Sunday, August 16, 2015

Serotonin Predicts Survival in ALS - fix your Serotonin

A study, "Platelet Serotonin Level Predicts Survival in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis" found that people with bulbar ALS tended to have the lowest serotonin level and the shortest survival time.  The study had no information as the causes or what could be done.

Since this study, a new primary research study, "Indigenous Bacteria from the Gut Microbia Regulate Host Serotonin Biosythesis," has shed important light on how serotonin is produced and regulated.

The basic summary of the study is:
  • Gut microbes regulate levels of serotonin in the colon and blood
  • Spore-forming bacteria modulate metabolites that promote colon serotonin biosynthesis
  • Microbiota-dependent changes in serotonin  impact GI motility and hemostasis
  • Altering the microbiota could improve serotonin related disease symptoms
So, what this means is the microbes in the gut produce metabolites that the colonic enterochromaffin cells (cEC) respond to and produce serotonin.  The microbes that cause the most serotonin are spore producing microbes.  As a class, they have some of the nastiest microbes in that family.  Serotonin causes increased muscle contractions of the gut, and increased mobility through the gut so when these metabolites are produced, the response is to eliminate them faster.  

These leaves a couple possibilities as to the actual cause of the faster decline because of low serotonin.
  1. Lower serotonin means lower levels of gut mobility and higher absorption of potentially harmful biotoxins being produced in the gut which can be harming the gut lining, the liver and the brain, to name a few organs.
  2. Serotonin is needed in other places in the body.
You can work on how to improve serotonin naturally and how to improve gut mobility.
  1. Assume the cEC cells are damaged if serotonin is low.  cEC cells have evolved to use butryic acid for energy.  Your gut flora makes it from fiber and there is some in butter, but the casin maybe be a problem if your gut is unhealthy.  Ghee is is butter with the casin removed.  You can also take a supplement like butyren. Refined oils cause inflammation and are hard on the gut.  Use cold pressed oils and coconut oil.  Gluten is also hard on the gut so avoid it.
  2. Ensure that you do not have something like candida overgrowth.  If candida is a problem, probiotics Bifidobacterium Bifidum and Lactobacillus Acidophilus help to fight candida.  Candex has enzymes to digest the fiber that protects candida, but it can be very hard on the stomach.
  3. Take a high quality probiotics.  Natren 1, 2, 3 is a high quality probiotic that includes Bifidobacterium befidum.
  4. Meals that Heal Inflammation, has great dietary advise on how to eat to heal your gut.
  5. Avoid constipation.  The right dose of magnesium can both supplement it and help manage bowels.  Too much magnesium and you will get the runs.  Try 250 mg twice per day.  If constipation still happens, add a 3rd dose in a day or try about 300 mg in each dose.  Trying to take one larger dose of magnesium per day will like result in diarrhea.  Working on ensuring bowel movements are regular will reduce absorption of biotoxins from constipation.
  6. Spore producing microbes stimulate cells to produce the most serotonin, only at this time it is not known which species are best.  Saccharomyces boulardii is spore forming and believed to be good for the gut.  Bacillus Laterosporus is another spore forming microbe.  Which are best to correct serotonin levels is not known at this time.

November 15, 2015 edit:  There is just a new article out on serotonin and they found that in Zebrafish serotonin helped to repair neurological damage, so this is yet another reason to work on improving your serotonin.

January 7, 2016 edit:  Just saw this article, Dysbiosis in the Gut Microbiota of Patients with Multiple Sclerosis, with a Striking Depletion of Species Belonging to Clostridia XIVa and IV Clusters, at, which is possibly helping to identify what species belong in the gut.

January 9, 2016 edit:  Just saw this one,
Serotonin 2B receptor slows disease progression and prevents degeneration of spinal cord mononuclear phagocytes in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

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