Too much dietary salt overload impacts brain function via the gut´s immune cells

There is a link between autoimmunity and salt intake that can be traced back to the interaction with salt on the immune cells residing in the intestine. About five years ago, a couple of studies showed that high salt intake leads to fundamental immune changes in the gut, resulting in increased vulnerability of the brain to autoimmunity— a condition in which the immune system attacks its own healthy cells and tissues by mistake, suggesting that perhaps the gut can communicate with the brain via immune signaling.

New research in mice has shown how excessive salt intake can make the brain vessels vulnerable and lead to stroke (similar mechanism as leading to heart attack), irrespective of high blood pressure, which is conventionally seen as a major risk factor for stroke. The researchers found that immune responses in the small intestines set off a chain of  chemical responses that reduced blood flow to the cortex and the hippocampus, two brain regions integral to learning and memory, bringing about cognitive decline. This impact due to salt overload was even seen in the absence of high blood pressure.

Understanding this vital link between a healthy low salt diet and the gut´s immune signaling is an important reminder of why reducing the stressor of excessive salt intake and paying attention to a balanced, healthy diet is key to preserving our mental health.

See the following article published in Science magazine this December for more.


Glyphosate implicated in infertility, miscarriages and celiac disease

A study in fish showed an association between the impact of the herbicide Roundup (ingredient glyphosate) used in crops on reproduction. Fish exposed to glyphosate develop digestive troubles that are reminiscent of celiac disease.

Reproductive issues associated with celiac disease, such as infertility, miscarriages, and birth defects, can also be explained by glyphosate.

Glyphosate is known to inhibit cytochrome P450 enzymes. Characteristics of celiac disease point to impairment in many cytochrome P450 enzymes, which are involved with detoxifying environmental toxins, activating vitamin D3, catabolizing vitamin A, and maintaining bile acid production and sulfate supplies to the gut.

Deficiencies in iron, cobalt, molybdenum, copper and other rare metals associated with celiac disease can be attributed to glyphosate’s strong ability to chelate these elements.

Deficiencies in tryptophan, tyrosine, methionine and selenomethionine associated with celiac disease match glyphosate’s known depletion of these amino acids.

Here is an article in the Holistic Health published Nov 28 that makes the case for glyphosate´s implication in gluten-intolerance becoming so widespread.

Another scientific study published in Interdisciplinary Toxicology found that if glyphosate usage continues unabated, glyphosate resistance among weeds will become a growing problem necessitating a strategy that either involves an increase in the amount of glyphosate that is applied or a supplementation with other herbicides such as glufosinate, dicampa, 2-4D, or atrazine.

Agrochemical companies are now actively developing crops with resistance to multiple herbicides, a disturbing trend, especially since glyphosate’s disruption of CYP enzymes leads to an impaired ability to break down many other environmental chemicals in the liver.

This makes us ever more vulnerable to the onslaught of environmental toxins increasingly found in our food chains, and chronic diseases like cancer and leads to more problems in reproductive health as a species.

We need to talk about meat

The Lancet editorial from Nov 6th  has a timely piece on the ecological and health implications of too much meat consumption.  It seems like the debate on the lack of sustainability of meat consumption for our species’ health and our planet’s ecological survival is finally entering the forum of the highly respectable scientific press.  The consumption of red and processed meat has been associated with increased mortality from chronic diseases, and as a result, it has been classified by the World Health Organization as carcinogenic (processed meat) and probably carcinogenic (red meat) to humans  (see News Lancet Oncol 2015; 16: 1599–600).

Taxation for red meat has been put forth as a policy similar to other carcinogens and foods of public health concerns (tobacco and soda tax) to curb consumption.  In a recent article published in PLOS One Nov 6th ([10.1371/journal.pone.0204139] the health-related costs to society attributable to red and processed meat consumption in 2020 amounted to USD 285 billion ! This is a staggering figure of preventable health risk amenable to consumer-driven changes in lifestyle choices and habits.



MIT and Harvard Study links Gut & Microbiome with Neurobehaviors

The connection between the microbial composition of our intestines and behavior keeps coming up in discussions on gut microbes and their wide-reaching effects, as biological researchers of late are focusing more of their interest and energies into deciphering the complex composition of microbes residing in our guts and the influence on our organism in all of its various aspects.

In a landmark 2018 study published in Molecular Psychiatry, a teamof researchers from Harvard Medical School, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and the University of Toyama, found that “changes in gut microbiota can control brain insulin signaling and metabolite levels,” which in turn impacts neurobehaviors.

Read more of this fascinating study in the publication Psychology Today:

Mediterranean Diet May Influence Breast Microbiome Population

October 9th, 2018.

Hello, I am back .. it has been eons since my last update on microbes and health.

Here is an interesting study examining the specific impact of a Mediterranean diet on the bacterial composition of the breast tissue and the risk for developing cancer.

This recent study looks into the impact of a Mediterranean diet versus a Western diet and the influence on the Lactobacillus population inside breast tissue. Usually studies have looked at the particular bacterial composition of the microbiome in the gut, but this is taking a look inside the breast tissue glands themselves and how this has an influence on breast cancer development.

A Mediterranean diet increases the Lactobacillus population which is thought to offer a protection against breast cancer.

See the full article below published in Cell Reports.