human guts
Exposure to heavy metals during fetal and newborn development change the gut microbiota makeup, contributing to a higher risk of disease in later life, researchers have determined.

Researchers have long suggested a link between the gut--brain axis and neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism, depression, and eating disorders. The gut contains microorganisms that share a structural similarity with the neuropeptides involved in regulating behavior, mood, and emotion--a phenomenon known as molecular mimicry. The body can't tell the difference between the structure of these mimics and its own cells, so antibodies could end up attacking both, potentially altering the physiology of the gut--brain axis.

Scientific evidence is mounting that the trillions of microbes that call the human body home can influence our gut-linked health, but more recently, researchers are discovering that gut microbes also may affect neurology--possibly impacting a person's cognition, emotions and mental health, said Knight, also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Early Career Scientist and an investigator at CU-Boulder's BioFrontiers Institute.

There are a growing number of Clinicians and Scientists who are convinced that excitotoxins and heavy metals play a critical role in the development of several neurological disorders and synergistic toxicty via vaccination, including migraines, seizures, infections, abnormal neural development, certain endocrine disorders, specific types of obesity, and especially the neurodegenerative diseases; a group of diseases which includes: ALS, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, and olivopontocerebellar degeneration.

Heavy metals including mercury, lead, arsenic and others have been linked to a host of health problems and exposure during the gestation period can cause permanent changes to the gut microbiome. Health problems that arise have been documented and include neurodevelopment disorders , and an increased insulin response.

One recent study, conducted at the University of Michigan School Of Public Health, demonstrated the effect of lead on the fetus. Lead was added to the drinking water of female mice prior to breeding and the nursing of their offspring.

Once weaned the offspring were raised to adulthood without additional exposure, and then tested for lead effects acquired from their mothers.

Results found that the adult male mice exposed to lead during gestation and lactation were 11% larger than those not exposed, due to differences in their gut microbiota.

"The lead levels in the mouse mothers were carefully designed to be within human population exposure levels. Our lowest dose is near the current U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's blood lead action level of 5 micrograms per decilitre, while the higher dose mirrors exposure levels during the 1960s and 70s," said Dana Dolinoy, U-M associate professor of environmental health sciences and of nutrition sciences.

"Since we are investigating the effects of the developmental origins of disease, it is important to evaluate current and historically relevant lead levels."

US residents lack approximately 50 bacterial types that belong to other core microbiomes in other populations.

The relative importance of both nutritional, medical and ecological processes that structure the gut microbiota differ in westernized and non-industrialized societies, specifically that bacterial dispersal, or the ability of bacteria to move from individual to individual, appears to be the dominant process that shapes the collection of gut bacteria in some populations but not others. Further investigation will be necessary to assess potential correlations of all heavy metals and their interaction with the human body.