Thursday, April 23, 2015

People less focused on recurrent bad feelings when taking probiotics

People focus less on bad feelings and experiences from the past, according to psychologists publishing in Brain, Behavior and Immunity. The researchers administered multispecies probiotics in half the subjects and placebo in the other half for at least 4 weeks. Compared to subjects who received the placebo intervention, participants who received the multispecies probiotics intervention showed significantly reduced ruminative thoughts.

Bonnie: Probiotics can improve serotonin levels, much of which exist in the digestive system. So this would make sense.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Why Were 1977 and 1983 So Damaging to Our Health?

According to a review in this month's issue of Open Heart, national dietary guidelines were introduced in 1977 and 1983, by the US and UK governments, respectively, with the ambition of reducing coronary heart disease (CHD) by reducing fat intake. To date, no analysis of the evidence base for these recommendations has been undertaken.

In evaluating all evidence since, there were no differences in all-cause mortality and non-significant differences in CHD mortality, resulting from the dietary interventions. The reductions in mean serum cholesterol levels were significantly higher in the intervention groups; this did not result in significant differences in CHD or all-cause mortality.

What's worse: government dietary fat recommendations were untested in any trial prior to being introduced. The authors conclude that dietary recommendations were introduced for 220 million US and 56 million UK citizens by 1983, in the absence of supporting evidence from randomly controlled trials.

Bonnie: You can thank a good portion of our obesity epidemic for these decisions. When everyone went fat-free, we had to replace those calories with something right? Of course, we replaced fat with carbohydrates, mostly in grain form.

While the thinking on fat is changing rapidly, the damage has been done. It will take a few more generations to right the ship.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Novel therapy for meningitis prevention

Probiotic nose drops reduced the likelihood of students being colonized with the bacteria that cause meningitis, according to a study published online March 25 in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The nose drops contained Neisseria lactamica, a non-disease-causing relative of the bacterium that causes meningitis, Neisseria meningitidis. Epidemiological studies had previously shown that people who carry N lactamica in their nose and throat are both less likely to be colonized with N meningitidis and less likely to contract meningitis than people who do not, possibly because colonization with one species prevents colonization with the other.

This work was supported by Life for a Cure, a charity established by Michelle and John Bresnahan in memory of their son Ryan; and Meningitis UK (now Meningitis Now).

Weedkiller alert over cancer

Is There a Right Time to Eat Fast Food?

A new study, recently published by the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, found there was no significant difference in glycogen recovery when cyclists ate fast food after a workout versus when they ingested traditional sports supplements such as Gatorade, Powerbar and Clif products.

Male cyclists completed two experimental trials, including a 90-minute glycogen-depletion ride followed by a four-hour recovery period. Immediately following each ride and again two hours later, researchers provided participants with either sports supplements or fast food, such as hamburgers, french fires and hash browns. Following a four-hour recovery period, participants completed a 12.4-mile (20-kilometer) time trial.

Researchers analyzed muscle biopsies and blood samples taken in between the two rides and found no differences in blood glucose and insulin responses. Rates of glycogen recovery from the feedings also were not different between the diets. Most importantly, there were no differences in time-trial performance between the two diets.

The participants ate small servings of the fast-food products, not giant orders of burgers and fries. Moderation is the key to the results we got.

Steve: I'd still opt not to go with fast food. It just shows that when your body is in a state of vigorous activity, any calorie will do!

Smoking's Atonishingly Unintended Consequence

Passive smoking isn't only something that people have to cope with, but plants too. This is because some plants are actually able to take up nicotine from cigarette smoke, while others that grow in contaminated soil absorb it via the roots as well. This might explain why high concentrations of nicotine are often found in spices, herbal teas and medicinal plants, despite the fact that this alkaloid is no longer permitted in insecticides. The findings are published in Agronomy for Sustainable Development.

They used peppermint plants, which contain minimal traces of nicotine, in a series of mulching and fumigation experiments. Tremendously elevated nicotine levels were detected after fumigation with cigarette smoke. Peppermint plants can also take up high concentrations of nicotine from contaminated soils evidenced after mulching with cigarette tobacco for more than nine days. The resulting nicotine concentrations were several times higher than the maximum residue levels.

Steve: In addition to the significance for the food industry, these results have a tremendous relevance for basic science: they prove that substances, such as alkaloids, can be transferred from one plant, after its death, to another. Such "horizontal transfer of natural products" sheds light on the unexplained success behind farming practices such as crop rotation and the co-cultivation of certain vegetables. It also shows how intricate and intelligent plants are.

Quercetin Slows the Aging Process: Study

A research team from The Scripps Research Institute, Mayo Clinic and other institutions has identified a new class of drugs that in animal models dramatically slows the aging process -- alleviating symptoms of frailty, improving cardiac function and extending a healthy lifespan, according to a study in an upcoming issue of journal Aging Cell.

The scientists coined the term "senolytics" for the new class of drugs. "The prototypes of these senolytic agents have more than proven their ability to alleviate multiple characteristics associated with aging," said Mayo Clinic Professor James Kirkland, MD, PhD, senior author of the new study. "It may eventually become feasible to delay, prevent, alleviate or even reverse multiple chronic diseases and disabilities as a group, instead of just one at a time."

Senescent cells -- cells that have stopped dividing -- accumulate with age and accelerate the aging process. The team homed in on two available compounds -- the cancer drug dasatinib (sold under the trade name Sprycel®) and quercetin, a natural compound sold as a supplement that acts as an antihistamine and anti-inflammatory.

Further testing in cell culture showed these compounds do indeed selectively induce death of senescent cells. The two compounds had different strong points. Dasatinib eliminated senescent human fat cell progenitors, while quercetin was more effective against senescent human endothelial cells and mouse bone marrow stem cells. A combination of the two was most effective overall.

The compounds improved cardiovascular function and exercise endurance, reduced osteoporosis and frailty, and extended healthspan," said one of the researchers. "Remarkably, in some cases, these drugs did so with only a single course of treatment."

Bonnie: How exciting! I cannot wait until they get to the testing in humans already. Oh wait, they should screen the thousands of clients of ours who have taken quercetin over the years!

Listeria Recall for Sabra Hummus SKUs

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Men Have Twice As Many Reasons to Eat Organic Produce

Vitamin D level linked to depression

Low serum levels of vitamin D are associated with clinically significant symptoms of depression in otherwise healthy individuals, a new study from Psychiatry Research shows.

Making a series of assessments of healthy women during a 1-month period, investigators found that more than one third of participants had depressive symptoms, that almost half had vitamin D insufficiency, and that depressive symptoms were predicted by vitamin D levels.

Noting that vitamin D supplementation is a low-cost, simple, and low-risk intervention, the authors state, "Given the lifespan health risks associated with insufficiency, supplementation is warranted whether or not the modest role of vitamin D in depression observed here generalizes more broadly."

Like cooking shows? You'd better not read this.

Sourcing recipes online, in print and in person may be healthier than from television could shed light on marketing opportunities for food and beverage companies with healthier or better-for-you

A team researchers found that of the 501 women aged 20-35 years they surveyed those who obtained recipes from cooking shows and cooked from scratch weighed an average of 11 pounds more
than those who watched television shows about food but did not often cook. In addition, the mean body mass index of cooking show viewers and doers was 27.48 compared to only 25.66 for those
who watched the shows but did not cook, according to the study published in Appetite.

This finding contradicts the common belief that cooking from scratch results in healthier eating and slimmer waistlines, but the correlation also makes sense given that many cooking shows feature high fat, indulgent meals that have excessive calories, the researchers noted.

The findings are important for food and beverage manufacturers because understanding where young women obtain information about new foods may be important when attempting to influence or shape their food preferences. Furthermore, it may be that watching a ‘healthy’ cooking show or viewing ‘health’ recipes from social media could nudge viewers toward preparing healthy meals, which could be a powerful tool for improving public health.

This was the idea behind baby carrot and fresh juice company Bolthouse Farms’ recent social media “Fruit and Veggie Takeover” campaign , which encouraged people to post about eating fruits and veggies instead of unhealthy foods.