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.
Consumer Reports Finds Heavy Metals in Fruit Juice
Foods can unfortunately be a source of toxic contaminants. This new Consumer Reports investigation found that every fruit juice they tested contained “at least one of the four (heavy) metals tested” and nearly half had “concerning levels of cadmium, inorganic arsenic, and/or lead.” Highest levels of metals were found in grape juice and juice blends and organic juices did not have lower heavy metal levels than non-organic. It is suspected that metal contamination is due to the soil in which fruit is grown and/or from the filtration process. Our advice? Wherever possible know where your food comes from; some farms are more diligent about testing soil for heavy metal contaminants.
Zinc Deficiency Exacerbates High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure may be worsened by zinc deficiency, according to a recent report in the American Journal of Physiology, and that the mechanism may lie in alterations of sodium excretion. Zinc repletion was able to reverse blood pressure dysregulation in animals.
Banned Drugs Found in Meat Samples
A new Consumer Reports investigation has found traces of drugs in samples of meat, including ketamine (a hallucinogenic party drug and experimental antidepressant), phenylbutazone (an anti-inflammatory that has been deemed too risky for human use), and chloramphenicol (an antibiotic with potentially dangerous side effects). While organic doesn’t guarantee you can avoid this, choosing organic still increases the odds of meat being drug-free.
Connecting Gum Disease and Alzheimer’s
Bacteria that can cause gum disease (P. gingivalis) is associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease, according to new research published in the Journal of Science Advances. In fact, the study researchers went so far as to conclude that P. gingivalis plays a ‘central role.’ While we would argue that there can be many different factors at play beyond microbes, and that these vary for each affected individual, validation from this kind of research is vitally important.
Ginger microRNAs Trigger Gut-Healing Compounds from L. Rhamnosus
Ginger has been a therapeutic agent long-used in natural medicine, particularly for calming inflammation and improving digestion. Now we know one more fascinating way in which it acts – scientists have shown for the first time that microRNAs (strands of genetic material in cell nuclei that are known to regulate gene expression) from ginger can be absorbed by gut bacteria and change the expression of those bacterial genes. In one example, ginger microRNAs were shown to induce the bacterial species L. rhamnosus to produce compounds that help repair the intestinal lining. Ginger + L. rhamnosus = even more gut healing!
How Pregnenolone May Help Fight Loneliness
Loneliness has been found to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and can even make you 30% more likely to die sooner than someone who isn’t lonely. It also lowers your immunity and can worsen sleep habits. The need for social connection may be as important as a healthy diet and exercise! Yet loneliness creates a heightened sense of fear that is a catch 22 for those who are lonely – causing them to keep withdrawing. One potential way to help break that cycle may lie in oral pregnenolone, which is currently being studied for its effects on dialing down that fear of establishing social connections.