This blog is a way of sharing the information and resources that have helped me to recover my son Roo from an Autism Spectrum Disorder. What I have learned is to view our symptoms as the results of underlying biological cause, which can be identified and healed. I say "our symptoms" because I also have a neuro-immune disorder called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

And, of course, I am not a doctor (although I have been known to impersonate one while doing imaginative play with my son)- this is just our story and information that has been helpful or interesting to us. I hope it is helpful and interesting to you!


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Trauma and PTSD

In several earlier posts I talk about the new perspective that childhood trauma is a major (if not THE major) risk factor for disease later in life.  So far evidence suggests this is due to epigenetic changes as well as mast cell effects, but there are probably more connections that will be discovered as well.  Since trauma is such a critical piece of the puzzle it is something that we need to understand better.  Also, many of us with chronic diseases develop medical PTSD and parents of kids with autism and other developmental disorders can develop PTSD from watching our kids being injured and struggle.  This TED talk by Dr. Megan McElheran is an extremely good description of what trauma and PTSD are:



“Trauma has the effect of organizing the lives of trauma survivors into life pre-trauma and life post trauma.  Life post trauma involves knowing things that perhaps before were not known at all, or only minimally known or acknowledged.  Life post-trauma means having come into contact with the knowledge of certain things, like mortality, that once having contacted or experienced, can no longer be ignored or denied."

"The experience I just described was equivalent to a tectonic shift for the individual for whom it occurred.”  

“To experience something like I described, is to come into contact with unparalleled psychological and emotional pain.”  The impulse is to get away from the pain and to distance ones self.  What happens when you pull away from your own emotional feelings is a profound alienation from yourself, your world, and others.  This results in pervasive avoidance, mood instability, low quality of life.  Emotional numbing occurs.  Humans are intrinsically social creatures and being alienated from that, having that cut off, is life-threatening.  It’s a vicious cycle.  Trauma fundamentally involves disconnection.  

“What people are forced to wrestle with in the aftermath of a traumatic event is how to reconstruct a life, and a worldview, when what used to be there has been shattered.”  There is no more taking things for granted.  PTSD involves dysfunctional attempts to reassert control in one's life.  By the time people seek treatment they have narrowed the range of their existence.  People rarely leave the house, have lost contact with friends and sometimes all of their family members.  They think to themselves “If I control my world in this way, I will be physically and emotionally safe.”  The outside world becomes very dangerous and out of control.  

“The urge to pull away from pain is instinctual.”  It is a normal reaction to abnormal events. 


The solution is re-engagement.  Re-engage with yourself and with those around you.  No one specific treatment makes people heal…”Healing happens in the context of a connection with another human being, when qualities of safety, empathy, and genuine understanding are present.”  Therapy only works in the context of this kind of relationship.  People can endure and heal from horrific events if they have even one person that they can connect with.  Recovery can be transformational, like a a caterpillar turning into a butterfly.  “It is the struggle to re-emerge that is crucial to the process of transformation.”  Without the struggle the new entity will not appear.  

Trauma is made worse by the happiness myth- if we are not happy all the time, something is wrong.  Sometimes life doesn't work that way, sometimes we need to face hard things and not be happy in order to heal.   

Probiotics for Specific Conditions

The book A Mother's Guide To Probiotics has information about which strains of probiotics are suited to which specific health needs and diseases.

Probiotic Advisor is a fee-based service with access to evidence-based information about probiotics.
"ProbioticAdvisor.com provides independent, unbiased, evidence-based information on probiotics, their potential risks, and documented benefits."
Some people may need to reduce or avoid intake of d-lactate producing probiotics, because in some people the d-lactate can build up and cause the person to switch from aerobic to anaerobic respiration (this means the mitochondria produce much less energy).  For more on this read this post from the blog Mommypotamus. (L.acidophilis mainly produces d-lactate).  "Low ATP can affect cognitive function, create feelings of fatigue and impair coordination among other things. More generally, symptoms of D-Lactic acidosis include fatigue, confusion, impaired central nervous system function, impaired coordination, depression, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, anemia, headaches and in extreme cases encephalopathy."

There are several blog posts out there with lists of which probiotics are supposed to help certain conditions.  These can be like "cheat sheets" if you trust the blogger.  This is one from The Healthy Home Economist, and this is a list someone posted on a forum that I am intending to research further myself.

The Low Histamine Chef also has a post about probiotics that lower histamine levels and are anti-inflammatory here.  In her post she claims that "L. paracasei probiotic can reverse the gut permeability" and "stress can also cause bacteria to cling to the gastrointestinal tract, but this bacteria was prevented from sticking to the mesenteric lymph nodes (in this study) by a mixture of L. rhamnosus and Lactobacillus helveticus ". She also says that "Lactobacillus plantarum (lowers/inhibits tyramine and putrescine but no effect on histamine)" She recommends Bifidobacterium infants, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidiobacterium breve, and Lactobacillus reuteri.




"The probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus (and a few others) down-regulate the IgE and Histamine 4 receptor while also up-regulating anti-inflammatory agents like (IL)-8. In English (to quote a group friend): the probiotic turns down the dial on two important allergy/mast cell cell/histamine receptors, while enhancing the activity of anti-inflammatory agents.

Gastrointestinal Health

The use of bacterial spore formers as probiotics.

"Among the large number of probiotic products in use today are bacterial spore formers, mostly of the genus Bacillus. Used primarily in their spore form, these products have been shown to prevent gastrointestinal disorders... Specific mechanisms for how Bacillus species can inhibit gastrointestinal infections will be covered, including immunomodulation and the synthesis of antimicrobials."
Review article: probiotics and prebiotics in irritable bowel syndrome
"A range of probiotics including VSL#3 and L. plantarum 299v enhance (intestinal) barrier function.

Many probiotics including Lactobacillus spp. ferment unabsorbed polysaccharides to generate SCFAs including lactic acid. This acidifies the colonic contents; this acidification inhibits some bacteria and allows others to flourish. Thus 2 × 1010 L. plantarum 299v daily in humans increased acetic, proprionic and butyric acid concentration, while increasing the number of faecal Bifidobacteria spp. and Lactobacillus spp. and reducing the numbers of Clostridia spp.

(S)tress-induced increase in gut permeability and associated visceral hypersensitivity can be inhibited by the probiotic L. paracasei and its soluble products.

Two probiotics, Lactobacillus farciminis, a nitric oxide producing probiotics and L. paracasei NCC2461, have been shown to reduce the increased colonic permeability induced by both partial restraint stress and maternal deprivation (in rats).

(A)dministration of L. rhamnosus to healthy volunteers increased IL-10 secretion and decreased TNF, IL-6 and interferon secretion by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). A similar effect was seen with L. rhamnosus GG, which increases serum IL-10 in atopic children. The probiotic mixture VSL#3 (mixture of .6 × 1010 Lactobacillus spp. (casei, plantarum, acidophilus, delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus) together with Bifidobacterium (longum,breve and infantis) and one strain of Streptococcus salivarius ssp. thermophilus), which is known to exert an anti-inflammatory effect in pouchitis has also been shown to increase FoxP3 mRNA, a marker of Treg cells.

One relevant study using the Trichinella spiralis mouse model of postinfectious IBS showed that the inhibition of small intestinal contractions seen postinfection was reversed by treatment with L. paracasei, both live and using culture media supernatant. A proteomic analysis showed that supernatant treatment normalized a number of proteins related to cytoskeletal organization and stress response and also reduced a number of markers of inflammation.

E. coli Nissle 1917 has been shown to inhibit the visceral hypersensitivity associated with trinitrobenzene sulphonic acid (TNBS) colitis and L. paracasei inhibits the visceral hypersensitivity associated with inflammation in healthy mice in whom the bacterial microbiota have been disturbed by antibiotics.

An entirely novel mode of action of probiotics has recently been demonstrated in which L. acidophilus increased the expression of μ-opioid and cannabinoid receptors in normal animals, a phenomenon which was associated with an inhibition of visceral sensitivity equivalent to that of morphine 0.1 mg/kg. This action appears independent of an anti-inflammatory effect.

Along with colonization of the gut, L. plantarum significantly decreased the number of sulphite-reducing Clostridia spp. within a week of starting intake.

Treatment with B. infantis was shown to cause a significant reduction in a composite IBS score which included abdominal pain and bloating and difficulties with bowel movements. This was also associated with a change in PBMC cytokine production as assessed by the ratio of IL-10 to IL-12."
Lactobacillus reuteri accelerates gastric emptying and improves regurgitation in infants.

"In infants with functional GER, L. reuteri DSM 17938 reduce gastric distension and accelerate gastric emptying. In addition, this probiotic strain seems to diminish the frequency of regurgitation."
Effect of Bacillus subtilis PB6, a natural probiotic on colon mucosal inflammation and plasma cytokines levels ininflammatory bowel disease.
"The pathophysiology of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) involves the production of diverse lipid mediators, namely eicosanoid, lysophospholipids, and platelet-activating factor, in which phospholipase A2 (PLA2) is the key enzyme. Thus, it has been postulated that control of lipid mediators production by inhibition of PLA2 would be useful for the treatment of IBD. This hypothesis has been tested in the present study by examining the therapeutic effect of a novel natural probitic Bacillus subtilis PB6 (ATCC- PTA 6737). B. subtilis PB6 is found to secrete surfactins (cyclic lipopeptides) which have anti-bacterial potential. These surfactins inhibit PLA2, a rate-limiting enzyme involved in the arachidonic acid associated inflammatorypathway and could downregulate the inflammatory response by regulating the eicosanoid and cytokine pathways. With this concept, an experimental animal trial has been conducted in a rat model of 2, 4, 6-trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS)-induced colitis. The oral administration of PB6suppresses the colitis as measured by mortality rate, changes in the weight gain, colon morphology and the levels of plasma cytokines. The animals treated orally with PB6 at 1.5 x 10(8) CFU/kg thrice daily from day 4 to 10 significantly improve gross pathology of the colon and regain the colonweight to normal (p < 0.05), compared to TNBS-induced positive control. The plasma levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-alpha, 1L-1beta, IL-6 and IFN-gamma) are also significantly lowered (p < 0.05) and anti-inflammatory cytokine (IL-I0 and TGF-beta) significantly (p < 0.05) increased after the oral administration of PB6 on day 11. The present study supports the concept that PB6 inhibits PLA2 by the secreting surfactins. In a clinical investigation, it is found to be well tolerated by all the healthy volunteers."
This is an article with more information about B.Subtilis and it's role in human health.  Sources of this probiotc include MegaSporeBiotic, PeakBiotic, and NST Probiotics.

Immune Modulation

"in the subset of forty-four randomized subjects providing biological samples, we showed that consumption of B. subtilis CU1 significantly increased fecal and salivary secretory IgA concentrations compared to the placebo. A post-hoc analysis on this subset showed a decreased frequency of respiratory infections in the probiotc group compared to the placebo group. Taken together, our study provides evidence that B. subtilis CU1 supplementation during the winter period may be a safe effective way to stimulate immune responses in elderly subjects."

Allergy and Mast Cell Response

Specific probiotics alleviate allergic rhinitis during the birch pollen season

"Birch pollen allergy was shown to be associated with changes in fecal microbiota composition. The specific combination of probiotics used (Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis) was shown to prevent the pollen-induced infiltration of eosinophils into the nasal mucosa, and indicated a trend for reduced nasal symptoms."


"Human peripheral-blood-derived mast cells were stimulated with Lactobacillus rhamnosus (L. rhamnosus) GG (LGG(®)), L. rhamnosus Lc705 (Lc705), Propionibacterium freudenreichii ssp. shermanii JS (PJS) and Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis Bb12 (Bb12) and their combination.

LGG and Lc705 were observed to suppress genes that encoded allergy-related high-affinity IgE receptor subunits α and γ (FCER1A and FCER1G, respectively) and histamine H4 receptor. LGG, Lc705 and the combination of four probiotics had the strongest effect on the expression of genes involved in mast cell immune system regulation, and on several genes that encoded proteins with a pro-inflammatory impact, such as interleukin (IL)-8 and tumour necrosis factor alpha. Also genes that encoded proteins with anti-inflammatory functions, such as IL-10, were upregulated.

CONCLUSION: Certain probiotic bacteria might diminish mast cell allergy-related activation by downregulation of the expression of high-affinity IgE and histamine receptor genes, and by inducing a pro-inflammatory response."

Immunomodulatory effects of potential probiotics in a mouse peanut sensitization model

"Prophylactic treatment with both HMI001 ( L. Salivarius) and LCS ( L. casei Shirota) attenuated the Th2 phenotype (reduced mast cell responses and ex vivo IL-4 and/or IL-5 production).

In contrast, WCFS1 ( L. Plantarum) augmented the Th2 phenotype (increased mast cell and antibody responses and ex vivo IL-4 production).

In vitro PBMC screening was useful in selecting strains with anti-inflammatory and Th1 skewing properties. In case of HMI001 (high IL-10/IL-12 ratio) and LCS (high interferon-γ and IL-12), partial protection was seen in a mouse peanut allergy model. Strikingly, certain strains may worsen the allergic reaction as shown in the case of WCFS1."

Effect of a New Synbiotic Mixture on Atopic Dermatitis in Children: a Randomized-Controlled Trial

"This study provides evidence that a mixture of seven strains of probiotics and Fructooligosaccharide can clinically improve the severity of AD in young children. Further studies are needed to investigate the effects on underlying immune responses and the potential long term benefits for patients with AD.

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, we aimed on studying the clinical and immunologic effects of a mixture of seven strains of probiotic bacteria (Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Streptococcus thermophilus, Bifidobacterium breve, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium infantis, Lactobacillus bulgaricus) and Fructooligosaccharide in the treatment of AD in infancy and early childhood."

Screening selected strains of probiotic lactic acid bacteria for their ability to produce biogenic amines (histamine and tyramine)

"The aim of this study was to investigate the production of biogenic amines (BA), histamine and tyramine by some probiotic lactic acid bacteria (LAB). Fifteen strains representing six LAB species were screened qualitatively by growing them in a decarboxylase medium. Lactobacillus casei (TISTR 389) and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus (TISTR 895) were found to produce BA. The highest levels of histamine (1820.9 ± 3.5 mg L−1) and tyramine (5486.99 ± 47.6 mg L−1) formation were observed for the TISTR 389 strain, while TISTR 895 produced only histamine (459.1 ± 0.63 mg L−1) in the decarboxylase broth. Biogenic amine potential was not observed for the Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus lactis subsp. lactis,Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis, and Lactobacillus plantarum strains studied. This study confirmed that BA formation is strain dependent and not related to the species. "

Psychological Health

'Psychobiotic' May Help Ease Stress, Improve Memory

"Taking a probiotic strain of Bifidobacterium longum reduced physiologic and psychological stress and led to a modest improvement in memory in a small pilot study of healthy men.

In response to acute stress, B longum NCIMB 41676 led to a reduction in cumulative output of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as a blunted increase in subjective anxiety. On the questionnaire, the men reported being less stressed and anxious while taking the probiotic. They also showed subtle improvement on a visual memory task after receiving the probiotic, as well as altered EEG output.

"This study represents a proof of principle," Dr Clarke said. "The question we are asking now is, can we advance this further and can we use these psychobiotics to deal with the stressors that we encounter on the roller coaster of life, or develop further psychobiotics for patients with stress-related disorders such as depression or anxiety."

Assessment of psychotropic-like properties of a probiotic formulation (Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175) in rats and human subjects.

"In a previous clinical study, a probiotic formulation (PF) consisting of Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175 (PF) decreased stress-induced gastrointestinal discomfort. Emerging evidence of a role for gut microbiota on central nervous system functions therefore suggests that oral intake of probiotics may have beneficial consequences on mood and psychological distress. The aim of the present study was to investigate the anxiolytic-like activity of PF in rats, and its possible effects on anxiety, depression, stress and coping strategies in healthy human volunteers... Daily subchronic administration of PF significantly reduced anxiety-like behaviour in rats (P < 0·05) and alleviated psychological distress in volunteers, as measured particularly by the HSCL-90 scale (global severity index, P < 0·05; somatisation, P < 0·05; depression, P < 0·05; and anger-hostility, P < 0·05), the HADS (HADS global score, P < 0·05; and HADS-anxiety, P < 0·06), and by the CCL (problem solving, P < 0·05) and the UFC level (P < 0·05). L. helveticus R0052 and B. longum R0175 taken in combination display anxiolytic-like activity in rats and beneficial psychological effects in healthy human volunteers."

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Environmental Toxicity

This is a huge topic and will be the focus of a number of posts, but for now I want to get some of these resources up for people who are asking for them.  So often people allude to "environmental toxicity" as a cause or contributor to disease, but what do they mean by that?  What exactly are these toxins, where are they, what do we know about them?  People sometimes question whether there is science behind these fears, while others become frustrated with how pervasive the problem is and throw up their hands in defeat, saying that there is simply too much for us to avoid so why even try.  For those of us who know we have been harmed by some of these toxins it can be painful to find out just how much was known, how early, and yet we were still allowed to be harmed.  Yes, there has been some "better living through chemistry" (which comes from a marketing slogan from DuPont when it was trying to save it's destroyed public image back in the 1930s), but this progress has been reckless and has ended and destroyed many, many lives, and those lives matter too.

For my post about environmental sources of metals, go here.  This post focuses on other toxins mostly.

GENERAL SOURCES:

TOXNET is part of the NIH National Library of Medicine and is an incredible resource.  It contains links to many databases with various toxicology information, such as the Hazardous Substances Data Bank, which has peer-reviewed toxicology info for over 5,000 toxic chemicals, another one with over 4 million literature references regarding the toxicity and effects of drugs and toxic chemicals, another with interactive maps health data and EPA data such as superfund sites, even databases of info about the effects of drugs on lactating and pregnant women and on reproduction.

HealthyStuff this site provides information about toxic chemicals that can be found in everyday items such as toys, children's car seats, jewelry, and building materials.  It has a searchable database and reports on specific types of products.

The Collaborative on Health and the Environment has a database that allows you to select a disease and see which toxic chemicals are associated with it, ranked by how strong the evidence is to support the link.

This page from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences discusses chemicals that are endocrine disrupters, including what they are and how they work.  Chemicals with endocrine disrupting abilities include BPA, some flame retardants, dioxins, many pesticides, PCBs, and many more.

This page from TACA (Talk About Curing Autism) has information about some specific toxins found in our food supply and environment.

This post from The Autism File called Green Home…Healthy Kids gives more information on a wide variety of hazardous chemicals found in and around our homes, such as personal care products, cleaning products, and electronics.

It turns out that many of these harmful chemicals are ending up in human breastmilk and being passed along to babies at a susceptible age.

PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS:

The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database has information about toxic chemicals in personal care products such as cosmetics, shampoo, and sunscreen.

The Cost of Inaction: A Socioeconomic analysis of costs linked to effects of endocrine disrupting substances on male reproductive health

HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS:

The US Department of Health and Human Services Household Products Database has health and safety information for many types of household products such as cleaning chemicals, fertilizers, auto products, and arts and crafts materials.  The entries have information from the product labels and MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) put out by the manufacturer, as well as contact info for the manufacturer.

Low levels of common flame-retardant chemical damages brain cells
"The study showed that even tiny amounts of the compound damage neural mitochondria, the energy plants that power our cells. The chemical, quite literally, reduces brain power. In addition, the researchers found that the loss of PTEN protein, a condition associated with autism-like behavior in mice, combined with BDE-49 exposure, makes neurons even more susceptible to mitochondrial damage. These findings bolster the argument that genetics and environment can combine to increase the risk of autism and other neurological disorders. The study was published online this month in the journal Toxicological Sciences."

A study reported on in The Economist that looked for reproductive effects of certain flame retardants called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) " found that each tenfold increase in the blood concentration of PBDEs was linked to a 30% decrease in the probability of becoming pregnant each month."

AIR AND WATER:

Environmental Working Group's National Drinking Water Database allows you to search by zip code to find out what is in local drinking water.

Neurotoxicity of traffic-related air pollution
"The central nervous system is emerging as an important target for adverse health effects of air pollution, where it may contribute to neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders. Air pollution comprises several components, including particulate matter (PM) and ultrafine particulate matter (UFPM), gases, organic compounds, and metals. An important source of ambient PM and UFPM is represented by traffic-related air pollution, primarily diesel exhaust (DE). Human epidemiological studies and controlled animal studies have shown that exposure to air pollution, and to traffic-related air pollution or DE in particular, may lead to neurotoxicity. In particular, air pollution is emerging as a possible etiological factor in neurodevelopmental (e.g. autism spectrum disorders) and neurodegenerative (e.g. Alzheimer's disease) disorders. The most prominent effects caused by air pollution in both humans and animals are oxidative stress and neuro-inflammation. Studies in mice acutely exposed to DE (250–300 μg/m3 for 6 h) have shown microglia activation, increased lipid peroxidation, and neuro-inflammation in various brain regions, particularly the hippocampus and the olfactory bulb. An impairment of adult neurogenesis was also found. In most cases, the effects of DE were more pronounced in male mice, possibly because of lower antioxidant abilities due to lower expression of paraoxonase 2."

MEDICAL SOURCES:

Babies may receive excessive radiation from x-rays.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Infections Alter Our Genetic Expression

Research published in the Dec 15th issue of the journal Immunity has found that infections alter the expression of host genes.  The changes that result from infection are different for viruses and bacteria and may be used in the future as a way to distinguish viral infections from bacterial ones.  Additionally, they found that the expression of a group of 11 genes were altered by the influenza virus and this could serve as a useful way to distinguish influenza from other viral infections.  They found that the influenza vaccine led to the same changes in gene behavior.  There is hope that this could be a way reduce the overuse of antibiotics by identifying more accurately which infections are viral and therefore not appropriate for antibiotic treatment.  

From this article in Science News about this research and what it means:

"To find the viral fingerprints, computational immunologist Purvesh Khatri of Stanford University and colleagues combed through a wide variety of publicly available datasets that included information about how human genes behaved after an infection of influenza, human rhinovirus and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. The researchers churned these diverse datasets through a series of sophisticated mathematical analyses, a process that ultimately pinpointed a consistent viral calling card — a list of nearly 400 genes, each of which grew either more or less active during a viral attack. Many of those genes make proteins known to be involved in virus responses and inflammation."

This is the abstract for the journal article itself:


 While this research looked at the effects on human genes for three viruses, it seems likely that at least some other viruses have this effect as well.  This is particularly interesting since ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia often begin with a viral infection that seems to act as a trigger, maybe this is how?  Maybe some people have some problem with the mechanism that corrects these changes after infection, if that happens, or maybe the way the gene expression is altered is not the same in some people, or maybe there are mutations in these genes that do not become apparent until their expression is changed in this way?  I also can't help but wonder if the flu vaccine alters DNA expression, maybe other vaccines do as well, and again maybe this plays a role in the onset of some adverse reactions and disorders that can follow vaccination?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Products for Special Diets and Clean Eating and Where to Get Them

PLACES TO ORDER SAFE FOODS

Groceries and General Foods:

VitaCost
They carry a huge variety of foods including many gluten-free and other special diet friendly options, have generally low prices, very fast shipping, and have sales going pretty much all the time.  They also have a good selection of supplements.

Thrive Market
They have a smaller selection than VitaCost does but are more special-diet focused and have some products at really low prices.

Azure Standard
This is a company that offers a variety of health-oriented groceries, which are ordered online and then delivered to a local drop site by semi truck according to a route schedule.

Natural Candy Store
You can search their offerings by type of diet (such as Feingold, vegan, gluten-free) or by allergen(s) to avoid.

Meat and Seafood:

US Wellness Meats

Vital Choice Seafood

Iliamna Fish Company
This is a CSF (Community Supported Fishery, a model similar to the CSAs that many people are aware of.  They have four locations where shares are available.  We've bought shares of their fish and it is very good!

Starter and Supplies for fermentation and cultured foods:

Cultures for Health

Herbs and medicinal ingredients:

Mountain Rose Herbs

Organic alcohol


The Risks of Gluten for Everyone



In this TED talk, Dr Rodney Ford of New Zealand argues that eating gluten is not good for anyone, that eating it is taking a risk.   In the 1950s, a dutch physician named Dr Dicke was the first person to figure out that celiac disease was caused by eating wheat, specifically the gluten part.  Half of the protein in wheat is gluten. In the 1960s they began doing biopsies and found that in Celiac Disease, gluten was causing damage to the intestines, and the biopsy became the gold standard of diagnosis.  When we eat gluten, it doesn't get fully digested.  If it gets into the bloodstream the body makes antibodies to it and these can be tested for (via Anti Gliadin Antibody Test).  His patients whose biopsies are negative for celiac disease, but positive for anti gliadin antibodies, respond to the gluten-free diet the same way that people with celiac do.  He presented research he did showing that of 1000 kids who came through his clinic, who did not test positive for celiac, recovered on a gluten-free diet.  When his research was met with skepticism and insistence that only children with celiac warranted a gluten free diet, he decided to call what he found "The Gluten Syndrome".  He and others were finding that much of the damage from gluten is to the nerves.

Recently there has been a lot of attention paid to the many problems associated with wheat and gluten.  He references the books Wheat Belly, Grain Brain, and Toxic Staple as examples.  Dr Alessio Fasano, director of The Center for Celiac Research in Boston MA, argues in his book Gluten Related Disorders that 10% of people in North America are suffering from gluten-related disorders. Nobody can digest gluten, he calls it a waste of chewing.  Dr Fasano showed that everyone who eats gluten gets an inflammatory reaction in the gut due to zonulin.  Zonulin loosens the tight junctions between cells that line your intestines and makes your gut leaky.  A researcher in Spain classified gluten as an anti-nutrient, arguing that is actually has negative effect on nutrient status.  There are other proteins in wheat that are just as harmful.  Gluten, it's antibodies, and it's partially digested pieces all harm the brain more than any other part of the body.  Gluten has also been shown to trigger auto immune disease.  He draws a parallel between the risk of smoking and the risk of eating gluten, and says why take that risk?