Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New Prebiotic Fibers Study Out

Prebiotic oligofructose was the subject of a recent study completed in Canada, and the results may be fantastic for those watching their waistlines.
Overweight and obese adults receiving supplements of oligofructose lost an average of one kilogram over 12 weeks, compared to a general increase in weight in the placebo group of almost half a kilo, according to results of a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Jill Parnell and Raylene Reimer from the University of Calgary report that the prebiotic fibres were associated with lower levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, and higher levels of a hormone in the gut, peptide YY (PYY), linked to increased feelings of fullness (satiety). [link]
You might recall our mention of how hormones work in the digestive system in our Feature Article entitled, "You are What You Eat? Well, Maybe..."

Here is a quick excerpt regarding the two hormones -- Ghrelin, and Peptide YY

Additional hormones in the digestive system regulate appetite:

  • Ghrelin is produced in the stomach and upper intestine in the absence of food in the digestive system and stimulates appetite.

  • Peptide YY is produced in the digestive tract in response to a meal in the system and inhibits appetite.

Both of these hormones work on the brain to help regulate the intake of food for energy. Researchers are studying other hormones that may play a part in inhibiting appetite, including glucagon-like peptide-1 (GPL-1), oxyntomodulin (+ ), and pancreatic polypeptide.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Resveratrol Good News Bad News

Resveratrol may not be the "magic molecule" everyone once thought it was now that science is finally catching up. New evidence is in regarding resveratrol's effects on the Sirtuin1 gene (also known as the longevity gene Sert1) which could indicate a shocking turnaround.

Many supplement makers (and others) were basing their claims for the red wine molecule, resveratrol, on an outdated 2006 study once published in Nature Magazine which claimed mice lived longer on a resveratrol diet... but apparently, the 60% fat-calorie diet they were fed can't be achieved in humans.

More importantly, a recent 2008 resveratrol study discovered that higher doses of resveratrol can potentially do more harm than good.

For one thing, mice fed high-dose resveratrol did not live as long as mice fed a standard calorie diet. As for the Sirtuin1 gene, over-activation of the Sirtuin1 gene in warm-blooded animals increases the occurrence of heart failure by more than 7.5 fold! [link]

In another study it was found that overstimulation of SirT1 may make brain cells vulnerable to damage. [link]
Some scientists are optimistic that in the near future a pill with resveratrol or something like it could provide the health benefits of a very low-calorie diet. But the new research indicates the drug and the diet regimen don't necessarily work the same way.
The bottom line is -- "it's complicated."

Some studies show resveratrol actually works to protect the heart and brain while improving longevity... others reveal the opposite can be true.

Even so... in one of the older studies, it was revealed mice could not survive long without any resveratrol (SerT1) in their system. Quote:
Mice can't dispense with SirT1 entirely, though. Longo's group found that mice from which the SirT1 gene was removed entirely died young. Calorie restriction did not lengthen their lives as it does for yeast lacking the similar gene, Sir2.
And yet, in a more recent report (released in Oct. 2008), indications are:
The accumulation of fat in the liver as a result of chronic alcohol consumption could be prevented by consuming resveratrol, according to a new study with mice. [link]
So... what to believe?

Is more (concentrated) doses of resveratrol actually better? this biotech firm had hoped?

I guess the key here, at this stage of the science, is... if you drink red wine for your source of resveratrol, perhaps you should drink only in moderation.

Alternatively, resveratrol is present in whole food sources such as grapes, peanuts, and most berries.

In our very humble opinion, whenever we see companies jumping all over themselves to simulate a single molecule, you can bet you will be hearing more and more about it as they try to cash in on what it "might" do... and expect to see more advertising implying how good it is for you.

In this case, we'll stick to whole food sources until this complex puzzle has been truly solved.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend BEEF Recall

Approximately 95,898 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 are being recalled by Valley Meats LLC, a Coal Valley, Illinois company... just in time for the big Memorial Day Weekend here in the USA.

The ground beef products named in the recall were produced on March 10, 2009, and were distributed to various locations nationwide. Brands include 3S Brand Products, Grillmaster Brand Products, J & B Brand Products, Klub Brand Products, Thick 'N Savory Brand Products, Ultimate Brand Products, and a variety of products with no specified name brand.

Details for which products under each brand are affected by the recall can be seen at the FSIS website through this link.
The problem was discovered through an epidemiological investigation of illnesses. On May 13, 2009, FSIS was informed by the Ohio Department of Health of a cluster of E. coli O157:H7 infections. Illnesses have been reported in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact a physician.

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in the most severe cases, kidney failure. The very young, seniors and persons with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness.

Media and consumers questions regarding the recall should be directed to the company spokesperson at (309) 799-7341.

Please be careful and have a safe, wonderful Memorial Day Weekend.