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Health News

  • More Support For Multivitamin and Mineral Supplements

    Wednesday, January 12, 2022
    New Science
    More Support For Multivitamin and Mineral Supplements

    In response to scientists who question the efficacy and safety of multivitamin and mineral (MVM) supplements, leading researchers from Oregon State University, Tufts University, and Harvard recently published a letter in the Annals of Internal Medicine advocating the use of MVM supplements. The researchers cite the largest and longest study of MVM supplements, the Physicians’ Health Study II (PHS II), which showed statistically significant health benefits from taking MVM supplements and suggested that MVM supplements may help decrease ones’ risk for chronic disease; these results, their letter adds, are consistent with other randomized, controlled trials. The researchers also point out that many US adults do not receive adequate amounts of several nutrients. Partly for this reason, they argue that MVM supplements can play a critical role in filling nutritional gaps, without any adverse health effects.

    Source: Annals of Internal Medicine

  • What’s the Deal with Pomegranates?

    Monday, January 10, 2022
    What’s the Deal with Pomegranates?

    Pomegranates have been grown in many regions of the world since ancient times. In recent years, pomegranates have been touted as a “superfood” because of the nutrients they contain which may contribute to disease prevention. But does the research match the hype? According to the New York Times Ask Well blog, there is research indicating that pomegranates do have some health benefits. Pomegranates are high in anti-inflammatory polyphenols, which may also act as antioxidants, and at least two studies have found that pomegranate juice had greater antioxidant activity and more polyphenols than red wine. One of these studies also found that pomegranates had greater antioxidant activity than green tea. In addition, small, clinical trials have found that drinking pomegranate juice daily may improve blood pressure and levels of HDL cholesterol. The research is promising enough that the National Institutes of Health is currently funding a study looking at the effects of pomegranate supplements on localized prostate cancer. So, when you’re shopping for groceries, remember that pomegranates are by no means a miracle cure, but if you like how they taste, adding them to your diet probably can’t hurt.

    Source: New York Times

  • Be Prepared for Dips in Vitamin D Levels During Winter

    Wednesday, January 05, 2022
    Be Prepared for Dips in Vitamin D Levels During Winter

    Adequate levels of vitamin D, which the body synthesizes with the help of sunlight, are needed to maintain our bones and overall health. During the summer, when the sun is directly overhead, it’s easier to make enough vitamin D. For example, the New York Times reports that as little as ten minutes of sun exposure a day may be enough for people with light skin. People with darker skin may need two to three times more than that, and seniors may need even more since aging tends to slow down vitamin D synthesis. In contrast, during the winter, the low angle of the sun and the short time it appears above the horizon each day can make it harder to maintain healthy vitamin D levels. Here’s what you need to know to keep your levels up when it’s cold outside:

    • Who’s at risk of low vitamin D in the winter? Anyone with low sun exposure is at risk, but living at latitudes above around 37 degrees north puts you at a particular risk. In the US, this includes people living in Northern California and north of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. In these areas, the sun is lower during the winter and colder temperatures cause people to bundle up, covering skin and blocking the sun.
    • Will using sunscreen reduce sun exposure? Sun safety precautions like sunscreen, hats, and protective clothing are important but do limit our ability to make vitamin D. Although the degree to which sunscreen affects vitamin D levels is still not precisely known, according to the National Institutes of Health, most of us don’t use enough sunscreen to completely block vitamin D production.
    • How much vitamin D do you need? Regardless of sun exposure, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 600 IU per day in healthy adults. If you’re 70 or older, that bumps up to 800 IU per day.
    • What are dietary sources of vitamin D? You can get almost 450 IU from three ounces of cooked salmon and about 120 IU from a cup of vitamin D-fortified milk. Fortified orange juice, yogurt, and cereal are other sources. Your healthcare practitioner may also recommend you take a vitamin D supplement.

    Source: New York Times

  • Pick a Plant-Based Diet for Weight Loss

    Monday, January 03, 2022
    New Science
    Pick a Plant-Based Diet for Weight Loss

    Some research has shown that vegetarians have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, and death from any cause. In addition, a meta-analysis found an association between a vegetarian or vegan diet and increased weight loss compared with non-vegetarian diets (such as high-protein, low-fat, and diabetes-management diets). The meta-analysis, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, looked at data from 12 other diet studies that included weight loss results from a total of 1,151 men and women aged 18 to 82, some of whom were overweight or obese. The diet studies ranged in length from 2 to 18 months and included follow-up periods between 8 weeks and 2 years. After analyzing the combined data researchers found:

    • Participants following a vegetarian diet lost 2.02 kg (4.5 lb) more than those following other diets.
    • Participants following a vegan diet lost 2.52 kg (5.6 lb) more than those following other diets.

    While this may be exciting news if you’re looking for a weight loss diet, it’s important to note that not all vegetarian and vegan foods are created equal. Researchers attribute the extra weight loss in this meta-analysis to the whole grains, fruits, and vegetables commonly found in these diets. Healthful, plant-based foods tend to be low in calories and full of fiber, which research suggests may aid in weight loss.

    Source: Journal of General Internal Medicine

  • Step Aside, Coffee—Stair Climbing May Be a Better Boost

    Wednesday, December 29, 2021
    New Science
    Step Aside, Coffee—Stair Climbing May Be a Better Boost

    If you’re sleep-deprived, you may reach for a coffee or soda to keep you going. But is caffeine really the best way to perk up? Research suggests it might not be, finding that a short bout of stair climbing might be a better way. The study, published in Physiology & Behavior, included 18 college-aged women who were chronically sleep-deprived, averaging less than 45 hours of sleep per week. The participants were moderately physically active and regularly consumed between 40 and 400 mg of caffeine per day.

    Researchers divided the women into three treatment groups: the first group sat for 20 minutes, and then did low- to moderate-intensity stair walking for 10 minutes; the second group took a 50 mg caffeine capsule, and then sat for 30 minutes; and the third group took a placebo capsule containing flour, and then sat for 30 minutes. The trial was performed three times, and, each time, the women were assigned to a different treatment group, ensuring that every woman experienced all three interventions. Before and after each trial, the women reported on certain aspects of their mood, including energy, working memory, attention span, reaction time, and motivation to complete cognitive tasks. Researchers found that:

    • Women reported feeling more energized after ten minutes of stair walking than they did after taking 50 mg of caffeine or placebo.
    • There were no other associations between the treatments and reported moods.

    This preliminary study suggests that exercise might be a better energy booster than low-dose caffeine in some people, and highlights the need for more research to help us better understand the relationship between physical activity and energy. In the meantime, getting exercise throughout the day is great for your health, even in small increments. So, don’t skip the stairs for the elevator—and if it also helps you feel energetic, all the better!

    Source: Physiology & Behavior

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The information presented by TraceGains 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 2022.