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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!