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Part 8 – Probiotics and prebiotics

Continuing in our 10-part mini-series looking at the human microbiome and gut health, today Dawn explains the difference between PRObiotics and PREbiotics, and the role of both in your health.
With diet tips and some guidance on supplements, read on to learn what you need to know…

New Dawn Health

Probiotics

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Probiotics are beneficial live microorganisms that we can eat to improve our health. As far as we know, they don’t necessarily take up residence in our gut but can give us benefits as they pass through.

There are two ways to consume probiotics, either from fermented foods or from probiotic supplements. We don’t yet know if probiotics in food (albeit much cheaper) are better than probiotic supplements, or vice versa.

Current objective opinion is that for healthy people, probiotic supplements don’t significantly change the microbiome, but in ill health or disease they can help restore a healthier microbiome.

Summary analyses of hundreds of trials has showed substantial evidence for the benefit of probiotics for treating diarrhoea; constipation; acute upper respiratory tract infections; eczema and dermatitis in children, improving metabolism; lowering cholesterol; reducing infection rates; and lowering markers of inflammation, like C-reactive protein. Promising research is underway regarding benefit for…

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Part 6 – Microbiome and disease

Part 6 – Your microbiome and the link to diseases.

Moving in to the 2nd half of this 10-Part short series looking at the human microbiome and gut health, in this post today Dawn explains some of the connections scientists are unravelling between the microbiome, gut health, immune function and certain diseases.

As this area of science is emerging and becoming clearly, it’s all quite fascinating and at the same time possibly quite worrying. Remember, it takes a long time for science to ‘prove’ things beyond doubt. One study will highlight a possible link, suggesting ‘more research is needed’ and that’s an open invitation for other scientists to run a study delving deeper..and then often we see ‘rinse and repeat’ of that process over and over. It takes years to conduct studies; time to design the research, raise the funding, recruit volunteers, conduct the research, analyse the results, write up the conclusions, put it through peer review and eventually publish it for the public, doctors and other academics to read. This is why it sometimes takes decades for research to make progress in certain areas.

In the fields of human health and nutrition, some big areas that are emerging through this long-winded process now are genetics, the microbiome and gut health, links between our diet and disease, links between our lifestyle (alcohol, stress, sleep, etc.) and disease.

Personally, after half a lifetime (28 years now…) studying, trying, experiencing, learning about these things for myself (ummm, using a ‘study population of n=1, namely me, myself and I) through trial and error, I am utterly certain that a vast amount of the chronic disease burden we are experiencing in the Western World today, could be alleviated, eased or reduced in some way by individuals adopting a healthier lifestyle, somewhat more in tune with the natural world we live in. What do I mean by that?
– reduce the amount of processed foods we consume
– eat a diet largely comprised of fresh whole foods
– cut back on “additives” which means things like added refined sugar, and refined seed oils
– move more, exercise every day in a variety of ways
– healthy sleep: your bedroom should be dark, cool, and free from electronic devices!
– drink more water (less fizzy drinks, alcohol, sugary drinks and juices and those damned energy drinks – do everything on this list and you won’t need energy drinks, you’ll have much more natural energy in the first place!)
– get plenty of healthy natural daylight
– minimise the amount of chemicals you come into contact with, things you spray around your home and breathe in, things you put on your skin, and things in your food (buy organic)

You see, these are simple actions, nothing extreme, but I believe that over the next 40 years, science is going to show us that these kind of actions are a huge step in the right direction towards decreasing the international cancer burden, the heart disease burden, and the prevalence of auto-immune conditions.

Of course, you know, this is all built in to the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet. Ha, like I needed to tell you that…

Well, now read on to see what my friend Dawn has explained to us in Part 6, all about the links between your microbiome, gut health and diseases.

To your very best health in 2019!
– Karl

New Dawn Health

The differences between peoples’ microbiomes is one reason why we each have different susceptibility to different diseases.

Microbial imbalances are thought to contribute to disease through the cross-talk between the microbes, the chemical waste products they produce and our immune cells. When toxic, this drives an inflammatory response.

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Dysbiosis is the name given to an imbalance between beneficial and unbeneficial microbes; typically too many “bad” ones and too few “good” ones. Research is currently unravelling which microbes are beneficial, which ones are neutral and which ones are harmful.

Dysbiosis causes bloating, cramps and abdominal pain as the microbes produce gas and other chemicals, which can distend and irritate the gut. Mild, sub-clinical gut disorders are increasingly common these days. Many people are living with tolerable, but uncomfortable, levels of bloating, gas, digestive disorders and irregular bowel movements. They are called functional disorders, like IBS, because the functionis affected but there…

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Part 5 – Gut-brain communications

Part 5 – gut health and brain health.
Continuing in this 10-Part short series looking at the human microbiome and gut health, in this post today Dawn explains the connections between gut function and brain function.
It’s interesting stuff, and helps to explain one of the ways in which our diet can influence mental health.
Read on Part 5 and learn more, then look out for Part 6 tomorrow.

New Dawn Health

Imagine a web of communication (some of it wireless) between all our cells. Microbes are the key link in this communication.

vortex-blue-2A significant proportion of the calories we eat don’t get absorbed into the bloodstream for use by our bodies. Instead, the food is eaten by the microbes further down in our colon. As the microbes eat the food they produce waste products. The waste products are important communication molecules.

Initially, the waste products give signals to our gut lining cells and gut immune cells, starting the conversation, if you like. Thereafter, some of them may get absorbed into our bloodstream and continue the ‘conversation’ anywhere in our body. This can be good or bad, depending on the microbes and what messages they are sending.

The beneficial microbes make helpful communication molecules like short chain fatty acids and vitamins which keep us healthy. Unhelpful and pathogenic microbes produce toxins called Lipopolysaccharides…

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Part 4 – Microbiome and antibiotics

Part 4 – hey, welcome back, today we are continuing with this 10-part mini-series of short posts looking at the human microbiome and gut health.
In today’s article, Dawn writes about your microbiome and antibiotics, and what happens to your microbiome when you are prescribed a course of antibiotics, and what you can do afterwards to help yourself restore good order.

I hope you are enjoying this series of blogs – it’s kind of Dawn to let me share these with you, so if you are enjoying the learning, please show your thanks with a Like or a rating or a social share, thanks!

New Dawn Health

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Antibiotics originated as one life form producing something against another life form. For example, penicillin is a substance produced by fungi which stops the growth of bacteria. Modern antibiotics are synthetically made and have been in widespread use to fight bacterial infections. They have saved many lives and speeded the recovery from infection for most of us, but remember, they cause collateral damage to the beneficial microbes and diversity of your microbiome.

When we take antibiotics, our resident beneficial microbes are also killed. The more we take, the more are killed. In time and given opportunity, our microbes do repopulate our gut, but they don’t necessarily grow back the same, or as plentifully, as they were before.

Taking too many antibiotics can leave us more susceptible to antibiotic resistant bacterial strains, like clostridium difficile, gonorrhoea and MRSA. Resistant bacteria can cleverly pass on their antibiotic resistance, thus out-competing other species.

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Part 2- Functions of the gut microbiome

Continuing from yesterday, this is Part 2 of my friends short series on the microbiome. Today – what are the key functions of the microbiome?
I mean, we’re carrying these literally trillions of “little passengers” around on our bodies with us all day every day – it’s good to know why!! They ought to be “paying their bus fare” one way or another!
Read on in today’s short easy read…

New Dawn Health

microbiome700Our microbes:

Help us digest our food.

Protect our gut lining cells from pathogens and toxins.

Help teach and mature our immune system to function properly.

Make B vitamins, Vitamin K and amino acids (proteins).

Break down, by fermentation, non-digestible dietary fibre that we eat.

Regulate our metabolism (how much energy we get from food) and help to regulate our weight and how much body fat we store.

Make waste products called short chain fatty acids (SCFA’s) that provide food for our gut lining cells. These are important communication molecules.

Influence sleep, mood and brain function.

Regulate the repair and growth of our body’s cells.

Are key to our health and disease.

Coming up tomorrow in Part 3, we’ll take a look at your microbiome and how it forms a crucial, and major, part of your immune system. Few people realise how important our gut is when it comes to…

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The Human Microbiome

My good friend Dawn over at https://www.newdawnhealth.co.uk/ is running a 10-part mini-series on her blog over the next 10 days, educating us all about our microbiome and gut health.
She’s a smart cookie who knows her stuff, so I for one will be reading and paying attention, and I will re-post all 10 parts here for you guys too.
Here is Part 1!
Enjoy.
To your good health,
Karl.

New Dawn Health

Introduction

For many months now, I’ve been researching and listening to lectures about the human microbiome. My short, easy to digest (ha, ha, pun intended!) blog series is about how our gut microorganisms significantly influence all aspects of our health (and disease) and how to turn this knowledge into healthy new habits. I hope you find it helpful and I welcome any comments or questions.

microbiomeblog1

This post is Part 1 of a 10-part series. Here is the outline of the series:

Part 1 – In the beginning

Part 2 – Functions of the microbiome

Part 3 – Microbiome and your immune system

Part 4 – Microbiome and antibiotics

Part 5 – Gut-brain communications

Part 6 – Microbiome and disease

Part 7 – New Tests and treatments

Part 8 – Probiotics and Prebiotics

Part 9 – Optimising your microbiome

Part 10 – Fermented food recipes

Part 1 – In the beginning

The…

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It’s never a matter of education…

It’s never a matter of education.
It’s always a matter of motivation.

I have been on my own health journey for the last 27 years, and I have spoken to many hundreds of people around the subject of weight loss and healthy living, pretty much every day for the last 11 years, and I have directly worked with people and tried to help people with weight loss just about every day for the last 5 or 6 years, and in all that time and contact, I have never met one single person who didn’t understand that eating vegetables is good for you.

I have never met anyone who thought smoking was good for you.
I didn’t meet one single person who thought beer and pizza was healthy, slimming food.
I have not met a single soul who thought ‘eat more veg, drink more water and get some exercise’ was bad advice.

You see, we all know what to do, we just don’t do what we know.

It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I revisit this topic, it remains an undeniable truth. These days, everyone knows what they should be doing. We know we shouldn’t smoke, we know we should drink less, we know six pints per night is not healthy. We know two bottles of wine on a Saturday evening is too much and we are going to regret it the next morning. We know that we shouldn’t order take-away food four nights per week. We know we should eat more salad, more oily fish, and watch less TV.

But still we do all of these things. I work with people every day who know the things they should be doing to lose weight, have more energy, and feel better, yet they still engage in those things they know they shouldn’t.

And so it is.
Success in our health endeavours is almost never a matter of education, and almost always a matter of motivation. Read more

Fitness or fatness?

Is it healthier to be slim but not fit, or overweight but physically fit?

Does it even matter?

I spotted this question being debated – rather excitedly to be honest – online in a Facebook Group and I thought I would share it with you.

There are many opinions on this. Some people think we should stop obsessing over body image, and there is too much public pressure on us to be thin. Some people say it’s wrong to assume that an overweight or obese person is either lazy, unfit or unhealthy. Maybe that person exercises and is physically fit, they just happen to be overweight too.

Others point out that being overweight or obese is a risk factor for many poor health conditions, such as type-2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. This is true, being overweight or obese is a risk factor for all these diseases, in fact being overweight or obese is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer in the UK, and worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation.

But while being overweight or obese contributes to several of our most prevalent diseases, so does a lack of physical exercise. That’s right, when we look at lists of all the factors causing type-2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer, while we see ‘overweight and obesity’ on the list, in every case, ‘lack of exercise’ is right there on the same list too.

If we dig a little deeper, we actually find out that fitness matters more than fatness, when it comes to all-cause mortality. If you read the short abstract from that study which was published in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, you’ll see that overweight and obese people who maintained good physical fitness, lived about as long as normal weight people who maintained good levels of physical fitness too. As the article says “Compared to normal weight-fit individuals, unfit individuals had twice the risk of mortality regardless of BMI.”

So there you have it. It turns out that it’s more important to be fit, than to be thin, if living a long healthy live and avoiding major diseases is your objective.

In a society that values ‘the body beautiful’ so much, and uses stereotypes of slim and lean models for advertising and marketing, it seems we have been putting too much focus on looks and not enough focus on action. If we want to hold back heart disease and cancer for as long as possible, then we should enjoy regular exercise more and stop worrying so much about our bodyfat levels. It seems the 6-pack really is just about vanity, rather than health.

Of course, at Mother Nature’s Diet we already knew this! Our focus has always been on being healthy, and I have said for years that if we work towards being healthy on the inside, our bodies will take care of how we look from the outside.

In my own personal weight loss journey, I wrestled with my weight for 20 years, yo-yo dieting in and out of obesity. All that time my focus was on losing weight to try to look better and feel happier about myself. Only when I changed my focus to being healthy did I finally crack it, and lost 7 stone 3, that’s 101 pounds of fat, or 46 kilos to my European friends.

Living by the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet we focus on eating healthy nourishing whole foods, we don’t count calories, and we aim to stay active and exercise almost every day.

Sounds like we’re doing the right thing if you ask me.
Well done, keep going!

To your good health!

Against the Grain

Every month I publish a newsletter titled Against the Grain. This is a private, Members-only newsletter for MND Community Members.

Here is a free sample of that newsletter for you.

MND Against The Grain April 2016

For full details of MND Community Membership, please visit this page on our all-new site.

 

Respect

You cannot DEMAND respect.
You can only COMMAND respect.

No amount of throwing your weight around, physically or intellectually, will win you the respect of others. You can’t bully your way to being respected, you can’t coerce people into respecting you. And you can’t show off to win respect, you can’t get respect by showing others up, being more intellectual or show-boating that you are smarter than everyone else.

You just can’t DEMAND respect that way.

But you can COMMAND respect, by being nice, by showing integrity, by living a life based on quality values and kindness.

Strong-arm tactics is bullying, that won’t work. But showing strength of character, based in integrity, will command the respect of others.
Putting others down by trying to show off how intelligent you are will only gain you contempt, not respect. But sharing what you know in order to help others, and learning from your mistakes in life and then improving over time, shows humility and wisdom, and these will COMMAND respect from those around you.

Sadly, it seems that far too many people out there are unaware of these subtle differences, and they are out there trying to DEMAND respect, throwing their weight around and showing off in every direction.
Don’t let them fool you for a second.

1luvx

A steak and a beer…

All this stuff in the press about red meat being a probable carcinogen…

So under some rather questionable research methodologies, they have classified ‘consumption of red meat’ as ‘probably carcinogenic’ – Class 2A

But alcoholic beverages are a KNOWN Class 1 ‘carcinogenic to humans’.

IARC red meat Class 2A carcinogenIARC alcohol Class 1 carcinogen

All these folks claiming “that’s it now folks, time to quit meat” – I don’t see them all running around declaring “beer gives you cancer!”

‪#‎hypocrites‬
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Get the facts: https://mothernaturesdiet.me/2015/10/26/meat-consumption-and-cancer-who-report-and-media-frenzy/

IARC classifications

Eating to Fuel Endurance Training and Long Distance Races

In training for the 2014/15 marathon season?
This is well worth a re-read…and since this was originally posted almost a year ago, there is now extensive additional value in the comments below.
Keep on running!

Mother Nature's Diet

A subject I am often asked about is ‘what is the best food to eat for marathon training, ultra-marathon running, Ironman training’ and so on. I have lots of friends involved in endurance sport, and I have a reasonable amount of experience myself, and there is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding about fuel for endurance sport. Personally, I have been in long distance endurance events with far more experienced runners than myself and seen them fail and drop out because they ‘got it wrong’ with their fuel, yet in my own experience, such problems are entirely avoidable most of the time.

This post will explain:

  • Why complex carbs are not the best fuel for endurance races
  • Why complex carbs are not required in great quantities pre-race (carb loading)
  • Why gels and bars are not the best fuel to consume during a race
  • How to be ‘a fat burner’, not ‘a…

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Who is MotherNaturesDiet for?

  • What is MotherNaturesDiet really all about?
  • Who is this for?
  • What is the goal?

I am often asked what MND is all about, who is it for, who should follow MND and why?

I have spent a long time thinking about it all.

I have dear friends who have pointed out that on the one hand, I ‘preach’ moderation and clean living: I tell people to practice clean eating, to de-stress, I promote calm living in commune with Mother Nature, I tell people to de-stress, relax, walk in the woods, enjoy the mountains, get some fresh air and sunshine and chill out, I recommend that we all pay off our debts, treat our bodies with respect and love more.

Then on the other hand, I myself train like a maniac 5 days per week, I regularly try to motivate you with posts about my tough training sessions. I cycle miles and miles, I run marathons and ultra-marathons, I run over mountains, I rock climb, I have a climbing wall up the side of my house, I have done 1000 push ups in an hour and I throw 250 pound tractor tyres around several times per week.

People say to me “there seems to be a conflict” and I think about this myself, and I have finally figured out what it’s all about. Read more

TEDx – where x is meant to = independent

TEDx – where x is meant to = independent

Sadly, it looks as though TEDx isn’t so independent any more

This letter came to my attention from a friend:

http://blog.tedx.com/post/37405280671/a-letter-to-the-tedx-community-on-tedx-and-bad-science

Reading through this, it seems that the TED advice to all TEDx organisers is, ‘don’t allow anyone to stand up and speak about health related issues unless they are a practicing M.D. (G.P.) or if they have a Ph.D. and are affiliated to a major university.’

Read more

2000 year old advice…

“Thin people are generally the most healthy; we should not therefore indulge our appetites with delicacies or high living, for fear of growing corpulent.”

– Greek historian Plutarch (AD 46-122)

Yes folks, that interesting advice is almost 2000 years old, yet still we live in times of excess consumption, where there are more people dying from over-eating than starvation and malnutrition.

When will people learn?

 

Back from a break

Hi folks,

Sorry for the long silence, I have not blogged for most of the last month. We have suffered a close family bereavement, and my time has been under a lot of demands.

Thanks for your patience. Now, I’m back.

Stay healthy! Stay happy!

Karl

Train hard, eat well, sleep

I trained hard today, in my home gym, lots of body-weight moves, but using my OLD body weight. I have a weight vest which puts 5 stones (70 pounds, 32 kilos) extra on my frame. I like to exercise wearing this vest, as it reminds me that I lost all that fat, and more, over the years.

No wonder I found 20 push-ups hard work back then. 20 push-ups now wearing that vest is hard work! Without the vest, I can bang out sets of 50 no problem, but the vest really makes a big difference, just 20 is hard work.

Read more

Statins and cholesterol

Hey folks. Check out this site:

http://drmalcolmkendrick.org/2012/09/01/statin-nation/

You could also see more at:

http://www.statinnation.net/

For any of you regular readers here, and if you have bought any of the books on my Recommended Reading list, you will recognise Dr Malcolm Kendrick (The Great Cholesterol Con) and Justin Smith ($29 Billion Reasons To Lie About Cholesterol)

What can I say – buy the movie! And buy a copy for a friend, spread the word!

Nuff said!