Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Osteoarthritis symptoms improve with regular walking & glucosamine sulfate supplementation

New research provides evidence that osteoarthritis sufferers can benefit from a combination of glucosamine sulfate and walking for 30 minutes at least three days per week.

The results of a new clinical trial published in Arthritis Research and Therapy suggest that supplementing with glucosamine and taking regular walks can improve pain, physical function, and overall activity levels in adults with mild to moderate knee or hip osteoarthritis.

Thirty-six low-activity participants (aged 42 to 73 years) were provided with 1500 mg glucosamine sulfate per day for 6 weeks. At the end of six weeks, the participants began a 12-week progressive walking program (while continuing to take glucosamine.)

Study subjects were given a pedometer to monitor step counts. They were then randomized into two groups – one to walk 3 days per week, the other to walk 5 days per week. The length of the walk was gradually increased over the course of the program, with 6000 per day being the goal by the end of the 12-week period. Physical activity levels, physical function, and arthritis symptoms were analyzed at the beginning and at 6, 12, 18 and 24 weeks.

Physical activity levels, physical function, and pain assessment scores improved during the first 6 weeks of the study (glucosamine supplementation only.) Between the start of the walking program (week 6) and the final follow-up (week 24), further improvements were seen, though most improvements happened between weeks 6 and 12. No significant differences were observed between participants who participated in the 3 and 5 day per week programs.

In people with mild to moderate hip or knee osteoarthritis, walking a minimum of 3,000 steps (approximately 30 minutes) at least 3 days per week, in combination with glucosamine sulfate, may reduce some symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Shining Light on the D-lightful Health Benefits of Vitamin D

Michael Holick, Ph.D., M.D.

Boston University Medical Center, Boston, MA

Shining Light on the D-lightful Health Benefits of Vitamin D
(19 minutes) | View Transcript

More information on vitamin D: Source: Linus Pauling Institute

Here is Michael Hollick talking to medical professionals on Vitamin D and the prevention of chronic disease:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Low vitamin B6 status is related to increased oxidative stress

Low vitamin B6 status has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. New research suggests that vitamin B6’s cardioprotective benefits are more far-reaching than originally thought, further emphasizing the essential role of vitamin B6 in supporting a healthy heart.

In a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers measured blood plasma levels of pyridoxal-5'-phosphate (vitamin B6), C-reactive protein (CRP), and an oxidative DNA damage marker (8-OHdG) in over 1200 Massachusetts adults aged 45-75 years. Their goal was to examine the relationship between vitamin B6 levels and markers of inflammation and oxidative stress.

The analysis revealed a strong dose-response relation between plasma vitamin B6 concentration and plasma CRP (a marker of inflammation). Increasing vitamin B6 concentrations were significantly associated with lower CRP levels and decreased urinary 8-OHdG (a marker of oxidative stress). Low plasma vitamin B6 concentrations also correlated with metabolic syndrome, obesity, and diabetes. These negative associations remained even after controlling for homocysteine levels.

The results of this study suggest that low vitamin B6 concentrations may be associated with inflammation, higher oxidative stress, and metabolic conditions in older adults. Additionally, while the relationship between vitamin B6 levels and homocysteine has been known for many years, this new analysis demonstrates that vitamin B6 may influence cardiovascular disease risk through additional mechanisms.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Review of omega-3 fatty acids & heart disease risk

Evidence from three large trials suggests that intake of omega-3 fatty acids, whether from dietary sources or fish oil supplements, should be increased, especially in those with or at risk for coronary artery disease.

The June 2008 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings summarizes the latest findings on omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular health and advocates supplementation for the groups most likely to benefit.

Large trials of over 32,000 participants using fish oil supplements have shown reductions in cardiovascular events (heart attacks, stroke) of 19% to 45%. Researchers recommend consumption of EPA and DHA at 1 gram/day for those with known coronary artery disease, and at least 500 mg/day for those without disease. The recommendation is increased to 3 to 4 grams/day for those with high triglycerides, a dosage shown to lower triglycerides by as much as 20% to 50%.

Since two meals of oily fish per week generally provide only 400 to 500 mg/day of DHA and EPA, people with high triglycerides and heart disease are strongly encouraged to use fish oil supplements to reach beneficial levels. Researchers also state that the combination of omega-3 supplements and statin drugs provide significantly enhanced benefit over statin use alone in improving blood lipid levels.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Vitamin D levels linked to healthy lung function

Vitamin D may play a role in keeping our lungs healthy, with higher concentrations of vitamin D resulting in positive effects on lung function and health.

Low concentrations of vitamin D have been associated with a number of diseases. Research out of New Zealand indicates that serum concentrations of vitamin D may also influence pulmonary (lung) function.

In a study published in the journal Chest, original analysis was performed on data from 14,091 adult subjects (all participants in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted between 1988 and 1994). Lung function was measured in two ways: by the volume of air that could be forcibly blown out in total (forced vital capacity, or FVC), and the volume blown out in one second (forced expiratory volume, or FEV1). Vitamin D was measured using serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, a standard indicator of vitamin D levels.

After adjusting for age, gender, height, body mass index, ethnicity, and smoking history, the difference in lung function between the groups with the highest and lowest vitamin D intake was substantial in both the FVC and FEV1 tests (172 mL and 126 mL respectively, p < 0.0001).>

Although further studies are necessary to determine whether vitamin D supplementation may be beneficial in cases of chronic respiratory disease, this study has shown that vitamin D may have a positive influence on pulmonary health, with greater levels of vitamin D associated with more positive benefits.