Tag Archives: digestive health

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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Probiotics for Digestive Health and Candida

Probiotics
Probiotics are a valuable part of a healthy diet (1)

Probiotics are a valuable part of a healthy diet, and may play an important role in sustaining overall intestinal health.  Many people suffer from the effects of intestinal imbalances which makes a focus on probiotics essential.  Prevention of imbalance before it occurs is clearly a better alternative to treating the often unpleasant symptoms.  Using probiotics is a safe, cost-effective, “natural” approach that may help act as a barrier against microbial infection.

The importance of digestive health

Digestive health is an important yet often ignored factor for our overall health.  If you haven’t been feeling yourself lately it is possible that this may be related to your digestive health.  Many health professionals and nutritionists believe that to be truly healthy we need a healthy digestive system and yet it is not an aspect many usually concentrate on.  If there is a problem with your digestive system, your body might not be able to absorb enough nutrients from your food, which can cause you to suffer from a number of different problems.

Friendly flora perform a number of constructive functions in the intestinal tract.  One main function is to help prevent occasional good/bad flora imbalance.  The “good” flora do this by crowding out the “bad” in the intestinal tract.

Candida

Each and every one of us carries Candida albicans in the digestive tract.  Candida, a single celled organism, produces more than a hundred different toxins which can be absorbed through the intestinal wall and in turn cause your body issues.  Provided these tiny yeast like organisms are kept under control by beneficial microbes and the immune system, they should do us no harm.  However, if there is an imbalance in the intestine, this could lead to Candida cells growing at a rate that is out of control leading to a number of problems.  This occurs when intestinal balance is disorientated by an impaired immune system, the use of antibiotics and stress or high carbohydrate diets, birth controls, diabetes and pregnancy. (2)

When Candida starts to proliferate, they become capable of penetrating the intestinal wall and leaking out into the body through the bloodstream, this can lead to  a negative effect on our health and overall wellbeing.  Some of the symptoms associated with Candida are:

•    Anger outbursts
•    Irritability
•    Headaches
•    Constant tiredness and exhaustion
•    Anxiety
•    Mood swings
•    Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
•    Intense cravings for sugars, sweets, and breads
•    Itchy skin
•    Frequent stomach pains and digestion problems
•    Skin problems (skin infections, eczema, psoriasis, acne)
•    Foggy brain / Trouble concentrating (3)

Treating Candida with probiotics

Threelac
ThreeLac may alleviate the yeast overgrowth symptoms faster than other treatment methods.

You can adjust the amount of yeast in your body through diet however it is not as easy as many people may think.  You would have to significantly reduce and even completely cut out sugar and high-carbohydrate foods.  Although most people can do this, they can’t sustain it for long and depriving themselves of these foods can often result in binge eating behaviour which is counter productive.  The more sugar you intake the more fuel you give yeast to grow in your body.

Although probiotics are naturally available in yoghurt, one of the most effective natural options for reducing yeast is a probiotic supplement such as ThreeLac as they are teeming with good live bacteria.  Because probiotics may help reduce the symptoms of yeast overgrowth it is an easier method than adhering to a very strict diet regimen.  Many women who suffer from thrush, “especially those who have undergone repeat antibiotic treatment, find probiotics to be really helpful in preventing recurrence and treating these conditions.” (4)

ThreeLac provides selected beneficial microflora for the purpose of replenishing needed friendly flora to promote intestinal health, a powerful probiotic formulation of three potent microflora in a lemon-powder base.

•    Bacillus coagulans: A probiotic organism that may help control occasional digestion and stomach problems.
•    Bacillus subtilis: A probiotic organism that may help crowd out “bad” flora in the intestines.
•    Enterococcus faecalis: The Enterococci constitute a major genus within the lactic acid bacteria group, and exists naturally in the human digestive tract. This effective probiotic bacteria is the result of formulation under strict laboratory conditions.

One of the benefits to using ThreeLac is that it may alleviate the yeast overgrowth symptoms faster than other treatment methods.  Also for those people who are lactose intolerant, yoghurt is not always an option so a probiotic such as ThreeLac could be an effective alternative.  A healthy digestive system directly relates to a healthy immune system and our overall wellbeing.

1. Image courtesy of Ambro.

2.  http://www.ecandida.com/candida-albicans.

3.  http://www.ghthealth.com/

4.  Ani Richardson, “ Natural remedies for the treatment and prevention of vaginal thrush infection“, bodykind blog, 05/082009.

Written by Mike Pye

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