Zinc Plus Antioxidant: A Cost-Effective Solution to Macular Degeneration?

Age Related Macular DegenerationAccording to a new study a supplement containing Antioxidants plus Zinc may be a cost effective way to slow down the progression of the wet form of the common degenerative eye disease, Macular Degeneration.

Data from the AREDS study in addition to real world outcomes using the National Health Service EMR, a multicenter Neovascular (wet form) Age Related Macular Degeneraton (nAMD) database, denoting the use of Anti-VEGF injections. These Anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor injections (Anti-VEGF) are the principal medical treatment for the wet form of Age Related Macular Degeneration.  These Anti-VEGF injections are costly in addition to possibly increasing inflammation and stroke risk.  The study looked at the use of AREDS formulated supplements containing the following:

AREDS1 contains 80 mg Zinc, 2 mg Copper, 500 mg of Vitamin C, 15 mg Beta-Carotene and 400 IU Vitamin E.

AREDS2 reduced the Zinc to 25 mg and removed the Beta-Carotene but added 10 mg of Lutein, 2 mg of Zeaxanthin, and 1000 mg of Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids.

Using the Markov Model, a statistical method used to predict an outcome between non supplemented and supplemented participants, 5 different states of visual acuity were incorporated into the research.  These 5 states cast the progression of the nAMD while projecting the necessity of the Anti-VEGF injections.  Estimating the injection costs and the costs of the specialist exams were also added to the economic model.

Researchers determined that supplementation with the AREDS combination was effective in category 3 and category 4 AMD participants.  This conclusion was consistent with previous research.  Additionally researchers advocated that supplementation was” an attractive strategy to avoid the chronic and costly Anti-VEGF therapies and to preserve visual function”.

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Ginkgo May Enhance Performance, Boost Brain Health for Active Men

Ginkgo Biloba Enhances Performance and CognitionAccording to a small study extracts of Ginkgo Biloba may offer both mind and body advantages for young active men.

18 young active men participated in this study.  Participants were randomly assigned to receive either a standardized extract of Ginkgo Biloba or a placebo.  The study lasted six weeks.  Improvements in VO2max (maximal oxygen uptake) and blood antioxidant capacity were seen in both groups, however the greatest increases were seen in the Ginkgo Biloba group. Participants in the Ginkgo Biloba supplementation group also showed increased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) during exercise.  BDNF acts on certain neurons of the peripheral nervous system and the central nervous system.  These proteins help to support the survival of existing neurons and encourage growth of new neurons.  BDNF is vital to higher thinking, learning and memory.

Although no statistical significance was noted between the groups (a marginal increase of 6% vs 1% was seen in VO2max) researchers attribute that to the dosage levels used in the study, since previous studies have shown even more benefits with higher doses.  Researchers believe that the polyphenolic compounds found in Ginkgo Biloba enhance antioxidant effects by both indirectly boosting the actions of antioxidant enzymes like glutathione peroxidase, SOD, and catalase and by directly scavenging reactive oxygen species (ROS).  A 20% increase in SOD activity was seen in the Ginkgo Biloba group compared to the placebo group.

Larger studies are needed.

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Antioxidants Might Help in Early Diabetic Kidney Disease

Antioxidants and Kidney DiseaseA recent meta-analysis and review found supplementation with antioxidants, like Vitamin E, may reduce the loss of a specific protein, albumin, in a patient’s urine.  The excretion of albumin is an early sign of diabetic kidney disease (DKD).

The purpose of the meta-analysis and review was to determine if antioxidant supplementation would slow the progression of DKD to end state kidney disease (ESKD).  DKD is the prime cause of ESKD.  Approximately half of all long-term diabetics end up developing some form of kidney damage over their lifetime.  Most trials reviewed used Vitamin E and or Vitamin E as well as B6, Zinc, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Silymarin and reduced Glutathione.  Antioxidants were used either individually or in combination.

Most antioxidants showed some benefit in reducing Urinary Albumin Excretion (UAE).  Vitamin E showed the most consistent benefit.  Researchers found it difficult to reach any strong conclusions due to the diversity in study designs, trial sizes, outcome measures to name a few of the meta-analysis challenges.  However researchers did find a benefit of antioxidant therapy (especially Vitamin E) on early signs of renal damage.

Further studies are needed.

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High-Dose Vitamin C Could Cut Duration of Common Cold (and Other Infections)

A new review of prior clinical data shows high doses of Vitamin C might reduce the duration of common colds and other types of infections.  At a dose rate of between 6 to 8 grams of Vitamin C, prior studies show the duration of colds reduced by almost 20%.

In one study 3 grams of Vitamin C per day was given to 2 participating groups a third group was given a Vitamin C dose of 6 grams per day and a fourth group received a placebo.  When compared to the placebo group the group receiving the 6 grams of Vitamin C daily experienced a 17% reduction in the duration of their colds.  This result was twice as much as the group receiving the 3 grams of Vitamin C per day.

In another study one group received a Vitamin C dose of 4 grams per day while another group supplemented 8 grams of Vitamin C daily while others additional groups received a placebo.  These dosages of Vitamin C and the placebo were administered on the first day of the cold.  The results showed that when compared to the group supplementing with the placebo the participants supplementing with the 8 grams of daily Vitamin C showed there colds were shortened by about 19% which was twice as much as the group supplementing with the 4 grams of daily Vitamin C.

Researchers suggested that the majority of prior controlled studies used a dose of only 1 gram of Vitamin C daily and that when looking at studies using a wider range of dosages as outlined above it may explain why lower dosage studies found no correlation between Vitamin C and reduced durations of cold and other infections. Researchers suggest that new randomized trials using higher dosages of Vitamin C must be performed.

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CoQ10 Supplementation Shows Benefits for Liver Cancer Patients Post Surgery

liver cancerA new study shows daily supplementation with 300 mg of CoQ10 significantly increases antioxidant capacity and reduces inflammation levels and oxidative stress levels after surgery for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of liver cancer.

41 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) participated in this single-blinded, randomized, parallel, placebo-controlled study.  A random numbers table was used to randomly assign the participants to receive either the CoQ10 (300 mg) or a placebo.  The study lasted 12 weeks.  The levels of antioxidant enzymes activity was significantly increased in the CoQ10 supplement group.  Additionally the CoQ10 group had significantly decreased oxidative stress and inflammatory markers levels when compared to the placebo group.

Larger and longer studies are needed to confirm the benefits seen with CoQ10 supplementation in patients with HCC taken after surgery.

CoQ 10 is a cell oxygenator and supports the transfer of oxygen between the cells. It is an antioxidant and supports cardiovascular health by promoting energy on a cellular level. Scientific studies show Co Q 10 is three times more bioavailable when delivered in an oil based softgel capsule.

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Vitamin C and E Supplements May Protect Against Age-Related Brain Declines

Cognitive DeclineData from a recent study shows daily supplementation with Vitamin C and Vitamin E could reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Data from over 5,000 seniors collected over a period of time (from 1991-2002) was analyzed.  Participants were all over 65 years of age.  Seniors who were supplementing with Vitamin E and/or Vitamin C had a statistically significant 40% reduction in all cause-dementia and a 42% reduction in Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  Compared to non vitamin users, participants who were supplementing with either Vitamin C or Vitamin E separately saw a 43% and 46% reduction in the risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease.  Additionally, the risk of developing cognitive impairment not dementia (CIND), were reduced by 31% in the seniors who supplemented with Vitamin C and 32% for seniors who supplemented with Vitamin E.

As we age there is a natural decline in brain function.  Mild cognitive impairment is considered a transitional state and small changes in mental abilities and memory coexist with normal functioning.  These declines in functions may often be a warning sign of dementia.  Dementia is a term that is used to describe many different brain disorders that all share a progressive loss of brain function.  It is believed that Oxidative stress may be a contributing factor to this process.

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Resveratrol Shows Metabolic and Brain Signaling Benefits

ResveratrolA new animal study found that daily supplementation with Resveratrol may increase energy metabolism, cell signaling pathways and neurotransmission.

23 male adult monkeys were randomly assigned to one of three groups: A control group fed a healthy diet, A negative control group fed a diet high in sugar and fat and a group fed a diet high in sugar and fats and supplemental Resveratrol (80 mg per day for the first year and 480 mg per day for the second year).  The study lasted 2 years.  Researchers used proteomics to identify changes in the expression of 12 specific proteins in the brains of these rhesus monkeys.

Improvements in energy metabolism and the efficiency of cell signaling pathways and neurotransmission in the group supplementing with the Resveratrol in addition to the high fat and sugar diet were seen.

This study adds to the existing science on the healthy benefits of Resveratrol, a very powerful polyphenal.  A lot of research has focused on Resveratrol’s cardiovascular benefits due to the nutraceuticals association with the “French Paradox”.  This phrase was used to describe the low incidence of obesity and heart disease in the French people even though they have a diet moderately high in fat.  It is believed to be their consumption of Red wine that neutralizes the damage of their high fat diet.

Further studies are needed.

A good Resveratrol product will be standardized to 200 mg of trans-resveratrol (the phyto-nutrient in the resveratrol that gives the polyphenal its beneficial properties).  Additional Grape Seed Extract may be added to provide additional antioxidant benefits.

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