Vitamin B Clinical Trials First to Use Neuroimaging Technology

brain health vitamin BAccording to new research supplementing daily with B vitamins significantly increases energy and overall mood in mentally demanding situations, reduces subjective stress and improves general mental health.

Two clinical trials studying B vitamins supplementation have been completed and are the first trials ever to use neuroimagaing to examine the effects of vitamins supplementation.  Researchers mapped brain activity using Steady State Topography and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to detect blood flow changes in the brain.

Increase activation in the parietal-frontal brain regions, which are associated with working memory and attention, showed increased activation utilizing both neuroimaging technologies.  The parietal lobe is one of the four major lobes of the brain’s cerebral cortex.

Researchers believe that the results of these two trials confirm that multi vitamins supplementation supports mood and mental performance, in addition to influencing brain activity.

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CoQ10 May Improve Facial Wrinkles

wrinklesA new study has found that a high dose Co Enzyme Q 10 supplement taken daily may improve wrinkles around the eyes and other parts of the face.

32 healthy individuals who averaged 53 years of age participated in this placebo-controlled randomized intervention study.  Participants were randomly broken down into 3 groups: low dose CoQ10 (50 mg), high dose CoQ10 (150 mg) or a placebo.  The study lasted 12 weeks.  CoQ10’s anti wrinkle benefits were seen with both groups supplementing with the CoQ10.  The high dose group saw even more improvement in reductions in wrinkles around the lips, nose and mouth than the lose dose group.

CoQ10 is found in all cells in our bodies.  It is an essential part of the cellular energy cycle.  It has been demonstrated that CoQ10 levels decrease with age and are diminished with the use of certain medications like statin drugs.  CoQ10 also acts like an antioxidant protecting the cells from free radical damage.

Further studies are planned.

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Vitamin D Pills Improve Insulin Measures in Healthy Adults

vitamin-dAccording to a new study supplementation of Vitamin D may improve fasting glucose levels as well as insulin resistance in healthy adults.

96 healthy adults were randomly determined to receive either a placebo or a Vitamin D3 supplement (420 IU) daily.  The study lasted 1 year.  Results showed increases in serum blood levels of Vitamin D at the end of the study period for participants supplementing with the Vitamin D3 compared to the placebo group.  Decreases of 3.0 mg/dL in mean glucose concentrations were seen in the Vitamin D3 group while no changes were seen in the placebo group.  Also insulin resistance (measured with the homeostasis model HOMA-IR) decreased significantly in the Vitamin D group and again no changes were seen in the placebo group.

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient involved in the maintenance of bone density and strength.  It is best known for it’s ability to move calcium through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream.  Even though the human body can manufacture Vitamin D under ideal circumstances there is strong evidence that many people may suffer from a deficiency of this nutrient making supplementation important.  Cholecalciferol (D3) is a natural, highly bio- available form of Vitamin D.

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Omega-3’s May Give Additional Heart Health Benefits for Statin Users

Omega 3According to a new study people taking statin drugs to reduce cholesterol levels may see benefits for reductions in blood pressure and arterial improvements when supplementing with fish oil.

20 Adults with Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), an inherited condition that leads to elevated bad (LDL) cholesterol levels, participated in this trial.  All participants were already taking statin drugs.  Participants were randomly assigned to receive either 4 grams of Omacor, which delivers EPA and DHA in their ethyl ester form, or nothing.  The study lasted 8 weeks.  After another 8 week washout period, the participants switched groups.

A 9% increase in large artery elasticity and a 6% reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure were seen.  Additionally a 20% reduction in triglycerides and a 8% reduction in apoB levels was observed.  Apolipoprotein B (apoB) is the main apolipoprotein of bad cholesterol that is responsible for transporting cholesterol to the tissues.

Further studies are needed.

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Study Supports Fenugreek Extract’s Menopausal Benefits

menopauseA new study supports the ability of a standardized fenugreek extract (Trigonella foenum-graecum) to reduce hot flashes in postmenopausal women and aid in improving their quality of life.

88 women participated in this randomized, double-blinded placebo-controlled study.  Participants randomly were assigned to receive either a 1,000 mg dose of a fenugreek extract or a placebo daily.  The study lasted 90 days.  When compared to the placebo participants who received the fenugreek extract experienced a 57% reduction in night sweats, a 68% reduction in mood swings and 54% reduction in headaches.  Hot flashes were reduced from an average of 5 -7 times per day at baseline to 1 – 2 times daily at the end of the study period.  Additionally 32% of women in the fenugreek group reported no hot flashes at the end of the trial.

Researchers believe that the fenugreek extract increased estradiol levels in the group supplementing with this herb by 120%.  Estradiol is an estrogen that has been shown to play a key role in menopausal discomforts such as vaginal dryness, anxiety, irritability, mood swings, night sweats, insomnia and headaches.

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Low Vitamin D During Pregnancy Linked with Learning Disabilities

learning disabilitiesA new study highlighting seasonal variations in Vitamin D as a factor in brain development has found lower levels of Vitamin D in pregnant women might be associated with certain learning disabilities in children.  Researchers in this study found 8.9% of children conceived during the months of January, February and March had some type of learning disability. Only 7.6% of the children conceived in July, August and September had learning disabilities.

Over 800,000 children attending schools in Scotland from 2006 and 2011 participated in this study.  The educational needs of these participating children were recorded and correlated to the children’s month of birth.  Seasonal variations were a significant factor to conditions like dyslexia, autistic spectrum disorder and intellectual disabilities.  The birth month had no correlation on either sensory or motor/physical impairments and communication, mental or physical conditions.

The first 3 months of pregnancy are considered the critical period for the fetus’s brain growth.  Prior studies have shown vitamin D deficiencies can impair neurological development in the fetus.  Like folic acid it is recommended that women begin vitamin D supplementation before becoming pregnant or as early as they can.

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Folic Acid Fortification Linked to Lower Heart Defect Rates

heart diseaseAccording to new research, foods fortified with the B vitamin folic acid have been found to reduce the number of babies born with abnormalities of the heart by 11%.

In this study data from a population based cohort study of almost 6,000,000 live births and stillbirths, which included late-pregnancy terminations, delivered after a gestation period of over 20 weeks was used.  The study looked at data gathered over a 22 year period in 14 different Canadian geographic areas.  The study was done in Canada where folic acid fortification was mandated in November of 1998.

Over 72,000 CHD (congenital heart defect) cases were diagnosed at the time of birth and in infancy.  This occurrence rate was compared to rates of CHD diagnosed prior to 1998 when mandatory fortification was put into effect.  The beneficial effects of folic acid were seen in certain types of CHD but not in others.  A 27% reduction in heart outflow tract abnormalities was seen.  Additionally a 23% reduction in aorta narrowing was found and a 15% reduction in holes that occur in the heart wall separating the heart’s chambers was also seen.

It is believed that women who are trying to get pregnant or are likely to get pregnant should start supplementing with folic acid before they actually get pregnant since it is likely that they are not receiving enough folate from their diet alone.  Folic acid is required for cell growth and cell division and is considered a necessary nutrient for reducing neural tube defects in newborns in addition to reducing heart defects in newborns.

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