When you arise in the morning,
think of what a precious privilege it is
to be alive, to breathe,
to think, to enjoy,
- Marcus Aurelius
How important are probiotics, anti-inflammatory supplements and herbs for our health?
There are about 40 trillion microorganisms in the human gut. They help us digest food and produce metabolites necessary for the functioning of our body, like B-vitamins and short chain fatty acids. They control infections by pathogens, regulate the immune system, and control our emotions. The delicate balance of these microorganisms gets disturbed by improper diet, drugs, stress, unhealthy sleep habits. That leads to inflammation, chronic and auto-immune diseases, but is most often not recognized and treated as the root cause.
“The human body hosts an enormous abundance and diversity of microbes, which perform a range of essential and beneficial functions. Our appreciation of the importance of these microbial communities to many aspects of human physiology has grown dramatically in recent years. We know, for example, that animals raised in a germ-free environment exhibit substantially altered immune and metabolic function, while the disruption of commensal microbiota in humans is associated with the development of a growing number of diseases. Evidence is now emerging that, through interactions with the gut–brain axis, the bidirectional communication system between the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract, the gut microbiome can also influence neural development, cognition and behavior, with recent evidence that changes in behavior alter gut microbiota composition, while modifications of the microbiome can induce depressive-like behaviors. Although an association between enteropathy and certain psychiatric conditions has long been recognized, it now appears that gut microbes represent direct mediators of psychopathology. Here, we examine roles of gut microbiome in shaping brain development and neurological function, and the mechanisms by which it can contribute to mental illness. Further, we discuss how the insight provided by this new and exciting field of research can inform care and provide a basis for the design of novel, microbiota-targeted, therapies.
In this review, we consider the potential of dysbiosis to contribute to psychopathology and the evidence linking disruption of gut microbiota with specific psychiatric disorders. We examine the role of the microbiome in neurological development and regulation, and consider its contribution to aging-related morbidity. Finally, we discuss the potential for modification of the gut microbiome to provide clinical benefit in the context of altered brain function.”
Read this expert review (written by GB Rogers, DJ Keating, RL Young, M-L Wong, J Licinio and S Wesselingh) here to learn more about:
- Regulation of neurological function by the gut microbiome
- The microbiome in specific psychiatric conditions
- Treatment interactions with the microbiome in mental illness
- The role of the microbiome in brain development
- Mechanisms of interaction
- The role of the microbiome in age-related cognitive decline
- Modification of the gut microbiota to affect therapeutic change
PURPOSE OF REVIEW:
Acupuncture is now recommended for several chronic pain conditions. Despite supportive evidence of its effectiveness, this ancient approach is often misunderstood, and may still be underused in mainstream practice. A critical review on its effectiveness and practice integration, and mechanisms of action is essential to the medical community that is continuing to seek nonopioid therapies for chronic pain.
Mounting evidence supports the effectiveness of acupuncture to treat chronic low back, neck, shoulder, and knee pain, as well as headaches. Additional data are emerging that support the use of acupuncture as an adjunct or alternative to opioids, and in perioperative settings. Findings related to its mechanisms of action include transient receptor potential cation channel vanilloid 1 activation in the periphery, microglial suppression in the cerebral cortex and spinal cord, and regulation of cytokines and other key inflammatory factors in the spinal cord. Incremental integration of acupuncture into pain medicine practices and training programmes continues to grow.
Acupuncture is effective, safe, and cost-effective for treating several chronic pain conditions when performed by well-trained healthcare professionals.
Further studies on its use as an adjunct or alternative to opioids, and in perioperative settings are needed.
Yin C(1), Buchheit TE, Park JJ.
Curr Opin Anaesthesiol. 2017 Oct;30(5):583-592.
To compare the therapeutic effect of Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM), Acupuncture, and Hormone Therapy on menopause- related symptoms of peri- and postmenopausal women.
Fifty-seven women completed 2 months of treatment with either CHM (5 g twice daily, n = 22), acupuncture plus CHM (Kun Bao Wan) 5 g twice daily plus sessions of acupuncture, n = 20), or hormone therapy (n = 15).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:
Kupperman index score, levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estradiol, and the number of symptoms before and after treatment were the main outcome measures.
CHM, acupuncture plus CHM, and hormone therapy significantly decreased Kupperman score (P < .001 in each group) and number of symptoms (P < .05). The mean difference in Kupperman score between baseline and 2 months among the three groups was significantly varied (P = .02). The difference was only between acupuncture plus CHM and CHM with significantly better results by acupuncture plus CHM. Acupuncture plus CHM, as well as hormone therapy, significantly reduced the level of FSH (P < .05), but CHM alone didn't cause any significant decrease in FSH levels (P > .05). The mean difference in the level of FSH between baseline and 2 months among the three groups was significantly different (P = .02). This difference was only between CHM and hormone therapy with significantly better results by hormone therapy. The three treatments didn't make any significant increase in the level of E2 (P > .05).
Application of the combination of Chinese Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture proved as effective as hormone therapy in the treatment of menopause-related symptoms, and it achieved better outcomes than Herbal Medicine alone.
Azizi H(1), Feng Liu Y, Du L, Hua Wang C, Bahrami-Taghanaki H, Ollah Esmaily H, Azizi H, Ou Xue X.
Altern Ther Health Med. 2011 Jul-Aug;17(4):48-53.
PMID: 22314633 [Indexed for MEDLINE]
This research study included 27 female patients who applied for medical treatment of arthralgias and myalgias. They were found to have elevated levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone in conjunction with the normal concentrations of thyroid hormones.
The therapeutic procedures included corporal and auricular acupuncture, introduction of needles into the reflexogenic scalp and wrist zones (depending on clinical symptoms) and into the thyroid gland projection zones on the skin, massage of paravertebral regions of the cervical and thoracic spine using a bone scraper (the Gua Sha healing technique).
Twenty of the 27 patients completed two therapeutic courses with a 3-4 month interval between them.
The acupuncture treatment resulted in a significant decrease of the number and severity of the initial clinical symptoms; the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone fell down to the physiological values, characteristics of the quality of life became comparable with those of healthy subjects.
It is concluded that acupuncture may be regarded as an alternative to substitution therapy of subclinical hypothyroidism.
Luzina KÉ, Luzina LL, Vasilenko AM.
Vopr Kurortol Fizioter Lech Fiz Kult. 2011 Sep-Oct;(5):29-33.
PMID: 22165143 [Indexed for MEDLINE]