Self Healing

Creating Natural Health for your body and mind 

The findings of recent research attracted my attention as we begin another flu season. Over the course of three flu seasons, researchers from the University of Michigan School of Public Health reviewed data from 1,783 men and women in Managua. They also collected swabs from the participants’ noses and throats, which were subsequently analyzed for viral RNA to see if they were shedding the influenza virus. Obese persons required 42 percent longer to get rid of the flu virus than their thinner counterparts, according to the researchers. Obese people took 104 percent longer to recover than those who merely had moderate flu symptoms.

While more research is needed to verify these findings, they provide a compelling reason to begin losing weight if you are overweight. In addition, everyone, especially the elderly, children, and those with weak immune systems, should consider being vaccinated against the flu.

A Gut Feeling: Microbiome News

Thousands of Americans have swabbed their skin, saliva, and even feces and put the samples in the local mailbox over the past six years. They’re participants in the world’s biggest research of the human microbiome, which refers to the about 100 trillion bacteria, fungus, and other microorganisms that live in our bodies, the majority of which are found in the stomach and on our skin. The American Gut Project is a crowdsourced research project that aims to establish the world’s biggest public database on the human microbiome, specifically the intestinal microbiome, with the ultimate objective of informing future studies. It’s also an outstanding example of “citizen science,” which entails data collecting by the general population in conjunction with qualified scientists. 

The initiative is already showing signs of success

The first findings, based on stool samples given by more than 10,000 people, were published in May by the study team. Despite its name, the American Gut Project accepts donations from 42 countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States. The volunteers also filled out health and lifestyle questionnaires. Researchers analyzed a genetic marker called 16S rRNA, which is specific to bacteria, to determine the composition of these samples. They discovered interesting tendencies after examining the data.

The More Plants, the better 

A varied diet has long been thought to be important for healthy gut microbiota. The findings of the American Gut Project back this up. Indeed, regardless of the exact diet (vegetarian, vegan, etc.), they followed participants who ate more than 30 different types of plants per week had more varied gut microbiomes than those who ate 10 or fewer types of plants each week. 

Insight into antibiotics

As expected, participants who reported taking antibiotics medication within the past month had gut microbiomes that were less diverse than those who hadn’t taken these drugs in the past year, What’s more, people who consumed more than 30 plants per week also had fewer plants may instead be eating more meat from animals treated with antibiotics. 

Bacteria and the brain

When comparing patients with mental health issues including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress disorder to their friends without mental health issues, the researchers discovered that their gut microbiomes had a similar bacterial makeup.

These and other findings are simply the tips of the iceberg in terms of what the American Gut Project data can reveal. I’m excited to read and report on future discoveries. 

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