ASK OUR DIETITIANS
Got a food question? We have the answers.
Q/ What is adrenal fatigue and how common is it? A/
Adrenal fatigue is a controversial syndrome that involves the reduced functioning of the adrenal glands, a pair of small glands located on the kidneys that produce hormones that regulate immune function, blood pressure, metabolism and other important physiological functions. There is disagreement among some scientists and medical experts about whether adrenal fatigue exists as a diagnosable condition – some say it is a real syndrome, while others say there is a lack of scientific evidence to support classifying it as a medical disorder. With adrenal fatigue, it is thought that the adrenal glands are no longer able to produce adequate levels of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, to support healthy functioning. The most common cause of adrenal fatigue is chronic stress. Common symptoms of adrenal fatigue include persistent, often intense daytime fatigue, lack of energy and stamina, trouble with focus and concentration and low resilience to illness and stress. If you suspect you may have adrenal fatigue or want to find out more, consult with your family healthcare professional or naturopathic doctor. Q/ What are soil-based
organisms and are they safe? A/
Soil-based organisms (SBOs) are a relatively new type of probiotic that contain different strains of bacteria than are found in the human digestive tract. SBOs are essentially spores that are made to mimic the ones that come from the ground. They are better able to withstand the acidic environment of the stomach to arrive in the intestines intact. Besides contributing to a healthy gut flora, studies show that SBOs are correlated with a significant reduction in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms and an increase in the production of serotonin (the feelgood neurotransmitter). However, there is some evidence to show that some strains can compete with gut flora rather than complement them. Other evidence shows that SBOs may interfere with hemoglobin production (which can impact the body’s ability to carry oxygen). They can also induce diarrhea and gastroenteritis in some people. Because there are very few human studies using SBOs, the jury is still out. If you do want to try one, make sure you try one from a manufacturer that produces its soil-based strains in safe, controlled environments. If you have any specific medical conditions, speak to your family health-care professional first about whether an SBO is right for you.