Van's Health Foods

In Historic Downtown Livermore since 1972

Archive for December, 2011

Vitamins B1 and B2 reduce PMS

Researchers in this study collected diet information for five years from 3,025 women who began the study without PMS. After a total of 10 years of follow-up, 1,057 women developed PMS. Compared to women who consumed the least, women who got the most vitamin B1 (thiamine) were 25 percent less likely to develop PMS, and for vitamin B2 (riboflavin), were 35 percent less likely.


Calcium and vitamin D may reduce chances of serious skin cancer

There are two classes of skin cancer; non-melanomas such as basal and squamous cell, and more-serious melanomas. Earlier research linked higher levels of vitamin D with lower chances of non-melanomas, and doctors in this study wanted to test vitamin D against melanoma. Researchers gave 36,282 postmenopausal women, aged 50 to 79, 1,000 mg of elemental calcium plus 400 IU of vitamin D per day, or a placebo. After seven years of follow-up, while there were no differences between groups overall, in a subgroup of women who had had a previous non-melanoma skin cancer, those in the calcium-vitamin D group had 57 percent fewer melanomas than the placebo group.

Discussing the results, study authors said, “In preventive medicine, we want to target people most at risk for the disease. If you previously had a non-melanoma skin cancer, calcium plus vitamin D might reduce your risk for more deadly melanoma.”

Reference: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; 2011, Vol. 93, No. 5, 1080-6

From the October 2011 newsletter

Van's Health on December - 30 - 2011
categories: Supplements, Vitamins

L-Theanine Used to Reduce Anxiety

Doctors in this study measured anxiety levels in 18 university students who then took 200 mg of L-theanine or a placebo. While there was no change for placebo or for students with minimal anxiety, highly anxious students who took L-theanine had slower heart rate, better visual attention, and faster reaction times. Researchers said that, unlike conventional anti-anxiety treatments, L-theanine did not increase drowsiness, slow reflexes, or impair concentration. L-theanine also increased alpha brainwave activity, the type that emerges when eyes close and the body and mind relax.

Reference: Journal of Functional Foods; 2011, Vol. 3, No. 3, 171-8

From the October 2011 newsletter

Van's Health on December - 24 - 2011
categories: Supplements

Creatine and exercise improved blood sugar control in type 2 diabetes

Creatine helps the body use energy efficiently, and in this study 25 obese participants with type 2 diabetes, aged at least 45 and physically inactive for at least one year, took 5 grams of creatine per day or a placebo. Everyone also participated in an exercise program three times per week that included treadmill warm-up, resistance and aerobic training, and stretching. After 12 weeks, while there was no change for placebo, the creatine group had much better long-term blood sugar control. Doctors analyzed long-term blood sugar control by measuring hemoglobin A1C, which fell from 7.4 before the study to 6.4 afterwards, a level that is better than those recommended by the American Diabetes Association or the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.

Reference: Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise; 2011, Vol. 43, No. 5, 770-8

From the October 2011 newsletter

Van's Health on December - 19 - 2011
categories: Supplements

Flaxseed lowered cholesterol, improved liver health

In this study, 30 men with moderately high cholesterol, 180 to 240 mg/dL, took 20 mg of flaxseed lignan capsules per day, 100 mg per day, or a placebo. After 12 weeks, those who had taken 100 mg of flaxseed had a much lower ratio of LDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol, both compared to the start of the study and compared to placebo.

High triglyceride levels and obesity can also cause elevated liver enzymes. Researchers found that the 100 mg flaxseed group had lower blood levels of two liver enzymes–a sign that inflammation and cell damage in the liver had decreased–compared to the start of the study and to placebo.

EPA promotes healthy blood clotting–in men

Platelets are cells that help the blood clot normally and begin the wound-healing process. Too little platelet activity leads to excess bleeding, but too much can impair healing, block blood flow , and lead to heart attack or stroke. Researchers said earlier lab studies suggested eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) my help normalize platelet activity in men more than women. In this study, 15 men took EPA, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), or a placebo. Doctors measured platelet activity before and several times during the next 24 hours. While DHA was not effective, EPA reduced platelet activity 11 percent after two hours and 20 percent after 24 hours. Study authors concluded EPA effectively interacts with male sex hormones to normalize platelet activity, reducing chances of heart attack and stroke.

Reference: Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Disease; 2010, Electronic Prepublication

From the June 2011 newsletter

Van's Health on December - 15 - 2011
categories: Supplements, Vitamins

During puberty, girls usually develop more than a third of their adult peak bone mass, setting the stage for healthier bones later in life and lowering chances of osteoporosis. In this study of twenty pairs of identical twin girls, approaching or in puberty and aged 9 to 13, one sister took 800 mg of calcium plus 400 IU of vitamin D3 per day while her twin took a placebo. After six months, doctors measured bone strength and found, compared to placebo, girls in the calcium-vitamin D group had up to 66 percent stronger shin and arm bones depending on the specific area of the bone. Researchers said that bone size, density and strength increased in the spongy-bone areas inside of bones and in the compact-bone areas along the outer shafts of the arm and shin.

Reference: Osteoporosis International; 2011, Vol. 22, No.2, 489-98

From the July 2011 newsletter

Van's Health on December - 11 - 2011
categories: Supplements, Vitamins

Vitamin D, blood sugar and insulin

Doctors in this study measured blood sugar and insulin levels in 85 obese and non-obese Philadelphia children, ages 4 to 18, and found nearly half were low or deficient in vitamin D. Older African-American children with higher body-mass index scores had the lowest levels of vitamin D. As vitamin D levels rose, blood sugar levels and insulin resistance decreased, reducing chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

Vitamin D3 more effective than D2 for treating deficiency

Vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin, has two major forms; D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). Since vertebrates synthesize vitamin D3 from sunshine, researchers wanted to test for any biological differences between vitamin D2 and D3 once inside the body. In the study, 33 health adults took 50,000 IU of vitamin D2 or D3 per week. After 12 weeks, blood serum levels of the active form of vitamin D (calcitriol) were 70 percent higher in the vitamin D3 group than in the vitamin D2 group. The vitamin D3 group also had two to three times the amount of stored vitamin D. Study authors said that most North American pharmaceutical preparations use vitamin D2, and recommend switching to vitamin D3 for its greater potency and lower cost.

Reference: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism; 2011, Vol. 96, No. 3, E447-52

From the July 2011 newsletter

Van's Health on December - 7 - 2011
categories: Supplements, Vitamins

Mom’s zinc improves children’s nervous systems

Doctors in this study wanted to see if mother’s zinc levels affected the health of their children’s nervous systems, and said that heart function is linked to nervous-system health. Researchers tested the heartbeat patterns in 165 children, at 4.5 years old, whose nutrient-deficient mothers had taken iron and folic acid with or without 25 mg of zinc per day while pregnant. Children whose moms had taken zinc had slower heart rate, and more balanced and controlled responses at rest and under stress than children whose moms hadn’t taken zinc.

Multivitamins increase birth weight

In the U.S., African-American women deliver preterm and low-birth-weight babies two to three times more ofter than Caucasian women. Low birth weigh is linked to poor mental and physical health later in life. Researchers measured multivitamins in the diets of 2,464 non-Hispanic white and black mothers from just before and during early pregnancy and found that, while there is no effect in babies of white women, babies born to black women who had taken multivitamins were more than a pound heavier on average than babies whose moms hadn’t taken multivitamins.

Reference: The Journal of Nutrition; 2011, Vol. 141, No. 2, 327-32

From the July 2011 newsletter

Van's Health on December - 4 - 2011
categories: Supplements, Vitamins