Anyone else notice there’s been an uptick in mainstream media reporting related to the gut microbiome?
It’s even crept into my local paper, which picked up an AP article relating how artificial sweeteners could possibly tie to diabetes via its effect on said gut:
A preliminary study done mostly in mice suggests that artificial sweeteners may set the stage for diabetes in some people.
The study authors said they can’t make dietary recommendations but that their results should inspire more research into the topic.
Basically, the study suggests that artificial sweeteners alter the makeup of normal, beneficial bacteria in the gut. That appears to hamper how the body handles sugar in the diet, a situation that can lead to developing diabetes.
The results, from researchers in Israel, were released Wednesday by the journal Nature.
How about that. Not that this is new — the whole Resistant Starch thing triggered a lot of interest around here in the gut — the “second brain,” as one researcher called it — awhile ago.
It had been on the radar for quite awhile. I remember seeing a year or two ago research talking about how there where over 150 distinct species of this microbiome community that lives on and inside us, but aren’t related to us — i.e., don’t have any of our DNA. They have 100 times the number of genes we have, and weigh at least a couple of pounds. They drive all kinds of chemical and physiological processes in us, but have been largely unstudied.
Like I said, not new. What is new is that it’s news.
I didn’t think the general media would be reporting on this stuff for years. I mean, you’re just starting to see LCHF get regular respectable mentions, and now even saturated fat is getting better press, but that’s been a decades-long haul.
Within days of seeing the artificial sweetener/diabetes story, I also saw a couple of other “gut” articles in Yahoo’s new links. One was from Forbes on the same idea, but this time specifically targeting diet sodas as culprits through the same mechanism of altering the gut balance. Then, another linking through to the Huffington Post(!) regarding food allergies:
Mice that were raised in a sterile environment or given antibiotics early in life lacked a common gut bacteria that appears to prevent food allergies, US researchers said Monday.
The bacterium, called Clostridia, appears to minimize the likelihood that rodents will become allergic to peanuts, and researchers would like to find out if it does the same in people.
In the meantime, they found that supplementing rodents with probiotics containing Clostridia later in life could reverse the allergy, according to the report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences…
The precise cause of food allergies is unknown, but some studies suggest that changes in diet, hygiene and use of antimicrobial soap and disinfecting products may lead to changes in the bacteria of the gastrointestinal tract that leave people more susceptible.
I’m not sure what I found more amazing; that the HuffPo would cover something accurately, or that I would read something they printed.
To be clear, many of these studies were looking at mice, and we know that is far from a “gold standard.” I didn’t perform Tom’s normal exercise of pulling up and dissecting the source articles.
First of all, that’s not in my wheelhouse. But mainly, I’m not interested specifically in the research, per se — it’s the fact that it’s seeped into the regular press, and is providing answers to some questions many people seem to be seeking better answers to. Like, “how come all of these kids seem to be allergic to everything these days?”
I also find it interesting in that these are reporting findings that aren’t in line with the current medical establishment zeitgeist. The reports indicate the answer may be in less medicine, less sterile environments, less industrial foodstuffs.
I really didn’t expect to see anything about the gut microbiome until Merk or Monsanto or someone figured out a way to patent a couple of them, then that’s all we’d hear about.
I think it’s possible that the things Tom talked about in his Vox Populi speech — why people just don’t believe the “experts” in medicine, nutrition, etc. and are looking to the “wisdom of crowds” — are starting to guide the questions that get asked, and the stories that get covered. A couple of years ago, the only answer to food allergies was testing, avoiding, and a prescription. All of your reported options resided in the medical establishment, because those were the only people who got asked.
Now, it’s looking more like the press and regular folks are starting to clue in that there’s other options. Like, keep little Johnny away from the Pink Stuff unless it’s major, and let him go outside and eat some dirt.
Just your grandma told you. See, it was science after all.
Well, Tom should be wrapping up the big parts of the book by now so Chareva can start doing her part. Sorry you got stuck with me for an extra week, but it should pay off in the end. The Wife and I are going down to their farm next week, so maybe I’ll get a sneak preview. At least I’ll get to try this “disc golf” thing.
Thanks for putting up with me. See you in the comments.
The Older Brother
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