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The Gary Null Show – 06.08.21

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Growing evidence fruit may lower type 2 diabetes risk

Research has found eating at least two serves of fruit daily has been linked with 36% lower odds of developing type 2 diabetes

Edith Cowan University (Australia), June 2, 2021

Eating at least two serves of fruit daily has been linked with 36 percent lower odds of developing type 2 diabetes, a new Edith Cowan University (ECU) study has found.

The study, published today in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, revealed that people who ate at least two serves of fruit per day had higher measures of insulin sensitivity than those who ate less than half a serve.

Type 2 diabetes is a growing public health concern with an estimated 451 million people worldwide living with the condition. A further 374 million people are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The study’s lead author, Dr Nicola Bondonno from ECU’s Institute for Nutrition Research, said the findings offer fresh evidence for the health benefits of fruit.

“We found an association between fruit intake and markers of insulin sensitivity, suggesting that people who consumed more fruit had to produce less insulin to lower their blood glucose levels,” said Dr Bondonno.

“This is important because high levels of circulating insulin (hyperinsulinemia) can damage blood vessels and are related not only to diabetes, but also to high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease.

“A healthy diet and lifestyle, which includes the consumption of whole fruits, is a great strategy to lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.”

Fresh is best

The study examined data from 7,675 Australians participating in the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute’s AusDiab Study and assessed fruit and fruit juice intake and the prevalence of diabetes after five years.

Dr Bondonno said they did not observe the same beneficial relationship for fruit juice.

“Higher insulin sensitivity and a lower risk of diabetes was only observed for people who consumed whole fruit, not fruit juice,” she said.

“This is likely because juice tends to be much higher in sugar and lower in fibre.”

Dr Bondonno said that it’s still unclear exactly how fruit contributes to insulin sensitivity, but it is likely to be multifaceted.

“As well as being high in vitamins and minerals, fruits are a great source of phytochemicals which may increase insulin sensitivity, and fibre which helps regulate the release of sugar into the blood and also helps people feel fuller for longer,” she said.

“Furthermore, most fruits typically have a low glycaemic index, which means the fruit’s sugar is digested and absorbed into the body more slowly.”

The study builds on Dr Bondonno’s research into the health benefits of fruit and vegetables, particularly those that contain a key nutrient known as flavonoids. The research is part of ECU’s Institute of Nutrition Research.

Ginkgo biloba leaves have multicomponent and multitarget synergistic effects on treatment of neurodegenerative diseases

Jiangsu Kanion Pharmaceutical Co (China), June 1, 2021

According to news reporting out of Jiangsu, People’s Republic of China, research stated, “Ginkgo biloba L. leaves (GBLs), as widely used plant extract sources, significantly improve cognitive, learning and memory function in patients with dementia. However, few studies have been conducted on the specific mechanism of Neurodegenerative diseases (NDs).”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Jiangsu Kanion Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., “In this study, network pharmacology was employed to elucidate potential mechanism of GBLs in the treatment of NDs. Traditional Chinese Medicine Systems Pharmacology Database and Analysis Platform (TCMSP) was used to obtain the chemical components in accordance with the screening principles of oral availability and drug-like property. Potential targets of GBLs were integrated with disease targets, and intersection targets were exactly the potential action targets of GBLs for treating NDs; these key targets were enriched and analyzed by the protein protein interaction (PPI) analysis and molecular docking verification. Key genes were ultimately used to find the biological pathway and explain the therapeutic mechanism by Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) analysis. Twenty-seven active components of GBLs may affect biological processes such as oxidative reactions and activate transcription factor activities. These components may also affect 120 metabolic pathways, such as the PI3K/AKT pathway, by regulating 147 targets, including AKT1, ALB, HSP90AA1, PTGS2, MMP9, EGFR and APP. By using the software iGEMDOCK, the main target proteins were found to bind well to the main active components of GBLs.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “GBLs have the characteristics of multi-component and multi-target synergistic effect on the treatment of NDs, which preliminarily predicted its possible molecular mechanism of action, and provided the basis for the follow-up study.”

This research has been peer-reviewed.

Diets that promote inflammation could increase breast cancer risk

Analysis of dietary patterns for over 350,000 women suggests eating more anti-inflammatory foods helps lower risk

Catalan Institute of Oncology and Biomedical Research Institute (Spain) June 7, 2021

A new study of more than 350,000 women found that women with diets incorporating more foods that increase inflammation in the body had a 12% increase in their risk of breast cancer compared to women who consume more anti-inflammatory diets. The new findings are being presented at NUTRITION 2021 LIVE ONLINE.

The study authors found that moving from a more anti-inflammatory diet toward one that increases inflammation upped breast cancer risk in an almost linear manner. Foods that increase inflammation include red and processed meat; high-fat foods such as butter, margarines and frying fats; and sweets including sugar, honey and foods high in sugar. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, tea and coffee all have potentially anti-inflammatory properties.

“Most studies examining diet and breast cancer risk have focused on single nutrients or foods rather than the whole diet,” said the study’s first author Carlota Castro-Espin, a predoctoral fellow at the Catalan Institute of Oncology and Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute in Barcelona, Spain. “People consume food not nutrients, thus examining overall dietary patterns, rather than single components of diets can lead to more accurate conclusions when analysing associations with a health outcome such as breast cancer.”

The new results are based on data from the European Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, a prospective study that recruited more than 500,000 participants across 10 European countries starting in the mid-1990s. The study included more than 13,000 breast cancer diagnoses during approximately 15 years of follow-up.

The typical diet for EPIC participants was measured for a year using food frequency or diet history questionnaires. The researchers used this information to calculate an inflammatory score for each study participant based on their intake of 27 foods.

The researchers examined dietary patterns linked with inflammation because long-term, low grade inflammation has been linked with the development of breast cancer. The large number of women in the study allowed the researchers to take a more nuanced look at the relationship between dietary patterns and breast cancer risk.

Their analysis showed that the increase in breast cancer risk due to pro-inflammatory diets appears to be more pronounced among premenopausal women. They also found that the association did not vary by breast cancer hormone receptor subtypes.

“Our results add more evidence of the role that dietary patterns play in the prevention of breast cancer,” said Castro-Espin. “With further confirmation, these findings could help inform dietary recommendations aimed at lowering cancer risk.”

As a next step, the researchers plan to evaluate the association of the inflammatory potential of diet and other dietary patterns with breast cancer survival using participants in the EPIC study.

Emerging impact of quercetin in the treatment of prostate cancer

Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences (Iran), June 3, 2021

According to news originating from Tehran, Iran, research stated, “Quercetin is a flavonoid agent detected in fruits and vegetables with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer effects. This flavonoid can suppress cell cycle transition and induce apoptosis in neoplastic cells.”

Our news reporters obtained a quote from the research from Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences: “Therapeutic effects of quercetin have been assessed in diverse cancers including prostate cancer through the establishment of in vitro and in vivo experiments. Moreover, this agent might prevent the initiation of this type of cancer as it indirectly blocks the activity of promoters of two important genes in the pathogenesis of prostate cancer i.e. androgen receptor (AR) and prostate specific antigen (PSA). Several in vitro investigations have identified the differential influence of quercetin on normal prostate cells versus neoplastic cells, emphasizing its specific cytotoxic effects on cancerous cells. The most appreciated route of quercetin effect on prostate cancer cells is the detachment of Bax from Bcl-xL and the stimulation of caspase families. Besides, quercetin might enhance the effects of other therapeutic options against prostate cancer. For instance, a combination of TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) and quercetin has been recommended as a novel modality for the treatment of prostate cancer.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “These kinds of strategies might overcome resistance to apoptosis in cancer cells. In the current paper, we summarize the recent data about the preventive and therapeutic influences of quercetin in prostate cancer.”

Breast microbiome modified by diet, fish oil

Wake Forest School of Medicine, June 4 2021. 

Findings reported on June 3, 2021 in Cancer Research add evidence to the effects of diet on the breast’s microbiome, the community of microorganisms that exists in breast tissue.

“We have recently demonstrated that dietary patterns modulate mammary microbiota populations,” wrote David R. Soto-Pantoja and colleagues. “An important and largely open question is whether the microbiome of the gut and mammary gland mediates the dietary effects on breast cancer.”

To help answer this question, the researchers fed a high fat or a control diet to mice that are susceptible to developing breast cancer. Animals that received the high fat diet had a greater number of tumors, more rapid tumor growth and larger tumor size than those that received the control diet.

Next, mice that were given high fat diets received fecal transplants from mice that received control diets, and control diet-fed animals received transplants from high fat diet-fed animals. The team found that animals that received the control diet developed as many tumors as mice that received the high fat diet.

In a double-blind trial, breast cancer patients were given fish oil supplements or a placebo for two to four weeks prior to surgical removal of their tumors. The researchers observed a change in the microbiota of tumor and normal breast tissue in participants who received fish oil, including an increase in Lactobacilli (which has been associated with reduce breast cancer tumor growth in animals) in normal tumor-adjacent breast tissue of participants who received fish oil for four weeks.

“Obesity, typically associated with a high-fat diet consumption, is a well-known risk factor in postmenopausal breast cancer,” commented coauthor Katherine L. Cook, PhD, of Wake Forest University. “This study provides additional evidence that diet plays a critical role in shaping the gut and breast microbiome.”

Self-administered aroma foot massage may reduce symptoms of anxiety

Okayama University (Japan), June 8, 2021 

Researchers at Okayama University conduct the first community-based study on the effects of self-administered aromatherapy foot massage on stress and anxiety symptoms. The results suggest aromatherapy massages might provide an inexpensive, simple way of managing anxiety.

The continuing popularity of complementary therapies, such as aromatherapy and massage, has prompted scientists to investigate the effects of such therapies on the body in more detail. Complementary therapies are said to reduce the symptoms associated with stress and anxiety, and therefore may reduce the chances of severe illness, such as hypertension and heart disease. The precise effects on the body following such therapies is unclear, however.

Previous studies have focused on the effects of massage and aromatherapy treatments on blood pressure and mental state in hospitalized patients in Japan, but none have been conducted on individuals living in the community. Now, Eri Eguchi and co-workers at Okayama University, together with researchers across Japan, have conducted the first study into the effect of aromatherapy-based foot massage on blood pressure, anxiety and health-related quality of life in people living in the community.

57 participants took part in the study; 52 women and 5 men. Baseline blood pressure and heart rate values were taken at the start and end of the four-week trial period, as well as at a follow-up session 8 weeks later. Participants also completed questionnaires on anxiety status and health-related quality of life at each stage of the trial. The participants were divided into two groups, and one group were taught to perform a 45-minute aromatherapy-based foot massage on themselves three times a week for four weeks.

The results suggest that aroma foot massage decreased the participants’ average blood pressure readings, and state of anxiety, and tended to increased mental health-related quality of life score. However the effect of massages was not significant with changes in other factors such as physical health-related quality of life scores and heart rate.

In their paper published in March 2016 in PLOS One, Eguchi’s team are cautiously optimistic about the potential for self-administered massage to reduce anxiety in the population: “[although] it was difficult to differentiate the effects of the aromatherapy from the effects of the massage therapy… [the combination] may be an effective way to increase mental health and improve blood pressure.”

Aromatherapy and massage

Aromatherapy has long been used to relieve stress and anxiety in populations across the globe. Different aroma essential oils are said to have different properties, and are used to induce relaxation and promote well-being. Trials have indicated that certain essential oils, when inhaled, can reduce blood pressure levels and alleviate depression by stimulating the olfactory system.

Massage (in its many forms) also has a long history in therapeutic medicine, and the practice of manipulating key pressure points in the body to induce relaxation has been shown to improve mental and physical health. However, detailed scientific studies of the effects of aromatherapy foot massage – an increasingly popular treatment in Japan – on blood pressure and perceived quality of life are limited.

Significance and further work

While the trial carried out by Eguchi and her team is limited in some respects, their results provide an initial starting point from which to extend studies into the benefits of aroma foot massage for the general population. Their findings that massage, or the aromatherapy, or a combination of both, reduce blood pressurereadings (at least in the short term) warrants further investigation.

Eguchi and her team acknowledge that their decision to advertise for participants may have encouraged more health-conscious and pro-active people to apply. They also received far more applications from women than men, although their age-range (from 27 to 72) was diverse. Further work is needed to determine the effect of aroma foot massage on specific age and sex categories, for example, before such interventions are encouraged in the wider population.


Proteomics reveals how exercise increases the efficiency of muscle energy production

University of Copenhagen (Denmark), May 27, 2021

Mitochondria are the cell’s power plants and produce the majority of a cell’s energy needs through an electrochemical process called electron transport chain coupled to another process known as oxidative phosphorylation. A number of different proteins in mitochondria facilitate these processes, but it’s not fully understood how these proteins are arranged inside mitochondria and the factors that can influence their arrangement.

Now, scientists at the University of Copenhagen have used state-of-the-art proteomics technology to shine new light on how mitochondrial proteins gather into electron transport chain complexes, and further into so-called supercomplexes. The research, which is published in Cell Reports, also examined how this process is influenced by exercise training.

“This study has allowed for a comprehensive quantification of electron transport chain proteins within supercomplexes and how they respond to exercise training. These data have implications for how exercise improves the efficiency of energy production in muscle,” says Associate Professor Atul S. Deshmukh from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research (CBMR) at the University of Copenhagen.

Traditional methods provide too little detail

It is already well established that exercise training stimulates mitochondrial mass and affects the formation of supercomplexes, which allows mitochondria in skeletal muscle to produce energy more efficiently. But questions remain about which complexes cluster into supercomplexes and how.

To better understand supercomplex formation, particularly in response to exercise, the team of scientists studied two groups of mice. One group was active, and given an exercise wheel for 25 days, and the second group was sedentary, and was not provided the exercise wheel. After 25 days, they measured the mitochondrial proteins in skeletal muscle from both groups to see how the supercomplexes had changed over time.

When scientists typically analyze how supercomplexes form, they use antibodies to measure one or two proteins per electron transport chain complex. But as there can be up to 44 proteins in a complex, this method is both time consuming and provides limited information about what happens to the remainder of the proteins in each complex.

As a result, there is a lack of detailed knowledge in the field.

Proteomics helps supercomplexes give up their secrets

To generate much more detailed data, the team applied a proteomic technology called mass spectrometry to measure the mitochondrial proteins. By applying proteomics instead of antibodies, the scientists were able to measure nearly all of the proteins in each complex. This provided unprecedented detail of mitochondrial supercomplexes in skeletal muscle and how exercise training influences their formation. Their approach demonstrated that not all of the proteins in each complex or a supercomplex respond to exercise in the same manner.

“Mitochondrial protein content is known to increase with exercise, thus understanding how these proteins assemble into supercomplexes is crucial to decipher how they work. Our research represents a valuable and precious resource for the scientific community, especially for those studying how the mitochondrial proteins organize to be better at what they do best: produce energy under demand,”, explains Postdoc Alba Gonzalez-Franquesa.

The interdisciplinary project was a collaboration between the Deshmukh, Treebak and Zierath Groups at CBMR, and the Mann Group at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research.