Resveratrol Adds Another Benefit

Ulcerative colitis is a nonspecific inflammatory disorder characterised by oxidative and nitrosative stress, leucocyte infiltration and upregulation of inflammatory mediators. Resveratrol is a polyphenolic compound found in grapes and wine, with multiple pharmacological actions, mainly anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antitumour and immunomodulatory activities.

Inflammatory bowel disease is a recognised as a chronic pathology by uncontrolled inflammation of the intestinal mucosa which can affect part of the gastrointestinal tract, with causes including genetic factors, immune deregulation, barrier dysfunction, and a loss of immune tolerance toward the enteric flora.

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Could a ‘Bacterial Thali’ Resolve Inflammation? – A Novel Strategy

Michael Ash BSc(Hons) DO, ND, DipION reviews the possibility that strategically selected foods and food concentrates represent a valid therapy for inflammatory illnesses.

There is substantive interest in the potential translation from bench to bedside of simple safe strategies to modify the adverse effects of inflammation. Approaching from a preventative and restorative angle the numbers of papers being published on the role of orally ingested bacteria (probiotics) and in this article – the herb Tumeric (active ingredient of which is curcumin) is presenting increasingly supportive evidence for their reasonable and safe clinical use.

Modern analytical techniques are helping to reveal novel opportunities for inflammation control in the gut and the systemic tissues in new ways that even a few years ago would have been thought of as very alternative!

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Antibiotics Can Cause Gut Related Diseases

Michael Ash BSc (Hons), DO, ND FDipION reviews the current understanding of the role of antibiotics in the initiation of gut associated inflammation and local and systemic health problems, and briefly explores some strategies to prevent and manage this.

What is perhaps the greatest medicinal discovery in the last 100 years has a sting in its tail, the tremendous success in managing bacterial infection has encouraged over and inappropriate use of antibiotics, the problems of which have been well documented. This review explores the developing comprehension that even a single day of antibiotic use has consequences that may produce transient and long term effects that compromise the health and well being of the patient and their bacterial co-habitants.

Sir Alexander Fleming discovered the antibiotic substance penicillin in 1928 and was awarded a co share in the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1945.

It was a discovery that would change the course of history. The active ingredient in that mould, which Fleming named penicillin, turned out to be an infection-fighting agent of enormous potency. When it was finally recognised for what it was—the most efficacious life-saving drug in the world—penicillin would alter forever the treatment of bacterial infections. By the middle of the century, Fleming’s discovery had spawned a huge pharmaceutical industry, churning out synthetic penicillin’s that would conquer some of mankind’s most ancient scourges, including syphilis, gangrene and tuberculosis. (Time Magazine April 1999)

However, as the combined benefits of decent engineering for sanitation, prevention via vaccination and bacterial infection control through antibiotics have contributed to life extension, they have also produced microbe and human disturbances. The incidence of immune mediated disorders is continuing to increase and the gastrointestinal tract is continuing to gain traction as a site of significant origination.[1],[2]

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Apples and Nuts Reduce Inflammation Via Mucosal Immune System

In the context of the ever increasing relationship between inflammation and diseases of our western lifestyle the idea that the old adage of ‘an apple a day keeps the Dr away’ this recent paper has some attractive evidence.

The university of Illinois team of researcher have written a paper due to be published in the prestigious Journal Brain Behaviour and Immunity later in the year around May.[1]

Looking at a mouse model – and we are aware of how diet affect mouse studies from a post written a few days ago- Food Choice Affects Lab Outcomes this group have extended the concept further, and presented the mice with a specially enriched diet. This study fed a low fat diet to both groups for six weeks differentiated by one having soluble fibre and the other non soluble fibre.

When challenged using a microbial wall particle called lipopolysaccharide (LPS) the group on the soluble fibre had a 50% reduction in symptoms compared to the insoluble group. They also recovered 50% faster. It seems that just 6 weeks of an increased soluble fibre intake change their immune responses in a very positive manner.

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Gut Immune Defect Links Bacteria and Metabolic Syndrome

The connection between gut bacteria and obesity has gained some weight, with new findings demonstrating links in mice among immune-system malfunction, bacterial imbalance and increased appetite.[1]

Mice with altered immune systems developed metabolic disorders and were prone to overeating. When microbes from their stomachs were transplanted into other mice, they also become obese. These latest findings add weight to the growing appreciation about the role of the bacteria in and on our bodies.  We are all outnumbered in terms of human versus bacterial cells and the concept of human and bacteria symbiosis as a super-organism is gaining traction.

Already there have been strong associations between asthma, some cancers, autoimmune conditions and unwanted weight gain.

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Gut Bacteria May Make You Fat

Obesity: A consequence of adverse inflammation & microbial disruption?

By Michael Ash BSc(Hons) DO, ND, FDipION

Published in CAM 2005

Overweight and obesity are serious, chronic medical condition associated with a wide range of debilitating and life threatening and economically burdensome conditions. The recent and extensive increases in obesity among Europeans are eroding many recent health gains.

Paradoxically the economically wealthier communities of the world continue to over consume food and food products, whilst other nation communities still suffer from food deprivation and starvation, due in the main to drought, floods, ‘acts of God’, corruption and conflict. Approximately 9.5% of the global burden of disease is currently attributable to being underweight,[1] whilst there are now hundreds of millions of people (>500) in developed and developing countries that are overweight or obese. This condition of excessive weight is now so common that it is rapidly replacing malnutrition and infectious diseases as the most significant cause of ill health[2]. An escalating global epidemic of overweight and obesity – “globesity” – is taking over many parts of the world.

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IBD and Environmental Triggers- Vegetable Gardens Vs Genes

Crohn’s and Ulcerative colitis are understood to have a number of genetic related risks, but increasingly scientists are having to accept that our double helix does not predict our health risks except in a few single gene diseases such as cystic fibrosis, the haemoglobinopathies. In fact the enormous endeavours and resources spent pursuing this elucidation have produced surprisingly modest practical benefits.

Even when dozens of genes have been linked to a trait, both the individual and cumulative effects are surprisingly small and nowhere near enough to explain earlier estimates of heritability.[1]

The recent discovery by a New Zealand group that there are a number of childhood factors associated with the development of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, further supports the concept that environment – in this case during childhood plays an important role in modulating the risk for developing these conditions. The rising incidence of these diseases over the last 50 years also supports the role of environment, as genes take many hundreds of years to change.[2]

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Obesity, Probiotics and Pregnancy

There are numerous reasons to lose weight but scientists continue to explore complex connections between weight and health risks. A new study in the journal FASEB using rats as a model found that those mothers overweight during pregnancy passed on cellular programming in utero that made their off spring predisposed to inflammation related diseases including Parkinson’s, Diabetes, Stroke, Heart Disease and others from the day they are born. Even more depressing was the discovery that it made no difference if the off spring maintained normal weight during their life.

To determine this link the scientists gave rats one of three diets; (low-fat, high-saturated fat, and high-trans fat) four weeks prior to mating and throughout pregnancy and lactation. The high-fat diets rendered the mice clinically obese. The science team analysed the brains of the newborn pups after challenge by inflammatory stimuli.

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Dysbiosis – What Have We Learned?

Michael Ash BSc(Hons) DO, ND, FDipION reviews some of the last 12 months of published research.

The human body has some 10 trillion human cells—but 10 times that number of microbial cells. So what happens when such an important part of our bodies goes missing or never develops?

Plus what can we do to limit any adverse consequences linked to microbial disruption – referred to as dysbiosis?[1]

Further, do probiotics—dietary supplements containing potentially beneficial microbes actually support appropriate immune responses?

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Immune Tolerance in the GUT Relies on Dendritic Cells

cover_natureThe differing origins of gut dendritic cells — white blood cells that modulate immune responses — may explain how the intestinal immune system manages to destroy harmful pathogens while tolerating beneficial bacteria says an article by Sophie Laffont & Fiona Powrie in Nature journal out on Dec 10th 2009.

The immune system must protect the body from invading pathogens without mounting damaging responses to its own tissues. Dendritic cells, a rare population of white blood cells, have a crucial role in determining the nature of immune reactions and in fine-tuning the balance between tolerance (where the immune system ignores or tolerates an antigen) and the induction of inflammation to destroy pathogenic organisms.

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