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The Year in Review

The latest research findings

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The Year in Review

The research studies featured in our year in review for 2011 support the alive philosophy: healthy food, supplements, and fitness are the keys to optimal health.

The research studies featured in our year in review for 2011 support the alive philosophy: healthy food, supplements, and fitness are the keys to optimal health.

Each day, it seems, a new research study proclaims something we enjoy is bad for us or something we don't enjoy is good for us. It seems a near impossible task to keep up on all of the latest research studies, especially when the results conflict.

Keeping up on research is what we do at alive. Research is the backbone of each article we publish. Follow-up research will be conducted or is ongoing in many of these study areas. We look forward to another exciting year in natural health in 2012 as we continue to bring you the latest research findings pertaining to your health and fitness.

  • 2 Tbsp of spices added to meals decreased triglyceride response by 30 percent, insulin response by 20 percent, and increased antioxidant activity by 13 percent. Researchers added various combinations of rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, cloves, garlic powder, and paprika to meals fed to a small group of men. No stomach upset was reported, although researchers will try to replicate the results with smaller doses of spices.
  • 500 IU of vitamin D a day have been associated with a 13 percent reduced risk of type 2 diabetes in a recent meta-analysis. Researchers found that people with the highest levels of vitamin D had a 43 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those with the lowest levels of vitamin D. However, researchers stress that more high-quality studies are needed to clarify the role of vitamin D in type 2 diabetes.
  • 25% reduction in cold symptoms occurred in one-month-old babies whose mothers took 400 mg of DHA from 18 to 22 weeks gestation until their baby was born. Three-month-old infants were sick 14 percent less than infants whose moms-to-be did not take DHA supplements.
  • 1,000 mg of omega-3 taken daily in pill form, combined with aspirin and clopidogrel, two blood-thinning drugs, resulted in better blood clot destruction in patients with coronary heart disease who had stents placed in their arteries than the placebo group who took blood thinners without omega-3s.
  • Four to five cups of coffee a day could protect against the development of Alzheimer’s disease. An unidentified ingredient in coffee is believed to combine with caffeine to reduce brain levels of beta amyloid, the abnormal protein believed to cause Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers recommend that the optimal time to begin moderate coffee consumption is in our 30s, 40s, and 50s. Coffee must be caffeinated, and as testing was only performed on coffee made in automatic drip machines, instant coffee may not provide the same protection.
  • 63 minutes of high-intensity exercise resulted in improved cardiorespiratory fitness, blood pressure, body composition, and insulin resistance in a group of healthy adolescents who performed a series of 20-metre sprints over 30 seconds weekly for seven weeks. Another group performed moderate exercise by running steadily for 20 minutes. While both groups experienced these benefits, the high-intensity group trained for a total of 63 minutes over seven weeks, or only 15 percent of the time spent training by the moderate-intensity group, who trained for 420 minutes over the same time period.
  • 120 minutes a week of aerobic training at 75 percent of maximum oxygen uptake provided the greatest benefit in improving cardiometabolic health. Sedentary, overweight, dyslipidemic (having high blood lipid levels) male and female exercisers performed aerobic exercise alone, resistance training alone, and a combination of both. Resistance training alone did not improve the subjects’ metabolic score; however, aerobic exercise alone and in combination with resistance training did improve their scores. Researchers concluded that aerobic exercise alone is the most efficient way to improve one’s cardiometabolic health.
  • 500 mg of natural eggshell membrane were taken daily for four weeks by subjects with joint and connective tissue disorders. After seven days pain was reduced and flexibility improved, and after 30 days pain remained significantly reduced.
  • 95% reduced progression of inflammatory bowel disease was reported after 13 days in mice who were given a new strain of probiotic. Researchers deleted a gene in the probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus to produce the novel probiotic strain which calmed the body’s immune cell response and could be useful in treating colon cancer, Crohn’s disease, and colitis.
  • Twenty-six years after the Adventist Health Study-1 was conducted in 1976 to 1977, the Adventist Health Study-2 followed up on the original subjects and examined their consumption of 25 foods and food groups. The following foods were found to substantially reduce the occurrence of colon polyps (and therefore decrease the risk of colorectal cancer).
FoodEat
Reduction in polyps
brown rice
at least once per week40%
legumes
three times per week33%
dried fruitthree times per week or more26%
green vegetablescooked once per day or more24%
  • 3 mg of melatonin taken nightly by chronic tinnitus sufferers for 30 days resulted in a statistically significant decrease in tinnitus intensity and improved their sleep quality. Melatonin works best for men, people who haven’t undergone tinnitus treatment, those whose tinnitus is severe and bilateral (affects both ears), and those who have a history of noise exposure.
  • 1 hour of group tai chi classes twice weekly for 12 weeks resulted in improved quality of life for a group of patients with systolic heart failure. Another group who spent the same amount of time in an educational group did not experience the same benefits such as increased daily activity, feelings of well-being, and confidence in performing exercise-related activities.
  • Five hundred milligrams of fenugreek, a plant that originated in India and North Africa, was given to one group of resistance-trained men daily, while a second group received a placebo. Subjects underwent a supervised four-time-per-week resistance training program for eight weeks. Those taking fenugreek lost more body fat and had greater leg press and bench press capabilities than the placebo group, with no clinical side effects.
  • Nine percent decrease in acute stroke was observed in people with each increased point of optimism they scored on a 16-point scale over the course of a two-year study. Researchers postulate that an optimistic attitude may lead us to make healthy choices such as taking vitamins, exercising, and eating a healthy diet. Optimism may also have a biological basis.
  • 10 minutes of exposure to bergamot essential oil spray produced a significant decrease in blood pressure and heart rate for a group of Taiwanese elementary school teachers. Aromatherapy could help employees to reduce stress in high-pressure work situations.
  • Seven times greater risk a child will develop autism if the mother doesn’t take prenatal vitamins immediately before and during the first month of pregnancy, and she carries high-risk genes. The B vitamins, and B9 in particular, likely protect against defects in early fetal brain development. Women are encouraged to begin taking prenatal vitamins as early as possible—even when planning to get pregnant.
  • 16 mg/dL average reduction in LDL cholesterol in subjects in a meta-analysis of glucomannan show its potential cardiovascular benefits. Studies have shown that for each 1 mg/dL decrease in LDL cholesterol levels, the risk of a coronary heart disease event is decreased by 1 percent.
  • 2 to 3 glasses of milk consumed daily by pregnant women may provide enough vitamin D to reduce their daughters’ risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS). The highest blood serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in moms-to-be were inversely associated with the risk of MS in their daughters.
  • 75 minutes of hatha yoga performed by women with fibromyalgia twice weekly over eight weeks reduced pain. According to researchers, cortisol is secreted in response to stress, and women with fibromyalgia have lower than average cortisol levels. After practising hatha yoga, participants’ cortisol levels increased, and they reported significantly reduced pain and other symptoms. They also felt less helpless and used mindfulness to detach from their psychological experience of pain.
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