Omega-3 fatty acids are known for a range of health benefits, from promoting brain and heart health to reducing inflammation and protection against several chronic conditions.
In a new study, researchers found that omega-3 acids, especially the type found in foods like flaxseeds, walnuts, chia seeds, canola oil and soybean oil, can slow down the progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
It is a debilitating nervous system disease that gradually worsens over time and can be fatal. The condition results in a loss of muscle control and affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. It is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease after the baseball player who was diagnosed with it.
The initial symptoms of the disease include muscle weakness, difficulty in walking and hand movements. The symptoms can slowly progress to difficulties with chewing, swallowing, speaking and breathing.
The exact cause of ALS is not known. However, around 10% of people get it from a risk gene passed down from a family member. It is estimated that more than 32,000 people in the U.S. live with the condition.
In the latest study, researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Massachusetts evaluated 449 people living with ALS in a clinical trial. The team assessed the severity of their symptoms, the progression of their disease, along with the levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood, for 18 months.
The study suggested that alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 found in plants, is particularly beneficial in slowing the progression of ALS. The participants with the highest levels of ALA had a 50% reduced risk of death during the study period compared to those with the lowest levels of ALA.
Researchers also found a reduction in death risk in participants who had eicosapentaenoic acid, the type of omega-3 fatty acid found in fatty fish and fish oil, and linoleic acid found in vegetable oils, nuts and seeds.
A previous study conducted by the same team suggested that a diet high in ALA and higher blood levels of the nutrient could reduce the risk of developing the condition.
“In this study, we found that among people living with ALS, higher blood levels of ALA were also associated with a slower disease progression and a lower risk of death within the study period. These findings, along with our previous research suggest that this fatty acid may have neuroprotective effects that could benefit people with ALS,” said Kjetil Bjornevik, the lead author of the study.
Published by Medicaldaily.com
Feeling Tired All The Time? Possible Causes And Solutions
Long days of work, lack of sleep, and stress at the office can be the most common factors that make you feel tired. However, feeling “tired all the time” (TATT) without known reasons can be an indication of an underlying health issue that needs immediate attention.
Finding the exact cause of the lingering tiredness can be the first step toward solving the symptom.
Health conditions that cause fatigue:
1. Anemia – Anemia is one of the most common causes of fatigue. A person who has anemia does not have enough red blood cells in the body, causing symptoms such as tiredness, dizziness, feeling cold and crankiness.
Most often, anemia is caused by iron deficiency. Hence, the condition can be best resolved by including iron-rich foods in the diet and use of iron supplements.
2. Sleep Apnea – It causes the body to stop breathing momentarily during sleep. The condition can affect the quality of sleep and hence make you feel fatigued.
For milder cases of sleep apnea, lifestyle changes such as losing weight or quitting smoking can help solve the sleep disorder. In more severe cases where there is an obstruction in breathing, surgeries and therapies can help.
3. Diabetes – A person who has diabetes has changes in blood sugar level, which can cause fatigue. A patient who is already on diabetic medication can also experience tiredness as a side effect of the medication.
Early identification and taking the correct treatment is the key to managing diabetes. Losing extra weight and having a healthy diet also help in the treatment.
4. Thyroid – Thyroid diseases can be due to an overactive or an underactive thyroid gland. In people who have an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), the metabolism slows down leading to symptoms such as lethargy and fatigue. In people with an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), the metabolism speeds up leading to fatigue and difficulty sleeping.
Right diet and lifestyle choices, along with medications, can help in thyroid management.
5. Infections – A person can show symptoms of fatigue when the body is fighting a viral or bacterial infection. Infections ranging from the flu to HIV can cause tiredness.
Along with fatigue, other symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, shortness of breath and appetite loss can also accompany the infection. Treating the symptoms and taking adequate rest helps in faster recovery.
6. Food allergies – Fatigue may be an early warning sign of hidden food allergies and autoimmune disorders such as celiac disease. Identifying the allergen using a food allergy test or through an elimination diet can help in allergy treatment.
7. Heart disease – If you feel exhausted from an activity that used to be easy, then it is good to check your heart health, as fatigue can be an indication of underlying heart disease.
8. Depression/ anxiety – Fatigue can also be an indicator of a mental health disorder such as depression or anxiety. A combination of medication and psychotherapy can help relieve symptoms.
Apart from serious health conditions, certain lifestyle habits such as dehydration, poor diet, stress and insufficient sleep can cause exhaustion. Having a well-balanced diet, regular exercise and routine sleep can help solve fatigue caused by lifestyle habits.
Published by Medicaldaily.com
How To Overcome Your Sleep Debt And Reclaim Energy
Picture this: you’re burning the midnight oil, studying or binge-watching your favorite shows, all at the expense of a good night’s sleep. Have you ever stopped to think about the toll it takes on your body and mind? The consequences can be more serious than you might realize.
Not getting enough sleep can translate into a multitude of issues, including weight gain, lack of focus, tiredness, a haze of confusion, and even depression. If you too are encountering similar issues lately then chances are you have a sleep debt.
Wondering what is sleep debt?
People from 13-18 years of age need 8 hours of sleep, whilst adults beyond that age will require at least 7 hours of snooze.
Sleep debt is a collection of the total hours you haven’t slept or traded your sleep for something else. Sleep debt keeps piling up as a person falls short of the total hours of sleep recommended for an adult, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And when you keep letting go of your sleep for other activities, the body adapts to the new normal and effects start to reflect on the energy levels, which deplete.
“However, like every other debt out there, this too has a repayment option,” Dr. Kunal Kumar, medical director of the Sleep Center at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, told Livestrong.
Below are some expert-vetted ways you can pay back the sleep debt. (Courtesy: Livestrong and Sleepfoundation)
Just like financial debt, imagine sleep debt as a debt you owe to your body. It needs to be repaid. The good news is that catching up on sleep is indeed possible.
- Maintain a set sleep schedule: Overhauling the sleep schedule is a pretty difficult task to achieve, and it’s best to do that gradually. Create a set sleep schedule by making some small changes to your routine. Instead of making abrupt shifts in your bedtime or wake-up time, adjust them gradually by 15 to 30-minute increments.
- Minimize your gadget usage: Wind down activities and minimize electronic usage before bed to promote better sleep. Relax and prepare for quality sleep by dimming the lights and setting an alarm for 30 minutes to an hour before bed.
- Reshuffle your sleeping arrangements: Are you finding it hard to get a good night’s sleep due to excessive sweating? Well, here’s a handy solution: consider upgrading to a cooling mattress or opting for cooling sheets. These innovative sleep essentials can help regulate your body temperature, and keep you comfortably cool throughout the night, ensuring a more blissful slumber. Memory foam pillows can work wonders in relieving neck and back discomfort in case you are struggling with backache.
- Improve the bedroom environment: Create a sleep-friendly bedroom environment by adjusting the temperature for comfort, and blocking out disruptive lights, or noises that might disturb your restful slumber. And if your mattress, pillow, or sheets are worn out or no longer providing the support you need, consider treating yourself to new ones.
Published by Medicaldaily.com
CDC To Investigate Swine Flu Case That Killed 42-Year-Old Woman In Brazil
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced plans to investigate samples collected from a fatal swine flu infection in Brazil, according to a statement by the World Health Organization (WHO). The investigation was initiated after it was discovered that the fatality resulted from an H1N1 variant spreading among pigs.
In various instances, occasional spillovers of the H1N1 swine flu have been identified worldwide in individuals who had contact with infected pigs. However, it remains uncertain how the patient in this particular case contracted the virus. The deceased, a 42-year-old woman residing in the Brazilian state of Paraná, had never directly interacted with pigs.
The woman developed a fever, headache, abdominal pain and sore throat on May 1. She was hospitalized on May 3 due to a severe acute respiratory infection. She got admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) the following day but died on May 5, according to the WHO’s statement.
Investigators discovered that two of the patient’s close contacts worked at a nearby pig farm. However, both individuals tested negative for influenza and displayed no respiratory symptoms.
“Based on the information currently available, WHO considers this a sporadic case, and there is no evidence of person-to-person transmission of this event. The likelihood of community-level spread among humans and/or international disease spread through humans is low,” the WHO noted.
Initial analyses conducted by health authorities in Brazil have confirmed that the virus responsible for the fatality is an H1N1 strain closely related to previously observed samples in the region.
“To date, sporadic human infections caused by influenza A(H1N1)v and A(H1N2)v viruses have been reported in Brazil, and there has been no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission,” the organization added.
A CDC spokesperson said they have not yet received the specimen from Brazilian authorities. The CDC, as one of the WHO’s collaborating centers, plays a crucial role in global flu surveillance efforts. The public health agency regularly studies thousands of sequenced flu viruses collected each year, comparing their genetic makeup with previous variants that have infected animals and humans.
This summer, the Biden administration has been actively planning to enhance efforts to detect cases of potentially deadly new flu variants spreading to humans, according to CBS News.
Alongside the escalating threat posed by the widespread avian flu outbreak among birds in the Americas, previous years have witnessed incidents of “novel influenza virus infections” following human-animal interactions at events such as agricultural fairs.
Published by Medicaldaily.com