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Atishoo – that’s D’ one!

Friday, 23 April 2010 by
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Vitamin D Vs Influenza A

Lets face it, right now we are still recovering from the various revelations about the novel variant H1N1 or swine flu non event (in terms of pandemic effects) to be looking to see if we can manage the more common seasonal influenza. Plus spring is in the air and we all know that colds and the flu viruses seem to be less vigorous during the time of the year we actually see the sun!

However a rather neat randomised trial to see if Vitamin D supplementation had any prevention effect in school children adds further weight to the evolving understanding of its innate immune activation potential.[1]

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Multivitamins have recently been flagged in a March 2010 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition article to raise the risk of developing breast cancer amongst a group of Swedish Women.[1] Naturally this paper sounds both alarming and contradictory and merits deeper investigation. Particularly as it is directly opposed by a paper out just 3 month previously in the Public Health Nutrition Journal when a group of nearly 3,000 women with breast cancer were compared to a similar number of controls in relation to the potential risk for breast cancer and multivitamins.[2] This study concluded:

The current study found no association between multivitamin supplement use and breast cancer risk in women.

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Michael Ash BSc(Hons) DO, ND, DipION reviews the possibility that strategically selected foods and food concentrates represent a valid therapy for inflammatory illnesses.

There is substantive interest in the potential translation from bench to bedside of simple safe strategies to modify the adverse effects of inflammation. Approaching from a preventative and restorative angle the numbers of papers being published on the role of orally ingested bacteria (probiotics) and in this article – the herb Tumeric (active ingredient of which is curcumin) is presenting increasingly supportive evidence for their reasonable and safe clinical use.

Modern analytical techniques are helping to reveal novel opportunities for inflammation control in the gut and the systemic tissues in new ways that even a few years ago would have been thought of as very alternative!

Antibiotics Can Cause Gut Related Diseases

Thursday, 18 March 2010 by | Comments: 4
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Michael Ash BSc (Hons), DO, ND FDipION reviews the current understanding of the role of antibiotics in the initiation of gut associated inflammation and local and systemic health problems, and briefly explores some strategies to prevent and manage this.

What is perhaps the greatest medicinal discovery in the last 100 years has a sting in its tail, the tremendous success in managing bacterial infection has encouraged over and inappropriate use of antibiotics, the problems of which have been well documented. This review explores the developing comprehension that even a single day of antibiotic use has consequences that may produce transient and long term effects that compromise the health and well being of the patient and their bacterial co-habitants.

Sir Alexander Fleming discovered the antibiotic substance penicillin in 1928 and was awarded a co share in the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1945.

It was a discovery that would change the course of history. The active ingredient in that mould, which Fleming named penicillin, turned out to be an infection-fighting agent of enormous potency. When it was finally recognised for what it was—the most efficacious life-saving drug in the world—penicillin would alter forever the treatment of bacterial infections. By the middle of the century, Fleming’s discovery had spawned a huge pharmaceutical industry, churning out synthetic penicillin’s that would conquer some of mankind’s most ancient scourges, including syphilis, gangrene and tuberculosis. (Time Magazine April 1999)

However, as the combined benefits of decent engineering for sanitation, prevention via vaccination and bacterial infection control through antibiotics have contributed to life extension, they have also produced microbe and human disturbances. The incidence of immune mediated disorders is continuing to increase and the gastrointestinal tract is continuing to gain traction as a site of significant origination.[1],[2]

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Multi Vitamins are considered by many to be little more than colourful contributors to urine flow that reflect a gullible individuals need to add capital to the water course. I have addressed the major complications with this facile comment in a previous commentary.

A paper out in the March 2010 International Journal of Obesity[1] throws added weight to the triage theory of Prof Bruce Ames,[2] when additional nutrients were added to the dietary intake of obese Chinese females. It is already understood that obesity contributes to reduced bioavailability of minerals and vitamins and certainly contributes to reduced blood concentrations.

The team of researchers based at Harbin Medical University in China recruited 96 Chinese women with an average body mass index of 28kg/m2 and aged between 18-55 for the 6 month study.

Three groups were randomly set up, with one getting a multivimin, the next calcium only (162mg) and the last placebo. The results were compelling; the multivimin group had reduced body weight, body mass index, fat mass, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. On the positive side, they had an increased level of resting energy expenditure and HDL levels also increased. They also found reduced waist size and better breathing.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

A series of papers out in the New England Journal of medicine on March the 14th 2010 have failed to add any substantive weight to the use of medication in the prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. [1],[2],[3]

The continued expansion of the western global waistline and incidence of diabetes has provided fertile opportunity for a wide range of clinical trials designed to uncover strategies for incidence of diabetes reduction.[4] There is no surprise in the discovery that making significant changes to people’s lifestyles, eating less and being more active, the primary causes of weight gain, also have a consistent reduction in type II diabetes risk. The real success has also been in the associated benefits in reduction of related cardiovascular disease risk[5] and raising of mood.[6]

Vit D Deficiency = Fat Legs For Young Women!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010 by | Comments: 1
Reading Time: 2 minutes

It’s hard to ignore, it really appears there is a genuine epidemic (occurrence of a disease or disorder in a population at a frequency higher than that expected in a given time period) in progress, and its not H1N1 Flu.

An excellently developed study published in the March 2010 Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found a depressingly high  59% of study subjects had too little Vitamin D in their blood (</=29 ng/ml).[1] Nearly a quarter of the group had serious deficiencies (less than 20 ng/ml) of this important vitamin. Even the sufficient (>/=30 ng/ml) was only 41% and if we were to apply the generally regarded 50ng/ml as the base line for sufficiency, the numbers would decline even further. Since Vitamin D insufficiency is linked to increased body fat, decreased muscle strength and a range of disorders, this is a serious health issue.

The 90 young women in this group aged between 16-22yrs of age had an increased level of fatty tissue when their Vit D levels were low. Abnormal levels of Vitamin D are associated with a whole spectrum of diseases, including cancer, osteoporosis and diabetes, as well as cardiovascular and autoimmune disorders.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In the context of the ever increasing relationship between inflammation and diseases of our western lifestyle the idea that the old adage of ‘an apple a day keeps the Dr away’ this recent paper has some attractive evidence.

The university of Illinois team of researcher have written a paper due to be published in the prestigious Journal Brain Behaviour and Immunity later in the year around May.[1]

Looking at a mouse model – and we are aware of how diet affect mouse studies from a post written a few days ago- Food Choice Affects Lab Outcomes this group have extended the concept further, and presented the mice with a specially enriched diet. This study fed a low fat diet to both groups for six weeks differentiated by one having soluble fibre and the other non soluble fibre.

When challenged using a microbial wall particle called lipopolysaccharide (LPS) the group on the soluble fibre had a 50% reduction in symptoms compared to the insoluble group. They also recovered 50% faster. It seems that just 6 weeks of an increased soluble fibre intake change their immune responses in a very positive manner.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Probiotics are widely consumed and the widespread advertising is often not really justified by the evidence. Many products were never studied as such and some companies use studies performed with other (and different) products for advertising.

In the March edition of GUT a systematic review on the randomised control trials (RCT) undertaken so far suggests that many are of good quality.[1], they determine that meta-analysis is impossible due to the various strains, phenotypes and genome vary greatly.[2] As a consequence and as stressed by the FAO/WHO joint report the benefits of one probiotic ‘cannot be extrapolated to other probiotic strains without experimentation.[3] However there tend to be properties consistent with different groups, from which strain specific organisms may be extracted.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The connection between gut bacteria and obesity has gained some weight, with new findings demonstrating links in mice among immune-system malfunction, bacterial imbalance and increased appetite.[1]

Mice with altered immune systems developed metabolic disorders and were prone to overeating. When microbes from their stomachs were transplanted into other mice, they also become obese. These latest findings add weight to the growing appreciation about the role of the bacteria in and on our bodies.  We are all outnumbered in terms of human versus bacterial cells and the concept of human and bacteria symbiosis as a super-organism is gaining traction.

Already there have been strong associations between asthma, some cancers, autoimmune conditions and unwanted weight gain.

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