Health

DR MICHAEL MOSLEY: Craving sugar? It’s your gut bacteria that’s to blame

Despite all the things I’ve accomplished to enhance my food plan, like most individuals, I nonetheless get these occasional mad, loopy cravings for junk meals, the stuff that everyone knows is dangerous for us however which, regardless of our greatest intentions, we simply can’t resist.

In my case, it’s chocolate, biscuits or cake. That’s why we not often have them in our home, in any other case I may simply eat an entire packet or most of a cake in a single sitting.

However, I’ve found that if I ‘surf the urge’, these cravings usually go. Surfing the urge signifies that, slightly than attempting to combat it, I strive to journey it out by ingesting a big glass of water, practising deep respiratory and attempting to deal with different issues. It usually takes about half-hour earlier than I’m again in management.

Despite everything I’ve done to improve my diet, like most people, I still get those occasional mad, crazy cravings for junk food, the stuff that we all know is bad for us but which, despite our best intentions, we just can’t resist

Despite all the things I’ve accomplished to enhance my food plan, like most individuals, I nonetheless get these occasional mad, loopy cravings for junk meals, the stuff that everyone knows is dangerous for us however which, regardless of our greatest intentions, we simply can’t resist

But the place do these loopy cravings come from? Junk meals producers are partly to blame as a result of they’re adept at creating meals with simply the right combination of fats, sugar, salt and flavourings that we discover irresistible.

However, latest analysis from Pittsburgh University within the U.S. has additionally proven, for the primary time, how the microbes that dwell within the gut drive cravings for sure meals.

One means they do that is by way of the vagus nerve, the longest nerve within the physique that connects the brain and the gut. It acts like a busy web cable, sending a number of messages in each instructions. There’s proof, primarily from animal research, that, related to cyber attackers, your gut microbes can hack into this technique and discuss straight to your brain.

These microbes, that are good chemists, may also flip the meals that we eat into a variety of hormones and chemical messengers that attain the brain by way of the bloodstream and, by doing so, affect our temper and our meals preferences.

There are a number of examples of microbes manipulating different animals. Mice, when contaminated by bacteria known as Toxoplasma gondii, turn into unusually reckless. Normally, a mouse will hold to the shadows and keep away from something to do with cats. But when contaminated by Toxoplasma they turn into attracted by the scent of cat urine and can boldly transfer out into the open, to be killed and eaten.

This occurs as a result of the Toxoplasma bacteria want to infect a cat to full their life cycle, and the one means to do that is to manipulate the mouse’s behaviour, flip it right into a kamikaze mouse.

However, recent research from Pittsburgh University in the U.S. has also shown, for the first time, how the microbes that live in the gut drive cravings for certain foods [File photo]

However, latest analysis from Pittsburgh University within the U.S. has additionally proven, for the primary time, how the microbes that dwell within the gut drive cravings for sure meals [File photo]

How the bacteria do it is a little bit of a thriller, however one principle is that they intrude with the mouse’s reward centres within the brain, producing surges in dopamine and serotonin, ‘feelgood hormones’, which, unexpectedly, makes the scent of cat urine irresistible.

The same mechanism appears to be at play within the latest research which checked out how gut microbes manipulate meals preferences. The researchers contaminated laboratory mice with microbes from the heart of untamed mice, chosen as a result of they’ve very completely different pure diets.

Some wild mice, given a selection, will go for a high-protein, low-carb food plan, whereas others desire a food plan decrease in protein and better in carbs. When their gut microbes have been transplanted into the laboratory mice, the mice modified what they ate in step with the preferences of the donor mice.

Those given microbes from protein-loving rodents now went for a protein-rich food plan, whereas the mice with microbes from the carb lovers quickly grew to become carb lovers.

And the researchers additionally observed that introducing these new gut microbes additionally modified their ranges of tryptophan, a substance that’s transformed in our brains into serotonin. This strongly means that microbes, dwelling within the mouse guts not less than, have been making and utilizing tryptophan to manipulate what their host ate.

The message we will take from all that is that if you happen to eat a junk meals food plan then this may most likely encourage the expansion of microbes in your gut that love junk meals — and they’re going to encourage you to eat extra.

But if, as a substitute, you enhance the quantity of fibre in your food plan (consuming extra veg and wholegrains), this encourages the expansion of different, extra wholesome bacteria, and these, in time, ought to assist drown out the seductive chemical messages from the junk food-loving microbes telling you to ‘eat that biscuit, you know you want to’.

Something else that may assist combat cravings is train. Becoming extra lively will enhance your temper, which ought to assist cut back cravings, and encourages the expansion of ‘good’ bacteria.

Another latest research confirmed that rats inspired to run vigorously on a treadmill for a month ate far fewer unhealthy treats when supplied than rats that led a extra sedentary life. Although cravings for junk meals are unlikely ever to die utterly, altering your microbiome ought to make them simpler to resist.

Daily washing used to be a rare luxury — Queen Elizabeth I is said to have bathed once a month, ‘whether she needed it or not’

Daily washing used to be a uncommon luxurious — Queen Elizabeth I is alleged to have bathed as soon as a month, ‘whether she needed it or not’

Daily washing used to be a uncommon luxurious — Queen Elizabeth I is alleged to have bathed as soon as a month, ‘whether she needed it or not’.

These days that might be seen as delinquent — however how typically must you wash?

Dr Robert Shmerling, writing in Harvard Health, says every day washing can take away wholesome oils, so if you happen to’re not sweaty or dirty then ‘several times per week is plenty for most people’ — even then, ‘short showers with a focus on the armpits and groin may suffice’.

I like spicy meals and, to my spouse Clare’s dismay, I typically scatter chilli flakes over her rigorously ready meals. I’ve additionally taken half in chilli- consuming competitions.

But as I at all times remind Clare, consuming chilli is not only pure machismo. They are wealthy in antioxidants — a review revealed final month discovered that individuals who eat chillies frequently had an 8 per cent decreased danger of most cancers and a 13 per cent decrease danger of dying from coronary heart illness than those that shun this fiery meals.

Divers’ oxygen remedy that would assist deal with lengthy Covid

The lengthy tail of Covid was graphically highlighted by new figures exhibiting that simply 29 per cent of those that’d been hospitalised with it have been absolutely recovered a year later.

At the second therapy for these with lengthy Covid is restricted as a result of we nonetheless don’t know what’s happening.

Some assume it’s owing to harm brought on by blood clots, others consider the villain is long-term irritation.

Separately, one of the more unusual therapies being explored is using a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. These are usually used to treat deep sea divers with ‘the bends’, but also patients with wounds that won’t heal

Separately, one of many extra uncommon therapies being explored is utilizing a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. These are normally used to deal with deep sea divers with ‘the bends’, but in addition sufferers with wounds that received’t heal

These claims are being examined in a trial at Cambridge University taking a look at potential preventative therapies for lengthy Covid. Recently discharged sufferers shall be supplied apixaban (a blood thinner), atorvastatin (a statin), or regular care (i.e. customary care applicable to their signs). The statin has been included as a result of, in addition to being cholesterol-lowering, it has anti-inflammatory results.

Separately, one of many extra uncommon therapies being explored is utilizing a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. These are normally used to deal with deep sea divers with ‘the bends’, but in addition sufferers with wounds that received’t heal.

Last week I met Dr Michael Gonevski, a hyperbaric and diving specialist, who’s main analysis within the UK into the usage of such chambers for lengthy Covid. He thinks the intense fatigue some endure is as a result of Covid has broken their mitochondria, the powerhouses inside our cells that flip meals into vitality: the speculation is that hyperbaric oxygen remedy (HBOT) helps re-boot the mitochondria.

So far, he and colleagues have handled greater than 120 sufferers, with good outcomes.

‘We’ve had individuals who had not been ready to go away their properties for over a year, who confirmed radical enchancment in days,’ Dr Gonevski informed me. He and researchers from University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, not too long ago revealed a small research exhibiting that ten periods of HBOT carried out over 12 days can cut back fatigue and enhance verbal capability and data processing pace.

One affected person, Catherine Finnis, a 39-year-old trainer and mom of two, used to run half marathons till getting Covid two years in the past. She’d been left unable to train and always coughing, fatigued and mentally ‘very slow’, she informed me.

After three periods she observed enhancements and was ready to return to work. She’s not but returned to her outdated self, ‘but I feel better every day’. HBOT shouldn’t be but accessible on the NHS and Dr Gonevski is eager to get funding for bigger trials. With so many individuals affected, there’s clearly an pressing want to discover efficient therapies, so fingers crossed.

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