May 25, 2015

320 Our Gut Microbiome & Our Brain [25 May 2015]

Last fall (#287 & #288) I discussed how our gut microbiome (the bacteria in our intestines) affect our health in many ways, and how it in turn is affected by our diet and lifestyle choices.

In his new 2015 book Brain Maker, the Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect your Brain – For Life, neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter expands on this idea with new research into the relationship between our microbiome and our brain health. The book discusses the gut microbiome’s effect on: inflammation; mood disorders like depression; diabetes and obesity; and neurological disorders like autism, ADHD, Parkinson’s, MS and Alzheimer’s.

These bacteria living in our digestive tract make up 99% of the DNA in our bodies, and affect our health in several ways:
• manufacture neurochemicals like dopamine and serotonin, and vitamins like B12;
• maintain the integrity of the gut lining preventing “leaky gut syndrome”; and
• control switches that can turn our own genes on or off.

Leaky gut and inflammation seems to be the keys to the common brain disorders mentioned above. Gut permeability can be measured by measuring levels of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) antibodies – higher blood levels indicate a leaky gut. Strong correlations have been found between LPS levels and many of these chronic disorders, including diabetes. Correlation of course doesn’t necessarily mean causation, but Dr. Perlmutter made some interesting observations after correcting gut flora with fecal transplants (see #243) in a few case studies: Carlos, a 43 year old man with MS who could barely walk with two canes, could now walk unaided; and Jason, a 10 year old boy with severe autism showed remarkable improvements.

While our own DNA has changed little in thousands of years, we can change the 99% of the DNA in our bodies that are found in the gut microbiome in a matter of days – and in so doing significantly reduce our risk for these neurological conditions – simply by changing our diets. More about this in a future article.

Sources: Dr. Perlmutter interview (1 hour)

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

May 18, 2015

319 Increasing Glutathione – Who Can Benefit? [18 May 2015]

Last week (#318) I showed you how to raise your glutathione levels. Which brings up the question of who would benefit from increasing glutathione.

In medicine we think of one drug for one disease, and are taught to be skeptical of “panaceas” that promise everything. But in natural healing many different nutrients must work together to improve one condition; and a single nutrient can improve many different conditions. Glutathione is a perfect example of the latter because its powerful antioxidant properties make it essential for health in every cell of the body.

You could benefit from increasing glutathione levels if you:
• want to look and feel younger – as we age our bodies produce less glutathione
• are an athlete – improves strength, endurance and reduces recovery time
• are a smoker, welder, mechanic, chemical farmer, consume alcohol, or are otherwise exposed to chemical toxins – protects your organs from damage
• use a cell phone or WIFI, are exposed to microwaves or ultraviolet radiation – protects cells from radiation damage
• have a chronic disease like asthma, Alzheimer’s, Lupus, Parkinson’s, arthritis, macular degeneration – all associated with low glutathione
• are fighting a viral infection such as a cold, hepatitis, herpes, bronchitis, pneumonia, even AIDS – strengthens the immune system to fight infections
• have impaired or diseased organs including heart, liver, kidneys, prostate, stomach, intestines, colon – all benefit from increased glutathione
• have atherosclerosis (risk for heart attack & stroke) – prevents lipid peroxidation and plaque formation
• are healing from trauma – promotes growth of healthy new tissue
• want to sleep better – promotes better more restful sleep
• are sick and tired of feeling sick and tired – supports mitochondria to produce more energy
• are healthy and want to stay that way – helps prevent all above conditions

Immunotec website
Nutraxis website

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

May 11, 2015

318 How to Raise Glutathione [11 May 2015]

I have previously written about glutathione (#304), explaining why it is the most important antioxidant in your body. A few weeks ago (#315) I promised to show you how to raise your glutathione levels.

To review: glutathione is composed of three amino acids – L-cysteine, L-glutamic acid and glycine, and the mineral selenium. Cysteine is a sulfur-containing amino acid. Simply taking glutathione supplements does not raise glutathione levels – it is broken down in digestion; we have to consume the precursors and let our bodies synthesize it where needed.

Of the three amino acids, cysteine is the hardest to get from our diet. Free cysteine, like glutathione, is broken down in digestion. Two special forms do survive the digestive process: N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) and bonded cysteine (also called cystine). NAC is available as a supplement and in higher doses as a prescription drug. It is commonly used in clinical situations but has some side effects and safety concerns, so is not recommended for general use or for children. Cystine is found in whey from raw cow’s milk, processed in a special way to avoid breaking the sulfur bonds. Regular whey supplements will not contain any cystine.

Other factors required to increase glutathione include:
Selenium – a co-factor for the enzyme glutathione peroxidase
• Vitamins B1 & B2 – help maintain glutathione in its active form
• Vitamins B6 & B12 – play a role in glutathione synthesis
• Folic acid – directs cysteine into production of glutathione rather than homocysteine (a risk factor for heart disease)
• Vitamin C – supports glutathione production and activity
• Vitamin D3 – increases glutathione production
• Vitamin E – protects and recharges glutathione
• Minerals magnesium and zinc – also essential for glutathione production
• Silymarin from the herb milk thistle – has been shown to increase glutathione

Source: Immune Health Solutions website. Be sure to scroll down and watch the Dr. Mark Hyman video clip.

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

May 4, 2015

317 Nutritional Psychiatry [4 May 2015]

Nutritional psychiatry (NP) is a branch of science that uses nutrients to treat psychiatric symptoms and mood and anxiety disorders. Bonnie Kaplan is a professor at the U. of Calgary and a researcher in nutritional psychiatry. A recent interview with Kaplan for the Economic Times was published online March 20, 2015, as “Nutritional psychiatry can be an effective treatment”.

In the interview, Kaplan made these six points:

1. NP is a new science, less than 15 years old. Kaplan is researching the use of a broad spectrum nutrient formula to treat psychiatric symptoms and mental disorders.

2. NP is effective because normal brain function requires micronutrients. Mental illness can result if any nutrients are in insufficient supply. In one case study a young boy with bipolar disorder who was regressing (getting worse) during six years of conventional treatment, was completely cured after 14 months with nutritional treatment.

3. Many psychiatrists are opposed to nutritional psychiatry. They are trained in drug therapy and are uninterested in normal brain metabolism. Government funding is difficult to obtain because of the lack of support by conventional medicine.

4. Pharmaceutical companies are not interested in NP because it is less profitable. In another case study, a young boy suffering from severe psychosis had been treated conventionally with no improvement, then successfully treated with nutritional therapy at less than 1% of the cost.

5. NP cannot always totally replace drugs; in some cases it complements drug therapy. Kaplan believes the ideal situation would be for nutrition to be the primary therapy and medication play a supportive role when needed.

6. NP is not just about supplementation but includes a diet of high quality nutritious food for its vitamin, mineral and phytonutrient content.

To learn more about nutritional psychiatry and the broad spectrum nutrient formula visit or phone 888-878-3467.

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner. See this article on my website for links to sources and further reading.