HEADLINES / TRENDS l STATS l RESEARCH l MEDIA l PEOPLE

January 2016

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M E D I A

Unlocking the Power of Your Genes

Ever since scientists first mapped the genes that make up our DNA, people have been trying to make sense of the data this effort has unleashed. One basic question has been: Can we work with our genes to promote health and happiness?

“We’ve been taught that genes are fixed and unchangeable,” write integrative medicine pioneer (and November/December 2009 Energy Times cover celebrity) Deepak Chopra, MD, and Rudolph Tanzi, PhD, in Super Genes: Unlock the Astonishing Power of Your DNA for Optimum Health and Well-Being (Harmony Books). “The news everyone should hear is that gene activity is largely under our control.” Chopra and Tanzi note that this premise has profound implications: How you live can influence everything from mood, sleep and pain reduction to cancer risk and even the aging process itself.

The book explores what Chopra and Tanzi call the “super genome,” which consists not only of the genes you inherited from your parents but also the genes contained in the trillions of microbes that inhabit your body—your microbiome—as well as your epigenome, essentially a dimmer switch that turns genes on or off, up or down. Super Genes explains how you manipulate the epigenetic switch through the lifestyle choices you make, not only in such areas as exercise and diet but also by choosing positive emotions over negative ones and learning mature, thoughtful responses to stress.

Taking charge of your genes means taking charge of your life, instead of letting life take charge of you. Super Genes provides a guide to this challenging, but worthwhile, endeavor.

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EDITOR'S CHOICE

Chop Keeper

Do you enjoy cooking shows, the ones in which a celebrity chef whips up a meal in 30 minutes that would take you an entire day to prepare? Mr. or Ms. Famous Cook has a hidden advantage: an army of assistants to clean up the mess all that slicing and dicing creates.

Now you can stop chasing bits of onion across the countertop. The Chop Keeper has raised sides to keep chopped vegetables, meat juices and baking ingredients from scattering. It’s flexible, forming a funnel when folded. And it’s strong; you can use it to carry steaks to the grill or roasts to the table. What’s more, the Chop Keeper, manufactured in the USA, is BPA-free and can be placed on your dishwasher’s top rack for cleaning.

You may never match Bobby Flay or Rachel Ray in terms of knife skills, but with the Chop Keeper you can at least maintain a clean kitchen without hiring your own help.

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CALENDAR

 

National Birth Defects

Prevention Month

The Idea:

To prevent birth defects by encouraging would-be moms to make a PACT:
Plan ahead, Avoid harmful substances,
Choose a healthy lifestyle, Talk to your healthcare provider

Sponsored By:

The National Birth Defects Prevention Network

Contact: nbdpn.org

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Krill Oil May boost Athletes’

Immune Function

Improved immunity may be among the many benefits of regular physical activity, but the kind of hard training undertaken by serious athletes can have the paradoxical effect of actually lowering resistance to upper respiratory infections. However, it now appears that a tiny sea creature may help blunt the depressed immunity that can accompany all-out exercise.

Researchers at Scotland’s University of Glasgow gave either oil taken from krill, a crustacean rich in omega-3 fatty acids, or a placebo to 37 healthy young men and women. All the volunteers took part in cycling time trials as part of the study.

After six weeks, krill oil produced increases in the activity of natural killer (NK) cells, which help fight viral infections, during the recovery period after exercise. “NK cells are the first line of defense, reacting quickly to threats such as bacteria and viruses to keep them under control until the antigen-specific immune system responds,” said study coordinator Stuart Gray, PhD. “Their activity can be decreased by up to 60% for several hours after extended exercise.”

Krill oil also promoted increased production of IL-2, a substance that helps regulate immune cell activity.

Results were reported in the journal PLOS ONE.

The reseachers found that krill oil supplementation was able to increase bloodstream levels of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), the types of omega-3 that are most active in the body. These fats help reduce chronic inflammation, which has been linked to heart disease, cancer and other disorders.

What’s more, omega-3 fatty acids play a key role in proper brain function. Research has shown that reduced omega-3 intake is associated with increased risk of age-related cognitive decline or dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

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