Tag Archives: microbiome

Curing peanut allergy


A melbourne outfit led by Mimi Tang recently cured some kiddies of their peanut allergy combining a probiotic and a kind of homeopathic therapy – escalating doses of peanut allergen ( in homeopathy the sicker you are the LOWER the dose ) It is a double blind study, the kids are  photogenic so everyone is happy, especially Prof Tang (who is crowing about being the first to do this though I she isn’t. US and UK doctors have done it before without the probiotics – http://homeopathyplus.com.au/peanut.html )

Abstract of the research ( done with Murdoch money ) : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25592987?log$=activity and an earlier review of the topic by Mimi Tang here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3448073/

So being nut allergic and having an allergic kid I immediately went hunting and fortunately the probiotic is common – Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG. It’s in vaalia yoghurt. Plan – do the math and then go buy a straight probiotic dose of L actobacillus GG from Ethical Nutrients ( who can label it as helpful for eczema) – “100 grams of Vaalia Yoghurt contains a minimum of 100,000,000 colony forming units of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG or LGG®. ” “Vaalia Innergy for immunity contains 10 times the amount of Lactobacillus GG compared to Vaalia probiotic yoghurt.” http://www.vaalia.com.au/products/product-faqs/

Yoghurt is interesting – it will often make allergies WORSE because it’s a high histamine food ( all fermentations produce histamine ). Certainly I personally found eating kefir was a problem. I was most dismayed to find my allergies worsening because I loooved the stuff although it wasn’t until I read the Low Histamine chef’s articles and found out a large fresh juice ( its the oranges) and leftover prawn pizza = instant sneezing that the penny dropped. Certain strains of lactobacillus make histamine – others don’t. A common one L. casei is a culprit. The Bulletproof Executive has a fully referenced write up of the topic www.bulletproofexec.com/why-yogurt-and-probiotics-make-you-fat-and-foggy/

Histamine Intolerance and Which Bacteria to Avoid

Disturbance in gut biome also plays a significant role in creating the recent rise in histamine intolerance. Histamine intolerance is the result of an imbalance between the breakdown of histamine and its buildup in the gut. This is generally caused by a deficiency in the DAO enzymes (found in intestinal mucosa) that helps metabolize and breakdown dietary sources of histamine.

A histamine overload leads to increased inflammation and many other symptoms including: skin irritation, hives, throat tightening, increased heart rate, nasal congestion, migraines, fatigue, heartburn, reflux, and weight gain.4 Unlike other food allergies and sensitivities, the response from histamine intolerance is cumulative and not always immediate, so it is harder to pin point right away.

Another excellent review is ” Helpful Bacteria – Should you take probiotics” by David Schardt, Centre for Science in the Public Interest ( US based http://www.cspinet.org/new/pdf/nah_probiotics.pdf ).

Should You take Probiotics?

Caveat: – an intact mucosal barrier of the skin both outside and inside is likely needed as it is part of the initiating problem. I will have to ask if kids with eczema were screened out of the peanut trial.

“Animal experiments have confirmed that repeated topical contact with allergens through skin whose barrier function is disrupted could promote allergic sensitization and airway hypersensitivity and prevent oral tolerance induction (6–13)” In fact the peanut patch is another way of inducing immune tolerance ( i guess it’s bit like those expensive injections )

Reccomendations from scientific experts these days are changed more often than I repaint the house. Time magazine reports experts are now backpedalling on avoiding nuts to prevent later allergies “Based on recent findings, the AAP in 2008 changed its advice and now does not say parents should avoid feeding their babies peanuts.” http://time.com/3719341/peanut-allergy-cure-treatment/

and whyeee is modern medicine putting the boot into homeopathy when the underlying tenet ‘like cures like’ in teensy doses obviously works wonders applied to the immune system? There has been a recent escalation of  attempts to discredit this therapy and ban it in the UK, USA and Australia. I am sure they will just have to backpedal on that too as the scientific (versus the much older observational and intuitive) understanding of the immune system increases. Current state of play in Australia here: NHMRC Statement on Homeopathy and NHMRC Information Paper – Evidence on the effectiveness of homeopathy for treating health conditions – https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/health-topics/complementary-medicines/homeopathy-review


Fart Free Jerusalem Artichokes


Ok well maybe not exactly guaranteed fart free but we can make it safer to eat near a naked flame. At the one meeting Rodger brought jerusalem artichokes from his garden to share. This is an easy root crop, grows like the weed it is on marginal land but has a reputation for causing intestinal gas like no other. He forgot to mention their other name is ‘Jerusalem fartichokes’. This is because it stores energy mostly as inulin – a starch that human can’t digest although other bacteria in our colon can, which is a bit of a two edged sword.
There are simple ways to make Jerusalem artichokes more digestible. Firstly cold shock will cause breakdown of inulin to fructose which can be absorbed in the small intestine, so digging up the artichokes after a few frosts will yield sweeter, more digestible tubers, as will storage. Prolonged cooking is another way. Traditional cooking in a firepit for over 12 hours, or in a low oven 100 Celcius for 24 hours as per Stefano’s recipe 24 Hour Cooked Jerusalem Artichoke, Mushrooms, Scorzonera, Hazelnuts, Garlic “completely negates” the infamous gas producing after effects.
( athough of course this also means the whole ‘low GI’ thing for diabetics is also undone )

If you fancy the taste of fresh artichokes just eat a smaller amount. Inulin has been studied as a prebiotic as it particularly increases bifidobacteria species which are associated with good health – so as a supplement it’s useful for restoring the microbe balance after antibiotics.

An inulin dose of 5–8 g/d should be sufficient to elicit a positive effect on the gut microbiota. One possible side effect of prebiotic intake is intestinal discomfort from gas production. However, bifidobacteria and lactobacilli cannot produce gas as part of their metabolic process. Therefore, at a rational dose of up to 20 g/d, gas distension should not occur. If gas is being generated, then the carbohydrate is not acting as an authentic prebiotic”

Jerusalem artichokes contain about 16g of inulin per 100g weight. A little experimentation should yield a Goldilocks dose that’s right for you – enough inulin to encourage the good bifidobacteria, and not too much which causes overgrowth of other gas producing bacteria.

Fermentation and pickling will remove the inulin as well. There are a couple of methods. A recipe for jerusalem artichokes or sunchokes pickled with sugar, turmeric and chiles. http://agardenerstable.com/2014/02/24/taking-the-wind-out-of-jerusalem-artichokes/

Microbirth credits


20th September we are screening the premier of a documentary about childbirth and the effect on the human microbiome “Microbirth”. I’ve just been sent more details. Appearances include the following scientists and academics:

MARTIN BLASER, Director of the Human Microbiome Program & Professor of
Translational Medicine, New York University and Author of “Missing Microbes” which has just been published and added to the state library collection martinblaser.com
HANNAH DAHLEN, Professor of Midwifery, University of Western Sydney hannahdahlen.com.au

full cast list is pretty impressive :

– “Microbirth” includes the following scientists and academics:
RODNEY DIETERT, Professor of Immunotoxicology, Cornell University
MARTIN BLASER, Director of the Human Microbiome Program & Professor of
Translational Medicine, New York University
MARIA GLORIA DOMINGUEZ BELLO, Associate Professor, Department of Medicine,
New York University
PHILIP STEER, Emeritus Professor of Obstetrics, Imperial College, London
NEENA MODI, Professor of Neonatal Medicine, Imperial College, London
MATTHEW HYDE, Research Associate in the Section of Neonatal Medicine, Imperial
College, London
SUE CARTER, Professor, Behavioral Neurobiologist, University of North Carolina
School of Medicine
ALEECA BELL, Assistant Professor, Dept of Women, Children and Family Health Science,
University of Illinois at Chicago
STEFAN ELBE, Professor of International Relations, Director of Centre for Global
Health Policy, University of Sussex and member of the Future Security Advisory
ANITA KOZYRSKYJ, Associate Professor, University of Alberta and Co-Principal
Investigator, Synergy in Microbiota Research (SyMBIOTA)
JACQUELYN TAYLOR, Associate Professor of Nursing, University of Yale
HANNAH DAHLEN, Professor of Midwifery, University of Western Sydney
LESLEY PAGE, Professor of Midwifery, King’s College London and President, Royal
College of Midwives

more information and ticket purchases on next-meeting page

Microbiome – friends with benefits


Title of this post stolen from a youtube lecture I’ve just watched here . Been doing a little research ahead of our September screening of “Microbirth” (see next meeting for details) and guilt tripping over the way the kids were raised!  However they made it to adulthood ok so maybe I need a chill pill containing L. reuteri NCIMB 30242  – Micropharma’s flagship probiotic which restores metabolism of bile acids. Bile acids properly metabolised not only lower cholesterol but are anti inflammatory, and perhaps loss of the right gut bugs contributes to inflammatory bowel diseases. I think they found it with this nifty wee ‘fantastic voyager’ programable robotic device that can sample the gut wall after you swallow it.

The microbiome is assembled and shaped between the ages of 0-4 years old and it has been shown recently to be negatively affected by C-section delivery4, insufficient breastfeeding18, antibiotic use6, an overly hygienic environment19, and poor diet7. The health of your microbiome is largely a result of your childhood and diet, but is also the result of environmental factors such as the use of oral antibiotic and the presence of disease6, 20, 21.

The Microbiome of people with cardiovascular disease22, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)10, irritable bowel disease (IBD)13, low vitamin D23 and osteoporosis24, and other diseases such as obesity25, liver disease26, and type two diabetes mellitus (T2DM)27 are notably different from those who are considered to be healthy. http://www.microbiomeplus.com/t-microbiome-bile-metabolism.aspx

Ok so what’s going on inside my gut is not actually any different to what happens to food scraps outside the body! Fermented food is awesome because of course it has a whole bunch of symbiotic wild organisms no pure culture can match. I’m guessing in part it’s due to the swapping of genes that goes on in the wild, including inside a gut. The genetic difference between e coli from two different people is like 40% while the genetic difference between the hosts is less than 1%. Because they can adapt quickly they can help us to adapt as well –

Gut bacteria in Japanese people borrowed sushi-digesting genes from ocean bacteria

My composting efforts have always been FAIL, even the worm farm – Tassie is cooold. Speed up the composting process with EM Bokashi – a mold that is easy to cultivate by anaerobic fermentation, and start a home compost or industrial scale composting at school with NO STINK ( if it’s done right !) You can buy the ready made Bokashi kit from Bunnings but the DIY instructions are online. Maybe I will have another go at composting: