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Aging Gracefully and Healthfully

December 22, 2009 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

Aging is a funny thing. When we’re children, we can’t wait to get older so we can do all of the wondrous things that we imagine adults do. By the time we reach adulthood, we realize that there are both pros and cons to this “grown-up” stage of life. That’s about the same time that we begin wondering what it will be like to be even older – a “senior citizen”. At first, many of the downsides of that proposition come to mind such as not being able to move or think as quickly as we used to. But often times, another concept rears its head: Growing old is a luxury that is not afforded to everyone. If you’re lucky enough to live a long life, then it becomes all the more important to make those extra years count. One of the best ways to enable this is to support your body and mind so that those so-called “golden years” can be both fulfilling and productive.

Four recent studies provide clues about natural strategies we can all employ in order to remain mentally sharp and physically fit as we age. Two of the trials focus on preserving healthy brain functioning via the judicious use of good nutrition. The remaining research addresses common physical conditions that are omnipresent in most senior populations, but needn’t be – namely arthritis and poor circulation.

The December issue of the British Journal of Nutrition explains that people with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) often exhibit signs of increased oxidative stress that may largely be due to inadequate levels of dietary antioxidants. Therefore, an experiment was designed to determine whether sub-obtimal levels of selenium, an antioxidant trace mineral that is commonly found in Brazil nuts (pictured above) and tuna, may be contributing to the likelihood of this neurodegenerative condition.

  • 28 patients with AD and 29 healthy volunteers took part in this scientific comparison.
  • The ages of both sets of volunteers ranged from 60 – 89.
  • Blood tests, food records and nail samples were used to quantify the concentrations of selenium in all of the participants.

Lower selenium (Se) levels were found in the diet, nails and plasma samples of those with Alzheimer’s disease. This lead the authors of the study to remark that “The results allowed us to suggest that AD has an important relation with Se deficiency”. (1)

If that last study inspired you to snack on a few Brazil nuts, you may also want to wash them down with a cup of coffee. A fascinating investigation was just presented in the journal of Psychosomatic Medicine. This is a particularly unusual trial in that it compared cognitive functioning over the course of an entire lifetime. More specifically, the researchers involved focused on the effects of caffeine consumption on age-related mental performance. This was accomplished by comparing the results of 923 IQ tests from children who participated in the Lothian Birth Cohort Study of 1936 and their current mental functioning now as seniors. “Self-report questionnaires” and “standardized interviews” were used to determine the approximate amount and frequency of caffeine intake. (2)

  • Overall, “there were significant positive associations between total caffeine intake and general cognitive ability and memory”.
  • “A robust positive association” was found in those who drank larger amounts of coffee on two reading tests (National Adult Reading Test and Wechsler Test of Adult Reading)
  • The researchers generally noted that “higher cognitive scores were associated with coffee consumption”.

This adds to an ever increasing body of research that supports the hypothesis that caffeine and, more pointedly, coffee may somehow counteract part of the damage to the brain that normally occurs during the typical aging process.

Higher Selenium Has Been Linked to Increased Longevity in Seniors
Source: Clinical Chemistry. 2005;51:2117-2123 (link)

The role that antioxidants play in athletic and recreational sports medicine is somewhat controversial. There is a raging debate about whether or not antioxidants help reduce the negative impact of exercise (the “wear and tear”) and/or improve performance. A new study conducted on both younger and older volunteers may help to clarify this issue.

  • A total of 28 participants enrolled in the experiment.
  • The younger volunteers had an average age of 26 and the seniors averaged 71 years of age.
  • The group was split up and asked to complete a set of exercises while using either an antioxidant cocktail (Vitamin C, E and alpha-lipoic acid) or a placebo.
  • Measures of blood flow/circulation (brachial arterial diameter and blood velocity) were performed on all of the volunteers in both active and resting states.

The results of the experiment were rather complex: The antioxidants initially improved circulation in the older subjects and attenuated it in the younger volunteers “during a handgrip exercise”. But the exact opposite effect occurred when performing “knee-extensor exercise training”. The exercise itself improved “artery vasodilation” but the antioxidants curiously reversed that benefit in the older participants. These findings lead the researchers to conclude that “exercise training is capable of restoring equilibrium such that vascular function is improved”. But they added that the antioxidant-based reduction in free radicals during exercise may negatively impact circulation. Based on this, it may be best for active people of all ages to only take high-dosage, antioxidant supplements apart from exercise. (3)

Most experts agree that exercise is one of the keys to promoting improved health and longevity. However, certain physical obstacles such as osteoarthritis frequently make this goal much harder to practically achieve. The good news is that consuming greater quantities of Vitamin K may be a “new” way to decrease the risk of developing osteoarthritis (OA). The evidence for this claim comes courtesy of the November issue of the Journal of Orthopaedic Science. A total of 719 Japanese men and women (60 years and up) volunteered to have their nutrient intake monitored for a one month period. X-rays were also taken to establish the prevalence and severity of OA in this group of seniors. A total of 70.8% of the participants showed evidence of knee OA. The only dietary factor that was inversely linked to knee OA was Vitamin K. The concluding remarks of this examination state that “low dietary Vitamin K intake is a risk factor for knee OA” and that “Vitamin K may have a protective role against knee OA and might lead to a disease-modifying treatment”. (4)

The four items I’ve presented today can be easily, enjoyably and safely implemented into most wellness programs. There are, however, certain circumstances where caffeine/coffee, exercise and/or Vitamin K may not be appropriate. These cases generally involve individuals with high blood pressure or those on anticoagulants (“blood thinning medications”). Before implementing any major dietary change or exercise plan, please consult with an expert just to be sure that it’s right for you. In addition, please keep this in mind: It’s considered basic, common sense to financially plan for retirement. My suggestion is to do the same with regard to health. I believe it’s quite possible to positively and significantly augment your long-term health by simply exercising in a smart way and adding some coffee (caffeine), dark green leafy vegetables, eggs, fermented soy (Vitamin K sources) and fish (selenium) into your daily diet. After all, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this sort of dietary and lifestyle approach is found among many of longest living populations in the world.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

Be well!

JP

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21 Comments & Updates to “Aging Gracefully and Healthfully”

  1. k2c Says:

    JP, I’m over fifty, and I’ve been taking an extra selenium supplement for it’s benefits, including trying to avoid AD. I’ve been told that the 200mcg in my daily multi plus the 200 mcg of Selenium supplement is too much, especially if I eat any foods that are rich in Selenium. I enjoy your blog and respect your opinion, what do you think? Thanks :)

  2. JP Says:

    Thank you, K2C! :)

    Here’s what I do: I take a multivitamin/mineral with 200 mcg of selenium and I eat a nutrient dense diet. I’m not aware of any additional benefit or need for higher dosages of selenium in most cases.

    400 mcg of selenium, in addition to what you get in your diet, is probably more than most people need. I would personally stick with a lower dosage – such as 200 mcg + diet. It’s also worth noting that 200 mcg is the typical dosage selected for use in most clinical trials. That likely speaks to it’s potential efficacy and safety.

    Here’s a good, conservative review about selenium:

    http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/minerals/selenium/

    Be well and happy holidays!

    JP

  3. k2c Says:

    Thank so much for your advice JP! Best wishes for the holiday season, and have a happy and HEALTHY new year!! :D

  4. JP Says:

    Any time, K2C! :)

    I hope the same for you and your loved ones! My best to you all in 2010! :)

    Be well!

    JP

  5. liverock Says:

    I urge people to have a blood test for selenium levels and not assume that any particular supplemental or dietary intake is adequate.
    A while back I had a selenium blood test done and despite having taken 200mcg each day for over 16 years, the test came in well below normal. Subsequently I found that this was due to the cadmium/mercury in my cells, this despite having got rid of the small amount amalgams I had years ago. Even if you have only a few amalgam fillings the mercury absorbed from them has a half life of 18 years, and cadmium levels in the atmosphere are steadily increasing.
    Selenium binds with heavy metals and this was causing the low test level. Once selenium is bound in this way it is unavailable for other uses such as protecting from cancer and heart disease.

  6. JP Says:

    That’s an excellent suggestion, Liverock! Thanks for making it. :)

    What type of testing did you use to determine your selenium status? A blood test? Hair analysis?

    Be well and happy holidays!

    JP

  7. Alynn Says:

    Thank you so much for all the health information, I love your site. I don’t miss it, you hit on many different areas that all interest me. Please keep up the great work and Thanks again!
    Alynn

  8. liverock Says:

    JP
    I had an RBC test done by Acumen Laboratory in the UK for checking my selenium levels.
    People in the US can have a blood test done by LIfe Extension Foundation.

    http://www.lef.org/Vitamins-Supplements/ItemLC716910/Selenium-Blood-Test.html

  9. JP Says:

    Thank you, Alynn! I’m very happy to know you’re enjoying the site!:)

    Be well and happy holidays!

    JP

  10. JP Says:

    Thank you, Liverock! :)

    I think such testing is certainly worthwhile. Thanks for sharing your experience and for passing along a good piece of advice!

    Be well and happy holidays!

    JP

  11. JP Says:

    Update: Supplemental Vitamin K1 improves insulin sensitivity …

    http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ejcn201517a.html

    Eur J Clin Nutr. 2015 Mar 18.

    The effect of vitamin K1 supplementation on sensitivity and insulin resistance via osteocalcin in prediabetic women: a double-blind randomized controlled clinical trial.

    BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: A relationship between osteocalcin (OC) levels and factors associated with energy metabolism and insulin resistance has been reported recently. The aim of this study was to investigate whether modulation of ostecalcin isoforms via vitamin K1 supplementation would affect glucose metabolism or insulin sensitivity in prediabetic and premenopause women.

    SUBJECTS/METHODS: Eighty-two prediabetic women were randomized to consume vitamin K1 supplement (n=39) or placebo (n=43) for 4 weeks. Participants in the vitamin K1 supplement group received one pearl softgel capsule containing 1000 μm of phylloquinone, and the placebo group received one placebo capsule daily for 4 weeks. Blood samples were collected at baseline and after the 4-week intervention period to quantify carboxylated OC (cOC), undercarboxylated OC (ucOC) and relevant variables.

    RESULTS: Phylloquinone supplementation increased the serum levels of cOC and decreased ucOC, compared with placebo (12.53±5.95 compared with 7.43±4.85 ng/ml and 2.47±1.91 compared with 4.79±2.43 ng/ml, respectively; P<0.001). Furthermore, intake of phylloquinone supplement led to significant decreases in %ucOC (17.97±12.24 compared with 43.80±19.86) and 2-h post-oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) glucose (7.32±1.50 compared with 8.62±1.45 mmol/l), and 2- h post-OGTT insulin level (80.34±42.24 compared with 112.43±53.19 μIU/ml) and increased insulin sensitivity index (2.46±0.71 compared with 1.75±0.61) compared with placebo. Overall, a significant association was found between changes in %ucOC and changes in 2-h post-OGTT glucose (r=0.308, P=0.028).

    CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study demonstrated that vitamin K1 supplementation for 4 weeks did not affect insulin resistance in premenopausal and prediabetic women but had beneficial effects on glycemic status and insulin sensitivity.

    Be well!

    JP

  12. JP Says:

    Update 04/20/15:

    http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2015/04/15/ajcn.114.103283.abstract

    Am J Clin Nutr April 2015

    Brain atrophy in cognitively impaired elderly: the importance of long-chain ω-3 fatty acids and B vitamin status in a randomized controlled trial

    Background: Increased brain atrophy rates are common in older people with cognitive impairment, particularly in those who eventually convert to Alzheimer disease. Plasma concentrations of omega-3 (ω-3) fatty acids and homocysteine are associated with the development of brain atrophy and dementia.

    Objective: We investigated whether plasma ω-3 fatty acid concentrations (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) modify the treatment effect of homocysteine-lowering B vitamins on brain atrophy rates in a placebo-controlled trial (VITACOG).

    Design: This retrospective analysis included 168 elderly people (≥70 y) with mild cognitive impairment, randomly assigned either to placebo (n = 83) or to daily high-dose B vitamin supplementation (folic acid, 0.8 mg; vitamin B-6, 20 mg; vitamin B-12, 0.5 mg) (n = 85). The subjects underwent cranial magnetic resonance imaging scans at baseline and 2 y later. The effect of the intervention was analyzed according to tertiles of baseline ω-3 fatty acid concentrations.

    Results: There was a significant interaction (P = 0.024) between B vitamin treatment and plasma combined ω-3 fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) on brain atrophy rates. In subjects with high baseline ω-3 fatty acids (>590 μmol/L), B vitamin treatment slowed the mean atrophy rate by 40.0% compared with placebo (P = 0.023). B vitamin treatment had no significant effect on the rate of atrophy among subjects with low baseline ω-3 fatty acids (<390 μmol/L). High baseline ω-3 fatty acids were associated with a slower rate of brain atrophy in the B vitamin group but not in the placebo group.

    Conclusions: The beneficial effect of B vitamin treatment on brain atrophy was observed only in subjects with high plasma ω-3 fatty acids. It is also suggested that the beneficial effect of ω-3 fatty acids on brain atrophy may be confined to subjects with good B vitamin status. The results highlight the importance of identifying subgroups likely to benefit in clinical trials.

    Be well!

    JP

  13. JP Says:

    Update 06/02/15:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26029093

    Front Hum Neurosci. 2015 May 12;9:281.

    Neuroprotective effects of yoga practice: age-, experience-, and frequency-dependent plasticity.

    Yoga combines postures, breathing, and meditation. Despite reported health benefits, yoga’s effects on the brain have received little study. We used magnetic resonance imaging to compare age-related gray matter (GM) decline in yogis and controls. We also examined the effect of increasing yoga experience and weekly practice on GM volume and assessed which aspects of weekly practice contributed most to brain size. Controls displayed the well documented age-related global brain GM decline while yogis did not, suggesting that yoga contributes to protect the brain against age-related decline. Years of yoga experience correlated mostly with GM volume differences in the left hemisphere (insula, frontal operculum, and orbitofrontal cortex) suggesting that yoga tunes the brain toward a parasympatically driven mode and positive states. The number of hours of weekly practice correlated with GM volume in the primary somatosensory cortex/superior parietal lobule (S1/SPL), precuneus/posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), hippocampus, and primary visual cortex (V1). Commonality analyses indicated that the combination of postures and meditation contributed the most to the size of the hippocampus, precuneus/PCC, and S1/SPL while the combination of meditation and breathing exercises contributed the most to V1 volume. Yoga’s potential neuroprotective effects may provide a neural basis for some of its beneficial effects.

    Be well!

    JP

  14. JP Says:

    Update 06/05/15:

    http://www.nutritionj.com/content/pdf/s12937-015-0043-y.pdf

    Nutrition Journal 2015, 14:54

    Improvement of antioxidant status after Brazil nut intake in hypertensive and dyslipidemic subjects

    Objectives: To investigate the effect of partially defatted Granulated Brazil nut (GBN) on biomarkers of oxidative stress and antioxidant status of hypertensive and dyslipidemic patients on nutrition and drug approaches.

    Methods: Ninety one hypertensive and dyslipidemic subjects of both genders (51.6 % men), mean age 62.1 ± 9.3 years, performed a randomized crossover trial, double-blind, placebo controlled. Subjects received a diet and partially defatted GBN 13 g per day (≈227.5 μg/day of selenium) or placebo for twelve weeks with four-week washout interval. Anthropometric, laboratory and clinic characteristics were investigated at baseline. Plasma selenium (Se), plasma glutathione peroxidase (GPx3) activity, total antioxidant capacity (TAC), 8-epi PGF2α and oxidized LDL were evaluated at the beginning and in the end of each intervention.

    Results: GBN intake significantly increased plasma Se from 87.0 ± 16.8 to 180.6 ± 67.1 μg/L, increased GPx3 activity in 24,8 % (from 112.66 ± 40.09 to 128.32 ± 38.31 nmol/min/mL, p < 0,05), and reduced 3.25 % of oxidized-LDL levels (from 66.31 ± 23.59 to 60.68 ± 20.88 U/L, p < 0.05). An inverse association between GPx3 and oxidized LDL levels was observed after supplementation with GBN by simple model (β -0.232, p = 0.032) and after adjustment for gender, age, diabetes and BMI (β -0.298, p = 0.008). There wasn’t association between GPx3 and 8-epi PGF2α (β -0.209, p = 0.052) by simple model.

    Conclusion: The partially defatted GBN intake has a potential benefit to increase plasma selenium, increase enzymatic antioxidant activity of GPx3 and to reduction oxidation in LDL in hypertensive and dyslipidemic patients.

    Be well!

    JP

  15. JP Says:

    Update 06/05/15:

    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00394-014-0829-2

    Eur J Nutr. 2015 Jan 8.

    Effects of Brazil nut consumption on selenium status and cognitive performance in older adults with mild cognitive impairment: a randomized controlled pilot trial.

    PURPOSE: Oxidative stress is closely related to cognitive impairment, and the antioxidant system may be a potential therapeutic target to preserve cognitive function in older adults. Selenium plays an important antioxidant role through selenoproteins. This controlled trial aimed to investigate the antioxidant and cognitive effects of the consumption of Brazil nuts, the best selenium food source.

    METHODS: We enrolled 31 older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) who were randomly assigned to ingestion of Brazil nuts or to the control group. Participants of the treatment group consumed one Brazil nut daily (estimated 288.75 µg/day) for 6 months. Blood selenium concentrations, erythrocyte glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity, oxygen radical absorbance capacity, and malondialdehyde were evaluated. Cognitive functions were assessed with the CERAD neuropsychological battery.

    RESULTS: Eleven participants of the treated group and nine of the control group completed the trial. The mean age of the participants was 77.7 (±5.3) years, 70 % of whom were female. We observed increased selenium levels after the intervention, whereas the control group presented no change. Among the parameters related to the antioxidant system, only erythrocyte GPx activity change was significantly different between the groups (p = 0.006). After 6 months, improvements in verbal fluency (p = 0.007) and constructional praxis (p = 0.031) were significantly greater on the supplemented group when compared with the control group.

    CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that the intake of Brazil nut restores selenium deficiency and provides preliminary evidence that Brazil nut consumption can have positive effects on some cognitive functions of older adults with MCI.

    Be well!

    JP

  16. JP Says:

    Update 06/30/15:

    http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ejcn201592a.html

    Eur J Clin Nutr. 2015 Jun 24.

    Relatively high mortality risk in elderly Swedish subjects with low selenium status.

    BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: The daily dietary intake of selenium (Se), an essential trace element, is still low in Sweden in spite of decades of nutritional information campaigns and the effect of this on the public health is presently not well known. The objective of this study was to determine the serum Se levels in an elderly Swedish population and to analyze whether a low Se status had any influence on mortality.

    SUBJECTS/METHODS: Six-hundred sixty-eight (n=668) elderly participants were invited from a municipality and evaluated in an observational study. Individuals were followed for 6.8 years and Se levels were re-evaluated in 98 individuals after 48 months. Clinical examination of all individuals included functional classification, echocardiography, electrocardiogram and serum Se measurement. All mortality was registered and endpoints of mortality were assessed by Kaplan-Meier plots, and Cox proportional hazard ratios adjusted for potential confounding factors were calculated.

    RESULTS: The mean serum Se level of the study population (n=668) was 67.1 μg/l, corresponding to relatively low Se intake. After adjustment for male gender, smoking, ischemic heart disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and impaired heart function, persons with serum Se in the lowest quartile had 43% (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.02-2.00) and 56% (95% CI: 1.03-2.36) increased risk for all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, respectively. The result was not driven by inflammatory effects on Se concentration in serum.

    CONCLUSION: The mean serum Se concentration in an elderly Swedish population was 67.1 μg/l, which is below the physiological saturation level for several selenoprotein enzymes. This result may suggest the value of modest Se supplementation in order to improve the health of the Swedish population.

    Be well!

    JP

  17. JP Says:

    Updated 2/6/16:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4712309/

    Front Aging Neurosci. 2016 Jan 14;7:254.

    Effects of Long-Term Mindfulness Meditation on Brain’s White Matter Microstructure and its Aging.

    Although research on the effects of mindfulness meditation (MM) is increasing, still very little has been done to address its influence on the white matter (WM) of the brain. We hypothesized that the practice of MM might affect the WM microstructure adjacent to five brain regions of interest associated with mindfulness. Diffusion tensor imaging was employed on samples of meditators and non-meditators (n = 64) in order to investigate the effects of MM on group difference and aging. Tract-Based Spatial Statistics was used to estimate the fractional anisotrophy of the WM connected to the thalamus, insula, amygdala, hippocampus, and anterior cingulate cortex. The subsequent generalized linear model analysis revealed group differences and a group-by-age interaction in all five selected regions. These data provide preliminary indications that the practice of MM might result in WM connectivity change and might provide evidence on its ability to help diminish age-related WM degeneration in key regions which participate in processes of mindfulness.

    Be well!

    JP

  18. JP Says:

    Updated 07/02/16:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27367855

    PLoS One. 2016 Jul 1;11(7):e0157541.

    Supplementation with Selenium and Coenzyme Q10 Reduces Cardiovascular Mortality in Elderly with Low Selenium Status. A Secondary Analysis of a Randomised Clinical Trial.

    BACKGROUND: Selenium is needed by all living cells in order to ensure the optimal function of several enzyme systems. However, the selenium content in the soil in Europe is generally low. Previous reports indicate that a dietary supplement of selenium could reduce cardiovascular disease but mainly in populations in low selenium areas. The objective of this secondary analysis of a previous randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial from our group was to determine whether the effects on cardiovascular mortality of supplementation with a fixed dose of selenium and coenzyme Q10 combined during a four-year intervention were dependent on the basal level of selenium.

    METHODS: In 668 healthy elderly individuals from a municipality in Sweden, serum selenium concentration was measured. Of these, 219 individuals received daily supplementation with selenium (200 μg Se as selenized yeast) and coenzyme Q10 (200 mg) combined for four years. The remaining participants (n = 449) received either placebo (n = 222) or no treatment (n = 227). All cardiovascular mortality was registered. No participant was lost during a median follow-up of 5.2 years. Based on death certificates and autopsy results, all mortality was registered.

    FINDINGS: The mean serum selenium concentration among participants at baseline was low, 67.1 μg/L. Based on the distribution of selenium concentration at baseline, the supplemented group was divided into three groups; <65 μg/L, 65-85 μg/L, and >85 μg/L (45 and 90 percentiles) and the remaining participants were distributed accordingly. Among the non-treated participants, lower cardiovascular mortality was found in the high selenium group as compared with the low selenium group (13.0% vs. 24.1%; P = 0.04). In the group with the lowest selenium basal concentration, those receiving placebo or no supplementation had a mortality of 24.1%, while mortality was 12.1% in the group receiving the active substance, which was an absolute risk reduction of 12%. In the middle selenium concentration group a mortality of 14.0% in the non-treated group, and 6.0% in the actively treated group could be demonstrated; thus, there was an absolute risk reduction of 8.0%. In the group with a serum concentration of >85 μg/L, a cardiovascular mortality of 17.5% in the non-treated group, and 13.0% in the actively treated group was observed. No significant risk reduction by supplementation could thus be found in this group.

    CONCLUSIONS: In this evaluation of healthy elderly Swedish municipality members, two important results could be reported. Firstly, a low mean serum selenium concentration, 67 μg/L, was found among the participants, and the cardiovascular mortality was higher in the subgroup with the lower selenium concentrations <65 μg/L in comparison with those having a selenium concentration >85 μg/L. Secondly, supplementation was cardio-protective in those with a low selenium concentration, ≤85 at inclusion. In those with serum selenium>85 μg/L and no apparent deficiency, there was no effect of supplementation. This is a small study, but it presents interesting data, and more research on the impact of lower selenium intake than recommended is therefore warranted.

    Be well!

    JP

  19. JP Says:

    Updated 08/16/16:

    http://www.ctcpjournal.com/article/S1744-3881(16)30038-X/abstract

    Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2016 Aug;24:50-6.

    Yoga reduces perceived stress and exhaustion levels in healthy elderly individuals.

    This study investigated whether a 7-week yoga intervention could improve physical function, perceived stress, and mental/emotional wellness in elderly participants.

    METHODS: 8 participants (66.5 ± 0.3 years) attended 2 60-min Hatha yoga sessions/week for 7 weeks, and performed pre- and post-intervention assessments. Balance was assessed using a 5-test battery. Flexibility was measured by sit-and-reach and shoulder flexibility tests. Functional mobility tests included 8-ft up-and-go, 5 chair stands, and 4-m walk. Participants completed SF-12, exhaustion level, and Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) questionnaires.

    RESULTS: SF-12 Mental Component Summary scores, exhaustion levels, and PSS scores improved post-intervention. No differences were found for physical function measures.

    CONCLUSIONS: Yoga participation can improve mental/emotional wellness, exhaustion levels, and stress levels in elderly individuals, even without measurable improvements in physical function. Clinicians and health practitioners who work with the elderly should consider yoga as a potential therapeutic modality for improving important aspects of quality of life in this population.

    Be well!

    JP

  20. JP Says:

    Updated 09/14/16:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27621606

    Clin Interv Aging. 2016 Aug 31;11:1183-92.

    A preliminary study on the effects of star fruit consumption on antioxidant and lipid status in elderly Thai individuals.

    OBJECTIVE: The aims of this preliminary study were to evaluate the antioxidant and lipid status before and after star fruit juice consumption in healthy elderly subjects, and the vitamins in star fruit extracts.

    METHODS: A preliminary designated protocol was performed in 27 elderly individuals with a mean (±SD) age of 69.5±5.3 years, by planning a 2-week control period before 4 weeks of consumption of star fruit twice daily. Oxidative stress parameters such as total antioxidant capacity, glutathione, malondialdehyde, protein hydroperoxide, multivitamins such as l-ascorbic acid (Vit C), retinoic acid (Vit A), and tocopherol (Vit E), and the lipid profile parameters such as cholesterol, triglyceride, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) were analyzed. Moreover, Vit C, Vit A, and Vit E levels were evaluated in the star fruit extracts during the 4-week period.

    RESULTS: In the 2-week control period, all parameters showed no statistically significant difference; after 4 weeks of consumption, significant improvement in the antioxidant status was observed with increased total antioxidant capacity and reduced malondialdehyde and protein hydroperoxide levels, as well as significantly increased levels of Vit C and Vit A, when compared to the two-time evaluation during the baseline periods. However, glutathione and Vit E showed no statistical difference. In addition, the HDL-C level was higher and the LDL-C level was significantly lower when compared to both baseline periods. But the levels of triglyceride and cholesterol showed no difference. Vit C and Vit A were identified in small quantities in the star fruit extract.

    CONCLUSION: This preliminary study suggested that consumption of star fruit juice twice daily for 1 month improved the elderly people’s antioxidant status and vitamins, as well as improved the lipoproteins related to Vit C and Vit A in the star fruit extract.

    Be well!

    JP

  21. JP Says:

    Updated 11/22/16:

    http://www.jsams.org/article/S1440-2440(16)30223-7/abstract

    J Sci Med Sport. 2016 Oct 27.

    Thai Yoga improves physical function and well-being in older adults: A randomised controlled trial.

    OBJECTIVES: Compare two 12-week low-intensity exercise regimens on components of physical function and quality of life in community-dwelling healthy yet sedentary adults aged over 60.

    DESIGN: This study used a randomised, multi-arm, controlled trial design.

    METHODS: Thirty-nine sedentary participants (29 women), aged 67.7±6.7 years were randomly allocated to either a 12-week Thai Yoga (TY) or Tai Chi (TC) for 90min twice per week, or telephone counselling Control (C). A Senior Fitness Test (chair-stand, arm-curl, sit-&-reach, back-scratch, 8-foot up-&-go and 6-min walk) and Short-Form 36 Health Survey, Centre for Epidemiological Studies of Depression, Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly and the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale were assessed at baseline, six, 12 weeks, and three months after the completion of the regimen.

    RESULTS: After 12 weeks, chair-stand (mean difference, 2.69; 95% CI, 0.97-4.41; P<0.001), arm-curl (2.23; 95% CI, 0.06-4.52; P=0.009), sit-&-reach (1.25; 95% CI, 0.03-2.53; P=0.013), back-scratch (2.00; 95% CI, 0.44-3.56; P=0.005), 8-foot up-&-go (-0.43; 95% CI, -0.85 to 0.01; P=0.013), 6-min walk (57.5; 95% CI, 20.93-94.07; P<0.001), vitality (13.27; 95% CI, 2.88-23.66; P=0.050) and enjoyment (7.96; 95% CI, 3.70-12.23; P=0.001) significantly improved in TY compared to C, however no change was observed in TC compared to C. TY improved in chair-stand (2.31; 95% CI, 0.59-4.03; P=0.007), sit-&-reach (1.38; 95% CI, 0.10-2.66; P=0.007), 6-min walk (32.31; 95% CI, -4.26-68.88; P=0.015), vitality (12.88; 95% CI, 2.50-23.27; P=0.040) and enjoyment (5.65; 95% CI, 1.39-9.92; P=0.010) compared to TC after 12 weeks.

    CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that older adults can make significant improvements in their health and well-being by engaging in low intensity Thai Yoga exercise.

    Be well!

    JP

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