Friday, January 23, 2009

From Tea Reducing Mercury Absorption to Probiotics Supporting Weight Loss

I'm cleaning up my office and reading all sorts of interesting random factoids in news stories that I saved for a Friday just like today: rainy, overcast, not at all inviting for a walk mid-day!

"Watch the Mercury Drop" was reported in Men's Health with the article advising sushi bar regulars to drink green or black tea along with their mercury-laden raw fish. Apparently, the catechins in tea pair up somehow with mercury to create new compounds that "can't be absorbed into the body during digestion," thus reducing mercury absorption by a gigantic 92% -- now that's newsworthy as mercury is such nasty stuff in the body.

"Even a Blind Man Can See" was reported in the Washington Post; the article is about neuroscientists who theorized that a completely blind man was sensing the world through his eyes based on successfully navigating a hallway filled with with obstructions such as chairs and boxes. While the scientists believe this proves that signals entering the eyes are somehow registering in the brain, I wonder if it isn't more along the lines of recent research demonstrating quantum information processing, whereby information is "teleported" over from one atom to another despite being completely separated by a meter of space. Is it the eyes receiving the signal or the body in general? It really doesn't matter, inquiring minds like to speculate as well as know.

"A Small Glass of Wine Could Delay Dementia" was published in The Daily Telegraph; the article is about a study of almost 6,000 people between the ages of 70 and 82. Males scored relatively similarly on memory and language tests, while women consuming small amounts of alcohol (no more than two to three small glasses of wine each day) delayed onset of memory and cognition declines!

"Probiotics Benefit Gastric Bypass Surgery Patients" was presented at the Digestive Disease Week in 2008, with the Stanford University study showing that bypass patients lost more weight when taking probiotics than those who did not. The probiotics group had lower fasting insulin, lipoprotein A and triglyceride levels, and higher good HDL cholesterol levels compared with the placebo group. Remember, bacteria in the human body weigh more than any single organ, so ensuring the colonies are filled with "friendlies" (probiotics) is critical for all of us.

Okay, so I have a boatload of stuff squirreled away, but I think it's time for lunch, so I shall put the rest away (arcane stuff like the fact that chlorophyll is considered very unstable after isolation and purification and why researchers use chlorophyllin in chemoprotection studies instead of garden-variety chlorophyl).

Sigh. Filing of any kind is not one of my long suits.


vasculardoctor said...

have you found any date in scientific literature to support the tea/mercury claim? i also read it in mens health but have not found any good data, the only experiment i found showed the opposite effect - too bad since i have a can of tuna every day

Cindy Marteney, CEO, Our Health Co-op said...

Always love to see people interested in tracking news back to the source. There's an article in "Food Science" (January 2009) called: "Impact of phytochemical-rich foods on bioaccessibility of mercury from fish."

The study found the following correlations between ingestion of phytochemical-rich foods with mercury-laden fish:

Green tea extract reduced mercury bioaccessibility by 82-92%.

Black tea reduced mercury by 88-91%.

Soy protein reduced mercury by 44-87%.

Interestingly, among fibers, wheat bran was highest at 84%, oat bran next at 59-75%, and psyllium was lowest at 15-31%.

Grapefruit juice did not reduce mercury.

So there you have it, an excellent pairing of green or black tea and edamame with sushi and other fishy meals.

I'm not so sure that wheat bran or oat bran pairs with fish in quite the same way! :-)

Cindy Marteney, CEO, Our Health Co-op said...

The link to the article on phytochemicals and reducing mercury absorption:

You can purchase the article in full for $31.50 through Science Direct.