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Elisabeth Bik @MicrobiomDigest
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Today, I am watching Episode 5 of the #Interconnected #microbiome series, called "Leaky gut - leaky brain - leaky kids".
Note: link will be disappear after 24h; after that you will have to pay.
My tweets will stay and are free!
The first part of the episode is mainly about the gut-brain connection. The main message is that you need to eat good food (fiber, vegetables) to send good signals to your brain. This is good information that can help many people.
But the summary of the first part, as given by the presenter on this slide, has some errors that should have been edited out.
1. "Enteroception" appears to be a vague term that only occurs 3 times in Pubmed, so there is no widespread scientific support for it.
2. "Gut bacteria produce GABA and Serotonin" - Gaba and serotonin production has indeed been shown in gut bacteria in the lab. Not clear if this plays a role in the body. Most serotonin is produced in the gut, but *by human cells*.
3. Fourth statement: I might have missed this in the first part, but this implies a causality that has not been proven yet. We know the gut microbiome can be different in early stages of the disease, but we do not know if this is the cause or the effect of the disease.
There are some indications that maybe the microbiome might be involved in causing the disease, primarily in mouse models, but it is too premature to state that we know which gut bacteria are causing the diseases.
Another observation:
In the first part of this documentary, I counted 22 segments of people being interviewed.
15 segments by male experts
1 segment by a female expert
6 segments by a female patient (personal story).
There is something intrinsically wrong with an episode that focuses on female patients that need to be rescued by male doctors. Yuk.
At 36 min, ZB, MD, who has made some incorrect #FakeNews statements before in the documentary (he was the one who claimed we had 5 million species of fungi in our gut!) comes on again. Let's see what he has to say today.
He states that glyphosate, an herbicide that is used to prevent weeds to grow, that we are spraying on our crops, is depriving us from essential amino acids.
He says "We took the building blocks for your neurotransmitters out of your diet through spraying our crops directly with a chemical called glyphosate. "
This is incorrect. Yes, glyphosate indeed inhibits plant pathways to make these amino acids, but those plants will die.
Genetically modified plants that can survive glyphosate still make those amino acids. We are not taking these essential amino acids out of our diet. If you don't want to eat GMO crops, eat organic plants. Either crop will make the essential amino acids.
ZB is completely misinterpreting how glyphosate works. When he is saying that with glyphosate "you are deleting the neurotransmitters from your gut" - he is talking bullshit. There, I said it.
He might have an MD degree, but he is the one giving the most wrong information here.
In this episode, the weird concoctions of ZB are followed by short interviews with two real scientist experts in the field of Parkinson's disease, Sarkis Mazmanian and Emeran Mayer. This montage makes it sound like they are supporting Zach's statements. But they are not.
At about 47 min, we are told by a book author that patients who underwent vagotomy (cutting the nerve that connects brain and gut), had a 50% risk reduction for developing Parkinson's disease.
This appears to be based on this study: Liu et al. in which complete vagotomy at least 5 years before diagnosis of PD had a reduced risk effect. I sure hope he is not suggesting vagotomy as a way to treat PD...
At 51 min, ZD, MD is again stating that Roundup (glyphosate) is inhibiting neurotransmitter production.
ZD, MD: "Since (...) serotonine and dopamine are made from these essential amino acids, which are being deleted by the Roundup era, you suddenly have a brain that does not have the fuel. So you have a huge epidemic of major depression. "
ZD: "We've had 1 in 2 adults with major depression at lifetime prevalence now. "
This does not seem to match the 20% that this recent study found in 36 309 US adults:…
One in 5 is still a lot, but it is not as high 1 in 2 as Zach states. Note that this study also included episodes of <2 months sadness after loss of a loved one - which seems normal and unlikely to be caused by glyphosate.
ZD, MD: "Neuro-building blocks have been deleted out of our food chain, deleted out of our soils, deleted out of our gut environment, so now we suffer a paucity. "
ZD, MD: "So now we are dependent on pharmaceutical drugs to try to artificially increase the amount of serotonin and dopamine, because your brain and your gut are literally running on fumes, because you are lacking those essential legos (to) build those big neurotransmitters. "
At 55 min, presenter PS gives a summary of all the incorrect information about glyphosate that ZB, MD has been stating.
Again, tweeps, this is completely incorrect. Glyphosate does not take these essential amino acids out of the food chain.
This documentary is so dangerous because it mixes really good information given by microbiome researchers with complete bullshit. And not everyone is able to tell these two apart. Not even the presenter, Pedram Shojai, who is blindly echoing some of these false statements.
A good documentary should have an editor and fact checker, and not mix true science with made-up fear-mongering woo.
The last part of this episode is dedicated to our kids.
ZB, MD is on again. He sketches a bleak feature, based on extrapolating the growing autism rates, of one in 3 children who will have autism in 2035.
ZB, MD: "You are going to wipe out an entire population who has to be productive just to handle autism alone, as if that was the only disease process".
At 1h10m, ZB, MD says: "The problem is, we are not going to survive. We are dying. One in three males has infertility in the US. One in four women is infertile, in the US. If we keep on this trajectory, we won't be able to reproduce our species. "
Let's match that to CDC statistics.
CDC: "About 6% of married women aged 15 to 44 years in the United States are unable to get pregnant after one year of trying (infertility). "…
In fact, infertility rates in women appear to be going down. From a CDC report:
"The percentage of married women aged 15–44 who were infertile
fell from 8.5% in 1982 (2.4 million women) to 6.0% (1.5 million) in 2006–2010."…
From that same CDC report: "Some form of infertility (either subfertility or nonsurgical sterility) was reported by 9.4% of men aged 15–44 and 12% of men aged 25–44 in 2006–2010"
So while ZB is saying that 30% of males and 25% of females are infertile in the US, the CDC is saying that 12% of males and 6% of women are infertile.
I have no idea where ZB is basing his numbers on, but they appear to be very inflated.
But at 1.10: ZB states: "We are collapsing as a species, and it is not being talked about. "
ZB ends with some words of hope, thank goodness.
"So where is the hope? It turns out, it is in the microbiome. The microbiome is so freaking forgiving, and so passionate about life itself. It springs forth life everywhere it touches. It can make life out of nothing. "
@threadreaderapp Unroll, please.
I am not saying that there is no connection between glyphosate and the microbiome. There are some studies that suggest that components in Roundup, given directly to rats, change the microbiome composition. See e.g.:…
But to say that this is caused by the deprivation of certain essential amino acids in our food is not correct. There might be a direct effect on bacterial enzymes, for example. And it might not translate from rats into humans.
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