Monday, June 17, 2019

NAFLD

Sedentary lifestyles, nutrient-poor diets, chemical exposure, and an excess of sugar and refined foods are wreaking havoc on and in our bodies more than ever before. And the effects aren’t just cosmetic – beyond bulging waistlines, the incidence of high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol associated with metabolic syndrome are all on the rise, along with the rate of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

As the name implies, NAFLD (casually pronounced “naffled”) is a condition in which the liver stores excess fat occurring in those who drink little to no alcohol. Over time NAFLD can not only increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, but can also lead to further ailments of the liver like cirrhosis and liver cancer – conditions also seen in heavy alcohol consumers, but now more commonly seen in non-drinkers. In fact, NAFLD is the leading cause of liver disease in the West, often concurrent with other metabolic conditions: approximately 40 to 80% of people with the disease also have type 2 diabetes, and 30 to 90% are obese. As with metabolic syndrome, the incidence of NAFLD is also on the rise among children, affecting an estimated 3 to 12% of children with normal body mass and an alarming 40 to 80% of obese children.

The umbrella term NAFLD encompasses two sub-categories: nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFL), which is characterized by fatty liver with little to no inflammation; and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which is the more harmful of the two and is defined as fatty liver with inflammation. It’s estimated that 30 to 40% of American adults have NAFL and about 3 to 12% have NASH.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Almond, hemp, oat, soy, and cow's milk: Which is best?

The number of people choosing nondairy, plant-based alternatives to cow's milk appears to be growing. So, how do these different milks compare nutritionally? Research from 2018 says that eating and drinking milk that comes from cows has been falling, with interest in alternative milks rising.

One of the main medical reasons why people choose plant-based milk products is to avoid symptoms of lactose intolerance or a cow milk protein allergy. Doctors estimate the incidence of this allergy is 2 to 5% in children under 3 years old. The incidence is lower in adults.
Some people may also choose plant-based milk products because they believe they are more sustainable, ethical, or healthful options compared to cow's milk.

Almond milk is one of the most widely consumed plant-based milk variety in North America, the European Union, and Australia. Researchers have suggested that almond milk is an effective alternative for children and adults who suffer with allergies or intolerances to milk. Compared to cow's milk, almond milk has less saturated fat and more unsaturated fats. The healthful fats in almond milk may help people lose weight and keep it off. Almond milk is low in calories and protein, which may not be suitable for all people, especially children.

Some manufacturers add calcium to almond milk to better resemble the nutritional content in cow's milk. People may not be able to absorb as much of this calcium as they would from dairy, so they should be sure to consume plenty of other calcium sources, such as dark green vegetables. Almond milk is available in flavored varieties. Some of these products have added sugar to extend the shelf life and improve the flavor and texture.

Unflavored hemp beverages are also low in calories and protein compared with cow's milk. There is, however, more protein in hemp beverages than in almond milk. Hemp seeds are also high in polyunsaturated fats, similarly to almond milk. Research shows that replacing saturated fats with these more healthful fats can help lower a person's overall cholesterol.


Monday, June 10, 2019

Common heartburn drug linked with fatal conditions

New research suggests that drugs commonly used for heartburn, acid reflux, and ulcers may raise the risk of numerous fatal conditions, including heart disease and stomach cancer. Physicians often prescribe proton pump inhibitors(PPIs) to treat gastrointestinal conditions that involve an excess of acid production. Nexium, Aciphex, Zegerid, Dexilant, Prevacid, Prilosec, and Protonix are only some of the brand names that PPIs have taken over the years.

More than 15 million people in the United States take prescription PPIs, according to the most recent statistics available, and even more may be taking over-the-counter PPIs.
A new study, appearing in the journal The BMJ, suggests that these drugs may increase the risk of death from various chronic health conditions.

Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, an assistant professor of medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, is the senior investigator of the study. For the new study, Dr. Al-Aly and colleagues examined data from the medical records of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The researchers looked at data available from mid-2002 to mid-2004, a period during which 157,625 people in the cohort received PPI prescriptions from their physicians and 56,842 people received H2 blockers, another kind of acid suppressant.

The scientists clinically followed the participants — who were predominantly male, Caucasian, and 65 years old or older — for up to a decade. They used the data to build a statistical model of a clinical trial, which would see the participants randomly assigned to take either PPI or H2 blockers. This allowed them to estimate that during the follow-up period, there would be 45.2 excess deaths per every 1,000 individuals taking PPIs.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Gluten Free?

While gluten-free dining options have been steadily increasing, new research has elucidated that there may still be gluten in your “gluten-free” foods. While packaged foods labeled as gluten-free must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten, there is no similar standard for gluten-free restaurant foods.

A study, published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology in March 2019, reported that a significant amount of restaurant foods classified as gluten-free contain detectable amounts of gluten. The study had participants use a portable device called a Nima Gluten Sensor to test their food. 804 users conducted 5,624 tests in an 18-month period.

The results revealed that gluten was detected in 32% of the foods that were designated gluten-free. Interestingly, the researchers found that gluten detection differed by meal and type of food with the most gluten detection occurring at dinner and more than 50% of pizza and pasta samples testing positive for gluten. Additionally, when stratified by region, researchers found that gluten contamination was less likely to occur in the West than in the Northeast regions of the United States.

These results support the fact that there is gluten contamination in restaurant foods. It should be noted that the Nima device is very sensitive and can detect gluten at 5-10 parts per million, which has unknown clinical significance for those with celiac disease. Nevertheless, this study highlights the prevalence of gluten contamination in restaurants and brings to light the importance of finding gluten-free menus you can trust. The study concluded that their “findings of higher rates of gluten detection in pizza and pasta provide practical data when providing dining strategies for patients with celiac disease”.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Wisdom Wednesday: Improved Quality of Life with Magnesium


Recent research looked at the disability levels, quality of life, and anxiety and depressive symptoms in 34 children aged 7-17 after six months of magnesium prophylaxis for pediatric migraines. According to the researchers, “After 6 months of magnesium prophylaxis, disability due to migraine significantly decreased, whereas physical and psychosocial well-being improved.”

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is a cofactor for more than 300 enzyme systems regulating a variety of chemical reactions in the body. Magnesium is involved in protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood sugar control, and regulation of blood pressure. Magnesium is also involved in energy production as it is necessary for ATP production and glycolysis. Magnesium also contributes to the structural development of bone and is necessary for the synthesis of DNA and RNA.

Magnesium is important for detoxification as it is needed to product glutathione. Magnesium also plays a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, a process that is important to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm. Other studies also show a link between low magnesium and headaches.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Cinnamon

Common Names:  cinnamon, cinnamon bark, Ceylon cinnamon, cassia cinnamon

Latin Name: Cinnamomum verum (also known as Cinnamomum zeylanicum), Cinnamomum cassia

There are many types of cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon, native to China, is the most common type sold in the United States and Canada. Ceylon cinnamon, native to Sri Lanka, is common in other countries and is known as “true” cinnamon.

Used as a spice for thousands of years, cinnamon comes from the bark of the cinnamon tree. Essential oils are made from the bark, leaves, or twigs of cassia cinnamon.

Cinnamon has a long history as a traditional medicine, including for bronchitis.
Today, some people use cinnamon as a dietary supplement for gastrointestinal problems, loss of appetite, and diabetes, among other conditions.

Cinnamon is used in capsules, teas, and extracts.

Studies done in people don’t support using cinnamon for any health condition.

A 2012 systematic review of 10 randomized controlled clinical trials in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes suggests that cinnamon doesn’t help to reduce levels of glucose or glycosylated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), a long-term measure of glucose (blood sugar) control.
A product containing cinnamon, calcium, and zinc didn’t improve blood pressure in a small study of people with type 2 diabetes.

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)-supported research is looking at the effect of cinnamon on processes involved in multiple sclerosis.

Friday, May 31, 2019

High uric acid directly inhibits insulin signaling and induces insulin resistance

Accumulating clinical evidence suggests that hyperuricemia is strongly associated with abnormal glucose metabolism and insulin resistance. However, how high uric acid (HUA) level causes insulin resistance remains unclear. We aimed to determine the direct role of HUA in insulin resistance in vitro and in vivo in mice.

An acute hyperuricemia mouse model was created by potassium oxonate treatment, and the impact of HUA level on insulin resistance was investigated by glucose tolerance test, insulin tolerance test and insulin signaling, including phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS1) and Akt. HepG2 cells were exposed to HUA treatment and N-acetylcysteine (NAC), reactive oxygen species scavenger; IRS1 and Akt phosphorylation was detected by Western blot analysis after insulin treatment.

Hyperuricemic mice showed impaired glucose tolerance with insulin resistance. Hyperuricemia inhibited phospho-Akt (Ser473) response to insulin and increased phosphor-IRS1 (Ser307) in liver, muscle and fat tissues. HUA induced oxidative stress, and the antioxidant NAC blocked HUA-induced IRS1 activation and Akt inhibition in HepG2 cells.

This study supplies the first evidence of HUA directly inducing insulin resistance in vivo and in vitro. Increased uric acid level may inhibit IRS1 and Akt insulin signalling and induce insulin resistance. The reactive oxygen species pathway plays a key role in HUA-induced insulin resistance.