Older Population Experiences Vit D Deficiency More Commonly – What Are The Risks?

Having severe vitamin D deficiency may put people aged 65 years and older at more than twice the risk of having self-reported respiratory disease, according to an article published online May 6 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.[1] The author Dr Hirani had in 2010 identified a similar pattern in older member of the UK population, and described it as a public health problem.[2]

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Fishy No Longer: Fish Oil Can ‘Boost’ The Immune System

Fish oil rich in DHA and EPA is widely believed to help prevent disease by reducing inflammation, but until now, scientists were not entirely sure about its immune enhancing effects. A new report appearing in the April 2013 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology,[1] helps provide clarity on this by showing that DHA-rich fish oil enhances B cell activity, a white blood cell, challenging the notion that fish oil is only immunosuppressive. This discovery is important as it shows that fish oil does not necessarily reduce the overall immune response to lower inflammation, possibly opening the doors for the use of fish oil among those with compromised immune systems.

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Chronic Stress Increases Infection Susceptibility

It will come as no surprise to practitioners and clinicians that something goes awry with our immune systems capacity for protection in the face of chronic stress. Ironically in short acute stress responses our immune system benefits from increase defence responses and allows most of us to present a more robust series of immune related decisions.

Back in the early 1990’s a team of researchers from the Carnegie Mellon University published a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine stating that psychological stress was associated in a dose-response manner with an increased risk of acute infectious respiratory illness, and that this risk was attributable to increased rates of infection, rather than to an increased frequency of symptoms post infection.[1]

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Fever: It’ll Help You Fight off Infection

One of the key naturopathic and Darwinian medicine concepts[i],[ii] is that suppression of a normal response by the body to a pathogen may reduce the effectiveness of outcome.

Naturopathic Medicine is a form of alternative medicine based on a belief in vitalism, which posits that a special energy called vital energy or vital force guides bodily processes such as metabolism, reproduction, growth, and adaptation. Naturopathic philosophy favours a holistic approach, and, like conventional medicine seeks to find the least invasive measures necessary for symptom improvement or resolution, thus encouraging minimal use of surgery and unnecessary drugs.[iii]

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The Potential Role of Probiotics in the Management of Childhood Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are defined by impairments in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and repetitive and stereotyped behaviours. In addition to these core deficits, previous reports indicate that the prevalence of gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms ranges widely in individuals with ASD, from 9 to 91% in different study population.[1]

The role of probiotics in the management and treatment of these alterations has been explored in a recent free access paper, published in Gastroenterology Research and Practice Oct 2011.[2]

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Do Almonds Have Immune Modulating Properties?

Cultivated for 6,000 years, almonds are alleged to possess a range of potential health benefits that support cardiovascular health, diabetes, protein quality and related weight management benefits.

A recent study has suggested that almonds, specifically the skin of almonds, may support immune system function.[1] The role of foods in immune management is increasingly of interest to practitioners as well as patients. The change in our dietary intake of basic food stuffs has changed dramatically over the last 100 or so years and the impact of this on health and disease remains an area of considerable exploration.

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Asthma and Bugs a Marriage Blessed in Muck

Those of us living in the country and in contact with farms and farm animals are being blessed with an immune priming experience for free – other than the cost of washing the clothes!

The exposure to bacteria, fungi and other microbes confers to us a unique advantage in the reduction of asthma and atopy incidence compared to children who never have farmyard contact and has previously been reported as such.[1]

I can see some innovative farmers seeking to promote a day out at their farms as an immune priming experience in the future a sort of ‘Farm Yard Atopy Camp’ for all children under 5 with a guaranteed cowlick experience!

A dirty weekend away will start to lose its cachet amongst the older family members and represent a weekend of juvenile delights in which washing behind the ears will be postponed for a little while.

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Increase Vit D RDA’s Say Scientists

On July the 28th 2010 the Journal Experimental Biology and Medicine published an article looking at the levels of Vitamin D in the general population and made recommendations concerning the RDA levels needed to limit osteomalacia in adults and rickets in children.[1] This they say is because scientists and nutritionists from many countries agree that at present about half of elderly North Americans and Western Europeans and probably also of the rest of the world are not receiving enough vitamin D to maintain healthy bone. This is nothing new to this web site or indeed the thousands of people that have been following this story for the last 10 years.

The paper goes on to say that over the past decade there has been a  dramatic increase in the understanding of the many biological actions that result from vitamin D acting through its daughter steroid  hormone, 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1α,25(OH)2D3] in collaboration with its cognate vitamin D receptor (VDR). In other words Vitamin D does more than support bone health.

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Is There A Rural/Urban Gradient In The Prevalence Of Eczema? A Systematic Review And What Can Be Done About It?

One in 10 schoolchildren in the western world suffers from eczema and even developing nations have also seen an increasing trend in the last few decades. There are many proposals to explain the increased incidence, one area of relevance is the environmental impact. Falling under the often misused ‘hygeine hypothesis’ title it has been proposed that there is a reflective difference in the gradient between rural and urban children. Implying the environmental impact on the developing immune system of children is different and therefore less protective in the urban setting.

This concept has now been studied in a recent article in the British Journal of Dermatology.[1] By conducting a Medline and Embase data base review studies that compared the incidence between the two environments were reviewed. Some 26 papers were assessed with 19 demonstrating a higher risk for eczema in an urbanised area, of these 11 were regarded as being statistically significant. A further 6 studies showed a lower risk of eczema in an urbanised area, of which just 1 was statistically significant.

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Neurological/Dietary Control Over the Immune System – The Role of Fats

The immune system in humans and animal is complex, all the more so because it crosses over all tissues. The traditional view has been that the immune system keeps itself in check, and that is mostly the case. However, for some years there has been a development of a neural feedback loop comprehension that helps to answer some of the complex mechanisms and remarkably ties in the role of a nutritional strategy for immune management. This is known as the inflammatory reflex.

The inflammatory reflex, a prototypical neural circuit that modulates innate immunity, is activated by the presence of cytokines or other inflammatory products in tissues that triggers afferent (a nerve that passes impulses from receptors toward or to the central nervous system) action potentials travelling in the vagus nerve. The ascending information is relayed to brainstem nuclei that control efferent (nerves that convey nervous stimulus from the brain to other parts) neural signals in the form of action potentials transmitted back to the periphery via the vagus nerve.

Whilst this may sound complex – few subjects that combine neurology and immunology aren’t… the outcome suggested meets simple strategies, based on complex mechanisms.

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