Recent studies of Alzheimer’s disease in mice has shown that exercise and a compound found in green teas can slow the progression of the disease and may also reverse its effects. Researchers looked at epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is a green tea extract, and studied its effect on memory function by placing mice in a maze and testing their ability to navigate as well as build a nest with provided materials. After scoring them, the mice with symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease tended to build poor nests. Later, the mice were given EGCG in their drinking water and access to exercise wheels. Upon follow-up maze and nesting tests on the mice, there was a visible improvement in cognitive function and behavior of mice that were given EGCG and exercised. These results suggest that dietary polyphenols and exercise may have positive effects on brain health and even help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
A study by University of Pennsylvania provides new insight on specific types of activities that help to improve sleep quality. Participants were asked what type of physical activity they typically do and how much sleep they got in a 24-hour period. All activities except for household/childcare were associated with a decreased likelihood of not enough sleep, as compared to those who didn’t perform any physical activity in the past month. Specifically, walking, aerobics/calisthenics, biking, gardening, golf, running, weight-lifting and yoga/Pilates were each linked to fewer cases of insufficient sleep, while household chores and childcare were associated with an more cases of insufficient rest. Findings suggest that those who exercise by walking are more likely to have better sleep habits, and that higher-intensity workouts like running and yoga are even better.
Research shows that normalization of low testosterone levels with the use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) helped decrease risk of heart attack, stroke and premature mortality. After performing studies on a group of older men without history of heart attack or stroke and who had below-average testosterone levels were given TRT. There were 47% fewer deaths among the group with normalized testosterone levels compared to men whose hormone levels failed to normalize, and there were 56% fewer deaths than those who did not receive TRT. Results show that testosterone carries anti-inflammatory and other beneficial effects and that normalization of testosterone levels using TRT is linked to lower mortality, fewer heart attacks and strokes if the dose is adequate to normalize the testosterone levels.
A recent weight loss study for women produced findings of supplementation with vitamin D lowering inflammation. Participants were assigned to an exercise program 5 days a week plus a low calorie diet supplemented with vitamin D every day for one year. At the end of the study, women who took the vitamin saw an increase in serum vitamin D, while those who received a placebo experienced a decline. Among participants who lost 5% – 10% of their weight, the decline in inflammation was significantly better for those who took vitamin D rather than those who received a placebo. The study’s authors say that since weight loss reduces inflammation, it is considered another way to lower cancer risk and that if increasing vitamin D levels can decrease inflammation even more effectively than weight loss alone, that could be an important addition to helping combat cancer risk.
Recent findings suggest that consuming ginger can help give your workouts a boost and speed up recovery time. Offering an abundance of antioxidants, ginger contains elements that simulate the effects of anti-inflammatory drugs. During the study, twenty men and women ingested either ginger or a placebo for 5 days prior to performing a muscle-bearing exercise routine. Results at the 48-hour mark showed that maximum lift was significantly improved among the participants who ate ginger. Study authors concluded that 4 g of ginger supplementation may accelerate recovery of muscle strength after an intense workout but does not have much affect onset muscle soreness.
Adults often experience spikes in glucose levels after meals and a recent study of type-2 diabetics shows that 30 grams of protein at breakfast can help lower these spikes. Participants consumed either a high-protein or a high-carbohydrate breakfast, followed by a lunch consisting of standard amounts of protein and carbohydrates. Researchers found that eating more protein at breakfast lowered subjects’ post-meal glucose levels while insulin levels slightly increased after eating lunch. These results suggest that their bodies worked to regulate blood-sugar levels. Study authors conclude that a protein-rich breakfast most likely helps keep control of glucose levels during subsequent
Researchers have made a shocking finding about vessels that connect the brain to the immune system. Previously thought not to exist, the discovery of these vessels may be related to diseases including autism, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis. Until now, there has never been a lymphatic system for the central nervous system, which will alter the way that the central nervous system relates to the immune system. The discovery of the lymphatic vessels begs numerous questions regarding brain functioning and diseases that affect it, such as Alzheimer’s disease where scientists may be able to look at the role these vessels play in aging as another area to explore and find answers. Aside from that, there are a multitude of neurological diseases, from autism to multiple sclerosis, that need take into consideration the new discovery as something that scientists previously did not know were present.
Often used as an alternative to sugar, the similarly named sugar alcohols are types of sweet carbohydrates. Sugar alcohols are lower in calories and have less negative health impacts although they look and taste like sugar. Despite the word “alcohol” in the name, they do not contain any ethanol – the compound that gets you drunk, and studies show that they may even promote health benefits. There are many common types that differ in taste and health value. Xylitol, with its minty flavor, is most common and can be found in chewing gum, mints and toothpaste. With 70% sweetness and only 5% of the calories as sugar, erythritol is the main ingredient in sweeteners like Truvia and Stevia. Sorbitol is often found in sugar-free foods and drinks and although it has little impact on blood sugar, it may cause digestive issues. Maltitol has half the calories of sugar, yet it does cause spikes in blood sugar. When consumed in large amounts, many sugar alcohols can lead to digestive distress but this depends on the person and type of sugar alcohol. However, of all the sugar alcohols, erythritol seems to be the best option, as it contains almost no calories and is also good for your teeth.
Everyone enjoys a good night’s rest – however, studies show that it may be necessary to combat disease. Research suggests that restful sleep is required for storing and saving memories and that lack of sleep may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as well as other chronic diseases. A recent study found evidence that sleep deficit is connected to the buildup of the beta-amyloid protein, a toxic protein linked to Alzheimer’s that attacks the brain’s long-term memory. Results show that the more beta-amyloid a person contains in certain parts of the brain, the worse their memory. Likewise, the less deep sleep a person gets, the less effective they are at clearing out beta-amyloid protein build-up. This is a significant finding, since we are able to treat poor sleep and can take steps to improve sleep habits. Experts suggest going to sleep around the same time every night because even a slight shift in the length of sleep time will be less restorative. Additionally, it is recommended to avoid watching television or using the computer before going to bed as this can cause stimulating effects and detract from a restful sleep.
Like the age-old adage “you are what you eat”, indulging in certain foods can make you look and feel older than you are. The top five most common foods to avoid include hydrogenated oils or trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, refined salt, processed meats and alcohol. Although you may have heard about the dangers of the first two types of food, the others may be lesser known. Refined salt not only raises your blood pressure but it also leads to skin puffiness and swelling, therefore experts suggest eliminating or reducing salt use whenever possible. Processed meats such as bacon and deli meats also contain a lot of preservatives which can cause skin irritation and also conflict with the body’s ability to produce collagen, which is what maintains firm, youthful looking skin. Due to the fact that it is processed through the liver, alcohol is another common substance that can produce acne, rosacea and wrinkles – all skin-aging side effects from unprocessed toxins. Eliminating these foods or reducing the intake to a minimum can promote healthier looking appearances and make you feel better overall.