Tag Archives: C. difficile

FIGHT C. DIFFICILE – 7th Annual Peggy Lillis Foundation Gala

 

Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Lovely and graceful, isn’t it? This is an image of a single Clostridium difficile bacterium. But it’s a pathological killer, definitely not something you want to take over your large intestine.
Have you ever even heard of it? And are you aware that antibiotics (taken as a prescribed drug or consumed in factory farmed meats) can kill off the good probiotic bacteria in your gut and make you very ill with a C. diff  infection – even kill you?
Source: National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
Source: National Foundation for Infectious Diseases

 

The Peggy Lillis Foundation was started by Peggy’s two sons, Christian and Liam, after their 56 year old mother died in April of 2010 from a C. diff infection six days after getting a root canal. Her dentist had prescribed the broad spectrum antibiotic Clindamycin to treat an abscess. She developed diarrhea and assumed she’d gotten a stomach virus. Several days later, when the ‘ stomach virus’ symptoms had intensified to the point that the diarrhea was much worse and she was pale, dizzy, and unable to keep any food down, she spoke to her doctor by phone. He apparently wasn’t aware of the symptoms of C. diff and prescribed a prescription strength anti-diarrheal medicine – without ever asking if she’d recently taken any antibiotics.
By the time her sons realized how sick she was and took her to a hospital, she was in septic shock. The ER docs eventually correctly identified her massive infection as C. diff caused by the Clindamycin  and made much worse by the anti-diarrheal.
The doctors did everything they could to save her, including removing her colon, where a C. diff  infection grows – but nothing worked. She eventually went into cardiac arrest and died.
The Cause of Death listed on her death certificate didn’t even mention C. diff.
Neither Peggy nor her sons had ever heard of C. diff  before. And maybe her dentist and doctor hadn’t either. At least they both acted as if they were unaware that antibiotics could lead to virulent, pathogenic C. diff bacteria opportunistically taking over the colon by killing off most of the probiotic bacteria in there, giving the pathogenic C. diff bacteria a chance to proliferate wildly until they killed their host.
Source: Slideshare
Source: SlideShare

 

So that their mother’s sudden horrific death not be totally in vain, Christian and Liam Lillis started a foundation in her honor a few months later. Its mission is:
To build a nationwide Clostridium difficile awareness movement by educating the public, empowering advocates, and shaping policy.

 

plf_logo_stacked

 

Now in its seventh year, the highly respected Peggy Lillis Foundation has become a leading actor in the fight against  C. diff. It has also become a key resource for patients, families, providers, policymakers and advocates.
The Foundation’s 7th Annual Fight C. Diff Gala was held yesterday evening, 21 October 2016. It was a chance for people working toward the PLF’s goals in various ways to come together to give and receive  support and encouragement. The food was good too!
At the gala, the PLF honored people and organizations who are making a difference in the fight against C. diff by furthering its goals of LEADERSHIP, INNOVATION, AND ADVOCACY.
A LEADERSHIP AWARD was presented to the Mount Sinai Health System (New York City):

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“Over the past 18 months, Mount Sinai Health System has demonstrated that true leadership at every level of hospital and clinical operations can have an enormous and lifesaving impact in reducing C. diff infections. Since 2014, Mount Sinai has reduced its hospital-acquired C. diff infections  by more than 40%. This reduction not only saved the health system money, but it also prevented a great deal of harm.”

An INNOVATORS AWARD was presented to the CDIFFerently Care Team of Northwell Health (formerly North Shore-LIJ Health System):

 

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“The CDIFFerently Care Team of Northwell Healthy’s innovative approach to assembling and mobilizing a multidisciplinary team on the 6 Monti unit reduced C. diff infections by 50% in a single year. The team is now working to spread its successful innovation to other parts of Northwell Health.”

An ADVOCATE AWARD was present to NY State Senator Martin J. Golden (R, District 22):

NY State Senator Martin J. Golden

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“Senator Martin J. Golden was our mother Peggy’s representative. Senator Golden has long been an advocate for the public school system that Peggy loved as well as a fervent champion for our state’s senior citizens. As Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, Senator Golden was credited by nationally recognized advocacy groups for championing the rights of senior citizens through the Assisted Living Law of 2004. Under his leadership, a number of significant bills affecting older Americans have been enacted, including a new Elderlaw, the Senior Bill of Rights: Long Term Care Reform, internet posting of retail prescription drug prices and a single EPIC/Medicare prescription drug card.”

See A Q&A with Sen. Marty Golden, 2016 Advocates Award Honoree to learn more about Senator Golden’s work.
Another ADVOCATE AWARD was presented to NY State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D, District 36, retired):

NY State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson (Retired)

hassell-thompson

“Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson’s career, first as a pediatric nurse, then as a successful executive, and most recently, serving 16 years as the state senator from New York’s 36th district, exemplifies public service. She is also a C. diff survivor, having  battled the disease following knee surgery. Senator Hassell-Thompson retired from the senate in July to serve as Special Advisor for Policy and Community Affairs, for New York State Housing and Community Renewal.”

See A Q&A with Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson, 2016 Advocates Award Honoree to learn more about her work in public service and her own battle with C. diff.

 

THE MAGNITUDE OF THE C. DIFF INFECTION PROBLEM: A FEW STATISTICS (PLF, 2016)

  • In September 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designated CDIs as an urgent public health threat requiring “aggressive action”
  • 475,000 Americans incur a CDI each year averaging one new infection every minute
  • 250,000 require hospitalization
  • 29,000 die annually
  • 17,000 cases of CDI in children
  • In 2011, CDIs killed more Americans than drunk driving or HIV/AIDS.

cdi-deaths-2011

The numbers of C. diff infections and deaths have been rising sharply each year since 2011.

 

 

 

THE PEGGY LILLIS FOUNDATION

Visit the Peggy Lillis Foundation website to learn more about its work, read personal stories by people who have successfully battled C. diff and some who have lost loved ones to it, and find out what is being done about this epidemic and how you can help – and why you should even care about any of this.

 

Peggy Lillis with Her Kindergarten Class

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MY C. DIFF STORY

Like Peggy Lillis, I became ill with a C. diff infection in April 2010. I’d never heard of it before either. Unlike Peggy, it didn’t kill me. If you’re interested, you can read the story of how I won my battle with it: “Successful holistic treatment of Clostridium difficile gut infection: case study.”  (Hardin, 2011)

 

Source: SlideShare
Source: SlideShare

 

 

From the program booklet for yesterday evening’s PLF’s 2016 gala:
“77% of Americans have never heard of C. diff. As we learned with the tragic death of our mother, it is impossible to prevent a disease you don’t know exists.”

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Hardin, J.R. (2011).  Successful holistic treatment of Clostridium difficile gut infection: case study. Oriental Medicine Journal, 19:4, 24-37. See: http://peggyfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/C.-difficile-OMJ-article-lo-res.pdf

Peggy Lillis Foundation. (2016). See: http://peggyfoundation.org/

Lillis, C,  (10/17/2016). PLF Blog: A Q&A with Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson, 2016 Advocates Award Honoree. See: https://peggyfoundation.org/a-qa-with-sen-ruth-hassell-thompson-2016-advocates-award-honoree/

Tiffany. (10/1/2016). PLF Blog: A Q&A with Sen. Marty Golden, 2016 Advocates Award Honoree. See: https://peggyfoundation.org/a-qa-with-sen-marty-golden-2016-advocates-award-honoree/

 

 

 

© Copyright 2016. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Psychobiotics: Your Gut Bacteria – Your Mood

Updated 7/5/2015 & 7/9/2015.

 

(Source: jama.jamanetwork.com)
(Source: jama.jamanetwork.com)

 

Very good news! An exciting new field of medicine is on the horizon: PSYCHOBIOTICS.
PROBIOTICS are micro-organisms that have beneficial effects on the body when consumed.
Ted Dinan, Catherine Stanton, and John Cryan, pioneering researchers in the field, define a PSYCHOBIOTIC as “a live organism that, when ingested in adequate amounts, produces a health benefit in patients suffering from psychiatric illness”. (Dinan, Stanton & Cryan, 2013)

 

(Source: www.youtube.com)
(Source: www.youtube.com)
Scientists are discovering that some probiotic micro-organisms living in our guts are also psychoactive. That is, they deliver neuroactive substances such as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and serotonin that influence the brain via the gut-brain axis.
I’d say that the field of psychobiotics in the not so distant future will be understood more broadly to include all of us, not just those with diagnosable mental illnesses. For example, we’ll be able to fine tune our anxiety levels day to day – by taking particular probiotics before events we know make us anxious (public speaking, flying, big dates, exams). And, even better, we’ll be able to AVOID depression’s deep troughs of despair and the exhausting paralysis of anxiety by nourishing healthy populations of the appropriate probiotics in our guts.
(Source: http://www.maryvancenc.com/
(Source: http://www.maryvancenc.com/

 

As we understand the gut-brain axis at this point, communications between the gut and the brain (and vice versa) travel via the long vagus nerve, spinal cord, and/or neuroendocrine systems to mediate various physical and mental states – including anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive thoughts and behaviors, autism, chronic fatigue syndrome, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Here’s a diagram of the vagus nerve’s path, showing the organs it connects between the brain at its top end and the intestines at its bottom end. You can see what an important communication highway it provides for the body, allowing the brain, lungs, heart, spleen, liver, kidneys, pancreas, stomach, and intestines to ‘talk’ to one another.

 

THE VAGUS NERVE

It runs from the brain stem down each side of the neck, across the chest, down through the abdomen allowing the brain, lungs, heart, spleen, liver, pancreas, kidneys, stomach and intestines to communicate bi-directionally along its network.

(Source: emedicine.medscape.com)
(Source: emedicine.medscape.com)
“So far, psychobiotics have been most extensively studied in … patients with irritable bowel syndrome, where positive benefits have been reported for a number of organisms including Bifidobacterium infantis. Evidence is emerging of benefits in alleviating symptoms of depression and in chronic fatigue syndrome. Such benefits may be related to the anti-inflammatory actions of certain psychobiotics and a capacity to reduce hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity. ” (Dinan, Stanton & Cryan, 2013)
Did you notice the mention of the anti-inflammatory actions of probiotics in the quote above?
Most physical and mental diseases have inflammation as their root cause. The vast majority of our immune system, about 70% of it, is located in the gut microbiome. Unbalance in the composition of microbes there creates inflammation inside the intestinal linings, increasing gut permeability, leading to chronic inflammation elsewhere in the body – and disease.
This is my short hand explanation for how the connection works:
Chronic imbalance of microbes in the gut –> chronic inflammation in the gut –> increased gut permeability –> chronic inflammation elsewhere in the body –>  diseases in the gut and/or elsewhere in the body

 

(Source: www.nature.com)
(Source: www.nature.com)

 

These signaling irregularities affect our emotions, mental abilities, behaviors, and perception of and reactions to pain (nociception). The whole system is something like an enormous, highly complex switchboard. If something interferes with signaling somewhere in the system, a circuit can malfunction and perhaps cause the entire switchboard to break down.

 

(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
(Source: en.wikipedia.org)

 

Chronic imbalances in our gut bacteria that lead to gut-brain axis signaling irregularities can also lead to a wide variety of other health problems – including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, migraines, thyroid problems, dental issues, cancers, degenerative neurological diseases, obesity, ADD/ADHD, allergies, asthma, autism, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic Lyme disease … and many, many more. And they all begin with the health of the several pounds of miniscule critters living in our gut microbiomes.

 

 

gut-microbiome

 

Our gut microbiome, the 100 trillion micro-organisms (500-1,000 species of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other tiny life forms) living in our intestinal linings, is so important to the proper functioning of the entire body that many scientists now regard it as an organ in and of itself. The theory is that these micro-organisms  communicate with the nervous system using some of the same neurochemicals the body uses to relay messages in the brain. (Smith, 2015)
These several pounds of micro-organisms in our guts secrete a large number of neurochemicals, including dopamine, serotonin, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the very same chemicals our neurons use to communicate and regulate mood – and chemicals that also play a role in GI disorders, which, not strangely, are associated with high levels of depression and anxiety.  (Smith, 2015)

 

(Source: www.itsokaytobesmart.com)
(Source: www.itsokaytobesmart.com)

 

 

 

 

ANXIETY, OBSESSIVE BEHAVIOR, LEAKY GUT AND BACTEROIDES FRAGILIS

 

(Source: www.find-happiness.com)
(Source: www.find-happiness.com)

 

In 2013, microbiology researchers Mazmanian and Hsiao published research results that linked a specific variety of probiotic bacteria with anxious behaviors in mice. The mice were known to have alterations in their gut microbiota and GI barrier defects  (increased gut permeability, AKA leaky gut) and also exhibited anxious, obsessive behaviors (such as obsessively burying marbles). When they were given oral doses of  one of two strains of the bacterium Bacteroides fragilis (probiotic bacteria found in normal gut flora), both their GI problems and maladaptive behaviors improved. (Hsiao et al, 2013) (Smith, 2015)

 

 

 

 

STRESS, DEPRESSION AND THE PROBIOTICS LACTOBACILLUS AND BIFIDOBACTERIUM

 

 

(Source: www.menshealth.co.uk)
(Source: www.menshealth.co.uk)

 

A recent study found that a combination of the probiotics Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum (probiotic bacteria found in healthy human gut microbiomes) reduced anxiety, depression, and stress levels and improved coping strategies. (Messaoudi, 2011)
Our psychological and physiological reactions to fear and stress play a large role in depression. People suffering from major depression also have elevated levels of cortisol, the stress hormone our adrenals release to get us ready to fight for our lives or flee from the danger. Back when we frequently encountered predatory animals and were often in a fight or flight situation, this elevated release of cortisol was a very useful thing.
What often happens now is that we live in a state of chronic cortisol overproduction, over stimulated, afraid, unable to calm down, wearing out our adrenals. Chronically elevated cortisol production interferes with learning and memory, lowers immune functioning, decreases bone density, increases weight gain,  raises blood pressure and cholesterol levels, leads to heart disease, increases risk for depression and anxiety, decreases resilience – and is generally exhausting. A combination of the probiotics, Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum, was found to reduce cortisol levels. (Berglund, 2013) (Davidson, 2014)
GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) is our central nervous system’s chief inhibitory neurotransmitter, playing a central role in reducing neuronal excitability throughout the body and regulating muscle tone. (Wikipedia, 2015)
Many physiological and psychological processes associated with depression, including negative ruminations, can be traced to a deficiency in the neurotransmitter GABA. Microbes that actively secrete GABA in the gut have been identified by researchers. Chief among them are strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
Bifidobacterium longum has anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and antimutagenic properties and may protect you from developing colon cancer.  It’s present in breast milk and is one of the first probiotics to colonize a newborn’s gut.

 

Emmenthaler Cheese
(Source: cheesecrafters.ca)
(Source: cheesecrafters.ca)

 

Swiss and Emmenthaler cheeses contain Lactobacillus helveticus. (We’re talking about real cheeses, not the tasteless, processed kinds often found prepackaged in the US.)

 

(Source: draxe.com)
(Source: draxe.com)

 

Bifodobacterium longum is found in unprocessed yogurts, various types of fermented dairy foods (kefir’s a good choice), and fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut.
(Source: www.rsc.org)
(Source: www.rsc.org)
Good news for those of us who love dark chocolate: The plentiful polyphenols in dark chocolate serve as PREbiotics, nourishing the beneficial Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium  in our guts.  (Davidson, 2014) The higher the cacao and lower the sugar content the better. Organic and fair trade also if possible.
Both L. helveticus and B. longum can also be taken as supplements.

 

 

 

 

MOOD, OXYTOCIN AND LACTOBACILLUS REUTERI

 

(Source: www.bbc.co.uk)
(Source: www.bbc.co.uk)
A team of biologists at MIT found that another probiotic strain, Lactobacillus reuteri, improved mood, restored a youthful appearance to the skin, and promoted general health by increasing levels of oxytocin, the love hormone. (Davidson, 2015)
L. reuteri is one of the fastest colonizing probiotic bacteria available. This is a good thing – colonizing probiotic strains of bacteria in your gut can restore your health.

 

 

 

 

ANXIETY, DEPRESSION AND LACTOBACILLUS RHAMNOSUS (Davidson, 2014) (Mercola, 2011) (Saey, 2011)

 

(Source: www.drperlmutter.com)
(Source: www.drperlmutter.com)
Lactobacillus rhamnosus is a bacterial strain that has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression in anxious mice.
GABA, the central nervous system’s principal inhibitory neurotransmitter, regulates many physiological and psychological processes in the body. Alterations in GABA receptor expression are linked to the the development of anxiety and depression.
Study results published in 2011 shed light on exactly how L. rhamnosus in the gut impacts the brain’s chemistry.
The researchers found that the probiotic L. rhamnosus markedly affected GABA levels in certain brain regions and lowered the stress-induced hormone corticosterone, resulting in reduced anxiety- and depression-related behavior.
When the vagus nerve was severed, GABA receptor levels and the animals’ behavior remained unchanged after treatment with L. rhamnosus, confirming that the vagus nerve is most likely the primary pathway of communication between the bacteria in the gut and the brain.
The researchers allow that the vagus nerve is the obvious communication route but perhaps not the only one, that messaging may also occur via other nerves or chemicals in the blood.
If you doubt there’s a direct connection between the health of the gut microbiome and mental health, keep in mind that functional bowel disorders and mood disorders such as anxiety and depression are generally comorbid (they generally occur together).

Strains of L. rhamnosus  are found in some dairy products such as live culture yogurts, cheeses (eg, real Parmigiano Reggiano), and kefir. They’re also found in fermented dry sausages and some fermented soy cheeses. (Panyko, 2015)

 

 

 

PAIN, CHRONIC FATIGUE, DEPRESSION, ANXIETY AND LACTOBACILLUS ACIDOPHILUS

 

(Source: www.slideshare.net)
(Source: www.slideshare.net)

 

Lactobacillus acidophilus improves the functioning of canabinoid receptors in the spinal cord that are important for regulating pain perception. (Davidson, 2014)
A 2009 study to see if treatment with live L. acidophilus was helpful for chronic fatigue syndrome and the depression that’s part of it showed promising results. When the researchers supplemented chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers with a live casie strain of L. acidophilus for two months, they saw a significant decrease in the subjects’ depression, anxiety, and general emotional distress. (Rao et al, 2009)
Food sources of L. acidophilus include live culture yogurt and other fermented foods such as sauerkraut, sauerkraut juice, kimchi, miso, chutneys, and kefir.

 

 

SEROTININ, CHRONIC INFLAMMATION AND BIFIDOBACTERIUM INFANTIS

 

(Source: www.amazon.com)
(Source: www.amazon.com)
A number of microbes can produce other neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. For example, Bifidobacterium infantis, taken as an probotic, alters serotonin levels – just like Prozac but without the undesirable side effects. (Davidson, 2014)
Bifidobacterium infantis has been clinically demonstrated to be very good at reducing the symptoms caused by chronic immune activation in the gut, autoimmune diseases, and excessive cortisol release. So it, along with some other probiotic bacteria, is a good choice for people with leaky gut, IBS, IBD, celiac disease, and Crohn’s disease. (Nootriment, 2015)
Infantis in this bacteria’s name indicates that it’s a strain vitally important for infant health.  B. infantis is usually one of the first probiotics mothers pass on to their babies during vaginal births. Many scientists and doctors therefore recommend that pregnant women take it as a supplement.
The main benefit from B. infantis is to improve digestion and protect us against infection and sickness. It has also been shown to fight allergies and prevent kidney stones. It accomplishes all this by producing large amounts of acid to make our digestive tracts and vaginas inhospitable to pathogenic bacteria and parasites. (Jerkunica, 2015)

 

 

 

(Source: www.starrybrook.com)
(Source: www.starrybrook.com)

 

 

 

 

 

FERMENTED FOODS

(Source: http://www.sacfoodcoop.com)
(Source: http://www.sacfoodcoop.com)

 

NOTE:
If you’ve decided to add ready-made fermented foods like sauerkraut or pickles to your diet for their probiotic benefits, remember it’s only the truly fermented versions that are helpful. The ones made with vinegar, although they may say ‘pickled’ on their labels, aren’t actually fermented and don’t offer any probiotic or enzymatic benefits. Look for the fermented versions in the refrigerated areas in stores.
Fermented foods contain living cultures. Refrigeration slows down the fermentation process. The brine may be cloudy – full of lactic acid bacterial growth (the desirable probiotics) created during fermentation. The jar lids may be slightly swollen from the  ongoing fermentation process. Fermented pickles have a complex taste – they’re alive on your tongue. Pickles made with vinegar taste like vinegar.

 

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Years ago, when I was living in Cambridge, MA, my neighborhood grocery store was Savenor’s. Mrs Savenor kept a huge, wooden pickle barrel next to the checkout counter.  The top of the barrel was open. The brine was cloudy, sometimes scummy looking, and every once in a while the barrel emitted a big belch of gas. I thought the whole thing was unsanitary and never bought her pickles. Now I wish I’d known then what I’ve since learned about the benefits of that living culture.
Savenor’s was also where Julia Child shopped for her meats. The Childs lived in the neighborhood of beautiful big houses on the north side of Kirkland Street. I was in the neighborhood of old apartment buildings on the south side of Kirkland, where students and other people with little money lived.
Here’s a fond memoir about Mrs Savenor by one of her grandsons, Alan Savenor: How a Matriarch Ran Savenor’s. She was a character. Reputedly, she’d smuggled her young boys out of Lithuania by walking across the border with them under her voluminous, floor length skirt when the Nazis set about exterminating all the Jews there.

 

1165_Savenor_1

 

 

 

For those of you interested in improving your gut microbiomes and overall health by eating probiotic-rich foods, here’s a good article on Probiotics & Fermented Foods written by the Sacramento Natural Foods Coop.

 

 

(Source: fundrazr.com)
(Source: fundrazr.com)

 

 

 

YOUR BRAIN ON BUGS

This is what pioneering Integrative Health doc J. E. Williams, OMD, has to say about psychobiotics and how best to get them into your body:
“Microbiota, those microscopic bugs that live in your body—mainly in the gut—can influence brain chemistry and consequently behavior. We know that Clostridium difficile, the nasty gut hospital-based gut infection that kills 14,000 people each year in the U.S., is associated with depression and dementia. Two antidepressants, mirtazapine (Remeron) and fluoxetine (Prozac), are linked to a nearly 50 percent increased risk for Clostridium difficile infection.
“Doctors have long known that foods and changes in the gastrointestinal system are associated with mood changes. Does the pathway to happiness actually exist in your gut?

Sources of Psychobiotics

“Probiotics come in a variety of forms, from powders and capsules to foods such as yogurt, dairy drinks, infant formulas, cheese, and even some energy snack bars. Any of these forms may be effective for digestive problems as long as they contain the right kind of beneficial organisms in adequate numbers.
“In my clinical experience, I’ve found that supplements with live friendly bacteria in high dosages are more effective for treatment of depression, immune deficiency, and gastrointestinal problems then consuming yogurt or fermented vegetables alone.

Friendly Psychobiotics

  • Bacteriodies fragilis
  • Bifidobacterium infantis
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus helveticus
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Lactobacillus brevis

Brain-Immune-Gut Axis

“We’re finding that most diseases, including psychiatric illnesses, have inflammation as their root cause. Inflammation is associated with immune system imbalance and disruption of hormone activity. Probiotics may also influence how your genes work. Psychobiotics could target genes responsible influencing neurotransmitters like GABA that have a strong connection to mood and behavior.
“We know that “gluten brain” is a type of mental fog common in people with gluten sensitivity. People with gluten sensitivity feel better when eliminating wheat, but the benefit is limited. If you have tried the gluten-free diet and wonder what’s next, consider psychobiotics
“The autonomic nervous system links the brain and gut largely through the vagus nerve. More than 90 percent of the body’s serotonin, a feel good neurotransmitter, lies within the gut. In fact, your gut has a mind of its own and it’s called the enteric nervous system.
“Changes in diet have immediate effects on the bacterial composition in your gut. Antibiotics have disastrous effects on gut bacteria. Now we have good research and more than enough clinical evidence that specialized probiotic bacteria are essential for health, and also profoundly influence mood.
“So, it’s not surprising that when your gut is healthier, so is your brain and mood. Your immune system works better too, so you have fewer episodes of the cold and/or flu.”
– Williams, 2014

 

 

 

 

IS YOUR FATE IN YOUR GENES?: GENETICS VS EPIGENETICS

 

Time_DNA_Destiny_Cover

 

If there’s been mental illness – say depression, anxiety or panic disorder, OCD, autism, schizophrenia – in your family as far back as anyone can remember, you needn’t feel that you or your children are doomed. Genetics is the study of genes, heredity, and genetic variation in living organisms. Epigenetics is the study of factors that turn genes on and off and affect how cells read genes.
Your genetics account for only 25% of the chance you’ll develop a disease. The other 75% is environmental (both internal and external) and therefore largely up to you. So take very good care of your gut microbiome. Provide it with lots of good microbes (probiotics and psychobiotics) to keep a good balance in there and avoid the bad ones (bacterial pathogens and other toxins) as much as possible.
This is also true of genetic predispositions for heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer,  and pretty much every other illness. You are not a prisoner of your genes. Probiotics influence activity in our genes, allowing them to express their contents in a positive, disease-fighting manner.
Research has shown that probiotic bacteria produce positive changes in the mucosal lining of the small intestines which affect gene activity and cellular reactions.

“Consumption of a dairy drink containing three strains of probiotic bacteria was associated with changes in the activity of hundreds of genes, with the changes resembling the effects of certain medicines in the human body, including medicines that positively influence the immune system and those for lowering blood pressure.”

– Mercola, 2010

 

 

 

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STAY TUNED! There’s lots of good research being done now on the relationship between probiotics in the gut,  mood – and pretty much every other working of the body.

 

 

 

(Source: www.medscape.com)
(Source: www.medscape.com)

 

 

Many thanks to both Liz Poirier and Alex Tatusian for pointing me to the New York Times Magazine article by Peter Andrey Smith, which prompted this post: Can the Bacteria in Your Gut Explain Your Mood?  It’s very good and I recommend reading it.

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Berglund, C. (2013).  Cortisol: Why “The Stress Hormone” Is Public Enemy No. 1: 5 simple ways to lower your cortisol levels without drugs. See: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201301/cortisol-why-the-stress-hormone-is-public-enemy-no-1

Davidson, J. (2014). Nature’s Bounty: The Psychobiotic Revolution. Psychology Today. See: https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201404/natures-bounty-the-psychobiotic-revolution

Dinan, T.G., Stanton, C., Cryan, J.F. (2013). Psychobiotics: A Novel Class of Psychotropic. Biological Psychiatry: A Journal of Psychiatric Neuroscience and Therapeutics. See: http://www.biologicalpsychiatryjournal.com/article/S0006-3223(13)00408-3/abstract

Hsiao, E.Y. et al. (2013). Microbiota modulate behavioral and physiological abnormalities associated with neurodevelopmental disorders. Cell, 155:7, 1451-63. See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24315484

Jerkunica, E. (2015). Facts About B. Infantis Probiotic Strain. See: http://probiotics.org/9-health-benefits-of-bifidobacterium-infantis/

Mercola, R. (2010). The Healing Power of Probiotics Impresses Researchers. See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/10/11/probiotics-healing-power-impresses-researchers.aspx

Mercola, R. (2011). Hike Up Your Happy Hormones With Probiotic Supplements. See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/22/this-supplement-can-actually-make-you-happy.aspx

Messaoudi, M. et al. (2011). Assessment of psychotropic-like properties of a probiotic formulation (Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175) in rats and human subjects. British Journal of Nutrition, 105:5, 755-64. See

Nootriment. (2015). Bifidobacterium Infantis Probiotic Supplements Review. See: http://nootriment.com/bifidobacterium-infantis/

Panyko, J. (2015). Lactobacillus rhamnosus: Probiotic Bacteria with Impressive Health Benefits. See: http://www.powerofprobiotics.com/Lactobacillus-rhamnosus.html

Rao, A.V. et al. (2009). A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of a probiotic in emotional symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. Gut Pathogens, 1:6. See: http://www.gutpathogens.com/content/1/1/6

Sacramento Natural Foods Coop. (undated). Probiotics & Fermented Foods. See: http://www.sacfoodcoop.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=438%3Aprobiotics-a-fermented-foods&catid=59%3Aconsumer-guides&lang=us&Itemid=65

Saey, T. H. (2011). Belly bacteria boss the brain: Gut microbes can change neurochemistry and influence behavior. Science. News. See: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/belly-bacteria-boss-brain

Savenor, A. (2013). How a Matriarch Ran Savenor’s. See: http://www.theeditorial.com/think/2013/12/10/how-a-matriarch-ran-savenors

Smith, P.A. (6/28/2015). Can the Bacteria in Your Gut Explain Your Mood? New York Times Magazine. See: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/28/magazine/can-the-bacteria-in-your-gut-explain-your-mood.html?_r=1

Wikipedia. (6/23/2015). gamma-Aminobutyric acid. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma-Aminobutyric_acid

Williams, J.E. (2014). YOUR BRAIN ON BUGS—WILL BACTERIA BE THE NEXT TREATMENT FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION? See: http://renegadehealth.com/blog/2014/02/28/your-brain-on-bugs-will-bacteria-be-the-next-treatment-for-anxiety-and-depression

 

 

 

© Copyright 2015 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

BIMUNO – PREbiotics for Anxiety, OCD, Depression & Overall Health

 

 

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I was looking for a non-pharmaceutical way to help my anxious and OCD patients so asked my supplements guru, David Miller, MD at LifeThyme (a health food store in NYC). He sent information about a new PREbiotic supplement that’s been demonstrated to be helpful for anxiety and OCD thinking – and the entire immune system located in the gut microbiome. It’s called Bimuno®. (Miller, 2015)
Bimuno® isn’t readily available yet in the US but can be ordered from the company’s website in England. Research on it and the information on the company’s site are very interesting.
It comes as sachets of tasteless powder to sprinkle over food or add to drinks and also as soft chewable pastilles. I just ordered some (the pastilles) to try myself – especially to use during travels outside the country, which often lead to upsets in my gut microbiome.
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Bimuno® is a new PREbiotic product that feeds the good, PRObiotic bacteria living in our guts (such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria) to the detriment of the bad bacteria (pathogens). As the good bacteria multiply, they flush out the bad bacteria.
WHAT COULD BE BETTER!?

 

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DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PRE- AND PRO-BIOTICS

 

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PREBIOTICS are specialized plant fibers containing complex sugars (such as inulin,  fructo-ogliosaccharides and galacto-oligosaccharides) that are indigestible by humans but promote the growth of beneficial bacteria (PROBIOTICS) living in our gut microbiomes by serving as food for them.
PROBIOTICS are helpful, live bacteria and yeasts our bodies need to function and maintain good health. They are found in fermented foods such as kefir, live-culture yogurt, real sauerkraut and pickles (not ones made with vinegar), kimchi, kombucha and other naturally fermented foods. If our gut flora has already become seriously out of balance, we can also benefit from taking high quality probiotics as supplements to populate the necessary array of friendly bacteria in our gut microbiomes. There are hundreds of probiotic species living in the human gut – some that are known to be ancient life forms and many that scientists haven’t even been able to identify yet.
Sometimes PREBIOTICS and PROBIOTICS are combined in the same supplements, called SYNBIOTICS.
See my earlier posts Prebiotics and Probiotics and  PREbiotics and PREbiotics for more information.

 

 

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SCIENTIFIC BASIS FOR THIS PREBIOTIC PRODUCT’S EFFICACY

From the Bimuno® website:

Scientific studies have demonstrated that Bimuno can significantly increase levels of Bifidobacteria (good bacteria) in the gut.1

Bimuno is the only second generation Galacto-oligosaccharide prebiotic available. It is a truly unique prebiotic with a powerful Bifidogenic effect.

3D Model of the patented prebiotic galacto-oligosaccharide

Bimuno’s unique galacto-oligosaccharide structure

It selectively boosts Bifidobacteria which play a key role in immune function and maintaining and building a healthy digestive system.

Bimuno is the result of many years of intensive research by a team of international digestive health experts and the University of Reading.

A number of clinical trials have been published and there is an ongoing research and development program into Bimuno across a number of health areas including:

  • The Immune system
  • Various aspects of digestive Health
  • Digestive health while abroad
  • Various aspects of human metabolism

Reference: 1. Am J Clin Nutr 2008; 87 :785-91

 

Bimuno® original powder is the natural way to increase and energise your good gut bacteria helping you to manage your gut health.  Bimuno works in a similar way to prebiotics naturally found in human breast milk which promote a healthy bacterial balance within the gut.

Scientific studies indicate that the unique second generation Galacto-oligosaccharide formulation of Bimuno powder, can help to encourage and sustain a healthy level of your friendly gut bacteria(Bifidobacteria). In fact Bimuno has the most potent bifidogenic (Bifidobacteria promoting) effect of any available prebiotic.

Published scientific studies have shown that, with daily use, the majority of Bimuno users experience a significant increase in their gut Bifidobacterium within just 7 days.

This in itself is impressive but by a unique anti-adhesive action it also helps flush ‘bad’ bacteria from your gut at the same time for a healthy microflora balance.

Give your digestive system a healthy boost

Bimuno powder:

  • Increases your Bifidobacteria levels, helping to maintain a healthy intestinal balance.
  • Reduces gas producing bacteria
  • Reduces bad bacteria levels
  • Energises your friendly gut bacteria
  • By maintaining a healthy digestive balance you can support overall well-being

 

 

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GUT DYSBIOSIS AND ANXIETY

Christian John Lillis, of the Peggy Lillis Foundation, reports noticing an uptick in the number of people on Clostridium difficile Facebook groups who mention that they’re also struggling with anxiety. (Lillis, 2015)
This overlap between C. diff (a serious bacterial infection of the colon) and anxiety isn’t at all surprising. An out of balance (dysbiotic) gut microbiome produces a wide variety of symptoms – including anxiety, depression, and OCD.

 

http://www.peggyfoundation.org/
http://www.peggyfoundation.org/

 

 

Animal studies have previously shown a link between mood and brain function and probiotics in the gut microbiota. Ingestion of Lactobacillus rhamnosus (a strain of PRObiotic) has been demonstrated to modulate information processing strongly linked to anxiety and depression and to improve the neuro-endocrine stress response in lab animals – in plain English, this probiotic turned anxious, fearful mice into mellow ones.
Now new research on healthy human adults conducted by a group of neurobiologists at Oxford University demonstrated that supplementation with PREbiotics (Bimuno® galacto-oligosaccharides, B-GOS) lowered the subjects’ neuro-endocrine stress responses and increased their ability to  process positive versus negative attentional vigilance. In other words, PREbiotic supplementation with Bimuno REDUCED THEIR ANXIETY LEVELS AND OCD THINKING.
The researchers assessed how subjects processed emotional information, such as positively and negatively charged words, after they’d been taking the prebiotic supplement. Results showed that the supplemented group paid less attention to negative information and more attention to positive information than either a group given another type of prebiotic (fructooligosaccharides, FOS) or a group given a placebo. The people who had taken Bimuno® also had lower levels of cortisol (a stress hormone linked with anxiety and depression) in their morning saliva.
A similar effect has been observed in people taking anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pharmaceutical medication. (Schmidt et al, 2014) (Gregoire, 2015)
This is very good news for people suffering from anxiety and OCD. Taking a prebiotic supplement may relieve their life-impinging symptoms while also improving their overall physical health – without the adverse effects of pharmaceuticals.

 

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BIMUNO‘S INGREDIENTS

Information listed on the box of Bimuno powder sachets:
  • Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS)
  • Lactose (from milk)
  • Glucose syrup
  • Thickener (gum arabic)
  • Galactose
  • Acidity regulator (trisodium citrate)
  • Free from artificial colors, flavours and preservatives
  • Gluten-free
  • 16 Cal/sachet
The galacto-oligosaccharides in Bimuno® are a mixture of disaccharides, trisaccharides, a tetrasaccharide and a pentasaccharide.

 

 

 

 

THE BIMUNO WEBSITE

I recommend checking out the Bimuno website. The pull down menus are chock full of useful and fascinating information about digestive and whole body health, prebiotics/ probiotics and the immune system.
See the information under:
  • Maintain your digestive health
  • Digestive problems & solutions
  • Support your immune defences
  • Digestive health for traveling

 

 

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REFERENCES

Bimuno. (2015). Bimuno’s website. See: http://www.bimuno.com/

Depeint, F. et al. (2008). Prebiotic evaluation of a novel galactooligosaccharide mixture produced by the enzymatic activity ofBifidobacterium bifidum NCIMB 41171, in healthy humans: a randomized, double-blind, crossover, placebo-controlled intervention study. See: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/87/3/785.full

Gregoire, C. (2015). The Surprising Link Between Gut Bacteria And Anxiety. The Huffington Post. See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/04/gut-bacteria-mental-healt_n_6391014.html

Hardin, J.R. (2013). Probiotics and Probiotics. AllergiesAndYourGut.com. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/superimmunity/prebiotics-and-probiotics/

Hardin, J.R. (2014). PREbiotics and PRObiotics. AllergiesAndYourGut.com. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/?s=prebiotics

Lillis, J.C. (2015). Private communication.

Miller, D. (2015). Private communication.

Schmidt, K. (2014). Prebiotic intake reduces the waking cortisol response and alters emotional bias in healthy volunteers. See: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00213-014-3810-0

Vulevic, J. et al. (2008). Modulation of the fecal microflora profile and immune function by a novel trans-galactooligosaccharide mixture (B-GOS) in healthy elderly volunteers. See: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/88/5/1438.short

 

 

© Copyright 2015 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.