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Why might Depression, Autism and Gluten Sensitivity be on the Rise?

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In this video I explore how changes in the microbiome could be the leading cause driving increasing rates of autism, depression and gluten sensitivity. The numbers are alarming – a 33% rise in depression since 1999, roughly doubling of Autism rates since 2004 and gluten free foods appearing on every supermarket shelf.

While I focus on these conditions, there are number of other conditions that might be linked to the same cause, including obesity, ADHD, Alzheimer’s, Asthma, Cardiovascular disease, Crohn’s disease, Diabetes, Motor Neuron Disease (ALS), Obesity, Rheumatoid arthritis and various other autoimmune conditions.

I discuss how changes in our lifestyles and diet have driven changes in our microbiome, generating specific markers in the blood that can be found for all these conditions. I explain why these increases cannot be related to genetic changes. I discuss the timing of these conditions and explain why young people are particular may be affected. I discuss the evidence showing the rate of decline in the microbiome compared to history – a 50% decline in species diversity. It seems that in the same way that we are damaging the natural world and species are dying out, the same is happening inside our guts. I show with case study evidence how correcting these problems corrects the conditions.

Originally diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) I started working on my gut health in the early 2000s. As I improved it I also improved my mood. While there is never a single cause for a condition, and there were other causes that contributed to my own battle with depression, this was one of the biggest, and possibly even the primary biological driver.

In the video I focus heavily on Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) leaking into the gut and causing inflammation. I briefly mention Propionic Acid (PPA) doing the same in the case of Autism. The former is a natural component in good and bad bacteria alike, but it should stay in the gut. The latter is mostly produced by species we want a lot less of (such as Clostridia) and we certainly don’t want it getting into the bloodstream either. I know that the term Leaky Gut is considered something of a pseudoscience by some. However if this condition does not exist then why do antibodies for LPS appear in the blood?

I appreciate that the video is something of a simplification as in fact there are many factors that lead to damage to the gut wall, microbial richness and leak bacterial toxins into the bloodstream. However LPS does appear to be an obvious smoking gun. Antibodies for it appear in all of the conditions I’ve listed and not in controls, it drives a wide range of inflammatory responses, and protocols that reduce it appear to reduce these conditions. In reality there are a bunch of other things that go wrong in the gut and the gut lining. Along with sugar, fructose, antibiotics and high fructose corn syrup, gluten itself is rather suspect it its potential role in weakening the gut lining.

My understanding of this subject was given a huge boost by Dr David Perlmutter’s 2015 book Brain Maker. If you want to dig into more detail on all of these conditions, it is a truly fascinating read. There were several ah-ha moments for me in reading this book. I’ve used one or two of his better examples together with my own reading of research when creating the video. He digs into the subject in far more detail that I can in a short YouTube video. He also has some suggestions on how to improve the microbiome, most of which I’ve now had time to try — even including Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT). I’ll do some shorter videos reviewing how I got on with each of these interventions soon. I’ve had some real successes and some surprising failures. You can get his wonderful book here (affiliate link).

Have you had issues with your gut? Or good results in correcting it? Do you have another theory on why depression, autism or gluten sensitivity is rising? Let me know in the comments section on the video.

There is a copy of the slides here:

Articles & References

Depression Rising News Articles

Autism Rates Rising News Article

Gluten Free Trend News Article

LPS Antibodies in Depression Study

Endotoxemia in Patients with Severe Autism Study

PPA Rat Video Study

Depression Correlating with other Conditions Article

Mitochondria Explainer

Ötzi Iceman Article

Comparative study of Microbiomes in children from Europe and rural Africa

Reducing Gluten Study

Autism Reductions of 50% 2 Years after FMT Study

Bredesen Results on 100 Patients with Alzheimer’s Paper

The End of Alzheimer’s Book (affiliate)

Brain Maker Book (affiliate)

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