New research indicates that there could be more than meets the eye when it comes to childhood behavioral and temperament issues. It’s been shown that gut health may play a significant role in the onset of behavioral problems in young children.
Past research has shown that the microbiome and the gut-brain axis contribute to health in a variety of ways, such as influencing the onset of allergies, obesity and inflammatory bowel diseases — and now, scientific evidence indicates that the microbes inhabiting the intestines can play a substantial role in behavior, to boot.
The developing brain and the microbiome
During the first few years of a child’s life, it’s estimated that between 700 and 1,000 new connections between neurons — or synapses — form every single second. But after this period of tremendous growth, the number of synapses is reduced through a process known as “pruning.” Special immune cells in the brain, known as microglia, break down some of these newly formed synapses. This pruning process allows the remaining synapses to become stronger and more efficient, and it’s considered essential for normal postnatal development.
Ultimately, the child’s environmental conditions, experiences and interactions have a substantial impact on what synapses are preserved. Those connections that are activated consistently will be maintained, while those that are not used are pruned away.
Does the internal environment of the intestines play a role in these connections as well?
And what would happen if microbes were removed from this process entirely? That’s what German researchers wanted to know. By using germ-free mice, they were able to determine that the absence of an intestinal microbiome prompted abnormal microglia function. Mice raised without a microbiome experienced abnormal development of their central nervous systems, compared to conventional mice with microbes.
The researchers questioned if microbial metabolites could have played a part in this phenomenon. As Chris Kresser explains, “The gut microbiota are constantly processing fermentable fibers from the diet and producing a wide range of metabolic end products, including short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs are known to be absorbed into circulation and influence host physiology by binding to free fatty acid receptors (FFARs) on cells throughout the body.”
This inspired the researchers to create mice that lacked FFAR2. They found that these specialized mice exhibited similar abnormalities of the microglia seen in the germ-free mice. Due to their findings, the research team concluded that microbial metabolites are essential for the microglia to mature and function properly.
Microbiome and temperament
Researchers from Ohio State University have also found that the microbiome plays a significant role in childhood development. In a study of 77 toddlers, scientists discovered that the abundance and diversity of microbial populations in the gut appeared to impact behavior — and the effect was most noticeable in boys. This correlation persisted even after the researchers controlled for other factors like diet, method of childbirth and breastfeeding, which are all known to impact microbial populations.
Lisa Christian, Ph.D., a researcher with Ohio State’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, commented, “There is substantial evidence that intestinal bacteria interact with stress hormones- the same hormones that have been implicated in chronic illnesses like obesity and asthma.”
Christian says that a toddler’s temperament gives them a good idea of how they react to stress, and posits that when combined with an analysis of the microbiome, this information could help them identify opportunities to prevent chronic illnesses.
Communication between the brain and gut
The team also discovered that children with the most diverse microbial populations exhibited behaviors indicative of positive mood, curiosity, sociability, and impulsivity more frequently. The researchers believe that there is definitely some kind of communication between the brain and the gut.
In boys, extroverted behavior was associated with an abundance of microbes from the Rikenellaceae and Ruminococcaceae families and Dialister and Parabacteroides genera. However, in girls, an abundance of Rikenellaceae family microbes was actually associated with more fearful behaviors compared to those with a more balanced microbial population. Overall, less diversity of gut bacteria seemed to promote more focused attention, “cuddliness” and “self-restraint” in girls.
While it is not yet known if this relationship is merely casual or more involved, the researchers posited that there is a connection between the microbiome and the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis. The HPA axis has been an area of significant interest when it comes to temperament. Studies have indicated that changes in the function of the HPA axis are linked to changes in temperament. For example, research has shown that germ-free mice exhibit a much more exaggerated HPA response compared to mice with microbes.
If microbes impact the function of the HPA axis, in this way they could also play a role in temperament.
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d) Hip Flexors
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To begin, I apologize for the dark nature of today's email.
However I promise what you'll discover today will be completely worth it.
Imagine a rotting corpse draped over your body from head to toe...
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Is Bread Really the Staff of Life… or the Stuff of Disease?
For most us, there are few foods more comforting than bread.
Fluffy biscuits, crusty baguettes, flaky croissants… even a simple slice of toast topped with melted butter can taste like heaven.
And that smell… few scents are quite as pleasant as fresh bread baking in the oven.
But there is a lot of confusion as to where bread fits into a healthy diet.
The Bible practically commands followers to eat it: “Give us this day our daily bread…” The government put it at the base of the food pyramid. And for centuries, it has been called “the staff of life.”
Of course, there are some who disagree…
Well-known cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, calls wheat “the perfect chronic poison.”
And for a poison, we sure eat lots of it…
The average American consumes 55 pounds of wheat flour every year, making refined flour the #1 source of calories in the American Diet – a situation that nutrition expert Chris Kresser describes as, “a public health catastrophe.”
So, what is the truth about bread and wheat?
- Is it the perfect poison… or an essential daily food?
- Is “gluten-free” bread better for you than regular bread?
- And can you still eat bread… while maintaining a lean body and optimal health?
The answers to these questions may surprise you!
Be sure to read #5 – the biggest surprise of all!
Recently, Doctor of Naturopathy, weight-loss expert and best-selling Amazon author Liz Swann Miller, creator of the Red Smoothie Detox Factor, revealed 2 of the secrets to easy, steady weight loss. Secrets the big food corporations do their best to hide from us.
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You probably know most of us eat too much processed food. What you may not know is that it’s full of toxic chemicals and substandard, dirt-cheap ingredients designed to make you eat more…and force you to gain weight.
Here’s how it works.
“That stuff is just a lot of calories your body can’t use,” Liz told me, “Some are poison. And all these foods are stripped of the anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that help your body detox. The result? Your body expends huge amounts of calories to eliminate some toxins—the rest, it stores in your fat to protect you. This is why most people are hungry all the time. They’re not getting energy they need.”
“So… what’s going on with me? Why am I losing weight but not going hungry?”
Liz paused, then dropped the bombshell.
Your body is designed to burn fat. You just have to let it.
“What? I thought we were designed to store fat?!?” We were Skyping and I was practically shouting. Then I heard Liz say…
What good is a fat reserve if you can’t burn it?
Liz continued: “You’re drinking smoothies packed with phytonutrients, anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that pull toxins out of you like a tractor beam. Allowing your body to burn those toxin-filled fat stores… and releasing tremendous amounts of stored energy.”
So that’s why I’m losing weight without going hungry.
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- Which calories help you lose weight…and which ones help you gain it…
- The “diet” foods…some of them vegetables…that lead to weight gain and diabetes…
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Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.