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Vitamin D Supplementation Improves Outcomes for Covid-19 Patients: Study Shows

Vitamin D Supplementation Improves Outcomes for Covid-19 Patients: Study Shows

Source: The Endocrine Society (March 21, 2021)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (April 8, 2021)

In previous Lifestyle Medicine Updates, I cited the research showing that individuals with low vitamin D blood levels are shown to be more prone to serious Covid-19 outcomes and complications, including death, than individuals with more optimal vitamin D blood levels (80-140 nmol/L). Building on these findings, a Spanish hospital study showed that providing Covid-19 patients with vitamin D supplementation upon admission to the hospital resulted in fewer cases escalating to the point where they required treatment in the Intensive Care Unit, as well as many fewer deaths occurring in the vitamin D, supplemented Covid-19 patients, compared to the non-vitamin D supplemented Covid-19 patients.

As I speak to you today, a multi-center trial is underway throughout Spain in various hospitals to confirm the protective effects of vitamin D in this regard. The breaking news at this moment, however, are the findings that were presented at the annual Endocrine Society Annual meeting on March 21, 2021, which reported that patients with low vitamin D levels who were hospitalized for COVID-19 had a lower risk of dying or requiring mechanical ventilation if they received vitamin D supplementation of at least 1,000 units weekly.The researchers studied 124 adult patients with low vitamin D blood levels, which were measured up to 90 days prior to their admission to the hospital for COVID-19. Researchers compared the patients who were supplemented with at least 1,000 units of vitamin D weekly to those who had not received vitamin D supplements in terms of whether they were mechanically ventilated or died after admission to the hospital. They found that patients who were supplemented with at least 1,000 IU of vitamin D weekly were less likely to be mechanically ventilated or to die following hospital admission for Covid-19.

 

They also found that more than half of the patients with low vitamin D levels, who should have been recommended to take vitamin D supplements by their doctor, were not told to do so. As stated by Dr. Chekuri, a coauthor of the study from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, “given how common vitamin D deficiency is in the world and the United States, we believe that this research is highly relevant right now.” Another co-author of the study, Dr. Corinne Levitus commented, “we hope this research will encourage clinicians to discuss adding this supplement (vitamin D) with their patients who have low vitamin D, as this may reduce the odds of people developing severe COVID-19.”

Once again, the overall evidence right now suggests that for optimal immune support it is wise for most individuals to achieve a blood level of vitamin D between 80 – 140 nmol/L (32 – 56 ng/mL). Most people need to supplement with at least 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day to achieve this blood level.

I have included the reference for this study in the text below.

Reference:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/03/210321215452.htm

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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Pre-Exercise Coffee Consumption and Fat-burning

Pre-Exercise Coffee Consumption and Fat-burning

Source: Journal of the International Society of Sports Medicine (January 2021)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (March 31, 2021)

Studies over the years have suggested that caffeine intake 30 minutes prior to endurance exercise can help increase fat-burning during exercise.  In January 2021, these findings were confirmed in an important study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Medicine. Scientists from the Department of Physiology of the University of Granada (UGR) showed that the equivalent of an 8 oz cup or black coffee containing caffeine (about 3 mg/kg, the equivalent of a strong coffee) ingested half an hour before aerobic exercise significantly increases the rate of fat-burning.  They also showed that if the exercise is performed in the afternoon, the effects of the caffeine on fat-burning are greater than if the exercise occurs in the morning.

A total of 15 men (mean age, 32) participated in the research, completing an exercise test four times at seven-day intervals. Subjects ingested 3 mg/kg of caffeine or a placebo at 8 am and 5 pm (each subject completed the tests in all four conditions in random order). The conditions prior to each exercise test were strictly standardized, and fat-burning during exercise was calculated accordingly. The results of the study showed that caffeine ingestion 30 minutes before performing an aerobic exercise test increased maximum fat oxidation (burning) during exercise regardless of the time of day, but higher amounts of fat were burned when exercising in the afternoon compared to exercising in the morning, when all other factors are kept constant, such as hours of fasting prior to exercise.

In summary, the findings of this study suggest that the combination of acute caffeine intake and aerobic exercise performed at moderate intensity in the afternoon provides the optimal scenario for people seeking to increase fat-burning during their workout routine. The take-home message is that an 8 oz cup of black coffee ingested 30 minutes prior to your aerobic work out routine enables your body to burn more body fat during your work out routine, which can help you more easily maintain your ideal weight or help further reduce your body fat during each work out if that is one of your goals. If you happen to favor working out in the afternoon, as I do, then the fat-burning effect is likely to be even greater.

I have included the reference for this information in the text below.

Reference:

Mauricio Ramírez-Maldonado, Lucas Jurado-Fasoli, Juan del Coso, Jonatan R. Ruiz, Francisco J. Amaro-Gahete. Caffeine increases maximal fat oxidation during a graded exercise test: is there a diurnal variation? Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2021; 18 (1)  https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-020-00400-6

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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Soy Protein vs Animal Protein in Muscle Gains

Soy Protein vs Animal Protein in Muscle Gains

Source: Runners World (March 2021)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (March 17, 2021)

A study reviewed in Runners World Magazine on March 12, 2021, referenced an important study showing that plant protein can be just as effective as animal protein for muscle gains in young, healthy people. It is well established that you need two things to build muscle tissue and lean mass: resistance training and adequate protein intake. Many studies over the years have shown that animal protein (especially whey protein) is superior to vegetable and other protein sources for muscle tissue and lean mass development because it contains a more complete complement of amino acids for muscle protein synthesis, as well as higher amounts of the amino acid leucine, which directly prompts muscles to “turn-on” genetic switches that trigger muscle protein synthesis to occur.

The study they cite involved 38 men, average age of 26, who started a 12-week leg-focused resistance training program. Half of the men in the group were longtime vegans and half were longtime omnivores. The participants followed their usual diet while adding a supplement (soy for the vegans and whey for the omnivores) to ensure they were all getting 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight—the amount recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine to support athletic activity. For someone who weighs 170 lbs. they would require about 124 grams of protein per day to meet this standard. At the end of three months, both groups showed significant increases in leg lean mass and hypertrophy. And both improved the amount of weight they could push on the leg press machine. The researchers concluded that, as long as you are getting the amount of protein you need, the source appears to be less important.

However, purely plant-based athletes tend to need more protein supplementation to get the amount of protein they need. The researchers indicated that the vegan lifters needed about 58 grams a day of supplemental soy protein to get 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. By comparison, the omnivore group needed to supplement with only 41 grams of protein per day to achieve the desired intake amount. They also note that this study was done on relatively young men and that further research needs to be done on other populations, such as older adults and women who may have more trouble making and maintaining muscle and may benefit from specific protein sources. Previous studies have shown that whey protein is an effective source of protein for older subjects to use to gain muscle, lean mass, and strength, which in turn improved their functional daily capabilities. In the accompanying text below I have provided a list of plant-based foods and the corresponding amount of protein found in those foods:

  • Seitan — 21 grams per 3 ounces
  • Lentils — 18 grams per cup
  • Edamame — 17 grams per cup
  • Beans — 15 grams per cup
  • Chickpeas — 5 grams per cup
  • Veggie burger — 15 grams per patty
  • Tofu — 12 grams per 4 ounces
  • Spelt — 11 grams per cooked cup
  • Peas —9 grams per cup
  • Hemp seeds — 9 grams per 3 Tbsp
  • Quinoa — 8 grams per cup
  • Nut butter — 8 grams per 2 Tbsp
  • Soy milk — 7 gram per cup
  • Seeds and nuts — 6 to 8 grams per ¼ cup

So, in summary, I would say that if you don’t have a job that is physically demanding it is very wise to have a resistance training program of some kind that you do throughout all of adult life. Otherwise, loss of muscle mass begins in a person’s late twenties, and by middle life and beyond the loss of muscle mass and strength can lead to a significant loss in functional ability required for many simple day-to-day tasks, culminating in later years into a need for a walker, wheelchair and /or scooter; not to mention falls leading to hip fractures and other fractures. The time to address lean mass preservation and even strength gains, is many years before these dreaded and unnecessary outcomes manifest themselves. In addition to resistance training ingesting the required amount of protein, each day is also essential to preserving and gaining muscle and lean mass. If you routinely don’t get enough protein each day from food to achieve at least 1.2 gm of protein per kilogram of body weight, then using a protein powder shake mix is something you should consider. I personally use a whey protein shake that has helped me gain lean mass in conjunction with my training program but based on this study soy protein shakes appear to be a good alternative for at least younger individuals wishing to maintain a pure vegan or vegetarian approach.

I have included the reference for this information in the text below.

Reference:

Runners World March 12, 2021 (Slene Yeager)

https://www.runnersworld.com/news/a35807952/plant-protein-vs-animal-protein-for-muscle-gain-study/

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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Health Benefits of Ground Flaxseed: Glucose, Cholesterol Regulation, Anti-Cancer Properties, and More

Health Benefits of Ground Flaxseed: Glucose, Cholesterol Regulation, Anti-Cancer Properties, and More

Source: J Food Sci Technol (September 2014)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (March 11, 2021)

In the previous Lifestyle Medicine Update, I explained the health benefits of supplementing with flaxseed oil, which is high in the omega-3 fat ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). It shows promise in helping to keep blood pressure down, preventing atrial fibrillation, suppressing inflammation, and possibly exerting some anti-cancer properties. In this update, I want to highlight the research showing the health benefits of also ingesting ground flaxseed on a daily basis.  Flaxseeds are a rich source of cholesterol-lowering fiber (soluble fiber) colon cleaning fiber (insoluble fiber) and contain 800-times more lignans than any other food source on the planet. It is the presence of these unique lignans that make flaxseeds superior to other seeds such as hemp seeds, chia seeds, and others. The lignans in flaxseed are readily metabolized by gut bacteria into two highly impressive phytonutrients known as enterolactone and enterodiol, which get absorbed into the bloodstream from the large intestine. Enterolactone and enterodiol help to counter the overstimulating effects of estrogen in the body, and thus, have been shown to have anti-proliferative effects. This means that they slow down the rate of cell division, which is a crucial step in the prevention of breast, endometrial and prostate cancer, tissues where ground flaxseed has shown impressive anti-cancer effects.

As stated in the 2014 review paper, “Flax lignans have shown promising effects in reducing the growth of cancerous tumors, especially hormone-sensitive ones such as those of the breast, endometrium, and prostate.” In placebo-controlled human clinical trials, ground flaxseed supplementation has reversed fibrocystic breast disease in women and has slowed the rate of prostate cancer cell division in men awaiting prostate cancer surgery. These studies demonstrate the anti-proliferative effects of ground flaxseed in humans, whereby slowing the rate of cell division reverses biological mechanisms involved in fibrocystic breast disease and prostate cancer growth. In the 2018 review of flaxseed and breast cancer, in the Journal Frontiers of Nutrition, the researcher state, “animal studies found that the intake of flaxseed combined with tamoxifen can reduce (breast) tumor size to a greater extent than taking tamoxifen alone. Additionally, some clinical trials showed that flaxseed can have an important role in decreasing breast cancer risk, mainly in postmenopausal women. Further studies are needed, specifically clinical trials that may demonstrate the potential benefits of flaxseed in breast cancer.”

As well, the high soluble fiber content of ground flaxseed has been shown in diabetic patients to lower blood sugar (glucose) and hemoglobin A1c (a longer-term assessment of blood sugar regulation) as well as lowering the bad cholesterol – LDL-cholesterol. Even if you’re not a diabetic, most people benefit from lowering their fasting blood sugar to some degree as well as their hemoglobin A1c, and their LDL-cholesterol. I say this because even though most people are not diabetics, most people do not have glucose, hemoglobin A1c, and LDL- cholesterol levels within, what has been identified, as the ideal range for longevity and healthy life expectancy. The insoluble fiber in ground flaxseed has been shown to help improve some cases of irritable bowel syndrome and improve bowel regularity, in general. My strong personal recommendation is to ingest 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed per day, as a part of an overall wellness prevention program throughout adult life. I add it to my morning protein shake, but it can be sprinkled on to cereal, mixed into juices or baked into low-fat muffins or other bread or baked goods. Ground flaxseed is truly one of the most underappreciated true health and functional foods on the planet.

I have included the references for this information in the text below.

References:

1. Main Reference:

Goyal Ankit et al. Flax and flaxseed oil: An ancient medicine & modern functional food. J Food Sci Technol 214, 51(9):1633-1653

2. Flaxseed and Fibrocystic Breast Disease (Mastalgia) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317150397_Flaxseed_A_Good_Idea_for_Reduction_of_Mastalgia_Breast_Pain_and_Risk_of_Breast_Cancer

3. Flaxseed and Breast Cancer Review (2018) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC58083 39/

4. Flaxseed and Prostate Cancer: https://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/2014-02/flaxseeds-reduce-prostate-cancer-aggressiveness

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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Flaxseed Oil Supplementation: Blood Pressure, Longevity, Cancer, and Other Applications

Flaxseed Oil Supplementation: Blood Pressure, Longevity, Cancer, and Other Applications

Source: Various Clinical Studies (See References)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (March 2, 2021)

Over the years I’ve made it a point to take an essential fatty acid supplement each day that contains 400 mg each of Fish oil, Flaxseed oil, and Borage Seed oil. Each capsule is 1200 mg, consisting of 400 mg of each oil. I generally take 2-3 capsules per day. There is solid evidence to show that the omega-3 fats in fish oil (EPA and DHA) are converted by the body into local hormones that reduce inflammation, and blood pressure may help to reduce cancer risk, along with supporting brain health. The GLA fatty acid in borage seed oil has also been shown to reduce inflammation in human subjects and shown to improve certain skin problems, arthritis, and nerve damage.

In this update, I want to touch on the research supporting the use of flaxseed oil. Flaxseed oil is a rich source of omega-3 fat known as ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). Studies show that the human body can slowly elongate ALA into the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA, found in fish. This elongation process directly inhibits the conversion of omega-6 fats into the dangerous Arachidonic acid, which the body otherwise converts into local hormones (PG-2) that increase inflammation and have been shown to increase cancer risk in many experimental studies. Many people are aware of the benefits of fish oil, but very few people appreciate the studies showing the health benefits of flaxseed oil, rich in the ALA omega-3 fat (57% ALA).

In 2005 the National Heart and Lung in Adults was one of the first studies to show that higher intake of ALA (from flaxseed oil) was associated with lower blood pressure. They also showed that higher tissue stores of ALA (adipose tissue) were linked to lower blood pressure readings in this large study involving over 4500 subjects (aged 25 to 93 years) (1) A well-designed study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007 showed that supplementation with flaxseed oil reduced high blood pressure in high blood pressure patients who also have other risk factors for heart disease, including high LDL-cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and low HDL-cholesterol (the good cholesterol). This 12-week study included eighty-seven male volunteers aged 35 to 70 years, who had high blood pressure, high LDL-cholesterol, and low HDL-cholesterol. One group was given safflower seed supplementation, which is high in omega-6 fats and the other group was given flaxseed oil, which is 57% ALA omega-3 fat. After 12-weeks the flaxseed oil group realized a drop in systolic and diastolic blood pressure of 5 mmHg compared to the original baseline level. No change in blood pressure occurred in the safflower seed oil group. Remember that for every 2-point decrease in blood pressure, the risk of heart disease decreases by 7%, and the risk of stroke decreases by 10%. (2) So, a 5 point drop in systolic and diastolic pressure is very significant regarding the reduction in risk of heart disease and stroke.

In-vitro studies have also shown that flaxseed oil supplementation may also reduce the risk of developing atrial fibrillation, which is a condition that affects 9% of people over the age of 65. (3). Consistent with these findings, studies link increased intake of ALA with a reduction in sudden death and non-fatal heart attack (myocardial infarction) (2). Also noteworthy in my view is the fact that experimental studies show that flaxseed oil supplementation inhibits chemical-induced colon cancer in animal studies when tested against corn oil supplementation. This is likely due to the fact that ALA (in flaxseed oil) is indirectly converted to prostaglandin hormones that slow the rate of cell division, whereas the LA (linoleic acid) in corn oil is indirectly converted to prostaglandin hormones that speed up the rate of cell division. Slowing the rate of cell division is a known way to reduce cancer risk in most tissues in the body. Higher intake of ALA has been shown to accumulate in colon cells when flaxseed oil supplementation is provided. (4)

As so aptly explained in the 2015 review paper in the Journal of Food and Science Technology, “over the past 100 to 150 years, the consumption of vegetable oils from corn, sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, cottonseeds, and soybeans has greatly increased, which resulted in a drastic imbalance of the essential fatty acids. Today, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid is shifted to 20–30:1 in western diets.” (5). Thus, daily supplementation with fish and flaxseed oil can help to shift our omega-6 to omega-3 fat intake ratio back to what is considered to be more optimal for many health reasons and is more compatible with the genes we inherited from our human ancestors, who largely foraged for their food, ate animals that foraged for their food, consuming much higher amounts of omega-3 fats than is customary in our modern world. A direct quote from the 2015 review paper on flaxseed states, “A large number of clinical studies have recognized the tremendous potential of omega-3 fats against inflammatory mediators like prostaglandins E2, leukotriene B4, TNF-α, interleukin, and cytokines. These clinical studies revealed that omega-3 fats are helpful in the prevention of coronary heart diseases, atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma.” (5) As a side note, skin cells in the body also use the essential fats found in fish, flaxseed, and borage seed oil to make mini-hormones that make the skin smooth and soft. Many people notice a marked improvement in the softness and smoothness of their skin when they begin supplementing with a combination of fish, flaxseed, and borage seed oil.

Flaxseed oil is very much an underappreciated source of omega-3 fats and many recent studies have shown its ability to reduce high blood pressure, inflammatory mediators, and potentially help to reduce atrial fibrillation and possibly some forms of cancer. Taking a supplement each day that contains fish oil, flaxseed oil, and borage seed oil, in my view, is an ideal way for most people to capitalize on the benefits of these health-promoting essential fatty acids.

I’ve included the references for this information in the text below.


References:

1. Hypertension Journal (2005)   https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/01.HYP.0000154679.41568.e6

 

2. European Journal of Hypertension (2007) https://www.nature.com/articles/1602631.pdf

 

3. Ander BP, Weber AR, Rampersad PP, Gilchrist JS, Pierce GN, Lukas A. Dietary flaxseed protects against ventricular fibrillation induced by ischemiare perfusion in normal and hypercholesterolemic rabbits. J Nutr. 2004;134:3250–3256. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

 

4. 2010 Study – Nutrition and Cancer:  Colon Cancer Study https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1207/s15327914nc5101_8

 

5. 2015 review of flaxseed in J Food Sci and Technology  highlighted the following (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4375225/ )

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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U.K Government and German Researchers Take Strong Position on Providing Citizens with Vitamin D Supplements

U.K Government and German Researchers Take Strong Position on Providing Citizens with Vitamin D Supplements

Source: GOV.UK Vitamin D and care homes guidance (January 15, 2021) and Molecular Oncology (February 2021)

Lifestyle Medicine Update(February 23, 2021)

Two very impressive publications regarding vitamin D supplementation appeared just a few months apart in late 2020 and early 2021, whereby the UK government announced that it has decided to make vitamin D supplements available to over 2.5 million older citizens living in Care Homes throughout the country, and German researchers showed that if a similar approach were implemented by the Germany government it would reduce 30,000 cancer deaths per year in that country. Here is what transpired. In November 2020, the UK government decided that it was in the best interest of its citizens to begin shipping vitamin D supplements, free of charge, to older persons living in care homes throughout the country, who can now request a 4-month supply.

They strongly urge this group of individuals to take a vitamin D supplement for bone health, but in light of the evidence showing that higher vitamin D blood levels may also reduce the risk of mortality from Covid-19, this was the year the government decided to take action. This is coupled with the fact that it has been more difficult for older persons to get outdoors this past year to make vitamin D from sunlight. Even still, vitamin D levels are known to plummet in the winter months among most citizens in the UK, including older subjects. The daily vitamin D supplement they are sending to their citizens contains 400 IU of vitamin D.

I personally feel this a too low a dose to be highly meaningful. Apparently, German researchers agree with me. In February 2021, a group of German researchers published a ground-breaking study in the journal Molecular Oncology. Their research review cites three previous meta-analysis studies showing that vitamin D supplementation at 1,000 IU per day is associated with a reduction in cancer death rates by 13%. Scientists at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have now transferred these results to the situation in Germany and calculated the following, “If all Germans over the age of 50 were to take vitamin D supplements, up to 30,000 cancer deaths per year could possibly be avoided and more than 300,000 years of life could be gained — in addition, health care costs could be saved.” The scientists based this calculation on a daily administration of 1,000 IU of vitamin D at a cost of 25 euros per person per year. In 2016, approximately 36 million people over the age of 50 lived in Germany, resulting in annual supplementation costs of 900 million euros. Factoring in a reduction in cancer care costs of 13% fewer cancers per year, this model calculates an annual saving of €254 million to the health care system if citizens over 50 were provided with 1,000 IU Vitamin D per day.

Once again, I would advise you to know your blood level of vitamin D. For most people, the ideal range is between 80-140 nmol/L or 32-56 ng/ml. This is the blood level that appears to best support immune function and reduces the risk of acute respiratory infection, as well as protecting bones and possibly providing important anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-cardiovascular disease, and other benefits. Most people need at least 1,000 IU of vitamin D supplementation each day to attain this blood level if they live above or below the 40th-degree latitude. In the northern hemisphere, the 40th-degree latitude bisects the United States roughly in half as you go from south to north. Everyone in Canada, for example, lives well above the 40th-degree latitude.

I have included the references for this information in the text below.


References:

UK Government Announcement:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/nov/28/more-than-25m-people-in-england-to-get-free-vitamin-d-supply                

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vitamin-d-for-vulnerable-groups/vitamin-d-and-care-homes-guidance    

German Study:

Tobias Niedermaier, Thomas Gredner, Sabine Kuznia, Ben Schöttker, Ute Mons, Hermann Brenner. Vitamin D supplementation to the older adult population in Germany has the cost-saving potential of preventing almost 30,000 cancer deaths per year. Molecular Oncology, 2021 https://febs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/1878-0261.12924   

 

Vitamin D and Respiratory Tract Infections:

Bergman P, Lindh A, Bjorkhem-Bergman, Lindh J. Vitamin D and respiratory tract infections: A systemic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies. PLOS (peer-reviewed, open access journal). 2013; 8(6):e65835 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3686844

Vitamin D and Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease and Osteoporosis

Holick MF. Vitamin D: Importance in the prevention of cancers, type 1 diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Am J Clin Nutr. Vol 79, Issue 3. March 2004

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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Caffeinated Coffee Reduces Risk of Congestive Heart Failure: Three Large Studies Have Shown

Caffeinated Coffee Reduces Risk of Congestive Heart Failure: Three Large Studies Have Shown

Source: Journal Circulation (February 2012)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (February 17, 2021)

As reported in the American Heart Association journal, Circulation, in February 2021, three large studies found that caffeinated coffee consumption is strongly associated with a significantly decreased risk of developing congestive heart failure. Congestive heart failure is the leading cause of hospital admissions in people over 65 years of age in this part of the world. Each of the three studies included at least 10 years of follow-up, and, collectively, they provided information on more than 21,000 U.S. U.S. adults.

The analysis revealed the following:

  • In the Framingham Heart Study, the risk of heart failure over the course of decades decreased by 5-to-12% per cup per day of coffee, compared with no coffee consumption.
  • In the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, the risk of heart failure was about 30% lower in people who drank at least 2 cups of caffeinated coffee a day.
  • Drinking decaffeinated coffee appeared to have an opposite effect on heart failure risk – significantly increasing the risk of heart failure in the Framingham Heart Study.
  • In the Cardiovascular Health Study, however, there was no increase or decrease in risk of heart failure associated with drinking decaffeinated coffee.
  • When the researchers examined this further, they found caffeine consumption from any source appeared to be associated with decreased heart failure risk, and caffeine was at least part of the reason for the apparent benefit from drinking more coffee.

So, to summarize, it appears to be the caffeine in coffee that has the protective effect. This, of course, is contrary to the widely held belief that coffee is bad for your health and bad for your heart. As well, these studies showed no increased risk of high blood pressure or palpitations in those who were regular consumers of caffeinated coffee. According to the federal dietary guidelines, three to five 8-ounce cups of coffee per day can be part of a healthy diet, but that only refers to “plain black coffee.” The American Heart Association warns that popular coffee-based drinks such as lattes and macchiatos are often high in calories, added sugar and saturated fat. In addition, despite its benefits, research has shown that caffeine also can be dangerous if consumed in excess. Additionally, children should avoid caffeine. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that, in general, kids avoid beverages with caffeine.

Other research has shown that drinking two to four cups of coffee per day is associated with decreased chronic liver disease and colon cancer risk.  Chronic liver disease is the 11th leading cause of death in the U.S and colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death.  Coffee contains several bioactive compounds that are shown to support liver health and block key steps in colon cancer development. One of these nutrients appears to be caffeine itself. So, if you like coffee and it doesn’t bother you (insomnia, jitters, etc.), then drinking 2-4 cups of caffeinated coffee per day may be one more health promoting strategy to consider. On the other hand, if caffeine bothers you, know that there are many other ways to reduce your risk of congestive heart failure, liver disease, and colon cancer. Drinking coffee is not an essential aspect of longevity and heart health.

In fact, studies have shown that supplementation with Coenzyme Q10 and Hawthorn are emerging as important strategies to reduce the risk of congestive heart failure after the age of 45 or 50. Our bodies make less Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) as we age. CoQ10 is required by the heart muscle to convert food into energy. Thus, the age-related decline in CoQ10 synthesis results in a weaker heart pump, even in highly fit individuals, which is a main contributing factor in congestive heart failure. Hawthorn works synergistically with CoQ10 to boost energy production in the heart muscle as we age, helping to prevent age-related weakness of the heart muscle. So, to sum up, no need to feel guilty about having some caffeinated black coffee each day if you like it. And if you’re over the age of 45, then you might want to consider taking a supplement each day that contains CoQ10 and Hawthorn to help further guard against your heart muscle getting weaker as you age. This is something I do, personally.

I have included the references for this information in the text below.

References:

Laura M. Stevens, Erik Linstead, Jennifer L. Hall, David P. Kao. Association Between Coffee Intake and Incident Heart Failure Risk. Circulation: Heart Failure, 2021; https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.119.006799

 

Coffee and Liver Disease: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/275028


Coffee and Colon Cancer:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4874555/

 

Coenzyme Q10 and Heart Failure https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.115.002639?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%20%200pubmed

 

Hawthorn and Heart Failure: https://www.aafp.org/afp/2010/0215/p465.html

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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Olive Oil and Omega-3 Fats Show Promise in Prevention and Complementary Management of Multiple Sclerosis

Olive Oil and Omega-3 Fats Show Promise in Prevention and Complementary Management of Multiple Sclerosis

Source: Journal of Clinical Investigation (November 2020)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (February 10, 2021)

In a previous Lifestyle Medicine Update I cited the scientific studies showing that extra virgin olive oil contains an abundance of phenolic compounds, which have been shown in human studies to lower the bad cholesterol (LDL), and reduce the rise in blood sugar (glucose) after a meal (compared to a meal containing corn oil), and they exhibit anti-cancer properties, which we think helps to explain the study showing a 68% lower risk of breast cancer in women following a Mediterranean diet that included extra virgin olive oil, compared to women following a Mediterranean diet that included olive oil, but not extra virgin olive oil. It’s extra virgin olive oil that contains the polyphenols shown to have anti-cancer properties.

A 2019 meta-analysis evaluation of all studies looking at extra virgin olive oil also showed that it raises the good cholesterol (HDL), which helps to remove cholesterol from the artery wall, opening-up blood vessels by reversing the build-up of plaque in the artery wall to some degree. As such, a growing number of studies, published in peer-reviewed journals, continue to suggest that using 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive per day is a better choice than using most other vegetable or seed oils when it comes to preparing salad dressings, sautéing vegetables, onions, garlic, or chicken, or when making pasta and possibly other sauces.

A study published in November 2020 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation has shown that insufficient olive oil intake may be a culprit in the development and progression of Multiple Sclerosis. Studies suggest that environmental factors play a role in the development of M.S. One consistent factor that seems to stand out is that M.S. patients are known to have low levels of oleic acid – the main type of fat found in olive oil, which many researchers feel can lead to the development of M.S.  Why do they think that?  Well, many studies show that the monounsaturated fat, oleic acid, found in olive oil, plays a key role in the function of immune cells called T-regulatory Cells or Treg cells as they are commonly known. In M.S. patients Treg cells become dysfunctional allowing other immune cells to attack and destroy the body’s normal tissue and promote inflammation. This is the basis of all autoimmune diseases – our own immune cells attack normal body tissues. In the case of M.S, this involves immune cells attacking and destroying the myelin sheath that insulates our nerve cables leading to muscle weakness and paralysis. So, in the 2020 study researchers took Treg cells from the fat tissue of M.S. patients and exposed them either to arachidonic acid (a polyunsaturated fat found in high concentrations in high-fat meat products) or to oleic acid from olive oil. Within 72 hours the Treg cells exposed to arachidonic acid displayed increased activity of genes that promote inflammation. On the other hand, exposure to oleic acid (from olive oil) induced changes in Treg cells genes that restored normal function in a way that would suppress the action of other immune cells involved in the promotion and progression of M.S. Previous case-control studies have shown that a Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes olive oil, is associated with a decreased risk of developing M.S. As well, studies with M.S. patients have shown that a low-fat diet, supplemented with omega-3 fats and the inclusion of olive oil provides moderate benefits to those suffering from M.S.

It’s interesting to note that in the Nurses’ Health Study, which has followed over 80,000 registered female nurses in the U.S since 1984, nurses who regularly have the highest consumption of alpha-linolenic acid, the main omega-3 fat found in flaxseed oil, show an approximately 40% reduction in risk of developing M.S., compared to nurses who had the lowest consumption of this omega-3 fat. Fish and fish oil consumption were not associated with a decreased risk of M.S. in this study. Thus, the ingestion of flaxseed oil may also be a modifiable lifestyle factor in the prevention of M.S. Taken together, these studies further highlight the importance of avoiding foods high in inflammation-promoting and Treg cell suppressing arachidonic acid (from consumption of high fat meat products), while focusing rather on the regular intake of extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, and seeds to acquire oleic acid, as well as possibly supplementation with omega-3 fat-rich flaxseed oil – high in alpha-linolenic acid (and possibly fish and fish oil). Paying attention to consuming foods and supplements containing healthy fats and polyphenols, and avoiding unhealthy fats, is one more strategy that can help optimize health and prevent the development of various degenerative diseases, and possibly some autoimmune diseases as well.

I’ve included the references for all of this information in the text below

References:

1. Nutrition &Diabetes (2015)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26192450

F Violi, L Loffredo, P Pignatelli, F Angelico, S Bartimoccia, C Nocella, R Cangemi, A Petruccioli, R Monticolo, D Pastori, R Carnevale. “Extra virgin olive oil use is associated with improved post-prandial blood glucose and LDL cholesterol in healthy subjects.”  Nutrition & Diabetes (2015) 5, e172; 20 July 2015.

 

2. Molecular Cell Oncology (2015):

 Oleocanthol phenolic compound kill cancer cells: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26380379

 

3. JAMA (2015)

 Extra virgin olive oil shown to reduce breast cancer risk in over older, weight women http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2434738&resultClick=1

http://www.breastcancer.org/research-news/study-on-olive-oil-raises-questions

 

4. The FASEB Journal (2010)

Extra virgin olive oil outperforms regular olive oil in studies looking at atherosclerosis and inflammation in human and laboratory studies.

http://www.fasebj.org/content/24/7/2546

 

5. Frontiers of Nutrition Journal (2019)

Extra virgin olive oil increases blood HDL levels (meta-analysis)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6379345/

 

 

6. Pompura SL, et al. Oleic acid restores suppressive defects in tissue-resident FOXP3 Tregs from patients with multiple sclerosis The Journal of Clinical Investigation.  Nov. 2019.

https://www.jci.org/articles/view/138519

 

7. Sedaghat F et al. Mediterranean diet adherence and risk of multiple sclerosis: a case-control study. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr, 2016, 25; 2 : 377-384.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27222422/

 

8. Wernstock-Guttman et al. Low fat dietary intervention with omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in multiple sclerosis patients. 2005, 73;3: 397-404.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0952327805001006

 

9. Alpha-linolenic acid (Flaxseed oil) in M.S. Prevention:

Bjornevik K et al. Polyunsaturated fatty acids and the risk of multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler Journal. 2017, 23;14 : 1830-1838.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5494026/

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,’

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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Milk Thistle: Research update on liver health, type 2 diabetes, and immunity

Milk Thistle Research update on liver health, type 2 diabetes, and immunity

Milk Thistle: Research update on liver health, type 2 diabetes, and immunity

Source: Today’s Dietician (April 2020)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (February 2, 2021)

In 2019, American consumers spent over $6 billion on herbal dietary supplements, which was an increase of 8.6% over the previous year. (1) Within this category, Milk thistle is the most commonly used herbal supplement in the United States for liver problems. In fact, sales of milk thistle supplements grew by 6% in 2019 alone. Approximately 890 tons of milk thistle supplements were sold world-wide in 2018, with North America and Europe purchasing the majority. (2) So, what is Milk thistle and why has it become so popular? Milk thistle is a prickly plant that has distinctive purple flowers and white veins. The active ingredients in milk thistle are a group of plant flavonoids collectively known as silymarin. The silymarin extracted from milk thistle is shown to have antioxidant, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. Milk thistle is often promoted for its liver-protecting effects and has been shown in human studies to protect the liver against toxins like amatoxin, which is found in the deadly death cap mushroom.

There was one remarkable report of a California medical doctor, who saved the lives of almost an entire family after he got permission from authorities to use Milk thistle to treat family members who had fallen very ill after they inadvertently ate death cap mushrooms, realizing only afterward that they had swallowed a mushroom that was soon going to cause liver failure and kill them. In a timely manner, Dr. Todd Mitchell M.D. administered a high yield silymarin Milk thistle supplement to the family members, which saved the lives of all six family members, except for the 83-year-old grandmother. (3) Other studies have shown that Milk thistle supplementation can improve liver function in people with other liver diseases, suggesting it could help reduce liver inflammation and liver damage. One study also found that it may slightly extend the life expectancy of people with alcohol-induced liver cirrhosis.

More research is needed to examine all the mechanisms by which Milk thistle works to protect liver cells, but it is thought to reduce damage to the liver caused by free radicals, which are produced when your liver metabolizes toxic substances. This appears to be one important mechanism (4). Milk thistle supplementation has also been shown to improve type 2 diabetes management in human subjects. A study published in Diabetic Research in 2016 reviewed all available studies, involving a total of 270 type 2 diabetic patients. The results showed that Milk thistle supplementation lowered blood sugar (glucose) and hemoglobin A1c levels – a key marker for long-term blood sugar regulation. These effects were attributed to Milk thistle’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. (5)

Milk thistle also shows promising effects on improving immune system function. A 2017 review in the journal International Immunopharmacology highlighted the immune modulation effects of milk thistle, which suggests it may be helpful to reduce the risk of infections and as an adjunct in the management of various autoimmune disorders. (6) In animal models, Milk thistle has been shown to inhibit the growth of certain tumors and it enhances immune system function by increasing the proliferation of lymphocytes and interferon-gamma, IL-4 and IL-10 in a dose-dependent fashion. Meaning that the higher the Milk thistle dosage, the greater the immune system response. (7)

I personally, take a Milk thistle supplement each day that contains Milk thistle, standardized to 80% silymarin content, and also includes:

  • Indole-3-carbinol
  • Reishi mushroom extract
  • Astragalus

Research shows that these four natural agents work synergistically to help support liver health in a number of ways, as well as enhancing liver detoxification processes, they support immune system function, can improve blood sugar regulation, and they also exhibit anti-cancer properties in many experimental studies.

I have included the references on Milk thistle in the text below.

References:

1. https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/08/31/2086400/0/en/US-Herbal-Supplement-Sales-Increase-by-8-6-in-2019-Record-Breaking-Sales-Predicted-for-2020.html

2. https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0420p14.shtmlhttps://www.healthline.com/nutrition/milk-thistle-benefits

3. https://news.ucsc.edu/2017/03/mitchell-todd-alumni-profile.html

4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/milk-thistle-benefits

5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27340676/

6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28672215/

7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12444368/

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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Colorectal Cancer Epidemiology: Incidence, Mortality, Survival, and Risk Factors

Colorectal Cancer Epidemiology: Incidence, Mortality, Survival, and Risk Factors

Colorectal Cancer Epidemiology: Incidence, Mortality, Survival, and Risk Factors

Source: Journal – Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery, Nov., 2009

Lifestyle Medicine Update (March 16, 2016)

Colo-rectal Cancer is second leading cause of cancer death in North America and most developed countries.

Only a small percentage of cases of linked to inherited genetic mutations (5-10% of cases)

Up to 70% of colo-rectal cancer appears to be preventable via improved dietary practices alone.

Diet and lifestyle continue to be the main factors causing this form of cancer

A recent review in the Journal Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery

Showed once again – certain dietary changes might reduce risk of colo-rectal cancer up to 70%

The researchers highlight:

Diets high in fat, especially animal fat, are a major risk factor for colorectal cancer

Animal fat changes bacterial composition of the large bowel – the gut flora These unhealthy gut bacteria metabolize bile salts (secreted at each meal) into cancer-causing agents known cause colon cancer.

In particular, High red meat consumption is linked to colon cancer risk The high level of heme iron in red meat may further increase risk , as excess iron generates cancer –causing free radicals in the colon.

Also cooking these meats at high temperatures produces heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – shown to cause cancerous mutations.

Other studies suggest – people who eat a diet low in fruits and vegetables may have a higher risk of colorectal cancer.

As well, higher dietary fiber linked to decreased risk of colo-rectal cancer

Fiber – attracts water, bulks up fecal matter – moves it through faster.

Which dilutes carcinogens and speeds removal of any cancer-causing agents in the bowel.

Especially true for (beans, peas, whole grains).

How else can you reduce your risk?

Regular physical exercise –reduces risk:

Speeds movement through the bowel, and lowers insulin levels

Reducing body weight if you’re overweight – higher insulin and estrogen levels (males and females)

Cigarette smoking – 12% of colo-rectal cancer attributable to smoking Carcinogens in tobacco increase cancer growth in the colon and rectum.

Alcohol – regular consumption of alcohol linked to colo-rectal cancer. Some studies show may double risk of colon cancer – 2 drinks per day.

In total – some studies suggest that up 90% of colon cancer is preventable (diet, exercise, not smoking, ideal weight and low or no alcohol consumption). Of course after 50 you need to get screened for colon cancer.

The good news is that it usually takes 5-10 yrs for early stage polyps to become malignant. So, if they see anything suspicious, they can remove it before and real trouble gets started.

Okay that’s my update for this week.

Preventing colo-rectal cancer – the second leading cause of cancer death, is one more really important reason to really get on board and stay track with a wellness lifestyle.

So good luck with your wellness goals and I’ll see you next time.

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great!

Dr. James Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.