Paleo food based antibiotics, SIBO and gut health

January 19, 2014

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and leaky gut(LG) and insulin resistance(IR) are all hot topics these days.

Robb Wolf brilliantly connected SIBO/LG to IR.

It is also well known that the antibiotic metronidazole reduces leaky gut, thus showing that SIBO and LG overlap/ interact/feed each other. It’s also clear to me that these issues get a life of their own and gradually deteriorate.

I’ve long been aware of the potent antimicrobial effects and broad spectrum of spices (esp cinnamon, cassia and cloves), and of citrus peel extracts (both pith and the essential oils). (NB citrus and spice essential oils may have some toxicity, just saying). Good references for spice antibiotic effects below, and also see enteric coated peppermint oil . And then there are the peels and skins of fruits and vegetables, and these are all full of antimicrobials. This google search shows they are potent broad spectrum antimicrobials. Don’t forget that birds and animals can’t or don’t peel their fruit and vegetables. I found this paper interesting. Abstract pasted below .

Our forebears (and wild primates) used to eat loads of fruit and vegetable peels and skins, and local spices and barks etc. So they used to eat a bunch of natural antibiotics every day, sweeping their small intestines clear of bacteria. So they did not need neomycin or rifaximin or metronidazole or other pharmacological antibiotics. They naturally suppressed the SIBO to keep the small intestine near sterile. The foods in question are then digested and break down somewhat, before appearing in the large intestine where their breakdown products interact with the microbiome there in an ancient cycle. This is in contrast to the pharmacological antibiotics which continue unchanged through the gut (rifaximin and neomycin which are not absorbed nor broken down) or go through the entire body (metronidazole) and destroy large intestinal bacteria en masse.

Even a cursory look at the antimicrobial spectrum of herbs spices peels and skins shows that they are potent antibiotics, with a broad spectrum. There can be no doubt that they must impact the level and type of bacteria in the small intestine, and there is an obvious possibility that they might alter the composition of the large intestinal microbiome.

Allison Seibecker lists a range of antibiotic herbs, on her SIBOinfo website, but I’m just wondering if it might be as simple as not peeling your carrots and citrus, and choosing some herbs and spices etc. Conversely current high levels of SIBO might relate to low dietary levels of these natural antibiotics. So wash 4 oranges then put them through your juicer, throw out the juice and eat the pith!

Abstract (NB streptomycin is a potent antibiotic with a similar antibiotic spectrum to Neomycin): Extracts of ripe, unripe and leaves of guava (psidium guajava); ripe, unripe and leaves of starfruit (Averrhoa carambola); ripe and unripe banana (Musa sapientum variety Montel); ripe and unripe papaya (Carica papaya); passionfruit (passiflora edulis F. Flavicarpa) peel; two varieties of Lansium domesticum peel (langsat and duku); rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) peel and rambai (Baccaurea motleyana) peel were evaluated for antimicrobial activity against gram positive bacteria, gram negative bacteria, yeast and fungi (Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus cereus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus; E. coli, Proteus vulgaricus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonelli typhi; Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Candida lypolytica; Rhizopus spp., Aspergillus niger, and Chlamydomucor spp). The antimicrobial activities were tested using both the filter paper disc diffusion and tube dilution assays. Extracts from ripe starfruit, guava leaves and rambai peel showed strong activity against all the bacteria tested, in most cases with activity stronger than 50ug streptomycin. Passion fruit peel, ripe and unripe guava showed activity against all the bacteria tested except E. coli. Rambutan peel too showed activity against all the bacteria tested except towards Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Most of the fruit wastes showed some activity towards bacteria but poor activity against yeast or fungi. Extracts from bananas, papayas, passion fruit peel, Lansium domesticum peels and rambutan peels showed activity against Candida lypolytica while extracts from guava showed strong activity against Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Other than guava, ripe starfruit, rambai peel and rambutan peel showed potential for use against bacteria.

Disclaimer: do not implement changes in your diet based on the above information without firstly taking the advice of your officially registered healthcare professional.

Paleo Diet Fights Back- response to US News Health & Wellness rating Paleo diet last.

January 12, 2014

As The Paleo Diet has continued to grow exponentially every year, it is now creating some jealousy and detractors. Its growth is driven by the fact that it is a strong science, whereas most other diets have a weak scientific basis. Due to its strong science, The Paleo Diet works much better than other diets. The latest criticism has been from US NEWS Health and Wellness. Prof Loren Cordain has written a rebuttal to their comments which you can read here. And below is what I have to say on the topic.

The Paleo Diet is not just some diet that some guy wrote one weekend (unlike some diet books). It is a major international scientific movement involving thousands of scientists- doctors, dentists, dietitians, biochemists, physiologists, paleontologists, archaeologists, and other dedicated scientists..  It is the most evidence based and sound diet ever developed, and the only one that is 2 million years old. Because it is a SCIENCE, it can be IMproved but scarcely DISproved. Similarly you cannot disprove chemistry but you can improve it.

Because it is a science, Paleo diet gladly embraces all scientific research. Paleo diet concepts have steadily improved for the past 60 years or so, to the point where it is the most healthful diet known, and unlikely to make major changes in its recommendations.

One of the main tenets of Paleo diet, is that any deviation from the mainstream diet has consequences. We don’t need to go back 10,000 years to prove that changing our diet has consequences- even changes in our food supply in the past 50 years have been disastrous! Consider that in the past 50 years:
-the gluten content of wheat has increased several fold due to selective breeding and other factors. We now have an epidemic of gluten related disease- coeliac disease (1% of the populaton), gluten intolerance (5 to 6% of the population).
-our sun exposure has dropped (a major change in lifestyle from the Paleolithic era) vitamin D deficiency now affects around 50% of the population
-the iodine content of dairy products, added entirely by processing, has dropped 80% and iodine deficiency (around 50% of the population despite recent changes). Authorities now recommend all pregnant and breast feeding women take an iodine supplement unless there is a medical reason not to do so. (reference).
– the increased intake of salty industrial food has contributed to many diseases, particularly hypertension. (reference)
– the flooding of the diet with polyunsaturates has been implicated as the cause of the epidemics of depression, asthma and arthritis. (reference).
–  reductions in choline intake (in conjunction with insulin resistance) have led to an epidemic of fatty liver disease. (reference)

All of these points add up to prove that every change that we make to our diet and lifestyle has consequences, and most are harmful, and the best diet is found by rolling back all the changes to our original diet. This diet already contains everything that all dietitians agree is good for us- more vitamins, more minerals, more fibre, more omega 3, less trans fats, low GI, low salt, high potassium, low in toxins (yes a plethora of toxins have been scientifically identified in many commons foods) the list goes on. No other diet can provide everything in one package- I challenge you to find another diet that does! Similarly when you go over the Paleo Diet, you will find all these questions have been answered.

Sadly The Paleo Diet has some detractors, just as Galileo was opposed in thinking that the Earth revolved around the Sun, and many physicists thought Einstein was wrong. While healthy scepticism is good in science, being a Luddite is not acceptable. Most detractors have a poor knowledge of the science of Paleo Diet or are over-interpreting studies which Paleo Diet scientists are already aware of. Unfortunately most people either “get it” or “don’t get it” immediately, and I have written about why before (click here). If you really want to get “under the hood” of the science, then have a look at research by the 2 leading lights in the Paleo world- Prof Cordain and Prof Lindeberg. Or have a look at the books and websites of Prof Cordain and Prof Lindeberg. Then come back and tell me you’re not convinced LOL!