The Rising Toll: U.S. Death Rates Increase

Cancer research is progressing, medical technology is constantly improving, and new knowledge about disease is being produced each day. As the world of healthcare continues to revolutionize, it seems that average life expectancy should increase at the same rate. However, this is not the case. According to recent reports, the U.S. death rate rose 1.2% from 2014 to 2015. This may seem like a small number at first, but broken down, this means 86,212 more U.S. citizens died in 2015 than in 2014—a statistic that is much more difficult to grapple with. Just as well, it is important to note that out of all U.S. citizens, the newest generations have the lowest life expectancy. So why is it that the U.S., a global leader who has seen success in so many other areas, is now ranked 49th out of 52 industrialized countries for life expectancy?

The following is a list of the top 10 causes of death in the U.S:

1. Heart disease

2. Cancer

3. Chronic lower respiratory disease

4. Accidents (unintentional injuries)

5. Stroke

6. Alzheimer's disease

7. Diabetes

8. Influenza and pneumonia

9. Kidney disease

10. Suicide

The rates for most of these causes of death have increased in the past two years. Making matters worse, these rising rates are accompanied by rising healthcare costs, which only add to the stress of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. So the question presents itself—is the U.S. healthcare system to blame for these increasing death rates, or are there other factors we’re missing?

In a study conducted by HealthAffairs.org, it is hypothesized that the U.S. healthcare system is indeed to blame for our nation’s deteriorating health. This is primarily due to the fact that, as health spending rises, so does the number of people without health insurance. Just as well, increased health spending diverts federal money from public health, education, public safety, and community development programs—all important aspects of a country’s survival rates. The researchers in this study suggest that, in order to both save money and save lives, meaningful healthcare reform is necessary.

However, regardless the state of the U.S. healthcare system, there are still many ways we can take our health outcomes into our own hands. One such example is the prevention of obesity. Of all high income countries, the U.S. has the highest obesity rates, with over one third of the population being obese. What’s worse, this rate is projected to rise to 50% by 2030. Since obesity is a leading predictor of deadly diseases such as cancer and heart disease, it is imperative to take preventative measures such as daily exercise and healthy eating. It is especially important to instill healthy habits in young children, as changing health patterns throughout generations is the only way to efficiently resolve our nation’s health.

Another rising cause of death in the U.S. is suicide. Every year, 30,000 people die of suicide in the U.S. out of 650,000 attempts—outnumbering the number of yearly homicides 3 to 2. The highest predictors of suicide are depression and alcoholism. Suicide rates are also commonly correlated with social, political, cultural and economic forces. With this in mind, it is important to note that the best way to prevent suicide is social support. In other words, those who have close relationships are less likely to succumb to stresses like job loss, illness, or bereavement. If you or someone you know seems to be isolating themselves or acting strangely, do not hesitate to ask for or offer help.

As the rates for causes of death such as suicide and obesity continue to rise in the U.S., it is now more important than ever to learn more about how to avoid these risks. Even if the modern healthcare system is to blame, it is still up to U.S. citizens as individuals to take responsibility for their health and well-being. If we take the initiative to learn more about the diseases that are killing us at a quickening rate, we will have the ability to stop them in their tracks. The greatest form of disease prevention is knowledge, so do not hesitate to become the catalyst that sparks your individual journey to healthy living. 

Credited articles:

http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/early/2010/10/07/hlthaff.2010.0073.full

https://login.medscape.com/login/sso/getlogin?urlCache=aHR0cDovL3d3dy5tZWRzY2FwZS5jb20vdmlld2FydGljbGUvODczMDUx&ac=401

https://www.nap.edu/read/10398/chapter/2#3

http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Photo credits:

https://www.thecompanywarehouse.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Company-Formation-Increase.jpg

http://thumbnails-visually.netdna-ssl.com/top-10-causes-of-death-in-the-us_52a901cbbbbb7_w1500.jpg

http://cosb.countyofsb.org/uploadedImages/phd/Health_Education/image003.jpg

 

Why Go Paleo?

Need more reasons to go Paleo? Just look at the Tokelau, an indigenous population of the South Pacific. Tokelauans are characterized by two extraordinary things: 1) their reliance, for centuries, on a limited diet of coconut, seafood, wild fowl, and fruit and 2) remarkably low rates of heart disease, hypertension, obesity, and diabetes among the population.

In fact, as a general rule, the most common killers of modern times (cancer, heart disease, etc.) are absent or barely present in most indigenous peoples across the globe. What might account for the disparity in health between us and them? Well, we know that these people generally don't consume modern foods like wheat flower, industrial seed oils, and sugar. We also know that when these populations are introduced to the foods listed above, we see disease rates rise significantly within their communities.

To be sure, diet is not the only relevant factor when it comes to disease prevalence. But the fact remains: some of the healthiest people in the world tend to eat a nutrient-rich diet of grass-fed meat, seafood and starchy vegetables; otherwise known as the Paleo diet! To find out more about going Paleo, see this link.

Toxins in Modern Day Farming: What Your Food Labels Aren’t Telling You

The next time you go the grocery store and fill up your cart with fruits, vegetables, bread, and snacks, chances are that most of them will contain traces of a chemical called glyphosate. Glyphosate is the most widely produced herbicide in the world. In the US, it’s referred to as “Roundup.” You could say that Roundup is ubiquitous in our environment. People everywhere, every single day, are being exposed to over 700 different products treated with it (from agriculture and forestry to home use). That’s why I want to take this newsletter to call your attention to something that has almost certainly had an effect on your health.

Certain individuals and organizations have taken great pains to make sure that the safety of glyphosate remains foggy. Proponents claim that it’s organic and breaks down, but that is highly debatable. In reality, new data is suggesting that glyphosate is NOT harmless; rather, it may pose serious health risks to anyone who ingests it.

The World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer just published a study this past March classifying glyphosate as a probable carcinogen in humans, citing correlations to cancers of the thyroid, liver, bladder, pancreas, and kidney. In addition, glyphosate exposure may be a cause of many chronic health problems. Autism in particular tends to be strongly correlated to glyphosate usage (see chart). Stroke, diabetes, obesity, metabolism disorders, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and inflammatory bowel disease are other conditions that become more common with increased glyphosate exposure. In one instance, a 54-year old man accidentally sprayed himself with glyphosate. A month later, he developed parkinsonian syndrome. 

Scientists think glyphosate might even be disruptive to the community of bacteria living in our intestines—otherwise known as the microbiome—by causing the population of bad bacteria to overtake the gut. Studies show that good bacteria tend to be more susceptible to glyphosate than bad. The good bacteria often can’t survive at all when exposed. Scientists are still assessing the importance of the microbiome to overall human health, but it is speculated that the disruption of the microbiome could be tied to diseases such as metabolic disorder, diabetes, depression, autism, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune disease. Other conditions glyphosate has been tied to include allergies, infertility, depression, and Crohn’s disease. 

Remember, correlations are not causations; but they do give us good reason to be concerned over the use of a chemical that seeps into each and every one of our lives. Glyphosate enters the body by being either 1) absorbed through the skin or 2) directly ingested with food and water containing glyphosate. Soy, corn, and sugar beets tend to be heavily treated with glyphosate. These crops have been genetically modified to be resistant to glyphosate; so when farmers treat their fields with roundup, the weeds die but the crops live—only saturated with glyphosate. These crops are referred to as “Roundup Ready Crops.” Roundup Ready crops are staple ingredients in most processed foods. Soy especially is often used in livestock feed; meaning animals are also ingesting large amounts of glyphosate. We then ingest that glyphosate when we eat meat. 

Avoiding glyphosate isn’t easy and unfortunately, no one alive today will have led a glyphosate-free life. The question is, just how much has it affected your health? If you want to know more about the effects glyphosate has had on you personally, Ann Arbor Holistic Health can perform a comprehensive test for you measuring glyphosate exposure. For more information please contact Gary Merel at garymerel@annarborholistichealth.com or 734-222-8210. 

As far as how to avoid glyphosate: try to eat non-genetically modified foods and drink reverse osmosis water. Always buy organic when you can and always buy grass-fed meat. Avoid products made with corn, soy, and other roundup ready crops which, like I said, tend to be in most processed products. Ideally, you would wean yourself off processed foods altogether. Drinking extra water might also be helpful. Since glyphosate is water soluble, drinking more can help flush your system. 

Again, if you want to know more about the effects glyphosate has had on you, consider getting tested. When a toxin is ubiquitous in our environment, it becomes almost impossible to escape the consequences; but the first step to better health is to be informed on the state of your own body.

The Calcium Lie--How Much is Enough?

When it comes to calcium, more is not better. You’ve heard that calcium is the key to good bone health, or even bodily health in general—but that is only partially true. When taken in the right form and in the right amount, calcium is very beneficial. But if you exceed that “right amount,” you won’t be doing yourself any favors.
In fact, you could be setting yourself up for some problems that have serious health implications—and I’m not just talking about kidney stones, which are one result of too much calcium in the body. Excess calcium can actually play an important role in the development of diseases like osteoporosis, obesity, and even heart disease. See below to find out why.

Osteoporosis:
Shockingly, excess calcium actually puts us at greater risk of fracturing our bones. Bones are made of at least 12 different minerals, and when these minerals are out of balance with each other, bones are compromised. Having too much calcium in our bodies exaggerates these mineral imbalances and deficiencies, and even causes other minerals to be lost or excreted in urine, leaving our bones more susceptible to fractures.

Further, bones serve as storehouses for the minerals we ingest, so when the body needs a particular mineral to perform some bodily function, it goes to the bones to get it. These minerals include magnesium, phosphorous, fluoride, and more—all of which are vital for bone strength. If some of the minerals are depleted, your body will substitute a more accessible one—but not without consequences. Minerals are responsible for maintaining the pH balance in the body, facilitating the transfer of nutrients across cell membranes, maintaining proper nerve conduction, helping relax and contract the muscles, and much more. Forcing your body to substitute one for the other could cause any of these important roles minerals play to suffer.

Obesity:
Excess calcium in the body may be a contributing factor to obesity. Too much calcium again leads to mineral imbalances, which in turn make it harder for our cells to get the essential amino acids and glucose needed for good health. As a result, the cells become starved for glucose and the body starts craving simple carbohydrates. The more carbs we eat, the greater chance we have of gaining weight and developing conditions like insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes.

Heart Disease:
Several recent studies show that excess calcium in the body puts us at risk for cardiovascular disease and hypertension. Researchers believe that the calcium that goes unabsorbed in our bodies starts to settle in the arteries, causing them to harden. This is most prevalent in people taking over 1,000 mg of calcium a day.
For example, in one large study, researchers followed a group of 60,000 women for almost two decades. They found that those who ingested the most calcium (1,00mg+) were more likely to develop heart disease. This is because the extra calcium in your body builds up on the inside the arteries. Normally, arteries are elastic enough to flex and pulse with each heartbeat. However, calcium buildup will harden them, which makes it harder for the heart to pump blood through the body. As a result, we are more susceptible to heart attack and stroke.

With stakes this high, it’s important to know how much calcium is really enough. We want to have healthy bones without the worry of gaining weight or developing heart disease. The National Institute of Health puts the upper limit of calcium ingestion at 2,000 mg a day. In reality, you really shouldn’t ingest any more than about 1,000mg of calcium a day. Additionally, you’ll want that 1,000mg to come form your food, not from a supplement. The calcium in food is easier for our bodies to absorb and utilize, reducing the risk of calcium build-up. Since the body can only absorb about 500 mg of calcium at any one time, supplements are often a significant cause of calcium build-up because your body can’t absorb all that calcium at once.


Though you’ve been told a lie about calcium, I don’t want to downplay the fact that bone-loss can be a debilitating problem. It’s also much easier to prevent than it is to resolve. There are many steps you should be taking to ensure proper bone health, such as getting the proper minerals through your diet. This can be as simple as adding more organically grown vegetables in your diet. Vegetables contain a great balance of vitamins and minerals and vegetable juicing is a fast and easy way to give your body the nutrition it needs.

Omega 3 and Vitamin K2 also play important roles in osteoporosis prevention. Flax seed and seafood are two great choices for omega-3; fermented foods (like cheese and natto), spinach, kale, and collard greens for Vitamin K2. Some studies indicate that Vitamin K2 specifically can even increase bone mass and reverse osteoporosis in some people. For calcium-rich foods, try eating a container of yogurt with lunch (contains about 200-300mg of calcium), and incorporating a couple ounces of cheese into any meal (another 200-300mg). You really don’t need much more calcium than that.

Apart from diet changes, sunshine exposure is a great way to keep your bones strong. The Vitamin D that we get from the sun’s rays is vital to bone health and also helps your body absorb the calcium you ingest. 15 to 20 minutes a day is all it takes. Even better, spent those 20 minutes in the sun exercising. Bone is living tissue that requires physical activity in order retain and rebuild itself.

The takeaway here is that there are important steps to take when it comes to preventing bone-loss. So don’t dwell on the calcium lie—otherwise you might find yourself faced with health issues that are easily prevented, but much harder to cure.

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.

Why Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is a Superfood

I would like to share with you some of the “super foods” I have found to have a great effect on maintaining one’s health. These include organic Coconut Oil, Extra virgin Olive Oil, fermented foods, and eggs, all of which I’ll talk about in future newsletters. But for this month, I would like to highlight one of nature’s most useful gifts: organic Apple Cider Vinegar.

Organic ACV has too many different uses to list all of them, but here are a few:
·      Sunburn treatment
·      Hair growth stimulant
·      Shower cleaner
·      Acne treatment
·      Workout booster
·      Deodorant
·      Weed killer
·      Flea repellent
·      Laxative
·      Gout relief
·      And many more!

The power of organic ACV has been known for centuries, dating all the way back to the Ancient Romans and Greeks. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, is said to have used it as his go-to antiseptic. Overtime, this cooking staple has gained a reputation as a natural alternative for ailments such as: sunburns, acne, itch/rashes, infections, and more. There are a number of ways to use it. Here are some examples:

Simply gargling with a mixture of 1 part water, 1 part organic ACV can relieve a sore throat, treat canker sores, and prevent bad breath. Dab the mixture on itchy spots, boils, athlete’s foot, calluses, sunburns, warts, and even varicose veins a couple times a day for relief of redness, swelling, and pain.

You can also create your own apple cider vinegar hair rinse to get rid of product build-up/residue and to seal the hair follicle, making the hair shiny and glossy. Other organic ACV recipes you can find on the web include deodorant, aftershave, skin moisturizer, face mask, etc.. The uses are almost endless.

These claims may sound like nothing more than an old wives’ tale, but there are many reasons, both practical and profound, why I wanted to share this information about organic ACV with you. The typical person’s diet is contaminated with fillers, chemicals, pesticides, and more toxins that can and will harm your body. But unfortunately, the harm doesn’t stop at what you ingest. What you put on your hair and skin is also absorbed into the blood stream, and that often includes ingredients known to be toxic. Some of them have even been linked to cancer, loss of fertility, and Alzheimer’s.

Organic ACV is the perfect natural alternative to these products—and, its only about $6 for a huge bottle of it. You’d spend at least that much on any single hair, face, or body product. So why pay for individual, potentially harmful personal care products when you could get the same benefits from just one—without the harsh chemicals?

But the power of organic ACV reaches even farther than personal care. In addition to the properties I listed above, science is now finding that ACV has the potential to do a lot more for your health then just treat a rash. For one thing, its packed with naturally occurring nutrients, including: Potassium (essential for organ and cellular function), Iron, Magnesium (important for heart health), Enzymes (boost chemical reactions in the body), Acetic acid (slows the digestion of starch), Calcium, Pectin (helps regulate blood pressure and cholesterol), Mycoderma aceti (delivers nutrients and good bacteria) and Alpha hydroxy acid (improves cell regeneration).

Heart-healthy nutrients like potassium and magnesium provide a supply of power and energy to the heart, helping to boost your workout potential and strengthen the heart muscle itself. Scientists also think organic ACV may help stave off some of today’s most common killers—metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and heart disease—by helping regulate blood sugar and normalize blood pressure and cholesterol. It could even help in the fight against obesity by making people feel fuller, thereby managing their hunger.

Whether you’re concerned with preventing heart disease or getting silkier hair, I hope I’ve convinced many of you to try and incorporate organic ACV into your lives. But before you do, there are a few things you should know: ALWAYS buy organic, unpasteurized ACV, and cloudy is better than clear. I suggest drinking a little bit every day, but you MUST dilute it with water (otherwise the acidity could burn your throat and tooth enamel). My recommendation is 2 tsp ACV mixed in 8 oz of water. More ACV recipes and directions, such as household cleaning agents or garden maintenance, can be found with a simple web search.

These days, we tend to underestimate or even ignore all that Mother Nature has provided us with. It doesn’t always make sense to turn to processed food, products, and treatments (if ever). This is where organic ACV comes in. A couple substitutions in your diet or personal care routine can translate to a BIG step in leading a more natural and healthy lifestyle—and may even help keep you out of the doctor’s office longer. 

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 Death that was Completely Preventable

One of my patients, Kathy Mitchell, died from heart disease this past December. Her death left me feeling deeply saddened and somewhat shaken. Kathy passed away at the age of 47 from Cardio Vascular Disease. This was the result of complications caused by Type II Diabetes. She was African American. African Americans are already 20% more at risk then the population as a whole from death caused by a stroke and cardio vascular disease. Kathy first came to see me about 4 months ago. She was on dialysis. Her kidney function was greatly diminished as a result of diabetes. Despite the insulin she was taking for the diabetes and the beta-blocker to lower her blood pressure, she was still in trouble.

iStock-human-diagram-half1.jpg

Unfortunately, Kathy’s case is not unique. Cardio Vascular Disease (CVD) and complications from Type II Diabetes are the second cause of death in the US. There are an estimated 8 million people in this country with undiagnosed Type II Diabetes. But what upset me the most is that, the majority of the time, these conditions are completely preventable; Kathy’s death was completely preventable.

The key to lessening your risk for such common illnesses as Diabetes and heart disease is to catch them as early as possible; then make the necessary life-style changes, which can be as simple as changing your diet. Kathy’s life, for example, could have been drastically different with something as simple as restricting intake of processed food and simple carbs at the very onset of her Diabetes. But before I talk about that, let’s look at ways to catch the progression of Diabetes and CVD, before they become irreversible.

Before Kathy ever had Diabetes or CVD, she had Metabolic Syndrome—the root of these more serious illnesses. Metabolic Syndrome refers to a series of conditions that occur simultaneously and drastically increase a person’s risk of developing diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. These conditions include obesity, hypertension, high blood sugar, abnormal blood cholesterol, and high blood triglycerides. When a person has three or more of these disorders, that person is said to have Metabolic Syndrome, or, equivalently, Insulin Resistance. Insulin resistance occurs just in case a body can produce insulin normally, but is unable to use it effectively. It is the precursor of Type 2 Diabetes. Other risk factors of Metabolic Syndrome include obesity, physical inactivity, poor diet, age, sleep apnea, and hormonal imbalance—all of which are also precursors of Diabetes.

According to the Journal of Diabetes36.1% of adult men and 32.4% of women had metabolic syndrome in the US in 2010; this puts an alarmingly large portion of the population at risk of developing a life-threatening condition. But thankfully, Metabolic Syndrome alone is completely reversible. But time is of the essence; once you actually develop Diabetes, contract heart disease, or have a stroke, it becomes almost impossible to reverse the damage. If you have one or more of the five symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome, but don’t see an immediate need for a life-style change, you should know that many people develop Diabetes unknowingly—that is, until the first complications show up (blurred vision, heart problems, etc.). But by that time, treatment is already less promising. In fact, it takes merely a single night of sleep deprivation for a body to start developing insulin resistance, even in completely healthy people.

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The most important takeaway here is that Metabolic Syndrome is reversible—but, when left unaddressed, leads to much more serious illnesses, and can even result in death. Diabetes, in particular, can cause tragedies like heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, blindness, and even amputations. The number one thing you can do to prevent (or rid yourself of) Metabolic Syndrome and, consequently, Diabetes or Heart Disease, is to maintain a healthy life style at every age, which, as I stated earlier, can be as simple as eating healthy.

This brings me to a second important takeaway: being healthy is not equated with eating fewer calories. It matters where those calories come from; i.e., a calorie is not just a calorie. There is a HUGE difference between eating 2,000 calories of carbs a day versus eating 2,000 calories of fat and protein. Due to growing research in the way carbs and gluten affect our bodies, scientists are starting to see a very negative relationship between brain health and carbohydrates. Dr. David Perlmutter calls this phenomen “Grain Brain” in his New York Times bestseller, also titled Grain Brain. He references studies that specifically link higher levels of blood glucose (a result of eating a lot of carbohydrates) to shrinkage of a critical part of the brain. Several acclaimed journals have come out with reports linking even slight increases in blood glucose to significantly increased risk for developing Dementia. The results of one study in particular showed that people who ate high amounts of Carbohydrates (as compared to those who ate more fat and protein) were 89% more at risk of developing dementia.

It was only recently in the timeline of the human race that we started eating large amounts of carbohydrates. Our bodies evolved in a completely different environment, producing a genome that thrived most when nourished with healthy fats and protein. As a result, we are now seeing many harmful side effects of eating large amounts of refined carbs, including but not limited to, depression, cognitive dysfunction, obesity, and, subsequently, Diabetes. But just as the causes of these conditions can be traced back to diet, so too their cures. One study comparing Diabetes patients on a standard, low-fat “diabetes” diet versus those on the Paleo diet showed that patients on the Paleo diet had greater improvements in weight, blood sugar, triglycerides, blood pressure and waist circumference.

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With this in mind, I would suggest a diet low in simple carbohydrates and grains when it comes to tackling Metabolic syndrome (or any of the other conditions it causes). The Paleo diet is a practice I embrace clinically and personally. I also suggest the Mediterranean diet, which includes olive oil as the main source of fat, plenty of vegetables and fruits, legumes, a moderate-to-high amount of fish and seafood, small quantities of red meat and dairy products, and moderate amounts of wine. The most general advice I can give is to always avoid processed foods, especially any industrial seed oils, like Canola oil or Vegetable oil, which are tremendously processed and often contain harmful chemicals.

Diet change should also be supplemented by moderate exercise for 30-60 minutes a day for the best results. This can be as simple as taking a walk. But if you can’t fit a walk in everyday, try standing at your desk as opposed to sitting; you’ll burn 75% more calories that way.

If Kathy’s doctors had advised her to make any of these changes, she might still be here today. Instead of addressing her Metabolic Syndrome before it progressed, she was given medical attention only after she had already developed diabetes. By that stage, most doctors treat their patients merely by giving them insulin. Because insulin feeds off of glucose, patients then tend to crave even more carbs—the very thing that caused their condition in the first place! Kathy motivated me to write this newsletter precisely because her death was no unnecessary. No one should have to die from a disease that is entirely preventable. Kathy’s life may have been spared if only more doctors were looking for Metabolic Syndrome in its early stages and advocating low-carb diets and exercise, as opposed to prescribing useless pills after it is already too late.

Ultimately, our diets are one of the best tools we have for living a long and healthy life, even when it seems like more and more practitioners are relying on pills and medication. Eating healthy is never something that one does unnecessarily, gratuitously, or overcautiously. It can, however, be something that you do too late.

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.

How much do you know about living a healthy life? What is your Health IQ?

Here are some easy questions to find out.

(the answers are at the end of the questions)

 

1. What is the health significance of skin tag?

2.Which of these disease conditions are caused by Type ll Diabetes?

Glaucoma, cataracts and other eye problems, numbness in the feet, increased skin infections, high blood pressure (Hypertension), depression, inability to deal with natural emotions like sadness and anger, hearing Loss, gum disease, Gastroparesis, Neuropathy (nerve damage), Kidney disease, Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) and Stroke

3. What is the main cause of Type ll Diabetes?

4. What is the most common cause of high cholesterol?

5.. What is one of the main causes of high blood pressure?

6. What is one of the main causes of Alzheimer ’s disease?

7. What is the main cause of heart and blood vessel disease?

8.Do you experience any discomforts associated with your menstrual cycle, or resulting from menopause or perimenopause?

9. What is one of the main causes of erectile dysfunction?

10. What food sensitivity is often implicated in all these health conditions?

    Osteoporosis, irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, cancer, fatigue, canker sores, and rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and almost all other autoimmune diseases. Many psychiatric (vi) and neurological diseases, including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, dementia, migraines, epilepsy, and neuropathy (nerve damage). It has also been linked to autism.

    11. What is one of the major causes of death in the US and what is its cause?

    12. Percentage of the US population that is overweight or obese?

    13. Percentage of the US population that is prediabetic?

    14. What foods will help you loose weight the quickest?

    15. What is the world ranking of the US in terms of life expectancy?

    16. What part of your body contains 70% of you immune system?

    Answers:

    1. Skin tags are an indication of a potential risk for Type 2 Diabetes.

    2. All of the illness listed are all a direct result of Type 2 Diabetes.

    Questions 3 through 7: A diet high in grains and refined carbohydrates.

    Here is a link to more information about question #7 http://www.diabetes.co.uk/type3-diabetes.html

    8. Often time health issues related to a woman's menstrual cycle or age are homonal in nature, but many time diet has a significant impact on the overal hormonal healht of a woman.

    9. You might think it is low testosterone. It is not! It is a diet high in grains and carbohydrates.

    10. All of the inness listed in question #10 are often a result of consuming gluten which is found in wheat, rye and barley. A review paper in The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 "diseases" that can be caused by eating gluten.

    11: 35% of all deaths are related to heart and blood vessel disease.

    12. Sixty percent of men and woman over the age of 25 are overweight or obese.

    13. Most people don’t even know that they are prediabetic of have Metabolic Syndrome.

    In 2005–2008, based on fasting glucose or A1C levels, 35 percent of U.S. adults ages 20 years or older had prediabetes—50 percent of those ages 65 years or older. You can guess that these statistic are not going down. http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/statistics/#Pre-diabetesY20

    14. Fats and protein.

    15. The US ranks 26th our of 36 of the most industrialized countries.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/21/us-life-expectancy-oecd_n_4317367.html

    16. Your digestive tract contain 70% of immune system. I included this question to emphases the relationship of what you eat and your immune system.

    What do all these questions have in common?

    I think you guessed by now, a diet high in grains and simple carbohydrates.

    If health is a choice for most of us, the first step to making that choice is to eat in a way that supports your health. Find out just how healthy you are.

    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. (All blood work needed for this assessment is covered by your health insurance). For more information, or to schedule a free consultation and evaluation please call Digestive Health Ann Arbor at (734) 222-8210 or visit www.digestivehealth-annarbor.com.

    For more information on the impact of grains and carbohydrates on your health please please read an article just published in the Crazy Wisdom Journal on page 46. http://issuu.com/cwcommunityjournal/docs/issue_56_4_web?e=9760045/6156842

    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.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      How to Live Well: A Closer Look of the Impact of Food, Nutrition & Health

      How to Live Well: A Closer Look the Impact of Food, Nutrition & Health

       

      Chronic disease is a serious problem. People get sick every year with easily preventable diseases, and spend more and more money to heal. We must learn to use the incredible scientific innovation and resources in our country to better combat these issues as a nation.

       

      According to the CDC: Chronic disease is a public health crisis.

      -          Deadly: Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women

      -          No one is safe: Diabetes affects 25.8 million people (CDC)

      -          Expensive: 75% of our health care dollars goes toward the treatment of chronic illness

      -          Growing Problem: 65% of all men and woman over 25 are overweight or obese.

      For most people health is a choice, but you need the right information to make the best decisions. In the following article we will talk about how poor nutrition leads to chronic disease and what you can do to prevent it.

       

      Section A

       

      The Three Basic Molecules of Nutrition: Proteins, Carbs, and Fats

      No matter what you eat, this is where it ends up. Basic nutrition is all about these three main components. Staying healthy depends on eating the appropriate amount of each. To prevent disease, it’s all about managing insulin and glucose, which all gets back to eating minimal carbs.

       

      1. Proteins:

      Proteins are the source of life itself. They do a lot of cool things, chief among them DNA assembly. Proteins also are used for food and energy, body repair and growth. They are what make up our skin, muscle, hair, and nails, as well as neurotransmitters, enzymes, and hormones. To make proteins useful, our guts break them down into what’s known as amino acids. And just try to eat too much of them- it won’t happen. The body won’t let you. The body has a mechanism for making sure you never, ever overeat them. 

       

      2. Carbohydrates:

      Technically, carbohydrates include everything from wood to grass to apples to bread.  Depending on how you link carbohydrates together, you can have anything from a bowl of pasta to a pine tree. Our body, however, has no use for bark. Unlike the multi-tool protein, sugar is only used for energy production.

       

      It all starts with what are called “monosaccharides.” The two monosaccharides, or sugars, we will follow most closely are glucose (the main sugar used for energy in our bodies) and fructose (a relative of glucose). Everything boils down to glucose. Our bodies need to break down all sugars (whether they be disaccharides or polysaccharides) into glucose, which is the only form of carbohydrate that can pass through the gut wall to be used for energy. This is why if we eat too much of it, it can tax our bodies. It takes a lot of energy to whittle those sugars down into glucose-bites.

       

      Also unlike proteins, our body has no mechanism for controlling our carb consumption. This is why we can just keep eating and eating all that pizza…

       

      3. Fructose

      Fructose is what you really have to look out for. While it is naturally occurring in most fruit, fructose is everywhere in processed foods. And it doesn’t do a whole lot besides make us sick. Fructose actually serves zero purpose- it can’t be used for energy by your body, and as we already know, carbs (sugars) only have that one purpose anyway. Fructose can cause obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes. It also can feed pathogenic bacteria in the gut, make us forgetful, and damage the liver.

       

      3. Fats:

      Fat has a really bad reputation these days. There are a lot of fad diets out there that tell people the best way to lose weight and get healthy is by cutting out fat. Actually, a good way to lose fat is by cutting out unhealthy fats. But fat itself is really good for us. Our body is designed to run on fat as a source of energy, which it converts into ketones bodies. Scientific research shows that diets rich in monounsaturated and Omega-3 fats actually reduce instances of obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and cognitive decline.

       

      Just like protein, it’s impossible to overeat fat. Except the fat that you combine with, say, sugar, and chocolate flavoring to make, oh I don’t know, ice cream. It’s possible to overeat ice cream precisely because it has carbs (sugar) in it.

       

      Section B

       

      Hormones: Insulin, Blood Glucose, Glucagon, Leptin, Ghrelin, Adiponectin, Peptide YY, Cortisol and IGF_1

      Besides the three main nutritional building blocks, our body also runs on a series of important hormones. Below are some of the most important hormones for understanding digestive function and health.

       

      1. Insulin

      Critical in regulating blood sugar, body fat, and aging, it’s important to keep insulin levels low by controlling carb intake and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Too much insulin can be extremely inflammatory. According to Dr. Cordain, 35% of all heart disease and blood vessel disease are related to mismanaged insulin and glucose.

       

      2. Blood Glucose

      Blood Glucose is basically glucose that has left the digestive tract and is now in the blood, traveling around to be utilized by the body. It’s important because red blood cells and certain parts of the brain need it and it alone to run properly. However, we are better off if we can run the body on mostly fat. Our bodies actually have the capability of making glucose from fats and proteins, so this blood glucose could come from carbs or from proteins and fats converted into glucose.

       

      3. Glucagon

      Released from the liver, glucagon allows us to access our body fat for energy which helps normalize blood sugar and energy levels between meals. Insulin and glucagon play complementary roles in the maintenance of energy levels by storing and releasing nutrients at the right time. While insulin facilitates the passage of nutrients into cells, glucagon releases nutrients in cells to be used or energy. Decreased blood glucose levels, among other signifiers, stimulate it. Under normal circumstances, glucagon is stored in the liver and muscle tissues for later use.

       

      4. Leptin

      Leptin tells us when we’re full. It regulates both appetite and metabolism. Produced by white adipose tissue (fat cells) and the cells lining the wall of the stomach, Leptin heads towards the central nervous system where it communicates directly with the brain.

       

      5. Ghrelin

      Ghrelin tells us when we are hungry and low on energy. It is greatly impacted by too little sleep and high levels of stress. It is produced all over the body- in the stomach lining, the pancreas, and other

      tissues.

       

      6. Adiponectin

      Another hormone that tells us we’ve had enough to eat, Adiponectin also protects our arteries from oxidative damage. Though it is secreted by adipose (fat) tissue, it has been found that people with high levels of adiponectin actually have a lower percentage of body fat.

       

      7. Peptide YY (a.k.a. PYY)

      Another satiety hormone. Protein and fat release a lot of PYY, whereas carbohydrates release relatively little. PYY is a gut hormone that plays a synergistic role with leptin in helping us feel satisfied after a fatty (not carb rich) meal.

       

      8. Cortisol

      Cortisol does a lot of things, but in relationship to the topic of this article, w’re only going to talk about what it does with blood sugar. Made in the adrenal glands, cortisol raises blood sugar levels which can lead to fat gain. Spikes in cortisol occur through lack of sleep and stress. In fact, it’s often referred to as “the stress hormone.” It increases blood pressure and lowers the activity of the immune system. It can trigger the breakdown of muscle mass by converting protein into glucose. Too much cortisol can decrease insulin sensitivity, lower the bone formation rate, and diminish skin collagen and connective tissue. However, by and large cortisol is a helpful hormone because it serves as an anti-inflammatory. To avoid developing too much cortisol, avoid: intense or prolonged physical activities, caffeine, sleep deprivation, stress, and certain contraceptives.  

       

      9. Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF_1)

      Just enough IGF_1 aids in physical recovery, but too much increases our likelihood for cancer and our rate of aging. IGF-1 also helps kids grow, promotes cell maintenance and stress resistance. Exercise, stress and nutrition all affect IGF-1 levels.

       

      Section C

       

      Comparing Healthy and Unhealthy States: The Physiology of Digestion

      Now we have met all the contributing players in the digestion/endocrinology game, we will begin to understand Type 2 diabetes, various types of cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, infertility, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis and, of course, our bodies homeostasis: wellness.

      What happens to our bodies when we eat too much, too little, and just enough? In the next section we will use what we have learned to evaluate a “normal” fed state where we eat exactly as much as we need (isocaloric), a “fasted” state (hypocaloric) and an “overfed” state (hypercaloric).

       

      What happens to the body in a “normal” fed state?

      You’ve decided to marinade then roast some salmon. The protein in the salmon is broken down into individual amino acids. The amino acids can now go one of two ways. Either the liver will absorb them and use them for its own functioning, or the amino acids will circulate to the blood where they will help primarily with growth, repair, and energy production.

       

      You’ve also decided to make some pasta with a white wine sauce to go with the salmon. Digestion breaks down the carbs into free glucose, and the glucose makes its way from intestines to liver. Its fate can go one of a few ways, too. Free glucose releases insulin from the pancreas, which activates glucose transport molecules. These glucose transport molecules facilitate blood glucose absorption by the liver, where it is then stored as a form of starch called glucogen.

      What tips the scales in an “overfed” state?

       

      Some people are able to eat everything they want and never gain a pound, while others just look at food and it creeps on their wastes. The secret is not calores-in and calories-out, but rather hormones and food choice.

       

      All the satiety hormones we discussed previously in this essay are complex sensors which let us know when we are “full.” This is why hormones such as leptin are so important. Food choice is also very important. Certain foods affect our sense of satiety and can wreak havoc on various physiological functions.

       

      If instead of eating the amount of salmon our body needs, we instead continue to eat, the protein is still broken down into amino acids. These amino acids will also still be either converted to glucose or burned directly as fuel. While proten can add to overall caloric excess, it is virtually impossible to overeat protein due to the potent satiety signal sent to the brain. Because of our bodies strong response to excess protein, its good to base meals around protein-rich foods, which will tell us to stop eating before we eat too much.

       

      Now, if we start with the pasta before we eat the salmon, we’ve got a different story. If we eat too much pasta, digestion will still break down the carbs into free glucose, and the glucose will make its way from the intestines to the liver. However, we filled up our liver with so much pasta that now excess carbohydrates are converted to fat molecules called VLDL (very low-density lipoprotein) within the liver. The fat is then released from the liver and heads out to the body to be used as fuel or be stored as adipose tissue.

       

      1. VLDLs skyrocket

      VLDL’s are the most inflammatory of the four cholesterol particles (LDL, HDL, IDL, and VLDL). Once released, VLDL’s move all over the body, including the brain. Once inside the brain, VLDL’s can make the hypothalamus (responsible for energy regulation inside the brain) leptin resistant, destroying our normal satiety signal and leading to future over-eating.

      2. Insulin Resistance

       

      This process happens in waves, much like the ocean eroding a sand castle. The liver becomes insulin resistant and blood glucose drives up higher. Insulin sensitivity inour muscle tissue is finally lost when the muscles can physically store no more glycogen. They are literally drowining in glucose. The blood sugar continues to increase, insulin skyrockets, and eventually even the fat cells become resistant to insulin. Insulin resistance is considered the half-way mark to Type 2 diabetes.

       

      3. Cortisol Production

      Once systemic, full-body insulin resistance occurs, the liver is overwhelmed. Blood glucose is turned into fats and VLDLs so quickly that fat cannot escape into circulation, and it builds up within the liver. This is the beginning of what is known as non-alcoholic fatty-liver disease. Even though the liver is literally swimming in glucose at this point, the liver is also insulin resistant so it actually believes that the body has low blood sugar. Your body is worried about the low blood sugar, because if it falls too low you can die. So your body starts producing cortisol, the stress hormone, and it’s like throwing gasoline in a fire.

       

      4. Full System Meltdown

      Cortisol is released to combat the perceived low blood glucose levels, even though your body at this point clearly has way too much.  The body begins to make more glucose by cannibalizing its own tissues. Muscles and organs are “burned” to make more glucose. Remember, the muscles are where the body deals with elevated blood glucose in the first place! So not only is our body producing more glucose, its also doing so by depleting our first line of defense when it comes to lowering glucose levels in the body.

       

      This is why Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance is effectively a wasting disease of the muscles, while fat cells grow exponentially. Fat is stored in the abdominal region because of the high insulin, blood sugar, and triglycerides. This waistline fat is the telltale sign of insulin resistance. The stage is now set for chronically elevated insulin levels, and all the other complications that brings such as increased cancer rates, accelerated aging, neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, obesity, and ultimately Type 2 Diabetes which is characterized by insulin resistance and chronically elevated blood glucose levels.

       

      5. AGE’s and Physiological Degeneration

      We’ve seen above how glucose can serve as a toxic substance, even though it is critical for bodily function. Sugars can oxidize and form “advanced glycation end products” (AGEs) which damage proteins, enzymes, DNA, and hormonal receptor sites. AGEs are a major cause of the symptoms we take to be normal aging, and can also cause several degenerative diseases.

       

      6. The link toHigh Cholesterol

      When glucose binds to low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol), it prevents the LDL from binding to receptors that tell the liver to stop manufacturing cholesterol.  As a result, the liver “thinks” there’s a shortage of cholesterol in the body and continues to produce more.  This is one reason why diabetes is almost always associated with high cholesterol levels.

       

      Section D

      How to Live Well: Digestive Health Ann Arbor

      For most of us, health is a choice. Provided the right information and enough support, we can all achieve optimal health and wellness. If you or a loved one suffers from chronic diseases, food allergies, or wants to make sure they are living as healthfully as possible, it is important that they seek professional health. As we have pointed out in this article, following the right nutritional balance is crucial to living well. In order to find the right nutritional balance for you, you need a nutritional path tailored to meet your needs. For more information, please call Digestive Health Ann Arbor at (734) 726-0153

       

      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. (All blood work needed for 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.

      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.