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March 13, 2015

Vitamin D Plus Omega-3s May Boost Serotonin Levels

Filed under: Omega-3,Vitamin D — Sarah @ 5:32 pm
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

A recent study suggests that taking vitamin D and omega-3s supplements together may help cognitive function and social behavior, especially in people who have ADHD, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.

Working with the knowledge that low serotonin levels exacerbate the conditions listed above, the researchers examined how vitamin D and omega-3s may affect them. They found that serotonin synthesis, release, and function in the brain are all modulated by vitamin D and EPA and DPA omega-3s, the two fatty acids that come from marine life.

They also noted that 70% of adults and 67% of children between the ages of one and eleven are vitamin D deficient, even when you take fortification and supplementation into account.

The researchers suggest that more studies should be done to determine optimal levels of vitamin D and omega-3s to help with these cognitive and behavioral disorders.  They also believe that they may be a potential a side effect-free alternative to serotonin-boosting prescription medications.

Researchers from the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on February 24, 2015, in The FASEB Journal.

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.

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.



March 10, 2015

Supplementation with Fatty Acids May Enhance Weight Loss

Filed under: Omega-3 — Sarah @ 4:20 pm
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

While adopting a reduced calorie diet is a good approach to weight loss, there are also supplements that studies have found further enhance the weight loss process.  A recent study suggests that alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) supplements, taken with and without EPA fatty acid, may help obese and overweight women who are following a reduced calorie diet to lose weight.

Participants in the study included 97 overweight or obese women who followed a reduced calorie diet. Additionally, they were split into four treatments:

  • control group taking no supplements;
  • 1.3 grams of EPA daily;
  • 0.3 grams of ALA daily;
  • EPA and ALA.

The study period lasted for ten weeks and 77 women completed the study.

At the conclusion of the study, the control group lost an average of 11.7 lbs following just the reduced calorie diet. The EPA-only group lost an average 11.9 lbs. The ALA-only group lost an average 15.4 lbs, while the EPA plus ALA group lost an average 14.3 lbs.

The control and ALA-only group also showed lower levels of leptin. However, when EPA was combined with ALA, the leptin levels returned to normal. Leptin is the satiety hormone that tells the body when it is full.  It tends to decrease during weight loss.

Researchers from the University of Navarra conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on December 31, 2014, in the journal Obesity.

Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that previous studies have linked with improvements in symptoms of diabetes. It can be found in yeast, liver, kidney, spinach, broccoli, and potatoes

There are two types of omega-3 fatty acids that come from fish: EPA and DHA. This study looked specifically at EPA. 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 DHA and EPA omega-3s.

If you don’t like fish or you’re worried about the high mercury levels found in some fish, consider taking a daily high quality supplement that has been tested for purity and potency.



January 22, 2015

Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Oils May Improve Biomarkers Associated With Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome

Filed under: Omega-3 — Emma @ 8:06 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

A recent study suggests that a combination of borage and echium oils or fish oil may improve cholesterol levels and improve blood biomarkers in people with type-2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

Participants in the study included 59 people with early-stage type-2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome. Over the course of eight weeks they underwent one of three interventions:

1. a control in the form of corn oil;

2. a combination of borage and echium oils;

3. fish oil supplements.

At the conclusion of the study, the borage/echium oils group had a decrease in total cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Total cholesterol dropped from 182.0 to 171.9 mg/dL and LDL cholesterol dropped from 106.3 to 96.8 mg/dL.

The fish oil group had increases in HDL (or “good”) cholesterol from 40.7 mg/dL to 53.6 mg/dL. They also showed a decrease in triglycerides from 187.2 to 156.8 mg/dL. The fish oil group also had decreases in the hemoglobin A1c test, which measures how well diabetes is being controlled.

Researchers from Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina conducted the study. It was published on December 16, 2014, in Lipids in Health and Disease.

Fish oil and the omega-3s have 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.

Borage oil contains omega-6 fatty acids gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), linoleic acid (LA), as well as relatively high levels of oleic acid. Previous studies have linked it with easing skin disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, PMS, ADHD, and inflammation. It can be purchased as oil or eaten in salad or soups.

Previous studies have linked echium oil with improved immunity and lower inflammation, as well as lower risk of a cardiac event. It is especially important for vegetarians and vegans, who don’t eat fish or eggs and therefore do not get enough essential EPA and DHA omega-3s through their diet.



November 24, 2014

Higher PUFA Levels Associated With Stronger Muscles

Filed under: Omega-3 — Sarah @ 2:40 pm
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

As we age, it becomes harder for our bodies to create and maintain strong muscles. A recent study suggests that increasing levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) such as omega 3s may be associated with larger muscles and further knee extension in mature adults.

Participants in the study included 836 adults between the ages of 66 and 96. The researchers followed them for an average of 5.2 years. The researchers measured PUFA levels at the onset of the study.

After testing various measures of muscle size and strength, the researchers found that higher PUFA levels at the beginning of the study period were associated with both bigger muscles and further knee extension strength. When they looked at individual PUFAs, they discovered an association between higher levels of arachnidonic acid and smaller muscles, while higher levels of alpha-linolenic acids (ALA) were associated with greater knee extension strength.

Additionally, higher levels of alpha-linolenic acid were associated with lower levels of intermuscular fat tissue. Higher levels of EPA, however, were associated with higher levels of intermuscular fat tissue. Previous studies have shown an association between high levels of intermuscular fat tissue and lower muscle strength.

Researchers from the US National Institute on Aging, the VU University Medical Center in the Netherlands, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Icelandic Heart Association Research Institute, and the University of Iceland conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on October 29, 2014, in The Journal of Nutrition.

Omega-3s are a great source of PUFAs. They have been linked to a number of health benefits, including alleviating arthritis pain, improved mood, improved joint mobility, helping with age related macular degeneration, 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.

Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that previous studies have linked with improvements in symptoms of diabetes. It can be found in yeast, liver, kidney, spinach, broccoli, and potatoes.



November 14, 2014

Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Reduce Nicotine Cravings

Filed under: Omega-3 — Sarah @ 9:19 am
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

Cigarette smoking reduces the levels of omega-3 in the brain. Omega-3 deficiency makes it harder for the smoker’s body to overcome it’s craving for another cigarette. A recent study suggests that omega-3 supplements may reduce nicotine cravings, and may help smokers reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke.

Participants in the study included 48 smokers between the ages of 18 and 45 who smoked at least 10 cigarettes per day during the previous year and an average of 14 per day at the beginning of the study. The average age they started smoking was under 18 and the average age at the time of the study was 29, which means they had been smoking for an average of 11 years.

Over the course of thirty days, half of the group took five omega-3 capsules that contained 2710 mg of EPA and 2040 mg of DHA while the other half took a placebo.

The researchers measured levels of nicotine cravings and cigarette consumption including lack of control over tobacco use, anticipation of relief and satisfaction from smoking, and number of cigarettes smoked each day. These were assessed by asking the participants to not smoke for two hours and then exposing them to smoking-related images at the beginning of the study, after 30 days, and after 60 days (30 days after treatment ended).

The researchers found no difference between the omega-3 and the placebo group at the beginning of the study. However, at the thirty-day mark, the supplement group had reduced their cigarette consumption by an average of two per day (11% decrease), even though they hadn’t been asked to change their habits. They also had noticeable reductions in nicotine cravings. At the 60-day mark, 30 days after finishing the treatment, there was a slight increase in nicotine cravings but it was still significantly lower than pre-treatment levels.

The placebo group showed no changes.

Researchers from the University of Haifa in Israel conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on June 4, 2014, in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

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 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 1, 2014

Fish Oil May Improve Heart Health

Filed under: Omega-3 — Sarah @ 4:25 pm
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

A recent study suggests that taking fish oil supplements may help improve endothelial health. The endothelium are the cells lining our blood vessels and poor endothelial health has been linked with a higher risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Participants in the study included 84 people with a genetic profile that put them at moderate risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Over the course of eight weeks, they took either 1.5 grams of fish oil containing 0.9 grams of EPA and 0.6 grams of DHA or a placebo. All of the participants then underwent an eight-week washout period before switching interventions.

At the conclusion of the study, the fish oil group showed an average 126.5 increase in endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs – a marker of good endothelial function). In comparison, the placebo group had a 5.17 increase. The researchers also noted in the fish oil group an average 8.75 decrease in endothelial microparticles (EMPs – endothelial microparticles – high numbers of which can indicate disease). The placebo group had an average decrease of 2.74.

Researchers from the University of Reading in the UK conducted the study. It was published in the November 2014 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Fish oil and the omega-3s it contains have also been linked to numerous 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.



September 22, 2014

Eating More Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Fish May Lower the Risk of Hearing Loss

Filed under: Omega-3 — Sarah @ 4:58 pm
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

Hearing loss is a very common and often debilitating health problem that comes with aging. Researchers are beginning to identify potentially modifiable risk factors that may prevent or delay acquired hearing loss. A recent study suggests that eating two or more servings of fish per week may lower the risk of developing hearing loss in women.

Participants in the study included 65,215 women who took part in the Nurses’ Health Study II, which took place from 1991 to 2009 and had a total of 1,038,093 person-years of follow-up. Consumption of types of fish, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and self-reported incidences of hearing loss were recorded. During the follow-up, 11,606 women developed hearing loss.

When researchers examined the correlation between fish consumption and hearing loss, they found that the women who consumed two or more servings per week were 20% less likely to develop hearing loss compared with those who rarely consumed fish.

The researchers also looked at consumption of specific types of fish and found that eating more of any type of fish was inversely associated with the risk of developing hearing loss. Additionally, higher consumption of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids was inversely associated with risk.

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on September 10, 2014, in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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.



September 16, 2014

Omega-3 Supplementation May Help Reduce Behavioral Problems in Children

Filed under: Omega-3 — Emma @ 3:53 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

Behavioral issues such as aggression and anti-social behavior can be a huge problem for elementary-aged children, most often treated with therapy and prescription drugs. A recent study suggests that high-dose omega-3 supplementation could reduce anti-social behavior in children while also changing parental attitudes toward the children.

Participants in the study included 200 children between the ages of 8 and 16 with behavioral issues. Over the course of six months, half of the group was given a juice drink containing 1000 mg of omega-3s (300 mg DHA, 200 mg EPA, 400 mg ALA, and 100 mg DPA) while the other half was given a placebo.

Six months after the conclusion of the study, the researchers found a 41.6% reduction in parent-rated child externalized behavior problems. Additionally, a 68.4% reduction in childhood depression was observed.

The researchers also found that anti-social behavior on the part of the caregivers was reduced when the children were given omega-3s.

The researchers highlighted the fact that the changes were not observed immediately after the end of the six-month treatment period but rather six months later. They noted that more than half of the positive results – 60.9% – seen here were due to a change in the parents’ attitudes. They believe this change in parental attitude can be attributed to the fact that the children were easier to deal with, and put less stress on the parents.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on August 22, 2014, in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

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.



September 8, 2014

Omega-3s Combined With Sterols May Help Reduce Cholesterol, Trigylcerides

Filed under: Omega-3 — Sarah @ 3:26 pm
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

According to the WHO, approximately 40% of adults over the age of 25 worldwide have high triglyceride concentrations. A recent study suggests that taking low dose omega-3s in combination with plant sterols may reduce both cholesterol and triglyceride levels in people with high cholesterol. 

Participants in the study included 332 adults with high cholesterol. Over the course of four weeks, they were given 2.5 grams of sterols with varying levels of omega-3s (0, 0.9, 1.3, and 1.8 grams of EPA and DHA).

In the 314 people who completed the study, the researchers noted lower triglyceride levels that ranged from 9.3% to 16.2%, compared with the control group.  The participants that received the highest level of omega-3s had the biggest reduction. Additionally, LDL cholesterol levels were lowered by 11.5% and 14.7%, when compared with the control group.  These results were also dosage dependent.

Researchers from Unilever Research and Development in the Netherlands and Food Files in Sweden conducted the study. It was published on August 13, 2014, in The Journal of Nutrition.

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. For vegans like the ones in this study or for folks who just don’t like fish, consider taking a daily high quality non-fish supplement that has been tested for purity and potency.

Plant sterols have previously been shown to reduce cholesterol, sometimes by as much as 17%. They can be found in small quantities in fruits, vegetables, vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, cereals and legumes. There are also a number of foods that are fortified with plant sterols, such as spreads, mayonnaise, orange juice and granola bars.

Eating a balanced, healthy diet is a great way to protect your heart against cardiovascular heart disease, but if you think you’re not meeting your goals, consider adding a daily supplement to your routine.



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