Magnesium supplements for bone health

Bone fractures amongst the elderly is one of the leading causes of disability and ill health burdening the healthcare system. Calcium and vitamin D are popular preventative treatments for osteoporosis, but what is less well known is that magnesium is also crucial along with vitamins K2 and A for good bone health. Scientists at both the University of Bristol and Eastern Finland University studied nearly 2,000 middle-aged men over a 20-year period. The study showed the risk of experiencing a fracture was reduced by nearly 44% in men who had high blood levels of magnesium, whereas men with lower levels had an increased risk of fractures, especially to the hips. Ensuring a plentiful supply of magnesium rich foods such as dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, whole grains, avocados, yogurt, bananas, dried fruit, dark chocolate can help mitigate the risk. However, for elderly people, supplementation may be of benefit due to the problems they can experience with absorption of nutrients. Read more on the role of magnesium, vitamins K and A in promoting bone health.

The problems with dairy

Last week the National Osteoporosis Society (NOS) in the UK published a report warning of the dangers of the 'trend' for removing food groups from young people's diets, particularly dairy, in relation to bone health. However, just a day later NOS released another statement clarifying that, "The charity’s main message was to eat a healthy balanced diet including calcium for strong bones in all its forms." They also stated that, "… there are lots of other non - dairy sources of calcium including fortified soya products, pulses, nuts, seeds and white bread. Additionally, fresh fruit and vegetables contain a number of key vitamins, minerals and trace elements that are good for bones." ANH-Intl do not recommend the inclusion of dairy foods in the Food4Health guidelines for adults because of the widespread sensitivity to lactose. As much as 75% of the population has no ability to digest lactose, whereupon milk becomes a driver of inflammation and disease. You can read more about the ANH position on dairy in the following two articles: 'Cows' milk - food of the Gods or driver of modern disease?' and 'Milk - the good, the bad and the not for everyone!'

EU report on pesticide residues ignores toxic cocktail effect

Greenpeace has warned that a new EU report on pesticide residues in food has again failed to assess the combined effects of pesticides in the human body. The report abstract states 97.2% of the 84,341 samples that were analysed in 2015 were either free of "quanitifiable residues" or "contained residues within legally permitted levels". In their press release Greenpeace states residues of multiple pesticides were found in 28% of samples tested and across all food categories. The most contaminated foods were hops, soft fruits and lamb's lettuce. This is nothing new. ANH-Intl reported on EFSA's refusal to acknowledge the health risks associated with human exposure to multiple pesticide residues on food in 2014.

High levels of cancer-causing acrylamide in foods

Acrylamide is a chemical that forms when certain starchy foods are baked, fried or heated to very high temperatures. It is considered to be of concern to health as it is thought to increase the risk of developing cancer. A recent investigation by sustainability pressure group Changing Markets has found that one in five potato crisp varieties contain high levels of acrylamide. Tyrrells, a premium crisp manufacturer, has played down warnings that their ’sweet potato lightly salted crisps’ contained nearly 2.5 times the recommended EU limit for acrylamide. The EU maximum level for acrylamide is 1,000 ug/kg. Of the 92 varieties of crisps tested 16 exceeded this level. Changing Markets also revealed last month that 10% of biscuits aimed at infants and young children contained high levels of acrylamide. It's important to understand that it's a person's combined exposure to acrylamides that counts most. Eat a packet of crisps, some biscuits and breakfast cereal each day and you're likely to be getting a high dose. You can reduce your risk from acrylamides by eating unprocessed foods and avoiding cooking carbohydrate dense foods at high temperatures e.g. frying and baking, as recommended by the ANH-Intl Food4Health guidelines.

More stealth vaccination techniques

In yet another effort to increase levels of vaccination researchers have published a paper discussing the link between the uptake of flu vaccinations in parents and their children. Children whose parents had the flu vaccine were found to be three times more likely to have the flu shot themselves. The research goes further to show that parents who had flu shots were also more likely to have their children vaccinated against other diseases such as HPV. This opens the door for parents to be targeted by a behavioural technique known as 'active choice' to encourage uptake of the flu vaccine and thus influence their decisions in regards to vaccinating their children.

Fibre rich diet protective against Type 2 diabetes

A new study using data taken from 200 participants of the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study has suggested that increased levels of indoleproprionic acid (made by gut bacteria) may help to protect against the development of type 2 diabetes. Researchers compared the metabolite levels of the participants who fell into two groups, those who developed type 2 diabetes within 5 years and those who didn't develop type 2 diabetes within the 15 year follow up period of the original study. Analysis suggested that the higher levels of indoepropionic acid, found in the group who did not develop type 2, were protective against developing the disease. Levels of indoleproprionic acid are increased when a fibre rich diet is consumed (as advocated by ANH-Intl's Food4Health guidelines).