As I am always on the lookout for things we can do now, I was particularly interested in reading a new paper just published in the journal Nutrients which reviewed what we know about using probiotics together with omega-3 fatty acids to reduce chronic low-grade inflammation – the bane of modern industrialized societies.[i] My regular readers know only-too-well that such inflammation is associated with an enormous variety of chronic illnesses ranging from heart disease to cancer to autoimmune diseases to depression to obesity to Parkinson’s disease, and so many more. This paper was so rich in information that I’m going to split up my summary into two parts, so that I can fit everything in.
We know, of course, that inflammation has been linked to alterations in the bacterial microbiome by a variety of mechanisms including the release of lipopolysaccharides (LPS), which are toxins produced by gram-negative bacteria and are linked to the development of everything from impaired epithelial barrier function (i.e. leaky gut) to obesity to diabetes. In a vicious cycle, LPS causes an increase in immune activation as it makes its way through the leaky gut, leading to a continual proinflammatory state, which further impairs gut barrier function. This increase in circulating proinflammatory molecules is observed in a many chronically ill patient groups, as well as those with obesity and in the aging (inflammaging, which I’ve written about before as well, like here).
What can be done? Well, of course, diet is key: avoiding proinflammatory foods (i.e. foods high in unhealthy saturated fats, sugar, salt, etc.) and eating more anti-inflammatory foods (fruit and veggies, whole grains, etc.) is mandatory. In fact, “…dietary changes have been estimated to explain as much as half of the structural variations in microbiota composition.” But, as this article states, there are certain nutritional factors that are important to normal immune functioning and could greatly benefit immune regulation: “In particular, probiotic bacteria, prebiotic fiber, and omega -3 fatty acids have been suggested to serve as positive modulators of this nutrition-inflammation coalition. These dietary components interact with bacterial organisms in the gut, modulating the release of metabolites that signal to a variety of bodily systems (e.g., the immune system).”
So what does the research tell us as of today? (I’m trying to hit all the high points in this post and the next!)
The Gut-Brain Axis and Health:
The bacterial microbiome and Immune Modulation via Probiotics, Prebiotics and Omega 3s:
In my next post on this article, specific details about Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, combinations of them…and combining them with omega 3s.
[i] Hutchinson, A.N.; Tingö, L.; Brummer, R.J. The Potential Effects of Probiotics and ω-3 Fatty Acids on Chronic Low-Grade Inflammation. Nutrients 2020, 12, 2402.
Category: Aging, Altzheimers, Anxiety and PTSD, autism, Autoimmune Disease, Bacterial Microbiome, Cardiovascular Disease, depression, Diabetes, Diet, inflammation, Mental Health, Metabolic Syndrome, microbiome, obesity, Prebiotics, Probiotics, stress