First things...sorry about not posting more often. Please leave a note if you liked (or didn't like) and article as incentive in doing a better job. Now on with the blog...
New research has found that endurance exercise in mice turns on a gene that has the effect of protecting brain cells in the hippocampus. The researchers went on to say, "The hippocampus is only one of two areas in the adult brain that can grow new nerve cells. Exercise increases the effect of BDNF in the hippocampus, where it preserves brain cells and promotes the growth of new nerves and synapses or junctions between nerve cells, thereby aiding learning and memory."
More research is needed to understand how the underlying molecular activity works but researchers are optimistic. In the meantime, it appears that exercise is not only good for your muscles but also good for the long-term health of your brain!
For more info, click here.
The question we regularly get from those that are trying to eat and live healthy is this, "If I eat a healthy diet, do I need supplements?"
It's a great question and it goes to the heart of our natural philosophy. The answer is "Ideally, Yes!" However...
We don't live in an ideal world. We eat foods that have traveled 1000s of miles and grown in depleted soils. We work inside and don't get enough fresh air (if there is any to be had) or sunshine. Our water is treated. Pollutants are everywhere. And our genes have not caught up with all the industrial changes and express themselves in the form modern diseases such heart disease, diabetes, and the many auto-immune diseases. Supplements can supplement a healthy diet by working with your body deal with issues to increase your vitality and quality of life.
The challenge we face in finding the right supplements is that, in an industry where free speech is blocked, how do you get help? That is why we came up with our slogan "Helping You Navigate the Natural Health Maze". We are doing our best to help you get the information you need to address your health goals and to find products that are tested and proven.
If you want help finding a natural solution, drop us an email and we'll be happy to help. All that we ask is that if you value our help, you shop with us. It's the only way we can keep the information free!
If you want to read more about supplementing a healthy diet, check out this article at "Mark's Daily Apple".
[updated July 31st, 2013]
Here's a link to Mercola's article entitled "Absurd Study Claims Omega-3 Fats Raise Prostate Cancer Risk".
[updated July 17th, 2013]
Customers have been coming in this week asking about our opinion regarding the latest study that identified a significant increase in prostate cancer for men with high DHA blood serum levels. Here's the snippet from the media...
SEATTLE – The largest study ever to examine the association of dietary fats and prostate cancer risk has found what's good for the heart may not be good for the prostate.
Analyzing data from a nationwide study involving more than 3,400 men, researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that men with the highest blood percentages of docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, an inflammation-lowering omega-3 fatty acid commonly found in fatty fish, have two-and-a-half-times the risk of developing aggressive, high-grade prostate cancer compared to men with the lowest DHA levels.
The media actually made a liberal interpretation of the research and reported that fish oil caused prostate cancer which is not strictly true. However, we're always interested in new research and try to keep an open mind. Here's what we've uncovered so far...
The key results, which the authors of the study spoke of with extreme surprise because the results shown were the exact opposite of the huge amount of data supporting the benefits of fish oil and DHA, are listed below:
Past research has shown that DHA could be beneficial in preventing prostate cancer. A Swedish study of 6000 men showed that those that ate fish were less likely to get cancer than those that ate less fish. Another study from New Zealand found a 38% decrease in risk markers related to prostate cancer in those men with higher DHA levels. Other studies in Japan and Brazil found similar results.
Another problem with this new finding is that scientists cannot figure out how DHA could promote rapid tumor growth or how trans fats could reduce tumor growth. Usually there is a plausible theory on how a particular food component can affect a disease...not in this case.
A more in-depth study pokes some holes into the research. As is true with many of these types of studies, they try to isolate a particular relationship between a nutrient component and a disease in a too simple approach.
For example, do high levels of DHA in blood equate to eating more omega-3 rich foods or supplementing large amounts of fish oil. The answer is no. While high levels of DHA intake and increase your blood serum levels, a low fat diet can also increase your DHA blood levels. So it is possible that a low fat diet (possibly high in sugar and unhealthy carbs) could be the culprit in promoting aggressive tumor growth. It was noted in the study that these men were not supplementing. So we can't assume that DHA intake is the culprit without more study.
The actual purpose of the study was to determine the effectiveness of the drug finasteride (Propecia, Proscar). It is possible that the drug interacts with omega-3 oil in an unexpected way. We have seen this happen with prescription drugs and otherwise benign nutritional elements such as magnesium.
I could go on and on but to summarize, there are a ton of holes in this study to the point that it's only use is to scare people away from a supplement that has a huge amount of science behind it touting its benefits to heart and brain health.
What's a man to do?
First, do your own research and decide for yourself. If you feel you are at high risk or have a family history of prostate cancer, reduce or eliminate omega-3 supplementation from your diet. There may be other supplements that can help you reach your goals besides fish oil.
Finally, a contributor to Mark's Apple summarized the "big truth" behind the debate:
"Even though this study doesn’t give any reason to shun fatty fish or their oils, it’s a nice segue into a related issue: A bad diet plus fish oil is still a bad diet."
Eat and live healthy and supplement for optimum health.
If you want to read more, here's some links:
The following blog had a good discussion between regular folks trying to sort out the study.
For us, our opinion is that this is incomplete and/or junk science and we will continue forward as usual. I will update this blog and we learn more.
[Updated July 17th, 2013]
Here is an additional link to an article digging deeper into the flaws of this research:
B Vitamins May Protect Against Alzheimer's. According to a clinical trial in 2010 at the University of Oxford, researchers found that high doses B12, B6, and folic acid could half the brain shrinkage in older people with memory problems and a link of high levels of homocysteine. Read more...
Save your Life: Eat Tomatoes and Mozzarella. A recent study in the New England Journal Study yielded rigorous evidence that the so-called Mediterranean Diet can reduce the risk of heart disease in people at risk for these types of health issues. Read more...
No Benefits Seen in Sharp Limits on Salt in Diet. In spite of health warnings regarding salt intake and recommendations for sharp limitations in salt intake by such prestigious organizations such as American Heart Association, a government committee commissioned by the Institute of Medicine found an absence of data that supported this position and there was actually some data that pointed to potential health issues with a very low salt intake diet. Read more...
The health benefits of oregano are now being exploited with chickens! Yes, a Pennsylvania chicken farmer is using oregano and cinnamon as a feed additive to protect against the common bacterial infections that plague poultry farmers. So far, this concoction has proven more effective than anything else he has tried.
There have been some past studies that showed oregano was more effective than antibiotics in treating bacterial infections in pigs.
Of course, oregano has been shown to have a broader range of health benefits beyond its antibiotic capability including anti-viral, anti-fungal, respiratory support, and immune support.
Turmeric, a long-used ancient spice in eastern cultures, has shown in recent research to help with arthritis, inflammation, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and even digestion and weight loss. Turmeric is commonly used in eastern curry dishes. The most highly recognized component of turmeric is curcumin which gives turmeric (and the dishes it is used in) its yellow color. Here’s a summary of some of the potential health benefits of turmeric.
Curcumin is turmeric’s “anti-inflammatory” ingredient which has been shown to influence more than 700 genes and can inhibit the activity and synthesis of COX-2 and 5-LOX which are enzymes implicated in inflammation. Turmeric has even shown to benefit rheumatoid arthritis which is commonly believed to be progressive and irreversable. Here’s a link to Mercola’s article on the benefits of curcumin to RA.
In another Mercola article, he reveals some research that points to potential benefits of a combination of turmeric and vitamin D3 in helping Alzheimer’s patients. Some of turmeric’s powerful benefit to the brain and immune system is in its enhanced anti-oxidant properties; 5- to 8 times stronger than vitamin C and E. Other research has also shown turmeric’s potential ability to help inhibit the accumulations of beta amyloids, associated with the plague build-up common in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
Turmeric may be the most researched natural ingredient for its anti-cancer properties. A 2008 study found that curcumin inhibits breast cancer cell motility and invasion. A 2009 study found that curcumin inhibits pancreatic cell growth. Another 2009 study found that curcumin induces cell death in lung cancer. In 2010, a study showed that curcumin has the potential to target cancer stem cells. These are just a few of th studies. For more information search “curcumin” at greenmedinfo.com.
Turmeric may also help with weight loss and keeping those pounds off after you lose them. In one European study, turmeric interacted signal transduction pathways that may help reverse insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, hyperlipenemia, and other inflammatory symptoms associated with obesity and metabolic disorders.
Turmeric is a wonderful tonic for the body as well as a delicious spice. The benefits go on and on including heart, brain, and liver health.
There is still mass belief that the FDA is here to keep us safe. In my opinion, nothing is further from the truth.
I recently received a disappointing e-mail from one of our manufacturers, RainTree Nutrition. They informed us that they are permanently going out of business. For over a year, the FDA has prohibited them from importing bulk plant materials from the Amazon. They have been in an ongoing fight with the FDA regarding over “claims” made on their website. Here’s an excerpt from their email:
“Between the additional high costs in meeting the new GMP standards, the falling US dollar affecting our import prices, and battling the FDA over our website while still providing factual information about our products, we simply cannot go on any longer.”
Based on personal conversations with the folks at RainTree and our personal experiences, our best guess is that the primary target of the FDA focus is a product which has shown to benefit cancer patients. RainTree’s commitment to telling the truth to the best of their knowledge and conscience is what got them in trouble in the first place. If you want to shut down a company, just take away their raw materials.
It is hard to understand how a government agency such as the FDA could be protecting us when, according to their own website, the very drugs that they watch over cause over 100,000 deaths a year and over 2 million adverse drug reactions (ADR: those serious enough to require medical attention). It goes on to say that ADRs are the 4th leading cause of death ahead of pulmonary disease, diabetes, AIDs, and pneumonia. To see it for yourself, google "FDA ADR deaths". Can you think of any other industry which is allowed to operate with this level of risk?
On the other hand, more people died from eating cantaloupe during the summer of 2011 than from taking dietary supplements over the last 25 years. The safety record for dietary supplements is better than the food we eat. That’ pretty good since most supplements are, by definition, food-based themselves. It’s a record that the natural health industry should be proud of.