Green tea contains between 30 and 40 per cent of water-extractable antioxidant polyphenols, and is particularly abundant in catechins – most notably, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which studies have shown can have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health and weight management and may even offer some protection against gastrointestinal cancer.
Other beneficial polyphenols in green tea include epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG), and epicatechin (EC). White and even black tea also contains these same beneficial substances.
The small study from Manchester University in the UK, gave participants took a relatively low dose (540 mg) of green tea catechins each day along with 50 mg of vitamin C for 12 weeks. This amount of green tea extract is the equivalent to about two cups of green tea.
The researchers measured the levels of green tea metabolites (the by-products created when the tea is metabolised) in the skin fluids and the effect of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) on skin before and after supplementation.
At the end of the supplementation period erythema (skin redness) levels were reduced after UV exposure. The team also observed that inflammation caused by UV exposure was reduced by green tea.
This study, says lead researcher Lesley E. Rhodes is the first to demonstrate that oral doses of green tea can make their way to skin tissues and limit the effects of UVR.
In their conclusion, the researchers suggest that green tea exerts "protection against sunburn inflammation and potentially longer-term UVR-mediated damage."
According to a new study, certain nutrients may play an underlying role in short and long sleep duration, and individuals who eat healthily tend to have better sleep patterns.
Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study to investigate whether there are differences in the diet of people who report shorter sleep, longer sleep, or standard sleep patterns. In general, people who report getting between seven to eight hours of sleep each night are most likely to experience better overall health and well-being.
The researchers used the survey question regarding how much sleep each participant reported getting each night to separate the sample into groups of different sleep patterns. Participants also had to reveal (in great detail), a full day's dietary intake, which included everything from the occasional glass of water to complete, detailed records of every part of each meal. The researchers used the data to analyze associations with overall diet, demographics, socioeconomics, physical activity, obesity, and other factors that could have explained this relationship.
They found total caloric intake varied across groups. Short sleepers consumed the most calories, followed by normal sleepers, followed by very short sleepers, long sleepers. Food variety was highest in normal sleepers, and lowest in very short sleepers. Differences across groups were found for many types of nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
There were a number of dietary differences, however these were largely driven by a few key nutrients. They found that very short sleep was associated with less intake of tap water, lycopene, and total carbohydrate; short sleep was associated with less vitamin C, tap water, selenium and more lutein/zeaxanthin; and long sleep was associated with less intake of theobromine (found in chocolate and tea), dodecanoic acid (a saturated fat) choline, total carbohydrates and more alcohol.
A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health suggests sweetened soft drinks such as energy drinks and sports drinks should be required to have tooth decay warning labels.
An Australian study conducted by the University of Adelaide examined water fluoridation and the association of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in Australian children aged 5 to 16 years of age. Researchers found that 56 per cent of children in the study group consumed at least one sugar-sweetened drink per day, and 13 per cent consumed three or more sugar-sweetened drinks on average per day. They also found that boys consumed more sweet drinks than girls, and children from the low-income families consumed almost 60 per cent more sugar-sweetened drinks.
The number of decayed, missing and filled deciduous (or baby) teeth was found to be 46 per cent higher among children who consumed three or more sugar-sweetened drinks per day, compared with children who did not.
"Consistent evidence has shown that the high acidity of many sweetened drinks, particularly soft drinks and sports drinks, can be a factor in dental erosion, as well as the sugar itself contributing to tooth decay," said lead study author Jason Armfield, Ph.D., from the Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health at the university's school of dentistry. "If health authorities decide that warnings are needed for sweet drinks, the risk to dental health should be included. This action, in addition to increasing the access to fluoridated water, would benefit children's teeth greatly."
Results of a 2010 meta-analysis conducted by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), showed that regular consumption two sugar-sweetened drinks per day increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 26 per cent, and increases the risk of metabolic syndrome by 20 per cent compared with those who consumed less than one sugary drink per month. Drinking one 12-ounce serving per day increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by nearly 15 per cent.
A new study published in The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reveals that 75 per cent of formulated food contains some type of sweetener. The most commonly listed sweeteners are corn syrup, sorghum, cane sugar, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and fruit juice concentrate.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina (UNC) used full ingredient list and Nutrition Facts label data from Gladson Nutrition Database and purchases of consumer packaged foods from Nielsen Homescan to investigate the use of caloric sweeteners (including fruit juice concentrate) and non-caloric sweeteners in consumer packaged foods.
They examined 85,451 uniquely formulated foods and found 68 per cent use caloric sweeteners, 1 per cent use non-caloric sweeteners, and 6 per cent use both caloric and non-caloric sweeteners. Caloric sweeteners are used in more than 95 per cent of cakes, cookies, pies, granola, protein and energy bars, ready-to-eat cereals, sweet snacks and sugar-sweetened beverages. Non-caloric sweeteners are used in more than 33 per cent of yogurts and sports and energy drinks, 42 per cent of waters (plain or flavored), and most dietetic sweetened beverages.
Across unique products, corn syrup is the most commonly listed sweetener, followed by sorghum, cane sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and fruit juice concentrate. The researchers also found 77 per cent of all calories purchased in the United States in 2005-2009 contained caloric sweeteners and 3 per cent contained non-caloric sweeteners; 73 per cent of the volume of foods purchased contained caloric sweetener and 15 per cent contained non-caloric sweetener.
The researchers said their study poses a challenge toward monitoring sweetener consumption in North America by discussing the need and options available to improve measures of caloric- and non-caloric sweeteners, as well as additional requirements on Nutrition Facts labels on consumer packaged foods.
In response to the recent outbreak of C. difficile in southern Ontario hospitals, Bio-K Plus International Inc., a leading Canadian biotechnology company, announced that Health Canada has approved its exclusive and patented Bio-K+® probiotic formula to help reduce the risk of Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infections in hospitalized patients and those in long-term care facilities.
Solid clinical evidence published in prestigious medical journals, including the American Journal of Gastroenterology, means that this approval confirms that Bio-K+® is a proven safe and effective product.
C. difficile still remains a high cause of hospital acquired infections (HAIs) responsible for over 1,000 Canadian deaths yearly unrelated to the cause of hospitalization. Health professionals can benefit from this effective product to protect their patients and help fight C. difficile infection at a very low cost compared to traditional C. difficile treatment.
"Although the company continues its R&D program, the clinical results published to date, on this unique product, have demonstrated its potential of reducing the risk of this prevalent disease. Health Canada's approval is further support for the product's role in prevention of C. difficile associated diarrhea," says Dr. Donald Low, Microbiologist-in-Chief at Toront's Mount Sinai Hospital.
A Canadian hospital study found that of 136,877 hospital admissions, 1 in 100 patients will contract a C. difficile infection, and of those, 1 in 10 will die regardless of the initial reasons for admission.
Dr. Ian Bookman, Gastroenterologist at St. Joseph's Health Centre in Toronto says, "Health Canada's approval of Bio-K+® represents a milestone in further recognizing the importance of such products in the prevention landscape."
Over the last decade, a virulent strain of C. difficile (NAP1/027) spread in hospitals and caused many outbreaks, which has resulted in increased patient deaths, increased human suffering and increased care costs related to this epidemic. The decreased rate of C. difficile following Bio-K+® administration to hospitalized patients translates into major financial savings as demonstrated in a 2012 published pharmacoeconomic study.
"A hospitalized patient who receives Bio-K+® 100 cfu administered concomitantly with the antibiotic therapy generates a cost-savings of $2,700 per patient versus a patient who receives the same antibiotics without Bio-K+® - a potential savings of over $200 million to our healthcare system annually. These savings come over and above reduction in mortality rate and recurrence cost associated with C. difficile," says Dr. Jacques LeLorier, Chief, Pharmacoepiodemiology and Pharmacoeconomic Research, Hotel-Dieu Hospital, CHUM, Montreal.
In Quebec, there were 3,934 C. difficile infections resulting in 619 deaths (16 per cent of infected patients) between 2010-2011. Since 2004, the Pierre-Le-Gardeur Hospital in Montreal, reacting to a major outbreak, has used Bio-K+® on its formulary and also provides the product to all patients treated with antibiotics with no exclusion factors, as a risk reduction measure to control C. difficile.
"Our hospital has almost nine years of pharmaco-vigilance with more than 40,000 patients using Bio-K+® products with no serious adverse events reported and we have maintained one of the lowest rates of C. difficile in the Province of Quebec," says Dr. Pierre-Jean Maziade, Microbiologist and Head Officer of Infection Preventions at Pierre- Le-Gardeur Hospital, Montreal.
Health Canada's approval of Bio-K+® provides Healthcare Professionals an efficient tool in their daily practice to reduce C. difficile infection.
"This is an important step that will help thousands of patients. It will prevent unnecessary suffering, improve their general health and even save their lives. The healthcare system could also be saving millions of dollars." says Dr. Jacques Besson, President of the Association for Victims of Nosocomial Infections (ADVIN).
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According to a Toronto-based report, a growing number of Canadian children with chronic illnesses are being treated with complementary medicine, researchers say, however, parents don't always tell doctors they are using the alternative therapies.
Yet informing health-care providers about vitamins, herbal and homeopathic remedies is important because in some cases they can adversely interact with traditional medications, researchers say.
In a survey of parents having their children treated at two Canadian pediatric hospitals, researchers found that the most common complementary medicines used were multivitamins or minerals, herbal products and homeopathic remedies, while the most often-used alternative therapies were massage, chiropractic, relaxation and aromatherapy.
Parents were two to three times more likely to use complementary medicine if their child's health was fair or poor and if the parent used that form of treatment themselves.
At Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton, 71 per cent of parents surveyed said they treated their kids with complementary medicine, while 42 per cent of parents attending the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in Ottawa reported their use.
"Our study found that many, many children use complementary therapies, and unfortunately, often parents do not necessarily disclose this use when they're talking to their child's health-care team," said pediatrician Dr. Sunita Vohra, co-principal author of the study.
The research, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, found almost 20 per cent of families surveyed said they had not told their physician or pharmacist about using both prescription and alternative medicines together.
"The reasons for this are probably many and varied," Vohra says. "Sometimes, parents don't feel comfortable bringing it up. Sometimes, they're not sure how that information is going to be received by the health-care team."
In other cases, Vohra believes parents may not think the information is relevant because they may not consider a herbal remedy, for instance, as being a medicine.
Fish oil, for instance, can cause the blood to thin. Combining it with a pharmaceutical blood thinner can result in bleeding, Vohra says. Echinacea, a herb taken by many people to boost the immune system, can counter the effectiveness of chemotherapy used to treat cancer.
The study found that about 56 per cent of respondents were treating their youngsters with alternative forms of medication at the same time as they were taking prescription drugs.
Such concurrent treatment can be risky: the study found 80 cases of interactions between complementary remedies and traditional drugs, including 19 considered moderately adverse and six that were deemed severe.
Fish oil, for instance, can cause the blood to thin. Combining it with a pharmaceutical blood thinner can result in bleeding, Vohra explains.
Echinacea, a herb taken by many people to boost the immune system, can counter the effectiveness of chemotherapy used to treat cancer, she said.
"There's all kinds of medications that can interact and you have to (assess) it on a case-by-case basis," noted CHEO pediatrician Dr. James King, who led the study with Vohra. "People make an assumption that natural means safe."
The study involved a total of 926 families at 10 different clinics in Edmonton and Ottawa, with parents asked to fill out an anonymous questionnaire in the waiting room prior to their child's appointment.
The young patients were being seen at clinics in the two hospitals that deal with pediatric cardiology, gastroenterology, neurology, oncology and respiratory health conditions.
New research has found that the nutrition and texture in gluten-free breads can be improved by adding buckwheat flour.
A study reported on celiac.com looked at the role of buckwheat and hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC) in making gluten-free breads.
Researchers from the University of Milan found was that high levels of buckwheat flour improved the leavening characteristics and overall quality of gluten-free breads.
Because it is high in dietary fibre, the buckwheat flour increases dough viscosity, along with "the swelling and gelling properties of the buckwheat starch and the emulsion-forming and stabilizing properties of the globulin protein fraction," the researchers wrote.
The study also found that bread crumbs made with buckwheat flour and the food additive HPMC were softer than in gluten-free bread made without.
For their study, says Celiac.com, the research team evaluated 10 bread formulas, two commercial and eight experimental, with varying levels of buckwheat flours and HPMC. These formulas used both de-hulled and puffed buckwheat flour. The team based all experimental formulas on recipes from the two commercial samples.
The formula that yielded the most favourable gluten-free bread included: 40 per cent de-hulled buckwheat flour, five per cent puffed buckwheat flour and 0.5 per cent HPMC.
The researchers point out that the food industry has cleared numerous formulation hurdles associated with removing gluten from dough, and created numerous new gluten-free products, reports Celiac.com.
However, they add, many gluten-free breads are still made with pure starches, which result in "low technological and nutritional quality."
Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) is a plant cultivated for its grain-like seeds. Despite its name, buckwheat is not related to wheat at all, as it is not a cereal/grass; instead, buckwheat is related to sorrel, knotweed, and rhubarb.
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