Home Ancestral Health Symposium ‘Gut microbiota, immune development and function’ – how our Western diet messes...

‘Gut microbiota, immune development and function’ – how our Western diet messes with our gut bacteria


I really like this article – it references the health of paleolithic and ancestral diets in the context of their effect on our gut microbiota. While not strictly paleo as I would teach it, it has some great points.

I’ve cut and pasted the abstract and  final thoughts section – evidenced based nutrition principles for health – particularly the health of your gut.

Gut microbiota, immune development and function


The microbiota of Westerners is significantly reduced in comparison to rural individuals living a similar lifestyle to our Paleolithic forefathers but also to that of other free-living primates such as the chimpanzee. The great majority of ingredients in the industrially produced foods consumed in the West are absorbed in the upper part of small intestine and thus of limited benefit to the microbiota. Lack of proper nutrition for microbiota is a major factor under-pinning dysfunctional microbiota, dysbiosis, chronically elevated inflammation, and the production and leakage of endotoxins through the various tissue barriers.
Furthermore, the over-comsumption of insulinogenic foods and proteotoxins, such as advanced glycation and lipoxidation molecules, gluten and zein, and a reduced intake of fruit and vegetables, are key factors behind the commonly observed elevated inflammation and the endemic of obesity and chronic diseases, factors which are also likely to be detrimental to microbiota. As a consequence of this lifestyle and the associated eating habits, most barriers, including the gut, the airways, the skin, the oral cavity, the vagina, the placenta, the blood–brain barrier, etc., are increasingly permeable. Attempts to recondition these barriers through the use of so called ‘probiotics’, normally applied to the gut, are rarely successful, and sometimes fail, as they are usually applied as adjunctive treatments, e.g. in parallel with heavy pharmaceutical treatment, not rarely consisting in antibiotics and chemotherapy.
It is increasingly observed that the majority of pharmaceutical drugs, even those believed to have minimal adverse effects, such as proton pump inhibitors and anti-hypertensives, in fact adversely affect immune development and functions and are most likely also deleterious to microbiota. Equally, it appears that probiotic treatment is not compatible with pharmacological treatments. Eco-biological treatments, with plant-derived substances, or phytochemicals, e.g. curcumin and resveratrol, and pre-, pro- and synbiotics offers similar effects as use of biologicals, although milder but also free from adverse effects. Such treatments should be tried as alternative therapies; mainly, to begin with, for disease prevention but also in early cases of chronic diseases. Pharmaceutical treatment has, thus far, failed to inhibit the tsunami of endemic diseases  spreading around the world, and no new tools are in sight. Dramatic alterations, in direction of a paleolithic-like lifestyle and food habits, seem to be the only alternatives with the potential to control the present escalating crisis. The present review focuses on human studies, especially those of clinical relevance.


27. Final remarks

An individual who wants to live in line with the present knowledge obtained from extensive research in recent years might want, in addition regular physical exercise, good sleep and spiritual harmony
to consider:
1. Minimizing intake of insulinogenic foods such as refined carbohydrates; cereals, bread, sweats, cookies, rice, pasta, cooked tubers incl. potatoes, foods, which are absorbed high in the small intestine and of minimal benefit to microbiota.
2. Keeping a daily intake of fructose below 25 g a day.
3. Minimizing their intake of dairy products especially butter, cheese and milk powder, rich in saturated fats, hormones and growth factors such as IGF1, and to reduce meat intake, especially inflammation-inducing processed and cured meat such as bacon and sausages, this far though only fat demonstrated to being detrimental to microbiota.
4. Dramatically increasing the intake of fresh and raw greens, fresh spices and vegetables, rich in antioxidants, fibers, minerals and nutrients, but also inflammation-controlling factors such as curcumin, resveratrol – some of which most likely are of great importance for diversity, replication, growth and functions of the microbiota and for immune development and immune functions of the body.
5. Minimizing intake of foods, which are heated above 100 ◦C known to be rich in the inflammation-inducing molecules AGEs and ALEs, foods heated above 130 ◦C, which with increase in temperature becomes increasingly rich in pro-inflammatory and carcinogenic substances such as acrylamide and heterocyclic amines. This means avoiding fried and grilled foods but also toasted and high-temperature baked breads.

6. Minimizing exposure to microbe-derived highly inflammation inducing endotoxin, especially rich in meat hung for several days, hard cheeses, pork and ice-creams.
7. Eliminating/minimizing intake of foods rich in proteotoxins such as casein, gluten and zein.
8. Seeking out and consuming ancient anti-oxidant-rich, high fiber, low-calorie containing grains such as buckwheat, amaranth, chia, lupin, millet, quinoa, sorghum, taro, teff, etc., and also increasing the intake of beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, nuts and almonds – all extraordinary rich in nutrients and minerals – all prepared for eating by low-temperature cooking – all most likely of importance for maintenance of a rich microbiota.
9. Restricting intake of chemicals including pharmaceutical drugs to only what is absolutely necessary as most likely most chemicals
are detrimental to microbiota.
10. Supplement of large doses of vitamin D and omega fatty acids, both important in control of inflammation and for function of microbiota.

New Zealand’s First Ancestral Health Society Symposium

Don’t miss it – June 29th, in Christchurch. Come and listen to a number of health professionals involved in paleo and ancestral movement talk on different topics.


Leave a Reply