Mind & Mood | Nutrients Preserve Cognition, Boost Mood

Choline and Phosphatidylcholine

Choline and phosphatidylcholine are nutrients present in all cell membranes, and are essential for healthy brain-nerve signaling. Evidence is growing that they may protect against cognitive decline. In this long-term study, doctors measured the diets of and followed 2,497 healthy men for an average of 22 years.

The men entered the study free from dementia and ranged in age from 42 to 60. Four years later, 482 of them completed five cognitive performance tests. Overall, study participants consumed an average of 431 mg of choline per day, of which 188 mg was phosphatidylcholine.

Over the two-decade study, those who got the most phosphatidylcholine were 28 percent less likely to have developed dementia compared to those who got the least. These men also had excellent performance in tests of memory and language fluency, which are functions of the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.

Curcumin for Memory and Mood

This is a follow-up to a shorter, fourweek study that found positive cognitive effects of curcumin. In this study, 80 healthy men and women, aged 50 to 80, took a placebo or 400 mg of curcumin containing 80 mg curcuminoids per day.

After 12 weeks, compared to placebo, those taking curcumin performed better in tests of working memory, including counting backwards from 100 in increments of seven. The curcumin group also more accurately distinguished between similar visual patterns, and had better awareness of physical relationships.

At four weeks, the curcumin group reported less tension, anger, and confusion compared to placebo, and beginning at four weeks and continuing through 12 weeks, reported significantly less fatigue.

Doctors said the pattern of results is consistent with improvements in memory and spatial brain functions, holding promise for preventing cognitive decline in some populations.

GABA Plus Whey Build Lean Muscle

In the first study to combine gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) with whey, 21 healthy men took 10 grams of whey protein with or without 100 mg of GABA per day, along with supervised resistance training twice per week. At four and eight weeks, resting growth hormone levels were higher in the whey/ GABA group, but only slightly elevated at eight weeks for whey alone. After 12 weeks, the whey/GABA group saw a greater increase in whole-body fat-free mass compared to whey alone. Doctors noted a relatively low dose of whey, when combined with GABA, produced the lean-muscle benefit.

Live Longer | Vitamin D and Flavonoids Protect Against Cancer and Heart Disease

Vitamin D Reduced Cancer Deaths

In the body, the liver converts vitamin D to its active, hormonal form, which doctors now recognize plays a major role in helping cells throughout the body communicate properly. Because vitamin D may increase survival rates for many diseases, doctors gathered findings from 52 vitamin D trials of various lengths, covering 75,454 adults age 18 or older, with any health condition.

Overall, compared to placebo, those that had taken any dose of vitamin D were 16 percent less likely to have died from any cancer, with results improving in longer studies. When doctors looked at all causes of death, they found those who had taken vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) were significantly less likely to have died from any cause compared to those that had taken the ergocalciferol form, vitamin D2.

Flavonoids, Cancer, and Heart Disease

Flavonoids are powerful antiinflammatory antioxidants that may protect against a range of inflammatory diseases. In this study, doctors measured the diets of 53,048 adult men and women and followed them for 23 years.

Overall, those who consumed the most flavonoids were less likely to have died from cancer or heart disease, with those getting about 500 mg of total flavonoids per day most likely to avoid these diseases. The flavonoid benefits appeared strongest among cigarette smokers and those who drank more than two alcoholic drinks per day.

Discussing the findings, doctors said alcohol and smoking increase inflammation and blood vessel damage, which raise chances for many conditions, and that the antiinflammatory action of flavonoids improves blood vessel function.

Muscle & Bone | Nutrients Promote Bone and Muscle Strength

Resveratrol Reduces Hip Fracture

Earlier lab studies suggest resveratrol can help preserve bone density and muscle strength, but there are no human studies on resveratrol and bone fracture. In this study, doctors compared 1,070 healthy-weight men and women, average age 71, who had had a hip fracture in the last two weeks with 1,070 similar men and women without hip fracture.

Overall, participants consumed an average of 178.6 mcg of resveratrol per day, and 96.6 percent did not drink red wine, a rich source of resveratrol. Those who got the most resveratrol were 80.2 percent less likely to have had a hip fracture compared to those who got the least. Doctors controlled for differences in gender, body-mass index scores, and other factors, but the resveratrol benefit remained.

Eating grapes reduced chances for hip fracture by 46.7 percent overall, compared to those who did not eat grapes, confirming the link between resveratrol and healthy bones.

Medium-Chain Triglycerides

In a test of muscle strength, 48 older adults, average age 85, took a longchain triglyceride placebo, or 6 grams of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) with or without 1,200 mg of l-leucine plus 800 IU of vitamin D (MCT+LD) per day.

After three months, the MCT and MCT+LD groups saw 48 and 74 percent increases, respectively, in a leg openand-close test, while the placebo group saw a 12 percent decline. There were similar findings for a saliva swallowing test. Overall, those taking MCT and MCT+LD reported a 7.5 percent increase in Functional Independence Measure scores assessing activities of daily living.

Healthy Babies | Vitamin D Influences Baby Health, as Does Dad’s Folate

Vitamin D Improves Infant Body Composition

Good levels of stored vitamin D increase lean body mass in healthy infants. In this study, doctors measured vitamin D levels in 118 healthy-weight newborn boys and girls, a day-and-ahalf after full-term birth. There were no significant differences at birth in lean or fat body mass, or in weight or length.

Infants with low vitamin D levels— below 50 nanomoles per liter of blood (nmol/L)—got 400 or 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day until six months. Those above 50 nmol/L got 400 IU vitamin D per day. At six months, infants in the 1,000 IU vitamin D group had higher vitamin D levels and significantly more lean body mass than either 400 IU groups.

Fathers’ Folate Increases Length of Gestation

While most research on pregnancy focuses on mothers, fathers’ health and lifestyle also play an important role. In this study, doctors followed 108 couples undergoing fertility treatments, measuring paternal and maternal folate before conception. Over a 10-year period there were 113 pregnancies.

Overall, each 400 mcg increase in fathers’ daily folate led to 2.6 days longer gestation. It did not matter whether the men got folate from food or from supplements, and mothers’ folate levels did not affect gestational days.

Discussing the findings, doctors said, “The implications of these findings are of great importance since, if confirmed, they suggest that preconception exposures of the father, including his diet and lifestyle choices, may have an impact on the health of his offspring,” and that preconception care should take a couples approach.

Healthy Skin | Collagen, Chondroitin, Hyaluronic Acid Reduce Signs of Aging, Fine Lines, and Increase Elasticity

Many cosmetic and supplement companies claim skin anti-aging benefits, but there is little research to back these claims. This study, conducted in a clinical facility specializing in dermatological testing and analysis, gave 113 women, aged 39 to 59, with visible signs of skin aging, a placebo or 300 mg of hydrolyzed collagen type II, 100 mg of chondroitin sulfate, plus 50 mg of hyaluronic acid, twice per day.

After 12 weeks the supplement group saw a 12 percent increase in skin collagen content, and compared to placebo, significantly reduced facial lines and wrinkles, reduced width of “crow’s feet,” improved skin elasticity, with less redness and dryness. Both the supplement and placebo groups retained the same skin surface water content.

Discussing the findings, doctors said, “This landmark research is especially encouraging for women seeking safe, effective options for meeting their skin health and appearance goals, including those considering or already using cosmetic procedures to address skin aging.”