Thursday, January 19, 2012

Study Explains How Lifestyle Factors and Mindset Increase Dementia Risk

Loss of cognitive function, mostcommonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease instills feelings of fear andinsecurity more than any other chronic condition, including a cancer diagnosis.Researchers publishing in the journalNeurology, the medical journal ofthe American Academy of Neurology, found that people who rate their health aspoor or fair appear to be significantly more likely to develop dementia laterin life. Is there really a mind-link association between how we feel about ouroverall health and initiation of this dreaded disease?

Researchers point to the factthat many chronic illnesses such as heartdisease and dementia develop over the course of 20 or 30 years and ourperceptions may actually influence how these conditions progress. A positivespirit and happy outlook on life may just help you avoid a host of deadlydiseases, including dementia.

Seniors Effectively Able to Predict Risk of Dementia Later in Life
People may possess a much morepowerful diagnostic tool than the plethora of diagnostic tests, dyes andpharmaceuticals used by most allopathic physicians and diagnosticians. Dr.Christophe Tzourio, director of Neuroepidemiology at the University of Bordeauxin France explained“Having people rate their own health maybe a simple tool for doctors to determine a person's risk of dementia,especially for people with no symptoms or memory problems”. His researchresults show that health and disease can be assessed more effectively by anindividual from within, as opposed to managing a set of medical results andtests.

A research study was designedwith 8,169 people, aged 65 years or older who were followed for a period ofseven years. During the study each participant was asked to rate their ownhealth, and 618 people developed dementia. The risk of dementia was 70 percenthigher in people who rated their health as poor and 34 percent higher in peoplewho rated their health as fair compared to those who rated their health asgood.

Leading an Active Life with Many Friends and Family Members LowersDementia Risk
The study also found a highercorrelation between ones health assessment and developing dementia for thoseindividuals who did not have any memory problems or other issues with thinkingskills. Those with no visible signs of cognitive decline were nearly twice aslikely to develop dementia as those who rated their health as good. Researchersfound that having a large social network along with plenty of social activitiesare associated with a decreased risk of dementia.

Dr. Tzourio concluded"… it's possible that rating one'shealth as poor might be associated with behaviors that limit social interactionand in turn accelerate the dementia process." A wealth of scientificresearch studies have found that lifestyle factors including close bonds withfamily, friends and social groups are important to lowering dementia risk inthe elderly population.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Green Tea Halts Weight Gain by Inhibiting Fat Absorption

Reporting in the research journalObesity, researchers continue tomount crucial evidence to support green tea as an agent in the war againstoverweight and obesity. Green tea (and its less refined cousin, white tea) isshown to slow weight gain and may be a key tool in the obesity epidemic impactingthe health of millions of children and adults in western cultures.

Mice supplemented with the activecompound found in green tea, Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) were fed ahigh-fat diet and gained weight much slower than their control counterparts. Thefindings demonstrate the potent effect of the natural tea extract when coupledwith a healthy, calorie-reduced diet that minimizes processed carbohydratefoods and hydrogenated fat sources.

Green Tea Extract Shown to Slow Weight Gain By 45 Percent
Extensive scientific research hasbeen performed on green tea and the potent EGCG extract. Most of this work hasshown a direct link between green tea consumption and lowered risk of Alzheimer`sdementia, many digestive cancers, cardiovascular disease as well as being anaid in weight management. Green tea contains between 30 and 40 percentpolyphenols that contribute to its myriad of health benefits. Common black teacontains between 3 and 10 percent polyphenols, as the leaves have been highlyrefined to remove the naturally occurring compounds.

Research leader Joshua Lambert,assistant professor of food science in agricultural sciences at Penn StateUniversity and his team determined to expand on prior research showing thatgreen tea consumption promotes healthy body weight. The researchers used obesemice genetically predisposed to gain weight. The mice were broken into twogroups; each fed a high fat diet. The test group was supplemented with EGCG intheir drinking water for a period of six weeks.

ECGC Polyphenols From Green Tea Cut Fat Absorption by Thirty Percent
The results showed that micereceiving the active EGCG component through supplementation, along with ahigh-fat diet, gained weight 45 percent more slowly than the control group ofmice eating the same diet without EGCG. Lambert noted “Our results suggest that if you supplementwith EGCG or green tea you gain weight more slowly.” Additionally, mice fedthe green tea supplement showed a nearly 30 percent increase in lipidexcretion, suggesting that the EGCG was limiting fat absorption by inhibitingpancreatic lipase. The study did not differentiate between caffeinated andcaffeine-free green tea consumption, so caffeine sensitive individuals canattain similar results with non-caffeinated sources.

Researchers noted that green teaconsumption did not appear to suppress appetite, an indicator that the weightreduction effect was due to inhibition of fat cell genesis. The authors concluded“Human data … shows that tea drinkers whoonly consume one or more cups a day will see effects on body weight compared tonon-consumers.” Most nutritionists suggest 2 to 4 cups of green tea eachday, or a standardized EGCG extract (500 mg to 1 gram daily) along with acalorically-balanced diet to achieve weight management success.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Resveratrol Reduces Breast Cancer Risk by Blocking the Effect of Estrogen

Researchers from the Faculty ofPharmacy at the University of Calabria in Italy publishing in The FASEB Journal report thatresveratrol blocks the effect of estrogen and can help to prevent the malignantgrowth of breast cancer in women. The grape/red wine derivative has been thesubject of numerous scientific studies in recent years and has shown promise inlowering risks from cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia.

Scientists also believe theprotective nutrient may extend healthy lifespan by directly influencingmortality genes known as SIRT. Italian researchers noted "Resveratrol is a potentialpharmacological tool to be exploited when breast cancer become resistant to thehormonal therapy." Health-minded adults will want to includeresveratrol from natural food sources or supplementation to reap the numeroushealth benefits.

Resveratrol Supplementation Suppresses the Growth of Malignant BreastCancer Cells
To design their study,researchers used several breast cancer cell lines expressing the estrogenreceptor to test the effects of resveratrol. They exposed the different cellsto a solution containing resveratrol and compared the results to cells leftuntreated. They found an important reduction in cell growth in cells treated withresveratrol, while no changes were seen in untreated cells. Further experimentsdetermined that this effect was caused by a critical reduction in estrogenreceptors caused by the administration of resveratrol.

This finding is the first of itskind as it relates specifically to the effect of resveratrolon a particular cancer cell line. The team was able to conclude thatresveratrol is able to counteract the malignant progression of breast cancercells by inhibiting the growth and spread of hormone resistant cancerous cells.This has important implications for the treatment of women with breast cancerwhose tumors eventually develop resistance to hormonal therapy.

Resveratrol Specifically Targets Cancerous Cells to Fight Breast Cancer
Lead researcher Dr. SebastianoAndo noted "Resveratrol is a potentialpharmacological tool to be exploited when breast cancer become resistant to thehormonal therapy." A peer review board examining the study dataconcluded “scientists haven't finisheddistilling the secrets of good health that have been hidden in natural productssuch as red wine.” It is important to note that in this body of research,resveratrol only demonstrated an effect on malignant cancer cells and exertedno effect on non-cancerous cells.

While the authors cautioned thatpeople should not go out and start using red wine or resveratrol supplements asa treatment for breast cancer, the finding strongly indicates that theplant-protective compound should be considered as a component in an overallplan designed to prevent the devastating disease. Nutrition experts recommend asupplemental intake (from a purified, organically derived source) of between 50and 250 mg per day for optimal health benefits.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Coffee Consumption Lowers Depression by Twenty Percent in Women

Depression is a chronic andrecurrent condition that affects twice as many women as men, includingapproximately one of every five U.S. women during their lifetime. Loss ofproductive work hours has become a significant problem in the workplace makingthe development of strategies to prevent the debilitating condition a priorityfor research scientists.

The result of a peer-reviewedjournal study publishedin the Archives of Internal Medicineexplains that consumption of caffeinated coffee can reduce the symptoms ofdepression in women in a dose dependent manner. This is an important finding becausecoffee is a popular beverage already consumed by many. Just three to four cupsof java each day may just help lift your spirits and improve feelings ofmelancholy.

Four Cups of Coffee Consumed Daily Found to Lower Depression Symptom by20%
The authors of the study notedthat 80% of worldwide caffeine consumption is in the form of coffee, the mostcommonly used CNS (central nervous system) stimulant. The research leader, Dr.Michel Lucas and his team set out to determine if the consumption of coffee or otherdrinks containing caffeine might be linked to depression risk. To conduct the study theygathered data on 50,737 women with an average age 63 years. It was determinedthat none of them had depression when the study began.

The participants were part of theNurses' Health Study and were asked to complete a detailed questionnairedetailing their caffeine and coffee consumption over a 24 year period. Theresearchers determined how often they consumed caffeinated and non-caffeinatedcoffee, non-herbal teas, caffeinated sodas (sugared or low calorie) and alltypes of caffeine-free soft drinks as well as chocolate intake. For the purposeof this study, depressionwas defined as having a diagnosis of clinical depression and being prescribedregular antidepressants during the previous two years.

Coffee Found to Lower Depression in Women in a Dose Dependent Manner
During the course of the studyanalysis, 2,607 new cases of depression were recorded among the participants.From the data collected, researchers found that women who consumed two to threecups of caffeinated coffee per day were 15% less likely to develop depressioncompared to those who drank a maximum of one cup of caffeinated coffee perweek. Further they determined women who drank at least 4 cups per day had a 20%lower risk than the females consuming only one cup per day.

Interestingly, the consumption ofdecaffeinated coffee had no impact on depression risk, an indicator that asynergistic link exists between chemical compounds in coffee and caffeine toproduce the risk-lowering effect. Study authors concluded "In this large prospective cohort of older women free of clinicaldepression or severe depressive symptoms at baseline, risk of depressiondecreased in a dose-dependent manner with increasing consumption of caffeinatedcoffee." Drinking two to four cups daily of a caffeinated coffeebeverage may provide significant depression-lowering benefits in women.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Vitamin B12 Increases Brain Volume and Improves Memory and Cognition

Many people are aware thatvitamin B12 status declines during aging, as millions of seniors fall prey to adecline in this critical nutrient. Vitamin B12 circulating in the blooddeclines in the elderly due to absorption problems in the digestive tractleading to poor uptake by body tissues, especially the brain.

Researchers publishing in the journal Neurology have established a definitivelink between poor vitamin B12 levels and brain shrinkage, a hallmark ofcognitive decline and Alzheimer`s dementia. Supplementation with thebiologically active form of the B vitamin may help prevent shrinkage andpreserve learning capabilities and memory functions as we age.

Vitamin B12 Deficiencies Linked to Shrinking Brain Volume and CognitiveDecline Among Elderly
The study involved 121participants from the Chicago Health and Aging Project who underwent magneticresonance imaging (MRI) scans over a period of four and a half years.Additionally, each member of the study had blood drawn to measure levels of vitaminB12 and B12-related markers that can indicate a B12 deficiency. The samesubjects took tests measuring their memory and other cognitive skills.

MRI scans were analyzed tomeasure total brainvolume and look for other signs of brain damage. The tests included sevenmeasures of episodic memory, two measures of visual spatial ability andperceptual organization, two measures of perceptual speed, two measures of semanticmemory, and three measures of working memory. Stored blood samples wereanalyzed for vitamin B12 and homocysteine, a byproduct of metabolism associatedwith dementia, cognitive decline and coronary artery disease.

Vitamin B12 Levels Improve Cognitive Abilities and Can Help PreventStroke
Researchers determined that havinghigh levels of four of five markers for vitamin B12 deficiencywas associated with having lower scores on the cognitive tests and smallertotal brain volume. Indicators of vitamin B12 insufficiency contributed to poorglobal cognitive test scores and a decrease in brain volume revealed by MRIfindings compared to those with better B12 status. Higher levels of the vitaminB12 markers were linked to decreased total brain volume. Elevated homocysteinelevels were indicative of greater white matter volume and elevated risk ofcerebrovascular events.

Lead researcher, Dr. ChristineTangney concluded"Our findings suggest that … vitaminB12 deficiency, may affect cognition by reducing total brain volume whereas theeffect of homocysteine on cognition may be mediated through increased whitematter hyperintensity volume and cerebral infarcts." Vitamin B12deficiency among the elderly is a significant cause for concern and may verywell be a key contributor to the explosion of Alzheimer`s disease cases overthe past 50 years. Nutritionists recommend supplementing with the bioactiveform of B12 known as methylcobalamin (1 to 5 mg per day taken sublingually) toregulate circulating levels of this critical brain nutrient.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dietary Fruits and Vegetables Reduce Colon Cancer Risk

Health-minded individuals arewell aware that a diet high in natural fruits and vegetables equate to vibranthealth and dramatically lowered risk of many chronic diseases. The result of anew studypublished in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association provides details on how specific fruit andvegetable consumption lowers the incidence of many types of colon cancer, thethird most prevalent form of the disease.

Foods such as apples, broccoli and cauliflower each lower the risk of cancerinitiation in different parts of the colon while high sugar, fiber-void fruitjuices are shown to increase risk of the illness. Nutrition scientists fromAustralia provide important documentation to confirm the importance of eating acolorful selection of fruits and vegetables to lower colon cancer risk.

Diet Packed With Vegetables and Fruits Shown to Lower Multiple ColonCancer Risk Factors
Nutrition researchers havedesigned studies to examine the effect of healthy diet on colon cancer risk inthe past, but the protective effect has been debatable as they do not providespecific results for different foods on the key regions or subsites of thecolon. Professor Lin Fritschi, PhD, head of the Epidemiology Group at theWestern Australian Institute for Medical Research and her research team set outto investigatethe link between fruit and vegetables and three cancers in different parts ofthe bowel: proximal colon cancer, distal colon cancer and rectal cancer.

The controlled study included 918participants with a confirmed colon cancer diagnosis and compared them with1021 individuals with no history of the digestive disease. All participantscompleted extensive nutritional and demographic questionnaires to account forpotential conflicts such as socioeconomic status. Analysis of the data showedthat specific fruit and vegetables from similar varietal families affect riskfor colon cancer in different portions of the digestive tract.

Broccoli, Cabbage and Sprouts Lower Most Common Type of Colon Cancer
With respect to different fruitand vegetable consumption, the researchersfound a reduced rate of proximal colon cancer was linked to eating brassicaslike broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. In addition, bothtotal vegetable intake and total vegetable and fruit intake were linked to alower risk of distal colon cancer. And finally a significant reduction indistal colon cancer risk was linked to dark yellow vegetables and apples.

There should be no doubt thatnatural fruits and vegetables consumed raw or minimally cooked to retain theactive enzymes is a critical factor in digestive health to dramatically lowerthe risk of colon cancer and other chronic conditions as well. This studyconveys the important nature of eating a wide variety of different coloredfruits and vegetables, high in phytonutrient content to provide a protectiveshield at different colon subsites and throughout the body.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Omega-3 Fats Help Lower Premature Death Risk by Eighty Percent

Many people make the potentiallyfatal presumption that aging, chronic diseases and premature aging are naturalevents that come with advancing years. A plethora of current research studiesconfirm that nothing could be farther from the truth. In addition tosuper-nutrients such as resveratrol, curcumin and vitamin D optimization,researchers publishingin the American Journal of ClinicalNutrition and Clinical Cardiologyprovide documented evidencethat beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids from dietary sources and supplementationslash the overall risk of an early death.

The long-chain fats DHA and EPAelicit a profound effect on the heart and brain to ameliorate chronic diseasesthat bring an early demise to millions of unsuspecting individuals each year. Health-mindedindividuals today are used to hearing about the myriad of benefits associatedwith eating fish and supplementing with Omega-3 fats.

Omega-3 Fat Supplementation Slashes Risk of All-Cause Mortality in Half
A wealth of peer-reviewed studiesprovide solid evidence that the DHA and EPA fatty acids help to prevent heartdisease and sudden death from a heart attack, lower depression incidence andreduce stroke and dementia risks as well. New research shows that optimalOmega-3 blood levels lower the risk of dying from all causes by 85% in highrisk patients who had suffered a prior heartattack.

Intrigued by the result of thisresearch, scientists wanted to understand if mortality was affected inindividuals with no evident heart disease. A group of men aged 64 to 76 yearswere supplemented with Omega-3 fats (2.4 grams per day) for a period of 3years. During that time, the participants showed a 47% reduction in risk ofdying from any cause compared to a placebo group. Women experienced a 44% lowerrisk of death in a similar study.

Omega-3 Fats Lower Systemic Inflammation and Balance Omega-6 Ratios
Researchers from the AmericanHeart Association journal Strokecommented on the ground-breaking conclusions of multiple Omega-3 studies, “Evidence from prospective secondaryprevention studies suggests that EPA+DHA supplementation ranging from 0.5 to1.8 g/d (either as fatty fish or supplements) significantly reduces subsequentcardiac and all-cause mortality.” Omega-3 enriched foods and supplements helpto improve the critical balance with Omega-6 fats to lower systemicinflammation. This provides the primary risk-reduction mechanism associatedwith the long-chain fat.

In addition to fatty fish(salmon, snapper, scallops and shrimp), non-meat food sources of Omega-3’sinclude walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, raw tofu and cooked soybeans. The bodydoes not efficiently process EPA and DHA fats from vegetarian sources, thoughstrong evidence exists that these food sources still provide exceptional healthbenefits. To be certain you achieve optimal Omega-3 blood saturation levels asreferenced in these studies, nutrition experts recommend supplementing with 2.4grams per day of combined EPA and DHA (read package labels to ensure properdose). When supplementing, check that the fish oil (krill oil is also anexcellent option) is molecularly distilled to avoid contamination.

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