December 2011
Pamela Nathan

Prebiotics and Immunity

Dr. Jaclyn Chasse a naturopathic physician, Medical Educator at Emerson Ecologics and President of the New Hampshire Association of Naturopathic Doctors, explains that "Prebiotics" describes a category of nutrients that support the growth of the healthy microflora that populate your large intestine.

They include selectively fermented ingredients that result in specific changes in the activity of gastrointestinal microbiota, specifically increasing probiotic bacteria. When probiotic bacteria are allowed to colonize and flourish, they help to keep many systems of your body healthy, including your immune system. Probiotics play a key role in regulating immune function, they influence the gut barrier by modulating the production of mucous, reducing bacterial adhesion (of pathogenic bacteria), tightening cell junctions and inducing an appropriate response of IgA, one of the first lines of immune defense.

In addition to supporting the growth of probiotic microflora, prebiotic nutrients may also have their own beneficial effects on the immune system. In one study, prebiotic supplementation increased fecal secretory IgA and postnatal immune development in infants. Prebiotics have also demonstrated a modest effect on symptoms in patients with Crohns disease. Research is not clear on the mechanisms behind these benefits, or whether the supplementation was helpful due to their impact on microflora. Read more

Keeping Your Skin Young

Nourishing your body from within, will make a difference in the way your skin looks & ages.

The biggest mistake made while dieting is cutting out essential fatty acids (EFAs). Essential fatty acids not only support the cardiovascular, immune, reproductive & nervous systems, they enable the body to create new cells, repair the damaged cells & get rid of toxins.

A recent research says that EFAs are not only effective against dry skin but are also pivotal in weight loss. New skin cells are constantly formed to replace old or damaged ones, but if we deprive the body of the right nutrients while dieting, the skin starts to lose its ability to renew these cells. It also loses moisture & elasticity. Just when you start fitting into those 'small' size outfits, your skin starts looking dull & dry.

Cosmetologist, Dr Mohan Thomas says, "The best way to keep your skin soft & supple is to give it the right nutrients, then protect it with a shielding lotion that significantly reduces the loss of natural oils & moisture." Read more

Aerobic Exercise May be a Workout for Your Brain

Want to keep your brain in tip-top shape? Then a workout may be in order. New findings suggest that aerobic exercise can have a brain-boosting effect for older adults.

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that adults ages 58-77 years who walked three times a week for 45 minutes gained some positive brain benefits. After six months, the walkers had improved brain function and an enhancement in independent living, compared with older adults who only stretched regularly.

How Aerobic Exercise May Affect the Brain: One theory is that physical activity might increase the number of "connections," or synapses, between brain cells. Read more

Did You Know???

  • People who drink diet soda have a higher risk for stroke and heart attack
    Recent Findings: People who drank diet soda everyday were nearly 50% more likely to have a vascular event, such as a stroke, even after accounting for such risk factors as age, gender, smoking and alcohol consumption.
    Note: People who drink diet soda every day may have different eating habits than those who dont drink diet soda, which may contribute to cardiovascular problems.

  • Asprin cuts cancer deaths significantly
    Recent Findings: Taking low dose asprin daily for five years decreased gastrointestinal cancer deaths by up to 54% and overall cancer mortality by 34%. The longer asprin is used, the greater the benefit. The mechanism by which asprin helps prevent cancer deaths is not yet fully understood.

  • Vitamin D
    Sunshine helps your body create Vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol. Vitamin D can be found in cod liver oil, mackeral, salmon, sardines, shrimp and milk.

  • Lack of sun hurts kids eyes
    Studies in the U.S. Singapore and China have found a consistent link between the time spent outdoors and myopia (near sightedness). Children who spent the most time outdoors: 10-14 hours a week, were half as likely to have myopia as children who were outdoors only 3-6 hours a week.
    Note: Avoiding the outdoors causes a lack of retinal dopamine, which can lead to myopia.

  • Leafy greens lower diabetes risk
    People who ate the most greens, such as chinese cabbage, kale and spinach, had a 14% lower risk for type 2 diabetes than those who ate the least. Leafy greens have magnesium, an antioxidant involved with glucose metabolism. And the alpha-linoleic acid in leafy greens helps increase insulin sensitivity.