Category Archives for "Blog"

FedEx Small Business Grant

Hello all!  I am needing your help to bring natural health options to others in East Texas.  FedEx has a small business grant contest going on through April 1st, 2019 – You can vote ONE VOTE EVERY DAY here: or click on the image below https://smallbusinessgrant.fedex.com/#/gallery/votebadge/78a01a0a-5090-4f0e-8d1a-b334ea97b188

Heal Your Child Summit – 2018

I am super excited to be able to share the following information with you!  Our children are now sicker than we are – over 50% of the children in the United States has a chronic illness and over 45% of those have multiple illnesses!  This MUST stop!

In order for that to happen parents must be equipped with information to turn their children’s health around.  Which is what the Heal Your Child Summit 2018 is all about!!!

It is an honor to be a part of this wonderful movement to empower parents and equip them with ways to take charge of their child’s health.  Connecting with Health Professionals, Researchers, Community Activists, and Thought Leaders from Around the World to Share Their Most Strategic Secrets and Resources to Parents of Children with Chronic Illness is at the core of my mission.   Please join me and others who are on that journey to restore health in their child through natural methods.  This is a FREE online summit with an abundance of resources, strategies and practical tips from holistic, natural and, functional perspectives.

HEAL YOUR CHILD – BODY, MIND, HEART, and SOUL

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” – WHO

Imagine some of the world’s top experts on Chronic Illness coming together to discuss their #1 HEALING strategies.  And not only are they gathering, but you have a VIP Invitation to this limited space event.  By attending you are able to quickly and easily implement their strategies for Empowering yourself with strategies, resources, and evidence-based research to help you heal your child.

Well, there is no need to imagine.  This is exactly what’s happening September 17-21, 2018 at the HEAL YOUR CHILD SUMMIT.  But don’t worry if you can’t make it to every live call.  We’ll be recording every moment and taking notes.

I have to warn you though, the purpose of this Summit is not to discuss the latest greatest drug or medical intervention to manage your child’s chronic illness.  We are NOT in the business of diagnosing, treating, or curing disease. We WILL NOT pursue a pill for every ill.  The presenters in this summit are seekers of the truth and function as detectives to help you uncover and understand the ROOT CAUSES of your child’s chronic illness.

Be sure to tune in on Monday, September 17th where I will be presenting: Healing Your Microbiome – Pesky Bugs, or Cute Critters?  Here I will delve into the foundation of creating a microbiome which promotes health and restoration along with strategies to uncover the root of an imbalanced GI tract.  It will be a power-packed day as Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo delves into Genetics and tackles the myths surrounding genetics: Destiny of Dis-Ease or Opportunity for Health and Prevention.  

You will also want to tune into my friend and functional medicine colleague Dr. Neil Paulvin as he provides insights on craniosacral therapy and opening up healing opportunities through removing obstructions with chiropractic manipulations.   Every day is filled with great information, I am so excited to be sharing this with you and look forward to seeing you there!

Remember to help me spread the word!

www.healyourchildsummit.com

GUEST POST: Is Reactivated Epstein-Barr Causing Your Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? Here is How To Tell (And What To Do About It)

Today I have a special guest, a very passionate functional medicine colleague who helps women with chronic fatigue syndrome reclaim their energy, joy & clarity so they can truly thrive again.   She has been generous to share with us this great information, my hope is it can benefit you or someone you love who is challenged with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome!  Here’s Laura!

Hey there! My name’s Laura. I’m a certified functional medicine practitioner over at www.lauraditri.com and I specialize in helping women fully recover from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and get their lives and their health back.

Some research has suggested reactivated Epstein-Barr Virus plays a role in CFS, although findings are somewhat controversial. Clinically, however, I find reactivated EBV is at least partially responsible (and sometimes completely responsible) for CFS in around 30% of the women I work with.

Epstein-Barr is the virus that commonly causes mononucleosis, a.k.a. “mono” or glandular fever, but it can stay in the body and silently wreak havoc long after the mono phase is over. This virus can live in someone for decades, sneaking in and out of activity because of stress or other imbalances in the body.

Reactivated Epstein-Barr can cause

  • fatigue/exhaustion
  • anxiety and depression
  • systemic inflammation
  • muscle and joint pain
  • brain fog
  • swollen glands in the neck
  • Hashimoto’s or hypothyroidism
  • and it is linked to multiple other autoimmune diseases and even certain cancers

Reactivated EBV is often misdiagnosed. New research shows a link between reactivated EBV and fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, and possibly chronic fatigue syndrome.

By the time you are done reading this article, you will know exactly how to test for Epstein-Barr and interpret your results AND you’ll also learn my tried-and-true strategies for recovering.

First, talk with your doctor or practitioner about getting a lab that shows all four EBV antibodies. These antibodies include EBV VCA IgG, EBV VCA IgM, EBV EBNA IgG, and EBV EA IgG.

If you aren’t currently working with a doctor, you can order this full panel from http://www.walkinlab.com

So as to not overwhelm you, I’m going to add this in as a side note: It’s possible to get a “false negative” on your results if your total immunoglobulin G + M are less than normal. You can foolproof this a bit more by asking your doctor to order “Quantitative Immunoglobulins G + M” to add to your panel. This is how I order it in my clients so we make sure results are that much more accurate.

Interpretation of the EBV blood test in the way I’ll describe is pretty accurate, but not 100% accurate according to the medical literature. There are no definitive results when it comes to most lab tests, but these four antibodies give us a pretty good picture.

Once you have your results back, take a look at this chart from Newfoundland and Labrador Public Health Library:

You want to pay attention to “reactivation” on the right-hand side. The EA IgG (blue dotted line) is the most important ones to look at in terms of reactivated EBV. It has been shown to be elevated in 10 out of 11 cases of reactivated EBV. Its possible yet rare that EA can be negative, however, and there will still be a chronic infection.

I find VCA IgM is rarely raised in reactivation and is usually raised in initial infection only (mononucleosis/glandular fever).

A typical picture of reactivation will be elevated EA IgG, VCA IgG, and EBNA IgG.

A less typical picture of reactivation will be either the VCA IgG or the EBNA IgG markers (or both) being above 100 U/mL, and the EA IgG and VCA IgM markers being in normal range. This generally means the testing was done in a “lull” phase of reactivation but the virus is prone to reactivating. I would still recommend using anti-viral herbs and supplements, as many with this picture feel infinitely better once they follow an anti-viral protocol for a few months.

Also keep in mind that the EA IgG marker is also elevated in 20 – 30% of patients that are perfectly healthy now but did have a past Epstein-Barr infection like mononucleosis. If you’re reading this article and ordering this test because you have EBV symptoms, you’re likely not in this 20 – 30%… but it’s still good to keep this in mind for re-testing.

Which Supplements And Herbs Get Rid Of EBV?

Now that you know if you’re likely dealing with reactivation of EBV, let’s take a look at specific, scientifically studied botanicals and supplements to help get rid of it.

Note that the goal of recovering from reactivated EBV is to get the virus to go back into a “dormant” state.

Multiple different vitamins and minerals have scientific links showing their benefit to boosting up the immune system to attack viruses. These include vitamin A, D, methylated B12, C, and zinc.

The best direct anti-viral herbs and supplements for EBV include boswellia, turmeric, ginger, licorice (not DGL), selenium, alpha lipoic acid (caution if you have amalgam/mercury fillings), CBD oil, baicalin/Chinese Skullcap, passionflower, reishi, berberine, and lysine.

The best herbs and supplements to support methylation and detoxification for EBV include Hawaiian spirulina, NAC, P5P, and methyl groups such as SAMe, methyl-, adenosyl-, and hydroxycobalamin.

I generally recommend incorporating standard daily values of vitamin A, D, and zinc, although more may be needed if a blood test shows a deficiency. If alkaline phosphatase (part of a standard blood test) is lower than 70 u/l, that is generally a fairly good indication of zinc deficiency. I recommend incorporating fairly large doses of vitamin C and B12 as they are water soluble and can be taken in higher concentrations than vitamins A and D without risk of toxicity.

For the direct anti-viral herbs and supplements, I recommend starting with a heavy dose of 3-5 of these products and rotating or adding in as you recover.

Supporting methylation and detoxification is usually necessary as genetics play a role in these processes as well. It’s especially important if you have the MTHFR gene. So as not to overdo it with supplements, I generally recommend just 1-2 of the methylation & detoxification products at a time.

Foods To Eat & Not To Eat

For reactivated EBV, one of the most import things you can do is to follow a no-egg anti-inflammatory diet.

Inflammation causes stress. Stress wreaks havoc on the adrenals. When the adrenals are in bad shape, the immune system takes a hit, and EBV is more prone to becoming out of control.

My favorite anti-inflammatory diet is what I like to call a “high-vegetable” gluten-free & dairy-free diet. I recommend at least four cups of vegetables per day, as their high antioxidant content is important for normalizing detox processes in the body. If tolerated raw, the beneficial soil-based microorganisms found on them will help to repopulate the microbiome of the digestive tract as well. I also recommend staying away from eggs, as EBV increases the likelihood of egg allergies.i

Go organic. Especially for meats and animal products. Organic food has been proven to be much more nutrient and antioxidant denseii than non-organic food. This is incredibly important to heal the cellular processes of the body, not to mention the relief your detox pathways will feel when they don’t have to detox and process pesticides and herbicides.

Organic, grass-fed, and free-range meats and animal products have a completely different nutrient and omega profile than conventionally raised animal products, and generally tend to be anti-inflammatory (as opposed to conventionally raised animal products which tend to be pro-inflammatory).

It’s incredibly important to note that “killing” the EBV virus is just the first step. The bigger picture is bringing your body back into a state of balance so the immune system isn’t compromised and the EBV doesn’t take over again. In the greater picture of so many conditions that tend to have “layers” like chronic Lyme, reactivated EBV, adrenal fatigue, hormone imbalance, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), its incredibly important to make sure not only are you killing the bad guys, but also supporting detox and methylation pathways, understanding if gut bugs are present, if environmental or mold illness is a factor, if food allergies are present, if autoimmunity against the thyroid or other organs is at play, and if there’s systemic inflammation that’s halting the healing process.

Reactivated EBV can start to turn around in as little as 2 weeks, although many need a longer-term program that lasts multiple months to notice a huge difference. If you are on the right track, you should see your antibodies decrease after 2 months.

After this time, go back to step one and retest yourself for EBV antibodies. If you’re moving in the right direction, your antibodies (ANY of the four) should go down. Of course, the most important part is to get you feeling radically better, but seeing absolute proof that what you are doing is working can be a wonderful support!

As with any advice you read on the internet, this info is for educational purposes only. Before implementing any changes in your diet/lifestyle/supplement routine, be sure you talk with your own doctor to understand if these suggestions are appropriate for you.

All the best in your radical recovery from reactivated EBV,

Laura
www.lauraditri.com

 

References:

1 Loebel (2014) Deficient EBV-specific B- and T-cell response in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24454857

2 Fagundes (2014) Attachment anxiety is related to Epstein-Barr virus latency.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24945717

3 Esterling (1993) Defensiveness, trait anxiety, and Epstein-Barr viral capsid antigen antibody titers in healthy college
students. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8500440

4 Onozawa (2017) Inflammatory cytokine production in chronic active Epstein-Barr virus infection.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28381684

5 Janegova (2015) The role of Epstein-Barr virus infection in the development of autoimmune thyroid diseases.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25931043

6 Samson (2017) Local Doctor Gives Hope To Fibromyalgia Sufferers http://www.14news.com/story/2271049/localdoctor-gives-hope-to
fibromyalgia-sufferers (article, not a clinical study)

7 Pavletic (2017) Early Disseminated Lyme Disease Causing False-Positive Serology for Primary Epstein-Barr Virus
Infection: Report of 2 Cases. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28379435

8 Harley (2018) Transcription factors operate across disease loci, with EBNA2 implicated in autoimmunity
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41588-018-0102-3

9 Henle (1981) Epstein-Barr virus-specific serology in immunologically compromised individuals.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6272966

10 Mora (2010) Vitamin effects on the immune system: vitamins A and D take centre stage.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2906676/

Sensational Tuna Salad

Look what my children surprised me with for lunch today!  It was absolutely SENSATIONAL!  I think they are ready to use our summer vegetables and couldn’t pass up this colorful, scrumptious combination!

Sensational Tuna Salad

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: super easy
  • Print

Sensational, super easy tuna salad.

Credit: The Functional Perspective
Inspired by: Family original!

Ingredients

  • 2 cans of Tuna
  • 1-2 Apples – diced
  • 5-6 Sweet Peppers – diced
  • 3 Stalks of Celery – diced
  • 1/2 can of Olives – chopped
  • 1/8 cup of Onion – chopped
  • Olive oil or other oil to taste
  • optional: Sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, cranberries

Directions

  1. Rinse and chop vegetables and mix all ingredients in a bowl. Serve with lettuce for a great lunch during hot summer months!

Celiac Disease and Fertility Problems

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If you’ve been trying to have a baby, celiac disease and fertility problems may be standing in your way. It may be hard to believe but celiac disease, which causes an allergy to gluten, can actually lead to fertility problems in both men and women.

The exact reasons aren’t totally clear, but scientists do have some ideas about why fertility and celiac are related. One of the most obvious problems is that celiac disease leads to malnutrition. Celiac disease causes your small intestine to be unable to absorb the nutrients you eat.

If your body isn’t getting the nutrition it needs to function properly, it can affect your hormone levels and your ability to produce and carry a child. This is true for both men and women because it can interfere with either system.

Often, women who have celiac disease have particular problems with their menstrual cycles. If you have celiac disease you may have abnormal periods – they may be absent for long periods of time or you may have problems with frequent bleeding.

Problems with your period indicate that you might not be ovulating regularly and that will interfere with your ability to conceive. If you’re not ovulating, there’s no chance you’ll be able to get pregnant.

In addition, women with celiac disease have a higher risk of having complications in their pregnancy. Those complications include threatened miscarriage (bleeding during pregnancy), actual miscarriage, and high blood pressure.

Pregnant women suffering from celiac also may have problems with anemia. These conditions can make it difficult to carry a pregnancy to term and can cause problems during labor and delivery that threaten both mother and child.

If you have celiac disease, it’s important to let your healthcare provider know when you’re trying to conceive. The good news is that by following a gluten-free diet you can actually reverse the inflammation caused by gluten and you can get your body in a healthy state.

You’ll have the best chances of having successful conception and a healthy pregnancy when you begin with a healthy body. That means that it’s best to have your celiac disease under control before attempting to get pregnant.

The best way to control celiac is through diet. You’ll need to eliminate gluten from the foods you eat. This can be difficult initially, but the improvement in your health condition is worth the effort.

It’s always best to work with your healthcare provider to make sure you receive the proper medical treatment along with your diet. In severe cases of celiac, medical intervention is required. Celiac disease and fertility problems can go hand-in-hand, but you can work to improve your chances of pregnancy.

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Foods That Can Help Boost Your Immune System

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A number of foods have been found to benefit the immune system in a range of ways. One group of foods is thought to reduce inflammation in the body, leading to less wear and tear on all your bodily systems, including your immune system. Adding anti-inflammatory foods is thought to prevent disease, or reduce the more severe symptoms in those who are suffering from certain health issues, such as arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Another group of foods has been found to trigger inflammation, so avoiding these foods can also provide relief from a range of troublesome symptoms, including allergic reactions such as eczema, asthma, gluten sensitivity and lactose intolerance. These allergies are obvious examples of how inflammation can affect anyone’s health. Avoiding inflammatory foods has shown clear benefits in relation to heart disease and all forms of arthritis, particularly rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

The third group of foods that can boost the immune system to prevent disease and enhance health are known as antioxidants. The normal wear and tear on our bodies every day as a result of stress, the environment, unhealthy foods we eat, smoking cigarettes, and so on, is called oxidative stress. It is thought to be a major cause of aging in the body.

Antioxidants are so named because they combat oxidative stress, thus decreasing the wear and tear on the body and reducing the effects of aging. Some antioxidants are so powerful, they have even been associated with cancer prevention.

Eating more anti-inflammatory foods while cutting back on inflammatory ones, and adding delicious antioxidants to your diet, is the best way to boost your immune system, reduce the effects of aging, and prevent disease. So, which are the best foods to eat, which are the best to avoid, and which foods are the best sources of antioxidants? We will list the top 10 for each category below.

Top 10 to Eat, to Reduce Inflammation

1-Salmon and Other Fatty Fish with Omega-3s
2-Probiotics, found in cultured foods like yogurt and kefir
3-Olive Oil
4-Sour Cherries
5-Walnuts and other tree nuts
6-Peppers
7-Ginger
8-Turmeric
9-Green leafy vegetables and cruciferous (pronounced CREW-sif-er-us) vegetables like broccoli and bok choy (Chinese cabbage)
10-Berries such as blueberries

Top 10 to Avoid If You Wish to Reduce Inflammation

1-Sugar
2-Salt
3-Standard Cooking Oils
4-Trans fats
5-Red Meat
6-Processed Meats/cold Cuts
7-Refined Carbohydrates
8-Artificial Sweeteners and Flavorings, such as aspartame and saccharin; Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
9-Alcohol
10-Dairy Products

Top 10 Foods with the Highest Level of Antioxidants
1-Small red beans
2-Blueberries, wild
3-Red kidney beans
4-Pinto beans
5-Blueberries, cultivated
6-Cranberries
7-Artichokes
8-Blackberries
9-Raisins
10-Raspberries

It may seem overwhelming at first to make changes to your diet, especially if many of your favorites are on the foods to avoid list. Fortunately, a little effort can go a long way towards improving your immune system if you make healthy substitutions.

For example, if you love sweet, sugary foods, use more fruit to curb your cravings. Blueberries and raspberries can be eaten fresh or cooked as part of a healthy dessert. In our house we buy them frozen when they are on sale in the supermarket and eat them frozen in place of ice cream or another more fattening dessert. We add fresh ones to a range of recipes, from fruit salad to interesting sauces and rice pilafs.

If you are a meat eater, eating fish for 2 meals a week and beans such as the antioxidant-rich red kidney beans or pintos is easy and tasty too. Have fun looking up new recipes and exploring cuisines from around the world. For example, these beans are perfect for Mexican or Tex-Mex cookery. Many of the foods on the anti-inflammatory list are ideal for Chinese or Indian recipes.

Use these three lists to boost your immune system, and see how you can eat better than ever while fighting disease.

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How Probiotics Can Help Your Immune System

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By now, almost everyone has heard of probiotics, the active cultures in a range of dairy products such as yogurt, some cheeses and kefir, and in fermented foods such as miso, kimchi and sauerkraut. Most of these are tasty additions to our diet that can also help improve our overall digestive health. But can they also boost the immune system?

Studies have shown that adding probiotics to your diet conveys a range of benefits for people of all ages, as well as unborn children and those who are nursing. Some of the most commonly studied strains promote T cells and the so-called Killer cells. Some of the immune cells triggered also appear to have cancer-fighting properties.

Probiotics taken by women during pregnancy appear to affect the immune system of the unborn infant. Taken in childhood, probiotics appear to help young children avoid immune-mediated diseases such as asthma, eczema, colds, and type 1 diabetes.

The effects of probiotics are well-documented in relation to improving digestive health in a number of ways. Probiotics can balance the effects of antibiotics, which are taken in order to rid the body of bacteria.

Antibiotics can be helpful, but unfortunately they are not selective; they kill both harmful and helpful bacteria at the same time. Probiotics can add back the helpful bacteria and also boost the level of immune cells in the mucous membranes of the intestines.

In one study on probiotics, immune function, infection and inflammation in the body, probiotics stimulated a range of antibodies. Probiotics such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria was found in children to reduce the incidence and duration of diarrhea. They can also reduce the risk of travelers’ diarrhea in adults.

The effect of may benefit children and adults with irritable bowel syndrome and adults with ulcerative colitis; studies with reference to probiotics’ benefits in relation to Crohn’s Disease are not clear as of yet. Probiotics have little effect in rheumatoid arthritis, but they can help with dermatitis and other allergic reactions.

Many people who are lactose intolerant might think they have to miss out on probiotics because they are so commonly found in dairy products. The good news is that fermented foods such as miso, tempeh (fermented soy) and sauerkraut can all add healthy probiotics to your diet.

If you have been ill lately and taking antibiotics, add some probiotics to your diet and see what a difference they can make to your health.

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Myths and Facts About Boosting Your Immune System

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There are a lot of theories on how to boost the immune system to ward off diseases, particularly in reference to cold and flu season, when people are most concerned with avoiding illness when everyone around them seems to be sick.

But is there any truth in these theories? Let’s look at a few of the most common myths about your immune system, and the facts you need to stay healthy all year round. Are they true or false?

Eating more fruits and vegetables can keep your immune system strong.
True. It is not simply an old wives’ tale that you should eat your fruits and veggies. Studies have shown that people who eat them regularly tend to be healthier than those who do not. They offer a range of nutrients that can help your immune system fight viruses and bacteria. Try to eat a rainbow every day in order to consume a variety of antioxidants, which help fight disease, and phytochemicals, plant-based nutrients.

Vitamins and supplements can help ward off disease and make you feel better faster.
False. A good daily multivitamin can help fill in any gaps in an otherwise healthy diet, but it is no substitute for high-quality nutrition from a range of all-natural foods. Many people take high doses of Vitamin C to ward off colds. However, this is not really of great benefit because Vitamin C is water-soluble, which means the body cannot store it and it is eliminated from the body through the urine. Vitamin A is important to the immune system, but it is fat soluble, which means it can be stored in the body. Too much, however, can lead to Vitamin A toxicity.

Many companies are now selling cold prevention remedies with zinc in them, which promise to ward off colds, or relieve symptoms more rapidly. Many of them are used in the nostrils. While some of these products have been shown to have some benefit in warding off colds, they have also been shown to cause potentially permanent loss of smell. Plus, not all colds and flu enter the body through the nose.

Getting enough sleep can boost your immune system.
True. There’s a strong link between sleep and a healthy immune system. The main point to remember is that it should be high-quality sleep, that is, sleep deep enough to offer the body and mind refreshment and healing. Most studies agree that the average adult need 8 hours a night. However, recent studies have also shown that sleeping too much can have a negative effect on your health.

Occasional insomnia should not be an issue, but if it becomes chronic, you should take steps to improve the quality and duration of your sleep. Otherwise, sleep deprivation can lead to you feeling run down, leaving your immune system weakened and you vulnerable to disease. Get into a good sleep routine of regular bedtimes and rising times, and see what a difference it can make to your health.

Covering your mouth when you cough can keep germs at bay.
False. This can help you stop the spread of illness, but do little to help you ward off illness unless everyone in your household and immediate environment does the same. Don’t forget that viruses like cold and flu germs can also survive on a range of surfaces such as doorknobs, phones, countertops and more. Wash your hands often and avoid touching your face, especially nose, mouth and eyes.

A positive mindset can boost your immune system.
True. A good outlook may be good for your health. One study of law students showed that their immune system was directly affected by their thoughts about their studies. If they felt things were going well, they had a better immune system. When they were worried, their immune system slowed. Therefore, looking on the bright side is not just good for you mental health, but your physical health as well.

Now that you’ve separated myth from fact in relation to your immune system, use what you’ve learned really works to help strengthen yours to ward off disease.

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New Link Found Between the Brain and Your Immune System

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A new study has just revealed a startling hidden connection between the brain and the immune system. Researchers always assumed that there was no lymph system in the brain. Now they have discovered lymphatic pathways hidden deep inside the brain that can help explain how the brain works with the immune system, which in turn protects the brain,

The lymph system is a network of lymph nodes, ducts, vessels and organs which move lymph from the tissues into the bloodstream. Lymph is a whitish fluid made up of lymphocytes, the cells that attack bacteria in the body, and fluid from the intestines, called chyle (pronounced KYLE), which contains proteins and fats that also help ward off diseases.

The most obvious manifestation of your lymph system is when you get swollen glands in your neck when you become sick with a cold or the flu. They swell up as they gather the resources to fight infection. Lymph nodes also filter harmful cells such as bacteria and cancer cells to stop the spread of disease.

Scientists knew that the brain helped control the immune system, but were not sure how the brain was protected by the immune system until now. The discovery is key because it opens the gateway to a new understanding of inflammation in the brain and body as a whole. It might also reveal the reasons for neurodegenerative disorders such as autism, multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s, and other such diseases, offering new hope in the quest to combat illness and the effects of aging on the brain.

Neurological diseases like MS and Alzheimer’s have long been linked to changes in immune system function. Alzheimer’s, for example, is linked with a large build-up of proteins in the brain called amyloid plaques. Mood disorders have also been linked to autoimmune disorders of the digestive tract such as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), including Crohn’s disease and inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS).

It wasn’t always clear how such connections occurred, but now both a gut-brain connection and a pathway from your immune system into your brain have been uncovered. Chyle from the intestines as part of the lymph system therefore has a direct connection to the brain. This means that any imbalance in the intestines has the potential to negatively impact the brain.

Since the lymph system affects every part of the body, including the brain, it is important to do all you can to boost your immune system. The mind-body connection is now better understood and demonstrates that you are what you eat. It also shows how your mood can affect your immune system, and vice versa. Take care of your immune system, and it will take care of you, and your brain, to combat the effects of aging.

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