Blueberry strengthens blood vessels decreasing the risk of vascular damage
The aortic artery is the main artery carrying oxygen rich blood from the heart to supply the rest of the body.
In this study scientists from the University of Maine investigated the effects of blueberry supplementation on
the aortic artery of laboratory animals. One group of rats was fed a standard diet, the second group received
the same diet but this time 8% of it was made up by a powdered wild blueberry supplement; both groups were fed
this way for 13 weeks. The Blueberry supplement increased the amount of particular glycosaminoglycans
(abbreviated gags) known as galactosaminoglycans in the aortic arterial wall by 67% versus the non-supplemented
group. The increased level of gags strengthen the artery against inflammatory damage caused by free radicals
reducing the precursor event to serious cardiovascular disease. The study is published in the February 2006
issue of The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.
Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.
Yesterday we reported that taking a combination of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and ibuprofen prevented
the onset of Alzheimer's disease in patients who inherited a gene from their parents that puts them
at high risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
Nucleotides protect athletes and exercisers from cortisol and immune system dysfunction
Immunoglobulin A is found in the mouth and respiratory tract, the reproductive and urinary tracts,
and the gastrointestinal tract. Immunoglubulin A protects mucous membranes from infection and it is
the main protective antibody in the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts. After exercise
Immunoglobulin A levels drop significantly and this is one of the reasons why athletes have poor
immune protection when training. Conversely, cortisol levels increase after exercise. Cortisol is
the major stress hormone released from the adrenal glands in response to physical or mental stress.
Elevated cortisol is related to fatigue, muscle degradation, and immune dysfunction (because it
stifles immune protection). In this study moderately trained men were placed on a Nucleotide
supplement or inactive placebo daily for 60 days. They performed a prolonged endurance cycle exercise
for 60 minutes before the start of the supplementation and at the end of the 60 day period. It was
found that Immunoglobulin A dropped after the exercise regimen but the level was significantly
higher (the drop was significantly lessened) in the Nucleotide group indicating better immune
system protection. The cortisol level rose in both groups after exercise but the rise in cortisol
in the Nucleotide group was much lower and this indicates less muscle wasting and less immune system
suppression. Nucleotides may protect athletes and endurance exercise buffs from immune dysfunction
and from hormonal imbalances occuring due to exercise. The research was performed at the Department
of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Hull, in England, and is published in the March 2006
issue of the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness.