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More about Chromium, food intolerance and gut fermentation syndrome

Good sources of Chromium

wholemeal bread
brewer's yeast
lean meats
whole grains

Food Intolerance

Research shows that many people, even as many as 40%, will be affected by Food Intolerance or sensitivity at some point in their lives. This can be the cause of many different health problems, ranging in severity and can appear from two hours up to two days after eating particular foods. This is why it is very difficult to identify individual foods.

Below is a list of the most common symptoms that are triggered by Food Intolerance:

IBS and other gastro-intestinal problems
Migraines and headaches
Eczema and other skin conditions
General lethargy and tiredness

Gut Fermentation syndrome

Around 500 species of bacteria, as well as many species of yeast and other organisms, inhabit the human gastrointestinal tract and make up the "gut flora". In an average adult the bacteria weigh about 1kg and the number of individual organisms easily outnumbers the total number of cells in the human body.

The gut flora perform many functions that keep us healthy. Major useful functions of friendly bacteria include:

Producing short chain fatty acids 
Producing valuable nutrients notably B vitamins and vitamin K
Participating in the metabolism of hormones 
Protecting you from infection by nasty bacteria
Maintaining a healthy intestinal pH
Helping your immune system
Preventing yeast cells from taking over.

What can go wrong?

Illness can occur when the amount of friendly bacteria is reduced and the other organisms are able to increase their numbers and become the majority. There are a number of factors that can disrupt the balance of organisms in the intestines and lead to overgrowth of the less desirable species.

The most important factors are:

Antibiotic use
Use of the birth control pill
Use of other hormones, especially immunosuppressants like steroids

Probably the most important factor is the use of broad spectrum antibiotics. These medications don't discriminate between friendly and nasty bacteria. This means that every time you take one of these drugs for an infection you're are wiping out large numbers of the friendly bacteria in your intestines that give protection from other, potentially harmful, intestinal residents. This fact has long been known by researchers and is taught to microbiology students.

There has also been a lot of animal research showing that both antibiotics and steroids commonly cause substantial increases in Candida and pathogenic bacterial colonization, due to destruction of friendly bacteria, thereby reducing your immune defense.

One result of antibiotic use is antibiotic induced diarrhea which is thought to be caused mainly by Clostridium difficile infection, the incidence of which is on the increase. Recorded cases reported in March 2005 put the number of cases annually at 3 million in the United States (6). C. difficile infection is difficult to treat and severe cases can even lead to death. Treatment in the conventional medical setting involves even more antibiotics, targeted at C.difficile in particular.

Until recently antibiotic drugs were seen as a magic bullet without side effects. As we can now see however, there ARE side effects that can be significant and the effects of the disturbance they cause to gut flora and overall health are only starting to be uncovered.

 Sugar addiction 

People who are addicted to sugar may be trying to treat their depression. Sugar addiction helps to beat depression, because it raises blood sugar levels, that triggers the release of insulin. Insulin then pushes all nutrients, (including glucose into cells) leaving behind the larger molecules of tryptophan that is derived from food.

This is then converted to serotonin - our happiness hormone - in the presence of vitamin B6 and voila we feel happy. Thus the ingestion of sugar helps us to beat depression temporarily.

The trouble is that with continued consumption of excess sugar, receptors for insulin break down and become 'resistant to insulin'. If the insulin resistance is not treated, we will finish up with diabetes type II. High sugar consumption also responsible for obesity, because high insulin (and stress hormones) interferes with the utilization of fat cells, and so we become fatter and fatter on sugar.

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Find out more about Chromium, food intolerance and gut fermentation syndrome

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