We’re Told To Eat a Rainbow of Fruit and Vegetables. Here’s What Each Colour Does In Our Body


Nutritionists will tell you to eat a rainbow of fruit and vegetables. This isn’t just because it looks nice on the plate. Each colour signifies different nutrients our body needs. The nutrients found in plant foods are broadly referred to as phytonutrients. There are at least 5,000 known phytonutrients, and probably many more. So what does each colour do for our body and our overall health?


Red fruits and vegetables are coloured by a type of phytonutrient called “carotenoids” (including ones named lycopene, flavones and quercetin – but the names aren’t as important as what they do). These carotenoids are found in tomatoes, apples, cherries, watermelon, red grapes, strawberries and capsicum.

These carotenoids are known as antioxidants. You will have heard this name before, but you might not remember what it means. It has something to do with “free radicals”, which you’ve also probably heard of before.

Free radicals are formed naturally in our body as a byproduct of all our usual bodily processes such as breathing and moving, but they also come from UV light exposure, smoking, air-pollutants and industrial chemicals.Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage proteins, cell membranes and DNA in our body. This natural but damaging process is known as oxidation or oxidative stress.

This contributes to ageing, inflammation and diseases including cancer and heart disease.Importantly, antioxidants “mop up” the free radicals that form in our body. They stabilise the free radicals so they no longer cause damage.Increasing antioxidants in your diet lowers oxidative stress and reduces the risk of many diseases including arthritis, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.


Orange fruits and vegetables also contain carotenoids, but slightly different ones to red veggies (including alpha and beta-carotene, curcuminoids, and others). These are found in carrots, pumpkins, apricots, mandarins, oranges and turmeric.Alpha and beta-carotene are converted to vitamin A in our bodies, which is important for healthy eyes and good eyesight.

Vitamin A is also an antioxidant that can target the parts of your body made of lipids (or fats) such as cell membranes.The vitamin A targets the free radicals building up around our cell membranes and other areas made of lipids, reducing the risk of cancers and heart disease.


Yellow fruit and vegetables also contain carotenoids, but they also contain other phytonutrients including lutein, zeaxanthin, meso-zeaxanthin, viola-xanthin and others. These are found in apples, pears, bananas, lemons and pineapple.

Lutein, meso-zeaxanthin and zeaxanthin have been shown to be particularly important for eye health and can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, which leads to blurring of your central vision.These phytonutrients can also absorb UV light in your eyes, acting like a sunscreen for the eyes and protecting them from sun damage.


Green fruits and vegetables contain many phytonutrients including chlorophyll (which you probably remember from high school biology), catechins, epigallocatechin gallate, phytosterols, nitrates and also an important nutrient known as folate (or vitamin B9). These are found in avocados, Brussels sprouts, apples, pears, green tea and leafy vegetables.

These also act as antioxidants and therefore have the benefits as described above for red veggies. But this group also provides important benefits in keeping your blood vessels healthy, by promoting something called “vasodilation”. These phytonutrients help make our blood vessels more elastic and flexible allowing them to widen or dilate. This improves blood circulation and reduces blood pressure, reducing our risk of heart and other vessel complications and disease.

Folate is recommended before pregnancy because it helps reduce the risk of neural tube defects (such as spina bifida) in babies. Folate helps the development of the foetal nervous system during the first few weeks of pregnancy, as it has been shown to promote healthy cell division and DNA synthesis.

Blue and purple

Blue and purple produce contain other types of phytonutrients including anthocyanins, resveratrol, tannins and others. They are found in blackberries, blueberries, figs, prunes and purple grapes.Anthocyanins also have antioxidant properties and so provide benefits in reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke, as explained under red fruit and veg.

More recent evidence has indicated they may also provide improvements in memory. It is thought this occurs by improving signalling between brain cells and making it easier for the brain to change and adapt to new information (known as brain plasticity).

Brown and white

Brown and white fruits and vegetables are coloured by a group of phytonutrients known as “flavones”, this includes apigenin, luteolin, isoetin and others. These are found in foods such as garlic, potatoes and bananas.

Another phytonutrient found in this colour of vegetables, particularly in garlic, is allicin.

Allicin has been shown to have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.Most of this research is still at the lab-bench and not many clinical trials have been done in humans, but lab-based studies have found it reduces microorganisms when grown under laboratory conditions. Allicin has also been found in systematic reviews to normalise high blood pressure by promoting dilation of the blood vessels.

How can I get more veggies in my diet?

Coloured fruit and vegetables, and also herbs, spices, legumes and nuts provide us with a plethora of phytonutrients. Promoting a rainbow of fruit and vegetables is a simple strategy to maximise health benefits across all age groups. However most of us don’t get the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables each day. Here are some tips to improve your intake:

1. when doing your fruit and vegetable shopping, include a rainbow of colours in your shopping basket (frozen varieties are absolutely fine)

2. try some new fruit and vegetables you haven’t had before. The internet has tips on many different ways to cook veggies

3. buy different colours of the fruit and vegetables you normally eat like apples, grapes, onions and lettuces

4. eat the skins, as the phytonutrients may be present in the skin in higher amounts

5. don’t forget herbs and spices also contain phytonutrients, add them to your cooking as well (they also make vegetables more appealing!)


Program Director of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Accredited Practising Dietitian, University of South Australia

Source: We’re told to ‘eat a rainbow’ of fruit and vegetables. Here’s what each colour does in our body


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What Is Seed Cycling? Experts Weigh In On Eating Seeds For Fertility, Hormone Balance

If you’re trying to get pregnant, you’ve likely come across the practice of seed cycling, which involves eating specific seeds in the hopes of boosting fertility.

Of course, the irresistibly salty crunch of sunflower or pumpkin seeds makes them great snacks. But could those seeds actually do more for your health or even help balance hormone levels?

While seeds may be nutritious and tasty, experts are skeptical that seed cycling can produce real results. Here’s what you should know before you try it — and why you might want to go slow when adding seeds to your diet.

What is seed cycling?

The basic premise of seed cycling is that eating certain types of ground seeds (pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds) every day at different points in your menstrual cycle can affect hormone levels. And seed cycling proponents claim the practice may increase fertility and ease PMS symptoms.

“The theory — emphasis on the word theory — of seed cycling is that compounds called lignans can stimulate estrogen activity,” Whitney Linsenmeyer, a registered dietitian, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and assistant professor at Saint Louis University, told TODAY.

Lignans are a set of compounds found in seeds (especially flax seeds) that can have anti-inflammatory properties, TODAY explained previously. And there is some limited research, like this 2011 study in mice, that suggests lignans can interact with estrogen and even produce estrogen-like effects.

Other components in seeds, primarily fatty acids, “can serve as precursors to steroid hormones, potentially, or could impact inflammation,” Dr. Emily Jungheim, chief of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Northwestern Medicine, told TODAY.

It’s “possible” that eating more fatty acids could affect hormone levels and “create a more favorable environment for hormone signaling,” she said. There are few studies suggesting that eating sesame seeds and flax seeds can affect hormone levels in women.

But there are no randomized controlled trials on seed cycling specifically, Jungheim said. And infertility is more likely to be caused by other underlying health issues that can’t be solved with seeds, she added.

Does seed cycling improve fertility?

“The general idea that nutrition can impact your fertility is absolutely valid,” said Linsenmeyer, who is also an assistant professor at Saint Louis University. And there is some evidence that certain dietary factors (like unsaturated fats, whole grains, fish and vegetables) as well as being underweight or having obesity can make a difference.

“But there is no evidence that this specific practice — seed cycling — can impact fertility in any clinically significant way,” she said. “In terms of actually making a clinically significant impact on hormonal levels, there’s just no science there to support that,” Linsenmeyer said.

The truth is, “if somebody’s struggling with infertility, usually there’s some major thing that needs to be addressed,” Jungheim said. It might be that someone isn’t ovulating, that there’s an underlying health condition (like thyroid disease) making it more challenging to get pregnant or that their partner’s sperm count is too low, for instance.

But, if issues like those are causing fertility problems, eating a bunch of seeds isn’t likely to help. “There’s nothing I can think of physiologically or scientifically that would make it biologically feasible that eating a specific type of seed in one portion of the cycle would make you ovulate,” Jungheim said.

There may be other benefits to eating seeds, of course

“Seeds are very nutritious,” Linsenmeyer said. “So, the bottom line is yes — if you want to incorporate more seeds in your diet, go for it.” They can be a great source of fiber, protein and omega-3 fatty acids, she said.

But if you’re adding a lot of seeds to your diet at once, you may experience some gastrointestinal changes as your body adjusts to having more fiber. “Frankly, I would expect to see changes in bowel movements that might be just, like, startling to people,” Linsenmeyer said. “The insoluble fiber content adds a lot of bulk to the stool.”

You might also notice yourself feeling fuller sooner or not feeling as hungry when it comes time for your next meal due to the high fat content in seeds, she said.

All of that is why Linsenmeyer recommends people who are interested in adding more seeds to their diet do so gradually over the course of a week or two — and be sure to drink plenty of water.

Before you try seed cycling to boost fertility…

First, remember that it can take a while to get pregnant — and that is generally normal. “If you’re younger than 35, we generally recommend trying for a year,” Jungheim said, noting that over-the-counter ovulation prediction kits make it easier to know when you’re most fertile. For those over 35, she recommends checking in after six months.

But if you’re not having periods for three months in a row, that’s a sign that you may not be ovulating normally, Jungheim said, and you should talk with your doctor. Or, if you know you have a history of fibroids, endometriosis, PCOS or other issues that can affect fertility, it makes sense to check in with your doctor earlier on in the process, she said.

“I would encourage folks to get at least a diagnostic workup before turning to seed cycling,” Jungheim said. While treatments are not always covered by insurance, those initial tests usually are, she added. Early testing can screen for underlying (generally treatable) issues, like thyroid disease, and your diagnosis may be delayed if you’re spending time with seed cycling instead of talking to your doctor.

And recognize that there may also be emotional costs to pinning your hopes on something like seed cycling, Linsenmeyer added. “To me, the risk is getting somebody’s hopes up when there is no science to support the practice.”

Source: What Is Seed Cycling? Experts Weigh In On Eating Seeds For Fertility, Hormone Balance

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A New Generation of Weight Loss Drugs Makes Bold Promises, But Who Really Wins

In the months after having her second child, Sarah found herself fed up. The 40-year-old Seattle resident was cutting carbs and sugar, and exercising regularly, but couldn’t seem to shed the pounds she had put on during pregnancy. So when an email newsletter mentioned a new weight-loss drug called Wegovy, Sarah decided to give it a try. Eight months later, she is out more than $10,000—and down more than 60 lbs.

“Wegovy made losing weight almost effortless,” Sarah, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, told Quartz. “I’m not hungry often anymore and it doesn’t take any willpower to eat less. I simply don’t have any desire to overeat.”

Sarah is one of 125,000 US-based patients now taking Wegovy (whose generic name is semaglutide), a member of a new class of weight-loss drugs. These drugs work differently than the appetite suppressants popular among previous generations of dieters. They are also hitting the market at a different moment: one in which people are more eager than ever for realistic, science-based methods for addressing excess weight, even as a growing faction of activists and doctors voice skepticism of weight as an accurate measure of health.

A new class of weight-loss drug

In the mid-1990s, experiments on Gila monster venom found it contained hormones that could help lower blood sugar. That led to the diabetes drug Ozempic, which ultimately went on the market in 2018. People on that drug discovered a funny side effect: They lost weight.

In 2021, that same compound was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the name Wegovy for the express purpose of weight loss. Drugs like Wegovy work in more complex ways than simply suppressing appetite, and promise fewer (though not zero) side effects.

Like Wegovy, many of these drugs were originally approved for other conditions; liraglutide (brand name Saxenda for weight loss) was also originally approved as a diabetes drug (Victoza). In fact, semaglutide and liraglutide work similarly in the body: They’re known as GLP-1 receptor agonists because they activate receptors for the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) hormone, reducing appetite by slowing digestion and the rate at which the body takes up glucose.

Perhaps most important, the new drug promise significant weight loss. “The previous weight loss drugs were just modestly effective,” says John Buse, an endocrinologist at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. The average patient would lose 5% of their body weight, in some cases up to 8%. But with semaglutide, he says, “we’ve gotten the kind of weight loss that makes people pay attention: 10-15% of body weight. That’s the average weight loss—half of people are losing more than that. It’s a gamechanger in the conversation…now that we have medicines for which a substantial proportion of patients can expect to lose 30 to 50 lbs.”

In one 68-week pre-approval clinical trial, patients on Wegovy did indeed lose 14.9% of their body weight on average, compared with 2.4% for people on a placebo. (Although, as several writers and scholars have pointed out, the study was funded by Novo Nordisk, which makes Wegovy.) Given the average weight of trial participants—100 kg, or 220 lbs.—that meant weight loss of about 15 kg, or 33 lbs. Other drugs in development have had similar results. In a recent trial for one called tirzepatide from Eli Lilly, more than half of patients lost at least 20% of their body weight—50 lbs. in many cases.

What it takes to lose weight

This new class of drugs is entering a market that at first glance seems ripe for breakthrough. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 42% of Americans—70 million people—meet the criteria for obesity (having a BMI of 30 or more). At one point or another, most of those people will try a diet and exercise regimen to lose weight.

But a growing body of research shows that diets are not an effective way to lose weight and keep it off. “Obesity is a complex disease… ​for most people, lifestyle modifications, diet, and exercise are just not enough,” says Katherine Saunders, a doctor at the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at Weill Cornell Medicine and co-founder of Intellihealth, an app-based platform that brings evidence-based obesity treatment to patients.

In part because of that complexity, bariatric surgery has since 2009 been considered the standard of care for patients looking to lose a substantial amount of weight. But these procedures can be invasive and expensive, and can come with significant and long-lasting complications.

The dearth of other options leaves some patients and doctors excited about this new generation of drugs. “Right now, the field is really looking for more efficacy, number one. People will do almost anything to lose weight,” says Buse. “We have more than just surgery now for promoting substantial weight loss. The most exciting thing is that obesity is on the ropes.”

A complicated picture

While hopes are high, the realities of taking these drugs can be more complicated for patients. There are often side effects—the most common for semaglutide and liraglutide are diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. On Wegovy, Sarah says she’s experienced diarrhea so severe that a few times she had to delay her next dose.

Physicians can sometimes gloss over or downplay those effects. But a visit to dedicated Reddit pages for these drugs shows whole communities of patients struggling to adhere to the regimen when they’re feeling sick, and seeking support from a community to understand whether what seems like a severe reaction is normal. (Novo Nordisk did not respond to a request for comment.)

How well a patient can tolerate a drug “is something we think about quite a lot,” Saunders says. “We always start with lower doses and increase gradually as tolerated. Everyone is different. We keep in close touch with the patient and monitor them closely.”

And while these new drugs are relatively well-studied, there are still unknowns. They seem to help patients keep weight off more reliably than diet and exercise alone, but those benefits fade after people stop taking the drugs, and patients do often regain weight. There are also questions about long-term effects. In 1997, weight loss drug fenfluramine/phentermine (fen-phen) was pulled off the market after it was found to cause heart problems. More recently, Belviq (lorcaserin), which the FDA approved for weight loss in 2012, was pulled from the US market in 2020 because long-term use was found to increase the incidence of various types of cancers.

Even if a patient does want to go on one of these drugs, she might not be able to. Many patients keen to try Wegovy can’t access it at the moment, due to a supply chain issue that its manufacturer doesn’t expect to resolve until later this year. Even then, most US health insurers, including Medicare, do not cover drugs like Wegovy, and paying out of pocket can cost thousands of dollars per month. After Sarah’s doctor told her she doesn’t prescribe Wegovy, Sarah secured a prescription through an online health provider; she pays for it out of pocket.

The lack of insurance coverage is in spite of the fact that the American Medical Association declared obesity to be a disease in 2013. “The conversation around insurance coverage needs to be had with insurance companies, but also with employers,” says Kimberly Gudzune, the medical director for the American Board of Obesity Medicine. “It needs to be seen as an investment in your workforce.” The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act, which would expand Medicare to include obesity treatments, has been introduced to US Congress every year since 2012, but has never passed.

America’s love/hate relationship with weight

Though excess body fat was once considered a sign of wealth or fertility, over the past century a stigma has developed against larger bodies. Today doctors associate excess weight with medical conditions like heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and depression. Studies also show that life is harder when you move through the world in a larger body. Fat people are less likely to be hired for a job, are paid less, are less likely to get married, and are less likely to be happy (though not if they’re living around other fat people). One 2006 study found that 46% of respondents would rather give up one year of life than be obese; 5% said they’d rather lose a limb.

The current state of research makes it impossible to unravel the full complexity of weight and health, but the conversation is starting to accommodate more nuance. Ubiquitous metrics such as body mass index are increasingly understood to be unreliable indicators (though doctors often still use them), and even the language around larger bodies is under review. Many physicians use “obese” to describe people who have excess weight or a BMI over 30, but activists are shying away from the word. “The reason…we are reluctant to use the words ‘overweight’ and ‘obesity’ is that they are made up, they can change,” says Tigress Osborn, a fat activist and chair of the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance.

In fact, some research suggests that fat may have a protective effect on the body. “The body’s weight-regulating mechanism is about survival. It’s a system with more moving parts than we understand,” says Marilyn Wann, a fat activist and author of the book Fat!So? “Trying to remove weight from an individual or from the population is like trying to take a sledgehammer to the weather—we don’t know the unintended negative consequences we’re going to create.”

There are signs that in the future physicians may be more accepting of bodies of different sizes. But as weight loss drugs get more effective and more available, those cultural gains for body positivity (or body neutrality, or fat acceptance) may also be called into question.

A new relationship between doctors and patients

Overweight patients who come to see Shelly Crane might have an experience they’ve never had before. “I don’t initiate a weight-loss conversation with a patient,” says Crane, a family physician at Advocate Aurora Health in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Most weight-loss programs come with more risk of harm than good, she says, and there’s not enough evidence that people who do lose weight are healthier in the end.

Crane doesn’t regularly prescribe new drugs for weight loss, though she says more patients are coming in and asking for them lately. Instead, she prefers to keep conversations focused on goals of care. “Patients say, ‘I know I need to lose weight,’ and I say, ‘Why do you think you need to lose weight? What would change in your life if your weight was lower?’” That gives her an opening to talk about health more broadly—how is the patient’s sleep? Their diet? Their mobility? “I try to stay in my sphere of what I’m able to do as a family doctor and really address the root of the health issue as much as I can.”

Crane was drawn to this approach by listening to her patients talk about experiencing size discrimination, and by following the work of fat activists such as Ragen Chastain and Aubrey Gordon. Though she’s been trained in a more integrative style of medicine, her approach toward body acceptance was also shaped by her discovery of intuitive eating during medical school. Since then, she’s been working on deprogramming herself and her colleagues from anti-fat bias.

Crane is part of a burgeoning movement among doctors to improve the treatment of larger patients. For some, that means skipping the dreaded weigh-in, a practice that is somewhat controversial within medicine. Medical organizations like the Association of American Medical Colleges also offer guidelines to reduce anti-fat bias among clinicians.

For doctors, the updated approach at least engenders trust, which can in turn get patients to seek medical care more frequently and improve their overall health. At most, it broadens the definition of what “healthy” means, and looks like.

Some fat activists see this shift as an important step. “The thing we hear most often from the public is, ‘I thought I had this thing, but all the doctor wanted to talk to me about is weight loss, and now the thing is worse,’” Osborn says. “It’s progress to have people in the medical establishment recognizing that there are other healthcare concerns besides weight, if weight is a healthcare concern.”

The hope is that this evolution continues. Activists want more people, in the medical profession and outside of it, to respect their autonomy. That becomes even more pressing in a possible future filled with weight-loss drugs—a future where a person can simply take a drug and stop being fat. “The ease with which I could become smaller—why should I? That should be up to me. Just like, if you believe it’s a medical disorder, the treatment I choose should be up to me,” Osborn says. “Like with anything else, if you believe fat is a disorder, we should let people decide whether people will get treated or not.”

“Fatness isn’t a problem to be solved in and of itself. It is not the root cause of all ills, as much as [medicine] would like to think it is,” Crane says. “We can help people live full, rich lives when we focus on goals of care and not on weight.”

By Alexandra Ossola

Source: A new generation of weight loss drugs makes bold promises, but who really wins? — Quartz

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COVID-19 Vaccines Not Linked To Pregnancy Loss; Mixing Vaccines May Confer Greater Protection

The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that have yet to be certified by peer review.

COVID-19 vaccines not linked with pregnancy loss

Two studies in major medical journals add to evidence that COVID-19 vaccines are safe before and during pregnancy. One study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday, tracked nearly 18,500 pregnant women in Norway, including about 4,500 who had miscarriages.

Researchers found no link between COVID-19 vaccines and risk of first-trimester miscarriage, regardless of whether the vaccines were from Moderna, Pfizer and BioNTech, or AstraZeneca. Overall, the women with miscarriages were 9% less likely to have been vaccinated, according to the researchers’ calculations.

In a separate study published on Thursday in The Lancet, researchers tracked 107 women who became pregnant while participating in trials of AstraZeneca’s vaccine in the UK, Brazil and South Africa. Seventy-two of the women had received the vaccine while the others got a placebo. AstraZeneca’s vaccine had no effect on the odds of safely carrying the pregnancy to term, the researchers reported.

“It is important that pregnant women are vaccinated since they have a higher risk of hospitalizations and COVID-19-complications, and their infants are at higher risk of being born too early,” the authors of the Norwegian study wrote. “Also, vaccination during pregnancy is likely to provide protection to the newborn infant against COVID-19 infection in the first months after birth.”

Vaccine combinations with different technologies may be best

Healthcare workers in France who got a first shot of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine and then the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for their second shot showed stronger immune responses than those who had received two shots of the Pfizer vaccine, in a recent study. Combining different technologies is known to boost immune responses to other viruses, and the current study suggests it may be true for the coronavirus as well.

Both vaccines in the study deliver instructions that teach cells in the body to make a piece of protein that resembles the spike on the coronavirus and that triggers an immune response. But they do it in very different ways. Both protocols provided “safe and efficient” protection, said Vincent Legros of Universite de Lyon in France, coauthor of a report published on Thursday in Nature.

But combining the AstraZeneca shot with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine “conferred even better protection” than two doses of Pfizer’s shot, including against the Delta variant, Legros said. The two technologies combined induced an antibody response of better quality, with more neutralizing antibodies that could block the virus, and more cells that have been “trained” by the vaccine to have increased defense potential, he said.  Combination vaccination “is safe and may provide interesting options… for clinicians to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection,” Legros concluded.

Cognitive problems seen in middle-aged COVID-19 survivors

A “substantial proportion” of middle-aged COVID-19 survivors with no previous dementia had cognitive problems more than half a year after diagnosis, researchers have found. They looked at 740 people who ranged in age from 38 to 59. About half were white, and 63% were female. On tests of thinking skills, 20% had trouble converting short-term memories to long-term memories, 18% had trouble processing information rapidly, and 16% had trouble with skills needed for planning, focusing attention, remembering instructions, and juggling multiple tasks.

The average time from diagnosis was 7.6 months. About one-in-four patients had been hospitalized, but most of them were not critically ill. “We can’t exactly say that the cognitive issues were lasting because we can’t determine when they began,” said Dr. Jacqueline Becker of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, who co-led the study published on Friday in JAMA Network Open. “But we can say that our cohort had higher than anticipated frequency of cognitive impairment” given that they were relatively young and healthy, Becker said.

Data support use of Pfizer vaccine in children and teens

The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine showed 90.7% efficacy against the coronavirus in a trial of children ages 5 to 11, the U.S. drugmaker said on Friday in briefing documents submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration but not formally published. The children were given two shots of a 10-microgram dose of the vaccine – a third of the strength given to people 12 and older.

The study was not primarily designed to measure efficacy against the virus. Instead, it compared the amount of neutralizing antibodies induced by the vaccine in the children to the response of recipients in their adult trial. Pfizer and BioNTech said the vaccine induced a robust immune response in the children. Outside advisers to the FDA are scheduled to meet on Tuesday to vote on whether to recommend authorization of the vaccine for that age group.

A separate study from Israel conducted while the Delta variant was prevalent and published on Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine, compared nearly 95,000 12- to -18-year-olds who had received Pfizer’s vaccine with an equal number of adolescents who had not been vaccinated. The results show the vaccine “was highly effective in the first few weeks after vaccination against both documented infection and symptomatic COVID-19 with the Delta variant” in this age group, the research team reported.


Source: COVID-19 vaccines not linked to pregnancy loss; mixing vaccines may confer greater protection | Reuters



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New Study Shows Folate Foods Help Prevent Alzheimer’s

Many people don’t think about integrating folate or folic acid into their diet until they’re trying to get pregnant, which is an unfortunate oversight. In fact, a new scientific study just further affirmed the fact that folate is an important nutrient and key to maintaining optimal health at all phases of life. Here’s what you should know about the importance of eating folate-rich foods daily.

What is folate, and what is the difference between folate vs. folic acid?

Before we jump into the new research, let’s define what folate is and clear up a common misconception: that folate and folic acid are the same thing. Folate is a B-vitamin (vitamin B9 to be exact) that is naturally found in food. It’s needed to make DNA and other genetic material and is key for helping cells divide.

It also helps a baby’s brain, skull, and spinal cord develop properly, which is why folate is so closely associated with the conception and pregnancy periods. On the other hand, folic acid is the synthetic version found in supplements and fortified foods. It’s important to note that folate is not made by the body, which makes it an essential nutrient that we must get from outside sources, meaning foods rich in folate

Whether you’re consuming folate or folic acid, in order to reap these benefits, the nutrient will need to be converted into an active form. This process is far more likely to happen when you are getting the vitamin naturally from folate foods versus folic acid supplements. “This is because folate is converted into its active form in the digestive system before entering the bloodstream.

With folic acid, however, not all of it is converted in the digestive system,” explains Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT and Tammy Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT, The Nutrition Twins and founders of 21-Day Body Reboot. “Instead, some needs to be converted in the liver and in other tissues, which is not an efficient process. Unmetabolized folic acid can sit in the bloodstream for a long time and it can’t be utilized, which has been associated with a number of health problems.”

The new research findings on folate deficiency

Now, there is one more key reason to zone in on folate. A new study published in Frontiers in Neuroscience—a systematic review and meta-analysis of the association between folate and Alzheimer’s Disease—found that there is evidence to show that the vitamin plays an important role in the development of Alzheimer’s Disease. This is critical because Alzheimer’s is, today, the most common type of neurodegenerative disease leading to dementia in the elderly.

Around 60 publications were included in the review, each of which had a sample size ranging from 24 to 965, to comprehensively evaluate the associations between Alzheimer’s and folate levels. The results showed that the folate level of Alzheimer’s patients was lower compared with that of the healthy controls. Therefore, researchers concluded that there’s plausible reason to think that a deficiency of folate increases the risk for Alzheimer’s and, arguably more importantly, sufficient daily intake of folate could reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.

“From the information in this study and considering the other known benefits of folate for our body and brain, it is encouraged to have sufficient daily intake of folate to reduce risk of Alzheimer’s,” says Lauren Hubert, MS, RD.

Amy Cameron O’Rourke, MPH, CMC, an advocate for senior care in the U.S. and the author of The Fragile Years echoes this. “I have been a long time believer in a deficient diet being a risk factor for many medical diagnoses and Alzheimer’s is no exception. Folate aids in the growth of healthy cells, so it isn’t difficult to make the leap to see proper folate as a protective factor for Alzheimer’s.” O’Rourke goes on to say that exercise, along with being socially engaged and following an anti-inflammatory diet (or a diet with less processed food), are some other effective ways to prevent Alzheimer’s.

The recommended daily amount of folate for adults is 400 micrograms (mcg). For those who are pregnant, it is about 600 -1000 mcg. “If a person is eating a balanced diet, they are likely getting enough folate,” says Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, a registered dietitian for Zhou Nutrition.

She goes on to advise that women of childbearing age consider taking a supplement and eating fortified foods to make sure they’re reducing the risk of developing certain birth defects should they become pregnant. In general, however, she affirms that supplements are a supplement to a healthy diet.

“It’s also important to note that like anything in life, you can consume too much folate and that can have other impacts on the body,” says Hubert. “For most people, you don’t need folic acid supplementation and should instead focus on getting folate through natural food sources in your diet.” Luckily there are many non-processed, anti-inflammatory foods that contain folate. Here’s a look at five of the best, according to The Nutrition Twins.

The top 5 folate foods

1. Edamame

“One-half cup cooked edamame has 241 mcg folate, or 60 percent of the daily requirement. It makes a delicious snack or appetizer that provides a prolonged energy boost thanks to the combination of fiber and protein, which help to keep blood sugar stable. You can toss edamame beans on salads, too.”

2. Lentils

“One-half cup of cooked lentils has 179 mcg of folate—almost half of the daily requirement. Lentils are a great source of protein and fiber and are a super satisfying source of plant protein. They’re wonderful to add to the diet as their fiber helps to keep you regular and improve gut health. They’re also a great source of iron, which is particularly good for vegetarians who often struggle to get enough. They make a great substitution for meat in tacos, salads, and soups.”

3. Asparagus

“One-half cup asparagus has 164 mcg, or 40 percent of the daily requirement. It’s also rich in fiber, and is a great source of anthocyanins—these antioxidants help protect the body from the damage caused by free radicals, which can lead to chronic disease. Another fun reason to add it to the diet: asparagus contain the amino acid asparagine, which acts as a natural diuretic, helping to flush excess fluid and salt from your body.”

4. Spinach

“A half cup of steamed spinach provides 131 mcg of folate, which is around one third of the daily 400 mcg requirement. It promotes immune and skin health since it’s rich in vitamin C. Spinach is also great for vegetarians and vegans since it’s a rich source of iron and calcium, two nutrients that most people associate with animal products.”

5. Black Beans

“One half cup serving of black beans contains 128 mcg of folate, roughly a third of the daily requirement. Add beans to your salad, make bean soup, chili, burrito, bean salsa, or a casserole and you’ll also get a hefty dose of fiber, antioxidants, plus protein.”

By: Sharon Feiereisen

Source: New Study Shows Folate Foods Help Prevent Alzheimer’s | Well+Good


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