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Health News

  • Whey-Based, Multi-Ingredient Supplement May Help Seniors Regain Strength

    Friday, August 16, 2019
    New Science
    Whey-Based, Multi-Ingredient Supplement May Help Seniors Regain Strength

    Strength and muscle mass can dwindle as we age, but research has found that a whey protein-based, multi-ingredient supplement could help boost them. The study was published in PLoS One and included 49 healthy men, ages 72 to 74. For the first six weeks of the study, the men were randomly selected to receive a supplement drink or a placebo drink twice daily. The supplement drink contained a combination of ingredients found to affect age-related muscle mass and function; specifically, each supplement drink provided 30 g of whey protein, 2.5 g of creatine, 500 IU of vitamin D, 400 mg of calcium, and 1,500 mg of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, with 700 mg as EPA and 445 mg as DHA. The placebo drink contained 22 g of maltodextrin, a starch derivative.

    For the next twelve weeks of the study, the men continued drinking their respective beverages while engaging in an exercise program. The exercise program included resistance exercise sessions twice weekly and a high-intensity interval training session once weekly. After assessing the men’s strength and body composition, researchers found that:

    • During the initial six-week phase, men taking the multi-ingredient supplement gained strength and lean body mass; men taking the placebo did not.
    • During the twelve-week exercise phase, all the men gained strength, but the men taking the multi-ingredient supplement gained more upper body strength than the men taking the placebo.

    While exercise alone is an effective way to build strength and muscle, this study showed that adding a multi-ingredient, whey-based supplement may bolster gains in strength. Most importantly, the study showed that a supplement with ingredients that have been previously associated with muscular health may increase strength and muscle mass without exercise. If further research confirms these findings, it could mean that supplementation alone may help people with limited mobility or others who are unable to exercise to build or maintain muscle mass and strength.

    Source: PLoS One

  • Grow Healthy: Herbs May Help the Body and Mind

    Wednesday, August 14, 2019
    Grow Healthy: Herbs May Help the Body and Mind

    Looking for a healthy hobby? Gardening, particularly gardening with herbs, can provide a wealth of benefits for the body and mind. Of course, any type of gardening can be quite a workout; all that bending, digging, and raking strengthen the arms, back, and abs. Exercising outside is also a great stress-reliever, and, as many green thumbs know, you can find a lot of personal satisfaction in growing your own food. However, growing herbs is particularly wonderful because of how easy and inexpensive they are to grow. Herbs are also rich in a variety of vitamins and antioxidants that can produce beneficial effects in the body. Here are a few great options for any home garden (or a sunny windowsill!):

    • Basil. Basil is a fragrant, versatile herb rich in vitamin A and magnesium. Some studies have shown that basil may help control blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
    • Peppermint. Peppermint, often used in tea, contains manganese, copper, and vitamin C. Studies have found that peppermint may reduce discomfort from indigestion. In addition, some people use it to relieve cold and flu symptoms.
    • Rosemary. Rosemary, a delicious addition to grilled meats and vegetables, contains vitamins A, C, and B6, calcium, fiber, and iron. One study found that adding it to a marinade prevented carcinogens (cancer-causing compounds) from forming in grilled meats. Other studies have also found that its fragrance may improve cognition and short-term memory.
    • Thyme. Thyme, commonly used in cooking, contains vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, and manganese. However, it also has antibacterial uses; some people use thyme tea to treat upper respiratory conditions like bronchitis and whooping cough.

    While herbs can provide many benefits, it’s important to talk to your doctor about any herbs that you are taking medicinally, as some herbs may have unwanted side-effects in people with particular health conditions.

    Source: LA Times

  • Is Your Body Getting the Complete Protein It Needs?

    Friday, August 09, 2019
    Is Your Body Getting the Complete Protein It Needs?

    What makes a protein “complete?” Well, it must contain an adequate amount of the nine essential amino acids our bodies need from food to build and repair muscle. Most foods that meet this standard are animal foods (meats, eggs, dairy, and fish), although a few plant foods are complete protein sources, like quinoa and chia seeds. Since those on plant-based diets probably don’t want to eat quinoa and chia seeds every meal, some have turned to planning meals with complementary protein sources: two or more foods that, together, contain the full set of essential amino acids. Those of us who aren’t so organized can rest assured that our bodies have complex mechanisms for keeping the right amounts of necessary amino acids available to our cells and tissues. This means the best way to ensure your body gets all the amino acids it needs is to eat a variety of protein-rich foods throughout the day, especially if your diet is strictly plant-based. If you’re at a loss for which foods to eat, check out these well-balanced snacks and mini-meals shared in TIME:

    • Prepared oats with shredded kale or zucchini, sliced fresh fruit, and nuts or seeds.
    • Cooked and chilled quinoa layered with hummus and eaten with raw vegetables.
    • Nut butter mixed with fruit and rolled oats or toasted quinoa, formed into balls and covered with chia seeds.
    • Garden salad topped with cooked and chilled black beans and wild rice.
    • Buckwheat soba noodles and veggies tossed with almond butter, ginger, garlic, and chili pepper.
    • Lentil or veggie soup garnished with chopped pecans or walnuts.
    • Fruit and veggie smoothies with chickpea flour and sprouted pumpkin seeds thrown in.
    • Oven-roasted veggies with tahini or pesto.

    Source: TIME

  • Energy Drinks May Raise Blood Pressure

    Wednesday, August 07, 2019
    New Science
    Energy Drinks May Raise Blood Pressure

    Energy drinks may boost more than just your energy. Findings from a small pilot study suggested that these liquid pick-me-ups may quickly raise blood pressure and norepinephrine levels (norepinephrine is a “fight or flight” stress hormone). The findings were reported on in the journal JAMA. The study involved 25 healthy men and women who were over 18, non-smokers, and not taking any medications. The participants were assigned to consume a 16-ounce energy drink or a 16-ounce placebo drink over a five-minute period. On a separate day, within two weeks of the first test, every participant consumed the opposite drink and the test was repeated. The placebo drink was similar to the energy drink in its nutritional content, taste, texture, and color, but didn’t contain any stimulants, such as caffeine, taurine, ginseng, or guarana. Prior to each study day, the participants didn’t ingest any caffeine or alcohol for 24 hours. To assess the effects of the drinks, researchers measured the participants’ blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar, caffeine, and norepinephrine levels before they consumed their drinks and 30 minutes afterwards. Here is what the researchers found:

    • After the participants consumed the energy drink, their average blood pressure rose by 6.4%. In contrast, after drinking the placebo, their average blood pressure rose by only 1%.
    • After the participants consumed the energy drink, their average norepinephrine levels rose by 73.6%. In contrast, after drinking the placebo, their average norepinephrine levels rose by only 30.9%.
    • Caffeine levels were higher after they consumed the energy drink compared with the placebo drink, but their heart rates were similar after the two drinks.

    It’s important to note that this pilot study measured only the immediate effects of one commercially available energy drink. Future research will help clarify any dangers associated with these short-term changes and help define safe limits of consumption. In addition, longer and larger studies are needed to establish the long-term effects of regular energy drink consumption and the health implications of their use over time. Since previous research has linked energy drinks with dangerous heart problems in children, this study may be worthy of the buzz.

    Source: JAMA

  • Exercise May Help Protect Eyesight

    Friday, August 02, 2019
    New Science
    Exercise May Help Protect Eyesight

    Reading an engaging book may seem like the best exercise for your eyes, but a brisk walk may be even better: research has found walking could reduce the risk of glaucoma—a leading cause of blindness. The findings were presented at the 121st Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and included data from participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)—a large study that has tracked the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the US since the 1960s. The researchers assessed physical activity by measuring exercise duration and intensity using readings from individual pedometers. They also followed the participants to identify cases of glaucoma. The data showed that more physical activity at faster speeds was correlated with greater glaucoma risk reduction, specifically:

    • Every ten-unit increase in walking speed decreased the risk of developing glaucoma by 6%.
    • Every ten-minute increase in moderate-to-vigorous activity per week decreased the risk of developing glaucoma by 25%.

    These findings suggest that it’s not just the act of exercising that protects against glaucoma, but also the intensity of that exercise. While more research is needed to understand how physical activity affects eye physiology, past research suggests exercise may lower glaucoma risk by altering blood flow and pressure in the eyes. Regardless, the wealth of other known health benefits should give you all the reasons you need to get the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise, per week—the equivalent of taking about 7,000 steps every day. And if you’re not into walking, there are other low-cost exercises, like dancing, biking, and hiking, that can help you log your minutes.

    Source: American Academy of Ophthalmology

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Copyright © 2019 Healthnotes, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.