Germ Gangs Block Weight Loss – The Leptin Diet Weight Loss Challenge #5

By: Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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The metabolic flu weakens your host defenses. This enables germ gangs to take up unwanted residence. Your immune system can’t get rid of them and struggles to keep them in their existing neighborhoods. Some of these germ gangs live within your digestive tract, lungs, or sinuses. Some even live in your white adipose tissue. The net result is increased tissue damage, higher levels of inflammation, higher levels of toxic exposure, food sensitivities, greater risk for immune system malfunction, and significantly more trouble engaging weight loss or sustaining a weight loss program.

In my second article in this series I explain how digestive problems cause imbalance of bacterial populations in your digestive tract, leading to excess production of toxic LPS. Many of these bacteria are normal inhabitants of your digestive tract, including such bacteria as Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori). An example of the situation I am explaining is that once digestive imbalance occurs, and one is lacking in friendly flora to contain it, then H.pylori goes from a normal and smaller part of the intestinal bacterial mix into a larger germ gang that takes on hostile behavior that induces tissue damage (causing ulcers or chronic digestive inflammation) while massively boosting production of toxic LPS.

In fact, we now know that H.pylori can infect epithelial cells1 lining the stomach and replicate beneath the surface-level digestive structure, making itself highly resistant to antibiotic treatment as the antibiotics no longer contact the roots of the germ gang. In an example of germ gang cooperation, H.pylori can actually live within Candida albicans2, a negotiated co-existence at the expense of human health. And if it isn’t H.pylori causing gastritis then it is other germ gang bacteria such as E.coli and Staphylococcus3, which are resistant to treatment to the degree Candida is also present. Thus, once this situation takes hold then normal bacteria start forming coalitions that foster their growth. They go from being “friendly farmers” of the natural digestive mix into power-grabbing warriors trying to take advantage of metabolic flu to foster their own survival at your expense.  If you are in this compromised situation and fall under an attack of food poisoning from something like Salmonella, your imbalanced gut is a shoddy defense against a highly aggressive warrior. Staphylococcus aureus is now found in 50% of the meat and poultry from factory farms, a likely contributor to digestive imbalance for millions of Americans. Invariably, friendly flora is lacking when germ gangs take hold.

A considerable body of new science shows that germ gangs are common in overweight people4.  For example, the more overweight a woman is prior to pregnancy or the more weight she gains during pregnancy6 is associated with germ gangs in the Clostridium and Staphylococcus families of bacteria, and a lack of friendly flora.  Even worse, this imbalanced germ gang population is passed on to her child7, and becomes the child’s starting point for digestive “health” and a large factor in consequent risk for obesity.  Interestingly, giving women friendly flora during and after pregnancy resulted in much less abdominal weight at the one year point following the pregnancy.
Germ gangs occupy space on the lining of your digestive tract, mowing down digestive enzymes, and inducing tissue damage to the lining of your digestive tract. This makes problems of leaky gut much worse and increases the exposure to toxins (due to increased leaky gut and the toxins they are producing in excess), altering immunity, and causing indigestion and food sensitivity/allergy to multiple foods that were not previously a problem to eat.

In this picture of co-existing germ gangs, one of the chief problems is the all-too-often formation of the yeast gang known as Candida albicans8, common in overweight people. Candida is a natural part of your digestive mix but can get out of hand and grow like weeds in your lawn. It is present in virtually all cases of sinus problems, many lung problems, and often co-exists with other bacterial germ gangs. Not only do germ gangs fight your body, they actually fight other germ gangs for turf control and expansion and may work with each other to negotiate deals. Candida produces excessive amounts of the toxin acetaldehyde, which makes a person have brain fog along with feeling depressed or moody. 

In the process of Candida reproduction, massive amounts of highly inflammatory oxylipins9 are generated which make metabolic flu much worse. In other words, Candida gangs are sending signals to the immune system and are telling the immune system to ignore them. If you don’t already have metabolic flu, then your immune system is not susceptible to such trickery.  If you already have metabolic flu then your immune cells may behave as gullible suckers drawn into the trap of not defending you.  It has now been shown that the insulin resistance of obesity and diabetes turns off the ability of macrophages to fight Candida10 in your GI tract leading to Candida overgrowth. A strategy to fix the immune problems involves engaging the weight loss process.  This turns on genes in fat tissue that communicate to macrophages, so they can now fight Candida properly.

Candida albicans and germ gangs lead to food sensitivity and allergy. For example, during Candida overgrowth, the Candida induces inflammatory tissue damage along the lining of your digestive tract, like weeds spreading in a lawn. The Candida takes dead digestive tract cells and makes a hard goop, like a turtle shell, over the outside of itself. It then attaches this shell to the walls of your digestive tract with little scab-like threads called transglutaminase, while it hides underneath the shell to escape your immune system.  When gluten passes through the transglutaminase it causes a highly inflammatory reaction which eventually generates Celiac-like autoantibodies.  The metabolic flu of obesity has already primed immune cells in the autoimmune direction. Candida takes advantage of the situation, adding insult to injury. Candida can cause Celiac or Celiac-like problems by this mechanism. Eventually this will cause weight loss due to malnutrition and very poor digestive health – which is not a good way to lose weight.

Infection of White Adipose Tissue

A common human virus, adenovirus 36 (AD36)11, has garnered considerable attention in the past decade as a contributing factor to obesity, affecting as many as 30% of overweight individuals12 and is especially involved with significant obesity. One recent study showed that children with AD36 (20% of overweight children) were on average 50 pounds overweight.

AD36 is one of the viruses that cause respiratory infections (colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, sinus infection) and eye infection (conjunctivitis). Thus, a history of such infections is a risk factor for this issue. Measuring antibodies for AD36 is not common in medical practice and is currently a research tool used by scientists.  The virus is transmitted by personal contact. It is a very stable virus, which has a unique affinity for fat that draws it into your white adipose tissue, and it alters DNA signaling in fat cells to produce more fat cells and block fat metabolism. The evidence indicates it can live as a viral gang in white adipose tissue for many years following the original exposure and infection.

Other research on another common virus, the cytomegalovirus, found that it activates fat synthesis13 in white adipose tissue so as to utilize the fat to help fuel viral replication and survival. This indicates the disturbing possibility that many low-grade viral infections may indirectly contribute to obesity via this mechanism. 

As I mentioned, the current scientific consensus is that AD36 is an issue contributing to weight-loss difficulty, for up to 30% of the overweight population.  Since just about everyone who is overweight is struggling with metabolic flu, this is an example of a virus that can take advantage of the poorly functioning natural killer cells with ongoing activity in your white adipose tissue – living on long after the respiratory or eye infections have been defeated.

Addressing the Germ Gang Problem

Germ gang issues are tenacious. They ebb and flow but they have the potential to hang on for years. Many people have had problems since birth or early childhood and unfortunately don’t even know what life is like without the problem. Others get flare ups following high stress, antibiotics, high sugar intake, junk food diets, high alcohol intake, etc. Once the problems flare up, they can take weeks or months to improve. Relapse is common when subjected to the diet and lifestyle stressors that cause the problem to flare up. 

Germ gangs only live and thrive in weak body tissue. In the final analysis, this means that the solution is not just killing them, but actually restoring vitality to the tissues of your body, including your white adipose tissue (fat fitness). This will take time. Building muscle gradually as you lose weight is important for activating genes that rejuvenate tissues in your body. Improving aerobics delivers oxygen to tissues, killing germs and fostering health. Thus, part of this issue is a long-term problem and a major part of the solution is the restoration of physical fitness. Another long-term solution is finally getting to your goal weight and staying there, which has been proven to be associated with full elimination of many germ gangs.

In the short term, active germ gangs block the ability to lose weight. The simple dietary adjustments are to cut back or eliminate refined sugar, alcohol, and polyunsaturated junk fat (fries, chips, vegetable oils in packaged foods and commercial bakery goods).  By increasing fiber (a prebiotic for friendly flora fermentation) and actually taking some friendly flora, it is sometimes possible to get on track.

After that, a person must become much more aggressive with digestive tract repair nutrients such as glutamine, digestive inflammation reducing nutrients such as quercetin and grape seed extract, detoxification nutrients, and germ-gang disrupting nutrients like oregano oil, colostrum, and lactoferrin. The subject of what any one person may need to do goes beyond the scope of this article. I have written extensively on these issues under topics such as digestive health, immunity, and detoxification. The bottom line is that you do enough to engage the weight-loss process, which may require rather high levels of gang-disrupting nutrients to take the edge off the acute stress of the matter so that weight loss can be engaged. Remember, the long-term solution is a restoration of fitness and the loss of body weight. You must restore your immune system’s ability to naturally keep germ gangs disbanded.

There are some caveats that should be understood when dealing with germ gangs. The rate at which you can kill them in the short term, to get yourself on track, will be influenced by the functionality of your detoxification systems, which may also already be overloaded due to the existing problem. This is certainly true for those in the worst health (lack of fitness, lack of aerobic ability, multiple health issues).  Keep in mind that germ gangs are poisoning you on an ongoing low-grade basis.  However, when you kill them they release their stored toxins and this causes a surge in toxic exposure. The slang for this event is “die off.”  The nutrient pantethine helps clear the acetaldehyde of Candida die off, helping to prevent brain fog and the toxic flu-like feelings that may otherwise result. Thus, some people will need to work a simultaneous strategy of gradually improving exercise fitness, dietary quality, fiber and friendly flora intake, detoxification support, and slowly introducing germ-gang disrupters and gradually building up their dose. If a die off starts to happen, then back down the approach until your detox systems catch up and then gradually go back at it at a rate your body can handle. If you have any questions consult your health care professional as my tips are generic and educational and are not medical advice. Nor can they take into account an individual’s complex issues.

Most people with a level of exercise fitness, do not have as much struggle getting on track or taking the higher amounts of germ gang disrupters that are often needed to engage weight loss. The biggest problem most people have is that they get themselves on track, start having too many indiscretions, the germ gang issue flares back up over a several week period, and they are back in a rut with weight gain instead of weight loss. This is the key lesson from those who have been there and done that; ONCE ON TRACK, STAY ON TRACK.

Another common pitfall is obsession with “allergic” foods and thinking that eliminating all kinds of foods, often based on some sort of food allergy testing, offers a path to solution.  At the very best, it offers a short-term break for your immune system which may help you get on track. More often than not, it just causes malnutrition from eliminating too many foods, and the new foods eaten develop into “allergic” as the underlying digestive germ gangs and immune system problems have not been addressed, which are the actual source of the apparent allergies/sensitivities. I have worked with thousands of people on this issue. Taking a break from generally healthy foods that are problematic can sometimes help you get on track.  However, as health improves food inclusion is a priority.  Otherwise you may end up a dietary cripple eating chicken and broccoli and no longer even able to eat all the foods you actually once could. Don’t fall into the trap promoted by many alternative health practitioners. Food avoidance is not a long-term strategy of value in returning your health. 

It is somewhat ironic, that many people do not want to believe they have an issue with this topic until they get quite ill with a nasty bug. Unfortunately, if the bug is treated with antibiotics then the germ gang issue tends to get much worse due to the destruction of friendly flora that allows hostile germs gangs to gain ground when the antibiotics are stopped, a process that is re-enforced by the overgrowth of Candida. Thus, the germ gang theory is proved to them based on the harsh outcome of the antibiotic treatment.  On the other hand, some individuals will take very high levels of a variety of natural immune support compounds to knock out the bug, a battle that may last a few days or a week.  Metabolic rate is increased and appetite is generally depressed during a bad bug, thus weight loss kicks into gear (which I guess is one way, not really the preferred way, to get weight loss in motion). However, once the bug is over, the net result of using such high amounts of many immune support nutrients is typically that the pre-existing germ gangs have been knocked down to size and appetite is much less even though you are now well. Consider it a learning opportunity and keep yourself on track with a lower intake of calories and maintain higher levels of immune support until you can get a good response to exercise and your strength, muscle fitness, and aerobic capacity are fully restored (don’t do too much too soon following an illness). Not only does this ensure you are fully well, it may go a long way towards helping you stay in a better weight loss mode. 

Germ gangs show no mercy. The goal of Candida gangs is to recycle your body back to carbon, (i.e., completely dead). Germ gangs are famous for delivering your health a “knock out punch.”  Unlike a boxing match, germ gangs pounce on an opponent that is down.  Most overweight people have been battling germ gangs for years. The degree of the problem ranges from small to large, but it’s almost always a factor when there is a longer-term history of weight struggles and yo-yo dieting. There is a path out of this rut.  There are no short cuts or quick fixes. There are no magic medical bullets. Be thankful that there is a path to a healthier future.

Referenced Studies:
  1. ^ Invasive H.pylori is Difficult to Kill  Infect Immun.   Chu YT, Wang YH, Wu JJ, Lei HY.
  2. ^ H.pylori Can Live in Candida Albicans  J Oral Pathol Med.   Salmanian AH, Siavoshi F, Akbari F, Afshari A, Malekzadeh R.
  3. ^ Germ Gangs and Chronic Gastritis  Zh Mikrobiol Epidemiol Immunobiol.  Kazimirova AA, Volosnikov DK, Bakhareva LI, Kandalova EN.
  4. ^ Super Bug Staphylococcus (MRSA) Associated with Obesity  Hawaii Med J.   Khawcharoenporn T, Tice AD, Grandinetti A, Chow D.
  5. ^ Friendly Flora is Important for Weight Management  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,  Maria Carmen Collado, Erika Isolauri, Kirsi Laitinen and Seppo Salminen
  6. ^ E. Coli and Staphylococcus Associated with Degree of Obesity  Br J Nutr.   Santacruz A, Collado MC, García-Valdés L, Segura MT, Martín-Lagos JA, Anjos T, Martí-Romero M, Lopez RM, Florido J, Campoy C, Sanz Y.
  7. ^ Mom’s Gut Imbalances are Passed to Child  Am J Clin Nutr.   Collado MC, Isolauri E, Laitinen K, Salminen S.
  8. ^ Candida Linked to Antibiotics, Diabetes, and Obesity    Jautová J, Virágová S, Ondrasovic M, Holoda E.
  9. ^ Candida Oxylipins as A Source for Human Respiratory Inflammation  Clinical Microbiology Reviews  Mairi C. Noverr, John R. Erb-Downward, and Gary B. Huffnagle.
  10. ^ Obesity Impairs Macrophage Function Leading Directly to Intestinal Candida Overgrowth  PLoS One  Lefèvre L, Galès A, Olagnier D, Bernad J, Perez L, Burcelin R, Valentin A, Auwerx J, Pipy B, Coste A.
  11. ^ Andenovirus 36 and Obesity  Arq Bras Endocrinol Metabol.   Suplicy Hde L, Bornschein A.
  12. ^ Adenovirus-36 and Increased Body Weight  Int J Obes   Atkinson RL, Dhurandhar NV, Allison DB et al.
  13. ^ Viral Infections Upregulate the Production of Fat  Nature Biotechnology  Joshua Munger, Bryson D Bennett, Anuraag Parikh, Xiao-Jiang Feng, Jessica McArdle, Herschel A Rabitz, Thomas Shenk & Joshua D Rabinowitz.

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