We like to stay on top of the latest news in functional medicine and nutrition. If you do too, you’ll find our monthly, easy-to-digest compilation of research and news articles right here. Check back regularly to find updates, or follow us through our newsletters and social media to ensure you don’t miss any.
- You eat more calories if you’re sleep deprived
- Insulin resistance lowered 30% with just one day of low-carb eating
- Diet is a significant factor in migraines
- Cultivate delayed gratification skills to improve your food choices
- Consuming too much alcohol? Check your stress levels.
- Night shift work increases cancer risk for men, which can be partially offset by daytime napping
- Maternal B12 deficiency and increased type 2 diabetes and metabolic dysregulation in offspring thought to connect through methylation and epigenetic gene regulation
- Emulsifiers, a common food additive linked to colon cancer via altered gut microbes
- Easy breathing for non-meditators
- Improve sleep quality by reducing smartphone screen time?
- E-cig vapors contain cancer-causing chemicals
- Skin microbes protect against oxidative stress
- Probiotics improve cognition in Alzheimer’s patients
- Baby, meet peanuts! Reducing the risk for peanut allergy.
Stress changes maternal gut flora and leaves offspring with long-lasting effects
- Gut microbes as messengers for cross-talk between the immune system and glucose metabolism
- Probiotics+diet may more than double A1C reductions vs diet alone
- Schizophrenia: the role of the gut-brain axis
You eat more calories if you’re sleep deprived
Weight loss resistance is a topic we’re well versed in. Many times, there are multiple and sometimes hidden factors at plan that can undermine a patient’s ability to lose weight. Sleep deprivation is one of them, as the researchers of King’s College London also concluded, adding to accumulating evidence. Getting between only 3.5 – 5.5 hours’ sleep per night led to an average 385 kcal extra food intake over the next 24 hours.
Insulin resistance lowered 30% with just one day of low-carb eating
At the University of Michigan, researchers found that restricting carbohydrate intake to 30% of calories (vs 60% in the control group) reduced post-meal insulin resistance by nearly a third in a small group of post-menopausal, metabolically healthy women. Interestingly, acute moderate exercise did not have a significant effect, although the benefits of exercise may be better seen over the longer term.
Diet is a significant factor in migraines
Consuming coffee, caffeine withdrawal, processed foods containing nitrites or MSG, as well as excess alcohol are the dietary factors identified as migraine triggers in susceptible individuals, in a recent review study. The paper’s author also notes that physician-monitored ketogenic diets may also improve headaches. We would also add any kind of food sensitivity to that list, as well as non-dietary sensitivities, hormones and hidden inflammation such as SIBO or periodontitis.
Cultivate delayed gratification skills to improve your food choices
Investigators at the American Cancer Society recently published a new study showing that those who would choose to receive a larger sum of money later rather than a smaller amount immediately were also more likely to avoid fast food. In today’s fast-reward culture, where marketing messages continually encourages us to indulge and that ‘we deserve it,’ it might be beneficial to practice the skills of delayed gratification and encourage our kids to do the same.
Consuming too much alcohol? Check your stress levels.
An animal study demonstrated that the dopamine response from alcohol consumption is blunted by stress, leading to increased alcohol consumption. Modulating the stress response, by blocking stress hormone receptors on neurons, reduce stress-related drinking. Stress management techniques and botanical stress modulators such as ashwagandha and rhodiola may therefore be useful in helping reduce alcohol consumption.
Night shift work increases cancer risk for men, which can be partially offset by daytime napping.
Reviews on sleep duration and morbidity and mortality have generally concluded that both insufficient and excess sleep are associated with both, with a more pronounced risk for women. However, this latest study shows that men are vulnerable too: in a retrospective analysis of 27,000 workers, those who worked night shifts for over 20 years had a 27% increased cancer risk. Those who did not combine night shift work with a daytime 30-minute nap, had double the risk of cancer than those who did.
Maternal B12 deficiency and increased type 2 diabetes and metabolic dysregulation in offspring thought to connect through methylation and epigenetic gene regulation
We know that the nutritional environment of the mother affects the future health of their children. In a study from the University of Warwick’s Medical School, but not yet published, children born to mothers with a B12 deficiency had altered leptin levels that are thought to predispose to metabolic dysregulation. DNA methylation that altered the epigenetic regulation of genes was theorized to be the mechanism at play, highlighting the potential significance of healthy methylation support.
Emulsifiers, a common food additive linked to colon cancer via altered gut microbes
Yet another reason to reduce or avoid processed food consumption. The latest manufactured food ingredients highlighted as a potential risk are emulsifiers, used to improve texture and increase shelf life. Emulsifiers appear to change gut bacterial populations in a manner that promotes chronic, low grade inflammation.
I read this in the NY Times this morning, and was immediately inspired to dive in. I modified it from theirs ever-so-slightly. Super easy. Relaxing. It works. And the benefits of this “non-mediation” meditation are immeasurable. 1) Sit upright. Feet on the floor, good posture. 2) Breath in for a count of 5. 3) Pause. 4) Exhale for a count of 6. 5) Continue this process gently for 10 rounds. 6) As you practice, increase the number of rounds.
Improve sleep quality by reducing smartphone screen time?
We spend an average of 1 hr 29 min on our smartphones each day. Those that have the most smartphone screen time have also been shown to have the lowest measures for sleep quality including decreased sleep efficiency and increased sleep onset latency.
E-cig vapors contain cancer-causing chemicals
While better than traditional cigarettes, we know we can’t assume e-cigs are completely safe either. Flavoring compounds used in e-cigarettes have been found to break down into toxic aldehydes during the rapid heating process that occurs inside the e-cigs. “One puff…exposes the smoker to unacceptably dangerous levels of these aldehydes.”
Skin microbes protect against oxidative stress
A healthy skin microbiome is a hugely underappreciated asset. This latest research identifies RoxP, secreted by Propionibacterium acnes, which appears to have as strong an antioxidant effects as vitamin C and vitamin E. Oxidative stress on the skin is a contributing factor in skin diseases including atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and skin cancer.
Probiotics improve cognition in Alzheimer’s patients
In this exiting randomized, double-blind, and controlled human trial, daily Lactobacillus (acidophilus, casei and fermentum) and Bifidobacterium bifidum probiotics for 12 weeks (delivered in a milk formulation), resulted in moderate but significant improvements (8.7 to 10.6 out of a max of 30) in standard measures of cognitive impairment. Biomarkers impacted included lowered TG, VLDL, hsCRP, and insulin measures, suggesting that the mechanism might be support for metabolic adjustments.
Baby, meet peanuts! Reducing the risk for peanut allergy.
Next year’s guidelines from the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases look likely to include recommendations to start feeding babies watered-down peanut butter from 4-11 months of age. These changes are largely based on a large study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last year that showed an 80% reduced risk of developing a peanut allergy by the age of 5 compared with those who avoided peanuts. Note that this does not include whole peanuts, or thick peanut butter, which can be a choking hazard.
Stress changes maternal gut flora and leaves offspring with long-lasting effects
More science on maternal influences on offspring health – anxiety in the mother may translate to anxiety and cognitive issues in offspring that persist throughout life. The effects are apparently mediated through long lasting changes in the microbiome.
Gut microbes as messengers for cross-talk between the immune system and glucose metabolism
New research shines light on the emerging area of “immunometabolism” or immune-driven effects on metabolic biomarkers. It connects the dots between interferon gamma (an immune signaling molecule), subsequent declines in Akkermansia municiphila (a commensal gut microbe) and improved glucose tolerance.
Probiotics+diet may more than double A1C reductions vs diet alone
Unpublished findings presented at the American Heart Association’s annual Scientific Sessions showed that adding probiotics to the DASH diet further improved glycemic control than just the DASH diet alone. Blood pressure measures were not significantly different with probiotics in this (small) study.
Schizophrenia: the role of the gut-brain axis
A recent literature review nicely summarizes the potential connections between gut dysfunction (gut dysbiosis), leaky gut, immune hypersensitivity to food antigens such as gluten and dairy, and symptoms of schizophrenia. Of course, this is not the only neurological condition to be connected to the gut—mood changes, cognitive dysfunction, insomnia, depression and brain fog are among others that have similar connections.
Bone broth – a valuable tool for healthy connective tissue (bone, skin and more)
Recent media has argued against the use of bone broth for health, which prompted us to add our own thoughts to the matter: We agree that bone broth isn’t by itself an answer to all health problems but taking a black-and-white stance isn’t necessarily right either. While bone broth collagen doesn’t have a full complement of balanced amino acids and isn’t absorbable in its collagen form, it does contain abundant glycine, proline and lysine which are absolutely useful for connective tissue formation and repair. A recent human study showed that gelatin (a form of collagen) supplementation, along with vitamin C (necessary for making connective tissue) did improve collagen formation in the body, so there is starting to be science to support this long-used traditional health food.