Check out these early-stage discoveries about nutrients that just may lead to larger, more definitive studies. Here are some of the most promising recent findings.
Plant extracts build bone
Fruit and vegetable polyphenols may benefit bone. In this study, 46 healthy postmenopausal women took a combination of pomegranate and grape seed extracts or a combination of quercetin and licorice for 28 days. The pomegranate-grape seed group saw changes in gene expression linked to slowing bone loss. The quercetin-licorice group saw changes in gene expression linked to reduced bone breakdown and increased bone-building activity.
Reference: Phytomedicine; 2016, Vol. 23, No. 1, 18-26
Vitamin E for healthy brain
In the lab, doctors observed young and middle-aged mice deficient in vitamin E, and compared them to normal older mice. Compared to the older group, the young group was significantly cognitively impaired. In the middle-aged group, lipid peroxidation in several brain regions increased significantly compared to the older group. Cholesterol levels were increased in both young and middle-aged groups. Doctors said chronic vitamin E deficiency may slowly accelerate brain oxidation.
Reference: Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology; 2015, Vol. 61, No. 5, 362-8
Probiotics protect DNA
Cooking proteins at high temperatures can create mutagens that may change and damage DNA in body organs and the digestive tract. In the lab, doctors gave mice the probiotic lactobacillus rhamnosus for 10 days before exposing them to mutagens. The probiotic significantly inhibited the DNA damage in the liver and colon. Doctors said adding lactobacillus rhamnosus to the diet can raise antimutagens to protective levels in the body.
Reference: Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology; 2014, Vol. 24, No. 3, 371-8
Curcumin by itself doesn’t absorb well in the body and degrades quickly when exposed to stomach acid. To address the problem, doctors encapsulated a curcumin “nano-emulsion,” making it more stable and absorbable using milk fat, medium chain triglycerides, and sodium caseinate in an ice cream formulation that may eventually become a more efficient delivery system for the bioactives in curcumin.
Probiotics reduce inflammation
Stomach acid can kill probiotics. Doctors gave 30 healthy adults the probiotic bifidobacterium animalis lactis 12 (BB-12) alone, in unfermented yogurt, and in fermented yogurt, in three four-week phases. Those taking BB-12 in fermented yogurt had the greatest reduction in signs of inflammation. Doctors said yogurt is rich in nutrients that can support the growth, survival, and activity of BB-12, and that the acidic environment and buffering system of fermented yogurt may help BB-12 survive passage through the gastrointestinal tract.
Clary sage and calm
Clary sage is a medicinal herb native to the Mediterranean. In this study, 22 women in their 50s with depressive or normal tendencies inhaled clary sage essential oil. After inhaling, levels of cortisol—the hormone the body excretes in response to stress—declined most in the depressive women, and also in women without depressive tendencies. Serotonin, the mood-balancing hormone, increased significantly in both groups.
Reference: Food & Function; 2016, Vol. 7, No. 1, 417-24
Betsy’s Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before beginning a new supplement, especially if you have a medical condition or take medications. For example, most of the supplements in this article thin blood.
Article copyright 2016 by Natural Insights for Well Being. All rights reserved. Used with permission.