In the news – health and nutrition research

In this week’s article we provide a roundup of some of the most recent health and nutrition related articles to be in the news, four items comprising:

  • Gut bacteria impacts intestine behaviour in IBS patients
  • Omega 3 could decrease mortality rate in postmenopausal women, study suggests
  • Low gluten diets linked to higher risk of type 2 diabetes
  • B vitamins may have ‘protective effect’ against air pollution


Gut bacteria impacts intestine and behaviour in IBS patients

“Gut bacteria appears to alter intestinal as well as behavioural patterns in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients in a discovery that points to the strength of microbiota-directed therapies.

The researchers said aspects of IBS that faecal transplant could provide benefit to included gastrointestinal transit and intestinal barrier dysfunction.

In addition, low grade inflammation; and anxiety-like behaviour exhibited changes as a result of this approach.

“This study moves the field beyond a simply association, and towards evidence that changes the microbiota impact both intestinal and behavioural responses in IBS”, said Giada De Palma, the study’s first author and research associate with the Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute.

The connection between IBS and anxiety serves to provide more evidence of the gut-brain axis – the biochemical signalling that takes place between the gastrointestinal tract (and the gut flora) and the central nervous system.”

Read the full article here.

Related Cytoplan blogs

Small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) – is it contributing to your IBS?

Nutritional support for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Dr Rangan Chatterjee – a talk on good gut health


Omega 3 could decrease mortality rate in postmenopausal women, study suggests

“Women with a high omega 3 status are up to 20% less likely to die from any cause, compared to those with low levels of DHA and EPA, finds a new study.

The research, published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology, looked at associations between omega 3 index scores – a measure of EPA and DHA levels in red blood cells – and all-cause mortality rates in a population of postmenopausal women over a 15 year period.

Women with the highest omega 3 status were found to be 20% less likely to die from any cause than those with the lowest omega-3 levels, said the team.

This is the largest – but far from the only – study to confirm that blood levels of EPA and DHA omega 3 fatty acids, in this case the omega 3 index, are independent predictors of risk for death”, said Dr. William Harris, lead author of the study and founder of OmegaQuant Analytics, where the samples were analysed. “These findings support the view that higher EPA and DHA omega-3 levels are associated with better overall health.”

The research, which was funded by a grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in the United States, following more than 6,500 women to assess the relationship between omega 3 index and health outcomes. Overall, researchers found that higher levels of red blood cell PUFAs correlated significantly with a lower risk of non-cardiovascular disease and non-cancer deaths.”

Read the full article here.

Related Cytoplan blogs

Omega 3 fatty acids – DHA, EPA & ALA

Omega 3 supplements – Fish, Krill or Algae?


Low gluten diets linked to higher risk of type 2 diabetes

“Eating more gluten may be associated with a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention / Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health 2017 Scientific Sessions.

Gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, gives bread and other baked goods elasticity during the baking process and a chewy texture in finished products. A small percentage of the population cannot tolerate gluten due to Coeliac disease or gluten sensitivity, but gluten-free diets have become popular for people without these conditions, even though there is lack of evidence that reducing gluten consumption provides long-term health benefits.

“We wanted to determine if gluten consumption will affect health in people with no apparent medical reasons to avoid gluten,” said Geng Zong, Ph.D., a research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts. “Gluten-free foods often have less dietary fibre and other micronutrients, making them less nutritious and they also tend to cost more. People without Celiac disease may reconsider limiting their gluten intake for chronic disease prevention, especially for diabetes.”

Micronutrients are dietary components such as vitamins and minerals.

In this long-term observational study, researchers found that most participants had gluten intake below 12 grams/day, and within this range, those who ate the most gluten had lower Type 2 diabetes risk during thirty years of follow-up. Study participants who ate less gluten also tended to eat less cereal fibre, a known protective factor for Type 2 diabetes development.”

Read the full article here.

We at Cytoplan would recommend that people eating gluten free ensure they are eating a wholefood diet rich in vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds to provide adequate fibre. Bread and wheat products provide over 70% of fibre intake in a typical Western diet.

However, there are plenty of other fibre-rich foods. As the study mentions, people switching to gluten free products, which are highly refined, will often have less dietary fibre. In our view this does not mean that people who feel they are adversely affected by gluten should continue to eat it, but it is important  when removing gluten to be careful to ensure the fibre is replaced by eating plenty of wholefoods and minimising the intake of processed gluten-free products.

Related Cytoplan blogs

Why gluten isn’t good for you

Wholegrains have been shown to be protective – but does that mean we need gluten?

When your body reacts to gluten

Leaky Gut Syndrome – the signs and symptoms


B vitamins may have ‘protective effect’ against air pollution

“B vitamins may offer some protection against the impacts of air pollution, a small scale human trial suggests.

Researchers in the US found that high doses of these supplements may “completely offset” the damage caused by very fine particulate matter.

The scientists involved say the effect is real but stress the limitations of their work.

Follow up studies are urgently needed, they say, in heavily polluted cities like Beijing or Mexico.

While the impacts of air pollution on health have become a cause of growing concern to people all around the world, the actual mechanics of exactly how dirty air makes people sick are not clearly understood.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 90% of the world’s population live in areas where air pollution exceeds safety guidelines.

One of the pollutants that is considered the most dangerous is very fine particulate matter, referred to as PM2.5, where particles have a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres.

These complex particulates come from diesel cars, wood burning stoves and as a by-product of chemical reactions between other polluting gases.

At around 1/30 the width of a human hair, PM2.5 fragments can lodge deep in the human lung and contribute to lung and heart health issues in the young and old.”

Read the full article here.

Related Cytoplan blogs

Vitamin B12 deficiency – an issue of widespread conern

Can B vitamins help deter Alzheimer’s and Dementia?

Vitamins for the brain?

B-vitamins and Alzheimer’s – the debate intensifies 


If you have any questions regarding the topics that have been raised, or any other health matters please do contact me (Clare) by phone or email at any time.

clare@cytoplan.co.uk, 01684 310099

The Cytoplan editorial team: Clare Daley and Joseph Forsyth.


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