Until recently, actionable strategies to restore important species lost from the human microbiome due to antibiotics and other factors have been limited. The majority (but not all) of current commercial probiotics, for instance, provide limited benefits because of the haphazard way they are concocted: a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and voilà: a commercial probiotic. Strain is often unspecified, so you have no idea whether it is an effective strain or not. Keystone species are not always included and thereby may not contribute to cultivating other supportive species. Collaborative “guild or “consortium” effects are not factored in, i.e., including groups of species/strains that “collaborate” to yield specific effects or metabolites. You may experience a reduction in bloating or diarrhea, but the current crop of commercial probiotics will not take you the full length towards microbiome restoration.
Regardless, progress is being made at breakneck speed and actionable prescriptive strategies are becoming a reality. Readers of my new book, Super Gut, as well as Members of my DrDavisInfiniteHealth.com Inner Circle, where we discuss emerging concepts in our two-way video Zoom meetups, already know that you can pick and choose microbes that yield effects such as:
- Reduce appetite—putting you in complete control over temptation and impulse
- Deeper sleep—My personal experience as a chronic insomniac, watching TV or. reading books at 2 or 3 a.m., the luxury of 9-hours of deep, restful sleep I now enjoy is magical. Those of us who wear various actigraphic devices such as Apple Watch, Fitbit, Oura ring, etc., have also observed 20-25% increased duration of rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep, the restorative phase of sleep that consolidates memory, reduces the impact of traumatic events, and helps maintain mental health
- Restoration of youthful muscle and strength—reversing age-related muscle loss, a huge health advantage
- Increase libido—as well as a return of erotic dreams like those you had in younger years
- Increase affection, empathy, and desire for social connection—during a time of (pre-pandemic) record-setting social isolation, suicide, and divorce
- Shrink waist size—both in circumference and reduction in cross-sectional visceral fat area (by MRI or CT scan)
- Reduce blood sugar and HbA1c
- Reduce weight and break weight loss plateaus
- Reduce joint pain of osteoarthritis
- Mitigate the effects of stress—such as cortisol-driven weight gain and insulin resistance
- Reduce or eliminate skin rashes—a list that includes eczema, seborrhea, psoriasis, and rosacea
- Reduce depression—Depression is looking more and more like the consequence of lacking specific microbes coupled with excessive endotoxemia, situations that you can remedy
- Reduce addictive behaviors—Numerous forms of addictive behavior are driven by a disrupted microbiome, a situation you can manage
- Achieve metabolic benefits—This long list includes increased production of B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12), vitamin K2, along with reduction of oxalates, uric acid, TMAO and others.
The scope and breadth of health effects we can achieve through informed management of the microbiome is, even today, quite impressive. I therefore coined the term “microbiceuticals” to convey the idea that we are capable of managing numerous aspects of health through microbiome management. And note that, consistent with our rejection of “treating” health conditions, we instead address the factors that allow such conditions to emerge in the first place—a crucial distinction, but one that many people struggle to understand. Rather than, for instance, interrupting some inflammatory mediator such as TNF-alpha in autoimmune conditions, we address the lack of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, inflammatory effects of wheat and sugar, restore important keystone intestinal microbes, then manage small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, SIBO, experienced as inflammation of thyroid, colon, skin, or brain. Not only do you not experience pharmaceutical side-effects such as nausea, vomiting, or liver or kidney damage, you experience numerous other benefits—no side-effects, but side-benefits.
Much as the 1980s and 1990s marked the dawn of a new technological age, the early 21st century marks the dawn of a new age in health strategies courtesy of insights into the human microbiome, the Age of Microbiceuticals. It is truly an exciting time for those of us with our eyes open to these possibilities. Should you rely on the doctor or healthcare system for such information? You already know the answer.