Blogs on various topics
Speculation of fish oil benefits has been swimming through the papers - “Omega-3 fish oil supplements questioned”. The results published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed no benefit for cognitive function with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation among cognitive healthy older people. What they did not underlie in the papers is the method of the study.
Omega-3 fatty acids are among the most extensively studied nutrients for their potential cardiovascular and cognitive benefits. A large body of evidence from experimental, clinical and epidemiological research has demonstrated the potential benefits of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) rich and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) rich fish oil for proper body functioning and development.
Method of Study & Observations
DHA is proven essential to pre- and postnatal brain development, whereas EPA seems more influential on behavior and mood. For cognitive development, the focus should be on the DHA amount.
The study that illustrates that Omega-3s are not beneficial had participants receive either 1 g of Omega-3 fatty acids containing 465 mg of EPA and 375 mg of DHA or placebo containing about 1 g of olive oil.
Firstly, the amount of DHA is low compared to supplements you see on the market today. In one teaspoon of Pure Premium Fish Oil you receive 1825 mg of EPA and 925 mg of DHA. Other studies have shown the DHA and EPA combinations have benefited ADHD, autism, dyslexia and aggression. For the affective disorders, meta-analyses confirm benefits in major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorder. And finally studies on accelerated cognitive decline and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) correlate with lowered tissue levels of DHA/EPA, and supplementation has improved cognitive function! These studies show promising methods and compared to the negative study on fish oil, the duration of the trail is longer than 2 years.
Benefits of Fish
Research suggests these benefits from fish or fish oil as part of healthy diet:
Against heart disease (supported by most studies)
- Reduce abnormal blood clotting, help sustain more regular heartbeats, and reduce inflammation of many body tissues, including the arteries of the heart
- Reducing blood triglycerides
- Delay hardening of the arteries
- Relaxation of blood vessels, mildly reducing blood pressure
In infant growth and development (well researched and accepted)
- Normal brain development in infants. DHA concentrates in the brain’s cortex, the conscious thinking part.
- Normal vision development in infants. DHA helps to for the eye’s retina
1. The New England Journal of Medicine http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1203859?query=featured_home#t=articleMethods
2. M.Laidlaw et al.(2003) Effects of supplementation with fish-oil derived n-3 fatty acids and gamma-linolenic acids on circulating plasma lipids and fatty acid profiles among women, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
3. Kidd. PM Omega-3 DHA and EPA for cognition, behavior, and mood: clinical findings and structural-functional synergies with cell membrane phospholipids.
4. Harper, Charles et al. (2001). The Fats of LifeThe Role of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in the Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease Arch Intern Med.161(18):2185-2192.
You're gaining weight around the middle, your blood pressure is higher than normal, your blood sugar is creeping upwards...just signs of aging? No – these are signs of a serious metabolic disorder that can have significant life consequences.
Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors linked to overweight and obesity. These risk factors include:
1. Fat "around the middle", also known as abdominal obesity. This type of fat is a greater risk than fat found elsewhere on the body
2. Higher than normal blood pressure
3. Higher than normal blood sugar - an early warning sign for diabetes
4. Elevated triglycerides (a type of fat found in the blood)
5. Low HDL, the so-called "good" cholesterol
If you have at least 3 of these 5 risk factors, you have metabolic syndrome, and have a significant increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
So what can you do? The best things you can do are lose weight, eat better, and get active. Pretty simple advice, although many people find it very difficult to put this into practice.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health have suggested that in the future, metabolic syndrome may surpass smoking as the top risk factor for heart disease. We all know how bad smoking is for you - so why are we not doing more to combat the obesity epidemic?
Why Is Magnesium Important?
Should You Be Worried About Your Magnesium Intake?
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that significant numbers of adults do not consume the recommended amounts of magnesium (2). Among adults, 68% consume less than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium, and 19% consume less than 50% of the RDA (3). Adults who take supplements are more likely to meet the RDA for magnesium than those who do not (4). Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include fatigue, loss of appetite, irritability, anxiety, weakness, muscle contractions and cramps, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, numbness and tingling (1).
If you have chronic malabsorptive problems (i.e. Crohn’s; celiac disease), are a senior citizen, have diabetes, consume excess alcohol or take certain medications (i.e. specific diuretics, antibiotics or medications to treat cancer) you are at particular risk for magnesium deficiency.
Why Is Magnesium Glycinate Better Than Other Forms Of Magnesium?
Magnesium glycinate is easier on the bowel. Other forms of magnesium tend to be more disruptive to the bowel. Magnesium oxide tends to firm stools (leading to constipation), whereas the citrate, sulphate and chloride forms tend to loosen the stools (diarrhea). Magnesium glycinate is gentler, with less chance of bowel disruptions.
Magnesium glycinate is highly absorbable. It is absorbed better than other forms of magnesium, up to 5 times more than magnesium oxide (5).
What Conditions Benefit from Magnesium Supplementation?
Magnesium Supplements and Cholesterol
Magnesium supplements have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol levels (6-9).
It is well established that diabetics often suffer from magnesium deficiency. More recent studies have shown that magnesium supplementation of diabetics will not only correct for the loss of magnesium that occurs in the urine, but may also help with reducing plasma fasting glucose levels and increase HDL cholesterol (10). It has been suggested that diabetics have a magnesium-binding defect, which may cause the insulin resistance and reduced insulin secretion associated with this disease. It is thought that this defect can be addressed with magnesium supplementation (11).
Adults with higher dietary intakes of magnesium have a lower risk of developing high blood pressure (12-13). Diets rich in magnesium are routinely prescribed to people with hypertension (14).
Magnesium Supplements and Menopause
Magnesium levels drop as estrogen levels diminish during menopause. It has been suggested by several authors that magnesium may be beneficial to alleviate hot flashes, and help maintain bone and cardiovascular health (15-17). We have anecdotal evidence in our clinic of its usefulness to improve hot flashes. Furthermore, inadequate magnesium intake in postmenopausal women has been shown to impair glucose tolerance, induce heart rhythm changes, and adversely affect the metabolism of other nutrients, including calcium, phosphorus, and potassium (18-19).
Researchers have determined that the low intakes of dietary magnesium are associated with metabolic syndrome (20-21).
Insomnia and Restless Legs
Magnesium has been shown to reduce surgery-related insomnia, and improve sleep in individuals suffering from restless leg syndrome (22-23). Magnesium has a key role in helping to regulate the "biological clock" (24).
Who Should Not Take Magnesium?
Certain individuals should not take magnesium without first talking to a pharmacist or health care practitioner:
People with kidney or severe heart disease
Individuals taking magnesium-containing antacids or laxatives
1. National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements (2005) Magnesium. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/magnesium.asp
2. Ford E.S. and Mokdad A.H. (2003) Dietary magnesium intake in a national sample of U.S. adults. J Nutr. 133: 2879-82.
3. King D.E. et al. (2005) Dietary magnesium and C-reactive protein levels. J Am Coll Nutr. 24(3): 166-71.
4. Sebastian R.S. et al. 2007) Older adults who use vitamin/mineral supplements differ from nonusers in nutrient intake adequacy and dietary attitudes. J Am Diet Assoc. 107(8): 1322-32.
5. Schuette S.A. et al. (1994) Bioavailability of magnesium diglycinate vs magnesium oxide in patients with ileal resection. J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 18(5): 430-5.
6. Davis W.H. et al. (1984) Monotherapy with magnesium increases abnormally low high density lipoprotein cholesterol: a clinical assay. Curr Therap Res 36: 341-344.
7. Rasmussen H.S. et al. (1989) Influence of magnesium substitution therapy on blood lipid composition in patients with ischemic heart disease. A double-blind, placebo controlled study. Arch Int Med 149: 1050-1053.
8. Corica F. et al. (1994) Effects of oral magnesium supplementation on plasma lipid concentrations in patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Magnes Res 7: 43-46.
9. Itoh K., Kawasaka T., Nakamura M. (1997) The effects of high oral magnesium supplementation on blood pressure, serum lipids and related variables in apparently healthy Japanese subjects. Br J Nutr 78: 737-750.
10. Song Y., et al. (2006) Effects of oral magnesium supplementation on glycaemic control in Type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of randomized double-blind controlled trials. Diabet Med. 23(10): 1050-6.
11. Wells I.C. (2008) Evidence that the etiology of the syndrome containing type 2 diabetes mellitus results from abnormal magnesium metabolism. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 86(1-2): 16-24.
12. Song, Y. et al. (2006) Dietary magnesium intake and risk of incident hypertension among middle-aged and older US women in a 10-year follow-up study. Am J Cardiol. 98(12): 1616-21.
13. Ascherio A. et al. (1992) A prospective study of nutritional factors and hypertension among US men. Circulation 86: 1475-84.
15. University of Maryland Medical Center http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/magnesium-000313.htm
16. Kass-Annese B. (2000) Alternative therapies for menopause. Clin Obstet Gynecol. 43(1):162-83.
17. Seelig, M. et al. (2004) Benefits and Risks of Sex Hormone Replacement in Postmenopausal Women J Am Coll Nutr 23: 482S-496S.
18. Nielsen FH, et al. (2007) Moderate magnesium deprivation results in calcium retention and altered potassium and phosphorus excretion by postmenopausal women. Magnes Res. 20(1):19-31.
19. Nielsen FH, et al. (2007) Dietary magnesium deficiency induces heart rhythm changes, impairs glucose tolerance, and decreases serum cholesterol in post menopausal women. J Am Coll Nutr. 26(2):121-32.
20. Ford, ES. Et al. (2007) Intake of dietary magnesium and the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome among U.S. adults. Obesity 15(5):1139-46.
21. He K, et al. (2006) Magnesium intake and incidence of metabolic syndrome among young adults. Circulation. 113(13):1675-82.
22. Tramer MR, et al. (1996) Role of magnesium sulfate in postoperative analgesia. Anesthesiology. 84(2):340-7.
23. Hornyak M, et al. (1998) Magnesium therapy for periodic leg movements-related insomnia and restless legs syndrome: an open pilot study. Sleep. 21(5):501-5.
24. Durlach J, et al. (2002) Chronopathological forms of magnesium depletion with hypofunction or with hyperfunction of the biological clock. Magnes Res. 15(3-4):263-8.
Stress and anxiety are unpleasant conditions that upset the balance of our hormones leading to a loss of our well-being, performance and even lifespan. Many people experience these two conditions on a daily basis and look for a natural and safe way to manage it. Hundreds of studies exist showing the many health benefits of green tea.
But what makes it the most consumed beverage in the world after water is its pleasant taste and relaxation effect. Both of these qualities can be traced to a unique, neurologically active amino acid in tea called L-Theanine.