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Fruit Intake May Reduce the Risk of Cervical Cancer

In a prospective study involving data collected from 299,649 women participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, with an average 9-year follow-up period, during which time 253 cases of invasive squamous cervical cancer and 817 carcinoma in-situ cases were diagnosed, a statistically significant inverse association was observed between daily increase in intake of fruits by 100 g (HR=0.83) and ISC, and a non-statistically significant inverse association was found for intake of 100 g total vegetables (HR=0.85). The authors conclude, "Our study suggests a possible protective role of fruit intake and other dietary factors on ISC, that need to be confirmed on a larger number of ISC cases."

Reference:

"Dietary factors and in-situ and invasive cervical cancer risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study," Gonzalez CA, Travier N, et al, Int J Cancer, 2010 Sept 17; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Unit of Nutrition, Environment and Cancer, Cancer Epidemiology Research Programme, Catalan Institute of Oncology, Barcelona (ICO-IDIBELL), Spain).

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Vitamin D Deficiency in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis

In a study involving 62 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), 61% were found to be vitamin D deficient (defined as 25(OH)D < 30 ng/ml) In patients with active RA, 25(OH)D was found to have moderate inverse associations with DAS-28, pain, and HAQ. Moreover, patients with active RA who were vitamin D deficient were found to have a 6-times greater chance of being moderately or severely disabled (OR=6.0), as compared to those who were not deficient in vitamin D. No such associations were found in patients with RA that was in remission. The authors conclude, "In patients with moderate to high disease activity, vitamin D deficiency was associated with higher DAS scores, pain and disability."

Reference:

"Relationships among vitamin D, disease activity, pain and disability in rheumatoid arthritis," Haque UJ, Bartlett SJ, Clin Exp Rheumatol, 2010 Sept 24; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Division of Rheumatology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA. E-mail: uhaque@jhmi.edu ).

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It’s Friday – Let’s Talk Boobies!

Ok, Ok. We’re not just talking boobies because it’s Friday. However, it is almost the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I’ve got some more “Booby News” to share!

Here are some facts to consider:

A woman is 42 percent less likely to die from a recurrence of breast cancer if she gets pregnant after her cancer than if she does not.

A third of breast cancer cases could be avoided through regular exercise and a better diet. One third!

A new blood test may detect early signs of breast cancer up to 17 months earlier than the conventional exams we use today.

The more weight a woman gains from age 18 on, the more likely she is to have breast cancer later in life.

Fifty-nine percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer get a lumpectomy, while 41 percent opt for a mastectomy.

Eighty-nine percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer are able to fight off the disease for five years or longer (with treatment).

Holy breast cancer, Batman! That’s a lot of boob news. Remember, just because it’s nearing the end of October doesn’t mean that you should stop being “aware.” Or wearing pink. Even if you’re an NFL player. ‘Cause real men wear pink too.

That is all.
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Zinc Supplementation May Protect Against Depression And Anxiety In School-Age Children

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 674 Guatemalan children (grades 1-4), results indicate that zinc supplementation may exert beneficial effects against depressive symptoms and anxiety. For a period of 6 months, the children were randomized to zinc (10 mg/day for 5 days/week) or placebo. At intervention end, serum zinc concentrations were significantly higher in the zinc group compared with the placebo group. Additionally, after adjusting for confounders, an increase in serum zinc concentration was associated with decreases in depressive symptoms and anxiety. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, "Six months of zinc supplementation did not induce differences in mental health outcomes between zinc and placebo groups. However, increases in serum zinc concentrations were associated with decreases in internalizing symptoms (depression and anxiety) in a community-based sample of children at risk of zinc deficiency."

Reference:

"Randomized trial of the effect of zinc supplementation on the mental health of school-age children in Guatemala," Digirolamo AM, et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2010, Sep 29; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Institute for Community Health, Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA, USA).

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Bad, Bad Chemical

We are nearing the end of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month (If you haven't heard, that's why everyone is wearing pink these days. Even football players). But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep thinking about ways to prevent this deadly disease!

One way you can ward off the Big BC (and no, not British Columbia) is to cut out your exposure to BPA (or Bisphenol A as it’s also known). The plastic compound, which is found in everything from aluminum cans to paper receipts, has been linked to breast cancer.

And not just in a study or two . . . over 130 studies have confirmed the link.

Why is it so bad? Apparently BPA ups your estrogen levels, which can spur the growth of cancerous cells.

So! Stay away from products made with BPA. If you’re unsure, look for “BPA-Free.” If you don’t see that, it probably isn’t.
 
Oh, and NEVER, I mean NEVER heat plastic containers in the microwave. NEVER.
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Vitamin D Status And Asthma In Children

In a cross-sectional study involving 75 children aged 5 to 11 years of age, with asthma, results indicate a high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency, which in turn may be associated with asthma control. Only 9.4% of the children showed vitamin D sufficiency (serum 25(OH)D levels 30-40 ng/mL). Additionally, independent significant positive correlations were observed between forced vital capacity percent and the Childhood Asthma Control Test, and serum 25(OH)D levels. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, "Our results indicate that hypovitaminosis D is frequent in children with asthma living in a Mediterranean country. In those children, lower levels of vitamin D are associated with reduced asthma control."

Reference:

"Vitamin D Serum Levels and Markers of Asthma Control in Italian Children," Chinellato I, Boner AL, et al, J Pediatr, 2010 Sep 25; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Department of Paediatrics University of Verona, Verona, Italy).

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Comments (2)

drdustman
drdustman
October 20, 2010 12:58 pm
it is good to see vitamin D (D3) finally getting the attention it deserves. so many years of being ignored by mainstream media attention and healthcare providers alike. its applications in good health are vast, at proper dosages.
jen17
jen17
October 20, 2010 12:33 pm
We are learning more and more about how vitamin D deficiency can contribute to a host of health issues. It\'s important to note that if you are going to supplement, make sure your vitamin D comes from natural sources and is not synthetic. It should be Vitamin D3, not D2. Here is an article detailing the importance of taking the correct vitamin D and how it fights flu naturally, better than the flu vaccine:
http://bit.ly/9NVXFq



Being on TV Really DOES Add 10 Pounds

Wow! Check out this tidbit I read about in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association: The average food items you see advertised on television can contain at least three days’ worth of fat and sugar and far less than the recommended daily servings of fruit, vegetables and dairy.

Researchers broke down the nutritional shortcomings of the foods most commonly promoted on TV, compared with what you should have each day to stay slim and healthy. Here are just a few examples:

Sugar: one serving is 1 Tbsp; TV shows 12.8 servings.
Fat: one serving is 1 Tbsp of mayo, or 1 tsp of vegetable oil; TV shows 10.4 servings.
Veggies/Fruit: one serving is ½ cup cut-up carrots or one medium apple. You should have seven servings a day, but TV typically shows only 2.4 servings.

Are you starting to get the drift?

The most important thing is to make sure you’re getting the recommended daily allowances of all your foods, regardless of what the tube shows!

Oh, and just to be safe, you might want to fast forward through the commercials from now on.
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Vitamin D And Aging Skin

In a cross-sectional study involving 45 women aged more than 40 years, results indicate an inverse association between skin aging and serum vitamin D levels. Standardized digital facial images of the women were examined and serum 25(OH)D concentrations were measured. After adjusting for potential confounders, women with greater photodamage were associated with more than a 5-fold increased odds of being vitamin D insufficient. Additionally, erythema/telangiectasias, hyperpigmentation, and wrinkling were significantly associated with vitamin D insufficiency. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, "Our results suggest an association between skin aging and 25(OH)D levels."

Reference:

"Association of facial skin aging and vitamin D levels in middle-aged white women," Chang AL, Tang JY, et al, Cancer Causes Control, 2010 Sep 30; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Department of Dermatology, Stanford University School of Medicine, 450 Broadway, Pavilion C, MC 5334, Redwood City, CA, 94305, USA).

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It’s All in Your Head!

Have you ever had such a strong craving for a certain food that you felt you couldn’t say no? Like it was almost a physical need that you couldn’t deny?

I had one the other night. It was for pizza. And it didn’t seem to be going away.

But then I followed the advice of the report in Current Directions in Psychological Science. Apparently researchers have found that when study subjects were distracted from thinking about favorite foods, the strength of their cravings decreased, along with the vividness of the imagined yummy food.

The researchers suggest that when a craving hits, you can get your mind off it simply by creating a diversion, such as checking your email, flipping through a magazine, or as I did the other night, hitting up Facebook!

Now, if you’re a pregnant woman, this may not work . . . Those cravings are an entirely different story!
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Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Benefit Children Labeled with ADHD

In an observational study involving 810 children between the ages of 5 and 12 years of age who were referred for medical advice for "attention deficit hyperactivity disorder" (ADHD), supplementation with a combination of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in combination with zinc and magnesium for a period of 3 months was found to be reduce symptoms of ADHD, as assessed via the SNAP-IV, reduce emotional problems, and reduce problems falling asleep. The authors conclude, "...considering the behavioural benefit in combination with the low risk due to a good safety profile, the dietary supplementation with PUFA in combination with zinc and magnesium can be recommended," to children labeled as having "ADHD."

Reference:

"Supplementation of polyunsaturated fatty acids, magnesium and zinc in children seeking medical advice for attention-deficit/hyperactivity problems - an observational cohort study," Huss M, Volp A, et al, Lipids Health Dis, 2010; 9(1): 105. [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Professor Michael Huss, Department for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz, Langenbeckstr. 1; 55131 Mainz, Germany. E-mail: michael.huss@ukmainz.de ).

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Daily Consumption of Cranberry Juice May Exert Cardioprotective Effects

In a study involving 30 men (mean age: 51 years) with abdominal obesity, consumption of cranberry juice cocktail was found to be associated with a significantly decreased level of plasma MMP-9 concentrations (matrix metalloproteinase), also known as gelatinase B - which has been implicated in the development of hypertension and atherosclerotic plaque vulnerability to rupture, important in the etiology of cardiovascular disease. The men received increasing doses of cranberry juice cocktail over 3 successive periods of 4 weeks each (first 4 weeks - 125 ml/d; next 4 weeks - 250 ml/d; last 4 weeks - 500 ml/d). Cranberry juice cocktail consumption was found to be associated with reductions in plasma MMP-9 concentrations, and these reductions were associated with changes in plasma nitrites/nitrates (NOx) concentration over the entire 12 week intervention period. Moreover, changes in plasma MMP-9 were associated with changes in systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The authors state, "We hypothesize that polyphenolic compounds from cranberries may be responsible for this effect, supporting the notion that the consumption of flavonoid-rich foods can exert cardioprotective effects."

Reference:

"Plasma matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 levels are reduced following low-calorie cranberry juice supplementation in men," Ruel G, Pomerleau S, et al, J Am Coll Nutr, 2009; 28(6): 694-701. (Address: Institute of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods, Laval University Research Center, Québec, CHUL Pavilion, Québec G1V 0A6, CANADA).

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Another Diet Pill Scare

It’s a repeat of the same old story. The FDA approves a diet or weight loss drug, only to recall it, or to put extra warnings on the package. This time, the offenders are the popular Alli and Xenical. Apparently these two may cause severe liver damage and even death.

Wait, what?

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be fat and alive than skinny and, well, not alive.

Luckily, you can be thin and trim AND alive and well if you get on the right path of a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, and healthy sleep.

In the meantime, if you’ve are taking (or have ever taken) either of these drugs and have symptoms such as yellowed skin or eyes, loss of appetite, dark urine, or light-colored stools, you should contact your doctor immediately. As in right now.
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Low Vitamin C Status Linked to Renal Dysfunction and Oxidative Stress in Non-Diabetic Chronic Kidney Disease Patients

In a study involving 58 patients with chronic kidney disease (with or without diabetes), plasma vitamin C concentration was found to be positively associated with eGFR in both diabetic and non-diabetic patients. Vitamin C concentration was found to be significantly lower in diabetic patients at every eGFR. In non-diabetic patients, flow-mediated vasodilation of the brachial artery was found to be positively associated with vitamin C concentration, and a negative association was found between serum malondialdehyde LDL and vitamin C concentration. The authors conclude, "Renal dysfunction was associated with a decrease in plasma vitamin C level. Moreover, decreased vitamin C may cause endothelial dysfunction via an increase in oxidative stress in non-diabetic chronic kidney disease patients."

Reference:

"Decreased plasma level of vitamin C in chronic kidney disease: comparison between diabetic and non-diabetic patients," Takahashi N, Morimoto S, et al, Nephrol Dial Transplant, 2010 Sept 3; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Second Department of Internal Medicine, Kansai Medical University, Hirakata City, Osaka, Japan).

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Freezer Facts

With winter approaching, hurricane season in session and what seems like weird weather happening all over the country, you might at one point in the next few months experience a power outage.

What does that have to do with health, you may be wondering?

Well, it’s a stretch . . . but I always wondered how long my food would stay “safe” in the freezer if I experienced a power outage of extended length.
 
I mean, growing up in Minnesota with snow storms of epic proportions, it’s not unlikely that a household could be out of power for days on end. That being the case, I pondered, would my frozen beef or chicken dinner still be good when the lights came back on?

Turns out the USDA has a recommendation on this.  They say that 48 is the key number: the number of hours a full freezer can keep food safe. But remember, that’s ONLY if you keep your opening and shutting the freezer door to a minimum.

If it’s any longer than that, you may want to throw out the goods and start fresh to avoid any food-related illness.
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DHA Supplementation During Pregnancy May Positively Affect Offspring Size At Birth

In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study involving 1,094 pregnant women with low dietary DHA intake (median DHA dietary intake = 55 mg/day), results indicate that maternal supplementation with DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) during pregnancy may increase offspring birth size. The women received supplementation with placebo or algal DHA (400 mg/day) from 18-22 weeks of gestation through delivery. Offspring of primigravid women who received DHA supplementation were heavier and had larger head circumferences than offspring of women in the placebo group. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, "Prenatal DHA supplementation of primigravid women may result in increased birth size in a population where dietary DHA intakes are very low."

Reference:

"Effects of docosahexaenoic acid supplementation during pregnancy on gestational age and size at birth: randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in Mexico," Ramakrishnan U, Martorell R, et al, Food Nutr Bull, 2010; 31(2 Suppl): S108-16. (Address: Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA. E-mail: uramakr@emory.edu

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Say What?

One of the downfalls of getting along in years is hearing loss. Sure, they’ve come a long way with technology such as hearing aids, but wouldn’t it be nice to be able to maintain your youthful hearing abilities without having an “aid”?

Well, one way you can help keep hearing loss at bay is to make sure you get enough folate in your diet.

Folate, which belongs in the popular B Vitamin group, has long been recognized for its connection to heart health and preventing birth defects.  But a recent study showed that people with low levels of folate in their blood had a 37 percent increased risk of hearing loss with age.

So . . . how do you get more folate? Well, you can find it in green leafy veggies, chickpeas and lentils. And of course, you can always take a supplement if those particular items aren’t on your daily menu!
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DHEA Supplementation Combined With Exercise May Improve Muscle Strength And Function In Elderly Women

In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study involving 87 elderly women (mean age: 76.6 years), results indicate that DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) supplementation in combination with exercise may improve lower extremity strength and function. The women received calcium and cholecalciferol and participated in 90-minute twice-weekly exercise regimens, in addition to supplementation with DHEA (50 mg/d) or placebo for a period of 6 months. At intervention end, significant gains in lower extremity strength were observed in the DHEA group, along with improvement in Short Physical Performance Battery score, a composite score that focuses on lower extremity function. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, "DHEA supplementation improved lower extremity strength and function in older, frail women involved in a gentle exercise program of chair aerobics or yoga."

Reference:

"Dehydroepiandrosterone combined with exercise improves muscle strength and physical function in frail older women," Kenny AM, Burleson JA, et al, J Am Geriatr Soc, 2010; 58(9): 1707-14. (Address: Case Western University Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio, USA).

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The New Aspirin?

If you’re looking to go “au natural” when it comes to pain relievers, you may want to think about turning to Ginger . . . especially for your post-workout aches and pains.

A recent study followed subjects who consumed doses of ginger for eight days straight before lifting weights. The result? Their muscle pain was reduced by a whopping 25 percent!

Of course much more research is needed to find out exactly how much you need, and exactly how it works. But someday you may have the option to choose ginger over aspirin in the pharmacy aisle!
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Consumption of Greater Variety of Fruit and Vegetables May be Associated with Reduced Risk of Lung Cancer

In a longitudinal study involving 452,187 participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study, results indicate that greater variety in fruit and vegetable consumption may be associated with a decrease in lung cancer risk in current smokers. After a mean follow-up of 8.7 years, 1,613 cases of lung cancer were diagnosed. Increasing variety of vegetable consumption was associated with a 27% reduced risk of lung cancer in current smokers. Additionally, increased variety of fruit and vegetable consumption was associated with a 12% reduced risk for squamous cell carcinomas in current smokers. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, "Variety in vegetable consumption was inversely associated with lung cancer risk among current smokers. Risk of squamous cell carcinomas was reduced with increasing variety in fruit and/or vegetable consumption, which was mainly driven by the effect in current smokers. Independent from quantity of consump tion, variety in fruit and vegetable consumption may decrease lung cancer risk."

Reference:

"Variety in fruit and vegetable consumption and the risk of lung cancer in the European prospective investigation into cancer and nutrition," Büchner FL, Riboli E, et al, Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 2010; 19(9): 2278-86. (Address: National Institute of PublicHealth and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands. E-mail: frederike.buchner@rivm.nl ).

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Probiotics Reduce the Risk of Infections in Infants

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 109 healthy newborn infants (1 month old), supplementation with probiotics (daily dose, 10 billion CFU of bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB-12) from 1-2 months of age to 8 months of age, was found to be associated with fewer respiratory infections (65 vs. 94%). The authors conclude, "Controlled administration of BB-12 in early childhood may reduce respiratory infections."

Reference:

"Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB-12 in reducing the risk of infections in infancy," Taipale T, Pienihakkinen K, et al, Br J Nutr, 2010 Sept 24; 1-7. (Address: Korpilahti-Muurame Health Care Center, 40950 Muurame, Finland).

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