Doctor's Note

This is the third of a three-part video series on keeping our gut bacteria happy. The first two discussed propionate (see Fawning Over Flora), and butyrate (see Boosting Good Bacteria in the Colon Without Probiotics)—two health-promoting short-chain fatty acids produced by the fermentation of fiber that may be helpful in preventing obesity, cancer, and inflammation in general. This is a follow-up to similar studies, comparing gut flora between populations eating different diets, I talked about ages ago in Gut Flora & Obesity. More on phenolic phytonutrients in Best Fruit Juice. Vinegar may also help with weight loss via another mechanism detailed in Is Vinegar Good For You? Blueberries may be helpful in Improving Memory Through Diet, but are they the Best Berries?

For more context, check out my associated blog posts: The Ice Diet and Eating Green to Prevent Cancer.

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  • This is the third of a three-part video series on keeping our gut bacteria happy. The first two discussed propionate and butyrate, two health-promoting short chain fatty acids produced by the fermentation of fiber that may be helpful in preventing obesity, cancer, and inflammation in general. This is a follow-up to similar studies comparing gut flora between populations eating different diets I talked about ages ago in Gut Flora Obesity. More on phenolic phytonutrients in Best Fruit Juice. Vinegar may also help with weight loss via another mechanism detailed in my video Is Vinegar Good For You?. And blueberries may be helpful in Improving Memory Through Diet, but are they the Best Berries?

    If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

    • HemoDynamic, M.D.

      It sounds like a Greek Tragedy,

      Or Homer’s Odyssey.

      I am visualizing a future Fantastic Voyage movie but through the colon.

      Some people may think this vid is crappy, but what keeps you slim will keep you happy.
      ;-}

      • WholeFoodChomper

        Nothing like a good poo pun.  Love it!

    • Coacervate

      I believe this is working in me.  I had very bad “colon blow” every 7 to 10 days for years.  Fever, nausea, the whole 9 yards so to speak.  But over the past 14 months+ on whole foods, plant-based, the flareups have decreased in frequency and lessened in severity. 

      One tip for others:  I now grind my date/walnuts/chia seeds with a small scoop of wheat germ and a little oat bran.  To a fine powder in a good coffee grinder has made it possible to eat without the usual reaction to nuts and seeds.  I mean really fine powder is needed.  The germ and bran “soak” up the gooey bit and permits extending the grind time.  GOOD LUCK. 

    • Mynickelsworth

      Are both Fermicutes and Bacteroidetes both probiotics? If not, which is not probiotic?
      Thanks

  • Thea

    Suspiciously, this sounds like another cliff hanger.

    Thanks for giving the tip for remembering the difference between the two types of phyla.  I helped me to easily absorb the rest of the video. 

    I made a dish last night with vinegar in it.  Yeah.  :-)

    • Valnaples

      Yes, I can’t WAIT to hear about my beloved organic wild blueberries that I eat 4-5 times each week…yay!

  • Abigail

    Must have been fun saying firmicutes and bacteroidetes over and over. ;-)

    • WholeFoodChomper

      My thoughts exactly.  :)  

    • PJ

      Right? How often do you get to use those in a sentence?

  • I thought/heard the bacteriodes enterotype was associated with animal protein and a satfat diet whereas vegetarians and vegans tend to the prevotella enterotype? This is an emerging area of course but there do appear to be some microbiota markers for metabolic disorder, brain and heart function that I would really love to see some more NF videos on.

  • Kevin

    How would I incorporate more vinegar into my diet?

  • Laurel

    How can I get a hold of Bacteroidetes?

    • Raven Crowe

      I looked up Bacteroidetes and found ORGANIC spirulina contains them. It must be from a pure safe source and organic Spirulina is a cyanobacterium, a bacteroidete.

  • Wegan

    What about the study by Chen et al that says this?

    Enterotypes were strongly associated with long-term diets, particularly protein and animal fat (Bacteroides) versus carbohydrates (Prevotella).

    • Wegan

      It’s Gary D. Wu, Jun Chen, […], and James D. Lewis

      So confusing!

  • Ruslan Dorfman

    very interesting summary! Can you please comment of effectiveness of Bacteroidetes probiotics

  • Jay M

    Actinobacteria and Firmicutes are gram positive, good? Firmicutes mostly in gut lining?
    Bacteroides and Proeobacteria are gram negative, bad? Bacteroides mostly in gut lumina?
    Which ones produce the most butyrate?

  • Joel Santos

    Hi dr greger what do you think of yakult? It’s not vegan but it claims to be a very good probiotic. Thanks

  • Laurel Taylor Fitzhugh

    I strongly wish you would provide transcripts, as I cannot stand to watch videos. I don’t watch TV, either. It is just not in my makeup. So, while it looks like your site may be very informative, it is useless to me. :(

    • Leonid Kalichkin

      But there are transcripts. Is ‘View Transcript’ button not what you want? Though, there are no graphics.

  • Sophie

    Interesting video…l I have just received results from a fecal sample I sent to Armerican Gut. I have been following a high fibre plant based diet for two years and my results showed a significantly high amount of firmicutes in relation to bacteroites. I’ve looked further into this as I am by no means obese! I’m actually underweight. I found articles actually demystifying the firmicutes = obesity therory. In fact firmicutes are the bugs you want. I’m therefore confused at the conflicting information.

    • Jane Deakin

      HI Sophie, I have also had results back from The American Gut project which is great, but there is no summary of whether the results are actually good or bad or what you should do to improve your gut bacteria. I am very confused by all of this. Have you come across any information that has helped explain your results from the American Gut project that you could share?

      • Sophie

        Heyyyy
        I’ve not really! I was just thinking last night. I got that doe but have not really gained any real insight into what the best route forward is for new…. However I have heard that positively charged bacteria are not favourable! So I’ve had a google of the ones I host and I have a few positive so trying to eliminate those….. By eating Veggies!! Fibre!! Bitter foods!!!

  • Mynickelsworth

    Can someone please tell me; Are Fermicutes and Bacteroidetes both probiotics?
    This will tell me a lot about what can be done other that struggle with diets.

  • Urban Alchemy

    I wonder what the effect of these colonizing bacteria will have within the healthy guts of those consuming probiotic bacteroidetes? The ultimate skinny pill or something more complicated..

    • payoung

      One could ingest all he bacteroidetes they want but if they are not consuming the foods that those bacteria eat they won’t survive and propagate in the gut. They might as well be flushing their probiotics money down the toilet. (pun intended :-)

  • Joy Schwabach

    I just had my gut bacteria tested by the American Gut Project. They had to do it over because the first time, my profile matched a paleo meat eater’s perfectly and I don’t eat meat. The second time, I had zero enterobacter (before it was 45.8%) but my ratio of firmicutes to bacteroidetes was heavy on the firmicutes, much more than the general population. I’m 5’6″ and weigh 118, so I’m not sure how this can be. I eat a ton of fruit and veggies daily, no meat or dairy, and processed sweets rarely (less than once a month). Maybe they got it wrong again? It took them a whole year before they released the results this time. The first time it took several months.

    • NFModeratorKatie

      Hi Joy – It sounds like your diet is on the right track. Unfortunately, I can’t speak to the accuracy or validity of the testing done by the organization you mentioned above. I would make sure you’re working with a credentialed group before proceeding with further testing. I would recommend consulting with a gastroenterologist if you have concerns regarding your GI health or if you’re experiencing any new or unusual GI symptoms.

      • Joy Schwabach

        It was just a curiosity question. I’m thrilled with my health. I supported the American Gut Project because it seemed a nice research project but I’ve been suspicious. The first test came back that my gut was 45% enterobacter, common to overweight meat eaters not thin vegans like me. I told them I thought they tested the wrong sample, so they offered a re-test, which took them a year to complete. This test also seems phony, yet the organization claims to have tested Michael Pollan. I certainly won’t waste any more time on this. Thank you.

        • NFModeratorKatie

          So happy to hear you’re enjoying good health! I’m all for supporting research as well – but it sounds like this project isn’t exactly the right fit. Best of luck!

          • Joy Schwabach

            Thank you!