The Roundup - Edition 13

The Roundup


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Here is The Roundup, Edition 13, bringing you the best from around the web from the past two weeks!

Blast from the Past

Many studies in recent years have shown fecal microbiota transplantation to be a highly effective treatment for recurrent Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infection, and some research even suggests that it may also play a role in treating other gastrointestinal (GI) and non-GI diseases. A new review article, entitled “An overview of fecal microbiota transplantation: techniques, indications, and outcomes” has been published in the August issue of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, and examines how fecal therapy may be used to treat a variety of common disorders, including antibiotic-resistant c. diff infections, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and constipation. Fecal transplants have even shown promise in preventing the development of diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

I’ve written about fecal transplants in the past, and as gross as this new therapy sounds, I think it could be one of the most promising treatments of the 21st century. Not only does fecal transplantation have the capability of treating a variety of gastrointestinal illness, it also has the potential to treat and cure a variety of disorders related to metabolic or immune dysfunction. If patients (and practitioners!) can get over the “ick” factor, I believe fecal transplantation will truly be the cure of the future.

That said, before you rush out to try a fecal transplant at home, I want to emphasize that there are real risks associated with this procedure. I’ve now heard from several people that have done this without properly screening the donor first, or have used a donor that was not a good candidate. The most current guidelines now suggest excluding people with any history of autoimmune disease, mental health problems, and perhaps even skin disorders, given the increased understanding of the connection between these conditions and the gut microbiota. I’ve heard anecdotal reports of people who’ve experienced weight loss or gain, eczema or psoriasis, and even changes in personality after fecal transplants. So, while this is a tremendously exciting potential treatment, it needs to be approached with caution and common sense, and should be done under the supervision of a health care provider experienced with the procedure.

Research Report

  • Standing and fidgeting, also called nonexercise activity thermogenesis, results in 84% higher energy expenditure than sitting motionless.
  • New research suggests that the reason most smokers gain weight when they quit smoking is due to changes in intestinal flora. Apparently, bacterial strains that prevail in the intestinal flora of obese persons also increase in people giving up smoking.
  • A recent study demonstrates that even mild stress can make it difficult to control your emotions, including fear and anxiety.
  • Evidence suggests that individuals with a “low bacterial richness” in their guts are characterized by more marked overall adiposity, insulin resistance and dyslipidemia and a more pronounced inflammatory response when compared with “high bacterial richness” individuals.

Worth a Look

  • Anthony Colpo takes a swipe at the notion of “healthy whole grains”.
  • Mark Sisson writes about how life purpose affects longevity. (I discuss this in my book, as well.)
  • Emily Deans, MD discusses research correlating soda consumption and aggressive, violent behavior in children.
  • Diane Sanfilippo of Balanced Bites discusses “Fermentation 101” with Jill Ciciarelli.

For the Foodies

  1. I thought it was interesting that Chris shared this just before this story came out in NPR’s Science Friday today: Do Your Gut Bacteria Influence Your Metabolism? I’ve been wondering about a fecal implant for myself b/c of the reasons Chris mentions, since I’ve had chronic probs with some of those …and then this other news seems like it could be related: ”

    “In a new study, researchers were able to make mice lean or obese by altering their gut bacteria. Jeffrey Gordon, an author of the study, discusses how the interaction between diet and the microbial community in our gut influences our health.”

    Too bad their choice of experimental diets didn’t include a more paleo-ish type…but still…seems like some interesting possibilities for further consideration.

    I’m not educated enough to know if gut bacteria are a totally different aspect than fecal bacteria….but it seems like these two things are probably related.

    And as the Sci Friday clip says, and probably many of us that read Chris’s stuff already know: the microbes field is exploding. Likewise, as Chris noted, “I think it could be one of the most promising treatments of the 21st century” …my guess is… if a way can be found that intestinal microbe colonies, could be influenced by fecal transplants, with the microbes that would help address obesity issues as this study indicates, I bet lots of folks would get over the “ick factor” really fast!! I know it would help me get over it!

    If it will help me with IBD, IBS, Leaky Gut, Auto-immune, mental health AND lose weight ! ? ! Wowzers !! Sign me up!

  2. I think the whole concept of NEAT (nonexercise activity thermogenesis) is over blown. what is the cause and effect? People read this and then try to consciously increase their fidgeting.

    Does fidgeting cause calorie burn or does excess calories/energy cause fidgeting?

  3. Hi Chris,
    like Matt the potential is enormous.
    Daniel Vitalis talks about the genetic diversity that comes via foraging wild herbs/plants. Is it possible that diversity (types of DNA that is sharing of species) is a reflection of flora microbe proliferation? If so, a renewal of vitality will come from a shared ecology with sea and land hot-blooded animals as well as foraged wild plants.

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