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UntitledOutdoor air pollution is contributing to about 40,000 early deaths a year in the UK, say the Royal Colleges of Physicians and of Paediatrics and Child Health.

They say diesel emissions have been poorly controlled. And indoor air pollution has been overlooked. Tobacco still poses the biggest indoor threat, but wood-burning stoves, cleaning products and air fresheners can contribute. Mould and mildew in poorly ventilated rooms can also cause illness.[1]

spermA paper, presented via abstract submission to a conference in Ururguay in 2017, by researchers exploring the role of membrane replacement therapy in the reduction of oxidative damage in spermatozoa, describes how carefully selected membrane compatible lipids improve sperm motility and potentially offers a reproductive advantage to aging or oxidatively damaged spermatozoa membranes.

The authors are: *Costa, C;* Baissazteguy, V; Santos, M; Ordoqui, R; Montes, J; Settineri, R; Nicolson, GL y Ferreira, G.

497S2a-f1.2Dr Carrie Decker ND explores the role of sleep as a toxic evaporation technique.

As we focus on health, and how to improve it, it is important to consider the impacts not just of diet and exercise but also sleep. So many individuals experience a lack of sleep in overall quantity or quality, whether it be due to nighttime awakenings to care for children or loved ones, a job that is demanding or requires work at evening hours, or other health conditions that contribute to insomnia. As healthcare practitioners, on a daily basis we likely see other aspects of health worsening when patients are unable to sleep. We often hear that sleep is healing and restorative, but what is the research that supports this?

plaque-psoriasis-infoDr Carrie Decker ND, explores some practical interventions and provides a brief overview on the role of your gut and the development and progression of psoriasis.

If you or a loved one has psoriasis, you probably are familiar with the struggles of waxing and waning symptoms of dry, flaking skin, possibly accompanied by itching and pain as the skin repeatedly cracks in regions, while it goes through various phases of healing and shedding. For some people the issue is rather mild, and only presents as a somewhat unsightly patch which may be uncomfortable for others to see as they may fear it is contagious.  For others, the pain and symptoms are more severe, and may be accompanied by arthritis (known as psoriatic arthritis), which causes progressive damage to the joints and often requires medications and management by a rheumatologist to prevent irreversible joint destruction.

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wod_brain-1It’s fair to say we carry many objectives regarding our wellbeing and health – to get more fit, lose weight, or better manage finances are common objectives. One is the management and maintenance of cognition. Memory and cognitive function becomes more significant with age. Many people seek natural support for the improvement of memory, and some therapeutic agents have more evidence than others for their ability to support cognition and memory.

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indexThe journal Nutritional Neuroscience, published a paper in April 2017, exploring the relationship between diet and depression.[1]

The authors note that converging evidence from laboratory, population research, and clinical trials suggests that healthy dietary patterns, such as the traditional Mediterranean-style whole-food diet, and specific dietary factors, including omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), vitamin B6 and folate, antioxidants, and zinc, may influence the risk for depression. Despite the consistency of published evidence on the relationship between dietary patterns and depressive disorders, arising from numerous observational studies carried out in recent years on large and heterogeneous populations (including diverse cultures and age groups), and the emerging evidence suggesting that dietary improvement may prevent depression, there are no dietary recommendations currently available regarding depression.

Background:

Major depressive disorder is a common, chronic condition that imposes a substantial burden of disability globally. As current treatments are estimated to address only one-third of the disease burden of depressive disorders, there is a need for new approaches to prevent depression or to delay its progression. While in its early stages, converging evidence from laboratory, population research, and clinical trials now suggests that dietary patterns and specific dietary factors may influence the risk for depression. However, largely as a result of the recency of the nutritional psychiatry field, there are currently no dietary recommendations for depression.

Aim:

The aim of this paper is to provide a set of practical dietary recommendations for the prevention of depression, based on the best available current evidence, in order to inform public health and clinical recommendations.

Results:

Five key dietary recommendations for the prevention of depression emerged from current published evidence. These comprise: (1) follow ‘traditional’ dietary patterns, such as the Mediterranean, Norwegian, or Japanese diet; (2) increase consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, wholegrain cereals, nuts, and seeds; (3) include a high consumption of foods rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids; (4) replace unhealthy foods with wholesome nutritious foods; (5) limit your intake of processed-foods, ‘fast’ foods, commercial bakery goods, and sweets.

Conclusion:

Although there are a number of gaps in the scientific literature to date, existing evidence suggests that a combination of healthful dietary practices may reduce the risk of developing depression. It is imperative to remain mindful of any protective effects that are likely to come from the cumulative and synergic effect of nutrients that comprise the whole-diet, rather than from the effects of individual nutrients or single foods. As the body of evidence grows from controlled intervention studies on dietary patterns and depression, these recommendations should be modified accordingly.

The paper makes five key recommendations:

  1. Follow ‘traditional’ dietary patterns, such as the Mediterranean, Norwegian, or Japanese diet. The available evidence suggests that traditional dietary habits may be beneficial for positive mental health.
  2. Increase your consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, wholegrain cereals, nuts, and seeds. These foods should form the bulk of the diet as they are nutrient dense, high in fibre, and low in saturated and trans-fatty acids.
  3. Include a high consumption of foods rich in omega-3 PUFAs. Fish is one of the main sources of omega-3 PUFAs, and higher fish consumption is associated with reduced depression risk.
  4. Limit your intake of processed-foods, ‘fast’ foods, commercial bakery goods, and sweets. These foods are high in trans-fatty acids, saturated fat, refined carbohydrates, and added sugars, and are low in nutrients and fibre. Consumption of these foods has been associated with an increased risk or probability of depression in observational studies.
  5. Replace unhealthy foods with wholesome nutritious foods. Healthy dietary patterns (e.g. fruits, vegetables, wholegrain cereals, and fish) and unhealthy dietary patterns (e.g. sweets, soft-drinks, fried food, refined cereals, and processed meats) are independent predictors of lower and higher depressive symptoms, respectively.

Comment

As all NTs and functional medicine trained practitioners will recognise, these core recommendations make good clinical sense, but in themselves will not transform someone’s mental health alone. Further manipulation of the microbiome, may be another intervention, as well as suitable personal skill developments.

Reference

[1] Opie RS, Itsiopoulos C, Parletta N, Sanchez-Villegas A, Akbaraly TN, Ruusunen A, Jacka FN. Dietary recommendations for the prevention of depression. Nutr Neurosci. 2017 Apr;20(3):161-171. View Abstract

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imagesA summary of key points.

In this mini update, learn more about possible contributors to IBS, and how simple diet or supplemental interventions may improve it. There’s a lot more than just probiotics to try!

Learn about:

  • The importance of the pancreas and digestive enzyme secretion,
  • Support for improving constipation,
  • And how mealtime habits can be a simple solution!
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imagesDr Carrie Decker ND, explores some of the main methodologies and practices employed in  translational research. Supporting patients in their health with nutritional supplements and botanical therapies often requires one to draw upon a wide variety of academic resources. This ranges from clinical training and continuing education to searchable databases which provide easy access to a broad spectrum of research on nutritional supplements. Anyone who has ever looked for clinical studies on the topic of nutritional or botanical interventions understands this research is far lacking, is often poor quality or a non-placebo controlled study, and the population size, if human data exists, is small. For this reason, it is important to understand what can best be gained from other types of studies.

1-fatty-liver-diseaseWhere there’s a buck to be made…

Dr Carrie Decker ND explores trends in R&D by pharmaceutical companies and the evolving problem of liver conditions. With increasing rates of obesity and metabolic syndrome, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) have become increasingly common, such that they are now the most common cause of liver disease in Western countries.[i] This has not gone unnoticed by those in the market of drug development. Where there is a disease to “treat” there is a buck to be made.

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Review of Homocysteine

Wednesday, 08 March 2017 by

homocysteine_fig_1By Antony Haynes BA,  Registered Nutritional Therapist

The word ‘homocysteine’ has entered the lexicon of familiar words over the past decade, at least for health practitioners, as has the term methylation, and the two are intimately connected.

What is Methylation?

Methylation denotes the addition of a methyl group on a substrate, or the substitution of an atom (or group) by a methyl group. Methylation is a form of alkylation, with a methyl group, rather than a larger carbon chain, replacing a hydrogen atom. Methylation is catalysed by enzymes.

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