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Combat the Effects of Physical Stress

Posted Jul 23 2013 10:08pm

Polar expeditions to Antarctica offer a unique opportunity for scientists to analyze changes in biological and physiological parameters involved in lipid, glucose, and thyroid hormone metabolism as expedition members’ bodies attempt to adapt to the harsh environment.  Masahisa Horiuchi, from the Kagoshima University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences (Japan), and colleagues studied 22 Japanese Antarctica Research Expedition members who stayed in Antarctica for 3 months starting in December 2010.  The subjects were randomly assigned to receive a daily supplement of ornithine (400 mg as l-ornithine hydrochloride), an amino acid, or placebo, for four weeks.  Participants were self-assessed as to quality of sleep during the stay in the Antarctic.   Blood analysis revealed that the physically challenging expedition caused levels of creatine kinase, pactate dehydrogenase, and ammonia to rise.  Sleep disturbances improved among the ornithine-supplemented subjects, as compared to the control group.  The study authors conclude that: “[Ornithine] is effective for people with heavy physical workloads in places such as Antarctica.”

Masahisa Horiuchi, Hirohiko Kanesada, Takahiro Miyata, Kentaro Watanabe, Akihito Nishimura, Takashi Kokubo, Takayoshi Kirisako.  “Ornithine ingestion improved sleep disturbances but was not associated with correction of blood tryptophan ratio in Japanese Antarctica expedition members during summer.”  Nutrition Research, 11 June 2013.

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Anti-Aging Forum MLDP Join A4M
Tip #192 - Stay Connected
Researchers from the University of Chicago (Illinois, USA) report that social isolation may be detrimental to both mental and physical health. The team analyzed data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project, a nationwide US study involving 3,000 men and women, ages 57 to 85 years. They arrived at three key findings regarding the relationships between health and different types of isolation:

• The researchers found that the most socially connected older adults are three times as likely to report very good or excellent health compared to those who are least connected, regardless of whether they feel isolated.

• The team found that older adults who feel least isolated are five times as likely to report very good or excellent health as those who feel most isolated, regardless of their actual level of social connectedness.

• They determined that social disconnectedness is not related to mental health unless it brings feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Separately, Rush University Medical Center (Illinois, USA) researchers studied 906 older men and women, testing their motor functions (including grip, pinch strength, balance, and walking) and surveying their social activity, for a period of 5 years. Those study participants with less social activity were found to have a more rapid rate of motor function decline. Specifically, the team found that every one-point decrease in social activity corresponded to an increase in functional aging of 5 years, translating to a 40% higher risk of death and 65% higher risk of disability.

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