Supplements In The News

New progress in understanding mechanism of aging: a role for pyruvate supplementation?

Many decades ago it was noticed that lab animals put on very low-calorie diets lived substantially longer than those allowed to eat freely. There have been various speculations about why such an anti-aging effect should occur — the most widely accepted theory is that the metabolism of caloric substances gives rise to free radicals which damage cells and connective tissues, making them function less well as the damage accumulates. Caloric restriction, a mild form of energy starvation, would therefore reduce the metabolic rate and therefore decrease the damage cells receive from free radicals.

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Why does fish oil provide cardiovascular protection? The reasons are beginning to be revealed.

Fish oil has attracted a lot of interest in recent years because of its ability to prevent heart disease, stroke, and even depression. Although omega-3 fatty acids are strongly suspected to play an important role in fish oil’s cardioprotective effects, the reasons for such effects have been elusive.

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Lutein, lycopene, and beta-carotene work together to protect DNA.

Carotenoids such as lutein, lycopene and beta-carotene are all found in vegetables, but the proportions vary dramatically with the choice of vegetable, the growing conditions, and the method of converting the vegetable into food. People often take carotenoid supplements, but seldom take all three of these substances, and almost never get them in optimum amounts.

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Beta-glucan improves cholesterol — but don’t rely on plain oatmeal for yours!

Beta-glucan (aka ‘soluble fiber’) has been studied as a cholesterol-lowering nutrient for more than 15 years, and its effectiveness is generally accepted. According to recent studies, beneficial effects on cholesterol and blood-pressure can be seen when beta-glucan is consumed in the form of oat or barley bran — but the quantities needed are substantial.

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Study finds St. John’s Wort better than Paxil® for treating depression.

Now and then we are treated to the amusing spectacle of a traditional herbal remedy out-performing an expensive pharmaceutical product in a controlled clinical trial. Several such medicinal turnabouts have occurred in the past few years. The latest involves St. John’s Wort and paroxetine (Paxil).

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Green tea extract as a cancer-fighter: possible mechanism discovered

Green tea extracts are being widely used as cancer fighters, and for good reason — hundreds of studies have shown anti-cancer effects stemming from compounds contained in green tea. Even so, when it comes to clinical trials — the acid test of the concept of using green tea as an anti-cancer therapy — the medical literature turns out to be riddled with conflicting claims and results. Some studies show that green tea consumption decreases the risk of various kinds of cancer, other studies show just the opposite.

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More diabetes news: chromium-biotin supplement controls blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

A clinical trial sponsored by Nutrition 21, the manufacturer of Diachrome™ (a combination of chromium picolinate and biotin), has further confirmed what was already known from previous trials: that this combination of supplements is a safe and beneficial treatment for type 2 diabetes.

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Acetyl-L-carnitine counteracts diabetic symptoms in clinical trials

Acetyl-L-carnitine (‘ALC’ or ‘ALCar’) is a nutritional supplement that supplies carnitine in a bioavailable form.

Carnitine plays a number of roles in the body, but one of its most interesting roles is serving as a shuttle for fatty acids. Cells obtain part of their energy supply from fatty acids — the fatty acid molecules are pulled apart and some of the energy contained in their broken bonds is extracted and stored for later use.

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Breakthrough in understanding anti-cancer effect of vitamin C

The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University is a major generator of research about vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional substances. Scientists there recently announced the results of a study on vitamin C and its anti-cancer properties. It appears to be an important breakthrough in understanding the mechanism by which vitamin C clears the body of destructive oxidized fat molecules that are thought to be responsible for cardiovascular damage and cancer-causing damage to genes.

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Antioxidants inhibit the progression of macular degeneration

Recent news articles and medical studies have highlighted the toll that macular degeneration (MD — a loss of central vision) takes on society. Clinical studies, such as the AREDS study of several thousand people, have shown that the use of common antioxidants inhibits the progression of MD. The antioxidants used for AREDS were zinc, vitamins C and E, and beta-carotene.

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