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Speaker: Talking past each other: Ideological silos and research

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to Hebe,

    This gut flora stuff is the key to much of us. I’m fascinated by the research.

    I was about to close the thread because it had degenerated into end-stage talking about talking ... but if you want to talk about that, I can keep it running :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Nevertheless most of the folks working in the field say they personally have changed their diet to promote microbiome diversity even when they aren’t willing to put anything in a journal paper.

    Hell, that it is interesting.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Nevertheless most of the folks working in the field say they personally have changed their diet to promote microbiome diversity even when they aren’t willing to put anything in a journal paper.

    Interesting Bart. What sorts of dietary changes are these? Probiotic yoghurt would be an obvious one I guess.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 822 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    But all that must be considered with the caveat that the science is new and some of those studies haven’t been done by the best groups in the field so may not stand up to replication. Also by their very nature these studies are mostly correlative and do not show cause and effect. Nevertheless most of the folks working in the field say they personally have changed their diet to promote microbiome diversity even when they aren’t willing to put anything in a journal paper.

    Interesting too. I have also noted the wavering nature of some of this science. And I reckon changing diet can tend to be explosive (sorry, not). I also note that some of the hard science intersects with natural health theories and practice,.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2896 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    What sorts of dietary changes are these? Probiotic yoghurt would be an obvious one I guess.

    The comments, and these are from interviews on the science podcasts I listen to, say diversity seems to be beneficial. So you get diversity from eating lots of different foods. But in particular anything fermented, kimchi and yoghurt but also other fermented foods. They also suggested making your own bread but I don't understand how anything survives the baking process.

    You get gut microbiome diversity from gardening, getting your hands dirty. And from eating food straight from the garden. Dirt is good :). You get gut microbiome diversity from having a dog!

    So for me, the way I've tried to adapt my diet is to try and avoid falling into a rut. Also try to eat fresh salad greens etc and yeah some yoghurt. And I also try and limit highly processed foods. I'm not great at doing those things but I try.

    BTW they also point out that almost all the "probiotic" foods/pills etc are just large doses of brewers yeast (Saccharomyces) which is kind of pointless and usually quite expensive compared to just eating brewers yeast (which I don't think is worthwhile either).

    Bear in mind also that while I've read widely I am a plant developmental/molecular biologist and not an expert on the gut microbiome so my opinion is my opinion.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Hebe,

    I also note that some of the hard science intersects with natural health theories and practice

    Yeah my impression is these scientists are working quite hard to stay in the science arena which is why any advice they are willing to give is strictly prefaced with "this is what I do and not my professional recommendation" because they know the data is still too uncertain.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Hebe,

    And I reckon changing diet can tend to be explosive

    Yeah - make changes gradually :).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Tamara,

    I'm also fascinated by developments in this area. My brother has had a variety of health issues over the years and is now being treated by a doctor (in Oz) who believes that digestive and dietary factors need to be rebalanced for overall improvements. Including in areas such as depression/anxiety. So, my brother is seeing gradual improvements, which we hope will continue.

    New Zealand • Since Oct 2010 • 115 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Cheers for that Bart.. very interesting. I've found that starting the day with a bowl of oatmeal and yoghurt seems to be very beneficial for my overall digestive wellbeing (sorry, TMI). I think it's quite good to pay attention to how you feel after eating various foods.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 822 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    I've found that starting the day with a bowl of oatmeal and yoghurt seems to be very beneficial

    I got interested pretty much the opposite way... via an exclusion diet to reduce the volume and intensity of my farting. The low FODMAP diet seems to be a close summary of what works for me, but I do regularly and deliberately push the edges both for a bit of variety in my diet and because many of the foods I particularly like are outside the restrictions. OTOH, it appears I can tolerate (possibly benefit) from small amounts of some "bad" foods.

    Yoghurt and oatmeal, though, not so much. I found it... explosive. But the combination of lactose (makes my gut unhappy) and oats (make my gut unhappy) proved to... make my gut unhappy. And I generally dislike fermented products, which I'm inclined to say is my brain going "hmm, in the past I felt bad after eating things that smell like that".

    So I watch the microbiome suggestions with interest, and try them with care. I fear that there's a critical threshold below which there's not enough gut bacteria that can deal with lactose usefully to allow me to deal with lactose at all. Soygurt, BTW, causes the same problem (so does soy in general, which is kinda sad coz I like tempeh and tofu)

    Eating straight from the garden I definitely do :)

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1198 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    BTW they also point out that almost all the “probiotic” foods/pills etc are just large doses of brewers yeast (Saccharomyces) which is kind of pointless and usually quite expensive compared to just eating brewers yeast (which I don’t think is worthwhile either).

    Being a home brewer, I get plenty of brewers yeast in my diet, plus plenty of fermented product. :-)

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Rebecca Gray, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Oh this is a nicer diversion topic.
    I find the microbiome stuff fascinating too. Be really interested to see where this research goes in the next few years.
    We've had some fermented vegetable experiments in our kitchen lately and I have no idea whether there have been health benefits, but I will say the home-fermented pickles are really tasty so, hell, why not.

    Prof Julian Crane gave a talk about developments in microbiome research a couple of years ago, and the one slide that I'm sure he KNEW we'd be unable to forget was about how there are DIY kits for carrying out faecal transplantation at home. Apparently the moral of this story may be "don't buy secondhand blenders if you don't know where they've been" :-s

    Wellington • Since May 2016 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Rebecca Gray,

    but I will say the home-fermented pickles are really tasty so, hell, why not

    This is one reason why I'm comfortable suggesting these things. None of the suggestions is inconsistent with generally "good eating" and many are damn tasty.

    Moz

    via an exclusion diet

    a couple of comments, apparently as we get older we tend to lose some ability to process lactose - not a complete loss though. So often folks find reducing but not eliminating works well.

    The other comment is I get the feeling a lot of folks try eliminating parts of their diet to deal with some problem or another. And if they feel better they never reintroduce that part of their diet. If the change in diet and feeling better was a coincidence that means they lost some diversity in their diet. While it may not be fun to check I'd personally want to see if reintroducing the food caused the problem again.

    I also wonder about some folks (not specifically you Moz) who progressively exclude elements of their diet and end up with a very narrow diet which would probably lead to a less diverse gut microbiome which is generally thought to be less ideal. And yes I am aware some folks have to restrict their diet for real reasons.

    It also fascinates me that people are so happy to experiment on themselves. These are really experiments with a sample of one and huge observer bias. I get why people do it but then often those same people are very concerned about scientists or big pharma/business experimenting on them - it's ... odd.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    You get gut microbiome diversity from gardening, getting your hands dirty. And from eating food straight from the garden.

    That's how my partner got toxoplasmosis :-)

    I hope youse fellas are all eating unsweetened yoghurt. Your average pottle of fresh n fruity has a lot of sugar in it, and it's thickened with gelatine. I don't know whether or not it gets fermented the way they make it.

    This is one of those fields in which there is so much unmet demand and unknowns that there's room for plenty of pseudoscience. People want to believe. There's body politics, health politics, expertise-claiming politics. There's no shortage of crankery in mistreating health conditions with special expensive diets. I'll be taking this cutting edge stuff with a healthy pinch of low-sodium salt substitute before I jump on the bandwagon.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    There seem to be gut-related issues with autism and it is rare to find a person on the spectrum, and even close family members, who do not have some long-standing digestive issues. The MindsforMinds group at Auckland University has been doing some work on this.

    I also heard recently, from some authoritative scientific person, that there is also a relationship between lack of breastfeeding and the development of ADHD. I don't want to get into the breastfeeding and guilt thing, but that could indicate another gut microbiome thing going on.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3203 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    From my reading, yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, miso, tempeh, and natto are some.
    I have been looking into the area from the POV of having a stress-depleted immune system and three years of illness, and how to rebuild. I'm cautious about any silver bullet - as much as I would like one - and this path seems promising.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2896 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Rebecca Gray,

    We’ve had some fermented vegetable experiments in our kitchen lately and I have no idea whether there have been health benefits, but I will say the home-fermented pickles are really tasty so, hell, why not.

    I'd like to but I'm a little jumpy about bad bugs versus good bugs for the body, and how to get the good bugs taking charge. Do you have reliable recipe links?

    As for the blender: ewww!

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2896 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    There seem to be gut-related issues with autism and it is rare to find a person on the spectrum, and even close family members, who do not have some long-standing digestive issues. The MindsforMinds group at Auckland University has been doing some work on this.

    It would good to know some non-bogus stuff about this. My older son has uncomfortable – and sometimes socially inappropriate – belching problems.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    People might want to watch Rob Knight's (still a few kiwi vowels) Ted talk.

    https://www.ted.com/talks/rob_knight_how_our_microbes_make_us_who_we_are/transcript?language=en


    Though I think he would agree that it is a really complicated micro-ecology of interactions in there, so you can't really just swap-out microfauna on the grounds of "this one seems good in isolation" at present.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It would good to know some non-bogus stuff about this. My older son has uncomfortable – and sometimes socially inappropriate – belching problems.

    See my message for a link on t'other social network.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2896 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    There seem to be gut-related issues with autism and it is rare to find a person on the spectrum, and even close family members, who do not have some long-standing digestive issues. The MindsforMinds group at Auckland University has been doing some work on this.

    I watched a member of my extended family eating a bowl of rice a plate of chips three cups of milk filled to the very top and a saucer of soy sauce. It was the order he gobbled it all down that was most unusual.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Bear in mind also that while I've read widely I am a plant developmental/molecular biologist and not an expert on the gut microbiome so my opinion is my opinion.

    So when you posted here a couple of years back about "Make cows burp less by making them more efficient (better grass or better bacteria) and the farmer gains", you'd have been speaking as one of the grass guys.

    It also fascinates me that people are so happy to experiment on themselves. These are really experiments with a sample of one and huge observer bias. I get why people do it but then often those same people are very concerned about scientists or big pharma/business experimenting on them - it's ... odd.

    Informed consent?

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    you’d have been speaking as one of the grass guys

    heh the plant side of that idea is much closer to my specialty but even then it isn't an area where I'd be comfortable writing a grant today but I would have the background to read the literature and understand it well enough to probably write a decent grant after a month or so of heavy reading. I'd almost certainly try and get a collaborator who is a real grass expert though.

    This http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1369526613001672 is my real focus.

    The animal side of that is far enough outside my expertise that I'd never try and write a grant to do that work but I'd be comfortable that I'd understand any seminar on the subject.

    It really is a problem with any scientific expertise nowadays. We are all very specialised, we can usually read and understand (and potentially explain) much wider. But the trap in some fields is you may not know the sometimes very technical weaknesses in any given research.

    While I do describe myself now as a plant developmental biologist - I trained as a molecular biologist (gene jockey) which means I'm comfortable with most things about DNA and RNA but often less comfortable with the organism the DNA came from :).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Informed consent?

    Hmmm yeah kinda. Informed usually means some good understand of all the risks and expected outcomes. I somehow doubt everyone who experiments on themselves is as informed as an ethics committee would normally require if they were subjects in a scientific study.

    But yeah it's their body to do with as they wish.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    There seem to be gut-related issues with autism and it is rare to find a person on the spectrum, and even close family members, who do not have some long-standing digestive issues. The MindsforMinds group at Auckland University has been doing some work on this.

    It would good to know some non-bogus stuff about this. My older son has uncomfortable – and sometimes socially inappropriate – belching problems.

    A question for both of you. Do people on the spectrum tend to want have more diverse or less diverse diets?

    I would have guessed they'd prefer more predictable (less diverse) eating habits. If that's true you might predict they'd have less diverse gut biomes. I guess my feeling from what I've read thus far is I'd probably be inclined to treat gut problems now by adding to the diet rather than subtracting - that is very much a personal guess though.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

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