HEALTH

Study finds that glutamine may offset damage caused by ulcer-causing bacteria

BY Michael Johnsen

BOSTON A study released last week that was led by scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology demonstrated that the amino acid glutamine, found in many foods and in dietary supplements, may prove beneficial in offsetting gastric damage caused by H. pylori infection, bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers.

“Our findings suggest that extra glutamine in the diet could protect against gastric damage caused by H. pylori,” stated senior author Susan Hagen, associate director of research in the Department of Surgery at BIDMC and associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School. “Gastric damage develops when the bacteria weakens the stomach’s protective mucous coating, damages cells and elicits a robust immune response that is ineffective at ridding the infection.”

Eventually, she noted, years of infection result in a combination of persistent gastritis, cell damage and an environment conducive to cancer development.

Glutamine is a nonessential amino acid naturally found in certain foods, including beef, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy products and some fruits and vegetables. L-glutamine – the biologically active isomer of glutamine – is widely used as a dietary supplement by body builders to increase muscle mass.

“Because many of the stomach pathologies during H. pylori infection [including cancer progression] are linked to high levels of inflammation, this result provides us with preliminary evidence that glutamine supplementation may be an alternative therapy for reducing the severity of infection,” Hagen said, adding that studies in human subjects will be the next step to determine the relevance of this finding in the clinical setting.

The report appears in the May 2009 issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

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FMI postpones, reschedules annual events due to flu outbreak

BY Michael Johnsen

ARLINGTON, Va. The Food Marketing Institute last week rescheduled its date for Future Connect in Dallas, which will now be held Oct. 12 to 14, and postponed its Marketechnics to the FMI 2010 event in Las Vegas.

“FMI appreciates the support and positive reinforcement we have received from the industry as we addressed the myriad issues resulting from the postponement of two events due to the influenza outbreak,” stated Leslie Sarasin, president, CEO of FMI. “We are thrilled to announce new plans to provide the industry with the essential education and insight provided by these events.”

Future Connect will now occur Oct.12 to 14 at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Dallas. All attendee registrations from the previously scheduled May dates for this event are automatically transferred to the October event. Companies may make substitutions on existing attendee registrations as needed.

Attendees should make new hotel reservations at www.fmifutureconnect.com. Registration for the event will re-open and new attendees may register online at the same Web site.

Marketechnics is postponed and will be included in the FMI 2010 event in Las Vegas. Attendees of the postponed May 2009 event will receive a credit for attendance at FMI 2010 or any other FMI event valid through May 31, 2010. FMI 2010 is scheduled for May 10 to 13, 2010 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

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Study: Ginger reduces nausea associated with chemotherapy

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCHESTER, N.Y. People with cancer can reduce post-chemotherapy nausea by as much as 40% by using ginger supplements, along with standard antivomiting drugs, before undergoing treatment, according to scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

About 70% of cancer patients who receive chemotherapy complain of nausea and vomiting.

“There are effective drugs to control vomiting, but the nausea is often worse because it lingers,” stated lead author Julie Ryan, assistant professor of dermatology and radiation oncology at Rochester’s James P. Wilmot Cancer Center. “Nausea is a major problem for people who undergo chemotherapy and it’s been a challenge for scientists and doctors to understand how to control it,” Ryan said.

The Phase II/III placebo-controlled, double-blind study included 644 cancer patients who would receive at least three chemotherapy treatments. They were divided into four arms that received placebos, 0.5 gram of ginger, 1 gram of ginger or 1.5 grams of ginger along with antiemetics (anti-vomiting drugs such as Zofran, Kytril, Novaban and Anzemet).

Patients took the ginger supplements three days prior to chemotherapy and three days following treatment. Patients reported nausea levels at various times of day during following their chemotherapy and those who took the lower doses had a 40% reduction.

Ginger is readily absorbed in the body and has long been considered a remedy for stomach aches. “By taking the ginger prior to chemotherapy treatment, the National Cancer Institute-funded study suggests its earlier absorption into the body may have anti-inflammatory properties,” Ryan said.

The research will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in the Patient and Survivor Care Session on Saturday, May 30, in Orlando, Fla.

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