Fascia: The forgotten connective tissue, and new organ?
An injury often involves the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones which are all part of the connective tissues of our bodies. The fascia is also part of the connective tissue but is rarely talked about. It is a sheath of connective tissue under the skin that covers all joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments and visceral organs. There are no orthopedic tests to identify a fascial injury other than pressure points where we think the fascia is tense and irritated. Trauma to the body can replicate the same pain within the fascia that other connective tissue injuries can. Researchers in the past few years have concluded that the fascia, also known as the interstitium has properties that could classify it as a new organ. This was the conclusion of a study in the Journal of Scientific Reports published in March of 2018. The fascia was previously thought as just a wall of dense collagen, but now according to Dr. Neil Theise a professor of pathology at New York University, it’s more like an “open, fluid filled highway”. This was only discovered when a new imaging technique called probe based confocal laser endomicroscopy or pCLE, enabled them to examine living tissues on a microscopic level. Our bodies which are about 60-70% water, has about two thirds of it in the cells and about one third outside the cells in the fluid filled spaces of this interstitium or fascia. Researchers at Mt. Sinai hospital in NYC believe that the fluid filled fascia can act as a portal to deliver lymph to and from organs and unfortunately serve as a transportation highway for metastatic cancerous cell migration. These same researchers believe the fluid filled spaces may also act as a shock absorber to protect tissues during daily functions as well, and that is the connection to many acute and chronic pain syndromes
Like all mammals we are introduced to our first dose of microbes via two ways. 1. Coming through the birth canal and 2. Suckling for milk and having skin to mouth contact with our mother. Not only are we exposed to bacteria through ingesting colostrum and breast milk, but also from skin contact. Amazingly, the mothers gut bacteria travel through the entero-mammary pathway. Starting from the gut beneficial bacteria enter the mesenteric lymph node and then travel through the mammary gland epithelium to reach the baby. This period of our lives and the inoculation of bacteria we get from out mother is a key moment in the establishment of our oral and gastrointestinal microbiome.
However, new information is revealing that there are bacterial strains specific to the mouth that are important in preventing illness’ such as bleeding gums and periodontal disease beyond what you might get in a typical probiotic.
Bleeding gums and periodontal disease in women and men
According to a study done at Penn State University College of Medicine, Penn State Health Medical Center, and Columbia University, older adults who met twice weekly strength training guidelines had lower odds of dying. Is one of the keys to a longer life strength training? In previous decades it was the rewards of aerobic exercise that were emphasized. However, for the past decade, more research appears to show that strength training has at least as much importance if not more than aerobic training.
The NHIS (National Health Interview Survey) collects overall health, disease, and disability data of the U.S. population from a nationally representative sampling of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Dr. Jennifer Kraschnewski assistant professor of medicine and public health sciences, Penn State College of Medicine examined data from the 1997-2001 NHIS and linked it to death certificate data through 2011. The study included more than 30,000 adults age 65 and older. The survey revealed only 9% of the adults reported strength training twice a week. However, those who did had 46% lower odds of death for any reason and 19% lower odds of dying from cancer. The study showed strong evidence that strength training in older adults was beneficial beyond improving muscle strength and physical function.
The benefits of strength training go beyond just longevity. Postmenopausal women can lose 1-2% of their bone mass annually and all adults on average lose about 3-8% of our muscle mass each decade. A study from Tufts University showed that strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk for fractures among women aged 50-70
In the past several years legalization of medical and non-medical marijuana and cultivation of hemp for CBD (cannabinoids) has skyrocketed. Last year the sales for legal hemp was one billion dollars. Thanks to the updated farm bill passed by congress in December of 2018, starting in January 2019, hemp can now be grown in all 50 states and it is estimated that by 2020 it will be a 20-billion-dollar industry. Raphael Mechoulam, is an Israeli chemist, who is fondly called the Father of Medical Cannabis. He was the first scientist who isolated the first two endogenous (made in the body) cannabinoids over 50 years ago. He then discovered that we had Endocannabinoid receptor sites where like a lock and key, cannabinoids attach to cells throughout the body to produce physiological responses necessary for keeping cells alive and healthy.
Over the past 50 years our understanding of the endocannabinoid system has increased dramatically. We now know that there are different types of CBD receptors located in different areas throughout the body. Simply put, the endocannabinoid system (E.C.S.) is a vast network of receptor sites, that is closely connected to many conditions of suffering. This is nicely summarized in the following two pictures.
In 2016 the Nobel Prize in Physiology & Medicine went to Yoshinori Ohsumi for his research on the mechanisms of autophagy. Autophagy, a natural process, means “self” “eating”. This is a process that our bodies undergo cellularly to recycle or rid itself of old parts within the cell, such as organelles and microbes. Essentially, autophagy is self-cannibalism. However, it is much more than that because it is a key to understanding detoxification at the cellular level and that is where we can finally understand chronic degenerative diseases and how to prolong life.
Probably the most effective method of “detoxing” is something that has been talked about for millennia but is only recently getting the public recognition it deserves. That method is fasting or intermittent fasting. Part of Dr. Ohsumi’s research showed how the effects of fasting and calorie restriction came to increase autophagy. For those who work in the natural health fields, this research gives scientific proof to fasting, and how restricted oxygen (hypoxia) aid in detoxification and cleansing ourselves....
Antibiotic resistance is a growing public health concern, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug-resistant infections account for 2 million infections and 23,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. The World Health Organization estimates that the threat of antimicrobial resistance will kill 50 million people per year by 2050. Superbugs such as C. difficile (which accounts for about 15,000 of those deaths), CRE, Neisseria Gonorrhoeae, MRSA, Streptococcus Pneumoniae, Malaria, and MDR are some of the top superbugs that commonly fall into this category. When antibiotics fail to work, there may be little to turn to in the medical world to prevent the downward spiral of a patient...
Bacteriophages have been around since the dawn of the planet and comprise the single most abundant life form on the planet. There are an estimated ten million trillion trillion bacteriophages on earth. A single drop of seawater can contain millions. They exist in soil, water, and in excrement. While they are harmless to humans, phages are deadly to bacteria and prevent bacteria from overrunning the planet. Smaller than bacteria, bacteriophages have a very unusual appearance as you can see from this electron microscopic image. The difficulty in broadening phages as a treatment protocol is the need for a host where the bacteriophage can survive long enough to see if can kill a specific bacterium. If the phages do in fact find a specific bacterium, they insert their DNA into the bacterium and then replicate themselves so that it causes the bacteria to burst open with multiples of themselves. The diagram below illustrates how this works.... keep reading
Of all the health recommendations one could make, the best might be to recommend adequate oxygenation to our bodies. Although there are free divers who can survive 10 minutes underwater without oxygen, most of us would have trouble staying alive after 3 minutes without oxygen. Luckily, our ambient atmosphere is about 21% oxygen and it is readily available to us whenever we need it. We seem to get an adequate amount too because if we check our blood through a pulse oximeter, we will see that for most of us it regularly reads that our blood is 95-99% saturated with oxygen.
Despite what the pulse oximeter reading on the left shows is an adequate amount of oxygen in the red blood cells, what it fails to measure is the amount of oxygen in the blood plasma. This key distinction is the basis for oxygen therapies such as hyperbaric oxygen chambers and a newer therapy called E.W.O.T. (exercise with oxygen therapy).
Losing weight isn’t easy as evidenced by the obesity epidemic in this country. Appetite suppressants, fad diets, supplements or gastric band surgery are regularly reported in the news media to achieve results. However, if that were the answer, there wouldn’t be a new fad seemingly appearing every other month as an answer to this problem.
Scientists state that adipose tissue (fat) comes in at least three colors, white, beige and brown. White adipose tissue (WAT) is lazy and stores energy. Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is involved in thermoregulation which creates heat and uses energy. Beige or (Brite) is a hybrid of both. What gives BAT its brown color is the mitochondria. It’s the mitochondria in the cells of the BAT that enables it to burn fuel for energy; by some estimates up to five times more calories than WAT. BAT also has more capillaries than WAT because of its higher oxygen consumption. Babies, as well as animals that hibernate have a larger percentage of BAT. For babies, about 5% of their body weight is made up of BAT, and adults are less than that. Evidently even in small amounts, BAT serves as a protective mechanism against hypothermia, which is why babies don’t shiver even after taking them out of a bath or why we sometimes hear miraculous stories of a baby surviving severe cold exposure. It was assumed that all brown fat disappears during childhood, but new findings revealed otherwise.
Most of us at some point in our lives have done some intense anaerobic exercise like running very fast, or an exercise class and felt a burn in one or more muscles to the point where it was uncomfortable and had to stop while we gasped for air. While the common reference to this is “excess lactic acid”, what really is occurring is a buildup of L-lactate because of the inability of our body to provide enough oxygen to convert energy inside our cells to continue exercising. If exercise is done excessively this way, our blood pH can become acidotic where under normal circumstances it is alkaline. Luckily, when we rest our bodies we remove L-lactate efficiently and the benefits of exercise outlast the short-term muscle soreness from the workout and there isn’t any long-term effect to our blood pH.
However, there are two forms of lactate. Another one is called D-lactate and it is becoming increasingly apparent that the accumulation of D-lactate is not easily removed from our body even under ideal conditions and causes development of acidosis in the blood.
What causes excess D-lactate?
Lack of oxygen
Bacterial fermentation of simple sugars such as glucose, lactose and fructose
Antibiotic use. It leaves the gut susceptible to opportunistic strains. Streptococcus and Enterococcus are two strains that increase D-Lactate.
Diabetic ketoacidosis from low insulin levels, (not dietary ketosis)
Gastric bypass surgery or short bowel syndrome, where part of the small intestine has been removed.
Kidney or liver impairment.
Certain medications such as metformin, antiretroviral drugs, acetaminophen, aspirin, simvastin, and propylene glycol (anti-freeze) which is commonly added to foods, drugs in small amounts. keep reading
An overlooked aspect for our overall structural stability comes primarily from the big toe and secondarily the other toes. The muscle for the big toe, the flexor hallucis longus can be muscle tested for strength, and if weak, it might indicate that there is a problem with either a subluxation of the L5-S1 nerve root in the lower back, a subluxation of one of the bones of the feet or the toes themselves. Weakness in the muscles of the feet can occur for the same reasons it would occur anywhere; lack of use. For those who are sedentary or elderly this is common.
Forty percent of senior citizens 70 years or older will fall at least once each year. With any fall, risk of sprains, strains or fractures are possible, and this can lead to increased frailty and diminished life expectancy. The cost in the U.S. of providing health care to seniors after a fall is roughly 30 billion dollars annually. Surprisingly, the single best predictor of a senior falling is toe strength!
In a study of 300 people by Mickle in 2009, it was discovered that non-falling seniors had 20% more toe strength than seniors who fell while there was equal strength in the quadriceps muscle and ankle strength between the two groups. Unfortunately, toe weakness is common in senior citizens and they generally have declines of 35% or more in toe strength as compared to younger adults.
The Vele Forward Lean Maneuver
This test is to see the connection between toe strength and falling. When standing barefoot simply lean forward... >