Sunday, June 28, 2015

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Higher flavonoid intake is associated with lower mortality rate in older women

Higher flavonoid intake is associated with lower mortality rate in older women - Weekly Essentials of Health by Usana Health Sciences 

At a Glance

A new study shows that elderly women who consume the most flavonoids, compounds found in tea, chocolate, red wine, and fruits and vegetables, have lower cardiovascular, cancer and all-cause mortality rates. 

Read more about this research below.

Flavonoids are phytonutrients (plant nutrients) found in tea, chocolate, red wine and many fruits and vegetables. Reduced mortality from vascular disease and some cancers have been linked to high intakes of flavonoid-rich foods and specific flavonoid intake.

In a new study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers explored the potential association between overall flavonoid intake and the risk of all-cause mortality.

The study participants included 1,063 women over the age of 75 years. Flavonoid intake was estimated using two different sets of food data: the USDA and the Phenol-Explorer database. Over a five-year follow-up there were 129 deaths in the study group. All-cause, cancer, and cardiovascular deaths were determined.

Women with the highest flavonoid intake (per USDA) had a 63 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality over the five-year follow-up than those with the lowest flavonoid intake. Those with the highest flavonoid intake also had a 66 percent lower risk of cardiovascular death, and a 75 percent lower risk of cancer mortality. The results were nearly identical when using the Phenol-Explorer database to determine flavonoid intake.

Using the two most comprehensive flavonoid databases available, this study provides evidence that a higher intake of flavonoids is linked to a reduction in all-cause mortality in older women, and even more so to cardiovascular and cancer mortality.

Kerry L Ivey, Jonathan M Hodgson, Kevin D Croft, Joshua R Lewis, and Richard L Prince. Flavonoid intake and all-cause mortality Am J Clin Nutr May 2015 vol. 101 no. 5 1012-1020

Weekly Essentials of Health Vitamin D supplementation decreases lean muscle loss and improves strength in menopausal women

Vitamin D supplementation decreases lean muscle loss and improves strength in menopausal women (Courtesy of Usana Health Sciences) 

At a Glance

A new study indicates that supplementation of vitamin D3 alone in postmenopausal women is protective against muscle loss and improves measurements of muscle strength. 

Read more about this research below. 

There is evidence that adequate vitamin D levels can help reduce the risk of falls, loss of muscle strength and muscle loss in the elderly. A new study published in Osteoporosis International investigated the potential benefits of vitamin D on muscle function and health in younger postmenopausal women.

The participants in this trial included 160 Brazilian postmenopausal women who were randomized into one of two groups: treatment group receiving a vitamin D supplement providing 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily, or a placebo group. The researchers measured lean mass by DXA and muscle strength by handgrip strength and chair raising test. Measurements were taken at the beginning and end of the 9 month trial.  

After 9 months, the average vitamin D blood levels nearly doubled in the supplemented group (15.0 ng/ml to 27.5 ng/ml, or 37.5 mmol/l to 68.75 mmol/l) and fell slightly in the placebo group. In the supplemented group, there was a significant increase (25.3%) in muscle strength in the lower body assessed by the chair raising test. There was a substantial 6.8% loss of lean muscle mass in the women receiving the placebo over the trial period. 

The results of this study show that vitamin D3 supplementation in younger postmenopausal women with low vitamin D levels provides significant benefit for retention of lean muscle mass and significantly increases muscle strength.

Cangussu LM1, Nahas-Neto J, Orsatti CL, Bueloni-Dias FN, Nahas EA Effect of vitamin D supplementation alone on muscle function in postmenopausal women: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Osteoporos Int. 2015 May 9. [Epub ahead of print]

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

High potassium intake during adolescence linked to reduced blood pressure

June 10, 2015
High potassium intake during adolescence linked to reduced blood pressure

 At a Glance
In a new study, researchers tracked the dietary habits of girls throughout adolescence and the impact on blood pressure.  Blood pressure was not affected by high sodium intakes, but the girls who ate a diet rich in potassium had a lower blood pressure during their teens and into adulthood.

 Read more about this research below. 
 Many dietary factors, including the intake of sodium and potassium, have an influence on risk factors for blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.  More emphasis has generally been put on reducing sodium intake to lower blood pressure, but a new study published in JAMA Pediatricsshows that a diet high in potassium may better protect adolescents from high blood pressure during the teen years and in to adulthood.

The eating habits and blood pressure of 2,185 girls aged 9-10 were tracked for up to 10 years. Researchers assessed the effect of dietary potassium, sodium, and the potassium to sodium ratio on blood pressure throughout the study and after 10 years of follow-up.

After adjusting for race, height, activity level, television/video time, calorie intake and other dietary factors, sodium intake had not long-term effect on the girls’ blood pressure.  Girls who had higher potassium intakes throughout adolescence, however, had lower blood pressure than girls who had lower potassium intakes. And, while sodium intakes at levels of 3,500 mg/day or more had no significant impact on blood pressure, higher potassium intakes were inversely associated with blood pressure change (both diastolic and systolic) throughout adolescence and at the end of follow-up.

Somewhat contrary to the advice focusing on reduction of sodium intake, this study provides evidence that consuming more potassium-rich foods during childhood may help reduce increases in adolescent blood pressure and subsequently into adulthood.
Justin R. Buendia, BS; M. Loring Bradlee, MS; Stephen R. Daniels, MD, PhD; Martha R. Singer, MPH, RD; Lynn L. Moore, DSc, MPH  Longitudinal Effects of Dietary Sodium and Potassium on Blood Pressure in Adolescent Girls  JAMA Pediatr. Published online April 27, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.0411

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Depleted maternal iron status early in pregnancy is associated with a higher risk of low birth weight babies

Depleted maternal iron status early in pregnancy is associated with a higher risk of low birth weight babies

June 3, 2015
Weekly Essentials of Health by Usana Health Sciences 
Depleted maternal iron status early in pregnancy is associated with a higher risk of low birth weight babies

At a Glance

A recent study published in British Journal of Nutrition shows that poor iron status early in pregnancy significantly increases the risk of babies born small for gestational age (SGA). 

Read more about this research below. 

Iron deficiency anemia during early pregnancy has long been linked to low birth-weight, preterm birth, and other health problems. But previous research and advice has been based on hemoglobin (Hb) levels (screening for outright deficiencies or anemia), not on other specific measures of iron deficiency.

In a new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers examined the association between maternal iron status during the first trimester of pregnancy with birth size and preterm birth by using more specific measures of iron deficiency such as serum ferritin, transferrin receptor and their ratio.  

Three-hundred sixty-two infants and their mothers were recruited for this study. Biomarkers and iron measurements were analyzed from maternal blood serum samples that had been taken during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Iron depletion during the first trimester was linked to a higher incidence of SGA. The association was even stronger when Hb measurements were included in the assessment. Although there was no evidence of a link between iron insufficiency and preterm birth, for every 10 g/l increase in the mother’s Hb level during the first half of pregnancy there was a 30% lower risk of SGA. Hb levels below 110 g/l were associated with a 300% increase in SGA risk. Contrary to other research, Hb levels in the second half of pregnancy were not associated with SGA risk.

The results of the present study indicate that depleted iron stores in early pregnancy are associated with higher risk of SGA. In some countries iron supplementation is not recommended during pregnancy except in the case of anemia. Based on the results of this study, researchers suggest that all women should be screened for iron deficiency early in pregnancy using more specific measurements, and should be offered more personal and helpful advice on improving iron status through diet and supplements.  

Nisreen A. Alwan, Janet E. Cade, Harry J. McArdle, Darren C. Greenwood, Helen E. Hayes and Nigel A. B. Simpson. Maternal iron status in early pregnancy and birth outcomes: insights from the Baby's Vascular health and Iron in Pregnancy study. British Journal of Nutrition, available on CJO2015. doi:10.1017/S0007114515001166.