13

votes

Are cravings just gut flora putting in their dinner order?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 07, 2011 at 4:24 PM

I was able to augment my cravings (i.e. eliminate sugar cravings) with some intensive probiotic usage a few years ago. I'm wondering if I'm theorizing up the wrong tree here, or if that makes sense. In the brain/gut axis how much of what we desire to stuff in our mouths is gut vs. brain (or is it silly to even try and separate them)?

6869a1f2294b3a717a53645589a91d18

(1689)

on October 08, 2011
at 03:52 PM

A 'high fat diet' may affect mouse gut (flora?) differently than humans. Nutrient-deficient properties of the 'high fat' diet might also be responsible. For example, sucrose is toxic if rats are on a deficient diet, but if they eat plenty of choline etc, they can eat large amounts of sucrose without incident. Maybe fat is similar, except with the issue being over gut function rather than liver function.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 08, 2011
at 06:32 AM

We all need to find a sympathetic doc who will prescribe a monthly trip to Baden-Baden to go soak in the mineral baths (airfare included of course).

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 08, 2011
at 06:07 AM

"CB1 expression can be decreased -25% by prebiotics, -60% by antibiotics, and increased 160% by a 'high fat' lab diet (but only by 60% if the HFD includes prebiotics)" I keep rereading this and am trying to figure out how it would fit into my own experience, because a high fat diet for me seems to have stopped a lot of comfort/food seeking behavior, which if I'm understanding this correctly would be the opposite of what was shown.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 08, 2011
at 06:03 AM

I skimmed the article and didn't notice if they mentioned whether the CB1 receptors are only in the brain or if they also reside in the gut. The bit about inducing gut permeability was fascinating too. Maybe we can hear "the voices" of those little gut beasties better when they can get together and push a bunch of toxins with their message out into the bloodstream, or maybe there is just better reception for their tiny cell phones in our small intestines and that is why they have set up shop there ;)

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on October 08, 2011
at 05:42 AM

lol@Ali... I tend to crave "salts" when pmsing- nuts probably provide lots of minerals.. that and calcium! ugh! dairy cravings go through the roof!

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 08, 2011
at 05:40 AM

I was a bad kombucha brewer and left my skobi in the same jar and unfed for too long, and it bit it. If it doesn't meow or whine I have trouble remembering to feed it. I prefer the taste of the stuff I get in the pretty bottles at the co-op as a treat sometimes anyway. I guess I haven't been entirely probiotic free, fermented sauerkraut and kim chi are major side dishes in our house. I just thought I might be missing a variety that was wiped out by the antibiotics.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 08, 2011
at 05:39 AM

I was a bad kombucha brewer and left my skobi in the same jar and unfed for too long, and it bit it. If it doesn't meow or whine I have trouble remembering to feed it. I prefer the taste of the stuff I get in the pretty bottles at the co-op as a treat sometimes anyway. I guess I haven't been entirely probiotic free, fermented sauerkraut and kim chi are major side dishes in our house. I just thought I might be missing a variety that was wiped out by the probiotics.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 08, 2011
at 05:11 AM

Well, hot damn! Not only do I have a lot of reading to do, but I have a fancy name to attach this random thought to. I swear those little buggers have an opinion, whether they are evil puppetmasters or just trying to survive remains to be seen. I absolutely buy that single celled organisms can hijack our brains, I've experienced it a number of times at the beginning of a virus like a cold or flu, I find myself being driven to a)seek out activities that would compromise my immune system, like hanging xmas lights on the house wearing a tank top and b)I suddenly want to be surrounded by people

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on October 07, 2011
at 10:33 PM

I drink homemade kombucha & raw goats kefir daily.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 07, 2011
at 07:45 PM

That's the hope. I cruised along fine for a couple years after that initial infusion, until had to do a few courses of antibiotics for a staph infection in my throat last summer and a sinus/ear infection during the winter (scary! not a fan of infections that close to my brain). After a little weight gain after each round just in the belly following the antibiotics I finally put 2 and 2 together and recently started a month of PreScript Assist that I hope will get things in order again

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 07, 2011
at 07:44 PM

That's the hope. I cruised along fine for a couple years after that initial infusion, until had to do a few courses of antibiotics for a staph infection in my throat last summer and a sinus/ear infection in my throat during the winter (scary! not a fan of infections that close to my brain). After a little weight gain just in the belly following the antibiotics I finally put 2 and 2 together and recently started a month of PreScript Assist that I hope will get things in order again.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on October 07, 2011
at 07:23 PM

Happy Now~ Proabably a perfect combination of getting rid of the gluten (gut irritant) and then balancing gut bacteria with probiotics.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on October 07, 2011
at 07:21 PM

I thought good gut bacteria would reproduce themselves if not killed off with antibiotics/gluten, etc?

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 07, 2011
at 07:00 PM

sweet tarts = citric acid = vitamin c + bioflavenoid cravings, and you know, sugar too.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 07, 2011
at 06:36 PM

That's a good question about when you can stop. Personally, I did a couple months of really intensive use, and then a year of half-assed use.

145d4b0f988af15acc6b26eccc1f4895

(1932)

on October 07, 2011
at 06:31 PM

+1 'cause that's a GREAT title/question!

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on October 07, 2011
at 06:06 PM

I wonder what the sweet tarts I've been craving are giving me nutritionally...8)

D5a52362ba91628833829a52acf1c227

on October 07, 2011
at 05:55 PM

That is VERY interesting because last year I was telling my friend about my sugar addiction (to sugar, wheat, etc) and he said to take probiotics. So this year, I started taking them, and all of the sudden my cravings were pretty much gone! I felt like a normal person! At around the same time though, I started using coconut milk in things, so I wasn't sure if it was the increase in healthy fats or the probiotics. But it really did feel like a switch was lifted and suddenly the cravings were gone. So now I'm afraid to ever stop taking probiotics. XD

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 07, 2011
at 05:19 PM

The idea of food addiction is one of the things that actually prompted this question. Addictions don't start in a vacuum, they are usually in response to something being amiss, and nutrient deficiencies certainly play a role. I guess my line of thought here, is it might be worth trying to improve the neighborhood in one's gut before blaming the host's brain and labeling a food addiction.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 07, 2011
at 05:13 PM

You could supplement with vitamin E, folic acid, magnesium, copper, and selenium, or...just eat trail mix when you need it. Being less processed than supplements, plus having the other antioxidants, it is probably better from a nutritional standpoint. Bonus points if you put trail mix in one of those weekly pill organizers.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on October 07, 2011
at 05:12 PM

I'm sure it's a factor but I also think brain reward centers, as in food addiction, are in play as well as the probable nutrient deficiencies of corporately produced foods.

E06dcdb3f856057025e9776e038d8072

(305)

on October 07, 2011
at 05:09 PM

Interesting. I have insane PMS cravings, but not for sugar. Mostly for nuts. I was completely unable to stay away from the trail mix this last time. Assuming your theory of satisfying a nutritional need is correct, any insight into how to figure out what that need is w/o buying every supplement at the local health food store?

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 07, 2011
at 04:46 PM

During that same time I dropped wheat, so being able to actually absorb my nutrients and have a better hormonal profile certainly helped too. I keep coming back to thinking about the probiotics because it did feel like a switch was flipped about a month into it, but again that could've just been how long it took to heal and get things balanced.

  • 6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

    asked by

    (24553)
  • Views
    2.9K
  • Last Activity
    1432D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

3 Answers

4
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on October 07, 2011
at 04:39 PM

Interesting theory.

IME, cravings seem to be caused by a nutritional deficiency. And certainly dysbiosis will contribute to some deficiencies due to poor absorption. Even emotionally-induced cravings will lessen when the nutritional deficiencies are remedied. I've seen this with my pregnant clients and myself.

My n=1 is that my pre-menstrual sugar cravings have all but disappeared since starting to supplement with 50 mg zinc picolinate 3 weeks ago. What I had attributed to "normal" hormones was solved by addressing a nutritional need.

Perhaps by addressing your gut dysbiosis you are actually improving nutrient absorption and thus remedying a deficiency?

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on October 07, 2011
at 06:06 PM

I wonder what the sweet tarts I've been craving are giving me nutritionally...8)

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 07, 2011
at 04:46 PM

During that same time I dropped wheat, so being able to actually absorb my nutrients and have a better hormonal profile certainly helped too. I keep coming back to thinking about the probiotics because it did feel like a switch was flipped about a month into it, but again that could've just been how long it took to heal and get things balanced.

E06dcdb3f856057025e9776e038d8072

(305)

on October 07, 2011
at 05:09 PM

Interesting. I have insane PMS cravings, but not for sugar. Mostly for nuts. I was completely unable to stay away from the trail mix this last time. Assuming your theory of satisfying a nutritional need is correct, any insight into how to figure out what that need is w/o buying every supplement at the local health food store?

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on October 07, 2011
at 07:23 PM

Happy Now~ Proabably a perfect combination of getting rid of the gluten (gut irritant) and then balancing gut bacteria with probiotics.

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on October 08, 2011
at 05:42 AM

lol@Ali... I tend to crave "salts" when pmsing- nuts probably provide lots of minerals.. that and calcium! ugh! dairy cravings go through the roof!

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 07, 2011
at 05:13 PM

You could supplement with vitamin E, folic acid, magnesium, copper, and selenium, or...just eat trail mix when you need it. Being less processed than supplements, plus having the other antioxidants, it is probably better from a nutritional standpoint. Bonus points if you put trail mix in one of those weekly pill organizers.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 08, 2011
at 06:32 AM

We all need to find a sympathetic doc who will prescribe a monthly trip to Baden-Baden to go soak in the mineral baths (airfare included of course).

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 07, 2011
at 07:00 PM

sweet tarts = citric acid = vitamin c + bioflavenoid cravings, and you know, sugar too.

1
6869a1f2294b3a717a53645589a91d18

(1689)

on October 08, 2011
at 04:29 AM

In ob/ob (obese) mice, CB1 expression can be decreased -25% by prebiotics, -60% by antibiotics, and increased 160% by a 'high fat' lab diet (but only by 60% if the HFD includes prebiotics) 191).

The CB1 receptor can significantly modulate drug and palatable food seeking behavior in mice 200) 201) 202), including sugar 203) 204), chocolate 205), 'emotional behavior' 206), anxiety, stress and depressive-like behavior 207). CB1 blocking reduces reward seeking in rats 208) 209). CB1 receptors are densely expressed in neurons expressing dopamine D1 receptors 210).

Sources @ http://flare8.net/health/doku.php/diseases#microbes1

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 08, 2011
at 06:07 AM

"CB1 expression can be decreased -25% by prebiotics, -60% by antibiotics, and increased 160% by a 'high fat' lab diet (but only by 60% if the HFD includes prebiotics)" I keep rereading this and am trying to figure out how it would fit into my own experience, because a high fat diet for me seems to have stopped a lot of comfort/food seeking behavior, which if I'm understanding this correctly would be the opposite of what was shown.

6869a1f2294b3a717a53645589a91d18

(1689)

on October 08, 2011
at 03:52 PM

A 'high fat diet' may affect mouse gut (flora?) differently than humans. Nutrient-deficient properties of the 'high fat' diet might also be responsible. For example, sucrose is toxic if rats are on a deficient diet, but if they eat plenty of choline etc, they can eat large amounts of sucrose without incident. Maybe fat is similar, except with the issue being over gut function rather than liver function.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 08, 2011
at 06:03 AM

I skimmed the article and didn't notice if they mentioned whether the CB1 receptors are only in the brain or if they also reside in the gut. The bit about inducing gut permeability was fascinating too. Maybe we can hear "the voices" of those little gut beasties better when they can get together and push a bunch of toxins with their message out into the bloodstream, or maybe there is just better reception for their tiny cell phones in our small intestines and that is why they have set up shop there ;)

1
93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on October 08, 2011
at 03:03 AM

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 08, 2011
at 05:11 AM

Well, hot damn! Not only do I have a lot of reading to do, but I have a fancy name to attach this random thought to. I swear those little buggers have an opinion, whether they are evil puppetmasters or just trying to survive remains to be seen. I absolutely buy that single celled organisms can hijack our brains, I've experienced it a number of times at the beginning of a virus like a cold or flu, I find myself being driven to a)seek out activities that would compromise my immune system, like hanging xmas lights on the house wearing a tank top and b)I suddenly want to be surrounded by people

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!