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  • Flaxseeds May Help Manage Metabolic Syndrome

    Friday, April 19, 2019
    New Science
    Flaxseeds May Help Manage Metabolic Syndrome

    Looks can be deceiving: flaxseeds may be small, but they’re packed with fiber and polyunsaturated fatty acids, and have been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, menopause symptoms, and some cancers. Now a study adds to that list, finding that, when paired with certain lifestyle changes and exercise, consuming flaxseeds could help people manage metabolic syndrome—a group of conditions that occur together, including high blood pressure, insulin resistance, abdominal obesity, and abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Published in Phytotherapy Research, the study included 44 patients, ages 18 to 70, with metabolic syndrome. For the 12-week trial, the patients were randomly divided into two groups: the first group, acting as a control group, was given only lifestyle guidance that included engaging in 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five times a week; the second group, acting as the treatment group, was given the same lifestyle guidance plus 30 grams per day of ground brown flaxseeds, which they were instructed to eat with salad for lunch or dinner. At the beginning of the study and at three clinic visits during the twelve weeks, researchers evaluated the patients for measures of metabolic syndrome such as body weight, waist circumference, insulin resistance, and blood pressure. At the end of the study, they found:

    • Markers of metabolic syndrome improved in both groups; however, a greater proportion of participants in the flaxseed group no longer had metabolic syndrome at the end of the study: the incidence of metabolic syndrome decreased by 82% in the flaxseed group and by 50% in the control group.
    • Specifically, the flaxseed group had greater reductions in body weight, waist circumference, and insulin resistance than the control group, but neither group had significant reductions in blood pressure.

    Although previous studies have conflicting results, the findings from this study suggest that flaxseeds may help improve the health of those with metabolic syndrome. However, because this study was performed without a placebo, more research is needed to confirm its findings. If you want to add flaxseeds to your diet, it’s as easy as stirring a spoonful of ground flaxseeds into your cereal or yogurt in the morning. You may also find whole or ground flaxseeds as an ingredient in baked goods, but remember that whole flaxseeds have different properties than ground flaxseeds. If you’re taking any medications, be sure to talk with your doctor before heaping them on your food, as certain drugs may not play well with them.

    Source: Phytotherapy Research

  • Save Time with High-Intensity Interval Workouts

    Wednesday, April 17, 2019
    Save Time with High-Intensity Interval Workouts

    A study reported on by the New York Times discovered that even 10 seconds of high-intensity exercise may help you get in shape. The training program, called 10-20-30, entailed repeating intervals of gentle exercise (for 30 seconds), moderate exercise (for 20 seconds), and high-intensity exercise (for 10 seconds). The program was part of a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports that included 160 middle-aged, recreational runners. Researchers directed 132 of the runners to replace two of their three weekly workouts with 10-20-30 training and 28 of the runners to continue their existing routine. All of the runners ran a 5K race at the beginning and end of the study to measure their progress. After eight weeks, researchers found that:

    • While the group that continued their existing routine did not see any changes at the end of the study, the 10-20-30 training group had shaved an average of 38 seconds from their 5K running times. Most of the runners in the 10-20-30 group also had lower blood pressure and other markers of improved health in the end.

    This workout could be a great option for those who are crunched for time, or for those who find 10 seconds of high-intensity activity easier to stomach than several minutes. If you’d like to give 10-20-30 a go, follow these basic steps:

    • Choose an activity you can do at different speeds, like running, biking, or rowing. After warming up with some light exercise, ease into a gentle pace for the first 30 seconds—this should feel relaxed. Then, speed up to a moderate pace for 20 seconds, and end with 10 seconds at a high-intensity pace (run/bike/row like your life depends on it!).
    • If you’re trying to get in shape, do five 10-20-30 intervals in a row and then take a break by walking slowly for two minutes. Repeat the five intervals one more time and then cool down with some light exercise. The whole routine lasts about 12 minutes.
    • If you’re already in good shape, add one more set of five intervals to your routine.
    • Take the next day off or exercise lightly. Don’t do two days of 10-20-30 intervals back-to-back.
    • Try replacing two of your regular weekly workouts with 10-20-30 training.

    Source: New York Times

  • Large Meta-Analysis Confirms Calcium Supplements Safe for Older Women

    Friday, April 12, 2019
    New Science
    Large Meta-Analysis Confirms Calcium Supplements Safe for Older Women

    A meta-analysis of 18 randomized, placebo-controlled trials involving data from 63,563 patients found that calcium supplements were safe for elderly women. Published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, the meta-analysis concluded that calcium supplements (with or without vitamin D) didn't increase the risk of coronary heart disease or all-cause mortality in post-menopausal women. The findings are important because they dispel the concern that calcium supplementation contributes to arterial plaques and heart disease, especially in women. According to this meta-analysis, there is simply no mechanistic evidence that calcium has these negative effects. The results of this analysis, along with four previous studies, point to the safety of calcium supplements, a nutrient that is currently under-consumed by most Americans.

    Source: NutraIngredients-USA

  • Even Tiny Bouts of Exercise Throughout the Day May Add Up to Health Benefits

    Wednesday, April 10, 2019
    New Science
    Even Tiny Bouts of Exercise Throughout the Day May Add Up to Health Benefits

    According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, you should be getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise per week in accumulated bouts of activity lasting ten minutes. However, research has found that the total amount of exercise you get may be more important than the length of any individual episode of activity to reduce your risk of death from any cause. The study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association and included data from 4,840 people, age 40 or older, participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003–2006. Participants wore an accelerometer around their waist for up to seven days to track their total daily exercise, bouts of exercise lasting five minutes or longer, and bouts of exercise lasting ten minutes or longer. Researchers then monitored death records of the participants for more than six years to assess how physical activity affected mortality. After controlling for factors including age, gender, weight, and smoking and alcohol habits, researchers found that:

    • Regardless of how the physical activity was accumulated, getting more exercise in total was associated with lower mortality risk.
    • The risk reduction from physical activity plateaued at 100 minutes per day: no mortality benefit was seen with more than this amount of activity.

    This study suggests that if you have a hard time fitting in longer exercise sessions, like a 30-minute daily walk, you could still benefit from quick bouts of exercise; for example, try taking the stairs up to your office or parking at the far end of the parking lot and walking to your destination. Staying active has also been associated with better immunity, cognitive function, and mood management. So, get moving to extend your life and stay healthy as you age!

    Source: Journal of the American Heart Association

  • Probiotics May Provide Seasonal Allergy Relief

    Friday, April 05, 2019
    New Science
    Probiotics May Provide Seasonal Allergy Relief

    Spring showers bring more than just flowers. For some, spring brings seasonal allergies. Luckily, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a combination of certain probiotics (Lactobacillus gasseri KS-13, Bifidobacterium bifidum G9-1, and Bifidobacterium longum MM-2) may have helped reduce allergy symptoms. The double-blind, randomized study took place during spring allergy season and included 173 people, aged 26 to 28, with self-reported seasonal allergies. Daily for eight weeks, the participants received either two probiotic capsules (containing 1.5 billion colony-forming units per capsule) or a placebo. Throughout the study, they answered the Mini Rhinoconjunctivitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (MRQLQ) to report on the frequency of their allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, nasal and eye irritation, runny nose, and others, as well as the impact of their allergy symptoms on quality of life. At the end of the study, participants who took the probiotics showed greater improvements in allergy-related quality of life as reported on the MRQLQ, compared with the placebo group.

    This isn’t the first time probiotics have been linked with improvements in allergy symptoms. Previous research has found that the probiotic Lactobacillus salivarius may help reduce symptoms in children allergic to mold and dust. So, what’s the connection between beneficial gut bacteria and eye and nose irritation? Some research suggests that healthy gut bacteria can improve immune regulation and prevent immune cells from overreacting to allergens. However, this research is still in its early days.

    Source: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2019.