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Reading Time: 4 minutes

The immune system in humans and animal is complex, all the more so because it crosses over all tissues. The traditional view has been that the immune system keeps itself in check, and that is mostly the case. However, for some years there has been a development of a neural feedback loop comprehension that helps to answer some of the complex mechanisms and remarkably ties in the role of a nutritional strategy for immune management. This is known as the inflammatory reflex.

The inflammatory reflex, a prototypical neural circuit that modulates innate immunity, is activated by the presence of cytokines or other inflammatory products in tissues that triggers afferent (a nerve that passes impulses from receptors toward or to the central nervous system) action potentials travelling in the vagus nerve. The ascending information is relayed to brainstem nuclei that control efferent (nerves that convey nervous stimulus from the brain to other parts) neural signals in the form of action potentials transmitted back to the periphery via the vagus nerve.

Whilst this may sound complex – few subjects that combine neurology and immunology aren’t… the outcome suggested meets simple strategies, based on complex mechanisms.

A Bacteria Triggers Arthritis.

Thursday, 01 July 2010 by | Comments: 2
Reading Time: 4 minutes

The gut microbiomes of humans and mice are broadly similar which is helpful as this paper has used the mouse model to explain how a resident bacteria in the gut can induce arthritis. In both hosts human and mouse upwards of ∼1000 different microbial species from ∼10 different divisions colonise the gastrointestinal tract, but just two bacterial divisions—the Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes—and one member of the Archaea appear to dominate, together accounting for ∼98% of the 16S rRNA sequences obtained from this site.[1] 16SrRNA is a laboratory method for analysing bacterial and provides species-specific signature sequences useful for bacterial identification but is not routinely used in diagnostic settings yet.

Their analysis revealed that despite the enormous species variation in the gut a single species of bacteria that lives here is able to trigger a cascade of immune responses that can ultimately result in the development of arthritis.[2] Gut-residing bacteria can also play a role in disorders of the immune system, especially autoimmune disorders in which the body attacks its own cells. The gut microbiota is now known to shape intestinal immune responses during health and disease with systemic effects.

What Do Bacteria Do To Our Immune System?

Thursday, 01 July 2010 by | Comments: 3
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The germ theory that has so modernised medicine and driven us, the western world living human to regard all bugs as bad has been undergoing a dramatic rethink over the last few years. Firstly the recognition that your body is teeming with bacteria, providing a warm residence to approximately 10 times as many bacterial cells as human cells. Our mutual inhabitants live on skin, in the respiratory tract and throughout the digestive tract. Your digestive tract alone is home to between 1,000 and 40,000 bacterial species depending on your choice of journal.

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The shortage of essential micronutrients in the human diet has been linked to multiple health and disease related problems. Dr Bruce Ames has described how the micronutrient triage theory can account for disease induction and more rapid levels of poor quality aging. I have written about the expensive urine myth and how the failure to recognise the differing demands placed by cells at different times can lead to altered and compromised health function.

This paper looks at the nutritional intake of people following a weight loss diet.[1] Based on the USA figures, the authors say that about 1/3 of the population are following some sort of weight loss orientated nutritional programme. The study looked to see if 27 micronutrients could be ingested in sufficient quantities whilst following 4 well known diets to meet minimum RDA levels as determined by the USA regulatory body the FDA.

Butyrate Improves Bowel Transit

Wednesday, 02 June 2010 by | Comments: 3
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Problems such as poor transit or constipation are common, and can produce significant misery for the individual compromised in this manner. Butyrate is a short chain fatty acid, manufactured in the gut by the anaerobic fermentation of dietary fibres by resident microbiota. It is proposed that apart from its already well understood properties that it has another remarkable effect – the ability to increase the neuronal concentration of the Enteric Nervous System.[1]

Butyrate-generating foods and supplements might become an effective and simple option to prevent or treat functional gut disorders via modulation of enteric neuroplasticity.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Prof Bruce Ames has developed the concept of Triage consumption, where micronutrient needs and availability may not always be in synchronicity and has recommended that a larger overall consumption of micronutrients on a daily basis be considered a judicious way to limit DNA damage associated with aging and disease.

I have proposed that the expensive urine criticism is perhaps one of the most damaging of slights, and that Victor Herberts slur on the use of increased exogenous nutrients via supplementation has created more damage to human health than it has saved. A paper out in the American Journal of Nutrition, May 2010 has added some further clarity to this discussion.[1]

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The idea we can live forever is still a fantasy, but living with reduced rates of mortality and morbidity are very achievable and represent perfectly reasonable aims. Outside of aesthetic objectives remaining a viable member of society and family through continued avoidance of disease and management of overall productive energy are perfectly fair aims.

The Journal Archives of Internal Medicine published a compelling study in April, looking at the effects of lifestyle habits on the risks for future mortality in the British population.[1]

The key elements – smoking, exercise, diet and alcohol were tracked in a prospective cohort study design. Just under 5000 people with an average age of 44 were followed for 20 years.

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Michael Ash looks at leaky gut with a contemporary approach to investigation, relevance and restoration. It is quite clear that in order to extract nutrients and other sentinel information carrying agents the barrier that divides the contents of the gastric lumen from the host must be permeable. The question that has interested clinicians for many years is – when is it too permeable and what does that mean in terms of health and illness.

A paper in the March edition of Mucosal Immunology explores this concept in some detail and delivers some much needed information and potential direction in terms of dietary management and risk.[1]

Resveratrol Adds Another Benefit

Wednesday, 05 May 2010 by | Comments: 2
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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.

Atishoo – that’s D’ one!

Friday, 23 April 2010 by
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Vitamin D Vs Influenza A

Lets face it, right now we are still recovering from the various revelations about the novel variant H1N1 or swine flu non event (in terms of pandemic effects) to be looking to see if we can manage the more common seasonal influenza. Plus spring is in the air and we all know that colds and the flu viruses seem to be less vigorous during the time of the year we actually see the sun!

However a rather neat randomised trial to see if Vitamin D supplementation had any prevention effect in school children adds further weight to the evolving understanding of its innate immune activation potential.[1]

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