Monday, September 8, 2008

The Gut, Nuts & Beta Glucans

Scanning my online news sources today, I saw a piece that made me think of a dinner party I threw a few years back. My neighbors up in Park City said they were fine with just about anything, except nuts because of a little problem with, ahem, diverticulitis.

How I could forget the one and only thing they asked me to remember? I'll blame faulty audio-processing neurons (I'm more visual/kinesthetic in my learning styles, alas).

Anyway, I made a dish with wonderful ground nuts. My guests were gracious and scraped the offending nut paste off their entrees. Ooops. I felt bad, idiotic even, and I can say that I never again forgot that nuts are a "no no" for people with worries about the linings of their colons.

Now, surprise, surprise. Nuts and seeds are now deemed healthy rather than deleterious for diverticulitis, with an 18-year study confirming that doctors had unfairly demonized popcorn, nuts, and seeds over the years:

"No associations were seen between corn consumption and diverticulitis or between nut, corn, or popcorn consumption and diverticular bleeding or uncomplicated diverticulosis."

Okay, what else? Right now, I'm not so interested in heavy science.

I'm more intrigued with stories, like this one: Victorian-age folks in England often lived longer and had healthier lives than we moderns. I kept reading.

According to medical pharmacologist, Dr. Paul Clayton, who recently published his findings in the Journal Of The Royal Society Of Medicine:

"'Victorian foods were either made or unknowingly 'contaminated' with yeasts that have recently been clinically proven in both animal and human studies to boost our innate immune function. Although mould and brown spots were often visible, these yeasts contain complex compounds called 1-3, 1-6 Beta Glucans which are beneficial to health. And if you have a sufficient amount of them in your diet, they help the immune system fight off invasion by bacteria or viruses."

Dr. Clayton argues that modern foods don't have these beneficial yeasts, due to refining and sanitizing efforts, and that our immune systems are the worse for it. He further argues that brewers yeast offers a manno protein (bad for folks who suffer from Celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, but otherwise okay).

Dr. Clayton states in a recent interview:

"Beta glucans are a great breakthrough in improving immune function - protecting us against infection, cancer and allergies."

Purified beta glucans are indeed potent immunomodulators, which are especially good for healing intestinal issues (where most of the immune system resides).

Beta glucans are also favored by our good friend and nutritional consultant, Bill Henderson, who is in the midst of updating his Cancer-Free book, by the way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh no :-). I'm allergic to yeasts and gluten (as well as many other tbings), but I've been taking Transfer Point Beta Glucan for months now because I was informed that the beta glucan is derived from an extract of yeast - the portion that does not cause allergy related symptoms. But you mention that it also has manno protein which is bad for celiacs? (I'd never heard of that protein.) Is there an immune enhancing supplement that doesn't have molds (mushroom extracts - I'm allergic to molds and yeasts , so I assume I can't have mushrooms), rice, blueberries, oats, gluten, onion, yeasts, corn, cocoa, barley, malt....help! :-).