Friday, May 23, 2008

Celiac Disease & Women

Celiac disease affects about twice as many women as men, and in the United States, it affects two million people or about one in 133 people.

Celiac statistics indicate that under 5% of people suffering from celiac disease have been diagnosed, which means many are suffering from undiagnosed problems with gluten in their diets. According to the Celiac Sprue Association:

"Celiac disease (CD) is a genetic disorder. In people with CD, eating certain types of protein, called gluten, sets off an autoimmune response that causes damage to the small intestine. This, in turn, causes the small intestine to lose its ability to absorb the nutrients found in food, leading to malnutrition and a variety of other complications. The offending protein, gluten, is found in wheat, barley, rye, and to a lesser extent, oats. Related proteins are found in triticale, spelt, kamut."

I am sensitive to gluten, probably a celiac case waiting to happen, as research suggests that the genetic predisposition must also be "triggered" (by pregnancy, surgery, stress, viruses or bacteria weakening the immune system, or increasing gluten content in the diet), and an ongoing ingestion of gluten in the diet.

Dr. Rodier talks a lot about genes and how even with genetic predispositions, genes can either be "turned on" (activated) or "tuned off" (deactivated), and that diet has a lot to do with whether problematic genetics get expressed or not.

What's interesting to me is why celiac disease shows up in twice the number of women than men. Is it because women are more likely to eat gluten products, thus turning on genes? Or because of pregnancy acting as a stress that turns on existing genes?

Interestingly, celiac disease has been potentially associated with increased problems with both infertility and miscarriages. Celiac disease occurs in 4-8% of women with unexplained infertility and is also linked to osteoporosis where there are no signs of vitamin D deficiency or hypocalcemia.

Regardless, celiac is a condition that merits better awareness and thus better diagnosis, as the path to better health is simple if not so easy (dietary change to eliminate gluten).

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Soothing Greens & Constant Health Formulas

If you're a regular reader, you remember my many postings before we launched Cell Nutritionals Constant Health.

My newest project is our "Soothing Greens" formula, something I've been collaborating with Dr. Hugo Rodier on. There are many greens products, with all the great phytonutrients from veggies and algae, and I didn't want to do some kind of "me too" product.

Instead, I wanted to optimize a greens product for the gut, where most of the immune system resides and where absorption of nutrients happens. Dr. Rodier works with a lot of chronic conditions affecting the gut and asked for "more slippery elm" (a lot more) in our Constant Health product. Alas, no room in that jam-packed formula.

I had been planning a greens product as a complementary product to Constant Health and decided to put a really significant amount of slippery elm in the formula, along with glucosamine, which has been shown to help with mucous membrane health in the gut.

Questions arose such as: will the mucilaginous nature of slippery elm make for a gummy fluid?

I was a guinea pig and pulled some two dozen capsules of slippery elm apart and shook them up in a Constant Health drink. Not bad, I said. Tess and Marc looked at me skeptically as I sipped on the unsightly potion an hour later to see if the consistency had changed, which it hadn't, fortunately. :-)

When it comes to taste, the greens product will not be anywhere near as hard to flavor as was the spicy, antioxidant and bioflavonoid-rich Constant Health.

We're making some final formulation decisions on Soothing Greens tomorrow, and then it will be time to create a sample, which is the exciting part of this process. Stay tuned for more on Soothing Greens!

Oh yeah, for those of you who have already tried Constant Health, we're expecting a "new and improved" flavor sample to come in tomorrow or early next week.

Personally, I love our current French Vanilla flavor. Yet, enough people cannot seem to abide the flavors of turmeric and ginger (however healing they are) and thus we're working on richer flavors to mellow out those spicy notes!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Silver-Coated Endotracheal Tube & Colloidal Silver

Today's newswire heralded the merits of silver in reducing infections in patients on ventilators:

"A silver-coated endotracheal tube may reduce infections with highly resistant bacteria over traditional tubes by nearly half, according to the results of a large randomized trial to be presented at the American Thoracic Society’s 2008 International Conference in Toronto on Monday, May 19."

Silver is considered by many to offer antimicrobial protection against bad bacteria, fungi, and yeasts (the "eew" stuff that take up residence in our GI tracts, mucous membranes, and other moist environments). Silver-coated bandages and other medical devices, such as catheters, are already in wide commercial use clinically. So, it's not surprising to see silver being used on ventilator tubes.

What piqued my interest is my long-standing antipathy toward colloidal silver, a treatment readily found in health food stores in the "immune system protection" section. Colloidal silver can be a problem when ingested regularly (think: argyria). I am open to the possibility that sprays for nose and throat infections, taken for short periods of time, may be okay.

Even with the silver-coated ventilator tubes endorsed by the Thoracic Society to encourage interest in silver, I would still advise consumers to be careful about colloidal silver products, which can be overused and cause toxicity.

Far better to add genuinely important nutrients to the body to support immune system function rather than to focus on interventions patterned after pharmaceuticals (zap this, prevent that, interrupt another thing in the body). Just my two cents.