Lost in Time – researching for Dominica!

I’ve been gone one thousand, three hundred and twenty-eight years – back in time … to an era we call ‘The Dark Ages’. The Roman garrisons have gone – left these isles to tend to their problems closer to Rome with a farewell letter to the Romano-British from the Emperor Honorius, in AD410, to see to their own protection  – even as they called for aid to fend off the raiding Saxons. However, by the date I’ve been visiting, AD689, the Angles, Jutes and Saxons are well ensconced in the majority of what will become England, but the Vikings are not yet attacking.

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Can you see the river Tamar, just behind the trees – and further beyond?

I am in Cornwall, here, just over the border – the river Tamar. Though, in AD689 Cornwall is not Cornwall – as such, it is part of Dumnonia, roughly Devon and Cornwall and part of Somerset and Dorset, and it is a different place culturally to the rest of ‘England’. The West Saxons (those being the closest – Wessex) have not overtaken the people of Dumnonia yet – in fact – even the Romans had made little impact here, this side of the river, either … a few forts only – no fancy towns all laid out Roman style with villas and influence over the local Kings* here. (*or ‘big-man’ as the system seemed to be in Cornwall in the pre-Roman times … and probably was even at the end of the AD600s.)

So it is a tumultuous time on the border, the threat of invasion by the West Saxons is real, they have made in-roads into Dumnonia … and they have a new battle-cry. By this time the Anglo-Saxons had, by and large, turned from their pagan gods to Christianity, some converted by missionaries from Rome, some by missionaries from Ireland. This had resulted in a clash of Christian doctrines – the Roman church and the Celtic church having different ways to work out the Christian calendar, different tonsures for their monks, and differing rules and ways of worship and a different attitude towards women. Within my time-line comes the decisive synod of Whitby, AD664, that found in favour of the Roman Church and meant that the Celtic churches that would not change were then seen as heretical – and to be wiped out.

The Church in Dumnonia, and especially the ‘Cornish’ ones backed by King Geraint and so rich in Celtic saints from Ireland, refused to change – setting themselves up for the West Saxons to proclaim a ‘religious war’ as a motive to back-up their invasions.

It’s been hard to get back to the here and now – I look at the landscape around me with different eyes – where would have been occupied? Where would have been safe? I read the names of the places I know and refer to my books to see whether I can call the place by its current name – whether the name we know is, in fact, original Celtic (Cornish) or an English name given only after the West Saxons’ invasion, or a blend … and even that has made me look at the landscape again and see things with different eyes as I find the meanings behind the words.

Those who know me in person, know that I am interested in history, mainly local history rather than that of Kings and Queens, but this is something different. To weave a story based on a few scanty legends (Dominica and Indract), set in a time that is poorly recorded (there’s the reason it is called the Dark Ages) and to try to throw myself back into that time and inhabit that landscape and that life is, for me, an extraordinary experience, both thrilling and very scary. It is also totally absorbing and takes me to a place I have never travelled before!

Wish me luck on my time-travels 🙂

Do you go time-travelling?

Do you find yourself inhabiting a different world when visiting ancient houses or estates?

Do share – you know I love to hear from you!

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Doing Christmas – lametta and cake

Here’s wishing you and yours a very Happy Christmas from this blog.
I have decorated the tree …

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 … and then finished it off with lametta – oh, how I love lametta – regardless of fashion – I love the way it pulls the tree decorations together and gives more sparkle than you would expect! {pictures much clearer if clicked}

And then the cake... and I left it rather late (last weekend) to make but still dropped it, well wrapped, into the freezer for three days – just to help it mature! Oh, Yes! Freezing a fruit cake helps it mature, because the ice crystals that form break the cells and releases the juices and flavours from all that fruit, and, if you had followed a recipe like the Adaptable Rich Fruit Cake recipe I use – then you’ll be releasing extra wine flavour too!wp_20161222_20_43_58_pro

My decorations this year used a large holly leaf cutter and a small heart shaped cutter and roll-out icing. Having covered the cake I mixed a little gum tragacanth, so it will harden, with the remaining icing and rolled it out. The white holly leaves and the hearts were cut out from this, the holly leaves left to dry draped over scrunched paper covered with cling-film to give them shape. (The same was done with some other remaining icing – coloured green)

The heart shapes were stuck together in fives to make the ‘Christmas Roses’ and set to rest in a piece of foil, each in a dip in a bun tin. A little icing was coloured yellow and pressed through a sieve to make the centres, ‘cut’ off the sieve and pressed onto a, dampened, centre, with a few presses of the knife tip.

One of the most useful cake decorating things I ever bought from Lakeland was the sets of letters and numbers. These have been used SO many times over the years – the letters much more than the numbers but both are useful.

With these I cut out my message to go all around the cake …

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I hope you can read it … it’s for you …

it says Merry Christmas and a Happy (2017) New Year … my wish for you All  🙂

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Parkinson’s and the gut

I know you’ll think I have a bee in my bonnet about gut bacteria – well maybe I have – but it is like the stuff I was going on about for YEARS regarding low carbs rather than low fat … gradually there is enough new evidence (and enough of the scientists who made their lives on the old science have gone) that the main-stream have to (grudgingly) accept that there is FAR more to the gut bacteria than just breaking down foods in the gut.

mitochondrion
A cross section of a mitochondrion

I am fortunate in that I do not have anyone actually affected by Parkinson’s in my family, but I have known people affected by it.

When I was regaling you all on this blog with the findings of Dr Permutter and his book Brain Maker I touched on many aspects of the way the wrong bacteria in the gut affected the brain. I did not mention Parkinsons directly (I wasn’t copying out his whole book!) – though HE DOES.

He says that many brain disorders – including Parkinson’s – have been linked to mitochondrial ‘glitches’ – and these are caused by inflammation – yes, caused by a malfunctioning gut-biome.

This review of the LATEST news of the studies into gut bacteria and Parkinson’s, on a NHS site – link here, would be better if they explained more about the function of the different types of gut bacteria and the consequent different types of short-chain fatty-acids they produce (as the wrong type of bacteria produce the wrong type of short chain fatty-acids) [nb – nothing to do with ‘fat’- by the way] BUT it does show that this idea, of the power and importance of our gut bacteria, is becoming more mainstream – more acceptable to the medical community as a whole (who were previously more sceptical than open to the idea!)

It finishes with this comment from Dr. Arthur Roach, Director of Research and Development at Parkinson’s UK : “This paper shows for the first time a way in which one of the key players in Parkinson’s, the protein alpha-synuclein, may have its actions in the brain modified by gut bacteria. It is important to note however that this study has been done in mice and we would need further studies in other model systems and in humans to confirm that this connection is real … There are still many questions to answer but we hope this will trigger more research that will ultimately revolutionise treatment options for Parkinson’s.”

Yes – well, they always start with mice… but when the ‘treatment’ could be as simple as a Faecal Microbial Transplant – as recommended by Dr Perlmutter for other certain cases (affecting the brain) where the gut bacteria are so wrong that they need more direct intervention to sort them out quickly (rather than the slower method of ingesting fermented foods and changing the diet) surely someone can start a trial soon with (relatively) little expense (compared to doing the same using new pharmaceutical drugs) and see if this works. If it were me – I’d certainly try to eat the foods that feed the right bacteria and take a course of the main beneficial bacteria recommended for good gut health (discussed previously here) as it costs relatively little and could do no harm even if it didn’t work.

(the cynic in me says – that no pharma-company will fund this further research, into sorting out the gut bacteria, as it offers no profits, though they may seek to make an alpha-synuclein modifier or blocker or similar that they can sell  – so it will be down to non-profit groups to follow this up (like Parkinson’s UK research or independent philanthropic funders etc)

I watch with interest.

and how about you … any bees in your bonnets I should know about?

Do share – you know I love to hear from you

 

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The Way We Were …

I was told to clear out the old bureau – the idea being that we are de-cluttering – bit by bit.

Hmm… Result – a huge bag of old (and very old) bills, bank statements, leaflets, birthday cards (saved for ??), random sheets of paper with notes on, magazine and newspaper cuttings (now no longer relevant), posters (now tatty round the edges) to go to recycling or shredding and composting.

Plus, many, many things, that I want to keep, that I don’t know what to do with, or where else to keep them, including a drawer full of photographs. At the bottom of the draw, almost lining the whole of the drawer, just where they had been placed about thirty-three years ago when we moved here, were two photographs in a long-sleeve. I knew what they were immediately. …. End of college photographs.

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At Shoreditch Teacher Training College (actually situated in Surrey, at Englefield Green, over looking Runnymede on the Thames)shoreditch as in many other institutions I expect, when the year group reached the end of their course a whole group photograph was taken … then, while the staging was all up and the photographer waited, we all ran off and came back ‘dressed-up’.

Look at this one – it should have been entitled ‘would you really want this lot teaching your kids?’ wp_20160928_14_25_49_pro

Can you spot me?  Here I am in both … close-up … now can you find me??

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Two things occurred to me (we will all be in our sixties) – where are all these people now?

and

If this is done nowadays (and I have no idea if it is or not) you can bet that the ‘costumes’ would be more than ‘dresses’ using the curtains from the halls of residence, or bedsheets as nuns-habit, or ‘flasher-man’ lab coats, or ‘funny’ hats and cuddly toys .. as now everything is ‘professionalised’ not just thrown together with a bit of imagination and no cash. I can imagine the local hire-shop would be at the ready to provide ‘funny’ outfits for prospective teachers (or whatever), the internet peppered with good ideas and where to get them.

So, if you are in one of these photographs do let me know! I’d love to know where you are now and what is happening in your life.

If you have a similar set of pics from your past – do tell! What does it make you think about?

Do you keep lots of things that you don’t want to part with – but don’t know what to do with either?

Did you find me – just click on the photo to enlarge (and clarify) it – if that helps 😉

You know I love to hear from you … do share 🙂

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Mind on fire

At last – the final ailment or condition in my interpretation of Dr Perlmutter’s book ‘Brain Maker’brain on fire

I came to the study of the gut biome (and this book ‘Brain Maker’ as part of it) because I was looking for the things I can do to help prevent brain deterioration. A dysfunctional gut-biome is found in a very high proportion of people suffering from Alzheimers and other forms of dementia.

Let’s start with something simple. B12. A vitamin that is found to be deficient in the brains of people suffering from Alzheimers. Though we can try to make sure we eat foods with B12, though we could take supplements, the fact is that our gut bacteria, when operating properly, MAKES the B12 our bodies require. It is well documented that a low level of B12 is a huge risk factor for dementia

In Brain Maker Dr Perlmutter leads us through the effects of gluten again in the sections relating to Dementia; even those who are not shown to be sensitive to gluten (no bloating or diarrhoea) can be affected, as the constituents of the gluten have two effects on the intestine. One is to be ‘sticky’ and prevent the uptake of some nutrients, and, two, the gliadin in the gluten causes leaky gut, causes the body’s immune system to be on high alert (producing anti-gliadin antibodies) AND allows the passage of LPS (lipopolysaccirides) into the bloodstream which, as explained previously, can pass through the blood brain barrier, (leaving the door open for other large molecules to follow) and cause changes in the way the brain sends signals to the body and inflammation there too.

gluten groupThe Anti-bodies to gliadin not only cause the release of cytokines (which are inflammatory in the brain) but they also cross-react with certain brain proteins. From many studies it is shown that this then leads to complications such as neuropathy, ataxia, seizures and neuro-behavioural changes.

Is it any wonder then that Dr Perlmutter connects the rise in dementia (over and above that expected just through living longer) to a disrupted gut-biome?

A word on fats. Omega 3 fats are essential for good brain function.

The over-use of Omega 6 oils (sunflower / corn -oil) is also brought up in this section. The demonising of saturated fats* to such an extent that Omega 6 oils now take up too much of our dietary fats is a concern as in the western diet now the ratio of Omega 6 intake to Omega 3 (Olive oil : cold-pressed rape-seed oil) intake is around 10 : 1 (or higher). The ratio of Omega 6 to the mono-unsaturated Omega 3  (shown to be required for brain health) is critical. It ought to be 1:1 or at the very most 3:1 – any more and the Omega 6 oils prevent the take-up of the Omega 3s (to the detriment of the brain!)

*Saturated fats are demonised as being Cholesterol raising. More and more evidence is being produced to show that this is not the case. Simplistically – an observation was made and the ‘result’ was viewed as the ’cause’ (arteries blocked by cholesterol plaques = therefore cholesterol causes blocked arteries) – from then on cholesterol and saturated fats have been demonised and a vast theory and business (phamacutical and dietary) has been built up around it. Why ‘saturated fats’ – well, because, though they do not contain cholesterol, they are found in the same source – animal products. When it comes down to it, our liver makes the majority of cholesterol our bodies need, if we do not eat enough of it, and it is quite hard to eat as much as is required, – it makes it.

Note however, that our brains need cholesterol (yes – even the ‘bad’ one) – to function properly, as do most of the other cells in our bodies. In one of the largest studies ever, where a very large cohort was followed over fifteen to eighteen years, those with naturally lower cholesterol in their systems as they aged were shown to perform less well in all cognitive tests.

The real question following the observations should have been ‘why has the cholesterol formed a blockage here?’ The answer comes back to the gut-biome (and gluten) as it seems that the arterial blockage is the result of frequent damage / inflammation repairs – and the damage is caused by the intrusion of proteins that should never have made their way in the bloodstream, (LPS – gliadin etc) and couldn’t have done, or wouldn’t have done, if the gut-biome was healthy and gluten wasn’t so prevalent in the diet to crowbar a way through the tight junctions. And if you are thinking that I have strayed from my concerns for the brain into heart-attack waters – I have not. The cause of vascular dementia is the blocking of blood vessels in the brain – resulting in brain-cell death and strokes of various sizes and effects – so if the damage to the lining of the blood vessels can be prevented, the blockages due to repairs should not happen either.

The final part of this book deals with How to keep your good bacteria happy and thriving and in balance for optimal health – and I will work on a summary of this soon.

What do you think – have saturated fats been demonised unnecessarily?

Have you ever tried a low / no gluten diet to see how you feel on it?

You know I love to hear from you – do share

Best – Ann

ps – for those interested, my Dad’s book is now also available for Kindles (from Amazon) or other ebooks from PendownPublishing

 

 

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All adrift – a smile for Wednesday

The past week – and weekend – have been hectic – and fun. First there was our WI’s 70th anniversary to organise  – properly celebrated with a great night, meal and dancing! Followed by a Saturday night belly-dancing at our group’s Halfla – a party for lots of belly-dance groups – to also raise funds for Macmillan cancer care.

There – excuses made – so here is your Saturday smile – perhaps a Wednesday is a better day to have a smile  🙂

So before Saturday I was thinking about all sorts of anniversaries – and that brought me to thinking about age and being over sixty – and how I wish I had known how to be as confident about myself before now. old purple

But to get here there is the menopause to go through …

hot flashes

and all that comes with it …

50 forgetfulbut in the end I think that this philosophy works for meold hippiealong with the best advice from tigger … tiggerHappy Wednesday

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The Guts of Obesity and Diabetes

Obesity and type 2 diabetes seem to go hand in hand – we are always being told of the rise in both – and that being obese puts you at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The temptation is to say – just stop eating the junk – that ‘these people’ must be lazy – must be eating too much and not doing enough exercise. How many times have you seen the guy (it usually is a guy) commenting on an article about obesity “it’s simple – food in must equal energy out or you will get fat!”

Fat and Thin Bronze courtesy Rui Fernandes
Fat and Thin Bronze courtesy Rui Fernandes creative commons

It is not as simple as that! Guy A may eat exactly the same as Guy B – do exactly the same amount of exercise … but  Guy B is Fat and Guy A is Lean.  Ah Ha! Metabolism – people say, Guy A must have a fast metabolism … well, probably not. Generally people’s metabolism is roughly the same if they do the same amount of exercise (excepting certain constant fidgeters) . It seems that Guy A may have a better gut bacteria balance – one that does the right things with the food he has ingested, one that isn’t compromised.

The Western diet – high carbohydrate, high sugar diet – and modern lifestyle – antibiotic treated, c-section opted, bottle-fed by choice, urban-clean living – has created a gut biome that is not as diverse or as balanced as it once was. This is pretty much agreed.

However, recent studies have shown that the balance between two groups of bacteria in the intestine can make all the difference as to what happens to the ‘food in’ side of the equation. There are two groups of bacteria that make up 90% of the gut bacteria – the Bacteriodetes and the Firmicutes.

First take the Bacteriodetes – this bunch of bacteria specialise in breaking down resistant starch plant molecules and fibres into Short Chain Fatty-Acid molecules that the body can use for energy (SCFAs). These short-chain fatty-acid molecules are good for our system, used in intracellular signalling and for creating Adenosine Tri Phosphate (ATP)  as an efficient form of energy, and more recently are indicated in causing colon-cancer cells to kill themselves (autophagy)

The Firmicutes are adept at breaking down carbohydrates and in extracting the greatest amount of calories from them. However they have another effect on our system – they can actually control the way our body uses energy – they do this by using the epi-genetic effect (turning on or off ‘switches’ on our genes) in this case telling our bodies to store energy – to lay down fat! epigenetic mechanism[Epi-genetics is another whole area of fascinating new research – not long ago we all thought we were stuck with whatever our DNA bequeathed us – it is now evident that ‘nurture’ (as in our environment, infections, treatments, food ingested and even the air we breathe) can turn on or off genetic expressions – so that even identical twins who have had different life experiences can end up with a different genetic expression from the same set of DNA]

The guts of naturally lean people (like Guy A) have a much larger proportion of the Bacteriodetes than the Firmicutes. The guts of obese people have a larger proportion of Firmicutes.

Indeed in a experiment where baby ‘humanised’ mice were given gut microbes from one of twin women, (one of whom is obese, the other being lean) then gave the mice the same food and in the same quantity to eat. Those with the microbiome from the obese twin started to put on more weight than those with the microbiome from the lean twin. When checked – their gut bacteria were far less diverse than those of the lean ones. More than this, when they allowed the mice to share a cage the natural behaviour of mice (to eat faeces) resulted in the obese mice eventually becoming lean – having taken in the correct bacteria and created the right balance to become lean (when checked their bacteria diversity had also increased).

Fecal transplants have been used to even out the bacteria in humans too, though mainly used as a treatment for C Difficile, the results have, co-incidentally, been the same.

Then, once visceral fat is being laid down, there is another layer of trouble ahead. Visceral fat cells create their own ‘hormones’ and when in possession of too much visceral fat this can become overwhelming to the system. They suppress the hormone that tells us we are full, they stimulate the brain into wanting MORE sweet and rich food – more than we need – more than we consciously want – by making our brain CRAVE these things – and they cause inflammation – fat-generated cytokines are found in elevated levels in all inflammatory conditions – from  arthritis and heart disease to auto-immune disorders and dementia. (note: you do not have to be overweight or obese to lay down viceral- fat- some people are what is known as TOFI ‘thin outside – fat inside’ and are just as much at risk)

A larger proportion of firmicutes than bacteriodetes is also indicated in increased gut permeability – and so then in inflammation – leading to many other inflammation-triggered diseases.

[It makes me wonder if ‘being fat running in families’ can be partially due to collecting the wrong balance of bacteria at a natural birth, if the mother has an imbalance in her gut-biome – and then this causes a yearning for the wrong foods that starts the vicious cycle – this doesn’t seem to be an area that has been researched as yet]

And what of Diabetes?

It is a given that Obesity and Diabetes are linked. There are more and more obese people – so it follows that we are on the edge of a diabetes explosion too. But what if they are not only consequential – but actually initiated by the same problem – an uneven balance and less-diverse gut biome than we ought to have?

An experiment, carried out by Dr Nieuwdorp in the University of Amsterdam, using fecal transplants showed that insulin sensitivity and the blood-sugar variation was improved when he transplanted fecal material from healthy, lean, non-diabetics  into  diabetic patients.  This was a blind test on 250 people – with the control group being given a fecal transplant of their own bacteria to rule out the placebo effect. To reverse the symptoms of diabetes in this way is a breakthrough as, at the moment, nothing else does this.

Fecal transplants do sound rather drastic, however, the good news is that is is relatively easy to change the gut bacteria – by ingesting probiotics (pills packed with the range of bacteria that we need) or eating the fermented foods that have these naturally in them – PLUS making sure that we eat the type of diet that feeds the bacteria that are better for us to have in abundance (bacteriodetes) rather than those that it is better to have in smaller numbers (firmicutes).

This doesn’t mean that once your gut is populated healthily that one could eat everything and anything and not put on weight, only that on a sensible diet, rich in fibre from plants, well balanced with proteins and good fats it would be possible to be lean – whereas with an unhealthy balance of bacteria it would forever be an uphill struggle.

Has this section been food for thought

Has it raised any questions for you – I may be able to find the answers if you ask

I look forward to hearing your responses …

 

 

Find me on Facebook and Twitter @AnnFoweraker

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Lego-lego fun for Saturday!

I love Lego! (though I have to admit there are too many specialist-kits now – much better when things did not look quite so accurately like the the real thing – but the pieces could be used in so many other ways. Ships used to be built with blocks, so the hulls were ‘staggered’ and would only look smooth enough to move through water with squinted-up eyes. I blame the roof-tiles – they were the first bits to look ‘proper’!)

Anyway – I still love the creativity possible with lego (or legos as the Americans seem to call them !?) … and as a cultural part of life lego has acquired it own jokes – two of which drifted across my consciousness the past week.

This! made me laugh out loud!

lego pshychiaristThen there was this …

We have a living-room carpet that is multi-couloured and highly patterned – great for hiding lego on – no matter how well they were picked up at the end of the day! So This – for PARENTS everywhere 🙂

lego bare feet

And finally – an article I saw back in January in The Telegraph online – so cool 🙂 FUN video too 🙂

“British-based company is offering customers the chance to get themselves recreated in miniature form – as Lego superhero figures. Funky 3D Faces, a subsidiary of Lincoln-based 3D printing firm ELAT3D, uses facial recognition software to convert photos into miniature 3D models of people’s heads. For £30, the company uses two photos of your face (one taken from the front, one from the side), and uses them to create a small 3D print-out of your face, which it will then send to you fitted to a Lego figure of your choice. It can take up to two weeks to make your head.The firm is based at Sparkhouse, a business innovation centre with links to the University of Lincoln.”

LEGO – love it or hate it?

Any funny lego experiences out there?

Do share – we all need a smile 🙂

 

Find me on Facebook and Twitter @AnnFoweraker

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Gut reaction – inflammation

The book I am going to be interpreting is Brain Maker by Dr David Permutter. This is not a substitute for reading his book – but, I hope an insight that will lead to reading more around this subject.

For too long the western diet has been moving towards an industrialised food content. The average diet (and most studies are done in the USA) contains mostly foods grown under industrial farming methods – not just non-organic – but also reliant on the heavy use of pesticides and herbicides, including the large-scale 365 housing of livestock, requiring more use of antibiotics and ‘growth hormones *in USA’, and industrially grown crops to feed them.  A high percentage of the resulting crops and meat are then made into processed foods of various types. This can be of the ready-made product / meal – or the ready to use ingredient variety. In the processing the industrial makers of food products have also used ‘unusual’ methods (like hydrogenation) to change the chemical structure of food-stuffs to make them ‘work’ in industrial setting. They have also sought to make ‘created foods’ popular by exploiting our in-built love of sweet and of salty things.

The problem with this is that, over the last fifty or so years, food has changed so much that our gut bacteria have changed too. This does not seem a disaster at first – after all, how important can the variety of gut bacteria be? I am sure you have all heard of the ‘good gut bacteria’ that we are encouraged to consume (from tiny bottles laced with sugar) to keep a ‘happy tum’. It is true – we need the ‘good bacteria’ (but preferably not from an industrialised sweetened source) and I will attempt to explain why in simple terms.

A lot of this research Dr Perlmutter is basing his book on has dates between 2010 and 2015 – so much is quite new.

It has been found that it is not just a matter of having the good bacteria in your digestive system – it is about having the right balance of the right bacteria in there to support a healthy gut – even some of the ‘bad’ bacteria are needed in small quantities.

What the bacteria do: The number one thing that the correct bacteria do, when looking at health, is to ensure that our body has a strong defence against the things that should never get into our blood stream. After all, once in our blood stream then, whatever it is, it can travel anywhere in our body.

To understand this you need to know the structure of the thinnest interface between our gut and our blood-stream.  Our ileum (small intestine) is lined with villi – small finger-like projections – making the surface area for the transfer of nutrients into the blood-stream as large as possible, and it is only one cell thick!  The diagram below shows a villus in relation to the blood and lymphatic system.

villus

Now I have seen people argue with this – but they were confusing the ileum (small intestine) with the colon. The villi of the small intestine is the interface. Nutrients from our food get from the ileum into our blood-stream either by diffusing into the absorbtive cell and then out again into the blood stream, or they squeeze through between the cells of the villi.  Normally the junction between these cells is VERY TIGHT. It will only allow some very small molecules to slide between them, molecules our body is made to accept in this way, molecules we need to get into our blood stream and that do no harm while in there. Large molecules like proteins should never get through.

When your gut bacteria are ‘healthy’ (of the right mix and in balance) then this lining of the ileum is protected to a certain degree –  when it is not, then the gut is open to attack on this vital Tight Junction.

So what would attack the tight junctions? With the bacteria defences down our cells are more open to the ‘crowbar effect’. Gluten can do this, and is the most commonly eaten protein that has this effect – components of gluten act as a chemical crowbar forcing open the gap between these cells – allowing large molecules, that have no business being in our blood stream, to slip through – this condition is known as leaky gut.

What would get through and why does it matter? Pathogenic viruses and bacteria that are designed to harm us could now get into our blood-stream – this is an obvious danger – however, now some other large molecules, including proteins, are able to get through – and they can harm us too.

Pathonegenic viruses and bacteria aside – what is the problem here?

The problem is that when larger protein molecules get into the blood stream they begin to cause INFLAMMATION where ever they go as our body’s immune system reacts to their ‘foreign’ presence.

Inflammation is Dr Perlmutter’s BIG concern. In my last but one blog on this subject I said he was a neurologist that ‘jumped ship’. He, as all neurologists, had been taught that the blood/brain barrier prevented any harm coming to the brain by substances carried in the blood. Moreover – that the constituents of the gut had nothing to do with how the brain functioned (after all, the gut – essentially a tube from mouth to anus – was seen as almost ‘outside’ the body anyway)

He / we-the-world, now know different – and he is sure that many of our seemingly brain-centric disorders are, in fact, caused by inflammation of parts of the brain, and that our westernised gut population is causing this to be able to occur.  As he points out, our gut biome is the equivalent to a second brain – containing as many different type of nerve cells as the brain, creating hormones and chemicals that affect not only how our bodies function but also our brain; through our moods, functionality and concentration.

His first take-away message has to be – repopulate your gut with the right bacteria and keep them happy and flourishing by eating the right food for them.

The second take-away message is – avoid gluten. He is not doing this on a ‘fad’ idea – but on the science that shows it is one of the main ways that this ‘tight junction’ is opened up – which  then allows some of the other things that our western diet has brought on to cause more damage.

Does this make sense to you?

Do you have a gut feeling that this is correct?

Do share – you know I love to talk about it…

 

 

Find me on Facebook and Twitter @Ann Foweraker

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Tune up your body ;)

… so this doctor said, to the woman on the Radio 4 programme, ‘I recommend that as you get older you change the radio station you listen to – choose a music station with music you like to dance to … that way you can exercise whenever you are working around the house – just dance!’

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me … in my youth 🙂

OH YES!

I grew up with Radio 4 on in the background (Home Service in my youth – if I am truthful) and though as a teenager I listened to Radio Luxembourg / Pirate radio and eventually Radio One (when they gave up fighting it and made pop-music mainstream) on my radio in my room while doing homework or reading in bed – Radio 4 was the sound-track to my home life.

After my parents moved in with us down here in Cornwall, Radio 4 was once again the default on the radio – and always on. When, because of her developing dementia, Mum couldn’t follow what they were saying and she began to get annoyed with Radio 4, I found that music stations were better for her … and for me. Radio 2 now became the default and, though I missed the thinking pieces, the reports and studies, and some of the humour from Radio 4 – I found I really liked the music played on Radio 2 as so much was ‘my era’.

Music of your own era is hard-wired into your brain. It is a fact that memories associated with music are extremely evocative and form some of the strongest memories. There have been various pieces of research that indicate that the emotional response that music can create may have something to do with this. Dementia patients, who respond to very little else, will suddenly join in with songs and music from their youth – singing along with Old Music Hall songs (as my Mum would) or be-bop-a-lula – if that bit younger.

As for me – hard-wired is the operative term – and it is both brain and body. There are some pieces of music that I just cannot sit still and listen to – I have to get up and dance around (or at the very least tap my foot enthusiastically) 

So – I listened to the doctor – and dance as I go about my everyday life. And it works – okay – so it may look strange to see me pirouette and shimmy across the kitchen, utilising all my favourite belly dance moves – or mosh to heavy-metal in the dining room – but it keeps this old gal limber (love that word!) and if another lovely memory 😉 happens along with the song – it puts an extra smile on my face.

Now for your Saturday Smile – enjoy this video – and go on, GO ON! Why not?  Have a dance around 🙂

What is your favourite music to dance to?

Do your have music-linked memories that return every-time you hear a tune?

do share – I’d love to hear from you

Ann

 

Find me on Facebook and Twitter @Ann Foweraker

 

 

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