The Methionine Content of Mycoprotein

Mycoprotein is often claimed to be an effective meat substitute due to its high protein content. The protein content of mycoprotein is high, and compares favourably to meat in terms of total protein. However, the amino acid profile of meat is strong and this results in a protein with a high bioavailability. This means that meat such as chicken, fish, lamb, beef and pork contain all of the essential amino acids in the right concentrations for the maintenance of human health. In comparison, legumes are good sources of protein, but are low in methionine, such that they do not supply enough in order to make the protein suitable as the sole source of protein in the diet. Other sources of methionine would be needed. However, mycoprotein is even lower in methionine than legumes, and as such is not a complete protein, and compares more favourably to plant proteins. Addition of methionine to mycoprotein is seens as a solution, but this does not detract from the fact that mycoprotein does not provide complete protein, as does meat. 

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Sadler, M. 1990. Mycoprotein – a new food. Nutrition Bulletin. 15(3): 180-190
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Mycoprotein versus Legumes for Protein

Mycoprotein is considered by many to be a meat replacement. Nutritionally this is disingenuous because although mycoprotein contains high amounts of protein, it is low in many of the nutrients in meat including haem iron, carnitine and creatine. The main advantage of mycoprotein over other non-meat sources of protein is that the texture of the mycoprotein can be made to be somewhat similar to meat. However, beyond this advantage there is little benefit to mycoprotein when compared to other high protein foods including legumes. Legumes are also high in protein, and when compared to mycoprotein are cheaper and require less energy to grow, and therefore they are superior to mycoprotein when considering environmental impact. Legumes are low in the amino acid methionine, but any grain in the diet removes this deficit. Further, a handful of studies attest to a small number of health effects for mycoprotein, whereas a large amount of literature show a wide range of health benefits for legumes.  

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Moo-Young, M., Chisti, Y. and Vlach, D. 1993. Fermentation of cellulosic materials to mycoprotein foods. Biotechnology Advances. 11(3): 469-479
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Mycoprotein and Cardiovascular Disease

Mycoprotein is a mould that is often touted as a meat substitute. Mycoprotein is synthesised from the filamentous fungus Fusarium venenatum and is high in protein and certain other nutrients. Studies have investigated the cholesterol lowering properties of mycoprotein in order to assess the benefits it may have against cardiovascular disease. However, the studies have generally been shown to have methodological flaws and in particular may suffer from small sample sizes. In addition, there are a number of problems with assessing cardiovascular risk by substituting foods, most notably the question of how the study variables are controlled. Taking subjects with high cholesterol and feeding them mycoprotein may lower cholesterol levels but is this because of the mycoprotein or because by eating the mycoprotein, something else has been removed from the diet? Further, are cholesterol levels a suitable marker to show cardiovascular risk outside of a small subset of the population? Again, this is very difficult to answer. 

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Denny, A., Aisbitt, B. and Lunn, J. 2008. Mycoprotein and health. Nutrition bulletin. 33(4). 298-310
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Lagerstroemia speciosa: Antioxidants and Phenolic Content

Lagerstroemia speciosa is a flowering plant that belongs to the Lythraceae family of plants. The plant is distributed in the Tropical Himalaya and Assam, and Western and Eastern Ghats regions. Commonly the plant is known as the Queen’s flowers, Queen’s crape myrtle or the pride of India. The plant is used in medicine for its protective effects against a number of health conditions, and is particulalrly useful as an anti-diabetic and antibacterial agent. The plant is reported to possess a high antioxidant capacity and this may relate to a high phenolic content within various tissues of the plant. In one study, seed extracts of the plant were assayed to determine their total phenolic content, and this was found to be relatively high. When the extracts were used in free radical scavenging experiments they were found to be significantly able to quench free radical reactions. These results suggest that the seed extract confer significant antioxidant effects and this may explain the mode of action of the plant in some of its medicinal uses. 

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Junaid, S., Rakesh, K. N., Dileep, N., Poornima, G., Kekuda, T. P., and Mukunda, S. 2013. Total Phenolic Content and Antioxidant Activity of Seed Extract of Lagerstroemia Speciosa L. Chemical Science Transactions. 2(1): 75-80
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Is Mycoprotein Really A Meat Substitute?

Mycoprotein is a fungal organism (Fusarium venenatum) that is classified as a mould. Mycoprotein is marketed as a meat substitute, and one common brand name for it is Quorn. Mycoprotein is often marketed as a meat substitute as it is high in protein, but it is disingenuous to call it a meat substitute as the nutritional properties of meat and mycoprotein vary considerably. Mycoprotein does contain a reasonable nutritional profile, and the sodium to potassium ratio is low, it contains high amounts of zinc and selenium, and controlling the fungus as it grows and changing growth conditions can improve the nutritional profile to that which is required in some cases. However, mycoprotein does not contain some of the important nutrients in meat such as haem iron, carnitine or creatine, that would be considered beneficial to human health. Mycoprotein should not be dismissed as a nutrient source, but care needs to be taken when comparing it to meat, which is an important food in its own right. 

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Derbyshire, E. and Ayoob, K. T. 2019. Mycoprotein: nutritional and health properties. Nutrition Today. 54(1): 7-15
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Combination Herbal Therapy to Treat Inflammation

Evidence continues to accumulate that suggests that combinations of herbs are useful in the treatment of disease. Combinations of herbs are often more effective than single herbs because the phytochemicals they possess, and the effects they have, are slightly different. This gives a greater range of effect, producing synergism in combination therapy. One study investigated the effects of Korean red ginseng (Panax ginseng) powder, mulberry (Morus alba) leaf water extract powder, and banaba (Lagerstroemia speciosa) leaf water extract powder on chronic low grade inflammation in patients with type-2 diabetes. The total amount of the supplement was 6 grams per day for 24 weeks. The results of the study showed that the levels of intracellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), a cellular marker of inflammation, decreased significantly during the course of the treatment. Therefore Korean ginseng, mulberry leaf extract and banaba leaf extract may have significant anti-inflammatory effects in humans. 

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RdB

Kim, H. J., Yoon, K. H., Kang, M. J., Yim, H. W., Lee, K. S., Vuksan, V. and Sung, M. K. 2012. A Six-Month Supplementation of Mulberry, Korean Red Ginseng, and Banaba Decreases Biomarkers of Systemic Low-Grade Inflammation in Subjects with Impaired Glucose Tolerance and Type 2 Diabetes. Evidence Based Alternative and Complementary Medicine. doi:10.1155/2012/735191
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Is Drinking Water Protective of Depression and Anxiety?

Evidence suggests that a poor diet and an unhealthy lifestyle is associated with the development of mood disorders. Researchers have observed a number of dietary factors that can significantly improve mood and some of these are easy and cheap to implement. One such strategy may be the consumption of more drinking water. Drinking less than two glasses of water a day doubles the risk of depression and anxiety compared to drinking more than 5 glasses a day. This does not prove cause and effect as there could be other variables that are the causative agent. It is known that a 5 % dehydration rate is enough to significantly reduce mental and physical performance. If chronic dehydration is present even at low levels, there could be significant impairment of normal physical and mental function. Therefore drinking adequate water to remain hydrated is a significant step to maintaining optimal performance and optimal health. As well as water, fruits and vegetables can provide a significant amount of the daily requirement for water. 

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RdB

Haghighatdoost, F., Feizi, A., Esmaillzadeh, A., Rashidi-Pourfard, N., Keshteli, A. H., Roohafza, H. and Adibi, P. 2018. Drinking plain water is associated with decreased risk of depression and anxiety in adults: Results from a large cross-sectional study. World Journal of Psychiatry. 8(3): 88
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Ocimum Plants and Anxiety

Ocimum plants are a group of plants, many of which are considered to possess medicinal value. In particular, Ocimum plants have been shown to possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, immunomodulatory, memory enhancing and anti-diabetic effects. Ocimum bascilicum is commonly called basil, and Ocimum sanctum is commonly called holy basil. Both plants have been studied for their medicinal effects in animals, and in particular their ability to protect from mood disorders. For example, in one study, researchers experimentally induced the formation of amyloid plaques in the brains of rats. This caused increased depressive and anxiety-like behaviour of the rats. However, inhalation of essential oils from both basil plants was significantly able to attenuate the negative behavioural effects. Chemical analysis of the essential oils revealed that the main compound found in both plants was linalool, camphor, β-elemene, α-bergamotene,  bornyl-acetate, estragole, eugenol, and 1,8-cineole. 

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Gradinariu, V., Cioanca, O., Hritcu, L., Trifan, A., Gille, E. and Hancianu, M. 2015. Comparative efficacy of Ocimum sanctum L. and Ocimum basilicum L. essential oils against amyloid beta (1–42)-induced anxiety and depression in laboratory rats. Phytochemistry Reviews. 14(4): 567-575
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Ultra-Processed Foods and Depression

Ultra-processed foods are those formulations of ingredients, mostly for industrial use only, derived from a series of industrial processes. Foods that are considered ultra-processed foods include frozen dishes, soft and sweetened drinked, distilled alcoholic beverages, frankfurter sausages, savoury snacks and some supplements. These foods are generally devoid of nutrients, can be high in energy and could be considered to be of low nutritional quality. They do however, generally have long shelf lives and are cheap, which is why they make up a large proportion of certain individuals’ diets due to their wide scale availability and marketability. However, evidence suggests that such foods are damaging to the health of the consumer, and when they form a regular part of the diet can cause significant increases in disease risk. For example, consumption of such foods is associated with an increased risk of depression. Removing such foods from the diet is therefore pivotal if a state of health is desired. 

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RdB

Pagliai, G., Dinu, M., Madarena, M. P., Bonaccio, M., Iacoviello, L. and Sofi, F. 2020. Consumption of ultra-processed foods and health status: a systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Nutrition. doi:10.1017/S0007114520002688
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Piper methystucium as an Antidepressant

Piper mythysticum is commonly called kava. The roots of the kava plant are thought to confer significant anxiolytic effects on humans and animals. The effects of kava are thought to be conferred through the activity of kavalactones acting on the GABA system of the brain. In this regard the excitability of the brain is reduced and the overall effect is that of a calming nature. Animal studies confirm the anxiolytic effects of kava, and also show that it may possess antidepressant effects. For example, in one study, researchers investigated the effects of oral kava on the behaviour of rats after exposing them to experimental stress. The results of the study showed that the kava was able to cause behavioural changes that could be described as antidepressant in nature. The authors concluded that the kava extract possessed a significant antistress effect and that this effect was evident in rats administered root extracts of kava orally. This supports a growing body of evidence that kava possesses significant mood elevating effects. 

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RdB

Sharma, A., Mukim, M., Ancheria, R. and Jangid, H. 2021. The A Research Article on Antistress Activity of Herbal Extract Oil of Piper Methysticum on Wistar Albino. Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research and Development. 9(1): 117-129
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