Clapham Osteopathy and Functional Movement

To Your (Gut) Health

Microbiome. Microbiota. Beneficial bacteria. Gut bugs. Call it what you will, you’ve probably read or heard somebody talking about this subject recently. But did you know that gut health is correlated with everything from Parkinson’s disease to cardiovascular health to skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, to anxiety, depression and cognitive function?. There is more and more evidence that the vast quantity of microscopic critters in our guts can play a huge role in our physical and mental health, both positive and negative.

This is achieved via another term you may have heard of: the gut-brain connection. Gut microbes influence how we digest and metabolise the precursors of important neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. Then there is a direct line of communication to the brain, through the vagus nerve, which has receptors near the gut lining that allow it to keep a check on our digestion. Microbes in the intestine can therefore release chemical messengers that alter the signalling of the vagus nerve – and, as a consequence, the brain’s activity.

These pathways are not one-way streets, however, as brain activity can also influence the gut flora composition. Stress can increase inflammation, for instance, which can then affect the microbes in our gut. The result can be a feedback loop. Gut, brain, gut, brain, gut.

Humans used to eat a huge quantity of fermented foods as fermentation was one of the few ways to preserve fresh foods for later.  This would have included pickled vegetables, dairy (yoghurt and cheeses) and meat. However, the advent of packaged foods and refrigeration has lead to the reduction and even, sometimes, elimination of this category from our diets.

Over the past 10 years or so, the idea of feeding and maintaining our gut microbiome has become increasingly mainstream. It seems clear that today’s Western lifestyle featuring vast amounts of stress, poor sleep, antibiotics and nutritionally-depleted diets are impacting the type and amount of microbes present in our guts, leading to a variety of health problems. This has led to a booming probiotic supplement industry that aims to help increase the number and variety of microbes. We believe that even though probiotics can be helpful to deal with specific conditions – we always take a supplement to increase resilience when travelling –  it is better to include fermented foods as a mainstay of the diet.  So we regularly eat home-made sauerkraut, pickles and kombucha. Of course not everyone has the time and inclination to make all of these from scratch (even though basic fermented veggies are dead easy!) but fortunately some of the commercial products out there get the job done handily and tastily (Okay, not sure if that’s a real word, but if not, it should be.) UK friends, check out the kefir made by our friends at Ki, straight outta Vauxhall!  (Shameless plug alert)

Ki Kefir is a new sustainable & organic company based in South West London, hand delivering traditional and powerful kefir to your door. Frustrated with buying kefir without the powerful kick of life it should have, we decided it was time for Londoners to get their hands on a real kefir, full of probiotic goodness that’s exceptionally powerful and really makes a difference to your gut health. Unlike many shop-bought Kefirs who use a powdered (lab-made) bacteria to make kefir,  at Ki we make it the traditional way with living cultures. This ensures the highest quantity and most diverse range of good bacteria. Our kefir also contains a cocktail of vital vitamins and minerals crucial for good health, including B12, K2, calcium and magnesium. It is made with the finest organic milk from grass-fed cows in Sussex. We are also a minimal waste company, packaging our kefir in glass and offering local deliveries.

To find out more about Ki you can visit www.kilondon.com
Instagram: @ki.kefir https://www.instagram.com/ki.kefir/?hl=en
Facebook: ki.kefir.london https://www.facebook.com/ki.kefir.london/

Is Sunscreen the New Margarine?

tub of sunscreen on beachCurrent guidelines for sun exposure are unhealthy and unscientific, controversial new research suggests—and quite possibly even racist. How did we get it so wrong?

In this article, author Rowan Jacobsen discusses how our obsession with protecting ourselves from the sun is contributing to many health issues. Studies have shown that supplementing with vitamin D is not very effective, whereas moderate amounts of sunlight exposure is. But that’s only the start. Sunlight triggers the release of a number of other important compounds in the body, including nitric oxide, serotonin and endorphins. It reduces the risk of prostate, breast, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers. It improves circadian rhythms. It reduces inflammation and dampens autoimmune responses.

 

Read the full article, Is Sunscreen the New Margarine?

If You Want To Save The World, Veganism Isn’t The Answer

dry field with one treeVeganism is becoming more and more popular these days. Understandably so, as people are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of Intensively farmed meat and dairy’s toll on the environment. However, in this article, farmer Isabella Tree discusses the potential negative implications that veganism can have on the sustainability of our farmland, as well as our health. This article is a great read no matter which side of the debate you may stand on.

Read the full article, If You Want To Save The World, Veganism Isn’t The Answer

Will a Low-Carb Diet Shorten Your Life?

Steaks

Last week, a new study was published in The Lancet that claimed to find that both very low-carb and very high-carb diets shorten our lifespan. Predictably, the mainstream media jumped on this finding without doing a shred of due diligence and we were subjected to splashy headlines like this:

  • Low-carb diets could shorten life, study suggests (BBC News)
  • Low and high carb diets increase risk of early death, study finds (CNN)
  • Low-carb diet may cut years off life, study suggests (Newsweek)
  • Your low-carb diet could be shortening your life (Fast Company)
  • Paleo fail: meat-heavy low-carbohydrate diets can shorten lifespan, researchers say (South China News)

In this article, Chris Kresser breaks down the arguments, and in the process, points out many of the shortcomings of the study.

Read the full article, Will a Low-Carb Diet Shorten Your Life?

The Reliability of Diagnostic Imaging Without Clinical Correlation In Musculoskeletal Medicine: An Evidence-based Review.

X-RayA summary of the evidence on the reliability of scans for musculoskeletal issues, showing that in most cases there are just any many people with structural issues that don’t have pain and dysfunction. It’s not how it looks, but how it works that is important, that’s why at Backs Etc we focus on improving movement patterns.

 

Read the article, The Reliability of Diagnostic Imaging Without Clinical Correlation In Musculoskeletal Medicine: An Evidence-based Review.

Footwear Habits Influence Child and Adolescent Motor Skill Development

child with bare feetNew research finds that children and adolescents who spend most of their time barefoot develop motor skills differently from those who habitually wear shoes. Published in Frontiers in Pediatrics, this is the first study to assess the relevance of growing up shod vs. barefoot on jumping, balancing and sprinting motor performance during different stages of childhood and adolescence. The study shows that habitually barefoot children are noticeably better at jumping and balancing compared to habitually shod children, particularly from 6-10 years of age. While these beneficial barefoot effects diminished in older adolescents, the research nevertheless highlights the importance of barefoot exercise for motor development as children grow and mature.

 

Read the full article, Footwear Habits Influence Child and Adolescent Motor Skill Development.

The problems of the modern jaw

Are you or your family mouth breathers? Teeth overcrowding and poor dental health are likely related to how we breathe, as well as what we eat. In this article, Stanford’s Paul Erlich discusses how poor breathing and the lack of chewing in our modern near-liquid diet has contributed to reduced jaw sizes in children. Undersized jaws have been linked to increased risk of heart disease, hyperactivity, sleep deprivation and other issues. Make sure your kids breathe through their noses and give them some food that needs chewing.

 

Read the full article, Stanford’s Paul Ehrlich on the problems of the modern jaw.

 

Strength Training For Treating Depression And Optimizing Cognitive Performance

weightsAs this article details, strength training is not just for building bigger muscles. The author, a psychiatrist, demonstrates that strength training can help improve a variety of mood, pain. and cognitive issues. A 2010 study done in elderly women showed that once weekly and twice weekly resistance training, both improved cognitive function as shown by a cognitive test of selective attention, and resolution of the mental conflict between naming colors and reading words. A 2017 study done in men and women, ages 30–45, showed improvement in psychological health, as measured by a questionnaire after 12 weeks of resistance training. In another study on adults greater than 60 years old, 10 weeks of a supervised progressive resistance training program three times a week was shown to improve depression, as well as improve bodily pain, vitality, and social functioning. It was also shown to decrease limitations on routine activities from emotional problems.

At Backs Etc., strength training is one of the foundations that we work with our training clients on because of its tremendous benefits, both physical and mental. Get in touch with us to see how we can tailor a programme to fit your needs.

Read the full article, The Prescription of Strength Training For Treating Depression And Optimizing Cognitive Performance

Shoulder blade dysfunction increases risk of future shoulder pain

scapulaResearch supports the idea that if you can’t control your shoulder blades then this will increase your risk of developing shoulder pain. I find that the origin of most shoulder pain is in the core, thorax, neck or scapular, resulting in overload and pain in the shoulder joint. It’s important to look at the whole kinetic chain when assessing a shoulder. If you need help with this make an appointment at Backs Etc.

Read the article, Scapular dyskinesis and risk of future shoulder pain