I'm not really all that mysterious

Real Science is Never That Certain

One of the problems of the Facebook/Twitter era is that all headlines are click-bait.

Mainstream media science reporting is already sensationalistic as it is. Social media (and character count limits) has added yet another level.

Probiotics Are Useless, GMOs Are Fine, and Gluten Is Necessary • 2016 May 19 • Kaleigh Rogers • Vice

The studies (well, meta-analyses, really) are at least linked so you can look at them yourself. There are some obvious caveats.

One of the concerns with replacing wheat, rye, and barley with rice is arsenic.

Arsenic in rice comes from the soil and the water. White rice has less arsenic than brown rice because of processing. But unless you’re eating way more rice than the average Asian, I can’t imagine that it would adversely affect your health significantly.

FDA scientists have determined that the levels of inorganic arsenic found in the samples are too low to cause immediate health damage.

FDA Explores Impact of Arsenic in Rice • 2013 Sep 6 • FDA

In the same vein, since the average Asian doesn’t really eat very much wheat, rye, or barley, I’m not sure that going gluten-free will harm you, except for the fact that it’s going to cost you way more money to eat if you’re buying things with “gluten-free” labels.

One caveat about the probiotics finding: they made a very specific conclusion in a very specific population: no significant change in fecal bacterial populations in healthy individuals.

Alterations in fecal microbiota composition by probiotic supplementation in healthy adults: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials • 2016 May 10 • Nadja B. Kristensen, Thomas Bryrup, Kristine H. Allin, Trine Nielsen, Tue H. Hansen, and Oluf Pedersen • BioMed Central

This doesn’t address changes in other locations (e.g., oral or vaginal) nor does it address changes in fungal populations.

Nor did they study populations with diseases where the use of probiotics was suggestive of a restorative effect.

In the study by Rampelli et al.… the effect of probiotic supplementation on age-related dysbiosis was also evaluated. The probiotic intervention reverted an age-related increase of Clostridium cluster Xi, C. difficile, C. perfringens, Enterococcus Faecium, and Campylobacter when comparing the probiotic and the placebo group to a common reference of eight young, healthy adults; but no direct comparison was made between treatment groups.”

It is concluded that there is little, if any, evidence of an effect of probiotic treatment in circumstances where the microbiota is unperturbed by pathophysiological processes or pharmaceutical treatment (antibiotics or chemotherapy), either concurrent with or prior to intervention. However, where dysbiosis is present or where the microbiota is perturbed, there is some evidence for a restorative or protective effect of certain strains of probiotics, both on the fecal microbial community itself, but more importantly, also on host physiology, e.g. alleviation of gastrointestinal symptoms.

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