Fiber, not just for your guts!

Soybeans are a great source of dietary fiber. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
Soybeans are a great source of dietary fiber. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Allergies have been on the rise in the last few decades – not just the highly publicized increase in peanut and gluten allergies, but also allergic asthma caused by allergens in the air (like dust mites, mold, or pollen). Poorly controlled asthma and asthma emergencies result in many ER visits. What is causing this trend of increasing allergies?

The hygiene hypothesis – lack of exposure to potential allergens due to homes that are too clean leads to kids being hypersensitive is popular with many folks.

A new paper, however, tests an alternative  hypothesis about the increased rate of allergies. Could low fiber consumption in Western diets be to blame?

Continue reading “Fiber, not just for your guts!”

Going with Your Gut

The bacteria in your gut (known as the microbiota) are the new cool. And, by cool, I mean the bogeyman for everything that is wrong with you. That is not to say they aren’t very, very important; but the science exploring the role of the complex colonies of microbes residing inside your gut[1] and comprising ten times as many cells as in your actual body[2] is still developing and enormously complex.

According to a new study by Heijtz et al. in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the gut microbiota also affects neural development in mice[3]. Continue reading “Going with Your Gut”