Trend Watch, May 2018
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According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, men over the age of 50 have a 27% chance of experiencing an osteoporotic fracture. That’s higher than the lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer (11.3%). For more about bone health, see “6 Ways to Save Your Bones”.
DHA for Healthy Kids
We’ve heard a lot about the benefits of DHA, one of the omega-3s found in fish oils, in recent years. And now, scientists have documented yet another use for the healthy fat. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, University of Kansas researchers reported that pregnant women who take supplemental DHA have children with a higher fat-free body mass at 5 years of age.
The study followed 154 pregnant women between March 2006 and September 2009. Half were given 600 mg of DHA daily, and half a placebo. Five years later, researchers found that the children whose mothers took the DHA supplement had an average of 1.3 pounds more fat-free mass at age 5 compared with the placebo group, while both groups had a similar amount of body fat.
Pregnant women who need more DHA in their diets don’t have to look far, says Susan Carlson, PhD, one of the study’s coauthors. “There are currently many prenatal supplements with DHA. They also can increase their intake of oily fish like salmon and tuna.”
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind
A long-term study published in the journal Neurology in March found that high cardiovascular fitness in midlife is associated with a significantly decreased risk of dementia later in life.
Researchers analyzed a sample of 191 Swedish women in 1968, then again in 1974, 1980, 1992, 2000, 2005, and 2009. Over the course of the 41-year analysis, women judged as having high cardiovascular fitness were 88% less likely to develop dementia than women with moderate cardiovascular fitness. High fitness also delayed age at dementia onset by 9.5 years compared to medium fitness.
“Among Swedish women, a high cardiovascular fitness in midlife was associated with a decreased risk of subsequent dementia. Promotion of a high cardiovascular fitness may be included in strategies to mitigate or prevent dementia,” the researchers concluded.
Can Vitamin D Help Psoriasis?
Vitamin D is a relatively popular ingredient in topical creams and ointments used to treat psoriasis, but can supplemental D also be effective? That’s the question asked by Michelle Ingram, PhD, at Massey University in New Zealand.
The study was intended to determine whether vitamin D supplements were more effective than placebo at easing psoriasis symptoms among 101 participants. The main findings of the study were inconclusive due to an unexpected increase in vitamin D levels in the placebo group, possibly due to sunlight. However, Ingram says, further analysis showed strong evidence of a link between higher levels of vitamin D and less severe psoriasis.
“Interestingly, this relationship was only found in about two-thirds of our participants,” says Ingram, “suggesting that vitamin D may be beneficial for some people with psoriasis, yet make no difference for others. Understanding the variability of response to psoriasis treatments in general is a long-term challenge and one that future research will hopefully be able to address.”
According to the CDC, 20 million American adults were diagnosed with hay fever in 2015. If you’re one of them, see “Anti-Allergy Foods,” p. 28, for natural ways to stop the sneezing.