Study finds Mediterranean diet improves depression symptoms in young men and women
University of Technology, Sydney, May 9, 2022
Young adults with a poor diet saw a significant improvement in their symptoms of depression when they switched to a healthy Mediterranean diet, a new study shows.
The 12-week randomized control trial, conducted by researchers from the University of Technology Sydney, was recently published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The study contributes to the emerging field of nutritional psychiatry, which aims to explore the effect that specific nutrients, foods and dietary patterns can have on mental health. The diet used in the study was rich in colorful vegetables, legumes and wholegrains, oily fish, olive oil and raw, unsalted nuts. The primary focus was on increasing diet quality with fresh wholefoods while reducing the intake of ‘fast’ foods, sugar and processed red mea.
“There are lots of reasons why scientifically we think food affects mood. For example, around 90 percent of serotonin, a chemical that helps us feel happy, is made in our gut by our gut microbes. There is emerging evidence that these microbes can communicate to the brain via the vagus nerve, in what is called the gut-brain axis. To have beneficial microbes, we need to feed them fiber, which is found in legumes, fruits and vegetables,” they said.
Amaranth extract goes head to head with beet as nitrate source
Arjuna Natural (India), May 6, 2022
A number of studies have established that nitrate, a nitric oxide metabolite, is beneficial for endurance during exercise. However, this bioavailability study, published in the journal Nutrition, was the first clinical trial to show that extract of amaranthus – one of the sources of nitrite in nature – can help athletes work out longer and harder. The researchers found that a single (2g) dose of amaranth extract was able to increase nitrate (NO3) and nitrite (NO2) levels in the body for at least eight hours.
Until now, sports nutrition manufacturers have typically incorporated beetroot powder and juice into formulations in order to support nitrate levels. These findings give this market a new, more potent form of nitrate to work with, according to botanical extracts manufacturer Arjuna, whose interest in amaranthus stems from its traditional use in Indian medicine and cooking.
By comparison, he said that amaranthus was a far more “potent” form of nitrate for sports nutrition applications.
“It’s standardised to 9-10% nitrate content, whereas most beet-based ingredients contain less than 2% nitrate,” he told NutraIngredients.
Arjuna attributes this to its patent production process, which extracts 9,000mg per 100g of nitrate from the leaves of the amaranthus species.
Another advantage over its beet-based counterparts is that it doesn’t contain any reducing sugars and oxalates.
Study identifies exact amounts of extra vitamin C for optimal immune health
University of Otago (New Zealand), May 6, 2022
If you are carrying a few extra kilos in weight, an extra apple or two per day might make a difference in boosting your immune system and helping ward off COVID-19 and winter illnesses.
New University of Otago research has identified, for the first time, exactly how much extra vitamin C humans need to ingest, relative to their body weight, to maximize their immune health.
The study has found that for every 10 kilograms of excess weight a person carries, their body needs an extra 10 milligrams of Vitamin C daily, which will help to optimize their immune health.
“Previous studies have already linked higher body weight with lower vitamin C levels,” says lead author Associate Professor Carr. “We know obesity is a risk factor for getting COVID-19 and that obese patients are more likely to struggle to fight it off once infected. We also know that vitamin C is essential for good immune function and works by helping white blood cells fight infection. The results from this study therefore suggest that increasing your vitamin C intake if overweight might be a sensible response. Pneumonia is a major complication of COVID-19 and patients with pneumonia are known to be low in vitamin C.
The study determined how much vitamin C is required for people of higher body weight compared to a starting base weight of a 60 kilogram person consuming the average New Zealand dietary vitamin C intake of 110 milligrams per day, which most people achieve from a balanced diet.
Vitamin A deficiency is detrimental to blood stem cells
German Cancer Research Center, May 5, 2022
Many specialized cells, such as in the skin, gut or blood, have a lifespan of only a few days. Therefore, steady replenishment of these cells is indispensable. They arise from so-called “adult” stem cells that divide continuously. In addition, there is a group of very special stem cells in the bone marrow that were first discovered in 2008 by a research team led by Andreas Trumpp, who is a division head at the DKFZ and director of HI-STEM. These cells remain in a kind of dormancy most of the time and only become active in an emergency such as bacterial or viral infections, heavy blood loss, or in the wake of chemotherapy. Once their work is done, the body sends its most potent stem cells back to sleep. The scientists assume that this protects them from dangerous mutations that may lead to leukemia.
The scientists have now identified retinoic acid, a vitamin A metabolite, as a crucial factor in this process. If this substance is absent, active stem cells are unable to return to a dormant state and mature into specialized blood cells instead. This means that they are lost as a reservoir. This was shown in studies with specially bred mice. “If we feed these mice on a vitamin A deficient diet for some time, this leads to a loss of the stem cells,” said Nina Cabezas-Wallscheid, who is the first author of the publication. “Thus, we can prove for the first time that vitamin A has a direct impact on blood stem cells.”
Exposure to wildfires increases risk of cancer
McGill University (Quebec), May 9, 2022
A new study from McGill University finds higher incidence of lung cancer and brain tumors in people exposed to wildfires. The study, which tracks over 2 million Canadians over a period of 20 years, is the first to examine how proximity to forest fires may influence cancer risk.
“Wildfires tend to happen in the same locations each year, but we know very little about the long-term health effects of these events. Our study shows that living in close proximity to wildfires may increase the risk of certain cancers,” says Scott Weichenthal, at McGill University.
The study shows that people living within 50 kilometers of wildfires over the past 10 years had a 10% higher incidence of brain tumors and 4.9% higher incidence of lung cancer than people living further away.
Curcumin improves intestinal barrier function: modulation of intercellular signaling
Virginia Commonwealth University, May 5, 2022
Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University Describe New Findings in Curcumin improves intestinal barrier function
According to news, research stated, “Association between circulating lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and metabolic diseases (such as type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis) has shifted the focus from high-fat high-cholesterol containing Western- type diet (WD)-induced changes in gut microbiota per se to release of gut bacteria-derived products (e.g., LPS) into circulation due to intestinal barrier dysfunction as the possible mechanism for the chronic inflammatory state underlying the development of these diseases. We demonstrated earlier that oral supplementation with curcumin attenuates WD-induced development of type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis.”T
The research concluded: “The major site of action of curcumin is, therefore, likely the intestinal epithelial cells and the intestinal barrier, and by reducing intestinal barrier dysfunction, curcumin modulates chronic inflammatory diseases despite poor bioavailability.”