3

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Thoughts on this... gluten free diet and changes in gut bacteria

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created December 11, 2011 at 8:32 AM

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3023594/

More reason to eat fermented foods and take probiotics, any other thoughts on this? If we don't make as many 'good bacteria' on a paleo diet, do we really need all of them?

The trial included 10 healthy subjects, which were submitted to a gluten free diet (GFD) over one month. Analysis of fecal microbiota and dietary intake indicated that numbers of healthy gut bacteria decreased, while numbers of unhealthy bacteria increased parallel to reductions in the intake of polysaccharides after following the GFD.....

These findings indicate that this dietary therapy may contribute to reducing beneficial bacterial counts and increasing enterobacterial counts, which are microbial features associated with the disease and, therefore, it would not favor completely the normalization of the gut ecosystem in treated CD patients.

On the other hand, the immune suppressive effects associated with the microbiota of subjects under a GFD may be partly beneficial for CD patients, which are prone to a Th1-biased immune response, but may also imply a defect of their defence and regulatory mechanisms against harmful bacteria and chronic inflammation. This sets up a scenario where individuals under a GFD would be more susceptible to overgrowth of harmful bacteria and infections, which might be associated with unpleasant symptoms and increased health risks. Moreover, the findings suggest that dietary counselling aimed at promoting polysaccharide and probiotic intake could be considered in the care process of treated patients in the future.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on December 11, 2011
at 05:20 PM

I sometimes forget that a gluten-free diet does NOT equal a paleo diet

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on December 11, 2011
at 04:32 PM

"I guess this woman just really likes analyzing s&#t samples." lol

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on December 11, 2011
at 04:31 PM

good point.....

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 11, 2011
at 04:09 PM

Exactly! You know it was SAD with SAD-gluten-free-products. It's a wonder they had any good gut flora at all. I would be very interested if the study was replicated with people eating ancestrally, including probiotics like water kefir.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on December 11, 2011
at 03:47 PM

Would you rather have Bifidobacterium or Enterobacteriaceae populating your colon? :)

68f2734a5078a7106f560a7079df45fd

(1550)

on December 11, 2011
at 03:33 PM

Ed, T-cells can be divided according to their phenotypes into Th1 and Th2 (which are the most characterized), Th17, Th3..."Tregs" are "Regulatory T cells", which control the activation of T-cells. Autoimmune diseases are predominantly Th1-biased, so in theory, increasing the Th2 subset can balance the cytokine production (hence treatment with helminths is promising for autoimmune diseases).

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on December 11, 2011
at 03:08 PM

Maybe it just means we don't NEED as many "beneficial" bacteria, so our body doesn't produce as much on GFD.

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on December 11, 2011
at 02:45 PM

Also, they add guar gum and other polysaccharide thickeners to many GF products to give them that spongy texture. These thickeners are generally fructans or galactans and are like candy for gut bacteria.

A03f0d03067a43c61786481d91e5d3a0

(1078)

on December 11, 2011
at 01:27 PM

True, they do say "potentially" unhealthy.

Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on December 11, 2011
at 11:00 AM

They don't really classify it as harmful, there's a lot of qualifying language to let you know that they're talking gluten-filled crap.

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7 Answers

16
0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on December 11, 2011
at 11:03 AM

The quoted link is a discussion article about this original study: Effects of a gluten-free diet on gut microbiota and immune function in healthy adult human subjects.

But back to your link:

"In this context, we published a preliminary study to establish whether the GFD in itself could lead to modifications on the composition and immune properties of the gut microbiota.11 This study included 10 healthy subjects (30.3 years-old), who were following a GFD over one month by replacing the gluten-containing foods they usually ate with certified gluten-free foods (with no more than 20 parts per million of gluten)."

The key point here is "replacing the gluten-containing foods they usually ate with certified gluten-free foods".

The subjects did not change their normal diet at all, they just replaced their normal foods with shop bought gluten-free alternatives. Gluten-free bread, gluten-free cookies etc.

If you have ever looked at most commercially available gluten-free packaged foods they are some of the most refined foods you can buy. They are usually made of purified starches with extra sugar to improve the flavor. Due to their refined nature they contain less food for your gut bacteria than the normal equivalents.

From the original study:

"No significant differences in dietary intake were found in energy and macronutrients as a result of the GFD except for significant reductions (P = 0??001) in polysaccharide intake."

As the study is from Spain they use a different definitions of fiber and starch than I am familiar with. However, what it means is that the subjects ate much less fermentable fiber on the GFD. If you eat less of this the good bacteria in your colon will have less to eat and the result of the study is not surprising.

The main outcome of the study is that just switching to processed gluten-free bread and cakes is not as going to improve your gut flora.

Gluten-free white bread?

thoughts-on-this...-gluten-free-diet-and-changes-in-gut-bacteria

Do you think that switching to this is going to improve your gut flora?

I think it is a good bit of research. You can't just take the gluten out of the processed foods in the diet of a celiac person and expect everything to be fine.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on December 11, 2011
at 04:31 PM

good point.....

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on December 11, 2011
at 05:20 PM

I sometimes forget that a gluten-free diet does NOT equal a paleo diet

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on December 11, 2011
at 02:45 PM

Also, they add guar gum and other polysaccharide thickeners to many GF products to give them that spongy texture. These thickeners are generally fructans or galactans and are like candy for gut bacteria.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 11, 2011
at 04:09 PM

Exactly! You know it was SAD with SAD-gluten-free-products. It's a wonder they had any good gut flora at all. I would be very interested if the study was replicated with people eating ancestrally, including probiotics like water kefir.

3
7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on December 11, 2011
at 02:32 PM

Also, if you or someone you're talking to is worried about removing grains from your diet because the decrease in beta-glucans might reduce gut flora (in quantity or in biodiversity) you can always be sure to add other prebiotics (sources for inulin, pectin, fructooligosaccharides, beta-glucans, etc.) such as apples, oranges, mushrooms, onion, garlic, jerusalem artichoke, jicama, and so forth.

As for your question: do we need all those bacteria? It's impossible to say at this point of understanding what bacteria we need or not. I'm super excited about the next 10 years of research on this topic, though. I think we're going to learn some really neat things about gut flora and how they affect our bodies.

2
C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on December 11, 2011
at 10:44 AM

What I would like to know is how they figured out what "healthy gut bacteria" is. The way I see it they know what the standard gut flora profile is for folks on the SAD diet. Low fat, high carb, highly processed etc. If gluten free is really thaaat bad for us Im curious how humanity even got to this point. We didnt have gluten until very recently.

All I know is that once I went gluten free my digestive system well.. lets just say I didnt know things could be that easy and look that healthy for that matter. Of course I could actually be killing myself slowly and maybe pooping is supposed to be a horrible and untrustworthy experience. But n=1 says my gut bacteria is perfectly happy to not be processing gluten.

2
A03f0d03067a43c61786481d91e5d3a0

(1078)

on December 11, 2011
at 09:36 AM

Analyses of fecal microbiota and dietary intakes, indicated that populations of generally regarded healthy bacteria decreased (Bifidobacterium, B. longum and Lactobacillus), while populations of potentially unhealthy bacteria increased parallel to reductions in the intake of polysaccharides (from 117 g to 63 g on average) after following the GFD. In particular, increases were detected in numbers of E. coli and total Enterobacteriaceae, which may include opportunistic pathogens.

In other words, unless I misread the study, they looked at just four types of gut microbes. Wikipedia says there are hundreds of types in the gut. I'm also not sure why they classify e. coli as harmful considering that its presence in the gut is generally harmless.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on December 11, 2011
at 03:47 PM

Would you rather have Bifidobacterium or Enterobacteriaceae populating your colon? :)

A03f0d03067a43c61786481d91e5d3a0

(1078)

on December 11, 2011
at 01:27 PM

True, they do say "potentially" unhealthy.

Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on December 11, 2011
at 11:00 AM

They don't really classify it as harmful, there's a lot of qualifying language to let you know that they're talking gluten-filled crap.

2
Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on December 11, 2011
at 09:02 AM

Well, for me, this is pretty revealing:

Although this preliminary study has limitations, including number of participants and the short duration of the intervention...

They looked at 30 people for one month. And replaced gluten with "certified gluten free foods." There is zero other information about what these people were eating over that month. A study like this has no relevant practical implications. I guess this woman just really likes analyzing s&#t samples.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on December 11, 2011
at 04:32 PM

"I guess this woman just really likes analyzing s&#t samples." lol

1
36ba71ea8bc4f736f4113433fde572bd

(347)

on December 11, 2011
at 01:53 PM

This is interesting. I would not make any particular life-changing decisions over this study, but it does raise questions.

First, from reading Art Ayers, understand that your lymph system incubates your immune system. Regulatory "T" cells ("Treg") mature into either the Th1 or Th2 type. The composition of your gut bacteria (including your stomach and the presence or absence of H Pylori) strongly influence the Th1 / Th2 balance. And what you want is balance.

From here there is a table on Th1 vs Th2 predominant immune system responses:

Table 1. ???Human pathological conditions associated to Th1 and Th2 predominant responses

Th1                         Th2
H. pylori infection         Allergic diseases
Atherosclerosis             Vernal conjunctivitis
Organ-specific autoimmunity Parasitic infections
Acute allograft rejection      Systemic sclerosis
Crohn's disease             Some hypereosinophilic syndromes
Some recurrent abortions       Chronic graft vs. host disease
Sarcoidosis                 Some patients with AIDS

So the reason to not completely dismiss this paper is because they seem to be documenting a case where a change in diet causes a change in Th-type cells. That's interesting!

Quote:

On the other hand, the immune suppressive effects associated with the microbiota of subjects under a GFD may be partly beneficial for CD patients, which are prone to a Th1-biased immune response, but may also imply a defect of their defence and regulatory mechanisms against harmful bacteria and chronic inflammation.

So add to the above table, under the Th1-predominant column, celiac disease. Perhaps eliminating gluten nudges the balance away from Th1 predominance? Does it end up better balanced with Th2, or is the needle going too far and becoming Th2 predominated? I have no idea, but the whole subject is only now being explored by researchers and I think we're going to see many more confusing, interesting, and ultimately enlightening papers coming out.

68f2734a5078a7106f560a7079df45fd

(1550)

on December 11, 2011
at 03:33 PM

Ed, T-cells can be divided according to their phenotypes into Th1 and Th2 (which are the most characterized), Th17, Th3..."Tregs" are "Regulatory T cells", which control the activation of T-cells. Autoimmune diseases are predominantly Th1-biased, so in theory, increasing the Th2 subset can balance the cytokine production (hence treatment with helminths is promising for autoimmune diseases).

-1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 25, 2012
at 07:24 PM

So; I have a Question: ALL I eat is Honey and Raw Oatmeal; as in - that is ALL I Eat.

How would such a diet effect my Body; as it pertains to these topics and any others? Also; My Colon is very clean - I dischage CLEAR Water from my colon. And I live in Clearwater; Hummm? My e-mail qadar.angel@yahoo A truthful answer would be greatly appreciated.

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