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General Research

General Research

Are antibiotics making me fat?

Recently the FDA issued a report; which centered on the increasing use of antibiotics in pigs, chicken, cows and seafood between 2009 and 2013. Antibiotics are usually administered into the animals we eat and they are mostly given in low doses to promote faster growth or prevent diseases.

New research from New Zealand has found children given antibiotics in the first one to two years of their life may be at a greater risk of having a higher body-mass index (BMI) or becoming obese by the age of four or five.

Now, this action is a major concern for both the FDA and Centers for disease control and Prevention (CDC). They have claims that these constant use of antibiotics give rise to the multiplication of harmful bacteria due to bacteria resistant after long periods of abuse. But, apart from this concern, scientists are also searching to see if humans would also gain weight from the prolonged use of antibiotics as animals would.

HOW DO ANTIBIOTICS CHANGE A PERSON’S MICROBIOME?

Our intestinal microbiome is all the microorganisms in our digestive tract, and you have to look at it like a human organ, just as important as your heart, brain and lungs. Our digestive tract (gut) contains about over 100 trillion bacterial cells of many types. Usually, there is always an equilibrium of species; they help our bodies digest food and function well. Antibiotics change this gut flora, by creating a imbalance between good and bad bacteria.

How does this affect my weight?

Many types of bacteria in your gut affect how your body absorbs calories. Creating an imbalance of bacteria- especially the type that breaks food down into energy—you may be absorbing more calories from the same amount of food you eat than you would normally d because of this effect.
Research shows that obese people have a different mix of bacteria in their gut than lean people.
Most times though, it might not be direct contact with antibiotics but indirect contact from animals (food) that has been fed with antibiotics or even water treated with antibiotics.

Which foods have the most antibiotics in them?

Mostly animal products carry substantial amounts of antibiotics; and they are administered o them directly or added to their feeds if they would be commercialized.
Pigs have the most antibiotics in their meat, then chicken, then beef, according to research from the National Academy of Sciences. Also, farmed seafood like shrimp, fish (especially commercially farmed salmon) contain high levels of antibiotics because the drugs are needed to prevent disease in the farming pens. Even organic vegetables have antibiotics in them because about 75 percent of antibiotics fed to livestock are excreted out, and in the manure used to fertilize fields.

How can this be curbed?

The only real solution to this is if there is a strong rule stating that the use of antibiotics be stopped by farmers or food producers.

So, what can I do?

1. Reduce your intake of unprescribed antibiotics (that’s a good place to start at least).
2. Always look out for food labels stating about the use of antibiotics . visit supermarkets that sell whole foods and not processed or prepackaged foods.
3. Increase your intake of prebiotics and probiotics so your gut flora would be at equilibrium. Examples include yoghurt, kitchen, sauekrat,  fermented corn starch made into pudding (pap) etc.
4. Reduced intake of pork, farmed shrimps and sea foods.

Summary
Keep your gut healthy, do more of real foods and add as much sources of probiotics to your diet as you can. You should be in charge of your health.

Sources
1. https://www.google.com/search?q=gut+flora&rlz=1C1SQJL_enNG936NG936&oq=gut+flora&aqs=chrome..69i57j0i512l9.1898j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
2. http://a-healthy-body.com/are-antibiotics-making-us-fat/

3.https://www.google.com/amp/s/theconversation.com/amp/the-link-between-antibiotics-and-obesity-in-children-doesnt-mean-you-need-to-avoid-antibiotics-130392

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General Research

 

Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood that affects the shape of red blood cells.

Normally, red blood cells assume a disc shape while flowing through blood vessels, but in sickle cell anemia, red blood cells assume a crescent like shape.
Devastating as the disease might be, no cure has been found yet.
Interestingly, through research and a bid to increase knowledge, it has been found out that nutritional problems are fundamental to the severity of the disease.  The need for increasing interests to promote dietary supplementation in order to help reduce morbidity and to help improve the quality of patient’s life.

METHODS OF TREATMENT 

Several methods of treatment and management have been in use for quite a while now and they include:
-Hydroxycarbamide (or hydroxyurea) This substance helps to reduce the number of painful episodes in Hbss patients.
-Blood transfusion: A number of observational and randomised controlled trials have established the pivotal role of transfusion therapy in the management of SCD, most notably in primary stroke prevention.
-Allogeneic HSCT and gene therapy: Allogeneic haemopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) is the only curative treatment for SCD and is successful in 85%–90% of patients. Transplantation offers disease-free survival and stabilisation of neurological lesions.
Features as growth retardation, impaired immune function, and delayed menarche do suggest a relationship between sickle cell disease and undernutrition.

IS NUTRITION RELATED?

A variety of micronutrient deficiency has been suggested in sickle cell disease.
– Several reports indicate that vitamin E levels are low in sickle erythrocytes. Since these abnormal red cells both generate excessive oxidation products and are more sensitive to oxidant stress, supplementation with vitamin E is advised in people with sickle cell anaemia.
– Complications of sickle cell disease as poor ulcer healing, growth retardation, delays in sexual development, immune deficiencies have been linked to zinc deficiency. It is also pertinent that zinc be supplemented in people with sickle cell.
– Deficiency of Vitamin D is common in sickle cell disease due to dark skin pigmentation, limited sun exposure, increased catabolism and decreased nutrient and energy intake. Vitamin D in it’s entirety is crucial for calcium homeostasis and essential for bone mineralization. Therefore, a high dose of 100,000 International units (IU) (equivalent to 3,333 IU/day) versus the standard treatment 12,000 IU (equivalent to 400 IU/day) of oral vitamin D3 supplements might just help in reducing risk of respiratory infections.
– Amino acids like arginine and glutamine also play important roles in the synthesis of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide makes it possible for easy blood flow by dilating the blood vessels properly. Increased deficiency of the duo might lead to metabolic stress, increased resting energy expenditure (REE), muscle wasting and decreased immune function. Supplementing with 600mg/kg/day of glutamine showed improved nutritional status of glutamine.

EMERGING INTERVENTIONS
Recently, derivatives from plants has been studied to show their effects in treating people with SCD. Some plants which contain peculiar antioxidants are being studied and there might just be hope to managing SCD.
Exploration of extracts from Moringa oleifera (Moringa), Cajanus cajan (pigeon pea) , Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides (artar root), and Carica papaya (paw paw) are all being studied to see their possible effects in treating oxidative stress in SCD patients.
With these ongoing experiments, it has been noticed that extracts from these plants could aid in the resistance of hemolysis and reduce the number of sickled red blood cells.
Also, it has been noticed that exercise might play an important role in SCD patients. Exercise helps in reducing oxidative stress and also in the release of nitric oxide which helps in the proper flow of blood through vessels.

CONCLUSION
The nutritional risks faced by SCD patients are usually high and mostly unnoticed. Its imperative to include nutrition as an adjuvant therapy for addressing chronic diseases related with SCD in order to aid effective management.

SOURCES: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3551592/
https://www.dovepress.com/nutrition-in-sickle-cell-disease-recent-insights-peer-reviewed-fulltext-article-NDS
https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/sickle-cell-anemia-a-to-z
https://adc.bmj.com/content/100/1/48
https://www.todaysdietitian.com/news/042412_news.shtml

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General Research

NUTRITION AND CANCER: IS THERE A LINK?

The link between cancer and your diet is as mysterious as the genesis of the disease and how it spreads. So many research work has pointed to how nutrients may help prevent or conversely, lead to cancer.
While there are many factors you can’t change that increase your cancer risk, such as genetics and environment, there are others you can control.
According to the statement above, we’ll discuss so risk factors and importance of nutrients and how they could prevent cancer or lead to it.

CALCIUM
Some evidence suggests higher calcium intake can lower the risk for cancer, especially colorectal cancer. Researchers believe calcium binds to bile acids and fatty acids in the gastrointestinal tract. This acts as a shield to protect cells from the damaging stomach acids.
However, other research has shown that extra calcium—2,000 milligrams (mg) or more per day—may be linked to a higher risk of prostate cancer.

EXCESS CONSUMPTION OF ENERGY (CALORIES)
Excess consumption of calories without matching amount of physical activity would lead to an overload of unused energy thereby leading to obesity.
It was estimated in a recent study, from a prospective cancer prevention cohort, that overweight and obesity accounted for 14 percent of all cancer deaths in men and 20 percent of those in women. Significant positive associations were found between obesity and higher death rates for the following cancers: esophagus, colon and rectum, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidney, stomach (in men), prostate, breast, uterus, cervix, and ovary.

GLUCOSE METABOLISM
Refined sugar which is a high energy, low nutrient density foods is commonly present in foods termed ‘junks’. This also has been associated with different types of cancers especially colo-rectal cancer.

LOW FIBRE
A diet void of unrefined plant foods would be low in fiber. This type of diet has been linked to high risks of rectal cancer.

ALCOHOL INTAKE
Alcohol is an antagonist of folate. Folate is a B vitamin which helps in DNA synthesis. Over consumption of alcohol leads to low levels of folate in both men and women and this could lead to colon cancer in men and cervical cancer in women.

ANTIOXIDANTS
These are available to help prevent free radicals that damage cells within the body. Its important to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables as they contain different types of antioxidants.

PROCESSED RED MEAT
Processed meat is any meat that has been smoked or fermented or includes added salt and nitrites to enhance flavor. The mechanism is not yet known but the connection between cancer and processed red meat is consistent.
The reaction between nitrites and heme-iron in red meat might just lead to cell mutations.

PROBIOTICS
Probiotics are friendly bacteria contained in foods like yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut etc. they are beneficial to their host and help balance the gut environment. Probiotics produce short chain fatty acids in the colon, which acidify the environment. Lower colon pH is associated with lower incidence of colon cancer.

VITAMIN D
Vitamin D is produced primarily from the exposure of the skin to sunshine. Even casual exposure of the face, hands, and arms in the summer generates a large amount of vitamin D.
The concentration of the active hormonal form of vitamin D is tightly regulated in the blood by the kidneys. This active hormonal form of vitamin D has the potent anti-cancer properties.

HIGH AMOUNTS OF SALTED FOODS
Eating large amounts of salted foods, such as salt preserved fish, is associated with an increased risk; this might be caused by the salt itself or by carcinogens derived from the nitrites in many preserved foods. Salted food might increase the risk of Helicobacter pylori infection (an established cause of stomach cancer.

SUMMARY
Your food choices and lifestyle could probably predispose you to the risk of developing various types of cancers, especially gut related cancers .
Lifestyle modification can’t really be over emphasized when it comes to healthy living.

SOURCES: https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m511
https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-3-19
https://www.health.harvard.edu/cancer/cancer-and-diet-whats-the-connection

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General Research

FRUCTOSE: BAD GUY?

Fructose is a type of sugar known as a monosaccharide (single sugar), which is the building block of carbohydrates. All carbohydrates provide four calories per one gram, including fructose.

Fructose is commonly referred to as ‘fruit sugar’ because it primarily occurs naturally in fruits and other plants as sugar cane and vegetables. You can also get fructose from honey, sugar beets and sugar cane.
fructose is 1.2-1.8 times sweeter than the regular table sugar (sucrose). It is actually the sweetest naturally occurring carbohydrate.

During its breaking down process in the body, insulin is not required, and it tends to have a low impact on blood glucose.
It’s process of digestion differs from other types of carbohydrates.

Fructose and glucose are both single sugars and have been found to have the same chemical formula but different structures, making fructose sweeter than glucose.
Fructose occurs in plants and fruits but not alone, it always occurs with other types of sugars.

Where does fructose come from?


“Fruit sugar” as it is sometimes referred to, is a naturally occurring sugar found primarily in fruits (such as apples, dates, figs, pears and prunes), and also can be found occurring in vegetables (such as artichokes, asparagus, mushrooms, onions and red peppers), honey, sugar beets and sugar cane. “Pure fructose is produced commercially from corn or sucrose into a crystalline form for use as an ingredient in packaged foods and beverages”.
Although fructose is in high fructose corn syrup (a 55:45 mixture of the monosaccharides fructose and glucose), crystalline fructose should not be confused with high fructose corn syrup.

Is fructose a natural or added sugar?
Fructose can either be a natural sugar or an added sugar, it all lies solely on the source. It is considered a natural sugar when we consume it directly from whole plant foods or fruits, then, it is considered an added sugar when we consume from packaged foods, beverages which high fructose corn syrup has been added to during manufacturing.
While there is really no recommendation for fructose consumption, current dietary guidance recommends limiting the consumption of added sugars to less than 10% of total calories—in other words, i.e < 50 grams of added sugars if you consume 2,000 calories per day.

How is fructose digested?
Fructose has raised so much dust and debates among nutrition scientists because of the unique way the body handles it. It is somewhat digested in a different manner from other sugars, leading scientists to question its role in health. A 2016 review concluded that while fructose does not appear to have a unique impact on health, “fructose-containing sugars can lead to weight gain, increase in cardiometabolic risk factors and disease only if it provides the excess calories.”
No matter the source of the fructose, be it directly from plants or beverages, fructose when consumed is handled by the liver. The liver converts it to energy sources for bodily processes and doesn’t require insulin for this process. Unlike glucose which is released into the tissues by the help of insulin.
Some people have trouble absorbing fructose when eating it in large amounts and some are unable to absorb fructose at all. About one in 20,000–30,000 people are born with HFI each year. Because individuals with HFI (hereditary fructose intolerance) cannot metabolize fructose, foods and beverages containing fructose, sucrose or the sugar alcohol sorbitol must be avoided totally.

Are there health implications of fructose?
The rise in concern of added fructose to carbonated drinks and its direct link with obesity has led to a huge questioning on the impacts of fructose.
Although fructose might not really have adverse impact on blood sugar, it would have very detrimental effects on weight, LDL levels, triglyceride levels if taken in excess as added sugar from beverages and packaged foods.
According to recent research, fructose intake has been linked to uric acid levels, higher risks of gout development in men.
Due to the increase in use of fructose as sweetener, overconsumption is inevitable, thereby leading to detrimental health effects.

Why is fructose added to foods and beverages?
One major reason for adding sugar to packaged foods and beverages is its sweet taste. To sell, you have to make the product appealing to the taste buds yes?
The sweetness of fructose also has a fading ability, meaning that it doesn’t last for a long period after consumption.
Well, this doesn’t stop the fact that it still contains calories like other carbohydrates.
Other reason why fructose is added to beverages includes:
– Its hygroscopic nature which helps it absolve water, thereby improving texture.
– Fructose is also a good humectant; it can help retain moisture which could help improve and extend shelf life.

SUMMARY
Fructose is a naturally occurring sugar found in fruits and plants. It can be beneficial to health if consumed from natural sources than when it is an added sugar. Overconsumption of beverages and carbonated drinks would have very adverse effects on the health than give benefits. Its better to stick to natural sources of fructose.

SOIURCES: https://foodinsight.org/what-is-fructose/
https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/molecule-of-the-week/archive/f/fructose.html
https://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1743-7075-7-82

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General Research

ALLULOSE: ALTERNATE SWEETNER?

OVERVIEW
Allulose is just like the new kid on the block.
Ever looked for healthy alternatives to sugar? Maybe you should give this a try.
Allulose is purported to have similar taste with refined white sugar, but contains minimal amount of calories and carbs when compared to sugar. It also claims to possess some health benefits.
Lets see with this write up the claims of allulose and how safe it is for consumption.

WHAT IS ALLULOSE
Allulose is a monosaccharide as glucose and fructose called D-psicose. It is in contrast to table sugar which has a combination of glucose and fructose.
In fact, fructose has the same chemical structure as allulose but they are arranged differently. This arrangement makes it possible for the body to metabolize allulose in a different manner from fructose.
It’s very rare and can only be found in some foods like figs, raisins, and wheat.
Nutritionally, allulose contains approximately 0.2 kcal/g, which should be about 5% of the calories of sugar. Allulose is absorbed in the small intestine without going through any type of metabolism. So, it goes out through the urine unchanged.
This phenomenon makes it possible for allulose to resist fermentation by the gut bacteria thereby avoiding bloating, and other gas related digestive problems.
There are some health benefits tied to using allulose and they include:

1. IT MIGHT BE USEFUL FOR DIABETICS: due ti its chemical structure, the body tends to metabolise allulose differently thereby leading to an insignificant raise in blood sugar.
According to a recent study, about 7.5g of allulose didn’t impact glucose levels in individuals used for the test.

2. CONTAINS LITTLE AMOUNT OF CALORIES: allulose is a very low calorie containing substance and can be used as sweetener by weight watchers. Allulose contains about 1/10th of sugars calories.

3. IT MAY PROTECT AGAINST FATTY LIVER DISEASE: since allulose is not stored in the body and converted to fat in the liver as fructose, its ability makes it possible for the liver to stay healthy.
Diabetes and insulin insensitivity has been linked to fatty liver diseases recently, with the use of allulose as substitute, the incidence of these might be reduced.
Research also suggests that allulose enhances fat oxidation.
Also, allulose could be used in baking and making of ice-cream as it has similar properties and feels like refined white sugar.

IS ALLULOSE SAFE?
The Food and Drug Administration has added allulose to the list of foods generally recognised as safe (GRAS). It is very rare in markets and not accepted in Europe yet.,
You can get it online but at a very expensive price.

SOURCES:

What is Allulose?


https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/allulose#TOC_TITLE_HDR_5
https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0119p32.shtml#:~:text=Allulose%2C%20a%20monosaccharide%2C%20is%20present,%2C%20beets%2C%20or%20other%20sources.

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General Research

LIPEDEMA:ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

OVERVIEW
Lipedema affects closely 11% of women globally. It occurs when fat distribution is in an irregular/uneven way beneath your skin, usually in the buttocks and legs. It can eventually cause pain and other problems. Most times, lipedema can be mistaken for regular obesity or lymphedema.
Education/awareness about lipedema is rare in the society today and due to this, there is lack of psychosocial support for women with lipedema, causing them to suffer from psychosocial disorders, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Therefore, proper counseling and treatment of these conditions are important.

SYMPTOMS OF LIPEDEMA
The typical symptoms are a large lower half body size (from waist downwards), which are often tender and bruise easily. For example, the top half of your body may be a size 8, but the bottom half may be double.
As time goes on and the condition seems to progress, there is continuous buildup of fat, and your lower body grows heavier. The lipedemic fat can later collect in the arm.
Over time, excess fat cells block the vessels of your lymphatic system, which normally makes sure there is a balance in body fluid levels and protect against infection. This blockage prevents the proper drainage of lymph fluid, leading to a buildup of fluid called lymphedema (oedema in the lymphatic system).
If not treated, lymphedema can lead to problems such as infections, delayed wound healing, development of scar-like tissue called fibrosis, and hardened skin in the legs.
In comparison to obesity and lymphedema, it targets legs, thighs and sometimes arms and starts in the upper legs. It usually affects both legs.

CAUSES OF LIPEDEMA
The cause is not known, but doctors suspect female hormones play a role and also genes as people involved has a family history of it. This theory is based on the fact that it mostly affects women especially at their stages of menopause.

PATHOPYSIOLOGY
From the onset, swelling in lipedema is a result of both an increase in cell number and size in the adipocyte. Apart from the incidence of enlarged adipocytes, there is thickening of the interstitium with the presence of increased interstitial fluid, and this leads to a blockage causing oedema in the lymphatic vessels. Although interstitial fluid is increased, at least in early stages, the lymphatic system seems to be functioning normally.

LIPEDEMA TREATMENTS
Although managing lipedema fat with lifestyle modifications is almost futile, there is evidence to support the positive effects of exercise, particularly aquatic therapy, and lifestyle change on lymphedema, lymph flow, and overall health.
A treatment called complete decongestive therapy can ease painful symptoms. Complete decongestive therapy involves:
Manual lymphatic drainage: “A form of massage that uses gentle, rhythmic pumping movements to stimulate the flow of lymph around blocked areas to healthy vessels, where it can drain into the venous system. This helps relieve pain and prevent fibrosis”.
Compression: “The use of stretch bandages or custom-fitted panty hose, panties, or spandex shorts to increase tissue pressure in the swollen legs and lessen the odds of fluid building up again”.
Exercise: ” Helps to reduce fluid buildup, boost mobility, and maintain or improve how well your legs work”
Thorough skin and nail care: “Helps lower the risk of wounds and infection if you have lipedema associated with swelling”.
Liposuction: “specifically water-assisted liposuction and tumescent liposuction, can remove the lipedema fat. The procedure uses a hollow tube that is placed under the skin to suction the fat tissue. Several sessions may be needed depending on the amount of abnormal fat”.

MISCONCEPTIONS
One of the most common misconceptions about patients with lipedema is that they have excess fat stored up due to lifestyle or diet induced obesity. Although some patients with lipedema may also have obesity, lipedema should be diagnosed exclusively. Likewise, despite an elevated body mass index, the incidence of diabetes is relatively low among women with lipedema.

CONCLUSION
In a society where body shaming individuals with extra pounds’ flies easily, it’s very important to create awareness about this anomaly and make people understand its implications on individuals.
Sine it is also a condition with so many misconceptions, it should be taught about more in medical schools to avoid unnecessary laboratory tests and consultations.

SOURCES: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2653640/
https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/lipedema-symptoms-treatment-causes

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General Research

COVID-19: THE ROLE OF NUTRIENT SUPPLEMENTATION

OVERVIEW
It’s been established how nutrition plays a vital role in the in supporting and building a healthy immune system.
A new strain of the dreaded COVID-19 is out and so much research is going on about food supplementation and drugs to help in the management of coronavirus.
Apart from protein which helps to rebuild worn out tissues and support immunological functions, there are other micronutrients to consider while preventing against coronavirus.

Let’s take a close look at the possible nutrients which are implicated in immune defense and how to supplement them to avoid deficiencies during this pandemic.
These micronutrients include vitamin C, vitamin D, B complex vitamins, iron, zinc etc.

A little research claims that that people who suffer from infectious diseases will show abnormal low levels of vitamin C; this could result in impaired immunity and higher susceptibility of the immune system being attacked by the viral infection have an impact on vitamin C levels due to enhanced metabolic requirement.

A deficiency in other aforementioned nutrients might lead to high susceptibility of a breakdown in the immune system leading to high vulnerability to the virus and other infections.
As we all know, the virus comes in through the respiratory system and takes it route through the circulatory system to other organs thereby leading to multiple organ failure.

Since the onset of the virus, there has been so much speculations as to the roles of supplementation with various nutrients as mentioned above. Let’s see these speculations and how plausible they are:

Currently there is no robust research to support supplemental therapy for the prevention or treatment of patients with COVID-19. At this point in time, ascorbic acid, zinc, vitamin D, and N-acetylcysteine are noted as biologically plausible for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19, however, additional research is needed to look at taking these agents for treatment. Here we take a look at their biologic plausibility, clinical data and potential role.

ZINC
Zinc is known to be important for immune function. It has a role in antibody and white blood cell production and fights infections, while zinc deficiency increases inflammation and decreases the production of antibodies. High-dose zinc has also been found to reduce the duration of symptoms of the common cold. It is not yet clear whether zinc supplementation benefits patients with lower respiratory tract infections such as COVID-19. Because of its role in immune function and potential to decrease coronavirus replication, zinc is currently being investigated for the treatment of patients with COVID-19.

VITAMIN D
Vitamin D deficiency is common, with lack of sun exposure, older age, corticosteroid use and darker skin associated with lower concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. This deficiency is associated with a higher incidence of acute respiratory infections. It is also hypothesized that there is a link between seasonal influenza and vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D supplementation has also been shown to decrease the incidence of acute respiratory infection. While it has yet to be studied for prevention of COVID-19 infection and should not be recommended to patients, some recent articles have recommended taking daily supplements to raise 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations to reduce infection risk.

VITAMIN C
Ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, is an antioxidant, with a number of studies suggesting that vitamin C supplementation impacts the immune system. Additionally, studies in birds have shown that vitamin C might protect against avian coronavirus infection, with human trials finding that vitamin C may decrease susceptibility to viral respiratory infections and pneumonia. New clinical trials are underway in China and the United States to determine if vitamin C might be used as a treatment for COVID-19.
Very high doses of ascorbic acid are being administered to patients to ascertain the effects of vitamin C in managing COVID-19 affected patients. Doses that are 10 times the normal 65mg-90mg daily.

N-ACETYLCYSTEINE
N-acetylcysteine is converted to glutathione, which is an antioxidant that is depleted due to oxidative stress or systemic inflammation. Administration in vitro and in vivo leads to anti-inflammatory effects and antioxidant effects in a number of pulmonary diseases, including viral pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Because patients with COVID-19 have evidence of systemic inflammation, often have their course complicated by acute respiratory distress syndrome, and may have respiratory mucus buildup limiting adequate airflow, systemic or aerosolized N-acetylcysteine (or both) may be beneficial in this specific patient population.
There does not seem to be a role for N-acetylcysteine supplementation to prevent COVID-19. However, N-acetylcysteine administration may improve outcomes in patients with established COVID-19 and should be studied further.

CONCLUSION
These are still speculations and still ongoing trials. To keep a healthy immune system, your body needs loads of micro and macro nutrients to achieve that. These nutrients mentioned in the post are all embedded in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Endeavor you get optimum nutrition always and swap refined foods for vegetables and fruits.

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General ResearchLifeStyle

EVER HEARD OF WATER WEIGHT?

So much obsession about weightloss nowadays drives people to indulge in all sorts of practices to aid rapid weightloss. So many “road-side” nutritionist has leveraged on this to device different means to boycott the body’s normal physiology.

The most common one is the “keto” diet which involves using chainsaw to almost totally “cut-out” carbs so there can be a rapid and drastic weightloss.

Truly, when you cut out carbs, weightloss occurs rapidly, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve lost fat.

At the initial stage of every weightloss journey, especially the drastic and fast types, what is lost is “water weight”, and after this, weightloss tends to slow down significantly and the individual involved goes into a plateau faster than required.

What happens during a weightloss is the change in muscle mass, amount of fat, water and an “let-out” of gases; if exercise is involved.

Fat, carbs and even protein doesn’t lead to weight gain but an excess of calories coupled with a deficit of physical exercise.

WHAT IS WATER WEIGHT?

Water weight is when the body retains so much water in spaces; sometimes it could cause bloating.

60% of your body is made up of water, so when you lose weight, water reduces first.

Carbs are responsible for retaining water, when you remove them, you remove the body’s ability to retain water and not excess calories.

The body has a means of storing excess energy; its stores it as glycogen and this glycogen is stored with lots of water. When there is a need for carbs during the body’s metabolic duties, thr body automatically sources out carbs from its storage form in the liver and skeletal muscles. This process involves releasing lots of water thats stored with the glycogen which automatically leads to weightloss.

Going by figures, 1g of carbs requires 3-4g of water to store and process it; so when you eat 3 slices of white bread (6g of carbs per slice), you’ve just added 18-24g of water to your body.

RISKS?

The risk involved in cutting out carbs from the diet are mostly related to the gut microbes. Carbs contain resistant starch which provides a healthy environment for the microorganisms present in the gut.

Also, carbs are the major source of energy to the body and fuel to the brain as the brain needs glucose to function properly. Glucose is the major building block for neurotransmitters in the brain and when there is a deficit, there is a break in communication among neurons.

Lack of glucose could lead to seizures and coma, as often seen in “ketoers”

TAKE HOME

To achieve a healthy weightloss, exercise and a mild calorie deficit supervised by a registered dietitian is key.  You didnt gain that weight in 1 month, so losing it in one month is quite unhealthy.

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General Research

SHOULD A PREGNANT WOMAN GO ON A VERY LOW SALT DIET?

Salt is unarguably essential to health, even though some extremist might not agree with this. It is one of the five basic tastes we have receptors for in our mouth (along with sweetness, bitterness, sourness and umami), and it is an important element in the body’s “interior ocean”.

The human body tightly regulates salt concentration because it’s crucial role in supporting chemical reactions  that involve enzyme function, energy and hormone production, protein transport and several other biological processes.

In the context of pregnancy, salt is critical for the development of the glial (immune) cells in the brain which maintain homeostatis, form myelin, and provide support and protection for neurones. It also plays an important role in ensuring adequate birth weight, metabolic function and development of the nervous, respiratory and cardiovascular system.

“Salt is especially important to the brain development of premature babies. In premature babies, language, memory, intelligence and coordination were all better in children whose diets had been supplemented with salt shortly after birth”.

A VERY LOW SALT DIET COULD BE DANGEROUS FOR PREGNANT WOMEN

A 2007 study found that babies with low sodium in their blood (due to low salt intakes by their mothers during pregnancy) were more likely to be underweight at birth. Low birth weight is associated with a higher risk of developing several health problems later in life.

Another study found that infants with low sodium intake may experience poor neurological function in early adolescence.

IS SALT REALLY THAT DANGEROUS?

The same way carbs has been demonized, is also same way Salt has been unjustifiably demonized by the mainstream media and medical establishment. So many atimes, health care providers who mean well, but not professional, advice patients to completely take off salt from their diet. The only time this is adviceable is during a very crucial kidney problem where sodium and potassium has to be balanced.

Salt has the highest amount of iodine contained in it when compared to other food sources of iodine. Iodine prevents against hypothyroidism leading to goitre.

So many studies tell us that it has never been proven that salt significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension or obesity. In fact, in many cases restricting salt intake can actually increase the risk of these conditions. For example, a review of the largest U.S. database of nutrition and health (NHANES) found a higher rate of cardiac events and death with patients on low-salt diets.

“During pregnancy, the demand for daily iodine increases by 50–70% which occurs to reach around 250 μg/day. Limited information is available on the association of high-risk pregnancy (HRP) with urinary iodine concentration (UIC) and variables such as socioeconomic factors”.

According to a study, among the 73% of hypertensive women adhering to a salt-restricted diet, there was a 112% increased risk of iodine deficiency observed (OR = 2.127; 95% confidence interval [1.178–3.829]; p = 0.011). Adhering to a salt-restricted diet was associated with iodine deficiency (OR = 1.82; 95% confidence interval [1.073–3.088], p = 0,026). Hypertension and salt restriction diet significantly increased susceptibility for iodine deficiency in high risk pregnancy. Therefore, low-salt diet when prescribed to pregnant women (PW) might be carefully followed by iodine nutritional status assessment or universal preconception iodine supplementation.

TAKE HOME

This is not a call for you to sprinkle salt till your ancestors say stop!

Its still very important to note that if you’re hypertensive or have a history, or even are vulnerable to pre-eclampsia during pregnancy, then you should adhere to 2300mg of sodium per day which equals 1 teaspoon.

During pregnancy, make sure there are alternative iodine supplements if you would go on a salt restricted diet.

Seek dietary counsel from a Registered Dietitian 

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General Research

IS OBESITY RELATED TO CANCER

Does Body Weight Affect Cancer Risk?

Being overweight, obese or having a BMI over 30kgmsq (since the society wants to scrap out the word obese) seems to be  linked to an overall increased risk of cancer. According to research from the American Cancer Society, excess body weight is thought to be responsible for about 11% of cancers in women and about 5% of cancers in men in the United States, as well as about 7% of all cancer deaths.  

Being overweight or obese is clearly linked with an increased risk of 13 types of cancer, which includes:

  • Breast cancer (in women past menopause)
  • Colon and rectal cancer (diet related)
  • Endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus)
  • Esophagus cancer (diet related)
  • Gallbladder cancer (diet related)
  • Kidney cancer (diet related)
  • Liver cancer (diet related)
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Pancreas cancer (diet related)
  • Stomach cancer (diet related)
  • Thyroid cancer (diet related)
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Meningioma (a tumor of the lining of the brain and spinal cord). Notice that there is a correlation with diet and almost 80% of all stated cancers. Most part of your body more vulnerable to cancers are the ones exposed to whatever dietary choices you make.

Being overweight or obese might also raise the risk of other cancers, such as:

  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Male breast cancer
  • Cancers of the mouth, throat, and voice box
  • Aggressive forms of prostate cancer

The bond between cancer and  body weight is stronger for some cancers than for others. For example, excess body weight is thought to be a factor in more than half of all endometrial cancers, whereas it is linked to a smaller portion of other cancers.

Understanding the link between body weight and cancers is quite complex and might tip you off balance a bit. For example, while studies have found that excess weight is linked with an increased risk of breast cancer in women after menopause, it does not seem to increase the risk of breast cancer before menopause. Reasons best known to science (giggles).

The time of an individual’s life in which they gain weight might also affect cancer risk. Being overweight during childhood and young adulthood might be more of a risk factor than gaining weight later in life for some cancers. For example, some research suggests that women who are overweight as teenagers (but not those who gain weight as adults) may be at higher risk for developing ovarian cancer before menopause.

More research still needs to be carried out to back up some of these claims 

 

How might body weight affect cancer risk?

Excess body weight may affect cancer risk in a number of ways, some of which might be specific to certain cancer types. Excess body fat might increase cancer risk by affecting:

  • Inflammation in the body
  • Cell and blood vessel growth
  • Cells’ ability to live longer than they normally would
  • Levels of certain hormones, such as insulin and estrogen, which can fuel cell growth
  • Other factors that regulate cell growth, such as insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1)
  • The ability of cancer cells to spread (metastasize)

Does losing weight reduce cancer risk?

Research on how losing weight might lower the risk of developing cancer is limited. Still, there’s growing evidence that weight loss might reduce the risk of some types of cancer, such as breast cancer (after menopause) and endometrial cancer.

Some body changes that occur as a result of weight loss suggest it may, indeed, reduce cancer risk. For example, overweight or obese people who intentionally lose weight have reduced levels of certain hormones that are related to cancer risk, such as insulin, estrogens, and androgens.

While we still have much to learn about the link between weight loss and cancer risk, people who are overweight or obese should be encouraged and supported if they try to lose weight. Aside from possibly reducing cancer risk, losing weight can have many other health benefits, such as lowering the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Losing even a small amount of weight has health benefits and is a good place to start.

It’s important to lose body weight, but much more important to lose body fat rather than just water fat (glycogen stores). So rather than cutting out carbs with chain saws and axes, reduce the amount of trans fat and ensure you take in quality nutrients. 

 

The science around it all

Overall, the majority of hypotheses proposed over the past 20–30 years have been based around the physiological functions and pathological correlations of compounds intimately involved in general metabolism of adipose tissue or its regulation by systemic factors and the relevance of those compounds to cell proliferation or development that could contribute to abnormal proliferation and migration leading to oncogenesis (development of tumors). The more recently developed concepts to be described below adopt a wider perspective in which the interface between adipose metabolism, inflammation and carcinogenesis is mediated by newly uncovered links involving biochemical pathways which open new perspectives on the obesity/cancer relationship in a more holistic, biologically integrated manner.

 These ideas include the inflammation-induced activation of the kynurenine pathway and its role in feeding and metabolism by activation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) and by modulating synaptic transmission in the brain. Evidence for a role of the kynurenine pathway in carcinogenesis then provides a potentially major link between obesity and cancer. A second new hypothesis is based on evidence that serine proteases can deplete cells of the tumour suppressors Deleted in Colorectal Cancer (DCC) and neogenin. These enzymes include mammalian chymotryptic proteases released by pro-inflammatory neutrophils and macrophages.

The kynurenine pathway represents the dominant pathway of tryptophan catabolism, accounting for the disposal of around 95% of the tryptophan not used for protein synthesis.

According to a research carried out by Jin in 2015, he stated and i quote that “the relevance of the kynurenine pathway is that not only do its components affect the regulation of metabolism, feeding and body mass, largely via the modulation of NMDA receptor activity, but they are also implicated in aspects of carcinogenesis’. Expression of the central enzyme of the pathway – kynurenine-3-monooxygenase (KMO) is greater in human hepatic carcinoma cells than controls and is known to influence cell proliferation and migration.

Other factors like insulin resistance, high glucagon and leptin levels (in obese and diabetic patients), adipokines (adiponectin) which is reduced in obese patients, highly concentrated levels of ceruloplasmin in adipose tissues of obese patients, might also increase an obese patients risk to several types of cancer. 

 

Dietary consideration 

Bowman-Birk inhibitors are relatively small proteins found in plant based foods, highly stable within the intestine and generally resistant to heating and cooking, which are known to be absorbed from the intestine into the blood. 

Several studies suggest that the presence of bowman’s birk inhibitors (BBI) are capable of inducing apoptosis in human breast carcinoma. The BBI is also capable of suppressing carcinogenic processes that include colon, oral leukoplakia, esophageal tumors, leukemia, prostatic hyperplasia and breast cancer (quite elusive though).

An overall healthy diet and lifestyle cannot be over emphasized, whether you choose a ‘only plant based diet’ or you choose to do a variety, make sure you do the right thing for your body MODERATION! 

 

Sources: https://www.nature.com/articles/cddiscovery201567

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/diet-physical-activity/body-weight-and-cancer-risk/effects.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5952217/

 

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