Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pycnogenol and Osteoporosis

A double-blind, placebo controlled trial involving 156 patients with osteoporosis found that supplementing with pycnogenol - an extract of pine bark - significantly reduced many of the symptoms associated with medications used to treat osteoporosis. Specifically, there was a 58% reduction in pain, there was increased walking distance on a treadmill test, decreased gastrointestinal complications (63% reduction), and decreased foot edema (79% reduction in the treatment group vs 1% in the placebo group).

The study used 100mg of pycnogenol daily for 3 months.

"Treatment of osteoarthritis with Pycnogenol(®). The SVOS (San Valentino osteo-arthrosis study). Evaluation of signs, symptoms, physical performance and vascular aspects," Belcaro G, Cesarone MR, et al, Phytotherapy Research, 2008; 22(4): 518-23.

Vitamin C and Exercise Recovery

For all you exercise fans, a study in the Journal of Sports
Medicine and Physical Fitness has shown that supplementing with 1
gram of vitamin C prior to exercise reduced the level of muscle
damage induced by the exercise. In addition, other important health
indicators such as antioxidant status and stress levels in the body were
lower in the vitamin C group than in the control group.

"Effect of vitamin C supplementation on lipid peroxidation, muscle
damage and inflammation after 30-min exercise at 75% v.o(2max),"
Nakhostin-Roohi B, Babaei P, et al, J Sports Med Phys Fitness, 2008;
48(2): 217-24.

DHA and reading comprehension

A study published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics found that when 4-year old children were supplemented with a fatty acid known as
DHA, they had a statistically significant improvement in their listening comprehension and vocabulary acquisition. In the study, 175 children were assigned to receive either 400mg daily of DHA or a placebo. The best dietary sources of DHA are cold-water fish such as salmon and sardines. DHA is also found in seaweed and algae.

"Assessing the effect of docosahexaenoic Acid on cognitive functions in healthy, preschool children: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study," Ryan AS, Nelson EB, Clin Pediatr (Phila), 2008; 47(4): 355-62.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Vitamin D and Vascular Disease

Low levels of vitamin D have already been associated with everything from cancer to depression. A new study has found that low vitamin D levels lead to a significantly increased risk of peripheral vascular disease (PVD).

PVD covers a wide range of conditions, from atherosclerosis to embolisms. While only a small portion of individuals with PVD have been diagnosed, the complications of PVD include heart disease, stroke and many other serious medical problems.

It has already been shown that vitamin D could cut in half the risk of both colon and breast cancer. By adding PVD to the list, vitamin D alone has the potential to save millions of lives and billions of dollars each year in medical expenses.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Olive Oil and Heart Disease

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States and around the world. One in three adults in the US, it is estimated, has some degree of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

A recent study found that individuals who consumed the most olive oil in their diets had the least amount of thickening of their arteries. More specifically, the highest consumption of olive oil had far less than half the risk of artery thickening.

In everyday terms, this means that olive oil consumption dramatically lowers the risk of atherosclerosis, which is a leading cause of CVD and death.

This one change in the US diet - a substantial increase in the use of olive oil - rather than less healthy corn or soybean oil, for example - could save billions of dollars currently spent to treat heart disease.