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Mon, 21 May 2018
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Health & Wellness


Fasting boosts stem cells' regenerative capacity

intestinal stem cells
© Maria Mihaylova and Chia-Wei Cheng
Intestinal stem cells from mice that fasted for 24 hours, at right, produced much more substantial intestinal organoids than stem cells from mice that did not fast, at left.
As people age, their intestinal stem cells begin to lose their ability to regenerate. These stem cells are the source for all new intestinal cells, so this decline can make it more difficult to recover from gastrointestinal infections or other conditions that affect the intestine.

This age-related loss of stem cell function can be reversed by a 24-hour fast, according to a new study from MIT biologists. The researchers found that fasting dramatically improves stem cells' ability to regenerate, in both aged and young mice.

In fasting mice, cells begin breaking down fatty acids instead of glucose, a change that stimulates the stem cells to become more regenerative. The researchers found that they could also boost regeneration with a molecule that activates the same metabolic switch. Such an intervention could potentially help older people recovering from GI infections or cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, the researchers say.

"Fasting has many effects in the intestine, which include boosting regeneration as well as potential uses in any type of ailment that impinges on the intestine, such as infections or cancers," says Omer Yilmaz, an MIT assistant professor of biology, a member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, and one of the senior authors of the study. "Understanding how fasting improves overall health, including the role of adult stem cells in intestinal regeneration, in repair, and in aging, is a fundamental interest of my laboratory."

Comment: See also The Health & Wellness Show: Fast-inating Information About Fasting

Arrow Up

Getting fit in six minutes per week

weight training deadlift
You've probably heard that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can significantly cut the time needed in the gym, but just how little can you get away with? Could you actually get fit in as little as six minutes per week? The featured ABC Catalyst program investigates this claim.

A significant piece of the puzzle relates to how HIIT affects your mitochondria, tiny organelles found in most of your cells, responsible for production of energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

Your mitochondria have a series of proteins in the electron transport chain, in which they pass electrons from the reduced form of a metabolized portion of the food you eat to combine it with oxygen from the air you breathe and ultimately form water. As noted in the featured program, the more mitochondria you have and the healthier they are, the more energy your body can generate and the lower your risk of chronic disease.

Comment: 6 minutes per week is something literally everyone has time for. There's no longer any excuse not to get fit!

See also:


Prescription to slow worsening myopia in Canadian kids? Head outdoors and limit screen time

Nearly 30% of children 11 to 13 are nearsighted, study finds
kid with iphone
© Craig Chivers/CBC
Jaclyn's iPhone is reflected in her new glasses, which she wears because of her myopia. She likes to use the device to send texts and emails to her friends.
Seven-year-old Jaclyn recently chose bright blue-framed glasses with red dots "because they're a splash of colour."

Jaclyn was diagnosed with myopia, or nearsightedness, at the age of four. "I was surprised to learn that she needed glasses," recalled her mother, Ellen Rosenberg, in Toronto.

Comment: Information on screen time:


Are any of America's commonly consumed foods glyphosate-free?

© Marvin Dembinsky Photo Associate/Alamy
More than 200m pounds of weedkiller are used annually by US farmers on their fields. It is sprayed directly over some crops, including corn, soybeans, wheat and oats.
The FDA has been testing food samples for traces of glyphosate for two years, but the agency has not yet released any official results

US government scientists have detected a weedkiller linked to cancer in an array of commonly consumed foods, emails obtained through a freedom of information request show.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been testing food samples for residues of glyphosate, the active ingredient in hundreds of widely used herbicide products, for two years, but has not yet released any official results.

But the internal documents obtained by the Guardian show the FDA has had trouble finding any food that does not carry traces of the pesticide.

Comment: Glyphosate? It's in everything!

Light Saber

The Great Gut Flora War: Why the bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract matters

Well-functioning intestinal flora are key to staying healthy. Here's why:

Excerpted with permission from Food Pharmacy: A Guide to Gut Bacteria, Anti-Inflammatory Foods, and Eating for Health by Lina Aurell and Mia Clase. Copyright 2018 by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
Without getting ahead of ourselves, we can start by noting that the key to staying healthy and free of inflammation and chronic illness is a well-functioning intestinal flora. Simply put, this flora is the bacteria and microorganisms that exist naturally in the intestine. In an adult, this is between 3.3 to 4.4 lb of bacteria. The intestine is a huge ecosystem containing several hundred different types of good and bad bacteria, which is an amount at least ten times greater than the number of body cells we have-approximately a hundred trillion. So, in that respect, you're actually more bacteria than human. Most of your immune defense (or immune system, as it is also called) is in the gut (gastrointestinal tract), a truly fascinating system that's built on a close collaboration between immune cells in the intestinal wall and your army of good intestinal bacteria. To fight inflammation, it is vital that only the good bacteria hook onto those immune cell receptors in the intestine. If the bad bacteria latch on to the receptors instead, you will have inflammation and lesser resistance against infection.


Brain cells in the hypothalamus govern aging

aging, elderly, time running out
Discovering the cause of aging is key to eventually stopping the clock. New research suggests that brain cells control aging to a greater extent than previously known.

People in the West are obsessed with stopping the clock. We invest in plastic surgeries and anti-aging treatments, as well as a wide variety of supplements purported to stop aging or at least slow the process. However, new research suggests that we should be looking deeper when we seek the cause of aging. Could we be approaching the process of aging from the wrong angle? Could brain cells control aging?

What Causes Aging?

While few people wish to live forever, most of us want to age as slowly and gracefully as possible. However, aging is difficult to stop because its effects are not just evident on our skin, but in every cell of our bodies. In addition to wrinkles and external signs of aging, people also suffer slower cognition, memory loss, reduced organ function and even changes to the body's circadian rhythm. Our senses, including hearing, vision and even taste, gradually become dull and even shut down.

Comment: Check out the following counterarguments before avoiding the sun and getting plenty of exercise as advised above:

Brain power and muscle power have much in common
Dr. Doug McGuff, author of Body by Science counters the above assessment, stating that resistance training, done properly, is much safer and more beneficial than aerobics for cardiovascular and overall health. More good news is that this program can be accomplished is as little as 12 minutes once per week.
Photobiomodulation therapy: Healing the body with light

Don't Believe the Hype -- Fructose Truly is Much Worse Than Glucose


Deadly duos: Deaths from synthetic opioid mixes surge past prescription opioids

Synthetic opioids
© Moussa81/istockphoto
Eighty percent of synthetic opioid-related overdose deaths in 2016 were also tied to the simultaneous use of alcohol or another drug (such as another opioid, heroin or cocaine).
As opioid-related deaths rise in the United States, so has the role of synthetic opioids - primarily illicit fentanyl, mixed into heroin or made into counterfeit pills (SN Online: 3/29/18). In 2016, synthetics surged past prescription opioids and were involved in 19,413 deaths, compared with 17,087 deaths involving prescription opioids, researchers report May 1 in JAMA. The study is based on data from the National Vital Statistic System's record of all U.S. deaths.

"Synthetic opioids are much deadlier than prescription opioids," says emergency physician Leana Wen, Health Commissioner of Baltimore, who was not involved in the study. Fentanyl, for example, is about 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. The illicit origins of many synthetic opioids make the public health response more difficult, she says. "We can track prescriptions; it's much harder to track illegally trafficked drugs."

Comment: See also:


Keeping consumers in the dark: Proposed USDA rule on GMO labeling is deceptive & filled with loopholes

© foodbusinessnews.net
"Today, the USDA released its new GMO labeling rule. This rule will help keep consumers in the dark as it is intended. It's filled with loopholes and would allow manufacturers to use digital codes and other technology that make GMO disclosure more difficult for consumers than simple labels.

"The rule refers to GMOs as 'bioengineered,' or BE foods. This is a deceptive strategy because most consumers don't know what that means. The proposed sun and flower-based 'BE' labels manufactures could elect to use in their disclosure suggest to consumers the product is natural and sustainable, when genetically engineered foods are anything but.


A new generation of research into psilocybin could change how we treat numerous mental health conditions

© Scientific American
Roland Griffiths was trying to meditate - but he couldn't do it. If he sat there for a few minutes, it felt as through hours were stretching out before him, like a long, slow torture. So he quit. This tall, thin young scientist, who was rapidly rising through the ranks of academic psychology, would not meditate again for twenty years - but when he returned to mindfulness, he became part of unlocking something crucial. Professor Griffiths was going to make a breakthrough - just not for himself, but for all of us.

I came to Roland Griffiths' door towards the end of a 40,000-mile journey, from Sydney to Sao Paulo to San Francisco. I set out on this trek to interview the world's leading experts on what causes depression and anxiety, and what really solves them, because I had been downcast and acutely anxious for much of my life, and the solutions I had been offered up to then hadn't taken me very far.

Comment: The Health & Wellness Show: Don't try this at home: Illicit cures and black market medicine


Brain power and muscle power have much in common

woman flexing muscle
© Michaela Begsteiger / Global Look Press
Science has linked the benefit of physical exercise to brain health for many years. In fact, compelling evidence suggests physical exercise not only helps build cognitive power1 but also helps the brain resist shrinkage by promoting neurogenesis,2 i.e., the ability to adapt and grow new brain cells. Unfortunately, forgetfulness and "senior moments" are considered by many medical professionals to be a normal and anticipated part of aging.

I disagree. In fact, I believe if you've noticed memory lapses you may want to seriously consider making immediate lifestyle changes to help reverse or at least minimize further deterioration. Your brain is actually quite adaptable and has the capacity to repair and regenerate, the medical term for which is neuroplasticity. A recent study has found a strong correlation between grip strength and brain health.3

Comment: More tips on maintaining and even improving cognitive function: