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July 25, 2014

Soluble Corn Fiber May Boost Calcium Absorption in Teens

Filed under: Fiber — Sarah @ 1:25 pm
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

As milk consumption has decreased in the adolescent population, so have calcium levels. Low levels of calcium during pubescent may lead to increased risk of bone fracture later in life. A recent study suggests that consuming a soluble corn fiber supplement may boost calcium absorption in teens.

Participants in the study included 24 boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 15. For a period of 3 weecorn ks, they all consumed diets that contained less than the recommended amount of calcium, which is 600 grams per day. Additionally, half of the group was given 12 grams of soluble fiber while the other half took a placebo.

At the conclusion of the study, the soluble corn fiber group had an average increase in calcium absorption of 12%. The researchers calculated that continuing the soluble corn fiber supplementation would result in an additional 41.4 mg/day retained calcium and an overall additional 15.1 g of calcium in a year, which is 1.8% of total body calcium.

Researchers from Purdue University conducted the study. It was published in the August 2014 issue of British Journal of Nutrition.

Previous studies have linked soluble fiber consumption with blood sugar regulation, prevention of heart disease and breast cancer prevention.

If you are unable to find a corn fiber supplement, other sources of soluble fiber include beans, oatmeal, carrots, apples, lentils, flaxseed, berries, and nuts.



July 24, 2014

Fish Oil May Slow Brain Shrinkage and Cognitive Decline

Filed under: Omega-3 — Emma @ 1:12 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

People who are not genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease may be able to conserve brain volume. A recent study suggests that taking fish oil supplements may prompt structural changes in the brain that conserve brain volume and improve cognition.

Participants in the study included 819 people who took part in the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. Of those participants, 229 were cognitively normal, 397 had mild cognitive impairment, and 193 had Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, 117 of the participants reported regular fish oil supplement use.

The researchers conducted neuropsychological tests and brain MRIs every six months. They also compared cognitive functioning and brain atrophy for patients who reported taking fish oil supplements and those not taking fish oil supplements.

They found that taking a fish oil supplement was associated with better cognitive functioning during the duration of the study. That result was only seen for those participants with normal baseline cognitive function and for people who tested negative for AP0E4, the gene associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Additionally, the participants who were APOE4 negative and took fish oil supplements had less brain atrophy than those who did not take fish oil.

Researchers from Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on June 18, 2014, in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

Fish oil has also been linked to numerous other health benefits, including combating diabetes, lowering cholesterol, improving vision,reducing the risk of dementia and relieving depression.

If you’re looking to increase your fish oil intake, try adding darker fish, such as salmon or tuna, to your diet. If you don’t like the taste of fish or are just finding it hard to work it into your meal plans, consider taking a high quality supplement. Make sure your supplement is tested for purity and potency.



July 23, 2014

Blueberry Powder May Boost Immune System and Reduce Blood Pressure

Filed under: Antioxidants — Sarah @ 3:09 pm
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

A recent study suggests that blueberry powder supplements may boost the immune system and lower blood pressure in sedentary men and women.

Participants in the study included 25 men and postmenopausal women who were given either the equivalent of 250g of blueberries in the form of blueberry powder or a placebo daily for six weeks.

The researchers measured blood pressure, vascular performance testing, and blood samples at the onset and conclusion of the study.

At the conclusion of the study, the supplement group saw a 4% increase in natural killer cells levels. Natural killer cells are a type of while blood cell that kill infected or tumor cells while sparing healthy cells.

The supplement group also showed reductions in aortic systolic blood pressure when compared with the placebo group. Additionally, participants in the supplement group who were classified as pre-hypertensive at the beginning of the study (blood pressure over 120/80 mmHg) saw significant decreases in diastolic blood pressure compared to baseline values.

Researchers from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on July 10, 2014, in Nutrition Research.

Previous studies suggest that blueberries may help decrease the risk of dementia, aid in weight management, improve blood vessel function, lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol.
They are easy to add to your diet because they go well with pancakes, salads and smoothies.



July 22, 2014

Melon-Derived Antioxidant Shown To Improve Cognitive Performance and Reduce Fatigue

Filed under: Antioxidants — Emma @ 3:55 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

A recent study suggests that taking a special French melon extract high in the antioxidant superoxide dismutase (SOD) may lower stress and fatigue levels and also improve cognitive performance.

Participants in the study included 61 volunteers who were given either a placebo or 10mg of the melon extract which contained 140 IU of f SOD, daily. The researchers tested all of the participants before the supplementation period started, 28 days after the start, and again 84 days after.

The researchers found that the SOD supplement group had an 8.8% reduction in stress, a 9.4% reduction in physical fatigue, a 13.9% improvement in cognitive performance, and a 6.4% improvement in overall life quality.

The researchers theorized that the positive effects of SOD from the melon extract may be due to the increased antioxidant activity it produces and subsequent reduction of oxidative stress.

Researchers from Bionov Company and Lariboisiere Hospital in France conducted the study. It was published on June 19, 2014, in the journal Nutrients.

Previous studies have found that melon-derived superoxide dismutase may help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), lower internal inflammation, and reduce pain associated with conditions like arthritis.

While the extract comes from melon, you need to take the hyper-concentrated supplement version in order to get the full health benefits.



July 21, 2014

Almonds Found to be Important Part of Heart-Healthy Diet

Filed under: Lifestyle — Emma @ 3:49 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

Vascular dysfunction is one of the major causes of cardiovascular mortality. There are certain dietary steps you can take to possibly reduce your risk of heart disease. In fact, a recent study found that almonds may improve vascular function and increase blood levels of the alpha-tocopherol form of vitamin E.

Participants in the study included healthy young and middle-aged men with two or more cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure or being overweight. They were given either 50 g daily of almonds or a control for 4 weeks. The control group continued with their normal diet.

At the conclusion of the study, the almond group had higher levels of alpha-tocopherol, improved blood flow, and lower blood pressure when compared with the control group.

There were no changes in plasma lipids or markers of oxidative stress between the two groups.

Researchers from Aston University in the UK conducted the study. It was published in the May 2014 issue of Free Radical Research.

Previous studies have found that almonds may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. They’re also a great source of magnesium, manganese, and protein.

Almonds can easily be added to your daily diet as a mid-day snack, in breakfast cereal, or even sprinkled over a small serving of ice cream for dessert. Consider substituting a less healthy snack such as potato chips or cookies for a handful of almonds.



July 18, 2014

Chlorella Algae May Help Control Cholesterol Levels

Filed under: Algae — Emma @ 3:22 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

High cholesterol can lead to heart disease and type-2 diabetes, two of the increasingly common health conditions in the United States. A recent study suggests that taking a supplement of the omega-3 rich algae chlorella may reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels in people with slightly elevated cholesterol.

Participants in the study included 63 people with mildly elevated cholesterol. Over the course of four weeks, they took either 5 grams of chlorella algae supplement or a placebo.

At the conclusion of the study, the algae group had a 1.9% reduction in total cholesterol and a 10.3% reduction in triglycerides. In comparison, the control group had increases of 0.03% and 11.9%, respectively.

Additionally, the chlorella algae group had an 11% reduction in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, whereas the control group had a 12% increase. The algae group also had a 1.5% decrease in apolipoprotein B levels, while the control group showed an increase of 1.7%.

Finally, the algae group had a very significant 90% increase in lutein/zeaxanthin levels and a 164% increase in alpha-carotene, while the control group had a decrease of 1.7% and increase in 15%, respectively.

Researchers from Ewha Womans University, Seoul National University of Science and Technology, and CHA Bundang Medical Center in South Korea conducted the study. It was published on June 11, 2014, in Nutrition Journal.

Algae isn’t just good for improving your blood profile; research has also shown that it may be effective for a wide range of health benefits including improving blood sugar,lowering cholesterol, boosting immune system, alleviating joint pain, colon and liver health, and boosting the immune system.

As algae isn’t a common part of the western diet, your best bet for obtaining all of these benefits is to find a high quality supplement. Make sure your supplement is from a certified source to avoid impurities.



July 17, 2014

Extreme Obesity Drastically Cuts Lifespan

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Sarah @ 9:22 pm
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

Once a relatively rare condition, class III (or extreme) obesity is on the rise in the United States and worldwide. A recent study suggests that being extremely obese could cut a person’s life expectancy by as much as 13.7 years.

Data for this analysis included 20 studies that had 313,575 total participants. Of those participants, 9,564 were classified as extremely obese while the other 304,011 were considered normal weight.

The researchers used body mass index (BMI) to determine obesity. The scale for BMI is:

Normal weight: 18.5-24.9

Overweight: 25.0-29.9

Class I obesity: 30.0-34.9

Class II obesity: 35.9-39.9

Class III obesity: 40.0 or higher

After examining the data, the researchers found that overall risk of dying from the majority of major health issues rose with increasing BMI in the class III group. For people in the BMI range of 40-44.9, there was a 6.5 year loss in life. For those in the 55-59.9 range, there was a 13.7 year loss of life.

To emphasize the seriousness of those numbers, the researchers pointed out that the loss of life is equivalent to or higher than the difference between current smokers and people who have never smoked in the normal weight cohort of the study.

Researchers from the National Cancer Institute conducted the study. It was published on July 8, 2014, in PLoS Medicine.

Obesity has a far ranging negative effect on health. Each year, obesity causes approximately 300,000 premature deaths in the United States. The negative health effects associated with obesity include high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, metabolic syndrome and sleep apnea.

Improving eating habits and increasing physical activity play a vital role in preventing obesity. It is recommended that we eat five to six servings of fruits and vegetables per day. It also recommended that we get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity every day.



July 16, 2014

High Vitamin D Levels Associated With Better Survival Rate From Bowel Cancer

Filed under: Vitamin D — Sarah @ 5:01 pm
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

A recent study suggests that bowel cancer patients with the highest levels of vitamin D in their blood have half the risk of dying after surgery when compared with patients with the lowest levels of vitamin D.

For this study, researchers tested blood samples from almost 1,600 bowel cancer patients after they had surgery to treat their cancers. Five years after surgery, 75% of patients with the highest blood levels of vitamin D were still alive, compared with only less than 66% of those with the lowest levels.

The greatest benefit of having a high vitamin D level was found in the patients who were already at stage 2 of the disease, when the tumors can be large but the cancer hasn’t yet spread.

Researchers from the University of Endinburgh conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on July 7, 2014, in The Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Previous studies have associated vitamin D with reducing the risk of skin damage,reducing the risk of osteoporosis, combating diabetes, and improving age related macular degeneration.

Vitamin D can be found in milk, fortified cereals, fish, and eggs. Your body also processes vitamin D from the sun but it becomes harder for our bodies to process it as we age. A high quality vitamin D supplement is always a good option if you feel that you’re not getting enough through diet and sun.



July 15, 2014

Probiotics Plus Casein May Boost Workout Performance

Filed under: Probiotics — Emma @ 8:08 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

While numerous studies have found a correlation between probiotics and stronger immune systems in athletes, a recent study has found that probiotics plus casein may actually boost athletic performance.

Casein is the most abundant protein in milk.

Participants in the study included 10 healthy, resistance-trained people with an average age of 22 for their study who were instructed to take either 20g of casein or 20g of casein plus 500 million cfus of the BC30 probiotic twice daily.

At the conclusion of the study, the probiotic group had a trend in increase in vertical jump power when compared with the casein-only group. Results also indicated that the probiotics were associated with better peak power and an effect on fat mass.

The researchers noted that this was a pilot study and more research needs to be done to determine the exact correlation between probiotics and exercise performance.

Researchers from The University of Tampa and Increnovo LLC conducted the study. It was presented at the 2014 ISSN Annual Meeting.

Probiotics are most commonly linked to improving digestion and gut health. However, they have also been shown to help strengthen the immune system and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Probiotics can be found naturally in many foods, such as yogurt, milk and sauerkraut. You may also consider taking a high quality supplement but make sure it is packaged to block light, air and moisture, which can easily kill probiotics.

Casein can also be found in milk and has been linked in previous studies with building muscle and aiding weight loss.



July 14, 2014

Low Vitamin D Associated With Higher Risk of Early Death

Filed under: Vitamin D — Sarah @ 6:51 pm
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

A recent study suggests that people with low blood levels of vitamin D could be around twice as likely to die an early death when compared with people who had high levels of vitamin D.

Data for this study included eight studies that had a total of 26,018 men and women between the ages of 50 and 79. Over the duration of the studies, 6,695 people died, including 2,624 from cardiovascular disease and 2,227 from cancer.

When the researchers looked closely at the correlation between vitamin D levels and risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer, they found that there was an almost double risk of dying for those with low vitamin D levels.

These results were especially pronounced in more mature participants who had a previous history of cancer.

Researchers from Mount Sinai Hospital and a group of other international institutions conducted the study. It was published on June 17, 2014, in BMJ.

Previous studies have associated vitamin D with reducing the risk of skin damage,reducing the risk of osteoporosis, combating diabetes, and improving age related macular degeneration.

Vitamin D can be found in milk, fortified cereals, fish, and eggs. Your body also processes vitamin D from the sun but it becomes harder for our bodies to process it as we age. A high quality vitamin D supplement is always a good option if you feel that you’re not getting enough through diet and sun.



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