Several years ago researchers discovered that blood type played a significant role in how the body adapted to certain conditions, especially diet. New research indicates that the same now may be true for the kind of bacteria you have in your body.

It seems that different classifications of people have different kinds of bacterial microbes in their bodies. The patterns could have an effect on how you digest foods, absorb vitamins or even how you’re treated for certain kinds of disorders.

To read more on this discovery, check out this New York Times article.

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Saffron, the common spice and folk remedy, has been found to suppress a host of known cancer-related compounds in a study reported in the September issue of Hepatolgy.

In the study, rats were fed saffron for 24 weeks and then were injected with compounds known to cause liver cancer. None of the rats that received the highest doses of saffron developed cancer while six of eight in the control group that received only distilled water did develop cancer. The research showed that the spice inhibited certain cancer-causing proteins.

The study also indicated that saffron increased the levels of antioxidants in the rats. To learn more about this study of saffron and cancer, read this article in ScienceNews.

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According to biosciencetechnology.com, by consuming fewer calories aging can be slowed down and the development of age-related diseases such as cancer and type 2 diabetes delayed. The sooner calories are reduced, the greater the effect.

By gradually reducing the intake of sugar and proteins, without reducing vitamins and minerals, researchers have previously shown that monkeys can live several years longer than expected. Now researchers at the University of Gothenburg have now identified an enzyme called peroxiredoxin that holds the key to delaying the aging process. Reduced caloric intake prevents peroxiredoxin from being inactivated, thereby helping to prolong life.

For more information on caloric intake and aging, read this article onbiosciencetechnology.com.

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In a series of articles on the growing use of alternative medicine and natural remedies, the New York Times recently featured the pain-relieving benefits of the spice turmeric.

It turns out the orange and yellow spice, famous for its extensive use in South Asian cuisine, also has anti-inflammatory properties. A study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2009 compared the active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, with ibuprofen for pain relief in 107 people with knee osteoarthritis. The curcumin eased pain and improved function about as well as the ibuprofen.

Although turmeric is used in many South Asian dishes, the most efficient way to take it, according to Dr. Minerva Santos, Director of Integrative Medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital in New York who was interviewed for the article, is to take it in capsule form. That’s because it’s usually combined with a compound called piperine, which aids absorption.

For more information on the benefits of turmeric, read this New York Times article.

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Courtesy of Men’s Health News via Rodale.com, here are some scary facts about the health effects of drinking soda:

  • Weird Fat in Weird Places — Danish researchers have discovered that drinking non-diet soda leads to dramatic increases in fat buildup around your liver and your skeletal muscles, both of which can contribute to insulin resistance and diabetes.
  • Diet-Soda Belly — Surprisingly, even diet soda will pack on the pounds: Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center monitored 475 adults for 10 years, and found that those who drank diet soda had a 70-percent increase in waist circumference over the 10-year span of the study.
  • Caramel Cancer-Causers — We touched on this in an earlier Syfo News post last year when the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to ban the artificial caramel coloring used to make Coke, Pepsi, and other colas brown. The reason: Two contaminants in the coloring, 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, have been found to cause cancer in animals.
  • Accelerated Aging — All colas contain phosphates, or phosphoric acid, a weak acid that gives colas their tangy flavor and improves their shelf life. Too much phosphoric acid can lead to heart and kidney problems, muscle loss, and osteoporosis, and one study suggests it could trigger accelerated aging.
  • Water Pollution — Researchers have found that the artificial sweeteners used in diet sodas don’t break down in our bodies and wastewater-treatment plants don’t catch them before they enter waterways. In 2009, Swiss scientists tested water samples from wastewater-treatment plants, rivers and lakes in Switzerland and detected levels of acesulfame K, sucralose, and saccharin.
  • Mountain Dew Mind — Dentists have long had a name for the mouthful of cavities they see in kids who drink too much Mountain Dew — “Mountain Dew Mouth”.  Now “Mountain Dew Mind” may be the next medical condition that gets named after the soda. An ingredient called brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, an industrial chemical used as a flame retardant in plastics, is added to prevent the flavoring from separating from the drink. It has been known to cause memory loss and nerve disorders when consumed in large quantities.
  • Whacked-Out Hormones — It’s not just the soda that’s causing all the problems, it can also be the cans they’re packaged in. Nearly all aluminum soda cans are lined with an epoxy resin called bisphenol A (BPA), used to keep the acids in soda from reacting with the metal. BPA is known to interfere with hormones, and has been linked to everything from infertility to obesity and diabetes and some forms of reproductive cancers.
  • Dead Birds — It’s not only soda cans that can cause problems, but the parts of bottles that are not recycled have created the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” a mass of plastic debris in the Pacific Ocean that floats just beneath the surface of the water. Birds, sea turtles, and other wildlife mistake the debris for food and eat large quantities of the plastic, which they are unable to digest.
  • Unknown Side Effects of GMOs — Take a look at the ingredients list for any soda and chances are most of those ingredients are derived from corn, much of it genetically modified. In independent studies, GMOs (genetically-modified crops) have been linked to digestive tract damage, accelerated aging, and even infertility.

You can view this entire slideshow on the Rodale website here.

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