Category: Skin Care

Bread Flour Yeast Bakery Wheat Bake Food Dough

3 Common Yeast Species We Share A History With

Yeasts are better known as Man’s Oldest Industrial Microorganisms. History shows that our relationship with this Fungi-form is quite ancient. It is believed that “Man” starting using yeast way before inventing written text! Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics mention the use of yeast to produce alcohol and bread. This is over 5000 years ago. Back in the day, “Fermentation” was a mysterious magical phenomenon that left everyone in awe. Well, it is still is quite magical!
 
From what we know, most of the alcohol and bread was being fermented by natural microbial contaminants. These would get into the grains and fruits during the milling and juice extraction phase. These microbial florae would have included wild yeast cultures and lactic acid bacteria. That is usually found associated with cultivated grains and fruits.
 
Leaven when referred to in the Bible, is described as a soft, dough-like medium. A small portion of this dough was kept aside and used along with the next batch of bread dough. They were, in fact, keeping aside the culture of bacteria to kick start the fermentation in the next batch of growing medium. It was a practice amongst bakers to get hold of the yeast needed to leaven their bread from the brewers. This is how bakers contributed to the selection of these industrial microorganisms. This happened over thousands, if not millions of rounds of making bread dough!
 
 
Bakers continued this practice almost ritualistically, without really knowing what was going on. All that was until the invention of the microscope. It was only in the 1860’s that yeast was identified by Louis Pasteur. And for the first time identified as a living organism. A living organism that played a role in alcoholic fermentation and dough leavening. It was only beyond this discovery people started to realize that it is possible to isolate pure strains from wild culture. This pretty much set the stage for the commercial production of the baker’s yeast at the turn of the 20th century.

 

So, What are Yeasts?

 
Yeasts are single-celled fungi. They have played a significant role in not just the food and beverage department but also the health sector. Some of this yeast is responsible for the worst fungal infections humans suffer from.
 
Yeast is different from other Fungi in the aspect that most Fungi grow thread-like structures called hyphae. Though not every yeast species sticks this man-made distinction, most of them do. Sometimes there are fungi that alternate between hyphal and yeast phase to add to the perplexity of trying to classify them. Quite simply these fungi have been referred to as Dimorphic. Dimorphic literally translates to “having two forms”. These shapeshifting dimorphs are pretty important to us. That is because they are the root cause for several diseases humans suffer from.
 

Yeasts pretty much thrive in areas which contain simple sugars and soluble nutrients. Anything rich in sugars and amino acids aka the protein building blocks is their hangout spot. This is most commonly found on surfaces of leaves, fruits, roots and various types of food left exposed or uncovered. If you have paid attention closely to foods that start rotting, they always start rotting from the surface before moving inwards. Now you know why!
 
Some of the most common dimorphic fungi include:
 
Common baker’s yeast: Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Cryptococcus (yup! That’s how clueless we were when we named them). Specifically, Cryptococcus neoformans, a well-known pathogen to humans.
Candida albicans which can wreak havoc in those who have a weak immune system.

 

Baker’s Yeast

 

The Baker’s Yeast is one of the nicer yeast species compared to the others. This budding yeast has been part of the bread-making process ever since bread has been made. It is this yeast that plays a role in the dough rising as it ferments. Very similar forms of yeast are used in the production of beers, wines and various other alcoholic beverages across the world. A recent study has shown that this yeast has great potential to be used in preventive medicine.  

 

Cryptococcus

 
One species of this yeast is most deadly. Referred to as Cryptococcus neoformans. This pathogen is known to affect people with a compromised immune system. The condition is referred to as Cryptococcosis. About 7-8% of people who are suffering from AIDS in the US suffer from this particular condition.
 
Cryptococcus loves growing on “weathered” bird poop. Yup! One more reason to avoid those duck from those flying splatter bombers. This yeast at first affects the lungs causing a mild infection which soon escalates to persistent pneumonia. People were randomly tested across Britain, Australia and US for skin reactions to this yeast. And it was found that many people were unknowingly exposed to the fungus, but have not faced any negative effects. There are only a small number of people who are susceptible to this infection and where the effects are fatal.
 
For a long time, it was thought that these yeast cells entered the body through the nostrils. But lately, researchers have found that these fungi release tiny 3-micrometre spores. That is almost equal to 1/40th the thickness of a single strand of hair! And these tiny spores get into the system and start off the infections in the air sacs of the lungs.

 

Candida Albicans

 
This particular yeast multiplies most actively when the temperature is 37-degree Celsius. Yes! That exactly coincides with the normal human body temperature. It thrives in the mucous membranes of humans and other warm-blooded animals. More often than not, it causes little to no damage. And it can be extracted from the saliva of more than 50% of the people on the face of the earth.
 
It is only in some cases that this yeast becomes pathogenic. Once triggered into this mode starts invading the mucous membranes in the mouth, intestinal tracts and vagina. This often causes a lot of irritation and the body starts to shed the tissue. This sudden burst of activity and growth is set in motion by various environmental, health factors. It has been noticed that when the resident bacteria are not strong enough, these Candida take charge. And once they have a chance to do so, they multiply themselves to no end.
 
One of the most common examples of a Candida caused condition is a disease referred to as “Thrush”. The symptoms are usually white specks on the tongue and the back of the throat. It resembles the speckling on the bird’s chest, and hence the name. It is commonly seen in newborn babies and those suffering from AIDS or prolonged course of antibacterial drugs. It is a classic case of an opportunistic pathogen that needs to be kept in check with help from our healthy bacterial flora.
 
All in all, Yeasts have been playing a role in our lives for the better or the worse for ages. The more we are aware of these Yeasts, the easier it will be for us to harvest all the benefits and avoid all ailments caused by them.
 
Disclaimer: The above article is sponsored by Thryve, the world’s first Gut Health Program that incorporates microbiome testing and personalized probiotics to ensure a healthier gut, happier life, and a brighter future.

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Skin Issues? Make Sure They Are Not One Of These Conditions

Did you know that the skin is the largest organ in our body? Some even claim Skin to be the third kidney. That would explain why our skin is a window to our health. Our skin is like a large canvas on which our body expresses itself in various forms.
 
Soft, glowing, beautiful skin is only the side effect of maintaining a healthy body. And skin ridden with blotches, pimples, and blemishes is only a reflection of poor nutrition and hormonal imbalances.
 
There are hundreds of ways in which the body expresses itself through the skin. Some skin conditions could be clearly avoided if we kept an eye out, for ourselves.
 
Some Common Skin Conditions to watch out for!

 

Acne

 

Most people think that acne woes are something to do with puberty and the teenage phase, but ain’t always the case. At that age, acne showed up due to all the raging hormones. Besides hormones but there-there are other factors that could trigger the body into crazy-acne-mode.
 
Going to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne is one the most skin condition across the United States (1). Tens of millions of Americans of all ages experience acne breakouts. Acne vulgaris, quite aptly, is the term used by professionals to describe the condition. While there are various forms of acne, from black & whiteheads to inflaming pustules, all of these could be nipped in the bud if one just paid attention. There are two main forms in which Acne presents itself:
 
Non-Inflammatory: These could be either open or closed blackheads and whiteheads caused by debris that clogs the pores of the skin.
 
Inflammatory: These could be closed lesions also called papules or papules that rupture which is also known as pustules. Alternatively, they could be nodules that erupt below the surface of the skin. These leave behind the worst scarring.
 
Acne typically affects the parts of our body that are closely packed with oil-producing glands, such as the face, upper chest, and back. These glands are associated with hair follicles. They release oil aka fatty substances on to the surface of the skin through hair follicles. Acne is the result of oily skin, hormone fluctuations, poor diet, and bacterial infections (2). The best way to stay clear of acne would be to watch your diet, stay hydrated and keep your skin squeaky clean.

 

Actinic keratosis

 
Have you noticed crusty, scaly warts on your skin? The docs refer to these warts as Actinic Keratosis or AK in short. It is believed that recurring exposure to UV or ultraviolet radiation and tanning beds are the main cause of Actinic Keratosis. These are usually found on the lips, ears, back of the hands, forearms, neck, scalp, and face.
 
This is one such condition where you feel it before you see it. Way before there are any changes in the way the skin looks you will be able to feel a sandpaper texture over the region. Over time, when it gets worse, you see that the skin near the lesion has pigmentation alterations. At times it becomes yellow or pale in color, with some areas becoming darker, having deep wrinkles and a coarse, dry texture.
 
This is one skin condition you really need to keep your eyes open for because these warts are at times precursors to cancer (3). So make sure you feel yourself up just to be on the safer side!

 

Eczema

 
Eczema is a term used to describe a range of skin ailments. The symptoms usually inflamed, rough, red and itchy skin which usually results in blisters.
 
Over 10% of the population of the United States has some form of eczema (4). A few of us are able to outgrow this condition as children while some retain the condition through adulthood. Eczema is more frequently seen in kids as opposed to adults and symptoms vary with the age. One common symptom of the various forms of eczema is recurring skin itching.
 
Eczema could be at times be the body’s response to foods such as nuts or dairy products (5). Eczema could also be triggered by other factors such as smoke or pollen. The next time you have recurring bouts of itching, remember that it could be more than just an itch.

 

Non-cancerous skin growths

 
More often than not we have tiny little growths on our skin that serve no purpose at all. These are referred to as non-cancerous skin growths or benign tumors. They are quite harmless when they are not pressing against vital structures such as blood vessels or nerves. And depending on where they occur they at times need treatment and sometimes don’t.
 
There are a number of coinciding factors that contribute to such growths such as:
 
Toxins present in the environment
Exposure to radiation
Bad-luck Genetics
Diet and lifestyle practices
Physical, mental or emotional stress
Local trauma or injury
Skin infections
 
Either way, it is best to make sure these are checked by a physician at the earliest stage. In all such cases, one must keep in mind that ignorance isn’t bliss.

 

Hair and nail disorders

 

Our hair and nails do not have a mind of their own, they are very much a part of our skin. Both these keratin-based skin appendages hold a number of clues to our health and well-being. Strong, thick, lustrous hair and healthy nails are only a by-product of a healthy physical body.
 
Hair may thin or fall out, break off or just grow slow. Besides just the hair itself changing form, there are times when the scalp may have itching or flaky dandruff. All these are little signals that we need to pay attention to in order to keep ourselves fit as a fiddle.
 
Always watch out for tiny changes in the color, shape of nails. These minor charges are usually indicative of problems related to various organ systems. Like for example, changes in the color of the nails are indicative of problems related to the liver and kidney. Nails at times also show abnormalities in shape or structural problems such as ingrown toenails or warts.
 
Keeping our hair and nails dry, clean, and well-groomed is the best way to avoid most of these issues.
 
So make sure to keep your mirror close and your hands busy just so that you are able to nip these little issues in the bud.
 
Disclaimer: The above article is sponsored by Thryve, the world’s first Gut Health Program that incorporates microbiome testing and personalized probiotics to ensure a healthier gut, happier life, and a brighter future.

 

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The Good, The Bad and The Acne — The Skin Microbiota

By Ericca Steele
 

Acne is the most common skin disease among Americans affecting 80%-85% of the population, largely being adolescents. It’s safe to say that there is no magic cure that works for everyone — I’ve spent a fortune on beauty products and medications over the years looking for the answer myself (Sorry, I don’t have it yet).
 
But, let’s get to the nitty-gritty. Just as the gut is made up of good and bad bacteria, research suggests that the population of these bacteria is also different among people that suffer from skin diseases such as acne, rosacea, and eczema [1]. However, acne is a complex skin disease with bacteria being only one of several factors (e.g. environment, diet, hormonal status) involved.
 
Previous research has shown that, in general, there are 4 main phyla of bacteria present on the skin (Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, and Bacteroidetes) [2]. A recent investigation conducted metagenomic shotgun sequencing to discover the role of the skin microbiome in skin health using acne as a model disease. The sampling of these individuals revealed that these 4 main phyla of bacteria were present with the addition of Cyanobacteria. The testing showed that these bacteria differed in abundance for individuals who had healthy skin and those affected by acne. These comparisons included testing the bacteria present on adults over the age of 55 (rarely known to have acne) as a control, and groups of young adults that had healthy skin compared to those that suffered from acne.
 
In this case, the composition of the skin microbiota varied between individuals (just like other areas of the microbiome). However, there were significant differences in presence of certain species and strains among individuals with healthy skin and those with acne. Individuals with healthy skin were found to have greater abundances of P.acnes and P.granulosum, suggesting these strains may contribute to maintaining healthy skin [3]. Research of the microbiome is increasing and although cannot be used as a diagnosis for skin disease, it points to the potential for further discovery of the role the microbiome plays and the use of probiotics to maintain healthy skin. This study analyzed several other elements beyond the role of bacteria and you can access the research in its entirety here.
 
As the study of the microbiome is steadily increasing, more companies are looking into developing products for balancing bacteria throughout the body. Specifically, companies such as AOBiome, TULA, and NERD skincare (just to name a few) are researching the skin microbiome and developing topical products to increase levels of “good bacteria” in order to maintain healthy skin.
 
We are excited about these new developments in the industry — at Thryve we envision a future in developing a variety of custom-made products focused on all areas of the microbiome.
 
Disclaimer: The above article is sponsored by Thryve, the world’s first Gut Health Program that incorporates microbiome testing and personalized probiotics to ensure a healthier gut, happier life, and a brighter future.

 

Click Here To View Resources

Resources

 
[1] Grice, E. A. (2014, June). The skin microbiome: potential for novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to cutaneous disease. Retrieved February 22, 2017, from https:// www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4425451/.
 
[2] Hannigan, G., & Grice, E. (2013, December 1). Microbial ecology of the skin in the era of metagenomics and molecular microbiology. Retrieved February 22, 2017, from https:// www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24296350/.
 
[3] Barnard, E., Shi, B., Kang, D., Craft, N., & Li, H. (2016, December 21). The balance of metagenomic elements shapes the skin microbiome in acne and health. Retrieved February 22, 2017, from http://www.nature.com/articles/srep39491.
 

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