Vitamin D reduces risk of lung cancer

A recent meta-analysis looking at an existing thirteen reports from ten prospective studies, has shown that high 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) “may be associated with reduced risk of lung cancer, in particular among subjects with vitamin D deficiencies.” In short, the risk of lung cancer maybe reduced for every 10 nmol/L increase of vitamin D intake. The dose–response meta-analysis was carried out in the hope of bringing clarity on the subject because studies have reported inconsistent findings, even though there is mounting experimental evidence that supports a protective effect. Professor Li-qiang Qin from Soochow University in China commented, “this is a significant result, as lung cancer is one of the top five cancers diagnosed among men and women, as well as being among the most causes of death in the world.”

Endocrine disrupting chemicals cause serious illnesses

The recent release of the Executive Summary to EDC-2: The Endocrine Society’s Second Scientific Statement on Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals has concluded that there is no longer any doubt that exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) contribute to serious illnesses such as, obesity, diabetes, female and male reproductive issues, hormone-sensitive cancers in females, prostate cancer, thyroid, and problems with neurodevelopment and neuroendocrine systems. The EDCs include the likes of bisphenol A, phthalates, pesticides and more, and are found in food and consumer goods. Several of the authors involved in the summary raise their concern with respect to precaution. They point out that it is simply not reasonable to assume a chemical is safe until proven otherwise, and implore that “substantial information needs to be provided before inclusion of a new compound in a food storage product, a water bottle, health and beauty products, or a household product.” They also encourage that even though scientific literature has provided much deeper insights into the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms of action, more mechanistic and dose-related information is needed.

Probiotics for sluggish bowel and abdominal discomfort

A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition was carried out with the aim of investigating the “effect of Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis, BB-12®, on two primary end points – defecation frequency and gastrointestinal (GI) well-being – in healthy adults with low defecation frequency and abdominal discomfort.” Following a 2-week run in, the 1248 subjects were randomly given 1 or 10 billion colony-forming units/d of the probiotic strain BB-12® or a matching placebo capsule once daily for 4 weeks. They were all asked to keep a diary on bowel habits, relief of abdominal discomfort and symptoms. The results showed a clinically relevant benefit on defecation frequency, and suggested an improvement to the GI health of individuals whose symptoms are not sufficiently severe to consult a doctor.

Lost words – a writers quest to 'bring back nature words' for children

Award-winning writer, Robert MacFarlane, is set to write a book to counter the new generation’s obsession with technology, the indoor lifestyle, and "urban dystopia". The children’s picture book, “The Lost Words: A Spell-Book” will include flora and fauna words such as ‘acorn’ and ‘willow’ that have dropped out of every day use, and that were culled from the Oxford Junior Dictionary, to hopefully reinstate them back into children’s vocabularies. Macfarlane has teamed up with illustrator Jackie Morris who said, “I hope that Robert and I can produce between us a book that gives a voice back to the wild and wild places and inspires a new generation of custodians of our planet, who understand the true value of a single kingfisher.” Macfarlane said, “Technology is miraculous – but so is nature, and Jackie and I wanted to find a way to release these simple wonder-words back into their stories and their dreams.”

A storm in a (green) tea cup

Last week saw an article in the UK’s Daily Mail about a teenager who apparently developed severe inflammation of the liver due to drinking 3 cups of green tea (GT) each day. The teenager had been drinking the green tea after having been told it could help with weight loss. However, Rob Verkerk PhD countered with the statement that, “At 3 cups a day GT is typically hepatoprotective – only with very high doses and inclusion of highly concentrated EGCG extracts can hepatotoxicity be induced – and that would not be the case with 3 cups of brewed GT on its own. It seems highly likely this is the result of adulterants (for weight loss e.g. N-nitroso-fenfluramine), contaminants (e.g. pesticides) or other ingredients (synthetic or natural) on the Chinese language label. GT itself becomes the scapegoat, unfortunately.”

Sedentary lifestyle increasing childhood obesity

A poll, from the British Heart Foundation (BHF), Diabetes UK and Tesco, has suggested that three quarters of British children are not getting enough exercise. The target for children is 60 minutes per day and the study found that only 15% boys and 19% of girls are achieving 30 minutes per day. This combined with unhealthy food and too many sugary snacks and drinks is adding to the childhood obesity crisis. According to current statistics one in three children are overweight or obese. However, obesity is a multifactorial condition and there is no single magic bullet. To reverse this in society requires dietary change, increased activity and a conducive environment.

Diabetes UK advice makes diabetes worse

The latest blog to hit the homepage of the HealthInsightUK website asks how much longer the charity Diabetes UK will continue to provide dietary advice based on discredited and outdated science on fats. Journalist, Jane Feinmann, points out that their advice is “based on the discredited Seven Countries Study carried out by Ancel Keys back in the 1950/1960s.” The article she wrote for the UK’s Daily Mail on the same subject sparked numerous responses from readers in the awkward position of having to ignore advice from their GP or diabetic nurse and seek alternative approaches for more effective results. Feinmann’s articles focus on the low fat, high carb diet advice given for diabetics and talks of situations such as that of a dietitian in Australia who was dismissed for refusing to take her patients off a high fat, low carb diet because it breached the same guidelines that Diabetes UK follow.