HSN – New research on multivitamins, antioxidants, reducing cancer

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Health Scoop News 📑 – Multivitamins, antioxidants, reducing cancer

I always have my nose in new health research, so I’m sharing some of the most relevant studies with you in regular editions of “Health Scoop News.”

[This news summary is a bit reminiscent of my old “This week in science for holistic health” newsletters that I used to do circa 2016 (I deleted most, but here’s one post I kept live), as well as the rEATsearch podcast I used to co-host.]

These are my top three study picks (comment below to tell me what health topics/niches are best for you!). All of the studies listed below are very high quality studies (most are studies that review and analyze data from several previous studies, including clinical trials).

These studies were all published in the past month or so.

1 – Multivitamins do more than make “expensive pee”

Study title: Effect of multivitamin-mineral supplementation versus placebo on cognitive function: results from the clinic subcohort of the COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS) randomized clinical trial and meta-analysis of 3 cognitive studies within COSMOS

This is a clinical study and meta analysis.

Here’s some background info:

  • “Insufficient evidence exists for healthcare providers to recommend daily MVM [multivitamin-mineral] supplements to prevent cognitive decline.”

The objective of the study was to:

  • Test MVM effects on cognitive change.”

The study found:

  • A modest benefit of MVM compared with placebo on global cognition.
  • Episodic memory benefitted more than executive function and cognition.

Concluding statements from the researchers:

  • Daily MVM supplementation leads to a significantly more favorable 2-y change in episodic memory.”
  • “Daily MVM significantly benefits both global cognition and episodic memory.”
  • “These findings within the COSMOS trial support the benefits of a daily MVM in preventing cognitive decline among older adults.”

In other words, according to this study, people who took a daily multivitamin-mineral supplement for two years had better episodic memory and this may help prevent cognitive decline.

Note from Leesa: I didn’t know what “episodic” memory was, so I looked it up and found the following definition from a 2010 study called The Episodic Memory System: Neurocircuitry and Disorders:

Episodic memory involves the ability to learn, store, and retrieve information about unique personal experiences that occur in daily life. These memories typically include information about the time and place of an event, as well as detailed information about the event itself. The ability to describe the details of a recent holiday gathering or office meeting that took place in the previous weeks or months, for example, depends heavily on intact episodic memory function.”

 

2 – Antioxidants are great for just about everything

Study title: Oxidative Stress: The Role of Antioxidant Phytochemicals in the Prevention and Treatment of Diseases

This is a summary review of the current understanding of antioxidants in foods and how they contribute to better health.

Here’s some background info:

  • Oxidants/reactive oxygen species (ROS) are essential for fighting pathogens and to allow cells to communicate with each other, but if they’re not deactivated/scavenged quickly, they can go on to damage cells, proteins, fats, and nucleic acids (via “oxidative stress”).
  • Ideally, there will be a balance between enough oxidative stress for immune and communication needs, but not too much that it leads to chronic conditions.
  • “Cumulative evidence underscores the intimate connection between heightened oxidative stress and a spectrum of chronic diseases, encompassing cardiovascular diseases, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, obesity, aging, and various chronic inflammatory conditions.”
  • One of the main contributors to oxidative stress (OS) is metabolism (where mitochondria use oxygen to burn macronutrients to fuel cells). Excessive oxidative stress can “result in oxidative harm to biomolecules, encompassing lipids, proteins, and DNA, contributing to the development of aging and various conditions such as cancer, respiratory issues, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative disorders, and digestive ailments.”
  • “Antioxidants, whether generated internally or supplied externally, play a crucial role in removing ROS, minimizing the oxidative stress.”
  • “Many phytochemicals act as antioxidants and are essential to neutralize OS [oxidative stress].”
  • One of the reasons why eating plants is thought to reduce chronic illness is because they contain antioxidant phytochemicals.
  • Note from Leesa: Figure 1 has a great chart of the different antioxidant phytochemicals.
  • Phytochemical antioxidants are thought to have their health benefits due to their impact on mitochondria, inflammation, epigenetics, and enzymes.

Food sources of antioxidants:

  • “Fruits and vegetables serve as a primary source of carotenoids in the human diet.”
  • “Traditional fruits like berries, grapes, Chinese dates, pomegranates, guavas, sweetsops, persimmons, Chinese wampees, and plums boast rich reservoirs of bioactive compounds.”
  • “Certain vegetables, such as cowpeas, allium cepa, sweet potato, green soybeans, pepper, ginseng, and broccoli, showcase elevated antioxidant power and amount of total phenolics.”
  • “Pigmented rice varieties like black rice, red rice, and purple rice stand out for their high levels of antioxidant phytochemicals, particularly flavones and tannins.”
  • “Strawberry boasts anthocyanins and ellagitannins as predominant phytochemicals within its profile.”
  • “Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, contributing to their characteristic red colour.”
  • Note that “The concentration of polyphenols in food is subject to various influences, including cultivar, location, season, soil types, and conservation circumstances.”

The researchers found:

  • “Recent studies highlight the significance of a balanced incorporation of polyphenols into diets, emphasizing their high antioxidant and bioactive properties essential for maintaining good health and preventing prevalent human NCDs [non-communicable diseases].”

In other words, consuming plants rich in antioxidants contributes to optimal health and freedom from many chronic conditions.

 

For a list of dozens of credible sites to find health information, plus some PubMed tips, download your free guide here:

 

3 – Reduce breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers

Study title: Healthy Lifestyle and Cancer Risk: Modifiable Risk Factors to Prevent Cancer

This is a review that looks at the impact several lifestyle habits has on three types of cancer (breast, prostate, colorectal).

Here’s some background info:

  • “Cancer is a leading cause of death.”
  • “It is well known that the onset of most types of cancer is preventable through the adoption of a healthy lifestyle.”
  • Cancer “is a complex disease and is the result of genetic and epigenetic changes that accumulate and lead healthy cells to transform.”

Nutrition for reduced cancer

  • “It has been shown that eating a healthy diet can prevent the development of cancer by 30–50%.”
  • “Numerous studies have highlighted that the regular consumption of fruits and vegetables rich in bioactive components such as polyphenols and carotenoids but also rich in vitamin B12, folic acid, and selenium, as well as the intake of foods rich in fiber, milk, and dairy products, has a preventive role with respect to various types of cancer. . . . In addition to these, omega-3s, contained in large quantities in oily fish and nuts, are also of fundamental importance in reducing the risk of the onset of this disease.”
  • “Numerous studies have shown that lower serum 25(OH)D levels are linked to a higher risk of developing various types of tumors, while high 25(OH)D levels have been found to have a protective effect against the development of cancer.”

Physical activity for reduced cancer

  • “One study found that increased physical exercise is linked to a 10–25% reduction in the risk of developing cancer.”

Alcohol and cancer

  • “Alcohol is considered to be a very toxic substance and, as far as cancer is concerned, a Group 1 carcinogen responsible for various types of cancer, including esophageal, liver, colorectal, and breast cancer.”

Breast cancer

  • “Breast cancer is the cancer with the highest rate of diagnosis in women and involves approximately 13% of women in highly developed countries. Furthermore, it is still the leading reason for cancer-related death for women.”

Colorectal cancer

  • “Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most typically diagnosed type of cancer worldwide and the second highest reason for cancer-related death.”

Prostate cancer

  • “Prostate cancer (PCa) is one of the most diagnosed malignant tumors in men in the world after lung cancer.”

Summary of healthy lifestyles to reduce cancer:

  • A potential strategy to counter the growing spread of various forms of cancer is the adoption of prevention strategies, in particular, the use of healthy lifestyles, such as:
    • maintaining a healthy weight, following a healthy diet;
    • being physically active;
    • avoiding smoking, alcohol consumption, and sun exposure; and
    • vitamin D supplementation.”
  • “An incorrect diet, composed mainly of saturated fats and processed products, resulting in increased body weight, combined with physical inactivity, alcohol consumption, and smoking, has induced an increase in the incidence of all three types of cancer under study.”

Here’s what the researchers conclude:

  • “It is clear that establishing environments that encourage individuals to engage in healthy and regular behaviors is a global public health priority.”

In other words, the most common types of cancer can be prevented by adopting healthier lifestyles.

Signing off and toasting: To keeping up with the latest and greatest scientific research in nutrition, fitness, and health coaching!

 

Over to you

 

Do you have a specific question about any of these new studies?

Are you looking for a easy-to-understand study summary that you can share with your audience and clients?

What health topic/niche is most important to you?

Let me know in the comments below!

 

What's the latest health research for your nutrition, fitness, or health coaching practice?

Find out in the weekly Health Scoop News 📑email updates. See some of the latest studies (with Leesa's "in other words" explainers) here. Sign up if you want to be first to know new research:

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I'm Leesa Klich, MSc., R.H.N.
Health writer – Blogging expert – Research nerd.

I help health and wellness professionals build their authority with scientific health content. They want to stand out in the crowded, often unqualified, market of entrepreneurs. I help them establish trust with their audiences, add credibility to their services, and save them a ton of time so they don’t have to do the research or writing themselves. To work with me, click here.

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