Your Sense of Smell May Be the Key to a Balanced Diet

Your Sense of Smell May Be the Key to a Balanced Diet

Claremont Colonic Clinic Newsletter
We are less likely to perceive smells of food that relate to a recent meal, helping us make choices about what to eat next
Walking past a corner bakery, you may find yourself drawn in by the fresh smell of sweets wafting from the front door. You’re not alone: The knowledge that humans make decisions based on their nose has led major brands like Cinnabon and Panera Bread to pump the scents of baked goods into their restaurants, leading to big spikes in sales.

But according to a new study, the food you ate just before your walk past the bakery may impact your likelihood of stopping in for a sweet treat — and not just because you’re full.

Scientists at Northwestern University found that people became less sensitive to food odors based on the meal they had eaten just before. So, if you were snacking on baked goods from a coworker before your walk, for example, you may be less likely to stop into that sweet-smelling bakery.

The study, “Olfactory perceptual decision-making is biased by motivational state,” will be published August 26 in the journal PLOS Biology.

Smell regulates what we eat, and vice versa

The study found that participants who had just eaten a meal of either cinnamon buns or pizza were less likely to perceive “meal-matched” odors, but not non-matched odors. The findings were then corroborated with brain scans that showed brain activity in parts of the brain that process odors was altered in a similar way.

These findings show that just as smell regulates what we eat, what we eat, in turn, regulates our sense of smell.

Feedback between food intake and the olfactory system may have an evolutionary benefit, said senior and corresponding study author Thorsten Kahnt, an assistant professor of neurology and psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “If you think about our ancestors roaming the forest trying to find food, they find and eat berries and then aren’t as sensitive to the smell of berries anymore,” Kahnt said. “But maybe they’re still sensitive to the smell of mushrooms, so it could theoretically help facilitate diversity in food and nutrient intake.”

Kahnt said while we don’t see the hunter-gatherer adaptation come out in day-to-day decision-making, the connection between our nose, what we seek out and what we can detect with our nose may still be very important. If the nose isn’t working right, for example, the feedback loop may be disrupted, leading to problems with disordered eating and obesity. There may even be links to disrupted sleep, another tie to the olfactory system the Kahnt lab is researching.

Using brain imaging, behavioral testing and non-invasive brain stimulation, the Kahnt lab studies how the sense of smell guides learning and appetite behavior, particularly as it pertains to psychiatric conditions like obesity, addiction and dementia. In a past study, the team found the brain’s response to smell is altered in sleep-deprived participants, and next wanted to know whether and how food intake changes our ability to perceive food smells.

According to Laura Shanahan, a postdoctoral fellow in the Kahnt lab and the first and co-corresponding author of the study, there’s very little work on how odor perception changes due to different factors. “There’s some research on odor pleasantness,” Shanahan said, “but our work focuses in on how sensitive you are to these odors in different states.”

Pizza and pine; cinnamon and cedar

To conduct the study, the team developed a novel task in which participants were presented with a smell that was a mixture between a food and a non-food odor (either “pizza and pine” or “cinnamon bun and cedar” — odors that “pair well” and are distinct from each other). The ratio of food and non-food odor varied in each mixture, from pure food to pure non-food. After a mixture was presented, participants were asked whether the food or the non-food odor was dominant.

Participants completed the task twice inside an MRI scanner: First, when they were hungry, then, after they’d eaten a meal that matched one of the two odors.

“In parallel with the first part of the experiment running in the MRI scanner, I was preparing the meal in another room,” Shanahan said. “We wanted everything fresh and ready and warm because we wanted the participant to eat as much as they could until they were very full.”

The team then computed how much food odor was required in the mixture in each session for the participant to perceive the food odor as dominant. The team found when participants were hungry, they needed a lower percentage of food odor in a mixture to perceive it as dominant — for example, a hungry participant may require a 50% cinnamon bun to cedar mixture when hungry, but 80% when full of cinnamon buns.

Through brain imaging, the team provided further evidence for the hypothesis. Brain scans from the MRI demonstrated a parallel change occurring in the part of the brain that processes odors after a meal. The brain’s response to a meal-matched odor was less “food-like” than responses to a non-matched meal odor.

Applying findings to future sleep deprivation research

Findings from this study will allow the Kahnt lab to take on more complex projects. Kahnt said with a better understanding of the feedback loop between smell and food intake, he’s hoping to take the project full circle back to sleep deprivation to see if lack of sleep may impair the loop in some way. He added that with brain imaging, there are more questions about how the adaptation may impact sensory and decision-making circuits in the brain.

“After the meal, the olfactory cortex didn’t represent meal-matched food odors as much as food anymore, so the adaptation seems to be happening relatively early on in processing,” Kahnt said. “We’re following up on how that information is changed and how the altered information is used by the rest of the brain to make decisions about food intake.”

Contributor: Science Daily-Northwestern University

Covid: What

Covid: What’s the best way to top up our immunity?

Claremont Colonic Center
There are marked differences in your immune system after a natural infection with coronavirus and after vaccination.
Which is better?

Even asking the question bordered on heresy a year ago, when catching Covid for the first time could be deadly, especially for the elderly or people already in poor health.

Now, we’re no longer starting with zero immunity as the overwhelming majority of people have either been vaccinated or have already caught the virus.

It is now a serious question that has implications for whether children should ever be vaccinated. And whether we use the virus or booster shots to top up immunity in adults. Both have become contentious issues.

“We could be digging ourselves into a hole, for a very long time, where we think we can only keep Covid away by boosting every year,” Prof Eleanor Riley, an immunologist from the University of Edinburgh, told me.

The anatomy of immunity

We need to understand a little bit about the key building blocks of both our immune system and the virus it is attacking.

The power-couple of the immune system that clears the body of infection are antibodies and T-cells. Antibodies stick to the surface of the virus and mark it for destruction. T-cells can spot which of our own cells have been hijacked by the virus and destroy them.

For all the trouble the virus has caused, it is spectacularly simple. It has the famous spike protein, which is the key it uses to unlock the doorway into our body’s cells. And 28 other proteins that it needs to hijack our cells and make thousands of copies of itself. (For comparison it takes about 20,000 proteins to run the human body).

There are four key areas to compare vaccine and natural infection with the virus.


How much of the virus the immune system learns to attack

You get a broader immune response after being infected with the virus than vaccination.

Whether you’ve had Moderna or Pfizer or Oxford-AstraZeneca, your body is learning to spot just one thing – the spike protein.

This is the critical part of the virus to make antibodies to, and the results – by keeping most out of hospital – have been spectacular.

But having the other 28 proteins to target too, would give T-cells far more to go at.

“That means if you had a real humdinger of an infection, you may have better immunity to any new variants that pop up as you have immunity to more than just spike,” said Prof Riley.


How well it stops infection or prevents severe disease?

We know there have been cases of people catching the virus twice (re-infection) and of being vaccinated and catching Covid (known as breakthrough infection).

“Neither gives you complete protection versus infection, but the immunity you get from either seems to protect you pretty well from serious illness,” said Prof Finn, from the University of Bristol.

Antibody levels are, on average, higher about a month after vaccination than infection. However, there is a huge gulf in antibodies between those who are asymptomatic (who don’t make very much) and those who get a severe bout of Covid.

The biggest immune response comes from people who caught Covid and were then vaccinated. We’re still waiting for data on what happens the other way round.


How long does protection last?

Antibody levels have been shown to decline over time, although this may not be important for preventing severe disease.

The immune system remembers viruses and vaccines so it can respond rapidly when an infection is encountered.

There are “memory T-cells” that linger in the body, and B-cells remain primed to produce a new flood of antibodies on demand. There is evidence of immune responses more than a year after infection and vaccine trials have also showed lasting benefit.

“In terms of durability, we’re still waiting to see,” said Prof Peter Openshaw, from Imperial College London.


Where in the body is the immunity?

This matters. There is a whole different suite of antibodies (known as immunoglobulin As) in the nose and lungs, compared with those (immunoglobulin Gs) that we measure in the blood.

The former is more important as a barrier to infection. Natural infection, because it is in the nose rather than a jab in the arm, may be a better route to those antibodies, and nasal vaccines are being investigated too.

Prof Paul Klenerman, who researches T-cells at the University of Oxford, said: “The location of an infection makes a difference even if it’s the same virus, so we would expect important differences between natural infection and vaccines.”

Where does this leave the balance between more vaccine and virus?

There is clear evidence that adults who have not had any vaccine dose will have stronger immune defences if they do get vaccinated, even if they have caught Covid before.

But there are two big questions:

  • do vaccinated adults need to be boosted, or is exposure to the virus enough?
  • do children need vaccinating at all, or does a lifetime of encountering build a good immune defence?

The idea of regularly topping up immunity throughout life is not radical in other infections, such as RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) or the four other coronaviruses that infect people and cause common cold symptoms.

Each time you’re exposed, the immune system gets a little bit stronger, and this continues until old age, when the immune system starts to fail and the infections become a problem again.

“This isn’t proven, but it could be a lot cheaper and simpler to let that happen than spend the whole time immunising people,” said Prof Finn, who warns we could end up “locked into a cycle of boosting” without seeing if it was necessary.

However, he said the argument in children had “already been won” as “40-50% have already been infected and most weren’t ill or particularly ill”.

There are counter-arguments. Prof Riley points to long-Covid in children, and Prof Openshaw to nervousness around the long-term effects of a virus that can affect many of the body’s organs.

But Prof Riley said there was potential in using vaccines to “take the edge off” Covid, followed by infection, to broaden the immune response.

She said: “We really need to consider, are we just frightening people rather than giving them the confidence to get on with their lives? We’re close to just worrying people now.”

Of course, with cases continuing to rumble on, there may not be much choice.

“I’m wondering whether it’s inevitable,” said Prof Klenerman, as if the virus continues to spread then “there will be this ongoing boosting effect”.

Contributor: James Gallagher, Health and science correspondent – BBC News

Healing Benefits of Cilantro

Healing Benefits of Cilantro

Claremont Colonic
Cilantro, also called coriander and Chinese parsley, is the go-to herb for heavy metal detoxification. Cilantro’s magic in detoxifying the brain lies in the living water in its stems and leaves.

This is a critical aspect of how it can travel past the blood-brain barrier; in this living water are mineral salts comprised of minerals such as sodium, potassium, and chloride, which are bound to potent phytochemicals. When they enter the body, these precious salts join natural highways of other mineral salts that travel through the bloodstream, lymph fluid, and spinal fluid. As they come upon the amino acids glycine and glutamine in their travels, the mineral salts bind onto them, forming the ultimate neurotransmitters.

The brain is a magnet for mineral salts, and when it draws up these precious mineral salt compounds from cilantro, a surprise package is attached: phytochemicals that deliberately remove toxic heavy metals from the brain, freeing up neurons from toxic heavy metal oxidized residue, so that they can function at their best.

While many people love the rich, savory flavor of cilantro, others get a bad taste in their mouths whenever they eat it. Try not to get caught up in the trend that theorizes that a dislike of cilantro has to do with genes. This genetic concept hasn’t been studied widely enough—if it were, researchers would nd that there is not a gene that determines whether or not a person has an aversion to cilantro. There are no genes that tell us not to eat a certain food.

What’s really going on with cilantro aversion? When a person perceives an abrupt, harsh flavor from the herb, it means that she or he has a higher oxidative rate of heavy metals in her or his system. This doesn’t mean the person possesses a higher level of toxic heavy metals. Rather, the heavy metals (in this case, usually a combination of aluminum, nickel, and/or copper, at whatever level) in her or his body are corroding rapidly. Corrosion means that there’s toxic runoff, which makes its way into a person’s lymphatic system and saliva.

The moment cilantro makes contact with the mouth, its phytochemicals start to bind onto any oxidative runoff they encounter—if there’s a lot of this debris in a person’s saliva, it can result in a harsh sensation when eating cilantro. In other words, if someone dislikes cilantro, there’s a good chance she or he really needs it.

Cilantro is also very valuable for extracting heavy metals and other toxins from other body systems and organs, particularly the liver. In fact, it’s an amazing liver detoxifier in its own right. It’s one of the best adrenal support herbs, too, and wonderful for balancing blood glucose levels and staving off weight gain, brain fog, and memory issues. And just when you thought cilantro had enough flare and flash, it’s also antiviral—cilantro helps keep down levels of the Epstein-Barr virus, shingles, HHV- 6, cytomegalovirus (CMV), and other herpetic viruses in all their various forms, as well as HIV.

It’s also antibacterial; it helps to fight off virtually every form of bacteria and flush its waste from your body. Whether you like the taste of cilantro or not, parasites definitely don’t like the taste of it; cilantro is an incredible worm deterrent especially. For any chronic or mystery illness, whether diagnosed, misdiagnosed, or undiagnosed, cilantro is a must-have.

If you have any of the following conditions, try bringing cilantro into your life:

Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), attention-de cit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)/mononucleosis, shingles, HHV-6, cytomegalovirus (CMV), Parkinson’s disease, Addison’s disease, Cushing’s syndrome, postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS), Raynaud’s syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis (MS), migraines, vertigo, Ménière’s disease, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), autism, eczema, psoriasis, urinary tract infections (UTIs), insomnia, all autoimmune diseases and disorders, fibroids, injuries

If you have any of the following symptoms, try bringing cilantro into your life: Memory loss, brain fog, confusion, spasms, twitches, numbness, tingles, muscle cramps, foot drop, anxiousness, food allergies, sciatica, back pain, neck pain, jaw pain, headaches, dizziness, liver congestion, weight gain, trigeminal neuralgia, myelin nerve damage, mineral deficiencies, food sensitivities, heavy metal toxicity, blood toxicity, nervousness, constipation, inflamed liver, inflammation, hot flashes, sleep disturbances, joint pain, neuralgia, pins and needles, ringing or buzzing in the ears

When you and yourself getting easily flustered, a little dizzy when faced with life’s choices, perplexed about your life’s purpose or about how someone in your life is behaving, turn to cilantro. This potent herb brings clarity, so that you can find your path and head in the right direction without getting distracted by other options or others’ behavior.

Cilantro teaches us that life is an ongoing cycle of extraction. It doesn’t stop at pulling heavy metals out of our bodies—we’re also meant to help our friends and family through life by listening to them without judgment as they work through difficult times. What pain can you help a loved one purge? What negative self-talk can you coach a friend to leave behind? Sometimes we hold on to beliefs or memories that no longer serve us, and we need some extra support to let them go. Just as cilantro is featured in cuisines from diverse cultures, emotional detox is a universal need. The next time you eat cilantro, think about who in your life could use a sympathetic ear. Try reaching out to that person, and—without overriding with your own opinion—let your loved one speak freely.

Contributor: Shelly Debin Toland-Author of “Pain Free-Drug Free”

The Best Way to Have Regular Poops and a Flat Tummy

The Best Way to Have Regular Poops and a Flat Tummy

Claremont Colonic Center
Dietary fiber is a good thing. In fact, it’s an excellent thing and something that most people don’t get enough of. The daily recommended amount of fiber is 20 to 30 grams. The best source of dietary fiber is vegetables, and sadly, most people aren’t consuming enough of this valuable food group.
Getting enough fiber offers a wide range of health benefits, including:

  • Better cardiovascular health
  • Weight management
  • Blood sugar control
  • Better skin
  • Decreased risk of stroke
  • Regular bowel movements
  • Lowered risk of hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, gallstones, and kidney stones

I eat muffins and cereal, does that work?

Eating whole wheat bran muffins and cereal is actually not a great way to get dietary fiber. It actually raises your insulin levels and promotes leptin resistance, which causes all sorts of other health issues on top of weight gain. Sorry to all those cereal and muffin eaters out there!

The critical importance of both types of fiber

Did you know that there are two types of fiber? Soluble fiber is found in foods like nuts, berries, and cucumbers. Insoluble is found in dark green leafy vegetables, celery, and carrots, and helps bulk up stools, and allows food to move quickly through the digestive tract for healthy elimination. There are some foods like fruits and vegetables that contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.

Insoluble fiber provides bulk to the intestines and balances the pH levels in the intestines. This type of fiber promotes regular bowel movement while preventing and relieving constipation. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water – hence its name. It also doesn’t ferment with the bacteria in the colon. It is thought that insoluble fiber helps to prevent diverticulosis and hemorrhoids and ushers out toxins from the body.

Soluble fiber is similar to insoluble, although it makes a gel and binds with fatty acids. This slows the emptying of the stomach and allows for nutrients to be readily absorbed. Soluble fiber can lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels, making it a good choice for those with pre-diabetes and diabetes.

Grain and anti-nutrients

Unfortunately, getting your fiber from grains can harm your health, as the high-fiber bran portion of the grain (which is what makes it a whole grain) actually contains anti-nutrients.

Gliadin and lectins, which are substances found in grain, can increase leaky gut syndrome and contribute to all types of digestive problems such as gas, bloating, and abdominal cramps. It can also result in other symptoms like allergies, fatigue, joint pain, skin rashes, mental disturbances, and much more.

On the other hand, a diet that includes plenty of high-fiber fruit, nuts, seeds, and veggies like berries, peas, cauliflower, broccoli, and sweet potatoes almonds, flax, and chia seeds, will help improve gut health. Plus, it will keep your appetite under control and may even help people with heart disease live longer.

One study found that those who ate the most fiber had a 25 percent decreased risk of dying from any cause than those who didn’t get enough fiber. After suffering a myocardial infarction, people who increased fiber consumption were also able to reduce their risk of dying from any cause, including other heart-related events.

The bottom line is, you’ll reap a wide range of benefits from consuming dietary fiber, as long as it’s coming from organic vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds rather than processed grains, which promote chronic disease and do nothing for your health.

It’s just one more reason to give up those “junk” foods and add more veggies to your diet. If you have an aversion to vegetables, adding them to a smoothie can help make it easier to feed your body what it needs.

Delicious high fiber foods

Here is a list of 21 delicious high-fiber snacks that will keep you full and healthy.

  1. Oatmeal
  2. Hummus
  3. Avocado
  4. Nuts
  5. Coconut
  6. Figs
  7. Chia seeds
  8. Quinoa
  9. Parsnips
  10. Kale
  11. Broccoli
  12. Carrots
  13. Spinach
  14. Swiss chard
  15. Mushrooms
  16. Peas
  17. Cabbage
  18. Cauliflower
  19. Tomatoes
  20. Green Peppers
  21. Celery

What about supplements?

Although it is easy to find a fiber supplement, even the best supplements on the market only provide a small amount of the fiber we need daily, and the sources of this fiber are not always the best. If you must take a supplement, never take one that contains methylcellulose (fake cellulose), calcium polycarbophil, or wheat dextrin. These ingredients have no nutritional value at all.

As you plan your meals, keep in mind the importance of plenty of fiber of both kinds. Your body will thank you, and you will be more regular than you have ever been!!

Contributor: Susan Patterson, Alternative Daily