by Alejandra "Alex" Ruani — Get free science updates here.
Welcome to our Thursday’s Science Catch-up: curated links by The Health Sciences Academy. Get our email updates every other Thursday here (it’s free).
Let’s catch you up with studies and news that recently made the headlines!
Click on your favourite topics to read our summary:
Weight gain from inhaling polluted air?
I believe that understanding toxicology is as important as understanding nutrition science, and here’s an example.
This new study, conducted by Duke University and Chinese researchers, indicates that inhaling polluted air could raise the risks of:
- gaining weight,
- high cholesterol, and
- insulin resistance (which can lead to type 2 diabetes).
This is consistent with other studies showing that air pollution induces:
- oxidative stress,
- inflammation in the organs and circulatory system, and
- altered fat tissue.
Air pollution is a huge health concern globally. Avoid travelling through highly-polluted areas as much as you can, or wear an air mask – health trumps vanity in here!
Note: There are several detrimental metabolic processes triggered by toxicants which can lead to fat gain. You’re invited to learn this science in our Detox Specialist course. Toxicology and detoxification are the two long-established fields of scientific research you’ll gain expertise on (DIFFERENT FROM the made-up fallacies circulating the internet these days).
Organic milk has more Omega 3
Scientists at Newcastle University analysed cow’s milk data from all over the world, and they found that the “fat” in organic milk has more Omega 3 compared to conventional milk.
I was very interested in finding out exactly how much more Omega 3.
The media reported percentages (%), and not actual Omega 3 amounts. So off I went to read the full study to find out.
According to the study, half a litre of organic full-fat milk (or equivalent fat amounts in organic dairy products) has 39mg of very-long-chain Omega 3s (DHA/EPA), compared to 25mg in conventional milk.
To put things in perspective, it’s advised that you consume a minimum of 250mg of very-long-chain Omega 3s (DHA/EPA) per day.
Very-long-chain Omega 3s tend to be quite precious, given that consuming them directly saves your body from converting ALA (their short-chain precursor) into DHA/EPA. In truth, it’s DHA/EPA that confer the direct health benefits we often read about Omega 3.
Your dietary antioxidant capacity reduces all-cause mortality
More good news for those of us who love plant-based foods! In this case, related to your antioxidant capacity.
Observational data indicates that a high intake of antioxidants (mainly phytochemicals and vitamins from plant foods) reduces your mortality risk, from all causes, including cancer and heart disease.
Surprisingly, this protective effect seems to be stronger in current smokers. Well, I’m not saying that smoking is good, but if you do have a smoker in the family, it’s worth letting them know.
We teach how to evaluate someone’s antioxidant capacity in our Nutritional Therapist course.
Molecular alarm clock in your brain?
Ever woke up right before your alarm clock rang? Yup, this is because your brain has its own! Scientists found a new molecular alarm clock in the brain. It’s a neurochemical called neuromedin U, or Nmu. This protein can tell your brain to wake up, particularly in the morning.
‘Shocking’ sugar levels in chai latte
If you thought that chai latte was your healthiest option at the café, think again!
And this is before you further sweeten it:
Lack of microbiotic diversity in obesity and insulin resistance
Here’s more evidence linking a lack of microbiotic diversity in your gut with chronic intestinal inflammation, obesity, metabolic problems, and insulin resistance.
To make things worse, intestinal inflammation makes your gut barrier “leaky”, which means that waste products and bacterial toxins can escape into your bloodstream, worsening inflammation in your entire body and exacerbating metabolic disorders.
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What has inspired you this week? What are your thoughts on some of these topics? Leave a comment and let us know!