1. The Surprising Link Between Gluten and Depression

    GlutenDepressionGreat article by Kathleen Jade ND, addressing the devastating effects that gluten had on our emotional balance.

    Many people who try a gluten-free diet notice a boost in mood, and a recent study confirms a clear link between gluten and depression in people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

    Investigators from the Department of Gastroenterology at Monash University and The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, had observed from previous studies that people with gluten sensitivity (but without celiac disease) may still have digestive symptoms while on a gluten-free diet but continue to restrict gluten as they report feeling better. The researchers therefore designed a study to investigate the possible role of gluten on mental state in those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

    Eating gluten increased depression symptoms

    Results showed that gluten ingestion was associated with significantly higher depression symptoms compared to placebo, but not whey. No differences were found for other mental symptoms, such as anxiety. Interestingly, there were no differences in gastrointestinal symptoms between any of the dietary challenges.

    The researchers concluded that gluten specifically caused feelings of depression. Gluten did not, however, specifically cause gastrointestinal symptoms in this study, although it did in a previous study conducted by the same research team.[2] “Such findings might explain why patients with non-celiac gluten sensitivity feel better on a gluten-free diet despite the continuation of gastrointestinal symptoms,” reported the study authors.

    Gluten and the nervous system 

    A myriad of symptoms can be caused by gluten. While the classic symptoms of gluten intolerance are those of celiac disease, including gastrointestinal upset, failure to thrive, weight loss, and anemia, the scientific literature has noted links between gluten and symptoms all over the mind/body spectrum, even when there is no evidence of celiac disease.

    The nervous system seems to be particularly susceptible in the case of gluten sensitivity. Nervous system-related symptoms may include mental/emotional symptoms as well as muscle aches and pains and neuropathy symptoms (pain, numbness, tingling) in the hands and/or feet.[3,4] Published reports in the scientific literature have linked celiac disease and/or gluten sensitivity with mental health manifestations including psychosis, schizophrenia, mood swings, and autism.[3] Many of these cases report the complete resolution of symptoms with removal of gluten. Clearly, there is more to the gluten story than celiac disease and digestive issues; mental health is part of the gluten story, too.

    Treat depression naturally by finding the underlying cause

    If you’re suffering from depression, eliminating gluten by strictly avoiding all foods containing wheat, barley, rye, and oats (unless they are certified gluten-free oats) is just one of many dietary changes you can try. A host of nutritional and dietary issues, from gluten intolerance to blood sugar imbalances to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, have been studied and found to be underlying causes of depression.

  2. Join us at the 2016 International Integrative Oncology Conference in San Diego, CA


    14th Annual International Integrative Oncology Conference

    April 14-16, 2016


  3. Optimizing Joint Health

    This is a great article from Nordic Naturals featured a new supplement which sounds like a fantastic combination. An estimated 70 million Americans suffer from chronic joint discomfort.1 While NSAIDS or their herbal substitutes are commonly used for relief of symptoms, research supports the use of a number of other protocols to maintain healthy joints.*Omega-3s EPA and DHA are shown to support healthy joints by promoting joint flexibility, normal range of motion, and symptom-free exercise.2, 3 To do so, EPA and DHA work together by modulating cellular stress signals.* Research supports a range of 1.7–9.6 grams of EPA+DHA daily for normal joint function.3*

    Glucosamine sulfate, a compound naturally found in joints, has been shown to decrease the joint friction that causes discomfort by helping to build thick joint fluid and cartilage. Research shows that when 1500 mg of glucosamine sulfate is combined with omega-3s EPA and DHA, it works best to reduce stiffness and joint discomfort.4, 5

    Lastly, UC-II®, a natural ingredient that contains a glycosylated undenatured type-II collagen, has also been shown to support joint comfort by decreasing cellular stress markers that cause long-term joint aches. In one study, after 120 days of supplementation, subjects taking 40 mg of UC-II daily showed significant improvement in knee extension, exercised longer without experiencing joint discomfort, and were relieved of the joint discomfort from strenuous exertion.6

    Nordic Naturals ProOmega® Joint Xtra is the ideal foundation of every joint-health protocol. This convenient, one-of-a-kind formula offers research-backed levels of UC-II, glucosamine sulfate, and concentrated omega-3s, delivering nearly a gram of combined EPA+DHA per serving.

  4. Surging Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Pediatric Deaths

    BabyBy Kristen Schepker 

    Throughout all developmental stages, adequate vitamin D intake is essential for optimal bone health and immune regulation. The medical community has long known that among infants and children, the consequences of vitamin D deficiency can be dire, ranging from rickets — characterized by softened, weakened bones — to unexpected death.

    More recent research points to correlations between inadequate vitamin D levels and both childhood asthma and recurrent infections.

    A recent resurgence in vitamin D deficiency has occurred in many countries worldwide — including the United States and the United Kingdom. In response to this surprising–and largely preventable– trend, a team of British researchers examined the potential impact of low vitamin D levels on pediatric morbidity and mortality in the UK.

    In their study, published late last year in Pediatric and Developmental Pathology, the authors identify the London borough of Tower Hamlets, a neighborhood whose pediatric population exhibits low vitamin D levels, as the focal point of their research. They note that while deficiency occurs across all of the community’s ethnic groups, inadequate vitamin D levels are particularly prominent among children of Asian and African origin.

    A Quiet Killer

    The study presents a retrospective review of pediatric autopsy files from the Royal London Hospital in North East London. Researchers identified 183 cases of death in children ranging from 2 days to 10 years of age between the years 2009 and 2012.

     In 52 of those cases, the child’s vitamin D status was known and grouped into one of four categories: vitamin D deficiency (VDD), vitamin D insufficiency (VDI), vitamin D suboptimal (VDS), and vitamin D adequate or normal (VDN). Authors defined VDD as having combined levels of 25-OH vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 of <25 nmol/L, VDI as 25–49 nmol/L, VDS as 50–79 nmol/L, and VDN as >80 nmol/L. They note that postmortem vitamin D levels are stable and thereby easy — as well as inexpensive — to measure.

     Of the 52 cases examined, the researchers found that 17 children were vitamin D deficient at the time of death. Three of those 17 had rickets. 24 children were identified as VDI and another 10 as VDS. Only one child — a white 3-month old infant that died of SIDS — was found to have adequate postmortem vitamin D.

    In just a small number of cases involving dilated cardiomyopathy and fatal seizures, vitamin D deficiency — mostly due to low blood calcium — was identified as a direct cause of death. But the influence of vitamin D on morbidity appears to be much more widespread, the authors argue.

    Insufficient exposure to sunlight is the leading cause of vitamin D deficiency. Contributing factors include a lack of time spent outdoors during daylight hours, the use of strong sunscreen protection, industrial pollution, and inadequate skin exposure either due to darker skin pigmentation or concealing clothing.

     This study, the authors hope, will increase awareness around the importance of including vitamin D level measurements in postmortem examinations. It is especially crucial to measure vitamin D in infants with single or multiple fractures, they argue.

     While it’s standard practice to take x-rays during pediatric autopsy, which may identify bone growth abnormalities and thus potential vitamin D deficiency, radiological evidence alone isn’t always a reliable indicator of the cause of death. Using vitamin D measurements as a diagnostic tool may help to paint a broader picture of the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying a child’s death.

     It makes a lot of sense to promote vitamin D intake during pregnancy in order to support normal fetal bone growth. Postnatally, a combination of nutritional vitamin D intake and sun exposure are critical to maintaining healthy skeletal and immune system development in newborns and children.

    Article By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor - Holistic Primary Care, News for Health & Healing