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A gut bacterium as a fountain of youth? Well, let’s start with reversing insulin resistance - Orlando Sentinel

But insulin resistance is also linked to a rogue’s gallery of ills, from obesity and inflammation to the sagging immunity and frailty that comes with advancing age. If a readily available means of slowing or reversing insulin resistance could be identified, it might have broad and powerful anti-aging effects (in addition to protecting some of the world’s 650 million adults who are obese against developing type 2 diabetes). First identified in 2004, Akkermansia muciniphila inhabits the large intestine and is thought to account for between 1% and 5% of all intestinal bacteria in adults. Scientists suspect it helps preserve the coat of mucus that lines the walls of our intestines. It may also play a role in making the polyphenols we eat in plant-based foods more available to our cells. Evidence is mounting that A. muciniphila is involved in obesity, glucose metabolism and intestinal immunity. For instance, a 2018 study of cancer patients suggests that it plays a role in immune response. Compared to patients who failed to be helped by a new generation of immunotherapy, those who did had a greater abundance of Akkermansia in their guts. When researchers took the stool of a patient who responded positively to the cancer-fighting therapy and transplanted it into lab animals with human cancers, the recipients became more likely to respond positively to the same treatment. In the new research, a team from the National Institute on Aging examined the molecular chain of events that appears to result from A. muciniphila’s depletion in mice and macaque monkeys. And they assessed the effects of restoring this gut microbe to elderly animals. First, they documented that the guts of older animals had markedly smaller populations of A. muciniphila than the guts of young animals, and that as A. muciniphila became more scarce, so did butyrate, one of the gut’s key protectors. The deficiency of these two substances caused the mucous walls of the of the aged animals’ intestines to thin and grow leaky. That corrosive process unleashed a chain of events that touched off inflammation, prompted an immune response and, in a final step, increased insulin resistance. Key to that final step was the accumulation in the gut of a specific kind of immune cell called 4BL cells. If the detrimental chain of events was to be disrupted, the accumulation of those 4BL cells probably had to be stopped, the researchers surmised. The researchers also documented what appeared to be a role for A. muciniphila in fostering healthy diversity among the garden of other microbes that colonize the gut. In animals with scant populations of A. muciniphila, a host of other common gut bacteria — as well as their beneficial byproducts, particularly butyrate — also suffered.

Fermented foods, neuroticism, and social anxiety: An interaction model. - PubMed - NCBI

An interaction model, controlling for demographics, general consumption of healthful foods, and exercise frequency, showed that exercise frequency, neuroticism, and fermented food consumption significantly and independently predicted social anxiety. Moreover, fermented food consumption also interacted with neuroticism in predicting social anxiety. Specifically, for those high in neuroticism, higher frequency of fermented food consumption was associated with fewer symptoms of social anxiety. Taken together with previous studies, the results suggest that fermented foods that contain probiotics may have a protective effect against social anxiety symptoms for those at higher genetic risk, as indexed by trait neuroticism.

Gut bacteria may control movement: Study suggests that bacteria may regulate neuronal circuits behind movement in flies -- ScienceDaily

observed that germ-free flies, which did not carry bacteria, were hyperactive. For instance, they walked faster, over greater distances, and took shorter rests than flies that had normal levels of microbes. Dr. Mazmanian and his team investigated ways in which gut bacteria may affect behavior in fruit flies. "Locomotion is important for a number of activities such as mating and searching for food. It turns out that gut bacteria may be critical for fundamental behaviors in animals," said Dr. Mazmanian. Fruit flies carry between five and 20 different species of bacteria and Dr. Mazmanian's team treated the germ-free animals with individual strains of those microbes. When the flies received Lactobacillus brevis, their movements slowed down to normal speed. L. brevis was one of only two species of bacteria that restored normal behavior in the germ-free flies. Dr. Mazmanian's group also discovered that the molecule xylose isomerase (Xi), a protein that breaks down sugar and is found in L. brevis, may be critical to this process. Isolating the molecule and treating germ-free flies with it was sufficient to slow down the speedwalkers.

Six months and still not normal after antibiotics

Now, an international team of researchers led from the University of Copenhagen and Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen report when 3 antibiotics were given to young healthy men for 4 days it caused an almost complete eradication of gut bacteria, followed by a gradual recovery of most bacterial species over a period of six months. After the six months, however, the study participants were still missing nine of their common beneficial bacteria and a few new potentially non-desirable bacteria had colonized the gut. The findings are published today in Nature Microbiology.

Endurance Exercise Training Has Beneficial Effects on Gut Bacteria Composition - Neuroscience News

“We found that phospholipids and cholesterol in VLDL particles decreased in response to exercise. These changes are beneficial for cardiometabolic health because VLDL transports lipids from the liver to peripheral tissues, converts into ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in the circulation, and thus has detrimental cardiovascular effects.” Exercise training also decreased Vascular adhesion protein-1 activity, which can have beneficial anti-inflammatory effects especially on vasculature, though the underlying mechanisms could not be determined in this study. Whether Akkermansia mediates the health benefits of exercise is under further investigation

Microbiome test

It’s based on more than five years of highly cited research at Israel’s Weizmann Institute, showing, for example, that while people on average respond similarly to white bread versus whole grain sourdough bread, the differences between individuals can be huge: what’s good for one specific person may be bad for another.

Probiotic Shot May Alleviate Brain Stress | GEN

“Given the evidence for reduced immunoregulation and chronic low-grade inflammation in anxiety and trauma-related disorders, microbial interventions that increase Treg, promote immunoregulation, and increase anti-inflammatory signaling may have value in the prevention or treatment of these disorders,” the authors suggest. M. vaccae has previously been shown to increase induction of Treg production and anti-inflammatory cytokines. A previous study by CU Boulder scientists showed that mice given injections of a heat-killed M. vaccae preparation and then placed in housing with an aggressive male exhibited less anxiety-like behavior and were less likely to suffer colitis or peripheral inflammation than control animals. These findings suggest that immunoregulatory and anti-inflammatory treatments can “buffer against the proinflammatory effects of stress,” the researchers point out.  What hasn’t been studied before is whether M. vaccae has a direct impact on stress-induced neuroinflammation.

Probiotic Shot May Alleviate Brain Stress | GEN

Studies have also shown that patients with anxiety- and trauma-related conditions have reduced numbers of regulatory T cells (Tregs, while research also suggests that trauma, illness, or surgery can sensitize certain regions of the brain to mount an inflammatory response to subsequent stressors, which can lead to mood disorders. “There is a robust literature that shows if you induce an inflammatory immune response in people, they quickly show signs of depression and anxiety," says lead author Matthew Frank, Ph.D., a senior research associate in the department of psychology and neuroscience. "Just think about how you feel when you get the flu."

A gut bacterium's guide to building a microbiome: Unlike invading pathogens, which are attacked by the immune system, certain good bacteria in the gut invite an immune response in order to establish robust gut colonization -- ScienceDaily

The particular species is found abundantly in the large intestines of many mammals, including humans, and was previously shown by the Mazmanian lab to protect mice from certain inflammatory and neurological disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis. Interestingly, though there are multiple strains of B. fragilis, healthy people form a long-term, monogamous relationship with only a single strain. "Studies by other labs have shown that most people carry the same strain of B. fragilis throughout their lives," says Donaldson. "We wanted to understand at a molecular level how these bacteria are able to colonize the gut in a stable, long-term way." First, the researchers aimed to examine B. fragilis's symbiotic relationship with the gut by physically looking at the locations where the bacteria reside. Using electron microscopy imaging on samples of mouse intestines, the team was able to see that B. fragilis clumps together in aggregates deep within the thick layer of mucus lining the gut, nestled close to the epithelial cells that line the surface of the intestine. Donaldson and his collaborators theorized that this spatial niche is necessary for a single species to settle in and establish a stable foothold. The team next aimed to determine what mechanisms allow B. fragilis to colonize such a niche within the gut. They found that each B. fragilis bacterium is encased in a thick capsule made of carbohydrates. The capsule is typically associated with pathogens (bad bacteria) attempting to cloak themselves from recognition by and attack from the body's immune system. Mutant bacteria lacking this capsule cannot aggregate and do not inhabit the mucosal layer. Thus, the researchers theorized that capsular carbohydrates are necessary for B. fragilis strains to monopolize their niche in the gut. Because bacterial capsules were known to be related to an immune response in pathogenic bacteria, Donaldson and Mazmanian hypothesized that there may also be an immune response to the B. fragilis capsule. Indeed, they found that antibodies, immune proteins that grab onto and mark specific bacteria or viruses for other immune cells to engulf and destroy, were binding to the B. fragilis capsule in the intestine. One particular kind of antibody, immunoglobulin A or IgA, is found throughout the gut -- in fact, it is the most abundantly produced type of antibody in humans -- but its specific functions have been enigmatic.

Parkinson's May Begin in Gut and Spread to the Brain Via the Vagus Nerve - Neuroscience News

The research has presented strong evidence that Parkinson’s disease begins in the gastrointestinal tract and spreads via the vagus nerve to the brain. Many patients have also suffered from gastrointestinal symptoms before the Parkinson’s diagnosis is made. “Patients with Parkinson’s disease are often constipated many years before they receive the diagnosis, which may be an early marker of the link between neurologic and gastroenterologic pathology related to the vagus nerve ,” says Elisabeth Svensson.

Looking for a cure...

At first, fatigue, brain fog, and body aches made it hard to do my job some days; then every day felt like a battle with the flu. Constant acid reflux, bloating, gas, and constipation became an accepted part of life. Next came burning and tingling in my hands, rashes, joint and chest pain, heart palpitations, and poor sleep. But I kept working through it, for years, until I simply no longer could and I had to stop my medical practice. What ensued was a years-long journey of trying everything under the sun to overcome what turned out to be fibromyalgia and chronic Lyme Disease, both of which I blamed for all of my digestive symptoms. It made sense at the time—nausea and loss of appetite are common among Lyme sufferers, and half of people with fibromyalgia experience IBS symptoms. But after much research and personal trial and error, I realized that it wasn’t that simple. Instead, the same factors that left me susceptible to chronic illness were also to blame for my gut symptoms: Nothing would improve until I addressed those underlying causes. Since then, I’ve discovered that the majority of digestive health issues—including IBS, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), leaky gut, chronic constipation, food sensitivities and allergies, and more—can be traced back to the same four factors that were making me sick. I call them gut disruptors, and if you feel like you’ve tried everything to overcome your gut issues, getting to know them could be the secret to finally restoring your digestive and overall health.

Risk of type 1 diabetes climbs when one population of T cells falls: Study in mice links protective immune cells that form outside the thymus with autoimmune diabetes -- and suggests that gut microbes affecting this cell population may protect against disease -- ScienceDaily

The researchers now hypothesize that microbes in the gut, where most of this pTreg cell population is switched on, may be responsible for generating these protective cells and thus protecting against the autoimmune attack on pancreatic beta cells that cause type 1 diabetes. "Most of these pTregs are made in the gut," Kissler says. "We know both that gut microbes promote the development of pTregs, and that gut microbes have an impact on type 1 diabetes." Many studies in mouse models, and more recent research among human populations as well, have correlated differences in gut microbe populations with risks of developing the autoimmune condition.

Antibiotic use increases risk of severe viral disease in mice | The Source | Washington University in St. Louis

“Once you put a dent in a microbial community, unexpected things happen,” Thackray said. “Some groups of bacteria are depleted and different species grow out. So increased susceptibility may be due to both the loss of a normal signal that promotes good immunity and the gain of an inhibitory signal.” The researchers tested immune cells from mice treated with antibiotics and found that they had low numbers of an important immune cell known as killer T cells. Normally, during an infection T cells that recognize the invading virus multiply to high numbers and play a critical role in controlling the infection. Mice treated with antibiotics generated fewer such T cells.

How to feed your gut | Life and style | The Guardian

If you were to view your microbiome as a garden, fibre would be your fertiliser. Spector reckons that most people need to double their intake. Foods containing the best fibre types for your microbes – AKA prebiotic foods – include artichokes, jerusalem artichokes, leeks, celery, chicory, onions and garlic. Variety is the top priority. “So, it’s not just focusing on one or two of these examples,” warns Spector. “Our latest research is showing that it’s not necessarily someone who calls themselves vegetarian who has the most healthy gut – it’s the person who eats more diversity of plants in a week. Having the same salad every day isn’t going to be as healthy as eating a rich diversity of food with occasional meat.” This could just as easily be a way of describing the Mediterranean diet, with its kaleidoscope of fruit, veg, nuts, grains and legumes.

Gaining or losing weight alters molecular profile in humans -- ScienceDaily

Snyder and his colleagues found that even with modest weight gain -- about 6 pounds -- the human body changed in dramatic fashion at the molecular level. Bacterial populations morphed, immune responses and inflammation flared, and molecular pathways associated with heart disease activated. But that's not the end of the story. When study participants lost the weight, most of the rest of the body's systems recalibrated back to their original states, the study found.

Swallowable sensors reveal mysteries of human gut health: First human trials of gas-sensing capsule reveal potential new immune system -- ScienceDaily

Findings from the first human trials of a breakthrough gas-sensing swallowable capsule could revolutionise the way that gut disorders and diseases are prevented and diagnosed.