Cannibus Could Prove Effective For Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

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Cannibus Could Prove Effective For Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Chemicals found in cannabis could prove an effective treatment for the inflammatory bowel diseases Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease, say scientists.

Laboratory tests have shown that two compounds found in the cannabis plant. the cannabinoids THC and cannabidiol, interact with the body’s system that controls gut function.

Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, which affect about one in every 250 people in Northern Europe, are caused by both genetic and environmental factors. The researchers believe that a genetic susceptibility coupled with other triggers, such as diet, stress or bacterial imbalance, leads to a defective immune response.

Dr Karen Wright, Peel Trust Lecturer in Biomedicine at Lancaster University,  presented her findings in the soon-to-be published work at The British Pharmacological Society‘s Winter Meeting in London.

She said: “The lining of the intestines provides a barrier against the contents of the gut but in people with Crohn’s Disease this barrier leaks and bacteria can escape into the intestinal tissue leading to an inappropriate immune response.

“If we could find a way to restore barrier integrity in patients, we may be able to curb the inflammatory immune response that causes these chronic conditions.”

Dr Wright, working with colleagues at the School of Graduate Entry Medicine and Health in Derby, has shown that cells that react to cannabinoid compounds play an important role in normal gut function as well as the immune system’s inflammatory response.

“The body produces its own cannabinoid molecules, called endocannabinoids, which we have shown increase the permeability of the epithelium during inflammation, implying that overproduction may be detrimental,” said Dr Wright.

“However, we were able to reverse this process using plant-derived cannabinoids, which appeared to allow the epithelial cells to form tighter bonds with each other and restore the membrane barrier.”

The research was carried out using cell cultures in a dish but, interestingly, when the team attempted to mimic the conditions of the gut by reducing the amount of oxygen in the cells’ environment, much lower concentrations of cannabinoid were needed to produce the same effect.

Dr Wright added: “What is also encouraging is that while THC has psychoactive properties and is responsible for the ˜high” people experience when using cannabis, cannabidiol, which has also proved effective in restoring membrane integrity, does not possess such properties.”

Read the full journal article.

Bibliography: http://www.research.lancs.ac.uk/portal/en/publications/the-role-of-cb1-in-intestinal-permeability-and-inflammation(d9f9ae9e-0485-4ca0-ba16-41434e682704).html

 

 

Heart Failure Associated With Loss Of Important Gut Bacteria

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Heart Failure Associated With Loss Of Important Gut Bacteria

11 July 2017 Deutsches Zentrum für Herz-Kreislauf-Forschung (DZHK)

In the gut of patients with heart failure, important groups of bacteria are found less frequently and the gut flora is not as diverse as in healthy individuals. It has long been known that heart failure and gut health are linked. The gut has a worse blood supply in instances of heart failure; the intestinal wall is thicker and more permeable, whereby bacteria and bacterial components may find their way into the blood. Moreover, scientists know that the composition of the gut bacteria is altered in other widespread diseases such as type 2 diabetes.

Diet, medication and smoking have the largest influence on the make up of gut flora. The differences between healthy individuals and those with heart failure came about mainly through the loss of bacteria of the genera Blautia and Collinsella, as well as two previously unknown genera that belong to the families Erysipelotrichaceae and Ruminococcaceae.

Is it the chicken or the egg when it comes to cause and effect? Or, should we be using the “garbage in” and “garbage out” model? When it comes to our food consumption habits and health impacts, I’d start there.
→  Read full article

Full bibliographic information Original publication: Heart failure is associated with depletion of core intestinal microbiota. Luedde, M., Winkler, T., Heinsen, F.-M., Rühlemann, M. C., Spehlmann, M. E., Bajrovic, A., Lieb, W., Franke, A., Ott, S. J. & Frey, N. ESC Heart Failure, (2017)
DOI: 10.1002/ehf2.12155

The Role Of Fatty Acids In Insulin Resistance

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The Role Of Fatty Acids In Insulin Resistance

New research into insulin resistance reveals that not all organs and receptor sites react in the same ways. This further complicates the problem. How do we ensure optimal levels are achieved and maintained?

This new research by Barry Sears Email author  and Mary Perry peels away another secret of the body’s endless complexity.

The human body has developed an extraordinary number of systems to maintain stable blood glucose and to avoid broad swings in its level. These systems include hormones that are directly or indirectly generated by the diet.

These hormones sense dietary nutrients and send appropriate neural signals to the brain (specifically the hypothalamus) to orchestrate fuel usage for either oxidation into energy or long-term storage. The central hormone involved in this metabolic communication system is insulin.

Insulin resistance is a multi-faceted disruption of the communication between insulin and the interior of a target cell. The underlying cause of insulin resistance appears to be inflammation that can either be increased or decreased by the fatty acid composition of the diet. However, the molecular basis for insulin resistance can be quite different in various organs.
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A Review Of Nutritional Interventions For Schizophrenia Treatment

SuperfoodsSchizophrenia is a chronic condition that significantly impacts  the individual and the family. The disorder also has wider consequences for society in terms of significant costs to the economy. This highly prevalent condition affects approximately 1% of the worldwide population, yet there are few therapeutic options.

The predominant treatment strategy for schizophrenia is anti-psychotic medication (with or without additional talking therapy) even though this approach lacks efficacy in managing the negative symptoms of the condition, is not effective in one-third of the patient group and the side effects of the medication can be severe and debilitating.

In recent years, a number of pathophysiological processes have been identified in groups of people with schizophrenia including oxidative stress, one-carbon metabolism and immune-mediated responses. A number of studies have shown that these altered physiological mechanisms can be ameliorated by nutritional interventions in some individuals with schizophrenia.

This review published in Nutrition Journal by Megan Anne Arroll1*, Lorraine Wilder2 and James Neil2 briefly describes the aforementioned processes and outlines research that has investigated the utility of nutritional approaches as an adjunct to anti-psychotic medication which includes:

  • Antioxidant and vitamin B supplementation,
  • Neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory nutrients and
  • Exclusion diets as an adjunct to anti-psychotic medication
  • Oxidative stress and the benefits of supplementation
  • N-acetyl cysteine (NAC)
  • Alpha lipoic acid (ALA)
  • Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine)
  • Vitamins C and E
  • Essential polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)
  • L-Theanine
  • One carbon metabolism and B vitamins
  • Folate and B vitamin supplementation
  • Immune-mediated responses and the therapeutic benefits of casein- and gluten-free diets
  • Vitamin D as a risk factor for the development of schizophrenia

While none of these interventions provides a ‘one-size-fits-all’ therapeutic solution, the authors suggest that a personalized approach warrants research attention as there is growing agreement that schizophrenia is a spectrum disorder that develops from the interplay between environmental and genetic factors.

A Pomegranate Drug To Stem Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s

PomegranateIt looks like the pomegranate promoters are about to be vindicated. Pomegranate contains punicalagin, which is a polyphenol – a form of chemical compound that can inhibit inflammation in specialized brain cells known as micrologia.  This inflammation leads to the destruction of more and more brain cells, making the condition of Alzheimer’s sufferers progressively worse. 

 

Research underway to create pomegranate drug to stem Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

22 August 2014 Huddersfield, The University of

Dr Olumayokun Olajide’s research will look to produce compound derivatives of punicalagin for a drug that would treat neuro-inflammation and slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease

THE onset of Alzheimer’s disease can be slowed and some of its symptoms curbed by a natural compound that is found in pomegranate.  Also, the painful inflammation that accompanies illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and Parkinson’s disease could be reduced, according to the findings of a two-year project headed by University of Huddersfield scientist Dr Olumayokun Olajide, who specialises in the anti-inflammatory properties of natural products.

Now, a new phase of research can explore the development of drugs that will stem the development of dementias such as Alzheimer’s, which affects some 800,000 people in the UK, with 163,000 new cases a year being diagnosed.  Globally, there are at least 44.4 million dementia sufferers, with the numbers expected to soar.

The key breakthrough by Dr Olajide and his co-researchers is to demonstrate that punicalagin, which is a polyphenol – a form of chemical compound – found in pomegranate fruit, can inhibit inflammation in specialised brain cells known as micrologia.  This inflammation leads to the destruction of more and more brain cells, making the condition of Alzheimer’s sufferers progressively worse.

There is still no cure for the disease, but the punicalagin in pomegranate could prevent it or slow down its development.

Dr Olajide worked with co-researchers – including four PhD students – in the University of Huddersfield’s Department of Pharmacy and with scientists at the University of Freiburg in Germany.  The team used brain cells isolated from rats in order to test their findings.  Now the research is published in the latest edition of the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research and Dr Olajide will start to disseminate his findings at academic conferences.

He is still working on the amounts of pomegranate that are required, in order to be effective.

“But we do know that regular intake and regular consumption of pomegranate has a lot of health benefits – including prevention of neuro-inflammation related to dementia,” he says,  recommending juice products  that are 100 per cent pomegranate, meaning that approximately 3.4 per cent will be punicalagin, the compound that slows down the progression of dementia.

Dr Olajide states that most of the anti-oxidant compounds are found in the outer skin of the pomegranate, not in the soft part of the fruit.  And he adds that although this has yet to be scientifically evaluated, pomegranate will be useful in any condition for which inflammation – not just neuro-inflammation – is a factor, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s and cancer.

The research continues and now Dr Olajide is collaborating with his University of Huddersfield colleague, the organic chemist Dr Karl Hemming.  They will attempt to produce compound derivatives of punicalagin that could the basis of new, orally administered drugs that would treat neuro-inflammation.

Dr Olajide has been a Senior Lecturer at the University of Huddersfield for four years.  His academic career includes a post as a Humboldt Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Drug Research at the University of Munich.  His PhD was awarded from the University of Ibadan in his native Nigeria, after an investigation of the anti-inflammatory properties of natural products.

He attributes this area of research to his upbringing.  “African mothers normally treat sick children with natural substances such as herbs.  My mum certainly used a lot of those substances.  And then I went on to study pharmacology!”

The article “Punicalagin inhibits neuroinflammation in LPS-activated rat primary microglia”, by A. Olumayokun A. Olajide, Asit Kumar, Ravikanth Velagapudi, Uchechukwu P. Okorji and Bernd L. Fiebich is published by Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.

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