Monthly Archives: June 2016

Obesity, Autism and Gut Bacteria

Obesity, Autism and Gut Bacteria

References: Cell June 2016,

Did you know that women who are obese when pregnant give birth to autistic children at a 50% higher rate? Did you also know that the intestinal flora of obese folks differs from that of normal folks? Ok, take those as givens and follow this research thread.

Take mice and make them obese by feeding them a very high fat diet. You can show that their stool content dramatically changes to being much less diverse. Then, you observe the amount of time their pups spend in social behaviors and find that they interact for only 22 seconds out of 10 minutes, whereas normal pups average two minutes. And the pups of the obese mothers much prefer playing with a plastic cup, whereas normal mothers’ pups play with other pups. Sounds like autistic children, in mouse form.

Now, in mice, you can examine their gut flora in great detail, and then look at brain cells too. The obese mothers’ gut flora was markedly limited, as duplicated in their pups. When the pups were given access to normal mouse feces, (which all mice nibble on – getting probiotic infusions), their gut flora returned to normal, as did their social interaction.

What was most interesting is that the differences in behavior were narrowed down to one bacteria species in the gut; Lactobacillus reuteri. It was 9 times more abundant in normal mothers feces, compared to the obese mothers. This is where their research got really interesting. Taking the “autistic” mice pups, they were given either live L. reuteri or dead L. reuteri in their drinking water. The pups that got the live bacteria were found to have normal brain development of the cells that produce oxytocin, and normal social behavior. The autistic mice pups that got the dead bacteria, didn’t develop and remained socially isolated. The autistic mice pups that got the live bacteria still had 13% less oxytocin producing cells, but that was enough for them to develop into normal social behaving mice.

This evidence is so powerful, there are now multiple studies of oxytocin being given to children with autism. The field of social modulation of behavior is just getting started, with oxytocin front and center in that research. And now, what is opening up is that behavior may be driven by the bacteria in your gut.

Can you take L. reuteri orally as a supplement? You sure can! Each species appears to have it’s own strain.

www.What Will Work for me. Well, I just learned about L. reuteri and it’s effect on the gut, and subsequent effect on social behavior. I’ve seen oxytocin help a bunch of folks needing better sleep, less stress, more calm. Maybe what they need, and we all need is some way to measure L.reuteri in our gut, and some way to replace it if it’s missing. I think the next stage needs to be what diet encourages it’s growth. We know that including it in your diet can prevent weight gain, to some degree. I want to watch this story evolve. Way too interesting.

Pop Quiz

‪1. Obese mice’s pups have less social interaction and fewer oxytocin producing cells in their brains, in alignment with fewer of bacterial species L. reuteri in their guts? T or F

That’s it in a nutshell.

2. The same applies to humans. T or F

Not so fast. The oxytocin connection appears to be true but we can’t biopsy human brains to complete the research circle.

‪3. This research suggests that our mental frame of mind with socialization may be greatly affected by the bacteria in our gut. T or F


4. It is possible to take oxytocin as a supplement to see if it helps you with sleep, intimacy, headaches, social isolation, calmness. T or F

Well, true but it takes a physicians script to get access to it.

5. The diet that supplies the most L. reuteri to your gut is well defined. T or F

False. We don’t know it yet. Fermented foods have it in abundance but often from strains not our own. Each species appears to have its own strain.

Lack of Zinc Hurts Digestion

Lack of Zinc Hurts Digestion

References: Br Jr of Nutrition June 2016, Science Daily

‪Published June 20th, 2016,

‪How much do you know about zinc? Likely not much. It’s element # 30 in the periodic table but is probably important because it has the same chemical reactivity as magnesium, and we have dozens of important proteins that use zinc’s properties to function properly. One example: it’s the most abundant trace mineral in the brain. The World Health Organization says that about 2 billion of us are zinc deficient, making it one of the planet’s most important deficiencies. Humans have used it for a very long time mixing it with copper to make brass, and in America, with nickel to make most of our coins. In humans zinc and copper appear to work like a teeter-totter, one rises as the other falls. Too much copper results in lower zinc. Too much zinc, you can wipe out copper. You want a balance with a bit more zinc than copper to stop cognitive decline.

‪That’s what this study gets to. The question is, what happens when you are modestly deficient? We do know from research on Alzheimer’s that being deficient accelerates cognition loss, and replacing it stops that loss.

‪This paper was about digestion. The researchers took piglets and gave them precisely tuned diets of various amounts of zinc. What they found surprised them. There was an almost immediate drop in pancreatic enzyme secretion. With that loss of pancreatic enzymes, there was a commensurate drop in nutrient absorption. With that, there was more food left in the gut and the animal didn’t eat much. It had a full gut, but it wouldn’t grow. This dramatic and early shift in production of energy highlights the important role the pancreas plays in regulating the flow of energy into the body, and the subsequent access of energy by the individual.

‪Where do you typically get zinc from? Oysters are by far and away the best source, as are all seafoods. Red meat and poultry are good sources too. Beans, nuts and whole grains come in down the list. This is one place where meat and animal products provide a higher level of micronutrients than plants. Vegans may need to pay attention. Magnesium wins with plants.

‪And then there is zinc and hormones, zinc and immunity but those are whole other columns.

WWW. What will work for me. I’ve been measuring zinc and copper a lot recently and just about all of us have too much copper and not enough zinc. I am personally taking zinc daily, having found my zinc copper ratio to be inverted. I have copper pipes in my home.

‪Pop Quiz

‪1. The best food source of zinc is?

Oysters. And seafood. Animal foods.

‪2. If you are zinc deficient,what happens in your pancreas?

You stop putting out digestive enzymes and food isn’t digested. (If you are a piglet, which likely extends to humans, but not proven.)

‪3. How many people on planet earth are zinc deficient?

About 2 billion. That may include you

‪4. Zinc and copper work together like a teeter totter. We get too much copper in our environment. The conjecture is from where?

Our copper plumbing

‪5. Alzheimer’s sufferers have too much zinc. T or F

‪False. Dramatically not enough. And one study shows their dementia slowing just with zinc supplementation.

Congress Passes a Modern Toxin Control Act

‪Congress Passes a ModernToxin Control Act

References: New York Times, EDF,

‪What’s been wrong with chemical review in America? In 1976, our laws required only a tiny few chemicals to be regulated, and gave some 64,000 chemicals a free pass, unless the EPA could prove that the harm to society was greater than the harm to the company. The EPA had to publish it’s results, and companies didn’t have to publish their reported side effects. And judges had to balance the published literature on problems, leading the chemical industry to have a bunch of fake journals that published junk science so that, on balance, there were just as many articles saying a chemical was safe as other more reputable studies showed problems.

We have been left with a wide range of toxins in America that were banned in the rest of the world. For example, we use Atrazine on our fields while Europe has banned it. Many university based studies show it causes estrogen confusion, while the company’s studies show it to be harmless. In the end, no new chemicals have been removed from the market since the original eight banned in 1976. The TSCA Act of 1976 ended up being toothless to move forward.

‪Advocates have been trying to get the new bill passed for years to no effect. What broke the logjam was the effort of Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico working with the chemical industry to come up with language they could live with. In essence, several major compromises were made. Instead of 100 chemicals a year, the EPA is tasked with reviewing 20 a year. Ok, there are 64,000 chemicals that got a free pass so it will take 3,200 years to review everything – but the EPA has a list of the most egregious offenders, and it can get started on those right away.

‪Here are the key provisions of the bill:

‪1. Mandates safety reviews for chemicals in active commerce.

‪2. Requires a safety finding before new chemicals are allowed on the market.

‪3. Replaces TSCA’s burdensome safety standard – which prevented EPA even from banning asbestos – with a pure, health-based standard.

‪4. Explicitly requires protection of vulnerable populations, like children and pregnant women.

‪5. Enhances EPA’s authority to require testing of both new and existing chemicals.

‪6. Sets aggressive, judicially enforceable deadlines for EPA decisions and compliance with restrictions.

‪7. Makes more information about chemicals available, by limiting companies’ ability to claim information as confidential, and by giving states and health and environmental professionals access to confidential information they need to do their jobs.

‪8. Requires EPA to reduce and replace animal testing where scientifically reliable alternatives exist that would generate equivalent or better information.

‪9. Requires EPA to prioritize chemicals that are persistent and bioaccumulative, and that are known human carcinogens and have high toxicity.

‪10. Preserves a significant role for states in assuring chemical safety.

‪There are some obvious loopholes here. States could have passed a more rigorous standard, and EPA standards will now override those. That means some states may lose some regulatory standards

‪WWW.What will work for me. I think this is huge. It won’t change anything tomorrow, but it will create a new climate. And new chemicals will have to be proven to be safe. 20 at a time, old ones will be reviewed. You will start hearing more.


‪Pop Quiz.

1. The FDA has broad current ability to regulate and remove toxic drugs from the US environment. T or F

False, until last week. We haven’t removed one chemical in 40 years.

2. All new chemicals coming on the market will have to have proof of safety prior to use. T or F


3. The EPA is mandated to review 100 new chemicals a year. T or F

False. That’s what environmental groups wanted. Compromise ended up at 20. (Hey, it’s progress)

4. Most Western advanced countries have more rigorous toxic review than the USA. T or F

Sadly, true.

‪5. Our broken Congress can pass a bill? T or F

Surprised you, didn’t it. Give them kudos.

Multi Mineral Mix Saves Brains (In Mice)

Multi-Mineral Mix Saves Brains, (In Mice)

Reference:  Environment Mol Mut June 2016Life ExtensionScience Daily June 2016,

The human brain is particularly vulnerable to chemical stress. It uses a lot of oxygen (20% of our use), doesn’t have any anti-oxidants to cool off the oxidation that comes along with burning energy and has a lot of very delicate omega fats in its membranes, (some 40% by dry weight is DHA and EPA). This creates the environment for brain damage to occur when the delicate balance is tipped towards more oxidation. And that oxidative environment exists and been shown to be present in natural aging, and is thought to be accelerated in virtually all major brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons. There is clear advantage to having a brain, but its existence is fragile. When it gets into trouble,it does so by this route.

Ok, chilling off oxidation then becomes the method that will prevent these diseases. That’s what the team at McMaster University in Canada has done. They took mice bred to have accelerated brain degeneration that looks a lot like Alzheimer’s with loss of neurons. Hunt and try many different dietary and food items that have “antioxidant” qualities and make them into a combination mix. Mice are convenient because they live out their lives in two years, and it is possible to then open their brains and see what happened in response to different mixes of nutrients. In this reported study, the untreated mice showed severe cognitive decline with as much as half their brain cells gone by one year of age. With the 30-ingredient mix, there was no decline in cognition or cell count. Complete reversal! And, almost more interesting, they had improvement in vision and smell over normal mice. Loss of smell is a common indicator of coming Alzheimer’s. They had many tests they ran the mice through, like finding a submerged platform in a small pool that also showed enhanced learning in the treated mice.

What were the magic ingredients? All stuff you can find in a health food store. Read the Life Extension article to get the details but suffice it to say that it was just B vitamins, Vitamin D, C, acetyl-L-carnitine, alpha lipoic acid, and 25 other ingredients all of which play roles in the healthy maintenance of brain. They looked at five vital functions these ingredients play: oxidative stress reduction, mitochondrial function, inflammation, insulin resistance and membrane integrity. You take care of these five, you have healthy brain cells.

This combination overlaps strongly with Bredesen’s recommendations. You can do this in mice and look for optimal levels of supplements because you can make altered mice and then sacrifice them and look at their brains. Can’t do that in humans. And in humans, we view vitamins and minerals from the perspective of the minimal dose needed to prevent deficiency illness, not the optimal dose to achieve peak performance. Our brains need close to peak performance to be safe.

WWW.What will work for me. I suspect the first step has to be reducing flour and sugar, as those two foods are the equivalent of oxidative gasoline on your brain. (I just pushed the coffee cake away) Too bad. The combination of ingredients in this mix will soon be commercially available. Right now, I’m taking about half of it as supplements anyway. You should start on Vitamin D, fish oil, magnesium, melatonin.

Pop Quiz

1. It’s possible to breed mice that get Alzheimer’s equivalent? T or F


2. These mice die early with limited ability to learn, smell and remember. T or F

Yup, just like in humans

3. With the right mix of minerals and supplements, this decline in these mice can be completely prevented. T or F


4. Oddly enough, the Alzheimer’s mice can smell better. T or F

False, false, false. The treated mice with the mineral and vitamin supplement could smell better.

5. This has been proven to work in humans. T or F

False. Unless you accept Bredesen’s work which overlaps about 80% of these ingredients.