Newsletter Archives > ChiroPlanet.com Monthly Health Newsletter: September 2015 Health Newsletter

September 2015 Health Newsletter


Current Articles

» ALPHA LIPOIC ACID
» How Pillow Height Affects Muscle Activity and Perceived Comfort
» Bicycle-Related Injuries Increasing in the U.S.
» Struggles with Sleep May Increase Risk of Heart Disease

ALPHA LIPOIC ACID
Alpha-Lipoic Acid

What is alpha-lipoic acid? Why do we need it?

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is an antioxidant manufactured in the body. It is sometimes referred to as the ?universal? antioxidant because, unlike most antioxidants, it is soluble in both fat and water. In addition to being manufactured by the body, it can be found in some foods and supplements (see below).

ALA has several benefits, particularly for people with diabetes. It enhances glucose uptake in people with type-2 diabetes, inhibits the process of glybosylation (in which sugar molecules attach themselves to proteins), and can reduce nerve damage and pain caused by diabetes. Preliminary evidence suggests that ALA can improve visual function in people with glaucoma. Test-tube studies show that ALA can stop the HIV virus from replicating, but whether ALA supplements can help people infected with HIV remains unclear at this point.

How much alpha-lipoic acid should I take?

As of this writing, there is no clear evidence that any particular dose of ALA provides a benefit for any particular condition. In the abovementioned glaucoma study, researchers provided subjects with 150 mg of ALA per day. Other studies typically use between 750 and 800 mg per day. Some practitioners recommend 20-50 mg of alpha-lipoic acid daily to provide general antioxidant protection.

What are some good sources of alpha-lipoic acid? What forms are available?

Small amounts of alpha-lipoic acid are produced naturally by the body. Some red meats ? particularly liver ? are believed to be good sources of ALA; supplements are also available.

What can happen if I don't get enough alpha-lipoic acid? What can happen if I take too much? Are there any side-effects I should be aware of?

Because alpha-lipoic acid is produced naturally in the body, deficiencies are not known to occur in humans. However, for people who take large doses of ALA supplements, some side-effects may occur, including skin rash, and diabetics run the risk of suffering hypoglycemia. Long-term use of alpha-lipoic acid in animals has been shown to interfere with the actions of the vitamin biotin, but research on humans has yet to be conducted.

As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before you begin taking alpha-lipoic acid or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.


References

  • Busse E, Zimmer G, Schorpohl B, et al. Influence of alpha-lipoic acid on intracellular glutathione in vitro and in vivo.Arzneimittelforschung1992;42:829-31.
  • Filina AA, Davydova NG, Endrikhovskii SN, et al. Lipoic acid as a means of metabolic therapy of open-angle glaucoma.Vestn Oftalmol1995;111:6-8.
  • Lykkesfeldt J, Hagen TM, Vinarsky V, et al. Age-associated decline in ascorbic acid concentration, recycling, and biosynthesis in rat hepatocytes - reversal with (R)-alpha-lipoic acid supplementation.FASEB J1998;12:1183-9.
  • Nichols TW Jr. Alpha-lipoic acid: biological effects and clinical implications.Altern Med Rev1997;2:177-83.
  • Packer L, Witt EH, Tritschler HJ. Alpha-lipoic acid as a biological antioxidant.Free Radic Biol Med1995;19:227-50.

Author: Nichols
Source: TYH
Copyright: TYH 1997


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How Pillow Height Affects Muscle Activity and Perceived Comfort

A recent report studied how using foam pillows of three different heights affected the comfort and electromyographic (EMG) activity of the neck and mid-upper back muscles of participants. The study was performed by a team of therapists and researchers in the University of São Paulo School of Medicine in São Paulo, Brazil. Performed in 2014 and published in 2015, the study revealed the associations among pillow height, EMG activity, and perceived comfort. Twenty-one asymptomatic adults were observed using three different foam pillows of 5 cm, 10 cm and 14 cm, or approximately 2 inches, 4 inches and 5 1/2 inches. Study participants rated their comfort using a 100-mm visual analog scale, while researchers calculated EMG activity of the neck and mid-upper back muscles, called the sternocleidomastoid and upper and middle trapezius muscles. Participants considered height 1 (approximately 2 inches) to be the least comfortable and height 2 (approximately 4 inches) the most comfortable. In addition, all muscle groups showed statistical differences in EMG activity between heights 1 and 2, but not between heights 2 and 3. Individuals who prefer sleeping with a flat pillow may want to think twice, as a four-inch pillow may be the best choice for perceived comfort and back and neck support.

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: JMPT. Volume 38, Issue 6, Pages 375-381.
Copyright: ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2015


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Bicycle-Related Injuries Increasing in the U.S.

Adult bicycling injuries increased sharply between 1998 and 2013, according to a new study that also reveals the increase is largely among cyclists over age 45. Bicycling is a popular among people of all ages for sport or commuting, but a growing number of adults embrace cycling as a low-impact exercise. The survey comes from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which collects data that includes bicycle-related injuries of those over age 18. Between 1998-1999, there were an estimated 96 bicycle-related injuries and about 5 hospital admissions per 100,000 people. Between 2012-2013, however, those numbers rose to 123 injuries and about 11 hospital admissions per 100,000 people. Researchers further examining the data discovered the correlation between injuries and age. In 1998, 23% of reported injuries were in riders over age 45. In 2012, this figure rose to 42% of injuries. Compared to younger individuals, older riders are more likely to be hurt in crashes or collisions. The study found that extremity injuries are less common, but head and torso injuries have risen. These findings demonstrate the importance of wearing appropriate safety gear as well as the need for U.S. cities and communities to support better bicycle riding infrastructures.

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: 
JAMA, online September 1, 2015.
Copyright: ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2015


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Struggles with Sleep May Increase Risk of Heart Disease

A targeted study by researchers at the Kangbuk Samsung Hospital in Seoul, South Korea has found that getting too much or too little sleep can contribute to the "hardening" of arteries. This condition, caused by calcium buildup in the arteries, can be an early warning sign of heart disease or lead to heart attacks. The study involved over 47,000 men and women, with an average age of 42, who completed a sleep questionnaire and underwent a series of tests. These tests measured arterial stiffness and evaluated calcium and plaque deposits in arteries. The average duration of sleep among participants was 6.4 hours per night. Researchers categorized those who slept five hours or less each night as "short" sleepers, and those who slept nine hours or more each night as "long" sleepers. The study found that poor sleep quality can lead to stiffer arteries whether an individual sleeps too few or too many hours. Researchers subsequently determined that those who slept an average of seven hours per night and reported good sleep quality had the lowest levels of vascular disease.

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, online September 10, 2015.
Copyright: ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2015


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