Tag Archives: Microbiome Sequencing

You Lost All That Weight & Now It’s Back – With a Vengeance


Source: unknown
Source: unknown


So distressing to find those pounds you laboriously managed to lose creeping back and bringing more of their unwanted friends along too. Here’s an explanation of why that happens and some hope from research on the gut microbiome.
It turns out that being obese alters the composition of micro-organisms residing in the gut microbiome, causing them to subvert any effort we make to keep lost weight off.  In fact, just the opposite happens: After living in an overweight body, our gut microbes ENCOURAGE the body to regain the lost weight by storing more calories as fat – perhaps an evolutionary mechanism to help us survive in times of famine. About 95% of us who lose up to a tenth of our body weight gain it back within 12 months – along with some additional pounds. (Healy, 2016)
New research at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel demonstrated that the composition of the gut microbiome has a great influence on post-dieting weight regain. The research was done with mice but has clear implications for humans.
After the mice in the study gained and then lost weight, all their body systems fully returned to normal – except their gut microbiomes, which retained an abnormal ‘obese’ microbiome for about six months after they lost the weight.
Source: Healthhabits
Source: Healthhabits

In a series of experiments for the study, the researchers essentially created a yo-yo dieting situation for their mouse subjects by cycling them between diets of high-calorie feed, which made them obese, and healthy feed, on which they lost the weight in a month or so. But, when the mice were again fed the high-calorie feed, they often gained even more weight than they had before.
These yo-yo dieting mice also became less healthy than mice who had been overweight only once. The serial dieters had proportionately more body fat, higher cholesterol profiles, and more serious metabolic problems, such as insulin irregularities and glucose intolerance.
So what accounted for this extra weight gain and descent into poor metabolic health?
Even though it took a little over a month for a mouse to lose the weight it had gained on the high-calorie diet, it took another six months for the composition of its gut microbiome to return to its normal, pre-obesity state.
For about six months after losing weight, post-obese mice retained an abnormal “obese” microbiome.
Then, in another series of experiments, the scientists demonstrated that the gut microbiomes of obese mice became less able to utilize a class of important phytonutrients in their diet: flavonoids, the pigments that give plants their bright colors.



Source: doctorscotthealth.com
Source: doctorscotthealth.com
A flavonoid deficiency has a deleterious effect on the body’s energy-burning system: It creates brown fat, which converts calories to energy more efficiently. So a higher proportion of brown fat causes the body to uses up incoming calories more sparingly, storing what’s left over as more fat.
To counteract this deficit, the researchers fed some of the mice a daily flavonoid supplement in their drinking water during the post-dieting window, before their gut microbiomes returned to normal.
This worked! Compared with the yo-yo dieters who didn’t get the supplements, those who received the daily flavonoids burned up more calories when they were put back on a high-fat diet and regained less weight.
“We call this approach ‘post-biotic’ intervention. In contrast to probiotics, which introduce helpful microbes into the intestines, we are not introducing the microbes themselves but substances affected by the microbiome, which might prove to be more safe and effective.” (Weizmann, 2016)


Some tasty sources of flavonoids

Source: Mother Nature Network
Source: Mother Nature Network




The article doesn’t identify the specific flavonoids these researchers used to protect the mice against post-dieting weight regain. Over 6,000 flavonoids have already been identified – one of the largest nutrient families known to science.
The large family of flavonoids provides us – and apparently mice – with many health benefits, including:
  • Antioxidant properties
  • Antiviral properties
  • Anti-allergic properties
  • Inhibiting the destruction of collagen by white blood cells
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Cardiovascular system support
  • Antibiotic activity
  • Nervous system support
  • Anti-carcinogenic properties
  • Help protect blood vessels from rupture and leakage
  • Enhancing the power of Vitamin C
  • Protecting cells from oxygen damage
  – George Mateljan Foundation (2016) & NDhealthFACTS (2014)
You’ve probably heard the advice to “Eat the colors of the rainbow every day”. In part, this is to urge us to get adequate amounts of the various flavonoids we need to support good health.



Source: Diary of an ExSloth
Source: Diary of an ExSloth


Signs of flavonoid deficiency:
  • Easy bruising
  • Frequent nose bleeds
  • Excessive swelling after injury
  • Frequent colds or infections


 – NDhealthFACTS (2014)








uBiome, a biotechnology company based in San Francisco and a leader in microbial genomics, gives individuals and organizations access to technology to sequence their microbiomes, particularly gut flora, at a reasonable cost. It is a pioneer in the new era of microbiome-based precision medicine.
Take a look at the uBiome site for more information about who they are and the services they offer.
If you’d like to discover the make up of your own gut microbiome, you can get it sequenced by uBiome for $89.
If you want to discover even more about the microbes co-existing with you in and on your body, you can get five of your body’s important microbiomes sequenced: gut, mouth, nose, skin, and genital. uBiome is currently offering test kits for all five areas at the sale price of $89 instead of the usual $399.
Go to ubiome.com/explorer. Enter discount code 5FOR1BF16 at checkout to take advantage of the special 5-in-1 deal.
The results you’ll get from these tests will show how your microbiomes compare with the world’s largest human microbiome database.



To get even more detailed results that you and your doctor can use to identify specific pathogens and microbial imbalances in your gut that might be making you unwell, Ubiome also offers a SmartGut™ comprehensive screening test.
The SmartGut™ screening test can detect the micro-organisms associated with several common gut symptoms, including:
  • Abdominal pain/tenderness
  • Constipation
  • Crohn’s disease/Ulcerative Colitis
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Irritable bowel disease (IBD)
You can also sign up to receive an interesting and often amusing newsletter from Jessica Richman, one of uBiome’s co-founders, about every two weeks.

Many thanks to Zell Watson for bringing the Weizmann Institute article to my attention.


Healy, M. (11/24/2016). Why yo-yo dieters often can’t keep the weight off. Los Angeles Times. See: http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-microbiome-diet-success-20161124-story.html

George Mateljan Foundation. (2016). Flavinoids. The World’s Healthiest Foods. See: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=119

NDhealthFACTS. (2014). Flavonoids. See: http://www.ndhealthfacts.org/wiki/Flavonoids

uBiome. (2016). See: https://ubiome.com/

Weizmann Institute of Science. (11/24/2016). Gut microbes contribute to recurrent “Yo-Yo” obesity: New research in mice may in the future help dieters keep the weight off. See:  http://wis-wander.weizmann.ac.il/life-sciences/gut-microbes-contribute-recurrent-%E2%80%9Cyo-yo%E2%80%9D-obesity


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


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

Microbial Information for Valentine’s Day – from uBiome


Artist’s Rendition of the Skin Microbiome – Part of Our Second Genome

(Credit: genome.duke.edu)
(Credit: genome.duke.edu)
This interesting TOP 10 LIST OF MICROBIAL FACTS is from Alexandra Carmichael, Director of Community, Product, and Growth at uBiome – just in time for Valentine’s Day.
(Source: uBiome)
(Source: uBiome)

1. Kissing partners have more bacteria in common on the backs of their tongues than unrelated individuals, but since the similarities aren’t correlated either with kissing technique, nor with how often those involved indulge in a spot of tonsil hockey, we may be unconsciously attracted to partners who have oral microbiomes which match our own.

2. But mating may not be always involve similarity. In 1995 scientists conducted a “sweaty T-shirt experiment”, by getting males to wear T-shirts, then persuading women to sniff them (the shirts, not the guys) the next day in a kind of blind – if somewhat whiffy – test. The shirts’ odors were largely caused by masculine bacteria. The Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) is a sophisticated system involved in immune response. Females classified those as most pleasant which came from men whose MHC differed from their own, suggesting that females might be attracted to someone who can give their potential offspring improved immunity, on the basis that two divergent MHC profiles are better than one.

3. Should you share a nice chilled goblet of sparkling wine with your true love this weekend, Spanish researchers believe that bacteria which grew during the wine’s secondary fermentation (yeast and sugar were added just before bottling to create its fizz) affect the size and persistency of the bubbles in your glass. Hic.

4. Dutch researchers persuaded heterosexual partners to share an intimate kiss (presumably not too big an ask), then invited the females to drink a probiotic yogurt drink, and to lock lips and tongues with their paramours for a second time. This passionate procedure helped the scientists estimate the number of bacteria transferred in a 10 second kiss. About 80 million was their conclusion.

5. Certain bacteria in the stomach have been shown to love chocolate almost as much as their human host. Research presented at a 2014 American Chemical Society meeting showed that gut microbes can break down chocolate components into molecules that may reduce stress in the blood vessels.

6. While many women may be aware of their vaginal microbiome, I suspect fewer men might know about the seminal microbiome. Yup, all healthy males have some low level of bacteria in their semen and that’s fine apparently. However a 2008 Italian study suggested that higher levels might play a part in infertility.

7. Cut flowers, frequently given as Valentine’s gifts, will last longer if the water in their vase isn’t allowed to become bacteria-ridden. That’s what causes the unpleasant furry stuff you sometimes find on flower stems in water. One solution? Apparently a few drops of vodka added to the vase, along with a teaspoon of sugar, can do the trick. It creates an antibacterial effect. Change the water, and add more vodka and sugar every other day.

8. Mark O. Martin, an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Tacoma, Washington, made a Valentine’s Day card for his wife Jennifer by painting a message on a Petri dish using bioluminescent marine bacteria. His words of love glowed in the dark. Beat that Hallmark.

9. In a study of shared oral microbiomes, couples with the most similar salivary microbes were those who kissed at least nine times a day. Bad news for Brits after a survey showed that 20% of UK couples kiss just once a week.

10. Since researchers thought it would be invasive (not to mention rather icky) to take regular stool samples from intimate partners, they instead studied baboons in Kenya. Their 2015 findings revealed that the primates who groomed each other most frequently ended up with the most similar microbiomes, leading them to hypothesise that the more humans hug and hold hands, the more bacteria they’ll have in common.

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at uBiome.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
If you love your bacteria,
They, too, will love you.

Alexandra Carmichael
Director of Community, Product, and Growth


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


Here’s uBiome’s site, where you can learn more about them and order kits to have one or more of your body’s microbiomes sequenced: your gut, mouth, nose, genitals, and skin.
Alexandra’s post includes a coupon for 30% off the price of any kit: LOVE30



(Source: uBiome.com)
(Source: uBiome.com)
She also included a list of further readings in case you want more information on any of these microbial facts:

Bacteria contribute to bubble size and persistence in sparkling wine

Complementary seminovaginal microbiome in couples

Do bacterial infections cause reduced ejaculate quality? A meta-analysis of antibiotic treatment of male infertility

Does kissing aid human bonding by semiochemical addiction?

Shaping the oral microbiota through intimate kissing

Examining the possible functions of kissing in romantic relationships

Gut microbes make dark chocolate healthy

How our microbes can influence who we’re attracted to

How to Make Flowers Last Longer

How Your Social Life Changes Your Microbiome

I love you. Actually, I love your microbiome.

MHC-Dependent Mate Preferences in Humans

Is Mate Choice in Humans MHC-Dependent?

Shaping the oral microbiota through intimate kissing

Social networks predict gut microbiome composition in wild baboons

The major histocompatibility complex and its functions

The precise reason for the health benefits of dark chocolate

The presence of bacteria species in semen and sperm quality

Flower Handlers: Sanitation is Crucial

What Are the Common Causes of Bacteria in Semen?

What’s In His Kiss? 80 Million Bacteria




(Source: www.cafepress.com)
(Source: www.cafepress.com)



Here’s an earlier post I wrote on uBiome and microbiome sequencing: uBiome – How to Get Your Microbiomes Sequenced.



The Human Ecosystem: We’re Connected to the Environment Through the Trillions of Microbes That Live in and on Us

(Source: darwinian-medicine.com)
(Source: darwinian-medicine.com)


Hardin, J.R. (2015). uBiome – How to Get Your Microbiomes Sequenced. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2015/12/19/how-to-get-your-microbiomes-sequenced/

uBiome (2016). See http://ubiome.com/



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


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