12 January - 20 June 2016

Other headlines

  • Cockroach milk! Scientists believe it could be the next superfood
  • Evidence for alcohol causing cancer is strong
  • Study indicates a third of pregnant women may be iron deficient
  • Chilli too hot to handle being sold at Tesco
  • Consuming marine Omega 3 fatty acids may aid survival of bowel cancer patients
  • You are what your grandfather eats
  • Happy cows may produce more nutritious milk
  • Rye bread low in FODMAPs may help patients with IBS
  • Can consuming a Mediterranean diet effect a person’s health outcomes?
  • Influence of mothers diet on offspring’s attributes could be influenced by genetic variation

Cockroach milk! Scientists believe it could be the next superfood
An international team of scientists are reporting in in IUCrJ, the journal of the International Union of Crystallography, that cockroach milk could be the superfood of the future.  The Diploptera punctate cockroach, the only known cockroach that gives birth to live young, has been shown to pump out a type of ‘milk’ containing protein crystals to feed its babies.  The milk is reported to be four times as nutritious as cow’s milk and contains more than three times the amount of energy found in an equivalent amount of buffalo milk.  Whilst milking cockroaches isn’t a feasible option, the scientists sequenced the genes that produce the milk protein crystals so they can replicate it in the laboratory.  Ramaswamy et al. report they are now hoping to get yeast to produce the crystal in much larger quantities. (ScienceAlert)

Evidence for alcohol causing cancer is strong
A review reported in Addiction has found a casual association between alcohol consumption and cancer of the oropharynx, larynx, oesophagus, liver, colon, rectum and female breast.  The association was dose dependent.  It is estimated that currently alcohol-attributable cancers at these sites are responsible for around 5.8% of all cancer deaths worldwide. The findings are based on comprehensive reviews undertaken in the last 10 years by the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the Global Burden of Disease Alcohol Group and the most recent comprehensive meta-analysis undertaken by Bagnardi et al.  The review cites findings that alcohol caused approximately half a million deaths from cancer in 2012. The highest risks are associated with the heaviest drinking, but a considerable burden is experienced by drinkers with low to moderate consumption.  The review also states that the current evidence that moderate drinking provides protection against cardiovascular disease is not strong.

Study indicates a third of pregnant women may be iron deficient
According to a study published in the European Journal of Endocrinology, a third of pregnant women are iron deficient, which increases the risk of thyroid disorder during pregnancy and pregnancy complications. Pregnant women require nearly triple the daily requirements of iron.   The scientists from Saint-Pierre University Hospital (ULB) in Brussels followed 1900 pregnant women in their first trimester and measured serum ferritin levels, antibodies against thyroid peroxidase, the thyroid hormone free thyroxine (FT4) and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).  Levels of Ferritin levels indicate that 35% of the pregnant women were iron deficient and 10% of the women in the iron deficient group also suffered from thyroid autoimmunity, compared to 6% in the non-deficient group. Levels of TSH indicated that 20% of women in the iron deficient group had subclinical hypothyroidism, compared to 16% in the non-deficient group.

RSSL' s Metals Laboratory can analyse for a wide range of concentrations of iron and other metals in foods, drinks and dietary supplements. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

Chilli too hot to handle being sold at Tesco
According to the Daily Mail Tesco are now selling the Carolina Reaper, the hottest chilli in the world.  The supermarket is advising customers not to touch the chilli without wearing gloves.  The Guinness Book of Records gives the chilli pepper a Scoville scale score of 1.5 million, making it 400 time hotter than the jalapeno.  The Daily Mail note that “Tesco have actually advised customers to not actually eat it and instead remove it from dishes at the end of cooking”.  Phoebe Burgess, a chilli pepper buyer for Tesco chilli, added: 'The Carolina Reaper is absolute meltdown material – it’s one for absolute hot food connoisseurs. Despite it being astonishingly hot it also has a wonderful fruity taste.”

RSSL can carry out tests on chilli pepper pungency. RSSL can also provide analysis of the red coloured compounds characteristic of capsicums of all kinds. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

Consuming marine Omega 3 fatty acids may aid survival of bowel cancer patients
An observational study published in the journal Gut has suggested that a high dietary intake of omega 3 fatty acids from oily fish may lower the risk of death from bowel cancer in patients diagnosed with the disease.  The researchers came to their findings after studying data from two large long term studies:  the Nurses' Health Study of 121,700 US registered female nurses, aged between 30 and 55 in 1976; and the Health Professionals Follow Up Study of 51,529 male health professionals, aged between 40 and 75 in 1986.  The participant’s medical history, including any diagnosis of bowel cancer and lifestyle factors were recorded at baseline and repeated every two years. Dietary habits were recorded using food frequency questionnaires and updated every four years. The team report that participants with a higher dietary intake of omega 3 from oily fish were more likely to be physically active, take multivitamins, drink alcohol and to consume more vitamin D and fibre and less likely to smoke, all factors associated with a lower risk of bowel cancer. Those who were diagnosed with bowel cancer and whose diets contained higher levels of marine omega 3 were found to have had a lower risk of dying from the disease. Omega 3 intake, however, was not linked to a lower risk of death overall. The association was found to be dose dependent, with higher doses linked to lower risk, even after the scientists took into account confounding factors. Compared with patients who consumed less than 0.1 g of omega 3 fatty acids daily, those who consumed at least 0.3 g daily after their diagnosis, had a 41% lower risk of dying from their disease. Increasing intake of marine omega 3 by at least 0.15 g daily after diagnosis was associated with a 70% lower risk of dying from bowel cancer; while a reduction in daily intake was associated with a 10% heightened risk of death from the disease.

RSSL has expertise in all aspects of fat analysis and fatty acid profiling, including the determination of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

You are what your grandfather eats
A mice study published in Molecular Metabolism has investigated the longer-term effects of paternal obesity and indicated that even if a father is lean and healthy, grandsons of obese males may be more susceptible to the health effects of unhealthy food.  The phenomenon is known as transgenerational epigenetics.  The Australian researchers mated obese male mice with lean females.  Comparing offspring of lean males, both sons and grandsons of the obese male mice were found to have early signs of fatty liver disease and diabetes when consuming an unhealthy diet.  This effect was only see in male mice.  Even when the male offspring of the obese males were fed a healthy diet and kept at a normal weight, their sons still had a greater tendency to develop obesity-related conditions when exposed to an unhealthy diet.  The team found that this effect disappeared after two generations. The team report that small piece of RNA may be involved in obesity transmission. 

Happy cows may produce more nutritious milk
According to study published in the Journal of Endocrinology, giving daily infusions of a chemical that converts to serotonin, a chemical commonly associated with feeling of happiness, increases calcium levels in the blood of Holstein cows and the milk of jersey cows that had just given birth.  Hernandez et al. report that around 5-10% of the North American dairy population suffers from hypocalcaemia, low calcium levels, which can cause immunological and digestive problems and decrease pregnancy rates.  The team used 24 dairy cows (half Holstein and half Jersey) and gave them the chemical in the run up to giving birth and measured calcium levels in both the milk and the cow’s blood.  They state that their findings suggest a role for serotonin in maintaining calcium levels throughout lactation.  Serotonin was found to have “no effect on milk yield, feed intake or on levels of hormones required for lactation”.  Hernandez et al. state next steps are to investigate the “molecular mechanism by which serotonin regulates calcium levels, and how this varies between breeds.”

Rye bread low in FODMAPs may help patients with IBS
Food e-News Edition 629 included research on FODMAP and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). A new study has found that patients who ate rye bread, low in so-called "FODMAPs" (fermentable oligo- di- and mono-saccharides and polyols), experienced milder IBS symptoms than patients who ate normal rye bread. The randomised double blind controlled cross-over study published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics gave 87 participants with IBS both regular rye bread and low-FODMAP rye bread for 4 weeks.  The participants recorded their symptoms of IBS using a symptos severity scoring system. Laatikainen et al. report many signs of IBS i.e. flatulence, abdominal pain, cramps and stomach rumbling were milder on the low-FODMAP rye bread, although “no differences were detected in IBS-SSS or quality of life.” They state “our study shows that reduction of FODMAP content of a major food staple, such as rye bread, may reduce some symptoms of IBS but is not enough per se to reach adequate overall symptom control in IBS. It's likely that a holistic low-FODMAP diet is needed in most cases in order to reach adequate control of overall symptoms.”

RSSL has considerable expertise in developing a wide range of food and drink products at a laboratory and pilot scale.  To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

Can consuming a Mediterranean diet effect a person’s health outcomes?
According to review published in Annals of Internal Medicine consuming a Mediterranean diet with no restrictions on fat intake may reduce a person's risk for breast cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular events compared to other diets. The researchers defined a Mediterranean diet as a diet that placed no restriction on total fat intake and included two or more of seven components: high monounsaturated-to-saturated fat ratio (for example, using olive oil as a main cooking ingredient), high fruit and vegetable intake, high consumption of legumes, high grain and cereal intake, moderate red wine consumption, moderate consumption of dairy products, and low consumption of meat and meat products with increased intake of fish.  The researchers reviewed available evidence to summarise the effect of a Mediterranean diet on health outcomes and to assess whether North American populations would be likely to adhere to such a diet. However they found no studies that met their inclusion criteria to assess adherence outcomes.  Examining observational data the team state “Limited evidence suggests that a Mediterranean diet with no restriction on fat intake may reduce the incidence of cardiovascular events, breast cancer, and type 2 diabetes mellitus but may not affect all-cause mortality.”

Influence of mothers diet on offspring’s attributes could be influenced by genetic variation
Research led by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and co-authored by University of Cambridge and King’s College London is reporting that “the process by which a mother’s diet during pregnancy can permanently affect her offspring’s attributes, such as weight, could be strongly influenced by genetic variation in an unexpected part of the genome”.  The scientists note in the journal Science that this could be the reason why many human genetic studies have previously not been able to fully explain how certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and obesity, are inherited.  The study shows that the genetic variation of ribosomal DNA (rDNA) could be driving how the environment within the womb determines an offspring’s attributes. rDNA is the genetic material that forms ribosomes – the protein building machines within the cell.  Using mice, the team compared the offspring of pregnant mice given a low protein diet (8% protein) and a normal diet (20% protein).  After they were weaned, all offspring were given a normal diet, and the team then looked at the difference in the offspring’s DNA methylation, from mothers exposed to low protein and those that were not. They found huge epigenetic difference in ribosomal DNA data, with the low protein offspring having methylated rDNA.  The team state “This slowed the expression of their rDNA, which could be influencing the function of ribosomes, and resulted in smaller offspring – as much as 25% lighter.” (BBSRC)

RSSL endeavours to check the veracity of news stories cited in this free e-mail bulletin by referring to the primary source, but cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies in the articles so published. RSSL provides links to other World Wide Web sites as a convenience to users, but cannot be held responsible for the content or availability of these sites. This document may be copied and distributed provided the source is cited as RSSL's Food e-News and the information so distributed is not used for profit.

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RSSL endeavours to check the veracity of news stories cited in this free e-mail bulletin by referring to the primary source, but cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies in the articles so published. RSSL provides links to other World Wide Web sites as a convenience to users, but cannot be held responsible for the content or availability of these sites. This document may be copied and distributed provided the source is cited as RSSL's Food e-News and the information so distributed is not used for profit.

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