sábado, 19 de outubro de 2013

Vinicius de Moraes - A Casa

Banco de dados e amostras de plantas aromáticas, medicinais e tóxicas da UFMG


Serra do Caraça - Planeta - Parte 2 - destaque para as plantas medicinais

Serra do Caraça - Planeta - Parte 1

Carência de vitamina A na população brasileira

Fonte: IBGE - Análise do consumo alimentar pessoal no Brasil
Produção: Hortica Consultoria

Infertility Problems? Eating Tips to Boost Fertility

Oct. 17, 2013 — Women who watch their weight and closely follow a Mediterranean-style diet high in vegetables, vegetable oils, fish and beans may increase their chance of becoming pregnant, according to dietitians at Loyola University Health System (LUHS).

"Establishing a healthy eating pattern and weight is a good first step for women who are looking to conceive," said Brooke Schantz, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, LUHS. "Not only will a healthy diet and lifestyle potentially help with fertility, but it also may influence fetal well-being and reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy."

Thirty percent of infertility is due to either being overweight or underweight, according to the National Infertility Association. Both of these extremes in weight cause shifts in hormones, which can affect ovulation. Reducing weight by even 5 percent can enhance fertility.

Schantz recommends the following additional nutrition tips for women who are looking to conceive:

-Reduce intake of foods with trans and saturated fats while increasing intake of monounsaturated fats, such as avocados and olive oil

-Lower intake of animal protein and add more vegetable protein to your diet

-Add more fiber to your diet by consuming whole grains, vegetables and fruit

-Incorporate more vegetarian sources of iron such as legumes, tofu, nuts, seeds and whole grains

-Consume high-fat dairy instead of low-fat dairy

-Take a regular women's multivitamin

Approximately 40 percent of infertility issues are attributed to men, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Among them is low sperm count and poor sperm motility, which are common in overweight and obese men.

"Men who are looking to have a baby also have a responsibility to maintain a healthy body weight and consume a balanced diet, because male obesity may affect fertility by altering testosterone and other hormone levels," Schantz said.


Training, Mediterranean Diet Cuts Health Risks in Obese Individuals

Oct. 18, 2013 — Lifestyle programs focused on high-intensity interval training combined with nutritional counselling on the Mediterranean diet have shown dramatic results for improving the heart health of people with abdominal obesity, finds a study released at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress.

Each of these lifestyle interventions alone is known to have an impact, but no one has studied them together in a longer term," says Dr. Mathieu Gayda, one of the study's authors and an exercise physiologist at the Montreal Heart Institute. "Our results show that the combination of the two interventions supersized the benefits to heart health."

The heart health benefits included significant improvements in body fat mass, cholesterol and blood pressure levels, exercise capacity, muscle endurance, weight loss, waist circumference, resting heart rate and blood sugar control.

The study found an average reduction in waist circumference of eight centimeters, a reduction in systolic blood pressure of 6 mm Hg and an aerobic fitness improvement of 15 per cent over the first nine months of the study.

Improvements in waist circumference, blood pressure and fitness can lead to numerous other health benefits including a reduced risk of developing high blood pressure, as well as improving osteoarthritis symptoms, quality of life, physical functioning, and cognition.

On average, blood sugar levels also improved by 23 per cent in participants with diabetes, while the improvement was approximately 10 per cent in individuals with pre-diabetes.

"In general, the sicker you are, the more you will benefit from the program. The greatest improvements in blood sugar levels were achieved in the individuals with diabetes, those who had the highest blood sugars," says author Dr. Anil Nigam, a preventive cardiologist at the Montreal Heart Institute.

Dr. Gayda notes that cardiovascular disease is currently the leading cause of death for Canadians with diabetes. "Improvements and control in blood sugar levels using lifestyle interventions (exercise and diet) can substantially reduce their overall risk of heart disease and stroke and microvascular complications such as retina and kidney disease."

All of the study participants had abdominal obesity − excess body fat carried around the stomach and abdomen. Abdominal obesity increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and high blood cholesterol and interferes with the body's ability to use insulin effectively, a condition known as insulin resistance.

Study participants received high-intensity interval training two to three times per week combined with counselling on a Mediterranean diet, which favours lots of vegetables, grains and fish, small amounts of meat and plenty of olive oil. High-intensity interval training is a form of cardiovascular training that mixes very high-intensity bursts of activity with low-intensity breaks over 20 to 30 minutes.

"What is striking is not only the positive early results, which can be common when motivation is high, but the fact that participants kept improving into a second year," says Dr. Nigam.

"When it comes to a healthy weight and reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke, people look for the magic bullet," says Dr. Beth Abramson, Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson. "But there is no magic -- it comes down to basics and how we live our lives. We have the power to prevent up to 80 per cent of premature heart disease and stroke."

She adds that the key to a long, heart-healthy life is to manage your diet, be physically active and smoke-free and to avoid excessive alcohol consumption and stress.

A report released by the Heart and Stroke Foundation earlier this year underscores the importance of healthy behaviours in protecting your heart health to gain more healthy years of life:

A sedentary lifestyle results in nearly four lost quality years of life

Eating a poor diet results in nearly three lost quality years of life

Quitting smoking can add two and a half more quality years of life

Excessive stress can cut nearly two years of quality life

Excessive alcohol consumption costs Canadians two quality years of life

"It's about prioritizing your heath today and sticking to your commitment," says Dr. Abramson, who urges all Canadians to go to makehealthlast.ca to do a personalized risk assessment and get tips and tools to lower their risk.


Sea cucumber extract kills 95 percent of breast cancer cells and shrinks lung tumors

(NaturalNews) A new study has shown that sea cucumber extract kills up to 95 percent of breast cancer cells, 90 percent of melanoma cells, 95 percent of liver cancer cells and 88 percent of lung cancer cells in vitro. The extract also stimulates the immune system against cancer and impedes key processes required for metastasis. While the science behind this is very new to Western medicine, the sea cucumber has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries.

Sea cucumber extracts potently kill multiple cancer cell linesIn previous studies, extracts of sea cucumber have demonstrated potent cytotoxicity against pancreatic, lung, prostate, colon, breast, skin and liver cancer cells as well as leukemia and gioblastoma. Researchers have identified a key compound responsible for sea cucumber's anti-cancer properties: a triterpenoid known as frondoside A.

A new study has now confirmed the anti-cancer effects of frondoside A at a whole new level. In the lab, it has killed up to 95 percent of ER+ breast cancer cells, 90 percent of melanoma cells, 95 percent of liver cancer cells and 85-88 percent of three different lines of lung cancer. But the benefits of this compound don't just stop at directly inducing programmed cell death (apoptosis). It also inhibits angiogenesis (the ability of tumors to grow new blood vessels to get their food) and stops cancer metastasizing by impeding cell migration and invasion. Even more intriguing is the ability of frondoside A to activate our immune system's natural killer cells to attack cancer cells. This has been shown for breast cancer in particular but may also apply to all cancers, because it involves the immune system and not cancer cells directly. This may partially explain why frondoside A was so effective at shrinking lung tumors in mice that it rivaled chemo drugs in performance.

Learn more:
File:Sea Cucumber.jpg

Spice for life - Health benefits of cinnamon

(NaturalNews) Cinnamon has so many uses. For most people, it's a condiment for milk or oatmeal or is used in potpourri. The best thing about cinnamon is that it's easily available everywhere. Do you know that cinnamon has numerous health benefits? Do you know where it comes from? Considering their health benefits, some might think it comes straight from heaven! Cinnamon is actually a bark of a specific type of tree that belongs to one family of trees. So, there's no such thing as plain cinnamon, as there are so many types of cinnamon available on the market!

The different types of cinnamon come from different parts of Asia. About 90 percent of the world's cinnamon comes from Southern India and Sri Lanka, while other areas ranging from Madagascar toVietnam and China produce the remaining 10 percent. Cassia is a highly popular form of cinnamon in the US. It is also termed "Chinese cinnamon," but "true cinnamon" comes only from Sri Lanka. This cinnamon has a more "high end" and delicate taste than what we've been using in the US.

Learn more:

Surprising facts about carrots

The Different Health Benefits

It is well-known that carrots are healthy, but what are the benefits that they give to those who eat them? Here's a rundown of the different health benefits one could gain from eating carrots:

  • Carrots are naturally rich in vitamins, antioxidants and dietary fiber. They only give 41 calories for every 100 grams, with a negligible fat content and no cholesterol.
  • Carrots are also rich in vitamin A and beta-carotenes, which help protect people from developing mouth and lung cancers. These compounds, along with flavonoid compounds, help protect the skin too.
  • Research conducted by the scientists at the University of Newcastle discovered that falcarinol found in carrots may help prevent cancer, as it destroys cells that are pre-cancerous. The study was conducted on laboratory animals.
  • Fresh carrots are also rich in vitamin C, giving about 9% of the RDA. Vitamin C helps keep the gums, teeth and connective tissues healthy. Its antioxidant properties also help the body be protected from various diseases caused by free radicals.
  • The root is also rich in B-complex vitamins, such as vitamin B6, folic acid, thiamine and many more. These are co-factors to certain enzymes that are needed for substrate metabolism.
  • Carotenes are changed by the liver into vitamin A. This vitamin is essential for the maintenance of good vision, sperm production and skin integrity, plus normal growth and development.
Learn more: 

sexta-feira, 18 de outubro de 2013

Flower Research Shows Gardens Can Be a Feast for the Eyes – And the Bees

Oct. 16, 2013 — Are our favourite garden flowers attractive to hungry visitors such as bees and butterflies to feed on?

Researchers at the Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects (LASI) at the University of Sussex have completed one of the first scientific studies to put the business of recommending pollinator-friendly garden flowers on a firmer scientific footing. The study’s findings are published today (17 October 2013) in the journal Functional Ecology.

Gardens are more important than ever as a source of food for a wide variety of insects who feed on the nectar and pollen found in many flowers: pollinators such as bees and butterflies are in decline globally, with one of the main causes being the loss of flowers, especially in the countryside.

As popular support for wildlife continues to grow, gardeners are increasingly looking for ways to help bees and other insects by providing attractive flowers in their gardens for insects to feed on. To do this, they often rely on “pollinator-friendly” plant lists. But these lists are generally based on opinion and experience rather than scientific research. 

The study, funded by the Body Shop Foundation, involved repeatedly counting flower-visiting insects over two summers as they foraged on 32 popular summer-flowering garden plant varieties in a specially planted experimental garden on the University’s campus (each variety in 2 1x1m beds), with two smaller additional gardens set up in year two to check the generality of the results.

Plant varieties studied included 19 species and hybrids, both native and exotic to Britain, with particular focus on 13 varieties of lavender (Lavandula spp.), as it is known to be attractive to bees, and also four dahlias. All the plants studied had to be popular garden plants, be widely and easily available for purchase, and had to flower mainly or exclusively in July/August.2

One key result found by researchers Professor Francis Ratnieks and his PhD student Mihail Gaburzov was that garden flowers attractive to the human eye vary enormously (approx 100-fold) in their attractiveness to insects, meaning that the best plants for bees and other insects are 100 times better than the worst. So it pays to make an informed choice of plants from the thousands available to gardeners.

Bees (87 per cent) and hoverflies (nine per cent) were the most frequent visitors, with butterflies and moths just two per cent and all other insects also two per cent. The researchers observed clear differences in the mix of bee and insect types attracted by different varieties, indicating that careful plant choice can not only help insects in general, but also help a range of insects.

Other findings were:

Some cultivated varieties and non-native flowers – usually seen as ornamental only – can be helpful to wildlife. For example, open dahlias attracted many bees, especially bumblebees, but pom-pom or cactus dahlias attracted few insects, because their highly-bred flowers make it difficult for insects to reach the flowers’ pollen and nectar.

Highly bred varieties of lavender, including those of novel colours, such as white or pink, or hybrid lavenders, proved highly attractive to insects.

Plants that the researchers can recommend to gardeners include lavender, marjoram, open-flowered dahlias, borage, and Bowles Mauve Everlasting Wallflower. Marjoram was probably the best all-rounder, attracting honey bees, bumble bees, other bees, hover flies, and butterflies. Borage was the best for honey bees. Lavender and open-flowered dahlias were very attractive to bumblebees. Bowles mauve was the best for butterflies. But all attracted a range of insects.

The least attractive flowering plant to insects was the pelargonium – a popular garden plant.
The garden perennial plant lamb’s ears (Stachys) was popular with an unusual species of bee, the wool carder bee which, apart from feeding on the flowers, uses the hairs of the plant for nest-building. Male carder bees guard a patch and chase away bees of other species, and other males.

Professor Ratnieks says: “Our trial is by no means exhaustive – we looked at a small selection of the thousands of plants you can find in a typical garden centre. But our study clearly shows that planting pollinator-friendly flowers is a no-cost, win-win solution to help the bees. The plants attractive to bees are just as cheap, easy to grow, and as pretty as those that are less attractive to insects.

“Garden plants do not have to be native to help most pollinating insects. Nectar, for example, is basically sugar and water, and so it is of value to British insects whether it is from a native garden plant or one from another part of the world. Lavender is from the Mediterranean and dahlias are from Mexico.

“Helping bees in your garden is a no-brainer. Flowers that attract bees are just as easy to grow and just as pretty, and cost no more. Plant the right flowers and the bees will come.”

Mihail Garbuzov says: “We basically counted bees and other insects visiting flowers in bloom to determine the most attractive. Anyone can do this in their own garden or park, or even when shopping for plants in a garden centre.”

1 ‘Quantifying variation among garden plants in attractiveness to bees and other flower-visiting insects’, Functional Ecology, (October 2013). Functional Ecology is a journal of the British Ecological Societ

2 Other research at LASI, in which the researchers decoded the honey bee communication dances, had shown that summer is the most challenging season for bees to find flowers, because the distances flown to flowers were longer than in spring or autumn.
Black Swallowtail butterfly feeding on yellow Tickseed flower. (Credit: © leekris / Fotolia)

Journal Reference:
Francis Ratnieks and Mihail Gaburzov. Quantifying variation among garden plants in attractiveness to bees and other flower-visiting insects. Functional Ecology, October 2013 DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.12178


Scientists Estimate 16,000 Tree Species in the Amazon

Oct. 17, 2013 — Researchers, taxonomists, and students from The Field Museum and 88 other institutions around the world have provided new answers to two simple but long-standing questions about Amazonian diversity: How many trees are there in the Amazon, and how many tree species occur there? The study will be published October 17, 2013 inScience.

The vast extent and difficult terrain of the Amazon Basin (including parts of Brazil, Peru, Columbia) and the Guiana Shield (Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana), which span an area roughly the size of the 48 contiguous North American states, has historically restricted the study of their extraordinarily diverse tree communities to local and regional scales. The lack of basic information about the Amazonian flora on a basin-wide scale has hindered Amazonian science and conservation efforts.

"In essence, this means that the largest pool of tropical carbon on Earth has been a black box for ecologists, and conservationists don't know which Amazonian tree species face the most severe threats of extinction," says Nigel Pitman, Robert O. Bass Visiting Scientist at The Field Museum in Chicago, and co-author on the study.

Now, however, over 100 experts have contributed data from 1,170 forestry surveys in all major forest types in the Amazon to generate the first basin-wide estimates of the abundance, frequency and spatial distribution of thousands of Amazonian trees.

Extrapolations from data compiled over a period of 10 years suggest that greater Amazonia, which includes the Amazon Basin and the Guiana Shield, harbors around 390 billion individual trees, including Brazil nut, chocolate, and açai berry trees.

"We think there are roughly 16,000 tree species in Amazonia, but the data also suggest that half of all the trees in the region belong to just 227 of those species! Thus, the most common species of trees in the Amazon now not only have a number, they also have a name. This is very valuable information for further research and policymaking," says Hans ter Steege, first author on the study and researcher at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in South Holland, Netherlands.

The authors termed these species "hyperdominants." While the study suggests that hyperdominants -- just 1.4 percent of all Amazonian tree species -- account for roughly half of all carbon and ecosystem services in the Amazon, it also notes that almost none of the 227 hyperdominant species are consistently common across the Amazon. Instead, most dominate a region or forest type, such as swamps or upland forests.

The study also offers insights into the rarest tree species in the Amazon. According to the mathematical model used in the study, roughly 6,000 tree species in the Amazon have populations of fewer than 1,000 individuals, which automatically qualifies them for inclusion in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. The problem, say the authors, is that these species are so rare that scientists may never find them.

Ecologist Miles Silman of Wake Forest University, another co-author of the paper, calls the phenomenon "dark biodiversity."

"Just like physicists' models tell them that dark matter accounts for much of the universe, our models tell us that species too rare to find account for much of the planet's biodiversity. That's a real problem for conservation, because the species at the greatest risk of extinction may disappear before we ever find them," says Silman.

While the authors are confident that these hyperdominants also dominate the vast expanses of Amazonia where scientists have never set foot, they do not know why some species are hyperdominant and others are rare.

The authors note that a large number of hyperdominants -- including Brazil nut, chocolate, rubber, and açai berry -- have been used and cultivated for millennia by human populations in Amazonia.

"There's a really interesting debate shaping up," says Pitman, "between people who think that hyperdominant trees are common because pre-1492 indigenous groups farmed them, and people who think those trees were dominant long before humans ever arrived in the Americas."

Journal Reference:
H. ter Steege, et al. Hyperdominance in the Amazonian Tree Flora. Science, 2013; 342 (6156): 1243092 DOI: 10.1126/science.1243092


Depoimentos brotando dos quintais

De um quintal sem cimento

me alimento.

Em quintal com cimento

viro sedimento.

Marcos Roberto Furlan

All Probiotics Are Not the Same in Protecting Preemies from Common, Life-Threatening Illness

Oct. 17, 2013 — Treating premature infants with probiotics, the dietary supplements containing live bacteria that many adults take to help maintain their natural intestinal balance, may be effective for preventing a common and life-threatening bowel disease among premature infants, researchers at UC Davis Children's Hospital have found.

The study, "A comparison of two probiotic strains of bifidobacteria in premature infants," was recently published online in the Journal of Pediatrics. The bowel disease, necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), is the second most common cause of death among premature infants, said Mark Underwood, lead study author, neonatologist and professor in the Department of Pediatrics at UC Davis Children's Hospital. It affects 3 to 10 percent of premature infants; about 25 percent of those with the severe form of NEC succumb to the infection.

Underwood and his collaborators evaluated the effectiveness and safety of two types of probiotics of known purity and composition in a clinical trial that included nine breastmilk- and 12 formula-fed premature infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at UC Davis Children's Hospital.

The products tested in the study were two genetically different strains of bifidobacteria, normal inhabitants of the gastroentestinal tract that inhibit the growth of harmful pathogens and bacteria: Bifidobacterium longum subspecies infantis (B. infantis) and Bifidobacterium animalis lactis (B. lactis).

Laboratory analysis of bacteria of fecal samples from the infants found that B. infantis was more effective at colonizing bifidobacteria, the healthy bacteria, in the newborns' gastrointestinal tracts than B.lactis. The highest fecal levels of bifidobacteria were found in the infants who were breastmilk-fed and received the B. infantis probiotic, Underwood said.

No side effects were identified from administration of the two probiotic strains, Underwood said. One of the breastmilk-fed infants treated with B. lactis developed NEC early in the trial, Underwood said, "indicating that B. lactis may not be as effective as B. infantis in protecting against NEC, though the study was not designed to answer that question."

Because earlier research conducted in Europe, Japan, and Australia has demonstrated the potential benefits of probiotic therapy in preventing NEC, many NICUs in the United States treat premature infants with the supplements, said Underwood. Probiotic therapy is not, however, the standard of care for premature infants in the United States. The American Academy of Pediatrics has not established a policy about using the products in newborns, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently regards probiotics as food supplements, not drugs.

The study was conducted in premature infants born between 24 to 33 weeks gestation and weighing less than 1,500 grams, or three pounds. It was conducted in two phases. In the first, the formula-fed infants were randomly assigned to receive eitherB.infantis or B. lactis in increasing doses over a five-week period. The second phase evaluated the probiotics in breastmilk-fed premature infants. Each infant was treated with one strain for two weeks and, after a one-week break, received the other strain for two weeks.

In both the formula-fed and breast milk-fed newborns, greater increases in fecal bifidobacteria occurred in the B. infantisgroups than in the B. lactis groups.

"B. lactis colonization was not sustained in the infants," Underwood said.

"The highest total numbers and percentages of bifidobacteria were found after two weeks of B. infantis treatment in the breast milk-fed babies," said Underwood. "In addition, during the one week break in the phase of the study that involved the breast milk-fed infants, the relative abundance of bifidobacteria was significantly greater for those treated with B. infantis."

During periods of administration of B. infantis, the diversity of the beneficial microbes inhabiting the breast milk-fed babies' GI tract increased. In addition, the harmful bacteria known as γ-Proteobacteria decreased in the breast milk-fed babies who received B. infantis.

However, the formula-fed infants treated with B. infantis and B. lactis did not experience a decline in the γ-Proteobacteria, which typically increases at the onset of NEC and can cause serious tissue-damaging infections in the gastrointestinal system, lungs and other organs of the body.

The two strains of bifidobacteria used in the study were grown for UC Davis by a food-grade commercial facility to insure that the infants in the study would receive probiotics of known purity and composition, Underwood said.

Specimens were obtained from the stool of the formula-fed infants at baseline, the beginning of the study and then weekly for five weeks. In the breast milk-fed babies, the stool specimens were collected at baseline and following the first probiotic course, the one-week break and the second probiotic course.

Underwood is submitting an application for a new investigational drug to the FDA for a multi-centered second phase clinical trial to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the B. infantisprobiotic in preventing NEC in premature infants. If the application is approved and funded by the National Institutes of Health, Underwood and his colleagues will conduct a larger trial.

Journal Reference:
Mark A. Underwood, Karen M. Kalanetra, Nicholas A. Bokulich, Zachery T. Lewis, Majid Mirmiran, Daniel J. Tancredi, David A. Mills. A Comparison of Two Probiotic Strains of Bifidobacteria in Premature Infants. The Journal of Pediatrics, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2013.07.017


A Mother's High Cholesterol Before Pregnancy Can Be Passed On to Children

Oct. 17, 2013 — What leads to high cholesterol? Your genes and lifestyle factors may not explain it all. A study presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress has connected some of the risk for high cholesterol in adults to their mother's cholesterol levels before she even became pregnant.

The key finding: if a mother had high LDL ("bad") cholesterol prior to a pregnancy, her children are almost five times as likely to also have high LDL cholesterol as adults.

"Maternal health and exposures in the womb may be important in modifying cardiovascular disease risks for their offspring," says author Dr. Michael Mendelson, a clinical and research fellow at Boston Children's Hospital. "One exposure that hasn't been explored well is high cholesterol in young women of childbearing age. We wanted to know: does this pose an extra risk for the child?"

The study analyzed clinical and laboratory data gathered from the three generations of participants in the Framingham Heart Study (FHS). This ongoing study goes back to 1948 and led the way to identifying risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

"No one else was measuring cholesterol in young healthy people in the 1950s, let alone young women before pregnancy, so we could leverage the FHS information to look at this issue," says Dr. Mendelson.

The FHS began with an original cohort of 5,200 adult men and women from Framingham, Mass., who had not yet developed overt symptoms of cardiovascular disease.

For this study, the sample included adult offspring of the first and second generation subjects and drew on the maternal examinations prior to the participants' birth.

"What we found was that maternal cholesterol before pregnancy was associated with important cardiovascular disease risk factors among adult offspring," says Dr. Mendelson. "The association was stronger for high cholesterol in mothers before pregnancy as compared to those with high cholesterol after pregnancy."

The study comes from the cutting-edge field of epigenetics, which looks at how our genes can be switched on and off by environmental changes.

"The risk of developing high cholesterol is not fully explained by known genetic and lifestyle factors," says Dr. Mendelson. "Influences which may play a role in turning genes on or off -- such as exposure to high cholesterol in the womb -- may have a lasting effect in regulating cholesterol levels, even decades later."

The next step is to look at the mechanisms of why this happens, says Dr. Mendelson. Ultimately, this line of research may lead to finding new ways to break the trans-generational cycle of abnormal cholesterol levels and death from cardiovascular disease.

Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson Dr. Beth Abramson notes that the research reconfirms the importance of managing cholesterol levels throughout life.

"While the concept of 'turning on' genes is exciting when looking at the mechanisms of disease, it's sometimes hard to tease out whether the risk is passed on through lifestyle choices or genes. Regardless, the implications are serious. We need to manage our cholesterol to protect ourselves and our children."

High blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. It can lead to a buildup of plaque in the artery walls and narrowing of the arteries, causing a condition called atherosclerosis which can make it more difficult for blood to flow through the heart and body.

"Fortunately, we know a great deal about heart disease prevention and how to reverse some of the risks," says Dr. Abramson.

She urges Canadians to maintain their heart health through regular visits to their doctor, being physically active and smoke free, following a healthy diet and reducing stress and excessive alcohol consumption. "We all can manage cholesterol through diet, lifestyle, and where appropriate with medication. Taking medications as directed by your physician can help further reduce risks."


Vitamin D Does Not Contribute to Kidney Stones

Oct. 17, 2013 — Increased vitamin D levels may prevent a wide range of diseases, according to recent studies. However, some previous studies led to a concern that vitamin D supplementation could increase an individual's risk of developing kidney stones.

However, a study of 2,012 participants -- published in the American Journal of Public Health -found no statistically relevant association between 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25 (OH)D) serum level in the range of 20 to 100 ng/mL and the incidence of kidney stones.

This study -- led by Cedric F. Garland, DrPH, adjunct professor in the Division of Epidemiology, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine -- used data from the nonprofit public health promotion organization GrassrootsHealth to follow more than 2,000 men and women of all ages for 19 months.

Only 13 individuals self-reported a kidney stone diagnosis during the study.

"Mounting evidence indicates that a Vitamin D serum level in the therapeutic range of 40 to 50 ng/mL is needed for substantial reduction in risk of many diseases, including breast and colorectal cancer," said Garland, adding that this serum level is generally only achieved by taking vitamin supplements. "Our results may lessen concerns by individuals about taking vitamin D supplements, as no link was shown between such supplementation and an increased risk for kidney stones."

The study did show that older age, male gender and higher body mass index (BMI) were all risk factors for developing kidney stones. According to the researchers, individuals with high BMI need higher vitamin D intake than their leaner counterparts to achieve the same 25 (OH)D serum level.

Journal Reference:
Stacie Nguyen, Leo Baggerly, Christine French, Robert P. Heaney, Edward D. Gorham, Cedric F. Garland. 25-Hydroxyvitamin D in the Range of 20 to 100 ng/mL and Incidence of Kidney Stones. American Journal of Public Health, 2013; : e1 DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301368


Adolescence: When Drinking, Genes May Collide

Oct. 17, 2013 — Many negative effects of drinking, such as transitioning into heavy alcohol use, often take place during adolescence and can contribute to long-term negative health outcomes as well as the development of alcohol use disorders. A new study of adolescent drinking and its genetic and environmental influences has found that different trajectories of adolescent drinking are preceded by discernible gene-parenting interactions, specifically, the mu-opioid receptor (OPRM1) genotype and parental-rule-setting.

Results will be published in the March 2014 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

"Heavy drinking in adolescence can lead to alcohol-related problems and alcohol dependence later in life," said Carmen Van der Zwaluw, an assistant professor at Radboud University Nijmegen as well as corresponding author for the study. "It has been estimated that 40 percent of adult alcoholics were already heavy drinkers during adolescence. Thus, tackling heavy drinking in adolescence may prevent later alcohol-related problems."

Van der Zwaluw said that both the dopamine receptor D2 (DRD2) and OPRM1 genes are known to play a large role in the neuro-reward mechanisms associated with the feelings of pleasure that result from drinking, as well as from eating, having sex, and the use of other drugs.

"Different genotypes may result in different neural responses to alcohol or different motivations to drink," she said. "For example, OPRM1 G-allele carriers have been shown to experience more positive feelings after drinking, and to drink more often to enhance their mood than people with the OPRM1 AA genotype. In addition, we chose to examine the influence of parental alcohol-specific rules because research has shown that, more than general measures of parental monitoring, alcohol-specific rule-setting has a considerable and consistent effect on adolescents' drinking behavior."

Van der Zwaluw and her colleagues used data from the Dutch Family and Health study that consisted of six yearly waves, beginning in 2002 and including only adolescents born in the Netherlands. The final sample of 596 adolescents (50% boys) were on average 14.3 years old at Time 1 (T1), 15.3 at T2, 16.3 at T3, 17.7 at T4, 18.7 years at T5, and 19.7 years at T6. Saliva samples were collected in the fourth wave to enable genetic testing. Participants were subsequently divided into three distinct groups of adolescent drinkers; light drinkers (n=346), moderate drinkers (n=178), and heavy drinkers (n=72).

"It was found that adolescent drinkers could be discriminated into three groups: light, moderate, and heavy drinkers," said Van der Zwaluw. "Comparisons between these three groups showed that light drinkers were more often carriers of the OPRM1 AA 'non-risk' genotype, and reported stricter parental rules than moderate drinkers. In the heavy drinking group, the G-allele carriers, but not those with the AA-genotype, were largely affected by parental rules: more rules resulted in lower levels of alcohol use."

Van der Zwaluw explained that although evidence for the genetic liability of heavy alcohol use has been shown repeatedly, debate continues over which genes are responsible for this liability, what the causal mechanisms are, and whether and how it interacts with environmental factors. "Longitudinal studies examining the development of alcohol use over time, in a stage of life that often precedes serious alcohol-related problems, can shed more light on these issues," she said. "This paper confirms important findings of others; showing an association of the OPRM1 G-allele with adolescent alcohol use and an effect of parental rule-setting. Additionally, it adds to the literature by demonstrating that, depending on genotype, adolescents are differently affected by parental rules."

The bottom line is that parents can be a positive influence, Van der Zwaluw noted. "This study shows that strict parental rules prevent youth from drinking more alcohol," she said. "However, one should keep in mind that every adolescent responds differently to parenting efforts, and that the effects of parenting may depend on the genetic make-up of the adolescent."

Journal Reference:
Carmen S. van der Zwaluw, Roy Otten, Marloes Kleinjan, Rutger C. M. E. Engels. Different Trajectories of Adolescent Alcohol Use: Testing Gene-Environment Interactions. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2013; DOI: 10.1111/acer.12291


'Traffic-Light' Labeling Increases Attention to Nutritional Quality of Food Choices

Oct. 17, 2013 — A simple, color-coded system for labeling food items in a hospital cafeteria appears to have increased customer's attention to the healthiness of their food choices, along with encouraging purchases of the most healthy items. In their report in the October issue of Preventive Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators describe customer responses to surveys taken before and after the 2010 implementation of a system using green, yellow or red "traffic light" labels to reflect the nutritional quality of items.

"Several small, experimental studies have suggested that 'traffic light' labels can be an effective method of promoting healthier choices, but there have been few real-world studies of customers' perceptions and purchasing behaviors in response to this type of labeling," explains Lillian Sonnenberg, DSc, RD, LDN, MGH Nutrition and Food Service, the corresponding author of the current report. "Our results suggest that these labels are an effective method for conveying information about healthy and unhealthy choices and for prompting changes in purchasing behavior."

While many restaurants and other food service locations are now posting the calorie content of their standard items and make detailed information -- such as fat, cholesterol and sodium content -- available on request, the researchers note that interpreting this information requires knowledge and skills that many do not possess. To find a simpler way to encourage more healthful purchases at the hospital's food service locations, MGH Nutrition and Food Service put together a plan that started with color-coding each item sold in the main cafeteria -- green for the healthiest items, such as fruits, vegetables and lean meats; yellow for less healthy items, and red for those with little or no nutritional value. Signage encouraged frequent purchase of green items, less frequent for yellow and discouraged purchase of red items. Cafeteria cash registers were programmed to record each purchased item as green, yellow or red, starting three months before the labeling intervention began.

Previous reports from the MGH team have described how the program -- a second phase of which included rearranging items in refrigerators to bring healthy choices to eye level -- increased sales of green items while decreasing purchase of red items. The current paper reports results of a survey taken during the month before and the two months after the labeling intervention began in March 2010. Research coordinators approached customers who had just made purchases and asked them to participate in the brief survey. Participants were asked whether they had noticed any nutritional information in the cafeteria or on food labels, which factors most influenced their purchases, how often they consider nutrition information before making food choices, and how often they "choose food that is healthy." After introduction of the color-coded labels, respondents were also asked whether they had noticed the labels and if the labels had influenced their purchases.

During the baseline period before the labeling intervention, 204 individuals completed the survey, and 243 did so in the weeks following. While 46 percent of respondents indicated that health/nutrition was an important factor in their choices at baseline, 61 percent did so after the intervention. The percentage of those indicating that they looked at available nutritional information before a purchase doubled from 15 to 33 percent, although there was no significant difference in the percentage reporting they usually or always choose healthy foods. Respondents who reported noticing the new labels bought a greater proportion of green items and fewer red items than did those who did not notice, and the influence was even stronger among those who indicated being influenced by the labels.

"While our results can't give concrete information about customers' nutritional knowledge, people were more likely to indicate that health and nutrition were important factors in their decision when the labels were in place, and those who noticed the labels were more likely to purchase healthy items," Sonnenberg says. "Although we haven't directly compared these "traffic light" labels to other systems, we can say that these labels appear to be more effective than the standard nutritional labeling available on packaged products. The strategy is simpler for customers to understand at the point of purchase and, once the appropriate labels for each item are determined, is relatively easy to implement."

The labeling system -- along with second phase of adjusting the positioning of items, which was not included in the current study -- as now in place at all MGH food service locations.
"Traffic-light" sandwich labels indicate nutritional quality In the Mass. General Hospital cafeteria, color-coded labels indicate the healthiest sandwich choices (green), along with those designated less (yellow) and least (red) healthy. (Credit: Mass. General Hospital Nutrition and Food Service)

Journal Reference:
Lillian Sonnenberg, Emily Gelsomin, Douglas E. Levy, Jason Riis, Susan Barraclough, Anne N. Thorndike. A traffic light food labeling intervention increases consumer awareness of health and healthy choices at the point-of-purchase. Preventive Medicine, 2013; 57 (4): 253 DOI:10.1016/j.ypmed.2013.07.001


Resenha do artigo: Genetic and non-genetic influences during pregnancy on infant global and site specific dna methylation: role for folate gene variants and vitamin b12

Dra. Luiza Savietto, CRM - 146610
luizanutriohm@gmail.com, www.facebook.com/nutriohm
Nutrologia - Vegetarianismo - Alimentação Viva - Alimentação funcional

Genetic and non-genetic influences during pregnancy on infant global and site specific dna methylation: role for folate gene variants and vitamin b12
Autores: Jill A. McKay; Alexandra Groom; Catherine Potter;, Lisa J. Coneyworth; Dianne Ford; John C. Mathers; Caroline L. Relton
PLoS ONE; v. 7, n.3, p.1, 2012.

Descobertas recentes sugerem que etnia, idade parental, BMI gestacional e baixo peso ao nascer, podem influenciar a metilação. No entanto, se reconhece que muitos outros fatores modulam o metiloma dos bebês, tanto ambientais quanto genéticos. Os fatores que modulam o metabolismo do carbono metil, influenciando a provisão do grupo metila via S-adenosilmetionina (SAM) para a metilação, podem ser particularmente importantes. 

Um exemplo é o folato e outros nutrientes, co-fatores indispensáveis na síntese da SAM pela via metabólica do carbono metil. Estudos realizados em mulheres adultas associam ingestão restrita de folato a reduzida metilação de DNA em locus do genoma. 

Do mesmo modo, a metilação de DNA no genoma do cordão umbilical relacionou-se inversamente com os níveis de Hcy plasmática materna e, mais recentemente, mostrou-se no mesmo grupo, uma associação entre metilação de 289 sítios CpG no cordão e Hcy plasmática.

Finalmente, a metilação reduzida na região diferenciada do cordão H19 DMR tem sido associada a alta ingesta de folato no período gestacional , e a metilação do DNA mensurada no sangue materno periférico em locus IGF2, foi associada a níveis séricos de vitamina B12 maternos.

Algumas descobertas recentes, feitas por meio de análise de amostras de sangue materno relacionam metilação nos loci IGF2 e vit. B12 sérica, de forma que os níveis desta parecem influenciar a metilação do DNA do cordão umbilical.

Em recente estudo, realizado em adultos avaliados em dois momentos, em um intervalo maior de 10 anos, foi identificado que enquanto alguns indivíduos diminuíram, outros aumentaram a metilação no DNA e adquiriram os respectivos padrões de mudança alocados na herança familiar. Isso sugere que a variação genética pode influenciar padrões de metilação.

Variantes em genes que codificam componentes do ciclo das metilas podem modificar o processo de metilação devido à sua potencial influência no pool de doadores de carbono metil.

Uma vez reconhecida a associação entre a metilação e a expressão gênica, é plausível que padrões aberrantes de metilação ao nascimento podem predispor indivíduos a elevado risco de doenças degenerativas por meio da programação evolutiva. A ligação entre padrões aberrantes de metilação e neoplasias é bem documentada, e fornece um paradigma para hipóteses que propõem ser os mecanismos epigenéticos as conexões entre mediadores da exposição ambiental e o estado de saúde de indivíduos em idade avançada.

Em um estudo recente, sugere-se que padrões de metilação ao nascer associam-se a risco de obesidade infantil, que, por sua vez, aumenta as chances de adquirir doenças metabólicas relacionadas. Por isso, há necessidade em elucidar os determinantes da variação na metilação gênica ao nascimento, como base para tanto evitar a determinação de metilação aberrante ao longo do desenvolvimento, quanto prever e prevenir doenças degenerativas.

Em resumo, há uma substancial variação em padrões de metilação do DNA, provavelmente explicada por uma combinação entre exposições genética e ambiental e eventos esporádicos.

Até o momento, pouco se sabe acerca dos fatores determinantes da variação nos padrões de metilação do DNA no nascimento.

Um dos focos da presente pesquisa foi investigar determinantes genéticos e não-genéticos da variação dos padrões em recém-natos e acessar a contribuição dos fatores maternos neste contexto, tais como a concentração de folato e de vitamina B12, e o genótipo das enzimas envolvidas na via metabólica do carbono metil.

O estudo foi aprovado por comitê ético local e um consentimento escrito foi elaborado para autorização do uso de amostras biológicas do DNA das gestantes e sua prole. Foram incluídas 430 amostras de sangue do cordão umbilical de gestantes na 39ª. semana, para análise da metilação e do genótipo.

As amostras de sangue periférico foram recolhidas de 201 mães, assim como as amostras e os dados para elaboração desta coorte populacional, prospectiva e aleatória. Os mesmos foram coletados entre 1996/2003, em uma maternidade de West Cumbria.

As mães foram contactadas na primeira avaliação pré-natal, respondendo questionário de informações de saúde e de estilo de vida. Nesta ocasião, foram coletadas amostras do sangue para extração do DNA. Sangue do cordão umbilical também foi coletado, assim como dados de peso ao nascer, sexo, idade gestacional, tabagismo materno e idade materna foram catalogados. Folato de origem eritrocitária e níveis séricos de B12 foram avaliados no sangue total, prévio à extração do DNA.

A metilação em sítios CpG de três diferentes genes, totalizando 14 sítios, mostrou correlação entre diferentes loci (IGFL e IGFBP3). O sítio 4 CpG do gene ZNT5 sofre intensa metilação, mostrando ainda variação inter-individual, enquanto os sítios 2, 3 e 5 não se correlacionaram entre si.

Foram investigados os impactos dos fatores não genéticos materno e da prole no status de metilação dos recém-nascidos. O sexo feminino evidenciou maior metilação que o masculino, no sítio 2 de IGF2. Um período gestacional longo mostrou relação com aumento da metilação de IGF2.

Níveis de vitamina B12 de neonatos foram inversamente relacionados com a metilação ao longo do locus IGFBP3, especialmente no sítio 4 , enquanto a concentração de b12 materna se relacionou inversamente com a metilação global do bebê.

Na investigação de fatores genéticos, evidenciou-se que o genótipo materno influenciou a metilação, aumentando-a em locus específico, ou diminuindo sua ocorrência em diferentes loci de alelos da prole, de acordo com fatores como recessividade, homo ou heterozigose.

Individualmente, variáveis preditivas genéticas e não genéticas contribuíram aproximadamente 0,3 a 8% da variabilidade em níveis de metilação no DNA da prole. Esta contribuição foi similar em intensidade e efeito em ambos os fatores. Além disso, nenhuma destas associações foram confundidas ou mostraram evidência de interação com a duração da gestação ou sexo. 

A combinação de preditores genéticos e não genéticos foram responsáveis por 8 a 16% da variação total nos níveis de metilação da prole.

Os determinantes dos padrões de metilação do DNA (ácido fólico e outros cofatores do metabolismo do carbono metila), tendo em vista seu papel central na geração da SAM (doador metil do material genético humano) são foco considerável de interesse em pesquisas.

No estudo foram examinados padrões de metilação global e gene-específicos em bebês, relacionados a fatores genéticos e não genéticos envolvidos no metabolismo dos carbonos metil. Para este propósito, três genes foram selecionados, cada qual com diferentes graus de metilação: IGF2 (50%), IGFBP3 (~5%) e ZNT5 (~50%).

O gene IGF2 fois escolhido para avaliação por se tratar do loci mais frequentemente investigado em alterações de metilação relacionado a influências e fatores ambientais. IGF2 e IGFBP3 são membros do sistema IGF relacionados crescimento intra-uterino. O gene ZTN5 se relaciona com variações inter-individuais, previamente observadas neste locus em biópsias de mucosa colônica de seres humanos.

Em relação à vitamina B12, reportou-se que em níveis séricos elevados da mesma em sangue materno, a taxa de metilação global de DNA da prole é mais baixa. Por sua vez, altas concentrações de B12 no sangue da prole foram associadas a taxa de metilação diminuída de IGFBP3, no sítio 4, e demais locus subsequentes.

Como a B12 é cofator limitante da metionina sintase redutase na conversão homocisteína à metionina, um dos passos da via do carbono metila, os níveis ou ou os suprimentos alterados da vitamina, podem influenciar a metilação do DNA por meio da disponibilidade da SAM.

Altos níveis de B12 podem resultar em aumento da SAM, o que pode elevar o índice SAM/SAH e alterar a cinética da doação de grupos metila. Alpém disso, no estudo, variações no genótipo materno e da prole, no locus MTRR resultou em mudanças na metilação dos neonatos, fornecendo forte evidência que aberrações neste ponto do metabolismo do carbono metil podem afetar a capacidade de metilação do DNA, porém estudos seccionais são necessários para certificar evidências.

No presente estudo, variações no gene envolvido no metabolismo da B12 e concentração desta vitamina foram associados a metilação alterada. Isto sugere a necessidade de maiores investigações dos efeitos da vitamina B12 juntamente ao genótipo MTRR66 G>A no metabolismo do carbono metila e seus efeitos na metilação. 

Por sua vez, o folato se mostra importante doador de grupos metil e ainda o principal determinante da quantidade da SAM disponível para a metilação do DNA. Recentemente, evidenciou-se em estudo a ligação entre elevada taxa de metilação do genoma em DNA de mucosa colônica e altas concentrações de folato eritrocitário e sérico. Estudos de intervenção humana demonstram que moderada redução na ingesta de folato reduziu a taxa de metilação no genoma.

A variação genética no gene materno MTHFR associada a níveis de metilação em loci de IGF2 e ZNT5 foi um dos maiores efeitos individuais.

Neste estudo o tabagismo materno não demonstrou nenhum efeito detectável na metilação de DNA da prole.

Em relação ao tempo gestacional, observou-se que os padrões de metilação de DNA foram influenciados de forma específica. A metilação do IGF2 foi mais correlacionada com a duração da gravidez e a do ZNT5 foi menos correlacionada a mesma variante.

Além disso, relatos recentes reportam a diminuição global de metilação em pré-maturos, sugerindo que a mesma está em andamento nos períodos finais da gestação.

Este é o primeiro trabalho a apresentar efeitos da idade gestacional na metilação do DNA de genes específicos do cordão umbilical, oferecendo maiores evidências da duração gestacional como determinante em padrões de metilação ao nascimento. Os resultados são consistentes com a hipótese de que a modulação do metabolismo na via do carbono metil influencia a metilação em proles humanas. 

Ainda há muito o que desvendar acerca de como o perfil individual de metilação do DNA é estabelecido durante o desenvolvimento, de quais fatores podem influenciar na permanência destes perfis durante a vida e, em última análise, as consequências das alterações dos mesmos para a saúde a longo prazo. 

Ao mensurar global e localmente a metilação do DNA especificamente em três genes, os achados deste estudo ressaltam a complexidade da relação entre os determinantes genéticos e ambientais e o status de metilação do DNA.

O estudo fornece evidências de que variação no metabolismo do carbono metil, por fatores ambientais e genéticos (principalmente vitamina B12 e variantes MTRR66 G>A e MTHFR), podem influenciar a metilação da prole. O tempo gestacional parece ser um importante determinante nos padrões de metilação do DNA dos bebês.

Sobre metilação e epigenética no link: 

Veganismo: curso de massas em São Paulo

Além da degustação e da apostila, terá introdução ao vegetarianismo com a Doutora Luiza Savietto (https://www.facebook.com/nutriohm?fref=ts).

O curso de massas é bem legal, com receitas simples e gostosas para receber amigos em casa, produzir para venda etc...

O cartaz de divulgação é esse que está na nossa capa! 

Para quem possui o passaporte da Revolução da Colher, tem 10% de desconto!!! Compartilhem entre os amigos e convidem à todos! Inscrições e maiores informações pelo e-mail: ministeriosrevolucaodacolher@gmail.com

Leches Vegetales, ¿Cómo preparar leche de QUINOA?

Receta para preparar leche de quinoa y sus beneficios:
Leche utilizada en los países andinos para alimentar a los bebés.

La Quinua posee el 40% más de Licina que la leche (considerada todavía como el alimento ejemplar de la humanidad). De allí su calificativo de súper cereal.

No tienen colesterol ni gluten: una gran ventaja porque el gluten está presente en los demás cereales e impide que las personas alérgicas a esta sustancia puedan ingerirlos.

Además, proporcionan minerales y vitaminas naturales, especialmente A, C, D, B1, B2, B6, ácido fólico (otra vitamina del grupo B), niacina, calcio, hierro y fósforo, en porcentajes altos y garantizados de la IDR (Ingestión Diaria Recomendada).


2 cucharadas de quínoa en grano
Taza y media de agua caliente


Remojar el grano al menos dos horas. Llevar a hervor y cocinar a fuego mínimo unos minutos. Colar con un lienzo y endulzar si es necesario.

Esta leche es utilizada en los países andinos para alimentar a los bebés. No resulta alergénica, siendo muy alcalina y proteica.

Fuente: organicsa.net


Mecanização Agrícola e Agricultura Familiar na Amazônia, artigo de Raimundo Nonato Brabo Alves

[EcoDebate] A propósito há uma tendência mesmo dos agricultores assentados, de imitar a agropecuária de grande escala, tanto na pecuarização quanto na mecanização. Ambas as tendências resultando na insustentabilidade dos sistemas de exploração.

Existe um verdadeiro mito de que só com moto-mecanização a agricultura familiar na Amazônia pode se emancipar. Mas me proponho a discutir neste artigo duas situações da realidade na região que passarei a descrever: a mecanização com dependência e a mecanização com autonomia.

A primeira experiência presenciada de mecanização com dependência foi no período de 1980 a 1990. Com a implantação dos programas de desenvolvimento dessas décadas como o Polo Amazônia e na abundância de recursos financeiros, em quase todos os estados da região foram criadas “companhias de desenvolvimento” cujo objetivo principal era prestar serviços de mecanização subsidiado com prioridade para os pequenos agricultores familiares. No Amapá teve a CODEASA e nos demais estados as Codeagros, algumas sendo desativadas ou replanejadas em seus objetivos. Havia recursos para aquisição de máquinas e implementos, mas faltava para manutenção e aquisição de peças de reposição. A CODEASA no Amapá foi desativada no final da década de 1990. De 1991 a 1994 coordenei um programa de produção de sementes para o estado cujos implementos da patrulha mecanizada foram todos reaproveitados das “sucatas” da CODEASA, incluindo uma UBS (unidade de beneficiamento de sementes) que nunca havia funcionado.

Um exemplo que me marcou do desperdício de recursos públicos foi a recuperação de uma trilhadeira que estava abandonada às intempéries da chuva, que para operar foi necessário apenas a compra de uma correia que custou à época R$ 80,00. O fato é que os agricultores familiares foram os que menos se beneficiaram com os investimentos feitos nessas companhias.

A experiência mais recentemente vivenciada vem a partir da virada do século, mais ainda é prática atualmente em quase toda a Amazônia. Conselhos municipais pressionam prefeituras que por sua vez pressionam governos estaduais a investir em patrulhas mecanizadas para apoiar a agricultura familiar. Investimento pesado em máquinas e implementos não adequados a escala ou tamanho das lavouras da pequena agricultura feito por governos estaduais chegam às prefeituras municipais.

No sudeste paraense presenciei um fato inusitado. Como as prefeituras anualmente preparavam um cronograma de preparo de áreas mecanizadas aos agricultores familiares consegui convencer um prefeito daquela região que o programa poderia ser fortalecido com o financiamento de patrulhas de mecanização a tração animal. Assim com a autonomia dos agricultores capacitados na tração animal, o efeito multiplicador da patrulha municipal seria maior com o apoio a novos agricultores a cada ano. O prefeito comprou um kit de tração animal e lançaria o programa em um dia de campo com a presença do Governador da época. Na véspera do evento em uma reunião de planejamento o então secretário de estado de agricultura recomendou ao prefeito que desistisse da ideia porque a política do governador era pela moto-mecanização. Seis meses depois a prefeitura em que atuávamos em parceria recebeu sua patrulha mecanizada, cujo exemplo de inadequação, incluía uma plantadora de plantio direto de seis linhas, para semear lavouras com tamanho médio de 1 ha.

Outro exemplo negativo de dependência é o despreparo de operadores das prefeituras que não conhecem o básico de uma mecanização agrícola, como a velocidade adequada do trator para cada operação ou a umidade ideal do solo para iniciar uma gradagem. Resultado: áreas mal preparadas sujeitas à erosão do solo. No Baixo Tocantins no Estado do Pará, presenciei um absurdo de um agricultor principiante no preparo de área e plantio de 80 ha para mandioca em pleno período de estiagem, com a umidade do solo totalmente inadequada para um preparo sem pulverização, inadequado para a aplicação de herbicida e para a germinação da cultura. Recomendei a paralisação imediata das operações. O produtor respondeu dizendo que se perdesse naquele momento a oportunidade do trator da prefeitura, não mais teria como plantar sua lavoura. Resultado, prejuízo de mais de R$ 120.000,00.

Outro erro rotineiro dessas patrulhas é a utilização indiscriminada de grade aradora, formando o “pé de grade” e promovendo encharcamento do solo na época das chuvas prejudicando lavouras principalmente de mandioca, com ocorrência da podridão radicular. Em outra prefeitura do Baixo Tocantins a patrulha estava meses ao relento, pela falta de um galpão para estacionar e nem tratoristas tinha para operá-la. Ressalta-se que uma minoria dos agricultores é atendida por essas limitadas ações de mecanização agrícola. Na maioria desses municípios a aplicação resultante dessas patrulhas é, segundo depoimento dos próprios agricultores familiares, a coleta de lixo domiciliar na sede do município.

Algumas dessas patrulhas motomecanizadas hoje são repassadas diretamente aos agricultores em associações. Em outro município do Baixo Tocantins presenciei um racha na associação quando seu presidente recebeu a patrulha mecanizada. Essa patrulha quase não atendeu aos agricultores porque o trator de rodas quebrou o eixo em poucos dias numa tentativa transloucada de destocar um tronco de castanheira por ação de um operador despreparado. A patrulha não operou, pois a associação não dispunha de R$ 4.000,00 para repor o eixo quebrado. Com raríssimas exceções essas patrulhas são abandonadas por falta de recursos dos agricultores para manutenção e compra de peças de reposição.

Porém inúmeros exemplos de mecanização agrícola com autonomia podem ser relatados na Amazônia. Mesmo por que os agricultores em parte não deixam de ter razão quando pressionam a demanda por mecanização, considerando a escassez crescente de terra e mão-de-obra na região. Um bom exemplo é dos mandiocultores do nordeste paraense que estão financiando tratores e implementos adequados à escala de suas lavouras de em média 25 ha. Além de suas operações eles terceirizam serviços para os mandiocultores vizinhos. Outro exemplo de mecanização com autonomia é relatado dos horticultores que financiam micro tratores adequados à escala de suas atividades. Já os agricultores do município de Tracuateua não abrem mão da tração animal associada à fertilização do solo com esterco de curral no processo denominado de parcagem, para cultivo de mandioca e feijão. Os exemplos que tenho presenciado nestes 35 anos de agronomia na Amazônia, de sucesso da mecanização com autonomia é de agricultores que financiam tratores e implementos adequados à escala ou tamanho de suas lavouras e que tem pleno domínio de suas operações.

Raimundo Nonato Brabo Alves é Pesquisador da Embrapa Amazônia Oriental

EcoDebate, 18/10/2013


Artistas de TV e ativistas cobram coerência em política de sustentabilidade do McDonald’s

Em iniciativa inédita, Thaila Ayala, Ellen Jabour e Eduardo Pires pedem que a rede de fast-food abandone prática já considerada insustentável nos EUA, mas mantida no Brasil

No dia de ontem (17), a modelo e ex-VJ Ellen Jabour, o ator da TV Record Eduardo Pires e a atriz global Thaila Ayala lançaram uma campanha na Change.org, um dos maiores portais de petições do mundo, pedindo que a rede de fast-food McDonald’s se comprometa com a abolição do uso de celas de gestação para porcas reprodutoras, uma prática considerada demasiadamente cruel por especialistas de bem-estar animal e proibida em alguns países. No ano passado, a rede se comprometeu com a mudança nos EUA, mas ainda não estendeu essa política ao Brasil.

“A produção industrial de carne suína no Brasil é extremamente cruel com os animais. Nós ficamos horrorizados ao descobrir que grande parte das porcas reprodutoras passam praticamente suas vidas inteiras presas em celas de gestação, cubículos tão pequenos onde elas mal podem se mover”, declararam os artistas. “Nos Estados Unidos o McDonald’s já se comprometeu a abolir essas celas, admitindo publicamente que elas ‘não são um sistema de produção sustentável’ e cobrando essa mudança dos seus fornecedores. Já passou da hora deles fazerem o mesmo aqui”, completam os famosos.

Segundo a ARCA Brasil, uma das maiores ONGs de proteção animal do país e responsável pela ação com os artistas, a maioria dos produtores de suínos em escala industrial no Brasil usa as celas de gestação, gaiolas de metal que têm praticamente o mesmo tamanho do corpo dos animais. As porcas são submetidas a ciclos repetidos de inseminação e passam praticamente suas vidas inteiras confinadas em tais celas, que as impedem até mesmo de se virar ou dar mais do que um passo para frente ou para trás. “O McDonald’s tem que ser coerente e adotar no Brasil os mesmos padrões éticos e de bem-estar animal que já tem nos EUA. As pesquisas são claras: a grande maioria dos consumidores brasileiros se importa com a questão e não quer que os animais sejam maltratados durante a produção de alimentos”, afirmou Marco Ciampi, presidente da ARCA.

Especialistas da área de bem-estar animal afirmam que dada a severidade e a longa duração do confinamento em celas, os animais sofrem e são mais propensos a vivenciar trauma psicológico e diversos problemas de saúde como infecções urinárias e paralisias nos pés ou pernas. “Os porcos são animais muito inteligentes. Estudos científicos sugerem que eles têm habilidades cognitivas superiores às dos cães e provavelmente similares às de grandes primatas, elefantes e golfinhos. A prática de confinar porcas em celas de gestação de forma contínua é tão controversa que ela já foi proibida em toda a União Europeia, na Nova Zelândia e em nove estados dos EUA”, afirma Ciampi.

O comprometimento com o abandono do uso de celas de gestação é um tema que ganha cada vez mais relevância também no setor corporativo dos EUA. Nos últimos três anos, mais de 60 empresas líderes de mercado no setor varejista e alimentício no país anunciaram políticas de sustentabilidade comprometidas com a eliminação dessa prática em suas cadeias de fornecimento. Algumas dessas empresas são: Burger King, McDonald’s, Subway, Costco e Compass Group (representado pela empresa GRSA no Brasil). Associações de produtores suínos da Austrália e África do Sul também já se comprometeram a restringir o confinamento contínuo de porcas em celas até 2020. O governo do Canadá agora discute uma proibição nacional.

Ao contrário do que muitos acreditam, a mudança para um padrão de produção que contempla o bem-estar dos animais não é difícil e nem muito mais cara. No Brasil, temos o exemplo da fazenda Miunça, localizada nos arredores do Distrito Federal e presente no mercado há mais de 20 anos. A fazenda conta com um plantel de 3800 porcas, sendo que 1300 delas criadas em sistema sem gaiolas.

A petição pode ser acessada no link www.change.org/porcas. Os artistas também gravaram um vídeo onde dizem: “Você não pode deixar de fazer parte deste movimento! Juntos, vamos ajudar a criar um mercado mais comprometido e eliminar as práticas cruéis na produção de alimentos”.

Fatos e referências:
Em fevereiro de 2012, o vice-presidente da cadeia de suprimentos do McDonald’s na América do Norte, Dan Gorsky, fez a seguinte declaração: “O McDonald’s acredita que as celas de gestação não são um sistema de produção sustentável para o futuro. Existem alternativas que acreditamos ser melhores para o bem-estar das porcas. O McDonald’s quer ver o fim do confinamento de porcas em celas de gestação na nossa cadeia de fornecimento”. Nada similar foi anunciado para o Brasil, ou para a América Latina.
No Brasil, o número de porcas reprodutoras — também chamadas de matrizes suínas — é de aproximadamente 2,4 milhões, segundo dados do Levantamento Sistemático da Produção de Suínos (LSPS). Desse total, mais de 1,6 milhão de porcas são criadas em sistemas altamente tecnificados, onde os animais geralmente são confinados em celas de gestação.
Uma pesquisa conduzida pelo Instituto Akatu revelou que 87% dos brasileiros acham importante ou muito importante “que durante a produção animais não tenham sido maltratados”.

EcoDebate, 18/10/2013