Posts

Gut Bacteria Might Guide The Workings Of Our Minds

Could the microbes that inhabit our guts help explain that old idea of “gut feelings?” There’s growing evidence that gut bacteria really might influence our minds.

“I’m always by profession a skeptic,” says Dr. Emeran Mayer, a professor of medicine and psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles. “But I do believe that our gut microbes affect what goes on in our brains.”

Mayer thinks the bacteria in our digestive systems may help mold brain structure as we’re growing up, and possibly influence our moods, behavior and feelings when we’re adults. “It opens up a completely new way of looking at brain function and health and disease,” he says.

So Mayer is working on just that, doing MRI scans to look at the brains of thousands of volunteers and then comparing brain structure to the types of bacteria in their guts. He thinks he already has the first clues of a connection, from an analysis of about 60 volunteers.

Mayer found that the connections between brain regions differed depending on which species of bacteria dominated a person’s gut. That suggests that the specific mix of microbes in our guts might help determine what kinds of brains we have — how our brain circuits develop and how they’re wired.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that the microbes are causing changes in brain structure, or in behavior.

But other researchers have been trying to figure out a possible connection by looking at gut microbes in mice. There they’ve found changes in both brain chemistry and behavior. One experiment involved replacing the gut bacteria of anxious mice with bacteria from fearless mice.

“The mice became less anxious, more gregarious,” says Stephen Collins of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, who led a team that conducted the research.

It worked the other way around, too — bold mice became timid when they got the microbes of anxious ones. And aggressive mice calmed down when the scientists altered their microbes by changing their diet, feeding them probiotics or dosing them with antibiotics.

To find out what might be causing the behavior changes, Collins and his colleagues then measured brain chemistry in mice. They found changes in a part of the brain involved in emotion and mood, including increases in a chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which plays a role in learning and memory.

Scientists also have been working on a really obvious question — how the gut microbes could talk to the brain.

A big nerve known as the vagus nerve, which runs all the way from the brain to the abdomen, was a prime suspect. And when researchers in Ireland cut the vagus nerve in mice, they no longer saw the brain respond to changes in the gut.

“The vagus nerve is the highway of communication between what’s going on in the gut and what’s going on in the brain,” says John Cryan of the University College Cork in Ireland, who has collaborated with Collins.

Gut microbes may also communicate with the brain in other ways, scientists say, by modulating the immune system or by producing their own versions of neurotransmitters.

“I’m actually seeing new neurochemicals that have not been described before being produced by certain bacteria,” says Mark Lyte of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Abilene, who studies how microbes affect the endocrine system. “These bacteria are, in effect, mind-altering microorganisms.”

This research raises the possibility that scientists could someday create drugs that mimic the signals being sent from the gut to the brain, or just give people the good bacteria — probiotics — to prevent or treat problems involving the brain.

One group of scientists has tested mice that have behaviors similar to some of the symptoms of autism in humans. The idea is that the probiotics might correct problems the animals have with their gastrointestinal systems — problems that many autistic children also have.

In the mice, many of their autism behaviors were no longer present or strongly ameliorated with probiotics, says Paul Patterson at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif. His research will be published soon in the journal Cell.

Experiments to test whether changing gut microbes in humans could affect the brain are only just beginning.

One team of researchers in Baltimore is testing a probiotic to see if it can help prevent relapses of mania among patients suffering from bipolar disorder.

“The idea is that these probiotic treatments may alter what we call the microbiome and then may contribute to an improvement of psychiatric symptoms,” says Faith Dickerson, director of psychology at the Sheppard Pratt Health System.

“It makes perfect sense to me,” says Leah, a study participant who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She agreed to talk with NPR if we agreed not to use her full name. “Your brain is just another organ. It’s definitely affected by what goes on in the rest of your body.”

It’s far too soon to know whether the probiotic has any effect, but Leah suspects it might. “I’m doing really well,” she says. “I’m about to graduate college, and I’m doing everything right.”

Mayer also has been studying the effects of probiotics on the brain in humans. Along with his colleague Kirsten Tillisch, Mayer gave healthy women yogurt containing a probiotic and then scanned their brains. He found subtle signs that the brain circuits involved in anxiety were less reactive, according to a paper published in the journal Gastroenterology.

But Mayer and others stress that a lot more work will be needed to know whether that probiotic — or any others — really could help people feel less anxious or help solve other problems involving the brain. He says, “We’re really in the early stages.”

Heart

Zeta Potential – Getting The Right Balance

Anyone who begins a serious study of biological terrain will encounter the concept of zeta potential because it is a basic principle of the electrical properties of life itself.

In one sense the body is electric–or electrostatic.

In various industries, the concept of zeta potential is common knowledge. Zeta potential plays a critical role in many industrial processes. The manufacture of soap is one example. Water by itself does not always clean as well as it could. Sometimes the water needs to be made wetter. How can you have wetter water that becomes a better cleaner and disperser of dirt on dishes? By adding anionic surfactants to the water thereby changing its charge. The anionic soapy water does a better job of getting between the cationic dirt particles of the dirty dishes and disperses the garbage.

The area of paints and pigments is another example. Whether a quantity of pigment added to a base paint will coagulate and form a speckled mess or disperse into trillions of tiny particles each remaining separate and discrete thereby leaving an even colour, depends almost entirely on the electrical properties of the system.

In the industrial process of purifying water in treatment plants, zeta potential plays a crucial role.  In order to get out pollutants, the treatment facility pours in a highly cationic substances like aluminium sulphate which attracts the garbage to itself thereby coagulating or flocculating out the precipate. This floc becomes heavy and drops to the bottom of the holding tank thereby cleansing the water. (Note that if they miscalculate how much cationic aluminium to add to the water, some of that will stay in the water supply that arrives at your tap and this aluminized tap water is definitely not good for health as it coagulates elements of your own body fluids.)

In a general way of thinking which is overly simplistic, think of anions as dispersers, and cations as coagulators. Anions disperse things, cations bring things together. Further, you could say anionic leans alkaline, cationic leans acid.

The Molecular Reality.

Molecular compounds are composed of various atoms with electrons spinning in their orbits and is a mix of anionic and cationic components. The ratios of these anions to cations give indications as to the valence of the molecule or electrolyte. The ions of both anionic and cationic electrolytes may carry from one to four charges and are accordingly designated mono-, di-, tri-, or polyvalent type electrolytes.

When the electrolytes are negatively charged(anionic) they are written as 1:1, 1:2, 1:3, 1:4 to indicate their ratios and their respective ionic strength. The higher the ratio the more ionic strength to increase zeta potential and have a dispersionary effect.

The right ionic balance is good for humans.

When the electrolytes are positively charged (cationic) they are written as 1:1, 2:1, 3:1, 4:1. The higher these ratios, the more ionic strength to decrease zeta potential and coagulate, agglutinate, flocculate, sludge and downright clog up systems.

The wrong ionic balance is bad for humans.

Negative Charge – 1:1, 1:2, 1:3, 1:4. Ratios indicate ionic strength. Higher = more strength to increase zeta potential. Good for humans.

Positive Charge – 1:1, 2:1, 3:1, 4:1. Higher ratios here means more strength to decrease zeta potential. Bad for humans.

A lot of the processed foods with chemical preservatives, pesticide residue and additives are of a cationic 1:1, 2:1 nature.  Bad for humans. These foods have a natural zeta potential lowering effect on the blood.

Chlorine is a well-known cationic electrolyte and when viewed in light of the above material it is easy to understand why drinking chlorinated water can elevate the risk of cardiovascular problems.

As it is, blood is naturally maintained in a dispersed state that is just on the verge of beginning to sludge. This is required for an effective blood clotting mechanism so if you cut yourself you don’t bleed to death. The blood clotting mechanism is associated with the release and activation of prothrombin-thrombin which is a cationic polyelectrolyte.

Heparin on the other hand is an anionic polyvalent electrolyte dispersing agent and is used medically to relieve intravascular coagulation.

Now with blood at a natural precipice just ready to sludge, if we add negative health items to our diet that have a further sludging effect on our blood, the situation for health begins to deteriorate.

Osteoporosis

Can Calcium Actually Make Your Bones Weaker?

By Dr. Mercola

Osteoporosis is a very common problem. It’s characterized by porous and fragile bones, which over time increases the risk of fractures, most often to hips, vertebrae and wrists.
The following information is important for a number of reasons, because there’s a lot of confusion about this condition, but I want to specifically clear up two major misconceptions.
Clearing Up Two Major Myths About Osteoporosis and Its Treatment
 
The first myth is that osteoporosis is due to a calcium deficiency. As you’ll soon see, that’s not simply the case.
The second misconception is that the treatment for it is to use bisfosphonate drugs like Fosamax, Actonel, or Boniva. This is one of the worst strategies for treating this condition, because even though it will increase your bone density, it is a poison! The reason these drugs work is because they actually kill certain cells in your bone called osteoclasts. These are the cells that destroy bone as part of your natural bone regeneration process.
When these cells die off, you’re left with only osteoblasts, which build bone. Hence you get bigger bone that is denser, but NOT stronger. Your bones actually become weaker, and in the long term increase your risk of developing a fracture.
Your bone undergoes a dynamic process, constantly being remolded based on the forces in your body, and you need to have both osteoblasts and osteclasts to remove old bone and rebuild new bone.

Another drug you want to avoid, especially if you have asthma or any other autoimmune disease, is steroids. Steroids are very detrimental for bone density, and will increase your risk of osteoporosis.

Eating Right for Healthy Bone Density and Strength
One of the important strategies for healthy bones is to eat the right kind of foods. If you eat a diet full of processed foods, it will produce biochemical and metabolic conditions in your body that will decrease your bone density, so avoiding processed foods is the first step in the right direction.
Eating high quality, organic, biodynamic, locally-grown food will naturally increase your bone density and decrease your risk of developing osteoporosis.
One food in particular worth mentioning are onions, which are high in gamma-glutamyl peptides that have been shown to increase bone density. But generally, you’ll want to eat lots of fresh vegetables.
There’s a common concern that eating a high protein diet will secrete calcium into your urine. But the truth of the matter is that more people are now eating low-protein diets, and your body needs protein, because amino acids are part of the bone matrix. If you don’t consume enough of specific amino acids your body can’t form strong, dense bones. So you’ll also want to make sure you eat plenty of high quality protein like free-range eggs and grass-fed meats.
One food you may want to consider avoiding is gluten — a specific protein in many grains, specifically wheat, but also barley, rye, oats and spelt. Gluten has been shown to decrease bone density.
 
Beneficial Supplements
Along with your foods, your omega 3 fat content has a lot to do with building healthy bone. Most everyone needs to take a high quality, animal-based omega 3 fat. I recommend krill oil, as I believe it’s a superior source of omega 3’s.
At the same time, to balance out your omega 3 and omega 6 ratio, you’ll want to reduce the amount of processed vegetable oils you consume. Oils like corn oil, safflower- and soy oil are loaded with omega 6’s. Additionally, canola should be avoided for other reasons.
Another supplement you may want to consider if you already have osteoporosis is vitamin K2, which has been shown to radically improve bone density. Fermented foods, such as natto, typically have the highest concentration of vitamin K found in the human diet and can provide several milligrams of vitamin K2 on a daily basis.
Additional Components that are Vital for Bone Density
Two additional components that are vital for building bone density and strength are vitamin D and proper exercise.
Vitamin D — Interestingly, you don’t need much vitamin D to protect you against osteomalacia (the term for the softening of bones due to defective bone mineralization, also known as rickets in children). In fact, most of our RDA’s are based on that observation, which is why they’re up to ten times lower than what many people need for optimal health.
Now we know that vitamin D is enormously important for an ever-growing number of conditions, which is why I recommend you regularly expose large amounts of your skin to safe amounts of sunshine (or use a safe tanning bed) to optimize your vitamin D levels.
If neither of those is available, then you’ll want to use an oral form of vitamin D3. However, if you take oral vitamin D, make sure you’re measuring your vitamin D levels with a reputable reference lab (in the U.S. I recommend LabCorp). Getting your levels up to about 60 ng/ml will help you optimize your bone density.
Proper exercise — The second component you can’t ignore if you want strong, healthy bones is weight bearing exercises like strength training. Remember, bone-building is a dynamic process, so you want to make sure you exert enough force on your bones to stimulate the osteoblasts to build new bone.
You may want to see a personal trainer or exercise therapist to give you specific exercises to build up the muscles around the bone that are most at risk, such as your arms and hips, as that’s where most of the damage occurs.
 
The Calcium Lie
Dr. Robert Thompson M.D. wrote an entire book, The Calcium Lie, addressing this important issue. Although he’d been able to resolve many illnesses with supplements and herbs and other less toxic alternatives to drugs, he’d come to realize that similar to the pharmaceutical industry, the nutrition industry had its own flaws.
He concluded that enormous amounts of money were being wasted on supplements that had little or no health benefit, and in some cases could actually worsen your health.
One of the tenets of his book is that bone is composed of at least a dozen minerals, and if you focus exclusively on calcium supplementation you are likely going to worsen your bone density, and will actually increase your risk of osteoporosis!
Dr. Thompson believes that the over consumption of calcium in the goal of preventing osteoporosis creates other mineral deficiencies and imbalances that will also increase your risk of heart disease, kidney stones, gallstones, osteoarthritis, hypothyroidism, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Interestingly, he proposes that one of the best practical alternatives is the use of naturally occurring ionic supplements, as ionic minerals are the most plentiful form of minerals found on earth.  He believes that almost everyone needs trace minerals, not just calcium, because you simply cannot get all the nutrients you need through food grown in mineral depleted soils.
Unprocessed Salt – A Better Alternative to Calcium Supplementation
Dr. Thompson believes that unprocessed salts are one of the best sources of these ionic trace minerals responsible for catalyzing many important functions in your body.
I have been a long time fan of high quality salt, and even more so once I learned of Himalayan salt, which I believe is one of the healthiest salts on the planet. High quality salts like Himalayan contain vitally important trace minerals from the ancient oceans that are not contaminated with toxins, and which are very difficult to get in your food due to the challenges of modern agricultural practices.
Live Blood Online

Just How Does Live Blood Analysis Help Prevent Disease?

 

We are on week 1 of the September training course and our tutor is
going through some very important information on blood analysis to help students understand what one can and cannot do with this technique and what they will be able to assess by looking at clients’ blood.

We also viewed a few videos on how to take blood samples correctly for live and dry blood analysis and what settings to use on a microscope to view these samples.

 

Our tutor then went on to explain that live blood analysis (LBA) is especially helpful as part of a preventative approach to healthcare and is a valuable test to those who are pro-active about their health.

Many of the so-called preventative measures are really just early detection measures. For example, having a regular blood sugar test is not part of prevention – it will only show an imbalance once the body has failed at all its attempts to regulate the blood sugar.

When you get an abnormal blood sugar reading it is at quite a late stage already and one should really have had preventative measures in place years before the abnormal result.

 

“LBA detects imbalances that may lead to disease and one can then implement measures to help minimise the likelihood of serious conditions developing in the future.”

One of the questions that came was – “Why is the visual impact of LBA so important?

 

“The visual impact of LBA is very important. It was shown in a study that people who were given the actual images of their damaged arteries were significantly more compliant in making changes to their diet and lifestyle than those who only saw the images once.”

“Being able to see the impact of poor dietary and lifestyle choices and to refer back to those images has a very powerful effect on keeping people motivated.

Top 5 – Holiday & Travel Health FAQs

Pain in the abdomen

 

Can I take my probiotics away with me?

It is recommended that probiotic supplements are kept in the fridge to ensure they remain as effective as they can possibly be.  However, if they are of a high enough quality, they will remain stable out of the fridge for long enough for you to transport them to your holiday destination; just make sure you pop them back in the fridge when you arrive.  If you’re not going to have access to a fridge however whilst you’re away, we recommend taking a probiotic supplement containing saccharomyces boulardii with you as an alternative.  Saccharomyces boulardii is a non-pathogenic yeast which has been shown to support a healthy balance of flora.  This doesn’t need to be kept in the fridge and is a great solution for gastrointestinal support whilst traveling.

I’m worried about travelers diarrhea – is there anything I can take to help?

Saccharomyces boulardii is ideal to take away with you if you’re worried about travelers diarrhea.  It can be used to deal with an acute problem, or as a preventative if it’s something you’re concerned you could be exposed to whilst away.  It’s also useful for antibiotic-associated diarrhea.

I often get constipated when I go on holiday – is there an easy way to deal with this?

Many people worry about a change in bowel habits when they go away.  Both traveler’s diarrhea and constipation are very common.  Some of the most common causes of constipation on holiday are a sudden change in diet, disruption of daily routine, jet lag and dehydration.  Making sure you continue to get enough fibre and plenty of water are important strategies to help prevent constipation, especially if you are traveling to a warmer climate.  In addition, a stick pack of pureed papaya is a useful support that travels well and doesn’t need to be kept in the fridge.  Several trials have found papaya helps to facilitate regular bowel movements and can be a particularly useful support on holiday.

i often suffer from indigestion when I eat out and am worried about this happening more often on holiday.  Is there anything natural that I can take to help?

Indigestion is a common holiday health complaint.  Whilst it’s lovely to try new cuisines, sometimes these can be laden with ingredients that our digestive systems are not used to dealing with.  A natural plant-based digestive enzyme supplement can really help in these situations.  Plant enzymes are similar to those that your body naturally produces and can help to make sure your food is broken down properly and help you to avoid unwanted symptoms of indigestion.

I’m worried about catching bugs on the plane that could spoil my holiday.  Is there anything I can take to help prevent this?

Arriving on holiday with more than you bargained for is a common worry among travelers.  Re-circulated air, cabin pressure and the virtually moisture-free conditions inside a plane cabin can increase your vulnerability to airborne infection.  Whilst there’s little you can do to change the conditions inside a plane, you can be pro-active about maximizing your immune defenses before you go on holiday to decrease your risks of contracting infections that you may be exposed to.  Choose a comprehensive immune support product that contains key nutrients; vitamins A, C, E, D and zinc.  In addition, an exciting new ingredient – beta 1-3/1-6 glucans has been found to be a powerful support that enhances the immune system without over-stimulating it.

Saccharomyces boulardii is available at The Finchley Clinic 

Alkalizing

Alkalize or Die!

Why alkalize?

A seven-year study conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, on 9,000 women showed that those who have chronic acidosis are at greater risk for bone loss than those who have normal pH levels. Many of the hip fractures among middle-aged women are connected to high acidity caused by a diet rich in animal foods and low in vegetables. – American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Read more

your blood

Your Blood – Why is it So Important?

Your Blood – Why is it So Important?
Your blood could be viewed as the river of life; it is the substance that carries oxygen, water and nutrients to all your organs and tissues.

It therefore makes perfect sense, that imbalances seen in the blood will affect the organs and tissues, leading to malfunction and imbalance. Read more