Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Probiotics Serving New Functions in Different Markets

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

probiotics

Many people are beginning to understand with probiotics that not all bacteria are bad.  In fact, probiotics have been contributing to good health for years. With an increasing demand of probiotics, people are requesting that they be available in forms other than yogurt and oral dietary supplements.  Consumers want more choices, since some people are sensitive to certain kinds of processing (i.e. temperature).  However, with constantly-improving technology, probiotics are being used in a broader market of goods.

The thought of beneficial bacteria has become more popular with the public, since studies have shown that probiotics can aid the immune system in the fight against the “bad guys”.  More and more yogurt brands are boasting probiotics on their labels, and companies are continuing to find ways to implement good bacteria strains into other foods that are not cultured by tradition.  This doesn’t necessarily mean a consumer will purchase this product, since a company tried adding probiotics to cheese, and this product didn’t sell too well.  This is because a consumer is not generally looking for cheese to add health benefits to a meal; instead, he or she usually uses cheese to add taste to what is being eaten.

People tend to be the most comfortable with probiotics being added to oral health care products, since strains of bad bacteria reside in the mouth, gums and teeth, and these bacteria can cause tooth enamel and gum disease.  Two of the most popular products that have received a high increase in growth are gums and mints, since functional gum has jumped 10% between 2007-2008.  A current trend in consumer education is people learning about the role that good strains of bacteria have in staying healthy and recovering one’s health. 

Streptococcus mutans is one of the Lactobacillus strains that work against enamel-eroding bacteria, and people can expect this strain to appear in gums and mints.  A sugar-free gum that came out recently contains the strain Lactobacillus reuteri, and there are mints that contain a mixture of strains L. reuteri, L. plantarum, L. rhamnosis and L. acidophilus, which target bad breath-causing bacteria.  Another company has developed a breath mint that features Streptococcus oralis, Streptococcus uberis, and Streptococcus rattus, all targeted at preventing and fighting dental decay and halitosis.  Surprisingly, there is even a strain of bacteria called Streptococcus oralis that actually has a whitening effect on the teeth, since it crowds out bad bacteria on the teeth’s surface. 

Pharmaceutical companies are creating different probiotic breath mints that will be designed for improving oral health, and lasting much longer than current probiotics without being stored in cold temperatures.  An important thing for manufacturers to remember is that the new oral care products being made need to use bacteria that exist naturally in the oral cavity, otherwise they will not last long in the mouth. 

 There are over 400 different species of bacteria in the digestive, and all of these strains are competing for space to inhabit.  In general, the good bacteria can crowd out the bad bacteria, which is why consuming probiotics can be helpful for those who have diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, lactose indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, H. pylori (ulcer-causing bacteria) problems, and colon cancer.  It is also worth pointing out that these bacteria exist all over the body, including the mouth, skin, reproductive organs and other membranes.  Ingesting probiotics can even be beneficial for those with allergies, autism, arthritis, and liver and kidney problems.  

One of the major areas for probiotic’s growth in the market may be in immune defense, since probiotics can benefit the immune system’s response.  Immunity is related to gut health, and research has shown that probiotics improve cold and flu symptoms, allergic rhinitis and pollen allergies.  Asia and Europe have already been linking probiotics with immune health for many years, but the U.S. only recently caught on.  Probiotics also are known to prevent certain infections, so it may be useful with epidemics like the swine flu.  Various strains of bacteria have relieved fever symptoms, viral respiratory infections, and pneumonia

Probiotics, especially Lactobacilli, are effective in aiding the immune response and increasing the resistance to pathogens.  Newer territories that researchers are exploring are the effects of probiotics on inflammatory disease, cholesterol reduction and even anti-aging properties, post-myocardial infarction depression and stress management.  Even more surprising, there is groundbreaking research that probiotics can be beneficial in infant formulas, vaginal microbiota, and satiety (for weight management).

 A major challenge in administering probiotics is getting the right dosage, and making sure the correct strains go to the correct places in the body.  It is far from simple, and one of the major challenges that face manufacturers is heat, since it destroys the beneficial flora.  The ingredients in the probiotic supplements must be able to tolerate the handling, storage, processing, shelf-life issues, and the tempestuous environment of the acid in the stomach.  The limited amount of conditions that probiotics can handle seldom allow for applications outside of refrigerated supplements; however, more and more companies are improving the probiotics’ survival, so they are more protected- with longer shelf lives and slower releases.  With new technology constantly being released, some companies have even created a probiotic chocolate, and up and coming probiotic applications in cereal bars, cereals, ice creams, fresh fruit and vegetable juices, meal replacements, and biscuits.  Probiotics in hot tea and soup have even been made possible with these new advances in technology.  Last but not least, topical and personal care applications are now possible with probiotics, since antifungal and antiviral properties can be brought out during a process of fermentation.

 Currently, one of the main trends is pairing probiotics with other probiotics, since this enhances the probiotics’ ability to survive.  With the ever-changing and improving research, technologies and education of probiotics, innovators will continue to deliver new and improved products geared at improving everyone’s health. 

Source: Natural Products Insider

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Throat Pouch is Another Cause of Halitosis

Monday, October 12th, 2009

throat pouch
A condition called Zenker’s diverticulum is yet another cause of bad breath. A diverticulum is a small pouch, and with this condition, the pouch sticks out from the back of the throat and adjacent part of the esophagus. It usually forms later in life, and the affected people usually complain about food sticking in their throats. Usually, the food is stuck in the pouch, and is actually undergoing digestion there. Sometimes, the partially digested food is regurgitated back into the mouth, thus causing halitosis. Furthermore, the sufferers of this condition may have coughing and choking as symptoms.

Surgery can be performed in order to fix this problem, and this can be done by making small incisions, and the pouch can be removed with special instruments and a scope. Sometimes the pouch can be removed without any incision, and the scope being sent down the throat.

Keep in mind, though, Zenker’s diverticulum is rare, and halitosis is common.

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Mind Your Own Beeswax, Bees Can Cure Bad Breath?

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Most of us know now that bad breath (halitosis) can be caused by: cavities; dentures; smoking; alcohol; lung, tonsils, adenoid, sinus or throat infections; certain foods (garlic, onions, high sugar products, spicy foods, dairy products); poor oral hygiene; and so on.  We’ve also discussed many different possible cures.  Here are some natural remedies you may not have suspected:

  • Bee Propolis (a resinous mixture that is collected by bees from tree buds and other sources) helps gum infections, as well as other infections.  Obviously, if one is allergic to bees, he or she should not try this method of diffusing bad breath.  Propolis has been used as an antimicrobial, emollient, immunomodulator, dental anti-plaque agent,anti-tumor growth agent, and even in food and musical instruments.
  • Drink water to moisten the mouth, which increases the strength of saliva in the mouth, that cleanses the bad breath bacteria
  • Use a tongue scraper to help remove bacteria
  • Use an odorless form of garlic, which is a natural antiobiotic
  • Zinc also has an antibacterial effect
  • Add half a lemon to a glass a water, and gargle with it
  • When brushing the gums and tongue, use powdered cloves, an herbal remedy for bad breath.  One can keep cloves under the molars without chewing to help maintain fresh breath.
  • Avoid foods like blue cheese, salami, curry, tuna, garlic, onions, anchovies, red meat, milk, coffee, cola, etc.
  • Parsley is a natural deodorizer
  • Cardamom is a breath sweetener
  • Cranberries help fight off the bad breath-causing bacteria
  • Eating a green/raw Guava will help stop bad breath
  • Fruits that are high in Vitamin C, like citrus and oranges, will help control the bad bacteria
  • Eucalyptus Oil is found in many toothpastes and other oral products because it has an active antiseptic ingredient, Eucalyptol
  • Sometimes chewing on sugarless gum or eating sugarless candies will help keep the mouth moist and not contribute to the growth of bad oral bacteria
  • Edible camphor helps against bad breath caused by tonsilitis, sinusitis, and head colds, since it is a very effective throat stimulant.  It helps get rid of clogged mucus, making it a natural and effective nasal decongestant.
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Bad Personal Habits Can Lead to Bad Breath

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Simple personal hygiene can go a long way when combating bad breath (halitosis).  Most of the time, bad breath is caused by carelessness and inconvenience.  Some people fail to visit the dentist enough to ensure the proper care of their teeth and gums.  Good personal hygiene and regular dental visits will help rule out the main causes of halitosis.

Metabolic Causes of Bad Breath

Some disorders in the body can cause halitosis.  Diabetes is yet another cause of bad breath, and may not cause any symptoms in the beginning.  Diabetes causes the build up of ketone (foul-smelling chemicals in the body) in the blood.  Exhaling breath can get rid of ketone naturally.  Dentists cannot fix this problem; instead, they may have to refer the patient to a specialist for treatment.  It is important that if you have chronic bad breath, that you get checked out for serious medical conditions.

If you change your diet, this can also cause bad breath.  If people are fasting or on a protein diet, they may also suffer from halitosis.  If people are trying to lose weight quickly, they use fat as energy, which encourages the build up of ketone in the bloodstream.  Therefore, it is common to have bad breath if you are on a diet or fasting.

If you want to avoid the problems of ketosis while on a diet, you should see a nutritionist and do your research.

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Gum disease a silent epidemic for seniors

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

“Savvy Senior” tells us about gum disease — the current statistics, the causes and effects, and the simple preventive measures we can take. Gum disease is more common — and more dangerous than you think. Periotherapy and good oral hygiene are the best weapons against gum disease.

Gum disease — silent but deadly.

October 16, 2007

Dear Savvy Senior: I recently read that gum disease can cause all different types of deadly health conditions. As a senior who brushes regularly and flosses occasionally, what can you tell me about this? — Hate to Floss

Dear Floss: By taking better care of your mouth (which includes daily flossing), you could actually add years to your life! Here’s what you should know.

Dental Services If you don’t have dental insurance or can’t afford professional dental care, some communities and clinics offer discounted or free services to seniors in need, and most dental schools offer low-cost checkups and cleanings. Contact your state dental association (see www.ada.org/ada/organizations ) or your Area Agency on Aging (call (800) 677-1116 to get your local number) to find out what may be available in your area. Also check out the Bureau of Primary Health Care ( www.ask.hrsa.gov/pc ; (888) 275-4772) and the National Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped ( www.nfdh.org — click on “Donated Dental Services” or call (888) 471-6334).

Gum disease

Bleeding GumsAlso known as periodontal disease, gum disease is a silent epidemic in this country. Currently, 80 percent of all adults in the United States have some form of gum disease – which ranges from simple gum inflammation (called gingivitis), to serious a disease (called periodontitis) that can infect the gums, bone and other tissue surrounding the teeth.

Consequences

If you have gum disease, you have greatly increased your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. How? Because the bacteria-rich plaque that builds up on your teeth (that’s what causes gum disease) releases toxins into your bloodstream that can inflame your arteries and cause small blood clots. But that’s not all. There are other health problems linked to gum disease such as pancreatic cancer, respiratory diseases, kidney disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, stomach ulcers and even pregnancy complications.

Are you at risk?

Most people develop gum disease because they simply don’t keep their mouths clean. But there are other factors that can increase your risk, including:
• Smoking: Need another reason to quit? Smoking is the number one risk factor for gum disease.
• Age: Older people have a greater risk of periodontal disease because they have more wear and tear on their gums.
• Genetics: If you have a family history of gum disease your risk goes up.
• Medications: Some medications (antihistamines, antidepressants, high blood pressure medications, some heart medicines and many others) can cause dry mouth, and the lack of saliva contributes to gum disease. If you have dry mouth, talk to your doctor or dentist.
• Deficient diet: A diet lacking proper amounts of calcium and vitamin C can contribute to gum disease too.
• Hormonal changes: Changes that occur during pregnancy, menopause or even menstruation can make gums more susceptible for women.
• Diabetes: People with diabetes have a higher risk of developing gum disease. It also makes blood glucose levels harder to control.

Savvy Tip: Check your risk for gum disease at www.perio.org — click on “Assess Your Gum Disease Risk.”

Simple solutions

It only takes about five minutes a day to keep your gums healthy. Here are some simple and familiar ways you can take the bite out of gum disease:
Floss guy• Brush: At least twice a day brush your teeth using fluoride toothpaste and learn how to brush properly. See www.webmd.com/oral-health for a refresher course on brushing and flossing. Also use a toothbrush that has soft bristles. Hard or stiff bristles are more likely to injure your gums. And be sure to replace your brush every three months or so. (Tip: Power toothbrushes with rotating or vibrating bristles have shown to be more effective at removing plaque than manual brushes. See www.oralb.com for oral care products.)
• Floss: Do it at least once a day either before or after you brush. The sequence doesn’t matter as long as you do a thorough job. Flossing removes plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line and is absolutely necessary.• Get checkups: See your dentist every six months for regular cleanings and oral exams.

Source: (http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com)

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