How Gut Bugs Make You Sick — or Well

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SIMKO

You are not alone – ever. All day, every day, you’re in the company of millions of other creatures, even when there’s not another soul in sight. More unsettling still, those unseen others live inside you.

The invisible population that calls you home is known as your microbiome — the millions of nonhuman cells that populate your body, particularly your intestines and other parts of your digestive system. If you could extract them all, they’d fill a half gallon jug. And if you could count them all, they’d outnumber your own cells 10 to 1. The only reason they don’t outweigh us 10 to 1 too is that our own cells are much larger than the bugs are.

Our surprisingly complex internal ecology has been a hot topic in medicine lately. Initiatives such as the Human Microbiome Project, an extension of the Human Genome Project, have been working tirelessly to probe potential links between the human microbiota and human health, and to construct strategies for manipulating the bacteria so that they work with us rather than against us. Much of the time, our gut bugs are indeed more helpmates than invaders. They’re essential to the digestive process and they can boost the immune system by regulating the population of certain immune cells and preventing autoimmunity. But like all long-term house guests, the bugs can also make a mess. They’ve been linked to a range of nasty conditions, including obesity, arthritis, and high cholesterol. Now, two newer areas of research are pushing the field even further, looking at the possible gut bug link to a pair of very different conditions: autism and irritable bowel disease.

MORE: The Good Bugs: How the Germs in Your Body Keep You Healthy

Autism research has been the victim of junk science for a long time, principally as a result of the fanciful — and scientifically disproven — idea that the condition is caused by vaccines. That makes it harder for serious scientists to look at other, seeming improbable causes of the condition like the microbiome, at least without raising a lot of skepticism. Making things worse, the seminal, and discredited, study in the autism-vaccine mess suggested that traces of vaccine-related measles virus could be found in the guts of autistic kids, further muddying legitimate study of any real gut-bug connection.

Now, however, the research is emerging from under that cloud, and while no one has established a direct link between gut bacteria and autism just yet, the findings so far are intriguing. Up to 85 percent of children with autism also suffer from some kind of gastrointestinal distress such as chronic constipation or inflammatory bowel disease. Research published in 2005 in the Journal of Medical Microbiology and in 2004 in Applied Environmental Microbiology reported that the stools of autistic children contained higher levels of the bacterium Clostridium, while two 2010 studies in the Journal of Proteome Researchand Nutritional Neuroscience reported unusual levels of metabolic compounds in autistic children’s urine consistent with the high bacterial levels found in the stools of autistic patients. In 2011, a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that mice with essentially germ-free guts showed abnormal movement and anxiety symptoms, suggesting that at least some active intestinal biome is essential for normal development.

“Until a little while ago it was outlandish to suggest that microbiomes in the gut could be behind this disease,” University of Guelph assistant professor of biology Emma Allen-Vercoe said.  “But I think it’s an intersection between the genetics of the patient and the microbiome and the environment.”

For Ellen Bolte, pushing doctors to consider the possibility of a microbiome-autism link has been an uphill battle. Bolte, whose son Andrew was diagnosed with autism in 1994, wondered whether her child’s condition could be caused by a bacterial infection by a Clostridium species after reviewing the early medical literature that she felt supported her hypothesis. Fifteen months and 37 doctors later, Bolte found a doctor willing to test her hypothesis by treating her son with the oral antibiotic Vancomycin, an antibiotic effective against the Clostridia. Andrew began to improve dramatically — enough that Bolte’s story is now profiled in the PBS documentary “The Autism Enigma,” which was aired overseas and just went on sale in the U.S. on DVD.

Bolte’s story is compelling and may signal a profound truth about the roots of autism, but it may also be something else entirely. It’s hard to tell the difference between mere correlation and true causation in cases of recovery like these, and much of the rubbish that passed for science in the vaccines debate involved just this kind of account — often involving chelation that supposedly cleared the body of toxic vaccine ingredients and cured the autism in the bargain. But Bolte’s case has gotten closer, more respectable study. Dr. Sydney Finegold, an emeritus professor of medicine at UCLA, ran a small trial with 10 autistic children and found that eight of them showed improved behavior and communication skills with Vancomycin treatment. They relapsed after they stopped taking the drug. Finegold is also examining a bacterium called Desulfovibrio, a virulent organism that tests have found in about half of patients with autism, but in none of the patients without it.

A study in last week’s issue of Science took the gut bug work in a different direction, looking at the role it may play in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD is a collection of conditions including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease that affect as many as 1.4 million Americans. Typically, the human immune system does a good job of recognizing alien gut bugs that serve a healthy function or are at least harmless, and gives them an immunological pass. But sometimes that process can go awry.

MORE: Gut Bugs: They Are What You Eat

A team led by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease postdoctoral researcher Timothy Hand infected mice with a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, which has been associated with numerous deaths by food-borne illness. The parasite, they found, could stimulate the mice’s immune system to go on the offensive—which is exactly what’s supposed to happen. But the immune system also overreacted, attacking not just the Toxoplasma gondii, but also friendly gut bugs that had done no harm. And even after the parasite had been beaten, the immune system’s memory cells continued to recognize the good bugs as invaders, waging a permanent war on them that could prevent the mice from ever fully recovering. If something similar happens in humans — either with Toxoplasma gondii or another invader — it could go a long way to explaining both the existence and persistence of all of the IBD conditions.

Microbiome research is surely in its early stages and cures or treatments based on it are still a good way off. Still, scientists such as Allen-Vercoe are looking at ways to manipulate our internal ecosystems, with different kinds of probiotics or healthy bugs that could help rebalance the microbial population. They’re even looking at the singularly counterintuitive idea of fecal transplants — which are just what they sound like, but could do a lot of good by introducing a healthy biome into a body with an unhealthy one. No surprise, this isn’t the kind of therapy you’d prescribe casually.

“If you have a patient who doesn’t eat meat, you wouldn’t want to give them the ecosystem of a meat-eater,” says Allen-Vercoe. “We want to develop a range of ecosystems from a range of healthy people, and fit patient lifestyle to donor lifestyle.”

Your lifestyle, of course, becomes the lifestyle of all the critters that live within you, and it’s in our best interests to keep them all happy. Like it or not, a bunch of bugs constitutes a huge part of who you are. That realization gives medicine a whole new degree of complexity — as well as a whole new degree of promise.

MORE: What Do Gut Bugs Have to Do With Cholesterol? A Lot
28 comments
johnfryer
johnfryer

Just to say the first effect of any drug is to disturb the gut flora.

johnfryer
johnfryer

Chemicals in the form of medication drugs, vaccines et al have been after many years found wanting.


The amount of mercury for example (present as a mix of ethyl mercury compounds with some methyl mercury impurities) has been drastically cut down but not to zero. Why cut down if its good for us?


In fact the science of ethylmercury has been lied over by the very experts who 50 years ago were convincing the world of its immense danger.


Money in the form of lobbying and profit prevents an unbiased view by many scientific and regulatory people and bodies.


Vaccines are just part of a mix of untried chemicals which are CERTAIN to have caused the rise in AUTISM and other new or increasing ills for mankind.


For example worse than any bad effects from any vaccine or mix of vaccines for infants from 1 day to 2 months is to then give medications such as aspirin or more likely acetaminophen.

The more chemicals and vaccines given the greater the risks for adverse events.

Charles Richet found for example repeat vaccines more likely to cause problems (ANAPHYLAXIS) than do good.

Repeat vaccines are just one known danger to any little infant today.

Compare what the parents give to what they receive.

My last vaccine and or medication was more than 10 years ago and I am amongst many pill poppers almost all of whom are either in bad health or dying/dead.







CarynLipson
CarynLipson

It's a shame they don't discuss the work of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride in her book Guts and Psychology Syndrome. She has done tremendous research on this topic and has healed her own child of autism as well as many other children with gut dysbiosis. A compromised gut means a compromised immune system. GAPS children will not produce the expected reaction to a vaccine. She says:

"In some of these children vaccination, putting an enormous strain on an already compromised immune system, becomes that 'last straw that breaks the camel's back' and brings on the beginning of autism, asthma, eczema, diabetes, etc." Guts and Psychology Syndrome p.68.

HunterST2
HunterST2

Don't let your doctor over prescribe antibiotics. Consider persuading him to use injected vs oral antibiotics if you really need them. Finally take a good pro-biotic capsule amp; plant healthy organisms in your digestive system.

Dr. Scott Mindel
Dr. Scott Mindel

This is fascinating to me. It wasn't that long ago when chiropractors were considered as a hoax. The human body surprises me everyday and what we continue to learn will help us heal our patients.

Doreen Piazza Randal
Doreen Piazza Randal

Saturday

If within a school district you find that only the vaccinated population are actually getting pertusis, then you question the need for the vaccine in the first place. If after 30 vaccines you find that a normally developing child has vaccine induced brain encephelopathy, also known as autism, then there is no need for debate. The government admits the vaccine autism connection every time they pay a claim for death or permanent harm caused by vaccine induced brain encephelopathy. Over 2 billion has been paid out to date.  President Reagan signed the bill into law that vaccine manufacturers will not be held liable so they wouldn't go out of business. Only 1 out of 5 claims are paid out through a government compensation program.

These cases go under reported because we are never warned about the risks or side effects to identify that an adverse event has occured. You cannot inject a synthetic virus grown in animal tissue with a number of preservatives into the blood stream, bypassing the immune system, and expect your immune system to recognize the real virus, or protect you from it. You end up with a suppressed immune system and a super bug waiting to be triggered as disease! The only true immunity is natural immunity from which the phrase was originally coined in the 1800's as being the only true herd immunity! Not man made toxoids! Does anyone get this?No liability, no proof of safety or effecacy spells cover-up

Anil Minocha MD
Anil Minocha MD

While multiple complex factors may be in place in the pathogenesis of autism and related neuro-developmental disorders, evidence is accumulating that disordered gut morphology and function including intestinal permeability and altered intestinal flora play a key role in otherwise predisposed subjects.

A multi-pronged approach that includes the intestinal factors including the use of probiotics increases the likelihood of a beneficial response in patients.

http://wp.me/p1WoF9-19

Maurine Meleck
Maurine Meleck

For years and years the autism community has been telling doctors, scientists and anyone who would listen that our children diagnosed with autism also had terrible gut issues. Only our DAN(defeat autism now) doctors understood and helped us. At the same time(for 2 decades) the AAP said there were no gut issues, the GF/CF diet was dumb, and we parents knew nothing about our sick children. Suddenly they are saying there are gut issues involved and the diet matters. A little late-wouldn't you say? The parents, along with autism specialists are leading the way to a better understanding of the autism disease. Peds are still in the Middle Ages still. Now that they can see they have been wrong all along-doctors and researchers need to admit that these gut issues didn't just appear like a fast growing hurricane. There's a reason for the gut issues and it begins mainly after birth with the hepB vaccine and then grows like Jack's beanstalk with the mass of baby and toddler vaccines, enough crap to kill Godzilla. Let's hope it doesn't take another 2 decades to get doctors and gov't health officials and politicians and the media

to stop acting like the Three Blind Mice and admit the truth. Vaccines cause autism.

Anne Dachel
Anne Dachel

According to TIME, medical

experts at Health and Human Services were wrong when they conceded the vaccine damage case of Hannah

Poling. She's the young Georgia girl who regressed into

autism following routine vaccinations. CBS News ran the story: Family to Receive

$1.5M+ in First-Ever Vaccine-Autism Court Award.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31...

Anne

Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism http://www.ageofautism.com/

Anne Dachel
Anne Dachel

Countless

thousands of parents report that their child was born healthy and was

developing normally until they received certain routine vaccinations. Suddenly

they lost learned skills, many stopped talking, ending up with an autism

diagnosis. Doctors can't explain this. They call it a coincidence. They say

there's no link between vaccines and autism and they have a dozen studies to

prove it--studies that are tied to the vaccine industry.

It's time to talk about all the independent

studies by well-credentialed experts that raise serious concerns about the

safety of vaccinations. http://www.regardingcaroline.c...

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism http://www.ageofautism.com/

Anne Dachel
Anne Dachel

The New York Times

published a review of the new movie The Greater Good http://movies.nytimes.com/2011...

in which they told the public that even if vaccines do cause autism, "all that

matters is that its victims number significantly fewer than those of the

diseases vaccinations are designed to prevent." That's a scary gamble for

parents. Autism now affects one percent of our children and among boys alone,

it's almost two percent.Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism http://www.ageofautism.com

Anne Dachel
Anne Dachel

The

short trailer to the movie The Greater Good on their website http://www.greatergoodmovie.or...

makes it clear that there are experts on both sides and a lot of serious

questions that need to be asked. The medical community and health officials

promote vaccines as the greatest achievement in modern medicine yet there is

growing fear over vaccine side effects.

Anne

Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism http://www.ageofautism.com/

Anne Dachel
Anne Dachel

PBS says this about the Autism

Enigma http://www.abc.net.au/4corners...

“But what is

causing this dramatic rise, and why do some communities have higher rates of

ASD? Some experts suggest it's because doctors are better able to diagnose the

condition, and the criteria for autism diagnosis has been expanded. Others are

asking if there's a possible environmental cause. Could the food we eat and

commonly used drugs, intended to kill

infection, play a part in the development of certain forms of

autism?"

According to TIME, “commonly used

drugs” cannot include the vaccines are children receive.

It seems that no matter what—there

simply can’t be a link between the ever-expanding vaccine schedule and the

exponential increase in autism.

Anne Dachel
Anne Dachel

Medical experts at

Health and Human Services conceded the vaccine damage case of Hannah Poling.

She's the young Georgia girl who regressed into

autism following routine vaccinations. CBS News ran the story: Family to Receive

$1.5M+ in First-Ever Vaccine-Autism Court Award.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31...

Anne Dachel, Media

editor: Age of

Autism http://www.ageofautism.com/

Anne Dachel
Anne Dachel

This is a comparison

of the vaccine schedule in 1983 with the schedule in 2010. The number

of shots our kids get has more than tripled since 1983 without a single study of

the cumulative effect of so many vaccines, so soon, on the health of a

child.

http://vaccinesafetycouncilmin...

Anne Dachel, Media

editor: Age of Autism http://www.ageofautism.com/

Anne Dachel
Anne Dachel

HDNet

TV exposed the fact that while health officials continue to tell us studies show

no link, the federal government has paid out millions of dollars for

compensation for vaccine injuries that included autism. Seeing these children

who were born healthy and were suddenly and dramatically affected by their

vaccinations should give us all pause. http://www.ebcala.org/news/vid...

Anne

Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism http://www.ageofautism.com/

Anne Dachel
Anne Dachel

For far too long we've

allowed the agency (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) that

approves, recommends, and vigorously promotes vaccines to also be in charge of

vaccine safety. The CDC is also the place where hundreds of individuals have

conflict waivers because of their direct financial ties to the vaccine makers.

The last head of the CDC, Dr. Julie Gerberding, a long time denier of any link

between vaccines and autism, is now the head of the vaccine division at

Merck.

Anne Dachel, Media

editor: Age of Autism http://www.ageofautism.com/

Anne Dachel
Anne Dachel

In 2008 CBS News ran

the story, How Independent Are Vaccine Defenders?

http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-50...

Serious questions were

raised about the power and influence of the pharmaceutical industry over groups

like the American

Academy of Pediatrics when

it comes to vaccine safety.

Anne Dachel, Media

editor: Age of Autism http://www.ageofautism.com/

Anne Dachel
Anne Dachel

It was the late Dr.

Bernadine Healy, former head of the National Institutes of Health, who went on

CBS News http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-50...

in 2008 and said that the vaccine-autism question is still open. She said we

need to look at the children who got sick---the ones who were born healthy and

were developing normally until they suddenly and dramatically regressed into

autism following routine vaccinations. NO ONE IS WILLING TO DO THAT. Instead,

experts are happy to go to Iceland, look at a few dozen dads and

blame mutating sperm, which is the latest big autism news.

Anne Dachel, Media

editor: Age of Autism

DropYourAllergies
DropYourAllergies

Is your DOGs MicroFlora GUT Garden filled with Pathogenic Weeds ?

 

What many PET Parents Do Not Know ..

Or are Not Told is…

 

Following even the Shortest Antibiotic Protocol,

Your DOG’s Beneficial MicroFlora Biome has essentially been “ Erased “ ..

along with the “Bad” Bacteria the Antibiotic is supposed to Kill.

 

Still Worse …

 

PET Parents are Not Told.. that their Animal’s GUT will then become Dominated by Opportunistic / Pathogenic “Bad” Bacteria .. not only interfering with your Animal’s Daily Nutrient BreakDown / Absorption ..

 

But ultimately, the Pathogenic Dominance will begin to Erode the Integrity of the GUT Lining itself …

 

Setting into Motion, a Lifetime Slippery Slope of compromised Health amp; Quality of Life.

 

Still Further..

UnLess their Animal’s GUT is Aggressively / Pro-Actively “ Rescued” …

this Pathogenic Dominance will Remain intact Until the Animal is No Longer ..

 

To address this Pathogenic GUT Nightmare …

 

DVM Dermatologist Dr Kristin has Formulated GOO GUT RESCUE.

 

GOO GUT RESCUE > Rescue’s / ReStores / REPAIRs / ReTains amp; ReSolves GUT Issues in your Dog.

 

Seal amp; Heal the GUT and Many Happy Healthy Things will Happen.

 

Bob105
Bob105

I'm not sure if vaccines have anything to do with autism, but I sure find these numbers intriguing;

0.5 parts per billion (ppb) mercury = Kills human neuroblastoma cells (Parran et al., Toxicol Sci 2005; 86: 132-140).

 

2 ppb mercury = U.S. EPA limit for drinking water (http://www.epa. gov/safewater/ contaminants/ index.html# mcls).

 

20 ppb mercury = Neurite membrane structure destroyed (Leong et al., Neuroreport 2001; 12: 733-37). Think Alzheimer's!

 

200 ppb mercury = level in liquid the EPA classifies as hazardous waste based on toxicity characteristics.

http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/ha...

 

700 ppb mercury = level of mercury in large predator fish.

 

25,000 ppb mercury = Concentration of mercury in multi-dose, Hepatitis B vaccine vials, administered at birth from 1991-2001 in the U.S.

 

50,000 ppb mercury = Concentration of mercury in multi-dose DTaP and Haemophilus B vaccine vials, administered 8 times in the 1990’s to children at 2, 4, 6, 12 and 18 months of age and currently “preservative” level mercury in multi-dose flu, H1N1, meningococcal and tetanus vaccines. This can be confirmed by simply analyzing the multi-dose vials.

irvinsky
irvinsky

How do you know pro-biotics work as intended?  ie,re-populate/repair damaged gut flora; any scientific proof of this?

RightToDissent
RightToDissent

you fail to point out the difference between ethylmercury and methylmercury.  Vaccines use ethylmercury which is metabolized by the body, while methylmercury isn't.  

From www.fda.gov

"Ethylmercury is an organomercurial that should be distinguished from

methylmercury, a related substance that has been the focus of

considerable study."  Ethylmercury =/= Methylmercury

Methylmercury is the stuff in thermometers, flourescent lights, and "large predator fish."

Studies have been done on the toxicity of ethylmercury.  While ethylmercury can be dangerous, the dose must be literally a thousand times greater than what is found in vaccines to do any serious harm.  Check it out at www.fda.gov for yourself.

So while I as well found those numbers intriguing, suggesting ethylmercury in vaccines causes autism is dishonest at best.

Bob105
Bob105

Even though you're a complete idiot I'll respond. The type of mercury in thermometers is elemental mercury. Ethyl and methyl mercury are both short chain alkyl mercury compounds. Once in the bloodstream, they both enter the brain (like dissolves like). Once in the brain, they both convert to di-valent inorganic mercury. This is the point where it does harm. The ethyl deposits twice as much as the methyl. So in reality, ethyl is twice as toxic. There is nothing dishonest in my post. Now ask yourself, has the FDA ever been accused of doing something dishonest?

RightToDissent
RightToDissent

"

Even though you're a complete idiot I'll respond."

That wasn't very nice.

"ethyl and methyl mercury are both short chain alkyl mercury compounds. Once in the bloodstream, they both enter the brain (like dissolves like)."

That is true.

"This is the point where it does harm. The ethyl deposits twice as much as the methyl. So in reality, ethyl is twice as toxic." http://www.whale.to/vaccines/e... 

This is more reputable than the FDA and CDC?!?

"There is nothing dishonest in my post. "

We both know this discussion is academic, Themerisol hasn't been in DTaP for a decade.  Haemophilus B vaccine vials never had it, etc...  

I'm more concerned that people wont vaccinate because someone says there is mercury in the vaccines when there isn't.  And that the vaccines cause autism when they don't.

"Now ask yourself, has the FDA ever been accused of doing something dishonest?"

I bet they have.  I just ask you maintain a -healthy- level of skepticism.