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Natural Food-Based Supplements Offer On-the-Go Nutrition

Healthy Aging
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Learn more about these popular supplements that people use for a variety of reasons—to address an acute condition, such as cold or flu, to manage a chronic condition, such as heart disease, diabetes, or arthritis, or to prevent health problems from getting a foothold.
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Health News

  • Over-Sleeping May Increase Type 2 Diabetes Risk in Women

    Wednesday, October 16, 2019
    New Science
    Over-Sleeping May Increase Type 2 Diabetes Risk in Women

    A study published in Diabetologia found an association between increased sleep time and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in middle-aged and older women. The study looked at data from 59,031 women, aged 55 to 83, who had participated in the Nurses’ Health Study and did not have diabetes in 2000. The Nurses’ Health Study tracked, among other things, diabetes occurrence, diet, physical activity, and body weight. Sleep duration over the course of a 24-hour period was self-reported twice, in 1986 and 2000. By 2012, 3,513 participants had developed diabetes. After adjusting for diabetes risk factors, including BMI, researchers found that:

    • Compared with no change in sleep duration, increasing sleep by two or more hours each day was associated with a 15% increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Increased sleep was also associated with more weight gain.
    • Compared with no change in sleep duration, decreasing sleep was associated with poor diet and less physical activity.

    This research adds to the growing body of evidence linking sleep habits with various health effects. However, because this study was based on limited data from questionnaires, more research is needed to determine whether there is an optimal amount of sleep for avoiding diabetes. In the meantime, it’s clear that getting enough shut-eye is important, but it’s also clear that getting too much may have negative health effects.

    Source: Diabetologia

  • Vitamin D May Reduce Preterm Birth Risk

    Friday, October 11, 2019
    New Science
    Vitamin D May Reduce Preterm Birth Risk

    Preterm birth—delivering before 37 weeks—is estimated to affect 12% of pregnancies in the US, and may lead to complications or be life threatening. While some causes of preterm birth are not preventable, research has discovered a possible factor that is—low maternal vitamin D status. The study was published in PLoS One and included 1,064 pregnant women, ages 18 to 45. At their first prenatal visit, all the women had their blood vitamin D levels checked. They were also offered free vitamin D supplements (5,000 IU per capsule) and given dosing recommendations based on their blood vitamin D level, the goal being 40 ng/mL or higher. Providers recommended follow-up vitamin D tests at 24–28 weeks and before delivery. After examining the women’s test results, researchers discovered that:

    • The overall preterm birth rate was 13% among the women who participated in the study and gave birth to a live, single baby.
    • Risk of preterm birth was 62% lower in women with vitamin D levels of 40 ng/mL or higher, compared with women whose vitamin D levels were 20 ng/mL or below.
    • In women whose vitamin D levels were below 40 ng/mL at the beginning of pregnancy, those whose levels rose to 40 ng/mL or higher during pregnancy had a 60% lower risk of preterm birth than women whose levels stayed below that goal.
    • The association between lower preterm birth risk and better vitamin D status was seen across all sub-categories in the study group, regardless of race or ethnicity, prior preterm birth status, or socioeconomic status.

    These findings suggest that if you’re pregnant, you’ll want to ensure your vitamin D status is healthy. Sunlight exposure, which stimulates the body to make vitamin D, may be helpful. You can also get vitamin D from certain foods, like fatty fish, eggs, and fortified foods like cereal and milk, and supplements. Talk with your healthcare practitioner if you have questions about your vitamin D status, so they can help you determine if you need more vitamin D for a healthy pregnancy.

    Source: PLoS One

  • Teens: Potassium-Rich Diet May Mean Lower Blood Pressure

    Wednesday, October 09, 2019
    New Science
    Teens: Potassium-Rich Diet May Mean Lower Blood Pressure

    A study found that girls with diets high in potassium have lower blood pressure into their teens. Published in JAMA Pediatrics, the study looked at data on the sodium and potassium intakes, and the blood pressures, of 2,185 girls, ages 9 to 10. The data also included an additional 10 years of follow-up with the girls so that researchers could continue to assess their diets and systolic and diastolic blood pressures. After adjusting for race, height, activity, screen time, energy intake, and other dietary factors, the study found that:

    • Girls consuming higher amounts of potassium had lower blood pressure in their teens compared with girls consuming less potassium.
    • Higher sodium consumption (greater than 3,000 mg per day) was not associated with higher adolescent blood pressure. In fact, girls consuming 3,500 mg/day or more generally had lower diastolic blood pressures compared with girls consuming less than 2,500 mg/day.

    This study is important because it suggests that potassium-rich diets may be an effective way to lower blood pressure in adolescence. Only a small percentage of people get the recommended 4,700 mg/day of potassium, but there are many great sources of potassium that are easy to eat daily; these include bananas, raisins, sweet potatoes, avocados, spinach, and kale.

    Source: JAMA Pediatrics

  • Flu Facts for Flu Season

    Friday, October 04, 2019
    Flu Facts for Flu Season

    Flu season is almost upon us and there’s a flu shot out there with your name on it. But have you ever wondered why, in the US, we get our flu shots annually in the fall and why the flu is more common in the colder months? Fortune recently reported on basic flu facts to help answer your questions:

    • When is the flu season? The US flu season usually peaks between December and February, but can start as early as October and run all the way through May.
    • When is the best time to get a flu shot? It can take up to two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop antibodies against the flu virus. So, aim to get your shot before the season starts for the most protection.
    • Is getting a flu shot every year really necessary? The most prevalent flu virus strains change from year to year, so getting your yearly shot gives you a better chance of protection against the latest mutations.
    • Who should get the flu shot? Everyone over the age of six months, even if you are pregnant or have a compromised immune system.
    • How effective is the flu shot? Its effectiveness varies widely, but the CDC estimates the flu shot reduces an individual’s risk of catching the flu by 40 to 60%.
    • Why does flu season occur during the colder months? While the answer to this is unclear, there are several theories: one is that lower humidity and colder temperatures help the virus thrive and travel through the air in a transmissible form; another proposes that fewer UV rays, which may kill the virus, and colder temperatures allow it to persist in the air and on surfaces. And, of course, cold weather drives people indoors in closer quarters where germs spread more easily.

    Source: Fortune and CDC

  • Fish Is a Good Choice for People with Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Wednesday, October 02, 2019
    New Science
    Fish Is a Good Choice for People with Rheumatoid Arthritis

    You’ve heard it before—eating fish could bestow you with a bevy of benefits, such as enhanced brain function, heart health, and improvements in depression symptoms, to name just a few. Now, a study provides more evidence that fish may help people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The study was published in Arthritis Care & Research and included data from 176 rheumatoid arthritis patients participating in the Evaluation of Subclinical Cardiovascular Disease and Predictors of Events in RA cohort study. At the beginning of the study, participants answered a food frequency questionnaire, which included questions regarding their fish consumption. Then, researchers estimated the participants’ RA disease activity using an assessment tool known as DAS28-CRP. The tool is based on measures of clinical and functional factors associated with RA and levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation, and has been shown to reflect RA symptoms. After adjusting for potential confounders, they found that:

    • RA disease activity was lower in participants eating fish at least twice a week, compared with those eating fish less than once a month.
    • It was determined that every additional weekly serving of fish might further reduce RA disease activity.

    If you have rheumatoid arthritis, this study suggests you’d be wise to eat a few fish-focused meals each week. To get the greatest anti-inflammatory effect, choose fish that are high in polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, such as wild-caught salmon, cod, sardines, and anchovies. Salmon and cod make a filling main dish and can be prepared in numerous ways, from grilling, to baking, to pan frying with herbs. Sardines and anchovies can also be grilled or eaten out of the can, and are tasty on salads, sandwiches, or crackers.

    Source: Arthritis Care & Research

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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.