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Weekly Wellness News Wrap - 12/31/2022

Study Finds Smoking May Have Negative Effect On Cognitive Health

Cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, at least 69 of which have been identified as a possible cause of cancer.. Smoking may also increase the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and gum disease. Now a new study suggests that smoking may increase the risk of subjective cognitive decline.

For their study, the researchers used data from the 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. The data included 136,018 adults over the age of 45. A survey was used to gather information about subjective cognitive decline and smoking habits.

Participants in the study who were currently smokers had a 1.9 times higher risk of subjective cognitive decline compared to nonsmokers. Participants who had quit less than 10 years before the study had a 1.5 times higher risk of subjective cognitive decline compared to nonsmokers.

Participants who had quit smoking more than 10 years before the study had only a slightly higher risk of subjective cognitive decline compared to nonsmokers.

The study was conducted by researchers from Ohio State University. It was published online ahead of print on November 9, 2022 in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

A previous study found that a single dose of ashwagandha may support cognitive function.

article 2Alpha-Carotene May Help Protect Against Muscle Strength Loss

Oxidative stress is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body, which can lead to cell and tissue damage. Previous studies have found a link between increased oxidative stress and muscle strength loss as the body ages. According to a new study, higher intake of alpha-carotene may help protect against age-related muscle strength loss.

Researchers from the Federal University of Uberlandia recruited 1,172 participants between the ages of 50 and 85 for their study. Serum antioxidant levels of vitamin E, retinol, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein/zeaxanthin combination and trans-lycopene were assessed. Muscle strength was evaluated using peak isokinetic knee extensor strength.

Higher serum alpha-carotene levels were found to be associated with increased muscle strength. Alpha-carotene is a precursor to creating vitamin A in the body. Foods high in alpha-carotene include pumpkin, carrots, tangerines, tomatoes, and avocados.

No association was found between beta-carotene, lutein/zeaxanthin combination or trans-lycopene and increased muscle strength was found.

The study was published online ahead of print on December 1, 2022 in the journal Nutrients.

Fish oil combined with resistance training was found to help protect against age-related muscle loss.

article 4Ashwagandha Root May Help Support Female Sexual Health

Ashwagandha is an evergreen shrub that grows in Asia and Africa. It is also called Indian ginseng and has been used in traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. A new study has found that ashwagandha root extract may help support female sexual health.

Researchers from the D Y Patil University School of Medicine recruited 80 women between 18 and 50 for their study. All reported having little to no sex drive, known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). They were given 600 mg of ashwagandha root extract or a placebo daily for 8 weeks.

Sexual function was assessed at baseline, week 4, and week 8 using the Female Sexual Function Index, the Female Sexual Distress Scale, and the Satisfying Sexual Encounters Assessment.

Statistically significant improvement was seen in the Female Sexual Function Index scores of participants in the ashwagandha group compared to the placebo group. This improvement was seen in all sub-scales including desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, sexual satisfaction, and pain.

The ashwagandha group also saw greater improvements in Female Sexual Distress Scale scores and Satisfying Sexual Encounters scores compared to the placebo group.

The study was published online ahead of print on October 28, 2022 in the journal Cureus.

In a previous study, fenugreek was found to help improve libido in women.

article 4Probiotic-Enhanced Yogurt May Provide Immune System Health Benefits

Probiotics are made up of the good bacteria that can help keep the body healthy and are often associated with digestive health benefits. A recent study has found that consuming a probiotic-enriched yogurt may provide immune system health benefits.

Participants in the study included 193 adults with an average age of 44. Half consumed a yogurt drink containing 9 billion CFUs of Lactobacillus paragasseri SBT2055 daily for 12 weeks. The other half consumed a placebo yogurt.

Participants completed a daily physical health questionnaire used to assess symptoms of the common cold including runny nose, plugged nose, sneezing, sore throat, hoarseness, cough, headache, feeling tired, and fever. Saliva samples were used to measure levels of immune system biomarkers.

The probiotic yogurt group saw significantly less severity of all the common cold symptoms that were assessed compared to the placebo group. They also had higher levels of immune system biomarkers compared to the placebo group, but the increase wasn’t significant. 

The study was conducted by researchers from the Nihonbashi Cardiology Clinic. It was published online ahead of print on December 8, 2022 in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition.

Prebiotic fiber was found to help reduce common cold symptoms in a previous study.

article 4Tocotrienol & Resveratrol May Help Support Cardiometabolic Health

Cardiometabolic health refers to a combination of factors that affect cardiovascular and metabolic health. These include waist circumference and cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. A new study suggests that a supplement containing delta-tocotrienol and resveratrol may be useful to help maintain cardiometabolic health. 

Participants in the study included 82 adults between ages 18 and 60, who were struggling with cardiometabolic health. They were given a supplement containing 250 mg of delta-tocotrienol and 150 mg of resveratrol or a placebo twice daily for 24 weeks.

The researchers assessed cardiometabolic risk factors at baseline and at the end of the study period, including blood pressure, waist circumference, fasting blood glucose, triglycerides, and cholesterol. They also assessed markers of inflammation and oxidative stress.

The delta-tocotrienol/resveratrol group experienced improvements in blood pressure, waist circumference, fasting blood glucose, triglyceride levels, and cholesterol levels compared to the placebo group.

They also saw improvements in markers of inflammation and oxidative stress, and total antioxidant capacity.

The study was conducted by researchers from the National University of Medical Sciences. It was published online ahead of print on September 20, 2022 in the journal Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders.

Supplementation with ginseng was found to support cardiometabolic health in a previous study.

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