Further research on turmeric and curcumin is covered in this week’s Nutrition News as well as the latest trials relating to probiotics and the facts around vitamin B12.

Catch up on the latest here.

Is turmeric antiviral?

Further to our last Nutrition News article that explored the inflammatory effects of curcumin, a separate article has been published by Medical News Bulletin that delves into the antiviral properties of turmeric.

Encouraged by earlier research that linked turmeric to antiviral properties, researchers in China explored the antiviral effects of turmeric in laboratory experiments and found that curcumin reduced infection in a number of ways including directly killing the virus, inactivating the virus through affecting the viral shell and affecting the cells to reduce absorption of the virus into the cells.

While the results are promising, the research is in its very early stages and the researchers have stressed that further analysis and experiments are needed.

The clinical trials that support probiotics

The advice around probiotics is often muddled and non-committal, mostly because governing bodies suggest the science isn’t there to support probiotics. However, one recent article has set out to disprove this line of thought by illustrating the numerous clinical trials on probiotics for general health support.

The article from NutraIngredients shows that there are some 1,600 human clinical trials on probiotics listed in clinicaltrials.gov and the WHO’s trial database, giving rise to the argument against the misconception that there is no human data around probiotics. While the article is not suggesting that they are analysing the results of these trials, it does counter the argument that there is no science on probiotics.

What the article also highlights is that the number of trials and studies are also increasing, with around 50 clinical trials being registered per year currently, suggesting that the science is likely to become more robust and we will start to gain a clearer picture of the effects of probiotics and prebiotics on the body and gut health.

The best vitamin B12 foods

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient, meaning that we need to consume it in our diet in order to have enough to stay healthy. It has gained a lot of media attention in recent months due to the rise in popularity of vegan diets, as B12 is typically found in animal products such as meat and dairy. This means that those who follow vegan diets typically need to obtain their B12 from fortified foods and supplements.

This article from MedicalNewsToday addresses some of the concerns and misconceptions around B12 and vegan diets, starting with why it is so important. Vitamin B12 is responsible for supporting a host of functions within the body including red blood cell formation, neurological function and DNA synthesis. When you are lacking in B12 it can lead to anaemia and neurological and psychiatric symptoms.

Some of the best sources of B12 are animal products such as clams, liver, trout, salmon, eggs, chicken breast, beef, low fat yoghurt and low fat milk. Vegan sources of B12 include fortified plant-based milk such as soy, almond and cashew milk, breakfast cereals, tofu and some dairy free yoghurts, however, the article stresses that it is important to check the label for how much B12 the product contains as, if it is fortified, this can vary in huge amounts from brand to brand.

The amount of B12 needed depends mostly on your age, gender as well as your personal circumstances such as your current health and if you have any underlying health issues or deficiencies, therefore the best way to ensure you are getting enough is to seek the guidance of a professional healthcare practitioner who can assess your needs.

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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.