Posts Tagged ‘asthma’

Is Germ-Free Really the Way to Be?

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

You’ve probably heard that exposing your children to a certain amount of germs and illnesses is important for helping them to develop a healthy immune system. However, many people are simply too afraid to let it happen. Parents find themselves asking, “How can letting my child get sick help them?” Plus, you may wonder if this claim is even true. Is it possible to keep your kids too clean?

Until now, the “hygiene hypothesis” has been just that; a hypothesis. Medical professionals have simply “noticed” that germ-free kids grow up to have allergies, asthma, and other immunity problems. Small studies have been conducted to see if exposure to germs early in life has given some people a greater or more normalized immunity. What these smaller studies show is that the kids kept “germ-free” grew up to face adulthood sensitivities to allergic and autoimmune diseases. The most common diseases seen are hay fever, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Antibiotics, hand sanitizers, disinfectant cleaners, and other environmental exposures to chemical germ-killers could be doing us more harm than good. Certainly these things have their place, but overuse could lead to an overactive or underdeveloped immune system.

Finally, on March 22, 2012, a study was published in the Journal of Science that would show us biologically whether or not the “hygiene hypothesis” had merit. Germ-free mice were compared with mice living in a normal environment, where they would be exposed to a typical amount of germs and microbes.

The germ-free mice had “exaggerated inflammation of the lungs and colon resembling asthma and colitis”. The inflammation was determined to be caused by hyperactivity in the type of T-cells linked to colitis and asthma in humans and mice. The mice living in the normal environment rarely showed hyperactivity in these immune cells.

Perhaps a more important discovery of the trials was that germ-free mice exposed to infectious agents and microbes early in life and then kept germ-free in adulthood showed normal immune systems and less disease. These tests proved the hygiene hypothesis, which states that “a lack of early childhood exposure to germs, infectious agents, parasites, and symbiotic microorganisms increases susceptibility to allergic diseases by suppressing natural development of the immune system”.

Overuse of antibiotics is a big concern to researchers because symbiotic bacteria (gut flora or probiotics) and parasites combined with infectious agents are important modulators of immune system development. Although sometimes necessary, antibiotics can interfere with microbe conditioning immune system development early in life, so their overuse in young children is considered detrimental to adult health.

“These studies show the critical importance of proper immune conditioning by microbes during the earliest periods of life,” said Richard Blumberg, MD, chief for the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endoscopy. “Also now knowing a potential mechanism will allow scientists to potentially identify the microbial factors important in determining protection from allergic and autoimmune diseases later in life.”

These studies don’t necessarily mean that you should abandon hand-washing and other hygienic practices. Further research is still needed to determine the potential use of this knowledge in humans.

About the Author: Stacy A. Pessoney is Wholesale Nutrition’s Chief Editor and Communications Research Director. She has a strong interest in helping people achieve greater brain and body health with the help of vitamins and supplements, focusing on vitamin C powder in the form of sodium ascorbate. Wholesale Nutrition has provided the world with the best vitamin C and wholesale vitamins since 1970. Visit http://www.nutri.com to buy high-quality discount vitamins today!

Reprinting:
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Sources:
http://www.brighamandwomens.org/
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120322142157.htm
http://www.nih.gov/
http://www.ccfa.org/?gclid=CJmNqMy9mrACFcyb7QodhS20Xg
http://www.hms.harvard.edu/hddc/
http://www.schleswig-holstein.de/Wissenschaft/DE/Universitaetsklinikum/Medizinausschuss/Medizinausschuss_node.html
http://www.dfg.de/en/index.jsp

Part 2: The Weather Asthma Connection

Friday, September 24th, 2010

In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the connection between the weather and lung related conditions. Now that you’re aware of the risks, you can adjust your vitamins and supplements routine to help prevent asthma attacks, lung collapse, sleep apnea and allergy attacks around the time of a storm. Work with your health care professional to be sure that you know what to do in case of an emergency. Always talk with your doctor before starting a new vitamins and supplements routine.

Studies show that vitamin C intake helps to protect the lungs, especially when it is combined with magnesium. In the case of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a progressive disease in which the airways of the lungs are narrowed and damaged, lung deterioration is dramatically slowed in individuals that have a high daily intake of vitamin C. COPD, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema are all caused by breathing in noxious particles, which can come from air pollution or cigarette smoke. Almost 90% of cases of these conditions are caused by smoking cigarettes. If you smoke, you should be aware that almost all smokers will develop fatal COPD, which gets progressively worse over time. Many smokers’ lives are claimed by heart disease, cancer, or diabetes before they develop COPD.

Almost all lung complications, including asthma, lung collapse, allergy attacks, and the conditions listed above are caused by inflammation. Inflammation can be the root source for many diseases. If it is controlled, many life-threatening events can be avoided. When your body senses an intruder, a germ, a chemical, an injury, or an invader, it immediately produces extra arachidonic acid. This is the cause of many inflammation related diseases when the body’s health is compromised and is unable to effectively process the extra arachidonic acid. Chronic inflammation leads to scarring and tissue damage in the lungs, both of which are often irreversible.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that breaks down arachidonic acid and turns it into a harmless substance that the body can process. Vitamin C is known as one of the most powerful anti inflammatory substances known to man. It helps improve lung function and decrease damage in several ways.

First, it clears out free radicals and chemicals that trigger an inflammatory response in the body. It also acts as an anti-histamine and blocks histamine receptors, greatly reducing the frequency and severity of allergic reactions that can lead to inflammation of the lungs. Supplementing with vitamin C daily can improve lung function by reducing the sensitivity of the lungs to allergens and chemicals. Inflammation is kept down, arachidonic acid is controlled, and scarring is minimized. The body also needs vitamin C to produce collagen and elastin, which are needed to repair tiny tears and damage caused by lung diseases. Without enough vitamin C, the body uses cholesterol to patch up tiny tears. This produces a hard, inflexible patch that can rupture and cause diseases to progress more quickly.

Studies show that while vitamin C is very helpful, it can also be irritating to inflamed tissues because of its high acid content. This is why further studies have shown that using a buffered vitamin C powder produces better results. It is recommended that you use the best vitamin C in a buffered powder form to control inflammation and reduce the severity of asthma and other lung problems. You can purchase discount vitamins online to reduce the cost of long-term supplementation.

About the Author: Phil Le Breton is owner at Wholesale Nutrition. He has a strong interest in helping people achieve greater brain and body health with vitamins and supplements. Wholesale Nutrition has provided the world with discount vitamins and the best vitamin C since 1970. Visit http://www.nutri.com to buy high-quality, low-cost wholesale vitamins today!

Part 1: The Weather Asthma Connection

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

Research has shown that outbreaks of asthma and other lung related emergencies, including sleep apnea complications, have been happening around the same times that thunderstorms hit. Until recently, we had no idea what the correlation was between the two events.

Further studies have shown that almost all of the people reporting attacks before or during thunderstorms are also affected by seasonal allergies. This led to the study of pollen and fungal spores around the time of a storm. What they found was a little confusing. Some scientists believe that it’s simply the wind stirring up the pollen before a storm. But others think that it’s a little more complicated than that.

The theory is that the updraft that happens before a storm pulls pollen and spores, whose particles are normally too large to cause allergic reactions, up into the clouds. When the particles reach the more humid air of the storm cloud, they become swollen and burst into smaller pieces. Some believe that the electrical activity in the cloud is also capable of breaking apart the bonds that hold the particles together, blasting them into even tinier pieces. When the downdraft comes with the rain, these tiny particles are transported to ground level where they can affect people with lung conditions or allergies on the ground.

Other lung function and breathing problems can occur around the time of a thunderstorm and are unrelated to the pollen particle phenomenon. These problems are attributed to the falling atmospheric pressure that happens before and during a storm. Some research has shown that atmospheric pressure can help to keep the soft tissues of the throat open. When the pressure drops, the throat can collapse causing sleep apnea episodes where breathing is temporarily obstructed.

Lung collapse is another problem associated with asthma and atmospheric pressure changes. Hospitals report that they see lung collapse emergencies happen in clusters, where they see many patients during a short period of time for the same condition. Lung collapse happens when a lung is punctured and air is allowed to escape into the chest cavity, putting pressure on the lung and causing it to collapse.

Asthma inflammation can weaken the wall of the lung, creating a weak spot in the tissues. Air gets trapped in the alveoli during asthma episodes and expands when the atmospheric pressure drops. This added pressure is believed to be capable of causing a rupture in the wall of the lung, allowing air to escape into the chest cavity. Normally it would only happen in the cases of dramatic air pressure changes, like during scuba diving or flying in an airplane, but doctors around the world speculate that the minor changes in atmospheric pressure before a storm could be causing these clusters of collapsed lung cases that they are seeing.

In Part 2 of this series title “The Weather Asthma Connection”, we will discuss in detail how taking the best vitamin C supplements on the market can help to improve asthma and allergy related symptoms. Taking vitamin C on a regular basis can strengthen the walls of the lungs and prevent weak, inflexible scar tissue from forming as a result of asthma, therefore decreasing the chances of a collapsed lung occurring. You can look for discount vitamins or wholesale vitamins online to decrease the cost of supplementing long-term. Remember to talk with your doctor before starting any vitamins and supplements routine.

About the Author: Phil Le Breton is owner at Wholesale Nutrition. He has a strong interest in helping people achieve greater brain and body health with vitamins and supplements. Wholesale Nutrition has provided the world with discount vitamins and the best vitamin C since 1970. Visit http://www.nutri.com to buy high-quality, low-cost wholesale vitamins today!