Evolving Health

Monthly Archives: July 2009

What are the specific reasons for hypoglycemia seen in hereditary fructose intolerance? Hereditary fructose intolerance (HFI) an autosomal recessive disorder in which there is subnormal activity of the enzyme fructose 1-phosphate aldolase B (1;2). Largely found in the liver, the enzyme is needed for normal fructose metabolism for splitting fructose 1-phosphate to form dihydroacetone and glyceraldehyde (1). Hypoglycemia after consumption of fructose (also sucrose or sorbitol) results because of the lack of… Read More

NIACIN FOR HIGH CHOLESTEROLThe recommended daily intake for niacin, or vitamin B3, is only 14 mg for women and 16 mg for men with a tolerable upper intake level of 35mg (1). Nutrition professionals should also be aware that niacin, as nicotinic acid (not nicotinamide), has also been used in much larger doses—up to 6 g per day—for decades as a treatment for hyperlipidemia (1). Note that nicotinic acid is available as… Read More

B-complex supplement products are popular commodities, often marketed for “stress” or “energy.” Is there scientific justification for these claims? Why should anyone choose a B-complex supplement as opposed to either broader multivitamin-mineral supplements or narrower single B-vitamin supplements? You might remember in the early ‘90s when a neuropathy epidemic broke out in Cuba among unsuspecting tobacco growers. They complained of burning sensations in their feet, pain in their arms and legs, frequent… Read More

Vitamin E refers to eight compounds (vitamers: tocopherols and tocotrienols) and is found in both plants and animal foods (1). The most studied natural source of vitamin E is alpha-tocopherol because of its prevention of lipoprotein oxidation and inhibition of platelet aggregation, which suggests prevention of cardiovascular disease (1). Alpha-tocopherol is the only one with biological activity and offers the most protection against oxidative stress through its oxygen-quenching capacity (2). The natural… Read More

Could it be that when Bugs Bunny chose his special diet of carrots because he knew that the discovery of vitamin A in 1915 found it was an essential growth factor in animals (1)? Maybe he knew that vitamin A kept his skin healthy under all that fur (1). Or, more likely, that vitamin A kept his eyes healthy for seeing underground (1). Bugs can also celebrate that his enjoyment of carrots… Read More

Which will keep the doctor way? The orange contains about 10 times more vitamin C, which is an essential antioxidant for many complex roles in the human body (1). On the other hand, the apple contains quercetin, which has been shown to have a higher antioxidant capacity than vitamin C, thus, potentially offering better protect against free radicals (2;3). Clearly these antioxidants are not equal. Free radicals are atoms or molecules that… Read More

Micelles are made up of amphipathic compounds such as bile acids, fatty acids and monoacylglycerols that interact leaving a relatively stable hydrophilic surface and hydrophobic interior (1). They form at certain temperature ranges when a mixture of lipids is present in concentrated amounts (1). Fatty acid and phospholipid micelles are spherical, but pure bile acid micelles are sandwich-shaped rectangles (1p1062). During lipid digestion after hydrolysis of triacylglycerols by lipases, it’s up to… Read More

When studying the evolution timeline that led to modern biochemistry, one can always turn to studying protein architecture. Proteins have been called “molecular fossils” that serve to mark milestones in the “history of life” (1). There is a wide diversity of proteolytic enzymes in humans and the network of enzymes have a grand complexity that calls for investigation of how they were shaped over time (2). In digestion there is a variety… Read More

Unlike most other mammals, humans and other primates don’t synthesize vitamin C because we lack the enzyme glunolactone oxidase (1). The enzyme was lost long ago without affecting our survival due to frequent intake of high-vitamin C fruits and vegetables. Thus, we must continue to get vitamin C from our diet by the same manner (fruits or veggies) or otherwise, lest we succumb to scurvy as British sailors did in the early… Read More

Carrageenans are food additives derived from red seaweed such as Chondrus crispus (Irish moss) and other species and are used as a thickening, stabilizing, and texturizing agents in foods and also for reduced-fat meat products (1;2). They nicely replace animal-based gelatin found in many foods such as soymilk, chocolate milk, yogurts, beers and wines. Lamda-carrageenan, for example, is used to provide a creamy texture to dairy products. The polymers are high-molecular-weight polysaccharides… Read More