Microbiome Bites January 29th: Fixing microbiome dysbiosis improves autism and ALS symptoms, and you probably shower too much.

Showering too much hurts the microbiome

1. Fecal Microbiome Transplants Could Help Kids with Autism

In a study published in the journal Microbiome, scientists show that a fecal microbiome transplant (FMT) improved gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms and autism behaviors in in a group of 7-16 year old children.

Eighteen autism spectrum disorder (ASD)-diagnosed children were given 2-weeks of antibiotics and then an extended FMT over a period of 7-8 weeks. After the procedure the children experienced a 25% reduction in ASD-related symptoms (relating to language, social interaction and repetitive behaviors) and an 80% reduction in GI symptoms, which most had experienced for years.  The children also became less hyperactive, irritable and lethargic.

The study’s results suggest a long-term impact of the treatment and further reinforces the potential of targeting the gut microbiome as a treatment strategy for neurological disorders.

The study is here.

2. Butyrate Balances the Microbiome and Improves ALS Symptoms in Mice

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, slowly controls the nerves (motor neurons) that control movement. Patients gradually lose the ability to walk, to speak and eventually, to breathe.

Microbiome dysbiosis has been linked to ALS, with patients exhibiting leaky-gut and inflammation. Rebalancing the gut microbiome has shown promise in some small-scale animal studies.

In the study, published in the journal Clinical Therapeutics, researchers used a mouse model of ALS. The mice had the hallmark symptoms of leaky-gut and dysbiosis. When the researchers fed the mice the postbiotic substance butyrate, the microbiome of the mice was restored and their leaky guts improved. The mice treated with butyrate also lived an average of 38 days longer than the untreated mice.

The study’s authors believe the preliminary research to be very promising for humans.

The study is here.

3. You’re Probably Too Clean

Do you shower every day? Most people do. We all know that grimy, smelly feeling if we don’t shower for a few days. It turns out that showering too often is doing more harm than good.

A study from the University of Utah suggests that over-cleaning harms the human microbiome.

The study of the Yanomami village in the Amazon found that people who live there have far richer communities if microbes in their skin than us - the highest diversity of bacteria and genetic functions ever reported in a human group.

While the research concluded that westernization signifincatly impacts the human microbiome diversity, it couldn’t tell us how often we should actually be showering.