27 February 2012

Celiac Disease and it's link to your genes and gut microbes...

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten, a protein in wheat, barley, rye and spelt. Currently, the only treatment available is the adoption of a lifelong gluten free diet, which is made particularly challenging due to the prevalence of wheat in western diets. It is an excellent example of environmental challenge meeting gene susceptibility, and is a unique example of how exclusion of an environmental trigger can resolve the symptoms.

“Celiac disease has become much more common in the last 50 years, and we don’t know why,” said Dr Joseph Murray of Mayo Clinic “…Obviously human genes haven’t changed, but something has changed in our environment to make this disease more common....”
Celiac disease is an inflammatory disorder with autoimmune features characterized by destruction of the intestinal epithelium and remodelling of the intestinal mucosa following the ingestion of dietary gluten. The human gut is home to trillions of commensal organisms, and we are just beginning to understand how these microorganisms interact with, and influence, the host immune system. This may also include the late onset development of Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance.

Key Ideas:
  • Celiac disease (CD) is an autoimmune disorder triggered by ingestion of gluten, a major protein in wheat, rye, barley and often oats.
  • Research into the root causes indicates that the disorder develops when a person exposed to gluten also has a genetic susceptibility to CD and an unusually permeable intestinal wall.
  • Essentially the same trio—an environmental trigger, a genetic susceptibility and a “leaky gut”—seems to underlie other autoimmune disorders as well. This finding raises the possibility that new treatments for CD may also ameliorate other conditions.
  • CD is an immune mediated pathology that may be managed not simply through exclusion of the antigen – gluten, but also through the improvement of digestion, reduction of gut permeability, support or mucosal IgA (the gut's immune system)
"If people with celiac disease are born with a genetic susceptibility to it. ... why do some individuals show no evidence of the disorder until late in life?  We are finding there is a link to the "bug" population in the gut.  These bugs collectively known as the microbiome, may differ from person to person and from one population to another, even varying in the same individual as life progresses. They can also influence which genes in their hosts are active at any given time. Hence, a person whose immune system has managed to tolerate gluten for many years might suddenly lose tolerance if the microbiome changes in a way that causes formerly quiet susceptibility genes to become active"

CD and gluten intolerance represent distinct situations in which local tissue damage in the gut may manifest a wide range of illnesses elsewhere, supporting the notion that many illnesses have an origination in the GI tract

Why Is Gluten So Tough To Handle?

There are two unique features to gluten that may partly  explain its ability to trigger an immune response.
  1. They have a high content of proline in the gluten proteins, that are hard to break down using our natural proteases in the gut lumen.
  2. The gluten fragments are good substrates for the enzyme TransGlutamase (TG2) converting glutamine residues to glutamate. This increases the ability of the gluten peptides to bind to the genetically inherited molecules HLA-DQ2 or HLA-DQ8.


1. Fasano A. Surprise from celiac disease. Scientific American August 2009.
2.  Shan,L Et al. Structural Basis for Gluten Intolerance in Celiac Sprue. Science 297, 2275-2279. 2002

3. Arentz-Hansen H, K├Ârner R, Molberg O, Quarsten H, Vader W, Kooy YM, Lundin KE, Koning F, Roepstorff P, Sollid LM, McAdam SN.The intestinal T cell response to alpha-gliadin in adult celiac disease is focused on a single deamidated glutamine targeted by tissue transglutaminase.J Exp Med. 2000 Feb 21;191(4):603-12.
4. Round JL, Mazmanian SK., The gut microbiota shapes intestinal immune responses during health and disease. Nat Rev Immunol. 2009 May;9(5):313-23
5. http://www.nleducation.co.uk

18 February 2012

Simple 4 Week Plan to Eliminate Attention Deficit Disorder Symptoms

Photo courtesy of www.freedigitalhphotos.net

ADHD may be linked to genetics, but an unhealthy diet will exaggerate symptoms, even in individuals not predisposed. Simply eliminating foods that cause symptoms can be helpful but adding key nutrients back into your diet will have an even greater impact. Individuals with ADHD may be sensitive to sugar, processed foods and artificial food dyes. Have you ever noticed how ability to focus worsens two hours after consuming an energy drink with a bright color or a candy bar? Blood sugar rises rapidly then crashes, stimulating adrenaline, jitteriness and can then result in inattentiveness and drowsiness. Imbalanced nutrients, artificial coloring and excessive carbohydrates dominate the American diet. Access to cheap, processed, unhealthy food has helped escalate the incidence of ADHD and multiple chronic conditions including heart disease, diabetes and perhaps even cancer.

How a child or adult to have normal behavior if he or she is eating refined grains, sugars, processed foods loaded with chemicals and genetically engineered ingredients, and juices and sodas instead of pure water?  It is virtually impossible to have a healthy functioning brain when the proper building blocks to develop or maintain a healthy brain are not being given...

It may take a commitment to change your eating habits or the habits of your child. It requires a different mindset. Start to recognize the “non-food” items you’re putting into your body. Then take note of when you are fueling your body with healthy foods. Many people find that replenishing nutrients helps to reduce cravings for unhealthy foods. So start the change process by focusing on adding more natural foods– rather than restricting your diet.  It will be easier to get motivated to make the change.

Below is a suggested approach to begin the tune-up. It’s meant to be done in stages. Establishing a new routine takes practice and requires repetition. Be patient, focus on one week at a time and give yourself credit for each successful week.

  1. Switch to non-aluminum natural deoderant
  2. NO DAIRY PRODUCTS, especially cow's milk. This is the single most important restriction.
    Substitute Almond milk, Rice milk
  3. Drink a full glass of water with lunch and dinner.
  4. Make sure you get adequate protein for breakfast (Organic eggs are a great source)
  5. Make a whey or rice-pea protein shake for snack
  6. Start key nutrients - a B complex with methyl-folate and methylcobalamin

  1. Switch to natural non-fluoridated toothpaste
  2. Add magnesium, zinc, fish oil and vitamin D
  3. Avoid all foods with high fructose corn syrup or sugar added
  4. Limit refined grains and foods made with processed flour of any kind
  5. Spend more time in nature. Researchers have found that exposing ADHD children to nature is an affordable, healthy way of controlling symptoms.

  1. Use only glass containers in microwave, no plastic
  2. Clear your house of dangerous chemicals - use basic vinegar & lemon juice for natural cleaning and non-toxic laundry detergent
  3. Try to get organic fruits and veggies into your diet regularly - 6-9 servings every day (no juice!)
    When you are really hungry eat a raw vegetable first. Take your time and enjoy the crunch!
  4. Avoid additives, such as food dyes & colorings and especially the preservative sodium benzoate -- found in many soft drinks, fruit juices and salad dressings.  It was shown to cause some children to become hyperactive and destructible.

  1. Reduce consumption of beverages in aluminum and plastic containers
  2. Eliminate soda and fruit juice from the diet
  3. Avoid trans fats.  But freely use olive oil (low heat or dressing) and grape seed oil/coconut oils (higher heat cooking/baking)
  4. Drink more water, particularly filtered water - at least 1/2 your body weight in ounces.
  5. Try to eat fish at least once weekly and be sure to choose lower mercury options

06 February 2012

Stewed Apples with cinnamon - Healing Recipe for a Healthy Gut


Stewed Healing Apples and Immune Cofactors

Foods confer information to humans through the direct delivery of micro and macronutrients via different signalling mechanisms. The immune system in the gastrointestinal system is a highly active component of human health and its bacterial load, in conjunction with the foods selected confer a wide range of opportunities for the delivery of information to down-regulate inflammation and heal the gut
Functional digestive tract conditions reflect a change in the relationship between the host "microbes" and the mucosal immune and nervous system. These result in a wide range of distressing symptoms for which there are a variety of strategies, but no single intervention of consistent benefit.  However, food choices and types can dramatically affect the gut microbes and encourage healing.  
This immune modulating food combination may be eaten for breakfast and dinner or as a meal substitute (no more than 1 substitution per day for many days) and as a quick and soothing snack.


Ingredients for primary stage

  • 6 Rome or Granny Smith cooking apples (or apples of choice preferably grown organically)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup raisins/sultanas (for added sweetness and fibre)
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon


Peel and core the apples and chop them into small evenly sized pieces.
Put all the ingredients in a covered, heavy-bottomed pan and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring regularly. Cook until soft with rough shapes, no longer identifiable as apple slices. The colour should be a russet brown with the cinnamon effect.
These may be eaten warm, or cold. I suggest making up as many ramekins (sized to hold 1 – 1.5 apple equivalent in each and covered and put in the fridge for easy access.

Ingredients for secondary stage

  • 1 tsp. of larch arabinogalactans stirred into the apple
  • 1 Saccharomyces Boulardii 250mg capsule sprinkled on the top – or swallowed separately
  • 1 mix of Bifidobacteria (mixed strains) (500mg) 5billion CFU sprinkled on top – or swallowed separately
  • 1 x LGG sprinkled on top – or swallowed separately
  • ½ container of organic natural yogurt or soy equivalent
  • Add 6-8 blueberries and 4-5 almonds in their skins
  • Finally, if required, a teaspoon of Manuka honey