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Healthy Reading: Welcome to the Microbiome by Rob DeSalle and Susan L. Perkins.

2 February 2016 - Posted by Kathryn Kos

Welcome to the MicrobiomeDesalle and Perkins wrote Welcome to the Microbiome to give the reader a better understanding of all the different colonies of microbes that live on, in and around us. The authors discuss the function of various microbes and the mechanism by which they interact with us, depending upon their specific “habitat” or community.

The first part of the book discusses our ancestors, diseases, and the history of how we came to understand microbes. It explores the recent paradigm shift in the past year or so, as to how we view the microbial world. Up until recently, we treated all bacteria as “bad” or pathogenic. We are now realizing that there are vast communities of bacteria that have a symbiotic relationship with our body, one in which we need to respect.

The paradigm shift from a focus on single pathogenic organisms to understanding communities of organisms living in and on us has been possible because of a revolution in technology that allows us to “see” the extent of microbial diversity in small niches in and on our body.

Desalle and Perkins discuss how we can sequence our microbes with signatures or barcodes for different species. The microbes on our body change with age and are even different between sexes! These authors identified many of the different communities of microbes that inhabit our body, and teach us just how large and diverse these communities are, as well as the roles they play. They also discuss how our diet and exposure to chemicals can damage these symbiotic communities, and negatively impact our health.

Desalle and Perkins go on to discuss viruses and diseases, how these viruses evolved and developed, and how different species of microbes act together to make us ill. Our bodies have co-evolved to live with microbes, and so have developed some defenses against the ones that have potential to be pathogenic. They take into account the immune system and how our systems evolved to deal with infections over millions of years co-existing with these microbes. This part of the book was interesting and fascinating. We are opening ourselves up to explore a whole new world, and an entirely different paradigm for how we treat viruses and bacteria.

By the end of the book, you begin to look at your body as a complex ecosystem that we have evolved with-rather than just one single organism. Desalle and Perkins passionately teach us how to take better care of our microbes. Overall this was a very informative read, and highly recommended for anyone looking to better understand the human microbiome.


Top Health Promoting Activities of the Microbiome

2 February 2016 - Posted by Enviromedica

Did You Know the Microbiome Lives Outside Your Gut?

The Microbiome is not limited to only the digestive tract. The microbiome exists on the skin, in the mouth, throughout the entire digestive tract, and anywhere else a mucous membrane exists. The healthy function and appropriate balance of the microbiota carry incredible power in impacting an individual’s overall health. When things start to go awry, effects can be throughout the body and many times be difficult to link back to the current state of the microbiome.

As we learn more from the data derived from the Human Microbiome Project, we are struck with the realization that the function of the microbiome is inextricably linked to the healthy function of the entire body; The effects reach far and wide with some being easier to connect to microbiome health and others a bit more challenging to see.

Let’s review a few systems in the body and how a healthy, properly functioning microbiome provides support.

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Book Review: Why Isn’t My Brain Working by Dr. Datis Khazarrian

13 January 2016 - Posted by Kathryn Kos

The brain is affected by inflammation, metabolic disorders, and autoimmunity leading toward its rapid degeneration. We deal with this “degeneration” everyday and see it as a normal part of the aging process.  We see ourselves slowing down, losing our train of thought, with adrenal fatigue, and dependent on caffeinated beverages to get us through the day. We joke around with our family and friends about how we must be getting old!

Why Isn't My Brain Working by Dr. KharrazianMany of these are risk factors for the development of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, however, we often fail to see that. We just chock it up to getting old, and even joke about “alzheimer’s” setting in.  Even naturopathic practitioners  fall short when addressing brain health. Dr. Khazarrian recognized this in his practice, and put together this amazing book taking on all the components we miss when trying to heal our body, even when we don’t want to go the “medication” route. Sprinkled throughout the book are amazing anecdotal notes of individual cases, which are very eye opening and give the reader hope.

Khazarrian discusses the four neurotransmitters (acteylcholine, serotonin, dopamine, and GABA) and the connection between these neurotransmitters with depression and anxiety. He discusses our modern processed food diet and the impact it has on our brain health. He reviews the symptoms of poor oxygen to the brain, and ways to increase circulation.

One of the most interesting sections for me was about the brain’s “immune system.” Our brain has its own immune system that can be triggered by harmful substances. Just like we struggle with “leaky gut”, Dr. Khazarrian introduces the concept of “leaky brain.” He teaches us all about brain-based autoimmunity, a topic of which I knew very little about. Some brain conditions, like alzheimer’s and autism, are actually an autoimmune attack on the brain. He also discusses the close and important relationship between the gut and the brain.

You are your brain; the health of the brain dictates everything about you. How you perceive events in life, your personality, how much you enjoy life, how you react to everyday occurrences, your emotional health, and so on – these are all related to your brain’s health and function.

Overall this was very informative and a must read book for both practitioners and everyday folks who want to understand brain health, and make the right changes to help heal their issues at a functional level, vs. taking medications and continuing to deteriorate. Dr Khazarrian teaches us how to take care of our brain, just as we would any other part of our body!


Did You Know: Magnesium May Help with Mood and Anxiety?

13 January 2016 - Posted by Kathryn Kos

Depression, anxiety, mood disorders, irritability, fatigue, and pms are all quite prevalent in our culture. More and more people are taking prescription drugs such as SSRI’s to help alleviate symptoms. However, these drugs are not addressing any possible root causes, such as possible mineral deficiencies.

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Book Review: The Gut Balance Revolution by Gerard Mullin, MD

19 November 2015 - Posted by Kathryn Kos

Dr. Mullins writes an eye-opening piece about the correlation between obesity and an imbalance in gut flora. He starts by sharing a very raw story about his own experiences struggling with obesity, and dealing with shame and blame from his own Doctor. Dr. Mullins wanted to dig deeper and understand the mechanism behind obesity. He knew there was more to it than diet.

Obesity is not just about overeating, and this book teaches us the science behind why this is the case. Dr. Mullins explains the 7 pathways to dysbiosis or gut flora imbalance, and the impact this has on our immune system and the regulation of our metabolism.

Your gut flora represent a highly diverse ecosystem whose composition is as unique as your fingerprint. The more diverse it is, the healthier you are. Your gut ecosystem is delicately balanced between many friendly symbiotes, and a limited number of potentially harmful pathogens that are prevented from gaining a foothold and triggering an aggressive immune response.

The type of flora in your gut has a profound influence on your weight. Diet influences gut microbiome. In this book, Mullins discusses how “leanless” is transferrable, in a diet that promotes the growth of healthy flora. He also covers fecal transplants and the ability to acquire leanless through the fecal bacteria of a lean individual. It is fascinating to understand the impact of our gut bacteria on the health of our body as a whole.

One important topic that Dr. Mullins discusses is birth and breastfeeding. Infants actually swallow bacteria from the vagina at birth, and this helps to inoculate the infant with good bacteria in their gut. Babies born via C-section start life with few healthy microbes in their gut. This results in a higher risk of developing disease and obesity later in life. He goes on to explore the hygiene hypothesis, and how over sanitizing and avoiding exposure to dirt also impacts the gut flora and overall health of our children.

Dr. Mullins goes on to explain other pathways by which our gut flora is affected, such as inflammation and autoimmunity, our specific gut-bug type or “fingerprint” and the influence that has on our immune health, as well as our diet, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and the gut brain connection.

The factors that lead to weight gain and weight loss are far more reaching and include genetic predisposition, phenotypical influences (like diet, lifestyle, and stress), blood sugar and insulin balance, hormone regulation, inflammation, energy metabolism, and more.

Dr. Mullins not only details what the mechanisms are behind gut dysbiosis, but then goes on to explain how to counteract these effects, and re-establish a healthy gut microbiome.

Dr. Mullins details precise ways to increase healthy gut flora, thus changing the health of the body. This book is helpful for both practitioners trying to find answers for their struggling clients, as well as the general public struggling with weight loss and other related health issues.


Probiotics Have A Shelf Life!

8 October 2015 - Posted by Enviromedica

Did You Know Most Probiotics Need to be Refrigerated?

Unlike supplements, most probiotics have a short shelf life and should be refrigerated to ensure their potency. Supplements contain nutrients, while probiotics contain living bacteria, the kind that is good for you and your body. This is a key factor to remember, because it is up to you to keep the bacteria in your probiotics alive, even before the expiration date found on the bottle.

How do you do that? It depends on the type of probiotic you purchase. For Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains found in the most common store-bought brands, refrigeration is your only option. Because these bacteria die at room temperature, they must be refrigerated to maintain efficacy. At room temperature, the rate of loss in a typical probiotic can be as much as 10-15% per month!

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Book Review: The Symbiont Factor: How the Gut Microbiome Redefines Health, Disease, and Humanity

8 October 2015 - Posted by Kathryn Kos

There is nothing more valuable than health, and yet choosing health appears to one of the more difficult decisions for people these days.

Do you only see bacteria as harmful? Did you know that you are more microbiome than human?

In The Symbiont Factor, Dr. Richard Matthews teaches us a completely different perspective when it comes to understanding the human microbiome. He provides a wealth of very detailed information, written so that both health professionals and health enthusiasts alike can understand it.

The Symbiont Factor by Richard MatthewsIf you are looking for a comprehensive review of scientific literature, this book is not for you. This book is an introduction to the life-changing concept of symbiont bacteria and how it can help prevent disease processes from occurring. Although it is not written as a review of literature, the information Matthews presents is backed by thousands of research studies regarding symbiont bacteria.

Matthews begins the book by discussing the marketing of pharmaceuticals and how the cultural focus is on prescription drugs (all of which have severe side effects) rather than focusing on making healthy choices. He discusses the impact of this paradigm on our health as a society, as well as the impact on our gut microbiome.

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Did you know: Eating Raw Honey Seasonally Can Help with Allergies

28 August 2015 - Posted by Kathryn Kos under

Raw local honeyDid you know that consuming wild, raw, local honey may offer a gradual desensitization to your seasonal allergies?

Bees pick up the pollen from their environment. This is the same local pollen that may be contributing to your seasonal allergies. When you go to an allergy clinic and get multiple shots, you are actually slowly building up your tolerance to the specific allergens contained in the shot itself. Each time you visit, you are injected with more of the allergen. In some cases the allergy can be alleviated altogether, and you stop reacting to that specific allergen.

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Book Review: The Honey Cure, by Aubrey Azzaro

28 August 2015 - Posted by Kathryn Kos under

The Honey Cure, by Aubrey AzzaroHoney is a pretty amazing real food! In this book “The Honey Cure”, Aubrey Azzaro discusses some of the many health and personal benefits to consuming raw honey. Aubrey describes in detail, 28 beneficial uses for honey. This book is simple, easy to read, and informative. It is great for people who are seeking alternative ways to increase their health, rather than relying on western medical interventions. She also reveals some fun uses for honey, such as a hair-moisturizing mask.

This book first describes some of the basic components of honey, such as: amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and enzymes. Raw honey also contains a small amount of probiotics, or beneficial gut bacteria. The author discusses that there are over 300 types of honey, depending on the pollen collected from the bees and the region the bees come from. Therefore, the components of the honey vary based upon the region. The darker the honey, the more nutrients are in it.

Each section of the book focuses on  a different therapeutic use for honey. The section begins by describing how honey is helpful for that particular condition, why it is helpful, and how to use it for the best benefit. Honey can help with things like eczema, seasonal allergies, acne, scarring, and dandruff. It also acts as a natural energy booster, and can be used for more simple things like moisturizing the hair.

This book is short, straight to the point, and provides in-depth and concentrated information about the benefits of honey and applies them to a wide variety of conditions. If you are looking for some easy information to get started with honey, this book is a great start for you. It flows nicely, and has some very valuable information. Get your copy here.


Adjust Your Circadian Rhythm to Sleep Better

29 July 2015 - Posted by Kathryn Kos under

Sleep betterSleep is just as important for our health as nutrition and exercise. Culturally we tend value work over sleep. However, quality sleep can make a huge difference in the quality of the work you produce. Sleep affects every aspect of our lives and should be taken more seriously. Lack of sleep affects our mental health, our emotions, and our physical performance as well.

During the summer we get plenty of sunshine, and sunshine helps to produce quality melatonin, a hormone that helps to induce sleep. During the long days of summer we fall into a “summer rhythm” with our sleep. Come fall, the days start getting shorter and we get less daylight. So how can we adjust our internal clock to ease into the darkness and still get sound, quality sleep?

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