Rhythmicity

This 2021 review subject was circadian signaling in the digestive system:

“The circadian system controls diurnal rhythms in gastrointestinal digestion, absorption, motility, hormones, barrier function, and gut microbiota. The master clock, located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) region of the hypothalamus, is synchronized or entrained by the light–dark cycle and, in turn, synchronizes clocks present in peripheral tissues and organs.

Rhythmic clock gene expression can be observed in almost every cell outside the SCN. These rhythms persist in culture, indicating that these cells also contain an endogenous circadian clock system.

Processes in the gastrointestinal tract and its accessory digestive organs display 24-hour rhythmicity:

Clock disruption has been associated with disturbances in gut motility. In an 8-day randomized crossover study, in which 14 healthy young adults were subjected to simulated day-shift or night-shift sleeping schedules, circadian misalignment increased postprandial hunger hormone ghrelin levels by 10.4%.

Leptin, a satiety hormone produced by white adipose tissue, peaks at night in human plasma. A volunteer ate and slept at all phases of the circadian cycle by scheduling seven recurring 28-hour ‘days’ in dim light and eating four isocaloric meals every ‘day’. Plasma leptin levels followed the forced 28-hour behavioural cycle, while their endogenous 24-hour rhythm was lost. However, since meal timing can entrain the circadian system, this forced desynchrony study could not exclude a potential role of the circadian system.

Another constant routine protocol study with 20 healthy participants showed that rhythms in plasma lipids differed substantially between individuals, suggesting the existence of different circadian metabolic phenotypes.

Composition, function, and absolute abundance of gut microbiota oscillate diurnally. For example, microbial pathways involved in cell growth, DNA repair and energy metabolism peaked during the dark phase, while detoxification, environmental sensing and motility peaked during the day.

It is unclear how phase information is communicated to gut microbiota. However, human commensal bacterium Enterobacter aerogenes showed an endogenous, temperature-compensated 24-hour pattern of swarming and motility in response to melatonin, suggesting that the host circadian system might regulate microbiota by entraining bacterial clocks.

With increasing popularity of time-restricted eating as a dietary intervention, which entrains peripheral clocks of the gastrointestinal tract, studies investigating circadian clocks in the human digestive system are highly needed. Additionally, further research is needed to comprehend shifts in temporal relationships between different gut hormones during chronodisruption.”

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41575-020-00401-5 “Circadian clocks in the digestive system” (not freely available). Thanks to Dr. Inge Depoortere for providing a copy.


This review included many more human examples. I mainly quoted gut interactions.

A long time ago I was successively stationed on four submarines. An 18-hour schedule while underway for weeks and months wiped out my circadian rhythms.

The U.S. Navy got around to studying 18-hour schedule effects this century. In 2014, submarine Commanding Officers were reportedly authorized to switch their crews to a 24-hour schedule.

Eat oats for diabetes

This 2020 rodent study investigated Type 2 diabetics eating oats along with a bad diet:

“Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a metabolic disease which is characterized by a state of chronic low-grade inflammation with abnormal expression and production of multiple inflammatory mediators. Insulin resistance (IR), a condition where higher-than-normal concentration of insulin is needed to maintain a normal glycemia and adequate glucose utilization in insulin target tissues, has been clinically recognized as the best indicator for diagnosis of T2D.

Increased proportion of whole grain foods in daily diet are associated with reduced prevalence of IR, which is mainly attributed to abundant non-digestible carbohydrates.”

Oat species was Avena nuda, analyzed as:

Left to right, diet compositions for basic chow diet, high-fat diet (HFD), and 49% HFD with 51% whole oat flour:

“An inflammation state characterized by high plasma TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-1β level was induced by HFD in T2D rats. Whole oats had anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting production of proinflammatory cytokines. Our data supports a positive relationship between increased adipose proinflammatory cytokines and increased insulin resistance.

A drop in water and food intake indicated an improvement in typical clinical symptoms of T2D. Results of this study provide information about differences between individual oat products in improving T2D-related symptoms, and the role of gut microbiota.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1756464620301638 “Effects of oat β-glucan, oat resistant starch, and the whole oat flour on insulin resistance, inflammation, and gut microbiota in high-fat-diet-induced type 2 diabetic rats”


This study’s design wasn’t influenced by It’s the fiber, not the fat evidence. A more thorough analysis of each diet’s fiber contents may have better explained this study’s results.

100% insoluble fiber in the It’s the fiber study didn’t help subjects’ health. Removing 2-5% soluble fiber from subjects’ diets in that study had large effects.


I’ve replaced Avena sativa steel-cut oats for breakfast with the Avena nuda cultivar used in Sprouting hulless oats. They’re chewier when prepared the same way – 1/2 cup soaked overnight in 2 cups water, then microwaved 18 minutes in a 1000W microwave at 80% power.

Cooking this Avena nuda cultivar may be healthier because of oat bran’s contributions. Bran layers may have been removed during Avena sativa dehulling before the steel-cut process.

I prefer 3-day-old oat sprouts of the hulled Avena sativa cultivar used in Sprouting hulled oats because of their 97% germination rate and taste. The Avena nuda cultivar didn’t sprout as well or taste as good.

Eat broccoli sprouts for arthritis

This 2021 rodent study investigated sulforaphane’s adaptive immune system effects on arthritis:

“Sulforaphane reduced clinical and histologic scores of collagen-induced arthritis mice. Anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory effects of sulforaphane were due to suppression of differentiation of naïve cells into plasma cells and GC [germinal center] B cells.

This is the first report that sulforaphane exerts an anti-arthritic effect by regulating B-cell differentiation. Because plasma cells are not affected by conventional immunosuppressive drugs such as steroids, cyclophosphamide, and B-cell-depleting agents, our finding that sulforaphane suppresses their differentiation into plasma cells is encouraging and suggests that plasma cell-targeted treatment strategies for rheumatoid arthritis may be effective.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7886167/ “The anti-arthritis effect of sulforaphane, an activator of Nrf2, is associated with inhibition of both B cell differentiation and the production of inflammatory cytokines”


Although not directly stated, it appeared that this study had 15 sulforaphane treatment subjects from the same experiments being run 3 times on 5 subjects. The above graphic was repeated with the other two less-significant findings in supplementary data.

Adaptive and innate immunity

Two 2021 reviews presented aspects of human immune systems:

“The adaptive immune system’s challenge is to protect the host through generation and differentiation of pathogen‐specific short‐lived effector T cells, while in parallel developing long‐lived memory cells to control future encounters with the same pathogen.

The system highly relies on self‐renewal of naïve and memory T cells, which is robust, but eventually fails. Genetic and epigenetic modifications contribute to functional differences in responsiveness and differentiation potential.

Less than 20% of nascent T cells are produced from the thymus in young adults, which dwindles to less than 1% after the age of 50 years. Even in young adults, the majority of T cells are produced in the periphery. A pickup in proliferation has been described in late life, possibly as a consequence of increased cell death and evolving lymphopenia.

One challenge of the aging process is to replenish cells while keeping integrity of the organ. The dynamic lymphoid system employs a vast number of T cells (>1011) and maintains a balance between cell production, death, and differentiation.

Enormous TCR ( T cell receptor) diversity is required to be able to respond to the universe of possible peptides (>209). Only T cell generation in the thymus can add new TCR specificities. Homoeostatic proliferation at best maintains diversity, >108 unique TCRs in a given adult.

Antigen-specific memory T cells adopt several fates with age:

  • Decrease in stem-like memory T cells;
  • Increase in NK (natural killer) cell-like TEMRA (terminally differentiated effector T cells);
  • Increase in exhausted T cells;
  • Increase in short-lived effector memory T cells; and
  • Decrease in tissue-residing T memory cells.

Virtual memory T cells without prior experience of antigen encounter also increase with age.”

https://febs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/febs.15770 “Hallmarks of the aging T cell system”


“Trained immunity is characterized by long‐term functional reprogramming of innate immune cells following challenge with pathogens or microbial ligands during infection or vaccination. This cellular reprogramming leads to increased responsiveness upon re‐stimulation, and is mediated through epigenetic and metabolic modifications.

Trained immunity has been shown to last for at least 3 months and up to 1 year, while heterologous protection against infections can last for at least 5 years. These long-term effects are mediated through reprogramming of myeloid progenitor cells in bone marrow, which in turn generate myeloid cells with a trained immunity phenotype.

Molecular mechanisms underlying trained immunity, for example induced by β‐glucan or Bacille Calmette‐Guérin (BCG) vaccination, can be investigated by using and integrating different layers of information, including genome, epigenome, transcriptome, proteome, metabolome, microbiome, immune cell phenotyping and function. Interplay between epigenetic and metabolic reprogramming is necessary for induction of trained immunity, as certain metabolites have a direct effect on enzymes involved in epigenetic remodeling.

High-throughput methods allow researchers to use an unbiased approach examining many potential genes or markers in relation to health and disease, rather than examining a limited number of candidate genes or markers.

One strength of integrating multiple levels of data is an increased power to identify key regulatory molecular networks driving trained immunity. For example, results obtained from one level (i.e. genes) can be used to reduce the number of traits to test in a second level (i.e. proteins), thereby increasing power.

One important pitfall when it comes to designing effective omics studies, is sample size. With a large number of markers measured, and the relatively small contributing effect size of individual analytes, the risks of both type 1 and 2 errors are high without sufficient sample sizes for both discovery and validation cohorts.”

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/eji.202048882 “Resolving trained immunity with systems biology”

Eat broccoli sprouts to prevent lung infections

A 2021 rodent study investigated lung infections:

“Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) is the most common cause of pulmonary nontuberculous mycobacteria disease worldwide. It is thought that both environmental exposure and host susceptibility are required for the establishment of pulmonary MAC disease, because pulmonary MAC diseases are most commonly observed in slender, postmenopausal women without a clearly recognized immunodeficiency.

Host factors that regulate MAC susceptibility have not been elucidated until now. The Nrf2 system is activated in alveolar macrophages, the most important cells during MAC infection, as both the main reservoir of infection and bacillus-killing cells.

Treatment with sulforaphane (SFN) decreases Mycobacterium growth upregulating the expression of Nramp1 (natural resistance-associated macrophage protein 1, a susceptibility gene for pulmonary nontuberculous mycobacteria disease) and HO-1 (heme oxygenase 1). Mycobacterial counts in the lung, liver, and spleen were reduced after SFN treatment.

These results indicate that Nramp1 and HO-1, regulated by Nrf2, are essential in defending against MAC infection due to the promotion of phagolysosome fusion and granuloma formation, respectively. Nrf2 is thought to be a critical determinant of host resistance to MAC infection.”

https://mbio.asm.org/content/12/1/e01947-20 “Nrf2 Regulates Granuloma Formation and Macrophage Activation during Mycobacterium avium Infection via Mediating Nramp1 and HO-1 Expressions”


One step short of greatness

A 2021 rodent study investigated dietary effects of organic and conventional farming practices:

“We report results from a two-generation, dietary intervention study with male Wistar rats to identify the effects of feeds made from organic and conventional crops on growth, hormonal, and immune system parameters that are known to affect the risk of a number of chronic, non-communicable diseases in animals and humans.

Conventional, pesticide-based crop protection resulted in significantly lower fiber, polyphenol, flavonoid, and lutein, but higher lipid, aldicarb [a pesticide], and diquat [a herbicide] concentrations in animal feeds.

Conventional, mineral nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK)-based fertilization resulted in significantly lower polyphenol, but higher cadmium and protein concentrations in feeds.

Growth and other physiological parameters were only monitored for 9 weeks after weaning. It was therefore not possible to determine whether and to what extent:

  1. Differences in feed composition;
  2. Dietary intakes of compounds previously linked to obesity and chronic diseases; and/or
  3. Changes in endocrine and immune parameters in rats raised on feed crops treated with mineral fertilizers and/or pesticides,

would have resulted in higher levels of weight gain and/or diseases linked to obesity, endocrine disruption and/or changes in immune system activity/responsiveness.”

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/13/2/377/htm “Feed Composition Differences Resulting from Organic and Conventional Farming Practices Affect Physiological Parameters in Wistar Rats—Results from a Factorial, Two-Generation Dietary Intervention Trial”


I’m always fascinated when researchers intentionally stop one step short of greatness.

It seems a main purpose of this study was to justify a 2013 study by these researchers on pretty much the same subject. The current study had a defined F0 generation, and four different F1 generations and F2 generations.

This study stopped without continuing to any F3 generations.

  • The F1 F2 OPOF line in the above graphic’s first column didn’t eat chow produced with either synthetic chemical pesticides or conventional fertilizers.
  • This line could have continued on to transgenerational great-grand offspring who would have had no direct exposure to the F0 generation’s conventionally fertilized and “protected” crop diet.
  • By continuing, these researchers could have found out what transgenerationally inherited effects on the F3 generation there may be from the F0 generation eating a conventionally-produced diet.
  • Anything found in this line’s F3 great-grand offspring may have applied to humans.

Do we ever consider our great-grandchildren?

Go with the Alzheimer’s Disease evidence

This 2021 study investigated gut microbiota differences between 100 AD patients and 71 age- and gender-matched controls:

“Structural changes in fecal microbiota were evident in Chinese AD patients, with decreased alpha-diversity indices and altered beta-diversity ones, evidence of structurally dysbiotic AD microbiota.

Interestingly, traditionally beneficial bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium and Akkermansia, increase in these AD patients while Faecalibacterium and Roseburia decrease significantly. Different species of Bifidobacterium may have different effects that can explain why Bifidobacterium spp. are commonly associated with healthy and diverse microbiota but sometimes also isolated in other conditions. We needed to re-examine the therapeutic potential of Bifidobacterium in terms of maintaining cognitive function and treating dementia.

Surprisingly, our data indicate that Akkermansia was among the most abundant genera in AD-associated fecal microbiota. Similar to Bifidobacterium, Akkermansia was negatively correlated with clinical indicators of AD, such as MMSE, WAIS, and Barthel, and anti-inflammatory cytokines such as IFN-γ.

Based on our present observations, Akkermansia cannot always be considered a potentially beneficial bacterium. It might be harmful for the gut–brain axis in the context of AD development in the elderly.

Aging is associated with an over-stimulation of both innate and adaptive immune systems, resulting in a low-grade, chronic state of inflammation defined as inflammaging. This can increase gut permeability and bacterial translocation.

Characteristics of AD microbial profiles changed from butyrate producers, such as Faecalibacterium, into lactate producers, such as Bifidobacterium. These alterations contributed to shifts in metabolic pathways from butyrate to lactate, which might have participated in pathogenesis of AD. Specific roles of AD-associated signatures and their functions should be explored in further studies.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcell.2020.634069/full “Structural and Functional Dysbiosis of Fecal Microbiota in Chinese Patients With Alzheimer’s Disease”


The control group’s 73-year-olds were better off than AD patients. How were they compared with their previous life stages?

Since we’re all aging, how do we each prepare ourselves? I’ll return to evidence including 2020 A rejuvenation therapy and sulforaphane, recently amplified in Part 2 of Switch on your Nrf2 signaling pathway:

“A link between inflammation and aging is the finding that inflammatory and stress responses activate NF-κB in the hypothalamus and induce a signaling pathway that reduces production of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) by neurons.

The case is particularly interesting when we realize that the aging phenotype can only be maintained by continuous activation of NF-κB. So here we have a multi-level interaction:

  1. Activation of NF-κB leads to
  2. Cellular aging, leading to
  3. Diminished production of GnRH, which then
  4. Acts (through cells with a receptor for it, or indirectly as a result of changes to GnRH-receptor-possessing cells) to decrease lifespan.

Cell energetics is not the solution, and will never lead to a solution because it makes the assumption that cells age. Cells take on the age-phenotype the body gives them.

Aging is not a defect – it’s a programmed progressive process, a continuation of development with the body doing more to kill itself with advancing years. Progressive life-states where each succeeding life-stage has a higher mortality (there are rare exceptions).

Cellular aging is externally controlled (cell non-autonomous). None of those remedies that slow ‘cell aging’ (basically all anti-aging medicines) can significantly extend anything but old age.

For change at the epigenomic/cellular level to travel up the biological hierarchy from cells to organ systems seems to take time. But the process can be repeated indefinitely (so far as we know).”

We may express concern about others. But each of us should also take responsibility for our own one precious life.

Treat your gut microbiota as one of your organs

Two 2021 reviews covered gut microbiota. The first was gut microbial origins of metabolites produced from our diets, and mutual effects:

“Gut microbiota has emerged as a virtual endocrine organ, producing multiple compounds that maintain homeostasis and influence function of the human body. Host diets regulate composition of gut microbiota and microbiota-derived metabolites, which causes a crosstalk between host and microbiome.

There are bacteria with different functions in the intestinal tract, and they perform their own duties. Some of them provide specialized support for other functional bacteria or intestinal cells.

Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are metabolites of dietary fibers metabolized by intestinal microorganisms. Acetate, propionate, and butyrate are the most abundant (≥95%) SCFAs. They are present in an approximate molar ratio of 3 : 1 : 1 in the colon.

95% of produced SCFAs are rapidly absorbed by colonocytes. SCFAs are not distributed evenly; they are decreased from proximal to distal colon.

Changing the distribution of intestinal flora and thus distribution of metabolites may have a great effect in treatment of diseases because there is a concentration threshold for acetate’s different impacts on the host. Butyrate has a particularly important role as the preferred energy source for the colonic epithelium, and a proposed role in providing protection against colon cancer and colitis.

There is a connection between acetate and butyrate distinctly, which suggests significance of this metabolite transformation for microbiota survival. The significance may even play an important role in disease development.

  • SCFAs can modulate progression of inflammatory diseases by inhibiting HDAC activity.
  • They decrease cytokines such as IL-6 and TNF-α.
  • Their inhibition of HDAC may work through modulating NF-κB activity via controlling DNA transcription.”

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/cjidmm/2021/6658674/ “Gut Microbiota-Derived Metabolites in the Development of Diseases”


A second paper provided more details about SCFAs:

“SCFAs not only have an essential role in intestinal health, but also enter systemic circulation as signaling molecules affecting host metabolism. We summarize effects of SCFAs on glucose and energy homeostasis, and mechanisms through which SCFAs regulate function of metabolically active organs.

Butyrate is the primary energy source for colonocytes, and propionate is a gluconeogenic substrate. After being absorbed by colonocytes, SCFAs are used as substrates in mitochondrial β-oxidation and the citric acid cycle to generate energy. SCFAs that are not metabolized in colonocytes are transported to the liver.

  • Uptake of propionate and butyrate in the liver is significant, whereas acetate uptake in the liver is negligible.
  • Only 40%, 10%, and 5% of microbial acetate, propionate, and butyrate, respectively, reach systemic circulation.
  • In the brain, acetate is used as an important energy source for astrocytes.

Butyrate-mediated inhibition of HDAC increases Nrf2 expression, which has been shown to lead to an increase of its downstream targets to protect against oxidative stress and inflammation. Deacetylase inhibition induced by butyrate also enhances mitochondrial activity.

SCFAs affect the gut-brain axis by regulating secretion of metabolic hormones, induction of intestinal gluconeogenesis (IGN), stimulation of vagal afferent neurons, and regulation of the central nervous system. The hunger-curbing effect of the portal glucose signal induced by IGN involves activation of afferents from the spinal cord and specific neurons in the parabrachial nucleus, rather than afferents from vagal nerves.

Clinical studies have indicated a causal role for SCFAs in metabolic health. A novel targeting method for colonic delivery of SCFAs should be developed to achieve more consistent and reliable dosing.

The gut-host signal axis may be more resistant to such intervention by microbial SCFAs, so this method should be tested for ≥3 months. In addition, due to inter-individual variability in microbiota and metabolism, factors that may directly affect host substrate and energy metabolism, such as diet and physical activity, should be standardized or at least assessed.”

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/cjidmm/2021/6632266/ “Modulation of Short-Chain Fatty Acids as Potential Therapy Method for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus”


Increasing soluble fiber intake with inulin

From a 2015 USDA technical report:

“Inulin is a naturally-occurring carbohydrate found in roots of chicory and many other food plants. Oligofructose is derived from inulin.

Inulin is a polymer chain of multiple fructose molecules with a glucose molecule at one end. Length of the fructose chain of inulin can range from 2–60 fructose molecules.

Inulin is mostly indigestible by human enzymes due to its shape, but is digestible by microbes in the large intestine. It can serve as a prebiotic, a nutrient source for microflora in the human digestive system.”


From a 2021 review Friend or foe? The roles of inulin-type fructans (not freely available):

“Inulin-type fructans are a mixture of inulin, oligofructose and fructooligosaccharide (FOS). They aren’t absorbed in the stomach and small intestine. They can be completely fermented by bacteria in the large intestine.

They treat digestive diseases, metabolic syndrome, immune system and inflammatory diseases, endothelial dysfunction, and prevent infection and cancer.

A 2010 gastrointestinal tolerance of chicory inulin products study indicated that 10 g/day of native inulin or 5 g/day of oligofructose were well-tolerated in healthy, young adults. Over this dose would induce mild gastrointestinal symptoms.”


I bought this last month:

From the manufacturer:

“A powdered food ingredient based on chicory inulin with a high level of oligofructose 1 (DP2-DP10). This product is characterized by a high solubility.

Inulin from chicory is a polydisperse mixture of linear fructose polymers with mostly a terminal glucose unit, coupled by means of beta (2-1) bonds. The number of units (degree of polymerization) can vary between 2 and 60.

It is a fine, white powder with 30% the sweetness of sucrose. It has >=85% inulin/oligofructose and <15% fructose, glucose, sucrose. It has 2.2 kcal/gram and a glycemic response of 20.”

From the vendor:

“You pay for the product… not the product packaging! Each teaspoon (tsp) delivers 2g fiber.

Inulin is hygroscopic so will take on moisture, especially in humid environments. Store in a dry place and remove as much air from the pouch as able before resealing after each use. Alternately, you could store in several smaller air-tight containers. This will limit exposure to possible humidity. Room temperature or cooler is ideal.”


It tastes like cotton candy. 🙂 Its first use was to replace 2 grams of soluble fiber I got from eating 56 grams of noodles:

Probably won’t reorder FOS when I run out. I’ve taken 1.5 grams FOS every day for 16 years.

Eat broccoli sprouts for your kidneys

Starting Year 7 of curating research with a 2021 review of kidney disease and sulforaphane:

“Many chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients progress to end-stage kidney disease – the ultimate in failed prevention. While increased oxidative stress is a major molecular underpinning of CKD progression, no treatment modality specifically targeting oxidative stress has been established clinically.

Pathophysiologic effects occur when there is an imbalance between oxidation and reduction – an altered redox state in which excess free radicals react with other molecules, including lipids, proteins, and nuclear DNA. Mitochondrial DNA is also susceptible to oxidative damage.

All mechanisms discussed above have been shown to be present in CKD. When levels of antioxidant agents such as SOD, CAT, GPx/glutathione, and NRF2 are reduced, harmful effects of oxidation and generation of ROS cannot be appropriately mitigated.

Data suggest continued SFN [sulforaphane] administration is needed to maintain activation of the NRF2 pathway to confer protection against oxidative damage of diabetes. Renal protective effect of SFN has been demonstrated in many other models of kidney injury.

SFN may have therapeutic potential in kidney disease by stimulating the NRF2 pathway.”

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/13/1/266/htm “Eat Your Broccoli: Oxidative Stress, NRF2, and Sulforaphane in Chronic Kidney Disease”


Didn’t see where these researchers intended to perform a suggested “clinical study to assess the effect of SFN in CKD.” Keep reading before experimentally treating patients. Targets they missed included:

  • Myrosinase hydrolization of glucoraphanin;
  • “Consumption of broccoli strains with more glucoraphanin leads to higher plasma levels of SFN” and
  • “It follows that SFN could also pose similar adverse effects, particularly if taken in an isolated preparation.”

Also missing from this kidney review were connections to broccoli sprouts’ effectiveness in preventing bladder disease. Not coincidentally, isothiocyanate metabolites accumulate in the bladder.

I came across this paper from it citing Sulforaphane: Its “Coming of Age” as a Clinically Relevant Nutraceutical in the Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Disease. I curated it due to informatively citing Microwave broccoli to increase sulforaphane levels.

Harnessing endogenous defenses with broccoli sprouts

This 2019 article was by the author of Sulforaphane: Its “Coming of Age” as a Clinically Relevant Nutraceutical in the Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Disease. It isn’t widely available, so I’ll quote liberally:

“Demand for solutions to digestive health issues is accelerating, especially since both scientific literature and popular press dedicate significant resources to promoting awareness of what has come to be known as ‘gut health’. In considering available therapies and the possibility that a somewhat different approach may more comprehensively optimise function of the gut ecosystem, a number of questions which do not yet have satisfactory answers are ponderable dilemmas:

  1. If diet alone can dramatically shift composition of the microbiome within 24 hours, what do we expect of a probiotic supplement?
  2. Even though probiotics as food or supplements demonstrate favourable clinical outcomes, they typically don’t colonise the gut. How do we expect them to restore diversity and lost species to the gut microbiome after antibiotics? If no trace of an administered probiotic organism can be found a few weeks later, is there any sustained benefit?
  3. Presence of obesity and other diseases is indirectly proportional to diversity of microbial organisms inhabiting the human gut. What can we expect of a few selected probiotic strains in helping to solve this problem?
  4. No antimicrobial approach selectively destroys a pathogen without impacting commensals to some degree. If we select a tool to eradicate gut pathogens, pathobionts or rogue commensals, how do we avoid damaging protective commensals with which we live symbiotically?
  5. The value of using a probiotic supplement after antibiotic therapy to recolonise the gut is uncertain. A 2018 multi-centre study showed that probiotic supplementation after antibiotics delayed gut microbiome reconstitution by around five months.
  6. If the gut can harbour around 1,000 different species, why do we expect a probiotic supplement harbouring just a few species to favourably modify a human microbiome?
  7. If Lactobacilli make up <0.1% of total microbes, why do we so readily choose them as probiotic supplements?
  8. If L-glutamine is a preferred energy source for the small intestine and not the colon, why is it used almost universally in gut repair programmes regardless of the affected region?

Removal of gluten and administration of probiotics have lesser impact than endogenous factors like elevated HbA1c:

Shift emphasis closer to optimising colonocyte metabolism as the primary driver of dysbiosis in the colon. Since these mechanisms within the human gut ecosystem already exist, intervene at this level, as distinct from using antimicrobials and exogenous probiotic strains to influence host cell function.

Phytonutrients that potently activate these core processes have been identified and are sufficiently bioavailable to achieve this end. Restoring homeostasis to the intestinal epithelial cells can be readily justified as a key initial step.

Sulforaphane is a potent inducer of hundreds of genes associated with cellular defences mechanisms. In this context, these genes include those that code for antioxidant and phase II detoxification enzymes, glutathione and metallothionein.

Sulforaphane exhibits other more specific gut and immune-related effects. As the most potent single food-derived activator of Nrf2, sulforaphane is capable of upregulating protective genes in colonocytes and other cells.

A growing body of work has identified the colonocyte as the driver of dysbiosis. Targeting colonocyte function provides an alternative to targeting microbes for remediation of dysbiosis.”

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/336578800_Restoring_Gut_Ecology_Harnessing_the_Inbuilt_Defence_Mechanisms_of_the_Gut_Epithelium “Restoring Gut Ecology: Harnessing the Inbuilt Defence Mechanisms of the Gut Epithelium” (registration required)


If you can’t access this paper, read The future of your brain is in your gut right now. If you can’t access that paper, listen to Switch on your Nrf2 signaling pathway.

Sprouting hulless oats

I finished a 3-lb. bag of hulled Avena sativa oats used in Sprouting hulled oats after starting 20 gram batches twice a day. Amazon said that Montana farmer’s products were “Currently unavailable. We don’t know when or if this item will be back in stock.” I went to their website and emailed an inquiry.

Turns out it’s Amazon’s problem in restocking pallets that are already received! I placed an order directly with the farmer.

In the meantime, I’m trying another oat species, Avena nuda, from an Illinois farmer. I’ll reuse Degree of oat sprouting as the model, since it was also an Avena nuda oat variety.

  • Oat seed size was 7-9 mm x 2-3 mm. The model used “huskless oat ‘Gehl’” which may be a different variety.
  • 100 seeds weighed 2.9 grams. There were close to 700 seeds per 20 g batches.
  • Oat sprout batches were processed the same way I do broccoli sprout batches. A new batch started soaking to start germination every 12 hours, then was rinsed three times every 24 hours on a 6 hours – 6 hours – 12 hours cycle.
  • Temperature in my kitchen was 21°C (70°F) because it’s snowing outside. The model findings included “Temperatures between 20° and 25°C yielded the most dramatic changes in properties of sprouted oats.”

I evaluated germination results per the model’s Degree of Sprouting finding:

“Length of the coleoptile [shoot] was selected as a criterion of categorization of degree of sprouting. Grains of degree 0 do not show any radicle [root] or coleoptile growth. Degree:

  1. Has visible embryos (small white point), while radicles and coleoptile are not visible;
  2. Shows a developed embryo emerging from the seed coat;
  3. Coleoptile lengths of at least half the oat grain length;
  4. Coleoptile lengths between half and a full grain length; and
  5. Coleoptile longer than a full grain length.”

Here’s what this hulless oat variety’s seeds and 3-day-old sprouts looked like:

The tedious part was evaluating degrees of sprouting. I took as large a bottom-to-top sample as I could tolerate sorting (160 seeds / sprouts, about 23%), with these results:

A 91% germination rate. 🙂 Average weight of 3-day-old batches was 42.5 grams, for a 213% weight gain. That wasn’t as much as 3-day-old hulled oats’ 97% germination rate and 260% weight gain.

For degree-of-sprouting comparisons, here are my eyeball estimates of the model study’s 3-day-old hulless oats:

These 3-day-old hulless oat sprouts taste starchier with less enzyme aftertaste than 3-day-old hulled oat sprouts. Will extending their growth to four days increase degree-of-sprouting categories 4 and 5, and change their taste?

An extra day from 5 to 6 didn’t make a difference in Sprouting whole oats germination rate. I don’t expect non-germinated percentages to change from 3 to 4 days, but we’ll see.

I expect similar overall increases in antioxidants, GABA, phenolic compounds, protein, amino acids, β-glucan, and polyunsaturated fatty acids as hulled oat sprouts.

Update: Four-day-old hulless oat sprouts have a little more sweetness and enzyme aftertaste. Their degree-of-sprouting and germination rate didn’t change much, though. I’ll stick with four days for this variety.

Mid-life gut microbiota crisis

This 2019 rodent study investigated diet, stress, and behavioral relationships:

“Gut microbiome has emerged as being essential for brain health in ageing. We show that prebiotic supplementation with FOS-Inulin [a complex short- and long-chain prebiotic, oligofructose-enriched inulin] is capable of:

  • Dampening age-associated systemic inflammation; and
  • A profound yet differential alteration of gut microbiota composition in both young adult and middle-aged mice.

Middle-aged mice exhibited an increased influx of inflammatory monocytes into the brain. However, neuroinflammation at this stage was not significant enough to manifest in major cognitive impairments.

A much longer exposure to prebiotics might be needed to achieve significant effects, suggesting that supplementation may have to start earlier to be effectively preventative before alterations in the brain occur. This is particularly evident for behaviour.

Targeting gut microbiota, as we have done with a prebiotic, can affect the brain and subsequent behaviour through a variety of potential pathways including SCFAs [short-chain fatty acids], amino acids and immune pathways. All of these are interconnected. Future studies are needed to better deconvolve [figure out] such pathways in eliciting beneficial effects of inulin.

Modulatory effects of prebiotic supplementation on monocyte infiltration into the brain and accompanied regulation of age-related microglia activation highlight a potential pathway by which prebiotics can modulate peripheral immune response and alter neuroinflammation in ageing. Our data suggest a novel strategy for the amelioration of age-related neuroinflammatory pathologies and brain function.”

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41380-019-0425-1 “Mid-life microbiota crises: middle age is associated with pervasive neuroimmune alterations that are reversed by targeting the gut microbiome” (not freely available)


This study’s experiments subjected young and middle-aged mice to eight stress tests. I appreciated efforts to trace causes to behavioral effects, since behavior provided stronger evidence.

I’m in neither life stage investigated by this study. Still, per Reducing insoluble fiber, I’ll start taking inulin next week.

I came across this study through its citation in How will you feel?

Inauguration day

Don’t take Beano if you’re stressed

This 2021 rodent study investigated diet and stress relationships:

“We show that dietary raffinose metabolism to fructose couples stress-induced gut microbial remodeling to intestinal stem cells (ISC) renewal and epithelial homeostasis. Chow diet (CD) and purified diet (PD) confer distinct vulnerability to gut epithelial injury, microbial alternation and ISC dysfunction in chronically restrained mice.

raffinose

  • We hypothesized that CD components might provide a favorable condition to sustain the expansion of Lactobacillus spp. during stress. We performed a thorough chemical analysis of the diets with special attention to oligosaccharide and polyphenol compounds.
  • To understand whether raffinose could underlie diet-shaped epithelial response to stress, we fed mice with raffinose-supplemented PD (RD) and examined effects of chronic restraint stress (RS) on gut epithelial integrity. Mice receiving RD had noticeably increased density of stem cells in the intestine and colon after stress.
  • We next investigated whether dietary supplementation with raffinose could recapitulate the effect of CD to increase resilience to epithelial injury. Dietary raffinose abundance appears to be the major factor driving gut microbial and epithelial response to stress.
  • A striking change in fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS) and raffinose utilization was intensified after stress. Given the specific increase of fructose after raffinose supplementation to mice, we further explored effects of fructose on intestinal epithelial renewal in stressed mice.

Dietary components and chronic stress interactively modulate gut microbial metabolism and its crosstalk with ISCs. In particular, we identify that dietary raffinose and L. reuteri constitute a metabolic feedforward circuit promoting ISC proliferation via fructose-augmented and engaged glycolysis.

Our data shed light on the dynamic nature of psychological stress-gut microbe crosstalk in adaption to host diets, which highlights diet-microbe interplay in dictating gut response to psychological stress.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7801547/ “A diet-microbial metabolism feedforward loop modulates intestinal stem cell renewal in the stressed gut”


These researchers conducted more than a dozen-and-a-half experiments, with each successively investigating previous ones’ outcomes. One that caught my interest identified raffinose as a major difference between chow and purified diets, which was further investigated.

Our gut microbiota will handle raffinose better than us eating Beano to make raffinose immediately digestible. Lookup raffinose, and you’ll see many more articles condemning it for social purposes than praising it for health purposes.

Experiments weren’t done with soluble fiber as It’s the fiber, not the fat did. There may have been unstudied effects of soluble fiber:

  • The two studies’ chow diets were similar; and
  • Soluble fiber contents of both purified diet and refined diets were zero, as they contained only insoluble cellulose.

I came across this study by it citing 2018’s Colonocyte metabolism shapes the gut microbiota, which was a notable citation in The future of your brain is in your gut right now.

And 2021 will look like..?

Week 42 of Changing to a youthful phenotype with broccoli sprouts

1. I had two wake-up calls on scale this week. The first started with A follow-on study to 3-day-old broccoli sprouts have the optimal yields that found:

“Activity of free MYR [myrosinase enzyme] was the highest at pH 5.0, and it decreased rapidly when pH was less or higher.”

myrosinase pH

Bought a pH meter and ReaLemon to adjust water pH when immersing broccoli sprouts for microwaving.

It turns out that only 3 drops of pH 3.5 ReaLemon is needed to change 100 ml of pH 7.0 filtered water to pH 5. A 100-fold pH change with a ReaLemon amount too small for my scale to measure.

The second came from Broccoli sprouts activate the AMPK pathway translating mouse experimental time frames to humans. One effect wasn’t realized after an equivalent 10 human years, and required another 12 human-equivalent years to manifest.

Patience with broccoli sprout efforts may stretch way past what I’ve imagined so far. 42 wasn’t the answer:

Thanks for all the fish!

n’t: A reader pointed out that the sulforaphane effect requiring another 12 human-equivalent years to manifest occurred in human-equivalent 42-year-olds. So 42 was the answer – in years, not weeks.

2. I finished the 3-lb. bag of Avena sativa oats used in Sprouting hulled oats after starting 20 gram batches twice a day. Amazon said that Montana farmer’s products were “Currently unavailable. We don’t know when or if this item will be back in stock.” I went to their website and emailed an inquiry.

Turns out it’s Amazon’s problem in restocking pallets that are already received! I placed an order directly with the farmer.

In the meantime, I’m trying another oat species, Avena nuda, from an Illinois farmer. I’ll reuse Degree of oat sprouting as the model, since it was also an Avena nuda oat variety. Results posted in Sprouting hulless oats.

I’ve had a 97% germination rate with these Avena sativa hulled oats. Too bad for vendors who:

  • Appear to sell substantially the same Avena sativa hulled oats I’ve sprouted, but put a ‘Not for sprouting’ disclaimer in product descriptions without explaining exactly why their product can’t be sprouted; and
  • Are clueless about what they sell, writing silliness like “Our Organic Gluten Free Oat Groats can not be sprouted due to the hull being removed.”

3. The first link of Item 1 above was also the blog post I made better this week after reader feedback. I included an important point previously excluded:

“Sulforaphane was extremely unstable during storage and it was best to enzymatically convert to sulforaphane before oral intake.

I also modified analysis of this graph:

myrosinase activity temperatures

I thought about adjusting microwave practices for 3-day-old broccoli sprouts from ≤ 60°C to 55°C (131°F) in consideration of both the ESP and the 55-to-65°C decline in myrosinase activity.

But myrosinase activity at unmeasured 60°C isn’t at the graph’s straight line drawn between measured 55°C and 65°C. A substantial decline begins after 60°C, not after 55°C as drawn.

Consider this graphic from Enhancing sulforaphane content:

c9fo02089f-f4
Myrosinase robustly hydrolyzes glucoraphanin into sulforaphane at 60°C. There’s clearly a myrosinase deactivation cliff between 60°C and 65°C. Go up to the cliff edge if you must, but don’t go further.

cliff