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Gluten May be Causing Your Brain Problems!

Tuesday, 09 March 2010 by | Comments: 1
Reading Time: 3 minutes

An interesting paper published in the Sept 2008 Annals of Neurology described a ‘new to science’ brain aggravating enzyme, triggered by reactivity to gluten, but acting independently of other coeliac symptoms.[1]

Most clinicians understand that overt gluten reactivity is classified under coeliac disease and the the classic constellation of symptoms and signs characterising  malabsorptive syndrome is a readily recognised manifestation  of  coeliac  disease. Frank malabsorptive symptoms include steatorrhea, weight loss or failure to thrive, bloating, and flatulence, with multiple deficiency states. More common but more difficult to recognise, however, are the other diverse ways in which coeliac disease presents.

Coeliac disease may also mimic many common clinical entities. These atypical modes of presentation include deficiencies of single micronutrients; nonspecific gastrointestinal complaints such as bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, constipation, flatulence, secondary lactose intolerance, and dyspepsia; and non-gastrointestinal complaints such as fatigue, depression, arthralgia, milk intolerance, osteomalacia or osteoporosis, and iron deficiency anaemia.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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.

Gut Bacteria May Make You Fat

Friday, 05 March 2010 by | Comments: 2
Reading Time: 18 minutes

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.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

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]

Obesity, Probiotics and Pregnancy

Saturday, 20 February 2010 by
Reading Time: 2 minutes

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.

Vitamin D Vs Crohn’s (IBD) & Cancer

Wednesday, 10 February 2010 by
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Crohns disease is an inflammatory disease of the intestines that may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from anus to mouth, causing a wide variety of symptoms. It primarily causes abdominal pain, diarrhoea (which may be bloody), vomiting, or weight loss, but may also cause complications outside of the gastrointestinal tract such as skin rashes, arthritis and inflammation of the eye.[1]

A new study has found that Vitamin D, readily available in supplements or cod liver oil, can counter the effects of Crohn’s disease.[2]

The data collated in this study suggests, for the first time, that Vitamin D deficiency can contribute to Crohn’s disease. Epidemiologically it had already been noted that people from northern countries, which receive less sunlight, necessary for the fabrication of Vitamin D by the human body, are particularly vulnerable to Crohn’s disease.[3]

Dysbiosis – What Have We Learned?

Wednesday, 27 January 2010 by | Comments: 6
Reading Time: 5 minutes

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?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Eu GastroPatients with symptomatic functional dyspepsia (a disorder of digestive function characterised by discomfort or heartburn or nausea) are more likely than people free of this condition to exhibit increased somatisation (conversion of an emotional, mental, or psychosocial problem to a physical complaint), more stressful life events, less belief in religion, and drink less tea , suggests the article out in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

The lead researchers say that this pattern of findings support a less reductionist approach and favours the strategy that includes considering the patient from a holistic view point.

The findings of the study suggest the importance of adopting a more comprehensive holistic bio-psycho-socio-spiritual model when dealing with functional dyspepsia patients.

IBS Not Improved by St Johns Wort

Wednesday, 13 January 2010 by
Reading Time: 2 minutes

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St. John’s wort, an herb commonly used to treat mild-to-moderate depression, may not improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) say researchers in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.[1]

Irritable bowel syndrome is characterised by cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation and diarrhoea. This team proposed that St. John’s wort may help improve IBS symptoms because antidepressant drugs are often used to treat the condition and have some level of success.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

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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