Van's Health Foods

In Historic Downtown Livermore since 1972

Archive for January, 2013

Antioxidants and pancreatic cancer

In this large study, doctors measured the diets, food-cooking methods, and vitamin C levels of 23,658 men and women, aged 40 to 74. Over the course of 10 years of follow-up, 49 participants developed pancreatic cancer, 55 percent men. Researchers then calculated the nutrients in their diets and compared to 3,970 participants who had not developed pancreatic cancer.

Compared to those who consumed the least selenium, those who consumed the most selenium were half as likely to have developed pancreatic cancer. Those who consumed the most selenium and vitamins C and E were 67 percent less likely to develop the cancer compared to those who got the least of these antioxidants.

Discussing their findings, doctors said, “It seems the antioxidants are knocking out the pro-oxidants that are perhaps causing the damage that leads to cancer, and therefore playing a protective role.”

Magnesium and colorectal cancer

There are few studies on magnesium and colorectal cancer, doctors said, but these two new analyses suggest magnesium may help prevent this disease. In the first study, researchers compared 768 people with colorectal cancer to 709 similar people without. In a group of those who were at least age 55, with a body mass index score of 25 or higher, each 100 mg increase in magnesium per day decreased chances for colorectal cancer by 12 percent.

In the second study, doctors reviewed findings from other magnesium-colorectal cancer trials and found that for every 100 mg increase in daily magnesium, there was a 13 percent decrease in chances of pre-cancerous colorectal adenomas and 12 percent less chance of colorectal cancer.

Reference: Gut РInternational Journal of  Gastroenterology and Hepatology; July, 2012. Electronic Prepublication

From the December 2012 newsletter

Van's Health on January - 29 - 2013
categories: Supplements, Vitamins

Nutrients lower lipid levels in obesity

Green tea extract

Earlier studies found green tea can reduce weight by helping the body manage lipids, doctors said. In this study, 46 otherwise-healthy obese men and women, aged 30 to 60, took a daily dose of 379 mg of green tea extract plus 208 mg of ECGC–the most common antioxidant found in green tea– or a placebo. Participants did not change their diets or physical activities during the study, which were similar for both groups.

After three months, compared to placebo, the green tea group saw significant decreases in total and LDL cholesterol, an increase in HDL cholesterol, lower triglycerides, body mass index, and smaller waist size. Total antioxidant activity also increased, and magnesium and zinc levels improved, with increasing magnesium levels helping lower or stabilize blood sugar. Iron levels declined. Explaining their findings, doctors said green tea may help keep cholesterol and glucose from being absorbed through the walls of the small intestine.

Berberine

Obesity drugs often have serious side effects, and doctors are searching for natural products, such as the herb berberine, for safer answers. In this pilot safety study, obese people took 500 mg of berberine three times per day. After 12 weeks, berberine proved safe in preserving overall blood characteristics, and in maintaining heart, kidney, and liver function.

Beyond safety, berberine appeared to have additional benefits. Participants had lost an average of five pounds, a result doctors had expected. More surprising were a 12 percent decline in total cholesterol and a 23 percent decline in triglycerides. To reconfirm the lipids lowering effects of berberine, doctors conducted a lab animal study, which yielded similar results.

Reference: Biological Trace Element Research; May, 2012, Electronic Prepublication

From the December 2012 newsletter

Van's Health on January - 23 - 2013

In type 2 diabetes compounds from two culinary spices improved glucose measures and control

Cinnamon extract

In this study, 66 type 2 diabetics who were taking an oral insulin-stimulating drug also took an extract of cinnamon or a placebo. There were two doses of cinnamon: 120mg or 360 mg per day. After three months, while there were no changes for placebo, measures of long-term-average blood sugar levels declined 7 percent in the low-dose cinnamon group, and 10 percent in the high-dose cinnamon group, while fasting blood sugar levels declined 11 and 14 percent respectively.

Although participants’ fasting and long-term blood sugar levels remained higher than normal, doctors said it was the polyphenols in the cinnamon extract that significantly increased insulin-dependent glucose metabolism. Cinnamon also appeared to raise beneficial antioxidant activity in type 2 diabetics.

 

Curcumin from turmeric spice

Lab studies have shown curcuminoids, the active ingredient in turmeric, lowered blood sugar and improved insulin sensitivity by helping to metabolize fatty acids. Elevated fatty acid levels are common in type 2 diabetes and play a role in developing insulin resistance, so lowering free fatty acid levels might reduce chances of and help manage diabetes, doctors said.

In this study, 100 people with type 2 diabetes took 300 mg of curcuminoids per day, or a placebo. After three months, while there were no changes for placebo, the curcuminoids group saw much lower long-term-average blood sugar levels, lower fasting blood sugar levels, and greater sensitivity to insulin, meaning the body was better able to metabolize glucose.

In discussing their findings, doctors said part of the reason curcuminoids lower glucose levels is by helping the body use up excess free fatty acids, removing them from the bloodstream, and lowering total fatty acid levels to safer levels.

Reference: Nutrition Research Journal; 2012, Vol. 32, No. 6, 408-12

From the December 2012 newsletter

 

Van's Health on January - 17 - 2013
categories: Herbs, Supplements

The body needs a certain level of omega-3’s to function well, doctors said. In this study, researchers measured omega-3 levels in 78 active-duty U.S. servicemen, aged 20 to 54, from all major ethnicities, and with a variety of educational levels. The men had lower omega-3 levels than non-military Americans of the same ages. As levels of omega-3’s increased, the men had better mental flexibility and decision-making capacity, especially in those with lack of sleep, who were more resistant to fatigue than those with lower omega-3 levels. Doctors suggest raising EPA and DHA levels in service food rations.

Reference: Nutritional Neuroscience; June, 2012, Electronic Prepublication

From the December 2012 newsletter

Van's Health on January - 11 - 2013
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Nutrients helped reduce recurring URTI’s

Doctors said that getting vitamins and minerals in the right amounts can boost immunity and protect against upper respiratory tract infection (URTI). In this study, 192 people with recurrent URTI’s took a daily supplement containing vitamin C, vitamin D3, folic acid, and selenium, or a placebo. Researchers followed the two groups to measure the number, intensity, and course of URTI’s.

After 16 weeks, nearly half of those in the placebo group had missed work compared to 14 percent for the supplement group. Doctors also measured circulating levels of the four nutrients and found that vitamin C, folic acid and selenium increased in the supplement group, while vitamin D declined for both groups, but declined less in the supplement group. Those in the supplement group who began the study with insufficient vitamins C or D also had improved respiratory health.

 

Vitamin D lowers chances of viral infection

Because vitamin D levels decline in the fall and winter when there is less and weaker sunlight, people may catch cold more easily, doctors said. In the first phase of this two-part study, researchers measured vitamin D levels in three healthy groups: young people aged 20 to 30, middle-aged people 31-59, and older adults aged 60 to 86, and found circulating vitamin D levels decreased with age.

In the second phase of the study, using the same group of volunteers, doctors found that the special immune receptors designed to intercept and kill viruses were more likely to function normally as levels of vitamin D increased.

Reference: Journal of Leukocyte Biology; 2012, Vol. 91, No. 5, 829-38

From the October 2012 newsletter

Van's Health on January - 5 - 2013
categories: Supplements, Vitamins
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