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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!

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2011-04-29

Vitamin K Deficiency Linked to Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Vitamin K crystals
With all the buzz surrounding vitamin K (special thanks to the calcium causing heart attacks study), more and more people are becoming interested in how to measure vitamin K status. In fact, I just had this discussion with a colleague yesterday, and as you'll see in the study I cover today, vitamin K status is measured somewhat indirectly by measuring the levels of uncarboxylated (inactive) osteocalcin. Remember, osteocalcin is the vitamin K-dependant protein produced in the bones, so by measuring levels of this, we can gauge how deficient someone is in vitamin K. If you want more on this, read the post where I covered vitamin K and osteocalcin.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic inflammatory process in the digestive tract and patients with IBD develop osteopenia (low bone mineral density, but not yet osteoporosis). Although vitamins K and D are important for maintaining bone health and inhibiting inflammation, their roles in patients with IBD are not clear. So these researchers investigated the roles of vitamins K and D in the bone health and inflammation in patients with IBD...but I'll just focus on the vitamin K results here.

For this study 87 patients with inflammatory bowel disease (47 with Crohn's disease and 40 with ulcerative colitis) were selected. What was found was that serum undercarboxylated osteocalcin levels were significantly higher in patients with Crohn's disease, suggesting bone vitamin K insufficiency, and this was associated with clinical activity index of Crohn's disease.

The authors conclude, "Vitamins K...[is] insufficient in patients with IBD. Insufficiency of vitamin K is suggested to be associated with inflammatory processes of Crohn's disease."

Again, expect to hear more about this essential, but under-rated, nutrient. In relation to vitamin D's rise to fame, vitamin K is closely mimicking D's footsteps. If you're not already taking vitamin K supplements, you probably will be in the coming years -- just as most of you are now likely taking vitamin D supplements on a regular basis.

Related posts:

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Source: Association of vitamin K deficiency with bone metabolism and inflammatory bowel disease

2011-04-28

Vitamins and Minerals for Diabetic Neuropathy

Again, let's skip the fluff and get down to business...

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial involving 67 type 2 diabetic patients, supplementation with a combination of vitamins and minerals was found to be associated with a significant reduction in neuropathic symptoms.

Subjects who received the following for a period of 4 months were found to have a reduction in neuropathic symptoms from 3.96 to 1.0:
  • 20 mg/d zinc
  • 250 mg/d magnesium
  • 200 mg/d vitamin C
  • 100 mg/d vitamin E
Those who received the nutrients above plus the following were found to have a reduction in neuropathic symptoms from 3.45 to 0.64, over the course of 4 months:
  • 10 mg/d vitamin B1
  • 10 mg/d vitamin B2
  • 10 mg/d vitamin B6
  • 200 microg/d biotin
  • 10 microg/d vitamin B12
  • and 1 mg/d folic acid
These are all fairly modest doses, and most of these levels can easily be met with a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement. Recently I also posted a study on the need for a multivitamin even for those who feel they eat "healthy."

Source: Improving neuropathy scores in type 2 diabetic patients using micronutrients supplementation

In clinical experience, I've also had success with alpha-lipoic acid (using an R+, temperature-stabilized, sustained-release formula). Something else to consider.

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2011-04-27

CoQ10 for Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Just straight to business for this post...
Fibromyalgia trigger-points

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an essential component in the biochemical chain that produces energy, and the reduced form (ubiquinol) is a strong fat-soluble antioxidant. Low CoQ10 levels have been detected in fibromyalgia patients.

The purpose of this new study was to assess the effect of CoQ10 on symptoms of five patients with fibromyalgia. So yes, this was a very small study, but may help set-up the basis for larger, better quality studies on fibromyalgia in the future.

The results showed that, in patients with CoQ10 deficiency, a statistically significant reduction of symptoms occurred after 9 months of treatment with CoQ10 (300 mg/day). The researchers suggest that determination of CoQ10 deficiency and consequent supplementation in fibromyalgia patients may result in clinical improvement.

Other posts discussing new CoQ10 studies:

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Source: CoQ10: a novel therapeutic approach for fibromyalgia?

2011-04-26

Do You Really Need a Multivitamin?

My first post since the Easter long weekend. Hope you all enjoyed the extra time with friends and family.

So, we all know we need to eat healthy -- ideally organic, but at least natural. For me, I'll eat anything that's healthy, even if it tastes bad. Then again, you can get away with the occassional great-tasting food that's unhealthy. But unhealthy AND gross?! That should be illegal.

...ok, I don't know where that was headed...so pulling myself back to the topic at hand...let's look at the newest evidence of whether even a "healthy" diet is adequate in delivering nutrients.

A new study demonstrates the need for (at minimum) a multivitamin nutritional supplement. This newly published ten-year study found that 50% of healthy Italian senior participants (aged between 70 and 75) were deficient in vitamins A and B2. This was despite no decline in caloric intake over the ten-year period.

The researchers also report that -- at the start of the study -- the seniors' intake of all vitamins exceeded the lowest European RDI (recommended daily intake). The only exception being vitamin B1, for which 44% of the men and 60% of the women were already deficient.

In summary, the researchers conclude, “despite an adequate nutritional/functional status and a total energy intake that could be expected to cover the recommendations for micronutrients too, a considerable proportion of our successfully aging elderly were already deficient in, or at high risk of becoming deficient in several essential vitamins. Multivitamin supplementation may be necessary, even in healthy individuals, to ensure an adequate micronutrient intake in the elderly.”

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Source: Ten-year trends in vitamin intake in free-living healthy elderly people: The risk of subclinical malnutrition

2011-04-22

Resveratrol Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Type 2 Diabetics

This new study on resveratrol is a human clinical trial in type 2 diabetics. In this 4-week study, Hungarian researchers recruited type 2 diabetics and randomly assigned them to receive either resveratrol supplements or placebo.

At the end of four weeks, results showed a significant decrease in insulin resistance in the group supplemented with resveratrol (in comparison to the placebo group). Discussing a potential mode of action, the researchers noted that since oxidative stress is “widely accepted” as a key driver in the onset of insulin resistance, the effects may be related to resveratrol's antioxidant activity.

They also discussed the observation that levels of phosphorylated Akt (activated) to Akt was increased. Meaning that resveratrol’s potential benefits are possibly linked to its ability to activate Akt phosphorylation -- an intracellular insulin-dependent protein that facilitates the uptake of glucose into cells. .

Source: Resveratrol improves insulin sensitivity and reduces oxidative stress in type 2 diabetics

Now one last note here before the weekend...seeing that today is Earth Day and Canadians have a federal election in less than two weeks, perhaps today is a good day to quickly review where the federal parties in Canada stand on environmental issues. The next federal government will make important decisions that effect all of our lives - whether our food cans will be safe from toxic bisphenol A, whether Canada will thrive in the clean energy revolution or remain stuck in the old fuels of yesteryear, and whether our drinking water remains safe.

Click this sentence to check each party's responses, which were collated by Environmental Defense. If you have grandchildren, kids, or ever planning to have offspring one day, you have a personal responsibility to help secure a clear, clean, and bright future for them...not a smoggy, brownish, hazy future.

Also remember, environmental health DIRECTLY impacts human health. It's not some wishy-washy indirect correlation. A = B. How simple is that?

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2011-04-21

Warfarin, Vitamin K, and Heart Attacks from Calcium

For this post, I'm not going to be discussing any new research, but I wanted to continue with the discussion from yesterday's post on calcium and heart attacks. The reason is, since posting that, I've had lots of excellent discussions with many people, and I thought it's only fair I share with everyone reading this blog.

Here I'm going to focus my discussion around the anti-coagulant drug warfarin (the main drug in the class of drugs called coumarins). Coumarins are "vitamin K antagonists" ...they "thin" the blood by inhibiting the activity of vitamin K (vitamin K is needed to activate certain clotting factors produced by the liver, inhibiting their activation causes "blood thinning").

However, by defiinition, vitamins are essential ...who's the genius that thought you can inhibit the activity of an essential nutrient and everything would be fine? Because sarcasm aside, nothing is fine with warfarin (unless you're tying to assassinate Joseph Stalin). But on a positive note, it does give me a great launch pad to discuss what happens during vitamin K deficiency (since warfarin essentially induces a state of vitamin K deficiency in anyone who takes it).

If you've read my last post on calcium building up in the arteries, you'll know I blame this on a lack of vitamin K. This is because the RDA for vitamin K was set too low to begin with (this follows the same story as vitamin D). The reason is that we initially thought vitamin K was only needed to activate clotting factors in the liver, but now we know it's needed in the bones and soft tissues (just like vitamin D was initially thought to only be needed to improve calcium absorption in the gut, but now we know many other tissues in the body need vitamin D). The RDA for K was set to be the minimum amount needed to prevent spontaneous hemorrhaging, so if you're just getting enough to satisfy the liver's requirements, the rest of your body will be deficient (i.e. bones and arteries).

Well, let's take a look at what happens in cases of vitamin K deficiency, and again, I'm using patients on warfarin as an example because the effects are exaggerated. This first image is a cross-section of the hip. See all the white dots in the image on the right? That's calcium building up in the veins and arteries. This is due to vitamin K deficiency (induced by warfarin, but could easily occur naturally over a longer period of time due to insufficient vitamin K intake).


You may have also noticed the density of the femur is significantly less on the right image (seems much more hollow). This is called the "calcium paradox"--where calcium ends up in the soft tissues and arteries instead of the bones--and it's related to a vitamin K deficiency.

No wonder why those researchers I talked about yesterday found calcium supplements cause heart attacks... to me it's almost obvious -- but in fairness, I research this stuff everyday. I wouldn't expect those researchers (who likely have very little, if any, real education in nutrition) to know this. Especially since they likely take a conventional/modern medical philosophy to their research (reductionistic). To them, they probably believe calcium (and maybe vitamin D) is the whole story for bone health.

Here's another image... see the dots called out by the red arrow? Yes, you guessed it... calcium build-up in the blood vessels (see how smart you're getting?). You'll also notice the density of the femur is significantly less on the right.

So just keep this in mind when you start to hear mass media sensationalize the calcium study and when you hear the researchers, who lack any real nutritional knowledge, suggest you stop taking calcium supplements.

Just make sure you're getting enough vitamin K and you're good to go.

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2011-04-20

Do Calcium Supplements Cause Heart Attacks?

It was my birthday last week while I was traveling, and in fact, I forgot about it until I started to get emails from Facebook letting me know my "friends" have posted birthday blessings to my page.

First, thank you. I truly appreciate the acknowledgement that I am a year older now.

However, please don't think I'm ignoring you. It's just that I haven't been on Facebook in years, literally. I don't know why, but I just can't get into the whole Facebook thing. I read a quote that summarizes: "Facebook is like jail -- you sit around and waste time, write on walls, and get poked by people you don't know." Well, maybe it's not THAT bad...but now you know why I may not respond through Facebook.

So, today I'm really excited because there's a newly published study I came across that blasts calcium supplements. Awesome! Why am I so excited? Because I get to expose how little these so-called educated researchers know about nutrition.

These researchers warn that the indiscriminate use of calcium supplements "should be abandoned," as their meta-analysis of 29,000 people suggests the risks of heart problems outweigh the potential benefits. This "new" data (but in reality, not new knowledge), published in the British Medical Journal, suggests that calcium supplements (with or without vitamin D) may increase the risk of heart attack by 25%, and the risk of stroke by 15%. The new findings back up the results of last year's meta-analysis that suggested calcium supplementation could have more risks than benefits. Here is a previous post where I make mention of the calcium study from last year.

When interviewed, Ian Reid, the senior author of the study said, "When we do the calculations from these 29,000 people, we find that for every thousand people we give calcium to for five years, we cause six heart attacks and we prevent three fractures."

Reid's previous study last year looked at calcium supplementation alone; however, since many people also take vitamin D, Reid and his team set out to see if their findings held true when this was taken into account.

Surprise, surprise! Of course, the results were similar...calcium supplementation increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Well, if you know me, or heard one of my presentations on the subject, you'll know what I'm about to say next. It's not the calcium supplements that are bad -- those at risk of osteoporosis, or those who have it, should definitely continue to take them. The problem is... yes, most people are not getting enough vitamin K, and more specifically K2.

Here's how it works (and again, you can post a question in the comments section and I can get into a lot more detail if you want), there are vitamin K-dependent proteins in the bones and the soft tissues, like the arteries. When these are activated in the presence of vitamin K, they can do their job with respect to calcium metabolism. In simple terms, vitamin K is what tells your body where to put all that good calcium.

Without enough vitamin K, your body will just throw calcium all over the place. When calcium is deposited in the arteries, it's called "arterial calcification," and this is now seen as the greatest predictor of a heart attack and stroke (more than cholesterol levels, blood pressure, etc.). This is called the "calcium paradox"--where calcium ends up in the soft tissues and arteries instead of the bones--and it's related to a vitamin K deficiency.

Osteocalcin is the protein produced in the bones. When it's activated by K, it pulls calcium into the bones. MGP (Matrix Gla Protein, the most potent inhibitor of soft tissue calcification currently known) is the protein for the arteries. When it's activated by K, it prevents calcium from being deposited into the arteries.

For this reason, it's MANDATORY for everyone taking a calcium supplement to also be taking a vitamin K supplement. Just the addition of this one essential nutrient, you ensure you're getting the most benefit from the calcium supplements, while preventing the negative side-effects of them.

Some "bone health" formulas will contain vitamin K, but most people just take a simple calcium or calcium-magnesium supplement. So make sure you check the ingredient list of your calcium supplement and if it doesn't contain vitamin K, go to the healthfood store as soon as you can and buy some K.

Update: Click HERE to check out the post on vitamin K deficiency that followed this post.

So, don't believe the hype. Here's an analogy to help you make sense of this... you buy a completely broken down car to repair, and think, "I know, it needs tires to run" (and you'd be right, partially). But you try driving the car and it doesn't even start because it has no engine or even gas, etc. It's obvious you need more than just tires to make a car go. Ian Reid`s interpretation of this would be, "hey, don't waste your money on tires...they don't make the car run." But without tires, you're not going very far...even if you've got a brand new engine and a full tank of gas. Get it?

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Reference: Calcium supplements with or without vitamin D and risk of cardiovascular events (full-text published study)

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2011-04-19

Folic Acid for Bone Health

I just got back from a week in beautiful British Columbia. The trip concluded with the CHFA (healthfood) show in Vancouver. It was a great show but I did one thing that made me laugh at myself...I remember reading this before and thought, "yes, I do that time to time"...and you've probably done it too.

You're walking down the street and suddenly realize you're going the complete opposite direction of where you're suppose to be going. However, instead of simply doing a 180-degree turn and back-tracking in the direction from which you just came, you have to first put on an act and do something (like check your phone or watch) and make some sort of arm gesture before turning around... just to make sure that if someone was watching, they wouldn't think you're totally crazy by just randomly switching directions. Been there, done that?

Well, now I'm changing directions for this post... we know that deficiencies in folate lead to increased blood concentrations of a compound called homocysteine -- which is known as hyperhomocysteinemia -- and is associated with bone disorders like osteoporosis. Although, homocysteine accumulates in the collagen in bone and contributes to decreased bone strength, the mechanism of homocysteine-induced bone loss and remodeling is unclear. Therefore, this new study looked to determine if folic acid (which can prevent homocysteine from forming) can improve markers of bone health.

While this was just a mouse study, keep in mind that the aim wasn't clinical outcomes, but an attempt to determine the mechanism as to how homocysteine (or folate deficiencies) can result in poor quality bone and fractures.

The abbreviated summary is that supplementation with folic acid reversed the bone-related effects of homocysteine such as decreased blood flow to the bone, decreased bone density, increased NOX-4 (a marker of oxidation), increased MMP-9 (a marker of remodeling), etc.

This is why you may notice certain B vitamins (like folic acid, B6, and B12) in some nutritional supplements geared to bone health (those that are more than just a calcium supplement).

So when you see these vitamins on the label of your bone-health supplement, now you "Know"...and a wise G.I. Joe once told me that "knowing is half the battle."

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Source: Homocysteine mediated decrease in bone blood flow and remodeling: Role of folic acid

2011-04-14

Zinc May Prevent Prostate Cancer

A friend sent this comic to me... good for a smile.

On a more serious note though, men should know that the incidence of prostate cancer (in men, obviously) is similar to breast cancer in women. We don't hear about prostate cancer as much as breast cancer since women do a much better job at the being the "squeaky wheel" and men's "macho-madness" discourages us from talking about it (outside of the fact that a physical prostate exam, for many, may be an unpleasant experience...however, some may dig it, although not quite enjoyable as a prostate massage -- but hey, that's none of my business).

So where am I going with this? Men, get your prostate examined...and maybe start taking some zinc supplements (consult your healthcare practitioner for an appropriate product and dose).

In this newly published population-based study (link below), high dietary intake of zinc was found to be associated with a reduced risk of death from prostate cancer.

There are also many other nutrients and botanical medicines/phytochemicals that are beneficial for prostate health -- with some good evidence to support their use in the treatment and prevention of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH, or commonly referred to as "enlarged prostate").

So men, talk to your doctor or qualified healthcare practitioner about your prostate. It's never too early, or too late

Source: Zinc and prostate cancer

2011-04-12

Probiotics for Weight Management

Before I get to the good stuff...some of you have asked what certain acronyms I've used mean. I guess I should start by apologizing for assuming everyone would know the more common acronyms (or at least know where to look them up). I suppose most will know the common ones like ASAP, AKA, etc.

However, the "newbies" may need a little introduction to "web shorthand language"...so in order to clear the air, here's a short list of some common ones I've used, will use, or commonly used by others:

BTW: by the way
IMO: in my opinion
IMHO: in my honest opinion (not as common, since honesty is implied)
FYI: for your information
LMAO: laughing my a** off
LOL: laughing out loud
OMG: oh my gosh (or God)
POV: point of view
WRT: with respect to (or with regards to)
WTF: what the f*ck

You can see a more complete list here, or look up any you come across at AcronymFinder.com

Now for that good stuff...today I've got more research to discuss on probiotics. The findings here are nothing new -- we've seen this before, but this is just a little more confirmation for a relatively new benefit of probiotics. Keep in mind that this was a rat study, but similar effects have been noticed in humans in previous studies.

According to results published in the British Journal of Nutrition, supplementation with a bacterial strain of Lactobacillius plantarum resulted in less weight gain, compared to the control group. Furthermore, rats supplemented with less friendly E. coli bacteria experienced significantly more body fat, compared to the controls.

The first breakthrough link between gut microflora and weight was published in Nature in December 2006 where researchers at the University of Washington in St Louis found that microbial populations in the gut were different between lean and obese people. What's more is that when the obese lost weight, their microflora reverted back to that observed in a lean person. 

Since then, there have been a number of studies showing similar effects (such as this study I covered in a tweet last year for those who follow me on Twitter). There have even been studies on pregnant women, which have shown that probiotic supplementation may reduce the risk of obesity in their children later in life.

Very interesting indeed since this suggests that obesity may have a microbial component. The plot thickens...

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Source: Effects on weight gain and gut microbiota in rats given bacterial supplement

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2011-04-11

A Bunch of Older (but Still Recent) Research

This post will be a bit of a mish-mash of various studies I've covered in the past via Twitter. However, since most of you reading this nutrition research blog are not on Twitter, I thought I'd do this one-time post to bring you up to speed on some of my favourite studies in the past 5 or 6 months. Here we go...

In October 2010, Osteoporosis Canada took a step in the right direction...they will now start to focus less on BMD (bone mineral density) and more on fracture risk. This is something I've been saying for a while now, and why I believe the best "bone health" supplements will also target collagen formulation. What's needed for healthy collagen? Proline, lysine, vitamin C, zinc, copper, silicon, etc. If you have no idea what I'm talking about... increasing BMD (which isn't that difficult to do), in clinical trials, hasn't resulted in a reduction in fractures. The thinking is that people end up with dense, but brittle bones. That's why healthy collagen is essential to bone health...it allows bones to have a slight degree of flexibility.

This study on pilots found that niacin (a form of vitamin B3) prevented DNA damage during flights. Cosmic radiation, jet fumes, etc... now I'm justified when people give me odd looks for downing a handful of supplements before flying.

It should be common sense by now that environmental health is directly related to human health as shown in this study/article as well as this one (I would recommend you eat organic to have an even greater impact). Now, an FSA report warns climate change could provoke unhealthy food choices (by making healthy foods more expensive).

And if your health wasn't reason enough to become a tree-hugger, this study showed traffic-related air pollution causes signs of skin aging (increased pigmentation & wrinkles).

As a coffee lover, this study was reassuring... the "EPIC study" showed coffee and tea reduce the risk of brain tumors. Let's go for coffee. Any takers?

Another reason to indulge...polyphenol-rich chocolate may reduce symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. Let's go for coffee...AND chocolate. That would be heaven.

In a study on probiotics, it was shown to have psychotropic effects...they not only relieved depression, but reduced anger, anxiety, and improved problem solving. Here's another one showing probiotics' effect on lowering cholesterol.

This study on CoQ10 showed it benefited those with hearing loss.

Vitamin D3 (at 4000 IU per day) improved blood sugar control in Type 1 Diabetics. Click this link to take you to the full-text publication.

Lastly, alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) improved endothelial-mediated arterial dilation in those with impaired fasting glucose. This is a tricky supplement though since most don't realise alpha-lipoic acid is temperature sensitive and should be stored in the fridge. My suggestions, look for R(+) alpha-lipoic acid (this is the form humans use) that's been stabilized (so doesn't need to be kept in the fridge).

Wow, you made it to the end of this post! Don't you feel smarter now?

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2011-04-08

Beware the Fake Blueberries and Meat Glue

If you haven't signed up for email notifications yet...what are you waiting for? Enter your email in the upper right section of this blog and never miss another post again. Ever.

Here's a random thought to start your gears... usually, in a family, the dietary habits and philosophy of the parents are taught and transferred to their children (whether the children follow is a separate issue). So then, the question is, do vegan moms breastfeed their newborns?

Another vegan question, this comes from a supplier in the nutritional supplements industry, not as a question that demands an answer, but a rhetorical question just to get you thinking. If vegans avoid all things involving exploitation of animals, do they also avoid organic produce (which typically uses manure as a natural fertilizer)?

Anyway, I'm hoping many of you reading my blog are already eating natural (at the very least)...and ideally organic. So this will not necessarily affect too many of us, but the video (link below) I just received is another example of the fraud that is ubiquitous in the food industry. I don't understand how anyone can think that these artificial chemicals belong anywhere in our food-chain.

NaturalNews.tv video link: Blueberries faked in cereals, muffins, bagels and other food products - Food Investigations

Lastly, since it looks like I do have at least a couple subscribers or regular readers from Australia, I'm posting this link to another video, that investigates the use of "meat glue" down unda.

FYI, I'll be travelling for work all next week, but I'll set up some posts to be published automatically throughout the week. So if you haven't subscribed to email notifications, check back regularly.

Stay healthy everyone!

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2011-04-07

Probiotics May Help Reduce Colorectal Cancers

LMAO! Check out this picture (right)...it's a cover of an adult film (I think). Who knew I was so famous?

I've heard all the jokes about Dr. No from James Bond (below), so this is something new.

Now, I guess all that's left to decide is what persona I'll adopt... pornstar or evil mastermind. Hmmm...

Ok, so today I just have another study on probiotics. This one involved 10 colorectal cancer patients and 20 healthy controls. Supplementation with Lactobacillus gasseri OLL2716:LG21 for a period of 12 weeks was found to improve the intestinal environment, aiding in the prevention of colorectal carcinoma.

Before the study:
  • levels of Lactobacillus detected were significantly higher in the healthy group (compared to the cancer group)
  • total levels of Clostridium perfringens (a pathogenic bacteria) was higher in the cancer group (compared to the healthy group)
  • the cancer group had alkalosis (higher pH in the digestive tract than desired), and the total amount of short-chain fatty acids in the stool was lower than in the healthy group
After supplementation with Lactobacillus, the colorectal cancer group showed:
  • increased Lactobacillus detection rate
  • decreased total amount of C. perfringens
  • fecal pH indicated acidosis (lower pH...a good thing for the intestines)
  • inhibition of synthesis of fecal putrefaction products
  • an increase in the short-chain fatty acid isobutyric acid
  • blood IL-1 beta and NK cell activity (which are immune-related) were significantly higher from the 4th week of probiotic supplementation (as compared to pre-supplementation).
The authors conclude, "A deterioration of the intestinal environment was observed in the colorectal cancer patients in comparison to the healthy controls, and the intestinal environment improved when probiotics was taken. These findings suggest the possibility of preventing colorectal carcinoma with probiotics."

2011-04-06

Whole Cranberry Powder Reduces Recurrent UTI

A few of you expressed how much you enjoyed the maple leaf stereogram... so today, I'm serving up an animated stereogram. Enjoy!


Did you see the story? Great! Now that I've reprogrammed your mind with all those subliminal messages...you are under my control. *evil laugh*

Read on...

In this new clinical trial on cranberries, researchers recruited 60 women with a history of recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI) and the presence of E. coli and currently experiencing mild symptoms of UTI. The subjects were randomly assigned to receive no intervention, or a low (500 mg) or high dose (1,000 mg) daily dose of a whole cranberry powder for 90 days.

At the end of the study, the control group did not show any changes in concentrations of E. coli, while a significant reduction was observed in both cranberry groups. In addition, 40% of women receiving the cranberry product reported complete relief and remission from UTI symptoms

Not surprising though...this is the exact type of cranberry extract I used when I formulated a nutritional supplement for UTI. Now, mind you, this was a combination product that also contained d-mannose, grape seed extract (which contains oligo-proanthocyanidins, or OPCs), a garlic extract (general anti-microbial), and a parsley extract (diuretic). The feedback I've gotten has been amazing.

In one instance, a woman who had just completed her second round of antibiotics, and continued to have all the UTI symptoms, decided to try this product (instead of going back for a third round of antibiotics). After only three days of this product, the UTI symptoms were gone! There have been a number of similar reports.

I'm thinking in a case like this, we're dealing with antibiotic-resistant E. coli as suggested in this journal article. Likely the reason why this natural health product worked so well where the antibiotics failed.

Source: Efficacy of a PAC-standardized whole cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) powder on UTI

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Genetically-Modified Cows Producing Human Breast Milk?!

No, not really. But that's what some headlines are suggesting...including the conclusion of the authors (which boggles my mind because these people are suppose to be "academics" and the simple fact that they even suggest genetically-modified (GM) cow's milk is similar in nutritional value to human breastmilk demonstrates their ignorance).

So what these "researchers" did was successfully produce healthy transgenic cattle that express a recombinant version of the human lysozyme protein (rHLZ).

Human lysozyme is widely present in human tissues and fluids (tears, saliva, milk) and it plays an important role as a non-specific immune factor and anti-inflammatory factor. It is an anti-bacterial protein that protects human infants from microbial infections. It is present in high concentrations in human milk but is found in only trace amounts in cow milk.

The researchers say, "Our study...describes transgenic cattle whose milk offers the similar nutritional benefits as human milk."

However, any suggestion of GM cows producing human breast milk is "utterly" misleading. The simple fact that these scientists are actually claiming they have found a way to produce components missing from current formulas reinforces the fact that formula currently on the market is far from being similar to human breast milk.

Human breast milk is already perfect...and free. Why are we still trying to replicate something nature has given to us with so much ease and grace? Humans...can't live with them, can't live without them. What's next? ...GM humans to produce cow milk?

Source: Bioactive Recombinant Human Lysozyme Expressed in Milk of Cloned Transgenic Cattle

2011-04-05

More Justification for My Coffee Habit

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Moving on to a random thought...is there alphabet soup in China?

Ok, now for the serious academic stuff...

Epidemiological and experimental evidence increasingly suggests coffee consumption to be correlated to prevention or delay of degenerative diseases connected with oxidative cellular stress.

This new human clinical trial has given more support to coffee's health benefits, where 3 to 4 cups of a coffee blend (roasted coffee with green coffee beans) over 4 weeks protected against oxidative damage to DNA, and reduced body weight and body fat.

While this study looked at a a blend that used green coffee beans (which is much higher in chlorogenic acid, which in turn is likely responsible for the greater effect on body weight and body fat, in addition to blood glucose control), roasted beans will offer similar benefits, but just to a smaller extent.

Source: Antioxidant-rich coffee reduces DNA damage, elevates glutathione status and contributes to weight control

2011-04-01

Maple Syrup and The Future of Food

I remember seeing this a few years back...fascinating, yet scary, and angering all at the same time. Now, I guess you can view the entire movie for free online. It's long (as movies are), but well worth an evening.

Free Documentary Movie: The Future of Food

So here's a new study on maple syrup...one of my most favourite foods, along with chocolate and coffee.

The province of Quebec in Canada leads the world’s production of maple syrup, a natural sweetener obtained by thermal evaporation of sap collected from maple (Acer) species.

Previously published studies have shown that maple syrup extracts have antioxidant, anti-cancer (antimutagenic and antiproliferative) properties.

This new study identified a novel compound (which they called "quebecol"...LOL, that's funny...I thought it was an April Fool's joke at first), which is thought to be created during the manufacturing process (in addition to 23 naturally-derived phenolics).

So enjoy your maple syrup (in moderation...it's still a sugar afterall, and just the mere presence of these healthy compounds doesn't make it healthy by default), just make sure it's 100% the real thing. Do NOT use the chemically-infused "table syrup" (which many -- to my agitation -- ignorantly call maple syrup).

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Source: Quebecol, a novel phenolic compound isolated from Canadian maple syrup

If you can see the 3D maple leaf in this picture, you win! If you don't know how to view stereograms, find out how by following this link: How to See Stereograms