Van's Health Foods

In Historic Downtown Livermore since 1972

Archive for January, 2012

SOD cut inflammation

Exercise is healthy, but also increases free-radical oxygen species, which can damage cell DNA, membranes, and proteins, particularly after strenuous exercise. In what researchers said was the first study of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and exercise, 19 professional rowing-team members took two 500 mg capsules of SOD per day, or a placebo, for six weeks. At the start and end of the study, the rowers performed a 2,000 meter maximum-effort test, with researchers drawing blood one minute and 24 hours after each test. Compared to placebo, levels of C-reactive protein–a sign of systemic inflammation–were much lower in the SOD group. Researchers concluded that SOD promoted antioxidant status and protected against increased inflammation in professional rowers.

Low-dose creatine reduced muscle-fatigue without weight gain

The kidney and liver naturally produce creatine, 95 percent of which resides in skeletal muscle. Researchers said creatine helps enhance athletic performance and builds lean-body mass. In this study, 20 healthy men and women, aged 19 to 23, took 14 mg of creatine per pound of body weight per day, or a placebo, for six weeks. Before and after the study, researchers tested body composition, maximum knee-extension strength at 180 degrees, knee-muscle fatigue, and blood levels of creatine. While the placebo group did not improve, the creatine group was 9 percent more resistant to muscle fatigue during high-intensity knee-extension exercises, saw creatine levels increase 182 percent, and did not gain weight.

Reference: International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism; 2011, Vol. 21, No. 2, 124-34

From the December 2011 newsletter

Van's Health on January - 22 - 2012
categories: Supplements

Omega-3 and blood clotting

When arteries to the heart become narrow or blocked due to plaque build-up, doctors may try to surgically widen the artery in a procedure called balloon angioplasty. After surgery, blood clots are more likely to form, raising chances for heart attacks. To avoid this, doctors give blood-thinning medications, and in this study, wanted to test the anti-clotting capacity of omega-3.

Fifty-four men and women, average age 63, with stable coronary artery disease and a recent successful balloon antioplasty, took the standard anti-clot medications aspirin and clopidogrel, with or without 460 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid plus 380 mg of docosahexaenoic acid (EPA/DHA) per day. Compared to those who did not take omega-3, the omega-3 group had fewer abnormal blood-clotting factors, better blood-clotting traits, and a more balanced and controlled clotting process. Doctors also observed less oxidative stress in the omega-3 group.

L-carnitine, blood clotting, and heart disease

People with chronic kidney failure who are on dialysis have increased chances of blood clots and heart disease. In this study, 36 participants on hemodialysis took 1,000 mg of L-carnitine per day, or a placebo. After 12 weeks, compared to the start of the study, while the placebo group had not improved, the L-carnitine group had lower levels of two key factors in heart disease: 41 percent lower levels of C-reactive protein–a sign of systemic inflammation–and less-elevated, more normal levels of fibrinogen, an inflammation-related blood-clotting agent.

Reference: Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology; 2011, Vol. 31, No. 7, 1696-702.

From the December 2011 newsletter

Van's Health on January - 17 - 2012
categories: Supplements

Antioxidants improve memory

In this long-term study, 4,447 healthy French men and women, aged 45 to 60, took a daily combination of antioxidants, or a placebo, for nine years. The antioxidant supplement contained 120 mg vitamin C, 6 mg beta-carotene equal to 10,000 IU pro-vitamin A, 45 IU vitamin E, 100 mcg selenium, and 20 mg zinc. Five years later, researchers measured cognitive performance in six memory and decision-making tasks.

Overall compared to placebo, the antioxidant group had better cognitive function, including 39 percent better long-term memory. In a subgroup of non-smokers, those who took antioxidants had 33 percent better word recall than placebo, and among those who began the study with low levels of vitamin C, word-recall improved seven-fold.

Omega-3 preserves cognitive function

Researchers said this is the first study to report lower chances of cognitive decline in those who took omega-3 supplements. At the start of the study, doctors measured the diets and cognitive performance in 1,475 adults without dementia, aged at least 55. Doctors tested again 1.5 years later and found those who took omega-3 fish oil supplements were 63 percent less likely to show signs of cognitive decline.

Summarizing their findings, study authors said the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA may lower chances of cardiovascular disease, improve cerebral blood flow, decrease inflammation, and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, all of which may help reduce the rate of cognitive decline.

Reference: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; 2011, Vol. 94, No. 3, 892-9

From the December 2011 newsletter

Van's Health on January - 13 - 2012
categories: Supplements, Vitamins

Omega-3 Benefits

In the first study of omega-3 and anxiety, 68 healthy young medical students took 2,085 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid plus 348 mg of docosahexaenoic acid (EPA/DHA) per day, or a placebo of fatty acids typical in the American diet. Participants gave blood samples during low-stress periods and on days before exams. After 12 weeks, compared to placebo, the omega-3 group had 14 percent fewer signs of stress-related inflammation and 20 percent fewer anxiety symptoms, with no change in depressive symptoms. Doctors concluded omega-3 supplements may reduce anxiety in those without anxiety disorder.

Reference: Brain, Behavior, and Immunity; 2011, Electronic Prepublication

From the December 2011 newsletter

Van's Health on January - 9 - 2012
categories: Supplements

 Vitamin C lowers asthma symptoms

There are two main causes of asthma: muscles around lung airways can tighten, and airways can become inflamed. Together, these changes constrict airflow in and out of the lungs, causing wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. Doctors said prior research on asthma and vitamin C was not conclusive, and in this study gave 60 children with asthma, aged 7 to 10, 200 mg of vitamin C per day, or a placebo. At the start and end of the study, researchers measured how much air each child could forcibly exhale, which asthma impairs.

Compared to the start of the study, while there was no change for placebo, older children with severe asthma who had been exposed to mold or dampness in their bedroom for more than one year before the study could expel 21 percent more air, and younger children with mild asthma who were not exposed to bedroom mold or dampness could expel 37 percent more air.

Reference: Clinical and Translational Allergy; 2011, Vol. 1, No. 9, Electronic Prepublication

From the December 2011 newsletter

Van's Health on January - 4 - 2012
categories: Supplements, Vitamins
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