Low levels of the DHEA prohormone predict coronary heart disease

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Men with low levels of DHEA in the blood run an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease events. The Sahlgrenska Academy study has been published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The term prohormone refers to the precursor of a hormone. DHEA is a prohormone that is produced by the adrenal glands and can be converted to active sex hormones. While the tendency of DHEA levels to fall with age was discovered long ago, the biological role of the prohormone is largely unknown.

Researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, have now shown that elderly men with low levels of DHEA in the blood run an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease events.

Lower level – greater risk

The study–which monitored 2,614 men age 69-80 in Gothenburg, Uppsala and Malmö for five years–assessed DHEA levels. The findings demonstrated that the lower the DHEA level at the study start, the greater the risk of coronary heart disease events during the five-year follow-up.

“Endogenous production of DHEA appears to be a protective factor against coronary heart disease,” says Åsa Tivesten, who coordinated the study. “High DHEA levels may also be a biomarker of generally good health in elderly men.”

Clear correlation

According to Professor Claes Ohlsson, “While the study establishes a clear correlation between DHEA in the blood and coronary heart disease, the discovery does not indicate whether or not treatment with DHEA will reduce the risk in individual patients.”

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“Dehydroepiandrosterone and its Sulfate Predict the 5-Year Risk of Coronary Heart Disease Events in Elderly Men” was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology on October 28.

Link to article: http://content.onlinejacc.org/article.aspx?articleid=1918789

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The effects of running on testosterone levels

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 American marathoner Ryan Hall recently said that in the past year he has been dealing with bouts of low testosterone that affect his running – a malady he has concluded is a risk for men who train and run marathons. Hall noticed a sudden onset of fatigue that obviously affected his training and race preparation, and blood tests confirmed low testosterone levels.

Symptoms for men with low testosterone include fatigue, depression, irritability, and loss of sex drive. Commons causes include diabetes, liver disease, injury to the testicles, and obesity. Another risk associated with low testosterone is decreased bone density, which for runners could mean an increased risk of stress fractures.

So where does running fit into this?

Overtraining is the most likely the culprit. Mileage, intensity, and frequency of running also play a role – when you do too much, your body may react by not producing enough testosterone.

According to a study from the University of North Carolina, “Endurance training may have significant effects on the male reproductive system. The evidence suggests endurance training significantly affects the major male reproductive hormone, testosterone. At rest, testosterone appears to be lower in the endurance-trained male than in the untrained male.”

How do you treat low testosterone?

Vigorous resistance training, like weight lifting, eating enough fat, and getting enough sleep can help elevate testosterone levels – as will decreasing the amount of running.

While you could also take synthetic testosterone or steroids prescribed by a doctor, this could cause two problems: (1) It may be considered an illegal performance enhancing drug depending on your sport; and (2) Taking synthetic testosterone interferes with your body’s natural production of testosterone. In addition, steroids or synthetic testosterone could cause an unwanted increase in muscle mass, which could be detrimental for runners.

If you suspect you may have low testosterone, go see your doctor, get a blood test, and – if needed – see an endocrinologist who has worked with athletes.

Written by Rob Haneisen.

Article Source: http://blog.walkjogrun.net/2015/11/18/the-effects-of-running-on-testosterone-levels/

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Selenium and CoQ10 Combo Cuts Heart Disease Deaths in Half

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Five year study reveals that combining selenium with CoQ10 has been found to dramatically slash the risk of death from cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the developed world, killing more than 17 million per year, which is more lives than cancer claims. This is due to arterial plaque caused by poor diets, lack of exercise, obesity, and smoking.  A remarkable study to come out of Sweden shows that taking two supplements (CoQ10 and selenium) in combination may slash mortality risks by almost 50%. Researchers found that these nutrients may have many benefits including:

  • overall improved heart function
  • reduction of hospital stays due to surgeries
  • protection lasts years after stopping supplements

Swedish researchers published the study in the International Journal of Cardiology that revealed the health benefits of CoQ10 and selenium. Current studies already show these nutrients have the ability to protect damaged tissue from oxidative stress.

The Health Benefits of CoQ10 and Selenium

A study lasting five years was conducted on 443 healthy adults between the ages of 70 and 80. Half received placebos, and the other half received 200mg of CoQ10 and selenium supplements. After the five-year study was concluded, 12.6% of the placebo group had died of cardiovascular disease, while only 5.9 percent of those taking the supplements had died. The group who took the supplements also scored higher on cardiac functions after an echocardiogram examination. More importantly, they had lower levels of a biomarker NT-proBNP known as an indicator of heart failure, which is good because lower levels reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease.

The team of researchers did a 4-year follow-up study on the participants and found that the group taking the supplements reported two positive results:

  • a higher quality of life compared to the placebo group
  • 246 fewer days of hospitalization

More astonishing is that after 10 years, CoQ10 and selenium seemed to still deliver health benefits, including a reduction in cardiovascular deaths, this despite the group having stopped taking the supplements. At this 10 year mark, participants had a 49% lower risk of heart attack, stroke, or heart failure compared to the placebo participants. Both genders received the same level of protection.

What are CoQ10 and Selenium & How do They Work

CoQ10 and selenium work together to improve cell efficiency. CoQ10 is a type of antioxidant that helps protect the outer membrane (mitochondria) of sick cells, thereby making cells more efficient at releasing energy. Selenium is a mineral that assists certain enzymes in the body that have an antioxidant effect against free radicals.

Oxidative stress is known to accelerate the aging process and chronic disease, and both CoQ10 and selenium have been well known by researchers for their ability to protect people, especially the elderly. As we reach old age around 80 years or so, almost half the mitochondria in our cells have been depleted. CoQ10 is known to replenish the compounds in the mitochondria thus giving a boost in energy output. Because the human heart requires so much energy it is easy to see why CoQ10 is so beneficial.

Good sources of CoQ10 include salmon, tuna, liver, and whole grains. Good sources of selenium include wheat germ, brewer’s yeast, shellfish, sunflower seeds, and brazil nuts. In addition to the goal of life extension, the researchers wanted to improve people’s lives as they grow older. It appears that CoQ10 and selenium supplementation has an appreciable impact on both. In combination, these nutrients may be the answer to reducing the number one cause of death – cardiovascular diseases.

Article Source: http://www.worldhealth.net/news/coq10-and-selenium-supplements-cut-heart-disease-d/

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Turns out protein quality matters when it comes to building muscle

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Internationally venerated skeletal muscle scientist takes a critical look at how protein quality impacts muscle mass and strength gains with resistance exercise

Attention Crossfit®, HIIT, Orange Theory® and absolutely anyone who cares about maintaining muscle mass – Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Skeletal Muscle Health, Dr. Stuart M. Phillips of MacMaster University, reasons that the quality of protein you consume for muscle building with resistance training may be more important than you realize. In a recent article in Nutrition and Metabolism, Dr. Phillips reviewed the current science to examine the effects of the quality of supplemental protein on changes in muscle mass, strength and body composition when combined with strength training. His comprehensive inquiry suggests that based on the new proposed method to evaluate protein quality using its indispensable (or essential) amino acid composition and its digestibility, protein sources that provide leucine (an essential amino acid) – such as whey protein – are the strongest determinant of muscle protein synthesis and likely muscle growth.

“My assessment of the data on protein supplementation and resistance exercise reveals that the amount of leucine in a protein supplement has the greatest impact on muscle protein synthesis,” said, Dr. Phillips. “Leucine is not only a building block for protein, but a trigger for working muscles to synthesize more protein. In essence, it turns on muscle protein synthesis like a light switch so that over time, there could be greater gains in lean body mass and strength, and subsequently, body composition improvements.”

Proteins with the greatest content of leucine include whey protein isolate or concentrate. Whey protein is a milk protein that is considered high-quality due to its amino acid profile and high score for digestibility. Based on the culmination of data inspecting protein types and muscle protein synthesis, whey protein rated higher than other protein sources such as soy, pea or rice.

“The outcome of this review isn’t just applicable to strength trainers,” Dr. Phillips notes. “As we age, muscle loss becomes prevalent if we don’t thwart the decline. Leucine-rich whey protein supplementation, combined with resistance exercise, may be one way to help preserve muscle mass throughout the lifespan.”

While more research is warranted to further characterize proteins based on their quality, digestibility and amino acid profile, as well as to identify their impact on the aging population – at this point, consumers should reach for a leucine-containing protein supplement, like whey, to maximize gains from hard workouts.

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To read the complete review: http://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12986-016-0124-8

About the Whey Protein Research Consortium

The Whey Protein Research Consortium (WPRC) is an international partnership of dairy cooperatives, associations, processors and multinational companies dedicated to working together to discover and share whey’s unique health benefits through scientific evidence since 2003. The WPRC uniquely serves the dairy industry by expanding global usage of whey protein through the research and amplification of its health benefits. The goal of the integrated research efforts is to develop a body of knowledge that establishes measurable whey protein health and wellness benefits, creating a strong foundation for the development of scientific substantiation to support new health, qualified health and structure function claims.

This study was funded and supported by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Canada Research Chairs program.

Article Source: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-10/pc-top102116.php

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WHAT ALOE VERA DOES IN YOUR BODY: WHY EGYPTIANS CALLED IT THE PLANT OF IMMORTALITY

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Known to the Egyptians as the plant of immortality and to Native Americans as the wand of heaven, aloe vera comes with a wide array of amazing healing properties — some of which you may already be aware. You might even have your own aloe vera plant in your home for those small emergencies like scrapes, cuts, and burns, but did you know that aloe vera is not only limited to topical use and is actually even more beneficial to your body when taken internally?

Aloe vera contains over 200 biologically active, naturally occurring constituents which include polysaccharides, vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and minerals that promote nutrient absorption.

According to The Journal of Environmental Science and Health, aloe vera also possesses anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties that assist the immune system in cleansing the body of toxins and invading pathogens. But that isn’t all aloe vera juice/gel has to offer.[1]

Minerals

Aloe vera has loads of minerals including calcium, magnesium, zinc, chromium, selenium, sodium, iron, potassium, copper, and manganese. These minerals work together to boost metabolic pathways.

Enzymes

Aloe Vera contains important enzymes like amylase and lipase which can aid in digestion by breaking down fat and sugar molecules. One molecule in particular, Bradykinase, helps to reduce inflammation.

Vitamins

One study  showed that aloe vera actually contains vitamin B12, which is required for the production of red blood cells. That would be great news for vegetarians and vegans in particular, who often do not get adequate amounts of B12 through their regular diet. Keep in mind however, that was just one instance and you shouldn’t rely on aloe alone for your daily requirements of b12.

Other studies have shown that taking aloe can assist with the bioavailability of vitamin B12, meaning the body can more easily to absorb and utilize it which can prevent deficiency. Aloe vera is also a source of vitamins A, C,E, folic acid, choline, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), and B6. While it’s tough to say whether we could rely on Aloe as a source of B12, it can be used in conjunction with a supplement to help increase uptake.

Amino Acids

Aloe vera contains 20 of the 22 essential amino acids that are required by the human body. It also contains salicylic acid, which fights inflammation and bacteria.

Other Uses For Aloe

Aside from being an excellent body cleanser, removing toxic matter from the stomach, kidneys, spleen, bladder, liver, and colon, aloe can also offer effective relief from more immediate ailments, such as indigestion, upset stomach, ulcers, and inflammation in the gut. It also strengthens the digestive tract and alleviates joint inflammation, making it a great option for arthritis sufferers.

One study found that aloe vera juice, when taken the same way as a mouthwash, was just as effective at removing plaque as the common mouthwash and its active ingredient, chlorhexidine. This is a much better alternative because it is all-natural, unlike the typical chemical-laden options found in stores.

Aloe vera gel has also been found to effectively heal mouth ulcers, which are more commonly known as canker sores.

How To Take Aloe?

Aloe can be consumed straight from the plant, but the easiest and most palatable option is probably aloe juice, which you can find in most health food stores. You can also buy the leaves from many common grocery stores, or harvest your own, and juice them yourself.

You can buy the juice and mix it into your juices and smoothies or just drink it straight up. Make sure you are buying pure aloe juice/gel which is either of the whole leaf or just the inner filet. It does have a somewhat bitter taste though, so you may want to include other things. On the bottle you can find specific dosing instructions, but it would be wise to talk to a natural health expert or do some research into the matter to find instructions on specific dosing.

 

Source:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3729540/

http://www.herballegacy.com/Baldwin_History.html

Article Source: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2016/03/09/what-aloe-vera-does-in-your-body-why-egyptians-called-it-the-plant-of-immortality/

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The Promising Potential of Medical Marijuana

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Gut Bacteria May Help Decrease Stroke

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Certain types of bacteria in the gut can leverage the immune system to decrease the severity of stroke.

Stroke is currently the second leading cause of death worldwide. The most common type is ischemic stroke, during which a blocked blood vessel prevents blood from reaching the brain. Researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center induced ischemic stroke in mice two weeks after administering a combination of antibiotics. The mice treated with antibiotics had a stroke that was approximately 60 percent smaller than the mice that did not receive antibiotics. The microbial environment in the gut instructed the immune cells present there to protect the brain, shielding it from the stroke’s full force. “Our experiment shows a new relationship between the brain and the intestine,” stated Dr. Josef Anrather, the Finbar and Marianne Kenny Research Scholar in Neurology and an associate professor of neuroscience in the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute at Weill Cornell Medicine. “The intestinal microbiota shape stroke outcome, which will impact how the medical community views stroke and defines stroke risk.” These findings open up the possibility that altering the macrobiotic makeup of the gut could become a new method of preventing stroke. For high-risk patients, such as those who are having cardiac surgery or those who have multiple obstructed blood vessels in the brain, this could be particularly beneficial. Further exploration is required to figure out exactly which bacterial components generated their protective message. The researchers do know, however, that the bacteria did not interact with the brain chemically, but instead influenced neural survival by changing the behavior of the immune cells. The gut’s immune cells traveled up into the outer coverings of the brain, which are called the meninges. Here they organized and directed a response to the stroke. “One of the most surprising findings was that the immune system made strokes smaller by orchestrating the response from outside the brain, like a conductor who doesn’t play an instrument himself but instructs the others, which ultimately creates music,” said Dr. Costantino Iadecola, director of the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute and the Anne Parrish Titzell Professor of Neurology at Weill Cornell Medicine. This new gut-brain connection holds promise for preventing stroke in the future, which the researchers say may be achieved by changing at-risk patients’ nutrition.

Article Source: http://www.worldhealth.net/news/gut-bacteria-may-help-decrease-stroke/

 

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