Low vitamin D levels could raise bowel cancer risk | Medical News

Low vitamin D levels may raise bowel cancer risk

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In the largest study of its kind, low levels of vitamin D are linked with a significant increase in colorectal cancer risk. Conversely, higher levels appear to offer protection.

 

Vitamin D is produced in the skin after contact with sunlight, as well as absorbed in our guts from several dietary sources — including fortified foods and fatty fish.

Its primary role was long considered to be bone maintenance. But, as researchers dig deeper, vitamin D’s sphere of influence widens.

For instance, vitamin D deficiency has now been linked to Parkinson’s, cardiovascular disease, and obesity, among many other conditions.

Scientists have also investigated its influence on the progression of cancer.

Vitamin D and bowel cancer

Recently, researchers from a host of organizations, including the American Cancer Society (ACS) in Atlanta, GA, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA, and the United States National Cancer Institute in Rockville, MD, combined forces to investigate vitamin D’s role in colorectal cancer risk.

Aside from skin cancers, colorectal cancer — which is also called bowel cancer — is the third most common cancer in the U.S. It is expected to claim more than 50,000 lives in 2018.

Some previous studies have found a link between vitamin D deficiency and colorectal cancer, but others have not. This new, large-scale effort was designed to iron out the creases and present more concrete evidence.

The researchers’ findings were published recently in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Co-senior study author Stephanie Smith-Warner, Ph.D. — an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health — says, “To address inconsistencies in prior studies on vitamin D and to investigate associations in population subgroups, we analyzed participant-level data, collected before colorectal cancer diagnosis, from 17 prospective cohorts and used standardized criteria across the studies.”

In all, the team used data from studies conducted on three continents that included 5,700 cases of colorectal cancer and 7,100 controls.

Previously, researchers found it difficult to pool data from different studies because of the variety of ways that vitamin D was measured. These researchers calibrated the existing measurements so that a direct comparison could be made between multiple trials in a meaningful way.

Vitamin D’s influence on cancer

The researchers compared each individual’s vitamin D levels with the current National Academy of Medicine recommendations for bone health.

People who had vitamin D levels below the current guidelines had a 31 percent increased risk of colorectal cancer during the follow-up — an average of 5.5 years. Those with vitamin D above the recommended levels had a 22 percent reduction in risk. The link was stronger in women than in men.

These relationships remained significant even once the team had adjusted the data to account for other factors that are known to increase colorectal cancer risk.

But, it is worth noting that the reduced risk did not become more pronounced in the people with the highest levels of vitamin D in their system.

“Currently,” notes co-first study author Marji L. McCullough, “health agencies do not recommend vitamin D for the prevention of colorectal cancer.”

Article Source https://www.medical news today.com/articles/322143.php

Medical News Florida | Can mangoes protect heart and gut health

Can mangoes protect heart and gut health?

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Mangoes have been cultivated in South Asia for thousands of years, and they now find homes across many of the warmer regions of Earth.

They are the national fruit of India, Pakistan, and the Philippines, and for good reason: they’re delicious.

As far as nutrition goes, the mango contains a range of vitamins and minerals, though not in particularly high concentrations.

That is, with the notable exceptions of vitamin C and folate.

Mangoes also contain a range of polyphenols such as flavonoids, a group of compounds that has gained popularity in health food circles over recent years.

Mangoes and polyphenols

The potential health impact of polyphenols has proven a controversial topic; they are considered to have an antioxidant effect, but studies have shown that our guts break the majority of them down before they get a chance to affect our body.

However, the breakdown products of these molecules could also have an impact on health. To date, though, evidence to support their health benefits is contradictory.

That said, sometimes, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. With this in mind, a group of researchers from the University of California, Davis set out to see whether they could measure specific health benefits of consuming mango.

To this end, they recruited 24 healthy postmenopausal women and asked them to consume 330 grams of mango each day for two weeks. Specifically, they chose the honey mango because of its relatively high levels of polyphenols.

After the 2-week mango intervention, the participants returned to their standard diet for 13 days, avoiding mango.

The researchers’ findings were presented recently at the American Society for Nutrition’s annual meeting, Nutrition 2018, held in Boston, MA. They have been published in The FASEB Journal.

In order to assess the bioactivity of mango, the researchers took measurements at various points throughout the trial, including heart rate and blood pressure.

The team also sampled blood and breath. By analyzing breath samples, it becomes possible to gain an understanding of gut health. This is due to the fact that they provide a snapshot of the gases produced during fermentation in the intestine.

The scientists found that systolic blood pressure — that is, the pressure in the arteries as the heart contracts — was significantly lower than the baseline reading 2 hours after consuming mango.

Pulse pressure — which is a measure of the force that the heart generates every time it contracts — was also significantly lower 2 hours after eating mango.

The breath test measured hydrogen and methane levels. Some participants had methane, some had hydrogen, others had neither, and others still had both. In this type of test, methane is considered a sign of poor gut health.

Of the 24 participants, one quarter produced methane at the start of the trial. Of these six people, half showed reduced methane output after consuming mango.

So, a study that used a small group of a specific cross-section of society seemed to show some benefits of eating mangoes in a study partially funded by the National Mango Board.

More work is needed to back these findings up. Until these results are corroborated, mango can still be safely enjoyed, with or without specific gut and cardiovascular health benefits.

What is knee arthroscopy | Medical News Florida

Knee arthroscopy is a surgical procedure. A surgeon inserts a tool called an arthroscope through a small incision. Using this scope and the camera attached, they can confirm diagnoses and often correct any issues affecting the joint. In this article, learn how to prepare and what to expect from knee arthroscopy.

Uses and benefits

Knee arthroscopy is less invasive than open forms of surgery. A surgeon can diagnose issues and operate using a very small tool, an arthroscope, which they pass through an incision in the skin.

Knee arthroscopy may be helpful in diagnosing a range of problems, including:

  • persistent joint pain and stiffness
  • damaged cartilage
  • floating fragments of bone or cartilage
  • a buildup of fluid, which must be drained

In most of these cases, arthroscopy is all that is needed. People may choose it instead of other surgical procedures because arthroscopy often involves:

  • less tissue damage
  • a faster healing time
  • fewer stitches
  • less pain after the procedure
  • a lower risk of infection, because smaller incisions are made

However, arthroscopy may not be for everyone. There is little evidence that people with degenerative diseases or osteoarthritis can benefit from knee arthroscopy.

How to prepare

Many doctors will recommend a tailored preparation plan, which may include gentle exercises.

It is important for a person taking any prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medications to discuss them with the doctor. An individual may need to stop taking some medications ahead of the surgery. This may even include common OTC medications, such as ibuprofen (Advil).

A person may need to stop eating up to 12 hours before the procedure, especially if they will be general anesthesia. A doctor should provide plenty of information about what a person is allowed to eat or drink.

Some doctors prescribe pain medication in advance. A person should fill this prescription before the surgery so that they will be prepared for recovery.

Procedure

The type of anesthetic used to numb pain will depend on the extent of the arthroscopy.

A doctor may inject a local anesthetic to numb the affected knee only. If both knees are affected, the doctor may use a regional anesthetic to numb the person from the waist down.

In some cases, doctors will use a general anesthetic. In this case, the person will be completely asleep during the procedure.

If the person is awake, they may be allowed to watch the procedure on a monitor. This is entirely optional, and some people may not be comfortable viewing this.

The procedure starts with a few small cuts in the knee. Surgeons use a pump to push saline solution into the area. This will expand the knee, making it easier for the doctors to see their work.

After the knee is expanded, the surgeons insert the arthroscope. The attached camera allows the surgeons to explore the area and identify any problems. They may confirm earlier diagnoses, and they may take pictures.

If the problem can be fixed with arthroscopy, the surgeons will insert small tools through the arthroscope and use them to correct the issue.

After the problem is fixed, the surgeons will remove the tools, use the pump to drain the saline from the knee, and stitch up the incisions.

In many cases, the procedure takes less than 1 hour.

Recovery

Recovering from arthroscopy is usually quicker than recovering from open surgery.

Most people leave the hospital on the day of the operation with specific instructions about how to handle recovery.

General recovery tips can include:

  • applying ice packs to the dressing and surrounding area to reduce swelling and pain
  • keeping the leg elevated for several days after surgery
  • resting well and often
  • changing the dressing regularly
  • using crutches and following the doctor’s recommendations about applying weight to the knee

Doctors will typically give specific instructions before a person leaves the hospital. They may also prescribe painkillers or recommend OTC drugs for pain management.

In some cases, doctors may recommend taking aspirin to reduce the risk of blood clots.

Recovery times can vary. A person may be able to return to light activity in 1–3 weeks and resume most other physical activities in 6–8 weeks.

Source – https://www.medical news today.com/articles/322099.php