Curcumin and saffron are effective for the treatment of depression and in reducing anxiety

Studies have found  many people with Depression have chronic inflammation. Anti-inflammatory medicine could be an effective treatment alternative to generally ineffective anti-depressant medications.

A recent study reported that Curcumin (from Tumeric) and/or saffron relieves the symptoms of depression including anxiety , now often experience by people suffering from depression.

Curcumin has strong anti-inflammatory properties and increase levels of BDNF  – an important  protein found in neuron cells that protects the cells from premature death and also improves their function.

But before you rush to the pharmacy or health food store to buy some Curcumin supplements consult an expert who knows about bioavailability of the supplement or see your local herbalist or Integrative heath practitioner.


Efficacy of curcumin, and a saffron/curcumin combination for the treatment of major depression: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study


Several studies have supported the antidepressant effects of curcumin (from the spice turmeric) and saffron for people with major depressive disorder. However, these studies have been hampered by poor designs, small sample sizes, short treatment duration, and similar intervention dosages. Furthermore, the antidepressant effects of combined curcumin and saffron administration are unknown.


In a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 123 individuals with major depressive disorder were allocated to one of four treatment conditions, comprising placebo, low-dose curcumin extract (250 mg b.i.d.), high-dose curcumin extract (500 mg b.i.d.), or combined low-dose curcumin extract plus saffron (15 mg b.i.d.) for 12 weeks. The outcome measures were the Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology self-rated version (IDS-SR30) and Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI).


The active drug treatments (combined) were associated with significantly greater improvements in depressive symptoms compared to placebo (p=.031), and superior improvements in STAI-state (p<.001) and STAI-trait scores (p=.001). Active drug treatments also had greater efficacy in people with atypical depression compared to the remainder of patients (response rates of 65% versus 35% respectively, p=.012). No differences were found between the differing doses of curcumin or the curcumin/saffron combination.


Investigations with larger sample sizes are required to examine the efficacy of differing doses of curcumin and saffron/curcumin combination. Its effects in people with atypical depression also require examination in larger scale studies.


Active drug treatments comprising differing doses of curcumin and combined curcumin/saffron were effective in reducing depressive and anxiolytic symptoms in people with major depressive disorder.

Men still suffering debilitating sexual and urinary dysfunction more than 12 years after prostate cancer treatment

Jang et al (2017) conducted one of the first long term follow-up on Prostate cancer (PCa) treatment 12 to 18 years after treatment. The study reveals lasting debilitating  sides effects for prostatectomy and radiation treatments.

The short side effects (2 years) for PCa treatment is well documented. However the long term quality  of men’s lives and the lasting side effects from treatments has not been reviewed until now. This is vital information for men with low to intermediate risk localised prostate cancer and are considering treatment over active monitoring or “watchful waiting”.

Highlights from Study

At 12 to 18 years after treatment, patients’ median ages were 75, 82, and 77 for RP (Radical Prostatectomy), EBRT (radiation beam therapy), and BT (Brachytherapy), respectively.

  • Patients urinary  and sexual function declined over time for all men in this study
  • Patients who underwent RP had significantly worse symptoms rating in the urinary incontinence  and sexual function over a decade later.
  • Patients that underwent EBRT had significantly worse current scores compared to baseline in the urinary incontinence and  urinary irritation/obstruction , bowel function and sexual function.
  • Patients who had BT had significantly worse current scores compared to baseline in the urinary incontinence  urinary irritation/obstruction and sexual function.
  • When comparing treatment modalities, change scores in the urinary incontinence domain were significantly worse for RP than for BT  and change scores in the urinary irritation/obstruction domain were significantly worse for EBRT or BT than for RP.

There were no significant differences between treatment groups in the bowel function domain, and all treatment groups experienced similarly large differences in sexual function scores.



Abstract Definitive treatment for prostate cancer includes radical prostatectomy (RP), external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), and brachytherapy (BT). The different side effect profiles of these options are crucial factors for patients and clinicians when deciding between treatments. This study reports long-term health-related quality of life (HRQOL) for patients in their second decade after treatment for prostate cancer. We used a validated survey to assess urinary, bowel, and sexual function and HRQOL in a prospective cohort of patients diagnosed with localized prostate cancer 14–18 years previously. We report and compare the outcomes of patients who were initially treated with RP, EBRT, or BT. Of 230 eligible patients, the response rate was 92% (n = 211) and median follow-up was 14.6 years. Compared to baseline, RP patients had significantly worse urinary incontinence and sexual function, EBRT patients had worse scores in all domains, and BT patients had worse urinary incontinence, urinary irritation/obstruction, and sexual function. When comparing treatment groups, RP patients underwent larger declines in urinary continence than did BT patients, and EBRT and BT patients experienced larger changes in urinary irritation/obstruction. Baseline functional status was significantly associated with long-term function for urinary obstruction and bowel function domains. This is one of the few prospective reports on quality of life for prostate cancer patients beyond 10 years, and adds information about the late consequences of treatment choices. These data may help patients make informed decisions regarding treatment choice based on symptoms they may experience in the decades ahead.



Jang JW, Drumm MR, Efstathiou JA, Paly JJ, Niemierko A, Ancukiewicz M, Talcott
JA, Clark JA, Zietman AL. Long-term quality of life after definitive treatment
for prostate cancer: patient-reported outcomes in the second posttreatment
decade. Cancer Med. 2017 Jul;6(7):1827-1836. doi: 10.1002/cam4.1103. Epub 2017
May 31. PubMed PMID: 28560840; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5504320.

Information empowers Men’s health: – Are you aware of all your treatment options for low-intermediate prostate cancer?

You’ve been diagnosed with Prostate cancer , but before you decide to have a radical prostatectomy (removal of the prostate) do you understand all of the treatment options?

After decades of over treatment we now better understand the  treatments and non -treatments available for Low to intermediate risk localised prostate cancer (PCa).

However sadly new research and approaches can take years to be implemented despite a case for change. To avert the risk of making  ill-informed decisions  it makes sense to  ask our oncologists lots of questions and be informed about all the risks and consequences of our choices in treating PCa. However they might not be aware of recent studies and evidence that would open up more choices to you. If there’s even a slight risk we are receiving outdated advice it could result in regrettable outcome we can’t reverse.  To avoid this we can  do our own independent research and consult more than one specialist for a second opinion.  Here’s the latest information of treatments for localised low to intermediate risk PCa.


In a 10 year UK trial, three groups of men were assigned to either surgical removal of the prostate (553 men), radiation treatment (545 men) or active monitoring (545 men). After ten years, the total number of deaths due to any cause was 55, 55 and 59, respectively in each group.

Thus 90% of men were still alive after ten years, including those who did not receive any radical intervention. Although surgery delayed the development of metastases (or secondary cancers) in a small number of men, the number of deaths definitively attributable to prostate cancer in each of the groups was low, only three, four and seven deaths respectively. So the odds of dying specifically from prostate cancer in the first ten years is of the order of 1%.

Age is also a factor in treatment options. If your life expectancy is less than 10 years the advice now is do nothing because you are more likely to die from something else other than PCa.

However , as clear from the UK Trial, active monitoring / surveillance results in the same outcome as surgery or radiation treatment for localised PCa.

Source (Ian Haines, Professor, AMREP Department of Medicine, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne & Senior Medical Oncologist and Palliative Care Physician, Melbourne Oncology Group, Cabrini Haematology and Oncology Centre, Wattletree Road, Malvern, Monash University2017)

According to John Hopkins School of Medicine Radiation beam therapy is as effective as  radical prostatectomy for the treatment of low to intermediate risk localised prostate cancer (PCa).

Treatment Side Effects.

The side effects from surgery are more severe than radiation and often include permanent erectile  dysfunction (ED). About 80% of men have ED at 6 months and at 5 years and also potentially years of urinary incontinence  – 50% of men still need a pad at 6 months, 20% of men maybe wearing a pad at 5 years. 

For radiation therapy, incontinence is an infrequent problem. “Approximately 5% of men use a pad at 6 months after radiation therapy and that’s steady at about 5 years. A potential late side effect for urinary function can be the development of a stricture at 10 years or more after radiation, causing it difficulty in urination. After external beam radiation therapy approximately 75% of men have erectile dysfunction at 6 months and at 5 years.  ” Ken Panta, Professor of Urology and Oncology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. 

What is localised PCa? –

Tumor has not spread outside the prostate.

The tumor can be on both sides or one side of the prostate but  has not breached the prostate  or entered the seminal vesicles or lymph nodes.

What is low risk PCa?

Low-risk prostate cancer is T1-T2a, Gleason score 6, PSA less than 10.

What is intermediate risk localised PCa?

Clinically Localised: Intermediate-Risk Prostate Cancer find as T2b-T2c or Gleason score 7 or PSA 10-20 ng/ml. The or here is very important, it means that a man is classified as having Intermediate-Risk Prostate Cancer by any one of these criteria. T2b refers to a cancer that is more than half of only one side of the prostate. T2c is cancer in both sides of the prostate.

What is active monitoring/surveillance? 

Active surveillance is when the patient choose no treatment and regular checks , which may includes all or some of these:  digital examinations , PSA tests and Biopsies  , ultra sound, MRI.





Information empowers men’s health: – Latest research shows surgery for Early Stage Prostate Cancer Doesn’t Save Lives

Ian Haines
Monash University
July 31, 2017

From the 1980s, when prostate screening became available, many men over 40 were diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer even though they may not have had any symptoms. The word cancer understandably strikes fear into the hearts of many, and most would assume the best course of action would be to have the cancer removed, whatever the side effects may be.

But impotence and incontinence are no small side effects, especially when you consider, as two new studies have done, removing the cancer isn’t necessarily the best option, and the cancer may not in fact require treatment at all.

.Most prostate cancers take decades to exit the prostate, and most men will usually die with, but not from, prostate cancer. Autopsy studies reveal prostate cancer in up to 40% of men in their forties and 65% in their sixties, but a much smaller figure of 3-4% of Australian men actually die of prostate cancer at a median age of 82.

Two recent clinical trials undermine the categorisation of prostate cancer as a death sentence. They are unambiguous in their findings and seismic in their implications. Both found men with early stage abnormalities of the prostate who do not undergo surgery or radiation treatment, but whose condition is monitored for any progression of the cancer, live just as long as men who opted for complete removal of the prostate and now live with its immediate consequences, including incontinence, intimacy issues, bowel problems and intervention regret.

The hard evidence

In a UK trial, three groups of men were assigned to either surgical removal of the prostate (553 men), radiation treatment (545 men) or active monitoring (545 men). After ten years, the total number of deaths due to any cause was 55, 55 and 59, respectively in each group.

Thus 90% of men were still alive after ten years, including those who did not receive any radical intervention. Although surgery delayed the development of metastases (or secondary cancers) in a small number of men, the number of deaths definitively attributable to prostate cancer in each of the groups was low, only three, four and seven deaths respectively. So the odds of dying specifically from prostate cancer in the first ten years is of the order of 1%.

In a second study from the US published last week, two groups of men were assigned to either surgical removal of the prostate (364 men) or active monitoring (367 men). After nearly 20 years of follow up, the number of deaths due to any cause was 223 and 245 respectively in each group. So once again nearly the same number of men in each group were still alive after 20 years.

Surgery did not prevent death any more than active monitoring. Strikingly, the number of deaths definitively attributable to prostate cancer in the two groups was only 18 and 22 respectively. This means the odds of dying specifically from prostate cancer in the first 20 years after a cancer diagnosis from a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test was about 5% for the surgical group and 6% for the active monitoring group.

The survival from prostate cancer is so high it’s not a question of deciding which treatment is best, but whether any early radical treatment is required at all. The current position has been clearly articulated by the Chief Medical Officer of the American Cancer Society Dr Otis Brawley, an expert on prostate cancer screening. He points out aggressive PSA screening and treatment has resulted in more than one million American men undergoing needless treatment.

This is not to mention that patients who have undergone surgery are four times more likely to require absorbent pads for incontinence and three times more likely to have erectile dysfunction. These are not issues that are routinely highlighted.

The future

The latest DNA research has had minimal impact on how to tell whether an early stage prostatecancer will grow slowly or whether it will become aggressive and spread outside the prostate, and lead to death. The current evidence is the future behaviour of any cancer is determined very early, and diagnosing it early and actively monitoring its progress will have no effect on the outcome.

The key problem in searching for genetic and DNA based markers is that most pre-clinical studies focus on human prostate cancer cells in dishes, or in mice. This is far removed from cells growing in a patient. Mice are not small humans and their prostates, hormonal balances, diet and genetics are quite different from our own.

Similarly, while MRI scanning means we can find sites in a prostate gland that are abnormal, we can’t yet distinguish between the potentially dangerous and the indolent cell populations. More research is needed to develop better screening techniques.

The current implications

For the moment, the first step must be to educate doctors so they can provide full disclosure to any patient of the results of these two trials. The second step is that in speaking to their own doctors about possible treatment options, patients should be active in asking them about the most up-to-date evidence. Surgery is a big step to take for any condition.

Similar to countless past treatments which the evidence has made redundant – such as lobotomy for mental illness and stomach surgery for ulcers – it’s now clear radical surgery removing the prostate should not be the go-to option.

Ian Haines, Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor, AMREP Department of Medicine, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne & Senior Medical Oncologist and Palliative Care Physician, Melbourne Oncology Group, Cabrini Haematology and Oncology Centre, Wattletree Road, Malvern, Monash University

An 11 year study proves that reducing animal protein decreases risk of Metabolic Syndrome

The general advice for a healthy diet is less meat and dairy and more vegetables, legumes, grains and fish. Managing weight, reducing cholesterol and systemic inflammation are some of the reasons for reducing meat and increasing plant based nutrients. A recent study shows that after following people’s diets for 11 years , the people who ate more meat were more likely to develop Metabolic Syndrome. Here’s the study below

Dietary protein from different food sources, incident metabolic syndrome and changes in its components: An 11-year longitudinal study in healthy community-dwelling adults


Background & aims

Limited data are available on the relationship of protein from different food sources with metabolic syndrome (MetS) or changes in its components. We aimed to prospectively examine the relationships of protein intakes from animal, plant and major food groups with incident MetS and changes in its components.


5324 participants from the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study, who were free of cardiovascular disease, cancer, hyperlipidaemia, elevated plasma glucose, elevated blood pressure and elevated waist circumference (WC) at baseline (1990–1994), were included in the present investigation. Dietary intake was assessed using a validated 121-item Food Frequency Questionnaire and MetS components were measured at baseline and follow-up (2003–2007).


We documented 459 new cases of MetS during a mean of 11.2 years’ follow-up. Multivariate-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) (95% CI) of incident MetS for the highest compared with lowest quartile of percentage energy intake from total, animal and plant protein were 1.46 (1.01–2.10), 1.67 (1.13–2.48) and 0.60 (0.37–0.97), respectively. Positive associations with incident MetS were seen for protein from chicken (OR (95% CI): 1.37 (1.00, 1.87)) and red meat (OR (95% CI): 1.47 (1.01, 2.15)), while inverse associations with incident MetS were observed for protein from grains (OR (95% CI): 0.62 (0.40, 0.97)), legumes and nuts (OR (95% CI): 0.74 (0.53, 1.04)). Each 5% increment in energy intake from animal protein was associated with a 0.97 cm (95% CI: 0.50, 1.45) increase in WC, a 0.97 mmHg (95% CI: 0.13, 1.82) increase in systolic blood pressure, and a 0.94 kg (95% CI: 0.57, 1.32) increase in weight over 11 years. However, an inverse association between plant protein and change in WC (−1.38 cm (95% CI: −2.68, −0.07)) and weight (−1.97 kg (95% CI: −3.00, −0.94)) was identified.


Our findings suggest that higher plant protein and lower animal protein consumption may help to prevent MetS.

Broccoli protects your gut from chemical toxins

Broccoli is much more than a  great source of nutrients. It contains phytochemicals that help protect your gut from damage by toxic chemicals.

A recent study proved that Broccoli activates  a protective ligand called AHR. AHR protect cells in the intestinal tract from fibrosis and helps suppress inflammation.

It would be very hard to avoid in-digesting any traces of harmful chemicals so it’s good to know that eating broccoli , other cruciferous vegetables  and fruits  help protect our gastrointestinal tract from the toxins in our environment.

In contrast eating junk food provides no protection of your gastrointestinal lining, it causes inflammation,  delivers toxins into your gut and a heap of empty calories that usually end up as fat.



Troy D. Hubbard, Iain A. Murray, Robert G. Nichols, Kaitlyn Cassel, Michael Podolsky, Guray Kuzu, Yuan Tian, Phillip Smith, Mary J. Kennett, Andrew D. Patterson, Gary H. Perdew, Dietary broccoli impacts microbial community structure and attenuates chemically induced colitis in mice in an Ah receptor dependent manner, In Journal of Functional Foods, Volume 37, 2017, Pages 685-698, ISSN 1756-4646,

Consumption of broccoli mediates numerous chemo-protective benefits through the intake of phytochemicals, some of which modulate aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) activity. Whether AHR activation is a critical aspect of the therapeutic potential of dietary broccoli is not known. Here we administered isocaloric diets, with or without supplementation of whole broccoli (15% w/w), to congenic mice expressing the high-affinity Ahrb/b or low-affinity Ahrd/d alleles,for 24 days and examined the effects on AHR activity, intestinal microbial community structure, inflammatory status, and response to chemically induced colitis. Cecal microbial community structure and metabolic potential were segregated according to host dietary and AHR status. Dietary broccoli associated with heightened intestinal AHR activity, decreased microbial abundance of the family Erysipelotrichaceae, and attenuation of colitis. In summary, broccoli consumption elicited an enhanced response in ligand-sensitive Ahrb/b mice, demonstrating that in part the beneficial aspects of dietary broccoli upon intestinal health are associated with heightened AHR activity.

There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all nutrition.

Diets are fads. None work as they claim to do. Diets are the  snakes oil cure for a post war problem. The consumption of high calorie high sugar processed foods that lead us to becoming overweight and the obesity epidemic.

There are so many myths about food and diets that go unquestioned we’ve forgotten to listen to our body and remember what people used to eat before processed foods were mass produced and fruit and vegetables were imported.  Today we can eat our favourite fruit all year round. Unfortunately  non-organic food is produced on such a massive scale that their nutritional value has dropped considerably since post war era.

People used to only eat what was available during the seasons. They ate whole foods and hormone and antibiotic free meat. Now we eat whatever we want when we want and without question. We put on weight, become unhappy with our body shape and decide to choose a diet. The diet usually fails.  But there is another diet that may work and that is your diet. The one that works for you. Of course all humans need certain nutrients and we know that vegetables and fruits, nuts and source of EFAs, and some meats are an important part of any diet.

We also know that too much of one type of food can be detrimental to our health. Perhaps the most important thing is eating the infamous “balanced diet” and also being aware of our needs throughout life and as the seasons change. You are usually going to better off ignoring your afternoon craving for mars bars but craving red meat or leafy greens is useful information and a  clue we are in need of nutrients from these food sources. Once you stop the junk , return to home cooking and whole foods you will crave healthy foods not empty calories that leave you feeling unsatisfied.

Ever our bacteria in our gut influences what we crave and how we metabolise food. So don’t believe the hyperbole , follow you gut instinct. Your little friends may be trying to tell you something .

Here’s a short article below that explains how the composition of our gut microbiota can determine whether we are better off on brown or white bread.

Author:  posted on

There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all nutrition. In 2015, researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel laid the foundation for this statement with an article that proved that each of us metabolises food differently due, in part, to gut microbiota.

Researcher Niv Zmora explained to Gut Microbiota for Health the main results of that study during the GMFH World Summit held in Paris in March 2017.

Now, this same team has focused on bread, one of the most frequently consumed foods worldwide. And they have shed some light on one of the eternal questions in nutrition: is it healthier to eat white bread or brown bread? Until now, nutrition experts often shunned white bread because of its low fibre content and potential to spike the blood sugar.

For the study, published in Cell Metabolism, Israeli researchers recruited 20 healthy people; half ate whole-wheat sourdough bread and the other half white bread for a week. Then both groups took a two-week break and switched bread diets.

Researchers measured 20 health markers and focused on blood sugar levels after eating, what is known as the glycaemic response, a biological measurement of how quickly the body can process glucose consumed in the food.

The scientists found that on average, neither of the breads emerged as less likely to affect blood sugar.

For first author Eran Elinav, “The findings of this study are not only fascinating but potentially very important, because they point toward a new paradigm: different people react differently, even to the same foods”.

So, according to the results of the study, individuals can differ in their response to the same food, in this case bread, due to individual differences in the gut microbiota. So there is no good or bad bread, but it depends on each person’s gut microbiota.

The findings of this new research are linked with other current research from the Weizmann Institute of Science and to a series of earlier studies that suggested diets should be tailored to each person’s gut microbiota in order to maximize health benefits.





Korem T, Zeevi D, Zmora N, et al. Bread affects clinical parameters and induces gut microbiome-associated personal glycemic responsesCell Metabolism. 2017. DOI:

Chinese herbs help clear antibiotic resistant Heliobacter pylori infection after failure of triplet therapy with vonaprazan

Heliobacter pylori is a bacteria that is found in many patients with stomach ulcers and gastritis. Almost 50% of the world’s population are believed to have H.pylori in their stomach , but  many do not have any of the unpleasant symptoms that are associated with gastritis and do not develop ulcers. However for the people suffering from these health problems the eradication of H.Pylori is a critical part of the treatment.

Like many other strains of bacteria. Some strains of H.Pylori are becoming extremely resistant to antibiotics. This limits conventional treatment options for some patients.

Chinese herbs are powerful antibacterial weapons and viable alternatives to current antibiotic protocols . Chinese Herbs also can be used in conjunction with antibiotics to help overcome the drug resistance.

A recent journal article published in Journal of Digestive diseases, reported that a traditional formulation of Wu Zhu Yu Tang has helped eradicate a drug resistant H.Pylori infection when used on combination with antibiotic drugs.

We desperately need more research in using Chinese botanicals for antibiotic resistant bacteria. Drug resistant bacteria infections are on the increase and like climate change it is a global problem that requires us to think outside the box and beyond our own biases . We must work together for solutions for our future and not be solely be influenced  by politics and profit.


Vonoprazan, a potassium-competitive acid blocker, is used as a substitute drug for conventional proton pump inhibitors. Recently, vonoprazan has been applied for eradication of H. pylori (HP) infection, and the efficacies of vonoprazan-based triple therapy against HP infection have already been reported. However, treatment sometimes fails in the primary and/or secondary triplet eradication therapy, including with the use of vonoprazan for HP infection. We experienced three cases of refractory HP infection. They were treated with eradication therapy for HP infection with chronic gastritis. After primary triplet therapy with amoxicillin, clarithromycin, and rabeprazole (Case 1) or vonoprazan (Case 2, 3), their urea breath test were positive. Subsequently, patients received secondary eradication therapy with amoxicillin, metronidazole, and vonoprazan (Case 1, 2) or rabeprazole (Case 3), but their urea breath test was still positive. Thereafter, they consulted Kampo treatment. Kampo eradication therapy was given consisting of goshuyuto 2.5 g three-times daily plus rabeprazole 10 mg twice daily for 28 days. Finally, their urea breath test became negative. We successfully treated these cases with goshuyuto and rabeprazole. Goshuyuto treatment is worth trying as another therapeutic option.




Nagata, Y., Nagasaka, K., Koyama, S., Murase, M., Saito, M., Yazaki, T., Komatsu, N., Murase, T., Uehara, T. and Taniuchi, N. (), Successful eradication of Helicobacter pylori with a herbal medicine, goshuyuto (Wu Zhu Yu Tang), plus rabeprazole after failure of triplet therapy with vonoprazan: a report of three cases. Journal of Digestive Diseases. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/1751-2980.12537



Moderate Drinking Tied to Lower Diabetes Risk – A NYT Article

Researchers used data on 28,704 men and 41,847 women free of diabetes at the start who reported how often they drank and the amounts of alcohol consumed. They followed the group for an average of five years. The observational study is in Diabetologia.

After adjusting for diet, family history of diabetes, high blood pressure, physical activity, smoking and other factors, they found that compared with abstainers, men who drank 14 drinks a week had a 43 percent lower risk of diabetes, and women who drank nine drinks a week a 58 percent lower risk. The mechanism is unknown, and the study could not distinguish between different types of drinks.

Consuming alcohol three to four days a week, compared with only once, was also associated with a lower risk, even after adjusting for the amount of alcohol consumed. The senior author, Janne S. Tolstrup, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Southern Denmark, said that spacing out your drinks over the week may be at least as important as the amount consumed.

“Keep consumption at moderate levels,” she said, “about seven drinks a week for women and 14 for men. Alcohol is associated with many diseases and conditions — at the same level where it may protect against diabetes, the risk of other diseases is increased.

Here’s the Danish study

Alcohol drinking patterns and risk of diabetes: a cohort study of 70,551 men and women from the general Danish population


Alcohol consumption is inversely associated with diabetes, but little is known about the role of drinking patterns. We examined the association between alcohol drinking patterns and diabetes risk in men and women from the general Danish population.


This cohort study was based on data from the Danish Health Examination Survey 2007–2008. Of the 76,484 survey participants, 28,704 men and 41,847 women were eligible for this study. Participants were followed for a median of 4.9 years. Self-reported questionnaires were used to obtain information on alcohol drinking patterns, i.e. frequency of alcohol drinking, frequency of binge drinking, and consumption of wine, beer and spirits, from which we calculated beverage-specific and overall average weekly alcohol intake. Information on incident cases of diabetes was obtained from the Danish National Diabetes Register. Cox proportional hazards model was applied to estimate HRs and 95% CIs.


During follow-up, 859 men and 887 women developed diabetes. The lowest risk of diabetes was observed at 14 drinks/week in men (HR 0.57 [95% CI 0.47, 0.70]) and at 9 drinks/week in women (HR 0.42 [95% CI 0.35, 0.51]), relative to no alcohol intake. Compared with current alcohol consumers consuming <1 day/week, consumption of alcohol on 3–4 days weekly was associated with significantly lower risk for diabetes in men (HR 0.73 [95% CI 0.59, 0.94]) and women (HR 0.68 [95% CI 0.53, 0.88]) after adjusting for confounders and average weekly alcohol amount.


Our findings suggest that alcohol drinking frequency is associated with risk of diabetes and that consumption of alcohol over 3–4 days per week is associated with the lowest risk of diabetes, even after taking average weekly alcohol consumption into account.

Your guide to the difference between fermented foods and probiotics

A useful article from Gut Microbiota New Watch


For many years, humans have known that bacteria and other microorganisms are capable of transforming food substratesmaking them both tasty and nutritious. More and more, chefs and other food-makers are putting bacteria to work to produce fermented foods. With delicious results.

Besides flavour, though, are there other reasons to seek out fermented foods? Scientists around the world are trying to answer this question by studying the possible health benefits of consuming live cultures.

Robert (Bob) Hutkins, Professor of Food Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (USA), studies bacteria in fermented foods and factors that affect their survival in the gastrointestinal tract. In untangling the health benefits we can attribute to fermented foods, he says, it’s important to address the common misconception that fermented foods are the same thing as “probiotics”—the latter being live bacteria that confer health benefits when consumed in adequate numbers, according to the definition set by an international panel of experts in both 2001 and 2014.

“Not all fermented foods contain live organisms,” Hutkins tells GMFH editors. “Beer and wine, for example, undergo steps that remove the organisms [like yeasts that allow fermentation]. Other fermented foods are heat-treated and the organisms are inactivated. Bread is baked and sauerkraut is often canned. So while these foods may be nutritious, they do not have probiotic activity.”

He continues, “That being said, there are still lots of fermented foods that do contain live organisms, including yogurt and other [fermented] dairy foods, most cheeses, non-heated sauerkraut and kimchi, even many of the European-style dry fermented sausages.”

So then, can the term probiotic be applied to the subset of fermented foods that do contain live microorganisms when consumed? Hutkins says it cannot: “The live organisms present in these products are there for one main reason – to perform the fermentation (i.e., convert milk into yogurt or cheese, or cabbage into kimchi). These cultures do not necessarily have any probiotic functions. By definition, probiotics must ‘confer a health benefit’. That means the probiotic must have been characterized and have clinical evidence of a health benefit. Cultures are not probiotic unless they have met this requirement.”

Click on link to read the full article 

Gut Microbiota News Watch

About the Author

Kristina Campbell
Science writer Kristina Campbell (M.Sc.), from British Columbia (Canada), specializes in communicating about the gut microbiota, digestive health, and nutrition. Author of the best selling Well-Fed Microbiome Cookbook, her freelance work has appeared in publications around the world. Kristina joined the Gut Microbiota for Health publishing team in 2014