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Dr. Brad’s Weekly Health Update: Are you nuts? New research on the benefits of a nut-rich diet

Nut consumption associated with reduced signs of inflammation

Nut consumption associated with reduced signs of inflammation.

A new study of over 5,000 participants has revealed an association between greater nut intake and reduced levels of inflammation. Investigators found that those who consumed 5 or more servings of nuts per week had lower levels of biomarkers related to inflammation than those who seldom or never ate nuts. In addition, individuals who substituted 3 servings of red meat, processed meat, eggs, or refined grains per week with nuts had significantly lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers. Study author Dr. Ying Bao writes, “Population studies have consistently supported a protective role of nuts against cardiometabolic disorders such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and we know that inflammation is a key process in the development of these diseases… Our new work suggests that nuts may exert their beneficial effects in part by reducing systemic inflammation.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July 2016

Stopping exercise reduces blood flow to the brain.

Researchers from the University of Maryland examined cerebral blood flow in healthy, physically fit older adults between the ages of 50-80 before and after a 10-day period during which they stopped exercising. Using MRIs, researchers found a significant decrease in blood flow to several brain regions, including the hippocampus, after the participants paused their exercise routines. Past research has shown that the hippocampus is known to deteriorate quickly with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. The findings adds to the growing scientific understanding of the importance of physical activity in relation to cognitive health. Lead author Dr. J. Carson Smith writes, “We know that if you are less physically active, you are more likely to have cognitive problems and dementia as you age.” Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, August 2016

Vitamin D may lower risk of asthma attacks.

Taking a vitamin D supplement along with standard treatment may reduce the risk of severe asthma attacks. Researchers analyzed data from 9 studies that assessed how vitamin D supplementation influenced both asthma symptoms and asthma attacks. The review revealed that the risk of hospital admission or emergency room visits due to severe asthma attacks dropped from 6% to 3% with vitamin D supplementation. The research team also found that vitamin D supplementation reduced the need for steroid treatment for asthma attacks. Further research is needed to determine whether these outcomes can be seen in all patients or only individuals who have low vitamin D levels to begin with. European Respiratory Society International Congress, September 2016

FDA bans antibacterial soaps.

The Food and Drug Administration has issued a ban on the sale of antibacterial soaps after manufacturers failed to show that antibacterial products were any better than ordinary soap and water at preventing the spread of germs. Experts from the FDA add that other health concerns related to long-term use of the active ingredients in antibacterial products—such as possible effects on the thyroid, estrogen, and testosterone systems—contributed to the decision. Food and Drug Administration, September 2016

At-home exercises benefit chronic neck pain patients.

While doctors of chiropractic commonly incorporate patient education and home-based exercises into a neck pain patient’s treatment plan, some patients are less likely to follow their doctor’s instruction. The results of a new study indicate that patients who perform recommended home-based exercises achieve better outcomes. Among the 200 chronic neck pain patients in the study, those who performed specific home-based exercise showed significant improvement in physical and mental quality of life, depression, cervical pressure pain threshold, cervical extension movement, and muscle function. Manual Therapy, August 2016

Our mission is to help our patients to live longer, healthier, happier, pain-free lives.

Yours in health,

Dr. Brad Butler, DC