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Immune system. Brief Review. By Jon Trister, MD

The Immune System, brief review.

To defend as form invaders  body has two immune systems:

The first defense system is an innate immune system we are born with. This is a  first defense against any foreigners-microbes, viruses, funguses. This is antigen non-specific defense mechanisms which respond to invaders immediately or within several hours after exposure to every foreigner. Cells associated with innate immune system are Macrophages, Dendritic cells and  B-lymphocytes.

The second defense system is an adaptive immune system (acquired) immunity refers to antigen-specific defense and require  several days to become protective and are designed to react with and remove a specific antigen. Adaptive immunity is the immunity one develops throughout life. Cells associated with adaptive immune system are T- and B-Lymphocytes

 One of the function of the innate  immune system is an APC ( antigen presentation cells)-is an identification, isolation  of the antigen-specific protein -epitope-actual portions or fragments of an antigen that react with receptors on B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes, as well as with free antibody molecules) and presentation it in the from of complex : MHC I/epitope  or MHC ii/epitope on the surface of the APC ( Macrophages, Dendritic cells, B-Lymphocytes).Epitope is a fragment of the antigen which will provide adaptive immune system a specific  information about invader ( antigen).Without ability to perform this function as an APC innate immune system will be unable to “educate” adaptive immune system about structure of the antigen.

Polysaccharides antigens( 3-4 sugar residuals)  usually have many epitopes but all of the same specificity.

Proteins antigens (5-15 amino acids )usually have many epitopes of different specificities.

Immune responses are directed against many different epitopes of many different antigens of the same microbe.

The body recognizes an antigen as foreign when epitopes of that antigen bind to B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes by means of epitope-specific receptor molecules having a shape complementary to that of the epitope.

  MHC molecules

MHC-I molecules are made by all nucleated cells in the body

MHC-I presents epitopes to T8-lymphocytes; MHC-II presents epitopes to T4-lymphocytes.

MHC-I molecules are designed to enable the body to recognize infected cells and tumor cells and destroy them with cytotoxic T-lymphocytes or CTLs.

CTLs are effector defense cells derived from naïve T8-lymphocytes.

MHC-I molecules are made by all nucleated cells in the body; bind peptide epitopes typically from endogenous antigens; present MHC-I/peptide complexes to naive T8-lymphocytes and cytotoxic T-lymphocytes CTL.

 MHC-II molecules are made by antigen-presenting cells or APCs, such as dendritic cells, macrophages, and B-lymphocytes; bind peptide epitopes typically from exogenous antigens; and present MHC-II/peptide complexes to naive T4-lymphocytes or effector T8-lymphocytes that have a complementary shaped T-cell receptor or TCR

Exogenous antigens enter antigen-presenting macrophages, dendritic cells, and B-lymphocytes through phagocytosis, and are engulfed and placed in a phagosome where protein antigens from the microbe are degraded by proteases into a series of peptides. These peptides are then attached to MHC-II molecules that are then put on the surface of the APC.

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Artificial Sweeteners

By Renata Trister DO
Artificial Sweeteners

Literature Review

The health risks surrounding high sugar foods are well known. As a result many health conscious people are turning to artificial sweeteners as a healthy alternative. The benefits of artificial sweeteners have been controversial ever since saccharin, the first no calorie artificial sweetener, was discovered in 1878. Even then, many questioned whether these man made sweeteners were actually safe. Saccharin (sweet & low) was discovered by a chemist working with coal tar, a carcinogenic material. Nearly 150 years—and an infinite number of conflicting studies—later, the issue still debated. Saccharin has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals.
Cancer concerns aside, researchers are finding new reasons that these no calorie sweeteners are causing undue health risks without fulfilling the promise of helping you lose weight.

TASTE BUDS

Artificial sweeteners, even natural ones like stevia, which comes from an herb, are hundreds, sometimes thousands, of times sweeter than sugar. Sucralose, sold under the brand name Splenda, is 600 times sweeter than table sugar. Evidence suggests that exposing your taste buds to these high-intensity sweeteners makes them less receptive to natural sources of sweetness. This dulls the taste buds making one more likely to seek out sweeter and sweeter foods.

THE GUT

The gut gets confused when exposed to zero-calorie-but-super-sweet artificial sweeteners. The sweet taste sends a signal to your gut that something high calorie is on its way, so your gut anticipates foods that are sweet and high in calories. When these foods never actually arrive, your gut doesn’t utilize the foods efficiently, and that causes a cascading effect that interferes with your body’s hunger signals.

HORMONES

Part of that cascading effect has to do with the hormone insulin. When you taste sweet foods, even if they have zero calories, your body still releases insulin as if you’d eaten sugar. Insulin leads to blood sugar spikes, which increase cravings.

OVEREATING

It’s not just a biochemical reaction that leads artificial sweeteners to pack on the pounds. Artificially sweetened foods trick people into eating more because of the way they feel in your mouth. The taste and feel of food in our mouth influences our learned ability to match our caloric intake with our caloric need.

High fat, high sugar foods taste both sweet and dense, signaling to your brain that they’re high calories. But artificially sweetened foods often have a thinner consistency and texture than sugar-sweetened foods and thus, aren’t as satisfying.

DIABETES RISK

Diet soda drinkers have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It is not fully clear why this is so. A study from the University of Texas found that people who drank diet soda were 65 percent more likely to be overweight than people who drank no soda and they were more likely to be overweight than people who drank regular soda. There is a possibility that gut bacteria are able to make medium chain fatty acids from artificial sweeteners, contributing to calorie count and disruption of gut flora.

WATER POLLUTION

In a 2009 study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, Swedish researchers detected sucralose and acesulfame K in treated wastewater, including samples that were pulled from a municipal water-supply source. They also noted that the artificial sweeteners hadn’t degraded in wastewater sludge after a period of seven hours. These sweeteners are now showing up in our rivers and streams.

MOST OF THESE SWEETENERS ARE GENETICALLY MODIFIED

Sucralose, aspartame, neotame, and erythritol can all be made from corn, soy, or sugar beets. In the United States, the vast majority of those three crops have been genetically altered to resist or produce harmful pesticides.

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The Standard American diet and the Immune System

By Renata Trister DO
The Standard American diet and the Immune System
Review current literature

The Standard American or Western diet has been gaining attention as a potential contributor to the increase in immune-mediated diseases. The Western diet is characterized by an over consumption of refined sugars, salt, and saturated fat. In addition to many illnesses, this diet has an impact on the gut microbiome, these dietary choices are encoded into our gut, our genes, and are passed to our children. Although the modern diet has successfully prevented many macronutrient deficiencies, our over abundance of calories and the macronutrients that compose our diet may all lead to increased inflammation, reduced control of infection, increased rates of cancer, and increased risk for allergic and auto-inflammatory disease.

The Western diet is characterized by a high intake of saturated and omega-6 fatty acids, reduced omega-3 fat intake, an overuse of salt, and too much refined sugar. This type of eating can damage the heart, kidneys, and cause obesity/metabolic disorders. Increasingly, it has become apparent that this diet damages the immune system also. The modern lifestyle, reduced exposure to microorganisms, increased exposure to pollutions, heightened levels of stress, and a host of other exceptionally well reviewed variables that likely contribute to immune dysfunction.

Intake of adequate calories and micronutrients is vital for optimal immune function. Deficiency in total calories and/or protein, with starvation, severely reduces the immune system’s ability to respond. The Western diet is plagued with obesity. Adipocytes release inflammatory substances including interleukin (IL-) 1, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF). These act as signals in infection, but when they are released without an actual infection, the system wears out. When an actual infection comes along, the response may be delayed.

Obese individuals have fewer white blood cells to fight infection and those cells they do possess have reduced phagocytosis capability. While a complex interplay of hormonal, metabolic, and immunologic processes contribute to the biologic responses in the obese the resultant immune dysfunction increases the risk of infections of the gums, respiratory system, and post op infections.

Sugar

Processed, simple sugars reduce white blood cell phagocytosis and possibly increase inflammatory cytokine markers in the blood. The impacts of artificial sweeteners are less clear; provocative, yet highly limited, evidence implicates saccharin and sucralose as contributors to Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis via interference with homeostatic inactivation of digestive proteases. More studies are being conducted to investigate this.

Saturated fatty acids

One potentially harmful effect of fat is enhancement of the prostaglandin system as it feeds into the arachadonic and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) pathways. PGE2 is pro-inflammatory, increasing IL-17 production and macrophage activation. Additionally, dietary fats alter the lipids of the membranes of immune cells, disrupting the immune functions. Modern produced dietary fat can also directly trigger the inflammatory process. This is most troubling.

One of the first-line weapons the immune system deploys against infection are molecules called Toll-like receptors (TLR). This is a very complex aspect of the immune system; when these receptors come across a potential pathogen, they are designed to evaluate if it is bacterial, viral, or fungal. If the body finds evidence of any of these organisms, the immune system can begin its attack immediately while the adaptive immune system assesses what specific pathogen it is facing. One of the TLR weapons, TLR4, is designed to sense bacteria. Unfortunately the part of the bacteria TLR4 binds, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), contains mostly saturated palmitic and steric fatty acids. Meaning that TLR4 can generate inappropriate signaling when exposed to certain saturated fats if in too great of frequency, amount, or homogeneity rather than in a more biological balance and dosage. Any resultant, abnormal signaling may lead to a misguided attack upon saturated fat when it is perceived as a bacterial invader. The resulting inflammation in the gut can lead to a break down of barriers, allowing harmful substance to leak from the gut into the blood stream and contribute to immune dysfunction that worsens infection control.

Omega-6 fatty acids

While saturated fats are the most inflammatory, overabundance of omega-6 (n-6) poly-unsaturated fats, such as those found in most cooking oils, have also been implicated in immune response through several mechanisms including effects on TLR4 [53] and serving as precursors for inflammatory mediators

Omega-3 fatty acids

The immune impact of trans unsaturated fatty acids (trans fats) have gone under investigated whilst researchers focus on their deleterious cardiovascular effects, Another possible contributor to modern diet-induced immune dysfunction may be the increased consumption of omega-6 in lieu of omega-3 fatty acids.

Gluten

Recent animal and cell-culture models have found that elements in gluten can stimulate inflammation through TLR4. This is a possible explanation of the current gluten-free dietary trend.
The microbiome and inheritance

Diet, stress, and environment can have a big effect on the gastrointestinal system. Recent studies have determined some of the mechanisms by which our lifestyle impacts our microbiome and leads to dysbiosis. In the gut (and on the skin), there is an optimal balance of bacterial species. Some strains of bacteria are needed to digest fiber while others produce valuable nutrients like vitamin K. Beneficial bacteria also competitively in habit the microenvironment thus preventing harmful bacteria from taking over. The current understanding on how dietary fats alter the microbiome include TLR4-dependent induction of local inflammation leading to altered host environment, shifts in immune cell membrane functions, and changes in nutrient availability favoring some organisms over others. Dietary simple sugars can to lead to dysbiosis directly through changes in local nutrient concentrations. Interesting some preliminary research has shown the gut microbiome to possess the ability to metabolize the artificial sweeteners considered otherwise non-caloric for humans. While results must be interpreted cautiously, gut bacteria can process sweeteners into various short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) that hold a wide array of potential consequences; while some SCFA may be beneficial, their production may shift the bacterial balance, may be processed into absorbable byproducts that provide calories, and may activate the TLR4 pathway.
Another concern is that the harmful effects of diet can actually stretch across generations. A mother’s diet may potentially shape her child’s flavor preferences even before birth, potentially skewing their palette towards anything from vegetables to sugary sweets in ways that could influence subsequent propensity for obesity and/or unhealthy dieting. Children inherit their microbiome from their mother mostly through parturition but also during breast-feeding and development until the bacterial balance matures around two to four years of age. However, recent evidence suggests that the microbiome may also be seeded into the unborn fetus while still in the womb. When the mother’s diet causes a harmful imbalance of her bacteria, she can pass this imbalance on to her child. This developmental dysbiosis may have an impact on the baby’s immune system.

In addition to altering TLR-mediated inflammation and potentially DNA epigenetics, a mechanism by which alteration in microflora may drive immune-mediated disease involves the gut bacteria’s effect on regulatory T-cells (Tregs), the cell tasked with keeping the immune system in balance during both inflammation and homeostasis. Alterations in the microbiome have been shown in both mice and (to a less extensive degree) humans to affect Treg development, and reduction in Treg signal is associated with worse outcomes in infection control, autoimmunity, and allergic sensitization Therefore, dietary choices that alter gut microbiome likely alter systemic responses through changes in the number and function of regulatory T cells.

Determining which specific bacterial strains are either the protectors or pathogens is not yet fully clear. The desire to foster a healthy microbiome is the driving force behind the therapeutic use of probiotics. Supplementation with various Lactobacillus, Lactococcus, and Bifidobacterium has proved to be beneficial but they are not a cure –all. Our microbiome is far more complex than what is found in a supplement bottle. Simply taking supplements creates a very homogeneous microflora that lacks diversity.
Palmitic acid (found is certain processed fats) may potentiate iron-mediated toxicities and increase the rates of DNA mutations. Dietary intake of the saturated palmitic and steric fatty acids as well as the omega-9 oleic acid, may be independent risk factors for the development of colon cancer. Simple sugars were thought to heighten cancer risk through several well-reviewed in vitro mechanisms.

The exact mechanism of how any individual dietary element impacts cancer development is far from fully understood. Many of the reportedly protective vitamins and minerals share anti-oxidant properties, suggesting a mechanism more related to protection of DNA from damage than altered immune function.

In summary, there is enough quality, direct human evidence to conclude that many of the dietary choices in today’s modern society appear to have harmful impacts on our immune system and likely on the immune system of our children. Although promise remains, it also appears unlikely that synthetic supplements or probiotics will be able to fully heal the damage of our diet. Lifestyle modifications are a must. The greatest negative consequence of our poor diets can be encoded into our DNA and gut microbiome. These harmful immune modifications are passed to our offspring during the time of critical development. This can affect the health of many generations to come.

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Babesiosis

Babesiosis
By Renata Trister DO

Babesia are parasitic protozoans that reproduce in the red blood cells of mammals. The various forms of Babesia complex life cycle live in exchange between ticks (Ixodes) and mammals. Babesia species was first described in 1888 by Victor Babes, a Hungarian pathologist in whose honor the organisms were named.

Babesiosis has long been recognized as a disease of cattle and other domesticated animals, but the first human case was not described until 1957, when a young Croatian farmer contracted the illness and died some days later of renal insufficiency. In the late 1960s, the first North American cases appeared on Nantucket Island, and the disease is now recognized as an emerging and occasionally serious zoonosis in the United States.Adapted over hundreds of millions of years: stealthy”cryptic inhabitants” within vertebrate and invertebrate hosts. Co-infection with Borrelia thought to increase impact.

Babesiosis has been reported in North and South America, Europe, and southern and eastern Asia. In the United States, the primary agent of human babesiosis is Babesia microti, which is transmitted by the bite of Ixodes scapularis, the same tick species that is a vector for Lyme disease. Cases of babesiosis caused by B. microti occur in southern New England and the northern Midwest. Additional cases of babesiosis caused by other species of Babesia occur primarily in the western U.S.; cases from Missouri and Kentucky have also been reported. It is a frequent co infection with Lyme disease.

Babesiosis has a wide spectrum of disease severity. It varies from patient to patient. Most patients experience a viral-like illness lasting anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. A small segment of patients are completely symptom free. In patients with a complicating condition, however – such as underlying immunosuppression – the disease course can be severe and potentially fatal. Primarily transmitted by tick bite, babesiosis can also be transmitted via blood transfusion and maternal-fetal transmission.

Signs and Symptoms
If you think lyme disease is bad-meet Babesia!

Symptoms of babesiosis usually begin 1-6 weeks after infection and are non-specific. Typical early manifestations include: day sweats, night sweats ( occasionally drenching) intermittent fevers, fatigue, headache, chills ,flashing ,air hunger, cough and myalgias. Nausea, vomiting, poor appetite and depression can also occur. Some patients will develop enlarged livers or spleens. The usual disease course lasts weeks to several months, but some patients take even longer to fully recover. Co-infection with Lyme disease or anaplasmosis may complicate the clinical presentation and predispose the patient to more severe disease.
Different strains of Babesia may cause different set of symptoms, yet all can significantly exacerbate a Lyme disease infection.
Babesia and Malaria share the same set of symptoms, and the infections may look the same to a laboratory technician viewing parasites under the microscope.

At the greatest risk for severe babesiosis are the elderly, asplenetic patients, patients with HIV or malignancies, and patients on immunosuppressive medications. In these populations, the disease course is longer and the fatality rate is in the neighborhood of 20%, even with proper antibabesial therapy. The most common serious complication of babesiosis is acute respiratory failure, but heart failure, liver and renal failure, disseminated intravascular coagulation and coma are also well-recognized severe manifestations of babesiosis.

Diagnosis

Early symptoms of babesiosis are non-specific making the diagnosis difficult. A simple blood panel can be indicative of an infection. Babesia causes lysis of red blood cells, patients can develop hemolytic anemia, as well as lymphopenia and thrombocytopenia. Elevated serum lactate dehydrogenase levels, hyperbilirubinemia and an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate may also be present.

If babesiosis is suspected, microscopic examination of blood smears should be pursued. Giemsa or Wright stains are typically used. DNA of Babesia can also be detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in cases where smears are negative but the diagnosis is still suspected.

Treatment

Combination therapy with atovaquone (Mepron) and azithromycin is most commonly recommended for treatment of mild to moderate babesiosis. Treatment is usually continued for 7-10 days.
Doxycycline + Plaquenil ( occasionally with Bactrim DS) with other antimalarian drugs, such as Malarone, and anti-malarian herbs can be effective.
Dapsone : is good for both: Babesia and Lyme disease
A combination regimen of oral clindamycin and quinine has also been proven effective, but the rate of adverse reactions is significantly higher with this combination, so it is not recommended for treatment of uncomplicated disease.

For patients with severe babesiosis, however, intravenous clindamycin and (oral) quinine is considered the preferred treatment, again for 7-10 days. In patients with underlying immunosuppression and persistent signs and symptoms, studies have shown an association between longer treatment duration and a positive outcome; therefore, treatment of these individuals should be continued for weeks or months until blood smears are negative for at least two weeks.

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BARTONELLA

By Renata Trister DO


Bartonella are gram negative bacteria and are difficult to isolate in the laboratory. These bacteria can live inside cells and in various locations in the body, protected from the immune system and antibiotics.

Generally, three conditions caused by bartonella, cat scratch fever (Bartonella henselae), trench fever (Bartonella quintana), and Carrion’s disease (Bartonella bacilliformis), but research over the past 20 years has shown that bartonella is much more complex.

Bartonella species are widespread in all mammals. Bartonella is typically spread by biting insects (fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, sandflies, lice, chiggers, biting flies, scabies, mites, and even louse-eating spiders), but can also be transmitted by contaminated animal bites and scratches.

The most common bartonella is Bartonella henselae. It is the cause of cat scratch fever. Classically, a scratch from a cat carrying B. henselae develops a rash followed by symptoms including low grade fever, headache, sore throat, and conjunctivitis about 3 to 10 days after the scratch. Swollen lymph nodes are typical and takes weeks to months to subside. Symptoms are not generally debilitating and resolve without treatment in most cases.
When bartonellosis with B. henselae is caused by an insect bite (ticks, fleas, mosquitoes) the symptoms are complex and highly variable.

Bartonella quintana, another common species of bartonella, is the cause of trench fever. The name comes from the trenches of WWI where soldiers lived in desperate and debilitating conditions. B. quintana, spread by body lice, causes symptoms of severe fever, headache, muscle aches, leg and back pain, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, and rarely, heart failure. Today, B. quintana is common in homeless people; again, transmitted by body lice. About 10-20% of homeless populations (3.5 million people in the US) harbor chronic infection with B. quintana.

Bartonellosis

After entering the body (by whatever means), bartonella infects specialized white blood cells called CD 34+. These blood cells are precursors for cells that line blood vessels and other tissues (endothelial cells). The microbe enters the cell and creates a cyst around itself to gain protection. It also turns off the ability of the cell to self-destruct. Chemical messengers stimulated by bartonella cause additional CD 34+ cells to congregate. These messengers simultaneously suppress other parts of the immune response. CD 34+ travel throughout the body and replace damaged endothelial cells. Bartonella becomes established inside blood vessels and uses red blood cells as a nutrient source.

If the person’s immune system is healthy, the cells of the immune system quickly gain the upper hand, and microbe is dispatched within a couple of weeks. In patients with compromised immune systems and other infections, a chronic condition can develop.

Typical Symptoms of Chronic Infection

Skin rash at the site of initial infection, low-grade fever (100-102), and swollen lymph nodes (near the initial infection site) are hallmarks of initial infection. Lymph nodes can be filled with pus and drain in severe cases. Other common symptoms include severe fatigue, muscle pain, body aches, and eye infection (conjunctivitis). Liver and spleen enlargement can occur acutely and with chronic infection. Chronic infection can be associated with relapsing low-grade fever. Chronic eye problems include blurred vision, photophobia and eye irritation. Bartonella commonly infects bone marrow with resulting bone pain. Another symptom of bartonella is pain in the soles of feet upon waking in the morning. This is associated with trauma to blood vessels in the soles of the feet.
Anemia can occur from bartonella scavenging nutrients from red blood cells.

Small vessel disease can affect the brain and nervous system. Headaches and depression may be linked to chronic bartonella infection. Poor stress tolerance and anxiety are also reported.

Small vessel disease can affect function of the autonomic nervous system (sympathetic and parasympathetic systems) resulting in postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS).

Chronic bartonella infection affects the entire vascular system. Infection of cells lining the heart (endocarditis) can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, and in some cases, damage to heart valves. Respiratory symptoms can include unexplained cough.

Bartonella can affect the urogenital region causing irritable bladder, kidney disease, pelvic pain, and infertility. There is evidence that bartonella can be passed during pregnancy and between partners.

Severely immunocompromised individuals (mainly AIDS) can develop cranberry-like skin lesions from proliferation of infected blood vessels under the skin.

Symptoms are highly variable and often not severely debilitating. The spectrum of symptoms widely overlaps with other low virulence microbes. An average doctor would mark it off as simply aging and offer only prescriptions to control the symptoms, nothing more. For this reason this infection is often overlooked.

Diagnosis and treatment of Bartonella

Indirect fluorescence assay (IFA) tests for antibodies (IgG and IgM) to bartonella. IFA is not very sensitive because antibodies levels tend to be low. Also testing is species specific and generally only tests for the most common species of bartonella. Frye Laboratories (Scottsdale, Az) offers both IFA and standard PCA.

Standard PCR tests for bartonella DNA in the blood. Because concentrations of the microbe are very low with chronic infection, this test is unreliable.

Fluoroquinolones and doxycycline are sometimes successful in treating bartonellosis. However, some doctors report the need to use several antibiotics in combination.

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Auto Brewery syndrome

Auto Brewery Syndrome
By Renata Trister DO

Gut fermentation syndrome or auto-brewery syndrome is a digestive disorder that results in a feeling of being intoxicated. People feel as though they are in a fog, unable to concentrate. In severe cases, people suffering from this condition can actually get a DUI.
Gut fermentation syndrome is typically associated with an accumulation of yeast inside the intestines. Yeast can build up to the point to where just having a small amount of sugar can trigger a reaction that is similar to having several alcoholic drinks.
Normally having a small amount of yeast in our bodies is actually a good thing. As part of normal flora, yeasts can help boost the immune system and reduce the chances of developing diarrhea. Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is a yeast normally found in our body. It is also used in the manufacture of alcoholic products and bread.
On occasion, taking antibiotics can cause a major disruption in the normal population of intestinal flora. Antibiotics kill not only bad bacteria, but also beneficial microbes. This can allow yeast to proliferate out of control and cause major problems. Gut fermentation syndrome is one of these problems. If a person with this condition takes in any sugar whatsoever, the body converts it into ethanol. This results in a sudden spike in the body’s blood alcohol content. The Candida yeast, in particular, has been identified as one of the main culprits in causing gut fermentation syndrome.
In severe cases, the body of someone with gut fermentation syndrome produces so much alcohol that he or she can become legally drunk – without having any alcohol. In fact, one woman in New York was actually pulled over because a police officer suspected her of drunk driving, but her case was later thrown out because she was diagnosed with the condition.
Gut fermentation syndrome sufferers will typically complain that they are tired all the time, which is completely understandable, considering they experience mild intoxication on a constant basis.
A diet high in carbohydrates can have a profound effect on triggering a bout of drunkenness due to gut fermentation syndrome. In one study performed in 2010, a 61-year-old man suffering from the condition was given a high-carb meal. His blood was drawn before the meal to establish a baseline blood alcohol content level, and was then checked every two hours. He was also given a Breathalyzer test every four hours – eventually, his blood alcohol level shot up to .12 percent.
Interestingly, researchers also linked this man’s condition to antibiotics he had received six years earlier. It is believed that the antibiotics destroyed so many bacteria in his lower intestine causing a population boom of Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast. Antifungal medication followed by a course of probiotics seemed to help with his symptoms.
Anything that causes an imbalance between the beneficial and harmful bacteria in the gut can help increase the chance that fermentation in the gut will develop. This can include not only antibiotics, but also overindulgence in sugars and carbohydrates. Watching what you eat could lower the risk of gut fermentation syndrome, and taking probiotics could further protect you by increasing the number of good bacteria in your system.
If you do take antibiotics as well as probiotics, you should take them at different times in order for the probiotic to be able to work. Taking the probiotic at least two hours later will help ensure it will be able to do its job. A good rule is to take the antibiotic after a meal, and then take the probiotic at bedtime.

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Functional Phytotherapy for Ulcerative colitis, Chron’s disease and SIBO

Functional Phytotherpy for Ulcerative Colitis:

1.Bowel Flora protocol *.Aim treatment is to resolve dysbiosis
2.Eliminate persistent pathogens:Thuja, Licorice, St.John’d Wort
3.Optimize immune system function: Androghraphis, Echinacea, Myrrh
4.Eliminate Chronic inflammation:Myrrh, Boswellia, Licorice, Meadowsweet, Chamomile
5.Enhance natural barriers: Chamomile,Licorice, Meadowsweet, Golden Seal
6.Protect cells:Green tea, Grape seed, Turmeric, Rosemary, Garlic
7.Optimize digestive system:Wormwood, Gentian, Feverfew, Ginger,Chen Pi
8.Diet:
a.Reduce sugar and refined carbohydrates;Low sulfur diet;Dairy free;Reduce animal protein.
B.Add: Garlic;Soluble fibers; vegetables and spices

Functional Phytotherapy for Crohn’s disease

1.Bowel Flora protocol *.Aim treatment is to resolve dysbiosis
2.Eliminate persistent pathogens: Myrrh
3.Optimize immune system function:Wormwood, Echinacea
4.Eliminate Chronic inflammation:Myrrh, Boswellia, Licorice, Meadowsweet, Wormwood,Chamomile
5.Enhance natural barriers: Chamomile,Licorice, Meadowsweet, Golden Seal
6.Protect cells:Green tea, Grape seed, Turmeric, Rosemary, Garlic
7.Optimize digestive system:Wormwood, Gentian, Feverfew, Ginger,Chen Pi
8.Diet:
a.Reduce sugar, starches and refined carbohydrates;Low sulfur diet;Dairy free;Reduce animal protein.
b.Add:Vegetables and spices

Functional Phytotherapy for SIBO

1.Bowel Flora protocol*.Aim treatment is to resolve dysbiosis: 3-4 cycles ( 8-12 weeks)
2.Add Gentian Wormwood, Feverfew, Ginger (3 times day)
3.Echinacea root twice per day
4.To improve fat absorption & transit time: add Artichoke, Dandelion,Milk Thistle (3 times day)
5. For cramping pain:Cramp Bark, Ginger 2-4 times per day
6.To reduce chronic inflammation: Licorice, Chamomile,Meadowsweet ( 3 times per day)

*Bowel Flora Protocol

Day 1:
Prescribed medicines and supplements are to be taken as normal if the patient is currently on a protocol
Fasting — no food and plenty of water; if the patient cannot fast, recommend to eat light, fresh meals of vegetables and salads only.
No consumption of yeast, sugar or starches is essential. This includes fruits. Vegetable juices and broths are acceptable.
No alcohol or caffeine.
If cravings for carbohydrates are interfering with patient compliance, add Gymnema tablets (3 per day) into the protocol for blood sugar regulation.

Days 2 and 3:
Garlic: 1-2 fresh crushed cloves of garlic twice daily or 2 high quality, enterically-coated garlic tablets. If fresh garlic is used, it should be taken with a copious quantity of water. This has the effect of flushing the fresh garlic quickly into the small intestine.
Goldenseal could be taken here as well: 4 tablets containing at least 500 mg of root per day
Fasting is ideal; if the patient cannot fast, recommend very light, fresh meals of vegetables and salads.
No consumption of yeast, sugar or starches is essential. This includes fruits and fruit juices. Vegetable juices and broths are acceptable.
No alcohol or caffeine.

Days 4-15:
Slippery elm powder: 1-2 heaped teaspoons of slippery elm powder with copious (240 mL) water, to allow it to swell in the GIT.
Herbal antioxidant (green tea, grape seed extract, turmeric, rosemary): 2 tablets at night before bed or on an empty stomach, at least 2 hours away from food

Gradually introduce clean, fresh foods
Daily consumption of green tea
Day 16: Repeat protocol for another 14 days cycle if desireed.

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Bowel Flora Protocol

Bowel flora play an important role in our ability to fight infectious disease, providing a front line in our immune defense, provide a passive mechanism to prevent infection, and produce many vitamins. Acid-producing lactobacilli and bifidobacteria increase the bioavailability of minerals, which require acid for absorption — calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese. Without a healthy colony of bowel flora, we cannot expect robust health and wellbeing. The age-old naturopathic principle, start your treatment with the gut, has yet again been proven to hold much truth and value.
The gut flora can be seen as an integral part of our immune system, and can almost be considered an organ of the human body within its own right. It is speculated that when the bowel flora colonies become dysbiotic, autoimmune conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease can result. (Dysbiosis is abnormal microbial colonization of the intestine, where the changes in quality and/or quantity are pathological.)
Protocol Rationale: The Weed and Feed Theory
This program has been adapted from the protocol developed by herbalist Hein Zeylstra for the management of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Fasting: (Day 1): no food is allowed. Drink water. It is OK to continue regular medications.
Weed — Eradicate Dysbiotic Organisms using Garlic (Days 2-3)
: The main components of garlic are the sulfur compounds, including alliin. Allicin is produced from alliin (via the action of the enzyme allinase) when garlic is crushed or chopped. Allicin is rather unstable and decomposes further producing a range of compounds including diallyl sulfides, ajoenes and vinyldithiins. Allicin and its decomposition products are thought to be the major antimicrobial factors in garlic.
If fresh garlic is used in this protocol, it should be crushed first and taken with enough water to flush the garlic through the stomach quickly so the antimicrobial substances can act in the intestine. Enteric coated garlic tablets will ensure that the maximum potency of garlic is delivered to the site of dysbiosis.

Garlic was used in World War I as an anti-infective agent for various infectious intestinal diseases, including cases of cholera and dysentery. It also had a protective antibacterial effect: soldiers whose diet included garlic suffered less frequently from dysentery than those who did not eat garlic. In vitro and in vivo studies indicate that garlic has both antibacterial and antifungal activity, giving it broad spectrum antimicrobial activity in the GIT. Broad spectrum antimicrobials are best for weeding as they do not create imbalance in the microflora.

Other broad-spectrum antimicrobial herbs can be included in this phase. For example, pau d’arco is an herb which possesses a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity, especially against protozoa and fungi, and appears to have a capacity to kill micro-organisms, rather than merely inhibit their growth. It consists of the inner bark of several species of Tabebuia, in particular T. avellanedae and T. ipe. Pau d’arco contains naphthoquinones, and while much research has focussed on lapachol, this particular compound is not the major naphthoquinone found in the inner bark. The compound of ß-lapachone is more important in the context of the use of the inner bark.

Step 2: Feed (Days 4-15)
Step 2a: Provide Prebiotic to Feed the Bowel Flora with Slippery Elm powder: The growth of endogenous beneficial bowel flora can be encouraged by administering prebiotics. Prebiotics are food for probiotics (beneficial bowel flora), and include herbs and foods containing mucilages, polysaccharides and fructooligosaccharides (FOS). FOS, otherwise referred to as fructans, are complex carbohydrates found in several common foods and a number of medicinal herbs. Foods containing FOS include Jerusalem artichokes, globe artichoke, onions, bananas, asparagus, leeks, garlic, wheat and barley. FOS taste sweet, however unlike sugar and starch, they add no calories to the diet because they are not digested or absorbed in humans. Inclusion of these in the diet can enhance GIT health by providing an energy source for bowel flora and thereby improve nutrient absorption and assist in reducing inflammation. FOS enhance mineral absorption and counteract the deleterious effects of phytic acids.

The most common mucilage-containing herb historically used for GIT disorders is slippery elm (Ulmus rubra). Slippery elm contains mucilage (a polysaccharide), starch and minerals. The main water-soluble polysaccharide is a linear polymer of galacturonic acid and rhamnose residues with side branches of galactose or 3-methyl-galactose. It is demulcent, emollient and nutrient and provides a simple physical soothing action.
Mucilaginous herbs will also encourage the growth of beneficial bowel flora and are more simple, clinically effective and inexpensive when compared to probiotic supplementation.
Step 2b: Inhibit the Regrowth of Pathogenic Flora: Use selective gastrointestinal antiseptics to restore normal bowel flora, such as green tea and grape seed extract. The use of polyphenols and oligomeric procyanidins from grape seed extract and green tea selectively inhibit the regrowth of pathogenic bowel flora. The addition of these herbs into step 2 of the protocol improves dysbiosis management, dramatically reduces flatulence and abdominal bloating, and provides powerful antioxidant activity.

Green tea and grape seed contain tannins which are defined as vegetable substances capable of tanning animal hides to produce leather. (This is used as a method to preserve the hide and at a molecular level is effected via the crosslinking of hide proteins by the tannins.) This definition is prescriptive and powdered hide is still used as a phytochemical test for tannins. Like flavonoids, tannins are polyphenolic compounds which have an affinity for proteins. However, the higher number of phenolic groups and the larger molecular size of tannins mean that they are capable of binding strongly to proteins at several sites and can precipitate them from solution.

The advantage of tannins is that they are poorly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. Hence, through their capacity to bind proteins, they can inhibit the growth of micro-organisms, especially in the colon. One of the most notable effects of tannins in the gut is their dramatic effect on diarrhea. It can be proposed that the effect of tannins is to produce a protective (if temporary) layer of coagulated protein on the mucosa along the upper levels of the gut wall, so numbing the sensory nerve endings and reducing provocative stimuli to additional peristaltic activity. Supporting this central astringent activity, tannins will also inhibit the viability of infecting micro-organisms, check fluid hypersecretion and neutralize inflammatory proteins. Because of their affinity for free protein, they will concentrate in damaged areas. Condensed tannins were able to bind to and inactivate the hypersecretory activity of cholera toxin. Hence tannins can help to improve gut wall integrity.
Tannins also can affect bowel flora composition. A methanol extract of
green tea was found to moderately enhance the growth of some bifidobacteria and selectively inhibit the growth of some clostridia in vitro.
The polyphenols containing gallate (such as epigallocatechin gallate) had the strongest activity.
Experimental in vivo studies have indicated that tea catechins improve intestinal flora.

Green tea (a rich source of tannins) appears to be much more potent as an antimicrobial agent than black tea. Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli, Proteus vulgaris, Pseudomonas fluorescens, Salmonella sp. and Staphylococcus aureus were used to test the antimicrobial activity of extracts of various tea products. Among the six test organisms, P. fluorescens was the most sensitive to the extracts, while B. subtilis was the least sensitive. In general, antimicrobial activity decreased when the extent of tea fermentation increased. The antimicrobial activities of extracts of tea products with different extents of fermentation also varied with test organisms. Green tea, the unfermented tea, exerted the strongest antimicrobial activity followed by the partially fermented tea products such as Longjing, Tieh-Kuan-Ying, Paochung, and Oolong teas. On the other hand, black tea, the completely fermented tea, showed the least antimicrobial activity.

Green tea catechin preparation was able to positively affect intestinal dysbiosis in nursing home patients by raising levels of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, lowering levels of Enterobacteriaceae, Bacteroidaceae, and eubacteria, and decreasing odorous compounds. Levels of pathogenic bacterial metabolites were also decreased.

Day 1:
Prescribed medicines and supplements are to be taken as normal if the patient is currently on a protocol
Fasting — no food and plenty of water; if the patient cannot fast, recommend to eat light, fresh meals of vegetables and salads only.
No consumption of yeast, sugar or starches is essential. This includes fruits. Vegetable juices and broths are acceptable.
No alcohol or caffeine.
If cravings for carbohydrates are interfering with patient compliance, add Gymnema tablets (3 per day) into the protocol for blood sugar regulation.

Days 2 and 3:
Garlic: 1-2 fresh crushed cloves of garlic twice daily or 2 high quality, enterically-coated garlic tablets. If fresh garlic is used, it should be taken with a copious quantity of water. This has the effect of flushing the fresh garlic quickly into the small intestine.
Goldenseal could be taken here as well: 4 tablets containing at least 500 mg of root per day
Fasting is ideal; if the patient cannot fast, recommend very light, fresh meals of vegetables and salads.
No consumption of yeast, sugar or starches is essential. This includes fruits and fruit juices. Vegetable juices and broths are acceptable.
No alcohol or caffeine.

Days 4-15:
Slippery elm powder: 1-2 heaped teaspoons of slippery elm powder with copious (240 mL) water, to allow it to swell in the GIT.
Herbal antioxidant (green tea, grape seed extract, turmeric, rosemary): 2 tablets at night before bed or on an empty stomach, at least 2 hours away from food

Gradually introduce clean, fresh foods
Daily consumption of green tea
Day 16: Repeat protocol for another 14 days cycle if desireed.

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Hormonal balance and fat

Hormonal balance and fat.
By Jon Trister MD

Insulin

Produced in the pancreas and released when blood sugar level in the blood is high.
This hormone speeds up the absorption of nutrients primarily in muscle tissue and the liver therefore lowering blood sugar level by transferring sugar out of the blog into the muscles and liver. It also triggers the liver to convert excess sugar into fat , which then gets taken up by the fat cells.

Cortisol

Produced in the adrenal cortex and release in the reaction to stress and/or when blood sugar is too low.
Cortisol triggers the liver to release stored fat and sugar into the blood.
When glycogen level is too low in the liver, cortisol direct liver to convert fats into ketone bodies (benign lipolytic ketosis ) and proteins into the sugar (Gluconeogenesis) to further contribute raising blood sugar levels.
While affected slightly by stress and blood sugar levels cortisol blood levels directed primarily by circadian rhythm which typically reaches a low point at around midnight and thereafter
2 AM begins as steep climb upward until reaching its pinnacle at 8:30 AM.
Levels then turn downward until midnight, with one to three slight rises upward over the course of the day (most notably at midday).

Simultaneous combination of the hormones insulin and cortisol causes the increase in the number of fat cells (Occurs during breakfast).

Ghrelin

-Ghrelin is a hormone produced by specialized cells that line the stomach and the pancreas.
Also called the growth hormone secretagogue (GHS) receptor, the ghrelin receptor was discovered in 1996. The term ghrelin is based on the hormone’s role as a growth hormone-releasing peptide.
In the stomach, cells that secrete ghrelin include the P/D1 cells in the fundus or upper part of the stomach and in the pancreas, ghrelin secreting cells are called epsilon cells.
Ghrelin is one of the main hormones to stimulate hunger. Ghrelin levels increase before meals and decrease after meals, a mechanism that has its roots in the hypothalamus. If the lateral hypothalamus is removed (as seen in animal studies), feeding becomes less frequent leading to severe weight loss and death. If the ventromedial hypothalamus is removed, feeding increases, leading to weight gain and severe obesity.
-Ghrelin direct metabolism to store fat
-Ghrelin increase the number of fat cells by introducing the proliferation and differentiation of adipocytes.
-Ghrelin inhibits apoptosis of adipocytes
-Ghrelin induces the secretion of gastric acid and pancreatic enzymes, thereby increasing energy absorption.
-If one eats fewer calories increased Ghrelin will act to extract more calories out of the smaller portions of the food, such that the body absorbs what it needs for maintaining body weight.
-Total daily Ghrelin production does not affected by the number of meals per day.
-Ghrelin production is increased by sleep deprivation.
-Ghrelin production is suppressed proportionally to the caloric load of the consumed meal.
-High-protein meals reduce Ghrelin more than high-carbohydrate meals.
-Protein is the most satiating micronutrient as it induces prolonged Ghrelin suppression and delay of gastric emptying.
-Relative to other carbohydrates, fructose-enriched meals display a poor Ghrelin -suppressing capacity, promoting increased caloric intake, weight gain, and obesity under conditions of chronic consumption.

Leptin
This hormone was discovered by Jeffrey M. Friedman in 2009.
-This hormone is primarily produced and released by adipocytes, which are like microscopic rubber balloons can fill up with fat.
-Leptin powerfully suppress appetite via the receptors in the hypothalamus.
-Leptin increases energy expenditure by burning more fat, thermogenesis, lipid oxidation in brown fat
-Leptin decreases fat synthesis in white and brown fat leading to a rapid reduction in body weight and adiposity.
-When fat levels inside the fat cells are low they released little on no leptin.
-When fat levels inside the fat cells are normal, – normal amounts of Leptin are released – the more the cells will be filled up and stretched (mechanotransduction), the more leptin they release.
-If fat mass remains constant but the number of fat cells increases, each fat cell will contain a less fat, and therefore stretched less.A hormone that counteracts the effects of ghrelin is leptin, which is produced by the fat or adipose tissue in the body. Leptin induces satiation or a feeling of fullness after a meal. When the leptin level is high, hunger is decreased. Since ghrelin increases hunger, several weight loss procedures aim to reduce the ghrelin level in order to increase satiation, even with a small meal.
Bottom line: more fat cells>less fat in each cell>small size of adipocytes>cell membrane stretched less>reduced production and release of Leptin.
-A new study linked levels of leptin,with symptoms of depression and anxiety independent of weight.
-Another interesting fact about Leptin: it regulate immune system it works within the central nervous system (CNS) to aid the immune system’s defense against sepsis.Patients with Congenital Leptin deficiency have increased frequency of infections.This explain how prolonged can lead to illness.
-Leptin is known to indicate fullness, or satiety, in the brain.
-If the body is exposed to too much leptin, however, it will become resistant to the hormone. Once that occurs, the body can’t “hear” the hormonal messages telling the body to stop eating and burn fat. Instead, a person remains hungry, craves sweets and stores more fat instead of burning it.
-Leptin resistance also causes an increase in visceral, or belly, fat, which has been shown to predispose people to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Total body-weight would fluctuate from day to day between 2 and 3 pounds and from months to months between 10 to 15 pounds. This is homeostatic fat-mass weight fluctuations. And it regulated by hormones Leptin and Ghrelin.
This fluctuation is due to changes in water retention and fluctuation how much food is in the intestinal tract. But at least 5 pounds of fat can be added or lost within normal body-weight fluctuations.This is a normal range of fluctuations.
When certain threshold outside the normal fluctuation of fat mass is changed-
the leptin levels shift dramatically (reduced) to bring the fat mass back into homeostatic range.

When a person’s fat mass changes more drastically from its homeostatic fat-mass weight-the hormonal reaction will proportionally change drastically in an attempt to bring the fat mass back into its normal range.
More or less linear response.

When fat mass reduces beyond the person’s normal fat-mass fluctuation (homeostatic)-the automatic reduction in leptin will occurs and this will lead to increased appetite, preservation of energy and will direct metabolism toward fat synthesis.
In addition, further reduction of the fat mass will lead to reduction of leptin which will sacrifice immune system because leptin regulates immune response to infections.
Reduction of leptin will raise appetite beyond the control and further directing metabolism toward energy conservation and fat synthesis.
Most people will succumbs to the hunger and partially increases their caloric intake.
The hormonal state will quickly force person to gain back all the fat he lost, while his transformed metabolism will continue with it’s momentum toward weight gain, even without raising his caloric intake completely back up to what it was before person began the calorie restriction.
Reduced caloric intake will elevated ghrelin levels, increasing hanger and further directing one’s metabolism toward fat synthesis, compounding the exact same effect of reduced leptin. Additionally, elevated ghrelin will heighten the secretion of the gastric acid in pancreatic enzymes increasing energy absorption. in another words, one absorbs the greater than normal percentage of calories out of the food digested- sometimes one may eat half of the calories that he or she was accustomed to yet not lose any weight.

Too much of ghrelin over a prolong time period increases the number of fat cells. That resets the homeostatic fat-mass set point to a heavier level.
Increase in ghrelin increases the number of fat cells, thereby resetting the homeostatic fat- mass set point to higher levels.
Fat cells “feel” empty unless fat mass is raised proportionally to the higher number of fat cells.
The nature of empty fat cells is that they release lesser quantities of leptin, which directs metabolism and hanger to increase fat mass until the fat cells “feel” satisfied.

Restriction of the calories can lead to weight gain:
1.Increase ghelin: restricting calories and increases ghrelin, which leads to hunger, fat-synthesizing metabolism and more efficient extraction of nutrients from the digested food.

2.Decreased leptin: restricting calories and reducing body fat leads to decrease in Leptin, leading to hunger fat-synthesizing metabolism, and weakened immune systems

3.Increased number offers cells from Ghrelin: Too much Ghrelin: increases the number or fat cells, leading to the resetting one’s fat-mass homeostasis weight to greater levels, as empty fat cells don’t release Leptin.

4.Increased number of fat cells from a combination of high insulin and high cortisol:
The simultaneous combination of insulin and cortisol also leads to fat cells multiplying , and that happens when one eats an early, high carbohydrate breakfast or eats carbohydrates under stress.

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Nicotine Withdrawal.

By Jon Trister MD
Nicotine Withdrawal
Nicotine is a drug found in tobacco, which makes smoking addictive. Nicotine can have a wide range of effects on the brain, including:
• boosting mood
• reducing depression
• reducing irritability
• enhancing concentration and short-term memory
• producing a sense of well-being
• reducing appetite
Nicotine can be as addictive as other drugs, including alcohol, cocaine, and morphine.Nicotine withdrawal makes it more difficult to quit. Withdrawal is the set of distressing physical symptoms that occur when you stop using an addictive substance.
What Are the Symptoms of Nicotine Withdrawal?
The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal can begin within 30 minutes of your last use of tobacco. Symptoms will depend on level of addiction. Factors such as duration of used tobacco and how much tobacco se on a daily basis will impact the severity of your symptoms.
Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal include:
• intense cravings for nicotine
• tingling in the hands and feet
• sweating
• nausea and intestinal cramping
• headaches
• coughing, sore throat
• insomnia
• difficulty concentrating
• anxiety
• irritability
• depression
• weight gain
Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal typically peak within two to three days. The symptoms often go away by two weeks. Some people may experience nicotine withdrawal for several months.
How Is Nicotine Withdrawal Treated?
Several different treatment options are available for nicotine withdrawal. Over-the-counter nicotine replacement medications such as nicotine gum and skin patches, or prescription nicotine replacement methods such as inhalers and nasal sprays, can help reduce symptoms by slowly decreasing the amount of nicotine in your body.
Treatment may also include the use of non-nicotine prescription medications such as Chantix.
What Complications Are Associated with Nicotine Withdrawal?
Nicotine withdrawal is not a life-threatening condition. However, people may notice some physical or mood changes once they quit smoking. Some people gain weight as a result of stopping smoking
Some people may also experience mental health issues. Patients who have had episodes of depression in the past may experience a relapse. This may also occur for people who have had bipolar disorder or other substance abuse problems. Depression associated with nicotine withdrawal is often temporary and subsides with time. Depression is a treatable condition, but it can be life-threatening if it’s left untreated.

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