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.