Despite many studies around the world focusing on the current coronavirus crisis, there are still numerous research papers being published that could alter the way we view nutrition and its effects on our health.

Read a summary of the latest findings here including the health benefits of sardines and significant new findings into calcium regulation.

The health benefits of sardines

Oily fish is widely known to be beneficial to health as part of a balanced diet but one recent article by Medical News Today suggests that sardines in particular may hold a wealth of benefits. Sardines, like most other oily fish, are a great source of omega 3 as they contain two of the three main forms of omega 3, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These two forms are known to support heart health as well support the development of brain and eye health in the foetus during pregnancy and antenatal support.

While the omega 3 content may be well known, the vitamin and protein content of sardines may not be as commonly understood. One cup of canned sardines, in fact, contains as much as 36.7g protein. In addition, sardines are a good source of selenium, which contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system, and vitamin B12, which contributes to normal red blood cell formation, psychological function amongst other benefits.

Another benefit of sardines over some other fatty fish is that it has lower levels of mercury contamination by comparison, suggesting it could be one of the more preferable choices.

Could probiotics support weight management?

Probiotics are regarded for their links to immune support and digestive health but an article by Healthline has now evaluated their role in weight management.

It is thought that gut bacteria, as well as potentially having a role in mental health as discussed recently in Nutrition News, may also play a part in body weight regulation. The article refers to studies that show a correlation between a more diverse gut bacteria of lean individuals to those who are overweight. While the studies referenced only show a correlation, not a causation, it is thought that certain probiotics, such as those apart of the lactobacillus family, may help inhibit the absorption of dietary fat, thus increasing the amount of fat excreted.

They may also, according to the article, release appetite-regulating hormones and increase levels of fat-regulating proteins. However, far more research is needed to fully understand these proposed mechanisms.

Further research into the regulation of calcium with vitamin D

Vitamin D is known to increase the amount of calcium in the blood, but a recent study has evaluated just how the vitamin regulates calcium and has drawn some revolutionary conclusions. The study’s author, Sylvia Christakos, a professor in the Department of Microbiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School is quoted saying in Science Daily, “The findings suggest that vitamin D may have a role not only in calcium absorption, but also in the cellular regulation of other essential ions and in the function of intestinal stem cells".

Whereas previously this regulation of calcium was only thought to occur in the proximal intestine, which is the first section of the intestine, the study has found that the distal segments, which includes the colon, could play a major part in vitamin D regulation of calcium and bone calcification.

The study’s findings could have huge implications for strategies to combat calcium malabsorption and increasing the efficacy of intestinal calcium uptake.

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Alison Astill-Smith author Alison is Director and Founder of Metabolics who writes about Metabolics updates, events and natural healthcare. Her experience and passion for natural supplements and healthcare comes from her years of experience as a practising osteopath, having founded Metabolics in her search for high quality, natural products in her own work. Alison has been a qualified and practising Osteopath since 1981 and regularly gives seminars on a range of healthcare subjects to the wider practitioner community helping share her knowledge and experience.