Study Finds Clear Differences Between Organic And Non-Organic Milk And Meat

Organic Milk
Organic Meat

Organic milk and meat contain around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally produced products, new research has shown:
• both organic milk and meat contain around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally produced products
• organic meat had slightly lower concentrations of two saturated fats (myristic and palmitic acid) that are linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease
• organic milk contains 40% more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
• organic milk contains slightly higher concentrations of iron, Vitamin E and some carotenoids
• conventional milk contained 74% more of the essential mineral iodine and slightly more selenium

In the largest systematic reviews of their kind, an international team of experts led by Newcastle University, UK, has shown that both organic milk and meat contain around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally produced products.

Analysing data from around the world, the team reviewed 196 papers on milk and 67 papers on meat and found clear differences between organic and conventional milk and meat, especially in terms of fatty acid composition, and the concentrations of certain essential minerals and antioxidants.

Publishing their findings today in the British Journal of Nutrition, the team say the data show a switch to organic meat and milk would go some way towards increasing our intake of nutritionally important fatty acids.

Chris Seal, Professor of Food and Human Nutrition at Newcastle University explains:
“Omega-3s are linked to reductions in cardiovascular disease, improved neurological development and function, and better immune function. “Western European diets are recognised as being too low in these fatty acids and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommends we should double our intake.

“But getting enough in our diet is difficult. Our study suggests that switching to organic would go some way towards improving intakes of these important nutrients.” Western European diets are too low in omega-3 fatty acids

The systematic literature reviews analysed data from around the world and found that organic milk and meat have more desirable fat profiles than conventional milk and meat.

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Omega 3 Rich Salomon

Most importantly, a switch from conventional to organic would raise omega-3 fat intake without increasing calories and undesirable saturated fat. For example, half a litre of organic full fat milk (or equivalent fat intakes from other dairy products like butter and cheese) provides an estimated 16% (39 mg) of the recommended, daily intake of very long-chain omega-3, while conventional milk provides 11% (25 mg).

Other positive changes in fat profiles included lower levels of myristic and palmitic acid in organic meat and a lower omega-3/omega-6 ratio in organic milk. Higher levels of fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin E and carotenoids and 40% more CLA in organic milk were also observed.

The study showed that the more desirable fat profiles in organic milk were closely linked to outdoor grazing and low concentrate feeding in dairy diets, as prescribed by organic farming standards.

The two new systematic literature reviews also describe recently published results from several mother and child cohort studies linking organic milk, dairy product and vegetable consumption to a reduced risk of certain diseases. This included reduced risks of eczema and hypospadias in babies and pre-eclampsia in mothers.

Newcastle University’s Professor Carlo Leifert, who led the studies, said:
“People choose organic milk and meat for three main reasons: improved animal welfare, the positive impacts of organic farming on the environment, and the perceived health benefits. But much less is known about impacts on nutritional quality, hence the need for this study.
“Several of these differences stem from organic livestock production and are brought about by differences in production intensity, with outdoor-reared, grass-fed animals producing milk and meat that is consistently higher in desirable fatty acids such as the omega-3s, and lower in fatty acids that can promote heart disease and other chronic diseases.”

Avoiding iodine over- and under-supply from milk is a challenge
The study also found 74% more iodine in conventional milk which is important information, especially for UK consumers, where iodized table salt is not widely available.

Iodine is low in most foods, except seafood, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends Iodine fortification of table salt to address this. Iodine fortification of cattle feeds is also widely used to increase iodine concentrations in both organic and conventional milk.
Gillian Butler, co-author and senior lecturer in animal nutrition at Newcastle University, explains:
“There is a relatively narrow margin between dietary Iodine deficiency (<140 µg/day) and excessive intakes (> 500 µg/day) from our diet which can lead to thyrotoxicoxis.

“Optimising iodine intake is therefore challenging, since globally there seems to be as much concern about excessive rather than inadequate intake.”

In the USA, China, Brazil and many European countries, where Iodine fortified salt is widely used, elevated levels of iodine in milk may increase the risk of excessive intake for individuals with high dairy consumption. For this reason the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has proposed a reduction in the permitted level of iodine in cattle feed from 5 to 2 mg iodine per kg of feed.
However, in the UK, where iodized salt is not widely available, the population relies more on milk and dairy products for adequate iodine supply. National Diet and Nutrition Survey data (NDNS) suggest that milk and dairy products supply between 31-52% of iodine in the UK diet.

The daily recommended intake of iodine in the UK is 140 µg/day and just over half comes from dietary sources other than milk/dairy products. Based on results from the study, half a litre of milk would provide 53% of and 88% of the daily recommended intake from organic and conventional milk respectively. However, pregnant and breastfeeding women have a higher iodine requirement (250 µg/day) and are therefore more at risk of iodine deficiency, which could affect neurological development in babies.
Further evidence of the health benefits of organic food

The work builds on a previous study by the team – involving experts from the UK, US, France, Italy, Switzerland, Norway and Poland – investigating the composition of organic and conventionally-grown crops.

This previous study – also published in the British Journal of Nutrition – showed that organic crops and crop-based foods are up to 60% higher in a number of key antioxidants than conventionally-grown crops and contained less of the toxic metal cadmium.

“We have shown without doubt there are composition differences between organic and conventional food. Taken together, the three studies on crops, meat and milk suggest that a switch to organic fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy products would provide significantly higher amounts of dietary antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids,” concludes Professor Leifert.

“We need substantially more, well designed studies and surveys before we can accurately estimate composition differences in meat from different farm animals and for many nutritionally important compounds (vitamins, minerals, toxic metal and pesticide residues), as there is currently too little data to make comparisons.

“However, the fact that there are now several mother and child cohort studies linking organic food consumption to positive health impacts shows why it is important to further investigate the impact of the way we produce our food on human health.
The authors highlight that only a small number of studies have been carried out comparing organic and non-organic meat, and that even significant results may still carry a high level of uncertainty.

Curcumin Black Pepper Combo Concerns

Curcumin Roots and Powder
Black Pepper Corns

In the quest to boost absorption of curcumin, some experiments have been done using a combination of curcumin and black pepper (piperine).

One of the challenges using this combo is that piperine is contraindicated with many prescription medications because it negatively alters drug metabolism.

With the majority of the U.S. population taking some prescription drug, casual experimentation can have unintended consequences. A new study has shown piperine actually reduces the health benefits of curcumin.

Researchers have found the addition of piperine negatively impacted curcumin’s blood sugar balancing and reduction of oxidative stress. It also caused abnormal elevations in liver enzymes .

Further Reading: Herb-Drug Interactions: A Literature Review

Bile Acid Boosts Production Of Blood Stem Cells

As if we needed another reason to be amazed by the human body, it turns out bile acid supports the production of blood stem cells in the foetal liver, enabling them to develop normally.

This is a breakthrough for researchers working on blood diseases. Producing enough blood stem cells has been a constraint. Using bile acid “is safer and quicker, because it does not involve using any artificial substances or any genetic modifications, merely a substance that already exists inside the body”, explains Kenichi Miharada .researcher at the Department of Laboratory Medicine at Lund University in Sweden

Seems like a very good reason to enliven our livers.

Bile Acid Supports Production Of Blood Stem Cells

29 January 2016 Lund University

A research group at Lund University in Sweden has been able to show that bile acid is transferred from the mother to the foetus via the placenta to enable the foetus to produce blood stem cells.

Researchers have not yet managed to get the blood-forming stem cells to produce new stem and blood cells in a laboratory. The problem with making blood stem cells proliferate outside the body is that the artificial growth gives rise to an accumulation of abnormal proteins in a part of the cell called the endoplasmic reticulum, ER. Among other things, this so-called ER stress, if the stress is severe and chronic, cause cell death.

Kenichi Miharada, researcher at the Department of Laboratory Medicine, has previously shown that it is possible to reduce ER stress chemically by adding bile acids to the cell culture. Bile acids, which are produced naturally in the liver and stored in the gallbladder, support the protein production during the cell division process.

“Compared to other ways of trying to develop stem cells to treat blood diseases, this method is safer and quicker, because it does not involve using any artificial substances or any genetic modifications, merely a substance that already exists inside the body”, explains Kenichi Miharada.

Bile acids are normally found in adults, to help digest food. However, in studies of pregnant mice, Kenichi Miharada found large amounts of bile acids also inside the foetus.

“Foetuses produce small amounts of bile acids on their own, but here we are talking about much larger quantities. The bile acid appears to be produced by the mother and then transferred to the foetus via the placenta”, says Kenichi Miharada.

A large part of bile acid is in fact toxic for cells, but undergoes a purification process when transferred through the placenta, letting only harmless bile acid through to the foetus. It has been known that bile acid is produced in the foetal liver, but not why. Kenichi Miharada discovered that bile acid supports the production of blood stem cells in the foetal liver, and enables them to develop normally. The additional contribution from the mother is important for the foetus to develop normally.

“Our hypothesis is that the consequence of a damaged placenta, which for various reasons is unable to transfer bile acids to the foetus, can lead to leukaemia or other blood diseases later in life, and we will continue our research to see if this hypothesis holds up”, concludes Kenichi Miharada.

http://www.cell.com/cell-stem-cell/abstract/S1934-5909%2816%2900003-5?rss=yes

Full bibliographic information Article: Valgardur Sigurdsson, Hajime Takei, Svetlana Soboleva, Visnja Radulovic, Roman Galeev, Kavitha Siva, L. M. Fredrik Leeb-Lundberg, Takashi Iida, Hiroshi Nittono and Kenichi Miharada* (2016). Bile acids protect expanding hematopoietic stem cells from unfolded protein stress in fetal liver. Cell Stem Cell http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1934590916000035
*Corresponding author

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