Notes from reading: Brain Maker, The Power of Gut Microbes

Last week I picked up Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain – for Life  by David Perlmutter.

After reading 10% Human: How Your Body’s Microbes Hold the Key to Health and Happiness (blog note), this book was like a mirror. I have no idea who copied whom or was it even a copy.

The only new things this book had was the mention of how Wheat is affecting our microbiome and a chapter dedicated on preparation of probiotic food.

These are some of the Kindle notes from the book:

  1. The neurons in the gut are so innumerable that many scientists are now calling the totality of them “the second brain.”
  2. Your gut makes more serotonin — the master happiness molecule — than the brain in your head does.
  3. An overactive immune system can lead to such complications as allergies; in a severe case, it can react so wildly that it leads to anaphylactic shock — an extreme reaction that can be deadly.
  4. The gut bacteria help keep the immune system vigilant but not in full defense mode.
  5. New science is also revealing that bad bacteria can change how we perceive pain; indeed, people with an unhealthy microbiome may be more sensitive to pain.
  6. The two most common groups of organisms in the gut, representing more than 90 percent of the bacterial population in the colon, are Firmicutes (pronounced fir-MIH-cue-tees) and Bacteroidetes (pronounced BAC-teer-OY-deh-tees).
  7. Researchers have discovered that obese people have elevated levels of Firmicutes in their gut flora, compared to lean people, who are dominated more by Bacteroidetes.
  8. What’s more, we’ve just learned that higher levels of Firmicutes actually turn on genes that increase the risk for obesity, diabetes, and even cardiovascular disease.
  9. One particularly fascinating study performed by a team of researchers in 2010 revealed that when they used gene sequencing to profile bacterial types from mothers and their newborn babies, they found that infants born vaginally obtained bacterial colonies resembling their own mothers’ vaginal microbiome, dominated by beneficial Lactobacillus, whereas babies born via C-section acquired colonies similar to those found on the skin’s surface, dominated by an abundance of the potentially harmful Staphylococcus.
  10. The point is that transmission of microbes from one generation to the next is a fundamental process of life.
  11. Factors such as antibiotics and other medications, chlorinated water, certain foods, and even stress all play a part in determining the diversity and balance of the gut bacteria and, therefore, the set-point of inflammation.
  12. Not only do gut microbes influence the environment in your body, but they contribute to that environment by producing certain chemicals that affect the health of the brain and entire nervous system.
  13. According to the World Health Organization, depression will displace heart disease in terms of cost of caring for patients by the year 2020.
  14. What’s going on in the gut determines, to some degree, what happens in the brain.
  15. High-fructose corn syrup now represents 42 percent of all caloric sweeteners, which could be a factor in our soaring rates of depression and even dementia.
  16. Drugs to treat autoimmune disease, such as steroids, can also tinker with the balance of gut bacteria as well as change the functionality of the immune system.
  17. If antibiotics come into the picture, they will degrade the microbiome and further facilitate the inflammatory process.
  18. New research shows that our gut bacteria don’t just aid in digestion, as you likely realize by now. They play a critical role in our metabolism, and this relates directly to whether we lose or gain weight.
  19. Women who get the flu during pregnancy double their risk of giving birth to a child with autism.
  20. Diet has the dominant role in shaping gut microbiota, and changing key populations may transform healthy gut microbiota into a disease inducing entity.
  21. High-fructose corn syrup and crystalline fructose disrupt liver metabolism, which, along with excess glucose, spikes blood-sugar levels and exhausts the pancreas.
  22.  The human body cannot digest artificial sweeteners, which is why they have no calories.
  23.  Correlations have also been found between those who use artificial sweeteners and those who weigh more and have higher fasting blood sugar, a condition we know leads to many negative health effects.
  24. Antibiotics are also used extensively in agriculture and farming, and this is contributing to the problem of resistance. They are used to treat infection as well as to make animals grow larger and mature earlier.
  25. the U.S. leads the way in terms of antibiotic use in meat produced.
  26. 2011, U.S. drug makers sold nearly 30 million pounds of antibiotics for livestock, the largest amount yet recorded, representing 80 percent of all antibiotics sales that year.
  27. Coronary artery disease, a leading cause of heart attacks, may have more to do with inflammation than with high cholesterol.