Health Benefits of Inositol


Inositol is a nutrient that was formerly classified as a member of the B-complex family.

Because inositol is produced in the human body, it is not considered an essential nutrient — meaning it does not have to be obtained through your diet or other means.

However, getting an extra amount of inositol in your system may be beneficial, according to the results of some pretty interesting studies. Let’s dig into them.

Inositol Benefits PMDD

A meta-analysis published this year confirmed a benefit for inositol in depression, particularly among women dealing with premenstrual dysphoric disorder. 1

Studies indicate it could alleviate symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, agoraphobia, and panic attacks. Anecdotal reports of a calming, relaxing effect associated with inositol-use may help explain the effect.

Inositol Helps PCOS

Inositol may be of help to women suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a disease characterized by irregular periods, acne, hair loss, obesity, and insulin resistance.2

In a trial of patients undergoing fertility treatments, women with PCOS and other fertility problems who took inositol had better egg quality and a greater number of clinical pregnancies.3

In another trial of PCOS patients, myo-inositol (the most common form of inositol) plus D-chiro-inositol (a more rapidly absorbed form) resulted in improvements in LDL, HDL, triglycerides, and insulin resistance.4

And in a different study, myo-inositol reduced plasma luteinizing hormone, testosterone, insulin, and other abnormally elevated hormone levels in women with PCOS, while improving insulin sensitivity and the regularity of the menstrual cycles.5

Inositol Combats Insulin Resistance

Due to its role in insulin function, inositol could benefit those who are insulin resistant too.

In a trial of women who have metabolic syndrome, the administration of inositol and alpha-lipoic acid decreased triglycerides in 43.2% of those who received the combination. The nutrients also increased HDL cholesterol and reduced waist size.

In another study involving 80 metabolic syndrome patients, myo-inositol plus dietary changes improved blood pressure, insulin resistance, cholesterol, and triglycerides compared to those treated only with dietary changes and a placebo.7

Inositol May Reduce the Risk of Gestational Diabetes

Inositol could help prevent gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy.

In a recent study of pregnant women who had a type 2 diabetic parent, the women given two grams of myo-inositol twice a day were half as likely to develop gestational diabetes compared to those who received a placebo. They also had a lower risk of delivering a baby weighing more than 9 pounds.8

Inositol Protects Against Cancer

In a clinical trial, smokers taking up to 18 grams of myo-inositol daily showed a regression in pre-cancerous lung lesions.9 (Note: This dosage is not recommended except under a doctor's supervision.)

Inositol hexaphosphate (IP6), an inositol-containing compound found in cereals and beans, has also shown anti-cancer benefits. According to a Polish study published in 2012, IP6 stops the spread of cancer cells by suppressing genes that are implicated in tumor growth and metastasis.10

The Bottom Line

Although inositol is made in the human body, there are also benefits to supplementing with it. A beneficial dose is about 100 mg daily.

Inositol is present in most B-complexes and can also be found in multivitamin formulas.

References

  1. Hum Psychopharmacol. 2014 Jan;29(1):55-63. 
  2. Ginekol Pol. 2014 Jan;85(1):54-7. 
  3. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2013 Nov;17(22):3095-102. 
  4. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2013 Feb;17(4):537-40. 
  5. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2013 Apr;29(4):375-9. 
  6. Trials. 2013 Aug 28;14:273. 
  7. Menopause. 2011 Jan;18(1):102-4. 
  8. Diabetes Care. 2013 Apr;36(4):854-7. 
  9. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2006 Aug;15(8):1526-31. 
  10. Acta Pol Pharm. 2012 Nov-Dec;69(6):1307-12.

Share | |

Cinnamon for Parkinson’s Disease?

Maylin Rodriguez-Paez RN

Can a common spice help stop a debilitating disease? That’s what the latest research suggests.

Scientists from Chicago found that cinnamon may alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in mice.

Parkinson’s disease is characterized by the loss of neurons in the substantia nigra, an area of the brain that produces dopamine and affects movement.

Typical symptoms include tremors, slowed movements, stiffness, and balance problems.

Currently few options exist to treat the disease. Fortunately, alternative therapies are coming to the forefront, providing additional options for the 7–10 million people who are affected worldwide.1

Cinnamon Improves Motor Activity and Normalizes Neurotransmitter Levels

Mice induced to develop a Parkinson’s-type disease were given cinnamon powder during the study. Results showed the cinnamon was metabolized into sodium benzoate (a preservative used in a variety of packaged foods) and crossed into the brain where it produced a variety of benefits.

Neurons were protected, and mice demonstrated improvements in motor activity, and neurotransmitter levels were normalized.2 In addition, it prevented the loss of Parkin and DJ-1, two proteins which are deficient in Parkinson’s disease.

Scientists considered the benefits of two different types of cinnamon (Ceylon and Chinese), and they concluded that Ceylon cinnamon was more promising than Chinese cinnamon due to the latter containing coumarin, a compound that is potentially toxic to the liver. Both types of cinnamon are available in supermarkets.

Cinnamon Promotes Neurogenesis

This isn’t the first study to show the benefit of cinnamon for a neurological disease. A previous one showed cinnamon may help to protect against Alzheimer’s disease.3 In addition, research suggests that cinnamon improves neurogenesis, the birth of new brain cells.4

The ability of the brain to generate new neurons is often impaired in Parkinson’s disease.5 This leaves the brain with a diminished reserve to replace dead neurons. By stimulating growth factors, cinnamon may potentially help to offset the symptoms related to the disease.

The Bottom Line

Parkinson’s disease affects 1–2% of adults over the age of 60.6, 7 If you'd like more information on the disease and its treatment options, be sure to give our Parkinson’s disease protocol a look.

References

  1. Available at: http://www.pdf.org/en/parkinson_statistics. Accessed July 10, 2014. 
  2. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2014 Jun 20. 
  3. PLoS One. 2013 Dec 13;8(12):e83243. 
  4. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. Jun 2013;8(3):739–755. 
  5. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2013 Feb;70(3):459-73. 
  6. Clin Interv Aging. Dec 2006; 1(4): 317–325. 
  7. Biochim Biophys Acta. Jan 2009; 1792(1): 68–74.

Share | |

5 Big Reasons to Eat Leafy Greens

Maylin Rodriguez-Paez RN

Seeing green? It’s not pure coincidence. People are finally catching on to the health benefits of leafy greens and many are including them in their everyday diet. And it’s not all that surprising.

Greens are a great source of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Plus, they’re also low in calories and carbs, making them an ideal food for those of us who are watching our waistlines.

Not feeling the green movement yet? Read on. Maybe this will finally sway you!

What Are Leafy Greens?

First, let’s clarify what we mean by leafy greens. They include (but are not limited to) spinach, watercress, bok choy, collard greens, chard, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, arugula, and the very popular kale.

Easy enough? Now let’s move on to their health benefits.

Leafy Greens May Prevent Diabetes

A British study revealed people who ate about one and a half servings of leafy greens a week were 14% less likely to develop diabetes.1

In this review, scientists investigated the intake of fruit and vegetables on the incidence of type 2 diabetes. In the analysis, leafy greens beat out other fruits and vegetables.

Leafy greens are great sources of magnesium and vitamin K, nutrients with anti-diabetic effects.

Leafy Greens Protect DNA

Exercise is great for your body, but there is a downside: The production of free radicals that can damage your DNA. It turns out leafy greens may help with this too.

In a study, participants given watercress before workouts and for an extended period of time had less evidence of DNA damage compared to a control period.2

Leafy Greens May Prevent Chronic Disease and Heart Disease

The Nurses’ Health Study is one of the most important studies to date. It has examined the health habits of people over the years and has provided us with important health information.

In one analysis that included over 100,000 people, the intake of green leafy vegetables was associated with a lower risk of major chronic disease and cardiovascular disease over a 14-year period.3

The association was stronger for leafy greens than for other groups of fruits or vegetables.

Leafy Greens Protect your Vision

Of the many beneficial compounds in leafy greens, two are of particular importance to your eyes: lutein and zeaxanthin. They play a critical role in preventing macular degeneration, the most common cause of age-related blindness.4

Lutein and zeaxanthin are found naturally in your eyes. They act like natural “sunscreen,” filtering out harmful UV light, and act as antioxidants.

Lutein and zeaxanthin can also be found in dietary supplements.

References:

  1. BMJ. 2010 Aug 18;341:c4229. 
  2. Br J Nutr. 2013 Jan 28;109(2):293-301. 
  3. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2004 Nov 3;96(21):1577-84. 
  4. J Ophthalmol. 2014;2014:901686. Epub 2014 Jan 23.

Share | |

Detox with Broccoli Tea

Maylin Rodriguez-Paez RN

The impact of air pollution on health is undeniable. It's linked to diseases such as cancer and heart disease, and the World Health Organization estimates it kills 7 million people yearly across the globe.1,2

Although the United States has pretty good air quality compared to other countries, experts think it’s only a matter of time before conditions get worse here and around the world.

With environmental toxins constantly on the rise, it makes a lot of sense to implement ways to protect yourself. And according to a recent study, a tea composed of broccoli sprouts - believe it or not - may do that and more.

Broccoli Sprouts Detoxify your Body from Air-Borne Pollutants

Scientists recruited 291 volunteers who lived in a heavily-polluted area of China. They were assigned one of two treatments. One group drank a tea composed of water, pineapple and lime juice. The other group drank the same tea with the addition of freeze-dried broccoli sprouts containing glucoraphanin and sulforaphane.

Urine and blood samples were taken before and during the trial to measure levels of crotonaldehyde, benzene (a carcinogen), and acrolein. All are toxic byproducts of air pollution.

Compared to the placebo group, participants drinking the broccoli sprout tea were able to excrete 61% more benzene conjugates and 23% more acrolein from their bodies.3

Eat More Cruciferous Vegetables (or Supplement) to Detox

The key ingredients in the tea administered to the treatment group were glucoraphanin and sulforaphane. They assist the liver in detoxifying reactions and have anti-cancer properties.

Sulforaphane is found in cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbages, and Brussels sprouts. It converts to glucoraphanin when the plants are chewed or damaged. Both are available in dietary supplements.

Decrease your Exposure to Pollution

There are steps you can take to minimize your exposure to air pollution. For one, you may want to stay indoors on a “bad air day”.

The government actually has a system in place which classifies the level of air pollution on any given day. It’s called the Air Quality Index. It measures common pollutants such as ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. Check your local air quality by clicking here.

When walking outside, stay away from roads or major highways. This way you avoid breathing in exhaust fumes from other cars (a major source of air pollution).

When driving, keep your windows closed and set your air setting to recirculate. This can significantly reduce your exposure to pollutants as well.

Improve the air quality of your home by installing air filters and vacuuming with a HEPA filter. They’re more effective at reducing air pollutants such as dust, lead, and other air-borne toxins than regular filters.

References:

  1. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs313/en/. Accessed June 20, 2014. 
  2. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/air-pollution/en/. Accessed June 20, 2014. 
  3. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2014 Jun 9. pii: canprevres.0103.2014.

Share | |

Arginine Reduces Belly Fat

Maylin Rodriguez-Paez RN

Aside from being unattractive, belly fat also has detrimental effects on your overall health. Its inflammatory nature makes it particularly harmful.

Compared to other types of fat in the human body, research shows the fat in your midsection may increase your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.1-2

Interestingly enough, L-arginine may be a potential solution. Why? Because according to a recent study, L-arginine supplementation helped women lose inches off their waist.

Arginine Decreased Waist Size by Two Inches

A total of 20 obese women between the ages of 18–40 were recruited for the study. They were administered 3 grams of L-arginine three times daily for 12 weeks. They also received lifestyle counseling. 

The women tolerated the arginine supplements well without harmful side effects. On average, waist size decreased by two inches, and they lost an average of 6 pounds.3

Arginine stimulates key genes that are needed to oxidize fat and glucose.4 It promotes lipolysis,4 which is the breakdown of fat, and it supports the build-up of lean muscle tissue.5

Supplement with Arginine

The richest sources of L-arginine are found in animal proteins and dairy products. It’s also found in hemp seeds, nuts, and is available as a dietary supplement.

That being said, the best way to get the benefits of arginine is through supplementation. Just note that when taken along with other amino acids, the absorption of arginine may be compromised.

As such, supplementing with arginine on an empty stomach is the only way to ensure optimal absorption.

Arginine Lowers Blood Pressure and Boosts Immune Function

Apart from arginine’s waist-slimming effects, it offers a variety of health benefits. L-arginine supplementation has been shown to boost immune function, increase growth hormone response, support wound healing, and even lower blood pressure.6-10

L-arginine is an immediate precursor to nitric oxide, a gas our body produces, that dilates blood vessels and maintains healthy circulation.

A Slim Belly Takes More Than a Pill

Although supplements may help, a good diet and a consistent exercise program are still the key to maintaining a slim waist. In addition, the importance of healthy blood sugar levels definitely should not be overlooked.

Sugary foods and processed carbohydrates contribute to insulin spikes which encourage the body to store belly fat. These must be limited to maintain a lean center. Your best bet is a diet composed of vegetables, fish, and fruits (especially blueberries), which are all quite waist-friendly.

References:

  1. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 May;87(5):1118-9. 
  2. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013 Sep 3;62(10):921-5.  
  3. J Diet Suppl. 2014 Mar;11(1):40-52. 
  4. J Nutr. 2005 Apr;135(4):714-21. 
  5. J Nutr. Feb 2009; 139(2): 230–237. 
  6. Amino Acids. 2009 Jul;37(2):323-31. 
  7. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2008 Jan;11(1):50-4. 
  8. Nutr Clin Pract. 2005 Feb;20(1):52-61.

Share | |
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...