Could probiotics restore microbiome imbalance linked to autoimmune disorder?
UCLA and Oslo University
Probiotics might help restore gut bacterial imbalance in patients with systemic sclerosis, says a new study looking at gastrointestinal bacterial compositions in two geographically-distinct populations suffering from the autoimmune disorder.
Systemic sclerosis is an autoimmune disease which impacts the body’s connective tissue. It is an uncommon condition that results in hard, thickened areas of skin and sometimes problems with internal organs and blood vessels.The study ran across the US and Norway and found that Norwegians and Americans with systemic sclerosis had higher levels of bacteria which can cause inflammation and lower levels of bacteria which are said to protect against inflammation compared to those not suffering from systemic sclerosis.The study found that those with systemic sclerosis had significantly lower levels of gut bacteria which is thought to protect against inflammation, such as Bacteroides.They were also found to have higher amounts of bacteria which promote inflammation, such as Fusobacterium, in comparison to those without systemic sclerosis.The study suggests that probiotics may aid restoring gut bacterial balance in those suffering from systemic sclerosis.
Caraway extract shows slimming potential for women
University of Malaya (Malaysia),
An aqueous extract of caraway seeds may suppress appetite and help slim waistlines and thighs in physically active women, says a new study.
Data published in Phytotherapy Research indicated that 90 days of supplementation with the caraway (Carum carvi L.) extract led to significant reductions in waist circumference of 6.2 cm and thigh circumference of 5.4 cm, compared to baseline levels. No significant waist reductions were recorded in the placebo group.
“This study showed that the consumption of 30 mL/day CAE [caraway aqueous extract] may result in reasonable anti-obesity effects,” wrote the researchers. “Most likely, this occurs through a combination of four major bioactivities, including anti-microbial, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties, together with the appetite-suppressing activity.
Scientists from the University of Malaya (Malaysia), Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences (Iran), and Natural Products Inc (USA) recruited 70 aerobically trained, overweight, and obese women to participate in their triple-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical study. The women – who were instructed to not change their diet or physical activity – were randomly assigned to receive either the caraway extract or placebo for 90 days.
Results showed that women in the caraway group had significant reductions in both appetite levels and carbohydrate intake compared with the placebo group.
Commenting on the potential bioactives compounds responsible for the effects, the researchers note that caraway seed extracts contain volatile compounds such as limonene, gamma-terpinene, trans-carveol, carvone, thymol, and carvacrol.
Friends Provide Better Pain Relief Than Morphine, Oxford University Study Reveals
Recent studies have explored the science behind friendships and discovered that there are actually measurable differences between people who have strong, healthy social networks and those who don’t. In particular, people with strong friend connections were found to experience significantly better states of physical and mental health.
“People with social support have fewer cardiovascular problems and immune problems, and lower levels of cortisol — a stress hormone,” says Tasha R. Howe, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Humboldt State University.
Adding to the growing research on the benefits of friendship, a recent study conducted by researchers at Oxford University established that people with more friends have higher pain tolerance.
The study was designed to use pain tolerance to test the brain’s endorphin activity. The researchers theorised that people with larger social networks would, as a result, have higher pain tolerance. The findings of the study supported their theory in that it showed that indeed, strong social connections were correlated with higher pain tolerance.
As mentioned in the final statement it is not just the size of our social network that is important to our wellbeing, but the quality of the friendships that matters as well. With the advent of the internet modern society is changing quickly, and our interactions are increasingly occurring online. Even though the internet can be a great way to connect with likeminded people, online friends just aren’t the same as those we can actually sit with and look directly in the eye when we communicate–and a digital hug is just nowhere near as good as a real one!
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