Immune Support in a Couple of Shakes: Why Bugs are good for you!!

This article is written by nutritionist, Christine Bailey from Advance Nutrition Consultancy.

Is your immune system in need of some support?  Suffering with a few digestive upsets?

If so forget those TV adverts that suggest we should sterilise everything and that all bugs are bad. In fact your body is teeming with bacteria, providing a warm residence to approximately 10 times as many bacterial cells as human cells. Our mutual inhabitants live on skin, in the respiratory tract and throughout the digestive tract. Your digestive tract alone is home to between 1,000 and 40,000 bacterial species depending on which journal you read so it is nonsense to say we don’t need them.

While some bacteria cause infections, most species are harmless or perform beneficial functions, such as aiding digestion. These beneficial bugs are called commensal bacteria. One of their most important functions  is optimising the immune system. 

Recent studies¹ have shown that when certain bacteria were exposed to immune cells (B cells) they helped produce antibodies that fight harmful viruses and bacteria. Two of the principle antibodies produce in the human gut is the immunoglobulin SIgA and SIgM and these are stimulated by the presence of the commensal and pathogenic bacteria as well as the non commensal yeast Saccharomyces Boulardii. Known as immunoglobulins they are play an important role in our immune system defences.

If you’ve read my Healthy Kitchen Blog recently you will see I have started making my own Kefir – this amazing fermented drink is rich in probiotic bacteria – great for gut health and the immune system. See my blog to see how to make it yourself.

Another great immune supporting shake is Whey protein.  Whey protein supports optimal immune health by replenishing levels of glutathione an important immune regulating compound found in cells of the body but also contains other naturally immune supporting compounds too such as lactalbumin and immunoglobulin.

Combine it with some antioxidants and make up a delicious shake – perfect for breakfast or pre / post training. See my recipe blog for a great recipe.

But if you do feel your health needs further support then why not book in for a one to one nutritional consultation at our clinic

(To get hold of a Kefir Starter Culture or simply order Kefir made by Nourish or Biona visit GoodnessDirect.)

1. e.g Severson KM, Mallozzi M, Driks A, Knight KL. B cell development in GALT: role of bacterial superantigen-like molecules. J Immunol. 2010 Jun 15;184(12):6782-9. Epub 2010 May 7

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Are superbugs about to become a major threat?

News came out only last week that a new form of the infectious bug, MRSA, resists antibiotics.

As if we didn’t have enough pathogens to deal with! And there is concern that the current killer E. coli strain could also be untreatable due to its antibiotic resistance.

Advances are being made in the fight against superbugs, most recently by leading expert, Professor Chris Thomas. But even he admitted recently that, “we are all very worried… The level of resistance is increasing all the time. E. coli is one of the bacteria we are worried about in hospitals as we are seeing strains resistant to all antibiotics.

Apparently, the problem is that we’re using antibiotics too much! More antibiotic exposure means that superbugs learn how to defending themselves quicker.

The finger of judgement is pointing at the overuse of antibiotics in farming and medicine.

The Organic Association are calling for new practices in farming which don’t require the constant use of antibiotics. It’s one of the main reasons  people buy organic. Similarly, it is suggested that humans lessen their use of antibiotics so it can be used only where it is really needed.

But what’s the alternative?
Maintaining a healthy immune system and practicing basic hygiene are two obvious defences against bacterial infections; and of course, always consult your doctor.

However in the future you may have to resort to raw garlic to help you through an illness.

Crushed raw garlic – It not only works on bacterial infections but viral infections too.
Prebiotics and probiotics – Improving your ‘friendly’ gut bacteria helps you deal with the bad stuff.
Manuka honey – scientists are looking into the possible benefits of the potent honey with food poisoning.
Collodial silver – some people swear by collodial silver for everything from nappy rash to mouth ulcers. It used to be used mainly before antibiotics came along.
Goldenseal – It has an antibacterial action. It is highly rated by some herbalists.
Echinacea – It doesn’t work for everyone but is believed to stimulate your immune system.
Olive leaf extract – This is an ancient remedy and is currently being tested for its beneficial properties.
Essential Oils like tea tree oil, thyme and oregano – Scientists are interested in how potent oils like oregano might defeat MRSA.

Why do you need Prebiotics? And other musings…

Why do you need Prebiotics?

They cultivate good bacteria in your gut and kill off the bad ones. A healthy balance of good bacteria means you’ll have a better immune system, absorb nutrients more efficiently (especially calcium), and improve your bowel health.

Why do we need Calcium?

We all know that calcium is good for the bones. It is also essential for your metabolism and muscles, it protects your heart and improves premenstrual moods. Too little calcium and your body can soon be in a mess, but if you overdose on it you won’t absorb nutrients properly.

Why do we need Cranberries?

Cranberries inhibit bacteria at work in your body and helps reduce inflammation. The knock on effect has been linked to heart health, kidney stones, urinary health, gum disease and cancer.

Why do you need Flaxseed?

For Omega 3 apart from anything else. It has been found to have an impact on the symptoms of arthritis, colitis, cancer, heart disease and even acne. Flaxseed helps your hormone levels and is a natural way to normalize the menstrual cycle, manage menopause, and lower the risk of osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease.

How can you get them?

Calciflax is a new food supplement from Lifestream which is 100% natural and has Calcium, Flaxseed, Prebiotics and Cranberries in it. It is ethically made and can easily be added to cereals or smoothies, yoghurts and salads.

If you’re interested, take a look

Oregano, a herbal solution to candida

Did you know oregano is also a healing herb?

Research has looked into its ability to fight MRSA and a compound of oregano, carvacrol, is used to treat candida, a fungal infection.

Oregano: healing herb
Oregano: healing herb

Higher Nature now produce oregano oil in capsule form (30caps and 90caps bottles) as it is believed that the carvacrol content may support healthy bacterial flora for the stomach and intestines and bring comfort in digestion.

Oregano also has antioxidant properties and has been used to treat respiratory and bacterial complaints like bronchitis for centuries.

The benefits may also include a healthy immune system, respiratory tract, liver and heart, normal blood pressure, and strong, elastic blood vessels.