Link Found Between Vitamin D and Prostate Cancer

A University of Colorado Cancer Center study recently published in the journal Prostate offers compelling evidence that inflammation may be the link between Vitamin D and prostate cancer. Specifically, the study shows that the gene GDF-15, known to be upregulated by Vitamin D, is notably absent in samples of human prostate cancer driven by inflammation.

“When you take Vitamin D and put it on prostate cancer cells, it inhibits their growth. But it hasn’t been proven as an anti-cancer agent. We wanted to understand what genes Vitamin D is turning on or off in prostate cancer to offer new targets,” says James R. Lambert, PhD, investigator at the CU Cancer Center and associate research professor in the CU School of Medicine Department of Pathology.

Since demonstrating that Vitamin D upregulates the expression of GDF-15, Lambert and colleagues, including Scott Lucia, MD, wondered if this gene might be a mechanism through which Vitamin D works in prostate cancer. Initially it seemed as if the answer was no.

“We thought there might be high levels of GDF-15 in normal tissue and low levels in prostate cancer, but we found that in a large cohort of human prostate tissue samples, expression of GDF-15 did not track with either normal or cancerous prostate tissue,” Lambert says.

But then the team noticed an interesting pattern: GDF-15 was uniformly low in samples of prostate tissue that contained inflammation.

“Inflammation is thought to drive many cancers including prostate, gastric and colon. Therefore, GDF-15 may be a good thing in keeping prostate tissue healthy – it suppresses inflammation, which is a bad actor potentially driving prostate cancer,” Lambert says.

The study used a sophisticated computer algorithm to analyze immunohistochemical (IHC) data, a task that in previous studies had been done somewhat subjectively by pathologists. With this new technique, Lambert, Lucia and colleagues were able to quantify the expression of the GDF-15 protein and inflammatory cells by IHC staining on slides taken from these human prostate samples.

Additionally encouraging is that the gene GDF-15 was shown to suppress inflammation by inhibiting another target, NFkB. This target, NFkB, has been the focus of many previous studies in which it has been shown to promote inflammation and contribute to tumor formation and growth; however, researchers have previously been unable to drug NFkB to decrease its tumor-promoting behavior.

“There’s been a lot of work on inhibiting NFkB,” says Lambert. “Now from this starting point of Vitamin D in prostate cancer, we’ve come a long way toward understanding how we might use GDF-15 to target NFkB, which may have implications in cancer types far beyond prostate.”

Source: University of Colorado Cancer Center


Today’s Comic

New Sweet Snack

Warm Donut with Cold Vanilla Ice Cream, Chocolate Sauce, Caramel Cookie and Espresso

The Donut Ice is offered by Krispy Kreme Japan for a limited time only and is priced at 480 Yen (about US$4.50).

Video: Why Do Things Taste Sweet?

Ever wonder why your favorite sweets taste, well, sweet?

Whether they’re made with sugar or artificial sweeteners, it all comes down to chemistry, and a very special shape known as the “sweetness triangle”.

Watch American Chemical Society video at You Tube (2:41 minutes) ….

Where GMOs Hide in Your Food

New Consumer Reports’ tests find genetically modified organisms in many packaged foods—including those labeled ‘natural’

More than 70 percent of Americans say they don’t want genetically modified organisms in their food, according to a recent Consumer Reports National Research Center survey of 1,000 adults. The trouble is, it’s hard to avoid them. Consumer Reports’ tests of breakfast cereals, chips, soy infant formulas, and other popular products found that GMOs lurk in many packaged foods—including some that carry labels suggesting that they don’t have these controversial ingredients.

In more than 60 countries, manufacturers must label foods that contain genetically modified ingredients. But GMO labeling isn’t required in the U.S. Yet our survey found that 92 percent of Americans want genetically modified foods to be labeled. And concerns about the potential health and environmental risks of GMOs coupled with an unwillingness on the part of the federal government to mandate labeling are leading many states to take action on their own.

Vermont recently passed legislation requiring GMO labeling, and similar actions are being considered in more than two dozen other states, including Colorado and Oregon, where residents will begin voting on a GMO-labeling ballot initiative in late October. “Federal law already requires labeling that lets consumers know whether foods have been previously frozen, made from concentrate, pasteurized, or irradiated, and we believe the label should also say if food is genetically engineered,” says Jean Halloran, director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union, the policy arm of Consumer Reports.

What are GMOs, anyway?

Genetically modified organisms are created by deliberately changing the genetic makeup of a plant or animal in ways that could never occur in nature. The majority of GMO crops currently on the market have been genetically engineered to produce their own pesticides and/or withstand herbicides that normally would kill them. Farmers use the herbicides to control weeds.

Safety concerns

You may be surprised to know that the federal government has not mandated that genetically modified organisms be proved safe before they’re used in your food. But safety assessments are mandatory in other major developed countries, including China, Japan, and the countries of the European Union. Some animal studies suggest that GMOs may cause damage to the immune system, liver, and kidneys. “There hasn’t been enough research to determine whether GMOs are harmful to people,” says Michael Hansen, Ph.D., senior scientist at Consumers Union and an authority on genetic engineering. “But scientists around the world agree that GMOs have the potential to introduce allergens and create other unintended changes that may affect health.”

The use of genetically modified seeds has steadily grown over the last two decades. That has led to about a 10-fold increase in farmers’ use of glyphosate, a weedkiller better known as Roundup, which is made by Monsanto—a company that also produces genetically modified seeds—because the herbicide won’t harm their GMO crops. But that in turn has created a new problem for farmers to battle: a rising number of “superweeds” that have now become immune to glyphosate. “This defeats one of the major reasons why GMOs were introduced in the first place,” Hansen says.

The food industry’s take

Companies that produce genetically modified organisms and their allies in the food industry argue that genetic engineering is just an extension of traditional breeding, which humans have been doing for thousands of years. But that process involves the transfer of DNA between closely related plants or animals. Genetic engineering techniques, on the other hand, move genetic material from any organism to any other organism.

There is fierce opposition to GMO labeling from many seed manufacturers and big food companies, which have spent nearly $70 million in California and Washington state alone to defeat GMO-labeling ballot initiatives. One of the major arguments they make is that stamping foods with a statement such as “contains GMO ingredients” implies that those foods are inferior to other conventional or organic foods when there’s no evidence that genetically modified organisms are harmful. “Our position is that GMO foods should be labeled, period,” Halloran says. “Consumers have the right to know what’s in their food so that they can make informed choices.”

GMOs are found in surprising places

GMO labeling should be required in the U.S., but in the meantime some food manufacturers are choosing not to use genetically modified ingredients and are noting that on their products’ packaging. To see how many foods have GMOs and whether you can trust the claims you see on food packages, we bought more than 80 different processed foods containing corn or soy between April and July 2014. (Corn and soy are the two most widely grown genetically engineered crops in the U.S.) We tested at least two samples of each product, each sample from a different lot, to measure the GMO content. Then we compared our results with any non-GMO-related claims.

Genetically modified corn and soy are used in a wide variety of foods. Nearly all of the samples we tested of the products that did not make any non-GMO-related claim on the package did, in fact, contain substantial amounts of genetically modified corn or soy. They included many familiar foods, such as Kellogg’s Froot Loops, General Mills Corn Chex, Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, Doritos Oven Baked Nacho Cheese chips, and Boca Original Vegan Veggie Burgers. Four of the products in this group were soy-based infant formulas: Enfamil ProSobee Soy Infant Formula, Gerber Good Start Soy, Similac Soy Isomil, and Similac Go & Grow Soy Infant formula.

Because our tests represented only a small slice of the market, we can’t draw conclusions about all products containing corn or soy, or about every product for a given brand. But until genetically modified organism labeling becomes mandatory, our test results can help you decode the meaning behind the claims you see on grocery store shelves.

Read more and watch video at ConsumerReport.org …..

Apple Cinnamon Tea Cake

Ingredients

6 oz unsalted butter, softened
1¼ cups superfine sugar
1½ tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
2¼ tsp baking powder
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup milk
1 apple, thinly sliced
1/3 cup apricot jam, warmed

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and creamy.
  3. Add the eggs and beat well.
  4. Fold through the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and milk.
  5. Line a 8 x 12-inch cake tin with parchment paper. Spoon in the mixture, top with the apple and brush with half of the jam.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
  7. Brush with the remaining jam and allow to cool in the tin. Serve with whipped cream.

Makes 10 servings.

Source: Donna Hay


Today’s Comic

Gadget: Tofu Stamp

Stamped Tofu

Stamps

Chinese Stir-fry of Rice Noodle Rolls

Ingredients

6 rice noodle rolls
80 g pork loin
80 g cabbage
1 stalk green onion, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
2 eggs, beaten with 1/4 tsp salt
Hoi Sin sauce and chili paste to serve

Pork Marinade

1 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp water
1 tsp oil
1/8 tsp sesame oil
dash ground white pepper

Seasoning

1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp sesame oil
dash ground white pepper

Method

  1. Cut noodle rolls into sections. Cut cabbage into strips.
  2. Cut pork into slices. Mix with marinade and set aside for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok. Stir-fry rolls until light golden. Remove.
  4. Heat another 1 tbsp oil, sauté garlic until fragrant. Add pork and stir-fry until no longer pink.
  5. Add cabbage and toss until pork is cooked.
  6. Return noodle rolls to wok. Mix in seasoning and green onion. Toss to combine.
  7. Add egg and stir-fry until set. Remove and serve with Hoi Sin sauce and chili paste.

Source: Hong Kong magazine