Stop those fat genes!
Ever wonder what happens when you eat those second helpings at the dinner table?
It turns out that they can activate genetic pathways that make you not only gain weight, but stay overweight.
Food high in fat and sugar stimulate the opioid pathways by activating kappa opioid receptors. These receptors in turn are active in weight gain and retention.
Researchers tested two groups of mice with a high fat, high sugar ("energy-dense") diet. One group had their opioid receptors deactivated, while the other group served as controls.
The controls gained significant weight and body fat. But the group with the kappa receptors genetically turned off stayed lean despite the extra calories (Traci, K-Opioid receptors control the metabolic response to a high-energy diet in mice, The FASEB Journal, November 2009).
While this research may lead to new therapies, one thing we can all do is stay away from high fat, high sugar foods, and those deadly second helpings.
Health News: More Tea Catechins For More Weight Loss
Now that the holiday party season is upon us, people are looking for ways to prevent holiday weight gain.
A new study found that increasing daily tea catechins helped people lose more weight, particularly belly fat.
134 people drank a beverage with either 588 milligrams of tea catechins or one with only 126 mgs. daily for one year.
Both total body weight and BMI (body mass index) were significantly reduced for the high catechin group compared to the control low catechin group. Also, the high tea catechin group belly fat or visceral fat loss was significantly correlated with their total fat reduction.
There were no health risks noted during this one year long study (Yoneda, Effectiveness and safety of 1-year ad libitum consumption of a high-catechin beverage under nutritional guidance, Metabolic Syndrome Related Disorders, August 2009).
Tea catechins are found predominately in green (and white) tea. They include epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG.
Health News: Both Green And Black Tea Improve Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome groups together many biomarkers that show increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. It is also associated with obesity.
A new study has found that both green and black tea liquid extracts improve these metabolic syndrome biomarkers in animals.
In models of diabetes I, diabetes II, and high cholesterol obesity, researchers found that these extracts significantly improved most of the biomarkers either partially or completely, including weight.
Both extracts showed the significant improvements based on dosage, with more tea being more effective. Green tea was also slightly more effective in improving health in this model (Ramadan, Modulatory effects of black v. green tea aqueous extract on hyperglycaemia, hyperlipidaemia and liver dysfunction in diabetic and obese rat models, British Journal of Nutrition, October 2009).
Health News: 20% Less Stress
The Ohsaki Cohort 2006 Study generated a large health database on 42,093 Japanese people.
A new analysis of this database examined the participants for psychological distress according to the Kessler scale.
The analysis found approximately 20% less stress for individuals who drank more than 5 cups of green tea daily compared to those who drank one or fewer cups of green tea daily.
The stress reduction persisted even after adjusting for age, sex, disease history, BMI (overweight), smoking, alcohol, walking, diet, social support, and community activities.
20% less stress? In these times?
For only 5 cups daily?
Better go make myself a fresh pot of green tea.
Health News: Caffeine Improves Memory
Many people worry about caffeine and some people are sensitive to caffeine. A few people have overdosed on caffeine.
But there are some benefits.
Research has shown exercise benefits and now improvements in memory.
A study in Neurology found that women over the age of 65 years who routinely consumed high amounts of caffeine every day reduced their risk of age-related memory decline compared to those who consumed low amounts of caffeine.
The benefits increased with age--from 30% less risk of memory decline at age 65 to 70% less memory decline at age 80.
The daily high caffeine levels were the equivalent of 3 cups of coffee, or 6 cups of black tea, or 12 cups of green tea compare caffeine levels of beverages here.
This study followed 7000 people over a 4 year period (Ritchie, Neurology, September 2009).
Health News: Lifestyle Choices Trumps Obesity Gene
A new study found that people with double copies of the high risk gene for obesity are 2.5 times more likely to become obese.
But only if they eat a high fat diet.
If they eat a low fat diet, the harmful effects of the genes are neutralized.
About 40% of the general population carry the high risk FTO obesity gene. And about 17% carry double copies.
This obesity gene acts on the hypothalamus which regulates appetite and is associated with an increased intake of dietary fat, possibly dependent on satiety or a feeling of fullness (Sonestedt, Fat and carbohydrate intake modify the association between genetic variation in the FTO genotype and obesity, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, September 2009)..
This research opens the door for more individualized counseling for obesity, but reminds all of us that our lifestyle choices, like daily green tea, may matter more than our genetic inheritance.
Can one high fat meal be dangerous?
Need help cutting out the hidden fat or cholesterol in your diet?
Health News: Green Tea And Osteoporosis
A new review of osteoporosis and green tea research has found that using green tea may help reduce the risk of bone-loss related fractures during aging.
The chemicals in green tea help protect the mineral density in bones through their specific antioxidant actions, supporting new bone cell development, and protecting bone cells from damage or destruction, as well as other protective pathways.
The reviewed studies include not only laboratory studies on cellular and animal results, but also larger human epidemiological evidence (Shen, Green tea and bone metabolism, Nutr. Research, July 2009).
Osteoporosis, or loss of bone density, is a difficult age-related health problem. It is associated with increased risk of bone fractures, which in turn, increases the risk of death.
Health News: New HIV Reservoir
While AIDS patients have been greatly helped with HAART, or highly active antiretroviral therapy, these procedures have not completely eliminated the HIV virus from their bodies.
The virus can persist as latent residual viremia where it hides in resting CD4+ T cells, and can emerge to multiply again.
A new study has found that the residual viremia in the CD4 cells does not account for all of the residual virus in the body. Since treatment protocols have tried to eradicate the virus in the CD4 cells and failed, researchers have determined that there is at least one other source of residual virus.
While this new source has not yet been pinpointed, this information gives hope for new treatment protocols.
Here's green tea HIV research.
Health News: Green Tea For Belly Fat
A new study tested green tea antioxidant catechins with 182 moderately overweight Chinese people for 90 days.
They consumed two drinks daily: either control or three levels of catechins.
Reductions in total body fat and body fat percentage were observed only in the catechin groups.
Abdominal fat only decreased within the highest catechin group.
The highest green tea catechin group not only lost the belly fat, but also waist circumference and total body weight compared to the control group (Wang, Effects of catechin enriched green tea on body composition, Obesity, August 2009).
Here's more research on green tea and belly fat.
Health News: Green Tea For Your Heart?
Green tea has show preliminary evidence for a wide variety of benefits for cardiovascular and heart health.
A new study reviews the research on green tea and atherosclerosis reduction.
Atherosclerosis, or the build-up of cholesterol and plaque in arterial walls, is a precursor to arteriosclerosis and increased heart disease risk.
One of the ways that atherosclerosis becomes dangerous is through the adherence of monocytes to endothelial vascular cells after LDL ("bad cholesterol") is oxidized.
EGCG from green tea reduces the development of atherosclerosis in a variety of ways.
The new research now adds the mechanisms of inhibition of the expression of vascular cell-adhesion molecule 1 and intercellular cell-adhesion molecule 1 after stimulation with oxidized LDL or inflammatory cytokines (Naito, Green tea and heart health, Journal Cardiovascular Pharmacology, August 2009).
Here's more research on green tea and cholesterol.
Health News: Green Tea And Reduced Deaths From Pneumonia
The Ohsaki cohort study in Japan reviews medical information from 19,079 men and 21,493 women, age 40-79 years.
Researchers recently reviewed this database during the period from 1995 to 2006 for any relationship between green tea and pneumonia deaths.
They found that women who drank more green tea had fewer deaths from pneumonia.
Women who drank 5 cups of green tea daily or more showed a statistically significant 47% reduced risk of death.
The relationship between green tea and deaths from pneumonia did not achieve statistical significance for men (Watanabe, Green tea and death from pneumonia in Japan: The Ohsaki cohort study, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July 2009)
Pneumonia is common, with 4.8 million cases reported in the United States every year (1996 data). Most are treated successfully, but the annual death rate was 61,777 as of 2001.
Health News: Calorie Restriction Successful In 20 Year Primate Study
When Dr. McCay discovered that reducing calories dramatically increased the lifespan of rats in 1934, few people paid attention.
It took decades (the Great Depression, WWII) before scientists like Dr Walford and others could start to thoroughly research health benefits from calorie restriction with optimal nutrition.
But results came slowly, very slowly.
The point of each study was to see how long life would be extended.
In the case of short-lived creatures like worms and insects, you could complete a few studies during a four-year degree program. In the case of primates, the study could extend over the professional lives of many different researchers.
One of those primate studies has reached the 20-year mark and published their results in Science, July 2009.
What does the study show? That calorie restriction with optimal nutrition works.
The subjects are 76 rhesus monkeys in the University of Wisconsin Primate Center, 30 studied since 1989, and 46 added since 1994. Half were assigned to a diet with appropriate complete nutrition, but with 30% calorie reduction. The others ate the amounts they wanted.
20 years later, monkeys in both groups have died.
In the eat-all-you-want group, 37% have died.
In the calorie restriction with optimal nutrition group, only 13% have died.
A three-fold difference.
Also, if you looked at the two groups, you wouldn't know the calorie-restricted group was old.
The calorie-restricted monkeys look years younger.
Also, they have less than half the cancer, less than half the heart disease, less diabetes, less brain shrinkage, less age-related muscle wasting.
Looking good and feeling good.
Is reducing your calories easy? The current obesity epidemic shows us that it's not.
But a good step to consider is substituting daily green tea for some of those high calorie foods and beverages, if appropriate.
Only 0-2 calories per cup.
Health News: GTE Lowers Heart Risk Factors
A new study tested GTE (standardized capsules of green tea extract) on healthy 111 healthy volunteers for three months.
The volunteers, age 21-70, took GTE capsules twice daily in this double-blind, placebo-controlled study.
They were tested for blood pressure, blood lipids, and markers for inflammation and oxidative stress.
Both systolic and diastolic blood pressure was reduced within the first three weeks. After three months, systolic blood pressure remained significantly lower.
The marker for chronic inflammation (amyloid-alpha) was reduced 42%, and the marker for oxidative stress (malondialdehyde) was reduced by 11.9%. Other studies have confirmed both anti-inflammatory effects and strong antioxidants in green tea.
Both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol decreased (Nantz, Standardized capsule of Camellia sinensis lowers cardiovascular risk factors in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, Nutrition, February 2009).
Blood pressure, cholesterol levels, inflammation, and oxidative stress are all independent risk factors for cardiovascular heart disease.
Health News: 7 Cups Of Green Tea And Longer Life
A new study followed 14,001 elderly Japanese people, age 65-84, for up to 6 years (1999-2006).
These Shizuoka residents were chosen randomly and completed questionnaires that included green tea drinking.
During the 6-year study, there were 1224 deaths. Researchers compared people who drank less than one cup of green tea daily with people who drank seven or more cups daily.
There was 76% reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease for people who drank 7 cups of green tea. Men showed 70% reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and women showed 82% reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease with 7 cups of green tea daily.
For cancer mortality, the only clear risk reduction association was with green tea and colorectal cancer.
All-cause mortality was also reduced with 7 cups of green tea (Suzuki, Green tea consumption and mortality among Japanese elderly people: the prospective Shizuoka elder cohort, Annals Epidemiology, July 2009).
Health News: EGCG And Sunburn
Many studies show the benefit of using both green or black tea directly on the skin to help prevent skin damage from UV sunlight causing sunburn.
Now a new animal study finds that using only EGCG from green tea and using it internally rather than topically on the skin may also help prevent skin damage.
Researchers found that 8 weeks of a normal diet with EGCG supplementation significantly reduced skin damage from UV radiation (sunlight) sunburn (Jeon HY, Effects of oral epigallocatechin gallate supplementation on the minimal erythema dose and UV-induced skin damage, Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, February 2009).
Skin damage from exposure to sunlight (UV radiation) is a primary cause of skin cancer, the most common cancer in humans. It may also increase the risk of melanoma which can be fatal.
Recommendations to reduce the risk of skin cancer from sunlight include avoiding sunlight between 10 AM and 4 PM, as well as wearing a broad hat and covering up the arms and legs, and/or wearing a sun block.
Health News: EGCG Protects Nerves From Beta-Amyloid (Alzheimer's) Damage
Beta-Amyloid is a protein that forms part of the characteristic plaques in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. These plaques are implicated in damaging brain cells in two ways:
A new study tested EGCG from green tea, or epigallocatechin-3-gallate, in a preliminary cell study of these two pathways.
Microglial cells were treated with beta-amyloid and showed cell death (apoptosis) with DNA fragmentation, disruption of mitochondrial membrane potential, changes in proteins that regulate apoptosis, as well as nitrosative stress (increased production of nitric oxide and peroxynitrite).
However, when these cells were pretreated with EGCG, and then treated with beta-amyloid, the toxic reactions and cell death was effectively suppressed for both pathways. Researchers explained part of the benefit from EGCG antioxidant pathways including GSH glutathione (Kim, Neuroprotective effect of epigallocatechin-3-gallate against beta-amyloid-induced oxidative and nitrosative cell death via augmentation of antioxidant defense capacity, Arch. Pharm. Res, June 2009).
While these results suggest potential use of EGCG with Alzheimer's or pre-Alzheimer's patients, these results have not been confirmed with people. Alzheimer's disease is expected to increase as large segments of the population (baby boomers) age.
Health News: Reducing New HIV Cases By 95%
HIV specialists at the World Health Organization have developed a mathematical model based on decades of studies that shows the possibility of reducing new cases of HIV by 95% over a 10 year period.
This model recommends blood tests and antiretroviral therapy.
The testing would have to be universal and annual. The antiretroviral therapy would be started immediately rather than based on CD4 counts or clinical stages.
Problems with implementing this model include finances, privacy, toxicity, and the development of drug resistance from HIV adaptation/mutation.
Benefits would include reduction in mortality, reduced transmission from mother to child, and reduced incidence of tuberculosis, and communicable drug-resistant tuberculosis.
The researchers stress that this model is still theoretical and is not a change in WHO HIV policy (Granich, Universal voluntary HIV testing with immediate antiretroviral therapy as a strategy for elimination of HIV transmission: a mathematical model, Lancet, November 2008).
Health News: U.S. Still Grows Fatter
The obesity epidemic in the United States continues to expand.
In 1991, all 50 states had obesity rates that were lower than 20%.
Now, in 2009, 49 US states have obesity rates higher than 20%. Colorado is still the lowest at 18.9% while Mississippi is the highest at 32.5%, according to a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America's Health (based on Center for Disease Control surveys).
Three other states are above 30%: Alabama, West Virginia, and Tennessee, with the South being the fattest region in the U.S.
Mississippi, Arkansas, and Georgia have the highest percentages of fat children, with rates from 37.3% to 44.4%.
Since 1991, no state has achieved improvements.
Obesity is an associated risk factor for cancers, diabetes, depression, and life-threatening cardiovascular problems.
Solutions depend on individual choices with community support.
Health News: Green Tea Stops Cigarette Smoke Lung Damage
The animals exposed to cigarette smoke without dietary green tea showed enlargement of airspace in their lungs, goblet cell hyperplasia, and significantly elevated levels of SOD, catalase activity, and serum 8-isoprostane.
Animals receiving green tea showed no significant damage from the cigarette smoke (Chan KH, Chinese green tea ameliorates lung injury in cigarette smoke-exposed rats, Respiratory Medicine, May 2009).
This is a preliminary study but it demonstrates the potential for green tea antioxidants to protect lung tissue from early oxidative stress from exposure to cigarette smoke.
Health News: It Was The Calorie
People have argued about the cause of massively increasing obesity throughout the world for several decades. Most reputable scientists have affirmed that stored fat is due to excess energy intake based on "calories in, calories out."
Now a new study has explored calorie burning in free-living American adults and children.
The scientists calculated the number of calories it would take to maintain a healthy weight and then recorded how much people were actually eating.
With this information and recorded food intake from the 1970's and 2000's, they predicted the future weight of the subjects.
For children, the predicted weight and actual weight matched exactly. This means that the calorie alone may explain childhood obesity.
For adults, the predicted weight accounted for approximately 80% of the actual weight. The authors suggest that calories may explain all the weight increase, but some adults may be exercising more to account for the 20% reduction (Swinburn BA, Estimating the changes in energy flux that characterize the rise in obesity prevalence, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 2009).
Need help losing weight? Here's 247 weight loss tips.
Health News: Green Tea And Swine Flu
The current swine flu epidemic shows the world's vulnerability to viral transmission.
Swine flu is a type A virus that includes H1N1, H1N2, H3N2, and H3N1 according to the CDC. Infection spreads among people through airborne viral particles ejected by sneezes and coughs. These viral particles are also contagious when people touch contaminated surfaces and then touch their eyes, nose, and mouth.
Preventing the flu is always a great defense and includes avoiding sick people (or protecting yourself if you provide health care); rapid treatment if you have symptoms of fever, aches, sore throat, coughing, vomiting, or diarrhea; and washing your hands with soap and water frequently.
Many studies in green tea research have found that catechins in green tea significantly reduce viral infections including influenza type A/H1N1 (reportedly the current swine flu type). You can read more about green tea and influenza viruses here
Health News: Whose Body Is It?
You've probably heard about Vitamin D in the news lately. This is a vitamin that the body can make from light exposure to sunlight on the skin or from eating fatty fish. It prevents many diseases, especially the bony deformity of rickets.
Vitamin D may also help people with autoimmune disease. However, a new study suggests that it may also make some of those autoimmune diseases worse over the long-term.
How does that happen?
It turns out that an estimated 90% of the cells you carry around in your body are not really you.
They are bacteria and other unidentified species of critters.
(no, that does not explain the voices...)
Taking extra Vitamin D may deactivate the Vitamin D nuclear receptor, reducing the body's inflammatory response to bacterial attack, and thus letting more bacteria live and reproduce (Albert, Marshall, Vitamin D: The alternative hypothesis, Autoimmunity Reviews, April 2009).
But we still need Vitamin D for ourselves. Following recommended amounts should be helpful.
Oh, life does get complicated.
One thing is fairly simple. Healthy people have been drinking green tea daily for up to 5000 years.
Health News: 89% Reduced Risk Of Breast Cancer
A new study has found that daily intake of mushrooms and green tea reduced the risk of breast cancer by up to 89%.
In a case-controlled study of 1009 women from southeast China, age 20 to 87, Australian researchers found that women who ate fresh mushrooms daily had 64% reduced risk of breast cancer and those who ate dried mushrooms daily had 47% reduced risk of breast cancer.
This result was also significantly dose-dependent, meaning that a higher intake of mushrooms was associated with the least breast cancer.
When daily green tea was included in the analysis, the risk for breast cancer was reduced by 89% with daily green tea and daily fresh mushrooms.
This result was also very significant in a dose-dependent manner (Zhang M, Dietary intakes of mushrooms and green tea combine to reduce the risk of breast cancer in Chinese women, International Journal of Cancer, March 2009).
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This health news page last updated by Sharon Jones
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