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Previous studies have shown that reducing intake of omega-6 fatty acids and increasing consumption of omega-3 rich fish oil delay the development and progression of prostate cancer. However epidemiologic and observational studies have yielded mixed results. A recent study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research has found that men with prostate cancer consuming a low fat diet combined with fish oil supplements have a reduced risk of cancer recurrence.

The study included 48 prostate cancer patients assigned either a low-fat diet (15% Kcal from fat) supplemented with fish oil (LFFO), or a high-fat (40% Kcal from fat) western diet (Control). Researchers measured pro-inflammatory compounds in excised prostate cancer tissue and determined the cell cycle progression (CCP) score, which is used to predict cancer recurrence.

Analysis showed that in the LFFO group, there was a decline in the inflammatory marker 15(S)-HETE of 7.2%, but a rise of 24.7% in the control group. Other markers of inflammation (LTB4) were also significantly reduced in the LFFO group but not in the control group. The LFFO group had a significantly lower CCP score versus the control group.

This study found that cancer cell proliferation scores and other markers of inflammation were significantly lower in those who consumed the low-fat fish oil diet compared to men who followed a higher fat Western diet. These results provide strong support for longer term, prospective randomized trials evaluating a low-fat fish oil diet in men with prostate cancer.

Source: Colette Galet et al. Cancer Prev Res; Jan 2014; 7(1):97-104. DOI: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-13-0261.

The latest Cochrane review showed that probiotics are both safe and effective for preventing Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea.

Antibiotics are among the most prescribed medications worldwide. Antibiotic treatment may disturb the balance of organisms that normally inhabit the gut, and may lead to reduced resistance to pathogens such as Clostridium difficile (C. difficile).  This can result in a range of symptoms, most notably, diarrhoea. Clostridium difficile is one particularly dangerous organism that may colonize the gut if the normal healthy balance has been disturbed. Clostridium difficile-related disease varies from asymptomatic infection, diarrhoea, colitis, and pseudo-membranous colitis to death. The cost of treatment is expensive and the financial burden on the medical system is substantial.

Probiotics are organisms thought to improve the balance of organisms that inhabit the gut, counteract disturbances to this balance, and reduce the risk of colonization by pathogenic bacteria.  As “functional food” or “good bacteria”, probiotics have been suggested as a means of both preventing and treating C. difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD).

This latest Cochrane review included 31 randomized trials with a total of 4492 participants. Twenty-three studies (4213 participants) assessed the effectiveness of probiotics in preventing CDAD in participants taking antibiotics. The results suggest that when probiotics are given with antibiotics they reduce the risk of developing CDAD by 64%. Side effects were assessed in 26 studies (3964 participants) and the results suggest that probiotics decrease the risk of developing side effects. The most common side effects reported in these studies include abdominal cramping, nausea, fever, soft stools, flatulence, and taste disturbance. The short-term use of probiotics appears to be safe and effective when used along with antibiotics in patients who are not immune-compromised or severely debilitated.

Based on this systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, the authors concluded that probiotics are both safe and effective for preventing Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhoea.

Source: Goldenberg JZ et al. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 5. Art. No.: CD006095. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006095.pub3.


A new study found that calcium and vitamin D supplementation may be beneficial in facilitating fat loss for people adopting to an energy-restricted diet.

Dietary calcium, a non-energy-supplying nutrient, has been identified as playing a pivotal role in the regulation of energy and lipid metabolism. Observational studies have demonstrated calcium intake is inversely associated with body weight, dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Higher vitamin D intake and elevated level of serum 25(OH)D have been reported to be related to lower adiposity and metabolic health

A new study investigated the effect of calcium plus vitamin D3 (calcium+D) supplementation on anthropometric and metabolic profiles during energy restriction in healthy, overweight (BMI>=24) and obese (BMI>=28) adults with very-low calcium consumption (<600mg/day).

Forty-three subjects were randomly assigned in an open-label, randomized controlled trial to receive either an energy-restricted diet (−500 kcal/d) supplemented with 600 mg elemental calcium and 125 IU vitamin D3 or energy restriction alone for 12 weeks.  Repeated measurements of variance were performed to evaluate the differences between groups for changes in body weight, BMI, body composition, waist circumference, and blood pressures, as well as plasma TG, TC, HDL, LDL, glucose and insulin concentrations.

The study showed a significantly greater decrease in fat mass loss in the calcium + D group  than in the control group, and no significant difference in body weight change between the two groups. The calcium + D group also exhibited greater decrease in visceral fat mass and visceral fat area.  No significant difference was detected for changes in metabolic variables.

These results indicate that, among overweight and obese people with very-low intake levels of calcium, calcium plus vitamin D3 supplementation for 12 weeks may assist fat loss when combined with a energy restriction diet with 500 Cal/day of calorie deficit.

Source: Zhu et al. Nutrition Journal 2013, 12:8



There are numerous studies reporting the health benefits of increased fish consumption and higher intakes of the long-chain omega-3  (PUFA) such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The National Heart Foundation of Australia recommends that, to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, all adult Australians should consume 500 mg/day of combined EPA and DHA through 2–3 serves (150g serve) of oily fish per week and fish oil supplementation. For older adults, the risk of cardiovascular disease is higher; therefore, dietary strategies including increased intake of fish and omega-3 PUFA to reduce risk are necessary.

In the latest cross-sectional survey, 854 Australians (>= 51 yrs of age) were randomly selected to complete either an online survey or telephone interview. The survey included the quantitative fish frequency questionnaire and open- and closed-ended survey questions on demographics and supplement usage.

The survey found that on average:
•             The frequency of finfish/seafood consumption was 1.7 times per week (median intake 173 g);
•             13% never consumed finfish/seafood, or consumed less than once per month;
•             34% ate any type of finfish/seafood more than two times per week;
•             Only 28% consumed just 500 mg long-chain omega-3 PUFA per day from finfish/seafood alone;
•             The mean daily intake of long-chain omega-3 PUFA was 508 mg;

These data indicate that trends in fish intake in Australia are increasing. Although this is encouraging, the current survey still found that only 44% consumed finfish/seafood at least twice per week.  Among older Australians, the current fish consumption is low and many do not meet the current recommendations. Strategies to enhance intake to meet dietary recommendations in this older age group are required.

Source: Grieger, J A et al. Nutrition & Dietetics 2013; 70: 227–235



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