Multiple Sclerosis and Gut Health
Multiple Sclerosis is one of the family of auto-immune diseases which affect a huge number of Albertans. After all we have one of the highest rates of MS in the world. For a long time we have known that vitamin D levels play a crucial role in the development of MS. However, vitamin D is only one component in the causation of this illness. Vitamin D is important in the functioning of our immune system.
A few years ago, it was theorized at a conference in Calgary that lectins were another component. That when not properly digested, these little bits of protein were exposed to the immune system creating antibodies that cross reacted with various tissues in the body. One of these tissues is the myelin which coats the nerves and allows for proper functioning of our nervous system. This theory was proposed for not only MS, but also Lupus (SLE), ALS, Hashimoto’s and others.
New research is shedding further light on the cause of MS and it appears for a number of sufferers, gut bacteria play and important role rather than lectins from undigested food. Certain bacteria that may be present in the gut of some people allow the immune system to create an antibody to the bacterial version of the enzyme called GDP-l-fucose synthase. Again, this antibody is created in the gut and circulates throughout our body attacking tissues which contain high levels of this enzyme. And of course, our myelinated nerve cells contain high levels of this enzyme. To examine the study click here
What does this mean for the average person? It means that proper gut health and immune function are pivotal in both the prevention and management of such autoimmune illnesses as MS. Often our approach to health is like that of a person who jumps out of an airplane without a parachute: nothing to worry about because we haven’t encountered the ground yet. Our functional approach to naturopathic medicine helps one discover the need for a parachute. Proper health is not focused on starting once we have the disease. Proper health is ensuring that we never develop the disease. However, no matter where you are in your health journey, we want to provide you with the tools to improve your overall healthfulness.
The Problem With Antibiotics
,We have known for a long time now, going back as far at the late 1980's that rampant antibiotic use was creating bacteria resistant to the these same antibiotics. However, both in medicine and farming, our practices have not substantially changed and we now have numerous bacteria which are resistant to a number of antibiotics. Probably the best example is methicliin resistant Staphylococus aures (MRSA) which is now resistant to numerous other antibiotics as well. The article below is interesting, as it gives us an indication of how the over use of antibiotics are changing bacteria throughout the planet. We often think that once we have finished a course of antibiotics they are gone. However, they have simply been excreted by our body and are passed from our waste water treatment plants to our lakes and streams. The article below provides an interesting read on this growing phenomenon:
Click this link: German scientists find antiobiotic-resistant germs in lakes, streams
The end of the current year is often a time for reflection on how the last twelve months have gone. Rarely, do we sit back and say: What a great year – I took time to relax, reduce stress in my life, and build healthy relationships and patterns that have served me well. While we may not have reached the level of perfection we would like there are a number of things that we can do in the upcoming year to improve our overall health and well being. Below are eight steps that will help you achieve a more balanced life, greater peace and joy.
1. Do a Proper Detoxification Program
Detoxification can help one lower overall physical stress and improve overall wellness. It improves overall functioning of the liver and metabolism. However, too many people undertake detoxification programs that they find either on the internet or recommended by friends. Often these 'detox protocols' are not researched at all and can actually cause more harm than good. I recommend only those detoxification programs which have research behind them and are supervised by your family naturopathic doctor.
2. Do Energy Intensive Activities in Moderation.
Studies have shown that endurance activities such as running, swimming and cycling are ideal for fighting stress and its negative consequences. However, these must be done in moderation – too little and there is no decrease in the stress hormones, too much and there is an increase in stress hormones. Done properly these activities help to decrease stress hormones while strengthening the heart and improving circulation. The endorphins released make you feel happier and more energetic. What about competitive sports? They are off the list as they create a new source of stress.
3. Employ Relaxation Techniques.
Relaxation therapies like Biofeedback Therapy and Progressive Muscle Relaxation have scientifically-proven benefits. Meditation and yoga have also show great benefit in reducing stress. They all reduce muscle tension and agitation, making people more resistant to stress, relaxed and happy.
4. Seek Out..
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