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Eating mushrooms may slow or even reverse mental decline: Study

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Eating more mushrooms could help keep mental decline at bay, a new study of over 600 Singaporeans aged 60 and above showed.

Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) found that participants who ate more than two servings of mushrooms a week — equivalent to 300g or about half a plate — were 57 percent less likely to have mild cognitive impairment compared to those who ate less than one portion a week, straitstimes.com wrote.

The study was conducted between 2011 and 2017.

 

Announcing the findings Dr. Irwin Cheah, a senior research fellow at the NUS department of biochemistry, said this could be because mushrooms contain high levels of a compound known as ergothioneine.

The compound acts as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory agent, and can protect brain cells from damage, Cheah said.

In a separate 2016 study also involving Cheah , the researcher found that having a deficiency of the compound could be a risk factor for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

“Humans cannot synthesize this compound, but it can be obtained from dietary sources,” he explained.

Cheah said the researchers measured a range of foods and found that many, including beans and liver, contain low levels of the compound.

Mushrooms, which are able to synthesize ergothioneine, were found to have very high levels of it.

The study was part of the wider Diet and Healthy Ageingresearch done in Singapore.

Those who were diagnosed with dementia or other serious mental conditions were excluded from the mushroom study.

The participants were asked to report their regular diets, including the intake of six types of mushrooms commonly eaten in Singapore: Golden mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, white button mushrooms, dried mushrooms and canned mushrooms.

The researchers also controlled the intake of other foods known to be correlated with cognitive function, like vegetables, fruits and nuts.

The participants then took tests designed to measure cognitive abilities like memory and how quickly they can process information.

The scores were controlled for age and education levels.

Those who scored less than 1.5 standard deviations below the mean score of participants with similar ages and education levels were determined to have mild cognitive impairment.

About 90 out of the 663 participants fell into this category.

Mild cognitive impairment is the intermediate stage between normal cognitive decline, associated with ageing, and dementia, which is more serious and has no cure.

The study’s principal investigator, Assistant Professor Feng Lei, said, “With the increasing number of seniors, we can expect to see a potential dementia tsunami in the future. The good news is that cognitive decline can be managed.”

Professor Feng, who is from the NUS department of psychological medicine, said people with mild cognitive impairment can still perform most normal functions, and that the rate of decline can be slowed through dietary and other lifestyle interventions.

Tests showed that this group had lower levels of ergothioneine in their bloodstreams, which also correlated with their lower intake of mushrooms.

Feng added that the researchers plan to conduct a clinical trial on the potential benefits of pure ergothioneinealone or in combination with other nutrients derived from plants in delaying cognitive decline.

If it is successful, the research could lead to the development of a supplement in future.


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Health

6 Warning Signs of Protein Deficiency

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The list containing all the roles and functions of protein can be a really long one. This nutrient is necessary for building and repairing muscles and other tissues in the body such as the blood, cartilages, bones and skin. It is also important for the production of hormones or chemicals that regulate an assortment of bodily processes. Without sufficient amounts of protein in the diet or even in supplement form, it can be hard for anyone to attain optimal health.

It doesn’t come as a surprise why a lot of vegans, weight-watchers and others who are on restrictive diets to suffer from the various symptoms of protein deficiency.

By consuming foods that contain little or no protein, the body has no choice but to utilize protein that’s already in it, causing wasting of the tissues where protein is stored, such as in the muscles.

 

These are some of the warning signs you will observe if you are suffering from protein deficiency:

Swollen cheeks

This is not caused by excess fat as you might suspect, but by the inflammation of the salivary glands. This condition usually takes place if there’s an ongoing protein-carbohydrate imbalance within you.

Puffy eyes

Edema is the reason for this, a condition wherein excessive fluid collect in the tissues. This happens because protein is one of the various components that factor in your body’s fluid balance.

Bloated hands

Again, this has something to do with the pooling of water in the tissues, known in the medical world as edema. There’s an assortment of health conditions that lead to edema, and one of them is protein deficiency.

Thinning hair

This condition may be brought about by a handful of things. One of them is not having enough protein in the diet. This doesn’t really come as a surprise as your hair is mostly made up of protein.

Excessive skin dryness

Not getting enough protein can cause the skin to end up really dry and flaky, and even develop rashes. Protein deficiency makes you more prone to getting sunburned too.

Lethargy or brain fog

Your energy and cognitive functioning are also affected when protein deficiency strikes. As mentioned earlier, protein is vital for the normal production of hormones. Some of these hormones have something to do with stress, energy production and mental alertness.

To avoid these problems, it’s important to get sufficient amounts of protein daily. There is a simple formula for calculating how much protein you need to consume everyday: your weight in pounds / 2 = daily protein requirement in grams.

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Health

Common protein form linked to cardiac, metabolic diseases: Study

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A form of protein, clusterin, has been associated with many different facets of cardiometabolic syndrome risk through its actions in the liver, suggests a new research study.

In addition, it is linked to increased cardiovascular disease risk and mortality, high blood pressure, harmful cholesterol levels and fatty liver disease.

Cardiometabolic syndrome (CMS) is a cluster of conditions that increase a person’s risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. These conditions include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.

 

“Our goal was to discover new factors produced by the cells in fat tissue that have an impact on cardiometabolic disease.

In particular, we wanted to identify those important to maintaining the framework of fat tissue, called the extracellular matrix, which becomes dysfunctional in obesity,” said David Bradley, Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University in the US.For the study, the team included a small group of 54 obese and 18 lean patients.

The findings, published in the journal, Diabetes Care, showed that clusterin, which is overproduced from the fat cells of obese patients, is strongly related to insulin resistance, said the study.

Insulin resistance is a major cause of Type-2 Diabetes, and patients with obesity commonly have both metabolic and cardiovascular complications. “Fat cells increase clusterin production as they enlarge in obesity.

Clusterin may be a biomarker of disease, as well as a therapeutic target to potentially prevent this disease,” said lead researcher Willa Hsueh, Professor at the varsity. “This collaborative research is shedding new light on the importance of clusterin on ‘cardiometabolic syndrome’, which may eventually lead to developing new treatments for this life-threatening combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity,” said K. Craig Kent, dean at the varsity.

CMS, which affects about 25 per cent of the world’s population, is now recognised as a disease entity by the World Health Organization and the American Society of Endocrinology. Further translational research involving mouse models is needed to learn more about how clusterin impacts each of the CMS components and whether administrating clusterin-inhibiting antibodies inhibits CMS, the study noted.

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Health

Drinking orange juice daily may keep strokes at bay

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Drinking orange juice daily may cut your risk of deadly strokes by almost a quarter, suggests a study. The study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, showed that people who consumed the juice each day saw a reduction in the risk of a brain clot by 24 per cent, the Daily Mail reported.

Further, the rates of heart disease were also reduced in regular drinkers, who were 12 to 13 per cent less likely to suffer with damaged arteries.Fresh fruit juices have long been thought of as healthy.

But consumers in recent years have been put off by warnings over their high sugar content.Advertise With Us The researchers noted that the health benefits in terms of stroke prevention could outweigh the risks from sugar content. “We found a favourable association with pure fruit juice consumption,” said researchers from the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health.

 

It’s not just orange juice that has this benefit, other fruit juices also appear to cut the risk, they noted. Juice is thought to contain many of the naturally-occurring plant substances found in whole fruit that can protect blood vessels against disease. However, the team said despite the obvious benefits of juice, they would still recommend eating whole fruit as well, as there are more studies confirming its benefits. For the study, the team examined nearly 35,000 men and women aged between 20 and 70 years.

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