Tag Archives: “Friends with Benefits”

OUR MICROBIOMES: An Exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History + The Micropia Museum

 

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These ‘friends with benefits’ I’m referring to are the several  pounds of friendly bacteria and other micro-organisms that live in and on us and make us who we are. We couldn’t function without them.
If you’re at all curious about what’s going on inside and on your body – especially all the recent talk about microbiomes, this exhibit in New York City and a museum in Amsterdam are for you.

 

THE SECRET WORLD INSIDE YOU – AT THE AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

 

(www.amnh.org)
(www.amnh.org)
The American Museum of Natural History in New York City currently has an interesting show called The Secret World Inside You (11/7/2015 – 8/14/2016). It’s well done and I recommend visiting the museum to see it if you possibly can. It’s suitable for everyone – young children to adults.
The show, much of it interactive, explores the rapidly evolving knowledge about how our human bodies interact with the approximately 100 trillion bacteria living in and on us—our various microbiomes. New scientific discoveries are offering perspectives on how our microbes interact with our bodies (and each other) to regulate a wide range of health matters – including acne, allergies, asthma, autoimmune diseases, brain evolution and development, cancer, cardiovascular health, diabetes, digestion, gut health, ‘leaky gut’, mood, obesity, oral health, ‘psychobiotics’ … and much more.

 

 

Here’s information on the show and how to reserve tickets, on the AMNH’s website.

 

 

MICROPIA MUSEUM IN AMSTERDAM

 

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If you happen to be in Amsterdam and want to learn more about microbes, you’re in for a treat: the innovative Micropia Museum. If you can’t get there, you can still watch some of their interesting videos.
The Micropia is dedicated to the imperceptible world of microorganisms.

 

(Source: www.biofabricate.com)
(Source: www.biofabricate.com)
Meet Your Companions
“We are all constantly surrounded by – even covered in – microorganisms such as bacteria. But while many people harbour negative associations with the word ‘bacteria’, most of them are actually good for us, helping us, for example, to protect our body against outside influences. Microbes are the world’s smallest, yet most powerful organisms. At the innovative new Micropia museum, you can get acquainted with these invisible organisms. If you look at this world really closely, a new one opens up.” (Micropia, 2016)
The Micropia Museum is part of Natura Artis Magistra, a zoo in central Amsterdam, and is recommended for ages 8 and upwards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s Micropia’s website for more information.
Many thanks to Paul Toledano for bringing the Micropia Museum to my attention.

 

 

(Source: fr.pinterest.com)
(Source: fr.pinterest.com)

 

 

 

REFERENCES

American Museum of Natural History. (11/7/2015 – 8/14/2016). The Secret World Inside You (11/7/2015 – 8/14/2016). See: http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/the-secret-world-inside-you

Micropia Museum. (2016). See: http://www.micropia.nl/en/ and http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/visiting/what-to-do/museums-and-galleries/museums/micropia

 

 

 

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

 

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

IntestiNEW to Strengthen Your Digestive Lining

Updated 3/9/2016.

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Our gut microbiomes, the several pounds of micro-organisms living inside our intestines and often referred to as Our Friends with Benefits,  affect pretty much every aspect of  our health – keeping us well or making us sick.

 

(Source: www.goodgirlgogogo.com)
(Source: www.goodgirlgogogo.com)
I wrote about INCREASED GUT PERMEABILITY – CAUSES & CONSEQUENCES in a 10 May 2015 post. Here’s part of that article as background for appreciating the value of a supplement called IntestiNEW that strengthens the intestine’s mucosal lining, where our gut microbiomes reside:

 

 

DIGESTION – FROM MOUTH TO ANUS

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The human digestive tract runs from the mouth at the top to the anus at the other end. Foreign matter (food) is taken in and partially broken down by chewing in the mouth. It then travels down through the esophagus to the stomach and from there into the small and large intestines, where it is selectively digested. During this trip, various phases of digestion take place  and nutrients are extracted and absorbed. The liver, gall bladder and pancreas, organs that aid in the digestive process, are located along the length of the GI tract.
The total length of the GI tract varies from person to person. In an adult male the range is 20 to 40 feet. On average, the small intestine in adults is 22 feet long and the large intestine is 5 feet.
As you can intuit, a lot could go wrong during that long trip – and much of that depends on the quality of what you deliver to your mouth as ‘food’.
(Source: sanjosefuncmed.com)
(Source: sanjosefuncmed.com)

 

You can see the location of the mucosal layer (called ‘mucous coat’ in the diagram below) and the intestinal villi in this cross section of the human small intestine. The empty space in the center, just below the villi (the spikes you see in the image of a healthy mucosal membrane in the image to the left above),  is called the lumen, the tube in which food travels through the intestines.

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(Source: MyHumanBody.ca)

 

 

 

INCREASED GUT PERMEABILITY – AKA LEAKY GUT

(Source: scdlifestyle.com)
(Source: scdlifestyle.com)
Increased gut permeability – also known as hyper-permeable intestines or “leaky gut” – describes the intestinal lining’s having become more porous than it should be so the process of what is allowed out into the body no longer functions properly.  Larger, undigested food molecules and other bad things (such as yeasts, toxins, and other forms of waste  that normally would continue on and get excreted through the anus) flow freely through these too-large holes in the intestinal lining and enter the bloodstream, where they don’t belong and are treated as dangerous invaders.
The  gut’s mucosal layer is thin, delicate – and very important. This is where our probiotic bacteria live, so degrading it also degrades the strength of our immune systems. The probiotics residing in the gut mucosal layer make up 70-90% of the human immune system.
Damage to the gut’s mucosal layer leads to a whole range of serious problems as the body tries to cope with the invaders being released into the bloodstream. Once this lining has become disturbed, allowing problematic things to flow through it into the blood stream, a cycle of chronic irritation begins, leading to chronic inflammation in the body and a whole series of autoimmune conditions.
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It is well-known that the composition of the gut lining and its microbiota changes during animal development and can be influenced by environmental factors such as diet, lifestyle, and habitat. (Barker, 2013), (Conlon, 2014) & (Renew Life, undated)
So you can see the importance of keeping your gut lining, where those critters live, in good shape.

 

 

REGENERATION OF THE GUT LINING

 

(Source: www.stemcell.com)
(Source: www.stemcell.com)
The thin lining of our intestines is semi-permeable: a healthy lining membrane  allows nutrients to pass from the intestines into the bloodstream and prevents toxins, pathogens, and undigested food from exiting the digestive tract too early. When the lining becomes chronically damaged, allowing toxins, pathogens, and undigested food to  enter the bloodstream, chronic inflammation occurs in the body and many negative, autoimmune health conditions may ensue. (Renew Life, undated)
See AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES: How they develop and how to put them in remission (Hardin, 2014) for more information.
A healthy intestinal lining serves many functions, most critical among them:
  • Continuing the digestive processing of food after it leaves  the stomach
  • Absorbing nutrients from this partially digested food
  • Preventing harmful bacteria and undigested food particles from entering the bloodstream
Like our skin, the delicate mucosal lining of our small and large intestines sloughs off a layer of cells every 3-5 days and produces new cells to maintain its semi-permeable state. This process requires the amino acid L-Glutamine. (Renew Life, undated).
“Small populations of adult stem cells are responsible for the remarkable ability of the epithelial lining of the intestine to be efficiently renewed and repaired throughout life.” (Barker, 2013)
The human body’s GI tract is lined with mucosal tissues primarily comprised of epithelial cells attached to the underlying membrane. Tiny, finger-like projections called villi protrude from the intestinal walls and greatly increase their absorptive and surface areas.
“Digested nutrients (including sugars and amino acids) pass into the villi through diffusion. Circulating blood then carries these nutrients away.  Unlike the mucosal tissue of the inner surface of the eyelids or the mouth, the epithelial cells which line the inside of the stomach are exposed to much harsher conditions, e.g., acid (i.e., hydrochloric acid), sometimes alcohol, enzymes (e.g., pepsin) for digesting food and waste generated therefrom. Mucous secretion essentially protects the cells on the inside of the stomach and duodenum from damage by acid or enzymes, for example by presenting bicarbonate to neutralize some of the effects of acid on the stomach’s inner lining, as well as inhibitors to block the enzymatic activity. Once the mucous secretions of the epithelial cells stop, the inner lining of the stomach or duodenum would eventually be eroded by the combined action of acid and enzymes, leading to ulcer.” (MEBO, 2009)

 

 

INTESTINEW

IntestiNew is a dietary supplement designed and produced by Renew Life to soothe the digestive system and benefit the health of the mucosal lining of the intestines. It is available as a powder or in capsules.
intestinew-1The capsule form contains L-glutamine, N-acetyl D-glucosamine, gamma oryzanol, cranesbill root, ginger root, marigold flower, marshmallow root, vegetable fiber, and water.

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The powder form contains the same ingredients with the exception of the vegetable fiber and water.

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The glucosamine, L-glutamine, and the herbs in IntestiNew soothe and support the integrity of the intestinal lining.  The gamma oryzanol, a natural extract of rice oat bran, delivers essential antioxidant benefits to the digestive system. (Holt, 2016)
Both forms of the supplement are gluten free and contain no artificial ingredients.
Women who are pregnant, nursing, or trying to conceive are advised to consult their physicians before taking IntestiNEW, as are people taking pharmaceutical medications or having a medical condition.  The supplements contain an ingredient derived from crustacean shells (shrimp, lobster, and/or crab) so aren’t suitable for people with a shellfish allergy.

 

Time-to-balance-your-gut-health.-Before-the-bad-bugs-have-a-party.jpg

Although I couldn’t find any scientific papers on IntestiNEW, it has been well reviewed by customers on Amazon, iHerb, The Vitamin Shoppe, Vitacost,  and National Nutrition. I second those reviews: Since I’ve been taking IntestiNEW, I’ve seen a big improvement in my digestive health. I started with a scoop (5.4 grams) stirred into an eight ounce glass of filtered water before breakfast and now take two capsules before each meal, with water)

 

Some of the many ways our gut bacteria affect our health:
(Source: www.huffingtonpost.com)
(Source: www.huffingtonpost.com)
My thanks to David Miller, MD, Supplements Specialist at Life Thyme Market in New York City, for recommending IntestiNew to me.

 

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REFERENCES

Barker, N. (2013). Adult intestinal stem cells: critical drivers of epithelial homeostasis and regeneration.  Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology 15:  19–33. See: http://www.nature.com/nrm/journal/v15/n1/full/nrm3721.html

Conlon, M.A. et al. (2015). The Impact of Diet and Lifestyle on Gut Microbiota and Human Health. Nutrients. 7(1): 17–44. See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4303825/

Hardin, J.R. (26 October 2014). AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES: How they develop and how to put them in remission. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/10/26/autoimmune-diseases-develop-put-remission/

Hardin, J.R. (10 May 2015). INCREASED GUT PERMEABILITY – CAUSES & CONSEQUENCES. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2015/05/10/increased-gut-permeability-causes-consequences/

Holt, L. (2016). IntestiNew Reviewed: Does IntestiNew Work? Daily Health Answers. See: https://www.dailyhealthanswers.com/intestinew-reviewed.html

MEBO. (2009). Regeneration of Gastro- Intestinal Tract. Human Body Regeneration Sciences. See: http://en.mebo.com/about/ShowInfo.asp?InfoID=1

Renew Life. (undated). INTESTINEW: Natural Ingredients Used Traditionally to Support a Healthy Intestinal Lining. See: http://www.renewlife.com/media/spec_sheets/SpecSheetRNLIntestiNew.pdf

 

 

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

 

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

 

uBiome – How to Get Your Microbiomes Sequenced


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Here’s an opportunity for people interested in understanding how the trillions of micro-organisms living in and on the human body contribute to their health – or lack thereof: uBiome, a Silicon Valley company, offers microbiome sequencing, allowing you to explore your body’s own unique microbiomes.

 

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Scientists now know that various microbes living inside and on the human body outnumber our human cells by 10:1. Like a rain forest, the healthy human microbiome needs to have  a balanced ecosystem in order to maintain good health – and the balance needs to be in the types and amounts of good microbes as well as between those good microbes and pathological ones.

 

Microbiome-genome-genes-10-times-cells-bacteria
Our symbiotic microbial populations perform essential functions – including digesting food, synthesizing vitamins, and regulating all the metabolic functions in the body. Studies have also linked the gut microbiome to gut health and healthy development.
A poor mix of microbes in the gut microbiome impairs the immune system, playing a role in the development and progression of autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, asthma, acne, other skin conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid imbalances, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, chronic Lyme Disease, fibromyalgia, and many more – including probably some cancers.
Gut microbial imbalances may also aggravate common obesity.
Certain microbes are known to modify the production of neurotransmitters in the brain so research is being done on how to use them to relieve depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other neuro-chemical imbalances.
2015_GutBacteriaA

 

See here for a list of and information about autoimmune diseases and here for information on the role of probiotic and pathological bacteria in oral health.

 

Male vs Female Microbiome Proportions

(Source: www.ubiomeblog.com)
(Source: www.uBiomeblog.com)

 

You can get a kit from uBiome to obtain samples from these microbiomes living on and in your body and have an informative report of the findings sent to you:
  • Gut
  • Mouth
  • Nose
  • Skin
  • Genitals

 

 

(Source: ubiome.com)
(Source: uBiome.com)

 

uBiome‘s SAMPLING KITS

uBiome offers three types of kits:
GUT KIT – $89 for a one-time purchase/ $71.20@ to subscribe for a kit to be delivered monthly:

From just your gut sample, you get a comprehensive picture of how your microbiome compares to other lifestyles. A starter kit for curious beginners.

GUT TIME LAPSE KIT – $199

Sample three times: before, during and after a diet or lifestyle change. uBiome’s most popular bundle allows you to submit multiple samples to see how your microbiome changes over time. This kit is a 25% discount off the normal Gut Kit, and allows you to use three time points for comparison.

FIVE SITE KIT – $399 for a one-time purchase/ $391.20@ to subscribe for a kit to be delivered monthly:

This kit lets you sample all five microbiomes – your gut, mouth, nose, genitals, and skin – to get a complete picture of the workings of your body.

To purchase kits.

OBTAINING SAMPLES

 

(Source:www.ubiomeblog.com)
(Source:www.ubiomeblog.com)
This is how easy it is to obtain the microbial samples to send to uBiome for sequencing:

Open the tube you want to sample and the follow the site-specific instructions below:

GUT

  • Swab your used toilet paper to collect a tiny amount of poop.
  • Note – this probably way less than you think you need – just enough to change the color of the swab.

MOUTH

  • Vigorously rub the swab across the inside of each cheek for 30 seconds.
  • Note – do not touch your teeth or gums to the swab.

SKIN

  • Wet the swab with the PCR water included in your kit. (Do not use regular water.)
  • Swab along the lower half of the crease behind your ear for 1 minute.
  • Note – pull your ear forward with one hand and pull your hair out of the way if necessary.

NOSE

  • Wet the swab with the PCR water included in your kit. (Do not use regular water.)
  • Swab around the inside of each nostril at the depth of the cotton on the swab for 30 seconds each.

MALE GENITALS

  • Wet the swab with the PCR water included in your kit. (Do not use regular water.)
  • Swab in a circular motion around the base of the head of the penis for one minute (where the head of the penis intersects the shaft).
  • Note – if your penis is uncircumcised, pull back your foreskin first.

FEMALE GENITALS

  • Wet the swab with the PCR water included in your kit. (Do not use regular water.)
  • Swab the area just inside the vaginal opening, to the depth of the cotton on the swab for one minute.
  • Note – spread your labia with one hand and use the other to swab.

3. STIR AND SHAKE

  • Put the used swab into the vial and stir it for 1 minute to transfer the bacteria.
  • Discard the swab in the trash.
  • Close the tube tightly and shake vigorously for 1 minute.

4. SEND

  • All of kits include a secure mailer, so that you can send your samples right back to us.
  • US kits come with prepaid postage. Just drop the envelope in the mail.

 

 

microbes+maketh+man

 

 

I highly recommend you take a look at uBiome’s website. It’s written in plain English, is user friendly, contains several interesting short videos and lots of information about our human microbiomes – plus you can order your sampling kits directly from the site.

 

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

 

For more information on those microscopic critters living in and on you – our important friends with benefits who keep us functioning properly – see these other posts:

WHAT’S IN THE HUMAN MICROBIOME

ROB KNIGHT’S TED TALK: HOW OUR MICROBES MAKE US WHO WE ARE

THE HUMAN MICROBIOME – TWO SHORT VIDEOS

YOUR MICROBIAL FINGERPRINTS

 

 

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REFERENCES

Hardin, J.R. (2014). See: AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES: How they develop and how to put them in remission.  http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/10/26/autoimmune-diseases-develop-put-remission/

Hardin, J.R. (2014). Oral Health and Overall Health. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/02/16/oral-health-overall-health/

Hardin, J.R. (2015). Rob Knight’s TED Talk: How Our Microbes Make Us Who We Are. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2015/05/02/rob-knights-ted-talk-how-our-microbes-makes-us-who-we-are/

Hardin, J.R. (2015). The Human Microbiome – Two Short Videos. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2015/04/18/the-human-microbiome-two-short-videos/

Hardin, J.R. (2015). What’s in the Human Microbiome. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2015/06/13/whats-in-the-human-microbiome/

Hardin, J.R. (2015). Your Microbial Fingerprints. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2015/05/07/your-microbial-fingerprints/

uBiome. (2015). See: http://ubiome.com/

 

 

© Copyright 2015 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

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