Published:A new study suggests that docosahexaenoic acid - a type of omega-3 present in fish oil and dietary supplements - has the potential to prevent lupus, after finding the fatty acid blocked a known trigger of the disease. In the journal PLOS One, researchers report how docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) stopped crystalline silica - a toxic mineral associated with the development of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) - from causing lung lesions in mice genetically predisposed to lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disease estimated to affect around 1.5 million people in the United States. In lupus, the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy tissues, cells, and organs, causing pain and inflammation. SLE is the most common form of the disease, accounting for around 70 percent of all cases. Skin is the organ most often affected by SLE, though the brain, kidneys, lungs, and other organs and tissues can also be damaged. Crystalline silica and lupus There are a number of environmental factors believed to trigger lupus in individuals vulnerable to the condition, one of which is exposure to crystalline silica. Crystalline silica is a natural compound present in numerous substances, including concrete, brick, and mortar. It was classed as a carcinogen, after studies showed that exposure to small, airborne particles of the compound raised the risk of lung cancer. Previous research has also associated occupational exposure to crystalline silica with increased risk of SLE and other autoimmune diseases, with damage to the lungs in particular. "Cells in the lung can gobble up the silica, but it's so toxic, it kills these cells," explains study co-author Jack Harkema, of the Institute for Integrative Toxicology at Michigan State University. "When they die, signals are sent out to the immune system that something is wrong. The body then produces such a strong response that it also starts to target healthy cells." DHA prevented 96 percent of lung lesions in silica-exposed mice Harkema and colleagues set out to investigate whether DHA might offer some protection against the toxic effects of crystalline silica, based on knowledge that the omega-3 fatty acid has anti-inflammatory properties. DHA is one of the three main forms of omega-3. Present in dietary supplements and fatty fish - such as salmon, tuna, and trout - DHA is considered key for brain development and function. For their study, the researchers used female mice that were genetically predisposed to develop lupus. The mice were randomized to one of four diets: a diet containing either 0.4 percent, 1.2 percent, or 2.4 percent DHA, or a control diet. The DHA diets were equivalent to human diets containing 2, 6, or 12 grams of DHA daily. After 2 weeks, all groups were exposed to 1 milligram of crystalline silica once weekly for 4 weeks. They remained on the experimental diets for a further 12 weeks. On assessing the rodents' lungs, the researchers found that the mice which were fed the 1.2 percent, or 2.4 percent DHA diets had significantly fewer lung lesions than mice which received the control diet. "Ninety-six percent of the lung lesions were stopped with DHA after being triggered by the silica," notes Harkema. "I've never seen such a dramatic protective response in the lung before." The 0.4 percent diet appeared to have no effect on lung lesions, the team reports. 'Clear indication' that DHA can prevent silica-induced lupus The researchers are unable to pinpoint precisely how DHA might prevent crystalline silica-induced lesions, but they speculate that the fatty acid could be altering the way lung macrophages - a type of white blood cell involved in the detection and destruction of harmful pathogens - react to the toxic substance. "Our next step is to figure out exactly what's happening," says Harkema. Still, the researchers say their current findings shed some much-needed light on ways to prevent lupus. Courtesy of http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/313215.php
Important Mineral Found to Reduce Risk of Diabetes by 10 to 34 percent.
By Ronald Grisanti D.C., D.A.B.C.O., D.A.C.B.N., M.S.
Study finds that adequate amounts of magnesium could reduce the risk of diabetes by 10 to 34 percent.In a review of three studies of over 85,000 women and 42,000 men, individuals who consumed the most magnesium lowered their risk of developing diabetes more than 30 percent during the next 12 to 18 years compared to those who consumed the least amount. The studies suggest that magnesium influences the action of insulin in the body. A lack of magnesium may worsen insulin resistance, triggering the onset of diabetes. The current RDA for magnesium is 310-320 milligrams (mg) for adult women, and 400-420 mg for adult men. Average intake among Americans tends to lag about 100 mg below these recommended levels. Those most likely to have low blood levels include the elderly and those who take diuretic medications, which increase the excretion of magnesium. The best food sources of magnesium are green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts and dried beans. Courtesy of http://www.functionalmedicineuniversity.com/public/1115.cfm
A Dangerous Food Additive to Avoid
By Ronald Grisanti D.C., D.A.B.C.O., D.A.C.B.N., M.S. Read the labels on the foods you buy. Watch out for the ingredient carrageenan. Carrageenan is considered a harmless food additive by the US government. Unfortunately medical research has proven otherwise. Carrageenan is known as Irish Moss and is actually a seaweed. Most people would assume that this food additive would be nutritious considering it is a sea vegetable. On a positive note this sea vegetable is high in iodine, sulfur, trace minerals and vitamins. But it is important to know that the bad far outweighs the good when it comes to the consumption of carrageenan. In over 40 studies, carrageenan was found to create ulcers and cancers in animals. It easily triggers inflammatory disease in the human colon as well. And many researchers believe that it promotes not only irritable bowel but breast cancers and more. It changes detoxification in sulfur pathways (needed for hormones, toxins, etc.,), and may even be responsible for DVT (deep vein thromboses or blood clots in the lower legs). Chemists have discovered that carrageenan suppresses gamma interferon, a cytokine crucial for tumor and infectious control (like hepatitis), as well as control of inflammation and autoimmune disease, arthritis, and more. Finally carrageenan has been found to be part of the cause of the epidemic of diabetes, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and more. The average intake of carrageenan for most individuals is 100 mg a day. Where do you find carrageenan? It prevents separation in foods containing milk or chocolate, and improves the texture of not only foods, but cosmetics and even toothpastes, room deodorizers and pesticides. It's commonly found in cottage cheese and ice cream to infant formulas, dietetic beverages and low-fat meats and yogurts. For decades it was used as a thickener in puddings. So the take-away is read the labels on the foods and products you consume and stay clear of anything that has carrageenan listed. Courtesy of http://www.functionalmedicineuniversity.com/public/976.cfm
Why dementia burden may be less than feared
It is a truism that aging of populations will result in large and potentially unmanageable increases in the number of older adults with dementia. Michael D. Hurd, a senior researcher with RAND, and colleagues estimated the present annual financial burden of dementia care in the United States is about US$200 billion. Extrapolation of historic dementia rates among older adults project intimidating rises in dementia cases and costs. Recent epidemiological data, however, indicate a more encouraging picture. Results from the United Kingdom Cognitive Function and Aging Studies (CFAS) indicate an approximate 20-25 percent decline in age-specific prevalence and incidence of dementia over the past generation. Data from the U.S. Framingham Heart Study indicate a remarkable 40 percent decline in age-specific incidence of dementia over the past few decades. These results are consistent with data from other population-based studies. CFAS investigators estimate that declining dementia incidence may lead to a plateau in the annual number of new cases of people with dementia. Why the improvements? As a neurologist and a health policy expert who have studied the disease and the implications on our health care system, we have found two major factors in the declining dementia rates. If the factors continue, the burden of dementia in the future may be less than previously thought. Better treatment, prevention of diseases that lead to dementia A conventional medical distinction is between neurodegenerative dementias and vascular dementias. Neurodegenerative dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, results from primary brain degeneration. Vascular dementias, however, result from disease in the vascular system. One of the two reasons that dementias may not be as prevalent in the future is better control of vascular disease risk factors. Vascular disease refers to abnormal functioning of the body’s systems of veins and arteries, such as hardening or narrowing of the arteries. Smoking, high cholesterol and poor diet contribute to these conditions. The brains of most demented patients exhibit combinations of neurodegenerative pathologies and vascular injury. It is likely there is a cumulative and interacting effect of these different pathologies. Better control of vascular disease risk factors, such as tobacco abuse, hypertension and high cholesterol, led to declining rates of heart disease and stroke. Declining dementia incidence is a likely further beneficial consequence. A second plausible causal factor is the rising level of education in both low- and high-income nations over the course of the 20th century. Higher education levels are associated with lower dementia risk. In the Framingham cohort, decline in dementia incidence was seen only in individuals with at least a high school education. The education effect may have multiple mediators. Education making a difference, too Higher education levels are associated with higher incomes, better general health, and healthier behaviors, including better control of vascular disease risk factors. Yet another important factor could be education’s role in the brain’s capacity to compensate for injury. It has been suggested that education can enhance so-called “cognitive reserve” – brain capacity to compensate for injury. While the validity of the cognitive reserve concept is difficult to demonstrate directly, indirect evidence supports this attractive idea. How much education is required and when education is most effective is unknown. James Heckman, a Nobel Prize winner in economics, argues persuasively that high-quality early childhood education has multiple benefits, including improved midlife health and health behaviors. The cognitive reserve concept suggests that education benefits should be greatest when the brain is most plastic, suggesting a long-lasting benefit of early childhood education. Obesity, diabetes could threaten the gains Counter to these encouraging trends is the rising tide of obesity and diabetes. Both these disorders are significant dementia risk factors. Medical interventions to reduce diabetes complications significantly reduce major vascular disease complications in diabetes, including stroke. This suggests that appropriate diabetes treatments may mitigate the effects of increased prevalence of diabetes on dementia risk. In data from the Health & Retirement Study, a large representative population-based study of older Americans, one of us (KML) found declining age-specific rates of dementia, despite rising rates of diabetes and obesity. Much of the current emphasis in dementia research is on developing therapies aimed at reducing the impact of neurodegenerative pathologies. The epidemiologic evidence indicating declining dementia incidence and prevalence rates indicates that we have some effective preventive approaches. These results may be particularly important for developing nations. While dementia is usually thought of as a major public health problem in high-income nations, recent projections indicate that the greatest impact of increasing dementia prevalence will occur in low- and middle-income nations. These countries have rising life expectancy, increasingly Westernized lifestyles and health care systems unprepared to handle the burden of chronic disease. They are projected to experience the greatest increases in dementias. These nations may benefit the most from preventive strategies based on improving education and reducing vascular risk factors. Even in the U.S., it is unlikely we’ve maximized the benefits of controlling vascular disease risk factors and making high-quality education available to all. Substantial fractions of Americans lack access to good primary care, and the performance of many American school systems is poor. Relatively modest investments in these domains may yield considerable benefits late in life. Courtesy of The Conversation http://theconversation.com/