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February 2013

Protect the Heart


Nutrients enhance heart function and reduce chances of heart disease Resveratrol improves heart function Resveratrol, from red and purple grape skins, is an anti-inflammatory antioxidant with heart-health benefits. Doctors in this study wanted to see if resveratrol would improve heart function in those with a previous heart attack, and gave 40 such people 10 mg of resveratrol per day, or a placebo. After three months, while there were no improvements for placebo, in the resveratrol group, the left heart ventricle was better able to relax and fill with blood, blood vessels were more flexible and able to dilate, red blood cells were more effective in delivering oxygen, and LDL cholesterol levels were in better balance.

CoQ10 and vitamin B6 reduce chances of heart disease Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) helps create energy at the cellular level. The body can produce some CoQ10, but needs vitamin B6 in order to do so. In this study, doctors compared 45 people with abnormal narrowing of one major heart artery to 89 healthy people. Those with heart disease had nearly half the level of circulating CoQ10 compared to healthy volunteers, and 25 percent lower levels of circulating vitamin B6.

In discussing their findings, doctors said that those who were most likely to have healthy hearts had CoQ10 levels of at least 516 nanomoles per liter of blood (nmol/L) or vitamin B6 levels of at least 59.7 nmol/L. This was not an “intervention” study, meaning doctors did not give participants any supplements to take, but instead observed the levels of CoQ10 and vitamin B6 already in the body. Doctors now suggest more study to help determine the exact benefits of giving CoQ10 and vitamin B6 supplements to those who are healthy, and those with heart disease, and to determine the most beneficial dose of these natural nutrients. Reference: Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation; 2012, Vol. 50, No. 3, 179-87

Healthy Insight Beans Improve Blood Sugar in Type 2 Diabetes Foods that release energy slowly and help prevent surges in blood sugar— low-glycemic foods—are essential for those with type 2 diabetes. In this study, doctors encouraged 121 people with type 2 diabetes to add at least one cup per day of naturally low-glycemic legumes such as beans, chickpeas and lentils, or to add insoluble fiber by eating whole-wheat foods. After three months, long-term average blood sugar levels declined by a half-percent for legumes, and by one-third percent for whole wheat. The legume diet also lowered blood pressure, reducing chances of heart disease by nearly one percent. Reference: Archives of Internal Medicine; 2012, Volume 172, No. 21

This Issue

Nutrients improve circulation, reduce chances of heart disease


Nutrients reduce leg cramps and pre-eclampsia


Nutrients reduce respiratory infection


Early-Stage Discoveries in nutrition


7-Minute Black Bean Soup


Healthy Women Nutrients improve circulation and reduce chances of heart disease in women Curcumin as effective as aerobic exercise Curcumin, the anti-inflammatory antioxidant compound in the culinary spice turmeric, improved circulation in postmenopausal women as effectively as aerobic exercise. In the study, 32 postmenopausal women with similar health characteristics at the start of the study took a daily curcumin supplement or a placebo, while a third group took moderate aerobic exercise training only. After eight weeks, while there were no changes for placebo, both the curcumin and exercise groups had better relaxation, widening, and functioning of blood vessels and arteries compared to the start of the study. Doctors said that both aerobic exercise and curcumin may improve age-related

decline in the circulatory system and taking a curcumin supplement may help prevent cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women. Curcumin may also be an alternative for people who cannot exercise.

Omega fatty acids reduce chances of heart disease

Doctors also measured total omega3s and found, compared to women who consumed the least, women who consumed the most of these polyunsaturated fatty acids—plentiful in fish—were much more likely to remain heart-disease free. Reference: Nutrition Research Journal; 2012, Vol. 32, No. 12, 795-99

In this study, doctors followed 3,277 healthy men and women free from heart disease at the start of the study. After 23 years of follow-up, while there were no benefits for men, women who consumed moderate amounts of alpha-linolenic acid or linoleic acid— both omega fatty acids—were less likely to have heart disease caused by restricted blood flow compared to women who got less of these two nutrients.

Calm and Healthy Pregnancy Nutrients reduce leg cramps and pre-eclampsia Magnesium reduced leg cramps Magnesium is essential to all living cells and can help stabilize nerves and blood vessel function. In this study, 80 healthy women complaining of frequent leg cramps during the 14th through 34th week of pregnancy took 300 mg of magnesium per day or a placebo. The form of magnesium was bisglycinate

chelate, which doctors used because it is more than twice as absorbable as the lactate or citrate forms of magnesium. After four weeks, while there were no improvements for placebo, nearly nine in 10 women in the magnesium group experienced half as many leg cramps compared to the start of the study. For seven in 10 of the women taking magnesium, the intensity of the leg cramps was reduced by half.

L-arginine and antioxidants reduce pre-eclampsia Pre-eclampsia is a high-bloodpressure complication that can occur in and just after pregnancy. In this study, 672 women in the 14th through 32nd week of pregnancy, with a personal or 2

family history of pre-eclampsia, took a placebo or a supplement bar containing antioxidants, with or without l-arginine. L-arginine is an essential amino acid, which means it must come from diet. The daily supplement bar contained 3.3 mg of l-arginine, 250 mg vitamin C, 200 IU vitamin E, 25 mg niacin, 2 mg vitamin B6, 4.8 mcg of vitamin B12, and 200 mcg of folic acid, plus a healthy balance of fat, carbohydrates, sugars, and protein. Compared to placebo, women who took l-arginine were less than half as likely to have pre-eclampsia. Women who got the supplement without l-arginine were also less likely to have pre-eclampsia, but l-arginine had a much greater benefit. Reference: Maternal and Child Nutrition; August, 2012, Electronic Prepublication

february 2013 natural insights for well being ®

Keeping Kids Healthy Nutrients reduce respiratory infection Zinc reduced lower respiratory infections Zinc is an essential mineral for healthy development and immunity. In this study, 192 children who were low in zinc and other nutrients took 10 mg of zinc gluconate per day or a placebo for 60 days. Doctors followed the children for four more months, keeping track of

respiratory infections. Compared to children in the placebo group, kids who took zinc were less than half as likely to have acute or severe lower respiratory infections. The children who took zinc also had more healthy days without infection, and recovered from infection far faster than kids who had taken the placebo.

Vitamin D reduced respiratory infection Recent evidence has shown that vitamin D is important not only for developing bones, but also for strengthening immune systems. Because the body produces vitamin D from the sun, it is particularly important to maintain good levels in winter months.

This study took place in a northern climate, where vitamin D deficiency is common in winter. At the start of the study, all the 250 children who participated were very low in vitamin D. The children drank locally produced milk with or without 300 IU of added vitamin D per day. Over the course of the winter, parents of children in the vitamin D group reported about half the number of respiratory infections as parents of kids in the placebo group. In discussing their findings, doctors said the large benefit they saw was due to the very low levels of vitamin D at the start of the study, and suggest further study to determine the best level of vitamin D. Reference: Clinical Nutrition; August, 2012, Electronic Prepublication


Ahead of the Curve Early-Stage Discoveries: Organic Carrots, Purple Corn, and Garlic Good results in the lab can lead to larger human trials. Here are some of the most promising recent findings.

Organic carrots may benefit immune system Most organic food studies have focused on antioxidants, but here, doctors studied immunity. Researchers fed mice carrots from one of four types of organic growing methods, or one conventionally grown type of carrot. After 30 days, those fed carrots that were most-strictly organically grown had increased regulatory T cells, which are responsible for keeping the immune system from over-reacting after eliminating harmful micro-organisms.

Doctors discover anti-microbial action of garlic Because consumers want lessnatural insights for well being ®

processed foods, researchers are looking for more natural preservatives from the plant world. For centuries, folk medicine has used garlic to fight disease. In this lab study, doctors exposed campylobacter jejuni—the most common cause of bacterial food-borne illness—to organic sulfur compounds in garlic. Researchers found the diallyl sulfides in garlic freely penetrated the bacteria membrane walls, killing the microbial cells and rendering them harmless.

supply. In the lab, doctors exposed human blood vessel cells to PCA for six hours, which reduced the inflammatory process that leads to scarring. In a second lab study, doctors gave mice PCA for eight weeks and found PCA slowed the damage to specialized kidney cells, and interrupted the inflammatory process. Reference: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture; 2012, Vol. 92, No. 14, 2913-22

Purple corn anthocyanins (PCA) may reduce diabetic kidney disease In diabetic neuropathy, small blood vessels become scarred, reducing blood february 2013 3

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7-Minute Black Bean Soup Your family and friends will love this quick and heartwarming meal. Please see page 1 for new research on how legumes such as black beans helped type 2 diabetics maintain better blood sugar balance. Ingredients: 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained 1-½ c broth, your preference 1 c salsa, your preference 1-½ tsp cumin Optional garnishes: your choice of chopped onion, cilantro, corn chips, Tabasco sauce, sour cream, etc. Directions: In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients. Blend until desired consistency, heat in a sauce pan until bubbly. Ladle into colorful bowls, garnish and serve. 4

February 2013

Thanks for shopping with us! We’re dedicated to discovering the benefits of good nutrition and healthy lifestyle, and hope this issue of Natural Insights for Well Being® informs and inspires you to take an active role in your health. Please ask us to assist you with any natural products you would like to know more about. These articles provide nutritional information only and do not replace professional medical advice. Printed on Recycled Paper

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natural insights for well being ®

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