Fitness Factoids: Volume #49
Exercise May Slow Vision Loss
The benefits of exercise on helping to improve longevity and quality of life have been well documented. Numerous studies have shown exercise’s ability help fight the natural physical decline associated with aging. However, although the benefits of exercise on physical health have been studied extensively, little research has been done on the protective effects of exercise on our vision. According to a new study published in The Journal of Neuroscience exercise has the ability to slow the progression of retinal degeneration. For the study researchers at the Atlanta VA Center for Visual Neurocognitive Rehabilitation and Emory University ran mice on a treadmill for two weeks while exposing them to toxic light which is known to damage vision. Researchers also exposed a second group of mice to the damaging light that did not participate in any exercise regimen. At the conclusion of the study researchers found that the mice that ran on the treadmill had only lost half the number of photoreceptor cells in their eyes, were more responsive to light, and had higher levels of a substance known as brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) which has been shown to promote the health and regeneration of neurons in the brain. Researchers are optimistic that in the future they’ll be able to develop specific exercise programs to help slow the rate of macular degeneration.
Creatine May Slow Progression of Huntingdon’s Disease
Huntingdon’s disease (HD) is an incurable genetic neurological disease which ultimately becomes fatal. Those who become afflicted with HD suffer from cognitive decline which will turns into dementia, uncontrollable muscle movements similar to Parkinson’s disease, and typically die from complications of the disease within 15-20 years post diagnosis. One way that HD damages the brain is by interfering with cellular energy production that causes a depletion of ATP. Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital conducted a study in which they gave 47 participants with HD up to 30 grams of creatine per day for twelve months. Prior to the study MRI brain scans were taken to assess the level of progression of the disease. At the conclusion of the study researchers found that taking creatine had significant slowed brain atrophy compared to those in a control group that had received a placebo. The results led them to believe that creatine may possibly be a tool to help slow the progression of deadly neurological diseases such as HD and Parkinson’s disease.
Cannabis May Soothe Osteoarthritis Pain
As the upward trend in public support continues for the legalization of medical marijuana a continuous trickle of new scientific evidence is supporting the theory that wide range of therapeutic benefits that are already known may just be beginning to scratch the surface of all of marijuana’s potential benefits. According to information published in the European Journal of Neuroscience cannabis may have the ability to reduce pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis. Research conducted on mouse models has shown that the endocannabinoid system has the ability to have an active role in the anti-nociceptive (pain relieving) therapy associated with osteoarthritis. The study found that cannabinoid receptors are directly tied to regulation of pain, inflammation, and joint dysfunction. Although currently little clinical data exists to support wide use of medical marijuana as a viable pain relieving method for those suffering from osteoarthritis, the current review supports the therapeutic value as an alternative method to traditional pharmaceutical pain management.
Yogurt Reduces Risk of Type-2 Diabetes
The use of yogurt and other fermented dairy products such as kefir as means of promoting good health have gained popularity in recent years. The mounting scientific evidence supporting the importance of maintaining healthy gut bacteria has caused a heighted awareness to the potential benefits of regular yogurt and dairy consumption. According to new data published in the journal Diabetologia adults who regularly consume yogurt have a 28% reduced risk for developing diabetes than adults who consume no yogurt as all. The study tracked nearly 3,500 participants over the course of eleven years. After analyzing the data and comparing total dairy, high fat dairy, low fat dairy, lifestyle, and obesity levels the study concluded yogurt consumption seemed to have a specific effect of whether or not ultimately developed type-diabetes. Blood samples were taken prior to, and following the experiment which allowed researchers analyze levels of fasting blood glucose, lipids, liver enzymes, and C-reactive protein. At the conclusion of the study researchers found that those who had received the supplemental cinnamon showed clinically significant reductions in glucose, total cholesterol,
Cinnamon Improves Liver Function
The liver plays a vital role in metabolism, blood glucose regulation, and detoxification in the body. Impaired liver function from conditions such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease can severely damage the liver and become fatal if left untreated. According to new research published in the journal Nutrition Research supplemental cinnamon may have the ability to improve liver function in those suffering from NAFLD. Researcher gave fifty men and women who had been previously diagnosed with NAFLD either 750mg of cinnamon or a placebo daily for twelve weeks. Blood samples were taken prior to, and following the experiment which allowed researchers analyze levels of fasting blood glucose, lipids, liver enzymes, and C-reactive protein. At the conclusion of the study researchers found that those who had received the supplemental cinnamon showed clinically significant reductions in glucose, total cholesterol, C-reactive protein, liver enzymes, and improved insulin sensitivity. Those looking to help stabilize blood sugar and improve liver health may want to consider adding 750-1500mg of cinnamon daily.