Archives for posts with tag: Probiotic

By Dr. Mercola

Mounting research suggests that your microbiome—colonies of bacteria, viruses, and other microbes living in your gut—may be one of the preeminent factors determining your health and longevity.

Feeding health-promoting gut bacteria with a healthy diet, avoiding hospitals (which are hotbeds for drug-resistant bacteria), and boycotting processed foods and animal foods raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs)—both of which tend to have an adverse effect on your microbiome—may be keystone strategies for longevity.

Beneficial Microbes Prevent Disease

A number of studies have begun to identify specific species of bacteria that appear to have specialized functions and abilities to prevent disease.

For example, in one study, DNA analysis of diseased sections of intestine removed from patients suffering from Crohn’s disease revealed that one particular bacterium, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, was lower than normal.

While researchers have linked the presence of specific bacteria to various diseases, this finding suggests certain species may be actively involved in preventing certain disease states.

When Faecalibacterium prausnitzii was transferred into mice, it protected them against induced intestinal inflammation, suggesting this particular species may play an important anti-inflammatory role in the human microbiota. As reported by Scientific American:1

“Each of us harbors a teeming ecosystem of microbes that outnumbers the total number of cells in the human body by a factor of 10 to one and whose collective genome is at least 150 times larger than our own. 

In 2012 the National Institutes of Health completed the first phase of the Human Microbiome Project, a multimillion-dollar effort to catalogue and understand the microbes that inhabit our bodies. The microbiome varies dramatically from one individual to the next and can change quickly over time in a single individual… 

[A] burgeoning body of research suggests that the makeup of this complex microbial ecosystem is closely linked with our immune function. Some researchers now suspect that, aside from protecting us from infection, one of the immune system’s jobs is to cultivate, or ‘farm,’ the friendly microbes that we rely on to keep us healthy.” 

Specific Microbes with Health-Promoting Functions

One group of microbes that appear important for maintaining healthy immune function is the clostridial group of microbes—ironically enough, this group is related to Clostridium difficile, which can cause severe and life-threatening intestinal infections.

But whereas C. difficile prompts chronic inflammation, the clostridial clusters help maintain a healthy and well-functioning gut barrier, preventing inflammatory agents from entering your bloodstream.

The featured research suggests that while certain genetic factors can predispose you to inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s, it’s actually the loss of anti-inflammatory microbes that ultimately allow the disease to blossom. As noted by Scientific American:2

“[A]lthough… other good bacteria besides F. prausnitzii exist, this similarity hinted at a potential one-size-fits-all remedy for Crohn’s and possibly other inflammatory disorders: restoration of peacekeeping microbes… 

The tremendous microbial variation now evident among people has forced scientists to rethink how these communities work. Whereas a few years ago they imagined a core set of human-adapted microbes common to us all, they are now more likely to discuss core functions—specific jobs fulfilled by any number of microbes.”

Inflammatory bowel diseases are not the only health problems affected alterations in your microbiome. Other research has found that onset of type 1 diabetes (an autoimmune disease) in young children tends to be preceded by a change in gut bacteria.

Previous research has also found that certain microbes can help prevent type 1 diabetes, suggesting your gut flora may indeed be an epigenetic factor that plays a significant role in this condition.

Research also suggests there’s a connection between certain types of bacteria and body fat that produces a heightened inflammatory response that contributes to the metabolic dysfunction associated with type 2 diabetes.

In addition, preliminary research3  presented in 2010 revealed that transplanting fecal matter from healthy thin people into obese people with metabolic syndrome led to an improvement in insulin sensitivity, again suggesting that such conditions can be effectively addressed by correcting the microbial composition of your gut.

Antibiotic Overuse Has Fueled More Deadly Infections

Just as some bacteria help prevent disease, others promote it. One such bacterium is Clostridium difficile,4 the prevalence of which has steadily risen as a result of massive antibiotic overuse, especially in farm animals.

According to the latest statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), half a million Americans were infected with Clostridium difficile in 2011, and 29,000 of them died within a month of diagnosis.5,,7Besides the human death toll, fighting C. difficile costs hospitals a staggering $4.8 billion per year.8

Hospitals are the number one location where you’re apt to contract this type of infection, but the CDC also notes that many appear to have contracted it during visits to doctor’s and dental offices.9 Nursing homes are also hotbeds for this hard-to-treat infection. As reported by Reuters:10

“The study11 by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention focused on the Clostridium difficile bacterium, which can cause deadly diarrhea. The findings… highlight how overprescription of antibiotics has fueled a rise in bacteria that are resistant to treatment.

People who take antibiotics are most at risk of acquiring C. difficile because these medications also wipe out ‘good’ bacteria that protect a healthy person against the infection. 

‘Antibiotics are clearly driving this whole problem,’ Clifford McDonald, CDC senior advisor for science and integrity, said… One in every three infections occurred in patients 65 and older, the study found, with more than 100,000 C. difficile cases found in US nursing homes.”

Fecal Transplants Found Effective Against C. Difficile Infections

One novel treatment that has been shown to be quite effective against C. difficile infections is the fecal transplant.12 Fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) is a relatively simple procedure that involves taking feces from a healthy donor and transferring it to the patient during a colonoscopy.

The patient basically receives a transplanted population of healthy flora that can go to work correcting any number of gastrointestinal problems, including C. difficile infection.

According to Dr. Mark Mellow, medical director of the Digestive Health Center at Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City, fecal transplants lead to rapid resolution of symptoms in 98 percent of patients with Clostridium difficile who have not responded to other treatments.

While I believe fecal transplantation can be lifesaving in some circumstances, I want to make it clear that you will likely never have to resort to receiving donated feces if you address your gut health on a daily basis—by avoiding factors that kill off your beneficial gut bacteria, and continuously “reseeding” your gut through a healthy diet and regular use of fermented vegetables. Also, any time you take an antibiotic, it is important to take probiotics and/or fermented vegetables to repopulate the beneficial bacteria in your gut that are killed by the antibiotic, right along with the pathogenic bacteria. If you don’t, you’re leaving the door wide open for further health problems.

Beware of the Risks of Hospital-Acquired Infections

Hospitals are notorious hotbeds for drug-resistant disease, and hospital-acquired infections now affect one in 25 patients! Some of these infections are resistant to antibiotics, which is why avoiding hospitals, barring an acute, life-threatening condition, is good advice. You could enter with a minor ailment only to come out with one that is much worse…

In an effort to rein in some of these hospital-acquired drug-resistant infections, the US government is now finalizing new cleaning protocols for duodenoscopes13,14—camera-equipped flexible tubes that are threaded through your mouth, down your throat, through your stomach into the top of your small intestine. These reusable medical instruments have been implicated in a number of hospital-acquired drug-resistant outbreaks. In the latest outbreak, two of the seven patients affected died. The family members of one of them recently spoke out,15 chastising the hospital for not disclosing the risks of contracting such lethal infections upon admission.

According to Dr. John Allen, president of the American Gastroenterological Association:16 “This problem has been known since at least 1987. It certainly is disturbing that a fundamental design issue with these scopes would cause problems for this long.”

Factory Farming Is a Major Promoter of Antibiotic-Resistant Pathogens

While antibiotics are certainly overprescribed in medicine, the primary driver of deadly “superbugs” is actually factory farming. Animals raised in CAFOs are routinely given low doses of antibiotics to promote growth and prevent diseases resulting from the crowded and unsanitary conditions of these facilities. Eighty percent of all antibiotics sold in the US are fed to livestock, so eating CAFO-raised foods is likely to be the greatest source of antibiotics for many people.

Not only may this low-dose ingestion of antibiotics have an adverse effect on the composition of your microbiome, thereby affecting your health, about half of all meats sold in American grocery stores have also been found to harbor drug-resistant bacteria that can cause severe food-borne illness. This is one of the reasons why I recommend eating only organically-raised, grass-fed or pastured meats and other animal products, such as dairy and eggs, as organic standards do not permit non-medical use of antibiotics.

Processed Food Ingredients That Decimate Your Microbiome

Besides avoiding CAFO-raised animal food products, you’d also be wise to reconsider your consumption of processed foods of all kinds. Not only are processed foods very high in added sugars—high fructose corn syrup in particular—but recent research has also found that emulsifiers found in processed foods have a very detrimental effect on your microbiome. As reported by Time Magazine:17

“Ingredients such as polysorbate 80, lecithin, carrageenan, polyglycerols, and xanthan and other ‘gums,’ all of which keep ingredients—often oils and fats—from separating. They are also used to improve the texture and shelf-life of many foods found on supermarket shelves, from ice cream and baked goods, to salad dressings, veggie burgers, non-dairy milks, and hamburger patties. Now, a new study18… suggests these ingredients may also be contributing to the rising incidence of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease by interfering with microbes in the gastrointestinal tract.”

In this study, widely used food additives caused chronic colitis in mice with already abnormal immune systems. In mice with healthy immune function, they resulted in mild intestinal inflammation and subsequent metabolic dysfunction that led to obesity, hyperglycemia, and insulin resistance. Most notably, the emulsifiers were fed at levels that an average person would be exposed to if eating a lot of processed foods, suggesting these additives may indeed affect the health of many Americans.

Food additives such as these are all approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), again highlighting the severe limitation of our current regulatory system. A 2013 study19 published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology found that nearly 80 percent of the food additives approved by the FDA lack testing information that would help the agency estimate the amount people can safely consume before suffering health consequences…

Optimizing Your Gut Flora May Be One of Your Most Important Disease Prevention Strategies

Overusing antibiotics on humans and animals that do not need them has led to a pandemic of antibiotic-resistant disease, and both medical and agricultural uses are in dire need of serious revisions. Unfortunately, such changes are slow in the making, and I advise you not to wait for the food and medical industry to correct the problem. It seems quite clear that optimizing your gut flora may be one of the most important things you can do for your health, and here you can wield your personal power to the fullest, by making healthy food and medical choices.

Not only can optimizing your gut health help normalize your weight and ward off diabetes, it’s also a critical component for a well-functioning immune system, which is your primary defense against all sorts of disease—including infections. Reseeding your gut with beneficial bacteria is key for preventing pathogenic microbes and fungi from taking over and wreaking havoc with your health. To optimize your microbiome, keep the following recommendations in mind:

  • Eat plenty of fermented foodsTraditionally fermented and cultured foods are one of the best routes to optimal digestive health. Healthy choices include lassi, fermented grass-fed organic milk such as kefir, various pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash and carrots, and natto (fermented soy). Fermented vegetables, are an excellent way to supply beneficial bacteria back into our gut. And, unlike some other fermented foods, they tend to be palatable, if not downright delicious, to most people. As an added bonus, they can also a great source of vitamin K2 if you ferment your own using a starter culture that is optimized with bacterial strains that produce high levels of vitamin K2.
  • Take a probiotic supplement. Although I’m not a major proponent of taking many supplements (as I believe the majority of your nutrients need to come from food), probiotics is an exception if you don’t eat fermented foods on a regular basis.

In addition to knowing what to add to your diet and lifestyle, it’s equally important to know what to avoid, and these include:

Antibiotics, unless absolutely necessary (and when you do, make sure to reseed your gut with fermented foods and/or a probiotic supplement) Conventionally-raised meats and other animal products, as CAFO animals are routinely fed low-dose antibiotics, plus genetically engineered grains, which have also been implicated in the destruction of gut flora Processed foods. Excessive sugars, along with otherwise “dead” nutrients, feed pathogenic bacteria. Food emulsifiers such as polysorbate 80, lecithin, carrageenan, polyglycerols, and xanthan gum also appear to have an adverse effect on your gut flora.20

Unless 100% organic, they may also contain GMOs that tend to be heavily contaminated with pesticides such as glyphosate

Chlorinated and/or fluoridated water Antibacterial soap Agricultural chemicals, glyphosate(Roundup) in particular

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In her recent article she makes a very stark warning that by the year 2025, half of all American children could have autism. That’s an alarming increase over one decade.

She claims it all comes down to a chemical called glyphosate, commonly found in Monsanto’s herbicide, RoundUp. So what happens when a human comes in contact with that chemical?

http://www.anh-usa.org/half-of-all-ch…

http://www.biofortified.org/2015/01/m…
Read more at http://investmentwatchblog.com/mit-doctor-links-glyphosate-to-autism-spike-dr-stephanie-seneff/#IGHlPGpp22MtEPpq.99

Source: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/10/27/broccoli-sprouts-autism.aspx

  • Sulforaphane, found in high amounts in broccoli sprouts, can significantly improve your blood pressure and kidney function by normalizing a process called DNA methylation
  • Preliminary research suggests sulforaphane may also be of particular benefit for those with autism—improving verbal communication and decreasing repetitive behaviors
  • Broccoli has the ability to affect gene expression and promote detoxification of harmful environmental pollutants
  • Sulforaphane influences bacteria as well. Broccoli sprouts have been shown to inhibit Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria thought to cause gastric ulcers. H. pylori may also play a role in autism
  • Autistic children are known to have higher levels of environmental toxins in their system, as well as fewer health-promoting gut bacteria

Science has proven time after time that food is potent medicine.  Broccoli, for example, has a solid scientific foundation showing it’s one of the most valuable health-promoting foods around.

For example, a compound in broccoli, glucosinolateglucoraphanin, produces a metabolite called sulforaphane that can significantly improve your blood pressure and kidney function1 by normalizing a process called DNA methylation.

Interestingly, preliminary research suggests sulforaphane may also be of particular benefit for those with autism—improving verbal communication and decreasing repetitive behaviors.

Broccoli Compound May Improve Symptoms of Autism

While limited in scope, the study still shows that food is an important part of the treatment plan for autism, and can have a significant impact on behavior. A total of 44 boys and men diagnosed with autism were enrolled in the study.

Some received sulforaphane in capsule form, while the controls received a placebo. As reported by Time Magazine:2

“The compound was chosen because it can help trigger a heat-shock response, a series of biological events that protect cells from stress during fevers; some people with autism have been known to see improvement in regard to repetitive behaviors, for example, during fevers.

Around 80 percent of the participants had a history of experiencing the ‘fever effect.’”

Positive results were observed within as little as four weeks. Communication improved, as did symptoms of hyperactivity and irritability. By the end of the 18-week study, about 50 percent of those receiving sulforaphane experienced improved ability to interact socially.

About one-third of those treated did not have any noticeable results however, so more research needs to be done to ascertain how and why the compound works in certain cases. Still, considering the many health benefits of broccoli, there’s certainly no reason to avoid it.

On the contrary, I believe part of the reason for its beneficial effect on autistic symptoms may be related to its ability to affect gene expression, inhibit certain detrimental gut bacteria, and promote detoxification of harmful environmental pollutants.

All of these factors play a role in autism, and pretty much anything that will have a beneficial effect on them is likely to be useful to some degree.

Sulforaphane Benefits Gene Expression and Gut Health

Sulforaphane is an organic sulfur compound found in cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, horseradish, and arugula—but broccoli sprouts is the richest source.

Sulforaphane has been shown to have antimicrobial properties. It also kills cancer stem cells, which slows tumor growth. As noted earlier, it also normalizes DNA methylation, which plays a role in a number of diseases, including hypertension, kidney function,3 gut health,4 and cancer.

In simple terms, DNA methylation5 is the process by which a methyl group (one carbon atom attached to three hydrogen atoms) is added to part of a DNA molecule.

This is a crucial part of normal cell function as it allows cells to “remember who they are and where they have been.” DNA methylation also suppresses viral- and other disease-related gene expression.

Sulforaphane influences bacteria as well. For example, broccoli sprouts have been shown to inhibit Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria thought to cause gastric ulcers. Interestingly, H. pylori may also play a role in autism.

It is widely known that autistic children tend to suffer from gastrointestinal (GI) problems, with those experiencing the worst GI problems often having the most severe cases of autism.

In one study,6 researchers analyzed the gut microflora of 20 healthy and 20 autistic children using fecal samples, and found distinct differences between the two groups.

Specifically, those with autism had reduced levels of Prevotella, Coprococcus,and Veillonellaceae, compared to healthy children. These belong to groups of carbohydrate-degrading and/or fermenting microbes, and may be critical for healthy interactions between microbes in the gut.

The presentation below discusses the links between H. pylori and autism and language delays, noting that H. pylori can instigate leaky gut and influences genes associated with the speech disorder apraxia7 that affects many autistic children.

Other Health Benefits of Broccoli

Other research has shown that broccoli can be helpful in the prevention of:

  • Heart disease
  • UV radiation damage to your skin when applied topically8
  • Osteoarthritis9101112
  • Allergies13
  • Diabetes14

The sulforaphane from broccoli plays a role in activating more than 200 different genes, which accounts for its varied effects. Fortunately, you don’t have to consume vast volumes of broccoli to reap its benefits. In one study,15 just four servings of broccoli—about 10 broccoli spears—per week was found to protect men from prostate cancer.

Broccoli Sprouts Combat Exposure to Environmental Pollutants

Another major benefit of broccoli sprouts relates to its ability to detox pollutants, as demonstrated in recent research.161718  This is important for virtually everyone these days, but especially women planning a pregnancy. Autistic children are known to have higher levels of environmental toxins in their system, and this underlying toxic burden plays a significant role.

For example, one recent study19, 202122 found that every one percent increase in genital malformations in newborn males within a particular US county was associated with a 283 percent increased rate in autism. According to the researchers, genital malformations are signs of exposure to harmful toxins.

The correlation between genital malformation and autism in turn offer strong support for the notion that autism is the result of parental overexposure to environmental toxins. Another study23 published last year also found that autistic children have markedly higher levels of toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They also had fewer healthy bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium. With regards to the detoxifying powers of broccoli sprouts, Time Magazine noted that:24

“Broccoli sprouts specifically are a source of glucoraphanin, which creates sulforaphane when chewed or swallowed. That compound accelerates the body’s ability to detoxify from various pollutants…”

The three-month long study included about 300 Chinese men and women living one of the most polluted areas of China, a rural community in the Jiangsu Province. The test group drank half a cup a day of a beverage consisting of sterilized water, pineapple and lime juice, with dissolved freeze-dried broccoli sprout powder. The control group drank the same mixture without the addition of the sprouts.

After urine and blood tests were collected and analyzed, the researchers found that the test group, who received the broccoli sprout powder, excreted far greater levels of two carcinogens. Excretion of benzene increased 61 percent, and the rate of excretion of acrolein increased by 23 percent. Benzene is usually found in car exhaust fumes, but can also be ingested viasoda, where it can form from benzoate salt—used as a preservative. Acrolein forms from the breakdown of certain indoor air pollutants, from the burning of organic matter such as tobacco, and the burning of fuels like gasoline.

Factors That Likely Contribute to Autism

With autism spectrum disorder now affecting as many as one in 50 children,25 it seems reasonable to assume that there are MANY factors contributing to this problem. Evidence suggests it’s rooted in a combination of toxic overload and other aggravating factors, including but not limited to the following:

  • Gut dysbiosis, especially in combination with vaccines and their additives like mercury (thimerosal), aluminum, and others, which are known to damage your mitochondria—the powerhouses in your body’s cells that produce energy. Your gastrointestinal system is often referred to as your “second brain,” containing some 100 million neurons—more than in either your spinal cord or your peripheral nervous system.
  • Vitamin D deficiency. The link between vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women and the proportionate jump in autism has been highlighted by Dr. John Cannell. Vitamin D receptors appear in a wide variety of brain tissue early in the fetal development, and activated vitamin D receptors increase nerve growth in your brain. I believe vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy is a MAJOR contributing factor to autism, especially when you consider that vitamin D also helps in the detoxification of mercury. Without sufficient amounts of vitamin D, any subsequent toxic assaults—regardless of the source—will be further magnified.
  • Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) from cell phones, cell towers, and Wi-Fi devices, which can trap heavy metals inside of nerve cells, accelerate heavy metal toxicity, and hinder natural detoxification processes.
  • Microbial toxins, such as mold. Children with autism not only have overwhelmed detoxification pathways and often heavy metal toxicity, but, according to Dr. Klinghardt, their bodies are also frequently beset by toxic microbes, including neuro-borreliosis, and possibly other Lyme co-infections.
  • Mercury toxicity. Pregnant mothers may inadvertently contribute to their child’s toxic load via dental amalgams, 50 percent of which are mercury, a known neurotoxin.

Healing the Gut May Be Key for the Treatment of Autism

Getting back to the issue of food, while broccoli sprouts may certainly be useful, parents of autistic children would do well to consider implementing the GAPS diet. Women planning a pregnancy can also reduce their chances of having an autistic child by paying careful attention to their gut health, along with avoiding toxic exposures of all kinds.

GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome, pioneered by neurologist Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, who successfully reversed her son’s autism. In her research, she discovered that nearly all mothers of autistic children have abnormal gut flora, which is significant because babies inherit their gut flora from their mothers at the time of birth. Establishing normal gut flora in the first 20 days or so of life plays a crucial role in the maturation of your baby’s immune system.

Babies who develop abnormal gut flora have compromised immune systems, which put them at higher risk for suffering vaccine reactions. If your baby has suboptimal gut flora, vaccines can become the proverbial “last straw” — the trigger that “primes” his/her immune system to develop chronic health problems.  This helps explain why not every child is damaged by vaccines, and why autism rates keep rising. More children are now born with elevated toxicity levels and damaged gut flora right from the start… Such is the legacy of our increasingly toxic world. Tack on a few exacerbating factors, and the child’s body simply cannot handle the onslaught.

The best way to prevent GAPS is for the mother to avoid all processed foods, sugar, antibiotics (including CAFO meats and antibacterial soaps) and birth control pills prior to conception as these cause yeast and fungi to grow and also cause leaky gut. This can then be followed by breastfeeding and avoiding the use of antibiotics during (intrapartum) and after delivering.  It’s also a good idea to make sure your baby’s microbiome is healthy before getting any vaccinations. Fortunately, it’s possible to rather inexpensively identify GAPS within the first weeks of your baby’s life, which can help you make better-informed decisions about vaccinations, and about how to proceed to set your child on the path to a healthy life.

The entire process for identifying children who would be at risk for developing autism from a vaccine is described in her bookGut and Psychology Syndrome, but to sum it up, in her practice she starts out by collecting a complete health history of the parents, and their gut health is assessed. Then, within the first few days of life, the stool of the child can be analyzed to determine the state of her gut flora, followed by a urine test to check for metabolites, which can give you a picture of the state of your child’s immune system. These tests are available in most laboratories around the world and cost a very reasonable amount, about $80 to $100 per test.

In my view, it is absolutely VITAL to perform this analysis BEFORE you consider vaccinating your child. If the test results are normal, the likelihood of autism after vaccines is dramatically reduced. If you find that your baby has abnormal gut microflora, or begins to develop symptoms of autism a year or two later, the GAPS program should be started immediately, as the younger the child is when you start the treatment, the better the results.

 

By Dr. Mercola

While many think of their brain as the organ in charge of their mental health, your gut may actually play a far more significant role.

The big picture many of us understand is one of a microbial world that we just happen to be living in. Our actions interfere with these microbes, and they in turn respond having more effects to our individual health as well as the entire environment.

There is some truth to the old expression, having ‘dirt for brains’.  The microbes in our soil, on our plants, in our stomachs are all a result of our actions.  Antibiotics, herbicides, vaccines, and pesticides, and the tens of thousands of synthetic chemicals we’ve created all have impacts and result in reactions from these microbes.

Mounting research indicates that problems in your gut can directly impact your mental health, leading to issues like anxiety and depression.

The gut-brain connection is well-recognized as a basic tenet of physiology and medicine, so this isn’t all that surprising, even though it’s often overlooked. There’s also a wealth of evidence showing intestinal involvement in a variety of neurological diseases.

With this in mind, it should also be crystal clear that nourishing your gut flora is extremely important, because in a very real sense you have two brains, one inside your skull and one in your gut, and each needs its own vital nourishment. A recent article1 titled “Are Probiotics the New Prozac?” reviews some of the most recent supporting evidence.

Probiotics Alter Brain Function, Study Finds

The featured proof-of-concept study, conducted by researchers at UCLA, found that probiotics (beneficial bacteria) actually altered participants’ brain function. The study2 enlisted 36 women between the ages of 18 and 55 who were divided into three groups:

  • The treatment group ate yogurt containing several probiotics thought to have a beneficial impact on intestinal health, twice a day for one month
  • Another group ate a “sham” product that looked and tasted like the yogurt but contained no probiotics
  • Control group ate no product at all

Before and after the four-week study, participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans, both while in a state of rest, and in response to an “emotion-recognition task.”

For the latter, the women were shown a series of pictures of people with angry or frightened faces, which they had to match to other faces showing the same emotions.

“This task, designed to measure the engagement of affective and cognitive brain regions in response to a visual stimulus, was chosen because previous research in animals had linked changes in gut flora to changes in affective behaviors,” the researchers explained.

Compared to the controls, the women who consumed probiotic yogurt had decreased activity in two brain regions that control central processing of emotion and sensation:

  • The insular cortex (insula), which plays a role in functions typically linked to emotion (including perception, motor control, self-awareness, cognitive functioning, and interpersonal experience) and the regulation of your body’s homeostasis, and
  • The somatosensory cortex, which plays a role in your body’s ability to interpret a wide variety of sensations

During the resting brain scan, the treatment group also showed greater connectivity between a region known as the ‘periaqueductal grey’ and areas of the prefrontal cortex associated with cognition. In contrast, the control group showed greater connectivity of the periaqueductal grey to emotion- and sensation-related regions.

The fact that this study showed any improvement at all is remarkable, considering they used commercial yogurt preparations that are notoriously unhealthy; loaded with artificial sweeteners, colors, flavorings, and sugar. Most importantly, the vast majority of commercial yogurts have clinically insignificant levels of beneficial bacteria. Clearly, you would be far better off making your own yogurt from raw milk—especially if you’re seeking to address depression through dietary interventions.

Yes, Your Diet Affects Your Mood and Mental Health

According to lead author Dr. Kirsten Tillisch:34

“Time and time again, we hear from patients that they never felt depressed or anxious until they started experiencing problems with their gut. Our study shows that the gut–brain connection is a two-way street… ‘When we consider the implications of this work, the old sayings ‘you are what you eat’ and ‘gut feelings’ take on new meaning.’”

The implications are particularly significant in our current era of rampant depression and emotional “malaise.” And as stated in the featured article, the drug treatments available today are no better than they were 50 years ago. Clearly, we need a new approach, and diet is an obvious place to start.

Previous studies have confirmed that what you eat can alter the composition of your gut flora. Specifically, eating a high-vegetable, fiber-based diet produces a profoundly different composition of microbiota than a more typical Western diet high in carbs and processed fats. 

The featured research tells us that the composition of your gut flora not only affects your physical health, but also has a significant impact on your brain function and mental state. Previous research has also shown that certain probiotics can help alleviate anxiety:

  • The Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility5 reported the probiotic known as Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 normalized anxiety-like behavior in mice with infectious colitis by modulating the vagal pathways within the gut-brain.
  • Other research6 found that the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus had a marked effect on GABA levels—an inhibitory neurotransmitter that is significantly involved in regulating many physiological and psychological processes—in certain brain regions and lowered the stress-induced hormone corticosterone, resulting in reduced anxiety- and depression-related behavior. It is likely other lactobacillus species also provide this benefit, but this was the only one that was tested.

It’s important to realize that you have neurons both in your brain and your gut — including neurons that produce neurotransmitters like serotonin. In fact, the greatest concentration of serotonin, which is involved in mood control, depression and aggression, is found in your intestines, not your brain! Perhaps this is one reason why antidepressants, which raise serotonin levels in your brain, are often ineffective in treating depression, whereas proper dietary changes often help…

Your Gut Bacteria Are Vulnerable to Your Diet and Lifestyle

Processed, refined foods in general will destroy healthy microflora and feed bad bacteria and yeast, so limiting or eliminating these from your diet should be at the top of your list. Following my recently revised nutrition plan is a simple way to automatically reduce your intake of sugar from all sources. Processed foods wreak havoc on your gut in a number of different ways:

  • First, they are typically loaded with sugar, and avoiding sugar (particularly fructose) is in my view, based on the evidence, a critical aspect of preventing and/or treating depression. Not only will sugar compromise your beneficial gut bacteria by providing the preferred fuel for pathogenic bacteria, it also contributes to chronic inflammation throughout your body, including your brain.
  • Many contain artificial sweeteners and other synthetic additives that can wreak havoc with brain health. In fact, depression and panic attacks are two of the reported side effects of aspartame. Preliminary findings presented at the 65th annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology also report that drinking sweetened beverages―whether they’re sweetened with sugar or artificial sweeteners—is associated with an increased risk of depression.7
  • Processed foods are also typically loaded with refined grains, which turn into sugar in your body. Wheat in particular has also been implicated in psychiatric problems, from depression to schizophrenia, due to Wheat Germ Agglutinin (WGA), which has neurotoxic activity.
  • The majority of processed foods also contain genetically engineered (GE) ingredients (primarily corn and soy), which have been shown to be particularly detrimental to beneficial bacteria. There are several mechanisms of harm at work here. For example:
    • Eating genetically engineered Bt corn may turn your intestinal flora into a sort of “living pesticide factory,” essentially manufacturing Bt-toxin from within your digestive system on a continuing basis
    • Beneficial gut bacteria are very sensitive to residual glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup). Due to mounting resistance, GE Roundup Ready crops are being drenched with increasing amounts of this toxic herbicide. Studies have already confirmed that glyphosate alters and destroys beneficial gut flora in animals, as evidenced by the increasing instances of lethal botulism in cattle
    • Recent research also reveals that your gut bacteria are a key component of glyphosate’s mechanism of harm, as your gut microbes have the identical pathway used by glyphosate to kill weeds!

Your gut bacteria are also very sensitive to and can be harmed by:

Antibiotics, unless absolutely necessary (and when you do, make sure to reseed your gut with fermented foods and/or a probiotics supplement) Conventionally-raised meats and other animal products, as CAFO animals are routinely fed low-dose antibiotics, plus genetically engineered grains, which have also been implicated in the destruction of gut flora
Chlorinated and/or fluoridated water Antibacterial soap

How to Reseed Your Gut Flora

Considering the fact that an estimated 80 percent of your immune system is located in your gut, reseeding your gut with healthy bacteria is important for the prevention of virtually ALL disease, both physical and mental. The first step is to clean up your diet and lifestyle by avoiding the items listed above. Then, to actively reseed your gut with beneficial bacteria, you’ll want to:

    • Radically reduce your sugar intake. I’m being repetitive here, to drive home the point that you can take the best fermented foods and/or probiotic supplements, but if you fail to reduce your sugar intake you will sabotage your efforts to rebuild your gut flora. This would be similar to driving your car with one foot on the accelerator and one on the brake simultaneously. Simply not a good strategy at all. When you consume sugar at the level of the typical American you are virtually guaranteed to have a preponderance of pathogenic bacteria, yeast and fungi, no matter what supplements you are taking.
    • Eat traditionally fermented, unpasteurized foodsFermented foods are the best route to optimal digestive health, as long as you eat the traditionally made, unpasteurized versions. Some of the beneficial bacteria found in fermented foods are also excellent chelators of heavy metals and pesticides, which will also have a beneficial health effect by reducing your toxic load. Healthy choices include:
      • Fermented vegetables
      • Lassi (an Indian yoghurt drink, traditionally enjoyed before dinner)
      • Fermented milk, such as kefir
      • Natto (fermented soy)

Ideally, you want to eat a variety of fermented foods to maximize the variety of bacteria you’re consuming. Fermented vegetables, which are one of my new passions, are an excellent way to supply beneficial bacteria back into our gut. And, unlike some other fermented foods, they tend to be palatable, if not downright delicious, to most people.

As an added bonus, they can also be a great source of vitamin K2 if you ferment your own using the proper starter culture. We tested samples of high-quality fermented organic vegetables made with our specific starter culture, and a typical serving (about two to three ounces) contained not only 10 trillion beneficial bacteria, it also had 500 mcg of vitamin K2, which we now know is a vital co-nutrient to both vitamin D and calcium. Most high-quality probiotics supplements will only supply you with a fraction of the beneficial bacteria found in such homemade fermented veggies, so it’s your most economical route to optimal gut health as well.

  • Take a high-quality probiotic supplement. Although I’m not a major proponent of taking many supplements (as I believe the majority of your nutrients need to come from food), probiotics are an exception if you don’t eat fermented foods on a regular basis.

Nurture Your Gut for Optimal Health and Mental Well-Being

Foods have an immense impact on your body and your brain, and eating whole foods as described in my nutrition plan is the best way to support your mental and physical health.

Mounting research indicates the bacterial colonies residing in your gut may in fact play key roles in the development of brain, behavioral and emotional problems—from depression to ADHD, autism and more serious mental illness like schizophrenia. Certainly, when you consider the fact that the gut-brain connection is recognized as a basic tenet of physiology and medicine, and that there’s no shortage of evidence of gastrointestinal involvement in a variety of neurological diseases, it’s easy to see how the balance of gut bacteria can play a significant role in your psychology and behavior.

With this in mind, it should also be crystal clear that nourishing your gut flora is extremely important, from cradle to grave, because in a very real sense you have two brains, one inside your skull and one in your gut, and each needs its own vital nourishment.

Cultured foods like raw milk yogurt and kefir, some cheeses, and fermented vegetables are good sources of natural, healthy bacteria. So my strong recommendation would be to make cultured or fermented foods a regular part of your diet; this can be your primary strategy to optimize your body’s good bacteria.

If you do not eat fermented foods on a regular basis, taking a high-quality probiotic supplement is definitely recommended. A probiotic supplement can be incredibly useful to help maintain a well-functioning digestive system when you stray from your healthy diet and consume excess grains or sugar, or if you have to take antibiotics.

As Fecal Transplants Cure and Save Lives, FDA Classifies Poop as a Drug and Restricts It

coconut oil bacteria As Fecal Transplants Cure and Save Lives, FDA Classifies Poop as a Drug and Restricts It

Health Impact News

Back in January of this year (2013), we reported how the effective treatment of using fecal transplants was curing patients with Clostridium difficile (C. diff) with outstanding success. C. diff is a bacteria that is resistant to antibiotic treatment and has become epidemic in hospitals and nursing homes. A study published the New England Journal of Medicine, that made mainstream news back in January, showed how Fecal Microbiata Transplant (FMT) was curing C. diff at an incredible rate. FMT is therapy that puts fecal matter from a person with good gut flora directly into the colon of the sick person. It has literally saved people’s lives.

Many doctors around the world have been experimenting with this therapy for diseases other than C. diff, including bowel diseases such as Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease. Some of the doctors that we quoted back in January who were utilizing this therapy in the U.S. were becoming concerned that the FDA might step and try to control this therapy, in spite of the fact that there are virtually no recorded major side effects, only testimonies to very dramatic healings.

Well unfortunately, that is exactly what the FDA did. Because doctors were using fecal matter from healthy people to cure C. diff and other diseases, it stepped in and declared fecal matter as a “drug.” Since it is a drug they have not approved, it now officially in Phase 1 of the drug research and approval process, a process that can take many years. In a letter from the FDA to the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), they stated that FMT is not to be used by physicians, other than in life saving situations subject to a formal IND (Investigational New Drug) application.

So why would the FDA make the ridiculous claim that someone’s healthy poop is a drug, and start regulating a safe therapy that has saved so many lives, cured so many with bowel diseases, and has virtually no recorded adverse effects? It is far more effective and far more safe than drugs used for the same conditions – not even close!

The Microbiome

Ever since mainstream medicine has decided that probiotic therapy is not only effective, but necessary in overcoming our society’s addiction to antibiotics, there has been increased interest in understanding what is referred to as the “microbiome.” While the best probiotic supplements currently on the market might have 20 to 30 strains of “friendly” bacteria, each person’s own collection of bacteria numbers in the trillions, and with what many researchers consider over 20,000 different species of bacteria.

So isolating and mapping specific bacteria to specific diseases is a huge undertaking, and modern medicine is attempting to do just that, similar to the genome project. As this microbiome research advances, expect new synthetic drugs on the market advertised as treating specific diseases and working similar to FMT, which of course cannot be patented.

With FMT, however, all the guesswork of trying to figure out which bacteria is effective in curing is bypassed by a simple procedure: take ALL of the microbiome from a healthy person via their feces, and transplant that into the sick person. It is nature’s ultimate “super probiotic.” It is simple, affordable, and effective. So simple, that there is a group of people on the Internet doing it at home now. And these are formerly very sick people who are now healthy, or on the road to recovery where they can function as “normal” people again.

This must make the pharmaceutical companies rage with jealousy! So of course the first step was to get the FDA to step in and stop doctors from doing this routinely, and put restrictions on it by classifying it as a drug.

The other step they are taking is securing funding for research so they can develop drugs that they hope will work in similar ways. Here is one announcement published on a drug industry website just a few days ago:

Janssen Biotech and Second Genome have entered into an agreement to focus on microbiome drug discovery, Second Genome announced in a press release. With the goal of advancing novel drug targets, the agreement is focused on therapeutic mechanisms in ulcerative colitis mediated by the bacterial ecosystem living within the human gut, referred to as the microbiome. Second Genome will apply its microbiome modulation discovery platform to characterize the role of bacterial populations in ulcerative colitis.

The microbiome is an emerging area of interest involving research, such as the National Institute of Health’s Human Microbiome Project, to evaluate the symbiotic relationship that bacteria have developed in the human body. “Foundational microbiome research over the past several years has demonstrated that alterations to the microbiome are central to the development of inflammation and metabolic disorders,” said Peter DiLaura, president and CEO at Second Genome, in the press release. (Full story here.)

So while doctors, published research, and home users have already successfully used FMT therapy with miraculous results, our government agencies are spending our tax dollars to restrict this simple and inexpensive therapy so that drug companies can develop patented and profitable drugs instead.

Will the government go after home FMT patients next? While many doctors are now prohibited from practicing FMT, many of them will still help their patients screen potential donors through laboratory tests so they can practice FMT at home safely. These home users of FMT are still a small group, but if they become so large that they take a dent out of the market of competing drugs, could the FDA start going after home FMT users as well?

Testimonials

One of the more popular blogs that gives people instructions on how to do FMT at home also has several testimonies recorded. It is run by Tracy Mac of Australia (outside the reach of the U.S. FDA): The Power of Poo. She has an active Facebook Group that is by invitation only to protect members’ privacy. She has links to how-to videos. There are many other recorded testimonies of FMT cures from home treatments found on the Internet, including this one who states:

 I have not had a flare since then, nor am I taking any prescription immune-suppressing or anti-inflammatory drugs, herbal supplements or pro-biotic,s nor am I on a highly restricted diet like Gluten-Free or the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD).

But don’t think all the evidence of FMT is purely anecdotal. There is plenty of published research in this area now, and the therapy is nothing new. There is documentation that the therapy is at least 1,700 years old in Chinese Traditional Medicine!

The range of illnesses and diseases that FMT can prove beneficial is almost limitless, as modern research reconfirms that most of our physical health begins in the gut, with our micro flora and our own “micorbiome.” While most of the experience and research in modern times has focused on C. diff and bowel diseases, here is a partial list of illnesses that FMT has also been used for, or could potentially be used for:

The only thing probably holding back this simple, natural and ineffective treatment from being used by more people is the “ick” factor. But, if you are one of the many thousands of people suffering from bowel diseases that makes life almost unbearable, the hope for a better life is a great trade-off for the uncomfortable feelings of using someone else’s poop.

I don’t know how the FDA can get away regulating your fecal material as a drug, and I hope some doctor will defy their tyrannical authority and challenge them in court. For those who don’t have healthy family members who can function as donors, a good donor screening program is essential for this therapy to reach its potential of healing so many people.

Copyright 2013 – Health Impact News – Permission to republish according to Creative Common Standards permitted.

UPDATE: On June 17 the FDA released an announcement stating they will not require doctors to follow the full IND procedure as a requirement to administer FMT. But they are still claiming it is an unapproved drug.

by Attorney Jonathan Emord

June 20, 2013

By Dr. Mercola

The bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microorganisms that comprise your body’s microflora actually outnumber your body’s cells 10 to 1, and it’s now becoming increasingly clear that these tiny organisms play a MAJOR role in your health—both physical and mental.

The impact of your microflora on your brain function has again been confirmed by UCLA researchers who, in a proof-of-concept study, found that probiotics (beneficial bacteria) indeed altered the brain function in the participants.

As reported by UCLA:1

“Researchers have known that the brain sends signals to your gut, which is why stress and other emotions can contribute to gastrointestinal symptoms. This study shows what has been suspected but until now had been proved only in animal studies: that signals travel the opposite way as well.

‘Time and time again, we hear from patients that they never felt depressed or anxious until they started experiencing problems with their gut,’ [Dr. Kirsten] Tillisch said. ‘Our study shows that the gut–brain connection is a two-way street.'”

The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Gastroenterology,2 claims the discovery “carries significant implications for future research that could point the way toward dietary or drug interventions to improve brain function.” Naturally, I urge you to embrace dietary changes here, opposed to waiting for some “miracle drug” to do the work for you…

Yes, Your Diet Affects Your Brain Function

The study enlisted 36 women between the ages of 18 and 55 who were divided into three groups:

  • The treatment group ate yogurt containing several probiotics thought to have a beneficial impact on intestinal health, twice a day for one month
  • Another group ate a “sham” product that looked and tasted like the yogurt but contained no probiotics
  • Control group ate no product at all

Before and after the four-week study, participants’ underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans, both while in a state of rest, and in response to an “emotion-recognition task.” For the latter, the women were shown a series of pictures of people with angry or frightened faces, which they had to match to other faces showing the same emotions.

“This task, designed to measure the engagement of affective and cognitive brain regions in response to a visual stimulus, was chosen because previous research in animals had linked changes in gut flora to changes in affective behaviors,” UCLA explains.

Interestingly, compared to the controls, the women who consumed probiotic yogurt had decreased activity in two brain regions that control central processing of emotion and sensation:

  • The insular cortex (insula), which plays a role in functions typically linked to emotion (including perception, motor control, self-awareness, cognitive functioning, and interpersonal experience) and the regulation of your body’s homeostasis, and
  • The somatosensory cortex, which plays a role in your body’s ability to interpret a wide variety of sensations

During the resting brain scan, the treatment group also showed greater connectivity between a region known as the “periaqueductal grey” and areas of the prefrontal cortex associated with cognition. In contrast, the control group showed greater connectivity of the periaqueductal grey to emotion- and sensation-related regions. According to UCLA:

“’The researchers were surprised to find that the brain effects could be seen in many areas, including those involved in sensory processing and not merely those associated with emotion,’ Tillisch said…

‘There are studies showing that what we eat can alter the composition and products of the gut flora — in particular, that people with high-vegetable, fiber-based diets have a different composition of their microbiota, or gut environment, than people who eat the more typical Western diet that is high in fat and carbohydrates,’ [senior author Dr. Emeran] Mayer said. ‘Now we know that this has an effect not only on the metabolism but also affects brain function.'”

What is really remarkable to me is that this study showed any improvement at all, since they used commercial yogurt preparations that are notoriously unhealthy foods loaded with artificial sweeteners, colors, flavorings, and sugar. Most importantly the vast majority have virtually clinically insignificant levels of beneficial bacteria. Clearly, you would be far better off making your own yogurt from raw milk.

Your Gut May Hold the Key to Better Brain Health

You may not be aware that you actually have two nervous systems:

  • Central nervous system, composed of your brain and spinal cord
  • Enteric nervous system, which is the intrinsic nervous system of your gastrointestinal tract

Both are created from identical tissue during fetal development—one part turns into your central nervous system while the other develops into your enteric nervous system. These two systems are connected via the vagus nerve, the tenth cranial nerve that runs from your brain stem down to your abdomen. It is now well established that the vagus nerve is the primary route your gut bacteria use to transmit information to your brain.

While many think of their brain as the organ in charge, your gut actually sends far more information to your brain than your brain sends to your gut… To put this into more concrete terms, you’ve probably experienced the visceral sensation of butterflies in your stomach when you’re nervous, or had an upset stomach when you were very angry or stressed. The flip side is also true, in that problems in your gut can directly impact your mental health, leading to issues like anxiety and depression.

For instance, in December 2011, the Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility3 reported the novel finding that the probiotic (good bacteria) known as Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 has been shown to help normalize anxiety-like behavior in mice with infectious colitis. Separate research4 also found the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus had a marked effect on GABA (an inhibitory neurotransmitter that is significantly involved in regulating many physiological and psychological processes) levels in certain brain regions and lowered the stress-induced hormone corticosterone, resulting in reduced anxiety- and depression-related behavior.

Just as you have neurons in your brain, you also have neurons in your gut — including neurons that produce neurotransmitters like serotonin, which is also found in your brain. In fact, the greatest concentration of serotonin, which is involved in mood control, depression and aggression, is found in your intestines, not your brain. It’s quite possible that this might be one reason why antidepressants, which raise serotonin levels in your brain, are often ineffective in treating depression, whereas proper dietary changes often help…

Your Gut Microbes Can Affect Your Health in Numerous Ways

In recent years, it’s become increasingly clear that the microbes in your gut play a much more vital role in your health than previously thought possible. In fact, probiotics, along with a host of other gut microorganisms, are so crucial to your health that researchers have compared them to “a newly recognized organ.” Besides research implicating gut bacteria in mental health and behavior, other research has shown that your microbiota also has an impact on:

    1. Immune system function: Biologist Sarkis Mazmanian5 believes bacteria can train your immune system to distinguish between “foreign” microbes and those originating in your body. His work is laying the groundwork for new therapies using probiotics to treat a variety of diseases, particularly autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s.

Mazmanian and colleagues were recently awarded the MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” for identifying an organism that originates in the human body (opposed to a fermented food) that has demonstrable health benefits in both animal and human cells. The organism has been named Bacteroides fragillis, and is found in 15-20 percent of humans. His group hopes to one day be able to test this body-originated bacteria in human clinical trials.

    1. Gene expression: Researchers have discovered that the absence or presence of gut microorganisms during infancy permanently alters gene expression. Through gene profiling, they were able to discern that absence of gut bacteria altered genes and signaling pathways involved in learning, memory, and motor control. This suggests that gut bacteria are closely tied to early brain development and subsequent behavior. These behavioral changes could be reversed as long as the mice were exposed to normal microorganisms early in life. But once the germ-free mice had reached adulthood, colonizing them with bacteria did not influence their behavior.

In a similar way, probiotics have also been found to influence the activity of hundreds of your genes, helping them to express in a positive, disease-fighting manner.

    1. Diabetes: Bacterial populations in the gut of diabetics6 differ from non-diabetics, according to a study from Denmark. In particular, diabetics had fewer Firmicutes and more plentiful amounts of Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria, compared to non-diabetics. The study also found a positive correlation for the ratios of Bacteroidetes to Firmicutes and reduced glucose tolerance. The researchers concluded:

“The results of this study indicate that type 2 diabetes in humans is associated with compositional changes in intestinal microbiota.”

    1. Obesity: The make-up of gut bacteria tends to differ in lean vs. obese people. This is one of the strongest areas of probiotic research to date, and you can read about a handful of such studies here. The bottom line is that restoring your gut flora should be an important consideration if you’re struggling to lose weight.
    2. Autism: Establishment of normal gut flora in the first 20 days or so of life plays a crucial role in appropriate maturation of your baby’s immune system. Hence, babies who develop abnormal gut flora are left with compromised immune systems and are particularly at risk for developing such disorders as ADHD, learning disabilities and autism, particularly if they are vaccinated before restoring balance to their gut flora.

To get a solid understanding of just how this connection works, I highly recommend reviewing the information shared byDr. Natasha Campbell-McBride in this previous interview.

Total Video Length: 1:13:21

Download Interview Transcript

Your Gut Flora Is Constantly Under Attack

Your gut bacteria are vulnerable to your diet and lifestyle. If you eat a lot of sugar, refined grains, and genetically engineered foods (i.e. processed foods and beverages of all kinds, as they are typically loaded with high fructose corn syrup and/or soy, both of which are primary GE crops in the US), your gut bacteria are going to be compromised because processed foods in general will destroy healthy microflora and feed bad bacteria and yeast. Your gut bacteria are also very sensitive to and can be harmed by:

Antibiotics, unless absolutely necessary (and when you do, make sure to reseed your gut with fermented foods and/or a probiotic supplement) Conventionally-raised meats and other animal products, as CAFO animals are routinely fed low-dose antibiotics, plusgenetically engineered grains, which have also been implicated in the destruction of gut flora Processed foods (as the excessive sugars, along with otherwise “dead” nutrients, feed pathogenic bacteria)
Chlorinated and/or fluoridated water Antibacterial soap Agricultural chemicals

How to Optimize Your Gut Flora

Considering the fact that an estimated 80 percent of your immune system is located in your gut, reseeding your gut with healthy bacteria is important for the prevention of virtually ALL diseases, from colds to cancer. To do so, I recommend the following strategies:

    • Avoid processed, refined foods in your diet.
    • Eat traditionally fermented, unpasteurized foodsFermented foods are the best route to optimal digestive health, as long as you eat the traditionally made, unpasteurized versions. Some of the beneficial bacteria found in fermented foods are also excellent chelators of heavy metals and pesticides, which will also have a beneficial health effect by reducing your toxic load. Healthy choices include:
      • Fermented vegetables
      • Lassi (an Indian yoghurt drink, traditionally enjoyed before dinner)
      • Fermented milk, such as kefir
      • Natto (fermented soy)

Ideally, you want to eat a variety of fermented foods to maximize the variety of bacteria you’re consuming. Fermented vegetables, which are one of my new passions, are an excellent way to supply beneficial bacteria back into our gut. And, unlike some other fermented foods, they tend to be palatable, if not downright delicious, to most people.

As an added bonus, they can also be a great source of vitamin K2 if you ferment your own using the proper starter culture. We tested samples of high-quality fermented organic vegetables made with our specific starter culture, and a typical serving (about two to three ounces) contained not only 10 trillion beneficial bacteria, it also had 500 mcg of vitamin K2, which we now know is a vital co-nutrient to both vitamin D and calcium. Most high-quality probiotic supplements will only supply you with a fraction of the beneficial bacteria found in such homemade fermented veggies, so it’s your most economical route to optimal gut health as well.

  • Take a high-quality probiotic supplement. Although I’m not a major proponent of taking many supplements (as I believe the majority of your nutrients need to come from food), probiotics is an exception if you don’t eat fermented foods on a regular basis.

Nurturing Your Gut Flora Is One of the Foundations of Optimal Health

Mounting research indicates the bacterial colonies residing in your gut may play key roles in the development of cancer, asthma, allergies, obesity, diabetes, autoimmune diseases and even brain, behavioral and emotional problems like ADHD, autism and depression. When you consider the fact that the gut-brain connection is recognized as a basic tenet of physiology and medicine, and that there’s no shortage of evidence of gastrointestinal involvement in a variety of neurological diseases, it’s easy to see how the balance of gut bacteria can play a significant role in your psychology and behavior as well.

With this in mind, it should also be crystal clear that nourishing your gut flora is extremely important, from cradle to grave, because in a very real sense you have two brains, one inside your skull and one in your gut, and each needs its own vital nourishment. Eating fermented foods should be your primary strategy, but if you don’t enjoy the taste of fermented foods, taking a probiotic supplement is definitely advised. I recommend looking for a probiotic supplement that fulfills the following criteria, to ensure quality and efficacy:

  • The bacteria strains in the product must be able to survive your stomach acid and bile, so that they reach your intestines alive in adequate numbers
  • The bacteria strains must have health-promoting features
  • The probiotic activity must be guaranteed throughout the entire production process, storage period and shelf life of the product

An interview with Stephanie Seneff, PhD: Co-author of “Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases.”

Catherine J. Frompovich

Activist Post

In April 2013, independent scientist Anthony Samsel and MIT scientist Stephanie Seneff published their mega studies analysis of glyphosate titled “Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases” in the online journal, Entropy. With 286 peer-reviewed papers analyzed, Samsel and Seneff documented that glyphosate—and the herbicide Roundup®, in particular—has deleterious impact on disease causality in laboratory and farm animals, and humans.

This is an interview with co-author Stephanie Seneff, of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.

Before we get into details, will you please tell us how glyphosate and Roundup® came into being? Who owns it and how profitable a commodity is it for that corporation?

Monsanto is the inventor of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup®. It was brought to market first in the U.S. in the mid 1970s, and it came out from under patent in 2000, making it far more attractive as an herbicide due to the reduced cost.

Didn’t Monsanto produce saccharine (1901?), DDT (1944), Agent Orange for the Vietnam War (1960s-1970s), Posilac®—bovine somatotropin (Bst) for dairy cows (1994), Roundup Ready® soybeans (1996), Roundup Ready® Cotton and Roundup Ready® Canola (1997), Roundup Ready® Corn (1998), and receive USDA authorization for planting Genuity® Roundup Ready® Alfalfa and Genuity® Roundup Ready® Sugarbeets in 2011?

Yes. Monsanto has a long record of producing toxic chemicals.

Some of Monsanto’s chemicals have been taken off the market because of environmental issues. Which are they?

Well, of course DDT comes to mind. It was banned in 1972 in the US, due in part to the tireless campaigns of Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring. Bovine growth hormone has not been taken off the market yet, but there is a great deal of public awareness of its problems, and many dairies have stopped using it to boost milk supplies from the cows, recognizing its adverse health effects for the cows as well as potential risk to the consumer.

What do you think is the likelihood of that happening with glyphosate, since its apparent long-range health impacts are just becoming recognized, and they definitely are not favorable?

It would be so wonderful if glyphosate were to be banned. I can dream that it might happen some day. It’s absolutely clear to me that it should be banned, but public opinion is very far away from that point of view. Monsanto has worked very hard to promote the idea that glyphosate is nearly harmless to humans. So, it’s going to take a serious amount of reeducation, or some catastrophe like half the children born diagnosed on the autism spectrum, to turn that around.

How long has Roundup® been on the market, and how many gallons are used every year in the USA alone, not to mention globally?

It’s been on the market since 1975, and was first introduced into the US market. The US market today represents 25% of the total sales worldwide. In our paper we showed how the usage has gone up substantially in step with the increased penetration of GMO crops that are “Roundup Ready.” In 2001 an estimated total of 85 to 90 million pounds of it were used in the US alone, and this number more than doubled by 2007. I expect it may have doubled again since then, but we didn’t find hard numbers on that.

Glyphosate/Roundup is an organophosphate. Can you please explain what the problems are with that type of herbicide? Also, there is another organophosphate with an almost similar sounding name; it is glufosinate. Did you do any research on glufosinate?

Technically, glyphosate is an “organophosphonate,” not quite the same as an organophosphate but close. You’re right that glyphosate and glufosinate are “cousins” with similar molecular structures and probably similar effects. We haven’t specifically studied glufosinate, but I’d imagine it’s just as damaging as glyphosate. Glyphosate disrupts the shikimate pathway, which plants use to produce a set of essential aromatic amino acids. All microbes also have this pathway, and it’s essential for their well-being. So glyphosate would be expected to disrupt gut bacteria, and it has been shown to be the case in research studies on cows and chickens.

What was the motivation to perform such an exhaustive study on glyphosate?

I have been studying autism for many years, trying to understand the underlying physiological dysfunction that causes it and trying to identify potential environmental factors that could be causative. It’s clear to me that autism has environmental causes, because genetic factors would not increase at such an alarming rate. The rate of autism in the US was one in 10,000 in 1970. Today it is one in fifty. And I anticipate that it will get much higher in the next ten years if we stay the course. I can’t even begin to think about how that will impact our society.

Last September, I had the privilege to hear Prof. Don Huber, a retired professor from Purdue University who is an expert on plant physiology, give a two-hour lecture on glyphosate and Roundup, and I nearly fell out of my chair, because it became clear to me that the factors I was seeing in association with autism could all be explained by the known physiological effects of glyphosate. I was lucky to hook up with Anthony Samsel, who is an expert on environmental toxins, and he taught me much more about glyphosate. We were able to synthesize a plausible story for how glyphosate exposure in both the mom and the child could lead to autism. But, in addition, we realized that it could also explain a host of other problems that are reaching epidemic proportions in this country, such as obesity, depression, gastrointestinal distress, and Alzheimer’s disease.

In your paper you say that the European Union is being asked by industry to approve higher levels of glyphosate in food crops. Why such a proposal and can you discuss that a little?

I’d imagine that it’s simply that food was coming in from the US that was exceeding the limits that had been set. I think the limits are generally set somewhat arbitrarily based on what is measured in the food. Since most people think that glyphosate is nontoxic to humans, there does not seem to be too much concern raised when limits are jacked up by a factor of ten or even one hundred!

Does that have anything to do with the supposed notion that glyphosate has a minimal toxicity effect in humans, which was based upon Monsanto’s safety/toxicity studies done for only 3 months on laboratory animals?

That’s right.

Didn’t your research find that Professor Seralini’s two-year study contradicted Monsanto’s 3-month studies? Will you please elaborate on that and the apparent implications?

Yes. Seralini’s research showed that glyphosate has devastating effects on the health of rats over the long term. Mammary tumors, kidney failure, liver cancer, etc. Glyphosate is insidious because it’s not immediately obvious that it has caused a problem. It slowly depletes certain vital nutrients until eventually you can become very sick.

Can you explain why you contend that glyphosate is an environmental toxin that may be responsible for dysbiosis (what is that?) and sulfate depletion (what is that and its significance)?

By examining the results of studies on microbes, plants and animals, one can extrapolate to what would likely happen to humans, and this leads to the conclusion that major biological systems would become disrupted (dysbiosis). Gut dysbiosis refers to an imbalance in gut bacteria such that there are too few beneficial bacteria and too many pathogenic forms. Our studies led us to predict that glyphosate would disrupt both sulfate transport (through competitive inhibition) and sulfate synthesis (by disrupting the enzyme responsible for sulfate synthesis). Sulfate plays a huge role (not sufficiently well acknowledged) in all the cells in the body for maintaining a healthy interface with the local environment and for cell-cell communication. And it’s also essential in neurotransmission.

What led you to say that glyphosate may be the most significant environmental toxin contributing to autism? 

That requires a long answer! So many things line up between glyphosate and autism that I hardly know where to begin! Prior to even considering glyphosate, I had identified two key pathologies that co-occur on a regular basis with autism. These are disrupted gut bacteria and impaired sulfur metabolism. It turns out that glyphosate easily explains both of these, as we described in our paper. There are now three papers we’re aware of that show disrupted gut bacteria (overgrowth of pathogens and inflammatory gut) in chickens, cows, and pigs. The one on pigs just came out and was not available when we wrote our paper. Glyphosate has been shown to deplete methionine, an essential sulfur-containing amino acid which plays physiological roles related to both methylation and sulfate synthesis. Serotonin depletion is also associated with autism, as well as many other conditions that are prevalent today in the US, including Alzheimer’s, obesity, depression, suicide, and homicide (violent behavior). Plots showing autism rates in the US and Roundup usage on corn and soy crops show a remarkable correspondence.

What are the key pathological biological effects of glyphosate that can explain or parallel the characteristic features of autism?

As I said before, overgrowth of pathogens is an important one. This causes inflammatory gut, but also these pathogens release toxins that can get into the brain and cause neurological damage. More than this, glyphosate chelates essential minerals such as iron, zinc, copper, cobalt, molybdenum, manganese, etc. Some of these are very rare, but the body uses them in important ways, such that, when they’re depleted, major pathways get disrupted. Another really insidious effect is that it disrupts a class of enzymes called cytochrome P450 enzymes, also known as CYP enzymes. There are many different CYP enzymes in the liver that control things like cholesterol homeostasis, vitamin D activation, and, most significantly, detoxification of many different environmental toxins. For example, the liver depends on CYP enzymes to detoxify Tylenol, and an excess sensitivity to Tylenol has been implicated in autism. And CYP enzymes also detoxify pesticides (organophosphates), so these become more toxic in the presence of glyphosate. I think this might explain the bee colony die-off.

Your research indicates that glyphosate contributes to or induces inflammatory bowel disease and a host of other diseases. Will you tell us about them? Also, aren’t bowel problems a prime health concern with autistic children? How many papers did you find regarding ASD children with bowel problems?

Many people have studied the relationship between autism and inflammatory bowel disease, and it has become quite clear that there’s a connection. Andrew Wakefield was among the first to recognize this connection. He’s the doctor who wrote the paper in Lancet on MMR and autism that was later retracted due to the influence of the vaccine industry. I would say that the inflammatory bowel disease introduces toxins into the brain that lead to a disruptions of normal maturation processes in the brain. The defective neural network leads to the autistic behavior patterns. I expect something similar is going on with Alzheimer’s disease and depression. Glyphosate is also a likely risk factor for certain cancers. I wonder a lot about breast cancer, which is very common among women in America today. Given Seralini’s results on mammary tumors in rats, one has to wonder.

What can you tell us about the gut microbiome of chickens that needs to be investigated further with regard to glyphosate in chicken feed? How does that impact eggs and chicken meat people eat as food?

We found an article that talked about disrupted gut bacteria in chickens. Highly pathogenic strains of Salmonella and Clostridium were found to be highly resistant to glyphosate, whereas beneficial bacteria such as Enterococcus, Bacillus and Lactobacillus were found to be especially susceptible. I have no idea what this does to the meat and eggs derived from the chicken, but knowing this has convinced me to buy only organic chicken.

According to your research, glyphosate disrupts the body’s ability to detoxify other environmental toxins and leads to synergistic enhancement of toxicity. That’s extremely problematic insofar as the etiology of inflammation, chronic disease patterns, and the formation of adducts which reprogram DNA. Will you please comment on that?

Well, I imagine you might be referring to DNA getting bound to aluminum and then becoming resistant to clean-up by the immune cells. I have read papers theorizing that this is how the autoimmune disease ASIA could develop (Autoimmune Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants). The DNA would burst out of a cell that dies suddenly due to excess exposure to aluminum, and then, because it can’t be broken down (bound to aluminum), it would be interpreted as being foreign and the body would develop an immune reaction to its own DNA. Glyphosate would interfere with the body’s ability to dispose of the aluminum, increasing the likelihood of this kind of reaction.

Something most folks may not know is that glyphosate’s increasing toxic burden rates in humans may be impacting fertility, decreasing birth rates, and even contributing to the obesity epidemic. How can that be? 

Well, I mentioned before that obesity is one of the conditions associated with serotonin deficiency. The sole precursor of serotonin is an aromatic amino acid, tryptophan, whose synthesis glyphosate directly disrupts. This is well known. I think obesity is also a protective measure to allow the fat cells to sequester environmental toxins that can’t be eliminated due to glyphosate’s disruption of both CYP enzymes and sulfur metabolism. Aromatase is a CYP enzyme that plays an important role in embryonic development, and glyphosate disrupts aromatase function. Glyphosate also likely interferes with the breakdown of retinoic acid, which could mess up the timing in embryonic development. Cholesterol sulfate plays an essential role in fertilization, and we argued in our paper that glyphosate would interfere with cholesterol sulfate synthesis through its effects on CYP enzymes. This also impacts autism. The obesity epidemic in this country began in 1975, coincident with the introduction of glyphosate into the food chain. And our slippage in infant mortality rates also began in 1975. We’re now #46 behind Cuba and Guam in infant mortality, which is abysmal, considering how much we spend on health care.

A major concern I have, as a retired natural nutritionist, is GM cooking oils, i.e., canola, soybean, corn, and cottonseed oils. Since chemicals naturally gravitate to and store in fats in plants, animals, and humans—and oils are the fats in plant-base foods—what chemical interactions occur when GM cooking oils are heated? Have any studies been done as to what carcinogens may be created, i.e., polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), when glyphosate residues are heated in deep fryers as in fast food restaurants?

This sounds like something I need to study, because I was not aware of this. It is disturbing to think of heating glyphosate to high temperatures and what exactly that might do. I have no idea. I think it’s highly likely that these oils contain glyphosate, especially the GMO forms of them. My husband and I do not use any of these oils in our cooking.

That leads to my asking about glyphosate’s adverse effects on gut microbiota. Please explain what microbiota are, how they are affected, and immune system interaction(s).

It is becoming increasingly apparent that gut bacteria play many essential roles in the body. Researchers now speak of the gut “microbiome” an amazingly diverse set of genes representing all the different microbes, predominantly bacteria and yeast, which hang out in the gut. It’s rather sobering to know that they outnumber our own cells by a factor of ten, and their collective genetic complexity is at least an order of magnitude higher than our own genetic complexity. We depend upon their well being in order to be well ourselves. When you eat glyphosate-laden foods, you’re poisoning them every day, and you will pay a huge price for this in terms of not only your gut health but also your general health, because pathogens will be able to get past a leaky gut barrier and cause a systemic problem.

You say that corn and soy crops have been shown to accumulate excess shikimate in response to glyphosate exposure. First of all, what is shikimate, and second, what does that do to animals and people eating such crops?

Glyphosate blocks the pathway that converts shikimate into aromatic amino acids, so the shikimate piles up. It also gets diverted into phenolic compounds and ammonia. These can both be toxic to the body. Shikimate is listed as a Group 3 carcinogen, meaning that it might be carcinogenic, and it is certainly not recommended for general consumption.

What I found rather startling is that glyphosate acts as a chelator of micronutrients, which means that plants then don’t have quantitative and qualitative nutrient values (vitamins and minerals), in Roundup Ready® crops that have glyphosate applications. So how can the U.S. FDA say that genetically modified crops are equivalent to conventional or heirloom crops? Would you please expound upon that, as I think that amounts to nutritional deficiencies similar to what happened in the early 1900s that required the introduction of “enrichment”, i.e., certain vitamins and minerals were added back to denatured, processed crops like wheat for bread making.

Yes, I believe you are right. I do not understand how Monsanto gets by with claiming that there is no difference. A study done in Scotland by Pusztai on potatoes found striking differences between the GMO potatoes and non-GMO potatoes. A recent small study on GMO corn showed shocking levels of depletion of sulfur, calcium, magnesium and manganese, as well as a disturbing amount of formaldehyde showing up. The formaldehyde doesn’t surprise me, because there are bacteria called Pseudomonas that can break down glyphosate, but they release formaldehyde as a by-product. Formaldehyde is a known neurotoxin.

From my reading of your excellent paper, I’ve come to the conclusion that amino acid profiles—especially methionine, an essential sulfur-containing amino acid—in plant foods may be reduced thereby contributing to additional plant nutrition deficiencies. Am I correct? Please explain or elaborate on your answer.

Yes, it’s logical that that would be the case. The plant gets depleted in amino acids and minerals by the glyphosate, and then you eat an inferior, nutrient-deficient food derived from the plant. Worse than that, you eat the glyphosate as well, and it interferes with your gut bacteria’s ability to supply you with essential amino acids. It’s a double hit.

Even greenhouse experiments demonstrated that glyphosate application to the root system decreased levels of calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese in the seeds of plants. That’s dramatic and catastrophic, I’d say. So, humans then will have less and less nutritional food values when eating GM crops. That on top of all the problems we have now with all the processed and junk foods masquerading as ‘healthy’ eating according to those who mass produce them.

Yes. The processed foods are basically pseudo-foods put together from chemicals. It’s a ridiculous way to make food. I don’t eat anything that has more than five ingredients. And if you don’t recognize the things on the ingredient list, chances are you don’t want to eat it.

Are you aware that the Kosher Certification Program, Natural Food Certifiers has banned all GMO ingredients? NFC Director Rabbi Reuven Flamer says, “Recent studies show that GMOs may cause various kinds of health problems from digestive disturbances to food allergies, and that GMOs require more herbicides, which is really the opposite reason why GMOs were touted to be so environmentally helpful in the first place.” So, you see consumers are starting to take notice of the facts about GMOs and certain industries are responding to consumer concerns.

I was not aware of that, but I’m really happy to hear it. Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream also has made a commitment to no GMO’s, and Whole Foods has promised to label all GMOs in their foods. These are great steps. I’m not a political person, but I have become politically involved in trying to get my state, Massachusetts to pass a GMO labeling bill. It amazes me how hard it is to get any traction on what seems to me like a very simple issue.

May 25, 2013 it is estimated that two million people around the globe participated in the March Against Monsanto. Whole Foods Natural Grocery Store chain will require mandatory GMO labeling on all food products by 2018. What does that tell you?

Maybe we’re reaching the “tipping point” that Jeffrey Smith [Institute for Responsible Technologyhttp://www.responsibletechnology.org/] likes to talk about?

Here’s an off-the-wall question, but someone has to ask it, I think. Since Monsanto claims ownership or royalties by farmers whose crops have been GMO-pollinated by wind or insects, thereby legally enforcing their patent rights, do people who eat genetically modified foods belong to Monsanto? Will Monsanto have any legal rights to them or their children, especially since Monsanto is so predatory and patent conscious? Furthermore, how can living organisms, which seeds and food are, be patented? Is there something sinister going on that people who eat GMO food aren’t recognizing? 

I am astonished at the kind of power Monsanto has been able to wield. I’m sure you’ve heard about the recent contamination of wheat fields with GMO wheat that cut loose somehow from Monsanto’s research farms? I hope many countries refuse to buy our wheat, as it could really put pressure on the government to start to move in the other direction. Of course, Monsanto has the right, I’d assume, to sue these farmers who are now unable to sell their wheat to Japan and South Korea. Monsanto can sue them for “growing” patented GMO wheat without having bought it from Monsanto. How absurd is this?

Lastly, recently there was a study indicating that diabetes is the disease that makes people cranky and violent. Well, in your paper diabetes is one of the numerous diseases that can be attributed to glyphosate’s negative intervention on enzymatic pathways, especially cytochrome P450 enzymes, which impact hormones. Can all the craziness and violence we see in society today be attributable to an escalation of chemicals, especially ubiquitous glyphosate, that are biologically programming people to do crazy things?

I absolutely believe this is the case. I was frustrated with all the school shootings where the focus is entirely on controlling who buys guns rather than addressing directly the issue of why do we live in a society where people are capable of committing such heinous crimes?

Thank you, Dr. Seneff, for helping our readers understand more about genetically modified crops that are sprayed with glyphosate and how they apparently negatively impact our health and wellbeing, something most people may not be aware of. Thank you also for bringing to our attention the recently published article “Glyphosate induces human breast cancer cells growth via estrogen receptors”[1] by Thongprakaisang, S. etal, published in Food Chemical Toxicology June 8, 2013 wherein the Abstract states:

These results indicated that low and environmentally relevant concentrations of glyphosate possessed estrogenic activity. Glyphosate-based herbicides are widely used for soybean cultivation, and our results also found that there was an additive estrogenic effect between glyphosate and genistein, a phytoestrogen in soybeans.

And further animal studies are needed, they say. Well, Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini at the University of Caen and CRIIGEN [2]in France has been doing studies on laboratory animals given GMO feed for years now; his study results have been published; and no one seems to want to take the damning results seriously. Go figure!

In closing, I’d like to let readers in Hawaii know about Dr. Stephanie Seneff’s Hawaiian speaking engagements about glyphosate, GMOs, and the paper she co-authored about how they impact human health. The Kokua Market Coop will be sponsoring Dr. Seneff’s two speaking engagements: one in Honolulu and the other in the northern part of Oahu the evenings of July 23 and 24, 2013. For location, please contact The Kokua Market Coop, 2643 S. King St., Honolulu, HI 96826, Phone: 808-941-1922.

Notes:
[1] Food Chem Toxicol. 2013 Jun 8. pii: S0278-6915(13)00363-3. doi:
10.1016/j.fct.2013.05.057. [Epub ahead of print]
[2] http://www.criigen.org/SiteEn/

Catherine J Frompovich (website) is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice plus Paralegal Studies.

Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting.

Catherine’s latest book, A Cancer Answer, Holistic BREAST Cancer Management, A Guide to Effective & Non-Toxic Treatments, is available on Amazon.com and as a Kindle eBook.

Two of Catherine’s more recent books on Amazon.com are Our Chemical Lives And The Hijacking Of Our DNA, A Probe Into What’s Probably Making Us Sick (2009) and Lord, How Can I Make It Through Grieving My Loss, An Inspirational Guide Through the Grieving Process (2008).