intestinal tractDoctors are currently in a controversial battle over the benefit, or lack thereof, of a healthy gut and its direct relationship on illness. Some say there is absolutely no connection while others show study after study proving the link. The medical community is torn on the topic while countless patients wait, in pain, searching for healing.

SFARI, Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative, in November of 2013 called the situation a bacterial controversy saying, “Some studies have found certain bacterial species in children with autism and not in controls, but a new study says there are no differences between the groups.” As the studies showed similarities between bacterium of twins where one twin had autism and the other was mainstream.

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Scientists have discovered our good bacteria can put off their own antibiotics. Different locations in our bodies have different protective microbial species. Dry forearms have different microbes than our oily scalps and backs have different microbes than our warm and moist mouths, underarms and between the legs. The gut, or intestinal tract, contains the most complex and extensive microbial system. 

Dr. Emeran Mayer, MD and gastroenterologist says, “Our gut microbes affect what goes on in our brains.”

Mayer has been studying the connection of gut bacteria with behavior and brain function. Thousands of volunteers have been undergoing MRI scans where their brain structure is compared to their gut bacteria. He has been finding a connection to dominating gut bacteria and brain function depending on the microbial mix of bacteria.

Dr. Stephen M. Collins MBBS, FRCP(UK), FRCPC, also a gastroenterologist, is researching a study on behavioral phenotype in mice transference through gut flora. The study is to test, “Intestinal microbiome influences brain development and function in healthy mice,” presumably negatively affected, or caused by antibiotics and laxatives. Click here to read more on hidden antibiotics in foods you eat daily.

Current Opinion in Microbiology reported the study showed, “Mice fed beef enriched diets exhibited changes in learning and memory, while mice treated with a regimen of non-absorbable antibiotics, that shifted but did not eliminate the microbial composition of the gut, induced less anxious behavior.” They went on to say, “The administration of selected probiotic bacteria to mice improved anxiety-like behavior.”

The study found germ-free mice, or mice with absence of beneficial gut microbiomes, showed less caution in dangerous situations and increased risk taking behavior. Most specifically they showed, “mild restraint stress was exaggerated.” Interestingly enough the study showed the behavior was reversed, returned to normal, when “colonization with SPF bacteria from normal mice” was reintroduced to the problematic mice.

FCT (Fecal Microbial Therapy) is increasing in popularity with many seeing positive results. Current Opinion in Microbiology also reported, “Other experiments were conducted to investigate mechanisms underlying microbiome to brain signaling in mice and these excluded a role for sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves, as well as changes in peripheral cytokine levels. We speculate that changes are mediated via metabolites of bacteria acting directly on the host brain, or indirectly by influencing host metabolism of neuro-active chemicals and their precursors.”

They further say, “Ingestion of a probiotic-containing fermented milk beverage by healthy females attenuated emotive stress-induced changes in brain activity and connectivity as assessed by functional magnetic resonance imaging. This study provides a linkage between the above-described animal data and the existence of a gut microbe-to-brain communication system in humans.”

NPR reported, “Bold mice became timid when they got the microbes of anxious ones. And aggressive mice calmed down when the scientists altered their microbes by changing their diet, feeding them probiotics or dosing them with antibiotics.”

When researchers in Ireland cut the vagus nerve the behavior of the mice was no longer responsive to FMT. The vagus nerve runs from the abdomen, specifically the gut to the brain.

A study released in November, 2012 showed argumentative results among scientists. Some saw no correlation between gut flora and disease some thought it was too early and too inconclusive to make the connection. “It’s really hard to interpret microbiome results,” Catherine Lozupone, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Colorado at Boulder said in November 2012. “It’s a new field — we’re still trying to figure out how to analyze data.”

The highly inflammatory words that illness is not linked to unhealthy gut flora is obtrusive. Countless doctors have found enormous bacterial overgrowth in autistic children, most especially Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD, a neurologist who studies pathogens and bacteria overgrowth with their connection to disease, discusses her findings extensively in her book GAPS, published November 2010 – three years prior to the SFARI report showing autism has no connection with gut bacteria. Dr. Natasha’s findings prove study after study, to the point of exhaustion, gut bacteria causes illness, most especially autism, bipolar disorder, celiacs and depression.

Dr. Lawrence Broxmeyer, MD, also discusses his findings extensively in his book Autism, an Ancient Foe Becomes a Modern Scourge – the return of a stealth bacteria, published November 2012 – a year prior to the SFARI report.

According to NPR, the intestinal tract and digestive system regulates disease and our metabolism.

Dr. Hiromi Shinya, MD, discusses his findings of bacterial overgrowth compromising and running the immune system in his book The Microbe Factor.

Elaine Gottschall, biochemist and cell biologist also shows countless studies and connections between gut bacteria and disease in her book Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet.

Dr. Tom O’Bryan from believes the connection of gut bacteria and health is a simple cause and affect relationship. This belief led him to run a Gluten Summit in November of 2013 where a minimum of three hours of studies daily for seven days were discussed by respected doctors from all fields showing the gut brain microbiome connection.

Dr. O’Bryan concluded in his studies that throughout the course of time whenever new medical research emerged it took the medical community 17 years to fully be knowledgeable and executing the new practices. 

*If you learned something from this post share it so others can do the same. To support the efforts of this blog shop the affiliate links above like this one. You pay the same shopping through Amazon while the author receives a small referral fee from Amazon. This offsets the costs of this site.

*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, GAPS who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia. She works as a Certified GAPS Practitioner who sees clients in her office, Skype and phone. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia through food she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. This is not a news article published by a paper trying to make money. This blog is put out by a mom who sees first hand the effects of nourishing food vs food-ish items. No company pays her for writing these blogs, she considers this a form of missionary work. It is her desire to scream it from the rooftops so that others don’t suffer from the damaging effect of today’s “food”.

“GAPS™ and Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ are the trademark and copyright of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. The right of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Patent and Designs Act 1988.”  


Other sources:

Gondalia S.V. et al. Autism Res. Epub ahead of print (2012) PubMed




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