We are all now aware poor gut health not only affects our digestion and immune health, but also may contribute to arthritis, depression and anxiety, asthma, weight gain, Alzheimer’s Disease, allergies, ADHD and autism.
As a part of our March Gut Health Month, I will be including a series of articles by Kale Brock, researcher and journalist who has for years researched this subject. In March 2017 Kale gave a presentation in Batemans Bay on Gut Health. On Sunday 25 March 2018 at 5pm we are fortunate to have Kale attend our screening of his documentary, “The Gut Movie” with a Q & A to follow.
The following is an article Kale wrote on gut health and allergies.
GUT HEALTH - ALLERGIES & HAYFEVER (STUDIES)
By Kale Brock
Allergies flare up and noses run wild as our immune systems seemingly go awry throughout the Spring weather. You might be surprised to find though, that the bugs in your gut are an important ally to have during allergy season. Through their immune-modulating effects and their influence on intestinal permeability, your microbiome can stand you in good stead to deal with allergies and hay fever.
A systematic review published on the topic in 2015 examined 23 prominent studies in the area of probiotics and allergic rhinitis (hay fever), covering a total of 1,919 participants. The researchers looked mainly at the subjective quality of life reported by the participants throughout the 23 studies.
What the review found is that of the 23 studies, 17 found that there were significant improvements in the questionnaires for participants taking probiotics. That is for 74% of the studies, allergy sufferers reported big improvements in quality of life whilst taking probiotics compared to those who didn’t. In the studies which did measure blood indicators of allergic response, changes were not statistically significant (the participants’ perceived benefit was the most striking difference).
Studies have looked at individual strains of probiotics to help reduce allergic symptoms. One group of researchers were able to reduce allergic symptoms in patients using Lactobacillus casei Shirota whilst others have used Lactobacillus Rhamnosus (LLG strain) regularly to the same effect.
The key, it seems, is that modulating the microbiome by ingesting probiotic supplements (with specific strains) may indeed reduce hay fever/allergy symptoms. But how does this work? As I’ve written about extensively in previous articles and my book The Gut Healing Protocol the population of your microbiome, that is the different bacteria, yeast, parasites, viruses and protozoa which live on and inside of you, is constantly communicating with your immune system, quite literally sending out messages of ‘health’ or ‘dis-ease’.
The gut epithelium (the gut lining) is an extremely sensitive part of the gastrointestinal system and it is at this site in which much of our immune activity occurs (around 80-90%). Hayfever it seems is simply an increased sensitivity/irritation of the mucous membranes of the gastro-intestinal system and subsequently further irritation of the olfactory and oropharynx mucous membranes. This can be caused by an excessive histamine response in the body from the degranulation of specific immune cells – importantly LGG has actually been shown to down regulate this process, an important indicator that probiotic-immune cell interaction is probably at the root of allergic response.
In an era where the symptom-based approach has quite literally spiralled out of control, examining and focusing on the root cause of such conditions as allergies and hay fever is probably a much smarter approach.
On the basis of the research, it can be said quite confidently that the regular intake of probiotics throughout the year (as opposed to only during allergy season) is our best option for the prevention of allergic symptoms.
Microbes have also been implicated in the development and restoration of food allergies. In my book, The Gut Healing Protocol I also describe where increased intestinal permeability, Leaky Gut, can often be the root cause of food allergies due to a constant bombardment of undigested, macromolecules of food passing into the bloodstream, causing an immune response within the body. The body reacts as it would any consistent, foreign invader and develops specific antibodies to quickly and efficiently nullify the substances – the reaction takes place. As shown in this study, by harnessing the gut-restorative power of probiotics, one may be able to restore integrity to the gut lining and stop this phenomenon from occurring.
The immune system and gastrointestinal population of microbes are intimately linked. If we are to appreciate that many forms of illness have origins in inflammation and that most inflammation itself has origins in the gut, our approach to creating wellness across the board should focus largely on the rebalancing of our microbiome. Through diet, supplements and a long term restorative approach, this can certainly be achieved!
Don't miss out on these exciting events:
Complimentary Gut Health Naturopathic Assessments
To assist in identifying the state of your gut health, our naturopaths at Go Vita are offering 15 minute complimentary gut health assessments in our naturopathic clinic. These assessments will be available for all of March. Appointments are necessary. Call 4472 9737 to book or visit us at 5 North Street.
Complimentary Kombucha shots all month at Nourish on North
Kombucha is a refreshing fermented tea, rich in probiotics that is beneficial to achieving and maintaining gut health. Can't wrap your head around a fermented tea? Pop into Nourish and ask the gang for your free sample.
11 March Sunday 10am – 12.30pm at Nourish on North
Cooking For Gut Health
with Melanie Turner, Naturopath & Accredited GAPS Practitioner
Learn the art of making gut healing foods, including broths (suitable for vegetarians and vegans), snacks, chia puddings, probiotic lollies. Learn what foods can heal the gut, damage the gut and learn about prebiotics. $65 per person. Click Here to Book
21 March Wednesday 6 — 8pm at Nourish on North
Fermenting for Your Health
with Katie Urbanik, Naturopath
Learn to make Kefir, Kombucha, Sauerkraut, Lacto-Fermented Vegetables, Water Kefir, Kefir Cheese, Sourdough bread and Yoghurt. $65 per person. Call 4472 9737 to book or visit us at 5 North Street.
25 March Sunday 5 — 7pm
The Gut Movie - a story of poo and the future of medicine
with Kale Brock, Journalist and Researcher
Q & A to follow with Kale Brock
Cost $20 in includes a gut health goodie bag from Herbs of Gold. Book Here
Kale Brock is a journalist and researcher who has a passion for health, particularly gut health. Since he last visited Batemans Bay in March 2017, he has travelled to Namibia to live with The San, an ancient hunter gatherer people living traditionally on the land. This movie follows his personal journey into the impact of diet, environment and stress on the gut. During his travels he monitored his own microbiome and how it changed in conjunction with his new surroundings. He also took microbiome samples of The San to gauge the significant difference in microbiota present across cultures. It’s a great movie as it’s very insightful and informative whilst being very entertaining.