Gut flora “the second brain” connects Eastern and Western medicine: intestinal hyper-permeability or Qi deficiency can affect brain, mind, and whole body

Naoki Umeda


There are two famous “the Father of Modern Medicine”—Hippocrates (a Greek physician) said “all disease begins in the gut” and Sir William Osler (a Canadian physician) said “a man is as old as his arteries.” It is known that gut microbiota imbalance (dysbiosis) and intestinal hyper-permeability are related to high level of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) which damage blood vessel’s endothelial function and potentially cause multi-organ dysfunction. On the other hand, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctors already knew the importance of digestive system thousands of years ago since the production of “Qi” which is vital energy for whole body largely rely on abdominal condition, and Qi deficiency triggers multiple mental and physical symptoms. It may sound two leading Integrative Medicine (IM) systems, Western IM and TCM use “different languages,” but it is not well known that their essence is very similar (illness is a result of “dis-ease” or “dysfunction of Qi.”). Genome analysis technology, such as DNA sequencing and microbiota researches have enabled us to understand how intestinal dysbiosis is related to obesity, metabolic syndrome, brain disorders, autoimmune diseases, or mood disorders (Brain-Mind-Gut axis). In addition, making the most of artificial intelligence’s (AI) “deep learning” technology might be a potential “prescription” to heal worldwide medical-economical crisis, spend more time with patients (for medical providers), and prevent providers’ burnout. AI-assisted TCM-style history taking computer and portable wrist pulse diagnostic device are about to be used in China. In the new era of preventive medicine, gut microbiota research, precision medicine with genome analysis, AI technology and TCM ancient wisdom can be combined together. Blending the new and the old will make it possible to detect and treat “pre-clinical disease” before real diseases happen since Western IM and TCM are actually using a “same language.”