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Oct 11

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  • Want to remain healthy as you get older? Just swing your arms! How an ancient Chinese technique can help improve your walking speed, posture and flexibility and make everyday tasks that much easier Saturday June 03rd, 2023
    • Over 1,000-year-old exercise routine consists of sequence of five arm swings

    Forget expensive gym memberships – the secret to a healthy old age could be as simple as swinging your arms.

    Walking speed, posture and flexibility all improved in women who did a traditional Chinese arm-swinging exercise three times a week for two months, a study found.

    The women, who were in their 60s and 70s, also found day-to-day activities, such as dressing and cooking, easier after practising Shuai Shou Gong.

    Even touching their toes was less of a stretch.

    Researcher Professor Neil Roberts, of Edinburgh University, said: ‘These findings demonstrate that the gentle, rhythmic, whole-body sequence of movements of Shuai Shou Gong may be readily learned and enjoyed by older adults and improves general health and wellbeing.’

    The exercise routine, which is more than 1,000 years old, consists of a sequence of five arm swings. The first four involve swinging the arms back and then forward, to shoulder height.

    During the fifth swing, you bend you knees twice – once when swinging your arms back and again when bringing them forward. The sequence is then repeated multiple times.

    The deceptively simple movements can provide a wealth of benefits. The knee bends strengthen the muscles in the hips and thighs.

    Swinging the arms stimulates the nerves, tendons and muscles around the shoulder, the journal Plos One reports:


    In the first study of its kind, 56 women aged between 60 and 80 were divided into two groups.

    Source: Daily Mail


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  • Dishwashers can be very bad for your gut health, research finds Saturday January 14th, 2023

    Residue from rinse agents is left behind on dishes after they are cleaned in professional-grade dishwashers. This damages the natural protective layer in the gut and can contribute to the onset of chronic diseases, as demonstrated by researchers working with organoids at the Swiss Institute of Allergy and Asthma Research.

    Whether it’s at a restaurant, at school or in the barracks, commercial dishwashers help plates, glasses and cutlery become squeaky clean and dry in a matter of minutes.

    These practical appliances come with risks, however, as was recently discovered in a new study by researchers at the Swiss Institute of Allergy and Asthma Research (SIAF), an associated institute of the University of Zurich (UZH). One ingredient in particular found in commercial rinse agents has a toxic effect on the gastrointestinal tract.

    Chemical residue on clean plates

    A typical cycle in a commercial dishwasher involves circulating hot water and detergent for around 60 seconds at high pressure. Afterwards, there is a second 60-second washing and drying cycle in which water and a rinse agent are applied.

    “What’s especially alarming is that in many appliances, there’s no additional wash cycle to remove the remaining rinse aid,” says Cezmi Akdis, UZH professor of experimental allergology and immunology and director of the SIAF, who led the study. “This means that potentially toxic substances remain on the dishes, where they then dry in place.”

    When the dishes are used the next time, this dried chemical residue can easily end up in the gastrointestinal tract.

    This inspired the research team under Akdis to investigate what effect the components of commercial-grade detergents and rinse agents have on the epithelial barrier in the gut – the layer of cells that lines the intestinal tract and controls what enters the body. A defect in this barrier is associated with conditions such as food allergies, gastritis, diabetes, obesity, cirrhosis of the liver, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, autism spectrum disorders, chronic depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

    Similar protective layers are also present on the skin and in the lungs. As numerous studies have shown, many additives and chemicals that we encounter in everyday life can damage these layers. “We assume that defective epithelial barriers play a role in triggering the onset of two billion chronic illnesses,” says Akdis. This connection is explained by the epithelial barrier hypothesis, which Akdis has helped develop during his more than 20 years of research in this field.

    Toxic substance in rinse agents

    The researchers used a newly developed technology for their study – human intestinal organoids and intestinal cells on microchips. The tissue forms a three-dimensional clump of cells that is very similar to the intestinal epithelium in humans.

    The team used various biomolecular methods to analyze the effect that commercial detergents and rinse aids have on these cells. They diluted these substances to reflect the amounts that would be present on dry dishes (1:10,000 to 1:40,000).

    The result was that high doses of rinse agents killed the intestinal epithelial cells and lower doses made it more permeable. Researchers also observed the activation of several genes and cell signaling proteins that could trigger inflammatory responses. A more detailed analysis showed that one component of the rinse agent – alcohol ethoxylates – was responsible for this reaction.

    According to Akdis, these findings have significant implications for public health. “The effect that we found could mark the beginning of the destruction of the gut’s epithelial layer and trigger the onset of many chronic diseases,” he says. Akdis calls for an immediate response: “It is important to inform the public about this risk, since alcohol ethoxylates seem to be commonly used in commercial dishwashers.”


    Ismail Ogulur, Yagiz Pat, Tamer Aydin, Duygu Yazici, Beate Rückert, Yaqi Penq, Juno Kim, Urszula Radzikowska, Patrick Westermann, Milena Sokolowska, Raja Dhir, Mubeccel Akdis, Kari Nadeau, Cezmi A. Akdis. Gut epithelial barrier damage caused by dishwasher detergents and rinse aids. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

    Source: The Brighter Side of News

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  • Green Mediterranean diet can significantly reduce dangerous fat around internal organs Friday January 06th, 2023

    The green Mediterranean diet (MED) significantly reduces visceral adipose tissue, a type of fat around internal organs that is much more dangerous than the extra “tire” around your waist. The green Mediterranean diet was pitted against the Mediterranean diet and a healthy diet in a large-scale clinical interventional trial- the DIRECT PLUS. Subsequent analysis found that the green Med diet reduced visceral fat by 14%, the Med diet by 7% and the healthy diet by 4.5%. The study was published in BMC Medicine.

    Reducing visceral fat is considered the true goal of weight loss as it is a more important indicator than a person’s weight or the circumference of their waist. Visceral fat aggregates over time between organs and produces hormones and poisons linked to heart disease, diabetes, dementia and premature death.

    The research was led by Prof. Iris Shai of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, an adjunct Professor from the Harvard School of Public Health, and an Honorary Professor, University of Leipzig, Germany, together with her doctoral student Dr. Hila Zelicha and Italian, German, and American colleagues.

    The DIRECT-PLUS trial research team was the first to introduce the concept of the green-Mediterranean diet. This modified MED diet is further enriched with dietary polyphenols and lower in red/processed meat than the traditional healthy MED diet.

    On top of a daily intake of walnuts (28 grams), the participants consumed 3-4 cups of green tea/day and 100 grams (frozen cubes) of duckweed green shake/day. The aquatic green plant duckweed is high in bioavailable protein, iron, B12, vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols and substituted meat intake.

    The team has shown in previous studies that the green MED diet has a variety of salutary effects ranging from the microbiome to age-related degenerative diseases.

    Two hundred and ninety four participants took part in the 18-month long trial.

    “A healthy lifestyle is a strong basis for any weight loss program. We learned from the results of our experiment that the quality of food is no less important than the number of calories consumed and the goal today is to understand the mechanisms of various nutrients, for example, positive ones such as the polyphenols, and negative ones such as empty carbohydrates and processed red meat, on the pace of fat cell differentiation and their aggregation in the viscera,” says Prof. Shai.

    “A 14% reduction in visceral fat is a dramatic achievement for making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle. Weight loss is an important goal only if it is accompanied by impressive results in reducing adipose tissue,” notes Dr. Hila Zelicha.

    This work was funded by grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) – Project number 209933838- SFB 1052; the Rosetrees trust (grant A2623); Israel Ministry of Health grant 87472511; Israel Ministry of Science and Technology grant 3-13604; and the California Walnuts Commission.

    Eighteen-month changes in abdominal adipose tissues (mean (SE)) between the intervention groups (n = 286). After 18 months of intervention, all groups reduced all three abdominal adipose tissues significantly. Significant differences in VAT% change between the green-MED group and MED, as well as HDG groups, were observed after adjustment for age, sex, and waist circumference change. Deep SAT, deep subcutaneous; superficial SAT, superficial subcutaneous; HDG, healthy dietary guidelines; MED, Mediterranean; VAT, visceral adipose tissue. *Significant within-group change vs. baseline at the 0.05 level. **Significant differences between the groups at the 0.05 level. (CREDIT: BMC Medicine)

    None of the funding providers was involved in any stage of the design, conduct, or analysis of the study and they had no access to the study results before publication.

    The effect of high‑polyphenol Mediterranean diet on visceral adiposity: the DIRECT PLUS randomized controlled trial

    Researchers include: Hila Zelicha1, Nora Kloting2, Alon Kaplan1, Anat Yaskolka Meir1, Ehud Rinott1, Gal Tsaban1, Yoash Chassidim3, Matthias Bluher4, Uta Ceglarek2, Berend Isermann2, Michael Stumvoll2, Rita Nana Quayson2, Martin von Bergen2, Beatrice Engelmann2, Ulrike E. Rolle‑Kampczyk2, Sven‑Bastiaan Haange2, Kieran M. Tuohy5, Camilla Diotallevi5, Ilan Shelef6, Frank B. Hu7,8,9, Meir J. Stampfer7,8,9 and Iris Shai1,9*

    1. Faculty of Health Sciences, The Health & Nutrition Innovative InternationalResearch Center, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, P.O. Box 653, 84105 Be’er Sheva, Israel.
    2. Department of Medicine, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.
    3. Department of Engineering, Sapir Academic College, Ashkelon, Israel.
    4. Helmholtz Institute for Metabolic, Obesity and Vascular Research (HI-MAG) of the Helmholtz Zentrum München at the University of Leipzig and University Hospital Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.
    5. Department of Food Quality and Nutrition, Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach, San Michele all’Adige, Trentino, Italy.
    6. Soroka University Medical Center, Be’er Sheva, Israel.
    7. Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.
    8. Harvard Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
    9. Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.

    Source: Brighter Side of News

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