The Latest in Health & Fitness

fitness-manHey fitness people! I’ve now changed the name of this series of posts from “Around the Web” to “The Latest in Health & Fitness”. Why? Primarily because I think the new name better reflects what these posts are all about; recent research, articles, and videos that have popped up in the health & fitness sphere over the last couple of weeks. Clearly, I’m not able to cover “everything”, but I try to always stay on top of the latest research related to the main topics of this site, and I then pick out what I consider to be the best and most interesting stuff to include in these articles. As before, these posts will be published on a semi-regular basis. Okay, let’s dive in…

Nutrition

Consumption of wheat, but also other cereal grains, can contribute to the manifestation of chronic inflammation

In the present review, we describe how the daily consumption of wheat products and other related cereal grains could contribute to the manifestation of chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases. Both in vitro and in vivo studies demonstrate that gliadin and WGA can both increase intestinal permeability and activate the immune system. Read more at mdpi.com…

My comment: This review corroborates what many previous studies have shown; a lot of people react poorly to antinutrients in grains.

Fat vs. carbohydrate: Which Causes More Fat Gain?

In the end, I believe the best diet is the one that keeps you relatively lean and healthy. That diet might differ based on your background, current lifestyle, genetic makeup, and goals. A diet’s macronutrient composition is one variable that determines body fatness, although it’s probably not the most important variable. It’s simply one of the easiest to understand. Read more at WholeHealthSource.com…

My comment: Dr. Stephan Guyenet over at WholeHealthSource.com has recently published several posts where he looks into the fattening effect of carbohydrate and fat. Well worth a read.

Influence of westernization spells danger for public health in Nigeria

The lifestyle altering effects of westernization could be responsible for the high prevalence of obesity, and associated health risks in sub-Saharan Africa, researchers have found. The study found that over one in five women in Nigeria were reported to be overweight or obese, with this statistic increasing among demographics with improved social and economic indicators. Read more at ScienceDaily.com…

My comment: History has shown that everyone reacts poorly to westernization. As soon as soft drinks, processed junk food, and sedentary habits make their way into a new region of the world, human health in that area quickly declines. This response is especially apparant when we look at hunter-gatherers and isolated non-westernized people, who experience a dramatic decline in health when they start eating a western diet.

What you eat may affect your body’s internal biological clock

Food not only nourishes the body but also affects its internal biological clock, which regulates the daily rhythm of many aspects of human behavior and biology. Researchers provide new insights into how adjusting the clock through dietary manipulation may help patients with various conditions and show that insulin may be involved in resetting the clock. Read more at ScienceDaily.com…

How antioxidants can accelerate cancers, and why they don’t protect against them

For decades, health-conscious people around the globe have taken antioxidant supplements and eaten foods rich in antioxidants, figuring this was one of the paths to good health and a long life. Read more at ScienceDaily.com…

My comment: Antioxidants were long touted for their anti-cancer effect and immunoregulatory properties. However, more and more research has accumulated over the last couple of years, showing that boosting your antioxidant intake doesn’t necessarily transfer into any health benefits. This doesn’t mean that you should throw out your fruits and vegetables, but in my mind, there are other compounds in these foods that are more important than the antioxidants. Also, antioxidant supplements are probably doing you more harm than good.

Exercise

Think fun when exercising and you’ll eat less later

If you think of your next workout as a ‘fun run’ or as a well-deserved break, you’ll eat less afterward, research has shown. However, if you think of it as exercise or as a workout you’ll later eat more dessert and snacks, to reward yourself. Read more at ScienceDaily.com…

Do Your Workouts Feel like a Chore?

Here’s the thing: exercise wasn’t always optional. If we didn’t chase down the antelope, we wouldn’t have dinner. If we didn’t climb that forty foot acacia tree, our glycogen-starved muscles wouldn’t get the honey. If we didn’t make the six mile walk to the spring, we wouldn’t have water to drink. We had to do these “exercises” if we wanted to survive on a day-to-day basis. Read more at MarksDailyApple.com…

My comment: Great post by Mark Sisson. Well worth a read…

Epigenetics

Epigenetics is definitely one of my favorite topics. Diet, exercise, exposure to pollutants, sleep, etc. affect which genes are turned “on” and which are turned “off”, meaning that epigenetics is the bridge between your human genes and your environment and lifestyle. These epigenetics processes don’t only impact your health, but also the health of your children in the sense that epigenetic marks can be passed on to offspring. Here are some of the most recent studies in this exciting field…

Epigenetic changes can drive cancer, study shows

Cancer has long been thought to be primarily a genetic disease, but in recent decades scientists have come to believe that epigenetic changes — which don’t change the DNA sequence but how it is ‘read’ — also play a role in cancer. In particular DNA methylation, the addition of a methyl group (or molecule), is an epigenetic switch that can stably turn off genes, suggesting the potential to cause cancer just as a genetic mutation can. Until now, however, direct evidence that DNA methylation drives cancer formation was lacking. Read more at ScienceDaily.com…

Mom’s environment during pregnancy can affect her grandchildren

Starving a pregnant mouse can cause changes in the sperm of her sons that apparently warp the health of her grandchildren, according to a new study. The finding offers some of the strongest evidence yet that a mother’s environment during pregnancy can alter the expression of DNA in ways that are passed on to future generations. Read more at ScienceMag.com…

Cesarean Delivery May Cause Epigenetic Changes In Babies DNA

Babies coming into the world by cesarean section experience epigenetic changes, a study has found. So far there has not been enough follow up to know whether the effects are long lasting, but the discovery may explain the relatively poorer outcomes for babies delivered in this way. Read more at iflscience.com

Microbes

Cell phones are populated with many bacteria commonly found on users’ hands

Smartphones and other mobile devices hold a wealth of personal data, but a new study has found that they’re capable of additional storage: cell phones carry 82 percent of the most common microbial species found on their owners’ fingers, according to research published online yesterday (June 24) in PeerJ. Read more at the-scientist.com…

Probiotics Hold Promise for 4 Skin Conditions

The benefit of probiotics is that they introduce healthy bacteria to the gut and create a barrier to reduce inflammation, which can trigger certain skin conditions, said Dr. Whitney Bowe, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, who has researched the effect of probiotics on acne. Read more at LiveScience.com…

Gut bacteria change the sexual preferences of fruit flies

Imagine taking a course of antibiotics and suddenly finding that your sexual preferences have changed. Individuals who you once found attractive no longer have that special allure. That may sound far-fetched, but some fruit flies at Tel Aviv University have just gone through that very experience. They’re part of some fascinating experiments by Gil Sharon, who has shown that the bacteria inside the flies’ guts can actually shape their sexual choices. Read more at blogs.discovermagazine.com…

Therapeutic bacteria prevent obesity in mice, study finds

A probiotic that prevents obesity could be on the horizon. Bacteria that produce a therapeutic compound in the gut inhibit weight gain, insulin resistance and other adverse effects of a high-fat diet in mice, investigators have discovered. Read more at ScienceDaily.com…

My comment: I’ve written a lot about the connection between gut microbes and body fat regulation, and I’ve highlighted the fact that a single strain of a proinflammatory microorganism can cause obesity in germ-free mice. Clearly, this process also works the other way around; administering the right types of bacteria can promote fat loss. However, I think it’s a mistake to put too much emphasis on supplements and drugs in the fight against obesity. Yes, there is a place for specifically designed probiotic supplements, but a healthy diet rich in fermented foods and prebiotics should really be the focus.

Showers may be linked to Crohn’s disease, say researchers

… fine water spray from both domestic showers and rivers is an exposure route for the bacteria [Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis] to humans and may play a role in the development of Crohn’s Disease. Read more at ScienceDaily.com…

My comment: How safe is really the water you shower in?

American Gut data now available

Among the interesting patterns emerging from the data:

  • How much of their microbial diversity participants shared with others depended greatly on how recently they had taken antibiotics. Those participants who had taken antibiotics within the last year tended to have less shared diversity.
  • Alcohol imbibers tended to have greater microbial diversity than those that don’t drink alcohol at all.
  • Spikes in microbiome populations seem to occur around holidays: in July, and in November through January.
  • There is no single organism that is found in every person, but some are more common across the population than others.
  • People who sleep more, and who exercise outdoors, have more diverse microbiomes.
  • As seen in other studies, the elderly resemble infants in certain respects of their microbiomes.

Read more at biofrontiers.colorado.edu… or check out the more detailed overview here.

My comment: No big surprises really, but two somewhat interesting findings:
1) Alcohol boosts microbial diversity. Is alcohol in itself responsible for this effect? Or are other compounds found in alcoholic beverages the reason people who drink have more diverse microbiomes? Or perhaps other variables are confounding the whole picture… It’s too early to tell.
2) Longer sleep and outdoor exercise could increase biodiversity.

Do you want to learn more about the human microbiome?

Join us on a guided tour of the human gut and its microscopic inhabitants. We will first review what microbes are and how they get into our bodies. We will then discuss the methods we use to study microbial communities and briefly explore how gut microbiome data are analyzed. Read more at coursera.org…

My comment: Sign up for this free course if you want to learn more about how the microbes in and on your body impact your health.

Miscellaneous

Best Practices for Raising Kids? Look to Hunter-Gatherers

The hunter-gatherer lifestyle worked at least tolerably well for the nearly 100,000-year history of behaviorally modern humans. Everybody in the world was a hunter-gatherer until the local origins of agriculture around 11,000 years ago, and nobody in the world lived under a state government until 5,400 years ago. The lessons from all those experiments in child-rearing that lasted 
for such a long time are worth considering seriously. Read more at NewsWeek.com…

My comment: This isn’t a new article, but it’s so good that I felt like sharing.

Mobile phone exposure negatively affects sperm quality

We conclude that pooled results from in vitro and in vivo studies suggest that mobile phone exposure negatively affects sperm quality. Further study is required to determine the full clinical implications for both sub-fertile men and the general population. Read more at ScienceDirect.com…

My comment: This new systematic review is a reminder to all men not to keep their mobile phone in their pocket all day long.

Sleeping Habits Predict the Magnitude of Fat Loss in Adults Exposed to Moderate Caloric Restriction

This study provides evidence that sleeping habits can influence the success of a weight loss intervention and should be taken into consideration when one decides to start a diet. Read more at Karger.com…

Brazil’s Newly Contacted Tribe Already Has the Flu, and It Could Wipe Them Out

It has happened many times before, and it’s happening again: Members of a previously uncontacted tribe that recently made contact with the outside world have gotten sick. Now, they’ve retreated back into the Amazon Rainforest, which is very bad news, as it puts the entire tribe at risk of infection—and possibly death. Read more at motherboard.vice.com…

The Right and Wrong Way to Treat Hormone Imbalance

There are five critical systems that you need to focus on in order to ensure optimal hormone production and balance, and this is true whether you’re male or female and regardless of what the hormone is that we’re talking about. Read more at ChrisKresser.com…

My comment: Great post by Chris Kresser on hormone imbalance. Well worth a read.

Trees save lives, reduce respiratory problems

In the first broad-scale estimate of air pollution removal by trees nationwide, scientists have calculated that trees are saving more than 850 human lives a year and preventing 670,000 incidences of acute respiratory symptoms. Read more at ScienceDaily.com…

My comment: How is the lack of trees, wildlife, and plants in urban areas influencing human health?

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