Supplementing with conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) promotes fat loss in adults, particularly in the upper legs and abdomen, according to a just-released study.18
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 180 overweight adults received either 3.4 grams of CLA or a placebo daily for six months. Fat mass, lean body mass, and insulin sensitivity were closely monitored in the study participants.
At the end of the six-month study, participants taking CLA lost more than four pounds of fat mass and gained nearly one pound of muscle mass, with most of the fat loss occurring in the upper legs and abdomen. The CLA supplements were well tolerated, and those who took CLA demonstrated a slight improvement in insulin sensitivity.
—Elizabeth Wagner, ND
Korean scientists recently announced that dietary fish oil and caloric restriction work synergistically to reduce various inflammatory markers associated with aging.14
The scientists sought to determine how dietary fish oil and caloric restriction affected these markers in laboratory mice. The rodents were fed chow with either 5% fish oil or 5% corn oil. Some rodents were allowed to eat their fill, while others had their calorie intake reduced by 40%, for up to nine months. Some animals were examined at four months, allowing scientists to compare dietary effects in young and old animals. The animals were assessed for various markers of oxidative status and inflammation.
Superoxide anion is a highly reactive free radical believed to play a role in age-associated degenerative processes.15,16 Superoxide levels in older mice on the corn oil diet were 18% higher than in younger mice on the same diet. But young mice on the fish oil diet had superoxide levels that were nearly 60% lower than those of the corn oil-fed controls. Young mice on calorie-restricted diets had 35% fewer superoxide molecules than controls, and young mice on the calorie-restricted/fish oil diet showed a remarkable 90% reduction in superoxide production compared with controls. In older mice receiving both dietary interventions, superoxide was reduced by 94%.14
Elderly adults who consume a diet rich in olive oil, fresh vegetables, and vitamin E experience a reduced risk of blood vessel obstruction in the extremities, or peripheral arterial disease, according to a research team in Italy.19,20
The researchers used questionnaires to evaluate the nutritional and dietary intake of 1,251 home-dwelling individuals who averaged 68 years of age. Using the ankle-brachial index test, they then assessed the presence of peripheral arterial disease.19
A greater intake of vegetable lipids, primarily from olive oil, was associated with decreased risk, with intake of 34 grams or more per day decreasing risk by more than 60%. Greater blood levels of beneficial high-density lipoprotein (HDL) also were associated with reduced risk of peripheral arterial disease; in fact, each 10-mg/dL increase in HDL produced a 24% lower risk. Furthermore, vitamin E intake dramatically lowered risk, with each 7.7 mg of vitamin E consumed daily producing a dramatic 63% risk reduction.19
—Elizabeth Wagner, ND
Following the Sago Mine disaster that killed 12 miners in West Virginia last January, the only survivor, Randal McCloy Jr., age 26, was in a coma suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning and multiple organ failure.
His neurosurgeon, Dr. Julian Bailes, credits his rapid recovery in part to two nontraditional therapies: hyperbaric oxygen and massive doses of omega-3 fatty acids.21
McCloy received 30 grams per day of fish oil concentrate as suggested by Dr. Barry Sears, providing 18 grams of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Because this is a very high dose, McCloy’s blood levels were constantly monitored. According to Dr. Sears, the EPA may have helped reduce the inflammation caused by the lack of oxygen within the organs, while the DHA may have helped to support healthy brain tissue.
—Mark Neveu, PhD
Women who gain significant amounts of weight during adulthood have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, according to a recent report.22
In a study of more than 44,000 women, greater weight gain was associated with higher risk for all types, stages, and grades of breast cancer. Compared to women who gained 20 pounds or less during their adult years, women who gained 60 pounds or more during adulthood were almost twice as likely to develop certain types of breast cancer. Extremely obese women were up to three times more likely to develop breast cancer metastases than were women who gained less weight as adults.
Breast cancer has been linked with increased levels of circulating estrogen hormones. Since fat tissue produces estrogen, this may explain the link between obesity and elevated risk of breast cancer.
—Elizabeth Wagner, ND
Resveratrol, a cardioprotective compound that naturally occurs in grapes, also helps protect the brain against damage caused by reduced blood flow, and may thus protect against stroke, according to findings from a recent animal study.23,24
Researchers induced brain ischemia (reduction of blood flow) in two groups of rats. One group then received a single administration of resveratrol, while the other group did not. Cerebral blood flow decreased by 65% in the ischemia-only group of rats. By comparison, the resveratrol-treated group experienced only a 35% reduction of blood flow. The resveratrol animals demonstrated less brain cell loss than did the ischemia-only rats, and also showed lower levels of damaging free radicals in the brain tissue than animals that did not receive resveratrol.
These findings indicate that resveratrol helps to attenuate the damaging effects of decreased blood flow in the brain, and may thus help protect against stroke. In humans, 85% of strokes occur in conjunction with ischemia.
—Elizabeth Wagner, ND
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13. Veldink JH, Kalmijn S, Groeneveld GJ, et al. Intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E reduce the risk of developing ALS. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2006 Apr 28; [Epub ahead of print].
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23. Lu KT, Chiou RY, Chen LG, et al. Neuroprotective effects of resveratrol on cerebral ischemia-induced neuron loss mediated by free radical scavenging and cerebral blood flow elevation. J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Apr 19;54(8):3126-31.
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In the July 2006 issue of Life Extension magazine, on page 47 we stated that up to 4.5 grams of DHA has been used as a daily supplement in some trials. The correct statement is that up to 4.5 grams of fish oil was used; that quantity of fish oil contains between 0.79 and 0.99 grams of DHA. We sincerely regret this error.