Monday, February 15, 2010

Abnormal mice helped by special diet

I am not sure I should be commenting on this at all. It borders on nutcase stuff. It is the free radical religion on steroids. But "Science" takes it seriously enough to summarize it. Clearly, however, its distance from generalizability to normal human beings is great -- despite claims to the contrary. "Science" headlines their report as "Dietary Formula That Maintains Youthful Function Into Old Age". Spare us!
A Dietary Supplement Abolishes Age-Related Cognitive Decline in Transgenic Mice Expressing Elevated Free Radical Processes

J.A. Lemon, D.R. Boreham and C.D. Rollo

We previously found that transgenic mice overexpressing growth hormone (TGM) have elevated and progressively increasing free radical processes in brain that strongly correlates with reduced survivorship. Young mature TGM, however, displayed vastly enhanced learning of an eight-choice cued maze and qualitatively different learning curves than normal controls. Here we document the age-related patterns in learning ability of TGM and normal mice. Learning appeared inferior in both genotypes of very young mice but TGM were confirmed to be superior to normal mice upon maturity. Older TGM, however, showed rapid age-related loss of their exceptional learning, whereas normal mice at 1 year of age showed little change. The cognitive decline of TGM was abolished by a complex "anti-aging" dietary supplement formulated to promote membrane and mitochondrial integrity, increase insulin sensitivity, reduce reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, and ameliorate inflammation. Results are discussed in the context of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, long-term potentiation, learning, aging and neuropathology, based on known impacts of the growth hormone axis on the brain, and characteristics of TGM.


Açaí: The Ponzi Berry

Offers for açaí juice and supplements have flooded the nation’s email boxes and airwaves. Don’t get hoodwinked by the claims and "free trials."

Açaí berries are a dietary staple in Brazil and have also been used medicinally by Amazonian tribes. Açaí juice was introduced in the U.S. in 2001, and there are now dozens of food and drink products containing açaí. As a juice, pulp, powder, or capsule, açaí is marketed as a magic path to weight loss, a wrinkle remover, a way to cleanse the body of "toxins," and indeed just a plain old miracle cure.

On the Internet you’ll find a bouquet of endorsements for açaí from such celebrities as Oprah and Rachael Ray (the TV chef), plus statements by these same celebrities denying any such endorsement. You will also find a war of words among makers of açaí products, each one claiming safety and effectiveness for its particular formulation, and warning of scams by others.

Since açaí came on the market there have been a few studies pointing to potential benefits. Like many other fruits, açaí berries are high in antioxidants and other interesting compounds. But these were lab studies, and the results may not apply to humans. There is no scientific basis for weight-loss claims or any other health claims for açaí.

Consumer protection groups and the Better Business Bureau have now come out against açaí marketers. "If Bernard Madoff were in the food business," said one nutritionist, "he’d be offering 'free' trials of açaí-based weight-loss products." Online ads regularly promise a free trial of açaí, saying that all you have to pay is shipping and handling. The catch is that you must supply your credit card number, and you’ll automatically be signed up for $50 monthly shipments that will prove hard to cancel.

We urge you not to give your credit card number to anybody selling açaí products. Hundreds of complaints have been registered, and you may never get your money back.

There is no magic berry for weight loss or good health. Açaí berries are no doubt a good food, like other berries, but why pay a fortune for them or supplements containing them?



H. Guide said...

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H. Ghr said...

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