Thursday, February 06, 2014

The key to longevity depends on your SEX: Sleep is crucial for men while women need plenty of vitamin B6 and vegetables

Based on a survey of elderly Chinese in Taiwan who mostly followed traditional Chinese dietary beliefs!  Generalizability?  Don't go there

As if they needed any more excuse, new research suggests men need their sleep if they’re to live a long life.

Women, on the other hand, can live long lives despite poor sleep habits as long as they eat a diverse diet that includes vitamin B6 and plenty of vegetables.

Vitamin B6 can be found in food such as meat, bananas, nuts, garlic and pistachios. Among other things, it allows the body to use and store energy from protein and carbohydrates.

The findings come from a study led by Melbourne-based Monash University which looked at how diet contributed to sleep quality and mortality among elderly men and women.

Emeritus Professor Mark Wahlqvist from Monash University said sleep played a more important role in men’s mortality than women’s.

'Poor sleep has been associated with increased morbidity and mortality including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease,' he said.

‘We found that for both genders, poor sleep was strongly correlated with poor appetite and poor perceived health.'

The amount and type of sleep a person needs changes as they get older.

It isn’t always how long someone sleeps for that matters, but the quality of sleep. Someone's need for sleep can also change from day to day depending on the challenges faced.

In general, Bupa suggests adults need between seven and eight hours of sleep. However, some people can function after sleeping for much less time.

Chris Berka, chief executive of  Advanced Brain Monitoring claims that a complete sleep cycle typically takes about 90 minutes.

The rule of thumb is that you need 4-5 full sleep cycles. But there is no evidence that all seven to nine hours have to occur in a single bout.

But the researchers also found a significant relationship between a diverse diet and sleep, particularly in women.  ‘For women, good sleep only provides a survival advantage if they had a diverse diet,’ said Professor Wahlqvist.

The study found women were almost twice as likely as men to sleep badly.  Women who were poor sleepers had a lower intake of vitamin B6 from food than those whose sleep was rated 'fair' or 'good'. Fair sleepers had lower iron intakes than good sleepers.

Both men and women could improve their outlook by eating a more varied diet, the research said.

‘Sufficient dietary diversity in men could offset the adverse effect on mortality of poor sleep while women need to make sure they are eating foods high in vitamin B6,’ said Professor Walhqvist.

Participants in the study who did not sleep well were also less able to chew, had poor appetites, and did less physical activity.

‘These characteristics could contribute to lower overall dietary quality and food and nutrient intake, especially for vegetables, protein-rich foods, and vitamin B6,’ Professor Wahlqvist said.

‘They may also contribute to the risk of death, either in their own right or together with problematic sleep. Intervention focusing on education on healthy dietary practices in elderly people could improve sleep duration and provide more stable levels of health.’

The study was conducted on 1865 elderly men and women who were a part of the Nutrition and Health survey in Taiwan. The data was collected from 1999-2000.


What does cancer eat? Sugar, mostly

Based on mouse research

 His name is Dr. Gerald Krystal and he’s a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at University of British Columbia, as well as Distinguished Scientist at the Terry Fox Laboratory at the BC Cancer Agency.

I was doing my best to wade through Dr. Krystal’s research, Googling every third word. In the basest of laymen’s terms I’ll tell you that his findings hinged on a suspicion that it might be possible to starve cancer by blocking a tumour from accessing glucose. Dr. Krystal set about to see if it was possible to affect tumour growth or — perhaps even better — tumour initiation by affecting blood glucose levels. At the time he started his inquiry, this theory flew in the face of the prevailing science. Almost a decade after he began, his findings reveal that diet may play an even larger role than previously suspected in who gets cancer and which cancers metastasize.

Cancer, it turns out, craves carbs. Typically, the maleficent Western diet is made up of over 50% carbohydrates and only 15% protein. Protein has a unique capacity to enhance a body’s immune system but most of us don’t get nearly enough of this essential nutrient. We love our fats, however, but the wrong sort of fats in the wrong amounts can also prove deadly.

The foodstuffs we favour create a hospitable environment for cancer in a variety of ways. Calorie-rich, but nutrient-unbalanced, our grub tends to render us immuno-incompetent. That’s a big word that means defenceless. Obesity, unhealthy in and of itself, is a widespread side effect of the typical Western diet, but also a source of systemic inflammation. Inflammation engenders DNA damage which increases the risk of cancer.

Dr. Krystal’s team continues to explore the subject of diet-related tumour growth and initiation. The clinical trials with mice, however, suggest that we should all be making massive shifts in what we eat. Almost half the mice on the western diet developed mammary cancers by middle age, whereas none of the mice on the low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet did. Only one of the test mice achieved a normal life span on the standard western diet, with the rest of dying early of cancer-associated deaths. More than 50% of the mice on a low-carbohydrate diet, however, reached or exceeded a normal life span.


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