Saturday, December 15, 2012

'Plethora' of diseases caused by low vitamin D - Telegraph

'Plethora' of diseases caused by low vitamin D - Telegraph:

A lack of awareness about vitamin D deficiency and the 'plethora' of disease it is linked to is fuelling a rise in preventable illnesses among children, experts at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health have said.

Despite low cost supplements being widely available health care professionals and parents do not know the importance of taking them, they said.

Doctors have said the poor summer weather will contribute to an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency as the lack of sunshine will have meant depleted stores of the vitamin which the body can make from sunlight.

The College has launched a campaign to ensure all pregnant women, those breastfeeding, children aged between six months and five years and the elderly aged over 65 take vitamin D supplements in accordance with guidelines.

It comes as figures show that cases of rickets, poor bone growth causing pain and bowed legs, have risen fourfold in the last 15 years.


Vitamin D can be found naturally in some margarines, eggs and in oily fish but it can be added to milk and cereals.

Vitamin D deficiency is known to increase the risk of diabetes, tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis and rickets and a quarter of children and around half of the white adults have a serious lack of the vitamin.
Professor Mitch Blair, Officer for Health Promotion at the RCPCH, said: “We know vitamin D deficiency is a growing problem – and localised research reveals startling high levels of vitamin deficiency amongst certain groups including children.

“People can only get a fraction of their recommended daily amount of vitamin D through food and very little from sunlight. So getting out in the sun more or eating more oily fish isn’t going to solve the problem.

This is a total BS statement. After years of telling us to avoid the sun because of cancer risks, now we're told that sunlight, which can produce tens of thousands of IU of vitamin D on bare skin, doesn't produce much at all. We need supplements? How in the world did we get Vitamin D before the great epidemic of low vitamin D levels started on 15 years ago then!

"Lack of vitamin D is related to a plethora of serious illnesses in children and adults that could be prevented through relatively simple steps such as taking supplements.”

The RCPCH is launching a campaign calling for: vitamin D supplements to be readily available at low-cost and high quality; an investigation into the pros and cons of further fortification of food with vitamin D; professional guidance for health care professionals on how to diagnose and treat diseases linked to vitamin D deficiency; and a public awareness campaign.


“And equally as important is making sure that all health care professionals can spot the signs of vitamin D deficiency in children; aches and pains, poor growth, muscle weakness and seizures – and make sure they get appropriately treated.”

Diabetes and heart health link | Diabetes Federation of Ireland

Diabetes and heart health link | Diabetes Federation of Ireland:

It is known that people with poorly controlled diabetes are at higher risk for heart failure but new data from the UK shows that they may have additional causes of heart disease, may develop heart disease younger and have more severe heart disease.  But poor recording practices in Ireland means that the HSE cannot provide detailed information about the links between hearth health and diabetes.   
“Medical data about the health of the Irish population is especially ill suited to planning of health services.  If we in Diabetes Ireland or Department of Health wanted to examine the link between diabetes and heart disease we can’t depend on extracting robust figures from the HSE’s Hospital In-Patient Enquiry (HIPE) system nor is there a diabetes register” says Dr. Anna Clarke, Health Promotion and Research Manager with Diabetes Ireland. 


Diabetes Ireland’s advice to people with diabetes has always been that they are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop heart disease than people in the general populations, but this is hardly the type of precise information which the HSE needs to plan health services and prevention programmes.

Over the years, high blood sugar damages blood vessels and puts people at risk for coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure. Patients with diabetes are at a significantly higher risk for having heart disease,” according to Dr. Clarke.

Having heart failure means your heart is not pumping blood around the body as well as it used to. The most common reason is that your heart muscle has been damaged, for example, after a heart attack.

Race, daytime sleepiness, and vitamin D related in new study - Birmingham science news |

Race, daytime sleepiness, and vitamin D related in new study - Birmingham science news |

Race, the occurrence of daytime sleepiness, and vitamin D have been definitively connected by a new study conducted David McCarty, MD at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine on December 14, 2012.
This is the first study to demonstrate a significant relationship between sleepiness and vitamin D. Race is a factor because previous research has shown that increased skin pigmentation is an established risk factor for low vitamin D.
“Results show that in patients with normal vitamin D levels, progressively higher levels of daytime sleepiness were correlated inversely with progressively lower levels of vitamin D. Among patients with vitamin D deficiency, sleepiness and vitamin D levels were associated only among black patients. Surprisingly, this correlation was observed in a direct relationship, with higher vitamin D levels associated with a higher level of sleepiness among black patients.”
The majority of Birmingham’s population is Afro-American.
Daytime sleepiness due to the lack of vitamin D could be affecting your children's performance in school.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Teenage Boys Who Are Obese Have Up To 50 Percent Less Testosterone Than Lean Boys

Teenage Boys Who Are Obese Have Up To 50 Percent Less Testosterone Than Lean Boys:

A study by the University at Buffalo shows for the first time that obese males ages 14 to 20 have up to 50 percent less total testosterone than do normal males of the same age, significantly increasing their potential to be impotent and infertile as adults.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

High carbohydrate diet may up colon cancer risk

High carbohydrate diet may up colon cancer risk
: Washington: Colon cancer survivors whose diet is heavy in complex sugars and carbohydrate-rich foods are far more likely to have a recurrence of the disease than are patients who eat a better balance of foods, a new study by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researchers revealed.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Book Recommendation- Dr. Volek

The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable

 [Kindle Edition] Stephen Phinney (Author), Jeff Volek (Author) Carbohydrate restricted diets are commonly practiced but seldom taught. As a result, doctors, dietitians, nutritionists, and nurses may have strong opinions about low carbohydrate dieting, but in many if not most cases, these views are not grounded in science. Now, whether you are a curious healthcare professional or just a connoisseur of diet information, two New York Times best-selling authors provide you with the definitive resource for low carbohydrate living. Doctors Volek and Phinney share over 50 years of clinical experience using low carbohydrate diets, and together they have published more than 200 research papers and chapters on the topic. Particularly in the last decade, much has been learned about the risks associated with insulin resistance (including but not limited to metabolic syndrome, hypertension, and type-2 diabetes), and how this condition is far better controlled by carbohydrate restriction than with drugs. In this book, you will learn why: Carbohydrate restriction is the proverbial 'silver bullet' for managing insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and type-2 diabetes. Restricting carbohydrate improves blood glucose and lipids while reducing inflammation, all without drugs. Dietary saturated fat is not a demon when you are low carb adapted. Dietary sugars and refined starches are not needed to feed your brain or fuel exercise. Long-term success involves much more than simply cutting out carbs. Electrolyte and mineral management are key to avoiding side effects and ensuring success. Trading up from sugars and starches to a cornucopia of nutrient-rich, satisfying, and healthy foods is empowering. Studying hunter-gathers' diets provides clues to how best formulate a low carbohydrate diet. This is a great book for health-minded individuals. It is an excellent book for healthcare professionals. Best of all, it is the perfect gift for health-minded individuals to share with their doctors, dietitians, and nutritionists. Excellent book! Highly recommend!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Medically supervised water-only ... [J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2001] - PubMed - NCBI

Medically supervised water-only ... [J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2001] - PubMed - NCBI

The treatment program consisted of a short prefasting period (approximately 2 to 3 days on average) during which food consumption was limited to fruits and vegetables, followed by medically supervised water-only fasting (approximately 10 to 11 days on average) and a refeeding period (approximately 6 to 7 days on average) introducing a low-fat, low-sodium, vegan diet.

Almost 90% of the subjects achieved blood pressure less than 140/90 mm Hg by the end of the treatment program. The average reduction in blood pressure was 37/13 mm Hg, with the greatest decrease being observed for subjects with the most severe hypertension. Patients with stage 3 hypertension (those with systolic blood pressure greater than 180 mg Hg, diastolic blood pressure greater than 110 mg Hg, or both) had an average reduction of 60/17 mm Hg at the conclusion of treatment. All of the subjects who were taking antihypertensive medication at entry (6.3% of the total sample) successfully discontinued the use of medication.

Medically supervised water-only fasting appears to be a safe and effective means of normalizing blood pressure and may assist in motivating health-promoting diet and lifestyle changes.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Low-salt diet increases insulin resistance in healthy subjects

Low-salt diet increases insulin resistance in healthy subjects

Low-salt diet was significantly associated with higher homeostasis model assessment index independent of age, sex, blood pressure, body mass index, serum sodium and potassium, serum angiotensin II, plasma renin activity, serum and urine aldosterone, and urine epinephrine and norepinephrine. Low-salt diet is associated with an increase in IR. The impact of our findings on the pathogenesis of diabetes and cardiovascular disease needs further investigation.

Is Alzheimer's Type 3 Diabetes? -

Is Alzheimer's Type 3 Diabetes? - Just in case you need another reason to cut back on junk food, it now turns out that Alzheimer’s could well be a form of diet-induced diabetes. That’s the bad news. The good news is that laying off soda, doughnuts, processed meats and fries could allow you to keep your mind intact until your body fails you.

We used to think there were two types of diabetes: the type you’re born with (Type 1) and the type you “get.” That’s called Type 2, and was called “adult onset” until it started ravaging kids. Type 2 is brought about by a combination of factors, including overeating, American-style.


Diabetes causes complications too numerous to mention, but they include heart disease, which remains our No. 1 killer. And when the cells in your brain become insulin-resistant, you start to lose memory and become disoriented. You even might lose aspects of your personality.

In short, it appears, you develop Alzheimer’s.
A neuropathologist named Alois Alzheimer noticed, over a century ago, that an odd form of protein was taking the place of normal brain cells. How those beta amyloid plaques (as they’re called) get there has been a mystery. What’s becoming clear, however, is that a lack of insulin — or insulin resistance — not only impairs cognition but seems to be implicated in the formation of those plaques.

Suzanne de la Monte, a neuropathologist at Brown University, has been working on these phenomena in humans and rats. When she blocked the path of insulin to rats’ brains, their neurons deteriorated, they became physically disoriented and their brains showed all the signs of Alzheimer’s. The fact that Alzheimer’s can be associated with low levels of insulin in the brain is the reason why increasing numbers of researchers have taken to calling it Type 3 diabetes, or diabetes of the brain.[2]

Let’s connect the dots: We know that the American diet is a fast track not only to obesity but to Type 2 diabetes and other preventable, non-communicable diseases, which now account for more deaths worldwide than all other causes combined.
We also already know that people with diabetes are at least twice as likely to get Alzheimer’s, and that obesity alone increases the risk of impaired brain function.

What’s new is the thought that while diabetes doesn’t “cause” Alzheimer’s, they have the same root: an over consumption of those “foods” that mess with insulin’s many roles. (Genetics have an effect on susceptibility, as they appear to with all environmental diseases.) “Sugar is clearly implicated,” says Dr. de la Monte, “but there could be other factors as well, including nitrates in food.”

More Data Suggests Fitness Matters More Than Weight -

More Data Suggests Fitness Matters More Than Weight -

A few years ago, Mercedes Carnethon, a diabetes researcher at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, found herself pondering a conundrum. Obesity is the primary risk factor for Type 2 diabetes, yet sizable numbers of normal-weight people also develop the disease. Why?
Enlarge This Image
Ken Orvidas

In research conducted to answer that question, Dr. Carnethon discovered something even more puzzling: Diabetes patients of normal weight are twice as likely to die as those who are overweight or obese. That finding makes diabetes the latest example of a medical phenomenon that mystifies scientists. They call it the obesity paradox.

In study after study, overweight and moderately obese patients with certain chronic diseases often live longer and fare better than normal-weight patients with the same ailments. The accumulation of evidence is inspiring some experts to re-examine long-held assumptions about the association between body fat and disease.

Dr. Carl Lavie, medical director of cardiac rehabilitation and prevention at the John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute in New Orleans, was one of the first researchers to document the obesity paradox, among patients with heart failure in 2002. He spent more than a year trying to get a journal to publish his findings.

Research that does tease apart weight and fitness — like a series of studies conducted by Steven Blair at the Cooper Institute in Dallas — shows that being fat and fit is better, healthwise, than being thin and unfit. Regular aerobic exercise may not lead to weight loss, but it does reduce fat in the liver, where it may do the most metabolic damage, according to a recent study at the University of Sydney.

“More often than not, cardiovascular fitness is a far more important predictor of mortality risk than just knowing what you weigh,” said Glenn Gaesser, author of “Big Fat Lies” and director of the Healthy Lifestyles Research Center at Arizona State University.

In 2005, an epidemiologist, Katherine Flegal, analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and found that the biggest risks of death were associated with being at either end of the spectrum — underweight or severely obese. The lowest mortality risks were among those in the overweight category (B.M.I.s of 25 to 30), while moderate obesity (30 to 35) offered no more risk than being in the normal-weight category.

Whatever the explanation for the obesity paradox turns out to be, most experts agree that the data cast an uncertain light on the role of body fat. “Maintaining fitness is good and maintaining low weight is good,” Dr. Lavie said. “But if you had to go off one, it looks like it’s more important to maintain your fitness than your leanness. Fitness looks a little bit more protective.”

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Older Overweight Children Consume Fewer Calories Than Their Healthy Weight Peers

Older Overweight Children Consume Fewer Calories Than Their Healthy Weight Peers

Newswise — CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – A new study by University of North Carolina School of Medicine pediatrics researchers finds a surprising difference in the eating habits of overweight children between ages 9 and 17 years compared to those younger than 9.

Younger children who are overweight or obese consume more calories per day than their healthy weight peers. But among older overweight children the pattern is reversed: They actually consume fewer calories per day than their healthy weight peers.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Death of PETA Spokesman | The Whole Soy Story with The Naughty Nutritionist

Death of PETA Spokesman | The Whole Soy Story with The Naughty Nutritionist

But can meat and animal products actually protect us from heart disease? A naughty proposition to be sure, given the preponderance of the low-fat, low cholesterol myth. But the answer is yes, because of meat’s protective effect on homocysteine levels.

Homocysteine first came on the radar in 1969 when Kilmer S. McCully, MD, published the article “Vascular pathology of homocysteinemia: implications for the pathogenesis of arteriosclerosis” in the American Journal of Pathology (56, 111-128). Over the past four decades, homocysteine has not only been studied by Dr. McCully — known as “The Father of the Homocysteine Theory of Heart Disease” — but by many other researchers.

Homocysteinemia is an acquired metabolic abnormality, and Dr. McCully initially proposed it could be prevented easily and inexpensively by taking three B vitamins — B6, B12 and folate. Unfortunately, that solution proved simplistic. Although the data were clear that B6, B12 and folate were an important part of any prevention protocol, some people tested with high homocysteine anyway. The latest research suggests that sulfur deficiency — increasingly common in the modern world and especially common among vegetarians — might be an even more important risk factor.

Last year I reported on a study by Dr. McCully and Yves Ingenbleek MD that ran in the August 26, 2011 issue of the journal Nutrition. Its title “Vegetarianism produces subclinical malnutrition, hyperhomocysteinemia and atherogenesis” sounded a strong warning about heart disease risk, and the article itself detailed why subjects on mostly vegan diets can develop morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease unrelated to vitamin B status and Framingham criteria.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Hypertension Heresy: Are We Overtreating High Blood Pressure? - The People's Pharmacy�

Hypertension Heresy: Are We Overtreating High Blood Pressure? - The People's Pharmacy

Until August 15, 2012, if you asked almost any American physician whether someone with a blood pressure reading of 145/95 should be treated with medication, the answer would have been a resounding yes! Medical students and residents are taught that hypertension increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and early death. Physicians have come to believe that aggressive treatment of patients with high blood pressure will lead to better outcomes.

Everything changed on August 15, 2012, when the Cochrane Collaboration published its analysis: "Benefits of antihypertensive drugs for mild hypertension are unclear." The Cochrane Collaboration represents the highest level of scientific scrutiny of available studies. The experts who analyze the data are independent and objective and have come to be regarded as the ultimate authority on the medical interventions they evaluate. As far as we can tell, there is no better organization for assessing the pros and cons of pharmaceutical and alternative therapies than Cochrane.

There is no doubt that this review will create extraordinary controversy and push-back from the medical community. A bedrock belief is being challenged. That's because these experts are suggesting that most of the nearly 70 million Americans diagnosed with high blood pressure are probably being treated unnecessarily. The researchers reviewed data from nearly 9,000 patients enrolled in four randomized controlled trials. These were people who had been diagnosed with what is called stage 1 hypertension. That means their systolic blood pressure was between 140-159 and their diastolic blood pressure was between 90 and 99.

Here is what the Cochrane Collaboration found:

"Individuals with mildly elevated blood pressures, but no previous cardiovascular events, make up the majority of those considered for and receiving antihypertensive therapy. The decision to treat this population has important consequences for both the patients (e.g. adverse drug effects, lifetime of drug therapy, cost of treatment, etc.) and any third party payer (e.g. high cost of drugs, physician services, laboratory tests, etc.). In this review, existing evidence comparing the health outcomes between treated and untreated individuals are summarized. Available data from the limited number of available trials and participants showed no difference between treated and untreated individuals in heart attack, stroke, and death."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The #1 Cause of Obesity: Insulin |

The #1 Cause of Obesity: Insulin |

Oh my god. This 3rd episode of “The Skinny on Obesity” may be the best short video on obesity I’ve seen. Not because dr Robert Lustig tells me something I didn’t already know, but because he explains it so crystal clear that a kid will understand.
Do you want people to understand the reason behind perhaps 90 percent of obesity epidemic? Spread this video. It needs to be seen by as many people as possible.


The bottom line is that the cause of garden-variety obesity is relatively simple: Excess (processed) carbs increases insulin which increases fat storage. Some bloggers on the internet have objections to this, but that does not change the facts.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

[Evaluation of biological and clinical ... [Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig. 2012] - PubMed - NCBI

[Evaluation of biological and clinical ... [Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig. 2012] - PubMed - NCBI

[Evaluation of biological and clinical potential of paleolithic diet].
[Article in Polish]
Kowalski LM, Bujko J.

Wydział Nauk o Zywieniu Człowieka i Konsumpcji Szkoła Główna Gospodarstwa Wiejskiego, Warszawa.

Accumulating evidences suggest that foods that were regularly consumed during the human primates and evolution, in particular during the Paleolithic era (2.6-0.01 x 10(6) years ago), may be optimal for the prevention and treatment of some chronic diseases. It has been postulated that fundamental changes in the diet and other lifestyle conditions that occurred after the Neolithic Revolution, and more recently with the beginning of the Industrial Revolution are too recent taking into account the evolutionary time scale for the human genome to have completely adjust. In contemporary Western populations at least 70% of daily energy intake is provided by foods that were rarely or never consumed by Paleolithic hunter-gatherers, including grains, dairy products as well as refined sugars and highly processed fats. Additionally, compared with Western diets, Paleolithic diets, based on recently published estimates of macronutrient and fatty acid intakes from an East African Paleolithic diet, contained more proteins and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, and less linoleic acid. Observational studies of hunter-gatherers and other non-western populations lend support to the notion that a Paleolithic type diet may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, cancer, acne vulgaris and myopia. Moreover, preliminary intervention studies using contemporary diet based on Paleolithic food groups (meat, fish, shellfish, fresh fruits and vegetables, roots, tubers, eggs, and nuts), revealed promising results including favorable changes in risk factors, such as weight, waist circumference, C-reactive protein, glycated haemoglobin (HbAlc), blood pressure, glucose tolerance, insulin secretion, insulin sensitivity and lipid profiles. Low calcium intake, which is often considered as a potential disadvantage of the Paleolithic diet model, should be weighed against the low content of phytates and the low content of sodium chloride, as well as the high amount of net base yielding vegetables and fruits. Increasing number of evidences supports the view that intake of high glycemic foods and insulinotropic dairy products is involved in the pathogenesis and progression of acne vulgaris in Western countries. In this context, diets that mimic the nutritional characteristics of diets found in hunter-gatherers and other non-western populations may have therapeutic value in treating acne vulgaris. Additionally, more studies is needed to determine the impact of gliadin, specific lectins and saponins on intestinal permeability and the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases.

High Triglycerides blunt leptin, causing hunger. Winning the Battle of the Bulge: We're a Scrimmage Closer to Victory | Saint Louis University

Winning the Battle of the Bulge: We're a Scrimmage Closer to Victory | Saint Louis University

April 27, 2004

Winning the Battle of the Bulge: We're a Scrimmage Closer to Victory
"We feel that we now understand what part of the system is broken -- why leptin isn't working." -- William A. Banks, M.D.

ST. LOUIS -- Saint Louis University researchers believe they've won a major skirmish in the battle of the bulge, and their findings are published in the May issue of Diabetes.

"We figured out how obesity occurs," says William A. Banks, M.D., professor of geriatrics in the department of internal medicine and professor of pharmacological and physiological science at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. "The next step is coming up with the solution."

The scientists used mice to look at how leptin, a hormone secreted by fat cells that tells us to stop eating, gets into the brain. They found that in obese mice, high triglycerides, a type of fat in the bloodstream, prevents leptin from getting into the brain, where it can do its work in turning off feeding and burning calories.

"High triglycerides are blocking the leptin from getting into the brain. If leptin can't get into the brain, it can't tell you to stop eating," says Banks, who is principal investigator and a staff physician at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in St. Louis.

"This is a big deal. We now know what is keeping leptin from getting to where it needs to do its work."

Paradoxically high triglycerides occur in both fat and starving animals and make the brain think the body's starving so the animal keeps eating, which makes it gain more weight.

I read this article and thought, wow, new discovery? But it sounded like something I read before. Viola, here's a Dr. Eades article from 5 years ago where he says the same thing. Some discovery. Oh, and of course the answer isn't to lower triglycerides through low carb diets, but to invent a new pill.

Leptin, low-carb and hunger

So as leptin levels wax and wane, so does your sense of hunger and even, to an extent, your metabolic rate.

Where does the low-carb diet fit into the picture?

There is a critical point in the cycle described above. That critical point is when the leptin crosses the BBB. If the leptin can’t get across the BBB, it can’t get to the brain. If it doesn’t get to the brain, it doesn’t shut off the hunger response irrespective of how much is circulating in the blood.

Most obese people find themselves in this very situation: high blood levels of leptin but still hungry. And eating makes more fat, which makes more leptin, which should shut off the hunger response, but it doesn’t because the ever increasing levels of leptin telling the brain to tell the obese person to quit eating don’t get to the brain to do their job.

Why not?

Research done a couple of years ago in St. Louis and in Japan pinpointed the problem. Triglycerides – fat circulating in the blood – interrupts the passage of leptin across the BBB. If trigylcerides are high, which they are in most obese people, then, basically, they block the movement of leptin into the brain. So, leptin levels are elevated in the blood, and triglycerides keep the leptin from getting to where it needs to get to shut off hunger. (click here for the abstract and full text of this research paper.)

We all know that the commonest lab finding in people following a low-carb diet is a dramatic reduction in triglyceride levels. This reduction in triglycerides allows the leptin that is already circulating in relatively large amounts to get through to the brain where it can reduce hunger. I believe that this reduction in triglycerides (which happens fairly quickly) is the primary reason that people substantially decrease their hunger on low-carb diets. And remember from the graphic above that leptin – once it gets to the brain – actually increases thermogenesis as well, which means that the metabolic rate increases.

Decreased absorption of calcium, magnesium, zinc and ... [J Nutr. 1976] - PubMed - NCBI

Decreased absorption of calcium, magnesium, zinc and ... [J Nutr. 1976] - PubMed - NCBI

J Nutr. 1976 Apr;106(4):493-503.
Decreased absorption of calcium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus by humans due to increased fiber and phosphorus consumption as wheat bread.
Reinhold JG, Faradji B, Abadi P, Ismail-Beigi F.

During a 20 day period of high fiber consumption in the form of bread made partly from wheaten wholemeal, two men developed negative balances of calcium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus due to increased fecal excretion of each element. The fecal losses correlated closely with fecal dry matter and phosphorus. Fecal dry matter, in turn, was directly proportional to fecal fiber excretion. Balances of nitrogen remained positive. Mineral elements were well-utilized by the same subjects during a 20-day period of white bread consumption.

Whole wheat bread causes mineral deficiencies? But the "Government Plate" tells me whole wheat foods are a health food? I'm so confused!

Intracellular magnesium and insulin resistance. [Magnes Res. 2004] - PubMed - NCBI

Intracellular magnesium and insulin resistance. [Magnes Res. 2004] - PubMed - NCBI

Intracellular magnesium and insulin resistance.
Takaya J, Higashino H, Kobayashi Y.

Department of Pediatrics, Kansai Medical University, Moriguchi, Osaka 570-8506, Japan.

Magnesium, the second most abundant intracellular divalent cation, is a cofactor of many enzymes involved in glucose metabolism. Magnesium has an important role in insulin action, and insulin stimulates magnesium uptake in insulin-sensitive tissues. Impaired biological responses to insulin is referred to as insulin resistance. This review was designed to reach a better understanding of the mechanism involved in the correlation between magnesium and insulin resistance. Intracellular magnesium concentration is low in type 2 diabetes mellitus and in hypertensive patients. In patients with type 2 diabetes an inverse association exists between the plasma magnesium and insulin resistance due to intracellular changes. The suppressed intracellular magnesium concentration may result in defective tyrosine kinase activity and modify insulin sensitivity by influencing receptor activity after binding or by influencing intracellular signaling and processing. Intracellular magnesium deficiency may affect the development of insulin resistance and alter the glucose entry into the cell.

CONCLUSIONS: Magnesium is required for both proper glucose utilization and insulin signaling. Metabolic alterations in cellular magnesium, which may play the role of a second messenger for insulin action, contribute to insulin resistance.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Carbohydrate nutrition is associated with changes in the retinal vascular structure and branching pattern in children

Carbohydrate nutrition is associated with changes in the retinal vascular structure and branching pattern in children

Objectives: We aimed to assess the associations between intakes of high-GI and high–glycemic load (high-GL) diets, carbohydrate, and the main carbohydrate-containing food groups and retinal microvascular changes in preadolescents.

Design: Students aged 12 y (n = 2353) from a random cluster sample of 21 schools underwent detailed eye examinations. Retinal vessel caliber and fractal dimension were measured from digital retinal images. A validated semiquantitative food-frequency questionnaire was administered.

Results: After multivariable adjustment, children who consumed soft drinks once or more per day had significantly narrower mean retinal arterioles (∼1.9 μm) than did those who never or rarely consumed soft drinks (P-trend = 0.03). When the highest to lowest tertiles of carbohydrate consumption were compared, girls had significantly narrower retinal arterioles (∼1.4 μm; P-trend = 0.03) and boys had wider venules (∼2.3 μm; P-trend = 0.02). In girls only, a higher-GI diet was associated with narrower retinal arterioles (0.98-μm narrowing of retinal arteriolar caliber per SD increase in GI, P = 0.01). Carbohydrate intake and a high-GL diet were associated with greater retinal fractal dimension in girls (highest compared with lowest tertiles: P-trend = 0.003 and 0.01, respectively).

Conclusions: Greater consumption of carbohydrates and soft drinks was associated with retinal arteriolar narrowing and venular widening. Because these microvascular signs have been shown to be markers of future cardiovascular disease risk, the presence of this risk factor in children could support the need for healthy dietary patterns that include lower consumption of high-GI foods and soft drinks.

The ketogenic diet as a treatment paradigm for diverse neurological disorders.

The ketogenic diet as a treatment parad - PubMed Mobile: The ketogenic diet as a treatment paradigm for diverse neurological disorders.

Stafstrom CE, et al. Show all

Front Pharmacol. 2012;3:59. Epub 2012 Apr 9.

Department of Neurology, University of Wisconsin Madison, WI, USA.

Dietary and metabolic therapies have been attempted in a wide variety of neurological diseases, including epilepsy, headache, neurotrauma, Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, sleep disorders, brain cancer, autism, pain, and multiple sclerosis. The impetus for using various diets to treat - or at least ameliorate symptoms of - these disorders stems from both a lack of effectiveness of pharmacological therapies, and also the intrinsic appeal of implementing a more "natural" treatment. The enormous spectrum of pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the aforementioned diseases would suggest a degree of complexity that cannot be impacted universally by any single dietary treatment. Yet, it is conceivable that alterations in certain dietary constituents could affect the course and impact the outcome of these brain disorders. Further, it is possible that a final common neurometabolic pathway might be influenced by a variety of dietary interventions. The most notable example of a dietary treatment with proven efficacy against a neurological condition is the high-fat, low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet (KD) used in patients with medically intractable epilepsy. While the mechanisms through which the KD works remain unclear, there is now compelling evidence that its efficacy is likely related to the normalization of aberrant energy metabolism. The concept that many neurological conditions are linked pathophysiologically to energy dysregulation could well provide a common research and experimental therapeutics platform, from which the course of several neurological diseases could be favorably influenced by dietary means. Here we provide an overview of studies using the KD in a wide panoply of neurologic disorders in which neuroprotection is an essential component.

Beneficial effects of UV radiation other than via vitamin D production

Beneficial effects of UV radiation other than via vitamin D production

This is an open access article.

Volume 4, Issue 2 April/May 2012
Keywords: heliotherapy, nitric oxide, photoprotection, phototherapy, tanning, ultraviolet radiation, vitamin D synthesis
Authors: Asta Juzeniene and Johan Moan

View affiliations

Most of the positive effects of solar radiation are mediated via UV B (UVB) induced production of vitamin D in skin. However, several other pathways may exist for the action of UV (UV) radiation on humans as focused on in this review. One is induction of cosmetic tanning (immediate pigment darkening, persistent pigment darkening and delayed tanning). UVB-induced, delayed tanning (increases melanin in skin after several days), acts as a sunscreen. Several human skin diseases, like psoriasis, vitiligo, actopic dermatitis and localized scleroderma, can be treated with solar radiation (heliotherapy) or artificial UV radiation (phototherapy). UV exposure can suppress the clinical symptoms of multiple sclerosis independently of vitamin D synthesis. Furthermore, UV generates nitric oxide (NO), which may reduce blood pressure and generally improve cardiovascular health. UVA-induced NO may also have antimicrobial effects, and, furthermore, act as a neurotransmitter. Finally, UV exposure may improve mood through the release of endorphins.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Health Care Spending On Unnecessary Tests Discouraged By Major Medical Groups

Health Care Spending On Unnecessary Tests Discouraged By Major Medical Groups

Jeffrey Young

Health Care Spending On Unnecessary Tests Discouraged By Major Medical Groups

WASHINGTON -- With health care costs growing out of control, medical societies made up of family physicians, cardiologists and other specialists have a message for America's doctors: Don't be so quick to order expensive procedures like CT scans and X-rays. Unnecessary tests and treatments pad the nation's health care bill and expose patients to needless risks, the groups say.

On Wednesday, nine doctors' organizations -- including the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Cardiology -- along with business and consumer groups are launching an effort to reduce unnecessary medical tests and treatments, thereby saving costs and cutting back on patients' exposure to stressful and sometimes dangerous procedures.

The "Choosing Wisely" campaign is the latest push by groups representing American doctors to rein in wasteful spending that arises out of physicians' assessments of what constitutes best practices for patients. The nine doctors' groups emphasize that patients don't always need high-tech testing, at least not as a first resort.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Babies treated in the womb for obesity

Babies treated in the womb for obesity: Overweight mothers-to-be get diabetes pill to cut the risk of having a fat child

NHS trial has been started in attempt to halt obesity epidemic
If it is a success, treatment could be widespread in five years
But there is unease over problem that could be solved by exercise and diet

By Julie-anne Barnes and Fiona Macrae

Babies are being medicated in the womb in an attempt to prevent them from being born obese.

In a world first, dangerously overweight mothers-to-be in four British cities have started taking a diabetes drug during their pregnancy.

The doctors behind the controversial NHS trial say that obesity among pregnant women is reaching epidemic proportions and they need to act now to protect the health of tomorrow's children.
Overweight mothers-to-be are being allowed to take diabetes drugs to treat their unborn children in the womb to prevent them being born obese

Overweight mothers-to-be are being allowed to take diabetes drugs to treat their unborn children in the womb to prevent them being born obese

However, there is likely to be unease about resorting to medication in pregnancy for a problem that can be treated through changes in diet and exercise.

If the strategy is a success, the treatment could be in widespread use in as little as five years, with tens of thousands of overweight but otherwise healthy mothers-to-be drugged each year.

The Daily Mail recently revealed the rise of the 'sumo baby', with the number of newborns weighing more than 11lb soaring by 50 per cent over the last four years.

Kind of damages the "overweight is caused by lack of exercise" trope, eh?

Friday, March 30, 2012

The link between fast food and depression has been confirmed

The link between fast food and depression has been confirmed

According to a recent study headed by scientists from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the University of Granada, eating commercial baked goods (fairy cakes, croissants, doughnuts, etc.) and fast food (hamburgers, hotdogs and pizza) is linked to depression.

Published in the Public Health Nutrition journal, the results reveal that consumers of fast food, compared to those who eat little or none, are 51% more likely to develop depression.

Furthermore, a dose-response relationship was observed. In other words this means that "the more fast food you consume, the greater the risk of depression," explains Almudena Sánchez-Villegas, lead author of the study, to SINC.

The study demonstrates that those participants who eat the most fast food and commercial baked goods are more likely to be single, less active and have poor dietary habits, which include eating less fruit, nuts, fish, vegetables and olive oil. Smoking and working more than 45 hours per week are other prevalent characteristics of this group.

A long-term study

With regard to the consumption of commercial baked goods, the results are equally conclusive. "Even eating small quantities is linked to a significantly higher chance of developing depression," as the university researcher from the Canary Islands points out.

The study sample belonged to the SUN Project (University of Navarra Diet and Lifestyle Tracking Program). It consisted of 8,964 participants that had never been diagnosed with depression or taken antidepressants. They were assessed for an average of six months, and 493 were diagnosed with depression or started to take antidepressants.

This new data supports the results of the SUN project in 2011, which were published in the PLoS One journal. The project recorded 657 new cases of depression out of the 12,059 people analysed over more than six months. A 42% increase in the risk associated with fast food was found, which is lower than that found in the current study.

Sánchez-Villegas concludes that "although more studies are necessary, the intake of this type of food should be controlled because of its implications on both health (obesity, cardiovascular diseases) and mental well-being."

Bad science here. There's a link, maybe, but what causes what? People who eat junk food are also more likely to be single and work 45 hours or more a week. Does eating fast food cause THOSE things as well? Correlation is not causation. So the real scientist would next do a randomized double blind study to see if the theory generated here about depression and fast food is a real one. Until then this is all speculation. Too bad the media falls for this over and over again. Fail.

Why Fast? Part 1 – Weight Loss

Why Fast? Part 1 – Weight Loss Mark's Daily Apple

So, yes: it works. But does fasting work solely through caloric restriction, or is it doing something special?

That’s the real question. There’s no question that fasting causes weight loss through caloric restriction. Obviously, when you don’t eat anything, your body turns to its own stored energy reserves, reserves that take up physical space and have mass. Depletion of those energy stores reduces mass and thus weight. Total and absolute caloric restriction. That’s elementary stuff and the studies from the 1960s show that.

To dig a bit deeper, let’s look at how weight loss occurs during a fast. I’ll stick to research involving humans only (sorry, rodent personal trainers).

Secretion of growth hormone, one of the premier fat burning hormones, increases during a fast. In a five-day fasting protocol, men experienced increased GH secretion on day one and day five (the only two days where GH was measured). A later study showed that during two-day fasting sessions, growth hormone secretions increased in both frequency and intensity in men. They experienced more frequent GH bursts and each burst secreted a higher mass of GH. A more recent study found that 24-hour fasts increased GH by 1300% in women and almost 2000% in men.

Fasting decreases fasting insulin levels. The presence of insulin inhibits lipolysis, the release of stored triglycerides (body fat). Without lipolysis actually releasing stored body fat, it’s rather difficult to, well, burn that body fat for energy. During a fast, fasting insulin decreases and lipolysis increases. This insulin-blunting aspect of fasting quite literally allows the fast to be successful, because without the ability to access stored body fat for energy, making it through a period of zero caloric intake will be nigh impossible.

Fasting improves insulin sensitivity. 20-hour fasts were enough to improve insulin sensitivity in men.

Fasting increases the catecholamines, both adrenaline (epinephrine) and noradrenaline (norepinephrine). Both catecholamines increase resting energy expenditure during a fast, and guess where your fasting body finds the energy to expend? From body fat. Catecholamines activate hormone sensitive lipase present in adipose tissue, spurring the release of said fat. This makes intuitive sense, doesn’t it? If you’re hungry in the wild, you need to hunt (or gather, or fish, or somehow procure food) and you need energy to do it. The catecholamines help provide some of that energy while burning fat in the process.

Hmm, notice anything? All those mechanisms dealt with fat burning specifically. While there may be some weirdo out there who’s interested in reducing bone mineral density and muscle mass while maintaining fat tissue, I would wager that what most people mean by “weight loss” is “fat mass loss.” From the stuff I just linked, it looks like fasting burns fat, rather than just weight. But what about Conventional Wisdom which claims that fasting increases muscle wasting – maybe because your body will totally recognize the lethal nature of all that arterycloggingsaturated animal fat and choose to break down muscle instead? Is it true?

Let’s go to the research:

In one study, normal weight subjects ate just once a day without reducing overall caloric intake. Weight didn’t change, which isn’t really surprising, but body composition did change – and for the better. Body fat decreased and lean weight increased (in addition to a bunch of other beneficial changes) without an overall reduction in calories.

A recent review of the relevant literature found that while fasting and caloric restriction are “equally as effective in decreasing body weight and fat mass,” fasting is “more effective for the retention of lean mass.”

Conventional Wisdom strikes out again.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Intense Sweetness Surpasses Cocaine Reward

Intense Sweetness Surpasses Cocaine Reward
Magalie Lenoir,# Fuschia Serre,# Lauriane Cantin, and Serge H. Ahmed*

Our findings clearly demonstrate that intense sweetness can surpass cocaine reward, in drug-sensitized and -addicted individuals. We speculate that the addictive potential of intense sweetness results from an inborn hypersensitivity to sweet tastants. In most mammals, including rats and humans, sweet receptors evolved in ancestral environments poor in sugars and are thus not adapted to high concentrations of sweet tastants. The supranormal stimulation of these receptors by sugar-rich diets, such as those now widely available in modern societies, would generate a supranormal reward signal in the brain, with the potential to override self-control mechanisms and thus to lead to addiction.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hot pepper compound could help hearts

Hot pepper compound could help hearts

SAN DIEGO, March 27, 2012 — The food that inspires wariness is on course for inspiring even more wonder from a medical standpoint as scientists today reported the latest evidence that chili peppers are a heart-healthy food with potential to protect against the No. 1 cause of death in the developed world. The rep was part of the 243rd National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world's largest scientific society, being held here this week.

The study focused on capsaicin and its fiery-hot relatives, a piquant family of substances termed "capsaicinoids." The stuff that gives cayennes, jalapenos, habaneros and other chili peppers their heat, capsaicin already has an established role in medicine in rub-on-the-skin creams to treat arthritis and certain forms of pain. Past research suggested that spicing food with chilies can lower blood pressure in people with that condition, reduce blood cholesterol and ease the tendency for dangerous blood clots to form.

"Our research has reinforced and expanded knowledge about how these substances in chilies work in improving heart health," said Zhen-Yu Chen, Ph.D., who presented the study. "We now have a clearer and more detailed portrait of their innermost effects on genes and other mechanisms that influence cholesterol and the health of blood vessels. It is among the first research to provide that information."

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Case for Sleep Medicine

The Case for Sleep Medicine


The risks of sleeping pills are real, as I well know, having taken them for three decades. But so are the risks of chronic sleep loss. As the pioneering sleep scientist William Dement has argued, sleep is “the most important predictor of how long you will live — perhaps more important than smoking, exercise or high blood pressure.”

Sleep deprivation ratchets up the stress system, leaving you more susceptible to even relatively mild sources of strain. When University of Chicago researchers led by Eve Van Cauter deprived young, healthy people of a few hours of sleep for six nights, they produced in them the hormonal profiles of much older people: higher levels of stress hormones and lower levels of growth hormone (essential to cell repair). The study’s participants developed hormonal imbalances conducive to weight gain and levels of insulin resistance like those of people with diabetes.

Loss of sleep also compromises immune resistance and leaves you more vulnerable to everything from the common cold to cancer. In a University of Chicago study led by Karine Spiegel, participants whose sleep was restricted to four hours a night for six nights had, when vaccinated for influenza, less than half the immune response of those who had slept well. Michael Irwin and colleagues at the University of California, Los Angeles found that even modest sleep loss — only one night, between 3 and 6 a.m. — significantly reduced white blood cell activity, a crucial line of defense against infection and cancer.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

High protein intake does NOT harm your bones or kidneys- new study reveals

Protein intake, calcium balance and health consequences

High-protein (HP) diets exert a hypercalciuric effect at constant levels of calcium intake, even though the effect may depend on the nature of the dietary protein. Lower urinary pH is also consistently observed for subjects consuming HP diets. The combination of these two effects was suspected to be associated with a dietary environment favorable for demineralization of the skeleton. However, increased calcium excretion due to HP diet does not seem to be linked to impaired calcium balance. In contrast, some data indicate that HP intakes induce an increase of intestinal calcium absorption. Moreover, no clinical data support the hypothesis of a detrimental effect of HP diet on bone health, except in a context of inadequate calcium supply. In addition, HP intake promotes bone growth and retards bone loss and low-protein diet is associated with higher risk of hip fractures. The increase of acid and calcium excretion due to HP diet is also accused of constituting a favorable environment for kidney stones and renal diseases. However, in healthy subjects, no damaging effect of HP diets on kidney has been found in either observational or interventional studies and it seems that HP diets might be deleterious only in patients with preexisting metabolic renal dysfunction. Thus, HP diet does not seem to lead to calcium bone loss, and the role of protein seems to be complex and probably dependent on other dietary factors and the presence of other nutrients in the diet.

J Calvez1, N Poupin1, C Chesneau2, C Lassale3 and D Tomé1

1AgroParisTech, CRNH-IdF, UMR914 Nutrition Physiology and Ingestive Behavior, Paris, France
2Bongrain SA, 42 rue Rieussec, Viroflay, France
3Unité de Recherche en Epidémiologie Nutritionnelle, UMR U557 Inserm/U1125 Inra/Cnam/Paris 13, CRNH IdF, SMBH Paris 13, Bobigny Cedex, France

Correspondence: Professor D Tomé, Life Sciences and Health, AgroParisTech, 16 rue Claude Bernard, 75005 Paris, France. E-mail:

Received 27 April 2011; Revised 10 August 2011; Accepted 11 August 2011
Advance online publication 30 November 2011
Top of page

Researchers discover why humans began walking upright

The George Washington University's Brian Richmond and team of researchers say chimps use 2 legs to reach and carry scarce resources
WASHINGTON—Most of us walk and carry items in our hands every day. These are seemingly simple activities that the majority of us don't question. But an international team of researchers, including Brian Richmond at the George Washington University, have discovered that human bipedalism, or walking upright, may have originated millions of years ago as an adaptation to carrying scarce, high-quality resources. This latest research was published in this month's "Current Biology."

The team of researchers from the U.S., England, Japan and Portugal investigated the behavior of modern-day chimpanzees as they competed for food resources, in an effort to understand what ecological settings would lead a large ape - one that resembles the 6 million-year old ancestor we shared in common with living chimpanzees - to walk on two legs.

"These chimpanzees provide a model of the ecological conditions under which our earliest ancestors might have begun walking on two legs," said Dr. Richmond, an author of the study and associate professor of anthropology at GW's Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. "Something as simple as carrying—an activity we engage in every day—may have, under the right conditions, led to upright walking and set our ancestors on a path apart from other apes that ultimately led to the origin of our kind."

Brain insulin resistance contributes to cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease

Brain insulin resistance contributes to cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease

PHILADELPHIA – Insulin resistance in the brain precedes and contributes to cognitive decline above and beyond other known causes of Alzheimer's disease, according to a study by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Insulin is an important hormone in many bodily functions, including the health of brain cells. The team identified extensive abnormalities in the activity of two major signaling pathways for insulin and insulin-like growth factor in non-diabetic people with Alzheimer's disease. These pathways could be targeted with new or existing medicines to potentially help resensitize the brain to insulin and possibly slow down or even improve cognitive decline.

This is the first study to directly demonstrate that insulin resistance occurs in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. The study is now online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

"Our research clearly shows that the brain's ability to respond to insulin, which is important for normal brain function, is going offline at some point. Insulin in the brain not only modulates glucose uptake, but also promotes the health of brain cells – their growth, survival, remodeling, and normal functioning. We believe that brain insulin resistance may be an important contributor to the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's disease," said senior author, Steven E. Arnold, MD, professor of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Monday, March 19, 2012

BPA's Diabetes Link Strengthened by New Study

BPA's Diabetes Link Strengthened by New Study

Growing evidence suggests that even minuscule amounts of BPA (used in everything from pesticides to water bottles) can scramble hormone signals, and trick fat cells into taking in more fat or mislead the pancreas into secreting excess insulin....

Among the most ubiquitous and scrutinized of these so-called endocrine disruptors is bisphenol, better known as BPA. The chemical is a common ingredient in plastics and food-can linings.

Nadal's latest research, finds that the chemical triggers the release of almost double the insulin actually needed to break down food. High insulin levels can desensitize the body to the hormone over time, which in some people may then lead to weight gain and Type 2 diabetes.

To achieve this feat, BPA fools a receptor into thinking it is the natural hormone estrogen, an insulin regulator.


"That pretty much nails it," Bruce Blumberg of the University of California, Irvine, who was not involved in the new study, told The Huffington Post. He notes that despite the prior associations made between BPA and metabolic problems, including obesity and diabetes, doubt had lingered because of a lack of understanding about how the phenomenon occurred. Long-term studies of children -- tracking BPA exposures and health outcomes -- remain ongoing around the world.

An estimated 90 percent of people in developed countries have BPA circulating in their blood at levels often higher than the threshold for causing hormone disruption used in Nadal's study. This high incidence is due not only to exposures from leaching food packages but also BPA-infused cash register receipts, dental sealants and toilet paper.

Frederick vom Saal, another expert in endocrine disruptors at the University of Missouri-Columbia stated that, "People are seeing effects of BPA down to 1000-fold below [Nadal's threshold]." "It takes so little of this chemical to cause harm."

I've been watching this issue for a while, and it is interesting to see this new study lend more credence to the hypothesis that BPA causes diabetes.

Losing Belly Fat, Whether From a Low-Carb or a Low-Fat Diet, Helps Improve Blood Vessel Function

Losing Belly Fat, Whether From a Low-Carb or a Low-Fat Diet, Helps Improve Blood Vessel Function

Released: 3/12/2012 11:45 PM EDT
Embargo expired: 3/13/2012 8:00 PM EDT
Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine

Newswise — Overweight people who shed pounds, especially belly fat, can improve the function of their blood vessels no matter whether they are on a low-carb or a low-fat diet, according to a study being presented by Johns Hopkins researchers at an American Heart Association scientific meeting in San Diego on March 13 that is focused on cardiovascular disease prevention.

In the six-month weight-loss study, Hopkins researchers found that the more belly fat the participants lost, the better their arteries were able to expand when needed, allowing more blood to flow more freely. The researchers also found that participants in the study who were on a low-carb diet lost about ten pounds more, on average, than those who were on a low-fat diet. Being overweight increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, especially if the fat is accumulated in the belly above the waist.

Exercise and DNA

Exercise changes your DNA

You might think that the DNA you inherited is one thing that you absolutely can't do anything about, but in one sense you'd be wrong. Researchers reporting in the Marc issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication, have found that when healthy but inactive men and women exercise for a matter of minutes, it produces a rather immediate change to their DNA. Perhaps even more tantalizing, the study suggests that the caffeine in your morning coffee might also influence muscle in essentially the same way.

The underlying genetic code in human muscle isn't changed with exercise, but the DNA molecules within those muscles are chemically and structurally altered in very important ways. Those modifications to the DNA at precise locations appear to be early events in the genetic reprogramming of muscle for strength and, ultimately, in the structural and metabolic benefits of exercise.

"Our muscles are really plastic," says Juleen Zierath of Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. "We often say "You are what you eat." Well, muscle adapts to what you do. If you don't use it, you lose it, and this is one of the mechanisms that allows that to happen."

The DNA changes in question are known as epigenetic modifications and involve the gain or loss of chemical marks on DNA over and above the familiar sequence of As, Gs, Ts, and Cs. The new study shows that the DNA within skeletal muscle taken from people after a burst of exercise bears fewer chemical marks (specifically methyl groups) than it did before exercise. Those changes take place in stretches of DNA that are involved in turning "on" genes important for muscles' adaptation to exercise.

When the researchers made muscles contract in lab dishes, they saw a similar loss of DNA methyl groups. Exposure of isolated muscle to caffeine had the same effect.

Friday, March 16, 2012

White rice link seen with Type 2 diabetes, says study

White rice link seen with Type 2 diabetes, says study

Health researchers said on Thursday they had found a troubling link between higher of rice and Type 2 diabetes, a disease that in some countries is becoming an epidemic.

Further work is need to probe the apparent association and diets that are notoriously high in sugar and fats should remain on the no-go list, they cautioned.

"What we've found is white rice is likely to increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes, especially at high consumption levels such as in Asian populations," Qi Sun of the Harvard School of Public Health told AFP.


In the British Medical Journal (BMJ), Sun's team said the link emerged from an analysis of four previously published studies, carried out in China, Japan, Australia and the United States.

These studies followed 350,000 people over a timescale from four to 22 years. More than 13,000 people developed Type 2 diabetes.

In the studies carried out in China and Japan, those who ate most rice were 55 percent likelier to develop the disease than those who ate least. In the United States and Australia, where consumption of rice is far lower, the difference was 12 percent.

Participants in the two Asian countries ate three or four servings of rice a day on average, compared to just one or two servings a week in the Western countries.

White rice is the dominant form of rice eaten in the world.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Acid trip could help treat alcoholism, report suggests

Acid trip could help treat alcoholism, report suggests

By Linda Thrasybule
MyHealthNewsDaily MSNBC

The mind-altering drug LSD could be used to treat alcoholism, a new report says.

LSD prevented alcoholics from relapsing during treatment, according to researchers in Norway who analyzed six previous studies of alcoholism treatment.

The studies involved 536 heavy drinkers in all, two-thirds of whom were given LSD while others received comparison treatments. Fifty-nine percent of the LSD users avoided relapsing into alcohol abuse, compared with 38 percent of the others, the new study noted.
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"LSD worked in an entirely different way than any current psychiatric drugs," said study researcher Teri Krebs of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. "Many patients said they had gained a new appreciation for their alcohol problem and new motivation to address it."

The study appeared Thursday (Mar. 8) in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

Too Often, Doctors Overlook Narcolepsy By JANE E. BRODY, Columnist

Too Often, Doctors Overlook Narcolepsy
By JANE E. BRODY, Columnist
In someone without a sleep disorder, it typically takes about 12 minutes to fall asleep; the rapid eye movement stage of sleep, so-called dream sleep, occurs after more than an hour of non-R.E.M. sleep. Clea’s test showed that she fell asleep almost immediately and quickly lapsed into R.E.M. sleep.

In normal R.E.M. sleep, muscles become paralyzed in a sense to prevent people from acting out their dreams. In someone with narcolepsy, the R.E.M. stage is often accompanied by muscle movements that result in restlessness and frequent awakenings.

The disordered nights are reflected in excessive daytime sleepiness, which in turn can cause mental fogginess, difficulty concentrating, lack of energy, depression, extreme exhaustion and sometimes memory lapses.

After their unavoidable naps, people with narcolepsy are only briefly refreshed. Within an hour or two, the uncontrollable sleepiness recurs.

Many Missed Diagnoses

Studies suggest that narcolepsy is far more common than most doctors realize. The Center for Narcolepsy at Stanford University estimates that the condition affects one person in 2,000. Most cases are undiagnosed and untreated. Misdiagnosis is very common, as well, with narcolepsy mistaken for laziness, depression, schizophrenia or an attention disorder.

Scientists explain marijuana short-term memory loss: Marinol

Scientists explain marijuana short-term memory loss

Charles Cooper

(CNET) -- Scientists have long been puzzled to explain short-term memory loss that results from marijuana smoking. But while an open-and-shut explanation still remains elusive, a couple of neuroscientists may be getting close.

Writing in the journal Cell, Xia Zhang of the University of Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research, and Giovanni Marsicano of the University of Bordeaux, France, came up with a working explanation by focusing on a kind of signalling mechanism called astrocytes that previously had only been considered important for protecting neurons.



Dronabinol is the International Nonproprietary Name (INN) for a pure isomer of THC, (–)-trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the main isomer in cannabis.[81] It is sold as Marinol (a registered trademark of Solvay Pharmaceuticals). Dronabinol is also marketed, sold, and distributed by PAR Pharmaceutical Companies under the terms of a license and distribution agreement with SVC pharma LP, an affiliate of Rhodes Technologies. Synthesized THC may be generally referred to as dronabinol. It is available as a prescription drug (under Marinol[82]) in several countries including the United States and Germany. In the United States, Marinol is a Schedule III drug, available by prescription, considered to be non-narcotic and to have a low risk of physical or mental dependence. Efforts to get cannabis rescheduled as analogous to Marinol have not succeeded thus far, though a 2002 petition has been accepted by the DEA. As a result of the rescheduling of Marinol from Schedule II to Schedule III, refills are now permitted for this substance. Marinol has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the treatment of anorexia in AIDS patients, as well as for refractory nausea and vomiting of patients undergoing chemotherapy, which has raised much controversy as to why natural THC is still a schedule I drug.[83]

Will There Be “Pink Slime” in Your Child’s School Lunch?

March 9, 2012, 6:47 pm
Will There Be “Pink Slime” in Your Child’s School Lunch?

“Pink Slime:” it’s tasty (well, probably not), nutritious (oops, not that either) and cheap (got that right) and it’s probably found in a hamburger near you. Most particularly, in the hamburger or cheeseburger that almost certainly graced the lunch menu at your child’s school this month.

“Pink Slime” is the appetizing term for a ground-up amalgam of beef scraps, cow connective tissues, and other beef trimmings, once useful only for dog food and cooking oil, that are treated with ammonia to kill pathogens and then added to stretch the use of “traditional” ground beef (what most people once called simply “ground beef”).


As The Times described in 2009, faced with a glut of fat, connective tissue and other once largely unsaleable remnants, the company’s founder developed a process that turned those slaughterhouse trimmings, which were more prone to contamination with E. coli and salmonella, into desirable (to hamburger-makers) filler by compressing them and exposing them to ammonia gas, killing the pathogens.

The term “pink slime” came from one of two whistle-blowing former U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists who are on a crusade against the stuff, and particularly against its unlabeled inclusion in everything from school lunches to, according to ABC News, up to 70 percent of all supermarket ground beef. It’s “not nutritionally equivalent,” Carl S. Custer told The Daily. This is “economic fraud,” Gerald Zirnstein told ABC News. “It’s a cheap substitute.”

This at a time when the lunchbox police see fit to tell us the food we serve our kids does not meet their high standards.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Three Hidden Ways Wheat Makes You Fat

Three Hidden Ways Wheat Makes You Fat

Gluten-free is hot these days. There are books and websites, restaurants with gluten free menus, and grocery stores with hundreds of new gluten-free food products on the shelf. Is this a fad, or a reflection of response to a real problem?

Yes, gluten is a real problem. But the problem is not just gluten. In fact, there are three major hidden reasons that wheat products, not just gluten (along with sugar in all its forms) is a major contributor to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, depression and so many other modern ills.

This is why there are now 30 percent more obese than undernourished in the world, and why chronic lifestyle and dietary driven disease kills more than twice as many people as infectious disease globally. These non-communicable, chronic diseases will cost our global economy $47 trillion over the next 20 years.

Sadly, this tsunami of chronic illness is increasingly caused by eating our beloved diet staple, bread, the staff of life, and all the wheat products hidden in everything from soups to vodka to lipstick to envelope adhesive.

Bread hatred is going mainstream, lol. Recently read "Wheat Belly" - great book!