The Latest in Health & Medicine

handful-blueberriesHave you kept up-to-date on the research on nutrition, the human microbiome, and ancestral health lately? If not, here’s your chance to catch up. In these semi-regular posts I include links to recently published articles, videos, and scientific papers that I find particularly interesting and that revolve around topics that are frequently discussed on this site, such as the human microbiome, physical activity, and ancestral diets.

Let me know in the comment section if you have any thoughts/opinions related to the articles and videos in today’s post or if you’ve come across any interesting new research on diet, health, and exercise that you think deserves to be mentioned.

Without further ado, let’s get to it…

– Diet

If Fish Is Brain Food, Can Fish Oil Pills Boost Brains, Too?

In lieu of eating fish, many adults take fish oil, or omega-3 supplements. But a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that these supplements are no magic elixir when it comes to staving off cognitive decline in older adults.

… “If you want to get more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, the best way is to get it through food,” says Elizabeth Johnson, who studies the role of antioxidants in eye and brain health at Tufts University. Read more…

Pete Evans: Why Paleo Is Still Right For Me

I’ve been living the paleo way for just over four years and I can honestly say this lifestyle helps me feel more energized, focused, balanced, and productive with every month that passes.

Paleo is right for me because it’s a wonderfully simple way to love my body, nourish my mind, and exist in a way that looks after our planet and honors its animal and plant life. Read more…

Vegetarian diet and mental disorders: results from a representative community survey

Vegetarians displayed elevated prevalence rates for depressive disorders, anxiety disorders and somatoform disorders. Due to the matching procedure, the findings cannot be explained by socio-demographic characteristics of vegetarians (e.g. higher rates of females, predominant residency in urban areas, high proportion of singles). The analysis of the respective ages at adoption of a vegetarian diet and onset of a mental disorder showed that the adoption of the vegetarian diet tends to follow the onset of mental disorders. Read more…

The Paleo Plate

The Paleo Way is about having a small amount of protein and then filling the rest of your plate with the delicious nutrient dense side dishes, some fermented veg and some good fats like, avocado, olives, nuts and seeds. Text and Image Source.

the-paleo-plate

What the Inuit can tell us about omega-3 fats and ‘paleo’ diets

The study, which appears in the Sept. 18 issue of the journal Science, shows that the Inuit and their Siberian ancestors have special mutations in genes involved in fat metabolism. The mutations help them partly counteract the effects of a diet high in marine mammal fat, mostly from seals and whales that eat fish with high levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Read more…

Longer fasts might help with weight loss but Americans eat all day long

It’s official: Americans’ 24/7 culture of work, entertainment and digital connectivity now also extends to our dietary consumption patterns, new research finds.

Americans’ erratic, round-the-clock eating patterns, suggests the new study, have probably contributed to an epidemic of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. But they can be changed, and the restoration of a longer nighttime “fast” shows promise as a means to lower weight and better health, researchers add. Read more…

Antioxidants cause malignant melanoma to metastasize faster

Antioxidants can double the rate of melanoma metastasis in mice, new research shows. The results reinforce previous findings that antioxidants hasten the progression of lung cancer. People with cancer or an elevated risk of developing the disease should avoid nutritional supplements that contain antioxidants, the researchers say. Read more…

BMJ vs The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee: Does a Healthy Diet Win?

Anyone who follows the U.S. nutritional guidelines has almost certainly been frustrated at some point or another by the conflicting advice and sometimes hopelessly outdated marketing material – think the Food Pyramid that still graces the walls of many elementary school classrooms.

The frustration has reached the point that cries of government corruption and inappropriate influence of big food industry lobbyists are frequently heard. Read more…

Ancient Romans had no need for dentists, because of one food they didn’t eat

Though Pompeii citizens never used toothbrushes or toothpaste, they had healthy teeth thanks to their low-sugar diet. Massimo Osanna, superintendent of the World Heritage-listed site, said their diet was “balanced and healthy, similar to what we now call the Mediterranean diet,” according to The Telegraph.

“The inhabitants of Pompeii ate a lot of fruit and vegetables but very little sugar,” said orthodontist Elisa Vanacore, who oversaw the examination of the teeth. “They ate better than we did and have really good teeth.”

Vanacore added that Pompeii citizens’ teeth would have benefitted from high levels of fluorine in the air and water near the volcano. Read more…

Increasing calcium intake unlikely to boost bone health or prevent fractures, say experts

Increasing calcium intake through dietary sources or supplements is unlikely to improve bone health or prevent fractures in older people, conclude two studies. Collectively, these results suggest that increasing calcium intake, through supplements or dietary sources, should not be recommended for fracture prevention. Read more…

The More I Learn About Breast Milk, the More Amazed I Am

According to Hinde, when a baby suckles at its mother’s breast, a vacuum is created. Within that vacuum, the infant’s saliva is sucked back into the mother’s nipple, where receptors in her mammary gland read its signals. This “baby spit backwash,” as she delightfully describes it, contains information about the baby’s immune status. Everything scientists know about physiology indicates that baby spit backwash is one of the ways that breast milk adjusts its immunological composition. If the mammary gland receptors detect the presence of pathogens, they compel the mother’s body to produce antibodies to fight it, and those antibodies travel through breast milk back into the baby’s body, where they target the infection. Read more…

– The Human Microbiome

Bad times for good bacteria: how modern life has damaged our internal ecosystems

Human actions damage ecosystems on a global scale. Our influence is so great we’ve triggered a new geological epoch, called the Anthropocene, simply because of the changes we’ve brought about. But it’s not just the outside environment we’ve changed, we’ve also damaged the ecosystems inside us. Read more…

Your Microbiome Extends in a Microbial Cloud Around You, Like an Aura

Your microbiome extends beyond yourself, into the air around you. It hovers in a cloud around your body and leaves bits of itself on surfaces wherever you go. In short, you have an aura, except it isn’t made of purplish light; it’s your personal cloud of dead skin cells, fungus and many, many microbes. And researchers are learning to be able to identify you by it. Read more…

More evidence that the key to allergy-free kids is giving them plenty of dirt — and cows

… there’s increasing evidence that farms have the best germs for preventing respiratory problems and allergic reactions later in life. One study found that just 25 percent of children living on Swiss farms reacted to common allergens like dust mites, pollen, animals and mold, while 45 percent of children in the general population reacted. Read more…

High Intensity Health Radio: Jeff Leach – When Gut Bacteria Go Paleo

The Paleo diet is all the rage right now. But ditching grains and eating more meat is a PG-13 version of the true Paleo diet. Internationally recognized microbiome researcher Jeff Leach, came on the podcast to discuss what a “primal diet” really is. This is graphic, but telling… While studying gut bacteria of primal, hunter gatherers (the Hadza tribe in Tanzania) Jeff began to see why the Hadza have twice as many microbes as we (industrialized humans) do. And, incidentally, the Hadza suffer from zero of the chronic ailments that plague many North Americans and Europeans. He witnessed the Hadza hunt and kill an Impala (deer), then eat the stomach, intestines and colon of sushi style while field dressing the animal. No hand sanitizing soap was used prior to kissing and touching their children, or spouses back in the village. But don’t worry, you need not start hunting and killing the neighborhood deer–Jeff shared many practical tips that can help you restore the health of you gut bacteria, and body, in a civilized manner. Listen to the podcast.

How Your Gut—Yes, Your Gut—Affects Your Skin

“There are inflammatory markers in the skin called cytokines,” says Farage Al-Ghazzewi, Ph.D., a microbial health specialist based in Glasgow, Scotland. “We know that these are involved in the formation of acne lesions and that their numbers are higher in people with acne.”

So heal the gut, and you’ll eventually heal the skin. Read more…

Gut Bacteria Changes In Early Life Can Lead To Anxiety And Depression

Stresses in your early life — like traumatic external events — can alter the delicate balance of your gut microbiota, something that’s linked to immune system, digestive, and mental health. And these changes in your gut microbiota can ultimately lead to a higher risk of anxiety and depression later in life, according to a new study published in Nature Communications. Read more…

You Are What Your Microbes Eat

While it’s long been said that “you are what you eat,” a more accurate description might be “you are what your microbes eat.” There are more bacteria and other microorganisms in your body than there are human cells, and your unique microbial community is constantly changing in response to your environment. Read more…

Celiac disease may be driven by specific gut bacteria

Only a small proportion of individuals who are genetically susceptible to celiac disease actually develop the condition, though the reasons why have been unclear. Now, a new study suggests it may be down to how certain gut bacteria respond to gluten. Read more…

Why you should add fermented foods – and their friendly bacteria – to your diet

Research suggests fermented foods can help the body dampen inflammation, fend off cell-damaging free radicals and fight infection. They’re seen as a boon to the gut and, as such, fermented foods may help prevent digestive problems, allergies, obesity, even mood disorders. Read more…

Antibiotic use and cancer risk: Repeat exposure poses harm

For years, data have suggested that previous exposure to antibiotics may be associated with an increased risk for diabetes, as well as an increased risk for obesity among certain populations.

Research now suggests that years of repeat exposure to various antibiotics is associated with an increased risk for specific cancer types. Read more…

Furry Pets May Reduce Allergies in Kids By Changing Gut Bacteria

Our results are the first to show that specific bifidobacteria present in pets can be transferred to the infant gastrointestinal tract during a close contact. Bifidobacteria in general are a part of the microbiota in healthy breast fed infants, and many studies have shown that human-specific bifidobacteria have beneficial effects to health, e.g. lower the risk of allergic disease. The same might hold true for bifidobacteria of animal origin which may enhance and strengthen the development of the infants´ immune system to be protective against allergies. Read more…

– Other topics

Why It Was Easier to Be Skinny in the 1980s

A study published recently in the journal Obesity Research & Clinical Practice found that it’s harder for adults today to maintain the same weight as those 20 to 30 years ago did, even at the same levels of food intake and exercise. Read more…

More Evidence Chemicals Linked to Obesity and Diabetes, Group Says

Evidence is starting to tie hormone-disrupting chemicals to obesity and diabetes, experts said Monday, adding that regulators and researchers need to take steps to reduce human exposure to them.

The chemicals, including bisphenol A and phthalates, are everywhere — and it’s not easy to limit how much people eat, drink or take in through the skin, the Endocrine Society said. Read more…

No kind of exercise can reverse the ill effects of prolonged sitting

The study suggested that sitting time should be viewed as a separate behaviour change target to physical activity. Previous studies and reviews have shown that higher levels of sitting are linked with cancer, diabetes, heart disease and even an early death, independently of whether a person takes regular exercise. Read more…

Why are we the only human species still alive?

Our own species appeared around 200,000 years ago, at a time when several others existed. Yet today, only we remain. Why did we manage to survive when all of our closest relatives have died out? Read more…

The Sad Truth About Today’s World Illustrated By Steve Cutts

Art isn’t all fairytale photoshoots and landscape shots – it can also act as catalyst of change. And Steve Cutts thinks that many things in the world should be different. Work shouldn’t be a grinding, soul-crushing rat race for the almighty dollar. Consumerism shouldn’t hold a vice-like grip on our lives. And social media, well, we need to throw-off the shackles we so eagerly put on ourselves. Wouldn’t life be better then? Read more…

Comments

  1. A lot of interesting reading here.

    With regard to the assumption that Americans eat all day long, it seems to me the researchers are painting Americans with a very broad brush–the shotgun approach. In other words, 150 Americans eat all day long; therefore it’s “official” that ALL Americans eat all day long. Not true at all.

    As an American, exactly none of the people I know, have ever known, have lived with, associated with, or worked with eat or snack all day long. Obviously some people do. They are the morbidly obese. (You pretty much HAVE to eat all day long to maintain that much bulk.) But where I live (Colorado), they are in the minority. I’ve done off-the-cuff studies of persons walking past (while I was waiting in the car for someone to run an errand). On the average, out of 15 adults who walked by, 12 were either quite thin or of normal weight, and 3 were somewhat overweight. I’ve done this a half dozen times or more over the past year, and none of the people I saw were what I would call morbidly obese. This is not to say that such persons aren’t out there; they just aren’t the “average American”.

    What I have noticed is that persons who are even slightly overweight tend to eat too much food at any one sitting. They also eat too much of the wrong kinds of food. Obesity tends to vary considerably from one part of the US to another. It’s also much more of a ethnic/cultural problem than people realize.

    • You hit on some important points, Shary.

      However, it seems like the people you associate yourself with are much healthier that the average American. Studies show that more than 2/3 of the American population is now obese or overweight.

  2. Well, I don’t know where these studies are getting their information. As someone who lives here, I don’t see it on any kind of regular basis. (Granted, Colorado is always in the top 5 states for having the healthiest people.) As I indicated, certain parts of the country, such as the deep South, have long been known for their fattening, unhealthy foods and overweight inhabitants, but that isn’t true of the whole country or even all of the people who live in the South. Also, traditional foods can be very fattening. This is particularly true for African-Americans, Italian-Americans, and Mexican-Americans. We are a large country with many ethnic and cultural differences. Therefore, we do have our fair share of people in the US who are overweight, but more than 2/3’s? I doubt it.

    The good news is that, whatever the actual ratio, it’s slowly improving. The word is out there. More and more people are adopting a Paleo way of eating because they (and their doctors) are becoming increasingly aware that it’s a healthier way to live. We have been very successful in drastically reducing smoking over the past couple of decades. I think we can also be successful in changing unhealthy eating patterns nationwide. It’s just not something that’s going to happen overnight.

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