Among its many other nutritional benefits, researchers have determined that regular intake of vitamin D plays a role in the prevention of falls in the elderly. Older adults often exhibit low serum vitamin D concentrations, which puts the skeletal system at risk. When taken in conjunction with calcium to reduce vitamin degradation, vitamin D compounds enhance active absorption of calcium and phosphate. As a result, bone does not need to be reabsorbed to maintain blood calcium concentrations, which in turn plays a role in maintaining strength. In addition, epidemiological studies have focused on the relationship between vitamin D and muscle function. Vitamin D assists in preserving high muscle contraction speed and power, and indirect evidence indicates that low bone density in osteoporotic elderly women with vitamin D insufficiency may be linked to increased postural sway. Vitamin D has been shown to influence the nervous system via its function in certain parts of the brain, particularly the cortical, subcortical and spinal motor zones. Clinical trials have indicated that vitamin D supplementation, when taken in conjunction with calcium, reduces the risk of some hip and other non-vertebral fractures.
Grape Seed Extract
An in vitro study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology on the grape seed and skin extracts re-affirmed the beneficial effects of grape seed and extracts on health. Study researchers observed significant antioxidant and anti-thrombotic activity in human platelets incubated with grape seed and extracts. Researchers also concluded that grape seeds and extracts are an appropriate alternative source of flavanoids in light of potential adverse effects related to the consumption of wine. Future studies are warranted to determine mechanism of action and the components of grape that are responsible for the beneficial effects.
Source:J. Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2005 Oct, 46(4):445-51.
Blueberries and their juice are commonly associated with antioxidant power. These tiny fruits grow primarily in North America and are a rich source of polyphenols, such as anthocyanins. In a recent study, the phytochemicals found in blueberries were associated with improving insulin resistance in obese participants. The double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study required twice daily consumption of blueberry bioactives for a period of six weeks. At the end of the study period, participants who received the blueberry compounds showed a significant increase in insulin sensitivity over those given the placebo. Significant steps were taken to address potential confounding factors, such as counseling and monitoring participants to ensure there were no changes in weight or physical activity. Researchers concluded that further research to explore the cellular mechanisms and the potential for long-term benefits is needed.
Source: J Nutr. 2010 Sep; 140(9): 1582-7. Epub 2010 Jul 21.
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Resveratrol is a phytochemical found in a variety of plants, fruits and associated fruit products, including grapes, mulberries and blueberries. It has been linked to anti-aging, antioxidant and cardio protective benefits. Some scientists have hypothesized that it may be partially responsible for the "French Paradox," the seemingly low rate of cardiovascular disease among the French. A study conducted in 2008 found that resveratrol consumption similar to the amounts found in a pattern of normal wine consumption may have a positive outcome on ischemic cardiovascular disease. For 15 days, 20 healthy volunteers consumed 300mg of either red or white wine. There was evidence of inhibition of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) production and platelet formation, leading researchers to conclude that resveratrol may contribute the positive effects observed with wine consumption. Further research on the potential benefits and risks of resveratrol is warranted.
Source: J Nutr. 2008 Sep; 138(9): 1602-8.
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Study Finds Red Yeast Rice to be an Effective Alternative to Prescription Statins
A recent study on the use of red yeast rice found it to be a useful and effective alternative to prescription statins. Although it may not be good news to the pharmacological industry, it's great news for those patients who cannot take statins and need support in reducing their cholesterol.
The participants in the study had a previous history of statin intolerance and high cholesterol. They were divided into two groups that received either a placebo or a1800 mg of red yeast rice twice daily. Both groups also participated in a lifestyle change program which included exercise, relaxation techniques and nutrition education. The study group showed a significant decrease in cholesterol levels compared to the placebo group. In addition, the study group did not report any increase in pain levels. For further information regarding this study please go to: http://www.annals.org/content/150/12/830.full.pdf+html
Annals of Internal Medicine, June 16, 2009 vol. 150 no. 12 830-839
Healthy Reasons to Supplement with Multivitamins
It seems that eating right used to be easier. There were the basics: four food groups, three 'square' meals a day and you took a vitamin because your mom told you to. Fast forward to 2009, and it's not so simple anymore. Now we have a food pyramid, daily values, RDA's, good fats and bad fats. Not to mention those antioxidants and the free radicals that they scavenge. Most people find these recommendations hard to understand and even harder to apply to their busy lives. Meeting even the most basic recommendation of 5 servings of fruit and vegetable a day becomes challenging when eating on the run! Click here for more information.
Mangosteen and Immune Function
A recent clinical study of a mangosteen dietary supplement with vitamins and minerals was found to show positive benefits to human immune function. A randomized double blind placebo-controlled trial was conducted with 59 healthy human volunteers over the course of 30 days. At the conclusion of the trial, the data indicated a statistically significant change in immune function markers from the baseline in the study group versus the placebo group. The changes were positive and pointed to enhance immune function. Subjects from the study group also self reported a greater sense of improved health. Further studies evaluating the effects of the mangosteen product on different population groups with emphasis on long term outcomes is warranted. Click here for more information
Energy Drinks That Make A Difference
While there's often no shortage of things on our to-do list, we often run short on time and energy. Today, young and old alike are looking to energy drinks to help beat the energy deficit in today's fast paced world, and it seems to be working for them.
What's so different about the energy drinks of today versus traditional soda or coffee? Maybe it's some of the unique ingredients like Taurine, Choline chloride, D-ribose, Inositol and Guarana. These are just some of the popular ingredients in high quality energy drinks on the market today. Click here for more information.
Good News for Vitamin and Mineral Users
Three recently published studies showed positive findings for the role of vitamins in disease prevention and overall wellness. Intake levels of calcium, vitamin D and B vitamins showed a strong association with reduced risks of acute health conditions. The Council for Responsible Nutrition applauded the study conclusions stating that the new findings may lead to some new avenues of research.
A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine reported a positive link between high intakes of calcium from both food and supplements and lower incidences of colorectal and other digestive cancers in both men and women. Additionally, women who consumed up to 1,300 mgs of calcium per day had an overall lower risk of cancer. Click here for more information.
Vitamin D and it's Significant Role in the Body
Vitamin D has long been known to support bone health but new studies are revealing impacts such as increased muscle strength in preteen girls and improved cognitive function in the elderly. Vitamin D also has roles in the nervous and reproductive system and in muscle contraction. Given the significance of the role of Vitamin D, it is not surprising to see that experts are requesting a closer look at the current intakes and recommendations. Currently the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for Vitamin D ranges from 200-600 IU per day depending on the age and gender of the individual. The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) commented that the current daily recommended intakes (DRI's) are based on Vitamin D deficiency diseases such as rickets and osteomalacia and are outdated, especially in the light of new research findings about the role of Vitamin D in health.
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