The Gary Null Show Notes – 08.03.22

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How the US Stole Central America (With Bananas) – Johnny Harris

HEALTH NEWS

Black cardamom bioactives effective against lung cancer cells
Soybean oil causes more obesity than coconut oil and fructose
Why breast-fed premature infants have healthier guts than formula-fed ones
Even simple exercise may help aging brain, study hintsSmall daily portion of Jarlsberg cheese may help to stave off bone thinning
Body fat can send signals to brain, affecting stress response

Black cardamom bioactives effective against lung cancer cells

National University of Singapore, August 1, 2022

The main challenges associated with existing lung cancer drugs are severe side effects and drug resistance. There is hence a constant need to explore new molecules for improving the survival rate and quality of life of lung cancer patients.

In Indian Ayurvedic medicine, black cardamom has been used in formulations to treat cancer and lung conditions. A team of researchers from the NUS Faculty of Science studied the scientific basis behind this traditional medicinal practice and provided evidence of the cytotoxic effect of black cardamom on lung cancer cells. The research highlighted the spice as a source of potent bioactives, such as cardamonin and alpinetin, which could be used in the treatment or prevention of lung cancer. The study is the first to report the association of black cardamom extract with oxidative stress induction in lung cancer cells, and compare the spice’s effects on lung, breast and liver cancer cells.

The findings could potentially lead to the discovery of safe and effective new bioactives which can prevent or cure cancer formation. The research was first published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology.

Black cardamom is typically used in Asian households in rice preparations, curries and stews either as a whole spice or in powdered form. The spice is also prescribed in Indian Ayurvedic medicine in powder form where it is used for conditions such as cough, lung congestion, pulmonary tuberculosis, and throat diseases. 

In the NUS study, black cardamom fruits were powdered and sequentially extracted with five types of solvents, including organic solvents and water. This allowed the researchers to evaluate the best solvents to extract the most potent actives in the fruit. The various types of black cardamom extracts were then tested for their cytotoxicity against several types of cancer cells. These included cancer cells from the lung, liver and breast. Among the three types of cells, lung cancer cells were least likely to survive when tested with the black cardamom extracts.

Soybean oil causes more obesity than coconut oil and fructose

University of California at Riverside, July 22, 2022

A diet high in soybean oil causes more obesity and diabetes than a diet high in fructose, a sugar commonly found in soda and processed foods, according to a published paper by scientists at the University of California, Riverside.

The scientists fed male mice a series of four diets that contained 40 percent fat, similar to what Americans currently consume. In one diet the researchers used coconut oil, which consists primarily of saturated fat. In the second diet about half of the coconut oil was replaced with soybean oil, which contains primarily polyunsaturated fats and is a main ingredient in vegetable oil. That diet corresponded with roughly the amount of soybean oil Americans currently consume.

The other two diets had added fructose, comparable to the amount consumed by many Americans. All four diets contained the same number of calories and there was no significant difference in the amount of food eaten by the mice on the diets. Thus, the researchers were able to study the effects of the different oils and fructose in the context of a constant caloric intake.

Compared to mice on the high coconut oil diet, mice on the high soybean oil diet showed increased weight gain, larger fat deposits, a fatty liver with signs of injury, diabetes and insulin resistance, all of which are part of the Metabolic Syndrome. Fructose in the diet had less severe metabolic effects than soybean oil although it did cause more negative effects in the kidney and a marked increase in prolapsed rectums, a symptom of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which like obesity is on the rise.

The mice on the soybean oil-enriched diet gained almost 25 percent more weight than the mice on the coconut oil diet and 9 percent more weight than those on the fructose-enriched diet. And the mice on the fructose-enriched diet gained 12 percent more weight than those on a coconut oil rich diet.

Soybean oil now accounts for 60 percent of edible oil consumed in the United States. That increase in soybean oil consumption mirrors the rise in obesity rates in the United States in recent decades.

During the same time, fructose consumption in the United States significantly increased, from about 37 grams per day in 1977 to about 49 grams per day in 2004.

The UC Riverside researchers also did a study with corn oil, which induced more obesity than coconut oil but not quite as much as soybean oil. They are currently doing tests with lard and olive oil. They have not tested canola oil or palm oil.

Why breast-fed premature infants have healthier guts than formula-fed ones

University of Maryland School of Medicine, August 2, 2022

Human breastmilk has long been considered “liquid gold” among clinicians treating premature infants in a newborn intensive care unit (NICU). Breastmilk-fed “preemies” are healthier, on average, than those fed formula. Why is that true, however, has remained a mystery.

New research from the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s (UMSOM) Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS), found it is not just the content of breastmilkthat makes the difference. It is also the way the babies digest it.

The research, led by Bing Ma, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at UMSOM and a researcher at IGS, discovered a strain of the Bifidobacterium breve bacteria or B. breve in the guts of breastfed babies who received higher volumes of breastmilk than their counterparts. Those preemies had better nutrient absorptionbecause they developed an intact intestinal wall one week after birth. B. breve was much less prevalent in both formula-fed babies and breastfed babies with “leaky gut.” Babies with leaky gut do not develop a barrier to protect against bacteria and digested food from getting into the bloodstream. For the first time, the team also found that the way B. breve metabolizes breastmilk keeps breastfed babies healthier and allows them to gain weight by strengthening their underdeveloped intestinal barrier.

An immature or “leaky” gut can lead to necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), which is the third leading cause of newborn death in United States and worldwide. In fact, NEC impacts up to 10 percent of premature babies with a devastating mortality rate as high as 50 percent.

At the most basic level, the gut microbiome in these breastfed preemies with more B. breve metabolizes carbohydrates differently than it does formula. The researchers say they hypothesize that this process of metabolism then strengthens and matures the intestinal barrier faster, protecting fragile newborns from disease.

Even simple exercise may help aging brain, study hints

Wake Forest School of Medicine, August 1, 2022

New research hints that even a simple exercise routine just might help older Americans with mild memory problems.

Researchers recruited about 300 sedentary older adults with hard-to-spot memory changes called mild cognitive impairment or MCI—a condition that’s sometimes, but not always, a precursor to Alzheimer’s. Half were assigned aerobic exercises and the rest stretching-and-balance moves that only modestly raised their heart rate.

After a year, cognitive testing showed overall neither group had worsened, said lead researcher Laura Baker, a neuroscientist at Wake Forest School of Medicine. Nor did brain scans show the shrinkage that accompanies worsening memory problems, she said.

By comparison, similar MCI patients in another long-term study of brain health—but without exercise—experienced significant cognitive decline over a year.

But the results suggest “this is doable for everybody”—not just seniors healthy enough to work up a hard sweat, said Baker, who presented the data Tuesday at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. “Exercise needs to be part of the prevention strategies” for at-risk seniors.

Small daily portion of Jarlsberg cheese may help to stave off bone thinning

Norwegian Research Council, August 2, 2022

A small (57 g) daily portion of Jarlsberg cheese may help to stave off bone thinning (osteopenia/osteoporosis) without boosting harmful low density cholesterol, suggest the results of a small comparative clinical trial, published in the open access journal BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health.

The effects seem to be specific to this type of cheese, the findings indicate.

Jarlsberg is a mild and semi-soft, nutty-flavored cheese made from cow’s milk, with regular holes. It originates from Jarlsberg in eastern Norway.

Previous research indicates that it may help boost levels of osteocalcin, a hormone that is associated with strong bones and teeth, but it’s not clear if this effect is specific to Jarlsberg or any type of cheese.

In a bid to find out, the researchers studied 66 healthy women (average age 33; average BMI of 24) who were randomly allocated to adding either a daily 57 g portion of Jarlsberg (41) or 50 g of Camembert cheese (25) to their diet for 6 weeks. 

At the end of this period, the group eating Camembert was switched to Jarlsberg for another six weeks. 

Jarlsberg and Camembert have similar fat and protein contents, but unlike Camembert, Jarlsberg is rich in vitamin K2, also known as menaquinone (MK), of which there are several varieties.

Every six weeks blood samples were taken from all the participants to check for key proteins, osteocalcin, and a peptide (PINP) involved in bone turnover. Vitamin K2 and blood fat levels were also measured.

Blood sample analysis showed that the key biochemical markers of bone turnover, including osteocalcin, and vitamin K2 increased significantly after 6 weeks in the Jarlsberg group. 

Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c)—-the amount of glucose stuck in red blood cells—fell significantly (by 3%) in the Jarlsberg group, while it rose sharply (by 2%) in those eating Camembert. But after switching to Jarlsberg HbA1c fell significantly in this group too.

Calcium and magnesium fell significantly in the Jarlsberg group but remained unchanged in the Camembert group. After switching cheese, calcium levels dropped in this group too, possibly reflecting increased uptake of these key minerals in bone formation, say the researchers. 

“Daily Jarlsberg cheese consumption has a positive effect on osteocalcin, other [markers of bone turnover], glycated hemoglobin and lipids,” write the researchers, concluding that the effects are specific to this cheese.

Body fat can send signals to brain, affecting stress response

University of Florida, July 23, 2022

The brain’s effect on other parts of the body has been well established. Now, a group that includes two University of Florida researchers has found that it’s a two-way street: Body fat can send a signal that affects the way the brain deals with stress and metabolism.

While the exact nature of those signals remains a mystery, researchers say simply knowing such a pathway exists and learning more about it could help break a vicious cycle: Stress causes a desire to eat more, which can lead to obesity. And too much extra fat can impair the body’s ability to send a signal to the brain to shut off the stress response.

The findings are important and unique because they show that it’s not simply the brain that drives the way the body responds to stress, said James Herman, Ph.D., a co-author of the paper and a professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati,.

“It moved our understanding of stress control to include other parts of the body. Before this, everyone thought that the regulation of stress was mainly due to the brain. It’s not just in the brain. This study suggests that stress regulation occurs on a much larger scale, including body systems controlling metabolism, such as fat,” Herman said.

Researchers found that a glucocorticoid receptor in fat tissue can affect the way the brain controls stress and metabolism. Initially, such signals from the receptor can be lifesavers, directing the brain to regulate its energy balance and influencing stress responses in a beneficial way.