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.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Zinc is Essential to Improve Brain Communications and Improve Memory

Zinc is an essential mineralknown to improve skin tone, aid wound healing, fight cancer and shorten the lengthof the common cold. Researchers publishing in the journalNeuron now identify the crucial rolethis super-nutrient plays in support of memory formation and cognitivestability. Additionally, they have found that zinc may also play a part incontrolling the devastating occurrence of epileptic seizures.

For the first time, scientistshave been able to watch zinc in action as the nutrient regulates communicationsbetween neurons and the hippocampus to improve memory and learningcapabilities. Ensuring proper intake of zinc is an important step towardoptimal brain function and may prevent cognitive decline as we age.

Zinc Improves Communication between Neurons to Improve Cognition
Researchers at Duke UniversityMedical Center and chemists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology collaboratedto study the effects of zincon brain function. Scientists experimenting with mice used a chemical thatbinds with zinc to eliminate it from the brain of the test animals. They foundthat in the absence of the mineral, communications between neurons wassignificantly diminished and that zinc is vital for controlling the efficiency between nerve cells in the hippocampus.

For more than a half century,scientists have understood that high concentrations of zinc are depositedwithin nerve cells, called vesicles that package the transmitters which enablenerve cells to communicate. The highest concentrations of brain zinc are foundamong the neurons of the hippocampus that control the high functions oflearning and memory.

Researchers Find Zinc Levels in the Brain Control Memory and LearningFunctions
By artificially regulating thelevel of zinc in the brain of the test animals, researchers were able toconfirm that eliminating zinc from the neural vesicles also prevented enhancedcommunication. By increasing levels of the mineral, they were able tosignificantly restore enhanced communications in the hippocampal region toimprove learning and memory capabilities.

The results of this studyconducted using mice can be extrapolated to humans because zinc is known toplay a similar role in the brain of both species. Zinc deficiency in the typicalwestern diet is rapidly becoming a serious problem that threatens human health.Due to poor farming practices and the abundance of nutrient-deprived processedfoods, many children and adults suffer from a chronic insufficiency of themineral.

Over time, lack of zinc from dietarysources can result in immune system depression, decline in sexual health andincreased risk of dementia and cognitive decline. Ideal dietary sources of zincinclude liver, beef and lamb. Vegetarians can include nuts, seeds and peas toobtain the micronutrient. Alternatively, zinc supplements are available (30 to50 mg per day) to help maintain healthy systemic levels that improve memory,learning and cognition.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Olive Oil and Nuts Lower Heart Disease Risk Better Than Pharmaceuticals

More vindication for a naturalMediterranean-style diet including plenty of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) andnuts was released in an advanced study published by the prestigious journalAtherosclerosis. Early results from aSpanish study with more than 7500 participants’ demonstrates that highquantities of dietary EVOO and a variety of different species of nuts is moreeffective in managing and preventing a heart event than traditional drugtherapy.

Many physicians place theirpatients on the standard prescription of beta blockers and ACE inhibitors in adesperate effort to prevent advancing heart disease, even though repeatedstudies prove these drugs are detrimental to long-term health. Include copiousamounts of EVOO and nuts in your diet to dramatically lower heart disease riskand avoid the need for risk drugs.

Study Provides Proof of Natural Diet over Drugs in the Fight againstHeart Disease
To conduct the study, researchersplaced the participants into one of three groups following either aMediterranean style diet receiving 15 liters of EVOO over a 90 day period, a nutgroup consuming 30 grams per day of walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts or a standardlow-fat diet. Among those participants over the age of 55, the scientists foundthat carotid artery thickness was significantly reduced in the EVOO and nutgroups for individuals with already thickened arterial walls.

Researchers commented,“A modification in the entire dietpattern managed to achieve in just one year, results that pharmaceutical drugsdid not – even after two years of treatment.” Lead study author, Dr. MiguelAngel Martinez-Gonzalez was impressed that a diet concentrated on natural foodsources high in beneficial fats improved cardiovascular risk outcomes more thanPharma options. The study also found that the traditional low-fat (highcarbohydrate) diet frequently prescribed by physicians and dieticians today hasno health benefits and allows for heart disease to progress unabated.

Monounsaturated Fats From EVOO and Nuts Improve Vascular Elasticity
Most alternative healthpractitioners understand that a dramatic reduction of wheat-based carbohydratescoupled with increased monounsaturated fats and Omega-3 sources can provide forvascular elasticity to lower risk of heart disease and stroke. No drug can makethe same claim, despite billions of dollars spent to market and promoteunnecessary pharmaceutical options to millions of unsuspecting patients.

Dr. Martinez-Gonzalez concluded “We thus observed… a significant improvementand regression of lesions having taken place in those cases that had followed aMediterranean diet enriched with virgin olive oil or nuts.” After just 90days of EVOO or nut consumption, lipoprotein ratios improved enough to deliversignificant improvement in heart disease risk for both men and women followingthe diet. To lower your risk of heart disease, adopt a Mediterranean-style eatingpattern and be certain to include a healthy dose of EVOO (unheated) and unprocessednuts (not roasted, cooked or heated).

Sunday, December 4, 2011

White Fleshed Fruits and Vegetables Cut Stroke Risk in Half

Stroke is the third leading causeof death in America, affecting nearly one million people and taking the livesof 150,000 each year. Researchers publishing in the American Heart Association journalStroke have found that increasedconsumption of white fleshy vegetables and fruits such as apples and pears leadsto a dramatic decline in both incidence and death from a stroke.

This study is the first todifferentiate between different colors in fruits and vegetables and the riskfor developing a specific disease or illness. Beneficial phytochemicals such ascarotenoids and flavonoids found in the white flesh and skin of apples andpears can dramatically lower your risk of suffering the devastating physical damagecaused by a stroke.

Apples and Pears Can Cut Stroke Risk by More Than Fifty Percent
Nutrition scientists have longknown that the brightly colored skin and flesh of fruits and vegetables conferthe health benefits normally associated with eating these foods. To furtherexamine this link, researchers examined the relationship between fruit andvegetable color group consumption and contrasted with 10-year stroke incidencein a cohort of 20,069 adults, with an average age of 41. Participants weredisease free at the outset of the study and were asked to complete a 178-itemfood frequency questionnaire detailing foods consumed over the past year.

Fruit and vegetable consumptionwas broken into four distinct groups,based on pigment color: Green, including dark leafy vegetables, orange/yellow,mostly citrus fruits, red/purple, mostly red vegetables and white, of which 55percent were apples and pears. Follow up proceeded for a period of ten yearsduring which time 233 strokes were confirmed. Green, orange/yellow andred/purple varieties of fruits and vegetables were found to have no correlationto stroke incidence.

Fruits and Vegetables of All Colors Needed to Lower Disease Risk
White fleshed fruits andvegetables demonstrated a 52% lower incidence of stroke over the ten-yearperiod when those consuming the highest amounts were compared to the group withthe lowest intake. The researchers found that each 25 gram per day increase inwhite fruits and vegetable consumption was associated with a 9 percent lowerrisk of stroke (the average apple is 120 grams).

The lead study author fromWageningen University in the Netherlands concluded“To prevent stroke, it may be useful toconsume considerable amounts of white fruits and vegetables… For example,eating one apple a day is an easy way to increase white fruits and vegetableintake.” Apples and pears are high in a nutrient known as quercetin andfiber that may convey part of the stroke risk reduction. It`s critical to eat adiet packed with fruits and vegetables of all colors to take advantage of theunique disease-fighting characteristics to be uncovered for a multitude ofdifferent carotenoids and flavonoids in future research studies.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Green Tea Affects Genes to Improve Cholesterol Metabolism

Green tea consumption has beenshown to benefit many health issues ranging from help with weight management tocancer prevention and treatment. New research publishedin the British Journal of Nutritionexplains that the natural extract from the Camellia sinensis plant has a powerful effect on cholesterolmetabolism in the human body.

Most forward thinking health professionals now understand that dysfunctionin the LDL cholesterol pathway lays the foundation for cardiovascular healthproblems, cancer and fatty liver disease. Regular green tea consumption is nowshown to improve healthy LDL cholesterol function, enabling the fatty moleculeto efficiently usher excess cholesterol from the body and improve risk factors formany chronic disease conditions.

Green Tea Alters Gene Expression Lower LDL Cholesterol Levels
In one of the first studies ofits type, researchers performed DNA microarray analysis to examine the effectof the active compound found in greentea called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Scientists specificallytargeted the catechin to determine their effect on cholesterol metabolism inHepG2 hepatocytes. They determined that the expression levels of several genesrelated to cholesterol metabolism, including the LDL receptor, were changed byEGCG treatment.

EGCG was found to boost thefunction of the LDL receptor on liver cells. Researchers commented“This is very important as properfunction of the LDL receptor enables your liver to “capture” circulating LDLand recycle it.”  In this study,green tea is shown to alter gene expression toward healthy LDL cholesterolmetabolism by improving receptor acceptance by the liver. The liver displays animproved capacity to capture and filter LDL cholesterol for removal from thebody.

Green Tea Improves Biomarkers to Lower Heart Disease, Cancer andDementia Risks
In addition to the finding that greentea alters LDL cholesterol metabolism, ECGC was found to inhibit genes toreduce the production of Apolipoprotein B (ApoB). ApoB formation is required toinitially form LDL molecules in the blood. Excess production of ApoB is asignificant marker for chronic illnesses ranging from cardiovascular diseaseand heart attack to increased risk of cancer and dementia.

Green tea and the active compoundEGCG are quickly ascending to nutritional “superstar” status. The Chinese haveextolled its virtues for countless generations. Researchers now document theprowess of this nutrient by scientifically validating the direct impact exertedon our genetic structure to affect healthy cholesterol function and removalfrom the body. The healthy benefits of green tea are realized by drinkingseveral fresh brewed cups of organically harvested leaves each day orsupplementing with 250 to 500 mg of EGCG extract.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Higher Vitamin D Blood Levels Help Prevent Colon Cancer

Just in case you needed moreproof that low blood levels of vitamin D represent a significant healthconcern, researchers publishingin the European Journal of ClinicalNutrition demonstrate that small increases in the sunshine vitamin can addprecious years to your life. For nearly a decade scientific evidence has beenmounting to show that the vast majorities of adults (and many children) aregrossly deficient in circulating blood levels of vitamin D.

Further proof is documented inthe PLoS One journal to show theprecise cellular mechanism that helps vitamin D dramatically lower the risk ofcolon cancer. The bottom line is simple: check your vitamin D blood saturationwith an inexpensive test and make the necessary adjustments to live a healthierand longer life.

Doubling Average Vitamin D Levels Could Cut World Death Rate by TwentyPercent
Using epidemiologic studies, Dr.W.B. Grant of the Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center in SanFrancisco found that doubling the serum blood concentration of vitamin D couldincrease average life expectancy by two years. Dr. Grant and his teamidentified the major diseases that responded to increased levels of vitaminD. They then compared mortality rates to six identified regions around thecountry, and contrasted serum blood levels of the sunshine vitamin with diseaseoccurrence.

After compiling all the data, theresearchers found that conditions and diseases responsive to vitamin D thataccount for over half of the world's mortality include cancer, cardiovasculardisease, diabetes, tuberculosis, respiratory diseases and infections. It wasdetermined that doubling the circulating level of vitamin D would lower themortality rates of diseases that are sensitive to vitamin D by approximately 20percent. Dr. Grant concluded“several ways to raise serum vitamin Dinclude food fortification, supplementation and increased ultraviolet Bexposure.”

Vitamin D Directly Correlated With Decreased Colon Cancer Risk
Researchers have known for sometime that low vitamin D levels are associated with a significant increase incolon cancer cases, but have not understood the specific mechanism responsible.Now, scientists have discovered how a lack of vitamin D promotes DNA damage andcolon cancer risk. Specifically, low vitamin D status instigates thedevelopment and progression of this devastating form of cancer.

Researchers have focused on aprotein in intestinal epithelial cells called beta-catechin that normally helpsepithelial cells bond together with other cells to form a protective barrierbetween the contents in your gut and the physical structure of your digestivetract. They found that when vitaminD is lacking, DNA synthesis is disrupted and beta-catechin builds up incells, dramatically increasing the risk of colon cancer initiation.

There should be no doubtremaining that one of the most critical foundations to vibrant health ismaintaining proper vitamin D blood saturation levels. Prevention is worth apound of cure, so have your family physician run the simple and inexpensive 25(OH)D blood test (alternatively, mail-in home testing is now a viable option),and be certain your level runs between 50 and 70 ng/mL to add years to yourlife and dramatically lower colon cancer and chronic disease risk.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Resveratrol and Vitamin D Team Together to Increase Metabolism and Prevent Obesity

Resveratrol has been on thenutritional radar of researchers because of its proven ability to mimic some ofthe life-extending characteristics provided by calorie restriction as seen inanimals and humans alike. Scientists publishing in the journalMolecular Nutrition and Food Researchdraw a solid link between resveratrol, vitamin D and other phytonutrients asagents that may lend a helping hand in the life-threatening battle againstoverweight and obesity.

Researchers document the newlydiscovered effect of the nature-derived nutrient on lipid metabolism, anddemonstrate that supplementation along with the sunshine vitamin and quercetinsynergistically decreases the formation of new fat cells in the body. Thisfinding is significant because it may provide a critical metabolic aid tochildren and adults that suffer the health-damaging effects of obesity everyday. Further evidence exists to hail the trio in the genesis of osteoblasts inbone marrow that may offer a new therapy for osteoporosis that affects themobility of millions of aging adults.

Resveratrol and Vitamin D Combine to Regulate Genes that Control Body Weight
Scientists studying metabolismin aging adults have found that stem cells differentiate in favor of adipocytes(fat cells) and to the exclusion of osteoblasts (cells necessary for theformation of new bone). This means that as we age, our body has evolved tostore fat as an aid to our survival. As metabolism slows, we continue to eatthe same number of calories that helps to fill the newly acquired adipocytes. Whilebuilding and maintaining bone structure may sound like a good idea to us, it isnot pre-programmed into our genetic matrix.

Development of new fat cells hasevolved as a protective mechanism, although the vast majority of older adultsreally don`t need this genetic advantage. Researchers found that supplementedresveratrol, vitaminD and quercetin work together to regulate our genes and down regulate theproduction of fat cells while boosting the production of osteoblasts. Naturallyit is important to practice caloric restriction as we age. Many aging adultswill be able to utilize this phytonutrient trio to prevent excess weight gainand the debilitating effects of osteoporosis.

Natural Nutrients Help Weight Management Efforts Along with HealthyDiet
In addition to the welldocumented anti-cancer and longevity benefits previously ascribed tosupplemented resveratrol, health-minded individuals will want to include resveratroland other phytonutrients as an aid in the fight against abdominal fataccumulation. Researchers concludedIt should be noted that combiningresveratrol with other phytochemicals may provide an extraordinary potentialfor preventing obesity and osteoporosis. These phytochemical synergies may makepossible novel safe, potent and efficacious therapies.” Be sure to include resveratrol (25to 50 mg per day) in your dietary arsenal to assist weight loss, boostmetabolism and prevent bone loss.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Omega-3 Fat, DHA Boosts Brain Metabolism to Lower Alzheimer’s Disease Risk

Several recently publishedarticles highlight the critical importance of Omega-3 fats from fatty fishconsumption and fish oil supplements. Scientists publishing in the journalStroke demonstrate that the activeDHA Omega-3 fat component helps brain cells to better withstand the stress loadplaced on the aging brain to lower the risk of a life-altering stroke by asmuch as a quarter.

Researchers from the Rhode IslandHospital`s Alzheimer`s Disease and Memory Disorders Center have found that DHAfrom supplements alter the critical brain chemistry and structure to preventcognitive decline and abnormal brain aging. A wealth of scientific evidence ismounting to document the importance of Omega-3 fats to assist metabolicdisorders that lead to dementia, stroke and chronic disease.

DHA, Omega-3 Fat Lowers Brain Inflammation to Improve CognitiveFunction
Inflammation of the vital nervesand critical structures of the brain is a precursor to stress that can play animportant role in the development of a life-altering stroke. Researcherspublish the result of their work designed to determine if Omega-3 fatty acidsfrom fish oil, specifically the long-chain DHAcomponent would be sufficient to reduce neural inflammation and lower risk froma stroke.

To conduct the study, mice werebroken into three groups. The first group was supplemented with a DHA-enricheddiet, the second group consumed a DHA-depleted diet and the final mice were feda control diet. After a period of three months, scientists found that only thegroup with the DHA-enriched diet experienced lower levels of neuroinflammationand had 25% less tissue injury following an induced stroke. They also notedthat long-term supplementation resulted in a healthy buildup of DHA fat inbrain tissue resulting in an enhanced Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acid ratio.

Consumption of Omega-3 Fats Protects the Brain to Lower Damage from aStroke
Lead author on the study, Dr.Jasna Kriz concluded“This is the first convincingdemonstration of the powerful anti-inflammatory effect of DHA Docosahexaenoic acid Essential Omega 3 fatty acid integral tothe health of all cell membranes, nerve and brain function. Theconsumption of omega-3s creates an anti-inflammatory and neuroprotectiveenvironment in the brain that mitigates damage following a stroke.”

Additional evidence of theimportance of Omega-3 fats from fish consumption or supplementation is providedby researchers from Rhode Island Hospital. A study was designed using 819senior participants broken into three groups, those with normal cognition, mildcognitive impairment, and Alzheimer`s Disease. 117 individuals were taking fishoil supplements during the three year course of the study. Taking fish oilsupplements was associated with less brain shrinkage and improved cognitivefunction during the study period.

The lead author, Dr. Lori Daielloconcludes, “In the imaging analyses forthe entire study population, we found a significant positive associationbetween fish oil supplement use and average brain volumes in two critical areasutilized in memory and thinking.” DHA is preferentially conserved for theconstruction of neural structures and should be an essential part of yourregular menu (from fatty fish) or as a molecularly distilled and purifiedsupplement (500 mg to 1 gram per day) to lower stroke risk and preventcognitive decline.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Daily Serving of Walnuts Cuts Breast Cancer Risk

Researchers from MarshallUniversity in West Virginia report in the journalNutrition and Cancer that smallamounts of walnuts eaten daily can significantly lower the risk of breastcancer in women. Walnuts are a naturally great tasting source of healthyOmega-3 fats, minerals, vitamins and protein that have long been associatedwith good health.

Interestingly, it is not only thepotent dose of Omega-3 fats that are responsible for the risk reduction, but asynergistic effect between multiple nutrients provided by the nut. Scientistsnow confirm that eating two ounces of this super food each day cansignificantly lower your risk of developing this insidious killer disease.

Regular Walnut Consumption Slows Breast Cancer Tumor Progression
The study was conducted usingmice that are genetically predisposed to develop breastcancer tumors.  Lead researcher, Dr.Elaine Hardman set out to determine the effect of a typical diet and awalnut-enhanced diet through an entire lifespan. Scientists examined dietarynutrition supplied by the mother through conception and weaning and then byeating walnuts directly. Mice are frequently used for this type of researchbecause they follow similar patterns of breast cancer carcinogenesis whencompared to humans.

Dr. Hardman found that the groupwhose diet included walnuts from conception to late life developed breastcancer at less than half the rate of the group consuming a typical diet. Inaddition, the number of tumors and their sizes were significantly smaller. Ofthe results, she commented“These reductions are particularlyimportant when you consider that the mice were genetically programmed todevelop cancer at a high rate... we were able to reduce the risk for cancereven in the presence of a preexisting genetic mutation.”

Walnuts Provide a Perfect Blend of Essential Nutrients
Researchers noted that they wereunable to determine if the cancer prevention benefits were the result ofdeletions or additions to the diet. Adding healthy Omega fats from walnutsdisplaced unhealthy fats and balanced Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratios to lowersystemic inflammation and oxidized LDL cholesterol levels that result in cancerdevelopment. Other studies including walnuts have shown that there are multiplehealth benefits achieved from the unique blend of fats, vitamins (especiallyvitamin E) and minerals in the flavorful nut.

The result of this studycontinues to add to the wealth of scientific evidence that natural nutrientsprovided by an array of `super foods` significantly contribute to our health.Dr. Hardman concluded“Food is important medicine in our diet…the results of this study indicate that increased consumption of walnuts couldbe part of a healthy diet and reduce risk for cancer in future generations.”It`s easy to add two ounces of walnuts (about 14 halves) to your daily diet toprevent breast cancer and a host of other chronic diseases.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Milk Thistle Protects the Liver, Heart and Brain

The liver is one of the mostcritical organs essential to human health. It serves more than 300 functions inthe body to detoxify against chemical and environmental intrusions, andpromotes metabolic function as well. Silymarin is commonly known as milkthistle and new science is emerging to validate the healing potential of thispowerful plant.

Publishing in the journalHepatitis Monthly, researchers providesolid evidence that natural milk thistle extracts can halt and even reverse theeffects of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), an affliction affecting asmuch as a third of the adult population. Supplementation with milk thistle willdramatically lower the risks associated with fatty liver disease,atherosclerosis and cognitive dysfunction.

Milk Thistle is a Powerful Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Agent
NAFLD is a significant healthconcern that is growing at an unprecedented rate due to the obesity anddiabetes epidemic currently gripping most western societies. The condition iscaused in part by excess accumulation of fats (triglycerides) in the cellularmatrix of the liverthat result in suboptimal function of the organ. Left unchecked, the diseasecan result in cell injury and damage, inflammation and ultimately to cirrhosisas the liver becomes less able to perform the multitude of tasks essential tolife.

Researchers found that the plant extract has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and becomes concentrated in hepatic tissue soon after ingestion. They found that silymarin promotes liver tissue regeneration by supporting multiple critical metabolic functions including lower oxidized LDL cholesterol levels, regulation of membrane permeability and stability and preventing the deposition of collagen fibers, leading to cirrhosis. In addition, milk thistle inhibits the absorption of many toxins, effectively preventing them from entering circulation through the bloodstream.

Silymarin from Milk Thistle Fight Arterial Hardening and Cancer
Silymarin is known to be apowerful cellular antioxidant with specific properties that can prevent excessoxidation of LDL cholesterol. Oxidized LDL cholesterol particles are sticky andbecome lodged in the delicate endothelial layer of coronary artery vessels wherethey combine with other blood-borne compounds to form plaque. Natural milkthistle extracts (570 mg per day) have proven effective to lower risk factors thatpromote arterial hardening.

Milk thistle has been used as achemopreventive agent in the fight against certain cancer lines, most notablymetastatic cancers of the prostate. Silymarininterferes with cancer growth and immortality, and exhibits anti-inflammatoryand anti-metastatic activity (preventscancer spread). Extracts of milk thistle have also been used as an agent in thewar against numerous malignancies including those of the liver, colon and skin.

Our body is continually underassault from a barrage of more than 70,000 chemicals and 900 drugs known toinduce liver damage. Milk thistle supplementation provides an effective tool toprotect and heal our primary filtration organ, the liver. Silymarin is alsoproving to be an important tool that can naturally lower cancer risk, whileproviding critical support for the heart and prostate.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chocolate and Cocoa Compounds Lower Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke

Researchers from the Universityof Cambridge in England have finally published solid evidence to demonstratethe consumption of chocolate is associated with improved heart and vascular health.Writing in the prestigious BMJ(British Medical Journal), Dr.Oscar Franco and his team determined several factors including diet, exercise, bodyweight control and lifestyle changes could help reduce the risk of heartdisease, a condition expected to claim the lives of nearly 24 million peopleworldwide by the year 2030.

The study authors found that theantioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of cocoa from chocolate consumptioncould reduce heart disease risk by one-third and could also reduce the risk ofsudden death from a heart attack and stroke incidence.

Cocoa from Dark Chocolate Improves Cardiac Risk Markers
The study included an analysisof seven detailed research bodies that included more than 114,000 participants.All studies independently pointed to the conclusion that different levels ofchocolate consumption were associated with a substantial reduction in the riskof cardio-metabolic disorders. Researchers found that the flavonoids passed tochocolate from the cocoa bean have a positive impact on health and were foundto regulate insulin sensitivity and maintain blood pressure in the normalrange.

Researchers ranked chocolateconsumption among participants in the seven studies from highest to lowest todetermine the effect of the cocoa flavanols on human health risk factors. Fiveof the seven studies showed that eating the highest amount of chocolate significantlyreduced the number of cardiac events. In particular they found those who atethe most chocolate had a 37% lower risk of having a cardiovascular incidentcompared to those who ate the least.

Chocolate Consumption Lowers Risk of Stroke by Nearly Thirty Percent
When assessing other riskfactors, the study authors found that the highest chocolate consumers had a 29%lower incidence of stroke compared to the lowest chocolate eaters.Interestingly the researchers found that high levels of chocolate consumptionspecifically lowered the risk of a cardiac or stroke event but did not impactheart failure, another very serious form of heartdisease and death. The studies examined did not differentiate between milkand dark chocolate, and included chocolate desserts, biscuits, chocolate barsand drinks. Prior research has indicated maximum benefit from eating dark,bitter chocolate with a high cocoa content.

The authors did provide a word ofcaution regarding excess consumption of chocolate particularly becausecommercially available chocolate is very caloric and eating too much of itcould in itself lead to weight gain, risk of diabetes and heart disease. They concluded, “Based on observational evidence, levels ofchocolate consumption seem to be associated with a substantial reduction in therisk of cardio-metabolic disorders.” Individuals looking to take advantageof the health benefits of chocolate may want to use a cacao bean extract supplement(25 to 50 mg per day) to reap the cardiovascular and stroke risk reductionbenefits.

Carnosine Boosts Antioxidant Reserves to Battle Stress, Improve Cognitive Function

Carnosine is a naturallyoccurring antioxidant and metal-chelating nutrient that is shown to minimizethe damaging effects of stress on cellular function. Research presentedin the PLoS One journal explains thatcarnosine can help to drastically reduce the formation of amyloid beta proteinassociated with the brain tangles seen with Alzheimer’s disease.

Our antioxidant defense system isin a continual state of flux, being tested by external pathogens, metabolicglycation and stress that can determine quality of health and risk for disease.Carnosine is shown to boost and recycle existing antioxidants throughout thebody to provide a natural shield against chronic illness, and may specificallyhalt the progression of deadly diseases that lead to dementia and cognitivedysfunction.

Carnosine Supplementation Improves Cellular Energy Production to PreventDementia
Researchers understand that acrucial marker of Alzheimer’sdementia and cognitive decline is the formation of beta-amyloid protein clumpsthat inhibit the normal electrical and neurotransmitter activity required to functionoptimally and form new memories. Until recently scientists have not fullyunderstood if the tangles were the cause or result of dementia. New evidenceexists to support the theory that amyloid plaques form as a result of adeclining ability to naturally clear the protein tangles. Neuroscientists believethat a failure in the energy producing mitochondria where glucose is convertedto ATP is to blame.

The study included mice that havebeen genetically bred to develop a form of dementia that closely resemblesAlzheimer`s disease in humans. Energy-producing mitochondria are susceptible tothe ravages of free radicals and cellular imbalances in metals like copper,iron, and zinc that cause ultimate failure of the organelles leading to numerouschronic diseases. Supplementing the mice with carnosinewas found to “promote a strong reductionin the hippocampal intraneuronal accumulation of amyloid-beta and completelyrescue Alzheimer`s disease and aging-related mitochondrial dysfunctions.”

Carnosine Helps Prevent Glycation and May Provide a Treatment Optionfor Alzheimer’s Disease
Carnosine is a potent antioxidantshown to dramatically lower mitochondrial damage typically caused by stress andglycation (protein-sugar bonds) leading to cellular dysfunction and disease. Thestudy authors went so far as to conclude“Our data indicate that carnosine can bepart of a combined therapeutic approach for the treatment of AD.” This is apowerful conclusion considering that Big Pharma has no approved cure oreffective treatment for this insidious form of dementia.

Carnosine coupled with othernatural nutrients known to be neuroprotective (grape seed extract, resveratrol,curcumin, DHA) can lower the stress placed on critical brain structures andprovide an effective shield against development and progression of disease.Carnosine is found most commonly in beef, pork, poultry and dairy products.Many health-minded individuals avoid a diet centered around animal-derivedfoods and supplementation (1,000 mg per day) has been found to be an effectiveand bioavailable alternative.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cinnamon and Tumeric Lower Triglycerides and Insulin Triggered by High Fat Diet

Many spices such as tumeric andcinnamon are powerful antioxidants that continue to gain acceptance as naturalnutrients able to assist human health and prevent chronic disease. Researchersfrom Penn State publishingin The Journal of Nutrition providestrong evidence that these potent spices provide a protective shield to reducethe body`s negative responses to eating high-fat meals.

A diet filled with high-fat foodsthat have been fried or baked with trans fats increases oxidized LDLcholesterol levels and dangerous blood fats known as triglycerides. Tumeric andcinnamon taken before a high fat meal combine to lower triglyceride response byas much as 30%, preventing a cascade of harmful metabolic events that lead toheart disease and diabetes.

Tumeric and Cinnamon Spices Lower Triglycerides and Insulin Levels
Culinary spices have peakedinterest among nutritional scientists in recent years as both turmericand cinnamon exhibit powerful antioxidant properties that may halt dangerousmetabolic imbalances prompted by poor dietary choices. To conduct the study,researchers added 14 grams of a combined turmeric-cinnamon spice blend to a1200 calorie high-fat meal, and compared the results to a control group notreceiving the spice mixture.

Blood samples were taken prior tothe meal and then again at 30 minute intervals for the next three and a halfhours after eating. Participants were tested again one week later, and the twogroups were switched to verify the accuracy of the results. Researchers foundthat blood levels of insulin were reduced by 21% and triglycerides dropped 31%in response to the turmeric-cinnamon mix.

Spices are Potent Antioxidants That Lower Metabolic Damage from PoorDiet
The study authors found that thespices significantly improved two critical metabolic markers that areassociated with increased risk of developing diabetes and cardiovasculardisorders. They commented“Adding spices to the meal significantlyincreased the ferric reducing antioxidant power, such that postprandialincreases following the spiced meal were 2-fold greater than after the controlmeal.” They also found that the two spices interact synergistically and theimpact was significantly greater when both spices were administeredconcurrently, compared to individual results.

Most health-conscious adults canbenefit from a wide array of natural spices added to and consumed with manypopular foods, regardless of specific dietary approach. Penn State authors concluded“The incorporation of spices into thediet may help normalize postprandial insulin and TG (triglyceride) and enhanceantioxidant defenses.”  Includeturmeric and cinnamon to your favorite meals, or take a high quality supplementwith meals to maximize your defense against metabolic dysfunction and heartdisease.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Red Meat Consumption Doubles Risk of Diabetes

Health-minded adults have beenwary of excessive red meat consumption and most avoid any type of processedmeats due to the highly carcinogenic nitrite content. Additives used to add taste,cure and prolong shelf life of classic foods such as hot dogs, bologna andsausage not only cause cancer but are now shown to more than double the risk ofdeveloping diabetes.

Publishingin the American Journal of ClinicalNutrition, researchers found that a 50 gram daily serving of processed meat(equivalent to one hot dog or two strips of bacon) was associated with doubledrisk of developing diabetes. They also found that protein from other sourcessuch as nuts, seeds and whole grains will have the reverse effect.

Red and Processed Meats Shown to Double Diabetes Risk Factor
Researchersfollowed 37,083 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, 79,570 womenin the Nurses’ Health Study, and 87,504 women in the Nurses’ Health Study II.Diet was assessed by validated food-frequency questionnaires, and data wereupdated every four years. Type II diabetes diagnosis was confirmed by avalidated supplementary questionnaire. In addition the study included data froma total cohort of more than 442,000 participants to make this the largest studyto examine the effect of specific food types on diabetes development andprogression.

After all collected data wasanalyzed with adjustments for age, body mass index (BMI), and other lifestyleand dietary risk factors, researchers found that consumption of 100 grams ofunprocessed red meat (about the size of a deck of cards) increased the risk ofdeveloping Type II diabetesby 19%. A diet that included only half that amount of processed meats wasassociated with a 51% increase in diabetes incidence.

Substituting Healthy Proteins from Nuts and Seeds Lowers Diabetes Risk
Most health professionals believethat diabetes risk is linked to increased intake of refined carbohydrates andsugars. While this may be true, it is important to understand that red andprocessed meats play a significant role in development of the metabolicdisorder, likely due to the increased digestive load placed on the pancreas.

Study authors also found thattroubling risk factors can be neutralized or even reversed by substitutinghealthy protein from nuts, seeds, fish and beans for red and processed meats.Senior research author Dr. An Pan foundthat “for an individual who eats onedaily serving of red meat, substituting one serving of nuts per day wasassociated with a 21% lower risk of type 2 diabetes; substituting low-fatdairy, a 17% lower risk; and substituting whole grains, a 23% lower risk.”

Many health-minded individualsalready limit consumption of red and processed meats. The conclusion of thismeta-study drives home the importance of severely restricting red meat andtotally eliminating processed meats in favor of healthy proteins to lowerdiabetes risk factors.

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