What happens to your microbiome when you stop eating gluten?

The Gluten-free Diet

Celiac Disease is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks and damages the villi of the small intestine when it detects gluten. This damage can cause pain, fatigue, and diarrhea. If left untreated it can lead to complications such as infertility or cancer. Only a small number of people- around one percent of the population- actually suffer from Celiac Disease. A gluten-free diet is used as treatment for both celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Even though it is unknown whether a gluten-free diet is beneficial to people who do not have Celiac Disease, many people have adopted a gluten-free diet to eat healthier or lose weight. The number of people eating gluten-free is rising, with 17% of Americans actively avoid including gluten in their diet (Riffkin 2015). Continue reading “What happens to your microbiome when you stop eating gluten?”

Does your gut control your brain?

When studying mental illness, the brain has long been the focal organ of interest. Psychiatry and neurobiology examine communication from the brain and how its chemical imbalance produces central nervous system (CNS) disorders such as depression and anxiety. However, microbiology presents a new avenue of inquiry that is looking from the opposite direction: how is communication to the brain affecting mental health? This is a provocative question under investigation through recent studies of the microbiota of our gut. Continue reading “Does your gut control your brain?”

Fixing itchy scalps could be as easy as balancing bacterial communities

Background

Microbes are everywhere. They live in our backyards, on our pets, in our homes and even on and inside of us! Microbes are the bacteria, fungi and viruses that exist in a particular environment, including the human body, soil, plants and the kitchen counter (Marchesi & Ravel, 2015). Our first experience with microbes is usually at home, where we are taught to wash our hands to prevent us from getting sick. “You can’t eat without washing,” your aunt might say, “there are germs all over your hands!” Your aunt is right. For every human cell in our body, there is a microbe cell to match it (Sender et al., 2016). However not all of these microbes are harmful.

Continue reading “Fixing itchy scalps could be as easy as balancing bacterial communities”