News and notes September

    NEWSLETTER September 2023

    Regular Pecan Consumption Could Curb Obesity and Reduce Inflammation

    New research by Texas A&M AgriLife scientists highlights the health benefits of pecans, suggesting they can combat obesity and reduce inflammation. Regular pecan consumption is linked to a decrease in obesity and related issues like fatty liver disease and diabetes. The study found that pecans increase energy expenditure, reduce inflammation, and maintain body weight even with a high-fat diet. These findings position pecans as a potential superfood, suitable for direct consumption or use in functional foods and dietary supplements. The research was supported by various organizations, including the Texas Pecan Board and the Texas Department of Agriculture.


    The green tea effect: new insights emerge and a look at green tea and sleep

    A recent study in the Foods Journal explored green tea's impact on weight and gut health in mice on a high-fat diet. Green tea, rich in polyphenols, caffeine, and L-theanine, reduced calorie intake and improved gut microbiota, potentially countering obesity. The highest green tea concentration led to significant weight loss despite increased food consumption and improved liver health. Notably, green tea's component TPP increased Akkermansia bacteria, vital for a healthy gut microbiota. In conclusion, this research highlights green tea as a potential remedy for high-fat diet-induced complications by modifying gut microbes to enhance metabolic health.

    Green Tea

    Pooping only every 3 or more days linked with cognitive decline, research finds

    Chronic constipation, defined as infrequent bowel movements every three or more days, has been associated with a 73% higher risk of subjective cognitive decline, according to a study presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference. Approximately 16% of adults worldwide experience constipation, with higher prevalence among older adults due to factors like reduced exercise, low dietary fiber, and medications that cause constipation.

    The study, which assessed over 112 000 adults, found that those with constipation had significantly worse cognitive function than those with daily bowel movements, equivalent to three years of additional cognitive ageing. The gut microbiome was also linked to these associations, with infrequent bowel movements associated with a depletion of beneficial bacteria that produce butyrates. Butyrates support gut health and the gut-brain axis. More research is needed to establish the causal relationship between bowel movements, the gut microbiome, and cognitive health.


    Comprehensive review backs cranberry products for UTI’s

    A comprehensive review of clinical trials on cranberry products has supported their effectiveness in reducing urinary tract infections (UTIs). The review analysed data from 28 clinical studies and found that consuming cranberry products, such as juice or capsules, significantly reduced the risk of UTIs compared to placebo or control groups.

    The effect was particularly notable in women with recurrent UTIs. The studies also showed that cranberry products could reduce the use of antibiotics and may be a safe and cost-effective alternative to antibiotics. The authors of the review recommend the use of cranberry products as a preventive measure against UTIs, especially in populations at high risk of developing UTIs. 

    Comprehensive review backs cranberry products for UTI’s

    Vit E may prevent insulin resistance & inhibit autoimmunity

    Vitamin E may preserve beta cell function and subsequently reduce likelihood of autoimmune diabetes, a new study by authors from Sweden concludes. The study suggests that vitamin E's antioxidant properties may play a role in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which are associated with autoimmunity and insulin resistance. While further research is needed, this study adds to the growing body of evidence supporting the potential health benefits of vitamin E in the context of autoimmunity and metabolic disorders.

    Vit E may prevent insulin resistance & inhibit autoimmunity

    Sleep cycles and health risks

    We recently had world sleep day and it was interesting to note the growing body of evidence on sleep disturbances and cognitive impairment. New research finds significant links between three measures of sleep disturbance and the risk for developing dementia over a 10-year period. The results were reported in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

    This research is novel because it is the first to examine how long-term sleep disturbance, associate sleep-initiation insomnia (trouble falling asleep within 30 minutes) and sleep medication use with higher risk for developing dementia. Previous research has associated REM sleep behaviour, sleep deprivation (less than five hours of sleep), and the use of short-acting benzodiazepines with cognitive decline.

    We have included an article on sleep in our March issue by Dr Alison Kamffer. She looks at sleep disorders, sleep cycles and natural supplements to aid sleep in her article Dreaming of Sleep.

    Sleep cycles and health risks

    Hope for Osteoarthritis – natural cartilage regeneration

    A new study published in the journal Nature found that the human body may be able to naturally repair and regenerate its own cartilage, which could have implications for treating osteoarthritis.

    The study was conducted by researchers from Duke University and involved analyzing the knee cartilage in both mice and humans. They found that the body produces a molecule called alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG) that helps to activate a process called autophagy, which is essentially the body's self- cleaning mechanism. Autophagy can help remove damaged cartilage cells and stimulate the growth of new ones.

    The researchers found that when they injected AKG into the knees of mice with cartilage damage, the mice's cartilage repaired itself more effectively than in control mice. They also found that AKG levels in human cartilage tissue declined with age, which could be a contributing factor to osteoarthritis.

    While more research is needed to confirm these findings and develop potential therapies, the study offers new insights into the body's natural healing mechanisms and could lead to new approaches for treating osteoarthritis and other joint-related conditions.


    Sinus relief – worth losing your mind over?

    Sinusitis can be debilitating, persistent and difficult to cure. The reasons for it can vary from allergies to bacterial or viral infection.

    The New York Times published an article on Monday, exploring the relationship between allergies and mental health issues. While the connection between the two has long been studied, the article explains that recent research has yielded more concrete evidence linking allergies to an increased risk of depression and anxiety.

    One theory is that the inflammation caused by allergies affects the brain and disrupts the body's natural systems. Another is that allergies can lead to poor sleep, which can exacerbate mental health symptoms. Furthermore, anxiety and depression can lead to changes in the immune system that may increase the risk of developing allergies.

    The article also highlights the importance of proper treatment for both allergies and mental health issues, as they can have a significant impact on a person's overall well-being. Some experts recommend a multidisciplinary approach, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and allergy treatment, to address both physical and mental symptoms.

    Overall, the article provides an insightful look into the link between allergies and mental health, and the potential implications for treatment and care. I am very happy to see that their advice is balanced.

    Sinus relief

    Our body predicts meal times!

    In the first study of its kind, researchers found that the human body is rhythmically programmed to anticipate mealtimes particularly when food is not readily accessible. This suggests that there is a physiological drive for some people to eat at certain times as their body has been trained to expect food rather than it just being a psychological habit.

    Circadian rhythms, metabolism, and nutrition are closely linked. Meal times affect circadian rhythms and meal timing can indeed be an effective way to synchronising the body's clock.

    Our body predicts meal times!

    Sodium fluoride in toothpaste

    Sodium fluoride is derived from hydrofluoric acid which is produced by a reaction between sulphuric acid and fluorspar, an ore rich in calcium fluoride, which is a toxic chemical. In fact, fluoride is the main ingredient in rat poison!

    The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has never approved any fluoride product designed for human ingestion and ironically it has been shown not to reduce cavities.

    Scientists are, on the other hand, finding links between fluoride and arthritis, allergic reactions, cancer and dental fluorosis (fluoride poisoning) which can result in darkened or mottled teeth, erosion of the tooth enamel, compromised bone structure and other problems including learning disabilities, kidney disease and brain lesions.

    On average only 50% of the fluoride we take in each day is excreted through the kidneys with the remainder accumulating in our bones, pineal gland and other tissues. In the event of kidney damage, fluoride accumulation will increase and with it the likelihood of further harm. When swallowed, fluoride may cause Crohn’s disease.page1image733032128 page1image734050240

    Fluoride is especially dangerous to small children who may tend to swallow toothpaste during or after brushing teeth. Many toothpaste manufacturers include the warning ‘Not for children under the age of six years’ on their products.

    Rather look for a herbal toothpaste that does not contain fluoride!


    Salt awareness 

    A new review has found that women of all ages are more salt sensitive than men, which may have implications for blood pressure control. Salt sensitivity is the tendency (especially after menopause) of the body to hold onto salt rather than excrete it through the kidneys.

    Healthy people needn't worry about hitting salt overload. Sodium is essential for nerve and muscle function and is involved in the regulation of fluids in the body. Here is a fun article on salt by Heidi du Preez: Salt of the Earth. You will also discover 25 tips on what to do with your leftover salt in and around the home. One such tip is to remove offensive odours from the stove with salt and cinnamon.

    Salt awareness

    Study of intravenous mistletoe extract to treat advanced cancer

    Mistletoe extract is a semi-parasitic plant with several active ingredients that, in preclinical studies, appear to directly cause the death of tumor cells and stimulate an immune response.

    Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Centre, completed a phase 1 trial and published their findings in Cancer Research Communications. 600 mg of mistletoe was delivered intravenously three times per week.

    The most common side effects reported were fatigue, nausea, and chills and they were noted as manageable. According to lead researcher and associate professor of oncology, Dr Paller, ‘Intravenous mistletoe demonstrated manageable toxicities with disease control and improved quality of life in this group of patients, who had already received multiple cancer therapies.’

    Mistletoe has been used in Europe for several decades as a complementary medicine approach to cancer treatment alone or in combination with chemotherapy and radiation therapy and is listed in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia and is offered in integrative care clinics.

    Study of intravenous mistletoe extract to treat advanced cancer

    Regular laxative use may increase dementia risk by 50%

    Research recently published in Neurology, found that this was especially true for users of osmotic laxatives, which attract water to the colon to soften the stool.

    Dr. Feng Sha, study author from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, says, ‘Constipation and laxative use are common among middle-aged and older adults. However, regular laxative use may change the microbiome of the gut, possibly affecting nerve signaling from the gut to the brain or increasing the production of intestinal toxins that may affect the brain. Our research found regular use of over- the-counter laxatives was associated with a higher risk of dementia, particularly in people who used multiple laxative types or osmotic laxatives.'

    Osmotic and stimulant laxatives are not meant to be used regularly.We suggest feeding the gut with probiotics and using botanical laxatives as an alternative to over the counter stool softeners. There are some excellent products on the market such as InoLax and Oxy-colon Cleanse. To restore and maintain gut health, we recommend supplementing with butyric acid (food for your microbiome) and the pre- and probiotic from Imsyser. Both Progast and Imsyser have excellent gut health products.

    Regular laxative use may increase dementia risk by 50%

    continue to top