Writing Exercise #8

I seem to remember us discussing and learning a lot about gut microbial community. We talked about crohns disease and diet. We talked about how gut microbe environment affects other diseases or conditions within our bodies. I have thought a lot about this lately as I am in a life period of making changes to my diet and learning a new lifestyle relating to health and nutrition. I have been plant-based on/off for years. My sister has an allergy to lactose or more specifically, whey protein. I have done some reading about lactose in our diets and come to some pretty concrete impressions and opinions about intake of dairy products. Lately, those thoughts have been challenged as I work to become more lean and find that dairy and meat products seem to be the best or easiest way to do that. I think that one of the most approachable ways to maintain gut health is through yogurt which is dairy but injected with probiotics. This is an approachable to ingest probiotics and feel like yogurt is the thing we use to do that. We’ve associated them together. So there are so many conflicting thoughts currently with me about this topic. I also read the china study, which is a book that talks about animal protein in human diet. After reading that book, I was polarized against the meat and dairy industry. It seemed to paint such a clear picture. Humans stop drinking their mother’s milk after we mature to a certain age. Animals do the same. So then why do we take animal’s milk, meant for baby animals (or in our case, baby humans) and culture it, cultivate it, make it into other products and consume HUGE amounts of it in the form of cheese, yogurt, butter etc.

Animal Protein in the Human Diet

Just reading the so-called title of this next portion makes my mind jump right into conspiracy theory because I go to how the lobbyists for dairy and meat industries have invested so much money and time into promoting dairy and meat as our main source of diet. There are people who think of a meal as the meat and then whatever else. If a meal doesn’t have a meat, it means they are poor or something is lacking. I do live in Oregon so I think I have some separation from that. Also, I was raised in a religion where most people are vegetarian. These things make it easier for me to wrap my head around a lack of meat and dairy in our diets. I don’t mean to pick on meat and dairy but both as products, they are problematic. Dairy so because so many people seem to have sensitivity towards it, and I believe it is truly only meant for babies. Meat so because it is so expensive to produce per square foot and per dollar invested, but also because it seems inhumane. We don’t live outside in the wilderness and kill one cow for 6 months of meat and products. They live in little stalls and stand in the same spot for 2 years until they’re fat enough to kill. They are pumped with fake nutrition, or waste from other stuff. Yuck. There are quite a few expose type shows or movies, try Netflix, that expose the conditions in meat yards. That makes it hard to support meat industry. It’s not like it’s the best quality meat anyway. I read once somewhere how their hormones upon smelling death, release into their bodies as they approach their own death, fear etc. That is has not been proven through research, but suggested, that those hormones affect as upon eating their meat. I have wondered more than once if when you eat steak, you get nightmares because your body is breaking down the steak in your gut while you sleep and you get those fear hormones in your body while your subconscious runs your brain at night.

Writing Exercise #7

Positive – The baby needs to be exposed to the world and live in the world for it’s own immune system to be able to learn and adapt to the microbial environment surrounding it. So, in that sense, the sooner the better. For the mother, her resources were given priority to the baby while she was pregnant, so this is a good time for her microbial environments to return to normal. Once the baby has birthed, her body will begin to do that.

Negative – A new baby and momma are fragile creatures. We take great care to ensure they are both safe while recovering from the birth episode. The baby has a new immune system and very much relies on the mother’s immunity, mainly through the milk. The mother has been compromised because she is healing from birth and also her body rerouted her resources for months to the developing baby. They both need time to recover and (in the mother’s case) rebuild their own resources.

Writing Exercise #6

Describe your personal philosophy about how and when you have taken, or would take, antibiotics.

I think antibiotics are necessary and should be used.

Also, antibiotics are overused which is a problem on a system wide scale. For the people who overuse antibiotics, their bodies now can harbor the drug-resistant strains and then those strains can be shared. We need to be careful about antibiotic use.

I don’t go to the doctor unless I’m really sick or have been sick for a long time. If and when I am prescribed antibiotics, I set reminders and make sure to take the dosage exactly as prescribed. A lot of people stop taking the meds when the symptoms start to go down, but your body is still fighting the infection and you need to keep taking the medications through the duration.

What experiences or prior knowledge do you have that shaped that personal philosophy?

Learning that our body’s natural response time is 2-14 days, we should not administer antibiotics until after 14 days to see if the body can heal itself and kill off the invaders given it’s natural processing time. We jump right to trying to fix it as fast as possible and I think that’s doing our body harm, in not allowing us to work the process.

Writing Exercise #5

What choices do you make in terms of food/nutrition/product use and consumption that may have an impact on your microbial communities?

First of all, I don’t believe human adults should be consuming animal milk. Milk is made by a mother for a baby. It is meant for babies. Why do we drink milk made for a different species babies. We wean our own babies off of our own milk, but then we drink animals milks. It doesn’t make any sense.

I fully made the switch to plant based milk products a long time ago – I think this was the first step in being more aware of what I eat and how it affects me. I also enjoy fake meat products. I use yogurt for the “probiotics”

Consider choices that are intentional, and choices that are perhaps non-intentional.

Intentional choices are those like changing to a different type of milk

Non intentional are our own food preferences. Some people have a “sweet tooth” or people who like “savory” – this to me is a non-intentional choice and affects people differently. Fat people make other fat people because of two reasons, genetics and their lifestyle. If you’re fat, your kids will probably be fat because their fat is deposited in the same areas on your body as theirs will be. (Personal example: I got my dad’s chin, which is a double chin, a super baby faced man with a soft jaw.) I see people who are huge and fat and yet they don’t have a double chin. It’s just a matter of where our body feels comfortable putting that excess.

Writing Exercise #4

(1) Correa and Piazuelo in their study of gastric cancer entitled “Helicobacter pylori infection and Gastric adenocarcinoma” (2011) assert that there is much complexity in determining causality of gastric cancer and that prevention is most likely to reduce new cases. (2) Correa and Piazuelo provide examples of environmental factors contributing to an increase in gastric cancer cases including ethnicity, diet, and smoking habits. (3) The purpose of this exploration is to describe the complexity of treating causality and symptoms of chronic gastritis that sometimes lead to gastric cancer so we may learn more about how to prevent gastric cancer. (4) Correa and Piazuelo are both medically trained physicians who are both professors in medicine, engage in research and Piazuelo is part of the division of gastroenterology at Vanderbilt University.

Correa, P., & Piazuelo, M. B. (2011). Helicobacter pylori Infection and Gastric Adenocarcinoma. US gastroenterology & hepatology review7(1), 59–64.

Writing Exercise #3

Brainstorm a list of behaviors that an individual could engage in that could cause changes to a gut microbial community. For each behavior you list, discuss how that behavior could change the microbial community, and what potential health impacts (beneficial, detrimental, neutral) that change could be for the individual’s health.

Eating yogurt or probiotics – Beneficial, will improve gut flora and help with regular elimination.

Not drinking water – Detrimental, will cause bloating and inability to remove waste from the body as waste will store in kidneys, unable to leave.

Eat a lot of sugar – Detrimental, will create a highly acidic internal environment pushing the scales too far in one direction and encouraging more growth of certain bacterial microorganisms that really should be kept in balance with those that grow in a more alkaline environment.

Being on antibiotics – Neutral, depending on what’s happening in your body. If you need antibiotics to treat an infection, then antibiotics are necessary and you should treat that situation and then afterwards ingest probiotics to return your gut flora to normal. Use this strategy sparingly.

Binge drinking – Detrimental, too much alcohol causes the stomach to make too much gastritis which can lead to indigestion and heartburn. In the gut, it can cause too much of certain bacteria to grow and not enough of others to have a healthy balance.

Sedentary lifestyle – Detrimental, exercise helps to boost movement in the body which includes elimination. Sitting around in the same position makes it hard to stay active in it’s own procedures. Exercise can help reduce gut inflammation.

Smoke cigarettes – Detrimental, smoking contributes to heartburn and GERD. It creates an environment in the body that is imbalanced. The effects cause the body to be too acidic and an imbalance in bacteria produced because of it.

Writing Exercise #2

Women have likely heard about HPV. The basics covered were that it was a series of injections and women have no symptoms, at least the noticeable symptoms of mouth sores in herpes. HPV is a disease transmitted through “close contact” and strains 16, 18, 31, and 45 are recognized as “high risk” HPVs because their infection causes roughly 80% of cervical cancer. Because these strains carry a higher risk, this is where our research should hone focus. A new treatment that will prevent the exacerbation of HPV into cervical cancer would largely be recognized as a medical miracle, especially as sexually transmitted diseases are still prevalent in society.

Strains 33, 35, 39, 51, 52, 56, 58, and 59 are also known to contribute to cancer or at least associated with cervical cancer but not at all close to the “high risk” of the others mentioned.

An interesting fact to note is that HPV was not recognized to be cancer-causing all the way up until 2008.

Currently there is vaccine available for strains 16 and 18, so to focus new research, I would suggest funds be directed towards developing vaccine for the remaining high risk strains of HPV – 31 and 35.

Writing Exercise #1

Non-infectious diseases caused by microorganisms

Non-infectious: A disease that is not likely to be transmitted person-to-person.

Microorganism: A microscopic organism, fungi, bacteria, or virus.

There are many common non-infectious diseases which immediately come to mind but whether or not they are caused by a microorganism is less clear. Initially, I thought of the big ones we talk about in healthcare all the time; COPD, CHF, and cancer.

Microorganism may cause COPD if it is a secondary infection that leads to weakness or susceptibility to other infection. CHF is the same way, it cannot be transmitted, it is not infectious. Cancer is an opportunistic infection and often happens after another infection has weakened our immune system, so in that sense, it would be caused by a microorganism.

A whole host of autoimmune diseases are both caused by microorganisms and not infectious. Genetic defects are also caused by microorganisms and not infectious. It helps that I just finished the course Human Virology because we studied so many viruses that caused genetic defects – Multiple Sclerosis, Myocarditis, Diabetes, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Myasthenia Gravis, and Guillan-Barre Syndrome. These are all caused by an infectious disease and are noninfectious, themselves.

An important detail to remember is the opportunistic infections, both bacterial, viral, or fungal infections or sepsis can cause other diseases.