Monday, October 31, 2011

Alpha Lipoic Acid Boosts Cellular Energy and Regenerates Mitochondria Function

Mitochondria are the small powerhouse organelles that control the energy output for each of the trillions of cells that function synergistically within the human body. Every cell houses dozens to hundreds of mitochondria, depending on the particular function and energy requirement of the component organ. More than 85% of the oxygen contained in every breath is consumed by these tiny energy producers, so it is easy to understand how low mitochondrial function typically seen with aging can lead to low energy levels and ultimately cellular death.

Cutting edge research published in the Journal of Nucleic Acids and Metabolism furnishes details to explain that the naturally occurring antioxidant alpha lipoic acid can significantly reduce mitochondrial decay and boost energy levels to improve longevity parameters in aging humans.

Alpha Lipoic Acid Reduces Free Radical Stress and Improves Energy Production
Since the early 1970`s scientists have proposed and validated the `mitochondrial theory of aging` that demonstrates how a lifetime of accumulated damage to mitochondrial DNA leads to increased free radical stress and lowered cellular energy production and chronic disease. Researchers examined aging mice that were broken into two groups, one supplemented with alpha lipoic acid in their drinking water and the other a control group, for a period of 30 days. Both groups were tested for metabolic functions relating to glucose metabolism, energy production and antioxidant status.

Authors of the study found that the alpha lipoic acid supplemented group experienced mitochondrial biogenesis, a process that rejuvenates and replaces damaged and aging mitochondria. Prior bodies of research postulated that mitochondrial regeneration and genesis were not possible and cell death was always the final result of mitochondrial dysfunction. Through a very intricate metabolic process, lipoic acid supplementation was found to improve body composition, glucose tolerance, and energy expenditure in the aged mice.

Alpha Lipoic Acid May Aid Weight Management and Improve Insulin Control
Researchers noted this was the first time a natural compound was able to effectively revitalize mitochondria in aging cells, and concluded that alpha lipoic acid supplementation “increases lean mass loss possibly by suppressing protein synthesis in the skeletal muscle by down-regulating the mTOR signaling pathway. Thus, lipoic acid may be a promising supplement for treatment of obesity and/or insulin resistance in older patients.”

Subsequently, research conducted by Dr. Bruce Ames found that combining the bioactive `R` isomer of lipoic acid and acetyl-l-carnitine decreases oxidative damage leading to mitochondrial decay and may help prevent degenerative diseases of aging including cancer, cognitive decline (dementia) and diabetes while restoring the vital energy needed to live an active lifestyle. Nutrition experts recommend supplementing with `R` alpha-lipoic acid (100 – 300 mg daily) and acetyl-l-carnitine (1000 mg daily) to restore energy levels lost to mitochondrial decline.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Vitamin D Blood Level Critical to Prevent Most Chronic Diseases

Prominent research studies continue to extol the virtues of maintaining proper levels of critical nutrients such as vitamin D throughout life to prevent most diseases that plaque western cultures. Publishing in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition scientists found that by simply raising the low end of the vitamin D blood saturation range (from 30 ng/mL to 44 ng/mL), all-cause mortality could be reduced by 7.6% to 17.3% for most women.

This supports the extensive body of work published by Dr. Bruce Ames that explains low nutritional status through life results in the development of diseases including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and dementia. A high quality multi-vitamin taken daily can provide a broad range of protection against a host of chronic illnesses.

Lower All-Cause Mortality Up to 20% for Pennies a Day
If you found out that you could lower your risk of dying by as much as 20% simply by increasing vitamin D intake, would you be willing to make the change? For most people this would mean taking an additional 1500 IU of the sunshine vitamin at a daily cost of $.03. While some people can benefit directly from sun exposure, aging adults (over 50), those in Northern climates and dark-skinned individuals will need to take an oil based supplement and monitor blood levels to ensure optimal protection.

You won`t hear about results that show that increasing vitamin D intake or other essential nutrients can significantly lower your risk for developing chronic disease. The scientists performing this study on European women found “Increasing serum 25(OH)D levels is the most cost-effective way to reduce global mortality rates, as the cost of vitamin D is very low and there are few adverse effects from oral intake and/or frequent moderate UVB irradiance with sufficient body surface area exposed.”

Triage Theory Explains Long Term Nutritional Deficiency Leads to Early Death
Dr. Bruce Ames has been studying the long term effect of poor nutrition on health for more than 30 years and proposed the triage theory in 2006. The theory explains how long-term deficiency in nutrients such as vitamin D and K increase genetic mutations over time and cause diseases associated with aging like cancer, heart disease, and dementia.

Dr. Ames explains that his research demonstrates that nutritional deficiencies over the course of decades (and even short term deficits in the case of vitamin D) cause the body to promote metabolic processes that support short term survival and reproduction. Long term maintenance goals that effect repair and regeneration of genetic material including chromosomes and DNA are allowed to go unattended when adequate nutrients are lacking in cellular stores.

Very few health-minded individuals would argue against the virtue of a well-balanced and unrefined diet centered on a colorful array of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and legumes. Most children and adults will want to ensure optimal intake of vitamins, minerals, fats and amino acids through a sensible approach to diet and taking a high quality whole food based multi-vitamin each day.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Altering Lifestyle Habits Halt Brain Shrinkage and Cognitive Decline

The result of a new study published in the journal Neurology (the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology) has found that poor lifestyle habits and related health disorders such as smoking, overweight and obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure cause brain shrinkage and cognitive decline.

Researchers determined that these conditions when present during middle age predicated lower brain volume and precursor markers for dementia up to a decade later. Identifying and controlling these risk factors early is a critical step in preventing loss of cognitive function and memory in later life.

Detrimental Lifestyle Practices Directly Impact Brain Health
To conduct the study, researchers examined a cohort of 1,352 people with an average age of 54 from the Framingham Offspring Study. The participants were weighed and body mass index and waist circumference were established along with blood pressure and cholesterol tests and blood glucose readings to detect for diabetes. Additionally, MRI brain scans were completed over the course of a decade with the first test performed seven years after the original biomarker benchmark.

Researchers found that those participants with high blood pressure developed a condition identified as `white matter `hyperintensities` or small areas of damage to the delicate vessel structure of the brain. Hypertensive participants were much more likely to demonstrate worsening scores on tests of executive function compared to those with normal blood pressure readings. The study authors found that this single factor negatively affected planning and decision making processes and corresponded with five to eight years of premature chronological brain aging.

Smoking Cessation and Controlling Diabetes and Obesity Key to Improved Cognition
Diabetes in middle age was associated with loss of brain volume in the memory-forming hippocampus region at a much faster rate than non-diabetics. Smokers were found to experience both accelerated brain volume shrinkage and white matter hyperintensities at a much faster rate than non-diabetic participants that did not smoke. Obese individuals were in the top quarter of those most likely to display loss of executive function and rapid rate of cognitive decline.

The lead study author, Dr. Charles DeCarli concluded that the four studied risk factors “provide evidence that identifying these risk factors early in people of middle age could be useful in screening people for at-risk dementia and encouraging people to make changes to their lifestyle before it`s too late”. Poor lifestyle choices are well known to contribute to a host of potentially lethal conditions and this body of research continues to add to the existing evidence. Health-conscious individuals will insist on a well balanced reduced calorie, low-refined carbohydrate diet along with regular physical activity to prevent obesity, hypertension, diabetes and cognitive decay.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Vitamin K Prevents Arterial Plaque and Slows Cognitive Decline

Vitamin K is a critical nutrient widely known for its ability to promote normal blood clotting. A wealth of new information demonstrates that this vitamin in its multiple forms can provide a powerful anti-inflammatory shield to protect against many lethal diseases of aging. Writing in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers show that vitamin K works with other fat-soluble nutrients to protect the brain from arterial calcification that leads to a stroke or cognitive decline.

Vitamin K works to prevent the deposition of calcium within arterial walls and ushers the mineral toward the normal construction of bone throughout the body. The research provides proof that eating a healthy diet to maintain adequate stores of vitamin K over a lifetime can help prevent arterial hardening, atherosclerosis and cognitive decline.

Vitamin K Slows Cognitive Decline by Supporting Brain Health
To determine the effect of vitamin K on cognitive function, researchers studied three groups of mice that were broken into a low, adequate, or high level of vitamin K supplemented in their diet over the course of their lifetime. Vitamin K is a fat soluble nutrient that can easily cross the blood-brain barrier to provide antioxidant support to a critical organ composed primarily of omega-3 fats. 

Researchers found that vitamin K plays an important role in “maintaining the white matter region of the brain by supporting the myelin sheathing that protects axons, connecting glial cells together with axons, and facilitating the speed at which your brain functions.” Animals with the lowest supplemental vitamin K levels displayed the highest degree of cognitive decline as they grew older, compared with the highest vitamin K group.

Vitamin K2 Inhibits Coronary Artery Calcification to Halt Heart Disease
Scientists publishing in the journal Atherosclerosis determined the effect of vitamin K on 564 post-menopausal women. The study was designed to contrast dietary intake of both the phylloquinone (vitamin K1) and menaquinone (vitamin K2) with coronary artery calcification (atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries). Researchers found that the K2 form of vitamin K was associated with a significant decrease in coronary artery calcification, while vitamin K1 did not appear to impact disease progression.

Dark green leafy vegetables provide a healthy dose of vitamin K1 but are not a significant source of vitamin K2, the form shown to yield protection against arterial hardening and dementia. Fermented foods such as natto, egg yolks and certain cheeses provide high levels of K2, although many people may choose to avoid these foods. Health-minded individuals will need to supplement with a quality supplement providing the full range of vitamin K isomers (1000 - 2000 mcg per day) to avert atherosclerosis and cognitive function decline.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lutein Reduces LDL Cholesterol Particle Size to Prevent Heart Disease

Lutein has long been known as a powerful nutritional agent useful for protecting vision in aging adults and protecting against the sight-robbing condition known as macular degeneration. New research published in The Journal of Nutrition finds that the carotenoid exhibits health-promoting anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits that help to lower plaque forming oxidized LDL cholesterol particles that promote arterial hardening and heart disease.

Lutein is found in abundance in dark green leafy vegetables including spinach, broccoli, kale and cabbage. Most adults and children should include a healthy serving of these vegetables as part of a nutritionally balanced diet or look to supplement daily to significantly lower heart disease risk from coronary plaque accumulation.

Lutein Accumulates in the Retina to Prevent Macular Degeneration
The study examined two groups of guinea pigs known to exhibit similar vascular characteristics to humans. Both groups were fed a diet high in cholesterol-laden foods for a period of 12 weeks, and half were supplemented with lutein. Carotenoids such as lutein are known to circulate in the blood and are stored by the body for future use when tissue saturation is reached. Research to date has shown how lutein accumulates in the retina to prevent macular degeneration and support vision, but little is known about how the compound impacts cardiovascular health.

Researchers understand that mammals with the highest levels of carotenoids circulating in their blood have the longest lifespan. Scientists were able to provide evidence that lutein is continually being stored and drawn from tissue deposits as needed. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of this important carotene provides a significant degree of protection against the formation of arterial plaque and atherosclerosis. Lutein reduces the number of small, dense oxidized LDL cholesterol particles that compromise the elastic nature of the arteries that supply blood to the heart.

Lutein is Concentrated in a Diet Filled with Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
This is one of the first studies to demonstrate that carotenoids such as lutein can provide health benefits to multiple organs and should be consumed as part of a natural diet comprising a rainbow of colors from organic vegetables and fruits. Scientists have uncovered dozens of carotenoids and concede there are likely many more as yet unknown compounds that exist in a complete matrix of whole foods. 

Interestingly, nutritional researchers have found that carotenoids from high quality supplements are easier to absorb when compared to carotenes from foods that are bound to fiber. Regardless of the source, carotenoids should be part of your daily antioxidant dietary plan to prevent arterial plaque formation and lower the risk of atherosclerosis.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Carnitine and Lipoic Acid Lowers Diabetes and Dementia Risks

Diabetes is a devastating disease that results from an inability to properly metabolize glucose resulting from poor insulin function. Researchers writing in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition found that the naturally occurring cellular antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid has the ability to correct abnormal insulin signaling and resistance that are known to promote disease development.

Lipoic acid is shown to rejuvenate energy production in the critical mitochondria and enhance the metabolism of sugars and carbohydrates to restore proper insulin activity. Most health-minded individuals will need to supplement with the biologically active `R` form of this critical antioxidant to effectively thwart metabolic disease and diabetes progression.

Alpha Lipoic Acid Improves Cellular Insulin Function to Thwart Diabetes Progression
Alpha lipoic acid instructs our body`s trillions of cells to effectively burn glucose to be used as a fuel for metabolism and energy production. The result of this study demonstrates that the cofactor compound provides a critical link between the antioxidant status within a cell and normal insulin function. When insulin becomes resistant or ineffective due to the stress of continually high levels of blood glucose, metabolism suffers and diabetes is the end result.

Researchers found that r-alpha lipoic acid (100 mg daily) influences cellular antioxidant nutrients and enzymes. The compound was shown to have a profound influence on these critical protective structures so a perfectly efficient balance was restored that allowed them to perform optimally. As a result, proper gene signaling was restored and insulin and glucose metabolism improved. The study was the first to show that insulin regulation in a cell is closely controlled by antioxidant status, and antioxidant deterioration through poor diet and lifestyle trigger metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Alpha lipoic acid helps to restore cellular antioxidant synergy and can stave off diabetes.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine Inhibits the Formation of Amyloid Brain Tangles
In addition to the amazing health benefits experienced by people supplementing with alpha lipoic acid, another naturally occurring nutrient is showing the ability to boost mood, improve cognitive function and help retain memory loss as we age. Researchers writing in the Journal Neurochemistry documents the precise mechanism that acetyl-l-carnitine (500 mg, twice daily) exhibits to help prevent the formation of brain tangles that are the hallmark of Alzheimer`s disease.

Scientists found that mice supplemented with acetyl-l-carnitine for a period of two weeks protects against the formation of the tau protein tangles that are a hallmark in the development of the memory-robbing form of dementia. While tau proteins are a normal part of nerve cell construction, they are known to accumulate in a hyperactive fashion that can result in cognitive decline and memory loss. Acetyl-l carnitine helps tau proteins behave properly by interceding at the gene and molecular level to prevent dementia and memory decline.

Nature has bestowed us with a multitude of natural compounds that are particularly effective in promoting human health. Alpha lipoic acid and acetyl-l-carnitine are shown to help prevent metabolic dysfunction, diabetes and loss of cognition. Following a natural diet filled with fresh organic vegetables and fruits along with regular physical activity will help to restore youthful levels of these two super-nutrients. Some health-conscious adults may want to supplement to ensure optimal cellular saturation and disease risk reduction.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Lifestyle Activities Slash Alzheimer’s Risk by Half

Would you be willing to make six simple lifestyle changes if you knew you could lower your risk of developing Alzheimer`s disease by 50%? Researchers publishing the result of a study in the journal Lancet Neurology found that the exploding incidence of this horrific form of dementia is due in large part to lifestyle changes involving diet, physical activity and education.

Alzheimer`s disease incidence is expected to triple over the next forty years, meaning that millions of new cases could be prevented by modifying controllable lifestyle risks. Scientists listed the six most important factors that can be modified in an effort to significantly lower Alzheimer`s disease risk.

Six Modifiable Risk Factors Cut Alzheimer’s Disease Risk by 50%
Researchers analyzed dozens of Alzheimer`s studies from around the world that examined hundreds of thousands of participants to determine why this insidious disease is growing at an unprecedented rate. Dr. Deborah Barnes, lead scientist performing the review concluded that there are six significant and modifiable risk factors that contribute to the development and progression of the disease. Her team listed the factors in descending order of magnitude: low education, smoking, physical inactivity, depression, mid-life hypertension, diabetes and mid-life obesity.

As a group these risk factors account for 54% of the diagnosed cases of Alzheimer`s disease in the United States, accounting for 2.9 million individuals. Dr. Barnes commented on the findings, “What`s exciting is that this suggests that some very simple lifestyle changes, such as increasing physical activity and quitting smoking, could have a tremendous impact on preventing Alzheimer`s and other dementias in the United States and worldwide.” The team will now work to determine if the relationship between each identified risk factor is casual or specifically attributable to disease development.

Daily Physical Activity Significantly Lowers Dementia Risk
Further research into contributing factors that increase risk for developing Alzheimer`s dementia are published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine. Scientists compared physical activity duration and intensity with the development of cognitive impairment known to be a precursor to the memory-robbing illness. As participants` energy expenditure increased, the rate of cognitive decline decreased. The amount of exercise equivalent to a brisk, 30-minute walk every day was associated with lower risk of cognitive impairment.

Alzheimer`s disease cases have multiplied exponentially over the past 50 years, leading health-minded practitioners and followers to ask for an explanation. Our lifestyle has changed dramatically during this time period and diet, physical activity and diseases of excess have hindered the forward progress of our cognitive health. Adopting a natural diet low in sugar and refined carbohydrates combined with regular and moderate physical activity can slash many risk factors associated with Alzheimer`s dementia.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Vitamin E Tocotrienols Shown to Halt Heart Disease and Extend Lifespan

Very few people realize that there are eight different fractions of vitamin E known as tocotrienols that are essential to optimal health and protect against vascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke. Tocotrienols are so critical that new research demonstrates a shortage of these vitamin isomers can lead to premature chromosomal telomere shortening and reduced lifespan.

Reporting in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, researchers show that tocotrienols can extend the length of the zipper-like genetic strands and protect against DNA damage. Natural food sources for tocotrienols are few, so it may be necessary to supplement with this vital nutrient to reap the amazing vascular and life-extending benefits.

Telomere Length Determines the Ultimate Lifespan of a Cell
The length of a telomere determines how many times a cell can accurately split in the body’s never ending quest to repair itself and eliminate rogue cells that can lead to cancer. Typically cells will divide between 30 and 50 times during a lifetime, a number that varies depending on the cell type. Any mechanism that can prolong the frequency a cell requires to split or can extend the length of the telomere will provide a youth-enhancing extension that down regulates the risk for cancer.

Telomeres are prematurely shortened by free radical attacks and negative lifestyle habits such as smoking, poor diet and lack of physical activity. The result of the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology study found that the tocotrienol form of vitamin E enabled human cells to undergo telomere lengthening by rejuvenating telomerase, an enzyme known to preserve telomere structure and length. The study also found that tocotrienols prevented damage to delicate DNA strands and allowed the cells to rejuvenate, significantly lowering the risk of cancerous mutations that accumulate over many decades.

Vitamin E Tocotrienols Improve Lipid Biomarkers to Prevent a Heart Attack
A supporting body of research published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism found that supplementing with tocotrienols (160 mg per day for 6 months) markedly lowered the oxidized LDL lipid profile of adults over the age of 50. The study further determined that a damaging cause of free radicals known as advanced glycation end products (AGE`s) was reduced by the potent antioxidant properties exhibited by the vitamin sub fraction. AGE`s are known to escalate the risks associated with vascular disease (heart disease, stroke and congestive heart failure) and vitamin E tocotrienols provide significant support to halt the development of these deadly conditions.

Tocotrienols are rapidly emerging as a natural nutrient that can provide an invisible shield against chronic diseases that plague many aging adults. They can be found in many foods ranging from nuts and seeds to cold pressed oils, but most health-minded people will want to supplement to ensure a full range of all eight essential forms. In addition to traditional vitamin E listed on many multi-vitamins, be sure to supplement with a full-range formulation that lists all tocotrienols individually to maintain vascular health and lower cancer risk.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Grape Seed Extract Compounds Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease Development

Researchers publishing the result of a study in the Journal of Alzheimer`s Disease found that eating grapes and supplementing with grape seed extract compounds help to prevent the development and progression of Alzheimer`s dementia. This devastating form of dementia is characterized by the accumulation of beta-protein clusters in the brain known as oligomers.

A wealth of prior research studies conclude that excess oligomers poison neurons in the brain and cause memory loss associated with the disease. A number of different natural compounds, including grapes and grape extracts provide a powerful protective shield against the progressive memory loss experienced with Alzheimer`s dementia.

Grape Seed Compound Inhibits Brain Protein Implicated in Alzheimer’s Progression
Researchers wanted to follow up on prior studies showing that grape seed polyphenolic extract (GSPE) stops alpha-beta oligomers being formed in test tube experiments. Using mice that have been bred to genetically develop Alzheimer’s disease, scientists set to determine the effect of grape polyphenols on cognitive decline. For a period of five months they added GSPE to a standard diet and tested the mice for signs of memory deterioration normally found in this line of transgenic animals.

After the five month period, researchers found that the mice had dramatically lowered levels of alpha beta-56, a specific form of oligomer previously implicated in the promotion of Alzheimer`s disease memory loss. They found that supplemented grape seed extract halted the progression of cognitive decline by helping the brain to clear excess levels of the beta protein implicated with the disease. Dr. Giulio Maria Pasinetti, lead study researcher from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York found the results “strongly suggest that GSPE should be further tested as a potential prevention and/or therapy for AD Alzheimer`s Disease.”
Specific Nutrients, Fruits and Vegetables from Diet Impede Dementia Development
The result of supportive research studies demonstrating the critical importance of natural nutrients to prevent Alzheimer`s disease are published in a prior edition of the Journal of Alzheimer`s Disease. The study focuses on `neuronutrition` to determine the impact of vitamins, minerals and nutrients from many vegetables and fruits to alter the chemistry of the brain and halt degenerative disease. In addition to a calorie restricted diet, the authors cite vitamin E, dietary polyphenols (including GSPE and resveratrol), curcumin, spices and homocysteine reduction. 

Researchers conducting this exhaustive study concluded “diets rich in unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, antioxidants, and wine likely suppress its (Alzheimer`s disease) onset. Evidence suggests that diets rich in polyphenols and some spices suppress the onset of AD by scavenging free radicals and preventing oxidative damage.” Nutrition experts recommend adding red grapes to your natural diet or supplementing with 150 mg to 250 mg of grape seed extract daily to dramatically lower Alzheimer`s dementia risk.