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.
Lithium for dementia, suicide, and bipolar disorder
Lithium has an intriguing potential role to play in the prevention of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. A recent human observational study in JAMA Psychiatry adds to the existing animal, observational and even controlled human intervention studies that lithium can stabilize cognitive impairment. We have also seen that low levels of lithium exposure in drinking water are associated with reduced rates of criminal behavior and suicide, and that lithium supplementation improves mood stability in bipolar disorder. However, caution should be exercised in women who may become pregnant because of the risk of cardiac malformations in offspring.
Feeding newborns probiotics cuts sepsis death rates by 40 percent
Probiotics are enough to potentially cut the 600,000 sepsis-related infant deaths worldwide by 40 percent, according to a new study of 4,000 infants. Respiratory infections also dropped by 30 percent illustrating how oral probiotics don’t just act locally in the gut, but in distant organs too. Probiotics can support a healthy immune system in various ways, including by crowding out pathogenic microbes, improving the integrity of our gut barrier, and helping to mature our immune system.
Food First For Folates!
Was reading MedPage Today. I heartily agree with SOME of their conclusions with regard to folic acid supplementation. Food first. Always. But skip the folic acid fortified grains….Get folate through greens, liver, legumes. And if more folate is needed (ie- pregnant, might get pregnant, low RBC folate levels) go with greens & organic liver, probiotics and bioidentical folates like folinic acid or 5-methyl folate. Here was their statement: “For reproductive age women in the U.S. for whom the risk of pregnancy is low, we think that recommending a daily folic acid supplement is excessive. Instead, our time and attention would be better spent encouraging consumption of dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, and oranges, which have health benefits above and beyond those related to their robust folate content.”
Can we predict who is at risk for vaccine-triggered autoimmunity?
While vaccines have been an effective tool to reduce the serious burden of infectious disease, they are not entirely without risk. But who is at risk can be hard to discern. This paper highlights five factors that may indicate increased risk for vaccine-triggered AUTOIMMUNITY:
- Those with previous post-vaccination autoimmune reactions
- Those with a history of autoimmunity
- Those with a history of allergy (especially vaccine-related)
- Those with detectable autoantibody levels, even if not yet symptomatic
- Those who have a genetic predisposition (family history, gene polymorphisms including HLA DR2/3/4/5)
Don’t forget – the relationship between vaccines and autoimmunity is BIDIRECTIONAL – infectious conditions themselves can also be triggers for autoimmunity, adding another layer of complexity. And there are things we can do to reduce risk of vaccine-related autoimmunity including no cigarette smoke exposure and immune-balancing support. See more recent resources on the topic of vaccination here and here.
If you’re a provider, how are you guiding your patients?
NASA explores the Ketogenic Diet
This past summer, the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations 22 expedition took along a Ketogenic Diet expert, Dominic D’Agostino PhD, to evaluate the protective effect of nutritional ketosis on the neurological risks of space radiation, reduced oxygen supply and stress. Ketosis has been shown to be protective of the epigenome and brain function. Pretty cool application of a powerful dietary therapy!
Adverse event reporting – key links to save
Do you know where to report adverse effects of prescription medications, nutritional supplements, vaccines, or veterinary medications? Underreporting is common and problematic, since action can only be taken on known information. Here are our top links to save for adverse event reporting: