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Blood levels omega-3 fatty acids from either fish or plants are moderately associated with a lower risk of dying from heart attacks, according to a new epidemiological study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, by researchers from Stanford and Tufts.1

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids with a double bond (C=C) at the third carbon atom from the end of the carbon chain. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for normal metabolism.Human body cannot synthesize omega-3 fatty acids, but can obtain the shorter-chain omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, C18:3(n-6)) through diet and use it to form the more important long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, C20:5(n-3)) and then from EPA, the most crucial, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, C22:6(n-3)).The ability to make the longer-chain omega-3 fatty acids from ALA may be impaired in aging.3,4

Animal based omega-3 fatty acids including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, C20:5(n-3)) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, C22:6(n-3)) were usually obtained exclusively from fish, especially fatty fish such as salmon, trout, anchovies, sardines, and herring. Plant-based omega-3 fatty acids including alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, C18:3(n-6)) may be found various plant sources including in walnuts, flaxseed oil, algea oil, canola oil and some other seed and nuts oils.

By pooling findings from diverse large studies that had measured blood or tissue levels of omega-3 fatty acids, Stanford and Tufts scientists evaluated relationships between omega-3 fatty acids in blood with heart disease events over time. A total of 19 studies were involved from 16 countries including 45,637 participants. Of these, 7,973 people developed a first heart attack over time, including 2,781 deaths and 7,157 nonfatal heart attacks. The meta-analysis of these 19 studies showed that both fish-sourced and plant sourced omega-3s were associated with about a 10 percent lower risk of fatal heart attacks.

Thanks for reading.

Journal Reference:

  1. Del Gobbo, L.C.; and Mozaffarian, D., et al. ω-3 Polyunsaturated fatty acid biomarkers and coronary heart disease: Pooling project of 19 cohort studies.. JAMA Internal Medicine, June 2016 DOI: 1001/jamainternmed.2016.2925
  2. “Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Health: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals”. US National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. 2005. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  3. Freemantle E, Vandal M, Tremblay-Mercier J, Tremblay S, Blachère JC, Bégin ME, Brenna JT, Windust A, Cunnane SC (2006). “Omega-3 fatty acids, energy substrates, and brain function during aging”. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids. 75 (3): 213–20.
  4. Gao F, Taha AY, Ma K, Chang L, Kiesewetter D, Rapoport SI (2012). “Aging decreases rate of docosahexaenoic acid synthesis-secretion from circulating unesterified α-linolenic acid by rat liver”. AGE. 35 (3): 597–608.

About SGC: SGC is an R&D focused developer of nutraceutical and pharmaceutical gummy products. The company specializes in formulating Functional Gummy® products combining the wealth of the in-house knowledge in pharmaceutics, chemistry, western medicine and herbal medicine. The company provides performance gummies® inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine including MOCCA SHOTS™, ENERGON QUBE™, FUNCTIONAL FRUIT®, and SEATTLE BEAUTY®.

To learn more, visit https://seattlegummy.com, [email protected],call 206-257-0464, or join at https://seattlegummy.com/be-an-informed-member/.

Vitamin D – the “sunshine vitamin” – is known to benefit bone and muscle health by promoting calcium absorption in the gut and maintains adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations to enable normal mineralization of bone. It is also needed for bone growth and bone remodeling by osteoblasts and osteoclasts. A major global study led by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) added one more benefit confirming Vitamin D’s role in protecting against acute respiratory infections including colds and flu.

The results, published in The BMJ, are based on a new analysis of raw data from around 11,000 participants in 25 clinical trials conducted in 14 countries including the UK, USA, Japan, India, Afghanistan, Belgium, Italy, Australia and Canada. The analysis of pooled raw data from each of the 10,933 trial participants has yielded the first definitive evidence that vitamin D protects against respiratory infections.

The analysis showed that the Vitamin D baseline level and supplementation schedule affect vitamin D’s protective effects with the effects being strongest in those who have the lowest vitamin D levels and when supplementation is given daily or weekly rather than in more widely spaced doses. Specifically, daily or weekly supplementation of vitamin D halved the risk of acute respiratory infection in people with the lowest baseline vitamin D levels, below 25 nanomoles per litre (nmol/L).   People with higher baseline vitamin D levels also benefited, although the effect was more modest with 10 per cent risk reduction. Overall, the reduction in risk of acute respiratory infection induced by vitamin D was on a par with the protective effect of injectable flu vaccine against flu-like illnesses.

Previous studies have suggested that vitamin D may protect against respiratory infections by boosting levels of antimicrobial peptides — natural antibiotic-like substances — in the lungs. Results of the QMUL study fit with the observation that colds and flu are commonest in winter and spring, when levels of vitamin D are at their lowest. They may also explain why vitamin D protects against asthma attacks, which are commonly triggered by respiratory viruses.

So what’s the take home lesson? Taking vitamin D supplement on the regular basis could be a highly cost-effective way to protect you and your family against acute respiratory infections especially in wintertime, in addition to warding off the osteoporosis and supporting your teenager’s growth spur.

The study was conducted by a consortium of 25 investigators from 21 institutions worldwide and funded by the National Institute for Health Research.

Thanks for reading.

Journal Reference:

Adrian R Martineau, David A Jolliffe, Richard L Hooper, Lauren Greenberg, John F Aloia, Peter Bergman, Gal Dubnov-Raz, Susanna Esposito, Davaasambuu Ganmaa, Adit A Ginde, Emma C Goodall, Cameron C Grant, Christopher J Griffiths, Wim Janssens, Ilkka Laaksi, Semira Manaseki-Holland, David Mauger, David R Murdoch, Rachel Neale, Judy R Rees, Steve Simpson, Iwona Stelmach, Geeta Trilok Kumar, Mitsuyoshi Urashima, Carlos A Camargo. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant dataBMJ, 2017; i6583 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.i6583

About SGC:SGC is an R&D focused developer of nutraceutical and pharmaceutical gummy products. The company specializes in formulating Functional Gummy® products combining the wealth of the in-house knowledge in pharmaceutics, chemistry, western medicine and herbal medicine. The company provides performance gummies® inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine including MOCCA SHOTS™, ENERGON QUBE™, FUNCTIONAL FRUIT®, and SEATTLE BEAUTY®.

To learn more, visit https://seattlegummy.com, [email protected],call 206-257-0464, or join at https://seattlegummy.com/be-an-informed-member/.

If you are reading this blog, I am sure that you are familiar with the role of vitamin D in promoting healthy bones and a healthy cardiovascular system as well as reduced risk for diabetes. Additional studies suggest that low vitamin D may be associated with neurodevelopmental disorders. New research just added one more surprise benefit for vitamin D supplementation – vitamin D deficiency in pregnant mothers is linked with autistic traits in the child a few years down the track.

The researchers at Australia’s University of Queensland and the Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands examined around 4,200 blood samples from pregnant women and their children and discovered a link between autism and low levels of vitamin D. More specifically, they found that pregnant women who were vitamin D deficient at 20 weeks gestation were more likely to have a child with autistic traits by the age of six.1

The result from this Queensland study seems to support the conclusion from a previous study published in the Journal of Pediatric Neurosciences in 2014, which revealed that Vitamin D deficiency was higher in autism children compared to healthy children.The case–control study conducted between June 2011 and May 2013 surveyed a total of 508 children, 254 of autism and 254 of healthy children. The analysis revealed that Vitamin D deficiency was higher in autism children compared to healthy children.

Most of the vitamin D that we rely on comes from the sun. But things like air quality, long and cold winters at higher latitudes or simply covering up to avoid dangerous uv exposure can limit the amount of vitamin D people draw from sunlight. Rather than taking in more sunlight and, with it, the heightened risk of skin cancer, the researchers suggest that taking vitamin D supplements may be a better path forward.

Thanks for reading.

Journal References:

  1. Vinkhuyzen, A. E. et al. Gestational vitamin D deficiency and autism-related traits: the Generation R Study, Molecular Psychiatry November 29, 2016; doi: 10.1038/mp.2016.213
  2. Bener, A. et al. Is high prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency evidence for autism disorder?: In a highly endogamous population, J. Pediatr Neurosc. 2014 Sept-Dec; 9(3) 227-233.

About SGC:SGC is an R&D focused developer of nutraceutical and pharmaceutical gummy products. The company specializes in formulating Functional Gummy® products combining the wealth of the in-house knowledge in pharmaceutics, chemistry, western medicine and herbal medicine. The company provides performance gummies® inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine including MOCCA SHOTS™, ENERGON QUBE™, FUNCTIONAL FRUIT®, and SEATTLE BEAUTY®.

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Astragalus (Huang Qi, Astragalus membranaceus or Radix astragali) is a plant native to Asia. The part of the plant used medicinally is the root. Astragalus is one of the most important and commonly used herbs in Chinese medicine. Varieties of Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCM) formulations ranging from compositions for treating cold, cough, digestive illness, respiratory illness, to formulations for treating inflammation, uses Astragalus as one of the ingredients.

Astagalus, slightly sweet taste, has been prescribed for centuries in China for general debility, chronic illness, and to increase the overall vitality of the body.   Astragalus is “warm” (i.e. “blood moving”) in nature and affects both the spleen and the lung meridians. The herb is useful in treating spleen deficiency symptoms such as diarrhea, fatigue, spontaneous sweating, and lack of appetite. Composed of more than 95% of lymphocytes, spleen is the reservoir of disease fighting immune cells and therefor the most important part of your immune system. By strengthening the spleen, Astragalus essentially boosts your immune system.

In addition, astragalus tonifies the lungs and is often used to treat cold, shortness of breath, sore throat, and respiratory inflammation. Systematically, the herb is often included in formulas for treating wasting disorders, night sweats, chronic ulcerations and sores, numbness and paralysis of the limbs, edema, and high blood sugar.

Astragalus is not only well studied and used in Chinese medicine; it is also well researched by scientists in natural product/pharmaceutical chemistry and medicine. Chemical composition wise, Astragalus contains polysaccharides, isoflavones such as formononetin, kumatakenin, astraisoflavan, astrapterocarpan, 2’-3’-dihydroxy-7,4’- imethooxyisoflavone, and isoliquiritigenin, triterpenodis such as astragaloside I,II,III,IV, and steroids such as calyxosin, cycloastragenol, daucosterol, beta-sitosterol, and soyasaponin I. In addition, the herb contains L-3-hydroxy-9-methoxpterocarpan, D-ß-asparagine, palmitic acid, choline, betaine, folic acid, and antibacterial ingredient.

According to modern pharmacological studies, astragalus polysaccharides are shown to boost immune system by increasing the amount of B cells, serum IgG level, and conversion percentage of lymphocytes. The isoflavones and flavonoids are important classes of anti-oxidants and have been shown to improve cardiovascular activity. In addition, the herb extracts have demonstrated antibacterial activity against various common bacteria.

What about side effects, you may ask. Astragalus has been used for thousands of years in China at a recommended dosage of 8-15 grams of dried herb (in its extract equivalence) per day. The herb is not only one of the most used herbs in medical compositions; it is also a common ingredient in Chinese diet. Go to any Chinese grocery store, you will see dried Astragalus slices sitting next to beans and grains on the shelf. Lots of restaurants in China offer soups and teas using Astragalus as an ingredient. Thousands years of use on billions of people has not shown any side effect from the use of the herb within the recommended herbal dosage.

Now, let’s recount the great things that Astragalus can do for you: it tonifies your body, boosts the immune system by strengthening the spleen, strengthens cardiovascular system, kills bacteria, and contains strong anti-oxidant. That’s right—if you don’t feel quite well or just want to maintain general wellness, you can’t go wrong with using Astragalus.

Thanks for reading!

About SGC:SGC is an R&D focused developer of nutraceutical and pharmaceutical gummy products. The company specializes in formulating Functional Gummy® products combining the wealth of the in-house knowledge in pharmaceutics, chemistry, western medicine and herbal medicine. The company provides performance gummies® inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine including MOCCA SHOTS™, ENERGON QUBE™, FUNCTIONAL FRUIT®, and SEATTLE BEAUTY®.

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Coffee and beer are polar opposites in the beverage world: coffee picks you up, and beer winds you down. It seems that these two popular drinks may also have opposite effects on telomeres — the end points of chromosomal DNA, implicated in aging. Working with a kind of yeast that shares many important genetic similarities with humans, the researchers from University of Tel Aviv and Columbia University found that caffeine shortens and alcohol lengthens telomeres.

Telomere marks the ends of the strands of DNA in our chromosomes. They are essential to ensuring that the DNA strands are repaired and copied correctly. Every time a cell duplicates, the chromosomes are copied into the new cell with slightly shorter telomeres. Eventually, the telomeres become too short, and the cell dies. Only fetal and cancer cells have mechanisms to avoid this fate; they go on reproducing forever.

The researchers expose the yeast cells to 12 environmental stressors. Most of the stressors — from temperature and pH changes to various drugs and chemicals — had no effect on telomere length. But a low concentration of caffeine, similar to the amount found in a shot of espresso, shortened telomeres, and exposure to a 5-to-7 percent ethanol solution lengthened telomeres.

To understand these changes, the researchers scanned 6,000 strains of the yeast, each with a different gene deactivated. They then conducted genetic tests on the strains with the longest and shortest telomeres, revealing that two genes, Rap1 and Rif1, are the main players mediating environmental stressors and telomere length. In total, some 400 genes interact to maintain telomere length, the researchers note, underscoring the importance of this gene network in maintaining the stability of the genome. Strikingly, most of these yeast genes are also present in the human genome.

This is the first time anyone has analyzed a complex system in which all of the genes affecting telomere length are known. It turns out that telomere length is something that’s very exact, which suggests that precision is critical and nature has decided to protect this precision from environmental effects.

More laboratory work is needed to prove a causal relationship, not a mere correlation, between telomere length and aging or cancer. Only then will we know whether human telomeres respond to the same signals as yeast. For now, suggested the lead research Prof. Kupiec, “Try to relax and drink a little coffee and a little beer.”

Thanks for reading.

Journal Reference: Gal Hagit Romano, Yaniv Harari, Tal Yehuda, Ariel Podhorzer, Linda Rubinstein, Ron Shamir, Assaf Gottlieb, Yael Silberberg, Dana Pe’er, Eytan Ruppin, Roded Sharan, Martin Kupiec. Environmental Stresses Disrupt Telomere Length HomeostasisPLoS Genetics, 2013; 9 (9): e1003721 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003721

About SGC:SGC is an R&D focused developer of nutraceutical and pharmaceutical gummy products. The company specializes in formulating Functional Gummy® products combining the wealth of the in-house knowledge in pharmaceutics, chemistry, western medicine and herbal medicine. The company provides performance gummies® inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine including MOCCA SHOTS™, ENERGON QUBE™, FUNCTIONAL FRUIT®, and SEATTLE BEAUTY®.

To learn more, visit https://seattlegummy.com, [email protected],call 206-257-0464, or join at https://seattlegummy.com/be-an-informed-member/.

We all know the signs of aging – starting with a few wrinkles showing up at the corner of the eyes and a few grays hairs popping up here and there, followed by back ache and knee pain. Pretty soon, you find yourself searching for names when staring at a familiar face. Have you ever wondered how scientists measure aging?

One of the biological markers for aging is the telomere, a short sequence of DNA capping the end of our DNA strands. Like the plastic tips of shoelaces, telomeres protect chromosomes from deterioration. As a cell ages, its telomeres naturally shorten and fray. Shortened telomeres are associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and major cancers. Scientists now know that telomeres shorten naturally after each cell replication cycle. However, various research suggests that health and lifestyle factors, such as obesity and smoking, may accelerate that process.

In a study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, scientists from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine reported that elderly women with low physical activity and sedentary lifestyle have cells that are biologically older by eight years compared to women who are less sedentary. 1,500 women, ages 64 to 90, participated in the study. The women were part of the larger Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), a national, longitudinal study investigating the determinants of chronic diseases in postmenopausal women. The participants completed questionnaires and wore an accelerometer on their right hip for seven consecutive days during waking and sleeping hours to track their movements.

The researchers found that elderly women with less than 40 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day and who remain sedentary for more than 10 hours per day have shorter telomeres. The researchers further found that women who sat longer did not have shorter telomere length if they exercised for at least 30 minutes a day, the national recommended guideline. The study concluded that cells age faster with a sedentary lifestyle and that chronological age doesn’t always match biological age.

So, what’s the take home message? Next time when someone comments –“wow, you look younger than your age,” tell them “I worked for it!”

Thanks for reading!

Journal Reference: Aladdin H. Shadyab et al. Associations of Accelerometer-Measured and Self-Reported Sedentary Time With Leukocyte Telomere Length in Older WomenAmerican Journal of Epidemiology, January 2017 DOI: 10.1093/aje/kww196

About SGC:SGC is an R&D focused developer of nutraceutical and pharmaceutical gummy products. The company specializes in formulating Functional Gummy® products combining the wealth of the in-house knowledge in pharmaceutics, chemistry, western medicine and herbal medicine. The company provides performance gummies® inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine including MOCCA SHOTS™, ENERGON QUBE™, FUNCTIONAL FRUIT®, and SEATTLE BEAUTY®.

To learn more, visit https://seattlegummy.com, [email protected],call 206-257-0464, or join at https://seattlegummy.com/be-an-informed-member/.

Depression is known to cause coronary heart disease in healthy patients. In patients with existing coronary heart disease, depression could cause adverse cardiovascular outcomes. A study carried out jointly by the scientists from NIH, Stanford, UCSF and Emery University showed that lower levels of omega–3 fatty acids in diet not only increase coronary heart disease risk, but may also be involved in the pathophysiology of depression.

The investigators measured red blood cell levels of two omega–3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and assessed depressive symptoms in a cross-sectional study of 987 adults with coronary heart disease. Omega –3 fatty acids were blindly measured in fasting venous blood samples. Specifically, the fatty acid composition of red blood cell membranes was measured. Red blood cell levels of EPA and DHA are presented as a percentage composition of total fatty acids.

The investigators assessed current depression using the 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire. They evaluated the association between omega –3 fatty acid levels and depressive symptoms. The investigators also examined the association of omega–3 fatty acids with depression.

The prevalence of depression ranged from 23% in participants with less than 3.1% EPA + DHA in total blood fatty acids to 13% in participants with more than 4.3% EPA + DHA in total blood fatty acids. Each unit decrease in EPA + DHA was inversely associated with depressive symptoms, and these associations persisted after adjustment for age, sex and race. Similarly, each unit decrease in EPA + DHA was associated with significantly greater odds of depression.

This study extends the existing literature by finding a strong association between low omega–3 fatty acids and depression in outpatients with stable coronary hear disease. Therefore, supplementing DHA+EPA in a low omega-3 diet may help with managing both the progression and the physiological complications of coronary heart disease.

Thanks for reading.

Journal Reference:

Ali et al. Association between Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Depressive Symptoms among Patients with Established Coronary Artery Disease: Data from the Heart and Soul Study. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 2009; 78 (2): 125 DOI: 10.1159/000203118

About SGC:SGC is an R&D focused developer of nutraceutical and pharmaceutical gummy products. The company specializes in formulating Functional Gummy® products combining the wealth of the in-house knowledge in pharmaceutics, chemistry, western medicine and herbal medicine. The company provides performance gummies® inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine including MOCCA SHOTS™, ENERGON QUBE™, FUNCTIONAL FRUIT®, and SEATTLE BEAUTY®.

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In this post, I’d like to share some top ranked anti-aging and wrinkle removal herbs based on Chinese herbal medicine. All of these herbs have been extensively used in China both for medicinal use and as food. You should be able to buy these from many online stores.  Just copy paste the herb name into you google search engine. Alternatively, you should be able to find these herbs in your local Chinese herb stores. Every China town should have an herb store somewhere. Keep looking—you will find it.

As a general rule, use the whole herb and chunks or slices thereof for tea and soup; use rough powder for tea or facial scrub; and use fine powder as face wash or mask. You can also use tea as an ingredient for face toner, hair wash, or hair conditioner.

For tea or skin toner use, simmer herb slices in hot water for 5-10 min. Strain the water out. Drink as a tea. Or, cool and use as a skin toner or hair conditioner. I would recommend infuse the tea with other herbal ingredient for skin toner use.

For face wash or facial mask use, mix herb power with a grain powder such as oat or barley flower. Add a little agar or gelatin powder to increase the adhesion. Mix the powder with water, milk, or diluted honey to make a soft paste. Use as a facial mask. You can also add other ingredient as desired. Please refer to my past posts for recipes.

Ginseng (Radix et Rhizoma Ginseng)

Ginseng is known to strengthen the immune system, facilitate protein synthesis, increase metabolism, and promote peripheral blood circulation. For skincare use, the herb is known to help smooth and soften the skin, enhance elasticity, and remove wrinkles.   For hair care use, the herb is known to strengthens hair, prevent graying and loss of hair, and increase the shin of hair.

Shudihuang (Radix Rehmanniae Praeparata)

Shudihuang is the cooked root of the herb, Radix Rehmanniae Praeparata. Large amount of herb could be toxic. So please use with extremely caution. The herb is known to strengthen the cardiac muscle function, increase blood pressure, constrict the blood vessels at small doses, dilate the blood vessel at large doses, possesses the characteristics of diuretics, decreases the blood sugar and inhibits carbohydrates being converted into blood sugar. For skincare use, the herb is known to moisturize and hydrate skin. For hair care use, the herb is known to prevent hair graying and hair loss.

Heshouwu (Radix Polygoni Multiflori)

Heshouwu is one of the most often used herbal ingredients in Chinese herbal hair care formulas. The herb is known to regulate the nervous and endocrine system, promote the synthesis of melanin in hair and nourish hair follicles with lecithin like nutrients. The herb is often use to treat premature hair graying or hair loss.

For skin care use, Heshouwu is often used as a soup ingredient. Regular consumption of the herb is believed to increase and strengthen capillary blood circulation and therefore nourish and beautify the skin.

Lingzhi (Ganoderma)

Lingzhi is a species of mushroom and has been used in Chinese medicine for over 2000 years. Today, it is widely used in food supplements, cooking, and skincare products in China.

The herb is known to strengthen immune system, regulate blood sugar level, control blood pressure, anti-cancer, protect liver function, and regulate sleep. The herb contains various amino acids, polysaccharides, organic acids, and ergosterin. The herb is famous for its anti-aging and anti-wrinkle function.

Dangui (Radix Angelicae Sinensis)

This herb contains volatile oil, ferulic acid, polysaccharides, amino acids, vitamins and trace elements. The herb is known to dilate capillaries and promote blood circulation. For skin care use, the herb is known to brighten and moisturize skin, soothing chapped skin, detoxify and remove dark spots. For hair care use, the herb is known to nourish and strengthen the hair.

Gouqizhi (Fructus Lycii)

The herb contains vitamins including B2, nicotinic acid and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), minerals such as potassium, iron, and copper, polysaccharide, and anti-oxidants. The herb is known to increase peripheral white blood cells, improve the function of reticuloendothelial system, strengthen immunity, increase metabolism, and increase blood cell count. For skin care use, the herb moisturizes the skin and improves the complexion. For hair care use, the herb prevents premature hair graying.

Thanks for reading.

About SGC:SGC is an R&D focused developer of nutraceutical and pharmaceutical gummy products. The company specializes in formulating Functional Gummy® products combining the wealth of the in-house knowledge in pharmaceutics, chemistry, western medicine and herbal medicine. The company provides performance gummies® inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine including MOCCA SHOTS™, ENERGON QUBE™, FUNTIONAL FRUIT®, and SEATTLE BEAUTY®.

To learn more, visit https://seattlegummy.com, [email protected],call 206-257-0464, or join at https://seattlegummy.com/be-an-informed-member/.

For those of you who exercise regularly, you will know that exercise does great things to your mind and body. For me personally, I have to admit that I am going for the runner’s high. The collateral benefits are extra bonus, of course. A study published in the Cell Press journal Current Biology just gave us one more reason to hit the gym.

The researchers from the Donders Institute at the Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands reported that physical exercise after learning improves memory and memory traces. However, the caveat is that the memory boosting effect only presents when the exercise is done in a specific time window, i.e., four hours after the learning, but not immediately after learning.

In the study, the researchers tested the effects of a single session of physical exercise after learning on memory consolidation and long-term memory. Seventy-two study participants learned 90 picture-location associations over a period of approximately 40 minutes before being randomly assigned to one of three groups: one group performed exercise immediately, the second performed exercise four hours later, and the third did not perform any exercise. The exercise consisted of 35 minutes of interval training on an exercise bike at an intensity of up to 80 percent of participants’ maximum heart rates. Forty-eight hours later, participants returned for a test to show how much they remembered while their brains were imaged via magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

The researchers found that those who exercised four hours after their learning session retained the information better two days later than those who exercised either immediately or not at all. The brain images also showed that exercise after a time delay was associated with more precise representations in the hippocampus, an area important to learning and memory, when an individual answered a question correctly.

The results of the study suggest that appropriately timed physical exercise can improve long-term memory and highlight the potential of exercise as an intervention in educational and clinical settings.   However, it is not yet clear exactly how or why delayed exercise has this effect on memory. Some earlier studies of laboratory animals suggest that naturally occurring chemical compounds in the body known as catecholamines, including dopamine and norepinephrine, can improve memory consolidation. One way to boost catecholamines is through physical exercise, which could be accounted for the observed memory boosting effects in this study.

Thanks for reading.

Journal Reference:  van Dongen et al. Physical Exercise Performed Four Hours after Learning Improves Memory Retention and Increases Hippocampal Pattern Similarity during Retrieval. Current Biology, 2016 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.04.071

About SGC:SGC is an R&D focused developer of nutraceutical and pharmaceutical gummy products. The company specializes in formulating Functional Gummy® products combining the wealth of the in-house knowledge in pharmaceutics, chemistry, western medicine and herbal medicine. The company provides performance gummies® inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine including MOCCA SHOTS™, ENERGON QUBE™, FUNTIONAL FRUIT®, and SEATTLE BEAUTY®.

To learn more, visit https://seattlegummy.com, [email protected],call 206-257-0464, or join at https://seattlegummy.com/be-an-informed-member/.

A range of diseases — from diabetes to cardiovascular disease, and from Alzheimer’s disease to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — are linked to changes to genes in the brain. A study by UCLA scientists has found that hundreds of those brain genes can be damaged by fructose, a sugar that’s common in the Western diet. This means that, by altering genes in the brain, fructose could affect the occurrence of these diseases. However, the researchers discovered good news as well: the omega-3 fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), seems to reverse the harmful changes produced by fructose.

DHA occurs naturally in the membranes of our brain cells, but not in a large enough quantity to help fight diseases. Human brain and the body are deficient in the machinery to make DHA; it has to come through our diet. DHA strengthens synapses in the brain and enhances learning and memory. It is abundant in wild salmon and, to a lesser extent, in other fish and fish oil, as well as walnuts, flaxseed, and fruits and vegetables.

To test the effects of fructose and DHA, the researchers trained rats to escape from a maze, and then randomly divided the animals into three groups. Then, for six weeks, one group of rats drank water with an amount of fructose that would be roughly equivalent to a person drinking a liter of soda per day. The second group was given fructose water and a diet rich in DHA. The third received water without fructose and no DHA.

After the six weeks, the rats were put through the maze again. The animals that had been given only the fructose navigated the maze about half as fast than the rats that drank only water — indicating that the fructose diet had impaired their memory. The rats that had been given fructose and DHA, however, showed very similar results to those that only drank water — which strongly suggests that the DHA eliminated fructose’s harmful effects.

Other tests on the rats revealed more major differences: The rats receiving a high-fructose diet had much higher blood glucose, triglycerides and insulin levels than the other two groups. Those results are significant because in humans, elevated glucose, triglycerides and insulin are linked to obesity, diabetes and many other diseases.

The research team sequenced more than 20,000 genes in the rats’ brains, and identified more than 700 genes in the hypothalamus (the brain’s major metabolic control center) and more than 200 genes in the hippocampus (which helps regulate learning and memory) that were altered by the fructose. The altered genes they identified, the vast majority of which are comparable to genes in humans, are among those that interact to regulate metabolism, cell communication and inflammation. Among the conditions that can be caused by alterations to those genes are Parkinson’s disease, depression, bipolar disorder, and other brain diseases.

The research also uncovered new details about the mechanism fructose uses to disrupt genes. The scientists found that fructose removes or adds a biochemical group to cytosine, one of the four nucleotides that make up DNA. This type of modification plays a critical role in turning genes “on” or “off.”

Americans get most of their fructose in foods that are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup such as soda drinks. Next time, when top off your cup at the soda fountain, remember to take your omega-3 supplement with the drink.

Thanks for reading.

Journal Reference:

Meng, QY et al. Systems Nutrigenomics Reveals Brain Gene Networks Linking Metabolic and Brain Disorders. EBioMedicine, 2016; DOI: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.04.008

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