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Posts tagged ‘digestion’

Probiotics for the Athlete

Physical training is understood by almost everyone as a positive, health-related activity. However, extreme athletes undertaking regular strenuous training walk a fine line between physical well-being and impaired immune function. This is likely due to the immunosuppressive effects of stress hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol. Competitive athletes have to take extra precautions to keep their immune system strong; eliminating the chance of getting sick and losing valuable training time. Probiotics can play a key role in maintaining healthy immune function.

Probiotics are “live microorganisms, which when administered in adequate amount confer a health benefit on the host (FAO 2001).” In each normal and healthy gut, there are approximately 100 trillion microorganisms (bacteria). These gut-friendly bacteria help to keep harmful bacteria in check. It can be likened to a healthy gut bacterial army, fighting off unwanted invaders.

Probiotics enhance the immune system. Probiotics have been found to modulate the functions of epithelial cells, phagocytic cells (monocytes, macrophages, and neutrophils), and natural-killer cells (NK-cells). This interaction could impact anything from infectious diseases, inflammatory disease and allergies to autoimmune disorders and cancer. Different types of probiotics are able to stimulate or moderate many aspects of innate and acquired immune responses. Therefore, choosing an appropriate probiotic for your condition is important.

Several probiotics have been shown to increase antimicrobial compounds including organic acids (lactic acid and acetic acid), hydrogen peroxide, carbon dioxide, and bacteriocins. These substances decrease intestinal pH (therefore inhibit bacterial metabolism), inhibit both gram negative and gram positive bacteria and kill bacteria. This immune protection happens systemically. It can aid in protection of upper respiratory tract infections, gastrointestinal infections, genitourinary infections and skin conditions.

Almost everyone can benefit from the use of probiotics to enhance digestion and nutrient absorption.
Probiotics play a key role in maintaining digestive health. In hard-training athletes, you need every inch of that body functioning at peak capacity. Digestive difficulties, including; acute diarrhea, Chrohn’s disease, Colitis, Celiac disease, IBS, antibiotic-induced diarrhea and food intolerances can all be assisted by a therapeutic dose of probiotics. Even those with apparent healthy bowel function, can benefit from the use of probiotics to enhance digestion and nutrient absorption. In addition, probiotic bacteria are capable of delivering enzymes or other function­al proteins to help with digestion. For example, intake of probiotics has been shown to increase the delivery of enzymes, therefore improving the digestibility of lactose in those with difficulty digesting this sugar.

Probiotics enhance the immune system and play a key role in maintaining digestive health.
Probiotics also stimulate mucin (a gel-like mucous layer in the intestine) which provides a slippery shield, protecting the gut surface from direct contact with pathogenic organisms and toxins. The integrity of the gut lining can be compromised by bacteria, toxins, inflammation and stress, leading to intestinal permeability. This allows substances that would normally pass through the gut, to pass across the gut membrane and into the body. Probiotics preserve the integrity and function of the mucosal barrier, therefore decreasing autoimmunity and allergies.
When looking for a probiotic supplement, there are three characteristics you need to look for:

  • Look for a high dose, multi-strain probiotic blend.
  • Aim for a 10-20 billion bacterial count in adults.
  • A high-quality, pharmaceutical grade manufacturing process.

http://strong-athlete.com/probiotics-for-the-athlete.html

The Power of Lemons

Written by: Dr. Christine Davis, Naturopathic Doctor

Lemons are remarkable fruits that can have a dramatic effect on your overall health and well-being.  Lemons boost the immune system, purify the blood and help the body rid itself of toxins.   Lemons and lemon juice are alkalizing, cleansing, antibacterial, antiviral and antioxidant and may successfully treat a variety of health problems.  As well, lemons are high in vitamin C, potassium and other minerals.

For best results, add the juice of half a freshly picked lemon to cool or warm water.  Water that is too hot will destroy vital enzymes in the lemons.  It should be noted that pre-packaged and pasteurized lemon juice will not have the same health benefits.  Organic lemons are preferred over to avoid any pesticide or chemical residue that might remain on the skin and in the pulp.

Lemons and pH Balance

Ripe lemons have an alkalizing effect on the blood and urine despite being an acidic fruit.  Acidic diets lower the pH in the body resulting in alkaline minerals being drawn from bone, muscle and tissue to rebalance the pH. The depletion of calcium, magnesium and potassium over time can lead to
weakened bones and muscle wastage.

Digestion and Cleansing

Lemons can also relieve symptoms of indigestion, such as heartburn, bloating, gas and cramping. Drinking lemon water regularly will aid in the cleansing of the bowels, which helps eliminate constipation and diarrhea.  Bitter foods such as lemons are known to stimulate the liver, which can aid in detoxification and weight loss.

Immune Boosting

Lemons are high in vitamin C, a well-known cold and flu-fighter.  Lemon and honey can ease the pain of a sore throat or soothe the tickling and itching of a cough.  Squeezing the juice of 1 lemon in 1 cup of warm water with 1 tbsp. honey makes a base for a soothing cough or sore throat remedy.  Alternatively, mix lemon juice and honey in a small bowl and drink to soothe a sore throat.

Considerations

Although alkalinizing to the body, lemons can be acidic to the tooth enamel. It is best to drink lemon water first thing in the am (which is also the best time for liver detoxification) and rinse your mouth afterward, than to sip throughout the day.  Always consult your healthcare practitioner to understand what is best for your individual health needs.