Sunday, 20 March 2016

A roundup of this weeks studies - Change your behaviour - Lower your blood pressure - Fruit smoothies, brain damage and arthiritis

Change your behaviour - Trytophan supplementation

Trytophan is one of the most heavily researched amino acids and it was the focus of a recent review. A review is a type of study that looks at a bunch of other studies on one single thing, and gives a roundup view of what they found. So this is what was found:

- Trytophan supplementation, increases the level of a chemical in the brain called 5-Hydroxytryptamine which is known to affect behaviour by increasing levels of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin is involved in sleep, behaviour, mood, digestion and appetite.

- The review found that by supplementing with trytophan, people were able to improve their social behaviour due to the effect the supplement has on the chemicals in the brain

- Those suffering from disorders such as social anxiety, found an improvement in their social skills

- Those people who were healthy without any issues such as social anxiety, found that trytophan supplementation actually made them more social in their behaviour

Although more research needs to be done, the evidence suggests that tryptophan supplementation changes chemicals in your brain, creating a more social behaviour by increasing the "happy hormone" serotonin. 

Magnesium has been shown to lower blood pressure

Do you have high blood pressure, or known anyone who does? There may be a more natural way for them to lower it without having to go on medication! A recent study looked at a total of 33 studies, and 2500 patients to figure out whether or not Magnesium actually does change blood pressure. And this is what they found:

- Magnesium supplementation significantly increased blood magnesium levels (as you would expect!)

- 200mg a day for 1 month was shown to be enough for increasing blood levels enough to lower blood pressure 

Overall, the evidence from the studies supports the idea that Magnesium does infact lower blood pressure, however larger scale studies are needed. 

Fruit smoothies, brain damage and arthritis

When thinking about fruit juice, think fructose, and think damage.

We all know someone who guzzles fruit smoothies in the hope of detoxing/improving their health or whatever else they have heard in the media. However, the scientific research does not support fruit sugar. 
Infact, the evidence suggests you should stay quite clear of it! Especially, broken down versions of it such as smoothies where the sugar hits the blood stream straight away compared to a whole fruit where it is broken down slowly.

There are two main types of sugar - fructose and sucrose. Both are bad, but fructose (in fruit smoothies) are showing to be very damaging for health in large amounts. A little known fact: fruit has been bred to have far high levels of sugar to make it more marketable then it did in the wild a hundred years ago.

I will highlight this as found in two recent studies:

High fructose intake and neurodegeneration (a fancy word for breaking down and death of the brain cells !!)

Although the study was not done on humans, researchers found some very interesting things:

- high fructose intake creates early signs of brain cell death
- a high fructose diet for 12 weeks caused an accumulation of something called advanced glycation end products in the brain, which leads to early signs of brain cell death

This is why i always remind people - if you are making your "healthy smoothies", aim to have as little fruit in there as possible!!! Vegetables are much lower in fructose, and have higher nutritional values anyway, even though they might not taste so nice.

We have realised now that fruit sugar is not as "innocent" as those innocent smoothies might make it out to be! A 2016 study looked at arthiritis in 20-30 year olds in the USA and found some very interesting thing:

- There is a link between joint and gut inflammation in arthiritis 

-One hypothesis suggests that  a regular consumption of high fructose drinks can lead to fructose reactivity in the gut (gut inflammation)

- They found that any young adult consuming more than 4-5 drinks high in fructose were 3 X AS LIKELY to have arthiritis as non/low consumers.

Thats all for this weeks roundup, come back next week for more interesting articles!

The Studies: