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SUBJECT: Roc's reading notes for Apr, 2015

Here's a baker's dozen of my reading notes for April.

1) Consider subscribing to Scientific American Mind for great nutrition for the mind. May/June issue:
....Infection and stress can give you the blues. Both activate your immune response. Immune response produces cytokines. Cytokines make you feel tired and listless. Interventions to reduce inflammation - more fish oil, vitamin D and SAMe, less meat and sugar, more exercise and sleep - reduce anxiety and depression.
....Exercise boosts brain health, work out after a study session to retain what you learn.
For creativity, try exhibiting contradictory mental states, like thinking sad thoughts while smiling.
Mindfulness-based therapy is wonderful medicine - for headaches, insomnia, fibromyalgia, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, stress (which interferes with getting pregnant).
....Meditation often makes drugs more effective, and frequently meditation can replace medications and be more effective than the drugs are.
Once anxious patients are identified, mindful meditation tames worrying by directing mental focus to the present moment. People treated for cancer and given an 8 week meditation class stayed relaxed for at least a full year, while those without the course were often anxious about their health.
....Treating depression early may help the heart. People who are depressed have inflammation from stress, which contributes to heart disease. People whose depression is treated, for instance with meditation, are 48% less likely to have a heart attack when older.

2) 40g of whey protein boosts muscle growth in people over 70 - A study by Yang et al found that although 20 g of whey protein was capable of surpassing the “leucine threshold” and increased rates of myofibrillar muscle protein synthesis in older adults, the ingestion of 40 g of whey protein increased exercise-stimulated rates of muscle protein synthesis to an even greater extent.

3) Mindfulness or zen meditation and grounding in yoga have wonderful health benefits - The effects of grounding (earthing) on inflammation, the immune response, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases

4) Feeding modest amounts of peanuts to babies before they are 5 years old reduces rate of allergy from 17% to 3%.  Their immune systems learn to tolerate them.  This is likely true for other food allergies, which may be rising only because of paranoid parental behavior. 27 Feb Science - pg 931

5) The avoidance of toxins, reduction of stress, prevention of somatic diseases, implementation of mental and physical exercises, as well as the use of dietary compounds like antioxidants and supplements can be protective against mild cognitive impairment in older people - It is crucial to protect older people against MCI and developing dementia. The preventive interventions and appropriate treatments should improve cognitive performance, and retard or prevent progressive deficits.

6) Low mental quality of life scores 1 month after a minor health crisis appear to significantly predict downstream functional decline - Early indications that low mental quality of life scores in recently unwell older people predict downstream functional decline. This finding needs to be tested in a larger sample.

7) Twelve weeks of resistance training improves the flexibility of different joint movements in older women

8) Group therapy is more effective for quitting smoking.

9) Question from reader: Could you do some investigation on something I just read in the NYT: calcium supplements have been shown to raise possibilities of heart attacks in people over 50. I take calcium supplements, and magnesium & vitamin D but will stop the calcium if this is true. Also, does vitamin D metabolize by itself? I know that calcium isn't that effective without D, but is the same true for D? First, there is evidence that too much calcium is harmful to the heart. In the US, almost everyone gets plenty of calcium without supplements. However, vitamin D is very important, and taking 2,000 IU helps people maintain strong bones and reduce osteoporosis.

10) Reader question: I have taken lovastatin for years. Comments on this bit of advertising on Facebook for CoQ10? Roc responds: It is garbage, generally.  However, people who take statin drugs may benefit by taking CoQ10, because it is made naturally, and statin drugs block its synthesis. The symptom of deficiency of CoQ10 is if you have discomfort in your legs when taking statins. Then you are likely to benefit from CoQ10. Here's many details worth reading about CoQ10. But generally I think statins are not useful.  My cholesterol was just tested over 200, and the doctor recommended statins - when they used to be only recommended over 240.  The compound in blood causing plaque is your oxidized LDL level, which is not easily measured. But that is lowered by taking vitamin C twice a day. The other useful measure is your LDL/HDL ratio, which should be below 5.

11) Reader's question: Do you have any research information on breastfeeding and diet or certain types of food.  I am aiming to amp up my milk production and wondering the the current research is.
All new parents should be aware of this report of research done throughout Europe about infant feeding for health. I have not encountered any research on this. One source that seems sensible might be La Leche League.

12) Reader's comment - Ever considered taking a scorpion venom supplement? Here's an article on the anticancer potential of venoms. There is more literature and companies that produce such products.

13) Reader's comment- Happy Spring holidays to you, too, Roc! What an invaluable service you provide going forward. Truly, I have incorporated some of your very beneficial nutritional tips in past years into diet and look forward to thanking you personally at reunion. Roc responds: “It is so nice to receive your message letting me know someone is paying attention. Of the hundreds who receive my email, there are perhaps10 who frequently respond. Since about 5 per month opt on new or opt off losing interest, comments like yours show sufficient reader interest to keep me motivated, plus I love having my nutrition site as a resource to search for answers.  One former student became an executive at a Probiotics company, and in my congratulations, I added "Please do search my site for all the recent articles in AJCN and JNutr about the microbiome".  What a fun life I have.”

- Roc, Nutrition Investigator
*To be added or removed from the nutrition research Email List . *To review the disclaimer*To ask Roc a question. feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day.-Frank Sinatra

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