Here are some highlights from recently published papers.
Visual Illusion Effective In Relieving Knee Pain For People With Osteoarthritis
A study published in PeerJ looked at the mind-body connection in chronic pain. Participants with knee osteoarthritis were subjected to a visual illusion in which their knee joint and lower leg appeared elongated. This visual effect combined with touch provided a 40% reduction in pain, and the effect was optimal when the illusion was repeated multiple times.
Takeaway: There is more to pain than physical factors, and mind-body techniques could prove to be effective and non-invasive pain relief tools.
Dietary non-fermentable fiber prevents autoimmune neurological disease by changing gut metabolic and immune status
A study published in Scientific Reports suggests that dietary non-fermentable fiber in early adult life may help prevent autoimmune disease.
The researchers used a spontaneous autoimmune encephalomyelitis (i.e. multiple sclerosis) mouse model, and fed them a non-fermentable fiber supplement, similar to what would be found in a vegetarian diet.
The dietary fiber altered the gut microbiota and metabolism of the mice, with an increase in the abundance of long-chain fatty acids, which promoted autoimmune suppressive Th2 immune responses.
Takeaway: Non-fermentable dietary fiber intake early in life may alter the gut microbiota in a way that helps prevent autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
Intermittent Fasting May Be Center Of Increasing Lifespan
Intermittent fasting has previously been shown to be beneficial for increasing lifespan, however the precise mechanism was not known. In a study from Cell Metabolism, researchers have uncovered a potential mechanism.
The researchers studied nematode worms and found that dietary restriction maintained the mitochondria in a fused state, which is associated with increased longevity. Furthermore, dietary restriction helped coordinate mitochondria with peroxisomes to promote fatty acid oxidation.
Takeaway: dietary restriction and intermittent fasting may enhance lifespan by maintaining mitochondrial networks in a fused state.
I had the pleasure of attending the 2018 SIBO Symposium at the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon this past week. Here are some of the highlights from Dr. Mark Pimental's two lectures.
Dr. Mark Pimental:
*Slides are from Dr. Mark Pimental's presentations at the 2018 NUNM SIBO Symposium.
Did you know Naturopathic Medicine is based on 6 underlying principles? Find out what they are in this video!
A new study from Harvard has shown how fasting can help increase lifespan and promote healthy aging.
Read the full article HERE.
We know the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil have a number of health benefits. Is it necessary to supplement with a fish oil as part of a healthy aging regime?
Read Dr. Tomah's article published in Lifetime Daily to find out!
Age-related cognitive decline and disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease are becoming increasingly prevalent with our aging population. Cognitive decline has a significant impact not only on an individual’s quality of life, but also on their loved ones and caretakers, as well as immense healthcare costs.
So far single drugs to treat cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s have been largely ineffective. This is because these conditions are complex and involve multiple mechanisms, therefore requiring multiple treatment interventions.
In an excellent study published in the journal Aging titled ‘Reversal of cognitive decline: A novel therapeutic program’, the authors use a personalized, multifaceted approach to successfully reverse cognitive decline.
The study involved 10 people with varying degrees of cognitive decline, many of whom had to discontinue working due to the severity of their condition.
The treatment program, which they called metabolic enhancement for neurodegeneration (MEND), was based on our current understanding on the underlying causes of age-related cognitive decline.
The program consisted of a combination of diet and lifestyle recommendations, as well as targeted herbal and nutrient supplementation.
Here is an example of a few of the recommendations:
After only 3-6 months on this program, 9 of the 10 patients experienced significant improvements in memory and cognition (the only one who didn’t improve suffered from late stage severe Alzheimer’s disease at the onset of treatment).
The subjects were able to return to work or continue working with improved performance. The improvements has been marked and sustained, with the longest follow up at the moment being 2.5 years.
This study gives hope for those who are already suffering from Alzheimer’s or age-related cognitive decline, but the real key to success is prevention.
This multidimensional approach is very similar to what we employ in Naturopathic Medicine. By understanding the underlying mechanisms, it provides treatment targets to address the whole person, rather than simply attempting to cover up symptoms.
Do you suffer from asthma, and find that your symptoms are worse in the Spring and Summer?
Check out my latest article for Lifetime Daily on Natural Remedies For Seasonal Allergies and Asthma!
Click HERE to read the article.
Are Your Sperm In Trouble?
The New York Times recently ran an article entitled Are Your Sperm In Trouble? and they concluded that yes, indeed, our sperm are in trouble. The article notes that in the past 75 years “there’s been a decrease not only in sperm numbers, but also in their quality and swimming capacity, their ability to deliver the goods.”
The article goes on to posit that much of the blame for our sperm woes is due to a class of chemicals known as endocrine disruptors found in plastics, cosmetics, pesticides and many other products.
Aside from avoiding these endocrine-disrupting chemicals, what else can be done to improve sperm quality?
That’s right, walnuts. The shelled nuts, which coincidentally are roughly the same size and shape as the prostate gland, are a rich source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Research conducted on mice has shown that walnuts help reduce lipid peroxidation, one of the main causes of sperm defects.
There is also promising human research. In a study from 2012, authors hypothesized that adding walnuts to a standard Western diet would improve sperm quality. Healthy men aged 21-35 years old were randomized into two groups, a control group who consumed their standard diet, and the test group who added 75 grams of walnuts per day.
After 12 weeks, the researchers found that the men who consumed walnuts experienced improvement in sperm vitality, motility, and morphology, compared to the control group who saw no change.
Walnuts For Sperm Quality
Although more research is warranted, it appears that adding a few handfuls of raw walnuts to your daily diet can help improve sperm quality.
Dr. Tomah Phillips, ND