Just for fun, I asked an AI engine to tell me about the relationship between gut health and electromagnetic fields (EMF). Here’s what the AI said: “There is no direct scientific evidence to suggest that electromagnetic fields (EMF) directly affect gut health in humans.”
Instead, the AI told me to eat a balanced diet rich in fiber and diverse nutrients to maintain a healthy gut. People have long reported anecdotal evidence of changes in bowel movements, stomach cramps, bloating and other gastrointestinal discomfort with EMF exposure. (The AI told me to consider other factors; it couldn’t possibly be EMF.)
So much for the AI. It was wrong. There is absolutely a connection.
We are surrounded by EMFs these days. The radiation is everywhere – in our computers, in our homes, in our cell phones, and in towers in our neighborhoods. EMF has certainly been linked to many negative health effects: headaches, cancer, fertility problems and neurological damage.
The brain is particularly vulnerable to EMF radiation. With the gut being called the “second brain” and with thousands of bacteria in the gut, why would we not investigate a causal link between EMF and gut health?
A Relationship Exists
While research is emerging, studies done to date do show a relationship between EMFs and gut health. And guess what? It is not a positive relationship. EMFs may be reducing the amount of good bacteria in the gut, and increasing levels of bad bacteria. Furthermore, EMFs may even be responsible for rendering pathogens as antibiotic resistant.
Several studies have been designed to look at EMF effects on specific bacteria. A 2021 study showed that EMF significantly changed proportions of six bacteria, including p_Firmicutes, p_Bacteroidota, g_Butyricicoccus and g_Anaerotruncus. Researchers noticed a subsequent disturbance of serum metabolites like D-mannose and cholesterol induced by exposure to EMF. Important metabolic pathways such as amino acid biosynthesis were involved. On a body scale, the EMF exposure led to fairly severe gut microbiota imbalance and reported symptoms of depression-like neurobehavioral disorders.
A similar study looked at two bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes and Escherichia coli, both of which were affected by EMF emitted from a common WiFi router and a GSM 900 MHz mobile phone. This study showed that bacteria exposed to EMF during a narrow exposure window became antiobiotic resistant. We know that as bacteria become more resistant, diseases become harder or even impossible to treat. The EMF actually changed the bacteria’s zone of inhibition. The zone became larger, meaning the bacteria become stronger.
Baylor University researchers also looked at E. coli, and additionally at two other bacteria, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus epidermis. They also studied how these bacteria, all of which are important in maintaining the skin as the first line of defense, responded to EMF radiation. The research team concluded that cell phone emitted EMF disrupted the human skin microbiota.
Researchers at the Marion Institute have shown that EMFs encourage growth of bad bacteria. They found that in the presence of EMF, cultures of beneficial bacteria have slower growth, allowing bad bacteria or pathogens to essentially take over. In one example, if too much E. coli grows in the gut, a person can have fever, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Over time, people can develop leaky gut syndrome or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Excess L. monocytogenes contributes to sepsis, meningitis and neonatal infections.
A research team from the University of Zurich found that low pulsing electromagnetic fields decreased the ratio of Firmicutes sp./Bacteroidetes sp. in the gut microbiome. Longer-term EMF exposure created metabolic adaptation.
Implications of the Research
The gut is the window to the world, so to speak, and an out-of-balance unhealthy gut can lead to bigger problems. Gut bacteria imbalance creates metabolic function issues and can contribute to weight problems. Three main gut bacteria – actinobacteria, bacteroidetes and firmicutes – are the main three involved in metabolic processes. These three oust bad bacteria in the gut and help develop the body’s immune functions. People who maintain a balanced ratio of this trio have normal weight, while obese individuals tend to have higher Firmicutes and fewer Bacteroidetes. Several Firmicutes species are associated with storage of abdominal fat around the midsection. A gut imbalance in the bacteria can also alter the gut’s ability to absorb nutrients and regulate blood sugar, both of which may lead to weight changes. Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine (SIBO) can lead to sudden weight loss; certain bacteria that normally grow in other parts of the gut start to grow in the small intestine, creating issues.
High blood sugar levels can originate from a microbiome imbalance and lead to diabetes. Researchers in 2015 showed that Staphylococcus aureus may be a factor in causing type 2 diabetes. The S. aureus creates a toxin, and when animals had prolonged exposure to that toxin, they developed inflammation, glucose intolerance and insulin resistance – the trio that indicates a telltale sign of diabetes. S. aureus is part of the body’s natural microbiome, but obesity does alter its levels in the gut. It is unclear whether EMF is involved in increasing S. aureus levels, but one study did link high levels of in utero EMF exposure with childhood obesity. Children with the EMF exposure had a 70% higher risk of developing obesity during childhood.
Gut microbiome imbalance can definitely lead to autoimmune disorders. The body will turn on itself and attack the body’s healthy cells, mistaking them for foreign invaders. What starts as an autoimmune response turns into an autoimmune disease over time. Research shows that some patients with autoimmune disease have higher levels of protein produced by the gut bacteria Bacteroides fragilis, indicating yet another type of gut microbiome imbalance.
Many people with gut imbalances suffer constant fatigue and sleep disturbances, creating a vicious cycle. Disturbances to the body’s natural circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle) can disrupt a healthy gut biome. A disturbed microbiome disrupts the body’s production of serotonin which can prevent quality sleep. A lack of sleep leads to bad gut health, and bad gut health leads to poor sleep. The two go hand in hand.
While more research is needed, the research findings to date suggest that EMF radiation likely disrupts bacteria in general, and when that happens, the balance or homeostasis in the gut is disrupted. This research could have far-reaching implications for human health because EMF load could be a hidden factor in many illnesses. Keep your gut healthy. There are many ways to nourish a healthy gut and maximize your microbiome. Limit or remove processed food and sugar. Also remove or limit inflammatory foods, such as gluten, soy, dairy, yeast and certain grains.
Certainly try to limit your exposure to EMF radiation. How many times have you been laying n the couch with your cell phone on your stomach? Remove electronics like laptops, tablets and phones from the bedroom. Since you spend one third of every day sleeping, removing bedroom electronics that constantly emit harmful radiation can be helpful. Even when these devices are not in use, they constantly emit harmful radiation. Use radiation shields or covers when you are using electronic devices.
Keep your gut healthy. It’s the only one you’ve got!
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Fed Up Texas Chick is a contributing writer for The Tenpenny Report. She’s a rocket scientist turned writer, having worked in the space program for many years. She is a seasoned medical writer and researcher who is fighting for medical freedom for all of us through her work.