In the News – Health and Nutrition Research

In this week’s article we provide a round-up of recent health and nutrition related articles that have made the news, five articles comprising:

  • Green tea compound may form basis for future arthritis therapy
  • Sugary drinks tax ‘would stop millions becoming obese’
  • Stress during pregnancy related to infant gut microbiota
  • UK air pollution ‘linked to 40,000 early deaths a year’
  • Seasonal affective disorder: first human gene mutation discovered

Green tea compound may form basis for future arthritis therapy

“A compound found in green tea, may prove effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis, as its anti-inflammatory action is expressed without blocking other critical cellular functions, US researchers have shown.

The phytochemical, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), may well form a natural alternative to current drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. These therapies are expensive, immunosuppressive and sometimes unsuitable for long-term use.

By isolating, EGCG, the researchers are following a long line of studies that have highlighted its benefits to human health and disease. The four primary polyphenols found in fresh tea leaves are EGCG, epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG), and epicatechin (EC).

Green tea contains between 30% and 40% of water-extractable polyphenols, while black tea (green tea that has been oxidised by fermentation) contains between 3% and 10%.”

Click here for the full article.

Related Cytoplan blogs

Nutritional Support for Arthritis

Sugary drinks tax ‘would stop millions becoming obese’

“A 20% tax on sugary drinks in the UK would prevent 3.7 million people becoming obese over the next decade, a report predicts.

Cancer Research UK and the UK Health Forum worked out the likely impact of the tax on eating habits and, ultimately, the nation’s waistlines.

Their report said such a tax would also save the NHS £10m a year by 2025.

The government is considering the measure, but soft drinks companies say other options would be more effective.

People get between 12% and 15% of their energy from sugar, but official recommendations say it should be less than 5%.”

Click here for the full article.

Related Cytoplan blogs

We know there is a sugar problem, but what is the sugar solution?

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Stress during pregnancy related to infant gut microbiota

“Women who experience stress during pregnancy are likely to have babies with a poor mix of intestinal microbiota and with a higher incidence of intestinal problems and allergic reactions. This could be related to psychological and physical problems as the child develops.

Stress during pregnancy is often linked to physical and psychological problems in the child. But why is this? Could the infant’s gut microbiota be an underlying mechanism? An initial study of the correlation in humans has shown that babies born to mothers who experience stress have a poorer mix of intestinal microbiota.

For the purposes of this study, the stress and anxiety levels of pregnant women were measured by means of questionnaires and testing the levels of the hormone cortisol in saliva.

In addition, faeces samples from 56 babies were tested from 7 days until 4 months after birth. A correlation was found between the mothers who reported high stress levels and presented high cortisol levels and the variety of microbiota in the babies’ guts, even when the analyses took breastfeeding and postnatal stress into account.”

Click here for the full article.

Related Cytoplan blogs

Stress and Cortisol

Can Yoga Ease Stress?

Dr Rangan Chatterjee – A talk on ‘Good Gut Health’

“Greeting from both myself and my Microbiome” – Dr Rangan Chatterjee

We are what we eat? We are also what our mother ate at the time of conception

UK air pollution ‘linked to 40,000 early deaths a year’

“Air pollution is contributing to about 40,000 early deaths a year in the UK, say the Royal Colleges of Physicians and of Paediatrics and Child Health.

They say emissions from diesel engines have been poorly controlled and indoor air pollution has been overlooked.

Tobacco still poses the biggest indoor threat, but wood-burning stoves, spray deodorants, cleaning products, air fresheners and fly spray contribute.

Mould and mildew in poorly ventilated rooms can also cause illness.

“Being indoors can offer some protection against outdoor air pollution, but it can also expose us to other air pollution sources,” the report says.

“There is now good awareness of the risks from badly maintained gas appliances, radioactive radon gas and second-hand tobacco smoke, but indoors we can also be exposed to NO2 [nitrogen dioxide] from gas cooking and solvents that slowly seep from plastics, paints and furnishings.

“The lemon-and-pine scents that we use to make our homes smell fresh can react chemically to generate air pollutants, and ozone-based air fresheners can also cause indoor air pollution.”

Co-author Prof Jonathan Grigg said there was now clear evidence that air pollution – largely from factories and traffic – was linked to heart disease and lung problems, including asthma.”

Click here for the full article. 

Seasonal affective disorder: first human gene mutation discovered

“Seasonal affective disorder is believed to be triggered by seasonal changes in daylight, with the condition most prevalent during winter months. But what makes certain people more susceptible to such changes? Researchers say they have uncovered a gene mutation that could be responsible.

Researchers have uncovered the first human gene directly linked to seasonal affective disorder.

Co-senior author Ying-Hui-Fu, PhD, a professor of neurology in the School of Medicine at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF), and colleagues publish the details of their discovery in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Symptoms of SAD – which include depression, anxiety, mood changes and sleep problems – almost always occur during winter months, when the days are shorter and darker. This has led researchers to believe that the condition is induced by seasonal changes in light.

It is thought that changes in sunlight patterns disrupt the circadian rhythms of people with SAD, putting their biological clocks out of sync.

Furthermore, researchers have suggested that SAD may be triggered by an increase in the hormone melatonin, which controls our sleep-wake cycles. The brain produces melatonin at higher levels in the dark, so it is possible that production of the hormone is increased during the shorter, darker days of winter among people with SAD.”

Click here for the full article.

Related Cytoplan blogs

Melatonin – Much More than Meets the Eye

If you have any questions regarding the health topics that have been raised please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me via phone (01684 310099) or e-mail (

Amanda Williams and the Cytoplan Editorial Team: Clare Daley, Joseph Forsyth and Simon Holdcroft

Last updated on 24th February 2016 by cytoffice


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