Category Archives: Health & Fitness

Common Food Additive Promotes Colon Cancer in Mice

A popular food additive used in everything from dill pickles to ice cream is now linked to colon cancer, thanks to the way it impacts the gut.

 

Emulsifiers are added to most processed foods to improve food texture and extend shelf life. But it also throws off healthy levels of intestinal bacteria, triggering chronic, low-level inflammation that promotes colorectal cancer, according to a new study.

To be clear, scientists identified the potential cancer-promoting effects in an animal study. But the way I see it, it’s best to steer clear of these ingredients since various other studies suggest they impact the gut in unhealthy ways.

The finding comes on the heels of another gut breakthrough where researchers discovered fungus may trigger Crohn’s disease. Clearly, the microbiome greatly influences our disease risk. That’s why I make gut health the centerpiece of my practice and my personal health regimen.

Let’s take a closer look at this important new study, including ways to avoid this harmful class of processed food additives.


 

Hippocrates is famous for declaring that food is medicine. But his quote came long before the creation of lab-derived ingredients and processed foods. Here, we have just another example of how ingredients we often overlook can spell disaster for our health. In the recent food additive and colon cancer study, researchers at Georgia State University’s Institute for Biomedical Sciences found that mice that regularly consumed dietary emulsifiers experienced exacerbated tumor development. The results appeared in the journal Cancer Research

 

For this study, researchers focused on two of the most commonly used emulsifiers called polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose. They fed mice doses comparable to the cumulative amounts people would eat daily in processed foods. While the following findings need to be replicated in humans, I’m not taking any chances and will continue to avoid these “detergent-like” ingredients.

Consuming emulsifiers drastically changed the species composition of the gut microbiota in a manner that made it more pro-inflammatory, creating a niche favoring cancer induction and development, researchers pointed out. Alterations in bacterial species resulted in bacteria expressing more flagellin and lipopolysaccharide, which activate pro-inflammatory gene expression by the immune system.

Source:

https://draxe.com/food-additive-colon-cancer/

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Google adds allergy forecast info to mobile search results

One antihistamine or two? Google is making sure hay fever sufferers can answer that question in double quick time, thanks to the new addition of pollen measurements in search results. Plug an allergy- or pollen-related query into your Android smartphone and search results will now include a simple breakdown of current and predicted pollen levels. The new type of rich card result is populated by data from The Weather Channel, and as always, you can get more detailed info by tapping on the card itself.

Search within the Google app and you’ll also be prompted to turn on notifications. Your phone will hit you with a reminder if the pollen count is creeping particularly high in your area so you can dash to the nearest store and grab a pocket-pack of tissues before you start streaming from every facial orifice.

Source:

https://www.engadget.com/2017/08/16/google-allergy-mobile-search/

Alkaline water: Is this newly trendy water better than the rest?

To be precise, alkaline water or water that has been “alkalized” refers to water with a higher pH than tap water. The pH scale, which measures how acidic or basic something is, runs from zero to 14, with seven being the neutral point. Anything below seven is considered acidic, while anything above seven in basic. Most tap water has a pH of 7.

Alkaline water typically has a pH greater than that of tap water. Water is alkalized through an agent – calcium or magnesium for instance – bringing its pH up to 8 or 8.5, according to Self Magazine. Bottled water brands like Essentia and Evamor are considered alkaline waters.

 

 

Health benefits of drinking alkaline water 

 

The benefits of drinking alkaline water vary depending on who you ask. According to the Mayo Clinic, some studies suggest regularly drinking alkaline water can help slow bone loss. Other studies suggest alkaline water can help ease acid reflux woes due to its higher pH levels. The most straighforward benefit of alkaline water, however, is its super hydrating quality, which brands like Essentia and Evamor promote on their websites.

 

 

Possible dangers of alkaline water

 

Although some doctors and experts sing the praises of alkaline waters, others are wary. Registered dietitian Alyse Levine argues in Shape Magazine that the studies of alkaline water are largely inconclusive or incomplete. Levine notes that clinical studies simply don’t exist to support many of the claims made.

 

Moreover, depending on your current health, drinking alkaline water could prove to have negative effects on your body. For people with kidney disease, higher levels of alkalinity could prove disastrous, according to the Nephron Information Center.

 

Source:

http://www.ajc.com/lifestyles/health/alkaline-water-this-newly-trendy-water-better-than-the-rest/rTip6MhbVRwtFq0SP9CllK/

Heme Iron from Meat and Risk of Colorectal Cancer

Red meat and processed meat intake is associated with a risk of colorectal cancer, a major cause of death in affluent countries. Epidemiological and experimental evidence supports the hypothesis that heme iron present in meat promotes colorectal cancer. This meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies of colon cancer reporting heme intake included 566,607 individuals and 4,734 cases of colon cancer. The relative risk of colon cancer was 1.18 (95% CI: 1.06–1.32) for subjects in the highest category of heme iron intake compared with those in the lowest category. Epidemiological data thus show a suggestive association between dietary heme and risk of colon cancer. The analysis of experimental studies in rats with chemically-induced colon cancer showed that dietary hemoglobin and red meat consistently promote aberrant crypt foci, a putative precancer lesion. The mechanism is not known, but heme iron has a catalytic effect on (i) the endogenous formation of carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds and (ii) the formation of cytotoxic and genotoxic aldehydes by lipoperoxidation. A review of evidence supporting these hypotheses suggests that both pathways are involved in heme iron toxicity. Cancer Prev Res; 4(2); 177–84. ©2011 AACR.

Introduction

Cancer of the colon and rectum, taken together, are the third most common type of cancer worldwide (1). In most publications, colon and rectal cancer are studied together and the term colorectal cancer (CRC) is used, which we also use here, except when the publications refer specifically to colon or rectal cancer. CRC is the second most common cause of cancer death in affluent countries. Dietary modifications might reduce this cancer burden by up to 70% (2). Three recent meta-analyses showed that total meat intake is not related to risk but that intake of red or processed meat is associated with a modest, but significant risk of CRC (3–5). Processed meat intake appears to be more closely linked with the risk of CRC than fresh red meat intake. In its 2007 report, the World Cancer Research Fund panel recommended that one should limit intake of red meat and avoid processed meat (1).

Several mechanisms may explain the relationship between the risk of CRC and the intake of red or processed meat. First, meat cooked at high temperature contains mutagenic heterocyclic amines. But heterocyclic amines might not be major players in CRC risk, as: (i) consumption of chicken is a major contributor to intake of heterocyclic amines, but is not associated with the risk (6); and (ii) doses of heterocyclic amines that induce cancer in animals are 1,000 to 100,000 times higher than the dose ingested by humans (7). A second hypothesis suggests that the high saturated fat content of red and processed meat increases the risk of CRC. But several studies, including a recent meta-analysis, showed no effect of saturated fat on colorectal carcinogenesis (8–11). A third hypothesis concerns the carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds (NOC), which can be formed in the gastrointestinal tract by N-nitrosation of peptide derived amines or amides. The role of NOC in human cancer is discussed in the following text. Other more unlikely hypotheses involve the high protein, cholesterol, and salt content of red or processed meat. For a review of all these mechanisms, see ref. 12.

Source:

http://cancerpreventionresearch.aacrjournals.org/content/4/2/177

Amazon has a secret health care team called 1492 focused on medical records, virtual doc visits

Amazon has started a secret skunkworks lab dedicated to opportunities in health care, including new areas such as electronic medical records and telemedicine. Amazon has dubbed this stealth team 1492, which appears to be a reference to the year Columbus first landed in the Americas.

The stealth team, which is headquartered in Seattle, is focused on both hardware and software projects, according to two people familiar. Amazon has become increasingly interested in exploring new business in healthcare. For example, Amazon has another unit exploring selling pharmaceuticals, CNBC reported in May.

 

The new team is currently looking at opportunities that involve pushing and pulling data from legacy electronic medical record systems. If successful, Amazon could make that information available to consumers and their doctors. It is also hoping to build a platform for telemedicine, which in turn could make it easier for people to have virtual consultations with doctors, one of the people said.

 

The group is also exploring health applications for existing Amazon hardware, including Echo and Dash Wand. Hospitals and doctor’s offices have already dabbled in developing skills for Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa, which presents a big opportunity for the e-commerce company.

 

It’s not clear whether Amazon is building any new health devices, but sources didn’t rule it out.

The company currently has a slew of roles available for its “stealth” operation, which are searchable on the jobs site under the keyword “a1.492.” Some job posts describe the position as “The Amazon Grand Challenge a.k.a. ‘Special Projects’ team.” The unit is currently hiring for a UX Design Manager for its “new vertical,” as well as a machine learning director with experience in healthcare IT and analytics and a knowledge of electronic medical records.

 

Some members of the team list their affiliation with a1.492 on LinkedIn. Those involved include two machine learning experts; a UX designer; and two strategic initiative leads that are running projects inside the group, Kristen Helton and Cameron Charles.

 

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

1492 isn’t the only team inside Amazon that is working in health and life sciences.

 

Its cloud operation, Amazon Web Services, has also hired a slew of health experts to beat out Microsoft and Google for contracts with large hospitals and pharmaceutical vendors. The company has also invested in a health startup called Grail as a very special kind of future customer for its cloud business.

 

Its Amazon business team is also grabbing opportunities in the $3 trillion sector. It has been selling medical supplies for several years, which poses a big threat to the U.S. distribution business, and is looking to build out a pharmacy business.

 

The company is attempting to better coordinate these efforts through a series of meetings with senior leaders across these groups that kicked off this year, according to one of the people.

 

The market opportunity is enormous: Former White House CTO Aneesh Chopra, who has been highly involved in efforts to digitize health operations but had no prior knowledge of the Amazon effort, told CNBC “anyone who aspires to help consumers navigate our health system and is digitally capable should find the market conditions ripe for entry.”

 

Apple’s health unit is also working with partners in the industry to aggregate medical information, CNBC previously reported. Google and Microsoft have stumbled in similar efforts, known as Google Health and HealthVault.

Source:

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/26/amazon-1492-secret-health-tech-project.html

US charging 412 in health fraud schemes worth $1.3 billion

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday announced what officials are calling the largest health care fraud enforcement action in Justice Department history.

Sessions said 412 people nationwide stand charged in health care fraud schemes resulting in $1.3 billion in false billings.

Those charged include 115 doctors and other health care providers. The opioid epidemic was a major focus of the arrests and charges.

Many defendants were charged in connection with prescribing and distributing dangerous narcotics.

“Among those defendants announced today, 120 have been charged with opioid-related crimes, making this also the largest opioid-related fraud takedown in American history,” Sessions said.

Sessions cited the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for reporting that the opioid epidemic kills more than 90 people every day.

Sessions said close to 300 health care providers have been suspended or banned from participating in federal health care programs.

Source:

U.S. charges 412 in health fraud schemes worth $1.3 billion

Grape extracts may protect against colon cancer

Colon cancer is a very common form of cancer, affecting tens of thousands of people across the United States. Researchers may have just moved closer to a prevention strategy for this condition, as a compound that suppresses colon cancer stem cells is found in grapes.

In the U.S., colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of death from cancer among women and the second in men.

The American Cancer Society estimate that in 2017, more than 95,500 people will develop cancer of the colon, almost 40,000 people will have rectal cancer, and more than 50,000 deaths will be caused by colorectal cancer.

A team of researchers led by Jairam K. P. Vanamala, associate professor of food sciences at the College of Agricultural Sciences at Pennsylvania State University in State College, set out to examine the effects of grape compounds on colon cancer stem cells.

More specifically, the researchers tested the effect of a combination of resveratrol – a polyphenolic compound found in grapes, red wine, peanuts, and some berries – and grape seed extract.

As the authors write, the study rests on the theory that “most, if not all, cancerous tumors are driven by [cancer stem cells].”

“Cancer stem cells are capable of self-renewal, cellular differentiation, and maintain their stem cell-like characteristics even after invasion and metastasis,” explains lead researcher Prof. Vanamala.

The findings were published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Grape extracts halved cancer tumors

Prof. Vanamala and colleagues examined 52 mice with colon cancer tumors. They divided the rodents into three groups: one group was fed the grape compound combination, another group was fed sulindac (an anti-inflammatory drug previously found to reduce tumors in humans), and one group was given a normal diet.

The researchers found that the number of tumors in the mice that had the grape compound diet decreased by 50 percent. This drop was similar to the one seen in the sulindac group, but unlike the anti-inflammatory drug, the grape compounds did not cause any gastrointestinal toxicity.

In vitro, the experiments yielded similar results, determining the “molecular basis for the beneficial effect” of the grape compounds on human cancer stem cells.

The study also found that resveratrol and grape seed extract did not suppress cancer stem cells as effectively when taken separately and in small doses. It seems to be the combined effect of the two that produces the best results.

“The combination of resveratrol and grape seed extract is very effective at killing colon cancer cells,” says Prof. Vanamala. “And […] the combination of these compounds is not toxic to healthy cells.”

 

Colorful diet may prevent colon cancer

Prof. Vanamala suggests that the findings may bring us closer to understanding why cultures that traditionally eat more fruits and vegetables have lower colon cancer rates.

For instance, some studies have hypothesized that the West African diet may be the reason that Nigerians have a much lower rate of colon cancer compared with Caucasians.

Nigeria, along with other African countries, has been shown to have the lowest cancer rates in the world.

Plant-based diets may provide several key compounds that kill off cancer stem cells, says Prof. Vanamala. He also recommends consuming a large variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to prevent colon cancer and other chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes.

This also connects well with a plant-based diet that is structured so that the person is getting a little bit of different types of plants, of different parts of the plant, and different colors of the plant.

Prof. Jairam K. P. Vanamala

He adds, “This seems to be beneficial for not only promoting bacterial diversity, but also preventing chronic diseases and eliminating the colon cancer stem cells.”

However, Prof. Vanamala also adds that more work is needed to fully understand the anti-cancer mechanism behind grape compounds and other extracts in fruit and vegetables.

The researchers hope that their findings will set the stage for human trials that could test the effects of the grape compounds on colon cancer.

If these trials are successful, the researchers hope that the combination of resveratrol and grape seed extract could be taken in the form of a pill; this may protect against colon cancer and prevent the disease from recurring in those who survived the condition.

Source:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318007.php

Adidas’ All Day fitness app hits iOS and Android devices

Exactly three months after announcing its All Day fitness app, Adidas is finally launching it in the US. The application, which is available for iOSand Android, focuses on serving up insights about different health aspects, such as mindset, movement, nutrition rest.

 

Adidas says that All Day is designed for “versatile” athletes, meaning that the app’s goal isn’t just to help you with tough workouts, but also showing you anything from quick meditation moves to how to cook healthy recipes. While All Day is only available for those of you in the States right now, the sportswear giant tells Engadget that the app will be coming to other markets later this fall.

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Source:

https://www.engadget.com/2017/06/28/adidas-all-day-app-ios-android/