Gum disease link with Covid-19 complications

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology revealed that those who suffer with gum disease may be at a higher risk of Covid-19 complications including death. The case-control study, which was conducted in Qatar and involved more than 500 patients, found that patients who suffered with periodontitis (gum disease) were 4.5 times more likely to require a ventilator, nine times more likely to die of the virus and 3.5 times more likely to be admitted to intensive care.

Leading dental hygienist and founder of London Hygienist (, Anna Middleton, said: “This isn’t the first study that has found a link between poor oral hygiene and Covid-19. Another recent study [published in the British Dental Journal] showcased that poor oral hygiene increased the duration of viral shedding from Covid-19 from approximately 50 days (meaning the virus is detectable for longer in your saliva even if your symptoms have resolved if you are not brushing properly). Therefore, improved oral health can in fact reduce the duration of infection.”

She added: “The key is to make sure that the oral microbiome is healthy. For example, we know that gum disease causes inflammation and alters the bacteria in the mouth. So, if we can make sure that all of our patients are free from gum disease, that’s a huge advantage.”

Anna recommends following a good oral health care regime at home, including brushing teeth twice a day as well as flossing to reduce bacterial overload.

Walking takes a back seat

A survey conducted by Alzheimer’s Society of over 2,000 people has revealed how walking has taken more of a back seat during lockdown, with two fifths (43 per cent) of people walking less than 1,000 steps in an average working day. Additionally, almost two thirds of Brits surveyed (64 per cent) were not leaving the house at all on some days, with respondents spending three days on average without getting any fresh air.

In response to the findings, Alzheimer’s Society is encouraging people to sign up to a complete-your-own Memory Walk in March in a bid to get active and raise money for the charity. Regular physical exercise is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of getting dementia. There’s also evidence to suggest that the impact of staying active for people with dementia’s quality of life and health is huge, as it can improve confidence and wellbeing and may slow down mental decline. For more information, visit and please be sure to follow the latest government guidance when planning and completing your walk.

Working outdoors linked to lower risk of breast cancer among older women

Danish researchers have discovered that working outdoors over many years is associated with a lower risk of breast cancer in women after the age of 50.

As the primary source of vitamin D is UVB sunlight, the researchers say that those who work outdoors are exposed to more sunlight, thus increasing their vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D has a well-recognised role in maintaining bone and musculoskeletal health, but it may have other roles, including helping to ward off infection and cancer.

The researchers analysed data from 38,375 women under the age of 70 who had been diagnosed with primary breast cancer. They compared each of them with five women born in the same year and randomly selected from the Danish Civil Registration System.

A job exposure matrix was used to assess each woman’s occupational exposure to sunlight. After taking account of potentially influential factors, such as reproductive history, no association emerged between occupational exposure to sunlight and overall breast cancer risk. But, long-term occupational exposure was associated with a lower risk of breast cancer after the age of 50. In these women occupational exposure for 20 or more years was linked with 17 per cent lower odds of a breast cancer diagnosis while the highest level of cumulative exposure was associated with 11 per cent reduced odds.

The findings were published online in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Demand for Fairtrade on the increase

Research has shown an increase in demand for Fairtrade products during the pandemic, including bananas, cocoa, coffee and wine, as growing numbers of shoppers make ethical choices.

Fairtrade purchases increased by 15 per cent in the last year and almost 30 per cent of consumers pledged to buy more Fairtrade goods in the future, according to Ethical Consumer’s recent Ethical Markets Report.

That sense of the importance and necessity of Fairtrade is also reflected in its latest consumer survey, where active choice – shoppers choosing Fairtrade products over an alternative – is higher than ever in Fairtrade’s history.

The findings have been revealed as the Fairtrade Foundation prepares for its annual Fairtrade Fortnight. Taking place between 22 February and 7 March, Fairtrade Fortnight 2021 marks the start of a new climate campaign asking the British public to get behind Fairtrade so that farmers overseas can benefit from fairer prices, fairer trading practices and the resources needed for tackling the climate emergency in low-income countries such as Kenya and Honduras.

The campaign will include 100 virtual events designed to engage, inform and educate the public about the main issues. To find out more, visit

Omega-3 fatty acids could prevent childhood asthma

A higher dietary intake of long chain omega-3 fatty acids in childhood may reduce the risk of developing subsequent asthma, new research has revealed. However this is only applicable in children carrying a common gene variant. The study, led by Queen Mary University of London, was conducted in collaboration with the University of Bristol and University of Southampton, UK, and Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.

The study involved 4,543 participants and focused on children with a particular genetic make-up. More than half of the children carried a common variant in the fatty acid desaturase (FADS) gene which is associated with lower levels of long chain omega-3 fatty acids in the blood. In these children, a higher dietary intake of long chain omega-3 fatty acids was associated with a lower risk of asthma. The risk was 51 per cent lower, comparing those in the top quartile of long chain omega-3 intake with those in the bottom quartile.

Senior author, Professor Seif Shaheen from Queen Mary University of London, said: “Whilst we cannot say for certain that eating more fish will prevent asthma in children, based on our findings, it would nevertheless be sensible for children in the UK to consume more fish, as few currently achieve the recommended intake.”

Fish is of particular interest because it is a rich source of the long chain omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which have anti-inflammatory properties. The study was published in the European Respiratory Journal.

Good news for coffee lovers!

Coffee fans may have cause for celebration, thanks to findings from US researchers. An analysis of three large, well-known heart disease studies found that drinking one or more cups of caffeinated coffee was associated with decreased heart failure risk. The findings also showed that drinking decaffeinated coffee did not have the same benefit and may be associated with an increased risk for heart failure.

“The association between caffeine and heart failure risk reduction was surprising,” said David P. Kao, M.D., senior author of the study, from the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, Colorado. “Coffee and caffeine are often considered by the general population to be ‘bad’ for the heart because people associate them with palpitations, high blood pressure, etc.

The consistent relationship between increasing caffeine consumption and decreasing heart failure risk turns that assumption on its head. However, there is not yet enough clear evidence to recommend increasing coffee consumption to decrease risk of heart disease with the same strength and certainty as stopping smoking, losing weight or exercising.”

The research was published in Circulation: Heart Failure, an American Heart Association journal.

Study shows you cannot be ‘fat but healthy’

Regular physical activity is not likely to eliminate the negative health effects of excess body weight on heart health, Spanish researchers have revealed. The research team used data from 527,662 adults who were categorised according to their BMI as being a normal weight, overweight or obese and were grouped by activity level, ranging from regularly active to inactive. Cardiovascular health was determined according to three major risk factors for heart attack and stroke, namely diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

The researchers investigated the associations between each BMI and activity group and the three risk factors. At all BMI levels, any activity was linked with a lower likelihood of diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol compared to no exercise at all. At all weights, the odds of diabetes and hypertension decreased as physical activity rose. However, overweight and obese participants were at greater cardiovascular risk than their peers with normal weight, irrespective of activity levels. As an example, compared to inactive normal weight individuals, active obese people were approximately twice as likely to have high cholesterol, four times more likely to have diabetes, and five times more likely to have high blood pressure.

“One cannot be ‘fat but healthy’,” said study author Dr Alejandro Lucia of the European University, Madrid, Spain. “Fighting obesity and inactivity is equally important; it should be a joint battle.”

The findings were published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

We drank more, exercised less, in lockdown – study shows

A new report has highlighted some of the unhealthy habits exhibited by the UK population during the first lockdown in 2020. The research from the University of East Anglia (UEA) found that people ate less fruit and veg, did less exercise and drank more alcohol as the nation adhered to new government restrictions designed to stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

From 8 April 2020, the researchers tracked the daily lifestyle habits of more than 1,000 participants for a period of three months. This included questions about physical activity, diet, sleep, smoking, drinking and drug use.

The researchers found that people were eating around one portion less fruit and veg every day than they were before the pandemic. The team found that people were drinking more alcohol in total, with women drinking more frequently but men drinking greater quantities per drinking occasion. The participants were also doing significantly less exercise, with those groups most at risk of Covid-19 undertaking the least activity.

The study’s co-lead, Prof Caitlin Notley, said: “It’s not surprising that restrictions on movement outside the house and difficulty getting groceries in the early days of lockdown may have led to a less healthy lifestyle for many. It is critical now that we reflect on these changes so that we can advise people of how best to protect their health for any future lockdowns. This is important because we know that things like drinking, smoking, poor diet and not doing enough exercise have a big impact on people’s health and are responsible for premature mortality. Health behaviours also affect mental health and the risk of chronic conditions and disease, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and Type II diabetes.”

The findings were published in the British Journal of Health Psychology.

CNM pioneers online natural health diploma courses

Responding to the current worldwide health challenges, the College of Naturopathic Medicine (CNM) is now offering online its internationally recognised diploma and short courses to overwhelming positive response from the public.

CNM graduates and students know:

  • that a healthy and robust body can resist infections better and return to health faster
  • that a strong immune system is important
  • how to boost the immune system naturally

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