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Why bile matters? The magic of BILE: fat digestion and detox

Do you have any of the following symptoms? Fatigue, constipation/diarrhea, incomplete digestion/absorption of fats, headaches, light colored or/and fatty stools, gas and bloating, hormonal imbalances/thyroid disease, detox problems, sleep problems, ear ringing (tinnitus), nausea, bitter taste in the mouth, sciatica like pains, low serum albumin levels, decreased absorption of nutrients, growth failure in children, weight loss, gallbladder issues or your gallbladder was removed. If yes, then read on. Why do we need bile? Bile is a soap-like substance vital for optimal (fat) digestion. It is a complex and unique aqueous product of the liver hepatocytes which is further modified by the activities of the bile duct epithelium. Then bile is collected, concentrated and stored in a gallbladder to be delivered to a small intestine when needed. Bile helps digesting fats and supports removal, flow and metabolism of various substances. Bile is composed in about 95% of water, the remaining constituents are bile salts, cholesterol, amino acids, bilirubin phospholipid, steroids, enzymes, vitamin, porphyrins, as well as heavy metals, environmental toxins, and drugs. Without quality bile we are at risk of developing health issues as bile is critical for metabolic conversions and flow of vital nutrients as well as elimination of toxic substances: Bile is a major route to excrete harmful substances, toxins Bile salts function to emulsify dietary fats and facilitate their digestion and absorption Bile helps eliminating cholesterol Bile stimulates intestinal innate immune system and supports immunity by excreting immunoglobulin A (IgA), inflammatory cytokines Bile is vital for chole- and entero-hepatic circulation Bile is essential carrier for some hormones and some hormonal conversions, estrogens, vitamin D3 metabolite, prolactin or insulin are... read more

DO YOU REACT TO FOODS?

ALLERGIES vs SENSITIVITIES vs INTOLERANCES to FOODS Food allergies and food sensitivities became more prevalent over the past few decades. Some common food reactions keep raising. It certainly has a lot to do with the way we live (stressed, overstimulated), with the quality of foods and drinks we consume (processed and toxic), the air we breathe in (polluted) or the cosmetics, detergents we use. These factors can make us more vulnerable and susceptible to all sort of maladies. Our bodies have to work hard to process everything from surrounding us environment and ingested foods, to stay in balance and to provide our bodies with what it needs for optimal functioning. When our body is overwhelmed our immune system and other parts may overreact inducing food reactions. Reactions to foods we may experience include: –        Psychological reactions (exorphins present in wheat/gluten and diary/casein bind to opioid receptors within our body influencing our brain, our behavior) –        Toxic reactions (food contamination or food poisoning) –        Immune-mediated reactions such as food allergies and food sensitivities (type I, II, III, or IV hypersensitivity) –        Food intolerance reaction (enzyme deficiency) There is often confusion around what is what and sometimes “allergy”, “intolerance”, and “sensitivity” are used improperly, which may  depend on naming convention as well as on how you look at the reaction to foods; whether you look at the reaction itself or symptoms it causes. Without going into depth and complexity of these reactions, I describe below the key differences. What are they? Let’s focus here only on two immune-mediated reactions (IgE & IgG) and food intolerances. Be aware that a person may also... read more

HOW GUT BACTERIA CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THE EXTRA WEIGHT

Linking the gut microbiota to obesity and diabetes Have you ever envied skinny people who eat a lot of unhealthy foods yet remain slim-figured? People often say it’s because of genes or better metabolism, but that’s not the whole story! Whose metabolism are they talking about? The person’s metabolism or the metabolism of their gut microbes? INTERESTED? First, let me explain that our intestinal microorganisms coevolved with us to support our physiology and our metabolism. Our body constantly communicates and cooperates with them. When our microbes, the so-called “internal garden,” are in a state of balance and when operate at peak efficiency, so do we and our metabolism. When things get out of balance and we suffer from microbial gut dysbiosis, it directly affects our health and our weight. To achieve and maintain a healthy weight it is essential to take care of our microbial selves. You may have, for example, difficulties in losing weight. Until you address your microbiome, you may be trapped in a vicious circle of dieting because you are missing an important player in a game — the gut microbiome. Let’s see how these microbes may contribute to weight control. Gut microbes affect our energy harvest and storage Recent studies indicate that gut microbes contribute to our energy harvest, storage, and spending. This process is optimal when the amount of energy extracted from the diet equals the amount used, maintaining equilibrium. Over the course of evolution, animals have developed a smart strategy to protect energy reservoirs by forming fatty adipose tissue. However, once energy-dense foods erupted in western countries, we began to over-accumulate and over-stimulate... read more

IS YOUR GUT LEAKY?

Let’s face it: exposure to certain factors makes our gut leak! Scientists all over the world are working hard to unravel the puzzles on the growing incidence of many diseases, particularly in Western countries. It will take time before we get all the pieces together, but what we already know is that many diseases are linked to poor diet, gut dysbiosis, pollution, and stress, to name a few. Our Western diet has changed over the last two to three decades, from simple and unprocessed foods to highly processed foods with high sugar content. Coincidently, as we eat more processed foods, there is also a growing number of diseases, including autoimmune diseases. So the primary question arises: What’s the link between a poor diet and how our Westernized diet make us sick? Multiple factors are often involved, such as genetics, environment, lifestyle, and diet. They determine why some people get sick while others do not. Diet is undoubtedly a very important factor in our well-being. As Hippocrates stated “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Diet choice may have a profound effect on our health. Actually, a poor diet is one of the factors that has been linked to a leaky gut and consequently to diseases. Let’s find out what a so-called leaky gut is. Intestinal barrier and intestinal permeability What exactly stands behind a “leaky gut”? A leaky gut commonly refers to an increased permeability within the intestinal wall. This condition is sometimes called a “leaky gut syndrome.” Permeability allows certain molecules and ions to pass through the (intestinal) membranes. A leaky gut can be associated with food sensitivities,... read more

EARLY ANTIBIOTIC USE MAY IMPACT HEALTH LATER IN LIFE

“Antibiotics, once being the best intervention ever, now lead to antimicrobial resistance, posing one of the greatest threats to human health” Antibiotic dilemma My first experience with an antibiotic dilemma was directly after my first daughter was born. Three hours after giving birth, we were heading home from the hospital, with my daughter in a newborn car seat. About 15 minutes later, I noticed she turned pale and I became suspicious. We returned immediately to the hospital, where the medical team discovered she had a respiratory insufficiency. No one knew the cause of it. She had no fever but doctors, following our approval, gave her antibiotics just in case it was an infection. We were told that if it turned out to be an infection, not giving her antibiotics would risk her life. That was a clear message which made us decide to go for antibiotics. Nobody, however, warned us about the potential consequences of (unnecessary) antibiotic exposure at such a young age. Eventually, it turned out that it wasn’t an infection. The microbiological tests came back negative. Doctors found no cause of a respiratory insufficiency. I have, however, a theory that placing her in a car seat (bended body, bended head) was a trigger leading to breathing difficulties. The antibiotic she was given at this very critical lifetime might have compromised her gut microbiome establishment and her immune system development, and hence could be the colic as the first sign of it and later on frequent sicknesses. Around her 2nd birthday she had 3 antibiotic courses, one for impetigo and two for ear infections. Each time she was... read more

CAN PROBIOTICS PREVENT FLU AND COLDS?

Respiratory tract infections and probiotics During the 2013-2014 winter, my family accounted many episodes of Respiratory Tract Infections (RTIs). I, my husband, and both my daughters were experiencing recurrent RTIs, and this saga lasted for about 6 months. My older daughter missed about 60% of her daycare days and my younger one about 90% of daycare because of RTIs. It was a tough burden (physically, emotionally and financially) for me and for my husband. Luckily, the last winter of 2014-2015 was much better; my daughters were only sick a few times and it was quite mild. Having the entire family suffering from recurrent RTIs, it was a wake-up call for me to look for ways to improve our health. The changes we have made were mostly around our diet and included the consumption of probiotic supplements, more fermented food, more vegetables, more salads, more fiber, more bone broths, less sugars, reduced intake of diary milk products, reduced consumption of wheat and gluten, and no processed food. Even though it’s not the season of colds and flu now, I want to give some attention to “RESPIRATORY TRACT INFECTIONS AND PROBIOTICS”. RTIs typically include cold, upper respiratory tract infections, influenza-like illness and flu, the majority of which is caused by a virus.  Associated symptoms include runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, cough, sometimes fever and may last between 5 to 10 days. Children, on average, suffer from 6 to 12 RTI incidents annually, whereas adults average from 1 to 5 incidents. The management of RTIs typically includes the use of over-the-counter medications to relieve some of the symptoms. The average cost of... read more

Sauerkraut

Ingredients (for about 2 liters) 1 kilogram white cabbage About 1 1/2 tablespoons sea salt Equipment Widemouth jar or ceramic crock Plate that fits inside jar/crock Smaller jelly jar (filled with water) that fits inside the larger jar/crock or clean stones, marbles, or other weights for pressing ferment under brine Cloth cover (towel or kitchen cloth) for covering the jar Instructions Clean all equipment properly Chop the cabbage finely. I first cut the cabbage into quarters, cut the core out, and slice each quarter further into fine pieces. Place chopped cabbage in a big bowl and sprinkle salt over the cabbage. I massage cabbage with my hands to distribute the salt into all cabbage pieces. Thanks to the salt, water will be pulled out of the cabbage making a brine solution, after about 10 min the cabbage will become watery. Presence of salt keeps the cabbage crunchy but it’s also possible to make sauerkraut with less or no salt at all. Optionally, you can add other vegetables, herbs or spices to the mix if you like. I like plain cabbage the most but you can get creative by adding onions, garlic, beets, brussels sprouts, or dill seeds, and more. Pack the cabbage into the jar. Use handful portions of cabbage (including any already released liquid) at the time then tamp it down hard using your fist. Tightly tamped cabbage will release more water. Weight the cabbage down. Once all the cabbage is packed, place a small plate or other glass/ceramic lid inside the jar to cover kraut. On the top of it place a clean weight (smaller jar filled... read more

RIGHT FROM THE START: GUT MICROBES IN INFANCY

Bringing my daughters into this world was quite an unforgettable experience. I had a lot questions and uncertainties prior to giving a birth for the first time so I took birthing workshops, pregnancy yoga classes, and a lactation workshop to prepare myself better for what was going to happen. These preparations certainly gave me some degree of confidence, yet looking back I feel like there was still something missing. Everybody kept elaborately telling how the baby goes through the birth canal and how to push, but nobody mentioned anything about the importance of the surrounding microorganisms in the first minutes, days, weeks of a newborn’s life. As governed by Mother Nature, babies acquire their first significant dose of microorganisms from their mothers during the birth. Bacteria colonize the newborn’s every surface, including their skin and the mucosal membranes of the digestive tract, respiratory tract and urogenital tract.  This population of microorganisms (microbiota) remains with us from birth to death, helping us maintain balance by constantly responding and adjusting to internal and external factors. Learning more about human microbiome, in infancy and through the lifespan, can help answer some fundamental questions, such as its importance in our health and disease. Interestingly, the most recent findings contradict the common belief that the healthy maternal womb is a sterile environment, and that the fetus is not colonized with bacteria until the birth. Thus, the new studies have found commensal bacterial species in placenta, amniotic fluid and fetal meconium, suggesting that the microbial acquisition actually happens before the birth. During the 3rd trimester of pregnancy, as the fetus matures it swallows more amniotic... read more

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