Low vitamin E levels associated with physical decline in elderly

Researchers at Yale School of Medicine have found that a low concentration of vitamin E in the blood is linked with physical decline in older persons.

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Why fish oil is good for you

It’s good news that we are living longer, but bad news that the longer we live, the better our odds of developing late-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Many Alzheimer’s researchers have long touted fish oil, by pill or diet, as an accessible and inexpensive “weapon” that may delay or prevent this debilitating disease. Now, UCLA scientists have confirmed that fish oil is indeed a deterrent against Alzheimer’s, and they have identified the reasons why.

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Lipoic acid could reduce atherosclerosis, weight gain

A new study done with mice has discovered that supplements of lipoic acid can inhibit formation of arterial lesions, lower triglycerides, and reduce blood vessel inflammation and weight gain – all key issues for addressing cardiovascular disease.

Although the results cannot be directly extrapolated beyond the laboratory, researchers report that “they strongly suggest that lipoic acid supplementation may be useful as an inexpensive but effective intervention strategy . . . reducing known risk factors for the development of atherosclerosis and other inflammatory vascular diseases in humans.”

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Zinc may reduce pneumonia risk in nursing home elderly

When elderly nursing home residents contract pneumonia, it is a blow to their already fragile health. Simin Nikbin Meydani, DVM, PhD of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University and colleagues report that maintaining normal serum zinc concentration in the blood may help reduce the risk of pneumonia development in that population.

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Green tea boosts production of detox enzymes, rendering cancerous chemicals harmless

Concentrated chemicals derived from green tea dramatically boosted production of a group of key detoxification enzymes in people with low levels of these beneficial proteins, according to researchers at Arizona Cancer Center.

These findings, published in the August issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, suggest that a green tea concentrate might help some people strengthen their metabolic defense against toxins capable of causing cancer.

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Selenium supplements may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes

Selenium, an antioxidant included in multivitamin tablets thought to have a possible protective effect against the development of type 2 diabetes, may actually increase the risk of developing the disease, an analysis by researchers at the University at Buffalo has shown.

Results of a randomized clinical trial using 200 micrograms of selenium alone showed that 55 percent more cases of type 2 diabetes developed among participants randomized to receive selenium than in those who received a placebo pill.

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Omega-3 fatty acids protect eyes against retinopathy

Increasing intake of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, found in popular fish-oil supplements, may protect against blindness resulting from abnormal blood vessel growth in the eye, according to a study published online by the journal Nature Medicine on June 24. The study was done in mice, but a clinical trial at Children’s Hospital Boston will soon begin testing the effects of omega-3 supplementation in premature babies, who are at risk for vision loss.

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Soy nuts may improve blood pressure in postmenopausal women

Substituting soy nuts for other protein sources in a healthy diet appears to lower blood pressure in postmenopausal women, and also may reduce cholesterol levels in women with high blood pressure, according to a report in the May 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
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Fish oil plus exercise may banish body fat

People looking to shed body fat might want to follow their workouts with a few capsules of fish oil, if preliminary research is correct.

In a study of overweight adults, Australian researchers found that a combination of exercise and fish oil supplements was effective at reducing body fat and improving cholesterol levels and blood vessel function.

Study participants who took fish oil, alone or with exercise, saw their levels of “good” HDL cholesterol go up, while their triglycerides (an unhealthy form of blood fat) took a dip. Meanwhile, both exercise and fish oil seemed to cut body fat.

Read rest of the story at Yahoo News

Alpha Lipoic acid explored as an anti-aging compound

Researchers said today they have identified the mechanism of action of lipoic acid, a remarkable compound that in animal experiments appears to slow down the process of aging, improve blood flow, enhance immune function and perform many other functions.
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Higher intake of fish and vitamin D levels linked to lower risk of age-related macular disease

Individuals who have higher dietary intake of foods with omega-3 fatty acids and higher fish consumption have a reduced risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration, while those with higher serum levels of vitamin D may have a reduced risk of the early stages of the disease, according to two reports in the May issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
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Pomegranate Juice May Help Fight Lung Cancer

Researchers are adding to the list of cancer types for which pomegranates seem to halt growth. A recent study at the University of Wisconsin–Madison using a mouse model shows that consuming pomegranates could potentially help reduce the growth and spread of lung cancer cells or even prevent lung cancer from developing.
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Antioxidant found in many foods and red wine is potent and selective killer of leukemia cells

A naturally occurring compound found in many fruits and vegetables as well as red wine, selectively kills leukemia cells in culture while showing no discernible toxicity against healthy cells, according to a study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. These findings, which were published online March 20 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry and will be in press on May 4, offer hope for a more selective, less toxic therapy for leukemia.
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Omega-3 fatty acid may help prevent Alzheimer’s brain lesions

A type of omega-3 fatty acid may slow the growth of two brain lesions that are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease, UC Irvine scientists have discovered. The finding suggests that diets rich in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can help prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease later in life.

This study with genetically modified mice is the first to show that DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, can slow the accumulation of tau, a protein that leads to the development of neurofibrillary tangles. Such tangles are one of two signature brain lesions of Alzheimer’s disease. DHA also was found to reduce levels of the protein beta amyloid, which can clump in the brain and form plaques, the other Alzheimer’s lesion.
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Chemists develop new method for synthesizing anti-cancer flavonoids

Flavonoids. You’ve heard of them — the good-for-your-health compounds found in plants that we enjoy in red wine, dark chocolate, green tea and citrus fruits. Mother Nature is an ace at making them, producing different ones by the thousands, but no chemist has figured out a good way to synthesize a special class of these chemicals in the laboratory. Until now.

Karl Scheidt, assistant professor of chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University, and his research team have synthesized 10 different flavanones, a type of flavonoid, using a new general method they developed that takes advantage of one simple catalyst.
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Blueberries contain chemical that may help prevent colon cancer

A compound found in blueberries shows promise of preventing colon cancer in animals, according to a joint study by scientists at Rutgers University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The compound, pterostilbene, is a potent antioxidant that could be developed into a pill with the potential for fewer side effects than some commercial drugs that are currently used to prevent the disease. Colon cancer is considered the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, the researchers say.
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Dietary copper may ease heart disease

Including more copper in your everyday diet could be good for your heart, according to scientists at the University of Louisville Medical Center and the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center. Their studies show that giving copper supplements to mice eased the stress on their over-worked hearts by preventing heart enlargement. The study will be published online on March 5th in The Journal of Experimental Medicine.
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Plant-sourced food, vitamin intake associated with lower risk of endometrial cancer

A report published in the April 15, 2007 issue of the International Journal of Cancer described the finding of a study funded by the National Cancer Institute that a greater intake of calories, attributable to a higher proportion of animal-sourced protein and fat, is associated with an increased risk of endometrial (uterine) cancer, and plant sources of these nutrients as well as vitamins A, C and E, beta-carotene, fiber and vitamin supplements are associated with a decreased risk.
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New studies back vitamin D for cancer prevention

Two new vitamin D studies using a sophisticated form of analysis called meta-analysis, in which data from multiple reports is combined, have revealed new prescriptions for possibly preventing up to half of the cases of breast cancer and two-thirds of the cases of colorectal cancer in the United States.
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Does inhibiting a component of niacin point the way to anti-aging drugs?

In recent years, scientists have discovered that a family of enzymes called sirtuins can dramatically extend life in organisms as diverse as yeast, worms, and flies. They may also be able to control age-associated metabolic disorders, including obesity and type II diabetes.

Naturally occurring substances have been shown to activate sirtuins, including a constituent of red wine called resveratrol – although an individual would need to drink about two cases of wine a day to derive a clinically effective dose of resveratrol. Still, the findings have energized a number of scientific groups and biotechnology companies, all of which are now eagerly searching for drug candidates able to boost sirtuin activity. The public-health benefits of such an “anti-aging” drug would be substantial – as would the economic returns.

Now, a new study from scientists at The Wistar Institute points to another strategy for activating sirtuins to unleash their anti-aging powers.
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No Longevity Benefit with Growth Hormone

Surveyors of anti-aging elixirs tout human growth hormone as a remedy for all things sagging-from skin to libidos – and claim it can even prevent or reverse aging. But researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine say there’s no evidence to suggest that this purported fountain of youth has any more effect than a trickle of tap water when it comes to fending off Father Time.
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Antioxidants decrease disease in an insect model of Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is one of a number of neurodegenerative disorders in which brain cells damaged by naturally occurring chemicals known as reactive oxygen species (ROS) have been observed. However, whether this oxidative damage causes neurodegeneration or is a consequence of it has not been previously determined. A study appearing online on December 14, in advance of publication in the January print issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, indicates that oxidative damage is a factor contributing to neurodegeneration in a Drosophila model of neurodegenerative disorders such as AD.
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Protection against cancer may begin during pregnancy

There may be another reason for pregnant and nursing women to eat a nutritious diet that includes generous amounts of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage – it could help protect their children from cancer, both as infants and later in life.

A new study by scientists from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, done with laboratory mice, found that supplements of a key phytochemical found in certain vegetables provided a very high level of protection against leukemia and lymphoma in young animals, and also significantly protected against lung cancer during the rodent’s equivalent of middle age.
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Nitrates lower blood pressure

A type of nutrient found in vegetables like spinach and lettuce may be Mother Nature’s way of keeping blood pressure in check.

A small new study published at New England Journal of Medicine suggests the nitrates in many vegetables, such as spinach, lettuce, or beetroot, may keep blood vessels healthy and lower blood pressure.

Read rest of the story at WebMD.

Resveratrol prevents obesity and drastically increases physical endurance.

Researchers at the Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology in Illkirch, France have found that resveratrol boosts the exercise capacity of muscles in mice and protects against diet-induced insulin resistance and obesity. The research was published online on November 16, 2006 in the journal Cell.
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Study Shows Abnormal Colon Growths Less Likely in Those Who Drink Red Wine

People who drink three or more glasses of red wine a week are less likely to get the abnormal colon growths that can lead to cancer, according to a new study.

The study doesn’t prove red wine prevents or treats colon cancer, and the researchers aren’t recommending red wine for colon cancer prevention. But they suggest that a compound found in grapes and red wine – the antioxidant resveratrol — may cut the odds of getting abnormal colon growths that can become cancerous.

Read rest of the story at WebMD

Link identified between age, cardiovascular disease

Researchers in the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University have discovered a fundamental mechanism that causes aging blood vessels to lose their elasticity – a literal “hardening of the arteries” that is often a prelude to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

An understanding of this mechanism, scientists say, provides an important new target for both drugs and dietary changes that might help prevent or treat atherosclerosis and heart disease. This is a leading cause of death around the world that, in some form, affects about 80 percent of older Americans.
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Low folate diets found to increase risk of colorectal cancer

A new study by scientists at the MUHC has revealed that a diet low in folate may increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Published in the scientific journal Cancer Research today, the study not only illustrates a way to prevent the disease but also provides further insight into the mechanisms of the disease, which could lead to novel therapies. Using animal models, the MUHC study is the first to demonstrate directly that diets low in folate cause colorectal cancer, and follows on the heels of earlier research by the same team that revealed how high folate diets can protect against heart disease.
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Grape seed extract halts cell cycle, checking growth of colorectal tumors in mice

Chemicals found in grape seeds significantly inhibited growth of colorectal tumors in both cell cultures and in mice, according to researchers who have already demonstrated the extract’s anti-cancer effects in other tumor types.

Their study, published in the October 18 issue of Clinical Cancer Research, documented a 44 percent reduction of advanced colorectal tumors in the animals, and also revealed, for the first time, the molecular mechanism by which grape seed extract works to inhibit cancer growth. The authors found that it increases availability of a critical protein, Cip1/p21, in tumors that effectively freezes the cell cycle, and often pushes a cancer cell to self destruct.
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Popular anti-aging supplement has no beneficial effects, study finds

A widely used antiaging supplement has no effect on aging markers such as muscle strength, peak endurance, muscle mass, fat mass and glucose tolerance in elderly men and women, according to Mayo Clinic researchers. The findings from their two-year study appear in the Oct. 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The findings serve to dispel the belief that dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), sold extensively as an antiaging supplement in health and grocery stores, can reverse age-related alterations in body composition and function, says the study’s lead author K. Sreekumaran Nair, M.D., Mayo Clinic endocrinologist.
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Natural vitamin E tocotrienol reaches blood at protective levels

Two recent studies offer new evidence suggesting an alternative form of natural vitamin E can be taken by mouth and will reach the blood in humans at levels determined to protect against stroke and other diseases.
Vitamin E occurs naturally in eight different forms. The primary vitamin E on drugstore shelves is called tocopherol, or TCP. But another natural form of vitamin E surfacing as a potent neuroprotective agent in repeated Ohio State University Medical Center studies is tocotrienol, or TCT.
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Selenium-protein deficiency raises prostate cancer risk

Selenium, an essential dietary mineral that can act as an antioxidant when incorporated into proteins, has been shown in many studies to reduce the incidence of cancers — notably lung, colorectal and prostate.

Alan Diamond, professor of human nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and his colleagues report in the May 23 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on research findings using specially bred transgenic mice that suggest it is the level of selenium-containing proteins in the body that is instrumental in preventing cancer, and that dietary selenium plays a role in stimulating the body's level of these selenoproteins.

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