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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Monthly 3D Poll


Neonicotinoids: Kills Bees and the Human Nervous System

Hope everyone is enjoying a safe and happy holiday season! This is the last post of 2013, and relates to the pesticides farmers in the Northern hemisphere are likely stockpiling for next year's growing season.

In the EU, three neonicotinoids pesticides (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam) are already subject to a two-year ban to allow some time for further research, after a report in January said that they may pose a high and immediate risk to pollinators, including honeybees.


Calcium & D3 Show Benfits in Negative Study

About a month ago, a large study was published that the media picked up and reported as showing that calcium and vitamin D3 supplements didn't improve bone health in women taking them. It appears this was an inappropriate conclusion drawn from an inappropriate analysis.

The initial analysis compared the treatment group (supplemented with 1000 mg/day of calcium and 400 IU/day of D3) to those taking placebo, and showed no benefit from supplementation (and this is what mass media picked up and reported). However, the problem was that compliance was not accounted for in the media reports. Of course, if a woman doesn't take the supplements, we can't logically expect there to be a benefit--whether or not she's in the experimental group is meaningless. If you dig deeper, some interesting results surface.


Marijuana for Alzheimer's Prevention?

Hmmm... this looks interesting.

Cannabis is increasingly used medicinally to treat a variety of conditions, including epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and chronic pain. In addition, drugs based on the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, THC, have been approved by the US FDA to treat nausea and vomiting in patients with cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy.

However, the THC comes with several troubling side effects, such as short-term memory impairment and cognitive deficits, and there are currently no FDA-approved medications to mitigate these "adverse" events (quotations used since this is subjective...most recreational users of marijuana would consider this a "therapeutic" effect).

For the study, researchers examined a group of mice repeatedly administered THC, to see what substance could help minimize these adverse effects. Repeated administration of THC produced a dose- and time-dependent induction of COX-2, an enzyme that converts arachidonic acid to prostanoids (inflammatory compounds) in the brain.The researcherS state that this observation was unexpected and is caused by activity of cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1R).


Leaky Gut & Dysbiosis Linked to Autism Symptoms

According to new research in mice, probiotics may help to reverse changes in gut bacteria and physiology that are linked to autism spectrum disorders (ASD). While this was just an animal study, the researchers point out that these "autistic" mice also exhibit GI (gastrointestinal) abnormalities that have previously been associated with ASD in humans.

In particular, the researchers found that the intestines of autistic-like mice were "leaky" (heard of "leaky gut" syndrome?), and that allowed material to pass through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream (material that normal would NOT enter the body if the intestinal lining were intact and healthy). This leaky gut is a characteristic that has been reported in some ASD patients.


Food Waste is Ammo for GMO

If you're expecting a new study to be discussed...sorry, not today. This post is one of those rare Public Service Announcements and related to the festive food binging that's upon us (or past, with the unusually early Hanukkah this year). However, with so much food so readily available, we need to be mindful about food waste.

Save-Food.org is a joint initiative from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Messe Düsseldorf GmbH, which aims to engage the food industry in tackling food wastage around the world. According to FAO figures, it would take just a quarter of the food waste (that which is lost in production, at retail, and by the end consumer) to feed all of the world’s hungry! Yes, you just read that right! This means that if we cut food waste by 25%, we no longer have use for GMO food (since feeding the growing population of hungry peeps is the main argument used by these nefarious corporations).


Most Healthy People are Vitamin K Deficient

For many of you who have heard me talk about vitamin K over the last few years and recall me discussing that most people are in fact vitamin K deficient, this new study just confirms that. It's not new, and I'm not going to take credit for discovering a new deficiency. Many studies that looked at "extra-hepatic" tissues (those other than the liver) have shown insufficient levels of vitamin K, even though the liver may have enough, and no one is walking around bleeding to death.


Magnesium Intake Saves Lives

My favourite mineral is flexing its muscles again! A new study on magnesium found that those with the highest average dietary magnesium intake had a 34% lower risk of mortality (death) from cardiovascular issues and cancer (compared to those with the lowest average daily intake).

The researchers performed a prospective study using participants (7216 men and women, 55-80 years old) from the Spanish study PREDIMED (Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea) study. Participants in this study were selected based on a high risk of cardiovascular disease and were randomly assigned to Mediterranean diets supplemented with nuts or olive oil or a low-fat control diet. Data was collected for about five years, in which 323 people died. Of these deaths, 130 were from cancer and 81 were from cardiovascular events (stroke, heart attack, heart disease). In addition 277 cardiovascular events were documented (not resulting in death).


Biotransformation of Chemotherapeutic Agents (The Role of Gut Microbes)

A couple years ago I wrote in a post my experience with biotransformation of active compounds by intestinal microbes. Here's a study that shows the importance of these bacteria in the efficacy of chemotherapeutic agents.

According to this study on mice, researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the US found that tumors of bacteria-free mice (mice completely lacking these microorganisms), or mice treated with antibiotics to deplete the gut of bacteria, showed an impaired response to immunotherapy that slows cancer growth and prolongs survival. The mice also had an impaired ability to respond to popular chemotherapy drugs such as oxaliplatin and cisplatin.


PQQ Improves Mitochondrial Function

Here's is something we've known for a while, but our knowledge on the topic was isolated to animal studies. This newly published human study confirms the earlier animal research, but also gives us a better understanding of the mechanism(s) of action behind the benefits seen in human clinical trials on cognitive function (memory, attention, processing, etc.) and stress/anxiety/sleep.


Coconut Oil Protects From Antibiotic-Induced Liver Damage

A new animal study has found that virgin coconut oil can protect the liver from toxic antibiotic drugs. In this study, rats were divided into four groups depending on what was administered:
  1. control group (received nothing)
  2. a group that received a broad-spectrum antibiotic only
  3. another group that received virgin coconut oil only
  4. the last group received both the antibiotic and the virgin coconut oil


Intestinal Microbes and Transit Time

So this is not really "new" in the sense we didn't know this, but this new study gives proof that food transit through the small intestine is regulated by bacteria. We already knew that probiotics can improve constipation, but this study sheds light on the mechanism of how.

This is particularly important because how food moves through the intestines affects the body's absorption of nutrients and, consequently, our health. This study discovered that food transit time is regulated by a hormone that is influenced by bacteria, and indicates new ways to increase the intestinal absorption of nutrients, and thus potentially treat malnutrition (or obesity).


Intravenous Chelation Benefits Diabetics

Well, this is likely the last post before Black Friday, so instead rehashing last year's rant, you can just read it again HERE.

Now, for the study, which is a slight deviation from the typical nutritional focus of this site. This was a new study that showed some amazing benefits for using intravenous chelation in a diabetic population. This was an analysis of the data from the Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT). In this study, the researchers didn't find much benefit to nondiabetic patients; however, when they narrowed their analysis to just those with diabetes, chelation therapy delivered some extraordinary, and surprising, benefits.


You're Gonna Love My Nuts (Part 2)

Break out the nut cracker! If the last study I covered wasn't enough to get you eating more nuts, here's another one that links it to reduced mortality. In this study, the frequency of eating nuts was inversely associated with total and cause-specific mortality, and this was seen independent of other predictors of death.

The data comes from 2 large prospective US cohorts: 76,464 women in the Nurses' Health Study (1980 - 2010) and 42,498 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986 - 2010). The researchers excluded study participants with a history of heart disease, stroke, or cancer. They analyzed nut consumption at the start of the study and every 2 to 4 years thereafter.


You're Gonna Love My Nuts!

More reason to love nuts...data, from a large prospective study of 75,680 women part of the Nurses' Health Study from that nut consumption reduced the risk of pancreatic cancer.


Rheumatoid Arthritis Linked to Gut Bacteria

A newly published study is the first to link rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disease, with a specific species of intestinal bacteria known as Prevotella copri. The research team compared the gut bacteria (isolated from faecal samples) of patients with RA to those of healthy individuals. The researchers found that P. copri was more abundant in patients with newly diagnosed RA compared to healthy individuals or even patients with chronic, treated RA.


Nutritional Prevention of Cataract

Age-related cataract is one of the leading causes of low vision in both developed and undeveloped countries. Although cataract is successfully treated by surgical removal of the lens, followed by implantation of an artificial lens, the number of people affected by cataract is expected to rise due to the increase of life expectancy, putting further stress on the health care costs associated with the management of this condition. 

Accumulation of oxidized proteins in the lens that aggregate and precipitate is believed to be the most likely mechanism for this condition and antioxidant nutrients may play a role in cataract risk reduction. Lutein and zeaxanthin are the only carotenoids reported to be present in eye lens and large observational studies have suggested that high dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin may be beneficial for reducing the risk of cataract incidence or cataract extraction. I had already covered 2 such studies in the past (links below). 


Tiny Study Confirms CoQ10 for Fibromyalgia

Here is a new study on something I've covered by much better designed studies in the past. In fact, this was a teeny-weeny study of just 4 patients (so almost useless), but does confirm larger studies that found similar results.

This study involved four patients with fibromyalgia, all of whom were found to have a deficiency of CoQ10. Oral supplementation with CoQ10 was found to be associated with improvements in clinical symptoms, which confirm CoQ10 may be of benefit to patients with fibromyalgia.


Vitamin D3 May Prevent Need for Antibiotics

Ok, so I'm reporting on this study about a month after it was published, but I think it's still new enough to discuss here--especially in light of the last study I covered.

This was a small pilot study that randomized 644 subjects (60-84 years of age) to receive one of three treatments:
  1. 60,000 IU/month vitamin D3 (an average of 2000 IU/day)
  2. 30,000 IU/month vitamin D3 (an average of 1000 IU/day)
  3. a placebo


Cold/Flu Prevention: to D3, or not to D3?

That seems to be the question people are asking after this latest study on vitamin D3 that showed no benefit to preventing the cold of flu compared to placebo. This goes against what most studies have shown, but let's look at the details to see why this may have been the case.

Researchers enrolled 2259 participants aged 45 - 75 years who were also taking part in a colorectal adenoma chemoprevention trial. Participants were randomly assigned to one of 4 groups:
  1. 1000 IU/day of vitamin D3
  2. 1200 mg elemental calcium/day
  3. both
  4. placebo 


Chocolate for Weight Loss?

Should have ate more chocolate!
So fresh out of the Halloween debauchery, I'm sure many of you are feeling rather bad about stuffing your face with candy. Well, cheer up... here's another study that confirms earlier research showing that chocolate consumption is linked to lower body mass index (BMI) and slimmer waists.

This new study determined the chocolate intake of 1458 European adolescents aged 12.5-17.5. These teen participants were asked to enter their food intake into a computer on two non-consecutive days. However, in my opinion, the main flaw of the study was that "chocolate" was considered as any product where chocolate was the main component. This included things not typically seen as real chocolate, like pralines, chocolate spread, and even candy bars (where chocolate is usually only part of the coating). The researcher also didn't differentiate between dark, milk and white chocolate. BMI was calculated for each participant as well as adiposity (amount of body fat) and waist circumference.


Mediterranean Diet Meta-Analysis

Happy Halloween! So on a day many will be consuming lots of sugary candy and junk food, here's a new meta-analysis on the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet.

This study found that adherence to a Mediterranean diet can help prevent numerous conditions linked to an aging brain, including decline in cognitive function, depression and stroke.

High adherence to this healthy dietary pattern, was associated with reduced stroke, cognitive impairment, and depression. Moderate adherence also seemed to offer some protection from depression cognitive impairment, but its protective effect on stroke was diminished. However, when broken down by sex, the protective effect against stroke was stronger among males. Also, the benefits of moderate adherence against depression seemed to fade away with advancing age.


Melatonin for Weight Loss?

It feels like a long time since I've posted a new study! Well, here is an interesting one--albeit, an animal study--that shows melatonin's potential as a weight loss ingredient.

The research team used a rat model to reveal that melatonin consumption is associated with the induction of "beige fat" that is known to help regulate body weight control, and offer metabolic benefits. If you haven't heard these terms before, "beige fat" is white fat that has "browned." What does that mean?


Vitamin K2 Slows Progression of Arterial Calcification

Well, a second study on vitamin K in as many posts. This prospective, randomized study was designed to compare the effect of vitamin K2 plus low-dose vitamin D or vitamin D alone on the progression of coronary artery calcification score (CACS) and common carotid intima media thickness (CCA-IMT).

42 non-dialysis patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) stage 3-5 and CACS≥10 Agatston units were randomized to one of two treatment arms: 
  1. K+D group received daily 90 μg vitamin K2 (as MK-7) plus 10 μg (400 IU) cholecalciferol (D3)
  2. D only group received 10 μg cholecalciferol


Vitamin K Improves Memory

So on Friday, I co-delivered a presentation on PQQ with the global authority on PQQ, Dr. Masahiko Nakano. For those who were able to attend, thank you for your participation in making the event a success! While PQQ is amazing for memory, today's study of discussion is on vitamin K's role in memory and cognition.

Back in 2011, I covered an animal study linking vitamin K to cognitive health and another study linking arterial calcification (a result of low vitamin K status) to dementia. Now here is another study showing K's potential brain benefits.

Data from 320 participants in the Québec Longitudinal Study on Nutrition and Successful Aging (NuAge), researchers found that higher plasma phylloquinone (vitamin K1) levels were associated with better verbal episodic memory performance, including the 20-minute delayed free recall trials (but no links were found between phylloquinone levels and other measures of cognitive function).

"Episodic memory" is the memory of events within a space-time context (for example, remembering where you left your iPhone), so it's an aspect of cognition important to everyday life.


Keratin Shows Promise Against Osteoarthritis

First there was glucosamine, then eggshell membrane. It looks as if keratin could be the new superstar ingredient in the joint health category, and another published human study adds more support for its use.

The branded ingredient used in the latest study was Cynatine FLX (500 mg/day), which was administered to 50 men and women with knee osteoarthritis for 60 days in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.


Billion-Dollar $upplements

Here is study looking at the economic benefits of the natural health products industry. This was a US study, but relevant to Canada (just divide by 10 to get a rough estimate on Canadian data).

In the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 75% of health care dollars go to the treatment of chronic disease, with only 3% spent on prevention. Chronic disease is a huge burden on people’s quality of life, and healthcare systems spend a tremendous amount of money and human resources in treating these chronic disease. However, it has failed to focus on ways to reduce those costs through prevention, which could have profound benefits on economics.


Statins Linked to Cataracts

Another large study has linked statin use (for cholesterol reduction) to the development of cataracts. This newly published meta-analysis on 6972 statin users (compared with nonusers) found that users of the drugs had a 9% increase in cataracts. In secondary analyses that looked at all patients with no comorbidities at baseline, the risk of developing cataracts was 29% higher in the statin users. Results were consistent regardless of whether patients had been taking statins for two, four, or six years, authors note.


Folic Acid Linked to Breast Cancer

So back in January, I discussed a study that linked higher folic acid consumption to colon cancer. Remember, by definition, folic acid is the synthetic derivative of folate. When we ingest folic acid (supplements or from fortification of food), our bodies must convert it to L-methylfolate, the biologically active form of folate our bodies can use.

However, people with intestinal or liver disorders may have reduced conversion of folic acid, and further, studies show that up to 60% of the population have defective enzymes in the conversion process. The presence of unmetabolized/synthetic folic acid in the body seems to be linked to various solid tumours, and this new study now links it to breast cancer.


An Interesting Study Linking Gut Bacteria to Obesity

Here's a really brief post on a really interesting new probiotic study.

In a new study, when researchers transplanted gut bacteria from obese humans into "uncolonized" mice, it led to greater weight gain and fat accumulation than in mice that were given gut bacteria from lean humans. The findings add even more evidence that microbes in the gut influence the physical and metabolic traits of their host--in this case, showing weight and fat gain is influenced by these bacteria.

This isn't the first time I discussed probiotics and obesity. So have a look around this website and read up on a number of other interesting studies. Some previous studies I covered:

These types of studies could be used one day to develop a bacterial approach to obesity and weight management.

Click HERE and subscribe to KnowGuff.com!

Source: Gut Microbiota from Twins Discordant for Obesity Modulate Metabolism in Mice 

Related posts:


Breast Milk Probiotics

According to the researchers behind this new study, the same strains of Bifidobacterium breve and various strains of Clostridium--which are important for colonic health--where found in the breast milk, and maternal and/or neonatal faeces of several mothers and their newborns. These strains found in breast milk, say the researchers, may be involved in establishing a critical bacterial balance in the child's gut and may be important to prevent intestinal disorders.


Which Fruits Lower Diabetes Risk?

So today's study of discussion is about fruits, and my partner and I have just concluded something interesting. Recently, her friend stopped by and gave us a non-organic cantaloupe...and all of a sudden, we have an infestation of fruit flies! All summer, with organic fruits, no fruit flies. Enter non-organic fruits, and whoa, fruit fly invasion. Is this just a coincidence or has anyone else noticed that only non-organic fruits carry these pests? Kind of interesting since you'd think that the pesticides would have the effect of deterring fruit flies. Anyway...

According to the results of 3 combined prospective longitudinal cohort studies, eating certain whole fruits may reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes. Logically, however, fruit juice consumption may increase the risk.

To get a better assessment of the role fruit might have in diabetes risk, researchers combined data from 3 studies: the Nurses' Health Study (n = 66,105 subjects), Nurses' Health Study II (n = 85,104), and Health Professionals Follow-up Study (n = 36,173). Participants in all 3 studies completed questionnaires assessing health and lifestyle factors, including diet, every 2 years.


Red Yeast Rice Safely Lowers Cholesterol

So here's a second study on red yeast rice (RYR) in as many posts (click HERE to read Thursday's post on RYR). In both studies, the researchers used very high doses of RYR, and this is surprising because the doses used are far higher than used in tradition medicine. This raises the risk of adverse effects, and in order to combat this, it would be wise to co-administer both CoQ10 and vitamin D3.

In this study,CoQ10 was also administered in combination with RYR, but at a shockingly low (fairy dust) levels. The researchers recruited 25 people with mildly elevated cholesterol levels to participate in their double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial, which included a 4-week "stabilization diet," and then either RYR/CoQ10 supplements (providing 10 mg of statins and 10 mg of CoQ10) or placebo for another four weeks.


Red Yeast Rice Instead of Statins for Cholesterol Reduction?

Statins are too commonly prescribed medications for lowering cholesterol. However, up to 40% of patients discontinue therapy within 1 year, with their reasons including: fear of adverse effects, cost, and reluctance to take prescription medications. Instead, many patients often adopt alternative therapies to manage their cholesterol levels.


Soda/Pop Linked to Aggression & Inattention in Kids

Another study has found that consumption of even one soft drink daily may be associated with increased negative behavior in young children. A study of almost 3000 5-year-olds showed that those who drank 1-4 pops daily (that's unbelievable! ...my 9-year old probably drinks 1 or 2 a year!) were significantly more aggressive than their peers who drank no soda. Further, those who consumed 2+ servings were more withdrawn, and those who drank 4+ servings had more attention problems. These associations remained even after the researchers adjusted for candy or fruit juice consumption and for a variety of social factors.


Coffee: Friend or Foe?

Here are two interesting and almost contradictory studies on coffee. In the first study, researchers report that heavy coffee consumption of more than 28 cups weekly (an average of 4 cups daily) was associated with an increased risk of "all-cause" mortality among men. This association was more pronounced for those under 55 years of age.

Previous studies had suggested an association between heavy coffee consumption and all-cause mortality and coronary heart disease, but many of these older studies are compromised, because heavy coffee drinkers were also smokers, two habits that went hand in hand in the yesteryears. When adjusted for smoking, coffee didn't appear to be too harmful, and in fact, most of the more recent studies suggested that coffee consumption offers a number of potential benefits as I discussed in a number of posts in the last few years:


You'll See It When You Believe It

Did I get that backwards?! Nope. While many people will know it as "I'll believe when I see it," the title of this post is becoming more and more a reality. This lends some scientific backing to movies like The Secret, What the Bleep Do We Know, and the whole Law of Attraction thing. So while not necessarily related to health and nutrition, understanding the implications of this study has direct relevance to keeping us healthy or over-coming illnesses.

Our brains perceive incoming information from our senses, which on their own is just meaningless or ambiguous. Our brains take that information and puts it into context of what we know, have experienced in the past, or what we expect.

To show how profoundly words can influence perception, American researchers used a technique called continuous flash suppression to render a series of objects invisible to a group of volunteers. In one eye, each person was shown a static picture of a familiar object--such as a chair, a pumpkin or a kangaroo. At the same time, their other eye saw a series of flashing, squiggly lines (which served as visual noise), and because of the patterns, high-contrast, and motion, this "noise" dominated, suppressing the image flashed in the other eye.


Warfarin Patients Treated with Vitamin K

Warfarin is a popular anticoagulant commonly prescribed in people with atrial fibrillation. It works by inhibiting the recycling of vitamin K, so that it's not able to activate the clotting factors that depend on it for proper functioning. However, as we now know, vitamin K is also needed for various other functions in the body, and those taking warfarin are known to be at high risk of osteoporotic fractures (and cardiovascular disease by way of arterial calcification).

Hip fractures are common in the elderly population, and many also take warfarin. Surgical treatment of these fractures within the first 48 hours decreases morbidity and mortality, but because warfarin is a blood thinner, surgery within this short time-frame is difficult--it's important that the coagulation is "normal" before surgery. Therefore, the researchers behind this study sought to determine the effect of vitamin K on hip fracture patients treated with warfarin.


High Blood Sugar Linked to Dementia

It's been commonly suggested that type 2 diabetics have a higher risk of dementia (the most common form of dementia being Alzheimer's disease). In fact, newer research is suggesting Alzheimer's is a form of "type 3 diabetes." This new study shows it's just not diabetics with the higher risk, but just simply higher blood sugar (even without a diagnosis of diabetes).

Researchers analyzed 2067 participants who took part in the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) study. All had at least one follow-up visit and at least five measurements of blood glucose or glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C) over the course of at least 2 years before entering the study. Blood sugar levels were averaged over a five-year period were and then analysed for and links to the risk of dementia.


Exercise REVERSES Mild Cognitive Impairment

Another study has linked exercise to cognitive health, but this time it was shown to reverse cognitive decline! In this new study, researchers recruited adults aged 60 to 88 years who reported that they engaged in fewer than 3 days of moderate-intensity physical activity per week. 17 of them had mild cognitive impairment (MCI, the precursor to Alzheimer's disease), and 18 were normal age-matched control participants.


Drinking Chocolate for Brain Health

Okay, so I started the weekend with a chocolate study, and I'll finish with the same. This new study showed that drinking cocoa, whether rich in flavonoids or not, appears to boost the effect of blood flow on neuronal activity in the brain, known as neurovascular coupling (NVC). It also showed that a higher NVC is associated with better cognitive performance (logically) and greater cerebral white matter structural integrity in elderly patients with vascular risk factors.


Should Diabetics & Heart Failure Patients Eat Chocolate?

Here's a quick post to send you off on your weekend. Type 2 diabetes (T2D) and heart failure (HF) are associated with high levels of skeletal muscle (SkM) oxidative stress (OS). Previously, health benefits attributed to flavonoids have been ascribed their antioxidant effects. However, for flavonoids with similar antioxidant potential, end-biological effects vary widely suggesting other mechanistic avenues for reducing OS. Decreases in OS may follow the modulation of key regulatory pathways including antioxidant levels (e.g. glutathione) and enzymes such as mitochondrial superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase.


Probiotics Don't Prevent Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhoea?

Well, here is a bit of "guff" that needs some explanation. A newly published study on probiotics determined that they don't work to prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhoea (AAD) in elderly patients. However, the conclusion made by these researchers, including any media misrepresenting the data, just simple goes to show how little most people understand bacteria and probiotics.

Let's first look at the study details to understand why the results are almost meaningless. This was a well-designed (multi-centre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled) study in nearly 3000 people. All participants were hospital inpatients aged 65 or over and had been prescribed one or more antibiotics. About half were asked to take a capsule containing a fixed dose of live bacteria (two strains of Lactobacillus acidophilusBifidobacterium bifidum, and Bifidobacterium lactis) per day for 21 days, and between antibiotic doses where possible. The other half formed the control group received a placebo with the same dosing instruction.


L-Carnitine Improves Sperm Motility

As I mentioned on Wednesday, today I'll discuss another L-carnitine study that showed it can improve fertility in men. This isn't new, since it's been studied with positive results in the past, but this does add more confirmation into its benefits.


L-Carnitine May Benefit in vitro Fertilization

Alright, today I'll quickly discuss a study that looked at the potential for using L-carnitine supplementation in women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF). L-carnitine has been studied to a much greater extent in men with fertility issues, but not so much in women (BTW, I've scheduled another L-carnitine study--this time on male infertility--for Friday).


Probiotic E. coli

Say wha?! Yes, that's right...probiotic E. coli. Many reading this may have heard me speak about probiotics, and I almost always use E. coli as an example of why strain identification is so important. This new study on the Nissle 1917 strain of E. coli is another example.

E. coli gets a bad reputation because certain strains, like O157:H7 can cause sever GI distress, or even death, when ingested in very tiny amounts (which also leads into a discussion on potency being strain-specific). However, other strains like Nissle 1917 have probiotic activity--meaning that they exert a health benefit when ingested in certain amounts.


Low Omega-3 Again Linked to ADHD Symptoms

A short post for those with short attention spans...

A study of 63 children and adolescents (with and without ADHD) revealed that lower omega-3 fatty acids may be associated with impaired emotion processing in ADHD children. Results revealed that children with ADHD had lower mean omega-3/6 and ERP abnormalities in emotion processing, independent of emotional valence relative to control children. ERP abnormalities were significantly associated with lower omega-3 levels in the ADHD group. Researchers concluded that children and young adults with ADHD have lower omega-3 levels and that supplementation with omega-3 can improve both ADHD and affective symptoms.

...and before you get distracted, click HERE to subscribe to Know Guff, if you haven't already.

Source: Omega-3 fatty acids are related to abnormal emotion processing in adolescent boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Related posts:


Studies Confirm Vitamin K for Bone & Cardio Benefits

It's been two weeks since my last post! Not only has it been slow in finding interesting studies to report, but I also took vacation time off last week...not that you care, but I do.  :)

Anyway, here are two studies on vitamin K, one on K1 and the other on Mk-4.

In a case-cohort designed study analyzing data from 296 people with extreme coronary artery calcium (CAC) progression, compared with data from 561 healthy controls, low serum vitamin K1 was significantly associated with CAC progression in anti-hypertension medication users. According to the authors, "intervention trials are needed to determine whether improving serum vitamin K1 reduces CAC progression, especially in hypertensives."


Mannitol and Iron for Parkinson's Disease

Hope you enjoyed the first weekend of summer! Well, for my last post, I kept things short so you could start your weekend. For this post--since the weekend is over--I'm going to keep you here until the end time! :)

Here are two new studies for the prevention of Parkinson's disease. First, a study on mannitol, a sugar alcohol that is the steroisomer of sorbitol. Alpha-synuclein is a protein that leads to the development of Parkinson's. Due to this, researchers decided to first identify the structural characteristics that lead to the development of clumps of alpha-synuclein. Once they had this information, they searched for a compound that could inhibit the proteins' ability to bind together, which led them to mannitol.

To test mannitol against alpha-synuclein, they used fruit flies genetically-engineered to carry the human gene for alpha-synuclein.


B12 & Folate Reduce Risk of Macular Degeneration

I know you've got to get your weekend started, so I'll keep this one short. This study links homocysteine to yet another health condition, this time age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

This cohort study involved 1760 subjects who were 55 years and older. Results showed that elevated total serum homocysteine levels, folate deficiency, and vitamin B12 deficiency were all found to predict increased risk of AMD.


Statins Linked to Musculoskeletal Injuries

More bad news for statin users, but probably not surprising for anyone who understands the biochemistry behind these drugs. Just over a month ago, I covered a study that showed statin drugs negate the benefits of exercise, and now this new study link the use of statins with an increased risk of musculoskeletal injuries, including an increased risk of dislocations, strains, and sprains. The researchers go on to suggest that the full range of musculoskeletal adverse events might not be fully known at this time and that further studies are needed, especially in active individuals.


Vitamin D Lowers Obesity Rates

I've previously covered a couple studies linking vitamin D to body fat and weight (following the links below). Previously, Here is the latest on this topic, and it shows that vitamin D levels influence the incidence of obesity (not a consequence of obesity).

In this new study, researchers collected data from 1226 people at three different visits over a ten-year period. Results showed that rates of obesity increased over the study period, with a prevalence of 28.1, 36.2 and 39.5%, for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd visits, respectively.


Certain Foods in Mediterranean Diet Leads to Better Cognitive Function

In case we haven't heard enough of the positive benefits from the Mediterranean diet to cardiovascular and cognitive health, here's another one. However, this one was interesting because it broke down which foods were beneficial for a particular aspect of cognitive function. 

This study involved 447 subjects at high risk of cardiovascular disease (between the ages of 55 and 80 years), enrolled in the PREDIMED study (a primary prevention dietary-intervention trial). Adherence to a Mediterranean diet was found to be associated with improvements in cognitive function in the elderly subjects.


CoQ10 Benefits Multiple Sclerosis

Okay, following the last two studies posted, let's end this week as the "CoQ10 week."

Today's study of discussion was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 45 patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS). Since MS is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system, in which higher oxidative stress may contribute to its pathogenesis, the aim of this study was to investigate the effect of CoQ10 supplementation on oxidative stress and antioxidant enzyme activity.


CoQ10 as Good as Pharmaceuticals for Heart Failure

This has shaped up to be a good week if you're a natural health product called CoQ10 (at least here at Know Guff). Following the last post discussing ubiquinol's potential benefit to elite athletes, here a new study showing it is just about as good as the best pharmaceuticals for patients with heart failure.

The great thing about this study is that is overcomes one of the biggest criticisms of previous positive studies--the lack of statistical power showing improved survival (even though the results were statistically significant). This long-term double blind, placebo-controlled study was designed to be a pharmaceutical-style gold-standard trial with sufficient statistical power.


Ubiquinol the Newest Aid for Olympic Athletes?

In a recently published study involving elite athletes, many of which competed at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, ubiquinol was shown to provide statistically significant performance improvement (as measured by power on a cycle ergometer).

Over the 6 weeks of intervention, the placebo group increased power from 3.64 to 3.94 W/kg bw (an 8.5% increase). In the same time, the ubiquinol group increased from 3.70 to 4.08 W/kg bw (an 11.0% increase). While the difference of 2.5% using percentage values just missed the significance level, the increase in the ubiquinol group when using absolute differences, and in the multivariate analysis, were statistically significant .


Biochemistry Behind Health Benefits of Meditation, Yoga, Prayer

For thousands of years, practices evoking the relaxation response (RR, which is the opposite to the stress response) have been used as an effective therapeutic intervention that counteracts the adverse clinical effects of stress. These interventions include meditation, yoga and repetitive prayer, and they've been shown to be helpful in numerous disorders including hypertension, anxiety, insomnia and aging itself. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms that explain these clinical benefits remained unknown.

This new study looked to assess rapid time-dependent (temporal) genomic changes during one session of RR practice among healthy practitioners with years of RR practice and also in novices before and after 8 weeks of RR training.


Marijuana Benefits HDL Cholesterol, Insulin Levels, and Waist Circumference

A new study on marijuana use has turned up some fascinating health benefits. The researchers behind this latest positive study looked at 4657 participants who had completed a drug-use questionnaire as a part of the NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Survey) database between 2005 and 2010.


Another Study Proves Safety of Calcium Supplements

Back in February, I covered two back-to-back studies on calcium, one showing calcium supplements are perfectly safe, the other showing increased heart attack risk. Before those studies, I covered a number of other studies over the last couple years providing evidence for both sides of the argument.

Now here is the latest study, and it shows that calcium supplements are not related to heart attacks and stroke. If fact, no associations were found between cardiovascular death and dietary or supplemental calcium intake.


Reduced Allergy Risk if Your Parents Sucked

This study was covered extensively last week, but in case you missed it... parents who clean their infant's pacifier by sucking on it may be protecting their baby from developing allergies.

The researchers found that, after a baby dropped their pacifier on the floor, those whose parents sucked the pacifiers to clean them before giving it back were less likely to have asthma, eczema, and sensitization to potential allergens at 18 months of age (compared to children whose parents washed the pacifiers or sterilized them).


Smoking to Prevent Parkinson's Disease?

Well...the direct answer to the title above is "yes," but everyone knows that the picture is much more complex than that and smoking tobacco has unequivocally been shown to be harmful to overall health. However, this is a prime example of why I say, "nothing is 100% good, and nothing is 100% bad."

The observation that smokers have a lower risk of Parkinson's disease (PD) has been consistently reported in more than 60 epidemiological studies, and the protective role seems to be related to nicotine (although not confirmed).


Two More Carnitine Studies Show Benefits for Cardiovascular Health and ALS

Well, it's been almost a full two weeks since I last published new research, and while I usually put these posts together during my downtime, recently I've been hooked on Being Erica, a TV series I'm watching on NetFlix.

I can't remember the last time I had a favourite show (outside of the Bachelor franchise, I embarrassingly admit), probably because I don't watch cable, but Being Erica is the perfect mix of philosophy, sci-fi time travel, self-help, Canadiana chick-flick.

The main character is about my age, so there's a lot I can relate to as she time travels back to her early years. Further, since the show takes place in Toronto, any one in the Greater Toronto Area will be familiar with many of the landmarks that are woven into the story line. I highly recommend this show.

Anyway, enough of my unpaid advertising for this show...

So to continue my last post and roll with the positive studies on L-carnitine, here are a couple more new studies on its therapeutic benefits.

The first study I'll cover today was double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group pilot study involving patients between the ages of 40 and 70 years. Selection criteria included definite or probable amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), patients needed to be self-sufficient (able to swallow, cut food/handle utensils, walk), and have a forced vital capacity of > 80%. 


Carnitine Beneficial in Intermittent Claudication and Pregnancy

Well, I've heard enough unjustified controversy over L-carnitine over the past couple weeks from that single, inappropriately analyzed study I discussed a couple weeks ago. So today, I'm going to  quickly discuss two other recently published studies on L-carnitine.

The first study was a systematic review on intermittent claudication, which analyzed the results of 17 studies (8 parallel randomized controlled trials, 5 crossover RCTs, 5 pre-test/post-test trials). Results revealed that a small or moderate improvement in walking performance was found to be associated with supplementation with L-carnitine in patients.


Statin Drugs Negate the Benefits of Exercise

Well, it's been a very busy month so far with the CHFA West show in Vancouver, meetings, seminars, etc. Now that I'm back and caught-up on the work that piled up, here is a study that showed simvastatin (a popular statin-type medication used to reduce cholesterol levels) minimizes the cardiovascular benefits gained from exercise.

Statin use has been linked to skeletal muscle pathologies and impaired mitochondrial function (due to an induced depletion of CoQ10), but it was unclear whether statin use alters adaptations to exercise training.


L-Carnitine Linked to Clogged Arteries?

There is lots of research to support L-carnitine's benefits to cardiovascular health. So when I usually see headlines regarding L-carnitine and cardiovascular health and risk, L-carnitine usually has a protective role. That's why it was surprising when I came across this study that suggests the opposite: that L-carnitine increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

For many of you using L-carnitine for cardiovascular health, cognitive health (acetyl-L-carnitine), and even weight loss, don't be alarmed. This study is just an anomaly is a sea of positive studies. However, it does deserve some discussion, so let's break it down.


Depression and Heart Health

With increasing focus on brain/cognitive health (a high priority with the aging population), you may have heard the saying, "what's good for the heart, is good for the brain." Then presumably, the reverse would also be true: "what's bad for the brain, is bad for the heart." This is what today's study of discussion had found. Depression can negate the anti-inflammatory benefits typically associated with physical activity and light to moderate alcohol consumption.

The results suggest that depressive symptoms can "minimize the health effects of what many Americans are doing to reduce our risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes — exercise more and adopt a Mediterranean-type diet that includes light to moderate alcohol consumption," said the lead researcher.


Olive Leaf Extract Improves Insulin Sensitivity

Here's a short summary of a human study on an ingredient I don't see studied very often--olive leaf extract (OLE).

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial involving 46 middle-aged, overweight men, supplementation with OLE (51.1 mg oleuropein and 9.7 mg hydroxytyrosol per day) for a period of 12 weeks was found to be associated with a 15% improvement in insulin sensitivity, as compared to placebo.


K2 (as MK-7) Improves Bone Health in Latest Study

In the newest study on vitamin K2 and bone health, 244 healthy postmenopausal women received for MK-7 (180 μg /day) or placebo  for 3 years.

Bone mineral density of lumbar spine, total hip, and femoral neck were measured, along with circulating uncarboxylated osteocalcin (ucOC) and carboxylated OC (cOC). From this data, bone strength indices of the femoral neck and the ucOC/cOC ratio (an indicator of vitamin K status) were calculated. Measurements occurred at baseline and annually during the study treatment period.


Two More CoQ10 Studies for Fibromyalgia

So more and more evidence seems to back the use of CoQ10 for fibromyalgia sufferers. Today I present two more recently published studies.

The first study I'll cover was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 20 patients with fibromyalgia. Supplementation with 300 mg/day CoQ10 for 40 days was found to be associated with clinical improvements, including a prominent reduction in pain, fatigue, and morning tiredness.


Magnesium and Ischemic Heart Disease

Magnesium is one of the best, yet commonly deficient, minerals the be utilized in cardiovascular conditions. However, previous studies on dietary magnesium and risk of ischemic heart disease (IHD) have yielded inconsistent results, in part because of a lack of direct measures of actual magnesium uptake (it's always been a relatively inaccurate estimate based on diet recall). Therefore, the researchers of this new study looked at urinary excretion of magnesium, an indicator of dietary magnesium uptake.


Olive Oil Compound May Help Clear β-Amyloid in Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's disease (AD) affects about 30 million people worldwide, but the prevalence is lower in Mediterranean countries, who consume lots of those of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) from olive oil.

However, newer research is showing that there are many other healthy compounds in olives and olive oil, one of them being oleocanthal, which has been suggested to protect the brain.


Probiotics for Brain Health

Here's yet another study showing the brain/cognitive benefits of probiotics.In this newly published study, healthy women with no gastrointestinal or psychiatric symptoms were randomly assigned to groups given a fermented milk product with probiotic (FMPP), a non-fermented milk product, (the control group), or no intervention (a second control group) daily for 4 weeks.

Participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) before and after the intervention, to measure brain response to an emotional faces attention task and resting brain activity.


Folate and B12 May Help Improve Schizophrenia Symptoms

In a new study involving 140 patients with schizophrenia, researchers found that adding folic acid and vitamin B12 supplements to treatment with standard antipsychotic medication improved a core symptom component of schizophrenia . 

 While the level of improvement across all participants was modest, results were more significant in individuals carrying specific variants in genes involved with folate metabolism. Since the improvement in symptoms varied based on which genetic mutations were present in each participant, the results also support a personalized medical approach to treating schizophrenia.


A Grape Seed Extract that can Lower Blood Pressure

In a new study out of the University of California, Davis, researchers report that a specific grape seed extract (branded as MegaNatural-BP) was associated with significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure in those with pre-hypertension.

Previously, a study using MegaNatural-BP found blood-pressure lowering effects at doses as low as 150 mg per day. However, in this study the dose was 300 mg daily. After eight weeks of daily supplementation, systolic BP came down by 8 mmHg and diastolic by 5 mmHg.


Does L-Carnitine Help with Weight Loss?

Here's an interesting study that confirms--almost exactly--what I tell people when they ask me about the use of L-carnitine for weight loss. If you don't know about this amino acid (and you can read more from the links below), L-carnitine is used to transport fatty acids into the mitochondria (the energy-producing parts of our cells) so that the fatty acids can be used to produce energy.


Folate and B12 Deficiencies Common in Autism Spectrum Disorders

A new study involving 40 children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and 40 controls, found significantly lower levels of folate and vitamin B12 in the children with ASD (compared to the controls). Interestingly, another recently published study, which I didn't cover (since it was well-covered by many, many others), also found that folic acid supplementation during the prenatal period reduced the risk of autism in children.


The Land of Milk and Honey is Not Good for Acne

Wow...finally some common sense entering the picture. A new study on acne is confirming what we all intrinsically know, that diet has an influence on skin conditions, including acne.

It's really bizarre because on one hand, we have dermatologists who are highly educated professionals, and on the other hand we have common sense. As a previous patient to dermatologists, and speaking to friends, it's obvious that dermatologists have lost their common sense. This profession had, for a long time, claimed that diet has no impact on acne. What?! Diet is one of the most important aspects of whole-body health. Isn't this something we all learn as kids? My son knew the importance of diet on health when he was Grade 1--there's no way he should be smarter and more logical than a doctor who's been in school for decades.


Canadians' Vitamin D Levels are Falling!

So as a follow-up to my post on Friday regarding the potential for vitamin D to treat Alzheimer's disease, and all the other benefits that have been studied over the last decade, the latest statistics coming out of Canada, my home and native land, show that our vitamin D levels are falling! WTF?!

Are people that lazy that they can't go to a healthfood store and pick up an inexpensive bottle of vitamin D and supplement?! There should be NO reason why our vitamin D levels are falling in this day and age.

According to data from Statistics Canada, vitamin D levels for Canadians is declining significantly. The mean average vitamin D blood levels for Canadians between the ages of 6 and 79 years of age plunged to just 63.5 nmol/L in 2011 (a 6.2% drop from 67.7 nmol/L in 2009).


Do Vegetarian Diets Harm the Environment?

I'd like to clear up some "guff" that's been circulating in some publications. A new study out of France suggested that a nutritious diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables might not be the greenest in its environmental credentials.

In the study, the diets of 1918 French adults were analysed and the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated by producing the plants, fish, meat, fowl and other ingredients were calculated. From the results, the researchers challenge the widely held belief that a healthy planet = healthy people (and vice versa).

DHA (Omega-3) & Vitamin D Clear Plaques in Alzheimer's Disease

So I've covered a few similar studies in the past, both on omega-3's and vitamin D's beneficial effects on helping to clear amyloid beta plaques, which are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD). In this new study, the researchers took blood samples from both AD patients and healthy controls, then isolated critical immune cells called macrophages from the blood.

Macrophages are responsible for eating-up amyloid beta and other waste products in the brain and body. The team incubated the macrophages with amyloid-beta and added either an active form of vitamin D3 (1alpha,25–dihydroxyvitamin D3) or an active form of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA (resolvin D1) to some of the cells to gauge the effect they had on inflammation and amyloid beta absorption.


Calcium Again Linked to Increased Heart Attack Risk

So, in direct conflict with the last post, and last study I discussed, here is another study that showed calcium intake being associated with an increased risk of heart attacks..

The data comes from over 61,000 Swedish women enrolled in the Swedish Mammography study that followed them for an average of 19 years. Dietary intake was assessed using food frequency questionnaires at baseline (between 1987 and 1990) and again in 1997, and calcium intakes were estimated by adding together dietary and supplemental calcium sources.


Calcium Supplements Safe for Women

Here is a very short post to quickly discuss a new study that's confirmed the most recent study calcium - heart attack link, published late 2012, which showed calcium supplements are indeed safe to consume and that no direct causal effect has ever been found between calcium supplements and cardiovascular disease.

Not only did this new study show no adverse cardiovascular link with calcium and vitamin D supplements in women, but it found that those who supplemented had a 38% lower risk of hip fracture. Further, the data even suggested that there may also be a reduced risk of breast cancer (although results were inconclusive).

The data came from the Women's Health Initiative that looked at over 36,000 postmenopausal women over a 12-year span.

So continue to take your calcium supplements, but remember to consume adequate amounts of vitamin K!

Click HERE to read more on this topic and other studies on calcium.

Source: Health risks and benefits from calcium and vitamin D supplementation: Women's Health Initiative clinical trial and cohort study

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Night Vision the Natural Way

A new randomized, controlled study on lutein has found that daily consumption of at least 20 mg improved night vision contrast and glare sensitivity.

To study this, the researchers recruited 120 people who spent a daily average of 10 hours driving. The volunteers were randomized to receive either a lutein supplement (20 mg/day) or placebo for one year.

The end-points measured were serum lutein concentrations, macular pigment optical density (MPOD), visual acuity, and visual performance at regular intervals during the study. 


How Prenatal Folic Acid May Not Prevent Neural Tube Defects

Hot on the heals of another study on folic acid I covered a couple weeks ago, here is another one. Now, I rarely cover animal studies, but I think this new study is something I need to discuss. This is because it validates what I (and other NDs and healthcare practitioners) have been saying regarding the need to supplement directly with L-methylfolate (instead of folic acid).

A series of reactions, involving numerous enzymes, typically converts folic acid (the synthetic form of folate) into 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF, or more simply, L-methylfolate). However, a mind-boggling large percentage of the population are carriers of a genetic defect in which at least one of those enzymes don't function as it should. This has been theorized as one reason why some women will continue to have children with neural tube defects (NTDs, like spina bifida and anencephaly) despite seemingly adequate consumption of folic acid.


Link Discovered Between Gut Bacteria & Autoimmune Disease

A new Canadian study out of Toronto suggests that exposure to gut microbes affects sex hormones, with ‘potent effects’ on autoimmune diseases. While this was just a study on mice, it highlights how important the bacteria that live on and within us are in living a healthy life.

Since many autoimmune diseases (such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus) are more prevalent in women, the researchers chose to study female mice, and a strain of mice that's known to develop autoimmune diseases due to genetics. In fact, in the study, more than 85% of female mice developed autoimmune diabetes (type I diabetes).

However, when exposed to normal gut microbes--from male mice--early in life, only 25% of the females developed the disease.

“Our findings suggest potential strategies for using normal gut bacteria to block progression of insulin-dependent diabetes in kids who have high genetic risk,” suggested the lead researcher.

Surprisingly, an unexpected finding was that the gut microbes increased levels of testosterone, and this was suggested as the reason why the microbes were essential in protecting against the autoimmune diabetes. A logical extrapolation would also suggest that perhaps this is one factor in why autoimmune diseases are more prevalent in women.

There's a lot of great studies on our microbiome that have been recently published. If you don't subscribe and/or haven't read other recent studies, click HERE for some enlightenment.

Source: Sex Differences in the Gut Microbiome Drive Hormone-Dependent Regulation of Autoimmunity

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Prenatal Choline and Schizophrenia Risk

According to a new randomised placebo-controlled clinical trial, pregnant women may want to take supplements containing the essential nutrient choline during the last two trimesters of pregnancy and in early infancy.

"Genes associated with schizophrenia are common, so prevention has to be applied to the entire population, and it has to be safe,” explained the researchers. “Basic research indicates that choline supplementation during pregnancy facilitates cognitive functioning in offspring.”


Artificial Blue Colours a Hazard to Children & Men

More bad news for artificial colours. According to a newly published study, "Brilliant Blue" and "Patent Blue" have been found to disrupt cellular bioenergetics after entering the bloodstream.

Although these artificial colors may be partially broken down and destroyed in the GI tract after consumption of coloured "soft" candies or drinks, it's not necessarily the case for lollipops and hard candies. This is because as children suck on these candies, the dye penetrates through the lining in the mouth (sublingual absorption), which bypasses first-pass metabolism and enters directly into the bloodstream intact.


Dis Berry, Berry Helty por Women

That's Korean for "this is very, very healthy for women."  ;)

I covered another study on the cardiovascular benefits of berries a few months ago. Now here's a new one that adds more weight to their heart-healthy benefits. Epidemiological data from almost 94,000 women between 25 - 42 years of age indicates that the highest consumption of the blueberries and strawberries was associated with a one-third reduction in their risk of heart attack, compared to eating berries once a month or less. Interestingly, this was seen even in women who otherwise ate a diet rich in other fruits and vegetables.


Folic Acid Linked to Colon Cancer

This is a study published a few weeks ago that I didn't see. Coincidentally, as I was "on tour" last week talking about L-methyl-folate, an acquaintance emailed this to me.

This new study from Seattle's Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has added more weight to folic acid (the synthetic form of folate) supplementation may increase the risk of certain cancers--this time colorectal cancer.

This finding came from using data from the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study, which included over 88,000 postmenopausal women who were studied between 1993-1998.

In the mid-1990s, the United States mandated folic acid fortification in certain foods (i.e. processed grain products) to reduce the incidence of neural tube defects (like spina bifida). Most of this fortification used (and continues to use) the synthetic folic acid --rather than natural folates--since folic acid has much better bioavailability.


Will Ubiquinol Slow the Progression of ALS?

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) appears to be a promising agent in neurodegenerative disorders because they are associated with defects in oxidative phosphorylation. Today, I'm covering a published case report, where the aim was to highlight the role of CoQ10 in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease).

The case centred around a 75-year old medical scientist who presented with weakness of left leg along with cramps in the left calf muscle with steppage gate in September 2000. He had wasting of muscles, fasciculations and exaggerated reflexes. He had rapid deterioration in hand grip power in the left hand and weakness in left lower limb followed by right limbs with inability in walking and routine activities.


Does MSG Cause Snoring and Sleep Problems?

Here's an interesting study--although weak--conducted on volunteers from the land of MSG that links consumption of monosodium glutamate (MSG) to snoring and sleep-disordered breathing (SDB)--a range of breathing abnormalities that occur during sleep, including obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), central sleep apnea, and periodic breathing.

The researchers added that there was “a significant additive interaction between [being] overweight and MSG intake in relation to snoring and SDB.”


Gain Brain with Exercise

Happy New Year! Well, I hope everyone was able to enjoy the holidays. It's always nice to start a new year with some laughter, so before I get to today's study being discussed, I present a couple videos. The first is a video I saw earlier last year. It's a news clip. Watch this first.

Now watch this... and pump UP the volume!

Alright, I know most of you are here for the science, and these videos...well, ain't nobody got time fo' dat!