Posts Tagged ‘flaxseed’

Omega-3 Lowers Inflammation in Overweight Older Adults

Monday, June 25th, 2012
Science Daily reports that there is more good news for all of us who take Omega-3 fatty acid as part of our diet.

“ScienceDaily (June 20, 2012) — New research shows that omega-3 fatty acid supplements can lower inflammation in healthy, but overweight, middle-aged and older adults, suggesting that regular use of these supplements could help protect against and treat certain illnesses.

Four months of omega-3 supplementation decreased one protein in the blood that signals the presence of inflammation by an average of more than 10 percent, and led to a modest decrease in one other inflammation marker. In comparison, participants taking placebos as a group saw average increases of 36 percent and 12 percent, respectively, of those same markers.

Chronic inflammation is linked to numerous conditions, including coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as the frailty and functional decline that can accompany aging.

Study participants took either 2.5 grams or 1.25 grams of active omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in their supplements. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are considered”good fats” that, when consumed in proper quantities, are associated with a variety of health benefits. Study participants taking a placebo consumed pills containing less than 2 teaspoons per day of a mix of oils representing a typical American’s daily dietary oil intake.

“Omega-3 fatty acids may be both protective so that inflammation doesn’t go up, as well as therapeutic by helping inflammation go down,” said Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychiatry and psychology at Ohio State University and lead author of the study.

“This is the first study to show that omega-3 supplementation leads to changes in inflammatory markers in the blood in overweight but otherwise healthy people. In terms of regulating inflammation when people are already healthy, this is an important study, in that it suggests one way to keep them healthy.”

The study is published online and scheduled for later print publication in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity.

The scientists recruited 138 adults — 45 men and 93 women — who were in good health, but who were either overweight or obese and lived sedentary lives. Their average age was 51 years. Based on body mass index, a measure of weight relative to height, 91 percent of the participants were overweight and 47 percent were obese.

Inflammation tends to accompany excess body fat, so the researchers recruited participants who were most likely high in pro-inflammatory blood compounds at the beginning of the study.

“We wanted to have enough room to see a downward trend. Most other trials testing the effects of omega-3 supplements on inflammation used people who were seriously diseased or skinny and healthy,” said Kiecolt-Glaser, also an investigator in Ohio State’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research (IBMR). “You can see results in people with serious diseases, but there’s a lot of other noise in that system. We wanted to make sure we were studying results in people who were fairly fit but who weren’t exercising, because exercise can clearly lower inflammation.”

The researchers also excluded from participation people taking a variety of medications to control mood, cholesterol and blood pressure as well as vegetarians, patients with diabetes, smokers, those routinely taking fish oil, people who got more than two hours of vigorous exercise each week and those whose body mass index was either below 22.5 or above 40.

Participants received either a placebo or one of two different doses of omega-3 fatty acids — either 2.5 grams or 1.25 grams per day. The supplements were calibrated to contain a ratio of the two fish oil fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), of seven to one. Previous research has suggested that EPA has more anti-inflammatory properties than does DHA.

After four months, participants who had taken the omega-3 supplements had significantly lower levels in their blood of two proteins that are markers of inflammation, also called pro-inflammatory cytokines. The low-dose group showed an average 10 percent decrease in the cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6), and the high-dose group’s overall IL-6 dropped by 12 percent. In comparison, those taking a placebo saw an overall 36 percent increase in IL-6 by the end of the study.

Levels of the cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a) also dropped, but in a more modest way, by 0.2 percent and 2.3 percent in the low- and high-dose groups, respectively. The placebo group’s TNF-a increased by an average of 12 percent.

IL-6 and TNF-a are two of a family of six cytokines that, when stimulated, produce an inflammatory response to a stressor such as an injury or infection, said study co-author Ron Glaser, professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics and director of the IBMR.

“You need this good inflammation for an initial response, but if it stays up, and inflammation becomes chronic, then you’ve got a problem,” Glaser said. “Our research and studies done by others have shown that these two cytokines are clearly related to overall health — and when they’re elevated in the blood, that is not good for overall health. So the more ways we can find to lower them, the better.”

Statistically, there was no significant difference in lowered inflammation between the two doses, but each dose clearly produced cytokine reductions that differed significantly from the placebo group.

“These data support the idea that a higher dose of omega-3 is not necessarily better than a lower dose in terms of prevention of inflammation,” said Martha Belury, professor of human nutrition at Ohio State and a co-author of the study.

However, levels of omega-3 fatty acids in participants’ blood increased according to which dose they consumed, which improved their ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids. The current typical American diet contains between 15 and 17 times more omega-6 than omega-3, a ratio that researchers suggest should be lowered to 4-to-1, or even 2-to-1, to improve overall health.

“Scientists tend to agree that the best way to gauge a person’s omega-3 status is to see whether that ratio goes down,” Belury said. “That’s what we saw in this study, and it was achieved through supplementation. We wanted participants to maintain normal diets and simply add this modest amount of oil to their existing diet. We expected and we found that their blood plasma omega-3 fatty acids went up in a dose-responsive manner.”

The Food and Drug Administration considers daily omega-3 supplementation of up to 3 grams to be “generally regarded as safe.” The doses in this study were within those safety parameters, but the researchers did not extend their findings to make a general recommendation about omega-3 supplementation.

“Although omega-3 fatty acids cannot take the place of good health behaviors, people with established inflammatory diseases or conditions may benefit from their use,” Kiecolt-Glaser said.

The researchers also sought to determine whether omega-3 fatty acids could reduce depression symptoms, but participants had relatively few symptoms to begin with so no significant reductions were seen. Depression is also associated with chronic inflammation, but research hasn’t yet fully defined the mechanisms behind that relationship.

This work was supported in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health. OmegaBrite, a company based in Waltham, Mass., supplied the supplements as an unrestricted gift but did not participate in the study design, results or publication.

Additional co-authors, all at Ohio State, include Rebecca Andridge of the Division of Biostatistics; William Malarkey of the IBMR and the departments of Psychiatry and Internal Medicine; and Beom Seuk Hwang of the IBMR and biostatistics.”

Try Nushie’s Natural Flaxseed Crackers. They are fabulous tasting full of Omega-3 and contain no artificial additives or preservatives.

Flaxseed Shown To Protect Against Harmful Effects Of Radiation And Is Crucial For The Development Of The Brain And Nervous System.

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Flaxseed has been shown to have many health benefits. It is rich in fibre, antioxidants, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, flaxseed is very low in carbohydrates, making it ideal for people who limit their intake of starches and sugars. Its combination of healthy fat and high fibre content make it a great food for weight loss and maintenance — many dieters have found that flax seed has been a key to keeping them feeling satisfied.
Flaxseed is also rich in most of the B vitamins, magnesium, and manganese.

2 new recent studies have shown further health benefits of flaxseed.

In the first study reported by Science daily (August 9 2011) researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have discovered that it might have a new use for the 21st century: protecting healthy tissues and organs from the harmful effects of radiation.
As reported by Science Daily “In a study just published in BMC Cancer, researchers found that a diet of flaxseed given to mice not only protects lung tissues before exposure to radiation, but can also significantly reduce damage after exposure occurs.”

“There are only a handful of potential mitigators of radiation effect, and none of them is nearly ready for the clinic,” says the principal investigator Melpo Christofidou-Solomidou, PhD, research associate professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Division. “Our current study demonstrates that dietary flaxseed, already known for its strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, works as both a mitigator and protector against radiation pneumonopathy.”

Dr. Christofidou-Solomidou and her colleagues found that the flaxseed diet conferred substantial benefits regardless of whether it was initiated before or after irradiation. Mice on flaxseed displayed improved survival rates and mitigation of radiation pneumonitis, with increased blood oxygenation levels, higher body weight, lower pro-inflammatory cytokine levels, and greatly reduced pulmonary inflammation and fibrosis.

The latter finding is especially exciting, because while radiation-induced inflammatory damage can be potentially treated with steroidal therapy (in radiotherapy patients for example), lung fibrosis is essentially untreatable. “There’s nothing you can give to patients to prevent fibrosis,” Dr. Christofidou-Solomidou points out. “Once a lung becomes “stiff” from collagen deposition, it’s irreversible. We have discovered that flaxseed not only prevents fibrosis, but it also protects after the onset of radiation damage.”
Dr. Christofidou-Solomidou and her colleagues are focusing further research on the bioactive lignan component of flaxseed, known as SDG (secoisolariciresinol diglucoside), which is believed to confer its potent antioxidant properties. The lignan component also “regulates the transcription of antioxidant enzymes that protect and detoxify carcinogens, free radicals and other damaging agents,” she says.

Flaxseed boasts many other qualities that make it particularly attractive as a radioprotector and mitigator. “Flaxseed is safe, it’s very cheap, it’s readily available, there’s nothing you have to synthesize,” Dr. Christofidou-Solomidou notes. “It can be given orally so it has a very convenient administration route. It can be packaged and manufactured in large quantities. Best of all, you can store it for very long periods of time.” That makes it especially interesting to government officials looking to stockpile radioprotective substances in case of accidental or terrorist-caused radiological disasters.

Co-author Keith Cengel, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Radiation Oncology at Penn, explains that in such cases, “a big issue is the ‘worried well’ — all the folks who probably weren’t exposed but are concerned and want to do something.” Many potential radioprotectors, however, could have risky side effects. Dr. Christofidou-Solomidou adds, “When you give something to 4 or 5 million ‘worried well,’ you have people with preexisting medical conditions. You can’t give just anything to people with heart disease, for example. But this is absolutely safe. In fact, it is known to increase cardiovascular health, a finding shown by another group of Penn investigators a few years ago. It’s loaded with omega-3 fatty acids.”

Along with other researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine, the authors are conducting further pilot studies on the potential of flaxseed for mitigation of lung damage in patients awaiting lung transplants and those undergoing radiation therapy for the treatment of intra-thoracic malignancies. Dr. Christofidou-Solomidou is even conducting a pilot study for NASA on the benefits of flaxseed for astronauts on extended deep space missions. Lengthy space exploration missions require that the astronauts perform extravehicular activities (EVAs) for repairs, during which they can face exposure to high levels of solar and galactic radiation with the added risk factor of breathing 100 percent oxygen. “Hyperoxia superimposed with radiation could potentially cause some lung damage and some reason to worry for the astronauts,” she says. “We are one of a handful of teams in the US that can study radiation in addition to hyperoxia. So now we’re adding another level of complexity to the one-hit, radiation damage studies; the double-hit model is something novel, nobody has done it before.”

The researchers are already convinced enough to incorporate flaxseed into their own routine. “I actually eat it every morning,” says Dr. Cengel, noting, “The potential health benefits are significant and there is no known toxicity — it just makes good sense to me.”

The second study shows that consumption of omega-3 fatty acids found in foods such as flax seed and chia produce children that are much healthier and less prone to sickness.

Research has shown that consumption of omega-3 fatty acids aids the development and maintenance of the nervous system in young children (http://www.naturalnews.com/016353.html)., but a new study published in the journal Pediatrics adds to this, having found that pregnant women who supplement with Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) during their pregnancies produce children that are much healthier and less prone to sickness than those born to women who do not supplement with, or otherwise consume enough, DHA.

As Natural Health reports “Dr. Usha Ramakrishnan, associate professor at Emory University’s Hubert Department of Global Health, and her team conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled trial on 1,100 pregnant women and 900 infants from Mexico. Some women received 400 milligrams (mg) of DHA, while others received aplacebo, during the 18 to 22 weeks of gestation through childbirth.

After all the women eventually gave birth,children born to mothers in the DHA group experienced less overall sickness, and shorter duration of sickness. Some of the results are as follows:

-At one month of age, babies from the DHA group were 25 percent less likely to catch a cold or have a cough with phlegm or wheezing.

-At three months of age, babies from the DHA group experienced 14 percent less illness time than those from the placebo group.

-And at six months, DHA babies had less fevers, nasal secretions, breathing problems, and rashes than babies from the control group.

“This is a large scale, robust study that underscores the importance of good nutrition during pregnancy,” remarked Ramakrishnan. “Our findings indicate that pregnant women taking 400 mg of DHA are more likely to deliver healthier infants.”

The form of DHA used in the study was derived from algae, which is not necessarily an ideal form. In some cases, companies are actually using genetically-modified (GM) algae to createomega-3oils. Monsanto is even working on gaining FDA approval for a GM soybean that artificially producesomega-3s, which is why it is important to know the source of your omega-3s before consuming them.

DHA, as well as the entire gamut of omega-3s that includes arachidonic acid (ARA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), can be found in natural foods like grass-fed meats, salmon, flax, and hemp. They can also be found from high-quality fish and cod liver oils,.”

A fabulous source of flaxseed and chia which is also high in omega-3 fatty acids are Nushie’s Natural Organic Flaxseed and Chia Crackers. These are delicious and being dehydrated and not cooked or processed in any way retain the natural nutrients of the seeds. The flaxseed is rolled so that it is readily digested.

Sources:

Melpo Christofidou-Solomidou, Sonia Tyagi, Kay-See Tan, Sarah Hagan, Ralph Pietrofesa, Floyd Dukes, Evguenia Arguiri, Daniel F Heitjan, Charalambos C Solomides, Keith A Cengel. Dietary flaxseed administered post thoracic radiation treatment improves survival and mitigates radiation-induced pneumonopathy in mice. BMC Cancer, 2011; 11 (1): 269 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2407-11-269

Science Daily 9 August

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_relea…

Learn more:http://www.naturalnews.com/033281_omega-3s_healthy_babies.html#ixzz1UhNwRvKf