Video on Autoimmune & Bacteria + Best Eczema Report Yet

Moises Velasquez-Manoff is one of my favorite writers on the topic of the microbiome and health. Below is a video that covers the basic idea behind the hygiene hypothesis and the interaction between bacteria and our immune system. If you are a reader of this blog, chances are you are already pretty familiar with what he talks about, but it still has some really interesting tidbits that make it worth watching.

Oh, and Moises is planning to trek out to Hadza territory to cover Jeff Leach’s work out there for the American Gut project. I’m pretty excited to see the fruits of that, to say the least. Moises is crowdfunding the project, and you can help here.

If you’ve been following the Eczema + L. plantarum science experiment we’ve been running here, you’ll know that what Moises talks about in that video is very real. And to really put it into context, here’s a new report that just came in the comments:

I’m pleased to announce my two year old daughter’s eczema is almost completely gone after 1 week of Jarrow’s Ideal Bowel Support. She hasn’t scratched her skin at all starting on day 2 of the treatment. Now all of her scabs and scaly patches are healing. Poor girl would scratch herself until she’d bleed on a daily basis. Her doctor suggested we stop bathing her as often and apply lotion. Well that didn’t do a thing for her.

The directions on the probiotic say 1 pill twice daily. She’s little so I’ve been giving her one pill (pulled apart, powder mixed into full fat yogurt) in the a.m. only. I am amazed and so grateful I read this blog. She’s so much happier now. Thank you thank you.

I really don’t see how we can top that one. In fact, I think it’s time to close up shop here at Heisenbug headquarters. Mission accomplished. It’s been fun, folks.

Ok, ok. Not really. We’ll keep going. We have to. Why?


— Heisenbug



44 thoughts on “Video on Autoimmune & Bacteria + Best Eczema Report Yet

  1. I’ve been reading a lot about L plantarum and I would like to know does it produce histamine? I am dealing with histamine intolerance and I have found some articles that say it does not produce histamine and then a few others that says it does. I am trying to find probiotics that do not produce histamine to take after a recent sinus infection which was then treated by antibiotics. Any other suggestions of probiotics that do not produce histamine would be greatly appreciated!

    • Yes I found two articles one by Chris Kresser and one by Dave Aubrey where they disagree on two species at least. L. planatarum and L. rhamnosus.

    • I don’t know. But I have yet to see anything on the histamine/bacteria issue to suggest that it’s more than theory/speculation. I haven’t seen anyone conduct an actual experiment to see if histamine-producing probioics actually produce a negative effect compared to non-histamine-producing. In fact, that may be a useful personal experiment, assuming the potential downside is tolerable. It would be better than operating based on a principle that may not actually hold true, in my opinion. Also, the data on L. plantarum’s positive effect on allergy-related disease is far greater than what exists on the histamine/probiotic issue.

      • I recently read “Histamine Derived from Probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri Suppresses TNF via Modulation of PKA and ERK Signaling” by Carissa Thomas et al. It’s a complicated story that I don’t fully understand, but the message I took from it is that L reuteri converts dietary histidine into histamine in the lumen, and that lessens inflammation – it is immunomodulatory. The effect is entirely different from ingesting histamine orally, because of the site of production and action. So, histamine-producing bugs may have an entirely different effect on the body compared with dietary histamine, even in people who are very sensitive to it. Just my take – I could well be wrong.

    • ive been blowing the whistle for a while on what changed my IBS crohns yeast…
      im sure this probotic a probiotic yeast-fighting bacteria and which has been found to clear up to 95% of the symptoms associated with IBS if high enough doses are taken.
      It boosts immune function in the intestine and helps with high cholesterol and heart disease

      • I’ve been getting facial flushing after eating foods high in histamine (tomatoes, citrus, chocolate, alcohol) which I’ve been trying to avoid. I’ve also been taking 4Tbsp PS daily. When I took the PS along with my probiotic(Members Mark brand)I would have intense facial flushing about 3 or 4 hours later. Since I’ve been trying to avoid high histamine foods, the only thing I could attribute my intense reaction to was possibly the probiotics which must have been producing histamine. So now I am only taking probiotics that supposedly don’t produce histamine. I just ordered the L Plantarum and will give it a try.

  2. Great talk. I’ve heard about helminth therapy where you introduce parasites. I’m ok with resistant starch and probiotics but hookworms? I’m not that brave. Although, if I suffered from asthma or severe hayfever, I’d be tempted to try adding H. pylori. From what little I’ve read, when in a healthy commensal community it doesn’t cause stomach or ulcers?

  3. That video make me think of my childhod. As we didn’t have television yet in those days we were always playing outside in the yard. We were always dirty, we never thought to wash our hands before eating a sandwich for lunch. We hated having to wash before going to bed. How times have changed….. We’re now obsessed with cleanliness, we have to be super clean. A bit of dirt on our hands never hurt us, until now, because we have created super resistant germs.

  4. All of these discoveries about the microbiome make me feel great happiness and sorrow at the same time. I think about how I can combat my family’s horrific predisposition to IBS, diverticulitis and other major gastro problems and through that possibly combat my family’s other major predisposition to depression and anxiety (connections much?) I’m one of few not on medication.

    On the other side I think about my ex girlfriend (still friends) who was born via c-section, grew up in a spotless home, and who was also mysteriously wracked with debilitating asthma most of her life. The explanation for this: family history of autoimmune disorders and bad genetics. The asthma resulted in prescriptions of steroids and recent stomach issues the use of antibiotics. I wonder if her obsession with pets is the result of her physiology essentially knowing that the symbiotic relationship with animals is greatly beneficial in combating her autoimmune issues. Never the less I started to share all of this new information and research with her towards the end of our relationship about breakthroughs in understanding autoimmune disorders.. Self admitted to be stubborn as all heck (she said it ran in the family… ehh) she didn’t take anything I said seriously and wouldn’t change any of her habits (eating standard American Diet, not considering gluten issues and other intolerances etc…) To feel so helpless trying to significantly improve the life of someone you love is an intolerable feeling.

    I think the spread of information about the significance of genetics over the past 60 or so years has left the general public with the impression that genetics and how you are raised behaviorally create the human being that you are. Genetics decide what you look like and how your body works, what diseases you’ll get and maybe how you’ll die. The genes mostly plan out your entire life, that’s how it is and there is nothing you can do about it. So sad.

    • I know how you feel, trying to get a member of the family to see that genetics are hugely influenced by what you eat (and not eat) and that you can influence your genes is very hard if not impossible. I’ve tried many times with my brother but to no avail. He would like to lose some weight, and tries hafl heartedly every now and then, which are doomed to fail before he starts. I keep trying by sending hem interesting links, but I know he won’t read them, let alone discuss with me how he could improve his situation. I just let go, and live my life.

  5. Wanted to pass this on in an email but don’t see a link.
    From “Nourishing Tradition” , Fermented vegetables & fruits: (pg 97 ((softcover)
    A 1999 study published in Lancet found that consumption of lacto-fermented vegetables was positively associated with low rates of asthma, skin problems, and autoimmune disorders in Swedish children attending a Waldorf School…..

    Also, I remembered reading and printing this a while back.

    Bamboo prebiotics boost gut health in the elderly.

    The PubMed is here. Never mind. In looking for a link I see it mentioned in your blog.

  6. If this has been mentioned on the blog somewhere already I do apologize…

    After watching the video, doing some thinking and reflecting on experiences I had going to the hospital with my ex because of severe asthma attacks I began thinking about how I’ve really been enjoying kimchi and the fact that I found a grocery store that sells it for $2.49 a lb (what do you think is that good? lol) I was thinking that kimchi is probiotic- probiotics are helpful in dealing with autoimmune disorders- asthma is an autoimmune disorder- Koreans eat a lot of kimchi (so much that its been speculated to contribute to South Korea’s higher rates of stomach cancer)- If Koreans eat a lot of Kimchi then they might just have lower rates of Asthma. Well what do ya know… after some googling I found some research on this (not a whole lot)…

    “The prevalence of asthma in Korean adults was 2.4%. Adults with asthma consumed fewer amounts of kimchi (P=.0444) and fish (P=.0175) but had a higher cereal intake than those without asthma (P=.0056). Multiple logistic regression analysis after controlling for confounding factors showed a significant inverse relationship between kimchi consumption and the prevalence of asthma.”

    • That was a very interesting article, Kevin. In this era of world-wide travel, I wonder how people are impacted.

      I wonder how the gut flora is impacted in an Asian child who is adopted into an American family at the age of two. The child’s flora would probably be very different from that of the average American.

  7. You’ve helped me clear up my son’s eczema as well. He’s 21 months and just had it mildly on his face and legs. I give him a teaspoon of potato starch and 1/4 tsp CanPrev’s Pro-Biotik powder toddler to teen. It took two weeks and it’s completely gone. Thanks so much!

  8. So, I woke up with eczema after a long time without it. I did some roasted broccoli gorging at our Seder, and then was sent home with a huge bag of it, which I polished off the next day (yesterday). Last night it was red and itchy between my fingers just like the old days! I think it was the olive oil and/or some spice – all in too large a quantity at once. Maybe. I mean, it was an enormous amount that should have lasted a few days. Of course I take probiotics – Dr. Higa’s and some others – but I had better make sure I’m taking L Planatarum. Please feel free to comment. I like your site a lot.


    “Stage One

    Leuconostoc mesenteroides initiates sauerkraut fermentation. Since Leuconostoc mesenteroides produce carbon dioxide, it effectively replaces the oxygen in the jar, making the environment anaerobic (oxygen-free). When lactic acids reach between .25 and .3%, Leuconostoc mesenteroides bacteria slow down and die off, although enzymes continue to function.

    This stage lasts between one and three days, depending on temperature.

    Stage Two

    Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus cucumeris continue the ferment until lactic acid level of 1.5-2% is attained.

    High salt and low temp inhibit these bacteria, so I hope you didn’t over-salt your cabbage – and be sure not to refrigerate yet.

    This stage continues for 10-30 days, depending on temperature.

    Stage Three

    Lactobacillus brevis (some sources also include Lactobacillus pentoaceticus) finish off the ferment. When lactic acid reaches 2-2.5%, they reach their max growth and the ferment is over.

    This final stage lasts under a week.”

    L. Plantarum appears to be transient, Mr. Heisenbug believes as well.

    But L. Brevis might colonize.

    Interesting if this is true and how they appear in the fermentation stages of some vegetables.

    Curious what L. Brevis does inside us.

  10. Very interesting. My son suffers from a bad case of psoriasis. Is there research/information on this helping with psoriasis?
    Thank you.

    • I have been diagnosed with psoriasis on my scalp. L. plantarum (along with some soil-based probiotics) has cleared it up. If I stop, after a while it comes back. I also eat about 2 tsp of potato starch before bed. Try and see. It’s not expensive.

  11. In reply to Paul:
    Based on the following study, it appears that at least one probiotic has potential to be helpful for psoriasis. One consideration to this particular probiotic ( b. infantis 35624 ), is the fact that Procter and Gamble is the marketer for it ( Align) and it is relatively expensive when compared to other probiotics at this CFU level ( only 1 billion per capsule) and it is also the only active probiotic strain in Align.

    Another point of this study is that while they did mention that the type of achieved results such as reduced TNF alpha and CRP levels are generally associated with disease improvement, they did not actually say or describe the actual improvements in study participants with psoriasis. I found the lack of direct mention of improvement in disease severity and a description of any improvements a bit puzzling. So while it apparently improves parameters associated with disease severity how does this actually translate into an improved PASI score for example?
    I guess that was not an actual study parameter, but it would have been very helpful if it was????


      • Thanks for the link, Mr. Heisenbug, they add an automatic charge of $12.95 to your order in order to package the product in a cool packing. Still a slightly better price than Align though. They do not use the same strain of B. infantis as the one used in the study and the same as Align and apparently not all strains of b infantis have the same beneficial effects according to this abstract:


      • Heisenbug, what’s the difference between Align’s claim of “1 billion live bacteria when manufactured and 10 million live bacteria until the best by date” vs. Natren’s 1 billion CFU? Plus Natren’s strain is “Super Strain NLS.”

    • Art, all but 1 out of the 8 co-authors are either employees of P&G or consultants to P&G. Having said that, I’d tend to think the lowering of inflammation is significant if the test subjects did not lose weight at the same time. We should always be suspicious of biased research but lower CRP when not accompanied by lower metabolic inflammation among autoimmune sufferers tends to capture reduction of autoimmune inflammation. Notice that the disparity is the highest for CRP, not as much for IL6 and TNF-a. And the group with the highest inflammation is UC. Inflammation also went down slightly in the healthy control group as well.

      • Based on anecdotal reports, it would appear that Align is fairly effective for IBS patients in relieving or eliminating symptoms as long as they continue to take it everyday. I haven’t as yet read of anyone who stated that they were able to discontinue use of Align once their symptoms were eliminated though.
        The information regarding Align and psoriasis is paltry at best and I think I may have read of two people total who have said that Align helped their psoriasis and one person who felt it worsened their psoriasis.
        I emailed Alimentary Health over the weekend to see if they would share any information regarding that 2008 study for mild to moderate psoriasis. I haven’t heard anything from them yet, but will post their reponse here if they do give one.


  12. Heisenberg, Thank you for this blog! I’ve recently become obsessed with all things microbiome related. I’m the mother of two children (one a 5 month exclusively breastfed baby) and I already have the kits to have our everyone in the family’s microbiome mapped (by the human gut project) and I’d be curious to get your take on the results. Would you recommend for us to take potato starch and see the impact it has on the results, we’re not strict paleo by any means so I don’t know how necessary it is. We’re big on water kefir, sour kraut, yogurt and probiotics. But strangely enough a dermatologist just told me I have eczema under my eye, so I’m ordering the Jarrow Formulas today.

  13. Apparently a 12 week study using the patented form of B. infantis 35624 to treat mild to moderate psoriasis was started and completed in 2008 as listed on, but unfortunatelly , the results of that study were not posted there.
    The dose was the the same as the previously posted study and was given daily for 12 weeks.

    It is puzzling why there were no results posted. I wonder if they can be found elsewhere other than PubMed? The study was done by Alimentary Health Ltd, which is the company that developed that particular strain of B infantis and works with Procter and Gamble. It seems that if the study results had been really positive they would have wanted those results posted as much as possible and in as many places as possible as the market for psoriasis OTC treatments is huge.


  14. What fantastic insight into how our bodies have been developing and changing with new medical practices and technologies. I found that video a great look into what we have been doing to prevent death and disease only to perhaps have caused a higher growth in other diseases in the process. It stems back to the argument about whether progress for progress sake is actually something that could cause more loss of life in years to come. What the speaker said about future doctors looking back to our parents and how they were brought up and the environments we live in now, and comparing that to what will be twenty or so years from now should produce some great links to autoimmune disorders as well as other diseases like cancer.

  15. A Colitis and oral/ Tongue Bacteria Story:

    Lucy,a 15 yo jack russell terrier has severe, almost life threatening , occasional bouts of colitis, preceded with mucus on stools.over a 2 day cycle. Broccoli at dinner is a favoured part of her diet. Can we learn from this preference for a green vegetable?

    Enter last night this murine model paper- “Preventive and therapeutic effects of nitrite supplementation in experimental inflammatory bowel disease”

    • Inorganic nitrate and nitrite alleviate DSS-induced colitis.
    • Dietary nitrite has therapeutic effects in already established colonic inflammation.
    • DSS-induced thinning of the colonic mucus layer is prevented by dietary nitrite.
    • Nitrite promotes healing of colon epithelial cells.

    Now the interesting part is that circulating nitrate is converted by bacteria on the tongue to nitrite!

    “The site of nitrate reduction to nitrite in humans is almost exclusively on the posterior third of the tongue, by nitrate reductase‐containing symbiotic bacteria, predominantly Veillonella species, as well as Actinomyces, Rothia and Staphylococcus epidermidis [b117,b118]. Whilst some conversion of nitrate to nitrite occurs on the ‘first pass’ of nitrate‐containing food over the surface of the tongue before it is initially swallowed, the majority of nitrate reduction to nitrite occurs over the subsequent few hours, via the entero‐salivary circulation [1], following concentration of nitrate in the salivary glands, and secretion in saliva, as described above [107,113,115,116].

    So the experiment started last night- to lift the amount of nitrate in food and test the palatibility of foods; last night, first test – smoked salmon- eaten with relish. This morning, wilted lettuce with smoked salmon – eaten with relish. So we keep going with finding interesting sources of dietary nitrates.

    As an aside, while there is strong interest in repairing the effect of episodic bouts of antibiotics on gut flora, I am increasingly interested in the prospects of continuous insults to flora, via ” innocuous” chloroamines in drinking water to oral bacteria ecology and the reaction in the stomach of amine and nitro compounds.

    Now this little story gives a little encouragement to examine the life cycle of dietary recommendations for humans. An example is outlined in this abstract
    “Food sources of nitrates and nitrites: the physiologic context for potential health benefits”. The suggested intake is up to 550% greater than guidelines.

  16. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an incredibly long comment
    but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t
    show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway,
    just wanted to say wonderful blog!

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