Statins linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes

Despite continued research showing that statins lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, a new Australian study published in Drugs & Aging has found that statin use in women aged over 75 is associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes following 5 years of statin use. For those on a low dose statin their risk increased by 33%, whilst those on a high dose face an increased risk of 51%. ANH-Intl has written about the long term risks of taking statins previously and highlighted the 10 things you really need to know BEFORE considering taking statins.

Brexit trigger and natural health’s future

The UK Government has notified the European Council of its intention to invoke Article 50 on 29th March 2017. Theresa May and a gaggle of officials will then begin the complex negotiation process, while trying their best to avoid paying the £50 billion divorce bill that the EU believes is owed. A key part of the negotiations will of course include new deals with non-EU countries and blocs. So far it seems probable that the EU negotiations may extend over a period longer than the 2 years allowed for under Article 50. During this time it will become clearer what the ramifications for the natural health sector will be, although presently the mood from Downing Street is that all EU Regulations will be, at least initially, enacted into British Law without modification in the Great Repeal Bill. The real opportunities are for modification of laws, and interpretation around them, after this initial phase. Prior to this, UK authorities, such as the MHRA, will have free rein to 'crack down' on natural health businesses in an almost arbitrary fashion, with the only recourse being with the UK courts that will have yet to have developed experience on the issues that have been toyed with over more than three decades by the European Court of Justice.

Broccoli and cancer

There has been much talk around the health benefits of broccoli over the years. Now a new study has looked at sulforaphane, a key phytochemical in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables that may help to prevent and treat cancer. Researchers looking at prostate cancer cells found that they had a high expression of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). When the team treated the cancer cells with sulforaphane, the levels of lncRNAs were reduced leading to a four-fold reduction in the cancer cells ability to reproduce. This research gives good evidence for the inclusion of broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables as part of your daily diet to promote a reduced disease risk. ANH-Intl’s Food4Health Guidelines contain information on how to ‘Eat a Rainbow’ every day and increase the levels of beneficial phtyochemicals in your diet.

Glyphosate use in the EU

A petition has been launched calling on the European Commission to ban the use of glyphosate in the EU. Nearly half a million European citizens have signed the petition so far, which is being promoted by a coalition of 38 organisations from across 15 European countries. In other news, in spite of the International Agency for Research on Cancer's (IARC) classification of glyphosate as 'probably carcinogenic' in 2015, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) has concluded that, "the available scientific evidence did not meet the criteria to classify glyphosate as a carcinogen", although it has maintained glyphosate's classification as a substance that can cause serious eye damage and is toxic to aquatic life with long-lasting effects.

Acupuncture helpful for asthma patients

A new randomised trial emanating from Germany, published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine followed 1,445 patients of whom 184 patients were randomised to acupuncture and routine care, 173 to the control group who only received routine care with no acupuncture and 1,088 in a nonrandomised group who also received acupuncture alongside routine care. Both of the groups receiving acupuncture treatment alongside routine care showed an improvement in their asthma quality of life questionnaires at the 3-month point. This improvement was maintained throughout 6 months of treatment.

Probiotics beneficial or not?

Science appears to be corroborating long-held knowledge in the natural medicine sector when it comes to recognising the importance of the gut microbiome and its links to our health. The benefits of probiotics to improve gut health and brain function are being explored by many researchers, but in a new rat study from UNSW Medicine researchers suggest that healthy individuals taking probiotics may experience memory problems. In rats given a 'cafeteria' style diet who experienced gut dysbiosis, the probiotics were found to have a beneficial effect, improving both microbial diversity and brain function. However, for rats on a healthy diet there was little change in the diversity of the microbiome and brain function was reduced. The researchers are suggesting that in subjects with a poor diet and altered microbiome probiotics are likely to be of benefit.

Meanwhile another study from the University of Virginia School of Medicine published in Scientific Reports reports significant changes in the gut microbiome of mice that were chronically stressed and showing despair behaviour. By restoring the levels of Lactobacillus bacteria in the stressed mice researchers were able to improve the anxiety symptoms and reduce associated metabolic changes.

Antibiotic used in bees kills them more quickly

Antibiotics are commonly used to treat honey bees. Researchers have found that bees treated with antibiotics are half as likely to survive the week following treatment as untreated bees due to significant alteration of their gut microbiota and suspected increased susceptibility to infection. Bees provide a useful model for the human gut microbiome as they have a microbial colony similar to humans and this research further underlines the possible detrimental effects of antibiotics on our gut ecology.