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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.

Historic Artefacts As complex organisms surviving in a world of molecular and physical challenges our long ancestry has meant we have evolved a remarkably complex system of defence and repair. Regular insults have played a major role in natural selection traits and diverse defence mechanisms have evolved to support our survival and reproduction in the

The microbiome is one of the most exciting discoveries of 21st century biomedicine, and scientific heavyweights as prominent as Craig Ventner, whose company sequenced the human genome, are now sequencing the microbiome. The microbiome is the ecological community of commensal, symbiotic, and pathogenic microorganisms that literally share our body space–the mass of trillions of microbes that live on and in your body. Most of them are in your large intestine, but they thrive in your mouth, on your skin, and even in your bloodstream. The human gut contains on average: 40,000 bacterial species, 9 million unique bacterial genes and 100 trillion microbial cells. These hundred trillion microbes render us a walking, breathing ecosystem–more microbe than man.

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

Your gastrointestinal tract is home to complex microbial populations, which, collectively, are referred to as the microbiota. The relation between the microbiota and you – the host is meant to be symbiotic, with you providing a warm moist physical niche and suitable food to intestinal bacteria and then if all works well you in turn gain benefit from the enhancement of resistance to infection and the improved facilitation of the absorption of ingested food [1],[2]

It will be of no real surprise to know that the incidence of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is common. Around the world it is estimated that some 10-20% of the population suffer from it. This is not an inconsequential number, and apart from the miserable statistics, it comes with loss of function, misery, anxiety, pain, bloating, altered bowel habits and loss of quality of life.

Whilst a clear explanation of the cause remains somewhat elusive, there is an increasing acceptance that the relationship between the brain-gut axis, central nervous system, peripheral stress response, infection, dysbiosis, barrier defects, inflammation and immune imbalance play significant roles in the causation.

Pass the POO/Medicine

Thursday, 21 April 2011 by | Comments: 2

Faecal Bacteria

As many will know if they read the reviews I compile, I have an over 20 year interest in the role of the mucosal immune system (mainly in the gut) and its effects on human health, beyond the local tissues and organs.

The gastrointestinal tract is rooted in what is gently chided by the dedicated science/medical community as ‘folk medicine’, and for thousands of years healers, shaman and other practitioners have applied their best efforts to securing the gut as the seat of all disease.

In Asian medicine the abdomen is recognised as the seat of the soul the “Honoured Middle” (onaka) and the centre of spiritual and physical strength (Hara) is how the Japanese describe the intestine. [1] Yet for many Europeans and North Americans it is largely a tube which simply has to function albeit increasingly less efficiently.

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