What I’m Reading This Month: Cortisol and the Gut-Brain Axis, Cadmium Exposure and Endometrial Cancer, and Fish Oils for Estrogen-Mediated Brain Protection

August 2017

The sheer volume of health, wellness, and medical news and commentary available on the internet can be overwhelming. Every month, get a taste of what integrative medicine leader Dr. John Gannage finds interesting (and digestible) on the web.

1. Could Vitamin B-3 Be the Answer to Miscarriages and Birth Defects?  

“Just like we now use folate to prevent spina bifida, Prof. Dunwoodie’s research suggests that it is probably best for women to start taking vitamin B-3 very early on, even before they become pregnant. This will change the way pregnant women are cared for around the world.”

2. Gut Microbes May Talk To The Brain Through Cortisol

More evidence of the gut-microbiome-brain axis, with specific bacteria strains associated with metabolites affecting serotonin and cortisol. This has implications for autism and brain development in general.

“The researchers found predictive relationships between the fecal microbiota and serotonin and cortisol, two compounds in the blood known to be influenced by gut microbiota. Specifically, Bacteroides was associated with higher serotonin levels, while Ruminococcus predicted lower concentrations of both serotonin and cortisol…The results supported previous findings related to ASD. Alterations in serum serotonin and cortisol, as well as fecal Bacteroides and Ruminococcus levels, have been described in ASD individuals.”

3. Study: Cadmium Exposure and Endometrial Cancer Risk

Cadmium comes from tobacco and shellfish most commonly in the general population. It is a chemical that mimics estrogen. Hormone sensitive tissues, like breast and uterus, are negatively affected by this toxic metal. The risk of exposure to cadmium is higher rates of endometrial cancer, the 4th most common cancer in women. It is also associated with prostate cancer in men, and is toxic to blood vessels so it increases the risk of vascular disease. Young women are still smoking too much, and there are other estrogen mimickers in the environment, such as pesticides and plastics, that add to the negative effect of cadmium exposure.

4. Estrogen-Mediated Brain Protection Directly Linked to Intake of Fatty Acids Found In Oils

Let there be no doubt about the importance of fish oils throughout the life span. Starting prenatally. Ending with last breath taken.

5. Study: Fines for Illegal Pollution Plummet Under Trump

I’ve studied epigenetics, maternal-fetal transfer, and early programming for disease from environmental exposures for years. Just lectured about it for 10 days in Europe. Kids don’t get a second chance at a brain, or reproductive system. The biological effects of exposure can be immediate or delayed. Trump is dangerous not only to this generation, but to future ones too. I’ve said from the beginning – his election and administration from an environment perspective are catastrophic. Rolling back pesticide bans, withdrawing from the Paris accord, allowing polluters to be deregulated, cozying up to industry. We had a mess before him, and had much work to do in terms of clean up. Seeing it move in the opposite direction is beyond disturbing.

6. Autism Linked to Mitochondrial DNA Variation, Possible Cause Gains Traction

“What we discovered is that a very significant proportion of the risk of developing autism correlates with the mitochondrial DNA variants, not the nuclear variants, so that implies then that mitochondrial energetics might be the cause, or a major factor, in the etiology of this disease. The brain uses 20% of all the energy that our body generates but is only 2% to 3% of our body’s weight; therefore, subtle changes in mitochondrial energy production should have a disproportionate effect on the brain.”

+ Read more about the mitochondria HERE 

7. High Sugar Consumption Gives Rise to Dental Treatment Costs in the Billions

Fluoride, fillings, dental X-rays, gum grafts, implants, root canals? How about starting with dramatically reducing sugar, including from fruit juices. The global consumption of sugar is out of control. Without a second thought, so that kids can “have their treats”, parents can be much too permissive when it comes to allowing sweetened beverages and candy into a child’s diet. So go ahead and cut the sugar, and when children complain, blame the doctor if you have to. Consider it a prescription. And for governments, #TaxSugar

“The data shows a clear correlation between the consumption of sugar and the incidence of caries, parodontitis and, as a result, tooth loss.”

Still hungry for information? Find previous month’s picks here.

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