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, six items comprising;
- Chronic fatigue syndrome is in your gut, not your head
- Drink more water to cut calories, fat, and sugar?
- Most of what we eat is ‘processed’ food. Here’s why we should be worried
- Fungal infection ‘threat’ to human health
- A host of common chemicals endanger child brain development
- Heightened liver cancer risk linked to low selenium levels: Study
Chronic fatigue syndrome is in your gut, not your head
“Cornell University researchers report they have identified biological markers of chronic fatigue syndrome in gut bacteria and inflammatory microbial agents in the blood.
In a study published June 23 in the journal Microbiome, the team describes how they correctly diagnosed myalgic encephalomyeletis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) in 83 percent of patients through stool samples and blood work, offering a noninvasive diagnosis and a step toward understanding the cause of the disease.
“Our work demonstrates that the gut bacterial microbiome in chronic fatigue syndrome patients isn’t normal, perhaps leading to gastrointestinal and inflammatory symptoms in victims of the disease,” said Maureen Hanson, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Cornell and the paper’s senior author. “Furthermore, our detection of a biological abnormality provides further evidence against the ridiculous concept that the disease is psychological in origin.””
Related Cytoplan blogs
Drink more water to cut calories, fat, and sugar?
A study published online Feb. 22, 2016, by the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics examined the dietary habits of more than 18,000 adults and found that those who increased their daily intake of plain water reduced their total daily calorie intake as well as their consumption of saturated fat, sugar, sodium, and cholesterol.
On average, people drank about 4.2 cups of plain water daily, which accounted for about 30% of their total water consumption. The rest came from beverages like coffee, tea, and juice, and from food.
Participants’ average calorie intake was 2,157 calories, but 125 calories came from sugar-sweetened beverages and 432 calories from foods like desserts, pastries, and snacks. Yet those who increased their water intake by one, two, or three cups daily lowered their total daily calorie intake by 68 to 205 calories and their sodium intake by 78 to 235 milligrams (mg), according to the researchers. They also consumed 5 to 16 fewer grams of sugar and decreased their cholesterol intake by 7 to 21 mg. The changes were greatest among men.
The extra water appears to help in several ways, says researcher Dr. Ruopeng An of the University of Illinois. “Water helps increase feelings of satiety, which can help avoid overeating, as well as replace high-calorie beverages that have added sugar.” There are many ways to drink more water during the day, he adds. For instance, have a glass after every bathroom trip, when you wake up each morning, and with every meal.
Related Cytoplan blogs
Most of what we eat is ‘processed’ food. Here’s why we should be worried
A study recently found that about 60 per cent of dietary calories of US adults came from ultra-processed food and a further 10 per cent moderately processed.
Many substances used in the processing of food don’t actually appear in the final product or on the label. All substances that get added to manufactured foods need to be approved as safe for consumption in humans. These tests usually involve giving enormous amounts to poor lab rodents and seeing how their livers and organs react.
But we have probably been testing these chemicals in the wrong animals. In the last year several labs have started to test them unofficially in tiny animals — that you need a microscope to see — called microbes. One hundred trillion or so (ten times more than human cells) live happily in our guts feeding off our food and producing vitamins and chemicals that keep our immune systems healthy.
When our microbes are disrupted, it makes us sick. It turns out that our microbes dislike these ‘harmless’ substances like emulsifiers, preservatives and artificial sweeteners, making them produce unusual obesity- and diabetes-promoting chemicals and killing off many friendly species. Microbes in our mouth can also convert nitrites to nitrosamines — a classic carcinogen.
Professor Tim Specter says “Back in human guts, losing your diversity of microbial species (there are usually thousands) is associated with an increased risk of many diseases as well as obesity. Our gut microbes are pretty sensitive. I fed my (initially willing) student son Tom a McDonald’s burger and nuggets diet for 10 days and he lost 40 per cent of his species diversity. (This could have been due to the surge of chemical additives as well as the effects of nutritional and fibre deprivation.) Two weeks later Tom’s poor microbes hadn’t recovered to pre-Big Mac levels”.”
Fungal infection ‘threat’ to human health
Fungal infections kill more people than malaria or breast cancer but are not considered a priority, say scientists.
Prof Neil Gow, from the University of Aberdeen, said more than one million people die from fungal infections around the world each year.
Yet there are no vaccines and there is a “pressing need” for new treatments, he said.
The warning comes as doctors in England say a new strain of fungi is causing outbreaks in hospitals.
There are more than five million types of fungi, but only three major groups cause the majority of deaths in people:
- Aspergillus – which affects the lungs
- Cryptococcus – which mainly attacks the brain
- Candida – which infects mucosal membranes including in the mouth and genitals
Prof Gow said: “Most people know about mild fungal infections, but nobody’s ever died from athlete’s foot. However, a million people die a year from fungal infections and we need to understand these different types of infection and how to deal with them.”
Related Cytoplan blogs
A host of common chemicals endanger child brain development
In a new report, dozens of scientists, health practitioners and children’s health advocates are calling for renewed attention to the growing evidence that many common and widely available chemicals endanger neurodevelopment in fetuses and children of all ages.
The chemicals that are of most concern include lead and mercury; organophosphate pesticides used in agriculture and home gardens; phthalates, found in pharmaceuticals, plastics and personal care products; flame retardants known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers; and air pollutants produced by the combustion of wood and fossil fuels, said University of Illinois comparative biosciences professor Susan Schantz, one of dozens of individual signatories to the consensus statement.
Polychlorinated biphenyls, once used as coolants and lubricants in transformers and other electrical equipment, also are of concern. PCBs were banned in the U.S. in 1977, but can persist in the environment for decades, she said.
The new report, “Project TENDR: Targeting Environmental NeuroDevelopment Risks,” appears in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
“These chemicals are pervasive, not only in air and water, but in everyday consumer products that we use on our bodies and in our homes,” Schantz said. “Reducing exposures to toxic chemicals can be done, and is urgently needed to protect today’s and tomorrow’s children.””
Heightened liver cancer risk linked to low selenium levels: Study
Low levels of selenium have been linked with an increased risk of developing cancer, according to a study, which blamed western diets and lifestyles for the deficiency.
Findings detailed in the American Society of Nutrition suggest increasing the intake of selenium as one simple strategy for liver cancer prevention. Selenium can be found in foods such as shellfish, salmon, brazil nuts, meat, eggs, grains, onions, and is also commonly taken in multi or singular supplement form.
Research conducted in 2013 identified liver cancer as the 14th most common cancer in Europe, with around 63,500 new cases diagnosed in 2012 (2% of the total).
In a European collaboration headed up by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), data was compiled from more than half a million men and women.
They found that two types of liver cancer – hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and gallbladder and biliary tract cancers (GBTC) – showed significantly lower circulating selenium and SePP ceoncentrations (an indicator of selenium levels in the blood) than their matched controls.
“The research findings tentatively suggest that where selenium is suboptimal, increasing selenium intake may be a further strategy for liver cancer prevention in addition to avoiding alcohol consumption, maintaining a healthy body weight, and stopping smoking,” said lead researcher Dr David Hughes of the Department of Physiology and Centre for Systems Medicine of the RCSI in Dublin, Ireland.
If you have any questions regarding the topics that have been raised, or any other health matters please do contact me (Amanda) by phone or email at any time.
email@example.com, 01684 310099
Amanda Williams and the Cytoplan Editorial Team: Joseph Forsyth, Emma Williams, Simon Holdcroft and Clare Daley