Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Young adults 'damage DNA' with weekend alcohol consumption

According to studies, it is believed that young adults are damaging their DNA with their weekend alcohol consumption. I believe alcohol can have some effects on the body, but I do not think it can damage DNA. It takes a lot of alcohol to do any damage & sure young adults drink a lot, but I think their bodies can easily adapt and maintain itself.
College students are renowned for partying at the weekends, and this usually involves having a drink or two. But new research has found that this level of alcohol consumption may cause damage to DNA. This is according to a study published in the journal Alcohol.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that around four out of five college students in the US drink alcohol and 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year as a result of unintentional alcohol-related injuries.

According to the study researchers, including co-author Jesús Velázquez of the Autonomous University of Nayarit in Mexico, previous research studying the effects of alcohol consumption has mainly been carried out in individuals who have been drinking for long periods of time.

These individuals usually have illnesses as a result of their alcohol consumption, such as liver damage, cancer ordepression.

But the investigators say their study is "pioneering," as it analyzes the effects of alcohol consumption on young people who are healthy.

Oxidative damage caused by alcohol consumption

The researchers set out to determine the level of oxidative damage caused by alcohol consumption in two groups of people between the ages of 18 and 23. Oxidative stress can cause damage to proteins, membranes and genes.

One group drank an average of 1.5 liters of alcoholic beverages every weekend, while the other group did not consume any alcohol.

All participants underwent blood tests to ensure they were healthy and were free of any diseases or addictions.

The researchers also measured the activity of dehydrogenase - an enzyme responsible for metabolizing alcohol (ethanol) into acetaldehyde - as well as acetoacetate and acetone activity.

Using a thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) test, the researchers were able to assess oxidative damage. The test allowed them to see how ethanol in the blood, and the acetaldehyde produced by dehydrogenase in reaction to ethanol, affects the lipid peroxidation that impacts cell membranes.

Results of the study revealed that the alcohol-consuming group demonstrated twice as much oxidative damage to their cell membranes, compared with the group that did not drink.

Signs of DNA damage through alcohol consumption

An additional experiment, called the comet test, was conducted to see whether the participants' DNA was also affected by alcohol consumption. This involved taking out the nucleus of lymphocytic cells in the blood and putting it through electrophoresis.

The researchers explain that if the cells are faulty and DNA is damaged, it causes a "halo" in the electrophoresis, called "the comet tail."

The experiment revealed that the group who consumed alcohol showed significantly bigger comet tails in the electrophoresis, compared with the group that did not drink alcohol.

In detail, 8% of cells were damaged in the control group, but 44% were damaged in the drinking group. This means the drinking group had 5.3 times more damage to their cells.

However, the investigators say that they were unable to confirm there was extensive damage to the DNA, as the comet tail was less than 20 nanometers. But the investigators say their findings still raise concern.

Overall, they conclude that oxidative damage can be found in young adults with only 4-5 years' alcohol drinking history, and that this is the first study to provide evidence of this damage in individuals at the early stages of alcohol abuse.

Original Article

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Friday, May 16, 2014

Two big meals may be better than six small ones

I believe that eating two big meals can work, but I believe that it is unrealistic. Many people cannot skip dinner, because dinner to so many people is an essential time for family. 6 small meals in a day is easier and more essential than giving up eating throughout the day. The only difficult part about eating 6 small meals a day is that it is harder to control calories throughout the day.
You've probably heard that eating multiple small meals throughout the day is a good way to stave off hunger and keep your metabolism revved up while trying to lose weight. But a new study could change your diet strategy.
Eating two large meals early and skipping dinner may lead to more weight loss than eating six smaller meals throughout the day, the study suggests.
"Both experimental and human studies strongly support the positive effects of intermittent fasting," lead study author Dr. Hana Kahleova told CNN in an e-mail.

The study
Researchers from the Czech Republic followed 54 patients with Type 2 diabetes for 24 weeks. The study participants were split into two groups at random. Both groups followed a diet that reduced their energy intake by 500 calories per day and contained 50 to 55% carbohydrates, 20 to 25% protein and less than 30% fat.
For the first 12 weeks, one group ate three main meals - breakfast, lunch and dinner - and three small snacks in between meals. The other group ate a large breakfast between 6 and 10 a.m. and a large lunch between noon and 4 p.m. The two groups then switched for the second 12 weeks.
Researchers asked the patients not to alter their exercise habits during the study.
The results
Although both groups lost weight and decreased the amount of fat in their livers, the group that was eating only two larger meals lost more during each 12-week session. Eating fewer, bigger meals also led to lower fasting blood sugar levels, meaning that the body's insulin production was working more efficiently.
The timing and frequency of the groups' meals did not seem to have an effect on the function of beta cells that produce insulin or on the glucose metabolic clearance rate - i.e. how fast their bodies were able to process and get rid of sugar.
Our expert's take
"This is interesting," says CNN diet and fitness expert Melina Jampolis. "But the first thing I think of is that it's not really liveable, telling people to skip dinner every day."
Jampolis is also concerned that the two groups did not end up eating the same total number of calories. "Eating six times a day, it's very hard to control calories." The researchers admit that while they did their best to ensure both groups consumed the same amount, the group that ate two larger meals may have eaten less.
While the study was small, Jampolis agrees that there's research to support eating a lighter meal later in the day.
Most of us consume the majority of our day's calories late at night when we're the least active, she says. And when we're not active, our insulin sensitivity drops. Arecent study showed that walking for just 15 minutes after dinner can help lower your risk for diabetes. Fasting between lunch and breakfast may have a similar effect, she says.
The takeaway
Don't skip dinner altogether. Focus instead on eating a hearty breakfast and lunch, and keep your last meal of the day low in calories.
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