Spring 2017 newsletter

The Daffodils are bringing welcome colour to Spring gardens and Magnolia blossoms are on the cusp of bursting forth as I type this. It’s definitely my favourite time of year! 

This newsletter will focus on a subject that I feel genuine passion about – gut health and the gut microbiome! Most people are now aware that our gut microbes can influence our health in myriad ways, and even beyond the gut.  An article I wrote in the Spring of last year – “It’s a Bug’s Life” – illustrated the benefits of having diverse gut flora, how this very diversity correlated with good health, and concluded that this area of research was going to prove very exciting. You can read that article here: http://www.eleanorstrangnutrition.co.uk/its-a-bugs-life/

Professor Tim Spector’s blog provides an inspiring update to one of the fastest growing areas of research. He believes“Microbes are not only essential to how we digest food, they control the calories we absorb,” and “The idea that our microbes may be controlling our minds is just one of many intriguing theories now under the microscope.” Read his full article here: http://bit.ly/2nS2As9

Microbiome stool testing

Stool testing is very useful for clients wishing to get to the root cause of IBS type symptoms or niggling gastrointestinal discomfort. Clients tell me of medication they’ve tried like Omeprazole, or over the counter products – all to no avail. IBS can be intermittent, and just when things seem to be improving, even ‘sorted’, another depressing episode comes along.  Some people try omitting foods, but with mixed results, and some just ‘learn to live with it’.   Well, no-one should have to put up with IBS.  PCR stool testing has literally revolutionised what we can see going on in the gut. I use two Labs:

These are a great tool for getting to the root cause of IBS type symptoms or niggling gastrointestinal discomfort.  The PCR method does not have to rely on what will survive in ‘culture’. (Indeed only about 10% of microflora will survive in culture).  The PCR method instead picks up the DNA of everything in your gut, dead or alive, so you will get a measure of the microbial diversity, the gram negative bacteria as well as beneficial commensals, it will identify pathogens/parasites that may be lurking, and the best ‘antimicrobials‘ to use on them.  These tests also look at markers of gut inflammation, pancreatic markers, showing digestive sufficiency, and whether there is undigested food in the stool.  As such these reports provide really useful clinical guidance on how to optimise digestive function and better manage any gut problems with diet and nutrition.  Read more here: http://bit.ly/1PBz1DV

Breath Hydrogen & Methane testing for SIBO

Abnormal production of gases in the upper intestinal tract can produce bloating, belching and abdominal pain.  Constipation or a slow moving gut transit can encourage a translocation of colonic microflora up into the small bowel, where they will feast on our food, fermenting the carbohydrates and producing gas.  So another clinical tool used to investigate these gut issues are breath tests.  The term SIBO, or ‘small intestinal bacterial overgrowth’, sums up this condition, but a fructose or lactose intolerance can also be tested this way too.

The by-product gases produced by bacteria that have migrated up into the small intestine get absorbed into the blood stream to be excreted via the lungs, which is why we can test for methane and hydrogen via breath tests. Read more here: http://bit.ly/2mF6OTe

 Last word

So, how do we improve our gut microbial diversity? EAT more VEGETABLES! Whether you’ve had a history of antibiotic use that’s reduced your gut flora, or have a stressful job that will negatively impact their numbers, studies have shown simply increasing your vegetable intake will help to restore good levels of microflora. Immune function is very dependent on having good, diverse levels of microflora and vegetables also supply crucial B vitamins that support mental health and your innate detoxification function.

Struggling with achieving your 5 a day? Come and see me! Book in and I’ll show you how the revised recommendation of eating 7, 8, even 10 portions of vegetables per day is really not that difficult!

Easter Indulgence
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