Sunday, November 25, 2012

Integrating Nutrition and Immunology: a New Frontier

Integrating Nutrition and Immunology: a New Frontier.

Nov 2012


School of Biological Sciences and the Charles Perkins Centre, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia. Electronic address:


Nutrition is critical to immune defence and parasite resistance, which not only affects individual organisms, but also has profound ecological and evolutionary consequences. Nutrition and immunity are complex traits that interact via multiple direct and indirect pathways, including the direct effects of nutrition on host immunity but also indirect effects mediated by the host's microbiota and pathogen populations. The challenge remains, however, to capture the complexity of the network of interactions that defines nutritional immunology. The aim of this paper is to discuss the recent findings in nutritional research in the context of immunological studies. By taking examples from the entomological literature, we argue that insects provide a powerful tool for examining the network of interactions between nutrition and immunity due to their tractability, short lifespan and ethical considerations. We describe the relationships between dietary composition, immunity, disease and microbiota in insects, and highlight the importance of adopting an integrative and multi-dimensional approach to nutritional immunology.

**Because we experience a cell mediated immune dysfunction, it is important for anyone with lymphedema to have an understanding of good nutrition and the effect on the immune system.**

Nutritional status of children attended in day-care-centers and food (in)security of their families

Nutritional status of children attended in day-care-centers and food (in)security of their families

Dec 2012

[Article in Portuguese]


Universidade Estadual da Paraíba, Campina Grande, PB, 58400-265,


The scope of this study was to examine associated factors with overweight, stunting and underweight in children attending state day care centers of João Pessoa, as well as to describe the situation of food (in)security of their families. A cross-sectional study was conducted with a sample of 250 children. Socioeconomic, maternal and child variables were studied. The nutritional status of children was evaluated considering the height-for-age and weight-for-height indices. Household food security was assessed using the Brazilian Scale of Food Insecurity. The proportions of stunting, underweight and overweight were 7.6%, 1.6% and 6.4% respectively. The associated factors with short stature were low maternal stature and incomplete vaccination. In relation to low weight, the associated factor was maternal age under 20 years. The overweight child was associated with excessive maternal weight and maternal short stature. In 59.6% of families, there was food and nutrition insecurity, the mild form being more frequent (32.4%). Overweight and stunting were found to be the most common nutritional disorders in this study, constituting priorities that should be considered in current public policies.

**I have included this article as most children now days are IN day care centers, even those with lymphedema.**

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Basic Dietary Rules and Infuence of Nutrition on Lymphedema

Basic Dietary Rules and Infuence of Nutrition on Lymphedema

The currently most effective conservative therapy for lymphedema is Combined Decongestive Therapy or CDT. It consists of Manual Lymph Drainage (Dr. Vodder Method), compression bandaging, special skin care and accompanying physical therapy regime.  Nutrition plays an important medium and long term role within this CDT approach. 

Dietary change to assist therapy “The only thing you are going to lose in a diet is your good mood”, said the German actor Gert Fröbe. If you go about a diet the wrong way, this statement hits the nail on the head. Those persons affected by lymphedema are often and for various reasons not able to select nutrition which would support successful edema management. Instead, they choose nutrition which has the opposite effect. 

The first steps

A long term solution can only consist in a change of diet. First and foremost, there is a need to identify the root causes of lymphedema in each patient and explore whether existing "diet mistakes” prevent optimal therapy. In most cases wrong nutritional habits are due to eating being associated with “rewarding oneself” or "providing relaxation”. It is important to find out about a patient’s eating habits and to identify where to start changing them, as the patient should not return to his or her previous pattern of nutrition. 

An end to excess weight Roughly 1.5 million people in Austria are overweight and roughly 700,000 are obese. Around 1 billion people worldwide are overweight, which is why the World Health Organization has classified obesity as a pandemic. Overweight is one of the main reasons for the development of edema. The accumulated excess fatty tissue allows more body water to be stored. Hence a first step in disease management should be to achieve an appropriate degree of targeted weight loss. In concrete terms this means that patients should plan to lose around two kilograms of body fat each month. 2 kg of body fat correspond to roughly 15,000 kcal. Hence they need to reduce their daily caloric intake by 500 kcal. Slightly more than half a pint of beer (0.33 l) and a small roll with slices of meatloaf contain 500 – 600 kcal. 

Complete article:

Wittlinger Clinic

Editor's Note: This article is for information only and posting of it does not constitute either an endorsement or rejection of the principles mentioned.  Please see your physcian before starting any type of diet, be it for weight or for lymphedema management.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Nutrition and Lymphedema

Nutrition and Lymphedema

Patients affected by lymphedema should try their best to achieve and maintain a reasonable weight in order to reduce the risk factors associated with obesity. 
Is there a Lymphedema Diet?

No, there is no special diet for lymphedema. Patients affected by lymphedema, just like everybody else, should trust their own judgment when it comes to the selection of of a proper diet. If there are no other medical conditions present, such as diabetes or heart disease, a healthy and balanced diet should be the goal.
An accepted approach in lymphedema management is to follow a low-salt and low-fat diet, which also positively contributes to weight management. A balanced healthy diet including whole grains, fish, fruits and vegetables and avoiding fatty foods, or those with high cholesterol will greatly reduce risk factors associated with lymphedema.
Many patients are under the impression that lymphedema may be positively affected by limiting the protein intake. This is not the case – although lymphedema is defined as an accumulation of water and protein in the tissues, it is essential to understand that lymphedema cannot be reduced by the limitation of protein ingestion. It is also important not to limit fluid intake in an attempt to reduce the swelling. Good hydration (water) is essential for basic cell function and especially important before and after lymphedema treatment to assist the body in eliminating waste products.
Read the full text of this excellent article:

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sugar and Lymphedema

Just as there was with salt, it would appear that it is becoming more popular to claim anyone with lymphedema should avoid sugar.  Also as was with salt, there is simply no clinical evidence that this is valid and that this needs to be practiced by lymphedema patients.

If you are DIABETIC, if you are one that reacts in any way to sugar, then YES, avoid it. 

If not, there is no danger is eating a small amount.  Moderation is the key as is exercise, overall diet and your personal medical situation.

And no, I do not eat that much myself, I simply feel before someone puts out claims or information, that information needs to be valid and based on evidence not conjecture, personal feelings, or even personal beliefs that are not born of evidence.

For further reading see:

Edema and Diabetes (Shows difference between edema from diabetes and swelling from lymphedema, how to know the difference and how to treat the difference)

These are interesting articles as well:

Is Sugar Toxic?


What is Sugar?

The white stuff we know as sugar is sucrose, a molecule composed of 12 atoms of carbon, 22 atoms of hydrogen, and 11 atoms of oxygen (C12H22O11). Like all compounds made from these three elements, sugar is a carbohydrate. It’s found naturally in most plants, but especially in sugarcane and sugar beets—hence their names.

Sucrose is actually two simpler sugars stuck together: fructose and glucose. In recipes, a little bit of acid (for example, some lemon juice or cream of tartar) will cause sucrose to break down into these two components. 
If you look closely at dry sugar, you’ll notice it comes in little cubelike shapes. These are sugar crystals, orderly arrangements of sucrose molecules. (cont on link above)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Introduction To Amino Acids

Introduction To Amino Acids

The twenty amino acids (that make up proteins)each have assigned to them both three-letter (can be upper or lower case) and one-letter codes (upper case). This makes it quicker and easier for notation purposes and are worth learning. The following list gives these notations along with hypertext references to download amino acid gif images and also interactive molecules.The format of the list is: amino acid name - 3 letter code - 1 letter code (reference to gif image, reference to interactive molecule)

Alanine - ala -  An amino acid, one of the 20 building blocks of protein. Alanine is not an "essential" amino acid. It is not essential to the diet, but can be made by the body from other substances. Alanine was discovered in protein in 1875. Symbol: Ala.

Arginine - arg - R - Arginine is not an "essential" amino acid. It is not essential to the diet, but can be made by the body from other substances. However, it is usually considered essential to the diet for children so they can grow normally. Lack of arginine in the diet impairs growth and in adult males it decreases the sperm count.
Arginine is available in foods such as turkey, chicken and other meats and as L-arginine in supplements.

Babies born without an enzyme called phosphate synthetase have arginine deficiency syndrome. Adding arginine to their diet permits normal growth and development.
Arginine is the direct metabolic precursor (forerunner) of urea  the dominant nitrogenous waste product. Arginine was discovered in protein in 1895. It is abbreviated Arg.

Asparagine - asn - N - Asparagine is nonessential to the diet since the body can synthesize it. Asparagine is important to the metabolism of ammonia. It was the first amino acid to be isolated from a natural source, asparagus juice (1806). Symbol: Asn.

Aspartic acid - asp - D - A amino acid that is not essential to the human diet, aspartic acid was discovered in protein in 1868. It has a role as a neurotransmitter. Symbol: Asp.
Cysteine - cys - C - Cysteine can be synthesized by the body and is not essential to the diet. Its key chemical feature is a thiol group that contains sulfur. This thiol group can combine with the thiol group of another cysteine to form a disulfide bridge, which helps structural proteins and enzymes maintain their configuration. Two cysteine molecules linked by a disulfide bridge make up the amino acid cystine. The symbol for cysteine is Cys.

Glutamine - gln - Q - Glutamine is present in plant and animal proteins. It can be synthesized by the body and is therefore not essential to the diet. Glutamine serves as an important carrier of ammonia and contributes it to the formation of urea and purines (which are essential to make DNA and RNA). Glutamine is broken down in the kidney. It was isolated in 1833 from beet juice but not synthesized until 1933. Symbol: Gln.

Glutamic acid - glu - E - A nonessential amino acid, glutamic acid is present in many animal and plant proteins. It is involved in ammonia metabolism and serves as a neurotransmitter. Glutamic acid was isolated from wheat gluten in 1866 and first synthesized in 1890. Symbol: Glu.

Glycine - gly - G -  A nonessential amino acid, glycine is part of many proteins, participates in purine synthesis, and is a neurotransmitter. Symbol: Gly.

Histidine - his - H - An essential amino acid, histidine is present in many proteins. Histidine is elevated in the blood and urine in a genetic condition called histidinemia. Decarboxylation of histidine results in the formation of histamine. Symbol: His.

Isoleucine - ile - I - A dietary essential amino acid, isoleucine is needed for optimal growth in childhood. It is one of the three branched-chain amino acids. Symbol: Ile.

Leucine - leu - L - A dietary essential amino acid, leucine is needed for optimal growth in childhood. It is one of the three branched-chain amino acids. Symbol: Leu.

Lysine - lys - K - A dietary essential amino acid, lysine is present in many proteins and is necessary for optimal growth in childhood. Symbol: Lys.

Methionine - met - M - A dietary essential amino acid, methionine provides methyl groups and sulfur for normal metabolism. Symbol: Met.

Phenylalanine - phe - F - (The human body cannot make it so it is essential to the diet.) Phenylalanine that is ingested is largely transformed (hydroxylated) to form the amino acid tyrosine, which is used in protein synthesis. Too little phenylalanine curbs physical and intellectual growth. Too much phenylalanine, as in phenylketonuria  (PKU), is highly toxic to the brain. Phenylanine was first isolated in 1879 and first synthesized in 1882. Symbol: Phe.
Proline - pro - P - A dietary nonessential amino acid, proline is a major constituent of collagen. Symbol: Pro.

Serine - ser - S - A dietary nonessential amino acid, serine is present in many proteins participates in the synthesis of purines and pyrimidines, and is in the active sites of many enzymes. Symbol: Ser.

Threonine - thr - T - A dietary essential amino acid, threonine is necessary for optimal growth in childhood but its exact roles in metabolism are unknown. Symbol: Thr.

Ttryptophan - trp - W - A dietary essential amino acid, tryptophan is necessary for optimal growth of children. Bacteria in the intestine break tryptophan down to compounds that largely are responsible for the unpleasant odor of feces. Symbol: Trp.

Tyrosine - tyr - Y - A nonessential amino acid, tyrosine is produced from another amino acid, phenylalanine. Deficiency of the enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase that catalyzes this reaction causes the genetic disease called phenylketonuria (PKU). Tyrosine is a precursor of thyroid hormones, catecholamines, and melanin. Symbol: Tyr.

Valine - val - V - A dietary essential amino acid, valine is required for optimal growth of children. It is one of the three branched-chain amino acids. Deficiency of the dehydrogenase enzyme for these branched-chain amino acids causes maple syrup urine disease. Symbol: Val.
Sometimes it is not possible two differentiate two closely related amino acids, therefore we have the special cases:
  • asparagine/aspartic acid - asx - B
  • glutamine/glutamic acid - glx - Z
Here is list where amino acids are grouped according to the characteristics of the side chains:
  • Aliphatic - alanine , glycine , isoleucine , leucine,
  •  proline  valine 
  • Aromatic - phenylalanine , tryptophan , tyrosine 
  • Acidic - aspartic acid , glutamic acid
  • Basic - arginine , histidine , lysine 
  • Hydroxylic - serine , threonine 
  • Sulphur-containing - cysteine , methionine
  • Amidic (containing amide group) - asparagine, glutamine