Van's Health Foods

In Historic Downtown Livermore since 1972

Archive for March, 2013

Curcumin as effective as aerobic exercise

Curcumin, the anti-inflammatory antioxidant compound in the culinary spice turmeric, improved circulation in postmenopausal women as effectively as aerobic exercise. In this study, 32 postmenopausal women with similar health characteristics at the start of the study took a daily curcumin supplement or a placebo, while a third group took moderate exercise training only.

After eight weeks, while there were no changes for placebo, both the curcumin and exercise groups had better relaxation, widening, and functioning of blood vessels and arteries compared to the start of the study. Doctors said that both aerobic exercise and curcumin may improve age-related decline in the circulatory system and taking a curcumin supplement may help prevent cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women. Curcumin may also be an alternative for people who cannot exercise.

Omega fatty acids reduce chances of heart disease

In this study, doctors followed 3,277 healthy men and women free from heart disease at the start of the study. After 23 years of follow-up, while there were no benefits for men, women who consumed moderate amounts of alpha-linolenic acid or linoleic acid–both omega fatty acids–were less likely to have heart disease caused by restricted blood flow compared to the women who got less of these two nutrients.

Doctors also measured total omega-3s and found, compared to women who consumed the least, women who consumed the most of these polyunsaturated fatty acids–plentiful in fish–were much more likely to remain heart-disease free.

Reference: Nutrition Research Journal; 2012, Vol. 32, No. 12, 795-99

From the February 2013 newsletter

Zinc reduced lower respiratory infections

Zinc is an essential mineral for healthy development and immunity. In this study, 192 children who were low in zinc and other nutrients took 10 mg of zinc gluconate per day or a placebo for 60 days. Doctors followed the children for four months, keeping track of respiratory infections.

Compared to children in the placebo group, kids who took zinc were less than half as likely to have acute or severe lower respiratory infections. The children who took zinc also had more healthy days without infection, and recovered from infection far faster than kids who had taken the placebo.

Vitamin D reduced respiratory infection

Recent evidence has shown that vitamin D is important not only for developing bones, but also for strengthening immune systems. Because the body produces vitamin D from the sun, it is particularly important to maintain good levels in winter months. This study took place in a northern climate, where vitamin D deficiency is common in winter.

At the start of the study, all the 250 children who participated were very low in vitamin D. The children drank locally produced milk with or without 300 IU of added vitamin D per day. Over the course of the winter, parents of children in the vitamin D group reported about half the number of respiratory infections as parent of the kids in the placebo group.

In discussing their findings, doctors said the large benefit they saw was due to the very low levels of vitamin D at the start of the study, and suggest further study to determine the best level of vitamin D.

Reference: Clinical Nutrition; August, 2012, Electronic Prepublication

From the February 2013 newsletter

Van's Health on March - 20 - 2013
categories: Supplements, Vitamins

Vitamin B3 beats drug-resistant staph infection

Overuse of antibiotics has created drug-resistant “superbugs” such as multi-drug resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). In the lab, doctors exposed staph bacteria in human and animal blood to megadoses of vitamin B3, which increased by 1,000 times the ability of the immune cells to kill the harmful bacteria.

Vitamin C may prevent bone loss

Doctors know that low levels of vitamin C can cause brittle bones. In the first study of its kind, postmenopausal mice that began the study with low bone density had improved density by the end of the study after taking large doses of vitamin C. Doctors hope further human studies will prove that vitamin C is a safe and inexpensive way to keep bones strong.

Krill powder improved lipid metabolism and inflammation

Low-grade, chronic inflammation impairs the ability of the liver to metabolize fats–or lipids–and is linked to obesity. When mice on a high-fat diet ate krill powder, liver fat metabolism improved, circulating fats and fats in the liver decreased, and signs of inflammation in the liver were also significantly reduced. Doctors hope to alleviate obesity-related disorders in humans through the lipid-lowering and anti-inflammatory effects of krill.

Reference: Journal of Clinical Investigation; September, 2012, Electronic Prepublication

From the February 2013 newsletter

In this new and largest echinacea study to date, 755 healthy people took echinacea or a placebo. The dose was 800 mg of echinacea liquid extract three times per day, or during colds, five times per day. After four months, compared to placebo, the echinacea group had 20 percent fewer colds with symptoms clearing up 20 percent quicker, and 35 percent fewer recurrences. Those taking echinacea also had fewer flu-type viral infections and needed less over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. To reduce and prevent colds and flu, doctors said this study adds evidence that echinacea can help.

Reference: Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine; 2012, ID 841315

From the February 2013 newsletter

Van's Health on March - 7 - 2013
categories: Supplements
 .