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Common food additive may weaken body’s defense against flu

The Kashmir Monitor

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A common food additive, found in frozen meat and fried foods, may hinder the immune system’s ability to fight influenza and reduce the effectiveness of the flu vaccine, a study has found. The research may help explain why seasonal influenza continues to pose a major health threat worldwide. An estimated 290,000-650,000 people globally die from flu-related respiratory problems each year.

The research conducted in mice suggests that the food additive tert-butylhydroquinone (tBHQ) affects the T cells, a vital component of the immune system. The additive tBHQ is used to prevent spoilage, with a maximum allowed concentration of 200 parts per million in food products.

“Our studies showed that mice on a tBHQ diet had a weakened immune response to influenza (flu) infection,” said Robert Freeborn, a PhD candidate at Michigan State University in the US.

 

“In our mouse model, tBHQ suppressed the function of two types of T cells, helper and killer T cells. Ultimately, this led to more severe symptoms during a subsequent influenza infection,” Freeborn said in a statement.

When a person is infected with influenza virus, helper T cells direct other parts of the immune system and help coordinate an appropriate response, while killer T cells hunt down infected cells and clear them from the body. In their experiments, the researchers found mice eating a tBHQ-spiked diet were slower to activate both helper T cells and killer T cells, resulting in slower clearance of the virus.

“Right now, my leading hypothesis is that tBHQ causes these effects by upregulating some proteins which are known to suppress the immune system,” said Freeborn.

“Expression of these proteins, CTLA-4 and IL-10, was upregulated in two different models we use in the lab. However, more work is necessary to determine if upregulation of these suppressive proteins is indeed causative for the effects of tBHQ during influenza infection,” he said.

When the mice were later re-infected with a different but related strain of influenza, those on the tBHQ diet had a longer illness and lost more weight. This suggests that tBHQ impaired the “memory response” that typically primes the immune system to fight a second infection, Freeborn said.

Since the memory response is central to how vaccines work, impairment of this function could potentially reduce the efficacy of the flu vaccine. T cells are involved in the immune response to a variety of diseases, so tBHQ could also play a role in other types of infectious diseases, Freeborn added.

“It can be hard to know if you are consuming tBHQ, as it is not always listed on ingredient labels,” said Freeborn, adding that this is often the case when tBHQ is used in food preparation, such as in the oil used to fry a chip.

“The best way to limit tBHQ exposure is to be cognizant about food choices. Since tBHQ is largely used to stabilize fats, a low-fat diet and cutting down on processed snacks will help reduce tBHQ consumption,” he said.


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Health

Beware! These Daily Habits Can Ruin Your Hair

The Kashmir Monitor

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Flawless hair is a dream of every girl. Perfect hair can complement your look and make you look perfect in no time. You might have tried multiple shampoos and hair care products to maintain your hair health. But there are certain habits which can unknowingly ruin your hair quality as well as quantity. Hair fall is the most common and noticeable consequence of these bad habits. So, from today do not spend a huge amount of money at the salon to take care of your hair. All you need to do is give up these bad habits to keep your hair healthy. You can also prevent hair fall by avoiding these habits.

Worst habits for hair

  1. Over styling

Styling might be a compulsory part of your daily routine to look perfect all the time. But it is one of the worst habits which can ruin your hair. Use of flat irons, curlers or blow dryers can promote hair fall and also make your hair dry and lifeless. It can also promote hair fall.

 
  1. Poor diet

Not just your overall health but your hair also requires the optimum amount of nutrients as well. You must ensure that you consume essential vitamins and minerals to keep your hair strong. Intake of proper diet will make your hair strong, lustrous and thick. Vitamin E is extremely beneficial for your hair. Add foods like almonds, amla, fresh fruits and vegetables.

  1. Frequent shampooing

Overuse of shampoo can also destroy your hair quality. Frequent shampooing can make your hair dry and brittle. Try not to wash your hair more than thrice a week. You should also choose the appropriate shampoo for your hair type.

  1. Brushing your hair the wrong way

Along with the right brush, you need to make sure that you brush your hair the right way. You should start with dividing your hair into two-four sections. Later brush your hair from bottom to top gently. Another tip which will help you promote hair health is- never comb wet hair. The moisture makes the hair follicles weak. So if you comb your hair wet, the stress of the cob breaks the hair easily.

  1. Poor iron intake

Iron is an essential nutrient required for healthy hair. Iron deficiency is one of the most common causes of hair fall which people usually ignore. Iron promotes hemoglobin productions in the blood. Hemoglobin promotes hair growth and repairs the cells of the scalp. You can add food sources like leafy vegetables, tofu, beans, lentil, cashew or whole grains to your diet.

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Health

Alcohol causes significant harm to those other than the drinker: Study

The Kashmir Monitor

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People who are in close proximity or connection with alcoholics can experience harm because of their drinking, according to a study led by an Indian-origin scientist.


According to the research, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, an estimated 53 million adults in the US experienced harm because of someone else’s drinking in the last 12 months.

Researchers led by Madhabika B Nayak of the Alcohol Research Group in the US analysed data of 8,750 adults who answered questions from two databases in 2015 — the National Alcohol’s Harm to Others Survey and the National Alcohol Survey.

 

They found that some 21 per cent of women and 23 per cent of men experienced harm because of someone else’s drinking.

These harms included threats or harassment, vandalism, physical aggression, harms related to driving, or financial or family problems, according to the study.

The specific types of harm experienced differed by gender. Women were more likely to report financial and family problems, whereas ruined property, vandalism, and physical aggression were more likely to be reported by men.

There is “considerable risk for women from heavy, often male, drinkers in the household and, for men, from drinkers outside their family,” the researchers said.


Additional factors, including age and the person’s own drinking, were also important.

People below 25 had a higher risk of experiencing harm from someone else’s drinking. Further, almost half of men and women who themselves were heavy drinkers said they had been harmed by someone else’s drinking, the study stated.

Even people who drank but not heavily were at two to three times the risk of harassment, threats, and driving-related harm compared with abstainers.

Heavy drinking was defined as drinking five or more drinks at a time for men or four or more drinks for women at least monthly.

“Control policies, such as alcohol pricing, taxation, reduced availability, and restricting advertising, may be the most effective ways to reduce not only alcohol consumption but also alcohol’s harm to persons other than the drinker,” Nayak said.

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Health

Ditch the difficult diet for healthy living

The Kashmir Monitor

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Fitness is very important. But any drastic change you make in your lifestyle will not be sustainable.

According to celebrity nutritionist Pooja Makhija, it is important to give up a difficult eating pattern as a difficult diet will not help.

“If you need to make permanent change, small tweaks will help you attain the goal. Only small tweaks and lifestyle hack will actually show the change. Keeping in mind the basic diet and healthy eating habits will help. Eating less doesn’t help but eating right does,” added Makhija, who came in support of the anthology “Healthy Binge” which will air in June on Sony BBC Earth.

 

She has shared some basic fitness tips:

  • Never eat large meals in large gaps. Eat every 2 hours and in small quantities.
  • Don’t do extreme physical activity. Do timely exercise and periodically.
  • Never compromise on eating as it differs from person to person. The quality of the food is extremely important but the quantity is not.
  • Consume water. Eating food is important but ignoring water will ruin all the efforts. Having water time to time is very important for the proper working of your body.
  • Having a balanced diet is extremely important. Don’t go with trends but learn to eat balanced food that will help in the long run.

At the moment, she is working on her third book which “describes what to eat and what not to because a millennial should know their diet at very early stage”.

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