Tag: immune health

Autism: A Brain or Whole-Body Disorder?

You could say this post is a long time coming. In the last few years, I’ve lost count of the huge number of emails I get from parents with kids who have special needs either asking for advice or explaining how The Primal Blueprint has made a significant difference for their children. These are parents who love their kids for all their abilities and differences and who want to explore every reasonable lifestyle intervention they can to make their kids’ lives everything they can and should be.

I’ll state the obvious here. I’m not a disability expert, but I’ve been moved and motivated by these parents’ emails. From a general health perspective, I’ve wondered how our modern lives could be contributing to the epidemic. Likewise, I’m curious how research can illuminate potential benefits of lifestyle interventions. What is the biological picture behind the dysfunction in these conditions, and how can biology be harnessed to restore functioning? A recent approach focused on the whole brain and whole body is asking those exact questions – and finding answers.

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Dear Mark: Raw Honey and Allergies, and Resveratrol Debunked?

Today’s Dear Mark question and answer post is a quick one – a two parter. First, I discuss the anti-allergy merits of real, raw, unprocessed local honey and include my own harrowing experience with using raw honey to combat a pollen allergy. Then, I address the fall-from-grace of a prolific resveratrol researcher shown to have fabricated his data, and I discuss what it means for resveratrol research at large.
As a side business, I sell local, raw, unpasteurized honey. I would love to see a Daily Apple column on honey and honey production (local vs large-scale (esp. from China), natural hive treatment vs antibiotic use on hives, filtering, non-homogenized vs homogenized, etc.). I often have people who are reluctant to buy my honey because it crystallizes and is cloudy.  These are natural processes and desirable characteristics as the pollen and propolis are left in the honey.  Once explained, many people are quite happy to buy the product.

I know you have written about honey throughout the site, especially as it relates to insulin but I would love to see people have a little more knowledge as to the benefits of local, raw honey for allergy relief, antibacterial properties and just great taste.  🙂

All the best,

Anita

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The Problems with Antibiotics: More Fallout from Killing Your Flora

A new study found that pediatricians are over-prescribing broad spectrum antibiotics (which target both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria, also known as most bacteria) at an increasing rate. 21% of all pediatric visits ended with a prescription for antibiotics, 50% of which were broad spectrum. For 23% of those visits ending in antibiotics (which accounted for over 10 million visits in total), they were prescribed for conditions that don’t even respond to antibiotics, like asthma, viral infections, flu, allergies, and bronchitis. The bulk of the antibiotics prescribed in these unwarranted situations were broad spectrum, and the bulk of the patients in these situations were younger than not.

Ugh. Antibiotics clearly have therapeutic merit – a statement some would debate, I’m sure – but I think everyone would agree that prescribing broad spectrum antibiotics for non-responsive conditions to young kids is unwise.

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Dust Mites, Off-Gassing and What to Do With Your Mattress

Dust mites are everywhere. They are true survivors, able to make it in virtually all climates and at any altitude. They thrive, however, in our homes, especially bedrooms, enjoying the humidity generated by all the breathing, perspiring, and drooling we do at night and feeding on all the skin flakes we produce. For these tiny creatures, we’re living, breathing humidifier-refrigerator-landlords who charge extremely competitive rates. Why wouldn’t they infest us?

In the last couple weeks we’ve taken a look at sleep posture, how to improve it, and modern bedding. Today we’ll take a closer look at your mattress, investigating what may be lurking inside and what you can do about it.

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Gut Flora and Your Healthy Immune System

Last week, I discussed the importance of gut flora in the digestion of food while briefly touching on its role in early immunity, including the development of asthma and eczema – both of which are immune issues that appear to be exacerbated or caused by disrupted gut flora in children. But it goes much further than “just” asthma and eczema. Our gut flora plays a massive role in mediating our entire immune response. Think about this little factoid: the human gastro-intestinal tract houses the bulk of the human immune system, about 70% of it. And foreign gut flora actually aids and abets our innate immune response system by improving the function of our mucosal immune system and providing a physical barrier to invading microbiota. Before I get into that, though, let’s go over what we mean by immune system.

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Dear Mark: Seasonal Allergies

By numerous accounts, this spring has been the most brutal in years for seasonal allergy sufferers. (Do I see some nodding heads out there?) As much as everyone looks forward to spring, some folks grit their teeth for several weeks or live on a steady dose of allergy pills. I always get questions this time of year from folks who are looking for ways to get through spring a little happier and maybe less medicated. Here’s one such email from reader Joyce….

Dear Mark,

I’m from the Upper Midwest where spring came early this year. No complaining about that, mind you – we earn our warm season! I’ve always had problems in spring, but this year I’ve been in really bad shape (like everybody what I hear). I’m relatively new to your site, and I’m slowly adopting elements of the Primal Blueprint. So far, it’s been going great! It’s got me thinking though about diet and whether what I eat/don’t eat can make any difference. What’s your take on this? I’d love any recommendations that could get me in the garden earlier!

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Dear Mark: Sugar as Immune Suppressant

Dear Mark,

Since going Primal last summer, my vegan buddy and I have some very explicit differences of opinion. I’m sure you can guess where they come up. Where we agree though is on the subject of sugar, especially refined sugar (syrups, honey, HFCS, table sugar, etc). Neither of us eat the stuff as a rule, but we have different reasons for avoiding it. I give the standard list and his main contention is that sugar compromises the immune system. Is this true? Does eating sugar actually suppress the immune system? I’ve heard this before, but have yet to see hard proof. Thanks.

Thanks for the question. We already know sugar should be limited in the human diet. Most people can agree with that. Here are but a few of its effects on our physiologies. Fun stuff!

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Dear Mark: Omega-3s and Fish Allergies

By now we all know the benefits of fish oil and its omega-3s: lower risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer, less systemic inflammation, lower risk for depression, better skin, and so on. Although fish and fish oil supplements are the best sources for these omega-3 benefits, there are nonetheless scenarios that rule out these sources.

Dear Mark:

I’m sold on the benefits of a Fish Oil Supplement and I’m interested to start taking one. However, I have had serious allergic reactions to Shell Fish in the past, and an allergist has shown me to be reactive to most fish in general. As such I have avoided anything and everything that swims for a very long time. Maybe it’s possible my allergies were due to inflammation caused by my CW diet, but I’m still wary to test my theory now that I’m eating Primal. I feel like I’m missing out on a huge variety of food and supplement options. Question: I know anything can cause an allergic reaction, but is there any scientific basis for Fish Oil Supplements causing allergic reactions in people who have demonstrated allergies to fish/shellfish? And if so, what are my options for proper Omega-3 supplementation?

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Once, Twice, Three Times… Less Likely to Get a Cold

In the past, we’ve highlighted the importance of sleep in our lives as evidence mounts. A healthy amount of the stuff can help with memory, and a study showing that those who toss and turn to the tune of five or fewer hours of sleep per night have a higher incidence of “silent” heart disease suggests its importance in cardiovascular health. But it’s not like we needed science to tell us that getting plenty of sleep was good for us; the sluggish thoughts, rotten moods, and general uselessness we experience on inadequate sleep is our body’s way of telling us to sleep more and sleep better.

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10 Things You (Likely) Don’t Know About Your Immune System

Once the weather cools off, discussions shift from a run down of the pollen count and other allergens to the importance of shoring up the immune system. But what are we really talking about when we discuss the immune system and can we really fine-tune it to ward off illness?

To enjoy these fun facts, perhaps it’s best to first head back to school and gain a better understanding of the immune system…

Open your textbooks kids, it’s time to learn:

On the most basic level, the immune system is a complex system of organs, tissues, cells, and cell products that neutralize potentially pathogenic organisms or substances.

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