The greatest medical discovery of the century may be older than humanity.
By Peter V. Radatti
In my life time there has been many technical revolutions that have changed life for the better. First was antibiotics then the chemical revolution that gave us plastics and modern chemicals, then the electronics revolution, the space age, modern computers and finally the Internet. Now we are set for a new revolution called the Microbiome. It will have a bigger impact on our quality of life, length of life, finances and the world in general than anything that came before. It's impact will be epic. For investors it is still a little early but something that you want to keep an eye on. For drug and medical companies now is the time to invest in research and development. The Microbiome revolution will be bigger than the Internet and hundreds of times more complex with thousands of times more opportunities for big wins. The amount of low hanging fruit is large. - Peter V. Radatti
Simply put we have learned that our own bodies and in fact, all complex living things, are actually a collection of our cells and bacteria, fungus and viruses that make up the whole. Even our own cells are powered by residual bacterial (mitochondria) that has no human DNA. This makes us much more complex than we thought but at the same time it is a discovery of unprecedented opportunity. It's as if you suddenly found out that you have only been using two-tenths of the controls available to you. What does all of these these controls we have never looked at do? For starts, they contribute significantly to our immune function, regulate our bodies automatic responses including hormones and directly affect our thinking. The vagus nerves (tenth cranial nerve CN X) directly connect the brain stem with the hearts, lungs and digestive tract. The connection to the digestive tract directly provides an electrical signal from the Microbiome to the brain in addition to the blood chemistry and lymphatic pathways. This relationship between the brain and gut bacterial has created a new medical field of study called Neurogastroenterology, the study of the interactions of the brain, nervous system, and the gut. Early results are profound pointing to possible treatments for dementia including Alzheimer's and Autism. There are also many bacteria that have been identified that affect personality with potential effective treatments in study.
If this was not enough the Microbiome contributes about half of our immune system. Bacterial in the gut act as protectors killing off pathological bacteria that is harmful. An example of this is that the FDA has already approved Microbiome transplants for the treatment of reoccurring and persistent C. diff.
Each organ of the body contains it's own unique Microbiome. This indicates that Neurogastroenterology may be just the beginning of a new trend. I expect that new fields of study for each of the major organs will spin off Microbiome specialties. Consider what this could mean for the heart, liver, lungs and other organs. Even the skin has it's own Microbiome which is not only protective in nature but may point to future beauty treatments. It is already suspected that several skin conditions are effected by gut bacteria and there is strong evidence that improving the Microbiome of the skin makes it appear younger and more pliable. It may even affect the performance of the underlying tissues. Beyond skin health the microbiome of the skin is involved in the production of vitamin D. Low levels of D is an independent risk factor for total mortality in the general population while the form of D derived from supplementation is immunosuppressive. While supplementing with D can suppress short term symptoms it causes other long term problems. In a study on mice, researchers have found that the microbiota of the gut may regulate the metabolism of endocrine vitamin D through a protein called fibroblast growth factor 23, said Margherita T. Cantorna, distinguished professor of molecular immunology at Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. FGF 23 is a protein that sends signals to activate receptors located on the outside surface of cells. Professor Cantorna said it has been known that the amount of vitamin D in the gut can influence the microbiota. This indicates that a feedback loop exists between the microbiome of the skin and the gut using natural vitamin D as a regulator. That regulator then goes on to effect many different systems in the human body.
The following information is quoted from the book "The Symbiont Factor, How the Gut Microbiome Redefines Health, Disease, and Humanity," by Richard Matthews.1 (Used with explicit permission of the author.) I recommend this book highly, as I quote from the 2014 edition, pages 348 to 354. This topic will be the most important area of research for the next 100 years and, of the dozen or so books I have on the subject, this book is the best and most scientific. Here is a list of known symbionts:
- Prevents bacterial translocation during laparo-scopic surgery (Sahin)
- Helps pregnant women maintain insulin function, preventing gestational diabetes (Asemi)
- Fights Clostridum difficile infections (Kolling)
- Lowers cholesterol (Oner)
- Protects against influenza virus (Park)
- Lowers BMI (body mass index) and blood pressure (Sharafedtinov)
- Reduces Immunoglobulin E anaphylactic allergic reactions (Yoshida)
- Protects NK (natural killer) immune cells from gamma radiation (Lee)
-Helps to prevent or treat MRSA (Methicilline Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) (Sikorska)
-Protects colon muscle from LPS-induced damage (Ammososcato)
-Prevents rhinovirus (colds) in premature infants (Luoto)
-Protects against cancer-causing effects of ultraviolet light (Weill)
-Protects intestines against damage from radiation (Ciorba)
- Helps prevent breast cancer (Kaga, Toi), along with soy isoflavones in diet
- Restores damaged dendritic cell function in ulcerative colitis (Mann)
-Inhibits growth of liver cancer cells (Han)
-Inhibits growth of bacteria that causes tooth decay (Chen, Elavarasu)
- Improves tight junctions between intestinal cells (preventing leaky gut) (Sultana)
- Protects liver cells from damage from extended alcohol exposure (Park). A type of kombucha, can be made by L.fermentum-fermenting green tea.
- Reduces the effects of metabolic syndrome/insulin resistance (rate model of human function) (Tomaro-Duchesneau)
-Modulates inflammatory responses of the host (Groeger)
-Programs the immune system and reduces allergies (Toh)
Protects skin against ultraviolet light damage (Sugimoto)
- Protects kidneys against formation of calcium oxalate stones (Giardina)
- Prevents airway constriction and asthma (Sagar), when combined with oligosaccharides (found in Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, leeks and onions)2
- Lowers blood pressure (Gonzalez-Gonzalez)
- Reduces total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (Bordoni)
- Helps prevent or treat Clostridium difficile infections (Sikorska)
- Inhibits growth of Salmonella (Scapin)
- Reduces inflammation in intestinal epihelial cells (Borthakur)
- Modulates inflammatory gene expression in overweight patients (Zarrati)
- When given to the mother of low birth weight infants who were breastfed, it reduced the incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis, "death of intestine," which can be fatal (Benor)
- Reduces inflammation and oxidative stress in atherosclerosis (Chen)
- Protects intestinal epithelial cells in radiation exposure (Chitapanarux)
Some benefits have only been shown in combinations of several probiotic species:
1) Reducing inflammation and oxidative stress in Type 2 diabetics (Asemi, testing yogurt with cultures of Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacilus acidophilus LA5 and Bifidobacterium animalis BB12)
2) Reducing inflammation and muscle atrophy in leukemia (mouse model of leukemia, studied with Lactobacilus reuteri 100-23 and Lactobacillus gasseri 311476) (Bindels)
3) Reduced severity of myocardial infarction (heart attack) and improved recovery from it using Goodbelly®, a popular probiotic drink that contains Lactobacillus plantarum 299v (Lam)
4) Preventing, reducing spread of, and improving treatment of colorectal cancer using combinations of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium (Geier)
Peter Radatti wrote the books "Dietary Fiber: Essential To The Human Microbiome and Health", ISBN-13: 978-1545015421 and the book "MicroBiome Me: The Gut Brain Connection with the Microbiome (Dietary Fiber)", ISBN-13: 978-1794050945. Both books are available on amazon.com. You can learn more about Pete's books at https://www.radatti.com/books/
1 Matthews, Richard, "The Symbiont Factor, How the Gut Microbiome Redefines Health, Disease and Humanity". ISBN-13: 978-150055944, ISBN-10: 1500553948.
2 PVR-- the book says that oligosaccharides are a non-digestible fiber, but that is now known to not be true. It is legally dietary fiber, but it is digestible and, therefore, not an actual fiber.
Read more Peter's discourse on the microbiome in his new book, available on Amazon.com here.
Interview with: Hussein Akhavannik