Middle Eastern Diet Linked To Improved Microbiome in Liver Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

“Turkish Food” by Garry Knight is licensed under CC BY 2.0Jasmohan S. Bajaj, M.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Internal Medicine
Division of Gastroenterology
Virginia Commonwealth University 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Altered gut microbiota composition can occur due to diseases and due to changes in the dietary practices. The interaction between these two and their linkage with clinical outcomes in liver diseases, such as cirrhosis is not clear from an international standpoint.

In this study we enrolled healthy subjects, and patients with cirrhosis who were either early or advanced in their process from USA and Turkey. We found that the Turkish subjects, who followed a Middle-eastern diet rich in vegetables and fermented milk products, had high microbial diversity, which was in turn associated with lower hospitalizations over 3 months. There was also an additional beneficial effect of coffee and tea intake. This protection persisted even when the clinical factors were accounted for. Continue reading

Small Intestinal Microbiome Adjusts To Dietary Fats and Sugar

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Eugene B. Chang, MD Martin Boyer Professor of Medicine Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery University of Chicago Chicago, IL  60637

Dr. Chang

Eugene B. Chang, MD
Martin Boyer Professor of Medicine
Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery
University of Chicago
Chicago, IL  60637 and

Kristina Martinez-Guryn, Ph.D., R.D. Assistant Professor  Biomedical Sciences Program Midwestern University Downers Grove, IL.

Dr. Martinez-Guryn

Kristina Martinez-Guryn, Ph.D., R.D.
Assistant Professor 
Biomedical Sciences Program
Midwestern University
Downers Grove IL

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Martinez-Guryn: The original goal of this study was to understand why mice devoid of all microorganisms (germ free mice) are protected from diet-induced obesity. We demonstrate that these mice display severely impaired lipid absorption even when fed a high fat diet.

Dr. Chang: We found that many of the processes of dietary lipid digestion and absorption are dependent on and modulated by the gut microbiome which itself responds to dietary cues to adjust the small intestine’s ability and capacity to handle dietary lipids appropriately. This interplay is important for general health, but the findings are also relevant to conditions of overnutrition (obesity, metabolic syndrome) and undernutrition (starvation, environmental enteropathy).  In conditions of overnutrition, high fat, simple sugar, low fiber foods typical of western diets promote small intestinal microbes (which have been largely neglected by the scientific community) that promote fat digestion and absorption. This increases our capacity to assimilate dietary fats which can contribute to the overnutrition problem.  In conditions of undernutrition, these types of gut microbes are lost or minimally represented.  Thus, when nutritional repletion is started, the gut’s ability to upregulate its capacity for dietary lipid digestion and absorption is compromised.

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If You Lose Weight, Your Spouse Might Too

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Amy Gorin, Ph.D. Professor, Psychological Sciences Associate Director Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy (InCHIP) University of Connecticut Storrs, CT   06269-1248

Dr. Gorin

Amy Gorin, Ph.D.
Professor, Psychological Sciences
Associate Director
Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy (InCHIP)
University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT   06269-1248

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response:  This study examined whether behavioral weight management programs have a ripple effect on untreated spouses.  That is, if one member of a couple participates in a weight loss program, does the other untreated spouse benefit?  Given that many spouses are of a similar weight status, if one spouse is overweight, the other spouse tends to be overweight as well — understanding how weight management programs impact both spouses has important public health implications.

To examine this question, 130 spouses were randomly assigned to Weight Watchers or a self-guided control group. Spouses assigned to Weight Watchers group had only one member enrolled in a structured 6-month weight loss program (Weight Watchers) that provided in-person counseling and online tools to assist with weight loss.

In the self-guided group, one member of the couple received a four-page handout with information on healthy eating, exercise, and weight control strategies (e.g., choosing a low-fat, low-calorie diet, portion control). The results indicate that nearly one-third (32%) of untreated spouses in both groups lost ≥3% of their initial body weight (weight loss based on obesity management guidelines) at the 6-month mark, and weight losses did not differ between untreated spouses of Weight Watchers and self-guided participants.

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How Much DASH Diet is Required To Reduce Uric Acid?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Blood Pressure” by Bernard Goldbach is licensed under CC BY 2.0Stephen P. Juraschek, MD, PhD

Instructor of Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Recent evidence suggests that the DASH diet is associated with lower uric acid levels and lower risk of gout. Furthermore, a secondary analysis of the DASH trial showed that complete replacement of a typical American diet with the DASH diet lowered uric acid levels. However, it is unknown if partial replacement of a typical American diet with DASH foods might lower uric acid.

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Why Isn’t Your Diet Working? It’s In Your Genes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Scale model” by brett jordan is licensed under CC BY 2.0
William Barrington, PhD lead author on the study
Recently graduated PhD student from the Threadgill lab
David Threadgill, PhD
Texas A&M College of Medicine and
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, senior author

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Obesity and diet-induced diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, have reached epidemic proportions. The United States has offered universal dietary recommendations for decades, but they have been largely unsuccessful in reducing diet-induced diseases. These recommendations are largely built upon population-level data, which examines a large number of individuals and determines the average response to a dietary intervention. However, if there is large variation in responses within a population, then population-level data may be inadequate to improve health across genetically diverse individuals.

Our study used four genetically diverse types of mice to examine how one’s genetics interact with diet to influence obesity and risk factors for cardiometabolic disease. The study compared four popular human diets (American, Mediterranean, Japanese, and Maasai/ketogenic). While all mice suffered detrimental effects from the American diet, the severity of disease varied widely across the types of mice. In comparison, no single diet improved health across all strains, but there was one or more diets that improved health in each strain.

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Eating a Mostly Plant Based Diet Linked To Lower Risk of Heart Failure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Fresh Food” by Sonny Side Up! is licensed under CC BY 2.0

 

Dr. Kyla M Lara
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

 

 

 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This was the first study to evaluate whether dietary patterns of black and white adults living in the United States were associated with developing heart failure. We’re hearing a lot in the news about specific diets like low-fat, high protein, low carb, and other diets that decrease cardiovascular risk. We would love it, as physicians, if we could prescribe a specific diet to limit cardiovascular risk in our patients. I’m really excited about our study because instead of examining patterns of what we already know are healthy, we looked at foods people were regularly consuming in the United States and developed dietary patterns from this. This study is similar to other work we have done with stroke and heart attack.

We used data from the NIH funded REGARDS study, also known as the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke. More than 30,000 white and African-American adults were recruited from 2003-2007. From this group, we studied over 18,000 adults who successfully completed a dietary assessment called the Food Frequency Questionnaire. This was a really great group to study because people who live in this particular geographic area of the Southeastern United States, also known as the stroke belt, suffer from a higher risk of death from stroke. It’s extremely important for us to better understand the major risk factors that contribute to this and also cardiovascular disease.

We used statistical techniques to derive 5 dietary patterns based on the types of foods participants tended to eat.
• Convenience – Mexican and Chinese food, mixed dishes (both meat and bean)
• Sweets – added fats, bread, chocolate, desserts, sweet breakfast foods
• Southern – added fats, fried food, organ and processed meat, fatty milk
• Alcohol/Salads – beer, wine, liquor, green leafy vegetables, salad dressings, nuts and seeds, coffee
• Plant Based- fruit, vegetables, fruit juice, cereal, fish, poultry

Each participant received a score for each pattern that reflected how closely their diet resembled that dietary pattern. This approach reflects the real world and how people eat.

Over the 3135 days (8.6 years) of median follow up, 594 participants were hospitalized for incident HF. Greatest adherence to the plant-based dietary pattern during the study period was associated with a 28% risk reduction of developing heart failure.
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DASH Diet and Sodium Reduction Can Have Big Impact in Improving Blood Pressure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Stephen P. Juraschek, MD, PhD Instructor of Medicine Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School

Dr. Juraschek

Stephen P. Juraschek, MD, PhD
Instructor of Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The DASH-Sodium trial demonstrated that both the DASH diet and sodium restriction, individually and combined, lowered blood pressure in adults with pre-hypertension or stage 1 hypertension. Whether these effects varied by level of blood pressure prior to starting these interventions was unknown. In a secondary analysis of the original DASH diet it had been observed that the effects from DASH were greater among adults with higher blood pressure (systolic greater than or equal to 140 mm Hg) at baseline with the appearance of even greater effects among people with baseline systolic blood pressures above 150 mm Hg. However, this has never been shown. Furthermore, it was unknown whether sodium reduction followed a similar linear trend of greater effects among adults with more severely uncontrolled systolic blood pressure.

In our study, we found that effects were indeed greater in adults with a baseline systolic blood pressure of 150 mm Hg or greater. Furthermore, the combined systolic blood pressure-lowering effect from both interventions was as high was 20 mm Hg. This is a magnitude comparable if not greater than medications for lowering blood pressure.

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Intermittent Dieting May Result In Greater Weight Loss

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Nuala Byrne PhD Head of School | Health Sciences Faculty of Health University of Tasmania

Prof. Byrne

Professor Nuala Byrne PhD
Head of School | Health Sciences
Faculty of Health
University of Tasmania 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Calorie restriction (or cutting back on the energy we are eating) triggers powerful compensatory responses by our body’s metabolism – we might think of it as a “Famine Reaction”. Our body weight is regulated by a series of nervous system and hormone networks that act together to make sure we have enough energy to sustain life. When we eat more energy than our body needs to meet our daily metabolic requirements (positive energy balance), we are designed to store that excess energy; and we are very good at storing. We store this energy in the fat cells (adipocytes) as an emergency reserve for when we hit hard-times when food availability is scarce. The problem in today’s society is that most of us have a constant availability of energy-dense food; making it more common to be in energy excess.

When we have less calories being consumed than what we need to fuel all the body’s metabolic processes (negative energy balance), we convert the stored fat into usable energy, and consequently lose weight. While our body does sense the positive energy balance, it is designed to be more sensitive to gauging when we are in a negative energy balance. Our body senses the change in energy intake and the decreasing fat stores, and brings out the artillery to defend our energy stores – this is the Famine Reaction. Our body is constantly changing our physiology in response to challenges to the status quo; the body works constantly to keep the oxygen concentration in the blood at an optimal level, to keep a constant and optimal body temperature, and a constant and optimal amount of sugar in the blood. Our body’s regulatory systems also work hard to defend our energy stores if it senses we are continually in negative energy-balance (i.e., dieting). One major metabolic compensatory as part of the “Famine Reaction” is a decrease in the body’s resting metabolic rate (energy expended while at rest to maintain the basic functioning of our major organs). Given that resting metabolic rate is determined largely by body size and composition, it is expected to decrease with weight loss. However, during dieting, resting metabolic rate has been reported to decrease to a greater extent than that expected from changes in body composition, a phenomenon termed ‘adaptive thermogenesis’. This leads to markedly reduced efficiency of weight loss.

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Study Finds Diet Not Connected to GI Problems in Children With Autism

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Bradley James Ferguson, PhD University of Missouri School of Medicine

Dr. Ferguson

Bradley James Ferguson, PhD
University of Missouri School of Medicine 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Many individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and abdominal pain, but the cause of these GI issues is not currently known. Previous research from our laboratory showed a significant positive relationship between cortisol levels and GI problems, especially for constipation. However, it is possible that other factors such as diet may affect GI functioning, especially since many children have altered diets. This study examined 32 different nutrients in the children’s diets, as assessed by a food frequency questionnaire that assessed the participant’s diet over the past month, and how each nutrient was related to upper and lower GI tract symptom scores over the past month created from the Questionnaire on Pediatric Gastrointestinal Symptoms – Rome III. The results showed no significant relationships between any of the nutrients and GI symptoms, suggesting that diet was not associated with GI symptoms in this sample.

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Which Diet Is Best For You? It Depends On Your Genes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kaixiong (Calvin) Ye, PhD Post-doctoral Associate Dept. of Biological Statistics & Computational Biology Cornell University thaca, NY

Dr. Kaixong Ye

Kaixiong (Calvin) Ye, PhD
Post-doctoral Associate
Dept. of Biological Statistics & Computational Biology
Cornell University
thaca, NY

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are critical for human brain development, cognitive function, immune response, and cardiovascular health. Physiologically active forms of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, such as AA, EPA, and DHA, are readily available in meat and seafood, but are absent in most plant-based foods (e.g. fruits and vegetables). Instead, plant-based foods contain two precursor fatty acids, LA and ALA, which could be metabolized in our body and converted into physiologically active forms. Fatty acid desaturase (FADS) genes encode key enzymes for this biosynthesis.

We hypothesized that genetic variations in FADS genes that enhance the biosynthesis efficiency were adaptive to plant-based diets in traditional farming populations and thus became more frequent over time. Our study compiled a huge data set of genetic information (DNA) from both present-day and ancient individuals. For the first time, we examined the action of natural selection on humans for the past 30,000 years in Europe.

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