Microbial enterotypes in personalized nutrition and obesity management

ABSTRACT. Human gut microbiota has been suggested to play an important role in nutrition and obesity. However, formulating meaningful and clinically relevant d
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Human gut microbiota has been suggested to play an important role in nutrition and obesity. However, formulating meaningful and clinically relevant dietary advice based on knowledge about gut microbiota remains a key challenge. A number of recent studies have found evidence that stratification of individuals according to 2 microbial enterotypes (dominance of either Prevotella or Bacteroides) may be useful in predicting responses to diets and drugs. Here, we review enterotypes in a nutritional context and discuss how enterotype stratification may be used in personalized nutrition in obesity management. Enterotypes are characterized by distinct digestive functions with preference for specific dietary substrate, resulting in short-chain fatty acids that may influence energy balance in the host. Consequently, the enterotype potentially affects the individual’s ability to lose weight when following a specific diet. In short, a high-fiber diet seems to optimize weight loss among Prevotella-enterotype subjects but not among Bacteroides-enterotype subjects. In contrast, increasing bifidobacteria in the gut among Bacteroides-enterotype subjects improves metabolic parameters, suggesting that this approach can be used as an alternative weight loss strategy. Thus, enterotypes, as a pretreatment gut microbiota biomarker, have the potential to become an important tool in personalized nutrition and obesity management, although further interventions assessing their applicability are warranted.


Eating for a Trillion: Can your microbiome be the key to long-lasting weight loss?

Fad diets may impact your gut microbiome in unexpected ways that affect your ability to lose weight. This article explains why.
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Athletes Speak Out and Reach Out to Improve Mental Health – Suffolk University

Ford Hall Forum at Suffolk University holds conversation with sports community that aims to remove stigma associated with mental illness
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Kevin Love Fund Launches, to Focus on Prioritizing Mental Health

Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love announced Tuesday that he is launching the Kevin Love Fund, which will aim to make mental health a priority…
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More Fiber = Less Gut/Brain Inflammation

Nice article in Medical News Today – read the entire article HERE

Some of my favorite highlights…
Fiber is a key element of a healthful diet. New research breaks down the mechanism by which it can delay age-related brain inflammation.
food rich in fiber

Eating fiber-rich foods — such as broccoli, nuts, oats, beans, and whole-grain bread — might help delay brain aging by triggering the production of a short-chain fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory properties (from a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology.

Previous research has shown that a drug form of butyrate, which is a short-chain fatty acid that is produced in the colon when bacteria ferment fiber in the gut, can improve memory and reduce inflammation in mice.

The high-fiber diet elevated butyrate and other [short-chain fatty acids] in the blood both for young and old mice 

Consuming a high-fiber diet reduced the intestinal inflammation in aging mice so much that it was indistinguishable from that of young mice.

Why fiber is good for your brain

A high-fiber diet reduced inflammation in the brain’s microglia. The researchers suspect that this was achieved by diminishing the production of a pro-inflammatory chemical known as interleukin-1β, which some studies have linked with Alzheimer’s.

Diet has a major influence on the composition and function of microbes in the gut and that diets high in fiber benefit good microbes – while diets high in fat and protein can have a negative influence on microbial composition and function.

Older adults consume 40 percent less dietary fiber than is recommended.

Not getting enough fiber could have negative consequences for things you don’t even think about, such as connections to brain health and inflammation in general.

Cleaning Product Use Alters Infant Microbiome to Cause Obesity | GEN

Study finds that commonly used disinfectants, but not eco-friendly products, could be making young children overweight by changing their microbiome during infancy.
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SHIELD yourself from Alzheimer’s Disease

“SHIELD” is Tanzi’s acronym for…

Sleep (uninterrupted seven to eight hours)

Handle Stress

Interact (be sociable)

Exercise (cardiovascular)

Learn (“the more synapses you make, the more you can lose before you lose it)

Diet (Mediterranean: high in fruits, vegetables, olive oil, whole grains)

Is Mental Health the New Black?

Yes, really (with a political-sized asterisk). From Demi Lovato and Logic to Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan, there has been a collective willingness to divulge
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Is Mental Health the New Black?

By Matthew Loeb

~ 2 min read

Yes, really (with a political-sized asterisk).

From Demi Lovato and Logic to Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan, there has been a collective willingness to divulge (and personalize) mental health struggles. Demi has openly and courageously discussed her bipolar diagnosis, self-harm attempts, and rehab stints. In his powerful song 1-800-273-8255, Logic champions suicide prevention and, ultimately, delivers a message of hope (“You don’t gotta die, I want you to be alive”) against suicide ideation.

NBA All-Stars Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan, likewise, have publicly shared their mental health scars. In his powerful Players Tribune op-ed, Love demonstrates a keen understanding — and sensitivity — toward mental health. “Mental health isn’t just an athlete thing. What you for a living doesn’t have to define who you are. This is an everyone thing,” Love poignantly writes.

But more than tabloid fodder in the latest People, what do these public disclosures really mean? From my perspective, these disclosures represent a significant breakthrough. More than just humanizing Demi and DeMar (and Logic and Love), these public admissions encourage others, perhaps fearing ridicule themselves, to openly discuss their mental health trials and tribulations. In this vein, I remember my personal anguish when considering divulging my mental health struggles (Hello, OCD! Good day, anxiety!). A deciding factor: this Sports Illustrated article. If Julian Swartz can document his OCD rituals in excruciating detail to Sports Illustrated’s millions of readers, why can’t I? And if Kevin Love can discuss the helplessness of a panic attack (and Logic can discuss his hospitalization for derealization disorder), why can’t the next generation share its mental health trials and tribulations?

We are making progress on mental health; indeed, there has been a collective (re)awakening of mental health’s searing impact on families and communities. And for, in part, forcing us to confront an uncomfortable reality — mental health affects us all, these celebrities deserve kudos.

But while these celebrities have pushed the mental health envelope — and deserve commendation for doing so, I’m anxiously awaiting the next step: a political candidate acknowledging his/her mental health struggles. Even more than acknowledging his/her mental health struggles — which admittedly would be a monumental step, I want a political candidate to run on his/her mental health issues.

Too bold? Why? We have seen political candidates openly acknowledge their mental health struggles and prevail. Lynn Rivers, a Michigan Democrat, revealed her struggles with depression during her political campaign. And in Congress, she spoke freely about her mental health. Rivers held the Congressional seat for eight years — depression be damned. But for 99% of political candidates (Rivers, Sean Barney, and Ruben Gallego duly noted), mental health is more taboo than Ashley Madison. One Republican pollster referred to it as the “kiss of death.” Vulnerability, political pundits readily note, is exploitable. And, truthfully, in our political cauldron, I can already envision the attack ads decrying a political candidate as “crazy” for acknowledging that, yes, he consults with a psychologist and, the horror, visits a psychiatrist. Politics, sadly, is a blood sport.

That said, vicious attacks ads — and the resultant character assassinations — shouldn’t stop a political candidate (and mental health sufferer) from talking about these critically important issues. 44 million Americans — more than the population of California — experience mental health issues in a given year. Despite mental health’s ubiquity — literally it affects one out of five Americans, mental health policy discussions remain clinical. Loathe to personalize the issue — and acknowledge their own mental health stumbles, detached politicians regurgitate harrowing statistics and tepidly acknowledge a failing mental health system. This formulaic response, particularly after the latest national tragedy, provides political refuge for politicians scared to talk about mental health. We need and deserve better — specifically politicians personalizing mental health in visceral terms — and, in the process, challenging mental health stigma’s vice grip within Washington and its halls of power.

These conversations, as we know, won’t be easy. But as Demi and DeMar and Logic and Love prove, attitudes toward mental health are a-changin’. With a societal shift toward mental health, the time is now for a national politician to discuss and run on a mental health platform. Indeed, this would represent the real Straight Talk Express — and stand in marked contrast to today’s standard (political) fare of platitudes, vague promises, and, ultimately, empty rhetoric on mental health.

7 Physical Disorders That Are Linked To Mental Health Issues

There’s no denying that the health of our bodies and our minds are super interconnected. If you don’t feel well physically, there’s a decent chance your mental health is not going to be in the best of shape, and vice versa. In fact, studies suggest…
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There’s no denying that the health of our bodies and our minds are super interconnected. If you don’t feel well physically, there’s a decent chance your mental health is not going to be in the best of shape, and vice versa. In fact, studies suggest that those living with severe mental illness — which the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) estimates is one in twenty-five people in the U.S. — are more prone to developing serious physical disorders. Moreover, TIME reported in February 2017 that research has also found that those with common chronic physical health issues, like psoriasis and diabetes, can have symptoms exacerbated by mental health issues and stress.

If you have a chronic health condition and/or a mental illness, it can a be a vicious cycle: Your mental health can trigger physical symptoms, and physical symptoms can trigger mental health issues, and so on. Though mental health issues and physical health issues are often treated separately by physicians, the distinction between the two is a lot less meaningful than you’d think. Scientists have found that certain disorders that we may typically think of as only being a “physical” disorder are inextricably linked to anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses. From eczema to lupus, here are seven common physical disorders that often co-occur, or are linked to an increase risk of mental health conditions.


Ashley Batz/Bustle

Endometriosis is a reproductive health issue that occurs when uterine tissue abnormally grows outside the uterus. It can cause pelvic pain, heavy menstruation, pain during intercourse, uncomfortable bowel movements, and in some cases, infertility. The Endometriosis Foundation of America estimates 200 million people across the globe have this reproductive heath disease, and one in ten women in the U.S. alone are diagnosed with endometriosis. Interestingly, a study published last May the International Journal of Women’s Health found people who experience endometriosis reported higher rates of depression, anxiety, and psychiatric disorders, as well as a lower quality of life when compared to people who didn’t have the disorder.



According to the National Eczema Foundation, around 30 million Americans are affected by this health issue, which causes skin to become red, inflamed, and itchy. People with eczema can experience physical health complications like asthma and skin infections, but a survey from the National Eczema Foundation revealed 30 percent of people with eczema also have anxiety, depression, or another mental health issue. Moreover, a study published in 2016 found children with eczema were more likely to have “emotional, conduct and hyperactivity problems, but not peer problems, compared with children without these diseases.” In fact, eczema and other skin disorders like psoriasis are sometimes referred to as a psychophysiologic disorders, because they are so interconnected to mental health, and stress can trigger symptoms of these skin conditions.


Ashley Batz/Bustle

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) estimated affects around 10 million Americans, though women are most likely to develop this disorder — accounting for at least 75 percent of the people who have it in the U.S. Common symptoms of fibromyalgia include fatigue, brain fog (aka, “fibro fog”), pain, sleep issues, restless leg syndrome, temperature sensitivity, and more. Fibromyalgia often co-occurs with autoimmune disorders, hypothyroidism, and chronic fatigue syndrome, but it is also linked to major depressive disorder, and other mental illnesses.

4Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)


As Healthline reported, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is an intestinal disorder that can cause abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea or constipation (or alternating bowel movements), gas, fatigue, food intolerances, and more. A 2015 discovered that people with IBS were at higher risk of having a mood or anxiety disorder, compared to those who don’t have IBS. Further, research from 2014 suggests there is a bidirectional connection between IBS, and schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.



The National Resource Center on Lupus explains that, “lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs).” Meaning, your immune system misfires, attacking your body’s healthy tissues as if they were an infection. A study from 2009 found women with lupus were more likely to have a severe mood or anxiety disorder than the general population. In fact, up to 75 percent of people with lupus also have neuropsychiatric symptoms.


Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Acne is a pretty common skin condition, so it may surprise you that it can actually have a negative impact on your mental health. As reported by Allure, a study published this past February in the British Journal of Dermatology revealed that acne is linked to an increased risk of depression.

7Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

According to Medline Plus, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), aka myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a chronic health condition characterized by intense fatigue that is not helped by sleep, brain fog, pain, faintness, and severe fatigue after physical or mental exertion. A 2010 study that due to the “dysregulation of the stress system, the immune system, and central pain mechanisms” that CFS can cause, it makes people with this disorder more susceptible to mental illness

Mood and the microbiome

Research has shown how probiotics benefit mood and brain health by improving the microbiota-gut-brain axis.
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The microbiota-gut-brain axis is a bidirectional network in which the brain directs activities in the gut, and resident gut bacteria, in turn profoundly shaping brain development, behavior and mood.1-5 The composition of the microbiome influences normal neurologic development in utero and during the neonatal period.6 Intestinal permeability defects are thought to underlie the chronic low-grade inflammation observed in stress-related psychiatric disorders.7 Those with depressive symptoms frequently exhibit increased expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines.8,9,10 Gut microbiota influence transcription of these same cytokines, with dysbiosis triggering the so-called inflammasome pathway, while beneficial metabolites (short-chain fatty acids [SCFAs], in particular) reduce production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.11

It is now recognized that stress and mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety, are influenced by the health of the gut and the microbiome’s modulation of systemic inflammation. Although introduced as early as 1910,12 it has taken more than a century to establish the so-called ‘gut-brain axis’ as a critical pathway for the prevention and treatment of clinical depression.13,14

Today, a new class of probiotics, known as psychobiotics, are being embraced by physicians as a nontoxic intervention for various psychiatric conditions.15,16 Preclinical research laid the groundwork to investigate the use of probiotics for the treatment of mood disorders in humans, and several clinical trials have examined the role that probiotic supplementation plays in the treatment of depression and anxiety.

In 2017, Wallace and Milev at the Queen’s University in Canada conducted a systematic review of 10 clinical trials on probiotics and mood.17 Most of the studies found positive results on measures of depressive symptoms. One study by Steenbergen and colleagues is noteworthy because the multispecies probiotic studied (as Ecologic Barrier from Winclove) significantly reduced overall cognitive reactivity to depression—specifically, aggressive and ruminative thoughts, as assessed by the Leiden index of depression sensitivity (LEIDS-R).18  Many patients, especially young people with no prior history of depression, would prefer non-pharmaceutical interventions as a first-line treatment,19 and this study is the first to demonstrate that probiotics are a viable preventive in this respect.

To date, clinical trials on probiotics for depression and anxiety have been heterogeneous in terms of dosing, probiotic strain selection and length of treatment. Further randomized controlled clinical trials are warranted to validate the efficacy of this promising intervention.