Friday, May 31, 2013

FDA official goes out on limb against BP drugs

Steve: How long will it be before this official is relieved of his duties. When 7.6 billion is in the balance, look out. Bottom line: where there is smoke, there is fire with these class of meds.

One Size Nutrition Profession Does Not Fit All

Bonnie: If you ever wanted to know why I never joined the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and chose the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists, look no further than this piece from renowned nutritional researcher Jeffrey Bland.

Prevent unwanted side effects from antibiotics

Steve: For our clients at least, this is the old news. However, it is always nice to see in prestigious research journals.

Scientists at the Cochrane Collaboration say taking probiotic supplements could prevent diarrhea - a common side-effect of many antibiotics. They looked specifically at cases of diarrhea caused by the potentially dangerous Clostridium difficile bug.

Antibiotics disturb the ecosystem of organisms normally present in the digestive system, allowing bacteria such as C. difficile to overwhelm the gut. And people infected with the bug can suffer from diarrhea.

Researchers found 2% of patients given probiotics developed C. difficile-associated diarrhea compared with 6% of patients who were taking placebos. People taking probiotics had fewer unwanted side-effects than those on placebos, including stomach cramps, nausea and taste disturbances.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Does your prenatal have iodine?

Even a mild level of iodine deficiency during pregnancy is associated with adverse effects on the resulting child's cognitive development, according to a study in the May issue of The Lancet.

Iodine, linked to the production of thyroid hormones, is known to be essential for a healthy fetal brain and neurological development, and the World Health Organization (WHO) in fact refers to its deficiency as "the single most important preventable cause of brain damage worldwide."

While the WHO warning refers largely to severe deficiency, the new study shows that even mild iodine deficiency in utero is linked to lower IQ and suboptimal reading ability in children

First Trimester Is Key Stage for Adequate Iodine Intake
Based on WHO guidelines on recommended concentrations of iodine during pregnancy, the researchers classified iodine/creatinine ratios of less than 150 µg/g as being iodine deficient and a ratio of 150 µg/g or more as iodine sufficient.

The researchers found women with iodine/creatinine ratios of less than 150 µg/g were more likely to have children with scores in the lowest quartile for verbal IQ, reading accuracy, and reading comprehension, compared with children of mothers with ratios of 150 µg/g or more.

The children's scores worsened when the deficient group (less than 150 µg/g) was further subdivided into 50 to 150 µg/g and less than 50 µg/g.

According to WHO guidelines, pregnant and breast-feeding women are recommended an intake of 250 µg of iodine per day, compared with the recommendation of 150 µg for adults who are not pregnant.

Ibuprofen raises heart disease risk at high doses

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Magnesium for chronic low back pain

According to a recent study in Anaesthesia, magnesium supplementation may reduce pain and improve mobility in people who have chronic lower back and nerve pain. 

Researchers evaluated subjects who all received traditional treatments such as physical therapy, antidepressants, and pain relievers. In addition, half of the participants received magnesium through an intravenous (IV) infusion for two weeks and magnesium capsules taken by mouth for four weeks, while the other half received a placebo during those six weeks.

Subjects that received the magnesium IV and supplements reported significantly reduced pain and significant improvement in spine range of motion compared with the placebo group.

Beneficial bacteria afftects brain positively

UCLA researchers now have the first evidence that bacteria ingested in food can affect brain function in humans. In an early proof-of-concept study of healthy women, they found that women who regularly consumed probiotics through yogurt showed altered brain function, both while in a resting state and in response to an emotion-recognition task.

The study appears in the June edition of the journal Gastroenterology.

The discovery that changing the bacterial environment, or microbiota, in the gut can affect the brain carries significant implications for future research that could point the way toward dietary or drug interventions to improve brain function, the researchers said.

Researchers have known that the brain sends signals to the gut, which is why stress and other emotions can contribute to gastrointestinal symptoms. This study shows what has been suspected but until now had been proved only in animal studies: that signals travel the opposite way as well.

The study shows that the gut-brain connection is a two-way street.

The researchers found that, compared with the women who didn't consume the probiotic yogurt, those who did showed a decrease in activity in both the insula -- which processes and integrates internal body sensations, like those form the gut -- and the somatosensory cortex during the emotional reactivity task.

Further, in response to the task, these women had a decrease in the engagement of a widespread network in the brain that includes emotion-, cognition- and sensory-related areas. The women in the other two groups showed a stable or increased activity in this network.

During the resting brain scan, the women consuming probiotics showed greater connectivity between a key brainstem region known as the periaqueductal grey and cognition-associated areas of the prefrontal cortex. The women who ate no product at all, on the other hand, showed greater connectivity of the periaqueductal grey to emotion- and sensation-related regions, while the group consuming the non-probiotic dairy product showed results in between.

Diet Soda Severely Damages Teeth

Addicted to soda? You may be shocked to learn that drinking large quantities of your favorite carbonated soda could be as damaging to your teeth as methamphetamine and crack cocaine use. The consumption of illegal drugs and abusive intake of soda can cause similar damage to your mouth through the process of tooth erosion, according to a case study published in the March/April 2013 issue of General Dentistry.

Tooth erosion occurs when acid wears away tooth enamel, which is the glossy, protective outside layer of the tooth. Without the protection of enamel, teeth are more susceptible to developing cavities, as well as becoming sensitive, cracked, and discolored.

The General Dentistry case study compared the damage in mouths -- admitted users of methamphetamine, cocaine, and excessive diet soda drinkers. Each participant admitted to having poor oral hygiene and not visiting a dentist on a regular basis. Researchers found the same type and severity of damage from tooth erosion in each participant's mouth.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

FDA a milt toast stance on GMO food

Fever reducers do not enhance child's recovery,0,5480927.story

Vitamin C kills Tuberculosis bacteria

A team from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York made the accidental find while researching how Tuberculosis bacteria become resistant to the TB drug isoniazid. The research was published in the journal Nature Communications

According to the authors, even more surprisingly, when they left out the TB drug isoniazid and just had Vitamin C alone, they discovered that Vitamin C kills tuberculosis. The team next tested the vitamin on drug resistant strains of TB, with the same outcome. In the lab tests, the bacteria never developed resistance to Vitamin C -- "almost like the dream drug". 

They stressed the effect had only been demonstrated in a test tube so far, and "we don't know if it will work in humans", or which dose might be useful. But in fact before this study we wouldn't have even thought about trying this study in humans." 

In March, disease experts warned of a "very real" risk of an untreatable TB strain emerging as more and more people develop drug resistance. The authors of the new study urged further research into the potential uses of Vitamin C in TB treatment, stressing it was "inexpensive, widely available and very safe to use."

Steve: Inexpensive is the key. That's why I found this article in a New Zealand newspaper, even though the discovery happened in New York.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Alcohol, caffeine, and risk for heart attack in postmenopausal women

Little is known about the long-term intake of alcohol and caffeine and the role they play in the development of sudden cardiac death (SCD) in women because of their effects on cholesterol, blood pressure, heart rate variability, and inflammation. Researchers in the April issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined 93,676 postmenopausal women between 1993 and 2009. 

Intake of 5 to15 grams of alcohol per day (about one drink) was associated with a reduced risk of SCD compared with 0.1 to 5 grams per day. No association was found between SCD and total caffeine intake or cups of caffeinated coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and caffeinated tea.

The results suggest that about one drink per day may be beneficial and total caffeine, regular coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and regular tea intake were not associated with the risk of SCD.

Monsanto looks to ban state laws regulating GMOs

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Multiple Malady Management With Melatonin

Melatonin is hormone synthesized within the pineal gland. It is secreted in the evening and appears to play multiple roles. The hormone contributes to the regulation of biological rhythms, may induce sleep, has strong antioxidant action and appears to contribute to the protection of the organism from carcinogenesis and neurodegenerative disorders.

A new report in Therapeutic Advances in Endocrinology and Metabolism states that at a therapeutic level as well as in prevention, melatonin is used for the management of sleep disorders and jet lag, for the resynchronization of circadian rhythms in situations such as blindness and shift work, for its preventive action in the development of cancer, as additive therapy in cancer, as therapy for rheumatoid arthritis, and as therapy for preventing the progression of Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Most interestingly is what the authors say about Melatonin as an antioxidant and cancer preventive/adjuvant.

Melatonin is a very potent free radical recipient and a general antioxidant. As an antioxidant melatonin binds potently the toxic hydroxyl and hyperoxide radicals. The property of melatonin to act as an antioxidant by itself and through its metabolites makes it extremely effective, even at a low concentration, in the protection of living organisms from oxidative stress. In agreement with melatonin's protective function, significant amounts of melatonin have been detected in tissues and organs exposed to hostile environmental attacks, such as the skin and the bowel, and in organs with high oxygen consumption, such as the brain, melatonin production being increased by agents inducing low-intensity stress, such as exercise in humans.

Melatonin seems to contribute to cancer prevention and may also be used as additive therapy in cancer. According to the authors, many studies have shown that melatonin inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells, cervical cancer cells and ovarian cancer cells. Melatonin is a new member of a group of regulatory factors controlling cell multiplication and death. In physiologic concentrations melatonin is cytostatic and inhibits cancer cell multiplication via action in the cell cycle. In pharmacologic concentrations melatonin has a cytotoxic effect on cancer cells.

As an adjuvant therapy, the effect of melatonin was investigated in a group of 1440 patients with progressive solid cancer who received supportive therapy with or without melatonin. The frequency of cachexia, thrombocytopenia and lymphopenia was significantly lower in patients receiving melatonin than in those receiving only supportive therapy. The percentage of patients with disease stabilization and the annual survival were higher in patients receiving melatonin than in those receiving only supportive therapy. The objective response of patients to therapy was significantly greater in patients receiving melatonin and chemotherapy than those receiving only chemotherapy.

Exciting stuff!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Time to usher in alternatives to wheat as a major agricultural staple?

Sucralose causes blood sugar spike in small study

A study that appeared in the April issue of Diabetes Care is the first to evaluate blood sugar levels in human subjects. Researchers evaluated the acute effects of sucralose ingestion on the metabolic response to an oral glucose load in obese subjects. Obese subjects who did not use non-nutritive sweeteners and were insulin sensitive underwent a 5 hour modified oral glucose tolerance test on two separate occasions preceded by consuming either sucralose or water 10 minutes before the glucose load in a randomized crossover design. Indices of β-cell function, insulin sensitivity (SI), and insulin clearance rates were estimated by using minimal models of glucose, insulin, and C-peptide kinetics. 

Compared with the control condition, sucralose ingestion caused 1) a greater incremental increase in peak plasma glucose concentrations, 2) 8% greater incremental increase in insulin area under the curve, 3) 7% greater peak insulin secretion rate, 4) 4% decrease in insulin clearance, and 5) 20% decrease in insulin sensitivity. 

These data demonstrate that sucralose affects the glycemic and insulin responses to an oral glucose load in obese people who do not normally consume non-nutritive sweeteners.

Steve: Media? Where are you? Why are not reporting on this? The beloved sucralose, the active ingredient in Splenda, affects blood sugar adversely? For many dietitians, this is their "go to" sugar replacement for clients with blood sugar imbalances. I guess the word needs to get out that they should be looking for something else to recommend now.

Normal or high protein for weight management?

A study published in the May issue The Journal of Nutrition aimed to gather a consensus of the different outcomes of energy-restricted high-protein diets depending on the dietary protein content. The objective was to determine the effects of dietary protein content on body weight loss-related variables during a 6-month energy restriction with the use of diets containing protein. In overweight and obese participants, protein intake was consistent in the normal protein diet and high protein diet groups throughout the study. Body fat mass similarly decreased in the normal protein diet and high protein diet groups. Fat free mass, resting energy expenditure, and diastolic blood pressure changed favorably with the high protein diet compared with the normal protein group after body weight loss.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Reading new suntan lotion labels

Here's what's new:

• SPF numbers still matter. This is the number that tells you how well a product protects you from sunburn, caused by ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. The numbers range from 2 to 100 or more. For a good margin of safety, choose products with SPFs of at least 30 to 50. Keep in mind that you get the promised protection only if you apply the product liberally and often (at least every two hours).

• Low SPFs now come with a warning. Products with SPFs below 15 must carry warnings that they protect only against sunburn, not skin aging or skin cancer.

• Broad spectrum claims are backed by testing. Dermatologists have long recommended broad spectrum sunscreens, those that offer significant protection from both UVB and UVA rays. Both kinds of rays contribute to wrinkles and skin cancer. Now products must pass a standard test before they make that claim.

• Water-resistant does not mean waterproof. Labels can no longer say that sunscreens are waterproof or sweat-proof, because all of them wash or wear off. The new labels can claim water resistance, but must tell consumers how often to reapply the product when swimming or sweating — every 40 minutes or every 80 minutes. Those claims also must be backed by testing.

• Sunscreen is never enough. Broad spectrum sunscreens with SPFs of 15 and above now carry labels that say they "can reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging" if used as directed — in combination with limiting your time in the sun, especially at midday, and wearing long sleeves, pants, hats and sunglasses.

Here's what's missing:

The FDA needs to approve sunscreen ingredients available elsewhere in the world that it says are more effective.

The FDA also needs to more rigorously test active sun protective ingredients that themselves have been indicted for being unhealthy.

The FDA needs to reign in any nano-ingredients because their safety have not been well studied.

There should be verbiage on every suntan lotion bottle saying that "sensible sun exposure is a requirement to achieve adequate levels of vitamin D. Fifteen minutes of exposure on a good portion of your body five times weekly would suffice." Of course, this would never happen.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

High homocysteine and low folate, B-12 linked to AMD

Researchers wanted to clarify inconsitent evidence of a relation between serum total homocysteine (tHcy), vitamin B-12, and folate and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In the May issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers investigated associations between intakes and serum concentrations of folate and vitamin B-12 or serum tHcy and 10 year AMD incidence. 

They found that increases in serum tHcy were associated with increased risk of incident early and any AMD. Participants with a serum vitamin B-12 and folate deficiency were particularly susceptible. According to the researchers, elevated serum tHcy and folate and vitamin B-12 deficiencies predicted increased risk of incident AMD, which suggests a potential role for vitamin B-12 and folate in reducing AMD risk.

We don't exercise enough, but get plenty of added sugar.

79% of adults don't meet the physical activity guidelines that advise getting at least 2½ hours a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as brisk walking, or one hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, such as jogging. Plus, the guidelines recommend that adults do muscle-strengthening activities, such as push-ups, sit-ups or exercise using resistance bands or weights. These activities should involve all major muscle groups and be done on two or more days a week, the guidelines say.
The latest statistics wer published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a journal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Steve: It is astounding that given all the well-known benefits of physical activity, that so few of us choose to be regularly active. One of the most powerful things you can do for your health is to be active. Yet, when it comes to added sugars, Americans are not only getting enough, but way too much.
About 13% of adults' daily calories come from added sugars in things like cake and regular soda. Men consume about 335 calories a day from added sugars; women, 239 calories. These are sugars added to processed and prepared foods but does not even include sugar added at the table.

The results were published by the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A similar study last year showed that kids and teens are downing about 16% of their daily calories (322 calories) from added sugars. Boys consume 362 calories a day from them; girls, 282 calories.

The current intake of added sugars is far more than the amount recommended by public health organizations.

Antidepressant use linked to C. Dificile infections

Certain types of anti-depressants have been linked to an increase in the risk of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) finds a study in BMC Medicine. Awareness of this link should improve identification and early treatment of CDI.

CDI is one of the most common hospital acquired infections and is responsible for more than 7000 deaths annually in the USA alone. Several types of medications are thought to increase risk of CDI, including anti-depressants

Given that depression is the third most common medical condition worldwide, the team studied Clostridium difficile infection in people with and without depression and found that people with major depression had a much higher chance of CDI (a 36% increase) than people without depression. This association held for a variety of depressive disorders and nervous or psychiatric problems. Age and family support also impacted risk of CDI. Older, widowed Americans were 54% more likely to catch C. difficile than their married peers. Just living alone increased risk by 25%.

The researchers stress that it is not yet known whether the increase in CDI is due to microbial changes in the gut during depression or to the medications associated with depression.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

How to turn bad stress into good.

Why is country of origin labelling so important?

Steve: I love the fact that we can now see where our animal protein comes from. If you look closely, sometimes you can find as much as four or more countries listed on a package of ground beef. Makes you want to stick to local as much as possible! In the case of the following story, you really have to give pause when you see China listed on the package.

A Dermatologist's Worst Nightmare

Bonnie: Dermatologists are in lock step when it comes to the sun: avoid it like the plague! Unfortunately, this is very bad advice. Yes, being smart about sun exposure is crucial. But getting sun exposure is a necessity. At least 15 minutes without sunscreen, five days a week, is ideal.

Dermatologists will have their chance to lay into researchers at the University of Ediburgh, who's landmark study tosses the mantra on its ear when presented this week at the International Investigative Dermatology conference, the world's largest gathering of skin experts.

According to the researchers, exposing skin to sunlight may help to reduce blood pressure, cut the risk of heart attack and stroke - and even prolong life. They have found that when our skin is exposed to the sun's rays, a compound is released in our blood vessels that helps lower blood pressure. 

The findings suggest that exposure to sunlight improves health overall, because the benefits of reducing blood pressure far outweigh the risk of developing skin cancer. Heart disease and stroke linked to high blood pressure are estimated to lead to around 80 times more deaths than those from skin cancer.

Production of this pressure-reducing compound - called nitric oxide - is separate from the body's manufacture of vitamin D, which rises after exposure to sunshine. Until now it had been thought to solely explain the sun's benefit to human health.

Researchers studied the blood pressure of volunteers who sat beneath tanning lamps for two sessions of 20 minutes each. In one session, the volunteers were exposed to both the UV rays and the heat of the lamps. In the other, the UV rays were blocked so that only the heat of the lamps affected the skin.

The results showed that blood pressure dropped significantly for one hour following exposure to UV rays, but not after the heat-only sessions. This shows that it is the sun's UV rays that lead to health benefits.

Dr Richard Weller, Senior Lecturer in Dermatology at the University of Edinburgh, said: "We suspect that the benefits to heart health of sunlight will outweigh the risk of skin cancer. We now plan to look at the relative risks of heart disease and skin cancer in people who have received different amounts of sun exposure. If this confirms that sunlight reduces the death rate from all causes, we will need to reconsider our advice on sun exposure."

Bonnie: What's even better is that dermatologists cannot just say "take vitamin D supplements in place of the sun," because the nitric oxide pathway craves sunshine as well!

A Client Testimonial to Share.

Steve: Once in a while, we like to share comments from clients that makes all that we do worth it.

"Dear Bonnie,

This morning, as I was washing my hair, I was overwhelmed with the following thoughts.

I truly believe that we all have angels watching over us, and that you truly are one of my angels.

I came to you over 10 maybe 15 years ago, a very frail person, looking for answers to many problems I was having, osteoporosis being one. My skin was pale, my hair quite thin, my diet lacking so much and I sat in your office, almost in tears asking for your help.

Well, I am now 70 years old, not very old since I truly believe in 120 (and then asking for more as Rabbi Weinberg says), the osteoporosis virtually gone, my hair, thank goodness thanks to the wonderful shampoo you suggested back with a shine and thicker than ever, a diet that keeps me energetic (and still working) and a glow about life that I certainly didn't have as a young adult.

You have cured my husband Chuck of diabetes, you have helped my daughter handle her diabetes, helped my grandson Brandon, and through your help his face has totally cleared up, you have helped Chuck's daughter Sarah, even though living in California, you have helped my son Michael and put him on a healthier path along with his wife Lauren, and have helped almost all of my co-workers and friends who have crossed your path.

I just wanted you to know how very special we all think you are.  Sometimes in life, you have to take the time to let a very special person, which you are, know how very special they are.

Love you bunches and will always be grateful.

Marlene W." 

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Magnesium mentioned for muscle cramps

Circadian rhythm and obesity linked

A study published in the most recent version of the journal Obesity found that the body's internal clock, the circadian system, increases hunger and cravings for sweet, starchy and salty foods in the evenings. While the urge to consume more in the evening may have helped our ancestors store energy to survive longer in times of food scarcity, in the current environment of high-calorie food, those late night snacks may result in significant weight gain.

Eating a lot in the evening can be counterproductive since the human body handles nutrients differently depending on the time of day. For example, sugar tolerance is impaired in the evening. Additionally, consuming more calories in the evening predisposes people to more energy storage; we simply don't expend as much energy after an evening meal in comparison to morning meals.

Furthermore, artificial light enables people to stay up later than they probably should and often people don't get enough sleep. If you stay up later, during a time when you're hungrier for high-calorie foods, you're more likely to eat during that time. You then store energy and get less sleep, both of which contribute to weight gain.

The researchers say that knowing how your body operates will help you make better choices. Going to bed earlier, getting enough sleep and choosing lower-calorie foods rather than higher-calorie foods in the evening can all help with weight loss. Because of the internal circadian regulation of appetite, we have a natural tendency to skip breakfast in favor of larger meals in the evening. This pattern of food intake across the day, according to researchers, is exactly what Sumo wrestlers do to gain weight. Yikes!