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.”

Related Product

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.

Mag-Nificence Lives Up to Its Name

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According to the USDA, fifty-seven percent of Americans don’t get enough dietary magnesium. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency range from minor things like fatigue, muscle weakness and cramps to serious problems like personality change and heart failure. Poor diet and alcohol abuse are major contributors to magnesium deficiency. Green leafy vegetables and nuts are rich sources of magnesium, but it can also be absorbed directly through the skin during a bath or a massage with our Mag-nificence lotion. The best and most relaxing way to supplement with magnesium is through back rubs and long hot baths.That’s great news because stress can cause your magnesium levels to dip.

Magnesium can do more than just improve the quality of your massage. According to theUniversity of Maryland Medical Center, “magnesium may enhance the effectiveness of conventional treatment for the following conditions:”

1. Asthma

2. Depression

3. Diabetes

4. Fibromyalgia

5. Noise-related hearing loss

6. Cardiovascular Health

7. Migraine

8. High Blood Pressure

9. Osteoporosis.

10. Preclampsia and Eclampsia

11. PMS

12. Restless Leg Syndrome

Check out the University of Maryland website for further information about these studies. And check out AIM’s Mag-nificence for a soothing way to get your magnesium on.

6 Reasons You Should Love Vitamin D Even More

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Vitamin D has long been lauded for its ability to help strengthen bones, for basic muscle function and to aid with some skin conditions, but the full aptitude of vitamin D has not yet been unlocked. There seems to be potential for treating mood disorders, bolstering the immune system and even helping those suffering from prostate cancer.  Even though the most potent source of vitamin D is free and literally falls out of the sky as sunlight, the vast majority of people do not get enough of it.  Two doctors from the Boston University Medical Center who published an article in the American Journal of Nutrition went so far as to call vitamin D deficiency  a “pandemic.

Over the last two weeks, vitamin D has been popping up in then news over and over again. Here are findings from six of the latest studies.

1. Vitamin D helps immune cells prevent atherosclerosis, diabetes.  (Source: Science Daily)

The results of this study suggest that when immune cells don’t get enough or can’t process vitamin D correctly, a person can suffer from inflammation and other serious health woes. Findings also suggest that low levels of vitamin D may be linked to atherosclerosis and diabetes.

2.  Vitamin D supplements may reverse progression of low-grade prostate tumors (Source: Medical News Today)

When someone who is afflicted with prostate cancer is biopsied, inflammation occurs and they must wait for sixty days before the cancer can be removed. Scientists wanted to see if vitamin D could help during this waiting period. Over half of the men (55%) who took vitamin D supplements saw a reduction in their Gleason scores–the method of determining how aggressive a cancer is. The higher the number, the more aggressive the tumor. Some of the men who took vitamin D saw their tumors disappear.  The men in the placebo group did not see change or their conditions worsened.

“We don’t know yet whether vitamin D treats or prevents prostate cancer,” cautions Hollis. “At the minimum, what it may do is keep lower-grade prostate cancers from going ballistic.”

Note: This information should not be taken as medical advice. 

3. Low vitamin D levels, depression linked in young women, new study shows (Source: Science Daily)

Researchers at Oregon State University studied the blood and moods of 185 healthy young women in the Pacific Northwest. (It rains a lot there and is cloudy, so less sun). 61% of the participants had insufficient levels of vitamin D. A third of the otherwise healthy participants suffered from depression. The researchers believe that a lack of vitamin D may be the culprit but more research was needed.

4. Vitamin D may help prevent, treat diseases associated with aging (Source: Science Daily)

This story comes to us out of Loyola University.  Older people are at greater risk for vitamin D deficiency due to less time outdoors and poorer ability to absorb the nutrient through the skin. Researchers reviewed studies and other evidence and now believe that there might be links between vitamin D deficiency and aged-related illnesses like cognitive decline, depression, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and cancer. As the elderly population grows, the researchers suggest that a better understanding of vitamin D is needed to help treat the aging accordingly.

5. Recommendation for vitamin D intake was miscalculated, is far too low, experts say (Source: Science Daily)

Some researchers believe that the recommended intake of Vitamin D is way too low. Instead of 600 IU a day, we should be getting 7,000 IU a day.

The recommended intake of vitamin D specified by the IOM is 600 IU/day through age 70 years, and 800 IU/day for older ages. “Calculations by us and other researchers have shown that these doses are only about one-tenth those needed to cut incidence of diseases related to vitamin D deficiency,” Garland explained.

Robert Heaney, M.D., of Creighton University wrote: “We call for the NAS-IOM and all public health authorities concerned with transmitting accurate nutritional information to the public to designate, as the RDA, a value of approximately 7,000 IU/day from all sources.”

“This intake is well below the upper level intake specified by IOM as safe for teens and adults, 10,000 IU/day,” Garland said. Other authors were C. Baggerly and C. French, of GrassrootsHealth, a voluntary organization in San Diego CA, and E.D. Gorham, Ph.D., of UC San Diego.

Also, not to be taken as medical advice. Always see your own individual physician before making any drastic dietary changes.

6. Vitamin D vital for gene expression in developing brains (Source: Medical Xpress)

Australian researchers examined pregnant mice. The mice who were born of vitamin-D-deficient mothers tended to have smaller heads, smaller ventricle volumes (heart chamber size) and altered gene expression in the brain. Researchers believe that these alterations could negatively impact the speech and mood centers of the brain.