Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Exercise and Vitamin Supplements Don't Mix

This study, published in the National Academy of Sciences and reported in the New York Times, suggests that if you exercise to improve your metabolism and prevent diabetes, you may want to avoid antioxidant supplements C and E.

The researchers, led by Dr. Michael Ristow, a nutritionist at the University of Jena in Germany, had young men exercise. They then gave half of the men moderate doses of supplements C and E, and the other half were given a placebo.

The scientists measured two things:
1) sensitivity to insulin;

2) indicators of the body’s natural defenses to oxidative damage.

1) The Jena team found that the group taking the supplements had no improvement in insulin sensitivity;

2) and almost no activation of the body’s natural defense mechanism against oxidative damage.

They think the reason may be that these supplements might short-circuit the body’s
natural defense response to exercise. Basically, this is complete conjecture. They don't know exactly why the body reacted in this way to the supplements, but do leave us with their advice.

“If you exercise to promote health, you shouldn’t take large amounts of antioxidants,” Dr. Ristow said. A second message of the study, he said, “is that antioxidants in general cause certain effects that inhibit otherwise positive effects of exercise, dieting and other interventions.” The findings appear in this week’s issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The advice does not apply to the same vitamins found in fruits and vegetables, Dr. Ristow said; even though they are high in antioxidants, the many other substances they contain presumably outweigh any negative effect.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Fats That Are Good Fats

Good fats are SO good. They turn out to be critical for you to include for so many reasons, including your eyes.

This piece in CNN reports on work published Monday in the Archives of Ophthalmology, showing that these foods -- which contain healthy fats -- can reduce the risk of developing a retina-destroying condition known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Don't destroy your retina. Include good fats from olives, fish, and nuts. These are all key components of the Mediterranean Diet.

AMD is the Number 1 cause of blindness in people 65 and older living in the developed world. It occurs when blood vessels or cells in the macula, the central portion of the retina responsible for central vision and seeing sharp detail, begin to break down.

Here are the data:
2,454 men and women were followed for up to a decade. The docs at the University of Sydney found that the people who ate one serving of fish every week were 31 percent less likely to develop early AMD than those who did not. A couple of servings of nuts each week reduced risk by 35 percent.

That is SO easy to do!

And Elaine Chong at the University of Melbourne studied more than 6,700 58- to 69-year-olds, and basically the same thing: those who consumed the most omega-3 fatty acids were at 15 percent lower risk of early-stage AMD. People who ate the most olive oil (at least 100 milliliters, or about seven tablespoons, per week) were about half as likely to develop late AMD as those who consumed less than 1 mL per week.

Interestingly, we recently had a participant of our program -- who started taking 1 teaspoon of EV Olive Oil each morning -- return to report that his good cholesterol was up, bad cholesterol was down along with his triglycerides.

Olive oil and other good fats. Good for so many things including, it seems, preventing the AMD blindness as you get older.

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