Childhood Microbiome Health: The Secret to Resisting Illness.

Sharing is caring – a delightful virtue when it comes to little humans; but when it is a plaguing cold or a nasty tummy bug, it can be nothing short of a family catastrophe! Whilst these kinds of experiences can help children build a robust immune system, evidence indicates that recurrent bouts of infection may be associated with a reduced presence of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

The bacteria (and the trillions of other microorganisms) in the gut, are known collectively as the gut microbiome, the health of which is essential for immune resilience and resistance to infection. These beneficial organisms directly interact with the immune system (a large proportion of which is also housed in the gut), helping to boost the overall immune response against pathogens. In other words, a healthy microbiome helps to build immune function, whilst a compromised microbiome reduces immune resilience.

Cultivating the Microbiome

Babies inherit their microbiome initially from vaginal flora at birth, in addition to skin -to- skin contact via breastmilk. This exposes infants to a wide range of bacterial species and specific carbohydrates (from breastmilk) that feed these bacteria, helping to establish a healthy gut microbiome.

“Babies inherit their microbiome initially from vaginal flora at birth, in addition to skin -to- skin contact via breastmilk. This exposes infants to a wide range of bacterial species and specific carbohydrates (from breastmilk) that feed these bacteria, helping to establish a healthy gut microbiome.”

That said, not all babies share these microbiome-building experiences. For example, caesarean section, premature birth, limited amounts of breastmilk, and antibiotic use can all impact the diversity of the gut microbiome. This can have a flow-on effect, leading to reduced immune resilience and a greater chance of developing recurrent infections in childhood.

This is perhaps most obvious when kids face one of the greatest immune challenges, where there is no shortage of germ-sharing… daycare (or school). Additionally, kids that experience recurrent ear, chest and/or gut infections also tend to require a greater number of antibiotics; leading to a vicious cycle of poor microbiome health and impaired immune function. Fortunately, research reveals that probiotics may be the key to microbiome recovery; helping to improve digestive health and subsequent immune function.

Probiotics to the Rescue!

Probiotics are live bacteria, which offer beneficial effects on the microbiome and help to support childhood health in several ways including:

1. Increasing the quantity and diversity of bacterial species in the gut;
2. Enhancing immune activity; and

While several probiotics species have been shown to boost immunity, it is important to choose the specific probiotic strain for the condition you are looking to treat.

“Probiotics species have been shown to boost immunity.”

Less illness means more time for childhood

While the occasional cold or flu is a normal part of growing up, recurrent infections can be a sign that the immune system requires a little extra support. As discussed, resilience against infection draws greatly on the health of the microbiome, with probiotics offering a solution to help boost immunity and resistance to infection. To ensure you choose the right probiotic seek the advice of a qualified health care Practitioner who can prescribe the right probiotic for your child’s needs.

I use this probiotic. Buy 2, save $10 at the checkout!

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What does the new NDIS Price Guide mean for you?

Yesterday the NDIA released the Price Guide and Support Catalogue for 2020-2021.

The good news is that the NDIA have got this guide out much earlier than usual. This means we all have a chance to dig around in it and get a handle on everything before it actually goes live.

As always there was a lot of detail to go through. But there were a few things that jumped out straight away:

📌 First of all there were no new prices. Hah! But there was a reason for that. The Fair Work Commission is due to hand down a decision on the minimum wage this month. This will affect NDIS prices. So an updated guide with all new prices will be released once that decision lands. We will make sure we let you know when it is released.

📌 In the meantime the NDIA have confirmed participant plans will automatically be increased to cover the increase in prices (But note – NOT the 10% loading that has been added due to COVID-19).

📌 There are some big changes in Supported Independent Living (SIL) coming down the track. The NDIA are replacing the current quote and negotiation process with fixed prices. More information about that will be released soon.

📌 This price guide features some new line items to help people with a psychosocial disability, including the introduction of new Psychosocial Recovery Coaches.

📌 There are also some new line items to cover Individualised Living Options (ILO is NDIS-speak for anyone looking to do something innovative or interesting with their accommodation and support).

📌 And finally the Price Guide has a new look. All the terms, rules and prices are now all in the one spot. Hopefully this make things easier to find.

You can find the full guide and catalogue on the Pricing Page on the NDIS website.

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The Remarkable Properties of Collagen

Taking collagen for it’s health and healing properties has become a popular trend in recent years. Naturally found in the connective tissue of animals, it is the main protein responsible for keeping the tissue that connects, supports, binds, or separates other tissues or organs firm and flexible. Making up 30% of our physical architecture, your body needs plenty of collagen to help it heal and regenerate. As such, supplementing collagen can help to support and enhance the repair of your body. Read on to learn how collagen can help you from the inside out!

Culinary Collagen

Because collagen is found within connective tissue rather than muscle meat, the benefits of dietary collagen are often absent from modern diets. That said, the recent rise of dietary philosophies such as ‘nose to tail’ have re-popularised collagen-rich recipes such as bone broths, helping more individuals gain its nourishing benefits.

Beyond this food as medicine approach, collagen can also be used as a protein supplement, ideal for those wanting to ensure adequate protein intake.

The Many Types of Collagen

Over 26 types of collagen have been identified, with the three most abundant forms being types I, II, and III collagen. Whilst all types work to surround tissue fibres and reinforce their strength and flexibility, supplementing with these different types will lead to different benefits. For example, type I and III are found in and are hence best for, your hair, skin and nails. Alternately, type II is found in cartilage sources, making it better for supporting joint health. A deficiency in collagen reduces the body’s ability to manufacture strong connective tissue, resulting in aging skin, brittle hair and nails, osteoarthritis, recurrent joint problems, and a reduced capacity to heal injuries.

Demonstrating this, research shows that adding collagen into your diet can reduce joint pain and enhance mobility. Participants in one study found that after 6 months of adding 10 grams of collagen into their daily routine, they were more able-bodied when it came to carrying and lifting objects and felt less physical discomfort than before taking collagen.

The Elixir of Youth

Research also confirms collagens capacity to reverse the signs of ageing by reinforcing skin tissue integrity. One way it does this is through the regeneration of the deep layers of the skin, improving its ability to retain moisture and reduce sun damage. Individuals taking only 1 gram of collagen per day found that in less than 12 weeks their skin was noticeably more hydrated with a reduction in visible wrinkling. Collagen has also been shown to promote hair growth, increase nail growth and improve brittle nails, showing its capacity to support a healthy glow from top to toe.

Go From Strength to Strength

So why should you take collagen? For all the reasons mentioned above! As it reinforces every cell within your anatomy; from the deepest layers of skin to the stretchy connective encasing every joint in your body, collagen helps you stay strong, youthful and flexible.

Finding a high-quality collagen product is as easy as finding a Practitioner, as they’ll do all the hard work in sourcing the right type and dose of collagen for your presentation. Helping you both look and feel your best, collagen can help you stay active longer and increase the vitality of your appearance – try it today (the one I use!) and you won’t look back! Buy NOW and get $10 off at the checkout!

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You can do it! 4 tips to keep your resolutions

In order to keep your resolutions in 2019, consider these tips from Tim Bono, author of When Likes Aren’t Enough: A Crash Course in the Science of Happiness (Grand Central Life & Style, 2018) and lecturer in psychology at Washington University in St. Louis.

Find your motivation: Identify an important reason why you are resolving to change something in your life (e.g., “I’m doing it for my kids” or “This is to improve my overall health”). Research shows that reminding yourself of how your daily behaviors fit into big-picture goals will keep you motivated to stay on track.

Identify the challenges: Acknowledge potential barriers that might get in the way of implementing your goals (you might get lazy, tired, forget, or be lured away by another temptation), and then identify contingency plans for how you will respond in those moments: “When I start getting distracted in the middle of a big work project, I’ll give myself a quick break and then remind myself how rewarding it will feel to be finished with it.” Better yet, select environments that are free from distractions altogether. If you know you’re always tempted to surf the web while completing work, take your laptop to a place where there’s no wifi and leave your phone behind.

Make a routine: Set specific dates and times when you will incorporate the behavior—when you make a schedule for new behaviors you’d like to incorporate into your life, they require less psychological strength to implement. When you get in the habit of running every Tuesday and Thursday morning, the behavior becomes much easier to initiate because it simply becomes part of your routine, like brushing your teeth or taking the dog on a walk.

Treat yourself: Make your goals measurable, break them up into smaller sub-goals, and then reward yourself each time you hit a particular milestone. If your goal is to lose 50 pounds in the new year, treat yourself to a movie or other fun outing for each five pounds you lose.

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Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the most prevalent nutritional deficiencies

Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the most prevalent nutritional deficiencies. It causes a range of symptoms, such as fatigue, forgetfulness and tingling of the hands and feet. The reason for the wide variety of symptoms is that vitamin B12 plays a principal role in numerous body functions. Need some more B12 in your diet? Not managing to eat all of the foods above? Start here. It’s the one I use! Buy 2, save $10 at the checkout!

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It’s Time To Rethink Kids Getting Their Tonsils Out

New research on the long-term effects of removing tonsils and adenoids in childhood finds that the operations are associated with increased respiratory, infectious, and allergic diseases.

For many people, having their tonsils removed is a childhood rite of passage. The operation, known as a tonsillectomy, is the one of the most common pediatric surgeries performed worldwide, with more than 530,000 conducted on children under 15 annually in the US alone.

Usually performed to treat painful recurring tonsillitis and middle ear infection, a tonsillectomy often occurs alongside the removal of the adenoids, known as an adenoidectomy. Adenoid surgery is also performed to improve breathing when the airways are blocked.

“Because adenoids in particular shrink by adulthood, it was historically presumed that tissues like these were redundant in the body. But we now know that adenoids and tonsils are strategically positioned in the nose and throat respectively, in an arrangement known as Waldeyer’s ring. They act as a first line of defense, helping to recognize airborne pathogens like bacteria and viruses, and begin the immune response to clear them from the body.”

The new findings are important, the researchers say, to weigh alongside the already known short-term risks of surgery. The study, published in the JAMA Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, provides more evidence to support possible alternatives to surgery when possible.

Triple risk of upper respiratory trouble

The team analyzed a dataset from Denmark, one of the most complete in the world, comprising health records of 1,189,061 children born between 1979 and 1999, covering at least the first 10 years, and up to 30 years of their life.

Of the almost 1.2 million children, 17,460 had adenoidectomies, 11,830 tonsillectomy, and 31,377 had adenotonsillectomies, where both tonsils and adenoids removed.

Byars explains that the health of children who had these operations was then analyzed for diagnoses of 28 respiratory, infectious, and allergic diseases and compared to children who hadn’t had surgery, after ensuring all children had general good health.

“We calculated disease risk later in life depending on whether adenoids, tonsils, or both were removed in the first 9 years of life,” says Byars, who led the study with Stephen Stearns of Yale University and Jacobus Boomsma of the University of Copenhagen.

“This age was chosen because it captures when these surgeries are most commonly performed and also when tonsils and adenoids are most active in the body’s immune responses and development.”

“After adenoid removal, the relative risk for those who had the operation was found to increase four or five fold for inflammation of the middle ear.”

“Tonsillectomy was found to be associated with an almost tripled relative risk—the risk for those who had the operation compared to those who didn’t—for diseases of the upper respiratory tract. These included asthma, influenza, pneumonia, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder or COPD, the umbrella term for diseases like chronic bronchitis and emphysema.”

The absolute risk (which takes into account how common these diseases are in the community) was also substantially increased at 18.61 percent.

“The association of tonsillectomy with respiratory disease later in life may therefore be considerable for these people,” Byars adds.

The researchers found that adenoidectomy was linked with a more than doubled relative risk of COPD and a nearly doubled relative risk of upper respiratory tract diseases and conjunctivitis. The absolute risk was also almost doubled for upper respiratory diseases, but corresponded to a small increase for COPD, as this is a rarer condition in the community generally.

The team delved deeper into the statistics to reveal how many operations needed to be performed for an additional disease to occur than normal, known as the “number needed to treat” or NNT.

“For tonsillectomy, we found that only five people needed to have the operation to cause an extra upper respiratory disease to appear in one of those people,” Byars says.

Greater risk of ear infection

The team also analyzed conditions that these surgeries directly aimed to treat, and found mixed results.

“Adenoidectomy was associated with a significantly reduced risk for sleep disorders and all surgeries were associated with significantly reduced risk for tonsillitis and chronic tonsillitis, as these organs were now removed.”

“…our results support delaying tonsil and adenoid removal if possible, which could aid normal immune system development in childhood…”

However, there was no change in abnormal breathing up to the age of 30 for any surgery and no change in sinusitis after tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy.

“Following adenotonsillectomy, the relative risk for those who had the operation was found to increase four or five fold for otitis media (inflammation of the middle ear) and sinusitis also showed a significant increase.”

The study suggests that shorter-term benefits of these surgeries may not continue up to the age of 30 apart from the reduced risk for tonsillitis (for all surgeries) and sleep disorders (for adenoidectomy). Instead, the longer-term risks for abnormal breathing, sinusitis, and otitis media were either significantly higher after surgery or not significantly different.

Are tonsils the new appendix?

The researchers note that there will always be a need to remove tonsils and adenoids when disease is severe.

“But our results support delaying tonsil and adenoid removal if possible, which could aid normal immune system development in childhood and reduce the possible later-life disease risks we observed in our study,” Byars says.

“In 1870 Charles Darwin famously said that the appendix was a useless vestige of evolution, predicting it was too small to contribute to digestion in any meaningful way. We now know it also has an important function in the immune system, protecting against gut infections by encouraging the growth of good bacteria.”

As we uncover more about the function of immune tissues and the lifelong consequences of their removal especially during sensitive ages when the body is developing, this will help guide parents and doctors about what treatments they should use.

Source: University of Melbourne

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Why South Korean women are living so long

“They put it down to advanced healthcare systems, lower average-body-
mass indexes (BMIs) and, in South Korea, cabbage, lots of cabbage.”

Women are, generally, living longer than men, particularly in South Korea, which is set to become the first nation with an average life expectancy above 90.Image result for kimchi

An article published on the World Economic Forum website, based on research first published in the Lancet journal, said women born in South Korea in 2030 are projected to be the first in the world with an average life expectancy of above 90.

It noted that France, Japan, Australia, Canada, Chile and the UK were not far behind – all were likely to see women’s average life expectancy at birth pass 85 by 2030.

The research was conducted by the Imperial College London and the World Health Organization, which looked at future life expectancy in 35 industrialised countries.

The researchers predicted that life spans would continue to increase significantly in most of the countries studied.

The US, however, bucked the trend somewhat – here life expectancy will rise more slowly, researchers say. This is due to factors like obesity, unequal access to healthcare and homicide rates.

But what are some of the secrets to the longevity of South Korean women?

One factor to be taken into account is how tall people are. The US, the WEF article noted, is the first wealthy country to experience stagnation or even a possible decline in average adult height – a factor that correlates closely with health and longevity.

“The study, which uses 21 different models to forecast life expectancy, gives South Korean women born in 2030 a 57% chance of exceeding the age of 90, and a 97% probability they will live to be over 86.”

It said South Koreans’ expected longevity is based on the assumption that they will have lower average-body-mass indexes (BMIs) and blood pressure than citizens of other comparable countries.

“Kimchi, a hugely popular dish in South Korea, with widely heralded health benefits. Then there is diet, and particularly its famous dish, Kimchi. Based on fermented vegetables – usually cabbage – it is high in probiotics and vitamins A and B.”

Other factors that come into play are nutritional education, advances in economic and social status, lower road-traffic accident rates and high-quality healthcare systems, which improve prevention and survival rates from serious diseases and reduce infant mortality. said some of the reasons for the nation’s dramatic improvements since the 1980s were improved economic status and advances in child nutrition.

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Sweet, Low-Calorie Foods Confuse Our Metabolism

A food’s sweet taste, not just its calorie count, determines both how the metabolism reacts and the brain’s understanding of its nutritional content, new research suggests.

“Calories are only half of the equation; sweet taste perception is the other half.”

The findings may explain the association between artificial sweeteners and diabetes.

In nature, sweetness signals the presence of energy and its intensity reflects the amount of energy present. When a beverage is either too sweet or not sweet enough for the amount of calories it contains, the metabolic response and the signal that communicates nutritional value to the brain are disrupted, according to the study published in the journal Current Biology.

“A calorie is not a calorie,” says senior author Dana Small, professor of psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine.

The new study shows that sweetness helps to determine how calories are metabolized and signaled to the brain. When sweetness and calories are matched, the calories are metabolized, and this is registered by brain reward circuits.

When a “mismatch” occurs, however, the calories fail to trigger the body’s metabolism and the reward circuits in the brain fail to register that calories have been consumed.

“In other words, the assumption that more calories trigger greater metabolic and brain response is wrong,” Small says. “Calories are only half of the equation; sweet taste perception is the other half.”

Small noted that many processed foods contain such mismatches—such as a yogurt with low calorie sweeteners.

“Our bodies evolved to efficiently use the energy sources available in nature,” Small says. “Our modern food environment is characterized by energy sources our bodies have never seen before.”

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Is iron on your side?

Iron is essential for maintaining good energy levels and optimal health. It is arguably one of the most important minerals, particularly as it is involved in carrying oxygen to every cell in your body. Haemoglobin is the body’s oxygen-carrying protein and where you find approximately two-thirds of your iron; therefore, without adequate iron the transportation of oxygen is affected. As iron is involved in maintaining healthy immunity, it’s no wonder you don’t feel great when your levels are low!

Symptoms of Low Iron The following symptoms could be signs of low iron levels:

Fatigue and lethargy;

Frequent colds and flus;

Paleness inside the mouth and lower eyelid;

Fuzzy head, not thinking clearly;

Low body temperature;


Restless legs or leg cramps at night.

Reasons for Low Iron

Iron deficiency can be mild, however when it is very low you can become ‘anaemic’. Low iron can be a result of not obtaining enough from your diet. Factors that may cause low iron include tea and coffee intake, blood loss, pregnancy or poor absorption as a result of underlying gut problems. Certain populations have been identified as potentially more at risk of low iron levels, including teenagers, the elderly, pregnant women, vegetarians and vegans.

Test – Don’t Guess

If you suspect you may be low in iron, it is important to speak to your healthcare Practitioner or Doctor about a simple blood test to assess your iron levels, especially if you are at increased risk. Testing can ensure your safety, as symptoms of iron excess may be similar to signs of iron deficiency and in some circumstances, high iron intake can be detrimental.

Dietary Sources of Iron

Include plenty of iron-rich foods in your diet to maintain a healthy intake. Animal foods provide a good source of iron, including beef, lamb, kangaroo, turkey, chicken, fish, oysters, liver and sardines. The redder the meat, the higher the iron content. Plant-sources of iron include molasses, shiitake mushrooms, dark green leafy vegetables and lentils. Vegetarian sources of iron may not be as well-absorbed as animal sources.

Iron Needs a Little Help from its Friends

Iron works best in your body with the help of other nutrients:

B vitamins: Vitamins B6, B12 and folate are involved in iron transportation and red blood cell production. Taking an essential B vitamin can help you build healthy cells and move energising oxygen around your body.

Vitamin C: It has long been known that vitamin C increases the absorption of iron; therefore when taking iron, ideally pair it with vitamin C.

Forms of Iron Matter

Side-effects, such as constipation, are commonly complained about with certain forms of iron. Therefore it is important to choose a highly absorbable form of iron to minimise the chance of gut symptoms. Your Practitioner can recommend a suitable iron formula with all the necessary nutrients needed to restore your energy levels and maintain healthy immunity.

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Are Chronic Infections Compromising Your Health?

Are You Feeling Your Best? 

Think back to a time to when you were at your healthiest. Do you still feel the same way? Can you pinpoint a moment in time when your health started to go downhill? Many people have not felt 100% since having a virus or other infection. If you have never fully recovered, your condition may progress from being a short-term acute infection into a longer-term chronic health complaint. Chronic infections can leave you feeling tired with muscular aches and pains and lowered immunity, making you more susceptible to catching every bug that goes around. Even a sniffily nose or cough that doesn’t clear can indicate the presence of a low grade infection.

Getting the Right Support

It takes a strong immune system to overcome persistent infections. The following herbs and nutrients help boost immunity and support your recovery:

• Medicinal mushrooms such as cordyceps, coriolus, reishi and shiitake are potent immune enhancers for chronic or recurrent infections.

• Astragalus possesses anti-viral activity and assists in the prevention and treatment of chronic infections.

• Zinc helps reduce the severity and duration of colds and flus; however zinc deficiency can compromise immunity. Ensure you have adequate zinc levels to help your immune system fight against infection.

• Vitamin D plays an important role in regulating the immune system. Surprisingly high numbers of adults have inadequate vitamin D levels, so have your levels checked regularly.

• Vitamins A, C, and E are all beneficial for supporting healthy immunity.

The Gut – Immune Connection

In order to have a healthy, thriving immune system, you need to ensure your digestive system is also healthy. With 70% of your immune system in the gut, the microflora or friendly bacteria play an important role. Probiotics are beneficial strains of friendly bacteria that can boost your immune system function.

The Journey to Wellness

A chronic condition was once acute. If your body is unable to successfully recover from an acute infection, it may develop into a chronic health concern that your immune system can’t get the better of. Allowing your body to heal from a chronic infection can take time; the longer you have been sick, the longer you may need to get well again. Whilst you may feel relief in the short term, persisting with herbs and nutrients can provide long term relief from the nagging symptoms you have grown accustomed to. Remember how great it feels to be 100% healthy again!

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