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Your Microbiome Is More Important than Facebook

You are your microbiome

Forget Facebook and Instagram: You Will Be Known By Your Bacteria:

I am my microbiome. You can have Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook to explain yourself and present a vision/version of yourself and you probably do.

Here we are in Palo Alto, California – my microbiome and I.  The idea of the microbiome and its impact isn’t new but recently it has taken center stage as more research is being done. Stanford is a major player in this area.

Back to my microbiome.  My gut bacteria, for better or worse shows you who I am.  It does not obscure, gild the lily, or present carefully chosen views.  I could do more Facebook (more than my once or twice  annual  foray into Mark’s code), I could update LinkedIn more often, and I could open Instagram and Snapchat accounts.  But they won’t tell you much about me except the personaI filters I would use to enhance or otherwise emotionally manipulate you.  My microbiome is me, transparent.

Several years ago I started going to autonomous car meetups. The first one was with the then Google Project Manager for driverless cars.  I was hooked,  this stuff was fascinating. I signed up for a research project at Google (non-disclosure signed – but don’t worry, it wasn’t earth shattering what little I was privy to) and a while ago I was surprised at one when Sterling Anderson drove his Model X in to the room.  Damn, that is one amazing car. Sterling Anderson at that time was Project Manager for Model X, reporting directly to Elon. Now he is head of Autopilot Programs at Tesla. For the record, I follow Kurzweil (Director of Engineering atGoogle and futurist) and his ideas on downloading consciousness.

So what does my microbiome have to do with Teslas, Kurzweil and autonomous cars ?  I also go to robot parties, follow biocentrism, transhumanism, the singularity and still listen to classic rock.

Everything, my microbiome has everything to do with all of the above.   I hated science in school. Tonight I am giving away my precious Space Time physics text to a family member.  That I even own it is due to my microbiome.

Here’s why: it controls me.  Free will?  Ha.  It’s determinism via microbes.  Criminal law needs to recognize this and act appropriately.  Think addiction.  If we can change the dopamine rush from gambling or drinking via fermented foods or pre-biotics and keep the addict free of cravings, shouldn’t we? Or do you still want to throw this person in a jail?  Feed him sugar all day, destroy the beneficial bacteria and the chemical balance changes from inflammatory chemicals to serotonin. Strategies need to change as we learn.

Here’s the Kavli Foundation on this:

Our microbes, especially those living in the gut, have a powerful influence on the brain, influencing our emotions, our thoughts and even our memory. …the emerging science of the human microbiome,  is more intimately linked to human health than ever imagined. In fact, evidence accumulated in the last five to 10 years shows that these microbes, which predominantly live in the gastrointestinal tract, shape the development and function of the brain. They influence a range of complex human behaviors, including learning and memory, mood and emotion, and appetite and satiety. They have also been linked to disorders of the central nervous system including anxiety, depression, autism and multiple sclerosis, which may be a consequence of an ecosystem that has fallen out of balance.

(Kavli is not  interested in pseudo science – it focuses on  astrophysics, nanoscience, neuroscience, and theoretical physics and can be found everywhere from Columbia to Stanford doing work in those areas and with researchers and academics from those institutions.)

So here’s a connection made: when in the right context my microbiome reduces inflammation, puts me in parasympathetic mode and influences my happiness. I become peaceful. What’s the context? Here’s one:  when I reduce stress with things that make me feel like the world is an awesome place to be. I am over the moon about the spectacular transformative time we live in.  From Cars to Mars! Elon Musk is amazing and I am in awe of how much he does, how he does it and why he does it.  I went to my first meetup about electric and autonomous cars – and my stress was reduced. I felt great. I loved it. It intrigued me, made me curious.

So, I went back for more. Researchers are learning the role that awe plays in changing gut bacteria. The two way street at work – overwhelmed with enthusiasm? Your gut bacteria react and calms you down. Sound fantastic? It is.

Bio hacking makes me feel the same nudge of awesomeness.  I met someone who chipped herself to determine the impact of air quality on her body.  We may never see that as a product or one day we may see it everywhere. I don’t know and I don’t care – it was awesome to me. A lecture at Stanford in the physics department from the head of Cosmology at Tufts University on multiverses. I am calm. My brain on awe is at peace.

All this is happening through the bacteria in my gut sending messages to my brain as it changes. And as it does I either sleep or count sheep depending on my neurohormonal activation.

It looks like brain-gut is a two way street. On the other hand, it may not be. The final facts aren’t in but enough is known now that the microbiome is no longer considered pseudoscience – a word I hate. It’s like god of the gaps nonsense:  “I disagree and my high school science teacher taught me otherwise so unless you can prove causation, it is junk science.” There is so much lack of logic and disinformation in those words it hurts my brain (and thus also  my gut bacteria so I’m getting restless, agitated and inflammatory chemicals arise). Correlation and causation – I’ll get into that another time and I will quote my Stanford stats profs on that topic and it won’t be liked. (So warn your microbiome.)

For more on the mechanism of action of microbiome and neuroscience, Google has plenty to say. Stanford is deep into this area but so are researchers all over.

I am curious because I am in awe of new tech. That includes robots and augmented reality and the blockchain but not Instagram. I love teleporting info even if I cannot explain as well as others but rewrite Frost because we can now travel down both roads. biocentrism and Robert Lanza, MD. Count me in.

Thanks to the dreamers, creators, the ones who were told , “It can’t be done” and did it anyway.  Thanks to the ones who failed and let others learn from those failures. You are awesome and my mind goes close to bliss mode and I stay in overpriced Palo Alto because my bacteria keeps me sane here. I may have to rent out rooms in my house but everytime I think of the co-founder of Pinterest living here and getting his first VC money, I am in awe. Or the Zappos funded person. And my now about to be blasting off new startup here, www.Noatta.com, I am happy.  Palm ID biometrics – the new tech you need to know about – make your bacteria happy, this is forecasted to be a 23% increase this year. Contact Pat at Noatta and tell him Ann sent you.

And for those who want some science before they bring out the standard conspiracy theory, snake oil themes, here is one of many available in PubMed.   I chose depression because it saddens me to see so much of it around.   Perhaps now we can leave Roche and Prozac in the rear view mirror and do it yourself.  Think about it. It’s awesome.

The gut microbiome and diet in psychiatry: focus on depression.

Dash S1, Clarke G, Berk M, Jacka FN.
Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2015 Jan;28(1):1-6. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000117.
Author information

Abstract
PURPOSE OF REVIEW:

With depressive disorders the leading source of disability globally, the identification of new targets for prevention and management is imperative. A rapidly emerging field of research suggests that the microbiome-gut-brain axis is of substantial relevance to mood and behaviour. Similarly, unhealthy diet has recently emerged as a significant correlate of and risk factor for depression. This review provides evidence for the gut microbiota as a key factor mediating the link between diet and depressive illness.

RECENT FINDINGS:

The development of new technologies is affording a better understanding of how diet influences gut microbiota composition and activity and how this may, in turn, influence depressive illness. New interventions are also suggesting the possible utility of pre and probiotic formulations and fermented food in influencing mental health.

SUMMARY:

Although in its early stages, the emerging field of research focused on the human microbiome suggests an important role for the gut microbiota in influencing brain development, behaviour and mood in humans. The recognition that the gut microbiota interacts bidirectionally with other environmental risk factors, such as diet and stress, suggests promise in the development of interventions targeting the gut microbiota for the prevention and treatment of common mental health disorders.

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    Carolyn
    November 21, 2016 at 11:17 pm

    Interesting subject and information, makes gut instinct more powerful.

  • Reply
    Alan J. Sault MD, ABHM
    December 11, 2016 at 5:01 am

    Really nice article on the microbiome and the writer has a fun way of conversation on this topic.
    Alan J. Ault MD, ABHM

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