February 7, 2012
By John Phillip
“This does not mean you should start eating Hershey bars. It has to be REAL chocolate.” –KTRN
Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths annually, a statistic that remains constant despite increased awareness of the deadly disease. Researchers from the Science and Technology Institute of Food and Nutrition in Spain have published the result of a study in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research detailing the potent anti-carcinogenic effect of the natural chocolate compound, cocoa. Scientists determined for the first time that regular consumption of cocoa negates the inflammatory effect of digestive oxidative stress that results in intestinal complaints and is a precursor to the genesis of colon cancer. Cocoa is now considered a superfood as it has been shown to improve blood lipids and help prevent cardiovascular disease in past research. The result of this current study demonstrates that a daily dose of the compound can help prevent colon cancer progression.
Researchers studied rats that had been fed a cocoa-rich diet consisting of twelve percent cocoa, as compared to a control group that received the same diet with the chocolate compound enrichment. Both groups were exposed to a chemical known to induce colon cancer. Animals such as mice and rats have been used for decades to conduct this type of research because they exhibit a similar line of carcinogenesis that is comparable to humans.
The study leader, Dr. Maria Angeles Martin Arribas noted “Being exposed to different poisons in the diet like toxins, mutagens and pro-carcinogens, the intestinal mucus is very susceptible to pathologies…foods like cocoa, which is rich in polyphenols, seems to play an important role in protecting against disease.” After a period of eight weeks, the scientists were able to confirm the protective effect of cocoa polyphenols in protecting against this insidious form of digestive cancer.
The study results showed a marked decrease in the number of pre-malignant neoplastic crypts in the lining of the colon in the cocoa-treated group as compared to the control animals. Further, the researchers found a rise in antioxidant defenses in the supplemented rats and a decrease in oxidative stress biomarkers that are known to be protective against chemical exposure and the prevention of colorectal cancer.
October 19, 2011
By Ethan A. Huff
Overuse and overprescription of antibiotic drugs has become a widely known culprit in causing the emergence of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs,” as well as the onset of digestive and other health problems, caused by the elimination of beneficial gut flora. But a new review published in the journal Nature suggests that such gut flora alterations could be permanent.
Professor Martin Blaser from New York University’s (NYU) Langone Medical Center has been studying the long-term effects of antibiotics on gut flora, which has already confirmed a definitive link between antibiotics and the disruption of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system. But what his research also seems to confirm is the possibility that such disruption might be permanent, at least in some individuals, and thus carry with it lifelong health consequences.
“Early evidence from my lab and others hints that, sometimes, our friendly flora never fully recover,” writes Blaser in his shocking editorial. “These long-term changes to the beneficial bacteria within people’s bodies may even increase our susceptibility to infections and disease. Overuse of antibiotics could be fueling the dramatic increase in conditions such as obesity, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, allergies and asthma, which have more than doubled in many populations.”
Blaser suggests that, even at this preliminary stage, restrictions be put in place to clamp down on the rampant overprescription of antibiotics to young children and pregnant women, a misguided practice that is likely responsible for causing each new generation to “[begin] life with a smaller endowment of ancient microbes than the last.”
If antibiotics truly are responsible for causing a permanent imbalance of gut microbiome in some people, then supplementation with probiotics may also be necessary throughout such individuals’ entire lives in order to simply maintain a normal, healthy balance.
At this point in time, vastly reducing the prescription rates of antibiotics to people of all ages — and particularly to young children and pregnant mothers — is of first priority. Along with this is a much-needed ban on the use of growth hormones and antibiotics in conventional cattle-raising operations, which end up in the food products eaten by millions of Americans every single day.
July 1, 2010
By David Gutierrez
(NaturalNews) Weight loss drugs may result only in minor weight loss, even after long-term use, according to a new study conducted by Brazilian and Canadian researchers and published in the British Medical Journal.
Researchers conducted meta-analyses of a number of studies conducted on the weight-loss drugs orlistat (marketed as Xenical and Alli), rimonabant (marketed as Acomplia) and sibutramine (marketed as Meridia), and found that users lost an average of less than 11 pounds, even after one to four years of use. Several key indicators of cardiovascular health were improved by taking the drugs, however.
Researchers examined 16 studies on orlistat, which operates by preventing the body from digesting fats. The average long-term user of orlistat lost only 7 pounds and had reduced diabetes risk, blood pressure and cholesterol. As many as 30 percent of users experienced digestive side effects.
May 20, 2010
By Jenifer Goodwin
(HealthDay News) — Children born by cesarean section may be more likely to develop celiac disease, a chronic digestive disorder, than children born vaginally, new research finds.
Researchers analyzed data on almost 2,000 children seen at gastrointestinal outpatient clinics for celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and other gastrointestinal diseases, and compared their rates of C-section vs. vaginal delivery to children who had not been diagnosed with any gastrointestinal conditions.
Compared to children born vaginally, children delivered by C-section were 80 percent more likely to develop celiac disease.
“We did not find any association with the inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis,” said lead study author Dr. Mathias Hornef of Hannover Medical School in Germany. “We did see a moderate but significant association with celiac disease.”
People with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder, have an abnormal immune reaction to gluten, the protein found in wheat, barley and rye. This leads to inflammation and damage to the lining of the small intestine.
The study is published in the June issue of Pediatrics.
Researchers aren’t sure why there could be a link between the mode of delivery and celiac disease, but one possible explanation is that children born via C-section don’t pick up the same microbes from their mothers as babies that pass through the vaginal canal, Hornef said. This alters the infant’s colonization with gut microflora, or “good” microbes, that aid in digestion and fending off pathogens.
May 5, 2010
People who take aspirin regularly for a year or more may be at an increased risk of developing Crohn’s disease, according to a new study by the University of East Anglia.
Led by Dr Andrew Hart of UEA’s School of Medicine, the research will be presented for the first time at the Digestive Disease Week conference in New Orleans today.
Crohn’s disease is a serious condition affecting 60,000 people in the UK and 500,000 people in the US. It is characterized by inflammation and swelling of any part of the digestive system. This can lead to debilitating symptoms and requires patients to take life-long medication. Some patients need surgery and some sufferers have an increased risk of bowel cancer.
Though there are likely to be many causes of the disease, previous work on tissue samples has shown that aspirin can have a harmful effect on the bowel. To investigate this potential link further, the UEA team followed 200,000 volunteers aged 30-74 in the UK, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Italy. The volunteers had been recruited for the EPIC study (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) between 1993 and 1997.
The volunteers were all initially well, but by 2004 a small number had developed Crohn’s disease. When looking for differences in aspirin use between those who did and did not develop the disease, the researchers discovered that those taking aspirin regularly for a year or more were around five times more likely to develop Crohn’s disease.
The study also showed that aspirin use had no effect on the risk of developing ulcerative colitis – a condition similar to Crohn’s disease.
“This is early work but our findings do suggest that the regular use of aspirin could be one of many factors which influences the development of this distressing disease in some patients,” said Dr Hart.
“Aspirin does have many beneficial effects, however, including helping to prevent heart attacks and strokes. I would urge aspirin users to continue taking this medication since the risk of aspirin users possibly developing Crohn’s disease remains very low – only one in every 2000 users, and the link is not yet finally proved.”
Further work must now be done in other populations to establish whether there is a definite link and to check that aspirin use is not just a marker of another risk factor which is the real cause of Crohn’s disease. The UEA team will also continue its wider research into other potential factors in the development of Crohn’s disease, including diet.
April 16, 2010
by David Gutierrez
Artificial sweeteners may cause metabolic changes in how the body reacts to real sugar, according to a study conducted by researchers from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Conventional scientific wisdom has been that because artificial sweeteners such as saccharin, aspartame and sucralose do not contain significant amounts of carbohydrates, they are simply ignored by the body’s sugar-regulating functions. Researchers tested this premise by assigning 22 healthy young volunteers of normal weight to fast for several hours, then drink either a diet soda (about two-thirds of a can) or an equivalent amount of carbonated water. Ten minutes later, all participants drank a sugary beverage and their body’s response was measured.
Increases in blood glucose levels were identical in both groups, but participants who had consumed the artificially sweetened drink first showed larger increases in circulating levels of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). This hormone, which is released by the gut when food enters the stomach, signals the brain to create the sensation of “fullness.” This reaction has not been observed in people consuming artificial sweeteners on their own.
“Our data demonstrate that artificial sweeteners synergize with glucose to enhance GLP-1 release in healthy volunteers,” the researchers wrote.
The implications of the finding are not clear. Although they appear to suggest that consuming artificially sweetened products might actually cause people to eat less over the long term, previous studies have shown the opposite result. Whether artificial sweeteners produce more fullness, damage the brain’s ability to regulate calorie intake, or produce some more complex reaction remains unknown.
It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that artificial sweeteners do have a significant effect on the body’s reaction to other food.
“In light of the large number of individuals using artificial sweeteners on a daily basis, it appears essential to carefully investigate the associated effects on metabolism and weight,” the researchers wrote.