Below are select scientific and healthy living articles written by Douglas Toal and published online in various blogs and technical newsletters.
AACC Scientific Shorts
Inborn errors of metabolism (IEM) are rare genetic disorders that cause alterations or deficiencies in enzymes involved in metabolism. As a result, metabolic pathways are disrupted, and the body cannot properly metabolize food into energy. Furthermore, the disruption in metabolism can cause substrate accumulation resulting in moderate to severe symptoms, including life-long disability and death. IEM’s typically present in early childhood but can become symptomatic at any age.
Awareness of the gut microbiota—and its impact on health—has had a profound impact on wellness over the last decade or so. And if you’re like most health-conscience consumers, you’re probably using foods and supplements to support digestion and promote microbial diversity. After all, when it’s all said and done, we all want the friendly microbes in our intestines to thrive and produce healthy benefits.
Probiotics have been shown to modulate gut microbiota function and, when administered in adequate amounts, they may provide health benefits. But with so many probiotic strains on the market, how do we know which ones provide real benefits and what dosage is required to receive them? This is an important question for consumers, and the best way to become informed is to read up on the research. If that seems like a daunting task (and I can assure you that it is) you can relax, because I've consolidated the information in this easy-to-read guide.
One person may take a probiotic to offset the effects of antibiotic use, one may be looking for a natural way to lower cholesterol levels, and another may want to improve overall digestion and immunity. Some experts will tell you to consult the scientific literature to identify probiotic strains that have demonstrated efficacy in clinical trial studies. However, before the literature is consulted, let's take a step back and ask a more fundamental and important question: How do probiotics work, and do they work the same for everyone?
Medical Laboratory Observer
In 2014, the global prevalence of diabetes was estimated to be at nine percent among adults age 18 and over, with approximately 1.5 million deaths directly attributed to the disease. Furthermore, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that by 2030, diabetes will be the seventh-leading cause of death worldwide.1,2 Type 2 diabetes (T2D) has become a worldwide pandemic that continues unabated, and there remains a great public health need for biomarkers that can detect early signs of the disease (prediabetes) so that those at greatest risk can implement lifestyle changes that delay or prevent the disease.
Medical Laboratory Observer
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by reduced sensitivity to insulin in muscle, liver, and adipose tissue, a condition referred to as “insulin resistance.” Insulin resistance develops before the onset of diabetes and is a predictor of the disease. In fact, insulin resistance can be present more than 10 years prior to diabetes and can be seen prior to any changes in glycemic measures.1 Most people with insulin resistance are able to maintain normal glycemic levels by increasing β-cell secretion to compensate for diminished insulin activity. Over time, though, the β-cells of the pancreas may not produce sufficient insulin to compensate for the increased resistance, and this leads to progressive glucose intolerance (prediabetes) and diabetes.