Omega 3 supplementation reduces chemo effects

A new study from Japan published in Nutrition has found a protective effect of omega 3 supplementation in patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment. This was a randomised, open label clinical trial, which looked at 61 patients with oesophageal cancer. Patients were divided into two groups, one took an omega 3 rich supplement (900mg/day) and the other group an omega 3 poor supplement (250 mg/day). The researchers found that as well as helping to maintain body weight and muscle mass during treatment, omega 3 was helpful in reducing diarrhoea, liver function disorders and inflammation of the mouth and lips commonly associated with chemotherapy. Of note is that previous trials have used EPA or DHA from fish, but this study used linolenic acid from plant sources, which has a lower conversion rate to the long chain omega 3 fatty acids than EPA and DHA from fish oil.

Microbiome fluctuations in IBD

People who suffer with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are more likely to experience dramatic shifts in the composition of their gut bacteria than healthy people (based on a newly defined healthy plane) a study published in Nature Microbiology found. Researchers followed 137 patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease as well as healthy controls over a two year period. Those suffering from IBD were found to have lower levels of beneficial bacteria and higher levels of more pathogenic bacteria such as Enterobacteriaceae and E. coli with some IBD patients experiencing such dramatic shifts in their microbiome that the pathogenic bacteria almost disappeared at times. The microbiome in healthy people was found to be far more consistent over time than the patients with IBD. The biggest shifts were found in patients who had had part of their intestine removed to deal with ileal Crohn's disease. It was also noted that patients using steroid medications were more likely to suffer from these fluctuations.

Microbiome composition in babies affects lung development

As we find out more and more about the gut microbiome we are seeing how it can affect our health in both a positive and negative way. Previous research has linked the use of antibiotics with an increased risk of pneumonia in newborn babies. Researchers decided to investigate the role that improvement of a newborn's gut microbiome might have on their ability to resist pneumonia. It was found, in a mouse model, that disruption of the newborn gut microbiome led to a reduction in lung development, making the newborn mice more susceptible to pneumonia. This susceptibility was positively influenced by the introduction of commensal (good) bacteria to the gut, which allowed proper lung development and reduced the risk of the mice contracting pneumonia.

Forget 5 a day — it's now 10!

The 5-a-day message has been around so long that you could be forgiven for thinking it was rooted in science, rather than government guidelines. However, recent research from Imperial College London suggests that we should be aiming to eat 10 portions of vegetables and fruit a day, 5 more than current government recommendations. The study concluded that higher intakes of vegetables and fruit, "…were associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and all cause mortality". Lower risks of cancer were linked to green vegetables (e.g. spinach), yellow vegetables (e.g. peppers) and cruciferous vegetables (e.g. cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kale etc), whilst eating apples, pears, citrus fruits, salads, green leaves (e.g. lettuce) and cruciferous vegetables were linked to lower risks of heart disease and strokes. With many people struggling to eat their 5-a-day, The Royal College of General Practitioners corroborates, saying that even the 5-a-day message is unachievable for many. For more information on why it’s so important to not only get your 5/10-a-day, but to also ensure you’re ‘eating a rainbow’ every day, visit the ANH-Intl Food4Health campaign page and check out our guidelines.

Phone mast removed after villagers come together

With more and more focus on the damaging effects of Electro-Magnetic Radiation (EMR), a village in the Midlands have triumphed in their 17 year-long battle to get a phone mast removed. At least five cases of brain tumours have been linked to the phone mast, which was erected without proper consultation and dozens of residents have resorted to lining their homes with tin foil and special barrier products to reduce the effects of the emissions. The radiation emitted by devices such as mobile phones and phone masts was classified as a possible carcinogen based on an increased risk for brain tumours, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2011.

It's not just drug resistant bacteria we need to worry about!

It's not just antibiotics that are becoming resistant to modern day drugs. A type of fungus, (Candida auris) is emerging as an organism that can cause serious infections, which are linked to a high mortality rate. The fungus has also been found to be resistant to a wide range of current treatments. C. auris is found worldwide in hospitals on catheters in intensive care units where it forms a biofilm to protect itself. Researchers looked at 16 different C. auris samples from different parts of the world to determine how resistant it was to 11 drugs belonging to different antifungal classes. They found that whilst C. auris forms much thinner biofilms than C. albicans and is less virulent, the main danger from the fungus seems to be its ability to develop multidrug resistance to commonly used antifungal drugs and therefore resist treatment.

Diet can beat depression

The 'SMILES' trial is a randomised controlled trial looking at the impact of diet on depression. 67 individuals were studied (33 - dietary changes, 34 - control) over a 12-week period with participants being screened before inclusion, to confirm they had a 'poor' quality diet. The dietary changes included personalised dietary advice and nutritional counselling support to help participants to make the required changes. The Mod/MedDiet used in the study was based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines and Dietary Guidelines for Adults in Greece. It is worth noting that the diet included 6 portions of vegetables per day and 3 portions of fruit along with the reduction of foods such as sweets, refined cereals, fried food, processed foods and sugary drinks. Depression symptoms were rated using the MADRS scale (Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale) before and after the 12 week study. At 12 weeks the diet group saw an average improvement of 11 points with 32% of participants scoring so low on the MADRS scale they no longer met the criteria to be diagnosed with depression. For more information on healthy eating visit the ANH-Intl Food4Health Guidelines.