Posted on

Digestive Health Requires Correct Balance Of Bacteria

A specialist has advocated the use of probiotics to get good bacteria into the gut.

Improving digestive health can be achieved by having the right balance of bacteria in the gut, one expert has said.

Dr Roshini Rajapaksa, a gastroenterologist at New York University Langone Medical Center, noted the first step to improving digestive health is to understand how the system works.

One way of replenishing the levels of good bacteria is by using probiotics, he observed, with examples of this including Custom Probiotics CP-1.

According to the makers of this particular brand, each capsule has a total bacterial count of at least 50 billion microorganisms at date of expiration.

A survey recently carried out by GfK Roper discovered there are still a number of misconceptions when it comes to the gut.

It found 43 percent of those questioned believe most types of bacteria are not helpful for the gastrointestinal tract, despite the fact probiotics – or good bacteria – are essential for many vital body functions including healthy digestion.

Posted on

Probiotics Key In Tackling C.Difficile

A US medical expert has highlighted the potential benefits of using probiotics to treat Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhoea (CDAD).

During a meeting of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, Katherine Marie Sluder of the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center gave a presentation in which she stated that the US is now catching up to Europe in terms of probiotic usage.

She stated that progress is being made in the initiation of clinical studies to support their health benefits, noting that these treatments can help to ease symptoms of CDAD or prevent them entirely, reports the Clinical Advisor.

Ms Sluder also noted that probiotic agents are “dirt cheap” and “far more promising” as CDAD treatments than many traditional over-the-counter antidiarrhoeal products, which would require large quantities to be taken in order to be effective.

This comes after University College Cork published research earlier this month isolating the genes responsible for allowing probiotic bacteria to colonise the intestine, which could be instrumental in proving their clinical benefits.

Extract: Probiotics should be more widely used in treating Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhoea due to their efficacy and cost-effectiveness, according to an expert.

Posted on

Unique Probiotic Strains Trigger Very Different Immune Responses

One probiotic strain is not like another when it comes to immune function, European researchers have found. They used a series of immune markers such as T-cell counts in testing a range of strains supplied by Winclove BioIndustries and found immune modulation greatly differed among the selected probiotic types.

This in vitro information could be used to aid in clinical trial design, said the researchers led by Sytze de Roock, PhD, from the Center for Cellular and Molecular Intervention, Wilhelmina’s Children Hospital, University Medical Center Utrecht, in the Netherlands.

“We conclude that to make well-founded choices on the type of probiotic strains to be used for clinical application, in vitro monitoring of the immunological effects of the strains using a high throughput method is highly recommendable,” they concluded.

“By building on our current knowledge of strain specific immune modulatory effects it may become possible to design clinically effective, bacteria based strategies to maintain and promote health.”


The researchers used 19 different strains including Streptococcus thermophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus Rhamnosus. These were co-cultured for six days with peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of healthy adult donors with T cell subtype effects measured via mediated RNA (mRNA) and protein levels of, “signature transcription factors and cytokines”.

“The expression of the transcription factor mRNA of co-cultured PBMC was subsequently compared to the expression in the absence of bacteria in the culture medium,” they wrote.

“…many differences between strains were observed. Some strains seem to activate different subtypes of T helper cells (e.g. L. salivarius), while others specifically induce one subtype…”

They said previous study outcome variability could be attributed to strain variation.

“For example, it is likely that the inconsistencies in the outcome of studies such as on the prevention of atopic disorders is due to subtle differences in the strains used,” they wrote.

Source: Clinical Nutrition

Posted on

Leaky Gut Found To Be A Major Contributory Factor To Celiac

Celiac disease, according to estimates, affects approximately three million Americans and as of yet, 97% haven’t been correctly diagnosed. As staggering as these statistics are, celiac disease remains largely poorly understood by the medical community. It’s no wonder, given its lack of research as compared with other autoimmune disorders. However, there is research being actively conducted in the U.S. and internationally in a quest to understand the pathogenesis, or the cause and development of the disease. With this information, more about celiac disease, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment can come to light.

According to the Canadian Celiac Association (CCA), the pathogenesis of celiac disease consists of three factors: “genetic, environment and immunologic.” With regard to genetics, the CCA points out that more than 97% of celiac patients have the genetic markers HLA DQ2 and/or HLA DQ8. Celiac disease is now known to be a hereditary disease. The Canadian Celiac Association tells us that “first-degree and to a lesser extent second-degree relatives are at higher risk of having unrecognized celiac disease.”

Next, is the environmental “trigger,” as Dr. Alessio Fasano, professor of pediatrics, medicine and physiology at the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, calls it. This is gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. According to the Canadian Celiac Association, sometimes severe physical stressors can also trigger the immunologic reaction to gluten that is characteristic to celiac disease. Such sources of stress include pregnancy, infection, surgery, or even severe emotional stress.

In his article, “Surprises from Celiac Disease,” published in Scientific American, Dr. Fasano describes a different triad of factors involved in the pathogenesis of the disease. The first two factors are the ‘’trigger” of gluten, which sets off the immune response, and the genetic predisposition, as previously described. Fasano proposes that “other genes are likely to be involved as well, but these additional culprits may differ from person to person.”

The third factor, according to Fasano’s research is an “unusually permeable gut.” In fact, the author proposes that these three factors also underlie the pathogenesis of other autoimmune diseases, with of course triggers and genetic elements unique to those particular diseases. Fasano tells us that most non-celiacs have “tight junctions [that] ‘glue’ intestinal cells together.” On the other hand, in celiac patients, these links come apart, resulting in a small intestine from which pieces of gluten leak into the tissue and stimulate a response from immune cells. Fasano’s research regarding this third factor of pathogenesis offers hope of new prevention and treatment methods. He says, “Treatments that reduced leakiness could potentially ease not only celiac disease but also other autoimmune disorders involving unusually permeable intestines.”

This research into the leaky gut of celiacs can explain a question that has been perplexing researchers regarding the disease’s pathogenesis: Why do some people not develop celiac disease until later in life? According to Dr. Fasano, this issue could be associated with the microbes in the digestive tract. The microbicrobial population varies among individuals and groups and even over the course of one’s life.

“Apparently they can also influence which genes in their hosts are active at any given time,” he says. “Hence, a person whose immune system has managed to tolerate gluten for many years might suddenly lose tolerance if the microbiome changes in a way that causes formerly quiet susceptibility genes to become active.” Should this prove true, we may be able to prevent or treat celiac disease with probiotics.

A better understanding of the pathogenesis of celiac disease is certainly needed, but as of yet, researchers seem to be on their way to developing a full picture of what is involved in the origin and onset of the disease. By raising awareness and allocating more funding to celiac pathogenesis research, we may find ourselves with the ability to delay or even prevent the disease or with a new treatment option.

Posted on

Bowel Cancer Rates In Men Have Doubled Since The 1970’s

More than one in 15 men are at risk of developing the disease compared with one in 29 in 1975.
For women, the risk has risen by more than a quarter to one in 19, from one in 26 in the mid-1970s, according to figures released by Cancer Research UK.
Experts say a diet rich in red and processed meat and lacking in fruit and vegetables is partly to blame for the soaring levels.

Sara Hiom, director of health information at the charity, said: ‘An ageing population as well as changes in lifestyle have both led to more people developing cancer than a generation ago.
‘But even though the chances of getting the disease have increased in the population there are many ways that people can cut their own risk.

‘You can reduce your risk of bowel cancer by keeping a healthy weight, being physically active, eating a healthy diet that’s high in fibre and low in red and processed meat, cutting down on alcohol and not smoking.’
In 2008 there were 21,500 cases of bowel cancer diagnosed in men compared with 11,800 in 1975.
For women the numbers have gone up from 13,500 in 1975 to 17,400 three years ago.

Professor Peter Sasieni, the Cancer Research UK epidemiologist who produced the figures, said: ‘As people are living longer the numbers getting cancer have increased and the lifetime risk of developing bowel cancer has gone up.
The figures, published in the British Journal of Cancer, represent the ‘lifetime risk’ of getting the disease, a new method of calculation taking into account people who get cancer more than once or die from other diseases.
‘For some cancers, including bowel, the risk of cancer in the next ten years will be much higher for people in their 50s and 60s.
‘But if someone reaches their late 70s and hasn’t yet developed the disease then their risk of getting it during the rest of their lifetime is lower than their risk at birth.’
Survival rates have improved, however, with 50 per cent of bowel cancer patients now living for at least ten years, double the number in the early 1970s due to earlier diagnosis and improvements in surgical techniques.
Scientists warned earlier this year that eating less red meat could prevent 17,000 cases of bowel cancer in the UK every year.
Mark Flannagan, chief executive of the charity Beating Bowel Cancer, urged people who are offered screening to accept the offer. ‘It could save your life,’ he said.
‘But we must look at the positives. In around half of cases bowel cancer can now be beaten.’