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Insights, Research and Trends

Cannabinoids and Long Covid

Compounds in cannabis have the potential to prevent and treat Covid-19, according to a review conducted by researchers at Dalhousie University in Canada.

They found that cannabinoids could reduce the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection, and claimed they could potentially prevent it.

The researchers propose that cannabinoids may act as a preventive approach by limiting susceptibility to the virus, mitigating oxidative stress and alleviating cytokine storms.

The study also suggests that cannabinoids, specifically CBD oils, could be used to treat symptoms associated with long Covid, including depression, anxiety, insomnia, pain and decreased appetite.

It's thought that around 1.9 million people (2.9% of the population) are experiencing self-reported long Covid. Of these, 69% had been experiencing symptoms for at least a year, and 41% had been experiencing symptoms for at least two years.

Are processed 'meat' alternatives as dangerous as animal products?

An international study has indicated that plant-based 'meats' are not associated with an increased risk of cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

In a study involving 266,666 participants over three decades, researchers found no link between ultra-processed vegan foods and these diseases. In contrast, regular consumption of ultra-processed meat and sugary drinks did have a significant association with all three.

The study investigated the link between multimorbidity – the co-occurrence of two or more long-term conditions such as cancer and heart disease, and various ultra-processed foods. The researchers found that ultra-processed plant-based alternatives "were not associated with risk of multimorbidity."

Participants were from seven European countries, including Denmark, Sweden and the UK. Researchers enrolled participants between 1992 and 2000. They then contacted them every three to four years to obtain information on any major diseases.

Published in The Lancet, it's thought to be the first study to test the disease implications of ultra-processed foods (UPF) in relation to multimorbidity across countries with long-term follow-up.

UPFs are foods that have undergone industrial processing to add substances like emulsifiers or colourings. Common examples include industrialised bread, pre-packaged meals, breakfast cereals and meats such as sausages and ham.

Previous research has sometimes considered UPFs as a single group – and a synonym for unhealthy – but the new research has added more nuance to this label.

High-dose omega-3s and CVD

Do omega-3 supplements at 4g a day pose an increased risk for those with atrial fibrillation in people with suspected heart disease?

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) thinks they do following several clinical trials saying possible adverse health effects can easily be overlooked.

They say food supplements containing omega-3s, especially over a long period of time, should only be taken by these patients after consultation with a doctor.

This has led to a number of letters on the matter being sent to professional agencies across Europe around regular fish consumption combined with supplementation.

While accepting the findings, the omega-3 industry is quick to point out that the findings involved high intake and only in relation to people at high risk of CVD, conditions that do not apply to the vast majority of people taking omega-3 supplements. It is not thought that the EMA opinion will have any effect on product labelling.

Is malnutrition rife in UK?

Staggering NHS figures have revealed that nutrition-related hospital admissions in England have surged 39% in the past decade. Among the key deficiencies are B vitamins and iron.

Reported in the Guardian, the Food Foundation says 15% of UK households – equivalent to approximately 8m adults and 3m children – experienced food insecurity in January, as high food prices continued to hit the pockets of low-income families.

Nearly two-thirds of food-insecure households reported buying less fruit and 44% bought fewer vegetables as they struggled with the ongoing cost of living crisis. In contrast, just 11% of food-secure households bought less fruit and 6% purchased fewer vegetables.

A further report by the Health and Food Supplements Information Service ( reveals that many Brits badly need a nutrition reset with food portions out of control, comfort eating rife and immunity nutrients such as vitamin D and iron in decline.