Dr Dingle's Blog
Research now presented in at least 3 top journals (Nature, Lancet, Journal of Hypertension) shows a link between blood pressure, diabetes medications and the severity of COVID-19 which explains the extremely high severity and mortality rate in people with pre-existing cardiovascular disease, hypertension and diabetes. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) are highly recommended medications for patients with cardiovascular diseases including heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes and chronic kidney disease and more.
COVID-19 attaches to the cell’s surface via the ACE-2 protein – that is its sole point of entry – and what we know is that Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs) used to lower blood pressure and diabetes increase the expression of the ACE-2 protein in the body as many as three to five times. Effectively it means the little doorway for the virus is now a huge gateway. As a result, patients on these anti-hypertensives (blood pressure) fare much worse than average.
One argument put forward by the drug companies is that there are no clinical trials. However in reality no ethics committee would ever allow a clinical trial for something potentially so deadly.
Did you know there are many studies showing natural remedies including good nutrition to manage and even reverse blood pressure and diabetes. Perhaps we need to reinvest more money and time in dealing with the problems rather than just treating the symptoms?
Examples of angiotensin II receptor blockers include:
Zhou, P., Yang, X., Wang, X. et al. A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin. Nature 579, 270–273 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2012-7
Esler, Murraya,*; Esler, Danielleb,. Can angiotensin receptor-blocking drugs perhaps be harmful in the COVID-19 pandemic? Journal of Hypertension: March 11, 2020 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - doi: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000002450
Lei Fang, George Karakiulakis, Michael Roth Are patients with hypertension and diabetes mellitus at increased risk for COVID-19 infection?The Lancet. Published:March 11, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-2600(20)30116-8
There is overwhelming evidence by the way of hundreds of studies, through multiple channels to demonstrate that our gut health, probiotics and fibre are essential to our immune systems protection against many types of viruses including deadly respiratory viruses. To ignore this information in the time of Corona virus is both dangerous and irresponsible. The studies show first, that gut health is critical for both the innate (immediate) and adaptive (long term) immune system. In fact many people put the gut microbiome link as the major player in our immunity and suggest as much as 75-85% of the immune system is directly linked to the gut.
In addition, studies show that enhancing the gut in both human and animal studies with probiotics, prebiotics and fibre dramatically enhance the immune system and protect humans and test animals in all viruses tested against including deadly respiratory viruses. Studies have also demonstrated the enhance immune function of vaccines when prebiotics and probiotics are added, especially in the elderly where vaccines are very ineffective. All this is supported by the fact that when antibiotics are used, even from just a few days, it significantly increases the risk of viral infection, severity and mortality. The link could not be any more obvious.
The picture is very clear. The single best thing people can do to protect themselves and their family from respiratory infection is priming the gut and gut microbiome. No matter what state of health you are in. While the studies presented here focus on probiotics and fibre there are many actions we need to take each day to improve our gut health which I spell out in my book “Gut Secrets” with all the extra information to help build the gut as well as what causes the gut dysfunction (dysbiosis) in the first place. Ignoring this information is putting many people’s, especially the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions at risk. To support what I am reporting here I have included more than 100 scientifically reviewed studies and there are more.
The gut microbiota has been shown to have influences outside the gastrointestinal tract, from the wide-ranging anti-inflammatory effects of bacterial metabolites like short-chain fatty acids to the alteration of chemical messengers like neurotransmitter production in the central nervous system. Studies also demonstrate connections between gut microbiota and organs throughout our body in regulatory functions like gut–lung, gut–brain, gut–skin, and gut–liver axes, which play an important role in many infectious and chronic diseases. As result, virtually all human diseases, including obesity, allergies, Parkinson’s disease and diabetes, have all been associated with disease-specific shifts in gut microbiome.
More recently, many studies emphasized the important roles of gut microbiota in shaping immunity against viral diseases in humans and numerous animal species tested and that our microbial diversity and its integrity are the key elements for deriving immunity against invading viral pathogens. Our good gut bacteria, also called commensal bacteria, provide protection against pathogens (the nasty ones) through direct competition and by the production of antibodies and activation of different chemical messengers to modulate our innate (short term) and adaptive (longer term) immune responses. As a result disruption of our gut microbial balance (dysbiosis) is associated with a variety of conditions which facilitate the establishment of acute respiratory viral infections. Our gut microbiota is therefore directly linked with regulating ourrespiratory antiviral immune response 1,2.
Overwhelming research now shows that probiotics are a simple and safe strategy for the prevention of viral respiratory tract infections and can modulate host immunoregulation, alleviate intestinal inflammation, normalize gut mucosal dysfunction, and downregulate hypersensitivity reactions through control of proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory chemical messengers 3-29.
Specific studies have also been done to show the benefits of probiotics in children and shown extremely positive results 31-33 and in the elderly 33-34. In a study of 196 participants were randomized to receive probiotics or a placebo daily for 6 months respiratory viral infections were 35% lower in the probiotic group compared to the placebo. 35 While, in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 94 preterm infants, who are very susceptible to respiratory infections between days 3 and 60 of life, the incidence of RTIs was 76% lower in infants receiving prebiotics and probiotics 50% lower compared with those receiving the placebo. While the incidence of rhinovirus-induced episodes, which comprised 80% of all RTI episodes, was found to be 69% lower in the prebiotic and 51% lower in the probiotic groups compared with the placebo group. 30 This is supported by meta analysis and reviews which have consistently shown significant reductions in the probiotic groups and no serious adverse events related to the probiotic strain.36-38 In addition, studies have shown Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains to have immunomodulatory activity and enhanced both innate and specific immune responses in adults and children 39-42
Studies on many different animal species have shown that the gut microbiome provides a low-level stimulation to the innate immune system that modulates the susceptibility of the host to viral infection and to the severity of the infection including decreased mortality 43-71 In one study after 3 days of exposure to a strain, mice were infected with the H1N1 respiratory virus showed a lower frequency of accumulated symptoms and a higher survival rates than the controls. The study also showed administration of the probiotic protects the host animal from respiratory infection by enhancing respiratory cell‐mediated immune responses following up‐regulation of lung natural killer (NK) cell activation. 54 These and many other findings demonstrate a strong induction of both innate and adaptive immunities, as well as decreased inflammation in the lung and an increase in survival rate in the mice receiving probiotics than those of the control group 55-74.
From another perspective recent randomized controlled trials indicate that even short-term antibiotic use leads to significant changes in the gut microbiota.75 While treatment with antibiotics has been shown to increase the risk of infection from multiple viruses 76 as well as, increased morbidity and mortality during influenza infection 77-81. Fortunately, experimental data on mice with no gut microbiome have demonstrated that lack of microbiome can be reversed 82.
The elderly are particularly vulnerable to seasonal influenza; indeed, approximately 90% of all influenza-related deaths occur among senior citizens. Influenza vaccines are widely used, but concerns regarding vaccine efficacy exist, especially in the elderly. Vaccination efficacy as a regular treatment however, is lower in the elderly, owing to the immunosenescence characteristic of this population 87-93. In a meta-analysis published in 2012, the evidence of vaccine protection in the elderly was lacking. 83
Low vaccine efficacy leads to inadequate protection, breakthrough infection, and influenza-related morbidity and mortality. In summary, the efficacy of the current influenza vaccine is not satisfactory. However, supplementing with probiotics and prebiotics significantly improves the effectiveness of the vaccines. In a meta analysis patients with prebiotics/ probiotics supplements were found to enhance the influenza antibody levels in all A/H1N1, A/H3N2, and B strains tested 84-85. While another meta analysis of 20 RCTs found that participants who took probiotics or prebiotics showed significant improvements after exposure to the H1N1 strain. This meta-analysis suggested that probiotics and prebiotics are effective in elevating immunogenicity by influencing rates in adults inoculated with influenza vaccines. 86 In another study of 98 nursing home residents, more than 65 years of age the administration of a single Lactobacillus strain to an elderly population increased the immune response against the influenza vaccine and decreased symptoms associated with respiratory infections.
Our respiratory microbiome is the first line of defence against viral infections and research shows a change in the gut microbiome alters the respiratory microbiome to move towards a state of dysbiosis. However, recent studies have also demonstrated that respiratory infections are associated with a change in the composition of the gut microbiota 94-100 which, as a result becomes more vulnerable to further dysbiosis and diseased states and a viscous cycle of deterioration.
Without doubt the health of our gut and lung microbiome plays a critical role in our susceptibility to respiratory infections. While physical methods to prevent the spread of corona virus are essential the next most import step is to increase the immunity in the population as a whole but more specifically those like our elderly are most susceptible. This can be achieved for as little as $1 a day and can be implemented instantly through the introduction of high quality probiotics and fibres such as Kfibre. This is a small expense when we compare it to what is happening now and the potential for pain and suffering.
To ignore this information is both irresponsible and dangerous. However, history tells us that even the best evidence will be ignored if it goes against the modern medical pharmaceutical model.
Please share with everyone you know as it might save their life.
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Dysbiosis and the gut respiratory influenza link.
The elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, respiratory and cardiovascular conditions including hypertension are at highest risk from the corona virus. Children under nine years of age have either no or mild symptoms. Although a few with pre-existing conditions have died as a result of the infection. People over the age of 70 and even more so for those over 80 years are the most vulnerable. For those over 80, approximately 15% of those infected will die. Again, it comes down to the fact that they have pre-existing conditions. Unfortunately, 80% of Australian adults over 65 years have at least one chronic condition and many have multiple conditions which also means they are on multiple medications. What is now called polypharmacy. Since these groups display some deficiency in immune responses, viral infections in these high risk groups frequently lead to severe and sometimes even lethal conditions. Therefore, maintaining the immune system in an appropriately robust condition is thought to be important for the prevention of respiratory viral infections including corona virus.
Another way to look at this is that the research shows that each of these high risk groups have gut dysfunction otherwise known as dysboisis. Including the negative impact of many pharmaceuticals on the gut microbiome. Is gut dysbiosis therefore the real pre-existing condition that increases these groups and individuals risk to the corona virus. In support of this various respiratory virus show significantly increased risk if a person is obese or has inflammatory gut conditions such as IBD. Both conditions are linked to gut dysbiosis and increased inflammation.
The gut microbiota plays a major role in our immune system both our innate (immediate) and adaptive (longer term) immune responses influences susceptibility to infectious throughout the body including the respiratory, gastrointestinal and female reproductive tract. The gut microbiome provides a low-level stimulation to the innate immune system that modulates the susceptibility of the host to viral infections.
More recently it has been discovered that the “gut-lung axis” is bidirectional. Lung infections influence the gut microbiota leading to gut microbiome dysbiosis, as well as the gut microbiota also influencing lung infections through the immune system. The gut dysbosis created by the lung infection further lowers the immune function of the gut and increases the risk of serious health complications including co-infection from other pathogenic species. Which in turn makes it easier for the original virus to take over more.
What we know from hundreds of studies of these pre-exisiting medical conditions like chronic respiratory and cardiovascular conditions is that they are linked to the gut microbiome and improve when gut dysbiosis is reduced. The answer therefore lies improving the immune system through fixing the gut dysbiosis and some very simple and cost effective strategies. Which can reduce the incidence and severity of the virus and improve chronic health conditions at the same time.
Unfortunately, history tells us that without trying to infect ourselves the health and medical systems are not going to listen to this. Despite the hundreds of studies to support it. Robin Warren and Barry Marshall were the joint winners of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery that gastritis and peptic ulcers arise from an infection of the stomach caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. However, it took 20 years for the two researchers to overturn established medical dogma and revolutionise the treatment of peptic ulcers and only when they put their own lives on the line. Warren first discovered the role of Helicobacter pylori in 1979, “But trying to convince other people of that was impossible,” he stated. Orthodox medical teaching at the time was that bacteria did not grow in a normal stomach. However, as Warren wrote in the 2002 book Helicobacter Pioneers, “I preferred to believe my eyes, not the medical textbooks or the medical fraternity.” While Marshall was able to convince the scientific microbiologists as they had no dogma to overcome about the causes of gastritis and peptic ulcers, the wider medical community remained hard to convince. Even the first major publication of their results, in the journal Lancet in 1984, was almost impossible to get published. The editors, Marshall recalls, found it difficult to find reviewers who could agree the paper was important, general, and interesting enough to be published.
In 1984, in an act born out of frustration, Marshall deliberately infected himself by drinking a solution swimming with the bacterium. But many clinicians still remained unmoved. It wasn’t until the early 1990s that the findings of Marshall and Warren became impossible to ignore, at which point pharmaceutical development and clinical practice underwent a shift toward eradication of H pylori to treat ulcers instead of over treatment with over-the-counter drugs and poor advice. They won the Nobel Prize for their work a decade later and helped millions of people around the world.
There is already overwhelming research on the benefits of prebiotics and probiotics in reducing the extent and severity of virtually all respiratory illnesses (this will be presented in my next blog). So we can wait and see more people get sick and die or we can take action and fix the gut.
My suggestion is that you increase your fibre intake (especially Kfibre.com) and take probiotics and even more importantly learn about gut health as it may save your life.
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Essential oils possess a wide-spectrum of antibacterial, antifungal anti-viral activity and have also been shown to inhibit the growth of drug-resistant microbial strains which are difficult to be treated through conventional means. Many essential oils have antiviral activity and human and animal viruses while several essential oils have antiviral activities against many RNA and DNA viruses, such as type 1 and type 2 herpes simplex virus (HSV-1 and HSV-2), dengue virus type 2, influenza virusadeno virus type 3, poliovirus, Junin virus, and coxsackievirus B1 1,2. As well as an inhibitory effects on adenovirus and mumps virus 3.
Currently there are approximately 3000 established essential oils and are the complex mixtures of natural compounds of about 20–60 constituents in varying quantities. The special biological properties and fragrance of essential oils are due to Terpenes and phenylpropanoids which are major components of essential oils and have antiviral, fungal and bacterial properties. As a result of their complex mixture of ingredients they can act synergistically to have widespread benefits in controlling viruses and overall health. For example, the essential oils derived from medicinal aromatic plants like Peppermint (Mentha piperita), thyme (Thymus vulgaris), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), are reported to be effective against Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria viruses, fungi and yeast as well as immune boosting, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
While modern pharmaceutical medicine is wildly scathing of most forms of complimentary medicine, Star anise (Illicium verum), which is widely known for its antiviral effects is also the source of the precursor molecule, shikimic acid, which is used in the manufacture of oseltamivir (Tamiflu®), an antiviral medication for influenza A and influenza B. Besides, shikimic acid several other molecules with numerous biological benefits including the antiviral effects have been reported from the same plant. Except the antiviral potential, star anise possesses a number of other potentials such as antioxidant, antimicrobial, antifungal, anthelmintic, insecticidal, secretolytic, antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory, gastroprotective, sedative properties, expectorant and spasmolytic, and estrogenic effects 4. Imagine having a drug with so many benefits.
One study demonstrated anti-influenza activity in 11 essential oils tested, with marjoram, clary sage and anise essential oils being the most effective at reducing visible cytopathic effects of the A/WS/33 virus. All 3 oils contained linalool, suggesting that this may have anti-influenza activity 5. The volatile oil from Cynanchum stauntonii (a Chinese herb) possessed direct inhibitory activity against influenza virus 6 and the essential oils of Marjoram (Thymus mastichina L.), clary sage (Salvia sclarea L.) and anise (Pimpinella anisum L.) showed anti-influenza A/WS/33 activity. The EOs of Atractylodes macrocephala a Chinese herb called Bai zhu exhibited antiviral effect on viruses H3N2 as well as anti-inflammatory activity 7.
Melaleuca alternifolia tea tree oil (TTO) has been shown to have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral activities, and while most of the biological properties can be ascribed to terpinen-4-ol the antimicrobial activity of TTO results from complex interaction among different components 8. The effect of Zataria multiflora (Shirazi thyme” and “Iranian thyme) essential oil reduced viral replication in both the intestine and trachea of H9N2 influenza infected animals, that led to milder clinical symptoms and better performance 9.
Germacrone is one of the major components of the essential oils extracted from Rhizoma Curcuma (turmeric and other gingeraceae plants) has antitumor, anticancer, antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory activity. In addition, germacrone inhibits influenza virus (IAV), Porcine parvovirus (PPV), Feline calicivirus (FCV), and Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) replication 10,11,12,13. Germacrone also has inhibitory effects on H1N1, H3N2 influenza viruses, and Influenza B viruses in the early stages of the viral cycle and can protect mice from fatal infection 11 and was able to effectively inhibit viral replication in a dose-dependent manner in vitro in the early phase of the viral replication cycle. The researchers concluded that germacrone could be used as an efficient microbicide or immunomodulatory agent in the control of the emerging variant PRV (also known as suid herpesvirus-1) 14. In another study, germacrone was found to inhibit influenza virus replication and showed antiviral activity against the H1N1 and H3N2 influenza A viruses and the influenza B virus in a dose-dependent manner. Germacrone was found to exhibit an inhibitory effect on both the attachment/entry step and the early stages of the viral replication cycle. Germacrone also exhibited an effective protection of mice from lethal infection and reduced the virus burden in the lung 15.
Eugenol, which is another ingredient found in high concentrations in multiple essential oils, and has shown antiviral activity against feline calicivirus, tomato yellow leaf curl virus, Influenza A virus, Herpes Simplex virus type 1 and 2, and four airborne viruses 16.
It is without doubt that essential oils possess many health benefits which go beyond just a single illness. The real value of essential oils is that they do not just have extensive anti respiratory virus effects, and the pharmaceutical companies know this, but they also have widespread antiviral effects on virtually every virus they have been tested on. In addition, they have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effects which can dramatically reduce the risk of co-infection of these pathogens and immune modulating effects, gut microbiome boosting effects and are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant to reduce the damage in case a person is infected and support their health.
Note that I tried to keep this article with a focus on respiratory viruses, there are however as far as I can see at first glance around 200 studies on viruses and essential oils with most focusing on herpes and HIV. Nor is this a comprehensive review of all the literature on this topic.
This information is not meant to be medical advice and to the best of my knowledge it is true unlike most of the scaremongering around the corona virus. However, when using essential oils please be sure they are pure therapeutic grade essential oils without additional additives, there are different ways they can be applied and they may have some contraindications with some health conditions. Always consult a health professional.
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- Phytomedicine Volume 11, Issues 7–8, 25 November 2004, Pages 657-661. Antiviral activity of the volatile oils of Melissa officinalis L. against Herpes simplex virus type-2 A.Allahverdiyeva N.Duranb M.Ozguvenc S.Koltasd .
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The best thing people can do to reduce the risk of infection and the seriousness of the illness is improve your immune system and the best thing you can do is constantly work on your gut health
Our immune system function is tightly linked to our gut microbiome. It appears the immune system is the keeper of a healthy gut microbiota which, in turn, controls our immune system. Over millions of years of evolution, our immune system has acquired elegant mechanisms for mounting immunity against pathogens and controlling the microbiome in a mutualistic, beneficial way. Gut microbiota and their metabolites can interact with both the innate immune system (these are the immune system cells that attack the foreign cells and bits in the blood) and the adaptive immune system (the second level of the immune system). We seem to have this perfect balance—at least when everything is working well.
Throughout evolution, the first layer of the GI tract, the epithelium, has developed a complex gene network to regulate the activities of the microbiota and responses of immune cells to provide a harmonious coexistence between our immune system and GI microbiota. In healthy individuals, this network recognises good (commensal) bacteria in the mucus layer and sends signals not to attack it and to suppress inappropriate immune responses. The cells that are capable of triggering inflammation are balanced by cells that promote tolerance, protecting the body without damaging sensitive tissues. The top layer, or the intestinal cells, is always exposed to a variety of external stresses, including food-derived stimulants, environmental chemicals, intestinal micro-organisms and their toxins. The protective responses of these immune cells may, however, simultaneously induce inflammation. This type of inflammation in normal intestines is mild and controllable. However, if inflammatory reactions continue because of excessive stress or the formation of a vicious reaction cycle, disruption of the cells and dysfunction of the intestines will occur. A typical and severe example of such uncontrollable inflammation is inflammatory bowel disease, which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
While some foods and contaminants might set off an inflammatory reaction, fortunately a number of plant-based food substances such as polyphenols like curcumin and isothiocyanates from cruciferous vegetables, resveratrol from red wine, and chlorogenic acid in coffee are anti-inflammatory, antioxidative and have been shown to suppress intestinal inflammation.
How our GI tract and immune system recognise good bacteria and viruses is at least partly established in the first few years of life. The first bacteria in our lives get the best real estate in our GI tract and are the first ones to “talk to” our immune system. That is why the prenatal (maternal) microbiota and the early life (infant) microbiota have crucial roles in the later development of immune responses, particularly in regard to allergens and foreign chemicals. Children do not develop peanut allergies because of their exposure to peanuts; they develop them because the right balance in their immune system has not been established in the first place.
When the partnership between the gut mucosal layer and the microbiome is impaired, we have a significant risk of disease. Diseases associated with abnormal immune responses toward environmental and self-antigens have been rapidly increasing over the past 50 years, especially allergies and asthma.
The gut immune system has evolved to distinguish the tiniest molecular difference that exists between pathogenic and non-pathogenic micro-organisms. It has developed the capacity to react rapidly to any harmful threats before the “enemy” can multiply or even before harmless bacteria may mutate into dangerous ones. In the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), the immune system contributes to the maintenance of the delicate equilibrium that exists between bacteria, yeast, bacteriophages (viruses), and gut epithelium to guarantee homeostasis and our optimal health. The immune reaction caused by an invading pathogen needs to be properly tackled, avoiding underestimations, but also without developing over-reactions that might be damaging for us.
Because of the role of the gut in the immune system, hospital studies show an increase in the post-infection rate of intensive care patients after antibiotics as a result of a creating a positive environment for the growth of resistant opportunistic species.
Our gut assesses what is going on through specific receptors (“toll-like receptors” or TLRs) on the gut lining which enable the immune system to “sense” the environment and protect the host from pathogens or other internal threats. They recognise molecules broadly shared by pathogens collectively named as pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). One of the most important of these PAMPs is LPS, which you will learn about shortly. The TLRs sense the potentially harmful molecules of pathogens that infect humans and switch on the body’s defence systems to react accordingly, where they activate the immune system or they inhibit the inflammatory cascade.
This is an extract from Dr Dingle’s best selling gut health book Gut Secrets https://www.drdingle.com/collections/frontpage/products/gut-secrets
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The research over the past 30 years has demonstrated the critical importance of the gut for our health, not just gut health but so many of the chronic health conditions from asthma and allergies to Alzheimer’s. While much emphasis has been placed on the use of probiotics for our gut and our health, research has also shown multiple gut health benefits of Essential oils (EO).
Our gut health is dependent on many factors working together from our microbiome which acts like an organ on its own to the workings of the nervous, immune and endocrine (hormone) systems coordinating together. As well as the role of inflammation and oxidation in contributing to the damage within these systems. The benefit of essential oils is they work on multiple levels at the same time through all these systems and processes.
For example, studies have shown that essential oils can help rebalance the gut microbiome. Essential oils are used extensively in the animal industry to control microbial outbreaks and disease with increasing use as antibiotics are phased out and in human studies to control opportunistic microorganisms in the gut like Helicobacter pylori, Clostridia, Candida and Salmonella species. They have also been used in many human studies to help control microbial outbreaks where antibiotic resistance has occurred. Similarly, studies have shown the benefits of essential oils in protecting against dental decay and overgrowth of the oral microbiome. Yes, we have an oral microbiome that doesn’t just look after our mouth and teeth but is thought to play a significant role in throat and stomach microbiome which is closely linked with cancers of these areas.
Some very recent studies have also demonstrated their role in supporting some of the beneficial gut species including Lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium. In one study investigating the role of some essential oils on weight loss found that its primary mechanism was by positively altering the gut microbiome and increased the relative abundance of Bifidobacterium which then contributed to improved weight loss. While other studies have shown essential oils have positive effects on the intestinal barriers function, or as we normally call “Leaky Gut”.
Recent studies have also shown the role of a dysfunctional nervous, immune and endocrine (hormone) system in many aspects of poor gut health including reflux, Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO) and various large bowel conditions like IBD and IBS. Repeated studies have shown the benefits of essential oils in positively modulating these systems though different mechanisms.
Overall essential oils show great promise in assisting and protecting the gut and promoting good gut health. In the following blogs we will be investigating some of the specific actions of essential oils and how they can work to fix the gut
Microplastics are very small plastic debris between 1 micron and 5 mm in diameter. 1 micron is one thousandth of the size of 1 millimetre. Very small and unable to be seen by the human eye. They come in a variety of forms, colors and materials and often in the form of Polypropylene and polyethylene (which is what the plastics we have in the home are made of) and until very recently they have been totally ignored.
Studies over the last couple of years have shown these pollutants to be ubiquitous in our environment as well as in our food. In fact, they have become a global environmental pollutant where they are distributed throughout our oceans, waterways and land environments and are leading to major ecological health concerns. These microplastics accumulate through the food chain, a lot like the old pesticides we have which are now banned, and pose a major threat to humans as we are at the top of the global food chain.
Due to their small size, microplastics can under certain conditions can get into the circulatory system and accumulate in different types of tissues. A wide range of toxic effects caused by commercial MPs including altering our endocrine system (hormones) and liver stress, oxidative stress, changes in our metabolism, reduced enzyme activity, cellular death and altering the gut microbiome to name some of the problems they have identified.
Major sources of these microplactics include both through our food and air and a recent study focusing on the American diet estimated that annual microplastics consumption ranges from 39000 to 52000 particles depending on age and sex. These estimates increase to 74000 and 121000 when inhalation is considered.
Most importantly one of the easiest ways to reduce exposure is to reduce the amount of low quality plastics coming in contact with your food and water like the low quality plastics found in many water bottles.
Dietary fibre of edible plants comprises insoluble and soluble carbohydrates including cellulose, lignin, and nonstarch polysaccharides. Other dietary fibre components include nondigestible oligosaccharides such as inulin and oligofructose, as well as resistant starch (RS). They demonstrate resistance to digestion in the stomach and small intestine, allowing passage largely intact into the large intestine where they increase thickness and bulking of our feces. Epidemiological evidence consistently shows that a higher intake of dietary fibre is associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), type 2 diabetes, various cancers, other forms of chronic disease including kidney disease and inflammation largely through fibre’s positive impact on the gut microbiota.
As we moved from the rainforest to the parched savanna-woodlands of subtropical Africa, subsurface tubers, rhizomes, corns, and perennial bulbs, many rich in fibre, would have been a ready and important source of energy. About 60% of the calorific intake came from such sources. This would equate to a total dietary fibre intake of between 250 and 400 grams every day, with between 50 and 100 grams of inulin every day. Following the Western style diet, consumers are likely to get less than 10% of this amount.
The consumption of dietary fibre appears to be a critical determinant for gut bacterial ecology, diversity and function. Consumption of dietary fibre significantly alters the composition of the intestinal microbiota, and provides the main sources of energy for the microbial communities that inhabit the human large intestine. Fibre has also been shown to protect against degradation of the gut mucus membrane.
Dietary fibre is fermented in the large intestine by the commensal bacteria into short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), mainly acetate, butyrate, and propionate, which are essential for good intestinal health and a reduction of dietary fibre significantly lowers fecal SCFAs. SCFAs are important for so many aspects of our health but also play a critical role in our gut pH, which can then have dramatic effects on the composition of the microbiome. The reduced fibre intake in Western diets is associated with reduced bacterial diversity and richness and as a result, many metabolic disorders.
Dietary fibre and high consumption of plant-based foods appears to inhibit the bacteria from producing harmful metabolites from proteins, emphasizing the importance of eating adequate complex carbohydrates to maintain gut microbiome carbohydrate fermentation.
That is why we are constantly recommending Kfibre
Sulfites and other preservatives are considered food additives intended to limit bacterial contamination and are generally regarded as safe. However, as expected, bactericidal chemicals have been shown to damage beneficial bacteria in the human gut. Sodium bisulfite and sodium sulfite have been shown to have negative effects on our beneficial gut microbiota including Lactobacillus species after two hours of exposure at concentrations of sulfites between 250–500 ppm, concentrations typically found in foods.
Sulfites are added to beer, wine, juices, dried fruit, processed fish, seafood, meats, and some canned goods and are intended primarily for controlling microbial growth, preventing browning and food spoilage. The sulfite concentration in red and white wine is around 70 mg/L and 122 mg/L respectively. This means that drinking about two glasses of wine (450 mL) a day equates to an intake of 75% to 130% of ADI for a 60-kg person. A glass or two of wine may have a benefit on the gut microbiome but the preservative in it doesn’t. Combined with typical additional intake of sulfites common in a Western diet, the average total dietary exposure to sulfites could come to a total of 294% of ADI for adults, well over the amount generally regarded as safe and a level likely to do harm to the gut microbiota.