Month: January 2011

Zinc Deficiency Can Lead to Depression and Anxiety

Data from a comprehensive review indicates that zinc deficiency can induce depressive and anxiety-like behavior and that zinc supplementation improves the efficacy of some anti-depressant drugs and may be useful in the treatment of resistant depression.

Source: Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, November 2010

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Electroacupuncture Relieves Menstrual Pain

In a prospective, randomized, controlled trial involving 52 women with primary dysmenorrhea (painful periods), women who received electro-acupuncture at acupoint SP-6 – a point traditionally used to balance menstrual cycle abnormalities in Chinese medicine – for a period of 10 minutes, was found to significantly reduce menstrual pain and verbal rating scale scores, as compared to results found in women treated with electro-acupuncture at a different, non-relevant, acupuncture point (GB39), as compared to needling of an adjacent, non-meridian point, and as compared to a waiting list group. The authors conclude, “Electro-acupuncture at SP6 can immediately relieve menstrual pain and minimize the influence of pain on daily life…. The data preliminarily show the specificity of SP6 for the immediate pain relief of primary dysmenorrhea.”

Source: “A Comparative Study on the Immediate Effects of Electroacupuncture at Sanyinjiao (SP6), Xuanzhong (GB39) and a Non-Meridian Point, on Menstrual Pain and Uterine Arterial Blood Flow, in Primary Dysmenorrhea Patients,” Ma YX, Ma LX, et al, Pain Med, 2010 Oct; 11(10): 1564-75.

Magnesium Improves Insulin Sensitivity

Oral magnesium supplementation improves insulin sensitivity even in people with normal blood magnesium, who are overweight and not diabetic emphasizing the need for an early optimization of magnesium status to prevent insulin resistance and subsequently type 2 diabetes.

Source: Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Volume 13, Issue 3, pages 281–284, March 2011

Apple Cider Vinegar Lowers Post Prandial Blood Sugar and Insulin

Apple cider vinegar, when taken regularly, can help manage diabetes, moderate food cravings and increase the body’s absorption of calcium resulting in healthier bones. Studies have shown that consuming a drink of 20 g of apple cider vinegar plus 49 g of water after a complex carb meal leads to a 35% lower blood glucose level one hour after eating AND average caloric intake was reduced by 300 kcal on average for the rest of the day.

To get the full health benefits of vinegar, consumers should stick to natural kinds of vinegars made from 100 percent naturally fermented ingredients like coconuts, nipa palm and apples. While vinegar has numerous benefits, those that contain unnatural ingredients can be very unhealthy.

Source: Eur J Clin Nutr 59: 983–988, 2005.

Lights Out After Dark

New findings suggest turning down indoor lighting at night, and keeping the room dark during sleep to increase melatonin production could reduce insomnia, keep blood pressure in check and lower the chances of developing diabetes. Melatonin has been studied for its role in treating cancer, poor sleep and hypertension.

Source: J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab.doi:doi:10.1210/jc.2010-2098

Sitting Increases Risk of Metabolic Syndrome and Heart Disease

A sedentary lifestyle is associated with a worsening of several cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors, including higher waist circumference, lower HDL cholesterol, higher C-reactive protein, higher fasting triglycerides, insulin, and measures of insulin resistance.

Periodically standing up and moving about for as little as a minute was associated with beneficial changes in waist circumference and C-reactive protein.

Source: Healy G, et al “Sedentary time and cardio-metabolic biomarkers in U.S. adults: NHANES 2003-06” Eur Heart J 2011; DOI: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehq451.

Screen Time Linked to Increased Risk of Death

People who spend two hours or more a day in front of a screen during their leisure time — primarily watching television — have more than double the risk of cardiovascular events over four years compared with those who spend less than two hours a day in front of a screen

Source: Stamatakis E, Hamer M, Dunstan DW et al. Screen based entertainment time, all-cause mortality, and cardiovascular events. Population based study with ongoing mortality and hospital events follow-up. J Am Coll Cardiol 2011; 57: 292-299.

Magnesium Improves Insulin Sensitivity

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 52 people with normal blood magnesium who were overweight, insulin resistant and non-diabetic, results indicate that supplementation with magnesium may improve insulin sensitivity.

Source: Diabetes Obes Metab, 2010, Nov 18

Kefir Helps in the Eradication of H Pylori

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 82 patients with symptoms of dyspepsia and H. pylori infection, consumption of kefir (250 mL), twice a day, was found to improve the efficacy and tolerability of triple therapy in eradicating H. pylori infection, as compared to treatment with triple therapy (30 mg lansoprazole, 1000 mg amoxicillin, 500 mg clarithromycin) plus a placebo (milk containing a placebo). Forty-five days after beginning treatment, patients completed urea breath tests and results showed significantly more patients who received triple therapy plus kefir achieved eradication of H. pylori (36 of 46, 78%), as compared to patients who received triple therapy plus placebo (18 of 36, 50%). Furthermore, significantly fewer side effects were found among patients who received the kefir.

Source: J Med Food, 2010 Dec 27

Acupuncture Effectively Relieves Neck Pain

In a two-arm, single-blinded, randomized, controlled study involving 178 patients with chronic neck pain, treatment with acupuncture was found to “relieve pain intensity and improve the quality of daily life with a relative long-term clinical efficacy in patients with chronic neck pain.”

Source: Complement Ther Med, 2011 Jan; 19S1: S26-S32