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.