407The Food Commission (The Food Magazine)leading independent watchdog on food issues01/11/2003
The Food Magazine is an award-winning magazine that lifts the lid on the food industry and explains what is really going on with the food we eat. The magazine is published by the campaigning watchdog The Food Commission and is an ideal resource for people and organisations that care about food quality and good nutrition for all.
Investigations and groundbreaking research
Improving nutrition, health and enjoyment of food
Essential reading for everyone with an interest in food
http://www.foodmagazine.org.uk/home/Visit the Food Commission website hereThe Food Mag.jpgThe Food Mag
285Autism UnravelledAutism Unravelled aims to simplify the biochemistry and physiology that lies behind these complex disorders
A registered UK charity providing carers, individuals and professionals with easy to understand and up to date information on known, current experimental and theoretical research into the biomedical causes and treatments of autistic spectrum disorders. Autism Unravelled aims to simplify the biochemistry and physiology that lies behind these complex disorders.
From the Autism Unravelled website:
What we do
As well as providing up to date, easily understood information on the biology and physiology of autistic spectrum disorders, we provide support for carers and individuals in what can be an isolating and bewildering condition. Everyone working with Autism Unravelled is either a parent or carer of someone with autism and we know from our own experiences how vital it is to be able to share problems and concerns. If we are unable to help you, we will will try to find someone who can.
We have a Biomedical Research Study Group, comprised of eminent professionals in the field of autism and related disorders, who are dedicated to helping us unravel autism.
There is a large gap between the scientific and medical writings on autism and the everyday experience of caring for or being someone who has the condition. Bridging this gap through the gain of information and sharing of experiences will lead to better understanding of autism. If we understand what the science means for our children and adults with autism, we can see that this knowledge can be for them, not about them.
Knowledge is a powerful tool, and we wish to encourage and empower others to find out more about the real causes of this condition so that we may, sooner rather than later, really unravel autism.
http://www.autism-unravelled.orgTo visit the Autism Unravelled website click here
299Digestive Disorders Foundationincrease the knowledge of the symptoms of digestive disorders 31/10/2003
From the DDF website
Every year hundreds of thousands of UK citizens suffer from digestive disorders ranging from food allergies to digestive cancers. The Digestive Disorders Foundation is the only national charity that covers the entire range of digestive disorders. The DDF relies on donations to fund this work.
The DDF aims...
To fund research in order to prevent, cure or treat digestive disorders
To provide information for sufferers, their families and friends
To increase the knowledge of the symptoms of digestive disorders and urge those experiencing those symptoms to seek a swift diagnosis
http://www.digestivedisorders.org.uk/index.htmvisit Digestive Disorders Foundation website
298Inflammatory Bowel Disease Forumspecialising in the management of Inflammatory Bowel Disease 31/10/2003
From the IBD Forum website
IBDforum.com is a website designed for use by Doctors and other healthcare professionals specialising in the management of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). It has been developed by the members of the London IBD Forum, but carries links to regional IBD forums.
IBDforum.com is an interactive site aiming to provide up-to-date information on clinical and research aspects of IBD and facilitate sharing of information and experience in this field.
http://www.ibdforum.comvisit the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Forum website
1502Omega-3 fatty acids for vegetariansOmega-3 fatty acids for vegetariansThis information sheet has been produced by the Vegetarian Society of the UK and is available here with their permission. Vegans therefore rely on this conversion process to obtain an adequate supply of both omega-3 and omega-6 HUFA 31/10/2003
Fish and seafood are the only foods that directly provide the complex omega-3 fatty acids that the brain needs (EPA and DHA). Similarly, meat and dairy produce are the main dietary sources of the complex omega-6 fatty acid AA.
If these foods are not included in the diet, then these highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA) must be produced within the body from simpler essential fatty acids (EFA).
Vegans therefore rely on this conversion process to obtain an adequate supply of both omega-3 and omega-6 HUFA. Vegetarians who consume dairy products and/or eggs may obtain adequate AA directly, but unless supplements or fortified foods are used, they must still rely on EFA-HUFA conversion to obtain the complex omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.
For omega-3 fats the 'parent' EFA is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), found in green leafy vegetables and in some nuts and seeds - most notably flax or linseed. For omega-6 fats, the 'parent' EFA is linoleic acid (LA), found in most vegetable and seed oils.
Vegetarian diets often contain a particular excess of omega-6 relative to omega-3 EFA (although this pattern is also characteristic of most modern 'Western' diets). The same enzymes are used for HUFA synthesis in both cases, so this imbalance can increase the risk of omega-3 HUFA deficiencies in particular.
This information sheet from the Vegetarian Society provides a clear explanation of these issues, and gives useful practical information and advice on how vegetarians can improve their EPA and DHA status.
(The picture below is taken from their entertaining campaign designed to improve public awareness that fish are not vegetables!)
http://www.vegsoc.org/For other information relevant to vegetarians, visit the Vegetarian Society website here.2003 - Vegetarian Society - Omega 3 Fats.pdfView or Download this Handout here as a PDF fileVegSoc - fishseeds.jpgVegetarian Society - FishSeeds picture
294The Hyperactive Childrens Support Group (HACSG)draw attention to the role of nutrition in childhood behaviour problems31/10/2003
FAB Research comment
The HACSG was one of the first organisations to draw attention to the role of nutrition in childhood behaviour problems, and it was a seminal research paper published in 1981 by its founders, Vicky Colquhoun and Sally Bunday, that first drew attention to the potential role of fatty acids in ADHD.
HACSG offers information and support based on many years of practical experience, primarily to parents of hyperactive children, but also to schools, health professionals and policymakers.
HACSG has the backing of a distinguished team of scientific and professional advisors, and its current leader, Sally Bunday, is also a professional advisor to FAB Research.
The membership section of the HACSG website states:
Amongst the practical advantages of HACSG Membership is that, perhaps for the first time since you discovered that you had a problem, you will no longer feel alone. The discovery that there are many others in the same predicament, some in your own area, perhaps even in your own street! The feeling that everyone, neighbours, teachers and occasionally even doctors blame you for your child's behaviour will vanish!
Although HACSG practices complete confidentiality, it can, with consent on both sides, try to put you in touch with someone in your area who has the selfsame problem, and you can compare notes and help each other to find a solution. If the 'problem' is an older child having difficulties at school there may be officialdom to deal with, and you will need all the practical and moral support you can raise!
http://www.hacsg.org.ukVisit the Hyperactive Childrens Support Group Web Site
301Vegetarian Societywhere vegetarianism is accepted as the norm31/10/2003
The Vegetarian Society of the UK is the oldest vegetarian organisation in the world. They are a charity working towards a future where vegetarianism is accepted as the norm.
They offer advice on nutritional issues and provide free information to individuals, companies and organisations.
They give talks and presentations to schools, colleges and community groups.
They distribute teacher and student packs to ensure that vegetarianism is well represented in the Food Technology Curriculum.
They teach ordinary people how to cook extraordinary veggie food and show professional chefs how exciting vegetarian food can be.
They work behind the scenes with the food industry to improve provision; persuading food manufacturers and retailers to use free range eggs, to take gelatine out of yoghurts or to cook veggie burgers separately from their meat.
http://www.vegsoc.orgvisit the Vegetarian Society website
520Food for ThoughtFood for ThoughtFood for Thought
Diet is both the cause and the means of solving complex and worrying problems and this book evaluates the evidence on which the more sensational claims about diet are based, and provides practical advice on how to look at our diet if we wish to be at our peak psychologically.
diet, nutrition, thought, psychology, food0140252231.02.MZZZZZZZ.jpgThe book coverhttp://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0140252231/qid%3D1028545537/sr%3D1-10/ref%3Dsr%5F1%5F0%5F10/026-4706937-8004464http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0140252231/fabresearch-20The book cover
3041 October 2003 - BBC1: Omega-3 and The Human Mindto find out whether supplementing the diet with Omega-3 fatty acids can help to boost the progress of children with specific learning difficulties BBC 1 - Lord Winston's New Documentary Series on The Human Mind01/10/2003
The 'flagship' programme in Lord Winston's new documentary series on the Human Mind featured a case study from the research trial that has been going on in County Durham. This trial was set up by Alex Richardson of Oxford University in collaboration with Madeleine Portwood of Durham LEA, and its aim has been to find out whether supplementing the diet with Omega-3 fatty acids can help to boost the progress of children with specific learning difficulties.
Contrary to some very misleading reports that have been appearing in the media (particularly in the Sunday Times and the Northern Echo) NO formal results from this trial are yet available, as the full treatment codes for the study have not yet been broken. Anyone wanting to be kept updated by the academic researchers involved should sign up here for our free Email alert service.
The programme nonetheless featured some promising anecdotal evidence from children who took part, their parents and their teachers.
The BBC web pages accompanying the series include a good article explaining the rationale for the trial and the role of omega-3 fatty acids in the brain. Further information on this topic is also available elsewhere on this site (via the Search box, or our Nutrition pages)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/mind/articles/intelligenceandmemory/omega_three.shtmlBBC Website - The Omega-waveFAB NEWS 1 Oct 2003 - BBC Website - The Omega Wave.pdf'The Omega Wave' - View or download the BBC Website article as a pdf file here BBC Human Mind - Mind Cells.jpg
767Barbosa et al 2003 - Decreased oxidative stress in patients with ulcerative colitis supplemented with fish oil omega-3 fatty acids.Decreased oxidative stress in patients with ulcerative colitis supplemented with fish oil omega-3 fatty acids.Decreased oxidative stress in patients with ulcerative colitis supplemented with fish oil omega-3 fatty acids.Barbosa, D.S., Cecchini, R., El Kadr,i M.Z,, Rodriguez, M.A., Burini, R.C., Dichi, I.01/10/2003Nutrition. 19(10)837-42.
OBJECTIVE: The potential pathogenicity of free radicals may have a pivotal role in ulcerative colitis. Fish oil omega-3 fatty acids exert anti-inflammatory effects on patients with ulcerative colitis (UC), but the precise mechanism of the action of fish oil on oxidative stress is still controversial. The aim of the present work was to verify the blood oxidative stress in patients with UC and determine whether the association of sulfasalazine to fish oil omega-3 fatty acids is more effective than isolated use of sulfasalazine to reduce the oxidative stress.
METHODS: Nine patients (seven female and two male; mean age = 40 +/- 11 y) with mild or moderate active UC were studied in a randomized crossover design. In addition to their usual medication (2 g/d of sulfasalazine), they received fish oil omega-3 fatty acids (4.5 g/d) or placebo for 2-mo treatment periods that were separated by 2 mo, when they only received sulfasalazine. Nine healthy individuals served as control subjects to study the oxidative stress status. Disease activity was assessed by laboratory indicators (C-reactive protein, alpha1-acid glycoprotein, alpha1-antitrypsin, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, albumin, hemoglobin, and platelet count), sigmoidoscopy, and histology scores. Analysis of oxidative stress was assessed by plasma chemiluminescence and erythrocyte lipid peroxidation, both induced by tert butyl hydroperoxide (t-BuOOH) and by plasma malondialdehyde. Antioxidant status was assayed by total plasma antioxidant capacity (TRAP) and microsomal lipid peroxidation inhibition (LPI). Superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase erythrocyte enzymatic activities were also determined.
RESULTS: No significant changes were observed in any laboratory indicator or in the sigmoidoscopy or histology scores, with the exception of erythrocyte sedimentation rate, which decreased with both treatments. Oxidative stress was demonstrated by significant decreases in TRAP and LPI levels, increased chemiluminescence induced by t-BuOOH, and higher SOD activity in patients with UC. Treatment with fish oil omega-3 fatty acids reverted the chemiluminescence induced by t-BuOOH and LPI to baseline levels but that did not occur when patients received only sulfasalazine. Levels of plasma malondialdehyde, erythrocyte lipid peroxidation, and catalase were not different from those in the control group.
CONCLUSIONS: The results indicated that plasma oxidative stress occurs in patients with UC, and there was a significant decrease when the patients used sulfasalazine plus fish oil omega-3 fatty acids. However, there was no improvement in most laboratory indicators, sigmoidoscopy, and histology scores. The results suggested that omega-3 fatty acids may act as free radical scavengers protecting the patients against the overall effect of oxidative stress.
ulcerative colitis, omega-3, RCT, oxidative stress, allergies, anti-inflammatory, inflammation http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14559317View this and related abstracts via PubMed here
519Bull et al 2003 - IAG is a putative diagnostic urinary marker for autism spectrum disorders.Indolyl-3-acryloylglycine (IAG) is a putative diagnostic urinary marker for autism spectrum disorders.the hypothesis that urinary levels of trans -indolyl-3-acryloylglycine (IAG) are abnormal in patients diagnosed with autism Bull, G., Shattock, P., Whiteley, P., Anderson, R., Groundwater, P.W,, Lough, J.W., Lees, G.01/10/2003Med Sci Monit9(10)CR422-5
BACKGROUND: Autism is a heterogeneous pervasive developmental disorder with a poorly defined aetiology and pathophysiology. There are indications that the incidence of the disease is rising but still no definitive diagnostic biochemical markers have been isolated. Here we have addressed the hypothesis that urinary levels of trans -indolyl-3-acryloylglycine (IAG) are abnormal in patients diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) compared to age-matched controls. MATERIAL/METHODS: Urine samples were collected on an opportunistic basis and analysed for IAG concentration (normalised against creatinine content to account for changes in urinary volume) using reversed phase HPLC with UV detection. RESULTS: Statistical analysis (Mann-Whitney tests) showed highly significant increases (p=0.0002) in the levels of urinary IAG in the ASD group (median 942 microV per mmol/L of creatinine
interquartile range 521-1729
, n=22) compared to asymptomatic controls (331
, n=18). Detailed retrospective analysis showed that gender (boys 625 microV per mmol/L of creatinine
, n=29; girls 460
, n=11: P=0.79) and age (control donor median 10 years
, n=15; ASD median 9 years
n=22: P=0.54) were not significantly correlated with IAG levels in this non-blinded volunteer study. CONCLUSIONS: Our results strongly suggest that urinary titres of IAG may constitute an objective diagnostic indicator for ASD. Mechanisms for the involvement of IAG in ASD are discussed together with future strategies to address its specificity.
Indolyl-3-acryloylglycine, IAG, urine, autism, Shattock, HPLC, research
406International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and LipidsISSFAL01/010/2003
ISSFAL is an International Scientific Society established in 1991, of more than 500 members from more than 40 countries. ISSFAL members are scientists, medical professionals, educators, administrators, communicators and others with an interest in the health effects of dietary fats, oils and lipids; members include researchers carrying out studies on the health effects of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acids (CLA), saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids as well as other lipids. ISSFAL is the foremost International Scientific Society dealing exclusively with the health impact of dietary lipids.
ISSFAL has reviewed the scientific evidence to produce recommendations in the form of policy statements in several areas, including:
1783Moriguchi & Salem 2003 - Recovery of brain DHA leads to recovery of spatial task performance.Recovery of brain docosahexaenoate leads to recovery of spatial task performance.Recovery of brain docosahexaenoate leads to recovery of spatial task performance.Moriguchi T, Salem N Jr.01/10/2003J Neurochem.87(2):297-309.
Infants fed vegetable oil-based formulas may have poorer visual function, lower cognitive scores and acquire learning tasks more slowly in comparison with those breast fed or those fed formulas supplemented with docosahexaenoate. The aim of the present study was to determine the reversibility of losses in brain function associated with the loss of brain DHA.
Rats were fed very low or adequate levels of n-3 fatty acids through three generations. The n-3 fatty acid deficient animals of the F3 generation were then given an n-3 adequate diet containing alpha-linolenic and docosahexaenoic acids (DHA) at birth, weaning (3 weeks) or young adulthood (7 weeks). The spatial task performance of these animals returned to the n-3 adequate diet was then compared using the Morris water at two different ages, at 9 or 13 weeks.
Our results indicate that animals repleted since birth or at weaning were able to achieve nearly the same level of brain DHA and spatial task performance as animals maintained for three generations on an n-3 adequate diet. In the case of young adult animals, the degree of DHA and behavioral performance recovery depended upon the duration of dietary repletion with substantial recovery in animals after 6 weeks but little recovery of function after two weeks.
The significance of these findings is that they indicate that at least some of the adverse effects of DHA deficiency during neurodevelopment may be reversible with an n-3 fatty acid supplemented diet.
DHA, omega-3, brain development, diet, treatment, spatial memory, vision, cognition, animal studyhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14511107View this and related abstracts via PubMed here
637Otto et al 2003 - Increased risk of postpartum depressive symptoms associated with slower normalization after pregnancy of functional DHA statusIncreased risk of postpartum depressive symptoms is associated with slower normalization after pregnancy of the functional docosahexaenoic acid status.Otto et al 2003 - Increased risk of postpartum depressive symptoms is associated with slower normalization after pregnancy of the functional docosahexaenoic acid status.Otto, S.J., de Groot, R.H., Hornstra, G.01/10/2003Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids.69(4)237-43.
Observational studies suggest an association between a low docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) status after pregnancy and the occurrence of postpartum depression. However, a comparison of the actual biochemical plasma DHA status among women with and without postpartum depression has not been reported yet. The contents of DHA and of its status indicator n-6 docosapentaenoic acid (n-6DPA, 22:5n-6) were measured in the plasma phospholipids of 112 women at delivery and 32 weeks postpartum. At this latter time point, the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) questionnaire was completed to measure postpartum depression retrospectively. The EPDS cutoff score of 10 was used to define 'possibly depressed' (EPDS score > or =10) and non-depressed women (EPDS score <10). Odds ratios (OR) were calculated using a multiple logistic regression analysis with the EPDS cutoff score as dependent and fatty acid concentrations and ratio's as explanatory variables, while controlling for different covariables. The results demonstrated that the postpartum increase of the functional DHA status, expressed as the ratio DHA/n-6DPA, was significantly lower in the 'possibly depressed' group compared to the non-depressed group (2.34+/-5.56 versus 4.86+/-5.41, respectively; OR=0.88, P=0.03). Lactating women were not more predisposed than non-lactating women were to develop depressive symptoms. From this observation it seems that the availability of DHA in the postpartum period is less in women developing depressive symptoms. Although further studies are needed for confirmation, increasing the dietary DHA intake during pregnancy and postpartum, seems prudent.
pregnancy, postpartum depression, DHA, omega-3, fatty acids, plasma, docosahexaenoic acid, n-6 docosapentaenoic acidhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=12907133View this abstract via PubMed here
576Stevens et al 2003 - EFA Supplementation in Children with Inattention, Hyperactivity, and Other Disruptive BehavioursStevens et al 2003 - EFA Supplementation in Children with Inattention, Hyperactivity, and Other Disruptive BehavioursStevens et al 2003 - EFA Supplementation in Children with Inattention, Hyperactivity, and Other Disruptive Behaviours (Fatty acid treatment of ADHD and related conditions)Stevens, L., Zhang, W., Peck, L., Kuczek, T., Grevstad, N., Mahon, A., Zentall, S.S., Arnold, L.E., Burgess, J.R.01/10/2003Lipids381007-21
This pilot study evaluated the effects of supplementation with PUFA on blood FA composition and behaviour in children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD)- like symptoms also reporting thirst and skin problems.
Fifty children were randomised to treatment groups receiving either a PUFA supplement providing a daily dose of 480 mg DHA, 80mg EPA, 40mg arachidonic acid (AA), 96mg GLA, and 24mg alpha-tocopherol acetate, or an olive oil placebo for 4 months of double-blind parallel treatment.
Supplementation with the PUFA led to a substantial increase in the proportions of EPA, DHA and alpha-tocopherol in the plasma phospholipids and red blood cell (RBC) total lipids, but an increase was noted in the plasma phospholipids proportions of 18:3n-3 with olive oil as well. Significant improvements in multiple outcomes (as rated by parents) were noted in both groups, but a clear benefit from PUFA supplementation for all behaviours characteristic of AD/HD was not observed. For most outcomes, improvement in the PUFA group was consistently nominally better than that of the olive oil group, but the treatment difference was significant, by secondary intent-to-treat analysis, on only 2 out of 16 outcome measures: conduct problems rated by parents (-42.7 vs –9.9 %, n=47, p=0.05), and attention symptoms rated by teachers (-14.8 vs +3.4 %, n=47, p=0.03).
PUFA supplementation led to a greater number of participants showing improvement in oppositional defiant behaviour from a clinical to a non-clinical range compared with olive oil supplementation (8 out of 12 vs 3 out of 11, n=33, p=0.02). Also, significant correlations were observed when comparing the magnitude of change between increasing proportions of EPA in the RBC and decreasing disruptive behaviour as assessed by the Abbreviated Symptom Questionnaire (ASQ) for parents (r = -0.38, n=31, p < 0.05), and for EPA and DHA in the RBC and teachers’ Disruptive Behaviour Disorders (DBD) rating scale for Attention (r = -0.49, n=24, p < 0.05). Interestingly, significant correlations were observed between the magnitude of increase in alpha-tocopherol concentrations in the RBC and a decrease in scores for all four subscales of the teachers’ DBD (Hyperactivity, r= -0.45; Attention, r = -0.60; Conduct, r=- 0.41; Oppositional/Defiant Disorder, r = -0.54; n=24, p < 0.05) as well as the ASQ for teachers (r = -0.51, n=24, p < 0.05).
Thus, the results of this pilot study suggest the need for further research with both n-3 fatty acids and vitamin E in children with behavioural disorders.
John Burgess, Laura Stevens and colleagues at Purdue University were among the first to provide good evidence of blood fatty acid abnormalities as well as physical signs of fatty acid deficiency in ADHD. Summaries of their earlier studies can be found elsewhere on this website, as can Laura Stevens' book with practical advice for parents. (To locate these easily, enter 'Stevens' into the search box on the top right of this page).
This paper gives the results of their long-awaited study of fatty acid treatment in children with ADHD-type difficulties. Here, although blood fatty acid measures still differed between these ADHD-type children and controls, they did so in a much more complex (if not paradoxical) manner than in earlier studies. Deficiencies of key fatty acids in plasma were combined with an apparent excess in red cell membranes - despite the fact that all of the ADHD-type children had also been selected for certain physical signs (such as excessive thirst and dry skin) classically associated with essential fatty acid deficiencies.
Results of the treatment trial showed a only a slight advantage for the fatty acid supplement (which contained fish oil, evening primrose oil and Vitamin E, providing mainly omega-3 but some omega-6 fatty acids). The group differences were significant only for parent-rated behaviour problems and teacher-rated attentional difficulties.
A complicating factor, however, was that the olive oil placebo appeared to produce some similar biochemical changes to those found with the active supplement. Furthermore, biochemical changes in both groups were related to behavioural improvements, so the authors seem justified in their conclusions that these issues now need further study.
ADHD, fatty acids, EFA, PUFA, HUFA, omega-3, alpha-tocopherol, Vitamin E, lipids, behavioural disorders, treatment, RCT, RBC, plasmahttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14669965View this and related abstracts via PubMed here
1504The Omega Wave - BBC Website Article The Omega Wave - BBC Website Article - October 1st 2003 The Omega Wave - BBC Website Article on Omega-3 fatty acids, from the Human Mind programme on Oct 1st 2003 featuring children from the Durham study - a controlled trial of fatty acid treatment in children with dyspraxia.01/10/2003
This article provides a good overview on Omega-3 fatty acids and their importance to the human brain and mind.
It was produced by the BBC to accompany the Human Mind programme on October 1st 2003, featuring children who took part in the Durham study.
As the article makes clear, results from that study are not yet published, but please sign up for our free email alerts to be kept updated on all new publications of our research as they happen.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/mind/articles/intelligenceandmemory/omega_three.shtmlView this article via the BBC website hererobertwinston.jpgLord Winston - BBC Human mind promo
745Tolmunen et al 2003 - Dietary folate and depressive symptoms are associated in middle-aged Finnish men.Dietary folate and depressive symptoms are associated in middle-aged Finnish men. Dietary folate and depressive symptoms are associated in middle-aged Finnish men.Tolmunen, T., Voutilainen, S., Hintikka, J., Rissanen, T., Tanskanen, A., Viinamaki, H., Kaplan, G.A., Salonen, J.T.01/10/2003J Nutr. 133(10)3233-6.
Several cross-sectional studies have focused on the low blood folate levels of depressed patients. However, no published studies have examined the association between dietary folate and current symptoms of depression in a general population. We investigated the association between dietary folate, cobalamin, pyridoxine and riboflavin and current symptoms of depression in a cross-sectional general population study. We recruited 2682 men aged between 42 and 60 y from eastern Finland. Those who had a previous history of psychiatric disorder were excluded (n = 146, 5.6% of the cohort). Depressive symptoms were assessed with the 18-item Human Population Laboratory Depression Scale. Those who scored 5 or more at baseline were considered to have elevated depressive symptoms (n = 228, 9.3% of the cohort). The participants were grouped into thirds according to their dietary folate intake. Those in the lowest third of energy-adjusted folate intake had a higher risk of being depressed (odds ratio (OR) 1.67, 95% CI = 1.19-2.35, P = 0.003)than those in the highest folate intake third. This increased risk remained significant after adjustment for smoking habits, alcohol consumption, appetite, BMI, marital status, education, adulthood socioeconomic status and total fat consumption (OR = 1.46, 95% CI = 1.01-2.12, P = 0.044). There were no associations between the intake of cobalamin, pyridoxine or riboflavin, and depression. These results indicate that nutrition may have a role in the prevention of depression.
diet, folate, folic acid, depression, adults, menhttp://www.nutrition.org/cgi/content/full/133/10/3233Licensed users of J Nutr can view the full text of this paper here
40516 September 2003 - The Guardian: 'Is There A Catch?'A new study claims that if your children eat fish, they are less likely to turn to crimeJoanna Moorhead16/09/2003
A new study claims that if your children eat fish, they are less likely to turn to crime. But can fish really be that good for you?
If there really is such a thing as a wonder food, it is probably a safe bet that it has got fins, scales and lives underwater. Studies have long confirmed that fish tops the menu as the most nutritional dish around. But this week's astonishing news that giving your children lots of fish could even prevent them from becoming anti-social layabouts keen on a punch-up is further food for thought. According to research from Mauritius, children given lots of fish from the age of three were 64% less likely, at the age of 23, to have criminal records than a control group, and 35% less likely to have been involved in some criminal activity but not got caught.
The study is controversial in suggesting a link between what you eat and your tendency to commit a crime; but what is universally acknowledged is that fish is as an excellent source of what are called omega-3 fatty acids. These fats - specifically EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) - are known to improve your cardiovascular system and so reduce heart disease, boost your brain power and maybe even stave off dementia, and protect your joints from the ravages of arthritis. Worth a trip to a fish and chip shop any day.
Official advice from the government, however, is that to optimise these beneficial effects, you need to eat two portions of fish a week, with at least one being oily (ie rich in the omega-3 fats) - fish such as mackerel, pilchards and salmon. So far, so good: the message is clear that, if you want to look after your health, don't miss out the fish counter on your weekly supermarket trawl.
Some fish proponents reckon there are other benefits, too. Dermatologist Nicholas Perricone says that if you eat a diet packed with salmon, your wrinkles will smooth away, your skin will tighten, and you'll generally look - as well as feel - a whole lot better. Not surprisingly, New York has taken his message to heart, and in its week of publication, his book, The Perricone Prescription, caused such a run on salmon on the Upper East Side that, briefly, there was none to be bought there at all.
Nutritionists have cautioned against the Perricone diet - eating too much of even a very good thing can be counter-productive, they argue, because you miss out on other elements of healthy nutrition. But that isn't the only fly in the fish ointment: over the past few months, alongside study after study proclaiming this benefit and that protection from eating fish, has come a steady stream of worrying reports that fish have more than their share of contaminants, as well as more than their portion of healthy oils.
Mercury and dioxins, in particular, have been found in high concentrations in some fish. So worried have nutritionists been that the government recently took the step of issuing new guidelines to pregnant women, suggesting that they eat no more than two medium-sized (140g drained weight) tins of tuna fish a week, or one tuna steak. The high mercury levels, it was feared, could interfere with foetal development. According to a spokeswoman at the Food Standards Agency, the fish we eat are especially vulnerable to accumulated pollutants because they tend to be high up the marine food chain. In other words, the smallest fish ingest contaminated plants, then the bigger fish ingest the contaminated smallest fish, which means the big fishes we eat have, by the time they turn up on our plates, already amassed a fair sprinkling of contaminants in their food intake.
It is not, though, all bad news: she says that a recent three-year study, published in July, found that the level of dioxins in oily fish has declined by 50% over the past three years, the result of environmental clean-ups stretching back to the 1970s which are only now having their effects felt.
But it's mercury that is currently causing the biggest worries, and that could prove harder to eradicate. Mercury occurs naturally. It seeps into the earth's oceans through its crust, and is then absorbed into fish and other marine life. There is some mercury sloshing around as a result of pollution, but not to the same extent. The question is - how dangerous is it - especially in light of the FSA advice to pregnant women? If mercury might be a danger to them, surely it can't be healthy for the rest of us, either? Adding weight to the concerns, a study last year found that high mercury levels in the fish at the very top of the food chain - shark, swordfish and marlin among them - could actually cause heart disease.
This question is currently being taken very seriously at the FSA, which has set up an expert committee to look in detail at, on the one hand, the research on the benefits of fish and, on the other, the studies on whether the pollutants and contaminants they contain could do us more harm than good. For the moment, says the FSA spokeswoman, the agency is sticking firmly to its recommendation of two servings of fish a week: but when the committee eventually presents its report, that advice could change.
So how worried should we be? Tom Sanders, professor of nutrition and dietetics at King's College in London and an expert in this field, is unequivocal: the biggest risk from eating fish, he says, is that you'll choke on the bones. He is serious about that: fishbones, along with peanuts, are apparently the foodstuffs Britons most often get stuck in their windpipes. But choking aside, he says, the general picture on contaminated fish is that, while there are some particular places in the world where levels of metals could be a problem, most of the fish we eat in the UK don't come from those areas.
"The Atlantic and the Pacific fisheries are quite clean," he says. "The problem is if you have a sea that doesn't exchange water very much - that means contaminants accumulate more in the fish. "There are also some places in the world where there are individual problems: in the Faro Islands, for example, women have tended traditionally to eat a lot of pilot whale during pregnancy, and studies have linked problems with mental development in children to this. And the seas in parts of the former Soviet Union tend to be heavily polluted with industrial waste."
Another question, he points out, is whether these contaminants in humans actually cause harm: the level of PCBs, for example, is known to be higher in the bodies of the high-fish-eating Swedes, but research doesn't show that that makes them more vulnerable to health problems. Equally, some experts have questioned whether, given that mercury is naturally occurring, it can really cause so much harm, given that fish-eating human beings have been ingesting it for generations. Just last month a piece of research from Canada said warnings of the dangers to pregnant women and unborn babies from tuna might be unwarranted, as the mercury levels, though they seem high, could be stored in the body in a safer form.
If the jury is out on that, though, there's little doubt that - contaminants aside - fish is one of the best things you can find on a table in front of you. "Even moderate consumption reduces the risk of heart disease by a quite dramatic 30% or so," says Sanders. Dr Carmel Moore, of the medical research council human nutrition research department, says fish could also protect you from diabetes: other studies have found that you can stave off depression (even postnatal depression), slow mental ageing and reduce your risk of suicide. Not to mention lowering your risk of having a nightmare teenager, which must surely rank among its greatest accolades.
Fish: some food for thought
Oily fish, such as sardines, mackerel, trout and salmon (fresh or canned) are particularly rich in essential long-chain omega 3 fatty acids, which can help prevent heart disease. It's fish at the top of the food chain - swordfish, marlin, tuna, shark - that contain the highest levels of contaminants.
Salmon: High in protein and packed with vitamin A and carotenoids, which are thought to help prevent cancer, as well as B vitamins and vitamin D, which helps the body to absorb calcium. Studies have shown that farmed salmon is as nutritionally good for you as wild. All salmon is low in mercury.
Sardines: Both sardines and pilchards are better for omega 3s than tuna.
Mackerel: An excellent source of selenium, niacin, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12. However, king mackerel, swordfish and shark contain high levels of mercury.
Tuna: An excellent source of lean protein, vitamins and minerals which contains medium levels of mercury.
Cod: Like other non-oily fish such as plaice or haddock, it contains high levels of selenium, a nutrient essential for the normal functioning of the immune system and thyroid gland, as well as niacin, Vitamin B12, magnesium and potassium.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/health/story/0,3605,1042746,00.htmlRead this article in the Guardian online here Fish for sale.jpg
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