Saturday, August 18, 2007

Nutritonal Supplements in the News

Updates on the latest research findings on specific vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids and health benefits. This will be an ever expanding section. Feel free to post documented findings from respected scientific sources.

For example, please post on the latest research findings on:

  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • B Complex Vitamins
  • Bioflavonoid Antioxidants (Quercetin, Grape Seed Extract, Resveratrol)
  • Olive Extract
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Chromium
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil and Flax Seed Oil)
The medical research is filled with studies showing associations of decreased incidence of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, respiratory diseases, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, etc. Many of these past medical studies are already cited in many of Dr. McNamara's books, and are quite impressive. This section will be devoted to ongoing research findings as they come out. Again, please feel free to post documented research findings and cite your sources.

For additional updates in the news regarding nutritional research see Lyle MacWilliam's Nutrisearch Corporation: http://www.nutrisearch.ca.

Please see: http://mcnamaraupdates.blogspot.com

10 comments:

Ladd McNamara, M.D. said...

Omega-3 fatty acid intake associated with lower heart disease risk.

Increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet is associated with lower levels of inflammation and endothelial activation, according to results from a study at Harvard. Dysfunction of the endothelium, which is the inner lining of the blood vessel wall, is an early event in the development of atherosclerosis and subsequent heart disease.

Food frequency questionnaires completed in 1986 and 1990 by 727 participants in the Nurses' Health study were evaluated for levels of the omega-3 fatty acids alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Alpha-linolenic acid consumption was found to be inversely associated with several plasma markers of inflammation, while EPA and DHA intake was inversely related to platelet aggregration. That means, the more fish oil consumed the less inflammation and damage to the blood vessels.

Results of this study indicate that in addition to reducing triglycerides, platelet aggregation and heart arrhythmias, omega-3 fatty acids may also reduce the body's production of hydrogen peroxide, which is involved in the inflammatory process.

J Nutr 2004 Jul;134(7):1806-11

It has long been known that omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation processes, not only in the blood vessels, but throughout the body (joints, etc.)

In my book, The Cholesterol Conspiracy, I site a study involving over 97 double blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials that compared fish oil to statin (cholesterol-lowering) drugs (page 68 of the 2nd Edition). The results of the study showed that statin drugs as a class, reduced the incidence of cardiac death by only 13%. However, fish oil reduced the risk of cardia death by 23%. Comparing the risks and benefits, which one sounds better to you?

Arch Intern Med 2005 Apr;165(7):725-30

Intereting enough, the statin drugs did not necessarily help reduce the incidence of death by lowering LDL cholesterol, but rather because they have a slight anti-oxidant, or anti-inflammatory effect. However, fish oil has a greater antioxidant, anti-inflammatory effect, and therefore was shown to be much more effective in what the goal is: reduce the incidence of cardiac death. You can lower LDL cholesterol all day long, but if it doesn't significantly reduce the risk of death then what good are you doing?

Now, add to this a full-range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and you may start to get a glimpse of the incredible health promoting benefits of properly balanced supplementation, exercise, and a healthy diet. Who knows? It is possible that your improve your health so much your doctor may decide not to prescribe drugs.

Ladd McNamara, M.D. said...

Mayo Clinic trial finds flaxseed reduces hot flashes

The summer 2007 issue of the Journal of the Society for Integrative Oncology reported a study conducted at the Mayo Clinic which found that consuming flaxseed can help reduce uncomfortable hot flashes in postmenopausal women who are not using estrogen replacement therapy. Hot flashes are the primary reason women are prescribed estrogen by their physicians, however, recent research has linked synthetic hormone replacement with an increased risk of breast cancer and heart disease, resulting in an exodus of a large number of women from hormone treatment.

In a pilot study, breast health specialist Sandhya Pruthi, MD and colleagues gave 40 grams crushed flaxseed per day for six weeks to 29 women who suffered from hot flashes. The participants had not used any hormones, soy, or herbal supplements for the preceding four weeks. Questionnaires concerning the frequency and severity of hot flashes were administered before and after the treatment period. Twenty-one women completed the trial.

By the end of the study, hot flash frequency was cut in half and the overall “hot flash score” had diminished by an average of 57 percent. The women also reported improved mood, reduced joint or muscle pain, fewer chills, and less sweating.

Flaxseed was selected for the current trial because of its phytoestrogen content. Flax contains lignans that have mild estrogen-like effects as well as anticancer benefits. In recent trials, flax has been shown to help decrease the risk of breast cancer. The seeds are also a source of omega-3 fatty acids.

“We are quite pleased with the improvements noted by these women in their quality of life,” Dr Pruthi commented. “Not only does flaxseed seem to alleviate hot flashes, but it appears to have overall health and psychological benefits as well.”

Ladd McNamara, M.D. said...

This one is interesting, and might give what I say in my book, THE CHOLESTEROL CONSPIRACY some additional credibility:

Low LDL cholesterol associated with increased cancer risk

The finding of a review reported in July 31, 2007 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology questions the wisdom of widespread aggressive reduction of cholesterol to very low levels by the use of statin drugs as recommended by recent national guidelines. Although significant reduction of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol may help prevent heart disease, researchers at Tufts University have discovered an association between decreased LDL and a greater risk of cancer.

In an effort to determine the mechanism of statin drugs’ damaging side effects, Tufts University School of Medicine professor of medicine Richard H. Karas, MD and colleagues examined data from the treatment arms of 23 randomized controlled statin drug trials that included 75,317 participants, and found that liver toxicity rose with increased dosage, leading the team to conclude that moderate dose therapy with several medications may be preferable to high dose therapy with a statin drug alone.

To examine the drugs’ effect on cancer, 13 treatment arms including 41,173 participants were evaluated. When the researchers analyzed the effect of LDL reduction on the rates of newly diagnosed cancer, they found that for every 1,000 patients with low LDL levels there was an additional incidence of cancer compared to the same amount of subjects with higher LDL. This relationship was not dependent upon the percentage of change in LDL levels, nor was the cancer limited to a specific type or location.

The authors conclude that “the cardiovascular benefits of low achieved levels of LDL cholesterol may in part be offset by an increased risk of cancer.” It is not known whether the increased risk of cancer is attributable to statin drugs or having low LDL. “This analysis doesn’t implicate the statin in increasing the risk of cancer,” Dr Karas stated. “The demonstrated benefits of statins in lowering the risk of heart disease remain clear, however, certain aspects of lowering LDL with statins remain controversial and merit further research.”

Ladd McNamara, M.D. said...

This is along the lines of what I mentioned in my Prostate Cancer Book, however, other research has shown you need to consume FAR MORE than what a human being can actually eat to significantly cause the death of cancer cells ..i.e., you must also supplement in addition to a healthy diet.... interesting!

Pectin triggers self-destruction of prostate cancer cells

The August, 2007 issue of the journal Glycobiology published the discovery of scientists at the University of Georgia’s Complex Carbohydrate Research Center that treatment with pectin causes the self-destruction of cultured prostate cancer cells. Pectin, a type of fiber which occurs in fruits and vegetables, is one of the most complex molecules known, and can bind to several cell sites to elicit different cellular responses simultaneously. Previous research in rats and tissue cultures treated with pectin has found a protective effect against lung and colon tumors, as well as reduced metastasis.

Professor of biochemistry and molecular biology Debra Mohnen and her associates at the University of Georgia and the VA Medical Center in Augusta exposed androgen-responsive and androgen- independent human prostate cancer cells to commercially available pectin powder. The induction of cellular self-destruction known as apoptosis was approximately 40-fold greater in cultures treated with fractionated pectin powder compared with non-treated cells.

Androgen-independent cells cannot be combated with hormone therapy and are therefore difficult to treat, yet both androgen-responsive and androgen-independent cells were found to have undergone apoptosis following treatment with pectin.

The research team found that heat treatment increased pectin’s apoptotic activity, suggesting a way to improve its cancer-fighting ability. They are currently seeking to identify the smallest structure within pectin that elicits apoptosis in order to develop pectin-based nutraceuticals or drugs.

The study is the first to demonstrate an apoptotic effect of pectin in prostate cancer cells and contributes to the understanding of the anticancer property of pectin found in previous research. “What this paper shows is that if you take human prostate cancer cells and add pectin, you can induce programmed cell death,” Dr Mohnen stated. “If you do the same with noncancerous cells, cell death doesn’t occur.”

“Even though we hear constantly that we’re supposed to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, it wasn’t until we started working on these studies that it finally hit home how really important that was,” she added. “By simply increasing your intake of fruits of vegetables, you’re going to get a lot of pectin and you’re going to get all of the other beneficial phytochemicals at the same time.”

Ladd McNamara said...

Vitamin D News: After reading this and consulting with your doctor, consider supplementing with vitamin D above the RDA (beyond what you can obtain from your food), here's why:

A study published in the American Journal of Public Health, has found that vitamin D deficiency may account for several thousand premature deaths annually.


The researchers reviewed 63 studies on the relationship between vitamin D and certain types of cancer worldwide between 1966 and 2004. The majority of studies found a protective relationship between sufficient vitamin D status and lower risk of cancer, especially in cancers of the colon, breast, prostate and ovary.

Vitamin D is acquired either through the diet or through exposure to sunlight. Food sources include milk, yogurt, cheese, and fortified orange juice. A typical serving provides approximately 100 international units (IU). Researchers suggested that people might want to consider a vitamin supplement to raise their overall intake to 1,000 IU's per day. Supplementing with additional vitamin D could be especially important for people living in northern areas, which receive less vitamin D from sunlight.

The evidence suggests that improving vitamin D status through diet and supplements could reduce cancer incidence and mortality at low cost, with few or no adverse effects.

American Journal of Public Health February 2006, Vol 96, No. 2:252-261.

Joan E. Baumann said...

Hello Dr. McNamara,

Recent studies have proven that higher levels of Vitamin D are vitally required in many health areas, including muscular strength, particularly in the elderly.

In 2003 the Mayo Clinic proceedings online Journal contained an article

written by Michael Holic, M.D. entitled “Vitamin D Deficiency: What a Pain It Is”.

He concluded his article with these words: “Prevention of vitamin D deficiency not only preserves bone and muscle health but also may help prevent many chronic diseases and preserve overall health and well-being.” http://www.mayoclinicproceedings.com/inside.asp?AID=464&UID=

More recently the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism stated that Vitamin D deficiency is common among older people and can cause mineralization defects, bone loss, and muscle weakness. They concluded
that “ because almost 50% of the population had serum 25-OHD below
20 ng/ml, public health strategies should be aimed at this group.”
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Jun;92(6):2058-65.

Omega 3 fatty acids are also of benefit in maintaining muscle strength, even as we age. Aging cells can develop insulin resistance which has an effect on our ability to build muscle protein.

According to a brief article in FitnessRx for men (my grandson is into health Bigtime!) “Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil improve insulin resistance,
which helps older adults build muscle.” The summary was based upon research from the Journal of Physiology 579:269-284,2007. The abstract stated: “We conclude that chronic feeding of menhaden oil provides a novel nutritional means to enhance insulin-sensitive aspects of protein metabolism.” http://jp.physoc.org/cgi/content/abstract/579/1/269

Adding the 200 IUs available in the Biomega to the recommended daily intake of the Essentials and Active Calcium provides 1200 IUs daily. Please don’t let anyone tell you that 400 IUs of Vitamin D a day is enough! One recent study
in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition emphasized the Urgent Need for higher Levels of Vitamin D and that “Supplemental intake of 400 IU vitamin D/d has only a modest effect on blood concentrations of 25(OH)D,
raising them by 7–12 nmol/L, depending on the starting point.

To raise 25(OH)D from 50 to 80 nmol/L requires an additional intake of 1700 IU vitamin D/d”.

They advised that “Correction of low 25(OH)D concentrations can happen only if some or all of the following are implemented: the encouragement of safe, moderate
exposure of skin to ultraviolet light; appropriate increases in food fortification with vitamin D; and the provision of higher doses of vitamin D in supplements for adults. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 85, No. 3, 649-650, March 2007

Biomega* contains a powerful combination of the two to add to our daily supplement regimen. Don’t miss your two capsules a day!

*I have personally come to trust the science and quality of Usana's products. However, if you choose another product, please be sure that it is pharmaceutical grade, molecularly distilled to ensure that it is virtually free of organic contaminants, heavy metals, pesticides and trans-fatty acids.

In health,
Joan E. Baumann

If you love the science of nutrition as I do, then watch for
"Show Me the Science" which will soon be available at www.comparativeguide.com

Ladd McNamara said...

Here are several Recent Research Studies About Antioxidants and the Possible Reduction of Cancer.... Very Interesting!

Vitamin A derivatives, known as retinoids, protect against the development of various cancers, including those of the skin, breast, and lung (Clarke N et al 2004; Khera P et al 2005). Dietary supplementation with synthetic vitamin A for 12 months in liver cancer survivors prevented recurrence of this cancer (Takai K et al 2005). In addition to preventing cancer, vitamin A derivatives have been used to cure acute promyelocytic leukemia (Clarke N et al 2004).

Vitamin C. Long-term human studies have shown that vitamin C dietary supplements, when used in conjunction with other antioxidants, can reduce the risk of developing cancer (Hercberg S et al 2004). Similar results were found for cancers of the prostate (Meyer F et al 2005) and lung (Mooney LA et al 2005; Wright ME et al 2004).

Clinical studies have shown that vitamin E can reduce the risk of prostate and lung cancers, particularly when used in combination with selenium supplements (Helzlsouer KJ et al 2000; Woodson K et al 1999). Regular and long-term (over 10 years) use of vitamin E reduces the risk of death from bladder cancer (Jacobs EJ et al 2002). Similarly, the use of vitamin E supplements for longer than three years slightly reduces the risk of recurrence among breast cancer survivors (Fleischauer AT et al 2003).

Vitamin C works against cancer (but maybe not the way you thought)

Researchers from Johns Hopkins report in the September, 2007 issue of the journal Cancer Cell that vitamin C can indeed help prevent cancer as has been claimed for years by a number of scientists including Linus Pauling, but it appears to do so in a different manner than that which earlier researchers proposed. While it had been believed that the well known antioxidant property of vitamin C prevented cancer by protecting DNA from free radical damage, the latest research unveils a new mechanism: that of preventing the ability of a tumor to grow in a reduced oxygen environment.

Johns Hopkins professor of medicine and oncology Chi Dang, MD, PhD and his associates tested the ability of vitamin C as well as N-acetyl-cysteine, another antioxidant, in mice implanted with human lymphoma or liver cancer cells, both of which produce a high number of free radicals. Control groups of mice implanted with the cancers received no antioxidant supplementation.

When the researchers examined DNA from the mice that did not receive antioxidant treatment, a lack of significant damage was observed. "Clearly, if DNA damage was not in play as a cause of the cancer, then whatever the antioxidants were doing to help was also not related to DNA damage," lead author Ping Gao, PhD, said of the finding.

The team found that a protein known as hypoxia-induced factor (HIF-1), which is dependent upon free radicals, was diminished in antioxidant-treated animals. The protein enables tumors to survive in the low oxygen environment of rapidly growing tumors. "When a cell lacks oxygen, HIF-1 helps it compensate," Dr Dang explained. "HIF-1 helps an oxygen-starved cell convert sugar to energy without using oxygen and also initiates the construction of new blood vessels to bring in a fresh oxygen supply."

The finding was verified by the engineering of cancer cells to contain a variant of HIF-1 that was not dependent upon free radicals. Antioxidants proved to be powerless against these cancerous cells.

"The potential anticancer benefits of antioxidants have been the driving force for many clinical and preclinical studies," Dr Dang noted. "By uncovering the mechanism behind antioxidants, we are now better suited to maximize their therapeutic use."

"Once again, this work demonstrates the irreplaceable value of letting researchers follow their scientific noses wherever it leads them," he added.

Ladd McNamara said...

WOW, this is interesting, given how deadly blood clots (Deep Venous Thrombosis, DVTs) can be, and the side-effects of coumadin. Here is a double blind placebo-controlled study revealing significant benefits from vitamin E.

Vitamin E supplementation helps prevent venous thromboembolism

A report published online on September 10, 2007 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association concluded that supplementing with vitamin E may reduce the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) among women. The condition occurs when blood clots form in the veins, which subsequently dislodge and travel through the bloodstream, and is life-threatening when the clots block circulation to the brain, heart or lungs. The current treatment is warfarin, a blood thinner which often has side effects.

In the current study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, Robert J. Glynn, PhD, ScD and his Harvard colleagues reviewed data from The Women’s Health Study, a randomized trial of 39,876 women who received 600 international units vitamin E every other day or a placebo for a ten year average period. Over the course of the study, 213 women who received vitamin E and 269 in the placebo group developed venous thromboembolism, indicating a 21 percent risk reduction associated with the vitamin compared with the placebo. For unprovoked venous thromboembolism, which is not caused by trauma, surgery, or cancer, vitamin E supplementation was associated with a 27 percent reduction in risk.

In a subgroup of 1,131 women who reported a history of venous thromboembolism prior to the trial, the condition was reduced by 44 percent in the vitamin E group, while among those with no history, the risk was 18 percent lower. And, among women found to have one of two genetic mutations associated with increased VTE risk (factor V Leiden and the G20210A prothrombin mutation), vitamin E supplementation was associated with a 49 percent reduction in the risk of occurrence compared with women in this category who received the placebo.

"Women who had an event before the study had a much higher event rate during the study, and the vitamin E worked a little better in that population than in the general population, when it came to reducing VTE risk," noted Dr Glynn, who is an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. "It seems that women who would particularly be interested in a preventive agent actually seemed to have a larger benefit."

"While warfarin is quite effective for preventing VTE, we were looking for a preventive strategy that might be simple, with low side effects for this common disease," he stated. "In this study, VTE occurred more often than heart attacks and almost as often as stroke. People don’t realize how common it is."

Ladd McNamara said...

Here is a study with some interesting significance about Green Tea. The more men consumed the ingredients in Green Tea, the more it decreased the risk of advanced prostate cancer (reducing the risk by 50%). We can be certain that the antioxidants in the Green Tea is responsible for the apopotosis (self-destruction) of the cancer cells, ...and therefore, Green Tea Extract should have similar effects, if not more significant effects.

Drinking green tea associated with reduced risk of advanced prostate cancer

A report published online on September 29, 2007 in the American Journal of Epidemiology described the finding of an association in Japanese men between drinking green tea and a reduced risk developing advanced prostate cancer.

Researchers at Japan’s National Cancer Center in Tokyo utilized data from the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study, which involved two cohorts enrolled in 1990 and 1993. The current analysis included a total of 49,920 men aged 40 to 69 upon enrollment who were followed until the end of 2004. Questionnaires completed by the cohorts after enrollment were analyzed for amount and frequency of green tea consumption, and participants were categorized according to their intake.

By the end of the follow up period there were 404 cases of prostate cancer diagnosed, of which 114 were advanced (having spread beyond the prostate), 271 localized (confined to the prostate), and 19 were of an undetermined stage. Although drinking green tea was not found to have an effect on localized prostate cancer, it was dose-dependently associated with a decrease in advanced prostate cancer risk. Men in the top category of green tea intake, who consumed five or more cups per day, had nearly half the risk of developing advanced prostate cancer compared with those who consumed less than one cup per day.

The study is the first, to the authors’ knowledge, to examine the association between green tea and prostate cancer according to stage, and to determine the protective benefit of green tea on advanced prostate cancer. They posit the induction of apoptosis, cell growth inhibition, and cell cycle progression arrest as mechanisms for green tea’s effects, and add that EGCG, a compound believed to be responsible for many of tea’s benefits, has been found to prevent tumor cell invasion as well as the expression of matrix metalloprotease, an enzyme which is overexpressed in angiogenesis.

Although the researchers’ results are supported by a number of animal studies, they recommend well-designed human trials to confirm their findings.

Ladd McNamara said...

I think this would be important news for anyone with a brain (just kidding); but seriously, for anyone with a brain, this IS important to know. This study also verifies prior studies that show CoQ10's effects in people with Alzhiemer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and other neurological issues. Like I said, anyone with a brain, or a neurological issue may want to take notice of the power of CoEnzyme Q10.

CoEnzyme Q10 protects nerve cells

CoEnzyme Q10 has shown the ability to protect nerve cells and potentially lower the risk of various degenerative diseases.


Cells in the brain and nervous system depend on optimal mitochondrial function for energy. A research study published in the journal Neurobiology of Disease showed that oxidative stress causes mitochondria to produce excessive free radicals, leading to nerve cell damage and destruction. Due to its function in the mitochondrial energy process and its role as an antioxidant, researchers evaluated CoEnzyme Q10 for its ability to protect nerve cells.

The results of this study revealed that CoEnzyme Q10 inhibits the production of free radicals by the mitochondria and stabilizes the mitochondrial membrane when nerve cells are subjected to oxidative stress. CoEnzyme Q10 may therefore have a potential benefit in reducing the risk of various neurodegenerative diseases.

Neurobiol Dis. 2005 Apr;18(3):618-27