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Monday, 9 March 2015

How Your Digestion Controls Your Immune System

You are 90% bacteria.
Let that sink in for a second… Just think: for every cell in your body, you have 9 cells of bacteria living in and on your body. It can be a little creepy if you think about it too much.
???????????????????Most of your bacteria is living inside your intestinal tract, otherwise known as your “gut.” The health of this organism is paramount to the health of your body. Why, you ask?
80% of your immune system spends most of its time around your gut. The health of your gut bacteria and the health of your immune system are vitally linked. When your gut bacteria is balanced, your immune system is also balanced. But when it’s out of balance, so is your immune system.
Signs that your immune system is out of balance are: food and seasonal allergies, chronic inflammation, chronic sinusitis, and colds and flus that linger for weeks.
Food sensitivities are a major sign and cause of an immune system imbalance. Food, specifically undigested protein, looks just like a virus or bacteria and our immune system creates an antibody to it. We see this in life-threatening reactions like anaphylactic shock to nuts or shellfish. We can also have a much quieter, non-life threatening reaction to a food (undigested protein), which can over-stimulate our immune system and lead to seasonal allergies, eczema, and many inflammatory conditions. These are usually referred to as food sensitivities. What I’ve seen over and over again in my practice is that once we discover the foods that you aren’t digesting properly you can gain control over allergies, eczema, and many inflammatory conditions.
Undigested protein gets into our blood stream through a “leaky gut.” This is when our intestinal tract is damaged and it allows undigested particles to be absorbed into the blood stream. These proteins can stimulate our immune system for up to 5 days. This is why it’s so difficult to figure out our food sensitivities. Even a small amount of gluten, dairy, corn, or soy (our culture’s main food triggers) each week can cause our immune system to remain over-stimulated and we will feel our symptoms continuously… even if we’ve tried our best to reduce these possible triggers. 
The best way to balance our immune system is by having a healthy and strong digestive system, and this means our gut bacteria needs to be in balance. Our North American way of eating hasn’t helped to keep our gut bacteria balanced. Most traditional cultures regularly consume fermented foods like natural yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi, which feed the beneficial bacteria in our gut. In North America, however, we tend to do the opposite. Processed food, refined sugar, chlorine, and antibiotics are major causes of a gut bacteria imbalance.
When your gut is hosting 75% beneficial bacteria, your body (digestion, immunity, brain) is able to create balance. But when the prevalent bacteria in your gut is “bad” bacteria (bacteria that doesn’t assist us), they allow for an overgrowth of yeast, molds, and fungus – as well as many digestive symptoms, like bloating, foul-smelling gas, distention, pain, constipation, diarrhea, and a “leaky gut.”
How to Keep Your Gut Bacteria Balanced:
  1. Eat whole, unrefined foods. Remove all refined sugars and grains which feed the “bad” bacteria.
  2. Eat naturally fermented foods daily, and take a probiotic supplement. Probiotic supplements contain high amounts of beneficial bacteria and “seed” the gut – an important part of finding balance.
  3. Understand the causes of your digestive symptoms, and re-balance them. All digestive symptoms are signs that food isn’t being properly broken down and can feed the “bad” bacteria.
Keep your digestive system and immune system working optimally by keeping your gut bacteria healthy and happy!

Viagra in combination with new drugs can have anti-cancer, antibacterial, and therapeutic effects

Chaperone proteins play an important role in protein folding in human cells and in bacteria and are promising new targets for drugs to treat cancer and Alzheimer's disease and for novel antiviral drugs and antibiotics. How existing drugs such as Viagra or Cialis and a derivative of the drug Celebrex, for example, can reduce the activity of a specific chaperone protein, with the potential for anti-tumor and anti-Alzheimer's disease effects, is described in a Review article in DNA and Cell Biology, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the DNA and Cell Biologywebsite until April 9, 2015.
In the article "HSPA5/Dna K May Be a Useful Target for Human Disease Therapies", Laurence Booth, Jane Roberts, and Paul Dent, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, provide a comprehensive discussion of the HSPA5/Dna K chaperone protein and the published evidence for its role in various human diseases. The authors describe how OSU-03012, an experimental compound derived from the drug celecoxib (Celebrex) interacts with Viagra or Cialis to reduce levels of chaperone proteins. Reduced levels of HSPA5 and Dna K can interfere with virus replication, promote bacterial cell death, and even make drug-resistant "superbugs" susceptible to existing antibiotics.
"Drugs like Celebrex and Viagra are readily available and generally recognized as safe. This study by Booth and colleagues may lead to new applications of these relatively new medicines," says Carol Shoshkes Reiss, PhD, Editor-in-Chief, of DNA and Cell Biology and Professor, Departments of Biology and Neural Science, New York University, NY. "The potential impact, if the experiments described are translatable to human disease, could be paradigm-shifting. The potential applications are serious antibiotic resistant infections, chemotherapy-resistant cancers, and neurodegenerative disease ranging from Parkinson's disease to Huntington's or Alzheimer's disease."

More study needed to clarify impact of cellulose nanocrystals on health

Are cellulose nanocrystals harmful to human health? The answer might depend on the route of exposure, according to a review of the literature by a Virginia Tech scientist, but there have been few studies and many questions remain.
IMAGEWriting in the journal Industrial Biotechnology, Maren Roman, an associate professor of sustainable biomaterials in theCollege of Natural Resources and Environment, pointed out discrepancies in studies of whether cellulose nanocrystals are toxic when inhaled or to particular cells in the body. She said more studies are needed to support research results that the nanocrystals are nontoxic to the skin or when swallowed.
Cellulose nanocrystals are produced from renewable materials, such as wood pulp. Biocompatible and biodegradable, the low-cost, high-value material is being studied for use in high-performance composites and optical films, as a thickening agent, and to deliver medicine in pills or by injection. But before a material can be commercialized, its impact on the environment and human health must be determined.
Roman, also associated with the Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute at Virginia Tech, reviewed published studies about the effects of cellulose nanocrystals on the respiratory system, gastrointestinal system, skin, and cells.
In the respiratory system, the body can clear particles from the throat and nasal areas by moving them toward the mouth. Particles are removed from the lungs through engulfment and degradation or movement upwards, depending on particle size and surface charge.
Early studies found tissue damage and inflammation depended on dose and specimen form -- dry powder versus suspension in a carrier liquid. A later animal study showed no ill effects from inhaled particles, but Roman pointed out that the size, shape, and surface charge of the particles were unknown.
Most studies of nanoparticles' effect on the gastrointestinal tract -- mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines -- have shown that the particles pass through and are eliminated, Roman reported. However, some studies demonstrated that nano- and microparticles can penetrate the protective barrier of the intestine and reach the bloodstream.
Roman described the cellulose nanocrystals properties -- size, electrostatic properties, molecular structure, and pH -- that make their penetration unlikely but noted that there have only been two studies published on oral toxicity specifically of cellulose nanocrystals.
Most studies of nanoparticle skin exposure reported no unintentional permeation of nanoparticles through the outer layer of skin. The three published studies of cellulose nanocrystal toxicity upon skin exposure showed cellulose nanocrystals not to cause any skin sensitization skin tissue damage.
What if a nanoparticle reaches the cells, such as in the brain? Most studies also showed that cellulose nanocrystals are not toxic to cells, depending on the dose. The most serious impact was a 20 percent loss in viability of liver cells in rainbow trout.
Studies also looked at cells from humans, such as from the brain, throat, and eye, and from other animals. "The discrepancies in the results are not surprising," said Roman, "considering that the studies all used different cell lines, cellulose sources, preparation procedures, and post-processing or sample preparation methods."
She was also critical of much of the research for overlooking chemicals that may be present in cellulose nanocrystals from prior processing.

"Only by careful particle characterization and exclusion of interfering factors will we be able to develop a detailed understanding of the potential adverse health effects of cellulose nanocrystals," Roman concluded.

How blood group O protects against malaria

It has long been known that people with blood type O are protected from dying of severe malaria. In a study published inNature Medicine, a team of Scandinavian scientists explains the mechanisms behind the protection that blood type O provides, and suggest that the selective pressure imposed by malaria may contribute to the variable global distribution of ABO blood groups in the human population.
IMAGEMalaria is a serious disease that is estimated by the WHO to infect 200 million people a year, 600,000 of whom, primarily children under five, fatally. Malaria, which is most endemic in sub-Saharan Africa, is caused by different kinds of parasites from the plasmodium family, and effectively all cases of severe or fatal malaria come from the species known as Plasmodium falciparum. In severe cases of the disease, the infected red blood cells adhere excessively in the microvasculature and block the blood flow, causing oxygen deficiency and tissue damage that can lead to coma, brain damage and, eventually death. Scientists have therefore been keen to learn more about how this species of parasite makes the infected red blood cells so sticky.
It has long been known that people with blood type O are protected against severe malaria, while those with other types, such as A, often fall into a coma and die. Unpacking the mechanisms behind this has been one of the main goals of malaria research.
A team of scientists led from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have now identified a new and important piece of the puzzle by describing the key part played by the RIFIN protein. Using data from different kinds of experiment on cell cultures and animals, they show how the Plasmodium falciparum parasite secretes RIFIN, and how the protein makes its way to the surface of the blood cell, where it acts like glue. The team also demonstrates how it bonds strongly with the surface of type A blood cells, but only weakly to type O.
Principal investigator Mats Wahlgren, a Professor at Karolinska Institutet's Department of Microbiology, Tumour and Cell Biology, describes the finding as "conceptually simple". However, since RIFIN is found in many different variants, it has taken the research team a lot of time to isolate exactly which variant is responsible for this mechanism.
"Our study ties together previous findings", said Professor Wahlgren. "We can explain the mechanism behind the protection that blood group O provides against severe malaria, which can, in turn, explain why the blood type is so common in the areas where malaria is common. In Nigeria, for instance, more than half of the population belongs to blood group O, which protects against malaria."

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