Dr. Ron’s Research Review – October 4, 2017

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This week’s research review focuses on the Paleo Diet.

Human beings can almost certainly survive and multiply in the polluted cage of technological civilization, but we may sacrifice much of our humanness in adapting to such conditions. (Dubos, 1970)
Famed microbiologist René J. Dubos (1901-1982) was an early pioneer in the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) construct. In the 1960s, he conducted groundbreaking experimental research concerning the ways in which early-life experience with nutrition, microbiota, stress, and other environmental variables could influence later-life health outcomes. He also wrote extensively on potential health consequences of a progressive loss of contact with natural environments (now referred to as green or blue space), arguing that Paleolithic experiences have created needs, particularly in the mental realm that might not be met in the context of rapid global urbanization. He posited that humans would certainly adapt to modern urban landscapes and high technology, but there might be a toll to be paid in the form of higher psychological distress (symptoms of anxiety and depression) and diminished quality of life. In particular, there might be an erosion of humanness, exemplified by declines in altruism/empathy. (Logan et al., 2015a) (Logan et al., 2015b)
 “Our deepest needs stem from ancient and still poorly understood biological adaptations. Among them is biophilia (Greek for life and love): the rich, natural pleasure that comes from being surrounded by living organisms, not just other human beings but a diversity of plants and animals that live in gardens and woodlots, in zoos, around the home and in the wilderness”

Now for the quiz: What nutrient deficiency should all patients who are on the Paleolithic diet be cautioned about? (Pitt, 2016)
Answer: Calcium

Dr. Ron


 

Articles

Mere survival is not enough for man
            (Dubos, 1970) Download
I am tired of hearing that man is on his way to extinction, along with most other forms of life. Like many others, I am alarmed but the destructive effects of our power-intoxicated technology and our ungoverned population growth; I know that scientists have worked out a specific timetable for the extinction of mankind. But my own view of man as a biological animal suggests that something worse than extinction is in store for us. Human beings can almost certainly survive and multiply in the polluted cage of technological civilization, but we may sacrifice much of our humanness in adapting to such conditions.

Natural environments, ancestral diets, and microbial ecology: is there a modern "paleo-deficit disorder"? Part I.
            (Logan et al., 2015a) Download
Famed microbiologist René J. Dubos (1901-1982) was an early pioneer in the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) construct. In the 1960s, he conducted groundbreaking experimental research concerning the ways in which early-life experience with nutrition, microbiota, stress, and other environmental variables could influence later-life health outcomes. He also wrote extensively on potential health consequences of a progressive loss of contact with natural environments (now referred to as green or blue space), arguing that Paleolithic experiences have created needs, particularly in the mental realm, that might not be met in the context of rapid global urbanization. He posited that humans would certainly adapt to modern urban landscapes and high technology, but there might be a toll to be paid in the form of higher psychological distress (symptoms of anxiety and depression) and diminished quality of life. In particular, there might be an erosion of humanness, exemplified by declines in altruism/empathy. Here in the first of a two-part review, we examine contemporary research related to natural environments and question to what extent Dubos might have been correct in some of his 50-year-old assertions.


 

Natural environments, ancestral diets, and microbial ecology: is there a modern "paleo-deficit disorder"? Part II.
            (Logan et al., 2015b) Download
Famed microbiologist René J. Dubos (1901-1982) was an early pioneer in the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) construct. In the 1960s, he conducted groundbreaking research concerning the ways in which early-life experience with nutrition, microbiota, stress, and other environmental variables could influence later-life health outcomes. He recognized the co-evolutionary relationship between microbiota and the human host. Almost 2 decades before the hygiene hypothesis, he suggested that children in developed nations were becoming too sanitized (vs. our ancestral past) and that scientists should determine whether the childhood environment should be "dirtied up in a controlled manner." He also argued that oft-celebrated growth chart increases via changes in the global food supply and dietary patterns should not be equated to quality of life and mental health. Here in the second part of our review, we reflect the words of Dubos off contemporary research findings in the areas of diet, the gut-brain-axis (microbiota and anxiety and depression) and microbial ecology. Finally, we argue, as Dubos did 40 years ago, that researchers should more closely examine the relevancy of silo-sequestered, reductionist findings in the larger picture of human quality of life. In the context of global climate change and the epidemiological transition, an allergy epidemic and psychosocial stress, our review suggests that discussions of natural environments, urbanization, biodiversity, microbiota, nutrition, and mental health, are often one in the same.

Cutting through the Paleo hype: The evidence for the Palaeolithic diet.
            (Pitt, 2016) Download
BACKGROUND:  General practitioners (GPs) are commonly asked about popular diets. The Palaeolithic diet is both highly popular and controversial. OBJECTIVE:  This article reviews the published literature to establish the evidence for and against the Palaeolithic diet. DISCUSSION:  The Palaeolithic diet remains controversial because of exaggerated claims for it by wellness bloggers and celebrity chefs, and the contentious evolutionary discordance hypothesis on which it is based. However, a number of underpowered trials have suggested there may be some benefit to the Palaeolithic diet, especially in weight loss and the correction of metabolic dysfunction. Further research is warranted to test these early findings. GPs should caution patients who are on the Palaeolithic diet about adequate calcium intake, especially those at higher risk of osteoporosis.

 


References

Dubos, R (1970), ‘Mere survival is not enough for man’, Life, 69 (2), PubMed:
Logan, AC, MA Katzman, and V Balanzá-Martínez (2015a), ‘Natural environments, ancestral diets, and microbial ecology: is there a modern “paleo-deficit disorder”? Part I.’, J Physiol Anthropol, 34 1. PubMed: 25636731
——— (2015b), ‘Natural environments, ancestral diets, and microbial ecology: is there a modern “paleo-deficit disorder”? Part II.’, J Physiol Anthropol, 34 9. PubMed: 25889196
Pitt, CE (2016), ‘Cutting through the Paleo hype: The evidence for the Palaeolithic diet.’, Aust Fam Physician, 45 (1), 35-38. PubMed: 27051985