Notes from reading: 10% Human

I picked 10% Human: How Your Body’s Microbes Hold the Key to Health and Happiness  by  Alanna Collen.  The book has details about how our guts are getting affected by our food habits, medicines we are taking. It also lists how our microbiome helps us in curing us from many disease.

Book covers about:

  1. Side effects of  antibiotics on our guts,
  2. How our eating habits are making us sick aka rise of Leaky guts.
  3. How excessive use is antibiotics to grow bigger chicken & producing more milk is making us sick.
  4. How fibre has almost disappeared from our meal & its adverse affect on our guts.
  5. How guts are responsible for our mental well being.
  6. Affect of C-section on new born baby.
  7. Advantage of breast feeding over bottle-milk feeding.
  8.  How faecal transplant is going mainstream in growing microbiome.

These are some notes from my Kindle:

  1. Gastrointestinal symptoms are surprisingly common in people with mental health and neurological conditions, though they are usually seen as unimportant compared with the altered behaviour.
  2. Gut microbes did not just alter physical health, but mental health as well.
  3. The source of autism lay in the gut.
  4. When any other organ breaks down, we look for external causes, but when the brain – the mind! – misbehaves, we assume it’s the fault of the individual, their parents or their lifestyle.
  5. I find myself thinking about my meal choices in terms of what my microbes would be grateful for, and my mental and physical health as markers of my worthiness as a host to them.
  6. It seems paradoxical – surely antibiotics are there to treat infections, not cause them. But although a course of antibiotics might cure one infection, they may also leave us open to others. In a study of 85,000 patients, those taking long-term antibiotics for the treatment of acne were more than twice as likely to suffer colds and other upper respiratory tract infections as acne patients who weren’t on antibiotics. Those who had been given antibiotics before the age of two – a startling 74 per cent of them – were on average nearly twice as likely to have developed asthma by the time they were eight.
  7. The more courses of antibiotics the children received, the more likely they were to develop asthma, eczema and hay fever.
  8. The idea of a leaky gut leading to chronic inflammation and kick-starting both physical and mental health problems is an exciting one for medical science.  A balanced and healthy microbiota seems to act as a gatekeeping force reinforcing the integrity of the gut and protecting the sanctity of the body.
  9. We all know that smoking and drinking put us at risk of developing cancer, but far less well-known is that we are significantly more likely to get cancer if we are overweight.
  10. In the late 1940s, scientists in the US had made the accidental discovery that giving chickens antibiotics boosted their growth by as much as 50 per cent.  Production gains of this magnitude for the cost of, well, chicken feed, were spectacular. Ever since, so-called subtherapeutic antibiotic therapy has been an essential part of farming.
  11. It turns out that 93 per cent of children with autism had ear infections before they turned two, compared with 57 per cent of children without the condition. As I mentioned, no doctor wants to leave a childhood ear infection alone, lest it stops a toddler from learning to speak, or leads to something nasty such as rheumatic fever. So they turn to antibiotics – better safe than sorry. The link between more ear infections and more antibiotics bears up. An epidemiological study showed that kids with autism tend to have been given three times more antibiotics than those without it. Those getting antibiotics under the age of eighteen months appear to be at the greatest.
  12. Poor diet is responsible for the majority of deaths in the developed world, be it from heart disease, stroke, diabetes or cancer.
  13. Getting your microbiota from your mum is common, even among non-mammals.
  14. As toddlers, children born by C-section are more likely to develop allergies.  C-section babies are also more likely to be diagnosed autistic. People with obsessive–compulsive disorder are twice as likely to have been born by C-section.
  15. Oligosaccharides are now known to be instrumental in encouraging the right species of microbes to bloom in the seedling gut microbiota of a baby. Babies fed breast-milk have microbiotas dominated by lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. Unlike the human body, bifidobacteria make enzymes that can use oligosaccharides as their sole food source. As a waste product, they produce the all-important short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) – butyrate, acetate and propionate, plus a fourth SCFA that’s particularly valuable in babies: lactate (also known as lactic acid). These feed the cells.
  16. The aid of the vagina’s lactic acid bacteria and breast-milk’s oligosaccharides, appears to be important in protecting babies from infection, and priming their young immune systems.
  17. the consequences of a natural birth, and extended, exclusive breast-feeding, the more empowered we will be to give both ourselves and our children the best chance of lives of health and happiness.
  18. Poor nutrition? No problem – your microbes will help you to synthesise missing vitamins. Eating barbecued meat? Not to worry – your microbes will detoxify the charred bits. Changing hormones? That’s fine – your microbes will adapt.
  19. A faecal transplant is not too different from a probiotic: the idea of both is to deliver beneficial microbes to the gut. One usually goes in at the top and the other at the bottom, and one is usually cultured in a lab whereas the other is cultured in the ideal environment of another person’s gut. It’s only a matter of time before the two concepts converge. With a well-designed capsule that delivers its contents to exactly the right location in the gut, the same community of faecal microbes that make up the solution used in a faecal transplant can fill a capsule that is swallowed with a glass of water.