Researchers Continue to Find Heart Health Benefits to Omega-3s

Study after study continues to affirm the heart health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Experts say that the evidence is fairly conclusive and that anyone who is concerned about their cardiovascular condition should consider adding more of the nutrient to their weekly diet.

The latest in this string of research came from the University of California, San Francisco. Investigators from the school assessed the heart health of a group of patients after a period of five years and examined the level of omega-3 consumption during the study period, according to news station THV.

Their results showed that those who consumed the highest levels of the nutrient had the best heart health. The researchers said that their findings confirm the understanding that omega-3s benefit the cardiovascular system.

“The results of our study do underscore the recommendations of the American Heart Association, that patients with known coronary artery disease should be getting at least one gram a day of omega-3 fish oil,” lead researcher Raimin Farzaneh-Far told the news source.

The findings confirm the results of a 2002 study published in the journal Circulation, which was among the first to assert the heart health benefits of omega-3s.

New findings indicate that omega-3 fatty acids can positively affect ocular health. A research team at the Children’s Hospital in Boston found that omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in fish oil, promote the growth of healthy blood vessels while simultaneously hindering the development of abnormal vessels.

A previous study of the impact of omega-3, which was conducted by the same researchers, examined the effects of omega-3 on mice. The study revealed that the pathologic vessel growth in the retinas of mice that were fed an omega-3 diet was 50 percent lower than in the mice that were fed diets rich in omega-6. Western diets are more likely to contain omega-6 than omega-3.

In the recent study, the researchers isolated the compounds and enzymes within omega-3 that caused the positive outcome observed in the mice. An examination of the components of omega-3 revealed that its benefits are not inhibited by taking aspirin or non-steroid anti-inflammatory medication.

Lois Smith, a senior researcher and an ophthalmologist at the Children’s Hospital, is also collaborating with the National Eye Institute to study the effects of omega-3 on ocular diseases.

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Organic Really is Better For You – the Latest Research Shows It!

Scientists, cautious as they are, have debated as to whether organic vegetables and fruits are indeed healthier than inorganic. Even though studies have found higher levels—as much as nearly 70 percent higher – of antioxidant compounds in organic foods when compared to inorganic foods, the research data as a whole has been called inconclusive, from a strict scientific point of view. Just the same, there’s little argument that organic crops have lower levels of toxic substances; that alone is enough for many consumers to make the switch. Expectedly better nutritional value is an added value to the safety factor that comes with lower toxicity.

But now, one of the largest data reviews performed to date should settle the issue once and for all. Published in the British Journal of Nutrition, meta-analyses of data pooled from 343 scientific studies “indicate statistically significant and meaningful differences in composition between organic and non-organic crops and crop-based foods,” according to the report. The content of antioxidant plant-based nutrients such as flavonoids, “were found to be substantially higher” in organic crops. Non-organic crops, on the other hand have four times more pesticide residues. Levels of cadmium, a toxic heavy metal, are also higher in conventional crops. And this holds true regardless of where the crops are grown, showing that organic farming practices do make a difference. “Organic crops, on average, have much higher concentrations of antioxidants, lower concentration of Cd (cadmium) and a lower incidence of pesticide residues than the non-organic comparators across regions and produce seasons”, the report concludes.

For those of you who’ve made the transition to organic shopping, you can now be assured that, where your health is concerned, it’s well worth the effort and expense.

Reference:
Barański M, et al. Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses. Br J Nutr. 2014 Jun 26:1-18. [Epub ahead of print].

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Magnesium and Testosterone

A scientific review published in the International Journal of Endocrinology examined biological relationships between magnesium in the system and testosterone, using data from observational and intervention studies of male subjects. ”In particular, there is evidence that magnesium exerts a positive influence on anabolic hormonal status, including testosterone, in men,” the report states. Magnesium has an effect on Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) that increases the amount of bioavailable testosterone, commonly known as “free-T” in the bloodstream. There is also a connection between magnesium deficiency and oxidative stress, leading to low-grade inflammation, and these in turn can negatively impact T levels in men, according to the report.

Pointing out that “magnesium supplementation has been shown to have an apparent beneficial effect on male gonadal system, as observed in a very recent study performed on sexually mature male rats,” the report concludes by saying “Male individuals with impaired magnesium status and T deficiency (accurately assessed) could benefit from magnesium and/or T treatment targeting physical performance.”

Reference:
Maggio M, et al. The Interplay between Magnesium and Testosterone in Modulating Physical Function in Men. Int J Endocrinol. 2014;2014:525249.

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How Does Oral Hyaluronic Acid Work?

Traditionally, hyaluronic acid has been used as an injectable to promote joint health and support joint structure. There have also been questions regarding the absorbability of hyaluronic acid when taken orally. Research shows that oral hyaluronic acid is in fact absorbed and that it functions in at least three important ways. Hyaluronic acid is a large molecule with repeating subunits that, when taken orally, naturally goes through the process of digestion in the digestive tract. Studies show that 1) A portion of the hyaluronic acid is absorbed intact, 2) A portion of it is broken down into its component sugars and absorbed in this way (providing building blocks the body can use to remanufacture hyaluronic acid, and 3) Hyaluronic Acid acts to stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract, which promote immune system health and lead to overall health of the joints, skin and connective tissue throughout the body. These three unique and distinctly separate mechanisms of activity illustrate the ability of oral hyaluronic acid to benefit and support the body’s connective tissue.

To reaffirm the efficacy of oral hyaluronic acid for joint support, let’s look at the results of an important Japanese study. This study, which was published in 2008, was carried out to assess the efficacy of oral hyaluronic acid in promoting healthy joint function and mobility. Fifteen individuals with achy knees were supplemented with 240 mg of highly purified hyaluronic acid daily for twelve weeks. Positive results were evident after 4 weeks of supplementation as the individuals had significant improvements in knee joint function and comfort. The benefits continued throughout the duration of the study, showing that oral hyaluronic acid supplements are effective for promoting healthy joint function.11

Now that we know that studies affirm the effectiveness of oral hyaluronic acid, let’s look at evidence supporting the three mechanisms of activity. Bioavailability studies in animals show that hyaluronic acid taken orally reaches joint tissue. Radioactively-labeled particles of hyaluronic acid were found to reach the skin, bone and joints of rats after oral administration, showing that a percentage of orally administered hyaluronic acid is absorbed intact.12 A further percentage of hyaluronic acid taken as supplements is digested and broken down into its component molecules. These components are absorbed into the bloodstream, providing the body with the building blocks necessary to produce hyaluronic acid on its own, allowing it to replenish its own stores. Finally, a very interesting study was carried out in which rats were administered hyaluronic acid orally. Researchers found that the orally administered nutrient was fermented by gut bacteria as a source of nutrition. Hyaluronic acid was shown to act as a prebiotic, as it increased the level of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species in the intestinal tract.13 Taking these important studies into account, we can see that oral hyaluronic acid supplements have both direct and indirect effects in supporting the health of our joints, skin and connective tissue. Given its broad range of potential benefits, hyaluronic acid is a crucial and important nutrient for healthy aging.

References:
11. Sato T, Iwaso H. An Effectiveness Study of Hyaluronic Acid (Hyabest® (J)) in the Treatment of Osteoarthritis of the Knee. J New Rem & Clin 2008;57(2):128-137.
12. Balogh L, Polyak A, Mathe D, Kiraly R, Thuroczy J, Terez M, Janoki G, Ting Y, Bucci LR, Schauss AG. Absorption, uptake and tissue affinity of high-molecular-weight hyaluronan after oral administration in rats and dogs. J Agric Food Chem 2008 Nov 26;56(22):10582-93.
13. Ishibashi G, Yamagata T, Rikitake S, Takiguchi Y. Digestion and Fermentation of Hyaluronic Acid. Journal for the Integrated Study of Dietary Habits 2002; 13(2): 107-111.

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Creatine Plus Protein – The Winning Combo for Fitness in Older Men

Creatine is a standout dietary supplement for building muscle and boosting athletic performance. More importantly, the benefits of creatine are supported by hundreds of scientific studies; establishing creatine as the most extensively researched products for fitness, muscle strength and maintenance of lean body mass. As shown in a recent study, creatine can be even more powerful when taken with a protein supplement.

A randomized double-blind clinical trial, published in the scientific Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, looked to see if supplementing protein combined with creatine would improve strength and muscle mass in a group of men aged 55 to 77 who engaged in a resistance training program. Measurements were taken of lean tissue mass and muscle size before and after starting the program. Leg strength and arm bench press strength was also measured. Study subjects taking creatine plus protein realized increases in body mass, muscle size and arm bench press strength. At the same time, muscle protein breakdown decreased as indicated by a reduction in levels of “3-MH” a urinary marker of muscle fiber degradation.

Reference:
Candow DG, et al. Low dose creatine combined with protein during resistance training in older men. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008 Sep;40(9):1645-52. ineral content and density in older men. J Nutr Health Aging. 2005 Sep-Oct;9(5):352-3.

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CoQ10 and Cholesterol

The effectiveness of the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor drugs, the so-called “statins,” in lowering serum cholesterol concentration cannot be denied. However, CoQ10 production and cholesterol synthesis share the same biochemical pathway. As could be predicted from these pathways in the liver effectively blocking cholesterol production can also lead to blocking CoQ10 production. Numerous studies have proven this to be the case.14,15

The results of this drug-induced mild CoQ10 deficiency is not without harm – it is associated with damage to hard-working muscles. These potentially detrimental effects have been reported in several journals.16,17 In terms of the side effects of statin therapy, published studies have found fundamental derangements in muscle cell metabolism with exposure to statins.18 Several recent reports indicate that these drugs impact the nerves that communicate with muscles in addition to affecting the mitochondria of all muscles, including the heart muscle.19,20 Depleted levels of CoQ10 could play a major role in these side effects of statin drugs.

The good news – dietary supplementation with CoQ10 may help overcome the potential interference of statin drugs with CoQ10 metabolism.21 And CoQ10 is very safe – amounts of up to 3000 mg daily are considered safe.22

Thus, if you choose to use cholesterol-lowering medication to protect your heart and circulatory system, don’t be counterproductive. Really protect yourself – supplement with CoQ10 to replenish what you lose with the use of statin drugs. Add this vital nutrient to your Healthy Heart program.

References:
14. Rundek T, Naini A, Sacco R, Coates K, DiMauro S. Atorvastatin decreases the coenzyme Q10 level in the blood of patients at risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. Arch Neurol 2004;61:889-892.
15. Thompson PD, Clarkson P, Karas RH. Statin-associated myopathy. JAMA 2003;289:1681-1690.
16. Tomlinson SS, Mangione KK. Potential adverse effects of statins on muscle. Phys Ther 2005;85:459-465.
17. Baker SK. Molecular clues into the pathogenesis of statin-mediated muscle toxicity. Muscle Nerve 2005;31:572-580.
18. Paiva H, Thelen KM, Van Coster R, Smet J, De Paepe B, Mattila KM, Laakso J, Lehtimaki T, von Bergmann K, Lutjohann D, Laaksonen R. High-dose statins and skeletal muscle metabolism in humans: A randomized, controlled trial. Clin Pharmacol Ther 2005;78:60-68.
19. Baker SK, Tarnopolsky MA. Statin-associated neuromyotoxicity. Drugs Today 2005;41:267-293.
20. Nawarskas JJ. HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors and coenzyme Q10. Cardiol Rev 2005;13:76-79.
21. Ferrante KL, Shefner J, Zhang H, Betensky R, O’Brien M, Yu H, Fantasia M, Taft J, Beal MF, Traynor B, Newhall K, Donofrio P, Caress J, Ashburn C, Freiberg B, O’Neill C, Paladenech C, Walker T, Pestronk A, Abrams B, Florence J, Renna R, Schierbecker J, Malkus B, Cudkowicz M. Tolerance of high-dose (3,000 mg/day) coenzyme Q10 in ALS. Neurology 2005;65:1834-1836.
22. Chopra RK, Goldman R, Sinatra ST, Bhagavan HN. Relative bioavailability of coenzyme Q10 formulations in human subjects. Intern J Vit Nutr Res 1998;68:109-113.

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Protect Your Skin from the Sun with Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin is a natural pigment belonging to the class of nutrients known as carotenes. Similar to beta-carotene, the more familiar carotene that makes carrots orange, astaxanthin produces the reddish-orange color of salmon. (Ocean-growing salmon get their astaxanthin by eating Krill, a tiny shrimp-like crustacean.) Like beta carotene and other members of the carotene family, astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant—this biological property works at the cell level to protect a diverse range of tissues from “oxidative stress”, an ongoing metabolic process in the body that can be damaging if not kept under control. Astaxanthin is now one of the most popular ingredients in dietary supplements—thanks to a wealth of research exploring its many health benefits.

Carotenes are good for skin, and astaxanthin is no exception. As the body’s most external tissue, the skin is vulnerable to rogue molecules called “free radicals” that can accumulate in tissues on the heels of a surge in oxidative stress. Ultraviolet light (UV) exposure subjects the skin to oxidative stress and accumulation of free radicals that contributes to skin damage and aging. In view of this, a study was undertaken to investigate the ability of astaxanthin and other carotenes to mitigate the effects of UVA light on fibroblasts in the dermis. Fibroblasts, cells that are abundant in connective tissues like skin, build collagen and other structural components. The experiments, published in the scientific journal Experimental Dermatology, demonstrated a “photoprotective effect” of carotenes on dermal fibroblasts. Astaxathin was a stand-out: as stated in the report, “The data indicated that the oxo-carotenoid astaxanthin has a superior preventative effects towards photo-oxidative changes in cells culture.”

Reference:
Emanuela C, et al. Astaxanthin, canthaxanthin and ß-carotene differently affect UVA-induced oxidative damage and expression of oxidative stress-response enzymes. Exp Dermatol 2009;18:222-31.

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Green Tea for Cardiovascular Protection and Longevity Extension

Green tea is enjoyed by millions worldwide, with Asia leading the way in consumption. As the health benefits of green tea have become better known, the use of green tea as a dietary supplement in the U.S. is on the increase. Science has learned a great deal about how green tea works. Green tea has a high content of “polyphenols”, naturally occurring compounds that exhibit an ability to protect the cardiovascular system, largely by functioning as antioxidants. But do these protective effects, as discovered in animal studies and “in vitro” (test-tube) experiments, translate to demonstrable health benefits? A large-scale population-based study was undertaken in Japan to find out.

The Ohsaki National Health Insurance Cohort Study followed 40,530 adults from 1995 to 2005. As reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the findings revealed that “green tea consumption was inversely associated with mortality due to all causes and due to cardiovascular disease.” In plain language, the statistics on green tea drinking showed that death rates decreased proportionally with the frequency of consumption. While overall mortality and cardiovascular mortality was lower, death due to cancer was unaffected. “Green tea consumption is associated with reduced mortality due to all causes and due to cardiovascular disease but not with reduced mortality due to cancer,” the report concludes.

Extracts of green tea are available in dietary supplements that contain concentrated amounts of polyphenols. Green tea supplements provide a convenient and practical alternative to drinking copious amounts of green tea on a daily basis.

References:
Hsieh SR, et al. Molecular targets for anti-oxidative protection of green tea polyphenols against myocardial ischemic injury. Biomedicine 2014;4:23 Epub 2014 Nov 20.

Kuriyama S. et al. Green tea consumption and mortality due to cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all causes in Japan: the Ohsaki study. JAMA 2006 Sep 13;296:1255-65.

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Nutrim Daily, New from Purity Products

Nutrim® was developed by a USDA Agricultural Research Service Hall of Fame scientist to make it easier to get the benefits of oats to help promote a healthy cholesterol level. The patented process optimizes Nutrim®’s viscosity, which is believed to be the key to Nutrim®’s success. For over 40 years, clinical research has shown oats and oat bran can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

Nutrim is made from 100% oat bran. Unlike oats from the grocery store, Nutrim concentrates the most powerful part of oat bran and beta-glucans. Beta-glucans are the soluble (water-friendly) portion of oat bran. Because beta-glucans mix so well in solution, they can be added to all types of foods and beverages, like juices or sauces.

  • USDA Developed
  • Maintains normal blood cholesterol levels with 4 mechanisms of action*
  • Supports healthy blood sugar, normal appetite and promotes digestive function*
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MuffinStop, New from Purity Products

MuffinStop™ – Stop the Top!™

While the world waits for the elusive weight loss miracle pill, for now consider Purity’s new MuffinStop™. MuffinStop™ was shown in two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical studies to be an effective part of a responsible weight management program*. MuffinStop™ is a combination of two traditionally used botanical ingredients, Sphaeranthus indicus and Garcinia mangostana, now fused together to create one of the most innovative weight loss products the supplement industry has to offer.

Real Results
Research shows that MuffinStop™ may start helping people reach their weight-management goals in as little as two weeks. The research also showed that participants receiving MuffinStop™ instead of the placebo experienced interesting results in the hips and waist, two target areas where fat is often stored.

Two human clinical studies that included a 2,000 calorie diet, exercise, and supplementation with MuffinStop™ showed:

  • Supports weight-loss with results showing in as little as 2 weeks*
  • Supports reduction in waist size*
  • Supports reduction in hip size*
  • May help the body burn fat*
  • Supports a healthy adiponectin level*
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