Tag Archives: gut

Parkinson’s Disease, Inflammation and Oxidative Stress: Natural Help

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Most of us should be familiar with the disease known as Parkinson’s Disease, which ruins countless lives by creating a movement disorder characterized by shaking type of movements. It leads to difficulty moving at all, and in late stages the most common treatments lead to dyskinesthia which is a type of writhing uncontrolled movement. Without detailing the actual nerve pathways, part of the problem is neurodegeneration in a part of the brain called the basal ganglia, in an area known as the Substantia Nigra. When this area is overtaxed and inflamed, a process known as oxidative stress occurs, damaging neurons and created neurofibrous “tangles” known as α-synuclein aggregations.

There is a great deal of research that has been done to detail some natural ingredients that can be used to either prevent, or help treat Parkinson’s. These can sometimes reduce the amount of medication needed, and postpone the onset of dyskinesthia. In some cases successful treatment has occurred and symptoms are gone. The major “theme” of treatment with natural products is to reduce inflammation, block oxidative stress, and promote healthy metabolism in those neuronal cells.

Curcumin is an extract of turmeric, and contains 95% curcuminoids-the active ingredient. This makes it 19 times stronger than turmeric, which only contains 5%. Curcumin has been found to block inflammation, reduce oxidative stress, rescue nerve cells that have been affected, and even to reverse the accumulation of α-synuclein in the brain. I’ve attached a little over two dozen peer-reviewed studies about curcumin and Parkinson’s in the Bibliography. Curcumin is best taken before a meal, and with a tablespoon of coconut oil which boosts absorption and is good for the brain as well.

Another useful herb is Skullcap, Scuttelaria baikalensis, which contains the ingredient Baicalein. This has also been extensively studied for use in treating and reversing some of the effects of Parkinson’s, and is a very promising herb. Note that there aren’t any studies that look at what would happen if you use this AND curcumin, but you can imagine that it should work even better as they do not function through the same mechanisms.

The last strategy I’d like to mention is gut bacteria optimization. As I wrote an entire book about gut bacteria (The Symbiont Factor) I’ll try to be brief. Our gut bacteria wield a big influence on brain and immune function, helping to both tone and control immune function and regulate both the production of neurotransmitters and the sensitivity of neurotransmitter receptor sites in the brain. An imbalance of gut bacteria, which can be assessed with a uBiome.com gut bacteria census, can create functional changes that make the brain less efficient and more inflamed. This sets the stage for Parkinson’s, as neuroinflammation is a required building block of this disease.

Now, you might ask yourselves why this information is not more well known in the Parkinson’s world…it doesn’t actually even appear on the National Parkinson’s Foundation website although many less effective interventions are mentioned. This is because, simply, much of the research is done in search of new drugs to create by copying the action of useful herbs and natural processes. This is one way that companies explore for new drugs that can be patented. The real question is why we would wait for that, when the research shows these natural substances to be quite effective in lab and animal models. Of course, double-blind trials on humans will not be performed until drug candidates are created…so don’t look for the final proof of natural substances, because these trials are very expensive and are only carried out when a candidate drug ($$$) is being evaluated. In other words, follow the money!

Bibliography:

The Symbiont Factor: http://tinyurl.com/z5568ct

Baicalein inhibits α-synuclein oligomer formation and prevents progression of α-synuclein accumulation in a rotenone mouse model of Parkinson’s disease.

Hu Q, Uversky VN, Huang M, Kang H, Xu F, Liu X, Lian L, Liang Q, Jiang H, Liu A, Zhang C, Zhu S.

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016 Jul 14. pii: S0925-4439(16)30168-5. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2016.07.008. [Epub ahead of print]

PMID:27425033

Ameliorative effects of baicalein in MPTP-induced mouse model of Parkinson’s disease: A microarray study.

Gao L, Li C, Yang RY, Lian WW, Fang JS, Pang XC, Qin XM, Liu AL, Du GH.

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2015 Jun;133:155-63. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2015.04.004. Epub 2015 Apr 18.

PMID:25895692

Baicalein ameliorated the upregulation of striatal glutamatergic transmission in the mice model of Parkinson’s disease.

Xue X, Liu H, Qi L, Li X, Guo C, Gong D, Qu H.

Brain Res Bull. 2014 Apr;103:54-9. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2014.02.004. Epub 2014 Feb 24.

PMID:24576689

Baicalein protects against 6-OHDA-induced neurotoxicity through activation of Keap1/Nrf2/HO-1 and involving PKCα and PI3K/AKT signaling pathways.

Zhang Z, Cui W, Li G, Yuan S, Xu D, Hoi MP, Lin Z, Dou J, Han Y, Lee SM.

J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Aug 22;60(33):8171-82. doi: 10.1021/jf301511m. Epub 2012 Aug 9.

PMID:22838648

[Neuroprotective effect of baicalein in patients with Parkinson’s disease].

Yu X, He G, Du G.

Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2012 Feb;37(4):421-5. Review. Chinese.

PMID:22667137

Assessment of the treatment effect of baicalein on a model of Parkinsonian tremor and elucidation of the mechanism.

Yu X, He GR, Sun L, Lan X, Shi LL, Xuan ZH, Du GH.

Life Sci. 2012 Jul 26;91(1-2):5-13. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2012.05.005. Epub 2012 May 23.

PMID:22634324

Baicalein inhibits formation of α-synuclein oligomers within living cells and prevents Aβ peptide fibrillation and oligomerisation.

Lu JH, Ardah MT, Durairajan SS, Liu LF, Xie LX, Fong WF, Hasan MY, Huang JD, El-Agnaf OM, Li M.

Chembiochem. 2011 Mar 7;12(4):615-24. doi: 10.1002/cbic.201000604. Epub 2011 Jan 26.

PMID:21271629

Flavones from root of Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi: drugs of the future in neurodegeneration?

Gasiorowski K, Lamer-Zarawska E, Leszek J, Parvathaneni K, Yendluri BB, Błach-Olszewska Z, Aliev G.

CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2011 Mar;10(2):184-91. Review.

PMID:21222632

Structural characteristics of alpha-synuclein oligomers stabilized by the flavonoid baicalein.

Hong DP, Fink AL, Uversky VN.

J Mol Biol. 2008 Oct 31;383(1):214-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2008.08.039. Epub 2008 Aug 23.

PMID:18775438

Free PMC Article

The flavonoid baicalein inhibits fibrillation of alpha-synuclein and disaggregates existing fibrils.

Zhu M, Rajamani S, Kaylor J, Han S, Zhou F, Fink AL.

J Biol Chem. 2004 Jun 25;279(26):26846-57. Epub 2004 Apr 19.

PMID:15096521

Free Article

 

Curcumin Rescues a PINK1 Knock Down SH-SY5Y Cellular Model of Parkinson’s Disease from Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Cell Death.

van der Merwe C, van Dyk HC, Engelbrecht L, van der Westhuizen FH, Kinnear C, Loos B, Bardien S.

Mol Neurobiol. 2016 Mar 22. [Epub ahead of print]

PMID:27003823

Curcumin improves neurofunctions of 6-OHDA-induced parkinsonian rats.

Song S, Nie Q, Li Z, Du G.

Pathol Res Pract. 2016 Apr;212(4):247-51. doi: 10.1016/j.prp.2015.11.012. Epub 2015 Nov 18.

PMID:26922613

Curcumin ameliorates dopaminergic neuronal oxidative damage via activation of the Akt/Nrf2 pathway.

Cui Q, Li X, Zhu H.

Mol Med Rep. 2016 Feb;13(2):1381-8. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2015.4657. Epub 2015 Dec 8.

PMID:26648392

Curcumin inhibits apoptosis by regulating intracellular calcium release, reactive oxygen species and mitochondrial depolarization levels in SH-SY5Y neuronal cells.

Uğuz AC, Öz A, Nazıroğlu M.

J Recept Signal Transduct Res. 2016 Aug;36(4):395-401. doi: 10.3109/10799893.2015.1108337. Epub 2015 Nov 25.

PMID:26608462

Recent trends in the development of nanophytobioactive compounds and delivery systems for their possible role in reducing oxidative stress in Parkinson’s disease models.

Ganesan P, Ko HM, Kim IS, Choi DK.

Int J Nanomedicine. 2015 Oct 29;10:6757-72. doi: 10.2147/IJN.S93918. eCollection 2015. Review.

PMID:26604750

Free PMC Article

Plant-derived neuroprotective agents in Parkinson’s disease.

Fu W, Zhuang W, Zhou S, Wang X.

Am J Transl Res. 2015 Jul 15;7(7):1189-202. eCollection 2015. Review.

PMID:26328004

Free PMC Article

Curcumin Treatment Improves Motor Behavior in α-Synuclein Transgenic Mice.

Spinelli KJ, Osterberg VR, Meshul CK, Soumyanath A, Unni VK.

PLoS One. 2015 Jun 2;10(6):e0128510. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0128510. eCollection 2015.

PMID:26035833

Free PMC Article

Relevance of the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin in neurodegenerative diseases and depression.

Tizabi Y, Hurley LL, Qualls Z, Akinfiresoye L.

Molecules. 2014 Dec 12;19(12):20864-79. doi: 10.3390/molecules191220864. Review.

PMID:25514226

Free Article

Curcumin’s neuroprotective efficacy in Drosophila model of idiopathic Parkinson’s disease is phase specific: implication of its therapeutic effectiveness.

Phom L, Achumi B, Alone DP, Muralidhara, Yenisetti SC.

Rejuvenation Res. 2014 Dec;17(6):481-9. doi: 10.1089/rej.2014.1591.

PMID:25238331

Free PMC Article

The use of nanopore analysis for discovering drugs which bind to α-synuclein for treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

Tavassoly O, Kakish J, Nokhrin S, Dmitriev O, Lee JS.

Eur J Med Chem. 2014 Dec 17;88:42-54. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2014.07.090. Epub 2014 Jul 25.

PMID:25081642

Neuroprotective effect of curcumin on hippocampal injury in 6-OHDA-induced Parkinson’s disease rat.

Yang J, Song S, Li J, Liang T.

Pathol Res Pract. 2014 Jun;210(6):357-62. doi: 10.1016/j.prp.2014.02.005. Epub 2014 Feb 23.

PMID:24642369

Curcumin protects axons from degeneration in the setting of local neuroinflammation.

Tegenge MA, Rajbhandari L, Shrestha S, Mithal A, Hosmane S, Venkatesan A.

Exp Neurol. 2014 Mar;253:102-10. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2013.12.016. Epub 2013 Dec 29.

PMID:24382451

Protective effects of curcumin against rotenone and salsolinol-induced toxicity: implications for Parkinson’s disease.

Qualls Z, Brown D, Ramlochansingh C, Hurley LL, Tizabi Y.

Neurotox Res. 2014 Jan;25(1):81-9.

PMID:24122264

Free PMC Article

The multiple pharmaceutical potential of curcumin in Parkinson’s disease.

Ji HF, Shen L.

CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2014 Mar;13(2):369-73. Review.

PMID:23844695

Curcumin modulates α-synuclein aggregation and toxicity.

Singh PK, Kotia V, Ghosh D, Mohite GM, Kumar A, Maji SK.

ACS Chem Neurosci. 2013 Mar 20;4(3):393-407. doi: 10.1021/cn3001203. Epub 2012 Dec 17.

PMID:23509976

Free PMC Article

Curcumin ameliorates the neurodegenerative pathology in A53T α-synuclein cell model of Parkinson’s disease through the downregulation of mTOR/p70S6K signaling and the recovery of macroautophagy.

Jiang TF, Zhang YJ, Zhou HY, Wang HM, Tian LP, Liu J, Ding JQ, Chen SD.

J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2013 Mar;8(1):356-69. doi: 10.1007/s11481-012-9431-7. Epub 2013 Jan 17.

PMID:23325107

Curcumin inhibition of JNKs prevents dopaminergic neuronal loss in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease through suppressing mitochondria dysfunction.

Pan J, Li H, Ma JF, Tan YY, Xiao Q, Ding JQ, Chen SD.

Transl Neurodegener. 2012 Aug 20;1(1):16. doi: 10.1186/2047-9158-1-16.

PMID:23210631

Free PMC Article

Neurodegenerative Shielding by Curcumin and Its Derivatives on Brain Lesions Induced by 6-OHDA Model of Parkinson’s Disease in Albino Wistar Rats.

Agrawal SS, Gullaiya S, Dubey V, Singh V, Kumar A, Nagar A, Tiwari P.

Cardiovasc Psychiatry Neurol. 2012;2012:942981. doi: 10.1155/2012/942981. Epub 2012 Aug

Curcumin protects nigral dopaminergic neurons by iron-chelation in the 6-hydroxydopamine rat model of Parkinson’s disease.

Du XX, Xu HM, Jiang H, Song N, Wang J, Xie JX.

Neurosci Bull. 2012 Jun;28(3):253-8. doi: 10.1007/s12264-012-1238-2.

PMID:22622825

Neuroprotective effect of curcuminoids against inflammation-mediated dopaminergic neurodegeneration in the MPTP model of Parkinson’s disease.

Ojha RP, Rastogi M, Devi BP, Agrawal A, Dubey GP.

J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2012 Sep;7(3):609-18. doi: 10.1007/s11481-012-9363-2. Epub 2012 Apr 21.

PMID:22527634

Curcumin has neuroprotection effect on homocysteine rat model of Parkinson.

Mansouri Z, Sabetkasaei M, Moradi F, Masoudnia F, Ataie A.

J Mol Neurosci. 2012 Jun;47(2):234-42. doi: 10.1007/s12031-012-9727-3. Epub 2012 Mar 15.

PMID:
22418789
 

Curcumin protects against A53T alpha-synuclein-induced toxicity in a PC12 inducible cell model for Parkinsonism.

Liu Z, Yu Y, Li X, Ross CA, Smith WW.

Pharmacol Res. 2011 May;63(5):439-44. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2011.01.004. Epub 2011 Jan 12.

PMID:21237271
 

Curcumin reduces alpha-synuclein induced cytotoxicity in Parkinson’s disease cell model.

Wang MS, Boddapati S, Emadi S, Sierks MR.

BMC Neurosci. 2010 Apr 30;11:57. doi: 10.1186/1471-2202-11-57.

PMID:20433710

Free PMC Article

Paleo Diet: Romance vs Reality?

Brown cricket isolated on white

One of the current most popular diets is the Paleo diet. I’ve written in my book, The Symbiont Factor, about how there is fossil evidence supporting the Paleo diet as the way ancient humans ate, and have some additional thoughts on this controversial subject. Like many diets, the Paleo diet has evolved as many individuals and organizations promote their own vision of what a Paleo diet would have been or should be. This is normal, but for someone trying to learn how and why to eat a certain way, it can be bewildering! On one extreme is a Paleo vision that seems really more like an Atkins diet with some vegetables, on the other more like a Vegetarian diet with a little seafood added in. So, with that in mind, why would someone choose a Paleo diet? The basic concept is that our species has spent the majority of its evolutionary trajectory consuming a diet that did not include simple carbohydrates, large percentages of grains or any processed foods. This part of Paleo seems to be univerally agreed on as the building blocks of the diet movement-but what about proteins? I’ve read a great deal about our ancestral origins, and I’m going to run it up the flagpole to see who salutes! I grew up spending much of my childhood in the woods hunting or picking food, fishing or catching things to eat along streams and ponds, and catching blue crabs in the Hudson River (and yes they were yummy). I’ve always followed the licensing and bag limit rules, but since being a child I’ve also somewhat kept tally of those times that I could have taken game if I were starving, yet didn’t because it was out of season in some way. Now I know that many people who follow a Paleo diet likely have an image of ancient hominids that is a bit more romantic or idealized than what I’m about to describe, but hang in there and consider it! First, if we had to survive by hunting and fishing, most of us would starve-some quite quickly. Even if there were no rules, as in ancient paleo societies, hunting and fishing as we think of it today would not work well at all. There is too much energy expenditure involved in an individual capturing an animal for meat. Ancient humans worked around this in a few ways: group cooperative hunts, trapping, and alternative sources of protein. Native Americans, for example, let their children hunt small game while the men either raided other camps and tribes or hunted larger prey in groups. This strategy raised the odds that somebody would catch something! There is evidence that ancient Man had similar divisions of labor, with men hunting game while women and children foraged for other sources of nutrition such as tubers, plants, and…insects. Plains Indians of course had different strategies for hunting Bison, including stalking under cover, chasing on horseback (technically not until they had horses after the Spanish brought horses to the Americas) and driving herds toward pit traps, ambushes or ledges. Fishing is a similar example, with fish being far easier to net or trap than to catch! Fossil remains suggest that any civilizations living near the ocean probably subsisted more on shellfish than anything else for protein. This is evidenced by huge fossilized piles of shells that have been discovered. Having moved to Downeast Maine recently, I can attest to the difference in energy expenditure involved. Any game animals I’ve seen are distant and fleeing, yet I can walk down to the shore and pick a bucket of mussels off the rocks in a few minutes, getting enough to feed several people. Ancient man almost certainly spent much time near or in the water foraging for food. Our bodies come equipped with a functional dive reflex that makes short underwater excursions easier than many would believe! With this in mind, where does it leave ancient people that lived further inland? If you were in the wilderness and had to survive, what would be the easiest and safest source of high-quality protein, fats and nutrients? No, it isn’t that deer that you may or may not ever get…it is insects. They are plentiful and nutritious, and rarely fight back much. I know this sounds “gross” and might not fit what most Paleo afficionados would like to think, but consider it for a moment. Other primates eat insects, survival experts have touted them as a food source, and it doesn’t take nearly as much energy to get enough to sustain life. Some modern businesses have emerged to supply a modern version that is more accessible and perhaps more presentable, in forms such as protein powders or flavored varieties. One of the criticisms of Paleo diets is the need for meat, and the environmental cost/footprint to produce meat. Readers of The Symbiont Factor will also know that commercial meat has a huge number of chemicals included, antibiotics and pesticides, hormones and other goodies, which wreak havoc on our microbiome and our health. Organically raised meat is the way to go, and yet from a global perspective, would it even be possible for many more people to raise and eat organically grown meat? Probably not, as the yield per-acre is lower (don’t get me wrong, that’s a good thing compared to feedlot beef, but not necessarily possible on a global scale). While some of us are still hunters and occassionally can stock the freezer with the original organic, free-range meat, there is still a large part of the population that doesn’t hunt for ethical, geographical or practical reasons. In many families it may have been several generations since anybody hunted! Insects can produce more protein and nutrition with less global impact. I’m not ready to give up completely on meat, but when considering a true Paleo diet, an ento-diet (entomology is the study of insects) is worth study. We’ve been a bit spoiled by sanitized, clean, packaged, pretty foods that don’t resemble their original source in any way-and yet, several times each year there are outbreaks and recalls of such foods due to infectious organisms found in them. Is “sanitary” really an illusion after all? Is it even better for us? Again, in The Symbiont Factor, I reviewed something known as the “Hygiene Theory,” which is the observation that the human being requires a certain degree of bacterial and allergen exposure in order to develop a balanced immune system. When all food is sterile and has no contribution to our inner microbiome, and our children grow up in a sterile, Mr. Clean type of household, the risk of autoimmune diseases is far greater. These can be simple allergies or as severe as ALS, MS, Rheumatoid Arthritis and other modern plagues that are largely the result of our attempts to isolate ourselves from the microbial world. Maybe it is time to consider what we would call “alternative” sources of protein, though they were probably a central source of nutrition for much of mankind’s life. I know, it feels like more of a Paleo thing to eat a Bison steak than chili-lime crickets, but…don’t let it bug you!

https://www.entomarket.com/edibleinsects/465?campaign=TSFB Paleo article

https://www.nasw.org/users/mslong/2010/2010_12/Insects.htm

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/34172/title/Why-Insects-Should-Be-in-Your-Diet/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24613098

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25315798

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24698197

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24630913

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24560030

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12680308

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11171955

In Search of the Perfect Microbiome: What to eat for more Akkermansia!

Thanks for visiting my blog! First, a brief bit of news: In the next series of blog posts, I will be focusing less on theory and more on practical information about what to do. This signifies a shift that goes along with my working on my next book! And, now you know more about the next book-it will be quite a bit more how-to, still backed up by peer reviewed research but of a more practical nature than The Symbiont Factor is.

Ok, the first thing to cover? There is apparently no perfect universal microbiome. There is, however, an optimum microbiome for each particular individual, at least in theory. There are patterns that researchers have revealed, however, and these can serve as a guide to improving our own microbiome and health.

Last week a research study was published indicating that pomegranate consumption boosted the levels of Akkermansia mucinophilia, one of the (usually) beneficial healthy bacteria. Akkermansia has been the subject of many recent articles, as it has been found to reduce body fat accumulation and helps build more lean muscle while reducing inflammation. Using prebiotics to preferentially nourish desirable organisms can be a vital part of your symbiont strategy.

Pomegranate is available in many forms; it is available as a juice, it is available in capsule form and of course as a pomegranate fruit. For long-term use I recommend capsules. The study was 4 weeks in length, and resulted in a 47-fold increase in Akkermansia so it is important to consume it regularly for best results.

Of course, Pomegranate has many other health benefits, but its prebiotic tendency to improve the microbiome is very significant. The microbial by-products of metabolizing pomegranate have powerful anti-cancer effects as well!

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26189645

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26180600

http://progressivelabs.com/product.php?productid=16981&cat=0&page=1 

(remember to register as a patient on Progressive Labs, and specify me, Dr. Richard Matthews, as the person who referred you there. Thanks!)

From the Zombie Files: Ampulex dementor, obesity, and brains. What’s the connection?

One of the central concepts of The Symbiont Factor is that there are times in nature that organisms can take control of another organism’s nervous system, rendering it “a zombie”. This isn’t a zombie in the Hollywood sense, just a host organism that no longer is singularly in control of itself due to the effects of other organisms that “hijack” its nervous system.

In this case, a new organism has been discovered, a fearsome looking wasp in Thailand. This wasp hunts cockroaches, and injects a neurotoxin into them. This makes the cockroach lose active control of its legs so that it cannot escape, and the wasp can eat it slowly while it is still alive. Nature really has some gruesome stories, doesn’t it?

In our own bodies, we have a colony of trillions of bacteria. The late Prof Eshel Ben-Jacob performed experiments and wrote articles documenting how large bacterial colonies were able to act with logic, more as multicellular  organisms. Like multicellular organisms, their activities have a goal: survival. In the case of our microbiome, it is beginning to appear that their ability to alter our nervous system function and our brain activity is not randomized. There is a bi-directional influence at work: as an example, the bacteria that thrive on a fatty diet make us crave fatty foods, and those that thrive on sweets make us crave sweets. If we eat the fatty foods or sweets, it of course preferentially benefits the organisms that thrive on it. This is why there seems to be a “tipping point” in gaining weight such that our energy level drops and our appetite changes, facilitating weight gain. The actual organisms that help us lose weight and stay lean have been identified (Akkermansia mucinophilia is one example), as have those that make us gain weight. Their effect is significant enough that they have been called “obesogens”. It isn’t a single organism but a pattern of demographic shift-more of these/less of those-that results in weight gain or loss.

The changes to brain function, sensory sensitivity (ie what smells tasty to you), mood and behavior shift (a stress microbiome!) make us just a little like a zombie too in some cases. Certainly our behavior and our function is the result of the activity of trillions of symbiont organisms as well as our own decision-making. In effect “we” are composed of many organisms!

Relevant links (many are in the bibliography of The Symbiont Factor: http://tinyurl.com/p3b9o9d):

http://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/terrifying-new-dementor-wasp-species-named-evil-spirits-harry-potter.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3995701/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4380304/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26047662

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24430437

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25968641

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25401094

http://iopscience.iop.org/1478-3975/11/5/053009/pdf/1478-3975_11_5_053009.pdf

When is an Ice Cream Sundae not ice cream? Synbiotic Deception!

IMG2015

So, time for a treat, right? Here’s an example based on my book, The Symbiont Factor. Before reading the rest of this, open the picture and look closely. Doesn’t that look like the best vanilla ice cream/butterscotch/hot fudge sundae ever? LOL clever deception…in fact, it is plain greek yogurt, with tahini and blackstrap molasses! Why you might ask? Probiotic and Prebiotic combined with healthy fats that are metabolized into cancer-fighting agents…let me explain. Gut bacteria metabolize sesamins in sesame into mammalian lignans that are powerful substances that protect agains some cancers along with other benefits. The yogurt of course has some probiotic bacteria (I had a probiotic capsule right before eating this) and blackstrap molasses has great nutritional value (it is basically the nutrients that were removed when white sugar is made!) It is also a good source of antioxidants. Lactobacillus rhamnosus, another beneficial symbiont, can be cultured on blackstrap molasses as can other good bacteria. It serves as a prebiotic. So, this is a synbiotic treat masquerading as an ice cream sundae!
References:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23387872
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19537732
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16549449
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19103324
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7765100
https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jgam/54/4/54_4_237/_pdf
tinyurl.com/m4agxd5

New Video about Gut Bacteria, Probiotics, Brain!

Well, I had some time between patients yesterday, and, having watched just enough cute cat videos and ignored enough political/religious arguments on Facebook-I decided to do something useful and create a video. This short video should help to make sense out of probiotics, gut bacteria, and how they affect us mentally/emotionally. Check out my new video about gut bacteria and probiotics! http://tinyurl.com/oyvvwt2

Prebiotic Aztec Warrior Coffee!

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Ok, so I still drink coffee, and from the statistics I’ve read, most of you readers probably drink coffee too! I decided to try to make the coffee as healthy as possible, stacking some other health benefits along with reduction of Parkinson’s probability/severity and making the world seem like a happier place. Coffee has also been found to inhibit some types of cancer. Cocoa also has cancer-preventive properties. Cayenne pepper reduces the effects of high cholesterol, helping prevent oxidative stress to heart cells. I’ve read that the Aztecs used coffee, and cocoa and of course cayenne pepper-so why not combine the three? I know I’m not the first to do this, but it certainly does have a particular taste and kick to it! Especially (espressoly?) when made with espresso.

Recently I have been reading quite a bit about Yacon syrup and its health benefits. It turns out that yacon, which is a South American root vegetable, is processed into a molasses-like syrup that is a natural sweetener. If that wasn’t good enough, most of the carbohydrates in the syrup are not digestible, so it is a low-calorie sweetener that isn’t poisonous like Splenda. Yacon is also a prebiotic, with fiber that some of our gut bacteria just love. The species that thrive on it include Bifido and Akkermansia. Why, you ask, is that significant? Bifido is a “colonizer” species that helps to heal gut wall damage, and Akkermansia makes us burn up fat faster-increasing lean mass and lowering BMI. Akkermansia is also helpful in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, diabetes and immune system regulation.

Since Yacon is also from the same continent (and possibly region) as the Aztecs were, I reasoned that it should be good in coffee! Now, to a double shot of espresso or a mug of normal coffee, I add a teaspoon of cocoa powder and a tablespoon of yacon syrup, and a couple of sprinkles of cayenne pepper. On occasion, I’ve also added half a teaspoon of powdered inulin (another beneficial prebiotic; this one is from Jerusalem Artichoke). The inulin seems to disappear and not add any particular flavor, but the yacon gives the coffee a slight sweetness and the molasses-like flavor complements the cocoa/coffee/cayenne trinity quite nicely! Some who have tried it say that it’s too strong a taste, while many have adopted it as a coffee drink. Our local coffee shop, the Jitterbug, will make an Aztec espresso if asked, though I have yet to introduce them to yacon as a sweetener.

So there you have it-a new coffee drink has been invented and it has some powerful health benefits!

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24525422

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25535729

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25500898

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25027235

http://pamw.pl/sites/default/files/PAMW%202014_12_Albini.pdf

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25575980

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25545102

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25372730

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25118238

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24966608

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24857830

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24833634