Fundamental aspects of our clinical protocol for dealing with multiple sclerosis actually center upon re-building gut wall integrity. Multiple sclerosis, like other autoimmune conditions is a manifestation of lack of regulation of the immune system. We now understand that the integrity of the gut wall plays a fundamentally important role in keeping balance within the immune system. Loss of integrity, “leaky gut syndrome,” is a situation that is characterized by various proteins and even bacteria within the gut gaining access to the systemic circulation, and as such, challenging the in system and leading to inflammation. And it is this situation that has now been correlated with such autoimmune diseases as type I diabetes, celiac disease, as well as inflammatory conditions of the bowel.
Like these diseases, multiple sclerosis is a condition of increased inflammation with auto immunity. It is known that the blood-brain barrier is broken down in multiple sclerosis. It is now becoming clear however that like other autoimmune conditions, there is evidence to suggest that there is increased intestinal permeability in multiple sclerosis as well.
In this new report, just published, Swedish researchers using an experimental rodent model for multiple sclerosis have now confirmed that immune activation as a consequence of increased intestinal permeability may play a fundamental role in multiple sclerosis. Indeed, when multiple sclerosis was induced in these rodents, there was almost immediate correlation with increased gut permeability, which, in retrospect, was certainly something that was anticipated and now proven.
The integrity of the gut wall is clearly dependent upon healthy gut bacteria. That said, one important early life experience that tends to increase the diversity of the gut bacteria is being breast-fed. We are now seeing literature to suggest that absence of breast-feeding is associated with an increased risk of multiple sclerosis in humans.
So as it relates to MS, again, preventive medicine should focus on creating a healthy gut bacteria by favoring such things as vaginal delivery as opposed to cesarean delivery, minimizing antibiotic exposure, and breast-feeding if at all possible.
My recent blog revealing a profound increased risk for developing diabetes in people who consume artificially sweetened beverages clearly struck a note, and with good reason. These days we are being heavily lobbied by beverage manufacturers to rethink our position on sugar sweetened beverages, no doubt because of the ever expanding medical literature that indicates that these dietary choices are profoundly threatening to our health.
In comparing risk for diabetes in individuals consuming artificially sweetened beverages compared to sugar sweetened beverages, there was actually a profound increased risk for diabetes in those consuming artificially sweetened drinks. Clearly, this seems counterintuitive. But now, new research is actually revealing the mechanism by which this actually occurs. Continue reading
Because of the close correlation between diabetes and risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia, you really want to be focusing on keeping your blood sugar under control. A new study has found that exposure to statins may put you at greater risk for diabetes, thereby increasing your chances of experiencing dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive, and almost universally fatal neurological condition. Recently, I, like many of you, participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge to help raise not only awareness of ALS, but also to raise money for clinical research with the hope of finding a cure for this devastating condition.
While the actual cause of ALS remains elusive, new research is revealing that lifestyle factors, especially food choices, may play a significant role in determining risk for this condition.
In this month’s issue of JAMA Neurology, Harvard researchers published results based on an analysis of more than 1 million participants in terms of diet and risk for this disease. In this large group of adults, a total of 995 ALS cases were documented to have occurred during the course of the study.
A stunning new report was just published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), revealing an incredible overusage of medications that are basically useless in nursing home residents with advanced dementia.
The study looked at a sample of 5,406 nursing home residents and reviewed the various medications they were taking. Specifically, the study looked at medications that were deemed to be “never appropriate” in this patient population including various “Alzheimer’s drugs” as well as drugs designed to lower cholesterol, and several others. The report demonstrated that 53.9% of the patients were receiving at least one drug that fell into this category, meaning that they were receiving a medication that is basically useless in this population. Continue reading
Food is information. What does that mean? Well we look at our food in terms of the macronutrients of fat, protein, and carbohydrates and the micronutrients like minerals and vitamins. But understand that the very foods that you choose to eat are changing the expression of your DNA.
Schizophrenia is a disabling brain disorder affecting over 1% of the American population. There does seem to be some significant genetic component to this disease in that people having a primary relative with the disease, like a parent or sibling, have a ten-fold risk for developing the affliction.
In Grain Brain, I discussed the new research that relates gluten sensitivity to schizophrenia, as well as so many other brain disorders. As you are all aware, the fundamentals of the Grain Brain Lifestyle are centered on a dietary plan that is dramatically low in carbs, gluten-free, and high in healthy fats.
In this interesting case report and literature review, researchers at Duke University specifically validate this exact dietary approach in terms of actually having significant clinical benefit in the treatment of schizophrenia, leading to what the authors describe as “modulation of the disease at the cellular level.”
In the day and age of drugs for every ailment, it is so validating to see our most well-respected medical institutions beginning to embrace the important role of nutrition in health and disease.