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Posts Tagged ‘health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids’

A Healthy Start to College

Taking the right nutritional supplement for you is an important element in living a Cooperized lifestyle.

By: Karen Perkins, Account Executive, Cooper Concepts Inc.

As your child prepares to leave the nest and head off to college, there is no doubt that they are preparing for a season in their life unlike any other. The flexible schedule, opportunities to learn and try new things, thriving campus life, and close proximity to peers creates the perfect platform on which countless memories will be made. With so many exciting elements of this transition on you and your student’s mind, we want to remind you to help set your child up for a healthy semester.

It can be hard for college students to stay healthy. Crowded dorms and classrooms, along with reduced sleep and added stress often leave their immune systems trying to play catch-up. Dr. Cooper recommends eight healthy steps that make up a well-rounded, healthy life. One of the healthy steps to Get Cooperized is taking vitamins and supplements. So while your child may have outgrown taking a chewable Flintstone vitamin with their Fruit Loops® in the morning, it might not be a bad idea to continue to ask, “Have you taken your vitamins today?”

Cooper Complete® Health Body Pack
We recommend the Cooper Complete® Health Body Pack. Each canister contains 30 individually wrapped cellophane packets with a Basic One Iron-Free one-tablet-per-day multivitamin and the daily recommended amount of omega-3. Having the supplements individually packaged makes them perfect for the on-the-go lifestyle of your student. It’s easy to grab a packet and put it in a backpack, purse, or pocket to take with a meal. Plus the packets remove guesswork and thinking—simply take one packet-full per day with any meal. That’s easy to remember.

Why Basic One Iron-Free?
Most nutrition experts agree that a balanced, nutritious diet is the best way to obtain needed nutrients. The recommended amount of fruits and vegetables per day is five servings (nine is even better!), yet the average teenager only eats 1.6 servings! A recent report from the University College London stated that eating seven or more portions of fruits and vegetables a day reduces your risk of death at any point in time by 42 percent compared to eating less than one portion. Supplements are not intended to replace a healthy diet and lifestyle, but taking a multivitamin can provide a convenient way to “bridge the nutritional gap” and address micronutrient inadequacies that may well occur when your child is suddenly away from home. Also, while girls tend to stop growing sooner, it is possible that your son’s body is still growing and developing. This makes it even more important for them to obtain the proper nutrients. Here are a few of the vitamins included in Basic One Iron-Free.

Vitamin A promotes normal bone growth and tooth development, healthy skin and assists in night and color vision.

Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron, strengthens connective tissue, muscles and skin and increases resistance to infection.

Vitamin D promotes tooth and bone formation and aids in the absorption of minerals like calcium. While you can get vitamin D naturally from sunlight, a study by Weill Cornell Medical Center found one in seven adolescents were vitamin D deficient. Cooper Clinic suggests at least 2000 IU per day which is the amount in our daily multivitamin.

Why Advanced Omega-3?
Omega-3 has shown to help with brain health (reduce depression) and heart health. The American Heart Association recommends eating fatty-fish such as salmon at least two times per week. One study found that fish oil (in foods or supplements) cut the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 32 percent. Buying fish can be expensive and is generally not conducive to the typical college lifestyle so taking an omega supplement is highly recommended.

When you’re preparing the next care package for your college student, sneak in a Cooper Complete Healthy Body Pack to keep them on track. For more information about Cooper Complete products, click here.

See-Food, Supplementation and Exercises for Your Eye Health

January 16, 2014 Leave a comment

Have you been spending a lot of ‘screen time’ with a new gadget from Christmas? The average American adult spends an average of 9.5 hours every day in front of a screen. Do you think that sounds too high? It adds up. Between a computer screen at work, watching the news at home, playing Candy Crush on an iPhone, browsing Pinterest on your iPad. Cooper Clinic Dietitian Meridan Zerner explained recently on Fox 4 Good Day that all of those devices (and anything with a screen) emit a blue light which is problematic for the retina. Yes, we can be more aware about our ‘screen time’, but what else can we do? Meridan gave suggestions for diet, supplementation and even eye exercises. Check it out below.

Diet

Try a “see-food” diet. Ha! Really, though—eat salmon, sardines or tuna two to three times a week to receive omega-3—this acts as an anti-inflammatory.

Meridan said to literally eat your garnish. Kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collard greens and baby spinach should be in your daily diet. These veggies are not only for good health, but also for your eye health. They contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are actually in your eyes. When I think of eating healthy for my eyes, I think of carrots. But I learned lutein and zeaxanthin have been proven to be much more effective than beta-carotene, which is found in carrots and other orange vegetables.

Supplementation

Do you really need supplements? Meridan said this is when to take a reality check. Are you going to eat perfectly every day? Are you really going to have fish two to three times a week and five to nine servings of vegetables a day? New Year’s is a great time to make healthy changes, but if the answer is no, then that’s where supplements come into play. Cooper Complete®’s newest product, MVP (Maximum Vision Performance), is a great supplement to support eye health. It includes vitamin D, omega-3, lutein and zeaxanthin. Learn more about it here.

Eye Workouts

Yes, these really help. Meridan said eye works are beneficial, especially for those of us who have a lot of screen time!

  • Do an exaggerated eye roll and blink definitively. Do it in the other direct and repeat for five reps. This exercise will stretch your eye muscles.
  • She also suggested using the 20-20-20 Rule. Every 20 minutes look away from your screen, look 20 feet away and focus for 20 seconds.

Also evaluate the distance you sit from a computer screen. Studies show that you should be at least an arm’s length away from a computer screen. Take frequent breaks for your mind, body and eyes.

For more information about Cooper Complete nutritional supplements, visit coopercomplete.com.

Nuts and Bolts About Coconut Nutrition

CoconutThere’s a lot of chatter about coconut these days. Many new products containing coconut are lining grocery store shelves, from coconut milk and water to flavored yogurts and frozen desserts. Some popular doctors, celebrities and diets tout the health benefits, but for now more reliable scientific research is needed before drawing any real conclusions.

Health Claims for Coconut Oil:

There are multiple health claims regarding the benefits of coconut oil, including promoting weight loss and improving heart health. One study looked at women ages 20-40 years of age who supplemented their diet with coconut oil. The results showed a decrease in abdominal fat. The participants were also given dietary and exercise advice so it is hard to prove how much of an effect the coconut oil had on their fat loss. As for improving cholesterol and heart health, there are a few studies that looked at coconut oil and found the combination of fatty acids in this oil improved the “good” HDL cholesterol, but on the flip side it raised the “bad” LDL cholesterol.

Where Coconut Oil Fits Into the Total Fat Equation:

According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, dietary fat from both healthy, (unsaturated) fat and unhealthy (saturated and trans) fat sources should make up no more than 35 percent of your daily calories. Some healthy fats include peanut butter, nuts, avocados, olive and canola oil. Some unhealthy fats are found in high fat meat and animal products, full fat dairy foods and oils such as palm and coconut oil and foods prepared from these oils.

Cooper Clinic recommends for a 2,000 calorie a day diet less than seven percent of total calories come from saturated fat. That equates to 16-22 grams of saturated fat a day. One tablespoon of coconut oil contains about 12 grams of saturated fat which is a big chunk of your saturated fat allotment! Most popular food products (see list below) are proportionately high in saturated fat to total fat. Even small amounts of either unsaturated or saturated fats are calorie-dense so accounting for the portion is a key factor. If you choose to include small amounts of coconut products in your diet, keep in mind how they fit into the total amount of your saturated fat budget. As with all foods, stick with moderation.

Comparing Coconut Products:

  • Coconut oil: 1 tablespoon contains about 120 calories, 13.5 grams total fat and 12 grams saturated fat.
  • Canned coconut milk: ½ cup serving contains about 220 calories, 24 grams total fat and 21 grams saturated fat.
  • Coconut milk (So Delicious®, Original): 1 cup contains 80 calories, 5 grams total fat and 5 grams saturated fat.
  • Coconut Greek yogurt: 6 oz. contains 140 calories, 4.5 grams total fat and 3.5 grams saturated fat.
  • Coconut water: 1 cup contains about 45 calories, 0.5 grams total fat and 0.4 grams saturated fat.
  • Coconut milk dessert (So Delicious®, vanilla, no sugar added): 1 cup contains 200 calories, 16 grams total fat and 14 grams saturated fat.

For more information about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services or to schedule a nutrition consultation, click here or call 972.560.2655.

Interview with Cooper Clinic Head of Cardiology Dr. Nina Radford about Association Between Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation and Risk of Major Cardiovascular Disease Events

September 18, 2012 2 comments

Dr. Nina Radford, Cooper Clinic

Todd Whitthorne talked with Dr. Nina Radford, about the systematic review and meta-analysis Association Between Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation and Risk of Major Cardiovascular Disease Events published in the JAMA September 12, 2012, Vol 308, No 10 issue. Click here if you would prefer to listen to the interview.

Todd:  Hello once again this is Todd Whitthorne with another healthy living podcast and I’m joined today by Dr. Nina Radford, the Head of Cardiology for the Cooper Clinic and we’re going to talk about a recent article in JAMA that discussed a meta-analysis of omega-3 as it relates to the cardiovascular benefits.  So Dr. Radford, this can be a rather complicated topic because we’re talking about statistics and scientific research, but I do know we have a very educated and inquisitive listening audience, so let’s walk through this paper because the headlines we’ve seen in the newspapers or heard on the radio basically came out and said that “omega-3, or fish oil, did not show benefit for cardiovascular health.” Can we dig a little deeper and explain really what this paper was investigating, and what the results showed?

Dr. Radford: Absolutely! I’m just delighted to discuss this with you because as we both know, sometimes these very important papers get condensed into a single, simple sentence or headline that may peak an individual’s attention but doesn’t always tell the whole story…, and this paper I think is a good example of that.

So this paper is a meta-analysis, and what that means is it is combining information from multiple studies, and why would you want to do that? Well, if you combine studies together your population will grow, so for example in this meta-analysis they combined the data from 20 studies so it included almost 69,000 patients.  When you have a larger patient population, it’s easier to see small effects that may occur that may be statistically significant. The problem with combining studies is that all studies are a little bit different… the ages of the patient may be different; the formulation of the omega-3 being used may be different; they time they use the omega-3 may be very different; it may be in a different country where native foods are very different for example, from the United States. So, one of the problems is that when you combine studies that are very different, and you reach conclusions from them, your house is sort of built of rickety wood, so you have to be careful in terms of how you interpret it. That being said, what we have are this combination of 20 studies. The median age is 68, and I’ll remind you median means that 50% or below that age, and 50% are above, and in these studies the age range was 49 to 70. In these studies, the median dose of omega-3 was about a gram, and that’s probably less than most people consider taking daily today.

Todd:  I’m sorry. That’s a gram of EPA plus DHA, not a gram of fish oil, correct?

Dr. Radford: That’s correct. And the range was from .53, so half a gram, which most of us would consider on the lower side, to 1.8 grams per day. The treatment duration was about two years and spanned from one to six, and the important thing about these studies is that 13 of the 20 were secondary prevention studies.  What that means is those participants had already been diagnosed with heart disease. They had heart attack, bypass, heart failure, sudden death, stents, but they were not people who were taking it to prevent the first event. Rather, these were people who were put on fish oil to prevent a second cardiovascular event or death. Four of the studies were mixed primary secondary, you couldn’t really sort out which was which, and three of the studies had to do with preventing sudden death in people who had implantable cardiac defibrillators (those are the internal defibrillators that shock you if you have a potentially life-threatening heart rhythm abnormality). So again, these are patients who are older, they have known heart disease, and they’re taking EPA plus DHA at a median of a gram for about two years.

Now, one of the things that we have to remember in all of this is that there’s pretty good reason to think that fish oil may help when we look at basic science. There have been studies that suggest it lowers blood pressure, lowers triglycerides, may stabilize heart rhythms, may reduce the stickiness of the blood to form to form blood clots, so there’s some good rationale from which these studies were conducted, and that’s always sort of reassuring to know there’s some basic science that underlies these. So in this analysis, they looked at five major outcomes  – all cause mortality (that’s the risk of dying of anything); cardiac death (dying of heart attack); they looked at sudden death (which is a heart rhythm abnormality); rather than having a heart attack and then having heart failure, for example; having a nonfatal heart attack; or stroke.

When we look at whether or not a result is statistically significant, we look at something called the P value, and the P value helps us decide if this result that could happen by chance, or is this the result that can withstand rigorous statistical testing? And we rely on that P value as readers of medical science, to let us know yes, that’s statistically significant, or no it’s not.  We don’t just rely on the number that we see, we have to rely on the statistics to back it up, so in this population is that meaningful.

Now, in most studies that I read, a P value of significance is a P value less than 0.05. When you know that the P value is less than that, you know it’s statistically significant. And when we look at that range of P value in this study, there was actually a demonstrated benefit in terms of reducing cardiac death. It reduced it by about 9 percent. Now, what’s made this somewhat controversial is these authors have decided to make a much more limited P value of .0063, and that’s rather usual, and that requires that the effect be more robust if you will, in order to prove that it’s present.

And when we look at studies – for example you may remember testing hormone replacement, and did hormone replacement reduce the risk of death for example? In all of those studies the P value is 0.05. If you look at whether statin medications reduce the risk of dying from heart disease, the P value is 05. So the use of this very, very small P value, is a little unusual and not everybody is accepting it when we look at this study. So certainly, what I would conclude from this study, based on a P value I think is reasonable, is that there is likely a small reduction in cardiac death in the studies of patients who are older and already had advanced heart disease.

One of the things I think is very interesting in this paper is that they provide sort of a chronologic history. They start with studies done in the mid- 1995’s and they go through the studies that were published more recently in 2012.  And what’s interesting is in the studies that were published in the in the mid-to-late 90s until 2005, there was a benefit of omega-3 in terms of all cause mortality. But when you look at the most recent studies that were published in 2010 or 2012 you did not see that effect. So does that mean that the studies that were done early on were wrong? Absolutely not!  What we see is an effect of improving medical science and improving technology. Compared to 1995, patients who are treated after a heart attack today are treated with much more sophisticated medications. Their lipids are much more aggressively lowered compared to patients in 1995, so if I add a therapy like omega-3 fatty acids, which have a small benefit compared to those other therapies, it may be hard to see that benefit unless you have an extraordinarily large number of patients in the trial. And so, I don’t see this as being a call to throw away all your fish oil.  Rather, I see this as a recommendation that there is likely is benefit, but it’s small, compared to the other known therapies that we have for patients treated after a heart attack.  Now let me be very clear that this has no bearing on patients who haven’t heart disease yet; who haven’t had their first heart attack yet. Maybe they have high cholesterol.  Maybe they have a strong family history of developing heart disease and they want to prevent their first event.  This paper doesn’t address population all.

Todd:  Clearly, what’s interesting about omega-3, is that there are literally thousands of studies that have been done looking at the various and assorted benefits and in a variety of areas, but in particular cardiovascular disease.  So for someone healthy, someone that is just looking to improve their overall cardiovascular risk profile, omega-3 still make sense from your perspective as a cardiologist?

Dr. Radford: I think that they definitely ought to be offered to patients. I think that they definitely may have some benefits in terms of reducing death from cardiovascular disease. I think compared to their other therapies, like statin medications or low dose daily aspirin, that effects may be small, but every little bit helps if we’re talking about reducing your risk of dying of heart disease.

Todd:  And that main benefit as we hear so much about inflammation, that seems to be the benefit of omega-3, as an anti-inflammatory?

Dr. Radford: And there may be benefits well beyond that, that we simply don’t have enough knowledge about.

Todd:  Very good. Well Dr. Radford, as always I appreciate your insight.  It’s like going to Paul Harvey for the rest of the story, to break it down and simplify something that is very, very complex, so we appreciate it.

Folks, if you want more information, you can sign up for The Cooperized Newsletter. As always, we’ll keep you updated with whatever we can here on the podcast and on the website. Until next time, this is Todd Whitthorne. Have a great day. Be healthy.