The Internal Garden 2 – A good diet for the Microbial Symbiote and Yourself
By George Giltner, Advanced MG
Overwhelming evidence from numerous researchers is now showing a connection between better health, and a complex and diverse microbial symbiote in the large intestine. Garden vegetables play a major role in driving the “symbiote” toward a healthy composition (1). Eat big MAC’s (Microbiota Accessible Carbohydrates) which are dietary fiber to feed the beneficial bacteria, Bacteroides (2).
The gut bugs love the soluble dietary fiber, oligosaccharides (3 – 9 sugar unit molecules) that come from garden vegetables, fruits, beans and peas, and nuts. Colon bacteria rapidly ferment this food into smaller units for absorption. The longer non-starch polysaccharides (10 -100 sugar unit molecules) come from pectin in fruits, inulin in onions, and other plant-manufactured sources. These are converted into important Short-Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA’s) like vinegar, which lowers inflammation, reduces risks of infection, stabilizes blood sugar, and lowers triglycerides and LDL’s. The indigestible polysaccharides and 100+ sugar unit molecules like cellulose keep us regular by passing thru the digestive system.
The prevailing theory of microbial research is that lack of dietary fiber has shifted man’s colon microbes toward Fermicutes (fat-producing bacteria) that has resulted in an increase in modern Western diseases (3). An example – In 1992-94, the U.S. government, American Diabetes Association, and the American Heart Association (AHA) endorsed a high-carb, low–fat diet. Soon after, the rate of diabetes has exploded between 1997 – 2007, by doubling (CDC, Diabetes Report Card, 2012).
Oops, now the AHA recommends a pro-vegetarian diet. It is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, low-fat dairy, skinless chicken, and fish. It encourages low saturated fats and trans fats (none is better), low sodium and limited added sugar and red meat (www.newroom.heart.org.- March, 2015).
If you eat the SAD (standard American diet) of hamburgers, French fries, and high carbs, the symbiote drifts toward fat-producing bacteria, Fermicutes. These bacterial types and their products lead toward inflammation, weight gain, and “Western” diseases like heart disease, diabetes, neurological diseases, etc.
A National Institute of Health funded study (4) with nearly 60,000 participants, stated that “Increasing evidence suggests that nutrients from fruits and vegetables have chemo-protective effects on various cancers including hematologic malignancies”. They observed that use of grape seed supplements and garlic supplements are associated with lower incidence of several types of blood cancers. Grape seeds have proanthocyanidins, potent antioxidants that also lower the risks of prostate cancer and some types of skin cancer. Garlic has organic sulfur compounds that prevent cancer through various mechanisms.
Early man had a diet similar to the Mediterranean and traditional Japanese diets of Modern culture. Both of these diets have demonstrated exceptional health and longevity. What they have in common is high fiber content, fermented foods, low saturated fats, and low red meat consumption. Now, we are finally uncovering how these facets support our health.
The American diet is unfortunately loaded with Omega-6 fats, which are from corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil. However our hunter-gatherer ancestors consumed Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats in a ratio of 1:1 (5). Omega-3 oils are found in olive, flaxseed, and walnut oil, which help to reach a more balanced ratio. Seafood is an excellent source of Omega-3 along with grass-fed animals like beef, lamb, and buffalo (6). However if animals are feed-lot fed corn and soybeans, they will not have adequate Omega-3’s for the equal ratio with Omega-6’s.
A 2015 Mayo Clinic report (7) linked high levels of Omega-6 fatty acids to increased risk for heart disease and depression. Omega-3’s are thought to provide lower risks of coronary heart disease and improvements in cholesterol. Also studies are reporting promising results for lower risks of cancer, depression and ADHD (hyperactivity in children). The DHA and ERA of fish oil lowers triglycerides and reduces risks of heart attack, abnormal heartbeat, and stroke in people with heart disease. Fish oil may also benefit people with hardening of arteries and high blood pressure. However it is best to skip the fish at the end of the food chain like Mackerel, swordfish, tilefish, and albacore tuna due to high mercury levels. Instead use certified fish oil from cold-water fish like a krill blend.
As with any dietary change, seek medical guidance and discuss this subject with your health provider. Example – High doses of fish oil may be problematic with people with heart disease, sugar control problems, and bleeding issues.
Another serious issue with the SAD (American diet) is the glut of gluten in modern processed foods like wheat breads, cake, doughnuts, breakfast cereals, condiments, ice cream, soups, etc. The range of gluten problems ranges from slight gluten intolerance to Celiac Disease. David Perlmutter, MD, says “When I watch people devour gluten-laden carbohydrates, it’s like watching them pour themselves a cocktail of gasoline” (6).
Neurologist, Dr. Aristo Vojdani (6), has stated that the incidence of gluten sensitivity in Western countries may be as high as 30%. Dr. Rodney Ford (8) emphasizes “Evidence points to the nervous system as the site of gluten damage”. Therefore, if you are gluten sensitive, look for gluten-free products to avoid and reduce bloating, indigestion, diarrhea, headaches, neurological problems, and allergies. “Gluten-free” is in your home-grown garden and in the produce department of grocery stores.
Dietary fiber and anti-oxidants from organic vegetables, balanced Omega fatty acids, and gluten-free products along with exercise are important dietary factors that lead to a healthier you and your microbial symbiote.
- www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Environmental and Gut Bacteriodetes: The Food Connection
- www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Vitamin, Mineral, Specialty Supplements and Risks of Hematologic Malignancies in the Prospective Vitamins and Lifestyles Study (July 29, 2011).
- P.M. Kris-Etherton, et al., “Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in the Food Chain in the United States,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 71, no. 1 (January 2000) S179-S188.
- David Perlmutter, MD, “Grain Brain” (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2013) p.76, 64, 60.
- www.mayoclinic.org. Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Fish Oil, and Alpha Linolenic Acid (2015).
- Rodney P. Ford, “The Gluten Syndrome: A Neurological Disease,” Medical Hypotheses 73, no.3 (September 2009): p. 438-40.