Thursday, September 27, 2007

Lutein & Zeaxanthin

Surprise, surprise!

The AREDs committee just published a report in the Archives of Ophthalmology that suggested the ARED study participants who reported the highest intake of lutein/zeaxanthin were statistically less likely to have advanced AMD or large extensive intermediate drusen than those reporting lowest dietary intake.

Does anyone else wonder why the same committee fought so hard to prevent lutein and zeaxanthin from being included in the AREDs2 study?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Aging and Lifestyles

Recently published CDC findings confirm previous studies that show the public is not following good lifestyle choices. Actually they are getting worse.

Chronic degenerative conditions thought of as inevitable signs of aging can be modified to the benefit of the individual if we make healthy lifestyle choices – no smoking, moderation in alcohol consumption (if at all), no drugs unless prescribed by ones physician for specific indications, daily multivitamin intake, and regular exercise.

Most changes of aging are related to chronic noninfectious inflammatory conditions, thought to be the result of environmental factors.

70 million Americans suffer from Arthritis – or one in every three adults; twice as many as there were twenty years ago.

Asthma is now the sixth most common human disease.

There are more than 18.2 million people with Diabetes, a 49% increase over the past ten years.

Almost 64 million Americans have cardiovascular disease (CVD) in some form. It is the number one killer of Americans, with almost a million deaths last year.

More than one million Americans have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and the numbers are increasing.

Obesity, now a pandemic, affects more than 200 million Americans, along with the exacerbation of existing inflammatory disease, and fat cells play a major role in the production of the messengers that cause inflammatory disease.

Age related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the major cause of vision loss in America and is becoming more common.

The take home message is that these are all inflammatory conditions, and all can be delayed or modified by making the lifestyle choices listed above.

NAC and Gambling

A study published in the September issue of Biological Psychiatry indicates supplementation with N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) may reduce addictive behavior in compulsive gamblers, as well as individuals with other addictions.

N-acetyl cysteine is thought to restore extracellular concentrations of the chemical glutamate, which is often associated with reward in the brain. This ability led researchers to believe NAC could have a promising role to play in minimizing addictive behavior.

The researchers enrolled 27 pathological gamblers (12 women) in an 8-week trial of NAC. The first part of the study was an open trial where subjects each consumed daily doses of NAC. In this part of the study, 16 of 27 subjects (59.3 percent) reported experiencing less urges to gamble. The effective dose of NAC ranged from 1,100 to 1,700 mg per day.

Of those 16 subjects, 13 went on to participate in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of NAC. Of those subjects given NAC, 83.3 percent experienced a reduced compulsion to gamble compared with only 28.6 percent of those assigned to a placebo.

The study authors concluded, “The efficacy of NAC lends support to the hypothesis that pharmacological manipulation of the glutamate system might target core symptoms of reward-seeking addictive behaviors such as gambling. Larger, longer, placebo-controlled, double-blind studies are warranted.”

Similar studies of N-acetyl cysteine have shown it can curb drug addictions in animals. However, the researchers of the current study believe their study was the first to look at the effects of a glutamate-modulating agent in pathological gamblers. The researchers are currently investigating whether NAC could help methamphetamine users quit.