Alpha Lipoic Acid + EPA May Promote Body Weight Loss in Healthy Overweight Women

ala-epa and weight lossA new study has found supplementing with alpha lipoic acid, both with or without EPA Omega 3 may support weight loss in women who are overweight and obese.  The EPA Omega 3 was found to prevent the reduction of leptin during weight loss.  Leptin is the satiety hormone that signals the body that it is full.

97 women who were obese or overweight participated in this study.  The study was a double blind placebo controlled study.  All the participants followed a reduced calorie diet and were divided into 4 groups: Control (no supplementation), EPA only (supplemented with 1.3 grams daily), alpha lipoic acid only (300 mg daily) and lastly alpha lipoic acid + EPA .  The study lasted 10 weeks and 77 women completed the study.

The control group lost an average of 5.2 kg on the diet only.  The same weight loss of 5.2 kg was seen in the EPA group.  The alpha lipoic acid group only, lost an average of 7 kg and the alpha lipoic acid group + EPA lost on average 6.5 kg.

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Could Low Vitamin D Put Postmenopausal Women At a Higher Risk of Metabolic Syndrome?

According to new data the onset of Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) in postmenopausal women may be closely linked to Vitamin D deficiency.  Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) was seen in 58% of postmenopausal women with either deficient or insufficient levels of Vitamin D when compared with a 40% occurrence in women with adequate Vitamin D levels.

Over 450 women participated in this study.  Participants ages were between 45 and 75 years and all participants had stopped menstruating for at the minimum of 1 year prior to the beginning of the study.  Additionally none of the participants had experienced any type of Cardiovascular Disease at the baseline.  35% of the participants were Vitamin D deficient and 33% of the participants had insufficient levels of Vitamin D.  A Vitamin D deficiency is usually defined as blood levels below 50 nanomoles/liter (nmol/L) and an insufficient Vitamin D level is defined as a blood level between 50 – 75 nmol/L.

Blood levels of the participants Vitamin D levels were measured and compared to the analyzed Metabolic Syndrome parameters of the participants.  Researchers found the lower the blood level of Vitamin D the greater the occurrence of Metabolic Syndrome.  Additionally researchers found an inverse relationship between blood triglycerides and HDL levels, 2 individual components of Metabolic Syndrome and Vitamin D levels.

Metabolic Syndrome involves a group of conditions that increase a person’s risk for stroke, heart disease and diabetes.    For the purposes of the study, participants meeting 3 of more of the criteria listed below were considered to have Metabolic Syndrome:

Waist circumference above 88 cm

High Blood Pressure (above 130/85 mmHG)

High Blood Sugar (fasting glucose levels over 100 mg/dl)

Abnormal triglycerides (above 150 mg/dl)

HDL below 50 mg/dl

Further studies are needed.

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Evening Primrose Oil

Evening Primrose OilEvening Primrose Oil, EPO, is derived from a plant found in North America. This plant grows yellow flowers that bloom in the evening time, which is how the name of this essential fatty acid came to be.  EPO is found in the seeds of the plant and is approximately 25% essential fatty acids.  This means these oils are essential to our health however our bodies cannot make them.  Raw material manufacturers cold press the seeds of the flower to make the oil and then they encapsulate the raw material into a dietary supplement.   Evening Primrose Oil is an Omega-6 essential fatty acid and is a source of GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) and LA (linoleic acid).

Evening Primrose Acid may help the following:

  • Promote Healthy Joints
  • Support the symptoms of PMS
  • Balance gastrointestinal health
  • Support a healthy cardiovascular system
  • Nourish the skin
  • Protect the integrity of the cell membrane
  • Balance hormones
  • Provide healthy nerve support
  • Improve brain function
  • Support the health of the central nervous system
  • Aid in the absorption of vitamins K, E and D

Here are 6 areas where research has shown EPO may provide healthy results:

1) Hormone Balance

Essential fatty acids are considered to be the building blocks of hormones.  Hormones are required for most every metabolic process in the body.  The essential fatty acids found in EPO reduce inflammatory prostaglandins, support hormone balance and support endocrine disorders like PCOS which can affect menstrual cycle regularity, fertility and ovulation.

Prostaglandin, hormone like chemicals found in the body, production is modulated by Evening Primrose Oil.  Prostaglandins also play a role in water retention, normal blood clotting and even in labor initiation in the birthing process.  Although there are many kinds of prostaglandins they all play a role in the functioning of a healthy body.  EPO helps to maintain and promote healthy prostaglandin levels.

2) Fertility

Evening Primrose Oil has been shown to increase metabolic function and cervical mucus.  These are two key factors needed for healthy menstruation and ovulation.

3) PMS and Women’s Health

Evening Primrose Oil has been shown to support several symptoms associated with PMS like bloating, water retention, mood swings, acne, breast pain and irritability.  Usually these symptoms are related to imbalances in hormone levels and research shows EPO can moderate these symptoms when taken consistently.  EPO can also help support symptoms associated with menopause making it an essential nutrient for women’s health.

4) Healthy Skin

Evening of Primrose Oil which contains GLA is essential for skin health.  GLA has shown benefits in supporting skin issues related to inflammation as well as hormone imbalances.  The skin which is the body’s largest organ, needs the Omega-6 essential acids found in EPO to improve skin elasticity and to optimize cell membrane structure.  Research has found some benefits for individuals suffering from psoriasis, eczema and generalized skin redness and EPO supplementation.

5) Reducing Inflammation

Evening Primrose Oil is often used to promote balance throughout the inflammatory pathways in the body especially in the joints.  It is been use to support the diseases involving chronic inflammation like rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and atopic dermatitis.  Research shows EPO can aid in dealing with symptoms associated with RA.

6) Health Hair

Hair loss common in both men and women is often associated with hormonal changes.  DHT, a male hormone, can cause hair follicles to shrink.  This reduces the hair’s lifespan and actually can actually slow down hair growth.  If DHT is high, which can happen to women with thyroid issues, PCOS and other chronic health issues, hair growth slows.  EPO can aid in stopping this hair loss.

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Vitamin D3 Helps Women Build Muscle After Menopause

Significant increases in muscle strength and reductions in body muscle mass losses in women, even 12 years after menopause, were seen in a recent study.

A double blind, placebo controlled study lasting over 9 months found a deficiency in Vitamin D was very common in postmenopausal women throughout the world.  These Vitamin D deficiencies created muscle weakness and a greater tendency for falls that could cause harm. Researchers estimated muscle mass using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and by using handgrip strength tests and chair rising tests.

Women who received the Vitamin D supplements showed a 25.3% increase in muscle strength.  Women who received the placebo lost an average of 6.8% of muscle mass and also were 2 times more likely to fall.

Researchers concluded Vitamin D supplementation alone provided “significant protection against the occurrence of sarcopenia, which is a degenerative loss of skeletal muscle”.

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Could Vitamin D Help Women Undergoing Fertility Treatment?

Vitamin D and FertilityA new meta-analysis and review appearing in Human Reproduction found higher Vitamin D levels were associated with better birth rates in women receiving fertility treatment.

11 studies with over 2,700 women undergoing fertility treatment, frozen embryo transfer, in vitro fertilization (IVF), and/or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) were reviewed.  Participants Vitamin D status was measured by means of blood tests.  75 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) was considered to be a sufficient Vitamin D status while 50 nmol/L was considered to be deficient. Vitamin D status between those 2 defined limits was considered as insufficient.

Results showed a high amount of Vitamin D deficiency among the study participants with only 26% of women participating in these studies having sufficient serum Vitamin D levels. Additionally 35% of participants had deficient levels of Vitamin D and 45% had insufficient Vitamin D levels.  Researchers also found that women with adequate Vitamin D levels had a 33% higher likelihood of having a live birth when compared with participants whose Vitamin D status was either insufficient or deficient.  Additionally other conception related outcomes were improved in participants with sufficient Vitamin D levels. Women achieving a positive pregnancy test two weeks after an embryo transfer were 34% higher in women with sufficient Vitamin D status when compared with participants with either insufficient or deficient Vitamin D levels.  In studies measuring the presence of a fetal heart beat at 5 weeks after an embryo transfer (“Clinical Pregnancy”), a 46% improvement in outcome was seen in participants considered to have sufficient Vitamin D levels.

Researchers stressed that although no causal connection could be attributed to Vitamin D and pregnancy outcomes, treating Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency could be essential to women undergoing fertility treatment.  Additionally researchers believe a randomized controlled trial is needed to investigate the benefits of Vitamin D deficiency and fertility treatment outcomes.

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Could Curcumin Benefit Gut Diversity and Prevent Post-Menopausal Weight Gain?

Curcumin and Weight GainAccording to a new study on rats, Curcumin may aid in reversing decreases in the diversity of gut bacteria after an ovariectomy (OVX) which may prevent weight gain often seen in post-menopausal women.

The study lasted 12 weeks.  Rats were split into three groups: rats having undergone an ovariectomy and fed distilled water (OVX); a control group of rats who underwent a sham operation (SHAM); rats having undergone an ovariectomy and given Curcumin (CUR).  The OVX group showed reduced gut bacterial diversity when compared with the SHAM group.  The CUR group however, displayed significantly different amounts of seven bacterial strains when compared with the OVX group.  Rats in the OVX group also showed a significant weight gain when compared to the control group (SHAM).  The CUR Group however, did not experience this weight gain.  No estrogenic effects were seen in the group supplementing with the Curcumin (CUR) since it did not prevent reductions in serum estradiol levels or uterine weight loss.

OVX rats showed a higher ratio of phyla Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes in the gut when compared with the control group.  These specific bacterial strains have been observed to lead to overweight rats and have also been associated with obesity in humans.  An additional benefit of Curcumin supplementation was a reduction in the bacteria Anaerotruncus, which has been associated with age-related macular degeneration and pre-natal stress.  Researchers also found Curcumin reduced the amount of Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori, the bacteria responsible for certain stomach ulcers.

Curcumin is the phyto nutrient found in turmeric.  It is a powerful antioxidant and has been show to support cardiovascular health as well as joint health in addition to a host of other promising impactful health promoting mechanisms.

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Recent RCT Discovers Vitamin D Deficiency May Double the Risk of Preeclampsia in Pregnant Women

Vitamin D and Pre-EclampsiaA new study finds that gestational hypertension/preeclampsia could be reduced with Vitamin D supplementation therapy.

Over 140 women with a history of preeclampsia participated in this study.  Women with hypertension before their pregnancy, a history of pulmonary, renal or cardiac disease and Vitamin D levels above 25 ng/ml (optimal Vitamin D levels are considered to be between 40 – 60 ng/ml) were excluded from the trial.    Vitamin D levels were taken at baseline.  70 of the participants (the intervention group) received a 50,000 IU Vitamin D supplement every two weeks.  The remaining participants (the control group) received a placebo.  The study lasted until the 36th week of pregnancy.  The control group experienced a 1.94 times increase in the risk of developing preeclampsia when compared to the intervention group.

Preeclampsia is a form of high blood pressure (hypertension) related to pregnancy and is characterized by excess protein in the urine and high blood pressure.  This condition is fairly easy to treat but can be very harmful to both the child and the mother and accounts for approximately 25% of all maternal deaths.  Preeclampsia also increases the risk the baby will be born prematurely or small for their gestational age with increases the risk of infant mortality.

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