Public health for the hunter-gatherer in us

So cheesy…

From Canadian Journal of Public Health:

Abstract:

In evolutionary terms, the transformations which humans have engendered in social, ecological and built environments are increasingly out of step with their biological makeup. We briefly review the evidence on health-relevant practices and status of our Paleolithic ancestors and contrast these with current food, transportation, work and governance systems with their associated impacts on human health. As public health and planning practitioners engaged in the EcoHealth Ontario Collaborative, we argue for recognition of our hunter-gatherer nature to promote joint efforts in building sustainable and equitable community infrastructures, both built and green. Although such efforts are underway at multiple jurisdictional levels across Canada, the pace is frustratingly slow for the burden of endemic chronic diseases and global environmental change which humans face. Reminding reluctant stakeholders of the hunter-gatherers in us all could bring about deeper reflection on the urgent work in redirecting community planning.

Source: Public health for the hunter-gatherer in us all – PubMed

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If You Must Eat Grains, Minimally-Processed May Be Better for You

From Diabetes Care:

Consuming less-processed whole-grain foods over 2 weeks improved measures of glycemia in free-living adults with type 2 diabetes compared with an equivalent amount of whole-grain foods that were finely milled. Dietary advice should promote the consumption of minimally processed whole grains.

Source: Whole-Grain Processing and Glycemic Control in Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Crossover Trial | Diabetes Care

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Literature Review: Effects of a Paleolithic Diet on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors

Cavewomen didn’t have modern=make=up

From Iran and the journal Advances In Nutrition:

Abstract

There is some evidence supporting the beneficial effects of a Paleolithic Diet (PD) on cardiovascular disease risk factors. This diet advises consuming lean meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, and nuts and avoiding intake of grains, dairy products, processed foods, and added sugar and salt. This study was performed to assess the effects of a PD on cardiovascular disease risk factors including anthropometric indexes, lipid profile, blood pressure, and inflammatory markers using data from randomized controlled trials. A comprehensive search was performed in the PubMed, Scopus, ISI Web of Science, and Google Scholar databases up to August, 2018. A meta-analysis was performed using a random-effects model to estimate the pooled effect size. Meta-analysis of 8 eligible studies revealed that a PD significantly reduced body weight [weighted mean difference (WMD) = -2.17 kg; 95% CI: -3.48, -0.87 kg], waist circumference (WMD = -2.90 cm; 95% CI: -4.51, -1.28 cm), body mass index (in kg/m2) (WMD = -1.15; 95% CI: -1.68, -0.62), body fat percentage (WMD = -1.38%; 95% CI: -2.08%, -0.67%), systolic (WMD = -4.24 mm Hg; 95% CI: -7.11, -1.38 mm Hg) and diastolic (WMD = -2.95 mm Hg; 95% CI: -4.72, -1.18 mm Hg) blood pressure, and circulating concentrations of total cholesterol (WMD = -0.22 mg/dL; 95% CI: -0.42, -0.03 mg/dL), TGs (WMD = -0.23 mg/dL; 95% CI: -0.46, -0.01 mg/dL), LDL cholesterol (WMD = -0.13 mg/dL; 95% CI: -0.25, -0.01 mg/dL), and C-reactive protein (CRP) (WMD = -0.41 mg/L; 95% CI: -0.81, -0.008 mg/L) and also significantly increased HDL cholesterol (WMD = 0.05 mg/dL; 95% CI: 0.005, 0.10 mg/dL). However, sensitivity analysis revealed that the overall effects of a PD on lipid profile, blood pressure, and circulating CRP concentrations were significantly influenced by removing some studies, hence the results must be interpreted with caution. Although the present meta-analysis revealed that a PD has favorable effects on cardiovascular disease risk factors, the evidence is not conclusive and more well-designed trials are still needed.

Source: Effects of a Paleolithic Diet on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials – PubMed

An editorial expression of concern about the article:

The Editors have been alerted by a reader with concerns about this meta-analysis. Specifically, the reader noted discrepancies in reported effect sizes and time periods, as well as confidence intervals, none of which the reader was able to reproduce. The Editors have contacted the authors, who have addressed initial concerns. However, due to the extent of the material about which concerns have been raised, the Editors need additional time to re-review this article after corrections have been made.

In the interim, this expression of concern should be taken…

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Multiple Sclerosis and the Paleo Diet

Not Dr Terry Wahls

From a recent scientific article:

Preliminary studies suggest that a modified Paleolithic diet may benefit symptoms of fatigue in progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). However, this diet restricts the consumption of eggs, dairy, and gluten-containing grains, which may increase the risk of micronutrient deficiencies. Therefore, we evaluated the nutritional safety of this diet among people with progressive MS. Three nonconsecutive 24-h dietary recalls were collected from (n = 19) progressive MS participants in the final months of a diet intervention study and analyzed using Nutrition Data System for Research (NDSR) software. Food group intake was calculated, and intake of micronutrients was evaluated and compared to individual recommendations using Nutrient Adequacy Ratios (NARs). Blood was drawn at baseline and the end of the study to evaluate biomarker changes. Mean intake of fruits and vegetables exceeded nine servings/day and most participants excluded food groups. The intake of all micronutrients from food were above 100% NAR except for vitamin D (29.6 ± 34.6%), choline (73.2 ± 27.2%), and calcium (60.3 ± 22.8%), and one participant (1/19) exceeded the Tolerable Upper Limit (UL) for zinc, one (1/19) for vitamin A, and 37% (7/19) exceeded the chronic disease risk reduction (CDRR) for sodium. When intake from supplements was included in the analysis, several individuals exceeded ULs for magnesium (5/19), zinc (2/19), sodium (7/19), and vitamins A (2/19), D (9/19), C (1/19), B6 (3/19), and niacin (10/19). Serum values of vitamins D, B12, K1, K2, and folate significantly increased compared to respective baseline values, while homocysteine and magnesium values were significantly lower at 12 months. Calcium and vitamin A serum levels did not change. This modified Paleolithic diet is associated with minimal nutritional risks. However, excessive intake from supplements may be of concern

Source: Eating Pattern and Nutritional Risks Among People With Multiple Sclerosis Following a Modified Paleolithic Diet – PubMed

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How Did Paleolithic Man Trim His Nails?

He had no modern shoe, gloves, or paring knives.

From Science ABC:

Before humans developed blades or social expectations of hygiene, how did we handle the inexorably growing nails at the ends of our fingers?

The answer to this question is quite simple… the fingernails probably took care of themselves. Fingernails are largely made up of keratin, a hardened protein that is also found in the skin and hair. While keratin is hardy and durable, it is far from unbreakable, as any woman with a chipped nail will attest. Similarly, when you clip your nails with any of the clippers explained above, there is some resistance, but they are relatively easy to snip off.

Now, think back 100,000 years, when early humans behaved as hunter-gatherers, engaging in physically demanding activities to survive. Over the course of their normal days, they may have been digging tubers out of the ground, sharpening a rudimentary spear, carrying temporary shelters or trying to start a fire. With all of this manual labor, it is believed that the fingernails would have naturally been worn down and chipped away. The daily demands of survival would have kept the fingernails from growing to unruly or unmanageable lengths. As mentioned above, we see this passive maintenance in other species as well, such as dogs that are often walked on pavement, which gradually wears down their nails, thus requiring fewer nail trimmings at the vet.If the fingernails of these early humans did break or chip, they likely solved the problem as we do today—giving them a nibble and maybe tugging off the occasional irritating hangnail. Again, we see this same behavior in other species who lick at, soften, and bite their nails when they grow too long.

The tribal elites probably didn’t to as much physical labor as the proletarians. so I imaging they and others could have used flat rocks as nail files.

The linked article covers nail trimming over the last 10,000 years, too.

Source: How did ancient people cut their nails before the nail clipper was invented?

Steve Parker, M.D.

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For Type 2 Diabetes, Gastric Bypass May Improve Cardiac and Renal Outcomes

Steve Parker MD, bariatric surgery, gastric bypass

Band Gastric Bypass Surgery

From a recent Diabetes Care article:

Our data suggest robust benefits for renal outcomes, heart failure, and CV [cardiovascular] mortality after GBP [gastric bypass] in individuals with obesity and T2DM. These results suggest that marked weight loss yields important benefits, particularly on the cardiorenal axis (including slowing progression to end-stage renal disease), whatever the baseline renal function status.

Source: Renal and Cardiovascular Outcomes After Weight Loss From Gastric Bypass Surgery in Type 2 Diabetes: Cardiorenal Risk Reductions Exceed Atherosclerotic Benefits | Diabetes Care

Because of the risk of surgery, I’d make sure first that diet modification was seriously tried and failed.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Proposal: A Second Paleolithic Diet Score

Not too many folks eat rabbit these days

Offhand, I don’t recall the first paleo diet score proposed several years ago.

From June 2020 in Nutrition Research Reviews:

In a PubMed searched up to December 2019, 14 different PaleoDiet definitions were found. We observed some common components of the PaleoDiet among these definitions although we also found high heterogeneity in the list of specific foods that should be encouraged or banned within the PaleoDiet. Most studies suggest that the PaleoDiet may have beneficial effects in the prevention of cardiometabolic diseases (type 2 diabetes, overweight/obesity, cardiovascular diseases and hyperlipidemias) but the level of evidence is still weak because of the limited number of studies with large sample size, hard outcomes instead of surrogate outcomes and long-term follow-up. Finally, we propose a new PaleoDiet score composed of 11 food items, based on a high consumption of fruits, nuts, vegetables, fish, eggs and meats; and a minimum content of dairy products, grains and cereals, and legumes and practical absence of processed (or ultra-processed) foods or culinary ingredients.

Source: Scoping Review of Paleolithic Dietary Patterns: A Definition Proposal – PubMed

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Proton Pump Inhibitor Drugs Linked to Dementia

I have nothing against Prilosec in particular. It can be very helpful.

We have two major classes of drugs that reduce acid production by the stomach. The first was H2 blockers, the granddaddy being Tagamet (cimetidine). Tagamet was the first PPI on the market in the U.S., probably 25-30 years ago. Several H2 blockers are are available without a prescription. The second and later class of acid-reducing drugs is the PPI. These are more potent than H2 blockers. Because of H2 blockers and PPIs, and the discovery that H. pylori causes many ulcers, we have many fewer patients requiring surgery for upper GI ulcers. Surgery like vagotomy and pyloroplasty. Once the ulcer heals, most folks don’t need to take a PPI for the rest of their lives.

There are reasons our stomachs produce acid. One is that the acid helps kill pathogens in our food before they make us sick. Another is to start the digestion of proteins we eat. You can imagine that drastically reducing stomach acid production has some potential adverse effects.

Bix at Fanatic Cook turned me on to the possibility that chronic use of  PPIs might cause cognitive decline, up to and including dementia. In the U.S., PPIs are available over-the-counter and many physicians prescribe and recommend them to patients in order to reduce stomach acid. The most common reason for chronic usage must be gastroesophageal reflux disease (aka GERD), which is severe or frequently recurrent heartburn. Common PPI names are Protonix, Nexium, Prilosec, omeprazole, and pantoprazole.

A German population study a few years ago linked PPI usage with higher risk of dementia.

A total of 73,679 participants 75 years of age or older and free of dementia at baseline were analyzed. The patients receiving regular PPI medication (n = 2950; mean [SD] age, 83.8 [5.4] years; 77.9% female) had a significantly increased risk of incident dementia compared with the patients not receiving PPI medication (n = 70,729; mean [SD] age, 83.0 [5.6] years; 73.6% female) (hazard ratio, 1.44 [95% CI, 1.36-1.52]; P < .001).

The avoidance of PPI medication may prevent the development of dementia. This finding is supported by recent pharmacoepidemiological analyses on primary data and is in line with mouse models in which the use of PPIs increased the levels of β-amyloid in the brains of mice. Randomized, prospective clinical trials are needed to examine this connection in more detail.

Source: Association of Proton Pump Inhibitors With Risk of Dementia: A Pharmacoepidemiological Claims Data Analysis – PubMed

Check out Bix’s article to read that:

  • PPIs interfere with production of acetylcholine, a major chemical than nerve cells use to communicate with each other
  • Healthy young folks who took a PPI for 10 days performed worse on tests of memory

I don’t know about Germany, but there’s evidence that the incidence of dementia has been decreasing lately in the U.S. I’m guessing that the use of PPIs has been increasing over the last couple decades. So this doesn’t fit with the PPI-dementia theory.

If you have GERD, a low-carb diet may well control it, allowing you to avoid the side effects of PPIs, not to mention the cost.

Oh, darn. I may not be getting my check from Big Pharma this month.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: Buy one of my books so I don’t have to depend on Big Pharma.

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Lower Cardiovascular Disease Risk With Olive Oil

low-carb diet, diabetic diet, Paleobetic diet, balsamic vinaigrette,

I like this and use it. The lower left corner says “with EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL.” In order, the listed ingredients are water, balsamic vinegar, soybean oil and extra virgin olive oil, sugar…. 2 tbsp has 3 grams of carb. Which oil would you guess predominates? BTW, balsamic has the most carbs of all the vinegars. Ideally, make your own vinaigrette with EVOO and NO soybean oil. 

A new analysis of the Nurses Health Study confirms the headline above. Olive oil, of course, is a primary component of the healthy Mediterranean diet. From the American College of Cardiology:

Higher olive oil intake was associated with a lower risk of CHD [coronary heart disease] and total CVD [cardiovascular disease] in two large prospective cohorts of US men and women. The substitution of margarine, butter, mayonnaise, and dairy fat with olive oil could lead to lower risk of CHD.

***

This study of well-educated health professionals is the first in the United States to show the relative value of higher intake of olive oil for preventing CHD and CVD. It was conducted in the era that margarine was primarily trans fatty acids and would not apply to the present soft and liquid margarines. The benefit attributed to olive oil is not simply the substitution for saturated fatty acid. The modest benefit of olive oil in the United States occurred at relatively low olive oil intake (average 12 g/day). In contrast, the Mediterranean diet generally has over 25 g/day. In European studies, a healthy cohort had a 7% reduction in CHD risk for each 10 g/d increase in olive oil; extra virgin olive oil reduced cerebrovascular events by 31% in a high-risk group, and regular olive oil was associated with a 44% lower risk of CHD after about 7.8 years in Italian women survivors of an MI. Amongst the benefits of olive oil include positive effects on inflammation, endothelial function, hypertension, insulin sensitivity, and diabetes.

Source: Olive Oil Consumption and Cardiovascular Risk – American College of Cardiology

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Evidence for cooked starchy rhizomes in Africa 170,000 years ago

“Grok luv rhizome!”

From a recent article in Science:

Plant carbohydrates were undoubtedly consumed in antiquity, yet starchy geophytes were seldom preserved archaeologically. We report evidence for geophyte exploitation by early humans from at least 170,000 years ago. Charred rhizomes from Border Cave, South Africa, were identified to the genus Hypoxis L. by comparing the morphology and anatomy of ancient and modern rhizomes. Hypoxis angustifolia Lam., the likely taxon, proliferates in relatively well-watered areas of sub-Saharan Africa and in Yemen, Arabia. In those areas and possibly farther north during moist periods, Hypoxis rhizomes would have provided reliable and familiar carbohydrate sources for mobile groups.

Source: Cooked starchy rhizomes in Africa 170 thousand years ago. – PubMed – NCBI

Steve Parker, M.D.

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