Supplements In The News

Folic acid shown to prevent strokes

Folic acid supplementation has been in the news on a regular basis for years. It was shown in the 1980s that certain kinds of birth defects (such as spina bifida) are caused by a deficiency of folic acid during the mothers’ pregnancies. The fortification of baking flour with folic acid put an end to most of these birth defects.


Coenzyme Q10 supplements suggested for Alzheimer’s patients

Alzheimer’s Disease is becoming more and more common, probably because longevity is becoming more and more common. Some brain researchers believe that everyone would get Alzheimer’s Disease if they lived long enough, but some people are genetically predisposed to develop the disease faster or earlier in life than others.


Vitamin E reduces incidence of prostate and bladder cancers.

Vitamin E from biological sources comes in eight different chemical forms: alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocopherol, and the corresponding -tocotrienols. The properties of these different forms differ. Alpha-tocopherol is thought to be the best antioxidant by far, whereas gamma- and delta-tocotrienol seem to be best at suppressing the body’s cholesterol production.


Theanine improves sleep, reduces fat accumulation

The use of green tea for inducing relaxation and improving sleep is old news to many tea-drinkers because they’ve experienced these benefits personally. Similar effects have been seen by users of a supplement called ‘L-theanine’, one of the components of green tea. Only in recent years, however, has medical research investigated this phenomenon.

Quercetin — a hot item and getting hotter

Quercetin is a bioflavonoid chemical found in the rinds and barks of many plants — such as onions, fruit, and St. John's wort — and extracts made from them — such as red wine and green tea. Its anti-oxidant qualities are what first brought it to the attention of the supplement industry, and now it has become a very hot research topic of mainstream medicine. Dozens of new research reports on quercetin are published in research journals every month.

Essential fatty acids, chronic fatigue, and the obesity epidemic

An association between Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and a shortage of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) has been suspected since the early 1990s, and many people with CFS have been treating themselves with various EFA supplements ever since. Lots of anecdotal evidence has been accumulating to support this approach to treating CFS, but it has received scant attention from medical researchers. Now, finally, a study has been published showing that patients with CFS really do benefit

Cystic fibrosis symptoms vanquished by curcumin supplement

Researchers at Yale University have discovered that curcumin — the main ingredient in extracts from the spice turmeric — is able to correct the biochemical defect responsible for cystic fibrosis.

Cystic fibrosis is a disease that afflicts some 70,000 people worldwide. It is caused by a genetic defect in a gene called ‘CFTR’ (cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator). The CFTR gene determines the structure of the ‘CFTR protein’ — a protein that normally forms a pore in cell membranes. This pore protein regulates the passage of sodium and chloride ions across the cell membrane.


Fish oil studies suggest use for heart attack, arrhythmia, and arthritis

According to news reports in February, Australian researchers have found omega-3 fish oil to be as effective as many expensive medications in preventing heart attacks. A large clinical study showed that DHA supplementation reduces the risk of a second heart attack by 45 percent.

DHEA found to be promoter of growth and repair of nervous tissue

The steroid hormone DHEA has been available as a nutritional supplement for a decade or so, and many claims have been made as to the nature of its benefits. Clinical studies of DHEA have produced inconsistent results, and researchers have admitted that they do not know what DHEA’s normal role is in the body. This situation may now have changed, thanks to work done at the University of Wisconsin.

Creatine supplements for increasing memory and intelligence

In the September 2003 Supplements in the News we mentioned a news article about creatine as an enhancer of mental performance. The research study on which that article was based has now been published.
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