How much do YOU know about Nutrition and Health?
The following questions were asked of physicians in the January 2022 edition of Medscape, an online reference for healthcare providers. See how much YOU know:
a. Reductions in ischemic stroke risk occurred only in individuals who consumed more than one cup of coffee and one cup of tea per day
b. Drinking both two to three cups of tea and two to three cups of coffee daily was associated with the biggest reduction in ischemic stroke and dementia risk
c. Individuals who regularly drank both coffee and tea had measurably reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
2. A recent observational study examined the effect of olive oil consumption on mortality risk among healthcare professionals. Compared with those who rarely or never consumed olive oil, the cardiovascular disease mortality rates of those who consumed more than 0.5 tbsp per day were approximately how much lower?
- B – a British study of over 365,000 people found that 2-3 cups each of coffee and tea per day reduced stroke incidence by 30% and dementia risk by 28%
- D – in a study of over 90,000 US healthcare professionals, those with the highest olive oil intake had 19% lower heart disease mortality
Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids Neuroprotective?
The hunt for nutriceuticals runs through the supplement industry. That is, since the 1993 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act reduced regulatory standards for the dietary supplement industry. Hence, we have a multi-trillion dollar industry that can make all but extreme curative or therapeutic claims while still hinting on the benefits of their products.
Some studies have claimed that omega-3 fatty acids such as those in fatty fish like salmon may have beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), heart failure, rheumatic arthritis, etc. These claims stemmed from post-WW2 studies showing low rates of heart disease in native communities in Greenland and Alaska, suggesting the high-fatty fish diets are cardio preventive.
But, are they neuro- that is, brain-preventive?
In an unpublished review of the literature, a German neurologist found 3 studies for dementia and 6 for AD covering 600 and 800 subjects, and found no benefit to taking omega-3s. As for the prevention and treatment of depression and anxiety disorders, of 31 studies covering more than 50,000 patients, there was no benefit to taking omega-3s.
He grants that those who consume fatty fish or take supplements tend to be of a higher socioeconomic class, have healthier lifestyles, and exercise more regularly…all of which are correlated with healthier brain function. Thus, the sample bias of such large-scale epidemiological studies may not be able to ascertain with certainty the benefits or downsides of omega-3 supplementation.
But, as with most studies on supplements, the answer lies in consuming natural, unprocessed foods vs pills, no matter what the law states.
Medscape Feb. 2022