Author Archive

Perilla Targets Inflammation: Joins Traditional Gut Nutrients as Potent Anti-spasmodic and Anti-inflammatory

The remedies for gastrointestinal complaints are legion and stretch back far in human history. Ancient Chinese physicians prescribed anise for flatulence, while Dioscorides, chief physician for the Roman army, recommended garlic for parasites. Many are effective and stand the test of time, but contemporary scientific research on novel extracts offers up surprising new finds. The Asian plant, Perilla (Perilla frutescens) for example, offers valuable assistance in the management of functional gut problems.

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The Role of Probiotic Lactic Acid Bacteria and Bifidobacteria in the Prevention and Treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Other Related Diseases: A Systematic Review of Randomized Human Clinical Trials

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), is a chronic inflammation of the small intestine and colon caused by a dysregulated immune response to host intestinal microbiota in genetically susceptible subjects. A number of fermented dairy products contain lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and bifidobacteria, some of which have been characterised as probiotics that can modify the gut microbiota and may be beneficial for the treatment and the prevention of IBD.

The objective of this review was to carry out a systematic search of LAB and bifidobacteria probiotics and IBD, using the PubMed and Scopus databases, defined by a specific equation using MeSH terms and limited to human clinical trials. The use of probiotics and/or synbiotics has positive effects in the treatment and maintenance of UC, whereas in CD clear effectiveness has only been shown for synbiotics.

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The Consequences of Poor Eating Habits Persist Even after Diet is Improved

New research published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology suggests that these changes to the behaviour of the immune system are persistent and can continue even after your diet has improved.[1] It is fairly universally understood that improving your food behaviour and choice will most likely improve your health. However, less well understood or known is that the effects of poor eating habits persist long after dietary habits are improved. In a new report appearing in the November 2014 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, scientists use mice to show that even after successful treatment of atherosclerosis (including lowering of blood cholesterol and a change in dietary habits) the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle still impact upon the way the immune system functions. This change in function occurs largely because poor eating habits alter the way genes express themselves, including genes related to immunity which make up the largest collection of specific genes in the human structure. This change in gene expression (epigenetics) ultimately maintains the risk of cardiovascular disorders at a level far higher than it would be had there been no exposure to unhealthy foods in the first place.

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You, Jet Lag, Microbiota and Fat Deposition

If you have ever travelled across time zones you will be familiar with the adverse effects on your physical function an loss of clarity and productivity – well it seems that the organisms present in your gut, share the same trip and to some extent the same consequences. Published in Cell researchers explored the consequences of this effect on adiposity and metabolic functionality. Whilst they are naturally cautious about translation from a mouse model to a human one, they noted some interesting observations, that may explain some peoples adverse physical consequences derived in part as a result of cross time zone travel.[1]

Organisms ranging from bacteria to humans have circadian clocks to help them synchronise their biological activities to the time of day. This paper now reveals that gut microbes in mice and humans have circadian rhythms that are controlled by the biological clock of the host in which they reside. Disruption of the circadian clock in the host alters the rhythms and composition of the microbial community, potentially leading to obesity and metabolic problems.

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Reversal of cognitive decline: A novel therapeutic program

The problem facing may people in the coming decades is that of loss of cognition, and for those already facing this reality it may be of some comfort to know that a lifestyle approach has generated very positive recovery of function using a simple set of interventions. Published in the journal Aging This report describes a novel, comprehensive, and personalised therapeutic program that is based on the underlying pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease, and which involves multiple modalities designed to achieve metabolic enhancement for neurodegeneration (MEND).[1]

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Seven Million Years of Evolution: Greens and Human Beings Together

In the decision making that we as consumers make when we select foods, it is rare that we also consider the mutual needs of our bacteria found in the gut. Yet we have co-evolved with those bacteria over millennia. As scientists continue to study the intricate signalling that takes place between that which we ingest and that which we bacterially metabolize, they turn up new evidence of significant beneficial partnerships.

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Hot, Confused and Cranky: A Novel Approach to Menopause

Thinning hair, painful joints,lost libido, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, night sweats, moodiness, crushing fatigue, difficulty concentrating, weight gain, itchy skin, incontinence…the list of symptoms during menopause is staggering. Staggering, but not surprising, since our cells are studded with receptors for hormones.

Vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes, night sweats), vaginal dryness, and dyspareunia (painful intercourse) are the main reason that women seek medical treatment. Over three-quarters of women report hot flashes within the 2 years surrounding menopause. A quarter suffer these symptoms for over five years, while an unfortunate ten percent of women report that they suffer from these symptoms for over ten years.1

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Insights into the Early Epidemic Spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone Provided by Viral Sequence Data

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa appears to be spiralling out of control. More than ever, local and global health authorities want to know how the epidemic will develop and, above all, how to prevent it from spreading further. Certain parameters help them to determine this, such as the reproductive number, which is the average number of infections caused by a single infected individual. The incubation and infectious periods are also highly relevant; i.e. the time from infection to the onset of symptoms and the time from onset of symptoms to the clearance of the pathogen.

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Apples, Inducers of Eubiosis Driven Weight Management

Apples; great for SCFA production, restoring bacterial eubiosis in a disrupted gut and likely able to assist with weight management, say scientists in the journal Food Chemistry.[1] Apples, in general, have shown to protect against human chronic diseases due to their content of fibre and phenolic compounds. These bioactive compounds have low availability and can potentially reach to colon, modulate the balance of bacterial populations in the gut, and influence the host physiology. The apple health benefits are, in part, due to the interaction of fibre and phenolics with gut microbiota that results in changes in phenolic bioavailability and activity, and the production of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) after fibre fermentation.

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Dr Alex Vasquez Interview with Mike Mutzel

Our esteemed colleague Dr Alex Vasquez was interviewed this week by Mike Mutzel, a functional medicine practitioner and the result is an interesting and informative presentation that explores numerous interconnecting health disruptor’s and focuses on the health or otherwise of mitochondria.  We suggest that this is one of those presentations worth setting aside an hour or so to really explore some of the practical interventions we can use and why the interpretation of mitochondrial involvement in medicine is changing so rapidly.

October 2014 Pod cast and video from Dr Vasquez. To view visit Interview and Podcast 2014 Dr Alex Vasquez DC, ND, DO, FACN

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