Tag Archives: digestive health

Prebiotics vs Probiotics – What’s the Difference?

What’s the Difference Between Prebiotics and Probiotics?

You might have heard of the terms ‘prebiotics’ and ‘probiotics’ being mentioned in association with digestive health on BBC television show “Trust Me I’m A Doctor”. But what’s the difference between them and which one is more important?

Our digestive tract contains high amounts of probiotics ‘beneficial bacteria’, which play a vital role in supporting the optimum function of our digestive system. They do this via many various mechanisms including supporting digestion and enhancing our gut immunity.

Prebiotics

The best way to look after our gut bacteria is by feeding it well and the best foods for it are known as ‘prebiotics’. Prebiotics (also known as dietary fibre) are the indigestible components of food that are able to reach the large intestine (where most of our gut bacteria resides) to feed our beneficial bacteria to promote its growth and function. We are recommended to consume 30g of fibre daily, however, due to the introduction of the western diet which is high in processed and refined foods and contains very little fibre, the current average intake of fibre in the UK is 18g/day.

The main food sources of prebiotics include vegetables and fruits such as artichokes, garlic, leeks and onions and fermented foods such as kefir. Prebiotics are also available in the form of food supplements such as ‘fructooligosaccharides’ (FOS) and inulin.

FOS and Inulin

Research indicates that FOS and inulin are some of the most beneficial types of prebiotics for feeding our gut bacteria. They belong to the same family of fructo-polysaccharides, and the primary difference between them is that inulin is a longer chain fructo-polysaccharide than FOS. Although they both have very similar effects in terms of promoting the size, diversity and physiological functions of our gut bacteria, some research indicates that FOS may exert a broader therapeutic benefit than inulin. Both of these can be naturally derived from chicory, they are naturally sweet and can be used as a healthy alternative to sugar when the powder is sprinkled over food such as porridge for example.

Probiotics

Common modern lifestyle choices such as alcohol consumption, processed food intake and antibiotic use can impact negatively on the levels of our beneficial bacteria, hence the growing interest in the use of microbial preparations to supplement the diet known as ‘probiotics’. Therefore, although feeding our bacteria with prebiotics is important, it’s just as important to have the right balance of beneficial bacteria to be fed in the first place, which is why both probiotics and prebiotics are just as important as each other.

References
1. Slavin J. Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits. Nutrients. 2013;5(4):1417-1435.
2. Bornet et al. Nutritional aspects of short-chain fructooligosaccharides: natural occurrence, chemistry, physiology and health implications. Digest Liver Dis. 2002; 34 (2): S111-20.

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Digestive Health

Digestive Health – Beat the Bloat

Beat the bloat – Taking care of your digestive health

Indigestion covers a variety of symptoms from cramping in the stomach, to heartburn, bloating, wind, belching, and even pain in the bowel. It is usually a sign that the digestive system is having difficulty coping with breaking down food, and this is frequently due to a lack of stomach acid and digestive enzymes in the small intestine. The problem can be made worse if you eat too quickly and don’t chew food thoroughly. Overeating, drinking to excess, eating poor food combinations, or eating when stressed all exacerbate indigestion. Our digestive processes are only fully functional when our nervous system is relaxed, so when we are stressed enzyme activity decreases significantly, which can lead to various symptoms including bloating.

What are digestive enzymes and how can they help?

Digestive enzymes act like scissors to break down food (fats, proteins, carbohydrates, starches, milk, sugars) into their basic building blocks so that they can be absorbed into the bloodstream and transported throughout the body and cells. Undigested food can putrefy in the intestines, feeding undesirable micro-organisms which produce gas, bloating and toxins detrimental to the body. When undigested food particles are absorbed into the blood stream, the immune system produces antibodies to attack them along with secondary effects like inflammation, pains, migraines, rashes, asthma, behavioural changes and other symptoms of food intolerance/allergies. Diets lacking in raw foods and heavily processed/packaged foods devoid of essential enzymes often lead to symptoms of indigestion, bloating, acid reflux, IBS, fatigue and candida. By supplementing with digestive enzymes you support the digestive system by breaking down food into its basic building blocks for proper assimilation.

What are microbiotics and how can they help?

Microbiotics are the “good” or “friendly” bacteria that are normal inhabitants of the intestinal tract. Although the word bacteria is usually associated with germs and illness, friendly bacteria help the body to function, maintain health and fight infection. “Bad” or “pathogenic” bacteria on the other hand can cause intestinal microflora imbalances and lead to symptoms such as bloating, intestinal infections, yeast imbalance, constipation, diarrhoea and flatulence. Research is establishing the importance of supplementing with microbiotics. They not only help to balance out the gut bacteria, but they help to support the immune function of the gut, produce antioxidants, aid nutrition through the enhanced breakdown and absorption of vitamins, minerals and amino acids and they synthesize B vitamins, which are necessary for a healthy nervous system.

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Healthy Gut, Healthy You

Gut Health: The key to all round good health?

Healthy Gut, Healthy You

Just as the gut is the centre of our bodies, we’re also starting to think that it might be at the centre of our health too. The gut is far from being just an organ that simply digests food and excretes the waste. It also produces more than 20 kinds of hormones, contains more than a thousand species of bacteria and is controlled by its own nervous system that is almost as complex as the brain’s. An unhealthy gut can contribute to a wide range of diseases including: obesity, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, hormonal imbalances, chronic fatigue, autism, depression, as well as joint and heart problems.

Good Digestion for Good Health

Ensuring good digestion is vital. Good chewing prepares the food, mixing it with enzymes that help to break it down. In the stomach, stomach acid and pepsin released from the liver thoroughly work on the food, simplifying the proteins with great efficiency. Many people experience problems with stomach acid ‘reflux’ where it is pushed up into the food pipe or throat, causing burning and an unpleasant taste. This can be helped by some natural herbs to calm the stomach down and help it heal any damage. Slippery elm, marshmallow, aloe vera and licorice are all especially important.

Once food passes through the stomach it enters the small intestine, where additional enzymes break down food groups into the simplest molecules to make them both absorbable and usable by the body. If this does not happen very well – perhaps it is a rushed meal, lack of preparation or the concentration of acids/enzymes are compromised by age or medication (possibly the overuse of Omeprazole and other Proton Pump Inhibitors), then larger particles of food are propelled through the system to cause mischief. They may be fermented by bacteria in the gut causing wind and/or they may get through the gut wall’s strategic defences. The body’s protective immune system (mostly seated in the gut) may even decide that they look similar to a potential enemy and attack them, causing inflammation. To help the body digest difficult proteins like gluten and other foods, it may be useful to take supplementary digestive enzymes. Gluten digesting enzymes may be particularly useful as well as certain beneficial or probiotic bacteria.

Bacteria in the Gut: Our little friends

Our friendly bacteria have been living with us all of our lives, resident in our gut like billions of bacterial pets. The beneficial ones play a very important role in maintaining health. They help to keep the immune system on a low-level alert and therefore support its function. In some studies, when babies do not develop this layer of good bacteria properly, they are more likely to develop an allergy or have an immune system that doesn’t work efficiently. The best and safest way to support beneficial bacteria is to take a high-strength daily probiotic with carefully selected and well-researched bacterial strains. If the balance of bacteria is disrupted, then certain plant oils can help to speed up the recovery. Garlic is king here, and is nature’s best natural antibiotic, but also consider using clove oil, cinnamon and oregano oil for a multi-pronged approach on a short-term basis.

While it is true to say that gut problems are on the increase, and that sub-optimal gut function seems to be having wide ranging effects on health beyond the digestive system, we can also do a great deal to help ourselves. Take good care of your gut, and you will reap the health benefits for years to come.

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Vitamin D & IBS

Vitamin D: a better life for IBS sufferers?

Vitamin D improves quality of life for IBS sufferers

April is IBS Awareness Month, a campaign aiming at improving diagnosis and treatment of IBS, and heightening awareness of both the condition and its affect on sufferers.

IBS impacts severely on quality of life, with patients commonly suffering with pain, discomfort and social embarrassment. Previous studies have found that IBS patients demonstrate significantly higher levels of anxiety and depression than healthy individuals (1). Research in this area is desperately needed, as IBS affects as many as 1 in 5 of us, and many people struggle to manage the condition.

The relationship between IBS and mood disorders is a complex one. Stress, anxiety and depression can cause digestive issues because the nervous system and the digestive system are linked. In addition, IBS symptoms can cause anxiety and stress for sufferers.

Fortunately, some recent promising research has revealed that vitamin D supplementation may improve the quality of life of IBS sufferers (2). This pilot study will hopefully lead to further research in this area.

The Study

The recent study, published in the British Medical Journal, was a double-blind, randomised trial. It compared the effects of a placebo, vitamin D, and a combination of vitamin D and probiotics on IBS patients.

Each patient was randomly assigned to receive a placebo, a vitamin D supplement, or a vitamin D and probiotic supplement. Over the course of 12 weeks, each patient completed several health questionnaires to monitor symptoms and quality of life.

The study found that 82% of the IBS patients were deficient in vitamin D. As expected, at the end of 12 weeks, the final results showed that those who had supplemented vitamin D had improved blood levels of vitamin D. In addition, the results also showed a strong link between vitamin D status and quality of life. Those who had supplemented vitamin D felt that their IBS symptoms had less influence on wellbeing compared to their vitamin D deficient counterparts.

Those supplementing vitamin D also showed improvement in all IBS symptoms as their vitamin D levels improved, although the study was too small to draw a firm conclusion about this. Lead researcher Dr Bernard Corfe stated that these results nevertheless “justify a larger and more definitive clinical trial.”

More research is needed to clarify the link between vitamin D and IBS. The gut is home to millions of vitamin D receptors, and vitamin D helps to protect the gut lining, preventing ‘leaky gut’, and it also reduces levels of inflammation in the digestive tract. Its role in the immune system means that vitamin D is also believed to be helpful in protecting against digestive infections and overgrowths.

Dr Corfe added: “Our data provides a potential new insight into the condition and more importantly, a new way to try to manage it.”

The study certainly suggests that those with IBS should ensure that they have adequate levels of vitamin D, especially if they are suffering with stress and anxiety. “It was clear from our findings that many people with IBS should have their vitamin D levels tested” says Dr Corfe, “and the data suggests that they may benefit from supplementation with vitamin D.”

References
1. Hyun Sun Cho et al (2011) Anxiety, Depression and Quality of Life in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Gut Liver. 5(1): 29–36
2. Tazzyman S et al (2015) Vitamin D associates with improved quality of life in participants with irritable bowel syndrome: outcomes from a pilot trial. BMJ Open Gastro 2:e000052.

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Probiotics for the Common Cold

During winter, the common cold strikes 930,000 Britons on average. We probably catch more colds during this season because we spend much more time indoors, in close proximity. New Year’s Eve parties, January sales and family gatherings mean that we’re coming into physical contact with more people, leaving us susceptible to catching and spreading the common cold.

Probiotics may help prevent the Common Cold
Probiotics may help prevent Infections such as the Common Cold

While there is still no cure for the common cold, a recent analysis has found evidence for taking probiotics as a way of preventing the risk of infection (1). It seems that probiotics may improve health by regulating immune function.

The systematic review, conducted by the Cochrane Collaboration, analysed 10 studies involving 3451 participants. The study examined the evidence for probiotics as a way to prevent upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs).

In studies where probiotics were taken for more than a week, probiotics reduced the number of individuals who had at least one acute upper respiratory tract infection by 42%.

Side effects reported were minor, such as digestive discomfort, and were not any more common in those taking probiotics than in the control groups.

Probiotics may support the immune system by bolstering the health of the gut wall and boosting activity of phagocytes, white blood cells that fight infection.

When choosing a probiotic supplement, be sure to opt for one that uses well-researched strains. It is important that the probiotic strain that you use is capable both of surviving stomach acidity and ‘sticking’ to the gut lining.

I often recommend Optibac ‘For daily wellbeing EXTRA strength’ as this contains one of the most well researched strains, L. acidophilus NCFM. It is also FOS free, which can be useful for those who are worried about side effects such as bloating. Udo’s Choice Super 8 Probiotic also provides the strain L. acidophilus NCFM at an effective dosage.

Written by Nadia Mason, BSc MBANT NTCC CNHC

References

(1.) Hao Q, Lu Z, Dong BR, Huang CQ, Wu T. Probiotics for preventing acute upper respiratory tract infections. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Sep 7

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An introduction to Coeliac Disease

Coeliac disease (CD) is a common autoimmune disorder where the body attacks itself.  It occurs as a consequence of gluten intolerance and affects approximately 1% of the population. Gluten is found in all food and non-food products that are made from wheat, barley and rye. Oats contain some lower levels of gluten but the levels are not always problematic for Coeliac sufferers, however as oats are often processed in the same factories as wheat, barley and rye they should be eaten with caution.

When these products are consumed, the disease activates chronic small intestine inflammation and erosion of the intestinal villi which can lead to nutrient malabsorption and potentially deficiencies, with iron and folic acid deficiency being the more common deficiencies. Although it is usually thought to be solely a gastrointestinal disorder, many will be surprised to know it is in fact a systemic disorder affecting the whole body. Gluten ingestion can trigger inflammation in several other areas of the body, manifesting itself in many ways and consequently it can be extremely distressing for the individual, severely affecting quality of life. For example it can cause skin disorders such as psoriasis and eczema, fatigue, and also more serious conditions such as type I diabetes, heart and/or liver disease, anaemia, epilepsy, osteoporosis amongst others. Sufferers may feel like their symptoms are unrelated to those typically associated with an intolerance such as abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea etc which means that Coeliac disease often goes undiagnosed for years. It is however becoming more widely recognised and acknowledged by the Medical Profession and diagnosis is improving.

Bread and Wheat are foods that Coeliac Disease sufferers should avoid
Bread and Wheat are some foods that Coeliac Disease sufferers should avoid due to their gluten content (3.)

A gluten free diet is currently the only method of treatment as there is no approved medication, however gluten is extremely difficult to avoid completely as cereal use in food products is widespread and it is often hidden in many products unexpectedly e.g. in cosmetics. It is now possible to get gluten free oats along with better and more tasty gluten free breads and other grains, so CD sufferers should look out for these options.

Prolonged exposure to gluten in Coeliac sufferers can result in mortality, therefore in addition to attempting to remove gluten, other therapeutic methods should be considered. It has been acknowledged that the gut balance (microbiota) is vital for keeping a healthy state and reductions in beneficial bacteria can cause imbalances and potentially contribute to diseases such as Coeliac disease. One study published in 2010 by Journal of Leukocyte Biology investigated the effects of the probiotic Bifidobacteria on the immune triggers of Coeliac disease. They found that the inclusion of this beneficial probiotic improved the gut state, immune reaction and disease outcome for those with CD. In addition to probiotics and a gluten free diet, anti-inflammatory nutrients such as fatty acids will also help to reduce the inflammation across the body. Taking supplements such as glutamine and arginine can help to repair the intestinal damage to allow the villi in the small intestine to grow back and begin to absorb the nutrients again (2).

These nutrients are not only beneficial for those suffering with Coeliac disease and can benefit everyone, as they allow the body to be in a balanced state and reduce inflammation which can also be a cause of many conditions including IBS. If you think you may have Coeliac Disease or would like to be tested for it, you should contact your Health Practitioner or a local BANT or Nutrition Society registered Nutritionist.

Written by Lauren Foster

(1) G. De Palma,* J. Cinova,† R. Stepankova,† L. Tuckova,† and Y. Sanz Pivotal Advance: Bifidobacteria and Gram-negative bacteria differentially influence immune responses in the proinflammatory milieu of celiac disease. Journal of Leukocyte Biology, vol. 87 no. 5 765-778.

(2) Sukhotnik, I., Slijper, N., Pollak, Y., Chemodanov, E., Shaoul, R., Coran, A.G., Mogilner, J.G. (2011) Parenteral omega-3 fatty acids (Omegaven) modulate intestinal recovery after intestinal ischemia-reperfusion in a rat model. Journal of Pediatric Surgery, Vol. 46, Issue 7, Pg. 1353-1360.

(3.) Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane

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A hard tablet to swallow? The benefits of sublingual and transdermal supplements

We are all becoming aware that the nutritional value of the food we rely on day to day contains less vitamins and minerals than it did 50 years ago and that our modern, pressured lifestyles impact on our natural health balance(1). For most of us we look to capsules, tablets and drinks to supplement our intake. However, recently a number of research bodies have reminded us that ingesting these nutrients is not the only way of ensuring an adequate supply… and maybe there are more efficient ways.

Our digestive health has never been so poor. The human body requires hydrochloric acid in the stomach to break down our food sufficiently in order for it to absorb the essential nutrients within. Historically, as we age our production of hydrochloric acid reduces but this process is becoming evident earlier and earlier in our lives. When we are ill, production further reduces. Hospitals will provide intramuscular injections or intravenous drips rather than tablets for certain nutrients for this very reason. The key therefore is to get the nutrients or medication into the bloodstream as soon as possible, reducing opportunity for wastage.

Absorption options:

DLUX Vitamin D Spray
Vitamin D is one vitamin that can be taken in a spray sublingually to help promote better absorption

A ground breaking study(2) by Dr Charles Heard of The Welsh School of Pharmacy investigated ways of reducing death from malaria. Victims often struggled with quinine tablets (an effective treatment) as vomiting and illness impeded their absorption. A simple quinine solution, sprayed under the tongue delivered the life-saving medication directly into the bloodstream. There’s no requirement for water or for a doctor to administer an injection. The mucous membrane around the cheek and under the tongue is an incredibly absorbent tissue and absorption is immediate. The concept works for other elements which either require the bloodstream to transport them to essential organs, such as vitamin D (essential for bone health and the immune system), or which struggle to be absorbed within the stomach such as vitamin B12 (a large molecule necessary for energy production).

The skin too should not be overlooked for its absorption qualities. We just have to look at the rapid rise of skin patches to see just how important the skin is. The body’s largest organ is a very hungry one and works hard to keep bad elements out of the body and absorb beneficial ones. A clinical trial this year(3) by Cardiff University showed how mineral salts such as magnesium are particularly well absorbed through the skin, whether sprayed on or absorbed in a bath, helping the body to normalise muscle function and absorb calcium. We all know how relaxing a mineral-rich spa pool can be for this very reason.

The lungs are a particularly interesting area. A very effective absorption membrane it benefits from an undulating surface area which, if laid flat would be the size of a tennis court. This is why smoking is such an additive activity. The benefits, of course, mean that people with respiratory difficulties can inhale muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatories. Specialising in support for athletes The Magnesium Therapy Centre(4) in Orthenstraat, Holland, has developed a method of exposing magnesium chloride solution to ultrasonic vibration within a steam room, allowing the magnesium to be breathed in so enhancing the lungs ability for oxygen uptake.

There will always be a requirement for ingested nutrients but we should not ignore the fact that the whole of the body has been designed for optimum absorption.

Written by Andrew Thomas from BetterYou

References

1. National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Dep. Of health 2008-2010.

2. Delivery of atovaquone and proguanil across sublingual membranes, in vitro. Eleri Wallace, Charlene M.Y. Ong and Charles M. Heard. Welsh School of Pharmacy, UK

3. In vitro transdermal delivery of magnesium. 25 Oct 2011. Dr Charles Heard, Cardiff University

4. Magnesium Therapy Centre, Holland

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The Sun Chlorella guide to a healthy gut – Part 2

Continuing from Wednesday’s blog post on gut health, the team at Sun Chlorella follow on with the second part of their 10 point guide to the facts and fictions of gut health.

Sun Chlorella - The Ultimate Superfood
Sun Chlorella® ‘A’ is a natural green algae whole food supplement from Japan.

Sun Chlorella expert nutritionist Nadia Brydon, is on hand to separate the fact from the fiction when it comes to keeping your guts healthy.

“The most important thing when managing your digestion is to identify the causes and stop the patterns that lead to pain and discomfort.  Once you know how healthy your gut is you’ll be able to prevent any bloating.” says Nadia.

Don’t eat fruit – FICTION!

Candida overgrowth is a major cause of bloating and is essentially fermentation inside the gut.  Foods that encourage fermentation include sugar and that means sugar in fruit too.  However, not all fruit causes bloating.  Avoid citrus fruits but stock up on bananas, figs, blueberries, mango and papaya instead.

Supplements don’t work – FICTION!

If you are susceptible to bloating and trapped wind there are a number of effective and natural solutions.

Sun Chlorella® ‘A’ – a natural green algae whole food supplement from Japan – is Nadia’s number one choice for bloating as it contains a staggering range of nutrients including around 10% fibre, to help move food through the system more effectively.  Due to its special component – the Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF) – Sun Chlorella® ‘A’ re-stimulates the growth and repair of cells, including the growth of good bacteria (Lactobacilli) four-fold once it’s absorbed, which aids digestive health*.

Nadia explains, “Taking Sun Chlorella® ‘A’ on a daily basis helps to keep the gut healthy and happy by acting as an ‘intestinal broom’ and cleansing the bowel.  Chlorella has the highest known concentration of chlorophyll – the green pigment found in plants that converts water, air and sunlight into energy – and this helps to bind to any toxins in your intestines, preventing absorption and eliminating them as waste.”

Other options include activated charcoal – an age old remedy to help ease the feelings of trapped wind.  Peppermints or warming peppermint tea will ease digestion whilst fennel seed tea or chewing fennel seeds or dill seeds after a meal can also help prevent bloating.

Increase your fibre intake – FACT!

Diet is really important.  Avoid bread and any processed or low glycemic foods and try to eat fresh foods instead.  Cutting down your intake of foods which are low in fibre – and therefore ‘bind’ inside your gut – such as eggs, chocolate, red meat, cheese and processed foods will help reduce bloating too.  A supplement such as Sun Chlorella® ‘A’ also contains fibre which can help to move food through your system.

Sun Chlorella 'A'
“Taking Sun Chlorella® ‘A’ on a daily basis helps to keep the gut healthy and happy by acting as an ‘intestinal broom’ and cleansing the bowel.

Food mixing can lead to bloating – FACT!

Bloating can often be caused by the slowing down of digestion caused by mixing incompatible foods (such as protein and carbohydrates) at meal times – which have different digesting times.  Bread, along with lactose and gluten, is also high on the list of causative factors.

Stress can lead to gut discomfort – FACT!

Stress is a huge factor as it can cause tension in the body which in turn interrupts the digestion process.  Try to find time to unwind at the end of each day – simple breathing exercises, a relaxing bath or even meditation could help the body to de-stress.

* a recent review of research concluded that the potential of chlorella to relieve symptoms, improve quality of life and normalize body functions in patients suffering with ulcerative colitis (a long-term (chronic) condition affecting the colon and causing inflammation of the intestines), suggests that larger, more comprehensive clinical trials of chlorella are warranted; A Review of Recent Clinical Trials of the Nutritional Supplement Chlorella Pyrenoidosa in the Treatment of Fibromyalgia, Hypertension, and Ulcerative Colitis, Randall E Merchant, PhD, and Cynthia A. Andre, MSc

 

Written by Nadia Brydon

 

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bodykind do some detective work on food intolerance

Do you have a health issue getting you down that Doctor’s just can’t seem to help with?  Do you not feel quite as well as you should?  According to Allergy UK as many as 45% of people in the UK suffer from a food intolerance (1), many of which lead to varying symptoms that while not life threatening, can make all aspects of life uncomfortable, painful or just down right miserable. Symptoms of food intolerance are varied and can have a serious effect on the quality of your day to day life.  From abdominal pains to eczema, fatigue and Irritable Bowel Syndrome, food intolerance can lead many to unhappiness.  But it is a common area that can be difficult to get help for from many in the medical profession.(2)

Do you have a food intolerance?
According to Allergy UK as many as 45% of people in the UK suffer from a food intolerance

There is a stark difference between food allergy, and food intolerance. Food allergy sparks a rapid response in the body’s immune system to a particular food.  The immune system mistakes a food for an ‘invader’ which often results in a rapid allergic reaction, commonly associated with nut and seafood allergies.(3) Food intolerance on the other hand can lead to many less serious reactions but uncomfortable symptoms that manifest themselves through skin conditions, digestive problems, aches and pains and much more.(4)

There are numerous foods that can spark intolerances including dairy, meat, fruit, fish, gluten, wheat and even vegetables.  But how can you find out just what it is that’s upsetting you.  You could try eliminating certain foods from your diet to see if this has a positive effect on your symptoms but this can be a long drawn out process (and must be done under the supervision of a qualified Nutritionist). There are a number of products on the market today however that offer home tests for a variety of different food intolerances and the Food Detective is one of the most popular.

Food Detective
Food Detective is the world's first self test for food intolerance

Simple, safe, reliable and fast the Food Detective is the world’s first self test for food intolerance.  No more waiting days for results, the Food Detective tests your reaction to 59 common foods through a finger prick blood sample and gives you results in about 40 minutes. The test identifies foods causing IgG antibody production which may be involved in various conditions such as IBS, eczema, and arthritis. The test gives you the ability to easily identify the type of foods that may be affecting your health and eliminate them from your diet giving you the peace of mind to eat the right things and improving your lifestyle.

It is important to note however that changes to diet should only be made after consultation with a qualified nutritionist.  Symptoms of intolerances and allergy can be eased with nutritional and dietary help.  “Some general advice would be to boost the immune system via a diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits which provide vitamins and bioflavonoids.  In addition to this omega 3 fatty acids from oily fish e.g. salmon, trout, mackerel and sardines (at least two portions per week) are really helpful to the immune system and also to reduce inflammation in the body.”(5)

 

Written by Mike Pye

1.  http://www.allergyuk.org/

2.  http://www.foodintoleranceawareness.org/isitfi.htm

3.  http://www.foodintoleranceawareness.org/isitfi.htm

4. http://www.foodintoleranceawareness.org/symptoms.htm

5.  Ani Kowal, Food Allergy and Intolerance Week, bodykind Blog, January 27th 2010.

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Beta Glucan- The Invader Defender!

With the peak holiday season now in full flow and the exciting prospect of travel abroad for much needed relaxation, adventure or indulgence, your thoughts may be naturally turning towards protecting your health while you are away.  This may be through sun protection such as astaxanthin or natural sun creams or maybe you are thinking about some form of digestive support.  However there is one special little polysaccharide that may be just what you’re looking for to help protect you and your loved ones from illness while in foreign environments.

Beta Glucan- The Invader Defender!
Beta Glucans can function to create gut balance and provide an effective immune system boost (2)

Beta Glucan is a non-starch polysaccharide present in oats, barley, yeast, rye and mushrooms.  A recently published (1) research study has found that Beta Glucans can function to create gut balance and provide an effective immune system boost, helping to increasing your immune system before your holiday and while away, which is a great way to support your body from new germs and changes in lifestyle.  As discussed recently in the bodykind blog, supporting the gut is an important aspect when looking for ways to boost your immune system.  Beta Glucans act to strengthen your body’s natural resistance to bugs through the digestive system, lowering the likelihood of contracting illnesses such as colds and flu.  Furthermore, Beta Glucans could significantly enhance the survival of probiotics which have also been associated with increased immunity through improved ‘friendly gut bacteria’, reducing the dreaded ‘holiday tummy’ so many of us suffer from while away.

Additionally, Beta Glucans have been shown to increase immune activity through their ability to resist harmful bacteria, viruses and pathogens (3) acting as a safeguard for your health.  This makes them a great addition to your pre-holiday routine.  They also have the amazing ability of sensing fungal infections and releasing the necessary defending properties to deactivate the infection and reduce inflammation (4).  Moreover increased resistance through Beta Glucans have been shown against many different infections including Streptococcus, potentially reducing the need for antibiotics, especially useful while away on holiday.

There are numerous longer term benefits of enhancing your supplementation regimen with a Beta  Glucan.  They are reported to help reduce the risk of other illnesses and diseases such as tuberculosis and those that are septic and they have also been shown to promote anti tumour activity. (2)  In addition to these health benefits, Beta Glucan has been found to potentially reduce cholesterol and the likelihood of contracting diabetes and can also improve the lipid and glucose profiles of those already suffering from diabetes and hypertension (5).

This means that although this may begin as a holiday protector, continuation of this ‘invader defender’ may bring fantastic benefits to your health all year round.

As well as in supplement form, Beta Glucan is naturally found in oats, barley, yeast, rye and mushrooms and can also be fortified to foods such as bread and cereals.

 

Written by Lauren Foster

(1)  Stack, H.M., Kearney, N Stanton, C., Fitzgerald, G.F. and Ross, R.P. (2010). Association of Beta-Glucan Endogenous Production with Increased Stress Tolerance of Intestinal Lactobacilli. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 76, p. 500–507.

(2)  Image courtesy of  Salvatore Vuono.

(3)  Murphya, E. A., Davisb, J.M. and Carmichael, M.D. (2010) Immune modulating effects of b-glucan. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, 13, 656–661.

(4)  Kankkunen, P., Teirilä, L. Rintahaka, J., Alenius, H., Wolff, H. and Matikainen, S.  (2010) 1,3 -b-Glucans Activate Both Dectin-1 and Inflammasome in Human Macrophages. Journal of Immunology, 184, 6335-6342.

(5)   S. Liatis, P. Tsapogas, E. Chala, C. Dimosthenopoulos, K. Kyriakopoulos, E. Kapantais, N. Katsilambros. (2009) The consumption of bread enriched with betaglucan reduces LDL-cholesterol and improves insulin resistance in patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes & Metabolism, 35, 115–120.

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