Persistent Obesity and the Health Consequences

Featured Article – Persistent Obesity and the Health Consequences
We are all made aware that being overweight is bad for us, but what exactly do they mean by ‘bad?’ Here we will look at what the ramifications for chronic obesity actually are. It’s the time of year where we tend to switch off from our diets and overindulge, all in the name of Christmas. A couple of days of finishing off a cheeseboard or reaching for the after-dinner chocolates won’t really do too much damage to your waistline; but what happens if you carry this habit into the new year and beyond? What happens if something beyond our control makes it near impossible for us to shift the weight?
Obesity- let’s clear this up
Obesity is arguably the most discussed topic in health at the moment and with good reason. The zeitgeist of the moment is that obesity is a disease in itself and so with disease comes symptoms and manifestations. If we consider a number of health conditions associated with obesity as symptoms, then hopefully we can gain some clarity on the vast dangers of being morbidly overweight. Before all of this however, perhaps we should discuss what obesity is. Traditionally we are told that obesity can be identified as having a Body Mass Index score (BMI) of 30-39. The is worked out by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by their height in meters and then dividing that figure by the height again.
The issues
This clearly has inherent issues- many people are misclassified or labelled as obese as a result of gross musculature (Burkhauser, 2008). We should consider the fact that many athletes will be heavy, relative to their body height. Rugby players, American footballers and body builders spring to mind and many are likely to be classified as obese according to BMI alone. A sporting individual that belongs to a professional body will undergo extreme fitness trials, rigorous medical tests and have access to top nutritionists and thus we can be pretty certain that their health (for the most part) is not in jeopardy due to their weight. It is import not that we do not discount the use of BMI entirely because one should be able to tell the difference between a rugby forward’s physique and a person carrying excess fat. Surely then, there must be other criteria to be met before we can decide that some bodies mass is dangerous. Included in this is the hip to weight ratio and overall fat mass and as such we are interested in the impact of excess abdominal adipose tissue.
Dangers of Chronic Obesity
Carrying excessive body fat over a prolonged period promotes a variety of risks, from snoring to cancer with everything such as joint pain and heart problems in between- not to mention low confidence and depression (NHS, 2019). Mental health issues are known to impact on your personal life whereas the physical dangers can actually kill you AND if you don’t succumb to a heart attack, then the quality of your life when living in constant pain from osteoarthritis must surely make one question how things got to be this bad. This is of course, not forgetting the disease on every physician’s lips, type 2 diabetes.
The Mechanisms of obesity and disease
We don’t just store fat on our body as the wobbly parts and it isn’t just an inert, inactive substance. Fat cells are mobile, they send messages and they can be dangerous. The fat you might feel on your waistline is stored as triacyglycerides (TAG) and when we need to use the fat for energy, it is then converted in free fatty acids (FFA) and circulates the body. These FFA however can inhibit insulin sensitivity. We need insulin to work correctly because when we consume sugary foods, the sugar breaks down into glucose and circulates in our blood- excess FFA means excess blood glucose and this of course takes us into type- 2 diabetes territory. As touched on, fat cells are active cells. They release a product called adipokines; a type of protein that instructs cells to carry out certain behaviours. These can be very useful and help to regulate certain hormones and have been found to have health benefits however there are a number of these messenger cells that are linked to cancer promotion. They promote the necessary inflammation, mutation and proliferation required for malignant cells to not only grow, but thrive and spread (Christodoulatos, 2019). We are told that cancer will impact 1 in 2 of us and with one of the known associations being obese (NHS 2019), is there not more that we can do ourselves to tackle the problem?
It seems plain really then, that being obese isn’t something that should be taken lightly. Having too much fat is a dangerous lifestyle choice and should be treated as importantly as the diseases that it causes. The financial burden on the country from obesity and related illnesses is greater than the total spends on the police, fire service and judicial system and in the current climate, the strain may become too great. Control in the war on fat needs to be regained. Healthier lifestyle choices such as an increase in physical activity, decreasing high energy food and drinks intake and keeping a sustained effort to return to or maintain a healthy weight and composition are required to reduce disease and increase life expectancy. Perhaps think twice before you eat that second mince pie, your libido will thank you for it.
read more about obesity and cancer here
Burkhauser, R.V., Cawley, J. (2008) ‘Beyond BMI: The value of more accurate measures of fatness and obesity in social science research’, Journal of Health Economics, 27, (2), pp 519–529
Christodoulatos, G., Spyrou, N., Kadillari, J., Psallida, S., Dalamaga, M. (2019) ‘The Role of Adipokines in Breast Cancer: Current Evidence and Perspectives’, Current Obesity Reports, 8, (4), pp 413-433
NHS. Cancer (online) Available at: 16/12/2019
NHS. Obesity(online) Available at: 16/12/2019

Gut Bacteria and Obesity is There a Link

Gut Bacteria and Obesity, digestion and the microbiome – Feature Article 
Gut Bacteria and Obesity is there a link? To answer this question we need to look at the microbiome and the science behind it. The UK is becoming more and more overweight. As of late 2017, 29% of the adult population were classified as obese and 64% were overweight or obese (NHS Digital, 2019). This figure is creeping up every year and is nearly prevalent in children and young adults with more than 20% of year 6 ages school children being obese (Health survey for England, 2017)
It is somewhat reductionist of us to think that just eating more and moving less will lead to weight gain; which is true if you prescribe to the laws of thermodynamics. However, what often isn’t considered is if there is anything else about our diet and lifestyle that causes weight gain, other than just calories in Vs calories out. Rather than just storing unused calories as fat, is there another interaction with our body that causes us to pile on the weight? Does what we eat impacting us in ways we can’t see? Well allow me to introduce you to the gut microbiome.
So what is the microbiome?
The gut microbiome is a massive biological network of bacteria, fungi and other micro-organisms, all living harmoniously in your digestive tract. It ensures our food is properly broken down, nutrients absorbed and essentially keeps us in good health. This ecosystem is so massive and so diverse that we could almost be considered to be a supra-organism, such is the reliance on this colony. We simply need it in our gut to ensure healthy digestion and nutrient metabolism. The microbiome is influenced by factors from birth and the more diverse your gut flora is, the more health benefits you will receive. A good, varied diet with plenty of good quality sleep, high levels of exercise and low levels of stress all go toward a healthy regulation.
Is there a role for the microbiome in weight regulation as well as nutrient absorption? The two do of course go hand in hand. If the volume of calories we consume is the chief reason for how much weight we may put on or lose, can the so-called ‘good’ bacteria in our gut aid or hinder these processes?
Does a good microbiome prevent obesity?
Well, there are plenty of animal studies that certainly suggest that a certain ‘healthy’ microbiome is associated with lower adiposity whereas straying from this has shown links with higher levels of fat storage and certain metabolic disorders (Bauer et al., 2016). We must keep in mind correlation does not necessarily mean causation however there is a growing body of evidence with the same findings and with such studies now finding the same results in humans (Palleja et. Al 2016), it is hard to ignore.
How does this happen?
Your body likes to stay in a state of homeostasis but unfortunately the Universe is plagued by agents of disruption that like to alter this and unfortunately, your gut can succumb. Almost everything is controlled by hormones, working within a feedback loop with your brain and it is thought that an abnormal microbiome can wreak havoc with this system. Enter the gut-brain axis. Levels of leptin and insulin (amongst other chemical messengers) can become compromised and we may lose the signal that tells us to stop eating.
Is that it?
No. There are a multitude of theories and hypotheses as to why a poor or unvaried microbiome may encourage obesity. Certain metabolic processes influenced by gut flora has also been shown to alter levels of thermogenesis-a key player in the utilisation of energy expenditure (Parseus et. Al., 2017). So imagine not only can you not stop eating because your brain isn’t telling you that you are full, your body is also now no longer efficiently burning the fuel you are storing. All because of a few trillion tiny microbes not being kept in line. Bariatric surgery has also been seen to impact the microbiome due to the invasive nature of the techniques and those who are undergoing or have recently experienced such procedures may wish to be mindful of this fact.
How do I increase the variety of my microbiome?
With tackling the pandemic of obesity continuously being at the forefront of Western medicine, new and innovative ways (as well as some traditional remedies) are being shared on how to improve the state of our colon community. Probiotic drinks, natural yogurt and food such as sauerkraut and kimchi are bursting with a variety of cultures that can restore order quite quickly. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are probably the most well-known of these good bacteria and are found in abundance. Good quality sleep, not shying away from the dirt and lots of fresh, outdoor living will also improve the quality of your gut phylum. Alternatively, you can try faecal transplantation if you wish and at your own risk.
What do we conclude?
The findings of the investigation undertaken here highlight that the microbiome plays in important role in weight management. This occurs via a number of biological and chemical channels and further reading will demonstrate that it isn’t just your BMI that can be hit. Your overall health relies on a diverse, well maintained gut and you can expect to hear more about this in the future as the research becomes more main stream. I hope that answers the question about “Gut Bacteria and Obesity”
References for Gut Bacteria and Obesity is there a link?
O’Keefe, S., Li, J., Lahti, L., Ou, J.C., F. & Et al. (2005) ‘Fat, fibre and cancer risk in African Americans and rural Africans’, Nature Communications, 6 pp.28/10/2018 Available at: .
Bauer, P.V., Hamr, S.C. & Duca, F.A. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. (2016) 73: 737.
NHS Digital. 2019. Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet, England, 2019. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 12 November 2019].
Palleja, A., Kashani, A., Allin, K. H., Nielsen, T., Zhang, C., Li, Y., … Arumugam, M. (2016). Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery of morbidly obese patients induces swift and persistent changes of the individual gut microbiota. Genome medicine, 8(1), 67. doi:10.1186/s13073-016-0312-1
Parséus, A., Sommer, N., Sommer, F., Caesar, R., Molinaro, A., Ståhlman, M., … Bäckhed, F. (2017). Microbiota-induced obesity requires farnesoid X receptor. Gut, 66(3), 429–437. doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2015-310283

Low Testosterone can be Caused by Overtraining

Exploring New and Old Health News Today – Low Testosterone and Overtraining
Low testosterone can caused by overtraining and decreases male sperm count. All too often the consultants from this company are approached by male personal trainers and bodybuilders that our in their right our athletes. We’re told the that they feel like their testosterone level is low because they have symptoms associated with low testosterone. Well we reply testosterone is going to be low if you are training too much. You have to balance the training with recovery to ensure you get a balance that helps keep your testosterone levels in a healthy range.
What does testosterone do for males?

  • The development of the penis and testes
  • The deepening of the voice during puberty
  • The appearance of facial and pubic hair starting at puberty; later in life, it may play a role in balding
  • Muscle size and strength
  • Bone growth and strength
  • Sex drive (libido)
  • Sperm production

Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Medical School (2019)
Symptoms of low testosterone

  • Reduced body and facial hair
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Low libido, impotence, small testicles, reduced sperm count and infertility
  • Increased breast size
  • Hot flashes
  • Irritability, poor concentration and depression
  • Loss of body hair
  • Brittle bones and an increased risk of fracture

Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Medical School (2019)
The Research 
The aim of a peer reviewed research article in the Fertility and Sterility by Journal by Roberts. A (1993) was To substantiate the hypothesis that strenuous exercise disrupts the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis in men. The design of the research (being longitudinal) involved semen and blood sample collection twice per month before, immediately after, and 3 months after overtraining, which was defined as twice the previous average weekly training volume with unchanged intensity.
More Research 
In another peer reviewed research article in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise by Saenz, J et al (2015) where the aim was to “to examine resting and exercise-induced T in high-level ultra-endurance athletes consuming either low-carbohydrate/high-fat (LCD) or high-carbohydrate/low-fat diets (HCD).” The design of the study involved 20 elite level ultra-running men habitually consuming a high carbohydrate diets (n=10; 58% CHO, 15% PRO, 28% FAT) or a low carbohydrate diets (n=10; 11% CHO, 19% PRO, 71% FAT) were matched for age and performance. The groups performed a 3 hr run at 65% VO2max. A shake (5 kcal/kg lean body mass) similar in macronutrient composition to the habitual diet was consumed 90 min pre-exercise and immediately post exercise (IP). Serial blood samples were taken after an overnight fast at baseline (BL), during the run (Run60 and Run120 minutes), IP, and during recovery (+30, +60, and +120 minutes). Serum levels of total T were analyzed enzymatically.”
The authors of the paper in the Fertility and Sterility Journal concluded that overtraining reduces testosterone, which is highly correlated with an increase in levels of cortisol and possibly a subsequent decrease in sperm concentration 74 days later. Saenz, J et al (2015) “shown that his group of high-level ultra-endurance runners had a high prevalence of low circulating testosterone; they showed a modest transient rise IP followed by a decline below BL post-exercise irrespective of habitual diet composition. Lower resting testosterone and its descending response after exercise may be due to a greater turnover of the androgen receptor pulling testosterone out of circulation. This may be due to the shake pre/post run or a reduced Luteinising hormone pulse reflected in altered hypothalamic-pituitary cybernetic changes.”
The Bottom Line 
If you have low testosterone it’s not because you have what they call hypogonadism which, is a reduction or absence of hormone secretion or other physiological activity of the gonads (testes or ovaries). It’s most likely that you are overtraining and you need to FIND THE RIGHT BALANCE BETWEEN TRAINING AND RECOVERY FOR BETTER RESULTS AND ENSURE YOU DON’T HAVE PROBLEMS WITH FERTILITY. Unless you are taking anabolic steroids which persistent use can result in anabolic steroid–induced hypogonadism.
We help people with low testosterone levels all the time, if you have any questions or need some advice with testing please contact us.
BANDEGAN, A., COURTNEY-MARTIN, G., RAFII, M., PENCHARZ, P. B. & LEMON, P. W. R. 2017. Indicator Amino Acid–Derived Estimate of Dietary Protein Requirement for Male Bodybuilders on a Nontraining Day Is Several-Fold Greater than the Current Recommended Dietary Allowance. The Journal of Nutrition, 147, 850-857.
ROBERTS, A. C., MCCLURE, R. D., WEINER, R. I. & BROOKS, G. A. 1993. Overtraining affects male reproductive status*. Fertility and Sterility, 60, 686-692.

Confused About Calories? Let's be Clear Once & For All

Confused about Calories? If it fits your macros, all calories are created equal and protein vs. carbohydrate diets it’s no wonder people are confused about calories! This article sets out to help explain the difference in calories in the different macronutrients. Otterburn (1994) shown the caloric availability IN HUMANS of fats from coconut and corn oils to be 7.8 and 8.5 respectively. If you know your calorie values of different macronutrients you will see that this is not quite the normal 9 calories per gram of fats.
Why do fats have a higher calorie content?
Ever wondered why fats have a higher energy yield per gram compared to that of proteins and carbohydrates? It is because of the high carbon to oxygen ratio and it needs less oxidisation than that of proteins and carbohydrates. Stored in non-solvated form, where water contributes far less to the reaction than that of proteins and carbohydrates. In contrast hydrated glycogen binds water up to three times its molecular weight and water does not contribute any free energy in these reactions. Of note, anhydrous (free from water) glycogen yields almost two-thirds more energy than that of hydrated glycogen. Triacylglycerols yield far more energy, but when applied to a biological system it gets a bit trickier.
What is a calorie?
It is interesting to see the Evidence Based Practitioner’s back track on their positions of “a calorie is a calorie.” Ever wondered how calories are measured? Calories are measured traditionally by placing a dried food into a bomb calorimeter. The food is ignited and completely burned, and the heat given off is measured. One calorie equals the amount of heat it takes to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one-degree Celsius. However, most food manufacturers use the Atwater system, where calories are not determined by a bomb calorimeter but by the average values of calories per grams of proteins, carbohydrates, fats and alcohols. The manufacturers probably use databases to gather that information. Two problems here (1) the human body is not an inferno, there are biochemical reactions to consider here (2) the Atwater system uses assumed calories. It is no wonder food manufacturing labels are out as much as 20/25%.
Are calories from carbohydrates, proteins and fats all the same?
Regardless of the above statements when someone says a “calorie is a calorie” and they are applying that principle against the human body they are in error. Of course putting the calorie is a calorie model into a calorimeter you can say a calorie is a calorie, however the different chemical reactions to digest and metabolise the calories from the different macronutrients varies in biological systems and is dependent on the type of diet you are on and the diversity of your microbiome (just to complicate matters more).
We’ve previously discussed fats and why they have a higher calorie value that being 9 calories to 1 gram of fat, but what of proteins and carbohydrates both having 4 calories per 1 gram? Carbohydrates are stored efficiently in chained glucose molecules in carbohydrates called polysaccharides. Enzymes in the mouth and stomach start to break these glucose molecules away from the polysaccharides and the glucose can be absorbed in the intestines and then used by the body. The chemical reactions need bond disassociation energy (the energy needed to break down the chemical bonds) in the digestion process and once this has happened the body needs more bond disassociation energy to use glucose. Proteins are chains of amino acids called polypeptides, digestion involves the release of hydrochloric acid in the stomach to decrease pH  to activate pepsinogen to pepsin, which then starts to break down the polypeptide into smaller amino acid chains. In the intestines, these smaller subunits of amino acids are broken down into amino acids by more enzymes. Once an amino acid it can be absorbed and utilised. Yet again as it is a chemical reaction it needs energy to break down all the bonds along the way. To utilise the amino acid in metabolism you need energy. As with protein and carbohydrates you need bond dissociation energy to digest and metabolise. The bond disassociation energy needed in the metabolism for each macronutrient varies depending on what the needs from that macronutrient is, for example if you need glucose from amino acids compared to if you need amino acids for the immune system, the energy yield will be different.
Still Confused about Calories Enter The laws of thermodynamics?
Enter the laws of thermodynamics. These laws probably drive nutritionists up the wall, because they are hard to grasp in biological systems. We should only be concerned with two laws of thermodynamics and let’s put them in understandable terms for a biological system. The first law states “energy is conserved” meaning energy cannot be destroyed only converted. The second law states (comes into two parts) “heat cannot flow from cold to hot” and “Entropy increases in the universe.” The second law is where it gets slightly tricky for biological systems, Entropy is basically disorder and its opposite is enthalpy, which means order. To create order in the universe disorder cannot be negative. Putting that into practice with the first law goes; you cannot convert one unit of energy into another unit and break even, you will lose some of that energy in heat.
The different macronutrients have different thermic effects, protein is by far the most thermal, followed by carbohydrates and then fats. Thus, eating a slightly higher protein diet will have a different thermal effect and you do not end up with the same amount of energy as say a higher carbohydrate diet. To add to that if you were paying attention to the earlier statement if I am on a high protein, low carbohydrate diet, do not have a readily available store of glucose post digestion? Amino acids can be converted into glucose via the liver in a process called gluconeogenesis and guess what? That involves more chemical reactions and guess what? More energy is needed. All these chemical reactions and differences in the thermal effect of foods show a calorie is not a calorie when applied to a biological system. So “if it fits your macros” in principal is slightly flawed. Because if I have 100 grams of carbohydrates from a highly fibrous source vs say, complete sugar. The digestion of the former will take more chemical reactions than the latter, which will be available instantly. The evidence-based practitioners are silently backtracking to involve these variables in their calorie equations, but on the other hand telling results based consultants that you should make huge Facebook announcements when you are wrong. If your still confused about calories and you’re into your nutrition do a degree in nutritional biochemistry anddon’t waste time going to an uncredited course by uncredited people. In the meantime you can read ‘Biological, Physiological, and Molecular Aspects of Human Nutrition, 4th Addition found here
Hopefully you should be less confused about calories now. Before starting a new diet please make sure you consult with your health practitioner or contact us here
Finley, J.W., Klemann, L.P., Leveille, G.A., Otterburn, M.S., Walchak, C.G. Caloric availability of SALATRIM in rats and humans. J Agric Food Chem. 1994;42:495–499.

The MMR Vaccination Scare and the Science

The MMR Vaccination are you worried about this vaccine? Read on to get an account of the actual science. 
The MMR Vaccination has stirred up a debate since the Andrew Wakefield scare in 1998. With the news of the decline in MMR vaccinations hitting the media outlets today, we examine how it is that a percentage of the population in a high-income country such as the UK decided against the MMR vaccine. We should be taking an actual look at the science and not the media’s misrepresentation to this.
MMR Scaremongering, how it all started with Dr Andrew Wakefield
How did the UK end up to the point where we have become a nation that is now not considered a Measles free zone (World Health Organization, 2019, August, ). How did it get to the point where parents are so scared to have their infants vaccinated, that they not only ignore their GP’s advice but almost every health authority?
Well it all started with Dr Andrew Wakefield’s article called “Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children” published in the Lancet in February 1998, which has been subsequently retracted. That’s over 21 years ago now! Let’s quickly review what was found in this article. The aim of the article was to investigate if chronic enterocolitis (inflammation of the digestive tract) is linked to regressive developmental behaviour, whilst also looking at the correlation with the MMR vaccine. 12 children were recruited in this study and underwent several invasive procedures including colonoscopies and lumbar punctures (under sedation) all to assess chronic enterocolitis. Behavioural symptoms were reported in 8 of the 12 participants (Wakefield et al., 1998).
Unfortunately, it was found out later that Dr Andrew Wakefield was being paid £50,000 by a solicitor firm by way of legal aid money to assist the firm in preparing a case against MMR (Goldache, 2008). Dr Ben Goldache states in his book (Bad Science) that a young PhD named Nick Chadwick using DNA technology found no evidence of the genetic material of measles in the stools of any of the 12 children that participated in this study. Nick Chadwick started his PhD in the Dr Andrew Wakefield’s clinic.
The real problem though was not with the retracted article the media is the true culprit
The public was under the impression that Doctors and Health Scientists were divided over the safety concerns for MMR. Only 1 in 4 people were aware that the bulk of the evidence was in favour of the vaccination and that the bulk of evidence was provided by the Doctors and Health Scientists that were apparently equally divided (Dobson, 2003). This vital piece of information should have been relayed to the public by the media, instead it wasn’t, and more and more headlines came out stating the jury was out on the safety of the MMR vaccine.

(Credit Daily Mail, February 2002)
(Credit The Sun August, 2007)
(Credit Daily Mail, March 2019)
MMR Safety
The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews conducted a ‘Systematic Review’ in 2016 and to quote the review:
“We could assess no significant association between MMR immunisation and the following conditions: autism, asthma, leukaemia, hayfever, type 1 diabetes, gait disturbance, Crohn’s disease, demyelinating diseases, or bacterial or viral infections. The methodological quality of many of the included studies made it difficult to generalise their result”
The review included 14,700,000 children in 27 cohort studies, 17 case-controlled studies, 5 times series trials, one case cross-over trial, two ecological studies, six self-controlled case series studies (Demicheli et al., 2005). Fair to say far more comprehensive than the study by Dr Wakefield.
The next safety issue with the MMR and other vaccinations was the preservative Thimerosal, which is a vaccine suspension agent that ensures no growth of fungi or bacteria grow in the vaccine. Thimerosal contains mercury which is one of the top ten chemicals that cause health concerns considered by the World Health Organisation (WHO). However, WHO have stated that they have monitored the Thimerosal health concerns for over 10 years and have conclusively stated there is no need for alarm (World Health Organization, 2011, October ). Regardless of whether one thinks that Thimerosal causes health problems, it’s been removed from UK vaccines since 2005. This is an exact extract from the vaccine knowledge project.
“Thiomersal was removed from UK vaccines between 2003 and 2005 and is no longer found in any of the childhood or adult vaccines routinely used in the UK. Before 2005, thiomersal was present in diphtheria- and tetanus-containing vaccines, as well as hepatitis B vaccine and some flu vaccines. It was not used in the MMR vaccine, the Hib vaccine, the MenC vaccine, the oral polio vaccine or the BCG vaccine. Thiomersal was present in the Swine Flu (H1N1) vaccine Pandemrix, used in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 flu seasons in the UK. However, it is not present in any of the annual flu vaccines currently in use in the UK.” (Project, 2019, 4 July)
Andrew Wakefield in 1998 produced a very small research article looking at the inflammation of the digestive system and regressed development in infants and then linking this to the MMR vaccination. That article was picked up by the media, which had the public believe that the scientific community was at odds with each other, when in fact the bulk of the evidence suggests the MMR vaccine was entirely safe. Thimerosal although safe has now been removed from UK vaccines.
Moving Forwards
If the media acted responsibly, contacting the right health scientists and not hastily (the media has this problem of always trying to be first, it doesn’t matter if you’re right) then health information would be more concisely transmitted to the public. Twenty one years since the article, which again was retracted, the media has helped popularise the idea that the MMR is unsafe. Nothing could be further from the truth and we all have a duty in the UK to ensure the MMR is given to our infants. How do we do this? The media, who are now reporting about the MMR problems should now foot the bill for an MMR vaccination campaign. So if you are worried about the MMR vaccination don’t be, according to science it is safe.
DEMICHELI, V., JEFFERSON, T., RIVETTI, A. & PRICE, D. 2005. Vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella in children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, CD004407.
DOBSON, R. 2003. Media misled the public over the MMR vaccine, study says. BMJ, 326, 1107.
GOLDACHE, B. 2008. Bad Science London Fourth Estate
PROJECT, V. K. 2019, 4 July. Vaccine ingredients, [Online]. Available: [Accessed 19 July, 2019,].
WAKEFIELD, A. J., MURCH, S. H., ANTHONY, A., LINNELL, J., CASSON, D. M., MALIK, M., BERELOWITZ, M., DHILLON, A. P., THOMSON, M. A., HARVEY, P., VALENTINE, A., DAVIES, S. E. & WALKER-SMITH, J. A. 1998. Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. Lancet, 351, 637-41.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION. 2011, October Thiomersal – questions and answers, [Online]. Available: [Accessed 19 August, 2019,].
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION. 2019, August, . New measles surveillance data from who [Online]. Available: [Accessed 19 August, 2019,].

To Gluten or Not to Gluten Part Two

A different take on gluten containing foods and health – Why we need Gluten!
Beyond the effects of gluten on personal health, there is more to consider. We live in a world, which is already overpopulated and by the year 2050 the world faces two billion more humans to feed. Agriculture was the cause of the population boom and a revolution, one of the most pivotal points in the history of humanity. Agriculture allowed societies to grow and science and economies to flourish. However, the arrival of agriculture come at a cost to human health, humans decreased in height and faced new diseases from communal living and zoonotic infections from livestock, but that was the price to pay, and the trade was to our advantage.

“The Man Who Saved a Billion Lives”

Norman Ernest Borlaug saved a billion lives in the 20th century by engineering dwarf wheat through simple genetic manipulation and selective breeding. Wheat was modified to have short stems, so the top heavy wheat did not topple over the whole plant, this dramatically increased crop yields by six times more than early wheat varieties. Gluten and wheat do cause health problems, but it is a good trade if you face starving to death in developing countries. At some point, humanity must accept another deal if the population is going to continue to grow at an alarming pace or even continue to sustain it and that trade-off may come at another cost to human health.
The scaremongering amongst the strict no gluten advocates never considers the wider implications of that scaremongering, and the free for eating gluten camp seldom view what patients are reporting when they feel they are reacting to gluten containing foods. Practitioners should take reports from patients who remove gluten and see vast improvements in symptoms seriously. And, take into consideration all the various reactions that can occur. People that have removed gluten-containing foods and have a significant improvement in symptoms should continue to eliminate these foods, but ensure they are taking in all the essential nutrients. What needs to be realised is that not all people react to gluten and wheat does feed many many people who would face famine without wheat and barley. If you eat wheat and other gluten containing foods and suffer no symptoms that it can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet. Borlaug saved a huge amount of people using genetic modification techniques, and if them modifications in other foods bring higher yields and more resistant crops without causing harm and preventing famine them techniques should be encouraged.
Science does not deal in absolutes, and any person saying non-celiac gluten sensitivity absolutely does not exist has not read all the relevant research, has no understanding of the scientific method and probably cannot pronounce fermentable oligo-di-monosaccharides and polyol’s. The figure below is a proposed process of ruling out the different reactions one can have to gluten containing foods credited to Sapone et al., (2012).
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To Gluten or Not to Gluten Part One

The many different reactions to gluten 
A significant amount of attention has been given to Gluten by the health, fitness, and nutrition industries. Some professionals from these industries state wheat can be eaten if celiac disease (CD) is not present, and others suggest Gluten must be avoided even if one does not have CD. When reviewing these debates between professionals, a lack of understanding of what CD, wheat allergies, non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) and fermentable oligo-di-monosaccharides and polyol’s (FODMAPs) are and understanding the difference between them can lead to confusion. The debate of whether Gluten can affect people without celiac disease has been going on for thirty years between academic researchers and looks to go on for the next decade. So what are the different types of reactions that can be caused by gluten?
The difference between CD and a wheat allergy?
Autoimmune disease is the term given to a wide array of conditions in which the immune system attacks the body’s cells and tissues. Gliadin is a gluten protein found in wheat and other plants, and when a patient diagnosed with celiac disease ingests gluten the body modifies the gluten protein, and once modified, the immune system attacks it causing extensive damage to the small intestines. It is an absolute necessity for all people diagnosed with celiac disease to avoid all gluten. In contrast a wheat allergy is where the body produces an allergic reaction mediated by the adaptive immune system through IgE and mast cell responses.
What is Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity?
This is where the controversy comes into the debate. Can someone have a reaction to gluten or wheat that has nothing to do with celiac disease, or a wheat allergy? One academic article suggests that NCGS is mediated through the innate immune system and separate from the adaptive immune system responsible for wheat allergies and or coeliac disease.
What are FODMAP’s?
FODMAPs changed the way scientists view NCGS. FODMAPs are sugars and alcohols that are poorly absorbed in the digestive tract but have significant activity in the large intestines, where bacteria ferment with them, and this creates gas and can cause abdominal distention in patients. FODMAPs are found in wheat and can create problems that can be confused with CD and NCGS. One study suggests that the FODMAPs potentially could challenge the very existence of NCGS. However, the authors also stated that the NCGS is also a clear possibility but is confounded by FODMAP free diet.
The authors in the editorial “Gluten Sensitivity: Not Celiac and Not Certain” did not rule out NCGS. However, in the nutrition, and fitness industries many advocates of a free for all gluten eating started posting all over social media that NCGS did not exist dealing in scientific absolutes. The bottom line is if a patient has been tested for coeliac disease and wheat allergies and they are not the cause of the symptoms, but the complete removal of gluten containing foods improves symptoms, then practitioners should advise omission of gluten. Furthermore, there are no essential nutrients contained in gluten containing foods that cannot be replaced by other foods easily incorporated into a diet.
The figure below proposes new terminology, credited to Sapone et al., (2012).


In part two of this blog we will talk about the need for wheat worldwide, if you can eat gluten containing foods if you have no symptoms and have been tested with no reaction found and how to rule out certain gluten disorders. With a special mention to Norman Ernest Borlaug.
If you a member of the public and want to learn more about and gluten free diets please visit our consultancy page. If you are a fitness professional or nutritionist we offer a range of tests you can purchase for your clients at a discount, click the button below to find out more.


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Irritable Bowel Syndrome Testing May Help

Irritable Bowel Syndrome can the right test help manage IBS symptoms?

Irritable Bowell Syndrome (IBS) is a significant healthcare burden, irrespective of setting or geography, affecting around 11% of the population globally. Patients with IBS experience abdominal pain and altered bowel habits, with predominantly diarrhoea (IBS-D), constipation (IBS-C), or both (IBS-M).
The Science
Food sensitivity testing in line with an elimination diet has been found to decrease symptoms that are significant to IBS. It is important to use the strongest researched test to make sure that the foods being eliminated are the offending foods, and IgG4 appears to be the most scientifically relevant food sensitivity test.
A recent study found that after measuring IgG4 in 14 foods and the patients four most reactive foods were avoided, 26 patients out of 29 showed a 90% symptomatic improvement with accompanying decreases in the IgG4 after four weeks of the food exclusion diet.
GC Biosciences Test 
Once the food sensitivity test has reported the offending foods it is important to omit them foods for 60 days. At GC Biosciences we use a 60-day omission diet, followed by a reintroduction phase and then maintain a rotational diet to prevent further food sensitivities. This diet helps most of our clients manage their irritable bowel syndrome.
IBS results in an international healthcare problem. Food sensitivity testing in particular IgG4 testing has shown significant improvements in IBS patients. GC Biosciences use food sensitivity testing with an elimination diet with some clients that have IBS.
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