Every week, we’re bringing you a roundup of the latest health and wellness news to hit the wire. This week, read how intermittent fasting could prevent Type 2 diabetes, the positive effect of dairy consumption on your health, and how movement boosts mood in elderly cancer patients.

Is there anything intermittent fasting can’t do?

By now, you’ve probably heard the benefits of intermittent fasting touted all over the health and wellness world. A recent study from DZD scientists from the German Institute of Human Nutrition shows yet another promising potential benefit of intermittent fasting: preventing diabetes.

The research team found that overweight mice with a predisposition to diabetes also had a high count of pancreatic fat cells, which has been linked to the development of Type 2 diabetes. Though little is known about this fat-cell accumulation and its effect on the onset of Type 2 diabetes, the scientists found that mice on an intermittent-fasting regimen exhibited lower pancreatic fat.

The scientists split the overweight diabetic-prone mice into two groups: The first could eat as much as they wanted whenever they wanted; the second were placed on an intermittent-fasting regimen. After five weeks, the researchers found that fat cells accumulated in the pancreas of the mice in the first group. The second group, however, hardly had any fat-cell deposits in the pancreas.

Furthermore, the researchers allowed the fat cells to mature and found that these cells, cultivated with Langerhans islets of the pancreas, increasingly secreted insulin.

“We suspect that the increased secretion of insulin causes the Langerhans islets [hormone-producing cells in the pancreas] of diabetes-prone animals to deplete more quickly and, after some time, to cease functioning completely. In this way, fat accumulation in the pancreas could contribute to the development of Type 2 diabetes,” said professor Annette Schürmann, Ph.D., one of the leads of the study.

Intermittent fasting it seems could be both a promising and advantageous approach to reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes because it is noninvasive, easily integrated and doesn’t require medication.

Pass the cheese plate!

A review conducted by scientist from various European and American universities, coordinated by the University of Granada and Complutense University of Madrid and published in Advances in Nutrition, found that consumption of milk and dairy products throughout the human life span can help prevent various chronic diseases.

One example is the link between intake of milk during pregnancy and a baby’s birth weight, length and bone-mineral content. Milk and dairy product intake also has been known to reduce the risk of frailty and sarcopenia in elderly people.

The review synthesizes current scientific evidence on topics related to the effect of dairy on health, including lowered risk of mortality, prevention of metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes risk, cardiovascular diseases, various cancer risks and more. The evidence gathered and reviewed by scientists is based on the findings of observational studies, randomized controlled trials and reviews.

Movement and mood in chemotherapy patients

We know that movement has been shown to positively impact mood, but a new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society set out to determine whether it also can lift the mood of older adults undergoing chemotherapy.

Cancer is linked with an increase in anxiety and mood issues, which can in turn affect the decision to pursue cancer treatments. Older adults with cancer can benefit from chemotherapy but often experience mood disorders during the treatment and potentially dangerous side effects from the drug. Furthermore, anti-anxiety medications also can cause complications for older adults.

Researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center found that movement is perhaps a safer, more effective alternative to anxiety medications.

The researcher used the Exercise for Cancer Patients program, an at-home aerobic and resistance workout program, to study participants who were given individually tailored walking routines and workout programs, and they were encouraged to increase the intensity and length over the course of their treatment.

What they found was that these home-based programs improved the mood, anxiety, and social and emotional well-being of the older patient participants with cancer currently undergoing chemo.

Photo credit: Jez Timms, Unsplash