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Archive for January, 2014

Green Tea Extracts Linked to Healthier Bones According To A New Study

Specific Antioxidants, Carotenoids and Phytonutrients Now Recognized For Helping Support Bone & Joint Health.

A new study shows specific natural compounds from Green Tea may lead to stronger bones by promoting bone formation, while also inhibiting bone resorption, which leads to weakening.

The new study looked at three tea compounds called epigallocatechin (EGC), gallocatechin (GC), and gallocatechin gallate (GCG), and found that EGC produced the greatest bone boosting potential.

“Our study has provided the first laboratory evidence on the bone promotion effects of the green tea catechin EGC as was demonstrated by the promotion of osteoblastic differentiation and inhibition of osteoclast formation,” wrote researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong report their findings in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Osteoblasts are cells responsible for bone formation, while osteoclasts are cells which break down bone, ultimately leading to resorption and weakening.

The study is consistent with data from epidemiological studies. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Oct. 2007, Vol 86, pp. 1243-1247) reported that bone mineral density levels were 2.8 per cent greater in tea drinkers than non-tea drinkers, suggesting the beverage has the potential to aid in the prevention of osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is currently second only to cardiovascular disease in terms of global healthcare burden, according to the World Health Organization. This condition affects nearly 200 million people today but the number of sufferers is expected to increase steadily with growing numbers of elderly living longer, and obesity adding extra strain on bone health.

Green tea contains between 30 and 40 per cent of water-extractable polyphenols, while black tea (green tea that has been oxidized by fermentation) contains between 3 and 10 per cent.

The four primary polyphenols found in fresh tea leaves are epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin, epicatechin gallate, and epicatechin.

EGC was found to stimulate bone mineralization, while simultaneously inhibiting the formation of osteoclasts. The other catechins were found to be less effective;

“The present study illustrated that the tea catechins, specifically EGC, had positive effects on bone metabolism through a double process of promoting osteoblastic activity and inhibiting osteoclast differentiations,” explained the researchers.

“Our observations would serve as groundwork for further studies, ” they concluded. Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

This article is for informational and educational purposes only; It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

Eat Plenty Of Fruits and Vegetables For Better Vision

The nutritive Carotenoids found in green leafy vegetables and colored fruits, have been found to increase visual performance and may prevent age-related eye diseases, according to a study in the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists.

Authors from the University of Georgia compiled the results of multiple studies on the effects of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin on visual performance. These carotenoids play an important role in human vision, including a positive impact on the retina.

After reviewing the various studies, the authors concluded that macular pigments, specifically lutein and zeaxanthin do have an effect on visual performance.

Lutein and zeaxanthin can reduce disability and discomfort from glare, enhance contrast, and reduce photostress recovery times. They can also reduce glare from light absorption and increase the visual range.

The research team noted that the study of the effects of lutein and zeazanthin are important because “it is clear that they could potentially improve vision through biological means. For example, a study conducted in 2008 suggests that the pigments protect the retina and lens and perhaps even help prevent age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataract.”

This article is for informational and educational purposes only; It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

Can Supplements Help Protect People With Diabetes Against Retinopathy?


Nutrition researchers believe regular intake of Vitamins C and E and Magnesium could help prevent or limit diabetic retinopathy (DR), a potentially blinding disease.

Each of these essential nutrients enables the body to respond in ways that alter retinopathy mechanisms. For example, Vitamins C and E suppress production of a known growth factor, VEG-F, which can promote abnormal blood vessels in the retina. And high dietary levels of Magnesium are associated with lower blood pressure and blood sugar. Lower levels of both correlate with a lower risk of retinopathy.

A research team from Metabolic Science, Cambridge, United Kingdom, surveyed studies published from 1988 through 2008 on the impact of these micronutrients on Diabetic Retinopathy (DR). The researchers note the evidence is not yet strong enough to specifically recommend Vitamins C or E or Magnesium supplements for patients with diabetes.

They believe the research should continue because if dietary intake of the micronutrients, rather than a medication, might reduce the risk of diabetic complications, would be preferable.

In hospital-based studies, participants with higher levels of Vitamin C in their blood measurements were less likely to have DR. However, in population-based studies there was no association between dietary intake of Vitamin C and DR.

For Vitamin E, no studies showed an association between blood levels or dietary intake and DR risk. For Magnesium, one study showed an association between low blood levels of Magnesium and DR progression, but other studies were inconclusive.

This research was published in the January 2010 issue of Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

This article is for informational and educational purposes only; It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.


Omega-3 May Improve Cardio Measures in Overweight Teens Reports Study

New Omega-3 Research Shows The Benefits Of These Nutritional Fish Oils For Cardiovascular Health

Daily supplements of the omega-3s EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) may improve blood pressure levels in slightly overweight teenage boys. Blood pressure reductions in order of 3 mmHg were observed following 16 weeks of consumption of omega-3 fortified bread by overweight boys going through their adolescent growth spurt, according to new findings from Copenhagen University and the Technical University of Denmark.

“A blood pressure decrease of about 3 mmHg corresponds to a [greater than] 15 percent reduction in the risk of stroke at a whole population level in adults,” wrote the researchers in The Journal of Pediatrics.

“Blood pressure has been shown to track into adulthood, with children and adolescents with high blood pressure more likely to suffer from hypertension later in life. Thus, adolescents with blood pressure in the higher range can be viewed as �prehypertensive,’ but whether the tracking of high blood pressure is a result of unhealthy diet and exercise habits carried from childhood to adulthood or whether some programming of blood pressure occurs during adolescence is not known,” they added.

The heart health benefits of consuming oily fish, and the omega-3 fatty acids they contain, are well-documented, being first reported in the early 1970s. To date, the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have been linked to improvements in blood lipid levels, a reduced tendency of thrombosis, blood pressure and heart rate improvements, and improved vascular function.

Beyond heart health, omega-3 fatty acids, most notably EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), have been linked to a wide-range of health benefits, including reduced risk of certain cancers, good development of a baby during pregnancy, joint health, and improved behavior and mood.

Study Details The new study extends our understanding of the cardiovascular 

benefits of the fatty acids, and involved 78 mildly overweight adolescent boys aged between 13 and 15. “We chose to recruit slightly overweight boys, because we wanted clear potential for improvement in the risk factors evaluated,” explained the researchers.

At the end of the study the researchers recorded a significant increase in EPA and DHA levels in the red blood cells of the omega-3 group of 1.2 and 6.7 percent, respectively, compared with increases of 0.6 and 4.1 percent in the control group.

In addition, systolic blood pressure was 3.8 mmHg lower following 16 weeks of omega-3-rich bread consumption, compared with control, while diastolic blood pressure was 2.6 mmHg lower in the omega-3 group.

No changes in blood levels of triacylglycerol or insulin sensitivity.

Increases in HDL and non-HDL cholesterol levels were also recorded in omega-3 group of 5 and 7 percent, respectively, compared with 2 and 0 percent in the control group.

“In this study, the non- HDL/HDL ratio, which is believed to be a better indicator of risk, was unaffected by the treatment, and thus the net effect appears to be neutral,” added the researchers.

Commenting on the potential mechanism to explain the apparent benefits, the researchers point to the competition between EPA/DHA and arachidonic acid (AA) in the synthesis of inflammation-related eicosanoids: AA derivatives may stimulate the constriction of blood vessels which would increase blood pressure, while EPA/DHA derivatives may inhibit this pathway.

Source: The Journal of Pediatrics September 2010, Volume 157, Issue 3, Pages 395-400. “Effects of Fish Oil Supplementation on Markers of the Metabolic Syndrome”

This article is for informational and educational purposes only; It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

Omega-3 May Protect Healthy Men From Chest Pain

Increased Intakes of Omega-3 Fatty Acids EPA, DPA, and DHA May Protect Men Against Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS)…

The heart health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids are well documented, being first reported in the early 1970s in The Lancet and The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. To date, the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have been linked to improvements in blood lipid levels, a reduced tendency of thrombosis, blood pressure and heart rate improvements, and improved vascular function.

A new study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, reported that increased intakes of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) may reduce the risk of acute coronary syndrome (ACS), an all-inclusive term for a range of symptoms including unstable angina and chest pains.

The Danish Diet, Cancer and Health cohort study involved 57,053 men and women. During an average follow-up time of almost eight years, 1,150 people developed ACS. Men who consumed more than 0.39 grams of PUFAs per day had an associated risk of ACS 27 per cent lower than men who consumed less than 0.39 grams per day.

“We found borderline significant negative associations between the intake of marine omega-3 PUFA and ACS among healthy men,” they concluded.

Omega-3 Needed For Heart Benefits…

Earlier this year, a review concluded that the science behind the cardiovascular health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids supports recommended daily levels of 500 mg or more.

Compelling evidence from studies involving almost 40,000 participants supports daily EPA plus DHA intakes of at least 500 mg per day for healthy individuals, while people with known heart disease or heart failure should aim for up to 1,000 mg daily, according to a review published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The recommendations for healthy people are double the recommended levels determined by the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA).

Source: British Journal of Nutrition Published online : “Dietary intake of total marine n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid and docosapentaenoic acid and the risk of acute coronary syndrome – a cohort study”

This article is for informational and educational purposes only; It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

Higher Folate Intake Can Reduce Hearing Loss Risk In Men

Increased Folate (Folic Acid) intake can decrease a man’s risk of hearing loss by 20 percent, according to new research presented at the 2009 American Academy of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO, in San Diego, CA.

The study, which identified 3,559 cases of men with hearing loss, found that men over the age of 60 who have a high intake of foods and supplement high in Folate have a 20 percent decrease in risk of developing hearing loss.

Hearing loss is the most common sensory disorder in the United States,affecting more than 36 million people. High Folate foods include leafy vegetables such as spinach, asparagus, turnip greens, lettuces, dried or fresh beans and peas, fortified cereal products, sunflower seeds and certain other fruits and vegetables are rich sources of folate. Brewer’s yeast, baker’s yeast, liver and liver products also contain high amounts of Folate.

The authors believe this is the largest study to focus on the relationship between dietary intake and hearing loss. They used the most recent figures from the “Health Professionals Follow-up Study” cohort from years 1986 to 2004, a group consisting of 51,529 male health professionals. They were first enrolled into this study in 1986 and filled out detailed health and diet questionnaires every other year. The authors believe their findings can allow greater education, prevention, and screening efforts.

This article is for informational and educational purposes only; It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

High Blood Levels of Vitamin E Reduces Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease,

High levels of several vitamin E components in the blood are associated with a decreased risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in advanced age, suggesting that vitamin E may help prevent cognitive deterioration in elderly people. This is the conclusion reached in a Swedish study published in the July 2010 issue of the “Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease”.

“Vitamin E is a family of eight natural components, but most studies related to Alzheimer’s disease investigate only one of these components, tocopherol,” explained the research team. “We hypothesized that all the vitamin E family members could be important in protecting against Alzheimer’s Disease. If confirmed, this result has implications for both individuals and society, as 70 percent of all dementia cases in the general population occur in people over 75 years of age, and the study suggests a protective effect of vitamin E against Alzheimer’s Disease in individuals aged 80 and over.”

The study was conducted at the Aging Research Center (ARC), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, in collaboration with the Institute of Gerontology and Geriatrics, University of Perugia, Italy. The study included a sample of 232 participants from the Kungsholmen Project, a population-based longitudinal study on aging and dementia in Stockholm (Kungsholmen parish). All participants were aged 80+ years and were dementia-free at the beginning of the study (baseline). After 6-years of follow-up, 57 Alzheimer’s Disease cases were identified.

The blood levels of all eight natural vitamin E components were measured at the beginning of the study. Subjects with higher blood levels (highest tertile) were compared with subjects who had lower blood levels (lowest tertile) to verify whether these two groups developed dementia at different rates. The study found that subjects with higher blood levels of all the vitamin E complex forms had a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease, compared to subjects with lower levels. After adjusting for various confounders, the risk was reduced by 45- 54%, depending on the vitamin E component.

The researchers note that the protective effect of vitamin E seems to be related to the combination of the different forms. Another recent study indicated that supplements containing high doses of the E vitamin form �- tocopherol may increase mortality, emphasizing that such dietary supplements, if not used in a balanced way, may be more harmful than previously thought.

“Elderly people as a group are large consumers of vitamin E supplements, which usually contain only �- tocopherol, and this often at high doses,” said the researchers. “Our findings need to be confirmed by other studies, but they open up for the possibility that the balanced presence of different vitamin E forms can have an important neuroprotective effect.”

Story Source: Karolinska Institutet. Journal Reference: High plasma levels of vitamin E forms and reduced Alzheimer’s disease risk in advanced age. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2010;

This article is for informational and educational purposes only; It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

Skin Color Gives Clues to Health

Researchers from the universities of Bristol and St. Andrews in the United Kingdom have found that the color of a person’s skin affects how healthy and therefore attractive they appear; They’ve found that diet may be crucial to achieving the most desirable complexion.

The research will be published in the December issue of Springer’s International Journal of Primatology.

Using special computer software, a total of 54 Caucasian participants of both sexes were asked to manipulate the skin color of male and female Caucasian faces to make them look as healthy as possible. They chose to increase the rosiness, yellowness and brightness of the skin.

Most previous work on faces has focused on the shape of the face or the texture of the skin, but one of the most variable characteristics of the face is skin color. “We knew from our previous work that people who have more blood and more oxygen color in their skins looked healthy, and so we decided to see what other colors affect health perceptions. This has given us some clues as to what other skin pigments may relate to a healthy appearance.” explained the researchers.

Skin that is slightly flushed with blood and full of oxygen suggests a strong heart and lungs, supporting the study’s findings that rosier skin appeared healthy. Smokers and people with diabetes or heart disease have fewer blood vessels in their skin, and so skin would appear less rosy.

The preference for more golden or yellow-toned skin as healthier might be explained by the “carotenoid pigments” that we get from the fruit and vegetables in our diet. These plant pigments are powerful antioxidants that soak up dangerous compounds produced when the body combats disease. They are also important for our immune and reproductive systems and may help prevent cancer.

Interestingly, they are the same dietary pigments that brightly colored birds and fish use to show off their healthiness and attract mates, and the researchers think that similar biological mechanisms may be at work in humans.

“In the West we often think that sun tanning is the best way to improve the color of your skin, but our study suggests that living a healthy lifestyle with a good diet might actually be better.” said the head of the Perception Lab at the University of St. Andrews, where the research took place.

Melanin, the pigment that causes the tan color when skin is exposed to the sun makes the skin darker and more yellow, but participants in the study chose to make skin lighter and more yellow to make it look healthier.

What we eat and not just how much we eat appears to be important for a healthy appearance. The only natural way in which we can make our skin lighter and more yellow is to eat a more healthy diet high in fruit and vegetables.

Reference: Facial skin coloration affects perceived health of human faces. International Journal of Primatology

This article is for informational and educational purposes only; It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

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