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Computer simulation reveals what would happen if the Earth started spinning backwards

Climate


One of the most iconic scenes in the Superman movie was when the titular hero flew around the Earth at light speed, reversing its rotation and turning back time to prevent Lois Lane from dying. While this opens up a lengthy discussion on the possibility of time travel, more curious minds from the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology have looked at what could actually happen if the world spun the other way – and presented a simulation of its effects in their latest study.

Their findings, which were presented at this year’s European Geosciences Union General Assembly in Austria, revealed a different picture of Earth than the one we’re used to – where deserts are in North America instead of Central Africa, sand dunes instead of trees dot the Amazon landscape, and lush rainforests cover the Middle East and Central Africa.

The computer simulation not only identified changes in an area’s topography, but it also revealed extreme shifts in weather, as well as flora and fauna distribution. For instance, freezing winters, usually seen in Russia and most of the Arctic region, could descend into Western Europe and wreak havoc. Cyanobacteria, a group of photosynthetic bacteria usually (and erroneously) referred to as blue-green algae, would bloom in places they aren’t usually identified.

What’s more, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), a major current in the Atlantic responsible for regulating the Earth’s climate system, would fade away and resurface in the northern Pacific Ocean, according to their report. (Related: By studying ancient evidence, researchers discover that climate change ebbs and flows over time.)

Spinning around
To understand how such a scenario could impact the world, we don’t need to look far: The Earth’s rotation affects a lot of things: some examples include day and night cycles, the formation of tides, and the regulation of ocean and air currents. The last one, in particular, affects weather patterns around the world, as the combination of wind and ocean currents carries rain in jungles or diverts moisture in more arid areas.

In the study, the team created a digital model of the Earth spinning in the opposite direction. According to the researchers, this provides a glimpse of how the Earth’s rotation affects its climate system, especially how ocean currents and winds interact to create weather systems around the world.

“[Reversing Earth’s rotation] preserves all major characteristics of the topography like sizes, shapes, and positions of continents and oceans, while creating a completely different set of conditions for the interactions between the circulation and the topography,” explained co-creator Florian Zeimen in an article in LiveScience.

The simulation covered both the immediate and long-term effects of a reversal in the Earth’s rotation. During this time, researchers found changes in the climate system over several thousand years, a result of the concerted effects of rotation, atmosphere, and ocean in the planet.

They also found that this model had more green space, with areas that were previously deserts now filled with grass and woody plants. In their model, the global desert average is around 12 million miles, which is less than our current coverage by four million square miles. Interestingly enough, deserts popped out of places such as the southeastern U.S., Southern Brazil and Argentina, and Northern China.

However, one of the most significant changes noted by the researchers was how it affected global wind patterns. In particular, this meant temperature changes in the subtropics (areas between the tropical and temperate zones including the Southeastern U.S., the Mediterranean, and Central Australia) and midlatitudes (the area between the 50 to 60 magnetic latitude, which includes the Northeastern U.S. and some parts of Europe). The reversal also brought changes in ocean currents, which warmed the sea’s eastern boundaries and cooled their western ones. This translates into drastic changes in weather, especially in Europe, where its northwestern front will have more frigid winters.

As for Ziemen, one of the most interesting changes for him is that of the Sahara.

Seeing the green Sahara in our model got me thinking about the reasons why we have a desert in the Sahara, and why there is none in the retrograde world,” he added. “It is this thinking about the most basic questions that fascinates me about the project.”

Meanwhile, here’s a video of the Earth spinning around over the course of a year, taken by the DSCOVR spacecraft using the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC).

City of Berkeley demands forced depopulation to halt climate change “crisis” that it claims is worse than the Holocaust

Climate


Leave it to the liberals to not only engage in mass hysteria over purported climate changes, but to also call for a host of ridiculous, overbearing government efforts to put a band-aid on the problem. Berkeley City Council members just put forth a motion, proclaiming that there is a global climate emergency — and they’re calling it the “the greatest crisis in history.” The drama doesn’t end there; according to the loony leftists, climate change is responsible for more devastation to humanity than World War II — which is considered the deadliest conflict in history.

The Berkeley City Council claims that the U.S. has “disproportionately contributed to the climate and ecological crises and to preventing a transition away from fossil fuels, and Americans thus bear an extraordinary responsibility to solve the crises.” Among these “extraordinary responsibilities” is a call to thin the herd, at the behest of a city council from one of the most liberal cities in the country.

Hardly representative of the rest of the nation (and the rest of the scientific community, for that matter), the Council declared that depopulation efforts are our best chance at turning back time. The Council’s resolution stated “reversing ecological overshoot and halting the sixth mass extinction requires an effort to preserve and restore half Earth’s biodiversity in interconnected wildlife corridors and to humanely stabilize population.”

Is there really a way to humanely stabilize the population? Further, isn’t it a bit of a stretch to say that the government needs to get involved with how many children people are having? In May of 2018, it was revealed that birth rates in the U.S. have already reached a 30-year low. Perhaps the Council didn’t know that when they made their over-zealous suggestion?

But it’s not just the Council’s call to shrink the population that’s a problem: The entire document reeks of dramatization and hysteria. The Council proposes that climate change “has been linked to the Syrian War, the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria, as well as the famines, water shortages, and resulting conflict in Yemen, Somalia, and South Sudan,” and essentially argues that global warming is responsible for virtually every problem and conflict that plagues the world today.

Perhaps the opioid epidemic here in the U.S. was caused by climate change, too?

And it’s not just the present the Council is worrying about; the document alleges that a collapse of the Greenland Ice Shelf would lead to billions of “climate refugees” around the world.

Despite the Council’s confidence in claiming that humanity is in dire straits and disaster is imminent if we don’t follow Berkeley’s lead, there is much controversy surrounding the notion of global warming and climate change. Earlier this year, it was revealed that climate change predictions have already been proven inaccurate. Estimates suggest that the effects of human activity on global temperatures have been overstated by nearly 50 percent — that’s a substantial error in calculations, and it means that we are not on the doomsday clock quite yet (at least as far as climate goes).

Multiple studies have shown that climate change predictions are wrong and in fact, the most popular climate change theory is based on fraud, not fact.

As Mike Adams, the Health Ranger and director of CWC Labs, reported in 2017:

The IPCC, it turns out, used science fraud to promote global warming and “climate change” narratives, hoping no one would notice that the entire software model was essentially HACKED from the very beginning, deliberately engineered to produce the alarming temperature trend the world’s bureaucrats wanted so they could terrorize the world into compliance with climate change narratives.

If climate change is a fraud, what does that make Berkeley City Council?

Electromagnetic radiation from power lines a “very real” threat to wildlife: Study

Cancer


Power lines, cell towers and other trappings of modern life may come with a higher price tag than anyone could have imagined. Research shows that the electromagnetic radiation (EMR) produced by our so-called technological advancements poses a substantial threat to wildlife (and to humans, for that matter). Environmental advocates are sounding the alarm, as the launch of 5G tech could cause even more trouble for surrounding flora and fauna.

EKLIPSE, a review panel funded by the European Union, analyzed data from 97 different studies before reaching the conclusion that EMR was a threat to insects, birds and plant life.

The threat of EMR to wildlife
The EKLIPSE analysis found that EMR was capable of disrupting the “magnetic orientation” across the the wildlife spectrum. These effects could harm birds, mammals and creepy-crawlies like insects and spiders.

In their conclusion, the study authors declared there is “an urgent need to strengthen the scientific basis of the knowledge on EMR and their potential impacts on wildlife.”

“In particular, there is a need to base future research on sound, high-quality, replicable experiments so that credible, transparent and easily accessible evidence can inform society and policy-makers to make decisions and frame their policies,” the authors stated further.

Experts say that in addition to disrupting normal movement patterns and orientation for bugs and birds, EMR can also alter insect metabolism.

The list of technologies that pose a threat to wildlife is quite lengthy already: Powerlines; radar; TV and radio broadcasting; Wi-Fi; and 2G, 3G and 4G networks are all capable of causing harm. The roll-out of 5G has many environmentalists concerned about what the toll of this purportedly faster service will take on Mother Nature.

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Buglife, an invertebrate conservation group based in the U.K., called for the assessment of the risks of EMR. CEO Matt Shardlow commented, “We apply limits to all types of pollution to protect the habitability of our environment, but as yet, even in Europe, the safe limits of electromagnetic radiation have not been determined, let alone applied.”

Shardlow stated further that just because EMR is invisible to the human eye, does not mean it’s not causing damage at a neural or cellular level.

Human health at risk, too
In addition to the growing concerns about EMR’s effect on the environment and wildlife, there is a growing body of evidence indicating that humans are being put at risk, too.

Cell phone radiation has repeatedly proven itself especially dangerous. A recent, large-scale study linked cell phone radiation to cancer in rats. After reviewing a $25-million study carried out by the National Institutes of Health’s National Toxicology Program (NTP), a panel of experts concluded that the radio-frequency radiation from cell phones was tied to heart and brain tumors in rodent models.

The two-year NTP study featured rats that were exposed to the two types of radiation cell phones release for nine hours a day. The results included a definite link between exposure and an increased risk of heart and brain cancers. There was also a significant rise in the incidence of liver, pancreas, prostate, and pituitary and adrenal gland cancers.

Fucoidan is an ideal polysaccharide to treat prostate cancer, new science shows

Cancer


Fucoidan, a bioactive polysaccharide extracted mainly from algae, has been discovered to have significant potential as an anticancer treatment. This study, published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, looked into fucoidan’s anti-tumor and anti-angiogenic effects and determined the role of JAK-STAT3 pathways in the protection.

The researchers treated DU-145 human prostate cancer cells with 100–1000 μg/mL of fucoidan.
Using MTT, EdU, Transwell, and Matrigel cell assays, they studied cell viability, proliferation, migration and tube formation respectively.
They injected athymic nude mice with DU-145 cells to induce xenograft model and then treated the animals with 20 mg/kg of fucoidan for 28 days via oral gavage.
The researchers took note of tumor volume, tumor weight, vascular density in the tumor tissue, and protein expression and phosphorylation of JAK and STAT3 pathways.
Researchers found that that fucoidan inhibited the viability and proliferation of DU-145 cells. Cell assays revealed mitigated cell migration and tube formation.
The 28-day animal showed inhibited angiogenesis and hindered tumor growth.
The treatment reduced phosphorylated JAK and STAT3 in the tumor tissue and limited the activation of STAT3-regulated genes, such as VEGF, Bcl-xL, and Cyclin D1.

3 Easy habits that you can pursue today to dramatically improve your “sustainability score”

Pollution


Improving your health via green habits
While it’s true that practices such as not buying products in plastic packaging, recycling, and taking shorter showers are part of a sustainable lifestyle, there are other ways to live a “green” life.

It’s important to understand that sustainability has other aspects, and the three tips below can help you change your habits so you can live healthier while also helping the planet:

Avoid single-use items – A great way to eliminate waste is by boycotting various disposable items. Buy reusable straws and bring your own tumbler the next time you’re buying coffee before heading to work. You can even start bringing your own lunch in a reusable container, and this is a great way to monitor your calorie intake since you won’t be tempted to buy unhealthy fast food. If more people stopped patronizing single-use convenience items, we could help reduce plastic waste that’s produced around the globe. (Related: 10 reasons recycling will save humanity.)
Donate items you no longer use and go paperless – Going paperless is another effective way of eliminating waste because it helps minimize paper waste. Starting today, make all of your bank statements and household bills electronic. Instead of buying papers or magazines, read them in electronic form or PDF. If you do end up with newspapers or pamphlets in your home, recycle them as gift wrappers or use them to clean glass. If you’ve had items lying around the house that you haven’t been using, donate them. Check your closets and cabinets and gather any clothes, electronics, furniture, or other items and give them away to those in need. By giving new life to old things, you can help halt the production of disposable and single-use products.
Unplug any appliance that you’re not using – Even if you’re not using the TV, leaving it plugged in is consuming energy. By simply unplugging it, you can help conserve energy. Monitor the household energy your family uses, and try to come up with ways to lower it. For example, you can buy energy-efficient light bulbs for every room in your house, and you can lower the thermostat and wear warmer clothing. Turn off the lights in empty rooms, and doing all of this regularly can even significantly lower your electricity bill.
By working together, we can all make a difference. These green living tips can help you live a healthier and more sustainable life.

Other easy habits for a greener lifestyle
Here are other habits that you can practice for a greener lifestyle:

Conserve water – Water is a precious natural valuable resource, and you can help by conserving water. Check your plumbing regularly and fix any leaks immediately.
Plant a tree – Aside from providing us with beautiful scenery, trees are crucial to the ecological cycle. Trees are natural air cleaners, and they help absorb air pollution. Trees also prevent soil erosion and recycle water by absorbing it and reusing it.
Use natural cosmetic and personal care products – Most cosmetics and skincare products contain harmful ingredients like dyes, parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, and synthetic fragrances. These toxic chemicals cause various health problems like cancer while some can act as hormone disruptors. Use alternatives like witch hazel, which can work as a natural deodorant. Essential oils can also replace perfumes.

New polymer mat able to fish biologically harmful contaminants from water

Pollution


There’s a new water treatment mat that acts like a miniaturized fishing net for water pollutants. Devised by Texan researchers, it can bait, hook, and destroy toxic chemicals in water supplies, according to a ScienceDaily article.

Developed by the Nanotechnology-Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT) Center, the mat uses titanium dioxide to break down pollutants. It can be made as big or small as needed, tailored to deal with specific pollutants, and is reusable.

A number of wastewater treatment systems also use titanium dioxide. But those methods turn the material into a slurry that is mixed with wastewater. Following the process, the slurry must be removed from the treated water.

The NEWT researchers refined and simplified that arduous process. Their polymer mat comprised spun polyvinyl fibers that repel water and attract similar hydrophobic.

The porosity was increased by adding tiny plastic beads, which were later dissolved using chemicals that didn’t affect the mat. The resulting pores provided a sizable surface area for titanium oxide particles to attach themselves to.

The hydrophobic fibers of the mat draw similarly-inclined contaminants in a process called adsorption. When the set-up is exposed to UV (ultraviolet) light, the titanium dioxide in the pores undergo a photocatalytic reaction that releases pollutant-destroying oxidants.

During trials, the mat removed two endocrine-disrupting chemicals from wastewater. It spent far less energy than previous wastewater treatment methods. Furthermore, it is safe enough to use in drinking water without any clean-up afterwards. (Related: Make your laundry cleaner for the environment: Researchers designing ways to treat wastewater from washing machines.)

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New photocatalytic mat overcomes limitations of earlier treatment
According to Director Pedro Alvarez of the NEWT Center, photocatalytic water treatment has two major limitations. The first is simple inefficiency; the oxidants often fail to destroy the pollutant because they react to other, more numerous chemicals in the water first.

The second is the cost incurred by filtering and recovering slurry photocatalysts from the treated water. Making sure there is no leakage sometimes uses more energy than the UV lights.

“We solved both limitations by immobilizing the catalyst to make it very easy to reuse and retain. We don’t allow it to leach out of the mat and impact the water,” said Alvarez.

Their trials showed that their mat-based process used far less energy than the slurry method. It was also faster at destroying pollutants. The mat was also much more versatile than slurry. Murky waters will reduce the penetration of the UV light required by photocatalysis, so a slurry-based treatment will fare poorly in such conditions.

But the mat is so portable that it – along with the pollutants trapped in its pores – can be taken out of the wastewater reactor and placed in a different reactor with less murky water.

“You can fish out the contaminants adsorbed by the mat and transfer it to another reactor with clearer water. There, you can destroy the pollutants, clean out the mat and then return it so it can fish for more,” Alvarez explained.

The mat’s hydrophobic or hydrophilic properties could also be tuned to match the properties of target pollutants.

“That way you could treat more water with a smaller reactor that is more selective, and therefore miniaturize these reactors and reduce their carbon footprints. It’s an opportunity not only to reduce energy requirements, but also space requirements for photocatalytic water treatment,” Alvarez pointed out.

Chesapeake Bay estuary is recovering: The return of aquatic vegetation helps neutralize pollution, allowing ecosystems to re-establish

Pollution


Vegetation is an essential part of any aquatic ecosystem. Sick or dying underwater vegetation, typically due to pollution, indicates that the ecosystem is in trouble, which leads to degradation of water quality. On the other hand, thriving vegetation is a sign of a healthier ecosystem.

This is especially critical for the Chesapeake Bay estuary; underwater grasses provide habitat for fish and other aquatic animals, stabilize sediments, and help clarify the water. Since the 1970s, pollution and human development have decimated the population of underwater grass in the Chesapeake Bay, further degrading the water quality. States surrounding the Bay have been working together since 2010 to restore its ecosystems.

One study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences analyzed the positive impact of long-term nutrient reduction on valuable ecosystems in the estuary.

The study, led by Jonathan Lefcheck, Ph.D., formerly of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) and now at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Science, showed a 23-percent decrease in average nitrogen levels and an eight-percent reduction of average phosphorus levels, which resulted in a significant increase of Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) in the Bay. Data analysis indicated that this ecosystem recovery is the biggest resurgence of underwater grasses ever recorded.

The research team said that cutting pollution, as well as conservation incentives, promoted the return of aquatic vegetation, which then led to a healthier Chesapeake Bay.

“It’s a humbling and unique opportunity,” stated Lefcheck. “These efforts began before I was even born, but we are at a stage now where all of these different threads can be pulled together to unveil a picture of unprecedented success. This is a message of hope, and I look forward to a future when the Bay is filled with grasses, something I never thought I would see during my lifetime.”

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The scientists determined how the reduction of pollutants – such as nitrogen and phosphorus – is the key driver to this ecosystem recovery. The analyzed data in two ways: One focusing on the flow of nutrients from the land to the waterways; and one showing what happens to SAV once the nutrients reach the water.

Senior co-authors Dr. William Dennison of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and Dr. Robert “JJ” Orth of VIMS have worked on underwater grasses and water quality in the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem restoration project for decades.

According to Dennison: “J.J. and I have had the distinct privilege of facilitating research that confirms a direct correlation between conservation actions undertaken by a broad partnership and ecosystem responsiveness that is leading to positive ecological outcomes.”

“The EPA Chesapeake Bay Program is working and can serve as a model for the rest of the world,” he added.

Orth noted that he feels proud of the team of both new and experienced researchers for the progress and accomplishments thus far of the restoration project. “I really feel the torch is being passed to a next generation of scientists who bring both the passion and knowledge needed to continue the vital work of marine science required to keep our Chesapeake Bay flourishing. What has been a lifetime of work for Bill and me can now be analyzed and managed with analyses of long term data sets in creative ways to highlight this wonderful recovery.”

The Chesapeake Bay Program
The Chesapeake Bay Program is a partnership between the states of Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia; the District of Columbia; and the federal government, represented by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The program relies on funding from community groups, local government and non-governmental organizations, which engage in pollution mitigation efforts, such as redesigning urban surfaces to reduce stormwater runoff and subsidizing farmers to grow winter cover crops that help retain nutrients on fields.

The study on the Chesapeake Bay has spanned decades of analysis and investigation on the estuary, and the aforementioned study shows a positive impact of management actions on the huge resurgence of underwater vegetation. The ongoing restoration efforts provide an outline for effective pollution abatement and may be applied to other polluted bodies of water, in an effort to restore more aquatic ecosystems in other places.

The claim that “vaccines are completely safe” is FAKE news, yet the entire corporate-run media parrots the lie daily

Medicine


Are vaccines safe? It’s a loaded question, and many people prefer not to even discuss it because arguments about it can become very heated. It’s hard to believe that there can be such dramatically conflicting views on something that science has proven again and again – that vaccines are unsafe – but the corporate-run media repeats this lie so often that many people simply take it as gospel. There’s also the fact that sites like Google and Facebook like to ensure people only see news stories that support their beliefs rather than challenge them – beliefs that were created in the first place by truly fake news.

You don’t have to look very hard if you want evidence that vaccines are bad. The first place you could head in your quest for the truth is the Department of Health and Human Services’ very own Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS. This is the site that Americans can use to report adverse vaccine events to health authorities. Around 30,000 VAERS reports about vaccine injuries and deaths are filed every year. It’s a shocking number on its own, and it’s likely only a fraction of the true number of injuries considering that many people don’t use the system or even know it exists.

More than $3 billion has been paid to families who suffered from vaccine damage or vaccine death, and Congress has even set up a court devoted to vaccine damage cases. How is that even necessary for something that is as safe as the media claims? Perhaps the most infuriating part of this, however, is that the vaccine industry is granted legal immunity in such cases, so pharmaceutical firms are not liable for the damage. They just have to pay out settlements and then keep on selling their toxic vaccines and raking in the profits.

CDC admits vaccines contain harmful ingredients
Interestingly, the CDC admits on its own website that vaccines contain harmful ingredients. On their “Ingredients of Vaccines Fact Sheet,” they admit that toxic substances like formaldehyde, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and thimerosal are commonly found in vaccines. Yes, that’s right: They admit that they contain formaldehyde, which HHS has admitted causes cancer. They also own up to vaccines containing the neurotoxin MSG. Most people won’t even touch food that contains this ingredient, much less inject it into their body knowingly. Perhaps the biggest offender, however, is the methyl mercury compound thimerosal, which is toxic to the brain and kidneys.

Let’s look at another controversial issue the mainstream media is fond of reporting on: gun violence. Nobody wants to see children shot at school or anywhere else, and there’s no doubt that something needs to be done about it. But while the mainstream media focuses on this very real problem, let’s take a look at how many children under 17 are treated for firearm injuries each year. In 2012, the number was 5,800. And how many vaccine injuries are reported in a year? According to VAERS, there were 45,762 cases just in 2016 – some of which were life-threatening.

Kids are being pumped with more than 50 doses of vaccines before their sixth birthday, and this has somehow become “normal” and accepted thanks to the efforts of the corporate-run media. The reach of Big Pharma is tremendous, with the vaccine market being worth nearly $24 billion in 2016.

Money talks, and the media has advertisers to please, so you’re not going to hear the true story there any time soon. It would be interesting to see, however, what they’d be saying about vaccines if Trump was promoting them and they didn’t have to worry about appeasing Big Pharma. Something tells us they’d be singing a very different tune about vaccine safety if that were the case.

Vitamin D eases mind AND body: Study finds a daily dose can relieve symptoms of IBS and accompanying anxiety

Medicine


Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common, chronic disorder of the large intestine that affects 10 to 15 percent of the world’s population. Currently, there is no known cure for IBS, so treatments usually focus on relieving the symptoms. Managing this condition typically entails studying one’s dietary habits, taking over-the-counter medication, and reducing stress. However, researchers from the University of Sheffield have discovered that supplementing with vitamin D may be effective in controlling the condition’s more painful symptoms.

In order to come to this conclusion, the investigative team analyzed seven studies linking vitamin D deficiency with IBS: three were randomized controlled trials, while the remaining four were observational studies. Past research has correlated low vitamin D levels with the increased chance of acquiring various gastrointestinal conditions, including colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease. Inquiries focusing on the potential association between IBS and vitamin D deficiency is severely limited, however.

“The vitamin D/IBS link wasn’t spotted by medics or scientists. It came from patients,” said study co-author Bernard M. Corfe.

Although small in number, the studies that examined the vitamin D and IBS connection have all pointed towards said connection’s existence.

For instance, a study that involved 1,000 IBS patients revealed that as much as 75 percent of the population were suffering from inadequate amounts of vitamin D. By contrast, the other studies showed that IBS patients who’d dosed up on vitamin D were able to deal with their symptoms. One trial revealed that great amounts of vitamin D were able to normalize a woman’s bowel habits, subsequently easing the anxiety and depression brought on by her ailment. Yet another study that consisted of assessing 37 blogs of IBS patients found that as much as 70 percent of the patients benefited from vitamin D supplementation.

Moreover, analyses affirmed the prevalence and consistency of vitamin D deficiency among IBS patients throughout the world. “This study looked at all research reported throughout the world and found the deficiency was consistent irrespective of latitude or geography,” Corfe told HealthLine.com.

As for why vitamin D deficiency frequently occurs in IBS patients, the answer remains unknown. One theory has suggested that a person’s daily habits and diet may influence how much or how little vitamin D they get everyday. (Related: What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome & How Can It be Treated Naturally?)

Based on their findings, the investigators concluded that vitamin D supplementation could be beneficial to patients with IBS. Nevertheless, they added that more research needed to be carried out, specifically, larger-scale studies.

Dr. Jeffrey Baumgardner, who is unaffiliated with the study, stated that vitamin D could hold promise for people suffering from IBS, although its efficacy may still vary from person to person. “There is nothing that is 100 percent effective because everyone’s symptoms are somewhat different, so not everyone is going to respond to the same thing. It will help people, but it won’t help everybody. If you are someone with IBS, I think you should talk to your doctor about vitamin D, but don’t be discouraged if it won’t work,” he said.

This statement was echoed by Corfe, who remarked: “Even if the vitamin D doesn’t benefit the IBS, there are multiple health reasons to maintain good levels of vitamin D.”

As Corfe and his colleagues noted in their study, vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining good bone health, proper immune function, a healthy gut, and can even have an effect on one’s mental health. Thus, IBS patients are recommended to have their vitamin D levels checked.

Feeling the first signs of a flu? Load up on probiotics

Medicine


The next time you feel like you’re about to come down with the flu, reach for your favorite probiotic. As per a recent study, published in Synthetic and Systems Biotechnology, probiotics are “safe and effective” at combating the symptoms of respiratory infections and the common cold. The results of the study have suggested that this is most likely due to probiotics enhancing the immune system.

To arrive at this conclusion, a multi-institutional team of Chinese researchers first recruited 136 volunteers from the Beijing Chaoyang Hospital. The participants were selected on the basis of having had an influenza-like respiratory illness or the common cold at least four times in the past calendar year.

The study, a “randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, prospective trial,” lasted for 12 weeks, during which the participants were divided into two groups. Each group was given either a 150 milliliter (mL) placebo or 150 mL probiotic drink to be taken after lunch every day. Daily questionnaires were administered to ensure subject compliance and to monitor the participants’ health. Additionally, blood and fecal samples were collected prior to and after the 12-week experiment.

The probiotics used in the study were supplied by Danish bioscience company, Chr. Hansen. Both drinks contained the starter strains Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophiles. The probiotic beverage also included Lactobacillus paracasei and Chr. Hansen-brand probiotic strains Lactobacillus fermentum PCC and Lactobacillus casei 431.

Around 14 participants had developed an influenza-like illness by the conclusion of the study. This condition was defined as having a body temperature of above 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) and any of the symptoms associated with upper respiratory tract infection, like nasal congestion and muscle pain. Of the 14 participants, 11 were from the placebo group while the remaining three were from the probiotics group. (Related: Why You Still Got Sick Despite Thinking You Ate Healthy.)

As per the researchers, this effect can be explained by the influence of probiotics on the blood and gut. “The findings of our study indicate that the combination of probiotics could reduce the incidence of the upper respiratory infection, which is possible by increasing the level of [interferon gamma] in the blood and [secretory immunoglobulin A] in the gut,” they wrote.

Both interferon gamma and secretory immunoglobulin A play roles in our immunity. Interferon gamma “activates the bactericidal activities of macrophages, induces B cells to make opsonizing and complement-fixing antibodies, and leads to cell-mediated immunity,” explained the researchers.

As per FoodsMatter.com, secretory immunoglobulin A is the primary immunoglobulin in our body’s mucus. It works by clinging to harmful substances, like bacteria and carcinogens, and ensnaring them in mucus. Secretory immunoglobulin A then neutralizes the detrimental toxins emitted by these substances before expelling them from the body via fecal matter.

While the results of the study have been nothing short of encouraging, the researchers have admitted that further investigation would be necessary. Specifically, more in vivo analyses to determine whether or not “probiotic-mediated immune stimulation” can truly increase one’s resilience to disease and infection.

Probiotic foods and drinks to add to your diet
Consume more beneficial bacteria through these food items:

Yogurt: Not every yogurt is created equal. Some lack the essential live bacteria that make yogurt one of the best probiotics available. For this reason, always pick yogurt with live or active cultures.
Kefir: Compared to yogurt, this fermented milk drink is a far better source of probiotics. According to Healthline.com, kefir is jam-packed with multiple strains of good bacteria and yeast.
Miso: A staple of Japanese cuisine, miso is traditional seasoning made from fermented soybeans and most commonly eaten as miso soup. Miso comes in many varieties, so you can take your pick of this salty food paste.
Kimchi: This spicy Korean side dish is made from salted and fermented vegetables, making it a good source of probiotics for those who enjoy a touch of heat.
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