Anxiety and depression are at an all-time high, with more diagnoses and higher disability ratings (Spitchak, 2020). Mental health disorders like this have been linked to inflammation in the gut, as the immune system is activated by stress (Spitchak, 2020). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and anxiety-reducing medications like benzodiazepines are the current gold standard for managing long-term chronic stress and anxiety, as well as short-term needs like panic or anxiety attacks (Ballenger, 2000). These methods do help, but some people have drug-resistant depression, and others simply prefer a greater variety of options to manage their symptoms. Getting outside more has long been accepted as a mental health boost, both from the calming peaceful environment to the vitamin D exposure, to the clean air, and even the soil microbes (Asprey, 2021). A less conventional option than a simple walk may exist and appears to be emerging after 16 plus years of research by Chris Lowry, who has been working with the soil bacterium M. vaccae since the early 2000s.
The microbiome of the gut specifically plays a role in chronic metabolic disease, one of which is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) (Ren et al. 2020) which this blog post specifically covers. CKD is a chronic condition because the damage to kidneys occurs over a long time period, inhibiting their ability to filter blood and toxins. As the damage occurs over time there is increasing risk that patients will end up on dialysis or need transplantation. The sooner CKD can be diagnosed the higher chance a patient has to protect their kidneys (“What is chronic Kidney disease?” 2017). CKD is an important disease to discuss since approximately 13.4% of the global population suffers from it and around 30 million people in the U.S. (Ren et al. 2020). Sufferers have a greatly increased risk of morbidity and mortality, as well as suffering from the significant healthcare costs that arise with this disease. For most patients CKD is not diagnosed until it is in a very progressed stage because the clinical symptoms are normally nonexistent in the early stages, meaning that most end up in end-stage renal failure (ESRF) which requires dialysis, transplantation, or other costly and long-term medical procedures. In 2012, Viziri et al. demonstrated the relationship between the gut microbiome and CKD. Gut derived uremic toxins, created by enzymes that the microbiota of the gut harbor are a factor in the progression of CKD and in previous studies it has been observed that as renal function decreases there is an increase in these toxins. Even though we know the connections with advanced stages of the disease, there is little research that has been done to potentially use the microbiome to diagnose early stage CKD, which leads to the researchers main question. Continue reading “Could the Gut Microbiome be the Answer to Chronic Kidney Disease?”
Salmonella are bacteria that are often responsible for food-borne illnesses. The symptoms of Salmonella infection is “nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fever, chills, headache, and blood in stool’ (Mayo Clinic, 2019). Sometimes Salmonella infections need to be treated with antibiotics, but it is becoming more common that Salmonella and other infectious bacteria are antibiotic resistant due to overexposure to antibiotics (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019). When someone with an antibiotic resistant bacteria gets sick, it can be incredibly difficult to treat if the person’s immune system isn’t able to fight off the illness on its own. However, there’s an alternative, bacteriophages are viruses that infect and kill specific bacteria or archaea. This treatment option has gained interest in the last decade due to the increasing abundance of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Continue reading “Nasty Salmonella Infections Could be Defeated by Viruses Inside Our Guts Without Antibiotics”
Background: Can leading a simple traditional life correlate to health in non intuitive ways such as acting as a buffer against the development of asthma? Recent studies have shown that asthma is less prominent when microbial diversity is high (Genuneit, 2012); this trend has been observed in children involved in farming (Mutius,2010). Genuneit demonstrate that children who are exposed to farming have a 25% decreased chance of experiencing asthma (Genuneit, 2012). Logically it is sensible that the diversity of microbes would be higher in children exposed to farming, with all the dirt, hay and animals that comes with it, than children who are not exposed to that environment and live in more consistent sanitary lifestyle. In other words the diversity of a bacterial community across subjects (farm children vs. non-farm children) is much higher in children exposed to farming than those who were not. But how is such a phenomenon achieved? Continue reading “Could the Amish have it Right?”