Nutrition Bytes - September 2019
Glyphosate Exposure Linked to Anxiety and Depression
Roundup is the most heavily used herbicide worldwide and its active ingredient, glyphosate, is under scrutiny for its effects on environmental and human health. One of glyphosate’s mechanisms of action is related to its disruption of the shikimate pathway, which is found in the weeds that it targets. The current accepted dogma by those claiming glyphosate is safe is that the shikimate pathway is not found in humans or mammals. However, the shikimate pathway is present in the gut bacteria of mammals (including humans), which are directly related to overall health and mood. A recent study examined the effects of glyphosate on gut bacteria of mice and its impact on anxiety and depressive like behavior.
The study separated mice into three groups: The control group was given a saline solution, while the other two groups were given either a 250mg/kg or 500mg/kg dose of glyphosate. The doses used in the study were at or below the levels established by the EPA to have no adverse effects. Each group of mice underwent a series of behavior tests after a one-time dose and again at six and 12 weeks. At the end of the study the mice gut microbiota was examined and analyzed. Researchers found that glyphosate lead to anxiety and depressive-like behavior at both six and 12 weeks of exposure. The researchers also found that repeated exposure to glyphosate significantly decreased the overall diversity and abundance of the microbiota, including beneficial strains such as Lactobacillus bacteria. The researchers highlighted that these changes in the microbiota have been consistently linked with anxiety and depressive-like behavior.
This research adds to the growing body of literature that highlights how glyphosate negatively affects our health. Glyphosate is widely used in genetically modified foods but is also used in conventionally grown foods such as wheat and oats. The best way to avoid glyphosate in food is to choose organic.
Multivitamins Improve Metabolic Markers in Diabetics
Diabetes is a growing problem worldwide and results in the body’s inability to regulate blood sugar. As a result, many diabetics have higher levels of oxidative stress and lipid dysregulation. High levels of oxidative stress are thought to complicate the development of diabetes over time by increasing the amounts of free radicals in the body, while lipid dysregulation results in decreased HDL cholesterol with increased triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Combined oxidative stress and lipid dysregulation can increase the risk factors associated with diabetes, such as cardiovascular disease.
A recent study investigated the effects of a daily multivitamin in 300 Sudanese patients with type-2 diabetes. Participants in the study received either a placebo or a multivitamin which contained the recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals. At the end of the study blood samples were taken that measured vitamins A, E, C and zinc in addition to other metabolic markers such as HDL, triglycerides, and fasting blood glucose.
Those participants taking the multivitamin had significant increases in vitamin A, E, and zinc as well as improvements in several metabolic markers, including triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, and fasting blood glucose. The results of this study showed that multivitamin intake increases the amounts of vitamins and minerals in the body which may improve metabolic markers of health. The researchers concluded that improvements made in diabetics taking multivitamins may minimize the complications related to diabetes.
Paleolithic Diet Improves Cardiovascular Risk Factors
In recent years, adherence to a paleolithic diet (PD) has gained popularity and is considered to be a healthy dietary lifestyle, stemming from observations that our hunter-gatherer ancestors were generally lean and free of chronic disease. This is mostly attributed to their diet, which prioritized consumption of meat, fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables, roots, and nuts, while excluding dairy and grains. Their diets were also void of modern-day processed foods, high in added sugar, salt, and damaged fats.
A 2019 meta-analysis conducted by researchers at Tehran University of Medical Sciences sought to fi nd whether adherence to a PD demonstrates favorable eff ects on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. Primary outcomes included improvements in risk factors such as lipid profi le, blood pressure, weight, and inflammatory markers. In total, eight human randomized controlled trials with a total of 266 subjects were included in the analysis. Paleolithic diet interventions ranged anywhere from 14 days to two years.
Adherence to a PD resulted in significant decreases in weight, waist circumference, BMI, and body fat percentage. Additionally, both systolic and diastolic blood pressure were significantly reduced. Some of the most profound results of the study included changes in various blood markers most commonly associated with increased risk for CVD. This included significant decreases in total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol, with significant increases in HDL cholesterol. Moreover, measures of C-reactive protein, a well-known inflammatory marker, were also significantly reduced. Authors of the study concluded that these results provide support for the use of the PD in improving cardiovascular disease risk factors.