So, I’m off on another gut flora biofilm tangent. After writing my post on rice beer, I was wondering exactly what the beneficial mold did for a person’s health & Then I started wondering if mold or fungi was every bit as important to gut health as bacteria. I was reading Dr. Art Ayers’ new post & he mentioned in passing:
I have previously discussed the gut flora (bacteria and fungi) as the source of most vitamins. […] The human gut actively communicates with the biofilms of bacteria and fungi that form a lining for the healthy gut. The aggressive cells of the immune system that attack invading pathogens, develop in response to chemical signals from filamentous gut bacteria, and the suppressive cells of the other half of the immune system, which prevents attack on innocuous food antigens (to avoid allergies) or the human body itself (autoimmunity), develop in response to Clostridium ssp. Thus, the immune system can be highly compromised, if the gut flora bacteria are damaged, e.g. by antibiotics.
Which was a big Whoa! Back up! I searched all mentions of fungi on his blog, and frankly there are a bunch. I’m still trying to get through it all. There is very little other information online about the beneficial molds & fungi & how they interact with the biofilms that line your gut.
Specifically, I want to know how to decrease the pathogenic biofilms & increase the beneficial ones, but even Dr Ayers says:
Oh, it is so embarrassing. I don’t know how to control gut flora/biofilms with diet. Clearly communication between gut and flora are important and this is all perturbed by food. Prebiotics/probiotics can alter gut flora, e.g. the monoculture (Bifidobacteria) of exclusively breastfed babies. Reciprocal fecal transplants can make obese lose weight and lean gain. Transplants of whole guts survive if maintained by retaining the gut contents.
The immune system is developed and maintained by secondary school in the gut. The gut holds reserve bacteria in the appendix to reseed the gut after diarrhea sheds biofilms and all.
Unfortunately we don’t know the requisite bacteria stored in a healthy appendix. Otherwise, at any time we could reset the gut by pushing the diarrhea button and return to health.
I think that pre and probiotics are a hedge to shift the meaningful biofilms toward health. I don’t understand the whole gut community and it may include unsavory characters such as H. pylori and parasitic worms. Some of these characters, such as Hp and Klebsiella may cause ulcers or cancer when the body gets out of whack. So we may have to make some unnatural adjustments. Little is known.
So there’s that. I’m still sorting through information & trying to get it to meld in my mind, but the problem is that there is so little information on the subject of beneficial molds, look at the tiny amount of info wikipedia has.
I guess what I’m trying to figure out is: will eating blue cheese, drinking rice beer & etc. help populate my gut with beneficial fungi? When I was taking ginger, turmeric & digestive enzymes to disrupt the pathogenic biofilms, was I also disrupting the beneficial ones? Should I try disrupting ALL biofilms while eating a ton of fermented foods?
Or, as Dr Ayers says, should I quit eating a diverse diet in favor of a constant diet:
The hundred of different species of bacteria in the gut change in proportions to adapt to different foods in each meal. If the diet is fairly constant, then the diversity of the population gradually increases, just as the diversity of species in a tropical rain forest is greater than in a temperate forest. This also explains why gut flora diversity is far less in the USA than in other parts of the world. Americans are encouraged to eat diverse diets in the search for vitamins and superfoods. Each dramatic change in diet makes it hard for the gut flora to adapt and the remaining bacteria are those that are generalists. It might also be expected that early sailors who changed their diets dramatically when they went to sea, ended up with a highly compromised ship-board gut flora (and fauna.)
Anyway, this is what I’m doing instead of entertaining you (or working, lol). I do plan on ordering some kefir grains & a kumbucha mother & I plan on starting a batch of homemade sauerkraut to get some extra bacteria in my system.
The question is, will this help or hurt? If a diverse diet is harmful to gut flora, does that mean that eating a diverse diet of fermented foods is harmful too?