Friday, July 31, 2009
Omega-3-rich fish oil beneficially affects gene expression, says a new nutrigenomic study that enhances our understanding of the health benefits of omega-3.
The study is said to be the first to show that DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) can affect gene expression to a more anti-atherogenic and anti-inflammatory status.
Lead researcher Lydia Afman told NutraIngredients: “The most exciting finding of this study is the demonstration of less pro-inflammatory gene expression profiles in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) after a 6 months fish oil intervention in a healthy elderly population.”
Because PBMCs are immune cells, and play a vital role in inflammation and the development of cardiovascular diseases, the results may go some way to explaining the cardio-protective effects of omega-3 fatty acids.
In addition to a large body of science linking DHA and EPA to improved cardiovascular health, the omega-3 fatty acids have also been linked to reduced risks of certain cancers, good development of a baby during pregnancy, improved joint health, and improved behaviour and mood.
Increased intakes of omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid may double the risk of ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease, says a Pan-European study.
On the other hand, the highest intakes of omega-3 were associated with 77 per cent reduction in the risk of the disease, according to findings of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) with 203,193 men and women published in Gut.
The study adds to a small but growing body of evidence supporting the importance of balance between omega-3 omega-6 fatty acids.
Commenting on the mechanism, Dr Hart wrote that omega-6 fatty acids are present in the cell membrane of colon cells in the form of arachidonic acid. This can be metabolised to prostaglandin E2, leukotriene B4 and thromboxane A2, all of which have pro-inflammatory effects.
On the other hand, omega-3 fatty acids, and particularly the anti-inflammatory effects of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which may prevent colonic inflammation.
Hmmm. DHA and EPA are omega 3 fats found in grassfed meat and fish. Not present in any vegetables. And essential for human health, as new study after another shows us. Note: the "omega 3" supplements you see made out of flaxseed do not contain DHA. So eating grassfed meat is good for you, eating carbs is bad for you.
Brain cells tune in on success, monkey experiment finds: HealthDay
It is often stated that people learn from their mistakes, but new research sugests people may figure out more from their successes than from their failures.
"If the monkey just got a correct answer, a signal lingered in its brain that said, 'You did the right thing.' Right after a correct answer, neurons processed information more sharply and effectively, and the monkey was more likely to get the next answer correct as well," Miller said in the news release.
But after a monkey made an error "there was no improvement. In other words, only after successes, not failures, did brain processing and the monkeys' behavior improve."
We previously reported that a carbohydrate-restricted diet (CRD) ameliorated many of the traditional markers associated with metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular risk compared with a low-fat diet (LFD). There remains concern how CRD affects vascular function because acute meals high in fat have been shown to impair endothelial function. Here, we extend our work and address these concerns by measuring fasting and postprandial vascular function in 40 overweight men and women with moderate hypertriacylglycerolemia who were randomly assigned to consume hypocaloric diets (∼1500 kcal) restricted in carbohydrate (percentage of carbohydrate-fat-protein = 12:59:28) or LFD (56:24:20). Flow-mediated dilation of the brachial artery was assessed before and after ingestion of a high-fat meal (908 kcal, 84% fat) at baseline and after 12 weeks. Compared with the LFD, the CRD resulted in a greater decrease in postprandial triacylglycerol (−47% vs −15%, P = .007), insulin (−51% vs −6%, P = .009), and lymphocyte (−12% vs −1%, P = .050) responses. Postprandial fatty acids were significantly increased by the CRD compared with the LFD (P = .033). Serum interleukin-6 increased significantly over the postprandial period; and the response was augmented in the CRD (46%) compared with the LFD (−13%) group (P = .038). After 12 weeks, peak flow-mediated dilation at 3 hours increased from 5.1% to 6.5% in the CRD group and decreased from 7.9% to 5.2% in the LFD group (P = .004). These findings show that a 12-week low-carbohydrate diet improves postprandial vascular function more than a LFD in individuals with atherogenic dyslipidemia.
Carbs trigger metabolic syndrome, or make it worse. But isn't fat bad for the blood vessels, clogging them up? Turns out, no, carbs do the most damage to the blood vessels. Recent research also shows that eating carbs make your veins brittle, and they lose the elasticity, like a rubber band that won't snap closed anymore. This is not good. Smoking does the same thing, and tinkers with the insulin system as well. Eating bread is like smoking, it's bad for you.
Animal tests suggest humanin could have therapeutic benefits : HealthDay
WEDNESDAY, July 22 (HealthDay News) -- New information about a cellular protein might help in efforts to develop drug treatments for diabetes and Alzheimer's disease, researchers say.
In tests on rats, they found that humanin, which may prevent nerve cells from dying, also helps improve insulin action and lower blood glucose levels.
"This new role of humanin in glucose metabolism, in addition to its role in Alzheimer's disease, is very intriguing since scientists have long proposed a link between type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's disease," Dr. Nir Barzilai, a professor and director of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, said in a news release from the college.
"Humanin could turn out to be a therapeutic option for two common debilitating diseases that affect millions of people, Barzilai said. "Additionally, humanin may help treat other age-related diseases."
Of course they want to make a drug to mimic humanin. I'm more curious as to the link between insulin resistance and Alzheimer's. This study links the two, but does one cause the other, or does a third factor cause both? If humanin is protective, how can we naturally increase the supply of it in our bodies?
Friday, July 24, 2009
Children on the high-fat ketogenic diet to control epileptic seizures can prevent the excruciatingly painful kidney stones that the diet can sometimes cause if they take a daily supplement of potassium citrate the day they start the diet, according to research from Johns Hopkins Children's Center. A report on the work is published in the August issue of Pediatrics.
"We can confidently say this is a safe and powerful way to prevent kidney stones, and it should become part of standard therapy in all ketogenic dieters, not just those who already show elevated urine calcium levels," says senior investigator Eric Kossoff, M.D., a pediatric neurologist at Hopkins Children's. "If you wait, it might be too late."
The ketogenic diet, believed to work by initiating biochemical changes that eliminate seizure-triggering short circuits in the brain's signaling system, is given to many children whose seizures do not respond to medications. But the diet, which consists of high-fat foods with very few carbohydrates, causes a buildup of calcium in the urine and the formation of kidney stones in about 6 percent of those on it.
Hopkins Children's adopted the preventive treatment with potassium citrate two years ago, and doctors now believe this one major side effect of the diet is a thing of the past, allowing more children to remain on the diet for longer.
Potassium citrate taken twice daily, either as powder sprinkled on food or dissolved in water, is believed to inhibit stone formation.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Higher serum levels of the main circulating form of vitamin D, 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), are associated with substantially lower incidence rates of colon, breast, ovarian, renal, pancreatic, aggressive prostate and other cancers.
Epidemiological findings combined with newly discovered mechanisms suggest a new model of cancer etiology that accounts for these actions of 25(OH)D and calcium. Its seven phases are disjunction, initiation, natural selection, overgrowth, metastasis, involution, and transition (abbreviated DINOMIT). Vitamin D metabolites prevent disjunction of cells and are beneficial in other phases.
It is projected that raising the minimum year-around serum 25(OH)D level to 40 to 60 ng/mL (100–150 nmol/L) would prevent approximately 58,000 new cases of breast cancer and 49,000 new cases of colorectal cancer each year, and three fourths of deaths from these diseases in the United States and Canada, based on observational studies combined with a randomized trial. Such intakes also are expected to reduce case-fatality rates of patients who have breast, colorectal, or prostate cancer by half. There are no unreasonable risks from intake of 2000 IU per day of vitamin D3, or from a population serum 25(OH)D level of 40 to 60 ng/mL. The time has arrived for nationally coordinated action to substantially increase intake of vitamin D and calcium.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Newswise — UCLA scientists and colleagues from UC Riverside and the Human BioMolecular Research Institute have found that a form of vitamin D, together with a chemical found in turmeric spice called curcumin, may help stimulate the immune system to clear the brain of amyloid beta, which forms the plaques considered the hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.
The early research findings, which appear in the July issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, may lead to new approaches in preventing and treating Alzheimer's by utilizing the property of vitamin D3 — a form of vitamin D — both alone and together with natural or synthetic curcumin to boost the immune system in protecting the brain against amyloid beta.
Vitamin D3 is an essential nutrient for bone and immune system health; its main source is sunshine, and it is synthesized through the skin. Deficiencies may occur during winter months or in those who spend a lot of time indoors, such as Alzheimer's patients."We hope that vitamin D3 and curcumin, both naturally occurring nutrients, may offer new preventive and treatment possibilities for Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Milan Fiala
"An interesting implication of this research is that feelings of loneliness may reflect an innate emotional response to stimulus conditions over which an individual may have little or no control," the research team writes in the article, "Genetic and Environmental Contributors to Loneliness in Adults: The Netherlands Twin Register Study" published in the current issue of the journal Behavior Genetics. Psychologists had previously thought loneliness was primarily caused by shyness, poor social skills, or inability to form strong attachments with other people.Scholars are becoming increasingly interested in the role loneliness plays in health.
The researchers write that loneliness may have developed early in human evolution as a response by hunter-gathers facing conditions of undernourishment who may have decided not to share their food with their families. By surviving a famine, those early ancestors would be able to propagate during periods of plenty, the researchers theorized. In developing loneliness as an adaptation to survival, these early humans also developed dispositions toward anxiety, hostility, negativity and social avoidance, they said."
What many people don’t realize is that concentrated fructose is probably worse for you than high amounts of glucose. People tend to think that fructose is a benign sugar because it is found naturally in fruit. But, despite the name “fructose,” whole fruit actually has a relatively low concentration of fructose compared to agave, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, or cane sugar. (However, eating huge quantities of fruit is just as bad for you as eating a lot of table sugar.)
There are a number of health problems associated with eating too much fructose:
- Fructose interferes with copper metabolism. This prevents collagen and elastin from being able to properly form. Collagen and elastin are components of the connective tissue which essentially holds the body together.1 A deficiency in copper can also lead to porous bones, anemia, defects of the arteries, infertility, high cholesterol levels, heart attacks, and an inability to control blood sugar levels.2
- When you take in fructose, it must first travel to the liver before it can be converted to glycogen—a source of energy. But if you don’t immediately burn this energy, the fructose gets converted to triglycerides—the fats in the blood that are associated with heart disease.
- Fructose can make you fat. Blood triglycerides made from fructose are stored as fat, which increases the size of your fat cells, contributing to weight gain and obesity.3
- Consuming high amounts of fructose on a regular basis can contribute to Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), which even children are now getting from all the high-fructose corn syrup in their diets.
- The excess triglycerides created when you eat fructose increase insulin resistance, thereby boosting insulin production to very high levels, which fosters the development of diabetes in a “back door” fashion.4
- Consumption of fructose has been shown to cause a significant increase in uric acid. An increase in uric acid can be an indicator of heart disease and can contribute to gout and other circulatory problems.5
- Fructose consumption has been shown to increase blood lactic acid, especially for people with conditions like diabetes. Extreme elevations may cause metabolic acidosis.6
- Consumption of fructose leads to mineral losses, especially excretion of iron, magnesium, calcium and zinc.7 This can lead to bone and tooth demineralization.
- Fructose can cause accelerated aging through oxidative damage. Fructose contributes greatly to the creation of AGEs (advanced glycated endproducts), which are proteins that have inappropriately bonded to sugars in your blood. Fructose is the worst of the sugars for this, and when it bonds to proteins, these molecules stiffen the cells in your body, inhibiting their function (they literally age faster). This is the cause of arteriosclerosis, kidney problems and aging skin—the very types of damage seen in diabetic complications.9
Ironically, diabetics have been advised to use fructose for sweetening because it doesn’t directly cause a glucose or insulin spike. But whether you are diabetic or not, high fructose consumption does massive damage to your body.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
They can often be overlooked in favour of their handsome counterparts.
But brainboxes should stop despairing because research shows they are more virile than other men.
Scientists have shown that bright men have better sperm.
They produce more of it and it is of higher quality, suggesting they are better-equipped to start a family than their intellectually inferior friends and colleagues.
Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London made the link after comparing archived data on 425 Vietnam War veterans.
This dated back to 1985, when the men had given sperm samples as part of an extensive medical and undergone intelligence testing.
Comparing the two clearly showed that the brainiest men had the best quality sperm.
Total sperm count was higher, as well as sperm concentration and ability to swim, the journal Intelligence reports.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Confused About Soy?--Soy Dangers Summarized
- High levels of phytic acid in soy reduce assimilation of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. Phytic acid in soy is not neutralized by ordinary preparation methods such as soaking, sprouting and long, slow cooking. High phytate diets have caused growth problems in children.
- Trypsin inhibitors in soy interfere with protein digestion and may cause pancreatic disorders. In test animals soy containing trypsin inhibitors caused stunted growth.
- Soy phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function and have the potential to cause infertility and to promote breast cancer in adult women.
- Soy phytoestrogens are potent antithyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism and may cause thyroid cancer. In infants, consumption of soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.
- Vitamin B12 analogs in soy are not absorbed and actually increase the body's requirement for B12.
- Soy foods increase the body's requirement for vitamin D.
- Fragile proteins are denatured during high temperature processing to make soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein.
- Processing of soy protein results in the formation of toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines.
- Free glutamic acid or MSG, a potent neurotoxin, is formed during soy food processing and additional amounts are added to many soy foods.
- Soy foods contain high levels of aluminum which is toxic to the nervous system and the kidneys.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Among the side effects reported from statin drug use there has been a broad complex of emotional and behavioral symptoms.
Reports by anxious patients, concerned family members of caregivers have included aggressiveness, hostility, irritability, paranoia, road rage type outbursts, homicidal ideation, severe depression resistant to most therapies and as a natural follow-on to depression, a number of suicides have been reported where family members assert vehemently that, "It was the statin that did it."
Dolichol inhibition is suspected as a major contributor to such behavioral change because of its established role in neuropeptide formation, where it orchestrates the processes of peptide strand formation in the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus.
Additionally, that low cholesterol plays an important role in cognition and behavior independent of glial cell inhibition is now well known to exist via the seleno-protein pathway. When disrupted this pathway leads to cognitive dysfunction as well as myopathy.
Now we find a study on the American Journal of Epidemiology by Zhang, Muldoon and others (yes, the same Muldoon having reported 100% cognitive dysfunction among statin users) reporting on the association of low serum cholesterol with negative mood, decrements of cognitive function and various types of aggressive behavior in adolescent children.
This association is not minor and was based upon detailed and well-controlled studies of a large population group and, surprisingly, existed only for the non-African-American segment of the group studied. When all the possible confounding factors were accounted for, the tendency for violence and aggressiveness persisted among Caucasian children and adolescents.
The authors report an across the board correlation of low cholesterol with many other studies including those with conduct disorders, violent behavior, criminals and psychiatric patients and even controlled dietary studies of non-human primates, reflecting on a species correlation. The result is a strong positive correlation between low cholesterol and aggressiveness.
So, if a surprisingly large segment of our society is already aggression prone because of low serum cholesterol, can you imagine the effect of wide scale use of statins to lower cholesterol even more?
Some swine flu cases in Michigan are raising questions about obesity's role in why some people with infections become seriously ill.
"Frank Pfrieger announced to the world in 2001 the importance of cholesterol to the process of memory. So critical is this relationship that our brain's glial cells have been tasked with the role of synthesizing cholesterol on demand to meet the needs for memory synapse formation and function.
This was far too critical a role to depend upon normal blood levels of cholesterol, for the lipoprotein bound cholesterol molecule presents too large a molecular structure to pass the blood brain barrier. We have evolved as a species totally dependant upon our glial cell source of cholesterol for memory.
The effects of statins on this glial cell function is quite predictable - inhibition! This results in transient global amnesia episodes in some, confusion, disorientation and increased forgetfulness in others, increased senility in those already afflicted and permanent loss of short term memory in others.
This is the underlying relationship of cholesterol to memory function in all of us. This dependency upon cholesterol for cognition is our heritage. The purpose of the Whittehall II study was to examine the relationship between fasting serum lipids and short-term verbal memory in middle-aged adults.
The authors concluded that over a 5-year follow-up period, HDL-C measurements (this is the common so-called good cholesterol) were associated with poor memory and decline in memory, respectively. No other lipid that was tested was associated with memory changes.
Regardless of the media hoopla, the cholesterol lowering effect of all statins can only be detrimental to cognitive function. Any possible benefit of a statin must arise from the anti-inflammatory effect of statins, a process discovered only 5 years ago and thoroughly explained by Ora Shovman (2).
Because of this effect statins are sometimes used on such inflammatory diseases as lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis and even in organ transplant therapy. I suspect there is an inflammatory component to Alzheimers that is favorably influenced by statins yet the simultaneous inevitable reduction in cholesterol can only be detrimental to cognitive function. This presents an obvious therapeutic checkmate concerning the use of statins for dementia.
The authors explain that there is some evidence suggesting that dementia itself modifies lipid levels, leading to low total-cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels among those with dementia and predict that examination of the effect of lipids on cognition in the elderly is likely to yield spurious results. They add that associations between mid-life lipid levels and late-life dementia in their study were robust.
"Low levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) - the 'good' cholesterol - in middle age may increase the risk of memory loss and lead to dementia later in life, researchers reported in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology: Journal of the American Heart Association."
Dental disease may be a wake-up call that your diet is harming your body.
"The five-alarm fire bell of a tooth ache is difficult to ignore," says Dr. Philippe P. Hujoel, professor of dental public health sciences at the University of Washington (UW) School of Dentistry in Seattle. Beyond the immediate distress, dental pain may portend future medical problems. It may be a warning that the high-glycemic diet that led to dental problems in the short term may, in the long term, lead to potentially serious chronic diseases.
Hujoel reviewed the relationships between diet, dental disease, and chronic systemic illness in a report published July 1 in the Journal of Dental Research. He weighed two contradictory viewpoints on the role of dietary carbohydrates in health and disease. The debate surrounds fermentable carbohydates: foods that turn into simple sugars in the mouth. Fermentable carbohydrates are not just sweets like cookies, doughnuts, cake and candy. They also include bananas and several tropical fruits, sticky fruits like raisins and other dried fruits, and starchy foods like potatoes, refined wheat flour, yams, rice, pasta, pretzels, bread, and corn.
One viewpoint is that certain fermentable carbohydrates are beneficial to general health and that the harmful dental consequences of such a diet should be managed by the tools found in the oral hygiene section of drugstores. A contrasting viewpoint suggests that fermentable carbohydrates are bad for both dental and general health, and that both dental and general health need to be maintained by restricting fermentable carbohydrates.
The differing perspectives on the perceived role of dietary carbohydrates have resulted in opposing approaches to dental disease prevention, Hujoel notes, and have prompted debates in interpreting the link between dental diseases and such systemic diseases as obesity, diabetes, and some forms of cancer.
Over the past twenty years or so, Hujoel says, people have been advised to make fermentable dietary carbohydrates the foundation of their diet. Fats were considered the evil food. A high-carbohydrate diet was assumed to prevent a number of systemic chronic diseases. Unfortunately, such a diet - allegedly good for systemic health - was bad for dental health. As a result, cavities or gingival bleeding from fermentable carbohydrates could be avoided only – and not always successfully, as Hujoel points out -- by conscientious brushing, fluorides, and other types of dental preventive measures. When these measures are not successful, people end up with cavities and gum disease.
Hujoel observed that the dental harms of fermentable carbohydrates have been recognized by what looks like every major health organization. Even those fermentable carbohydrates assumed to be good for systemic health break down into simple sugars in the mouth and promote tooth decay. All fermentable carbohydrates have the potential to induce dental decay, Hujoel notes.
But what if fermentable carbohydrates are also bad for systemic health? Hujoel asks. What if dietary guidelines would start incorporating the slew of clinical trial results suggesting that a diet low in fermentable carbohydrates improves cardiovascular markers of disease and decreases body fat? Such a change in perspective on fermentable carbohydrates, and by extension, on people's diets, could have a significant impact on the dental profession, as a diet higher in fat and protein does not cause dental diseases, he notes. Dentists would no longer be pressed to recommend to patients diets that are bad for teeth or remain mum when it comes to dietary advice. Dentists often have been reluctant, Hujoel says, to challenge the prevailing thinking on nutrition. Advising patients to reduce the amount or frequency of fermentable carbohydrate consumption is difficult when official guidelines suggested the opposite.
The close correlation between the biological mechanisms that cause dental decay and the factors responsible for high average levels of glucose in the blood is intriguing. Hujoel explains that eating sugar or fermentable carbohydrates drops the acidity levels of dental plaque and is considered an initiating cause of dental decay.
"Eating these same foods, he says, is also associated with spikes in blood sugar levels. There is fascinating evidence that suggests that the higher the glycemic level of a food, the more it will drop the acidity of dental plaque, and the higher it will raise blood sugar. So, possibly, dental decay may really be a marker for the chronic high-glycemic diets that lead to both dental decay and chronic systemic diseases. This puts a whole new light on studies that have linked dental diseases to such diverse illnesses as Alzheimer's disease and pancreatic cancer."
The correlations between dental diseases and systemic disease, he adds, provide indirect support for those researchers who have suggested that Alzheimer's disease and pancreatic cancer are due to an abnormal blood glucose metabolism.
The hypotheses on dental diseases as a marker for the diseases of civilization were postulated back in the mid-20th century by two physicians: Thomas Cleave and John Yudkin. Tragically, their work, although supported by epidemiological evidence, became largely forgotten, Hujoel notes. This is unfortunate, he adds, because dental diseases really may be the most noticeable and rapid warning sign to an individual that something is going awry with his or her diet.
"Dental problems from poor dietary habits appear in a few weeks to a few years," Hujoel explains. "Dental improvement can be rapid when habits are corrected. For example, reducing sugar intake can often improve gingivitis scores (a measurement of gum disease) in a couple of weeks. Dental disease reveals very early on that eating habits are putting a person at risk for systemic disease. Because chronic medical disease takes decades to become severe enough to be detected in screening tests, dental diseases may provide plenty of lead-time to change harmful eating habits and thereby decrease the risk of developing the other diseases of civilization."
In planning a daily or weekly menu, Hujoel suggests: "What's good for your oral health looks increasingly likely to also benefit your overall health."
Elevated insulin levels in the blood appear to raise the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women, according to researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. Their findings are published in the online version of the International Journal of Cancer.
Geoffrey Kabat, Ph.D.Increased breast cancer risk for postmenopausal women has previously been linked to obesity and diabetes. Both conditions involve insulin resistance, which causes increases in circulating levels of insulin. Since insulin is known to promote cell division and enhance breast tumor growth in animal models, the Einstein scientists reasoned that relatively high insulin levels may contribute to breast cancer risk in women.
Wow, so carb cause breast cancer, and other cancers. How many people are afraid of fat in the diet, and gorging themselves on carbs, thinking they can never get cancer that way. The "cancer proof" diet, huh?
Saturday, July 11, 2009
March 07, 2008
La Jolla, CA – Continually revved up insulin production, the kind that results from overeating and obesity, slowly dulls the body's response to insulin. As a result, blood sugar levels start to creep up, setting the stage for diabetes-associated complications such as blindness, stroke and renal failure. To make matters even worse, chronically elevated blood sugar concentrations exacerbate insulin resistance.
The vicious circle gets rolling, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies discovered, when out-of-control blood sugar levels disable the molecular switch that normally shuts off sugar production in the liver in response to rising levels of insulin.
Their findings, published in the March 7 issue of Science suggest that appropriate inhibitors of the enzymatic pathway that blocks the "sugar-off"-switch might be useful in lowering glucose levels in diabetic individuals and reducing long-term complications associated with the disease.
"The islet cells in the pancreas can compensate with increased insulin production only for so long when confronted with chronic obesity and inactivity," says Marc Montminy, Ph.D., a professor in the Clayton Foundation Laboratories for Peptide Biology, who led the study. "As a result glucose levels start to rise causing a host of problems."
Just like a flex-fuel vehicle that can run on either gasoline or ethanol, the human body can switch between different types of fuel: During the day the body mostly burns glucose, and during the night or prolonged fasting, it burns primarily fat. But neither flex-fuel engines nor human brains can run on ethanol or fat alone – a little bit of gasoline or glucose needs to be thrown into the mix to keep either one of them humming.
Three years ago, Montminy discovered a "fasting switch" called CRTC2 (formerly known as TORC2) that flips on glucose production in the liver when blood glucose levels run low during the night. After a meal, the hormone insulin normally shuts down CRTC2 ensuring that blood sugar levels don't rise too high.
In many patients with type II diabetes, however, CRTC2 no longer responds to rising insulin levels and as a result the liver acts like a sugar factory on overtime, churning out glucose throughout the day, even when blood sugar levels are high. The Salk researchers were interested in the molecular mechanism that leads to the breakdown of the normally tightly regulated feedback loop.
A recent report offers new evidence to explain why those who undergo gastric bypass surgery often show greater control of their diabetes symptoms within days. It also helps to explain why lap-band surgery doesn't offer the same instant gratification.
By studying mice that have undergone both procedures, the researchers show that changes in the intestine are the key.
In addition to removing about two-thirds of the stomach, gastric bypass in effect produces a "double intestine," said Gilles Mithieux of Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale in France. The portion closest to the stomach is taken out of the loop so that it receives no nutrients. The segment normally farther down is then attached directly to the stomach, where it receives all the nutrients coming in.
In both cases, those positional changes ramp up production of blood sugar by the small intestine, Mithieux said. He noted that fasting normally induces blood sugar production by the upper small intestine. By placing the lower small intestine, which doesn't normally produce much glucose, in close proximity to the stomach, it starts to act more like the upper portion.
That blood sugar synthesized in the intestine pours into the portal vein (a large vein that carries blood from the digestive tract to the liver) where it sends a signal to the brain, he and his colleagues earlier found. "The walls of the portal vein system detect the glucose and inform the brain," he said. "It's an important signal for decreasing hunger."
They now find an important new element of glucose production by the intestine. It also increases insulin sensitivity and lowers blood sugar, improving the symptoms of diabetes. Mithieux said that's in part because glucose production by the intestine lowers glucose production by the liver, which accounts for a much greater overall proportion of blood sugar synthesis. These metabolic changes take place within days of surgery, well before any weight loss takes place.
While gastric banding, in which a prosthetic band is placed around the upper stomach, works for weight loss, it doesn't affect the intestine at all and lacks the immediate metabolic benefits of bypass, they report.
Only 6 minutes after consuming an amount of alcohol equivalent to three beers — leading to a blood alcohol level of 0.05 to 0.06 percent, which impairs driving ability — changes had already taken place in the brain cells.
For one thing, the brain begins to run on the sugar in alcohol instead of using glucose, the normal brain food.
"Our study provides evidence for alternative energy utilization upon alcohol ingestion," said researcher Armin Biller at Heidelberg University Hospital "The brain uses an alcohol breakdown product instead of glucose for energy demands."
The concentration of substances such as creatine (energy metabolism), which protect brain cells, decreases as the concentration of alcohol increases. Choline, a component of cell membranes, was also reduced.
"That probably indicates that alcohol triggers changes in the composition of cell membranes," Biller said.
Whether there are long-term effects remains to be studied.
“Learning self-control produces a wide range of positive outcomes,’’ said Roy Baumeister, a psychology professor at Florida State University who wrote about the issue in this month’s Current Directions in Psychological Science. “Kids do better in school, people do better at work. Look at just about any major category of problem that people are suffering from and odds are pretty good that self-control is implicated in some way.’’
Last month, Dr. Baumeister reported on laboratory studies that showed a relationship between self-control and blood glucose levels. In one study, participants watched a video, but some were asked to suppress smiles and other facial reactions. After the film, blood glucose levels had dropped among those who had exerted self-control to stifle their reactions, but stayed the same among the film watchers who were free to react, according to the report in Personality and Social Psychology Review.
The video watchers were later given a concentration test in which they were asked to identify the color in which words were displayed. The word “red,” for instance, might appear in blue ink. The video watchers who had stifled their responses did the worst on the test, suggesting that their self-control had already been depleted by the film challenge.
But the researchers also found that restoring glucose levels appears to replenish self-control. Study subjects who drank sugar-sweetened lemonade, which raises glucose levels quickly, performed better on self-control tests than those who drank artificially-sweetened beverages, which have no effect on glucose.
The findings make sense because it’s long been known that glucose fuels many brain functions. Having a bite to eat appears to help boost a person’s willpower, and may explain why smokers trying to quit or students trying to focus on studying often turn to food to sustain themselves.
Consuming sugary drinks or snacks isn’t practical advice for a dieter struggling with willpower. However, the research does help explain why dieters who eat several small meals a day appear to do better at sticking to a diet than dieters who skip meals. “You need the energy from food to have the willpower to exert self-control in order to succeed on your diet,” said Dr. Baumeister.
The Physiology of Willpower: Linking Blood Glucose to Self-Control -- Gailliot and Baumeister 11 (4): 303 -- Personality and Social Psychology Review
The Physiology of Willpower: Linking Blood Glucose to Self-Control
Matthew T. Gailliot
Florida State University, email@example.com
Roy F. Baumeister
Florida State University
Past research indicates that self-control relies on some sort of limited energy source. This review suggests that blood glucose is one important part of the energy source of self-control. Acts of self-control deplete relatively large amounts of glucose. Self-control failures are more likely when glucose is low or cannot be mobilized effectively to the brain (i.e., when insulin is low or insensitive). Restoring glucose to a sufficient level typically improves self-control. Numerous self-control behaviors fit this pattern, including controlling attention, regulating emotions, quitting smoking, coping with stress, resisting impulsivity, and refraining from criminal and aggressive behavior. Alcohol reduces glucose throughout the brain and body and likewise impairs many forms of self-control. Furthermore, self-control failure is most likely during times of the day when glucose is used least effectively. Self-control thus appears highly susceptible to glucose. Self-control benefits numerous social and interpersonal processes. Glucose might therefore be related to a broad range of social behavior.
Key Words: aggression • glucose • self-control • self-regulation • attention • emotion regulation • impulsivity • stress • crime • alcohol
By Terry E. - 2006-11-18
Find more articles like this in our Diabetes information category.
Having diabetes myself, I know what the symptoms of low blood sugar can be like. Often times it feels like you have no control of your body and you can't figure out what or why is happening.
Let's take a closer look at the symptoms of low blood sugar, and how it can affect your health.
Did you know that many people have symptoms of low blood sugar, yet don't know it? Think of how many times you've felt tired and worn out between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM? It's a tell tale sign of low blood sugar.
Here is how most people handle it. When they begin to feel a tired and worn down, or maybe even depressed and irritable, they will usually down a soda, some coffee, or eat a sweet snack of some kind. Boom, now all of a sudden they feel like they have been re-energized. Well, it's caused by a spike in their blood sugar.
So, what's the problem with that? While this may appear to be normal for a lot of folks, it is not normal. The reason for the tiredness at lunchtime is because of your diet. Most likely, you ate a high carbohydrate, high sugar, high starch breakfast. Next, the lack of energy at 3:00 PM is from the same type of lunch you ate. Can you see how this is just a vicious cycle? It's a roller coaster ride that you need to get off of in order to maintain your health.
Are you a smoker? Are you aware that smoking cigarettes will create a rise in your blood sugar level? It's due to the nicotine in the cigarette mixing together with the adrenal system. When this happens, blood sugar levels go higher.
The symptoms of low blood sugar can last all day and evening. Keep track or what happens when you eat a sweet snack, or drink a cup of coffee, etc. You'll notice your energy level immediately rising. But, it doesn't last long, maybe an hour or so tops. This is why you see people who drink 10 cups of coffee a day, or are constantly drinking soda all day, or have to smoke a cigarette every hour.
We all know that coffee, soda, tea, etc., contain sugar, but they also contain caffeine. The two of these ingredients can be brutal to our bodies health structure. Our blood sugar goes up at the expense of our liver glycogen. It depletes liver glycogen levels, while the lack of proper nutrition doesn't replenish it. This is just one of the many reasons why a proper diet is so important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Spotting the symptoms of low blood sugar isn't difficult when you know what to look for. Here's another good example. The early mornings are usually the absolute worst times for your blood sugar level. It's due to them being at there lowest levels. Have you known people who were so irritable in the morning that you didn't even want to speak to them until they had their cup of coffee, or ate breakfast? You can also take note that the vast majority of marital spats happen during the morning hours. Why is that?
Because of low blood sugar. Now, give these same people 2 cups of coffee, or a nice breakfast, and notice what happens. It's like they are completely different. Their personality changes and they are happy. They have energy to go tackle the day. Most of all, you'll notice that often times they will forget the fact that they just hurt your feelings earlier. It's like Jekyll and Hyde.
When you notice your loved one having the symptom of low blood sugar, keep an eye on it. It could be due to having pre-diabetes, or even from being a diabetic and not being aware of it. Have them see their doctor and get checked out.
Having your blood glucose tested only takes a second, and it's a simple test. Don't let the symptoms of low blood sugar take control of your health.
Live Science has reported ("How Alcohol Changes the Brain ... Quickly") on a study appearing in the popular Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, a publication that routinely gives Reader's Digest a run for its money in circulation numbers.
Previously consigned to studying drunken animals only, the scientists studied humans drinking alcohol (through straws) while being scanned in an MRI machine. At a blood alcohol level of 0.05-0.06%, brain cells had abandoned their normal energy source, glucose, and instead began to consume the sugar produced by the breakdown of alcohol.
"Our study provides evidence for alternative energy utilization upon alcohol ingestion," said researcher Armin Biller at Heidelberg University Hospital. "The brain uses an alcohol breakdown product instead of glucose for energy demands."
The focus of their study is on the long-term impact of drinking on the composition of cell membranes, which may play a role in the development of alcoholism. They did not study the role of "alternative energy utilization" on inhibitions.
Suck out my motherfucking brains, my brains (sugar!)
However, another recent study ("The Physiology of Willpower: Linking Blood Glucose to Self-Control") found in the Personality and Social Psychology Review, a household name if there ever was one, argues that:
Self-control relies on some sort of limited energy source... Blood glucose is one important part of the energy source of self-control. Acts of self-control deplete relatively large amounts of glucose. Self-control failures are more likely when glucose is low or cannot be mobilized effectively to the brain.
Given that the brain ceases to consume glucose as its principal energy course, and instead relies on sugars found as a byproduct of the breakdown of alcohol, we might speculate that this is one chemical factor in the loss of inhibitions that we observe in drinkers.
Numerous self-control behaviors fit this pattern, including controlling attention, regulating emotions, quitting smoking, coping with stress, resisting impulsivity, and refraining from criminal and aggressive behavior.
All of these symptoms of lack of willpower are found commonly among drinkers, habitual or not.
Monday, July 06, 2009
Seborrhoeic dermatitis (also Seborrheic dermatitis AmE, seborrhea) (also known as "Seborrheic eczema") is a skin disorder affecting the scalp, face, and trunk causing scaly, flaky, itchy, red skin. It particularly affects the sebum-gland rich areas of skin.
Seborrhoeic dermatitis may be visually unpleasant and moderately itchy but is a harmless condition. The condition is often persistent but is easily controlled using readily available medication. After treatment, the condition may recur after a time lapse of months or years.
As with other dermatitis conditions, seborrhoeic dermatitis is often loosely defined as a form of eczema although it differs from other more serious conditions more properly defined as eczema.
The cause of seborrhoeic dermatitis remains unknown, although many factors have been implicated. The widely present yeast, Malassezia furfur (formerly known as Pityrosporum ovale), is involved, as well as genetic, environmental, hormonal, and immune-system factors. The claim that seborrhoeic dermatitis is an inflammatory response to the yeast has not been proven. Those afflicted with seborrhoeic dermatitis have an unfavourable epidermic response to the infection, with the skin becoming inflamed and flaking.
Acute form of seborrhoeic dermatitis on scalp
In children, excessive vitamin A intake can cause seborrhoeic dermatitis. Lack of biotin, pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and riboflavin (vitamin B2) may also be a cause.
Soaps and detergents such as sodium laureth sulfate may precipitate a flare-up, as they strip moisture from the top layers of the skin. Accordingly a suitable alternative should be used instead.
Among dermatologist-recommended treatments are shampoos containing coal tar, ciclopiroxolamine, ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, or zinc pyrithione. For severe disease, keratolytics such as salicylic acid or coal tar preparations may be used to remove dense scale. Topical terbinafine solution (1%) has also been shown to be effective in the treatment of scalp seborrhoea, as may lotions containing alpha hydroxy acids or corticosteroids (such as fluocinolone acetonide). Pimecrolimus topical lotion is also sometimes prescribed.
Topical application of a water-soluable ointment containing 50mg of Vitamin B6 per gram of ointment has been used as an effective treatment.
Several nutritional supplements are recommended including: 3 mg twice per day of Biotin,  B-complex, 20-30 mg per day of Zinc, and 1 tbsp per day of flaxseed oil.
Chronic treatment with topical corticosteroids may lead to permanent skin changes, such as atrophy and telangiectasia.
UV-A and UV-B light inhibit the growth of M. furfur, although caution should be taken to avoid sun damage.
Interesting article. I have this condition myself, especially during the winter. Sunlight does help, as does using anti-dandruff shampoo (even though I'm bald!). I was interested to see the yeast connection. I have had other skin infections that my doctor has said are yeast connected. Of course eating carbs is just the food the yeast need to thrive. Yuck!