Research Roundup February 2009

  • Beta-alanine supplements may improve muscle endurance in older men and women. Researchers in England gave 2.4 grams of beta-alanine a day to 12 older men and women; they gave placebos to 14 others. After 90 days, those who took beta-alanine saw a 67% improvement in their fitness compared to a 22% improvement in the placebo group. Beta-alanine is an amino acid supplement widely used by athletes and body builders, but this research suggests it could help prevent falls and prolong independent living among older men and women.

    Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, November 2008.

  • A diet high in meat and fat may increase the risk of ovarian cancer. That’s what Australian researchers found when they compared the dietary patterns of 683 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer to those of 777 healthy women. The women ranged in age from 18 to 79. The researchers found that participants with the highest intakes of meat and fat were 2? times more likely to develop ovarian cancer than those with the lowest intakes. Wine consumption was linked to a lower risk; fruit and vegetable intake had no effect.

    The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,
    January 2009 (epub. December 3, 2008).

  • Researchers from Spain have linked a low intake of selenium with a higher risk of metabolic syndrome. They studied 100 healthy young adults and measured selenium in the participants? nails, the most accurate reflection of intake. They also measured blood levels of complement factor 3 (C3), an indicator of inflammation; elevated levels are linked to metabolic syndrome. They found that low levels of selenium corresponded to high levels of C3, suggesting an increased risk of metabolic syndrome.

    European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 5, 2008.

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