Post-Biotics May Help Shield Obese From Diabetes

Gerald J. Joseph, B.S. M.Ed Health Coach 

April 20, 2017
McMaster University
It was previously thought that bacteria only caused problems such as higher inflammation and higher blood glucose. But this is only half of the story. Now researchers have discovered that a specific component of bacteria actually lowers blood glucose and allows insulin to work better during obesit

You’ve heard of pre-biotics and pro-biotics, but now you’ll be hearing a lot more about post-biotics. Researchers at McMaster University have begun to identify how post-biotics, or the by-products of bacteria, lower blood glucose and allow insulin to work better.

Jonathan Schertzer, assistant professor of biochemistry and biomedical sciences and senior author of a paper published by Cell Metabolism, explains it this way: “We know that gut bacteria, often called the microbiome, send inflammation signals that change how well insulin works to lower blood glucose.

“It was previously thought that bacteria only caused problems such as higher inflammation and higher blood glucose. But this is only half of the story. We discovered that a specific component of bacteria actually lowers blood glucose and allows insulin to work better during obesity.

“Understanding how different parts of bacteria control glucose could lead to new therapies that avoid some of the problems with pro-biotics or pre-biotics. We have found a “post-biotic” that lowers blood glucose during obesity.”

This work is important as more than half of Canadians are overweight or obese, which leads to higher levels of blood insulin and glucose. These features of prediabetes can lead to type 2 diabetes.

“But we haven’t understood what triggers elevated blood glucose,” said Schertzer. “This is significant because only some individuals with obesity develop prediabetes. Blood glucose is influenced by our genes, the food we eat, and the bacteria in our gut.”

His research team is working to develop new bacterial-based drugs to lower blood glucose and combat prediabetes before type 2 diabetes develops. At this time, they have had success in trials with mice with a drug currently used for osteosarcoma, a bone cancer.

In The End

Because the health of our gut is closely tied to many other bodily functions, prebiotics and probiotics together are important for battling inflammation and lowering overall disease risk.

Remember, that when it comes to supporting your microbiome and maintaining a healthy gut, keep your eye on the big picture. Eat a nutrient-dense high plant-food diet, limit or avoid processed foods, reduce grains, meat, fowl and dairy and consider other lifestyle changes that you can afford to make in order to better your health such as walking everyday and hydrating.


Gerald J. Joseph HealthCoach 

Journal Reference:

  1. Joseph F. Cavallari, Morgan D. Fullerton, Brittany M. Duggan, Kevin P. Foley, Emmanuel Denou, Brennan K. Smith, Eric M. Desjardins, Brandyn D. Henriksbo, Kalvin J. Kim, Brian R. Tuinema, Jennifer C. Stearns, David Prescott, Philip Rosenstiel, Brian K. Coombes, Gregory R. Steinberg, Jonathan D. Schertzer. Muramyl Dipeptide-Based Postbiotics Mitigate Obesity-Induced Insulin Resistance via IRF4Cell Metabolism, 2017; DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2017.03.021


Gerald J. Joseph, B.S., M.Ed HealthCoach 

Plant-Based Diets, Do They Work?

There is compelling data from nutritional studies, population surveys, and interventional studies which support the effectiveness of a plant-based diet and aggressive lipid-lowering abilities to arrest, prevent, and selectively reverse heart disease.

In many of the most advanced countries in the world, who citizens have easy access to plentiful high fat animal based foods; ironically, it is this rich diet that produces atherosclerosis and can lead to a fatal heart disease, type II diabetes and obesity.

In the world’s poorer nations, many people subsist on a high plant-based diet and walk many miles daily, which is far healthier, then consuming a Western American diet especially in terms of heart disease. Dr. Esselstyn, MD findings are that plant-based diets, free of all animal products and vegetable fats can and do reverse cardiovascular disease including re-opening up narrowing arteries.

To stave off death by a few extra years, a vegetarian diet appears to be superior to a non-vegetarian one, according to results of a study of more than 73,000 people published today (June 3) in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The study, the largest of its kind, compared the longevity of meat eaters to that of four types of vegetarians: Vegans, who eat no animal products; lacto-ovo–vegetarians, who consume dairy products and eggs; pesco-vegetarians, who eat fish but rarely meat; and semi-vegetarians, who eat meat no more than once weekly.

The winners, in terms of cheating death the longest, were the Pesco-Vegetarians, followed by Vegans, and then the lacto-ovo-vegetarians. The vegetarian groups, on average, had a 12 percent lower risk of dying over the study period compared to meat eaters.

The study participants were all members of the Seventh-Day Adventist church.The researchers, led by Dr. Michael J. Orlich of Loma Linda University in California (a Seventh-Day Adventist institution), analyzed the diets of 73,308 Seventh-Day Adventists. Among the participants, 2,570 died within about six years of the initial data collection.

Those most likely to have died were the meat eaters. The Pesco-Vegetarians were 19 percent less likely to die over the study period than the meat eaters, and vegans were 15 percent less likely. Men benefited more than women from the vegetarian diet.

The strengths of the study were that it demonstrated that Vegan and other vegetarian diets are safe and that a range of vegetarian diets — from strict to somewhat lax — appears to be healthier than a diet dominated by processed foods and meats, according to Dr. Robert Baron of the University of California, San Francisco, who wrote an editorial accompanying the new findings in the journal.


(1) Resolving the Coronary Artery Disease Epidemic through Plant-Based Nutrition, Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., MD, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio, Preventive Cardiology 2001; 4: 171-177


Gerald J. Joseph, B.S., M.Ed. HealthCoach 

The Blue Zones

Blue Zones are regions of the world where people live much longer than average. The term first appeared in the November 2005 National Geographic magazine cover story “The Secrets of a Long Life” by Dan Buettner.

The Island Where People Forget To Die, Ikaria Greece

Health researchers have long praised the Mediterranean diet for promoting mind, body health and preventing chronic diseases syndromes. The people on Ikaria, a small island in the Aegean Sea, are an example for the rest of the world to follow.

Ikaria Greece

The tradition of preparing foods in Ikaria Greece has a lot to do with the island’s longevity, and what sets it apart from other places in the region, it emphasizes potatoes, goat’s milk, honey, legumes such as garbanzo beans, black-eyed peas, wild greens, some fruit and relatively small amounts of fish.

The Ikaria population has other foods like feta cheese, lemons and herbs like sage and marjoram that Ikarians use in their daily tea. What’s missing that we usually associate with Greece? Lamb.

The Ikarians do eat some goat meat, but not often, they consume large amounts of plant-based food which includes fiber, they are active and have a great social network of family.

The key to understanding the health benefits of the Ikaria diet is that the populations walks daily, they consume food from a mineral rich landscape and from animals that feed on the mineral rich grasses and they have a reason to live.

Okinawa Japan

The islands of Okinawa are unique in its isolation, beaches and great weather. Okinawa also happens to have one of the highest centenarian ratios in the world:

About 6.5 in 10,000 people live to 100 (compare that with 1.73 in 10,000 in the U.S.) Centenarians on Okinawa have lived through a lot of upheaval, so their dietary stories are more complicated than some of the other Blue Zones.

Many healthful Okinawan food traditions foundered mid-century as Western influence brought about changes in food habits especially after 1949 with the large influences of the Western American diet was introduced as service men from America began to live on the island.

Okinawans began eating fewer healthful staples like seaweed, turmeric and sweet potato and more rice, milk and meat. Still, Okinawans have nurtured the practice of eating something from the land and the sea every day which is a great strategy and lifestyle.

Among their favorite foods are bitter melons, tofu, garlic, brown rice, green tea and shitake mushrooms.

Sardinia, Italy

Located on a beautiful island in the middle of the Mediterrean, the ratio of centenarian men to women is one to one. That’s quite unusual, because in the rest of the world, it’s five women to every one man who live that long.

The sharp pecorino cheese made from the milk of grass-fed sheep in Sardinia, has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. The Sardinians explain their exceptional longevity with their assets such as “clean air,” “locally produced wine,” or because they “make love every Sunday.”

But when you dig deeper, they found that pastoralism, or shepherding livestock from the mountains to the plains, was most highly correlated with reaching 100. So what are those ancient Sardinian shepherds eating? You guessed it: goat’s milk and sheep’s cheese — some 15 pounds of cheese per year, on average.

Also, a moderate amount of carbs to go with it, like flat bread, sourdough bread and barley. And to balance those two food groups out, Sardinian centenarians also eat plenty of fennel, fava beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, almonds, milk thistle tea and wine from Grenache grapes. Fish also makes up a part of the island diet.

Loma Linda, California

There’s a Blue Zone community in the U.S. and its located in Loma Linda California. Its members are Seventh-day Adventists who do not smoke, drink and dance and avoid TV, movies and other media distractions.

The Blue Zones research shows that adherents of the Adventist diet, which is mostly plant-based, have lowest rates of heart disease and diabetes in the U.S. and very low rates of obesity. They also follow a “biblical” diet focused on grains, fruits, nuts and vegetables, and drink only water. Some Seventh-day Adventists do eat small amounts of meat and fish.

Sugar is taboo, the community members are very much against sugar except natural sources like fruit, dates or figs.

Gary Fraser, a cardiologist and epidemiologist at Loma Linda University and an Adventist himself, has found in studies that Adventists who follow the religion’s teachings lived about 10 years longer than people who didn’t.

Another key insight? Pesco-vegetarians in the community, who ate a plant-based diet with up to one serving of fish a day, lived longer than vegan Adventists. Their top foods include avocados, salmon, nuts, beans, oatmeal, whole wheat bread and soy milk.

Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

The centenarian who live on the Costa rican Peninsula of Nicoya, eat lots of of rice and beans, garnished with cheese and cilantro, on corn tortillas, with an egg on top.

“The big secret of the Nicoyan diet was the ‘three sisters’ of Meso-American agriculture: beans, corn and squash.” Those three staples, plus papayas, yams, bananas and peach palms (a small Central American oval fruit high in vitamins A and C), are what fuel the region’s elders over the century.

The Gerald J. Joseph Nutrition Program

The Gerald J. Joseph Nutrition Program is a shift in the prevention and treatment of chronic disease syndromes, such as heart disease, type II diabetes and obesity.

My nutrition protocols are designed to reverse malnutrition which can be defined as the insufficient, excessive or imbalanced consumption of nutrients which can manifest in chronic disease disorders depending on which nutrients are lacking or consumed in excess.

My thesis centers on returning to a more primitive hunter-gather diet and a persistence exercise strategy which will achieve measurable improvements in health in a relatively short period of time.

By examining the very best parts of the evidence-based science around both the Plant-Based and Blue Zone diets, I have fused them into one nutrition program that is delicious, satiating, affordable, easy to prepare, fun to consume and produces substantial reduction in cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes and obesity.

My objective is always to provide a scientific rational and guidelines to steer people away from the Western America diet which has been facilitated by what is call an “evolutionary clash and or a discordance. ”

Simple put, our ancient genome has not had the time to adapt with the nutritional qualities of recently introduced foods (grains, sugar, trans-fat, altered animal proteins) that may underlie many of the chronic diseases facing our global civilization where the Western American diet has been introduced.

By returning to a simpler ancestral hunter-gatherer diet, one high in plant based foods such as, vegetables, root vegetables, whole fruits, bulbs, legumes, raw nuts, seeds and moderate amounts of marine and animal proteins, very low in grains and dairy, and a few measured steps everyday, we can prevent and reverse most if not all manmade chronic disease syndromes.


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[2] Salas-Salvado J, et al. Effect of a Mediterranean Diet Supplemented With Nuts on Metabolic Syndrome Status. JAMA Internal Medicine, 2008.

[3] Montserrat F, et al. Effect of a Traditional Mediterranean Diet on Lipoprotein Oxidation. JAMA Internal Medicine, 2007.

[4] Salas-Salvado J, et al. Reduction in the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes With the Mediterranean Diet: Results of the PREDIMED-Reus nutrition intervention randomized trial.Diabetes Care, 2011.

[5] Estruch R, et al. Effects of a Mediterranean-Style Diet on Cardiovascular Risk Factors. Annals of Internal medicine, 2006.

[6] Ferre GM, et al. Frequency of nut consumption and mortality risk in the PREDIMED nutrition intervention trial. BMC Medicine, 2013.

[7] De Lorgeril M, et al. Mediterranean Diet, Traditional Risk Factors, and the Rate of Cardiovascular Complications After Myocardial Infarction: Final Report of the Lyon Diet Heart Study. Circulation, 1999.

[8] Esposito K, et al. Effect of a Mediterranean-Style Diet on Endothelial Dysfunction and Markers of Vascular Inflammation in the Metabolic Syndrome. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 2004.

[9] Shai I, et al. Weight Loss with a Low-Carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or Low-Fat Diet. The New England Journal of Medicine, 2008.

[10] Esposito K, et al. Effects of a Mediterranean-Style Diet on the Need for Antihyperglycemic Drug Therapy in Patients With Newly Diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2009.