The normal flora synthesize and excrete vitamins which can be absorbed as nutrients by their host. For example, in humans, enteric bacteria secrete Vitamin K and Vitamin B12, and lactic acid bacteria produce certain B-vitamins.
The normal flora prevent colonization by pathogens by competing for attachment sites or for essential nutrients. This is thought to be their most important beneficial effect, which has been demonstrated in the oral cavity, the intestine, the skin, and the vaginal epithelium. In some experiments, germ-free animals can be infected by 10 Salmonella bacteria, while the infectious dose for conventional animals is near 106 cells. Continue reading
There may be more to the old saying “a drink to your health” than just good wishes, at least when it comes to red wine. Red wine gets its colour from the grape skins, which are included in the fermentation process – in white wine they are removed. As grape skin contains an active ingredient belonging to the flavonoid family known as resveratrol, this ingredient is present in red wine. A number of health advantages have been attributed to resveratrol including anti-cancer properties, anti-aging, and cardio-protective. Although resveratrol is also found in low concentrations in mulberries and peanuts, and is produced in insects and animals when under pathogenic attack, grape skins contain the highest concentration by far. So it certainly appears that the French had it right all along! Continue reading
Although losing weight is never easy, when under stress, it is almost impossible!
Cortisol – our stress hormone
Who doesn’t have stress? We all do, but to varying degrees. Some people seem to have a great gift for completely “turning off” their mental thought processes when they get into bed, despite the very important business meeting they have at 8:00 am the next morning. Most of us, however, are not as fortunate. In order to get everything done, we tend to multi-task. The need to cope with both family and workplace commitments, increases our susceptibility to chronic stress. Combine these factors with the natural rise in cortisol levels as we age, and our bodies are soon at the mercy of this disruptive hormone. Continue reading
How many couples do you know that have been trying to conceive for ages without success? Infertility – defined as the failure to conceive after one year of unprotected sex – affects an estimated 1 in 6 couples trying to get pregnant in the UK. And although in the past it was assumed that this was primarily a problem with the woman, recent research has shown that in 50% of cases the problem lies with the man. In fact, an estimated 9% of the UK’s 28 million men may have trouble fathering a child. Continue reading
“No I am not PMS’ing, I don’t get PMSl”
While over 40% of women experience PMS symptoms severe enough to seek medical attention, statistics indicate that closer to 70 to 90% of menstruating women experience premenstrual symptoms of some sort, yet they do not always recognize or admit it. The term premenstrual syndrome covers a group of symptoms that can affect a woman emotionally and physically. Usually symptoms peak 2 or 3 days prior to menstruation, but for some, it can last up to 2 weeks. Endocrinologists have identified as many as 150 different symptoms, the most common being lower back pain, bloating, mood swings, irritability, anxiety, fatigue and food cravings, especially for chocolate. Doctors do not know the exact cause of PMS but there is a general consensus that fluctuating hormones are partially to blame. Genetics also plays a role, as women whose mothers or sisters have PMS are more likely to experience it themselves. Continue reading