Australian Broadcasting Corporation (2017)
This is a three-part Australian documentary about state-of-the-art treatment for various manifestations of gut dysbiosis.* Thanks to genetic sequencing, gut scientists can now identify approximate numbers of bacterial species in patients’ large intestines. In many cases, scientists have also identified the relative helpful/harmful effect of specific species.
For example, in high numbers some bacteria are linked to metabolic syndrome;** some produce sulfuric acid, a cause of irritable bowel symptoms (eg diarrhea, gas, bloating), and some are linked to inflammatory changes leading to depression and impaired cognitive function.
In this series, a dietician works with three patients with very different manifestations of gut dysbiosis: the first suffers from chronic diarrhea, the second from obesity and metabolic syndrome, and the third from severe anxiety, coupled with disabling abdominal paid.
The first patient rebalances her gut bacteria (and eliminates her diarrhea) by starting a low FODMAP diet,*** effective in 70% of patients with irritable bowel syndrome.
The second patient rebalances his gut bacteria by eliminating all processed foods;**** increasing his intake of fruits, vegetables, and high fiber complex carbohydrates; and engaging in a modified fast two days a week. After six weeks he’s lost six kilos, as well as noticing substantial improvement in his mood and energy levels.
The third patient rebalances her gut bacteria with a Mediterranean-style diet. The latter has reduced major depression symptoms in several double blind studies. Due to severe anxiety levels, patient 3 has a long history of severe dietary restriction and also uses yoga and hypnotherapy to make it easier to try new foods.
Parts 1-3 can be viewed free on Kanopy. Type “Kanopy” and the name of you public library into your search engine.
*Gut dysbiosis is an imbalance of bacterial populations in the large intestine. According to a growing number of scientists, your gut microbiome (ie community of bacteria in your gut is just as important as genes and lifestyle in achieving and maintaining good health.
**Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that increase your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. These conditions include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol and/or triglyceride levels.
***A low FODMAP (Fermentible Oligo-,Di-. Mono-Saccharides and Polyols) diet eliminates short chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. High FODMAP foods should only be eliminated for six to eight weeks because most are really important for long term gut health.
****The dietary emusifiers and artificial flavors and colors in processed foods are really damaging to the microbiome.