HSN – New research on endometriosis, dysmenorrhea, and healthy snacking

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Health Scoop News ๐Ÿ“‘ – Endometriosis, dysmenorrhea, and healthy snacking

I always have my nose in new health research, so I’m sharing some of the most relevant studies with you in regular editions of “Health Scoop News.”

[This news summary is a bit reminiscent of my old “This week in science for holistic health” newsletters that I used to do circa 2016 (I deleted most, butย here’s one post I kept live), as well as theย rEATsearch podcastย I used to co-host.]

These are my top three study picks (comment below to tell me what health topics/niches are best for you!). All are very high quality studies (most are studies that review and analyze data from several previous studies, not just one or two).

These studies were all published in the past month or so.

1ย – Nutritional help for endometriosis (healthy fats, antioxidants, and fibre)

Study title: Nutrition in the prevention and treatment of endometriosis: A review

This is a review of recent studies that looked at ways nutrition has been used to help reduce risk of getting endometriosis, and symptoms of endometriosis after being diagnosed.

Here’s some background info:

  • “The prevalence of endometriosis in North America, Australia, and Europe is ~1โ€“5% in women of reproductive age, and some have suggested that the true figure is closer to 10%.”
  • “A role for nutrition in endometriosis is suggested by the influence of diet on estrogenic activity and inflammatory processes.”
  • “Because estrogens are key in the pathogenesis of endometriosis, dietary factors that modulate estrogen activity may be clinically important.”

Note from Leesa: A lot of the following nutritional recommendations are based on their ability to reduce inflammation, oxidation, and estradiol levels, all of which can help with endometriosis.

Nutritional recommendations for endometriosis:

  • Increase intakes of plant-based foods (more dietary fibre and antioxidant polyphenols, less fat), seaweed (lowers estradiol)
  • Reduce intakes of red meat and dairy (due to saturated fats), trans fats, and dietary fat in general
  • Nutrients to get enough of: omega-3 fats, vitamins C, D, and E

Note from Leesa: Artificial trans fats (from partially hydrogenated oils) have been banned in Canada since September 2020 and banned in the US since January 2021. ๐ŸŽ‰

A concluding statement from the researchers:

  • Consumption of trans fats, palmitic acid, and red meat is associated with increased risk of endometriosis, while factors in plant-based foods, particularly fiber and antioxidants, and vitamin D may have helpful effects for prevention and treatment.”

In other words, according to this review, an anti-inflammatory diet consisting of more plants and fewer animal-based foods can help reduce the risk of getting, and the symptoms of, endometriosis.

2 – Omega-3s for painful periods

Study title: Omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids as a potential treatment for reducing dysmenorrhoea pain: Systematic literature review and meta-analysis

This is a very comprehensive, objective review of 12 studies that looked at the links between omega-3 intake and symptoms of dysmenorrhea (pain and/or prostaglandin levels).

Here’s some background info:

  • “Dysmenorrhoea, characterised as painful cramping in the lower abdomen or back during menstrual bleeding, is the most common gynaecological condition, affecting 45%โ€“95% of menstruating women globally.”
  • “Symptoms of dysmenorrhoea typically include pain in the lower abdomen, pelvis, back and/or thighs and may also include systemic symptoms such as headache, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhoea. Severe pain and symptoms of dysmenorrhoea can reduce mood, sleep quality and productivity, increase absenteeism from school and/or work and reduce overall quality of life.”
  • One of the main factors in dysmenorrhea is high levels of prostaglandins which stimulate inflammation, muscle contraction, and blood vessel constriction, all of which can cause the symptoms listed above.
  • One of the ways omega-3 intake may help with painful periods is that omega-3 fats can inhibit the production of inflammatory prostaglandins in the body. Omega-3s are found mainly in fish and seafood.
  • n-3 LCPUFA = omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids

The researchers found:

  • “Overall, the consistent findings across meta-analyses suggest n-3 LCPUFA supplements are beneficial at attenuating pain in dysmenorrhoea.

Here’s what the researchers of this review concluded:

  • Findings suggest that daily supplementation of 300โ€“1800โ€‰mg omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids over 2โ€“3 months are generally well tolerated and reduces pain and analgesic use in women with dysmenorrhoea. However, the neutral quality of research is limited by methodological issues and the mechanism of action remains to be determined.”
  • “In conclusion, the current neutral-quality evidence suggests that daily doses of 300โ€“1800โ€‰mg (combined EPA and DHA) n-3 LCPUFA supplementation over 2โ€“3 months can reduce pain and analgesic use in women with dysmenorrhoea.”
  • “Supplementation with n-3 LCPUFA appears to produce only mild adverse side effects in some individuals.”

In other words, people with painful periods and other menstrual symptoms had reduced pain, reduced use of pain medicine, and very few adverse/side effects after taking 300-1,800 mg of omega-3 supplements each day for 2-3 months.

 

For a list of dozens of credible sites to find health information, plus some PubMed tips, download your free guide here:

 

3ย – Healthiest way to snack

Study title: Snack quality and snack timing are associated with cardiometabolic blood markers: the ZOE PREDICT study

This is a clinical trial that included “healthy individuals aged 18โ€“65 years” and “food logging mobile study app used to assess snacking and the health and lifestyle questionnaire.”

Here’s some background info:

  • “Snacking is a common diet behaviour which accounts for a large proportion of daily energy intake, making it a key determinant of diet quality.”
  • “Snacks were defined as foods or drinks consumed between meals.”

What does not seem to matter when it comes to snacking and cardiovascular health:

  • How often a person snacks
  • Number of calories in a snack

What does matter, when it comes to snacking and heart health:

  • High snack quality – โœ… includes minimally processed foods (whole fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds) and was linked to lower triglycerides, lower insulin, less hunger
  • Low snack quality – โŒ includes “heavily salted, sweetened and/or high-fat foods such as chips, desserts and sugar-sweetened beverages”
  • Snack timing – โœ… people who snacked in the morning tended to choose higher quality snacks than those who snacked in the afternoon, evening, or who “grazed” throughout the day
  • Snack timing – โŒ people who snacked in the evenings tended to choose lower quality snacks and had measurably worse levels of HbA1C and blood sugar/glucose

Here’s what the researchers conclude:

  • Snack quality and timing of consumption are simple diet features which may be targeted to improve diet quality, with potential health benefits.”
  • A note on snack quality: “Our research supports increasing intakes of high quality, minimally processed snacks given their positive impact on health.”
  • A note on snack timing: Reducing evening snacking can align “food intake with the circadian rhythms of metabolism by restricting the snacking window.”

The bottom line: “Snacking on high-quality foods earlier in the day can be part of a healthy lifestyle.”

In other words, snacking can play a significant role in your nutrition and health. To snack most healthfully, choose high quality, minimally processed snacks, and try not to snack too much in the evenings.

โ€‹

Signing off and toasting: To keeping up with the latest and greatest scientific research in nutrition, fitness, and health coaching!

 

Over to you

 

Do you have a specific question about any of these new studies?

Are you looking for a easy-to-understand study summary that you can share with your audience and clients?

What health topic/niche is most important to you?

Let me know in the comments below!

 

What's the latest health research for your nutrition, fitness, or health coaching practice?

Find out in the weekly Health Scoop News ๐Ÿ“‘email updates. See some of the latest studies (with Leesa's "in other words" explainers) here. Sign up if you want to be first to know new research:

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I'm Leesa Klich,ย MSc., R.H.N.
Health writer โ€“ Blogging expert โ€“ Research nerd.

I help health and wellness professionals build their authority with scientific health content. They want to stand out in the crowded, often unqualified, market of entrepreneurs. I help them establish trust with their audiences, add credibility to their services, and save them a ton of time so they donโ€™t have to do the research or writing themselves. To work with me, click here.

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