The Director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Josephine Briggs, MD shares her thoughts on a recent publication in the journal Headache by Robert Cowan, MD. Both are trying to raise awareness of what patients visiting clinicians might be utilizing in terms of conventional and complementary approaches. There are more Evidence-Based resources available to conventional practitioners on CAM than ever before. What are your thoughts on Dr. Briggs commentary?
For additional information please see, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
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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 .
The Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study recently published looked at the association between omega-3 fatty acids and brain aging in 1,111 postmenopausal women who were on average 70 years old. The researchers measured the amounts of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in the women’s red blood cells at the beginning of the study and followed them for eight years. It turned out that women with the highest levels of EPA and DHA had a greater brain volume and hippocampus compared to women who had the lowest fatty acid levels. This suggests that EPA and DHA may protect the brain from shrinkage with age. What are your thoughts about this study? How often do patients ask you about using omega-3 fatty acids for treatment or prevention of cognitive disorders?
For additional information, please click Reuters.
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A recent study published in Nutrition Journal examined if consuming 1/2 an avocado either with lunch meals or post lunch meals would influence satiety and post-prandial rise in blood glucose levels. This randomized, single-blind cross-over study included 26 healthy but overweight adults between the ages of 40-51 years. Since avocados are about 70% water, they make an excellent addition to meals in terms of increasing meal volume as well as fiber intake. Both fiber and medium energy dense foods are thought to increase post meal satiety. Study participants received treatments one the same day of the week with a one week washout period in between. Results showed that the avocado addition to meals increased satiety by 26% with a 40% decrease in a desire to eat over a 3-5 hour post lunch period. In addition, blood sugar levels were significantly decreased over a 3 hour postprandial period. Although a longer study with more participants should be done for more conclusive results, this study shows a great benefit of incorporating avocado post meals as a simple dietary intervention. What are your favorite avocado recipes?
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A panel of experts who assess current scientific evidence for preventative medications focused on vitamins and other dietary supplements in their recent review. According to the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force (USPSTF), there is unclear evidence when taking nutrients (as vitamins or supplements) to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and/or cancer. The report also advises against taking beta-carotene and vitamin E for the prevention of these two conditions due to lack of evidence. Instead, the panel suggests that a well-balanced diet would be more beneficial for the body, helping it to absorb nutrients in their most natural form. What are your thoughts on these recent recommendations? How do you counsel your patients to achieve this well-balanced diet? For more information, click here
According to a recently published analysis from the Women’s Health Initiative Study of Cognitive Aging, higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids were not shown to improve or maintain cognition. The study analyzed blood levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in women aged 65-80 taking postmenopausal hormone therapy. Study found no difference among the 6 years worth of cognitive assessment scores between women with high levels of DHA and EPA versus women with low levels. However, authors suggested that measuring omega-3 levels over a longer period of time may be necessary to show a link with cognition improvement. What are your thoughts about this research? How often do you recommend fish oil and other natural products for cognition improvement?
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New research from Harvard School of Public Health published in the Annals of Internal Medicine explored the connection between omega-3 fatty acid rich food intake and longevity in more than 2,700 U.S adults. The adults with higher concentration of omega-3 fatty acid levels had 27% lower overall risk of death and 35% lower risk of death from cardiovascular event than those with lower concentration. How do you encourage your patients to increase their omega-3 fatty acid food consumption?
For Additional Information, Please Click WebMD
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that pregnant women who take DHA supplementation have babies that are of greater weight, longer gestation periods, and fewer early births. During the last half of their pregnancy, 154 women were randomly assigned to receive DHA 600mg daily and 147 women were assigned to take a placebo daily. Only 0.6 percent of the women in the DHA group gave birth at 34 weeks’ gestation or less, while 5 percent of women in the placebo group gave birth at 34 weeks’ gestation or less. What benefits of omega-3 supplementation do you discuss with your patients?
For more information, visit NYtimes.
Dr. Alexander Leaf, a physician and a research scientist, passed away at the age of 92. Dr. Leaf was well known as someone who connected the effects of diet and heart disease through his world travels. Majority of his professional life was spent in Boston Massachusetts General Hospital. His 2005 article in Circulation is one of the reason so many cardiologists recommend consumption of fish oil to their patients. Were you familiar with Dr. Leaf’s work? If so, how has it affected you and your practice?
For additional information, please visit New York Times.
A review published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry reports that postpartum depression may be associated with low levels of omega 3. Many women of childbearing age do not intake enough omega 3 and during pregnancy omega 3 levels are decreased even more as they are passed from the mother to the growing fetus. Levels of omega 3 remain low for more than 6 weeks after the birth of a baby. What dietary recommendations do you provide to your pregnant patients?
For more information, please read the article in Medical News Today. “Image courtesy of [adamr]/Freedigitalphotos.net”