Health Trends to Watch, September 2017
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
$1 Billion Spent on Gummy Vitamins
That’s how much we spent on gummy vitamins last year, according to research by IBISWorld. Once made just for kids, gummy supplements now cater to all ages, and even though they’re sweet, some are sugar-free.
Kids’ Selfies Spread Head Lice
Of all the possible downsides of smartphones—interrupting family dinners, distracting drivers, or just wasting our time—who knew that head lice could be another? But that’s what British researchers at Oxford University found. Head lice spread more easily through close contact when groups of kids take selfies or crowd together to watch something on a friend’s electronic device. The upshot: If your child’s school has a lice outbreak, cutting back on the use of electronic devices with friends can help to end it.
More Choline for Moms to Be
The American Medical Association, which often looks askance at supplementation, wants more choline in prenatal supplements. Such was the consensus at the organization’s 2017 annual meeting. Last year, a study at the University of Illinois at Chicago found that of the top 25 prenatal supplements, none contained the daily recommended 450 mg of choline. Two contained 50 or 55 mg, six contained 30 mg or less, and the rest contained none. Choline is necessary for a healthy pregnancy and prevention of neural tube and other birth defects.
Cranberries Enhance Gut Health
Cranberries are best known as a natural remedy for urinary tract infections, but a new study has found benefits for the gut. Certain carbohydrates in cranberries, called xyloglucans, aren’t digested in the stomach and make their way to the intestines, where they ferment and feed beneficial bacteria. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts and the University of Rhode Island think that this new discovery could lead to healthier gut bacteria, which play a key role in immunity and other aspects of health. Xyloglucans are a component of the fiber we get from fruits and vegetables.
55% of Americans Have 2-3 Snacks Per Day
We’re snacking more often, with 55 percent of Americans having a snack two to three times per day, according to market research firm Mintel. Treating ourselves, taking a break, and relieving stress are the top three reasons.
Magnesium Relieves Depression
Magnesium is known to be essential for healthy heart rhythm, blood pressure, bones, and many other functions, and now a study at the University of Vermont has found that it relieves depression. Among a group of 126 women and men, 248 mg daily of elemental magnesium was as effective as the SSRI class of antidepressant drugs—without the side effects. “The results are very encouraging, given the great need for additional treatment options for depression, and our finding that magnesium supplementation provides a safe, fast, and inexpensive approach to controlling depressive symptoms,” says lead researcher Emily Tarleton, RD.
One Secret to Healthy Aging
Weight is a sensitive issue for most people, but controlling weight gain over the course of life can have big rewards, according to research at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, which looked at long-term weight and health changes among more than 92,000 women and 25,000 men.
The study found that seemingly modest increases in weight add up over the years. On average, U.S. adults gain 1–2 pounds per year between their late teens and mid-50s. While one year’s gain is small, the cumulative effect takes a toll on health, with increased risks for diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. On the flipside, reducing the creep of added pounds makes aging a healthier experience, and it’s never too soon to start.
Good Reasons to Go Natural for Beauty
More side effects from conventional hair and skincare products are being reported to the FDA, rising from 706 adverse events in 2015 to 1,591 in 2016. These are largely driven by complaints about shampoos, conditioners, and hair styling products, with skincare products making up the second-largest category. Fortunately, there are many organic and natural beauty products that feature gentle, therapeutic herbs and moisturizers made from plants, without the toxic, irritating chemicals found in conventional personal care products.
3x Chance of Quick Recovery from Colds When Taking Zinc
Taking zinc acetate lozenges for a cold can triple the odds of a quick recovery, according to research at the University of Helsinki in Finland. Effective doses were 80–92 mg per day, starting when symptoms appear.