Team McCallum

R&D for Lifetime of Life

Coffee v diabetes.

Previously, studies have shown that consumption of coffee cuts the risk of developing diabetes. Dr Simin Liu and team published why this happens in the current issue of the journal Diabetes.

About 360 post-menopausal women who developed diabetes over a 10 year time period were carefully matched with the same number who did not, and then checks were conducted on a number of possible causes.

Those drinking 4 or more cups of caffeinated coffee per day were found to have cut the risk of developing diabetes by just over 50%, compared to non-drinkers. This simply confirmed the already known fact that coffee consumption helps to prevent diabetes. Further, there was no cut in risk for those drinking decaf, or for those drinking tea, so the active agent appears to be caffeine.

Dr Liu was able to tie the benefit to levels of a protein called SHGB in the blood, with higher SHGB tied to lower risk of diabetes.

SHGB is sex hormone-binding globulin. It helps to regulate the actions of the hormones estrogen and testosterone. When the team adjusted to take SHGB out, there was little impact left of coffee on diabetes, showing that the main mechanism is SHGB.

SHGB blood level was linked to coffee consumtion, but not to decaf or tea, showing these don’t affect SHGB levels.

Also, there is an SHGB gene, and Dr Liu showed this split the women into responders and non-responders. Women with certain variants of the SHGB gene got the protection at lower levels of coffee consumption.

From a couple of decent sources, here is the approximate amount of caffeine in common drinks, per ounce.

Caffeinated coffee – 10 to 35.

Tea – 5 to 20.

Coca-Cola – 4.  Remember that soft drink portion sizes tend to be larger than tea or coffee.

The explanation for the range in coffee is that instant coffee tends to be lower in caffeine while fresh brew is higher.

From this, it looks like the best approach is fresh-brew caffeinated coffee!


January 15, 2011 Posted by | Coffee, Diabetes, Diet, Success, Tea | Leave a comment

Eat yourself healthy.

First published in January 2010, here’s a list of food that not only tastes great, but also improves your health profile.

Almonds. Research just published in Dec 2010 show that these improve insulin resistance in those beginning to develop diabetes.

Apples (unpeeled) for quercetin. Located just under the skin of an apple, quercetin has been found to kill viruses directly. It also increases the level of sirtuin 1. Sirtuin 1 helps in the repair of damaged DNA, and is linked to improvements in type 2 diabetes, aging, and Alzheimer’s. It also appears to increase exercise capacity.

Baked beans for soluble fibre. This helps lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol. Research published in Jan 2010 found that higher blood sugar levels (irrespective of body mass index) are linked to an increased risk of cancer.

Chillies. Linked to an increase in calories burned as you break down food, lasting up to 2 hours after you eat them. Easy weight control!

Dark chocolate (or cocoa). Various studies published in 2010 found that eating just a couple of cubes of dark chocolate a day, or a cocoa at night, was linked to lower risk of heart attack and stroke.

Frozen peas for vitamins B and C. The B vitamins help the nervous system, the vitamin C helps cut the length of colds.

Green tea. Too many benefits to list! Research published in Jan 2010 found it cut the risk of lung cancer, in both smokers and non-smokers.

Oily fish for omega-3. Another one with too many benefits to list. In an area of the US known as the ‘stroke belt and buckle’, which has much higher rates of stroke than normal, Dec 2010 research linked this to low consumption of oily fish, and with high consumption of fried non-oily fish, which greatly increases uptake of omega-6, to the detriment of omega-3.

Grapefruit. Research in 2005 showed that eating fresh grapefruit before meal led to weight loss. Research published in 2010 tied this down to the active ingredient naringen. Check out all medications before using grapefruit because this potent chemical interferes with quite a wide range.

New potatoes. When new, these have a better glycemic profile, breaking down more slowly and providing a long acting, less peaked energy response than baked potatoes. And in December the head of the US potato marketing board finished a month of eating absolutely nothing but potatoes, to show that they get more criticism than they deserve.

Oats for beta glucan. This soluble fibre lowers ‘bad’ cholesterol.

Olives for monounsatured fat and phenolics. The list of research in 2010 on the benefits of olive oli on the cardivascular system goes on and on.

Parsley for chlorophyl. A good source of antioxidants, but chewing a little parsley after a meal mops up any unpleasant odours.

Poached or boiled eggs, but not fried, for lecithin. Research shows two eggs for breakfast will cut 400 calories from your overall intake during the day. If you are not interested in the weight loss angle, the lecithin gets converted into a neurotransmitter involved in good memory.

Pomegranate juice. A very small glass per day has been found to reverse artery damage caused by cholesterol.

Prunes for ferulic acid, which helps to keep your bowels regular.

Tomatoes. Another in the ‘too many benefits to list category’. As an example, eating tomato products is linked with a reduction in the risk of prostate cancer in men.

Wholewheat pasta. Another one that gives a long lasting energy source without pushing blood sugar levels through a dangerous peak. It has to be wholewheat!

Turmeric spice for curcumin. The active ingredient, curcumin, turned up ever so frequently in 2010, Protective against too many cancer types to list. Appears to protect the brain against the effects of stroke. Looks to have a neuro=protective effect in brain degeneration diseases, including MS, Alzheimer’s and more. Plus, it makes your rice look really nice!

December 25, 2010 Posted by | Aging, Alzheimer's, Cancer, Capsaicin - chillis, Chocolate, Cholesterol, Curcumin - turmeric, CVD - cardiovascular disease, Diabetes, Diet, Fibre, Fish, Fish oil, Glycemic index, Grapefruit, Green Tea, Health, Multiple sclerosis, Obesity, Olive oil, Omega-3, Omega-6, Parkinson's, Pomegranate, Stroke, Success, Vitamin C - ascorbic acid, Weight management, Whole grain | Leave a comment

What’s in bottled tea?

Tea sales in the US have quadrupled since 1990 and bottled tea now totals about $1 billion annually. The major reason may be scientific evidence that polyphenols and other antioxidants in tea reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and other afflictions.

Dr Shiming Li tested 6 commercial bottled teas and found 81, 43, 40, 13, 4, and 3 milligrams of polyphenols per 16-ounce bottle. In contrast, one average cup of home-brewed green or black tea contains 50-150 milligrams of polyphenols.

According to Li “Polyphenols are bitter and astringent, but to target as many consumers as they can, manufacturers want to keep the bitterness and astringency at a minimum. The simplest way is to add less tea, which makes the tea polyphenol content low but tastes smoother and sweeter.”

August 22, 2010 Posted by | Cancer, CVD - cardiovascular disease, Diet, Green Tea, Health, Shiming Li, Success | Leave a comment

Natural anti-aging news.

“Natural substance NT-020 aids aging brain in rats” according to a press release on research by the University of South Florida (USF).

NT-020 is a mix of polyphenols from blueberries and green tea and amino acids such as carnosine, with anti-oxidative properties. The combination is reported to have a synergistic effect (1+1+1=4).

The nutrient made no difference to performance in old rats not suffering from memory problems. But in old rats with memory problems, 4 weeks of NT-020 produced a significant improvement in memory, as demonstrated in a water maze test.

Two brain areas involved in stem cell production also showed improvement, both in young and old rats. One of these is a part of the hippocampus and is involved in learning and memory, suggesting the ability to fight age-related memory decline.

The NT-020 formula is patented by the USF and licensed to Natura Therapeutics, Inc. Two of the study authors, Dr Paula C Bickford and Dr Paul R Sanberg, are professors at USF and co-founders of Natura Therapeutics.

How new is this news? In Aug 2007, the US Department of Agriculture published “Food for the Aging Mind“. This summarised what researchers knew at that time. In one rat study mentioned there, old rats with memory decline were fed extract of blueberries and other anti-oxidants, and this was found to reverse the age based decline.

July 20, 2010 Posted by | Aging, Blueberries, Brain, Diet, Green Tea, Learning, Memory, News, Paul R Sanberg, Paula C Bickford | | Leave a comment

Too much tea!

Dr Gary Whitford of the Medical College of Georgia presented unusual findings re tea to an international conference in Barcelona.

He had 4 patients with advanced skeletal fluorosis and the common link was high tea consumption over many years.

Skeletal fluorosis is a condition where excessive fluoride causes calcification of joints and ligaments, arthritic symptoms, sometimes osteoporosis, and in severe cases deformity of the spine and major joints.

Sources include drinking water (making the disease common in India), burning coal indoor for fuel (common in China), and tea.

Whitford tested 7 teas common in Southern USA and found the total fluoride levels to be between 1.4 and 3.3 times higher than previously thought.

Skeletal fluorosis is rare in the US. The volumes consumed by the 4 US sufferers were 1 to 2 gallons per day over 10 – 30 years.

So tea is fine, in moderation.

July 14, 2010 Posted by | Arthritis, China, Gary Whitford, Health, India, Osteoarthritis, Osteoporosis, Success, Tea, United States | Leave a comment

Diet supplements that don’t work.

(The 11th annual International Congress on Obesity is meeting in Stockholm this week, bringing a spike in this type of news.)

In two different approaches, Dr Thomas Ellrott and Dr Igho Onakpoya tested the effect of diet supplements on weight loss.

Ellrott tested products v placebos in overweight and obese people. Onakpoya looked at existing studies that evaluated supplements.

In both cases the supplements tested failed to produce any significant benefits.

The supplements checked in this manner include L-Carnitine, polyglucosamine, cabbage powder, guarana seed powder, bean extract, Konjac extract, fibre pills, sodium alginate formulations, selected plant extracts, chromium picolinate, Ephedra, bitter orange, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), calcium, guar gum, glucomannan, chitosan and green tea.

July 12, 2010 Posted by | Diet, Green Tea, Igho Onakpoya, Obesity, Success, Thomas Ellrott, Weight management | 1 Comment

Coffee/tea v oral cancer.

Prof Mia Hashibe and team evaluated 9 different studies of cancer of the mouth and throat with tea and coffee drinking.

This covered 5,000 cancer cases and 9,000 controls.

The findings were that any amount of caffeinated coffee cut the risk of upper mouth/throat cancer.

Four cups of coffee per day cut the risk of this type of cancer by nearly 40% compared to non-drinkers.

Caffeinated coffee worked at the upper levels, but by the time it reached the pharynx, the voice box, it made no difference.

There were too few drinkers of decaf coffee to decide about its impact.

Drinking tea was neutral. It didn’t help, it didn’t harm.

The main risk factors for oral cancer are smoking and drinking alcohol.

July 8, 2010 Posted by | Cancer, Coffee, Health, Mia Hashibe, Success, Tea | Leave a comment

Heart disease, stroke, tea, coffee.

Prof Yvonne T van der Schouw followed nearly 38,000 people in The Netherlands over 13 years, looking at tea and coffee consumption, and the impact on heart disease and strokes.

Neither tea nor coffee drinking reduced (or increased) the risk of stroke.

Coffee at the level of 2-4 cups/day cut the risk of heart disease by 20%, compared to drinking less or drinking more.

Drinking 3-6 cups of tea per day cut the risk of death from heart disease by 45%, compared to those drinking less than one cup/day.

Black tea (no milk) accounts for 78% of tea consumption in The Netherlands. This may be important as other studies suggest milk in tea may reduce the benefits.

People known to have heart disease at the start of the study were not included, so it is not clear if tea or coffee would be beneficial for existing sufferers.

The researchers suggest the findings for coffee may be influenced by a less healthy lifestyle, including a higher tendency to smoke, compared to tea drinkers.

June 19, 2010 Posted by | Coffee, CVD - cardiovascular disease, Health, Smoking, Stroke, Success, Tea, The Netherlands, Yvonne T van der Schouw | Leave a comment

Rheumatoid arthritis from tea?

Prof Christohper Collins reported on a study of over 75,000 US women aged 50-79 at the annual congress of EULAR (European League Against Rheumatoid Arthritis). The team found tea drinking was linked to an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), whereas coffee drinking was not.

Women who drank tea had a 40% higher risk of RA compared to those who drank none. Women who drank 4 or more cups of tea per day had a nearly 80% higher risk than non-drinkers.

The team also checked on all kinds of coffee consumption (filtered/unfiltered, caffeinated/decaf) and did not find any significant link between any of these and RA.

The researchers were not able to determine whether there is any cause and effect mechanism in action between tea and RA.

June 18, 2010 Posted by | Arthritis, Christopher Collins, Coffee, Health, Success, Tea | Leave a comment

Green tea v eye disease.

Chi Pui Pang and others have concluded that green tea could protect the eye against oxidative damage.

The study, reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, was in rats.

It found that different parts of the eye absorbed significant amounts of different catechins, the antioxidants in green tea.

The effect lasted for a considerable time and the team showed that harmful oxidateve stress in the eye was reduced for up to 20 hours.

February 20, 2010 Posted by | Catechins, Chi Pui Pang, Green Tea, Health, Natural healing, Success, Tea | Leave a comment