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The Power of Kids Good Stuff

How diet and supplementation support hair regrowth in autoimmune hair-loss.


A recent paper has been published in the Cureus Journal of Medicine in which an eight-year-old patient achieved remission of Alopecia areata (AA) through the use of diet and supplementation including Nuzest’s Kids Good Stuff in the regimen. 

What is Alopecia areata (AA)?

AA is a common autoimmune condition targeting the hair follicles causing ‘spot baldness’ (or more extensive) hair loss in individuals. Autoimmune diseases are conditions that trigger the immune system to attack part of your own body; in the case of AA, the hair follicles are targeted, contributing to an individual’s presentation of hair loss. White blood cells attack healthy hair follicle cells, causing them to shrink and fall out. This is often present on the scalp in small patches, however, hair loss can occur over other parts of the body. 

Hair loss is a physical, external sign which may indicate that something is going on within the body. Nutrient deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, thyroid disorders and pharmaceutical drugs are just a few factors that may contribute to hair loss. 

The Case Study & Case Presentation

A case study by Cliff J. Harvey published in November 2020 reports the treatment of AA through the use of combined diet and supplementation.[1] The patient was an eight-year-old male who presented with AA.

Advice was provided to the patient’s parents to increase zinc, vitamin A and vitamin D-rich foods, to avoid gluten and dairy where possible, and to focus on a whole foods diet reducing intake of processed ‘packaged’ foods.[1]

The supplementation regimen consisted of our Kids Good Stuff multi-nutrient powder which is rich in vitamins A, D3, zinc and secondary antioxidant nutrients; paired with a zinc sulfate supplement and a fish oil with added vitamin D. Lifestyle advice was also given to spend 5-10 min outside daily. 

Key micronutrients including vitamin D, zinc and vitamin A were supplemented through a daily dose of Kids Good Stuff. Per 15g serve the following amount of key micronutrients were provided: 

  • Vitamin A – 400μg RE
  • Zinc – 6mg
  • Vitamin D3 – 10μg

The Results

After following the prescribed dietary and supplement regimen for two months, the patient’s hair was seen to grow back. After five months, it was reported the patient achieved complete remission, with evidence that the patient’s hair had completely recovered. Additional research suggests there is a relationship between the incidence and severity of AA and several micronutrients, including vitamin D, zinc and vitamin A.[2]

Read the full case report here.

The Benefits of Kids Good Stuff

Kids Good Stuff is an all-in-one nutritional support formula providing the right balance of vitamins and minerals to fill nutritional gaps in a child’s diet. It’s true that even as adults, many of us don’t get all the essential micronutrients that we need to thrive from diet alone and without vital nutrients we can’t perform and feel out best – this rings true for kids too! 

Insufficient intakes of nutrients increase rapidly from infancy. For example, from the age of 2-4 to 14-18, around 1/3 of males and over ¼ females don’t consume sufficient vitamin A and for boys and men, zinc insufficiency consistently rises from childhood to over 2/3 of the male population by adulthood.[3] The major reason being, we are not getting everything we need from diet alone as diets high in refined and processed foods are favoured. 

Kids Good Stuff is not a substitute for healthy, balanced meals, but is a daily supplementation to help support the health and growth of our kids. The nutrient rich formula includes microalgae, mushrooms, vegetables and high polyphenol fruit and berry extracts which provides an array of phytonutrients, trace and ultra-trace minerals necessary for proper absorption and utilisation of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients in kids. Each ingredient works together in a range of different functions, supporting all 11 systems of the body, including the integumentary system (hair, skin and nails). 

Kids Good Stuff was designed specifically with children’s needs in mind. It’s packed full of vitamins, minerals and other great stuff to set kids up for a good day and to support and nourish their growing bodies.


References:

[1] https://www.cureus.com/articles/42894-combined-diet-and-supplementation-therapy-resolves-alopecia-areata-in-a-paediatric-patient-a-case-study

[2]ABS. Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results‐Foods and Nutrients, 2011‐12. Australian Bureau of Statistics Canberra; 2014.  

[3]https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316992207_The_Role_of_Micronutrients_in_Alopecia_Areata_A_Review

Alex Hamlin

The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Human Health

sleep deprivation

Until recently, sleep was perhaps the most under-recognised piece of the health puzzle. It’s not that it was completely ignored, but the conversation generally revolved mostly around diet and exercise. Now, we are beginning to see, more and more, the enormous role that healthy sleeping patterns play in our overall health and performance. Products like


Until recently, sleep was perhaps the most under-recognised piece of the health puzzle. It’s not that it was completely ignored, but the conversation generally revolved mostly around diet and exercise. Now, we are beginning to see, more and more, the enormous role that healthy sleeping patterns play in our overall health and performance. Products like CBD helps anxiety so you can sleep better at night, hit the link to learn more.

What happens when we sleep?

When we sleep, our body disables sensory and muscle activity and we enter an altered state of consciousness.

During sleep, the body accelerates its recovery by building tissue and restoring immune and hormone functions and removing toxins from the brain and nervous system by way of a rhythmic ‘washing’ of the brain by the glymphatic (glial + lymphatic) system.

When we are asleep, we go through several phases of sleep including those categorised by rapid eye movement (REM), and non-REM sleep.

Within minutes we enter stage one sleep, characterised by alpha and theta brain waves. After several minutes of light, stage one sleep, we enter stage two. And ‘deep sleep’ (also called slow-wave sleep) involves stage three and four. In these stages, muscle activity is inhibited, and it is harder to awaken. About 90 minutes after falling asleep we then enter REM sleep characterised by rapid, jerking movements of the eyes. In this phase, the brain reactivates (most dreaming occurs during REM sleep) and this plays an important role in learning and memory, as the brain processes and organises information during this phase.

sleep phases

How much sleep do we need?

According to the National Sleep Foundation of the US, which convened an expert panel to evaluate optimal sleep times, the recommended amounts of sleep for various ages are1:

recommended amount of sleep for various ages

The quality of a person’s sleep (including adequate REM and deep sleep) is also extremely important. While there is no consensus on exactly how much REM and deep sleep we require, deep sleep should account for at least 13% of total sleep duration, while REM sleep typically accounts for at least 20% of sleep in healthy people2.  

Note: There can also be significant variations between people, and while most of us probably do best around the norms suggested above, it is known that genetic variability between people exists and some thrive on greater or lesser sleep times and different sleep patterns3.

The effects of sleep deprivation on health

Both short and long sleep durations are associated with poorer health and increased mortality risk4,5,6, and while we need to be aware the correlation does not always equal causation, the evidence is consistent enough that it is highly likely that poor sleep can precipitate poor health. Conversely, illnesses and health conditions can affect sleep (through physical pain and discomfort or mental and emotional anguish) but conversely, leading to a vicious cycle.

Reviews of the evidence have suggested a link between poor sleep (either length or quality) and a range of conditions, including:

  • Chronic pain and arthritis7
  • ADHD8
  • Heart disease and stroke9,10
  • Reduced cognition and brain health11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18
  • Dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease18,19,20
  • Diabetes21,22
  • Increased inflammation23
  • Depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety24,25,26,27,28
  • Reduced mood29
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)30
  • Weight gain and obesity31,32,33

Interestingly, loss of sleep is likely to also result in a lesser desire to exercise and eat well.34,35  It has, for example, been shown that partial sleep deprivation can result in people eating more, choosing to eat fattier foods that are lower in protein,36 and snack and drink more soda.37 This relationship is bidirectional, as a poor diet also likely leads to poorer sleep…and so, the cycle continues!35 On the other hand, getting adequate sleep is associated with a higher intake of fruits and vegetables.37

Sometimes sleep deprivation is unavoidable, however when it does occur it is important that we try our best to make healthy food choices in an effort to break the bidirectional poor sleep-poor diet cycle! If you feel that you are struggling to meet your nutrition needs through diet, you may like to consider a multinutrient supplement such as Nuzest Good Green Vitality as ‘nutritional insurance’ to help fill the nutritional gaps in your diet.

Nuzest recently spoke to five health experts regarding their top tips for achieving a good night’s sleep. Here is what they had to say…

Research Round-Up: April 2020

Immunity is a hot topic right now and not just because we are approaching the cooler months in the southern hemisphere. With COVID-19 impacting much of the world, people everywhere are more keenly aware of what they can do to best look after their immunity, not only to optimise their own health, but to help


Immunity is a hot topic right now and not just because we are approaching the cooler months in the southern hemisphere. With COVID-19 impacting much of the world, people everywhere are more keenly aware of what they can do to best look after their immunity, not only to optimise their own health, but to help protect their friends, colleagues and loved ones around them.

The large volume of content currently being shared on the topic of immunity had us wondering what the recent science said about what does and doesn’t help to support our immune systems. Accordingly, we published two evidenced based articles on the topics of holistic immunity for adults and nutrition to support immunity in kids. We also thought it timely to take a closer look at some of the more specific nutrients that are purported to target immune system support, so have dedicated this month’s entire research round up to all things immunity!

The importance of psychoneuroimmunity during COVID-19

The worldwide outbreak of COVID-19, the latest of the coronavirus infections to spread amongst humans, has been met by a large and widespread reaction of panic and anxiety in individuals subjected to the real or perceived threat of the virus. Our lifestyles and patterns have changed drastically and continue to do so on a daily basis. And while plenty of physical preventative measures for protecting immunity have been shared, recommended and even legally enforced, few have assessed or discussed the biopsychosocial and psychoneuroimmunological factors of this infection.

In a viewpoint published in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, psychiatrists from China Medical University explore the importance of psychoneuroimmunity, relying on practices of a balanced and healthy lifestyle, as an underlying but quintessential component of immune system function, particularly during our current health climate. As the authors explain, “social distancing and wearing masks might help protect us from pathogen exposure, however these measures also prevent us from expressing compassion and friendliness,” important components of psychoneuroimmunity.

The viewpoint explores the multifaceted impact of the panic spread about the virus on the health of those who have acquired the infection, those who are more susceptible to the virus such as the elderly, those with underlying physical illness, serious mental illness and carers of such populations, as well as the impact on general society due to the dramatic increases of public fears, decreases in social and economic activity and the current state of quarantine, all of which may lead to depression, anxiety, guilt and anger. The emotional side effects in all of these populations contribute to increased stress, which in turn may reduce immunity and compromise recovery.

The authors conclude that while most people lack immunity against this novel virus, and that there is currently no targeted medication yet available, prevention is the best strategy, namely one that reduces pathogen exposure as well as boosts individual immunity. Important for this is a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, balanced nutrition, quality sleep and a strong connection with families and communities as part of the necessary psychological support your body needs to enhance psychoneuroimmunity.

Kim SW, Su KP. Using psychoneuroimmunity against COVID-19. Brain Behav Immun 2020;PMID 32234338.

Sleep, cellular stress and immunity

Sleep is a universal phenomenon occurring in all species studied so far. For humans, sleep is important to almost every function of existence, and the result of sleep loss impacts our physiological response on both the organismal and cellular levels, suggesting an adaptive role for sleep in the maintenance of overall health. In a review published in Current Opinion in Physiology, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania explored the bidirectional impact of sleep on cellular stress and how the long-term effects of chronic cellular stress impact immunity.

The connection between sleep and the immune response has been investigated for over 40 years. The cellular stress that occurs as a result of sleep loss, impacts and elongates inflammatory processes that alter immunity, susceptibility to infection and recovery.

The review highlights that chronic cellular stress impacting the cellular homeostasis that contributes to DNA damage and disruption of cellular nuclear health. This alteration leads to a cascade of events that negatively impact the adaptive-immune and inflammatory responses, culminating in a destructive state of apoptosis.

The authors of the review conclude that sleep is an important part of the recovery process from acute stress or illness and that a growing body of work demonstrates that improvements in sleep can promote and enhance recovery, survival and the adaptive cellular response that underlies these processes.

Williams JA, Naidoo N. Sleep and cellular health. Curr Opin Physiol 2020;15:104-110.

How 1,3/1,6 beta-glucans affect inflammation and influence immunity

Inflammation is part of the innate immune system response, which protects the body in a rapid and non-specific manner against immunological threats. Emerging evidence currently suggests that yeast derived beta-glucans can aid host defence against pathogens by modulating the inflammatory and antimicrobial activity of neutrophils and macrophages, thereby influencing the outcome of innate immunity.

In a review published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, the relationship between supplemented beta-glucans and the immune system was explored. Highlighted was the outcome of pre-clinical work that has decrypted the beta-glucans’ mode of action, known as ‘innate immune training,’ which refers to a newly recognised phenomenon whereby compounds have the capacity to “train” innate immune cells to return a more effective immunological response. This supports the hypothesis that 1,3/1,6 beta-glucans may offer increased immunosurveillance (the process by which cells of the immune system are able to seek and identify foreign pathogens).

Although various human studies have been carried out, the results of these are weaker than those returned from pre-clinical studies. The authors of the review suggested further studies are required to fully elucidate the interaction between beta-glucan supplementation and human immune function.

De Marco Castro E, Calder PC, Roche HM. β-1,3/1,6-glucans and immunity: state of the art and future directions. Mol Nutr Food Res 2020;e1901071:PMID 32223047.

Research Round Up: March 2020

This month at Nuzest HQ has been all about digestive health and remote wellness. We have explored how the digestive system works, the digestibility of pea protein, ways to keep healthy when travelling or living and working in rural areas, as well as sharing our favourite fitness apps of 2020. We also interviewed some incredible


This month at Nuzest HQ has been all about digestive health and remote wellness. We have explored how the digestive system works, the digestibility of pea protein, ways to keep healthy when travelling or living and working in rural areas, as well as sharing our favourite fitness apps of 2020.

We also interviewed some incredible health professionals, Nutritionist Casey-Lee Lyons on her tips for getting kids to eat more fruits and vegetables, and Specialist Paediatric Dietitian Jessica Gust on her advice for parents of picky eaters.

Following these trends, we have decided to dig a little further into better understanding the interactions between dietary components and the gut microbiota, how yoga breathing practices could be used to enhance the wellbeing of adolescence and the potential risks of childhood picky eating should it persist into adulthood.

On the distinct interactions between the gut microbiota and dietary amino acids

The gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of humans and animals is host to a large and complex community of microorganisms (the microbiota) that significantly influence host nutrition and health. On top of the wealth of knowledge and information available regarding gut health, new molecular technologies and concepts have revealed a distinct interaction between the gut microbiota and dietary amino acids.

One review published in the Current Protein & Peptide Science journal, explains the relationship between the metabolism and utilisation of amino acids in the digestive tract and the host’s resident bacteria. It has been discovered that the interactions between the two may play a significant role in host nutrition and health, as well as determine the efficiency of amino acid supplementation.

The review, which summarises the current literature on the interactions between dietary amino acids and gut microbiota, explains that the by-products of amino acid digestion influence various pathways in the body that play a part in regulating the immune system and modulate gene expression of bacteria, leading to the promotion of host nutrition and health.

Abdallah A, Elemba E, Zhong Q, et al. Gastrointestinal interaction between dietary amino acids and gut microbiota: with special emphasis on host nutrition. Curr Protein Pept Sci 2020. DOI: 10.2174/1389203721666200212095503

Yoga breathing practices proven effective in encouraging healthy coping strategies and resilience among adolescents

Today’s “typical child” is often described as stressed out, under nourished and sedentary, which isn’t ideal, particularly during the time of adolescence, which is a vital period for the development of mental health.

And while several types of school-based stress management and wellness programs have been established with the purpose of encouraging healthy coping strategies and resilience among adolescence, no studies had been completed amongst this age group assessing the long-term impact of a simple and highly regarded yoga breathing practice known for its stress-relieving capacity, Bhramari pranayama (Bhr. P).

Bhr. P has been previously studied in adults and has been shown to reduce the cardiovascular reactivity to stress by inducing parasympathetic predominance and cortico-hypothalamo-medullary inhibition. Reduction of heart rate, blood pressure and autonomic function were observed after just five minutes of yoga breathing practice in healthy volunteers. Furthermore, enhanced inhibitory response and cognitive control were noted among healthy individuals following 10 minutes of yoga breathing practice. However, no such studies had yet been performed on adolescents.

In the first randomised controlled trial of its kind, one study published in Integrative Medicine Research, examined the effects of Bhr. P on 520 healthy adolescents (aged 13-18 years old) over a six-month period. The Bhr. P  was practiced for five, seven-minute cycles, five days a week for the duration of the six months in the experiment group (n=260) while the control group (n=260) continued with their daily routine without interruption.

Results of the study, determined by ECG recordings, found a positive shift in cardiac autonomic modulation and a significant improvement towards parasympathetic predominance, which are both markers of alleviating stress. The authors concluded that the study highlights the usefulness of a simple yoga breathing technique to improve the autonomic function of adolescent children.

Kuppusamy M, Kamaldeen D, Pitani R, et al. Effects of yoga breathing practice on heart rate variability in healthy adolescents: a randomized controlled trial. Integr Med Res 2020;9(1):28-32.

The problem with childhood picky eating persisting into adulthood

Picky eating, defined as the avoidance or rejection of food resulting in the inadequate consumption of a variety of foods, is common among children. And while parents are often concerned about their children’s picky eating, evidence is mixed regarding whether the impacts of picky eating on children are clinically meaningful. While most studies have focused on the nutritional impacts and growth during childhood of picky eating, few have examined the adult consequences of being a picky eater during childhood.

In a study published in Public Health Nutrition, the outcome of being a picky eater in childhood lead to some interesting, but not surprising outcomes in childhood. While there were no associations observed between being a picky eater in childhood and young adults’ weight status, or the use of weight-control strategies or report of binge eating, it was determined that adult counterparts of childhood picky eaters have lower intakes of fruit, vegetables and whole grains, and more frequently consume snack foods, sugar-sweetened beverages and foods from fast-food chains.

The study found that the eating habits of childhood picky eaters perpetuated into adulthood, where dietary patterns were still guided by reduced dietary variety and a higher intake of sweet foods. Essentially these are highly palatable foods of low nutritional quality.

These eating characteristics can contribute to chronic conditions including diabetes and cardiovascular disease, even in the absence of a higher weight status. Therefore, it’s important that parents of picky eaters do not encourage their children to eat foods of low nutritional quality as a means to simply eat enough (which can be common practice of parents to ensure their child is consuming sufficient energy), and that if their child’s problems with eating persist or worsen, parents and children who are picky eaters may benefit from medical, dietetic, paediatric or psychological intervention.

Pesch ME, Bauer KW, Christoph MJ, et al. Young adult nutrition and weight correlates of picky eating during childhood. Public Health Nut 2019:1-9.

How Digestible is Pea Protein?

Pea protein isolate is an increasingly common protein supplement due to its purported ease of digestion and high quality. But how digestible is pea protein really? Clinical Nutritionist & Researcher Cliff Harvey breaks down the science to explain. Protein digestion and why it’s important Digestion refers to the process of breaking down substances (from food)


Pea protein isolate is an increasingly common protein supplement due to its purported ease of digestion and high quality.

But how digestible is pea protein really?

Clinical Nutritionist & Researcher Cliff Harvey breaks down the science to explain.

Protein digestion and why it’s important

Digestion refers to the process of breaking down substances (from food) to forms that can be absorbed into the body for use. It is now commonly accepted that differences in protein sources are relatively minor and that the most important consideration is to consume (and absorb!) enough protein for optimal health and performance.

What can affect digestibility?

Antinutrients

Phytic acid

Phytic acid stores phosphorus in grains and legumes. Because humans lack the phytase enzyme to break this compound down, we cannot absorb the phosphorus from phytic acid1. While phytic acid might aid some health conditions2, it is also an antinutrient because it binds to proteins and essential minerals, inhibiting them from being absorbed.

Phytic acid can be reduced or eliminated by cooking, sprouting, and soaking3. As outlined below in Table 1, pea protein isolate is practically free-from phytic acid.

Saponins

Saponins are chemicals found in a wide variety of plants such as soybeans, chickpeas, peanuts and spinach4. Some saponins can also promote benefits to health58, but they can act as antinutrients – affecting the digestion of protein and reducing the uptake of minerals from the gut7. Saponins are also effectively removed by cooking, processing5 and the isolation process of pea protein isolate.

Lectins

Lectins are a type of protein found in both animals and plants, as well as in many foods. They can have a range of health effects, both positive and negative910, and the actions of some plant lectins can be toxic and act as antinutrients, reducing the ability of the body to properly absorb protein, carbohydrate and essential minerals. Plant lectins have been linked to anaemia, digestive issues, and protein and carbohydrate malabsorption and allergies1114. Lectins are also reduced or removed by cooking, sprouting, or isolation processes1213.

Table 1. Anti-nutrients in Pea Protein Isolate

Anti-nutritional Factors Pea protein isolate Pea (seed) Soybean Soy protein isolate
Trypsin inhibitor (TIA/g protein) 2.5 8.1 101 73.6
Lectins (HU/mg protein) Approx. 0.2 37.1 3.2 0
Tannins (mg cat eq/g protein) None detected 0.96 0.8 0.25
Phytic acid (mg/g protein) 1.2 101.1 89.6 62.7
Saponins (mg/100g) 1 2.5 6 9.04

Allergens and irritants

Common allergens include wheat, soy and dairy. Most commercial protein supplements are made from dairy proteins and these can cause digestive issues for some people.

The incidence of dairy allergies appears to be rising15, and while most people can tolerate dairy (and it can even be beneficial for health), it is an inflammatory food for those with underlying allergies to dairy proteins16, thus reducing dairy intake has been associated with improved outcomes for people with inflammatory conditions like asthma and inflammatory bowel diseases1719.

How digestible is pea protein isolate?

The digestion rate of pea protein isolate has been studied in comparison to a range of other protein. In one study, the in vitro digestion of pea protein isolate was shown to be around 90%, which is a similar digestion rate to whey protein (~89.8%)20. In other studies, pea protein has also been shown to have absorption rates of over 89%21.

Pisane®, the pea protein isolate used in Nuzest Clean Lean Protein, however, has been tested in comparative in vivolaboratory studies, and has been shown to have a 98% digestibility rating. Making it easier to digest than various milk proteins and fish, such as tuna.

Functional outcomes

The most important factor in choosing a protein is whether you can tolerate it AND whether it gets the job done. As discussed earlier, pea protein is both well digested and absorbed, and is also very well tolerated. It also performs equally well for muscle growth and retention. In an evaluation of pea protein isolate vs. whey protein, both protein types elicited nearly identical increases in muscle thickness when compared with placebo22.

Conclusion

Pea protein isolate is digested and absorbed easily and offers the benefits of being extremely low in antinutrients, allergens, and irritants while being at least as effective as other protein supplements for supporting the growth and repair of tissue and for the other benefits of protein such as satiety and reduced hunger.

It is for these reasons that Nuzest utilises pea protein isolate in their Clean Lean Protein range. Not only is pea protein isolate the superior protein choice in terms of its efficacy and allergen and antinutrient content, but it is also a sustainable protein choice which is why it is loved so much by people all around the world!

Research Roundup: February 2020

Last month we published the first in our series of research roundups, as part of our commitment to bringing you the latest highlights from the world of health and nutrition science. This month at Nuzest HQ has been all about plant-based diets, brain health and getting our kids prepped for another great year at school.


Last month we published the first in our series of research roundups, as part of our commitment to bringing you the latest highlights from the world of health and nutrition science.

This month at Nuzest HQ has been all about plant-based diets, brain health and getting our kids prepped for another great year at school. We’ve discussed how best to transition to a plant-based diet, provided tips on how to reduce the risks of age-related cognitive decline, as well as explored ways to nutritionally support kids’ brain health and cognition.

Following these trends, we decided to dig a little further into better understanding how to support healthy nutritional status when following a plant-based protocol, highlighted a key herbal remedy that is now being considered for front-line Alzheimer’s treatment, as well as refreshed on the most important aspects of brain health in children and adolescents.

Visual image of a variety of vegan sources of omega-3 fatty acids

How taking vegan omegas alongside powdered fruit extracts can improve micronutrient status

The results published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition of a controlled, randomised, open-labelled, parallel-grouped, clinical trial has found that supplementing with a plant-based fatty acid supplement can increase serum concentrations of specific vitamins and carotenoids.

The study, conducted on 68 healthy subjects aged 20-65, trialled supplementation of vegan omega-3 fatty acids at doses of 0.5g/day and 1g/day with the combined ingestion of a fruit, vegetable and berry juice powder concentrate.

Data from the results demonstrated a “complementing effect” where the intake of just 0.5g/day for eight weeks improved the absorption of several vitamins and carotenoids parallel to the fatty acids. Notable mentions include the increase in serum levels of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene.

Authors of the study recommend this as a safe and effective means to enhance nutrient status as the improvements were seen without any effects on hepatic, kidney and thyroid function and without any impact on blood lipids.

Dams S, Holasek S, Tsiountsioura M, et al. Effects of a plant-based fatty acid supplement and a powdered fruit, vegetable and berry juice concentrate on omega-3-indices and serum micronutrient concentrations in healthy subjects. Int J Food Sci Nutr 2020. PMID: 32064970.

Vegan omegas are an important part of a plant-based diet. For our top tips on ensuring you are still getting all of your omega-3 fatty acids, check out our guide on our easy plant-based food swaps.

A picture of a brahmi plant with a flower

Brahmi concluded to be a lead formulation for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders

Bacopa monnieri, commonly known as brahmi, is a nootropic ayurvedic herb that has historically been associated with the treatment of neurological disorders, dating back to ancient times. One recent review has uncovered the validity and scientific reasoning behind the use of this herb for such treatment, illuminating the mechanisms of action behind brahmi’s brain-centric benefits.

Neurodegeneration is characterised by the gradual loss of neurons, leading to the impairment of memory, locomotion and cognition. There are two key proteins that are involved in the progression of neuronal dysfunctions resulting in neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid-β and tau. Essentially these proteins lead to greater oxidative stress on the body, and increase neuroinflammation and neurotoxicity, which lead to dementia and behavioural deficits. While there are numerous natural and synthetic approaches to neurological disorders available, one review in the Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, set out to determine whether brahmi could be considered as one of those treatment options in a bid to help manage the worldwide increased rate of Alzheimer’s disease.

Brahmi extract, which is comprised of various bioactive components such as bacoside A, bacoside B, bacosaponins and betullinic acid, have known significant roles in neuroprotection. The review concluded that together, they inhibit amyloid-β and tau, and exhibit antioxidant and neuroprotective activity, as well as improve aspects of cognition and learning behaviour. As a result, the overall studies reviewed concluded that brahmi can be used as a viable and primary consideration for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other neurological disorders.

Dubey T, Chinnathambi S. Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri): an ayurvedic herb against the Alzheimer’s disease. Arch Biochem Biophys 2019;676:108153.

The ageing population has people questioning now, more than ever before, how they can prevent cognitive decline. Found out what Clinical Nutritionist and Researcher, Cliff Harvey, suggests here.

An image of a kid enjoying a big piece of watermelon

Healthy diet, physical activity and adequate sleep are yet again confirmed to be important for brain health in children and adolescents

In a recent study published in the International Journal of Environment Research and Public Health, it was found, yet again, that eating well and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are crucial elements to the brain health of children and adolescents.

The review which set out to provide an overview of the association between health behaviours and cognition and academic achievement in children and adolescents under 18 years of age with a special reference to diet quality, found that integrating a healthy diet with a physically active lifestyle and adequate sleep, provide the optimal circumstances for brain development and learning.

The study highlighted that dietary patterns with a low consumption of fish, fruits and vegetables, and a high intake of fast food, processed meats and soft drinks, have been linked to poor cognition and academic achievement. The authors also mentioned that there are limited studies available on particular aspects of dietary intakes that could be studied for greater understanding of diets on brain health, such as the high intake of saturated fat and red meat, as well as the low intake of fibre and high-fibre grain products.

While the results of the study are not shocking, having studies reconfirm what we already know is a great way to confirm that the health behaviours you are incorporating into your life, and the lives of your children, are scientifically validated as being beneficial. Furthermore, it’s always nice to see that there are easy and achievable ways to bring impactful health behaviours into the home.

Naveed S, Lakka T, Haapala EA. An overview on the associations between health behaviors and brain health in children and adolescents with special reference to diet quality. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020;17(3).

We’ve got the most important brain-boosting elements of kids nutrition covered in this article by our resident Naturopath, Stephanie Sarulidis. On ways to help look after your kids while they’re at school, check out our article on how to pack a healthy lunchbox, by in-house Accredited Practicing Dietitian & Nutritionist, Rachel Hawkins.

Research Roundup: January 2020

This month, we have been debunking common detoxing myths and talking all things New Year’s Resolutions. Here at Nuzest HQ, we are committed to educating consumers through current research and providing resources and inspiration to help them be the happiest and healthiest versions of themselves. As part of this commitment, we thought that it would


This month, we have been debunking common detoxing myths and talking all things New Year’s Resolutions. Here at Nuzest HQ, we are committed to educating consumers through current research and providing resources and inspiration to help them be the happiest and healthiest versions of themselves.

As part of this commitment, we thought that it would be fun to share a ’roundup’ of the research that catches our eye every month and break it down into easy-to-digest summaries for you.

This month, we look at whether cleansing diets improve cravings, energy and sleep quality; we debunk the age-old myth that it takes 21- days to form a habit; and explore what happens to the blood glucose response when sugar is swapped for stevia!

Woman in sports clothes sitting on her bed and surfing the internet for research

‘Cleansing’ diets significantly improve self-reported health markers relating to cravings, energy levels and sleep quality

A small exploratory study in a community of Appalachia, US, has discovered that ‘detox’ diets purported to eliminate toxins from the body significantly improve certain self-reported health measures.

Volunteers for the study participated in a pre-defined ‘clean’ diet for three weeks and completed three anonymous surveys to track their progress: one pretest before beginning the program (PRE), one roughly one week after completion (1wPOST) and one follow-up eight weeks after the end of the diet period (8wPOST).

Thirty-four individuals completed the PRE surveys, 15 individuals completed the 1wPOST surveys and eight individuals completed the 8wPOST surveys. Results comparing the PRE, 1wPOST and 8wPOST surveys found significant overall differences seen in the health characteristics of craving sweet/salty foods, “giving in” to cravings, energy levels and sleep quality.

Due to the small sample size of this study and the fact that no clinical outcomes were measured, further research is needed to determine whether cleanses actually improve cravings, energy levels and sleep quality. However, the results of this exploratory study do provide interesting insight into the potential benefits that cleanses may have on mindset and the positive impact this may have on overall health.

Davisson L, Sofka S. “Cleanse” detoxification diet program in Appalachia: Participant characteristics and perceived health effects. J Complement Integr Med 2019;pii: /j/jcim.ahead-of-print/jcim-2018-0174/jcim-2018-0174.xml.

Read our article Detox Diets Part 1: Do Detox Diets Really Work? to see what the research says on this popular topic!

two happy women in sports clothes running and giving each other a hi-five

How the fallacy of the 21-day new healthy habit began with plastic surgery

With new year’s resolutions well underway, many people might still be thinking that it only takes 21 days to form a new habit. Truth be told though; this is simply not correct. In fact, it’s more likely to take you around three times as long.

According to an article in the British Journal of General Practice, forming a new habit within 21 days is unrealistic, and instead, it is more likely to take you 66 days for automaticity to plateau (meaning, it takes about 66 days for you to adopt a behaviour into your normal, everyday, autopilot routine).

It appears though that this myth originated from anecdotal evidence around patients who had received plastic surgery treatment and took approximately 21 days to psychologically adjust to their new appearance. Unfortunately for the rest of us however, this adjustment period somehow made its way into guidance around health habit formation.

Thankfully though, the article explores how psychological theory and evidence around simple and sustainable habit-formation suggests that working effortfully on a new habit for two to three months is the best way to make a new habit second nature! So simply starting on your resolution and working at it till the end of March should see you well on your way to making a healthy habit for life.

Gardner B, Lally P, Wardle J. Making health habitual: the psychology of ‘habit-formation’ and general practice. Br J Gen Pract 2012;62(605):664-666.

Have you seen our 5 Exercise and Lifestyle Tips to Create a Happier and Healthier You this New Year? If not, click here to read.

chocolate block cacao

How combining stevia and cocoa when baking muffins may help reduce glycaemic response

Muffins are delicious. There’s no doubt about it. But generally, they contain high amounts of sugar that when over-consumed, isn’t always so good for your health. As a team of nutrition-conscious foodies (hence why we love adding Nuzest Clean Lean Protein to our baking) we are always looking for ways to make the foods we love better for us and our tastebuds. Thankfully, a group of scientists from China and New Zealand heard our baking prayers and decided to test ways in which to make muffins healthier, while still remaining scrumptious. The results were published in Foods journal.

The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of replacing sugar in muffins with either 50% or 100% stevia alongside adding natural flavour enhancers (cocoa and vanilla) for their effect on the physical properties of muffins and postprandial (after-meal) glycaemic response in comparison to a control muffin formulation with no stevia, cocoa or vanilla.

The results of the study? Nutritious and delicious.

The team discovered that replacing the sugar with stevia significantly improved in vitro (test tube) glycaemic response during digestion and helped to reduce the blood glucose response that is so commonly experienced following the consumption of high sugary foods. This is due to the fact that stevia lacks the calories and carbohydrates of sucrose, meaning there are no sugars released during digestion.

The study concludes that the full or partial replacement of sugar with stevia in muffins produces a treat with quality characteristics close to that of a full-sucrose muffin sample, however with greater associated health benefits thanks to a reduction in postprandial blood sugar levels. The results of this study provide an interesting avenue for future clinical (human) research.

Gao J, Guo X, Brennan MA, et al. The potential of modulating the reducing sugar released (and the potential glycemic response) of muffins using a combination of a stevia sweetener and cocoa powder. Foods 2019;8(10):pii:E644.

We had Clinical Nutritionist and Researcher Cliff Harvey investigate whether Stevia is safe to consume. See what he found in this article Stevia: Good or Bad? Everything you need to know.