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!

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Gum Arabic Can Reduce Body Fat

Ok, so...if you're reading this, we made it! Welcome to the "other side," the post-apocalyptic world.

Despite a relatively long history of use in foods, the researchers behind the new study claim that gum Arabic has not been extensively studied in humans. So the researchers recruited 120 healthy females with an average age of 20 and a mean BMI of 26.5 kg/m2 and randomly assigned them to consume 30 grams daily of gum Arabic or 1 gram daily of pectin (placebo) for six weeks.

Results showed that the gum Arabic group had a significantly reduced BMI by 0.32 and body fat by 2.18% over the six weeks, compared to baseline levels.

Some side effects – notably unfavorable viscous sensation in the mouth, early morning nausea, mild diarrhea and bloating abdomen – were reported by the gum Arabic group, but these were only observed for the first week, said the researchers.

“A recent proposed mechanism by which viscous dietary fibers were found to preserve lean body mass and reduce adiposity is increased mitochondrial biogenesis and fatty acid oxidation by skeletal muscles,” the researches wrote. “Gum Arabic’s mechanism is not yet fully elucidated, because of a small number of conducted studies.

Source: Effects of gum Arabic ingestion on body mass index and body fat percentage in healthy adult females: two-arm randomized, placebo controlled, double-blind trial


Omega-3s Improve Cognitive Performance & Delay Onset of Cardiometabolic Disorders

Well, it's December 21, 2012... this could be the last Know Guff post you read...well, at least until next week.

A recently published randomized, controlled, cross-over study involving 40 healthy adults, ages 51-72 years old, found that omega-3 fatty acids improved cognitive function and lowered cardiometabolic risk factors after 5 weeks of supplementation. Subjects received either 3g daily fish oil or placebo for 5 weeks, separated by a 5 week washout period.


Zinc Improves Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C

I guess everything slows down during the Holiday Season, and that's true for the studies coming out. However, I did find this one on zinc supplements to share.

In a randomized, controlled study involving 62 patients with chronic hepatitis C (CH) or liver cirrhosis (LC), found that long-term zinc supplementation therapy may improve liver pathology and reduce the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).


Common Synthetic Antimicrobial Linked to Allergies in Children

Happy triple 12s! Apparently this is the last time most of us will experience another "triple" date. Well, not if I can help it. Keep reading this blog, every day, and I'll help you live until January 1st, 2101.  :)

Let's start with eliminating toxic chemicals in our lives. Triclosan is a synthetic broad-spectrum antimicrobial chemical used for more than 20 years to inhibit bacterial growth on skin and other surfaces. It's extremely common, and used It in toothpastes, mouthwashes, deodorants, soaps, plastic kitchenware. I remember even seeing this used in "kid-friendly" hand sanitizers sold through Toys R Us ("kid friendly" because it was triclosan, not ethanol, that was doing the killing).

However, triclosan is readily, and completely absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and has been found in human urine, blood, plasma, and milk. Previous findings from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys showed a link between urinary triclosan concentrations and allergies in children. This new cross-sectional study conducted on Norwegian children with asthma confirms the results of the US study.


Vitamin D Slows Pre-Cancerous Growths

We already knew from numerous epidemiological studies that vitamin D can reduce cancer risk. Now, a team of researchers from Canada said they've discovered a new molecular mechanism on how this superstar vitamin provides protection from cancer. They report that the active form of vitamin D (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D) acts to block cancer formation by several mechanisms that inhibit the production and function of a specific protein (known as cMYC), which is required for cell division.

The research team explains that cMYC drives cell division and is elevated in more than half of all cancers. The new findings, however, suggest vitamin D can alter this situation by not only inhibiting its production, but also accelerating its degradation. Vitamin D was also shown to strongly stimulate the production of an antagonist to cMYC, called MXD1, essentially shutting down cMYC function.


Potassium for Bone Health

New results from a randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled trial show that use of potassium supplements can help to boost bone mineral density and microarchitecture of bones in healthy older people.

In addition to supplementation with calcium and vitamin D, the research team found that those receiving the potassium had significantly increased bone mineral density and microarchitecture at a number of sites, including the lumbar spine.

While the benefits of potassium on blood pressure are well-established, this  new study offers an insight into the protective effects of potassium also on bone health. There are various mechanisms of how potassium can have this effect, but immediately, my thought was that potassium helps the body retain magnesium (which may also contribute to its blood pressure benefits). Magnesium is essential for proper bone health (and one of the best minerals you can take for cardiovascular health), and happens to be a mineral most people don't consume enough of.

By ensuring the body is supplied with sufficient potassium, it may help maintain magnesium levels, and if people aren't consuming enough magnesium, retaining even just a tiny bit more can potentially have great benefits.

This would be especially true for this study, where the participants were consuming calcium and vitamin D (since unbalanced calcium intake can promote a "relative deficiency" of magnesium). Ensuring a proper balance of calcium and magnesium in the body is important for many more aspect of health besides bone health.

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Source: Effect of Potassium Citrate on Bone Density, Microarchitecture, and Fracture Risk in Healthy Older Adults without Osteoporosis: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Related posts:


Curcumin as Good as Exercise

Well, not really. But this study would suggest that curcumin has a similar effect to exercise on at least one very specific parameter that was measured. In this randomized, controlled study involving 32 postmenopausal women, researchers found that both curcumin and aerobic exercise may equally improve vascular health during the aging process.

Subjects were assigned to one of three groups: control, moderate aerobic exercise training, or oral curcumin. The intervention period was 8 weeks. Flow-mediated dilation was measured at baseline and after each intervention. No differences between groups were found at baseline.

Compared to the control group, the curcumin and exercise groups equally showed improved flow-mediated dilation from baseline. Interesting? Hmmm...

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Source: Curcumin ingestion and exercise training improve vascular endothelial function in postmenopausal women

Related posts:


Study Reveals MK-7 is the Best Form of Vitamin K2

The results of a new study on bioavailability of vitamin K2 has added more weight behind the thinking that MK-7 is the best form of this essential nutrient. The researchers investigated the effects of a single 420 mcg dose of MK-4 or MK-7, consumed with a standardized breakfast in ten healthy Japanese women.

Results indicated that MK-7 was well absorbed and was measurable in serum samples up to 2 days after consumption. On the flipside, however, MK-4 was not measured in any of the women at any time, the researchers said.


Probiotics for Weight Loss

Again, I probably sound like Dr. Oz every time I talk about weight loss, but here's another study showing probiotics can influence body fat. This study was done by researchers from the University of Manitoba and McGill University in Canada and adds to emerging body of evidence supporting the effects of gut microflora on metabolic factors and obesity (follow the links below for more studies related to this).


Study Confirms Diet Influences Depression Risk

Can anyone explain to me why the *beep* we acknowledge Black Friday in Canada?! Black Friday is an American event! Not to dismiss or disrespect my American subscribers/readers, but just as Canadians don't celebrate Independence Day, American Thanksgiving, Martin Luther King's Day, President's Day, or any other American holiday, why are Canadians making a big deal of Black Friday?!

Black Friday has become the largest single day of shopping in the US, and it's due to the fact that the American Thanksgiving always falls on a Thursday. Employers often give their employees the following Friday off, which swells the number of available shoppers on a day that's become the unofficial start of the Holiday shopping season.

A lot of truths in Wall-E

However, most Canadians don't have either the Thursday (of American Thanksgiving) or Black Friday off. So what's up? I'll tell you. Most of the major stores in Canada are American-owned, and this is just another day for consumerism to thrive, regardless of the nation you reside in.

But I know...it's hard to resist those amazing deals! We work hard for our money, and we all want to save as much as possible. But most of us have been brainwashed to forget that the best way to save money is to buy NOTHING today.

This consumerism is unsustainable. Focus less on "stuff" and more on your health. And with that in mind...

A meta-analysis of 11 longitudinal studies involving unipolar depression and/or depressive symptoms in adults, between the ages of 18-97 years, found a link between depression and diet (is this not common sense by now?).

Follow-up ranged from 2-13 years. Researchers found an inverse association between depression risk and folate, omega-3 fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, olive oil, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes.


Calcium Supplements are Safe According to New Study

Here's another positive study on calcium supplements--my second positive post in a row on calcium. This recently published study failed to establish a relationship between greater calcium intake and increased calcification of the coronary artery (a condition that characterizes heart disease).

The study was conducted in almost 1,300 older men and women between the ages of 36 and 83 years enrolled in the Framingham Offspring Study (which includes children and spouses of participants in the Framingham Heart Study). The analysis found absolutely no link between calcium intake--from diet or supplements--and coronary artery calcification (CAC), a strong predictor of heart attack.


Calcium Supplements Reduce the Risk of Hyperparathyroidism

Here's another positive study backing calcium intake. A prospective cohort study including 58,354 females with no history of primary hyperparathyroidism, aged 39-66, followed over a 22 year period, found that calcium intake may be associated with a reduced risk of primary hyperparathyroidism in women.

Hyperparathyroidism is the most common cause of hypercalcemia (excessive levels of blood calcium) and the third most common endocrine disorder in the United States. When the parathyroid glands that secrete too much parathyroid hormone, the body starts to mobilize the calcium in the bones, which leads to increasingly poor bone density, and host of other secondary effects, like kidney stones, and increased risk of high blood pressure and stroke.


Ubiquinol/Ubiquinone Ratio Linked to Coronary Artery Disease

In a controlled study involving 77 patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) and 44 healthy controls, found that antioxidant balance and oxidative stress in DNA may play an important role in the pathogenesis of CAD. The comparative ratios of ubiquinol/ubiquinone, as well as couple markers of oxidative stress were measured.

Oxidative stress was was elevated in CAD patients compared to controls. The ubiquinol/ubiquinone ratio was lower in patients with CAD than controls (indicating lower than desired ubiquinol concentrations).

Findings suggest that the disruption of pro-oxidant/antioxidant balance and oxidative stress in DNA may play an important role in CAD (probably not anything "new," but confirms what we already knew, or at least thought).

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Source: Correlations between Oxidative DNA Damage, Oxidative Stress and Coenzyme Q10 in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease 

Related posts:


Fish (but Not Fish Oil Supplements) Reduce Stroke Risk

Here is a study that confirms what I've been saying for the last 4 years or so... benefits of fish oil supplements are questionable. Rather than repeating myself, non-subscribers or those new to this website can read my discussion in these previous posts:
This newly published study was a meta-analysis of data from 800,000 individuals in 15 countries found fish consumption was associated with a reduction in the risk of cerebrovascular disease. However, the results also indicated that the highest average intakes of omega-3 fatty acids from  supplements, only had a very small effect on risk reduction.


Vitamin D Helps to Reduce Body Fat

I always feel like Dr. Oz when I present research on weight/fat loss, but I'll take that risk since this is an interesting one. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group trial, involving 77 healthy overweight and obese women, found that vitamin D3 may reduce body fat mass.

Subjects (average age 38 years, average BMI 29.8 kg/m2) received either 1000 IU (25 mcg) daily vitamin D3 or placebo for 12 weeks. Body weight, height, waist, hip, fat mass, vitamin D, iPTH, and dietary intakes were measured at baseline and post-intervention.


Nobel Prize for Chocolate

It ain't rocket science. Chocolate = Smart. Simple.
An interesting new study found a "surprisingly powerful" correlation between chocolate consumption and Nobel laureates. More specifically, the more chocolate that is consumed by a nation, the more Nobel prizes awarded to that country.


Coffee Speeds Recovery from Bowel Surgery

Recently, I enjoyed Uranus.
New research on coffee showed that people who drank coffee (rather than water) after bowel surgery expedited their return to bowel movements and tolerance of solid food.

“Post-operative bowel obstruction is a common problem after abdominal surgery and the aim of this study was to test our theory that coffee would help to alleviate this” explained the study's lead author.

However, it is not yet clear how coffee functions in this aspect (caffeine appears to have been ruled-out in previous studies that also found the beneficial effects using decaffeinated coffee).

In this study, the patients were randomised to be given coffee or water (100 ml three times daily) after bowel surgery.


Vitamin K Reduces Diabetes Risk

A new study on vitamin K reveals that every 100 mcg increase daily consumption of vitamin K1, decreases the risk of developing diabetes by 17%. Comparing the extremes, the highest average intakes of vitamin K1 were associated with a total reduction in the risk of diabetes of 51%, compared with people with the lowest average levels.


Omega-3s May Slow Biological Signs of Aging

A new study has show that consuming omega-3 supplements for four months may help to shift the balance of fatty acids in favour of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to counter biological signs of aging. The majority of overweight, but healthy, middle-aged and older participants who took the supplements altered the ratio of omega-3:omega-6 in a way that helped preserve the tiny segments of DNA known as telomeres.

Telomeres within many different cells are known to shorten over time as a consequence of aging.
In this study, lengthening of telomeres in leukocytes (white blood cells involved in the immune response) was most noticeable in those who increased the omega-3 to 6 ratio the greatest.


An Apple-a-Day, Keeps the Doctor Away

A new study on apples reveal that consumption of one apple daily lowered levels of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL) cholesterol in blood by 40% after only 4 weeks.

Consumption of dietary supplements containing apple polyphenols had a similar effect, but its effect was not as great.

“Since both the apples and polyphenols extract gave an effect, the apple effect seemed to be due, at least in part, to the polyphenols present,” said the researchers. “However, the apple effect was greater than the capsule effect.”


Statins & Diabetes: Another Study Strengthens the Link

Statin therapy (e.g. Lipitor, Crestor, etc.) has been previously suggested to slightly increase the risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D). In this newly published study, researchers analyzed the use of statins (popular drugs to lower LDL cholesterol) and their relation to the incidence of T2D and changes in glucose metabolism among individuals at high risk for T2D.

The results showed that, while the incidence of T2D did not differ between the statin users and non-users, fasting glucose increased significantly in statin users compared to non-users.

The finding that fasting glucose increased in statin users despite lifestyle interventions suggests that the use of these common pharmaceuticals might have unfavourable effects on glucose metabolism and that statins might hamper beneficial effects of lifestyle intervention in people at high risk of T2D.


Fish Consumption Linked to Lower Risk of Heart Failure

Omega-3 fish oil supplements have recently seen a string of negative media coverage. Studies on concentrated fish oils continue to show that the health benefits determined from epidemiological studies just don't hold true (or to a much lesser extent) when we look at supplements.


Phthalates Linked to Asthma in Children

Phthalates are a class of compounds that are known to have an assortment of negative health consequences. Unfortunately, they are found everywhere, with the most frequent sources of exposure coming from fragrances (phthalates are used to make scents "stick" to you, so that your perfume doesn't just evaporate quickly) and continuous off-gassing from PVC (considered the most dangerous plastic, and many have PVC shower curtains, fabrics, flooring, piping, etc.). More recently, the EU banned PVC in children's toys in 2005, and California followed suit in 2009.

Here's a link to an educational video to help kids (and parents) understand the dangers of PVC and how to avoid it.


High Magnesium Intake Prevents Kidney Stones

A new analysis of 311 middle-aged patients with nephrolithiasis (kidney stones) examined the relationship between magnesium and hyperoxaluria (high oxalate in the urine) and found that increasing magnesium intake may be linked with decreasing hyperoxaluria. Findings suggest that magnesium intake may decrease hyperoxaluria in patients with kidney stones.


Ubiquinol (Reduced CoQ10) May Improve Blood Sugar

A new small open-label study on ubiquinol was recently published and shows some promise for those with diabetes. This study focused on type 2 diabetics receiving conventional medication, who also received an oral dose of 200 mg ubiquinol daily for 12 weeks. 5 healthy controls were also assigned to receive an oral dose of 200 mg ubiquinol daily for 4 weeks to examine the effects of ubiquinol on insulin secretion.


Cancer From "Safe" Levels of Herbicides & GM Corn

Here is a study that didn`t get the coverage it deserved by mass media last week. New findings from the first long-term peer-reviewed toxicity study on the world’s most popular herbicide--Roundup--and GM (genetically-modified) crop engineered to tolerate Roundup show an increase in cancer rates.


L-Carnitine Improves Behaviour in Autistic Kids

Another study shows L-carnitine can improve symptoms in autism. Experts in the field believe that  autism is influenced by a combination of genetic, environmental and immunological factors.  New evidence has suggested that autistic patients show increased vulnerability to oxidative stress coupled with mitochondrial dysfunction, which is confirmed by altered brain energy metabolism, lowered cellular energetic and deficient reserve mitochondrial energy capacity.

Since L-carnitine is essential in transporting the main source of the body's energy (long fatty acids) to the mitochondria, therapy with this amino acid has shown to be useful (as I discussed in THIS post from last year).


Gut Bacteria Improve Fat Absorption

Another study has shown that certain strains of gut bacteria can increase the absorption of dietary fats,  allowing us to extract more calories from the same amount of food. The clinical implications of this, I guess, depends on the situation--famine vs. obesity.

The researchers explain that the presence of the Firmicutes species in the gut is very important in increasing fat absorption, indicating that a person’s microbiota can have a very real effect on their ability to absorb fat and thereby harvest more calories from the diet, said the researchers.


Berries Prevent Stiffness in Arteries

In recent years, berries have increasingly become familiar to the general population as being healthy for the heart. According to the Doctrine of Signatures, strawberries look like hearts, so that's been obvious for decades. Research over the last number of years has not only shown most berries have heart and cardiovascular benefits, but also revealing what compounds in the berries may be responsible for these effects.

This new study gives more evidence to the health benefits of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are the pigments found in many fruits and berries, and they are primarily known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.


Omega-3s Can Help Activate Vitamin D

This is a really interesting study that was published a number of weeks ago, and very relevant to a couple other studies I've previously discussed.

In this new randomized, open-label, controlled study found that omega-3 fatty acids may activate vitamin D, increase fetuin-A levels, and modify erythrocyte membrane contents. Subjects taking the omega-3 fatty acids for 6 months showed that the levels of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D were increased.


Residual Antibiotics in Meat Make it Dangerous to Eat

(The kinda rhymes! ...the title, that is)

Hot on the heels of the study confirming some potential benefits of organic foods, here's a another reason to continue eating certified organic meat...

Antibiotics are used to promote growth and/or to treat bacterial infections in conventionally-grown livestock. However, as we should all know by now, these can eventually end up in the meat; and therefore, US and EU regulators have set limits on the concentrations used in meat destined for human consumption.

Products like pepperoni, salami, sausages are fermented using lactic acid-producing bacteria in a curing process many cultures have employed for hundreds of years. This fermentation process helps solidify and acidify the sausages.


Coffee Could Prevent Colon Cancer

Another study shows coffee's potential to prevent cancer–this time colorectal cancer.

Using data from 489,706 men and women taking part in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, researchers analysed information from self-administered questionnaires of demographics diet and lifestyle. The researchers followed the participants for an average of 10.5 years and found approximately 16% of participants drank four or more cups of coffee per day.


Healthy Diet & Supplements Improve Sperm DNA

Is the iPhone 5 being launched today?
This new study on male reproductive health would seem like common-sense to most, but some still don't see nutrition as being critical in all aspects of human health (yeah, I know, crazy eh?...but they do exists in large numbers).

The results of this new study on older men found that high intake of micronutrient was strongly associated with improved quality of sperm DNA.

The researchers found that men over 44 years of age who consumed the most vitamin C had 20% less DNA damage in their sperm compared to men age category who consumed the least. The same was true for vitamin E, zinc, and folate.


Organic Foods Reduce Exposure to Pesticide Residues & Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Well, here's a little guff to start the week. This guff is mainly directed at media, and only partially at the study that was published last week.

This was a systematic review of more than 200 previous studies. The main outcome from this--and what the media picked up and reported--was that there is generally no difference in nutritional value or risk for bacterial contamination between organic and conventional foods. For example, one such headline read, "Organic produce is no healthier or nutritious, finds review."

Now, while some studies have suggested organic food is more nutritious, I don't think that's the main issue. In fact, most who consume organic food do so with the primary objective to reduce exposure to pesticides. In fact, this study found that organic food consumption reduced exposure to any detectable pesticide residues by around 30%! That's significant, but why isn't this the main headline?

What about the benefits to the environment? The wildlife? Our lakes and rivers? Our water-supply? The farmers and their families? Those who live in rural communities in close proximity to farms? ...and so on.


Chocolate Prevents Stroke

As if there wasn't enough positive research on chocolate (click HERE to read the other studies I've covered), here's another study that shows weekly consumption of moderate amounts could lower risk of stroke.

The study examined data from more than 37,000 men over 10 years to investigate potential links between chocolate consumption and the risk of stroke. Interestingly, although it's dark chocolate has previously been associated with heart health benefits, but about 90% of the chocolate consumed during the study was milk chocolate.

Analysis revealed that men who ate the largest amount of chocolate (about 63 g/week) had a 17% lower risk of stroke compared to those who did not consume any chocolate.
 The researchers said that for every 50 g/week increase in chocolate consumption, the risk of stroke decreased by about 14%.

Subscribers will already know chocolate is one of my vices, so if you even want to...like, um...buy me a gift, don't think too hard.  ;)

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Source: Chocolate consumption and risk of stroke: A prospective cohort of men and meta-analysis

Related posts on strokes & heart attacks (link to other chocolate posts above):


Magnesium Prevents Colon Cancer

This study was published a few weeks ago, but I only came across it now--so not necessarily brand-spankin' new, but recent enough for me to discuss.

In a case-controlled study involving 768 people with colorectal adenomas, a meta-analysis of 3 other case-controlled studies (colorectal adenomas), and 6 prospective cohort studies (carcinomas), researchers found that dietary magnesium may be associated with lower risk of colorectal tumours.


Vitamin D Rejuvenates Aging Eyes by Clearing Amyloid Beta

While the results of this new study may not give you enough time to improve your vision to see tonight's blue moon, it does provide some promising insights into vitamin D's roll in eye health.

In this study, vitamin D3 reduced the accumulation of amyloid beta. I've talked about amyloid beta in other posts on Alzheimer's disease, and interestingly, in April I discussed a study showing vitamin D3 may remove amyloid beta in Alzheimer's patients (it was just an in vitro study, so don't get too excited...although this study gives more weight for D3 against amyloid beta).


Olive Oil for Blood Vessel Health

It's been almost 2 weeks since I've posted and discussed a new study, so I know you're starving for nutrition research. Well, here's a quick appetizer...

In a double-blind, randomized trial enrolling 82 patients with early atherosclerosis (52 completed study), researchers found that consuming olive oil (OO) improved endothelial function and reduced inflammation.

In this 4-month study, subjects received either a daily intake of 30 mL of OO alone, or 30 mL of OO enriched with epigallocatechin 3-gallate (EGCG). Results found that OO alone improved endothelial function and reduced inflammatory parameters. Since there were no significant differences in results between the two groups, the results indicate OO was responsible for the health benefits, and its intake may improve endothelial dysfunction in patients with early atherosclerosis.

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Source: Beneficial effects of polyphenol-rich olive oil in patients with early atherosclerosis

Related posts:


C-Sections May Have Negative Brain Health Consequences

A new study on mice has given more evidence against the use of elective Ceasarian section (C-section) that has become popular in recent years. Subscribers to this blog may remember me recently discussing a study linking C-sections to increased risk of obesity. This new study shows it could have a lasting negative effect on the brain as well.

In this study, mice born by a vaginal birth produced normal amounts of a brain protein called uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2). This is a protein found in the mitochondria (the energy-producing parts of the cell), and is involved in regulation of fuel utilization, cell proliferation, neuroprotection (protection of nerve cells), and synaptogenesis (formation of nerve-to-nerve connections) in the adult brain. These aspects are important for the development of the hippocampus, an area responsible for short- and long-term memory. Its production is induced by cellular stress.


B12 Improves Treatment of Hepatitis C

Before I get to today's study for discussion, please check out the generous offer from True Blue Spirit I just posted under the Ads section to the right. This is a subscription/paid site, but if you click on the ad, you'll be taken to a special page for a free 2-year subscription. This is an excellent meta-physical magazine I'm sure many of you will enjoy.

Now for the study...this one looked at the effect of adding vitamin B12 to standard antiviral treatment for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Approximately 60-80% of HCV-infected people around the world develop chronic hepatitis, and about 30% of those patients go on to develop cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease.


Gut Bacteria During Pregnancy Mimics Metabolic Syndrome

A new study adding to the knowledge bank on our microbiome shows that the composition of microbes in the gut changes dramatically during pregnancy.

Several previous studies suggest a role for gut bacteria in driving metabolic disease, including inflammation, weight gain, and reduced insulin sensitivity. While a comprehensive understanding of how microbial diversity changes over the course of normal pregnancy is lacking, during pregnancy, bacterial load is reported to increase.

In the current study researchers obtained stool samples from 91 pregnant women. They found that gut microbes changed in composition from the first trimester to the third trimester, becoming less "normal" and less diverse over time. According to the researchers, health-promoting bacteria decreased in abundance, and disease-related bacteria increased in number (with a corresponding increase in signs of inflammation).


Marijuana Extract Provides Relief for Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is associated with chronic symptoms, including muscle stiffness, spasms, pain and insomnia.

Effective treatments are limited for both symptom relief and for slowing/halting the progression of the condition.

However, there is hope with medical use of marijuana, with the evidence behind using cannabinoids for symptom relief being quite strong now. This new study, called the MUSEC study, is more evidence supporting that view--and likely one of the strongest studies to date.

279 patients with stable MS at 22 centres in the UK were randomised to receive either an oral cannabis extract (CE) or placebo. This double blind, placebo controlled, phase III study had a screening period, a 2-week dose titration phase of increasing amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and a 10-week maintenance phase. The primary endpoints measured were a category rating scale (CRS) measuring patient-reported change in muscle stiffness from baseline. Further CRSs assessed body pain, spasms and sleep quality. Three validated MS-specific patient reported outcome measures assessed aspects of spasticity, physical and psychological impact, and walking ability.


Common "Butter Flavour" Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

I'm probably preaching to the converted here, since my impression is that those reading this research blog are mostly eating all-natural, if not organic, but here's a new study to help motivate you to stay on that path...or forward this article to friends and family who still eat a diet full of synthetic chemicals.

Diacetyl (DA) is a popular flavourant used in countless food products including microwave popcorn, margarines, snack foods, sweets, baked goods, pet foods, and certain alcoholic beverages. It is known for its distinctive buttery taste and aroma, but also for its negative health effects. Previous studies have linked occupational exposure to this chemical (for example, the workers at these microwave popcorn factories) with the debilitating lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome, and others.


Ubiquinol Improves Semen for Infertile Men

Recently, as a joke, I sent a friend a text message with an R-rated (maybe a risque 18A-rated) picture of adults in a suggestive position (yeah, I know, juvenile right?). The context in which it was sent doesn't matter...it was just bad timing, as the text was delivered as his 8 and 6 year old sons were playing on his iPhone.

Then, as I reflected on my lack of maturity and the corruption of innocent minds (but remember, it was R-rated, not X-rated, so I didn't feel that bad), I came to the conclusion I shouldn't feel bad at all!


Chocolate Improves Brain Health and Mood

A new scientific review of previous studies on chocolate's health benefits has concluded that chocolate can improve brain functioning and mood. 

There is now plenty of evidence to support cocoa flavanols in boosting various aspects of cognitive function. Epicatechin, the main flavonoid in cocoa, was likely responsible for such effects. The darker the chocolate, the higher the epicatechin content (this was the compound related to increased physical endurance in THIS study).

Perhaps not surprisingly, “Chocolate also induces positive effects on mood and is often consumed under emotional stress,” added the author of the study. She said that chocolate could stimulate the release of endorphins, which enhance the pleasure of eating.

Source: The neuroprotective effects of cocoa flavanol and its influence on cognitive performance

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Related posts on chocolate:


Vitamin D2 vs D3: Which is Better?

Rarely do I cover two studies on the same day, but today I've got 2 interesting vitamin D studies to share with you. Click HERE to read the other.

"Vitamin D" refers to two biologically inactive precursors: D3 (cholecalciferol) and D2 (ergocalciferol). Both precursors are transformed in the liver and kidneys into 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D, the non-active storage form, and the compound measured to assess vitamin D status).  25(OH)D is further converted to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25(OH)2D, the biologically active form) in a process that's tightly controlled by the body.

Although many researchers and experts agree that many people are vitamin D deficient and need supplementation, there remains a big question mark as to the most effective form.

African Americans Need 4000 IU of Vitamin D3 Daily

Today, I'm covering two separate studies on vitamin D. Click HERE to read the other.

Over 90% of African Americans may have vitamin D deficiency, and according to a new study, 4000 IU/day may be needed to eliminate that deficiency.

The researchers studied 47 African American and Caucasian men with an average age of 64 to participate in their study. All participants received a daily dose of 4000 IU of vitamin D3 for one year.

Results showed that, at the start of the study, over 90% of African Americans were deficient (as measured by 25(OH)D, the non-active storage form of vitamin D) and about 66% had very low levels (below 20 ng/mL).


Exercise Benefits Cognitive Health

Various forms of physical activity, including resistance training (e.g. weights) and walking, can increase cognitive functioning in elderly adults, including those diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI, the precursor to Alzheimer's disease), according to four new studies presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) 2012.

Results showed that resistance training (free weights) had significantly higher scores on the Stroop test (measures selective attention and conflict resolution) compared with the control group. For the Rey's Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT), aerobic exercise (which consisted of outdoor walking) showed significant improvement over the control group.

Another study presented at the conference showed that healthy people in the walking group had a 2% increase in their hippocampus (part of the brain) compared with a 1.5% decrease in the stretching and toning group.


Iron Supplements for Unexplained Fatigue

A new study suggests a daily iron supplement may be indicated for women who have unexplained fatigue, yet whose blood tests for iron-deficiency anemia may look normal. 

Although the women in the study didn't have anemia, they did have borderline levels of ferritin (the protein that stores iron in the body).

For the study, a daily dose of 80 milligrams of iron (as iron sulfate) or placebo was administered to almost 200 women for 12 weeks. This treatment was associated with a 48% decrease in fatigue scores (compared to a decrease of 29% in the placebo group). It also increased haemoglobin levels and ferritin levels.

That's quite a high dose of iron considering these women didn't have outright anemia. However, what this suggests is that we should consider revising our definition of iron-deficiency to place more emphasis on ferritin. Especially since iron deficiency (in various parts of the body, like the brain)--as this study demonstrated--can present without anemia (which is an iron deficiency in the blood).

Source: Effect of iron supplementation on fatigue in nonanemic menstruating women with low ferritin: a randomized controlled trial 

Other posts related to fatigue:

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E-Complex: Tocopherols and Tocotrienols

So since I had gotten a lot of positive feedback on the vitamin K for newborns article, and since I haven't found any interesting new studies to share with you recently, I thought I'd fill up this lull in activity with another article I wrote. Now, please keep in mind, that the following article was written back in 2005, and I know there's been a lot more studies on vitamin E since then (although, I don't think anything that would contradict what I have below).

This article was written for the purpose of publication in a peer-reviewed journal, and after I was done, I sent this to a friend who was suppose to edit it and expand the introduction section (in return for being the second author). For this reason, you'll notice the article being a lot more technical and science-geeky than I usually write in this blog (i.e. it was never meant for a general audience)..

I don't recall exactly what happened--probably "life" just getting in the way again--but we both eventually forgot about this and it never got submitted. So, here it is for your reading enjoyment. YOU are the peer-review...


Soy OK for Breast Cancer Survivors

A couple years ago, I remember reading a study that showed women who had breast cancer could safely consume soy products. I remember this was big news since soy isoflavones have phyto-estrogenic activity so it's standard practice for these women to avoid soy-based products.


No-Fat Salad Dressings May Promote Nutrient Deficiencies

Unquestionably, it should be common knowledge by now that vegetables are full of important vitamins and nutrients, but a new study suggests you won’t absorb much of those beneficial compounds without consuming the right type of fat at the same time.

Now this may not be so new if you've read media coverage on this study last week. I saw this study the day it came out, but scheduled this post a week later since I had other posts lined up. Luck had it that mass media picked up this study, so for this post, it appears I'm out of the gate late. But in case you missed it...

In this human clinical trial, researchers fed subjects salads with dressing containing either saturated, monounsaturated, or polyunsaturated fat and tested their blood for the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients, specifically a group called carotenoids (such as lutein, lycopene, beta-carotene, and zeaxanthin).

These carotenoids are associated with reduced risk of several chronic and degenerative diseases such as cancer, age-related macular degeneration, and cardiovascular disease.


Many Not Meeting Numerous Vitamin Requirements

Vitamins, by definition, are essential and it's undisputed that they play a crucial role in health. However, modern lifestyles may lead to suboptimal intakes even in affluent countries. So the researchers of this recently study aimed to review vitamin intakes in Germany, the UK, The Netherlands and the USA and to compare them with respective national recommendations.

For Germany, the UK, and The Netherlands, data on adults from the most recently published national dietary intake surveys were used. For the US, data for adults from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2003 to 2008 were used.


Calcium with Vitamin D Reduces Premature Death Rate

Here's another positive study on calcium and vitamin D, only weeks after THIS positive study, and a welcome glimmer of light after another study linking it to heart attacks.

This new study reviewed 8 clinical trials and found that vitamin D, when taken with calcium, can reduce the rate of death in seniors. The data was comprised of nearly 90% women, who had an average age of 70 years.


Don't Worry, Be Happy (by Eating Bacteria)

Another study adds evidence to how normal human brain and cognitive function depends on the presence of gut bacteria during growth and development. Very interesting indeed, and great timing to follow the publication of the Human Microbiome Project I discussed last week.

This new study is just an animal study on mice, but shows that the absence of bacteria during early life, significantly affects the brain's serotonin level during adulthood. The research also highlighted a possible influence of sex, with greater effects in male compared with female mice.


Exercise: Too Much of a Good Thing?

Looks like the answer could be "yes!" You've heard the adages, "nothing is 100% good, and nothing is 100% bad" and "it's the dose that makes the poison."

Well, here is some evidence that those who've taken the recommendation for exercise to the extreme may be doing some harm.

A new study abstract presented at the American College of Sports Medicine's 2012 Annual Meeting suggests that running more than 20 miles (32 km) per week may increase your risk of all-cause mortality (death).

The hypothesis of the study was that at some "dose" of running, benefits would level off. However, the fact that the plateau was reached at such a low level (relatively) was surprising. However, even more surprising was the fact that it didn't level off but actually went the other way.


Do Omega-3s Really Offer No Cardiovascular Benefits or Protection from Alzheimer's?

This seems like a silly question since many studies have shown omega-3 fatty acids offer multiple benefits to many bodily systems, including the cardiovascular and nervous systems. However, results from two recently published studies cast a shadow of doubt on these benefits, so let's dig deeper.

First, a study using a pharmaceutical-type omega-3 product indicated no heart benefits, compared to placebo, for people at high risk of cardiovascular events. The researchers behind the Outcome Reduction with Initial Glargine Intervention (ORIGIN) Trial concluded: “Daily supplementation with 1 g of omega–3 fatty acids did not reduce the rate of cardiovascular events in patients at high risk for cardiovascular events.”

Since the totality of evidence for omega-3s give solid data to support its use, what could be behind the null results of this study at hand? For this study, researchers recruited 12,536 patients at high risk for cardiovascular events with diabetes, impaired fasting glucose, or impaired glucose tolerance. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either a daily placebo or a 1 g capsule with at least 900 mg omega-3 fatty acid ethyl esters. The participants were also taking “more concomitant cardioprotective therapies”, said the researchers.


The Human Microbiome Project Publishes Its Findings

Ok, I really try to find the interesting studies to share, and sometimes they are hard to come by. Other times, there are a number of them and to minimize the onslaught of emails to my subscribers, I try to filter them down to the most interesting. However, this month so far has been full of them. I hope I'm not inundating you, but today I've got a study that will blow your mind, almost like this...

In the last decade or so, we've really started to gain a better understanding of bacteria, and no longer view them as universally bad and evil. In fact, if you haven't been living in an isolated forest for the past 5 years, you'll know that probiotics (the good bacteria) are essential for human health, and we wouldn't be alive without them.

However, besides some studies that show they are essential for human life, digesting food, synthesizing certain vitamins, forming a physical and biochemical barrier against disease-causing bacteria, etc., we didn't know a lot about them. As researchers began to investigate the human-bacteria link in small studies, we began to appreciate their importance. Now we know that not only do the bacteria help keep people healthy, but they also help explain why individuals react differently to various drugs (as I discussed in THIS post last year based on my own research), and why some are susceptible to certain infectious diseases while others are resistant. When the balance of bacteria is disturbed (as with antibiotic treatment, for example), we see how they (or a lack or them) contribute to certain chronic diseases and conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, candidiasis (yeast infections), asthma, eczema, obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, etc. 

Now researchers have taken a detailed look at these bacteria--the over 100 trillion good bacteria that live in or on the human body. 200 scientists at 80 institutions sequenced the genetic material of bacteria sampled from 242 "healthy" individuals in this five-year endeavour called the Human Microbiome Project (which has been compared to the Human Genome Project).


Folic Acid Helps Keep Arteries Elastic

A new meta-analysis by Chinese scientists has confirmed that folic acid consistently and significantly reduced thickening of artery walls.

Carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) is a  good marker for both the presence of early atherosclerosis and the degree of atherosclerosis within an individual. This new meta-analysis provides further evidence that folic acid therapy is suitable for populations with a high cardiovascular disease risk.

This is because folic acid is required to reduce the levels of homocysteine (a toxic amino acid that's been linked to an assortment of diseases) in the body.


Coffee Can Help Prevent Alzheimer's Disease

I should invest in Starbucks, Second Cup, Kicking Horse, Merchants of Green Coffee, or others...here's another study on the health benefits of coffee. The researchers of this new study monitored the cognitive status of 124 volunteers between 65-88 years of age, who displayed mild cognitive impairment, an early sign of Alzheimer's disease. Most participants were expected to develop Alzheimer’s within a few years.

However, patients with a blood caffeine level above 1,200 ng/ml did not develop the disease over the 2-4 year study period. For these individuals, the main (or only) source of caffeine was coffee.


Popular Antibiotic Increases Risk of Cardiac Death

Before I get to this study on antibiotics, I just wanted to quickly discuss social hygiene and social responsibility. On a couple separate occasions recently, I've shook the hand of sick person without them disclosing the fact that they're sick. Now, I'm not a germophobe (well maybe about 3 on a scale of 1 to 10), but I can't believe I even have to write about this.

For the record, if you're sick, YOU have a responsibility--as a member of our society who chooses to live and interact in a community setting (as opposed to isolation somewhere far from others)--to do ALL that you can to ensure that whatever communicable disease you have, doesn't get passed on to anyone.

This not only means basic hygiene (frequent hand washing, coughing/sneezing into your elbow, etc.), but also full disclosure with anyone you may touch directly (e.g. shaking hands) or indirectly (touching something that someone else may touch afterwards).

Please, be considerate to others and recognize the fact that we all live together. Is there value in getting sick and building an immunity? Of course! But this will happen even with exceptional social hygiene, and we don't need to function as willing vectors in propagating some DNA of unknown origin.

Ok, now back to the program...

The FDA has announced it will review a new study recently published that shows patients taking azithromycin (Zithromax, one of the world's best-selling antibiotics) face a small increased risk for sudden cardiac death compared with patients taking amoxicillin, ciprofloxacin, (other types of antibiotics) or no antibiotic at all.


C-Section Doubles Risk of Obesity

The contribution of cesarean deliveries has steadily increased in the United States, and in 2007, reached a level of 32% of all deliveries. This trend is disturbing for many reasons, but most conventional healthcare practitioners do not consider the implications of altered gut flora during childhood as consequence associated with cesarean deliveries. However, with the gut's bacterial diversity being associated with numerous health conditions, perhaps it's time this is seriously considered by both conventional healthcare practitioners (during the patient intake and medical history) and by mothers (who are contemplating elective c-section).

The authors of this current study explain that altered gut flora is the leading theory of why a history of c-section delivery increases the risk of childhood obesity. It's been shown that children delivered vaginally have different types of intestinal flora compared to children delivered via c-section--and this may not only explain a propensity toward obesity among children born via c-section, but may also explain higher rates of asthma, eczema, and allergies.


Dark Chocolate for Everyone! It Lowers the Risk of Heart Attacks

Here is another study on dark chocolate's benefit in keeping us healthy. This new study used data from the participants selected for the Australian Diabetes Obesity and Lifestyle (AusDiab) study, among whom cardiovascular risk was estimated individually.

All participants had hypertension and met the criteria for metabolic syndrome (also called Syndrome X), but had no history of heart disease or diabetes and were not on any blood pressure lowering medications.

In the best case scenario, the researchers estimated that dark chocolate consumption (at least 60% cocoa solids) could potentially prevent 70 non-fatal and 15 fatal cardiovascular events (like heart attack or stroke) per 10,000 eating dark chocolate over 10 years--meaning consumption could be considered an effective intervention strategy.


Calcium & D3 for Polycystic Ovaries and Kidney Disease

So to close this high-traffic month (this website has had more visitors this month, by far, than any previous month), I'll discuss two recent studies published on the benefits of calcium and vitamin D supplementation. However, before I get to the goods, I must reiterate that for anyone taking calcium supplements, taking a vitamin K2 supplement is mandatory. For those just getting to this blog for the first time, here are some posts I highly encourage you to read:

Now, the first study I'll cover examined the effect of combined calcium and vitamin D3 supplementationon (or placebo) on bone mineral density (BMD) in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). BMD was measured at baseline, 12 and 24 months.


Calcium Causes Heart Attacks Without Vitamin K2

Well, here we are again...just over a year later, and another study on calcium supplements suggests it raises the risk of heart attacks. If you're wondering if this is even true, in my opinion, yes it is. However, you shouldn't worry too much about this as long as you're taking vitamin K2.

Instead of repeating myself, please read my response to a similar study last year. The title of the post was Do Calcium Supplements Cause Heart Attacks? and I hope this gives a clear explanation that the evil in this story is not the calcium supplement, but the fact that most people don't get enough vitamin K.


Human Study Suggests Vitamin K2 (as MK-7) REVERSES Arterial Calcification

This is an exciting post since there is some amazing new data on vitamin K2 in the form of MK-7. I don't believe this has yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal (so there is no reference below as usual), but once it gets published, I'll be sure to cover it again or link back the reference.

[Update: click HERE for the post with this study's published reference.]

At the Vitafoods convention in Geneva, taking place as I write this, Dr. Cees Vermeer, at VitaK laboratory (of Maastricht University), presented new data showing significant benefits for improved bone strength and prevention of cardiovascular aging with daily supplementation of natural MK-7.

In the study, 244 healthy postmenopausal women received 180 µg of MK-7 daily, or placebo, for 3 years. The clinical endpoints included bone mineral density, bone strength, and vascular characteristics measured by ultrasound and pulse-wave velocity (PWV, which evaluates age-related stiffening of blood vessels).


Elemental Diet as Effective as Drugs for Crohn's Disease

For those with Crohn's Disease, 6-Mercaptopurine is the the prescription drug often used as maintenance therapy. However, toxicities like myelosuppression limit its clinical benefit.

To evaluate the efficacy of the Elemental Diet versus 6-mercaptopurine as maintenance therapy in Crohn's disease--the first comparative study to pit nutritional therapy against 6-Mercaptopurine in a controlled setting.

95 patients with Crohn's disease were randomly assigned to: 6-mercaptopurine; an elemental diet; or none (control). Patients were observed for 2 years and the rate of relapse (Crohn's disease activity index ≥200) was monitored.


Fish Oil Improves Gene Expression in Alzheimer's Disease

So, last week I covered a study showing omega-3 fatty acids are associated with lower beta-amyloid, which shed some light on how omega-3s impact the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Now, I've just come across another new study that suggests that omega-3s induce or inhibit the expression of various genes involved in the theoretical pathogenesis of AD.

This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study study found dietary fish oil supplementation for 6 months may have effects on expression of genes which influence AD.


Four Meta-Analyses Confirm Chocolate's Benefit on Blood Pressure

This new study on chocolate was a meta-analysis of four other meta-analyses...a dream within a dream. Well, not really. Anyway, the Germany-based researchers investigated the effects of epicatechin dose on blood pressure measures using data from four meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials. Results showed that the potential blood pressure lowering effects of epicatechin were linked to the dose consumed with higher doses producing greater reductions in blood pressure. A 25 mg dose of epicatechin per day was associated with significant reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

At a daily intake of 25 mg, epicatechin was associated with average reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure of 4.1 and 2.0 mmHg, respectively.


Omega-3s for Alzheimer's Disease Prevention

I had to post this. Remember the video I previously posted of some dude having fun with Photo Booth (click HERE for that post)? Well, my oldest son thought it was pretty funny too, and he took it upon himself to do something similar. This was at least a few weeks ago now, but I'm just getting around to putting it online.

This was totally spontaneous, no practicing, and we didn't even know what he was doing--until we saw this...

Ok, now let's talk about this new study. Previous research has shown that diet could play an important role in preventing or delaying the onset of Alzheimer disease and other forms of age-related dementia.


Administration of Oral Vitamin K2 to Newborns

Ok well, today I'm not covering a new study, but over the last year, I've had numerous people ask about an article I wrote describing a protocol I put together for using vitamin K2 (as MK-7) in newborns (in lieu of the standard K1 injection).

I usually distribute this article when I'm delivering a seminar/presentation for vitamin K2 on behalf of Inno-Vite (for whom I developed the only liquid K on the Canadian market). However, for those who've never attended one of my presentations, or may have lost this article, I'm posting it here. This the latest version (from January 2011). Should there be a need to update this with newer relevant information, I'll post it to this blog.

If you prefer to obtain a pdf copy, please contact me using the link on this page and I'll be sure to email it to you.

...and a shameless plug for a product I'm proud to put my name behind...for this product I sourced the "cleanest" MK-7 (the only MK-7 raw material that doesn't contain dimethylpolysiloxane, and is also non-GMO, etc.) or use toxic preservatives like BHT in the vitamin D3 component (these are things you won't see on a label). It works great for newborns (based on feedback from many new parents and midwives, in addition to using it with my second son) and children, but also being used increasingly as a topical vitamin K serum for various skin conditions (mostly rosacea and wrinkles).

Update (July 17, 2012): Inno-Vite's newly launched Liquid K2 Extra Strength is the preferred and more appropriate version for use in newborns and infants, especially for the larger initial dose.
  • Only 7 drops of the new Liquid K2 Extra Strength will provide more than the recommended 200 mcg for the initial dose (as opposed to 40 drops, or 2 mL, using the original version).
  • Using the Liquid K2 Extra Strength will also be easier to administer daily since only 1 drop (30 mcg) will provide more than the recommended 25 mcg daily dose. However, since there is no D3 in the Extra Strength version, a separate D3 supplement should be considered.

Administration of Oral Vitamin K2 to Newborns

Lee Know, ND  |  www.KnowGuff.com  |  Originally published Aug 2010, updated January 2011

Since the launch of Inno-Vite’s Liquid K2 Drops, the product has become popular among parents who prefer to avoid the vitamin K injection at birth. This document is intended to give parents-to-be and their Midwives, Doulas, Naturopathic and Medical Doctors the information and guidance they need to make an informed choice on vitamin K.


Dehydration Affects Alertness (and new washroom etiquette)

It's been a while since I've randomly talked about things, but when I was writing this post, I was thinking dehydration...and mind mind started to wander...water consumption...going #1...and the "new etiquette" for guys going #1.

So guys, you know how much collateral splashing occurs when standing up to urinate (not just from poor aim, but splash up from the bowl). May I suggest that you sit down when at home or when you're a guest in someone's home. It's SO much cleaner. This is what we've been trying to do in my home with my oldest son, who's now 8. Our washrooms are so much clearer now.

Public washrooms are a different story, but I've got a few words to throw in about this too. Sure stand-up (if using the toilet and not urinals)...no problem. But in those places where they don't designate a washroom by sex (unisex washrooms) or even men's washroom without urinals, please lift the toilet seat! This is just courtesy for those who may want to do #2, and need a seat that's not drenched in urine.

Women, you listen up too...same thing...lift the seat and leave it up unless doing #2. I know most of you don't sit when doing #1...you'll squat over the toilet, but if the seat is down, it gets wet, putting it out of commission for anyone to do #2.

Basically, in public washrooms, the toilet seat should always be up unless doing #2. That's my opinion, and it makes a lot of sense...at least to me.

Now I've got that out of the way...here's another study on dehydration. This study evaluated the effects of 24-hr fluid deprivation (FD) on selected mood and physiological parameters, using a well-controlled dehydration protocol.

This was a cross-over study with 20 healthy women (average age 25) who participated in two randomised sessions: FD-induced dehydration vs. a fully hydrated control condition. In the FD period, no water was consumed for about 23–24 hours. Water intake was only permitted at fixed periods during the control condition.


Heat-Killed Probiotics May Benefit Metabolic Syndrome

This new study on a probiotic strain was only on rats, but I'm covering this as an example of how dead probiotics still offer health benefits (and there are a number of other studies like this on dead probiotics). I know most would think that live probiotics are what you should get, and yes, for the most part, that's true. But remember, it's not the probiotics themselves that give the health benefits, but their metabolites. This is why dead probiotics still offer health-promoting properties--they've released their metabolites into their surroundings (capsule, powder, growing medium, etc.) while they were alive. The benefit of consuming live probiotic bacteria is that they'll continue to secrete beneficial metabolites for some time, while the benefits of dead probiotics will be short-lived and transient.

Anyway, the present study investigated the potential health-promoting effects of heat-inactivated Lactobacillus gasseri TMC0356 (TMC0356) on the metabolic syndrome (MS). Rats were randomly divided into five groups: a control group fed a conventional diet, an MS model group fed a high-fat and high-salt (HFS) diet and three TMC0356 test groups (low-, medium- and high-dose groups) fed an HFS diet supplemented with TMC0356.


Fecal Transplant for C. difficile Colitis

Here's an interesting study on the power of probiotics. An increasingly difficult challenge for doctors worldwide, are patients who suffer from prolonged colitis (inflammation of the colon's lining) from a Clostridium difficile infection, despite receiving oral antibiotic therapy, often for months. Unlike most treatments for C. difficile infection (CDI), fecal transplantation (the process of implanting a donor's fecal flora into a patient) is said to be remarkably effective in eradicating disease, but most of the published evidence for its success is anecdotal.

Now, researchers in Finland have published the largest study to date investigating fecal transplantation in patients with CDI. The investigators reviewed data from 70 adults who had received up to 12 courses of antibiotics for CDI; most had received 3 to 6 courses. Most stool donors were close relatives of the patient.


Run From the Cure (Medical Marijuana Documentary)

Considering it's April 20th, I thought I'd post the following full-length video on medical marijuana, titled Run from the Cure. Very interesting, and something I'm sure many people already knew about this multi-purpose plant...I'm posting this for those who continue to believe the US prohibition propaganda of how bad marijuana is (despite all the research to the contrary).


Vitamin K Boosts Bone Benefits of Calcium and Vitamin D

Another new study on the benefits of vitamin K. Nothing new here, but just more confirmation. This study investigated the effects of dairy enriched with calcium (800 mg/day) and vitamin D3 (400 IU/day) with or without the addition of 100 mcg/day of either phylloquinone (vitamin K1) or menaquinone-7 (MK-7, a specific form of vitamin K2).

While results showed that after 12 months of supplementation all women in the enriched-dairy groups (vs. the control group) had increased bone mineral density (BMD), only women consuming the vitamin K-enriched products had significant increases in BMD in the lower back.


Vitamin D3 Helps Clear Amyloid in Alzheimer's Disease

Another study shows the benefits of vitamin D3 to cognitive health. This time, a team of researchers has uncovered how vitamin D3 may help clear amyloid-beta from the brain, the hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The study also adds more evidence that adequate levels of vitamin D may be a key factor in AD prevention.

In an interview, the researchers state, "the clinical implications are that vitamin D3 protects the brain through the immune system and that recommended blood levels of the 25-hydroxy vitamin D3 should be maintained in all seasons including winter when the sun is not helping to produce vitamin D in the skin."

Brain clearance of amyloid-beta 1-42 (Aβ-42) by innate immune macrophages (a type of white blood cell, called microglial cell when found in the central nervous system) is required for maintenance of normal brain function. This process of phagocytosis (the process where one cell engulfs/eats something) is defective in AD patients.


Eating Chocolate Keeps You Slim

This is my last post before the Easter long weekend, and how appropriate this study comes out just in time...

A new study by researchers in San Diego had reported preliminary data from almost 1,000 men and women aged between 20 and 85, who were considered "healthy" (free from heart disease, diabetes, and abnormal cholesterol levels). Chocolate consumption was assessed using a questionnaire, while intakes of fruit, vegetables, and saturated fat were factored into the calculations.


Curcumin May Prevent Parkinson's Disease

Can you believe it's already April?! It's birthday month in my family, and I can't believe it's already here. Anyway, to start this month off, which also happens to contain Earth Day, here's very cool video worth watching...

As for the study I'll discuss today, it's another one showing curcumin's potential in preventing Parkinson's disease. The study found that curcumin (the compound that gives the spice turmeric its colour) could one day be effective in preventing or reducing Parkinson’s by blocking the clumping (aggregation) action of proteins involved in the disease.


Omega-3s for Atrial Fibrillation

First, a video that a very special friend of mine shared with me. I thought it was pretty damn funny, although I'd have to say this dude has too much time on his hands.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is considered the most common irregular heart beat (termed arrhythmia), and treatment options are limited, with the main intervention being that patients are put on warfarin to prevent blood clotting associated with an irregular heart rhythm (click HERE to read a post on the evils of warfarin, and HERE for another post on its long anticipated replacement).

Interestingly, omega-3s have been suggested to reduce the risk of blood coagulation (although this is debated), so getting enough of these fatty acids may not only help reduce the risk of AF, but also the risk of coagulation associated with AF.

So, here's a study that seems to confirm what was previously found regarding omega-3 fatty acids and AF. Recently published data from this study indicated that the highest average levels of omega-3 fatty acids were associated with a 29% reduction in the risk of AF when compared against the lowest average levels.

The effects seemed more pronounced with DHA, than EPA, and the data suggested it was the percent of omega-3s in relation to total fatty acids, that carried the biggest effect (rather than the actual amounts of DHA and EPA).

Source: Association of Plasma Phospholipid Long-Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids With Incident Atrial Fibrillation in Older Adults

Related omega-3 posts:

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Lutein & Zeaxanthin Helps Prevent Cataracts

Another new study adds weight behind lutein and zeaxanthin's ability to reduce the risk of cataracts. This new study found that the highest average levels of lutein and zeaxanthin were associated with a 42 and 41% reduction in the risk of cataract, respectively, compared with the lowest average levels, according to results published

The researchers base their conclusions on data from 1,689 elderly people aged between 61 and 80 participating in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study.

While both lutein and zeaxanthin protect liposomal membranes from light-induced oxidative stress, the ratio of zeaxanthin:lutein is much higher in the lens than in the plasma, suggesting that the lens of the eye mainly accumulates zeaxanthin, while lutein accumulates more in the macula.

However, the researchers note that these results show both compounds appear to provide similar levels of protection from cataracts, which challenges the hypothesis that zeaxanthin is more important for lens health.

Source: Plasma lutein and zeaxanthin and the risk of age-related nuclear cataract among the elderly Finnish population

Related posts:

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