Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Gut Bacteria Supplements Might Boost Obese People’s Health

Gut Bacteria Supplements Might Boost Obese People’s Health

 

Supplements of a type of gut bacteria may benefit people at heightened risk of diabetes and heart disease, a preliminary study suggests.

Researchers found that the supplements, containing bacteria called Akkermansia muciniphila, appear safe and potentially effective.

Over three months, volunteers who used a pasteurized version of the supplement lost an average of 5 pounds. Meanwhile, their cholesterol levels dipped and the progression of their “pre-diabetes” slowed.

The study was small, and designed as a “proof-of-principle” — aimed at showing the bacteria can be packaged into a supplement and taken safely.

The researchers said the initial results were promising.

“The aim is now to design a larger study,” said senior researcher Patrice Cani, a professor at the Catholic University of Louvain, in Brussels, Belgium.

Researchers have known for years that Akkermansia is less abundant in the guts of people who are obese or have type 2 diabetes.

“But that was just a simple correlation,” Cani said. So several years ago, his team started to look deeper. First, they found that in lab mice, Akkermansia — given as live bacteria — helped prevent weight gain from a high-fat diet.

The reason, Cani explained, seemed to be that the bacteria were “reinforcing the gut barrier.” That led to less leaking of substances into the blood — which allowed the body to better control blood sugar, and use sugar and fat more efficiently.

Later experiments showed that pasteurizing the bacteria boosted the benefits of live Akkermansia.

But until now, no one had tried giving the bacteria to people.

The study was published online July 1 in Nature Medicine. It’s the latest to delve into the gut “microbiome” — the trillions of bacteria and other microbes that populate the digestive tract.

Research has been revealing that those microbes may have wide-ranging effects on our health — from metabolism to immune defenses to brain function. The makeup of the gut microbiome has been linked to the risks of conditions as diverse as obesity, autoimmune diseases and depression.

The new findings are encouraging, according to researchers not involved in the work.

“The important conclusion is, this type of supplement is safe and feasible,” said Ken Cadwell, an associate professor of microbiology at NYU Langone Health in New York City. “It also shows that a larger, longer study is worth doing, and I’m excited to see that happen.”

Dr. Elena Barengolts is an endocrinologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She agreed with Cadwell. “This is top-notch research,” she said.

She and Cadwell noted that the supplement is pasteurized, which can improve safety.

And unlike live bacteria, Cadwell said, pasteurized bugs do not actually “colonize” the gut. In fact, the researchers found no change in volunteers’ overall microbiome composition.

“The reason this might be good is that you don’t have unintended consequences of changing the microbiome,” Cadwell explained. “It also means you can stop the treatment if you don’t think it’s working, and not have to worry about a permanent change to the microbiome.”

The study involved 32 volunteers who were overweight or obese and had metabolic syndrome. That’s a collection of risk factors for type 2 diabetes and heart disease — including elevated blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, and unhealthy amounts of belly fat.

The participants also had insulin resistance — a precursor to diabetes where the body gradually loses its sensitivity to the hormone insulin, which regulates blood sugar.

Twelve study participants were randomly assigned to take the pasteurized Akkermansia supplement; nine were given live bacteria; and 11 took a placebo (inactive) supplement.

After three months, people on the pasteurized supplement had lost 5 pounds, on average. Their insulin sensitivity improved by 30% in relation to the placebo group, whose sensitivity worsened. And their total cholesterol dipped by about 9% versus the placebo group, the findings showed.

To Barengolts, the weight loss — while small — is an important finding. Many people struggle with shedding extra pounds, she noted, and this was done without diet changes.

That said, no supplement can replace a healthy diet and exercise, Barengolts stressed.

Cani agreed, noting that any Akkermansia supplement would be an addition to lifestyle changes and standard medications.

Cani and a co-researcher have founded a company, A-Mansia Biotech, that is developing an Akkermansia food supplement to bring to the market.

Remember we are in this together!
Reviewed by P Carrothers
Diets and Weight Loss, Uncategorized

Diet Drinks Do Not Promote Weight Loss

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Diet Drinks Don’t Promote Weight Loss: Study

 

You might remember that we have presented this problem before, but it is good enough to bring out the subject again.

 

Although diet and sugar-free drinks are often promoted as healthier choices, a new study found they are no more helpful for losing weight or preventing weight gain than their full-sugar versions.

Diet drinks contain no sugar and are sweetened with artificial sweeteners instead, and they are often believed by consumers to be healthier. But, say researchers from Imperial College London and two Brazilian universities, there is no solid evidence to support claims they are healthier or that they help prevent obesity and obesity related diseases such as Type 2 diabetes.

“A common perception, which may be influenced by industry marketing, is that because ‘diet’ drinks have no sugar, they must be healthier and aid weight loss when used as a substitute for full sugar versions,” said Christopher Millet from Imperial’s School of Public Health. “However, we found no solid evidence to support this.”

Despite having no or very little energy content, there is a concern that artificially sweetened beverages (ASB) might trigger eating by stimulating sweet taste receptors. When coupled with the consumers’ awareness of the low-calorie content of diet drinks, people may eat more overall, which contributes to obesity, type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related health problems.

The study authors added: “Far from helping to solve the global obesity crisis, ASBs may be contributing to the problem and should not be promoted as part of a healthy diet.”

An earlier study from the University of Texas found that 59 percent of Americans drink diet sodas regularly hoping to lose weight.

Earlier studies have also found that diet sodas don’t help with weight loss. In fact, a study at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio found those who drank diet sodas were more likely to become overweight than those who drank regular sugary sodas.

 

 

Scientists found that for each can of diet soda consumed each day, the risk of obesity increased by 41 percent. After 10 years, those who drank two or more diet sodas a day increased their risk of obesity by 500 percent.

In addition, a study published in the journal Nature found that diet sodas change the microbes living in the gut in a way that increases the risk of diabetes.

Researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science found that people who regularly used artificial sweeteners, including aspartame and saccharin, had elevated levels of HbA1C, a measure of blood sugar.

Another study, this one from the University of Minnesota, found that a single diet soda daily raised the risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes by 36 percent.

Interesting facts!

 

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Diets and Weight Loss

Nuts and Seeds for a Healthy Weight

nutsandseeds

Nuts and Seeds for a Healthy Weight and a Long Life

 

Nuts and seeds are healthful, natural foods that are full of beneficial nutrients and phytochemicals. Although the myth that nuts and seeds are fattening has persisted, the research suggests that nuts are actually beneficial for weight loss. In any case, it’s not the fat content of a diet that makes it healthy, it’s the nutrient content. And based on their nutrient content, nuts are a health-promoting source of calories.

Nuts and seeds are nutritionally important. Nuts and seeds contain a spectrum of micronutrients including LDL cholesterol-lowering phytosterols; circulation-promoting arginine; minerals, including potassium, calcium, magnesium, and selenium; and antioxidants, including flavonoids, resveratrol, tocopherols (vitamin E), and carotenoids.

Eating nuts and seeds reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease Epidemiological studies have consistently shown that nut consumption is beneficial for heart health. Eating five or more servings of nuts per week is estimated to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 35%.1 Eating nuts and seeds protects against sudden cardiac death and reduces cholesterol and inflammation.1-3

Nuts and seeds aid weight loss. Someone who is trying to lose weight should not be trying to avoid nuts; in fact, in obese individuals, adding nuts to the diet aided in weight loss and also improved insulin sensitivity, which could help to prevent or reverse diabetes.4 Nonetheless, nuts should not be eaten to excess. Nuts and seeds are high in nutrients but also high in calories, so they should be eaten with consideration for one’s caloric needs. One ounce daily is usually appropriate for women trying to lose weight and 1.5 – 2 ounces for overweight men. Nuts and seeds of course should be eaten in larger amounts for the slim, highly physically active people who could use the extra calories.

Nut consumption may enhance lifespan. In the Adventist Health Study, a number of lifestyle factors were found to be associated with longevity. Those who had a high level of physical activity, followed a vegetarian diet, and ate nuts frequently lived on average 8 years longer than those who did not share those habits.5 Similarly in the Nurses’ Health Study, nut consumption was identified as a dietary factor associated with reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancers.6 New research continues to confirm these observations.7

Each nut and seed has a unique nutritional profile that lends unique health benefits:

  • Almonds are rich in antioxidants. In one study, people ate either almonds or a snack with a similar fat profile each day for 4 weeks, and the subjects who ate almonds showed reduced oxidative stress markers.8
  • Walnuts. Diabetics who ate walnuts daily for 8 weeks experienced an enhanced ability of the blood vessels to dilate, indicating better blood pressure regulation.9 There is also evidence that walnuts may protect against breast cancer.10
  • Pistachios and Mediterranean pine nuts have the highest plant sterol content of all the nuts; plant sterols are structurally similar to cholesterol, and help to lower cholesterol levels.11 Pistachios reduce inflammation and oxidative stress as well as cholesterol.12-14
  • Mediterranean pine nuts contain a specific type of fatty acid that has been shown to curb appetite by increasing hormones that produce satiety signals.15
  • Flax, hemp, and chia seeds are extremely rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and hemp seeds are especially high in protein, making them a helpful food for athletes.
  • Pumpkin seeds are rich in iron, calcium, and phytochemicals, and may help to prevent prostate cancer.16
  • Sesame seeds have the greatest amount of calcium of any food in the world, and provide abundant amounts of vitamin E and contain a lignan called sesamin; lignan-rich foods may protect against breast cancer.17-19

Nuts and seeds are best eaten raw. Nuts and seeds should be eaten raw or only lightly toasted. Roasting nuts and seeds forms a potentially harmful compound called acrylamide, and reduces the amounts of minerals and amino acids.

Also remember that eating nuts and seeds with leafy greens can enhance the body’s absorption of fat-soluble nutrients from the greens, so a nut-based salad dressing is an excellent way to absorb more nutrients from your salads.20

References:

  1. Kris-Etherton PM, Hu FB, Ros E, et al: The role of tree nuts and peanuts in the prevention of coronary heart disease: multiple potential mechanisms. J Nutr 2008;138:1746S-1751S. 2. Salas-Salvado J, Casas-Agustench P, Murphy MM, et al: The effect of nuts on inflammation. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2008;17 Suppl 1:333-336. 3. Ros E: Nuts and novel biomarkers of cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;89:1649S-1656S. 4. Rajaram S, Sabate J: Nuts, body weight and insulin resistance. Br J Nutr 2006;96 Suppl 2:S79-86. 5. Fraser GE, Shavlik DJ: Ten years of life: Is it a matter of choice? Arch Intern Med 2001;161:1645-1652. 6. Baer HJ, Glynn RJ, Hu FB, et al: Risk factors for mortality in the nurses’ health study: a competing risks analysis. Am J Epidemiol 2011;173:319-329. 7. Guasch-Ferre M, Bullo M, Martinez-Gonzalez MA, et al: Frequency of nut consumption and mortality risk in the PREDIMED nutrition intervention trial. BMC Med 2013;11:164. 8. Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Marchie A, et al: Almonds reduce biomarkers of lipid peroxidation in older hyperlipidemic subjects. J Nutr 2008;138:908-913. 9. Ma Y, Njike VY, Millet J, et al: Effects of walnut consumption on endothelial function in type 2 diabetic subjects: a randomized controlled crossover trial. Diabetes Care 2010;33:227-232. 10.  Eurekalert! Walnuts slow prostate tumors in mice: UC Davis research shows walnuts affect genes related to tumor growth March 22, 2010 edition; 2010. 11. Ellegard LH, Andersson SW, Normen AL, et al: Dietary plant sterols and cholesterol metabolism. Nutr Rev 2007;65:39-45. 12. Kay CD, Gebauer SK, West SG, et al: Pistachios increase serum antioxidants and lower serum oxidized-LDL in hypercholesterolemic adults. J Nutr 2010;140:1093-1098. 13. Kocyigit A, Koylu AA, Keles H: Effects of pistachio nuts consumption on plasma lipid profile and oxidative status in healthy volunteers. Nutrition, metabolism, and cardiovascular diseases : NMCD 2006;16:202-209. 14. Sari I, Baltaci Y, Bagci C, et al: Effect of pistachio diet on lipid parameters, endothelial function, inflammation, and oxidative status: a prospective study. Nutrition 2010;26:399-404. 15. Pasman WJ, Heimerikx J, Rubingh CM, et al: The effect of Korean pine nut oil on in vitro CCK release, on appetite sensations and on gut hormones in post-menopausal overweight women. Lipids in Health and Disease 2008;7:10. 16. Hong H, Kim CS, Maeng S: Effects of pumpkin seed oil and saw palmetto oil in Korean men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia. Nutr Res Pract 2009;3:323-327. 17. Thompson LU, Chen JM, Li T, et al: Dietary flaxseed alters tumor biological markers in postmenopausal breast cancer. Clin Cancer Res 2005;11:3828-3835. 18. Buck K, Vrieling A, Zaineddin AK, et al: Serum enterolactone and prognosis of postmenopausal breast cancer. J Clin Oncol 2011;29:3730-3738. 19. Higdon J: Lignans. In An Evidence-Based Approach to Dietary Phytochemicals. New York: Thieme; 2006: 155-161 20. Brown MJ, Ferruzzi MG, Nguyen ML, et al: Carotenoid bioavailability is higher from salads ingested with full-fat than with fat-reduced salad dressings as measured with electrochemical detection. Am J Clin Nutr 2004;80:396-403.