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There is now considerable scientific evidence that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can improve human health and protect against chronic diseases. However, it is not clear whether different fruits and vegetables have distinct beneficial effects. A paper in Nutrients published in May 2015 helps to tease apart some of the key mechanisms involved related to the consumption of apples. Read the rest of this entry »
Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity Triggers Gut Dysbiosis, Neuroinflammation, Gut-Brain Axis Dysfunction, and Vulnerability for Dementia
A paper published in the journal CNS Neurology Disorders Drug Targets highlights some of the areas of dysfunction liked to adverse exposure to gluten and subsequent effects on functionality.
The non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) is a chronic functional gastrointestinal disorder which is very common world-wide.
The human gut harbours microbiota which has a wide variety of microbial organisms; they are mainly symbiotic and important for well-being. However, “dysbiosis” – i.e. an alteration in normal commensal gut microbiome with an increase in pathogenic microbes, impacts homeostasis/health. Read the rest of this entry »
Food, Bugs, Transcription Factors and Genetics In Gastrointestinal And (Mucosal) Immune Function: How to Leverage Our Current Understandings to Achieve Better Local and Systemic Health Outcomes.
The incidence of chronic illness, autoimmune disease and multiple conditions that manifest as inflammatory driven and functionally depleting states are exponentially rising, presenting clinicians with increasingly complicated cases to manage and resolve. Yet genetic drift alone cannot account for the rapid increase in incidence, and lifestyle and environmental pressures are recognised as strong candidates for cause and resolution. Hence, it is increasingly rare that a single point of intervention of treatment or modality is adequate to mitigate risk or resolve problems of these illnesses and as such a multipoint approach is increasingly attractive and necessary. Read the rest of this entry »
Historic Artefacts, Secret Messages and Code Breakers, Undercover Organisms & Organelles and Diplomatic Relationships; Inside the World of Mucosal Immunology, Health and Disease.
As complex organisms surviving in a world of molecular and physical challenges our long ancestry has meant we have evolved a remarkably complex system of defence and repair. Regular insults have played a major role in natural selection traits and diverse defence mechanisms have evolved to support our survival and reproduction in the face of substantive risk.
The result is our beautiful, intricate and complex immune system, in which we have developed two primary structural divisions, one that is encoded through our genes (germ line encoded: innate) and needs little or no education to be up and running and one that requires coercion, education and evolution (adaptive: cellular and humoral) to provide us with an exquisite and contextual set of defensive capabilities and enduring molecular memories. Read the rest of this entry »
A Meta-Analysis of the Utility of C-Reactive Protein, Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate, Faecal Calprotectin, and Faecal Lactoferrin to Exclude Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Adults With IBS.
A paper in the American Journal of Gastroenterology looks at various markers to see if it is possible to use them to differentiate between IBS and IBD.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is viewed as a diagnosis of exclusion by most providers. The aim of our study was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the utility of C-reactive protein (CRP), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), faecal calprotectin, and faecal lactoferrin to distinguish between patients with IBS and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and healthy controls (HCs). Read the rest of this entry »
The relationships between magnesium deficiency and human health are extensive. Whilst this is an animal model the possibility that some of the benefits seen from magnesium supplementation may be mediated through its effects on the gut microbiota is an interesting twist.
The paper published in Acta Neuropsychiatry in Feb 2015 sheds some light on the possible mechanisms involved. Read the rest of this entry »
There is an increasing interest in understanding how the ‘Western diet’ affects immunity. Many people across the globe have adopted this diet, and epidemiological studies have revealed that it correlates with a high incidence of chronic inflammatory disorders, including diabetes, multiple sclerosis and asthma. Nevertheless, because the Western diet includes a large proportion of red meat, sugars, fats and refined carbohydrates and relatively small amounts of vegetables, fruits and fish, it is likely that the causative component of its associated pathologies is not a single entity but a complex array of unbalanced abundance of micronutrients in the diet. A review paper in Nature Immunology takes some of the emerging data, and mixes it with history and future analytics to provide a good overview of where incidence of confidence lies, and where it is going.
Mechanism, mechanism, mechanism
The immune system is complex in its array of cell types and their functions, but is also highly integrated in all body systems. Beyond their classic role in fighting pathogens and pathogen products, cells of the immune system play important parts in tissue homeostasis. Furthermore, immunological functions are not restricted to cells of the immune system but are an integral part of most cell types. Immunological functions are always active, but they are called upon especially in times of tissue damage and the presence of invading microorganisms. Immune system activity is metabolically demanding, requiring a greater presence of metabolites and substrates. Hence, the typical epidemiological studies used to explore risks and benefits may not always establish a direct link between nutritional deficiencies and classic immunological functions. In addition, the effects of nutritional deficiencies may become apparent only upon challenge of an organism, such as an infection or vaccination, during stress on a particular tissue or when confounding environmental or genetic factors are at play.
Without basic science and mechanistic insights, any guidelines and health claims will remain compromised, open to speculation and of substantial concern to scientists, clinicians and decision-makers. Reliable scientific evidence underpins accurate nutritional advice and effective public-health policies that determine the optimal consumption of macro- and micronutrients in health and disease. Currently, even at the population-wide level, the optimal intake of many nutritional components is uncertain and is based on limited data, with undetermined baseline ranges for physiological concentrations. Nevertheless, some molecular pathways have been studied in sufficient detail to reveal nutritional sensing strategies that shape and define the fate of cells of the immune system and disease outcomes. Some amino acids, fats (such as omega-3 fatty acids) and vitamins (notably vitamin A and vitamin D) can be included in this category.
Plant phytochemicals, bacterial agents and others are gradually revealing their unique role in the generation and maintenance of a healthy human immune system and may also be regarded as having evidence of a substantive nature.
 Veldhoen M, Veiga-Fernandes H. Feeding immunity: skepticism, delicacies and delights. Nat Immunol. 2015 Feb 17;16(3):215-9. View Abstract
Blood, Bulbs, and Bunodonts: on Evolutionary Ecology and the Diets of Ardipithecus, Australopithecus, and Early Homo
Researchers and contemporary nutrition scientists, media and individuals have long debated how and what our ancestors ate. One of the early proposals by Charles Darwin hypothesised that the hunting of game animals was a defining feature of early hominids, linked with both upright walking and advanced tool use and that isolated these species from their closest relatives (such as ancestors of chimpanzees); contemporised versions of this hypothesis exist to this day. Other insist that while our ancestors’ diets did include meat, it was predominantly scavenged and not hunted. Still others argue that particular plant foods such as roots and tubers were of greater importance than meat in the diets of these species. You know the routine, depending on the veracity of the proponent, one or other tends to become contextualised and propagated as the correct, or at least the closest to correct as someone can be in the 21st century. Read the rest of this entry »
It has been proposed that risk for developing the autoimmune condition coeliac disease (CD) may be linked to the time that the infant is weaned to consume gluten containing foods. However, the timing of gluten introduction into an infant’s diet does not appear to influence a child’s subsequent risk of developing CD investigators report in an article published online January 19 in Pediatrics. The new finding, from a multinational prospective birth cohort study, challenges some current ideas on how best to prevent the onset of the autoimmune disorder. Read the rest of this entry »