Thursday, July 31, 2014

Vegetarians Require Extra Nutrients to Avoid Osteoporosis

Vegetarian diets should be used with caution for weight management. Vegetarians should increase intakes of vitamin B-12, zinc, increase intakes of calcium, magnesium, fiber, protein, and vitamins A, C, and E.

Some research suggests that vegetarian diets, especially vegan diets, are associated with lower bone mineral density (BMD). Oxalic acid and phytic acid can potentially interfere with absorption and retention of calcium and thereby have a negative effect on BMD. Impaired vitamin B-12 status also negatively affects BMD. 

The authors from the study in the July issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggest attention to the shortfall nutrients through the careful selection of foods or fortified foods or the use of supplements to help ensure healthy bone status to reduce fracture risk in individuals who adhere to vegetarian diets.

Biochemist Warns of Pulses From Wireless Devices

Antioxidants and Allergy, Asthma

The western diet is becoming more popular around the world even though it is characterized by a reduction of fresh fruits and vegetables with an increase of processed foods. As pulmonary and systemic oxidative stress increase allergic inflammation, dietary or supplemental antioxidants have been proposed to counteract the incidence and morbidity of allergic disease.

Studies of variable quality suggest associations of low dietary intake of antioxidants and increased asthma and allergy. High levels of antioxidants are found in the Mediterranean diet which is associated with a decrease in asthma and allergic disease suggesting high levels of antioxidants in the diet are beneficial. Antioxidant supplementation may be protective under certain conditions where vulnerable populations have a deficiency in dietary antioxidants and/or are exposed to environmental oxidants, as summarized in a study from the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Blog on May 2014.

New Discovery: Why Antibiotics Don't Work

Researchers have discovered the link between antibiotics and bacterial biofilm formation leading to chronic lung, sinus and ear infections. The study results, published in the current issue of PLOS ONE, illustrate how bacterial biofilms can actually thrive, rather than decrease, when given low doses of antibiotics.

The research addresses the long standing issues surrounding chronic ear infections and why some children experience repeated ear infections even after antibiotic treatment. Once the biofilm forms, it becomes stronger with each treatment of antibiotics.

Biofilms are highly structured communities of microorganisms that attach to one another and to surfaces. The microorganisms group together and form a slimy, polysaccharide cover. This layer is highly protective for the organisms within it, and when new bacteria are produced they stay within the slimy layer. With the introduction of antibiotic-produced glycogen, the biofilms have an almost endless food source that can be used once antibiotic exposure has ended.

There are currently no approved treatments for biofilm-related infections. Therefore, bacteria forced into forming stronger biofilms will become more difficult to treat and will cause more severe chronic infections. Adults will suffer protracted lung infections as the bacteria hunker down into their protective slime, and children will have repeated ear infections. What may appear to be antibiotic resistance when an infection does not clear up may actually be biofilms at work.

Modern medicine needs to find ways of detecting and treating biofilm infections before the bacteria are able to form these protective structures.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Friday, July 25, 2014

Google's New Moonshot Project

Five Hour Energy Drink Sued

Two attorneys general from the Northwest have sued the companies responsible for the popular 5-Hour Energy drink, alleging they engaged in deceptive advertising.

The Oregon lawsuit filed Thursday in Portland contends 5-Hour Energy falsely claims customers get extra energy and focus from a unique blend of ingredients, when the boost actually comes from a concentrated dose of caffeine.

The suit also targets claims that users don't experience a crash when the effects subside and that the product is OK for adolescents.

Oregon has been part of a group leading a 33-state investigation into the accuracy of the product's claims. Washington state's attorney general filed a similar lawsuit Thursday in King County Superior Court in Seattle.

Other states are expected to file suit as well, said Kristina Edmunson, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Justice.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Lipoic Acid Continues to Show Its Value

Researchers have discovered a possible explanation for the surprisingly large range of biological effects that are linked to a micronutrient lipoic acid: It appears to reset and synchronize circadian rhythms, or the "biological clock" found in most life forms.

The ability of lipoic acid to help restore a more normal circadian rhythm to aging animals could explain its apparent value in so many important biological functions, ranging from stress resistance to cardiac function, hormonal balance, muscle performance, glucose metabolism and the aging process.

The findings were published in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, through the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Almost one-third of all genes are influenced by circadian rhythms, and when out of balance they can play roles in obesity, cancer, heart disease, inflammation, hormonal imbalance and many other areas.

Kids Actually Like Healthier Lunches Over Time

14 Fad Diets to Avoid

Battle for breakfast dollars and high protein takes hold

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Polyphenols and glucose

A diet rich in polyphenols, one that includes dark chocolate, green tea, coffee, and extra virgin olive oil, among other foods, significantly improved glucose metabolism in individuals at high risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The results of the new study was presented at the European Atherosclerosis Society 2014 Congress.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Children with Autism Have Altered Gut Bacteria

Most gut bacteria are beneficial, aiding food digestion, producing vitamins, and protecting against harmful bacteria. If left unchecked, however, harmful bacteria can excrete dangerous metabolites or disturb a balance in metabolites that can affect the gut and the rest of the body, including the brain.

Increasing evidence suggests that children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have altered gut bacteria. In order to identify possible microbial metabolites associated with ASD researchers looked for and compared the compounds in fecal samples from children with and without ASD. They found that children with ASD had significantly different concentrations of seven of the 50 compounds they identified.

Most of the seven metabolites play a role in the brain, working as neurotransmitters or controlling neurotransmitter biosynthesis. They suspect that gut microbes may alter levels of neurotransmitter-related metabolites affecting gut-to-brain communication and/or altering brain function."

Of particular interest was the significantly higher glutamine/glutamate ratio in children with ASD. Glutamine and glutamate are further metabolized to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter. An imbalance between glutamate and GABA transmission has been associated with ASD-like behaviors such as hyper-excitation.

Children with ASD also harbored distinct and less diverse gut bacterial composition. The study was presented in May at the American Society for Microbiology.

Greatest Impact on a Child's Beneficial Bacteria?

The factor that has the greatest impact on the development of a child's gut flora is whether the child is breastfed, according to a new study from Applied and Environmental Microbiology. The study shows that breastfeeding promotes the growth of beneficial lactic acid bacteria in the baby's gut flora, which are beneficial to the development of the child's immune system.

A number of studies have shown that breastfed babies grow slightly slower and are slightly slimmer than children who are fed with infant formula. Children who are breastfed also have a slightly lower incidence of obesity, allergies, diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease later in life. This may be due to the fact that breastfeeding promotes the development of beneficial bacteria in the baby's gut.

There are significant changes in the intestinal bacterial composition from nine to 18 months following cessation of breastfeeding and other types of food being introduced. However, a child's gut microbiota continues to evolve right up to the age of three, as it becomes increasingly complex and also more stable.

Steve: This probably means that there is a 'window' during those early years, in which intestinal bacteria are more susceptible to external factors than what is seen in adults.

Gluten May Contribute to Depression

The aim of a recent Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics study was to investigate the major effect of gluten on mental state and not necessarily on gastrointestinal symptoms. The researchers found that gluten ingestion was associated with higher overall depression scores compared to placebo.

Exercise benefits the good bugs in our gut