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Household Cleaners May Alter Kids’ Gut Flora And Contribute To Being Overweight, Says Study

Commonly used household disinfectants could increase the risk of young children becoming overweight by altering the makeup of their gut bacteria during the first few months of life, a study suggests.

The study, published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, analyzed the gut flora of 757 infants at age three to four months and their body mass index, or BMI, at one and three years old, looking at exposure to disinfectants, detergents and eco-friendly products used in the home.

Anita Kozyrskyj, professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta, is shown in a handout photo. The high use of household disinfectant cleaners is changing the gut flora in babies, leading to them becoming overweight as three-year-olds.

“We found that infants living in households with disinfectants being used at least weekly were twice as likely to have higher levels of the gut microbes Lachnospiraceae at age three to four months,” said principal investigator Anita Kozyrskyj, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta.

Lachnospiraceae is one of many non-pathogenic bacteria that naturally inhabit the human gut.

“When they were three years old, their body mass index was higher than children not exposed to heavy home use of disinfectants as an infant,” she added.

Researchers from across Canada looked at data on microbes in infant fecal matter among children enrolled in the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) birth cohort. They used World Health Organization growth charts for BMI scores.

Associations with altered gut flora in babies three to four months old were strongest for frequent use of household disinfectants such as multi-surface cleaners, which showed higher levels of Lachnospiraceae.

Kozyrskyj said researchers also found there was a greater increase in levels of those bacteria in children whose parents reported more frequent cleaning with disinfectants.

“As the microbiome develops over the first year of life, these microbes increase in their abundance. So it was a matter of dose,” she said in an interview, noting that studies of piglets have found similar changes in the animals’ gut microbiome when they were exposed to aerosol disinfectants in their enclosures.

However, the same association was not found with detergents or eco-friendly cleaners, the CHILD study found. Babies living in households that used eco-friendly cleaners had different microbiota and were less likely to be overweight as toddlers.

 

“Those infants growing up in households with heavy use of eco cleaners had much lower levels of the gut microbes Enterobacteriaceae (a family of bacteria that includes E. coli). However, we found no evidence that these gut microbiome changes caused the reduced obesity risk,” Kozyrskyj said.

One reason could be that the use of eco-friendly products may be linked to healthier overall maternal lifestyles and eating habits, contributing in turn to the healthier gut microbiomes and weight of infants.

“Antibacterial cleaning products have the capacity to change the environmental microbiome and alter risk for child overweight,” write the authors. “Our study provides novel information regarding the impact of these products on infant gut microbial composition and outcomes of overweight in the same population.”

There are many findings that point to a possible causative role for disinfectants in altering gut flora and subsequently leading to a higher childhood BMI, said Kozyrskyj, noting that in studies of mice, Lachnospiraceae has been shown to cause insulin resistance and increased fat storage.

“I would be comfortable in saying the high use of disinfectants had a contributory role … My advice would be to not overuse them,” she said.
“Some people might say maybe go for an alternative, go for the eco product instead of the disinfectants as a cleaning agent.”

In a related CMAJ commentary, epidemiologists Dr. Noel Mueller and Moira Differding of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health write: “There is biologic plausibility to the finding that early-life exposure to disinfectants may increase risk of childhood obesity through the alterations in bacteria within the Lachnospiraceae family.”

They call for further studies “to explore the intriguing possibility that use of household disinfectants might contribute to the complex causes of obesity through microbially mediated mechanisms.”

Kozyrskyj agreed, saying there is a need for further research that classifies cleaning products by their ingredients, with an analysis of their potential individual effects.

Mon., Sept. 17, 2018
 
By SHERYL UBELACKER     The Canadian Press
 


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Fun Fact Friday

  • Broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts all contain a little bit of cyanide. Eating them primes your liver to deal better with other poisons.

  • Only 6 percent of doctors today are happy with their jobs.

  • If everyone in the world washed their hands properly, we could save 1 million lives a year.

 

  • Smelling green apples and bananas can help you lose weight.

  • Sleep makes you more creative and makes your memories stronger.

  • Coffee can lower your risk of tooth decay.

Happy Friday!

 source:   factualfacts.com   https://twitter.com/Fact   @Fact


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Fun Fact Friday

    • Washing your hands makes you more optimistic.

    • 11% of the world is left-handed.

    • It takes 5 different parts of your brain for you to understand and laugh at a joke.

    • Our brains have a negativity bias and will remember negative memories more than good ones. This helps us to better protect ourselves.

  • It’s ok and “I’m fine” are the two most common lies spoken in the world.

  • A protein in human saliva called histatin can help wounds heal faster.

  • A beautiful face attracts more partners than a beautiful body, according to a scientific survey.

  • Single people tend to be less selfish than married people, according to new research.



Happy Friday  🙂
 
source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact


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Fun Fact Friday

  • Alexithymia describes a person who has a difficult time expressing their feelings to others.
  • Having a large amount of hair on your body is linked to having higher intelligence.
  • Kissing is good for teeth. The anticipation of a kiss increases the flow of saliva to the mouth, giving the teeth a plaque-dispersing bath.
  • If everyone in the world washed their hands properly, we could save 1 million lives a year.

cuddle

 

  • Depressed people tend to eat more chocolate.
  • The inventor of the television would not let his own children watch TV.
  • Human saliva has a painkiller called opiorphin that’s more powerful than morphine.
  • Cuddling with loved ones releases oxytocin, a hormone which reduces stress and prevents nausea and headaches.
Happy Friday  🙂
 
source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact


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Top 10 Ways To Stay Healthy This Winter

It seems that no matter how well I plan to take it easy during the holidays, I still end up feeling exhausted when they’re over. Even though I try to avoid malls and holiday traffic all together, it seems that even the cooking and laughing and staying up late are enough to leave me feeling drained.

The cold temperatures and lack of sunshine that occur during the winter have a considerable impact on our well-being, particularly since Jack Frost brings unwanted presents with him: the flu and dampened moods.

But winter doesn’t have to zap your energy or pit you against this season’s new hard-to-beat bug. Stay well all winter long by following the action points below, suggested by health and well-being blogger, Alicia Benjamin.

Thankfully, for those of us who feel like we’ll never have the motivation to get back to our normal routine, these small actions only take a few minutes, or seconds, to do.

1. Eat one dark green vegetable every day. Dark green veggies contain minerals like iron and vitamins like A, C, K, and folate that your body needs to stay healthy. Instead of sticking with spinach, try something different like sautéed dandelion greens added to a stir-fry, or kale or Swiss chard added to a favorite stew or soup recipe.

2. Call a friend. Instead of hunkering down with Love Actually again during a snowstorm, give someone you haven’t seen in a while a call. Hearing a friend’s voice can boost your mood and socializing helps you feel connected to the people who matter most to you.

3. Take five. To combat feeling overwhelmed and rundown during the busy holiday season, take five minutes to close your eyes. Clear your mind of your to-do list (it can wait) and, instead, focus solely on your breathing. Rest your hands over your heart. Repeat in your mind or aloud a calming word, like “blue” or “ocean,” to help ease tension throughout your body. Try picturing yourself on a sunny beach; listen to the waves crash upon shore. Even though it’s not an actual vacation or a real respite from the freezing temps, visualization exercises can be very effective in promoting relaxation and boosting your mood.

4. Hide the remote. When the cold weather sets in, you may be tempted to curl up with a blanket and watch television. Instead, hide the remote so you’re forced to get up to change channels or adjust the volume. You can also challenge yourself by doing jumping jacks during commercial breaks. Little bursts of movement during your down time will ensure you’re getting much-needed activity during the hibernation months.
winter

5. Bake your fruit. Chances are you won’t be craving watermelon when temps drop. So instead, bake fruit for a healthy after-dinner dessert or oatmeal topping for breakfast. Put apple slices and cranberries in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and add a sprinkle of cinnamon—a powerful antioxidant—on top to add both health benefits and flavor.

6. Go green. It’s tempting to reach for soda or coffee when we’re feeling sleepy during the winter. Instead, enjoy a cup of green tea. It’s loaded with antioxidants. Plus, green tea extract may also boost metabolism and help burn fat—an added bonus during a time in which we usually indulge. Want the benefits of other hues? Wear yellow or red during the bleakest of winter days to help boost your mood and energy level, or choose green or blue to bring a sense of calm to your busy holiday-planning days.

7. Get more D. We’re often bundled up inside during the winter months, which means we don’t get as much vitamin D as in summer months. There are lots of ways to get vegan and animal sources of vitamin D; supplement your diet with cod liver oil high in EPA/DHA; and add Sockeye salmon, sardines, shrimp, and tuna to your cold-weather menu. Vitamin D can help build strong bones (as it helps the body use calcium) and boost our immune systems for the flu season ahead. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D daily for adults younger than 50, and 800 to 1,000 IU for adults 50 and older.

8. Disinfect your desk and phone. Your phone receiver and desk surface at work can harbor germs that are spreading around the office. Wipe down your space at least once a week with an antibacterial spray. Method and Seventh Generation make great ones. Also, slip a hand sanitizer in your purse to kill bacteria wherever you go.

9. Keep your bedroom at no more than 68-72 degrees F. Holding the heat will help promote a sound sleep to ensure you’re feeling well rested and refreshed to take on the winter days. Also, aim to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. Want to fall asleep more quickly? Wear socks to bed.

10. Get moving. Temps in the teens make it rather hard to pull yourself out from underneath a pile of blankets. But during the cold weather, nudge yourself to get moving because exercise helps boosts mood and your immune system. Not a fan of outdoor activities like snow shoeing? Hit the mall to walk laps; keep an eye out for gyms offering free trials or classes; look into the costs of joining a local community center like the YMCA; or simply add a few at-home exercises like squats, lunges, and wall push-ups to your daily routine.

A health and well-being blogger, Alicia Benjamin is currently enrolled at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to become a certified health counselor. Alicia works as the Social Media Manager at MeYou Health, a Boston-based social well-being company that provides web and mobile apps to promote healthy living. Alicia tweets about well-being at @AliciaGetsFit and is a regular contributor to the MeYou Health blog.

by Beth Buczynski     @bethbuczynski
source: www.care2.com


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7 Ways to Combat the Worst Spring Allergy Season Yet

By: Diana Vilibert     March 2, 2016     Follow Diana at @dianavilibert

If you’re one of the 50 million North Americans who suffer from spring allergies, you may find yourself suffering a bit more this year. The amount of pollen in the air each spring has been getting worse in recent years due to climate change, and this year may bring the worst pollen season yet, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Luckily, you don’t have to resign yourself to living in a bubble for the next few months. Start addressing your allergies now with these tips:

Start your medication now. If you use an allergy medication, don’t wait until you’ve become one with a box of tissues to address your symptoms. “Although people think spring starts in April or May, spring allergy symptoms begin earlier, so start taking your prescription allergy medications two to three weeks before your symptoms normally appear,” the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology advises.

Leave house cleaning duty to someone else. Keeping your home clear of allergens requires cleaning…but cleaning actually releases a lot of the dust and allergens that have settled all over your home. When drawing up the chore chart, make sure the family member who doesn’t suffer from allergies is the one doing the dusting, sweeping and vacuuming. If you have to do it, wear a dust mask.

allergies

Don’t re-wear clothes. Make room in your schedule for extra laundry days—the clothes you wear outdoors bring home a ton of allergens during heavy pollen season. An investigation published in the journal Grana found that a single large T-shirt trapped seven million pollen grains in one day. “The high numbers of pollen and airborne particles trapped on fabrics may act as a primary source for indoor allergens particularly public indoor areas, e.g. the work environment where large numbers of people come in from the outdoors wearing the same clothes throughout the day,” the researchers write. “For severe allergy sufferers a frequent changing or washing of clothes will reduce the number of allergens on clothing. We found that washing the fabrics with water and a foaming wetting agent removed 99.9% of the pollen in the first washing.”

Shower at night—and don’t forget your hair. It’s not just your clothes and shoes that track in allergens—it’s your skin and hair, too. Make sure you aren’t bringing them to bed with you by showering before going to sleep…and lather up your locks while you’re at it. Products like gels and pastes may keep your ‘do perfect, but they’re also pollen magnets.

Drink more green tea. Though the effect wasn’t proven in humans yet, lab tests led by researchers in Japan found that EGCG, a compound in green tea, blocks a cell receptor involved in triggering and sustaining an allergic response. Those suffering from severe allergies probably won’t want to drop their allergy medication in favor of a hot cup just yet, but Hirofumi Tachibana, the study’s chief investigator, does say that “Green tea appears to be a promising source for effective anti-allergenic agents.”

And less alcohol. Sorry, the glass of wine won’t help you cope with your sniffles—it may make them worse. One study of almost six thousand women found that having more than two glasses of wine a day double the risk of allergy symptoms…even among those women who didn’t have allergies when the study started. The fermentation process produces histamine, the chemical that triggers allergy symptoms—and you may want to stay away from wine in particular, which contains sulfites—another trigger.

Load up on omega-3 fatty acids. Fish for dinner won’t cure you of your allergy symptoms, but it can help support a healthy immune system, decrease inflammation and reduce your susceptibility to allergies, according to research. An intake of two grams of EPA and DHA, two fatty acids found in oily fish and fish oil supplements is recommended to get the benefits—salmon, sardines, flaxseeds and walnuts are all good sources to get you started.


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How To Wash Fruits and Vegetables

Lots of people touch, sniff and sneeze on produce — from the farm to the grocery store. So even if you’re enjoying organic and local farmers market fruit and veggies, you’re bound to encounter dirt and germs (and some pesticide residues) from all the caring hands it passes through.

But don’t buy fancy produce washes. Make your own! It’s cheaper and avoids plastic containers.

Tip: Wash produce before eating, NOT before storing (which will make it rot faster).

Tip: Firm-skinned produce, such as melons and citrus fruits, needs warm water, a scrub and rinse. Soft-skinned produce, such as strawberries or grapes, needs a soak for a few minutes.

fruits veggies
Wash produce before eating, NOT before storing, to prevent rot.

Five ways to wash fruits and vegetables

Eco-friendly liquid soap

Choose a simple, unscented, liquid castile soap. Add a squirt to a sink full of water. It’s just like washing your hands to remove germs!

Eco-friendly dish soap

Use what you have with water, such as unscented and antibacterial-free dish soap, which meets these criteria.

Vinegar

Fill a sink with warm water and add plain white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar), one part vinegar to four parts water. Soak, then rinse.

Vegetable glycerin

It’s a plant-derived, simple cleanser found at organic grocers or health food stores. Use with water to scrub produce. Rinse. Note: Add a squirt to a 500 ml spray bottle.

Soap nuts

Stir a few soap nuts into water to release the natural saponins in their shells. Make the solution as needed. Note: Soap nuts can be used a few times before composting — maybe do a load of laundry?

Sincerely,Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green


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Anti-bacterial soaps under scrutiny as Minnesota bans triclosan

Erin Anderssen    The Globe and Mail   Wednesday, May. 21 2014

While health agencies continue to review the safety of the chemical in anti-bacterial soap, the state of Minnesota has decided to ban the germ-killer triclosan.

The new law will not take effect until 2017, but it’s a first step in North America amidst growing concern about the potential hazards of the chemical, which is added to soap, body washes and even toothpaste. Triclosan has been widely use in consumer products for decades, but some studies have suggested that it may disrupt hormones, and there are concerns that its use may contribute to antiobiotic-resistent bacteria. It has also been used as a pesticide, and it is destructive to the environment, particularly marine life.

The Canadian Medical Association, Environmental Defence and other groups have been calling for a ban on antibacterial products for years.

The Food and Drug Administration in the United States announced public hearings into the use of the chemical in December. Health Canada is awaiting the outcome of the FDA review, before deciding further action at this point. Triclosan is also being reviewed under the Canada’s chemical management plan, which considers how to reduce the release of hazardous substances into the environment.

triclosan

According to Health Canada, there are currently about 1,600 cosmetics and personal care products containing triclosan sold in Canada. While Health Canada acknowledges the environmental hazard, the department assessment states that in the dose contained in toothpaste and soaps, the chemical is safe for human use. But while manufacturers are limited in the amounts they may add to products, the David Suzuki Foundation points out since it is so common across multiple product lines, the amount that the average Canadian may be exposed to could add up over time. According to the Foundation, scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found triclosan in the urine of 75 per cent of the 2,500 subjects aged six and older that were tested for a study.

Minnesota is the first state to ban the use of triclosan. Senator John Marty, who was one of the lead sponsors for the bill, predicted that other states would follow, while also suggesting that many companies would likely phase out their use of the chemical over the next few years. (Currently, Procter & Gamble sells triclosan-free toothpaste, for instance.)

The best reason to limit triclosan: Canadians may be dousing themselves with a potentially hazardous chemical (and a pesticide) when a squirt of tried-and-true soap and water and some careful scrubbing will get the job done.

 


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How Clean Should We Be?

By Mary Jo DiLonardo     WebMD Feature      Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD

Your baby drops a cracker on the floor. Does the 5-second rule apply, or do you quickly throw it away?

Or could those germs actually be good for him? Well, kind of.

There’s a belief that says exposing people – especially babies and young children – to different kinds of germs early in life can keep them from developing illnesses like asthma, allergies, and other diseases that affect the immune system. The theory, called the “hygiene hypothesis,” is that our bodies need “practice” fighting germs.

Looks like that message has gotten through. In a survey by the Hygiene Council, 77% of moms with kids under 5 thought their children should be exposed to germs to help build stronger immune systems. The Hygiene Council, a group of health experts focused on hygiene, is funded by an educational grant from Reckitt Benckiser, a WebMD sponsor.

“In the 20th century we started changing the way we live. We live in very clean boxes. Water is immaculate. Food is nearly sterile. Exposure to bacteria and soil is less common,” says Joel Weinstock, MD, chief of gastroenterology and hepatology at Tufts Medical Center and professor at Tufts University.  But being super clean may not be good for growing immune systems.

“Certain diseases that were essentially unknown in the 18th century and earlier are becoming common now.” But we’re also not dying from cholera and the plague. So does this mean we can stop washing our hands and can eat food off the floor? Not so fast.

“We’re not encouraging kids to go out and eat dirt or forgo vaccinations,” says Kathleen Barnes, PhD. “But there’s probably something to be said for not sheltering children from exposure to routine (germs) during childhood and the sort of overboard way we go.”

But that doesn’t mean you should throw cleanliness to the wind. According to the “old friends theory,” which takes the hygiene hypothesis further, it’s true that exposure to some friendly germs helps us. But we still have to limit being around germs that cause serious illnesses. So where should we draw the line?


What You Can Stop Worrying About

Pets

Barnes cites studies that show that kids who grow up around pets are less likely to get asthma. Kids in day care who are exposed to kids with colds and other germs are less likely to end up with allergies, asthma, and other health problems.

Sterilizing Everything

You can probably lay off all the antibacterial soaps and cleansers. Even the FDA is skeptical. They are asking antibacterial soap makers to prove that the products are more effective than regular soap. There are also questions about the safety of some of the ingredients, so there may be more risks than benefits. “The vast amount of types of bacteria and viruses and fungi that we see in everyday life don’t hurt us at all. They’re just there,” says Weinstock “Only a handful” are likely to make you sick, he says.

To get rid of germs when washing your hands, encourage your kids to lather up for as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.

wash-your-hands

Antibiotics

When your child is sick, you definitely want to go to the doctor to get him checked out. But many childhood illnesses are caused by viruses. Antibiotics won’t fight those or speed your little one’s recovery in those cases.

“The first response shouldn’t be to demand to put your child on an antibiotic, which will kill the good bacteria in order to fight the bad bacteria,” Barnes says. Good bacteria live in our guts, and we need them for digestion.

Also, if you use antibiotics too often, they might not work as well when you really need them.

Germs: Where to Fight

Even if you don’t have to stress about everything, there are some key things to focus on to keep your family healthy and happy. You can be “germ smart,” say the experts, by sticking to some basics.

  •     Use separate cutting boards and utensils for produce and for raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Wash countertops, utensils, and cutting boards in hot, soapy water.
  •     Use a food thermometer. Cook whole meats to 145 F, ground meats to 160 F, and chicken and turkey to 165 F.
  •     Don’t leave out food for more than 2 hours. Keep it to less than 1 hour when it is warm outside.
  •     Disinfect kitchen counters before and after preparing food. Use paper towels or sanitizing wipes.
  •     Disinfect bathroom surfaces often – especially if someone in the house is sick.

Wash your hands often, including before and after preparing food, after going to the bathroom or handling diapers, after handling pets, and whenever they look dirty.

The 5-Second Rule

So is it really OK to pick up something and eat it when it hits the ground? The feelings on the 5-second rule are mixed.

A study by Clemson University researchers says 99% of bacteria are transferred the second something hits the floor. So if there’s salmonella or other dangerous germs lurking on the ground, it’s picked up instantly.

So take precautions like cleaning up chicken juice and follow other food safety basics. But Weinstock isn’t that worried.

“I think you can extend the 5-second rule. I think if something falls on the floor on your home and you want to pick it up and eat it, I don’t think you’re going to get sick,” he says. “There may be an ick factor. But it’s not a problem. I think we can relax a bit.”

“You don’t have to be too fastidious about your children, your house, your pets, the backyard. All this probably carries very low risk and some of these exposures may actually be healthy,” says Weinstock. “Allow your kids some latitude to experience the world. As they grow up, with a little luck, they’ll be less prone to some of these diseases.”