A Simple Blog To Make You Sound Really Smart About Belly Bugs


Did you really think I could stay away from the subject of the over 100 trillion tiny friends1 that inhabit our insides? You would need to be in a pretty intense and successful media fast to not be aware of the explosion of microbiome madness headlines. Therefore, this blog is my gift to you…a tool to navigate the conversations on this topic of microbes that will inevitably come up at your social gatherings. After you finish reading it, you will be the go-to genius of our inner ecosystem. Geekiness is the new cool!

The One Paragraph Summary Of All That These Tiny Critters Can Do

These little critters are famous for good reason! The explosion of research in the world of bugs is validating their invaluable role in modulating our bodies in a variety of ways.1-21 Here’s a quick summary of what hosting a “happy microbiota population” in our inner tubes will provide us with: the manufacturing of vitamins3, modulating the risk for cancer4, pathogen inhibition5, decreasing cardiovascular disease risk,6   positively influencing mood7 and behavior8, assisting with detoxification,9 digestive support 10, estrogen metabolism,11 regulating weight,12-15modulating diabetes markers,16supporting skin health,17 decreasing food sensitivities,18 impacting autism symptoms,10 decreasing the risk for fatty liver disease,20 modulating autoimmunity 21, and more. Amazing, right!?

After reading that, I bet I’ve convinced you to go swallow some bugs (probiotics), exercise, and eat some polyphenols and fiber in order to keep your bug companions happy. So now you can feel smart AND smug in your health outcomes as you read the rest of the blog.



IMPORTANT: The Latest Studies To Make You Look Smart (At Green Smoothie/ Prebiotic Parties & Other Gatherings)

iStock_000015518243LargeA couple of articles really grabbed me in the past few weeks and I was bugging out to share them with you. (Very bad pun, sorry about that!) If you get these headlines down, you’ll be a hit for sure.


1. The Diverse Bug Population In the Venezuela population, the Yanomami Indian Study

This study wowed researchers, 22-25 and now, it will wow your friends. According to EurekAlert, “A multicenter team of U.S. and Venezuelan scientists, led by researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center, have discovered the most diverse collection of bodily bacteria yet in humans among an isolated tribe of Yanomami Indians in the remote Amazonian jungles of southern Venezuela.”

This is sad news for those of us who live in industrialized countries. We have a measly 40% less diversity in comparison to the Yanomami Indians. The researchers suggested this was due to our overuse of antibiotics, the unhealthy typical Western diet, and non-optimal living habits. (Thankfully, you have the tools to diversify your bugs, because you swallowed your probiotics, exercised, and ate your fiber, right? You’re the exception!)

Interesting, the tribe also exhibited some bugs with antibiotic resistance in their guts, this is in a population that didn’t take any medications!! I believe this may be from the transfer of antibiotics through our water supply and overall pollution worldwide.25

According to the head researcher, the microbiomes once again provide the common link to many of our modern concerns, “Our results bolster a growing body of data suggesting a link between, on the one hand, decreased bacterial diversity, industrialized diets, and modern antibiotics, and on the other, immunological and metabolic diseases–such as obesity, asthma, allergies, and diabetes, which have dramatically increased since the 1970s,” notes Dr. Dominguez-Bello. “We believe there is something environmental occurring in the past 30 years that is driving these diseases. We think the microbiome could be involved.”22

OK, that was the longest summary, now some quick and dirty facts on more of the latest studies…


2. How Bug Happiness Means More Smiles & Serotonin For You

A study in Cell popped up regarding how bacteria in our bellies modulate serotonin, the “happy brain neurotransmitter.” 26-27


3. A 13 Minute Video on This Hot Topic With One of the Leading Brains Of Bugs

Dr. Topol interviewed Dr. Blaser who runs the Human Microbiome Center in NYC (13 min), pretty cool stuff here for those of you who want even more information!


superbugs and oils4. Prebiotics- Gut Bugs Aren’t As Cranky When Fed Good Foods!

A very long review provided evidence that our microbiome composition and imbibing the food that they love, prebiotics, will modulate our metabolic and health outcomes. 28 I really enjoyed the read from the 10+ authors, so check it out if you are interested in really boosting your inner nerd on the ins-and-outs of your insides in a very detailed way.


5. Wait- Take Your Vitamin D With Yogurt

At your smoothie, prebiotic party, wow them by asking for some vitamin D in your coconut kefir and blueberry smoothie. Here’s the summary you can use to explain your request:

In a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind parallel-group clinical trial, 59 postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes received fortified yogurt (FY; 2000 IU vitamin D in 100 g/day) or plain yogurt (PY) for 12 weeks. Glycemic markers, anthropometric indexes, inflammatory, and bone turnover markers were assessed at baseline and after 12 weeks.

CONCLUSIONS: Daily consumption of 2000 IU vitamin D-fortified yogurt for 12 weeks improved glycemic markers (except HbA1c), anthropometric indexes, inflammation, and bone turnover markers in postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes. 30


6. Probiotics and Negative Thoughts

Got a cranky, “Negative Nellie” party companion who seems not impressed with your intellectual prowess? Ouch!

Offer him/her your vitamin D, coconut kefir-blueberry smoothie. Why?

A recent study showed that a multispecies probiotic with “Bifidobacterium bifidum W23, Bifidobacterium lactis W52, Lactobacillus acidophilus W37, Lactobacillus brevis W63, Lactobacillus casei W56, Lactobacillus salivarius W24, and Lactococcus lactis (W19 and W58) may reduce cognitive reactivity in non-depressed individuals.”

The study was TRIPLE-BLIND, placebo-controlled, randomized, pre-and-post intervention design with 20 participants. Compared to participants with placebo, those who consumed the buggy combination for 4 weeks showed a happy disposition, largely related to “reduced rumination and aggressive thoughts.”30


CONGRATS, you’ve done it! You are now a “microbe genius.” Now take good care of your little friends and they will take good care of you- in health and by exercising your intellect.

Leave your incredible insights and comments below!



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(2) TuftsNow. The Microbiome. September 23, 2013.

(3) Leon Chaitow, N.D., D.O. and Natasha Trenev. Probiotics. Thorsons Publishing Group, Northamptonshire England, c1990 ISBN 0-7225-1919-2 http://www.holisticmed.com/detox/dtx-probio.txt

(4) Schwabe, RF, & Jobin, C. The microbiome and cancer. Nature Reviews Cancer. October 2013. 13; 800-812. doi:10.1038/nrc3610

(5) Anti-infective mechanisms induced by a probiotic Lactobacillus strain against Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium infection. Int J Food Microbiol. 2010 Apr 15;138(3):223-31. Epub 2010 Feb 1.

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(7) Neufeld, K. M., Kang, N., Bienenstock, J. and Foster, J. A. (2011), Reduced anxiety-like behavior and central neurochemical change in germ-free mice (abstract). Neurogastroenterology & Motility. 2011; 23: 255–e119. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2982.2010.01620.x

(8) Rochellys Diaz Heijtza,b,1, Shugui Wangc, Farhana Anuard, Yu Qiana,b, Britta Björkholmd, Annika Samuelssond, Martin L. Hibberdc, Hans Forssbergb,e, and Sven Petterssonc,d,1. Normal gut microbiota modulates brain development and behavior. PNAS. December 2011.

(9) Cho KM, et al. Biodegradation of chlorpyrifos by lactic acid bacteria during kimchi fermentation. J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Mar 11;57(5):1882-9.

(10) Probiotic Therapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). Jan 2010; 6(1): 39–44. PMCID: PMC2886445

(11) Fecal microbial determinants of fecal and systemic estrogens and estrogen metabolites: a cross-sectional study. J Transl Med. 2012; 10: 253. doi: 10.1186/1479-5876-10-253

(12) Whitman, Claire. Controlling obesity: Is it more than just diet and exercise? January 2010.

(13)Kallus & Brandt. The intestinal microbiota and obesity. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2012 Jan;46(1):16-24. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e31823711fd.

(14) Frequency of Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes in gut microbiota in obese and normal weight Egyptian children and adults. Arch Med Sci. Jun 2011; 7(3): 501–507. Published online Jul 11, 2011. doi: 10.5114/aoms.2011.23418.

(15) Stephen Daniells. Gut health linked to excessive weight gain during pregnancy. Nutra. March 2010.

(16) Larsen N, et al. Gut microbiota in human adults with type 2 diabetes differs from non-diabetic adults (abstract). PLoS One. 2010 Feb 5;5(2):e9085.

(17) Bowe WP, Logan AC. Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis – back to the futuMacIntyre DA, Chandiramani M, Lee YS, Kindinger L, Smith A, Angelopoulos N, Hehne B, et al. The vaginal microbiome during pregnancy and the postpartum period in a European population. Scientific Reports. March 11, 2015. doi:10.1038/srep08988

(18) Paddock C. Infants’ gut bacteria linked to food sensitization. MNT. March 5, 2015. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/290377.php

(19) Parracho HM, Bingham MO, Gibson GR, McCartney AL. Differences between the gut microflora of children with autistic spectrum disorders and that of healthy children. J Med Microbiol. 2005; 54(10):987-991.

(20) Michail S1, Lin M2, Frey MR2, Fanter R3, Paliy O4, Hilbush B5, Reo NV4. Altered gut microbial energy and metabolism in children with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2015 Feb;91(2):1-9. doi: 10.1093/femsec/fiu002. Epub 2014 Dec 5.

(21) Steka, B. Multiple Sclerosis and the Microbiome: What’s the Connection? An Expert Interview With Sushrut Jangi, MD. Medscape Neurology. October 01, 2014. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/832385

(22) NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine. Unprecedented microbial diversity reported in remote Amazonian tribe. Research provides a rare window onto a human microbiome unexposed to antibiotics and industrialized diets. EurekAlert. April 17, 2015.

(23) Deng B. Bacteria bonanza found in remote Amazon village: Genes for antibiotic resistance among those found in most-diverse human microbiome. Nature News. April 17, 2015. http://www.nature.com/news/bacteria-bonanza-found-in-remote-amazon-village-1.17348

(24) Norton A. Remote Amazon Tribe Members Have Greater Germ Diversity in Their Bodies. Health Day. April 17, 2015. http://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/immunization-news-405/hed-698532.html

(25) Gothwal, R. and Shashidhar, T. Antibiotic Pollution in the Environment: A Review. Clean Soil Air Water. 2015; 43: 479–489. doi: 10.1002/clen.201300989

(26) Jessica M. Yano, Kristie Yu, Gregory P. Donaldson, Gauri G. Shastri, Phoebe Ann, Liang Ma, Cathryn R. Nagler, Rustem F. Ismagilov, Sarkis K. Mazmanian, Elaine Y. Hsiao. Indigenous Bacteria from the Gut Microbiota Regulate Host Serotonin Biosynthesis. Cell. 2015; 161 (2): 264 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.02.047

(27) California Institute of Technology. Microbes help produce serotonin in gut. ScienceDaily. 9 April 2015. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150409143045.htm.

(28) Roberfroid M, Gibson GR, Hoyles L, McCartney AL, Rastall R, Rowland I, Wolvers D, Watzl B, Szajewska H, Stahl B, Guarner F, Respondek F, Whelan K, Coxam V, Davicco MJ, Léotoing L, Wittrant Y, Delzenne NM, Cani PD, Neyrinck AM, Meheust A. Prebiotic effects: metabolic and health benefits. Br J Nutr. 2010 Aug;104 Suppl 2:S1-63. doi: 10.1017/S0007114510003363. Review.

(29) Jafari T1, Faghihimani E2, Feizi A3, Iraj B2, Javanmard SH4, Esmaillzadeh A1, Fallah AA5, Askari G6. Effects of vitamin D-fortified low fat yogurt on glycemic status, anthropometric indexes, inflammation, and bone turnover in diabetic postmenopausal women: A randomised controlled clinical trial. Clin Nutr. 2015 Mar 5. pii: S0261-5614(15)00072-2. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2015.02.014.

(30) Steenbergen L, Sellaro R, van Hemert S, Bosch JA, Colzato LS. A randomized controlled trial to test the effect of multispecies probiotics on cognitive reactivity to sad mood. Brain Behav Immun. 2015 Apr 7. pii: S0889-1591(15)00088-4.