La consommation chronique des édulcorants et le risque d’obésité abdominale

Les édulcorants sont des produits d’origine naturelle ou synthétique ayant un goût sucré et qui servent de substituts au saccharose. Les édulcorants ont souvent un apport calorique largement inférieur à celui du sucre, d’où l’intérêt de leur utilisation dans la fabrication des produits dits “light” et des produits destinés aux diabétiques. D’ailleurs, l’utilisation des édulcorants à faible teneur en calories (EFTC) a longtemps été recommandée comme stratégie diététique pour réduire l’apport énergétique pour la gestion du gain pondéral et du diabète.Read More »


Therapeutic benefits of Argan oil

Argan oil is a typical Moroccan vegetable oil. The oil is extracted from the fruit of Argania spinosa, an endemic tree from South-Western Morocco. Since 2014, Argan practices and know-how concerning the Argan tree have been registered on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO. In this entry we will report some of the work that has been done on the effects and properties of Argan oil.Read More »

Dealing with the unexpected

Would you like to know if you were at risk of developing cancer? A paper published last February tried to answer the question, and although most participants appreciated knowing their condition, some questions can still be raised.

All but one of the 32 mutation-positive participants appreciated learning their BRCA mutation status.


Screening is the first step of acceptance

The study reports the data of people who had chosen to view their BRCA reports and to participate to this study, which make them relatively more prepared to receive bad news than the general population. My guess is, if we were to ask people to have a free BRCA screening we would have much different results. In my experience in dealing with screenings, it is very difficult to convince people to get screened if they were unwilling in the first place, because the possibility of having a positive test could be life changing.

Age is key

In this study, the mean age was 47, at this age people are more inclined to get tested by themselves for breast cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes, etc. 47 is not an advanced age, but most people are already prepared to deal with sickness, women are dealing with menopause and are stressing about the possibility of developing cancer, men are probably already dealing with hypertension. If anything, getting tested for a gene that could cause cancer could be a relief, they could make arrangements to dodge the bullet if there is still time. However, for younger people, it is more complicated, if anything, this could be crippling news, ideas like “I haven’t had the time to live my life” comes to mind.

Direct access to BRCA mutation tests, considered a model for high-risk actionable genetic tests of proven clinical utility, provided clear benefits to participants.

The authors concluded that the access to the BRCA mutation tests provided a life-saving benefit to the participants with the mutation, since their relatives also got to get tested, which is the general idea behind screenings: We do screenings to save lives, other than that I would say that the conclusion behind the study is that people in their 50s who would go get screened are more prepared to receive the bad news. =)

Vegetable oils and androgens

Over the past decade, the research unit I’m currently with has been busy exploring the multiple benefits of vegetable oils, especially Argane oil (or Argan oil), which is a vegetable oil extracted from the fruit of Argania spinosa (an endemic tree of South-western Morocco, the species is now endangered and under protection of UNESCO). The unit published quite a few papers about the oil’s properties in preventing cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Lately, another study was published in Natural Product Communications about its effect on the androgens’ levels in men. In Morocco, Argane oil is consumed raw, but can also be used in preparing meals or pastries (in other countries it is more famous for its cosmetic properties). Anyway, the oil is also reputed to have aphrodisiac properties in men, and I can only speculate and assume that the reason behind the study was to verify if there were any truth behind this reputation.

Still life of argan fruit and oil

The study was carried out on healthy young men (<40 years old). Participants consumed 25 mL of vegetable oil per day (either Argane oil or Olive oil) during 3 weeks after a two weeks stabilization period during which they consumed 25 g of vegetable margarine.

The paper reports that testosterone (T) and luteinizing hormone (LH) levels significantly increased after a 3 weeks intervention. T concentration increased by 19.9% after using Argane oil and by 17.4% after using Olive oil, while LH concentrations increased by 18.5% after using Argane oil and by 42.6% after using Olive oil.

Most studies carried out on these vegetable oils attribute the benefit of their consumption to their unique composition of fatty acids and especially their high concentration in Vitamin E. Both oils have a fairly similar composition, however, Argane oil has a higher concentration of vitamin E (cf. table).

(VAO: virgin Argane oil, EVO: extra virgin Olive oil)



Derouiche et al. (2013). Effect of Argan and Olive Oil Consumption on the Hormonal Profile of Androgens Among Healthy Adult Moroccan Men. Natural Product Communications Vol. 8 P.151-153.