The Roundup

Roundup

Here is The Roundup, Edition 18, bringing you the best from around the web from the past two weeks!

Blast from the Past

A recent article in the New York Times (by one of my favorite researchers, Moises Velasquez-Manoff) suggests that exposure to beneficial microbes through spending time on farms and drinking raw milk may actually be a way to “cure” allergies. Velasquez-Manoff writes that “innocuous cowshed microbes, plant material and raw milk protect farming children by favorably stimulating their immune systems throughout life, particularly early on.” This article is a fantastic read for anyone interested in the Old Friends Hypothesis, as Velasquez-Manoff skillfully describes how his visit to “a manure-spattered cowshed in Indiana’s Amish country” provided hands-on evidence for the theory that inadequate exposure to a variety of naturally occurring microbes may be the reason behind the significant increase in allergic disease in the past few decades.

The Old Friends Hypothesis is one of my favorite geek-out research topics. I recently had a Moises Velasquez-Manoff as a guest on my podcast, and I’ve also presented the topic recently at the Ancestral Health Symposium (check out my summary here.) I’ve also written an article about how dirt may be a “Paleo Superfood”, and how controlled exposure to everyday germs may play a significant role in the health of our immune system. I also believe that responsibly produced raw milk can be a wonderfully healthy food for the right people, and raw milk has been anecdotally reported by many to have been the cure for their own or their children’s allergies.

For those who do not want to take the [slight] risk that drinking raw milk entails, I recommend supplementing with a soil-based probiotic that can help introduce these beneficial bacteria to the gut in a controlled way. My personal preference for a product containing these bacteria is Prescript-Assist, which provides a great mix of soil-based organisms along with prebiotics to help populate the gut with beneficial microbes. And getting outside to play in the dirt doesn’t hurt either!

Research Report

  • An article in the journal Science suggests that civilizations have fallen because they failed to prevent the degradation of the soils on which they were founded.
  • An analysis in Canadian medical journal finds ‘healthy’ vegetable oils may actually increase risk of heart disease.
  • New research indicates that a disruption of brain signals for reward and punishment contributes to increased pain sensitivity, known as hyperalgesia, in fibromyalgia patients. This explains why low-dose naltrexone works for these patients.
  • A recent study suggests that non-celiac wheat sensitivity is a non-IgE-mediated food allergy.
  • Yet another study shows that full-fat dairy (cheese in this case) inversely associated with obesity.

Worth A Look

  • Some interesting discussion and a critique on the recent study about herbal supplements.
  • A new Gallup poll suggests that the US obesity rate may have increased in 2013.
  • An article in Nature by Tim Radford contemplates three fascinating studies on what it means to be human.
  • An article in The New York Times suggests that transcranial direct-current stimulation improves cognition, mood and more. Could this be like jumper cables for your brain?
  • You can help launch a Boulder Paleo Restaurant: Blooming Beets Kitchen.

For the Foodies

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  1. Adair says

    Whilst I do agree that if children are brought up in a too ‘sanitised’ enviroment they don’ t develop immunity I am severely allergic to cats and was brought up with them in the house :-( In South Africa we are exposed to so much more in the way of microbes,germs etc and I think it’s mostly beneficial.We drink our (good quality)tap water and its only lately that the ‘fashion’ for bottled water has started,very unhealthy in my opinion.

  2. Dave says

    I liked A Cure for the Allergy Epidemic? But it frustrates me at the same time.

    “…Which brings us to farm milk. In Europe, the consumption of unpasteurized milk has repeatedly correlated with protection against allergic disease. In America, 80 percent of the Amish studied by Dr. Holbreich consume raw milk.”

    And then the very next paragraph.

    “None of these scientists recommend that people consume raw milk; it can carry deadly pathogens”
    *SIGH*

  3. margaret says

    Chris, I would love to hear your perspective on raw milk and bovine leukemia virus, and the research being done now that link the two to childhood leukemia (out of UC Berkeley). I know WAPF has dismissed the issue as a non-issue, but it’s my understanding that BLV is pretty prevalent in cows and is present in raw milk.

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