Depression and Acetyl-L-Carnitine Deficiency

Depression is the most widespread mood disorder in the United States. It affects 8-10 percent of people at any given time, and 1 in 4 individuals will experience depressive symptoms in their lifetime. Depression, also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, can result in feelings of anxiety, apathy, general discontent, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, mood swings, or sadness. If you have low levels of the important molecule acetyl-L-carnitine (LAC) in your system, these symptoms may sound familiar. Fortunately, recent studies are showing great improvements in depressive symptoms with LAC supplementation. Experts at MD Magazine report: “Individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) have low blood levels of the molecule acetyl-L-carnitine (LAC), according to the results of a new study. The research also suggests that the degree of the LAC deficiency reflects the severity and other details about the disorder. The findings may make LAC a potential biomarker to help in formulating targeted approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of depression, say investigators led by Carla Nasca, PhD, a postdoc fellow at Rockefeller University in New York, New York. “LAC may aid in identifying a subtype of depression that has greater severity, more likely early life …

Show Your Heart Some Love – Stay Hydrated this Summer

We all know what it’s like to be thirsty on a hot summer’s day. Unfortunately, by the time you actually feel thirsty you’re already dehydrated. Our bodies are 70% water, so dehydration is understandably uncomfortable. It causes dry mouth, headaches, fatigue, dizziness…but its effects are far-reaching and can potentially be life-threatening. Besides the risk of heat stroke, it also makes your heart work harder to pump blood through your body and puts unnecessary strain on this one-of-a-kind muscle. Water is essential to your heart health. Staying hydrated helps your heart pump blood more easily through blood vessels to your muscles, and it also helps those muscles work more efficiently. So, how much water should you drink? Everybody’s different, and a person’s water requirements are as unique as the individual. Climate, clothing type, and physical activity can all change the amount of water a person needs from day-to-day. People with certain medical conditions (like diabetes or heart disease), on medications with diuretic side-effects, and people older than 50 or overweight, need to take extra precautions to avoid dehydration. An easy way to tell if your water intake is sufficient is to check the color of your urine. If it’s pale and …

Taking steps to a healthy lifestyle

Could lifelong fitness be as easy as taking a walk? Researchers say yes! In the United States, adults are urged to get the equivalent of 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise. Walking, in all its beautiful simplicity, fits the bill quite well. What’s more, it’s the perfect gateway exercise for older people who have been relatively inactive for a while. One long walk vs several short walks? Similar benefits, study says. Tufts University recently reported on a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Researchers found that the benefits of walking on longevity were equivalent whether people got their steps in one long walk, a few shorter ones, or even brief walk breaks of a few minutes – as long as it was done regularly. Preserving Mobility One of the top benefits of walking for older adults is retaining physical mobility; the ability to walk without assistance. Tufts University led a study in 2014 that explored the benefits of physical activity in older adults. According to a Tufts University article, this study, for the first time, showed conclusively that a regular exercise program can preserve independence among older men and women. “We think that …

“MIND” your diet for better brain aging

Does a healthy eating pattern preserve brain function with aging? An important new study hopes to provide clues. As June is Alzheimer’s and brain health awareness month, we couldn’t think of a better time to explore some exciting new research that was featured in a recent Tufts University newsletter article. Currently available medical treatments for age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease have had limited success. Adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle has been among the most consistent recommendations to maintain brain health over the long term. Some studies have linked an overall healthy dietary pattern to less chance of experiencing age-related decline in memory and other cognitive skills. The specifics of “brain protective” diets vary but tend to have certain elements in common. Dietary patterns associated with lower risk of age-related cognitive decline and dementia are higher in non-starchy vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, legumes and seafood while limited in red and/or processed meats, sugar-sweetened foods and drinks, refined grains and added salt. But there have been few long-term trials testing overall dietary patterns for protecting the aging brain. Researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health are currently conducting a …

What can exercise do for your brain?

Our friends at Tufts University recently offered an update on the important link between exercise and brain health. In the past, Juvenon has featured several interesting posts covering this topic, and we believe it is worthy of further exploration. Scientists discovered that the number of nerve cells in the brain typically decreases with age, and the levels of the chemical substances involved in sending messages in the brain change. Although researchers aren’t sure about the exact mechanism, exercise is strongly associated with protection against age-related decline in cognitive function. Regular physical activity also may help postpone the decline in your ability to think quickly and may help improve reaction time. Additionally, exercise may aid your ability to shift quickly between activities and plan and organize tasks. Some studies also suggest regular exercise may help reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. The effects of exercise on brain health are partly due to its ability to improve cardiovascular function and blood flow within the central nervous system. Studies in animals have found that exercise increases the number of small blood vessels that supply blood and nourishment to the brain, in addition to increasing the number of connections between nerve cells. Even if …

8 Foods that fight inflammation and boost your immune system

Doctors are learning that one of the best ways to quell inflammation lies not in the medicine cabinet, but in the refrigerator. We all know that chronic inflammation is bad. But do you know exactly why it is unhealthy and how you can protect yourself from its effects? (Hint: the remedy may be found in the fridge instead of the medicine cabinet) Inflammation 101 Your trusty immune system is hardwired to attack anything in your body that it sees as foreign—such as an invading bacteria, germ, or chemical. The process is called inflammation and it means well. In fact, occasional bouts of inflammation protect you against threatening, health robbing invaders However, when inflammation is a constant visitor it’s bad news. You see, when there is no foreign invader to be found, chronic inflammation becomes your enemy. Many major diseases that plague us—including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s—have been linked to chronic inflammation. Eat This Not That According to a Harvard Medical School publication, one of the most powerful tools to combat inflammation comes not from the pharmacy, but from the grocery store. Experimental studies have shown that components of foods or beverages may have anti-inflammatory effects. Simply …

Enrich Your Healthy Plate With Tropical Fruits

Our colleagues at Tufts University recently featured this article on lesser-known fruits in their health newsletter. In addition to the bananas, apples, grapes, oranges, and peaches that often fill the collective American fruit bowl, there is a rich variety of tropical fruits available—some year round, and at affordable prices. Only 15% of American adults eat the recommended amount of fruit, which ranges from 1.5 to 2.5 cups per day depending on daily calorie needs. Diversifying your fruit portfolio can inspire you with appealing new tastes, textures, aromas, and colors, thus making you more likely to include fruit in your overall eating pattern. With fruits, as with vegetables and other foods, eating a variety is key, because it provides a range of vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytonutrients and flavors. So don’t get too caught up in which particular fruits you choose. Additionally, remember that to improve overall diet quality, fruit should replace less healthy foods. “The best approach to increase fruit intake is to use it to replace foods made with refined-carbohydrate or added sugar,” says Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, director of Tufts’ HNRCA Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory. Try these tropical fruits fresh cut as snacks, in salads, in desserts without added sugar, …

4 obstacles to healthy eating

Does it feel like you are constantly hungry? You aren’t alone, according to a Washington Post article by nutritionist Carrie Dennett. She says that assuming you’re eating regularly throughout the day, there are several possible explanations why you can’t shake the gnawing feeling. You just may be surprised by the following reasons … 1. Your diet is low in protein Protein contributes the most to satiety, which is that feeling that you’ve had enough to eat. No need to go overboard on protein, but include some protein and each meal and snack and chances are you’ll feel satisfied longer. Not a meat-lover? Try eggs, tofu or yogurt to up your protein intake. 2. Your gut’s not diverse enough There’s something to that expression “follow your gut.” In fact, some scientists refer to the gut and the microbes that dwell in it as the “mini brain.” That’s because it influences – among other thing – mood, appetite, and food cravings. Dennett says that 20 minutes after a meal, certain bacteria in your gut send signals that you’ve had enough to eat by stimulating the release of a hormone that has been linked to feelings of satiety (fullness). But when you lack …