Van's Health Foods

In Historic Downtown Livermore since 1972

Archive for September, 2012

Lycopene lowered inflammation and improved blood flow

Blood vessels have an inner lining called the endothelium which may become inflamed, stiffened, and more likely to form clots. In this study, 126 healthy men, average age 34 with healthy weight, took 6 mg of lycopene or 15 mg of lycopene per day, or a placebo. After eight weeks, compared to the start of the study, while there were no significant changes in the low-dose or placebo groups, men who took 15 mg of lycopene had much higher antioxidant levels, less DNA damage, better blood pressure flow and lower systolic blood pressure, lower levels of C-reactive protein–an inflammatory factor–and an increase in the size of LDL-cholesterol particles, making them less likely to stick to artery walls and form plaque.

In discussing their findings, doctors said supplementing to raise lycopene levels in the blood can reduce oxidative stress and improve the health and function of the endothelium blood vessel linings.

Vitamin D improves reproductive health

Doctors said when animals are deficient in vitamin D, sperm counts and sperm motility are low. In this study, researchers measured vitamin D levels in 40 men and found that those with 75 nanomoles of vitamin D per liter of blood (nmol/L) had much higher sperm motility compare to men with 25 nmol/L or less. Motility is the ability of sperm to move properly toward the egg. As levels of vitamin D increased, more of the sperm were motile, and had normal structure, shape, and size.

Reference: Human Reproduction; 2011, Vol. 26, No. 6, 1307-17

From the July 2012 newsletter

Van's Health on September - 26 - 2012
categories: Supplements, Vitamins

Magnesium reduces blood pressure

Up until now, evidence linking magnesium to better blood pressure has been inconclusive. Researchers in this review looked at all the magnesium studies to date and found 22 trials involving 1,173 people, who took 120 mg to 973 mg of magnesium per day for three to 24 weeks. Combining the data, doctors found that overall, magnesium reduced systolic blood pressure by 3 to 4 mmHg, and diastolic blood pressure by 2 to 3 mmHg, with the best results for doses over 370 mg of magnesium per day.

The blood pressure measurements, systolic and diastolic, relate respectively to when the heart contracts to pump blood out, and when it relaxes to refill. In discussing their findings, doctors said supplementing with magnesium appears to achieve a “small but clinically significant reduction in blood pressure”, and suggests larger controlled trials to confirm these results.

Vitamin C reduces high blood pressure

The evidence for the blood pressure benefit of vitamin C is also inconsistent. In this new analysis, doctors reviewed 29 placebo-controlled vitamin C supplement trials with 10 to 120 participants, average daily doses of 500 mg of vitamin C, and an average study period of eight weeks. Combining the data, researchers found that overall systolic blood pressure declined by 3.84 mmHg, and diastolic blood pressure declined by 1.48mmHg. The effects were greater in those with high blood pressure, with systolic and diastolic blood pressure declining respectively by an average of 4.85 mmHg and 1.67 mmHg.

In talking about their findings, researchers said doctors might eventually be able to recommend vitamin C to prevent or help treat high blood pressure, and suggested larger studies to confirm the blood pressure benefits of vitamin C.

Reference: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition; 2012, Vol. 66, No. 4, 411-8

From the July 2012 newsletter

Van's Health on September - 18 - 2012
categories: Supplements, Vitamins

Vitamins and omega-3s linked to better brains

Nutrients combine to make unique “signature patterns” or profiles in the blood, and researchers in this study tested which profiles were linked to better cognitive health. Doctors measured nutrients in 104 adults without dementia, aged 77 to 97, and found that, compared to those with lower levels, those with the highest blood levels of folate, vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D, and E, and omega-3 fatty acids, scored highest on mental tests and had healthier MRI brain scans.

The brain can shrink with age, rising chances for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Those in the study with the highest levels of trans-fats–partially hydrogenated oils common in highly processed and deep fried foods–scored lowest on mental tests and had signs of brain shrinkage. Doctors said we already knew trans-fats raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol levels and are bad for the heart, but this is the first study to link trans-fats and brain health. “It is very exciting to think that people could potentially stop their brains from shrinking and keep them sharp by adjusting their diet,” researchers concluded.

Leucine helps maintain muscle mass

The body needs proteins to maintain muscle mass, and its ability to make and use proteins declines with age. In this study, eight people, everage age 68, took 4 grams of the branched-chain amino acid leucine with each of three meals per day. Researchers compared muscle biopsies and blood samples before the study and after 14 days and found significantly higher rates of protein formation and increased signs of cellular muscle-building activity. Doctors said the low dose of leucine may make it easier to maintain muscle mass with age.

Reference: Neurology; 2012, Vol. 78, No. 4, 241-9

From the July 2012 newsletter

Van's Health on September - 7 - 2012
categories: Supplements, Vitamins
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