Monday, December 31, 2012

Flavonoids from Blueberries and Fruits Can Lower Diabetes Risk


Nearly one in ten people in the US have been diagnosed with diabetes and one in three are prediabetic, a strong indicator they will progress to full-blown diabetes in the near future without dietary intervention. Experts indicate that by the year 2050, one half of all American adults will fall into one of these two classifications, significantly lowering their quality of life and lifespan.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health report the result of a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in support of the potent effect of flavonoids from blueberries and other natural foods to significantly lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Data from prior studies has drawn a link between specific flavonoids from dietary sources such as berries and improvement in insulin sensitivity and signaling to improve metabolic syndrome, a series of biomarkers that lead to diabetes.

Flavonoid-Rich Foods Including Blueberries Shield Against Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes
The research consisted of 70,359 women in the Nurses’ Health Study, 89,201 women in the NHS II, and 41,334 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study who were free of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer at the outset of each study, and followed for a period of twenty years. Higher intake of berry flavonoids (anthocyanins) was significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes after adjusting for age, body weight, lifestyle and dietary factors.

The scientists found that consumption of anthocyanin-rich foods, especially blueberries, apples and pears was associated with a significantly lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This research supports prior studies showing that blueberries significantly boosted the production of adiponectin, the key hormone made in your white adipose tissue that prevents your liver from developing insulin resistance, ultimately leading to type 2 diabetes.

Eat Three to Five Servings of Fresh Berries Each Week to Lower Diabetes Risk
Blood sugar levels spike in response to a diet of highly refined carbohydrates, sugars, wheat products and excess processed foods. Insulin is released by the pancreas in an effort to stabilize blood sugar levels and usher glucose into the cells where it is needed for energy. Over time, blood sugar spikes cause insulin to become resistant and excess sugar remains in the blood leading to metabolic decline.

Blueberries and flavonoid rich natural foods help regulate the action of insulin by modulating adipose hormones to lower risk of diabetes and aid weight management issues. Consume at least one-half cup of berries every day or use an anthocyanin-rich supplement taken with meals to shield you from metabolic syndrome and the cellular devastation caused by diabetes.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Eating Tree Nuts Lowers Chronic Disease Risks and Assists Successful Weight Loss


Consumption of nuts has been largely maligned by mainstream health professionals and the media for decades due to the high calorie and fat content. As we enter an era of enlightened understanding about the role of dietary fats and macronutrients in the promotion or degradation of health and weight management, forward-thinking scientists and practitioners rely on extensive research demonstrating the importance of healthy fats in their natural state to prevent heart disease, cancer and neurodegenerative conditions.

Researchers publishing the result of their work in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition have found that eating tree nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts) was associated with higher levels of high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (good HDL cholesterol) and lower levels of C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation which can lead to a variety of chronic diseases including heart disease.

Tree Nuts Shown to Lower Chronic Disease Risk and Helps Prevent Obesity
Lead study author, Dr. Carol O’Neil from the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center also observed “One of the more interesting findings was the fact that tree nut consumers had lower body weight, as well as lower body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference compared to non-consumers.” The scientists determined that those consuming tree nuts as part of their regular diet averaged slightly over 4 pounds lower body weight or nearly one inch smaller waist circumference.

The study centered on a cohort of 13,292 men and women participating in the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Tree nut consumers were defined as those individuals consuming more than one-quarter ounce each day as determined from 24-hour recall data and questionnaires.

Eat a Handful of Tree Nuts Each Day to Lower Chronic Disease Risk
Tree nut consumption was associated with a five percent lower incidence of metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors known to increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke and type II diabetes. Researchers further noted that the nut-consuming group exhibited a lower prevalence of abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high fasting glucose (blood sugar) levels and low high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol levels.

Tree nuts consist of largely monounsaturated fats that are known to promote heart health, and have been shown to be of critical importance for optimal brain function. Dr. O’Neil concluded “Tree nuts should be an integral part of a healthy diet and encouraged by health professionals.” Nutritionists recommend eating 1 ½ ounces each day of raw, unheated, non-salted tree nuts to lower chronic disease risk and assist weight management goals.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Red Grape Compounds Aid Weight Management to Help Prevent Obesity


Obesity and overweight are threatening the health and lives of nearly seventy percent of the US population, and indicators are this epidemic is continuing to affect even more men, women and children as it places a significant burden on an already failing health care system. Most health-minded individuals understand the importance of eliminating refined and processed foods while maintaining constant blood glucose and insulin levels to achieve individual weight management goals.

Researchers from Purdue University have published the result of a study in the Journal of Biological Chemistry that demonstrates the potent nature of natural compounds found in red wine and many fruits to block cellular processes that allow fat cells to develop. Scientists found that the compound piceatannol, found naturally in the skin of grapes and other fruits blocks an immature fat cell's ability to develop and grow, opening a door to a potential method to control obesity.

Piceatannol Inhibits the Formation of Mature Fat Cells to Achieve Weight Management Goals
The lead study author, Dr. Kee-Hong Kim found that piceatannol, an analog of resveratrol found in grapes and other fruit, is converted to piceatannol in humans following its consumption. The team tested piceatannol in cultured immature fat cells called preadipocytes to determine if the compound inhibited the maturity process that results in fully developed fat cells, capable of storing body fat and contributing to obesity.

Dr. Kim commented “We consider that adipogenesis is an important molecular target to delay or prevent fat cell accumulation and, hopefully, body fat mass gain.” The team found that piceatannol bound to the insulin receptor on the immature fat cells, effectively blocking insulin’s ability to control normal cellular cycling resulting in mature adipocytes. The grape-derived compound stimulated the activation of special genes necessary for the fat cell maturation process.

Eat a Wide Variety of Natural Fruits and Vegetables to Help Weight Loss Issues
The study authors concluded “Piceatannol actually alters the timing of gene expressions, gene functions and insulin action during adipogenesis, the process in which early stage fat cells become mature fat cells… in the presence of piceatannol, you can see delay or complete inhibition of adipogenesis.” Similar in structure to resveratrol, scientists believe piceatannol may also exert some of the same properties to help combat cancer, heart disease and neurodegenerative conditions.

Piceatannol is yet another natural compound that has demonstrated the ability to influence genetic expression to inhibit the formation of adipocytes or alter metabolism to help achieve weight management goals alongside resveratrol, green tea catechins (EGCG) and irvingia gabonensis. When used to compliment a natural food diet void of wheat and refined carbohydrates, piceatannol may be an important component to achieve natural weight management goals.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Berries and Fruits Enhance Brain Signaling to Prevent Cognitive Decline and Promote Brain Health


Berry fruits including blueberries, blackberries and strawberries are not only refreshing and tasty, but they also provide a wide variety of phytonutrients that cross the blood-brain barrier to enhance neural communications and prevent oxidation and inflammation. This has beneficial effects on the brain and may help prevent age-related memory loss and other changes that alter behavior and cause normal thought processes to run askew.

Researchers reporting the result of a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry have identified neurological benefits associated with the consumption of berry fruits, including their now well-known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Eating the fruits in their natural state or using dietary supplements is shown to have dramatic direct effects on the brain in a meta-analysis of animal and human studies on the topic.

Fresh Berries Support Brain Health by Neutralizing Free Radicals and Lowering Inflammation
As we live longer, the toll of excessive oxidative assaults on the brain can result in loss of memory and cognitive decline as inflammation limits the electrical and chemical response within nerve synapses and cellular structures. A review of past studies demonstrated that consumption of berry fruits or standardized supplements can aid brain health in several ways.

Lead study authors, Dr. Barbara Shukitt-Hale and Marshall G. Miller from the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University found that berries enhance neuroplasticity, neurotransmission, and calcium buffering, all of which lead to attenuation of age and pathology-related deficits in behavior. Berry fruits contain high levels of antioxidants, compounds that protect cells from damage by harmful free radicals. Suppression of free radicals was identified as a primary action of consuming the natural fruits.

Include Several Daily Servings of Fruits and Berries to Preserve Brain Health
Additionally, the researchers noted that berry fruits change the way neurons in the brain communicate. These changes in signaling can prevent inflammation in the brain that contributes to neuronal damage and helps to improve both motor control and cognition. The study confirmed the potent multimodal effect of berry consumption, but indicated that further studies would be required to determine if benefits are a result of individual compounds shared between berry fruits or whether the unique combinations of chemicals in each berry fruit simply have similar effects.

There is little doubt about the importance of including a wide array of berries in all shapes, sizes and colors to your regular diet. Nutritionists recommend eating at least one-half cup of the raw fruit each day to help prevent cognitive decline, loss of memory and Alzheimer’s dementia.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Flavonoids from Berries Protect Men against Parkinson’s Disease


Past research bodies have confirmed the health-protective effect of a natural diet rich in flavonoids to protect against a wide range of diseases including heart disease, hypertension, some cancers and dementia. Researchers from Harvard University and the University of East Anglia have published the result of a study in the journal Neurology that demonstrates how these plant-based phytonutrients can significantly lower the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, especially in men.

Flavonoids from healthy foods such as berries, tea, apples and red wine cross the delicate blood-brain barrier to protect neurons against neurologic diseases such as Parkinson's. This large scale study included more than 130,000 men and women participants that were followed for a period of twenty years. During this time, more than 800 individuals developed Parkinson’s disease.

A Diet High in Flavonoids from Berries Lowers Parkinson’s Disease Risk by Forty Percent
After a detailed analysis of their diets and adjusting for age and lifestyle, male participants who ate the most flavonoids were shown to be forty per cent less likely to develop the disease than those who ate the least. No similar link was found for total flavonoid intake in women. Co-lead study author, Dr. Aedin Cassidy noted “These exciting findings provide further confirmation that regular consumption of flavonoids can have potential health benefits.”

This was the first study to examine the connection between flavonoid consumption and the development of Parkinson’s disease. The findings suggest that a sub-class of flavonoids called anthocyanins may exhibit neuroprotective effects. Participants consuming one or more portions of berry fruits each week were around twenty-five per cent less likely to develop Parkinson's disease, relative to those who did not eat berry fruits.

Eat One to Three Servings of Berries Daily to Lower Parkinson’s Disease Risk
Flavonoids are the bioactive, naturally occurring chemical compounds found in many plant-based foods and drinks. This study demonstrated the main protective effect was from the consumption of anthocyanins which are present in berries and other fruits and vegetables including aubergines, blackcurrants and blackberries. Strawberries and blueberries are the two most common sources of flavonoids in the US diet, contributing to a twenty-four percent lowered risk in this research.

Parkinson’s disease is among a group of chronic diseases presently affecting one in 500 people, with new cases on the rise. Drug therapies are ineffective and bear significant side effects. The result of this study provides yet another example of the power of a natural diet in the prevention of many debilitating and deadly conditions. Nutrition experts recommend adding a minimum of three to five servings of flavonoids to your diet each week. Include all varieties of berries, apples and green tea to guard against Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative illnesses.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Fast Food Diet Boosts Risk of Depression by More than Fifty Percent


Providing more evidence to the motif ‘you are what you eat’, scientists have found that eating a fast food diet increases the risk for depression by more than fifty percent. The food we eat today will provide the structural network for the cellular matrix that we need to support basic metabolism, cellular regeneration and repair. This is especially pronounced in brain neurons, as grey matter is largely composed of the omega-3 fats, DHA and EPA. When we don’t provide these basic building blocks, especially in the early formative years, the body is forced to use inferior fats such as those provided by hydrogenation, most frequently found in fast and processed foods.

Consumption of Fast Foods and Baked Goods Doubles Risk of Depression
Scientists from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the University of Granada, publishing in the Public Health Nutrition journal have determined that eating commercially baked goods (cakes, croissants and doughnuts) and fast food (hamburgers, hotdogs and pizza) is linked to a 51 percent increase in the incidence of depression, compared to those who eat little or none of these foods.

Researchers conducting the study found that risk of depression could be predicted in a dose-dependent manner. Lead study author, Dr. Almudena S├ínchez-Villegas commented “the more fast food you consume, the greater the risk of depression.” The study found that those participants eating the largest amount of fast food and commercially baked goods are more likely to be single, physically inactive and generally exhibit poor dietary habits. Typically these individuals consumed less fruit, nuts, fish, vegetables and olive oil, and were more likely to smoke or work more than 45 hours per week.

Strict Elimination of Convenience and Fast Foods Dramatically Lowers Rate of Depression
High consumption of commercially baked goods or fried foods subjected to the oil degradation process known as hydrogenation results in trans-fats that have been shown to dramatically increase heart disease risk in past studies. This current research demonstrates that these misshapen and synthetically processed trans-fats interfere with the proper function of chemical neurotransmitters in the brain and alter normal electrical activity necessary for intercellular signaling.

Depression among children and adults is expanding at an alarming rate, with 121 million people diagnosed worldwide. Antidepressants prescribed to manage depression are largely ineffective and only work to mask the underlying cause of the illness. A wealth of scientific evidence now points to proper nutrition as an effective tool to halt and even reverse depressive episodes. The study team advised against a diet including baked or fried foods, and emphasized the need for whole, natural foods containing plenty of B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and fresh pressed virgin olive oil to significantly lower risk of depression.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

High Vitamin D Levels Critical to Prevent Chronic Inflammatory Diseases



The connection between cellular saturation of the prohormone, vitamin D and development of chronic conditions ranging from cancer, dementia, stroke and heart disease have been well documented among forward-thinking scientists for at least a decade now. The specific mechanism of action has not been well documented though, as most studies have not drawn a clear line between blood levels of vitamin D and disease prevention.

High Vitamin D Status Inhibits Inflammatory Messengers to Prevent Chronic Disease
Researchers from National Jewish Health reporting in The Journal of Immunology have discovered specific molecular and signaling events by which vitamin D inhibits inflammation to help prevent and possibly even treat a host of potentially deadly diseases. Current levels considered satisfactory by most medical professionals did not inhibit the inflammatory cascade, leading to the progression of many forms of disease. Conversely, individuals that maintain significantly higher blood levels of vitamin D had lower levels of inflammatory markers known to aggravate disease progression and were protected against the major killers so prevalent today.

The study author, Dr. Elena Goleva noted that this research “goes beyond previous associations of vitamin D with various health outcomes. It outlines a clear chain of cellular events, from the binding of DNA, through a specific signaling pathway, to the reduction of proteins known to trigger inflammation.” Current guidelines call for minimum vitamin D blood serum levels of 20 ng/ml, a benchmark set decades ago that was intended to prevent rickets in children and promote bone health. Researchers conducting this study found improvement in inflammation levels at a minimum of 30 ng/ml. leaving millions at risk for chronic disease.

Check Vitamin D Blood Levels Every Six Months to Prevent Inflammation
Scientists conducting this study examined the specific mechanisms exhibited by vitamin D to act on immune and inflammatory pathways. They incubated white blood cells with different saturation levels of vitamin D and then exposed the culture to an inflammatory molecule known to promote intense inflammatory responses. Cells exposed to low levels of vitamin D (less than 15 ng/ml) produced excessive levels of the inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-alpha, associated with disease development and progression. The highest level of inflammatory inhibition occurred at 50 ng/ml and above as cells become fully saturated with the prohormone and maximum immune response is observed.

Researchers identified a new location where the vitamin-D receptor appears to bind directly to DNA and activate a gene known as MKP-1, interfering with the inflammatory cascade promoted by long-term stress and a highly refined, processed food diet. Dr. Goleva concluded “The fact that we showed a dose-dependent and varying response to levels commonly found in humans also adds weight to the argument for vitamin D's role in immune and inflammatory conditions.” Maintain your vitamin D blood levels above 50 ng/ml (measured with the 25(OH)D test) to afford maximum protection against chronic inflammatory-mediated diseases.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Chronic Stress Promotes Protein Brain Tangles and Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease


Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by an initial loss of short term memory and the ability to form rational and permanent thoughts. Protein tangles known as tau aggregates strangle neural synapses, blocking the vital flow of neurotransmitter and electrical signals necessary to form memories and personality. Once considered a disease of the aging, this form of dementia is increasing at a startling rate in younger individuals, largely due to a processed and refined food diet, environmental factors and long-term chronic stress.
Researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have published the result of a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, explaining the mechanism behind continual exposure to stressors so common in our rapid-paced lifestyle, and the unnatural accumulation of insoluble tau protein aggregates in brain tissue. They explain that neurofibrillary tangles are one of the physical hallmark signs of Alzheimer’s disease, and have been shown to contribute to disease progression in people under chronic stress conditions during the course of past studies.
Chronic Stress is Positively Linked to Physical Brain Changes Leading to Alzheimer’s Dementia
The study team, using a mouse-based model, noted
we found that repeated episodes of emotional stress, which has been demonstrated to be comparable to what humans might experience in ordinary life, resulted in the phosphorylation and altered solubility of tau proteins in neurons… these events are critical in the development of NFT pathology in Alzheimer's disease.” Researchers determined that the effect was most pronounced in the hippocampus of the brain, an area linked to the formation, organization and storage of memories.
The scientists are quick to note that the type of stress that is associated with the development of tangles in the brain is not acute stress, defined as a single, passing episode. They determined that chronic, long term stress that never ceases is far more threatening to the brain and promotes tau protein aggregates to accumulate. Acute stress is actually considered useful for brain plasticity and helps to facilitate learning.
Engage in Stress Reduction Techniques to Reduce Stress and Disease Risk
Chronic stress continually stimulates and activates stress pathways in the brain that lead to pathological alteration of stress circuitry in the brain. The researchers describe chronic stress as too much of a good thing gone bad. Lead study author, Dr. Robert Rissman
commented on their findings “As people age, perhaps their neuronal circuits do too, becoming less robust and perhaps less capable of completely rebounding from the effects of stress.”
Certainly we cannot entirely eliminate stress from our daily lives, and the results of this study conclude that small amounts of acute stress are important to maintain brain plasticity and for the formation of new memories. The problem arises when the level of stress never abates, and our brain is unable to recover from the massive amount of new stimuli we experience from chronic stress. Reduce your stress level to a minimum, as this will provide yet another crucial lifestyle modification that can help prevent chronic illness and ward off Alzheimer’s disease.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Short Sleep Duration Significantly Decreases Heart Disease Risk


A startling number of people take a good night sleep for granted, despite the mounting body of evidence to support a restful sleep between six and eight hours every evening. In the past, studies have made a loose correlation between the numbers of hours of sleep each night and risk of diseases ranging from cancer to cardiovascular disease and dementia. Researchers from the University of Chicago are presenting the result of a study to the American College of Cardiology that explains a direct link between sleeping a minimum of six hours each night and dramatically increased risk of stroke, heart attack and congestive heart failure.
The study team found that individuals sleeping much more than eight hours each night had a significantly higher prevalence of chest pain or angina and coronary artery disease, a narrowing of the blood vessels that supply the heart with blood and oxygen. The bottom line is simple: controlling the duration of restful sleep in a totally darkened room is a modifiable risk factor that can significantly reduce risk of heart diseases and related chronic illnesses.
Sleeping Less Than Six Hours Each Night Doubles Heart Attack Risk
Researchers examined
3,019 patients, aged 45 years or older participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, designed to assess a broad range of health issues. The study showed that people getting less than six hours of sleep each night were two times more likely to have a stroke or heart attack and 1.6 times more likely to have congestive heart failure. Conversely, those individuals that slept more than eight hours a night were two times more likely to have angina and 1.1 times more likely to have coronary artery disease.
Clearly the duration and quality of sleep is an identifiable risk factor for heart disease, robbing your health in a similar manner to poor dietary choices and lack of physical activity. The principal study investigator, Dr. Rohit Arora commented “We now have an indication that sleep can impact heart health, and it should be a priority… based on these findings, it seems getting six to eight hours of sleep everyday probably confers the least risk for cardiovascular disease over the long term.”
Sleep Seven to Nine Hours Each Night in a Fully Darkened Room to Lower Cardiovascular Disease Risk
While this research did not directly determine how sleep duration affects heart health, past studies have implicated
hyper-activation of the sympathetic nervous system, glucose intolerance, diabetes, increased cortisone levels, blood pressure, resting heart rate and inflammatory markers, all known risk factors for increased risk of cardiovascular disease. As researchers continue to determine the link between sleep and heart disease, the message is clear: ensure a restful sleep between six and eight hours each night in a fully darkened room to dramatically lower heart disease risk.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Curcumin Prevents Brain Degenerative Diseases Including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s


Curcumin, the bioactive compound found in the Indian curry spice turmeric and commonly referred to as ‘holy powder’, has been used for centuries in folk medicine to treat wounds, infections, and other health problems. Today researchers are using the power of the evolving science of epigenetics to reveal how curcumin is crucial in the fight against many forms of cancer, as it causes metastatic cells to undergo programmed cell death, or apoptosis.
Researchers from Michigan State University, publishing the result of a study in the Journal of Biological Chemistry have found that this amazing natural compound is able to prevent the destructive formation of alpha-synuclein proteins that are the hallmark presentation in many neurodegenerative disease such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Curcumin is one a very select group of structures that is able to cross the delicate blood-brain barrier to affect biochemical and electrical activities in the brain. The turmeric derivative has demonstrated the unique capability to prevent clumping or aggregation leading to disease development.
Curcumin Aids Protein Folding to Prevent Brain Tangles and Degeneration
The team lead researcher, Dr. Basir Ahmad and scientists conducting the study commentedOur research shows that curcumin can rescue proteins from aggregation, the first steps of many debilitating diseases… more specifically, curcumin binds strongly to alpha-synuclein and prevents aggregation at body temperatures.”
The team used precise lasers to study the split-second formation of proteins known as ‘protein folding’. Normally, proteins are folded at lightning fast speed at the direction of genes and DNA sequences. Damage to DNA caused by poor diet and lifestyle factors from epigenetic alterations results in mis-folded proteins and neurodegenerative disease.
Supplement with Curcumin Daily to Prevent Protein Clumping and Lower Disease Risk
Researchers found that when curcumin attaches to alpha-synuclein it not only stops clumping, but it also raises the protein’s folding or reconfiguration rate. By slowing the speed that the proteins form, curcumin effectively inhibits abnormal protein clumping to prevent tangles and damage to the nerve synapses. Chemical and electrical communications are retained that help to help prevent the early manifestation of Parkinson’s disease.
Curcumin can be added to the diet with liberal use of the Indian curry spice in meal preparation. Many people do not enjoy the taste of curry infused foods. For those individuals, nutrition advisors recommend a standardized supplement (std. to 95% total curcuminoids for maximum bioavailability) providing 300 to 500 mg daily to prevent neurodegenerative decline.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Omega-3 Fats Slash Inflammation to Fight Cancer and Heart Disease


It is a commonly accepted fact within the medical research community that systemic inflammation is a primary cause of many forms of cancer, heart disease and other chronic diseases that take the lives of millions well before their time. Poor diet, stress and lifestyle factors all contribute to inflammation that overworks body metabolism and encourages damage to the delicate vascular system that feeds our heart. Production of inflammatory chemical markers such as cytokines are accelerated over months and years of exposure that creates an environment known to encourage the spread of cancer cells and propagate cardiovascular disease.
Two independent studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition have found that supplementing Omega-3 fats lowers the release of inflammatory biomarkers that are involved in damage to cells called soluble adhesion molecules. Researchers have demonstrated that Omega-3 fats from fish oil supplements effectively lower levels of circulating adhesion molecules to decrease risk of atherosclerosis and counteract the pro-carcinogenic action of these damaging compounds produced by long-term inflammation throughout the body.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Inhibit Adhesion Molecules to Lower Heart Disease Risk
To prepare their work, researchers conducted a meta-analysis on eighteen separate studies that examined the effect of soluble adhesion molecules (sICAM-1) and Omega-3 fats and their impact on systemic inflammatory markers in the body. The results showed that Omega-3 supplements were associated with sICAM-1 reductions in both healthy people and subjects with abnormal blood lipid levels.
The scientists commented “This finding suggests that omega-3 PUFA reduces inflammation by selectively inhibiting monocyte activation rather than endothelial activation… and supports the notion that omega-3 PUFA can be supplemented to prevent the development and progression of atherosclerosis.” The Omega fats were found to lower levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol molecules and decrease particle size, both factors known to lower cardiovascular risk. The fats were also found to inhibit platelet aggregation or clumping and resolve particle adhesion properties to allow blood to flow freely through the vascular arteries.
Eat Fish Three Times Each Week or Supplement Daily with Distilled Fish Oil
A second research study performed in France determined that Omega-3 fats lower breast and prostate cancer risk in a cohort of 408 individuals with the disease, compared to 760 healthy control subjects. The scientists found a direct correlation between cancer development and Omega-3 supplementation, again by inhibiting the expression of adhesion molecules required for cancer cells to propagate.
Oily fish is the natural food source for pre-formed DHA and EPA Omega-3 fats. Many people avoid fish due to mercury contamination and unknown harvesting methods, making supplementation with a moleculary distilled form a viable option. Plant-based Omega-3 sources such as walnuts and flax seeds do not provide a good source of the necessary pre-formed long-chain fats, and while they are very healthy foods, do not yield a reliable supply of EPA and DHA fats. Read supplement labeling for a brand yielding 1,200 to 2,400 mg each day of combined EPA/DHA Omega-3 fats to lower the risks associated with heart disease and cancer.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Vitamin E Tocotrienols Work to Halt Chronic Diseases and Extend Lifespan


The result of several new research bodies have been published that all point to the powerful effect of vitamin E tocotrienols to prevent stomach cancer, reduce fatty liver disease incidence and prevent disease mechanisms that can extend natural lifespan in humans. Over the past decade, many studies have highlighted the importance of the most common vitamin E isomer known as alpha-tocopherol. While this form of the vitamin is important to lower risk of heart disease, a plethora of new evidential studies have come forth recently to show that all four of the tocotrienols must be present to provide maximum protection against illness and extend healthy lifespan.

A growing body of evidence suggests that tocotrienols possess potent biological activity and accumulate in body tissues to affect disease initiation and progression at a preferential rate compared to the mirror-image tocopherols. Researchers publishing in the Journal of Nutrition explain that vitamin E tocotrienols accumulate at elevated levels in adipose tissue, the brain, heart, and liver to help prevent over weight and obesity, dementia, cardiovascular disease and fatty liver.
Vitamin E Tocotrienols Help Prevent Stroke and Extend Cellular Life Cycle

Researchers examined blood and skin samples from 80 individuals, some healthy and others in poor health. Using high performance liquid chromatography, the scientists were able to measure the degree of vitamin E tocotrienol absorption into different organs after oral supplementation. They found that critical metabolic organ structures including fat tissue, heart, liver and brain selectively concentrated both the alpha and gamma forms of the vitamin.
This is an important finding, as the alpha isomer of vitamin E crosses the blood-brain barrier at levels that have been shown to offer neuroprotective benefits and help prevent the occurrence of stroke. The gamma form provides a protective shield to the heart muscle and can aid liver health by preventing fatty liver disease and liver cancer.
Supplement with a Full Spectrum Vitamin E Gelcap Daily to Prevent Illness

The most compelling research to date is published in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology. Scientists have demonstrated that the full spectrum of vitamin E tocotrienols yield a powerful anti-aging effect as the vitamin is shown to extend the length of telomeres while preventing damage to DNA. Telomeres are the tiny zipper-like structures that regulate cellular division and signal the end of a life cycle for each individual cell. Any mechanism that can naturally extend telomere length will slow the aging process and help prevent disease.
Vitamin E and all associated tocotrienols are readily available from a diet filled with nuts, seeds, spinach and leafy greens and certain oils such as wheat germ, sesame and olive oil. Nutrition advisors recommend consuming natural dietary sources of the vitamin daily, though some may also choose to supplement with the full spectrum of tocotrienols and tocopherols (200 – 400 mg daily spread across all isomers) to prevent chronic disease, extend telomere length and increase lifespan.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Eating Red Meat Increases Risk of Death from Heart Disease and Cancer by Twenty Percent

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health have published the results of a twenty-two year study on red meat consumption in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine. The scientists found that red meat consumption is associated with an increased risk of total, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality, and that substituting other healthy protein sources, such as fish, poultry, nuts, and legumes, was associated with a lower risk of mortality.
Lead study author, Dr. Ann Pan noted “Our study adds more evidence to the health risks of eating high amounts of red meat, which has been associated with type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers in other studies.” Researchers reviewed the data supplied by two independent studies of 37,698 men and 83,644 women, each conducted over a period of 22 to 28 years, revealing data over a very long time frame. All participants were free of cardiovascular disease and cancer when the studies began, and diet was assessed through use of a questionnaire every four years.
Substituting Poultry, Nuts and Legumes for Red Meat Lowers Mortality Risk up to Nineteen Percent
For the duration of the two studies, a total of 23,926 deaths were recorded with 5,910 from cardiovascular disease and 9,464 from cancer. From the results, regular consumption of red meats, especially processed meats such as sausage, hot dogs and luncheon meats was associated with a significant increased mortality risk. A daily serving of unprocessed red meat (about three ounces, the size of a deck of cards) was found to increase mortality by thirteen percent. Processed meat consumption (the equivalent of one hot dog each day) increased death risk from all causes by twenty percent.
Limit Consumption of Red Meats to Ten Percent of Calories and Eliminate Processed Meats
Breaking the results down further, the researchers found that mortality risks were increased by 18% and 21% for cardiovascular diseases, and 10% and 16% for cancer mortality (unprocessed meat consumption compared to processed meats). Study authors took into account chronic disease risk factors such as age, body mass index, physical activity, family history of heart disease and other causes of cancer. The research team was quick to note that the results do not mean that meat must be eliminated from the diet, except for processed meats that are unhealthy at any level of consumption due to high concentrations of preservative nitrites.
Nutrition experts suggest limiting unprocessed red meats to several ounces, two or three days of the week. Always choose free-range, organic meats to avoid growth hormones and food-borne illnesses typically found in conventionally farmed animals. They suggest substituting fish, poultry (again, organically raised), nuts, legumes and whole grains to lower mortality risks by 7% to 19%. The study team concluded “choosing more healthful sources of protein in place of red meat can confer significant health benefits by reducing chronic disease morbidity and mortality.”

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sweetened Beverages Increase Heart Disease Risk in Men by Twenty Percent


Researchers publishing the results of a study in the prestigious American Heart Association journal Circulation have found that men who drank a 12-ounce sugar-sweetened beverage a day had a 20 percent higher risk of heart disease compared to men who didn't drink any sugar-sweetened drinks. This should come as no surprise as sweetened (and calorie-free) beverages have come under scrutiny for contributing to increased risk of potentially fatal conditions such as diabetes, dementia, stroke, liver necrosis (fatty liver), overweight and obesity.
Excess glucose in the bloodstream is easily converted to triglycerides by the liver and promptly stored as fat, typically around the waistline for use during leaner times. This survival mechanism worked very well for our ancestors of several hundred generations past, but times of plenty now exist regularly, several times each day for most.
Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Boost Blood Fats to Significantly Increase Heart Disease Risk
Humans were never metabolically wired to consume the large amount of nutrient-poor calories as we do today, and it is leading to an early grave for millions. The bottom line is simple: eliminate calories from sugar-sweetened beverages and lower your risk of heart disease by one-fifth.
Researchers reviewed the beverage consuming habits of 42,883 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, and after controlling for risk factors including smoking, physical inactivity, alcohol use and family history of heart disease, they determined that daily consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages resulted in a twenty percent increase in cardiovascular disease. Scientists found that less frequent consumption, on the order of twice weekly to twice monthly did not increase risk.
Eliminate Sugary Drinks in Favor of Water, Green and White Teas
Lead study author, Dr. Frank Hu and his team from the Harvard School of Public Health measured blood markers for cardiovascular disease in the group such as C-reactive protein (CRP), potentially damaging blood fats including triglycerides and oxidized LDL cholesterol as well as good lipids known as high-density lipoproteins (HDL). They found that compared to a group of non-sweetened beverage drinkers, the test participants had significantly elevated levels of triglyceride, CRP and lower HDL levels.
These findings are to be expected with excess consumption of glucose. Excess sugar in the blood, when not required for energy to fuel metabolic processes is rapidly converted to free circulating blood fats and then stored as body fat. High levels of LDL cholesterol become oxidized (making the lipoprotein molecules sticky) where they are easily combined with calcium and other materials in the blood and are incorporated into atherosclerotic plaque. Most health-minded people will eliminate sugar-sweetened beverages entirely from their diet, as well as dramatically reduce all sources of quick-releasing refined carbohydrates to dramatically lower their risk of heart disease.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Consuming Berries Can Prevent Memory Loss and Cognitive Decline


Cognitive decline, the unnatural loss of memory and ability to think clearly as we age is rapidly approaching epidemic proportions. Poor diet and lifestyle choices have taken a toll after we subject our body to years and decades of abuse from sugar, hydrogenated fats, pollution and lack of physical activity. Eventually the brain succumbs to the continual assault, as the chemical and electrical connections that define our personality and very being are eroded and amyloid protein tangles that are normally cleared begin to snuff out our identity.

Researchers have postulated for years that fruits such as strawberries, blueberries and blackberries provide support for an aging brain, and new research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry explains how a variety of berry fruits have beneficial effects on the brain and may help prevent age-related memory loss and other changes. Including one to two servings each day of these delicious fruits may just help restore optimal memory function and prevent cognitive decline.

Berries Boost Brain Health by Providing Potent Antioxidant Support
Researchers have long postulated that berry fruits have a beneficial effect on the brain, and set to analyze the strength of the evidence as they extensively reviewed cellular, animal and human studies on the topic. Lead research authority, Dr. Barbara Shukitt-Hale of the USDA Agricultural Research Service at Tufts University indicated that berries possess “neuro-available, neuro-active phytochemicals that offer antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and direct effects on the brain.”

The research team performed an extensive analysis of prior studies that reviewed cellular, animal and human bodies of work to judge the evidence for potential benefits afforded by berry consumption in older adults. The review revealed that eating a wide variety of different colored berries can boost brain health by helping multiple metabolic systems in the body.

The scientists determined that berry fruits contain very high levels of antioxidants that protect the delicate brain structure from the damaging oxidative effects of free radicals. The brain is among the most metabolically active organs in the body and generates large quantities of free radicals as a result. Our natural capacity to produce antioxidants is quickly overcome and berries provide a critical supply to maintain healthy cellular function.

Eat Several Servings of Berries Daily to Lower Systemic Inflammation
Further, researchers found that berry fruits alter the way neurons communicate through a sophisticated array of chemical transmitters and electrical signals. Berry consumption affects changes in brain signaling to inhibit inflammation contributing to neuronal damage. This action results in improvements to both motor control and levels of cognition, memory and thought.

The research team concludedberry fruits mediate signaling pathways involved in inflammation and cell survival in addition to enhancing neuroplasticity, neurotransmission, and calcium buffering, all of which lead to attenuation of age- and pathology-related deficits in behavior.” Each variety of berry is packed with a wide assortment of potent phytonutrients, all with independent action on the aging brain. Be sure to eat several servings of berries daily, including many different colors to improve brain health, memory and cognition.