Review: Building Blocks to Recovery: Using Amino Acids to Combat Depression and Addiction
Depression is a pervasive condition that infiltrates the health of millions of Americans by worsening the quality of life and provoking deleterious coping mechanisms, often presenting as addiction and disordered eating behaviors. While previously treated as a neurological illness, de-pression may be a manifestation of gut dysfunction via the gut-brain-axis. This literature review intends to consolidate existing research on the gut-brain-axis and its role in depression and subse-quent addictive behaviors. This review analyzes research between 1950 and 2023 relevant to the gut-brain-axis and various neurological conditions, discusses the bidirectionality between depression and addiction, and investigates how healing gut dysbiosis and optimizing amino acid and mineral absorption could improve neurotransmitter function and alleviate symptoms of depression. Find-ings suggest that healing the gut could optimize nutrient absorption and reduce severity of these psychological symptoms. Additionally, this review highlights the importance of amino acids as neu-rotransmitter precursors, and their respective cofactors, in mediating this dysfunction. This paper acknowledges numerous limitations in the literature regarding gut interventions; future research should seek to close these gaps in understanding and explore the potential of fecal transplants in mental health treatment.
Review: The Role of Calcium and Vitamin D in the Treatment of Premenstrual Syndrome
Background: Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a wide spectrum of symptoms that affects roughly 75% of women of reproductive age. Methods: A literature review was performed relevant to the effects of calcium and vitamin D on PMS symptoms. Nutritional interventions with evidence were analyzed and reviewed. Results: Studies showed that vitamin D has anti-inflammatory effects and can contribute to healthier stress levels and decreased anxiety and depression. Calcium can help maintain mineral balance and uterine function leading to a reduction in overall luteal phase symptoms. Conclusions: A combination of supplementation with calcium and vitamin D may improve the symptoms of PMS.
Review: Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth – Concepts and Considerations
Background: Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is a condition characterized by a change in the number or quality of microorganisms present in the small intestine. It is associated with functional diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, such as irritable bowel syndrome. Methods: Factors affecting the microbiota present as possible risk sources as well as potential treatment approaches. Nutritional intervention could be effectively employed as a treatment protocol for SIBO. Results: A nutritional approach should include restoring the intestinal lining, enhancing nutritional status, and preventing recurrence. Use of the Bi-Phasic Diet Protocol, herbal therapy, and probiotic supplementation is suggested. Conclusions: Nutritional therapy for SIBO should be complex and individualized. A functional approach may be a valid method to treat the condition.
Review: Efficacy of Natural Supplements and Foods in Decreasing Inflammation and Increasing Recovery of Damaged Muscles
Background: There is available literature examining the anti-inflammatory properties of foods and the utilization of these foods to reduce muscle damage through diet. However, the available research does not compare the outcomes of many different types of foods and their effects. This review examines various foods and their efficacy regarding anti-inflammatory properties and pain reduction, following exercise-induced muscle damage. These foods all show promising evidence in the reduction of muscle soreness and inflammation following exercise-induced muscle damage, suggesting their ability to act as a clinical modality. Methods: Literature was gathered using various key searches like “exercise induced muscle damage and anti-inflammatory foods”. Databases searched included EBSCO host, Google Scholar, and PubMed. Randomized controlled trials, double-blind studies, meta-analyses, and systematic reviews with full texts published between 2012 and 2022, were included. Results: Four tart cherry articles found decreased scores in delayed onset muscle soreness or VAS scores, which was assessing pain following exercise. They also saw decreased scores in cherry groups compared to placebos. Four tart cherries studies all saw significantly increased scores in muscular voluntary isometric contractions with cherry use compared to the placebos. Tart cherries also saw improved levels of interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein in the intervention group. Another cherry study saw improvements in creatine kinase following exercise that induced muscle damage. Blueberry supplementation saw decreased pain level scores, increased maximal torque, and maximal torque average post-exercise-induced muscle damage. Creatine kinase levels were lower in blueberry groups while interleukin-6 showed increased levels in the blueberry groups. Pomegranate juice saw higher maximal weight scores and total weight lifted. Pomegranate groups also saw decreased delayed onset muscle soreness scores with blood biomarkers showing no significant change. Omega-3 studies saw improvements in at least one inflammation biomarker compared to placebo groups. One omega-3 study did not see improvements in physical markers but improved perceived muscle soreness while another omega-3 study saw decreased delayed onset muscle soreness scores. Conclusion: Tart cherries, pomegranate, blueberries, and omega-3 supplements all appear to be effective anti-inflammatory treatment options.
Review: Weight Loss Using a Ketogenic Diet for Adults with Type II Diabetes
The ketogenic diet was introduced over a hundred years ago as a potential treatment for epilepsy. It was used as an alternative to fasting and is more effective due to the levels of ketonemia produced and the ability to be sustained for longer periods of time. As of late researchers have been focusing on the diet for Type II diabetes and weight loss. Using the Graceland Libraries and PubMed databases studies a literature review was performed using specific search terms with inclusion and exclusion criteria. Randomized controlled trials taking very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets and comparing them to diets using normal, smaller reductions in fat intake (less than 30 percent kcal from fat) for at least a year, found that ketogenic diets provided more weight loss for patients than the other reduced-fat diets. A ketogenic diet for adults with Type II diabetes when compared to typical dieting was shown to be effective. Factors that can improve the effectiveness of this include daily exercise and sufficient rest and practicing behavioral adherence strategies. This may be a substantial approach to treating obesity in adults with Type II diabetes.
Review: Comparison of the effect of whey protein and soy protein supplementation combined with resistance training.
The current research directly comparing whey to soy protein supplementation following resistance training and its effect on muscle protein synthesis (MPS) is limited. Existing literature comparing the difference between whey and soy protein is equivocal. The purpose of this review is to examine research directly comparing whey to soy protein supplementation regarding muscle protein synthesis following resistance training. A literature review was performed utilizing specific search terms with inclusion and exclusion criteria. It is suggested that differences between whey and soy protein on MPS with resistance training are apparent in experienced resistance training athletes and when the duration of training is 12 weeks or longer.