Much of the focus of the gut microbiome has been on bacteria, but there are also yeasts, fungi and viruses that can affect gut health.
In a new study published in Science Translational Medicine, researchers found that the common yeast used in all bread products, Saccharomyces cerevisiae (S. cerevisiae), aggravated colitis and caused epithelial cell damage that caused greater gut permeability.
We know that the microbiome of people with inflammatory bowel disease is different than people without it. There is less diversity and this may allow for the growth of populations of more potentially pathogenic organisms.
The researchers innoculated mice with either S. cerevisiae or another yeast, R. aurantiaca – an environmentally acquired yeast found in milk and fruit juice. The mice were given the yeast over a period of a week, in order to recreate the usual way the yeast is introduced into the body – by way of food.
Then the researchers treated the mice with drugs to induce colitis and analyzed colon tissues for damage. They found that colonization with S. cerevisiae, but not with R. aurantiaca, aggravated colitis and resulted in epithelial damage leading to greater gut permeability.
Now this should come as no surprise. The first step an alternative doctor takes with patients with any gastrointestinal problems is to remove wheat and gluten containing foods. This automatically removes S. cerevisiae.
The wheat, grain and gluten free diet is the mainstay of natural therapy for gastrointestinal disorders, however conventional doctors are still telling patients that diet has nothing to do with it!
Furthermore, in blood tests to differentiate between Crohn’s and colitis, antibodies to S. cerevisiae (ASCA IgA) are tested. If the ASCA IgA antibodies are high, they are more inclined to diagnose Crohn’s.
It’s been clear for a long time that colitis patients may also react to S. cerevisiae but conventional doctors have never interpreted this in the obvious way – the Crohn’s or colitis patient simply needs to stop eating the yeast!
According to this study, metabolites were also tested and they found that the yeast enhanced purine metabolism. This resulted in increased uric acid production in the intestine and this caused the intestinal cell damage.
The researchers further tested whether giving the drug allopurinol – which is used to lower uric acid (used for gout) would help. They found that the mice give the allopurinol had reduced uric acid levels and reduced colitis symptoms.
This led them to suggest that adding allopurinol to the regimen of drugs for colitis and Crohn’s should be considered. In fact, it has been used along with other medications and has been found to be helpful. This study clarifies the mechanism of action.
To recap – the baker’s yeast that is found in bread products causes a buildup of uric acid in the intestine. This is damaging and causes increased gut permeability and exacerbation of symptoms of IBD.
The researchers noted that the results,
suggest that some of the improvement might come from preventing yeast-induced–uric acid buildup in the intestine. Thus, allopurinol treatment in some IBD patients with adverse reactions to yeast and high uric acid might be of therapeutic benefit and should be explored. (source)
Here is where I go off on a rant because the obvious and best course of treatment would be to suggest the patient go on a diet free of S. cerevisiae. To take it a step further, I would also suggest a grain free diet as I have done with many patients with autoimmunity in general and gastrointestinal disorders in particular.
The grain free diet works.
It is not the only answer, but it is a critical part of the healing and restoration of the microbiome and the immune system.
And it sure beats taking yet more medication riddled with potential side effects. Would you agree?
Are you as fascinated by the microbiome as I am? Are you hoping for a cure through this new research explosion?
Check out my newest ebook, Heal Your Microbiome Optimize Your Health – on sale today!
Like this article? Get many more and tons of information and instructions on using grain free flours in my fantastic kindle books. You don’t need a kindle to read them, as Amazon offers a FREE reader for all devices, on the sales page for each book.
These recipes are suitable for Paleo, SCD, GAPS and all grain free eaters.