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Apr 16, 2014 05:43 AM

Differences in gut microbes

This will possibly only interest a few of us, but it gave me "food for thought."

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  1. Interesting information.

    Based upon an episode of Science Friday, a Dr studying intestinal microbes mentioned that the intestinal flora and fauna varies greatly between people. With the cultural differences, food choices and amount of processing/industrialization and germphobia, I can see that affecting our flora, but that's just a gut feeling.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dave_c

      You probably wondered the same thing I did -- what was a representative American stomach!?!
      I think SciFri did a piece on Asian vs. Western gut flora a while back.

      EDIT: It must be an annual pursuit for them:


      And a 2011 "original":

    2. Makes me wonder what probiotic to take.

      13 Replies
        1. re: sedimental

          Would that be analogous to getting local honey for allergy protection?

          1. re: sedimental

            Actually, the ones that I take ARE dirt-based....!

            We call them dirt pills...

            EDIT: I wonder if we should worry about whether it's local dirt ;-/

            1. re: sandylc

              Seriously, if the microbe level/type/assortment science is genuine, then the location HAS to be crucial.
              However, unlike honey, that doesn't mean that my backyard is the best for my gut.
              I see a future for late night TV* commercials for Garden of Eden Brand dirt, supposedly from the foot of some ancient mountain in some unspoilt location.
              *If late night TV even continues to exist...

            2. re: sedimental

              No, not dirt. Poop:


              Yes, it is real and has been demonstrated as an effective treatment for chronic Clostridium difficile infection.

                1. re: kmcarr

                  Study of gut microbes, antibiotics offers clues to improving immunity in premature babies

                  See also the 'related studies'

                  1. re: paulj

                    Giant "duh" here. It amazes me how "modern" "science" is always "discovering" things that the "crazy" "natural" folks have known about for some time.

                    Glad they're catching on, though.

                    1. re: sandylc

                      What's this obvious thing that scientists are just discovering?

                      1. re: paulj

                        How the make-up of gut flora effects health.

                        1. re: sandylc

                          For how long have 'natural' folks been talking about the 'make-up' of gut flora? I recall informal ideas about eating yogurt to replenish bacteria killed by antibiotics. And lots of folk remedies involving coffee enemas. But nothing approximating a scientific understanding.

                          1. re: paulj

                            Most of us " ordinary folk" have known these things for decades. It is not actually that complicated..., eat local, germs were created by a supreme entity, exercise because you are a human, vegetables are good for you. I know, rocket surgery.... Humans are part of the environment as much as anything else. All part of a bigger system.

                            1. re: sedimental

                              The science articles cited in this thread do not demonstrate the advantages of a eating vegetables grown in your local dirt.

                              The article that I cited used research on neonatal mice; not whether mice eating Philadelphia grown carrots where healthier than ones that ate ones imported from California.

            3. Interesting. With so much hydroponic foods these days tomatoes,cucumbers,peppers,herbs it is easy to see how do don't get the beneficial microbes and beneficial bacteria from soil. And with the soil most of food is grown in I'm not sure id want to.

              1. Here's a variation on the 'we are too hygenic' idea:
                "Rural microbes could boost city dwellers' health, study finds
                April 23, 2014
                University of Colorado at Boulder
                The greater prevalence of asthma, allergies and other chronic inflammatory disorders among people of lower socioeconomic status might be due in part to their reduced exposure to the microbes that thrive in rural environments, according to a new scientific paper."

                No mention of gut bacteria, though they think some parasitic worms are beneficial. Nor anything about eating local.

                "During our evolutionary history, the human immune system was exposed to microbes and infections in three important ways: commensal microbes were passed to infants from their mothers and other family members; people came into contact with nonpathogenic microbes in the environment; and people lived with chronic infections, such as helminths, which are parasitic worms found in the gut and blood."

                1. It pretty much comes down to method of birth (vaginal birth coats baby with beneficial bacteria), method of early feeding (breastfeeding), early solids (processed grains vs. a wide range of flavors/whole foods), fermented foods, diverse diet that doesn't focus on refined grains and heavy sugars.

                  One of the more interesting stories: