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

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

Monthly 3D Poll


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).