August, 2012 | Slimberry
Archive for August 2012

Prediabetes and High Fructose Corn Syrup

This a real eye opening article on Dr. Mercola’s site.  I know HFCS was not healthy from what I have researched before.  I am now off sugar, again, and feeling and looking much better.  But HFCS evidently can be really deadly.  Have a read:

 

All Calories and not created Equal:

Perhaps one of the most powerful details to emerge from Dr. Johnson’s investigations is that the old adage “a calorie is a calorie” is patently false. Furthermore, the idea that in order to lose weight all you have to do is expend more calories than you consume is also false…  The research clearly demonstrates that even if you control the number of calories you eat, if those calories come from fructose, you are at increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome, or prediabetes, which includes:

  • Insulin resistance
  • Fatty liver
  • High blood pressure
  • High triglycerides

Conventional thinking tells us that metabolic syndrome is the outcome of obesity, which is simply the result of eating too many calories and not exercising enough. The idea that this is incorrect continues to be met with great resistance.

However, Dr. Johnson’s research shows that a high fructose diet is the key to developing metabolic syndrome, and as soon as you throw fructose into the mix, “calories in versus calories out” is no longer a functional equation…

“[O]ne group [of animals] is getting a number of calories that an animal would normally eat, but it’s high in fructose. Another group will get the same amount of food – exactly the same amount of food, but with a different carbohydrate, like glucose.

It’s the fructose-fed rats that develop metabolic syndrome. Suddenly they get fatty liver. They get visceral fat. Their blood pressure goes up. Their triglycerides are high. They actually develop all these features, whereas the glucose-fed rats don’t—and they’re eating the same number of calories!

We even did a study two years ago that was even more remarkable. We took laboratory animals and we put them on a diet. We gave them 90 percent of what they normally eat, but one diet had 40 percent sugar. (Now remember, some kids are eating 30 percent of their diet as sugar right now)… The control rats were eating the same [amount of calories] in starch. What was amazing was that the sugar-fed animals developed fatty liver – like massive fatty liver – and even became diabetic. The control animals did not.

There’s something special about fructose. It’s not just a calorie. This led us to try to figure out why… It was a big challenge to figure out how fructose was causing diabetes and obesity through a mechanism that doesn’t really require excessive calorie intake.”

 

For the rest of the article, click here.

 

Slimberry and Losing Weight

Slimberry drops are not an “instantly lose weight” product…nothing is except surgery.

Before you start a weight loss program, please consult your healthcare practitioner.

If you want to lose weight you will need some discipline and a little determination.

Once you make up your mind to lose weight, you can hit a craving wall.  This is temporary.  Habits create an energy momentum in your etheric body and this momentum must be restructured.  Once you change your habit of eating poorly or not exercising, losing weight begins.

Non-surgical weight loss is about expending more calories through daily activity than you take in each day through your food.

Missing Nutrients

Losing weight also requires that your body gets proper nutrients or else you can crave unhealthy foods.

This is where supplements come in–they help provide you with proper nutrients that may be missing in your food.

Food today is often grown in nutrient deficient soil.  So people need supplements.  Even if the food has good nutrients in it when it is grown, vitamins break down rapidly after food is picked.  And it takes sometimes days before the food reaches the store shelf.  Minerals are fairly indestructible, so mineral content in food does not suffer from shipping time, but vitamin content does.  So take a good quality vitamin-mineral supplement.

Exercise and Weight Loss

Exercising helps burn calories.  Exercising helps retain muscle mass while changing your eating habits.  You don’t want to lose muscle mass when you lose weight, you want to lose fat tissue.

I like to walk–this is my main form of exercise.  There are tons of ways to exercise.  Start easy if you have been sedentary, they build up.  Ask your healthcare practitioner for advice on an exercise regimen.

Emotions and Weight Loss

Emotional traumas that goes unresolved in your emotional body can cause a you to crave unhealthy foods–particularly sugar.  Emotional trauma of itself can also add weight to your physical body.  Sugar acts like a drug in your physical body–a quick mood elevator.  Eating sugar can temporarily over come mild depression associated with emotional trauma.  Eating sugar therefore prevents you from dealing with your traumas because you are not aware of them because of the drug effects of sugar.  Eating sugar adds empty, non nutritious calories in your body.  This obviously can add weight.  Don’t do this.  Work out the emotional traumas–seek help if you need it.

Sugar on its own can really devastate your physical body.

 

That is it for now, just a short one, leave a comment if you wish.

Take care,

Kirt

Harvard Study Finds Fluoride Danger, a Lower IQ

Harvard Study confirms fluoride danger

Harvard research discovers that drinking water with fluoride in it or getting dental fluoride treatments or using fluoride toothpaste can affect the mental development of a person….what more do they want?  The fluoride danger prompted me years ago to stop drinking city water. I don’t use fluoride toothpaste.  And I don’t let me or my son get fluoride treatments at the dentist….

Amazing!  Here is Dr. Mercola’s article.

 

By Dr. Mercola

Fluoride is added to 70 percent of U.S. public drinking water supplies to aid in the prevention of cavities.

This benefit is dubious at best, as there is practically no difference in tooth decay rates between fluoridated and non-fluoridated countries, and no difference between states that fluoridate a high versus low percentage of their water.

Yet, while fluoride in drinking water does NOT decrease rates of tooth decay, numerous studies show that this chemical has a wide array of devastating health effects – one of them being lowered IQ.

Yet Another Study Links Fluoride to Lower IQ Levels

A review of brain studies involving the use of fluoride has concluded that one of the adverse effects of fluoride exposure on children is damage to their neurological development.1 According to the Harvard researchers, children who lived in high-fluoride areas had “significantly lower IQ than those in low fluoride areas,” with the authors noting:

“The results support the possibility of an adverse effect of high fluoride exposure on children’s neurodevelopment.“

This just adds to the growing number of animal and human studies demonstrating the damage fluoride inflicts on your brain, including your pineal gland. The results of one study looking at children’s intelligence in two towns – one with fluoridated water and one without – were particularly revealing, with about 28 percent of the children in the low-fluoride area scoring as “bright, normal or higher intelligence” compared to only 8 percent in the high-fluoride area.2

Further, 15 percent of children in the high-fluoride city had signs of mental retardation, compared with only 6 percent in the low-fluoride city. And the study even accounted for other potential variables, such as lead exposure, iodine deficiency or a history of brain disease or head injury. There have been over 23 human studies and 100 animal studies linking fluoride to brain damage. This includes such effects as:3

Reduction in nicotinic acetylcholine receptors Reduction in lipid content Impaired antioxidant defense systems
Damage to the hippocampus Damage to the Purkinje cells Increased uptake of aluminum
Formation of beta-amyloid plaques (the classic brain abnormality in Alzheimer’s disease) Exacerbation of lesions induced by iodine deficiency Accumulation of fluoride in the pineal gland

 

Some of these effects have been observed even at low levels of exposure, such as 1 part per million (ppm) of fluoride in water. This is below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ‘safe’ drinking water level for fluoride, which is 4 ppm, and right around the levels used in water fluoridation programs, which may range from 0.7-1.2 ppm.

The Fluoride in Your Drinking Water is an Industrial Waste Product

Did you know that the United States is one of only eight countries in the entire developed world that fluoridates more than 50 percent of its water supply? Even China does NOT allow water fluoridation because it’s too toxic and causes damage, according to their studies. Instead, the waste product from their phosphate fertilizer industry is shipped to the United States, where we add it to our water supply!

This is a very important point: the fluoride added to your water is NOT even pharmaceutical grade.

It’s a toxic industrial waste product, which is also contaminated with lead, arsenic, radionucleotides, aluminum and other industrial contaminants. The story gets even more convoluted, as now declassified files of the Manhattan Project and the Atomic Energy Commission show that the original motivation for promoting fluoride and water fluoridation in the United States was to protect the bomb-, aluminum-, and other fluoride-polluting industries from liability. In the early days some of the sodium fluoride used to fluoridate water supplies in the U.S. came from Alcoa.

A couple of years later, they switched to the even more hazardous waste product hydrofluorosilicic acid from the phosphate fertilizer industry.

While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially claims that “For more than 65 years, water fluoridation has undergone extensive scientific studies and reviews to assess its public health benefits and risks. For many years, panels of experts from different health and scientific fields have provided strong evidence that water fluoridation is safe and effective,”4 this claim appears to have the flimsiest of foundations.

According to a 2006 report from the National Research Council,5 extensive amounts of research are inconclusive, or still missing and need to be conducted to evaluate the whole-body impact of fluoride …

Not only that, but their scientific review also identified research suggesting a variety of harmful effects, from skeletal fluorosis, bone fractures, and, potentially, even cancer. With that in mind, how can the CDC claim that “extensive research” has concluded water fluoridation is safe for ALL community residents, without differentiation between infants and adults, the sick or the healthy?

How can the CDC possibly claim, as they often do, that water fluoridation is one of the top public health achievements of the last century? Fluoride is a toxic agent that is biologically active in the human body where it accumulates in sensitive tissues over time, wreaks havoc with enzymes and produces a number of serious adverse health effects—including neurological and endocrine dysfunctions. So why is it still being added to so much of the U.S. water supply?

Healthy Food – Not Fluoride – Essential for Healthy Teeth

Fluoride’s predominant action is on the surface of your tooth (although even this is now questionable) and not from inside the body – so the idea that many Americans are still being forced to swallow it for their teeth defies all common reason. Good oral health and strong, healthy teeth are NOT the result of drinking fluoridated water and brushing your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste. Rather it’s virtually all about your diet.

Dr. Weston A. Price, who was one of the major nutritional pioneers of all time, completed some of the most extensive research on this topic back in the early 1900s and documented his findings in his classic book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. He found native tribes who were eating their traditional diet had nearly perfect teeth, and were almost 100 percent free of tooth decay — and they did not have toothbrushes, floss, toothpaste, or root canals and fillings.

But when these tribal populations were introduced to sugar and white flour, guess what happened … their health, and their perfect teeth, rapidly deteriorated, just like the kids in El Salvador. By avoiding sugars and processed foods, you prevent the proliferation of the bacteria that cause decay in the first place.

Most people whose diet includes very little sugar and few processed foods have very low rates of tooth decay. So the simple act of limiting, or eliminating sugar, and avoiding processed foods — along with regular cleanings with your natural mercury-free dentist — will ensure that your teeth and gums stay healthy and cavity-free naturally.

Infants and Children Among Those Most at Risk

Breast milk contains very little, almost no, fluoride, and this is by design. Remember, fluoride is a neurodevelopmental toxin that can damage a baby’s brain. As Dr. Paul Connett, co-author of the book, The Case Against Fluoride, explained:

“In the view of many critics of fluoridation, including Arvid Carlsson, Nobel laureate in medicine/physiology, it is reckless to expose infants to levels of fluoride orders of magnitude higher than that found in breast milk.

In the U.S., infants who are fed formula reconstituted with fluoridated tap water receive the highest levels of fluoride (per kilogram bodyweight) in the human population. Specifically, infants who are fed formula made with fluoridated water at the current level of 1 part-per-million (1 ppm = 1 mg/liter) fluoride will receive a dose up to 250 times more than the breastfed infant.

Even with the proposal by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to lower fluoride to 0.7 ppm in fluoridation schemes, bottle-fed infants will still receive up to 175 times more fluoride than the breastfed infant.

… Even though health agencies in the U.S. and other fluoridating countries have recognized that children are being grossly over-exposed to fluoride (41 percent of American children aged 12-15 now have some form of dental fluorosis), they are unwilling to concede that fluoride may be impacting the brain. Their approach has been either to ignore these studies completely or to challenge the relevance and the methodology of the fluoride-brain studies. They have thus far failed to conduct any IQ studies of their own.”

What You Can Do TODAY!

The Fluoride Action Network6 has a game plan to END water fluoridation in both Canada and the United States. Our fluoride initiative will primarily focus on Canada since 60 percent of Canada is already non-fluoridated. If we can get Calgary and the rest of Canada to stop fluoridating their water, we believe the U.S. will be forced to follow.

Please, join the anti-fluoride movement in Canada and United States by contacting the representative for your area below.

Contact Information for Canadian Communities:

  1. If you live in Ontario, Canada, please join the ongoing effort by contacting Diane Sprules at diane.sprules@cogeco.ca.
  2. The point-of-contact for Toronto, Canada is Aliss Terpstra. You may email her at aliss@nutrimom.ca.

Contact Information for American Communities:

We’re also going to address three U.S. communities: New York City, Austin, and San Diego:

    1. New York City, NY: The anti-fluoridation movement has a great champion in New York City councilor Peter Vallone, Jr. who introduced legislation “prohibiting the addition of fluoride to the water supply.” A victory there could signal the beginning of the end of fluoridation in the U.S.

If you live in the New York area I implore you to participate in this effort as your contribution could have a MAJOR difference. Remember that one person can make a difference.

The point person for this area is Carol Kopf, at the New York Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation (NYSCOF). Email her at NYSCOF@aol.com. Please contact her if you’re interested in helping with this effort.

    1. Austin, Texas: Join the effort by contacting Rae Nadler-Olenick at either: info@fluoridefreeaustin.com or fluoride.info@yahoo.com, or by regular mail or telephone:

POB 7486
Austin, Texas 78713
Phone: (512) 371-3786

  1. San Diego, California: Contact Patty Ducey-Brooks, publisher of the Presidio Sentinel at pbrooks936@aol.com.

In addition, you can:

The Pharmaceutical Industry/Government Connection

Problems with vaccines have existed for a long time.  From the use of neurotoxins–mercury derivatives in the actual vaccine, to people coming down with side effects.  Granted the problems can be limited to a small number of people that actually get the vaccine, but how would you like to see your child come ill or even die, as this has happened, after receiving a purportedly "safe" vaccine.

When I was a child the only vaccine I got that I recalled was for polio.  I got childhood diseases for which now children are being given vaccines for.  It seems like a waste.  People are trying to avoid pain at all costs–never getting sick, never dying.  You can't.  Pain is part of life in this earth system just as death is…and death of the physical body is not the end of life.

And according to Dr. Mercola's research, some of these vaccines don't work–period.

Here is his article.

 

By Dr. Mercola

There's no shortage of stories detailing conflicts of interest—so many in fact that you may be getting sick and tired of hearing of them. However, this is a truly important issue that must be tackled, and one of the ways of doing that is by exposing it to the harsh light of day. As long as people remain unaware, or turn a blind eye, it will continue unabated.

The price we pay for not paying attention is the loss of health, as the information disseminated by grossly compromised health agencies is skewed in favor of various industries, with Big Pharma leading the pack as one of the most powerful political and governmental influences.

Here, I will review two important revolving-door cases, and while neither is recent news, many of you may still be unaware of them.

Former CDC Director Now President of Merck's Vaccine Unit

In the summer of 2011, Merck president Julie Gerberding said in a news interview1 that she's "very bullish on vaccines," as she recounted the various ways she helps Merck sell its products. What she didn't divulge was her motivation for leaving her job as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—an agency charged with overseeing vaccines and drug companies—and join Merck in the first place, back in January 2010.

If you don't see the enormity of the influence her former high-level ties to the CDC can have, just consider the fact that Merck makes 14 of the 17 pediatric vaccines recommended by the CDC, and 9 of the 10 recommended for adults, and while vaccine safety advocates are trying to rein in the number of vaccines given to babies, safety concerns keep falling on deaf ears. The vaccine industry is booming, and it's become quite clear that profit potential is the driving factor behind it.

One of the reasons for this is because vaccine patents do not expire like drugs do, so each vaccine adopted for widespread use has the potential to make enormous, continuous profits for decades to come. Vaccine makers also enjoy a high degree of immunity against lawsuits—and in the case of pandemic vaccines, absolute immunity—so the financial liability when something goes wrong is very low, compared to drugs.

Gerberding has a Long History of Disregard for Vaccine Safety

Joining a parade of other high-ranking government officials who pass through the revolving doors between government and Big Pharma, Gerberding left a trail of controversy behind her when she left the CDC. While a 2009 article by the Institute for Southern Studies lists a number of them2, I believe they left out the most important ones, namely her misinformation campaign about the pandemic swine flu vaccine, as well as her naive stance on vaccine safety issues in general.

The CDC disseminated extremely exaggerated data on the 2009 H1N1 "pandemic" and urged almost everyone in the U.S. to take the new, untested vaccines. When questions arose, they blocked CBS's requests for samples of the swine flu cases and added obstacles to getting information. Despite the many dangers that have since been linked to the hastily developed vaccine—including the confirmed link to narcolepsy—the H1N1 vaccine is now part and parcel of the "regular" seasonal flu vaccine, although most people are completely unaware of this fact. And the CDC is now, for the first time ever, urging the seasonal flu vaccine on everyone in the country, from six months' of age until death.

Even more disturbing, the CDC withheld data on miscarriages from the H1N1 vaccines under Gerberding's lead, while insisting that pregnant women be put first in line to receive it. This was a dramatic reversal of its own recommendations. More than 3,500 post-vaccination miscarriages may have simply been ignored by the CDC.

One of Merck's potentially most dangerous vaccines right now is Gardasil; a vaccine that so far has been linked to thousands of adverse events and at least 49 unexplained deaths. It's a situation that the FDA and CDC have repeatedly denied, even as the adverse reports mount.

Gerberding's 2004 report to Congress, 'Prevention of Genital Human Papillomavirus Infection'3 likely played a significant role in getting the controversial vaccine approved in the first place. Needless to say, the approval of this questionable vaccine guaranteed her future employer billions of dollars-worth of profits. Gerberding has also been a staunch defender of thimerosal, the mercury-based preservative used in many vaccines, and has consistently denied any links between vaccines and autism.

All in all, Gerberding has repeatedly demonstrated that safety is nowhere on her list of priorities or concerns when it comes to vaccines. It's easy to see why Merck would want her to head up their vaccine unit. For the rest of us, however, her blatant disregard for proven vaccine safety is bad news indeed.

Former NIH Director Now Heads Sanofi Research Labs

Another former government official who's switched sides is Elias Zerhouni, former director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—one of the world's foremost medical research centers, and an agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services. Zerhouni is now head of Sanofi-Aventis' research labs4. He also is a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; a member of the Board of Trustees at the Mayo Clinic; and is a senior fellow for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Global Health Program5.

As pointed out in a recent article by Forbes Magazine6, Zerhouni is no stranger to controversies over conflicts-of-interest.

In the fall of 2003, the NIH with Zerhouni at its head faced grave accusations when it came to light that hundreds of its scientists had financial ties to the medical and pharmaceutical industries. According to a 2004 article in the NIH Record7, over 100 scientists did not get approval for their industry activities, even though the rules were so loose virtually all requests to conduct outside work were approved by the agency, without any limits on compensation or hours worked for outside entities.

In one case, an academic scientist was found to have a financial interest in a therapy that ended up killing a patient. The case served as a potent warning of how dangerous such conflicts of interest can be. While Zerhouni managed to emerge from the 2003 debacle looking like a good crisis manager, the following paragraphs from the NIH Record8 are quite telling. Essentially, Zerhouni dissuaded Congress from doing the right thing, which is ban all outside activities of those working for the NIH, limiting the restrictions for conflicts of interest to upper level management only:

"[Zerhouni] disclosed that “initially, Congress truly wanted to ban [all outside activities], and the members of the committee have been very public about that…I was fortunate to be able to make contact with legislators and to help them understand what happened, how it happened, and why [a draconian response] might not be the right thing to do."

Zerhouni said that over the course of long discussion, a good consensus emerged that formed the basis of NIH's approach to the issue: stewards of public funds should never be vulnerable even to the perception that their activities could result in private gain. The top concern, he said, is, "How do you keep a true firewall and separation between the public trust — the money the public has given us in trust — and the activities of those who manage that resource?"

He doesn't think it was well appreciated outside of NIH that the agency "has a dual nature — number one, we are a granting agency, but number two, we are also one of the most advanced, most capable biomedical research institutions in the world.

So we're both sort of an academic, scientific research place, and yet next to that we're also a government agency with its own rules and regulations…I said, look, we need to build a firewall around those who have fiduciary responsibility relative to the government, and those who do not. And that's where we came up with these much more stringent rules for directors, deputy directors, and people who have those authorities, versus those who do not."

Conflicts of Interest Affect Your Life and Well-Being…

When it comes to medicine, mere disclosure of conflict of interest is not nearly enough. Patients need unbiased advice when it comes to making decisions that can impact their very life, and physicians and scientists with financial ties to the drug industry should not be allowed to participate in broad policy and public-health recommendations in the first place. Likewise, while it's perfectly legal to engage the revolving door and switch jobs from government agencies to private industry and vice-versa, this practice has become so widespread it has undermined the entire system of checks and balances.

Conflict of interest is rampant not only within the field of medicine, but the revolving doors between government and industry has effectively led to a situation where it's now extremely difficult, if not impossible, to trust conventional health advice from the federal government—which is supposed to be independent due to this massive collusion between government and industry. Here are a few more examples of the many revolving doors between the pharmaceutical industry and the US government:

  • The American Cancer Society has close financial ties to both makers of mammography equipment and cancer drugs. Other conflicts of interest include ties to, and financial support from, the pesticide, petrochemical, biotech, cosmetics, and junk food industries—the very industries whose products are the primary contributors to cancer
  • Drug companies pay seven-figure amounts into FDA coffers to gain approval of their drugs. FDA staff knows that the cash means higher salaries and more perks in the agency budget. (Incidentally, the FDA's commissioner Margaret Hamburg came straight from the boardroom of America's largest seller of dental amalgam, Henry Schein, Inc.)
  • Conflicts of interest are also rampant in a mass vaccination infrastructure that has the same people who are regulating and promoting vaccines also evaluating vaccine safety.
  • The vaccine industry gives millions for conferences, grants, and medical education classes sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The vaccine industry even helped build AAP's headquarters.
  • President Obama's nominee at the Department of Homeland Security overseeing bioterrorism defense, Dr. Tara O'Toole, served as a key advisor for a lobbying group funded by a pharmaceutical company that asked the government to spend more money for anthrax vaccines and biodefense research9

There are countless others—so many, in fact, I'm sure you could fill an entire book with examples. These types of blatant conflicts should simply not be tolerated, but they most certainly are. For now the majority still does not understand the pharmaceutical industry's power and influence over government, and the field of conventional medicine itself, but the tide is beginning to turn, and will continue to do so as more and more people get informed.

What Can You do to Take Control of Your Health?

The good news is that increasing numbers of people are now waking up to these harsh realities, and you, being among those who are informed, can help share this knowledge with others. Remember that the definition of fascism is a government system that has complete power in regimenting all industry and forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism. What we have here is a hybrid—a sort of corporate fascism, where industry has powerful control over government, and forcefully suppresses anything that threatens their monopoly on profits.

Unfortunately, this can be extremely dangerous as it pertains to your health.

Virtually every measurable index indicates that despite the ever-increasing amounts of money invested, if you live in the United States your chance of achieving optimal health through the medical system is only getting worse. While the U.S. spends more than twice the amount on health care as other developed nations, we rank 49th in life expectancy worldwide—far lower than most other developed nations! The time is ripe for you to take control of your health, and this site is full of free comprehensive recommendations that can serve as an excellent, truly independent starting point.

When it comes to your health, you simply cannot accept claims at their face value … you've got to dig below the surface and use all the resources available to you, including your own commonsense and reason, true independent experts' advice and other's experiences, to determine what medical treatment or advice will be best for you in any given situation. Ultimately, you must come to the realization that YOU are responsible for your, and your family's health — not me, not your physician, and certainly not any researchers or government health agencies on a drug or vaccine manufacturer's payroll.

You've got to become an active participant in your care and make sure you are making decisions that correspond with your own best judgment, knowledge and experiences.

 

Probiotics

Another great article by Dr. Mercola on probiotics or the little bugs that help digest your food.

 

Gut Microbes Might Reflect Health, Diet of Older Americans

August 01 2012 | 118,117 views | + Add to Favorites
749
Email to a friend Email

Print

By Dr. Mercola

Probiotics, along with a host of other microorganisms, are so crucial to your health that researchers have compared them to “a newly recognized organ.” In fact, your microflora – a term used to describe the bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microbes that make up your microbial inner ecosystem – impact far more than your digestive tract.

Mounting research indicate the bacterial colonies residing in your gut may play key roles in the development of cancer, asthma, allergies, obesity, diabetes, autoimmune diseases and even brain-, behavioral- and emotional problems like ADHD, autism and depression.

Recent research also shows that your diet, and subsequently the microorganisms present in your gut, can affect how well you age.

The study was published in the journal Nature1, and some of the findings were surprising: the microflora in persons in long-term care not only was less diverse, but significantly correlated with measures of frailty, co-morbidity, markers of inflammation and other factors that contribute to aging and death. According to the authors, the implications of these findings are that senior citizens may need certain dietary supplements to improve their microbial health.

Probiotics Become Increasingly Important as You Age

Previous research has shown that around age 60, there is a significant drop in the number of bacteria in your gut. According to Dr Sandra McFarlane from the microbiology and gut biology group at the University of Dundee, people over 60 typically have about 1,000-fold less “friendly” bacteria in their guts compared to younger adults, and increased levels of disease-causing microbes2, making them more susceptible to gastrointestinal infections and bowel conditions like IBS.

As you age, your cellular immunity also declines.3 These are the white cells that are absolutely critical to your ability to fight infection and life-threatening diseases such as cancer. A nine-week long New Zealand study4 of seniors between the ages of 63 and 84 found that consumption of the probiotic strain known as Bifidobacterium lactis resulted in increases in both the number and disease-fighting capacity of white cells. In fact, the greatest improvement was seen in seniors with the worst immune system responses prior to the study.

Your Gut Bacteria Help Protect Against Food-Borne Illness

Other recent research has found that Lactobaccilus reuteri, one of the more than 180 species of Lactobacilli, commonly found in the human gut, can help protect against foodborne infection5. However, just because a study has not been done with a particular strain does not mean it is not effective.  These studies need to be paid for and most are not done unless there is a potential to commercialize a strain.  Nevertheless, according to an article in the Arizona State University news blog:

“Their results demonstrate that this beneficial or probiotic organism, which produces an antimicrobial substance known as reuterin, may protect intestinal epithelial cells from infection by the foodborne bacterial pathogen Salmonella. The study examines for the first time the effect of reuterin during the infection process of mammalian intestinal cells and suggests the efficacy of using probiotic bacteria or their derivatives in future therapies aimed at thwarting Salmonella infection.

… The results of this study may provide fundamental knowledge for development of new probiotics and other functional food based strategies… Intestinal infections by non-typhoidal Salmonella strains induce diarrhea and gastroenteritis, and remain a leading source of foodborne illness worldwide. Such infections are acutely unpleasant but self-limiting in healthy individuals. For those with compromised immunity however, they can be deadly and the alarming incidence of multi-drug resistant Salmonella strains has underlined the necessity of more effective therapeutics.

The use of benign microorganisms offers a promising new approach to treating infection from pathogens like Salmonella and indeed, L. reuteri has been shown to help protect against gastrointestinal infection and reduce diarrhea in children.”

Remember, 90 Percent of the Genetic Material in Your Body is NOT Yours

For every cell in your body there are about ten bacterial cells. The microflora in your gut plays an active role in a wide variety of diseases, and, naturally, it stands to reason they affect your health status throughout your life. For the reasons mentioned above, the importance of probiotics increase with advancing age, but maintaining a healthy gut is really essential from birth onward.

If you want to dig into the research, check out the Human Microbiome Project (HMP)6, whose goal is to characterize microbial communities found at multiple human body sites and to look for correlations between changes in the microbiome and human health. There you can find 15 demonstration projects investigating the role of microflora and conditions like psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, obesity, acne and more. A recent article in The Hindu quotes Dr. Julie Segre, senior investigator at the U S National Institute of Health7:

“The Microbiome project is a process of discovery. We need to start thinking of ourselves as super-organisms. This is the second genome – the bacterial genomes as well as the human genomes, all of that is part of the true genetic content of a human.”

… The hope is that this research will pave the way for more personalized treatments which could help get our bacterial communities get back on the right track. The Microbiome project sees any one person’s microbes as one community. So rather than studying them individually, they are studying the microbes and their genetic material collectively.”

Microbes Affect Your Health in a Myriad of Ways

Researchers have also discovered that your gut bacteria play key roles in:

    1. Behavior: A study published in Neurogastroenterology & Motility8 found that mice lacking in gut bacteria behave differently from normal mice, engaging in what would be referred to as “high-risk behavior.” This altered behavior was accompanied by neurochemical changes in the mouse brain. According to the authors:

“Bacteria colonize the gut in the days following birth, during a sensitive period of brain development, and apparently influence behavior by inducing changes in the expression of certain genes.”

    1. Gene Expression: Your gut flora is a very powerful epigenetic variable. As noted above, researchers have also discovered that the absence or presence of gut microorganisms during infancy permanently alters gene expression.

Through gene profiling, they discerned that absence of gut bacteria altered genes and signaling pathways involved in learning, memory, and motor control. This suggests that gut bacteria are closely tied to early brain development and subsequent behavior. These behavioral changes could be reversed as long as the mice were exposed to normal microorganisms early in life. But once the germ-free mice had reached adulthood, colonizing them with bacteria did not influence their behavior.

In a similar way, probiotics have also been found to influence the activity of hundreds of your genes, helping them to express in a positive, disease-fighting manner.

    1. Diabetes: Bacterial populations in the gut of diabetics9 differ from non-diabetics, according to a study from Denmark. In particular, diabetics had fewer Firmicutes and more plentiful amounts of Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria, compared to non-diabetics. The study also found a positive correlation for the ratios of Bacteroidetes to Firmicutes and reduced glucose tolerance. According to the authors: “The results of this study indicate that type 2 diabetes in humans is associated with compositional changes in intestinal microbiota.”

Sugar nourishes pathogenic bacteria, yeast, and fungi in your gut, which may actually harm you more than its ability to promote insulin resistance.  One of the major results of eating a healthy diet (low in sugars and grains; high in whole raw foods and fermented or cultured foods) is that it allows your beneficial gut bacteria to flourish, and they secondarily perform the real “magic” of restoring your health. There are other studies that show optimized gut flora can help prevent type 1 diabetes.

    1. Autism: Establishment of normal gut flora in the first 20 days or so of life plays a crucial role in appropriate maturation of your baby’s immune system. Hence, babies who develop abnormal gut flora are left with compromised immune systems and are particularly at risk for developing disorders such as ADHD, learning disabilities and autism, particularly if they are vaccinated before restoring balance to their gut flora.

To get a solid understanding of just how this connection works, I highly recommend reviewing the information shared by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride in this previous interview.

Download Interview Transcript

    1. Obesity: The make-up of gut bacteria tends to differ in lean vs. obese people. This is one of the strongest areas of probiotic research to date, and you can read about a handful of such studiesin my previous article, Probiotics May Help Fight Obesity. The bottom line is that restoring your gut flora is an important consideration if you’re struggling to lose weight. Studies have also documented the beneficial effects of probiotics on a wide variety of disorders, including the following10:
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) Constipation and diarrhea
Colon cancer Eradication of H. pylori infection, which is associated with ulcers Vaginal infections
Strengthened immune response Eczema Rheumatoid arthritis
Cirrhosis of the liver Hepatic encephalopathy Chronic fatigue syndrome

How to Optimize Your Gut Flora

A healthy diet is the ideal way to maintain a healthy gut, and regularly consuming traditionally fermented or cultured foods is the easiest way to ensure optimal gut flora. Healthy options include:

Fermented vegetables of all kinds  (cabbage, carrots, kale, collards, celery spiced with herbs like ginger and garlic) Lassi (an Indian yogurt drink, traditionally enjoyed before dinner) Tempeh
Fermented raw milk such as kefir or yogurt, but NOT commercial versions, which typically do not have live cultures and are loaded with sugars that feed pathogenic bacteria Natto Kim chee

 

Just make sure to steer clear of pasteurized versions, as pasteurization will destroy many of the naturally occurring probiotics. For example, most of the “probiotic” yogurts you find in every grocery store these days are NOT recommended. Since they’re pasteurized, they will be associated with all of the problems of pasteurized milk products instead. They also typically contain added sugars, high fructose corn syrup, dyes, and/or artificial sweeteners; all of which are detrimental to your health.

Consuming traditionally fermented foods will also provide you with the following added boons:

  • Important nutrients: Some fermented foods are excellent sources of essential nutrients such as vitamin K2, which is important for preventing arterial plaque buildup and heart disease. Cheese curd, for example, is an excellent source of both probiotics and vitamin K2. You can also obtain all the K2 you’ll need (about 200 micrograms) by eating 15 grams, or half an ounce, of natto daily. They are also a potent producer of many B vitamins
  • Optimizing your immune system: Probiotics have been shown to modulate immune responses via your gut’s mucosal immune system, and have anti-inflammatory potential. Eighty percent of your immune system is located in your digestive system, making a healthy gut a major focal point if you want to maintain optimal health, as a robust immune system is your number one defense system against ALL disease
  • Detoxification: Fermented foods are some of the best chelators available. The beneficial bacteria in these foods are very potent detoxifiers, capable of drawing out a wide range of toxins and heavy metals
  • Cost effective: Fermented foods can contain 100 times more probiotics than a supplement, so just adding a small amount of fermented foods to each meal will give you the biggest bang for your buck
  • Natural variety of microflora: As long as you vary the fermented and cultured foods you eat, you’ll get a much wider variety of beneficial bacteria than you could ever get from a supplement

How to Identify a High Quality Probiotic Supplement

That said, if you don’t enjoy the taste of fermented foods, taking a probiotic supplement is definitely advised. However, before you give up on fermented foods, it is best to start with small amounts like half a teaspoon and use them as a condiment integrated with your food, like as a salad dressing.  If you still don’t want to use them then it is important to note that while I do not generally advocate taking a lot of supplements, a high quality probiotic is an exception. I recommend looking for a probiotic supplement that fulfills the following criteria, to ensure quality and efficacy:

  • The bacteria strains in the product must be able to survive your stomach acid and bile, so that they reach your intestines alive in adequate numbers
  • The bacteria strains must have health-promoting features
  • The probiotic activity must be guaranteed throughout the entire production process, storage period and shelf life of the product

Through my years of clinical practice, I’ve found that no single probiotic supplement works for everyone. However, more people seem to respond favorably to Lactobacillus sporogenes than any other probiotic, so when in doubt, that’s a great place to start