Van's Health Foods

In Historic Downtown Livermore since 1972

Archive for February, 2013

According to earlier studies, depression may have a link to cells damaged by oxidative stress. In this analysis, doctors compared antioxidant levels to signs of depression in 1,798 adults aged 20 to 85 and found, compared to those with lowest levels, people with the highest circulating levels of antioxidant carotenoids were 59 percent less likely to have depressive symptoms. There was also a direct link: as carotenoid levels increased, signs of depression decreased.

Carotenoids–the naturally occurring bright red, yellow, and orange pigments in fruits and vegetables like carrots–are powerful antioxidants. Doctors found three carotenoids in particular were most closely linked to better mood; beta-carotene in both men and women, and lutein and zeaxanthin in women only. Lutein and¬†zeaxanthin also protect eyesight, as many earlier studies have confirmed. Discussing their findings, doctors said antioxidants may help reduce oxidative damage in the brain and hope new studies reveal more mood benefits of antioxidants.

Reference: British Journal of Nutrition; August, 2012, Electronic Prepublication

From the February 2013 newsletter

Van's Health on February - 28 - 2013

Omega-3s help preserve telomere length

Telomeres are the protective caps at the end of every strand of DNA in the body, acting like the tip of a shoelace that keeps it from unraveling. As new cells form using DNA instructions, telomeres shorten, eventually exposing the DNA strand to damage. Earlier studies have linked telomere length to biological age; the longer the telomere the younger the biological age.

In this study, 106 sedentary, overweight but healthy middle-aged and older adults took 2,500 mg or 1,250 mg of omega-3s per day, or a placebo of typical American dietary fats high in omega-6. After four months, researchers found that as the level of omega-3s rose compared to omega-6s, telomere length also increased. Both omega-3 groups also saw 15 percent lower levels of oxidative stress.

Explaining their findings, doctors said that omega-6s are abundant, coming from common vegetable oils using in many processed foods, but omega-3s are rarer, coming mostly from fish. The ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s should be no higher than four-to-one to provide the greatest health benefit, doctors said.

 

More vitamin D, longer life

More disease studies have focused on people of European descent, doctors said. In this study, researchers measured vitamin D levels in 2,638 Caucasians and African-Americans aged 71 to 80. African-Americans had lower vitamin D levels than Caucasians. After 8.5 years of follow-up, those with very low levels of vitaminD–less than 20 nano grams per milliliter of blood–were¬†50 percent more likely to have died from any cause, compared to those with higher levels.

Doctors said the good news is it’s easy to raise vitamin D levels through diet and supplements.

 

Reference: Brain, Behavior, and Immunity; September, 2012, Electronic Prepublication

From the January 2012 newsletter

 

Van's Health on February - 22 - 2013

CLA helps manage weight

CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid, had several benefits including reducing body fat in earlier animal studies, but human studies have been inconclusive, doctors said. In this study, 63 people tending toward overweight or obesity took 1,700 mg of CLA per day, or a vegetable oil placebo, in about 7 ounces of sterilized milk. After 12 weeks, while there were no changes for placebo, the CLA group had lost body weight, improved body mass index score, had less total fat and fat under the skin, a lower percentage of body fat, and a smaller waist-to-hip size. The higher the body mass index at the start of the study, the larger the improvements in all measures.

 

Calcium burns fat, reduces fat absorption

When dieters take in fewer calories than they burn, calcium supplements may stimulate fat loss, but prior studies have been inconclusive, doctors said. In this review, researchers analyzed eight placebo-controlled calcium weight-loss studies, and found that dieters who got high levels of calcium increased fat metabolism by 11 percent compared to placebo. Those who consumed low levels of calcium before the study–less than 700 mg per day–saw the most fat-loss benefit. Researchers said the higher rate of fat-burning was equal to losing eight pounds per year.

In discussing their findings, doctors said that calcium supplements raised the metabolic rate as effectively as caffeine. The average amount of calcium linked with the largest weight-loss benefit was 958 mg of calcium per day. Doctors also said good calcium levels help control appetite.

Reference: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; October, 2012, Electronic Prepublication

From the January 2013 newsletter

Van's Health on February - 16 - 2013
categories: Supplements, Weight Loss

The first study on long-term multivitamin use

Doctors said more than one in three Americans takes a multivitamin, mostly to prevent nutrient deficiencies, but that this study suggests multivitamins may also help prevent cancer in middle-aged and older men.

The study involved 14,641 male doctors, aged at least 50, who took a daily multivitamin or a placebo. After 11 years of follow-up, researchers discovered a possible link with long-term multivitamin use: chances of cancer declined by 8 percent in men with a history of cancer.

While small, the results were significant and promising. Doctors don’t know which vitamins or minerals may help reduce cancer chances, and explained that most of the men were non-smokers, a factor that may influence results. Researchers plan a follow-up study with women, and with others whose lifestyles and health behaviors are different than the group of doctors who participated in this study.

Reference: Journal of The American Medical Association; October 2012, Electronic Prebublication

From the January 2013 newsletter

Van's Health on February - 10 - 2013
categories: Supplements, Vitamins

New evidence suggests those with autism don’t have a normal ability to produce cellular energy, which can damage cells and impair cognitive function. L-carnitine works at the cellular level to convert glucose to energy. In this study, 30 children ages 2 to 8 with autism took 45 mg of l-carnitine per pound of body weight, or a placebo. After six months, while the placebo group had not improved, the l-carnitine group had better scores in tests of verbal and non-verbal communication, using objects, fear and nervousness. and interpersonal relations. Doctors said l-carnitine was safe and significantly improved autism symptoms.

Reference: Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders; 2013, Vol. 7, No. 1, 159-66

From the January 2013 newsletter

Van's Health on February - 4 - 2013
categories: Supplements
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