History provides valuable lessons. In fact, it is often said that if we aren’t sure where we have been, we will have a tough time figuring out where we are going.

I have written extensively about the current state of microbiome research, with regard to where we are in our understanding of the role of the hundred trillion microorganisms living within us play in our health, as well as our resistance to disease. Researchers around the globe are aggressively categorizing various arrays of gut organisms and studying how these organisms differ in their representation in various cultures, locations, as well as changes that are noted in correlation with disease states.

In addition, fascinating research is looking at the microbiome of our ancestors in an attempt to understand how environmental changes impacted the microscopic inhabitants of the human body, and how changes in such things as diet influence the microbiome and pave the way for disease.

In this video, I explore how researchers are now able to perform DNA analysis of dental plaque dating back thousands of years as a way of characterizing the oral microbiome of our ancestors.

In addition to the discovery that this is a viable technology, providing rich information about our ancestors, these researchers are able to correlate historical changes in the human diet with changes in the representation of various bacterial species that correlate with disease. Their findings are sobering and extend well beyond diet. I think you will appreciate the commentary as it relates, for example, to the use of antibiotics, in terms of challenging the microbiome.

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  • TechnoTriticale

    re: In this video …

    No video or link to same on page.

  • Kelly

    I agree that sugar is not the best thing, and high carb is definitely not an ideal human diet option. Except maybe if you’re an Olympic athlete and even then, only for the brief time you’re in of competition age. I learned something interesting recently as I continue to battle my obesity.

    I’ve been ketogenic for a very long time, it’s not my first attempt to curb my obesity. My BMI is around 35-38 and has been for over 15 years. No diet has cut that down much. Not even keto. One reason is “comorbidities” which is doctor speak for other diseases like severe IBS from FODMAPs – one red flag for what this video is about. I have probably vast colonies of dormant pathogens in my gut that are just waiting for some onions to be eaten, and whammo, weeks of cravings, gas, gut pain, mental fog, joint pain, it’s like I’ve been poisoned, and from what I read, I have, the pathogenic bacterias release toxins.
    So next time someone cynical on a forum says “have you ever seen a toxin?” in relation to gut health, you can say… no but she has, and think of me. Or you can hunt down a study about the toxins released from the Human Microbiome Project and really let them have it.
    Long story short… your liver is supposed to protect you from the toxins and the bad germs. But if it’s overworked or “sluggish” it can’t do that. As things spiral out of control, obesity may be one result. It is for me. Recently a doctor decided enough was enough and we needed to consider surgery or drugs to treat my obesity because my life was in danger (my cholesterol alone was a massive red flag, yes on keto, my TG is still in a red zone, to say nothing of the other markers).
    I almost can’t express my relief when I turned that corner after over a decade of being blamed for my problems. I could give you a catalog of cruelties played on the obese by people trying to help them with diet and exercise alone. Even by the keto community. One is, if you’re not obese, then saying “I never feel hungry” is inaccurate. The obese have different hormones than you do, Maria Emmerich, cough, cough. Another is, feeding people FODMAPs when they are obese is dangerous at best because obesity is now recognized as a state where your liver can’t keep the bad germs down and SIBO and other agonies is the likely result. So no more of this Xylitol/Sorbitol spectacle please. Saccharin is way safer.
    One negative of this video is that it doesn’t mention the liver as the producer of an environment that protects you from nasty germs, and detoxifies the products of the ones that are present. It also doesn’t talk about whether or not you are insulin sensitive or have enough energy on a cellular level. I am not suddenly sensitive to insulin just because I exercise or am ketogenic in my diet. Obesity is much more insidious than that, as my blood tests clearly show.
    So here’s the point… I first fixed my sleep, then we tried the Topamax/Pentermine combination. There are other aspects to my care, such as talking with a therapist, being seen by a ketogenic diet specialist, being seen by other specialists for my comorbidities, and getting an appointment for consultation about surgery as an option. I don’t like that option but I’m not ruling it out yet. I wanted to make it clear this is not the only choice provided to me.
    Back to what happened. There were many positive effects, but here’s one that relates to this conversation: The IBS was completely gone. I could eat something that was high in FODMAPs, it would give me gas. But normal gas, like normal people, not gas for three days continually. It would not bloat me at all though. And it would not cause instant constipation or instant diarrhea. I had taken probiotics before with no real effect. This time I made no special effort to take probiotics, but I continued with yogurt as I always do. The only thing that may have changed is, my body had much more energy on a cellular level, and my liver used it to keep the bad germs down and detoxify what it was supposed to detoxify. On this drug, my gut in my obese and FODMAP-sensitive body is behaving 100% normally. That alone is worth researching.
    Is there another reasonable explanation?

    • http://FeatherstoneWellness.com/ Mary J. Featherstone

      Hi Kelly thank you for your post. Interesting info I received from a Dr a few days ago about how there is something about pH that effects how effective the Keto diet is. How can I send his contact info to you. Mary

    • Claude

      Bonjour (de France). Lisez deux des nombreux livres de Norman Wallker (décédé à 99 ans et 5 mois!) et vous solutionnerez, si vous appliquez ses conseils correctement, un grand nombre de maladies y compris les plus importantes. Croyez-moi, vous serez surpris des résultats quel que soit votre problème. Livres de Norman Wallker à lire en priorité : “Votre santé par les jus frais de légumes et de fruits” ainsi que ” La Santé de l’intestin, le côlon”. Les deux sont sur Amazon.

      Cordialement, Lolodumidi :

  • Kelly Martin

    I’m a naturopath and I find the research into our ancestor’s microbiome fascinating. http://www.kellymartin.com.au

  • Nancee

    Dr Perlmutter, I was recently watching CNN Anthony Bourdain series and he was in Cuba and talked about how the Cubans will not welcome the US based fast food chains into their country. It made me think that the Cuban population is probably better off health wise than the US. Would love to visit there before things change with the US influences. I am wondering if they also do not spray their food source with chemicals. They eat real food, not processed!

  • Martha

    My son, age 26, has occasional migraines. His symptoms are consistent with hemiplegic migraines. He is altering his diet to avoid gluten and to consume prebiotic and probiotic rich foods. Any other suggestions on natural ways to prevent migraines? He is familiar with lifestyle triggers such as sleep disturbances, dehydration etc.

    • Rian

      Hi Martha, I’m just a casual tourist here, but I used to get migraines at the rate of 2-3 per month. For years. I went gluten free 18 months ago and I have had ONE migraine in all that time.

    • Lotta

      Hi Martha, my son (18), suffered from occasional migraines from age 7. When he turned 16, they accelerated until he found himself in bed for 4 months with not a day’s reprieve. Several neurologists, extensive testing and multiple hospital visits had no results. The side effects of the trepiline, lyrica and epilim he was on was absolutely horrendous, so he stopped taking them after 6 weeks. By chance, our family started a low carb, gluten free diet to help my husband lose weight and to our absolute amazement my son’s migraines petered out over a two week period. He has now been gluten free for 18 months and has had only 2 migraines in that time. He takes only Mg as a supplement. Best of luck!

  • Amar

    I believe they just found that humans were eating grains and carbohydrates long before they previously expected. In addition, I have heard of studies that low-carb and paleolithic diets may negatively effect brain development. The increase in diversity of gut bacteria may have been due to living in such dirty conditions compared to today. I don’t know if that strictly means people back then were healthier. With that being said, I agree too much simple sugars (especially in a processed form) can be bad. However, I believe there is not enough evidence from past diets to say that cutting out healthy carbohydrates is beneficial, especially because they are so vital to our bodies function.