The eyes have it
Three nutrients in the carotenoid family can improve vision for healthy people, according to a British study published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. For 12 months, researchers tested the supplements—10 mg lutein, 10 mg meso-zeaxanthin, and 2 mg zeaxanthin, taken once daily with a meal—against a placebo in a group of 105 men and women with an average age of 48. They found that the supplements improved the ability to see detail, withstand glare, and see in changing light conditions.
There are more than 85,000 chemicals in our world, and some of the common ones reduce levels of vitamin D, according to a study at the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor. In addition to eating organic foods and using nontoxic personal and household products, taking vitamin D supplements could help.
Proof of Gluten Intolerance
Ever been told that nonceliac gluten sensitivity is all in your head? New research proves otherwise. “Our study shows that the symptoms reported by individuals with this condition are not imagined, as some people have suggested,” said Peter Green, MD, professor at Columbia University Medical Center in New York and coauthor of the study. Although celiac disease can be diagnosed with medical tests, testing for sensitivity to gluten or other components of grains has not been standardized. Green’s study identified biological changes, including gut damage and a reaction of the immune system, which can be corrected by abstaining from offending grains.
Pycnogenol Preserves Muscle
Loss of muscle is a major reason why people look “old,” feel weak, and tire more easily later in life. But a patented supplement made from French maritime pine bark, Pycnogenol, can help counteract this effect. In a study published in the Journal of Orthopedics and Traumatology, the supplement was compared with a dummy pill among 64 people, ages 70–78, who did an 8-week exercise program. Those in the study suffered from age-related muscle loss, but were otherwise healthy. Compared to the dummy pill, participants who took Pycnogenol experienced a 40 percent improvement in overall muscle function—they could walk farther without pain or fatigue; climb more stairs; and lift more weight. The daily Pycnogenol dose was 150 mg.
B Vitamins Enhance Brain Activity
B vitamins are known to be beneficial for mental function, and studies at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia are now shedding some light as to why. Using high-tech brain scans, researchers found that B vitamins activate certain regions of the brain. After taking the vitamins, people felt less stressed and had overall improved mood and mental function in demanding situations. B vitamins are available in B complex formulas and in multivitamins.
That’s how many healthcare dollars could be saved if all pregnant women took 600 mg daily of DHA, a key omega-3 fatty acid, according to research at the University of Kansas. Such savings could result because DHA significantly reduces the risk of a preterm birth.
Australian researchers found that after being given artificial sweetener, animals ate 30 percent more when they were given naturally sweetened food. Artificial sweeteners change taste perceptions and alter brain mechanisms that control appetite.