Why do individuals have differences in gut microbiota?

Gut microbiota are dependent on the environment of the gut for nutrients. If metabolic processes are dysregulated in the gut this will affect nutrients available in the gut. Some species of microbiota could be favored by various gut metabolic dysregulations while other microbiota could be disfavored. Certain microbiotic ecosystems could have direct effects, for example, causing diarrhea while other microbiotic ecoystems could only be markers for iron dysregulation in the gut which can have systematic effects.

Iron in the gut is a nutrient in the gut that affects the microbiotic ecosystem of the gut. Gut microbiota and iron are held to be crucial actors in health where many species (see Table) of gut microbiota are affected by iron supplementation.

Differences in gut microbiota could largely be a marker for iron dysregulation in the gut. Lots of substances in the diet bind with iron which could be affecting gut microbiota. Probiotics can affect iron metabolism in the gut. Lactobacillus plantarum 299v can increase iron absorption. A meta-analysis indicates that Lactobacillus plantarum 299v increases iron absorption. Lactobacillus plantarum 299v does not require iron which could make iron more available in the gut besides assisting with the absorption of iron via more iron being available to be absorbed. Bifidobacteria,. another beneficial microorganism in the gut, requires iron.

In sum gut microbiota is dysregulated in so many illnesses as iron metabolism in the gut is dysregulated in so many illnesses.

Morning coffee


Many studies report coffee as having beneficial effects and a couple of cups of coffee drink only in the morning could have beneficial effects. A meta-analysis indicates that there is at inverse relationship between coffee/caffeine and risk of Parkinson’s disease. A weakness of the forgoing meta-analysis is that the meta-anaylsis focuses on caffeine. Studied indivduals, however, were drinking coffee with is much different than taking caffeine pills. A meta-analysis indicates that moderate coffee intakes is associated with decreased cardiovascular risks. There are, however, increased risks for schizophrenia where there is heavy use of coffee. Where there is heavy use of coffee, coffee most likely is not drunk only in mornings.

Difficulties with coffee can arise given coffee is drunk throughout the day. Coffee inhibits iron absorption in a concentration-dependent fashion. Polyphenols in coffee inhibit iron absorption. A couple of cups of coffee drunk only in the morning would have minimal effects on iron metabolism. Coffee drunk throughout the day could have very adverse effects on iron metabolism.

Mineral absorption mania

There is lots and lots of research on how to increase absorption of minerals. The supplement industry following up on this has formulated mineral supplements to be better absorbed.

My idea that minerals must be available both in the enteric system and systematically to be useful in treating illnesses does not conflict with any biological findings but it goes against what is held as common sense. Every one just knows that the goal with mineral supplements is to increase and enhance absorption. Minerals that are not formulated for increased abosorption can be absorbed and can effectively treat diseases associated with mineral deficiencies. Most of the clinical trials of minerals do not use amino acid chelates.

The assumption with minerals formulated for increased absorption is that somehow proteins in the enteric system watch minerals pass by unused and hold that is totally acceptable. Proteins in the enteric system are willing to go the end of the line and wait for minerals to get back to them. The common sense idea is that the gastrointestinal tract is like a busy 4 way intersection.

Metal proteins in the enteric system could set the stage for metal proteins throughout the body. Systematically metal proteins might not work effectively unless the stage is set by metal proteins in the enteric system working.

Polyphenols, homocysteine, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease

High homocysteine levels indicate the transsulfuration pathway (homocysteine to L-cysteine) is dysregulated. Taurine is synthesized from L-cysteine. Taurine is needed to form various bile acids. Bile acids are needed for fat absorption.

Polyphenols can increase beta-oxidation which can lead to serious difficulties if there are difficulties in fat absorption which are likely if there are high homocysteine levels.

Many illnesses for which polyphenols have been postulated to be treatments are associated with high levels of homocysteine, however, where there are high homocysteine levels there could be difficulties in fatty acid absorption. Increasing levels of polyphenols, which increase beta-oxidation, would be contradicted where there are difficulties in fatty acid absorption and metabolism.

Polyphenol supplements are frequently suggested as treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, however, both Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are associated with high homocyteine levels whereby there could be difficulties in fatty acid absoption. Polyphenol supplements could worsen Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. In the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease polyphenols have been full of promise but have failed to deliver effective treatments.

Caffeine pills have nowhere near the same effect as coffee. There must be more to the effects of coffee than caffeine and that something more is the polyphenol contents of coffee and the effect of those polyphenols on beta-oxidation.

DHA and Alzheimer’s disease

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) levels are low in Alzheimer’s disease. DHA is synthesized from alpha-linoelic acid which is an essential fatty acid which must be obtained from the diet. For DHA to be synthesized from alpha-linoelic acid, alpha linoleic acid must first be absorbed.

A meta-analysis indicates that homocysteine levels are significantly high in Alzheimer’s disease. High homocysteine levels in Alzheimer’s disease indicate the transsulfuration pathway is dysregulated in Alzheimer’s disease as homocysteine is not being metabolized to L-cysteine which is what the transsulfuration pathway does.

With low levels of L-cysteine there will be low levels of taurine. Taurine is synthesized from L-cysteine. Taurine is needed for the formation of bile acids which are needed for fat absorption. With alpha-linoelic acid not absorbed in Alzheimer’s disease due to low levels of taurine synthesis of DHA will be impaired in Alzheimer’s disease which is what is seen is Alzheimer’s disease. Effectiveness of supplementation with DHA in Alzheimer’s disease could be limited due to a failure to absorb DHA due to low levels of taurine in Alzheimer’s disease.

Taurine only poorly crosses the blood-brain barrier. However, to assist with essential fatty acid absorption taurine does not have to cross the blood-barrier. Taurine by enhancing fat absorption can enhance brain function.

Homotaurine has has been shown to be a promising therapy for Alzheimer’s disease. In Alzheimer’s disease taurine could be taken with with fatty acid supplements high in alpha linoelic acid, such as lignan free flax seed oil. Lignans are polyphenols so flax seed oil with lignans is avoided.

Different binding affinities of different polyphenols with iron

Different polyphenols have different binding affinities to iron apparently due to different levels of iron-binding galloyl groups in different polyphenols. The polyphenols in foods with high levels of polyphenols would also bind iron at higher levels than polyphenols of foods with low levels of polyphenols. The point is that different foods with different kinds of polyphenols and different levels of polyphenols can have different affects on iron. However, if all iron is basically complexed with polyphenols due to coffee, tea and/or sodas then foods with different polyphenols and different levels of polyphenols might not make a difference. Fruits and vegetables would seem not to be delivering the real thing as well as Coca-Cola.

A direct connection between the gut and brain and mood is widely accepted now. How signals are sent from the gut to brain and how those signals affect mood has not been clearly established. Levels of aconitase 1 in the gut, activity of the TCA cycle in the gut and regulation of iron regulated proteins in the gut could play a large role in that connection.

A proposed experiment

Tea very significantly decreases iron absorption as tannins in tea form insoluble complexes with iron. Iron in iron/tannin-complexes would also not be bioavailable in the gut. Still individuals who drink tea can have normal iron levels. The question is whether blood measures of iron status are a complete picture of iron status. In the proposed experiment rats would be given tea by gavage. Levels of tea given by gavage would not be levels that would cause anemia. What would be tested is the status of aconitase 1 in the gut and the effect of the tea on the citric acid cycle in the gut. Aconitase 1 is regulated by iron levels where with high levels of iron aconitase 1 acts as an aconitase but with low levels of iron aconitase 1 switches to IRP1 which regulates iron regulated proteins. Levels in the gut of citrate synthase, isocitric dehydrogenase and succinate dehydrogenase would would also be tested as iron positively affects these enzymes also. Blood levels of iron would also be tested. The hypothesis is that the effect of tea on the gut in terms of aconitase 1 and other enzymes in the citric acid cycle will be more pronounced than blood levels of iron would indicate.

E-cigarettes and natural flavors

There is lots of controversy about flavorings for e-cigarettes. Here are some of the plant extract flavorings for e-cigarettes. Lung damage has been associated with vaping with e-cigarettes with flavorings found to be particularly harmful. Polyphenols bind iron. Polyphenols binding iron, which is needed for hemoglobin, in the lungs could adversely affect the ability to breathe. Mint flavorings are getting a pass in the FDA regulations on e-cigarette flavorings, however, mint has very high polyphenol contents.