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Psyllium is commonly used for constipation because it retains water in the small intestine, softening the stool and increasing stool frequency. Psyllium husk also contains oligosaccharides, such as arabinose and xylose, which have limited digestibility in humans but can be metabolized by intestinal microbiota. These oligosaccharides give psyllium prebiotic potential, with effects that may include increased growth of beneficial bacteria and increased production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). 

Risk factors for vitamin D deficiency include obesity, type 2 diabetes, and living at high latitude. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is primarily synthesized with exposure to ultraviolet B sunlight. However, it is not known whether summer sun exposure is sufficient to achieve adequate serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) in at-risk populations.

As many as one in 3 people will be affected by anxiety symptoms during their lifetime. A growing body of research suggests that the intestinal flora can modulate anxiety and mood via the gut-brain axis (a communication network that involves the gastrointestinal, immune, endocrine, and nervous systems). However, whether or not anxiety can be improved by modulating the gut microbiota is still up for debate. That is the question researchers aimed to answer with a systematic review published in 2019.

Cordyceps sinensis is a wild mushroom that grows in the Himalaya Mountains in Tibet and the high regions of China. Cordyceps is well known for its immunomodulatory effects in traditional Chinese medicine. However, the availability of cordyceps has been limited because of the difficult and specific growing conditions it requires.

The population of adults over the age of 65 is expected to double by the year 2050, with mobility limitations becoming an increasing concern. Identifying modifiable risk factors for mobility limitations and disabilities could help reduce the burden that mobility problems pose to individuals and society.

Breast cancer patients have a higher risk for osteoporotic fractures than women of their same age who have not had breast cancer. The risk is thought to be attributed to endocrine therapies that are commonly used as adjuvant treatments for hormone-sensitive cancers. By interfering with the action of estrogen, these treatments can have adverse effects on bone health.

Glucosamine is a popular supplement for joint health, but emerging evidence suggests that it may also influence cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Animal studies have found that glucosamine has anti-inflammatory effects and prevents the development of atherosclerotic plaques. Cross-sectional data from human epidemiological studies have found inverse associations between glucosamine use and the risks of heart attacks and death. Prospective data on the association between glucosamine use and CVD was lacking until researchers followed patients over an average of 7 years as part of the US Biobank study.

Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) has traditionally been used as an herbal medicine for depression, heart disease, sleep disorders, and stress.  It contains active constituents that exert anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Based on animal models of allergic asthma, researchers have concluded that saffron might reduce airway inflammation, hyper-responsiveness, and muscle contraction. The first clinical trial of saffron for allergic asthma was published in 2019 in Respiratory Research.

Vitamin D is known to affect innate and acquired immunity. A study published in 2019 in PLoS One investigated the association between serum vitamin D deficiency and allergic symptoms. The study relied on data from a historical cohort of pregnant women enrolled in the Japan Environment and Children’s Study (JECS).

Depression is a significant problem worldwide, and estimates suggest that only one in 3 cases are effectively treated with conventional therapies. Even with successful treatment, relapse occurs in about half of cases. Dietary patterns have the potential to reduce the risk of depression by interacting with a variety of neurological pathways. Diet influences inflammation, oxidative stress, neuroplasticity, mitochondrial function, and the gut microbiome—all of which interact with pathways that influence depression and mood.

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