Science Shorts: Gut health research in Australia, Japan and NZ, diet's effect on Alzheimer's, and new findings on naturopathy

By Cheryl Tay

- Last updated on GMT

Science Shorts: Gut health research in Australia, Japan and NZ, diet's effect on Alzheimer's, and new findings on naturopathy

Related tags Gut bacteria Probiotics microbiome Alzheimer's disease naturopathy chronic disease

Find out what Australian, Japanese and Kiwi researchers have discovered about probiotics and the gut microbiome, how diet can affect Alzheimer's risk, and whether naturopathy is effective against chronic disease in our latest science round-up.

Good gut, good night: New research finds link between gut health and sleep patterns

Kiwi and Dutch researchers have reported a direct link between gut health and the circadian rhythm​, which could be the key to getting sufficient sleep and protecting the body from pathogens.

In a review article published in the journal Microorganisms​, Dr Shanthi Parkar from New Zealand's institute Plant & Food Research, along with fellow researchers from the University of Auckland and University of Amsterdam, detailed the effects of diet on the quality of sleep.

The review assessed existing evidence of the "interdependency of host circadian systems and gut microbial ecology, and the consequences of this interaction for the host metabolism"​.

Personalised diet and supplementation needed to lower Alzheimer's risk: Pharmacology expert

A highly personalised supplementation and diet programme is vital to lowering risk and managing symptoms​ in Alzheimer's disease, according to an expert in neurodegenerative diseases.

Dr Dale Bredesen, a professor of Pharmacology at the University of California, told NutraIngredients-Asia​ there were certain vitamins, supplements and foods that could prevent or slow cognitive decline.

He referred to the ReCODE Protocol, which he had developed to evaluate 150 factors known to contribute to Alzheimer's. This protocol identifies an individual's disease subtype or combination of subtypes so an effective treatment protocol can be devised.

Newly discovered 'specialist' gut bacterium points to microbiome's evolution and dietary adaptation

Recent findings by Kiwi researchers imply that the human gut microbiome is evolving to adapt​ to the growing consumption of fibre-rich foods.

Scientists at New Zealand's Plant & Food Research institute, together with local and international research partners, have discovered a gut bacterium that specialises in breaking down pectin, a carbohydrate found in plants that is typically difficult to digest.

Called Monoglobus pectinilyticus​, the bacterium is said to be the first to specialise in pectin degradation and utilisation.

First-of-its-kind Aussie study supports use of naturopathy in chronic disease treatment

The world's first systemic scoping study, conducted by researchers at Australia's Southern Cross University, has reported the clinical benefits of naturopathic medicine​ for a variety of chronic conditions.

The study, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine​, presented a systematic review of existing research on whole-system naturopathic medicine with multiple modalities (or clinical techniques).

The published study comes at an important time for Aussie naturopaths, after the government cancelled private health insurance rebates for their services.

Sapporo's health focus: Japan firm opens wellness lab firm and reveals study on proprietary bacteria strain

Sapporo Holdings is devoting more resources to its health food business​, with the opening of a wellness lab firm and further studies on its proprietary heat-treated lactic acid bacterial strain SBL 88.

The Sapporo Wellness Lab Limited was established last month with a capital of ¥10m (US$90,000) and is located within the Sapporo Holdings office.

The lab seeks to accelerate the research and development of functional food ingredients, in line with the company's plan to reform its business and expand its functional food portfolio. The R&D team in charge of developing health food has about 15 members. 

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