The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment.
Protective effects of polyphenols present in Mediterranean diet against endothelial dysfunction
University of Valencia (Spain), September 2, 2020
According to news originating from Valencia, Spain, by NewsRx correspondents, research stated, “Endothelial dysfunction tends to be the initial indicator in proinflammatory state and macro- and microvascular complications, such as atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases.”
Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from University of Valencia: “It has been shown that certain compounds in diet can generate beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease due to its interactions with endothelial cells. Thus, this review is aimed at investigating whether certain polyphenols present in the Mediterranean diet, specifically catechin, quercetin, resveratrol, and urolithin, could exert positive effects on endothelial dysfunction. After analysis of numerous papers, we found that polyphenols aiding endothelial function is beneficial not only for patients with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or endothelial dysfunction but for all people as it can improve the effects of aging on the endothelia. The additional benefit of these polyphenols on weight loss further improves health and lowers the risk of several diseases, including those caused by endothelial dysfunction.”
According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “However, it is important to note that the dosages in the majorities of the studies mentioned in this review were of supplemental rather than nutritionally relevant quantities, and therefore, the recommended dosages are difficult to determine.”
How screen time and green time may affect youth psychological outcomes
University of Adelaide (Australia), September 4, 2020
Less screen time and more green time are associated with better psychological outcomes among children and adolescents, according to a study published September 2 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Tassia Oswald of the University of Adelaide, and colleagues.
The prevalence of mental illness among children and adolescents is increasing globally. Technological developments in recent decades have increased young people’s engagement with screen-based technologies (screen time), and a reduction in young people’s contact with nature (green time) has been observed concurrently. This combination of high screen time and low green time may affect mental health and well-being. But research investigating the psychological impacts of screen time or green time typically considers each factor in isolation and fails to delineate the reciprocal effects of high technology use and low contact with nature on mental health and cognitive outcomes. To address this question, Oswald and colleagues analyzed the findings of 186 studies to collate evidence assessing associations between screen time, green time, and psychological outcomes (including mental health, cognitive functioning, and academic achievement) for children and adolescents.
In general, high levels of screen time appeared to be associated with unfavorable psychological outcomes, while green time appeared to be associated with favorable psychological outcomes. Young people from low socioeconomic backgrounds were underrepresented in the literature overall and may be disproportionately affected by high screen time and low green time, making this a priority group for future research. However, additional longitudinal studies and RCTs are needed to determine whether decreasing screen time and increasing green time would improve psychological outcomes. According to the authors, preliminary evidence suggests that green time could potentially buffer the consequences of high screen time, meaning nature may be an under-utilized public health resource to promote youth psychological well-being in a high-tech era. Investment in more rigorous research is needed to explore this.
Oswald adds: “This systematic scoping review highlights that nature may currently be an under-utilised public health resource, which could potentially function as an upstream preventative and psychological well-being promotion intervention for children and adolescents in a high-tech era. However, robust evidence is needed to guide policies and recommendations around appropriate screen time and green time at critical life stages, to ultimately ensure optimal psychological well-being for young people.”
Ginseng gintonin, aging societies and geriatric brain diseases
Konkuk University (South Korea), September 4, 2020
According to news reporting out of Seoul, South Korea, research stated, “A dramatic increase in aging populations and low birth rates rapidly drive aging societies and increase aging-associated neurodegenerative diseases. However, functional food or medicinal formulations to prevent geriatric brain disorders are not readily available. Gintonin is a candidate, since ginseng has long-been consumed as a rejuvenating agent.”
Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Konkuk University, “However, the underlying molecular mechanisms and the components of ginseng that are responsible for brain rejuvenation and human longevity are unknown. Accumulating evidence shows that gintonin is a candidate for the anti-aging ingredient of ginseng, especially in brain senescence. Gintonin, a glycolipoprotein complex, contains three lipid-derived G protein-coupled receptor ligands: lysophosphatidic acids (LPAs), lysophosphatidylinositols (LPIs), and linoleic acid (LA). LPA, LPI, and LA act on six LPA receptor subtypes, GPR55, and GPR40, respectively. These G protein-coupled receptors are distributed within the nervous and non-nervous systems of the human body. Gintonin-enriched fraction (GEF) exhibits anti-brain senescence and effects against disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Huntington’s disease (HD), and Parkinson’s disease (PD). Oral administration of gintonin in animal models of d-galactose-induced brain aging, AD, HD, and PD restored cognitive and motor functions. The underlying molecular mechanisms of gintonin-mediated anti-brain aging and anti-neurodegenerative diseases include neurogenesis, autophagy stimulation, anti-apoptosis, anti-oxidative stress, and anti-inflammatory activities. This review describes the characteristics of gintonin and GEF, and how gintonin exerts its effects on brain aging and brain associated-neurodegenerative diseases.”
According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Finally, we describe how GEF can be applied to improve the quality of life of senior citizens in aging societies.”
How we sleep today may forecast when Alzheimer’s disease begins
Don’t despair. deep, restorative sleep may defend against this virulent form of dementia
University of California Berkeley, September 6, 2020
What would you do if you knew how long you had until Alzheimer’s disease set in? Don’t despair. New research from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests one defense against this virulent form of dementia — for which no treatment currently exists — is deep, restorative sleep, and plenty of it.
UC Berkeley neuroscientists Matthew Walker and Joseph Winer have found a way to estimate, with some degree of accuracy, a time frame for when Alzheimer’s is most likely to strike in a person’s lifetime.
“We have found that the sleep you’re having right now is almost like a crystal ball telling you when and how fast Alzheimer’s pathology will develop in your brain,” said Walker, a UC Berkeley professor of psychology and neuroscience and senior author of the paper published today, Sept. 3, in the journal Current Biology.
“The silver lining here is that there’s something we can do about it,” he added. “The brain washes itself during deep sleep, and so there may be the chance to turn back the clock by getting more sleep earlier in life.”
Walker and fellow researchers matched the overnight sleep quality of 32 healthy older adults against the buildup in their brains of the toxic plaque known as beta-amyloid, a key player in the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s, which destroys memory pathways and other brain functions and afflicts more than 40 million people worldwide.
Their findings show that the study participants who started out experiencing more fragmented sleep and less non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) slow-wave sleep were most likely to show an increase in beta-amyloid over the course of the study.
Although all participants remained healthy throughout the study period, the trajectory of their beta-amyloid growth correlated with baseline sleep quality. The researchers were able to forecast the increase in beta-amyloid plaques, which are thought to mark the beginning of Alzheimer’s.
“Rather than waiting for someone to develop dementia many years down the road, we are able to assess how sleep quality predicts changes in beta-amyloid plaques across multiple timepoints. In doing so, we can measure how quickly this toxic protein accumulates in the brain over time, which can indicate the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Winer, the study’s lead author and a Ph.D. student in Walker’s Center for Human Sleep Science at UC Berkeley.
In addition to predicting the time it is likely to take for the onset of Alzheimer’s, the results reinforce the link between poor sleep and the disease, which is particularly critical in the face of a tsunami of aging baby boomers on the horizon.
While previous studies have found that sleep cleanses the brain of beta-amyloid deposits, these new findings identify deep non-REM slow-wave sleep as the target of intervention against cognitive decline.
And though genetic testing can predict one’s inherent susceptibility to Alzheimer’s, and blood tests offer a diagnostic tool, neither offers the potential for a lifestyle therapeutic intervention that sleep does, the researchers point out.
“If deep, restorative sleep can slow down this disease, we should be making it a major priority,” Winer said. “And if physicians know about this connection, they can ask their older patients about their sleep quality and suggest sleep as a prevention strategy.”
The 32 healthy participants in their 60s, 70s and 80s who are enrolled in the sleep study are part of the Berkeley Aging Cohort Study headed by UC Berkeley public health professor William Jagust, also a co-author on this latest study. The study of healthy aging was launched in 2005 with a grant from the National Institutes of Health.
For the experiment, each participant spent an eight-hour night of sleep in Walker’s lab while undergoing polysomnography, a battery of tests that record brain waves, heart rate, blood-oxygen levels and other physiological measures of sleep quality.
Over the course of the multi-year study, the researchers periodically tracked the growth rate of the beta-amyloid protein in the participants’ brains using positron emission tomography, or PET scans, and compared the individuals’ beta-amyloid levels to their sleep profiles.
Researchers focused on the brain activity present during deep slow-wave sleep. They also assessed the study participants’ sleep efficiency, which is defined as actual time spent asleep, as opposed to lying sleepless in bed.
The results supported their hypothesis that sleep quality is a biomarker and predictor of disease down the road.
“We know there’s a connection between people’s sleep quality and what’s going on in the brain, in terms of Alzheimer’s disease. But what hasn’t been tested before is whether your sleep right now predicts what’s going to happen to you years later,” Winer said. “And that’s the question we had.”
And they got their answer: “Measuring sleep effectively helps us travel into the future and estimate where your amyloid buildup will be,” Walker said.
As for next steps, Walker and Winer are looking at how they can take the study participants who are at high risk of contracting Alzheimer’s and implement methods that might boost the quality of their sleep.
“Our hope is that if we intervene, then in three or four years the buildup is no longer where we thought it would be because we improved their sleep,” Winer said.
“Indeed, if we can bend the arrow of Alzheimer’s risk downward by improving sleep, it would be a significant and hopeful advance,” Walker concluded.
Link between positive emotions and health depends on culture
University of Wisconsin, September 8, 2020
Positive emotions are often seen as critical aspects of healthy living, but new researchsuggests that the link between emotion and health outcomes may vary by cultural context. The findings, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, show that experiencing positive emotions is linked with better cardiovascular health in the US but not in Japan.
“Our key finding is that positive emotions predict blood-lipid profiles differently across cultures,” says psychological scientist Jiah Yoo of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “American adults who experience high levels of positive emotions, such as feeling ‘cheerful’ and ‘extremely happy’, are more likely to have healthy blood-lipid profiles, even after accounting for other factors such as age, gender, socioeconomic status, and chronic conditions. However, this was not true for Japanese adults.”
“Our findings underscore the importance of cultural context for understanding links between emotion and health, something that has been largely ignored in the literature,” Yoo adds. “Although some studies have examined cultural differences in links between positive emotions and healthy functioning, this work is novel in that it includes biological measures of health and large representative samples from both countries.”
The fact that positive emotions are conceived of and valued differently across cultures led Yoo and colleagues to wonder whether the health benefits observed in tandem with positive emotions might be specific to Western populations.
“In American cultures, experiencing positive emotions is seen as desirable and is even encouraged via socialization. But in East Asian cultures, people commonly view positive emotions as having dark sides – they are fleeting, may attract unnecessary attention from others, and can be a distraction from focusing on important tasks,” says Yoo.
The researchers designed a cross-cultural comparison, examining data from two large representative studies of adults: Midlife in the United States and Midlife in Japan, both funded by the National Institute on Aging. Data included participants’ ratings of how frequently they felt 10 different positive emotions in the previous 30 days and measures of blood lipids, which provided objective data on participants’ heart health.
“Because of the global prevalence of coronary artery disease, blood lipids are considered important indices of biological health in many Western and East Asian countries,” Yoo explains.
As expected, the data indicated that experiencing frequent positive emotions was associated with healthy lipid profiles for American participants. But there was no evidence of such a link for Japanese participants.
The differences may be due, in part, to the relationships between positive emotions and BMI in each culture. Higher positive emotions were linked with lower BMI and, in turn, healthier lipid profiles among American participants, but not among Japanese participants.
“By demonstrating that the cultural variation in the connection between emotional well-being and physical well-being, our research has wide-ranging relevance among those who seek to promote well-being in the communities and the workplace, including clinicians, executives, and policy makers,” Yoo concludes.
In future work, the researchers will examine longitudinal data to determine whether the evidence suggests a direct causal link between emotions and health. They also hope to identify emotional profiles that may be more relevant or important to health outcomes in East Asian cultures.
Experimental research suggests co-administration of Panax ginseng and Brassica oleracea plants (kale, broccoli, cabbage, etc) may help protect against osteoporosis
Inha University School of Medicine (South Korea), September 4, 2020
According to news reporting out of Incheon, South Korea, research stated, “Postmenopausal osteoporosis is a common disorder resulting from increased osteoclastic activity.”
The news reporters obtained a quote from the research from Inha University School of Medicine: “To determine the effect of * * Panax ginseng* * on postmenopausal osteoporosis, ovariectomized (OVX) mice were treated with 500 mg/kg/day * * P. ginseng* * extract (Pg) alone or in combination with hot water extract of * * Brassica oleracea* * (Bo) daily for 10 weeks, and the effect of the treatments on OVX-induced bone loss was examined. Bone weight, bone mineral density (BMD), osteoclast (OC) formation, OC marker expression, and biochemical parameters in blood were determined. OVX significantly increased body weight and decreased bone weight compared with those in the Sham group (* * p* * < 0.01). Pg or Bo alone did not affect OVX-induced bone loss, but a combination of Pg and Bo (Pg:Bo) recovered bone weight. The bones of OVX mice showed lower BMD than that of Sham mice, and the Pg:Bo = 3:1 restored the decreased BMD. Single treatment with Pg or Bo did not alter OC formation; however, the Pg:Bo = 3:1 inhibited OC formation.”
According to the news editors, the research concluded: “In addition, Pg and Bo lowered the OVX-induced elevation in blood glucose level. Thus, we suggest that Pg in combination with proper materials, such as Bo, might be a potential candidate treatment with minimal side effects protect against postmenopausal osteoporosis.”
Rest Days Are Important For Fitness — Here’s Why, According To Science
University Of Aberdeen, September 4, 2020
In 2017, world famous distance runner, Ron Hill, ended his record of 52 years and 39 days of consecutive running by taking a day’s rest after feeling unwell during one of his runs.
Hill writes in his autobiography that he ran at least one mile a day, and tasked himself with training 13 times per week. His training was conducted without a coach, and was done on a trial and error basis.
Though successful – he even competed twice in the Olympics – there were occasions that he describes the symptoms of over-training. These included sore and heavy legs, increased susceptibility to colds and infections, and weight loss. Though Hill found a training regimen that helped him prepare for competition, he wondered if some of his substandard performances were a consequence of not taking any rest days.
When starting a new fitness regime, we’re often told it’s important to take “rest days” between workouts. The reason many recommend rest days is to allow the body’s muscles to recover from any damage they’ve sustained during workouts, and to allow them to grow. And numerous scientific studies show that rest days do indeed play an important role in helping us maintain good health and fitness.
We usually define rest as a period of time without any training. For most people, this is usually about 24 hours between workouts. However, recovery is different, and could indicate a time span of several minutes to hours (such as taking a short break during training between rounds). Recovery could also indicate the time required to induce some form of physiological adaptation, such as the observed rapid increase in plasma volume, which could improve aerobic fitness. But how necessary are both rest and recovery as part of a training program?
Take a break
Most studies indicate that rest and recovery between workouts are both necessary for helping the body adapt and recuperate from one’s last workouts. Exercise requires us to use our body’s energy stores (primarily carbohydrates) and fluids (in producing sweat), so rest and recovery give the body time to replenish these energy stores.
Several studies have shown that the body needs at least 24 hours to fully replace our muscle’s store of carbohydrates. Maintaining an adequate store of muscle glycogen (glycogen is the body’s store of carbohydrate), is important for training and maintaining stable blood sugar levels.
However, less time is required to recover our fluids. Numerous studies have found it takes only around one to two hours to replace our fluids lost as sweat during exercise. But our bodies still require several hours of rest following exercise to maintain hydration due to the continued production of urine.
Training may also damage our body’s tissues. Under some circumstances this damage can be beneficial, but is not an essential part of building muscle. But in order for muscle to recover and improve (known as physiological adaptation) they require several weeks of cycles of exercise and recovery.
Research shows our bodies require a longer rest period in order to build muscle tissue (protein synthesis). But given the turnover of protein for muscle, tendon and ligaments is between 0.4-1.2% a day, this shows there’s a constant exchange of protein in our body related to dietary intake, urinary nitrogen excretion and the added effect of exercise.
The hours just after the initial workout may actually be most important for making this happen. Researchers reported that a three-hour feeding pattern of whey protein was more effective at increasing protein synthesis than feeding every 1.5 or six hours over a 12-hour period.
Many other adaptations that occur as a consequence of training (such as increasing the activity of enzymes and glucose transporters, which are key in oxygen consumption and fuel use), require a period in excess of 12 hours before changes are detected. These changes are important, as when we increase our exercise intensity, we need to use glucose instead of fat to fuel our exercise.
The quality of rest has also been a source of much interest, and sleep deprivation has been used as a tool to examine the effects of disturbed rest on exercise performance and physical and psychological function. A wide-ranging review concluded that disturbed sleep may have a detrimental effect on performance, such as a reduced time to exhaustion – but they were clear that sleep deprivation had many negative effects on cognitive function.
Overwhelming evidence also shows rest days are also extremely important for preventing overtraining syndrome. Overtraining syndrome can cause fatigue, sleep loss, weight gain, depression – and may even result in decreased performance and may stall progress.
In general, it seems that one day’s rest per week is sound advice and is supported by the scientific evidence, especially when it comes to repairing tissues, building and adapting skeletal muscle, and restoring fuel reserves. It may also reduce mental stress. Although Hill set world records at distances between 10 and 16 miles, he is an exceptional example – and even admitted that trying to run every single day may have hindered his performance at the two Olympic games. Based on the evidence, taking a rest day seems to be as important for progress and fitness as exercise itself.
Probiotics may help manage childhood obesity
University of Piemonte Orientale (Italy), September 5, 2020
Probiotics may help children and adolescents with obesity lose weight when taken alongside a calorie-controlled diet, according to a study being presented at e-ECE 2020. The study found that obese children who were put on a calorie-restricted diet and given probiotics Bifidobacterium breve BR03 and Bifidobacterium breve B632, lost more weight and had improved insulin sensitivity compared with children on a diet only. These findings suggest that probiotic supplements and a calorie-controlled diet may help manage obesity in the younger population and reduce future health risks, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Obesity is a global health concern and can lead to a number of life-threatening conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. Treatment and prevention is a serious public health challenge, especially in children and adolescents. Bifidobacteria are a group of probiotic bacteria that are part of the natural gut microbiome and help with preventing infection from other bacteria, such as E.coli, and digestion of carbohydrates and dietary fibre. During digestion, they release chemicals called short-chain fatty acids, which play an important role in gut health and controlling hunger. Low numbers of Bifodobacteria may impair digestion, affect food intake and energy expenditure, leading to body weight gain and obesity.
Previous studies suggested that probiotic supplementation with Bifidobacteria could help restore the composition of the gut microbiome, which may aid weight loss and could be a potential approach for obesity management. However, current research uses mixtures of different strains of probiotics and does not examine the effects of administering Bifidobacteria alone.
Dr Flavia Prodam and her team at the University of Piemonte Orientale, aimed to assess the impact of Bifidobacteria probiotic treatment in children and adolescents with obesity on a controlled diet, on weight loss and gut microbiota composition. 100 obese children and adolescents (6-18 years) were put on a calorie-controlled diet and randomly given either probiotics Bifidobacterium breve BR03 and Bifidobacterium breve B632, or a placebo for 8 weeks. Clinical, biochemical and stool sample analyses were carried out to determine the effect of probiotic supplementation on weight gain, gut microbiota and metabolism.
The results suggested that children who had taken probiotics had a reduction in waist circumference, BMI, insulin resistance and E.coli in their gut. These beneficial effects demonstrate the potential of probiotics in helping to treat obesity in children and adolescents, when undergoing dietary restrictions.
“Probiotic supplements are frequently given to people without proper evidence data. These findings start to give evidence of the efficacy and safety of two probiotic strains in treating obesity in a younger population,” Dr Prodam comments.
The study suggests that supplementation with probiotics could modify the gut microbiome environment and beneficially affect metabolism, helping obese children or adolescents who are also undergoing a restricted diet to lose weight. However, larger studies over a longer period of time are needed to investigate this.
Dr Prodam explains, “The next step for our research is to identify patients that could benefit from this probiotic treatment, with a view to creating a more personalised weight-loss strategy. We also want to decipher more clearly the role of diet and probiotics on microbiome composition. This could help us to understand how the microbiota is different in young people with obesity.”