Tag Archives: Probiotics

In Response to “Do Probiotics Really Work?” (Scientific American, July 2017)

 

Source: Time Magazine

 

An article titled “Do Probiotics Really Work? in the current (July 2017) issue of Scientific American really irked me so I decided to send a Letter to the Editor responding to it. Since the chances my letter will get printed are slim and I think it addresses several important issues, I’m putting it into this post.

Continue reading In Response to “Do Probiotics Really Work?” (Scientific American, July 2017)

Psychobiotics for Anxiety and Depression

 

 

Source: Gut Health Project

 

It may strain the imagination to hear that several pounds of organisms live inside your gastrointestinal tract and that they are in constant communication with your brain, but it’s true. Actually, the communication is two way – gut to brain and brain to gut – and operates via biochemical signaling. This process is called the gut-brain axis. The gut microbiome is so so important to the body’s functioning it’s often now referred to as our second brain.
Recent research has also demonstrated that our mood is greatly affected by certain bacteria living in our gut microbiome. These bacteria profoundly influence how anxious or depressed we are. Having lots of friendly probiotic bacteria in there exerts anxiety-reducing and antidepressant effects on our emotions and physical bodies.
Fortunately for us, there is an emerging field of neuroscience called psychobiotics that is studying how changing the bacterial composition in the gut affects the brain. (Atlay, 2016)
Psychobiotics researchers are beginning to identify which probiotics have psychotropic (mind-altering) effects – boosting mood and cognitive function; decreasing stress, anxiety, and depression.
Functional Medicine doc Kelly Brogan, along with numerous others, is convinced that mood disorders and many other psychiatric problems are the result of imbalances and chronic inflammation in the gut microbiome and that psychobiotics will become the treatment of choice for mood disorders and will also be used to prevent them. She wrote:
“For two decades now, pioneering researchers have been substantiating inflammatory models of mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.  Research has focused on markers that indicate immune distress in an important subset of patients, many of whom are labeled “treatment resistant.” Through this body of literature, we have identified that depression can be induced, in animals and in humans through inflammatory agents, that it is correlated with blood levels of inflammatory markers, in a linear way (more markers = worse depression), and that symptoms can be reversed through pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories.” (Brogan, 2014)

 

 

Source: Mercola

 

The well respected scientists who authored an article called Psychobiotics and the Manipulation of Bacteria–Gut–Brain Signals published a few months ago in Trends in Neurosciences believe that prebiotics (nondigestible plant fibers that nourish our probiotics) should also be included as actors in the gut-brain communication process and propose the diagram below to show how it all works (Sarkar, 2016):

 

Systems-Level Overview of Psychobiotic Action

Trends in Neuroscience

 

If you’re interested in a deeper understanding of how the process works, take a look at this explanation of the diagram provided by the authors:

“Probiotics directly introduce beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria into the gut. Prebiotics (e.g., galacto-oligosaccharides) support the growth of such bacteria. SCFAs and gut hormones: Both probiotics and prebiotics increase production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which interact with gut mucosal enteroendocrine cells and catalyse the release of gut hormones such as cholecystokinin (CCK), peptide tyrosine tyrosine (PYY) and glucagon-like peptide- 1 (GLP-1). Prebiotics may have stronger effects in this regard in comparison to probiotics. SCFAs and gut hormones enter circulation and can migrate into the central nervous system. Gut hormones are also secreted by tissues other than enteroendocrine cells. Neurotransmitters: psychobiotics enhance neurotransmitter production in the gut, including dopamine (DA), serotonin (5-HT), noradrenaline (NA), and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which likely modulate neurotransmission in the proximal synapses of the enteric nervous system. Vagal connections: the vagus nerve synapses on enteric neurons and enables gut–brain communication. Stress, barrier function, and cytokines: barrier dysfunction is exacerbated through stress-induced glucocorticoid exposure. This enables migration of bacteria with pro-inflammatory components, increasing inflammation directly and also triggering a rise in pro-inflammatory cytokines via the immunogenic response. These cytokines impair the integrity of the blood–brain barrier and permit access to potentially pathogenic or inflammatory elements. Pro-inflammatory cytokines (red circles) also reduce the integrity of the gut barrier. Psychobiotic action restores gut barrier function and decreases circulating concentrations of glucocorticoids and pro-inflammatory cytokines. They also increase concentrations of anti-inflammatory cytokines (blue circles), which enhance integrity of the blood–brain barrier, the gut barrier, and reduce overall inflammation. Cytokines clustering at the brain represent cytokine interaction with the blood–brain barrier. Central lymphatic vessels: cytokines may interact more directly with the brain than previously appreciated through the recently discovered central lymphatic vessels.” (Sarkar, 2016)

 

 

 

THE GUT-BRAIN AXIS AND MOOD

The gut microbiome and the brain, working together via the gut-brain axis, are jointly responsible for maintaining health in the body – including mental health. If a body has an unbalanced gut microbiome containing too few or unbalanced probiotics and prebiotics (dysbiosis) – because its owner consumes a nutritionally impoverished diet, has taken antibiotics that have killed off many probiotics in the gut, has been exposed to toxins, and/or isn’t doing a good job managing stress, the body’s intestinal lining may become too porous (a condition called leaky gut), creating chronic inflammation in the body and eventually a series of autoimmune diseases – and apparently mood disorders too.
In the diagram above from the Sarkar article, blue arrows indicate psychobiotic processes and effects, while red arrows indicate processes associated with leaky gut and chronic inflammation.

 

 

 

RESEARCH FINDINGS ON PSYCHOBIOTICS FOR ANXIETY & DEPRESSION

 

Source: Organic Sunshine
Here are some intriguing results from research studies on probiotics’ and prebiotics’ effects on anxiety and depression:
A 30-day human study found these two probiotics helpful for reducing anxiety as compared to a placebo (Sarkar, 2016)
  • Lactobacillus helveticus R0052
  • Bifidobacterium longum
A mixture of these probiotics compared to a placebo, taken for four weeks, substantially reduced depression in human subjects (Sarkar, 2016)
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum W23
  • Bifidobacterium lactis W52
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus W37
  • Lactobacillus brevis W63
  • Lactobacillus casei W56
  • Lactobacillus salivarius W24
  • Lactococcus lactis W19 and W58
In a study of academic stress, healthy medical students took either this probiotic or a placebo for eight weeks before an exam. The day before the exam, plasma cortisol was substantially lower in the probiotic group  compared to the placebo group. (Sarkar, 2016):
  • Lactobacillus casei Shirota
In another study, student athletes who were given this probiotic had elevated mood and reduced natural killer cell activity after strenuous exercise, relative to placebo:
  • Lactobacillus gasseri OLL2809 LG2809
When the probiotic was taken along with this protein in milk,
  • Alpha-lactalbumin
the students also experienced less fatigue. (Sarkar, 2016)
Irritable bowel syndrome is known to be associated with disturbances in the gut-brain axis and composition of the gut microbiome. IBS is a chronic inflammatory condition and is  often accompanied by anxiety and depression. After human study participants with IBS consumed this probiotic,  their level of inflammation was reduced (as measured by the ratio of interleukin-10 to interleukin-12), compared to those who took a placebo  (Sarkar, 2016):
  • Bifidobacterium infantis 35624
In a clinical trial of people with major depressive disorder, patients were given these probiotics:
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus (2 billion CFUs)
  • Lactobacillus casei (2 billion CFUs)
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum (2 billion CFUs)
Compared with placebo, the people who took the probiotics were less depressed at the end of the eight week study  and also had significant decreases in systemic inflammation, reduced insulin resistance, and a significant rise in glutathione (the body’s master anti-oxidant). (University Health News, 2016)
A study looking at the effects of these probiotics (given as Probio’Stick®) on anxiety, depression, stress, and coping strategies in healthy human volunteers found a reduction of psychological distress (particularly depression, anger/hostility, and anxiety) and improved problem solving ability at the end of the 30 day study (University Health News, 2016):
  • Lactobacillus helveticus R0052
  • Bifidobacterium longum R0175
Harrington states, “For anyone experiencing anxiety and/or depression, regular supplementation with this probiotic combination seems a natural and worthwhile practice. It is conceivable that such supplementation could reduce reliance on prescription medications and deliver freedom from the burdens of these common mental illnesses.” (Harrington, 2016)
Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome were given either this probiotic or a placebo daily for two months. The people who took the probiotic experienced a significant decrease in anxiety (University Health News, 2016):
  • Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota (24 billion colony forming units)
Animal studies have shown that this probiotic reduces depression by increasing dopamine and serotonin. This same probiotic decreased cortisol and increased dopamine and serotonin, normalizing the stress response system in depressed mice subjected to early-life stress  (University Health News, 2016):
  • Lactobacillus plantarum strain PS128
These two probiotics have been shown to reduce anxiety-like behavior and improve performance on cognitive tests in anxious mice (University Health News, 2016):
  • Bifidobacterium longum 1714
  • Bifidobacterium breve 1205
The same probiotic shown to help people with chronic fatigue syndrome has also been shown to help humans and lab animals undergoing other kinds of stress. This probiotic (consumed as kefir, a fermented milk drink that’s loaded with a variety of probiotics) prevented stress-related cortisol increases and raised serotonin levels in stressed medical students. The kefir also decreased stress-related physical symptoms such as abdominal pain and colds (University Health News, 2016):
  • Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota
Animal studies have also identified other probiotics that reduce stress-related depression and anxiety by affecting serotonin, cortisol, and other neuroactive compounds. These two, in combination, normalized anxious behaviors along with learning and memory impairments in immune-deficient rats (University Health News, 2016):
  • Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 combined with Lactobacillus rhamnosus R0011
This probiotic was more effective than the SSRI citalopram (Celexa) in reducing stress-induced anxiety, depression, and cognitive dysfunction in rats. It lowered their cortisol and restored their serotonin and other brain neurochemical levels back to normal (University Health News, 2016):
  • Lactobacillus helveticus NS8
Prebiotics, like probiotics, have also been identified as regulators of mood and brain function. A recent study found that this prebiotic decreased the secretion of the stress hormone cortisol and improved emotional processing and lowered anxiety in healthy human volunteers (University Health News, 2016):
  • Bimuno-galactooligosaccharides, B-GOS
A study of people with IBS, who typically have decreased microbial diversity in their gut microbiomes and often suffer from anxiety, found that daily consumption of this prebiotic mixture for four weeks reduced their anxiety (University Health News, 2016):
  • a galactooligosaccharide-containing prebiotic mixture in powder form
An informative article called 10 Best Probiotics For Depression & Anxiety: Gut-Brain Axis Modification names the following as the most helpful probiotics for mood regulation, describes their functions in the body, presents relevant research results from studies in which they were used as psychobiotics, and recommends some specific probiotic products. The first nine in the list are probiotics; the 10th is a prebiotic:
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus helveticus
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Bifidobacterium animalis
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Bifidobacterium infantis
  • Bifidobacterium breve
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Transgalactooligosaccharides
The article also discusses pathogenic bacteria that may CAUSE anxiety and depression:
  • Citrobacter rodentium
  • Campylobacter jejuni
  • Clostridium
  • Enterococcus faecalis
Interestingly, these pathogenic bacteria have also been found to be associated with other serious physical problems, including GI disease, stress-induced memory dysfunction, autism, chronic fatigue syndrome, and heart valve damage.

 

 

COMMERCIAL PSYCHOBIOTIC  SUPPLEMENTS

If your interest in the relationship between the probiotics in your gut microbiome and your mood has been piqued, perhaps you want to pick out one or more of the probiotics mentioned above to experiment with. Start with the one that interests you most and take it for a month so it has a chance to  colonize in your gut.
If deliberately encouraging a strain of bacteria to colonize your gut sounds too much like a scary science fiction movie, please remember that we’re talking about GOOD (probiotic) bacteria, ones that create health in the body, not HARMFUL (pathologic)  bacteria that create illness.

 

Source: Happy Oligo
Here are a few commercially available probiotic supplements that provide  psychobiotic and other benefits:

 

Life Extension Florassist Mood Capsules

This supplement contains 3 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) of a blend of two probiotic strains demonstrated to improve mood, reduce perceived stress, and promote relaxation in humans.
  • Lactobacillus Helveticas strain R0052
  • Bifid bacterium longum strain R0175
“Research suggests specific probiotics positively influence biochemical signaling between the gastrointestinal tract and the nervous system- resulting in positive effects on mood.” (Amazon.com, 2017)

Contains milk and soybeans. The ingredients may be from GMO sources.
Life Extension  says this about the GMO issue:
“Q. Should I be concerned with the usage of genetically modified plants (GMOs)?
“A. Soybeans are an example of a crop that has used extensive genetic engineering to increase crop yield. The reality is that soybean oil and soy lecithin are highly processed derivatives of soy … far removed from their soy origin. Genetic modification doesn’t alter the entire plant… only a specific gene. Thus, specific molecules like soy lecithin are the same whether they come from a GMO or non-GMO soy source. However, due to our sensitivity to customer concerns, products with corn and soy-based active ingredients are in process of having the labels updated to list when soy and corn-derived active ingredients have been certified to be from non-GM food crops. As the labels are updated the information will be transferred to the product descriptions on our website and directory. Currently Life Extension already offers several premium quality non-GMO soy isoflavone extract products.” (Life Extension, 2017)

 

 

Hyperbiotics PRO-15 Probiotics Time-Release Micro-Pearls

 

At time of manufacture, contains 5 billion Colony Forming Units per BIO-tract pearl,  equivalent to 75 billion CFU. Contains a minimum of 1.5 CFU at time of expiration date.
The 15 Group, B. (2015). biotic strains in this  supplement are:
  • Lactobacillus plantarum – Secretes the oxidant hydrogen peroxide which acts as a weapon to protect your body and must be present for your immune system to function correctly. Creates a healthy barrier in your colon and helps lower luminal pH, creating an unfavorable environment for the growth of pathogens including molds, yeasts and bacteria.
  • Lactobacillus fermentum –  highly antimicrobial and antioxidative. Helps inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, yeast and other pathogens and has demonstrated clinical efficacy within immune health.
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus – Creates a fortress of good colonies that helps keep unwanted organisms out of your gut. Studies show that L. acidophilus helps to reduce occasional diarrhea and enhances your immune system and may help to reduce cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that those taking L. acidophilus experienced significantly more relief from their gastrointestinal discomfort than did those taking a placebo.
  • Bifidobacterium Infantis – Has been shown to reduce the major symptoms of GI disorders, including diarrhea, flatulence, bloating, cramping and constipation. It is particularly popular as a means of combating Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and has been shown to improve digestion and the body’s ability to absorb and process nutrients.
  • Lactobacillus casei – Along with L. Acidolphilus, converts lactose into lactic acid, helping those who are lactose intolerant. Helps to encourage the growth of other beneficial bacteria.
  • Bifidobacterium longum – Assists in breaking down carbohydrates and fighting free radicals. Provides potent antioxidant support and helps reduce the effects of seasonal allergens.
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus – Helps reduce occurrences of traveler’s diarrhea and food poisoning.
  • Bifidobacterium lactis – Helps decrease H. pylori (a bacterium associated with the majority of stomach ulcers) and helps the production of the front line cells in your immune system.
  • Lactobacillus reuteri – Improves cholesterol levels, reduces H. plyori, protects female urinary tract and vaginal health and aids infants’ GI health.
  • Lactobacillus salivarius – Helps with GI problems (especially diarrhea caused by antibiotics), helps lactose-intolerant people digest dairy. It may lower cholesterol and blood pressure, maintain dental health, help with IBS, and boost the immune system.
  • Lactobacillus paracasei – Is key for digestive function, boosts the immune system, and energy levels, resolves infant diarrhea. It may help fight infections and relieve symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Lactobacillus gasseri – May speed up metabolism and encourage weight loss, protect against harmful organisms, lower cholesterol, reduce allergic response, ease symptoms of asthma in children, and lessen menstrual pain in women with endometriosis.
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum – Protects the intestinal lining from damage from toxins and pathological germs. Produces important vitamins like B12, biotin, and K2. Helps digest sugar and reduces incidence of colds and flu.
  • Bifidobacterium breve – Protects colon function, alleviates constipation, reduces gas and diarrhea. Stimulates the immune system, inhibits E. coli and suppresses the fungus Candida. Ferments sugars and produces acetic and lactic acids. Helps digest plant  fibers typically thought of as undigestible. May reduce intestinal irritation and allergic responses.
  • Streptococcus thermopholus – Breaks down lactose into lactic acid and helps boost the immune system. May lower the risk of colon cancer. May protect intestinal tissues from irritation during chemotherapy . Correlates with better growth in children.
plus 25 mg of prebiotic:
  • Fructooligosaccharides (FOS)
This supplement is vegetarian; non-GMO; and free of yeast, lactose, soy, iron, gluten, wheat, nuts, preservatives, sugar, and artificial colors or flavors.
 – Information provided by Hyperbiotics on Amazon.com (2017), Dr Edward Group at Global Healing Center (2015A-F), and Examine.com (2011-2017).

 

 

Jarrow Formulas Ideal Bowel Support 299v Capsules

 

This supplement contains a single probiotic strain:
  • Lactobacillus plantarum 299v
Each veggie cap contains 10 billion viable cells of L. plantarum 299v, a clinically-documented, human-origin probiotic strain that resists stomach acid and bile salts and has been found to successfully colonize the human intestinal mucosa.
This strain reduces bloating, gas and Intestinal discomfort, and supports regularity.  The product is vegetarian/vegan and gluten free but contains trace amounts of soy.
– Amazon.com (2017)

 

 

align Probiotic Supplement Capsules

 

This supplement also contains a single probiotic strain:
  • Bifidobacterium infantis 35624
align was developed by gastroenterologists to promote and support a healthy digestive system. It’s especially useful for people with irritable bowel  syndrome (IBS) – sometimes called spastic colon. IBS is characterized by abdominal cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. (Amazon.com, 2017)
In the intestines of infants, B. infantis helps break down lactic acid in human breast milk.

“Adults who keep their B. infantis levels in balance enjoy better overall health, an active metabolism, and less discomfort after eating. British researchers reported it only took four weeks for women who took B. infantis to enjoy a significant improvement in their IBS symptoms. Another study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found B. infantis supports stomach health and digestion. But it does more than aid digestion. It also supports your immune system against unwanted bacterial growth in the intestines. And some strains even produce B vitamins.” (Group, 2015B)

 

 

Bio-Kult Advanced Probiotic Multi-Strain Formula Capsules

The beneficial bacteria in BioKult are freeze dried, a process which protects them from the harsh acidic environment of the stomach so they survive to colonize the intestinal tract. Each capsule contains a minimum of 2 billion probiotic microorganisms. BioKult is gluten free, uses no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.  It may contain traces of soy and milk from the growth medium of the strains. Lactose intolerant people shouldn’t have a problem with these traces of milk. BioKult is non-GMO. (Amazon.com, 2017)
Bio-Kult contains 14 probiotic strains:
  • Bacillus subtilis PXN 21
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum PXN 23
  • Bifidobacterium breve PXN 25
  • Bifidobacterium infantis PXN 27
  • Bifidobacterium longum PXN 30
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus PXN 35
  • Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus PXN 39
  • Lactobacillus casei PXN 37
  • Lactobacillus plantarum PXN 47
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus PXN 54
  • Lactobacillus helveticus PXN 45
  • Lactobacillus salivarius PXN 57
  • Lactococcus lactis ssp. lactis PXN 63
  • Streptococcus thermophilus PXN 66
Here’s information on the probiotic strains in Bio-Kult that haven’t already been discussed:
* Bacillus subtilis is ubiquitous in soil, produces an endospore that allows it to survive the stomach’s acidity. It is beneficial to the digestive system in general and is known to improve symptoms of IBS. It suppresses the growth of harmful pathogens, strengthens the gut’s mucosal lining, and enhances the growth of other good probiotic strains. (Jockers, 2014)
B. subtilis‘s other benefits include decreasing triglycerides, LDL levels and total cholesterol; increasing immunity; fighting viruses; improving leaky gut; decreasing inflammation;  decreasing diarrhea and nausea; improving dairy digestion; decreasing tooth decay; managing HIV symptoms; and fighting dyspepsia. (Jerkunica, 2009-2015)
* Lactobacillus delbrueckii subspecies bulgaricus is one of the bacterial strains used to turn milk into yogurt  and is also found in other naturally fermented foods.
* Lactobacillus helveticus provides many health benefits – including inhibition of pathogenic bacteria, anti-mutagenic and anti-tumorigenic activity, anti-hypertensive activity, immunomodulatory activity, control of diarrhea, reduction of lactose intolerance, and enhancing recovery from gut atrophy induced by malnutrition. It has also been found to improve bone mineral density and bone mineral content, calcium and bone metabolism, arterial stiffness, and blood pressure. (Swartzburg, 2009)

 

* Lactococcus lactis ssp. lactis, a strain of L. lactis,  is used widely in cheese making as a starter culture. It’s added to milk to make a variety of cultured dairy products: sour cream, buttermilk, blue cheese, Colby, Cheddar, and cottage cheese.
L. lactic ssp. lactis protects against strep throat, respiratory and non-respiratory diseases, L. lactis also delivers antigens that stimulate mucosal immunity to non-respiratory pathogens, including HIV, HPV, and the malarial parasite. It’s related to other lactic acid bacteria, such as L. acidophilus in the intestines and S. salivarius in the mouth. (Todar, 2008-2011)
I love this: In 2010, L. lactis was named Wisconsin’s Official State Microbe!
Source: Slideplayer

 

 

Earth’s Pearl Probiotic & Prebiotic

This is another probiotic supplement in pearl form, containing 4 billion cultures. The pearls contain no gluten, lactose, wheat, soy, eggs, shellfish, tree nuts, chemicals, or artificial ingredients.

About the Product
  • Increases the probiotic bacterial profile in the gut microbiome.
  • Pearls versus capsules: The Time Release Patented Technology, BioTract, allows pearls to be smaller than capsules and easier to swallow. The manufacturer says this product is 15X more effective than capsules and delivers 15X more live bacteria into the intestinal tract.
  • Provides relief from gas, bloating, IBS, diarrhea, constipation and other bowel discomforts.
  • Boosts immunity, energy and mood.
  • Improves vitamin absorption, which gives a big boost to your immune system.
  • Protects the body from yeast overgrowth and improves digestion,  contributing to overall well-being and more energy.
  • Earth’s Pearl Probiotics support and improve healthy digestion, improving the bio-availability of nutrients from the healthy foods and supplements you are taking.
This supplement is good for yeast infections, diarrhea, gas, bloating, diverticulitis, colon issues, leaky gut, digestion issues, poor immune system, constipation, IBS, lactose intolerance, allergies, antibiotics.
Probiotic ingredients:
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Lactobacillus reuteri
  • Bifidobacterium infantis
  • Bifidobacterium lactis
Prebiotic ingredient:
  • Fructooligosaccharides
 (Amazon, 2017)

 

 

Probiotic Sticks

This probiotic supplement is for those who can’t or don’t like swallowing capsules. Each stick contains 3 billion active cells (guaranteed to expiration date). You tear the stick open and pour its contents onto your tongue, allow the powder to dissolve, and swallow. You could also mix the powder into water or juice, even stir it into a smoothie.
Each stick contains:
  • Bifidobacterium longum (R0175) 3.18 x 108 CFU
  • Lactobacillus helveticus (R0052) 2.682 x 109 CFU
Probiotic Sticks balance the intestinal microflora and help decrease stress-related GI symptoms – such as bloating, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. They are micro-encapsulated and gastro-protected. The powder is a red plum flavor. (Amazon.com, 2017)
An Amazon customer reported, “It is the best probiotic I have ever used. It really helps with anxiety.”

 

These are only a few of the probiotic supplements on the market. Some research should help you find one that’s high quality and addresses your health issues.

 

TIPS FOR CHOOSING A PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENT

When selecting probiotic supplements, you want to make sure you’re getting something that your body can use. Many probiotic supplements on the market may start with billions of CFUs of various bacteria but they’ve died by the time you get them or they perish in the acidic environment of your stomach as they pass through on their way to your intestines (where you need them) and won’t do you any good. Do some research before purchasing. In general, try to get the highest quality supplements you can afford.
Dr David Williams proposes these four criteria for evaluating a probiotic supplement (Williams, 2017):
  • The specific probiotic strains included
  • The product’s packaging and delivery system
  • Product expiration dates
  • Money-back guarantee

I would add to his list:
  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten free
  • Free of other common allergens
  • No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Is able to survive stomach acid to reach the intestines

 

 

KEFIR

Kefir is a fermented drink that’s loaded with probiotic bacteria, including many of the ones discussed above that have been found effective for anxiety and depression. It can be made from any type of milk – usually cow, goat or sheep, and also from coconut water, juices, rice, soy – even plain water. It has impressive medicinal benefits for healing leaky gut and can be given to newborns to improve their gut microbiomes. It also contains high levels of Vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium and other essential minerals, Vitamin K2, biotin, folate, and digestive enzymes. The fermentation process breaks down the lactose in milk, rendering kefirs 99% lactose-free, so they’re tolerated well even by those who are lactose intolerant.
Kefir has been consumed for thousands of years for its numerous health benefits.

Lifeway organic plain kefir is an example of a tasty commercial kefir that’s widely available. Its culture contains 15-20 billion Colony Forming Units (CFUs) of live and active kefir cultures per cup. Kefir cultures include these probiotics:
  • Lactobacillus Lactis
  • Lactobacillus  Rhamnosus
  • Streptococcus Diacetylactis
  • Lactobacillus Plantarum
  • Lactobacillus Casei
  • Saccharomyces Florentinus
  • Leuconostoc Cremoris
  • Bifidobacterium Longum
  • Bifidobacterium Breve
  • Lactobacillus Acidophilus
  • Bifidobacterium Lactis
  • Lactobacillus Reuteri
See these resources for more information on the probiotic superfood kefir:

 

 

 

OTHER FERMENTED FOODS

Adding lacto-fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and pickles  to your daily diet will provide a good dose of probiotics. If you’re buying commercial versions of these foods, be aware that ‘pickled’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘fermented. Most pickles and pickled foods are made with vinegar and provide NO probiotic benefits. They’re also usually made with lots of processed salt, which isn’t good for us. Real, lacto-fermented pickles, sauerkraut, etc contain no vinegar. Instead, they are brined with water and salt, and are sold refrigerated because the culture in the jar is alive with probiotics that would be killed if exposed to heat .

 

EXAMPLE OF PICKLES MADE WITH VINEGAR

Ingredients: Pickles (Cucumbers, Salt, Calcium Chloride), Original Curing Brine, Water, Salt, Distilled White Vinegar, Lactic Acid, Potassium Sorbate as a Preservative, Natural Flavoring, Polysorbate 80

 

EXAMPLES OF LACTO-FERMENTED PICKLES AND SAUERKRAUT

Pickles Ingredients: Cucumbers. Artesian Well Water, Garlic, Salt, Dill, Spices

Sauerkraut Ingredients: Cabbage, Artesian Well Water, Salt

You’ll notice that the Heinz Premium Genuine Dills are made with vinegar and require a preservative. They don’t contain probiotics and are sold at room temperature.
Bubbies’ Pure Kosher Dills and Sauerkraut are full of healthy probiotics created by lacto-fermentation, contain no vinegar or chemical preservatives and are sold refrigerated. My only objections to them are that the company apparently uses processed salt in its culture and the ingredients are probably genetically modified.
Source: Pinterest

 

A note on yogurt: The probiotics in most commercial yogurts get killed off by heat during processing. Look for yogurts that are still tangy tasting. You can also make your own.

 

 

Source: preventdisease.com
Functional Medicine doc Kelly Brogan says in “Psychobiotics: Bacteria For Your Brain?” regarding getting your probiotics from food:
“Given how little is known about therapeutic applications of different strains, it may make sense to defer to ancestral practices that confirm the importance of probiotic exposures. In these foods such as lactofermented kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut, and other traditional vegetables, microbes are acting on the food, and the food is then acting on our microbes.” (Brogan, 2014)

 

Source: Collective Evolution

 

“In the centuries before we had refrigeration or freezing, foods were often preserved by fermentation.  In eating and drinking those fermented foods, we regularly ingested prebiotics and probiotics that kept our gut flora balanced and happy.
“Live, lactic acid fermentation is the simplest and usually the safest way of preserving food. Before we had refrigeration, canning and chemical preservatives, humans in every culture preserved foods by fermenting them – sauerkraut, tempeh (fermented soybeans), miso (fermented soybean paste), kimchi, dry sausages, pickles, cheeses, yogurt, kefir, sourdough bread starters, beers and wines, among others.
“We pretty much stopped eating those digestion-enhancing foods when we started relying on foods kept ”fresh” by refrigeration and other artificial means – and even worse, started eating heavily processed, essentially fake and genetically altered foods. What we gave up in turning away from fermented foods was ingesting enough of the friendly bacteria our bodies need to maintain good health, the prebiotics and probiotics created by natural fermentation. (Hardin, 2011)
“Natural fermentation develops vast amounts of lactic acid bacteria, friendly bacteria our guts need to maintain good health. Take sauerkraut for example: The numbers of different lactic acid bacteria in live sauerkraut can reach concentrations of 10 (to the 8th) to 10 (to the 9th) per gram. ( Zdenka Samish,  1963)”
 – From my 2013-2014 post Prebiotics and Probiotics

 

 

 

 

TIPS FOR CHOOSING A PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENT

When selecting probiotic supplements, you want to make sure you’re getting something that your body can use. Many probiotic supplements on the market may start with billions of CFUs of various bacteria but they’ve died by the time you get them or they perish in the acidic environment of your stomach as they pass through on their way to your intestines (where you need them) and won’t do you any good. Do some research before purchasing. In general, try to find the best supplements you can afford.
Dr David Williams proposes these four criteria for evaluating a probiotic supplement (Williams, 2017):
  • The specific probiotic strains included
  • The product’s packaging and delivery system
  • Product expiration dates
  • Money-back guarantee

I would add to his list:
  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten free
  • Free of other common allergens
  • No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Is able to survive stomach acid to reach the intestines

 

 

 

RESOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT PSYCHOBIOTICS

The 2016 University Health News article, The Best Probiotics for Mood: Enhancing the Gut-Brain Connection with Psychobiotics: What are pychobiotics? They’re mind-altering probiotics that researchers say can boost mood, decrease anxiety, and ease depression, among other benefits, in case you want to track back to any of the human or animal studies described above.
10 Best Probiotics for Depression & Anxiety: Gut-Brain Axis Modification is chock full of helpful, detailed information.
Safely Reduce Anxiety and Mood Disorders is an informative article by Stephen Harrington published by  Life Extension Magazine.
Nutrition therapist Jo A. Panyko’s 2016  book  Probiotics: How to use them to your advantage – why you probably don’t have enough probiotics and what you can do about it  is an informative source of information about probiotics in general and what they do for our bodies. She also has a useful website called Powerofprobiotics.
Dr Kelly Brogan and Kristin Loberg’s best selling book A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives makes the case that depression is not a genetic disease caused by chemical imbalances but rather a result of chronic inflammation in the gut microbiome.  Dr Brogan has a website called Kelly Brogan. Own Your Body. Free Your Mind. 
My 2015 post Psychobiotics: Your Gut Bacteria – Your Mood

 

 

DOSAGES

The field of psychopbiotics is fairly new so dosages aren’t entirely clear yet. As the authors of The Best Probiotics for Mood: Enhancing the Gut-Brain Connection with Psychobiotics put it:
“The best psychobiotics and the best dosages for those psychobiotics have yet to be determined, but a number of them used in the studies described above are commercially available in probiotic supplements. Generally, at least 10 billion CFU’s per day are recommended for most probiotics, including psychobiotics, but higher or lower amounts may also be beneficial. Just make sure to give your psychobiotic a try for at least a month before deciding whether it’s working or not.” (University Health News, 2016)
A tip from my own experience: If the dosage instructions on your new probiotic supplement recommend taking more than one/day, it would probably be wise to start with one to see how your body reacts to it, stay on that dose for a while (at least a few days, maybe even a week), then work up to the recommended dose slowly.

 

Souce: Pinterest

 

 

PSYCHOBIOTICS VS PHARMACEUTICALS

While researchers currently can’t recommend doses for these probiotics and haven’t yet tested their long-term effects,  if you’re suffering from chronic anxiety and/or depression and are the sort of person who’s willing to be a pioneer, you might want to try adding them to your daily diet as an experiment and see if they help you.
I’ll point out here that the taking of prescription pharmaceuticals isn’t as scientific and safe as we’ve been led to believe.

 

Source: Quotes

 

 

 

RESOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION ON PROBIOTICS IN GENERAL

Michelle Schoffro Cook’s book The Probiotic Promise: Simple steps to heal your body from the inside out is a bible of information on how probiotics influence our health. She also has a blog, drmichellecook.com.
Nutrition therapist Jo A. Panyko’s 2016  book  Probiotics: How to use them to your advantage – why you probably don’t have enough probiotics and what you can do about it  is an informative source of information about probiotics in general and what they do for our bodies. She also has a useful website called Powerofprobiotics.
Ed Yong’s 2016 book I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life. It’s a #1 Amazon Best Seller in Microbiology – but don’t let that put you off. It’s a primer for anyone interested in learning more about how we interact with the huge variety of probiotic bacteria and other microbes living in and on us.
My 2013-2014 post Prebiotics and Probiotics.

 

 

A REQUEST

If you’re willing, it would be helpful if you’d share information about your experiences with any of these or other psychobiotic supplements or foods. The field is still in its infancy and we can learn from each other’s experiences – what worked for you and what didn’t.

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Amazon.com. (2017). Hyperbiotics PRO-15 Probiotics.  See: https://www.amazon.com/Hyperbiotics-PRO-15-Probiotics-Technology-Supplement/dp/B00JEKYNZA/ref=sr_1_1?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1483825983&sr=1-1-spons&keywords=hyperbiotics+pro-15&psc=1 and  https://www.amazon.com/forum/-/Tx1GH3C15RF68NV/ref=ask_dp_dpmw_al_hza?asin=B00JEKYNZA

Atlay, K. (2016). Psychobiotics: Harnessing gut bacteria to improve your brain. See: http://www.sbs.com.au/topics/life/health/article/2016/10/26/psychobiotics-harnessing-gut-bacteria-improve-your-brain

Axe, J. (2015).  7 Kefir Benefits and Nutrition Facts. See:  https://draxe.com/kefir-benefits/

Brogan, K. (2014). Psychobiotics: Bacteria For Your Brain?. GreenMed Info. See: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/psychobiotics-bacteria-your-brain

Brogan, K. & Loberg, K. (2016). A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives. See: https://www.amazon.com/Mind-Your-Own-Depression-Reclaim/dp/0062405578

Brogan, K. (2017). Kelly Brogan. Own Your Body. Free Your Mind. See: http://kellybroganmd.com

Examine.com. (2011-2017). Lactobacillus reuteri. See: https://examine.com/supplements/lactobacillus-reuteri/

Group, E. (2015A). Bifidobacterium bifidum: A Healthy Probiotic Strain. Global Healing Center. See: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/bifidobacterium-bifidum-the-health-benefits-of-probiotics/

Group, E. (2015B). Bifidobacterium infantis: A Healthy Probiotic Strain. Global Healing Center. See: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/bifidobacterium-infantis-the-health-benefits-of-probiotics/

Group, E. (2015C). Bifidobacterium breve: A Healthy Probiotic Strain. Global Healing Center. See: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/bifidobacterium-breve-the-health-benefits-of-probiotics/

Group, E. (2015D). Lactobacillus gasseri: A Healthy Probiotic Strain. Global Healing Center. See: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/lactobacillus-gasseri-the-health-benefits-of-probiotics/

Group, E. (2015E). Lactobacillus paracasei: A Healthy Probiotic Strain. Global Healing Center. See: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/lactobacillus-paracasei-the-health-benefits-of-probiotics/

Group, E. (2015F). Lactobacillus salivarius: A Healthy Probiotic Strain. Global Healing Center. See: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/lactobacillus-salivarius-the-health-benefits-of-probiotics/

Hardin, J.R. (2013). Kefir. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/superimmunity/kefir/

Hardin, J.R. (2013-2014). Prebiotics and Probiotics. AllergiesandYourGut.com. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/superimmunity/prebiotics-and-probiotics/

Hardin, J.R. (2015). Psychobiotics: Your Gut Bacteria – Your Mood. AllergiesAndYourGut.com. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2015/07/04/psychobiotics-your-gut-bacteria-your-mood/

Harrington, S. (2016). Safely reduce anxiety and mood disorders. Life Extension Magazine. See: http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2016/3/safely-reduce-anxiety-and-mood-disorders/page-01

Jockers, D. (2014). Bacillus subtilis and the nutritional benefits of dirt. Natural News. See: http://www.naturalnews.com/046826_bacillus_subtilis_good_bacteria_dirt.html

Jerkunica, E. (2009-2015). Lactobacillus Bulgaricus Probiotic Information. Probiotics.org. See: http://probiotics.org/lactobacillus-bulgaricus/

Life Extension. (2017). You should know how far we carry our commitment to Quality, Purity & Efficacy. See: http://www.lifeextension.com/Vitamins-Supplements/Health-Nutrition-Awards/Good-Manufacturing-Practice

Mental Health Daily. (2016). 10 Best Probiotics for Depression & Anxiety: Gut-Brain Axis Modification. See: http://mentalhealthdaily.com/2016/03/01/10-best-probiotics-for-depression-anxiety-gut-brain-axis-modification/

Panyko, J.A. (2016). Probiotics: How to use them to your advantage – why you probably don’t have enough probiotics and what you can do about it. See: https://smile.amazon.com/Probiotics-Advantage-Probably-Enough-about/dp/1478767928/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483397650&sr=8-1&keywords=probiotics+panyko

Panyko, J.A. (2016). PowerOfProbiotics.com: How to Be Healthy With Probiotics, From a Nutritionist. See: http://www.powerofprobiotics.com

Sarkar, A. et al. (2016). Psychobiotics and the Manipulation of Bacteria–Gut–Brain Signals. Trends in Neurosciences, 39:11, 763-781. See: http://www.cell.com/trends/neurosciences/fulltext/S0166-2236(16)30113-8

Schoffro Cook, M. (2015). The Probiotic Promise: Simple steps to heal your body from the inside out. See: https://www.amazon.com/Probiotic-Promise-Simple-Steps-Inside/dp/0738217956/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1483402934&sr=8-2&keywords=schoffro+cook

Schoffro Cook, M. (2016). drmichellecook.com. See:  http://www.drmichellecook.com

Swartzburg, R. (2009). Lactobacillus Helveticus. Probiotics.org. See: http://www.probiotic.org/lactobacillus-helveticus.htm

Schwenk, D. (2015). Cultured Food for Health: A Guide to Healing Yourself with Probiotic Foods Kefir * Kombucha * Cultured Vegetables. See: https://www.amazon.com/Cultured-Food-Health-Probiotic-Vegetables/dp/1401947832/ref=pd_sbs_14_t_0?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=AX2C1JTDA62EGTMQT2QJ

Schwenk, D. (2017). CulturedFoodLife.com. See: https://www.culturedfoodlife.com

Todar, K.  (2008-2011). Lactococcus lactis nominated as the Wisconsin State Microbe. Todar’s Online Textbook of Bacteriology. See: http://textbookofbacteriology.net/featured_microbe.html

University Health News. (2016). The Best Probiotics for Mood: Enhancing the Gut-Brain Connection with Psychobiotics: What are pychobiotics? They’re mind-altering probiotics that researchers say can boost mood, decrease anxiety, and ease depression, among other benefits. See: http://universityhealthnews.com/daily/depression/the-best-probiotics-for-mood-enhancing-the-gut-brain-connection-with-psychobiotics/

Williams, D. (2017). How to Choose the Best Probiotic Supplement. See: http://www.drdavidwilliams.com/how-to-choose-the-best-probiotic-supplement/

Yong, E. (2016). I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life. See: https://www.amazon.com/Contain-Multitudes-Microbes-Within-Grander/dp/0062368591/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483909736&sr=8-1&keywords=i+contain+multitudes

 

 

© Copyright 2017. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Probiotics for Spring (and Other) Allergies

Updated on 4/4/2016. Last updated on 4/15/2016.

 

(Source: blog.thewellnessuniverse.com)
(Source: blog.thewellnessuniverse.com)
A recent article called The Surprising Way to Beat Spring Allergies by Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM, ROHP, one of my favorite writers on probiotics and the gut microbiome, caught my eye and I want to share its information with those of you who suffer from allergies, seasonal or otherwise.
Her article starts out this way:

“Before you grab that decongestant to subdue your sinus congestion or antihistamine to stop the sneezing linked to spring allergies, you might want to give your gut some attention. More and more research shows that probiotics can reduce allergy symptoms and may even prevent allergic conditions altogether if they are started early in life. But not just any probiotic will do; with thousands of probiotic strains available, it’s important to choose the ones that have an anti-allergy effect. The right probiotic strains can heal the intestinal walls and reduce low-grade inflammation in the gut, but also prevent or reduce allergies.” (Cook, 3/17/2016)

 

(Source: www.internetbillboards.net)
(Source: www.internetbillboards.net)

 

The most common symptoms of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis are inflammation in the nose, sinuses and eyes. You inhale some pollen or other allergen and your nose and sinuses become congested or blocked. Maybe your eyes itch, burn, tear up or become red. Maybe your eyes become hypersensitive to light. Your nose may itch and discharge watery mucus. Your ear canals may get irritated. You sneeze a lot, feel physically depressed and generally miserable.

 

 

1192bc66146b1640928751a11eaaec94

 

 

ALLERGIES & ME

In my case, decades of year round chronic allergies resulted in the growth of nasal polyps in my sinuses that dropped down into my nose every time I inhaled, causing me to have to breathe only through my mouth. I was exhausted all the time, had frequent sinus infections, a tenderness in the bridge of my nose that made wearing glasses painful, and such swollen nasal and sinus tissue that I could never blow my noise. And I had to wear tinted glasses even indoors to deal with light sensitivity.
The chronic inflammation and difficulty breathing made me physically depressed and, as a result, I also believed I was emotionally depressed. Basically, I was and felt like an inflamed mess – and the number of things I was allergic to kept growing: cat dander, dust, cigarette smoke, foods, scents.
I went to allergy doctors who prescribed decongestants (they made my heart race) and antihistamines (most of them severally sapped the little energy I had). I remember lying on our living room couch once after taking a prescription pill containing both a decongestant and antihistamine, my sinuses so dried up I could hardly breathe and my heart beating so rapidly I thought I was going to die, unable to lift my head or get up to call for help … long before cell phones.
I told my ENT doc, after the second surgery to remove nasal polyps (the chronic inflammation caused them to grow back), that I was going to find a non-pharmaceutical/ non-surgical way to fix both my allergies and sinuses. He was a good guy and asked me to please let him know when I’d found the information I was seeking.

 

(Source: www.dailymail.co.uk)
(Source: www.dailymail.co.uk)

 

Thankfully, I’ve been tenacious over several decades in seeking that information and choosing helpful health care providers to work with, never grew another nasal polyp, and am no longer done in by upper respiratory allergies.
This website, Allergies And your Gut, is a by product of that determined quest to feel well.

 

 

 

 

BACK TO MICHELLE SCHOFFRO COOK’S ARTICLE

“The ideal time to be introduced to beneficial allergy-preventing strains of bacteria is actually before birth. Research in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology shows that when a pregnant woman consumes probiotic-rich milk or yogurt during pregnancy, an infant or child is less likely to suffer from allergic conditions such as eczema or rhinoconjunctivitis.” (Cook, 3/17/2016)

Of course, we’re not able to go back and make sure we got sufficient beneficial microbes during our fetal development but we can provide ourselves now with pertinent probiotics  to prevent or reverse our allergy symptoms and conditions.
The milk and yogurt products used in this study  contained three types of probiotic bacteria:
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Bifidobacterium lactis
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
Cook reports on work done by scientists at the Osaka University School of Medicine that found ingestion of another probiotic,  Lactobacillus casei (L. casei), delayed the occurrence of allergy symptoms and reduced allergic nasal and sinus congestion. The double-blind, placebo-controlled study results were published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology.

 

 

BREWER’S YEAST (DRIED, FERMENTED SACCHAROMYCES CEREVISIAE)

And finally, Cook cites 2009 research results from a 12-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial published in the medical journal Advanced Therapeutics demonstrating the benefits of consuming a dried, fermented probiotic yeast called Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Study participants consisted of 96 healthy people with a recent, clinically documented history of seasonal allergies. The researchers  were testing the efficacy of 500 mg of a fermented, dried Saccharomyces cerevisiae product during the highest recorded concentrations of total pollen counts for the Midwest area where the study was conducted and found it reduced allergy symptoms, especially nasal congestion. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is also known as ‘brewer’s yeast’.

 

Dried, fermented Saccharomyces cerevisiae (brewer’s yeast)
yeast-flakes
Dried yeast fermentate helps balance your immune system by:
  • boosting the strength of your skin and mucus membranes
  • stimulating immune cells
  • supporting the production of T-cell and B-cell immune factors
In case you want to read more on dried, fermented Saccharomyces cerevisiae, here’s a useful article about it.  (Day, 2014)
If you’re inclined to want your information from a strictly Western Medicine source, here’s information on Brewer’s Yeast from WebMD. (WebMD, 2016).
 Note added on 4/4/2016:
See Sorting Out Yeast: Nutritional and Brewer’s for a comparison of nutritional yeast vs brewer’s yeast. (Mercola, 4/4/2016)

4/15/2016

Following up on Scott Moshen’s helpful COMMENT below, I found Bragg Nutritional Yeast Seasoning for a reasonable price at my local health food store. It’s also available from Amazon.com. Bragg is also the long time maker of other raw, organic products that many health conscious people swear by, including an Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar  that’s unfiltered and contains the ‘mother’.

 

91ZCglJQH8L._SY679_

 

 

PROBIOTICS VS DRUGS FOR ALLERGIES

If you’re like me, you prefer consuming foods and natural substances to taking pharmaceutical drugs whenever possible to prevent inflammatory, autoimmune problems – or to treat them if they have already developed.
The authors of the 2009 Advanced Therapeutics article described above noted:

“Allergic rhinitis (AR) impacts around 25% of the worldwide population. However, cost, safety, and a high dissatisfaction rate with numerous conventional medications continues to be an issue in the largest patient surveys, due primarily to a lack of efficacy on nasal congestion.” (Moyad et al, 2009)

And Cook has this to say on the subject:

“Unlike drug products, antihistamines and decongestants you take when symptoms are severe, the probiotic-based approach works differently. Probiotics are best taken on a daily basis (follow package instructions of the specific product(s) you select) before and during allergy season. Select products that contain the specific probiotic strains mentioned in this article, as others have not been tested for effectiveness against seasonal allergies.” (Cook, 3/17/2016)

For more information on the benefits of consuming fermented foods and how to do it, check out Cook’s article, 25 Ways to Get More Fermented Foods in Your Diet. (Cook, 3/10/2016)

 

(Source: www.amazon.com)
(Source: www.amazon.com)
I also recommend Dr Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook‘s book The Probiotic Promise: Simple Steps to Heal Your Body from the Inside Out to you. Here’s a list of its chapters:
  • Chapter 1: The Health Secret We’ve All Been Waiting For
  • Chapter 2: The Surprising Worlds Within Your Body
  • Chapter 3: From the Common Cold to Superbugs: Probiotics to the Rescue
  • Chapter 4: New Hope for Serious Illnesses
  • Chapter 5: How to Select Probiotic Supplements
  • Chapter 6: Fall in Love with Fermented Foods
  • Chapter 7: Easy, Delicious, Probiotic-Rich Recipes
(Source: nerdygirlnutrition.com)
(Source: nerdygirlnutrition.com)

 

 

 

 

MICRO-ORGANISMS FOR PEOPLE AND PLANTS

 

 

VB montgomery bikle

 

I want to add to all the above what Professor of Geomorphology David R. Montgomery and Biologist and Environmental Planner Anne Biklé have to say about why allergies have become so prevalent. They are husband and wife – and the authors of an engaging and timely new book called The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health.
Their book began with a desire to create a garden in the yard of their house in Seattle. They soon discovered the soil had become barren, depleted of nutrients, dead – so they started feeding it a steady diet of organic matter (coffee grounds, wood chips, leaves, home-brewed compost – lots and lots of it). Soon the soil  was teeming with microbial life and supporting a lush garden supplying them with nutrient-rich organic plants.
As scientists, they were fascinated by this experiment. Then Anne was diagnosed with cancer and they turned their attention to the question of what supports health in the body. They began to move away from the view of microbes as mostly pathogenic and toward understanding that the vast arrays of invisible micro-organisms (pounds of them) that live in and on us are actually what maintain our health – or make us ill if they’re not well nurtured.
They’d seen this interaction at work in the relationship between the soil in their miraculous garden and the plants that grew in it. Now they were able to start understanding that the same relationship exists between the health of the micro-organisms in the various human microbiomes and the health of the host’s body.
Here’s part of what they have to say about gut micro-organisms and allergies:

“Growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, neither of us can recall classmates or friends with severe enough allergies and asthma that it required hypervigilant parents and teachers to help them avoid near-death experiences. We also don’t recall today’s prevalence of common gut dysfunctions like Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome.

“In the past fifty years researchers have seen not just an uptick in the incidence of gut dysfunctions, but a fortyfold increase…. While our genes may make us more or less susceptible to such ailments, changes in our gut microbiome are increasingly implicated as well.

“Gut dysfunctions and autoimmune diseases like asthma and allergies are turning out to be, at least in part, consequences of an immune system gone alarmingly awry. The hallmark symptom of all these diseases is an over-the-top immune response that damages our own cells and tissues.

“How does our own immune system turn against us? Increasingly, it seems that a major contributing factor is a severe case of atrophy for our efficient and evolutionarily honed immune system. Without a challenging workout and the help of beneficial microbes, our specialized immune cells and tissue grow lazy, or one might say, hazy. It is the day in, day out saturation of the inside and outside of our bodies with microbes that tones and sharpens the various feedback loops that drive our immune system to learn and recognize microbial friends from foes. A too-clean environment, ultrasanitized food and water, repeated doses of antibiotics, and minimal contact with soil and nature all work against us. These factors interfere with communication between microbes and our immune system. And this throws off the balancing act of meting out inflammation that our immune system evolved to do.” (Montgomery & Biklé, 2016, 189-190)

I highly recommend this book to you. Some comments from reviewers:

“I love this book! It’s genial, erudite, and wise. Using their personal story, historical fact, and cutting-edge science, Montgomery and Biklé have given us a great gift – a deep understanding and appreciation of our relationship with the microbial world.”

The Hidden Half of Nature reads like a fast-paced novel but tells the true story of the workings of soils, and even our own bodies.”

“I wish I had learned this in medical school.”

The Hidden Half of Nature draws a straight line from the microbes that live in healthy soil to those that live in healthy guts, skillfully blending the personal and the scientific. This is a must-read for anyone concerned with their own health.”

 

 

(Source: farmviability.wordpress.com)
(Source: farmviability.wordpress.com)

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Bertelsen, R.J. et al. (2014). Probiotic milk consumption in pregnancy and infancy and subsequent childhood allergic diseases. Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, 133:1, 165-71. See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24034345

Cook, M.S. (3/10/2016). 25 Easy Ways to Get More Fermented Foods in Your Diet. See: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/25-easy-ways-to-get-more-fermented-foods-in-your-diet.html

Cook, M.S. (3/17/2016). The Surprising Way to Beat Spring Allergies. See: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/the-surprising-way-to-beat-spring-allergies.html

Cook, M.S. (2015). The Probiotic Promise: Simple Steps to Heal Your Body from the Inside Out. See: http://www.amazon.com/Probiotic-Promise-Simple-Steps-Inside/dp/0738217956/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1458929224&sr=1-1&keywords=probiotic+promise

Day, K. (8/17/2014). Nutrient Spotlight—Dried Yeast Fermentate. See: http://www.wholehealthinsider.com/newsletter/nutrient-spotlight-dried-yeast-fermentate/

Mercola, R. (4/4/2016). Sorting Out Yeast: Nutritional and Brewer’s. See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/04/04/nutritional-yeast.aspx?utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art2&utm_campaign=20160404Z1&et_cid=DM102154&et_rid=1427794112

Montgomery, D.R. & Biklé, A. (2016). The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health. See: http://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Half-Nature-Microbial-Health/dp/0393244407/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1458929335&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Hidden+Half+of+Nature%3A+The+Microbial+Roots+of+Life+and+Health

Moyad, M.A. et al. (2009). Immunogenic yeast-based fermentation product reduces allergic rhinitis-induced nasal congestion: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Advanced Therapeutics, 26:8, 795-804. See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19672568

Tamura, M. et al. (2007). Effects of probiotics on allergic rhinitis induced by Japanese cedar pollen: randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. International Archives of Allergy and Immunology, 143:1, 75-82. See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17199093

WebMD. (2016). Brewer’s Yeast. See: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-715-brewer’s%20yeast.aspx?activeingredientid=715&activeingredientname=brewer%27s%20yeast

 

 

 

© Copyright 2016. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Dr Kelly Brogan: When it comes to treating depression & anxiety, we’ve had it all wrong

 

(Source: freshpickeddeals.com)
(Source: freshpickeddeals.com)
The following is a guest post written by Kelly Brogan, MD, a New York City based holistic women’s health psychiatrist and author of A Mind of Your Own: How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives for ParsleyHealth.com:

 

 

7 facts about Depression that will Blow You Away

March 16, 2016

ParsleyHealth.com

By Kelly Brogan MD

“A silent tragedy in the history of modern health care is happening right now in America, but no one is talking about it. We have been told a story of depression: that it is caused by a chemical imbalance and cured by a chemical fix—a prescription. More than 30 million of us take antidepressants, including one in seven women . Millions more are tempted to try them to end chronic, unyielding distress, irritability, and emotional “offness”—trapped by an exhausting inner agitation they can’t shake.

The human body interacts in its environment with deep intelligence. Your body creates symptoms for a reason.

“It is time, even according to leaders in the field, to let go of this false narrative and take a fresh look at where science is leading us. The human body interacts in its environment with deep intelligence. Your body creates symptoms for a reason. Depression is a meaningful symptom of a mismatch, biologically, with lifestyle—we eat a poor diet, harbor too much stress, lack sufficient physical movement, deprive ourselves of natural sunlight, expose ourselves to environmental toxicants, and take too many drugs. Inflammation is the language that the body speaks, expressing imbalance, inviting change. We usually suppress these symptoms with medication but that is like turning off the smoke alarm when you have a fire going on.

 

LET’S GET THE FACTS STRAIGHT:

 

“1. Depression is often an inflammatory condition

a manifestation of irregularities in the body that often start far away from the brain and are not associated with so-called “chemical imbalances.” The medical literature has emphasized the role of inflammation in mental illness (1) for more than twenty years (unfortunately, it takes an average of 17 years (2) for the data that exposes inefficacy and/or a signal of harm, to trickle down into your doctor’s daily routine; a time lag problem that makes medicine’s standard of care “evidence-based” only in theory and not practice). Not a single study has proven that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.(3).

That is about as misguided as putting a bandage over a nail stuck in your foot and taking aspirin. It’s absolutely missing an opportunity to “remove the splinter” and resolve the problem from the source.

 

“2. Antidepressants have the potential to irreversibly disable the body’s natural healing mechanisms.

Despite what you’ve been led to believe, antidepressants have repeatedly been shown in long-term scientific studies to worsen the course of mental illness—to say nothing of the risks of liver damage, bleeding, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, and reduced cognitive function they entail. The dirtiest little secret of all is the fact that antidepressants are among the most difficult drugs to taper from, more so than alcohol and opiates.

 

“3. The effect is not a cure.

Even if we accepted the proposition that these drugs are helpful for some people (82% of which is due to the placebo effect according to Dr. Irving Kirsch), extrapolating a medical cause from this observation would be akin to saying that shyness is caused by a deficiency of alcohol, or that headaches are caused by a lack of codeine. And what about a genetic vulnerability? Is there such thing as a depression gene? In 2003, a study published in Science (4) suggested that those with genetic variation in their serotonin transporter were three times more likely to be depressed. But six years later this idea was wiped out by a meta-analysis of 14,000 patients published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (5) that denied such an association.

 

“4. Most prescriptions for antidepressants are doled out by family doctors—not psychiatrists,

with seven percent of all visits to a primary care doctor ending with an antidepressant (6) prescription. What’s more, when the Department of Mental Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health did its own examination into the prevalence of mental disorders, it found that most people who take antidepressants never meet the medical criteria for a bona fide diagnosis of major depression, and many who are given antidepressants for things like OCD, panic disorder, social phobia, and anxiety also don’t qualify as actually having these conditions.

 

“5. The Great Pretenders.

Many different physical conditions create psychiatric symptoms but aren’t themselves “psychiatric.” Two prime examples: (8). We think that we need to “cure” the brain, but in reality

WE NEED TO LOOK AT THE WHOLE BODY’S ECOSYSTEM: INTESTINAL HEALTH, HORMONAL INTERACTIONS, THE IMMUNE SYSTEM AND AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS, BLOOD SUGAR BALANCE, AND TOXICANT EXPOSURE

 

“6. Basic lifestyle interventions can facilitate the body’s powerful self-healing mechanisms to end depression:

dietary modifications (more healthy fats and less sugar, dairy, and gluten); natural supplements like B vitamins and probiotics that don’t require a prescription and can even be delivered through certain foods; minimizing exposures to biology-disrupting toxicants like fluoride in tap water, chemicals in common drugs like Tylenol and statins, and fragrances in cosmetics; harnessing the power of sufficient sleep and physical movement; and behavioral techniques aimed at promoting the relaxation response.

 

“7. Depression is an opportunity.

It is a sign for us to stop and figure out what’s causing our imbalance rather than just masking, suppressing, or rerouting the symptoms. It’s a chance to choose a new story, to engage in radical transformation, to say yes to a different life experience.

“Join the revolution. Find out more in A Mind of Your Own: How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives.

“Kelly Brogan completed her psychiatric training and fellowship at NYU Medical Center after graduating from Cornell University Medical College, and has a B.S. from MIT in Systems Neuroscience. She is board certified in psychiatry, psychosomatic medicine, and integrative holistic medicine, and is specialized in a root-cause resolution approach to psychiatric syndromes and symptoms. She is a mother of two.

 

References:

  1. http://kellybroganmd.com/new-psychiatry-psychoneuroimmunology/
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22179294
  3. http://kellybroganmd.com/depression-serotonin/
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2708005/
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2824618/
  6. http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/11/3/149.full.pdf
  7. http://kellybroganmd.com/thyroid-whats-mental-health-got/
  8. http://kellybroganmd.com/sugar-causing-depression/

 

Kelly Brogan, MD

maxresdefault

 

 

 

PARSLEY HEALTH

Parsley Health, whose website is where Dr Brogan’s post appears, was founded by Functional Medicine doc Robin Berzin, MD, as a membership-based wellness practice. Berzin’s site describes her novel approach to the practice of medicine this way:

“Parsley Health is a high-tech, holistic medical practice and wellness center. We offer detoxes, gut healing programs and medical memberships to help you live your healthiest life.

“WE’RE A MEMBERSHIP-BASED WELLNESS PRACTICE AND WE BELIEVE IN YOUR POTENTIAL TO THRIVE.

“We get to know our members as individuals. We help you cleanse and renew your body, embrace a healthier lifestyle and live better.

“Our comprehensive testing reveals how your body is functioning today and helps you discover the underlying causes of chronic pain and disease.

“Dr. Robin Berzin founded Parsley Health because she believes health care can and should be different.”

 

 

Robin Berzin, MD, founder of Parsley Health

(Source: robinberzinmd.com)
(Source: robinberzinmd.com)

 

Here’s information on Parsley Health’s membership program in case you live in the NYC area and are interested in subscribing. The practice is located at:
PARSLEY HEALTH
120 E 23RD ST, 5TH FLOOR
NEW YORK, NY 10010
Website: parsleyhealth.com

 

 

e6158d369c13a7f69a2c727ec5bb9753

 

Many thanks to Colleen Hodgetts for sending Dr Kelly Brogan’s article my way.

 

 

REFERENCES

Brogan, K. (2016). 7 facts about Depression that will Blow You Away. See: https://parsleyhealth.com/holisticdepression/

Brogan, K. & Loberg, K. (2016). A Mind of Your Own: How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives. See: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=A+Mind+of+Your+Own%3A+How+Women+Can+Heal+Their+Bodies+to+Reclaim+Their+Lives

Parsley Health. (2016). See:  parsleyhealth.com

 

 

© Copyright 2016. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Tests for Gut Microbiome Imbalance

 

bacteria-harmony-with-title-4

A reader of my post Dark Circles Under Your Eyes? Improve Your Gut Bacteria wrote to ask what tests to ask your doctor for if you have problems with your gut microbiome.
That’s not so easy to answer for two reasons: First, the whole field of gut bacteria is quite new. And second, many if not most doctors don’t know a whole lot about the gut microbiome and its role in keeping us healthy or making us sick.
That doctors often don’t know much about the gut microbiome is clearly related to it’s being a new field – but the situation is also made worse by the enormous pressures the pharmaceutical industry and what is sometimes referred to as the “medical–industrial complex” exert on doctors to continue along the current path of treating symptoms with drugs and/or surgeries while ignoring the symptoms’ underlying causes.
Let’s hope the paradigm will shift.

 

2c28350

 

 

MY MEDICAL JOURNEY – AND PERSONAL BIAS

It took me many decades to identify the underlying source of my own gut microbiome imbalance and autoimmune conditions and figure out how to correct them. On this journey, the types of professionals who were the most helpful have been Chiropractors who do Applied Kinesiology and know how to support health with nutrition (foods and nutritional supplements), Functional Medicine docs, Integrative Medicine docs, Naturopaths, Energy Medicine practitioners, and Nutritionists.
I’ve pretty much stopped relying on mainstream MD specialists – except for the rare ones who understand that pharmaceuticals only suppress symptoms but don’t correct any underlying problem.
When I have blood work done by my Internist (who’s a devoted doctor and a lovely man whom I enjoy seeing), I know I’m probably not going to take any pharmaceutical he might prescribe so ask to be emailed the  results and take them to the Chiropractor who’s my main health care provider. She reads the report, discusses the meaning of the results with me, and recommends what I can do about any problematic findings. For example, I have an under active thyroid (hypothyroidism) and sometimes Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (an autoimmune thyroid problem). She has successfully regulated my thyroid functioning with nutritional supplements for many years.
Before asking my Internist for blood work, I also get my Chiropractor’s recommendations for exactly what blood work will be helpful. The Internists and Endocrinologists I’d seen in the past were likely to order only the basic thyroid tests. My Chiropractor orders those to see if my thyroid is under functioning, tests to measure whether my pituitary and adrenals are involved, and thyroid antibody tests to see if my thyroid is also having an autoimmune problem again.
So that’s where I’m coming from as I try to answer the question about what tests to request from a traditional medical doctor.

 

 

INCREASED GUT PERMEABILITY – AKA LEAKY GUT

 

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

When your intestinal mucosal lining (the place that’s home to your gut’s good bacteria and other probiotic micro-organisms) becomes abnormally permeable (a condition known as intestinal hyperpermeability), tiny leaks develop from your intestines into your bloodstream. These openings allow things (bad bacteria and their toxins, incompletely digested proteins and fats, and other substances) to pass through the intestinal walls directly into your bloodstream instead of being propelled further along your GI tract to where they can be neutralized and/or excreted.
Your immune system reads these substances leaked into your bloodstream as dangerous invaders, triggering an autoimmune reaction.  As the leaks continue to allow more and more substances through the gut lining  directly into the bloodstream, your body becomes chronically inflamed … and chronic inflammation is a precursor to autoimmune diseases and a long list of other serious health problems. (Axe, 2016) & (Weil, 2005)

 

 

 

DR JOSH AXE’S RECOMMENDATIONS

Dr Josh Axe’s article What Kind of Leaky Gut Test Should You Take? may help you figure out what tests to ask for if you suspect you have a leaky gut that’s causing various chronic autoimmune conditions and diseases – including dark circles under your eyes. Dr. Axe is a Doctor of Natural Medicine, a Clinical Nutritionist, and a Chiropractor.
The tests he recommends are:

 

(Source: draxe.com)
(Source: draxe.com)

 

See Dr Axe’s article for more information on these tests.

 

 

 

TESTS FOR ADRENAL FATIGUE

 

(Source: therestlesslegsblog.wordpress.com)
(Source: therestlesslegsblog.wordpress.com)

 

In an article called Testing For Adrenal Fatigue, Wellness Coach and author Fawne Hansen discusses the types of tests needed to measure adrenal functioning. Among them are:
  • A series of cortisol measures
  • An ACTH Challenge
  • A variety of thyroid tests
Hansen says, “Diagnosing Adrenal Fatigue from a single test or symptom is impossible. To make an accurate diagnosis, doctors and naturopaths need to look at a range of tests, sometimes conducted multiple times, and take note of every symptom. This requires experience and a thorough knowledge of the various systems in our bodies, as well as some patience too. It may require two or three visits to the doctor before you can be sure that you have Adrenal Fatigue.” (Hansen, 2016)
She has written an eBook called The Adrenal Fatigue Solution with Naturopath Dr. Eric Wood.

 

 

 

BLOOD TESTS FOR ELEVATED INFLAMMATION

 

(Source: goodfoodeating.com)
(Source: goodfoodeating.com)
Chronic inflammation in the body is a precursor to most kinds of diseases. C-reactive protein (CRP) is a substance produced in the liver that increases when there’s inflammation in the body.
There are two blood tests for elevated CRP:  One test can detect a general elevation of CRP, associated with general inflammatory changes in the body and considered a non-specific marker for disease. The other test, called hs-CRP (highly sensitive CRP), is a measure of inflammation in blood vessels and is used to help establish heart disease risk.
Integrative Medicine doc Andrew Weil, MD’s article Elevated C-reactive Protein (CRP) explains the meaning of elevated CRP, its symptoms and causes, how it’s diagnosed, how conventional medicine treats it, and how he treats it with an anti-inflammatory diet. (Weil, 2016)

 

 

 

COMPREHENSIVE TESTING FOR GUT DYSBIOSIS

 

“THIS POLLUTED POND IS OVERGROWN WITH BACTERIA … SIMILAR TO WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR GUT IS OVERGROWN WITH THE BAD GUYS”http://www.therootofhealth.com/dysbiosis/

(Source: http://www.therootofhealth.com/)
(Source: http://www.therootofhealth.com/)
Gut dysbiosis (sometimes called gut dysbacteriosis) is the technical term for a microbial imbalance in the digestive tract. MaryAnn Copson, who has worked in the Alternative, Functional, Holistic, and Energy Medicine fields for over 35 years, offers a DYSBIOSIS METABOLIC MARKERS KIT for comprehensive testing of gut dysbiosis.
Her extensive training includes:
  • Neuro-Reproductive Endocrine Certification
  • Certified Licensed Nutritionist
  • Robertson Research Institute Level II Verified Biochemical Profile Clinician for the Brain Chemistry Optimization Program
  • Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner
  • Certified Reflexologist
  • Herbal Apprenticeship
  • Practitioner Byronomics Energy Management and Diagnosis
  • Nutritional Treatment for Mood Disorders
  • Metabolic Typing and Nutritional Planning
  • Supplements and other Natural Remedies
  • Vitamin D Deficiency Assessment and Nutritional Treatment
  • Genetics of Mood Disorders
See Testing for Dysbiosis to read more about the causes and effects of gut dysbiosis and to purchase a test kit. You collect the specimens in the privacy of your home and mail them in the kit directly to the independent medical lab she uses. She’ll forward a copy of your results to you when she’s received them and you then schedule a time for the two of you to talk. She’ll interpret your results for you and  discuss their implications along with possible nutritional and lifestyle treatment programs for re-balancing your gut flora.
From Copson’s site (Copson, 2014):

“Why test for Dysbiosis?

“Dybiosis can be a significant factor in many health problems. The Dysbiosis Metabolic Marker Test, because it measures the by-products of microbial metabolism which are excreted in the urine, is particularly useful in detecting the presence of pathogenic microbial overgrowth and in guiding and monitoring therapy.

“Treatments for dysbiosis may involve removal of the offending organisms with anti-microbials. Dietary changes and food supplements are used for replacement of beneficial bacteria, restoration of digestive function, and mucosal repair.

“A repeat test should show improvement within 90 days.”

 

The Dysbiosis Metabolic Marker Test measures the following:
  • Creatinine
  • Bacterial/Protozoal
  • Benzoate
  • Hippurate
  • Phenylpropionate
  • p-Cresol
  • p-Hydroxyphenylacetate
  • Tricarballylate
  • Clostridial
  • Dihydroxyphenylpropionate
  • Yeast/Fungal
  • Tartarate
  • Citramalate
  • B-Ketoglutarate

“All of the above compounds reported are produced by bacteria, yeast, fungi and protozoa that may colonize or grow in the small intestines. Dysbiosis involves overgrowth of one or more species leading to increased production of these compounds that are absorbed and excreted in the urine.” (Copson, 2014)

I don’t know if the kit, the lab work, and working with her (via phone or in person – she’s in Shipman, Virginia) on what to do about your results would be covered by your health insurance (if you’re lucky enough to have any).

 

 

 

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON TOPICS MENTIONED IN THIS POST

 

INCREASED GUT PERMEABILITY

See INCREASED GUT PERMEABILITY – CAUSES & CONSEQUENCES for an explanation of how the condition of your intestinal lining  (the place where your gut probiotics live) affects your health.

 

(Source: healthy-family.org)
(Source: healthy-family.org)

 

 

 

IntestiNEW TO REDUCE GUT PERMEABILITY

See IntestiNEW TO STRENGTHEN YOUR  DIGESTIVE LINING  to read about IntestiNEW, a nutritional supplement that improves the condition of your gut’s intestinal lining and reduces chronic inflammation in the body.

 

intestinew

 

 

AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES & CONDITIONS

autoimmunejpg-ca55facea37ead85
In autoimmune diseases and conditions, the immune system misreads healthy cells as if they were dangerous invaders and attempts to destroy them. An autoimmune process can affect one or more types of body tissues and organs.
If you wish to learn more, here are two lists of autoimmune diseases and conditions:
AUTOIMMUNE AND AUTOIMMUNE-RELATED DISEASES (AARDA, 2016)
AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE LIST (Anon, 2014)
Note:
There are autoimmune conditions and diseases that don’t appear on these two lists.
Another note:
I was searching for a helpful article on autoimmunity to include here and was only finding ones claiming that autoimmune diseases are incurable but their symptoms could perhaps be reduced by pharmaceuticals. Then it occurred to me to google “autoimmune diseases alternative” and found this article by Functional Medicine doc Mark Hyman, MD: How to Stop Attacking Yourself: 9 Steps to Heal Autoimmune Disease. (Hyman, 2015)
Dr Hyman is the Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine.
From Dr Hyman’s article:

“INFLAMMATION IS A “HOT” TOPIC IN MEDICINE. It appears connected to almost every known chronic disease — from heart disease to cancer, diabetes to obesity, autism to dementia, and even depression.

“Other inflammatory diseases such as allergies, asthma, arthritis, and autoimmune disease are increasing at dramatic rates. As physicians we are trained to shut off inflammation with aspirin, anti-inflammatory medication such as Advil or Motrin, steroids, and increasingly more powerful immune suppressing medication with serious side effects.

“But we are not trained to find and treat the underlying causes of inflammation in chronic disease. Hidden allergens, infections, environmental toxins, an inflammatory diet, and stress are the real causes of these inflammatory conditions.

“Autoimmune diseases, specifically, now affect 24 million people and include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, thyroid disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and more.

“These are often addressed by powerful immune suppressing medication and not by addressing the cause. That’s like taking a lot of aspirin while you are standing on a tack. The treatment is not more aspirin or a strong immune suppressant, but removing the tack.

“It you want to cool off inflammation in the body, you must find the source. Treat the fire, not the smoke. In medicine we are mostly taught to diagnose disease by symptoms, NOT by their underlying cause.”

 

********************

Autoimmune conditions are connected by one central biochemical process: A runaway immune response also known as systemic inflammation that results in your body attacking its own tissues.

– Functional Medicine doc Mark Hyman, MD

********************

 

 

 

INFORMATION ON THYROID FUNCTION TESTS

(Source: stpetersburgchiropractordirectory.com)
(Source: stpetersburgchiropractordirectory.com)
See Thyroid Function Tests for what the American Thyroid Association says about commonly ordered thyroid tests. (American Thyroid Association, 2014)
Chiropractor and Nutritionist Dr David Dahlman’s article Thyroid Tests discusses how the thyroid works, which tests are needed to assess its function, and how to interpret those tests. (Dahlman, 2015)
An article by Naturopath Peter de Ruyter, called Alternative Hypothyroidism Tests Are Necessary For Determining An Underactive Thyroid, presents information on thyroid imbalances and thyroid function tests from a Holistic Medical perspective, which includes the adrenals’ relationship to the thyroid. (de Ruyter, 2012)

 

endocrine-glands-8-638

 

 

 

THE MEDICAL-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

See MEDICAL-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX for more information on how and why the US’s health care industry remains wedded to its focus on using pharmaceuticals and surgeries to treat symptoms rather than helping us stay healthy.
From the article:

“The concept of the medical-industrial complex was first introduced in the 1971 book, The American Health Empire (Ehrenreich and Ehrenreich 1971) by Health-PAC. The medical-industrial complex (MIC) refers to the health industry, which is composed of the multibillion-dollar congeries of enterprises including doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, insurance companies, drug manufacturers, hospital supply and equipment companies, real estate and construction businesses, health systems consulting and accounting firms, and banks. As employed by the Ehrenreichs, the concept conveys the idea that an important (if not the primary) function of the health care system in the United States is business (that is, to make profits) with two other secondary functions, research and education.”

 

(Source: scientistsascitizens.org)
(Source: scientistsascitizens.org)

 

 

 

REFERENCES

American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association. (2016). List of Diseases: Autoimmune and Autoimmune-Related Diseases. See: http://www.aarda.org/autoimmune-information/list-of-diseases/

American Thyroid Association. (2014). Thyroid Function Tests. See: http://www.thyroid.org/wp-content/uploads/patients/brochures/FunctionTests_brochure.pdf

Anon. (2014). Autoimmune Disease List. See: http://autoimmunediseaselist.com

Axe, J. (2016). What Kind of Leaky Gut Test Should You Take? See: http://draxe.com/leaky-gut-test/

de Ruyter, P. (2012). Alternative Hypothyroidism Tests Are Necessary For Determining An Underactive Thyroid. See: http://www.holistic-hypothyroidism-solutions.com/alternative-hypothyroidism-tests.html

Copson, M. (2014). Testing for Dysbiosis. See: http://functionalhealthtests.com/dysbiosis.html

EduLearnSoc.org. (2012). Medical-Industrial Complex. See: http://edu.learnsoc.org/Chapters/21%20health%20and%20medicine/12%20medical-industrial%20complex.htm

Hansen, E. (2016). Testing for Adrenal Fatigue. See: http://adrenalfatiguesolution.com/testing-for-adrenal-fatigue/

Hansen, D. & Wood, E. (2014). The Adrenal Fatigue Solution: How to regain your vitality and restore your energy levels. (eBook). See: https://adrenalfatiguesolution.com/get-started/

Hardin, J.R. (1/10/2016). IntestiNEW to Strengthen Your Digestive Lining. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2016/01/10/intestinew-to-help-strengthen-your-digestive-lining/

Hardin, J.R. (7/12/2015). Dark Circles Under Your Eyes? Improve Your Gut Bacteria. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2015/07/12/dark-circles-under-your-eyes-improve-your-gut-bacteria/

Hardin, J.R. (5/10/2015). INCREASED GUT PERMEABILITY – CAUSES & CONSEQUENCES. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2015/05/10/increased-gut-permeability-causes-consequences/

Hyman, M. (2015). How to Stop Attacking Yourself: 9 Steps to Heal Autoimmune Disease. See: http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/07/30/how-to-stop-attacking-yourself-9-steps-to-heal-autoimmune-disease/

Weil, A. (2016). Elevated C-reactive Protein (CRP). See: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03424/Elevated-Creactive-Protein-CRP.html

Weil, A. (2005). What Is Leaky Gut? See: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA361058/what-is-leaky-gut.html

 

 

© Copyright 2016. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

 

How Bacteria Talk To Each Other

Updated 1/29/2016 & 6/26/2016.

cell-phone-clip-art-244135

Did you know bacteria ‘talk’ with one another? Although bacteria are primitive single-celled organisms, their ability to use chemical signals to communicate with each allows them to synchronize their behavior and act together much like large, multi-cellular organisms. This communication process allows pathogenic bacteria to know when they have amassed enough troops to mount a successful attack to infect a plant or animal, including humans. (Cunningham,  2001-2010) & (iBiology, 2006-2016)
Scientists call this cell to cell signaling signaling process Quorum Sensing. Each bacterium measures the concentration of its fellows by sending out a chemical signal and  ‘listening’ for the chemical signals from other like bacteria.

001-bacterial-panicle-blight-milton-rush-20-728

Pathogenic bacteria use cell signaling to monitor their density and will activate some genes only when they know that their population is large enough to make it safe to begin that activity – ie, when they know there are enough of them who can coordinate to effect changes in cellular behavior, to try to make us sick. (Cunningham,  2001-2010)
(Source: molbio.princeton.edu)
(Source: molbio.princeton.edu)
Bacteria of the same variety can also coordinate to divide into sub-populations that carry out different activities. “For example, in the late 1990s an investigation of a biofilm community, the marine bacterium Pseudoalteromonas, revealed two physiologically distinct subpopulations. In effect there was a cellular division of labor: one group stayed attached to the surface and made nutrient available to the second group, which reproduced and released daughter cells to the surrounding water.” (Cunningham,  2001-2010)
quorum-sensing-group-6-4-638
Not only do bacteria ‘talk’ with their kind, they also have the ability to communicate with other types of bacteria (inter-species communication) – and use different chemical languages for these purposes. Bacteria are apparently multilingual.  (iBiology, 2006-2016)
Pretty impressive for single cell organisms!

 

Pathogenic Cell-Cell Communication

(Source: www.cs.montana.edu)

In the cartoon above, various species of bacteria are represented by different colors. Bacteria can produce chemical signals (“talk”) and other bacteria can respond to them (“listen”) in a process commonly known as cell-cell communication or cell-cell signaling. This communication can result in coordinated behavior of microbial populations. (Courtesy, MSU-CBE.)

(Source: www.cs.montana.edu)

 

 

 

BONNIE BASSLER: HOW BACTERIA TALK TO EACH OTHER

 

(Source: www.bibliotecapleyades.net)
(Source: www.bibliotecapleyades.net)
Molecular Biologist Bonnie Bassler decoded this Quorum Sensing process in pathogenic bacteria. She explains how they do it in this 2009 TED Talk.
Dr Bassler is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and the Squibb Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University.

 

 

 

Here’s more of Bonnie Bassler – this time explaining the role of Quorum Sensing communication in the symbiotic relationship between luminescent bacteria (Vibrio fischeri ) and the tiny Hawaiian bobtail squid living off the coast of Hawaii.

bobtail_squid_jpg_89688

 

The tiny squid’s luminescence comes from colonies of Vibrio fischeri bacteria housed in the squid’s internal light organs. These bacteria secrete a chemical that, when it reaches a sufficient concentration, stimulates the bacteria to glow. How and why they do it is fascinating.

 

 

If you’re now really hooked by this topic and want even more, here’s Dr Bassler’s longer video that the short squid-luminescent bacteria video is taken from:  Part 1: Bacterial Communication via Quorum Sensing (53:47 minutes). 

 

 

 

 

THE GOOD GUYS VS THE BAD GUYS: PROBIOTICS  VS PATHOGENIC BACTERIA

 

prebiotics-and-probiotics-15-638

Lest you think you’re doomed to be overrun with pathogenic bacteria plotting against you, the good news is that probiotics interfere with the quorum sensing signalling agents in pathogenic bacteria.
“From the recent research, it has been concluded that quorum sensing regulates the virulence expression in probiotics which may interfere with the signalling system avoiding the onset of virulence in pathogenic bacteria.
“… The probiotic bacteria such as Lactobacillus, Bifadobacterium and B. cereus strains degrade the auto-inducers of pathogenic bacteria by enzymatic secretion or production of auto-inducer antagonists which render the quorum sensing bacteria mute and deaf.” (Brown, 2016)
Excellent news!
(Source: richmondpediatrics.ca)
(Source: richmondpediatrics.ca)

 

 

If you find it fascinating that bacteria communicate with other and want more related information, see The Soil’s Microbiome and How Do Plants Communicate with Each Other? for information on how bacteria in the soil and plants communicate with one another.

 

(Source: https://adamappleseed.files.wordpress.com)
(Source: https://adamappleseed.files.wordpress.com)

 

And see Repair the Soil’s Microbiome to Resolve the Climate Crisis for a brief video by the brilliant and ever sensible Michael Pollan.

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Bassler, B. (2/2009). How Bacteria “Talk”. TED Talk video. See: https://www.ted.com/talks/bonnie_bassler_on_how_bacteria_communicate

Bassler, B. (6/10/2009).  Bacterial Communication. iBiology video. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWgfSELnzog

Bassler, B. (2009). Bonnie Bassler (Princeton) Part 1: Bacterial Communication via Quorum Sensing. iBiology video. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saWSxLU0ME8

Brown, M. (2011). Modes of Action of Probiotics: Recent Developments. Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances, 10:14, 1895-1900. See: http://www.medwelljournals.com/fulltext/?doi=javaa.2011.1895.1900

Cunningham, A.B., et al (Eds). (2001-2010). The Biofilms Hypertextbook. Chapter 1: Introduction to Biofilms. See: http://www.cs.montana.edu/webworks/projects/stevesbook/contents/chapters/chapter001/section006/green/page003.html

Hardin, J.R. (12/23/2013). The Soil’s Microbiome. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/the-soils-microbiome/

Hardin, J.R. (3/8/2014). How Do Plants Communicate with Each Other? See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/03/08/plants-communicate-soil/

Hardin, J.R. (1/29/2016). Repair the Soil’s Microbiome to Resolve the Climate Crisis. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2016/01/29/4404/

iBiology. (2006-2016). Bonnie Bassler: Cell-cell communication in bacteria.  See: http://www.ibiology.org/ibioseminars/microbiology/bonnie-bassler-part-1.html

 

 

© Copyright 2016. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

IntestiNEW to Strengthen Your Digestive Lining

Updated 3/9/2016.

gutbacteria8

Our gut microbiomes, the several pounds of micro-organisms living inside our intestines and often referred to as Our Friends with Benefits,  affect pretty much every aspect of  our health – keeping us well or making us sick.

 

(Source: www.goodgirlgogogo.com)
(Source: www.goodgirlgogogo.com)
I wrote about INCREASED GUT PERMEABILITY – CAUSES & CONSEQUENCES in a 10 May 2015 post. Here’s part of that article as background for appreciating the value of a supplement called IntestiNEW that strengthens the intestine’s mucosal lining, where our gut microbiomes reside:

 

 

DIGESTION – FROM MOUTH TO ANUS

0120
The human digestive tract runs from the mouth at the top to the anus at the other end. Foreign matter (food) is taken in and partially broken down by chewing in the mouth. It then travels down through the esophagus to the stomach and from there into the small and large intestines, where it is selectively digested. During this trip, various phases of digestion take place  and nutrients are extracted and absorbed. The liver, gall bladder and pancreas, organs that aid in the digestive process, are located along the length of the GI tract.
The total length of the GI tract varies from person to person. In an adult male the range is 20 to 40 feet. On average, the small intestine in adults is 22 feet long and the large intestine is 5 feet.
As you can intuit, a lot could go wrong during that long trip – and much of that depends on the quality of what you deliver to your mouth as ‘food’.
(Source: sanjosefuncmed.com)
(Source: sanjosefuncmed.com)

 

You can see the location of the mucosal layer (called ‘mucous coat’ in the diagram below) and the intestinal villi in this cross section of the human small intestine. The empty space in the center, just below the villi (the spikes you see in the image of a healthy mucosal membrane in the image to the left above),  is called the lumen, the tube in which food travels through the intestines.

excret_intestin_coupe_FF_en

(Source: MyHumanBody.ca)

 

 

 

INCREASED GUT PERMEABILITY – AKA LEAKY GUT

(Source: scdlifestyle.com)
(Source: scdlifestyle.com)
Increased gut permeability – also known as hyper-permeable intestines or “leaky gut” – describes the intestinal lining’s having become more porous than it should be so the process of what is allowed out into the body no longer functions properly.  Larger, undigested food molecules and other bad things (such as yeasts, toxins, and other forms of waste  that normally would continue on and get excreted through the anus) flow freely through these too-large holes in the intestinal lining and enter the bloodstream, where they don’t belong and are treated as dangerous invaders.
The  gut’s mucosal layer is thin, delicate – and very important. This is where our probiotic bacteria live, so degrading it also degrades the strength of our immune systems. The probiotics residing in the gut mucosal layer make up 70-90% of the human immune system.
Damage to the gut’s mucosal layer leads to a whole range of serious problems as the body tries to cope with the invaders being released into the bloodstream. Once this lining has become disturbed, allowing problematic things to flow through it into the blood stream, a cycle of chronic irritation begins, leading to chronic inflammation in the body and a whole series of autoimmune conditions.
wpid-screenshot_2014-09-22-18-44-15-11
It is well-known that the composition of the gut lining and its microbiota changes during animal development and can be influenced by environmental factors such as diet, lifestyle, and habitat. (Barker, 2013), (Conlon, 2014) & (Renew Life, undated)
So you can see the importance of keeping your gut lining, where those critters live, in good shape.

 

 

REGENERATION OF THE GUT LINING

 

(Source: www.stemcell.com)
(Source: www.stemcell.com)
The thin lining of our intestines is semi-permeable: a healthy lining membrane  allows nutrients to pass from the intestines into the bloodstream and prevents toxins, pathogens, and undigested food from exiting the digestive tract too early. When the lining becomes chronically damaged, allowing toxins, pathogens, and undigested food to  enter the bloodstream, chronic inflammation occurs in the body and many negative, autoimmune health conditions may ensue. (Renew Life, undated)
See AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES: How they develop and how to put them in remission (Hardin, 2014) for more information.
A healthy intestinal lining serves many functions, most critical among them:
  • Continuing the digestive processing of food after it leaves  the stomach
  • Absorbing nutrients from this partially digested food
  • Preventing harmful bacteria and undigested food particles from entering the bloodstream
Like our skin, the delicate mucosal lining of our small and large intestines sloughs off a layer of cells every 3-5 days and produces new cells to maintain its semi-permeable state. This process requires the amino acid L-Glutamine. (Renew Life, undated).
“Small populations of adult stem cells are responsible for the remarkable ability of the epithelial lining of the intestine to be efficiently renewed and repaired throughout life.” (Barker, 2013)
The human body’s GI tract is lined with mucosal tissues primarily comprised of epithelial cells attached to the underlying membrane. Tiny, finger-like projections called villi protrude from the intestinal walls and greatly increase their absorptive and surface areas.
“Digested nutrients (including sugars and amino acids) pass into the villi through diffusion. Circulating blood then carries these nutrients away.  Unlike the mucosal tissue of the inner surface of the eyelids or the mouth, the epithelial cells which line the inside of the stomach are exposed to much harsher conditions, e.g., acid (i.e., hydrochloric acid), sometimes alcohol, enzymes (e.g., pepsin) for digesting food and waste generated therefrom. Mucous secretion essentially protects the cells on the inside of the stomach and duodenum from damage by acid or enzymes, for example by presenting bicarbonate to neutralize some of the effects of acid on the stomach’s inner lining, as well as inhibitors to block the enzymatic activity. Once the mucous secretions of the epithelial cells stop, the inner lining of the stomach or duodenum would eventually be eroded by the combined action of acid and enzymes, leading to ulcer.” (MEBO, 2009)

 

 

INTESTINEW

IntestiNew is a dietary supplement designed and produced by Renew Life to soothe the digestive system and benefit the health of the mucosal lining of the intestines. It is available as a powder or in capsules.
intestinew-1The capsule form contains L-glutamine, N-acetyl D-glucosamine, gamma oryzanol, cranesbill root, ginger root, marigold flower, marshmallow root, vegetable fiber, and water.

DIG-IntestiNEWCaps-0813

The powder form contains the same ingredients with the exception of the vegetable fiber and water.

DIG-IntestiNEWPowder-0813

The glucosamine, L-glutamine, and the herbs in IntestiNew soothe and support the integrity of the intestinal lining.  The gamma oryzanol, a natural extract of rice oat bran, delivers essential antioxidant benefits to the digestive system. (Holt, 2016)
Both forms of the supplement are gluten free and contain no artificial ingredients.
Women who are pregnant, nursing, or trying to conceive are advised to consult their physicians before taking IntestiNEW, as are people taking pharmaceutical medications or having a medical condition.  The supplements contain an ingredient derived from crustacean shells (shrimp, lobster, and/or crab) so aren’t suitable for people with a shellfish allergy.

 

Time-to-balance-your-gut-health.-Before-the-bad-bugs-have-a-party.jpg

Although I couldn’t find any scientific papers on IntestiNEW, it has been well reviewed by customers on Amazon, iHerb, The Vitamin Shoppe, Vitacost,  and National Nutrition. I second those reviews: Since I’ve been taking IntestiNEW, I’ve seen a big improvement in my digestive health. I started with a scoop (5.4 grams) stirred into an eight ounce glass of filtered water before breakfast and now take two capsules before each meal, with water)

 

Some of the many ways our gut bacteria affect our health:
(Source: www.huffingtonpost.com)
(Source: www.huffingtonpost.com)
My thanks to David Miller, MD, Supplements Specialist at Life Thyme Market in New York City, for recommending IntestiNew to me.

 

Colonoscopy-cartoon1

 

REFERENCES

Barker, N. (2013). Adult intestinal stem cells: critical drivers of epithelial homeostasis and regeneration.  Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology 15:  19–33. See: http://www.nature.com/nrm/journal/v15/n1/full/nrm3721.html

Conlon, M.A. et al. (2015). The Impact of Diet and Lifestyle on Gut Microbiota and Human Health. Nutrients. 7(1): 17–44. See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4303825/

Hardin, J.R. (26 October 2014). AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES: How they develop and how to put them in remission. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/10/26/autoimmune-diseases-develop-put-remission/

Hardin, J.R. (10 May 2015). INCREASED GUT PERMEABILITY – CAUSES & CONSEQUENCES. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2015/05/10/increased-gut-permeability-causes-consequences/

Holt, L. (2016). IntestiNew Reviewed: Does IntestiNew Work? Daily Health Answers. See: https://www.dailyhealthanswers.com/intestinew-reviewed.html

MEBO. (2009). Regeneration of Gastro- Intestinal Tract. Human Body Regeneration Sciences. See: http://en.mebo.com/about/ShowInfo.asp?InfoID=1

Renew Life. (undated). INTESTINEW: Natural Ingredients Used Traditionally to Support a Healthy Intestinal Lining. See: http://www.renewlife.com/media/spec_sheets/SpecSheetRNLIntestiNew.pdf

 

 

© Copyright 2016. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

 

INCREASED GUT PERMEABILITY – CAUSES & CONSEQUENCES

 

 

leaky-gut-pail-300x235

Those of you who have been following this blog know I’m interested – for personal reasons and also just because it’s fascinating – in how the state of the probiotics in our gut microbiomes affects our health in general.
So this development is of great interest to me:
A different kind of PREbiotic dietary supplement, Good Gut Daily, has recently entered the market. PREbiotics provide the nourishment for our PRObiotics. This kind is polyphenol-based and has  been clinically shown to calm acute digestive symptoms in as little as 30 minutes and enhance immune health. For those of you who, like me, suffer from ongoing digestive health problems and haven’t found a satisfactory solution, the arrival of this new supplement is excellent news.
Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds found in plants – including fruits, vegetables, tea, coffee, and wine.
I’ll be writing about Good Gut Daily in more depth in an upcoming post but, in the interest of not overwhelming you with information, I thought it useful to do a preliminary post on some of the causes of increased intestinal leakiness so you can see how your GI problems originated and how poor gut health creates major health problems elsewhere in your body.
This post grew out of a phone and email conversations with molecular biologist Rob Wotring, the Chief Scientific Officer at Greenteaspoon. Many thanks, Rob, for sharing some of your wealth of information on how the gut works.

 

 

 

DIGESTION – FROM MOUTH TO ANUS

 

 

0120

 

The human digestive tract runs from the mouth at the top to the anus at the other end. Foreign matter (food) is taken in and partially broken down by chewing in the mouth. It then travels down through the esophagus to the stomach and from there into the small and large intestines, where it is selectively digested. During this trip, various phases of digestion take place  and nutrients are extracted and absorbed. The liver, gall bladder and pancreas, organs that aid in the digestive process, are located along the length of the GI tract.
The total length of the GI tract varies from person to person. In an adult male the range is 20 to 40 feet. On average, the small intestine in adults is 22 feet long and the large intestine is 5 feet.
As you can intuit, a lot could go wrong during that long trip – and much of that depends on the quality of what you deliver to your mouth as ‘food’.

 

(Source: sanjosefuncmed.com)

(Source: sanjosefuncmed.com)

 

 

You can see the location of the mucosal layer (called ‘mucous coat’ in the diagram below) and the intestinal villi in this cross section of the human small intestine. The empty space in the center, just below the villi (the spikes you see in the image of a healthy mucosal membrane in the image to the left above),  is called the lumen, the tube in which food travels through the intestines.

 

(Source: MyHumanBody.ca)
(Source: MyHumanBody.ca)

 

 

 

 

 

INCREASED GUT PERMEABILITY – AKA LEAKY GUT

Increased gut permeability – also known as hyper-permeable intestines or “leaky gut” – describes the intestinal lining’s having become more porous than it should be so the process of what is allowed out into the body no longer functions properly.  Larger, undigested food molecules and other bad things (such as yeasts, toxins, and other forms of waste  that normally would continue on and get excreted through the anus) flow freely through these too-large holes in the intestinal lining and enter the bloodstream, where they don’t belong and are treated as dangerous invaders.
The  gut’s mucosal layer is thin, delicate – and very important. This is where our probiotic bacteria live, so degrading it also degrades the strength of our immune systems. The probiotics residing in the gut mucosal layer make up 70-90% of the human immune system.
Damage to the gut’s mucosal layer leads to a whole range of serious problems as the body tries to cope with the invaders being released into the bloodstream. Once this lining has become disturbed, allowing problematic things to flow through it into the blood stream, a cycle of chronic irritation begins, leading to chronic inflammation in the body and a whole series of autoimmune conditions.
For an easy to understand explanation of increased gut permeability, see Leaky Gut Syndrome in Plain English – and How to Fix It. (Reasoner, undated)

 

th

Symptoms associated with Leaky Gut Syndrome (Age Management & Hormone Balance Center, 2013)
  • Abdominal Pain (chronic)
  • Bloating
  • Anaphylactoid Reactions
  • Anxiety
  • Gluten Intolerance (celiac)
  • Heartburn
  • Migraines
  • Multiple Chemical Sensitivities
  • Myofascial Pain
  • Poor Exercise Tolerance
  • Poor Memory
  • Recurrent Vaginal Infections
  •  Brittle Nails
  • Swollen Lymph Glands
  • Constipation
  • Liver Dysfunction
  • Abdominal Spasms
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Constant Hunger Pains
  • Sluggishness
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive Flatulence
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Fears of unknown origin
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Malnutrition
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Muscle Pain
  • Mood Swings
  • Poor Immunity
  • Recurrent Bladder Infections
  • Recurrent Skin Rashes
  • Hair Loss
  • Food Allergies
  • Diarrhea
  • Brain Fatigue
  • Anal Irritation
  • Depleted Appetite
  • Depression

 

 

 

th-1

Here’s a partial list of diseases and conditions associated with increased intestinal permeability (Galland, undated) (Age Management & Hormone Balance Center, 2013):
  • Accelerated Aging
  • Acne
  • AIDS
  • Alcoholism
  • Autism
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Candidiasis
  • Celiac disease
  • CFIDS
  • Childhood hyperactivity
  • Chronic arthritis/pain treated with NSAIDS
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Chronic hepatitis
  • Colon Cancer
  • Dermatitis
  • Eczema
  • Environmental illness
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Food Allergies & intolerances
  • Giardia
  • Hepatic dysfunction
  • HIV infection
  • Hives
  • Inflammatory bowel disease & syndrome
  • Infectious enterocolitis
  • Liver Dysfunction
  • Malnutrition
  • Multiple food & chemical sensitivies
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neoplasia treated with cytotoxic drugs
  • Pancreatic dysfunction & insufficiency
  • Psoriasis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Spondyloarthropathies
  • Ulcerative Colititis
  • Urticaria

 

There are other chronic diseases and conditions we now know are also autoimmune in nature – including allergies, diabetes, lupus, multiple sclorosis, myesthenia gravis, endometriosis, some heart conditions, juvenile arthritis, chronic Lyme disease, myasthenia gravis, PANDAS, PCOS, pernicious anemia, Raynaud’s, restless leg syndrome, rheumatic fever, rheumatoid arthritis, some thyroid disease, vitiligo … and many others. Learn more about AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS.

chronic-inflammation

 

 

 

Ten years ago the father of integrative medicine, Dr Andrew Weil, offered this definition of leaky gut (Weil, 2005):

Leaky gut syndrome is not generally recognized by conventional physicians, but evidence is accumulating that it is a real condition that affects the lining of the intestines. The theory is that leaky gut syndrome (also called increased intestinal permeability), is the result of damage to the intestinal lining, making it less able to protect the internal environment as well as to filter needed nutrients and other biological substances. As a consequence, some bacteria and their toxins, incompletely digested proteins and fats, and waste not normally absorbed may “leak” out of the intestines into the blood stream. This triggers an autoimmune reaction, which can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal bloating, excessive gas and cramps, fatigue, food sensitivities, joint pain, skin rashes, and autoimmunity. The cause of this syndrome may be chronic inflammation, food sensitivity, damage from taking large amounts of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), cytotoxic drugs and radiation or certain antibiotics, excessive alcohol consumption, or compromised immunity.

 

Andrew Weil, MD
Andrew Weil, MD

 

 

 

 

FUNCTIONS OF THE INTESTINAL MUCOSAL LAYER (Camp, 2015)

This thin, wet layer lining the intestinal walls serves many important functions:
  1. Determines which nutrients pass through the intestinal walls and into the blood stream
  2. Protects and covers mast cells that contain histamines
  3. Activates enzymes
  4. Secretes antibodies made from the intestinal wall to support immune defenses
  5. Prevents yeast and parasites from adhering to the intestinal wall

 

 

 

All of these factors can lead to breakdown of the tight junctions and leaky gut. NSAIDs are pain relievers like Aspirin, Aleve, Advil, etc. SIBO is an acronym for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Additionally, low exercise levels is a stressor under the category of physical stress.  (Source: thevreelandclinic.wordpress.com)
All of these factors can lead to breakdown of the tight junctions and leaky gut. NSAIDs are pain relievers like Aspirin, Aleve, Advil, etc. SIBO is an acronym for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Additionally, low exercise levels is a stressor under the category of physical stress. (Source: thevreelandclinic.wordpress.com)

 

 

 

CAUSES OF INCREASED GUT PERMEABILITY

 

 

 

INFECTIONS THAT PENETRATE THE GUT’S MUCOSAL LAYER

Infections (eg, acute viral or bacterial infection, intestinal parasites, HIV, candida, etc)  that damage the integrity of the intestinal mucosal lining are  the most common causes of increased gut permeability. (Galland, undated) (Wotring, 2015)

 

ULCERATIVE COLITIS

(Source: www.healthplexus.net625 × 238Search by image Ulcerative means a loss of the surface lining, and colitis means inflammation of that lining or mucosa. The inflammation is caused by an abnormal invasion ...)
(Source: www.healthplexus.net)

 

Ulcerative means a loss of the surface lining. Colitis means inflammation of the mucosa lining inside the colon’s walls. Ulcerative colitis occurs when the immune system reacts aggressively against the normal bacteria inhabiting the colon – ie, it is an autoimmune process.

 

 

(Source: www.natap.org)
(Source: www.natap.org)

 

 

 

 

AGE

 

(Source: www.soulseeds.com)
(Source: www.soulseeds.com)

 

The gut’s mucosal lining in babies under six months is not yet fully formed. (Wotring, 2015)  Mature intestines are made to allow absorption of appropriate nutrients while also preventing pathogens and toxins from entering the body and causing diseases. In young babies, the barrier function is underdeveloped so large amounts of big molecules get through the gut mucosal layer and enter circulation in the body. This makes infants susceptible to infectious diarrhea, necrotizing enterocolitis (the lining of the intestinal wall dies and the tissue falls off), and allergic gastroenteropathy.
Since intestinal barrier dysfunction is known to predispose the development of intestinal diseases  as well as autoimmune diseases in other parts of the body, it is highly important that infants’ intestinal barriers be allowed to receive the health benefits of breast milk so they mature properly. Illnesses associated with intestinal barrier dysfunction occur more often in adults who were formula-fed as infants than in those who were nursed.  (Anderson et al, 2012)
In the elderly, epithelial stem cells mutate more frequently, leading to thinning of the mucosal lining. GI disorders are a major cause of illness and death for the elderly.  (Saffrey, 2013) (Wotring, 2015)

 

 

 

 

 

REDUCED OXYGEN-CARRYING CONDITIONS

 

Person Using an Inhaler --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis
Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis
Ailments that reduce the amount of oxygen carried in the blood – eg, anemia, heart conditions, respiratory problems – are associated with increased gut permeability. (Wotring, 2015)
The observation that gut and lung disorders commonly occur together has led GI and respiratory researchers to think they share a common cause. For example, asthmatic flares and seasonal allergic reactions – both autoimmune conditions – are accompanied by inflammation in the digestive tract.
In a 2010 paper appearing in the National Review of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, neurogastroenterologist Nicholas Talley and his colleagues observed that people with asthma and allergic rhinitis have abnormally high levels of eosinophils in both their airways and their intestines. In healthy people, these cells aren’t found in their airways at all.
Eosinophils are specialized cells in the immune system created in the bone marrow. In the mucous membrane lining the stomach, small intestine and colon, their purpose is to prevent pathogenic bugs and toxins from escaping through the gut walls and getting into the body.
In allergies, these eosinophilic cells start growing in the lungs and airways and the ones in the GI tract stop serving their protective function and instead damage the gut’s mucosal lining, allowing toxins to leak through. This increased intestinal permeability has often been documented in asthma patients. (Johnson, 2010)

 

 

 

 

ALCOHOL

 

imgres

Alcohol disrupts the integrity of the gut’s mucosal layer. The disruption can be measured within 30 minutes after alcohol has been consumed. (Wotring, 2015)
Alcohol damages the delicate lining of the stomach and intestinal tract as it passes through, creating increased permeability. This increased porosity permits large, incompletely digested food particles to move through the gut walls directly into the bloodstream, where immune cells regard them as foreign invaders and attack them with specially designed antibodies.
Once these antibodies have been created, they remain in the body on the look out for offending food particles to come along, creating a vicious cycle of autoimmunity: Because the alcoholic’s gut lining has become too permeable, improperly digested particles are always invading and a perpetual allergy-addiction cycle has been created – the immune system is in a state of continual hyper-reactivity.

Several studies have shown that alcoholic patients have an unusually high degree of allergic responses: both to “classic” allergens such as pollen and to various foods. Multiple studies have compared the allergic responses of alcoholics, depressive, and schizophrenic patients, and found that the alcoholic group was significantly more allergic to a variety of food allergens. A similar study compared patients admitted to an inpatient alcoholism hospital with a matched control group of patients with no history or evidence of alcohol abuse who have been admitted to a general hospital for elective surgery. Most alcoholics are allergic to a wide range of foods as well as environmental-mental allergens. Among foods, grains (the primary ingredient of many alcoholic beverages) are highly reactive. It is well known that particular foods and/or certain chemicals-can become an addiction.

– (Occhipinti, 2013)

 

 

 

 

DIETARY EMULSIFIERS

 

2012418-scooped-dark-chocolate-ice-cream-post

 

Emulsifiers are chemicals or natural substances that encourage the suspension of one type of liquid in another – as in the oil and water in margarine, shortening, ice cream, salad dressings, and creamy sauces. They are one of the most frequently used type of food additive.
Emulsifiers are added to commercial breads and cakes, icings, frozen desserts, soups, mayonnaise, homogenized milk, whipped toppings, non-dairy creamers, chocolate bars, chew candies, bubble gum, extruded snacks, soft drinks, bottled liquid coffees … and many other processed foods. (FoodAdditivesWorld, 2013)
Emulsifiers are also added to cosmetics, lotions, and some pharmaceuticals for the same reason they’re put into processed foods –  they improve product appearance by preventing ingredients from separating and extend storage life.  (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2015)
The FDA and other regulatory agencies in the US claim there is no evidence that chemical emulsifiers increase the risk of cancer or have other toxic effects in mammals so have ruled they are “generally regarded as safe” (GRAS) for use  in processed foods.

 

20120105-145528

 

Yet there is evidence that these emulsifiers disturb the colonies of probiotic bacteria living in the colon, increasing the risk of inflammatory bowel diseases and metabolic disorders. (Reardon, 2015)

 

 

(Source: www.scimex.org)
(Source: www.scimex.org)

 

Yet there is evidence that these emulsifiers disturb the colonies of probiotic bacteria living in the colon, increasing the risk of inflammatory bowel diseases and metabolic disorders. (Reardon, 2015)  Anything that can break down fats also breaks down the gut’s mucosal layer. (Wotring, 2015)
Could adding emulsifiers to food products to make them look more appealing and ‘last’ longer possibly be worth ruining our gut linings and increasing our risk for developing one or more autoimmune diseases?

 

(Source: www.huffingtonpost.com)
(Source: www.huffingtonpost.com)

 

See Emulsifiers for more than you might want to know about these food additives.

 

 

 

NSAIDS

 

pain_pill_abuse_addiction

 

Aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxin are common NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) available OTC for use as pain relievers. NSAIDs are also available at prescription strength.
They are the most widely prescribed medications in the US. 100 million Americans use them regularly to manage pain. ALL NSAIDs cause injury in the GI tract: erosions, ulcers, bleeding and perforations in the stomach and intestines.
An estimated 16,500 Americans die each year from and 100,000 are hospitalized with NSAID-induced complications. (PLx, undated)

 

(Source: www.plxpharma.com)
(Source: www.plxpharma.com)
It takes NSAIDs such as asprin, ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, Aleve only 15-30 minutes to create lesions in the mucosal layer of the GI tract! (Wotring, 2015)
NSAIDs damage the hormones in your GI tract that protect the gut from becoming inflamed. Chronic use can lead to dire consequences such as intestinal perforations, H. pilori infection, kidney failure, Crohn’s disease, diverticular disease, inflammatory bowel disease. (Alice, 2015) (Camp, 2015)
Japanese researchers found small bowel injuries occurring in 80% of their study participants after only two weeks on aspirin therapy. Other studies have noted GI damage in people on low-dose aspirin therapy taken for cardiovascular protection. (Alice, 2015).

 

 

(Source: physrev.physiology.org)
(Source: physrev.physiology.org)

 

After many decades of promoting an aspirin a day to prevent heart attacks, the FDA has now reversed its position. (Alice, 2015)
The FDA’s website now says:

“FDA has concluded that the data do not support the use of aspirin as a preventive medication by people who have not had a heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular problems, a use that is called ‘primary prevention.’ In such people, the benefit has not been established but risks — such as dangerous bleeding into the brain or stomach — are still present.”

Hopefully this news will change the behavior of the 40 million Americans who take an aspirin every day.
See this WebMD article for more information on both OTC and prescription NSAIDs.

 

 

 

INTENSE EXERCISE

 

exercise-intense1

Many people experience nausea, heartburn, cramping, and diarrhea while exercising – especially during high-intensity exercise.
When the body is at rest, your heart directs 20-25% of its pumped blood  to your digestive tract. While even moderate exercise increases your heart rate and therefore the amount of  blood  being pumped from your heart, the amount of blood flowing to the GI tracts gets decreased by as much as 60-70% and is instead diverted to your muscles, heart, lungs, and brain. Increasing the intensity of your workout reduces the blood flow to the gut even further. This decrease causes those common GI complaints. (Rocky Mountains Health Plans, 2014)
The harder or longer you run or exercise, the less blood gets delivered to your gut, causing digestion to slow. (Powell, 2013)
Runners, cyclists and triathletes tend to get diarrhea after 30-60 minutes of intense exercise. These athletes often put toilet paper inside the seat of their pants to soak up the mess. (Wotring, 2015)

 

 

(Source: www.rmhp.org)
(Source: www.rmhp.org)
Even worse, exercising can damage the gut’s mucosal lining and cause increased gut permeability. The authors of an article in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition explain how this works:

Among athletes strenuous exercise, dehydration and gastric emptying … delay are the main causes of gastrointestinal (GI) complaints …. A serious underperfusion of the gut often leads to mucosal damage and enhanced permeability so as to hide blood loss, microbiota invasion (or endotoxemia) and food-born allergen absorption (with anaphylaxis)….

Anyone who participates in physical exercise is at risk for injury and illness arising from such activity….

There is a very high prevalence of gastrointestinal (GI) complaints during exercise among long-distance runners, triathletes and athletes involved in other types of strenuous long-lasting exercise. These GI complaints occur because of the redistribution of the blood flow, that is shunted from the viscera to skeletal muscle, heart, lung and brain….

The symptoms are often mild and may not even affect performance. Some of the symptoms, however, can be life-threatening, such as blood loss in feces in the hours following the running presented by some marathoners and long-distance triathletes.

Damage to the gut and impaired gut function is associated with increased of intestinal permeability after a marathon. Moreover, vigorous exercise (jogging, aerobics, dancing, tennis, bicycling, racquetball, swimming, and skiing) facilities allergen absorption from the GI tract, leading to a food-dependent exercise induces anaphylaxis (FDEIA).

(Prado de Oliveira & Burini, 2011

 

 

images

 

 

 

 

HIGH HEAT

 

 

polls_sunbathing_4924_861570_poll_xlarge

When the body is in an overheated state, some of the blood that normally flows to the intestines gets diverted to the skin and the temperature inside the intestines increases. (Wotring, 2015)
This combination damages  the intestinal barrier, creating increased intestinal permeability to microbial endotoxins (toxins  present inside a bacterial cell that get released when the cell disintegrates),  leading to endotoxemia (the presence of endotoxins in the blood). (Lambert, 2008)  Severe endotoxemia can lead to shock, hemorhages, and kidney death.

 

finnische-sauna
Be careful when exposing yourself to high heat for extended periods of time (eg, while tanning all day at the beach, taking a long sauna, engaging in intense exercise).

 

 

 

 

imgres-1

  • In our conversation, Rob Wotring also mentioned these interesting tidbits about the gut:
  • The gut’s mucosal layer is being created all the time. This may explain why your gut – and the rest of you – can feel awful say in the morning and then good some hours later on in the day.
  • Approximately 40% of your energy goes toward producing the mucus barrier.
  • Women are much more susceptible to disruption of the mucosal layer.
  • Progesterone thickens the gut lining.
  • There’s convincing evidence that polyphenol PREbiotics (as in Good Gut Daily) are able to heal damage in the gut lining.

 

 

Now that you’ve read about the importance of your intestines and what can happen if their walls become damaged, here’s another depiction of the four layers of the intestinal lining in all its amazing complexity (University of Leeds, undated):

 

(Source: www.histology.leeds.ac.uk)
(Source: www.histology.leeds.ac.uk)
The innermost layer, the MUCOSA, is made up of three parts:
  1.  A thin EPITHELIAL lining which includes glandular tissue
  2.  An underlying layer of loose connective tissue called the LAMINA          PROPRIA which provides vascular support for the epithelium and often contains mucosal glands. Products of digestion pass into  capillaries here. Lymphoid follicles and plasma cells are also often found here.
  3. And finally, next to the lamina propria, the MUSCULARIS MUCOSA, a thin, double layer of smooth muscle responsible for local movement of the mucosa.
The layer next to the mucosa is the SUBMUCOSA, a loose connective tissue layer containing larger blood vessels, lymphatics, and nerves. It can also contain mucous secreting glands.
The layer outside the submucosa is the MUSCULARIS PROPRIA (EXTERNA). There are usually two sub-layers of smooth muscles in the muscularis propria: An inner circular layer and an outer longitudinal layer. The two layers work together to produce peristalsis ((rhythmic waves of contraction) to move food through the gut.
The outermost layer is the ADVENTIA (OR SEROSA) consisting of loose connective tissues containing blood vessels, lymphatics, and nerves. This layer is covered by the visceral peritoneum.

 

 

And here’s another intestinal cross section so you can see the location of these layers in relation to the central intestinal “tube”, the lumen, where the digesting food is working its way through from the stomach to the anus:

 

 

(Source: www.myvmc.com)
(Source: www.myvmc.com)

 

 

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Age Management & Hormone Balance Center. (2013). Gastrointestinal Repair (Leaky Gut Syndrome). See: http://www.agemanagementmi.com/services/gastrointestinal-repair-leaky-gut-syndrome/

Alice. (2015). FDA Reverses Its Position on Daily Aspirin Use. See: http://www.healthfreedoms.org/fda-reverses-its-position-on-daily-aspirin-use/

Anderson, R.C. et al. (2012). The Role of Intestinal Barrier Function in Early Life in the Development of Colitis. See: http://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs-wm/25358.pdf

Camp, M. (2015). Digestive Health. See: http://www.drcamphealth.com/digestivehealth.php

CISA. (undated). Emulsifiers. See: http://www.chemistryindustry.biz/emulsifiers.html

Encyclopedia Britannica. (2015). Emulsifier. See: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/186305/emulsifier

FoodAdditivesWorld.com. (2013). Emulsifiers. See: http://www.foodadditivesworld.com/emulsifiers.html

Galland, L. (undated). LEAKY GUT SYNDROMES: BREAKING THE VICIOUS CYCLE. See: http://www.mdheal.org/leakygut.htm

Greenteaspoon. (2015). Good Gut Daily website.  See: http://goodgutdaily.com/

Johnson, K. (2010). The Gut-Lung Connection: How Respiratory Disease is Informing Gastrointestinal Research. See: https://katejohnsonmednews.wordpress.com/2010/06/04/the-gut-lung-connection/

Lambert, G. (2008). Intestinal Barrier Dysfunction, Endotoxemia, and Gastrointestinal Symptoms: The ‘Canary in the Coal Mine’ during Exercise-Heat Stress? In Thermoregulation and Human Performance: Physiological and Biological Aspects. (Editor: Marino, F.E.). See: http://www.karger.com/Article/PDF/151550

Occhipinti, M.J. (2013). Alcoholism’s “Leaky Gut” Syndrome. See: http://www.afpafitness.com/research-articles/alcoholisms-leaky-gut-syndrome

PLx. (undated). GI-SAFER NSAID TECHNOLOGY & PRODUCT PIPELINE — WITH PLXGUARD. See: http://www.plxpharma.com/prodDev.htm

Powell, B. (2013). Nagging Nausea. Trail Runner. See: http://www.trailrunnermag.com/health/race-day-nutrition/489-nagging-nausea

Prado de Oliveira, E. & Burin, R.C. (2011). Food-dependent, exercise-induced gastrointestinal distress. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 8:12. See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3190328/

Reardon, S. (2015). Food preservatives linked to obesity and gut disease: Mouse study suggests that emulsifiers alter gut bacteria, leading to the inflammatory bowel condition colitis. Nature.com. See: http://www.nature.com/news/food-preservatives-linked-to-obesity-and-gut-disease-1.16984

Reasoner, J. (undated). Leaky Gut Syndrome in Plain English – and How to Fix It. See: http://scdlifestyle.com/2010/03/the-scd-diet-and-leaky-gut-syndrome/

Rocky Mountain Health Plans. (2014). Don’t Let Digestion Interfere with Your Workout. See: http://blog.rmhp.org/2014/01/dont-let-digestion-interfere-with-your-workout/

Saffrey, M.J. (2013). Aging of the mammalian gastrointestinal tract: a complex organ system. AGE. See: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11357-013-9603-2

University of Leeds, Faculty of Biological Sciences. Four Layers of the Gastrointestinal Tract. See: http://www.histology.leeds.ac.uk/oral/GI_layers.php

WebMD. (2015). NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) and Arthritis. See: http://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/guide/anti-inflammatory-drugs#1

Weil, A. (2005). What is leaky gut? See: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA361058/what-is-leaky-gut.html

Wotring, R. (2015). Personal communication.

 

 

 

© Copyright 2015 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

The Human Microbiome – Two Short Videos

 

6e2f4f40-9951-4bd0-9d63-20499d88f955

In the developed world, we have become brainwashed into regarding ALL bacteria and microbes as DANGEROUS to our health.  We use antibacterial soaps and ointments on our skins, mouthwashes that promise to kill 99% of the germs in our mouths, disinfectant and antiseptic sprays and wipes in our homes. We’ve become like real life players of a version of Rampage: Total Destruction – on a mission to destroy all the bacteria on, in, and around us.
In Rampage: Total Destruction, players destroy the environment to earn points. In our fear of all microbes, we too are working to destroy our internal and external environments by targeting the bacteria that keep us healthy (called PROBIOTICS) along with ones that make us sick (called PATHOGENS).
PROBIOTICS are live bacteria, yeasts, and other microscopic life forms that SUPPORT GOOD HEALTH in our our digestive systems – and throughout the body. If they’re not in good balance, we become sick in a whole variety of ways – from digestive problems to skin rashes, allergies, asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

 

 

url

This NPR animated video called The Invisible Universe Of The Human Microbiome may help you understand why you need to nurture these good guys, your probiotics, in and on your body.
NPR’s description of the video:

The next time you look in a mirror, think about this: In many ways you’re more microbe than human. There are 10 times more cells from microorganisms like bacteria and fungi in and on our bodies than there are human cells. But these tiny compatriots are invisible to the naked eye. So we asked artist Ben Arthur to give us a guided tour of the rich universe of the human microbiome.

 

 

I also recommend another interesting video by NPS MedicineWise, called The human microbiome and what we do to it.
Dr David A. Relman, who’s the main speaker in the film, is the Thomas C. and Joan M. Merigan Professor in Medicine, and Microbiology & Immunology at Stanford University. He’s also Chief of Infectious Diseases at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto (CA) Health Care System. Dr Relman’s research focuses on the indigenous human microbiota and the identification of previously-unrecognized microbial agents of disease. He has advised the US Government on emerging infectious diseases, human-microbe interactions, and future biological threats. He is Chair of the Forum on Microbial Threats at the Institute of Medicine (National Academies of Science) and Past President of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and a Member of the Institute of Medicine.
In other words, he knows what he’s talking about.

 

NPS MedicineWise’s description of the video:

Did you know that you and I are only 1% human — we’ve 90 trillion cells which don’t belong to us. Yes we are more bacteria than human.
Have you ever wondered what it means to be human? It turns out that only a tiny percentage of what you and I are made of is actually human — and we need our non-human bits to survive. This part of us now has a name — it’s called our microbiome. But we’re doing dreadful things to this hidden majority and it’s damaging our health as a result. From the Tonic series produced with the assistance of NPS.

 

 

 

probiotics-4

 

 

 

probiotics-in-clinical-use-2-728

 

 

 

REFERENCES

NPR. (2013). The Invisible Universe Of The Human Microbiome. (Video).  See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DTrENdWvvM

NPS MedicineWise. (2012). The human microbiome and what we do to it. (Video). See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEZSuwkx7Ik

 

 

© Copyright 2015 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Celiac – An Autoimmune Disease

 

 

(Source: www.thepatientceliac.com)
(Source: www.thepatientceliac.com)

 

 

Celiac disease can be tricky. It often presents with a wide variety of disparate symptoms, many of them not seeming to be a gut problem at all. People with celiac frequently spend many years suffering before finding a proper diagnosis.

 “Celiac disease can be difficult to diagnose because it affects people differently. There are about 300 known symptoms which may occur in the digestive system or other parts of the body. Some people with celiac disease have no symptoms at all. However, all people with celiac disease are still at risk for long-term complications, whether or not they display any symptoms.”

    – The Celiac Disease Foundation (2015-a)

The most common celiac symptoms found in children are digestive (Celiac Disease Foundation, 2015-a):
  • abdominal bloating and pain
  • chronic diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • pale, foul-smelling, or fatty stool
  • weight loss
  • fatigue
  • irritability and behavioral issues
  • dental enamel defects of the permanent teeth
  • delayed growth and puberty
  • short stature
  • failure to thrive
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Celiac in adults is less likely to present as digestive problems – only a third have frequent bouts of diarrhea but may experience these symptoms instead (Celiac Disease Foundation, 2015-a):
  • unexplained iron-deficiency anemia
  • fatigue
  • bone or joint pain
  • arthritis
  • bone loss or osteoporosis
  • depression or anxiety
  • tingling numbness in the hands and feet
  • seizures or migraines
  • missed menstrual periods
  • infertility or recurrent miscarriage
  • canker sores inside the mouth
  • an itchy skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis

 

For the 300 possible symptoms associated with celiac disease, see this list from the University of Chicago’s Celiac Disease Center.

 

 

 

CELIAC IS AN AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE

Celiac is one among the 100 or so recognized autoimmune diseases. This is important to note because we now know that the various autoimmune diseases can get expressed in people with a genetic predisposition for them – but expression can be prevented by building a robust immune system in the gut microbiome. (Hardin, 2014)
It’s also important to note that chronic autoimmune diseases in general are occurring in ever-increasingly numbers. At best, they are a nuisance (eg, acne and psoriasis). At worst they are life-threatening (eg, type I diabetes, lupus, MS, rheumatic Fever). (American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, 2015).

 

healthy-gut

 

In celiac disease, ingesting gluten damages the small intestine, creating serious long-term health complications. Celiac is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide, many of them undiagnosed and/or misdiagnosed and undergoing incorrect treatments – even unneeded major surgeries.

 

images-1

Gluten is a protein found in wheat and some other grains – and a common ingredient in most of the processed foods many people rely on as their diet. When gluten is consumed by a person with celiac disease, an autoimmune response begins that attacks the villi in the small intestine, damaging them with severe inflammation. The villi are finger-like projections lining the small intestine that promote nutrient absorption. Damage to them means nutrients aren’t properly absorbed into the body.

celiac_intestine

 

Damage to the villi allows gluten proteins to leak through the intestinal barrier, producing a condition called ‘leaky gut’ which is associated with autoimmune conditions/diseases in general.

 

celiac-disease-gluten-sensitivitydr-scot-lewey-26-638

 

 

The good news is that improving the health of your gut microbiome can keep a genetic predisposition for celiac disease (or any of the other autoimmune diseases) from expressing itself in your body. And, of course, avoid gluten.

 

 

probulingraphic

 

It is estimated that approximately 2.5 million Americans have undiagnosed celiac disease and are at risk for serious life-long health complications. (Celiac Disease Foundation, 2015-b)

 

 

 

 

SCREENING TESTS FOR CELIAC DISEASE

 

images-1

There are several easy tests for celiac disease. the following information is from the Celiac Disease Foundation (2015-c):

A simple blood test is available to screen for celiac disease antibodies. People with celiac disease who eat gluten have higher than normal levels of these antibodies in their blood. You must be on a gluten-containing diet for antibody (blood) testing to be accurate.

The First Step:  tTG-IgA Test

There are many screening blood tests for celiac disease but the most sensitive and commonly used, whether symptoms are present or not, is the tTG-IgA test.

Tissue Transglutaminase Antibodies (tTG-IgA) 

TG-IgA test will be positive in about 98% of patients with celiac disease who are on a gluten-containing diet. This is called the test’s sensitivity.  The same test will come back negative in about 95% of healthy people without celiac disease. This is called the test’s specificity.  There is a risk of a false positive especially for people with associated autoimmune disorders like Type 1 diabetes, chronic liver disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, psoriatic or rheumatoid arthritis and heart failure, who do not have celiac disease.

There are other antibody tests available to double-check for potential false positives or false negatives.

Other tests:

  • IgA Endomysial antibody (EMA): The EMA test has a specificity of almost 100%, but is not as sensitive as the tTG-IgA test. About 5-10% of people with celiac disease do not have a positive EMA test.  It is also very expensive in comparison to the tTG-IgA and requires the use of primate esophagus or human umbilical cord.  It is usually reserved for difficult to diagnose patients.
  • Total serum IgA: This test is used to check for IgA deficiency, a harmless condition associated with celiac disease that can cause a false negative tTG-IgA or EMA result.  If you are IgA deficient, your doctor can order a DGP or tTG-IgG test.
  • Deaminated gliadin peptide (DGP IgA and IgG): This test can be used to further screen for celiac disease in individuals with IgA deficiency or people who test negative for tTg or EMA antibodies.

While it is very rare, it is possible for someone with celiac disease to have negative antibody test results. If your tests were negative, but you continue to experience symptoms, consult your physician and undergo further medical evaluation.

 

 

celiac_iceberg

 

 

 

CELIAC SCREENING & POLICIES IN OTHER COUNTRIES

Unlike the US, the countries listed below have official government policies protecting people with celiac disease and those who must eat a gluten-free diet. Some even have mandatory celiac screening programs. The US has none of these.
The information below is from the Celiac Disease Foundation (2015-d):

Argentina

Argentina recently implemented its “National Program for the Detection and Control of Celiac Disease.” The program not only promotes awareness and knowledge regarding celiac disease, it also implemented an impressive array of labeling restrictions and created a national logo for all certified-GF packaged foods. For residents, Argentinian health care providers must cover the cost of alternative flours and gluten-free mixes.

http://www.internationaldietetics.org/Newsletter/Vol19Issue2/Celiac-Community-Argentina.aspx


Australia and New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand have the toughest labeling laws in the world; these have been set by the Australia New Zealand Food Standard’s Code and apply to all food sold or prepared for sale, including imported food. The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code require the following:

  • Foods labeled as “gluten free” must not contain any detectable gluten; and no oats or their products; or cereals containing gluten that have used malt or their products.
  • Ingredients derived from gluten containing grains must be declared on the food label, however small the amount.
  • Foods labeled as “low gluten” must contain less than 200 parts per million of gluten. Australia does not have a very large range of low gluten foods and be aware low gluten foods are not recommended for a gluten free diet.

http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx


Canada

Canada has labeling restrictions on all packaged gluten-free foods. All foods considered certified gluten-free by Health Canada must contain under 20 parts per million of gluten.  Any intentionally added gluten-containing ingredient must be listed on a product. In addition, Canadian residents receive tax deductions for the extra cost of gluten free foods versus their non-gluten free counterparts.

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/securit/allerg/cel-coe/gluten-position-eng.php


European Union

The European Union has adopted universal labeling laws for gluten free food. If the food contains less than 100 mg/kg, it may be labeled “very low gluten” while if it contains less than 20 mg/kg it may be labeled “gluten free.”

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:016:0003:0005:EN:PDF


Ireland

Irish citizens may claim tax deductions for the extra cost of gluten free foods versus their non-gluten free counterparts. Ireland used to have a program that entitled some celiacs to specific gluten-free foods free of charge. However, the program has been discontinued.

http://www.coeliac.ie/financial_support/tax_relief

http://www.coeliac.ie/financial_support/medical_card


Italy

All Italians are tested for celiac disease at an early age (by 6). Each Italian citizen over the age of 10 with celiac disease receives a monthly stipend of 140 euros, which can be spent on specific gluten-free foods (regulated by the Ministry of Health). Italians with celiac disease also receive extra vacation time to shop/prepare GF food. The Italian Celiac Association and government have done an excellent job educating restaurants on how to deal with celiac disease. There are even gluten-free meals in schools, hospitals, and all other public eating establishments.

http://www.celiachia.it/HOME/HomePage.aspx


United Kingdom

Over 90% of British celiac patients receive gluten-free food as part of their prescription for the gluten-free diet. Essentially these patients receive gluten free food and mixes at a heavily discounted price (the cost of the prescription).

http://www.coeliac.org.uk/healthcare-professionals/prescriptions

 

 

 

 

 DOCUMENTARY FILM: “THE CELIAC PROJECT”

Film maker Michael W. Frolichstein is working on a highly informative documentary film about celiac to raise awareness about the disease. The film showcases the extraordinary lives of people on their long journeys to diagnosis and the obstacles celiac sufferers face trying to live gluten free lives.

 

images-1

Here’s a trailer for  “The Celiac Project” documentary.

 

Documentary film maker Michael Frolichstein
Documentary film maker Michael Frolichstein

 

Frolichstein was motivated to use his skills to create this first-of-its-kind documentary about life before and after the diagnosis of celiac disease after his own 20 year struggle with unexplained health problems before finally being diagnosed in 2009. Then, a few years after his diagnosis, a blood test  and endoscopy on his 3 year old daughter showed that she too had celiac.
He started talking with others with celiac and  “was blown away by the unbelievable stories that I heard–so many of them worse than mine. They were hospitalized, unable to keep food down, misdiagnosed with MS (and other serious conditions), had multiple miscarriages; the list goes on and on. When I learned that 83 percent of Celiacs in this country are either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, I felt compelled as a filmmaker to unravel the mystery of this illness. We have talked with dozens of people who struggled to get diagnosed and also interviewed the top Celiac doctors in the world and are excited to share their stories in this compelling documentary.” (Frolichstein, 2015-a)

imgres-1

If you wish to contribute to the film’s funding campaign or add information about your own struggles with celiac disease, go to CeliacProject.com.

 

 A closing thought:

 

diet-medicine

 

 

REFERENCES

American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association. (2015). Autoimmune Statistics. See: http://www.aarda.org/autoimmune-information/autoimmune-statistics/

Celiac Disease Foundation. (2015-a). Celiac Disease Symptoms. See: http://celiac.org/celiac-disease/symptoms/

Celiac Disease Foundation. (2015-b). What Is Celiac Disease? See: http://celiac.org/celiac-disease/what-is-celiac-disease/

Celiac Disease Foundation. (2015-c). Screening. See: http://celiac.org/celiac-disease/diagnosing-celiac-disease/screening/

Celiac Disease Foundation. (2015-d). Celiac Policies Around the World. See: http://celiac.org/celiac-disease/resources/celiac-policies-around-the-world/

Frolichstein, M. W. (2015-a). Kickstarter – “The Celiac Project”. See: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1596989314/the-celiac-project

Frolichstein, M.W. (2015-b). “The Celiac Project”. See: http://www.celiacproject.com/

Hardin, J.R. (2014). AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES: How they develop and how to put them in remission. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/10/26/autoimmune-diseases-develop-put-remission/

University of Chicago’s Celiac Disease Center. (2015). Symptoms and conditions
potentially due to celiac disease. See: http://www.cureceliacdisease.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/CDCFactSheets10_SymptomList.pdf

 

 

© Copyright 2015 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

GLUTEN INTOLERANCE IS REAL

 

 

(Source: carrotstick.dk)
(Source: carrotstick.dk)

 

 

GLUTEN: WHAT IS IT AND WHERE IS IT FOUND?

Gluten is a protein composite comprised of gliadin and glutelin, conjoined with starch, in the endosperm of various grass-related grains, such as wheat, barley and rye.  Gluten is what makes bread dough elastic, helps it rise and keep it’s shape, and gives it a pleasantly chewy texture. Gluten is also used now in a large numbers foods as a thickener, binder, flavor enhancer and protein supplement.
Along with the obvious sources such as breads, cakes and pasta, you’ll encounter gluten  hidden in many processed foods – salad dressings, soups, beer, some chocolates, some licorice, flavored coffees and teas, imitation bacon bits and seafood, sausages, hot dogs, deli meats, sauces, marinades, gravies, seasonings, soy sauce. See Hidden Sources of Gluten: How to recognize gluten that’s not obvious on the label for a fairly comprehensive list.

 

 

Processed-food-and-gluten-free

Gluten is also found in a variety of pharmaceuticals (National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, 2014).

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE ARTICLE THAT WAS THE IMPETUS FOR THIS POST ON GLUTEN

 

(Source: The New Yorker)
(Source: The New Yorker)

 

 

Michael Specter’s article about gluten in The New Yorker‘s food issue (11/3/2014) so irritated me I felt compelled to address the misinformation in it. The article is called Against the Grain: Should you go gluten-free? . (Specter, 11/3/2014)
Specter has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1998. His writings focus on science and technology as well as global public health. He has also written for The Washington Post and The New York Times.
Looking him up after finishing the article, I was amazed to learn that he was also the author of a book published in 2009 entitled Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives. Despite my hopeful reaction to the word ‘denialism’ in the title, I learned from its review on Amazon that the denial Specter was addressing in this book is Americans’ growing mistrust of science.
So now the focus of this New Yorker article makes sense – he’s a true believer in the gods of modern science, technology and ‘progress’. From the Amazon review of Denialism:

“In the United States a growing series of studies show that dietary supplements and ‘natural’ cures have almost no value, and often cause harm…. And pharmaceutical companies that just forty years ago were perhaps the most visible symbol of our remarkable advance against disease have increasingly been seen as callous corporations propelled solely by avarice and greed…. As Michael Specter sees it, this amounts to a war against progress.”

 

 

(Source: www.flickriver.com)
(Source: www.flickriver.com)
In the New Yorker article, Specter takes a belittling tone toward the many people who are finding their physicians unable or unwilling to help them track down the root cause of their various ill health symptoms so take over that search themselves.
But does it strike YOU as the least bit odd for people to look elsewhere when they realize they’re not getting adequate advice from their doctors, not being believed when they report noticing correlations between eating X and feeling Y afterwards, or – even worse – being given drugs for what ails them, only to develop other symptoms on top of the ones they already reported?
That was certainly my experience with the allergies I suffered with for 40 years. All my doctors ever offered me were various antihistamines and decongestants – and eventually surgery when my body had become so inflamed polyps were growing inside my sinuses making it difficult to breathe. I had horrible reactions to all the drugs and none of them stopped my allergies. After the second nasal polyp surgery, I told my ENT doc that I wasn’t willing to live like that anymore and was going to find a way to fix my allergies rather than just try to treat their symptoms. He was smart and a really good human being. His response was, “I believe you. Will you let me know when you’ve figured it out?” That conversation took place about 35 years ago and my journey to figure it out led to this website.
BTW, my other experiences over the years trying to get help with my own and my family’s autoimmune and other health problems were pretty much the same as the allergies tale above until I basically stopped seeing MDs and started working with so-called ‘alternative’ health care providers who knew about identifying and correcting underlying causes rather than treating symptoms.
So it makes sense to ME that many people have decided to eliminate gluten from their diets to see if that might help. We know something is wrong and we want help getting better and then staying healthy. If we were getting adequate guidance from our doctors, we wouldn’t be so inclined to look for it elsewhere.
Please note that I am NOT saying physicians are evil or stupid. What I AM saying is that too few of them understand much about nutrition or inflammatory processes in the gut and many of them practice exactly as they were trained, in a medical model focusing on identifying diseases after they’ve developed and then treating symptoms with drugs or surgery while ignoring what’s producing those symptoms – and this is not helping us get or stay well.
This Western Medical approach also costs a bundle of money and causes a lot of unnecessary suffering.

 

(Source: cabralwellnessinstitute.com)
(Source: cabralwellnessinstitute.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TESTS FOR GLUTEN SENSITIVITY AND ALLERGY

 

 

(Source: www.amymyersmd.com)
(Source: www.amymyersmd.com)

 

Specter writes, “At present, there are no blood tests, biopsies, genetic markers, or antibodies that can confirm a diagnosis of non-celiac gluten sensitivity.” This claim is  incorrect.
An example: Cell Science Systems is a company offering a blood test for food sensitivity/intolerance and celiac disease risk factors.
From the Cell Science Systems website:

CSS has developed the only gut health profile (GHP) that evaluates the GI tract on a genetic, antibody and cellular level. Nowhere else can you test specific genetic predisposition to celiac disease as well as antibody testing and immune system activation to food sensitivities. Understand your genetic based risk of celiac disease

  • Non celiac reactions to gluten, known as Test for Food Sensivity/intolerance
  • Determines genetic based risk for celiac disease
  • One simple blood draw
  • Comprehensive genetic, antibody, and cellular analysis

Celiac disease (CD) is an autoimmune condition affecting children and adults. When people with CD eat foods that contain gluten, it creates an immune-mediated toxic reaction that causes damage to the small intestine and does not allow food to be properly absorbed. Even small amounts of gluten in foods can affect those with CD and cause health problems. Damage can occur to the small bowel even when there are no symptoms present. Celiac disease affects about 1 in 133 people, or close to 1% of the population. However, few people – some estimates are as few as 5% of the total – know they have the condition.

Test for Food Sensivity, also known as non-celiac Test for Food Sensivity or sometimes gluten intolerance, has been recently recognized as a stand-alone condition by the medical community. Many believe that Test for Food Sensitivity involves a different immune system reaction than celiac disease. A team of researchers, led by Dr. Alessio Fasano, hypothesizes that a person with Test for Food Sensitivity experiences a direct reaction to gluten – i.e., your body views the protein as an invader and fights it with inflammation both inside and outside your digestive tract.

Food sensitivity/intolerance is a non-IgE mediated reaction involving the innate immune system’s response to foods that are otherwise safe. The Alcat Test is considered the, “gold standard” laboratory method for identification of non-IgE mediated reactions to over 400 different foods, chemicals, and other categories of substances. It is a functional response test and captures the final common pathway of many of the pathogenic mechanisms, immunologic, toxic, and pharmacologic, that underlie non-IgE mediated reactions to foods and chemicals.

 

 

 

 

 

(Source: lactosesintolerances.blogspot.com)
(Source: lactosesintolerances.blogspot.com)

 

 

 

COMMON SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH GLUTEN INTOLERANCE AND SENSITIVITY (Camp, 2012) (EnteroLab, 2014)

GI: Digestive problems, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel
Physical and Neurological: Headaches, cognitive impairment, brain fog, mood swings, depression, ADHD-like behavior
Bones and Joints: Osteoporosis, fractures, bone and joint pain
Skin: Eczema, psoriasis, rashes, easy bruising
Reproductive: Hormone imbalances, menstrual irregularities, infertility
General: Chronic fatigue, weight loss or gain

This table from the Wall Street Journal differentiates between gluten sensitivity, wheat allergy and celiac disease.

 

against-the-grain

 

 

GLUTEN FREE PROCESSED FOODS

Specter expends some energy attacking the gluten free foods industry. I have to agree with him here. Of course trying to replace gluten-containing foods with a bunch of seemingly familiar gluten-free substitutes isn’t going to improve anyone’s health. As he points out, processed foods loaded with sugar, fats, non-gluten-containing refined carbohydrates and salt are quite just plain unhealthy.

 

 

(Source: simplypurelyhealthy.wordpress.com)
(Source: simplypurelyhealthy.wordpress.com)

 

What’s needed is a return to eating real, unprocessed, nutrient-filled, non-GMO  foods grown without a load of toxic pesticides.

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT COULD IT BE IN GLUTEN THAT’S CAUSING SO MANY PEOPLE TO REACT BADLY TO IT?

 

Specter poses the reasonable question, “How could gluten, present in a staple food that has sustained humanity for thousands of years, have suddenly become so threatening?” After going through some possible clues to answering his question, he ends up focusing on what he calls “gluten anxiety” and classifies it as a food fad.
He says, “Doctors rarely diagnose non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and many don’t believe that it exists.” He goes on to quote Joseph A. Murray, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic and president of the North American Society for the Study of Celiac Disease: “Everyone is trying to figure out what is going on, but nobody in medicine, at least not in my field, thinks this adds up to anything like the number of people who say they feel better when they take gluten out of their diet. It’s hard to put a number on these things, but I would have to say that at least seventy percent of it is hype and desire. There is just nothing obviously related to gluten that is wrong with most of these people.”
Specter also interviewed Peter H. R. Green, MD, Director of The Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University and Professor of Clinical Medicine at Columbia University, and Attending Physician at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Dr Green is recognized as a prominent celiac doctor. Green told Specter, “In the absence of celiac disease, physicians don’t usually tell people they are sensitive to gluten. This is becoming one of the most difficult problems that I face in my daily practice.”
Dr Green then goes on to rail against  chiropractors and psychiatrists who suggest giving up gluten to their patients to see if their symptoms reduce.
It seems both Specter and Dr Green are unaware that many chiropractors are highly trained in diagnosing and treating a wide variety of health problems – including digestive issues, allergies and food sensitivities, autoimmune conditions, chronic inflammation, migraines, sinus and respiratory problems, insomnia and other sleep problems, thyroid conditions, elevated cholesterol, fertility problems, PMS, PCOS, and symptoms that are unresolved after repeatedly seeking help from MDs.

 

 

 

(Source: becuo.com)
(Source: becuo.com)
Specter and Dr Green also seem oblivious to the existence of research on the connections between the probiotics in our intestinal microbiota and mental health. Here are a few examples, including one specifically about gluten and mental health:

Selhub et al. (2014). Fermented foods, microbiota, and mental health: ancient practice meets nutritional psychiatry

Ji, S. (2013). 60 Years of Research Links Gluten Grains to Schizophrenia

Bested et al. (2013). Intestinal microbiota, probiotics and mental health

In fact, it’s likely that the future of psychotropic medicine will be diet and microbes like probiotics, not pharmaceuticals. We’re learning that what we eat and the micro-organisms living inside our guts strongly influence both our mental and physical health.
Pharmaceuticals given for problems like depression and anxiety work this way:

 

(Source: drsaulmarcus.com)
(Source: drsaulmarcus.com)

 

 

Symptom suppression certainly doesn’t address the underlying causes of anything. Correcting imbalances in the gut microbiome does. And also, as anyone who’s ever taken pharmaceuticals knows, they’re sort of poisonous – producing “side effects”. Working to get your gut bacteria and the other micro critters in there to work well addresses your health problems directly and doesn’t involve introducing any poisons.
Stay tuned – there’s some exciting research underway now on the gut microbiome and all that it influences.

 

(Source: tv.greenmedinfo.com)
Kelley Brogan, MD. (Source: tv.greenmedinfo.com)
Kelly Brogan, MD, is a psychiatrist who has looked extensively at the literature on gluten’s effects on the brain. She points out that gluten produces considerable inflammation in the body. It is well known that chronic inflammation leads to all sorts of autoimmune diseases and other serious problems. Her excellent and informative article This Is Your Gut (and Brain) on Wheat lays out a clear explanation of what happens in the body when it consumes gluten. Specter and Green’s annoying comments about psychiatrists who talk about gluten with their ailing patients aside, I highly recommend taking a look at this short article. (Brogan, 2013)

 

 

And-then

So back to Specter’s question from the beginning of this section:  What could have turned gluten into a widespread, serious health problem in the US in recent years.
Here’s a likely answer: the widespread use of the toxic chemical glyphosate.

 

 

(Source: gmo-awareness.com)
(Source: gmo-awareness.com)

 

 

Even though wheat is not a genetically modified crop, Monsanto’s glyphosate-containing weed killer, Roundup, is widely used on wheat fields before harvests to ‘dry down’ the wheat and even organic wheat fields are often  contaminated with glyphosate from poor farming practices.  (Shilhavy, 2014)
From Shilhavy’s article, ALERT: Certified Organic Food Grown in U.S. Found Contaminated with Glyphosate Herbicide:

In fact, beer brewers are having a problem with glyphosate. A few years ago, when one of my colleagues wanted to get more Abraxis test strips for testing materials for glyphosate residue, he was told that they had a 3 month backlog. He asked, what was causing this? He was told that every load of malt barley coming out of North Dakota has to be tested, because the glyphosate levels were so high that it kills the yeast in the brew mix.

 

 

contaminated_wheat_grain

 

 

The graph below plots celiac incidence against the use of glyphosate on wheat crops  between 1990 and 2010. You can see the two rising in tandem.  In fact, the connection between glyphosate and celiac disease correlates to a greater degree than glyphosate usage on either corn or soy, crops which are largely genetically modified to be able to tolerate heavy applications of Roundup.

 

Celiac Incidence/ Glyphosate Applied to Wheat 1990-2010

(Sources: USDA:NASS, CDC. Figure courtesy of Nancy Swanson)
(Sources: USDA:NASS, CDC. Figure courtesy of Nancy Swanson)
This graph appears in an article called Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance published in the journal Interdisciplinary Toxicology.  (Samsel & Seneff, 2013)
From the article’s abstract:

Celiac disease, and, more generally, gluten intolerance, is a growing problem worldwide, but especially in North America and Europe, where an estimated 5% of the population now suffers from it. Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, skin rashes, macrocytic anemia and depression. It is a multifactorial disease associated with numerous nutritional deficiencies as well as reproductive issues and increased risk to thyroid disease, kidney failure and cancer. Here, we propose that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide, Roundup(®), is the most important causal factor in this epidemic. Fish exposed to glyphosate develop digestive problems that are reminiscent of celiac disease. Celiac disease is associated with imbalances in gut bacteria that can be fully explained by the known effects of glyphosate on gut bacteria….  Deficiencies in tryptophan, tyrosine, methionine and selenomethionine associated with celiac disease match glyphosate’s known depletion of these amino acids. Celiac disease patients have an increased risk to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which has also been implicated in glyphosate exposure. Reproductive issues associated with celiac disease, such as infertility, miscarriages, and birth defects, can also be explained by glyphosate. Glyphosate residues in wheat and other crops are likely increasing recently due to the growing practice of crop desiccation just prior to the harvest…. We conclude with a plea to governments to reconsider policies regarding the safety of glyphosate residues in foods.

I also recommend taking a look at this article: Why the Use of Glyphosate in Wheat Has Radically Increased Celiac Disease (Mercola, 2014)

 

Stephanie Seneff, PhD, Senior Research Scientist at M.I.T.
Stephanie Seneff, PhD, Senior Research Scientist at M.I.T.

 

 

 

 

 

AND BTW, THERE’S EVIDENCE THAT SIMPLY AVOIDING GLUTEN DOESN’T SUFFICE FOR HEALING CELIAC DISEASE (Reasoner, 2014)

Here’s a shocker that challenges current medical advice for celiacs –
The University of Chicago’s Celiac Disease Center, one of the US’s leading treatment and research center for Celiac Disease, reports:

“While healing may take up to 2 years for many older adults, new research shows that the small intestines of up to 60% of adults never completely heal, especially when adherence to the diet is less than optimal.”

If you’re struggling with celiac disease, you might want to read Jordan Reasoner’s interesting article The Gluten-Free Lie: Why Most Celiacs are Slowly Dying.
From Reasoner’s article:

Conventional medicine usually works like this…

I have a problem, the doctor figures out what the problem is, and gives me a conventional prescription generally supported by Doctors, researchers, and the FDA.

This prescription is supposed to be relatively safe and effective in accordance with the laws in the United States and most modern countries.

But what if the conventional prescription doesn’t work?

Like people with Celiac Disease that follow a strict gluten-free diet and don’t get better….

 

Only 8% of Adult Patients Healed on a Gluten-Free Diet…

A 2009 study in The Journal of Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics looked at 465 Celiac Disease patients and found only 8% of adult patients reached “histological normalization” after following a gluten-free diet for 16 months, meaning their gut tissue completely recovered to that of a healthy person. The authors stated:

“Complete normalization of duodenal lesions is exceptionally rare in adult coeliac patients despite adherence to GFD”

These people followed a strict gluten-free diet for 16 months and most didn’t heal their gut. The success rate of the conventional Celiac Disease prescription isn’t working… and the research is exploding the truth.

Another 2010 study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology looked at 381 adults with biopsy-proven Celiac Disease. The authors found small intestine mucosal recovery occurred in only 34% of participants following a gluten-free diet for 2 years. They concluded:

“Mucosal recovery was absent in a substantial portion of adults with CD after treatment with a GFD.”

 

65% of Gluten-Free Celiacs Still Have a Raging Fire in Their Gut

The same 2009 study in The Journal of Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics of 465 Celiac Disease patients 16 months gluten-free found that 65% still had “persistent intraepithelial lymphocytosis,” a.k.a. inflammation in the gut.

 

This is highly significant. It is well known that gut inflammation is associated with a huge variety of health issues, including all the autoimmune diseases and cancer. So if celiacs follow their doctors’ advice and only avoid gluten but are still at high risk for  chronic  gut inflammation, they are definitely not healed and will never achieve good health.
Again from Reasoner’s article:
56% Have Poor Vitamin Status After 10 Years Gluten-Free

A 2002 study in the of Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics looked at the vitamin status of 30 adults with Celiac Disease showing “biopsy-proven remission,” after following a gluten-free diet for 8-12 years. They found that 56% had poor vitamin status, suggesting that proper nutrient uptake is not occurring. The authors concluded that:

“It is generally assumed that coeliac patients adhering to a strict gluten-free diet for years will consume a diet that is nutritionally adequate. This is supported by the demonstration of a normal bone mineral density up to 10 years of dietary treatment. Our results may indicate otherwise. We found signs indicative of a poor vitamin status in 56% of treated adult coeliac patients.”

Even after following the conventional Celiac prescription for 10 years, 56% still showed signs of poor nutrient uptake – meaning their digestive system still isn’t working like it’s designed to.

That means after 10 years of being gluten-free, HALF of all Celiacs are likely starving for the critical nutrients required for health and longevity. It’s no wonder we have a 77X increased risk for lymphoma.

 

 

(Source: whole9life.com)
(Source: whole9life.com)

 

 

(Source: www.precisionnutrition.com)
(Source: www.precisionnutrition.com)
The Gluten-Free Diet Doesn’t Fix Leaky Gut
Reasoner discusses the role of gliadin (gluten is comprised of gliadin and glutenin in equal parts) in initiating leaky gut* by increasing the zonulin** protein in celiacs. Zonulin levels do fall in celiacs following a strict gluten free diet – but a gluten free diet doesn’t eliminate leaky gut. Gluten free celiacs continue to have elevated levels of zonulin compared to non-celiacs.

 

(Source: www.radiancehealthcenter.com)

* Leaky Gut Syndromes are clinical disorders associated with increased intestinal permeability. These disorders include inflammatory and infectious bowel diseases, chronic inflammatory arthrititis, cryptogenic skin conditions like acne, psoriasis and dermatitis herpetiformis, many diseases triggered by food allergy or specific food intolerance, including eczema, urticaria, and irritable bowel syndrome, AIDS, chronic fatigue syndromes, chronic hepatitis, chronic pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis and pancreatic carcinoma.  (Galland, undated)

 

 

(Source: healthbeginsathome.com)
(Source: healthbeginsathome.com)

 

** Zonulin is a protein that modulates the permeability of tight junctions between cells of the wall of the digestive tract. (Wikipedia, 8/21/14)

I highly recommend looking at Reasoner’s site for information on what, besides avoiding gluten, is necessary to fix Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Dr Galland’s piece on LEAKY GUT SYNDROMES: BREAKING THE VICIOUS CYCLE is a bit technical and was apparently posted in the early 1990s but even if you skip over those parts, you’ll learn a great deal about how to protect or restore your health.

 

 

(Source: www.drsharma.ca)
(Source: www.drsharma.ca)

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Bested, A.C. et al. (2013). Intestinal microbiota, probiotics and mental health.Gut Pathogens, 5:3 See: http://www.gutpathogens.com/content/5/1/3

Brogan, K. (2013). This Is Your Body (and Brain) on Gluten. See: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/your-body-and-brain-gluten

Camp, M. (2012). The Difference Between Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Disease. See: https://drmorgancamp.wordpress.com/tag/gluten/

Cell Science Systems. (2014). Test for Food Sensivity/intolerance and celiac disease risk factors with one convenient laboratory test. See: https://www.alcat.com/landing/gluten-sensitivity-test.php

EnteroLab. (2014). Which Test to Order. EnteroLab: Specialized Laboratory Testing for Optimal Intestinal and Overall Health. See: https://www.enterolab.com/staticpages/testtoorder.aspx

Galland, L. (undated). LEAKY GUT SYNDROMES: BREAKING THE VICIOUS CYCLE. See: http://www.mdheal.org/leakygut.htm

Hatfield, H. (2014). Hidden Sources of Gluten: How to recognize gluten that’s not obvious on the label. WebMD. See: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/hidden-sources-of-gluten

Mercola, R. (2014). Why the Use of Glyphosate in Wheat Has Radically Increased Celiac Disease. See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/09/14/glyphosate-celiac-disease-connection.aspx?e_cid=20140914Z1_SNL_Art_1&utm_source=snl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20140914Z1&et_cid=DM55859&et_rid=658330142

National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. (2014). Gluten in Medications: NFCA and the Pharmaceutical Industry. See: http://www.celiaccentral.org/gluteninmeds/Pharmacy/321/

Reasoner, J. (2014). The Gluten-Free Lie: Why Most Celiacs are Slowly Dying. SCD Lifestyle. See: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/the-gluten-free-lie-why-most-celiacs-are-slowly-dying/

Samsel, A. & Seneff, S. (2013). Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance. Interdisciplinary Toxicology, 6(4):159-84. See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24678255

Selhub, E.M. et al. (2014). Fermented foods, microbiota, and mental health: ancient practice meets nutritional psychiatry.Journal of Physiological Anthropology, 33:2. See: http://www.jphysiolanthropol.com/content/33/1/2

Shilhavy, B. (2014). ALERT: Certified Organic Food Grown in U.S. Found Contaminated with Glyphosate Herbicide. HealthImpactNews.com. See: http://healthimpactnews.com/2014/alert-certified-organic-food-grown-in-u-s-found-contaminated-with-glyphosate-herbicide/

Specter, M. (2009). Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives. http://www.amazon.com/dp/1594202303/ref=cm_sw_su_dp

Specter, M. (11/3/2014). Against the Grain: Should you go gluten-free? The New Yorker. See: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/11/03/grain

Wikipedia. (8/21/2014). Zonulin. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zonulin

 

 

© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

2nd WORKSHOP ON ALLERGIES, SINUSES, ASTHMA, AUTOIMMUNITY & THE GUT

probiotics1

 

Last year’s workshop was well received so I’ll be giving it again in early 2015.
******************

ALLERGIES, SINUSES, ASTHMA, AUTOIMMUNITY & THE GUT WORKSHOP

SUNDAY, 11 JANUARY 2015

2:30 – 5:30 PM

Soho, NYC

Limited to 20 people

Cost: $50 ($45 if you enroll before 12/12/2014)

 

******************

We’ll have some added bonuses for this 2nd version of the workshop:
* VIBRATIONAL HEALING – Tibetan Singing Bowls, Ting Sha (Tibetan Cymbals), Tuning Forks
* HEALTHY INFLAMMATION vs EXCESSIVE INFLAMMATION (the kind that produces allergies, asthma, all the other types of autoimmune diseases and conditions  – and worse)

 

******************

 

This workshop will be relevant for you even if you don’t have a full blown allergy, a sinus problem or asthma. You very likely have inflammation or an autoimmune condition going on somewhere in your body. Allergies, sinus conditions, asthma, and autoimmune conditions are the result of excessive inflammation – and that starts in an unbalanced gut microbiome.
For more information on inflammation in the body and on the 80+ conditions/diseases known to be autoimmune reactions, see Inflammation, How to Reverse Autoimmune Disease, How Immunity in the Gut Mucosa Works, and  Autoimmune Reactions.

 
images

 

 

Write me in the Comment box below if you’d like to enroll in this workshop.
– Joan

 

 

bacteria_header

 

 

© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

 

Climate Change Impacts Allergies and Asthma

 

 

images

 

 

Extreme weather events, from coastal flooding, intense heat, record amounts of rainfall in some areas and historic droughts in others, are becoming increasingly common as the Earth’s average temperature rises. The World Meteorological Organization has linked some of 2013’s most extreme weather events – think back to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines as well as flooding in central Europe and record high temperatures in Australia, Asia and Africa to human-induced climate change. “There’s been a general disruption of nature,” says Kim Knowlton, a senior scientist in the Natural Resources Defense Council’s health and environmental program. In may, the U.S. Global Change Research Program (GCRP) released a comprehensive report on the impacts of climate change. It bluntly states: “Over the last 50 years, much of the United States has seen an increase in prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures, more heavy downpours, and in some regions, more severe droughts.”

– Claire Cagne, Wild Weather & Our Allergies, Allergic Living, Summer 2014

 

This is very bad news for people with allergies and asthma – more moisture and higher temperatures mean increased levels of mold, pollen and air pollution.
Temperatures across the U.S. are projected to increase anywhere from 5-10  degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century so the challenges we encounter from climate change are likely to get worse. (Gagne, 2014)

 

 

 

 

allergies

 

AIR-BORNE ALLERGENS ARE EXPECTED TO INCREASE

According to the EPA’s report on climate change and air-borne allergens, A Review of the Impact of Climate Variability and Change on Aeroallergens and Their Associated Effects (EPA, 2011):
  •  Aeroallergens include pollens, which can be produced by weeds, grasses and trees,   as well as molds, dust particles, ash and indoor allergens.
  • Aeroallergens such as dust, ragweed, pollen and molds impact half of all Americans.
  • Treatment for allergies in the US costs $21 billion annually.
  • Three major allergic diseases have been associated with exposure to aeroallergens: hay fever, asthma and eczema.  Collectively, these three allergic diseases rank sixth for annual expenditures among chronic health conditions in the United States.
  • Beyond the direct cost of medical care are the indirect, but substantial, costs associated with lost time at work, school and play.
  • Increases in temperature, carbon dioxide and precipitation will cause the proliferation of weedy plants that are known producers of allergenic pollen.  Higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere act as a fertilizer for plant growth.  Warmer temperatures and increased precipitation will cause some plants to grow faster, bloom earlier and produce more pollen.
  • Climate-related temperature changes are expected to increase the potency of airborne allergens, increasing the concentration of pollen in the air, the length of the allergy season and the strength of airborne allergens.
  • Climate change will allow allergen-producing plant species to move into new areas.
  • Wind-blown dust, carrying pollens and molds from outside of the United States, could expose people to allergens they had not previously contacted.  Exposure to more potent concentrations of pollen and mold may make current non-sufferers more likely to develop allergic symptoms.

 

 

Wildfires in Colorado, 2012
Wildfires in Colorado, 2012

 

 

Drought in California, 2014
Drought in California, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

HEAVIER, MORE FREQUENT RAINS PRODUCE MORE MOLD

 

 

Flooding from Super Storm Sandy, 2012
Flooding from Super Storm Sandy, 2012

 

Molds can cause serious health problems in susceptible individuals. Here’s information from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on the city’s health crisis following Hurricane Sandy (RebuildAdjustNY.org, 2013):
  • Toxins produced by mold, known at myotoxins, can cause headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, inability to concentrate and memory loss.
  • Chronic exposure to mold can lead to permanent lung disease
  • According to the Institute of Medicine, “There (is) sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people.”
  • According to a World Health Organization-cited study, building dampness/mold increases the occurrence of respiratory and asthma-related health incidents by 30-50%.
  • A second study estimated that 21%of the cases of asthma in the United States could be attributable to dampness and mold in housing, for a total annual national cost of $3.5 billion.
  • Sandy-impacted neighborhoods are especially vulnerable to health effects from mold.
  • According to then Mayor Bloomberg, 70,000 – 80,000 homes suffered water damage due to Hurricane Sandy.
  • About 180,000 – 210,000 New Yorkers could be currently exposed to Sandy-related mold.
  • Mold is especially dangerous for 45,000+ children under the age of 5 and senior New Yorkers who are considered highly vulnerable to mod-related ailments.
  • Mold is especially dangerous for individuals suffering from asthma and other respiratory ailments.
  • Sandy-affected neighborhoods reported more than 30,000 asthma-related emergency room visits between 2008 and 2010.
  • Children and seniors comprise about 25% of the population in Sandy-affected neighborhoods.
  • Asthmatics comprise more than 25%of the Sandy-affected neighborhood of Red Hook, Brooklyn.

 

 

Mold growth inside a home after Hurricane Sandy
Mold growth inside a home after Hurricane Sandy

 

Mold damage is not always as easy to detect as in the photo above. It can be growing inside walls or behind wallpaper so not necessarily be visible.
Mold growing behind wallpaper
Mold growing behind wallpaper
And dead mold spore can still cause allergic reactions in some people so killing the mold may not be sufficient – it must also be removed. (EPA, 2012)

 

 

 

 

SO HOW CAN WE REDUCE OUR CHANCES OF INCREASED SUFFERING FROM ALLERGIES AND ASTHMA?

 

 

immune-response

 

We know that 80-90% of our immune system resides in the mucosa of our guts. An unbalanced, impaired gut microbiome produces chronic inflammation in the body. Over time, this inflammation produces autoimmune conditions (such as allergies and asthma) – as well as gum disease, repeating UTIs, heart disease, nail fungus, some cancers, and much more.
Mast cells located in our skin, connective tissues, and the mucosal linings of our stomachs and intestines, are an essential part of our immune defenses. These unique cells are tasked with activating the immune system to defend us from harmful invaders.
In people with allergies, the immune system misidentifies innocuous substances as dangerous pathogens and sends out mast cells to combat them – as if Attila’s Huns were at the gate and needed to be attacked at all costs, even to the point of destroying the body in the process.
The real solution for both allergy and asthma sufferers isn’t just treating the symptoms but working to restore the health of the friendly bacteria living in the gut with the goal of normalizing the immune system. A healthy, balanced gut immune system will stop producing inflammation and allow a return to health.
As climate change exposes us to increasing numbers of molds and other allergens, we’re all going to need immune systems that are up to dealing with the challenge.

 

 

Boost-Immunity-Healthy-Smoothies

 

 

 

For more information on allergies, asthma, autoimmune conditions, the role of inflammation in these problems, and how to strengthen your immune system, see:

GUT SYMBIOSIS VS DYSBIOSIS

INFLAMMATION

ALLERGIES

AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS

ASTHMA

SUPER IMMUNITY

PREBIOTICS & PROBIOTICS

SACCHAROMYCES BOULARDII

KEFIR

THE STANDARD AMERICAN DIET (SAD)

HOW TO REVERSE AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE

ADDICTIONS – GLUTEN

GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS – OUR FOOD

TRANSFER FACTOR

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Cagne, C. (2014). Wild Weather & Our Allergies. Allergic Living, 4:2, 32-37.

EPA. (2012). A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home: Hidden Mold. See:  http://www.epa.gov/mold/hiddenmold.html

RebuildAdjustNY.org. (2013). Mold: NYC’s Health Crisis Post-Sandy. See:  http://www.rebuildajustny.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Resource-Post-mold-remediation-Sandy-Mold-Health-Fact-Sheet2.pdf

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2011). Allergies Getting Worse? See: http://www.epa.gov/research/gems/scinews_aeroallergens.htm

 

 

 

 

© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

 

 

No Bad Bruising After a Nasty Fall


Deprecated: Function create_function() is deprecated in /home/allergi9/public_html/wp-content/plugins/wp-spamshield/wp-spamshield.php on line 2033

Updated 7/6/2014, 7/25/2014 & 1/30/2015.

 

9092096-businessman-falling-down-the-stairs

 

No, I didn’t fall down the stairs like the unfortunate man in the photo above – but I certainly did splat face down onto the floor in my own apartment a week ago. I was holding the phone in my left hand and running to answer the doorbell when I apparently tripped over the edge of a small carpet. I suspect my cat had flipped it over while she was racing around that morning and I didn’t notice it since my eyes were on the doorbell intercom screen.
At any rate, I landed gracelessly and heavily on both knees, elbows,  hands, upper chest, and chin – causing me to bite my upper lip in the bargain. But I didn’t let go of the phone so the poor woman on the other end heard me go down – and heard whatever utterances I made in the process.
As I was lying there, the ad, “Help! I’ve fallen and can’t get up!’ flashed through my mind. It turned out I was able to push myself up to standing, tell the woman I’d  call her back and answer the bell.
Fortunately, my chiropractor had time to squeeze in an appointment a few hours later. She got my skeleton more or less back into alignment – not fun. Then the only way I was able to get off the chiropractic table, where she had me lying face down to work on my back, was to ooze slowly onto the floor and pull myself up from there. Definitely not fun.
According to bone scans a few years ago, my osteopenia has become osteoporosis so a fall like this might have had serious consequences.
In the past, whenever I’ve fallen or bumped myself, colorful bruises going from blue and red to yellow and green have always resulted.
OK. That’s the background of why I’m writing this blog post. It’s what happened after the fall that has amazed me and will likely interest you.

 

 

 

 

bruises_by_freakmo_sfx-d60zc2z

 

 

bruise01

 

 

 

 

WHY BRUISES FORM AND HOW THEY HEAL

Reprinted from Bruises: Causes and Treatments by Sarah Winkler (1998-2014)

Bruising appears when tiny blood vessel, or capillaries, break due to a blow to the skin. The appearance of a bruise changes over time, and you can tell how old a bruise is and where it is in the process of healing by observing its color. Generally, your skin should look normal again in about two to three weeks after an injury.

  • When a bruise is brand new, it will appear reddish due to the color of the blood that leaked from the capillaries under the skin.
  • At one to two days old, a bruise will take on a bluish or purple color. The swelling at the site of the bruise will cause oxygen to be cut off, and hemoglobin, the substance that carries iron in your blood, will turn blue.
  • At six days old, a bruise will turn a greenish color as the hemoglobin breaks down and the area begins to heal itself.
  • At eight to nine days old, a bruise will then turn yellow or brown. This is the final stage in the body’s re-absorption of the blood.

 

 

 

 

 

Arnica montana (Credit: Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen)
Arnica montana
(Credit: Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen)

 

 

ARNICA

After I’d scraped myself off the floor and dealt with the postman, I immediately started taking Boiron’s homeopathic Arnica montana pellets – five pellets dissolved under the tongue 3X/day.

 

306960075134

 

I also started applying arnica externally to the bruises where the skin hadn’t been broken – sometimes my old favorite, Nelson’s Arnica Cream,

 

nelsons-arnicare-arnica-cream-30g__50175_zoom

 

 

and other times MJ’s Herbals’ Arnica Salve.

 

812dxejbV3L._SY355_

 

 

Arnica montana, a European daisy-like mountain plant also known as leopard’s bane, wolf’s bane and mountain tobacco, has been used for centuries to heal bruises, sprains, sore muscles, muscle spasms, arthritis and joint pain. It comes in the form of homeopathic ointments, creams, gels and salves to be applied externally to areas with unbroken skin; homeopathic pellets to be taken internally; and tinctures to be used in compresses. (Weil, 2014) (Wikipedia, 2014)

 

 

 

 

PROBIOTICS FROM SUPPLEMENTS AND FERMENTED FOODS

 

bacteria

 

I’ve been taking probiotics and other high quality supplements for several years now to keep my gut microbiome – and everything else – healthy. Apparently I’ve been successful:  My last thermography report showed only a slight amount of inflammation in my digestive tract and elsewhere, a huge improvement from where I started.
Currently, I’m taking:
  • Flora Synergy (Energenix)                                          5 2x/day before meals
  • Catalyst-C (Energenix)                                                 1 3x/day before meals
  • Saccharomyces boulardii + MOS (Jarrow)          1-2 3x/day after meals
  • Transfer Factor Plus (4Life)                                       1-2 3x/day before meals
  • Coral Legend Plus (Premier Research Lab)        1 2x/day before meals
  • Phyto Cal-Mag Plus (Energetix)                               3 @ lunch/3 after dinner
  • Allicidin (Premier Research Labs)                           2 2x/day after meals
  • D3 5000iu (Metagenics)                                               1x/day
  • Ostera (Metagenics)                                                      1x/day
  • Super Omega-3 Fish Oil Concentrate                    1 2x/day                                                            1,000mg soft gels (Carlson)
NOTE: This is the right combination of probiotics and other supplements for me. That doesn’t mean it’s what would be good for you.

 

I’ve also been eating more cleanly – no gluten, more greens, more healthy saturated fats (from animal and other sources – such as coconuts), fewer unhealthy fats, less refined sugar, fewer processed foods, more organic foods, fewer GMO foods and products. And I’ve included fermented foods such as kefir and real sauerkraut in my diet and started taking a juice-based supplement called Jusuru Life Blend (more on it below).

 

To read more about probiotics, see Prebiotics and Probiotics.
To read more about the probiotic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii, see here.
To read about kefir, see Kefir.

 

 

 

 

LIQUID BIOCELL LIFE   (Jusuru, 2013)

After the fall, I increased my daily dose of Liquid BioCell Life (formerly called Jusuru) from 2 ounces 1X/day to 2 ounces 2X/day to promote healing in my ribs, cartilage and the areas of soft tissue damage.
Liquid BioCell Life is an innovative, well-researched and tested, juice-based neutraceutical that promotes joint, skin, cardiovascular and cellular health. Research on fruit-derived polyphenols has demonstrated their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, neutralizing the free radicals that cause cell damage.
Jusuru, the company name, comes from the Japanese word meaning, ‘To live!’
Liquid BioCell Life contains:
  • BioCell Collagen®
  • Resveratrol
  • Antioxidants

 

 

BIOCELL COLLAGEN®

BioCell Collagen contains Hydrolyzed Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid and Chondroitin Sulfate, ingredients that have been shown in clinical trails to:
  • Promote skin firmness, resilience and hydration
  • Promotes joint lubrication and improves joint mobility
  • Reduce stiffness and discomfort
  • Rebuild cartilage and connective tissue
  • Help retard the overall aging process
  • Improve eye health
  • Nourish the scalp for healthier hair
  • Strengthen nails
  • Improve gum health by strengthening gingival fibers that attach the teeth
HYDROLYZED COLLAGEN
  • The most abundant protein found in joint cartilage and the dermis of the skin
  • Provides the structural framework for connective tissues to keep skin firm and resilient, and joints active and fluid
HYALURONIC ACID
  • The gel-like substance that holds cells together
  • A molecule that helps provide hydration to skin and lubrication to joints
  • Found anywhere there is moisture in the body

 

CHONDROITIN SULFATE
  • A naturally occurring protein
  • Gives cartilage its amazing shock-absorbing properties
  • Fills the ground substance in skin dermis

 

 

 

RESVERATROL

  • A potent antioxidant found in the skin of red grapes that makes red wine good for you
  • Each 2-ounce dose of Jusuru Life Blend contains the same amount of resveratrol as 4 bottles of red wine
  • “The French Paradox” explains why the French are heart-healthy and age gracefully

 

 

 

ANTIOXIDANTS

  • Antioxidant health benefits delivered via 13 superfruits – blueberry, mangosteen, açai berry, noni, red grapes, maqui, strawberry, apple, nopal, jujube, gogi, cranberry and pomegranate
  • Neutralizes free radicals to start the chain reaction toward improved health

 

I can attest that the juice is delicious tasting! It has also been most helpful in healing my colon from the nasty Clostridium difficile infection I battled in 2010.
See the Jusuru Life Blend Product Fact Sheet for a list of research reports on the supplement.


 

 

WOBENZYM® N

 

 

wobenzym-n1

 

 

When I spoke with David Miller, MD, one of my trusted health advisers,  six days after the fall, he approved of what I was doing and taking to recover from my injuries. He also suggested adding another supplement, Wobenzym® N – a combination of enzymes that’s especially good for promoting bone, tendon and muscle healing. It’s a German product that’s been around for 50 years.
The dose Dr Miller recommended for me is five tablets 2-3 hours after dinner or 45 minutes before a meal.

 

 

 

ABOUT WOBENZYM N  (Douglas Laboratories Canada, 2008) (Garden of Life, 2014)

 

Wobenzym N is a systemic enzyme formula containing a synergistic combination of plant-based enzymes, pancreatic enzymes and antioxidants. It was first introduced in Germany in the 1960’s. Its powerful yet delicate enzymes are contained in a vegetable-based enteric coating to ensure they reach the small intestine intact. The enzymes then get absorbed from the small intestine into the blood stream.
Wobenzym N:
  • Provides clinically demonstrated relief from everyday aches, pains and muscle soreness due to everyday activity and injuries
  • Promotes increased flexibility and mobility
  • Supports joint and tendon health
  • Maintains and supports a balanced immune system
  • Promotes health blood circulation
  • Supports health aging
  • Works holistically — throughout the entire body

 

 

BENEFITS OF THE ENZYMES IN WOBENZYM N
Enzymes are fascinating essential biological catalysts involved in almost every single process in the body. They initiate millions of chemical reactions every second in the human body. It is easy to see why supplementing with systemic enzymes can have far-reaching benefits to the human body.
The enzyme blend in Wobenzym N contains the following, clinically studied enzymes: pancreatin, papain (papaya extract), bromelain (pineapple extract), trypsin and chymotrypsin (pancreatic enzymes). Each of these is a protease – meaning they break down proteins. The formula also contains the antioxidant flavonoid rutin.
This supplement provides systematic enzyme support to assist the body’s various regulatory and communication systems, especially the immune system. As I’ve stressed throughout this site, a balanced immune system is necessary for good health. In order to make sure that the systemic effect of the enzyme support succeeds, active enzyme molecules must be available in the small intestine for absorption.

 

WHY THE ENZYMES NEED TO BE TAKEN ON AN EMPTY STOMACH
Wobenzym N is best taken on an empty stomach – at least 30 minutes before a meal or at least two hours after the last meal of the day – to maximize its absorption from the small intestine into the blood stream.
For the enzymes to function properly, the supplement should be taken with a glass of water at room temperature or below. If it’s taken with a warm to hot liquid such as coffee or tea, the enteric coating on the tablets may become compromised, interfering with the enzymes’ reaching the small intestine. Taking it with milk may disturb the absorption of the enzymes within the small intestine.

 

 

Wobenzym-N Ingredients List
Wobenzym-N Ingredients List

 

 

For more information on Wobenzym-N, see Douglas Laboratories – Canada’s Fact Sheet and  Garden of Life.

 

 

 

THE HEALING THAT HAS AMAZED ME

During this past week since I fell, I’ve seen only a tiny, pale blue bruise on one leg – and that little one disappeared after a day. The tips of both elbows are bright red but have never turned any other color. I continue to be sore, swollen in the damaged places and stiff in the knees but the heavy bruising I was expecting never materialized. I figured this all was either a sign of something dreadful – or a very good sign.
The second night after the fall, when the tissue swelling had gone down a little on the side of my chest that had taken the brunt of the fall, I realized there was also some sharp pain underneath so had chest X-rays the following day – which revealed small fractures in the 6th and 9th ribs on that side. Four X-rays of my injured left hand didn’t reveal any breakage.
My health adviser,  David Miller, MD, gave an interesting explanation for why I’ve had no visible bruises anyplace on my body from that major fall: He says it’s because all the probiotic and other supplements I take regularly, plus the Jusuru drink supplement I’ve been taking the last few months, have gotten my circulatory system into great shape, allowing the blood that escaped from the damaged capillaries to get quickly and efficiently re-absorbed by my body. The homeopathic Arnica montana I’ve been taken internally and the arnica salve and cream I’ve applied externally since the fall have helped too. He expects my ribs to heal quickly. (Miller, 2014) Given what’s happened already – and what’s not happened,  I do too.

 

 

 

Pain-Scale

 

 

I’d rate the pain resulting from this fall as 3.5 at its highest and most of the time as around 2. Using Kristin Prevallet’s techniques as described in her book Visual Comfort: Pain Management and the Unconscious Mind, I’ve been able to get it to 0.5 much of the time – ie, I’m not much aware of it.
For more on Kristin’s techniques, see Visualize Comfort.

 

 

 

 

 

june-july_stump

 

 

UPDATE A MONTH AFTER THE FALL

July 8th:
About two weeks after the fall, to further support healing, Dr Miller suggested I increase my dose of Wobenzym N for five days, from 5 tablets before bedtime to 10 tablets 45 minutes before breakfast + 10 tablets 45 minutes before dinner or at bedtime – and then return to 5 tablets before bedtime.
July 11th:
City MD, where I had the chest and hand X-rays a few days after the fall, made a follow-up appointment for me with a hand surgeon. She said she couldn’t tell what she needed to know from those four X-rays of my hand so did five more, looked at the area with ultrasound, and fit my hand with a splint to immobilize the possibly broken thumb. She also ordered two MRI’s so she could see if there was perhaps a bone chip or ligament damage around the thumb or in the wrist.
The splint was a mixed blessing – it gave my thumb and wrist a rest but pressed right on the exquisitely painful area.
July 16th:
The MRI’s told the hand surgeon that there were no broken bones or bone chips, the tendons were unharmed, but there was considerable arthritis in that thumb (from an old repetitive strain injury) and a large fluid-filled cyst at the joint in my left thumb that was causing swelling, pain, and impeding usage – a result of the fall.
She used an U/S machine to locate the cyst and give a cortisone shot right into it. Not fun – but the swelling and pain did recede and gave me back the use of that hand.
She also cut the splint down and made it looser in the area of the cyst. I only wear the splint now when I’m in a situation (such as on the subway or in a crowd) where my hand might get bumped.
July 23
This is the most interesting experience so far in my efforts to heal from the fall:
I saw a chiropractor who works mostly with energy to heal the physical body and soothe the energy stored in the body from past traumas.
These are the healing modalities he uses:
Applied Kinesiology, Total Body Modification (TBM), Matrix Energetics + Garcia Innergetics (Quantum Physics-based energy work), Yuen Method (energy-based work), Eyelight Therapy, Natural Healing Systems, Graston (myofascial technique used by pro and college sports teams), Theta Healing (energy-based work focused on flipping belief systems), NET (Neuro-Emotional Technique), The Sedona Method, Sat Nam Rasayan (yogic healing), Cold Low Level Laser therapy, Activator, and other modalities + techniques he’s created on his own. He also draws upon his knowledge as a certified Kundalini Yoga instructor, certified
Sedona Method coach, Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner, and Kabbalah Student.
I had some quite vivid dreams that night – not nightmares. In the one I remember, my left leg from ankle to just above the knee was covered with vivid red and blue bruises. Supposedly they were an aftermath of the 6/25 fall but even in the dream I knew they weren’t really there.
I felt very good the following day – barely aware of my fractured ribs, the residual swelling in my left thumb area was gone, and I generally felt lighter in my body and mind.
There was also lots of peeing going on yesterday & today – releasing of toxins.
While I’m certainly not glad to have fallen and incurred these injuries, I am glad for what I’ve learned during the healing process this past month.

 

 

 

healing-beach-help-it

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Douglas Laboratories – Canada. (2008). Wobenzym-N.  See:  http://www.wobenzym.ca/facts.cfm

Garden of Life. (2014). Wobenzym-N. See:  http://www.gardenoflife.com/Products-for-Life/Immunity-Support/Wobenzym-N.aspx

Hardin, J.R. (2013). Kefir. AllergiesAndYourGut.com.  See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/superimmunity/kefir/

Hardin, J.R. (2013). Prebiotics and Probiotics. AllergiesAndYourGut.com.  See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/superimmunity/prebiotics-and-probiotics/

Hardin, J.R. (2014). Saccharomyces boulardii. AllergiesAndYourGut.com.  See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/superimmunity/saccharomyces-boulardii/

Hardin, J.R. (2014). Visualize Comfort. AllergiesAndYourGut.com.  See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/06/30/visualizing-comfort/

Jusuru. (2013). Jusuru Life Blend™ Product Fact Sheet. See:  http://www.jusururesources.com/Product%20Materials/Jusuru_ProductFactSheet_USA_v01_Sep2011.pdf

Miller, D. (2014). Personal communication.

Prevallet, K. (2014). Visualize Comfort: Pain Management and the Unconscious Mind (Book 3, v.1).  Wide Reality Books: NYC.

Weil, A. (2014). Herbal Remedies – Arnica. See:   http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/REM00027/Arnica-Dr-Weil-Herbal-Remedies.html

Wikipedia. (2014). Arnica montana. See:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnica_montana

Winkler, S. (1998-2014. Bruises: Causes and Treatments. HowStuffWorks.com.  See: http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/problems/beauty/bruise1.htm

 

© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.