A Combination of Vitamin C with Vitamin E Slows the Rate of Hardening of the Arteries

August 04, 2004

In a study of 520 men and postmenopausal women 45 to 69 years of age with high cholesterol, those taking Vitamin C in combination with Vitamin E had a decreased rate of hardening of the arteries (plaque formation). The study was based on ultrasonographic testing of the common carotid artery in the neck for the rate of thickening due to plaque formation at the start of the study and every 6 months for the six year period. The result was better for the combination of vitamins C and E, versus supplementation with either vitamin C or E separately, or versus a placebo. The result in men was a 33% slowing and in women a 14% slowing. The protection was greater in men and in smokers, and in those initially low in vitamin C. The study is published in the February 3rd, 2003 issue of Circulation, a Journal of the American Heart Association.

Botox Injection Helps Urinary Incontinence

Older people may suffer from urge incontinence, a condition where the bladder contracts and squeezes out urine involuntarily. In a study of 26 patients, average age of 66 with urge incontinence that was bad enough to affect their quality of life, an injection of Botox into a bladder muscle significantly increased the amount of urine their bladder could hold, resulting in an ability to delay going to the bathroom after the first need to void was felt. Daytime bathroom trips decreased from an average of 12 to 4. The Botox injection reduces the muscle contractions that cause the sudden and unavoidable need to urinate. All of these patients tried standard medication prior to Botox injection but the medication offered no relief. Two of the patients had to use a catheter for one week after injection because they could not void completely. The Swiss study was presented at a joint meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons and the American Urogynecologic Society.

Vitamin D Supplementation Prevented Winter Depression

Researchers in Canada, where the winter is long and dreary, investigated the possibility that low levels of vitamin D in the winter were tied into SAD (seasonal affective disorder - or winter blues). They enlisted 130 subjects with blood levels of vitamin D in the summer considered to be normal (24 ng/ml). They analyzed a drop in their winter levels to about 16 ng/ml - a low level due to a lack of sun exposure. Sunlight triggers the formation of vitamin D in the skin. They then evaluated which of the individuals would have a strong inclination to develop winter depression. They supplemented these individuals with 600 IU to 4,000 IU of vitamin D every day starting in the summer and throughout the winter. They were evaluated a year later. With both dosages of vitamin D, patients suffering with depression improved as their blood levels of vitamin D increased to 40 ng/ml. This is the level many experts feel is a normal vitamin D level. The subjects actually claimed they felt better in the winter months instead of depressed. The study is published in the July issue of the Nutrition Journal.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

It's estimated that about 11 million Americans have SAD, and it is thought that many Americans have low blood levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D has been shown to offer a great deal of protection and an assortment of benefits in a number of recent studies. It helps control the immune system in the central nervous system and seems to benefit patients with multiple sclerosis. Vitamin D may lower the risk of certain cancers. Vitamin D helps lower the risk of colon cancer when used in conjunction with calcium. Vitamin D may help prevent arthritis. We all know it is needed to build bone and now it may help with depression, at least seasonal depression.

Soy Protein Protects Diabetics

Soy protein powder is therapeutic in preventing two of the biggest health disasters in diabetics - kidney disease and heart disease. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and dialysis centers are loaded with diabetics. The study included 14 men aged 53 to 73 years with diabetes and kidney disease. The men received vanilla flavored isolated soy protein powder or animal protein daily. In the men using soy protein, it decreased the amount of protein in their urine by 10%, the animal protein increased urinary protein levels. Additionally the soy protein powder boosted protective HDL cholesterol levels by 4 % Low HDL is a risk factor for heart disease. The study is published in the August issue of the Journal of Nutrition.