Tag Archives: University of California Davis

Drinking Beer Could Be Good For Your Bones


A new study suggests that beer is a significant source of dietary silicon, a key ingredient for increasing bone mineral density. Researchers from the Department of Food Science & Technology at the University of California, Davis studied commercial beer production to determine the relationship between beer production methods and the resulting silicon content, concluding that beer is a rich source of dietary silicon. Details of this study are available in the February issue of the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the Society of Chemical Industry.
………………
“The factors in brewing that influence silicon levels in beer have not been extensively studied” said Charles Bamforth, lead author of the study. “We have examined a wide range of beer styles for their silicon content and have also studied the impact of raw materials and the brewing process on the quantities of silicon that enter wort and beer.”
Silicon is present in beer in the soluble form of orthosilicic acid (OSA), which yields 50% bioavailability, making beer a major contributor to silicon intake in the Western diet. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), dietary silicon (Si), as soluble OSA, may be important for the growth and development of bone and connective tissue, and beer appears to be a major contributor to Si intake. Based on these findings, some studies suggest moderate beer consumption may help fight osteoporosis, a disease of the skeletal system characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue.
The researchers examined a variety of raw material samples and found little change in the silicon content of barley during the malting process. The majority of the silicon in barley is in the husk, which is not affected greatly during malting. The malts with the higher silicon contents are pale colored which have less heat stress during the malting process. The darker products, such as the chocolate, roasted barley and black malt, all have substantial roasting and much lower silicon contents than the other malts for reasons that are not yet known. The hop samples analyzed showed surprisingly high levels of silicon with as much as four times more silicon than is found in malt. However, hops are invariably used in a much smaller quantity than is grain. Highly hopped beers, however, would be expected to contain higher silicon levels.
No silicon was picked up from silica hydrogel used to stabilize beer, even after a period of 24 hours and neither is there pick up from diatomaceous earth filter aid.
The study also tested 100 commercial beers for silicon content and categorized the data according to beer style and source. The average silicon content of the beers sampled was 6.4 to 56.5 mg/L.
“Beers containing high levels of malted barley and hops are richest in silicon,” concludes Dr. Bamforth. “Wheat contains less silicon than barley because it is the husk of the barley that is rich in this element. While most of the silicon remains in the husk during brewing, significant quantities of silicon nonetheless are extracted into wort and much of this survives into beer.”

Source:Medical News Today. Feb.9.2010

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Fructose Worse Than Glucose for Human Health

While too much sugar is bad for health, scientists have found that over-consumption fructose is more dangerous than that of glucose.

.
YOU MAY CLICK TO SEE:->Fructose: Sweet, But Dangerous

Peter Havel and colleagues, at the University of California at Davis, Davis, conducted the 10-week study.

It was found that human consumption of fructose-sweetened but not glucose-sweetened beverages could adversely affect both sensitivity to the hormone insulin and how the body handles fats, creating medical conditions that increase susceptibility to heart attack and stroke.

In the study, overweight and obese individuals consumed glucose or fructose-sweetened beverages that provided 25% their energy requirements for 10 weeks.

During this period, individuals in both groups put on about the same amount of weight, but only those consuming fructose-sweetened beverages exhibited an increase in intra-abdominal fat.

In addition, only these individuals became less sensitive to the hormone insulin (which controls glucose levels in the blood) and showed signs of dyslipidemia (increased levels of fat-soluble molecules known as lipids in the blood).

The researcher said that although these are signs of the metabolic syndrome, which increases an individual’s risk of heart attack, the long-term affects of fructose over-consumption on susceptibility to heart attack remain unknown.

Sources: The Times Of India

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

New Drug Makers: Goats

They have four legs, fuzzy faces and udders full of milk. To the uninitiated, they look like dairy goats. To GTC Biotherapeutics Inc, they’re  cutting-edge drug-making machines.

The goats being raised on a farm in central Massachusetts are genetically engineered to make a human protein in their milk that prevents dangerous blood clots from forming. The company extracts the protein and turns it into a medicine that fights strokes, pulmonary embolisms and other life-threatening conditions.

GTC has asked the Food and Drug Administration to clear the drug, called ATryn. An expert panel voted overwhelmingly on Friday that it is safe and effective, putting it on the verge of becoming the first drug from a genetically engineered animal to be approved in the US. The agency is expected to make a final decision in February, said the Los Angeles Times.

If approved, the drug would be followed by hundreds of others made from milk produced by genetically engineered goats, cows, rabbits and other animals. Other products in the pipeline are designed to treat people with haemophilia, respiratory diseases and debilitating swollen tissues.

“As soon as we were able to make genetically engineered animals, this was an obvious thing to do,” said James Murray, a geneticist and professor of animal science at UC Davis. “It’s totally cut-and-paste. This is kindergarten stuff with molecular scissors.”

The biotechnology industry is rooting for ATryn. The FDA’s endorsement would signal to Americans that they have nothing to fear from the futuristic technology—and suggest that the millions they’ve invested in the technology could soon begin to pay off.

If the drug is approved, “it takes a big question mark off the table in terms of products that are developed from this technology,” said Samir Singh, president of US operations for Pharming Group, which is developing medicines using milk from genetically engineered cows and rabbits.

The public has had misgivings about eating food from genetically modified animals, and some vocal critics of such technology say the wariness could extend to medicines. “I think many people are going to have the same revulsion,” said Jaydee Hanson, a policy analyst at the Center for Food Safety, a Washington advocacy group that opposes genetic manipulation of food and animals.

For scientists, the appeal is obvious. Many drugs are now synthesized in bioreactors by bacteria or Chinese hamster ovary cells, and they require extensive processing to be suitable for humans. Genetically engineering animals is a better alternative for producing proteins, which form the basis of all biological drugs. “We’re taking advantage of the fact that the mammary gland was designed by nature to make proteins,” said Tom Newberry, GTC’s vice president for government relations.

Sources: The Times Of India

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Weighing the Value of Organic Foods

Food produced without most conventional pesticides or fertilizers are perceived to be more healthful, but scientists have yet to offer proof.

With the recession breathing down our necks, many people are looking for ways to cut the household budget without seriously compromising family well-being. So here’s a suggestion: If you buy organic fruits and vegetables, consider switching to less pricey non-organic produce instead.

Hold the e-mails and hear me out: There really is no proof that organic food, which costs about a third more, is better than the conventionally grown stuff.

It may seem, intuitively, that crops grown without pesticides should be better for us and that food grown the old-fashioned way, by rotating crops and nurturing the soil naturally, would be superior to food that is mass-produced and chemically saturated.

Many people feel that way. Annual sales of organic food and beverages grew from $1 billion in 1990 to well over $20 billion in 2007, according to the Organic Trade Assn., an industry group.

But the truth is that, from a hard-nosed science point of view, it’s still unclear how much better — if at all — organic food is for one’s health than non-organically grown food.

“Organic” means food grown without most conventional pesticides or fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website (usda.gov). To carry the “organic” seal, a product must be certified as having been produced according to federal regulations. Small farmers are exempt.

Prepared food made with organic ingredients also tends to be processed more gently, with fewer chemical additives, said Charles Benbrook, an agricultural economist who is chief scientist at the Organic Center. The nonprofit research group is based in Boulder, Colo., and is supported by the organic food industry.

But the word “organic” has not been designated as an official health claim by the government. Such a designation is used only when there is evidence of significant health benefits — and so far, that evidence is lacking for organic food.

It’s clear, however, that conventionally grown food has remnants of pesticides on it. A 2002 study in the journal Food Additives and Contaminants showed that there were more pesticide residues on conventional than organically grown food, even after the food was washed and prepared. There’s also clear evidence that pesticides can enter the body in other ways, a major reason that Environmental Protection Agency regulations exist to keep farm workers from entering recently sprayed fields.

A study by Emory University researchers and others published in 2006 in Environmental Health Perspectives, a peer-reviewed journal published by the National Institutes of Health, showed that when children were fed a conventional diet, their urine contained metabolic evidence of pesticide exposure, but that when they were switched to an organic diet, those signs of exposure disappeared.

All of which raises the question: How much harm do pesticides cause?

A number of studies suggest that, at high doses, organophosphate chemicals used in pesticides can cause acute poisoning and that even at somewhat lower doses, they may impair nervous system development in children and animals. But at the amounts allowed by the government in the American food supply? That’s where many nutritionists and environmental scientists seem to part company.

“We don’t have any good proof that there is any harm from fruits and vegetables grown with the pesticides currently used,” said Dr. George Blackburn, a nutritionist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and associate director of the Division of Nutrition at Harvard Medical School. The real issue is to get people to eat more fruits and vegetables, whether they’re grown conventionally or organically, he added.

“Keeping herbicide and pesticide levels as low as possible does make sense, although there is no clear evidence that these increase health risks at the levels consumed currently in the U.S.,” said Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

What is of concern, he said, is the meat industry’s increasing use of growth hormones in animals. (The “organic” label on beef means, among other things, that the cattle it came from were raised without antibiotics and hormones. Some non-organic beef is also raised without hormones or antibiotics, as noted on its label.)

Even if we don’t yet have all the evidence that organic produce might be desirable, Benbrook of the Organic Center said it’s time to change the notion that there’s nothing wrong with a little pesticide for breakfast. Over the last two years, he said, “nearly every issue of Environmental Health Perspectives has had at least one new research report” on how pesticides can harm a child’s neurological growth, particularly on brain architecture, learning ability and markers for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. While this falls short of incontrovertible proof that properly washed conventional produce can harm people, it does raise red flags, environmentalists say.

Weighing the value of organic foods also means looking at nutrition, not just the dangers of pesticides — and there is disagreement over whether organic food supplies more nutrients.

Researchers at UC Davis did a 10-year study, published last year, in which a particular strain of tomatoes was grown with pesticides on conventional soil right next to the same strain grown on soil that had been certified organic. All plants were subject to the same weather, irrigation and harvesting conditions.

The conclusion? Organic tomatoes had more vitamin C and health-promoting antioxidants, specifically flavonoids called quercetin and kaempferol — although researchers noted that year-to-year nutrient content can vary in both conventional and organic plants.

Other research has also shown nutritional advantages for organic food, according to the Organic Center, which reviewed 97 studies on comparative nutrition. Benbrook, the center’s chief scientist, says that although conventionally grown food tends to have more protein, organic food is about 25% higher in vitamin C and other antioxidants.

Yet a recent Danish study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture showed no vitamin and mineral advantage to organic food.

So, what to eat? ………… Side with the nutritionists who urge people to eat more fruits and vegetables, regardless of how they’re grown. Common sense, though not necessarily science, would seem to favor organics, if you can afford them. But if you want, split the difference — buy organic for fruits and vegetables that are thin-skinned or hard to wash or peel, and go conventional for those, such as bananas, that peel easily.

Sources: Los Angles Times

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]