Compiled by Sarah A LoBisco, ND

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I’m back from Texas. What a trip into the energy spectrum I had.

Now, after the extraordinary opportunity of spending time with some of the most prestigious and respected integrative doctors in my field, I am filled with even more conviction that our genes are not our destiny.

We live in a world where our bodies are being bombarded with potent information. Our body acts as both a detector and transducer to process, respond and decode these various cues through a complex process of multiple signaling molecules from various cellular responses. Depending on if the information is positive or negative for our unique biochemistry, we will experience health or sickness in the manifestation of mood, emotions, physical symptoms, or chronic diseases.

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This information can come from the thoughts we are thinking, the food we are eating, or the environment we live in. Environmental exposures that we may not have direct control over, such as cramped aircrafts, Wi-Fi emitting EMFs, and pesticide-off gassing from GMO farms, affect us as much as our conscious lifestyle patterns and choices.

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Still, if we know that we can empower ourselves with means to protect us from these exposures, not scare ourselves senseless, we have the opportunity to break out of our fear bubble of disease manifestations and into a thriving,  healthy, long, and fulfilling life.

Last week, I highlighted the major story of this month, Angelina Jolie’s decision to undergo bi-lateral mastectomy related to her genetic risk factors for cancer. As mentioned, I am not for or against her decision, but respect it.

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What I am for is providing everyone with the full picture of available options for prevention of disease and empowering with potent tools to make educated decisions that will allow them to take control of their own health.

Therefore, to continue on with the discussion of genetics and nutrigenomics, let me highlight some more articles on the power of diet and choice in modulating cancer risk. So, feel free to skim through the articles highlighted below. I’ve provided emphasis for the main points and the links for the full text.

Enjoy the brain food!

The Focus: Health & Empowering the Body’s Innate Healing Capacity

The Topic of Highlight: CANCER


How Lifestyle Factors Interplay with Genetics to Modulate the Risk of Cancer

The Interplay of Genes and Methylation

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For those who like the biochemistry, you’ll love this summary below.

For those who don’t, here’s my one-liner:

This abstract explains one method that modulates gene expression in cancer. Now, drug companies can manipulate this methylation pathway via chemicals, but foods and nutrients such as B12 and folate, can too!

Genetics clearly plays a key role in complex human diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, the concordance rate for identical twins is only 12%-15%,[1] which tells us that other influences are even more important. The “dark matter” of disease risk might be found in epigenetics, defined as heritable changes in the genome without changes in DNA sequences.

Multiple mechanisms, including DNA methylation, histone modification, and microRNAs, have critical epigenetic influences on cell function, especially in cancer [Emphasis Mine]. For example, methylation of deoxycytidines in promoters has been found to silence genes and to play a role in the orderly expression of key genes during embryonic development.[2] It is thought, therefore, that aberrant methylation, whether increased or decreased, could dramatically alter immune function and susceptibility to such diseases as RA.

In this study, Liu and colleagues evaluated how DNA methylation of genes associated with RA might more precisely define risk compared with focusing solely on DNA sequences. They evaluated DNA methylation across the entire genome and combined this information with specific polymorphisms associated with RA using sophisticated algorithms that corrected for the variable methylation levels in different leukocyte lineages. The analysis showed that some of the regions most closely associated with RA in and near the major histocompatibility genes had abnormalities in both DNA sequences and methylation patterns.

Fireston, G. Risk for Rheumatoid Arthritis: More Than Just Genetics. Medscape Genomic Medicine. 2/6/13.

Original: Liu Y, Aryee MJ, Padyukov L, et al. Epigenome-wide Association Data Implicate DNA Methylation as an Intermediary of Genetic Risk in Rheumatoid Arthritis. Nat Biotechnol. 2013 Jan 2. [Epub ahead of print]

Modulating Risk Through Choice

Here’s an easy choice for most people to implement to decrease their cancer risk, COFFEE!!??

Swedish study links coffee to reduced risk of cancer recurrence

Scientists from Sweden’s Lund University followed 634 breast cancer patients – 310 of whom were taking tamoxifen – for an average of five years.

Compared with patients who took tamoxifen and drank one cup of coffee daily or less, breast cancer was only half as likely to return in the tamoxifen-taking patients who drank two or more cups of coffee daily.

As the researchers wrote, “Moderate to high coffee consumption was associated with significantly decreased risk … If [the findings are] confirmed, new recommendations regarding coffee consumption during tamoxifen treatment may be warranted.” (Simonsson M et al. 2013) [Emphasis mine]

The connection between estrogen, coffee, and the CYP1A2 enzyme may be a clue, but it’s still not clear exactly how coffee would enhance the efficacy of tamoxifen.

 As lead author Maria Simonsson said, “One theory we are working with is that coffee ‘activates’ tamoxifen and makes it more efficient.” (LU 2013)

Before you take that sip, here are two caveats (sorry):

1. The Swedish use a special form of filtration for their coffee and decaffeination process. It doesn’t contain the pesticide and chemicals our coffee in the states has. Therefore, to get those polyphenol antioxidants drink Organic and Swiss Filtered Decaff.

2. Moderate Consumption is key.

This DOES NOT EQUAL 10 Venti mocha cappuccinos with whip cream 

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Weatherby, C. Coffee May Curb Breast Cancer. VitalChoice Newsletter. April 29, 2013.

Breast Cancer Reduction by Omegas

The power of fish oil once again!

Dr. Carol Fabian, director of the Breast Cancer Prevention Center, University of Kansas presented two small studies evaluating the effect of omega-3s on cytologic hyperplasia with atypia in breast tissue, one in a group of 36 pre-menopausal women, and another in a group of 35 post-menopausal women. In both studies, all women were considered to be at high risk for developing breast cancer.

After 6 months of daily supplementation with 4 g of omega-3s, both groups showed a significant reduction of atypia. [Emphasis Mine]  Before the study, the incidence of atypia was 70%. By the end of the study period, this had decreased to 44%.

John Otrompke. Omega-3s Reduce Breast Cancer Risk Factors. Holistic Primary Care. May 2013 online. Vol. 14, No. 2. Summer, 2013

Eight Healthy Habits of Long-Living People

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More lifestyle hints to prevent your cellular DNA from confusion!

In 2007, a collaboration between the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) evaluated the evidence and produced consensus recommendations for reducing the risk of developing cancer and for promotion of general good health and well-being. The WCRF/AICR report is the largest study of its kind, and its conclusions are as definitive as the available evidence allows.

The report featured eight general diet and lifestyle recommendations for cancer prevention:

1.) “Body Fatness: Be as Lean as Possible Within the Normal Range of Body Weight.”

Maintaining a healthy weight throughout life may be one of the most important ways to protect against cancer, and being overweight or obese increases the risk of some cancers.

2.) “Physical Activity: Be Physically Active as Part of Everyday Life.”

3.) “Foods and Drinks That Promote Weight Gain: Limit the Consumption of Energy-Dense Foods and Avoid Sugary Drinks.”

Sugary drinks were targeted specifically in the report: “Such beverages appear to exert little influence on total daily self-selected energy intakes and their habitual consumption can lead to rapid and sustained weight gain even in the face of restricted solid food intake.” Another recommendation under this heading is “Consume ‘fast foods’ sparingly, if at all.”

4.) “Plant Foods: Eat Mostly Foods of Plant Origin.”

Diets that are protective against cancer are characterized by large intake of foods of plant origin and, indeed, several cancers are responsive to increased intakes of plant-based foods. [Emphasis Mine]

5.) “Animal Foods: Limit the Intake of Red Meat and Avoid Processed Meat.”

6.) “Alcoholic Drinks: Limit Alcoholic Drinks.”

Men to two per day, women to one per day.

7.) “Preservation, Processing, Preparation: Limit Consumption of Salt and Avoid Moldy Cereal Grains and Pulses (Legumes).”

Salt and salt-preserved foods probably contribute to stomach cancer risk, and foods contaminated with aflatoxins are a cause of liver cancer. Although salt is necessary for human health, typical levels of consumption are vastly excessive.

8.) Dietary Supplements: Aim to Meet Nutritional Needs Through Diet Alone.”

Ayala Laufer-Cahana, M.D. A Miracle Diet That Prevents Cancer? Huffington Post. April 30, 2013.

Moving Away From Cancer & Depression

Dr. Mercola provided some good references in his recent article on lifestyle and disease prevention, including cancer:

  • Modern, unhealthy lifestyles predispose you to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease which may lead to liver cancer. Recent research suggests that regular exercise reduces the risk of developing liver cancer
  • Previous research has shown that breast- and colon cancer patients who exercise regularly have half the recurrence rate than non-exercisers, and the cumulative evidence strongly indicates that exercise really should be part of standard cancer care
  • Many recent studies have shown that exercise provides a level of protection against stress-related disorders and depression, and recent research demonstrates that these protective benefits are induced even if the exercise is forced as a mandatory part of a program, such as doctor’s orders, school curriculum or military service

Mercola, J. Exercise Could Hold Key to Successful Cancer and Mental Health Treatment . May 10, 2013.

Spiritual Healing and Breast Cancer

One study investigated whether Spiritual Healing could support patients with breast cancer undergoing conventional methods of long-term hormone treatment. The study included 12 patients with breast cancer who were given ten weekly sessions with one of 4 healers registered with the National Federation of Spiritual Healers.




The positive effects of Spiritual Healing included alleviation of the physical side-effects of their treatment, increased energy levels, enhanced well-being, emotional relaxation, and re-engagement with precancer activities. Although 1 participant admitted considering a drug holiday prior to joining the study, none of the participants felt tempted to stop their hormonal treatments while receiving Spiritual Healing.


Conclusions: These qualitative findings indicate that Spiritual Healing has the potential to support patients with breast cancer in the maintenance of their long-term orthodox treatments. [Emphasis Mine].Further research is needed to test Spiritual Healing as a cost-effective complementary therapy, for those undergoing long-term cancer treatments.

Fiona Barlow, Jan Walker, and George Lewith. Effects of Spiritual Healing for Women Undergoing Long-Term Hormone Therapy for Breast Cancer: A Qualitative Investigation .The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. March 2013, 19(3): 211-216. doi:10.1089/acm.2012.0091.

More Nutrigenomic-Health Headlines

Curcumin and Arthritis

Curcumin is known to possess potent antiinflammatory and antiarthritic properties. This pilot clinical study evaluated the safety and effectiveness of curcumin alone, and in combination with diclofenac sodium in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Forty-five patients diagnosed with RA were randomized into three groups with patients receiving curcumin (500?mg) and diclofenac sodium (50?mg) alone or their combination. The primary endpoints were reduction in Disease Activity Score (DAS) 28. The secondary endpoints included American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria for reduction in tenderness and swelling of joint scores. Patients in all three treatment groups showed statistically significant changes in their DAS scores. Interestingly, the curcumin group showed the highest percentage of improvement in overall DAS and ACR scores (ACR 20, 50 and 70) and these scores were significantly better than the patients in the diclofenac sodium group. More importantly, curcumin treatment was found to be safe and did not relate with any adverse events. Our study provides the first evidence for the safety and superiority of curcumin treatment in patients with active RA, and highlights the need for future large-scale trials to validate these findings in patients with RA and other arthritic conditions.

Chandran, B. and Goel, A. (2012), A Randomized, Pilot Study to Assess the Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin in Patients with Active Rheumatoid Arthritis (abstract). Phytother. Res., 26: 1719–1725. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4639

Mediterranean Diet Cognitive Effects

Objective: We sought to determine the relationship of greater adherence to Mediterranean diet (MeD) and likelihood of incident cognitive impairment (ICI) and evaluate the interaction of race and vascular risk factors.

Methods: A prospective, population-based, cohort of individuals enrolled in the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) Study 2003–2007, excluding participants with history of stroke, impaired cognitive status at baseline, and missing data on Food Frequency Questionnaires (FFQ), was evaluated. Adherence to a MeD (scored as 0–9) was computed from FFQ. Cognitive status was evaluated at baseline and annually during a mean follow-up period of 4.0 ± 1.5 years using Six-item-Screener.

Conclusions: Higher adherence to MeD was associated with a lower likelihood of ICI independent of potential confounders. This association was moderated by presence of diabetes mellitus.

Georgios Tsivgoulis, et. al. Adherence to a Mediterranean diet and risk of incident cognitive impairment (abstract). Neurology April 30, 2013 vol. 80 no. 18 1684-1692. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182904f69

Probiotics for Seasonal Allergies

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Say the word “probiotics”and most people think “digestive system.” But as researchers look more deeply into the curious synergies between beneficial gutallergysneeze bacteria and their human hosts, they’re discovering myriad benefits far outside the GI tract.

Earlier this year, a research team at Nestle’s Research Centre in Switzerland showed that oral supplementation with a specific strain of Bifidobacterium lactis (NCC2818) markedly reduced clinical symptoms as well as inflammatory cytokine concentrations and basophil activation in people with seasonal allergic rhinitis and grass pollen allergies.

Goldman, E. Bifido Probiotic Quells Pollen Allergies. Holistic Primary Care: UpShots. April 25, 2013.

Olive Leaf Assists Insulin Sensitivity in Middle-Aged Men


Randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover trial in New Zealand. 46 participants (aged 46.4 ± 5.5 years and BMI 28.0 ± 2.0 kg/m(2)) were randomized to receive capsules with olive leaf extract (OLE) or placebo for 12 weeks, crossing over to other treatment after a 6-week washout. Primary outcome was insulin sensitivity (Matsuda method). Secondary outcomes included glucose and insulin profiles, cytokines, lipid profile, body composition, 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure, and carotid intima-media thickness.


Supplementation with olive leaf polyphenols for 12 weeks significantly improved insulin sensitivity and pancreatic ?-cell secretory capacity in overweight middle-aged men at risk of developing the metabolic syndrome.

de Bock M, Derraik JG, Brennan CM, Biggs JB, Morgan PE, Hodgkinson SC, Hofman PL, Cutfield WS. Olive (Olea europaea L.) leaf polyphenols improve insulin sensitivity in middle-aged overweight men: a randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial (abstract). PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e57622. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057622. Epub 2013 Mar 13.

Blood Pressure Benefits of Grape Seed Extract

This study was undertaken to determine whether a grape seed extract (GSE) which is a nutraceutical containing vasodilator phenolic compounds lowers blood pressure in subjects with pre-hypertension. The subjects were randomized into a placebo or an experimental group (GSE at a dose of 300 mg/day) and treated for 8 weeks. Serum lipids and blood glucose were measured at the beginning of the study and at the end. The blood pressure was recorded using an ambulatory monitoring device at the start of the treatment period and at the end. Both the systolic and diastolic blood pressures were significantly lower after treatment with GSE. Treatment with the placebo had no effect on blood pressure. There were no significant changes in serum lipids or blood glucose values. These findings suggest that GSE could be used as a nutraceutical in a lifestyle modification program for patients with pre-hypertension.

M. Robinson, B. Lu, I. Edirisinghe & C.T. Kappagoda. Effect of Grape Seed Extract on Blood Pressure in Subjects with Pre-Hypertension  (abstract). J of Pharmacy & Nutrition Science. November 12, 2012.


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RDAs known as “Recommended Dietary Allowances” are amounts of nutrients needed in order to prevent a frank deficiency of a disease. An example of this is the RDA amount of Vitamin C related to the amount needed to prevent scurvy. However, RDAs and generalized recommendations do not take into account biochemical individuality or needs of an individual based on specific genetic and environmental interplays.

Nutrient Deficiency Model Vs. Individualized Model

Dr. D’Adamo explains why biochemical individuality and environment interplay in nutrient and health related deficiencies.

This leads me to the second and more common use of vitamins, which is their use as a driving force to selectively activate the metabolic machinery. In his famous book Biochemical Individuality (1956), Roger Williams, the discoverer of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) proposed a ‘genetotrophic theory’ of disease. Nutritional deficiencies, he observed, are expressed differently among individuals, both in symptoms and in the order they appear, based upon the impact of environmental inputs on individual biochemistry and genetics. Thus each of us has specific pathways that may not function optimally and these differ based upon our genetics and the environment that we exist in.

D’Adamo, P. Why I Designed the Polyvite Multivitamins. D’Adamo Newsletter. April 2013

A Nutritionist Monopoly?

Jeffrey Bland, PhD (AKA Functional Medicine Guru), describes how a “One-Size Nutrition Profession Doesn’t Fit All”:

But astonishingly, health professionals with nutrition tools to reverse chronic health conditions are gagged in many states. In those states, nutrition counseling is essentially permitted only by credentials of a private trade association big and well-funded enough to impose its requirements as the de facto licensure requirements. This trade association — formerly the American Dietetic Association (ADA) but recently renamed the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) — grants a private credential called “registered dietitian” (RD).

You heard correctly: A nutrition-driven chronic disease epidemic is raging, but the leadership of one private trade association wants to prevent nearly anyone but its members from providing meaningful nutrition advice!

Regulatory capture of health professions is nothing new. But this effort is particularly egregious:

  • First, the stakes for our society’s health could not be higher, but the AND leadership is promoting the AND’s own narrow interests.
  • Second, the “scope” of nutrition practice is not a set of competencies unique to a particular health-care provider, but is a tool skillfully used by many different types of providers.
  • Third, this does not involve substances that the law otherwise forbids the public to use (such as the prescribing of pharmaceuticals permitted only by licensed physicians). This is the purveying of advice with regard to a substance legally available to all and consumed every day: food.

Click the link below to find out how you can help and choose your own expert that’s right for your needs! J

Bland, J. One-Size Nutrition Profession Doesn’t Fit All. Huffington Post. May 24, 2013.

Focus: The Health of the Body Begins in the Mouth

Honoring our Crowns-In the Mouth!

Many of my clients have been struggling with busted and chipped fillings. I always ask about dental health for very important health reasons. Your mouth is where digestion starts, breakdown of toxins begins, and lymph flow to those famous tonsils and thyroid glands is initiated.

Joke Teeth Stock Photography

But no fear allowed here!

Simple things can be down if your mouth is not a home to happy teeth. For example, the use of thieves toothpaste (with antimicrobial oils) and peribiotic toothpaste (see second article) can help protect your mouth while you and your practitioner decide if biological dentistry is the appropriate next step!

Brushing teeth Stock Images

Below is a summary article on biological dentistry followed by some recent article excerpts how health and mouth are connected:

The Power of Biological Denistry

By using early diagnosis and early intervention with minimally invasive dentistry, Dr. Rainey and other dentists trained in his techniques have eliminated 80 percent of future dentistry on the vast majority of their patients who are privileged to grow up in a practice such as theirs. As someone who has struggled with my own dental health, this sounds absolutely extraordinary. That equates to phenomenal savings in terms of money, pain, and emotional anguish, if you happen to be afraid of the dentist chair.

“Remember, there are several other people throughout the world who are now doing this. It has a very profound effect. We’re talking about something that the evidence of information has been out there approaching 30 years – three decades. Dental patients found out about it like they did in alternative medicine… They seek me out from all over. We have patients coming in from Canada. We haven’t even counted the number of states; I would say something around 30 states,” Dr. Rainey says.

“Of course, there are easier and simpler ways to do dentistry! You start these kids off very early. You eliminate the decay… and guess what? They don’t have much decay later on. We call it bulletproofing the teeth; where we go in, identify the defective pit, fissures, and grooves in the teeth, and clean those out.

There are several different types of materials that we can use. My preference is for glass ionomer cement… Not only do those chewing surfaces on those teeth never decay, but the interproximal areas are gaining some degree of protection because you’re removing the nidus of the infection, which is the bacteria within the teeth that are causing decay. You don’t have that bolus of xbowel bioactivity there to lead off into decay.”

Understanding Tooth Structure

The tooth is covered with a layer of lipoprotein, laden with calcium phosphate that comes and goes — eating and drinking, especially acidic foodstuffs and beverages, remove it, while saliva puts it back. Beneath that is an extremely hard and dense layer of enamel, which is about 0.2 millimeters, or 200-400 microns thick. Inside of that hard layer, the tooth structure becomes much softer. These parts all form the structural integrity of the tooth.

When you bite down on the tooth, the stress is transferred through the entire tooth down into the root, which deforms slightly. This is part of its natural stress-relieving mechanism. During the formation of the tooth can form little pits, fissures and grooves that may be hypocalcific — a defect that causes the enamel to be softer than normal and susceptible to decay.

“In the ideal world, you do not have decay start down in these pits and fissures, because you have a natural oil-based organic plug that seals that tooth,” Dr. Rainey explains. “However, in the real world what happens is as these teeth are finalizing development, you’ll get what we call ‘hypocalcified enamel.’ Now, if you put acid in that area, then you start getting a calcium deficit. That’s the beginning of decay in teeth.”

He identifies those areas, and using a miniature air abrasion tip that is very precise and focused, cleans out those pits, fissures and grooves. This removes the initial decay. Then he seals it with glass ionomer. The end result is that those teeth tend to not decay in the future.

Mercola, J. The Benefits of Minimally Invasive Dentistry. February 03, 2013.

Arthritis Linked to Gingivitis Bacteria

A growing body of research is confirming that the bacteria that infect our gums may well be the cause of many cases of arthritis.

Dentistry researchers from Germany’s Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg recently analyzed the synovial fluid of 42 patients – average age of 54 years old – with rheumatoid arthritis. They compared this information with 114 control subjects around the same age who had no arthritis and no other rheumatoid conditions.

The synovial fluid is the fluid within the joint capsule, which will typically contain inflammatory components relating to the arthritis. The researchers analyzed the synovial fluid for DNA that matched the genome of oral bacteria – specifically Porphyromonas gingivalis – the bacteria most known to be at the root of most gingivitis infections.

The researchers found that the rheumatoid arthritis patients were about four-and-a-half times more likely to harbor the DNA of the Porphyromonas gingivalis bacteria within their synovial fluid compared to the non-arthritic adults.

Adams, C. Arthritis Linked to Gingivitis May 19, 2013.

The Heart of the Problem in the Mouth

The research found that the periodontal disease patients had higher levels of inflammation-associated IL-2. This suggested to the researchers, “the existence of an early endothelial dysfunction in young adults with atypical periodontitis.”[Emphasis Mine]

In a study published in 2012, researchers from London’s University College School of Public Health combined mortality records with health surveys between 1995 through 2003. A sampling of nearly 13,000 people was used to calculate the cause of death and contributing factors.

This study found that those with tooth loss had three times the incidence of death related to having a stroke.

The association between stroke and cerebrovascular disease and cognition decline was made many years ago.

Periodontal disease is an inflammation of the gums produced by bacteria that colonize around the gums at the base and roots of the teeth. As the bacteria colonies grow, they form biofilms – which produce plaque. These bacteria biofilms secrete acids that break down the enamel of the teeth to form decay. These acids and other byproducts can also leak into the bloodstream, damaging the arteries that feed the brain.

Adams, C. Cognitive Decline Linked to Periodontal Disease. May 4, 2013.

For the Sweet Tooth

Honey: It’s Not Just Black and Yellow 

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Seems honey provides compounds that help with detoxification for bees and humans alike. By feeding bees sugar instead of their own food, this may explain why they have less protection from pesticides. Furthermore, it seems the whole food component of propolis and honey affects blood sugar markers positively!!

Read the rest here: Schor, J. A Fair Share for Bees. AANP Blog. May 23, 2013.

Splenda May Negatively Affect Blood Sugar in Insulin Sensitive

In this study of seventeen obese subjects who were insulin sensitive, those who used nonnutritive sweeteners were found to have a higher glucose and insulin spike than controls who were matched with water.

RESULTS Compared with the control condition, sucralose ingestion caused 1) a greater incremental increase in peak plasma glucose concentrations (4.2 ± 0.2 vs. 4.8 ± 0.3 mmol/L; P = 0.03), 2) a 20 ± 8% greater incremental increase in insulin area under the curve (AUC) (P < 0.03), 3) a 22 ± 7% greater peak insulin secretion rate (P < 0.02), 4) a 7 ± 4% decrease in insulin clearance (P = 0.04), and 5) a 23 ± 20% decrease in SI (P = 0.01). There were no significant differences between conditions in active glucagon-like peptide 1, glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide, glucagon incremental AUC, or indices of the sensitivity of the ?-cell response to glucose.

CONCLUSIONS: These data demonstrate that sucralose affects the glycemic and insulin responses to an oral glucose load in obese people who do not normally consume NNS.

Pepino MY, et al. Sucralose Affects Glycemic and Hormonal Responses to an Oral Glucose Load. Diabetes Care. 2013 Apr 30. [Epub ahead of print]PMID: 23633524

To Read more Health and Nutrigenomic News, visit my upcoming blog on,  “Brain Power Starts in Gut.”


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Antibiotic and Heart Risk

Authors of the study, which is published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, say their findings do not contradict but rather complement a US study published in the same journal a year ago that linked azithromycin to a small elevated risk of cardiovascular death in a Medicaid population, compared with no antibiotic use and with use of amoxicillin [2]. The population ranged in age from 30 to 74, but the elevated risk was concentrated among patients with a lot of cardiovascular risk factors like diabetes or a history of MI or heart failure, in contrast to the broader Danish cohort representing the country’s young and middle-aged adults.

The US analysis, therefore, supports the view that “azithromycin has an effect on cardiovascular mortality in a selected population,” whereas “our study shows that this effect is not present in the general population,” write the authors of the Danish analysis, led by Henrik Svanström (Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen).

At issue is QT-interval prolongation associated with azithromycin that could under some circumstances turn into torsades de pointes, a polymorphic VT that can lead to sudden death. The small but serious risk is well-recognized in other macrolide antibiotics as well as the fluoroquinolones and other drug classes. In March of this year, the US Food and Drug Administration, guided partly by the 2012 study, warned that azithromycin could potentially cause sudden death in people with vulnerabilities to ventricular arrhythmia, such as preexisting QT prolongation, bradycardia, hypokalemia, or hypomagnesemia.

Stiles, S. No Raised Azithromycin CV-Death Risk Seen in Young, Middle-Aged Adults. Medscape: Heartwire. May 1, 2013.

FDA Watch List: Everything Acetaminophen

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has added a drug for multiple sclerosis (MS), another drug for a blood disorder, and all acetaminophen-containing products to its quarterly list of products to monitor because of possible signals of serious risks or new safety information.

All products containing acetaminophen appear on the latest watch list because of reports of severe skin reactions. Dermatologic disorders are known adverse reactions associated with these analgesics.

Fingolimod (Gilenya, Novartis Pharmaceuticals), indicated to reduce relapses and delay disability progression in patients with MS, was added to the list after FAERS received reports of hemophagocytic syndrome, a rare and potentially fatal disease of normal but overactive histiocytes and lymphocytes.

The FDA also added anagrelide (Agrylin, Shire), approved for thrombocythemia secondary to myeloproliferative disorders, because of reports of torsades de pointes, a rare and life-threatening heart arrhythmia.

Lowes, R. Latest FDA Watch List: 2 Drugs, All Acetaminophen Products. News Alerts > Medscape Medical News. May 6, 2013.

Are Your ADHD Meds Making You Worse?

If you are being treated or are going to be treated for ADHD, it is important to look at a study released last week by the journal PLOS One. For many patients, the popular ADHD medication methylphenidate (Ritalin) has been shown to have both positive and negative effects. This study shows that treatment with methylphenidate increased the amount of dopamine transporters in the brain by 24% over the course of just one year of use. Likely, this is not a good thing.

Amen Clinics. Is your ADHD treatment making you worse?. May 21, 2013. Dr. Amen’s Blog.

Anti-Cholinergic Drugs and Risk for Brain Impairment

Older adults using anticholinergic (AC) medications for just 2 months to manage sleep problems, urinary incontinence, and other ailments could be at increased risk of developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a new study suggests. [Emphasis Mine]

The association between AC medication use and cognition appears to depend not only on the length of exposure but also on the strength of the medication burden. The study showed that the risk for cognitive impairment was increased by 50% in adults receiving at least 3 mild ACs for more than 90 days and by 100% in those receiving 1 or more severe ACs for more than 60 days.

Anderson, P. Just 2 Months’ Exposure to Anticholinergics Affects Cognition. . Medscape Medical News > Neurology, May 22, 2013.

A Natural TB Drug??

Vitamin C kills drug-sensitive, multidrug-resistant (MDR), and extensively-drug resistant (XDR) strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in culture as a result of prooxidant effects, according to a report published online May 21 in Nature Communications. [Emphasis Mine]

The new work builds on the long-standing observation that vitamin C is toxic to M tuberculosis, a Gram-positive bacterium. Experiments in the 1930s showed that only 6% of guinea pigs exposed to the bacteria and given tomato juice became infected compared with 70% of guinea pigs not given the vitamin C–rich juice. In vitro experiments conducted in 1950 confirmed the effect of the vitamin on bacterial cultures, and a study in 2011 correlated vitamin C content of various medicinal plants with antibacterial effects.

Lewis, R. Vitamin C Kills Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Medscape Medical News. May 22, 2013.