Weekly Roundup: Curcumin extract may prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, eggs recommended in early weaning

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03 Aug 2018 --- The weekly roundup is NutritionInsight's collection of global nutrition stories from the past week. In research news, bioactive curcumin extract BCM-95 was noted for its role in preventing and treating Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), folic acid supplementation may be key to lowering the risk of language skill delays in children whose mothers take drugs for epilepsy and women appear to have a more considerable aversion to eating meat than men after seeing pictures of baby animals. Lastly, British Lion Eggs, a UK food safety scheme, notes that a UK government report has highlighted the benefits of feeding the allergenic foods of eggs and peanuts to babies from the age of six months old.

In brief: Research studies
New research has highlighted the potential of BCM-95, a high potency turmeric extract, as a preventive and treatment agent for NAFLD. The turmeric extract is marketed by DolCas Biotech, in a joint venture with Arjuna Naturals Extracts. The study identified that supplementation with the curcumin ingredient reduced the development of NAFLD and diminished its progression to more severe forms in rats, via its ability to reduce inflammation, oxidative stress and hepatic steatosis, the researchers report.

Women who take epilepsy drugs while pregnant may have a lower risk of having a child with delays in language skills if they supplement with folic acid before and early in pregnancy, says a Norwegian study. The study found that epileptic mothers who did not supplement with folic were four times as likely to have children with language skills delays. Researchers note the significance of the study as Norway does not Click to Enlargefortify foods with folic acid, as is done in the US. “The apparent protective effect of taking folic acid supplements was striking,” says Elisabeth Synnøve Nilsen Husebye, study author. “Half of the risk of having language delays at 18 months could be attributed to the lack of folic acid in children exposed to epilepsy drugs, while in children of mothers without epilepsy only 6 percent of the risk was attributed to the lack of supplements.”

Lancaster University and University College London researchers found that both men and women find pictures of baby animals – such as lambs, piglets and calves – “cute and vulnerable,” but that women experience a more significant reduction in their appetite for eating meat following exposure to the images. The researchers note that this could be due to women’s greater “emotional attunement” toward babies, and go on to suggest that animal advocacy groups would be wise to focus on images of “cute” baby animals in their publicity, particularly when focused on young women. Interestingly, no appetite reduction was found in men or women when shown images of adult animals, such as cows, pigs and sheep.

In brief: Miscellaneous 
British Lion Eggs
, part of the British Egg Industry Council, has highlighted aspects of a UK Government report – Feeding in the first year of life – in relation to allergenic foods. The report confirms that allergenic foods, including hen’s eggs and peanuts, can be introduced to a child’s diet from around six months of age. The report also notes that the deliberate exclusion of eggs beyond six to 12 months of age may increase the risk of allergy once initial exposure occurs. The attitudes of mothers toward solid foods was also considered, with the report highlighting that 12 percent said they avoided giving their infants eggs, while 73 percent reported giving them less than once per week.

By Laxmi Haigh

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