Mushrooms contain beta glucans which are complex fibres from the cell walls of plants, fungi, yeasts and bacteria. They can be used as a preventative measure to help boost natural immunity and kick start the body’s own defence system. Beta glucans pass through stomach acid unscathed to activate the innate immune system. This is done by mimicking a potential threat to immune health, therefore stimulating neutrophils and macrophages to go to the site of infection or inflammation. Together they render viruses, bacteria and other pathogens harmless by phagocytosis. A study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine shows how the physical and emotional effects of stress caused by intense physical exercise and the resulting upper respiratory tract infections can be countered by beta glucans (1). A recent review by The Journal of Nutrition reports on the beneficial effect of taking beta glucans for mouth ulcers (2).
1 Talbott S, Talbott J. Effect of beta 1 3/1, 6 Glucan on upper respiratory tract infection symptoms and mood state in marathon athletes. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2009)8, 509-515.
2 Ramberg J E, Nelson E D. Immunomodulatory dietary polysaccharides; a systemic review of the literature. Nutr J. 2010 Nov 18;9:54.
nutritionandsuperfood.co.uk Nutrition & Superfood Newsletters from 2011
December 2012
How telomere length correlates with anti-ageing
Evolutionary theory of how are modern diets are making us inflamed
 Why eat mushrooms?
Telomeres are sections of genetic material at the end of each chromosome to prevent chromosomal fraying when the cell replicates. As our cells age, the telomeres become shorter and shorter. Eventually the telomeres become too short to allow cell replication and the cell stops dividing and eventually dies. A new test can determine telomere length in relation to age, by analysing white blood cells. Age adjusted telomere length is a new method to assess biological age using structural analysis of chromosomal change in the telomere. An inflammatory diet or one that increases oxidative stress will shorten telomere faster. Nutritional Therapy, therefore, has the potential to slow the loss of telomere length which has important implications for the prevention of age-related diseases.
(1) Adam O, Tesche A, Wolfram G: Impact of linoleic acid intake on arachidonic acid formation and eicosanoid biosynthesis in humans. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 2008, 79:429-442
Around 200 000 years ago modern man made a shift from a small brain and a large digestive tract to exactly the opposite. This would suggest that prior to that, early man decided to eat a more ‘digestible’ diet of meat and fish which would have contained high levels of the essential fatty acids arachidonic acid, docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid. The higher calorific value and easy digestion allowed potentially for this shift to a larger brain and the smaller gastrointestinal tract needed less energy. Arachidonic acid can come directly from eating meat and fish, or it is converted from linoleic acid. Despite its maligned past as a pro-inflammatory compound arachidonic acid initiates the inflammatory reaction and then produces the Eicosanoid Switch (1) which begins the anti-inflammatory phase. The problem is that we have too much linoleic acid in our diet from vegetable oils and grain-fed, rather than grass–fed meat and too much actually prevents the conversion into arachidonic acid, making us more inflamed.
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BSc Nut Med, BA Hons, MBANT, NTC
Fleur Borrelli
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