Showing posts with label Lactobacillus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lactobacillus. Show all posts

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Probiotics – Science and Pseudoscience

Once anyone starts to make claims that some autism is treatable, people respond in different ways.  Those applying what has always been taught in medical school, that autism is untreatable,  will either think you are making it all up, or worse, you are some evil person taking advantage of parents in emotional distress.

The very few people who read the research about things like metabolic errors and intracellular signaling may well take a different view. Also the oncology/cancer researchers who themselves think about sub-types of disease that are induced by specific signaling pathways (like RAS-induced cancers for example), may well see the sense in experimentation like that in this blog.

Medicine does indeed say that autism, Down Syndrome and ID/MR are untreatable; however current science does not support this.  Your local doctor applies medicine; he is likely totally out of his depth when it comes to where science is in 2016.

My posts are just my take on the science, I am well aware that some clever neurologists have looked at this blog and think it is all fantasy.  The doctors who have a child with autism and read this blog tend to look from a different perspective and with a much more open mind.  Once you find one therapy that is truly effective, bumetanide in our case, then there can be no turning back.

There are all kinds of diets, supplements and therapies promoted by various people, I wish them all well.

The problem any future science-based autism clinicians will have is that they inevitably get mixed up with other types.  In the US they already go to the same autism conferences, which surprises me. People then think, "Oh well if Professor X is here from Ivy League college Y, then everyone must be legit".  Big mistake. You need to be on really top form to separate out all the pseudoscience, and on occasion you may get it wrong. 


I used to be a skeptic of probiotic bacteria, that is until I was prescribed some little glass vials about a dozen years ago.  I had some side effect from an antibiotic prescribed for an ear infection.  I still recall the ENT doctor calling out (not in English) and asking what to prescribe for the GI side effects.  When I took his prescription to the pharmacy I received a pack of glass vials and a small saw blade.  You used the saw to cut the neck of the vial then you added water to the white fungus growing in the vial and poured into a glass of water, which you then drank.

It most definitely worked.

Even today when I tell my doctor relatives in the UK that probiotics work wonders for diarrhea, all I get is strange looks.

So I am already sold on the fact that probiotic bacteria can do great things for stomach problems.

I spoke to a friend in Denmark this week who has been ill much of the year and finally his problems have been diagnosed as stemming from Ulcerative Colitis.  His first symptom was actually a blood clot.  It turns out that inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), like ulcerative colitis, increase your risk of blood clots.

So I told my friend to read up on VSL#3 and Viviomixx, which do seem to help IBD, and also to read up on melatonin in the IBD research.

Probiotics and Inflammatory Disease

Looking at immune health more generally we saw how the probiotic Miyairi 588 is used to produce butyric acid which can improve immune health.  This is why cost conscious farmers put it in their animal feed to produce healthier, faster growing animals.

We saw that an alternative is just to add sodium butyrate to the food.  This is done is both livestock and some humans.

Butyrate is an HDAC inhibitor and so is thought to have epigenetic effects.

Probiotics and the Brain

You might be able to convince your doctor that a probiotic bacterium can be good for your stomach, but would you convince him that it could be good for the brain?

I must admit I also would like to see some scientific evidence, beyond anecdotes - even my own anecdotes.

So finally today’s featured scientific study:-

 There is increasing, but largely indirect, evidence pointing to an effect of commensal gut microbiota on the central nervous system (CNS). However, it is unknown whether lactic acid bacteria such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus could have a direct effect on neurotransmitter receptors in the CNS in normal, healthy animals. GABA is the main CNS inhibitory neurotransmitter and is significantly involved in regulating many physiological and psychological processes. Alterations in central GABA receptor expression are implicated in the pathogenesis of anxiety and depression, which are highly comorbid with functional bowel disorders. In this work, we show that chronic treatment with L. rhamnosus (JB-1) induced region-dependent alterations in GABAB1b mRNA in the brain with increases in cortical regions (cingulate and prelimbic) and concomitant reductions in expression in the hippocampus, amygdala, and locus coeruleus, in comparison with control-fed mice. In addition, L. rhamnosus (JB-1) reduced GABAAα2 mRNA expression in the prefrontal cortex and amygdala, but increased GABAAα2 in the hippocampus. Importantly, L. rhamnosus (JB-1) reduced stress-induced corticosterone and anxiety- and depression-related behavior. Moreover, the neurochemical and behavioral effects were not found in vagotomized mice, identifying the vagus as a major modulatory constitutive communication pathway between the bacteria exposed to the gut and the brain. Together, these findings highlight the important role of bacteria in the bidirectional communication of the gut–brain axis and suggest that certain organisms may prove to be useful therapeutic adjuncts in stress-related disorders such as anxiety and depression.

The study is interesting because it shows that a bacterium can modify GABA subunit expression in the brain, but when the vagus nerve is removed the effect is lost.  So it is pretty likely that in humans the vagus nerve is the conduit to the brain, as has many times been suggested, but here we have some pretty conclusive supporting evidence.

For a less science heavy explanation of the study:-

Belly bacteria boss the brain

Gutmicrobes can change neurochemistry and influence behavior

I did a post about the vagus nerve a while back and there is an easy to read article here:-

Viva vagus: Wandering nerve could lead to range of therapies

My old posts:-

The Vagus Nerve and Autism

Cytokine Theory of Disease & the Vagus Nerve


Individual GI bacteria have very specific effects.  In people with neurological dysfunctions the possibility genuinely exists to delivery therapies to brain via the gut.  This might have been seen as pseudoscience a decade ago, but now it is part of science, but not yet medicine.

Many other clever things going on in your gut.  The long awaited CM-AT pancreatic enzyme therapy, from a company called Curemark, is now entering its phase 3 trial (thanks Natasa). Click below. 

Blüm is the study of CM-AT, a biologic, for the treatment of Autism.

The Curemark lady, Joan Fallon, has collected numerous patents regarding various mixtures of pancreatic enzymes and even secretin.  Secretin was an autism therapy that was written off many years ago, but is still used by some DAN type doctors.

Some comments on this blog from parents of kids in the early CM-AT trials are supportive of its effect.

Pancreatic enzymes (e.g. Creon) are already used as a therapy for people who lack pancreatic enzymes and many people with autism have taken them.

Curemark have never published any of their trial data which annoys at least one of our medical researcher readers.  If you have so many patents, why not share your knowledge?