Welcome!


Thanks for visiting! My goal here is to discuss the latest scientific research to separate the good from all that "guff" in nutritional sciences and all aspects of human health. Because the more you Know, well...the more you Know!

Looking for a specific post? You can browse the Most Read Posts, the Blog Archives, or use the Search function in top left of this page. Thanks for your support and stay healthy!

Monthly 3D Poll

2011-12-30

Gut's Bacterial Diversity Linked to Eczema

Ok, last post for 2011. This study found that the greater the diversity of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, the lower the risk of eczema (an allergic reaction that manifests through skin lesions) in children.

It's believed that the greater number of bacteria an infant is exposed to in early childhood, the lower the risk of eczema. We need to be exposed to microorganisms to activate the immune system and allow it to mature. Interestingly, the rise in allergies and auto-immune diseases have a peculiar correlation to the rise of the anti-bacteria craze.

So, the authors of this new study looked to test this hypothesis.What they found was that infants with IgE-associated eczema had a lower diversity of the total microbiota at 1 month and a lower diversity of the bacterial phylum Bacteroidetes and the genus Bacteroides at 1 month and the phylum Proteobacteria at 12 months of age. The microbiota was less uniform at 1 month than at 12 months of age, with a high interindividual variability. At 12 months, when the microbiota had stabilized, Proteobacteria, comprising gram-negative organisms, were more abundant in infants without allergic manifestation

To paraphrase, the greater types of bacteria we have, the better.

Hope you enjoy the last couple days of 2011, and wishing you health and happiness in 2012...and beyond.

Source: Low diversity of the gut microbiota in infants with atopic eczema

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

Related posts:

2011-12-28

Proton Pump Inhibitors Linked to Pneumonia

Well, I've got some feedback on my blog as of late, and I guess it has been rather Christian-centric. So recognizing that the holiday season is not just about the Christians, I'm posting this video of everyone's favourite Hanukkah song. Better late than never.


Ok so, this new study is almost common sense stuff. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a class of drugs that prevent our bodies from producing stomach acid. They've been linked to a number of infections because our bodies' ability to destroy invading pathogens with stomach acid is diminished.

For this post, let's even forget about how our bodies need stomach acid to digest food and release nutrients our bodies need, or the increased risk of hip fractures (we need acid to absorb minerals, like calcium), heart problems, etc...

And since it's the holiday season and most of you are probably in no mood to read this stuff anyway, I'll skip right to the conclusion. Basically, this study found that the use of a PPI is associated with a 30-40% increase in risk of pneumonia.

The interesting thing here is that pneumonia affects the lungs. Typically it's gastrointestinal infections that result from PPI usage (like H. pylori, C. difficile, etc.).

Unfortunately, PPI drugs are among the best-selling drugs, and it's questionable whether they're even needed in most cases. But hey, buying more drugs employs more people, and getting sick from those drugs employs even more people. So overall, I guess it's good for the economy, no? Just not so good for all those altruistic people who sacrifice their hard-earned money and health to keep the economy running.

Source: Risk of Community-Acquired Pneumonia in Veteran Patients to Whom Proton Pump Inhibitors Were Dispensed

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-12-22

L-Carnitine May Reduce Inflammation in Hemodialysis Patients

Ok, so this is the fourth and last post in my L-carnitine binge, that commemorates this amino acid finally being legal for sale OTC in Canada.

In this study, researchers evaluated the effects of L-carnitine supplementation on lipid parameters, apoproteins and inflammatory and nutritional markers in maintenance hemodialysis (MHD) patients. Patients with end-stage renal disease on MHD for a period of 2 to 5 years were divided into 2 groups: the carnitine group received 1 g supplementation intravenously three times a week after each hemodialysis session, and the control group received no supplementation with L-carnitine. Highly sensitive C-reactive protein (hsCRP), total protein, albumin, lipid profile and apoprotein AI and B were determined at baseline and at the end of the study.

A significant decrease in the hsCRP levels was observed in the carnitine-supplemented group, which suggests that L-carnitine supplementation may reduce inflammation in MHD patients.

Source: The effect of L-Carnitine supplementation on lipid parameters, inflammatory and nutritional markers in maintenance hemodialysis patients (full-text)

This is also my last post before I take time off for the holidays. So I'll leave you with this video a friend sent...

Related posts on L-carnitine:

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-12-21

L-Carnitine May Reduce Oxidative Damage

So here's a study on L-carnitine for a condition that's a little more obscure than the typical health conditions I discuss, but I include it here to illustrate the breadth of therapeutic benefits of this amino acid. In this study, researchers investigated the relationship between butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE) activity and lipid oxidative damage in patients with disorders of propionate metabolism, before and after treatment with protein restriction and L-carnitine.

BuChE activity and malondialdehyde (MDA, a marker of oxidative stress) were measured in plasma of all subjects. The control group comprised of untreated patients at diagnosis, the treatment group received treatment with protein restriction and L-carnitne supplementation.

Researchers verified a reduction of BuChE activity as well as an increased MDA formation in the plasma of untreated patients.

Treated patients presented MDA and BuChE activity similar to controls. In these patients, BuChE activity was negatively correlated with MDA concentrations.

These results suggest that treatment with L-carnitine (and low-protein diet) may prevent this BuChE-related free-radical damage.

Source: Reduction of butyrylcholinesterase activity in plasma from patients with disorders of propionate metabolism is prevented by treatment with L-carnitine and protein restriction

To review the other posts on L-carnitine:

So BTW, today is winter solstice--the darkest day of the year for us in the Northern hemisphere. This means from this point on, for the next 6 months, the days are just going to get brighter and brighter. I'll take that as a reason to celebrate. Well, if you know me, you'll know I use any excuse to celebrate.  ;)

Correction (posted 2011-12-22): My mistake...today (Dec 22) is winter solstice. So tonight, I celebrate again.

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-12-20

Advantages of L-carnitine in Treating Hepatitis C

Yesterday, I covered a study that suggested L-carnitine protects mitochondrial function in liver cells. In my second post of my L-carnitine binge, researchers evaluated the efficacy of L-carnitine on alleviating anemia, thrombocytopenia and leukopenia, and minimizing dose reductions in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) in treatment with Interferon a (IFN-a) plus ribavirin.

HCV patients were divided into two groups over a 12 month period. Group A received Peg-IFN-a 2b plus ribavirin plus L-carnitine, and Group B received Peg-IFN-a and ribavirin. Red cell count, hemoglobin, white cell count, platelets, bilirubin, alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and viremia were tested in all subjects.

After 12 months, group A compared to group B differences were observed in AST, ALT, viremia, hemoglobin, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. In group A compared to group B there was improvement of sustained virological response, while relapses were also fewer.

The researchers concluded, "L-carnitine supplementations may modulate erythropoiesis, leucopoiesis and thrombocytopoiesis, and may be useful in patients treated for HCV. L-carnitine treatment may have the potential to offer sustained virological response while preventing over treatment."

So the last two studies I covered would seem to suggest L-carnitine could be beneficial to those with various liver issues.


Source: L-carnitine supplementation improves hematological pattern in patients affected by HCV treated with Peg interferon-α 2b plus ribavirin (full-text)

Related posts on L-carnitine:

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-12-19

L-Carnitine May Protect Mitochondrial Function in Liver

This may not be exciting news for my American readers, where L-carnitine has been legal for years, but in Canada, our regulations for Natural Health Products has just made L-carnitine legal for sale OTC. This is great news for Canadians since L-carnitine has so many therapeutic benefits. It's especially important to the mitochondria, and while it's not mentioned in the video I share with you today, it is a part of meat, which is our main source of this wonderful amino acid.



To commemorate this great news, the next few posts I'll be publishing will be on recent studies on L-carnitine.

In this first study I'll cover, authors examined the preventive and therapeutic effect of L-carnitine (LC) on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease type 2 diabetic mice. The mice were randomly divided into five groups: control group, diabetic group, pre-treatment group (125 mg/kg BW), low-dose (125 mg/kg BW) therapeutic group and high-dose (250 mg/kg BW) therapeutic group.

LC and ALC (acetyl L-carnitine) concentrations in the liver were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Liver weight, insulin levels and free fatty acid (FFA) and triglyceride (TG) levels in the liver and plasma were measured. Researchers found average liver LC and ALC levels were 33.7% and 20% lower, respectively, in diabetic mice compared to control mice.

After preventive and therapeutic treatment with LC, less hepatocyte steatosis (fatty liver cells), clearer crista and fewer glycogen granules in the mitochondria were observed. Decreased liver weight, TG levels, and FFA concentrations in the liver were observed after treatment with LC in diabetic mice.

Researchers assert that LC supplements ameliorated fatty liver in type 2 diabetic mice by increasing fatty acid oxidation and may protect mitochondrial function in liver.

Source: L-carnitine ameliorated fatty liver in high-calorie diet/STZ-induced type 2 diabetic mice by improving mitochondrial function (full-text)

Subscribers or regular readers of my blog may remember I covered another study on L-carnitine a couple months ago--this one being for autism spectrum disorders.

I see L-carnitine being almost as great therapeutically as CoQ10/ubiquinol. In fact, the combination of CoQ10 with L-carnitine makes a LOT of sense and the combination has been clinically shown to offer significant benefits.

An early Christmas present from Health Canada to all Canadians.

Other related posts on L-carnitine:


Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-12-08

Dabigatran May Cause More Deaths than Warfarin

Dabigatran (marketed in Canada as Pradax) is an anticoagulant drug (in a class called Direct Thrombin Inhibitors) and was approved by Health Canada (and other regulatory bodies in other countries) within the past year.

This new drug showed a lot of promise as a safer alternative to warfarin, which is notorious for a number of serious side-effects, many of them leading to death. In fact, I believe it was earlier this year that the Canadian Cardiovascular Society released a position statement now recommending dabigatran as the first-line therapy to prevent blood clots in those with atrial fibrillation.

Dabigatran was suppose to be safer--resulting in less major bleeding, and complications than warfari (including being easier to use than warfarin, which has many drug-drug/nutrient/food interactions, requires constant monitoring, takes up huge healthcare resources for testing, physicians' time, etc.).

I initially thought this was great news because, IMO, warfarin is one of the worst drugs to be taking, specifically because it inhibits the activity of vitamin K (read the discussion HERE). However, it now seems that the honeymoon is over for dabigatran. Recent reports are suggesting that the drug causes even more deaths than warfarin, and is now under a safety review by the US FDA.

In the big picture, dabigatran may still be preferred over warfarin (again, just IMO...though many may disagree), but it's definitely not good news for the drug.

Source: FDA Drug Safety Communication: Safety review of post-market reports of serious bleeding events with the anticoagulant Pradaxa (dabigatran etexilate mesylate)

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-12-05

Walnuts for Cognitive Health

Here is a great example of the Doctrine of Signatures in action. Since the walnut looks like a brain, according to the Doctrine of Signatures--which is a long-held belief/principle/theory common to various forms of traditional medicine (in which a plant's physical appearance gives clues as to its medicinal uses)--it would make sense that walnuts would be healthy for the brain. Well, this new study suggests that's true.

In this study, the authors sought to determine the effects of walnuts on verbal and non-verbal reasoning, memory, and mood.

College students were randomly assigned to two treatment sequences in a crossover fashion: walnuts-placebo or placebo-walnuts. Baseline data were collected for non-verbal reasoning, verbal reasoning, memory and mood states. Data were collected again after 8 weeks of intervention. After 6 weeks of washout, the intervention groups followed the diets in reverse order. Data were collected once more at the end of the 8-week intervention period.

Results showed that eating walnuts significantly increased inferential verbal reasoning by 11.2 %. However, no significant increases were detected for mood, non-verbal reasoning or memory in the walnut-supplemented diet. The authors conclude that "in healthy young adults, walnuts may have the ability to increase inferential reasoning."

Source: Effects of walnut consumption on cognitive performance in young adults

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-12-01

Diabetic Drug Increases Risk of Bladder Cancer

Here's a short "guff" post to start the month of December...

Pioglitazone is a drug indicated in multiple clinical settings as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes.

A recent US FDA safety review suggests that use of pioglitazone for more than 12 months is associated with an increased risk for bladder cancer. Observational studies and a review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have supported this conclusion.

The labels have now been updated to state that pioglitazone should not be started in patients with active bladder cancer and should be used with caution in patients with a prior history of bladder cancer.

Further, the new labels state that patients should contact their doctors if they either experience blood or see a red color in their urine. Patients should also be aware of other symptoms that might be due to bladder cancer, including new or worsening urinary urgency or pain on urination since starting pioglitazone.

Source: FDA Drug Safety Communication: Updated drug labels for pioglitazone-containing medicines

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-11-30

Coffee May Protect Against Endometrial Cancer


Coffee had been reported to lower levels of estrogen and insulin, two hormones implicated in the genesis of endometrial cancer, but since data on this link is limited, the researchers of this newly published study aimed to see if there is a connection.

The researchers assessed coffee consumption in relation to endometrial cancer risk in the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) with 67,470 female participants aged 34 to 59 in 1980. Cumulative average coffee intake was calculated with all available questionnaires to assess long-term effects. 

What they found was that less than 4 cups of coffee per day were not associated with endometrial cancer risk. However, women who consumed 4 or more cups of coffee had 25% lower risk of endometrial cancer than those who consumed less than 1 cup per day.

Tea consumption was not associated with endometrial cancer risk

I have covered a number of recent studies that has linked coffee consumption to health benefits. Here's some more reading/review for you...
Source: A Prospective Cohort Study of Coffee Consumption and Risk of Endometrial Cancer over a 26-Year Follow-Up

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-11-28

Omega-3s Prevent Ventricular Arrhythmias & Heart Attacks

A newly published study found those with diabetes who have experienced a heart attack may get protection from future ventricular arrhythmias and fatal heart attacks by consuming daily recommended doses of omega-3 fatty acids..

A group of 1,014 patients with diabetes, who had previously had a heart attack, was randomly assigned to receive one of four trial margarines, three with an additional amount of n-3 fatty acids and one placebo for 40 months.

During a 40-month follow-up period, the group that received the combination of all 3 fatty acids experienced an 84% lower incidence of ventricular arrhythmia-related events than the group receiving placebo. That group also experienced a 72% lower incidence of combined arrhythmia and fatal heart attack.

Personally, I like krill oil as my source of omega-3 EPA and DHA. Fish oils are great too. Just make sure you're getting a good daily supply.

Source: Related Events, and Fatal Myocardial Infarction in Postmyocardial Infarction Patients With Diabetes

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-11-24

Vitamin D Improves β-Cell Function in Diabetes

Recent evidence suggests that vitamin D (measured in the blood as 25-hydroxyvitamin D; 25(OH)D) may play a role in type 2 diabetes. Vitamin D levels are lower in those with type 2 diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance compared with those with normal glucose tolerance.

In addition, most prospective studies have shown a significant inverse association of baseline serum 25(OH)D with incident diabetes -- meaning lower the vitamin D levels, the higher the risk of type 2 diabetes. To date, however, the exact mechanisms through which vitamin D affects diabetes risk are not yet fully known, particularly whether vitamin D plays a role in insulin resistance and/or β-cell dysfunction, the main pathophysiological disorders underlying type 2 diabetes.

Therefore, this new study looked at β-cell function to determine whether this is the potential mechanism of action for vitamin D in diabetes.

Happy Thanksgiving!
What this study saw was that higher baseline 25(OH)D independently predicted better β-cell function and lower blood glucose at follow-up, supporting a potential role for vitamin D in the prevention of type 2 diabetes. 

This backs-up a couple other studies I had covered previously:
...and since in the last couple months, visits to my blog from the US has far surpassed my Canadian readership, it's only right I give props to my American readers and wish them a happy Thanksgiving!

Source: Prospective Associations of Vitamin D With β-Cell Function and Glycemia: The PROspective Metabolism and ISlet cell Evaluation (PROMISE) Cohort Study

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-11-21

How to Increase Vitamin D Absorption

Before I get into today's nutritional study, here's a well-written, comical analysis of the Top 10 inappropriate candies for kids.

Ok now, we know that fat-soluble nutrients, like vitamin D, CoQ10, etc. require dietary fats to be absorbed (and why typically these are recommended to be administered with food, which would have an appreciable amount of fat present). However, what's unknown is the influence different types of dietary fats have on the absorption of these nutrients.

Therefore, researchers sought to determine whether intakes of different dietary fats -- monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA, like those in olive oil, nuts, avocados, etc.), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA, like omega-3 fish oils, omega-6s like GLA, etc.), and saturated fatty acids (SFA) -- are associated with the increase in serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD, a measure of vitamin D status) after supplementation with vitamin D3.

Analysis was conducted in the active treatment arm of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of vitamin D and calcium supplementation to prevent bone loss and fracture. Subjects included 152 healthy men and women aged 65 and older who were assigned to 700 IU/d vitamin D3 and 500 mg/d calcium. Intakes of MUFA, PUFA and SFA were estimated by food frequency questionnaire.

The results found that the change in plasma 25OHD during vitamin D supplementation was positively associated with MUFA, but negatively associated with PUFA (an interesting finding that surprised me).

The researchers conclude, "the fat composition of the diet appeared to influence the 25OHD response to supplemental vitamin D3. Diets rich in MUFA may improve, and those rich in PUFA may reduce the effectiveness of vitamin D3 supplements in healthy older adults."

We'll have to wait until more studies confirm these results before we can really determine how much weight we should give this. Until then, continue to take your vitamin D supplements with any and all healthy fats.

Source: Type of Dietary Fat Is Associated with the 25-Hydroxyvitamin D3 Increment in Response to Vitamin D Supplementation

Related posts:

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-11-18

Lutein & Zeaxanthin May Prevent Cataract

Vacuums can buy happiness.
I had moved into a new home at the end of October, and the central vac at the old place was taken for granted. Since we had the central vac, there was no need for a vacuum, so moving into a new place without central vac, the dust piled up quickly.

Now, I just got our Nilfisk central vacuum installed the other day, and I'm starting to understand the infatuation with vacuuming. It's become my favourite household chore to do.  :)

I just want to cuddle my Nilfisk, just like the woman in the ad with her Hoover.

Anyway, enough domestic talk... this recently published study adds weight to the evidence showing lutein and zeaxanthin can reduce the risk of age-related cataract.

Oxidative stress (free-radical damage) plays an important role in cataract formation. Previous studies have shown that long-term dietary intake of two key antioxidants (lutein and zeaxanthin) may decrease the risk of age-related cataracts.

The aim of this study was to examine whether blood concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin are related to age-related nuclear cataract in an elderly population. Results showed that those in the highest tertiles (upper one-third) of plasma concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin had 42 and 41 % lower risks of cataract, respectively, compared with those in the lowest tertiles (lowest one-third).

These days, most people think "lutein" when they think eye health. What's great is that most lutein supplements naturally contain a little zeaxanthin. So you usually get both with just one product. However, there is also newer research suggesting zeaxanthin has its own benefits, so keep an eye out for more research on zeaxanthin specifically.

Here are a couple other posts where I've covered lutein and eye health...

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-11-11

Probiotics Lower Cholesterol Levels

A recently published meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials has shown that a diet rich in probiotics may decrease total cholesterol and LDL ("bad") cholesterol.

Researchers reviewed studies that investigated the efficacy of probiotics on the plasma lipid profile of subjects, and included data from 13 trials, that studied a total of 485 participants with high, borderline high and normal cholesterol levels. Cases were examined for mean net change in total cholesterol for those treated with probiotics compared to controls and found a change of -6.40 mg/dl for those taking probiotics. Mean net change in LDL cholesterol was -4.90 mg/dl, mean net change in HDL cholesterol was -0.11 mg dl-1, and mean net change in triglycerides was -3.95 mg/dl.

Results indicate that probiotic supplementation (or a diet rich in probiotics) decreases total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol concentration in plasma of participants with high, borderline high and normal cholesterol levels.

Since I've started this blog near the beginning of the year, I've covered numerous studies on probiotics. To read about the wide-range of health conditions probiotics have been studied for just in the last few months, search for "probiotics" in the top left of this page, or the top of the column containing the ads (just to the right).

Today is Rememberance Day...don't forget to remember.

Source: Influence of consumption of probiotics on the plasma lipid profile: A meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

Related posts:

2011-11-09

Low Water Intake Linked to High Blood Sugar


A recently published study suggests that drinking less than a couple cups of water daily may predispose to high blood sugar. This study found that over time, adults who drank less than half a litre of water each day were more likely to have blood sugar levels rise into the pre-diabetes range, compared to people who drank more water.

Keep in mind that this is a correlation between water intake and blood sugar, and no cause-and-effect was proven. However, a cause-effect is still plausible -- antidiuretic hormone (ADH, aka vasopressin) could be the potential link.

ADH levels rise during dehydration, causing the kidneys to conserve water. However, higher ADH levels may act on the liver, causing it to produce and release glucose.

The study accounted for intake of sugary drinks and alcohol, as well as people's body weight at the start of the study, their reported exercise levels and other health factors -- and the link between low water intake and high blood sugar remained. However, they could not control for everything, including generally healthy or less-healthy eating habits (as people who live healthier lifestyles usually have a healthier diet and drink lots of water).

I recently covered another study on water consumption and its requirements as we age.

Source: Low Water Intake and Risk for New-Onset Hyperglycemia

Related posts:

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-11-07

Niacin (B3) Being Combined with "Statin" Cholesterol Drugs

Here's a great video sent by a friend to start your work week...
Although lowering LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) represents the standard of current lipid treatment, increasing HDL cholesterol ("good" cholesterol) has generated increasing interest because of strong evidence that higher HDL concentrations is associated with reduced risk of coronary heart disease.

Niacin is an essential nutrient that has been used to lower cholesterol since the 1950s. In addition to its LDL-lowering effects, niacin is arguably the most effective agent currently available for raising HDL. I say "arguably" since in one study I've read, krill oil seems to have an even better effect (and is also much safer than 1.0 - 1.5 g of niacin, which is the therapeutic range to see the HDL benefits).

Big Pharma has been looking to develop synthetic drugs to increase HDL, without success. In fact, a number of them were in the clinical trial process when they stopped the trials and discontinued further work since the group getting the experimental drugs were experiencing a variety of dangerous side-effects.

Despite its long history as a lipid-altering nutrient, the majority of studies investigating its impact on clinical outcomes are from the pre-statin area ("statins" are the most prescribed drugs in the world and are effective at lowering LDL, but come with some dangerous side-effects themselves). Several studies have demonstrated a beneficial effect of treatment with niacin in combination with statin therapy on surrogate cardiovascular markers (e.g. carotid intima-media thickness).

Now, two large randomized trials will address whether niacin–statin combination therapy is an appropriate therapeutic alternative to statin monotherapy.

I've also heard Big Pharma combining statins with coenzyme Q10 (which is an essential nutrient that's depleted when taking statins), in hopes to minimize the negative side-effects of taking these popular drugs.

Source: The Facts Behind Niacin

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-11-04

Drinking Soda/Pop Linked to Youth Violence

Who knew cola was so healthy!
Health practitioners and Public Health advocates have criticized consumption of carbonated soft drinks because they fill people up with empty calories, sugar, and sometimes caffeine, but this newly published study suggests that the drinks also may be linked with violent behaviour in teenagers.

The lead author claims this was the first study to find this correlation, but admits the link needs more study, stressing that the sugar and caffeine content in the drinks were unknown, and that other factors not accounted for in the analysis (but related to high soft drink consumption) could possibly lead to aggression.

After controlling for sex, age, race, body mass index, typical sleep patterns, tobacco use, alcohol use, and having family dinners, the investigators found that high consumption of carbonatedsoft drinks was associated with a 9-15% greater probability of aggressive behaviours. Heavy soft drink use had about the same effect as tobacco and alcohol on violence.

The study found that teens who drank more than five 12-ounce cans of soft drinks weekly were more likely to carry a weapon and commit violence against friends, dates, and siblings.

The study also found a dose-response relationship, with the strongest association for teens drinking 14 or more cans per week (average of only 2 cans/day). Of those adolescents, 42.7% carried a gun or knife, 58.6% were violent toward their peers, 26.9% were violent toward dates, and 45.3% perpetrated violence toward other children in their family.

Interestingly, the study did not show a relationship between soft drink consumption and obesity, which has been shown in other studies. However, heavy soft drink use was also associated with other outcomes like not getting sufficient sleep and using alcohol and tobacco in the last 30 days.

It's definitely an interesting study, but I'm going to tread cautiously on this one. There are just too many unknowns in this study. I'm no fan of soft drinks -- let that be clear -- but this study would need to be reproduced by other researchers before I give it more weight.

Source: The ‘Twinkie Defense’: the relationship between carbonated non-diet soft drinks and violence perpetration among Boston high school students

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-11-03

Many Nutrients Needed for Bone Health

Well, as a follow-up to my last post on bisphosphonates, a newly published review states what we already knew... that for optimal bone health, many nutrients are needed.

I know calcium and vitamin D get most of the attention. Magnesium and vitamin K have also made inroads in consumer awareness in recent years, but there are a lot more.

The lead authors write, "It is possible that nutrient patterns, and not individual foods or vitamins, are important in bone health, thus explaining some of the paradoxical results related to individual nutrients."

The potential benefit of B vitamins are likely linked to their ability to reduce homocysteine, which not only has a negative impact on bones, but also the health of the cardiovascular system and cognition/dementia.

Vitamin C is needed to hydroxylate the amino acids lysine and proline to form collagen, which gives bone that slight degree of flexibility that gives it strength.

Many other nutrients including certain minerals are needed for collagen production.

And then there are all those nimerals that add density to bone, like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, etc.

Antioxidant nutrients prevent oxidative damage... and the list goes on.

This is important to recognize since most people think they can just take a calcium supplement and think they're doing their bones good. Not so. This is why I always recommend a true "bone health" supplement whenever someone is concerned with osteoporosis prevention.

Outside of nutrition, keep in mind that there are other factors (like weight-bearing exercise, not smoking, genetics, etc.)...so you can see how complex the overall picture is.

Source: Vitamins and bone health: beyond calcium and vitamin D

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-10-31

Bisphosphonates Linked to Kidney Damage & Death

Happy Halloween!
Osteoporotic fractures are a significant cause of disability and healthcare expenditures from postmenopausal women. The most commonly used drugs for osteoporosis are bisphosphonates, which inhibit cells called osteoclasts from breaking-down bone (a normal and necessary part of bone health, just not so good if the osteoblasts, the bone-building cells, are not as active).

Orally administered bisphosphonates (like alendronate and risedronate) have been shown to reduce osteoporotic non-vertebral and hip fractures, but adherence/compliance is poor.

Zoledronic acid is an injectable bisphosphonate administered every 1-2 years, which improves compliance.

However, zoledronic acid (brand name, Reclast), is now contraindicated for patients with low kidney function, according to a label change announced last week by the US FDA. The revision, comes in the wake of continued cases of fatal acute renal failure associated with the drug.

Patients who take zoledronic acid and have underlying moderate to severe kidney impairment are at risk for kidney failure — a rare adverse event — and this risk increases with age, according to the FDA. Other risk factors for renal failure are severe dehydration occurring before or after infusion with zoledronic acid, and concurrent use of kidney-damaging or diuretic medications

A 2009 postmarket safety review by the FDA identified 5 patients who died of acute kidney failure after being treated with zoledronic acid. Another review earlier this year identified 11 more fatal cases of acute kidney failure after zoledronic acid infusion, as well as 9 cases of kidney damage that required dialysis.

Well, there's some more guff for you on Halloween.

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-10-28

Doctors Discharge Patients for Refusing Vaccines

I haven't discussed any "guff" in a while, but here's something that's upsetting... 21% percent of paediatricians in the Midwest US said they've discharged families from their practices for refusing vaccines.

To explore paediatricians' attitudes about vaccine refusal in kids their by parents, the study's investigators surveyed members of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in 9 Midwestern states. The results revealed that the vaccines with the highest rates of refusal or deferment were measles/mumps/rubella (MMR), human papillomavirus (HPV), and influenza. The most frequently cited reasons were fear of autism, too many shots, and serious adverse effects.

38% of physicians in Iowa discharged families from their practices for continuing to refuse vaccines, compared to only 0.9% of paediatricians in Minnesota. Overall, 21% of doctors said they discharged families for refusing all immunizations.

Instead of pouting and discharging patients for something like this, why don't the doctors educate themselves on alternatives. Even just simple social hygiene can go a long way. What a bunch of pretentious *******!

Source: Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) 49th Annual Meeting: Abstract 634, presented October 21, 2011

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-10-26

Honey May Improve Postmenopausal Memory

A daily spoonful of Malaysian honey may help improve memory in postmenopausal women, researchers say in a new report.

In the study, 102 healthy women were randomly assigned to ingest 20 grams of honey a day, take hormone-replacement therapy containing estrogen and progesterone, or do nothing. After 4 months, those who took honey or hormone pills recalled about one extra word out of 15 presented on a short-term memory test.

"The immediate memory improvement in the honey group is probably best explained by improvement in concentration and overall well-being after honey supplement," the lead author states.

Source: Improvement in immediate memory after 16 weeks of tualang honey (Agro Mas) supplement in healthy postmenopausal women

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-10-24

Healthy Diet Reduces Risk of Depression & Anxiety

It really amazes me the lack of common sense sometimes in "educated" populations. Whoever says diet doesn't have an effect on health has gone completely sideways. Dermatologists are the worst for this. I don't know how many times I've heard them say that acne has no relationship to diet. Does that even make sense?! Your diet affects E...VER...Y...THING.

Anyway, here is a new study that backs this up for depression and anxiety. This cross-sectional study included 5731 men and women aged 46-49 and 70-74 years.

After adjustments for confounding variables (including age, education, income, physical activity, smoking, and alcohol consumption), a healthy diet was inversely related to depression and anxiety.

The authors conclude, "in this study, those with better quality diets were less likely to be depressed, whereas a higher intake of processed and unhealthy foods was associated with increased anxiety" 

This growing body of evidence hints at the possibility of dietary approach to preventing and treating common mental illnesses, including depression and anxiety. At this time, only about 30% of patients with depression respond to antidepressant medication, and a similar proportion respond to psychotherapy, claims the study's author.

She continues, "Given that the majority of mental health problems start before age 25, and the enormous burden of illness of depression and anxiety in young people, and given that nutrition is so critical to adequate development, we think these data have enormous significant implications for public health."

The same research team has applied for funding to conduct a randomized controlled trial of diet and mental health outcomes.

"So far we know exercise is a very effective treatment strategy for depression, but we have yet to determine whether dietary improvement is an effective treatment strategy," she said. However, she added, even in the absence of intervention studies, it is not too soon for physicians to raise the issue of diet with patients suffering from anxiety and depression.

...common sense.


Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-10-18

Low Omega-3s Linked to Children with ADHD and Learning Difficulties

In this newly published study, the researchers compared levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in red blood cells in children who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with learning difficulties (LD) and those without LD.

The results support emerging indications that LD children with ADHD may be responsive to omega-3 fatty acids supplementation. ADHD children provided blood samples and underwent cognitive assessments and parents completed questionnaires and Conners' Rating Scales.

Students with higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids EPA/DHA reported less anxiety and better word recall compared to children with higher omega-6 levels, who had measurable attention deficits that correlated to lower reading and spelling levels. 36% of the children with learning difficulties had lower DHA levels than those without LD.

Researchers conclude that suboptimal omega-3 levels may contribute to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and related developmental problems.

Source: Polyunsaturated fatty acids, cognition and literacy in children with ADHD with and without learning difficulties

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-10-17

CoQ10 for Brain/Head Trauma

In this new study, researchers analyzed the role of CoQ10 in the treatment of head trauma. This was only a study in rats, but does offer some compelling insight into a possible new role for CoQ10 in humans.

Administration of CoQ10 after trauma was shown to be protective because it significantly lowered the amount of malondialdehyde, a compound that increases significantly after brain trauma. CoQ10 treatment also showed various other improvements related to vascular congestion, neuronal loss, nuclear pyknosis, nuclear hyperchromasia, cytoplasmic eosinophilia, and axonal edema (in plain understandable language: the results were positive).

The researchers concluded that, "neuronal degenerative findings and the secondary brain damage and ischemia caused by oxidative stress are decreased by CoQ10 use...  These results suggest that coenzyme Q10 may exert a protective effect against brain injury related neuronal damage."

Other posts discussing new CoQ10 studies:

Source: Effect of Coenzyme Q10 on ischemia and neuronal damage in an experimental traumatic brain-injury model in rats

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-10-14

Vitamin D for Tuberculosis

I'm going to keep this one as short as possible. I'm away all weekend to Toronto for the CHFA show (Canada's largest healthfood food), so I've scheduled this post ahead of time (as I do with most of my posts).

Prior to our understanding of vitamin D's roll in the immune system, exposure to sunshine was used for centuries to treat tuberculosis (TB). At that time, no one knew why, but sun exposure seemed to help the patients.

Now this new study investigated the mechanisms on how vitamin D can help treat patients infected with the bacteria that causes TB.

Control of TB worldwide depends on our understanding of human immune mechanisms, which combat the infection. This study's results suggest a mechanism in which vitamin D is required for acquired immunity to overcome the ability of intracellular pathogens to evade our defenses and cause infections. The present findings underscore the importance of adequate amounts of vitamin D--whether through "smart" sun exposure or supplements--in all human populations for sustaining both innate and acquired immunity against infection.

Well, that's it for this week. Enjoy your weekend!

Source: Vitamin D Is Required for IFN-γ–Mediated Antimicrobial Activity of Human Macrophages

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-10-13

Vitamin D3 Helps Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome


Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) frequently suffer from metabolic disturbances, in particular from insulin resistance. Accumulating evidence suggests that vitamin D deficiency may contribute to the development of insulin resistance. Therefore, the researches of this study aimed to examine the effect of vitamin D supplementation on metabolic and endocrine parameters in PCOS women.

PCOS women received 20,000 IU of vitamin D3 weekly for 24 weeks (almost 3000 IU daily). At the end, 25-hydroxyvitamin D (blood measurement of vitamin D status) levels significantly increased, and was correlated with a significant decrease of fasting and stimulated glucose and C-peptide levels after vitamin D treatment. Triglyceride and estradiol levels also significantly decreased. There were no changes in androgens.

PCOS women previously affected by menstrual disturbances (30.4% of subjects) reported improvement of menstrual frequency, and those who were oligo- or amenorrhoeic at the start (half of the subjects) reported improvement.

These results suggest that vitamin D treatment might improve glucose metabolism and menstrual frequency in PCOS women

Source: Effect of vitamin D3 treatment on glucose metabolism and menstrual frequency in PCOS women-a pilot study

Related posts:
Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-10-12

L-Carnitine Helps Treat Autism Spectrum Disorders

Previously, L-carnitine was proposed as a potential treatment for patients diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to improve mitochondrial dysfunction, but no prior randomized controlled trials had been conducted.

This is the basis behind why this study was conducted. Subjects diagnosed with an ASD were randomly assigned to receive a standardized regimen of L-carnitine 50 mg L-carnitine/kg bodyweight/day) or placebo for 3 months.

Measures included changes in professionally completed Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS), hand muscle testing, and modified (CGI) forms; parent completed (ATEC), treatment adherence measurement (TAM), frequency and intensity of side effect rating (FISER)/global rating of side effect burden (GRSEB)/patient report of incidence of side effects (PRISE) forms; and lab testing.

After 3 months, the L-carnitine group showed significant improvements in Childhood Autism Rating Scale, clinical global impression, and Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist scores. Significant correlations between changes in serum free-carnitine levels and positive clinical changes were observed for hand muscle strength, cognitive scores, and Childhood Autism Rating Scale scores. Study subjects were protocol-compliant (average adherence was >85%) and the L-carnitine therapy was generally well-tolerated.

Source: A prospective double-blind, randomized clinical trial of levocarnitine to treat autism spectrum disorders

Judging by the proposed mechanism of action (improving mitochondrial dysfunction), I'd say another essential therapeutic agents would include CoQ10 (ideally ubiquinol), magnesium, a B-complex (especially B1 and B2), alpha-lipoic acid (stabilized), creatine monohydrate, L-arginine, and D-ribose... all in a daily cocktail to help the mitochondria function as efficiently as possible.

Related posts on L-carnitine:

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-10-11

Coffee Polyphenols Benefit Post-Meal Sugar & Fat Metabolism

Postprandial (the time period after a meal) energy metabolism, including postprandial hyperglycaemia, hyperinsulinaemia and hyperlipidaemia (the increase in blood sugar, insulin, and fats after eating) is related to the risk for developing obesity and cardiovascular disease.
This new animal study on coffee examined the effects of coffee polyphenols (CPP) on postprandial carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, and whole-body oxidation.

In mice that co-ingested CPP with a lipid–carbohydrate (sucrose or starch)-mixed emulsion, the respiratory quotient determined by indirect calorimetry was significantly lower than that in control mice, whereas there was no difference in VO2 (energy expenditure), indicating that CPP modulates postprandial energy partitioning. CPP also suppressed postprandial increases in plasma glucose, insulin, glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide and triglyceride levels.

Inhibition experiments on digestive enzymes revealed that CPP inhibits maltase and sucrase, and, to a lesser extent, pancreatic lipase in a concentration-dependent manner.

These results suggest that CPP modulates whole-body substrate oxidation by suppressing postprandial hyperglycaemia and hyperinsulinaemia, and these effects are mediated by inhibiting digestive enzymes.

Source: Coffee polyphenols modulate whole-body substrate oxidation and suppress postprandial hyperglycaemia, hyperinsulinaemia and hyperlipidaemia

As the regular readers or subscribers know, I've covered a number of coffee studies in the last few months. For further reading, here are some other studies I've covered on coffee:
Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-10-07

N-Acetyl-Glucosamine May Stop Multiple Sclerosis

Before I get to today's study, take a look at this article regarding the new crime bill our Canadian Conservative government, under Stephen Harper (AKA. a smarter version of George W. Bush, for those unfamiliar with Canadian politics) is about to push through into law.
Potheads Fare Worse Than Child Rapists in Canadian Crime Bill

On the way to the office earlier this week, one of the radio stations I listen to while driving had Theo Fleury as their guest, who said current stats show 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually molested by the time they're 18 years old.
...and Stephen Harper is more worried about a relatively benign botanical that actually has incredible medicinal properties, than protecting children. Fail.

Ok, now...

Current treatments and emerging oral therapies for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) are limited by ineffectiveness, cost and/or toxicity. Genetic and environmental factors alter the branching of certain sugars and result in T cell hyperactivity,  which promotes spontaneous inflammatory demyelination and neurodegeneration seen in MS. The compound N-acetylglucosamine (NAG) enhances branching and inhibits T cell activity.

In this newly published animal study, the researchers report that oral NAG inhibits multiple mechanisms that lead to MS-symptoms, and as a result attenuates the clinical severity of MS-like symptoms and it's progression. The data suggests that oral NAG may provide an inexpensive and non-toxic oral therapeutic agent for MS that directly targets an underlying molecular mechanism causal of disease.

Source: N-acetylglucosamine inhibits T-helper 1 (Th1) / T-helper 17 (Th17) responses and treats experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

For my Canadian readers, have an amazing Thanksgiving long weekend, and truly take a moment to think about all those things we should be thankful for. For real.

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

Related posts:

2011-10-05

Fermented Psyllium Kills Colon Cancer Cells

Several studies have suggested that the partially fermentable fibre called psyllium (Plantago ovata) husk may have a protective effect on colorectal cancer (CRC). This new research just published studied the potentially pro-apoptotic effect (promoting cell death, usually in reference to malignant cells) of psyllium and the implicated mechanisms in CRC cells after its fermentation by bacteria present in the human colon.

The fermentation products of psyllium induced apoptosis (cell death) in all primary tumour and metastatic cell lines. These findings suggest that psyllium could potentially be a useful chemotherapy adjuvant.

These results also point to how important it is that we all have a good balance of probiotic species/strains in our digestive tract. In fact, as more research on probiotics' effect on nutrients comes out, I think you're going to see how important "biotransformation" is (where the bacteria chemically/molecularly alter the nutrients or other compounds which result in new beneficial compounds, which are actually the ones our health benefits from).

A quick aside here... one of the companies I used to consult for wanted to develop a ginseng extract using Ontario ginseng (AKA Canadian ginseng or American ginseng). In my research, I discovered that bacteria in the gut alter the chemistry of the ginsenosides (which are commonly thought to be the beneficial compounds in ginseng). It were these compounds that result from the biotransformation that elicited the positive health benefits of ginseng. This could potentially explain why some people get great health benefits from ginseng (or other botanicals/food) whereas others will not see much benefit despite ingesting the same thing -- perhaps it's their bacterial population in the intestines were different. Anyway, very interesting stuff. Hey, how did this post on psyllium transform into a discussion on probiotics?

Source: Stool-fermented Plantago ovata husk induces apoptosis in colorectal cancer cells independently of molecular phenotype

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-10-04

Water Requirements as We Age

A newly published study on water! I'm cognizant about the volume of water I drink and try to drink sufficient amounts every day. However, there's a lot of confusion around just how much water you need daily. This study may shed some light on water requirements as we age.

Mild dehydration, defined as a 1–2 % loss in body mass caused by fluid deficit, is associated with risks of functional impairments and chronic diseases. Since it's unclear whether water requirements change with increasing age, the aim of the study was to quantify hydration status and its complex determining factors from young to older adulthood. The data was then analyzed according to age-related alterations, and this was used to provide a reliable database for the derivation of dietary recommendations.

Urine samples collected over a 24 h period and dietary records from 1528 German adults (18–88 years; sub-sample of the first National Food Consumption Survey) were used to calculate water intake (beverages, food and metabolic water) and water excretion parameters (non-renal water losses (NRWL), urine volume, obligatory urine volume) and to estimate hydration status (free-water-reserve) and ‘adequate intake (AI).’

Median total water intake (2483 and 2054 mL/d, for men and women, respectively), decreased with increasing age only in males. Obligatory urine volume increased in both sexes due to decreased renal concentration capacity. The latter was balanced by a decrease of NRWL (primarily a decrease is perspiration with aging), leaving the free-water-reserve and therefore hydration status almost unchanged.

Calculated ‘AI’ of total water was the same for young (18–24 years) and elderly ( ≥ 65 years) adults (2910 and 2265 ml/d, for men and women, respectively). Take note of this, and aim to achieve it. 

The present study is the first population-based examination showing that total water requirements do not change with age although ageing affects several parameters of water metabolism.


Source: Water balance throughout the adult life span in a German population

Related posts on water consumption:

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-09-29

B12 May Help Prevent Brain Shrinkage

A new study suggests that having adequate vitamin B12 helps to minimize the brain shrinkage that occurs with aging. This is not the first study to find this either, and previously both folate and B12 have been found to benefit the brain in more ways than one.

This new study investigated the interrelations of serum B12 markers with brain volumes, cerebral infarcts, and performance in different cognitive measures.

Results showed that concentrations of all vitamin B12-related markers (methylmalonate, cystathionine, 2-methylcitrate, and homocysteine) but not serum vitamin B12 itself, were associated with global cognitive function and with total brain volume.

Methylmalonate levels were associated with poorer episodic memory and perceptual speed, and cystathionine and 2-methylcitrate with poorer episodic and semantic memory. Homocysteine concentrations were associated with decreased total brain volume.

The researchers concluded, "methylmalonate, a specific marker of B12 deficiency, may affect cognition by reducing total brain volume whereas the effect of homocysteine (nonspecific to vitamin B12 deficiency) on cognitive performance may be mediated through increased white matter hyperintensity and cerebral infarcts. Vitamin B12 status may affect the brain through multiple mechanisms."

Source: Vitamin B12, cognition, and brain MRI measures: a cross-sectional examination

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-09-28

Pea Protein Shows Prebiotic Effect

I was doing some research on a project and came across this article. Now, contrary to this blog's mission, it's not technically a newly published study, but since it was published at the start of this year, I say close enough.

Why I thought this was interesting is that when it comes to "prebiotics," I typically think of soluble fibre (or "fiber" for my growing American readership). This study found that protein isolated from peas (Pisum sativum), has a beneficial effect on the bacterial population in the gut.


As nutritional substrates, proteins are prone to spontaneously occurring non-enzymatic glycosylation (glycation, which is just the addition of a sugar molecule) which can alter their molecular structure, making them highly bioactive. This study aimed to determine the impact of glycated pea proteins on the intestinal bacteria from a healthy human. 

The analyses revealed that the glycated pea proteins affected the growth of gut good/commensal bacteria, particularly lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, whose levels increased significantly. There was a corresponding shift in the bacterial metabolites with increased levels of the short chain fatty acids (SCFAs); acetate, propionate lactate and butyrate. Such changes in microbial composition may beneficially impact the intestinal environment and exert a health-promoting effect in humans.

Source: The study on the impact of glycated pea proteins on human intestinal bacteria

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-09-26

Honey for Healing Wounds, Ulcers, and Burns


Came across this article recently published... but since I'm writing this on the weekend -- when I should really be packing like mad to get ready for a move next month -- I've just copied/pasted most of the abstract here...

The widespread existence of unhealed wounds, ulcers, and burns has a great impact on public health and economy. Many interventions, including new medications and technologies, are being used to help achieve significant wound healing and to eliminate infections. Therefore, to find an intervention that has both therapeutic effect on the healing process and the ability to kill microbes is of great value.

Honey is a natural product that has been recently introduced in modern medical practice. Honey's antibacterial properties and its effects on wound healing have been thoroughly investigated. Laboratory studies and clinical trials have shown that honey is an effective broad-spectrum antibacterial agent.

This paper reviewed data that supports the effectiveness of natural honey in wound healing and its ability to sterilize infected wounds. Studies on the therapeutic effects of honey collected in different geographical areas on skin wounds, skin and gastric ulcers, and burns are reviewed and mechanisms of action are discussed. (Ulcers and burns are included as an example of challenging wounds.)

The data show that the wound healing properties of honey include stimulation of tissue growth, enhanced epithelialization, and minimized scar formation. These effects are ascribed to honey's acidity, hydrogen peroxide content, osmotic effect, nutritional and antioxidant contents, stimulation of immunity, and to unidentified compounds.

Prostaglandins and nitric oxide play a major role in inflammation, microbial killing, and the healing process. Honey was found to lower prostaglandin levels and elevate nitric oxide end products. These properties might help to explain some biological and therapeutic properties of honey, particularly as an antibacterial agent or wound healer. The data presented here demonstrate that honeys from different geographical areas have considerable therapeutic effects on chronic wounds, ulcers, and burns. The results encourage the use of honey in clinical practice as a natural and safe wound healer.

Source: Honey for wound healing, ulcers, and burns; data supporting its use in clinical practice.
(full-text pdf article available by following the link)

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-09-23

Another Study Supports Coffee's Anti-Diabetic Effects

In previous studies, coffee consumption has been associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. The aim of this newly published study was to evaluate the effects of regular and decaffeinated coffee on biological risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

45 healthy overweight volunteers (who were nonsmokers and regular coffee consumers) were randomized into a parallel-arm intervention trial. Participants were assigned to consumption of 5 cups (177 mL each) per day of instant caffeinated coffee, decaffeinated coffee, or water (as the control group) for 8 weeks.

In comparison to the water group, results revealed that caffeinated coffee was associated with a 60% decrease in a compounded called IL-6 (affects glucose homeostasis and metabolism directly and indirectly). Levels of adiponectin (a compound that's important for insulin sensitivity) also decreased in the caffeinated coffee group, but not the decaffeinated or water groups.

...so let's go for coffee.

Source: Effects of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee on biological risk factors for type 2 diabetes: A randomized controlled trial

For other posts discussing coffee's health benefits, search for "coffee" in the search bar in the upper right-hand side (above the ads)

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email

2011-09-22

B5 (as Pantethine) Lowers Cholesterol

Pantethine is considered the "active" form of B5 (not to be confused with pantothenic acid, which is another form of B5, common in nutritional supplements). It's been used as an OTC drug for cholesterol for over 20 years in Japan, but only very slowly gaining acceptance in North America. Maybe this new study can help spur people to consider natural and safe alternatives to pharmaceutical interventions to cholesterol issues.

In this new study, two groups used pantethine at doses of 600 and 900 mg. At the end of the study, the pantethine groups showed modest decreases in LDL (4%) and total cholesterol (3%) over the placebo group.

Source: Pantethine, a derivative of vitamin B5 used as a nutritional supplement, favorably alters low-density lipoprotein cholesterol metabolism in low– to moderate–cardiovascular risk North American subjects: a triple-blinded placebo and diet-controlled investigation

Even though these results were statistically significant, I'm surprised at the results, and would have expected to see much greater reductions. According to a meta-analysis published in 2005, pantethine was shown to have much greater benefits, with the most benefit being a huge decrease in triglyceride levels. In this meta-analysis (which combined results from 28 previous clinical trials), results showed pantethine, after 4 weeks lowered LDL by 20.1%, total cholesterol by 15.1%, and triglycerides by 32.9%.

From my clinical experience, I'd say the therapeutic dose is 900 mg/day (I think 600 mg is too low), but that's just me, and the evidence does suggest some people will get results with doses as low as 600 mg daily.

Now for a separate discussion...

I've come across a number of studies in the last couple weeks, and I've covered them here almost daily. For those who subscribe by email, I want your feedback. Is this too much? I don't want to become a bother like some believe Dr. Mercola's emails have become (I get them daily). Keep in mind I only post when I find a new study...there have been weeks where I don't discuss a single study. Post a comment below to let me know your thoughts. I'm always looking for ways to improve this blog and make it more relevant.

Click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff by email