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October 24, 2014

Low Testosterone and Type-2 Diabetes May Increase Risk of Atherosclerosis

Filed under: Lifestyle — Emma @ 3:52 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

A recent study suggests that men who have low testosterone and Type-2 diabetes are at a greater risk of developing atherosclerosis than men who have diabetes but have normal testosterone levels. Atherosclerosis is a condition where plaque builds up in the arteries and inhibits blood flow.

Participants in the study included 115 men with Type 2 diabetes. They were all younger than 70 and had no history of heart disease. The researchers measured testosterone levels and atherosclerotic markers including intimal media thickening of the layers in the carotid artery, the presence of atherosclerotic plaques, function of the endothelial cells, and inflammatory markers.

They found that the men who had both low testosterone levels and Type 2 diabetes were six times more likely to have increased thickness of the carotid artery and endothelial dysfunction when compared with those who had normal testosterone levels. Fifty-four percent of the participants with low testosterone were found to be at higher risk for vascular disease, compared to only 10% of those with normal testosterone.

Researchers from the Hospital Universitario Sanatorio Guemes in Buenos Aires conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on October 16, 2014 in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Atherosclerosis has been linked with blood clots and burst arteries as fats, cholesterol, and other harmful substances build up there. While maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly are the best ways to ward of atherosclerosis, previous studies suggest that supplements of CoQ10, aged garlic, and ashwagandha may all help as well.



October 23, 2014

Muscle Loss May Be Slowed With HMB, Leucine and Exercise

Filed under: Exercise — Sarah @ 8:57 pm
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

Sarcopoenia is the degenerative loss of skeletal muscle mass, muscle quality and muscle strength that occurs with advancing age. While muscle loss is a natural part of aging, there are steps that can be taken to reduce it. Researchers suggest that a combination of resistance exercise, HMB and essential amino acids may help people maintain muscle health.

For their analysis, the researchers examined PubMed and Dialog medical research databases for studies published between January 2000 and October 2013. They measured the prevalence of sarcopenia, as well as the efficacy of physical interventions and nutritional supplementation in improving the symptoms of sarcopenia.

They found that resistance training was effective at improving muscle strength and physical performance. They also found that nutritional supplementation with leucine and HMB may improve muscle parameters.

Based on their findings, the researchers recommend supervised resistance exercise and supplements of essential amino acids with leucine and HMB to help people maintain muscle mass as they get older.

Researchers from the European Union Geriatric Medicine Society conducted this study. It was published on September 21, 2013, in the journal Age and Ageing.

Leucine is an essential amino acid that stimulates skeletal muscle protein synthesis, which starts the muscle building process. It is not, however, the only nutritional supplement that can help build muscle. Previous studies suggest that diary protein and creatine (which is found in red meat and supplemental form) may help as well.

HMB is a metabolite of the amino acid leucine. Recent studies have found that it may reduce the risk of sarcopenia and help support physical strength and functionality.



October 22, 2014

Curcumin May Improve Cognition and Mood in Mature Adults

Filed under: Curcumin — Emma @ 4:17 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

Memory, attention, and energy all start to decline as we get older. A recent study suggests that taking curcumin supplements may improve attention, fatigue, and working memory in mature adults.

Participants in the study included 60 healthy people between the ages of 60 and 85 who were given either 80 mg of curcumin or a placebo every day for four weeks. One hour after taking the supplements, the researchers tested attention and working memory and found that the curcumin group showed improvements in both.

Working memory and fatigue were also improved in the curcumin group following four weeks of supplementation. The curcumin group experienced an average 1.82% decrease in fatigue following a mental challenge, while the placebo group had a 17% increase in fatigue. Additionally, measures of calmness and contentedness were higher in the curcumin group.

Researchers from the University of Melbourne conducted the study. It was published on October 2, 2014, in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

Curcumin has been used in folk remedies for years to ease menstrual cramping, help heal wounds, and to improve the appearance of skin. Recent studies have suggested that it may also protect against prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and arthritis. All of these benefits are attributed to the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin.



October 21, 2014

Dairy Protein May Improve Muscle Synthesis in Healthy Men

Filed under: Exercise — Emma @ 3:12 pm
Emma
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.



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