Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Chemicals added to our food may be the cause of rising C-diff infections...

Potential Contribution of Dietary Trehalose to C. diff Epidemic

by Lewis Chang, PhD
Clostridium difficile, or “C. diff”, is a bacterium that can cause infection in at-risk individuals, triggering symptoms ranging from mild diarrhea to severe pseudomembranous colitis. Major risk factors for C. diff infection include depletion of protective gut microorganisms due to antibiotics use (e.g. fluoroquinolones), compromised immune system, age, healthcare environment, and certain medications. Hospitalized older individuals with recent antibiotic exposure and those admitted to long-term care facilities are particularly susceptible for C. diff infection.1
Two fluoroquinolone-resistant C. diff ribotypes, RT027 and RT078, have been causing a series of outbreaks since the early 2000s in North America and Europe, respectively, resulting in significant increases in morbidity and mortality. 2 Researchers were alarmed by the rapid spread of these previously rare strains and suspected new factor(s) might have been accountable.
An international collaboration led by researchers from the Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, TX) recently discovered that the dietary ingredient trehalose might be an important contributing factor.2 The disaccharide trehalose was granted GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status in 2000 in the US and approved for use in food in Europe in 2001.2 Trehalose can now be found in foods such as ice cream, pasta, and ground beef. The investigators noticed that the widespread use of trehalose in the food industry coincided with the emergence of RT027 and RT078 outbreaks.2
The investigators found in in vitro experiments that trehalose increased the growth of an epidemic strain of RT027 by 5-fold compared with a non-RT027 strain. When testing 21 different C. diff strains, only RT027 and RT078 exhibited enhanced growth on low amounts of trehalose. The subsequent in vivo experiments demonstrated that RT027 strains were able to utilize trehalose and increase the production of disease-causing toxins leading to higher disease severity. Further, in the ileostomy fluid collected from volunteering patients consuming a normal diet, there was a sufficient amount of trehalose to activate RT027.2  With these lines of evidence, the investigators proposed that the use of dietary trehalose as a food additive in the human diet might have fueled the emergence of these drug-resistant C. diff strains. Future human studies are needed to confirm whether severe cases of C. diff infection is associated with increased trehalose in the diet and whether reducing dietary trehalose improves patient outcomes.
Why is this Clinically Relevant?
  • C. diff is the most common infectious cause of antibiotic-associated diarrhea in the US and other developed countries
  • With the increased frequency and severity of C. diff infections globally, prophylactic use of probiotics may be a useful prevention strategy to restore the balance in the gut microbiota, particularly among individuals who undergo antibiotic treatment3-5
  1. Burke KE, Lamont JT. Clostridium difficile infection: a worldwide disease. Gut Liver. 2014;8(1):1-6.
  2. Collins J, Robinson C, Danhof H, et al. Dietary trehalose enhances virulence of epidemic Clostridium difficile. Nature. 2018;553(7688):291-294.
  3. Johnston BC, Lytvyn L, Lo CK, et al. Microbial preparations (probiotics) for the prevention of Clostridium difficile infection in adults and children: an individual patient data meta-analysis of 6,851 participants. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2018:1-11.
  4. Valdes-Varela L, Gueimonde M, Ruas-Madiedo P. Probiotics for prevention and treatment of Clostridium difficile infection. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2018;1050:161-176.
  5. Goldenberg JZ, Yap C, Lytvyn L, et al. Probiotics for the prevention of Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea in adults and children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017;12:CD006095

Monday, June 11, 2018

Postmenopausal women and the importance of Vitamins D3

Vitamin D Linked to Metabolic Syndrome, high triglycerides, and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in Postmenopausal Women

Postmenopausal women with vitamin D deficiency have greater risk for metabolic syndrome than those with sufficient levels, data from a cross-sectional cohort study suggest. Levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin-D [25(OH)D] below 20 ng/mL were also linked to a greater likelihood of high triglycerides and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
"These results suggest that the maintenance of adequate serum levels of 25(OH)D in postmenopausal women may reduce the risk of developing [metabolic syndrome], a condition that is known to be related to cardiovascular events and mortality in this group," write Eneida Boteon Schmitt, MD, from São Paulo State University's Botucatu Medical School in Brazil, and colleagues.
They note, however, that the observational, cross-sectional design of the study prevents causal inferences and that unmeasured confounders may play a role in the findings. Also, as 90% of the study participants were white, the findings may not be generalizable to other races/ethnicities.
The study, published in the January 2018 issue of Maturitas, included 463 women, 45 to 75 years old, who had not menstruated for at least a year, were not taking vitamin D supplements, and had a diagnosis of cardiovascular disease. The researchers measured their total cholesterol, HDL levels, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, triglycerides, glucose, insulin, and 25(OH)D levels.
Vitamin D deficiency was defined as serum 25(OH)D levels below 20 ng/mL, whereas levels between 20 and 29 ng/mL were insufficient. Levels of at least 30 ng/mL were considered sufficient. Diagnosis of metabolic syndrome required presence of at least three of five criteria: a waist circumference greater than 88 cm, triglycerides at least 150 mg/dL, HDL levels below 50 mg/dL, blood pressure at least 130/85 mm Hg, and glucose at least 100 mg/dL.
Just under a third (32.0%) of the women had sufficient vitamin D levels, and a similar proportion (32.6%) had insufficient levels. The remaining 35.4% were deficient. Physical activity levels, use of hormone therapy, smoking, and prevalence of diabetes or arterial hypertension were similar among all three groups of women. Age, body mass index, HDL and LDL, glucose, waist circumference, blood pressure, age at menopause, and time since menopause were also comparatively similar among the groups.
More than half (57.8%) of the women without sufficient vitamin D (below 30 ng/mL) had metabolic syndrome compared with 39.8% of women with sufficient vitamin D levels (P = .003).
Vitamin D below 30 ng/mL was associated with higher total cholesterol, triglycerides, and insulin levels. It was also associated with a higher score on the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, in which insulin resistance is defined as a score above 2.7.
After adjustment for age, time since menopause, body mass index, smoking, and physical activity level, women deficient in 25(OH)D had nearly double the odds of metabolic syndrome as those with sufficient levels (odds ratio [OR], 1.90). Women with deficient vitamin D also had 55% greater odds of high triglycerides and 60% greater odds of low HDL. Decreasing concentrations of vitamin D correlated with an increase in the number of metabolic syndrome criteria met.
"There are several possible physiopathological mechanisms that could explain the effect of [vitamin D] on the components of [metabolic syndrome]," the authors write. "The most plausible explanation is that [vitamin D] influences insulin secretion and sensitivity, which play a major role in [metabolic syndrome]."
The researchers also noted shared risk factors among people with diabetes and those with low vitamin D levels, such as older age, being an ethnic/racial minority, having obesity, and being physically inactive.
"Although [vitamin D] deficiency is prevalent...across the adult age range, the reduction in outdoor activities and the possible decrease in the capacity of aged skin to synthesize 25(OH)D may contribute to high prevalence of [vitamin D] deficiency in postmenopausal women," the authors add.
Although the authors speculate that a causal relationship is plausible between low vitamin D and poorer cholesterol levels, they also point out alternative explanations and note the need for studies to clarify the relationship.
"People engaging in high levels of outdoor physical exercise, which would raise 25(OH)D levels due to greater sun exposure, may be more likely also to have healthy eating habits, which could favorably affect their lipid profile," they write.
The research was funded by the Sao Paulo Research Foundation, and the authors reported no conflicts of interest.
Maturitas. 2018;107:97-102.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Let the river of energy flow. (a simple look at the chakras)

Watching a children's show...the last Airbender on NICK and found this explanation simple and  profound...

Chakras are like little pools of energy connected to each other and these pools need to be open to flow from one to another..."Let the river flow"

Each chakra has a specific purpose and can be blocked by emotional muck. Opening your chakras is an intense experience and must not be stopped until all 7 are open...

Root chakras: (base of the spine)
It deals with survival and is blocked by fear
(what are you most afraid of? Fears are an illusion. You are concerned with your survival but must surrender those fears...let your fears flow down the creek)

Sacral chakra (water chakra)
This chakra deals with pleasure and is blocked by guilt.
Look at all the guilt that burdens you. What do you blame yourself for???
Accept the reality that these things happened but do not let them cloud and poison your energy. If you are to be a positive influence on the world, you need to forgive yourself (and others)

Third Chakra: Solar Plexus (Fire chakra) Located in the stomach
This chakra deals with real power and is blocked by shame.
What are you ashamed of and what are your biggest disappointments in yourself?
You will never find balance if you deny this part of your life....You are who you are.

Fourth Chakra: Heart chakra
This deals with love and is blocked by grief...lay all your grief out in front of you...release all your sadness and loss. Love is a form of energy that swirls all around us. Those that have loved you have not left, their love is still inside of your heart and is reborn in the form of new love. Let the pain flow out.

The Fifth Chakra: Throat...Sound chakra
Deals with truth and is blocked by lies...the ones we tell ourselves. You cannot lie about your own nature and must accept who you are. The god within you, the creator of your world.
Now open the chakra of truth.

The sixth Chakra (third eye)...Light chakra
Deals with insight and is blocked by Illusion.
The greatest illusion in this world is the illusion of separation. Release the illusions within.
Things we think are separate and different are actually one and the same...(different nations/nationalities/ color/ religions etc)
We are all one people but we live as if divided. We are all connected, a collective consciousness. Everything is connected even the four your mind, you will see all elements are one...four parts of the same whole.

The seventh Chakra: The though chakra...The Crown
Deals with pure cosmic energy and is blocked by earthly attachment. Meditate on what attaches you to this world. Let go of all that you have grown to love...let go of all those attachments, let them flow down the river. You cannot let the Cosmic energy from the Universe flow through you without letting go of all attachments...Realize that letting go doesn't mean that it truly disappears. You are then able to connect to your perfect, or "higher self"
With the flow of energy through this chakra comes complete control and awareness of all your thoughts and actions.

What a simple way to look deep within and identify where and what your blocks are and let them go and allow the creek of energy flow.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Prenatal vitamins are beneficial...

Prenatal Micronutrients May Cut Mental Illness Risk in Children

As part of comprehensive maternal and fetal care, prenatal micronutrient supplements should be considered as "uniquely effective first steps in decreasing risk for future psychiatric and other illnesses in newborn children," conclude the authors of a systematic review of relevant research.
"This paper is the only comprehensive review of the major micronutrients supplements that affect behavioral outcomes from pregnancies," first author Robert Freedman, MD, from the Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, told Medscape Medical News.
"The prenatal period is a unique opportunity for safe and effective prevention of brain developmental problems that are associated with later severe mental illnesses. Just as folic acid is effective for preventing neural tube defects only before birth, once the baby is born, this opportunity is past," said Freedman.
The review was published online March 21, 2018 in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Emotional Development, Mental Illness

Fetal brain development — which is influenced by genotype, by the environment in the womb, and by the mother's nutrition, her history of infection, and her status with respect to psychiatric disorders and substance use — is the earliest developmental step relating to risk for mental illness, the authors note.
Prenatal interventions to reduce the risk for later mental illness, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism, have yet to be firmly established for clinical use.
In the literature review, Freedman and colleagues focused on 45 studies that assessed the effects of prenatal micronutrient supplementation on childhood emotional development and later mental illness. These included four studies on folic acid, 17 on omega-3 fatty acids, nine on phosphatidylcholine, and 15 on vitamins A and D supplementation.
Key findings include the following:
  • Folic acid has benefits for the development of the fetal brain and subsequent child behavior and cognition, but it has not been shown specifically to prevent schizophrenia.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids increase the risk for later schizophrenia and modestly increase childhood symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, but they also substantively decrease the risk for both premature birth and childhood wheezing.
  • Phosphatidylcholine supplements have been studied prospectively and have generally been found to promote the development of the fetal brain and to subsequently affect childhood behavior, but no retrospective epidemiologic studies have been conducted.
  • Higher serum levels of vitamins A and D appear to promote brain development and to decrease risk for schizophrenia, but their potential toxicity limits their use to currently recommended amounts.

Research Dilemma

The investigators note that it is unlikely that any single prenatal intervention will prevent mental illnesses in all individuals. To obtain evidence-based data for any nutrient will require new research agendas that emphasize prenatal clinical trials of interventions; early biomarkers of their effectiveness, as developed in translational models; and longer-term follow-up through developmental stages of childhood into adulthood, they add.
"Unlike neural tube defects that present at birth, mental illnesses such as schizophrenia may not appear before early adulthood," said Freedman.
"To determine if a micronutrient supplement decreases the incidence of adult mental illness would require large groups of women and children treated and then observed for decades. The dilemma, therefore, is how the current research, which can track the early development of behavior in children for only a few years, should guide women who are pregnant now," he added.
Without definitive evidence, parents currently planning pregnancy have difficult decisions to make about nutrient supplements.
"The mother is unlikely to receive fully effective levels of the currently studied nutrients from diet alone. Adverse effects of supplements are few at the doses studied, but it would be premature to conclude that they are nonexistent," the investigators write. 
"Conversely, there is only one opportunity in each child's life for intervention to enhance fetal brain development and protect the child against developmental risks that arise in this period."
The review had no commercial funding. Dr Freedman is editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Psychiatry.
Am J Psychiatry. Published online March 21, 2018.
"Prenatal Primary Prevention of Mental Illness by Micronutrient Supplements in Pregnancy” - Am J Psychiatry. -
NOTE: Cover “Advanced Nutritional Support for Preconception through Nursing” with Wellness Essentials® Pregnancy.
Wellness Essentials® Pregnancy was formulated to provide “Advanced Nutritional Support for Preconception through Nursing” by Joel M. Evans, M.D.,OB/GYN - Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, and author of the book "the Whole Pregnancy Handbook".

Monday, June 4, 2018

Take care of your teeth....

Tooth Loss in Middle-age Linked to Heart Disease

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Losing two or more natural teeth in middle age is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), new research suggests.
"In addition to other established associations between dental health and risk of disease, our findings suggest that middle-aged adults who have lost two or more teeth in recent past could be at increased risk for cardiovascular disease," Dr. Lu Qi of Tulane University in New Orleans said in a statement. "That's regardless of the number of natural teeth a person has as a middle-aged adult, or whether they have traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as poor diet or high blood pressure."
Dr. Qi presented the study findings March 21 at the 2018 American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention, Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions.
“The relation between dental health such as tooth loss and cardiovascular risk remains unclear,” Dr. Qi told Reuters Health by email. “Most previous studies only investigated pre-existing tooth loss; and little is known about whether incident (recent) tooth during middle adulthood is associated with future cardiovascular disease.”
Dr. Qi and colleagues investigated associations between tooth loss and subsequent risk of new-onset CHD in women in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS). The participants were between 45 and 69 years old at the outset and did not have heart disease. They were asked about the number of natural teeth first in 1986 in the HPFS, and in 1992 in the NHS. On follow-up questionnaires, participants reported whether they had any recent tooth loss.
Among adults with 25 to 32 natural teeth at the beginning of the study, those who lost two or more teeth during follow-up had a 23% increased risk of CHD (95% confidence interval, 1.06 to 1.42), compared with those who didn't lose any teeth, after adjusting for factors including diet quality, physical activity, body weight, hypertension and other cardiovascular risk factors.
Losing just one tooth during the study period wasn't associated with a notable increased risk of CHD.
Regardless of the number of natural teeth at start of the study, the risk of CHD increased 16% among those losing two or more teeth during the study period (95% CI, 1.04 to 1.30), compared with those who didn't lose any teeth.
Adults with fewer than 17 natural teeth (vs. 25 to 32 natural teeth) at the outset were 25% more likely to develop CHD (95% CI, 1.08 to 1.46).
“Peridontitis and gingivitis lead to tooth loss and the loss of a tooth is certainly the end-stage of dental disease,” said Dr. Russell Luepker, an AHA spokesperson who was not involved in the study. The association between periodontal disease and heart disease has been “fairly well studied” and the relationships reported in this study are “modest,” he told Reuters Health by phone.
It's also important to consider the role of socioeconomic status, he said. “We all get cavities and if you want to save teeth, you want to have good dental insurance and many people don't. So it's good to brush your teeth and it's good to have dental insurance,” Dr. Luepker commented.
AHA Epidemiology and Prevention | Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2018.