Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Experts Challenge Super Food Claims: Healthy-Giving Properties of Broccoli, Blueberries, May Not Make It Past the Gut



broccoli (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


This reminds me of a conversation I had with a pharmacology lab technician about 30 years ago.
He was discouraged that drug research did not include studies on how drugs were broken down by digestion, the resultant by-products, and how the by-products worked to “cure” diseases or ameliorate conditions.  I suspect little has changed since then in drug research.




From the 5 October 2012 article at Science Daily


They have been the mainstay of the health industry for the best part of a decade, but now researchers at London’s Kingston University are using an approach that allows them to delve deeper into the effectiveness of health-promoting ‘super foods’ and their elixir-giving ilk. While there’s no doubt foods such as broccoli, blueberries and whole grains contain polyphenols – compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties – the academic experts contend that little of these health-giving properties actually make it past the gut.

“Polyphenols may well work when cells are exposed to them directly, such as under laboratory conditions, but what needs to be established is how effective they are when consumed as part of a food. If they don’t actually get through the gut membrane and into the rest of the body, then they’re not a super food,” Dr Lucy Jones, Deputy Dean of the University’s Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing, said.

Dr Jones and her colleague Dr Elizabeth Opara have taken a model developed in the early 1980s by US cancer research institute Sloane Kettering and adapted it to see if and how medicinal Chinese herbs, known to limit the growth of cancer cells, are absorbed in the body. Known as the Caco-2, the model mimics the action of the small intestine, the principal place where nutrients are taken up. The Kingston researchers have used it to assess what does and doesn’t make it through the gut…



October 10, 2012 - Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , ,

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