Our Body

Self Tracking Is Easy and an Effective Way to Lose Weight

Being overweight or obese is associated with several risks such as developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and even mortality. Despite these well documented risks federal statistics indicate that obesity in America has increased from 35% in 2007-08 to being 40% in 2015-16 and that number is still climbing.

This doesn’t mean that Americans are not making an effort to lose weight as a report by the Boston Medical Center suggests around 45 million embark on diets every year, spending over $33 billion annually on the pursuit of dropping extra weight. The sad reality is that only a small portion of those dieters will reach their goals, as for many the process is too difficult and what they can and can’t eat proves to be too much of a struggle for them to sustain long term.

Weight loss doesn’t have to be unsustainable and an unachievable dream, research is showing that self tracking methods such as an app or diary are the most effective ways to successfully lose weight. Some may feel that self tracking is time consuming, but research from the University of Vermont has found that it can be quick and easy, taking about 15 minutes a day.

As published in the journal Obesity results were examined from 142 self tracking participants. The most successful participants spent on average 14.6 minutes per day online based on their logged in activity in the behavioral weight loss program in which they recorded calories, fat, portion sizes, and preparation methods for all food and beverages consumed; and met weekly for 14 weeks in an online group session with a trained dietician.

The most successful dieters were determined to be those that lost at least 10% of their body weight, who spent 23.2 minutes a day logged in for the first 6 months, then on average 14.6 minutes logged in afterwards. Successfulness was not revolved around how much time was spent logged in, rather it was the number of times they logged in to report what they ate.

“Those who self-monitored three or more times per day, and were consistent day after day, were the most successful, explained lead author Jean Harvey, chair of the Nutrition and Food Sciences Department at the University of Vermont. “It seems to be the act of self-monitoring itself that makes the difference — not the time spent or the details included.”

The key to weight loss success may well be to start a food journal or download a self monitoring app in which to briefly, but no less than 3 times a day report the details of the food and beverages which have been consumed. 

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Source: WorldHealth.net

Study Links Junk Food To Age Marker In Chromosomes

According to a study recently published in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, presented at an online medical conference, those who consume a lot of industrially processed junk foods are more likely to exhibit a change in their chromosome that is linked to ageing.

Scientists at the European and International Conference on Obesity reported that those who consumed three or more ultra-processed foods per day were found to have doubled their odds of their DNA and telomere proteins being shorter when compared to those from people who rarely consume such foods.

Shorter telomeres are a proven marker of biological ageing at the cellular level, this study suggests that diet is a factor in driving cells to age faster. It was noted that although the correlation is very strong, the causal relationship between consuming highly processed foods and shrinking telomeres is speculative, additional research is required.

Every human has 23 pairs of chromosomes that house our genetic code. While telomeres don’t carry any genetic information, these are the protective end caps that are vital for preserving the stability and integrity of our chromosomes, and the DNA that all the cells within the body rely on to function. With age, telomeres shorten naturally as each time a cell divides a part of the telomere is lost, and this reduction in length is recognized as a marker of biological age.

Scientists from the University of Navarra Spain wanted to investigate the suspected connection between shrinking telomeres and regular consumption of highly processed junk food. Previous studies pointed to a possible link, but the findings were inconclusive.

Ultra-processed junk foods are industrially manufactured substances that are composed of some mix of oils, fats, sugars, starch, and proteins that contain very little if any whole or natural foods. The items will typically include artificial flavourings, emulsifiers, preservatives, colourings, and other additives to increase shelf life and profit margins. But these same compounds also mean that these types of foods are very nutritionally poor compared to less-processed options.

Previous studies have shown strong correlations between ultra-processed foods and obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, depression, and some types of cancer. Such conditions are often age-related as they are linked to oxidative stress and inflammation which are both known to influence the length of telomeres.

In this study health data for nearly 900 people who were 55 years of age or older were involved in this study who provided DNA samples in 2008 and provided detailed data about the eating habits at that time as well as every two years after. Participants were equally divided into 4 groups depending on their consumption of ultra-processed foods from low to high.

Those in the high intake of ultra-processed foods group were found to be more likely to have a family history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, abnormal blood fats, and snacked more in between meals. This group also consumed more fats, saturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, sodium, cholesterols, SSBs, fast food, and processed meats while intaking fewer carbs, protein, fibre, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, and other micronutrients. Those who consumed more ultra-processed foods were observed to be less likely to adhere to a Mediterranean style diet.

As the consumption of ultra-processed foods increased the likelihood of having shortened telomeres increased dramatically with each quartile above the lowest having a risk increase of 29% for the medium-low group, 40% for the medium to high group, and 82% for the high consumption of ultra-processed food group for having shortened telomeres. Consumption of ultra-processed foods was also associated with the risk of depression, hypertension, being overweight, obesity, and all-cause mortality, especially in those with low levels of physical activity.

“In this cross-sectional study of elderly Spanish subjects, we showed a robust strong association between ultra-processed food consumption and telomere length. Further research in larger longitudinal studies with baseline and repeated measures of TL is needed to confirm these observations,” concluded the authors.

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Source: WorldHealth.net.

Why You Should Consider Chia Seeds

Chia seeds may be small, but they are loaded with a wealth of important nutrients that can help to support a healthy and nutritious diet.

These versatile and nutritious tiny seeds are commonly ground, stirred, or sprinkled into smoothies, yogurt, pudding, salads, and oatmeal making them great for those on the go. The gel produced from the ground seeds can even be used as an egg substitute in pancakes and bake goodies.

One of the big pluses to chia seed is that although they are rich in nutrients they are very low in calories. Just two tablespoons contain 18% of the daily recommended value of calcium, 137 calories, 30% of the RDV for manganese and magnesium, as well as 27% of the RDV for phosphorus. They are also rich sources of zinc, potassium, and vitamin B, for all of these reasons, it makes them an extremely efficient source of nutrients.

To go along with the nutrient profile, chia seeds are a good source of fibre-containing 11 grams in that same 2 tablespoons. As most people don’t reach the DRV of 30 grams, adding chia seeds to your diet is a good option to help reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer, and regulate blood sugar levels.

Those looking to up intake of anti-ageing antioxidants that can help to prevent or delay certain types of cell damage may want to consider chia seeds as well as they are a rich source of antioxidants due to the presence of chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol which are believed to help protect the heart and liver as well as having anti-ageing and anti-carcinogenic characteristics.

Those looking to add more plant-based protein to their diet may find chia seeds to be a good option as they are approximately 14% protein, and they are a complete protein containing all of the essential amino acids that are required for human nutrition including isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, histidine, and valine which help build proteins, grow muscle, and transport nutrients.

Another plus is that gram for gram chia seeds contain more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon does which has various anti-inflammatory properties and may also help to support better brain and heart health as well as improve stress response.

The rich calcium, magnesium and protein content will also help to support healthy bones which again is good news for those looking to increase intake of more plant-based options as 25 grams of chia seeds contains 157 grams of calcium which is more than the content of 100 ml of dairy milk.

Studies suggest that regular consumption of chia seeds could significantly reduce blood pressure for those with hypertension, and the rich omega-3 content can work as a blood thinner reducing overall blood pressure. The reductions can support overall heart health and may help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. It is worth noting that those taking medications should consult with their physician as very large quantities of chia seeds could potentially interact with certain blood pressure or blood sugar medications.

The body digests chia seeds slowly which will provide slow-release energy and help to keep blood sugar levels stable throughout the day, while the fibre content can slow the absorption of sugar into the blood and decrease overall blood sugar levels.

Additionally, the high concentration of soluble fibre makes chia seeds expand in the stomach which can help to keep you feeling fuller for longer and reduce snacking which can help to support healthy weight loss as part of a healthy diet when combined with exercise.

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Source: WorldHealth.net.

AKG Supplement Promoted Healthy Aging & Longevity In Animal Study

Mice given alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG) supplements were reported to be healthier as they aged, and female mice lived longer than those not given the supplement, according to the researchers at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging.

“The big thing about this is that its safety profile is so good,” says the University of North Dakota aging researcher Holly Brown-Borg, who was not involved with the study. “It has potential and should be explored further, for sure.”

AKG is naturally made in both mice and human bodies, and it is already considered to be safe by regulators. It is part of the metabolic cycle that cells use to make energy from food; sometimes it is used to treat osteoporosis and kidney disease, along with some bodybuilders to bulk up.

In 2014 researchers discovered that this molecule may have an anti-ageing possibility when a study published in Nature reported that it helped to extend the lifespan of C.elegans by more than 50%; and other studies showed it improving lifespan in fruit flies.

AKG levels will gradually decline with age, as such the researchers are looking for ways to restore levels to those seen in younger years. In this study published in Cell Metabolism 18-month-old mice, which is the equivalent of around 55 human years, were given AKG as 2% of their daily feed until they died or for up to 21 months, recording all changes.

Within a few months: “They looked much blacker, shinier, and younger” than control mice, says Azar Asadi Shahmirzadi, a postdoc at the Buck Institute who did the experiments as a graduate student. Animals in the AKG group also scored on average 40% better on tests of frailty as measured by 31 physiological attributes including walking gait, grip strength hearing, and hair colour. Additionally, female mice in the AKG group lived a median of 8-20% longer than the controls. It was noted that the mice in the AKG group did not perform better in tests for heart function or treadmill endurance, and they did not test for cognitive improvement.

Female mice in the AKG group were found to produce higher levels of a molecule that fights inflammation. Although these effects on health and longevity were smaller for AKG than for some other anti-ageing compounds, some of the other compounds have had safety issues, for example, rapamycin can suppress the immune system and may promote diabetes.

The researchers plan to test AKG in human volunteers in the near future, possibly in a group of people between the ages of 45-65 to investigate whether the molecule will improve ageing-related biomarkers such as inflammation, arterial hardening, and chemical signatures on DNA that are associated with ageing.

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Source: WorldHealth.net.

Early retirement can accelerate cognitive decline

Early retirement can accelerate cognitive decline among the elderly, according to research conducted by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Plamen Nikolov, assistant professor of economics, and Alan Adelman, a doctoral student in economics, examined China’s New Rural Pension Scheme (NRPS) and the Chinese Health and Retirement Longitudinal Survey (CHARLS) to determine the effects of pension benefits on individual cognition of those ages 60 or above. CHARLS, a nationally representative survey of people ages 45 and above within the Chinese population, is a sister survey of the U.S. Health and Retirement Survey and directly tests cognition with a focus on episodic memory and components of intact mental status.

With a higher life expectancy and decline in fertility in developing countries, the elderly population has become the largest demographic source in Asia and Latin America, generating an urgent need for new, sustainable pension systems. However, research suggests that these retirement plans can be detrimental, as retirement plays a significant role in explaining cognitive decline at older ages.

“Because of this large demographic boom, China introduced a formal pension program (called NRPS) in rural parts of the country. The program was introduced on the basis of an economy’s needs and capacity, in particular to alleviate poverty in old age,” said Nikolov. “In rural parts of the country, traditional family-based care for the elderly had largely broken down, without adequate formal mechanisms to take its place. For the elderly, inadequate transfers from either informal family and community transfers could severely reduce their ability to cope with illness or poor nutrition.”

The researchers discovered that there were significant negative effects of pension benefits on cognition functioning among the elderly. The largest indicator of cognitive decline was delayed recall, a measure that is widely implicated in neurobiological research as an important predictor of dementia. The pension program had more negative effects among females, and Nikolov said the results support the mental retirement hypothesis that decreased mental activity results in the worsening of cognitive skills.

“Individuals in the areas that implement the NRPS score considerably lower than individuals who live in areas that do not offer the NRPS program,” Nikolov said. “Over the almost 10 years since its implementation, the program led to a decline in cognitive performance by as high as almost a fifth of a standard deviation on the memory measures we examine.”

“For cognition among the elderly, it looks like the negative effect on social engagement far outweighed the positive effect of the program on nutrition and sleep,” said Nikolov. “Or alternatively, the kinds of things that matter and determine better health might simply be very different than the kinds of things that matter for better cognition among the elderly. Social engagement and connectedness may simply be the single most powerful factors for cognitive performance in old age.”

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Source: ScienceDaily

Machine Learning Identifies Potential Anti-Cancer Molecules in Food

The internet is rife with myths and articles making dubious claims about certain foods and their anti-cancer properties. We have all seen the articles of questionable scientific merit gracing social media suggesting that such-and-such foods can cure cancer, the majority of which are highly questionable. A new study offers a unique kind of insight into the potential true effectiveness of food in fighting cancer.

Investigating molecules in food with machine learning

There is no doubt that there are many foods that contain a myriad of active molecules, and perhaps some of these food myths may have a grain of truth to them. A team of researchers decided to do some real myth-busting and put a variety of bioactive molecules found in foods to the test to see if they might potentially help to combat cancer.

The research team chose to use the power of machine learning to help assess a total of 7,962 biologically active compounds encountered in dietary sources. These molecules were compiled into a database and fed into a machine learning algorithm, which determined that of these compounds, there were 110 molecules that appeared to have anti-cancer properties.

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Source: Life Extension Advocacy Foundation

 

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Reverses Aging

The Mayo Clinic has determined that intense aerobic exercise has the potential to reverse the aging process in adults. Though everyone knows exercise is beneficial, there are plenty of questions regarding which types of exercises are the best and what age groups benefit the most from specific exercises. According to the Mayo Clinic, high intensity cardio can reverse some cellular aspects of aging.

The Study’s Aim

The purpose of the study described above was to pinpoint evidence that would assist in the development of exercise recommendations and targeted therapies for people of varying ages. Researchers monitored molecular and metabolic alterations in individuals of varying ages across a period of about three months. They collected data 72 hours after those in randomized groups performed an array of different exercises.

Study Details

Mayo Clinic researchers tested high-intensity interval training (HIIT) against combined training and resistance training. Each style of training boosted lean body mass as well as insulin sensitivity. However, HIIT and combined training heightened aerobic capacity as well as mitochondrial functionality for skeletal muscle. This is especially important for senior citizens who often endure declines in mitochondrial content and functionality.

HIIT even boosted muscle protein content that improved energetic functions and spurred the enlargement of muscles. This bolstering of muscle protein was common in older adults who engaged in high-intensity intervals. The research team keyed in on one of their most important findings: exercise boosted the cellular machinery necessary for the construction of new proteins. Protein creation and synthesis reverse some of the problematic effects of the aging process.

The take-home message is that HIIT is ideal for aging adults as it benefits the body at the molecular level as well as metabolically. HIIT reverses certain manifestations of the aging process within the human body’s protein function. Engaging in resistance training is also advisable as it allows for the establishment of considerable muscle strength. HIIT is certainly beneficial yet a strict reliance on this style of exercise won’t significantly boost muscle strength unless combined with resistance training.

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Source: WorldHealth.net

Key Mechanisms of Cancer, Aging and Inflammation Revealed

Body.OldAge1A team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, lead by Patricia Opresko, Ph.D have discovered crucial new information about telomeres, the end caps of DNA. Telomeres (repeated sequences of DNA) are shortened each time a cell divides, thus becoming smaller with age. When telomeres become too short, they send a signal to the cell to cease dividing permanently – this impairs the ability of tissues to regenerate, contributing to various age-related diseases.

In cancer cells, on the other hand, levels of the enzyme telomerase (which lengthens telomeres) are elevated. This enables them to divide indefinitely. “The new information will be useful in designing new therapies to preserve telomeres in healthy cells and ultimately help combat the effects of inflammation and aging. On the flip side, we hope to develop mechanisms to selectively deplete telomeres in cancer cells to stop them from dividing,” said Dr. Opresko.

Previous studies have shown that oxidative stress accelerates telomere shortening. Oxidative stress is a condition where free radicals build up inside the cell, causing damage. Free radicals can damage the DNA that makes up the telomeres, as well as the DNA building blocks used to extend them. Oxidative stress also plays a role in various other health conditions, including cancer and inflammation. Free radical damage, which is often caused by inflammation in the body, as well as environmental factors, is believed to build up throughout the aging process.

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Source: WorldHealth.net.

High Levels of Exercise Linked to Nine Years of Less Aging at the Cellular Level

Despite their best efforts, no scientist has ever come close to stopping humans from aging. Even anti-aging creams can’t stop Old Father Time. But new research from Brigham Young University reveals you may be able to slow one type of aging – the kind that happens inside your cells. As long as you’re willing to sweat.

“Just because you’re 40, doesn’t mean you’re 40 years old biologically,” Tucker said. “We all know people that seem younger than their actual age. The more physically active we are, the less biological aging takes place in our bodies.”

The study, published in the medical journal Preventive Medicine, finds that people who have consistently high levels of physical activity have significantly longer telomeres than those who have sedentary lifestyles, as well as those who are moderately active. Telomeres are the protein endcaps of our chromosomes. They’re like our biological clock and they’re extremely correlated with age; each time a cell replicates, we lose a tiny bit of the endcaps. Therefore, the older we get, the shorter our telomeres.

Exercise science professor Larry Tucker found adults with high physical activity levels have telomeres with a biological aging advantage of nine years over those who are sedentary, and a seven-year advantage compared to those who are moderately active. To be highly active, women had to engage in 30 minutes of jogging per day (40 minutes for men), five days a week.

“If you want to see a real difference in slowing your biological aging, it appears that a little exercise won’t cut it,” Tucker said. “You have to work out regularly at high levels.”

Although the exact mechanism for how exercise preserves telomeres is unknown, Tucker said it may be tied to inflammation and oxidative stress. Previous studies have shown telomere length is closely related to those two factors and it is known that exercise can suppress inflammation and oxidative stress over time.

“We know that regular physical activity helps to reduce mortality and prolong life, and now we know part of that advantage may be due to the preservation of telomeres,” Tucker said.

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Source: ScienceDaily

Scientists Unveil a Giant Leap for Anti-Aging

University of New South Wales, UNSW, researchers have made a discovery that could lead to a revolutionary drug that actually reverses ageing, improves DNA repair and could even help NASA get its astronauts to Mars.

In a paper published in Science today, the team identifies a critical step in the molecular process that allows cells to repair damaged DNA. Their experiments in mice suggest a treatment is possible for DNA damage from ageing and radiation. It is so promising it has attracted the attention of NASA, which believes the treatment can help its Mars mission.

While our cells have an innate capability to repair DNA damage –  which happens every time we go out into the sun, for example – their ability to do this declines as we age.

The scientists identified that the metabolite NAD+, which is naturally present in every cell of our body, has a key role as a regulator in protein-to-protein interactions that control DNA repair. Treating mice with a NAD+ precursor, or “booster,” called NMN improved their cells’ ability to repair DNA damage caused by radiation exposure or old age. “The cells of the old mice were indistinguishable from the young mice, after just one week of treatment,” said lead author Professor David Sinclair of UNSW School of Medical Sciences and Harvard Medical School Boston.

Human trials of NMN therapy will begin within six months. “This is the closest we are to a safe and effective anti-ageing drug that’s perhaps only three to five years away from being on the market if the trials go well,” says Sinclair, who maintains a lab at UNSW in Sydney.

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Source: ScienceDaily