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General Research

CAN THE KETO DIET IMPROVE PCOS SYMPTOMS?

In all indications, diet changes and physical activity are lifestyle changes that are recommended for women with polycystic ovary syndrome, but some investigators have evaluated the effects of a ketogenic diet on some selected population of patients.
With this write up, we will see the outcome of the intervention.

 

According to a new study findings in the International

Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, the ketogenic diet showed great promise as adjuvant treatment alongside pharmacological therapy in the treatment for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), especially for women classified as obese.

Some common comorbidities that comes with of PCOS includes insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and obesity. When these conditions are not managed effectively, they could increase the risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome among women with the endocrine disorder.

In this study, seventeen women whose mean (SD) age was 28.5 (5.38) years (fertile age, according to the investigators) with PCOS and who were classified as obese (body mass index [BMI] > 25) were used; all were enrolled at the University Medical Service of Dietetic and Metabolic Diseases of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Foggia, in Italy.
The most therapeutic and suitable prescription with evidence for women who were obese and had PCOS was lifestyle correction according to this study. “This is the first study on the effects of the ketogenic diet on PCOS.” This type of diet adopted included one with increased fat intake, reduced carbohydrate intake, and adequate protein. For this study, daily intakes were set at 600 kcal for calories, 1.1 to 1.2 g of protein per kilogram body weight, 30 g for carbohydrates, and 30 g for fats.

“Following a 45-day dietary protocol, baseline/first visit findings were compared with 45-day/final visit results for gynecological evaluation of oligo/amenorrhea status, nutritional status, body composition, biochemical measurements, and diet administration.

The baseline overall average total body weight was 81.5 (13.56) kg and the baseline BMI, 31.84 (5.85) kg/m2”.

There were decreases in the following measures:
• Average weight: 9.4 kg (P < .0001)
• Average BMI: 3.6 kg/m2 (P < .001)
• Waist circumference: 9.4 cm (P < .001)
• Hip circumference: 8.1 cm (P < .001)
• Fat mass: 7.90 kg (P < .001)
• Free fat mass: 1.41 kg (P < .05)
• Muscle mass: 1.32 kg (P < .05)
• Total body water: 1.32 kg (P < .01)
• Basal metabolic rate: 67 kcal (P < .001)

There was improvements in several of the metabolic parameters (all P < .001) as shown below:
• Mean blood and urinary concentrations of ketones rose to 1.7 (0.58) mmol/L and 83 (54.34) mg/dL, respectively, from zero at baseline for both
• Mean blood glucose decreased 10.07 mg/dL
• Blood insulin dropped 12.90 mcU/mL
• C-peptide blood concentration decreased 0.87 ng/mL
• Triglycerides fell to 70 mg/dL
• Total cholesterol dropped to 40 mg/dL
• LDL cholesterol dropped to 35 mg/dL
• HDL cholesterol rose to 15 md/dL

Changes in endocrine parameters, were recorded as:
• Luteinizing hormone (LH) decreased to 4.6 mIU/mL (P < .001)
• Free and total testosterone decreased to 0.17 and 7.34 ng/dL, respectively (P < .001)
• LH/follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) ratio decreased to 1.32, from 2.72 at baseline (P < .01)
• FSH value increased to 1.46 mIU/mL (P < .05)
• Sex hormone binding globulins 12.43 nmol/L (P < .001)
• Positive correlations were seen between LH/FSH and weight, BMI, and fat mass
• Negative correlations were seen between LH/FSH and weight, BMI, and fat mass
• Positive correlations were seen between glycemia and LH and FSH
• Negative correlations were seen between LH/FSH and glycemia

For some patients, say about 5 of them, regular menstrual cycles reappeared “after years of amenorrhea,” while for the other 12 patients, there was restoration of regular menstruation—5 of whom when on to become pregnant naturally.

According to recorded results, using the ketogenic diet alongside medical intervention was effective in managing PCOS. So, by reducing the amount of carbohydrates and inducing therapeutic ketosis, PCOS patients can have a better life as the diseases is also influenced by lifestyle.

Even though this study came out positive, it is important to note that it is the first ever of its kind and further studies are needed to elucidate the effects of the ketogenic diet and its mechanism.

Reference
Cincione RI, Losavio F, Ciolli, et al. Effects of mixed of a ketogenic diet in overweight and obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Int J Environ Res Public Health. Published online November 27, 2021. doi:10.3390/ijerph182312490

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LifeStyleUncategorized

WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE A FAMILY HISTORY OF HIGH CHOLESTEROL

Globally, deaths arising from raised cholesterol levels reads at 2.6 million and this is sad. What’s sadder is the fact that about 10% of these people didn’t realize they have it; even the ones still alive.

Cholesterol might either be termed good or bad and many factors can influence the levels of cholesterol in your blood especially genetics.

Apart from lifestyle, diet and exercise, genetics could be a risk factor for increased cholesterol levels. If a family member has high cholesterol levels, there is every tendency you might have it especially if you don’t pay attention to lifestyle matters.

This phenomenon is termed “familial” since it runs in a family.

SOME FACTS ABOUT FAMILIAL HYPERCHOLESTEROLAEMIA

– 1 person in every 500 persons has it

– Doesn’t have symptoms, but these signs like deposits of cholesterol in skin and tendons could be notice

– Only 10%-20% of people with it know they have it

– Individuals with familial hypercholesterolaemia will pass it on to their children

IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FAMILIAL HYPERCHOLESTEROLAEMIA AND NORMAL HYPERCHOLESTEROLAEMIA?

If high levels of cholesterol occur in any relative of yours, such as a parent, sibling, or grandparent, you’re more likely to have it yourself. This occurrence is totally due to the passing on of genes from parents to children that increase levels of cholesterol in the blood.

Familial hypercholesterolaemia is more like an inherited form of hypercholesterolaemia. People with this type of conditions normally would have high cholesterol levels even with a lifestyle modification. Simply because they don’t have the capacity to regulate their cholesterol levels as other individuals.

There is every tendency that people with familial hypercholesterolaemia might not be able to control their cholesterol levels with just diet and exercise alone, but with medications too.

You should also note that not everyone with a high risk of developing high cholesterol actually has their cholesterol levels sky rocketing.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE FAMILIAL HYPERCHOLESTEROLAEMIA

One of the major ways to ascertain if you have high cholesterol levels especially if it’s a familial case is through a lipid screening test. This measures the amount of cholesterol in your blood.

Ideally, signs to look out for in adults are cholesterol levels above 190mg/dl and levels above 160mg/dl in children.

In addition, your doctor might help detect physical signs, which might not be common to everyone. These signs includes:

– Bumps or lumps around your knees, knuckles, or elbows

– Swollen or painful Achilles tendon

– Yellowish areas around your eyes

– A whitish grey colour in the shape of a half-moon on the outside of your cornea

WHAT CAUSES FAMILIAL HYPERCHOLESTEROLAEMIA?

This type of cholesterolaemia is a genetic one meaning it is hereditary and is caused by a defect on chromosome 19.

Your body finds it difficult to remove LDL cholesterol from the body making it easy for the narrowing of vessels which might possibly lead to atherosclerosis. You just need to get an abnormal gene from one family member to get this disease.

WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS AND HOW DO I MANAGE THEM?

1. OBESITY OR HIGH WAIST CIRCUMFERENCE: Both obesity and a high waist circumference can increase your risk for high cholesterol.

Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, while a high waist circumference is 40 or more inches for men and 35 or more inches for women.

If you have a family history of hypercholesterolaemia, then you should be careful so fat wont be unevenly distributed in your body. When fat accumulates in only one part of the body, especially in the abdominal region, it can lead to an increased risk of developing hypercholesterolaemia and other cardiovascular complications.

2. ELEVATED BLOOD SUGAR

As someone with a family history of hypercholesterolaemia, you should also be aware of your glucose levels as high levels of glucose can increase LDL cholesterol and decrease HDL cholesterol, damage the lining of arteries and also increase your risk of fatty deposits building up in your arteries.

Lifestyle choices, like diets high in soda, candy, or other foods containing large amounts of sugar, can also contribute to high blood sugar levels.

Reducing your intake of these things that contribute to an increased glucose level is key to reducing the risks of high cholesterol levels. An increased fibre intake of at least 30-35g of fibre daily would help to keep glucose levels in check.

3. LIFESTYLE FACTORS

If you have a family history of high cholesterol, you should consider some modifications to your lifestyle as it totally affects your chances to also get the disease. Diet, exercise and social vices are risk factors associated with high cholesterol. They can be controlled by modifying your lifestyle.

– Eating a diet high in saturated and trans fats can increase your cholesterol levels. These highlighted foods should be taken away from your diet totally or restricted to the barest minimum if you have a history of high cholesterol in the family.

• red meat

• full-fat milk and yogurt

• fried foods

• highly processed sweets

More so, adding foods that are cholesterol reducing would help reduce the risks of developing high cholesterol. Foods like nuts, beans, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, green vegetables, lentils, oatmeal, whole grain breads, low-fat dairy, low-fat meats, such as poultry are helpful.

– Exercise has the tendency to help increase your HDL cholesterol and decrease your LDL cholesterol. If you can aim at 150 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic exercise weekly, then you’re on journey to increasing you HDL levels which helps to reduce risk for developing high cholesterol and other coronary diseases.

If you just want to start, you can try out walking a distance first before doing other types of exercise so as not to get fagged out easily.

– Tobacco Smoking damages the wall of your blood vessels and is detrimental to your heart health. This makes it more likely for fat deposits to build up, thereby increasing your risk of high cholesterol levels.

CONCLUSION

Apart from other risk factors, genetics is a major risk factor related to high cholesterol levels. It is very important to be aware of this condition especially if it runs in your family and also aware of measures to curb its progression.

SOURCES

1. https://www.healthline.com/health/high-cholesterol/is-high-cholesterol-hereditary#outlook

2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/when-very-high-cholesterol-runs-in-the-family-

3. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000392.htm#:~:text=Familial%20hypercholesterolemia%20is%20a%20genetic,of%20LDL%20in%20the%20blood.

4. https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/facts.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Diet Therapy of Diseases

Cholelithiasis: treatment options

Stones form in different organs in the body due the retention of excess types of minerals in the body that can easily crystallise if there is insufficient fluid around to dissolve them.
Cholelithiasis is one condition that affects the bile duct and gall bladder. In cholelithiasis, hard stones composed of cholesterol or bile pigments form in the gall bladder (choleccystolithiasis) or in the bile duct (choledocholithiasis). In the US alone, about 9% of women and 6% of men have gallstones, and most are asymptomatic. While in the south western region of Nigeria, Ibadan, the prevalence of cholelithiasis is 2.1%.
When the concentration of cholesterol rises to the point of supersaturation, crystallization occurs. In other parts where stones form, stones could be composed of calcium, oxalate, uric acid, struvite. But in this case, stones are composed of cholesterol. A sludge containing cholesterol, mucin, calcium salts, and bilirubin forms, and, ultimately, stones develop. This occur when the concentration of cholesterol rises so high to the point of supersaturation. Normally, in bile, cholesterol leves are at equilibrium with bile salts and phosphatidylcholine.
Although gallstones are typically asymptomatic (they show no symptoms), some cause biliary colic, in which stones intermittently obstruct the neck of the gallbladder and cause episodes of abdominal pain. Chronic obstruction may result in cholecystitis (infection and inflammation of the gallbladder) or cholangitis (infection and inflammation of the common bile duct). Both of which are very serious and, if untreated, may result in sepsis, shock, and death.

Presenting symptoms include episodic right-upper-quadrant or epigastric pain, which often occurs in the middle of the night after eating a large meal and may radiate to the back, right scapula, or right shoulder. Diaphoresis, nausea, vomiting, dyspepsia, burping, and food intolerance (especially to fatty, greasy, or fried foods; meats; and cheeses) are common. More severe symptoms, including fever and jaundice, may signify cholecystitis or cholangitis.

What Are the Possible Risk Factors?
1. Family history: there is every tendency to develop gallstones if there is a family history. In short, it is twice as more in rates.

2. Increasing age: Gallstones are mostly very common in individuals above the age of 40.

3. Female sex: with the presence of the hormone estrogens in female, they are more likely to develop gall stones at all age groups. This increased risk is most notable in young women, who are affected 3-4 times more often than men of the same age.

4. Elevated estrogen and progesterone: During pregnancy, oral contraceptive use, or hormone replacement therapy, estrogen and progesterone induce changes in the bile duct that predispose one to gallstones.

5. Obesity: Due to the elevated secretion and production of cholesterol in obese individual, they are at high risk of developing gall stones.

6. Rapid weight loss: Bariatric surgery and very-low-calorie diets adopted for weight loss regimes can increase risk of gallstone formation, possibly due to increased concentrations of bile constituents.

7. Diabetes mellitus: Hepatic insulin resistance and high triglycerides may increase risk of gallstones.

8. Gallbladder stasis: When bile remains in the gallbladder for an extended period, supersaturation can occur. Gallbladder stasis is associated with diabetes mellitus, total parenteral nutrition (probably due to lack of enteral stimulation), vagotomy, rapid weight loss, celiac sprue, and spinal cord injury.

9. Cirrhosis: Cirrhosis i.e scarring of the liver tissues, increases the risk of developing gall stones 10 times more.

10. Medications: Drugs implicated in the development of cholelithiasis include clofibrate, octreotide, and ceftriaxone.

11. Physical inactivity: Exercise may reduce gallstone risk. Findings from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study suggested that the risk of symptomatic cholelithiasis could be reduced by 30 minutes of daily aerobic exercise. Young or middle-aged men (65 years or younger) who were the most physically active had half the risk for developing gallstones, compared with those who were least active. In older men, physical activity cut risk by 25%. Physical activity is also associated with reduced gallstone risk in women.

How can it be Diagnosed?
Laboratory tests include complete blood count (CBC), liver function tests, amylase, and lipase.

– Right-upper-quadrant (trans-abdominal) ultrasound will reveal the presence of gallstones and show evidence of cholecystitis, if present.

– Hydroxy iminodiacetic acid (HIDA) scan is sometimes indicated to rule out cystic duct obstruction and acute cholecystitis.

– Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) or magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) assesses the presence of gallstones within the bile ducts. ERCP can also be used to extract stones when they are found, preventing the need for surgery.

Are there Treatment options?
Asymptomatic gallstones are generally not treated. Cholecystectomy (surgical removal of the gall bladder) is the treatment of choice for symptomatic disease.

Oral bile acids (e.g., ursodeoxycholic acid) can be used to dissolve small stones and stone fragments. However, they are not really efficient as the stones typically reoccur.

It is helpful to avoid large, fatty meals, as a large caloric load is the most likely trigger for biliary colic symptoms.

Long-term statin use has been associated with a reduced risk of gallstone development.

Nutritional Considerations
Gallstones are strongly related to high-fat, low-fibre diets. In areas like Asia and Africa populations which have plant-based diets as traditional diets. An abundance of high protein and high saturated fatty diets are risk factors to developing gallstones. Diets low in dietary fibre, especially the westernized diets play a major role in the development of gall stones. The following factors are associated with reduced risk of gallstones:

– Plant-based diets: Both animal fat and animal protein may contribute to the formation of gallstones. According to research, up to 90% of gallstones are cholesterol. This totally suggests that a change diet (e.g., reducing dietary saturated fat and cholesterol and increasing soluble fibre) may reduce the risk of gallstones.
“Vitamin C, which is found in plants and is absent from meat, affects the rate-limiting step in the catabolism of cholesterol to bile acids and is inversely related to the risk of gallstones in women”
In a 12-year prospective cohort study among US men, individuals consuming the most refined carbohydrates have a 60% greater risk for developing gallstones, compared with those who consumed the least. Conversely, in a 1998 cross-sectional study of men and women in Italy, individuals eating the most fiber (particularly insoluble fiber) have a 15% lower risk for gallstones compared with those eating the least.

– Avoidance of excess weight: staying within a healthy BMI results in reduced risks of developing gall stones as obesity is a huge factor to increased risk. Those with BMI above 30 kg/m2 should endeavour to shed some few extra pounds to reduce their risk.

– Weight cycling: simply meaning repeatedly intentionally losing and unintentionally regaining weight. This cycle increases the likelihood of cholelithiasis.

– Moderate alcohol intake: alcohol consumption, especially when it is too much, has always been linked to different types of ailments; gallstone formation isn’t left out.

SUMMARY
Adopting western diets totally puts you at risk of developing gall stones. A diet rich in antioxidants, fibre, anti-inflammatory substances keeps you at reduced risk rate.
Stones make life very unbearable, you should be very conscious about your diet and lifestyle.

SOURCES
Biddinger SB, Haas JT, Yu BB, et al. Hepatic insulin resistance directly promotes formation of cholesterol gallstones. Nat Med. 2008;14(7):778-82. [PMID:18587407]
Leitzmann MF, Giovannucci EL, Rimm EB, et al. The relation of physical activity to risk for symptomatic gallstone disease in men. Ann Intern Med. 1998;128(6):417-25. [PMID:9499324]
Leitzmann MF, Rimm EB, Willett WC, et al. Recreational physical activity and the risk of cholecystectomy in women. N Engl J Med. 1999;341(11):777-84. [PMID:10477775]
Erichsen R, Frøslev T, Lash TL, et al. Long-term statin use and the risk of gallstone disease: A population-based case-control study. Am J Epidemiol. 2011;173(2):162-70. [PMID:21084557]
Bodmer M, Brauchli YB, Krähenbühl S, et al. Statin use and risk of gallstone disease followed by cholecystectomy. JAMA. 2009;302(18):2001-7. [PMID:19903921]
Stinton LM, Shaffer EA. Epidemiology of gallbladder disease: cholelithiasis and cancer. Gut Liver. 2012;6(2):172-87. [PMID:22570746]
Ahmed A, Cheung RC, Keeffe EB. Management of gallstones and their complications. Am Fam Physician. 2000;61(6):1673-80, 1687-8. [PMID:10750875]
Pixley F, Wilson D, McPherson K, Mann J. Effect of vegetarianism on development of gall stones in women. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) . 1985;291:11-12.
Tsai CJ, Leitzmann MF, Willett WC, et al. Fruit and vegetable consumption and risk of cholecystectomy in women. Am J Med. 2006;119(9):760-7. [PMID:16945611]
Simon JA, Hudes ES. Serum ascorbic acid and gallbladder disease prevalence among US adults: the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III). Arch Intern Med. 2000;160(7):931-6. [PMID:10761957]

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LifeStyle

DIABETES AND HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE: THE ULTIMATE DEATH COMBO

OVERVIEW
According to recent studies, it has been shown that 64% of people with type 2 diabetes also suffer from hypertension.
This companionship is actually an ungodly one but sadly, in most cases where adequate management is not adhered to, the combo is just inevitable.
Many underlying pathophysiological mechanisms are associated with the duo, with a few seemingly plausible ones like: sodium-fluid retention, insulin resistance in the nitric-oxide pathway and stiffening of arteries.
Diabetes and hypertension are strongly interrelated and always predisposes individuals to other cardiovascular complications like atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis.
In this article, we would throw light on both diseases, how to manage them, their symptoms and how to prevent one leading to the other.

IDENTIFYING DIABETES?
Diabetes is a complex condition that impairs the body’s ability to metabolize/use blood sugar in the body.
Globally, more than 422 million people are living with the disease. Currently, 1 out of every 17 adults are living with this disease in Nigeria.
Uncontrolled diabetes, either with medication or diet, or a combination of both therapies would lead to other disease complications like stroke and heart diseases.
There are three types of diabetes and they include: type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes.

TYPE 1 DIABETES: this is referred to as juvenile diabetes; more common among younger people. It occurs when the body fails to produce insulin. Sadly, people living with this type of diabetes have to stay on insulin for the rest of their lives to stay alive.

TYPE 2 DIABETES: this is the most common type of diabetes. It affects how the body uses insulin. The cells in the body do not respond to insulin effectively as they would always do in time past before the onset of this type of diabetes.
Less common types of diabetes include monogenic diabetes and cystic fibrosis-related diabetes.

HOW CAN I GET DIABETES?
The risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:
• If you are overweight (when your BMI is above 25 kg/m2)
• If one of your parents or ancestors has diabetes
• having a high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol level lower than 40 mg/dL or 50 mg/dL
• If there is an occurrence of high blood pressure in your family lineage
• having gestational diabetes or giving birth to a child with a birth weight of more than 9 pounds
• a history of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
• being of African-American, Native American, Latin American, or Asian-Pacific Islander descent
• being more than 45 years of age
• having a sedentary lifestyle

HOW WILL I KNOW THAT I HAVE DIABETES?
Type 2 diabetes always presents with symptoms and they include:
– excessive hunger
– excessive thirst
– excessive passing of urine; especially in the night time
– blurry vision
– you easily get tired
In some cases, symptoms might not be noticed on time.

Type 2 diabetes can be diagnosed also if an individual’s blood sugar levels are above 70-90 mg/dl. Normally, to test for diabetes, blood samples are needed. But recently, your tears could be used to test for blood glucose levels.

IDENTIFYING BLOOD PRESSURE
Hypertension is a common condition in which there is a long-term force of blood against your artery walls. This could also predispose the individual to other heart health problems.
Previous studies have recorded that hypertension (commonly called) is more prevalent in men than in women.

CAUSES OF HYPERTENSION
There are a number of risk factors which could lead to hypertension and they include:
• Age.
• Family history (hereditary)
• Ethnic background.
• Obesity and being overweight.
• Lack of physical exercise or activity.
• Smoking.
• Alcohol intake.
• Poor diet and high cholesterol.
There are no symptoms noticed with hypertension; reason why it is called the “silent killer”
People usually find out that they have hypertension when a doctor takes their reading with a sphygmomanometer.
An individual would be said to have hypertension if blood pressure levels are above 140/90 mmHg, in severe cases blood pressure levels might get to 180/120mmHg.

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HYPERTENSION AND DIABETES
The duo often occurs together and might even share common causes which include:
– Obesity
– Inflammation
– Oxidative stress
– Insulin resistance
As blood glucose accumulates in the body, some vital organs that help to maintain fluid balance are affected. Organs like the kidneys are more affected because they play an important role in making sure there is no fluid retention which leads to high blood pressure.
There are three ways in which high glucose levels in the blood can increase blood pressure:
• The blood vessels lose their ability to stretch.
• The fluid in the body increases, especially if diabetes is already affecting the kidneys.
• Insulin resistance which may involve processes that increase the risk of hypertension.
It is important to note that the duo could pose huge health complications which includes:
1. heart attack or stroke
2. decreased kidney function, progressing to dialysis
3. problems with the blood vessels in the eyes, leading to vision loss
4. peripheral vascular disease

CAN THIS BE PREVENTED?
Yes! Lifestyle factors are very crucial in the management of both diabetes and hypertension.
These lifestyle factors should be adhered to strictly in order to prevent the onset of the duo
1. A HEALTHY DIET: people who already live with diabetes or hypertension should seek advice from their dietitian to help manage their symptoms in order to avoid an escalating situation.
This advice would include:
– eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
– focusing on high-fiber foods, including whole grains
– limiting (not avoiding) the amount of added salt and sugar
– avoiding or limiting unhealthful fats, such as trans fats and
– avoiding the intake of refined carbs.
2. AVOID ALCOHOL AND SODA DRINKS: high alcohol intake increases the risks of developing these diseases. Surprisingly, people always have the mind-set that alcoholic drinks are healthier options when compared to soft drinks. Both are actually not recommended if these diseases are present.
3. STOP SMOKING: smoking tobacco increases the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. Smoking could lead to poor blood flow and could damage the heart and lungs.
4. MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT: losing weight is actually helpful in preventing the onset of diabetes and hypertension. Losing 3-5% of your weight can improve blood sugar readings.
5. BE ACTIVE: at least 150 minutes of intense exercise could help lower blood pressure levels and blood glucose levels as it helps in good blood circulation.
Note that only diet would not help in the management of diabetes and hypertension or the duo. Medications also are important factors in the management.
Also note that herbs, supplements and concoctions won’t help to eradicate this duo but might even pose greater health risks to the individual.

TAKE HOME
High blood pressure and type 2 diabetes often occur together and tend to share same risk factors.
It’s very important to pay attention to lifestyle modifications if you are living with both diseases or just one of them.
In the management, it’s important to have a doctor and dietitian co-manage your symptoms as diet and medication play a huge role in the management of these diseases.

  1. SOURCES: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317220#outlook
    https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/high-blood-pressure#:~:text=Diabetes%20damages%20arteries%20and%20makes,heart%20attack%2C%20and%20kidney%20failure.
    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/20786204.2004.10873136

 

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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

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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LifeStyle

Beyond restrictions, willpower and intensity: Diet quality and quantity matters

It’s no news that the amount of calories people eat and drink has a direct effect on their weight: Calories in = Calories out, and weight stays stable. Calories in > Calories out , weight goes up. Less calories in, and well, weight goes down.

 But what about the type of calories: Does it matter if they come from specific nutrients-fat, protein, or carbohydrate? Specific foods-whole grains or pop-corn? Specific diets-the Mediterranean diet or the “Keto” diet? And what about when or where people consume their calories: Does eating breakfast make it easier to control weight? Does eating at fast-food restaurants make it harder?

There’s ample research on foods and diet patterns that protect against heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. The good news is that many of the foods that help prevent disease also seem to help with weight control-foods like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. And many of the foods that increase disease risk-chief among them, refined grains and sugary drinks-are also factors in weight gain. Conventional wisdom says that since a calorie is a calorie, regardless of its source, the best advice for weight control is simply to eat less and exercise more. Yet emerging research suggests that some foods and eating patterns may make it easier to keep calories in check, while others may make people more likely to overeat.

 

Let’s briefly review the research on dietary intake and weight control, highlighting diet strategies that also help prevent chronic disease.

 

 

  • Macronutrients and Weight: Do Carbs, Protein, or Fat Matter?

 

It really looks like the percentage of calories from carbs, fats or proteins do not really contribute to weight gain. So, the quantity of macronutrients you consume per day might not be directly proportional to the weight you add-on. In saner climes, there may be some benefits to a higher protein, lower carbohydrate approach, or even a high fat, low carb approach. For chronic disease prevention, though, the quality and food sources of these nutrients matters more than their relative quantity in the diet. And the latest research suggests that the same diet quality message applies for weight control.

 

  • Dietary Fat and Weight

 

Low-fat diets have long been touted as the key to a healthy weight and to good health. But the evidence just isn’t there: Over the past  years globally and especially in western countries, the percentage of calories from fat in people’s diets has gone down, but obesity rates have skyrocketed.  “Carefully conducted clinical trials have found that following a low-fat diet does not make it any easier to lose weight than following a moderate- or high-fat diet”. In fact, study volunteers who follow moderate- or high-fat diets lose just as much weight, and in some studies a bit more, as those who follow low-fat diets. And when it comes to disease prevention, low-fat diets don’t really appear to offer any special benefits except in very strict conditions. 

“Part of the problem with low-fat diets is that they are often high in carbohydrates, especially from rapidly digested sources, such as white bread and white rice. And diets high in such foods might further increase the risk of weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease”.

For good health, the type (in terms of quality) of fat people eat is far more important than the amount , and there’s some evidence that the same may be true for weight control. Studies have shown clearly that over consumption of trans fat and saturated fats would lead to heart and possibly other non-communicable diseases, but not the same with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids which offer health benefits.

 

  • Protein and Weight

 

Although  high-protein diets seem to perform equally well as other types of diets, they still tend to be low in carbohydrate and high in fat or sometimes vice versa as the case may be, so it is difficult to tease apart the benefits of eating lots of protein from those of eating more fat or less carbohydrate. But there are a few reasons why eating a higher percentage of calories from protein may help with weight control:

  • More satiety: People tend to feel fuller, on fewer calories, after eating protein than they do after eating carbohydrate or fat.
  • Greater thermic effect: It takes more energy to metabolize and store protein than other macronutrients, and this may help people increase the energy they burn each day. About 30-35% is metabolised almost immediately.
  • Improved body composition: Protein seems to help people hang on to lean muscle during weight loss, and this, too, can help boost the energy-burned side of the energy balance equation. 

“Higher protein, lower carbohydrate diets improve blood lipid profiles and other metabolic markers, so they may help prevent heart disease and diabetes”. But some high-protein foods are healthier than others: High and uncontrolled intakes of red meat and processed meat are associated with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and colon cancer.

Replacing red processed meat with nuts, beans, fish, or poultry seems to lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes.  And this diet strategy may help with weight control, too, according to a recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health.

 

  • Carbohydrates and Weight

 

Lower carbohydrate, higher protein or even lower carbs, moderate protein and high fat diets may have some weight loss advantages in the short term.  Yet when it comes to preventing weight gain and chronic disease, carbohydrate quality is much more important than carbohydrate quantity.

‘Milled, refined grains and the foods made with them-white rice, white bread, white pasta, processed breakfast cereals, and the like-are rich in rapidly digested carbohydrates. So are potatoes and sugary drinks. The scientific term for this is that they have a high glycemic index and glycemic load. “Such foods cause fast and furious increases in blood sugar and insulin that, in the short term, can cause hunger to spike and can lead to overeating-and over the long term, increase the risk of weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease”. 

Are there Specific Foods that Make It Easier or Harder to Control Weight?

There’s growing evidence that specific food choices may help with weight control, but does not suggest that one food will help in weight loss or gain (super food). The good news is that many of the foods that are beneficial for weight control also help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. There are a number of foods and drinks that contribute to weight gain—chief among them, refined grains and sugary drinks—also contribute to chronic disease.

 

  • Whole Grains, Fruits and Vegetables, and Weight

 

Whole grains-whole wheat, brown rice, barley, and the like, especially in their less-processed forms-are digested more slowly than refined grains. So they have a gentler effect on blood sugar and insulin, which MAYhelp keep hunger at bay. The same is true for most vegetables and fruits. These “slow carb” foods have bountiful benefits for disease prevention, and there’s also evidence that they can help prevent weight gain.

Don’t narrow your mind down to the fact that the calories from whole grains, whole fruits, and vegetables disappear. What’s likely happening is that when people increase their intake of these foods, they cut back on calories from other foods. Fiber may be responsible for these foods’ weight control benefits, since fiber slows digestion, helping to curb hunger. Fruits and vegetables are also high in water, which may help people feel fuller on fewer calories.

 

  • Nuts and Weight

 

“Nuts pack a lot of calories into a small package and are high in fat, so they were once considered taboo for dieters or even anyone who wants to stay healthy. But as we may have it, studies find that eating nuts does not lead to weight gain and may instead help with weight control, perhaps because nuts are rich in protein and fiber, both of which may help people feel fuller and less hungry. People who regularly eat nuts are less likely to have heart attacks or die from heart disease than those who rarely eat them, which is another reason to include nuts in a healthy diet. 

 

  • Dairy and Weight

 

“The U.S. dairy industry has aggressively promoted the weight-loss benefits of milk and other dairy products, based largely on findings from short-term studies it has funded. But a recent review of nearly 50 randomized trials finds little evidence that high dairy or calcium intakes help with weight loss. Similarly, most long-term follow-up studies have not found that dairy or calcium protect against weight gain, and one study in adolescents found high milk intakes to be associated with increased body mass index. 

One exception is the recent dietary and lifestyle change study from the Harvard School of Public Health, which found that people who increased their yogurt intake gained less weight; increases in milk and cheese intake, however, did not appear to promote weight loss or gain. It’s possible that the beneficial bacteria in yogurt may influence weight control, but more research is needed.

Yoghurt tends to keep the gut health at check and easily filling with less calorie, it could proffer solutions to the weight loss saga.

 

  • Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Weight

 

There’s convincing evidence that sugary drinks increase the risk of weight gain, obesity, and diabetes:  A systematic review and meta-analysis of 88 studies found “clear associations of soft drink intake with increased caloric intake and body weight.”  In children and adolescents, a more recent meta analysis estimates that for every additional 12-ounce serving of sugary beverage consumed each day, body mass index increases by 0.08 units.  Another meta analysis finds that adults who regularly drink sugary beverages have a 26 percent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who rarely drink sugary beverages.  Emerging evidence also suggests that high sugary beverage intake increases the risk of heart disease. 

Like refined grains and potatoes, sugary beverages are high in rapidly-digested carbohydrates. Research suggests that when that carbohydrate is delivered in liquid form, rather than solid form, it is not as satiating, and people don’t eat less to compensate for the extra calories. Liquid calories might tend to increase weight more than solid due to its low levels of satiety after consumption.

It really even seems that the number of overweight people had their fair share from sugary drinks than solid foods. A research conducted a while ago noticed that most overweight people really didn’t eat much solid foods but rather drank sugary drinks in their bottles.

 

  • Fruit Juice and Weight

 

It’s important to note that fruit juices are not a better option for weight control than sugar-sweetened beverages ( who even suggested that?). Ounce for ounce, fruit juices-even those that are 100 percent fruit juice, with no added sugar- are as high in sugar and calories as sugary sodas. So it’s no surprise that a recent Harvard School of Public Health study, which tracked the diet and lifestyle habits of 120,000 men and women for up to 20 years, found that people who increased their intake of fruit juice gained more weight over time than people who did not. Pediatricians and public health advocates recommend that children and adults limit fruit juice to just a small glass a day, if they consume it at all.

It’s better to take fruits in their fresh form than their processed and packaged form.

 

  • Alcohol and Weight

 

Even though most alcoholic beverages have more calories per ounce than sugar-sweetened beverages, there’s no clear-cut evidence that moderate drinking contributes to weight gain. It probably would lead to a protruded tummy because of the fact that the liver metabolizes it first after a meal and stores visceral fat during the process. While the recent diet and lifestyle change study found that people who increased their alcohol intake gained more weight over time, the findings varied by type of alcohol.  In most previous prospective studies, there was no difference in weight gain over time between light-to-moderate drinkers and nondrinkers, or the light-to-moderate drinkers gained less weight than nondrinkers. If you’ve seen heavy alcoholics in Nigeria, they’re actually lanky and look like a bag of bones. 

Breakfast, Meal Frequency, Snacking, and Weight

There is some evidence that skipping breakfast increases the risk of weight gain and obesity, though the evidence is stronger in children, especially teens, than it is in adults. Meal frequency and snacking have increased over the past years globally. -on average, children and most teen-adults get 27 percent of their daily calories from snacks, primarily from desserts and sugary drinks, and increasingly from salty snacks and candy. But there have been conflicting findings on the relationship between meal frequency, snacking, and weight control, and more research is needed.

Portion Sizes and Weight

“Since the 1970s, portion sizes have increased both for food eaten at home and for food eaten away from home, in adults and children. Short-term studies clearly demonstrate that when people are served larger portions, they eat more. There is an intuitive appeal to the idea that portion sizes increase obesity, but long-term prospective studies would help to strengthen this hypothesis.

Fast Food and Weight

Fast food is known for its large portions, low prices, high palatability, high sugar content, high fat content, reheating oil and high monosodium glutamate content; and there’s evidence from studies in teens and adults that frequent fast-food consumption contributes to overeating and weight gain. 

It’s really important to focus on home cooked meals than the ones from fast foods

 

The Bottom Line: Healthy Diet and Lifestyle Can Prevent Weight Gain and Chronic Disease

Weight gain in adulthood is often gradual, about a pound a year -too slow of a gain for most people to notice, but one that can add up, over time, to a weighty personal and public health problem. There’s increasing evidence that the same healthful food choices and diet patterns that help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions may also help to prevent weight gain:

Choose minimally processed, whole foods-whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, healthful sources of protein (fish, poultry, beans), and plant oils.

Limit sugar beverages, refined grains, potatoes, red and processed meats, and other highly processed foods, such as fast food.

Though the contribution of any one diet change to weight control may be small, together, the changes could add up to a considerable effect, over time and across the whole society. Since people’s food choices are shaped by their surroundings, it’s imperative for governments to promote policy and environmental changes that make healthy foods more accessible and decrease the availability and marketing of unhealthful foods.

 

Source: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-causes/diet-and-weight/#:~:text=Choose%20minimally%20processed%2C%20whole%20foods,foods%2C%20such%20as%20fast%20food.

 

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General Research

FENUGREEK: USES, BENEFITS AND CONTRAINDICATIONS

Fenugreek is truly an amazing plant with so many health benefits. People from Western Asia and the Mediterranean have used fenugreek for thousands of years to improve the flavour of their food, improve health, and soothe skin maladies. In more recent times, this herb has supposedly gained global popularity as a herbal supplement with a variety of health benefits.

While fenugreek has many promising applications/ benefits, not all of its uses have yet been backed up by rigorous scientific examination. This tour will tell us which of fenugreek’s health benefits are supported by evidence, and which ones remain more assumptions and advertising gimmicks than fact.

Let’s take a dive together to learn what fenugreek is, what it does in the body, and how best to utilize all its

benefits. Shall we?

What Is Fenugreek?

Fenugreek (scientific name Trigonella foenum-graecum) is a plant native to Western Asia and the Mediterranean. It has three green or yellow oblong leaves, which can be consumed fresh or dried.

Fenugreek leaves and seeds are important for cooking and medicines. Because of their sweet, maple-syrup like smell and flavour, fenugreek seeds are also added to artificial maple syrup, candies, ice cream, beverages, tobacco, soaps, and cosmetics.

 

 

What Makes Fenugreek Work? Important Compounds

Well, as stated below, the health benefits of fenugreek involve the regulation of blood sugar, stimulation of milk flow in new mothers, maintenance of hormones, and treatment of inflammation; made possible by the presence of the outlined compounds:

  • 4-hydroxyisoleucine and 2-oxoglutarate: molecules with an insulin-stimulating effect.
  • Protodioscin: compound that may have aphrodisiac effects.
  • Diosgenin and Yamogenin: compounds used in the commercial synthesis of progesterone and other steroid products.
  • 3-Hydroxy-4,5-dimethyl-2(5H)-furanone: compound that causes a maple-syrup scent in body excretions.

Now that we’ve taken a look at what fenugreek does, let’s appreciate its functions.

Look before you leap! Some retailers care more about their pockets than your health. (Shine your eyes)

 

Why You Should Be Cautious About Herbal Supplements

Herbal remedies can be very effective alternative treatments to prescription medication. At the same time, there’s a big business of retailers that exaggerate health claims to market their products and make money.

The best way to evaluate these claims is to take a look at objective, rigorous scientific research. Has the supplement been tested in a randomized control trial and been proven to have statistically significant effects? Has it been used on human subjects and not just lab mice? If its benefits are purely anecdotal, then you might not want to waste your time or money, or worst case scenario, risk causing yourself more harm than good.

With these guiding principles in mind, we’ve done a thorough research on fenugreek, its uses, contraindications and special cases.

Fenugreek Benefits: Analysis of 4 Popular Uses

People take fenugreek in a variety of forms as an herbal supplement. Its most common form is a pill or capsule, but it can also be made into a tea or ground up and combined with other ingredients to make a poultice and applied to injured skin.

The most commonly claimed fenugreek benefits are milk production in new mothers, blood sugar levels, testosterone and male libido, and treating inflammation.

Fenugreek can act as a galactagogue.

 

Use 1: To Enhance Milk Production in New Mothers

Fenugreek is widely used as a galactagogue, or a milk flow-enhancing agent in new mothers. Nursing women take fenugreek in pill form or drink it as a tea after they’ve had a baby.

While fenugreek appears to be an effective galactagogue, it can have adverse effects if you take it while pregnant. Most doctors advise that women should only take fenugreek supplements once they’ve had their baby and not before.

Scientists believes it contains phytoestrogens, which are plant chemicals similar to the female sex organs oestrogen. They really don’t know how it happens though, they only believe breasts are modified sweat glands, and fenugreek promotes sweat production.

The plant has aggravated asthma symptoms in women and caused low blood glucose in diabetics; it should not be used by all.

Since its evidence backed that fenugreek could be used as a milk-enhancing agent, how should you take it?

 

 

How to Take Fenugreek to Stimulate Milk Production

Its best to speak to your doctor/ dietitian before taking fenugreek as it could have significant side effects during pregnancy. I remember one woman complaining to me how it makes her add more weight.

If you decide to take fenugreek, you could take it as fenugreek tablets or drink it as a fenugreek tea. A typical dosage is two to three capsules (580 to 610 mg each) taken by mouth three times a day. Drinking it as a tea is a milder amount. You might drink between 1-3 cups a day as a hot tea, iced tea, or mixed with apple juice.

 

Use 2: To Maintain Blood Sugar Levels

Fenugreek seeds are commonly used as a supplement to control blood glucose, especially to prevent or treat diabetes. It appears to alleviate problems around the metabolism of blood sugar.The seed contains fibre and other possible compounds that could slow digestion and the body’s absorption of carbohydrates and sugars.

How to Take Fenugreek to Control Blood Glucose

The most common ways to take fenugreek to control blood sugar levels are in capsule form, ground up and added to food, or made into a tea. The recommended dosage falls between 2.5 and 15 grams a day. The amount you take varies depending on your weight, any other medications you take, and other factors.

It would be really unwise to just depend solely on fenugreek to help in the treatment of diabetes; speak to your dietitan and doctor for possible and sustainable ways to handle your diabetes.

 

Use 3: To Boost Libido

One of fenugreek’s ancient uses is to enhance libido. Mediterranean and Western Asian cultures have incorporated the herb into their diets for thousands of years to enhance sexual desire. Recent studies have suggested that fenugreek may increase libido in both men and women.

Well, research holds that it’s a better aphrodisiac than banana, asparagus and almonds.

Ultimately, researchers concluded that “T foenum-graecum [fenugreek] seed extract is a well-tolerated and an effective botanical medicine for use in the support of sexual function for pre-menopausal women, in particular increasing sexual desire and arousal, with positive effects in concentration of E2 [estradiol] and free testosterone.” The studies suggest that fenugreek supplements may increase libido in both men and women.

How to Take Fenugreek to Boost Libido

Fenugreek can be taken as a capsule or brewed into a tea, or the seeds can be ground up and added to food or bread. A dose of 500 to 600 mg fenugreek capsules per day is recommended to boost libido. As with any herbal supplement, you should check with your doctor to determine the right amount for you.

 

Is your skin red, bumpy, or injured? A fenugreek-based poultice can help.

 

Use 4: To Soothe Skin Inflammation or Injury

Fenugreek powder has long been combined with other soothing herbs to make poultices and treat skin inflammation and injury. Recent studies have suggested that fenugreek may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

How to Use Fenugreek to Treat Skin Inflammation

To soothe injured or inflamed skin, people traditionally grind dried herbs or boil fresh herbs in water and make a paste. You might combine fenugreek seed powder with other skin-soothing herbs, like slippery elm, flaxseed, as well as medicinal charcoal. After combining everything into a paste, just spread it across a clean piece of gauze, linen, or cotton and apply it directly to the skin.

Leave the poultice on the affected area for about 1 to 24 hours, taking it off when the skin feels better.

Along with the four main uses described above – enhancing milk production, controlling blood glucose, boosting libido, and treating skin inflammation – people claim a number of other fenugreek health benefits. Let’s take a look at other potential positive effects of taking fenugreek; with little scientific back up though.

Other Potential Health Benefits of Fenugreek (anecdotal)

People have been consuming fenugreek for thousands of years, and many believe that it has a wide range of physical benefits. These are a few additional anecdotal fenugreek seeds benefits:

  • Balance cholesterol
  • Soothe upset stomach and digestive problems
  • Reduce menstrual cramps
  • Reduce appetite
  • Control obesity
  • Maintain liver and kidney health (hepatic and renal issues)
  • Soothe muscle pain
  • Reduce fever

At this point, there’s little scientific evidence behind these alleged benefits, so much more research is needed to assess the efficacy of this herbal supplement.

Apart from having health benefits, Fenugreek also has some potential adverse side effects, and it’s important to be aware of them before incorporating the supplement into your routine because physiology differs.

Fenugreek Side Effects: 6 Potential Problems

‘They are just supplements (herbal at that), they should not pose any threat; calm down first.

The following are the six main potential fenugreek side effects.

 

Side Effect 1. Induce Childbirth

For the most part, pregnant women are advised not to take fenugreek. Because it contains oxytocin, fenugreek could act as a uterine stimulant, meaning it could cause contractions and preterm labour. Some people have used fenugreek to induce labour, don’t try this at home.

The other side effect of taking fenugreek while pregnant is that it can give a false alarm of Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD). MSUD is an inherited genetic disorder so named because it causes a maple syrup-like smell in body excretions (urine).

 

Side Effect 2. Diarrhoea

Fenugreek may cause stomach irritation and diarrhea. Excessive intake in pregnancy could lead to episodes of diarrhoea, gastrointestinal disturbances as nausea, vomiting and flatulence could also occur.

Side Effect 3. Bleeding

Fenugreek contains a chemical compound called coumarin that can act as a blood thinner. People on blood-thinning or anti-coagulant medications to be careful and consult their doctors before taking fenugreek supplements.

 

Be careful if you take a blood thinner, as fenugreek could cause excessive bleeding.

Side Effect 4. Hypoglycemia

If you’re taking both medicine for diabetes and fenugreek supplements, you should measure your blood sugar levels so they don’t become too low and cause hypoglycemia. Since fenugreek can lower blood glucose levels, its best you are always alert about your glucose levels.

Consult with your doctor about the right amount, and carefully monitor the effects that fenugreek supplements have on your blood sugar levels.

 

Side Effect 5. Allergic Reactions

Before introducing new things to your, you should be conscious of the possible allergic effects attached to that food.

Check with your doctor, and try just a small dosage of fenugreek at first. Stop taking it if you experience a rash, hives, swelling, or trouble breathing.

 

Side Effect 6. “Maple Syrup” Sweat or Urine

This last side effect doesn’t cause any harm, apart from the false alarm about MSUD in infants described above. Fenugreek has a strong, sweet odour, and eating the seeds might pass that maple syrup-like smell into your sweat and urine or the sweat and urine of a nursing baby. If you start to notice this maple syrup-like odour, then you’ll know the cause and what to do.

 

How to Take Fenugreek

Either in tea, pill, tincture or powder form, dosages should not exceed the under listed:

  • Capsule: 500 to 600 mg, three times a day.
  • Tea: two to three cups a day. You can make hot or iced tea or combine it with juice.
  • Powder: five to 30 grams of de-fatted seed powder up to three times a day. It’s best to consume fenugreek powder before or as part of a meal.
  • Tincture: three to four mL three times a day. One drop is similar to a 500-600 mg capsule.

Your dosage depends on a number of factors, including weight, age, and health status.

 

SUMMARY

Every seed, herb or fruit has potential health benefits attached to them if used in appropriate amounts, but when abused or used by the wrong groups, they could pose great health threats.

While adding fenugreek to your diet, remember its health benefits and also remember its contraindications and remember too that some presumed back up don’t have sufficient scientific claims.

SOURCE: blog.prepsholar.com/fenugreek-benefits-side-effects

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/3000083/

www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogspot/post/fenugreek-can-increase-male-libido/2011/06/20/AG0xpqcH_blog.html

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