Archive for May, 2017

Biofilms and their potential to cause Chronic Infections

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

We’ve been working with biofilms in our clients at New Leaf for around 4 years now.  Medically it takes at least 9 months of very strong anti-biotics (imagine the damage!) to break down the biofilms enough to release the old and hidden infections that are creating low level inflammation in the body…  Herbs, nutrients, kinesiology, acupuncture, Chi Nei Tsang abdominal massage – working together – work so much faster than damaging anti-biotics…

Biofilms form when bacteria adhere to surfaces in aqueous environments and begin to excrete a slimy, glue-like substance that can anchor them to all kinds of material. In a healthy gut that is filled with beneficial microflora, the biofilm that they create is thin mucus. This healthy gut biofilm is moistening, lubricating and anti-inflammatory and allows the passage of nutrients through the intestinal wall. Conversely, an unhealthy gut biofilm will promote inflammation and protect bacteria, parasites and yeast from the immune system and even the strongest medications (both herbal and pharmaceutical-grade).

In general, bacteria have two life forms during growth and proliferation. In one form, the bacteria exist as single, independent cells (planktonic bacteria) whereas in the other form, bacteria are organised into a biofilm aggregate. Acute infections are assumed to involve planktonic bacteria, which are generally treatable. However, where the bacteria succeed in forming a biofilm within the human host, the infection often turns out to be hard to treat and often develops into a chronic state. The important hallmarks of chronic biofilm-based infections are extreme resistance to antibiotics and many other antimicrobial agents, and an extreme capacity for evading the host defences.

Biofilms have the potential to cause a tremendous array of infections and diseases, and there is little doubt that biofilms are part of the ‘pathogenic mix’ that cause most or all chronic “autoimmune” and inflammatory diseases.
Biofilm are held together by a protective exopolysaccharide (EPS) matrix. This matrix protects the bacteria from oxidative damage caused by antimicrobial agents and increases their resistance. One of the most effective ways to eliminate biofilm is to dissolve the EPS matrix with enzymes. The EPS matrix consists of proteins, nucleotides and saccharides. Specialized enzymes can break those components down, reducing them which weakens the matrix. For example, proteases can be used to break down the proteins that compose the EPS matrix. Glucoamylase, pectinase, cellulase and beta-glucanse can break down saccharides. Enzymes have the capacity to dissolve both bacterial and yeast biofilms.

 

If you suspect biofilms are part of your health challenges, call us on 3348 6098

Madonna Guy ND
New Leaf Natural Therapies
3348 6098
healthteam@newleafnaturaltherapies.com.au

The Reason for the Season: Why do we get more colds in winter!??

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

Colds appear more prevalent when it is cold out. However, in terms of infectious illnesses, it is the germs that make us sick, not cold weather itself. We have to come in contact with rhinoviruses to catch a cold and we need to be infected with influenza viruses to contract the flu. Rhinoviruses peak in spring and autumn, and influenza viruses peak in the winter.

There are many reasons why we are more likely to get sick in the winter months:

Cold Temperatures

Cold weather may help some germs prosper. Research from the National Institute of Health suggests that in cold temperatures, flu viruses are more stable; the outer shell of flu virus particles get tougher and more hardy so they survive longer. Low humidity also helps the virus particles remain in the air because the viruses float in the air in small respiratory droplets. When the air is humid, those droplets pick up water, grow larger and fall to the ground.

The cold air also makes it harder for the hairs and mucus in our noses to protect us from germs. The dryness can thicken the mucus and clog the cilia that sweep mucus from our nasal cavity into the back of the throat.

Some research suggests that both the cold air from outdoors as well as the dry air from indoors may play a role in protecting the aerosol droplets we sneeze and cough into the air, allowing them to spread more easily from one sick person to another. Add to that the confined spaces with air heating systems that recirculate the air from those who have the virus which causes the cold and it’s a perfect recipe.

Gene Activity

Researchers have found the seasons affect gene activity. A recent study found that up to a quarter of our DNA actually changes with the seasons; during the Winter months our bodies increase the levels of many of the genes linked with inflammation, triggering the signs of swelling and discomfort that our bodies use to protect us from colds and the flu.

Similar seasonal changes occur in various components of the immune system. A further study found gene expression in red blood cells shifted with the seasons.

In the summer, a different set of genes are more highly expressed, including some that help regulate our blood sugar, potentially curbing cravings and helping us burn off excess fat. Researchers looking at 1,000 people from six different countries studied people’s genes and how they changed over time according to their location and exposure to sunlight. They found that in Europe, the expression of inflammatory genes got ramped up during the Winter months. But in Gambia, where there is virtually no Winter, these inflammatory genes were amplified in the rainy months, when mosquito populations are at their peak and the risk of malaria is the highest.

Boost your health during these colder months

  • Wash hands — The number one way to stop the spread of germs. Experts recommend washing hands every few hours and in particular after using the toilet, before meals and after using the keyboard at work etc.
  • Keep exercising – Research has shown that regular exercise strengthens our immune system so it can fight off bacterial and viral infections. When our blood is pumping, immune cells circulate through our body more quickly helping to seek and destroy infections. This boost only lasts for a few hours, so exercise needs to be regular for long-term effects.
  • Eat well – Various foods, herbs and spices help to reduce inflammation, and boost the immune system e.g. turmeric, garlic and omega-3 fatty acids. Dark leafy greens and red and yellow vegetables are all high in antioxidants too.
    Supplements
    Vitamin A – Essential for mucous membrane health. Cod liver oil is a good source of vitamin A.
    Vitamin C – Important for supporting the health of innate immune cells such as phagocytes.
    Zinc – Is involved in immune cell recruitment and function, systemic inflammation, is an antioxidant, and may have antiviral properties with respect to the common cold.
  • Stay hydrated – Adequate water will also help make mucous membranes, including those in your sinuses, more resistant to bacteria.
  • Clean up winter mould – Mould can trigger nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, respiratory infections and worsen asthma and allergic conditions. Spring cleaning in Autumn may help your health.

Increase in natural killer (NK) cell activity with Andrographis and Super Mushroom combinations. NK cells are part of the body’s innate, or first-line, immune response. They respond more quickly than the adaptive immune system comprised of B cells and T cells. Once activated, natural killer cell activity peaks in as quickly as several hours, providing rapid support and wide-range immune defence.

Call us at New Leaf for Immune support:

  • Kinesiology immune and inflammation balancing
  • Acupuncture immune protocols for better sinuses, lung activity and bronchitis
  • Infrared saunas
  • Chi Nei Tsang abdominal massage – breaks down biofilm and releases old infections so your immune system can deal with them!

3348 6098

Madonna Guy ND
New Leaf Natural Therapies
healthteam@newleafnaturaltherapies.com.au

Sugar Cravings; Sugars in foods; Why we crave sugar!!

Friday, May 26th, 2017
Good morning! Challenges with maintaining our weight throughout life are going to be constant and inevitable. Sugar is constantly in the news lately – yes, manufacturers of our food deliberately add the exact amount which makes us addicted! No wonder it’s so challenging.
Diabetes in Australia is increasing at such a rapid rate that it’s estimated that 50% of us will have dementia by the age of 50within 25years – and diabetes is a major cause.  This is ridiculous!  We’ve modified our food, DNA and genes so much these days our cells become primed to develop chronic illness such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease so much earlier in our bodies than even 30 years ago.
May favourite 3 products for sugar cravings are:
1. Bactrex and Ultra Flora SB Dysbiosis – for underlying candida, fungus, bacterial infections that make us want to eat sweets (they love a sweet, acidic environment!) 3-6 daily depending on the severity and combination of the infections.
2. Gymnema tablets – known as ‘the sugar killer’ in Indian – it’s a herb which over a period of time makes our tongue need less sweet. Long-term (2 year) studies have shown pancreatic cells regnerating with gymnema use. 4-6 daily when sugar cravings are bad.
3. Resist X – definitely a favourite – contains herbs and nutrients which reduce insulin resistance (pre-diabetes); increase cellular energy and work on eating away our tummy fat. 2-6 daily depending on energy levels, tummy fat stubborness, sugar cravings.
Get your health under control today!
3348 6098

What are Lectins?

Monday, May 15th, 2017

What are Lectins?

Do you suffer from symptoms after eating? Such as digestive symptoms, foggy brain, sinus congestion or aches and pains. Do you notice it after gluten containing foods or just can’t track what’s causing it? Chances are you’re body is reacting to components in plants called lectins.

What are lectins? So happy you asked!

Lectins are the plants natural compounds to ward off pests, fungal and bacterial attack. That is, the plants natural immune system. When plants are under attack they raise their lectin numbers to fend off the attacking pests. This is the system by which pesticides work. However, pests are gaining tolerance resulting in needing an increase of pesticide to be applied to the plant and thus a further increase of the plants lectins.

Modern wheat strains vs old style grains

Our modern wheat strains have been modified to produce more lectins to be highly pest resistant. This very clever genetically engineering won Norman Borlaug a Nobel peace prize in 1970 and changed the industry inexplicably. However, years later we are discovering the health consequences of our daily foods containing such an immense amount of lectins.

Let me explain:

The modern wheat (Triticum aestivum) is a genetically engineered species containing three distinct sets of chromosomes. These chromosomes can produce over 23,000 unique proteins. Thus this modern species contains high protein and gluten levels plus wheat germ agglutinin (WGA). WGA is a lectin which provides wheat with its resistance to insect pests, yeasts and bacteria.  Interestingly WGA binds to N-acetyl D glucosamine in the chitin of the insects, disrupting their cell structures and killing them.

Why are lectins so bad?

It is this WGA (lectins)  which can also directly damage tissues of the human body wherever N-acetyl glucosamine is present, even if the individual doesn’t have any genetic predispositions or susceptibilities to immune mediated mechanisms. For example, the auto-immune conditions or inflammatory reactions. However, the presence of lectins can and do exacerbate inflammation for auto-immune conditions such as Coeliac’s Disease, making symptoms worse. This can explain why chronic inflammatory and degenerative conditions are gaining prevalence in wheat-consuming populations.  It destroys the villi in your intestines, leading to malabsorption, nutrient deficiencies and infections!

Tissues within the human body that contain N-acetyl D glucosamine are:

  • All mucosal membranes throughout the digestive system, respiratory system, etc.
  • Connective tissues in joints
  • Brain cells and organs
  • Skin
  • Arterial bifurcations, including around the heart.

It is proposed that it is the increased lectin content that are causing major health problems for people rather than gluten. For example, many Australians experience health problems after eating products made from Australian grown wheat. Where as if they travel to other countries and consume wheat based products from there they do not, i.e. France or Italy. Such countries grew different strains of wheat which were largely unmodified like our Australian grains. Hence, the end product (croissants, baguettes, pasta, pizza bases) had less lectin resulting in fewer reactions after eating. Of course this has now changed as the high yield strains are now more global.

Is it just grains which we get lectins from?

Furthermore, when livestock are fed grains high in WGA lectins this then passes through their system to the products we consume. For example, dairy milk. Therefore, if you’re experiencing symptoms after consuming dairy it may not be lactose or actual dairy protein but the lectins passed through the dairy cow to their milk. Likewise with meats, hence the advantage of consuming grass fed meats only.

There have been some notable improvements when individuals have ceased dairy and gluten products, possibly due to the decrease of consumed lectins. Some of these conditions include:

  • (Gut mucosa) – Irritable bowel syndrome:  bloating, burping, wind, flatulence, diarrhoea, constipation
  • (Joints) – arthritis, fibromyalgia
  • (Hippocampal cells) – mental and behavioural conditions
  • (Lung mucosa) – asthma
  • (Beta pancreatic cells) – diabetes
  • (Coronary artery cells) – Cardiovascular disease
  • (Skin) – psoriasis and eczema
  • Autism & Aspergers, non-verbal children and adults

How can lectin intake be reduced in diet?

As it is impossible to maintain a healthy diet and avoid lectins if you are experiencing symptoms pertaining to lectins the key is reduce intake and increase tolerance.

Firstly, even organic and spray free fresh fruit and vegetables contain lectins, but if they’re not engineered they should contain less. Grass-fed meats and dairy is the best way forward for proteins to reduce lectin intake.

How can tolerance to lectins be improved?

There is no definitive answer to improving the individual’s lectin tolerance, however there is some key things you can do. Have good healthy nutrient intake particularly zinc. The herb ginger is particularly high in zinc and is very good at reducing inflammation and calming and supporting function all along the digestive track. Having said that, if there is any history of stomach ulcers please consult your local herbalist or naturopath for advice.

And then there’s Kinesiology 🙂

How can Kinesiology help improve tolerance to lectins?

Kinesiology is a way to ask your body what is stressing it by what we call indicator muscles. It is largely based on Traditional Chinese Medicine meridian system and acupuncture points which are like reference points. Via assessing where the stress is the body can also indicate how to relieve the stress, thus reducing the symptoms one is experiencing. Therefore kinesiology balancing is a remarkable way to reduce symptoms.

What about Acupuncture and Chi Nei Tsang Abdominal Massage?

Also great ways to increase the energy to the gut, reduce stress and increase energy.  Chi Nei Tsang Abdominal Massage is nearly an hour on your gut – it helps to break down the scar tissue that has built up around the abdomen due to years of food-abuse that’s destroyed the villi –  let the healing begin!!!

Call us on 3348 6098 to book an apt with our Naturopaths…

Madonna Guy ND
New Leaf Natural Therapies
07 3348 6098
healthteam@newleafnaturaltherapies.com.au

You Tube:  New Leaf Health Team channel 🙂

 

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