• Benefits of eating fish outweigh potential risks
Researchers at Harvard University analyzed the benefits and risks of eating fish, a potential source of mercury and dioxin contamination. They calculated that eating one to two fish meals per week, especially fish high in omega-3 fats, reduced the risk of death from heart disease by 36 percent and death from other causes by 17 percent. The researchers wrote that women of childbearing age and nursing mothers should consume two seafood meals per week, but limit their consumption of high-mercury fish, such as shark, king mackerel, swordfish, and golden bass.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), one of the omega-3s, is important in the development of fetal and infant brains. The researchers noted that consuming 250 mg daily of DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) may be sufficient for heart protection. They concluded that, "for major health outcomes among adults...the benefits of fish intake exceed the potential risks. For women of childbearing age, benefits of modest fish intake, except for a few selected species, also outweigh risks."
Mozaffarian D, et al. JAMA, 2006;296:1885-1899.
• Resveratrol has striking anti-aging effects in mice
Resveratrol, an antioxidant found in red wine, has a pronounced anti-aging effect in obese laboratory mice, according to a study by American researchers. High supplemental doses of resveratrol prevented nearly all negative health changes caused by eating high-calorie diets. The mice received the human equivalent of almost 1,700 mg of resveratrol daily -- the amount that would be in roughly a thousand glasses of red wine.
Compared with untreated mice, those getting resveratrol maintained higher activity of SIRT1, considered an anti-aging gene. The mice also maintained normal liver function and had relatively low levels of glucose, insulin, and insulin-like growth factor-1. The average lifespan of the mice increased by about 15 percent, and they also maintained a higher quality of life, with more physical activity and improvements in motor skills.
Baur JA, et al. Nature, 2006:epub ahead of print.
• Green tea associated with low cardiovascular deaths
Japanese researchers analyzed green tea consumption and the risk of death in a study of more than 40,000 middle-age and elderly men and women. Drinking three or more cups of green tea was associated with substantially lower risks of death from cardiovascular disease in both men and women. Women benefited more than men from green tea, with consumption of five or more cups daily related to a 31 percent reduction in cardiovascular-related deaths. Green tea had the greatest benefit in reducing the risk of stroke.
Kuriyama S, et al. JAMA, 2006;296:1255-1265.
• Vitamin D may lower risk of pancreatic cancer
American researchers analyzed vitamin E intake and the risk of pancreatic cancer among more than 47,000 men and 75,000 women. They found that higher intakes of vitamin D were related to lower risks of developing pancreatic cancer. People who consumed more than 600 IU of vitamin D daily were 41 percent less likely to develop that type of cancer.
Skinner HG, et al. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, 2006;15:1688-1695.
• Tomato extract improves blood clotting
Scottish researchers investigated the effects of tomato extract on blood clotting in 90 healthy subjects. The tomato extract prevented blood clots, which could contribute to a reduced risk of heart attack. The tomato extract had the greatest effect in people with high levels of either homocysteine or C-reactive protein, both markers of cardiovascular risk.
O'Kennedy N, et al. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2006;84:561-569.
About the author
Jack Challem, known as The Nutrition Reporter(tm), is a personal nutrition coach based in Tucson, Arizona. Jack is one of America's most trusted nutrition and health writers, and has written about research on nutrition, vitamins, minerals, and herbs for more than 30 years. He is the author of The Food-Mood Solution: The Nutrition and Lifestyle Plan to Feel Good Againem> (Wiley, 2007), Feed Your Genes Right (Wiley, 2005), The Inflammation Syndrome (Wiley, 2003) and the lead author of the best-selling Syndrome X: The Complete Nutritional Program to Prevent and Reverse Insulin Resistance (Wiley, 2000). His next book, Stop Prediabetes Now, will be published in the fall of 2007. He writes The Nutrition Reporter(tm) newsletter and contributes regularly to many magazines, including Alternative Medicine, Better Nutrition, Body & Soul, Experience Life, and Let's Live. Jack's scientific articles have appeared in Free Radical Biology & Medicine, Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, Medical Hypotheses, and other journals. In addition, he is a columnist for Alternative & Complementary Therapies. Jack is a frequent speaker at nutritional medicine conferences and to consumer health groups. Email him via www.foodmoodsolution.com