Moderate Sleep and Less Stress May Help With Weight Loss

A Kaiser Permanente study published in the International Journal of Obesity indicates that efforts to lose weight are aided by adequate sleep and stress control.

The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, found that those attempting to lose ten pounds or more were more likely to succeed if they got at least six hours of sleep and reported lower stress levels.

Lead author Charles Elder, MD, MPH, an investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon, said: “This study suggests that when people are trying to lose weight, they should try to get the right amount of sleep and reduce their stress. Some people may just need to cut back on their schedules and get to bed earlier. Others may find that exercise can reduce stress and help them sleep. For some people, mind/body techniques such as meditation also might be helpful.”

The study, which included around 500 people, was divided into two parts. First, participants were given six months to lose at least ten pounds. Those who succeeded went on to the second part of the study, designed to test a complementary acupressure technique compared to conventional weight-maintenance strategies. (This part of the study has not been completed.)

Participants in the first part of the study were given advice as to diet and exercise; they also kept daily food diaries and attended weekly meetings. It was found that those who kept more food records and attended more meetings were more likely to lose weight during this phase of the trial.

They also were asked about their experiences with insomnia, stress and depression, as well as time spent watching television and computer use. It was found that adequate sleep and lower stress levels presaged success at weight loss, but depression and screen time had little or no effect.

Dr. Elder, who also leads Integrative Medicine at Kaiser Permanente Northwest, and the study authors warn that their findings may not apply to everyone, pointing out that most of their subjects had attended college, and were highly motivated.

Kaiser Permanente is conducting ongoing research to gain insight into the causes of successful and unsuccessful attempts at weight loss, and maintaining healthy weight. Other Kaiser Permanente studies have found that use of an interactive weight management website helped people keep weight off, and that keeping a food diary, as well as personal and internet-based support, had positive effects on weight control.

Study authors include: Charles R. Elder, MD, MPH, Christina M. Gullion, PhD, Kristine L. Funk, MS, Lynn L. DeBar, PhD, Nangel M. Lindberg, PhD, and Victor J. Stevens, PhD, all from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon.

Source: Reuters  May 2011


Most in U.S. want ban on smoking in public: poll

Stop Smoking Today With Hypnosis – Laser Therapy or both. Call 201.618.3534 for more information.

Recent polling suggests that more Americans than ever want to see smoking in public banned.

In a poll taken by telephone on July 7-10, the Gallup Organization found that 59 percent supported banning smoking in public. This is the first time a clear majority has supported a ban since Gallup first began asking the question in 2001. A far smaller number, 19 percent, would support a total ban.

When Gallup previously polled this on this matter, in 2001 and in 2007, 39 percent of Americans supported the ban. In 1990, 14 percent wanted all smoking to be made illegal.

Gallup said, “A majority of Americans now support the concept of a full smoking ban in all public places, marking a significant change from four years ago, when Gallup last measured this attitude. Relatively few Americans support the idea of making all smoking illegal across the country, perhaps partly in recognition of the practical difficulties involved in enforcing such a ban.”

Smoking has become much less popular. 27 states, plus the District of Columbia, have banned cigarette smoking in public places.

The Princeton, New Jersey based pollster also asked about respondents’ personal habits. “Twenty-two percent of adult Americans reported having smoked cigarettes within the last week, a percentage that is essentially unchanged over the last five years,” Gallup said.

The poll results are based on a random sample of 1,016 people aged 18 and older living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. There a maximum margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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Holistic Naturopath Improves Anxiety With Fish Oil

I been using high grade fish oil to help people with anxiety for many years. Below is just another study (of the hundreds) of what properly dosed high quality fish oil can do  for inflammation and anxiety. For more information about my anxiety relief services click here or call 201.618.3534.

Omega-3 Reduces Anxiety and Inflammation in Healthy Students, Study Suggests

According to a new study, just published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, of the effects of increased intake of fish oil, these substances, even in the form of supplements, reduced both inflammation and anxiety in the participating subjects.

The study’s participants were all healthy young people; however, the results suggest that those with certain health challenges, including the elderly, might receive even more benefits from such supplements.

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are known to reduce inflammation by helping to reduce the level of cytokines in the body; they are also thought to reduce depression.  Stress increases cytokines; scientists have been investigating whether or not reducing cytokines will reduce stress.

A team of researchers at Ohio State University designed a study using medical students. First, they discovered that the students’ test-related stress lowered their immune status.

Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychology and psychiatry, said, “We hypothesized that giving some students omega-3 supplements would decrease their production of proinflammatory cytokines, compared to other students who only received a placebo. We thought the omega-3 would reduce the stress-induced increase in cytokines that normally arose from nervousness over the tests.”

68 first- and second-year medical students volunteered for the clinical trial. They were split into six groups, and eventually each subject was interviewed six times. Each interview included psychological testing, questionnaires about diet, and the securing of blood samples for further testing. One-half of the students received omega-3 supplements while the other half were given placebo pills.

Martha Belury, professor of human nutrition and co-author in the study, described the dosage:  “The supplement was probably about four or five times the amount of fish oil you’d get from a daily serving of salmon, for example,”

To the investigators’ surprise, however, the university had altered the curriculum and testing schedule, so that the students were no longer subject to the same tensions as they had been during previous studies.

According to Kiecolt-Glaser, “These students were not anxious. They weren’t really stressed. They were actually sleeping well throughout this period, so we didn’t get the stress effect we had expected.”

However, the psychological surveys displayed a clear change in anxiety among the students. The students who took the omega-3 experienced 20 percent less anxiety than those receiving the placebo.

The blood tests showed comparable results.

Ron Glaser, professor of molecular virology, immunology & medical genetics and director of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, explained, “We took measurements of the cytokines in the blood serum, as well as measured the productivity of cells that produced two important cytokines, interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFa). We saw a 14 percent reduction in the amounts of IL-6 among the students receiving the omega-3.” The cytokines are known to promote inflammation, so “anything we can do to reduce cytokines is a big plus in dealing with the overall health of people at risk for many diseases.”

Inflammation is now considered a detrimental influence in the development of many diseases, including heart disease and cancer.

Nonetheless, the scientist are not ready to suggest that the public at large start taking supplements – although some of them admit that they themselves take them.

Belury said, “It may be too early to recommend a broad use of omega-3 supplements throughout the public, especially considering the cost and the limited supplies of fish needed to supply the oil. People should just consider increasing their omega-3 through their diet.”

Also taking part in the research with Kiecolt-Glaser, Glaser and Belury were William Malarkey, professor emeritus of internal medicine, and Rebecca Andridge, an assistant professor of public health.

The study was supported in part by a grant from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Ohio State University (2011, July 13). Omega-3 reduces anxiety and inflammation in healthy students, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 18, 2011, from sciencedaily.


Lower Your Blood Pressure With Soy

Soy/Milk Protein Supplements Linked to Lower Blood Pressure

A study just published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association found that both soy protein supplements and milk were linked to lower systolic blood pressure, as opposed to refined carbohydrate dietary supplements.

This is the first controlled clinical trial to show that milk protein lowers blood pressure for people with pre-hypertension and stage-1 high blood pressure.

Jiang He, M.D., Ph.D., lead researcher of the study, said that the study’s results imply that adding foods or drinks high in soy or milk protein may help to both prevent and treat high blood pressure.

The study included 352 adults with either a mild case or an increased risk of high blood pressure. Those taking a milk protein supplement had a 2.3 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) lower systolic blood pressure, compared to when they took a refined carbohydrate supplement. Those taking a soy protein supplement had a 2.0 mmHg lower systolic blood pressure when compared to the refined carbohydrate supplement. Refined carbohydrate supplements themselves were not linked to changes in systolic blood pressure.

Dr. He, an epidemiologist at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, La., explained, “Some previous observational research on eating carbohydrates inconsistently suggested that a high carbohydrate diet might help reduce blood pressure. In contrast, our clinical trial directly compares soy protein with milk protein on blood pressure, and shows they both lower blood pressure better than carbohydrates.”

Participants were age 22 or older, with systolic blood pressure ranging from 120 to 159 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure from 80 to 95 mmHg. Each was randomly assigned to take 40 grams of soy protein, milk protein or a refined carbohydrate supplement every day, for eight weeks each. The supplements used were formulated to allow researchers to compare the effects of soy protein, milk protein, and refined complex carbohydrate on blood pressure without changing sodium, potassium, and calcium.

Participants, who were all aged 22 or older, took the supplements for eight weeks, followed three-weeks without any supplements.

Blood pressure readings were taken before and after each supplement phase, showing a net blood pressure change.

Dr. He said, “The systolic blood pressure differences we found are small for the individual, but they are important at the population level.” Research has shown that even a small decrease in systolic blood pressure might bring 6 percent fewer stroke-related deaths, a 4 percent lower rate of heart disease deaths, and a 3 percent reduction in overall deaths among Americans. Long-term studies would be needed to make specific recommendations for dietary changes, Dr. He said.

American Heart Association (2011, July 18). Soy/milk protein dietary supplements linked to lower blood pressure. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2011.

More effective ways are at your finger tips for lowering your blood pressure … Discover by clicking here or calling Dr. Robert at 201.618.3534.

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Low-Carbohydrate, High-Protein Diets May Reduce Both Tumor Growth Rates and Cancer Risk

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The results of a new study might have an effect on cancer prevention and treatment, scientists say. The study, published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, suggests that a low-carbohydrate, high protein diet may reduce cancer risk and slow the growth of tumors.

The scientists say that although the study was conducted in mice, the findings are authoritative enough that an effect in humans should be studied.

Lead researcher Gerald Krystal, Ph.D., of the British Columbia Cancer Research Centre and his colleagues assigned certain strains of mice that had been implanted with mouse and human tumor cells to one of two different diets. The typical Western diet contained about 55 percent carbohydrate, 23 percent protein and 22 percent fat; a second, extremely high-protein diet, had 15 percent carbohydrate, 58 percent protein and 26 percent fat. The study found that the tumor cells grew slower on the high-protein diet.

In another aspect of the study, breast cancer predisposed mice were put on these two diets. Nearly half of the mice that consumed the Western diet developed breast cancer before reaching one year of age; but none of the mice that ate the low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet did. Additionally, only one of the mice that ate the Western diet lived to a normal age (approximately 2 years). 70 percent of these mice died from cancer. Just 30 percent of those on the low-carbohydrate diet developed cancer, and more than half these mice reached a normal age.

Also tested were the effects of an mTOR cell-growth inhibitor, and a COX-2 inhibitor, which acts to reduce inflammation, on tumor development. These agents were found to positively affect the mice fed the low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet.

Dr. Krystal suggested that since tumor cells need much more glucose to grow than normal cells, decreasing carbohydrate intake, which limits blood glucose, could negatively impact tumor growth. Insulin, too, which has previously been shown to promote tumor growth, is limited by this diet.

A low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet might also strengthen the immune system’s ability to kill cancer cells and also avert obesity, which has been shown to promote chronic inflammation and cancer.

Dr. Krystal said, “This shows that something as simple as a change in diet can have an impact on cancer risk.”

Cancer Research editor-in-chief George Prendergast, Ph.D., CEO of the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, who was not involved in the study, agreed with Dr. Krystal. “Many cancer patients are interested in making changes in areas that they can control, and this study definitely lends credence to the idea that a change in diet can be beneficial,” he said.

American Association for Cancer Research (2011, June 15). Low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets may reduce both tumor growth rates and cancer risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 18,

Holly Kramer, David Shoham, Leslie A. McClure, Ramon Durazo-Arvizu, George Howard, Suzanne Judd, Paul Muntner, Monika Safford, David G. Warnock, William McClellan. Association of Waist Circumference and Body Mass Index With All-Cause Mortality in CKD: The REGARDS (Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke) Study. American Journal of Kidney Diseases, 2011; DOI: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2011.02.390

Source: ScienceDaily (June 15, 2011)

Your Teenager Will Have Better Grades With This Holistic Tip

Swedish Teens with More Folic Acid in Diet Show Better Grades

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A small study conducted with Swedish teenagers has shown that those whose diets had more folic acid (a B vitamin) got better school grades than others with lower folic acid levels. The research was published in the journal Pediatrics. This should not prompt US parents to add folic acid to their kids’ diets, however, says Deborah O’Connor, a nutrition researcher at the University of Toronto and the Hospital for Sick Children in Ontario, Canada, who was not involved with the Swedish study.

“There is very little deficiency of folic acid in North America,” she explained. “If you’re already sufficient, there is not a lot of evidence that taking more supplements will help.” She said that it may be that the Swedish kids were folic acid-deficient, with levels lower than that typical for North American children.

Because folic acid deficiency in pregnant women can cause serious birth defects, folate enrichment of various common foods is prevalent throughout North America, meaning that most of the population is thought to be getting enough. Folates occur naturally in green leafy vegetables and legumes like peas and beans.

Dr. Torbjorn Nilsson of Orebro University Hospital and his team say that the Swedish study breaks some new ground in explicitly looking at school achievement as related to folate in the diet. Sweden was not requiring folate fortification during the study period, and the subjects did not use supplements to any significant degree.The project followed 386 ninth graders at the end of the school year, and tabulated their grades from ten core classes as well as the amount of folate in their diets.

Those who were in the top 1/3 for folic acid consumption (more than 253 mcg/day for the girls, 335 mcg/day for the boys) scored average grades of 139 out of a possible 200. The students in the bottom third (less than 173 mcg/day for girls, 227 for boys) showed an average of just 120. These results were not affected when researchers accounted for gender, smoking, maternal education, and the schools attended.

Debra O’Connor said that the findings are “pretty significant”, although she cautioned that studies of this type don’t address other possible causative factors. “It’s not a randomized controlled trial, so you always wonder, are there other things going on that you weren’t able to control for? Like most studies, it probably raises more questions than it answers.”

The Institute of Medicine’s “Dietary Reference Intakes” lists the U.S. recommended levels for children 9 to 13 years as 300 mcg per day from food and supplements, 400 mcg/day for children 14 and above, and 600 mcg/day for pregnant women.

SOURCE: Pediatrics, online July 11, 2011.

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Smoke Cigarettes And Your Child Will Have Behaviour Problems

Behavior Problems in Children and Second-hand Smoke at Home

Children who come from households where second-hand smoke is present may have a greater risk of behavior and learning problems than kids from non-smoking homes, according to a new study which has appeared in the journal Pediatrics . The US study examined 55,000-plus children under the age of 12, of whom 6% came from a home with at least one smoker. That 6% were more likely than the others in the group to have been identified as having a learning disability, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or a “conduct disorder”.

Hillel R. Alpert of Harvard School of Public Health, one of the researchers, explained that the study was designed to take other possible factors, such as parents’ incomes and education levels, into account, but that even allowing for such factors, second-hand smoke still correlated to increased risk of behavior difficulties. The study did not, he explained, prove that secondhand smoke exposure is the cause, since factors that were not accounted for could be having an effect.

For example, the study gathered no information about mothers’ smoking while pregant with the children. Maternal smoking during pregancy has been related to higher risk of learning and behavioral problems. Another consideration is that smoking parents may be more likely to have the same kind of problems themselves.

Second-hand smoke has already been identified by health experts as causing higher risk of respiratory ailments like asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia, as well as sudden infant death syndrome. They advise parents to protect their children from exposure. Alpert said his team’s results may give parents yet another reason to shield their kids..

The results arise from a broad survey conducted in 2007, questioning parents of over 55,000 children under 12 years. The 6% of parents reporting that a smoker was in the household, extrapolated out to the population as a whole, means that almost 5 million U.S. children experience second-hand smoke in their homes. About 20% of the parents in the smoking group were more likely to report learning problems, ADHD, or conduct disorder (antisocial, aggressive behavior) in their kids, compared to less than 9% of parents in the non-smoking group..

After accounting for race, poverty, maternal education level and other possible contributors, the results showed that second-hand smoked linked to a 51% higher risk of the child suffering one of these disorders.

The study had limitations, like its reliance on parental reporting, that were acknowledged by the researchers. It also did not address the scientific problem of how second-hand tobacco smoke might be bringing on these problems. One speculation is that the smoke may interact with chemicals in the immature, developing brain.

Alpert stated that, whatever the causative factors behind his team’s findings may be, the results reinforce the urgent message to protect kids. “We still have 5 million children exposed to second-hand smoke at home,” he said. “A lot of progress has been made in reducing that number, but there’s still a lot left to be done.”

In the same journal, another study suggests a relationship between children’s attitudes toward their parents’ second-hand smoke and the probability of becoming smokers themselves. The project studied 165 preteens from poor households with smokers. The kids who considered secondhand smoke “unpleasant or gross” had 78% less high-risk attitudes for taking up smoking.

The study did not follow the kids to see if they did become smokers or not, but recorded their current opinions about whether they wanted to try it later in life. The researchers wrote that the results suggest that there’s a relationship between children’s level of sensitivity (or lack of sensitivity) to secondhand smoke and their risk for becoming smokers later on.

SOURCE: and Pediatrics, online July 11, 2011.



This Herb Will Help Your Anxiety and Boost Your Mental Performance…

Discover what a holistic doctor can do for your anxiety…click here to find out!

Herb Lemon Balm Relieves Anxiety, Improves Mental Performance

Anxiety and stress in our daily lives are responsible for a range of problems beyond the immediate discomfort they cause – they contribute to heart disease, mental impairment, and diabetes. The commonest approach to treatment is the many drugs offered by pharmaceutical companies to alleviate symptoms. But most health-conscious people, wary of side effects and the possibility of addiction, would prefer to steer clear of them.

Fortunately, there are alternatives, particularly extracts of naturally occurring botanical elements. One of these, lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), has proven to be as effective for anxiety as a leading synthetic prescription drug.

Lemon balm has been used by physicians since ancient times to reduce anxiety and agitation and promote sleep. Lemon balm extract cannot be patented, which has led to its properties being ignored by drug companies.

Animal studies on the effects of lemon balm have been conducted, however. One project administered low doses to mice being exposed to laboratory stress situations such as unfamiliar environments, and showed a decrease in anxious behaviors. Higher doses showed analgesic effects. Lemon balm extracts caused mice to sleep that had been given very small, non-sleep-inducing, amounts of regular sedative drugs.

More recently, a project studying the sedatives herbal preparations used in Lebanese traditional medicine showed that extract of lemon balm is able to bind to brain receptors that trigger relaxation.

Benefits of Melissa officianalis shown in human studies

In the last several years, a mass of research results from around the world has accumulated about lemon balm and its ability to reduce anxiety and alleviate mood disorder in humans. They agree with the experience of herbal practitioners: lemon balm, combined with other botanical agents is effective in ameliorating stress-related illness.

A double-blind study in 2004 used a combination of lemon balm and other herbal extracts reputed to quell anxiety, in lozenge form. Sixteen volunteers took either placebos or the lozenges in two doses, two hours apart, and had their brain wave patterns traced just before, just after, and at different intervals after the dosage. Those taking the lozenges showed significant increases in the alpha waves associated with the relaxed state. At the same time, they also showed increased activity in the brain waves associated with attentiveness. This suggests that the preparation in the lozenges helped the participants deal calmly with stress without loss of alertness or cognitive ability.

The same year, another study tested for the effects of lemon balm on people undergoing stress in a lab environment. The group of 18 volunteers were given either lemon balm extract (at 300 or 600 mgs) or a placebo. Mood assessment was made before the dose and one hour afterward, by using a standard stress simulation test. In addition, their cognitive responses were monitored. The higher lemon balm dose reduced the stress of the test, with markedly better levels of alertness and calm mood reported by the subjects. Even the 300 mg dose was associated with significantly better speed in solving the test’s math problems, with no loss of accuracy.

Clinical trial of lemon balm for insomnia and anxiety

Recently, 20 volunteers who suffer from sleep disturbance and anxiety took part in a clinical study of lemon balm for stress reduction, with excellent results. Either a placebo or a special lemon balm preparation, 300 mg per dose, was taken twice daily. After 15 days, the subjects taking lemon balm showed by self-report a 49% reduction in anxiety, 72% less anxiety-related physical symptoms, and 39% less insomnia. Those receiving placebos had no significant changes in their insomnia or anxiety.

These results are important evidence of lemon balm’s stress-reduction qualities; what’s more, the benefits showed clearly about two weeks after treatment was started. The subjects taking lemon balm experienced better sleep, but there was no undesirable drowsiness during the day – which suggests that it may be the anti-stress qualities of the herb that restores healthful sleep patterns.

Effects on cognition and attention

Another study by the same research team was published shortly thereafter that gave evidence of other lemon balm benefits. Another group of 20 volunteers took single doses (at 600, 1000, and 1600 mg) once a week. Cognition was tested just before, just after, and at one-, three-, and six-hour intervals after consumption. Participants were much calmer than their starting level and gave much better cognitive performances at each time interval after the highest dosage, whereas the lower doses showed improvements at lower levels. The researchers, using a laboratory model, were able to show that lemon balm binds with receptors in the brain (cholinergic receptors) in the occipital cortex. These receptors are altered in those with Alzheimer’s and age-related cognition deficits, and the effects of the lemon balm extract may be able to benefit them.

New and encouraging data has become available that supports the concept of lemon balm enhancing cognition in those suffering age-related cognitive decline. Such decline is often accompanied by stress and anxiety, and the anti-stress properties of lemon balm may also be useful in bettering these problems.

European scientific body recommends lemon balm

The tension-soothing and mind-clarifying properties of lemon balm are not its only qualities. It has enjoyed a reputation for centuries for improving symptoms such as bloating and gas, nausea and vomiting, insomnia, earaches, toothaches, and headaches. The European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy (therapy using botanical products) has officially recommended lemon balm for treating tension, irritability and restlessness.

Source: Life Extension Foundation Original article by Tiesha D. Johnson, RN, BSN

Have Diabetes And On Dialysis? HbA1c test is not reliable…

Trusted Standard Glucose Test Not Best for Dialysis Patients

June 1, 2011. The most commonly used and trusted glucose monitoring test for diabetics – the hemoglobin HbA1c test — has been shown to be of limited value for dialysis patients, says a new study conducted at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. This study is scheduled for publication in the July issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Accurate blood sugar monitoring is essential for proper management of diabetes. The HbA1c test measures average blood suger levels over the 3 months prior to the test. It has long been considered reliable by patients and the medical community.

Although the HbA1c test is approved as an accurate tool for diabetes diagnosis by the American Diabetes Association, the discovery of its shortcomings for diabetic patients with advanced kidney disease is a recent finding by kidney specialists. A different test, called the glycated albumin or GA assay, is preferable in such patients.

Barry I. Freedman, M.D., John H. Felts III Professor and lead investigator in the new study said, “Many organs don’t function properly in severe kidney failure. For example, most dialysis patients have anemia, with fewer red blood cells than they should, which has a dramatic impact on the accuracy of the HbA1c reading.”

The HbA1c test works by reading the amount of blood sugar that interacts with the red blood cell hemoglobin in the bloodstream. This can only be accurate if the cells have normal lifespans, which is not the case for dialysis patients. Their red cells are short-lived, and this leads to lower HbA1c values.

Freedman explained, “Doctors long thought the HbA1c predicted outcomes in . This test is not predictive of outcomes in diabetes patients with kidney disease on dialysis. Dialysis patients and physicians get a false sense of security because their lower HbA1c actually relates to shorter red cell survival, yet suggests diabetes control is better than it really is.”

There are almost 500,000 persons on dialysis in the U.S., almost half of whom because of diabetes-caused kidney failure. Globally, diabetes accounts for the majority of kidney failure, and the death rates are high. Over 20% of those on dialysis die annually. Obviously, accurate blood sugar monitoring is needed for these patients.

In the Wake Forest study, Freedman and associates looked at over 400 diabetic dialysis patients. Normal treatment and HbA1c testing was uninterrupted, but the patients agreed to GA testing at 3 month intervals for an average period of 2.3 years-plus. The GA test, which was developed by Tokyo-based Asahi Kasei Pharma Corporation, tests blood sugar levels over the 17 day period before the test in contrast to the HbA1c test’s 3-month average. The GA, therefore is more accurate where rapid changes are occurring. It is currently used in Japan, South Korea, and China, but does not have FDA approval in the US.

The research compared the GA and the HbA1c test findings to discover their comparative value in predicting hospitalizations and survival. The HbA1c test was not a good predictor of these outcomes, while the GA produced good predictions for hospitalizations and patient survival. “This is the first study showing that a blood sugar test predicts risk of death in diabetic dialysis patients, as well as risk of hospitalization,” Freedman said. “This test provides the missing link that will allow dialysis patients and physicians to accurately gauge risk. The association is clear: high GA readings predict higher risk.”

Freedman’s advice to physicians is to place little reliance on the HbA1c test for their dialysis patients, but to directly monitor glucose with multiply daily readings until the GA test becomes available in the US.

If you have diabetes or kidney disease there are many things that can be done to help your situation. Contact Dr. Robert to learn more…

Dr. Robert Galarowicz
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Folates in Diet and Reduced Colorectal Cancer Risk

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July 6, 2011. A diet that includes high levels of the water soluble B vitamin called folate may lower the risk of developing colorectal cancer. This is the finding of a new study published in Gastroenterology, the journal of the American Gastroenterological Association.

Victoria Stevens, PhD, of the American Cancer Society and lead author of this study, said. “We found that all forms and sources of folate were associated with lower risk of colorectal cancer. The strongest association was with total folate, which suggests that total folate intake is the best measure to define exposure to this nutrient because it encompasses all forms and sources.” Total folate is the inclusive term for naturally occurring folates in food, and folic acid in dietary supplements and fortified foods.

The study followed over 99,000 persons in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort, charting their folate consumption and the incidence of colorectal cancer. Just over 1,000 participants were found to have colorectal cancer in the 1999-2007 period, after folate fortification of foods began. The first 2 years of follow-up, 1999-2001, showed no change in risk, while statistically significant inverse associations appeared in the years 2002-2007.

These findings are confirming evidence of the relation between high folate consumption and lowered risk of colorectal cancer, adding to similar findings from other research. One unique aspect of this study, however, is that it followed natural folate intake and folic acid intake separately. Earlier research that tabulated folate forms separately only distinguished different sources (diet versus supplements), not the chemical forms.

Another area covered by this study was the often-expressed concern that high folate consumption, which is common in the U.S. due to increasing use of supplements and legislation requiring folate fortification, might cause increased cancer risk

Folates are necessary nutrients that the body uses to produce elements needed for cell growth, including the production and repair of DNA. Because of this relationship to cell growth and cell differentiation, any possible relationship between folate levels and cancer, which is characterized by abnormal cell growth, has been carefully studied, particularly in relation to colorectal cancer.

Since no increased colorectal cancer was found to occur in persons with the highest folate intakes, the study suggests that this vitamin does not lead to higher cancer rates.

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