News and notes August


    Why Opt for Collagen Supplements Over Bone Broth?

    As the signs of aging become more apparent, the quest for solutions often leads us to collagen, a protein found abundantly in our skin, bones, and connective tissues. While bone broth, rich in native collagen, seems like a natural choice, the decision between it and hydrolyzed collagen peptides can be influenced by various factors.

    Bone broth indeed offers a source of collagen, but its collagen content varies significantly, ranging from 2 to 10 grams per cup. This inconsistency makes it challenging to gauge and control your collagen intake effectively. In contrast, collagen powder, such as hydrolyzed collagen peptides, provides a standardized dose of 10 grams or more per scoop.

    Hydrolyzed collagen peptides are fragments of collagen protein that have undergone hydrolysis, a process that breaks down the protein into smaller, more easily digestible units. This makes them readily absorbable by the body, enhancing their effectiveness compared to native collagen found in bone broth.

    Moreover, research has highlighted the benefits of collagen peptides, particularly for skin hydration and elasticity. Collagen powder formulations often go beyond collagen alone, incorporating functional bioactives like glutamine and hyaluronic acid, which further contribute to overall skin health.

    Informed by your dietary preferences, your choice of collagen powder can be tailored to suit your needs. For instance, I don't eat meat, so a marine (fish) collagen powder provides a suitable alternative. My collagen of choice, Sontal Marine Collagen, has additional nutrients like vitamin C, A retinol, Co-Q-10, and hyaluronic acid. Now I am taking a supplement that not only benefit skin health but also support cartilage, connective tissue, ligaments, and even bone density and strength.


    Love your skin this winter

    We often think that winter is a safer season for our skin than summer, but this is not necessarily so. Winter chill, dry air and wind can play havoc with our skin.

    Love your skin this winter by putting the following tips into practice:

    Use natural oils to restore moisture. Tissue oil, shea butter and jojoba oil will help restore suppleness while baobab oil helps alleviate itchiness and dryness associated with many dry skin conditions such as eczema, sunburn and dry psoriasis. Add some to your bath water or massage it into your skin, hair or even your scalp; it is surprisingly non-greasy.

    Keep your fluids up by drinking eight glasses of warm water a day. Add ginger or lemon with a bit of honey and boost your immune system at the same time.
    Use humidifiers in the rooms you spend the most time in. Cover up well before going out into the cold and wind, especially your hands.

    Avoid long hot showers or baths (very tempting) as this will strip your skin of moisture.
    Lastly, remember the sunscreen on those bright, sunny days.

    Love your skin this winter

    Dangers of cough syrup for the elderly

    When it comes to elderly care, over-the-counter cough mixtures may not be safe. A study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found a link between anticholinergic medications and brain decline in old​​​​er patients.

    Anticholinergic drugs work by binding to acetylcholine receptors, preventing acetylcholine from exerting its effects. This can have various effects on the body, such as reducing muscle contractions, drying secretions, dilating pupils, and altering cognitive function.

    Elderly individuals metabolize ingredients slower, leading to prolonged effects. Combining cough syrup with chronic medications can have serious consequences, especially for those taking blood thinners. Cough syrup ingredients can cause stomach upset and worsen constipation. Overdose risk is high among older patients due to confusion and sedating ingredients. Pharmacists should consider these dangers and recommend safe alternatives.

    Risacher SL, McDonald BC, et al. Association between anticholinergic medication use and cognition, brain metabolism, and brain atrophy in cognitively normal older adults. JAMA Neurol. April 18, 2016.

    Dangers of cough syrup for the elderly

    Diuretic pills may not prevent kidney stones

    A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine: Thiazide diuretics may work no better than a placebo. The results are sure to surprise doctors who treat kidney stones for a living. There are some trial limitations and more research is needed.

    In the interim, to prevent kidney stones, increase your intake of fluids, fruits and vegetables. For people with high urinary calcium, it's important to limit sodium.

    Moringa contains high levels of antioxidants that might aid toxicity levels in the kidneys. A study was published on moringa root bark and the benefits related to diuresis and lowering of urinary concentrations of stone forming constituents. For more on Moringa see our article Moringa – Miracle Tree of Hope.

    Diuretic pills may not prevent kidney stones

    A natural solution for cancer, diabetes, and inflammation

    A type of seaweed known as Ecklonia cava, contains unique compounds called phlorotannins that have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds also help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes by regulating insulin levels and fighting oxidative stress. Studies have shown that the consumption of Ecklonia cava can improve overall health and may even extend lifespan.

    As with any type of seafood, seaweed may contain trace amounts of mercury and other pollutants that can be harmful to human health. However, the levels of these contaminants in seaweed are generally considered to be low, and consuming seaweed in moderation is considered safe for most people.

    seaweed known as Ecklonia cava

    The link between butyrate and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)

    Butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid that is produced by certain bacteria in the gut through the fermentation of dietary fibre and resistant starches. It serves as an important energy source for the cells lining the colon and plays a crucial role in maintaining gut health.

    In chronic fatigue sufferers, health-promoting butyrate producers in the human gut are reduced, and this means that butyrate (food for the microbiome), is reduced. This has the effect of an increase in symptoms related to irritable bowel syndrome.

    Butyrate has several effects on the body, including regulating immune function, reducing inflammation, improving gut barrier function, and modulating gene expression. It has also been associated with potential benefits for metabolic health, weight management, and neurological function. Butyrate is available in supplement form.

    Reference: Guo, et al. Deficient butyrate-producing capacity in the gut microbiome is associated with bacterial disturbances and fatigue symptoms (CFS). Cell Host & Microbe, February 8, 2023.

    butyrate and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)

    Pill fatigue: key hurdles in alternative formats

    ‘Pill fatigue’ refers to the feeling of exhaustion or reluctance towards taking pills or medications on a long-term basis. The nutraceutical industry faces significant hurdles in the development of alternative formats to pills, such as gummies, chewables and powders. While these formats offer advantages in terms of convenience and palatability, they present formulation and stability challenges.

    In a research letter published in JAMA last week, researchers found that 22 out of 25 melatonin gummies contained different amounts of melatonin than what was listed on the label. The researchers only tested one sample from each brand and the quantity of melatonin may vary from batch to batch, even within a single brand.

    The actual amount of melatonin in each product ranged from 74% to 347% of the labeled dosage, and all but three of the products were over the labeled dosage.

    The lack of efficacy data for some alternative formats also limits consumer trust, leading many to continue to prefer traditional pill formats. According to a Vitafoods Insights’ market innovations report, the industry must balance the benefits of alternative formats with the need to maintain the efficacy, stability, and safety of the product.

    Pill fatigue

    Did you know about this black box warning?

    A drug called Montelukast (sold under the brand names Singulair, Sintair and Monte-Air) is a prescribed medication for asthma and also hay fever (allergies). Did you know that in 2020, the FDA required Merck to place a black box warning (the agency’s most prominent warning) on the label about the risk of serious neuropsychiatric events such as aggression, depression, hallucinations and suicidal thoughts and behaviour! And you need not have any history of mental illness to suffer from these side effects.

    Be aware of the risks that clearly outweighs the benefit in people with allergic rhinitis. There are natural solutions. See our articles: Natural Treatment for Sinusitis, Sinusitis and Allergies – the Confusion Sorted and How to Manage Sinusitis Naturally.

    Did you know about this black box warning?

    A gut bacteria cocktail

    In a randomised, placebo-controlled trial, oral bacteria therapy is successfully used for Long COVID. Patients receiving the active microbiome treatment called SIM01 (a gut bacteria cocktail) for 6 months were more likely than controls to see improvements in digestive problems, fatigue, difficulty with concentration and memory impairment.

    What was in the cocktail? A mix of 12 different bacteria strains, including Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium longum, and Enterococcus faecalis.

    A hibiscus compound may help in Alzheimer's

    Studies suggest that impaired removal of toxic beta-amyloid proteins in certain brain regions (often linked to the decline in cognitive function) may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.

    Gossypetin, a flavonoid present in the flower of a hibiscus species, facilitated the clearance of beta-amyloid in the brain of an Alzheimer’s mouse model. When beta-amyloid levels are lowered, so it lowers the cognitive deficits in Alzheimer's disease.

    Source: Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy

    Breakthrough research has just shown that exercise may affect neural plasticity, improve brain function and delay or prevent the onset of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

    Five review articles cover interorgan crosstalk between muscle, liver, adipose tissue, the gut microbiome, and the brain. While it is well known that exercise protects the central nervous system, it has only recently been found to depend on the endocrine capacity of skeletal muscle.

    Solar panels made from recycled food waste

    Now, a new type of solar panel has been developed by an electrical engineering student at Mapua University that harvests the unseen ultraviolet light from the sun that makes it through even dense cloud coverage.

    The concept, called AuREUS (which stands for Aurora Renewable Energy and UV Sequestration), uses luminescent particles from fruit and vegetable waste that absorb UV light and convert it into visible light. A solar film then converts that visible light into energy.

    Source: Business News

    solar panel

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