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March 2012

Heart

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Antioxidants boost anti-inflammatory defenses in, and lower chances of, coronary artery disease CoQ10 reduced oxidative stress in coronary artery disease Oxidative stress occurs when oxygen free-radicals outnumber antioxidants in the body, leading to inflammation that damages cell proteins, fats, and DNA. In coronary artery disease (CAD), blood vessels thicken and narrow, and doctors in this study said oxidative stress and inflammation play a central role. Coenzyme Q10, or ubiquinone, is a powerful antioxidant that helps produce energy in every cell in the body. In the study, 51 people with advanced CAD took 60 mg of CoQ10 per day, 150 mg per day, or a placebo. After 12 weeks, while there was no significant change in the placebo or 60 mg groups, those who took 150 mg of CoQ10 had 29 percent lower levels of oxidative stress and a large increase in protective antioxidant enzyme activity. Doctors concluded CoQ10 may promote rapid and sustainable antioxidation in CAD.

Beta-carotene and inflammation Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant found in the bright pigment of fruits and vegetables. In this study, researchers compared levels of cholesterol, oxidative stress, and inflammation in 91 people with

advanced CAD to 49 healthy people. Compared to healthy participants, those with CAD had elevated levels of all signs of inflammation, had much lower levels of HDL—the “good” cholesterol—and lower levels of beta-carotene. Researchers found that the lower the level of beta-carotene, the higher the level of interleukin-6, a proinflammatory molecule released by blood vessels under stress. Doctors said the relationship they found between low levels of beta-carotene and high levels of inflammation suggests that betacarotene may protect against CAD and other vascular diseases by inhibiting inflammation. Reference: Nutrition; October, 2011, Electronic Prepublication

Healthy Insight

Walnuts—Brainy Food Walnuts contain compounds that help protect the nervous system, like vitamin E, folate, melatonin, antioxidant polyphenols, and omega-3 fatty acids. In this study, 64 college students alternately took one half-cup of walnuts per day, or a placebo, in two eight-week phases. Compared to the placebo phase, after the walnut phase, students were much better able to verbally reason out—or infer—a logical conclusion from a set of facts or assumptions. “Walnuts will obviously not make you a critical thinker, but young professionals in fields that involve a great deal of critical thinking could benefit from regularly eating walnuts,” study authors said. Reference: British Journal of Nutrition; September, 2011, Electronic Prepublication

This Issue

Nutrients promote healthy 2 bones in postmenopausal women Chondroitin improved osteoarthritis and psoriasis

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Nutrients improve memory and cognition

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Nutrients improved symptoms of PMS and mood

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Smart Walnut Crunch is a great 4 snack for studying


Women’s Healthy Bones Nutrients promote healthy bones in postmenopausal women Omega-3s plus exercise The lower estrogen levels in postmenopause cause bone loss, and inflammation, if present, increases chances of fracture. Anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids help strengthen bone by suppressing the activity of osteoclasts, cells that remove minerals from bone. In this study, 79 healthy postmenopausal women split into four groups. One group did not exercise or take supplements. A second walked and jogged only, up to 65 percent of maximum heart rate. A third group took 180 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid plus 120 mg of docosahexaenoic acid (EPA/ DHA) per day, while a fourth group took the omega-3s and exercised. After 24 weeks, while there were no changes in the other groups, the exercise/omega-3 group had 40 to 80 percent lower signs of inflammation,

15 percent greater bone mineral density (BMD) in the lower back, and 19 percent more in the thigh bone and hip.

got between the minimum RDA of 8 mg per day and up to 20 mg per day; 2.5 times the RDA, had healthier bones than women who got more or less zinc.

Copper, magnesium, zinc

Reference: British Journal of Nutrition; December, 2011, Vol. 106, No. 12, 1872-9

In this BMD study, 224 postmenopausal women, aged 51 to 80, took a multivitamin providing adequate vitamin D, plus 600 mg of calcium alone, or 600 mg of calcium with 12 mg zinc and 2 mg copper. The women kept a food diary to measure total nutrients from food and supplements. After two years, women who got less than the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for copper, magnesium, or zinc had poorer bone health than women who got at least the minimum RDA. The RDA for copper is 0.9 mg, for magnesium 237 mg, and zinc 8 mg per day. For zinc, women who

Relieving Hand and Knee Pain Chondroitin improved osteoarthritis and psoriasis Chondroitin eased pain, improved function, in osteoarthritis of the hand More than half of those over 60 have osteoarthritis (OA) of the hand, a painful chronic inflammatory condition, and there are few therapies without

side effects, and little research. In this study, 162 people with OA of the hand, average age 63, took 800 mg of chondroitin sulfate per day, or a placebo. After six months, pain had decreased 11 percent for placebo and 20 percent for chondroitin. Hand function improved 2 percent for placebo and 10 percent for chondroitin. Doctors said that while chondroitin takes several months to become fully effective, it does not produce the harsh long-term side effects of non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Chondroitin improves knee OA and psoriasis In OA, the common NSAID

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March 2012

treatment can aggravate psoriasis in those who have it. In this study, 129 people with knee OA and accompanying psoriasis took 800 mg of chondroitin sulfate per day, or a placebo. After three months, OA pain in the chondroitin group had decreased 1.5 to 2.0 times the rate for placebo. For psoriasis, while there was no difference between the groups overall, psoriasis of the soles of the feet (plantar) decreased 27 percent for placebo and 87 percent for chondroitin. Doctors said these findings confirm chondroitin is safe and could have special benefit for those with both OA and psoriasis because NSAIDs can aggravate psoriasis and trigger flare-ups. Reference: Osteoarthritis; October, 2011, Electronic Prepublication

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Sharper Minds

Nutrients improve memory and cognition Huperzine A improved cognition In this study, 78 people with

vascular dementia, a type of impairment from reduced blood supply to the brain, took 100 mcg of huperzine A, or a placebo containing 100 mg of vitamin C, twice per day. After 12 weeks, while the placebo group had not improved, the huperzine A group performed better in mental tests, had improved ratings for clinical dementia, and better quality of daily living activities. Huperzine A is a naturally occurring compound from the Chinese club moss, used in China as a traditional medicine.

Phospholipids improved memory Under sudden stress, the adrenal

glands release cortisol to give a quick burst of energy, sharpen memory, and decrease sensitivity to pain. But when stress is chronic, cortisol can have negative effects, including impaired memory. Doctors believe phospholipids help the body adapt to stress. In this study, 75 chronically stressed men, aged 30 to 51, drank cow’s milk with 0.5 percent or 1.0 percent phospholipids per day, or a placebo. After six weeks, while there was no difference between any of the groups in response to acute stress, men over age 41 in the high-dose phospholipid group had better memory performance. Reference: Nutrition Research; 2011, Vol. 31, No. 6, 413-20

Women’s Health Nutrients improved symptoms of PMS and mood Saffron reduced anxiety In this study, 35 women with normal sense of smell breathed saffron odor for 20 minutes. Half were preovulation, the other half post-ovulation. Regardless of menstrual phase, saffron significantly decreased levels of cortisol, the hormone the adrenal glands release in response to stress.

Vitamin D reduced depression Researchers in this study measured vitamin D in the diets of 81,189 women, aged 50 to 79, and followed up for three years. Overall, compared to those who got less than 100 IU of vitamin D per day, women who got a total of at least 800 IU of vitamin D per day from all sources were 21 percent less

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likely to have depressive symptoms. In a subgroup of women who did not have depressive symptoms at the start of the study, those who got at least 400 IU of vitamin D from food were 20 percent less likely to have depressive symptoms after three years.

symptoms in those taking antidepressants whose zinc levels were low. Reference: Phytomedicine; 2011, Vol. 18, No. 9, 72630

Low levels of zinc in depression Researchers thought that consistently low levels of zinc in the diet contribute to depressive symptoms. In this study of 3,708 men and women, while there was no link in men, women with low levels of zinc in the diet were more likely to have depressive symptoms than were women with normal zinc levels. Doctors also found an even greater tendency toward depressive

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Recipe

Smart Walnut Crunch You’ll want to make this simple, delicious snack every day! Please see page 1 for a new study that found college kids who ate walnuts had better verbal reasoning.

Ingredients: 4 c walnut halves 1 /4 c maple syrup 2 tbsp hemp seeds

Directions: Combine walnuts and maple syrup in a bowl and mix until coated. Stir in hemp seeds. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 325°F for 25 minutes, stirring gently until walnuts are lightly bronzed. The walnuts will become dry and crunchy as you allow them to cool on the baking sheet, if you can wait that long! 4

March 2012

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

©2012 RI

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March 2012 news  

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