Preliminary microbiome results showed striking differences between MEBO/PATM community members with active condition compared to those who learned to control the condition.
Research study: Dynamics of the Gut Microbiota in Idiopathic Malodor Production
Before you decide whether to participate in this research study, you should review:
1. The purpose of the research study
2. The study procedures
3. How long your involvement in the research will last
4. Any procedures that are experimental
5. Any reasonably foreseeable risks, discomforts, and benefits of the research
6. Any potentially beneficial alternative procedures or treatments
7. How the confidentiality of your data will be maintained
8. The possibility of unforeseeable risks
9. Any added costs to you
10. What happens if you decide to stop participating
11. New findings that may affect your willingness to participate
12. How many people will be in the study
We are starting pre-screening our candidates to find qualified participants, based on prior test results and ability to accurately report information.
Participants will be asked to submit their samples to uBiome on as different days in terms of their well-being/mood/symptoms as possible. MEBO is a condition of ups and downs. One day you may be completely odor-free, the next day you may have severe odor episodes - called flares. Our participants will be asked to submit their first sample if they felt they experienced symptoms, or had a day or two different from average. Study participants will be asked to submit responses to our questionnaire about those days.
We will privately follow up with suggestions to improve their wellbeing.
Our new Life-quality Test questionnaire will provide a measure for severity of Metabolic Breath and Body Odor and PATM symptoms.
Here is the first version and we welcome all suggestions and ideas the community may have.
Human odors depend on many extrinsic (such as food or clothing) and intrinsic factors - localized or systemic.
In recent years, microbes responsible for localized malodors - bad breath caused by oral bacteria and axillary odor - have been mapped using next generation sequencing approaches. However, Intestinal microbes responsible for systemic malodor (whole-body and extraoral halitosis), remain to be identified.
Our preliminary analysis of culture-, PCR- and 16S-RNA-based data donated by MEBO and PATM community members show that there are no easy answers.
"Lower Firmicutes to get firm and cute," says a news headline. MEBO population is low in Firmicutes and higher in Bacteroidetes. In fact, the very low F/B ratio is just about the only thing in common across the population in the Genova PCR-based microbiome analyses. The figure above shows typical representatives of MEBO "sweet" (on the left) and "non-sweet" (on the right) groups, as defined in our previous posts, video presentations and reports.
uBiome data, including SmartGut and Explorer, shows that MEBO community doesn't really have too many smellier bacteria, and likely has lower trimethylamine-producing potential than the average population. Many odoriferous bacteria - such as Odoribacter (ammonia odor), B. crossotus (rancid butter) and Desulfovibrio piger (rotten eggs) are often low in numbers, in at least one of the tests for every participant. But the composition of "scent tones" differs from normal.
This phylogenetic tree shows some of the bacteria found in abnormal levels in the MEBO community (underlined). Other bacteria displayed were found to cause (red) or compensate for (green) halitosis and underarm odors. TMA- and/or sulfide-producers are shown in brown. Some of them - like Staphylococcus hominis - produce additional volatiles like thioalcohols responsible for the characteristic unpleasant body odor smell. As seen from the figure, many bacteria can be either good or bad smell-wise on species level. This means that our 16S-RNA-based data doesn't always have sufficient resolution and might not adequately uncover the odor-producing potential.
Our preliminary findings show that "sweet" group of MEBO community is high in Anaerotruncus colihominis - indole (fecal smell) producing bacteria that utilises sugars glucose and mannose. Everyone seems to be low in Ruminococcus albus - a primary cellulose degrader that produces hydrogen and sweet-smelling acetate. 60% are low in Oxalobacter formigenes. Many participants had higher levels of Proteobacteria - but everyone had their own species - such as E.coli, Citrobacter freundii, Enterobacter Cloacae, Klebsiella or Aggregatibacter. Butyric acid-producing Butyrivibrio crossotus was abnormal in all of our samples: either too high or (mostly) too low. We also observed cases when the gut microbiota was significantly unstable - similar to Crohn's disease (even when patients are in remission).
We owe much of our general good health to the results of bacterial wars when the "good" species are destroying the "bad" invaders. Could it be that systemic malodor arises from bacterial wars that have no real purpose? Our research is only just beginning.
Like a unique multicultural city, each individual has their own vastly different microbial neighborhoods living in the different habitats around our bodies. They are formed, shaped and reshaped by our genes, history of exposures to microorganisms, our age, diet and other environmental factors including the geographical location.
The downtown, aka our gut, is populated by microbes of many different classes with a wide variety of divergent roles. These microbes can manipulate our mind, making us hungry or full, regulating our glucose, hormones and metabolism, digesting our carbs into additional nutrients and synthesizing vitamins.
Similarly to skilled immigrants able to strengthen economy of the city, transfer of gut microbes from lean to obese individuals could potentially transform the management of obesity. The devil is in the details, however, and we still have a lot to learn before developing such therapies, including the ability to match donors and recipients.
Single-strain probiotics might work better than some multi-strain compositions. But developing microbiome-based remedies is more complicated than picking one type of bacteria or compiling a small list of "good microbes" and slightly tweaking it from person to person. Even for mice whose weight gain and loss patterns are much simpler than human, transfer of 39 types of microbes from lean to obese organisms did not help, but expanding it to 54 did the trick.
What are some of the microbes that make us fat and thin?
Four races - aka bacterial phyla Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Proteobacteria, and Actinobacteria - account for the majority of bacterial nations present in the human gut (Khanna and Tosh, 2014). Typically ~60% of the bacteria present in the human gut are either gram positive Bacteroidetes or gram negative Firmicutes (2005). Other major groups - Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria - can be substantially more abundant in cases like inflammatory bowel disease. The gut microbial composition is distinctive in obese individuals and is associated with reduced numbers of Bacteroidetes and increased numbers of Firmicutes, in mice (2005) and in humans (2011, 2012). These changes have significant implications for energy homeostasis, as a 20% increase in Firmicutes and a corresponding 20% decrease in Bacteroidetes is estimated to provide an additional 150 kcal of energy per day to an adult human (2011).
But losing weight is not as easy as nourishing Bacteroidetes and eradicating Firmicutes, as each of these groups contains thousands of species with different roles in the gut.
Firmicute Christensenella timonensis, for example, actually aids weight loss, while other good Firmicute bacteria Lactobacillus (especially, Lactobacillus reuteri) have been observed to increase in numbers in obese people. Different Lactobacillus species are associated with different effects on weight change that are host-specific Lactobacillus acidophilus administration resulted in significant weight gain in humans and in animals. Twelve strains of Lactobacillus from four species (L. acidophilus, L. fermentum, L. crispatus, and L. brevis) added to diet of 1-day-old broiler chicks resulted in more Firmicutes in their microbiome and a significantly increased body weight. A strain of L. reuteri - Pg4 - caused weight gain in chicks aged 1-21 days. Lactobacillus fermentum and Lactobacillus ingluviei were associated with weight gain in animals. Yet, same Lactobacillus fermentum, especially if taken with Lactobacillus amylovorus, reduced body fat in humans by 3–4% over a 6-week period. Lactobacillus plantarum might help with weight loss in animals and Lactobacillus gasseri was shown to help with weight loss both in obese humans and in animals. The anti-obesity effects of Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota were documented in obese rats. Lactobacillus rhamnosus CGMCC1.3724 helped obese women to achieve sustainable weight loss.
Non-firmicute and non-bacteroidete microbes are also important: anorexic patients show higher numbers of archaea Methanobrevibacter smithii (2009), Actinobacteria Bifidus animalis and Proteobacteria E.coli (2013). Occasionally observed Verrucomicrobia Akkermansia muciniphila is another probiotic bacteria, supposedly helping with weight loss.
The most commonly found gut bacteria genera in adults, Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, Bacteroides, Clostridium, Escherichia, Streptococcus, and Ruminococcus (Conlon and Bird, 2015) produce a vast range of microbial products that include enzymes for carbohydrate metabolism (Xu et al., 2003), short chain fatty acids (SCFA) (Bergman, 1990), lipopolysaccharide (LPS) (Munford, 2008), and secondary bile acids (Nicholson et al., 2012). . Individually and collectively, these bacteria contribute to energy flux, or cause inflammation and other complications (Tehrani et al., 2012; Trompette et al., 2014).
If you put good people in bad neighborhoods and situations, they might actually turn bad. It takes more than a few good individuals to change culture - it won't happen if they do not win the hearts and minds of most people they work with. Microbiome transplantation may lead to beneficial metabolic changes, but it could also be imprecise and risky.
Microbes alone won't help us lose weight without exercising and eating right, but identifying the right species and enlisting their help might make a difference, paving the way to truly personalized nutrition and weight management.
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