Monday, July 28, 2014

Vitamin C supplementation improves endothelial function in adults with cardio-metabolic disorders

July 09, 2014 courtesy of Usana Health Sciences Weekly Essentials of Health

Vitamin C supplementation improves endothelial function in adults with cardio-metabolic disorders
At a Glance
A recent meta-analysis has shown that supplementation with high doses of vitamin C may improve blood vessel health and function in adults at risk for cardiovascular disease.

Read more about this research below.

 Previous observational studies have suggested that a higher intake of vitamin C is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, primarily through effects on the endothelium (a thin layer of cells lining the interior of blood vessels). The endothelium has many important functions that include maintaining the flexibility of blood vessels and modulating the activity of certain white blood cells that are a significant part of the immune system.

Despite this conclusion, studies examining the effect of vitamin C on endothelial function (EF) have not always been consistent. In a recent meta-analysis published in the journal Atherosclerosis, researchers sought to determine the effect of vitamin C supplementation on EF in adults, and whether the outcome differed by health status, study duration, dose and route of administration.

The study included 44 clinical trials and 1,129 adult participants. Supplemental vitamin C at oral doses of more than 500 mg was associated with significant improvement of endothelial function in subjects with cardio-metabolic disorders. The benefits of supplementation were primarily limited to people with atherosclerosis, diabetes, and heart failure. The study design, duration of supplementation, route of administration and baseline plasma vitamin C did not appear to significantly affect the outcome. There was a significant positive association between dosages greater than 500 mg/day and improvement in endothelial function.

The researchers noted that in addition to its effects on oxidative stress, vitamin C may positively affect nitric oxide, a potent vasodilator, reducing vascular inflammation. The results of this study indicate that vitamin C supplementation may improve endothelial function, especially in adults with a higher cardiovascular risk. Vitamin C supplementation, therefore, could potentially be a useful tool for the secondary prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

Ashor AW, Lara J, Mathers JC, Siervo M. Effect of vitamin C on endothelial function in health and disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Atherosclerosis. 2014 Jul;235(1):9-20. oii:10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2014.04.004.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Supplemental magnesium improves physical performance in healthy older women

From the Weekly Essentials of Health by Usana Health Sciences an important message.
   Supplemental magnesium improves physical performance in healthy older women

At a GlanceA recent study has shown a benefit of supplemental magnesium for improving physical performance in healthy older women.

Read more about this research below. 
 Magnesium (Mg) is an essential mineral important in the structure and the function of the human body and also as a cofactor for hundreds of enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body. Unfortunately, dietary surveys in the US continue to show that older people are particularly susceptible to magnesium deficiency for various reasons, including an inadequate dietary intake, reduced absorption, and greater losses in stools and urine. A poor magnesium status has been associated with reduced physical performance, but to date no trials have established a link between magnesium supplementation and physical performance in the elderly.

In a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, investigators sought to determine whether oral magnesium supplementation could improve physical performance in healthy older women. The research group included 139 healthy women with an average age of 71.5 years that were attending a mild fitness program. The study group included 77 controls and 62 women who were given 300 mg/day of magnesium oxide for 12 weeks. The researchers were blinded to the grouping. 

The primary outcome analyzed was a change in the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB). The scores for the SPPB did not differ between the two groups at baseline.  After 12 weeks of supplementation, the group taking magnesium had a significantly better total SPPB score than the controls. The treatment group also had a significantly better test score for chair stand times and 4 minute walking speeds. The improvements were even more evident in women with dietary magnesium intakes below the RDA. 

The findings of this study indicate that magnesium supplementation may play a role in delaying age-related decline in physical performance in healthy older women, especially if dietary intake is below recommended levels.

Nicola Veronese et al. Effect of oral magnesium supplementation on physical performance in healthy elderly women involved in a weekly exercise program: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr published ahead of print July 9, 2014 doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.080168. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Supplementation with EPA and DHA reduces smoking and tobacco craving

 This bulletin comes to you courtesy of Usana Health Sciences Weekly Essentials of Health. It's fascinating to think by making a small adjustment nutritionally that the struggle with addiction and smoking could be lessend. As a side note, Lobelia, available in tincture acts like nicotine, can help repair those frayed nerves from attempting to quit, while helping remove the deposits of nicotine in the muscles. Worth pondering. Enjoy this and share with someone who maybe struggling.

July 02, 2014

Supplementation with EPA and DHA reduces smoking and tobacco craving
At a Glance

A new trial has shown a reduction in smoking and tobacco cravings among smokers receiving omega-3 fatty acid supplements.

Read more about this research below.

 Cigarette smoke induces polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) peroxidation and oxidative stress.  Inadequate brain concentrations of omega-3s are known to potentially influence neurotransmission, negatively affecting the reward and dependence mechanism.  This could increase cigarette cravings and hamper smoking cessation efforts. Although stress is well linked to smoking urges and behavior, no research to date has examined the effects of PUFA supplementation on tobacco cravings.

In a recent study published online in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, the effects of PUFA supplementation on tobacco cravings were examined.  In the placebo-controlled, double-blind study, 48 adult smokers were given either a daily supplement with EPA (2710 mg) and DHA (2040 mg) or a placebo for one month.  The number of cigarettes smoked per day, and the tobacco cravings following cigarette cue exposure were assessed at the beginning, end, and again 30 days after the end of treatment.

The smokers who received the omega-3 supplement had significantly less cravings and smoked 11.2% fewer cigarettes after one month in comparison to the amount smoked at the outset of the study. In contrast, participants who received the placebo reported similar craving levels at all time points evaluated.

The author commented that the re-establishment of the PUFA levels in the brain may have positively affected dopamine transmission which is compromised by smoking induced oxidative stress. The improvement in function could therefore decrease tobacco cravings, making it easier to quit.

This is the first study to show a reduction in tobacco cravings resulting from omega-3 supplementation.  Omega-3 fatty acids may be of benefit in managing tobacco consumption, but further studies are warranted to study larger populations and assess the possible therapeutic value for heavy cigarette smokers.

Sharon Rabinovitz. Effects of omega-3 fatty acids on tobacco craving in cigarette smokers: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled pilot study. J Psychopharmacol published online before print June 4, 2014, doi: 10.1177/0269881114536477

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