Author Archive: laurenwel2015

Low Vitamin D in Childhood Linked to Later Heart Risks

sunshine_145918109A long-term Finnish study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism has reported that vitamin D deficiency in childhood may be linked to hardening of the arteries later in life. In 1980 the researchers enrolled 2,148 children aged 3 to 18 who underwent periodic physical exams measuring serum vitamin D levels and other cardiovascular markers until they were 45 years old. During this time, doctors used ultrasound to examine their arteries (including the carotid artery in the neck) for thickening as a marker of increased cardiovascular risk. After adjusting for age, sex and other cardiovascular risk factors, the results showed children in the lowest one-quarter for vitamin D levels were nearly twice as likely to have thickening of the carotid artery as those in the other three quarters. This evidence suggests Vitamin D is important for good artery health. What are your typical sources of Vitamin D? How often do you recommend your patients to get their Vitamin D levels checked?

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Are Vitamin Drinks a Bad Idea?

ID-10020546The vitamins and minerals are in the news again, with all this being related to their addition to sports drinks, water and juices. Scientists suggests that consumers might be ingesting higher than necessary (and sometimes potentially harmful) amounts. When consumed in excess, water-soluble vitamins like B and C are in the urine, but fat soluble-vitamins including A, D, E and K, accumulate in tissues, posing potential risks. Some people (for example, pregnant or lactating women) will require additional vitamins and minerals, but for the majority of the population, these nutrients should be primarily acquired through daily diet. This discussion extends to antioxidants and the lack of information on the long-term supplementation effects. Scientists state that it is impossible to consume too much from foods but the exposure through supplementation may be too great. How do you counsel your patients about healthy diet and vitamin/mineral/antioxidant rich foods? For those who require supplementation, what are your typical recommendations?

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Curcumin may help lower inflammation in metabolic syndrome

ID-100149024Turmeric as well as one of its main ingredients, curcumin, are well-known for their anti-inflammatory activity. A new study from the journal of Clinical Nutrition evaluates curcumin’s ability to reduce inflammation in people with metabolic syndrome. In this randomized controlled clinical trial 117 participants, who had already been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, were split in half to either receive one gram of curcumin or placebo for 8 weeks. The researchers measured levels of three inflammation blood markers at the beginning and end of the study. They found the participants who took curcumin had improved blood levels of all three inflammatory biomarkers as well as reduced fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c, a measure of long term blood sugar levels. “The findings of our studies, along with clinical findings reported by other groups, indicate the usefulness of daily use of curcumin supplement for the prevention and treatment of several diseases,” the study’s senior author states. Curcumin has strong antioxidant and antiinflammaotry properties which give the compound its therapeutic effects. The authors advise that even at high doses curcumin is a very safe natural supplement, but should be avoided in pregnant and lactating women. How do you incorporate curcumin and turmeric into your diet?

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How Vitamin D May Fight Colon Cancer

ID-100130112New observational research performed at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School was just published in the journal Gut.  Researchers have associated higher levels of vitamin D with a reduced risk of colon cancer, stating that the higher the levels in the blood, the less is the likelihood of developing malignant tumors in the colon. The authors discuss how vitamin D boosts immunity in cancer as well as any other type of infection leading to greater number of T cells which target tumor cells and limit their growth. When did you have your vitamin D level check last?

 

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Blueberries May Lower Blood Pressure

ID-10069469In a new study from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, researchers found eating a cup of blueberries a day has a moderate effect on lowering blood pressure. In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 40 postmenopausal women, those women who ate a cup of blueberries a day for 8 weeks saw an average decrease in systolic blood pressure by 5.1 % and a 6.3 % decrease in diastolic blood pressure. The levels of nitric oxide, responsible for relaxing blood vessels, were increased in the group who consumed blueberries while there was no significant change in the placebo group.Researchers recommend adding blueberries to your diet to help lower blood pressure. What are some of the reasons and best ways you incorporate blueberries into your daily diet?

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Stable childhood may lead to healthy adult heart

ID-100240347A long term study in Finland found adults who had a “stable, healthy” childhood were more likely to have an “ideal cardiovascular health” in adulthood. In this observational study of more than 1,000 men and women, positive psychosocial factors in childhood were associated with healthier behaviors as adults which directly influence overall heart health. Certain behaviors, like eating habits, are developed in childhood and continue into adulthood. Researchers assessed children’s psychosocial upbringing, parents education/income level, alcohol/smoking use and general life satisfaction. When they reach adulthood, researchers looked at an index developed by the American Heart Association which defined ‘ideal cardiovascular health’. This included a healthy body mass index, moderate physical activity, healthy diet, not smoking, and healthy levels of blood pressure, cholesterol and fasting blood sugar. The larger number of positive psychosocial factors in childhood correlated with better cardiovascular heart health in adults. Parents were advised to spend time with their children, pay attention to mental illness which is linked with cardiovascular health, and lead by example because children develop important behaviors from what they see. What advice would you give parents to help instill healthy habits in children?

 

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Higher-fiber diet linked to lower risk of death

ID-100232441The American Journal of Epidemiology is encouraging individuals to increase their daily dietary fiber intake. Dr. Yang of the Shanghai Cancer Institute in China, collected data from 17 previous studies and reported people who ate the greatest amount of fiber were 16 % less likely to die than those who ate the least amount. The more fiber people ate the less likely they were to die from any cause. Eight of these studies proved increasing dietary fiber by 10 grams a day would decrease risk for any cause of death by 10 %. Researchers say fiber-rich foods lower the risk of chronic diseases by lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, insulin and reducing inflammation. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture women should consume 25 grams a day and men about 38 grams a day.It has been reported that the U.S population only consumes half the recommended goal. It is important to remember when increasing your daily fiber intake to do it slowly and drink plenty of water. Fiber-rich foods to add to your daily diet include whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes. What are some of your favorite recipes/suggestions that incorporate these foods/ingredients?

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In search of a personalised diet

ID-100123942A new study lead by BBC Science and obesity experts explains every person has different eating habits and specific diets are needed for each person based on their hormones, genes,cognitive behavior etc. Instead of following a standard diet it is important to focus on your eating habits first to develop a diet specific for you. Scientists from Oxford and Cambridge followed and observed eating trends of 5 dieters for three months in their homes. The study looked at three types of over eaters, feasters, constant cravers and emotional eaters. The study found diets are based off habits. The feasters, people who have a hard time stopping eating, have a problem with their gut hormone balance. Constant cravers, people that are always hungry, have certain genes that disrupt the signals sent to the brain so they do not know when they are full. Emotional eaters eat when they feel anxious or stressed which is a habit they have developed. Overall, feasters lost the most weight and constant cravers had the hardest time losing weight. Dieters learned what type of eater they were and experts came up with plans to help them change their eating habits and practice the best diet for them. Although personalized diets are a new trend, experts say there is a lot of potential to help people lose more weight once they know more about their own body and how it affects their eating habits. Depending on the type of eater you are determines the type of diet you should try.

Would a personalized diet help people to lose weight?

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