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Non Celiac Wheat Sensitivity: More Evidence

Posted on July 27, 2016 at 3:26 PM Comments comments (100)
A study at Columbia University Medical Center, as reported in Science Daily, sheds light on why some people that don't have celiac disease notice symptoms upon ingesting wheat (not only gastrointestinal symptoms, but systemic symptoms such as fatigue and brain fog).  It appears that there is evidence of a "weakened intestinal barrier".  In the study, people also noted improvement in their symptoms upon excluding wheat from their diet.  The researchers next plan to investigate why the intestinal barrier becomes weakened in the first place.  I would imagine suspects to be antibiotics, infections, steroid medications, antacids, stress, etc.

Columbia University Medical Center. "Biological explanation for wheat sensitivity found: Weakened intestinal barrier, systemic immune activation may explain symptoms in people without celiac disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 July 2016. <>.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Leaky Gut

Posted on June 29, 2016 at 2:44 PM Comments comments (81)
A new study done at Cornell University and published in the journal Microbiome (June 23, 2016) suggests a correlation between "leaky gut", or increased intestinal permeability, and chronic fatigue syndrome.  According to the main author, "If there is damage to the gut mucosa, microbial translocation could increase, altering antimicrobial regulators and dysregulating the innate immune system."

Also exciting is the idea that lab tests looking at the microbiota of the gut and certain inflammatory markers in the bloodstream related to that may be used in the future to diagnose CFS.  There are essentially big differences in the gut of those with CFS versus controls, including less diversity of bacteria and increased pathogens.

The authors don't know for sure if the altered intestinal environment is a cause or a result of the disease, so more research will be done to help distinguish that.

You can see the fascinating study here:

How Berberine and Metformin Help Diabetes

Posted on December 3, 2015 at 2:43 PM Comments comments (216)
Both the OTC herbal supplement Berberine and the prescription medication Metformin are effective at lowering blood glucose levels, as measured by HA1C.  New studies are now suggesting that these two substances exert their positive effects on blood sugar most likely by the same mechanism:  They both have a favorable or balancing effect on gut bacteria. This highlights the importance of the gut environment and it's relationship to metabolic diseases such as diabetes.

Zhang Q, Li Y, Chen L.[Effect of berberine in treating type 2 diabetes mellitus and complications and its relevant mechanisms].Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2015 May;40(9):1660-5.
Zhang X, Zhao Y, Xu J, Xue Z, Zhang M, Pang X, Zhang X, Zhao L.Modulation of gut microbiota by berberine and metformin during the treatment of high-fat diet-induced obesity in rats.Sci Rep. 2015 Sep 23;5:14405. doi: 10.1038/srep14405

Red Light And Brain Health

Posted on December 3, 2015 at 2:40 PM Comments comments (177)
A fairly recent study looked at whether red light therapy (using a helmet and also intranasal red light from Vielight) might improve cognitive function in people with chronic, mild traumatic brain injury.  The results suggest that it does.  According to the study, "Participants and family reported better ability to perform social, interpersonal, and occupational functions."
Naeser Margaret A., Zafonte Ross, Krengel Maxine H., Martin Paula I., Frazier Judith, Hamblin Michael R., Knight Jeffrey A., Meehan William P. III, and Baker Errol H.. Journal of Neurotrauma. June 1, 2014, 31(11): 1008-1017. doi:10.1089/neu.2013.3244.

Rhodiola May Help Depression

Posted on December 3, 2015 at 2:38 PM Comments comments (122)
A study published in March 2015 in Phytomedicine (Rhodiola rosea versus sertraline for major depressive disorder: A randomized placebo-controlled trial.Phytomedicine. 2015 Mar 15;22(3):394-9. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2015.01.010. Epub 2015 Feb 23.) showed that the adaptogenic herb Rhodiola was beneficial compared to a placebo.  It was not as beneficial as sertraline, but it had significantly less side effects.  The nice thing about adaptogenic herbs is that they help the body deal better with stress, and support the body's own regulatory mechanisms through the HPA axis (hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal). 

Saturated Fat Safe While Trans Fats Are Not

Posted on August 16, 2015 at 7:36 PM Comments comments (96)
In case there was any question about this, a new study published in the British Medical Journal showed that saturated fat (as found in butter, coconut oil, animal fat, etc.) is not associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, or death.  On the other hand, trans fats were found to increase both the risk of death and cardiovascular disease.  Specifically,"...consumption of industrial trans fats was associated with a 34 per cent increase in death for any reason, a 28 per cent increased risk of CHD mortality, and a 21 per cent increase in the risk of CHD". (McMaster University. "Trans fats, but not saturated fats like butter, linked to greater risk of early death and heart disease." ScienceDaily. (accessed August 16, 2015)  I'm thankful that long ago (over 20 years) I was advised to avoid processed vegetable oils (soy, corn, canola, etc.).  Unfortunately, this still isn't common knowledge, and you will still routinely hear experts suggest "lowering saturated fat" in order to help prevent heart disease.  Since there are so many foods that most of us try to avoid for health purposes, it's nice to know that saturated fat doesn't have to be one of them.

Early Menopause and Chemical Exposure

Posted on June 26, 2015 at 5:50 PM Comments comments (190)
Based on recent research, exposure to common household chemicals in plastics and personal care products can lead to early menopause.  The mechanism is the negative effect these chemicals have on ovarian function.  Another mechanism by which environmental chemicals have hormonal effects is by mimicking hormones.  For example, the heavy metal, cadmium, has estrogenic effects in the body.

Washington University in St. Louis. "Earlier menopause linked to everyday chemical exposures." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 January 2015. <>.

Multiple Sclerosis and Nutritional Deficits

Posted on June 26, 2015 at 5:45 PM Comments comments (17)
A new study released on February 19, 2015 suggests that people with Multiple Sclerosis may be lower in specific nutrients than people who don't have MS (People With Multiple Sclerosis May Have Lower Levels of Key Nutrients, Science Daily, February 19, 2015).  Those nutrients include folate, vitamin E, magnesium, lutein, and quercetin.  So this research suggests that optimizing nutrient intake, either through diet and/or supplements, may help prevent Multiple Sclerosis, or may help with the symptoms in those who are already diagnosed. 


American Academy of Neurology (AAN). "People with multiple sclerosis may have lower levels of key nutrients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 February 2015. <>.

Food Allergies and the Gut Microbiome

Posted on June 26, 2015 at 5:42 PM Comments comments (96)
Scientists at the University of Alberta and University of Manitoba have discovered that the microbial environment in the gut of infants may play a role in the development of food allergies.  They are gathering more data to see which bacteria, when present or not present, are more or less likely to increase the risk of food allergy development to common foods such as egg, peanuts, and dairy.  What I would bet is that there is a big difference between breast-fed and non breast-fed infants, for starters.  Secondly, exposure to antibiotics, particularly in the first 6 months of life, is known to have long-term effects on the microbiome of infants.

Reference:University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. "Infant gut bacteria and food sensitization: Associations in the first year of life." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 March 2015.

Parkinson's: From Gut to Brain

Posted on June 26, 2015 at 5:38 PM Comments comments (0)
Research just published in Annals of Neurology, 2015, suggests that Parkinson's Disease starts in the gastrointestinal tract and spreads to the brain, through the vagus nerve.  This is based on information from a large epidemiological study which found that people that had their vagus nerve severed were significantly less likely to develop Parkinson's.  Researchers noted that those with the vagus nerve only partially severed did not have reduced risk. 
Aarhus University. "Parkinson's disease may begin in the gut: Parkinson's disease begins in the gastrointestinal tract, large study indicates." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 June 2015. <>.