Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 21, 2017
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News in nutrition

Research is forever shedding light on how food influences the way the body works. Here are some updates.

Probiotics

Researchers have isolated a protein from Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, a beneficial bacterial found in yogurt and other dairy products that influence gut health.(1) When the isolated protein (named p40) was administered to mice with the equivalent of human colitis, it aided intestinal cell growth and function, as well as reduced the inflammatory response. Although it has been suggested for many years that eating probiotics leads to a healthier intestine, this study is paving the way to determining a treatment for inflammatory bowel diseases.

Prebiotics

A study done at the University of Florida demonstrated that when students writing exams took a prebiotic supplement, they had a reduced amount of GI symptoms caused by stress.(2) They also found that if these students had a cold, it did not last as long.

Gastric Bypass Surgery

While gastric bypass surgery helps send diabetes into remission, about 40 percent of patients will see their diabetes reappear. Researchers questioned whether this surgery would alter the bioavailability and absorption of metformin, and perhaps reduce its effect.(3) However, after comparing patients who had a gastric bypass, but weren’t diabetic with a control group that had been matched for BMI and sex, it was found that metformin bioavailability and absorption was higher after gastric bypass surgery. Although more studies need to confirm these results, this research emphasizes the need for close follow-up of gastric bypass patients.

Good news for the low-carb diet

A study published in the journal Cancer Research showed that following a low-carb, high-protein diet slowed tumour growth in mice.(4) The study was done at the British Columbia Cancer Research Center on mice injected with human tumour cells. One group of mice received the traditional Western diet (55 percent carbohydrate, 23 percent protein, 22 percent fat), while the other group received a diet higher in protein (15 percent carbohydrate, 58 percent protein, 26 percent fat). The findings showed that only 30 percent of the mice on low carbs developed cancer and half of these mice actually lived to the normal age. However in the western diet group, half of the mice developed cancer in the first year of the study, and only one lived a normal life span. This study also showed that both mTOR inhibitor, and a COX 2 inhibitor had more effect on tumour cells in mice on the low-carb diet. Although further study is needed, this is yet another study that confirms that consuming a diet that maintains lower blood glucose and insulin levels may be health promoting.

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