John H. Keefe III, D.C.
IN THE NEWS: Why food allergies are on the rise: Hyper-cleanliness may be making kids’ immune systems weaker, doctors warn. The number of children with allergies has risen 50 percent since 1997. Allergies are a misguided immune system response to foods and other harmless substances. In recent years, horrifying stories of children suddenly struck dead by allergies have increasingly made headlines – all triggered by ingredients hidden in such innocuous items as sandwiches and cookies. Scientists are investigating several hypotheses as to why and how they
WELLNESS: Immune system vs. gut bacteria: How vitamin A ‘keeps the peace’ New findings about the role of vitamin A in mediating the relationship between gut bacteria and the immune system may prove “critical” for devising new therapies for autoimmune conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and other inflammatory diseases that affect the intestine. Carrots, butter, and cheese are some of the richest sources of vitamin A. The gut bacteria are known to play a crucial role in keeping us healthy. Research has shown that the trillions of friendly microorganisms hosted by our guts can keep us lean, young, and healthy — both in body and mind. But how do gut bacteria do this? One answer involves the immune system. Various studies have been slowly unraveling the complex relationship between gut bacteria and immunity. They suggest that the interactions between the host’s gut and the bacteria that colonize our intestines help control how our body responds to illness. healthy — both in body and mind. But how do gut bacteria do this? New research may have found an answer: vitamin A. A team of scientists, led by Shipra Vaishnava, an assistant professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at Brown University in Providence, RI, found that moderate levels of vitamin A in the intestine prevent the immune system from becoming overactive. “The role of vitamin A in inflammation is context-dependent and is very hard to tease apart,” the researcher adds. In the future, the scientists plan to examine why Rdh7 (component of vitamin A) suppression is vital for the immune response, and how bacteria control Rdh7 gene expression. “A change in vitamin A status and vitamin A metabolic genes coincides with inflammatory bowel diseases, but we don’t know if this promotes inflammation or not. We hope that adding our finding — that bacteria can regulate how vitamin A is being metabolized in the intestine or stored — could help clarify why the field is seeing what it is seeing.” Note: the dry air of wintertime depletes the body of vitamin A.
CONDITION OF THE WEEK: SPINAL STRESS we hear a lot about stress, job stress, financial stress but you might not hear much about spinal stress. When we talk about spinal stress we are not talking about pain. It might come across as stress you feel in your neck or back or in your muscles in general. This type of stress happens by irritation on spinal nerves due to misalignments. These misalignments might not cause back pain yet it adds to your overall sense of stress. Slight misalignments of the vertebrae in your neck and back can cause constant
FUNNY BONE: I recently read a list of “100 Things You Must Do Before You Die” and was shocked that “Yell for help” wasn’t one of them.@@What’s worse than finding a worm in your apple? Finding only half of it.@@China’s flag gets 5 stars, but who rates themselves 5 stars? Lack of modesty is always a big red flag.@@Ever since it started raining, my wife hasn’t stopped sadly looking through the window. If it gets really worse, I’ll have to let her in.@@My