Van's Health Foods

In Historic Downtown Livermore since 1972

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

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

Calcium, vitamins D and K in celiac disease.

Children with celiac disease may have weak bones because they don’t absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin D. In this study, 43 children aged 3 to 17, with celiac disease, agreed to follow a gluten free diet. At the start, 43 percent were low in vitamin D and 25 percent were low in vitamin K, with a direct link to lower bone mineral density (BMD) scores.

After one year, BMD scores had not changed. One-third of the children were still not getting enough vitamin K on the gluten free diet, and all the children were getting too little calcium and vitamin D. Study authors said children with celiac disease should supplement at least the recommended daily allowance of calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin K.

 

Overweight kids deficient in vitamin D

Doctors in this study compared vitamin D levels in 411 obese kids, aged 6 to 16, to 87 normal-weight kids of the same age. Children told researchers about their daily diets including soda, juice, fruit and vegetables, as well as how often they skipped breakfast. Half of the obese children were deficient in vitamin D, compared to 22 percent of normal-weight kids, and 92 percent were low in vitamin D, compared to 68 percent for normal-weight kids. The more kids skipped breakfast, drank soda, and fruit juice, the lower the levels of vitamin D.

Obese kids were also more likely to show signs of insulin resistance, and doctors said that while this study does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship, they suspect low vitamin D levels may play a role in developing type 2 diabetes.

Reference: The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism; 2012, Vol. 97, No. 1, 279-85

From the April 2012 newsletter

Van's Health on May - 24 - 2012
categories: Supplements, Vitamins

Flaxseed lowered cholesterol, improved liver health

In this study, 30 men with moderately high cholesterol, 180 to 240 mg/dL, took 20 mg of flaxseed lignan capsules per day, 100 mg per day, or a placebo. After 12 weeks, those who had taken 100 mg of flaxseed had a much lower ratio of LDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol, both compared to the start of the study and compared to placebo.

High triglyceride levels and obesity can also cause elevated liver enzymes. Researchers found that the 100 mg flaxseed group had lower blood levels of two liver enzymes–a sign that inflammation and cell damage in the liver had decreased–compared to the start of the study and to placebo.

EPA promotes healthy blood clotting–in men

Platelets are cells that help the blood clot normally and begin the wound-healing process. Too little platelet activity leads to excess bleeding, but too much can impair healing, block blood flow , and lead to heart attack or stroke. Researchers said earlier lab studies suggested eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) my help normalize platelet activity in men more than women. In this study, 15 men took EPA, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), or a placebo. Doctors measured platelet activity before and several times during the next 24 hours. While DHA was not effective, EPA reduced platelet activity 11 percent after two hours and 20 percent after 24 hours. Study authors concluded EPA effectively interacts with male sex hormones to normalize platelet activity, reducing chances of heart attack and stroke.

Reference: Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Disease; 2010, Electronic Prepublication

From the June 2011 newsletter

Van's Health on December - 15 - 2011
categories: Supplements, Vitamins
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