Many human trials begin on the basis of earlier, lab studies. Here are some of the most recent findings that seem to warrant further investigation.
ATP boosted blood flow
ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, is the energy fuel in every cell in the body. In this lab study, blood flow in rats during exercise increased as the dose of ATP increased.
In a pilot human study, 12 college-age people who had practiced strength training took a placebo or 400 mg of ATP per day for 12 weeks. Compared to placebo, blood flow and blood vessel dilation improved in the ATP group just before, and several minutes after an acute arm exercise.
Reference: Rejuvenation Research; 2014, Vol. 17, No. 4, 341-6
Melatonin protects bone
Earlier studies found that melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep, also appears to slow bone breakdown. In the lab, bone density and bone strength were increased in adult rats given melatonin for 10 weeks compared to those that didn’t take melatonin.
Reference: PLoS One; July, 2014, Published Online
Curcumin may preserve telomeres
Telomeres, the protective ends of DNA strands, shorten each time the cell replicates. Telomerase, a protein, synthesizes and elongates telomeres, helping slow the cellular aging process. In the lab, damaged human brain cells exposed to curcumin had less oxidative stress and higher levels of telomerase, suggesting curcumin can slow aging.
Reference: Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition; June, 2014, Published Online
Beetroot juice improved fitness
Fourteen moderately trained male master swimmers drank a pint of beetroot juice per day for six days, and took a swimming test before and afterwards. Beetroot juice reduced fatigue, making the test less tiring. Doctors said beetroot juice contains nitrates, which may, by dilating vessels, improve blood flow to the muscles.
Chili pepper reduced tumors
The cellular lining of the intestines regenerates every four to six days, but when growth signals go unchecked, tumors can develop. In the lab, researchers gave mice the active ingredient in chili peppers—capsaicin—and found that tumor growth decreased, and lifespan increased by 30 percent.
Olive and coconut oils aid lutein absorption
The body can’t easily absorb lutein, an important brain and eye nutrient. In the lab, doctors dispersed lutein into several different fatty acids and fed it to mice for 15 days. Lutein levels in the blood, liver, eye, and intestine were highest when introduced along with olive oil or coconut oil. Doctors said the oleic acid in olive oil and the lauric acid in coconut oil may make lutein more absorbable.
Reference: Food Research International; 2014, Vol. 64, 256-63
Betsy’s Note: This article is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider, especially if you have a medical condition or take prescription/OTC medications. For example, curcumin, chili pepper, beet, olive and coconut oils also thin blood.
Article copyright 2016 by Natural Insights for Well-Being. All rights reserved. Used with permission.