Choosing your gut immune response

This 2021 paper reviewed evidence for immune system effects associated with specific gut areas:

“The intestinal immune system must not only contend with continuous exposure to food, commensal microbiota, and pathogens, but respond appropriately according to intestinal tissue differences. The entire intestine, inclusive of its lymph nodes, is considered a immunosuppressive organ overall compared to most other tissues, indicating that a state of tolerance to food and commensals – yet vigilance toward pathogens – was an evolutionarily stable strategy.

By operating in compartments, the immune system may generate multiple immune outcomes, even with simultaneous opposite goals e.g., tolerance or inflammation. Generation of unique immunologic niches within the intestine is influenced by a combination of tissue intrinsic properties, extrinsic environmental factors, and regionalized immune populations.

intestinal immune compartmentalization

Complexity of intrinsic and extrinsic driving forces shaping an intestinal niche makes it very challenging to determine causality in disease development and predicting effective therapeutic approaches. We really only stand at the beginning of understanding this interplay.”

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41385-021-00420-8 “Intestinal immune compartmentalization: implications of tissue specific determinants in health and disease”


I patterned this post after Choosing your future with β-glucan:

“So where do you choose to be? In an 80% survival group who were administered β-glucan before they encountered a serious infection? Or in a < 20% survival group who didn’t take β-glucan?”

and Long-lasting benefits of a common vaccine:

“As inferred by “induction of trained immunity by both Bacillus Calmette-Guerin tuberculosis vaccine and β-glucan” many of these findings also apply to yeast cell wall β-glucan treatments.”

This paper’s food allergy references were interesting. It’s an area that personally requires further work, although avoidance has historically been effective.

This paper briefly mentioned broccoli’s effects in the proximal small intestine. It wasn’t informative per gut compartment with this year’s focus on making my gut microbiota happy, such as what our colonic microbiota can do to reciprocate their host giving them what they want.

This review’s human studies referenced what could be done post-disease like surgery etc. in different gut compartments. Very little concerned an individual taking responsibility for their own one precious life to prevent such diseases in the first place. Its Conclusions section claim was a fallacy:

“..very challenging to determine causality in disease development and predicting effective therapeutic approaches.”

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Changing your immune system / gut microbiota interactions with diet

This 2021 human clinical trial investigated associations between gut microbiota and host adaptive immune system components:

“Diet modulates gut microbiome, and gut microbes impact the immune system. We used two gut microbiota-targeted dietary interventions – plant-based fiber or fermented foods – to determine how each influences microbiome and immune system in healthy adults. Using a 17-week randomized, prospective study design combined with -omics measurements of microbiome and host and extensive immune profiling, we found distinct effects of each diet:

  • Those in the high-fiber diet arm increased their fiber consumption from an average of 21.5±8.0 g per day at baseline to 45.1±10.7 g per day at the end of the maintenance phase.
  • Participants in the high-fermented food diet arm consumed an average of 0.4±0.6 servings per day of fermented food at baseline, which increased to an average of 6.3±2.9 servings per day at the end of the maintenance phase.
  • Participants in the high-fiber diet arm did not increase their consumption of fermented foods (Figure 1.C dashed line), nor did participants consuming the high-fermented food diet increase their fiber intake.

fiber vs fermented

Fiber-induced microbiota diversity increases may be a slower process requiring longer than the six weeks of sustained high consumption achieved in this study. High-fiber consumption increased stool microbial protein density, carbohydrate-degrading capacity, and altered SCFA production, indicating that microbiome remodeling was occurring within the study time frame, just not through an increase in total species.

Comparison of immune features from baseline to the end of the maintenance phase in high-fiber diet participants revealed three clusters of participants representing distinct immune response profiles. No differences in total fiber intake were observed between inflammation clusters. A previous study demonstrated that a dietary intervention, which included increasing soluble fiber, was less effective in improving inflammation markers in individuals with lower microbiome richness.

In both diets, an individual’s microbiota composition became more similar to that of other participants within the same arm over the intervention, despite retaining the strong signal of individuality.

Coupling dietary interventions to longitudinal immune and microbiome profiling can provide individualized and population-wide insight. Our results indicate that fermented foods may be valuable in countering decreased microbiome diversity and increased inflammation.”

https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(21)00754-6 “Gut-microbiota-targeted diets modulate human immune status” (not freely available). See https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.09.30.321448v2.full for the freely available preprint version.


Didn’t care for this study’s design that ignored our innate immune system components yet claimed “extensive immune profiling.” Not.

There was sufficient relevant evidence on innate immunity cells – neutrophils, monocytes, macrophages, natural killer cells, and dendrites – when the trial started five years ago. But maybe this didn’t satisfy study sponsors?

This study found significant individual differences in the high-fiber group. These individual differences failed to stratify into subgroup p-value significance.

I won’t start eating fermented dairy or fermented vegetable brines to “counter decreased microbiome diversity and increased inflammation.” I’m rolling the die with high-fiber intake (2+ times more grams than this clinical trial, over a 3+ times longer period so far).

Changing to a high-fiber diet this year to increase varieties and numbers of gut microbiota is working out alright. No worries about “increased inflammation” because twice-daily 3-day-old microwaved broccoli sprouts since Day 70 results from Changing to a youthful phenotype with broccoli sprouts have taken care of inflammation for 15 months now.

What effects have this year’s diet changes had on my adaptive and innate immune systems? 2021’s spring allergy season wasn’t pleasant. But late summer’s ragweed onslaught hasn’t kept me indoors – unlike other years – despite day after day of readings like today’s:

ragweed

Regarding an individual’s starting point and experiences, those weren’t the same as family, friends, significant other, identified group members, or strangers. Each of us has to find our own way to getting well.

Agenda-free evidence may provide good guidelines. So does how you feel.

Your pet’s biological age

This 2021 cat study developed human-comparable epigenetic clocks:

We aimed to develop and evaluate epigenetic clocks for cats, as such biomarkers are necessary for translating promising anti-aging interventions from humans to cats and vice versa. We also provided the possibility of using epigenetic aging rate of cats to inform on feline health, for which a quantitative measure is presently unavailable. Specifically, we present here DNA methylation-based biomarkers (epigenetic clocks) of age for blood from cats.

Maximum lifespan of cats is 30 years according to the animal age data base (anAge), but most cats succumb to diseases before they are 20 years old. Age is the biggest risk factor for a vast majority of diseases in animals, and cats are no exception.

Interventions to slow aging are being sought. Ideally, testing should occur in species that are evolutionarily close to humans, similar in size, have high genetic diversity, and share the same environment as humans. It has been recognized that domestic dogs fulfill these criteria.

Investigations have yet to be extended to cats although they share similar environments and living conditions with their human owners. Identification of environmental factors and living conditions that affect aging, as well as potential mitigation measures, can be achieved by proxy with cats.

The human-cat clock for relative age exhibited high correlation regardless of whether analysis was applied to samples from both species or only to cat samples. This demonstrated that relative age circumvented skewing that is inherent when chronological age of species with very different lifespans is measured using a single formula.

Evidence is compelling that epigenetic age is an indicator of biological age. These results are consistent with the fact that epigenetic clocks developed for one mammalian species can be employed – to a limited extent – to other species, and reveal association of DNA methylation changes with age.

Human epigenetic age acceleration is associated with a wide array of primary traits, health states, and pathologies. While it is still unclear why age acceleration is connected to these characteristics, it does nevertheless suggest that extension of similar studies to cats may allow for development of epigenetic age acceleration as a surrogate or indicator of feline biological fitness.”

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11357-021-00445-8 “Epigenetic clock and methylation studies in cats”


As noted earlier this summer in Smoke and die early, while your twin lives on, Dr. Steve Horvath is on a torrid publishing streak this year. He’s made it questionable for study designs based on published science to omit epigenetic clocks.

I titled this post Your pets because I’m too allergic to have cats, dogs, etc. live with me. Maybe this year’s focus on making my gut microbiota happy will change that?

My pets live free:

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Eat oats for β-glucan and resistant starch

This 2021 review highlighted effects of processing oat products:

“Starch contents in oats ranges from 51% to 65%. Resistant starch (RS) accounts for 29.31% of starch content in raw granular form of oat starch.

RS in raw oat starch is RS2 starch, where its slow digestion is mainly due to the compact nature of starch granules making starch less accessible to enzymes. Since amylose–lipid complex is resistant to enzymatic breakdown, high lipid content in oats (3–7%) may be another reason why oat has a relatively high level of RS starch. This type of RS is called RS5.

Although RS2 occurs naturally, most starch needs to be cooked for consumption. RS3 that is formed due to recrystallization of gelatinized starch is more commonly consumed by processing via gelatinization and retrogradation.

β-glucans are found in cell walls of endosperm and aleurone layers of oats, accounting for 1.73-5.70% of oat grains dry basis. Oat β-glucans are not digested in the upper gastric tract, but instead can be consumed by gut microbiota in the colon. This kind of prebiotic can be fermented by colonic microbiota, resulting in production of short chain fatty acids (SCFA) metabolites.

From field to table, oats are processed into various foods for consumption, and these foods exhibit high variability of GI values:

  • β-glucan dose and molecular weight are crucial determinants affecting viscosity and gastric emptying rate; and
  • Higher content of protein in oats is an important factor that deserves attention.”

https://www.mdpi.com/2304-8158/10/6/1304/htm “Oat-Based Foods: Chemical Constituents, Glycemic Index, and the Effect of Processing”


Didn’t care for this focus on one dimension of health, glycemic index. Why not focus on healthy individuals’ behaviors? See An oats β-glucan clinical trial for more human in vivo evidence regarding β-glucan molecular weight.

I eat oats three times a day, and it’s worked out alright.

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Gut reaction

Two papers on broccoli compounds and gut microbiota relationships, with the first a 2021 article:

“We provide a supportive environment and a supply of nutrition and, in return, the microbiome delivers benefits to our health. What exactly are those benefits, and how can we maximise them?

Fibre component of food was thought to be completely indigestible roughage, but we now know that there is a digestible (a.k.a. soluble) component that can be fermented by bacteria resident in the large intestine, providing them with nutrition. There is also non-digestible fibre (a.k.a. insoluble fibre), which is not fermented by gut bacteria and includes plant cell walls formed from cellulose and lignin.

However, when cell walls remain intact, they encapsulate starch contained within cells and physically protect it from full digestion in the small intestine, ensuring that more passes into the large intestine where it can then be fermented by bacteria.

A bioactive is any chemical found in plant-based food that affects biological processes in the body, promoting better health or reducing risk of disease. Unlike macronutrients, such as carbohydrates and proteins, bioactive compounds are usually found in small amounts.

One class of bioactives where this has been known for some time is glucosinolates. For some compounds, including glucosinolates, we have identified particular bacteria that perform this task. For others, we still do not know which microbes are responsible.

S-methylcysteine sulphoxide (SMCSO) is found in brassicas but also in garlic and its relatives. Its metabolic breakdown products have been associated with protective effects against prostate and colon cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

SMCSO-derived compounds are highly bioactive, so understanding how they affect the body’s central metabolic pathways could explain some of their health benefits. Only recently have we found clues to bacteria responsible.”

https://ifst.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/fsat.3501_6.x “Gut reaction”


The 2020 study cited for SMCSO was an in vitro 2020 study by their coworkers:

“We examined effects of a broccoli leachate (BL) on composition and function of human faecal microbiomes of five different participants under in vitro conditions. Bacterial isolates from these communities were then tested for their ability to metabolise glucosinolates and SMCSO.

We believe that this is the first study that shows reduction of dietary compound SMCSO by bacteria isolated from human faeces. Microbial communities cultured in vitro in BL media were observed to have enhanced growth of lactic acid bacteria, such as lactobacilli, with a corresponding increase in levels of lactate and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs).

lactate

These results would have been strengthened by analysing soluble fibre content of BL media. As such, it is difficult to relate these results to in vivo SCFA production following consumption of broccoli.”

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00394-020-02405-y “Effects of in vitro metabolism of a broccoli leachate, glucosinolates and S-methylcysteine sulphoxide on the human faecal microbiome”


Which one of this pair is a male? I’ll guess on the right, as it subsequently turned to face me – a threat – when I walked passed them at a distance.

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Gut microbiota strains

Three human studies investigated strains within microbiota species. The first from 2021 had obese child subjects:

“Dietary intervention is effective in human health promotion through modulation of gut microbiota. Diet can cause single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to occur in gut microbiota, and some of these variations may lead to functional changes in human health.

Compared with normal diet, the WTP diet provided large quantities of whole-grain mix that was rich in starch, soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, protein, and amino acids, but contained a small amount of fat. When this excess and/or indigestible nutrition reached the colon, it brought environmental pressures to microbiota that stayed there.

This pressure could facilitate utilization of indigestible nutrition by causing microbial SNPs. Metabolic efficiencies of indigestible nutrition substrates would be enhanced to adapt to the shifted environment better.

Although abundance of Bifidobacterium increased significantly by the intervention and became dominant strains responsible for nutrition metabolism, they had less BiasSNPs between the pre- and post-intervention group in comparison with Faecalibacterium. Finding F. prausnitzii as important functional strains influenced by intervention highlights the superiority of applying SNP analysis in studies of gut microbiota.

Though F. prausnitzii were well known for their biodiversity, we could not find functional reports about these SNPs. Future efforts are needed to verify/discern specific effects of these SNPs on encoded protein activity, their role on metabolism under high-fiber dietary intervention, and their potential beneficial or detrimental influences on host health.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2021.683714/full “Gut Microbial SNPs Induced by High-Fiber Diet Dominate Nutrition Metabolism and Environmental Adaption of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii in Obese Children”


A second 2021 human study investigated strain diversity in liver cirrhosis and Crohn’s disease:

“We constructed a computational framework to study strain heterogeneity in the gut microbiome of patients with liver cirrhosis (LC). Only Faecalibacterium prausnitzii showed different single-nucleotide polymorphism patterns between LC and healthy control (HC) groups.

Strain diversity analysis discovered that although most F. prausnitzii genomes are more deficient in LC group than in HC group at the strain level, a subgroup of 19 F. prausnitzii strains showed no sensitivity to LC, which is inconsistent with the species-level result.

More experiments need to be conducted so as to confirm the hypothesis of physiological differences among subgroups of F. prausnitzii strains. Our results suggest that strain heterogeneity should receive more attention.

With rapid development of sequencing technologies and experimental approaches, an increasing number of metagenomic studies will involve strain-level analysis. Such analysis of human metagenomes can help researchers develop more reliable disease diagnoses and treatment methods from a microbiological perspective.”

https://journals.asm.org/doi/10.1128/mSystems.00775-21 “Comprehensive Strain-Level Analysis of the Gut Microbe Faecalibacterium prausnitzii in Patients with Liver Cirrhosis”


A 2018 study investigated dietary fibers’ effects on Type 2 diabetics:

“In this study, we identified a group of acetate- and butyrate-producing bacterial strains that were selectively promoted by increased availability of diverse fermentable carbohydrates in the form of dietary fibers. These positive responders are likely key players for maintaining the mutualistic relationship between gut microbiota and the human host. Promoting this active group of SCFA producers not only enhanced a beneficial function but also maintained a gut environment that keeps detrimental bacteria at bay.

Only a small number of bacteria with genetic capacity for producing SCFAs were able to take advantage of this new resource and become dominant positive responders. The response, however, was strain specific: only one of the six strains of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii was promoted.

positive responders

The 15 positive responders are from three different phyla, but they act as a guild to augment deficient SCFA production from the gut ecosystem by responding to increased fermentable carbohydrate availability in similar ways. When they are considered as a functional group, the abundance and evenness of this guild of SCFA producers correlate with host clinical outcomes.”

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6380/1151.full “Gut bacteria selectively promoted by dietary fibers alleviate type 2 diabetes”


These studies favored a prebiotic approach to make gut microbiota happy and reciprocal in human health. The second study investigated 135 known strains of F. prausnitzii, and the first study found beneficial F. prausnitzii strains not yet covered in genomic databases.

I found the first two studies by them citing the third. The third study was cited in Gut microbiota guilds.

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Gut microbiota functional relationships

This 2021 study investigated environmentally-organized gut microbiome functional relationships:

“There has been a substantial gap between understanding microbiome assemblage and how its functionality is organized. In this study, we demonstrated the usefulness of metaproteomics in gaining a system-level understanding of microbiome functionality.

Our current finding highlights the value of further investigation into functional hubs and hub functions in microbiome proteomic content networks. This will provide a unique and systematic insight for prediction of community functional responses, or manipulation of microbiome functioning.

Across all metaproteomics datasets, Eubacterium, Faecalibacterium, Ruminococcus, Bacteroides, Clostridium and Coprococcus were found to be the most frequent functional hubs.

functionally related genera

Taxon-function bipartite network based on functional distances between microbial genera. Size of a node corresponds to its degree.

Highly connected functions were enriched in metabolism of carbohydrates and amino acids, suggesting that microbial acquisition of nutrients from the environment and trophic interactions between microbes could be major factors that shape their active functional organization. Our result showing robustness of between-taxa functional distances across individual microbiomes implied a more fundamental mechanism that underlies selective organization of microbiome functionalities by environment.

We observed a universal pattern of between-taxa functional distances (dij) across all analyzed datasets. Notably, this pattern was fully shifted by a global increase in dij values, and subsequently a significant decrease of normalized taxonomic diversity in a subset of inflammatory bowel disease samples mostly obtained from inflamed areas.

This finding may support, from a functional angle, the hypothesis that there are alternative stable states (bi-stability or multi-stability) in the gut ecosystem. One frequently discussed mechanism behind these alternative states has been continuous exposure of the microbiome to a altered environmental parameter:

  • An inflamed area in the gut will have a reduced mucus layer and elevated host defense responses.
  • Host mucus layer is a nutritional source of cross-feeding in the gut microbiome.
  • Loss of this layer may firstly affect network hub functions of carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism, and subsequently affect functional interactions in the whole community.

In addition, host defense responses attenuate microbial oxidative stress responses, which have been associated to microbiome dysfunction. Decrease of within-sample functional redundancy has been associated with impaired microbiome stability and resilience.

Resilient microbiota resist external pressures and return to their original state. A non-resilient microbiome is likely to shift its composition permanently and stay at an altered new state instead of restoring to its original state of equilibrium.”

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.07.15.452564v1.full “Revealing Protein-Level Functional Redundancy in the Human Gut Microbiome using Ultra-deep Metaproteomics”


My top genus Faecalibacterium – a cross-feeding, acetate-consuming, butyrate-producing commensal – would be more than twice the size of this study’s Faecalibacterium network projection in the above graphic. In this year’s efforts to make my gut microbiota happy, I’ve apparently done much to express its relevant gene network.

my genera

I came across this study by it citing Gut microbiota guilds.

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Part 3 of Make your gut microbiota happy

Continuing from Part 2, my 7/15/2021 sample found that no bad bacteria needed work. Top three reasons why this may be are:

1. I’ve eaten microwaved broccoli sprouts every day for 68 weeks now. Relevant research:

helicobacter 0

2. This is the 17th year of training my immune system every day with yeast cell wall β-glucan.

acinetobacter

3. Basic hygiene practices such as brushing my teeth twice a day.

aggregatibacter 0


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Part 2 of Make your gut microbiota happy

Continuing from Part 1, 7/15/2021 test results received 7/27 showed I was putatively below average in four gut bacteria. The most relatively deficient (percentage-wise) were populations in genus Bifidobacterium:

bifido level

Looking through Thryve’s recommended foods, eating all but one (green lentils) of twenty legumes increased genus Bifidobacterium. Here’s a sample:

legumes

I already had dried garbanzo and Adzuki beans in my pantry. One serving (35 grams, 1/4 cup) of each are soaking overnight.

Adzuki beans would be expected to improve genus Bifidobacterium populations through resistant starch 2. Garbanzo beans would be expected to improve genus Bifidobacterium populations primarily through resistant starch 3, while also improving relatively-deficient Akkermansia and Lactobacillus bacteria.

Resistant starch was curated in studies such as:

Resistant starch types and their effects were summarized in https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/resistant-starch.


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Eat whole oats for your gut microbiota

Two papers on whole grains, with the first a 2021 review:

“Whole grains are more complex than refined grains and are promoted as part of a healthy and sustainable diet, mainly because the contribution of indigestible carbohydrates, and their co-passenger nutrients, is significantly higher. Changing composition and availability of grain carbohydrates and phytochemicals during processing may positively affect gut microbiota and improve health.

Processing is required for virtually all cereals that humans consume. However, eliminating bran has resulted in grain-based products that contribute to a lower-quality diet.

Currently, there are no specific recommendations on relative proportions of different dietary fiber types (based on variability in fermentability or degree of solubility). Switching from refined grain to whole grain will deliver more dietary fiber and nutrients associated with bran and germ, and improve diet quality.

crf312728-fig-0001-m

Carbohydrate-rich foods that are higher in slowly digested starches, resistant starch, oligosaccharides with prebiotic potential, and dietary fiber are considered to have a higher quality. Foods can be awarded an overall carbohydrate quality index (CQI). The optimum ratio of total carbohydrate (CHO) to dietary fiber should be ≤10:1.

Mostly only oligosaccharides and polysaccharides reach the colon. Even though larger molecules were fermented slower, they were still fermented within the proximal colon.

It is not surprising that there are conflicting reports with respect to effects of whole grains on gut microbiota. Part of this is due to whole grains comprising a diverse group of staple cereal foods, including wheat, corn, rice, oats, barley and rye, and hence different effects on gut microbiota are expected. Differences in study design, with respect to dose, duration, and study populations make it difficult to compare between studies and distill overarching similarities.

Enzymes can modify less fermentable dietary fiber to improve its fermentability by microbiota. Using different enzymes, dietary fibers can contribute to fermentation throughout the colon.”

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1541-4337.12728 “Health benefits of whole grain: effects on dietary carbohydrate quality, the gut microbiome, and consequences of processing”


This review cited a 2019 paper as “an elegant study where oat bran (including co-passengers) was shown to be effective in increasing Bifidobacterium populations in the gut, whereas purified bioactive β-glucans did not show a bifidogenic effect”:

“Whole grain oats are known to modulate human gut microbiota and have prebiotic properties. Research todate mainly attributes these effects to fibre content. However, oats are also a rich dietary source of polyphenols, which may contribute to positive modulation of gut microbiota.

We found that oats increased bifidobacteria, acetic acid and propionic acid. This was mediated by synergy of all oat compounds within the complex food matrix, rather than its main bioactive β-glucan or polyphenols.

While human digestive enzymes cannot degrade plant cell wall polysaccharides, gut xylanolytic bacteria can, producing SCFA with health-beneficial effects. Certain strains down-regulate gene and protein expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, notably isoform of nitric oxide synthase and PPAR-γ and interferon-γ, resulting in reduced inflammatory status, suggesting that oat β-glucan have beneficial effects on human health.

Oats as a whole food led to the greatest impact on microbiota.”

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/oat-bran-but-not-its-isolated-bioactive-glucans-or-polyphenols-have-a-bifidogenic-effect-in-an-in-vitro-fermentation-model-of-the-gut-microbiota/B23FAE2C7EED702132FC72F1C9CE990E “Oat bran, but not its isolated bioactive β-glucans or polyphenols, have a bifidogenic effect in an in vitro fermentation model of the gut microbiota”


The Avena nuda oats I eat for breakfast start out as 81.0 grams (1/2 cup). The only processing I do from an Illinois farmer is soaking them for 16 hours, draining then changing out to 1 1/2 cups water, then cooking for 20 minutes in a 1000W microwave at 80% power. They end up weighing 154.7 g.

I eat 51.9 g of 3-day-old sprouted Avena sativa oats from a Montana farmer at the same time, and concurrently take 2.5 g inulin. Pretty sure this 154.7 + 51.9 + 2.5 = 209.1 g combination meets an “optimum ratio of total carbohydrate to dietary fiber ≤10:1.”

Also pretty sure sprouted Avena sativa oats supply enzymes that facilitate breaking down Avena nuda complex molecules. Haven’t experienced any complaints over the past 3+ months. 🙂

Week 63 of Changing to a youthful phenotype with sprouts

Finally got around to getting an annual physical this morning. Two indicators so far, with more expected in five days. They came in early, so here’s Part 2.

1. HbA1C – glycated hemoglobin – was 4.8 on a scale of 4.8 to 5.6%. That’s down from 5.1 in June 2020. HbA1C shows a two-month average blood glucose level.

I’ve eaten advanced glycation end product (AGE)-less chicken vegetable soup almost every day since July 2019. Upcoming instantaneous blood glucose measurements may be informative, but it seems that with what I’m doing, there’s little impetus to glycate that glucose. Which satisfies my intention to avoid glycative stress.

2. BMI for a normal weight is 18.5-24.9 kg/m2. Measurements over the past two years:

  • June 2019 24.8, 0.1 below range high;
  • June 2020 22.4, 2.5 below range high and 3.9 above low; and
  • June 2021 21.0, 3.9 below range high and 2.5 above low.

Annual BMI trend is going in the right direction, but it’s too squishy to be a biomarker. I usually don’t curate studies that rely on BMI.

I eat a lot of food every day! Not going to turn my kitchen into a laboratory to quantify, though. See Switch on your Nrf2 signaling pathway for what intake was on 1/1/2021.

Once or twice a week lately I’ve backed off and skipped one of a daily two (fresh and leftovers) AGE-less chicken vegetable meals when it’s been too much food. Haven’t skipped:

  • Twice-daily combined broccoli-red cabbage-mustard sprouts; or
  • Twice-daily Avena sativa oat sprouts; or
  • My Avena nuda whole oats breakfast.

Lost 11 lbs. over 12 months without trying to lose weight. Maximal food intake didn’t result in weight gain when much of its purpose was to:

  • Reduce inflammation; and
  • Make my gut microbiota happy.

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Small intestine alkaline phosphatase

This 2021 rodent study used small intestine alkaline phosphatase (IAP)-overexpressed subjects on a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet to investigate effects:

“To examine direct effects of increased IAP expression on barrier function and development of metabolic diseases, we developed intestine-specific IAP transgenic mice (IAPTg) overexpressing human chimeric IAP. We evaluated effects of intestine-specific IAP overexpression on Western-type diet (WD)–induced atherosclerosis in Ldlr−/ mice.

Diets low in fiber deprive intestinal bacteria of essential nutrients. Luminal bacteria turn to alternate sources of energy, namely, the carbohydrate-rich mucosal layer. This enhances direct contact between gut bacteria and intestinal epithelial layer, and promotes inflammation and intestinal barrier dysfunction.

Increase in IAP improves intestinal barrier function by not only dephosphorylating LPS and limiting its translocation to systemic circulation, but also by improving mucosal layer. Furthermore, IAP overexpression results in attenuated WD-induced weight gain and significantly reduced absorption of dietary lipids, leading to attenuation of total plasma cholesterol and TG levels, as well as hepatic lipids. This improved metabolic profile results in significant reduction in WD-induced atherosclerosis in Ldlr−/−IAPTg mice.

overexpressed IAP

IAP overexpression results in attenuated WD-induced weight gain and significantly reduced absorption of dietary lipids, leading to attenuation of total plasma cholesterol and TG levels, as well as hepatic lipids. This improved metabolic profile results in significant reduction in WD-induced atherosclerosis in Ldlr−/−IAPTg mice.

Increases in IAP can significantly attenuate effects of WD feeding on intestinal barrier function. It is noteworthy that IAP is also shown to be involved in innate immunity, and its activity is positively correlated to intestinal levels of IgA in mice and fecal immunoglobulins in humans.

The list of nutrients and food components/supplements that increase IAP continues to grow (galactooligosaccharides, glucomannan, vitamin D3), providing a novel opportunity to develop simple strategies for modulation of diet/nutrition to target metabolic diseases, including diabetes, fatty liver disease, atherosclerosis, or heart disease.”

https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.120.317144 “Over-Expression of Intestinal Alkaline Phosphatase Attenuates Atherosclerosis”


This study used ileal samples from the small intestine’s last section for its findings. It complemented Take FOS or inulin to increase your gut’s alkaline phosphate activity which used large intestine samples to demonstrate effects of  increased IAP activity.

Eat to make your gut microbiota happy, and expect reciprocity.

Eat broccoli sprouts instead of antibiotics

This 2020 cell study investigated antibiotic effects of broccoli sprout compounds:

“In this work, we asked whether isothiocyanates (ITCs) could act synergistically with each other to increase antibacterial effect. A set of aliphatic ITCs, such as iberin, iberverin, alyssin, erucin, sulforaphen, erysolin, and cheirolin was tested in combination with sulforaphane against E. coli.

All tested ITCs exhibit strong antimicrobial effect individually. Synergistic action observed for iberin, iberverin, and alyssin led to minimal inhibitory concentration necessary for antibacterial effect four- to eight-fold lower than for individual ITCs.

Effectiveness of antimicrobial effect is correlated with both type of ITC used and bacterial growth conditions. Antimicrobial action of sulforaphane analogs was impaired by specific amino acids.

The combination of several fold lower concentration of ITCs gives a similar effect as much higher amounts of individual ITCs. Antibacterial effect of ITC treatment is related to stringent response induction, which is triggered by amino acid starvation.

The use of ITCs as antibacterial agents can be advantageous, as there are very few examples of bacterial resistance to these compounds.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2020.591802/full “Induction of the Stringent Response Underlies the Antimicrobial Action of Aliphatic Isothiocyanates”


One of this study’s references was the 2016 Relationship between Chemical Structure and Antimicrobial Activities of Isothiocyanates from Cruciferous Vegetables against Oral Pathogens which found that broccoli and red cabbage compound indole-3-carbinol and mustard compound benzyl isothiocyanate were even more potent antibiotics than half of the aliphatic isothiocyanates in this study:

antibiotic isothiocyanates

I’m not concerned about countering antibiotic effects with “impaired by specific amino acids” supplementation like taurine, glycine, etc. Since our ancestors evolved to deal with everyday bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens, I’m already well-equipped.

Not sure about the current virus developed to herd humans into an agenda. Train your immune system every day! disclosed that I was in Milan, Italy on the same February 22-23, 2020 weekend that ten towns were closed south of Milan. I’ve never experienced any symptoms.

One factor in immune response was that fifteen years previous, I’d taken daily steps with yeast cell wall β-glucan to guard against the phenotypical immune system collapse of old age. Another factor was that I’d ridden the filthy Washington DC Metro twice a day to-and-from work for years, and had already been exposed to who knows what.

Treat your gut microbiota well. Give them what they want – including cruciferous sprouts – instead of prescription antibiotics, and expect reciprocity.

Effects of another broccoli sprout compound

This 2020 rodent study investigated effects of broccoli sprout hydrolysis compound indole-3-carbinol:

“I3C metabolites act as ligands of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), an important sensor for environmental polyaromatic chemicals. We investigated how dietary AhR ligand supplementation influences AhR target gene expression and intestinal microbiota composition.

Environmental signals, such as dietary, microbial, or xenobiotic factors, are sensed in intestinal tissue AhR, an important regulator of metabolism. It influences immune cell homeostasis and immune activation in the intestine.

AhR activation plays an important role in intestinal immunity, contributing to intestinal homeostasis, inflammation, and host defense:

  • AhR activation through high affinity AhR ligands has been shown to stimulate production of antimicrobial peptides.
  • AhR has been shown to be an important regulator of T cell immunity.

This indicates a major role of AhR in resolving intestinal inflammation.

High fat diet and control diet lead to reduced expression of Ahrr in intestinal immune cells.

High fat diet and control diet lead to reduced expression of Ahrr in intestinal immune cells.

Mucosal surface area of the gut represents an enormous area in direct contact with the environment. In addition to occasional pathogen encounters, the intestinal immune system is constantly exposed to antigens from diet or microbiota.

Gut-associated immune cells maintain a balance between protection against harmful infections and tolerating harmless food-derived antigens and commensals.

Our findings are in agreement with reports that dietary I3C supplementation restored AhR activation in intestinal mucosa under conditions of malnutrition and deprivation of natural AhR ligands. In humans, such malnutrition may result from a severely reduced consumption of vegetables and fruit in favor of a carbohydrate rich, high fat diet.”

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/21/9/3189/htm “Dietary AhR Ligands Regulate AhRR Expression in Intestinal Immune Cells and Intestinal Microbiota Composition”


Our gut microbiota outnumber our human cells. Treat them well with broccoli sprout compounds, resistant starch, and fermentable fibers, and expect reciprocity.