Science Catch-up. Fasting For Gut Damage Repair?

by The Health Sciences Academy — Get free science updates here.

Welcome to our Thursday 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:

1. Fasting for gut damage repair?

2. Zinc overdose from canned tuna?

3. Junk food = infertility?!

Fasting for gut damage repair?

Study link

Are you or someone you know often burdened by gastrointestinal discomfort, abdominal pain, or bloating? If so, this is a must read for you!

Chances are that some of these symptoms could be a consequence of existing gut lining damage…

So the question is: how do we go about repairing that?

In this study, scientists investigated how fasting may help with gut repair in mice…

They observed the effects of 24-hour fasting on the functionality of gut stem cells (which I found pretty intriguing!)

But what are stem cells, you may wonder?

Stem cells are like a blank-canvas and can become any kind of cell – in this case, we’re talking about gut cells helping to regenerate the intestinal lining and repair it.

The best part of this study?

24h fasting triggered a metabolic switch to fat burning, boosting the regeneration of gut lining (Mihaylova et al., 2018).

I believe it’s the discovery of a “metabolic switch” from fasting – cells went from carb burning to fat burning!

Ironically, fasting (no food!) gave these gut stem cells an energy boost. And with this energy boost, they could replicate at a faster rate into intestinal tissue and restore damage quicker.

(A remarkable science moment.)

But is fasting the only way to repair gut lining?

Not really…

When it comes to repairing our gut lining, there are many proven nutritional strategies… that do involve enjoying food!

You can learn about these strategies in our science-based 4-Step Gut Restoration Program by clicking here.

Zinc overdose from canned tuna?

Study link

Have you seen it?

The media has gone wild with a study claiming that zinc levels in canned tuna are 100 times higher than the recommended daily allowance!

Based on these findings, even I struggle to believe that those of you who had canned tuna for dinner are able to read this article right now.

But the reason those who eat canned tuna are still standing upright is not because their stomach is a superhero that can digest through any mineral…

It’s because the data calculation in this study was completely wrong, meaning we don’t get that much zinc from canned foods – thankfully!

(By the way, the study didn’t just test zinc in canned tuna, but also in canned corn, asparagus, and chicken – though the media didn’t pick those up, hmm…)

The zinc levels in 4 different canned foods were hugely overestimated in this study (Moreno-Olivas, Tako and Mahler, 2018).

Yes, it is true that the media can often extrapolate and manipulate headlines from scientific papers, but in this instance, they were reflecting what the researchers erroneously reported.

However, notice that the scientific process is very strict and that mistakes were rapidly spotted in the calculation, which led to the quick withdrawal of the paper.

Unfortunately, even though the paper was retracted, the media never did the same at their end. This obviously concerns me because people are getting scared about something that never should have been published in the first place!

Now, we’ve been talking about tuna for quite a bit… and people often ask me:

How safe is it to eat fish?

Could eating too much fish be harmful to your health?

We investigate that in this science-loaded Continuing Education Module – check it out here!

Junk food = infertility?!

Study link

If you’re trying to get pregnant, doesn’t hearing the word “infertility” in the news frighten you?

One shock headline from the Daily Mail reads: Women who eat too much junk food are twice as likely to be INFERTILE

But is there any truth in this? Is “infertile” the right word to use?

What if a woman hoping for a baby reads that and is dragged into a world of negativity, thinking she’ll never conceive?

So let’s talk science and why we don’t like the word “infertility” in the context of nutrition…

If we look at the scientific evidence, nutrition in itself is not going to stop women from being fertile.

In a worst-case scenario, some regular eating patterns may reduce their chances of getting pregnant.

Because of this, our scientists and I prefer to use the term “fertility odds” when referring to pregnancy outcomes.

The worst part of this headline?

The study behind it didn’t even investigate the effects of nutrition on infertility rates! So how this headline came about just blows me away…

The participants in this study were actually pregnant women (so not very infertile, right?).

And the scientists simply asked the women how long it took them to get pregnant from the moment they began trying, and what foods they normally ate.

Women who ate less fast food got pregnant a bit faster (Grieger et al., 2018).

It was seen that a larger intake of fast foods, and a smaller intake of fruits and vegetables, correlated with a longer time to get pregnant… but not by much: only by 2 weeks!

As you can now see, this study never claimed that women who eat more junk food are more likely to become infertile.

That being said, thousands of other studies we’ve seen support the notion that nutrition can indeed help increase the odds of conception in couples who are struggling to get pregnant…

So if you want to help couples improve their fertility outcomes, I’m excited to announce that soon we’ll be releasing our Advanced Fertility Nutritional Advisor certification – click here to get notified when it goes live (plus a little surprise from me!).

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Alex Ruani, Doctoral Researcher, leads the research division at The Health Sciences Academy, where her team of accomplished scientists and PhDs are training a new breed of over 100,000 highly-specialised nutrition professionals who are leveraging the latest personalisation strategies to help their clients. She is a Harvard-trained scientist and UCL Doctoral Researcher who is fanatical about equipping health professionals with the latest science-based tools so they can succeed in their practices – from identifying the unique nutrient needs to building highly personalised nutrition programs. Besides investigating and teaching the latest advances in health and nutrition biochemistry, Alex makes it easier to be smarter with her free email updates.

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