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The host mice were delivered by cesarean section, were fed sterile milk, and were raised in a sterile environment to ensure they had no microbiota. Without a microbiota, the mice experienced significantly more anxiety-related behavior, repetitive movements, and decreased memory. Biochemical and molecular changes were also noted, such as in the level of cortisol (a stress hormone) and, amazingly, the functioning of some genes. Genes that affect learning and memory were altered in germ-free hosts compared to hosts with microbiota. Data suggests that when a normal microbiota is restored or probiotics are given to these hosts, many of the behavioral changes, such as anxiety, sociability, and other biochemical processes, can be reversed. More studies and human trials are needed. We previously mentioned that many metabolites produced by microorganisms in the gut are also neurotransmitters in the brain. Along with serotonin and tryptophan, histamine (which is involved in immune responses) is also produced by the gut. And, she is happy, but she just wants to see if there's any possibility that she can improve even more. That's a huge character trait of someone who's passionately caring about their life. So, how does the experiment go? She finds a few activities that really bring more positive results to her life. The first major victory was how she discovered her love for order in the home (ie no clutter). She begins discussing this section by divulging research that states, eliminating clutter would cut down the amount of housework in the average home by 40 percent. She not only found this to be the case for her, but she also loved to effectively remove clutter from the home. From the master bedroom, to the kitchen, to the living space, and even the closets. It was as if she was a kid in a candy store. Here's her talking about some of her revelations with cleaning the clutter: There are times when your preadolescent children's behavior may be the greatest indicator of the need to disclose. They may be acting out confusion, fear, or anger in aggressive or otherwise destructive ways;

They may repeatedly ask questions that point to some knowledge on their part (such as Is Dad working late with that woman again? You may see their grades slip. They may revert to bedwetting. They may become socially withdrawn or clingy. Due to the many variables of the family system, the individual children, and the extent and type of sexual behavior acted out, determination about disclosure for pre- and mid-adolescent children must be made on a case-by-case basis. Healthy Disclosure It is likely that your opportunity to tell your children about what's been going on will present itself in a less than ideal setting, but by being prepared you can still make the most of the opportunity. Following these criteria will make your disclosure a healthier experience for the children: Dopamine is a chemical messenger that causes dilation of blood vessels. Tryptophan is not only a building block of proteins, but also another neurotransmitter, serotonin, which helps us sleep. These are all important metabolites produced by the gut. Interestingly, in one study, when the guts of germ-free hosts were recolonized, the levels of serotonin and social awareness in those hosts did not change, suggesting there is an age or length of time after which gut alterations have less of an impact. The role of the microbiota can be seen in psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. Autism is a neurocognitive disorder associated with decreased social skills (such as cognition) and sometimes repetitive movements. Genetic and environmental factors are believed to play a role in the development of this disease. A large number of people with autism spectrum disorder have associated gastrointestinal (GI) complaints. Studies vary, but we've learned that between 9 and 70 percent of autistic people have some GI concerns. There is recent data to suggest a link between autism spectrum disorders and the microbiota. An empty shelf meant possibility; I had to have one.

I went home, went straight to my hall closet, and emptied a shelf. It wasn't a big shelf, but it was empty. Have you ever imagined cleaning a shelf as thrilling? I sure haven't. For Gretchen, though, as early as the first month, she found a positive, happy habit for her to utilize for the rest of her life. Way to go, Gretchen! She did find some plans not going as smoothly as she liked. She would realize, over the course of the project, that you can't bully people into being happier. It is very easy for the children to become caught in a triangle of choosing sides and then reacting on behalf of the person who is perceived to be the victim-parent at the moment. To say or imply, We'll talk about this today and never again talk about it reinforces the shame of disclosure and the behavior. Disclosure is not a one-time discussion. Talking to children about the real issues is a much more difficult conversation if the addicted person is continuing to act out or the two of you are simply not in agreement as to what and when to share. Before you disclose to your children, talk to other women in recovery or a skilled therapist; Even if it becomes essential to talk to your children by yourself, be sure to follow the guidelines discussed in these articles, under Rationale for Disclosure to Children and Appropriate Age, and to seriously consider your motivation. As a parent, always follow this basic rule: Exercise caution whenever you intend to disclose sensitive information to children. Always consider what is best for the children. It is the responsibility of parents and helping professionals to reassure children that the adults are handling things and taking control of this painful situation. Whether or not the children ask directly, there are crucial concerns that need to be addressed during the disclosure. Germfree mice have been shown to lack social skills and have demonstrated an increase in the repetitive behaviors often seen with autism spectrum disorders. Whether probiotics can improve behavioral issues remains to be seen, and large randomized controlled trials are needed.

We have now seen how our gut flora plays a very important role in how we feel. We also know that exposures from childhood are important for keeping these bugs strong and ready to attack. We have learned that in modern times the bugs in our guts have changed because of antibiotic use and perhaps highly improved sanitary conditions. We also know that a whole-grain, plant-based diet helps the composition of our microbiota to shift, so that we produce more of the SCFAs that are pivotal in maintaining a strong immune system and better overall health. Once again we see an important benefit from this diet. We have the framework linking chronic illnesses and the microbiome, and as more of these studies are done, the treatments of chronic illness also will change. How we eat can dictate how much inflammation we produce, which is the basis for chronic illness. We may not be able to control our genetic predispositions, but we can control our environmental triggers. People will do what they do and they will improve themselves as much as they'd like to. We can be helpful and provide plenty of examples, but, if we overwhelm people with too much of what they don't want (even if it's good for them), then they'll just resent us. The closest example she faced, as she describes here, was with her husband. He drives me crazy by refusing to carry various husbandly assignments, then surprises me by upgrading my computer without my asking. He makes the bed, but never uses the clothes hamper. He's bad at buying presents for birthdays, but he brings home lovely gifts unexpectedly. I had come to understand one critical fact about my happiness project. I couldn't change anyone else. As tempting as it was to try, I couldn't lighten the atmosphere of our marriage by bullying Jamie into changing his ways. I could work only on myself. The words addiction and compulsivity don't make sense to most children. Describe behaviors such as having secrets, lying, or being unfaithful in an age appropriate language.

If the children are adolescents or older it can be helpful to convey how the parent's behavior was about gaining control and power to overcome feelings of powerlessness, responding to unhealthy anger, medicating and anesthetizing pain, or bolstering self-esteem, and these became more important than anything else. That is the nature of addiction. Acknowledge how both parents' behaviors have impacted the family as it pertains directly to the children. Will the children be affected by financial consequences, the possibility of marital separation or divorce, changing of schools and losing friendships, or possibly public exposure? For example, you may find yourself saying, As a consequence of the behavior . I wasn't spending time with you; I spent what was family money on nonfamily activities. I have not been available to model healthy relationship behavior. We can control what we eat. Common food sensitivities believed to be triggers for leaky gut are animal products, specifically red meat, dairy products, processed foods, and gluten. All of these will be discussed later in this article. Often, treatment of many autoimmune diseases has to start through the process of elimination, discovering which environmental triggers a person is susceptible to. This concept is the foundation for diet modifications that we recommend. Hygiene Hypothesis Sanitation is very important. There is no question. Proper hand-washing techniques have significantly reduced infection rates globally. Over time, however, our behaviors have changed as explained by something called the hygiene hypothesis. A critical fact indeed about self-development: it's about yourself. Getting emotionally-invested into other people's improvements is a dangerous game.