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Back issues:    2014+ Newsletters on Blog  | 2013  | 2012

February, 2013

Traumatic Brain Injury in Football Players Reversed with Ginkgo, Fish Oil, and Other Natural Supplements

A significant study1 has found that the deleterious effects of traumatic brain injury in American football players can be mitigated using a natural regimen. The positive results could help reverse brain damage in contact sport athletes, alcohol and drug addicts, those suffering chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and people who have had brain damage from concussions.

The researchers identified 30 veteran football players who showed symptoms of traumatic brain injury from years of contact sports. The subjects started a "brain-healthy protocol" that included:

  • revised diet and weight loss if needed
  • regular exercise
  • limited alcohol use
  • eliminating drugs and cigarettes
  • sufficient sleep
  • 5.6 grams of fish oil per day
  • high-potency multi-vitamina brain boosting supplement that included gingko, vinpocetine, phosphatidylserine, acetylcholine (enzyme acetyl-l-carnitine and huperzine A), and antioxidants (alpha-lipoic acid and n-acetyl-cysteine)

After an average of six months, the players were re-tested and found to have statistically significant improvement in their brain functioning. Published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, this study shows that improvements in cerebral blood flow and cognition are possible with a multi-pronged, natural approach to brain improvement.

Link Found Between Macular Degeneration and Inflammation

Elevated levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) has been correlated with an increased future risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD). This breakthrough study may help identify underlying reasons for the development of ARMD. It may also assist with the development of a test to predict who is most at risk of macular degeneration, and give the patient and doctor time to head off the development of this sight-stealing disease.

The study2, published last week in JAMA Ophthalmology, looked at 647 patients with Age Related Macular Degeneration, and matched them with a control group. Using data from past studies, they analyzed the patients' hsCRP levels from blood drawn in years in the past, before they developed ARMD.

Produced by the liver, higher c-reactive protein (CRP) levels indicate systemic inflammation. Increasingly, systemic inflammation is being fingered as a potential culprit in many types of diseases, including heart disease and arthritis. This type of research connects systemic inflammation with macular degeneration and perhaps other eye diseases in the future.

Note: There are a number of nutrients that can help reduce systemic inflammation and act as natural anti-inflammatory agents. They include turmeric (curcumin), boswellia, ginger root, holy basil, ginger, Jerusalem Artichoke, Cetyl Myristoleate, fish oil, black currant seed and borage oils, and enzymes during meals such as Digestive Enzymes-V and between meals such as Serrapeptase, and Nattokinase for example.

Reduced Vitamin D Levels and Flu Outbreaks

Diminished vitamin D levels may be linked to the spread of the flu3. Research found that nonpandemic influenzas occur primarily in temperate regions and in winter when the skin's vitamin D formation due to sun exposure is low. Influenza seasonality is seldom observed in tropical regions.

Although an initial pandemic can start in any season, secondary waves often occur in autumn or winter, and can be more serious. The increased lethality of secondary winter waves can also be explained by decreased vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D levels are at their highest approximately one month after the flu season (near midsummer). At latitudes above 37 degrees, UVB exposure is greatly reduced from November through February, meaning that vitamin D production in the skin is minimal. Because of the role vitamin D plays in the immune system, a reduction in this important compound is associated with a decline in immune function, leading to decreased resistance against influenza and other pathogens.

Note: In wintertime, it is difficult to get sufficient vitamin D from sun exposure. If the diet does not contain enough vitamin in D, supplementation may be required. Low vitamin D has been linked to the development of macular degeneration.

Aspirin May Raise Risk Of Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Study Suggests

A new study in JAMA Internal Medicine4 shows aspirin, now taken regularly to prevent heart attacks, may be linked with age-related macular degeneration.

The study indicated an association between regularly taking aspirin and increased risk of "wet" age-related macular degeneration. The more aspirin taken on a regular basis, the higher the risk.

Wet macular degeneration is rarer than dry, but it is more severe. Blood vessels leak into the macula, obscuring vision.

The evidence is still not strong enough to suggest people altogether stop regular aspirin use. Talk to your doctor before changing any regemin and discuss your risks of heart disease, heart attack and macular degeneration.

Heart Disease Linked to Brain Impairment

A study published in Neurology5 links heart disease with an increased risk of mild cognitive impairment involving language, thinking and judgment. Mild cognitive impairment may be a precursor to vascular and other non-Alzheimer's dementias. This finding may help with early detection and intervention in dementia.

Note: Poor circulation is also related to onset of a number of eye diseases including macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy to name a few. Regular cardiac exercise and a healthy diet go a long way in supporting circulation.

Herbs that support healthy circulation as well as memory include gingko biloba and vinpocetine.

Footnotes

1. Amen DG, Wu JC, Taylor D, Willeumier K., J Psychoactive Drugs. 2011 Jan-Mar;43(1):1-5
2. C-Reactive Protein and the Incidence of Macular Degeneration, Vinod P. Mitta, MD, MPH; et al, JAMA Ophthalmol. 2013;():1-7
3. The seasonality of pandemic and non-pandemic influenzas: the roles of solar radiation and vitamin D; Asta Juzeniene, et al; International Journal of Infectious Diseases Volume 14, Issue 12, Dec. 2010,
4. The Association of Aspirin Use With Age-Related Macular Degeneration; Gerald Liew, PhD, et al; JAMA Internal Medicine, Feb 25, 2013, Vol 173, No. 4
5. Cardiac Disease Associated With Increased Risk of Nonamnestic Cognitive Impairment: Stronger Effect on Women,; JAMA Neurology