Taking Vitamin B may Reduce Incidence of Stroke

New evidence suggests that taking vitamin B supplements may help reduce the risk of stroke. The research appears in the September 18, 2013, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. [1]

Previous studies have conflicting findings regarding the use of vitamin B supplements and stroke or heart attack,” said author Xu Yuming, with Zhengzhou University in Zhengzhou, China.

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The Next Generation Vitamin E How Tocotrienols Benefit the Heart, Brain and Liver

Hidden in the stately steppes of gentle rice paddies, nestled in shiny clusters of red and purple palm fruit, lurking in tiny annatto seeds from the achiote tree… lies a quartet of potent anti-inflammatory, highly protective molecules called tocotrienols. They are cousins to the four tocopherols. Together, all eight comprise the Vitamin E family, a lipid-loving arsenal of molecules essential to health. Each has its own healing profile. According to molecular biochemist Chandan Sen, of Ohio State University, “Current studies of the biological functions of vitamin E continue to indicate that each member of the vitamin E family possesses unique biological functions often not shared by other family members.”[1]

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MultiVitamin Food Supplements Boost Brain Function

So…. it seems that the evidence in favour of a multi-nutrient beneficially affecting brain function and cognition is increasing. The British Journals of Nutrition[1], Psychopharmacology,[2] Biological Psychology[3] and Human Psychopharmacology[4] have published a series of studies examining the effect of a multivitamin/mineral on mood and cognitive function.

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Can You Hear Me Now? Cell Phones and the Brain

Ring Ring, Ring Ring – just what does answering your mobile by placing it next to your ear actually do to your brain. Whilst it is clear that many people have become surgically attached to their mobile phones – or at least it seems that they are bound together, and that once on the phone many become deaf and immune to all around them. In fact listening to intimate halves of conversations taking place 20 feet away provides plenty of opportunity to create amusing scenarios in between burst of indignation there have been many epidemiological studies suggesting this has a more significant long term effect that train rage.

A paper out on Feb 23rd in JAMA confirms that phones held to the head long enough to discuss the weather, location, emotional needs and business contracts (a longish time – 50 mins or longer) increases activity in the brain closest to the antennae – and not in a good way I suspect.[1]

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Oral Glutathione Equivalent to IV Therapy!

Michael Ash BSc DO ND F.DipION and Marty Jones PharmD review the changing face of glutathione and explore the acetylated form as an alternative to IV glutathione therapy.

Reduced glutathione also known as glutathione or GSH is found in all living systems.[1] Lowered tissue GSH levels have been observed in several disease conditions.[2] The restoration of cell GSH levels in a number of these conditions have proven to be beneficial. Thus, strategies to boost cell glutathione level are of marked therapeutic significance.

GSH is the smallest of the intracellular thiols (a compound that contains the functional group composed of a sulphur-hydrogen bond (-SH) hence its unpleasant smell when mercaptans are released)  and its high donating electron capacity combined with dense intracellular concentration provides significant oxidative reducing capacity.[3]

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B Vitamins Slow Brain Shrinkage

The rate of whole brain atrophy was significantly less in the vitamin B complex treated group. The figure above courtesy of Plos One shows the brain of one female participant on placebo (left) and one female participant on vitamin B complex on the right. Blue areas indicate areas of brain atrophy. Rates of atrophy were .76% per year in the vitamin B group and 1.08% in the placebo group--a highly statistically significant reduction (p value<.001).

There is a growing awareness that brain atrophy is a miserable consequence of aging and when combined with loss of mental function it makes for a very unattractive outcome. The paper out in September 2010 from the research team at Oxford showed that moderate doses of the supplement containing B Vitamins: Folic acid (0.8 mg/d), vitamin B12 (0.5 mg/d) and vitamin B6 (20 mg/d) over 2 years could halve the rate of brain shrinkage – a physical symptom associated memory loss and dementia in the elderly.[1]

At the end of the trial the effects of the vitamin treatment were found to be dramatic, and most pronounced in participants who started out with the highest rates of brain shrinkage.

On average, taking B vitamins slowed the rate of brain atrophy by 30%, and in many cases reductions was as high as 53% were seen.

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B Vitamins Beat Depression

This month’s (August) American Journal of Clinical Nutrition presents a longitudinal study supporting the use of B vitamins in the management of mental health.

In Nutritional Therapy practice when we are faced with patients who seem to be struggling with depression and are finding recovery hard as well as trying to prevent recurrence after resolving their current symptoms we often think – B Vitamins

But what is the evidence for this apparently normal recommendation – is there anything of substance that supports the therapeutic use of these water soluble vitamins.

To date most studies have been conducted using a cross sectional approach[1],[2] (a class of research methods that involve observation of some subset of a population of items all at the same time, in which, groups can be compared at different ages with respect of independent variables) rather than the preferred prospective style investigations (an analytic study designed to determine the relationship between a condition and a characteristic shared by some members of a group). A prospective study may involve many variables or only two; it may seek to demonstrate a relationship that is an association or one that is causal. Prospective studies produce a direct measure of risk called the relative risk.

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Butyrate Improves Bowel Transit

Problems such as poor transit or constipation are common, and can produce significant misery for the individual compromised in this manner. Butyrate is a short chain fatty acid, manufactured in the gut by the anaerobic fermentation of dietary fibres by resident microbiota. It is proposed that apart from its already well understood properties that it has another remarkable effect – the ability to increase the neuronal concentration of the Enteric Nervous System.[1]

Butyrate-generating foods and supplements might become an effective and simple option to prevent or treat functional gut disorders via modulation of enteric neuroplasticity.

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Can Bacteria Make You Smarter?

The potential cognitive gains linked to the role of gastrointestinal bacteria continues to attract international interest. The scientific community are becoming entranced with the notion that our bacterial exposure affects not only the local tissues, but also others including the brain.

Exposure to specific bacteria in the environment, already believed to have antidepressant qualities, could increase learning behaviour.  Mice fed live cultures of Mycobacterium vaccae were able to learn and complete a maze twice as fast as control mice were the key comments delivered at the 110th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology last week.

Mycobacterium vaccae is a natural soil bacterium which people likely ingest or breath in when they spend time in nature,” says Dorothy Matthews of The Sage Colleges in Troy, New York, who conducted the research with her colleague Susan Jenks.

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If Genes Are Protected By Nutrients – How Much Should We Eat?

Prof Bruce Ames has developed the concept of Triage consumption, where micronutrient needs and availability may not always be in synchronicity and has recommended that a larger overall consumption of micronutrients on a daily basis be considered a judicious way to limit DNA damage associated with aging and disease.

I have proposed that the expensive urine criticism is perhaps one of the most damaging of slights, and that Victor Herberts slur on the use of increased exogenous nutrients via supplementation has created more damage to human health than it has saved. A paper out in the American Journal of Nutrition, May 2010 has added some further clarity to this discussion.[1]

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