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SUBJECT: Reading notes, Sept, 2015 from Roc Nutrition Investigator

Here are answers to reader' questions and notes from other readings related to nutrition, aging, and brains.

1. Reader’s question: Does this mean it's counterproductive for me to be taking Omega 3 fish oil daily? My dr recommended it and I've been taking it for years. 
Answer: I try to show all interesting results, and appreciate your close attention.  As my longer summary explains here, this was a small study and only dealt with aortic calcification.  Therefore, I encourage you to follow your doctor’s advice and keep taking fish oil daily, as it has many documented benefits for brain and overall health.  I take 2 g daily, plus eating fish often.

2. The hidden dangers of dietary supplements (Science) Some dietary supplements are spiked with drugs. Be cautious of herbal, esp. body building supplements (Sci 349:483) It is no simple matter to speak of the genome of any individual…given that many dynamic genomes act in concert to facilitate individual survival and reproduction.  (Sci 349:395) Numerous small molecules are produced by the human microbiota. Many modulate or exacerbate immune responses and other physiological functions.

4. From LPI: Dr. Kathy Magnusson published anew paper about the effects of dietary changes on cognitive flexibility, or the mental ability to switch tasks. She found that diets high in fat or sugar fed to laboratory mice reduced their cognitive flexibility. Interestingly, behavioral changes in the mice were linked to specific alterations in the composition of gut bacteria, known as the "microbiome".  

5. From Nature: Artificial sweeteners may disrupt the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, causing metabolic changes that can be a precursor to diabetes.  They change the composition of the microbiome.  The different mix of microbes, the researchers contend, changes the metabolism of glucose, causing levels to rise higher after eating and to decline more slowly than they otherwise would.  She noted that many conditions, including obesity and diabetes, had been linked to changes in the microbiome. “What the study suggests,” she said, “is we should step back and reassess our extensive use of artificial sweeteners.”

6. LPI Vitamin D webinar notes, Aug 27, By LPI Professor Gombart
For a tanned Caucasian o make 1,000 IU with sunlight at Chicago/Portland (35 degree) latitude, need 11 min of sunlight on your skin on a partly cloudy day on Apr. 27th, 5 min on a clear day on June 27th, and it is not possible to get enough on Dec. 27th. Humans outside all day can make 10-20,000 IU Breast fed babies are often deificient and should get a drop of vitamin D supplement for babies daily.  If you are a vegetarian, there is no vitamin D in vegetables and fruits, but UV irradiated mushrooms are available at stores.  Has anticancer, immune boosting as well as bone and muscle health (increasing Ca and P absorption) functions.  Acts as a hormone, affecting DNA expression. HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED? It was upped from 400 to 600, but most think that is too little. Critical is how much to need circulating in blood -
Infant 200
Pregnant or lactating 800
Normal 600
Over 70 800
Adults now 2,000 IU; perhaps higher
Pregnant and Breast feeding requires 6,000 IU daily recommended by Institute of Medicine
Endocrine Society says upper limit 10,000 IU
70nM in blood
People with troubles or obesity need 2 or 3 times more
Greater than 30-40ng/ml serum appears best; 30 to 100ng sufficient x2.5 for nM; 20-24ng best; IOM says above 50ng may be hazardous, but in reality this has not been seen; over 60ng hazard greater.
Some recommend normal people get up to 10,000 IU daily.
Personal levels vary tremendously, by a factor of 6 on same dosage.  1 billion worldwide are deficient; 70% of US children are deficient!
Helps fight infections! Innate (monocytes, dendritic cells, macrophages, neutrophils - immediate response) vs. Adaptive (B and T cells- long term response).  Innate decreases inflammation, produces antimicrobial peptides, bactericidal protein - kill bacteria and viruses. Taking vitamin D substantially decreases need for antibiotics.  May be important for respiratory tract.  Need enough vitamin K to prevent calcification of the wrong tissues.

7. From Scientific American Mind Sept/Oct 2015
Pg 48 - DON’T DIET!  Psychology prevents most diets from succeeding long term, and rebound then increases your weight.  67% of Americans over 20 are overweight.  Those who make very modest changes to calorie intake and physical activity levels lost four times more than those on “diets”.  Start to plan a few meals you like that you can cycle through on a regular basis. Those who have slimmed down report routine physical activity is important to their maintenance routine.
Pg 70 - Does napping help cognitive function? A 20-minute nap appears to be the sweet spot. Such brief sojourns boost mood and cognitive performance. Longer naps cause grogginess afterwards.
Pg 11 Awareness campaigns may help some people to get support/treatment, but they also make healthy people take drugs they do not need. The key questions to ask about treatment are: What is likely to happen to me if I am not treated? What is likely to happen to me if I am - side effects?
Pg 12 - Awe might make us healthier, just as negative emotions are linked to poor health outcomes; The feeling of awe is linked to lower levels of an inflammation molecule.
Pg 13 - How to be a better listener: Check your assumptions, get curious, suspend judgment, know when to ask for a break
Pg 13 - depression linked to zinc deficiency, 30 mg daily for 12 weeks helped; but caution as if not needed Zn supplements are harmful. Low magnesium is linked to anxiety and depression. Low manganese is linked to Alzheimer’s and cognitive function.  But beware of supplements - Improve your diet with fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds to get your minerals.
Pg 19 - Men Prefer weird women, so do not try to conform
Pg 19 - Oxytocin (the love molecule) and alcohol both reduce fear, anxiety, and stress while increasing trust, generosity, and altruism. But both increase aggression, risk taking, and “in-group” bias - favoring people similar to ourselves and the expense of others.
Pg. 31 - Biological clocks - Artificial light at night confuses the body’s rhythms, raising risk of obesity, diabetes, cancer, depression, cognitive decline, and infertility.  People can learn to regulate their natural circadian rhythms to maintain and restore health. Go to bed and awake at regular times. Front-load your meals earlier and forgo midnite snacks. Work out regularly but not at bedtime.

8. In the article in a recent New England Journal of Medicine, titled “GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health,” Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, the Dean for Global Health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and co-author Charles Benbrook, a crop and soil scientist, say the time has come for three important steps.
One of these is GMO labeling. They write: “We believe the time has come to revisit the United States’ reluctance to label GM foods.” As they explain, two recent developments are dramatically changing the GMO landscape: The number of chemical herbicides applied to GM crops has increased sharply and is scheduled to increase even more in the next few years. This year, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate, the herbicide used most widely on GM crops, as a “probable human carcinogen.” And the agency classified 2,4-D, another herbicide, as a “possible human carcinogen.”

11. The klotho protein may be a promising therapeutic agent for aging and aging-related disorders.

12. Seniors, older than 70 years, without cognitive impairment, were randomly assigned to either: 1) virtual reality video game dancing (DANCE), 2) treadmill walking with simultaneous verbal memory training (MEMORY), or 3) treadmill walking (PHYS). Each program was complemented with strength and balance exercises. Two 1-hour training sessions per week over 6 months were applied.  Particular executive functions benefit from simultaneous cognitive–physical training compared to exclusively physical multicomponent training. Cognitive–physical training programs may counteract widespread cognitive impairments in the elderly.

13.What Eating 40 Teaspoons of Sugar a Day Can Do to You - The New York Times

- Roc, Nutrition Investigator
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Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values. Ayn Rand

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