Of all the miraculous effects experienced upon restoring the gastrointestinal (GI) microbe lost by nearly all of us, Lactobacillus reuteri, I have not discussed the increase in muscle mass that occurs with re-implantation of this microbe, an effect mediated by the boost in the hormone, oxytocin.
We see this in animal experiments in which elderly mice with marked muscle atrophy—loss of muscle cells, shrunken muscle cells—have muscle restored to that approximating youthful mice, reversing the sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass) of aging. We saw this in our human clinical trial in which participants experienced a complete shift in body composition with loss of abdominal fat but increase in muscle mass. We also see this, though variably, in our real world L. reuteri yogurt experience. (Why is the response variable? Does full effect require microbial species to “collaborate” with L. reuteri? Variation in the oxytocin receptor? This is something I’d like to explore in future animal and human experiments we will conduct.)
Elabd 2014. On the left is a cross-section of muscle from an elderly mouse. On the right is a cross-section of muscle in an elderly mouse given supplemental oxytocin with obvious restoration of plump full-volume muscle cells indistinguishable from that of a young mouse.
I cannot stress how important it is to maintain youthful muscle mass. We lose approximately 35% of muscle as we age. You only need visit your nearest assisted living facility to see the end-result: atrophied arms and legs, difficulty standing up straight and walking, inability to climb stairs, frailty, susceptibility to falls and fractures, metabolic deterioration, loss of hormonal health—in a word, unhealthy aging accompanied by reliance on canes, walkers, scooters, wheelchairs and increased dependence on pharmaceuticals to compensate for deteriorating health. Can there be much satisfaction upon reaching, say, age 80 but dependent on help to get out of bed, use the toilet, a walker to get to the breakfast room, pharmaceuticals (e.g., metformin for blood sugar, beta blockers or ACE inhibitors for hypertension, Vascepa for high triglycerides, Namenda for cognitive decline, and all the other awful products that represent little more than Band-Aids for aging)?
Nearly all conventional methods for losing weight make the situation worse. If you lose weight by reducing calories, or via prescription drugs including the absurd craze over GLP-1 agonists like Ozempic, Wegovy, or Mounjaro, or bariatric procedures like lap-band or gastric bypass, about 25-40% of weight loss is muscle loss. If you lost, say, 50 pounds, you have lost about 17-20 pounds of muscle, a huge loss responsible for a major downturn in overall health. And, when (not if, as weight regain is the rule with all of these methods) you regain the lost weight, most of it is fat, not muscle and you are unhealthier than you were at the start. Just watch as this craze over GLP-1 agonists and bariatric procedures proceeds and people realize that they have been hoodwinked for the financial benefit of the healthcare system.
I experienced the restoration of youthful muscle personally when I first restored L. reuteri via my unique method of prolonged fermentation to generate hundreds of billions of bacterial counts. Tracking body composition via a bioimpedance scale, I gained 13 pounds over the first three weeks of consumption accompanied by a reduction in waist circumference. I am not particularly fond of going to the gym, so I go about once per week for 15-20 minutes to use the weight machines. I typically handled weights like 130 pounds in a lat pulldown for 10 repetitions. This promptly increased to 200 pounds for 10 repetitions, weight I had last handled 40+ years earlier at age 19. My suspicion is that the boost in oxytocin experienced with restoration of L. reuteri means you experience restoration of muscle you had when you were younger—if you were more heavily muscled during your younger years, you are likely to regain more muscle than other people. If you were an athlete, for instance, and enjoyed greater strength and muscle mass at age 18 or 20, you are likely to experience a larger effect than other people. I saw this play out, for instance, in a scientist and former special forces soldier who I hadn’t seen in a few years. At age 67, he was quite heavily muscled, certainly more than you’d expect for someone his age. I asked if he’d been working out and he told me that he was incapable of strength training since he damaged both shoulders years earlier, not even capable of doing a single pushup, even though he looked like he spent hours a week at the gym. But he was engaged in the L. reuteri yogurt and its oxytocin boost.
Combine the restoration of L. reuteri with collagen peptides that you were supposed to ingest by consuming organs and boiling the carcass of animals and you have a spectacularly effective method of restoring youthful body composition.
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