Re-engineering the microbiome

The traditional technological model of the pharma industry – finding small molecules that bind to big molecules and alter their activity – is dying. There simply aren’t enough undrugged proteins left to support the pharma and biotech industries under this paradigm. That particular gold mine is playing out, and it’s time to find a new one. Read More …

What probiotic strains help with the digestion of proteins?

Quite possibly, none. Protein digestion begins in the stomach, with acidic hydrolysis (breaking apart by water) and enzymatic cleavage of protein peptide backbones. Protein-degrading enzymes are also abundant in the upper small intestine, which has a relatively low level of bacteria. By the time proteins get to the large intestine, where most of our bacteria Read More …

Gastroenterology: Is there really a link between gut bacteria and depression or is this just fancy pop science?

The evidence for a link between gut bacteria and depression/anxiety disorders is compelling. The gut microbiome of clinically depressed patients is substantially altered[1], and gut disorders such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease show both an altered microbiome and an increased risk of depression[2] . We also know that recurrent antibiotic use, which inevitably disrupts the gut microbiota[3] , Read More …

What distortions in my gut microbiome can have a dramatic impact on my health?

Gut microbiome composition, with exceptions that I’ll discuss below, is remarkably stable, particularly in adults. Although probiotics are expected to be a $45B business by 2018, their effects on microbiome composition are small and transient. A recent meta-analysis of seven randomized control trials found “a lack of evidence for an impact of probiotics on fecal Read More …

How far are we from having our bacteria engineered to reduce obesity?

Not far at all. The principal barriers to implementation are regulatory rather than technical. But prepare to be underwhelmed by the results. Most of the action in applying the insights of microbiomics to obesity and related metabolic disorders has come in the form of probiotic (“good” bacteria) or prebiotic (compounds that favor the growth of Read More …