Fast Facts - Digestive system

Do your cells have digestive issues? 

Cells have the remarkable ability to self-digest intracellular components, via the process of autophagy. There are now 31 separate genes associated with this process, which is recognised as a double-edged sword. It protects cells and triggers apoptosis, but is also involved in the pathogenesis of many serious diseases, including cancer, Crohn’s Disease and Parkinson’s disease. New research looking at the genes associated with autophagy is revealing new markers in the susceptibility to various chronic diseases.

Genetic identification turns up clues in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases 

Extensive epidemiological studies have uncovered striking findings related to inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), Crohn’s Disease (CD) and Ulcerative Colitis (UC). The discovery of two specific genes involved in autophagy (ATG16L1 and IRGM) suggests a role for impaired clearance of intracellular bacteria from GIT epithelial cells in the pathogenesis of CD. Meanwhile, three new genes have been associated with UC which have strong association with intestinal epithelial barrier integrity. These studies are leading to significant changes in the understanding of the pathogenesis of IBD.

Blueberries, broccoli and bowel microflora

Diet is a well-known contributor to the pathogenesis of IBD, and phytonutrient-rich foods have been investigated for their role in protecting the gut from inflammation. In an animal model of IBD, diets containing either 10% of blueberries or 10% broccoli were shown to reduce levels of certain dysboitic micro-organisms, whilst increasing butyric acid production in the bowel. 

These changes improved the epithelial barrier and increased goblet cell function in the colon. These findings suggest that blueberries and broccoli contain phytonutrients that can modulate microflora fermentation and intestinal morphology, helping to improve digestive immunity and reduce colonic inflammation. I hope you are eating your broccoli tonight.


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12 Jutland Place,
Currumbin Waters QLD 4223
PH: 0410 476 686


Business Hours

Monday - 9am-1pm
Tuesday & Wednesday - 9am-5pm
Thursday - 8.30am-5pm (later by appt)
Friday - 11.30-1.30pm
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