Life Extension Update
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Four supplements help protect against middle-aged weight gain
M C Nachtigal ND and colleagues from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle analyzed data collected in the VITamins And Lifestyle (VITAL) study, which surveyed men and women between the ages of 50 and 76 to obtain information on vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplement use as well as medical history, diet, physical activity and weight change over the past decade.
The researchers reviewed 15,000 questionnaires submitted by participants with an average age of 55. Multivitamins, fiber tablets, soy, ginkgo, St John’s Wort, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, chromium, omega-3 fatty acids and other supplement use was analyzed and correlated with body weight changes occurring between the ages of 45 and 55. They found that those who reported using multivitamins, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and chromium experienced less weight gain than those who did not use these supplements. This effect was most noticeable among those who were overweight or obese at age 45. There was little difference between men and women in these findings.
It was suggested that chromium and B complex might modify appetite, leading to the intake of fewer calories. Individuals who are deficient in B complex may be more likely to overeat, therefore correcting deficiencies of these vitamins could lead to less calorie consumption. A clinical trial of the supplements is the next step to confirm their effect on weight gain in middle-aged men and women.
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Although predisposition to FH may be an inherited condition and is most often due to dietary factors, it can also be found in people with such disorders as schizophrenia, alcoholism, drug addiction, juvenile delinquency, hyperactivity, diabetes, and obesity. In some people, severe FH can contribute to other illnesses such as epilepsy, allergies, asthma, ulcers, arthritis, impotence, and mental disorders.
Hypoglycemia may damage brain cells. When hippocampal brain-cell cultures are deprived of glucose, a massive release of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) occurs, which is an indicator of neuronal death. The addition of the vitamin B6 metabolite pyridoxal 5-phosphate has been shown to inhibit the LDH release. When pyridoxal 5-phosphate is given before glucose deprivation, a more potent inhibitory effect on LDH release has been observed. Scientists have suggested that pyridoxal 5-phosphate protects neurons from glucose deprivation-induced damage. These scientists recommend that pyridoxal 5-phosphate be used prophylactically to protect against brain-cell death induced by metabolic disorders such as hypoglycemia (Geng et al. 1997).
Another possible cause of low blood sugar is the inability to release glycogen (stored sugar in the liver), secondary to vitamin B6 and chromium deficiency. Some hypoglycemics are helped by the daily administration of 100-250 mg of pyridoxal 5-phosphate and 200 mcg of chromium. Chromium is a mineral found in brewer's yeast, whole-grain breads and cereals, molasses, cheese, lean meats, and dietary supplements.
B vitamins are used in the body individually or in combination with enzymes to help release energy from carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Vitamin B coenzymes are crucial to the metabolic pathways that generate the energy needed by every cell in the body. Because they are co-dependent in their metabolic activities, a deficiency of one B vitamin can affect optimal functioning of organ systems throughout the body.
Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is an important component of the coenzyme PLP, which metabolizes amino acids. Because of its amino acid transfer ability, the body can produce nonessential amino acids from available amino groups, as well as metabolize protein and urea. Without vitamin B6, our bodies would not be able to manufacture red and white blood cells, hormones, insulin, adrenaline, antibodies, neurotransmitters (such as serotonin that controls sleep patterns, appetite, and sensitivity to pain), and enzymes.
Chromium is an essential trace mineral that is necessary for carbohydrate metabolism, glucose regulation, and energy production. Chromium can also produce anabolic effects, but without side effects.
Chromium polynicotinate is a niacin-bound, absorbable form that may be used as part of your diet to help maintain a healthy blood sugar level.
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