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    Omega-3 lowers childhood aggression in short term

    Incorporating omega-3, vitamins and mineral supplements into the diets of children with extreme aggression can reduce this problem behavior in the short term, especially its more impulsive, emotional form, according to University of Pennsylvania researchers who published their findings in theJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

    Adrian Raine, the Richard Perry University Professor of Criminology, Psychology and Psychiatry, has spent his career looking at how the brain's biological functioning affects antisocial behavior. He focuses specifically on understanding these actions and learning how to modify them, whether with something benign like a child acting out or with something extreme, in the case of a homicidal killer.

    "How do you change the brain to make people better?" he asked. "How can we improve brain functioning to improve behavior?"

    These questions formed the foundation for work Raine had previously done with adolescents on the African island of Mauritius. In a randomized control trial, one group received omega-3 supplements for six months, the other didn't. Those taking the fish oil saw a reduction in aggressive and antisocial behavior.

    "That was my starting point," he said. "I was really excited about the results we published there."

    Mauritius, however, is a tropical climate and a different culture from the United States, so Raine, a Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor, decided to test a new version of the study in Philadelphia, to aim for more broadly applicable outcomes. He partnered with Therese Richmond, the Andrea B. Laporte Professor of Nursing and associate dean for research and innovation, and several other Penn faculty, including Rose Cheney of the Perelman School of Medicine and Jill Portnoy of the Criminology Department in the School of Arts & Sciences.

    The Philadelphia randomized control study placed 290 11- and 12-year-olds with a history of violence into four groups: The first received omega-3 in the form of juice, as well as multivitamins and calcium for three months. For that same duration, a second group participated in cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, which included meeting weekly for an hour, with time split between the child, the parent and with both together.

    "Sessions focused on the links between thoughts, feelings and behaviors and also practicing alternative actions the children could take to deal with difficult situations rather than to emotionally react to something," said Richmond, who supervised the clinical trial. "It's helping the child build a toolbox of ways to interact with others. For example, if I'm angry, how might I cope with anger other than physically striking out?"All participants got homework, too.

    A third group in the study took the supplements and participated in CBT, and a fourth received resources and information targeted at reducing aggressive behavior. Blood samples at the experiment's start and conclusion measured omega-3 levels in each child.

    "Immediately after three months of the nutritional intervention rich in omega-3s, we found a decrease in the children's reporting of their aggressive behavior," Richmond said. The team also followed up three and six months later.

    At the first check-in, participants getting the combination of CBT and omega-3s reported less aggression than the control group and the therapy-only group. By the final check-in, however, any positive effects had dissipated. What remains unknown is whether continued use of omega-3s would lead to a long-term reduction in antisocial behavior.

    There were other minor limitations to the research. For one, self-reporting completed by parents and children didn't line up. The 11- and 12-year-olds in the omega-3 and CBT-supplement groups noted fewer aggressive behaviors; their parents said such tendencies hadn't changed. Also, some participants dropped out before the study had finished.

    Despite these challenges, Raine, Richmond and their colleagues said the findings provide some important insight.

    "No matter what program you use, could adding omega-3s to your treatment help?" Raine asked. "This suggests it could."

    And though the work answers some questions, it also creates new ones, which returns to a larger point regarding the mind-action connection: It's complicated.

    "We can't oversimplify the complexity of antisocial behavior. There are many causes," Raine said. "It's not just the brain. Is it a piece of the jigsaw puzzle? I think it is." 

    Funding for the research came from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Clinical & Translational Research Center at the Perelman School of Medicine and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

    Story Source:

    The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of Pennsylvania. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

    Many with migraines may have vitamin deficiencies, says study

    A high percentage of children, teens and young adults with migraines appear to have mild deficiencies in vitamin D riboflavin and coenzyme Q10 - a vitamin-like substance found in every cell of the body that is used to produce energy for cell growth and maintenance.

    These deficiencies may be involved in patients who experience migraines, but that is unclear based on existing studies.

    "Further studies are needed to elucidate whether vitamin supplementation is effective in migraine patients in general, and whether patients with mild deficiency are more likely to benefit from supplementation," says Suzanne Hagler, MD, a Headache Medicine fellow in the division of Neurology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and lead author of the study.

    Dr. Hagler and colleagues at Cincinnati Children's conducted the study among patients at the Cincinnati Children's Headache Center. She presented her findings at the 58th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society in San Diego.

    Dr. Hagler's study drew from a database that included patients with migraines who, according to Headache Center practice, had baseline blood levels checked for vitamin D, riboflavin, coenzyme Q10 and folate, all of which were implicated in migraines, to some degree, by previous and sometimes conflicting studies. Many were put on preventive migraine medications and received vitamin supplementation, if levels were low. Because few received vitamins alone, the researchers were unable to determine vitamin effectiveness in preventing migraines.

    She found that girls and young woman were more likely than boys and young men to have coenzyme Q10 deficiencies at baseline. Boys and young men were more likely to have vitamin D deficiency. It was unclear whether there were folate deficiencies. Patients with chronic migraines were more likely to have coenzyme Q10 and riboflavin deficiencies than those with episodic migraines.

    Previous studies have indicated that certain vitamins and vitamin deficiencies may be important in the migraine process. Studies using vitamins to prevent migraines, however, have had conflicting success.

    Source: Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center




    What to look for in a Probiotic

    Having a healthy balance of good intestinal flora is one of the most important aspects of health. If the ratio of bad bacteria in the gut begins to outnumber the good bacteria it can lead to a host of health problems.

    Many take probiotics on a daily basis for general health. If you have been on antibiotics to knock out a bug it is important to remember antibiotics also wipe out much of the good bacteria. After antibiotics is a time probiotics are often used to replenish the good bacteria.

    When shopping for Acidophilus / Probiotics it is important to make sure they are stored in the refrigerator at the store where they are bought to ensure potency. A good dose of probiotics would be 8 billion to 50 billion.

    It is also important to look at the amount of probiotic strains in the product. One rule of thumb is to look for a broad variety of strains. 4 different strains would be on the low side while 10 different strains would be optimal.

    Why Vitamin D deficiencies are so prevalent in our modern world

    Sunlight through windows such as in the office or in your car filters out most of UVB radiation, what you get is UVA radiation which decreases vitamin D. What you want is direct sunlight UVB to increase D, UVA is more responsible for skin cancers without the UVB.

    Roughly half the population are D deficient. If you've not already had it tested ask for a 25(OH)D or 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test. If you are deficient supplement with D-3 not D-2.

    Anyone taking D3 and or calcium should be taking K2 as well. It is a co-factor of D3, working with it to tell the body where to deposit calcium so it doesn't end up in places like joints, blood vessels, and organs.

    Vitamin K2 helps calcium to go to the right places. It directs calcium to go into your bones and teeth instead of your arteries.

    Deficiency in K2 causes calcium build up in the arteries and valves. It also attaches to plaque. This can cause hardening of the arteries, heart attacks and strokes.

    MK-7 is a type of K2 and is the most biologically active form of K2 to buy for health.

    ------What's the deal with B-12-----?


    Cyanocobalamin vs. Methylcobalamin


    Cyanocobalamin is the most common form of B12 supplement available. The popularity of this synthetic option is based primarily on its affordability. It is the primary B12 found in mass market retail stores. By offering a synthetic B12 supplement, it can better be massed produced. This increases the manufacturer’s profit and may or may not lower the actual price paid by consumers.

    It is not found in nature, but is a cheap, synthetic chemical produced in a laboratory. As such, it is not found in plants or animals and is not at all naturally occurring, as often claimed.

    Since Cyancobalamin is not found naturally, your body has no need for the cyano compound and must process it first in order to filter out the unnecessary compound- one that is also found in the poison cyanide. This means it must be filtered through your liver so that the compound is not absorbed. For smokers or those with liver problems, this can be troublesome and can cause unnecessary additional damage.

    While the cyanide absorbed during the process is not in quantities large enough to do significant damage, it is not a risk that should be taken lightly. The process of converting the Cyancobalamin into a useable form of B12 requires extra work by the body, further diminishing its positive effects.


    Unlike its synthetic counterpart, Methylcobalamin is found in nature. Its prefix “methyl” indicates that it can be put to use immediately by your body. Because it is natural there is no need to filter out poisonous chemical compounds. Not only does this ease of absorption result in higher levels of B12, it also ensures that the body uses the vitamin more effectively and retains it longer.

    It is also important to note that Methylcobalamin is the specific vitamin required by the nervous system to maintain health. Whereas Cyancobalamin is ineffective at treating nervous system symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency, including vision problems, Methylcobalamin is successful.

    The benefits of taking Methylcobalamin as opposed to Cyancobalamin do not extend only to neurological health, but to all other traditional benefits associated with Vitamin B12. The difference in effectiveness comes down to the ease in which it’s absorbed, which makes sense since many B12 deficiencies are not a result of lack of exposure, but the body’s ability to properly absorb it. Methylcobalamin circumvents this problem.



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