Study: Children with IBS found to be deficient in vitamin D

Image: Study: Children with IBS found to be deficient in vitamin D

As many as one in six children suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and its uncomfortable symptoms, including cramps, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. However, it appears that many children with IBS are also deficient in vitamin D.

A study published in PLOS ONE revealed that more than 90 percent of children with IBS lack vitamin D.

Being deficient in vitamin D likewise increases their risk for decreased bone mass, as having adequate vitamin D levels is important for the growth and development of bones of children.

In the study, the researchers analyzed the medical records of 55 children with IBS and compared their data to 116 healthy controls. The results revealed that one out of every two children with IBS is deficient in vitamin D compared to one out of every four healthy children and adolescents without IBS.

The study further looked into the association between vitamin D status and the presence of anxiety, depression, and migraine headaches that often come with IBS. Patients with IBS and migraine had significantly lower vitamin D levels compared to controls, which suggests that supplementing with Vitamin D might improve their headache symptoms.

With these findings, the researchers recommend pediatric IBS patients to monitor their vitamin D status and supplement with vitamin D if they are deficient in the vitamin.

More on vitamin D

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which is one of the building blocks of bone. Vitamin D also plays a role in the nervous, muscle, and immune systems. There are three ways to get vitamin D: through the skin, from food, and from supplements. Foods that are naturally rich in vitamin D include fatty fish like salmon and tuna, beef liver, raw cheese, mushrooms, and egg yolks. After being exposed to sunlight, the body naturally produces vitamin D. However, too much exposure to the sun can result in skin aging and skin cancer, which is why many people try to get their vitamin D from other sources.

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The amount of vitamin D a person needs every day depends on their age. The recommended amounts of vitamin D are the following:

  • Birth to 12 months: 400 international units (IU)
  • Children 1 to 13 years: 600 IU
  • Teens 14 to 18 years: 600 IU
  • Adults 19 to 70 years: 600 IU
  • Adults 71 years and older: 800 IU
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women: 600 IU

Unfortunately, many are deficient in vitamin D. In the U.S. alone, approximately 42 percent of the population is vitamin D deficient. People can become deficient in vitamin D for various reasons. Some may not get enough vitamin D in their diet or have a malabsorption problem, in which they could not absorb enough vitamin D from food, while others may not get enough sunlight exposure. Some people may also have problems with their liver or kidneys that these organs cannot convert vitamin D to its active form in the body. Taking certain medicines can also interrupt the body’s ability to covert or absorb vitamin D. (Related: Vitamin D deficiency is widespread among U.S. population, expectant mothers are deficient and giving birth to deficient infants.)

As mentioned earlier, vitamin D is important for bone growth and development. Severe vitamin D deficiency can result in bone density loss, which can contribute to osteoporosis and fractures. Vitamin D deficiency can also result in many other diseases. In children, it can cause rickets, which is a rare condition that causes the bones to become soft and bend. In adults, it can result in osteomalacia, which causes weak bones, bone pain, and muscle weakness.

Read more news stories and studies on the importance of vitamin D by going to

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Gut Health and Anxiety Go Hand in Hand—Here’s What an MD Wants You to Know

Thanks to a growing movement that has revolutionized the way people discuss and understand mental illness, it’s no secret that a large portion of the population struggles with issues like depression and anxiety. In fact, one in five adults deals with mental health conditions—and, intriguingly, it’s believed this may be linked to gut health.

“The gut is the epicenter of our health, and its functioning affects most, if not all, other aspects in the body,” explains Frank Lipman, MD, author of How to Be Well and founder of Be Well. A greater understanding of both mental illness and microbiome interactions has lead scientists to study the relationship between the two systems, and there’s mounting evidence that supports a link between gut health and anxiety. With this continually growing and evolving information, you may soon be on your way to treating mental illness with proper nutrition. Ahead, Lipman explains how gut health and anxiety may be linked and what foods you should eat to take advantage of this connection.

Gut Health and Anxiety

“More and more, we are seeing the direct correlation between gut health and mood,” says Lipman. This is because the gut produces neurotransmitters and hormones that can affect a person’s mood. “If these bugs are compromised in any way, the production of these neurotransmitters and hormones will also be compromised and will affect how we function and how we feel,” he says.

There are multiple scientific studies that back up these statements. A 2016 study conducted by Emily Deans, MD, at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School looked into the role of microbiota in mental health. According to the study, the modern microbiome is drastically different than that of human ancestors due to diet, antibiotic exposure, and differences in the environment. All of this may contribute to changes in brain health.

In 2015, researchers tested theories about gut health and mood on people. They gave healthy participants without mood disorders a four-week probiotic food supplement. Compared to those who received a placebo, participants who took the probiotic had a significantly reduced reactivity to sad moods. Researchers concluded that these results were evidence that probiotics could reduce negative thoughts associated with sad mood.

Additionally, a 2017 study performed on mice concluded that the microbiome is necessary for balancing gene regulators in the brain known as miRNAs. Its findings were based on observations of mice living in germ-free environments that ended up with unusual amounts of anxiety. After researchers reintroduced gut bacteria to the mice, the gene regulators normalized, proving that probiotics could be necessary for maintaining mental health.

Maintaining a Healthy Gut

So how do you keep your gut health in check? “Generally speaking, a diet filled with a variety of real, whole foods is ideal for supporting gut function,” says Lipman. That means green, leafy vegetables, healthy fats, and quality protein like well-sourced animal proteins, wild-caught fish, beans, and lentils.

“Sadly, the Standard America Diet is the epitome of foods that should be avoided for gut health, brain health, energy, and everything in between,” Lipman explains. In order to keep your gut in top condition, you’ll want to avoid processed and packaged foods that contain preservatives, coloring, and sweeteners. Lipman also advises steering clear of sugar, gluten, nonorganic soy, factory-farmed meats and dairy, processed vegetable oils, and even some gluten-free grains.

Gut Health Red Flags

The most common signs of gut problems present as digestive issues,” shares Lipman. If you think you may have an imbalance in your gut that could be impacting your mental health, look out for symptoms like bloating, gas, constipation, loose stool, digestive discomfort, and heartburn. There are also less obvious symptoms like skin irritations, joint pain, foggy thinking, imbalanced mood, and fatigue. “If someone is feeling like that they are not functioning optimally and that they should be feeling better, they probably could be, and the gut is often a great place to start,” Lipman says.


Although diet can be extremely helpful for some, it is not the answer for everyone,” Lipman says. When a change in diet just isn’t enough, there are supplements that can be used to improve the balance of bacteria in your gut. “Probiotics can also be extremely beneficial, as they constantly inoculate our gut with the beneficial bacteria that support proper gut function.”

While there’s not yet evidence that proves a healthy diet can cure all mental health issues or that food alone is an effective form of treatment for anxiety or depression, focusing on nurturing your gut health isn’t a bad place to start. Turn to natural, whole foods packed with powerful nutrients to keep your gut healthy so your mind can heal, too.

How the Food You Eat Affects Your Gut

How the Food You Eat Affects Your Gut

What happens when we eat lower fiber, more highly processed food? Our gut microbiome (bacteria) changes. In this TED-Ed video “How the Food You Eat Affects Your Gut,” Shilpa Ravella explains how gut bacteria is changed.

“The bacteria in our guts can break down food the body can’t digest, produce important nutrients, regulate the immune system, and protect against harmful germs. And while we can’t control all the factors that go into maintaining a healthy gut microbiome, we can manipulate the balance of our microbes by paying attention to what we eat. Shilpa Ravella shares the best foods for a healthy gut.”

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Prebiotics and Probiotics: The Importance of Gut Health.

You have about 10 trillion human cells in your body and around 100 trillion microbial cells(meaning microbes, otherwise known as bugs).

Doesn’t that bug you? (Pun intended.)

Of course, not all bugs are made equal. In fact, some microbes are essential to the proper function of our guts; they help us to break down food, protect us against the bad bugs, and as it turns out could even help prevent obesity.

You’ve probably noticed advertisements promoting the added benefits of probiotics for digestive health in various foods and as supplements. The term probiotic was first coined by researchers Lilly and Stilwell in 1965 to describe substances secreted by one organism that stimulated the growth of another, beginning a new era for digestive health research. Industry data indicates that from July 2010 to July 2012, sales of probiotic foods and supplements has increased as much as 79 percent. Clearly, we have come a long way since 1965.

Interestingly, we are more familiar with the “opposite” of probiotics: antibiotics. Antibiotics are powerful medicines used to fight bacterial infections. If used properly, antibiotics save lives, but there is also an increasing concern about over-prescription and creating possible resistance in bacteria. So one question to ask today is whether overprescribing of antibiotics and antibiotics use in animals (and hence our food) has led to an increased interest in and need for probiotics. Our bugs are just not what they used to be. It may also be that pre- and probiotics are simply a hot topic in the mainstream media and health care journals.

Let’s take a step back and examine what exactly are probiotics (and prebiotics). Prebiotics are the non-digestible carbohydrates that stimulate growth and activity of bacteria in our digestive systems. Prebiotics are found naturally in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, radish, asparagus, and whole grains.

Probiotics are mostly bacteria, which assist in the maintenance of the natural balance of microorganisms (microflora) in the intestines. Therefore, prebiotics feed the probiotics. An average human digestive tract has approximately 400 types of probiotic bacteria. These probiotic bacteria reduce the harmful bacteria, suggesting that probiotics can prevent infections in the digestive tract and reduce inflammation. Some medical professionals go as far as recommending probiotics for the common cold.

Lactobacillus acidophilus, which is found in yogurt, is the largest group of probiotic bacteria in the intestine. Other food sources of probiotics include sauerkraut, miso soup, sourdough bread, and pickles. And if those foods don’t sound appetizing, supplements can be found almost everywhere vitamins are sold. Although most probiotics are bacterial in form, a yeast known as Saccharomyces boulardii (a type of baker’s yeast) can also deliver health benefits if consumed live.

So why is there an increasing focus on adding probiotics to the diet, whether through foods or specific products? Poor digestive health places a burden not only on an individual but on the health care system. The National Commission on Digestive Disorders in the U.S. reported in 2009 that 60 to 70 million Americans are affected each year by digestive diseases at a cost that exceeds $100 billion in direct medical expenses. Each year, an additional 105 million visits are made to physicians related to digestive diseases. If pre- and pro-biotics can help us reduce even a portion of these costs, they are worth serious consideration.

Implications for the use of pre- and probiotics in the developing world for diarrheal diseases may be equally important. Diarrhea remains a primary cause of preventable deaths in children younger than age 5. A 2010 Cochrane review examined 63 trials of probiotics, which included 8,014 people with infectious diarrhea. Findings revealed that people who took probiotics were generally sick 25 hours less, without any adverse effects, and the risk of diarrhea lasting four or more days reduced by 59 percent.

On June 12, The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science at the New York Academy of Sciences and The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP), held a conference entitled Probiotics, Prebiotics, and the Host Microbiome: The Science of Translation. The conference served as a neutral forum to critically examine the potential population-wide economic and public health benefits of translating current research into innovative functional foods and biotherapeutics for a broad spectrum of conditions including obesity, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and undernutrition. The conference intended to present both the pros and cons of prebiotics and probiotics, identify gaps in knowledge and urgent research questions, and initiate debate among the scientific community to ensure evidence-based decision making.

All signs point to a growing public interest in the possible benefits of prebiotics and probiotics in digestive health and beyond. However, science has to lead the way to ensure sound evidence is the basis for introduction of interventions for public health and new products in the marketplace. Continued research, evaluation, and public health campaigns are necessary to disseminate accurate and unbiased information.


What Really Happens When You Take Antibiotics?

antibiotics_infographic-503x1024Antibiotics: One of the most prescribed drug in the modern world! The evidence that proves how harmful this practice can be has been available for a while now. Taking routine course of antibiotics and moreover pouring them into our food has been leading to serious and dangerous side effects, which greatly affect everybody’s health and well being. There are instances when antibiotics can save lives, so they have their place. But switching from specific, well determined and occasional use to a broad use and even worse, to a  ”preventive” measure, in humans and animals, is totally insane and looks like extermination.

Below you have strong evidence which confirms my statements:

Antibiotics As Prescription Drugs

People became so uncomfortable these days whenever they have a sniffle or infection. They all want it to go away, right away, at any cost! Immediate relief for a life of damaged health.

But common infection doesn’t equal antibiotics!  Our body simply doesn’t work like that.

The whole length of our digestive tract is coated with a bacterial layer providing a natural barrier against invaders, undigested food, toxins and parasites. If this “coating” (mucosal barrier) gets damaged, well….you get the picture! These beneficial bacteria protecting the gut wall also work against invasive pathogenic micro-organisms by producing antibiotic-like substances, anti-fungal volatiles, anti-viral substances. They engage the immune system to respond appropriately to invaders. Our healthy indigenous flora has a good ability to neutralise toxic substances from our food and environment, inactivate histamine and chelate heavy metals and other poisons. Again, this is all possible IF the “barrier” is intact…Without a well functioning gut flora, the gut wall not only becomes unprotected, but also malnourished.

The variety of functions and the essential role of an intact mucosal barrier, a healthy gut flora, make this the root of our health. We simply can not thrive without a healthy digestive system.

What is the clinical reality these days? A vast majority of people have a damaged gut flora and a major culprit to this is: ANTIBIOTICS!

Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride offers a well researched summary of the most common disastrous health effects which directly involve antibiotics :

  • destroy beneficial bacteria in the human body, not only in the gut but in other organs and tissues
  • they change bacteria, viruses and fungi from benign to pathogenic, giving them an ability to invade tissues and cause disease
  • they make bacteria resistant to antibiotics, so the industry has to work on more and more powerful new antibiotics to attack these new changed bacteria. A good example is tuberculosis, where wide use of antibiotics has created new varieties of the Mycobacterium Tuberculosis resistant to all existing antibiotics
  • they have  a direct damaging effect on the immune system, making us more vulnerable to infections, which leads to a vicious cycle of more antibiotics and more infections

Since babies are born with a sterile gut flora, the mother esentially “downloads” her gut health / flora into the baby through breastfeeding. No wonder why digestive problems are usually shown to get worse with each generation, considering the mother’s poor gut health and bottle feeding.

Penicillins and other antibiotics with “-cillin” at the end of their name have a damaging effect on tow major groups of our resident bacteria: Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. This group of antibiotics allow bacteria normally found only in the bowel to travel to the intestines, which predisposes the person to development of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and other digestive disorders.

Tetracyclines and other “-cyclines” have a particular toxic effect on the gut wall by altering protein structure in the mucous membranes, making it vulnerable to invasion by pathogenic microbes and alerting the immune system to attack the changed proteins, starting an auto-immune reaction in the body against its own gut. They also stimulate the growth of pathogenic Candida, Staphylococci and Clostridia.

Aminoglycosides (Gentamycin, Kanamycin, Erythromicin) have a devastating effect on beneficial bacteria such as physiological E.coli and Enterococci. A prolonged course of treatment with these type of antibiotics can completely eliminate such beneficial bacteria from the digestive system, leaving it open to invasion by pathogenic species of E.coli and other microbes.

Antibiotics In Food

The problem of antibiotics overuse actually grew to proportions because it comes not only from prescription drugs, but from conventional food everywhere as well! This way, we are exposed indirectly to antibiotics since we are born and their negative effects are real.

Farm animals and poultry are routinely given antibiotics, so all the products made out of these (meat, milk, eggs) will also provide us with a constant supply of antibiotics AND antibiotic resistant bacteria, developed by the animals in their bodies, together with the toxins these bacteria produce.

Many large producers of meat and poultry feed antibiotics to their healthy food animals simply to offset the effects of overcrowding and poor sanitation, as well as to promote faster growth. Every year, nearly 30 million pounds of antibiotics are sold for use in food animals. In fact, up to 70 percent of all antibiotics sold in the United States go to healthy food animals.

Farmed fish and shellfish have antibiotics added, as well as a lot of fruits, vegetables and grains, legumes and nuts, which are sprayed with antibiotics to control disease.

Anti-bacterial Cleaners

Germs do not cause disease! Nature never surrounded her children with enemies. It is the individual himself who makes disease possible in his own body because of poor living habits… Do mosquitoes make the water stagnant; or does stagnant water attract the mosquitoes? We should all be taught that germs are friends and scavengers attracted by disease, rather than enemies causing disease… As their internal environment is, so will be the attraction for any specific micro-organism… The germ theory and vaccination are kept going by commercialism. Dr. Robert R. Gross

Modern times brought along the common belief that everything has to be disinfected and sterilized. But it’s been proven by numerous studies that constant use of conventional sanitizers and antibacterial soaps is also killing the beneficial bacteria existent on our hands, that is meant to actually protect ourselves from disease. In other words, resistant bacteria – “superbugs” – will develop, and a former common cold will morph into a much more virulent and harder to treat infection.

Facts Of Antibiotic Overuse And Solutions To An Imminent Global Danger

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recently announced the new CDC statistics on the advance of the highly drug-resistant bacteria known as CRE (carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae). The reports are frightening:

  • Healthcare institutions in 42 states have now identified at least one case of CRE.
  • The occurrence of this resistance in the overall family of bacteria has risen at least four-fold over 10 years.
  • In the CDC’s surveillance networks, 4.6 percent of hospitals and 17.8 percent of long-term care facilities diagnosed this bug in the first half of 2012.

The U.K.’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies released a report in which she calls resistance a “catastrophic threat” which poses a national security risk as serious as terrorism. She warns that unless resistance is curbed, “We will find ourselves in a health system not dissimilar to the early 19th century” in which organ transplants, cancer chemotherapy, joint replacements and even minor surgeries become life-threatening.

In March 2012, researchers published a report drawing a link between bacteria on chicken and antibiotic-resistant urinary tract infections (UTIs). They compared E. coli samples from animals in processing plants to the strain of E. coli that causes urinary tract infections and found chicken to be the source of the bacteria. Last summer, the story gained major traction with the release of a related study by some of the same researchers who found that retail chickens had very high levels of antibiotic-resistant E. coli; about 85 percent of UTI infections came from this E. Coli strain.

Another published study from Germany concluded that methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) is rarely found in pigs that are raised without antibiotics. Similarly, the farmers who live and work with these pigs were less likely to have the strain of MRSA commonly associated with livestock than farmers who worked with pigs who were regularly administered antibiotics. As one of the most notorious multidrug-resistant superbugs, MRSA is responsible for an estimated 19,000 deaths and 360,000 hospitalizations each year in the United States alone.

In September 2012, researchers at Stanford University concluded that consumers eating meat and poultry raised without antibiotics are 33 percent less likely to contract antibiotic-resistant infections than those who eat products raised conventionally.

Considering all this, how can YOU actively participate in the change of these serious events?

…STOP taking antibiotics with the first infection, rely on NATURAL, effective, safe and powerful antibiotics with NO side effects. My favorites are raw propolis, grapefruit seed extract, oregano oil, echinacea, Manuka honey.When you really need to take a course of antibiotics, always follow with a course of probiotics, to counteract the negative effects and maintain a healthy gut flora.

…buy and eat only ORGANIC meat, eggs and dairy or at least which hasn’t had antibiotics added (you can find this on many product labels now)

…stay clean using natural, green cleaners for your body and house, and avoid anti-bacterial soaps, as well as harsh, toxic chemicals. The Cleanwell sanitizers for example are absolutely fantastic and extremely effective, they come in many sizes, smell good and last a long time.

…live a healthy life, eat whole food and take responsibility of your own precious health, so you don’t end up in hospitals and long-term care facilities, which are the most exposed to never ending disease.