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imagesIn June 2016 Cell Reports a well-respected science journal published a fascinating paper on the connection between short chain fatty acids and associated nutrient and immune function that collectively reduced food allergy risk and response in their mice population.[1]

For over 20 years (at the time of writing this)  I have been describing the need for a ‘threshold therapy’ approach to the effective manipulation of the common mucosal immune system, in particular the recruitment of metabolic by products derived from food metabolism and microbiome functionality – as well as the specific replacement or supraphysiological supplementation of retinoids or their precursor families, vitamin D and enhancement of SigA are important aspects of this collective approach. Each of the interventions are modest in application and very low in risk, but the collective threshold crossing effect can assist the immune system in its effective maturation and maintainence of tolerance. This can be difficult to demonstrate in studies and as such much of the supportive data requires cross professional communication and data digging. This neat study helps to add credibility to the multiple point intervention through the manipulation of a subset of dendritic cells to favour a regulatory inducing phenotyope. I look forward to seeing how this approach is escalated into human trials in the coming years.

Vitamin A and Immune Specificity

Thursday, 22 October 2015 by

eji201570050-gra-0001Homeostasis — literally ‘standing still’ — describes the mechanisms by which all biological systems maintain stability. In effect this is the position at which human health is maintained and may also be described as a homeostatic set point, in which as circumstances change so does the set point. In simple parlance the idea that someone may be in a stable state of homeostasis but one that induces illness is a concept still developing. In effect all illness generates a change in homeostasis but not all changes in homeostasis results in illness.

Vitamin A Recap

Thursday, 16 July 2015 by

journal-nutrition-imageA vitamin is a substance that makes you ill if you don’t eat it.” (Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1937).

Vitamins are natural components of foods and are organic compounds distinct from fat, carbohydrates and proteins. Vitamin A is the generic descriptor for compounds with the qualitative biological activity of retinol. Unlike beta-carotene, vitamin A is not an antioxidant and its benefit is related to its intimate relationship with immune reactions.

The effect of vitamin A on immune function is wide-reaching and its deficiency appears to affect immunity in several ways. Both the innate and adaptive immune responses are affected by lack of vitamin A.

Vit D and IBD

Tuesday, 30 June 2015 by

3.coverA research paper published in the United European Gastroenterology Journal showed that if you are experiencing a period of remission with Cohn’s disease that Vitamin D confers additional benefit in restoring/maintaining appropriate gut permeability.[1]

In this small study – some 27 people were involved, all of whom were determined to be in remission at the time of the oral supplementation with either 2000 iu of vitamin D or a placebo for 90 days. They found, that patients treated with the supplementation were more likely to maintain their intestinal permeability, whereas this deteriorated in the placebo group. Increased intestinal permeability is considered a measure of gut leakiness, which is shown to predict and precede clinical relapse in CD. In addition, patients with the highest blood levels of vitamin D had signs of reduced inflammation (measured by C-reactive protein and antimicrobial peptides), and these patients also reported better quality of life.

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Vitamin A: Friend or Foe

Wednesday, 09 April 2014 by

It is well established that high retinoic acid (RA)  levels leads to teratogenic effects both in human and experimental models. Brain abnormalities such as microcephaly, impairment of hindbrain development, mandibular and midfacial underdevelopment, and cleft palate are all implicated.[1],[2] Ingested vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin, is delivered to the blood via the lymph system in

Vitamin A Makes the Gut Headlines

Thursday, 27 February 2014 by

In terms of the immune response in humans nutrients have a very important role to play and none more so than vitamin A. a lack of vitamin A results in altered intestinal immune homeostasis. This essential micronutrient supports adaptive immunity through its metabolite, retinoic acid (RA), which is highly enriched in the gastrointestinal tract.

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]

So How Much Vitamin D do I Need?

Thursday, 08 March 2012 by | Comments: 1

In practice life a number of questions arise relating to all supplemental suggestions and vitamin D is no different.

•          What do I need to be healthy?

•          How do I know what my levels are now?

•          How do I raise my levels if I need to?

•          What foods, supplements or lifestyle changes do I need to do?

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GUT is one of my favourite journals, as they regularly explore the ‘alternative’ approaches to colon health management with a vigour that appeases the clinician in me, and a rigour that calms the scientist.

A paper published in early 2012[1] add’s further knowledge to the role that probiotics and the active components produced by lactic acid bacteria have on mucosal health and intestinal balance. An especially pleasing discovery – for an old long term user of this word – is their inclusion of the term dysbiosis, with a summary explanation in the opening paragraph, as there is no abstract. I have reproduced it below:

Michael Ash BSc, DO, ND FDipION

The fields of immunology, microbiology, nutrition, epigenetics and metabolism are rapidly converging utilising a systems biology methodology to explain our intimate relationships with our microbial cohabitants. For over 30 years data has been building to scientifically support the hypothesis that intestinal cohabitants operate in a collective manner with macro and micro food intakes to shape and define our immune systems from an early age. The result is a collective impact bound by mutual cooperation that may have unintended consequences including a wide range of pathologies.

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