9-coverWhen asked, what is the best diet to follow, there is normally a wide range of options provided. These are mostly based on contemporary patterns, ethical, religious, geographical and preference. However, whilst all dietary practices have aspects that are lauded over, one style of eating consistently supports general benefit to the consumer. That is the traditional Mediterranean diet (MD), defined as: A nutritionally recommended dietary pattern characterised by high-level intake of fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and minimally processed cereals, moderately high consumption of fish, low intake of saturated fat, meat and dairy products and regular, but moderate, consumption of alcohol. Unesco has recognised the Mediterranean diet (MD) as an intangible cultural heritage.

PrintThe idea that bacteria in the gut may have many twists in their skill set to enhance human health has been around for a while. That they may have the capability of inducing a cytoprotective enzyme called Nrf2 in local tissues, which in turn promotes the production of glutathione, detoxification and numerous other health supportive elements has until recently been less well understood.[1]

Nrf2 activation upregulates a regulon of genes including those involved in xenobiotic and reactive oxygen species (ROS) detoxification, as well as pro-restitutive function. This pathway has attracted considerable attention because small molecule inducers of Nrf2 have cytoprotective effects against oxidant and electrophilic environmental stressors.[2],[3]

nutrients-logoThere is now considerable scientific evidence that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can improve human health and protect against chronic diseases. However, it is not clear whether different fruits and vegetables have distinct beneficial effects. A paper in Nutrients published in May 2015 helps to tease apart some of the key mechanisms involved related to the consumption of apples.[1]

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.

Male Bacteria Oppose Diabetes

Tuesday, 26 February 2013 by

This editorial piece has largely been provided by Olive Leavy – editor of Nature Reviews Immunology.[1] Although numerous gene polymorphisms associated with autoimmune disease risk have been identified, additional factors — including environmental factors and sexual dimorphism (with a higher incidence of autoimmunity in females) — are also thought to have important roles in driving

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The fact we are not ill more often is due to the remarkable capacity our bodies have to revert to a state of ‘homeostasis’ – a somewhat dull word provided by Walter Cannon in the early 20th century to summarise the work of the physiologist Claude Bernard who was based in Paris in the 1850s. It has dominated biology, physiology and medicine ever since. Homeostasis is regularly used to describe the exquisite intrinsic ability we possess to respond to, counteract and adapt to external and internal sources of damage and disturbance to maintain health/function in us and other living organisms.

A more contemporary – albeit controversial term to describe this is: ‘Homeodynamics’.[1] This is the concept that we are not static but constantly adapting. Homeodynamics, accounts for the fact that the internal milieu of complex biological systems is not permanently fixed, is not at equilibrium, and is subject to dynamic regulation and interaction among various levels of organisation. Aging, senescence and death are the final manifestations of unsuccessful homeodynamics and in utero exposure represents the first opportunity and experience  for remodelling and constant adaptation.

Comment: It’s common knowledge that a protective navy of bacteria normally floats in our intestinal tracts. Antibiotics at least temporarily disturb the normal balance. But it’s unclear which antibiotics are the most disruptive, and if the full array of “good bacteria” return promptly or remain altered for some time. In studies in mice, University of Michigan scientists have shown for the first time that two different types of antibiotics can cause moderate to wide-ranging changes in the ranks of these helpful guardians in the gut. In the case of one of the antibiotics, the armada of “good bacteria” did not recover its former diversity even many weeks after a course of antibiotics was over.