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th_Crit_Rev_Food_Sci_NutrThere are of course many challenges in compiling data sets around eating profiles and then translating this into meaning full approaches to health management. This meta-analysis, of observational studies concludes that a diet high in vegetables reduces risk of cancer and heart disease.[1]

Background: Beneficial effects of vegetarian and vegan diets on health outcomes have been supposed in previous studies.

Objectives: Aim of this study was to clarify the association between vegetarian, vegan diets, risk factors for chronic diseases, risk of all-cause mortality, incidence, and mortality from cardio-cerebrovascular diseases, total cancer and specific type of cancer (colorectal, breast, prostate and lung), through meta-analysis.

Methods: A comprehensive search of Medline, EMBASE, Scopus, The Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar was conducted.

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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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Calcium Supplements Do Not Prevent Fractures

Friday, 09 October 2015 by | Comments: 1

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The recommendation for consumption of calcium over the typically recognised minimum official recommendations in the UK and Nordic countries of 700-800 mg/day of dietary calcium for adults appears to have no substantive benefit on fracture prevention. There is currently little, if any, firm evidence that higher intakes prevent bone loss, falls, or fractures in middle aged and older women and men living in the community.[1],[2]

BJNThe British Journal of Nutrition published a review paper in July 2015, exploring the relationship between inflammation, diet and health. Whilst this is neither new nor novel, the momentum is becoming clear. There is a steady awareness in research that the consumption of certain foods and the absence of others contributes to a provocative change in defence molecules with the result that many of the non-communicable diseases that blight western health care can develop and thrive.

This open access article is well worth saving for those refresh reads.[1]

The importance of chronic low-grade inflammation in the pathology of numerous age-related chronic conditions is now clear. An unresolved inflammatory response is likely to be involved from the early stages of disease development.

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indexThe growing knowledge in research communities concerning the symbiotic relationship we have with our bacterial organism population is increasingly reflecting that which we have been discussing for many years – namely the use of antibiotics (and many of our current lifestyle habits) is not a benign event in terms of microbiome outcomes. It seems that even short pulses of widely used antibiotics (amoxicillin and tylosin in this paper) can lead to long-term development changes in mouse pups, including increased body mass and bone growth and changes to the gut microbiota, according to a study published in Nature Communications.[1]

Oh Boy… the journal Nature has this week (9.10.14) identified the insidious effect of consuming ‘diet’ or non caloric sweeteners on the burgeoning mass of human adipocytes and they have really taken a good run at it.[1]

Non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) were introduced over a century ago as means for providing sweet taste to foods without the associated high energy content of caloric sugars. NAS consumption gained much popularity owing to their reduced costs, low caloric intake and perceived health benefits for weight reduction and normalization of blood sugar levels.[2] For these reasons, NAS are increasingly introduced into commonly consumed foods such as diet sodas, cereals and sugar-free desserts, and are being recommended for weight loss and for individuals suffering from glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Psoriasis, Diet and Food Concentrates

Thursday, 25 September 2014 by | Comments: 1

It has been argued in many cases quite vehemently that diet has no role to play in many of the common dermatological conditions that trouble people. Yet as no surprise to those who use changes in diet to assist skin management a number of studies are now confirming that seen in empirical practice – your food choice and supplement choice influences for the better or worse skin health.[1],[2]

The two papers above are useful summaries of interventions that may add improvement to the skin damage or may mitigate associated disease risk or medication side effects. Clearly as food has multiple points of intervention in human physiology, even those conditions with a high genetic association are also going to be advantageously influenced by the correct management of body health via food and food concentrates.

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The condition – Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is increasing in prevalence, in tandem with the obesity epidemic, in both children and adults. Identifying specific dietary components that drive NASH is important for successful management of this disease.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) encompasses a range of liver diseases. Simple steatosis, or fatty liver, is now found in up to 31% of adults[1] and 16% of children.[2] Of those with steatosis, approximately 5% will develop nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), in which steatosis is accompanied by inflammation and fibrosis.[3] Up to 25% of NASH patients will progress to cirrhosis. NASH is the third leading indication for liver transplantation in the United States and will become the most common if current trends continue.[4] Therefore, understanding its pathogenesis and treatment is of utmost importance.

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Rheumatoid arthritis! – these are not the words anyone wants to hear when they start to experience joint discomfort. It quite naturally engenders fear and worry as the tretaments offered are in themselves a challenge in most cases and avoiding effective treatment can predispose an individual to a shortened and miserable life.

The research, published in Lancet Oncology and carried out at the International Agency for Research on Cancer, studied international data for 27 cancers in 184 countries in order to identify the factors which contribute to the development of the diseases. The results suggest that 16% of all cancers are a result of infections, and of that sub-set 80% occur in less developed regions.[1]

The WHO another data crunching megalith estimates that 6% of cancers in wealthy nations and 22% in low- and middle-income countries are caused by infectious agents: viruses such as HBV, HPV and hepatitis C virus (HCV), bacteria such as Helicobacter pylori and waterborne parasites.

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