Growing up, I played outside in the dirt, around the garden and was taught to wash my hands with soap and water before eating. With what we understand about the influence of bacteria on our immune system, researchers developed the hygiene hypothesis. Today, children are exposed to less dirt, less germs, and more hand sanitizer.
In developed countries where children are exposed to less infections and less bacteria, there are higher rates of allergies and autoimmune diseases. With decreased infections, there are decreased microbial exposures. Bacteria and virus infections produce mostly a Th1 immune response which downregulates the normal Th2 immune response in a young child that develops in utero.1
In a 2004 study, medical researchers introduced cancer patients to M. Vaccae, a common soil bacterium, with the hope that this would improve outcomes and decrease death rates. While the bacteria had no effect in this regard, it did have an unexpected positive result: patients dosed with M. Vaccae showed a statistically significant increase in their quality of life. These improvements included a reduction of negative symptoms associated with chemotherapy, lessened pain, better functionality, and improved mood. The soil bacterium increased quality of life by prompting increased serotonin production in patients, in addition to other hormones and neurotransmitters.2,3
Suggestions to support your microbiome health:
Press HERE to read our Healthy Living Blog post “Immunity and the impact of Vitamin D and chiropractic care on our bodies.”
Press HERE to read our Healthy Living Blog post “How environmental toxins affect women’s hormones.”
 Duramad P et al. Early environmental exposures and intracellular Th1/Th2 cytokine profiles in 24-monthold children living in an agricultural area. Environ Health Perspect. 2006, 114(12):1916-22.
 O’Brien, M E, et al. “SRL172 (Killed Mycobacterium Vaccae) in Addition to Standard Chemotherapy Improves Quality of Life without Affecting Survival, in Patients with Advanced Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer: Phase III Results.” Annals of Oncology, vol. 15, no. 6, 2004, pp. 906–914., doi:10.1093/annonc/mdh220.
 Nutrition and Immunity Article accessed from Harvard School of Public Health: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/nutrition-and-immunity/ on 11/7/21.
Feature Image credit: Elizabethsalleebauer/Getty Images/RooM RF
Did you know that some researchers consider the gut to be our second brain?
While it can’t help you compose a Grammy award winning song, or do your tax return, our gut has a large role in nearly every aspect of our health – from physical health to mental health!
Maybe you’ve felt “butterflies” in your stomach, or felt your mouth water before a tasty meal? That’s the link between your gut and your brain!
The physical health relationship may be the more obvious of the two. Our bodies require a wide variety of nutrients and energy to function healthily, and they’re supplied by the foods we eat each day, which are broken down and absorbed by the gut before entering the bloodstream and travelling to the rest of our body.
The connection between the brain and the gut is known as the Brain-Gut Axis, or the Enteric Nervous System (ENS). The ENS consists of two thin layers of more than 100 million nerve cells which line your gastrointestinal tract from oesophagus to rectum1.
This superhighway of nerve cells allows constant neural, chemical, and hormonal messages to be sent between the gut and the brain providing feedback about hunger and nutrient status, hormone levels, pathogen and disease states and allows control and regulation of vital gastrointestinal functions such as digestion, immunity and inflammation1,2.
The ENS consists of over 500 million neurons. That’s 1/200 of the number of neurons in the brain and five times as many neurons as in the spinal cord1.
A second relationship also exists between the gut and mental health, one that involves neurotransmitters (NTs) specifically serotonin (our happy chemical), and dopamine (our reward chemical). Unlike conventional thought, recent research has shown that more than 90% of our serotonin, and 50% of our dopamine lie within the gut, and NOT the brain!
This is an huge revelation! If our gut is unhappy (from illness, stress, poor nutrition for example) it enters a state of inflammation, and releases biochemical signals which effectively ‘spread’ inflammatory markers throughout the whole body, including the brain. This creates a state of oxidative stress, and can ultimately lead to mood changes and dysfunction, and physical and mental ill health3.
Ways you can improve your gut health yourself.
Press HERE to read our Healthy Living Blog post “Prebiotics, Probiotics and Immune Health.” A look into improving your gut microbiome health.
Press HERE to read our Healthy Living Blog post “Allergy or intolerance?” A further look into the role the gut can plan on various aspects on your health.
For a more detailed look at the role gut health, inflammation can play on mental health have a read of “Inflammation, the hidden cause of depression” Press HERE
The spinal research foundation has a 2 part series on the gut-brain axis, which can be found HERE
The Stress Series, part 5: Stress, Chiropractic and the Gut Brain can be found HERE
Feature Image credit: Coolgraphic/Shutterstock
This month is all about gut health. I’m sure we have all experienced issues with our gut at one time or another.
Many people now suffer from food intolerances and chronic gut issues. I truly believe this is due to our high stress lifestyle and poor diet – and the research agrees3.
There are many ways we can help to begin to heal our gut. If you have gut issues, I would always recommend you see a health practitioner (GP, chiro, naturopath, nutritionist) who has training in this area.
There are however some things we can do at home to help improve our gut health:
Varied whole food diet
This helps us to have a diverse gut microbiome. This has been shown to be important in the reducing the incidence of issues such as allergies and autoimmune conditions1. There is testing that you can get done that can look at the bacterial diversity of your gut. I had one done a few years ago, and interestingly I had very low numbers of a bacteria that (if you don’t have enough) has been linked to allergies. I suffer from seasonal, environmental and food allergies which were set off by some antibiotics I required in my early 20s. If your interested in this kind of testing please ask us for a referral.
Reducing stress allows our body to get out of the sympathetic part of our nervous system (fight or flight) and into our parasympathetic part (rest and digest). If we are stressed the body shunts blood away from internal organs to the arms and legs so you are ready to fight or run from the ‘tiger’. Unfortunately, the tiger is now more likely to be a full email inbox or traffic2. There are loads of great apps and guided meditations out there and you don’t have to be meditating for hours, even 10 mins per day will make a difference to your health.
Chew your food
Next time you eat take notice of how many times you chew your food before your swallow it. As Dr Libby says: Your oesophagus doesn’t have teeth. Swallowing huge bits of food puts stress on your stomach to try to break it down.
Including bone broth, gelatine and collagen in our diet
Many gut issues come from having ‘leaky gut’. Leaky gut means that tiny particles of foods can penetrate the gut wall and make it into the bloodstream. As they are not supposed to be there the body can treat them as an invader and then we can become sensitive to this food. Collagen and gelatine appear to help to ‘reseal’ and nourish the gut lining to promote a nice healthy thick mucous layer to stop particle crossing into the blood. The research on this is still emerging. I use loads of bone broth and collagen daily. I have collagen protein in my morning smoothie and bone broth in the majority of my cooking. I have noticed a significant improvement to my allergies since I’ve started this.
There are loads of great recipes out there for bone broth. I hate the smell of it cooking so I use the Nutra Organics dehydrated one. Also have a look at gelatine gummies if you or your kids like lollies. Make sure you source your collagen, gelatine and bone broth from organic, grass fed sources where possible.
 Meaney, Michael PhD Stress and Disease: Who Gets Sick: Who Stays Well Cortext Educational Seminars Fall, 2001.
Research has shown us that our immune system relies on our brain and central nervous system to choose the best way to respond to potential health threats.1 These 2 super-systems, the central nervous system and immune system, are linked and work together to notice and respond properly to anything that may harm you.1,2
We now know that when your spine is not moving properly, this obstruction changes the way your brain can sense what is happening and how it controls your body.3 Research has also shown, if your chiropractor adjusts your spine and improves the way it’s moving, it can help your brain to more accurately respond.4,5
This means that when you get adjusted by your chiropractor, it may help you to respond and adapt to your environment easier and allow your nervous system and your immune system to talk to each other better, to keep you balanced and strong. But we need to do more research to really find out if chiropractic care really does help improve the function of your immune system in a way that’s important for your health.
Vitamin D is widely known for its role in calcium balance, bone health maintenance and increasingly known to be vital to many areas of chronic disease prevention.
But did you know – Activated vitamin D functions more as a hormone than a vitamin?
It has roles in immune function, insulin and thyroid hormone secretion, cell cycle regulation, cardiovascular function and the control of inflammation. Due to its wide range of actions, and the high incidence of vitamin D3 deficiency, supplementing with a stable form of vitamin D3 has the potential to benefit so many people.6
Image Source: Metagenics7 A supplementation example.
Please check with your healthcare provider to see if supplementation is right for you.
Sources of Vitamin D
For most people, the Sun’s UVB radiation is the main natural source of Vitamin D3. Sunscreens and high skin pigmentation can reduce the UVB-mediated production of D3 – for example, SPF15 factor sunscreen can reduce D3 production by 99%.
Dietary sources are limited, including animal products such as oily fish and egg yolks. Vitamin D3 is metabolised by the liver which is then converted in the kidney to the active form.
Speak to your health professional about what is best for your health.
 Kawli T, He F & Tan M-W. Disease models & mechanisms 2010;3(11-12):721-31.
 Kipnis J. A Sense of Discovery: How the Immune System Works with the Brain. Scientific American 2018;319(2):28-35.
 Haavik H & Murphy B. The role of spinal manipulation in addressing disordered sensorimotor integration and altered motor control. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2012;22(5):768-76.
 Haavik H, et al. Effects of 12 Weeks of Chiropractic Care on Central Integration of Dual Somatosensory Input in Chronic Pain Patients: A Preliminary Study. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. Mar-Apr 2017;40(3):127-138.
 Taylor HH & Murphy B. Altered sensorimotor integration with cervical spine manipulation. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2008;31(2):115-26.
 https://metagenicsinstitute.com.au/tech-data/vitamin-d3 (Accessed 31.5.2021)
 https://www.metagenics.com.au/Products/Product/VITD270. (Accessed 2.6.2021)
Gotcha! You thought I was going to write about magic mushrooms……well we may not be talking Psilocybin but some of the traditional Chinese and Japanese medicinal mushrooms are pretty magical.
The Chinese and Japanese have been using mushrooms as medicine for thousands of years.
I had my first experience using these a few years ago. I became very ill with pneumonia and pleurisy and although I took a course of antibiotics it wasn’t shifting. I thought before trying more antibiotics I would try some Turkey Tail mushroom. I felt like it was a miracle at the time, as after 24hrs I was feeling significantly better.
Since then, I use mushrooms everyday to help improve my overall health. I used Reishi throughout my pregnancy to help with my immunity (I was pregnant through the worst of COVID and still working with the public) and the Chinese believe that Reishi babies are calm babies….not sure if it’s coincidence or not but my son is super chill. Post birth I’ve still been using Reishi and have added in some cordyceps which is said to help rebuild the blood, and I do find that I notice if I forget.
Please talk to a health professional before starting any new supplements – especially while pregnant or breastfeeding. Results will vary from person to person.
Now I’ve spoken about my experience, let’s dive into the individual mushrooms and what they can be used for.
· Increases immune function and a potent antioxidant1
· Modulate the microbiota of the intestinal tract, and have been heralded as effective prebiotics2
· Antibacterial and Antiviral5
· Powerful adaptogen and considered the ‘mushroom of immortality’
· Traditionally considered good to support the immune system, relieve stress, strengthen the spirit, calm the mind and promote peaceful sleep. (SuperFeast)
· Enhance immune function4
· Considered a life-enhancing herb in the Taoist herbal tradition
· Traditionally used to increase blood oxygenation and cultivate Jing – the primordial energy living in the kidneys. With increased Jing, we experience improved core energy, cellular performance, endurance and reduced recovery time (SuperFeast)
Turkey Tail (Coriolus)
· Increases immune function and a potent antioxidant1
· Modulate the microbiota of the intestinal tract, and have been heralded as effective prebiotics2
· Used by Taoists to cultivate a robust immune system that is able to combat pathogens, turkey tail is also beneficial for boosting Qi (Chi), supporting bone health, toning the liver, and improving gut health. (SuperFeast)
· Immune stimulating6
· Could be helpful in inhibiting the influenza virus7
· Considered the ‘elixir of life’ by Japanese elders
· Traditionally considered good for the cardiovascular system, blood vessels, respiratory system and liver (SuperFeast)
I use Metagenics super mushroom, SuperFeast or Host Defence (which you can get from iHerb). Caring Hands Chiropractic stocks Metagenics and a small range of SuperFeast products.
And as always, please consult a healthcare professional before starting a new supplement. Results will vary from person to person.
 Zjalic S, Reverberi M, Ricelli A, et al. Trametes versicolor: a possible tool for aflatoxin control. International Journal of Food Microbiology. 2006;107:243-9.
 Pallav K, Dowd SE, Villafuerte J, et al. Effects of polysaccharopeptide from Trametes versicolor and amoxicillin on the gut microbiome of healthy volunteers: a randomized clinical trial. Gut Microbes. 2014 Jul 1;5(4):458-67.
 He YX, Du M, Shi HL, et al. Astragalosides from Radix Astragali benefits experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in C57BL /6 mice at multiple levels. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Aug 24;14:313.
 Belwal T, Bhatt ID, Indra D, Dharambir K, Sak S, Tuli HS, et al. Nonvitamin and nonmineral nutritional supplements. USA: Academic Press; 2019. P. 527-37.
 Reis FS, Martins A, Vasconcelos MH, Morales P, Ferreira IC. Functional foods based on extracts or compounds derived from mushrooms. Trends Food Sci Technol. 2017 May 19;66:48-62. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tifs.2017.05.010.
 Zhang M, Cui SW, Cheung PCK, Wang Q. Antitumor polysaccharides from mushrooms: a review on their isolation process, structural characteristics and antitumor activity. Trends Food Sci Technol. 2007 Jan;18(1):4-19 doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tifs.2006.07.013.
 Kuroki T, Lee S, Hirohama M, Taku T, Kumakura M, Haruyama T. Inhibition of influenza virus Infection by Lentinus edodes mycelia extract through its direct action and immunopotentiating activity. Front Microbiol. 2018 May 29;9:1164. doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2018.01164.
Most of us have heard of antibiotics, and their role in the medical world in treating the ‘bad bacteria’ which may cause infections and serious health complications.
But if ‘bad bacteria’ exist, do ‘good bacteria’ exist?
The answer is YES!
Our body has thousands2 of different types of good and bad bacteria (and other microflora) which is known as our microbiome.1
Probiotics are the ‘good bacteria’ in our bodies, and help to maintain a healthy balance in our microbiome.
Prebiotics are the building blocks which help keep our levels of ‘good bacteria’ stable.
Maintaining the health of our microbiome is crucial to the function of numerous aspects of our body’s daily activities; including nutrient metabolism and energy production, facilitating optimal neuroendocrine function (the body’s communication system), maintaining cardiovascular health, and a developing and maintaining a strong immune system.2
Signs of poor gut microbiome health may include:
– Altered immune system functions | Allergies, sensitivities, intolerances, hay fever, sinusitis, frequent/recurrent colds
– Irritable bowel | Constipation, diarrhoea or fluctuating between the two
– Pain and/or bloating with eating, a ‘gassy’ system (frequent burping or farting)
– Fatigue | Poor concentration, low motivation
You can help maintain the general health of your microbiome by ensuring you eat a wide variety of fresh foods.
Probiotics are found in fermented foods (like yoghurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi)
Prebiotics are found in high fibre foods like fruit and veggies, and can also be found in onions, garlic, soybeans, and whole grains.1, 3
Sometimes a wide variety of natural foods isn’t enough to maintain or restore a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria; such as when you are feeling stressed, run down, or overworked; or after taking antibiotics. For this reason Caring Hands Chiropractic stocks many of the Metagenics practitioner only Probiotics Range, which are clinically proven2 to help manage gut issues (like constipation, bloating and pain), and to establish, maintain and/or improve your immune system health.
Figure 1: the Metagenics Probiotic Range
Press HERE to read our Healthy Living Blog post “Can healing the gut play a part in managing allergies?”
Press HERE to read our Healthy Living Blog post “Can allergens and irritants impact the health of the body?”
Have a chat with the team at Caring Hands Chiropractic about what lifestyle and dietary modifications may benefit you and your family.
Feature Image credit: Antoine Doré
Most of us have probably heard of the liver and how it helps breakdown any alcohol we ingest. And whilst this is true it has so many more functions to perform.
Without a functioning liver a person cannot survive. This essential organ is involved in over 500 vital functions. Some of its many functions include:
Converting carbohydrates to glucose (for instant energy) and converts glucose to glycogen (stored glucose).
Amino acids are sent to the liver for the production of hormones.
Filters blood – All the blood leaving the stomach and intestines passes through the liver, which removes toxins, by products, and other harmful substances.
Regulates blood clotting – Blood clotting coagulants are created using vitamin K, which can only be absorbed with the help of bile, a fluid the liver produces.
Resists infections – As part of the filtering process, the liver also removes bacteria from the bloodstream.
Stores vitamins and minerals – The liver stores significant amounts of vitamins A, D, E, K, and B12, as well as iron and copper.
This organ is vital to the body’s metabolic functions and immune system.
Here are some key things you can do to help it function optimally:
Talk to your health practitioner today for a personalised detox program.
I recently read that we’re unknowingly exposed to hundreds of hormone disrupting chemicals or endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) each day.
Since we know of nearly 800 chemicals that are suspected to be hormone disruptors, I think it’s safe to say that EDCs are becoming a global health crisis. Your daily touchpoints might include:
Our endocrine system includes different glands such as the thyroid or pituitary gland, that produce hormones. These hormones help regulate body functions. Toxins are artificial chemicals that interfere with the proper functioning of our hormones.1
Exposure to EDCs has been linked to reproductive disorders, endometriosis, adrenal imbalances, thyroid issues, insulin resistance and diabetes, obesity, and various cancers. Even some cases of mood disorders and autism may relate to endocrine disruptors.1
Through laboratory cell cultures, toxins can directly affect the production of steroid hormones. Steroid hormones, for example estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol, are necessary for reproduction, normal development and normal bodily functions in humans and animals. Toxins are widespread in the environment and can affect the body’s hormone systems in a more complex way than previously supposed.2
When choosing products, look for labels that say:
Other potentially beneficial steps:
Our liver is a detox organ that may help us process out toxins. The herb milk thistle may help maintain healthy liver function. Milk thistle contains Silymarin, which has illustrated hepatoprotective properties in an in vivo study; demonstrating increases in the redox state and total glutathione content of the liver.
Milk thistle has also been used to assist bile production and detoxification.3
Talk to your health practitioner today to see if this product is right for you.
 Norwegian School of Veterinary Science. (2010, July 6). Environmental toxins affect the body’s hormone systems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 27, 2021 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100701081857.htm
Andropause is a syndrome associated with “a decrease in sexual satisfaction or a decline in a feeling of general well-being associated with low levels of testosterone in older men.”1
Symptoms to look out for are similar to Menopause; including loss of muscle mass and strength, increased body fat deposition, depressed moods, loss of bone density (Osteoporosis)2, changes in sexual habits – loss of libido, onset of morning erections, and/or erectile dysfunction.1
Menopause is a decrease of the ‘female hormones’ (ie Estrogen and Progesterone) in women.
Andropause is a decrease the ‘male hormone’ (Testosterone). These levels can decline at a rate of approximately 1% per year.4
So how can the team at Caring Hands Chiropractic help?
We are experienced with the holistic management of several conditions (including inflammatory arthritis, obesity, and metabolic syndrome). These conditions have been identified as potential risk factors for Andropause.3
Inflammatory arthritis are types of arthritis which involve the immune system (e.g. Rheumatoid Arthritis)
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions, including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess abdominal body fat, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.
Joint pain, inflammation, and dysfunction can lead to decreased levels of physical activity, and subsequently increased levels of obesity, altered metabolic processes, and changes in cholesterol, triglyceride and blood sugar levels – all risk factors for Andropause.
Chiropractic care focuses on improving the function of the joints, nerves, and muscles and minimising pain, dysfunction and immobility. Treatment and results will vary from person to person with the emphasis being on promoting a healthy lifestyle. This in turn may moderate some of the risk factors associated with Andropause.
Likewise appropriate supplementation may help to support the healthy functioning of various processes in the body, from pain and inflammation control; to improving hormone function and stress management pathways.
For more information individualised to your specific case, just ask the friendly team at Caring Hands Chiropractic at your next appointment.
 Singh, P., 2013. Andropause: Current concepts. Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, 17(9), p.621.
 Rate and circumstances of clinical vertebral fractures in older men.Freitas SS, Barrett-Connor E, Ensrud KE, Fink HA, Bauer DC, Cawthon PM, Lambert LC, Orwoll ES, Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) Research Group. Osteoporos Int. 2008 May; 19(5):615-23.
 Review: Late-onset hypogonadism. Bassil N. Med Clin North Am. 2011 May; 95(3):507-23, x.
 The relative contributions of aging, health, and lifestyle factors to serum testosterone decline in men. Travison TG, Araujo AB, Kupelian V, O’Donnell AB, McKinlay JB. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Feb; 92(2):549-55.
Sprouts are an absolute favourite of mine. My favourite sandwich as a child was wholemeal bread with butter, tomato, black pepper and alfalfa sprouts.
As well as tasting delicious, sprouts have many health benefits including:
You can easily grow all kinds of different sprouts at home in your kitchen. All you need is a jar, seeds, some cheese cloth/sprouting mesh and an elastic band.
Store in the fridge and add to soups, smoothies, salads and tomato sandwiches!
You can source seeds online or from your local nursery or Bunnings. Sprouting mesh lids can be sourced on eBay.
Keep an eye out for the video..
 Kensler TW, Chen JG, Egner PA, Fahey JW, Jacobson LP, Stephenson KK, et al. Effects of glucosinolate-rich broccoli sprouts on urinary levels of aflatoxin-DNA adducts and phenanthrene tetraols in a randomised clinical trial in He Zuo township, Qidong, People’s Republic of China. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2005 Nov:14(11 Pt 1):2605-13. PubMed PMID: 16284385.
Feature Image: NoDerog / Getty Images