Washington: Captive black rhinos in zoos are facing a bizarre situation. The food served to them is good but the rich diet may put them at high risk for two common health problems: inflammation and insulin resistance.
“We are providing good, nutritious, high quality food. We are just learning that providing high quality food in excess can cause problems,” said Pam Dennis, Clinical Assistant Professor of veterinary preventive medicine at the Ohio State University.
Black Rhinos are browsers that eat leaves, branches and parts of trees in the wild. Their zoo diet mainly consists of grass or hay, milled grains and fruits and vegetables.
“We now recognise that obesity in humans leads to increased inflammation and a whole cascade or problems ranging from heart disease to immune dysfunction. This is entering the vocabulary in zoo medicine, that obesity is much more than just a weight issue,” Dennis said.
Across the globe, there are only about 5,000 black rhinos – a drop from an estimated 100,000 in the 1960s.
The study appeared in General and Comparative Endocrinology.
Consuming a healthy balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables can benefit those undergoing treatment for bipolar disorders, a new study suggests.
Bipolar disorder — previously known as ‘manic depression’ — is characterised by episodes of depression and of abnormally elevated mood with periods in between the two extremes.
“We found that people who had a better-quality diet, a diet with anti-inflammatory properties, or a lower BMI, showed better response to add-on nutraceutical treatment than those who reported a low-quality diet, or a diet including foods that promote inflammation, or who were overweight,” said lead researcher Melanie Ashton of Deakin University in Australia.
The fact that there are two opposite sets of symptoms means that finding an effective treatment is difficult, suggests the study presented at the ECNP Conference in Barcelona.
While current medications are useful, they are better at targeting mania symptoms (the ‘up’ phase), leaving a lack of effective treatment for people experiencing depressive episodes, it added.
For the study, the team involved 133 participants who either took a combination of nutraceuticals (compounds derived from foods such as vitamins or minerals that treat or prevent a disease or disorder) including the anti-inflammatory amino acid n-acetylcysteine (NAC), or NAC alone, or a placebo (a dummy pill) for 16 weeks.
The team measured body mass index (BMI) at the beginning of the study, and then measured depression and how a person is able to function in their day to day life.
The participants filled in a questionnaire about what they usually eat over the year and researchers calculated a diet quality score where good diets included a healthy diet with lots of fruit and vegetables, whereas poorer-quality diets had more saturated fat, refined carbohydrates and alcohol.
“If we can confirm these results, then it is good news for people with bipolar disorder, as there is a great need for better treatments for the depressive phase of bipolar disorder,” Ashton noted. (IANS)