Both sucrose and high fructose corn syrup linked to increased health risks
University of California at Davis, August 31, 2021
Consuming sucrose, the more “natural form of sugar,” may be as bad for your health as consuming high fructose corn syrup, according to a University of California, Davis, study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
“This is the first dietary intervention study to show that consumption of both sucrose- and high fructose corn-sweetened beverages increase liver fat and decrease insulin sensitivity,” said Kimber Stanhope, a research nutrition biologist with the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “People often have a skewed perspective of aspartame and give sucrose a pass, but this study suggests that consumers should be equally concerned about both major added sugars in our food supply.”
Participants (18 to 40 years old) were assigned to beverage groups matched for sex, body mass index, fasting triglyceride, lipoprotein and insulin concentrations. They drank three servings a day of either a sucrose-sweetened beverage, a high fructose corn-sweetened beverage, or an aspartame-sweetened beverage for 16 days.
The double-blind study was unique in that the 187 subjects lived in a clinical unit for 3.5 days before beverage consumption and during the final days of beverage consumption. Thus, their diet and activity levels were controlled prior to the assessments of risk factors that occurred before and after beverage consumption. This control helped the researchers document how quickly the study subjects, even those who were very lean or normal weight, showed changes in liver fat, insulin sensitivity, and circulating lipids, lipoproteins and uric acid when they drank the added sugars. There were no significant differences between the effects of sucrose and those of high fructose corn syrup, and both the sugar-sweetened beverages increased risk factors compared with aspartame-sweetened beverages.
“Within the span of two weeks, we observed a significant change in liver fat and insulin sensitivity in the two groups consuming sucrose- or high fructose corn syrup-sweetened beverages,” Stanhope said. “That’s concerning because the prevalence of fatty liver [nonalcoholic fatty liver disease] and Type 2 diabetes continues to increase globally.”
Decreased insulin sensitivity is an important risk factor for Type 2 diabetes, and seeing a clinically significant change within two weeks highlights the need for consumers to read labels carefully and be aware of the source of added sugars, she said. Sucrose may be labeled as sugar, cane sugar or evaporated cane juice among other names, but they’re all sugar.
Stanhope said the study is important because many consumers consider high fructose corn syrup to be more detrimental to health than sucrose. Many consumers also believe consuming sucrose is safer than consuming aspartame.
Previous human and animal studies have shown that sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with increased fat in the liver. This study further substantiates that those beverages can promote fat accumulation in the liver and lead to metabolic syndrome.
“It’s all physiologically connected, although we’re not sure [in what] direction it goes,” Stanhope said. “It’s very likely that the mechanism by which we develop metabolic syndrome goes through liver fat and insulin resistance. An increase in liver fat can be benign for a certain amount of time and for certain people. But it can also progress to associated inflammation in liver cells that causes fibrosis and negatively impacts liver function, which can make an individual more prone to liver cancer.”
Consuming a Mediterranean diet associated with lower risk of sudden cardiac death during 9.8-year period
University of Alabama, August 31, 2021
The July issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association reported the finding of a trend toward a lower risk of sudden cardiac death in association with greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet during an average of 9.8 years of follow-up.* The study also uncovered a trend toward a higher risk of sudden cardiac death associated with greater intake of a Southern dietary pattern.
Sudden cardiac death, as defined by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute-sponsored expert panel is “an unexpected death without obvious extracardiac cause, occurring with a rapid witnessed collapse, or if unwitnessed, occurring within one hour after the onset of symptoms.”
The current investigation included 21,069 participants in the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study, which included men and women aged 45 years and older, among whom 42% were black. A high proportion of study participants resided in a region of the U.S. often referred to as the “stroke belt”. In previous research, five dietary patterns were derived from responses to dietary questionnaires administered upon enrollment in REGARDS. These included a pattern observed in the Southeastern United States that is characterized by added fats, fried food, eggs, organ meat, processed meat and sugar‐sweetened beverages. All subjects’ diets were subsequently scored for adherence to a Mediterranean diet, which included a high intake of vegetables, fruit, legumes, cereals and fish; a lower intake of meat and dairy products; a high ratio of monounsaturated fat to saturated fat consumption, and moderate alcohol intake. In-home examinations obtained physical measurements, information concerning medication use, a physical health summary, electrocardiographic evaluation, and blood and urine sample collection. Cardiovascular events and deaths were tracked via twice-yearly calls to participants or next of kin, and other methods.
During follow-up, 401 sudden cardiac deaths occurred. After adjustment for a number of factors, subjects whose Mediterranean diet scores placed them among the top one-third of participants had a risk of sudden cardiac death that was 26% lower than subjects whose scores were among the lowest third. The protective effect of the diet was limited to participants with no history of coronary heart disease at the beginning of the study.
Among men and women whose adherence to the Southern dietary pattern was among the top quarter of participants, the risk of sudden cardiac death was 46% higher than those among the lowest quarter.
“We know of no published studies investigating the possible associations of dietary patterns with risk of sudden cardiac death,” wrote authors James M. Shikany, DrPH, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues. However, they remarked that protective effects against the condition have been revealed in association with nuts and fish, which are Mediterranean diet components. They added that the omega 3 fatty acids in fatty fish have been proposed as responsible for the benefit observed in association with greater fish intake and may help protect against sudden cardiac death via their effects on resting heart rate, blood pressure, vascular endothelial function, triglyceride concentrations, inflammatory pathways and other factors. Furthermore, laboratory studies have revealed antiarrhythmic effects for omega 3s.
“Although observational in nature, these data suggest that diet may be a modifiable risk factor for sudden cardiac death and should be discussed with patients,” they wrote.
Aging-US: Dietary supplementation with green tea catechins and cocoa flavanols
Cocoa, but not GTE, reduced aging-associated microgliosis and increased the proportion of neuroprotective microglial phenotypes
Universitat de Lleida and Institut de Recerca Biomèdica de Lleida (Spain), September 1, 2021
Aging-US published “Beneficial effects of dietary supplementation with green tea catechins and cocoa flavanols on aging-related regressive changes in the mouse neuromuscular system” which reported that green tea extract (GTE) and cocoa-supplemented diets significantly improved survival rate of mice. GTE increased density of VAChT and VGluT2 afferent synapses on neuromuscular junctions.
Cocoa, but not GTE, reduced aging-associated microgliosis and increased the proportion of neuroprotective microglial phenotypes.
Dr. Jordi Calderó from IRBLleida said, “Sarcopenia, the progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and function with age, is considered the main causative factor of the physical performance decline in the elderly.”
Sarcopenia, the progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and function with age, is considered the main causative factor of the physical performance decline in the elderly. The compromised muscular function associated to sarcopenia has a negative impact on the life quality of older adults and increases the risk for disability, fall-associated injuries, morbidity, and mortality. The authors have recently reported a marked increase in the microglial and astroglial pro-inflammatory phenotypes (M1 and A1, respectively) in the spinal cord of aged mice. This may be due to the presence of anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective (M2 and A2) glial subpopulations. Caloric restriction, based on a diet low in calories, has been shown to attenuate aging sarcopenia in various species by acting at different levels of the skeletal muscle.
Caloric restriction has also been reported to ameliorate age-related changes in rodent NMJs and to prevent MN and motor axon degeneration found to occur with aging [11, 21]. In a similar way, some dietary supplements have been shown to counteract age related changes that contribute to neuromuscular dysfunction (reviewed by [12) Plant flavonoids have gained particular attention as dietary compounds for keeping good health and preventing a number of diseases, particularly cardiac disorders and cancer.
The Calderó Research Team concluded in their Aging-US Research Output that, green tea and cocoa flavonoids from GTE and cocoa significantly increased survival rate of aged mice. Both diets preserved NMJ innervation and maturity, delayed the senescence process of the skeletal muscle, and enhanced its regenerative capacity. Future research is needed to investigate whether higher doses of flavonoid are needed and/or longer-term interventions can help restore proper motor function.
How the mind sharpens the senses
Ruhr University Bochum (Germany), August 27, 2021
A study conducted with experienced scholars of Zen-Meditation shows that mental focussing can induce learning mechanisms, similar to physical training. Researchers at the Ruhr-University Bochum and the Ludwig-Maximilians-University München discovered this phenomenon during a scientifically monitored meditation retreat. The journal Scientific Reports, from the makers of Nature, has now published their new findings on the plasticity of the brain.
Participants of the study use a special meditation technique
The participants were all Zen-scholars with many years of meditation practice. They were scientifically escorted during a four-day Zen-retreat in the spiritual center “Benediktushof”, Germany. The retreat was held in complete silence, with at least eight hours of meditation per day. All participants practiced their familiar meditation, which is characterized by a non-specific monitoring of thoughts and surroundings. Additionally, some participants applied a special finger-meditation for two hours per day, during which they were asked to specifically focus on their right index finger and become aware of spontaneously arising sensory percepts in this finger. Subsequent assessment of the group that practiced finger-meditation showed a significant improvement in the tactile acuity of the right index and middle finger. A control group that had maintained their familiar meditation practice for the whole time, showed no changes in tactile acuity.
Data show significant improvement of the sense of touch
In order to assess the sense of touch quantitatively, researchers measured the so-called “two-point discrimination threshold”. This marker indicates how far apart two stimuli need to be, in order to be discriminated as two separate sensations. After the finger meditation, the performance improved on average by 17 percent. By comparison, tactile acuity of the visually impaired is 15 to 25 percent above that of typical sighted individuals, because their sense of touch is used so intensively to make up for the reduced visual information. Hence, the changes induced by meditation are comparable to those achieved by intense long-term training.
Meditation induces plasticity and learning processes as active training or physical stimulation
It is known for long that extensive training induces neuroplasticity, which denotes the ability of the brain to adapt and restructure itself, thereby improving perception and behavior. Recently, the group of neuroscientists of the Neural Plasticity Lab headed by Hubert Dinse has shown that these processes can be initiated even without training by mere exposure to passive stimulation, which was translated only recently into a stimulating glove, which is used as therapeutical intervention in stroke patients. The fact that merely mental states without any physical stimulation can improve perception has now been shown for the first time. “The results of our study challenge what we know about learning mechanisms in the brain. Our concept of neuroplasticity must be extended, because mental activity seems to induce learning effects similar to active stimulation and physical training,” Dinse suggests.
Antibiotics increase the risk of colon cancer
Umea University (Sweden), September 1, 2021
There is a clear link between taking antibiotics and an increased risk of developing colon cancer within the next five to ten years. This has been confirmed by researchers at Umeå University, Sweden, after a study of 40,000 cancer cases. The impact of antibiotics on the intestinal microbiome is thought to lie behind the increased risk of cancer.
“The results underline the fact that there are many reasons to be restrictive with antibiotics. While in many cases antibiotic therapy is necessary and saves lives, in the event of less serious ailments that can be expected to heal anyway, caution should be exercised. Above all to prevent bacteria from developing resistance but, as this study shows, also because antibiotics may increase the risk of future colon cancer,” explains Sophia Harlid, cancer researcher at Umeå University.
Researchers found that both women and men who took antibiotics for over six months ran a 17 per cent greater risk of developing cancer in the ascending colon, the first part of the colon to be reached by food after the small intestine, than those who were not prescribed any antibiotics. However, no increased risk was found for cancer in the descending colon. Nor was there an increased risk of rectal cancer in men taking antibiotics, while women taking antibiotics had a slightly reduced incidence of rectal cancer.
The increased risk of colon cancer was visible already five to ten years after taking antibiotics. Although the increase in risk was greatest for those taking most antibiotics, it was also possible to observe an admittedly small, but statistically significant, increase in the risk of cancer after a single course of antibiotics.
The present study uses data on 40,000 patients from the Swedish Colorectal Cancer Registry from the period 2010–2016. These have been compared to a matched control group of 200,000 cancer-free individuals drawn from the Swedish population at large. Data on the individuals’ antibiotic use was collected from the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register for the period 2005–2016. The Swedish study broadly confirms the results of an earlier, somewhat smaller British study.
In order to understand how antibiotics increase the risk, the researchers also studied a non-antibiotic bactericidal drug used against urinary infections that does not affect the microbiome. There was no difference in the frequency of colon cancer in those who used this drug, suggesting that it is the impact of antibiotics on the microbiome that increases the risk of cancer. While the study only covers orally administered antibiotics, even intravenous antibiotics may affect the gut microbiota in the intestinal system.
“There is absolutely no cause for alarm simply because you have taken antibiotics. The increase in risk is moderate and the affect on the absolute risk to the individual is fairly small. Sweden is also in the process of introducing routine screening for colorectal cancer. Like any other screening programme, it is important to take part so that any cancer can be detected early or even prevented, as cancer precursors can sometimes be removed,” says Sophia Harlid.
High dose vitamin C may stop the progression of leukemia, study reveals
Perlmutter Cancer Center at New York University August 28, 2021
Exciting new research shows that a six-month regimen of high-dose intravenous vitamin C slowed the progression of leukemia by stopping leukemic cells from multiplying.
The study builds upon other research that demonstrates vitamin C’s potential to inhibit and even kill cancer cells – without harming healthy tissue. Let’s take a closer look at how vitamin C is demonstrating its amazing potential to fight cancer.
Vitamin C stimulates a vital cancer-fighting enzyme
In leukemia, white blood cells fail to mature, so they regenerate themselves and multiply uncontrollably – a process that stops the body from producing the mature white blood cells needed by the immune system to fight infections. Researchers have discovered that a gene mutation plays a major role in the development of many cases of leukemia.
50 percent of patients with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, 30 percent of patients with pre-leukemia and 10 percent of acute myeloid leukemia patients have a genetic disorder that decreases amounts of TET2 – a vital enzyme that helps undifferentiated cells mature into normal blood cells. This TET2 gene mutation accounts for 42,500 cancers yearly in the United States.
The new study, conducted at Perlmutter Cancer Center at New York University Langone Health and published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Cell, examined vitamin C’s potential to stimulate TET2 – and the results were encouraging.
Genetically restoring TET2 blocks replication of cancer cells and safely kills them
The researchers found that intravenous high-dose vitamin C helps restore TET2 function, causing “faulty” stem cells in bone marrow to die off.
Vitamin C produced results when it was used on human leukemia cells carrying the TET2 mutation – and it also stopped the growth of transplanted leukemia cancer stem cells in mice that had been genetically engineered to lack TET2.
The vitamin achieved this effect by promoting DNA demethylation in the cancerous cells. Researchers also found that combining vitamin C with PARP inhibitors – drugs which cause cancer cell death – improved its effectiveness even more. In fact, vitamin C seemed to have a potentiating effect, making the leukemic cells more vulnerable to the PARP inhibitors.
Study author Benjamin Neel, Ph.D., noted that the team was excited by the prospect that high-dose vitamin C might become a “safe treatment for blood diseases caused by TET2-deficient leukemia stem cells, most likely in combination with other targeted therapies.” Neel called for preclinical and clinical trials to test high-dose intravenous vitamin C in human patients – and for further research to identify other substances that might help to potentiate the vitamin C treatment.
Researchers are particularly hopeful that using vitamin C with cancer drugs could provide an alternative to toxic chemotherapy – which can be dangerous and even fatal to patients with acute myeloid leukemia.
Note: The researchers used extremely high dosages of intravenous vitamin C in the study – amounts that would be impossible to obtain by oral ingestion alone.
Amazing NEWS: Vitamin C has outperformed approved clinical and experimental drugs
Other recent, peer-reviewed research is blazing exciting new inroads into the area of potential uses of this powerful vitamin to stop cancer.
In a study newly published in Oncotarget, researcher found that high-dose vitamin C stopped tumors cold by impairing cancer stem cell metabolism and interfering with their ability to grow and spread.
Researchers noted that the nutrient worked as a pro-oxidant in cancer cells – stripping them of the antioxidant glutathione and producing oxidative stress and apoptosis, or cell death. In addition, vitamin C interfered with glycolysis, the process that creates energy in cell mitochondria.
And, while lethal to cancer cells, it left healthy cells unaffected.
The researchers concluded that vitamin C was a “promising new agent,” and called for more study to explore its use in preventing and slowing tumors.
The team also reported that vitamin C outperformed seven different substances, including stiripinol – an FDA-approved clinical drug – and various experimental medications. Researchers noted that vitamin C was 1,000 times – that’s right, 1,000 times – more effective in combating cancer stem cells than 2-DG, an experimental pharmaceutical drug.
(It is hard to understand why these eye-opening results have received so little attention from mainstream medicine. Especially in light of the fact that – unlike toxic chemotherapy drugs – this essential vitamin has caused few side effects in clinical studies.)
But, I think we can quickly see how this news might be threatening to the profits of the pharmaceutical industry.
The fact is: conventional medicine has long downplayed or ignored promising vitamin C research. But, as forward-thinking, innovative researchers continue to examine vitamin C’s many benefits, its potential to combat cancer may yet be recognized.