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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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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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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The Food and Drug Administration just released Nutrition Basics reminder to help parents look at nutrition facts labels (ingredients, percent daily value, nutrients, and serving size) before buying food for their children. The main goal of this program is to fight childhood obesity with better food choices. How often do you discuss food labeling with your patients?
For additional information, please see the FDA Consumer Update .
A new review published in the journal Hypertension evaluated results of multiple trials concluding that daily consumption of probiotics can reduced blood pressure levels by 2 to 3 mm Hg. Even though this is not a significant reduction, probiotics in general have multiple benefits. What are your favorite sources of probiotics?
For additional information, please see Reuters Health.
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A recently concluded study published in the British Journal of Medicine compiled and evaluated 343 peer-reviewed studies that focus on the nutrient differences between organic and non-organic foods. The evaluation concluded that the organic food had a higher concentration of antioxidants, and lower levels of cadmium and pesticide residues. Antioxidants are known to play a part in reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, and cadmium, in high levels, is a potential neurotoxin. What this translates to for consumers is a possible protective health benefit. How familiar are your patients with Environmental Working Group Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen? How often do you discuss organic vs non-organic foods with them?
Find out more from Environmental Working Group
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Several research studies have come to the same conclusion that sitting for long hours may lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular events, worsening mental health and risk of being disabled even with a consistent exercise regimen. Furthermore, results of a recent study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, reported study participants who sat for more than 11 hours daily were at highest risk of mortality during the 12- year follow up. Sitting can lead to an increase in appetite and reduced muscle movement; thus the article suggests to break up sitting time about every half hour at work or home. How much time do you spend sitting daily? What are some methods you would recommend to your patients on how to reduce sitting time?
The article can be found at WebMD
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We are traditionally taught that exercise promotes a healthier lifestyle, however, where do we draw the line at too much exercise. Recent study performed by the American College of Cardiology suggests that those who run more than 20 miles a week do not have an increased life expectancy compared to those who run less. The article references a 2012 study performed by the Mayo Clinic suggest that excessive training may cause cardiovascular damage. With this being said, the author notes that like everything in life, moderation is key. How will this information change your workout and your recommendations to your patients?
The article can be found at CNN
The study can be found at ACC
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