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Hidden Sources of Wheat

by January 21, 2016

Processed foods are part of most people’s diet. They are packed with salt, sugar, fat and loads of additives. One of the most common additives is wheat, hidden in many different ingredients. This can make following a gluten-free diet impossible if you aren’t in the habit of reading labels. We have compiled a list of common places that wheat and gluten may be hiding in processed foods.

Hidden sources of Wheat

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Hidden Sources of Wheat

  • Beer
  • Breadings and coating mixes
  • Bouillon Cubes
  • Brown Rice Syrup (May contain malted barley)
  • Candies
  • Canned meats and fish in broth
  • Caramel Color (Usually corn-derived, but check)
  • Cheese products- Sauces and some shredded cheeses
  • Condiments (Carefully read condiment labels. Gluten is often used as a stabilizer or thickening ingredient in ketchup, mustards and Oriental sauces)
  • Deli Meats, breaded fish and meats, pre-packaged ground beef products and hot dogs
  • Dextrin (Usually corn-derived but always check)
  • Dry-roasted nuts
  • Flavorings, food starches, seasonings, and malt are general and vague words to watch for on labels of packaged foods. These terms are often clues that the product may contain gluten. For example, “malt” vinegar and “malted” milk powder contain gluten.
  • French fries
  • Gravy Products (Dry products, bouillon cubes, and processed, canned products)
  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP) and Texturized Vegetable Protein (TVP)
  • Imitation fish, meats and cheeses
  • Instant flavored coffee/cocoa mixes
  • Licorice candy (black and red)
  • Matzo Meal
  • Modified Food Starch
  • Mono and di-glycerides
  • Pickled Products
  • Salad Dressings
  • Sauces, including soy sauce which is commonly made by fermenting wheat. (Check ALL processed sauce labels- From BBQ sauce to ice cream toppings, chili pepper products and tomato sauce products-all may contain gluten)
  • Sausage
  • Self-basting poultry products including turkey with added “solutions”
  • Snack foods including flavored potato chips and corn chips
  • Soups, stocks and broth
  • Spice and herb blends (spices and herbs in their natural form do not contain gluten)
  • Rice products with seasoning packets

As you can see, the list is pretty long. Obviously, your best bet would be to avoid processed foods whenever you can but that’s not always possible. When you do have to rely on processed foods, do two things to protect yourself from gluten and other dietary bad actors: read the ingredients and take DigestShield® before you eat.

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An In-Depth Look at Human Digestion

by March 19, 2019

Human Digestion

Human digestion starts at the mouth and ends at the anus. There are several mechanisms in the mouth that immediately begin to break down the foods we eat and prepare them for the rest of the digestive process. Through the process of mastication, or chewing, we are physically breaking the food into smaller pieces, which will help it travel more easily through the rest of the digestive system as well as increase the surface area available for the chemical agents in our body to bind to and break down the food.

Human Digestion Glands under the tongue secrete saliva, a mixture of water, mucus, proteins, mineral salts and the enzymes lingual lipase and salivary amylase. Saliva moistens the food and begins to break down the fats and carbohydrates while the teeth and tongue combine the food into a mushy ball.

As we swallow, this ball, now referred to as a bolus, is pushed to the back of the oral cavity and into the esophagus. A flap of muscle known as the epiglottis closes over the trachea, or windpipe, preventing any swallowed solids or liquids from entering the lungs.

Once in the esophagus, the bolus is moved into the stomach via a process called peristalsis, which is a downward wave of muscle contraction. Peristalsis continues through most of the digestive system and is the primary mechanism that moves foods through the digestive tract. This action is also referred to as a “housecleaning wave”.

Where the esophagus attaches to the stomach, there is a valve called the lower esophageal sphincter that regulates the movement of material from the stomach. In normal circumstances, it stays closed except when allowing a bolus to pass from the esophagus into the stomach. It typically takes roughly 10 seconds for food to pass from the top of the esophagus to the stomach.

Stomach

The stomach is essentially a bag made of three layers of muscle. Because of this muscled composition, the stomach is capable of contraction and expansion. It can expand to accommodate roughly a liter of food and liquid at once before any distention pressure is felt. It is also this ability to expand and contract that allows the stomach to mix, grind and churn the bolus. Additionally, 1.2 to 1.5 liters of gastric juice is secreted per day into the stomach.

Gastric juice is a mixture of water, hydrochloric acid, electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphate, sulfate, and bicarbonate), mucus and enzymes. This juice is highly acidic due to its hydrochloric acid content and contains enzymes, both to break the bolus down further and make it more soluble in preparation for absorption to occur in the small intestine. At this point, the semisolid mixture created from the bolus is called chyme. While in the stomach, some absorption can occur though not very much. Small amounts of fluid (such as water and alcohol) can be absorbed from the stomach as well as some simple sugars like glucose and some amino acids. Many pharmacological agents are absorbed here as well.

The time that the chyme stays in the stomach depends on the chemical and physical composition of the meal as well as the specific physiology of the individual. Fluids empty the most rapidly followed by carbohydrate, protein, and fat in that order.Liver and Stomach Illustration

After an average of 2 to 4 hours in the stomach, when the food particles in the chyme have been reduced sufficiently in size and are at the appropriate level of solubility, the chyme will move through the valve at the base of the stomach, called the pyloric sphincter into the first section of the small intestine called the duodenum. (doo-oh-dee’-num)

Small Intestine

The small intestine is roughly 20 to 25 feet long and about 2 inches in diameter. It is the longest section of the digestive system and is divided into three sections. The first section, where the stomach meets the small intestine is called the duodenum. The duodenum is roughly 9 to 11 inches in length and contains the duodenal papilla where pancreatic juice and bile flows into the small intestine. When the chyme enters the duodenum, special cells in the walls produce the hormones secretin and cholecystokinin.

These hormones signal for the pancreas to deliver pancreatic juice, which contains the enzymes trypsinogen, chymotrypsinogen, elastase, carboxypeptidase, pancreatic lipase, nucleases, and amylase as well as bicarbonate. The bicarbonate concentration neutralizes whatever stomach acid comes with the chyme so that the enzymes are able to work and the small intestinal wall is not damaged by the hydrochloric acid.

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Small Intestine Cross Section

Cross section of the small intestine at increasing magnification.

Cholecystokinin and secretin also signal for the sphincter of Oddi, a valve at the base of the common bile duct to relax, releasing bile into the duodenum. Bile is a brownish yellow liquid that is continuously produced by the liver. It is composed of water, bicarbonate, phospholipids, bile salts, emulsifying agents, cholesterol, and bile pigments. It is stored and concentrated in the gallbladder until release into the duodenum for digestion. Bile serves important functions in fat digestion, coating fat particles from food and allowing greater surface area for pancreatic lipase to work.

The combination of enzymes and bile acids serves to further reduce the particle size and increase the solubility of the chyme. This allows for the nutrients within the food to pass through the walls of the small intestine and be carried throughout the body for use. Enzymes within the walls of the small intestine carry out any final breakdown of nutrients as the chyme travels toward the large intestine.

The remaining length of the small intestine is divided into the jejunum and ileum. These sections are much longer than the duodenum. The jejunum is the middle section and is roughly 8 feet long while the ileum, the final section of the small intestine, is nearly 12 feet long. The chyme travels along the length of these sections and the useable nutrients are slowly absorbed as it completes its journey to the bowel.

The total estimated surface area of the small intestine is approximately 5,400 square yards. This incredible surface area is provided by the unique structure of the cells that line the interior of the small intestine, which is arranged in a series of concentric folds that take the shape of transverse ridges along its length. These folds, called plicae circulares or valves of Kerckring are present in almost the entire small intestine with the exception of the first few inches near the stomach and the last few inches near the large intestine.

Villi & Microvilli

Cross Section of Intestinal Villi

The surface area of the small intestine is also increased by the tiny projections called villi that make up the mucosal barrier. Inside of the villi is a loose structure of connective tissue containing a network of blood vessels, a central lacteal, and muscle tissue. There are specialty cells called goblet cells scattered among these villi that secret mucin, the primary constituent of mucus.

At the base of these villi, there are depressions referred to as intestinal glands or Lieberkuhn’s glands. In the bottom of these depressions are epithelial cells called cells of Paneth that are filled with enzymes that are toxic to bacteria and immunoglobins.

Additionally, there are undifferentiated cells, more goblet cells, and endocrine cells located in the Lieberkuhn’s glands. The undifferentiated cells serve to replace losses of other types of cells as they can undergo changes in structure as appropriate. Endocrine cells release hormones from the endocrine system into the small intestine to modulate multiple physiological functions including release of enzymes, release of hormones and control of intestinal motility.

The mucosal villi are additionally covered in tiny, hair-like projections called microvilli. They are small enough that each villus may be covered with as many as 1000 microvilli. These microvilli make up the primary site of nutrient absorption in the body referred to as the brush border.

Water and other solutes pass through the pores in these microvilli via active transport and drag caused by differences in osmotic gradient between the lumen and cytoplasm. The size of these pores differs along the length of the small intestine. This pore size difference in combination with receptor specificity along the length of the small intestine is why different nutrients are absorbed in different sections. The microvilli also secrete the digestive enzymes disaccharidase and peptidase that hydrolyze sugar and protein molecules respectively.

Enterocytes here are joined near their apex by strands of proteins connecting them in what are known as tight junctions. These tight junctions serve to keep larger molecules out of the bloodstream and it is thought that they are modulated as part of the immune system.

The juncture of the small intestine and large intestine is the ileocecal valve. Whatever remains of the chyme will pass from the ileum into the cecum, the first section of the large intestine, here.

Large Intestine

The large intestine, also called the colon, is the last part of the digestive system. It is roughly 5 feet long and 2.5 inches wide. The large intestine is divided into four sections, moving from the small intestine to the rectum: the cecum, ascending colon, descending colon, and sigmoid colon. Structurally it is similar to the small intestine with the exception of the villi and microvilli. The muscle fibers making up the large intestine are arranged such that the interior of the colon forms circular furrows of varying depths called haustra. There is a small pouch connected to the cecum known as the vermiform appendix or just appendix. Though it is surrounded by a concentration of immune cells, it was long believed to be a useless evolutionary vestige. New evidence indicates that the appendix may serve as a reserve of healthy bacteria to help repopulate the gut after a colony destroying illness.

Large Intestine DiagramFunctionally, the large intestine absorbs water and electrolytes from the chyme and packages the remains, along with dead bacteria and cells, into feces. The feces are stored in the large intestine until they can be removed via defecation. Factors that determine the composition and liquidity of feces include overall hydration status, fiber, and other indigestible food solids, and the composition of the bacterial colonization in the large intestine.

The majority of the microbes living in the body are found in the large intestine. These large numbers of bacteria synthesize niacin (nicotinic acid), thiamin (vitamin B1), and vitamin K, vitamins that are essential to several metabolic activities as well as to the function of the central nervous system. Additionally, they ferment otherwise indigestible chyme remnants into forms usable by the body. These monosaccharides can be absorbed in the large intestine as well. A byproduct of the fermentation, (cellular respiration) occurring in the bowel, is gas production.

The gas, referred to as flatus, is mostly composed of non-fragrant gases: nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and methane. Only 1% of the compound’s inflatus is responsible for its distinctive odor. These are volatile sulfur compounds and are a combination of hydrogen sulfide, methyl mercaptan, dimethyl sulfide, and dimethyl trisulfide.

Once the rectum reaches a certain volume of feces and/or flatus, signals are sent for the urge to defecate. The anus is voluntarily relaxed and feces are pushed out of the body.

This completes the digestive process.

 

References:

  1. Mahan, L. Kathleen., Escott-Stump, Sylvia., Raymond, Janice L.Krause, Marie V. (Eds.) (2012) Krause’s food & the nutrition care process /St. Louis, Mo. : Elsevier/Saunders
  1. Barrett, Kim E. Gastrointestinal Physiology (Lange Physiology Series). 1st ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Medical, 2005
  1. Encyclopedia Britannica,. (2015). human digestive system. Retrieved 2 October 2015, from http://www.britannica.com/science/human-digestive-system
  1. Cengage.com,. (2015). Nutrition Therapy and Pathophysiology, 3rd Edition – Marcia Nahikian Nelms | Kathryn P. Sucher – Cengage Learning
  1. Elsevier.com,. (2015). Biochemical, Physiological, and Molecular Aspects of Human Nutrition | 978-1-4377-0959-9 | Elsevier.

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In-Depth Look at Dietary Bad Actors

by March 15, 2019

Dietary Bad Actors

Dietary bad actors refer to things we eat which can cause digestive distress or illness. The things we eat were not created equal. Some are a benefit to us and others can be dangerous. There are some foods that contain what has become known as “anti-nutrients” that are always a problem and others that can become a problem in certain situations. We call these problematic foods dietary bad actors and they are the focus of our research at Shield Nutraceuticals. We developed DigestShield® to help mitigate the damage that these dietary bad actors can cause.

Gluten

The term gluten refers to a compound of two storage proteins found in the endosperm of wheat, barley, and rye. The proteins glutenin and gliadin are bound together with starch inside the wheat germ. These proteins provide many functional properties when used in baking and are the main source of protein in those grains. (1)

Of the two proteins in gluten, glutenin is the most important for baking, having the greatest effect on elasticity and texture of the final product. (2) Gliadin is the protein fraction that causes problems during human digestion and the protein that triggers an immune response in the body after ingestion. (3)

Holding Wheat Grains

Gliadin has been shown to produce both innate and adaptive immune responses and is thought to be involved with the pathogenesis of many autoimmune diseases. Most importantly to note, it has recently been shown that gliadin can promote an immune response in individuals with or without the genetic predisposition for reaction. (4)

In addition to an immune and inflammatory response, gliadin also contributes to the development of a condition known as leaky gut in which intestinal permeability is increased and molecules of inappropriate size are allowed through the intestinal wall.

Immune Response

It has long been understood that gliadin produced an immune response in those with celiac disease (5) but recently researchers have discovered that gliadin also produces an immune response in healthy individuals. (6) The immune response is not uniform among individuals and a differing severity of response is not well understood. Most likely, as with all immunity, it is based upon a variety of factors including genetic susceptibility, intestinal permeability, environmental factors, gut flora, and overall health.

Innate Immunity

Though it is still not well understood, it has been shown that gliadin can trigger a response from the innate immune system and cause intestinal and extra-intestinal symptoms in non-celiac individuals. (6-8) In individuals with celiac disease, the innate immune system trigger is a precursor to adaptive immunity involvement. A large part of gliadin’s ability to elicit a response from the innate immune system is based upon its resistance to degradation (9) by the digestive process and its ability to cross the epithelial wall relatively intact. This allows gliadin, as a macromolecule, access to areas where many innate immune cells are found and the interaction is inevitable. Once this interaction occurs, gliadin shows the ability to activate undifferentiated immune cells that then proliferate while simultaneously producing pro-inflammatory hormones. This hormone production results in several downstream inflammatory responses. (10)

Helper T-Cell Activation

Adaptive Immunity

Though the adaptive immune system does not appear to play a role in the deleterious effects that gluten has on healthy, non-celiac individuals, gliadin very demonstrably activates the adaptive immune response in genetically susceptible individuals. (5) The immune response triggered in celiac individuals is varied and aggressive. It includes activation of T-cells, and eventually the autoimmune targeting of tissue transglutaminase in the body’s cells. (11)

Leaky Gut

The potentially greater threat posed by gluten is the role that it plays in intestinal permeability. For reasons not yet understood, gliadin has the ability to bind to receptors in the intestine that signal for the release of a hormone, which promotes the tight junctions of the epithelial cells to be degraded. Once these tight junctions are opened gliadin, as well as other pathogens, can bypass the physical barrier of the gut and interact directly with immune cells. (12)

Plant Lectins

Lectin is a broad term for a class of proteins found in all plants and animals. We have lectins in our bodies that serve a wide variety of functions including regulation of serum protein levels, removal of glycoproteins from the circulatory system, and mediation of important immune functions. (13) However, many of the plants that are part of our food supply contain lectins with a very different and specific function: defense. Lectins are the defense mechanism against predators, including fungi, that seek to eat the plant. Lectins are designed to cause digestive distress to keep predators away.

Lectins are found in the greatest concentration in grains (especially wheat), legumes such as soy, nuts, and seeds, and nightshade vegetables. It has been estimated that there are concentrated sources of lectins in 30-40 percent of the American diet (14) though that figure is more than likely higher as the survey of foods it is based on was done in 1980 and our food supply has become more filled with wheat, soy, and potato based processed foods since then.

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Lectin Molecular Image

Protein Structure Diagram of Wheat Lectin

Much like gluten, lectins have been shown to be resistant to cooking and the digestive process. (15) Because they are not degraded by the human digestive process, many lectins reach the gut intact where they perform their defensive attack on the epithelial cells that line the small intestine. Though lectins may play a role in the pathogenesis of many autoimmune diseases just like gluten, the likely mechanisms are different. Unlike gluten, lectins directly damage the cells that they attach to. At first, this means epithelial cells but once a leaky gut has been created and the lectins are able to enter the bloodstream, they may attach to any of the tissues in the body. (16)

Leaky Gut

Lectins increase intestinal permeability by directly binding to and destroying epithelial cells. (17) Once through the epithelial barrier, not only do lectins bind to and destroy cells in other parts of the body, but they may also lead to an autoimmune response through cellular mimicry. (19) In addition to their own damaging effects, the leaky gut they create may allow for other pathogens to bypass the body’s first line of defense. (20)

Anti-nutrient Activity

Another outcome of damaged epithelia is impaired nutrient absorption. Even before the damage is done, lectins have been shown to bind to the receptors in the epithelia thereby preventing nutrients from being absorbed and reducing the digestibility of proteins in the diet. (21, 22)

Autoimmune Reaction

Aside from increase the opportunity for autoimmune disease pathogenesis through the degradation of tight junctions, lectins also present autoimmune activation potential themselves. Lectins have been shown to stimulate class II HLA antigens on the pancreatic islet and thyroid cells.(23) Lectins have been heavily implicated in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease, as well. (24-26)

Bacteria and Yeast

There are trillions of microorganisms living within us at all times and not all of them are beneficial. (27) Though we do not yet understand the entirety of the vast interplay between the human microbiota and health, researchers have identified many strains that play either a primary or opportunistic role in negative health outcomes. (28) Gut dysbiosis, or out of balance gut bacteria, has been implicated in a variety of disease states and is believed to be a necessary condition for the development of inflammatory bowel disease. (29)Bacteria Colonize Mucose

Opportunistic bacteria and yeast are not damaging when present in small amounts but can lead to disease states when over-abundant and are also the cause of common ailments. Gastric and duodenal ulcers are caused when the bacterium H. pylori is able to over-colonize these areas and erode the protective mucosal layer. (30) Another well-documented example of this is overgrowth by the fungal species Candida albicans. Candida is the fungus responsible for the ailment commonly referred to as yeast infection, vaginal and in other parts of the body. (31)

Partially Digested Foods

Finally, foods that have not been fully digested can cause problems in a variety of ways. Nutrient uptake is dependent upon sufficient breakdown of foods into constituent parts of specific particle size.(5) There are primarily two situations in which incompletely digested nutrients become a problem; If we lack or have a deficiency of the enzyme required to degrade a food and if intestinal permeability is increased and allows macromolecules through the epithelial border.

Hamburger French fries Hot dog and beer

Enzyme deficiency

Many individuals do not have sufficient lactase production to properly digest the amount of lactase found in the typical American diet. This causes incompletely digested lactose, the sugar found in dairy products, to cause intestinal discomfort in those affected. (31) Additionally, everyone lacks the full amount of enzymes required to hydrolyze the protein gliaden found in wheat, barley, and rye. (4)

Depending on the individual, this can lead to gluten-containing products causing symptoms everywhere from mild discomfort to debilitating illness, while causing increased gut permeability. (4)

Leaky Gut

The degradation of the tight junctions forming the physical barrier of the epithelium allows particles to cross this border at an inappropriately large size. (33) The immune reaction occurs when any molecule is recognized as inappropriate for the area it is in. This, of course, includes incompletely digested fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. (34)

References:

  1. Shewry, P., Halford, N., Belton, P., & Tatham, A. (2002). The structure and properties of gluten: an elastic protein from wheat grain. Philosophical Transactions Of The Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 357(1418), 133-142. doi:10.1098/rstb.2001.1024
  1. Wheat Protein Composition and Properties of Wheat Glutenin in Relation to Breadmaking Functionality. (2015).Critical Reviews In Food Science And Nutrition.
  1. Caio, G., Volta, U., Tovoli, F., & De Giorgio, R. (2014). Effect of gluten-free diet on immune response to gliadin in patients with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. BMC Gastroenterol, 14(1), 26. doi:10.1186/1471-230x-14-26
  1. Drago D., Asmar R., Di Pierro M., et al. (2006) Gliadin, zonulin and gut permeability: Effects on celiac and non-celiac intestinal mucosa and intestinal cell lines. Scan J. of Gastro. 41(4)
  2. Mahan, L. Kathleen., Escott-Stump, Sylvia., Raymond, Janice L.Krause, Marie V. (Eds.) (2012) Krause’s food & the nutrition care process /St. Louis, Mo. : Elsevier/Saunders
  1. Verdu, E., Armstrong, D., & Murray, J. (2009). Between Celiac Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome: The “No Man’s Land” of Gluten Sensitivity. Am J Gastroenterol, 104(6), 1587-1594. doi:10.1038/ajg.2009.188
  1. Hadjivassiliou, M., Sanders, D., Grünewald, R., Woodroofe, N., Boscolo, S., & Aeschlimann, D. (2010). Gluten sensitivity: from gut to brain. The Lancet Neurology, 9(3), 318-330. doi:10.1016/s1474-4422(09)70290-x
  1. Sapone, A., Lammers, K., Casolaro, V., Cammarota, M., Giuliano, M., & De Rosa, M. et al. (2011). Divergence of gut permeability and mucosal immune gene expression in two gluten-associated conditions: celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. BMC Medicine, 9(1), 23. doi:10.1186/1741-7015-9-23
  1. Hausch, F., Shan, L., Santiago, N., Gray, G., & Khosla, C. (2002). Intestinal digestive resistance of immunodominant gliadin peptides. American Journal Of Physiology-Gastrointestinal And Liver Physiology, 283(4), G996-G1003. doi:10.1152/ajpgi.00136.2002
  1. de Punder, K., & Pruimboom, L. (2013). The Dietary Intake of Wheat and other Cereal Grains and Their Role in Inflammation. Nutrients, 5(3), 771-787. doi:10.3390/nu5030771
  1. van Heel, D. (2006). Recent advances in coeliac disease. Gut, 55(7), 1037-1046. doi:10.1136/gut.2005.075119
  1. M G Clemente, A. (2003). Early effects of gliadin on enterocyte intracellular signalling involved in intestinal barrier function. Gut, 52(2), 218.
  1.  Maverakis E, Kim K, Shimoda M, Gershwin M, Patel F, Wilken R, Raychaudhuri S, Ruhaak LR, Lebrilla CB (2015). “Glycans in the immune system and The Altered Glycan Theory of Autoimmunity”. J Autoimmun57 (6): 1–13.
  1. Nachbar, M., & Oppenheim, J. (1980). Lectins in the United States diet: a survey of lectins in commonly consumed foods and a review of the literature. The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition,33(11), 2338-2345.
  1. Pusztai, AP. Chemistry and pharmacology of natural products: plant lectins. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge; 1991
  1. Kelsall, A., FitzGerald, A., Howard, C., Evans, R., Singh, R., Rhodes, J., & Goodlad, R. (2002). Dietary lectins can stimulate pancreatic growth in the rat. International Journal Of Experimental Pathology, 83(4), 203-208. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2613.2002.00230.x
  1. Wang, Q., Yu, L., Campbell, B., Milton, J., & Rhodes, J. (1998). Identification of intact peanut lectin in peripheral venous blood. The Lancet, 352(9143), 1831-1832. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(05)79894-9
  1. Miyake, K., Tanaka, T., & McNeil, P. (2007). Lectin-Based Food Poisoning: A New Mechanism of Protein Toxicity. Plos ONE, 2(8), e687. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000687
  1. Cordain L, e. (2015). Modulation of immune function by dietary lectins in rheumatoid arthritis. – PubMed – NCBI .Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  1. A, V. (2015). Lectins, agglutinins, and their roles in autoimmune reactivities. – PubMed – NCBI. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  1. Pusztai A, et al. Antinutritive effects of wheat-germ agglutinin and other N-acetylglucosamine-specific lectins. Br J Nutr. 1993; 70(1): 313-21
  1. Vasconcelos I. Oliveira J. Antinutritional properties of plant lectins. Toxicon 2004; 44(4): 385-403
  1. Freed, D. (1999). Do dietary lectins cause disease? : The evidence is suggestive—and raises interesting possibilities for treatment . BMJ : British Medical Journal,318(7190), 1023.
  1. Cordain L, et al. Modulation of immune function by dietary lectins in rheumatoid arthritis. Br J Nutr 2000;83:207-217.
  1. Braun J & Sieper J. Rheumatologic manifestations of gastrointestinal disorders. Curr Opin Rheumatol 1999;11:68-74.
  1. Hoss VK, Raabe G, Muller P. Lectin arthritis: a new arthritis model. Allerg Immunol (Leipz) 1976;22:311-316
  1. Eckburg, P. (2005). Diversity of the Human Intestinal Microbial Flora.Science, 308(5728), 1635-1638. doi:10.1126/science.1110591
  1. Gaurner F. Malagelada J-R. Gut flora in health and disease. Lancet 2003: 361 (9356): 512-519
  1. C P Tamboli, J. (2004). Dysbiosis as a prerequisite for IBD. Gut, 53(7), 1057.
  1. Graham, D. (1992). Effect of Treatment of Helicobacter pylori Infection on the Long-term Recurrence of Gastric or Duodenal Ulcer . Annals Of Internal Medicine,116(9), 705. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-116-9-705
  1. M. Huppert, J. (1953). PATHOGENESIS OF CANDIDA ALBICANS INFECTION FOLLOWING ANTIBIOTIC THERAPY I. : The Effect of Antibiotics on the Growth of Candida albicans. Journal Of Bacteriology, 65(2), 171.
  1. Jr, S., AD, W., & RM, K. (2002). Lactose intolerance. American Family Physician,65(9), 1845-1850. Retrieved from http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/12018807
  1. Hollander, D. (1999). Intestinal permeability, leaky gut, and intestinal disorders. Current Gastroenterology Reports, 1(5), 410-416. doi:10.1007/s11894-999-0023-5
  1. Fasano, A. (2011). Leaky Gut and Autoimmune Diseases. Clinical Reviews In Allergy & Immunology, 42(1), 71-78. doi:10.1007/s12016-011-8291-x

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25 Health Benefits of Green Apple

by February 27, 2018

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All You Need To Know About Acid Reflux…

by November 17, 2017

All You Need To Know About Acid Reflux And How To Manage It With Your Diet

BY KAREN REED – THURSDAY, AUGUST 18, 2016 from Positive Wellness

Last Updated: 13th October 2016

Acid reflux affects babies, children, and adults. It is a debilitating condition for some and is often linked to the food or drinks you consume. When people are diagnosed with acid reflux, they start to wonder what it really means. Just how dangerous is this condition for your health?

After that, they want to know how to stop it. The good news is you can stop acid reflux with your diet. There are also many other options, whether you want a homeopathic remedy, an over-the-counter product, or don’t mind medical options.

Here’s all you need to know about acid reflux and how to stop or prevent it.

What Exactly Is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux can also be referred to as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or heartburn. Many people only realize they have it when they feel a burning sensation in their chest. For some, it is just a temporary problem and quickly resolved. Others find they have to deal with it on a daily basis, finding ways to manage the pain and discomfort.

It occurs because the valve to your stomach doesn’t close properly. It needs to open to allow food into the stomach and then should close to prevent any of the stomach acid going back up. When it doesn’t close, the stomach acid can leak through into the esophagus.

Sometimes the problem is linked to the valve opening too often. The food hasn’t quite finished digesting, or you’re not actually eating anything, but the valve opens and allows acid out of the stomach.

Another cause of acid reflux is when people suffer from a hiatal hernia. This is when the stomach partially moves above the diaphragm. The valve follows, and the diaphragm can’t help to keep the acid inside the stomach. You get the same symptoms of acid reflux, but they are symptoms of the problem.

Why Does Acid Reflux Occur?

The most common reason to suffer from GERD is the valve problem. This can occur because you have eaten big meals or because you lie down straight after eating. The body struggles to digest food, and the acid can move in the wrong direction.

Those who are overweight or obese are also more likely to suffer because their stomach isn’t able to make space for all the food to digest. Pregnant women also find they have heartburn, especially later in pregnancy. Hormonal changes and the growing baby are linked to this issue. Once you give birth, you’ll likely find that the heartburn completely disappears.

Certain foods cause GERD, and we’ll look into these in more detail later. For now, be aware that anything with citrus, garlic and onions, spicy and fatty foods, and chocolate can all lead to acid reflux. You may also find coffee and tea, carbonated drinks, and alcohol is also a problem.

Those who are on certain medications may also suffer from the problem. You’ll need to discuss the risk of the side effect with your doctor, especially if your take blood thinning medication.

Knowing the Symptoms of Acid Reflux

Before you can work on preventing it, you need to know if you definitely have GERD. You’ll also need to make sure that it’s not a symptom of another problem.

Most of the time you’ll be able to self-diagnose acid reflux. You’ll feel a burning feeling in your chest, usually referred to as heartburn. This is the acid attacking the oesophagus. Sometimes, you may feel this burning feeling in your throat, depending on how high up the acid has been able to travel.

Regurgitation is another common problem, and you’ll usually feel like you’ve brought up your stomach acid. This is just the acid being allowed to get further up the chest and into the mouth. Try not to swallow anything back down, as you’ll just feel the pain on the way back down. The best thing to do is to spit it all out.

Some people feel like they burp much more often due to the acid and gas in their chests. They can also feel bloated, or have hiccups that just don’t stop. You may feel nauseous, and even find that you lose weight without even trying since your body doesn’t quite digest all the food that you eat.

It is possible that you’ll have this feeling of food still being in your throat. This is common in those where the valve doesn’t close completely and food escapes or when there is an underlying reason for your GERD.

If the acid is in your throat, it can burn or feel sore all the time. You may also feel wheeze and have a dry cough. There are times that the acid will come up but then go down the wind pipe.

Finally, bloody and black stools are common. You may also find that there is some blood in your vomit or when you spit out the acid. This is because of the burning within the oesophagus.

When Will You Feel the Symptoms?

The symptoms can be experienced at any time. If you’re resting, you may experience the pain a lot more often than if you were on your feet. When trying to sleep is one of the most common types that you’ll likely experience the symptoms.

Lying down makes it much easier for the acid to travel up. Think about it! When you’re standing, gravity plays a part. It is always much harder for anything to travel up, even if the valve is completely open. While lying down, you’ll find that the acid is more likely to get into your chest, and you start feeling the burn.

If you’ve had a big meal, you can also find that the symptoms are more common. The body is struggling to get rid of all the food and has to produce more acid. This then gets into the rest of the body.

So if this is something natural, what exactly can you do? That’s what we’ll look into now because there are a few options at your hands.

Top Ways to Stop or Eliminate Acid Reflux

Now it’s time to stop GERD from causing you any bother. Of course, your first step needs to make sure that this is the problem, and there’s not an underlying issue. If you have an underlying problem, making lifestyle changes will help but not completely prevent or stop acid reflux affecting your life. You may also have other symptoms that you can’t get rid of.

Speak to your doctor about getting tested for any underlying reasons or to make sure that it really is heartburn. This will give your body the best chance.

It’s Time to Make Some Lifestyle Changes

Making lifestyle changes is one of your best options to help combat GERD. One of the best lifestyle changes you can make is to cut out smoking completely if you do it. It’s bad for your health in more ways than one and is contributing to your GERD. While you may enjoy it, do you really want to put your overall health at risk when there are so many better ways to enjoy your life?

If you’re overweight, it’s also time to lose it. Don’t crash diet, as this can just make your acid reflux worse. It’s time to find a healthy eating program that will help you lose the weight you need. The program may also help to deal with the other reasons for your acid reflux disease.

Try to get your weight into your healthy BMI range. This won’t just help to combat the acid reflux, but can also help to reduce the risk of other health problems in the future. You may also find that the underlying health problems that contribute to GERD are rectified.

Exercise is your friend. It will help you with your weight loss. When you do decide to choose a routine, avoid doing it too soon after eating. This will just make it harder for your body to digest. Not only will you end up with stomach cramps, but you can make your GERD worse.

Cut back on the amount that you drink too. Alcohol is one of the worst problems for those with acid reflux. It’s worth reducing it for your overall health, too.

Those who have tight clothing will need to make some changes. Remember that bloating feeling? You can soothe the symptom by undoing your belts or getting rid of the restrictive clothing. You’ll also find that your organs aren’t restricted, making it easier to digest food. It’s time to give your body a helping hand.

Change Your Actions After Eating

It’s not always going to be about your diet, but about what you do after you eat. If you lie down right after eating, you’re making it easier for the stomach acid to get into the oesophagus.

Now is the time to make some changes in the way you act after food. Avoid lying down and try to avoid resting too much. Remain sat up or stand for some time afterwards. Allow your body the chance to digest the food.

If you do need to lie down after eating, try to remain as upright as possible. Use some pillows on the couch or on the bed to keep yourself propped up. This could be the perfect excuse to catch up on your favorite TV show or read the next chapter of your book.

Prop Yourself Up at Night

It may not be the most comfortable sleep you’ve had at first, but you will get used to it. You’ll also find it easier to sleep because you won’t have the constant problems of acid reflux.

Keep head and chest propped up throughout the night. Just a few inches will be more than another. This isn’t going to cure the issue, but it will make it easier to prevent the acid from seeping upwards from your stomach.

Avoid food just before going to bed. You should give your body two or three hours to digest the food before you go to bed. This may also help to avoid nightmares, as your body isn’t trying to digest while your subconscious takes over.

Opt for Home Remedies for Your Heartburn

There are various home remedies available if you don’t want to rely on over the counter medications right now. Try these as they will help you keep the cost down.

Bicarbonate soda and water is one of the most beneficial options for acid reflux. It is something included in the majority of medications available, especially those that involve a tablet dissolving in water.

Bicarbonate soda is an alkaline so it will neutralize the stomach acid. You’ll get a soothing feeling as you swallow it, and it can also help fight against a sore throat. You could gargle it before swallowing to help sooth that croaky voice if the stomach acid has caused other damage.

This is one of those home remedies that can be used if you are on other medications. It is 100% natural and won’t mess up any of the treatments, whether you have diabetes or need to take blood thinners. It’s also something that can be used with other home remedies. You can also use it if you’re pregnant without causing problems for your baby.

Aloe juice is another popular option because it can soothe the burn. It is commonly used as a topical treatment, but it can be ingested without risks to your health. The aloe juice will reduce any inflammation in your body, which can often make the symptoms worse.

Mix some juice together and have it by your bed on a night. If you wake up in the middle of the night, you can reach for it so you can get straight back to sleep. It’s also worth having a glass just before you go to bed to soothe any pain left over from dinner, so you don’t struggle to get to sleep in the first place.

Do be aware that aloe juice acts as a laxative so you may find that your stools loosen or you need to go to the toilet more often.

Opting for a banana a day or slice of apple after every meal will also help you deal with acid reflux. The fruits contain an antacid, which can act as a buffer along the walls of your esophagus. While you won’t treat the condition, you will be able to reduce the symptoms that you experience on a daily basis.

Another option is ginger root tea. Ginger is excellent for soothing upset stomachs and reducing inflammation. It can also help to neutralize the acid in your chest, minimising the side effects. Try opting for this tea just before your meals to help limit the problems you experience.

Oil pulling may help to soothe the pain in the throat from acid reflux. It is soft and can help to pull the acid out of the mouth. You don’t want to swallow it, though!

There are some over-the-counter options available. Many of these come in tablet or liquid form, and you can take them before or after every meal. It’s also possible for you to take the medication as you feel the symptoms of acid reflux, such as if you wake up in the middle of the night.

The downside of the medications is that not everyone can take them. They can cause side effects like constipation or diarrhea, especially when needed on a regular basis.

Many are suitable for pregnant women, but you will need to check the label. If in doubt, don’t take them until you discuss them with your doctor.

There are times that surgery or other medical treatments will be needed. This is especially the case if the acid reflux is the symptom of an underlying problem. If you find that none of the above tips work or you continue to need them on a daily basis, it is worth talking to your doctor to find out what else you can do.

How to Stop Acid Reflux Through Diet Changes

Since most acid reflux is due to the food you eat and the amount of it that you eat, learning how to control it through diet changes is the best thing you can do.

We’ll start with the amount you eat. Having smaller meals can work out better, as you will be able to reduce the amount of stomach acid that is needed by your body to digest. This can alert the valve that it needs to close since there will be enough stomach acid for the food. You’ll also find that the digestive process takes less time.

It’s especially important to have something small and light if you know you are going to lie down soon afterward. This encourages your body to digest before you need to sleep.

When you still suffer, you’ll need to look at the type of food you’re eating; or the type that you’re not eating! For example, did you know that you may not be getting enough acid?

Sometimes, the acid reflux is due to the valve not knowing that it needs to close. The stomach says that it doesn’t have enough acid to digest the food, and then the acid leaves the stomach! If you eat more acid, you could help to give the body what it needs to help close the valve and keep everything where it needs to be in your stomach.

You will need to deal with the feeling of acid in your esophagus. If you can’t do that, then you need to neutralize the acid that is already there. The saliva naturally does this, so you need to produce more of it. You don’t want anything to eat, though.

Why not chew some gum? It will help to tell the stomach that more food is coming, and the body starts producing saliva to make the digestive process easier. Rather than swallowing food, you just swallow the saliva to neutralize the levels of acid in the body.

You can do something similar by drinking more water. Alkaline water is great for this, as the pH levels will neutralize those in the acid. Have a glass by your bedside in case you wake up at night or drink right after eating. You can also use the alkaline water in your sports bottle while doing exercise because the water is beneficial in so many other ways for the health.

Opt for a bowl of oatmeal if you’re having a particularly bad day. Oatmeal, whether made with water or milk, doesn’t produce any acid. You’ll find that it soothes the pain on the way down. There’s a reason it is so great when we’re ill! You don’t need to make this from scratch. Those instant options are just as good for you when it comes to eliminating acid reflux for good.

We’ve already heard that ginger tea can help. It’s time to add more to your diet. Use it in your meals to offer soothing feelings while eating. You’ll also find it adds an oriental taste to your meals, and works extremely well in stir-fries and couscous dishes.

Water-based vegetables are a great alternative to the acidic ones. Rather than using tomatoes and onions in salads and dishes, opt for celery, spinach, and cucumber. You can also opt for some peppers, carrots, and mushrooms to help offer variety without the burning feeling.

When you do eat salads, avoid some of the dressings. Balsamic vinegar may make your heartburn worse, but an olive oil dressing can often work out to be soothing. Cheese dressings can help, but opt for full-fat versions to get all the antacid benefits.

Red meats can make your acid reflux worse, so substitute with poultry. Make sure you remove the skin from your chicken or turkey and cook them however you want. The only thing you should avoid is frying because this will add more fat to your diet.

It’s time to combat acid reflux. You can do it with your diet, by making some small and simple changes. One of the best things to do is reduce the acidity levels in your diet by drinking more alkaline water. You’ll hydrate on a daily basis while protecting your esophagus.

Just keep in mind that you should be wise in choosing what you eat. Be mindful of the effects of the food you take into your condition. There’s always a way to manage acid reflux and you should just keep yourself disciplined all the time.

There are times that the reflux is due to not having enough acid in the stomach, so this will be a trial and error. If you are worried or believe there may be an underlying cause, you should speak to your doctor. This will help to stop treating the symptoms and get help for the actual cause.

Heal Your Gut – with Chitosan

by April 5, 2016

Heal your gut - with Chitosan
Feeling and looking great is everyone’s dream. DigestShield® makes that dream easier!

DigestShield® works to make your life better in four big ways.

  1. Serrapeptase and AN-PEP enzymes break down gluten before it can cause any damage to your gut or cause you to have any of the awful symptoms of gluten sensitivity. (1)
  2. General digestive enzymes make sure that you’re getting the best nutrition possible from what you eat and prevent other common dietary irritants like wheat, soy, and dairy from giving you trouble. (2)
  3. Eleven types of probiotics work to heal your gut and crowd out bad bacteria or yeast that you have wreaking havoc in your gut.(3) (4)
  4. Vegetarian chitosan protects you from dangerous proteins found in wheat and it binds up fat in the gut reducing the amount that is absorbed .(5)(6)

Was the second bit of #4 a surprise? Yes. DigestShield® can help you lose weight.

We include a healthy dose of vegetarian-derived, ultra-low molecular weight chitosan in every capsule of DigestShield®. The molecular weight is important because in clinical trials, the lower the molecular weight of the chitosan used, the greater its binding capability. (6-8) The vegetarian chitosan in our formula has the lowest molecular weight of any digestive product on the market at just 3000 Daltons! The chitosan found in typical shrimp or crab shell-derived chitosan, used in glucosamine chondroitin formulas is approximately 300,000 Da.

Studies have shown that chitosan binds to fat in the gut and prevents it from being absorbed as well. This means that you can lose a few pounds just by taking DigestShield® without making any other changes.

Protection from gluten, relief from digestive ills, and a weight loss boost all in one!

  1. Ehren J, e. (2015). A food-grade enzyme preparation with modest gluten detoxification properties. – PubMed – NCBI . Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  2. Mahan, L. Kathleen., Escott-Stump, Sylvia., Raymond, Janice L.Krause, Marie V. (Eds.) (2012) Krause’s food & the nutrition care process /St. Louis, Mo. : Elsevier/Saunders
  3. Sanders, M., Guarner, F., Guerrant, R., Holt, P., Quigley, E., & Sartor, R. et al. (2013). An update on the use and investigation of probiotics in health and disease. Gut, 62(5), 787-796. doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2012-30250
  4. Linsalata M, e. (2004). The influence of Lactobacillus brevis on ornithine decarboxylase activity and polyamine profiles in Helicobacter pylori-infected gastric mucosa. – PubMed – NCBI .Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved 12 October 2015, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15068419
  5. Sharon, Nathan, and H Lis. Lectins. Dordrecht: Springer, 2007. Print.
  6. Zhang, J., Xia, W., Liu, P., Cheng, Q., Tahi, T., Gu, W., & Li, B. (2010). Chitosan Modification and Pharmaceutical/Biomedical Applications.Marine Drugs, 8(7), 1962-1987. doi:10.3390/md8071962
  7. Y, S. (2016). Low molecular weight chitosan inhibits obesity induced by feeding a high-fat diet long-term in mice. – PubMed – NCBI . Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  8. Trivedi, V., Satia, M., Deschamps, A., Maquet, V., Shah, R., Zinzuwadia, P., & Trivedi, J. (2015). Single-blind, placebo controlled randomised clinical study of chitosan for body weight reduction.Nutrition Journal, 15(1). doi:10.1186/s12937-016-0122-8

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