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October 2011 Nutrition & Fitness Bites

Written by Tom Nikkola - Director of Nutrition & Weight Management

The following is a brief collection of interesting studies that came out last month. They’re written in “bite sized” paragraphs and can serve as good reminders of some of the healthy habits you should be pursuing. Share your thoughts or ask questions below.

Dad’s stress might be a problem for his unborn children: A new study found in Biological Psychiatry shows that chronic stress in males (mice in this study) can have a dramatic effect on their offspring. Though male offspring were affected more, both sexes had an increased rates of depression and anxiety. This isn’t the kind of study that will be done on humans for ethical reasons, so it might be wise to consider this from the animal’s perspective. Future dads, get your stress under control before you consider having kids.[i]

Lack of sleep is costing the U.S. billions each year: The journal Sleep published a recent study showing how significant the impact is from a lack of sleep. They found the average employee in the United States lost productivity in the equivalent of 11.3 days each year. In total, the estimated impact is $63.2 billion in lost productivity nationally. Turn off the lights, find a way to manage stress and if necessary, talk with a registered dietitian about appropriate nutritional supplements to support restful sleep.[ii]

Bigger muscles mean better blood sugar control: Research in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism show those with more muscle are at a reduced risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Women, don’t worry about getting big and bulky. You won’t. For both men and women, maintaining lean body mass as you age is important in avoiding insulin resistance and the issues that surround it.[iii]

Long-term aspirin use may cause problems for digestive system: Using low-dose aspirin is a common recommendation for reducing heart

Diabetes rates continue to grow at alarming rates: Current estimates suggest 366 million people have diabetes worldwide. The same research showed about 4.6 million people die each year from diabetes. Some experts suggest prediabetes or insulin resistance affects far more people than the number of diagnosed with diabetes, which means blood sugar regulation is a serious problem.[iv]

A shortage of serotonin might be the reason for your short fuse: Recent research shows reduced levels of serotonin, a hormone that helps you feel relaxed, can lead to a shorter temper and a heighted anger response. Researchers compared the results of a diet lacking tryptophan, an amino acid necessary for the creation of serotonin against a diet with sufficient amounts of the amino acid. The tryptophan depleted diet led to greater feelings of aggression. This further supports the reason why so many stressed individuals feel better with the use of nutritional supplements such as 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan).[v]

Overweight kids need sleep to avoid type 2 diabetes: As is common in adults, teens who lack sleep may lose control of their blood sugar control. Staying up too late affects people’s circadian rhythms, which affect a number of different hormones. This isn’t the first study to show how a lack of sleep disrupts the body’s ability to manage blood sugar, but adds to existing research showing how important quality sleep is. Parents should set clear expectations about bed time, and lead by example themselves. There’s little to be gained from staying up past 9:00 or 10:00 at night besides a larger waist size. You can’t make up for lost sleep, so make it a point to get 8 hours every night, even if you have to pass up watching your favorite show.

[i] Elsevier. A father's stress may affect his unborn childrenScienceDaily, 6 Sep. 2011. Web. 2 Oct. 2011.

[ii] American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Insomnia costing US workforce $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity, study shows. ScienceDaily, 2 Sep. 2011. Web. 2 Oct. 2011

[iii] Srikanthan P, Karlamangla AS. Relative Muscle Mass Is Inversely Associated with Insulin Resistance and Prediabetes. Findings from The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. J Clin End Metab. 2011;96(6)2898-2903

[iv] Flore K. EASD: Diabetes Estimate Now 366 Million. MedPage Today. Sept 13, 2011

[v] University of Cambridge. Serotonin levels affect the brain's response to angerScienceDaily, 15 Sep. 2011. Web. 2 Oct. 2011

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

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