Study under review: Acute Binge Drinking Increases Serum Endotoxin and Bacterial DNA Levels in Healthy Individuals
Half the alcohol consumed in the United States is consumed during a binge, which is defined as having five or more drinks in a row. About one in six Americans binge drink each month. Binge drinking is a risk factor for a host of problems (with some shown in Figure 1), from behavioral issues like engaging in more risky sex and an increase in violence to health issues such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, and liver disease. Binge drinking’s definitely a problem - but one that remains incompletely understood. One relatively unexplored area is the role of bacteria in the negative outcomes associated with drinking.
Animal and human studies have recently uncovered that a component of the outer membrane of certain kinds of bacteria (Gram-negative ones, specifically) called lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is often found in higher levels in the blood of people with some alcoholic and nonalcoholic liver diseases. LPS is sometimes called endotoxin, since it’s a toxic part “inside” of the bacterial membrane that causes a pretty big immune response when released. Furthermore, antibiotics have been shown to mitigate liver damage in rats exposed to alcohol over longer time periods. From this evidence, it’s been hypothesized that increased LPS and other bacterial components that enter the blood after drinking may lead to an immune response, which in turn can contribute to liver damage.
Other Articles in Issue #11 (September 2015)
Tea time means only tea for optimal EGCG absorption
Many people drink green tea for health, and some take green tea or EGCG supplements in an attempt to shed extra fat. While these topics have been researched at length, there hasn’t been as much research on timing. This study looks at EGCG absorption with and without food.
Can omega-3s prevent cognitive decline?
One of the most important issues with aging is decreased cognitive ability and eventually dementia. Since the brain has such high omega-3 content, many people supplement for prevention of these issues. This large, multi-year study put that practice to the test.
The study that didn’t end the low-fat/low-carb diet “wars”
A recent metabolic ward study set the low-carb world on fire, and produced many inaccurate media headlines disparaging low-carb diets. We cover the study and its implications, detail by detail.
- Interview: Dylan Dahlquist, MSc(c)
When is breakfast the most important meal of the day?
With an increasing amount of research pointing to benefits of intermittent fasting, breakfast has been shunned by more and more people. But for those with type 2 diabetes, blood sugar is a central issue, and breakfast may play a major role in regulating it.
What to Expect When We’re Expecting: Fetal Programming and the Development of Taste Preferences
By Margaret Leitch, Ph.D.
Gluten-intolerant? There’s a pill for that
Some people are lactose intolerant, but still drink milk thanks to the availability of lactase enzymes. That setup isn’t yet possible for those who don’t handle gluten well. This study examines the efficacy of a promising enzymatic adjunct to a gluten-free diet.
Vitamin D(efense) against Crohn’s disease?
Immune benefits are often listed among the multitude of possible vitamin D effects. Most of the time, this is simplified to “defense against colds and flu”. But many conditions have an immune component — this particular study examines potential mechanisms by which vitamin D may help Crohn’s disease.
Green tea: a potential pain in the neck
Though it may not be as effective for fat loss as early studies suggested, green tea is still seen as extremely healthy. But animal evidence has pointed to possible thyroid side effects from excessive green tea consumption. How convincing is this evidence?