A 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?
Turmeric 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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Smoking e-cigarettes at a higher voltage can can people to have more exposure to formaldehyde, according to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers from Portland State University took flavored nicotine liquid made by Halo Cigs and tested it in a personal vaporizer from Innokin. The vaporizer allows consumers to adjust the voltage from 3.3V to 5.0V. The higher the voltage the greater the nicotine kick, but also the greater the amount of formaldehyde. Inhaled as a gas, formaldehyde has been linked to an increased risk of nasopharyngeal cancer and leukemia. Researchers concluded that the life-time risk of developing formaldehyde-related cancer was roughly 1 in 200 for high-voltage e-cigarettes versus 1 in 1,000 for cigarettes – at least five times higher. They found no increased risk for people smoking at a low voltage. What are you thoughts on smoking cigarettes vs. e-cigarettes? How often do you counsel patients about e-cigarettes?
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New 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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In 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?
A 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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There seems to be some good news coming from the recent Arctic blast of cold air. Brown fat cells (the “good” fat cells) are activated every time the body feels the icy cold wind. Full of mitochondria, brown fat cells are responsible for protecting vital organs. During the winter, that calls for burning extra glucose the body stores as white fat (the “bad” fat) cells for heat. Researchers found that men who slept in 66 degree temperatures for a month saw an increase of brown fat cells by 30-40%. On the other hand, brown fat cell levels fell below baseline when they slept in rooms where the temperature was above 80 degrees. This led to the question of whether stimulating these fat cells would help in obesity and type 2 diabetes. A study led by Dr. Hei Sook Sul of the University of California, Berkeley, showed that when mice were fed high fat diet, those who were exposed to transcription factor Zfp516 (the protein critical to brown fat cell formation) gained 30% less weight than those mice who were not exposed. While the exact time one has to be outside is unknown, Sul recommends giving it a try at a safe exposure. How do you feel about recommending colder sleeping environment? What other recommendations would you be comfortable to provide based on the results of this research?
For additional information please visit the Washington Post.
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According to new study from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, consuming tea and citrus juices could correspond to a lower risk of developing ovarian cancer. This was the first large-scale study to determine the role of flavanoids on ovarian cancer, and followed 172,000 patients over three decades. The research team found that women who consumed flavonols and flavanones, which are two sub-types of flavanoids, experienced much less of a risk of developing epithelial ovarian cancer. Since these flavanoids are found in tea and citrus juices and fruits, it is fairly easy to incorporate them to get the associated benefits. This was a promising find, as roughly 20,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the United States each year and it also happens to be the fifth leading cause of death from cancer among women. What other dietary sources of flavanoids do you recommend to your patients for health benefits?
A new study by Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health has revealed that children who were exposed to air pollutants during their first two years of life are more likely to develop Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The study, which was presented in the American Association for Aerosol Research annual meeting in Orlando, Florida, has explained that the risk is related mainly to two pollutants: chromium, which is released by combustion processes and metal industries, and styrene, the product of poly styrene plastics and resins. What are your thoughts about air pollution? What should be done to prevent its negative effects, especially on children?
For more information, please visit Youth Health Magazine.
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Based on a new study published in the journal Cell Reports, the biological response to high-fat diet in male and female brains are not the same. According to the study, the brains of male mice became inflamed and their heart were damaged after given a steady high-fat meals, while nothing of that happened to the female mice. Interestingly, female brains have been found to produce anti-inflammatory chemicals that kept them from getting harmed by high-fat diet. However, further studies are still needed to prove these results on humans. How much do your dietary recommendations vary in men and women? What are your thoughts about this research?
To read more, please visit News Medical.
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