Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce breast cancer risk

The list just keeps growing for the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and overall health. The newest to the list is breast cancer. A study just published in the journal of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention surveyed approximately 35,000 postmenopausal women, ages 50 to 76, for their use of various specialty supplements (1). The 24-page summary took into account past and present use of supplements as well as frequency (days/week) and duration (year). Individuals taking high purity omega-3 oil had a 32 percent reduced risk of developing breast cancer, whereas other supplements typically taken to reduce menopausal symptoms (e.g., black cohosh, dong quai, soy, or St. John’s wort) had no association. Although further research needs to be conducted, this again adds to the growing body of evidence on the benefits of omega-3s for disease prevention.

Of this survey didn’t answer the question about if they had taken more, would they have seen even better results? This is because cancer like all chronic diseases is driven by silent inflammation coming from increasing levels of Toxic Fat (i.e., arachidonic acid). High purity omega-3 oil dilutes Toxic Fat, but only a strict anti inflammatory diet can actually reduce Toxic Fat. Follow an anti-inflammatory program consisting of a strict anti inflammatory diet, ultra-refined high purity omega-3 oil concentrates and anti-inflammatory polyphenols to reduce the driving force for virtually all chronic disease.
1. Brasky TM, Lampe JW, Potter JD, Patterson RE, White E. Specialty supplements and breast cancer risk in the VITamins And Lifestyle (VITAL) Cohort. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2010 Jul;19(7):1696-708.

Nothing contained in this blog is intended to be instructional for medial diagnosis or treatment. If you have a medical concern or issue, please consult your personal physician immediately.

The Mood-lifting properties of B-vitamins

In a previous blog we addressed the impact of omega-3 fatty acids and their mood-lifting properties, and now it looks like we can add certain B-vitamins to the list. A recent publication in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at whether dietary intakes of vitamin B-6, B-12 and folate had an association with depressive symptoms in a community-based population of adults aged 65 and older over a period of seven years (1). The study concluded that higher intakes of vitamin B-6 and B-12, but not folate, were associated with a decreased likelihood of depressive symptoms. This held true even after 12 years of follow-up. For every 10 micrograms of intake of B-6 and every 10 micrograms of B-12, there was a 2 percent decline in depressive symptoms per year.

Besides their mood lifting properties, vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12 have other important roles. Vitamin B-6 is a water-soluble vitamin that is involved in more than 100 enzymes needed for protein metabolism. It’s critical for red blood cell metabolism, and it plays a role in the nervous and immune system (2). Vitamin B-12 is also a water-soluble vitamin that is involved in red blood cell formation, neurological function and DNA synthesis (3).

Now that you’ve read this article, it doesn’t mean go out and purchase mega doses of these vitamins. It’s not hard to consume either of these vitamins in your diet. Vitamin B-6 is found in a variety of foods from beans, meat, poultry, fish and some fruits and vegetables. Unlike B-6, the main dietary sources of vitamin B-12 include animal sources: fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products. B-12 is not found in plant foods unless they are fortified. Three ounces of clams supply approximately 34 micrograms of B-12, about 570 percent of the daily intake (3). If you feel like your intake of either of these vitamins is low, a multi-vitamin that supplies no more than 100 percent of the daily value should be sufficient.

1) Skarupski KA, Tangney C, Li H, Ouyang B, Evans DA, Morris MC. Longitudinal association of vitamin B-6, folate, and vitamin B-12 with depressive symptoms among older adults over time. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Jun 2. [Epub ahead of print]

2) Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: B6. Available at: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitaminb6.asp. Accessed: July 2, 2010.

3) Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: B-12. Available at: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitaminb12.asp. Accessed: July 2, 2010.

Nothing contained in this blog is intended to be instructional for medial diagnosis or treatment. If you have a medical concern or issue, please consult your personal physician immediately.

What exactly is BMI?

Have you ever had one of those experiences with a child when they ask you a question or to define a word that is so common you should easily be able to, but you are left dumbfounded when trying to search for the best way to explain it to them? Welcome to Body Mass Index or BMI. BMI is a frequently used term these days, yet people often don’t understand exactly what it measures. It is a calculation based on a person’s weight and height and believed to be a reliable indicator of body fatness. Based on the results, it places people into various categories, which are then used as a screening tool to determine an individual’s risk for various health conditions (1).

Despite being an indicator of body fatness, nowhere in the calculation does it factor in a person’s lean body mass, so caution needs to be exercised when using it as a sole diagnostic criterion. Some people who are active and lean may be disappointed to learn they fall in the overweight category since the equation fails to take into account their muscle mass. The reason why it is so commonly used is because it’s an inexpensive and quick tool to assess the population’s risk of being overweight and obese, and for people to see how their BMI compares to the general population (2).

If you are curious to see what your BMI is, you can go to the CDC Web site at http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/index.html#Why. Just remember that despite being a quick tool, it should really be used with other diagnostic criteria as a way to evaluate overall health.

1. Body Mass Index. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/. Accessed: June 8, 2010.
2. About BMI for Adults. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/index.html#Why. Accessed: June 8, 2010.

Nothing contained in this blog is intended to be instructional for medial diagnosis or treatment. If you have a medical concern or issue, please consult your personal physician immediately.