The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment.
Multivitamin, mineral supplement linked to less-severe, shorter-lasting illness symptoms
Oregon State University, August 18, 2020
Older adults who took a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement with zinc and high amounts of vitamin C in a 12-week study experienced sickness for shorter periods and with less severe symptoms than counterparts in a control group receiving a placebo.
The findings by Oregon State University researchers were published in the journal Nutrients.
The research by scientists at OSU’s Linus Pauling Institute involved 42 healthy people ages 55 to 75 and was designed to measure the supplement’s effects on certain immune system indicators. It also looked at bloodstream levels of zinc and vitamins C and D while taking the supplement, as these micronutrients are important for proper immune function.
The immune indicators, including white blood cells’ ability to kill incoming pathogens, were unaltered in the group receiving the supplement.
The multivitamin group showedimproved vitamin C and zinc status in the blood. Most intriguingly, illness symptoms reported by this group were less severe and went away faster than those experienced by the placebo group.
The same percentage of participants in each group reported symptoms, but days of sickness in the supplement group averaged fewer than three compared to more than six for the placebo group.
“The observed illness differences were striking,” said corresponding author Adrian Gombart, professor of biochemistry and biophysics in the OSU College of Science and a principal investigator at the Linus Pauling Institute. “While the study was limited to self-reported illness data and we did not design the study to answer this question, the observed differences suggest that additional larger studies designed for these outcomes are warranted – and, frankly, overdue.”
As people get older, the risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies that contribute to age-related immune system deficiencies rises. Across the United States, Canada and Europe, research suggests more than one-third of older adults are deficient in at least one micronutrient, often more than one.
“That likely contributes to a decline in the immune system, most often characterized by increased levels of inflammation, reduced innate immune function and reduced T-cell function,” Gombart said. “Since multiple nutrients support immune function, older adults often benefit from multivitamin and mineral supplements. These are readily available, inexpensive and generally regarded as safe.”
The multivitamin supplement used in the study focused on vitamins and minerals typically thought to help immunity. It contained 700 micrograms of vitamin A; 400 international units of vitamin D; 45 milligrams of vitamin E; 6.6 milligrams of vitamin B6; 400 micrograms of folate; 9.6 micrograms of vitamin B12; 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C; 5 milligrams of iron; 0.9 milligrams of copper; 10 milligrams of zinc; and 110 micrograms of selenium.
“Supplementation was associated with significantly increased circulating levels of zinc and vitamin C, and with illness symptoms that were less severe and shorter lasting,” Gombart said. “This supports findings that stretch back decades, even to the days of Linus Pauling’s work with vitamin C. Our results suggest more and better designed research studies are needed to explore the positive role multivitamin and mineral supplementation might play in bolstering the immune system of older adults.”
Honey found to be a better treatment for upper respiratory tract infections than traditional remedies
Oxford University, August 19, 2020
A trio of researchers at Oxford University has found that honey is a better treatment for upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) than traditional remedies. In their paper published in BMJ Evidence-based Medicine, Hibatullah Abuelgasim, Charlotte Albury, and Joseph Lee describe their study of the results of multiple clinical trials that involved testing of treatments for upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) and what they learned from the data.
Over the past several years, the medical community has grown alarmed as bacteria have developed resistance to antibacterial agents. Some studies have found that over-prescription of such remedies is hastening the pace. Of particular concern are antibacterial prescriptions written for maladies that they are not likely to help, simply due to demands from patients. One such case is often URTIs, the vast majority of which are caused by viruses, not bacteria. Because of such cases, scientists have been looking for other remedies for these infections, and one therapy in particular has begun to stand out: honey.
Anecdotal evidence has suggested that honey can be used to treat colds in general and coughs in particular—people have been using it as a therapy for thousands of years. In this new effort, the researchers looked at the results of multiple clinical trials testing the effectiveness of therapies against URTIs. In all, the team looked at data from 14 clinical trials involving 1,761 patients.
In analyzing the data from all of the trials combined, the researchers found that the trials had included studies of virtually all of the traditional remedies such as over-the-counter cold and sinus medicines as well as antibiotics—and honey. They found that honey proved to be the best therapy among all of those tested. In addition to proving more effective in treating coughing (36 percent better at reducing the amount of coughing and 44 percent better at reducing coughing severity), it also led to a reduction in average duration of infection by two days.
The researchers note that the reason honey works as a treatment for URTIs is because it contains hydrogen peroxide—a known bacteria killer—which also makes it useful as a topical treatment for cuts and scrapes. Honey is also of the right consistency—its thickness works to coat the mouth and throat, soothing irritation.
High intensity physical activity in early life could lead to stronger bones in adulthood
University of Bristol (UK), August 17 2020
The research, which analysed data from 2,569 participants of the Children of the 90s health study, found that more time spent doing moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) from age 12 years was associated with stronger hips at age 25 years, whereas time spent in light intensity activity was less clearly associated with adult hip strength.
Peak bone mass occurs in young adulthood and is considered to be a marker of the risk of fracture and osteoporosis in later life. Hip fractures make up a large proportion of the osteoporosis disease burden.
Researchers looked at data from healthy individuals who had physical activity measured up to 4 times using accelerometers worn as part of clinical assessments at age 12, 14, 16 and 25 years. This is a device that measures a person’s movement for the whole time they wear it.
Researchers also found evidence to suggest that adolescent MVPA was more important than MVPA in adulthood, and that MVPA in early adolescence may be more important than in later adolescence. There was also some evidence that higher impact activity (consistent with jumping; assessed once in a subsample in late adolescence using custom accelerometer) was related to stronger hips at age 25.
Dr Ahmed Elhakeem, lead author and Senior Research Associate in Epidemiology, said: “The unique availability of repeated accelerometer assessments over many years beginning at age 12 within the Children of the 90s cohort, allowed us to describe the trajectory of time spent in different physical activity intensities through early life and to examine how this might relate to adult hip strength. The results highlight adolescence as a potentially important period for bone development through high intensity exercise, which could benefit future bone health and prevent osteoporosis in later life. We have also confirmed other studies showing that levels of MVPA decline through adolescence. Our findings show it is really important to support young people to remain active at this age”
Francesca Thompson, Clinical and Operations Director at the Royal Osteoporosis Society (ROS), said: “The ROS is working closely at the moment with Public Health England to review the importance of exercise for bone health in children. The findings from this study are welcome as they provide further evidence that children need to be doing moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity during their early adolescence to maximise bone strength in later life and reduce the risk of painful fractures. Supporting and encouraging young people to be more physically active needs to be a priority for bone as well as general health.”
Magnesium supplementation associated with improved vitamin D status in postmenopausal women
University of Granada (Spain), August 17, 2020
According to news originating from Granada, Spain, the research stated, “Menopause is a stage of hormonal imbalance in women which, in addition to other physiopathological consequences, poses a risk of deficiency of key micronutrients such as magnesium and vitamin D.”
Our news editors obtained a quote from the research from University of Granada: “A study was made of the influence of a magnesium intervention upon vitamin D status in a postmenopausal population from the province of Granada (Spain). Fifty-two healthy postmenopausal women between 44-76 years of age were included. Two randomized groups-placebo and magnesium (500 mg/day)-were treated during eight weeks. Nutrient intake was assessed using questionnaires based on 72-h recall. Vitamin D was analyzed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Baseline vitamin D proved deficient in over 80% of the subjects.”
According to the news editors, the research concluded: “The administration of magnesium resulted in significantly increased vitamin D levels in the intervention group versus the controls (* * p* * < 0.05). Magnesium supplementation improved vitamin D status in the studied postmenopausal women.”
High fructose diet in pregnancy impacts metabolism of offspring, study finds
University of Otago (New Zealand), August 18, 2020
An increased level of fructose intake during pregnancy can cause significant changes in maternal metabolic function and milk composition and alter the metabolism of their offspring, researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington, have found.
The research, which was led by Dr Clint Gray, a Research Fellow in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, found increasing the fructose in the diets of female guinea pigs led to highly significant and consistent changes in the free fatty acids circulating in the blood of their offspring. This was despite the offspring consuming no fructose themselves.
The research is published in the international journal Frontiers in Endocrinology.
First author, PhD student Erin Smith, says “previous research has shown poor quality nutrition during pregnancy can predispose offspring to long-term consequences, including the development of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease later in life”.
“However, there has been a lack of data examining the impact of increased fructose intake before and during pregnancy and subsequent adverse effects on lactation, foetal development and offspring metabolic function.”
The two experimental groups were fed either a control diet or a fructose diet prior to and during pregnancy. The fructose group was given supplementary fructose water to replicate increased sugar-sweetened beverage intake 60 days prior to mating and until the delivery of their offspring. Fructose made up 16.5 per cent of their diets, closely resembling the average human consumption of fructose/sugar in Western countries, which is estimated at about 14 per cent of average daily caloric intake.
“We found fructose had a significant impact on a pregnant females’ metabolic status and the free fatty acid content of their milk. We also provide the first evidence that offspring born from fructose-fed mothers display a very specific pattern of increased free fatty acids and altered lipid metabolism that persists throughout early life.”
Ms Smith says it is well known that increased levels of circulating free fatty acids increases the risk of obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease – with increased fatty acid synthesis shown to occur following fructose consumption.
She says the evidence suggests suboptimal maternal diets, such as diets high in fructose and refined sugars, may be contributing to the rise in metabolic diseases in humans observed during the past 40 to 50 years.
“Our study emphasises the importance of limiting added refined fructose, such as sugar-sweetened beverages, and striving for a more nutritionally balanced diet in women prior to and during pregnancy and lactation.”
Sleep makes relearning faster and longer-lasting
University of Lyon (France). August 14, 2020
Getting some sleep in between study sessions may make it easier to recall what you studied and relearn what you’ve forgotten, even 6 months later, according to new findings from Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
“Our results suggest that interleaving sleep between practice sessions leads to a twofold advantage, reducing the time spent relearning and ensuring a much better long-term retention than practice alone,” explains psychological scientist Stephanie Mazza of the University of Lyon. “Previous research suggested that sleeping after learning is definitely a good strategy, but now we show that sleeping between two learning sessions greatly improves such a strategy.”
While studies have shown that both repeated practice and sleep can help improve memory, there is little research investigating how repetition and sleep influence memory when they are combined. Mazza and colleagues hypothesized that sleeping in between study sessions might make the relearning process more efficient, reducing the effort needed to commit information to memory.
A total of 40 French adults were randomly assigned to either a “sleep” group or a “wake” group. At the first session, all participants were presented with 16 French-Swahili word pairs in random order. After studying a pair for 7 seconds, the Swahili word appeared and participants were prompted to type the French translation. The correct word pair was then shown for 4 seconds. Any words that were not correctly translated were presented again, until each word pair had been correctly translated.
Twelve hours after the initial session, the participants completed the recall task again, practicing the whole list of words until all 16 words were correctly translated.
Importantly, some participants completed the first session in the morning and the second session in the evening of the same day (“wake” group); others completed the first session in the evening, slept, and completed the second session the following morning (“sleep” group).
In the first session, the two groups showed no difference in how many words they could initially recall or in the number of trials they needed to be able to remember all 16 word pairs.
But after 12 hours, the data told another story: Participants who had slept between sessions recalled about 10 of the 16 words, on average, while those who hadn’t slept recalled only about 7.5 words. And when it came to relearning, those who had slept needed only about 3 trials to be able to recall all 16 words, while those who had stayed awake needed about 6 trials.
Ultimately, both groups were able to learn all 16 word pairs, but sleeping in between sessions seemed to allow participants to do so in less time and with less effort.
“Memories that were not explicitly accessible at the beginning of relearning appeared to have been transformed by sleep in some way,” says Mazza. “Such transformation allowed subjects to re-encode information faster and to save time during the relearning session.”
The memory boost that participants got from sleeping between sessions seemed to last over time. Follow-up data showed that participants in the sleep group outperformed their peers on the recall test 1 week later. The sleep group showed very little forgetting, recalling about 15 word pairs, compared to the wake group, who were able to recall about 11 word pairs. This benefit was still noticeable 6 months later.
The benefits of sleep could not be ascribed to participants’ sleep quality or sleepiness, or to their short-term or long-term memory capacity, as the two groups showed no differences on these measures.
The results suggest that alternating study sessions with sleep might be an easy and effective way to remember information over longer periods of time with less study, Mazza and colleagues conclude.
Meta-analysis adds evidence to chromium supplementation’s glucose control benefits in diabetics
Lorestan University of Medical Sciences (Iran), August 15, 2020
A systematic review and meta-analysis published on July 27, 2020 in Pharmacological Research found reductions in fasting plasma glucose, insulin, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c, a marker of long term glucose control) and insulin resistance in men and women with type 2 diabetes who supplemented with the mineral chromium.
For their analysis, Omid Asbaghi of Lorestan University of Medical Sciences and colleagues selected 23 randomized, controlled trials that evaluated the effects of supplementing with chromium on various glycemic control indexes. Doses used in the studies ranged between 50 micrograms (mcg) and 1,000 mcg per day consumed from four to 25 weeks. Eleven of the trials evaluated a chromium dosage within a 400 to 600 mcg range.
Analysis of 22 trials that reported fasting plasma glucose levels concluded that chromium supplementation was associated with an average reduction of 19.0 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) in comparison with the placebo. Trials of at least 12 weeks duration were associated with a far greater average decrease of 58.74 mg/dL in association with chromium.
Of the 14 trials that reported insulin levels, levels declined by an average of 1.7784 µIU/mL among subjects who received chromium compared to the placebo, with trials that lasted 12 weeks or longer associated with a decrease of 3.47 µIU/mL.
For the 22 trials that reported HbA1c, supplementation with chromium was associated with an average decrease of 0.71%, which improved to a significant 1.70% reduction when trials of 12 weeks duration or more were examined. Homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) also decreased significantly among participants who received chromium.
The authors observed that chromium plays a role in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism and may enhance insulin sensitivity. Other nutrients that have been associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes include vitamins A, C, D and E, beta-carotene, calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc.
“Present systematic review and meta-analysis of all available published randomized trials up to 2020 found a significant reduction in all glycemic control indices such as fasting plasma glucose, insulin, HbA1c and HOMA-IR levels after chromium supplementation,” they wrote. “Furthermore, long term intervention contributed to greater reduction of all mentioned indices.”
“The results of the current meta‐analysis study might support the use of chromium supplementation for the improvement of glycemic control indices in T2DM patients,” they concluded.
Mangiferin: The Health-Boosting Antioxidant in Mangos
GreenMedInfo, August 12th 2020
Mangiferin, a polyphenol found in mango fruit and plant extracts, possesses potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Mangiferin has been shown to have beneficial effects on gastrointestinal health, Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular health, and may have anticancer properties
Mango, a type of juicy stone fruit native to eastern Asia and India, is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, micronutrients and minerals, and a unique polyphenol called mangiferin.[i] While mango itself has long been touted for its health benefits, researchers are becoming increasingly interested in mangiferin, which can be found in the leaves, fruit, stone, kernel and stems of the mango plant.[ii]
Studies show that mangiferin extracts may have beneficial effects on lifestyle-related disorders and degenerative diseases, and researchers are eager to understand and utilize this potent polyphenol.
Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Potential of Mangiferin
Mangiferin is a powerful antioxidant that modulates glucose metabolism and shows enhanced antioxidant capabilities in both inflammatory and pro-inflammatory conditions.[iii] Mangiferin antioxidants have also been shown to protect against liver damage and lower peroxidation in human peripheral blood lymphocytes, and mangiferin may have radioprotective properties thanks to its ability to suppress free radicals in cells.[iv],[v]
Additionally, mangiferin’s anti-inflammatory benefits have been demonstrated in both the liver and heart, and researchers have discovered that mangiferin can protect against lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress by up-regulating the expression of Nrf2, a transcription factor responsible for the regulation of protective antioxidants and detoxification responses.[vi],[vii]
Mangiferin’s anti-inflammatory effects have also been demonstrated in the lungs, where it can improve acute lung injury by reducing systemic and pulmonary inflammationresponses.[viii]
Overall, mangiferin’s anti-inflammatory properties have been demonstrated to reduce both macro and microscopic damage in various organs and tissues, making it a potential preventative therapy for a variety of disorders.[ix] Many of the benefits of mangiferin come from these strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Researched benefits of mangiferin include:
- Mangiferin Extract May Protect Against Diabetes
More than 80% of all diabetes cases are Type 2, which is associated with a lowered ability to increase glucose utilization in skeletal muscle tissue and adipose tissue.[x] This decrease in glucose metabolism and increased insulin increases the risk for disorders like cardiovascular disease, fatty liver and renal diseases.[xi]
In one study, researchers demonstrated that mangiferin extract significantly reduced kidney weight while enhancing enzymatic activity and protein expression after just nine weeks.[xii] Other studies have shown that mangiferin extract can also reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and improve oral-glucose tolerance after just 28 days.[xiii]
- Mangiferin Boosts Gastrointestinal Health
Mangiferin has gastroprotective effects, leading researchers to believe it could be a useful therapeutic measure against gastric complications including diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss and anemia associated with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.[xiv]
These effects are likely due to mangiferin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which both contribute to the development of gastrointestinal disorders.[xv] In other studies, researchers have found that mangiferin improves postoperative ileus, a short-term disturbance of gastrointestinal motility after surgery.[xvi]
Mangiferin improves intestinal transit by reducing the intestinal inflammatory response and decreasing pro-inflammatory cytokine levels in the plasma, improving gastrointestinal transit in both normal and constipated subjects.[xvii],[xviii]
- Mangiferin Has Anticancer Properties
Researchers believe that one root cause of carcinogenesis is oxidative stress and have long searched for natural, polyphenolic antioxidant compounds that could mediate oxidative damage in the body. One study found that mangiferin’s antioxidant capabilities may stall the progression of carcinogenesis and induce apoptosis (cell death) on cancer cells.[xix]
Mangiferin is demonstrated to have protective effects against several cancers, including breast, colon, neural, skin and cervical cancers, by lowering oxidative stress and suppressing DNA damage in cells in various studies.[xx]
- Mangiferin Has Immunomodulatory Properties
Mangiferin’s strong immunomodulatory characteristics come from its ability to both reduce oxidative stress in lymphocytes, neutrophils and macrophages, and also enhance the number and activity of immune cells in your body.[xxi],[xxii]
Additionally, mangiferin inhibits lipid peroxidation, which researchers believe may account for the reduction of radiation-induced DNA damage to immune cells and explain mangiferin’s strong immune-stimulating and anticancer effects.[xxiii]
- Mangiferin Protects Against Cardiovascular Disease
Mangiferin may play a significant cardiovascular-protective role by decreasing fatty acids, cholesterol and triglycerides and decreasing the inflammatory process in heart tissue.[xxiv]
Mangiferin treatment is also shown to increase enzymatic activity and reduce the formation of lipid peroxides, which researchers use as a marker for cardiovascular disease risk and vascular cognitive impairment disorders.[xxv]
Given that mangiferin exhibits little to no toxicity and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, there is strong evidence that mangiferin can be used as an alternative or preventive therapy against a variety of illnesses.[xxvi] However, it has a low water solubility and oral bioavailability and researchers must find an effective dosage and enhance its absorption rate before it can effectively be used in clinical settings.