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Health & Wellness Insight Alert Archive

Have a look at some of our recent alerts. These give broad coverage of the industry - if you want something more specific create your own here.

<<45678910111213>> Total issues:151

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December 01, 2013, to December 15, 2013

Daily Exercise Erases Deleterious Effects Of Over-Eating, Lounging

A British study involving 26 healthy, active young men who were asked to do “a lot of sitting and gorging themselves” for seven days found that those who stopped exercising completely experienced a significant, unhealthy decline in blood sugar control. In addition, their fat cells began over-expressing certain genes associated with unhealthy metabolic changes while under-expressing genes linked to a healthy metabolism. Participants who continued to exercise daily – even though they upped their calorie intake – were not affected the same way. Blood sugar control and fat cell gene expression remained normal, compared to the sedentary men.

Blood-Brain Barrier Finding Means Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help Treat Alzheimer’s

Swedish research finds that omega-3 fatty acids in dietary supplements can cross the blood-brain barrier in people with Alzheimer's disease, affecting known markers for both the disease itself and inflammation. Earlier studies found evidence that omega-3 fatty acids protect the brain from Alzheimer’s, but the new findings strengthen the argument that omega-3s may benefit patients with certain forms of the seriously debilitating disease. Thirty-three patients participated in the study: 18 received a daily supplement; 15 received a placebo for six months. The results show that the omega-3 group – but not the placebo group – had higher levels of both DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, another omega-3 fatty acid) in their cerebrospinal fluid and blood.

Alternating Days Of Low-Calorie And Regular Eating Has Health, Weight Loss Benefits

People who have tried intermittent food restriction – not quite strict feasting and then fasting – have found some health benefits in the practice, though most evidence so far is anecdotal. Intermittent restriction involves eating between 500 and 650 calories a day, every other day. On alternate days eating is normal. One 41-year-old man who has tried it for about a year – after a month-long “angry, grumpy” adjustment period – has lost 50 pounds, stopped taking medication for diabetes and no longer has stomach ulcers. A British study among three groups of overweight breast cancer patients found that two intermittent restriction groups lost twice as much weight as the daily calorie restriction group.

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November 15, 2013, to December 01, 2013

Further Benefits Of Low-Fat Diet Supplemented With Fish Oil For Prostate Cancer Patients

A low-fat – less than 15 percent – diet combined with regular intake of fish oil supplements (five grams a day) lowered the levels of inflammation-causing substances in the blood of prostate cancer patients. The diet also lowered the cell cycle progression score, a measure used to predict the recurrence of the disease. The study is follows up earlier research that found a low-fat diet with fish oil supplements eaten for four to six weeks prior to prostate removal slowed the growth of cancer cells in human prostate cancer tissue compared to a traditional, high-fat Western diet.

To Maintain A Healthy Weight, Be Consistent When Going To Bed, Getting Up

Research has consistently found that sleep is critical to reaching or maintaining a healthy weight. New research among women, however, has found that it’s not just about getting enough sleep:  going to bed – and getting up – at roughly the same time also have an impact on weight. The research among 300 women at two Western U.S. universities found that participants who went to bed and woke up at, or around, the same time each day had lower body fat. In fact, those with more than 90 minutes of variation in sleep and wake time during the week had higher body fat than those with less than 60 minutes of variation.

Head And Neck Cancers May Someday Be Treated By Asian Vegetable Extract

Laboratory animal experiments by U.S. researchers have found that an extract of an Asian vegetable may have the potential to treat head and neck cancer, a frequently aggressive form of cancer that accounts for six percent of all cancer cases. The researchers showed in mice that extract of bitter melon, a vegetable commonly used in Indian and Chinese diets, reduced the head and neck cancer cell and growth. People in Asia use the vegetable in stir fries, salads, and juices. Head and neck cancers often start in the mouth, nose, sinuses, voice box or throat. They tend to spread from one part of the head or neck to another.

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November 01, 2013, to November 15, 2013

Some Vegetable Oils Do Not Help Lower Cholesterol Levels

Researchers who published a study on the content of vegetable oils urge the Canadian government to rethink its advice on the health benefits of corn oil and safflower oil. The two commonly used oils have been on a list of oils recommended because of purported cholesterol-lowering effects. But the researchers found that the two oils contain high levels of omega-6 linoleic acid, but almost no heart-healthy omega-3 α-linoleic acids. Labels on corn oil and sunflower oil products are allowed the claim: “a reduced risk of heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels”. That claim is not warranted in the case of omega-6 linoleic acids, the researchers argue.

Popular Food Bloggers Come Up Short On Nutritional Recipes

U.S. researchers who analyzed the recipe recommendations of several popular food blogs found that many of the recipes were acceptable in calories, but excessive in saturated fat and sodium. The researchers noted that the meal photos on the six blogs were probably more attractive than the actual nutritional content of the foods. Another downside is that food companies sponsor the sites, so the recipes are actually advertisements for company products. “The public should be aware of the nutritional limitations of popular food blogs,” the researchers concluded. They recommended that dietitians help bloggers modify blog recipes and partner with bloggers “to improve the nutritional profile of recipes”.

“Tearless” Onion Is Easier On The Eyes, Promotes A Healthy Heart, And Helps Weight Loss

Scientists in New Zealand have developed an onion that makes a “tearless” sulfur compound similar to that found in garlic. Consumers who use the new onion in recipes not only avoid the tears associated with regular onions, they may also be providing the heart-healthy benefits associated with garlic eating. The scientists found in lab tests that tearless onion extracts significantly reduced blood platelet clumping (reducing the risk of heart disease), and had about the same anti-inflammatory properties as the regular version. Preliminary testing in rats also showed that the tearless onion could help control weight gain, more so than regular onions or garlic.

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October 15, 2013, to November 01, 2013

Doing Housework Doesn’t Really Provide Exercise Benefits, Study Finds

A lot of people include the time spent doing household chores as self-reported daily exercise. But a new British study actually shows a negative relationship between housework and leanness. In fact, people who included moderate to vigorous housework as part of their exercise routine tended to be heavier. This suggests that doing household chores probably doesn’t provide the benefits normally associated with meeting physical activity guidelines. The U.K. Department of Health recommends 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a week. Only 43 percent of the population, however, said they meet or exceed the guidelines; two thirds included at least 10 minutes of housework in their weekly tally.

Calcium Supplements Are Safe, But The Best Source Is The Diet

To combat osteoporosis, patients should maintain an adequate intake of calcium, but the source of the important mineral is essential to its effectiveness, In fact, say researchers at the University of California San Francisco who reviewed earlier studies, patients and health care practitioners should focus on getting calcium from the diet – e.g., food products fortified with calcium, plus kale, broccoli and bok choy – rather than from supplements. The researchers noted, however, that if patients cannot get adequate calcium from the diet, supplements are safe and not associated with cardiovascular problems, despite recent reports to the contrary.

Doctors Report On Cases Of Severe Liver Damage After Consumption Of Weight Loss Supplements

U.S. researchers have reported on four cases of severe liver problems that occurred after consumption of weight loss supplements, an energy drink and an energy drink. In one case, a woman who had fasted for three weeks, then ingested SlimQuick for two days, suffered liver failure and underwent a liver transplant. Other case studies involved: a woman who entered the early stages of cirrhosis after taking black cohosh to ease menstrual symptoms; a man who developed liver failure after consuming three Rockstar Sugar Free energy drinks; and a woman who suffered liver injury after three weeks of drinking Ripped Fuel, an advanced weight loss supplement. Diagnosis of liver problems is difficult when weight loss supplements are involved because patients often fail to inform their physicians.

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October 01, 2013, to October 15, 2013

DNA Testing Finds Contamination Of Many Herbal Dietary Products

A study using DNA barcoding to analyze the plant species found in samples of herbal supplements found that 59 percent were contaminated with plant species not listed on product labels. Worse, more than two thirds of the products tested contained plant species that were substituted for the plants listed on label. A third of the products also contained other species that may be filler or simply contamination. The U.S. study also found in some products plant species that were toxic, had side effects or had negative interactions with other herbs, supplements, or medications. The researchers suggested that the herbal industry use molecular diagnostic tools such as DNA barcoding to authenticate herbal products by testing of raw materials.

High Polyphenol Consumption Linked To Longer Life

Italian and U.S. scientists have for the first time used a nutritional biomarker – not just questionnaire data –  to prove that consumption of polyphenols – basically a diet rich in fruits and vegetables – increases lifespan. Polyphenols are compounds found in fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, nuts, legumes and cereals. They have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties. The 12-year study followed 807 men and women aged 65 and over, measuring a biomarker known as total urinary polyphenol (TUP) concentration. Results showed that a high TUP – more than 650 mg of polyphenols a day – was associated with a 30 percent reduction in mortality.

Forty Years Of National Nutrition Survey Data Are “Implausible” – Study

U.S. researchers have found that the measurement protocols used in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) have significant limitations, rendering the nutrition data collected via the survey flawed and “implausible”. The NHANES survey, conducted by the CDC and USDA, combines interviews of self-reported food and beverage consumption over 24 hours and physical examinations to assess the health and nutritional status of the U.S. population. The researchers said data collected in the survey from 1971 through 2009 are not “physiologically credible”, because the "calories in" and the "calories out" reported by the 63,000 adult men and women don't add up. In fact, it would be impossible to survive on most of the reported energy intakes. ”It is time to stop spending tens of millions of health research dollars collecting invalid data and find more accurate measures," the researchers concluded.

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September 15, 2013, to October 01, 2013

Increasing Opportunities For Incorporating Whole Grains In Foods And Beverages

Opportunities to include whole grains in food and beverage products are on the rise, though there are technical problems to overcome. Experts advise manufacturers to be careful about the type of grains and processing techniques used. A major focus in the beverage industry is adding whole grains to smoothies. Jamba Juice partnered with Quaker Oats to create a beverage that delivers 16 grams of whole grains per serving. The key to getting the right texture is to reduce the particle size of the whole grains, though it can be an expensive process. Beyond beverages, whole grains are being tested in pretzels. ConAgra Mills, Inc. is developing a pretzel bread that has eight grams of whole grains per serving. The company incorporated Ultragrain white whole wheat flour at 30 percent of the flour.

Walnut-Enhanced Diet Reduces Risk Of Diabetes And Heart Disease

A small American clinical study among adults with a higher-than-healthy body mass index (BMI) finds that consuming walnuts can improve blood vessel dilation and reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Participants had a BMI larger than 25, and a waist circumference exceeding 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women. All had one or more risk factors for metabolic syndrome, a precursor of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The group was randomly assigned to two 8-week sequences, eating either a walnut-enriched – 56 grams a day – regular diet or a regular diet without walnuts. Those on the walnut-enhanced diet showed improved blood flow in the brachial arterly and lower systolic blood pressure. And eating the walnuts did not lead to weight gain.

Study Finds That The Brain Needs Sweets, But Not The Fake Kind

The brain likes sweets, and is not fooled by the artificial varieties, according to new U.S. research. The study in mice discovered a physiological brain signal critical for determining choice between sugars and sweeteners. The signal regulates dopamine levels, the chemical necessary for reward signaling in the brain, and is activated only when sugar is broken down into a form usable as fuel for cells to function. In other words, greater reward in the brain is attributed to sugars than to artificial sweeteners. To sidestep the obesity problem associated with sugar intake, the researchers suggest combining sweeteners with minimal amounts of sugar. That way energy metabolism doesn't drop, and caloric intake is minimized.

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September 01, 2013, to September 15, 2013

Physically Fit Children Learn And Retain Information Better Than Less Fit Peers

Children aged nine and ten who were physically fit performed better on learning and memory tests than less-fit peers, according to a study by U.S. researchers. Forty-eight children were asked to memorize names and locations on a fictitious map. They were allowed to study the information or were tested as they studied. Half the children were in the top 30 percent of their age group on a test measuring aerobic fitness; the other half scored in the lowest 30 percent. When the children were asked to recall the information they had studied, those who were physically fit performed better than those who were not as fit.

Positive Attitude Means More Exercise, Longer Lives, For Heart Disease Patients

Researchers in Denmark and The Netherlands who assessed the moods of 600 heart disease patients hospital found after five years that patients who maintained a positive attitude exercised more and had a 42 percent less chance of dying for any reason. Patients with a less positive attitude were nearly twice as likely to die. Positive mood and exercise also cut the risk of heart-related hospitalizations. The researchers advised that heart patients should be encouraged to exercise, no matter their mood, because exercise tends to improve attitude of patients.

Copper And Its Alloys Destroy Infectious, Costly Norovirus Pathogen

The highly infectious norovirus bug is responsible for 267 million cases of acute gastroenteritis worldwide each year, costing millions of dollars in health care expenses. There is no specific treatment or vaccine for the virus, which is contracted from contaminated food or water, and from human and surface contact. But scientists in the U.K. have found that norovirus is rapidly destroyed on copper and its alloys, especially on alloys containing more than 60 percent copper. The researchers said using antimicrobial surfaces containing copper in clinical and community environments, such as cruise ships and care facilities, could help reduce the spread of the costly pathogen.

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August 15, 2013, to September 01, 2013

Whole Fruits, But Not Fruit Juices, Reduce The Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

The first study to examine the impact of individual fruits on the risk of type 2 diabetes has found that blueberries, grapes and apples are particularly effective at preventing the disease. However, the U.S. study found, drinking fruit juices significantly increased the risk. Researchers examined diet and health data gathered between 1984 and 2008 from 187,382 participants in threMore than 12,000 participants developed diabetes during the study period. People who ate at least two servings a week of certain whole fruits reduced their risk 23 percent compared to those who ate less than one serving a month. Those who consumed one or more servings of apple, orange, grapefruit, or other fruit juices each day increased their risk by 21 percent.

Broccoli Compound Seems To Improve Joint Health

The compound sulforaphane, which is found in cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage and particularly broccoli, slows the destruction of cartilage in joints affected by osteoarthritis, a British study in mice has found. Earlier research suggested that sulforaphane has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. But in this study researchers showed that sulforaphane blocks the enzymes that cause joint destruction by stopping a key molecule known to cause inflammation. The researchers are launching a small clinical trial to test the impact of sulforaphane on the joints of patients slated to have knee replacement surgery.

Caffeine Shown To Have Therapeutic Effect On Fatty Liver Disease

Researchers in the U.S. and Singapore have found evidence that increasing caffeine intake could reduce fatty liver in people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Results from lab culture and animal tests showed that caffeine stimulates the metabolism of lipids stored in liver cells, decreasing the fatty liver of lab animals. The U.S. researchers said that consuming the equivalent caffeine intake of four cups of coffee or tea a day may help prevent and protect against the progression of NAFLD in humans. Their findings may lead to the development of caffeine-like drugs that do not have caffeine side effects, but do retain the therapeutic effects on the liver.

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August 01, 2013, to August 15, 2013

Purple Is The Trendy Fall Color For The Food And Beverage Industries

Microbreweries, candy makers, snack food manufacturers and other food companies are showing an extraordinary interest in anthocyanin-rich purple corn ingredients, according to a firm that supplies the compounds. Consumers are catching on to the health benefits of phytonutrients, and seem especially hip to “purple foods,” according to Suntava Inc. The company, which says its purple corn packs twice the antioxidant power of blueberries, has arrangements with growers in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin to grow non-GMO purple corn. The company is talking to a big beer company in Japan and top microbreweries in the U.S.

Poor Food Choices Linked To Sleep Deprivation

A U.S. study that used functional magnetic resonance imaging to look at the brain regions that control food choices found unusual activity patterns in the brains of sleep-deprived individuals. Activity in the frontal lobe of sleep-deprived individuals – the area involved in complex decision making – was impaired, while activity in areas deeper in the brain that respond to rewards increased. The researchers said that high-calorie foods become significantly more desirable when participants are sleep-deprived, “which may help explain why people who sleep less also tend to be overweight or obese”.

Scientists Report On A Simple Way To Revive Frozen Broccoli’s Anti-Cancer Benefits

U.S. scientists who earlier reported that frozen broccoli lacks the anti-cancer properties of fresh broccoli have now reported that there’s a simple, inexpensive way to fix the problem. In one study, the researchers showed how the process of freezing broccoli – heating to high temperatures to inactivate damaging enzymes – removes the ability of the vegetable to form a cancer-fighting phytochemical known as sulforaphane. But in a new study, the same researchers demonstrated that food processing companies can still blanch and freeze broccoli, but they can then sprinkle it with a minute amount of a cruciferous vegetable – radish, cabbage, etc. That process joins two chemicals that create sulforaphane, reviving broccoli’s cancer-fighting benefits.

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July 15, 2013, to August 01, 2013

New Gadget Measures Acetone Expelled From Lungs When Fat Is Burned

Japanese scientists have developed a pocket-sized breathalyzer that measures -- not alcohol -- in the breath, but acetone, an indicator of fat metabolism. Acetone is expelled through the lungs when fat is broken down. The new device can detect acetone at concentration sin  the range of 0.2 to 50 parts-per-million. It weighs only 4.5 ounces and uses two AA batteries. It uses a pressure sensor to detect exhaled breath and two types of semiconductor-based sensors to detect acetone. The researchers believe their device will be useful in estimating fat loss from changes in breath acetone concentrations and determining whether diets are really working.

Exercise Changes How Genes For Disease Are Expressed

Researchers in Sweden who used technology to analyze the genomes of 23 slightly overweight, healthy young men after aerobic exercise found that epigenetic changes had taken place in 7,000 of their genes. They specifically found changes in genes in fat cells linked to type 2 diabetes and obesity, suggesting that DNA methylation – determining whether genes are expressed or not – after physical activity could be one of the ways these genes affect the risk of disease. In other words, exercise has a positive effect on genes because the epigenetic pattern of genes that affect fat storage changes.

Consumers Should Be Careful About Eating Seafood, But Should Not Ignore Its Health Benefits

Consumers should be concerned about whether the seafood they eat is safe, but nutritionists say the health value of seafood far outweighs the risks. Eating two 3- to 5-ounce servings a week of fish such as salmon, oysters and rainbow trout provide an average of 250 mg/day of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. A professor at the University of Southern California said consumers can safely eat 12 ounces of a variety of cooked seafood a week, so long as they heed local seafood advisories “and limit their intake of large, predatory fish like shark”.
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