Note: Careful reading of these studies shows that the different diet prophage inducers listed below can trigger negative as well as positive consequences depending on when they are used in combination with diet factors for each specific person. This is not a health food store counseling tendency to “throw in the kitchen sink” of all the foods below. The research is still ongoing and the scientists admit they are basically shocked at the newly discovered complexity of the gut microbiome while racing to understand how it works. They have already discovered the gut may be involved in many of the major medical issues facing us, for example the discovery of parkinson’s inducer cells in the gut migrating up the spine to the brain.
>Brain-gut-microbiota axis in Parkinson’s disease
“Researchers at San Diego State University have found a new way to harness food as medicine, which has far reaching implications to control harmful microbes in our gut while balancing microbial diversity by fostering the growth of beneficial bacteria.
Foods we eat commonly affect our gut microbiota. New research shows they do so by triggering the production of bacteriophage—viruses that infect and replicate inside bacteria. Compounds in these foods have an antimicrobial effect which causes the phage to replicate.
The researchers began by identifying which foods were antimicrobial, then analyzed them before narrowing it down to a shortlist. When examining growth curves of bacteria, they observed that while bacteria multiply over time, eventually their numbers plateau. However, if phages are activated, then bacterial growth stops altogether and their numbers drop dramatically until they’re depleted.
Foods they tested that had antimicrobial effects include honey, licorice, stevia (a sugar substitute derived from the stevia plant), aspartame, hot sauce, herbs such as oregano, spices such as cinnamon and clove, rhubarbs, uva ursi (bear berry), and neem extract. They also tested toothpaste, since it’s known to contain antimicrobial compounds. Of these, honey, stevia, aspartame, neem and uva ursi had the most impact in triggering phage production.”
The microbiome is composed of hundreds of different bacteria and the phages they host,” said Lance Boling, an SDSU molecular biologist and research associate. “We could actually tackle certain conditions by adjusting the foods we consume, that will affect microbial diversity which in turn will influence health and diseases.”
“We also found some foods acted as phage inhibitors and could be used to control pathogenic viruses,” Boling added. Our gut microbiome can affect cognitive ability, metabolism, weight gain or loss, our moods, and even cause depression. It can also cause inflammation that could lead to cancer, diabetes, Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome. With careful analysis and planning, food could be used as medicine to correct imbalances.