Archive May 2016

Heavy Metals and Migraines!

According to a study published in 2012, Migraines affect 12% of the US population. While the number of studies related to migraine pathophysiology have increased in recent years, the exact aetioloty is not well understood. Wishing to compare the levels of trace elements and heavy metals in patients with acute migraine and healthy controls, researchers conducted a prospective study comprising migraine patients and an equal number of healthy controls. International Headache Society classification was used for diagnosing migraine. Serum copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), lead (Pb), iron (Fe), cadmium (Cd), cobalt (Co), manganese (Mn) and magnesium (Mg) levels were measured and assessed. Among the case participants were 22 females and 3 males (mean age 36 yrs). Among controls there were 21 females and 4 males (mean age 42 yrs). Results showed serum levels of Cu, Mg and Zn were significantly lower in patients with acute migraines (AMA) compared to controls, while Cd , Fe, Mn and Pb levels were higher in AMA patients compared to controls. No significant difference was seen for Co between the two groups. Researchers concluded that lower Mg and Zn concentrations may be related to the frequency of migraine attacks, and their administration may reduce the frequency of such attacks. Also, trace elements and heavy metals may have a role in the genesis of considerable oxidative stress in AMA patients.

Gonullu H, et al. The levels of trace elements and heavy metals in patients with acute migraine headache. J Pak Med Asso 65: 694; 2015

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Gluten-Free Diet Impacts the Human Microbiome:

A gluten-free diet (GFD) is commonly adopted as an effective treatment for celiac disease, and is often followed to alleviate GI complaints. While we know there is an important link between diet and the gut microbiome, how a switch to a GFD affect the human gut microbiome is largely unknown. Twenty one healthy human volunteers followed a GFD for four weeks. Researchers collected stool samples from each at baseline, four during the GFD period, and four when they returned to their habitual diet (HD). They determined microbiome profiles using 16S rRNA sequencing, then processed the samples for taxonomic and imputed functional composition. They also measured six gut health-related biomarkers in all samples. Inter-individual variation in the gut microbiota remained stable during the short term GFD intervention. A number of taxon-specific differences were seen during the GDF: the most striking shift was seen for the family Veillonellaceae (class Clostridia), which was significantly reduced during the intervention. Seven other taxa also showed significant changes; the majority of them known to play a role in starch metabolism. Stronger differences in pathway activities were seen: 21 predicted pathway activity scores showed significant association to the diet change. Strong relation between the predicted activity of pathways and biomarker measurements were observed. Researchers concluded that CFD changes the gut microbiome composition and alters the activity of microbial pathways.

Bonder MJ, et al. The influence of a short-term gluten-free diet on the human gut microbiome. Genome Med. 2016 Apr 21;8(1):45. doi: 10.1186/s13073-016-0295-y.

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Important Info on US Sodium and Potassium Intakes and Their Ratio:

Sodium-to-potassium ratio (Na:K) is shown to be strongly associated with an increased risk of Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and CVD related mortality, more than either Na or K intake alone. Researchers from the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue University, and the USDA Agricultural Research Service set out to estimate the Na:K in the diet of US adults. Using data from the 2011-2012 NHANES, the National Cancer Institute method was used to estimate Na and K intakes, Na:K, and the percentage of those with Na:K < 1.0. What they found was that only 12.2% of US adults had a Na:K < 1.0, a ratio that while not necessarily ideal, would certainly be considered preferable to the 1.38 average seen for all adults, and is compatible with the WHO guidelines for reduced risk of mortality. On average, 90% consumed more than the 2300 mg/d recommended daily intake (3600 mg/d average intake) of Na, whereas less than 3% had K intakes above the recommended 4700 mg/d (2800 mg/d average intake). Their report illustrates that only about 10% of US adults have a Na:K consistent with preferred guidelines. In order to improve the risk of CVD related mortality, efforts to reduce sodium intake, with novel strategies to increase potassium intakes are warranted. These dietary modifications offer a cost-effective public health intervention strategy.

Bailey RL, et al. Estimating Sodium and Potassium Intakes and Their Ratio in the American Diet: Data from the 2011-2012 NHANES1-4. The Journal of Nutrition Apr 2016; Vol 146, No. 4; 745-750

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Long Term Multivitamin Use Linked to Lower Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) in Men!

Researchers from Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Karolinska Institute (Stockhilm) and Brinham and Women’s Hospital (Boston) investigated how multivitamin use is associated with the risk of CVD in men who were initially (as baseline) healthy. They studied over 18,500 male physicians (≥40 yrs) from the Physicians’ Health Study 1 cohort who were free of CVD and cancer at baseline. All self-reported lifestyle and clinical factors, plus intake of selected foods and dietary supplements. During a mean follow-up of 12.2 years, there were no significant associations observed among baseline multivitamin uses compared with nonusers for the risk of major CVD events. However, at a duration of 20 years or more, a 44% reduction of risk of major CVD events. There was no evidence of any safety concerns from long-term multivitamin use.

S Rautiainen, et al. Multivitamin Use and the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in Men. First published April 27, 2016, doi: 10.3945/jn.115.227884 J. Nutr.

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