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2021 Publication Archive

“Can Diet Affect Cancer Risks ?”

Sep 19, 2021

Many factors can contribute to the development of chronic diseases, including certain types of cancer. The link between diet and cancer risk is complicated. However, certain dietary patterns and food choices do have associations with an increased risk of cancer. In 2018, an estimated 18.1 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed globally, and 9.6 million died from the disease. One in 5 men and 1 in 6 women worldwide will develop cancer during their lifetime, and 1 in 8 men and 1 in 11 women will die from cancer. The increasing cancer burden is due to several factors, including population growth and aging. Eliminating or lowering exposure to known lifestyle and environmental risk factors could prevent from one‐third to two‐fifths of new cancer cases. Research shows that environmental causes, including dietary, can also affect cancer risk. In the early 1960s, researchers discovered that cancer rates varied between countries and identified that specific dietary patterns have correlations with certain types of cancer. They also discovered that cancer rates in people from countries with a low cancer risk who migrated to countries with higher cancer risk matched or exceeded the cancer rates in the country they migrated to. This suggests that diet and lifestyle strongly impacted cancer development. Since then, researchers have narrowed down the specific foods and dietary patterns that may increase the risk of certain cancers. It is important to remember that alcohol intake is also a known dietary risk factor for cancer development.

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“Four Powerful Supplements”

Sep 12, 2021

Thousands of supplements are readily available and tirelessly promoted. Some are effective and can bring health benefits, while others may be purely snake oil. But there are several little-known supplements whose health benefits rival those of currently available prescription drugs. Curcumin (Turmeric). Curcumin is a biologically active polyphenolic compound found in turmeric, which is a spice made from the rhizomes of Curcuma longa Linn, a perennial shrub indigenous to India. Curcumin has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes and is most commonly cultivated and consumed in Asian countries. In several studies, curcumin has been shown to decrease pain when taken over the long term. Curcumin seems to have anti-cancer benefits due to its ability to initiate autophagy. It has also been shown to decrease risks for colorectal, prostate, and breast cancers. And, for those with cancer, curcumin may enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy as well as protect healthy cells from radiation therapy. The recommended daily dose for curcumin is approximately 500 mg. Because it’s fat-soluble, curcumin should be taken with a meal or other source of fat (e.g., fish oil) to boost absorption.  Editor:  Please see the full article for the other three supplements.

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“Energy Boosters”

Sep 05, 2021

A good old cup of coffee is the go-to panacea for everyday low energy and fatigue. 54% of Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee every day. Americans average 3.1 cups a day and the average size of a cup is 9 oz. Coffee’s caffeine jolt can temporarily boost alertness, perk up performance, and possibly even improve concentration. But caffeine is a drug, and as with any drug, there are right ways and wrong ways to use it. Caffeine can be worrisome for people with high blood pressure, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Plus, caffeine can interact poorly with some common medications, and it can worsen insomnia, anxiety, and heartburn. There are several disorders in which fatigue is pronounced, and they typically trace their pathology back to mitochondrial dysfunction. Vitamin D deficiency—which is common worldwide—is a principal cause of such fatigue and myopathy. In 1976, the American Egg Board created the slogan “The Incredible, Edible Egg.” This slogan became a pre-Internet meme of sorts, garnering what we would now refer to as viral status. Somewhere along the line, people developed a disdain for eggs due to concerns about cholesterol. However, studies on dietary lipids and CVD incidence have shown that dietary cholesterol is not an independent risk factor for heart disease. Today, eggs remain both incredible and, well, edible. Eggs provide a nutrient-dense source of energy from protein and fat, approximately 75 kcal per large egg, as well as several B vitamins, including thiamin, riboflavin, folate, B12, and B6, which are required to produce energy by the body.

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“Genetically Modified Foods (GM Foods) Facts”

Aug 29, 2021

Despite their widespread use, consumers worldwide do not always have access to sufficient and accurate information about genetically modified foods (GM foods). Genetically modified foods have frequently given rise to controversy, which means that it can sometimes be difficult to tell fact from misconception. Genetically modified foods (GM foods), often called bioengineered foods or “transgenic foods,” continue to be a controversial topic of discussion. There is further skepticism surrounding their safety and environmental and health impacts. GM foods have undergone deliberate changes to their DNA (genetic material) to introduce traits that do not naturally occur in that food. Genes from one organism are placed into another organism using recombinant DNA technology. The final food product is called GM or bioengineered food. This genetic modification may be carried out to enhance the agricultural features of the crop or improve its nutritional value. GM foods are a subcategory of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which also include the genetic modification of microorganisms and animals. The practice of manipulating the genetic material of crops to yield desirable traits is not new, with records dating back 10,000 years ago in Southwest Asia. Traditionally, crossbreeding, grafting, and selective breeding methods were used to rear produce with specific traits and were deemed desirable for both agricultural success and consumer expectations.

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“Is There a Hangover Cure ?”

Aug 22, 2021

“Hair of the dog” won’t help a hangover, but certain plant extracts will, researchers have found. Researchers in Germany (Prost!) have reported in BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health that a plant-based concoction of fruits, leaves, and roots may help to relieve symptoms of veisalgia (the medical term for a hangover).  They were given a supplement dissolved in sugar water. The mixture included specific plant extracts, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant compounds commonly believed to ease the physical and psychological symptoms associated with drinking alcohol. The plant extracts included Barbados cherry (also known as acerola), prickly pear, Ginkgo biloba, white willow, and ginger root. The vitamins and minerals included magnesium, potassium, sodium bicarbonate, zinc, riboflavin, thiamin, and folic acid. The antioxidant compounds were steviol glycosides and inulin. The researchers gathered 214 healthy adults in a well-lit room and let them drink as much beer, wine, wine spritzer, or “radler” (a mix of beer and fizzy lemonade, popular in Germany) as they wanted over the course of 4 hours. Also, before the 4-hour “alcohol intake phase,” the researchers distributed 3 different premixed solutions to 3 groups of randomized participants. The first group received a mixture containing the plant extracts, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant compounds. The second group was given a similar mixture of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants but without plant extracts. The third group got only sugar water (placebo). Participants reported wide variations in the intensity of their symptoms.

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“Habits that Pack On Pounds”

Aug 08, 2021

An estimated 45 million Americans go on some sort of diet each year. The path to weight loss is rife with surprise twists and turns. Most weight-loss advice focuses on improving your diet and getting more exercise. These strategies are effective, but they’re also arguably difficult to turn into long-term habits. Here are some harmless health habits that might actually be causing you to pack on the pounds and push your health goals out of reach. Eating Off A Large Plate. For better portion control, use a smaller dish, experts say. Study participants with larger bowls ate 31% more ice cream on average than those with smaller bowls. Furthermore, participants with larger spoons served themselves 14.5% more ice cream than those with smaller spoons, regardless of bowl size. When selecting plates from the buffet line, patrons with an estimated higher body mass index (BMI) were more likely to select larger plates than patrons with estimated lower BMIs. Drinking Diet Soda. Soft drinks made with artificial sweeteners, like aspartame and saccharin, may help you feel like you’re dodging a sugary bullet, but these beloved beverages have health repercussions.

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“Benefits of the Keto Diet”

Aug 01, 2021

The ketogenic (keto) diet and other low-carb eating plans have gained steam in the battle against obesity. Although these diet strategies are effective at inducing weight loss, there is concern about possible repercussions—especially when such diets are followed for long periods of time. The keto diet is best known for weight loss, but studies show it may help certain diseases. Very low-carbohydrate diets (i.e., ketogenic diets or KDs) limit carbohydrate consumption to fewer than 50 grams per day, which are typically derived from non-starchy vegetables. After a few days on a keto diet, the production of energy switches to burning fat. This switch yields ketone bodies, which takes the place of glucose as an energy source for the central nervous system. People on ketogenic diets experience weight loss because of lower insulin levels, a diuretic effect, and a decreased sense of hunger.” Negative effects include light-headedness, fatigue, dizziness, and constipation; this temporary condition is known as the “keto flu.” Evidence that bridges nutrition and cancer immunosurveillance is limited. KD and 3HB slowed natural tumor progression in the absence of additional therapeutic intervention, but they also accelerated and improved the efficacy of cICB (combination immune checkpoint blockade) against established and aggressive orthotopic melanoma, lung, and renal cell cancers. In clinical trials, the ketogenic diet has proven effective in those with adult epilepsy, adult malignant glioma, and Alzheimer disease. According to the authors of a review published in Brain Sciences, “As each of these pathophysiologic factors can be influenced through diet manipulation, it is logical and reasonable that diet could alter the course and outcomes of these and other neurologic disorders that share common pathways.

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“Alcohol Can Trigger Atrial Fibrillation”

Jul 26, 2021

A new study, presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 70th Annual Scientific Session, found that alcohol appears to have an immediate effect on heart rhythm, significantly increasing the chance that an episode of atrial fibrillation (AFib) will occur. AFib is the most common heart rhythm disorder. It is often characterized by a rapid, chaotic and fluttery heartbeat. People can experience a range of symptoms. Some may not feel anything, while others are overcome with severe shortness of breath, fatigue, fainting or near fainting spells and a disconcerting sensation that the heart is beating out of control. AFib also results in costly use of health care services, including visits to the emergency department, hospitalizations, and procedures each year. Over time, AFib can lead to heart failure, stroke, and dementia, if untreated. Gregory M. Marcus, MD, cardiologist, and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said “Based on our data, we found that alcohol can acutely influence the likelihood that an episode of AFib will occur within a few hours, and the more alcohol consumed, the higher the risk of having an event.” Overall, more than half (56) had an episode of AFib during the four-week study. “Patients have been telling us that alcohol is a trigger for AFib for a long time, but it’s been hard, if not impossible, to study because there is a critical temporal relationship that requires a real-time assessment of alcohol intake and heart rhythm,” Marcus said.

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“Food Addiction A Myth”

Jul 11, 2021

Food addiction is a concept that researchers use to describe compulsive eating habits in humans, which may resemble addiction-like behaviors. However, there is no universally accepted clinical definition of “food addiction,” and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) does not list it as a condition. Some researchers propose food addiction as a potential underlying cause of obesity in the U.S. and liken it to the addictive behaviors that people with substance abuse often display. Environmental cues, which include the sight, smell, and even appearance of foods, may trigger food cravings. Research indicates that some individuals may be more likely than others to experience addiction to palatable foods — meaning foods that are high in fat and sugar. Researchers have identified some behaviors associated with this concept. These include compulsive overeating, even in the absence of hunger; cravings for high fat and sugary foods; difficulty in controlling food intake; and binge eating and disordered eating patterns. Data from 2009, 2011, 2016, 2018, and 2019, among others, have highlighted that palatable foods — or even foods in general — stimulate the same parts of the brain and share the same neuronal activities as illicit substances.

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“Migraines Can Be Serious”

Jul 04, 2021

Migraine is a common condition, affecting more than 37 million people in the United States and up to 148 million worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), migraine is around twice as common in women than men. Often, the primary migraine symptom is a moderate to severe headache, and 85% of people with migraine headaches experience throbbing pain. However, for around 60% of people, the pain is one-sided, and about 80% of people experience nausea and 30% vomiting. In addition, almost everyone with migraine has increased sensitivity to light (90%) and sound (80%). Most types of migraine are not serious; however, they can be chronic and sometimes debilitating and disabling if not adequately treated. Migraine is actually a primary headache disorder and is much more than just a headache. In fact, headaches are only one symptom of migraine, and some migraines don’t have a headache at all. Some people might experience a so-called prodrome stage with subtle changes in their daily routine up to a day or two before a migraine sets in — a sort of warning period. A few of the most common prodromal signs are excessive yawning, depression, irritability, and a stiff neck. These warning signs provide an opportunity to initiate treatment very early in the course of the migraine episode, which significantly improves the likelihood that the treatment will be successful. Drinking caffeinated beverages can start a migraine attack, but “caffeine withdrawal” is an even more frequent migraine trigger.

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