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Escherichia coli (/ˌɛʃᵻˈrɪkiə ˈkoʊlaɪ/; also known as E. coli) is a gram-negative, facultatively anaerobic, rod-shaped bacterium of the genus Escherichia that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms (endotherms). Most E. coli strains are harmless, but some serotypes can cause food poisoning. It is the most common cause of travelers' diarrhea.
One strain, E. coli O157:H7, is only found naturally in of some cattle, goats, or sheep. It can cause a severe and sometimes deadly case of food poisoning, acute hemorrhagic diarrhea, in humans who ingest it and is usually responsible for product recalls due to E. coli food contamination. Children and elderly are especially susceptible to acute hemorrhagic diarrhea caused by E. coli O157:H7.  The 1993 Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak that affected 732 people resulted from undercooked hamburger patties contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.
The harmless strains are part of the normal flora of the gut, and can benefit their hosts by producing vitamin K2, and preventing colonization of the intestine with pathogenic bacteria. E. coli is expelled into the environment within fecal matter. The bacterium grows massively in fresh fecal matter under aerobic conditions for 3 days, but its numbers decline slowly afterwards.
ME and CFS[edit | edit source]
Most ME/CFS patients have E. coli levels that are only 20% of a normal person's. One study found the mean distribution of the gram-negative Escherichia coli as a percentage of the total aerobic flora of control subjects was 92.3% compared to 49% in chronic fatigue syndrome patients.
E. coli bacteria create an essential molecule ‘chorismate’, which is in turn, an essential precursor to the following:
- Folic acid
- Tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter, that mediates gut movement, and influences daytime positive mood, and many other functions. Serotonin is converted to melatonin at night, to encourage sleep.
- Tyrosine (essential for cognitive processes)
- Phenylalanine (a precursor to dopamine, essential for cognitive processes)
- Ubiquinol / CoQ10 (essential for energy production)
- Menaquinone / Vitamin K1, Vitamin K2 (people with IBS have an increased prevalence of vitamin K deficiency)
Probiotics[edit | edit source]
Learn more[edit | edit source]
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- "E coli enteritis: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia". medlineplus.gov. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
- Wikipedia - Escherichia coli
- Increased d-lactic Acid intestinal bacteria in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Sheedy JR, Wettenhall RE, Scanlon D, Gooley PR, Lewis DP, McGregor N, Stapleton DI, Butt HL, DE Meirleir KL In Vivo. 2009 Jul-Aug; 23(4):621-8.