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AJCN Feb, 2008

SUMMARY - Obesity is 75% inherited, 25% environmental! (1) And obese people are likely to have serious vitamin deficiencies, esp. C, D, and E that may be important to take as supplements(7). Amount of sleep may be a factor, and 7 hours was normal for thin people, people with less or more sleep were more likely to be obese. (3) The Mediterranean diet (2), olive oil (4), and berries (5) are really good for you, especially for your heart. And fish oil helps you become smarter and maintain a healthy brain (9). But there may be no value, even harm, with calcium (10) and selenium (8) supplements. A study shows Atkin's diet, any low carb diet, reduces the risk of diabetes, even with high fat and protein. (6). Finally, a symposium warns of the hazard of many botanicals (11).

DETAILS - 1. Obesity-still highly heritable after all these years- First, the study confirms the substantial broad-sense heritability of obesity in a younger sample during this time interval...With broad-sense heritability estimated at 77% and a total (ie, shared and nonshared) environmental effect of <25%, we have evidence that the basic genetic architecture of obesity has not changed substantially...mean height, weight, and BMI in study subjects were quite close to 1990 levels, whereas mean waist circumference exceeded 1990 levels by 0.8 SDs

2. the Mediterranean diet that reduces inflammation - higher dietary intakes of choline and betaine in the Greek population reduce inflammation as assessed by several biomarkers in blood...individuals in the highest tertile for dietary intake of choline and betaine had significantly lower plasma C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor- concentrations ...Choline is critical during fetal development (rodents), when it influences stem cell proliferation and apoptosis, thereby altering brain structure and function (7). Similarly it influences neural tube development in humans (7). When food-composition tables that include these nutrients recently became available from the US Department of Agriculture (Internet:, it became possible to examine the associations between dietary intake and chronic diseases.

3. Sleep duration, general and abdominal obesity, and weight change - Compared with subjects who slept 7 h, subjects who slept 5 h had a greater frequency of obesity... and severe obesity... In addition, sleeping 8 h was associated with obesity... and severe obesity... Similarly, subjects sleeping 9 h were more likely to have severe obesity ...

4. Compared to monounsaturated fat, saturated fat induces blood clotting factors leading to heart disease .

5. Whereas berry consumption decreases blood pressure, increases HDL, and decreases improper blood clotting.

6. Low-carb diet like Atkin's may decrease the risk of diabetes. And especially vegetables rich in fat and protein reduce diabetes risk.

7. Obese people often have serious vitamin deficiencies - vitamin B6, C, D, and E especially.

8. No benefit to selenium supplements in the elderly, but if anyone is concerned about selenium, eat a few Brazil nuts.

9. Omega-3 fatty acids make one smarter! Six cognitive tests were administered at all follow-ups. We related cognitive performance at 64 y old and cognitive changes from 64 to 68 y old...

10. Hazard of calcium supplements in girls - they suppress bone remodelling.

11. Symposium on Botanical Supplements for Human Health - NIH has many ongoing studies. "Currently marketed in the US with little or no publicly available validation of efficacy or consistency...they are studying Echinacea and other botanicals. ..The dramatic increase in the ingestion of saturated and n–6 fatty acids and concomitant decrease in n–3 fatty acids are thought to be a major driver of the increase in the incidence of inflammatory diseases such as asthma, allergy, and atherosclerosis. ..Echium oil and other oils containing stearidonic acid as well as botanical oil combinations (such as echium and borage oils) hold great promise for modulating inflammatory diseases."

Have a great month! Spring is coming.

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