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October 21, 2014

Dairy Protein May Improve Muscle Synthesis in Healthy Men

Filed under: Exercise — Emma @ 3:12 pm
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

A recent study suggests that eating a breakfast rich in protein from dairy – but not from soy – may stimulate mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin). mTOR is an enzyme that is the primary regulator of muscle protein synthesis.

Participants in the study included 10 healthy men and 10 men with metabolic syndrome (MetS). Metabolic syndrome is the group of risk factors that contribute to coronary artery disease, stroke, and type-2 diabetes. The risk factors include high blood pressure, insulin resistance, large waist circumference, high triglyceride levels and high cholesterol.

Half of the men ate a breakfast with a dairy protein while the other half ate a calorie-matched breakfast with soy protein. The researchers took muscle biopsies two and four hours after the meals. They found that mTOR levels were higher at the two- hour mark in the dairy group, but not the soy group. They also found higher levels of ribosomal protein S6 phosphoylation in that group. Ribosomal protein S6 phosphoylation is required for protein synthesis in human skeletal muscle.

The men with MetS showed no changes in mTOR levels.

Researchers from Deakin University conducted the study. It was published on September 30, 2014, in Nutrition & Metabolism.

Dairy consumption has also been linked to bone health, diabetes prevention, weight loss, and improved mental function. If you’re looking to add more dairy to your diet, consider sticking to the low-fat dairy products as the high fat content of whole milk products could negatively affect other areas of the body.

October 20, 2014

Osteoporosis May Be More Deadly For Men Due to Lack of Treatment

Filed under: Lifestyle — Sarah @ 3:02 pm
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

Osteoporosis is often considered to be a disease that disproportionately affects women. However, recent data suggests that osteoporotic fractures occur in one in five men over 50, a number that is expected to rise dramatically in the next half century. By some estimates, from 1950 to 2050 there will be a 10-fold increase in the number of men aged 60 and older who have suffered from hip fractures.

Osteoporosis is the loss of bone mass through the thinning of bone tissue and loss of density. It occurs over time and seems to be linked to low levels of vitamin D, low calcium levels, and inadequate exercise.

Men often remain undiagnosed and untreated for osteoporosis, and are 50% less likely than women to receive treatment. Additionally a third of all hip fractures worldwide happen to men and mortality rates after experiencing a hip fracture may be as high as 37% for men. This makes men twice as likely as women to die after a hip fracture.

Researchers from Monash University in Australia compiled the data. It was published on October 20, 2014 by the International Osteoporosis Foundation in honor of World Osteoporosis Day.

Because osteoporosis occurs over the course of one’s life, it is important to focus on reducing the risk of the disease. Previous studies have found that good nutrition, weight-bearing exercise, stress reduction, and adequate levels of vitamin D have been shown to help reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

October 17, 2014

Coffee May Help Improve Liver Enzyme Levels

Filed under: Antioxidants — Emma @ 4:44 pm
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

More and more studies are linking coffee with a variety of health benefits. Now a new study suggests that drinking coffee – decaffeinated or caffeinated – may help liver health.

For this study, researchers examined data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Study, which took place from 1999 to 2010. Participants in the study included 27,793 people who were age 20 or older who reported how much coffee they drank over a 24-hour period.

The researchers measured several blood levels of markers of liver function in order to assess liver health, including aminotransferase (ALT), aminotransferase (AST), alkaline pohsphatase (ALP) and gamma glutamyl transaminase (GGT) in order to assess liver health. High levels indicate poor liver health.

The researchers found that individuals who drank three or more cups of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee per day had lower levels of all of the liver function markers. As the same results were seen for caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, the researchers believe that ingredients in coffee other than caffeine may promote liver health.

Researchers from the National Cancer Institute in Maryland conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on August 13, 2014 in the journal Hepatology.

The health benefits associated with coffee are generally attributed to the powerful antioxidants found in coffee called polyphenols. These benefits include reducing the risk of developing diabetes, prostate cancer, cirrhosis and oral cavities.

One note to coffee drinkers: be careful how you take your coffee. A double latte with whipped cream and three sugars may provide the health benefits seen here, but the high fat and sugar content can have other negative effects.

October 16, 2014

Montmorency Tart Cherry Juice May Helps Gout Sufferers

Filed under: Antioxidants — Sarah @ 7:11 pm
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

Gout is a type of arthritis that occurs when uric acid builds up in the blood and causes inflammation in the joints. A recent study suggests that drinking Montmorency tart cherry juice may help manage gouty arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.

Participants in the study included 12 healthy participants with an average age of 26 who were given 30 ml of Montmorency tart juice mixed with 100 ml of water twice daily for two days. That was followed by a 10-day washout period, after which they were given 60 ml of the juice mixed with 100 ml of water twice daily for two days.

The researchers collected blood and urine samples just before the participants consumed the juice and at regular intervals for 48 hours following consumption. They found that blood levels of uric acid and C-reactive protein were lower after participants drank the tart cherry juice. They also found that they were lowered by the same amount, regardless of the dose.

They also found that urinary uric acid was increased following consumption of both doses of the tart cherry juice. This demonstrates that the body was getting rid of uric acid, rather than retaining it.

In people with gout, uric acid crystallizes in the toes and causes extreme pain. The researchers believe that lowering uric acid levels could help people who suffer from gout manage their condition.

Researchers from Northumbria University conducted the study. It was published in the November 2014 issue of Journal of Functional Foods.

Previous studies have found links between tart cherries and reducing inflammation, a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes.

The best way to consume tart cherries is in a juice but be sure the tart cherry juiceyou consume is tested for potency and hasn’t been watered down.

October 15, 2014

Omega-3s May Help Combat Inflammation Induced Depression

Filed under: Omega-3 — Emma @ 4:48 pm
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

Previous studies have shown that people with higher inflammation – including those who are taking cytokines for medical treatment – have an increased risk of depression. A recent study suggests that taking a supplement of omega-3 fatty acids may help combat inflammation-induced depression.

Participants in the study included 152 patients with hepatitis C. They were chosen to participate because a 6-month treatment course of interferon-alpha therapy for chronic hepatitis C causes depression in 30% of patients.

The participants were given either EPA omega-3 fatty acids, DHA omega-3 fatty acids, or a placebo every day for two weeks. After those two weeks, all of the participants underwent a 24-week course of interferon-alpha treatment. The researchers evaluated them for depression throughout the study.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that the 10% of the EPA group suffered new-onset depression, compared to 28% of the DHA group and 30% of the placebo group. Additionally, both EPA and DHA delayed the onset of interferon induced depression.

Researchers from King’s College in London conducted the study. It was published on October 1, 2014 in Biological Psychiatry.

DHA and EPA are the two omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil. Omega-3s have been linked to a number of health benefits, including improved joint mobility, helping with age related macular degeneration, better moods, and aiding your immune system.

Because omega-3 fatty-acids are not found naturally in the human body, it is especially important to make sure that they are a part of your daily diet. Oily, dark fish such as tuna and salmon are high in omega-3s. If you don’t like fish, consider taking a daily high quality non-fish supplement that has been tested for purity and potency.

October 14, 2014

Lutein and Zeaxanthin May Help Eye Health Of Young People

Filed under: Lutein & Zeaxanthin — Emma @ 5:12 pm
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

The connection between the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin and eye health was first discovered in 1994, when Harvard researchers found that eating more carotenoid-rich foods was associated with a reduction in age-related macular degeneration. Most research since then has focused on AMD but a recent study suggests that consuming more lutein and zeaxanthin plus omega-3s may also help people with healthy eyes improve their visual reaction time.

Participants in the study included 64 young, healthy individuals who took part in one of three interventions daily for four months: a placebo, 20 mg of zeaxanthin, or 8 mg of lutein, 26 mg of zeaxanthin and 190 mg of omega-3s.

The researchers found that people who had higher macular pigment density – a biomarker of lutein and zeaxanthin levels – had better critical flicker fusion (CFF) and visual motor performance at baseline. CFF is the frequency at which a flickering light is indistinguishable from a steady, non-flickering light. CFF is used to measure acuteness or clearness of vision.

After four months of supplementation, the zeaxanthin and zeaxanthin/lutein/omega-3 groups had increased CFF of 12% and increased visual motor reaction time of 10% when compared with the placebo.

Researchers from The University of Georgia and Abbott Nutrition conducted the study. It was published on Septembter 24, 2014, in the journal PLOS One.

Lutein is one of only two carotenoids that can build macular pigment. The other is zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin create the yellow pigmentation of the macula, which is the part of the eye that provides protection from damaging blue light. If the yellow macular pigment is too thin, blue light can penetrate the retina and cause long-term damage.

You can increase your lutein and zeaxanthin levels by consuming more green leafy vegetables, corn, and egg yolk.

October 13, 2014

Energy Drinks Improve Performance But Come With Adverse Side Effects

Filed under: Exercise — Sarah @ 5:07 pm
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

A recent study found that drinking energy drinks may improve athletic performance by as much as 7%. It also found, however, that it increases insomnia, nervousness, and level of stimulation after a competition.

Participants in the study included 90 experienced athletes who normally did not consume much caffeine. They drank either 3 mg/kg of caffeine in an energy drink or a placebo caffeine-free equivalent an hour before they completed a training session.

In order to record muscle performance, the researchers used a GPS system to track speed, distance, dynamometers, and potentiometers (which measure force). All of the participants also filled out a questionnaire to measure self-perceived muscle power.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that the recorded performance for the energy drink group had improved by 3%-7%. Specifically, runners ran further and at higher intensities; basketball players jumped higher; climbers had increased muscle force and power; swimming speed increased for sprinter swimmer; force and accuracy was higher for volleyball players; and tennis players scored more points.

Results from the questionnaire also found that the energy drink group felt stronger, more powerful, and had higher resistance when compared with the placebo group.

The researchers also found, however, that the energy drink group had higher rates of insomnia, nervousness, and level of stimulation when compared with the placebo.

Researchers from Camilo José Cela University in Madrid conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on September 12, 2014, in the British Journal of Nutrition.

There are natural alternatives to energy drinks. Previous studies have shown that goji berry juice, green tea, yerba mate tea, and even vitamin D or a multivitamin supplement can help increase your energy.

October 10, 2014

Yerba Mate May Boost Fat Burning Metabolism During Exercise

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Emma @ 4:21 pm
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

Yerba mate is a tea-like drink traditionally consumed in South American countries. A recent study suggests that consuming yerba mate before working out may boost fat burning metabolism without affecting performance.

Participants in the study included 14 healthy men and women who drank either 1,000 mg of yerba mate or a placebo and then performed a series of exercises of increasing intensity. 

The researchers found that the yerba mate group had a 24% boost in fatty acid oxidation during light and moderate exercise. They also noted increased energy expenditure as a result of the increased fatty acid oxidation in the yerba mate group.

Increases in fatty acid oxidation and energy expenditure during exercise have been shown to increase fat burning metabolism.

The highest increase in effectiveness was seen at the lower intensity levels of exercise. 

Researchers from Sheffield Hallam University and Qatar University conducted the study. It was published on September 2, 2014, in Nutrition & Metabolism.

Yerba mate is high in the antioxidants known as polyphenols; in fact, analysis has shown that it has more antioxidants than green tea. Previous studies have found links between mate and weight loss, mental health, allergy relief, strengthening the heart muscle, improved immune system and better digestion.

October 9, 2014

Beetroot Juice May Help Lower Blood Pressure

Filed under: Food and Nutrition — Sarah @ 5:04 pm
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

Beetroot juice has been making news lately as a potential sport drink alternative; especially since the Auburn University football team started drinking it before games. A recent study suggests that beetroot juice may also be good for lowering systolic blood pressure in overweight mature adults.

Participants in the study included 24 overweight participants who were given either beetroot juice or black currant juice daily for three weeks. The participants were also monitored for a fourth week.

The researchers measured blood pressure using three different methods: resting clinic blood pressure, 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, and home monitoring of daily resting blood pressure. The first two were used at the onset of the study as well as at the end of weeks three and four. Home monitoring occurred daily.

At the three-week mark, there were no changes registered in 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring or resting clinic blood pressure. However, the home monitoring revealed a 1.3 mmHg drop in systolic blood pressure.

Researchers from Newcastle University and University of Hertfordshire conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on September 28, 2014, in the journal Nutrition.

Beetroot juice is packed with nutrients such as folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin B complex, amino acids and calcium. It has been associated in previous studies with lowering blood pressure, improving digestive health, boosting stamina and combating liver problems.

October 8, 2014

Working Long Hours for a Low Wage May Increase Risk of Diabetes

Filed under: Lifestyle — Emma @ 4:42 pm
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

A recent study suggests that people who work for more than 55 hours per week doing manual labor or other low income work are at a 30% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The researchers for this study examined data from four published studies and 19 studies with unpublished data. The studies included a total of 222,120 men and women from the USA, Europe, Japan, and Australia. All of the participants were followed for an average of 7.6 years.

The researchers initially found no overall difference in the risk of developing type-2 diabetes between all participants who worked 35 to 40 hours per week and those who worked more than 55 hours. However, when they grouped the participants by socioeconomic status, they found that people who were working 55 hours or more in low socioeconomic jobs were 30% more likely to develop type-2 diabetes, even after controling for age, sex, and obesity.

Researchers from University College London conducted the study. It was published on September 25, 2014, in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

A healthy diet and regular exercise are very important for reducing the risk of developing diabetes, regardless of a person’s socioeconomic status. Previous studies suggest that the antioxidants found in coffee, a compound called resveratrol that’s found in red wine, and omega-3s found primarily in fish may also help.

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