It is certainly clear that our most pervasive chronic conditions share a common feature in terms of their underlying cause. Whether we are talking about coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, or even Alzheimer’s disease, what current medical literature reveals is the powerful role that inflammation plays in these and other common conditions.
Ultimately, the main issue with higher levels of inflammation that manifests as damage to tissue is the fact that when inflammation has been turned on, it increases the production of damaging free radicals, a situation we call oxidative stress. When oxidative stress is running rampant, damage occurs to our proteins, and fat, and even our DNA. Continue reading
Despite so many highly publicized breakthroughs in medical science, cancer remains a formidable disease. Deaths from cancer are actually continuing to rise, at a rate of 3.5 to 4% each year.
My interview today is with Dr. Thomas Seyfried. Dr. Seyfried believes cancer isn’t primarily caused by damage to the genes living in the nucleus of the cell, a widely held belief, but rather represents a problem of how cells produce energy from their mitochondria. Ultimately, this defective energy production leads to increased free radical production which may then go on to damage the DNA of the cell nucleus as a secondary event.
The prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association welcomed in the new year by publishing what will surely become a landmark study. Researchers announced the results of a clinical trial of vitamin E in people with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease, and their findings may well revolutionize our approach to treating Alzheimer’s, a disease affecting more than 5.4 million Americans.
The study looked at the effect of dietary supplementation using 2,000 international units of non-prescription vitamin E daily in a large group of elderly Alzheimer’s patients, and compared their results over an average of around 2.3 years to similar patients who received a placebo, a pharmaceutical (memantine), or a combination of memantine along with vitamin E.
The best results were found in the patients who received the vitamin E alone. In these patients, the annual rate of decline in functional performance was slowed by approximately 20%. Functional performance includes important day-to-day tasks like preparing meals, bathing, shopping and eating.
One of the most important concepts described in Grain Brain focuses on the fundamental role of elevated blood sugar as it relates to brain degeneration. We explored in-depth, scientific literature that demonstrates a significant increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia if a person carries a diagnosis of type II diabetes. This relationship was amplified recently by a study in the New England Journal of Medicine that demonstrated significantly increased risk for cognitive decline with mild elevations of blood sugar, well below levels that would indicate diabetes.
In a recent report, published in Clinical Interventions in Aging, Japanese researchers again solidified our knowledge base about the relationship between diabetes and cognitive decline. The report, “Type II Diabetes as a Risk Factor for Cognitive Impairment: Current Insights“, focuses on not only statistics relating diabetes to cognitive decline, but also the mechanisms by which that happens.
The researchers describe a variety of factors relating type II diabetes to brain dysfunction including impaired neurogenesis which is the process by which we are able to grow new brain cells, specifically in the brains memory center, hippocampus. This is compromised in diabetes.
These days we commonly hear that it’s good to have a diet that’s “rich in antioxidants.” And beyond antioxidant rich foods, antioxidant supplements are among the most popular products in the health arena.
Antioxidants, work “anti” or “against,” oxidation. Oxidation, caused by chemicals known as free radicals, is basically the same thing as rusting. Put a piece of iron out in the weather and it rusts. That’s just what happens when free radicals attack our tissues.
And when this process gets out of control in the body, our various tissues, including our fat, proteins, and DNA, become damaged by the action of these free radicals like the piece of iron left out in the weather. Fortunately, our antioxidant defenses derived from our foods, supplements, and produced within our bodies help protect us against the effects of these free radicals.
Turn on the television, open a magazine or listen to the radio, and in short order you will no doubt be exposed to an advertisement extolling the virtues of some newly discovered exotic fruit juice that has the highest antioxidant content on the face of the Earth. You may wonder—why all the hype? What is the benefit of an antioxidant? Continue reading