From Birth, Our Microbes Become As Personal As A Fingerprint

Look in the mirror and you won't see your microbiome. But it's there with you from the day you are born. Over time, those bacteria, viruses and fungi multiply until they outnumber your own cells 10 to 1.

As babies, the microbes may teach our immune systems how to fight off bad bugs that make us sick and ignore things that aren't a threat.

We get our first dose of microbes from our mothers, both in the birth canal and in breast milk. Family members tend to have similar microbiomes.

"The mother's microbiome has actually poised itself over nine months to basically become the prime source of microbes to the infant," says , director of the at the National Institutes of Health.

But ultimately each person's microbiome seems to be unique, perhaps as personal as a fingerprint.

As the microbes colonize our bodies, they pick specialized real estate. The mouth, with all those moist nooks and crannies, is home to one of the most diverse habitats, like the Amazon jungle.

Wet places like our armpits are lush, too. But they have different microbes than those in the mouth.

The armpit microbes feast on nutrients in sweat, Proctor says, and produce antimicrobial compounds to protect the skin against harmful microbes.

Other body parts are like the Sahara Desert to your microbes. That forearm skin, for example, is dry — very dry. But even that driest habitat is brimming with microbes.

Feet have oily parts and dry parts, and it's those wet parts that the foot fungus just loves.

But the biggest habitat is the gut. It hosts the most complex and diverse group of microbes. Everything that microbes are doing elsewhere in the body, they're doing in the gut, in spades.

Diverse as these habitats are, the microbes on the various body parts communicate with each other and with our cells. Scientists have started eavesdropping on those conversations, and have started testing them as possible treatments for diseases like Crohn's, multiple sclerosis and asthma.

This research is all really new. No one knows for sure what most of our microbes are doing. But many scientists now think that if we're going to remain healthy, we have to maintain the health and well-being of the ecosystems for our microbes.

How A Change In Gut Microbes Can Affect Weight

The evidence just keeps mounting that the microbes in our digestive systems are a factor in the obesity epidemic.

A team of European researchers recently they'd found that obese people appeared to have less diverse microbes in their guts than did lean people. The research also showed that people with less diverse communities of gut microbes were more likely to be at risk for health problems associated with being overweight, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Now, U.S. researchers are reporting the results of some intriguing experiments involving mice that got new gut microbes through transplants. The source: obese and lean human twins. (By using twins, the researchers were trying to eliminate any genetic variation that could influence the results.)

Biologist , of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and his colleagues removed bacteria from the guts of four pairs of human twins in which one was obese and the other was lean. The researchers then transplanted those microbes into the guts of lab mice who didn't have any of their own microbes.

The mice that got microbes from the obese twins gained more weight and accumulated more fat than those who got microbes from the lean twin, even when the mice ate identical diets, the researchers report in a in the journal Science.

Next, the scientists let the animals live together. And since eating each other's feces is a common habit among mice, they were soon exposed to each other's gut microbes. After 10 days, the researchers found that the mice with the obese microbes adopted the lean microbes and started to look healthier.

And, finally, the researchers showed that the animals were unable to be colonized by the lean microbes when they were fed diets aimed at simulating a typical unhealthful Western diet high in saturated fats and low in fiber.

"We now have a way of ... thinking about what features of our unhealthy diets we could transform in ways that would encourage bacteria to establish themselves in our guts and do the jobs needed to improve our well-being," Gordon said in a statement.

In an accompanying the report, and of the in Britain called the findings an "intriguing" step toward finding ways to fight obesity, including developing "relatively simple mixtures of bacteria for testing as anti-obesity therapeutics."

Staying Healthy May Mean Learning To Love Our Microbiomes

Not so long ago, most people thought that the only good microbe was a dead microbe.

But then scientists started to realize that even though some bugs can make us sick and even kill us, most don't.

In fact, in the past decade attitudes about the bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microbes living all over our bodies has almost completely turned around. Now scientists say that not only are those microbes often not harmful, we can't live without them.

"The vast majority of them are beneficial and actually essential to health," says , program director for the at the National Institutes of Health. The project is identifying microbes on key body parts, including the nose, gut, mouth and skin, in order to get a better sense of the microbes' role in human health.

This sea change began with a pretty simple realization.

"When you're looking in the mirror, what you're really looking at is there are 10 times more microbial cells than human cells," Proctor says. "In almost every measure you can think of, we're more microbial than human."

The horde of microbes is so vast that their genes swamp our genes. In fact, 99 percent of the genes contained in and on our bodies are microbial genes.

Scientists are getting a much broader idea of what microbes do for us. We've known for a long time that we depend on bacteria to digest food. But there's a growing realization that they're really like an 11th organ system. Proctor says, "You know, you have your lungs, you have your heart and, you know, you have your microbiome."

This week, scientists from NIH and research institutions are gathering in Bethesda, Md., to debate the in disease and human health, including obesity, behavior, heart disease and cancer.

Perhaps one of the most important things the microbiome does it to train the human immune system, starting at birth.

"It learns early on which microorganisms are friendly and how to recognize microorganisms that are not so friendly," says , an assistant professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine who studies the relationships between microbes and humans.

Microbes influence how much energy we burn and how much fat we store. There is even evidence that the microbes in our guts send signals that can affect our minds. These signals may affect how the human brain develops, and our moods and behavior as adults.

People who live in places like the United States tend to have far less diverse microbiomes than people who live in less developed countries and take fewer antibiotics. That, some scientists think, could be a factor in human diseases.

"As organisms are being lost, a lot of diseases have just skyrocketed," says , who directs the human microbiome program at the NYU Langone Medical Center. He lists diabetes, celiac disease, asthma, food allergies, obesity and developmental disorders like autism as health problems that have become more common.

But many researchers caution that we're still a long way from knowing if the microbiome is involved in any of those diseases and conditions.

"Yes, the microbiome is important," says , a professor who studies genes, microbes and evolution at the University of California, Davis. "Yes, the microbiome differs between all sorts of health and disease states. But no, we don't know that the microbiome causes these health or disease states."

Even more important, Eisen says: we don't know how to fix a microbiome, even if we knew what was wrong with it.

Still, some doctors have already started performing microbe transplants. have been used to cure people with life-threatening infections with the bacterium Clostridium difficile. The patient's ailing gut bacteria is replaced with new colonies donated by a healthy person.

Getting good bacteria to drive out bad is also the idea behind probiotics, which are widely marketed as health supplements. But it's which of those microbes are helpful, and for whom. The same goes for , which serve as food for microbes.

This expanding view of the microbiome is changing how some people think about humans — not as individual entities but as what philosopher calls a "supraorganism."

"We're not just us by ourselves but a combination of us and them," Rhodes says. "And that makes us very much more a part of our environment as opposed to something freestanding and separate from our environment. Those are very radical changes in the way we see self-identity."

Rhodes, who is also a bioethicist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, says some people might find this idea shocking or gross. "But I think it's going to slowly seep into our culture and understanding of ourselves and change our understanding and consequently our behavior in important ways."

What Our Gut Microbes Say About Us

What if it's not just our genes or our lifestyle, exactly, that makes us skinny or fat, healthy or sick? What if it's also the makeup of the bacterial ecosystem that inhabits our gut?

A growing pile of is pointing us in that direction. Researchers in this hot new field describe the microbes in our gut as a vital organ that's as essential as our liver or kidneys. They're finding that this organ, which they call the "microbiome," varies greatly from person to person.

Some microbial communities are better than others at important nutrients, for instance. Also, this internal ecology is altered by the food that we eat, causing in the diet world.

But what constitutes a microbiome that's good for us, and how might you get one? So far, the researchers can't say.

The of these studies was published this week by the journal Nature. It compares the gut microbes of people who live in three very different parts of the world: The United States, the small African country of Malawi, and a remote Amazonian part of Venezuela.

The researchers, led by at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, found some across cultures and lifestyles. For instance, in each population, the makeup of the gut microbes changes dramatically as children grow older, whether they live in Amazonia or Philadelphia. In all three places, adults possess a more diverse collection of microbes than children.

But Gordon and his colleagues also found some intriguing differences, especially between people in the United States and those of the two other research sites. He found adults in the U.S. have a rather uniform collection of microbes living in them, compared to people in rural Malawi or the Amazon forests of Venezuela.

Gordon can only speculate about the reasons why — it could be because the U.S. uses more antibiotics, or perhaps because people in Malawi and Amazonia are exposed to more microbe-rich environments.

Gordon found some evidence that the microbiome of the gut may help a body out when there's a shortage of particular nutrients. Babies growing up in Malawi and in Venezuelan Amazonia both tended to have more microbes that can help to synthesize vitamin B2.

As Gordon puts it, "it is tempting to speculate" that these microbes may be helping to compensate for a lack of this vitamin in the babies' diets. These babies also had higher levels of microbes that are able to break down urea and use it to make essential amino acids. "This could be beneficial when protein isn't available in the diet," Gordon tellsThe Salt.

Sep 9, 2013 www.npr.org/.../from-birth-our-microbes-become-as-perso...

 Find out how healthy your microbiome is!

Please call 734-726-0153 to schedule a free consultation and evaluation. At Digestive Health Ann Arbor we are known for providing professional and compassionate care. We strive to guide people towards a comprehensive and holistic healing strategy. Restoring your body to health will restore the quality of your life.

The Adrenal Glands: The Body’s Alarm System

The Adrenal Glands: The Body’s Alarm System

Adrenal Fatigue: What is it?

With more and more stress at home and at work, it is unsurprising that adrenal fatigue is on the rise. The pressures of life put many in a constant state of “fight or flight,” leaving our adrenal glands working overtime until they can no longer keep up. Adrenal fatigue is a direct result of this overworked, stressed, and rushed lifestyle, and can result in some serious health consequences in both the short and long term. Unfortunately, some medical doctors only treat patients for adrenal fatigue when these patients exhibit symptoms of Addison’s disease (extremely little adrenal function) or Cushing’s disease (hyperactive adrenal function). Addison’s and Cushing’s disease are on opposite ends of the spectrum, and only affect 2% of the population. However, some experts believe that over 80% of the population suffers from some level of adrenal malfunction. In the following article we will describe what the adrenals are, their role in the body, and some simple methods for determining how effectively your adrenals are working for you.

What are the adrenal glands?

The adrenals glands are walnut-sized glands located above the kidneys. Each gland is composed of two separate functional entities. The outer zone, also known as the adrenal cortex, is comprised of roughly 80-90% of the glands size and secretes adrenal steroids (Cortisol, DHEA(S), estrogen, testosterone, and Aldosterone). The inner zone, or medulla, accounts for roughly 10-20% of the gland, and is responsible for secreting adrenaline. Cortisol, DHEA and adrenaline are the three main adrenal stress hormones.

What is cortisol?

Cortisol helps us meet the big challenges of the day. It converts proteins into energy and counteracts inflammation. In short bursts, it is very useful. In urgent situations, cortisol can increase heart rate, blood pressure, release energy stores for immediate use, slow digestion and non-emergency functions, and sharpen senses. Our bodies are not meant to maintain these states for very long, nor enter into them very often.

It can be very detrimental when cortisol release is sustained at high levels for long periods of time. Over-production of cortisol means the underproduction of other necessary hormones. We remain stuck in a state of overdrive while our energy levels, bone health, muscle production, mood, joints, sex drive and immunity all suffer.

The Adrenal Rhythm

The human adrenal gland releases cortisol in a cycle with the highest value released in the morning, the lowest value released in the evening. This 24-hour cycle is known as the circadian rhythm. These hormones help supply us with the necessary energy we need throughout the day.

How modern life contributes to adrenal malfunction

Unlike our ancestors, we live in a state of constant stress. Instead of sporadic, immediate demands followed by rest, we live in a world of constant communication, fast food, environmental toxins, and worry. It’s no wonder that many adults suffer from adrenal malfunction. That’s why it’s important to keep on the watch for these 7 common signs and symptoms of abnormal adrenal function.

9 Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Abnormal Adrenal Function

1.      Low energy. Abnormal adrenal function can alter the cells ability to produce the correct amount of energy for the day’s activities. People who struggle to wake up and keep themselves going through the day often have abnormal adrenal rhythms and poor blood sugar regulation. Additionally, cortisol levels control thyroid hormone production. Fatigue and low body temperature, symptoms of hypothyroidism, can be attributed to adrenal malfunction.

2.      Behavior, mood, and memory problems. Cortisol regulates the electrical activity of neurons in the brain, greatly influencing behavior, mood, and memory. Symptoms include depression, decreased tolerance, clarity of thought, memory, and memory retrieval.

3.      Muscle and joint pain. Abnormal adrenal function can compromise tissue healing, often leading to breakdowns and chronic pain.

4.      Weak bones. The adrenal rhythm determines bone health. If our cortisol levels are too high, our bones will not rebuild well and will become more susceptible to osteoporosis.

5.      Poor Immune System Health. The immune system’s white blood cells follows the cortisol cycle. If the cycle is disrupted, the immune system cells will not receive the conditioning, nourishment, and instructions necessary to protect the body. These immune system failures can be seen in the lungs, throat, urinary and intestinal tract, leading to increasing susceptibility to infection and allergy onset.

6.      Asthma, bronchitis, or chronic cough. The lungs react poorly to stress. Asthma is often considered an emotional disorder because stress can trigger attacks.

7.      Un-restful Sleep. When cortisol values are high at night, REM sleep cycles are more difficult to achieve. Chronic lack of restful sleep reduces mental vitality, bodily strength, and can induce depression.

8.      Skin problems. Human skin regenerates when we rest at night. High cortisol values during the evening reduce skin regeneration.

9.      Food allergies, specifically to gluten. Genetic intolerances to grain can inflame the gut and spur an adrenal stress response. Since almost ¼ people living in the U.S. suffer from gluten intolerances, this is a common cause of adrenal malfunction.

If you or a loved one suffers from any of the above symptoms, it is crucial to visit a health practitioner. Some medical doctors prescribe pharmaceutical hormones for issues related to adrenal malfunction. Due to the pharmaceutical hormones' side effects many medical practitioners, such as those at Digestive Health Ann Arbor, are now instead turning to changes in lifestyle and diet, as well as bio-identical hormones. It is crucial that you find a health practitioner who understands how to incorporate a variety of treatments that work for your needs.

Please call 734-726-0153 to schedule a free consultation and evaluation. At Digestive Health Ann Arbor we are known for providing professional and compassionate care. We strive to guide people towards a comprehensive and holistic healing strategy. Restoring your body to health will restore the quality of your life.

 

What Fats Do, and Why You Should Eat More!

Fats have a bad name, but why?

Dr. Ancel Keys was an American scientist who studied the impact of diet on health. Dr. Keys’ study, “The Seven Countries Study,” showed a strong statistical relationship between fat consumed and incidence of cardio-vascular disease in the United States and 6 other countries in Europe. The American Heart Association as a result made a public service announcement encouraging the American people to avoid eating fats. It was later discovered that the study originally included 22 countries, not only 7, and that Keys had thrown out the conflicting results. In other words, his hypothesis did not hold water in the remaining 15 countries originally studied. However, the damage was done, and ever since, the American public has been convinced that a diet high in vegetable oils and grains and low in fat was the only way to avoid heart disease. In the following article, we will describe what fats actually do, how they serve our bodies, and how you can develop a healthy relationship with fat that works for your body.

What does fat actually do?

-          Building block for cell membranes.

-          Main composition for our brains, nerves, and reproductive hormones.

-          Key contributor to strong memory.

-          Key source of energy.

-          Stabilizes insulin and glucose metabolism.

-          Prevents us from overeating. It is physically impossible to overeat fat. Sugar and carbs, yes, but not fat.

What happens without fat?

-          Without the right ratios of each type of fat, or without enough fat, there are serious health implications.

What kinds of fats are there?

Saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated.

What do those names mean?

This is a bit of biochemistry. It is important to understand what makes each type of fat different.  They indicate how many, if any, double bonds exist in a given fat. Chemically, all fats are triglycerides, meaning they contain a glycerol and any of several different kinds of fatty acids. Therefore, the fats are differentiated by the fatty acids which they are made from. Fatty acids are composed of carbon and hydrogen atoms. Long chains of carbon and hydrogen raise the melting point of the fat, and also yield greater energy per molecule when metabolized. Saturated fat means that every carbon in the chain has a hydrogen pair. Unsaturated fats contain double bonds within the carbon chain, meaning the carbons bond to each other, rather than a hydrogen atom. Polyunsaturated fats are triglycerides in which the fatty acid chains contain more than a single carbon-carbon bond.

Saturated fats and unsaturated fats differ in melting point and energy yield. Unsaturated fats provide less energy because they have fewer carbon-hydrogen bonds. Saturated fats can stack themselves neatly because of the carbon-hydrogen pairing, and therefore freeze more easily. This is why at room temperature saturated fats tend to remain solid, while unsaturated fats are liquid.

3 Characteristics of Fat

1.Inert and stable: Solid at room temperature. For example, coconut oil, which is a short-chain saturated fat that rarely becomes rancid, even if exposed to air for years and years.

2. Liquid and easily oxidized: Linseed oil, a polyunsaturated fat, goes bad quickly.

3. The middle of the pack: Monounsaturated fats fall somewhere in the middle between saturated fats and polyunsaturated fats in terms of how quickly they go bad, and how inert they are at room temperature.

What Fats do What?

Saturated Fats

Saturated fats have suffered a pretty terrible reputation the past few years. In fact, they were singled out as the cause of cardio-vascular disease (CVD). Researchers have even linked them to things from cancer to neuro-degeneration to other autoimmune disorders. The truth is that saturated fats are actually quite helpful when consumed within reason. If we make sure to keep our saturated fat and carbohydrate intake within the levels consumed by our ancestors, it is unlikely that you will develop CVD.

-          Lauric Acid. Found in coconut, palm oil, and human breast milk. Boasts antiviral properties including fighting against HIV and chicken pox. It also helps heal the gut.

-          Palmitic Acid. Found in palm oil, beef, eggs, milk, poultry, and seafood, among other animal products. Palmitic Acid helps to optimize cognitive function by helping us to make new memories and store the old. However, among the saturated fats, Palmitic does actually pose the greatest risk for CVD.

-          Stearic Acid. Found in meat, eggs, and chocolate. Stearic Acid helps to decrease systemic inflammation. 

Monounsaturated Fats

Though there are many monounsaturated fats, the only that is important to discuss for the purposes of this paper is oleic acid. Monounsaturated fats were the primary fat in our ancestral diet, so eating plenty of it will help us to enhance physical performance.

-          Oleic Acid. Found in plant sources such as olive oil, avocados, nuts, and even some grass-fed meat. Boosts insulin sensitivity, improves glucagon response, and decreases cholesterol levels. 

Polyunsaturated Fats

These fats could be called “the essential fats,” since we absolutely cannot make them and must get them from our diet. Without them, our bodies suffer. Our current lack of sufficient polyunsaturated fat represents one of the worst consequences of our heavily processed modern diet. We will look at two subfamilies of polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) called omega-3 (abbreviated as n-3) and omega-6 (abbreviated as n-6). In general, n-3/n-6 are good for us, and found in grass-fed meats and wild-caught fish. However, n-3/n-6’s can be unhealthy when eaten out-of-balance. For example, our ancestors ate 1:1 ratios of n-3 to n-6. Our ratios of consumption today are around 1:10. Why? We eat way too much corn, soy, safflower, and vegetable oils, the source of much of our n-6 fats. This imbalance is the cause of many health-related issues.

1. Omega-3 (n-3)

-          Alpha-linolenic Acid (ALA). Found in flax, hemp, and other plant sources. It supports enhanced performance, health, and longevity, but doesn’t deliver the nutritional punch that other n-3’s do.

-          Eicosapentaenoci Acid (EPA). Found in fish oil and human breast milk. EPA is a strong anti-inflammatory, helps to thin the blood, and blocks the growth of new blood vessels thereby preventing the spread of cancer. EPA is really good for us!

-          Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA). Found in cold-water oceanic fish, this fat is critical for fetal brain development and cognitive function throughout our lives. Low levels of DHA are detrimental both for the unborn fetus, and the mother. With low DHA levels, women more frequently suffer preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and postpartum depression. DHA also boasts antitumor and anti-inflammatory capabilities. 

2. Omega-6 (n-6)

-          Linoleic Acid (LA). Found in vegetable oils such as safflower and sunflower. LA can actually cause inflammation and block the inflammatory powers of n-3 fats such as EPA and DHA. It’s not very good for us!

-          Gamma Linolenic Acid. Found in borage, primrose, and hemp oils. GLA can act as an anti-inflammatory agent.

-          Dihomo-Gamma-Linolenic Acid. DGLA is made in the body by the elongation of GLA, and very rarely traces of it are found in animal products. DGLA regulates the production of several molecular messengers that support immune function, increase inflammation, and monitor the body’s experience of pain.

-          Arachidonic Acid (AA). Found predominantly in animal products, AA regulates metabolic functions and is critical for our adaptation to exercise, muscle repair, and general brain function. AA is vital to life, but can lead to excessive inflammation if over-consumed.

Fats that we should never, ever eat.

-          Trans fat. Found in nothing our ancestors ate, ever. In fact, they’ve only existed for about 50 years. Exposing polyunsaturated fats to hydrogen gas creates trans fats, which look and act similar to saturated fats. However, trans fats have some serious flaws. They destroy liver function, ruin blood lipids, and undo our insulin sensitivity. Thankfully, trans fats are being phased out. Now even the FDA is calling for an eventual ban. 

Eat Fat: How Much, What Type, and How You’ll Feel

Now that we’ve described most of the fats we encounter in our lives at great length, we will discuss how to eat it and what the effects on your body will be.

1. How much?

While some medical practitioners have staked their careers on telling people to eat as little of fat as possible, it seems that fat intake actually has little bearing on health, disease, and even weight! The best course of action is to find what works for you through experimentation or discussing with an appropriate health practitioner.

2. What type?

-          Saturated fat is no longer the big bad wolf ready to blow down your house, or blow out your heart. The ancestral diet included 10-15% of calories from saturated fats, unless the population lived in areas near coconut, in which case the population may have eaten up to 40% of its’ calories from saturated fats such as Lauric Acid.

-          Our ancestors also tended to avoid eating much Palmitic Acid, which is a huge indicator in increasing LDL cholesterol.

-          Balanced n-3:n-6 ratios. Since omega-3’s tend to decrease inflammation and omega-6’s increase it, the fact that our ancestors ate about an equal amount of both meant that our bodies remained in balance. Our current diet skews heavily in favor of consuming omega-6’s, leading to increased inflammation throughout the body. To balance this out, eat grass-fed and wild-caught fish, and supplement with fish oil. Try to avoid most seed and grain oils, as well.

-          Coconut Oil improves heart health, boosts metabolism, promote weight loss, supports the immune system and even helps our skin look young when applied topically!

3. How will I feel and look?

Eating good, healthy fats suited to your bodies needs will help you lose fat, gain muscle, and feel amazing.

Please call 734-726-0153 to schedule a free consultation and evaluation. At Digestive Health Ann Arbor we are known for providing professional and compassionate care. We strive to guide people towards a comprehensive and holistic healing strategy. Restoring your body to health will restore the quality of your life.

A Cure for the Allergy Epidemic

Allergies are often seen as an accident. Your immune system misinterprets a harmless protein like dust or peanuts as a threat, and when you encounter it, you pay the price with sneezing, wheezing, and in the worst cases, death.

What prompts some immune systems to err like this, while others never do? Some of the vulnerability is surely genetic. But comparative studies highlight the importance of environment, beginning, it seems, in the womb. Microbes are one intriguing protective factor. Certain ones seem to stimulate a mother’s immune system during pregnancy, preventing allergic disease in children.

By emulating this naturally occurring phenomenon, scientists may one day devise a way to prevent allergies.

This task, though still in its infancy, has some urgency. Depending on the study and population, the prevalence of allergic disease and asthma increased between two- and threefold in the late 20th century, a mysterious trend often called the “allergy epidemic.”

These days, one in five American children have a respiratory allergy like hay fever, and nearly one in 10 have asthma.

Nine people die daily from asthma attacks. While the increase in respiratory allergies shows some signs of leveling off, the prevalence of food and skin allergies continues to rise. Five percent of children are allergic to peanuts, milk and other foods, half again as many as 15 years ago. And each new generation seems to have more severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reactions than the last.

Some time ago, I visited a place where seemingly protective microbes occurred spontaneously. It wasn’t a spotless laboratory in some university somewhere. It was a manure-spattered cowshed in Indiana’s Amish country.

My guide was Mark Holbreich, an allergist in Indianapolis. He’d recently discovered that the Amish people who lived in the northern part of the state were remarkably free of allergies and asthma.

About half of Americans have evidence of allergic sensitization, which increases the risk of allergic disease. But judging from skin-prick tests, just 7.2 percent of the 138 Amish children who Dr. Holbreich tested were sensitized to tree pollens and other allergens. That yawning difference positions the Indiana Amish among the least allergic populations ever described in the developed world.

This invulnerability isn’t likely to be genetic. The Amish originally came to the United States from the German-speaking part of Switzerland, and these days Swiss children, a genetically similar population, are about as allergic as Americans.

Ninety-two percent of the Amish children Dr. Holbreich tested either lived on farms or visited one frequently. Farming, Dr. Holbreich thinks, is the Amish secret. This idea has some history. Since the late 1990s, European scientists have investigated what they call the “farm effect.”

The working hypothesis is that innocuous cowshed microbes, plant material and raw milk protect farming children by favorably stimulating their immune systems throughout life, particularly early on. That spring morning, Dr. Holbreich gave me a tour of the bonanza of immune stimuli under consideration.

We found our hosts, Andrew Mast and his wife, Laura, hard at work milking cows in the predawn chill.

Dr. Holbreich, slight and bespectacled, peppered them with questions. At what age did Mr. Mast begin working in the cowshed? “My first memory is of milking,” he said, at about the age of 5. What about his children, two straw-haired girls, then ages 2 and 3; did they spend time in the cowshed? The elder girl came to the barn at 3 months of age, he said. “People learn to walk in here.” Do expectant mothers work in the barn? “Yes,” Laura said. “We work.”

Dr. Holbreich had made his point: whatever forces were acting here, they were chronic, and they began before birth. As the sun rose, Dr. Holbreich and I sniffed the damp, fermented feed (slightly malty); shoveled fresh cow manure (“Liquid gold,” Dr. Holbreich said only half-jokingly, “the best medicine you could think of”); and marveled at the detritus floating in the air. Extrapolating from previous research, with each breath we were inhaling perhaps 1,000 times more microbes than usual. By breakfast time, grime had collected under our nails, hay clung to our clothes, and muck to our boots. “There’s got to be bacteria, mold and plant material,” Dr. Holbreich said. “You do this every day for 30 years, 365 days a year, you can see there are so many exposures.”

The challenge of identifying the important exposures — and getting them into a bottle — is a pressing one. In parts of the developing world, where allergic disease was once considered rare, scientists have noted an uptick, especially in urban areas. China offers a dramatic case in point. A 2009 study found a more than threefold difference in allergic sensitization (as judged by skin-prick tests) between schoolchildren in rural areas around Beijing and children in the city proper. Doctor-diagnosed asthma differed sixfold. Maybe not coincidentally, 40 percent of the rural children had lived on farms their whole lives.

Immigrants from the developing world to the developed tend to be less allergic than average. But the longer they reside in their adopted countries, the more allergic they become. And their native-born children seem to gain the vulnerability to asthma, sometimes surpassing it. All of which highlights a longstanding question in the allergy field. As Dr. Holbreich puts it, “What is it about westernization that makes people allergic?”

When hay fever first emerged as a common complaint among the upper classes of Britain in the 19th century — and became a badge of refinement — farmers, who were exposed to more pollen than probably anyone else, seemed relatively invulnerable to the new affliction. In the 1990s, European scientists rediscovered the phenomenon in the small alpine farms of Switzerland. A bevy of studies followed, comprising thousands of subjects across Switzerland, Germany, Austria and elsewhere. Critically, by comparing children living in the same rural areas, scientists could discount urban pollution. Everyone was breathing the same country air.

And earlier this year, some of Dr. Holbreich’s collaborators, from the University of Basel in Switzerland, made a strong case that physical activity couldn’t explain the disparity either. They had rural children wear devices that measured movement for a week. There was little difference in physical activity between farming and nonfarming children. 

What matters then? Erika von Mutius, a doctor and epidemiologist at Munich University in Germany who has led much of this research, suspects diversity is important. Farms with the greatest array of microbes, including fungi, appear to be the most protective against asthma. At the Mast farm, the cowshed wasn’t more than 60 feet from the house. In Europe, scientists found that microbes waft from cowsheds into homes.

In one study, they showed that an infant’s risk of eczema was inverse to the microbial load in her mother’s mattress.

Timing seems to matter tremendously. The earlier exposure begins, it seems, the greater the protection — and that includes during pregnancy. Children born to mothers who work with livestock while pregnant, and who lug their newborns along during chores, seem the most invulnerable to allergic disease later.

Here, the farm effect dovetails with the burgeoning science on the prenatal origins of disease generally. What happens to your mother during the nine months before your birth may affect your vulnerability to many diseases decades later, from heart disease and obesity to schizophrenia.

Allergies and asthma seem to follow the rule as well.

Susan Prescott, a doctor and researcher at the University of Western Australia in Perth, has noted differences in the placentas of children who later develop allergies. A critical subset of white blood cells — called regulatory T-cells — seems relatively scarce at birth. Rather than enabling aggression, these cells help the immune system restrain itself when facing substances that are not true threats. A healthy population of these and other “suppressor” cells is important, scientists now suspect, in preventing allergies and asthma. So it seems significant that European farming children are born with a comparative surfeit of these cells. Bianca Schaub, a doctor and researcher at Munich University, has found that farming newborns have more regulatory T-cells in cord blood than babies of nonfarmers. In test tubes, these cells more effectively quash allergic-type reactions. And that suppressive ability increases with the number of different types of animals the mother tended while pregnant. The more cows, pigs and chickens a mother encounters, essentially, the more easily her offspring may tolerate dust mites and tree pollens.

Animal studies demonstrate how this might work. Some years back, scientists at Philipps University of Marburg in Germany sprayed pregnant mice with microbes originally isolated from Bavarian cowsheds. The exposure induced favorable changes in gene expression at the placenta. The pups born to these mice were protected against asthma.

This research suggests that farming mothers might benefit from a naturally occurring immunotherapy, one that preprograms the developing fetus against allergic disease. Yet how to apply that therapy deliberately remains unclear. Is “microbial pressure” what matters — a stiff microbial wind in our sails? Or do certain cowshed microbes actually colonize farmers, and favorably calibrate their immune function?

There’s evidence to support both explanations, which aren’t mutually exclusive anyway.

Before you rush to the nearest farm, however, a word of caution. Some studies indicate that if you grow up in an urban environment, occasional visits to the farm may exacerbate allergic propensities. If you haven’t matured with abundant microbial stimulation, the thinking goes, encountering it intermittently may push you into overdrive, prompting the misery you seek to avoid.

And yet, a prospective study from Denmark published this month suggests that it’s never too late. Young adults who began farming (with livestock) were less likely to develop new allergic sensitivities than rural peers who chose other professions. Existing allergies didn’t disappear. Rather, the farming environment seemed to prevent new sensitizations.

Which brings us to farm milk. In Europe, the consumption of unpasteurized milk has repeatedly correlated with protection against allergic disease. In America, 80 percent of the Amish studied by Dr. Holbreich consume raw milk. In a study published earlier this year, Dr. Schaub’s group showed that European children who consumed farm milk had more of those regulatory T-cells, irrespective of whether they lived on farms. The higher the quantity of those cells, the less likely these children were to be given diagnoses of asthma. Here, finally, is something concrete to take off the farm.

None of these scientists recommend that people consume raw milk; it can carry deadly pathogens. Rather, they hope to identify what’s protective in the milk and either extract it or preserve the ingredients during processing. Microbes may not be the key ingredient in this case. Instead, farm milk may act as a prebiotic — selectively feeding good microbes within. Another possibility is that as with human breast milk, antibodies and immune-signaling proteins in cow’s milk influence the human immune system, steering it toward tolerance.

As a whole, this research reframes the question of what prompted the late 20th-century allergy epidemic. Is the problem one of exposure to allergens, many of which aren’t exactly new to human experience? Or is the problem one of increasing sensitivity to whatever allergens are present?

The science suggests the latter. The Mast cowshed, with its rich array of microbial stimuli, probably resembles the world in which the human immune system evolved more than, say, an apartment high above Manhattan. The Amish in Indiana, who for reasons of religious faith have maintained a 19th-century-like lifestyle, may not be less allergic. Rather, during the dramatic reordering of human existence that began with the Industrial Revolution, everyone else may have become more allergic. Immunologically speaking, the farming Amish and farmers generally may more closely resemble an evolutionary norm for our species.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/10/opinion/sunday/a-cure-for-the-allergy-epidemic.html?emc=eta1

Digestive Health Ann Arbor now offers a complete Metabolic Health Assessment.  It is extremely comprehensive and provides considerably more information about the current state of your health then most doctors will provide.  If you are interested in a very detailed assessment of your health, please click here for more information. (This assessment is covered by your health insurance).

Please call 734-726-0153 to schedule a free consultation and evaluation. At Digestive Health Ann Arbor we are known for providing professional and compassionate care. We strive to guide people towards a comprehensive and holistic healing strategy. Restoring your body to health will restore the quality of your life.

Dining with IBS: An Uncomfortable Date Indeed

For those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), eating out can be a jungle expedition, fraught with danger, unexpected twists, and improvised back up strategies. The sufferer calls ahead to ensure there are suitable food options, ingests caustic medications with potential side effects that range from extreme constipation to heart attack, and drives a separate car that can serve as a getaway vehicle. At the restaurant they must nonchalantly nudge the dining party towards a table near a bathroom, and pounce on the seat with easiest entry and exit path. During the meal they must be vigilantly self-aware, constantly assessing their evolving physical state as the food digests. Only when the meal is over and the bill is paid can an IBS sufferer breathe a sigh of relief. A leisurely dining experience is never so simple for a person with IBS.

IBS is not restricted to digestive discomfort- it affects the way we live. The stress of IBS can lead to physical and emotional debilitation. However, we do not have to passively accept IBS or merely numb the symptoms. It is possible to combat IBS at its root and completely eradicate it from our lives. This month’s blogs will offer a simple 3-step solution for dealing with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Please call 734-726-0153 to schedule a free consultation and evaluation. At Digestive Health Ann Arbor we are known for providing professional and compassionate care. We strive to guide people towards a comprehensive and holistic healing strategy. Restoring your body to health will restore the quality of your life.

Food Allergies and Industrial Agriculture

Industrial agriculture is striking and stark. Imagine immense plots spanning greater distances than 30 football fields. Imagine row after row of corn or soybean harvested by hefty tractors or, increasingly, laser technology. Imagine the already chemical-soaked hybrid seed sprayed with its third round of pesticides. Imagine dinner- what is it really? Today's farms would be unimaginable to our grandparents, and our great grandparents. Today's dinner plates and ailments would be, too.
 
Industrial Food: Environmental, Physiological and Security Concerns

  1.  Environmental: Pesticides, herbicides, and genetically engineered crops have not created a more stable food system. Increasing crop homogenization and decreasing species diversification leaves us vulnerable to a pest, virus or bacteria that could wipe out an entire crop. Additionally, long terms studies have never been conducted on the effects of these chemicals or genetically modified crops on the natural environment. Many of them are known or predicted carcinogens. Though the chemicals do prevent pests in the short-term, the long-term public health effects are much more detrimental.
  2.  Physiological: The long-term effects of these chemicals on humans have not been adequately studied. No clinical human trials on the effects of genetically modified crops have ever been published.  Genetically modified food products are not allowed in Europe, Canada or Japan. Our meat and dairy products, treated with a high level of antibiotics and grown at an unnaturally rapid rate through the help of hormones, are also not allowed on European markets.
  3.  Security: Governments around the world no longer accept meat or dairy products from the United States. They say the new proteins and hormones used to speed up growth have yet to be proven safe. Our government, on the other hand, says they have yet to be proven dangerous. This is a national security concern. If we are increasingly burdened by healthcare costs and citizens suffering from chronic illness, we weaken ourselves physically and economically. The security of our families and our nation depends on building our strengths, not managing our weaknesses.

The Immune System in Our Digestive Tract


Since 70% of our immune system is located in our digestive tracts, the foods we eat along with the chemicals they contain significantly impact our health. As these foods travel down the intestines, they can corrode our digestive tract much in the same way that chemical toxins corrode pipes used in plumbing. This damage to our essential absorptive system leaves us vulnerable to a long list of autoimmune disorders and food allergies.

Food Allergies: Why Do We Have Them?

We live in an age of skyrocketing health insurance costs and mounting public health epidemics. Many American bodies can no longer fit comfortably in airplane seats, pass a few hours without monitoring insulin levels, or run outside during allergy season. We are increasingly technologically advanced yet the simple question “what should we eat for dinner tonight?” continues to stump families across the country. Since the answer is so convoluted, many Americans unknowingly make poor dietary choices for themselves and their families, leading to unnecessary illness. Our nation spends 16% of its GDP on healthcare, more than any other nation in the world, yet our families struggle with increasingly dangerous ailments.
 
According to the National Institute of Health, the U.S. has:
-        5 times more children with ADD and ADHD then any country in the world.
-        one of the highest rates of cancer in the world.
-        a rank of 49 out of 52 developed countries for life expectancy.
 
Humans are like basement plumbing pipes with legs. It's an odd image, but it illustrates a critical idea. A basement pipe can easily corrode if poorly treated. Unlike pipes, however, our bodies have highly evolved absorptive systems which allow us to channel air, food and water into necessary physiological building blocks. In other words, for us it's not just the pipe that corrodes, but our entire bodies. Once our digestive tract becomes worn or permeable, our reaction is systemic. This is why it's critical to monitor the food we eat, and its influence on our internal plumbing.

What can you do to eat healthy today? 

7 Potential Causes of ADHD and ADD

1. Pesticides in fruits and vegetables. Three studies published in 2011 found that women who ate fruits and vegetables which had been treated with pesticides had contaminated urine and umbilical blood. Prenatal development is a critical time when organs, vessels, membranes and systems are woven together. The umbilical cord carries not only the building blocks of life, but also whatever other exposures the mother has suffered. Industrial chemicals, pollutants, and pesticides are transferred as readily as cigarettes and alcohol. This contamination could trigger the onset of ADHD/ADD in children. These three studies were conducted by the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, the University of Berkeley's School of Public Health and Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, published in Prenatal Pesticide Exposure Linked to Diminished IQ: Some Popular Fruits and Vegetables Contain Highest Levels.

2. Cleaning products. Products such as the Comet Disinfectant Powder Cleanser ® contains Formaldehyde (1,4,9), Acetaldehyde (1,2,3), Benzene (3,4,5), and Chloroform (1,2,8), a potent mix of proven carcinogens and neurotoxins. Other cleaning agents such as bleach and dishwasher detergents release dangerous chemicals that often react with other chemicals to form more potent compounds. The truth is that mild soap and hot water are the best methods for preventing disease. Anti-bacterial disinfectants are based on a misunderstanding of “germs”. Take a look at Digestive Health Ann Arbor's January newsletter on the importance of probiotics and bacteria.

3. Cosmetics. Scientists from Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York released a report in January 2011 that identified a common ingredient found in numerous cosmetics and fragrances as a possible cause of ADHD/ADD. The ingredient is known as low molecular weight (LMW) phthalate metabolites. This chemical can be absorbed through the mother's skin and transmitted to her unborn fetus.

4. Household products such as carpets and furniture. Children that were exposed to flame-retardants such as polychlorinated biphenyl were 76% more likely to suffer ADHD compared with those who had the lowest exposure, in a study conducted by Sagiv S.K. and colleagues from Harvard School of Public Health. Polychlorinated biphenyl was banned, but its remnants persist in the environment. The newest flame retardant used in carpets and furniture, polybrominated biphenyl, may have the same affects as its predecessor.

5. Artificial food additives and genetically modified organisms (GMO's). Artificial food additives (such as colors and preservatives) and hyperactivity were first linked by Ben Feingold, MD, Chief of Allergy at San Francisco Kaiser Permanent Medical Center. Author of books such as Why Your Child is Hyperactive (1975) and Feingold Cookbook for Hyperactive Children (1979), Dr. Feingold championed dietary changes and achieved high success rates among children diagnosed with ADHD/ADD. He was often quoted as saying: "Any compound, natural or synthetic, can induce an adverse reaction if the individual has the appropriate genetic profile, i.e., disposition." By removing potential aggravates such as synthetic additives and produce that has been genetically modified, we can help our children's brain biochemistry return to normal.

6. Undetected food allergies. Dr. Rapp was a pediatric allergist who noticed a drastic physical and behavioral change among children exposed to certain foods. The children were labeled violent, aggressive, distracted and hyper, often burdened with an alphabet soup of prescriptive medications. Removing certain foods, specific to each child, resulted in behavioral, mental and physical improvements. Dr. Rapp quickly realized that undetected food allergies may be causing the ADHD/ADD symptoms in many of the children in her practice.

7. Sugar. Though sugar may not be a direct cause of ADHD/ADD, it still robs a child's body of vitamins, minerals and enzymes and increases blood sugar levels. If your child suffers from ADHD/ADD, removing or restricting sugar intake is a good place to start. Unfortunately, much of the foods marketed for children contain an unbelievable amount of sugar. Paul Pestano, MS, and research analyst at the Environmental Working Group, stated that in a recent study on cereals marketed towards children, “three cereals have more sugar than a Twinkie” and “forty-four others have more sugar in one cup than three Chips Ahoy cookies.” The three Twinkie-trouncing cereals are Kellogg's Honey Smacks, Post Golden Crisps, and General Mills Wheaties FUEL.

Chemical-Soaked Industrial Food: Tough Questions, Real Answers

Why are chemicals so pervasive in industrial foods?

The increased usage of chemicals in food production means more money for agribusinesses. With each new protein or hormone, the agribusiness is able to patent and gain exclusive sales rights. There is more money to be made off of engineered foods than foods that grow and reproduce naturally. 

Don't these chemicals protect the crop from pests and create a more stable food system?

Though this is certainly a selling point from agribusinesses, the usage of pesticides, herbicides, and genetically engineered crops has not created a more stable food system. The long-term effects of these chemicals on humans have not been adequately studied. Additionally, the increasing crop homogenization and decrease in species diversification leaves us vulnerable to a pest, virus or bacteria that could wipe out an entire crop. Though the chemicals do prevent pests in the short-term, the long-term public health effects are much more detrimental.

How does chemical exposure in food consumption effect our children's bodies?

Since 70% of our immune system is located in our digestive tracts, the foods we eat along with the chemicals they contain significantly impact our health. As these foods travel down the intestines, they can corrode the “pipes” much in the same way that chemical toxins corrode plumbing. The damage inflicted can leave a child vulnerable to a long list of autoimmune disorders such as food allergies, asthma, and ADD/ADHD, among many others.

What can I do to help protect my family? 5 Steps Towards A More Secure Diet:

  1. Educate yourself and others about industrial food.
  2. Eat a healthy, unprocessed diet.
  3. Buy local, organic fruits and vegetables.
  4. Avoid meat and dairy products that have been treated with hormones or antibiotics.
  5. Get a food allergy test for family members that display signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Detecting Food Allergies: What Every Parent Needs to Know

12 Signs and Symptoms of a Food Allergy

  1. hives
  2. itching
  3. rash (eczema)
  4. behavioral/temper changes
  5. swelling of the face, lips, tongue and/or eyes
  6. diarrhea
  7. vomiting
  8. cramps
  9. itching and tightness of throat
  10. difficulty breathing (asthma)
  11. wheezing
  12. in extreme cases, anaphylactic shock.

What is a food allergy?

A food allergy is an immune reaction to a protein usually found in food that the body perceives as a foreign invader.

Can Children Outgrow Food Allergies?

Some children may outgrow their food allergy, though evidence increasingly suggests that autoimmune disorders such as asthma, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis, among others, may result.

What Can I do to Keep My Family Safe?

  1. Cut “frankenfoods”

Manufactured by agribusinesses with suspect synthetic proteins, preservatives and dyes, these processed foods are built with foreign additives that our bodies often reject, resulting in allergic reactions and many other health issues.

  1. Eat real food

Local, organic fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products are usually the cleanest and safest nutrient sources. Support these alternatives by shopping at farmer's markets.

  1. Food Allergy Blood Test

Simple, reliable, and cost-effective, these food allergy tests can quickly detect up to 96 possible food allergens particular to any one person. If a loved one is displaying the signs and symptoms of a potential food allergy, this is the quickest and easiest detection method.

Support Children: Discover the Truth Behind our Nation's Agribusinesses

Wealthy Nation, Sick Citizens

Though the United States is one of the wealthiest countries, our citizens are not exempt from chronic health issues. How can a country with such an impressive list of accomplishments still struggle to maintain it's health? Most alarming for parents are mounting public health epidemics among children, such as Type II diabetes, obesity, and asthma. Our nation is increasingly burdened by healthcare costs and children suffering from chronic illness. The security of our families and our nation depends on building our strengths, not managing our weaknesses. We must demand our health back.

Frankenfoods: What Agribusiness Isn't Telling Us

Robyn O'Brien, a new champion of food reform, learned how powerful and insidious the industrial food complex truly is when her youngest daughter suffered an acute reaction to a food allergen. Desperate to help her child in any way she could, she armed herself with as much information as possible in order to uncover what could be causing such devastating health changes in her infant daughter. O'Brien was horrified to learn that our food system provides subsidies for genetically modified (GM) crops, or foods that have synthetic proteins genetically hardwired into their DNA. No clinical human trials have ever been published. Our children are ther test subjects, and our very own home is the laboratory.

Milk: It Doesn't Do Your Body Good

According to CNN and the Wall Street Journal, milk is the most common of all food allergens. This seems unsurprising when examined alongside the chemical make-over the dairy industry received 15 years ago. In 1994, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new synthetic growth hormone (alternately called recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) or recombinant bovine somatropine (rBST)) to help cows produce more milk. Unfortunately, it also made the cows sick. Besides growing at a monstrous rate and falling under the weight of their own udders, dairy cows also developed ovarian cysts, skin disorders, and udder infections. To get a few more years out of a chronically ill cow's life, industrial dairy farmers feed the cows a steady diet of antibiotics, too.

Monsanto Bullies the FDA, dairies in Maine, and Fox News Investigative Reporters

With all these horrendous side effects, how did the FDA ever allow it to pass inspection? Apparently the effects of rBGH were never properly studied. The FDA relied solely on one study administered by Monsanto, the very company that produced the growth hormone in the first place. The study was never published. Instead of pushing for more analysis, the FDA accepted the results, stating that they showed no significant problems.

Cancer and dairy allergies are increasingly linked to rBGH, and the consumer public now demands answers. Monsanto, however, did and does not want to relinquish their grip on the dairy industry. Investigative journalists from a Fox News station in Tampa, Florida were fired for producing an unflattering story about the hormones after ensuing pressure from Monsanto.

Oakhurt Dairy, one of the largest dairy operations in Maine, was forced to change it's labels from “rGBH-free” to adding the statement “FDA States: No significant difference in milk from cows treated with artificial growth hormone.” It has even been proven that there is a so-called revolving door between Monsanto and the FDA. Many former Monsanto employees now work for the FDA, and vice versa. Who is working for the American public?

“How Many Cereal Bowls Have I Filled With This Milk?!”

Governments around the world no longer except meat or dairy products from the United States. They say these new proteins and hormones have yet to be proven safe. Our government, on the other hand, says they have yet to be proven dangerous. Robyn O'Brien, and many others, disagree with them.

Take A Stand for Your Family

Agriculture is greatly influenced by enormous corporations bent on squeezing every last cent out of the consuming public, even if it means putting families at risk. It is up to us to educate each other and take a stand against large corporations. The strength of our nation's children depends on it.

A “Typical” Breakfast Leads to A Child's Hospitalization: What Every Parent Must Know About Children's Food Allergies

How Food Can Turn Our Children's Bodies Against Them
Though our nation may be one of the wealthiest in the world, our children are still not safe from epidemics such as Type II diabetes, obesity, and food allergies. Since 1998, there has been a 265% increase in hospitalizations related to food allergies among children under 18, according to a 2008 CDC report. With an 18% increase in food allergies between 1997 and 2007, an unbelievable 3 million children now have food allergies. Unfortunately, these trends are not merely related to a general population increase. It is the very food we feed our families that is turning their immune systems against them.
 
A “Typical” Breakfast Leads to A Child's Hospitalization
Robyn O'Brien, a former food industry analyst and mother of four, admits she had not given a lot of thought to what was in the food they ate. Like many busy moms, she raised her kids on a typical American breakfast of Eggo waffles, blue yogurt, and scrambled eggs. “And then one morning,” she says quietly, “over breakfast, life changed.” Her youngest child suffered an acute, allergic reaction and O'Brien rushed her to the hospital. When the doctors announced that her daughter had food allergies, O'Brien channeled her energy towards raising awareness about these health issues. She now has her own website, gives speeches, and interviews with Fox News and the New York Times. Thankfully, O'Brien's daughter has thrived, but O'Brien's confidence in America's supermarkets has not.
 
The First Question O'Brien Asked: “What is a food allergy?”
O'Brien invested her self-described Type-A personality into understanding how food affects human physiology. She was astonished to learn that 70% of the immune system is located in the digestive tract. This means that a lot of what determines our health depends on how our food is digested and absorbed. Food not digested or absorbed properly affects the entire body. A food allergy is triggered when the body somehow perceives a food protein as a foreign invader – the immune system then attacks. The most common allergens can be harmless substances such as peanuts, eggs, wheat or milk. But why the sudden rise in food allergies? O'Brien recalls that very few people had food allergies when she was a child. “Is there something foreign in our foods that wasn't there when we were kids?,” she asked herself.
 
Something Foreign in the Food?
In fact, there is. Processed foods, which account for a large portion of the standard American diet, contribute to allergies in a number of ways. Most processed foods contain food colorings, preservatives and genetically engineered proteins that were never present in Grandmother's baked lasagna. If the saying “you are what you eat” holds any weight, then it is unsurprising that these frankenfoods are waging war in our digestive tract. Processed foods can lead to obesity (they have an intentionally large caloric content) and Type II diabetes (processed foods are notoriously sopped in high fructose corn syrup, a sugar derivative), and food allergies (foreign proteins can trigger an autoimmune reaction), among other complications.
 
The Rise of GM Crops: Where Have all the Mom and Pop Farmers Gone?
Since the mid-1990s, new food proteins were engineered into our food supply. This was done to maximize profits for the commercial food industry. Each new protein makes more money for the labs that develop them and companies that patent and produce them. Agriculture took an even greater step in the direction of biotechnology, leaving many Mom and Pop farms scrambling to make ends meet. Farms that did not purchase the newest technologically advanced seeds, pesticides and harvesting equipment struggled to keep afloat in a market increasingly interested in profits rather than healthful food. As a market analyst, O'Brien admits the scenario made perfect sense to her. However, as a mother, she was incensed to learn that agricultural scientists, or agriscientists, did not conduct a single human trial to check for potential side effects. Agriculture is the backbone of a healthy society. While technology is certainly the wave of the future, shouldn't our citizen's health be a national priority?
 
Currently Commercialized GM Crops in the U.S.:
As of May 2010, the Institute for Responsible Technology reported the following percentages (in parenthesis) of these standard crops were genetically modified:
 
Soy (91%) Cotton (71%) Canola (88%) Corn (85%) Sugar Beets (90%) Hawaiian papaya (more than 50%) Alfalfa (at Supreme Court), Zucchini and Yellow Squash (small amount) Tobacco (Quest® brand)
 
Other Sources of GMO:
·      Dairy products from cows injected with the GM hormone rbGH
·      Food additives, enzymes, flavorings, and processing agents, including the sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet®) and rennet used to make hard cheeses
·      Meat, eggs, and dairy products from animals that have eaten GM feed
·      Honey and bee pollen that may have GM sources of pollen
·      Contamination or pollination caused by GM seeds or pollen
 
3 Case Studies: Milk, Corn and Soy
1. Milk: It Doesn't Always Do A Body Good
According to CNN and the Wall Street Journal, milk is the most common of all food allergens. This seems unsurprising when examined alongside the dairy industry's chemical make-over 15 years ago. In 1994, scientists created a new synthetic growth hormone, recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) to help cows produce more milk. Unfortunately, it also made the cows sick. Besides growing at a monstrous rate and falling under the weight of their own udders, dairy cows also developed ovarian cysts, skin disorders, and udder infections. But the cows produced much more milk. So, despite the obvious pain and illness caused by these hormones, the dairy industry continued (and continues) with this practice. To get a few more years out of the chronically ill cow's life, industrial dairy farmers decided to feed the cows a steady diet of antibiotics, too.
 
“How many sippy cups have I filled with this milk?!”
This procedure isn't only dangerous for cows - it's also extremely detrimental for humans. According to the Cancer Prevention Coalition, rBGH milk significantly increases consumers risk of developing breast, colon and prostate cancer. Exposure to the low-grade antibiotics found in milk is also linked to the development of allergies, autoimmune disorders and super bugs (bacteria that are impervious to even the strongest of antibiotics). Despite these dangers, Monsanto Co., the manufacturer of rBGH, has strong-armed U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) into permitting the sale of unlabeled rBGH milk. The corporation has also tried to bribe investigative reporters from a Fox News station in Florida who researched the issue of rBGH milk. When the reporters did not accept the money, they were fired by Fox. As Robyn O'Brien uncovered more and more stories about the toxicity of industrial milk, she decided to purge her kitchen, wondering in alarm, “how many sippy cups have I filled with this milk?!”
 
2. GM Corn No Longer Classified as a Vegetable, but a Pesticide
Industrial plants are now engineered to sustain increasing increments of weed killer. The weed killer is needed because of a recent rise in plant parasites. Many scientists believe the plant parasite boom relates to a monoculture style of farming, where one kind of plant crop is grown on vast plots of land, land often severely depleted of soil nutrients. As concerns rose over pesticide sprays in the 1990s, agriscientists developed genetically modified plants which imbedded pesticide-like chemicals in their very DNA. One such example is the corn product, StarLink™ .
 
StarLink™  is a genetically engineered variety of yellow corn which releases the protein Cry9C, a toxic substance for various insect pests. During the 1990s, its registering corporation, Aventis Agroscience, Inc., received approval by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to produce the corn as livestock feed. Presumably, this poisoned food product was supposed to calm our fears over chemical pesticides released into the air. It doesn't feel very reassuring to find out it was regulated by the EPA as a pesticide. Though Aventis Agroscience, Inc. promised to use the corn product exclusively for animal feed, traces of it were soon found in taco shells. Since it was never conclusively determined whether or not StarLink™  was harmful for humans, regulatory authorities removed it from the market.
 
Foreign markets refused (and continue to refuse) to accept GM corn and other food products from the U.S. Though StarLink™ got the boot by the EPA, plenty other frankenfoods feed our animals and stock our market shelves.
 
3. GM Soy Affects Reproduction, Growth
In a study published in July 2010, Russian biologist Alexey V. Surov investigated if Monsanto's genetically modified soy lead to problems in growth or reproduction. Backed by Surov's Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the National Association for Gene Security, the study found that three generations of hamsters fed for 2 years on a GM diet showed devastating results. By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to reproduce. They also grew more slowly, had a high infant mortality rate, and strangely developed patches of hair inside their mouths.
 
The Institute of Responsible Technology reports that cooked GM soy contains as much as 7 times the amount of a known soy allergen, and that soy allergies skyrocketed by 50% in the UK, soon after GM soy was introduced.
 
A Concerned Mother asks, “What are the Effects?”
O'Brien was astounded by the food industry's complete and utter lack of consideration for consumers. Having already witnessed some shocking results in her own children, O'Brien asked, “what other effects are we seeing now in the American public?”
 
Cancer.
O'Brien noticed a huge increase in cancer rates in the United States. In fact, a consultation with a variety of cancer NGOs confirmed that the U.S. has some of the highest rates of cancer in the world. What has caused this cancer epidemic? Dr. Stanley Ewen, consultant histopathologist at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, says GM foods could be the culprit. He points to the fact that GM foods serve as a “growth factor” in the stomach and colon, encouraging the rapid proliferation of polyps. Apparently, the faster and bigger the polyps grow, the more likely it is they will be malignant. This risk is not limited to direct human consumption, either. Dr. Ewen's studies show that eating livestock which has eaten GM foods can also lead to increased cancer risk. Dr. Ewen urges a ban on GM crops until their safety is sufficiently tested.
 
Asthma.
Though scientists agree dairy products exacerbate asthma because they encourage the development of mucus, it is now believed that an allergic reaction to dairy itself can cause asthma. Dr. Frank Osky, the Chief of Pediatrics at the John Hopkins School of Medicine, believes that 50% of all school children may be allergic to milk, though many of them remain undiagnosed. Dairy allergies are now considered one of the leading causes of asthma in America.
 
ADD/ADHD.
Dr. Rapp, Pediatric Allergist and champion of Environmental Medicine, devotes her life to treating children with behavioral issues like ADD/ADHD. She believes that most hyperactive, aggressive or easily distracted children have some undetected food allergy affecting their biochemistry. Many of her patients see drastic results after slight diet modification.
 
Autism.
There is a high prevalence of food allergies among autistic children. Some scientists predict that autistic children lack an enzyme which helps digest the proteins in milk (casein) or in bread-like products (gluten). It could be these very foods which prevent children from developing normally. Many parents report staggering success when removing these foods from their children's diets.
 
Autoimmune Disorders.
Chronic illnesses such as fibromyalgia, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis, and many more, are linked to food allergies and GM crops.
 
Other Developed Nations Reject GM Foods: “Unsafe for Citizens”
Canada, Japan and 23 other European countries now ban GM foods. If these technologically advanced foods were really superior to what humans have been eating for the past 200,000 years, wouldn't the whole developed world be jumping at the chance to import or produce them themselves?
 
Tax Payer Dollars Support GM Crops: Who Supports our Skyrocketing Health Bill?
As rates of food allergies, cancer and other chronic illnesses skyrocket, the amount of money needed to manage these diseases skyrockets, too. According to a 2009 World Health Organization (WHO) report, the U.S. spends 16% of it's Gross National Product (GNP) on healthcare costs, more than any other nation on the planet. Even countries with government-funded healthcare systems are still paying less than the United States. This doesn't only affect our pocketbooks, but our role as a player in the international marketplace.
 
3 Steps: Take a Stand for Your Families Health
In her closing remarks in her video conference, O'Brien conceded that though she is no foodie, addressing the industrial food system is vital for our nation's well-being, in fact “there is nothing more patriotic that we could be doing.” Here are a few small and reasonable changes that we can all make to keep our families healthy and safe:
 
1. Support local farmers
Small-scale and organic farmers are often targeted by the United States Farm Bill, the primary agricultural and food policy tool of the federal government. They are charged fees to prove their crops are grown without chemicals or GM seeds, more fees to label their crop a certain way, and denied subsidies - it's tough to make ends meet. By supporting local farmer's markets and purchasing with the seasons we can help build a healthier community.
 
2. Demand Changes from Large Corporations
Kraft, Coca Cola, and Walmart all have international branches. How have they dealt with the rejection of GM foods in their stores? By not selling them. These large corporations have listened to consumer demand and formulated their products differently to not include GM ingredients. Even Whole Foods sells products that contain GM ingredients in it's non-organic products. We must demand that large corporations protect our families and communities. Avoid purchasing items from stores or companies that don't care how their product may be effecting your family's health.
 
3. Learn the 15 Signs and Symptoms of Food Allergies
1. Tiredness, drowsiness, no energy.
2. Frequent headache or migraines.
3. Stomach bloating, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, flatulence.
4. GI disorders including, Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis & IBS
5. Mouth Ulcers.
6. Chronic cough, bronchitis, asthma, colds and 'flu'.
7. Eczema, psoriasis, and chronic skin problems.
8. Aching joints, backache.
9. Gradual weight change.
10. Tinea or Yeast (Candida) infections.
11. Clumsiness, lack of coordination.
12. Miscarriage, infertility.
13. Hemorrhoids and Ear pain.
14. Cravings, addictions.
15. ADHD/ADD, behavioral problems
 
New Beginnings at Digestive Health Ann Arbor
Biologist David Schubert of the Salk Institute alerts us that “children are the most likely to be adversely affected by toxins and other dietary problems” related to GM foods. The lack of clinical human trials means our nation's children are in fact “the experimental animals.” Monitoring your child's health is imperative. Though facing a food allergy or a related condition can be daunting, we must heed the body's messages and remember that there is hope. After slight modification to our diets and lifestyles, and taking appropriate supplements as needed, our bodies can heal. If you or a loved one is experiencing the symptoms of a compromised digestive system, make an appointment with one of the experts at Digestive Health Ann Arbor.

Please call 734-222-8210 to schedule a free consultation and evaluation. At Digestive Health Ann Arbor we provide professional and compassionate care guiding people towards a comprehensive and holistic strategy of healing. Restoring your body to health will restore the quality of your life. Please visit our website at www.digestivehealth-annarbor.com.
 
To read or see more about Robyn O'Brien, check out the following links:
On Fox News:
http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpp/health/food-allergies-and-their-symptoms-051111
In the New York Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/09/dining/09alle.html?pagewanted=all
Her personal webpage, with a link to her video conference:
http://www.robynobrien.com/

Dramatic Rise in Hospitalizations: Children with Food Allergies Dramatic Rise in Hospitalizations: Children with Food Allergies Dramatic Rise in Hospitalizations: Children with Food Allergies

A 265% Increase in the Past 10 Years

Since 1998, there has been a 265% increase in hospitalizations related to food allergies among children under 18, according to a 2008 CDC report. In ten short years, the number of children in grave danger due to consumption of a food allergen has nearly tripled. What is causing this unprecedented increase, and what is being done to prevent the unimaginable from happening to our nations' children?

A “Typical” Breakfast Sends a Child to the Emergency Room

Unfortunately, not much can be done. Robyn O'Brien, a former food analyst and mother of four, found this out the hard way. One morning over breakfast, her life changed forever. Her youngest daughter suffered an acute allergic reaction to her standard breakfast of Eggo waffles and was rushed to the hospital. Fortunately, O'Brien's daughter survived, but the mother's confidence in the nation's food system did not.

Over 3 Million Child Sufferers

To O'Brien's astonishment, she learned that an unbelievable 3 million children now suffer from food allergies. Unfortunately, these trends are not merely related to a general population increase. It is the very food we feed our families that is turning their immune systems against them.

3 Shocking Discoveries

In her search for answers, O'Brien made three surprising discoveries:

  1. Many food allergies are caused by synthetic proteins manufactured and inserted into our crops – proteins which were never tested for possible side effects.
  2. An allergic reaction to food is not only related to possible genetic predisposition, but an industry that willingly experiments on it's unsuspecting consumers.
  3. Our government's response to the food industry's frankenfoods is “safe until proven dangerous.”

How Many Children Sacrificed?

How many more children will be sent to the hospital before we realize the food is not safe? As more and more money is spent on disease management instead of economic growth, our international competitiveness dwindles.

Defending Our Nation's Children

Though never a foodie herself, Robyn O'Brien has become what many call “Erin Brokovich” of the healthy food movement. She recognizes that this is an issue that bridges the gap between progressive and conservative. Democrats, Republicans and independents alike all have children that they love and for whom they want the best. As an economist, she reminds us that we must ensure the future of our nation is in strong, healthy hands. 

Ritalin, Concerta and Adderall: Dangerous, Expensive and Ineffective

CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) was founded in 1987 by Ciba-Ceigy (now Novartis), the original maker of Ritalin. Not surprisingly, drugs like Ritalin have been pushed by supposedly unbiased health organizations, such as CHADD, as the only viable method to ameliorate the symptoms of ADHD. However, these drugs are dangerous, expensive, and often ineffective.

How effective are common treatment methods like Ritalin, Concerta and Adderall?

Currently, the amphetamines Ritalin and Concerta or an amphetamines “cocktail” (Adderall) is used to treat ADHD. Though Dr. Braly, author of The Essential Guide to Uncovering Food Allergies: And Achieving Permanent Relief  (2008), confirms that the “short-term effectiveness of these medications in reducing hyperactivity and improving concentration and learning is about 60 to 70 percent,” (57) these medications have very common and detrimental side effects.

Common Side Effects of Ritalin

  • Addiction
  • Nervousness including agitation, anxiety and irritability
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Decreased appetite
  • Headache
  • Stomach ache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Heart palpitations

Other Serious Side Effects of Ritalin Include

  • Slowing of growth (height and weight) in children
  • Seizures, mainly in patients with a history of seizures
  • Eyesight changes or blurred vision
Less Common Side Effects of Ritalin
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid pulse rate (and other heart problems)
  • Tolerance (constant need to raise the dose)
  • Feelings of suspicion and paranoia
  • Visual hallucinations (seeing things that are not there)
  • Depression  
  • Dermatoses (infected or diseased skin)
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Infection or viral infection
  • Elevated ALT enzyme levels in the blood (signaling liver damage)

Overdose Side Effects of Ritalin

Since methylphenidate drugs are highly addictive, overdose side effects may result. Here are some of the more common symptoms of an overdose:

  • Restlessness
  • Tremor
  • Aggression
  • Hallucinations
  • Panic states
  • Hyperreflexia (overactive reflexes, which can include twitching or spasms)
  • Personality changes
  • Symptoms of depression
  • Seizures or abnormal EEGs
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Swelling of hands/feet/ankles (for example, numbing of the fingertips)
  • Delusions
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Unexplained muscle pain
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Rhabdomyolysis and kidney damage

Chronic abuse can manifest itself as psychosis, often indistinguishable from schizophrenia 

A Call to Action

If you or a loved one suffers from ADD or ADHD, take your health into your own hands. Visit an appropriate health practitioner who will talk about the most simple and least invasive methods of healing. Throwing dangerous drugs at the problem is clearly not the solution.

ADHD and Big Business: What the Drug Companies Don't Want You to Know

In 1985, A Respected Doctor Discovers Food Can Cause ADHD

Dr. Joseph Egger, head of the Pediatric University Hospital in Munich, Germany, could not believe his results. Of 76 children with severe ADHD put on the strict hypoallergenic diet for a month, 82% got better. These were children with severe epilepsy, antisocial behavior, who were sometimes even prone to violence. Yet, in little over a month's time, it was as if they were entirely new people.

Dr. Egger's 1985 study created an uproar. Scientists scrambled to conduct their own research to see if these staggering results were true. Over the years, peer review corroborated Dr. Egger's findings repeatedly - removing artificial food colors, preservatives, and common food allergens such as gluten, dairy, soy, peanuts and eggs, lead to drastic improvements in some of the worst cases of ADHD in both children and adults.

Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)

Despite mounting evidence that food allergies correlate directly with the onset of ADHD, organizations such as CHADD do not even mention food allergies and diet as a potential cause for Attention Deficit Disorders. Why would they disregard these studies, which could lead to complete improvements for many patients?

CHADD: Brought to You By the Makers of Ritalin

CHADD was founded in 1987 by Ciba-Ceigy (now Novartis), the original maker of Ritalin, the popular ADD drug. A 1995 PBS Merrow Report found that CHADD consistently distributed misleading information to hundreds of thousands of parents and teachers which exaggerated the benefits of ADD drugs, such as Ritalin. In response to this report, the Drug Enforcement Administration put a stop to CHADD's efforts to relax controls on Ritalin, and the US Department of Education withdrew videos which were created by CHADD as educational tools for teachers and parents.

Take Your Health Out of Corporate Hands

It's time to start listening to scientists that are not backed by a multi-million dollar drug company agenda. Disorders such as ADHD are big business for pharmaceutical companies feeding off the distress of uninformed parents. You have the power to educate yourself and take your family's health into your own hands. Talk to an appropriate health practitioner today.

The ADHD Epidemic: Food Allergies and Children

Children Suffer Most for Changes in American Diet

James Braly, M.D., graduated from St. Louis University School of Medicine in 1970 and pushed for a deeper understanding of food as an integral element of optimal performance for Olympians and as a mechanism for illness, particularly among children. In his book The Essential Guide to Uncovering Food Allergies: And Achieving Permanent Relief  (2008) Braly writes that “of all people, children show most clearly that our twenty-first-century diets and lifestyles are resulting in more and more food allergies and sensitivities. And along with those allergies go a wide range of childhood illnesses and other conditions...” (56) One of which is ADHD.

3 Surprising statistics about ADHD

  • 1990: around 750,000 American children were diagnosed with ADHD.
  • 2008: an estimated 3 million children were diagnosed with ADHD.
  • 1/3 or more ADHD children will grow up to be ADHD adults

*statistics from “The Essential Guide to Uncovering Food Allergies: And Achieving Permanent Relief” by Dr. James Braly, 2008

13 Symptoms Watch

1. inattention, easily distracted

2. antisocial behavior and emotional problems (depression, anxiety, irritability etc.)

3. hyperactivity

4. chronic insomnia

5. headaches

6. seizures/fits

7. abdominal pain or discomfort

8. chronic rhinitis (nonseasonal)

9. frequent sinus and middle ear infections

10. leg aches (“growing pains”), joint pain

11. skin rashes

12. mouth ulcers

13. dark circles under eyes

How is ADHD most commonly diagnosed?

Dr. Braly points out in his book that “There is no laboratory or clinical test available yet that definitively diagnoses the condition; a diagnosis is based on observations of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity so serious they impair a child's ability to function.” (56) For all the talk of the importance of biochemical testing in determining diagnosis, it seems surprising that a mere observation is information enough to throw additional chemicals (Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall) at the problem. Of course, diagnosing ADHD and prescribing medications means more money in the doctors pocket, and an ADHD epidemic means dollar signs for pharmaceutical companies. For plenty of reasons, the role of food allergies and chemical-food-additive sensitivities in children with ADHD remains, in Dr. Braly's words, “largely ignored.” (57)

Food Allergy testing and ADHD: A Simple, Cost-Effective, and Scientific Solution

The most comprehensive food allergy diagnostic tool is the ELISA blood test, which examines the bodies reaction to 96 different potential food allergens, including gluten, dairy, eggs, soy and peanuts. This simple test also allows health professionals to efficiently check for the severity of allergies, ranging from IgE (most severe), IgA (moderate) and IgG (least severe). This test can quickly and precisely point to exactly which foods may be causing such a severe reaction in a child.

A Call to Action

If your child has ADHD, speak to the appropriate health practitioner about a food allergy test. ADHD medications are potentially harmful, and usually only effective in the short-term. Don't be another tally in the pharmaceutical companies profit margin. Take control of your health today.

Mounting Evidence, Lessons Ignored: The Hidden Truth Behind The Cause of Schizophrenia

World War II & Schizophrenia: What the Front Line Taught Us about Food Allergies

Many lessons are learned in times of war. Pacifism comes to mind first, but following closely behind, I would imagine, is how to feed, clothe and shelter a military unit in a foreign land. But, as quickly noted by some sharp-witted scientists, not all food is created equal. F. Curtis Dohan, M.D., investigated admissions to mental hospitals during WWII in five countries with wheat shortages and found a simultaneous and dramatic decrease in the admissions for schizophrenia. When compared to data collected in the United States where wheat consumption increased, admissions for schizophrenia skyrocketed. An association between schizophrenia and wheat, gluten, and Celiac Disease was duly noted in the record books, but medical professionals today are still slow to acknowledge it.

The 1970s: Food Allergies Cause Schizophrenic Symptoms in Most Cases

In the 1970s, even more scientific research supported the correlation between food allergies and schizophrenia. In the study, Psychiatric Syndromes Produced by Allergies: Ecologic Mental Illness by H. L. Newbold, M.D., William H. Philpott, M.D. and Marshall Mandell, M.D. (1973), “the finding of 92.2 % of reactions...in the schizophrenic group reveal[ed] such reactions” to wheat, corn and milk “to hold the position of being the immediate cause of symptoms in most cases.” (p. 92, emphasis added). It was also found that once these foods were removed from the schizophrenic's diet, they rapidly recovered and were able to function normally. Why did this not revolutionize the treatment of schizophrenics?

Today: Gluten Consistently Implicated in Schizophrenia, While Doctors Feign Ignorance

It is agreed among many scientists and medical professionals who study the effects of food allergies on human health that the correlation between gluten and schizophrenia exists. Not only is schizophrenia linked to gluten intolerance, but also diabetes, thyroid disease, purpura, anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine headaches, lung disease, epilepsy, cerebellar ataxia, and even autism, to name a few. Despite data which consistently proves these trends, many medical professionals are either ignorant or in denial of the connection between food allergies and physical, mental and emotional illnesses. In the words of Newbold, Philpott and Mandell, “One cannot help wondering how many patients are receiving psychotherapy, chemotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy, and even cingulotomy surgery for conditions which are basically allergic in nature.” (91) How much longer people will continue to suffer in silence while the majority of the medical community turns their head?

DNA v. Environment: New Evidence to IBD Cause

 

An Incomplete Story: the “Genetics Loads the Gun” Theory

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, affects approximately 1.4 million Americans, according to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). The CCFA claims that the lifetime risk for developing IBD is 10 to 20 times higher for close family members (siblings or offspring) than for the general population. This leads many researchers to believe that a specific gene triggers the onset of these digestive disorders. Based on this assumption, the CCFA has created a DNA Data bank in order to isolate and study potential genes. However, studies not funded by pharmaceutical companies have pointed towards the power of the environment and diet in determining disease susceptibility.
Epigenetics and the Power of Environment 

Epigenetics is the study of gene expression. Through epigenetics, scientists have isolated a phenomenon called epigenetic drift, whereby twins become more different with time. Additionally, twins who spend more of their lives together in the same environment have similar genetic portraits than those who separate earlier. These studies reveal the vulnerability of early life, and the fundamental contribution of the environment in determining health. 
Why the CCFA Hides Part of the Picture

Mounting evidence points to the relevancy of external factors on our health. Irritable bowel diseases may have some genetic correlation, but larger contributors such as diet, lifestyle, and environment play the largest role. Often, resolving a dietary or lifestyle issue can completely eradicate digestive disorders. Unfortunately, it is more lucrative for pharmaceutical companies, and the organizations which they fund (such as the CCFA), to purport the “Genetics Loads the Gun” theory. 
Your Health: Get the Whole Story

When it comes to you and your family’s health, it is imperative to get the whole story. Your health depends on it.

An Incomplete Story: the “Genetics Loads the Gun” TheoryInflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, affects approximately 1.4 million Americans, according to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). The CCFA claims that the lifetime risk for developing IBD is 10 to 20 times higher for close family members (siblings or offspring) than for the general population. This leads many researchers to believe that a specific gene triggers the onset of these digestive disorders. Based on this assumption, the CCFA has created a DNA Data bank in order to isolate and study potential genes. However, studies not funded by pharmaceutical companies have pointed towards the power of the environment and diet in determining disease susceptibility.
Epigenetics and the Power of Environment Epigenetics is the study of gene expression. Through epigenetics, scientists have isolated a phenomenon called epigenetic drift, whereby twins become more different with time. Additionally, twins who spend more of their lives together in the same environment have similar genetic portraits than those who separate earlier. These studies reveal the vulnerability of early life, and the fundamental contribution of the environment in determining health. 
Why the CCFA Hides Part of the PictureMounting evidence points to the relevancy of external factors on our health. Irritable bowel diseases may have some genetic correlation, but larger contributors such as diet, lifestyle, and environment play the largest role. Often, resolving a dietary or lifestyle issue can completely eradicate digestive disorders. Unfortunately, it is more lucrative for pharmaceutical companies, and the organizations which they fund (such as the CCFA), to purport the “Genetics Loads the Gun” theory. 


Your Health: Get the Whole StoryWhen it comes to you and your family’s health, it is imperative to get the whole story. Your health depends on it.

 

Dangerous and Expensive Medication: Crohn's and Colitis Drugs Revealed

What is Crohn's Disease?

Crohn's Disease is a type of Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) where chronic inflammation can destroy the integrity of the colon wall, severely impeding the body’s ability to absorb food.

New and Controversial Medicines

Biological therapy medications are the latest addition to the stock-pile of questionable drug solutions thrown at IBD, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. The pharmaceutical industry claims these pills will revolutionize the treatment of IBD. The medications are, efficacious because they are tailored to specifically target an immune or genetic mediator of the disease. However, this theory completely disregards the contributions of our environment, lifestyle, and diet choices on our health. And the medication still does not provide an absolute cure. Why is science so focused on our genes if the medications thus far have not entirely worked?

Biological Therapy is Big Business

At $3,000- $8,000 Per Infusion, Biological therapy is extremely profitable for pharmaceutical companies. There is no incentive for them to invest in preventative or alternative measures when they charge an arm and a leg for each infusion.

4 Dangerous Side Effects

Not only are these new biological therapy medications unaffordable, they also have numerous detrimental side effects.

  1. Anyphylaxis
  2. Reactivation or worsening of old diseases, like tuberculosis
  3. Multiple Sclerosis
  4. Lymphoma

Your Call to Action

If you or a loved one suffers from an Irritable Bowel Disease, take a second look at the medications pushed at the problem. Before you sink money into a hazardous drug, we encourage you to find other options that are simpler, healthier, and more cost-effective.

An undetected food allergy could be stopping your body from healing

1 in 4 people have a food allergy related health issue.

We offer state of the art food allergy testing for both children and adults. 
Using the Alcat test, we can test for over 200 foods.This simple blood test can identify gluten, dairy, eggs, peanuts, soy, treenuts, shellfish allergies and more.
Warning Signs of Food Allergies:
  • Tiredness, drowsiness, no energy.
  • Frequent headache or migraines.
  • Stomach bloating, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, flatulence
  • IBS, Crohn's Disease & Ulcerative Colisits
  • Mouth Ulcers.
  • Chronic cough, bronchitis, asthma, sinus condtions, colds and 'flu'.
  • Eczema, psoriasis, and chronic skin problems.
  • Aching joints, backache.
  • Gradual weight change.
  • Tinea or Yeast (Candida) infections.
  • Clumsiness, lack of coordination.
  • Miscarriage, infertility.
  • Hemorrhoids and Ear pain.
  • Cravings, addictions.
  • ADD & ADHA
  • Acid Reflux (GERD)
  • Fibromyalgia
Begin your journey of healing today, call Digestive Health Ann Arbor and schedule a free consultation and evaluation.

(734) 222-8210