex l’Amazonia
  • EM France Sud-Ouest laat zich zien!
  • Bomen, de essenziekte en EM
  • Micro-organismen: het lukt allen mét hen – niet tégen hen en zeker niet zonder hen
  • Bokashi maken in een flatgebouw in Bordeaux
  • Korte EM-ditjes&datjes
  • EM Sprokkels

Een schat aan EM informatie voor slechts € 5,00!

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