Microbiome Bites October 2nd
It’s all about the oral microbiome this week!
1. Can arginine in your toothpaste function as a prebiotic and prevent cavities?
The human mouth has its own microbiome that responds to environmental conditions much like the gut microbiome. For example, the frequent intake of sucrose creates an environment that favours fermentative bacteria, leading to a cavity-causing environment. The bacterial metabolism of arginine however, is known to raise pH in the mouth, which can protect against cavities. In a study published this week in the journal Archives of Oral Biology researchers show that arginine in toothpaste acts as a prebiotic, favouring the growth of arginine-metabolizing bacteria over cavity-causing bacteria. You can read the article here (paywall).
2. Enzyme from oral bacteria could be potential therapy for celiac disease
Celiac disease (CD) is an autoimmune disorder that causes severe digestive and other health problems among sufferers when they consume gluten. It is estimated that 3 million people in the U.S. have celiac disease and their primary course of treatment is to adhere to a strict gluten-free diet. In a study, published in the American Journal of Physiology—Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, researchers found that bacteria in the mouth have exceptionally high gluten-degrading enzyme activities. The team isolated a new class of gluten-degrading enzyme in the probiotic bacterium Bacillus subtilis, and believes that it has therapeutic potential. Read the research article here.
3. Hygiene – When less is more?
The hygiene hypothesis explains that the increase in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases since the 1950s is the direct result of changes in our exposure to microbes in childhood as a result of improvements in sanitization. The effects of inflammation can lead to a higher risk of developing stress-related diseases such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. This has led researchers to question whether increasing a person’s exposure to environmental bacteria can decrease such disorders. In the journal PNAS this week, researchers publish that a “vaccine” made with a soil bacterium called Mycobacterium vaccae can protect mice from chronic stress. The researchers believe that this lays the groundwork for developing microbiome- and immunoregulation-based strategies for prevention of stress-related pathologies in humans. Read more here. The full study is available here.