DO YOU REACT TO FOODS?

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...
HOW GUT BACTERIA CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THE EXTRA WEIGHT

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...
IS YOUR GUT LEAKY?

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,...
EARLY ANTIBIOTIC USE MAY IMPACT HEALTH LATER IN LIFE

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...
CAN PROBIOTICS PREVENT FLU AND COLDS?

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...
Gut feelings – gut microbes contribute to our MOOD and BEHAVIOR

Gut feelings – gut microbes contribute to our MOOD and BEHAVIOR

It seems weird to think that our gut microorganisms may have something to do with our mood and our behavior. We know now that they play a role in many diseases, but do they also have a say in how we feel? Actually, yes, they do! There is a growing number of publications on the subject and I was prompted to write this piece after reading a recent (April 2015) article about the effect of probiotics on the activation of negative thoughts associated with sad moods. Please read on if you want to find out more about the results of this study. In the human body, in nature, nearly everywhere, microorganisms form complex and sophisticated communities of cells that communicate with each other by means of a special language, a sort of microbial language. They produce so called “language” molecules that they can sense and respond to accordingly. During my doctoral research, one of my study topics was to look at the signaling (“language”) molecules of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an opportunistic human pathogen. It uses the signaling molecules to communicate with other bacteria of the same species or other species, to switch on and switch off certain genes/functions. The great spectrum of molecules produced by bacteria plays various functions within the bacterial community itself and within their host, affecting thus other bacteria and affecting their host, for example a human body. There are up to 1000 microbial species in our gut and the molecules produced by these microorganisms help them to occupy certain intestinal niches (neighborhoods), to compete with other microorganisms for food, to communicate, to establish their role within...

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