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EvolutionMedicine Podcast #10

I spoke last week to Melissa Franklin, who wrote “Nutrient signaling, evolutionary origins of the immune modulating effects of fat” with me and Chris Kuzawa. She now teaches evolutionary medicine at Central New Mexico Community College here in Albuquerque. We talk about nutrient signaling, diet, and teaching evolutionary medicine in this podcast.

I summarized our argument on nutrient signaling here at the Evolution and Medicine Review.


Gut pathogens are killed by the detergent effects of fatty acids, particularly Omega-3 FA. These differences may drive natural selection leading to the evolution of signaling by these fats.

We argued that the presence of some (mostly saturated) fats sets off an “early warning system” in the body. When fats and other nutrients that encourage bacterial growth are eaten, the body prepares for unwelcome microbial guests with inflammation. And while that immune response may help fend off harmful microbes in the short term, long term ingestion of such fats could contribute to chronic inflammatory diseases.



From Alcock and Lin F1000 Research 2015

We talked about Andrea Graham of Princeton who is doing excellent work on parasites and the evolution of autoimmunity, particularly the anti-ANA antibodies found in the disease lupus. Read more about her interesting research here.

The EvolutionMedicine podcast is now on iTunes. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and give us a review. Thanks!




Categories: Uncategorized

Joe Alcock

Emergency Physician, Educator, Researcher, interested in the microbiome, evolution, and medicine

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