The tapered cone shell is popular among seashell collectors for its colorful patterns, but the smooth mottled shells are also home to the cone snail which is capable of spewing a potent insulin-like venom that can paralyze its prey. Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have found that variants of this venom, known as cone snail insulin (Con-Ins), could offer future possibilities for developing new fast-acting drugs to help treat diabetics.
“Diabetes is rising at an alarming rate and it’s become increasingly important to find new alternatives for developing effective and budget-friendly drugs for patients suffering with the disease,” said Harish Vashisth, associate professor of chemical engineering. “Our work found that the modeled Con-Ins variants, or analogs, bind even better to receptors in the body than the human hormone and may work faster which could make them a favorable option for stabilizing blood sugar levels and a potential for new therapeutics.”
In their study, recently published in the journal Proteins: Structure, Function, and Bioinformatics, researchers looked more closely at the cone snail venom which induces a hypoglycemic reaction that lowers blood sugar levels. Unlike insulin made in the body, the venom’s peptide sequence — which allows it to bind to human insulin receptors — is much shorter. To test whether it would still bind effectively, the researchers used sequences of the insulin-like peptides in the venom of the cone snail C. geographus as a template to model six different Con-Ins analogs. The newly created variants were made up of much shorter peptide chains than human insulin — lacking the last eight residues of the B-chain of the human insulin.
To study the stability and variability of the new Con-Ins structures, they conducted multiple independent computer simulations of each Con-Ins variant complex with human insulin receptor in a near-physiological environment (accounting for water solvent, salinity of solution, temperature and pressure). They found that each insulin complex remained stable during the simulations and the designed peptides bound strongly — even better than the naturally occurring human insulin hormone. The interactions were then compared with the human insulin receptor and it was determined that each Con-Ins variant exhibits few feasible residue substitutions in human insulin.
“While more studies are needed, our research shows that despite the shorter peptide sequences, the cone snail venom could be a viable substitute and we are hopeful it will motivate future designs for new fast-acting drug options,” said Biswajit Gorai, postdoctoral research associate and lead author.
The insulin-like venom released by certain cone snails can be highly dangerous causing a hypoglycemic shock that immobilizes fish and potential prey. C. geographus has the most toxic sting known among the species and there have been reports of human fatalities, especially to unsuspected divers who are not aware of the snail’s venom.
Funding was provided by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R35GM138217. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
Materials provided by University of New Hampshire. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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Fitacular 2022 with Planet Fitness – ABC27
Get Fitacular in 2022 with help from Planet Fitness! With several locations in our area it’s easy to get into better habits and make the right choices for your physical and mental health.
Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
WEST MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — The moment the roof collapsed into a York County skating rink was caught on camera Sunday night in West Manchester Township.
It’s still unclear what started that fire that firefighters fought for several hours in the snow, then pouring rain.
DOVER, Pa. (WHTM) — After the heavy snowfall, you can find 11-year-old Mason Torbert working hard shoveling snow so he can save up money to play his favorite sport, football with his friends.
“I want to work for it and get it done, so I can go play tackle because I love that sport,” Torbert said.
JERUSALEM (AP) — An Israeli hospital on Monday said preliminary research indicates a fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine provides only limited defense against the omicron variant that is raging around the world.
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Jadakiss Explains Why Living “Healthy Is Gangsta” – Vibe
“There’s nothing corny about wanting to live.”
By DeMicia Inman
Staff Writer, News
Jadakiss offered his definition of a gangster during an episode of the Facebook Watch series The Pull Up. In a clip shared on the rapper’s social media, he explains how his lifestyle choices has made being healthy the cool thing to do, and why everyone should take a similar route.
“I think healthy is gangsta,” the 46-year-old rapper exclaimed.
He continued, “Everybody want to be tough guys and this and that, and rich. If you not healthy, you can’t be alive to spend your money. If you not healthy, you can’t enjoy the party, you can’t enjoy the perks of life, you won’t be here to see your kids graduate, to see ’em score they first touchdown, to see things like that. So health is more important than anything.”
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He continued to share how his fellow members of The Lox all maintain a health-conscious lifestyle.
“My brothers, Styles, and Sheek… Sheek been working out forever. Styles been on us to eat right and live right. So it’s a collective lifestyle that you gotta live and there’s nothing corny about wanting to live.”
The rappers not only encourage healthy habits among each other but have created space for others to do the same. In February, Styles P discussed the importance of why he decided to open Juices For Life in the Bronx with Good Morning America.
“It is important that you take care of the forgotten. Obviously, this started with us being because we’re from a Black and brown community,” said Styles. “We’re from a poverty community, but why does that mean we don’t have to eat right?”
He continued, “It’s not about being a vegan, it’s not about being plant-based, that’s not what I’m pushing on people, we push balance and health,” said Styles. “It’s about the people.”
View the full episode of Pull Up with Jadakiss featuring Lil Cease below.
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What Is Kefir? Types, Nutrition Facts, Health Benefits, Recipe – Everyday Health
Sick of Greek yogurt? Then it’s time to give kefir a shot. The superfood (slash super drink) is a cross between yogurt and milk in terms of thickness. And just like its dairy-aisle relatives, it’s an excellent source of calcium.
But kefir has even more going for it. It’s a fermented beverage, which means it’s loaded with good-for-your-gut probiotics.
Here, learn more about kefir, its history, how it became a trendy item, and the health benefits it may offer.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink that can be made from any type of milk — goat, cow, coconut, rice, soy, sheep, you name it. It’s traditionally made by culturing milk with kefir grains, which are a mixture of bacteria and yeasts. (1) You’ll find kefir in the dairy aisle, likely near the yogurt, or maybe in the refrigerated portion of the natural foods section. In fact, it’s pretty similar to yogurt, but it’s not quite as thick. Think of kefir as a drinkable yogurt with a tangy, slightly acidic flavor.
You may have heard of kefir for the first time in recent years, but it’s not new. Kefir originated thousands of years ago in the Caucasus Mountains in Russia, and it has a long history in Eastern European countries. The word “kefir” comes from a Turkish word that means “good feeling.” (1,2) Kefir grains also have a history in Muslim culture and were considered gifts from Allah.
Kefir has become increasingly popular as researchers have studied the health benefits of the drink. It’s loaded with probiotics (and can have more than 50 different types!), which have been a buzzword in the nutrition world in recent years. (1,3)
Probiotics are bacteria that are added to existing bacteria in the gut. Oftentimes, kefir is enriched with vitamins and minerals that up its healthy quotient. (1) And good news if you’re lactose intolerant: A small study found that kefir improved the way people with lactose issues tolerated and digested lactose. In fact, because it’s fermented, kefir itself is about 99 percent lactose-free. (The good bacteria eat up the lactose, which is milk sugar.) So don’t consider it off-limits just because it’s considered a dairy product. (1)
The nutrition found in kefir can change based on the milk used to create it and if there are flavors added to it. Fat-free or low-fat kefir are the best options for boosting your health, as per the U.S. Department of Agriculture's MyPlate guidelines.
Here is the nutritional info for 1 cup of low-fat cow’s milk kefir with no added sugar, for example: (4)
Calcium is important for so much more than just bone health. Get a primer on the various health benefits of this essential nutrient — and find out whether it’s possible to get too much!
Kefir offers a number of possible health benefits.
Kefir grains, which are needed to make traditional versions of kefir, aren’t the type of grain you’re thinking of if wheat or oats have come to mind. Rather, kefir grains are a white or yellowish jellylike substance that looks like cauliflower or cottage cheese. They range in size from 0.3 to 3 centimeters in diameter, and they contain bacteria, yeast, milk proteins, and complex sugar. (2) The grains join with milk and ferment the milk to create kefir. (11,14)
There are many different versions of kefir. (11) There’s nonfat, low-fat, and full-fat kefir, as well as some varieties made from nondairy milk. You’ll also find flavored types of kefir, such as strawberry or chocolate.
You might hear kefir referred to as kefir milk or kefir yogurt, but kefir is neither milk nor yogurt — it’s somewhere in between.
There is, however, a beverage called water kefir. Like regular kefir, it starts with kefir grains (or a water kefir starter kit). But instead of milk, it’s mixed with water, sugar, and usually some type of flavoring.
Bacteria have a bad rap. Bacteria are actually crucial to keeping the body working the way it’s supposed to. There are many, many strains of good bacteria that occur naturally within the gut and make up the body’s microbiome. These bacteria help the body do things like digest food and produce vitamins. (15)
Not all strains of bacteria are good, though. The state of your gut health could change quickly, maybe even over the course of a day, mostly based on what you’re eating. Taking in probiotics from outside food sources can help keep the gut balanced. Oftentimes, the probiotics you find in probiotic-rich foods are the same good ones that already exist in the body.
The general idea is that probiotics help keep the gut bacteria happy by pushing out or minimizing the effect of bad bacteria and returning the intestines to a healthy place if things get out of balance. (15)
There’s a difference between yogurt and kefir in terms of consistency, but you can use the two in similar ways, such as in smoothies or mixed with fruit. They have very similar nutritional profiles, too, and pack a similar number of calories. Kefir beats out yogurt when it comes to probiotics, however. (16)
There are other ways to source probiotics through food, such as by eating sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and miso. Kefir is generally considered one of the greatest source of probiotics, but it’s hard to say which one is best for you since taste and your body’s reaction should be considered. After all, the probiotics won’t do you much good if you find the food too hard to stomach!
While whole foods are a great source of probiotics, you can also promote good gut bacteria by reaching for probiotic pills and capsules. Here are five options to consider!
All in all, kefir seems to be a trendy superfood that’s worthy of the hype. It’s considered safe and healthy enough to consume every day.
There are some things to be cautious about, though. First, the calorie count can differ depending on the type of milk used, so keep that in mind if weight loss is a goal of yours. One cup of kefir made with fat-free milk may have slightly over 100 calories, while kefir made with whole milk could reach 200 calories. The whole-milk versions also contain higher amounts of saturated fat, which you should be careful not to get too much of, especially if you’re keeping an eye on your cholesterol or heart health. One serving of whole-milk kefir has 5 g of saturated fat, which is 25 percent of the maximum an average healthy person should take in in a day. (18)
Take a peek at the added sugars when you’re in the dairy aisle choosing which brand or variety of kefir is best. You’ll probably notice that the flavored varieties have significantly more added sugars, usually about 8 g of added sugars per serving. The best choice is a plain variety of kefir or one with a label that indicates there's no added sugar. Note that even plain kefir will contain some sugar from the naturally occurring lactose in milk.
Some people report experiencing some negative digestive side effects, such as gas, after drinking kefir. (15) These side effects will likely go away over time as your body gets used to it.
People with weakened immune systems, such as someone who has an autoimmune disease or has recently had surgery, should consult a doctor before loading up on probiotics because it’s possible that the probiotics will increase the risk of infection. (15)
Before choosing which kefir option is best for you, be sure to check the amount of added sugar. Some brands sneakily pack it in. And look for the words “live active cultures” or “live cultures” on the label, which refer to the probiotics in the product. To maintain freshness, always store kefir in your refrigerator.
You can also make kefir yourself. To get started, you’ll need to purchase a kefir grain starter kit, which you can buy once and then reuse forever. Like kefir you’d find at the store, kefir grains should also be kept in a cool, refrigerated environment.
Plenty of blogs and YouTube videos can guide you through the process of making kefir at home.
Here are the usual steps: (18)
You can reuse the kefir grains, which will expand by about 5 to 7 percent each time you make kefir. (2) Store the grains in the refrigerator or freezer until you’re ready to make your next drink. (2)
Because kefir is a perishable product, most of the Amazon best sellers are starter kits for kefir grains.
Here are the top five most popular products:
Replacing butter or full-fat dairy with olive oil associated with reduced risk of death of many common diseases, according to new study.
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