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New study shows vaping is better than smoking for gut bacteria

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Forget about the probiotic yogurt because new research shows that vaping helps manage gut bacteria far more effectively than smoking. In fact, the propylene glycol found in most e-liquids is a well-documented antibacterial known to regulate both oral and gastrointestinal bacterial just as efficiently as non-smokers.

As far back as the 1940s, a world-class scientist by the name of Dr. Theodore Puck indicated that vaporized propylene glycol kills multiple forms of airborne bacteria including pneumococci, streptococci, and staphylococci. So, the notion that e-cig vapor also provides therapeutic, probiotic benefits doesn’t seem so far-fetched. A group of forward-thinking scientists in the UK have just finalized the first in what they hope to be a long series of studies in the very field of research.

The Newcastle University gastrointestinal study on vaping vs. smoking

Led by Newcastle University’s Dr. Christopher Stewart of the Institute of Cellular Medicine, the scientists began by selecting a control group of thirty participants comprised of 10 smokers, 10 vapers, and 10 non-smokers. Throughout the course of the trail, biomarker samples of fecal, buccal, and saliva were collected and evaluated for corresponding levels of both good and bad gut bacteria. Extensive V4 16S rRNA gene sequencing was also part of the research.

What the Stewart team was able to determine is that measurable gastrointestinal bacterial levels of the vaping group were similar to those of the non-smoking group. Meanwhile, the smokers exhibited harmful amounts of prevotella, bacteroides, and other microbes. The excess quantities of prevotella found in smokers, for example, is proven to be an early warning sign of possible colon cancer. Meanwhile, the lower level of bacteroides commonly associated with smokers is often an early indicator of Chron’s Disease.

“In summary, we found that tobacco smoking significantly alters the bacterial profiles in feces, buccal, and saliva samples. Compared to controls, exposure to ECs had no effect on the oral or gut communities. Changes in the gut microbiota of tobacco smokers were associated with increased relative abundance of Prevotella and decreased relative abundance of Bacteroides. From a microbial ecology perspective, this study supports the perception that ECs represent a safer alternative to tobacco smoking.”

The Newhouse University study entitled Effects of tobacco smoke and electronic cigarette vapor exposure on the oral and gut microbiota in humans: a pilot study is the first of its kind to evaluate the possible effects of vaping on the bacterial health of the digestive system. However, the scientists also note that this single study is not 100% conclusive. Further research is required, perhaps involving a larger control group of participants. The research is readily available via the Peerj.   

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