Can Owning A Dog Can Help Your Microbiome?

Our bodies contain around eight million genes. Yet only about 0.3 percent are human. The rest come from your microbiome — the sum total of genes from the numerous microbes (mostly bacteria, but also viruses, yeasts and fungi) that coat your skin, mouths, gut lining – just about everything.

And any number of lifestyle factors can influence your microbiome, things like diet, antibiotic use and even the people we live with.

While a person might only have 10 percent of their microbiomes in common with a random stranger, people who live together share more microbial populations in common.

Research has even shown that you and your dog share similar microbial populations and UCSF scientists who conducted a study in 2013 suggested that living with a dog in infancy may lower a child’s risk of developing asthma and allergies, largely as a result of exposure to what they call “dog-associated house-dust”.

“The idea of combining animal, human and environmental health, and seeing the whole picture through the lens of the microbes that we share, is an increasing direction for research,” Knight said in a recent interview with U-T San Diego.

Reference

Fikes, B. Dog germs may be good for you. The San Diego Union-Tribune. 2015.

Havstad, S., Ganesa Wegienka, Edward M Zoratti, et al.  Effect of Prenatal Indoor Pet Exposure on the Trajectory of Total IgE Levels in Early Childhood. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2011:  128(4). Elsevier Ltd: 880–885.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2011.06.039.

Tse, I. 7 Surprising Health Benefits of Dog Ownership. LiveScience. 2012

 

Did You Know that Chemicals Can Cause Weight Gain? – they are called Obesogens.

Convincing evidence suggests that diet and activity level are not the only factors in weight gain.

Have you heard of Obesogens? These are chemicals, either natural or man-made, that take control of your metabolic systems, causing weight gain. They come from compounds found in certain plastics; in pesticides and fungicides; in soy and sweeteners; and in the hormones that are injected into our livestock. These obesogens increase appetite and disrupt normal development and lipid metabolism, all of which can lead to obesity.

Chemical “obesogens” may alter human metabolism and predispose some people to gain weight. Fetal and early-life exposures to certain obesogens may alter some individuals’ metabolism and fat-cell makeup for life. Other obesogenic effects are linked to adulthood exposures.

The idea that chemicals in the environment could be contributing to the obesity epidemic is often credited to an article by Paula Baillie-Hamilton, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2002.10 Her article presented evidence from earlier toxicologic studies published as far back as the 1970s in which low-dose chemical exposures were associated with weight gain in experimental animals. At the time, however, the original researchers did not focus on the implications of the observed weight gains.

The role of environmental chemicals in obesity has garnered increased attention in academic and policy spheres, and was recently acknowledged by the Presidential Task Force on Childhood Obesity11 and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Strategic Plan for Obesity Research.

Want to take action?

CLICK HERE to join my 28 Day Gut Matters Online experience begins November 5 and covers ways to clean your body of many of these toxins!

 

WHAT IS NUTRIGENOMICS? – Podcast


Have you heard about Nutrigenomics? In this episode of Dr Karen Health Talks, I explain how we are not victims of our genes. In fact with the human genome project showing that humans have the same number of genes as worms, there is a whole new understanding of the cause of human variation. I use the specific example of Alzheimer’s Disease and the ApoE4 SNP and how this marker is more likely to be expressed with a diet high in saturated fat and sugar. You may want to  listen to this podcast many times to get an understanding of the future of personalized health and wellness interventions. There will be more episodes on this topic!