Search Results for: vitamin D

Apr
01
2008

Eat Your Veggies To Protect Your Eyes

A study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston has shown that nutrition impacts eye health. Over a stretch of 10 years Dr. William Christen followed a group of 35,551 health professionals age 45 and older. They provided him with detailed information about their dietary habits and vitamin supplements-they were permitted to take multivitamin but were requested not to take vitamin A, vitamin E or beta-carotene. None of them had cataracts in the beginning of the study, but 2,031 did develop cataracts during the follow up period. Dr. Christen and his team analyzed the data and found that those individuals who were the highest consumers of carotenoids- individuals with an intake of 6,617 mcg of lutein and zeaxanthin- were 18% less likely to develop cataracts than those who consumed only 1,177 mcg per day. Also, the group that consumed higher amounts of vitamin E (intakes of about 262.4 mg per day) was 14% less likely to develop cataracts. Lutein is a substance that is found in high concentration in eye tissue. It is readily available in many foods, such as green and yellow vegetables, yellow-fleshed fruit and in egg yolks.

Eat Your Veggies To Protect Your Eyes

Eat Your Veggies To Protect Your Eyes

New research from the National eye Institute in Baltimore has also confirmed the benefits of carotenoids for healthy eyes. Lutein and zeaxanthin offer protection against age-related macular degeneration. There is no need to shop for supplements. Just bring on the green vegetables: broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, collard greens, and spinach. Add some corn, the spice saffron and some eggs, and enjoy the taste and the health benefits.

More information about cataracts: http://nethealthbook.com/eye-diseases-and-eye-related-topics/cataract/

Reference: The Medical Post, March 8, 2008, page 25

Last edited November 3, 2014

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Feb
01
2007

Lycopene Benefits Backed By Science

Lately a lot of attention has been directed to the health benefits of vegetables and fruit. Vitamin C has long been an accepted household term, and nobody questions the benefits. Newer buzz words are the terms “bioflavonoids” and “antioxidants”. Some products are aggressively marketed extolling the above named beneficial substances, but often the consumer is left mildly bewildered by exaggerated claims. Often the sale prices of these miracle foods are as lofty as the bold statements that go along with them.
For any shopper it is important to know that some of the most beneficial foods are not high priced items, but very common staples. Take tomatoes, for instance. They are a significant source for the substance lycopene, which lately has received a lot of attention. Lycopene and its dietary sources as well as its benefits have been researched world wide, and the results are now in. It is responsible for the red color in fruit or vegetables, such as tomatoes, and its isomeric form 5-cis-lycopene is the most stable form having the highest antioxidant properties. Common dietary sources are tomatoes, watermelons, pink guava, pink grapefruit, papaya, apricot and other fruit. In the Western diet tomato-based foods account for about 85% of dietary sources of Lycopene. Studies have shown that lycopene is more efficiently absorbed from processed tomato products compared to raw tomatoes. Once it is absorbed it is distributed throughout the body. The highest levels showed up in the testes, the adrenal glands, prostate, breast and liver.
Research going back to 1995 showed an inverse relationship between the consumption of tomatoes and the risk of prostate cancer. A follow up publication in 1999 showed that the same inverse relation of lycopene intake and cancer also included breast, cervical, ovarian, liver and other organ sites. Further studies have followed these initial publications, and the great majority of them suggest that an increased intake of lycopene showed an association with a significant reduction in the risk of many cancers.
Coronary heart disease and lycopene benefits were also examined. The strongest population based evidence comes from a multi center case control study in Europe (EURAMIC). 662 Cases and 717 controls were recruited from 10 different European countries, and there was a significant relationship between levels of lycopene in fatty tissue and the risk of myocardial infarction. Lower lycopene levels were associated with a higher risk of heart attacks.Lycopene was also shown to decrease levels of oxidized LDL (LDL or low density lipoprotein is known as the “bad” cholesterol). Another small study showed that lycopene was reducing total cholesterol levels and as a result was lowering the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).
The list of benefits does not end here: the dietary oxidant reduces oxidative stress and levels of bone turnover markers, meaning that it may contribute to the bone health, especially reducing the risk of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.

Lycopene Benefits Backed By Science

Lycopene Benefits Backed By Science

For people with mild hypertension (high blood pressure), consumption of lycopene resulted in significant reductions of systolic and diastolic blood pressures.
Infertility in males was significantly helped by lycopene intake. In a study infertile man received 8 mg lycopene per day in capsule form. Laboratory tests confirmed an increased sperm density along with functional sperm concentration and mobility. This treatment protocol with lycopene supplementation resulted in a success rate of 36% pregnancies in their partners.
Pregnant women with pre-eclampsia who were treated with lycopene supplement significantly improved, which was shown by decreased diastolic blood pressure, the reduction of pre-eclampsia and a decrease of intrauterine growth retardation, resulting in a healthier mother and baby.
Future research is pending surrounding lycopene in metabolic and inflammatory diseases and in its role of possibly preventing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. Other inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and emphysema will likely also be shown to benefit from lycopene. Preliminary data has already indicated this.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of USA has recently approved lycopene as a safe “natural coloring agent” and a Generally Recognized as a Safe (GRAS) component. The Department of Nutritional Sciences , Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, c/o Dr. A.V. Rao et al. who completed this meta analysis of the recent literature have recommended that we all consume a regular daily lycopene dose in our food and supplements as part of our diet for good health.

More info about lycopene and prostate cancer: http://nethealthbook.com/news/lycopene-reduces-prostate-cancer-risk/

Reference: The Whitehall-Robins Report, December 2006, Volume 15, No.4

Last edited November 2, 2014

Nov
01
2006

Eat Your Salad Greens, But No Spinach

Spinach has traditionally been regarded as a healthy, green leafy vegetable and a valuable source of vitamins and minerals, in particular iron. The tedious chore of cleaning the tender greens and removing soil and sand traces has been taken care of by packinghouses. As a result, the consumer could purchase ready to eat spinach in plastic bags. These greens were a welcome ingredient for spinach salads or other dishes.
Lately all spinach has been recalled from the world’s largest producer of organic produce. Natural Selection Food has recalled a total of 34 brands that were distributed nationwide, and some of which were available also in Canada. Consumers are still being warned not to eat fresh spinach from the U.S., even though there have been no reported cases of ill effects or diseases in Canada itself. Problems have surfaced in September in form of food borne illness in the U.S. The culprit seems to be contamination with E. coli 0157:H7. Food borne illness can be serious. So far there have been 109 cases of illness in the U.S. and possibly two deaths. The worst affected area so far is Wisconsin, where 29 illnesses were reported and one person died of the disease.
As a result of this alert, salad mixes that contained a variety of greens including spinach leaves have also been pulled from the shelf. It should be mentioned that washing the spinach leaves does not make it safe to consume, as the E.coli bacteria stick to the leaves.
While it seems good-bye to spinach leaves for now, it remains important to eat your greens. Researchers at University of California in Los Angeles and colleagues at Louisiana State University analyzed the salad consumption based on the intake of salad, raw vegetables and salad dressing on 9,406 women and 8,282 men. The researchers also found from their studies that daily consumption of salad and raw vegetables is not the norm in any population group and even less prevalent among African Americans.

Eat Your Salad Greens, But No Spinach

Eat Your Salad Greens, But No Spinach

There were data from lab tests on serum nutrient levels, and it showed that consumption of salads was positively associated with above-median serum micronutrient levels of folic acid, vitamin C and E, lycopene, and alpha carotene and beta carotene. All of these nutrients are important for healthy daily functioning. They are weapons that help fight infection, heart disease and cancers. The consumption of salad and raw vegetables remains the most effective strategy for increasing the intake of important nutrients.

Reference: The Medical Post, October 3, 2006, page 21

Here is a follow-up on this story: Apparently the outbreak was caused by a wild boar and by a nearby cattle field:  http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2009/09/meaningful-outbreak-7-dole-spinach-e-coli-outbreak/#.VFaWXPTF-88

More information about food safety: http://nethealthbook.com/health-nutrition-and-fitness/nutrition/food-safety/

Last edited November 2, 2014

Dec
01
2005

Lycopene For Bone Health

The tomato pigment Lycopene in the diet has been demonstrated to be a beneficial agent in reducing age-related diseases, cardio-vascular disease and even prostate cancer. A new aspect has now been investigated.
Consuming more lycopene in the diet is of significant benefit to post-menopausal women, as it reduces oxidative stress and bone turnover. The findings come from head researcher Erin Collins from the University of Toronto. The study results also suggest, that dietary lycopene is readily absorbed, particularly in combination with vitamin C. These results are encouraging, as lycopene may be one of the main agents important for the prevention of osteoporosis.” We found that women who consumed more tomato products on a daily basis had a lower bone turnover and lower oxidative stress than women of the same age group who did not consume as much”, reports Ms. Collins. The participants of the research project were between 50 and 60 years. Lycopene levels in the blood were analyzed, and a seven-day food record was completed. The lowest quartile of estimated lycopene intake was 1.8 mg per day, and the highest was 8 mg per day. Lab tests also showed that higher levels of lycopene were associated with a lower level of protein oxidation and cross-linked N-telopeptides of type I collagen, for short NTx. The latter one is a marker of bone turnover. The intake of vitamin C appeared to work together with lycopene, but it only showed to have a correlation, if 500 mg per day or more of vitamin C was consumed. The effect was not observed among the volunteers who consumed less than 500 mg per day of vitamin C.
An intervention study will begin shortly, which will be the first of its kind. It will assess the bone parameters in women treated with different doses of lycopene pills.

Lycopene For Bone Health

Lycopene For Bone Health

It is likely that follow-up studies will confirm initial findings, and dietary lycopene could become a simple, inexpensive way of helping to prevent osteoporosis.

More information about osteoporosis: http://nethealthbook.com/arthritis/osteoporosis/

Reference: The Medical Post, October 11, 2005, page 8

Last edited October 29, 2014

Nov
01
2005

Exotic Mushrooms Best Source For Antioxidants

Antioxidants provide powerful cellular protection, and several sources are available through food. One of them under the name ergothioneine was known to be available through food sources like wheat germ or chicken liver. The latter is not necessarily a popular choice for a lot of people! However, antioxidants are necessary to protect us from diseases like arthritis, Alzheimers disease and cancer.
Researchers at Penn State have better news in the meantime. Joy Dubost, who led the research team, stated in a recent press release, that exotic mushrooms like shiitake, oyster mushrooms, king oyster or maitake mushrooms contain up to 13 mg of the desirable antioxidant ergothioneine in a typical serving, about 40 times as much as wheat germ.
Consumers who are reluctant to try these varieties and are more used to Portobello mushrooms, crimini mushrooms (brown mushrooms) or even the ubiquitous white mushrooms, still get a good dose of up to 5 mg ergothioneine per serving.

Exotic Mushrooms Best Source For Antioxidants

Exotic Mushrooms Best Source For Antioxidants

Antioxidant levels do not decrease when the mushrooms are cooked.

More information about antioxidants, which  are explained in detail here: http://nethealthbook.com/health-nutrition-and-fitness/nutrition/vitamins-minerals-supplements/

Reference: The Medical Post, September 27, 2005, page 21

Last edited October 29, 2014

Oct
01
2004

Studies Show Ginseng Works

As early as 25 A.D. a medical journal praised ginseng “the imperial herb” because of its nontoxic and rejuvenating properties. In the meantime 16-31% of Americans have consumed ginseng in the hope to increase their health and wellness. It is mostly the root of ginseng, which is used for medical purposes, and it is sold either whole, as a powder, or as a water- or alcohol based extract.
Among the many medically active ingredients, the ginsenosides are the most intensely studied substances.
There are well designed clinical studies which have tested ginseng’s ability to modulate diabetes, heart disease, mental function and physical performance. In the meantime there is enough evidence, which shows that Panax quinquefolius (its botanical name) can reduce blood glucose in individuals with and without type 2 diabetes.
Another study examined ginseng and its influence on blood pressure readings. Patients with type 2 diabetes (adult onset diabetes) who received a dosage of 3 grams daily over a period of 8 weeks achieved a reduction in their blood pressure readings, making it safe to take and also as an adjunct in the management of blood pressure.

Cognitive performance may be influenced positively by ginseng, however it is dependent on the dose, which is used. A lower dose of 200 mg reduced the mental performance, whereas a dose of 400 mg significantly improved accuracy in a demanding test.
Ginseng has not found to be effective to improve physical performance or be a weapon against fatigue.
In a 12- week trial patients received ginseng as a general supplement together with multivitamins or multivitamins alone. Ginseng significantly improved the quality of life, which could not be achieved with multivitamins alone.

Studies Show Ginseng Works

Studies Show Ginseng Works

Taking all the findings together, it is evident, that ginseng has beneficial properties for patients with diabetes, and it is also useful to improve cognitive function. Ginseng may reduce blood pressure readings, but more studies are needed. The blood pressure reducing effect seems marginal and ginseng, if taken for this purpose, should be used only as an adjunctive treatment along with the regular medication. As far as physical performance is concerned, it seems to be of little use. It does not show any interaction with prescription drugs, and for this reason it can be considered safe for general use.

More info on:

Diabetes: http://nethealthbook.com/hormones/diabetes/type-2-diabetes/

Heart disease: http://nethealthbook.com/cardiovascular-disease/heart-disease/

Alzheimer’s disease: http://nethealthbook.com/neurology-neurological-disease/alzheimers-dementia-and-delirium/

Reference: The Whitehall-Robins Report, September 2004, Vol.13,No.3

Last edited Oct. 27, 2014

May
01
2004

Sugar And Starchy Foods Cause Colorectal Cancer

A study from the Harvard University involving 38,000 women and having been started in 1993 has surprised the researchers. They wanted to find out whether there were certain foods that may cause colon and rectal cancer. So they administered a “food-frequency” questionnaire with 131 questions to women 45 years or older who entered into the study. Such factors as low-dose aspirin, vitamin E and beta-carotene were included in the questionnaire as was the exact food composition for the year prior to enrolment into the study.

A sugar load (glycemic load) was calculated. This way the impact of various sugar and starch containing foods could be assessed and compared among different subgroups regarding the later development of cancer in the colon and rectum.
When Dr. Susan Higginbotham and Dr. Simin Liu analyzed the diets of the 174 patients who did develop cancer (26 rectal cancers, 148 colon cancers) they found that the women with the highest sugar and starch load were 3 times more likely to develop cancer than the controls with a low glycemic load. High glycemic load foods are candy, cakes, cookies; any other refined flour products including white bread, pasta, French fries and baked potatoes. Together with other literature in this field the authors of this study concluded that the high glycemic food load leads to increased insulin levels in the blood as well as insulin-like growth factors. This in turn leads to cell division in normal and cancerous cells including the lining of the colon and rectum. In addition it is known that the C-reactive protein promotes an inflammatory response that will lead to heart attacks and to cancer.

Sugar And Starchy Foods Cause Colorectal Cancer

Sugar And Starchy Foods Cause Colorectal Cancer

Dr. Bob Bruce from the University of Toronto has shown in his research on colon cancer that insulin and related factors are important in the promotion of this cancer. He commented regarding the Harvard study reviewed here that more research is required before the exact cause of cancer of the colon and rectum would be understood. This knowledge is required before more effective preventative measures can be found other than a simple reduction of sugar and starch in the foods we eat.

Based on the Feb.4 edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (U.S.) and the National Review of Medicine (Canada) March 15, 2004.

More info about Colorectal cancer can be found through this link.

Last edited October 26, 2014

Jul
01
2003

Food And Mood

“Food affects your mood” is the heading of an article by Dr.Susan Biali (practising family physician with a degree in dietetics) in the June 24, 2003 edition of The Medical Post (page 24). According to her there is good evidence in the medical literature to indicate that a number of biologically active brain hormones depend on what we eat. There are 5 major items that she pointed out, which I summarized below in tabular form.

The medical literature points to the importance of these various food factors to allow us to have a balanced brain metabolism. When these ingredients are present our mood is more likely to be normal with more resilience to depression.

The literature centers around various population groups in comparison with the North American population. For instance, in an article of the Dec. 2000 issue of Psychiatric Clinics of North America a study was reported that found that Taiwanese and Chinese people consume a lot more omega-3 fatty acid rich foods such as fish than North Americans.

In the same study the rate of major depression was found to be 10-times more frequent in North Americans and the investigators felt that this was so because of the brain hormone stabilizing effect of the omega-3 fatty acids. Other researchers suggest that chronic stress might lead to a depletion of omega-3 fatty acids in the brain through an oxydation process, which eventually results in depression.

Food And Mood

Food And Mood

Several nutritional factors appear to have caused deficiency states of essential brain nutrients, one being the junk foods like candy bars, French fries, hamburgers etc. leading to a dysbalance of the omega-6 fatty acid to omega-3 fatty acid ratio. Another factor is the increase of consumption of highly refined carbohydrates (sugar and starch), often also called high glycemic foods. This is known to lead to the metabolic syndrome, also called syndrome of insulin resistance. Finally many people still have too much fat in their diets with a high amount of hydrogenated vegetable oils (see link). It is also important to note that folate, Vit. B6 and Vit.B12 are required for prevention of hardening of the arteries by lowering homocysteine levels.

Brain food components that affect your mood
Food item: Comments:
omega-3-fatty acids Chinese and Taiwanese eat much more of these and have 10 times less depression than North Americans
DHA, a long-chain omega-3-fatty acid our daily intake is 100mg less per day than 50 years ago due to our diet being based on commercial livestock; lack of DHA leads to depression
too much
omega-6-arachidonic acid in “junk foods”
ratio of
omega-6 to omega-3 arachidonic acid has increased from fast food consumption; this
leads to depression
folate and Vit.B12 deficiency associated with depression
tryptophan
an essential amino acid that is needed to make serotonin, a brain hormone without
which we experience depression

So what is “brain food” ? Dr. Biali pointed out in her article that it is always best to start with a low fat, well balanced food plan where junk foods are avoided and where vegetables and fruit provide the low to medium glycemic index carbohydrates. Fish should be eaten at least three times per week to provide the brain with the essential omega-3 fatty acids.

It is probably not recommendable to take tryptophan as a supplement: in 1989 several fatalities occurred from impurities in commercial tryptophan and many researchers are concerned about dysbalancing the network of brain hormones by giving an overdose of only one amino acid, but not giving enough of the others. It is much safer to simply eat enough protein (meat, soy protein, milk products) and the body can pick and choose what it needs in terms of amino acids including tryptophan. With folates one needs to be careful not to exceed 0.8 mg per day as with mega-doses of folate in the 15 mg range toxic symptoms of vivid dreams, disturbed sleep patterns and even occasional seizures developped. A good multivitamin supplement will not only provide the right folate dose, but also Vit. B12, which is also needed to prevent depression.

Last edited December 9, 2012

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Nov
01
2002

New Research Shows That Coffee Drinking Is Healthy

Forget what somebody may have whispered into your ear in the past,namely that coffee drinking would be bad for you. Dr. Rob M. van Dam and Dr.Edith J. M. Feskens from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in Bilthoven, theNetherlands, have recently completed a prospective study with a large number of participants.

The results were published in the Lancet 2002;360:1477-1478. The goal of the study was to see whether coffee consumption would have a positive or negative effect on the development of diabetes (type 2 or mature onset diabetes). Approximately 17,000 men and women were followed along over a period of time and 306 new cases of diabetes were detected. The average consumption of coffee was 5 cups per day. There was a striking difference between those who drank 7 cups of coffee per day and those who drank 2 cups or less per day: With 7 cups per day there was a 50 % LESSER risk of developing diabetes. The authors pointed out that it is known that some of the active ingredients in coffee are: the bioflavonoids, chlorogenic acid, the minerals magnesium and potassium, and vitamin B3.

New Research Shows That Coffee Drinking Is Healthy

New Research Shows That Coffee Drinking Is Healthy

Chlorogenic acid and magnesium have been known in the past to have a stabilizing effect on glucose metabolism thus preventing diabetes.The authors were surprised though about the magnitude of the diabetes protective effect. They suggested that
other authors should do further studies to confirm their findings and to attempt to pinpoint the mechanism of action. In the meantime they cautioned that it would be premature to recommend to increase coffee consumption for everybody.

Useful related link to a chapter of my free Internet based Nethealthbook: http://nethealthbook.com/health-nutrition-and-fitness/

Last edited October 25, 2014