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Health News

  • Study Finds Vitamin B Does Not Prevent Mental Decline

    Wednesday, December 12, 2018
    New Science
    Study Finds Vitamin B Does Not Prevent Mental Decline

    A study from Oxford University, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that vitamin B did not slow or prevent mental decline due to age. Researchers analyzed data from 22,000 people across 11 trials. While vitamin B did significantly reduce levels of homocysteine, a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, there was no corresponding improvement in speed, memory, or executive function. Although no improvements were found, the press release noted that vitamin B may be beneficial for specific groups with dementia, and that maternal folic acid intake continues to be advised. Other studies have come to different conclusions regarding vitamin B’s effects on cognitive decline, including one from 2010 that found vitamin B protected against brain shrinkage and another from 2008 that showed vitamin B may protect against cognitive decline in women with insufficient vitamin intake. Further, an in-depth review of the full study is needed to properly evaluate its results, as is the continued effort to research dementia, a disease that currently affects one in three people over the age of 65.

    Source: Headlines & Global News

  • Zinc Lozenges May Help Shorten Colds

    Friday, December 07, 2018
    New Science
    Zinc Lozenges May Help Shorten Colds

    With cold season upon us, here's some good information to keep in mind: a meta-analysis of three randomized, placebo-controlled trials found that zinc acetate lozenges lessened the duration of the common cold by nearly three days. While previous research has come to a similar conclusion, the meta-analysis was unique in that the studies it included examined zinc's effectiveness across different groups of people—including those with varying allergy statuses, smoking habits, cold severity, ages, genders, and ethnicity—and found that the zinc lozenges were equally effective across the board. Therefore, based on these findings, it appears that zinc could be an effective cold-alleviator for most people. If you’d like to stock up on zinc so you’re prepared when a cold strikes, lozenges that contain zinc gluconate or acetate, and that are free of artificial colors and flavors, might be your best choice.

    Source: British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

  • Vitamin D May Boost Immunity in Older Adults

    Wednesday, December 05, 2018
    New Science
    Vitamin D May Boost Immunity in Older Adults

    Findings from a randomized clinical trial, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, demonstrated that a high dose of vitamin D3 may help prevent acute respiratory infections (ARIs) in older adults. The study included 107 long-term care residents, aged 60 and older, who were divided into a high-dose and standard-dose group. The high-dose group was given a monthly supplement of 100,000 IU of vitamin D3. Participants in the standard-dose group were given either a monthly supplement of 12,000 IU of vitamin D3 or a placebo with no vitamin D3 (depending on how much vitamin D they were already receiving as part of their usual care). After participants had been given vitamin D3 or a placebo for 12 months, researchers discovered that:

    • There were fewer ARIs—nearly 40% less—in the high-dose group compared with the standard-dose group. Average blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (a type of vitamin D used to measure vitamin D in the body) were 32 ng/ml in the high-dose group and 25.1 ng/ml in the standard-dose group. This indicates that the monthly high-dose vitamin D3 supplement led to increased blood levels of vitamin D.
    • There was one negative finding: the high-dose group experienced more than double the number of falls. However, there were no significant differences between the groups in the incidence of kidney stones, hypercalcemia (excessive blood levels of calcium), or fractures.

    The results are promising and point to a convenient, relatively affordable supplement that could reduce ARIs in older adults, who, because of their age, may be more prone to them. However, more research is needed to understand the relationship between high doses of vitamin D3 and an increased risk of falling. There have been numerous other studies on vitamin D and falls. Most of them have shown a reduction in falls, but the ones that gave periodic high doses, such as those in the present study, often found an increase in falls. A reasonable explanation is that giving a very high dose at one time causes transient vitamin D toxicity, which leads to impaired balanced and decreased muscle strength. In one study, the excess in falls was clustered in the first three months after the study participants received their annual, very high dose. So, one might argue that daily dosing of a moderate amount of vitamin D is preferable to intermittent dosing with a very large amount.

    Source: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

  • Fitness Tips to Prep You for the Holidays

    Friday, November 23, 2018
    Fitness Tips to Prep You for the Holidays

    While indulging a little in the holiday smorgasbord may be okay, it’s a good idea to start healthy habits now. Here are four tips reported on by the Huffington Post, from fitness and wellness expert Don Saladino, to get you on the right track:

    • Follow the 80-20 rule. You may have heard of this one before. Simply put, you need to make healthy choices regarding food, exercise, and sleep 80% of the time. For example, during this time, eat mostly lean proteins, vegetables, and slow-burning carbs such as sweet potatoes and gluten-free oatmeal. As far as exercise goes, if your weekly goal is to do five workouts, make sure you get in at least four. With the remaining 20% of your time, you can cut yourself a little slack—although you still want to be health conscious, it’s not an invitation to become a couch potato.
    • Get sleep aplenty. It’s important to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Sleep helps your body rest and recover, which helps you perform better overall.
    • Drink enough water. One general rule is to drink 50 ounces of water per 100 pounds of body weight. Others advise simply drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Getting enough water keeps toxins and impurities moving out of your body and it may even help your skin look better.
    • Put a cap on alcohol intake. Limit alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men. When counting your drinks, bear in mind that this recommendation is based on the standard definition of a drink: 12 ounces of beer, 7 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor. Exceeding this recommendation could be harmful to your health.

    Source: Huffington Post

  • Don’t Let Cold Weather Put a Freeze on Your Workouts

    Wednesday, November 21, 2018
    Don’t Let Cold Weather Put a Freeze on Your Workouts

    When the temperature starts to drop, it’s always easy to think up a few good reasons to skip your workout. But some simple tricks, reported on by the Huffington Post, can help keep you moving when the weather outside gets frightful:

    • Go gear shopping. Buy some activewear, like warm leggings or weather-proof running shoes, for your polar workouts. Research has shown that clothing’s symbolic meaning can affect the wearer's mindset. So, putting on the right outfit may help you get mentally ready to exercise.
    • Make summer plans. Set future goals and plans to help you stay motivated in the present. Plan a backpacking trip or sign up for a marathon. Visualizing your end goal will help you stay motivated while you train to keep up on the trail or in the race.
    • Get into winter activities. Go play in the snow while you can! Skiing, ice skating, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and sledding are all fun wintertime activities that help keep you fit (and warm you up).
    • Revamp your playlist. Replace your usual mix with some new music or podcasts. A good playlist can jazz up a workout and get you stoked to start your next one.
    • Take each day as it comes. It can be difficult to stay motivated when the weather’s crummy, and that’s okay. If you don’t accomplish all your goals in one day, give yourself a break. Keep a positive attitude by focusing on your successes for the day, which can help keep the frosty atmosphere at bay.

    Source: Huffington Post

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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 2018.