“Bread and other Edible Agents of Mental Disease” and more – This Week in Science for Holistic Health – 23Apr2016


Table of Contents

Welcome to This Week in Science for Holistic Health!

I scour the science news for interesting and relevant research for a holistic approach to health to keep you up-to-date!

This issue:

  • Food & Eating – Bread and Other Edible Agents of Mental Disease

  • Supplements & Nutrients – What evidence do we have for aromatherapy for cancer patients?

  • Disease Prevention – Pilates for chronic low back pain.

  • Anatomy & Physiology – HOW does diet influence health and disease?


Food & Eating

Bread and Other Edible Agents of Mental Disease.

Perhaps because gastroenterology, immunology, toxicology, and the nutrition and agricultural sciences are outside of their competence and responsibility, psychologists and psychiatrists typically fail to appreciate the impact that food can have on their patients’ condition. Here we attempt to help correct this situation by reviewing, in non-technical, plain English, how cereal grains-the world’s most abundant food source-can affect human behavior and mental health. We present the implications for the psychological sciences of the findings that, in all of us, bread (1) makes the gut more permeable and can thus encourage the migration of food particles to sites where they are not expected, prompting the immune system to attack both these particles and brain-relevant substances that resemble them, and (2) releases opioid-like compounds, capable of causing mental derangement if they make it to the brain. A grain-free diet, although difficult to maintain (especially for those that need it the most), could improve the mental health of many and be a complete cure for others.

Psychologists and psychiatrists typically pay much attention to their patients’ aberrant eating habits. They may wish to keep an eye on their normal eating habits as well.

Go grain-free for mental health #grain #cereal #leakygut #mentalhealth Click To Tweet

Relationship between eating behaviors and physical activity of preschoolers and their peers: a systematic review.

Although supported by weak evidence, peers appear to influence children’s eating behaviors and physical activity. However, this influence may be moderated by the number of peers, gender, age and the perceived status of the role models. Future obesity prevention interventions should consider involving peers as agents for positive eating behaviors and physical activity in preschoolers.

Preschoolers' eating and exercise behaviour may be influenced by peers #children #health #preschool Click To Tweet

Effects of dietary polyphenols on metabolic syndrome features in humans: a systematic review.

Polyphenols were shown to be efficient, especially at higher doses, and there were no specific foods or extracts able to alleviate all the features of MetS. Green tea, however, significantly reduced body mass index and waist circumference and improved lipid metabolism. Cocoa supplementation reduced blood pressure and blood glucose. Soy isoflavones, citrus products, hesperidin and quercetin improved lipid metabolism, whereas cinnamon reduced blood glucose. In numerous clinical studies, antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects were not significant after polyphenol supplementation in patients with MetS. However, some trials pointed towards an improvement of endothelial function in patients supplemented with cocoa, anthocyanin-rich berries, hesperidin or resveratrol. Therefore, diets rich in polyphenols, such as the Mediterranean diet, which promote the consumption of diverse polyphenol-rich products could be an effective nutritional strategy to improve the health of patients with MetS.

Polyphenols can improve the health of people with metabolic syndrome #greentea #soy #citrus #cocoa #cinnamon #diabetes #HBP #metabolicsyndrome Click To Tweet


Supplements and Nutrients

Aromatherapy and Essential Oils (PDQ®)

  • Aromatherapy is used by patients with cancer primarily as supportive care for general well-being.
  • Aromatherapy is used with other complementary treatments (e.g., massage and acupuncture) as well as with standard treatments for symptom management.
Aromatherapy for well-being of cancer patients #aromatherapy #essentialoils #EO #cancer Click To Tweet

Vitamin D for the Treatment or Prevention of Multiple Sclerosis: A Review of the Clinical Effectiveness

Very limited evidence suggests a potential benefit of vitamin D supplementation for the prevention of MS, but this needs to be verified by future studies. Results of treatment of MS with vitamin D were inconsistent, with most evidence suggesting no effect on disability scores, and relapse rates. There were both positive and negative results for immunologic factors, imaging studies, and functional outcomes. Safety data suggests that high dose vitamin D is well tolerated and associated with minimal risk.

Vitamin D for multiple sclerosis? #vitaminD #vitD #MS #multiplesclerosis Click To Tweet


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Diseases/Conditions and Prevention/Treatments

Effectiveness of Pilates exercise: A quality evaluation and summary of systematic reviews based on randomized controlled trials.

OBJECTIVE:  The objective of this review were to summarize evidence for the effectiveness of Pilates exercise (PE) and to assess the quality of systematic review (SRs) based on randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

RESULTS:  Nine studies met all inclusion criteria. As a whole, the quality of the articles was good. Seven studies were about “Musculoskeletal system and connective tissue (M5456)”. There were two studies in “Factors influencing health status and contact with health services (Z723)”. The traits of participants were for females and the comparatively young- and middle-aged. Five SRs for chronic low back pain (CLBP) concluded that there was pain-relief and functional improvement of the intervention in the short term, but two SRs were inconclusive about the effectiveness of PE. There were no adverse events described in any of the studies.CONCLUSION:  Although no SR reported any adverse effect or harm by PE, there was pain-relief and functional improvement attributed to PE in the short term in participants with CLBP. There was also evidence of improved flexibility and dynamic balance, and of enhanced muscular endurance in healthy people in the short term. In addition, there may have been an effect on body composition in the short term.

Pilates for chronic low back pain #pilates #exercise #backpain #pain #lowerback #lowback #flexibility #balance #endurance Click To Tweet

Omega-3 fatty acids for the treatment of dementia.

We found no convincing evidence for the efficacy of omega-3 PUFA supplements in the treatment of mild to moderate AD [Alzheimer’s Disease]. This result was consistent for all outcomes relevant for people with dementia. Adverse effects of omega-3 PUFAs seemed to be low, but based on the evidence synthesised in this review, we cannot make a final statement on tolerability. The effects on other populations remain unclear.

Omega-3s may not help with Alzheimer's #omega3 #omega-3 #PUFA #Alzheimers #dementia Click To Tweet

Influence of Acute and Chronic Exercise on Glucose Uptake.

Insulin resistance plays a key role in the development of type 2 diabetes. It arises from a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental and lifestyle factors including lack of physical exercise and poor nutrition habits. The increased risk of type 2 diabetes is molecularly based on defects in insulin signaling, insulin secretion, and inflammation. The present review aims to give an overview on the molecular mechanisms underlying the uptake of glucose and related signaling pathways after acute and chronic exercise. Physical exercise, as crucial part in the prevention and treatment of diabetes, has marked acute and chronic effects on glucose disposal and related inflammatory signaling pathways. Exercise can stimulate molecular signaling pathways leading to glucose transport into the cell. Furthermore, physical exercise has the potential to modulate inflammatory processes by affecting specific inflammatory signaling pathways which can interfere with signaling pathways of the glucose uptake. The intensity of physical training appears to be the primary determinant of the degree of metabolic improvement modulating the molecular signaling pathways in a dose-response pattern, whereas training modality seems to have a secondary role.

Yup, exercise helps with insulin resistance! #exercise #insulin #insulinresistance #diabetes Click To Tweet

Management of Inflammatory Bowel Disease During Pregnancy.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) usually affects women during their reproductive years and many concerns arise among these young patients. Pre-pregnancy consultation with a multi-disciplinary team is very important. The team should make patients aware of the critical importance of ensuring that conception occurs during a period of disease remission. Conception during an IBD flare-up results in disease activity or even exacerbates disease in two-thirds of women. Exacerbation of the disease is associated with increased frequency of maternal and fetal complications. Drug therapy constitutes a considerable source of patient anxiety but most drugs used for treating IBD are considered safe. Therefore, continuing pharmacological therapy during pregnancy is necessary to maintain disease control. Optimization of pre-conception nutritional status and smoking cessation are also emphasized. The general guideline for most patients, except for active perianal disease patients, is to aim for vaginal delivery in the absence of obstetric contraindications. Consistent, ongoing follow-up, as detailed in this review, should allay the anxieties and fears surrounding continuing immunosuppressive drugs during pregnancy, allowing each patient to attain the optimal conditions for achieving her goal of holding a healthy baby.

Bowel disease and pregnancy - how to handle it. #IBD #pregnancy #conception #flare-up Click To Tweet

Exploring Ayurvedic Knowledge on Food and Health for Providing Innovative Solutions to Contemporary Healthcare.

Ayurveda, a traditional system of medicine that originated over three millennia ago in the South Asian region, offers extensive insights about food and health based on certain unique conceptual as well as theoretical positions. Health is defined as a state of equilibrium with one’s self (svasthya) but which is inextricably linked to the environment. Ayurvedic principles, such as the tridosa (three humors) theory, provide the relationship between the microcosm and the macrocosm that can be applied in day-to-day practice. Classical Ayurveda texts cover an array of themes on food ranging from diversity of natural sources, their properties in relation to seasons and places and to their specific function both in physiological and pathological states. The epistemic perspective on health and nutrition in Ayurveda is very different from that of biomedicine and modern nutrition. However, contemporary knowledge is reinventing and advancing several of these concepts in an era of systems biology, personalized medicine, and the broader context of a more holistic transition in sciences in general. Trans-disciplinary research could be important not only for pushing the boundaries of food and health sciences but also for providing practical solutions for contemporary health conditions. This article briefly reviews the parallels in Ayurveda and biomedicine and draws attention to the need for a deeper engagement with traditional knowledge systems, such as Ayurveda. It points out that recreation of the methodologies that enabled the holistic view point about health in Ayurveda may unravel some of the complex connections with Nature.

Ayurveda and biomedical science, more in common than we think? #ayurveda #medicine #science Click To Tweet


Anatomy & Physiology

Systems biology approaches to understand the effects of nutrition and promote health.

Within the last years the implementation of systems biology in nutritional research has emerged as a powerful tool to understand the mechanisms by which dietary components promote health and prevent disease as well as to identify the biologically active molecules involved in such effects. Systems biology, by combining several “-omics” disciplines (mainly genomics/transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics), creates large data sets that upon computational integration provide in silico predictive networks that allow a more extensive analysis of the individual response to a nutritional intervention and provides a more global comprehensive understanding of how diet may influence health and disease. Numerous studies have demonstrated that diet and particularly bioactive food components play a pivotal role in helping to counteract environmental-related oxidative damage. Oxidative stress is considered to be strongly implicated in ageing and the pathophysiology of numerous disease including neurodegenerative disease, cancers, metabolic disorders and cardiovascular diseases. In the following review we will provide insights into the role of systems biology in nutritional research and focus on transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomics studies that have demonstrated the ability of functional foods and their bioactive components to fight against oxidative damage and contribute to health benefits.

HOW does diet influence health and disease? #diet #food #functionalfood #health #disease #chronicdisease Click To Tweet


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Inclusion Criteria for This Week in Science for Holistic Health posts:

  • Studies must be published in a peer-reviewed medical journal or highly credible website (e.g. Cochrane.org) within the last few weeks,
  • Articles must be relevant to a holistic approach to health (specifically nutrition & lifestyle factors),
  • Studies were done on people unless noted otherwise (animal and tissue studies have unknown relevance to people),
  • I also include new science-based books that look interesting (’cause I LOVE reading!).
  • None of the above applies if it’s a response to something in the media. 😉
  • P.S. – The titles are hyperlinked to the actual studies, so feel free to “geek out”. 🙂

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What Leesa is reading now:

I love the NutritionFacts.org site, it’s definitely one of my “go-to’s” when it comes to nutrition and health information
How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease by Michael Greger, MD
Part 1 includes chapters for “How not to die from:” heart/lung/brain, etc. diseases with almost 3,000 scientific references; Part 2 has Dr. Greger’s favourite recipes, kitchen gadgets, brands, etc.. I’m looking forward to reading this!

Watch the trailer here:

Buy the book here:

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Leesa Klich is a science-based holistic nutritionist living at the intersection of science and holistic health (it’s really, really interesting here!) 🙂 At NutritionInteractions she helps holistic-minded people taking medications maximize the benefits of good nutrition. She also helps holistic health professionals find and understand science-based health information. She has a MSc in Toxicology and Nutrition, over a decade experience in drug/supplement safety, and is also a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. For a list of free health resources, click here.

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(1) Compound Interest – Rough Guide to Types of Scientific Evidence

(2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meta-analysis

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