Carotenoids Linked to Lower Breast Cancer Risk and Recurrence

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The next time you’re at the supermarket, you may want to spend a bit more time browsing the produce section. A new long-term study published in the American Journal  of Clinical Nutrition found that high concentrations of  carotenoids in the blood, specifically beta and alpha carotene and lycopene, were linked to an 18-28% reduction in breast cancer risk.  Those carotenoids are commonly found in vegetables like carrots, tomatoes and kale.

This study started back in 1989. Researchers looked at the blood samples of over 30,000 women. They were also asked to fill out questionnaires about their lifestyles to assess their baseline risks for breast cancer. In the year 2000, 18,000+ of those women returned to donate blood a second time.

By 2010, 2,188 of the volunteers had developed breast cancer.  The researchers compared the blood samples of women who had similar cancer-risk baselines and found that those participants who had the highest amounts of carotenoids in their blood had a 18-28% lower risk of breast cancer when compared to the low-carotenoid group.  Additionally, the study suggested that high levels of in-blood carotenoids also reduced the risk of more aggressive and recurring breast cancer.

Of course, more research is needed before a published research paper becomes textbook fact, but this is just another study indicative of how important fruits and vegetables are to a healthy lifestyle.

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We Got Carrots, Just Carrots and lycopene-rich Veggie D.

An Overview of the Health Benefits Associated with Probiotics

Basics of Probiotics

Probiotics are living microorganisms that regulate the movement of food through the digestive system and are often used to supplement the treatment of several digestive diseases. Additionally, probiotics help balance intestinal pH and keep unfriendly and unwanted bacteria populations from thriving. Our gut flora does a number of  other beneficial bodily tasks like producing B vitamins, pathogen protection, aiding our immune systems and disarming toxic compounds.  A thriving and healthy gut microbiome can be thrown off kilter by relatively common things: stress, not eating enough fruits and vegetables, artificial sweeteners, antacids, antibiotics, toxins and individual digestion problems. Although probiotic research is still in its infancy, there have been a number of scientific studies that have indicated beneficial results from the regular usage of probiotics.

According to that research, probiotics may relieve some symptoms or show benefits for the following:

  • Infectious diarrhea
  • Traveler’s diarrhea
  • Digestion problems following or caused by antibiotic use
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Intestinal infections
  • Immune system health
  • Protection against yeast infections and urinary tract infections
  • Prevention of atopic eczema
  • Prevention of respiratory infections in children
  • Preventing tooth decay

In the future, scientists plan to study probiotics for these possible uses:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Ethanol-induced liver disease
  • Diabetes treatment
  • Cancer prevention

Sources: American Gastroenterological Association, “Clinical Indications of Probiotics, an Overview,” Clinical Infectious Diseases 

Additional research has shown:

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A Shiitake Mushroom a Day May Keep the Doctor Away

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If you recall your Super Mario Brothers video game, Mario, a plumber, and his brother, Luigi, (also in the plumbing profession) grew stronger and bigger whenever they ate red and yellow mushrooms  hidden inside bricks that they headbutted apart. Although that sounds like the most insane thing ever–video game logic skews towards absurdity–there is a nugget of truth hidden in an interactive story of siblings who travel by sewer pipe to fight a dragon.  Mushrooms are good for you.

According to a new study out of the University of Florida, shiitake mushrooms may help boost the immune system.  The participants in the study consumed a four-ounce serving of shiitake mushroom daily for four weeks. To ensure immune benefits weren’t coming from elsewhere, subjects could not be vegetarians and were forbidden to drink tea, use antioxidant supplements or probiotics during the course of the research.  At the end of the trial, blood tests revealed better-functioning gamma delta T-cells and reductions in inflammatory proteins.

Science Daily: 

“If you eat a shiitake mushroom every day, you could see changes in their immune system that are beneficial,” said Percival, an Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty member. “We’re enhancing the immune system, but we’re also reducing the inflammation that the immune system produces.”

New Study: Sulforaphane May Provide Protection Against Cancers of the Head and Neck

A head of broccoli may protect the head of you from various cancers, according to a new study out of the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts and cauliflower are good sources of a powerful antioxidant known as sulforaphane.  This substance is thought to have a bevvy of health benefits for conditions like autism, osteoarthritis as well as protection from carcinogens.

In this most recent study, scientists selected mice that were genetically predisposed to having a greater risk of oral cancer. For several months, sulfurophane was administered to the rodents. This lead to a decrease in tumors among the at-risk mice.

In phase two, researchers gave sulforaphane-rich juices to ten healthy human volunteers. No adverse effects were recorded, but the scientists were able to detect protective changes in the lining of their mouths. In the future, they plan to run a clinical test on broccoli seed powder by giving it to human subjects who have a history or head, neck and oral cancers.

From Science Daily

“We call this ‘green chemoprevention,’ where simple seed preparations or plant extracts are used to prevent disease,” said Dr. Bauman, also an associate professor in Pitt’s School of Medicine. “Green chemoprevention requires less money and fewer resources than a traditional pharmaceutical study, and could be more easily disseminated in developing countries where head and neck cancer is a significant problem.

Related Products: LeafGreens and Cocoa LeafGreens

Happy Tummy, Happy Mind

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Even before there was any science to back it up, we’ve been trusting our guts to help us make important decisions. TV detectives have been using their guts to solve mysteries. Heroes often go with their guts in order to trust that suspicious side character who used to work for the villain. Some people in the scientific field even consider the mass of microbes brewing in our bellies a second brain due to the effect they have on our cognitive functioning and mental health.   So if you’ve heard about the belly-brain theory, it’s probably easy for you to stomach the findings of this new study.

According to the research published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity, the use of probiotics was linked to a decrease in subjects reflecting on unhappy memories.  This is important because depression tends to follow sessions of bad-memory brooding.  Forty subjects participated in the study. For a period of four weeks, half were given placebos, the other half probiotics. Before and after the test,  they were asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding their moods.

Test subjects taking a multispecies probiotics were significantly less likely to stew on their memorialized misgivings.  This is the first evidence that probiotic use could affect mood.

From Medical XPress

“Even if preliminary, these results provide the first evidence that the intake of probiotics may help reduce negative thoughts associated with sad mood. As such, our findings shed an interesting new light on the potential of probiotics to serve as adjuvant or preventive therapy for depression.”

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FloraFood is a multispecies probiotic to help keep your gut healthy and maybe even happy.

Oligofructose May Aid in Weight Management

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A study out of a Canada published in Obesity journal found that oligofructose (aka fructooligosaccharide), a prebiotic fiber commonly found in food sources like chicory, onion and oat, may aid in weight management. The researchers put two groups of rats on a strict high-fat, high-sugar diet, but one faction was also fed oligofructose, and guess what? Even though both rat packs were chowing down on unhealthy amounts of fatty and sugary foodstuffs, the oligofructose-munching rats gained one-third less weight than those bloated rats not given supplements.

The scientists believe that oligofructose has prebiotic qualities that helped to control the rats’ hunger-inducing hormones. Additionally, the study shows that the composition of the rat-gut microbiomes affected by the prebiotics bore a closer resemblance to the gut biome of a healthy, lean creature.  This is not the first study on oligofructose and weight loss. In 2009, research on humans found that adults who supplemented with oligofructose lost about one kilogram (2.2 pounds), on average, over the course of 12 weeks.

Source:  Medical Xpress

BarleyLife Xtra has about a half-gram of oligofructose from chicory in every serving.

New Study: Magnesium Shows Promise for Improving Diabetes-Related Health Outcomes

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Magnesium plays a huge role in the day-to-day functions of the body. It strengthens your bones. It helps your heart to beat. It assists in the conversion of food to energy, and it also does a few hundred other things.  It’s very important, and yet the majority of mankind is deficient. (Somewhere between 60-80%).  Recently low levels of magnesium were linked to type 2 diabetes, but a new analysis published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Food Sciences has found that increased dietary magnesium intake is associated with favorable diabetes-related health outcomes.

Researchers looked at the most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and compared people with adequate levels of magnesium to those who were magnesium deficient. The magnesium-imbued tended to have smaller waist circumferences, lower blood pressures and cholesterol levels.

From the report:

 Higher dietary intake of magnesium from food plus supplements was associated with significantly reduced odds ratios for elevated glycohemoglobin, metabolic syndrome, obesity, overweight or obesity, elevated waist circumference, elevated systolic blood pressure, reduced HDL and elevated C-reactive protein. Thus, there is a beneficial relationship between dietary magnesium intake and diabetes-related physiological outcomes in U.S. adults.

AIM provides both target-able topical magnesium  in Mag-nificence and tasty magnesium supplementation in CalciAIM for all your magnesium needs.