Scientists find link between Fibromyalgia and Gut Microbiome

back pain

Scientists have found a correlation between Fibromyalgia and alterations in the gut microbiome.

A Montreal based research team has found that there are alterations in the bacteria in the gastrointestinal tracts of people with fibromyalgia. Approximately 20 different species of bacteria were found in either greater or lesser quantities in the microbiomes of the fibromyalgia control group participants.  

The team used a range of techniques, including artificial intelligence, to confirm the changes they saw in the microbiomes of the patients were not caused by factors such as diet, medication, physical activity, and age; all of which are known to affect the microbiome. Dr. Amir Minerbi, from the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit at the McGill Universtiy Health Center stated, “We found that fibromyalgia and the symptoms of fibromyalgia – pain, fatigue and cognitive difficulties – contribute more than any of the other factors to the variations we see in the microbiomes of those with the disease. We also saw that the severity of a patient’s symptoms was directly correlated with an increased presence or a more pronounced absence of certain bacteria – something which has never been reported before.”

At this point, it is not clear whether the changes in gut bacteria seen in patients with fibromyalgia are simply markers of the disease or whether they play a role in causing it.

Due to the fact the disease involves a cluster of symptoms, the next step in the research will be to investigate whether there are similar changes in the gut microbiome in other conditions involving chronic pain, such as lower back pain, headaches and neuropathic pain.

The researchers are also interested in exploring whether bacteria play a causal role in the development of pain and fibromyalgia. And whether their presence could, eventually, help in finding a cure, as well as speed up the process of diagnosis.

“We sorted through large amounts of data, identifying 19 species that were either increased or decreased in individuals with fibromyalgia,” says Emmanuel Gonzalez, from the Canadian Center for Computational Genomics and the Department of Human Genetics at McGill University. “By using machine learning, our computer was able to make a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, based only on the composition of the microbiome, with an accuracy of 87 percent. As we build on this first discovery with more research, we hope to improve upon this accuracy, potentially creating a step-change in diagnosis.”

Fibromyalgia affects two to four percent of the population and has no known cure. Symptoms include fatigue, impaired sleep and cognitive difficulties, but the disease is most clearly characterized by widespread chronic pain.   It is a disease that has proved difficult to diagnose; some patients wait four to five years to receive a final diagnosis.  Perhaps this will change in the near future.

Reference: Minerbi, A., Gonzalez, E., Brereton, N. J. B., Anjarkouchian, A., Dewar, K., Fitzcharles, M.-A., … Shir, Y. (2019). Altered microbiome composition in individuals with fibromyalgia. PAIN, Articles in Press.

Shortage of B-12 related to gastric bypass surgery

There are a variety of types of weight-loss surgery, know collectively as bariatric surgery.  In the United States, gastric bypass surgery is one of the most common types of bariatric surgeries performed.

After gastric bypass surgery, food bypasses parts of the patients stomach and small intestine.  B-12 usually breaks down into usable form in the stomach and small intestine, therefore, it is likely post-surgery, a patients B-12 levels will need to be monitored to assure adequate B-12 levels.   Supplements or B-12 shots may be required to sustain an adequate level.

The impact of B-12 deficiency can be serious.  Vitamin B-12 in intimately involved with protein metabolism and DNA synthesis; two important biochemical processes controlling everything from heredity to metabolism.

If you had gastric bypass surgery, make sure you know your B-12 levels.  

If you would like more information on this subject matter, or health care in general, reach out to your physician, or to me.    

Best in good health!


Paleo Diet; Harmful to long-term health?

A “paleo diet” increases levels of TMAO, a metabolite associated with heart disease, according to a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers tracked TMAO levels and markers of gut-bacteria health for those following a “paleo diet,” which included meat, while excluding grains and dairy products, and compared results to a control group. Decreased consumption of carbohydrates, especially from fiber-rich grains, and increased fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol intake in the paleo group led to more gut bacteria species linked to heart disease and inflammation than those in the control group. The authors note that these results suggest that a paleo dietary pattern may be harmful to long-term health.

Genoni A, Christophersen CT, Lo J, et al. Long‑term Paleolithic diet is associated with lower resistant starch intake, different gut microbiota composition and increased serum TMAO concentrations. Eur J Clin Nutr. Published July 5, 2

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

Plant-Based Diets Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Adherence to a healthful, plant-based diet of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes prevents type 2 diabetes, according to a review published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers reviewed nine studies on plant-based diet adherence and type 2 diabetes incidence rates. Results showed an inverse association between consumption of a plant-based diet and risk of diabetes when compared to low adherence to the diet. These associations appeared stronger when studies defined plant-based diets as containing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes, which help provide protective nutrients and antioxidants and avoid high-cholesterol and high-fat products associated with inflammation and weight gain.


Qian, F, Liu G, Hu FB, Bhupathiraju SN, Sun Q. Association between plant-based dietary patterns and risk of type 2 diabetes. A systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Intern Med. Published online July 22, 2019.

Is your endocannabinoid system (ECS) effectively working?


Our endocannabinoid system [ECS] is vitally important to maintaining homeostasis throughout our bodies and minds.  It is one of the most important communication systems in the body.  An imbalanced ECS may contribute toward conditions such as depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, migraines, IBS, obesity and more.  

Our brains have a complex network of receptors, central nervous system and immune system that are activated by two natural chemicals (endocannabinoids) called anandamide and 2-AG.  The receptors (CB1 and CB2) are everywhere in our bodies.  Endocannabinoid activity is involved in a myriad of physiological functions; sleep, appetite, sexual reproduction, pain, immune system, mood, memory and cell growth.

Scientists believe the ECS works as a master biological regulator, a bit like a conductor in an orchestra, making sure that all the individual sections work in harmony. 

Due to our current culture (lifestyles of the 21st century) of rushing, living fast, eating processed foods, self-medicating with alcohol/drugs, sleep deprivation, increased stress, our endocannabinoid system is straining and struggling.  The results of the ECS struggles is resulting in a litany of health conditions ranging from fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue, MS, anxiety and depression.

Signs your endocannabinoid system may be off-balanced and straining:

  1. High or oversensitivity to pain:

Scientists have discovered that a number of conditions relating to oversensitivity to pain such as fibromyalgia, IBS, migraines, and MS share what is known as endocannabinoid deficiency. This refers to lower levels of the endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-AG as well as fewer endocannabinoid receptors.

  •  You feel anxious or depressed

While there is a variety of reasons someone may be anxious or depressed, a deregulated endocannabinoid system is believed to be a biomarker.

Studies indicate that low levels of  2-AG (a key endocannabinoid) are present in depressed states and PTSD.  In addition, normal CB1 endocannabinoid receptor expression in the brain appears to play a pivotal role in maintaining mental health as well:  a study trialing a new obesity drug found that blocking the CB1 receptor had the unwanted side effect of causing anxiety.

Good news:  something as simple as going for a power-walk or run could be a good way to give our ECS a mood boost. We know that the euphoria experienced through intense exercise is as much to do with anandamide as endorphin production.

  • You Have an Autoimmune Condition

Over the last fifty years there has been a dramatic rise in autoimmune conditions.  Elevated stress levels certainly play a role, but could an off-kilter endocannabinoid system also be a factor?

A fully functioning  ECS is vital to keeping our immune system in balance. It acts rather like a dimmer switch, giving our immune system a boost when it needs a helping hand, and dampening it down when over-activated. Immune over-activation occurs in autoimmune disease. Instead of fighting off outside invaders, our immune system literally turns in on itself, reaping havoc in the body.

We know that elevated endocannabinoid levels and CB2 receptors are found in patients with autoimmune diseases and conditions associated with chronic inflammation. It is thought that this increased activity is the ECS trying to bring our systems back into balance again.

Compounds in cannabis and hemp like CBD have been found to reduce inflammation in the body and, thanks to their antioxidant properties, may even protect autoimmune sufferers from further cell damage.

  • You Find it Hard to Lose Weight

Above we spoke about a deficient ECS, but it’s also possible for our endocannabinoid system to become over-activated, causing weight gain and even diabetes. That’s why an obesity drug trialed was found to block endocannabinoid CB1 receptors.  Scientists, however, are unsure if overeating causes increased CB1 signaling, or whether obesity itself is a consequence of an overactive endocannabinoid system. Either way, the goods news is that diet and exercise, as well as, quality Omega 3 will bring your endocannabinoid levels back into balance again.  Our endocannabinoid system works tirelessly on our behalf. 

It may be time to start giving your ECS much needed tender loving care.  How?

  1. Minimize stress
  2. Receiving enough sleep
  3. Eating healthy
  4. Eliminating/reducing alcohol
  5. Regular fitness
  6. Supplementing with natural, organic CBD Oil.  CBD oil is high in cannabinoids.

Known or believed benefits:

  1. Neuroprotective properties
  2. Reduce acne
  3. Alleviate cancer related symptoms
  4. Benefit hearth health
  5. Anti-tumor effects
  6. Diabetes prevention
  7. Substance abuse treatment
  8. Anti-psychotic effects
  9. Reduction of anxiety
  10. Pain relief

Cannabidiol (CBD) Oil is high in cannabinoids; a group of phytochemicals found in cannabis plants. It is a non-psychoactive component of cannabis. Scientists have proposed Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Syndrome (CEDS) as a spectrum disorder

 To learn more about CBD Oil and how it may help you, your loved ones, or your animal companions, give us a call.

Crohn’s Disease Remission

According to a case study published in Nutrients. a plant-based diet may lead to a remission in Crohn’s disease.

Clinicians followed a patient with Crohn’s disease whose condition did not reach remission after more than a year of intravenous treatment.

During his second year of treatment, the patient removed all animal products and processed foods from his diet for a 40-day religious observation and experienced a total absence of symptoms.

The patient decided to maintain the new dietary pattern and experienced a complete remission of Crohn’s disease.

The prevalence of Crohn’s disease across areas with increased intakes of animal products highlights the dietary factors involved in this condition

Sandefur K, Kahleova H, Desmond AN, Elfrink E, Barnard ND. Crohn’s disease remission with a plant-based diet: A case report. Nutrients. Published online June 20, 2019

Essential Oils for Gums & Teeth

Essential Oils for Gums & Teeth

Essential oils, known for their healing and therapeutic benefits, have been used for centuries, dating back to 2000 BC.  In recent years essential oils are rebounding, and to the benefit of all who use them.  They are used in aroma-therapy treatments for relaxation, expulsion of toxins and healing.  Many are ingestible, and others used topically.  There are myriad reasons to use essential oils.  In this piece, I highlight the benefits of essential oils for gums and teeth.

 Clove is essential for oral health. Clinical research indicates that clove oil can relieve tooth pain, cure bad breath, and help reduce gum disease.  Clove oil also has the natural ability to restrict the development of bacteria and can help fight mouth and throat infections.

Thyme contains natural chemicals that help defend from tooth decay, gingivitis and general oral infections.

Oregano is a powerful antioxidant known to contain anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce bacterial and fungal infections. Oregano oil is also known to help boost the immune system.  

Tea Tree is a natural remedy for bad breath and contains ingredients that diminish plaque. This oil has the ability to kill bacteria, diminish tooth decay and relieve bleeding gums.  Note:  you must spit it out after use and rinse mouth with water. It is not meant for internal use

Peppermint is known for its cooling and numbing elements which can effectively soothe tooth and muscle aches. Research has found that peppermint oil is exceptionally powerful for fighting oral pathogens and killing common bacteria that can lead to cavities and gum disease.

Cinnamon is antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic, making it an effective cleanser for oral health care.  It also contains one of the greatest antimicrobial properties protecting against bacteria accountable for tooth decay. w

Plant-Based Diets Lower Risk Factors for Heart Failure

Plant-based diets can reverse heart failure, according to a case study published in Frontiers in Nutrition.

A 54-year-old woman with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart failure began a whole food, plant-based diet, and researchers tracked her health outcomes. She removed all animal products, limited processed foods, and increased her intake of fruits, vegetables, dark leafy greens, grains, and legumes. In less than six months, she lost 22.7 kg (50 pounds), reduced her HbA1c by 2.4 points without medication, and improved her dyspnea.

Plant-based diets offer effective treatment and prevention via reduced inflammation and blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels and A1C, reduced BMI, and improved gut microbiome. The authors note that most clinicians rely on pharmacotherapy due to insufficient training in nutrition and recommend clinicians integrate plant-based diets as part of treatment to reverse systolic dysfunction and care for heart failure.

Allen KE, Gumber D, Ostfeld RJ. Heart failure and a plant-based diet. A case-report and literature review. Front Nutr. Published online June 11, 2019.

White & Red Meat

White and Red Meat Are Both Bad for Your Heart

For a very long time, we have been told that white meat was better for us than red meat. Current research indicates that white meat raises cholesterol levels Red equally to red meat. According to an NIH-funded randomized crossover study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,  researchers tested the effects of low-saturated-fat diets that drew their protein from red meat (beef and pork), white meat (chicken and turkey), or nonmeat sources (legumes, nuts, grains, and soy products) in 51 participants—all of whom tested each of the three diets separately for four weeks. They then did the same with high-saturated-fat diets, drawing their protein from the same red, white, and nonmeat sources, in 62 participants.

Results of the study: both white and red meat raised LDL (“bad”) cholesterol to the same extent; white meat was not any better than red meat when it comes to heart disease risk.

The non-meat sources did not raise LDL levels.

I have been teaching the value of healthy plant-based eating for many years now; personally and professionally.

Bergeron N, Chiu S, Williams PT, King SM, Krauss RM. Effects of red meat, white meat, and nonmeat protein sources on atherogenic lipoprotein measures in the context of low compared with high saturated fat intake: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. Published online June 4, 2019.

Prevent Increased Risk of Death


Researchers assessed diet records for approximately 96,000 Seventh-day Adventist participants and tracked meat consumption and mortality rates.

Those with the highest intake of both red and processed meats increased the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality when compared to those with no intake of these products.

Those who consumed more unprocessed red meat had lower intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, and higher intakes of eggs, poultry, and other animal products.

Red and processed meat products are associated with increased inflammation and are higher in saturated fat and sodium.

Consuming red meat and processed meat increases the risk for dying from heart disease, according to research published in Nutrients.

Alshahrani SM, Fraser GE, Sabaté J, et al. Red and processed meat and mortality in a low meat intake population. Nutrients. Published online March 14, 2019.