Probiotic Bacteria Could Protect Newborns From Deadly Infection

Probiotics Offer Powerful Protection For Infants Against Sepsis

What is sepsis?  Sepsis is the result of a massive immune response to bacterial infection that gets into the blood. A bacterial infection in the blood, is called septicemia. You’ll often hear both terms used together. It often leads to organ failure or injury. This is no joke. It’s a deadly serious matter.An estimated 1 million Americans develop sepsis each year and up to 50 percent die from the systemic infection.

Recent research shows feeding newborns probiotics (healthy bacteria) significantly lowers the child’s risk of developing sepsis. The study involved infants in rural India, where sepsis is common. Worldwide, an estimated 600,000 infants die from sepsis, primarily in developing countries.

The bacterial strain selected was Lactobacillus plantarum ATCC-202195 — a kind of lactic acid bacteria found in fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut and kimchi. To that, they added the prebiotic fructooligosaccharide “to promote growth and sustain colonization of the probiotic strain.”

According to NPR, the team was “shocked by how well the bacteria worked.” In infants given the synbiotic mix (probiotic plus prebiotic) for one week, the risk of sepsis and death dropped by 40 percent, from 9 to 5.4 percent.

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Heart Failure Associated With Loss Of Important Gut Bacteria

Heart Failure Associated With Loss Of Important Gut Bacteria

11 July 2017 Deutsches Zentrum für Herz-Kreislauf-Forschung (DZHK)

In the gut of patients with heart failure, important groups of bacteria are found less frequently and the gut flora is not as diverse as in healthy individuals. It has long been known that heart failure and gut health are linked. The gut has a worse blood supply in instances of heart failure; the intestinal wall is thicker and more permeable, whereby bacteria and bacterial components may find their way into the blood. Moreover, scientists know that the composition of the gut bacteria is altered in other widespread diseases such as type 2 diabetes.

Diet, medication and smoking have the largest influence on the make up of gut flora. The differences between healthy individuals and those with heart failure came about mainly through the loss of bacteria of the genera Blautia and Collinsella, as well as two previously unknown genera that belong to the families Erysipelotrichaceae and Ruminococcaceae.

Is it the chicken or the egg when it comes to cause and effect? Or, should we be using the “garbage in” and “garbage out” model? When it comes to our food consumption habits and health impacts, I’d start there.
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Full bibliographic information Original publication: Heart failure is associated with depletion of core intestinal microbiota. Luedde, M., Winkler, T., Heinsen, F.-M., Rühlemann, M. C., Spehlmann, M. E., Bajrovic, A., Lieb, W., Franke, A., Ott, S. J. & Frey, N. ESC Heart Failure, (2017)
DOI: 10.1002/ehf2.12155

Microbiome Study Reveals Links Between Lifestyle, Gut Flora

Gut Flora Project Looking For ‘Normal’

Jeroen Raes_VIB/KU Leuven/VUB ©Greetje Van Buggenhout
Jeroen Raes_VIB/KU Leuven/VUB ©Greetje Van Buggenhout

World’s first population-level microbiome study reveals links between lifestyle and gut flora

25 April 2016 VIB – Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology

The Flemish Gut Flora Project, one of the largest population-wide studies on gut flora variation among healthy volunteers, has presented its first major results. Through the analysis of more than 1,000 human stool samples, a team of researchers led by professor Jeroen Raes (VIB/VUB/KU Leuven) has identified 69 factors that are linked to gut flora composition. These results provide important information for future disease research and clinical studies. The project’s fundamental insights will be published in the upcoming issue of the leading academic journal Science.

2012 marked the launch of the Flemish Gut Flora Project, initiated by prof. Jeroen Raes (VIB/VUB/KU Leuven). Together with his team, prof. Raes aimed at the ambitious task of mapping the gut flora composition of around 5,000 volunteers in Flanders (Belgium). The purpose of this endeavor was to investigate links between the human gut flora and health, diet, and lifestyle.

Gut Flora Composition Linked to Health, Diet, and Lifestyle
Titled “Population-level analysis of gut microbiome variation”, prof. Raes’ study has identified 69 factors associated with gut flora composition and diversity. Most of these covariates are related to transit time, health, diet, medication, gender, and age. Integration of the Flemish Gut Flora Project results with other data sets gathered around the world revealed a set of 14 bacterial genera that make up a universal core microbiota present in all individuals.

Jeroen Raes (VIB/VUB/KU Leuven): “Our research has given us a tremendous amount of new insight into the microbiota composition of normal people like you and me. This makes the Flemish Gut Flora Project unique, since the majority of previous studies focused on specific diseases or featured a significantly smaller geographical scope. However, analyzing the ‘average’ gut flora is essential for developing gut bacteria-based diagnostics and drugs. You need to understand what’s normal before you can understand and treat disease”.

Beer and Buttermilk
Stool transit time showed the strongest association to gut flora composition. Also diet was an important factor, with most associations related to fiber consumption. One of the many surprising findings was the association of a particular bacterial group with a preference for dark chocolate! “The Belgian chocolate effect.”, Raes laughs. “As many readers might expect, we also found an association between gut flora composition and beer consumption.” Other project results incite deeper investigation, such as the relationship between the gut flora and factors linked to oxygen uptake capacity. Medication also had a strong link to the gut flora profile. The Raes Lab researchers not only identified associations with antibiotics and laxatives, but also with hay fever drugs and hormones used for anticonception or alleviation of menopause symptoms. Remarkably, early life events such as birth mode or whether or not volunteers were breast-fed as babies were not reflected in adult microbiota composition.

Jeroen Raes (VIB/VUB/KU Leuven): “These results are essential for disease studies. Parkinson’s disease, for example, is typically associated with a longer intestinal transit time, which in turn impacts microbiota composition. So to study the microbiota in Parkinson’s disease, you need to take that into account. These and many other observations can help scientists in their research into future therapies.”

A key factor in this study was the collaboration with the Dutch LifeLines study, which allowed the researchers to replicate their findings: more than 90% of the identified factors were also detected in the Dutch cohort. International collaborations like these are the key for advancing the field and speed up the path to developing gut flora-based drugs. “Such replication adds a tremendous amount of robustness to the results”, Raes emphasizes. “Of course, we also found some differences between both cohorts. Believe it or not, but one of the important dietary covariates identified in the Dutch cohort was the consumption of buttermilk.”

Tip of the iceberg
Although the Flemish Gut Flora Project has enormously enriched our knowledge on gut flora composition, it only allowed to explain 7% of gut flora variation. An enormous amount of work still needs to be done in order to sketch out the entire gut flora ecosystem. The Raes Lab estimates that around 40,000 human samples will be required just to capture a complete picture of gut flora biodiversity. In other words: we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. And although the VIB team revealed a wide range of associations, further research is required to unveil what is cause and what is consequence.

This is why this first publication doesn’t mark the end of the Flemish Gut Flora Project. The Raes Lab is already planning follow-up studies, including new large-scale research projects that will explore the evolution of gut flora over time. More volunteers are now being recruited for this long-term study. The more people willing to participate, the faster VIB will be able to unveil new insights into the relationship between the trillions of microbes in the human body and our health. “The thousands of volunteers, pharmacists, and healthcare professionals that participated to the Flemish Gut Flora Project are the heart of this study”, Raes says. “Without their enthusiasm, this couldn’t have been done.”

Full bibliographic information

Population-level analysis of gut microbiome variation; Falony et al.; Science; April 28, 2016

Gut Bacteria Disruption In Early Life Linked To Obesity In Adulthood

Happy Face Stomach PaintingIt appears that the developing gut bacteria in newborns is even more important than previously thought. Antibiotics and other chemical toxins destroy gut bacteria. As the microbiome develops in humans it also determines how our metabolism gets established and our digestive patterns for life are formed according to a NYU research team and published in Cell.

Acquisition of the intestinal microbiota begins at birth, and a stable microbial community develops from a succession of key organisms. Disruption of the microbiota during maturation by low-dose antibiotic exposure can alter host metabolism and adiposity.

We now show that low-dose penicillin (LDP), delivered from birth, induces metabolic alterations and affects ileal expression of genes involved in immunity. LDP that is limited to early life transiently perturbs the microbiota, which is sufficient to induce sustained effects on body composition, indicating that microbiota interactions in infancy may be critical determinants of long-term host metabolic effects.

In addition, LDP enhances the effect of high-fat diet induced obesity. The growth promotion phenotype is transferrable to germ-free hosts by LDP-selected microbiota, showing that the altered microbiota, not antibiotics per se, play a causal role. These studies characterize important variables in early-life microbe-host metabolic interaction and identify several taxa consistently linked with metabolic alterations.

For further reading:

Altering the Intestinal Microbiota during a Critical Developmental Window Has Lasting Metabolic Consequences
Cox, Laura M; Yamanishi, Shingo; Sohn, Jiho; Alekseyenko, Alexander V; Leung, Jacqueline M; Cho, Ilseung; Kim, Sungheon G; Li, Huilin; Gao, Zhan; Mahana, Douglas; Zarate Rodriguez, Jorge G; Rogers, Arlin B; Robine, Nicolas; Loke, P’ng; Blaser, Martin J
2014 Aug;158(4):705-721, Cell
— id: 1132022, year: 2014, vol: 158, page: 705, stat: Journal Article,

How Your Gut Microbiota Affects Intestinal Integrity

ProbioticsBacteria in the gut help the body to digest food, and stimulate the immune system. A PhD project at the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, examines whether modulations of the gut bacterial composition affect intestinal integrity, i.e. the ability of the body to maintain a well-regulated barrier function that hinders bacteria from entering the body unintentionally.

The human gut contains more than 100 trillion bacteria, which help the body digest food, produce vitamins protect against disease-provoking bacteria in food, and stimulate the immune system.

All these bacteria are separated from the rest of the body by the intestinal wall, which functions as a selective barrier aimed at allowing only useful substances to pass and be absorbed in the body.

Ellen Gerd Christensen, PhD student at the National Food Institute, has examined whether a change in gut bacterial composition affects intestinal integrity. Results show that increased intake of whole-grain wheat increases the number of bifidobacteria, which are considered beneficial for human health. In addition, the study indicated that bifidobacteria may have a negative effect on intestinal integrity. However, subsequent animal testing in rats showed no changes in intestinal integrity after dosing with live bifidobacteria.

Antibiotics also have an effect
In addition, experiments in rats showed that administration of antibiotics, which cause immense changes in the bacterial gut composition, have an effect on intestinal integrity in either a positive or negative direction, depending on the specific antibiotics.

The findings of this PhD project can be used to clarify how changes in the composition of the natural gut bacterial community may affect intestinal function and permeability.

Read more
Read Ellen Gerd Christensen’s PhD thesis: http://www.food.dtu.dk/english/~/media/Institutter/Foedevareinstituttet/Publikationer/Pub-2014/PhD%20thesis%20Ellen%20Gerd%20Christensen.ashx.

http://www.food.dtu.dk/english/News/Nyhed?id=F1D16D54-1058-4152-8CE7-C573D582DB57

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