Van's Health Foods

In Historic Downtown Livermore since 1972

Archive for August, 2012

Pycnogenol eased menopausal symptoms

In this study, researchers compared 38 menopausal women, aged 40 to 50, who took 100 mg of Pycnogenol per day, to 32 similar women who did not take any treatment. After eight weeks, while there were no changes for the women who did not take treatment, those who took Pycnogenol had an average decrease of more than 50 percent for the six most common menopausal symptoms; hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, irregular periods, loss of libido, and vaginal dryness. The Pycnogenol group also had much lower levels of free radicals circulating in the blood, meaning less oxidative stress.

Several other symptoms, including fatigue, sleep disorders, concentration and memory problems, dizziness, and irritability also tended to improve for Pycnogenol but did not reach statistical significance, according to researchers, who suggested that Pycnogenol may be an effective daily dietary supplement for reducing symptoms in menopausal women.

Soy isoflavones reduce hot flashes

Researchers in this review analyzed 17 placebo-controlled studies in which the average dose of soy isoflavones was 54 mg per day, delivering 19 mg of the soy isoflavone genistein. Women who took part in the studies were perimenopausal to postmenopausal, and the studies ranged from six weeks to 12 months. Combining all the data, compared to placebo, women who took soy isoflavones saw hot flash frequency and severity decline respectively by 21 percent and 26 percent. Women who took more than the average 19 mg of genistein had twice the relief from hot flashes as women who took lower doses.

Reference:Menopause; March, 2012, Electronic Prepublication

From the July 2012 newsletter

Van's Health on August - 29 - 2012
categories: Supplements

Vegetarian diets are often low in vitamin B12 and high in salt

Doctors believe vegetarians are less likely than carnivores to have heart disease, but vegetarian diets may be low in vitamin B12 and high in salt, both of which increase chances of hardening of the arteries. In this study, 50 healthy vegetarian men and women, average age 46, took 500 mcg of vitamin B12 per day and then a placebo, or the reverse, in the two 12-week phases. Participants had been on a vegetarian diet for at least six years, and 70 percent started the study with low levels of vitamin B12.

After the vitamin B12 phase, but not the placebo phase, blood levels of vitamin B12 rose significantly and homocysteine levels–a sign of inflammation linked to heart disease–were significantly lower. The ability of blood vessels to expand also increased by about 10 percent, and thickness of the carotid artery walls decreased by 0.02 mm, making them more flexible. The carotid arteries of the neck are similar to coronary arteries of the heart, suggesting vitamin B12 benefits the heart as well.


Reference: Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging; 2012, Electronic Prepublication

From the July 2012 newsletter

Van's Health on August - 21 - 2012
categories: Vitamins

Vitamin D supplements improved symptoms

In this study, doctors measured vitamin D levels in 54 Swedish adolescents with depression and found 89 percent were deficient. Forty-eight began taking 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day for a month, then 2,000 IU per day for two more months. Vitamin D levels rose from 41 nanomoles per liter of blood (nmol/L) at the start of the study to 91 nmol/L at the end. As vitamin D levels increased, feelings of well-being also rose. In eight of nine areas; feeling depressed, irritable, tired, mood swings, difficulty sleeping, weakness, ability to concentrate, and pain, well-being improved.

Better vitamin D levels, less depression

Depression is common in adolescence and this is one of the first studies to test the link between vitamin D and depression in children. In the study, doctors measured vitamin D levels in 2,752 10-year-olds and followed up for four years. Children who began the study with higher levels of vitamin D were more likely to show a decline in depressive symptoms during the follow-up period and were 10 percent less likely to have depressive symptoms at the end of four years.

Talking about their findings, doctors said that because depression can affect so many children and adolescents, and because it is so easy to increase vitamin D levels, new research should include larger studies to see if its is possible to prevent depressive symptoms in young people. Doctors also said that is was not vitamin D2, but vitamin D3 that provides the benefit in reducing symptoms of depression.

Doctors believe the optimal range for vitamin D levels is 20 to 60 nanograms per milliliter of blood, or 50 to 150 nonomoles per liter.

Reference: Acta Pediatrica; February, 2012, Electronic Prepublication

From the July 2012 newsletter

Van's Health on August - 16 - 2012
categories: Vitamins

In earlier studies, recipes using flax had lower glycemic index scores than recipes without flax, leading doctors to test flax in type 2 diabetes. In the study, 29 people with type 2 diabetes took 10 grams of flax seed powder per day, or a placebo. After one month, compared to the start of the study, while the placebo group had not changed, those who took flax seed powder had 20 percent lower fasting blood sugar, and 16 percent lower long-term blood sugar levels; 14 percent lower total fat levels, 18 percent lower LDL–the “bad” cholesterol–and a 12 percent increase in HDL–the “good” cholesterol.


Reference: Journal of Dietary Supplements; 2011, Vol. 8, No. 3, 257-65

From the July 2012 newsletter

Van's Health on August - 11 - 2012
categories: Supplements