An Apple a Day ~ Health Guide

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An Apple a Day

Written by Mystic on Monday, August 04, 2008

This was a study of more than 6,000 people aged 65 years and older, presented at the World Alzheimer's Congress 2000 on Tuesday, July 11 in Washington, USA. The study showed that a high intake of vitamin E from foods and/or dietary supplements was associated with reduced memory loss and other cognitive decline. The principal author was Martha Clare Morris, ScD.

The study was conducted over a 3-year period commencing in 1993. The authors surveyed the participants about their usual diet, including the intake of vitamin supplements. They then submitted the participants to a series of test which measured their cognitive abilities. This included recollection of details of a lengthy story and the ability to recollect series of numbers and symbols.

Dr. Morris said:

"We were interested in evaluating whether antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamin E and C, reduced cognitive decline associated with aging. While a number of studies have suggested that antioxidant nutrients offer protection against diseases related to aging, there are few studies that have specifically examined whether antioxidant nutrients protect against decline of cognitive function among aging Americans.

"This study is important because most of the previous research has focused on antioxidant nutrients as treatment therapy in persons who already have neurologic diseases, such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease. There is limited study on whether dietary intake of antioxidant nutrients can protect against the disease from ever occurring."

The research team at the Rush Institute for Health Aging and the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center are now studying the effects of vitamin C and E intake on the incidence of Alzheimer's disease in the same population.

An Apple a Day...

Science often takes time to catch up with folk wisdom. While not all folk wisdom in the area of health is to be followed, researchers often come up with the evidence we moderns need to confirm that what we already know is, in fact, correct. The latest of these is the old adage: an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Researchers at Cornell University have now, in a laboratory study, found that apples are rich in phytochemicals (largely flavonoids and polyphenols) which have anti-allergenic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-proliferative effects. The skins of apples were found to have the highest concentrations of these substances.

The researchers say that 100 g of apple can contain as much as 1,500 mg of vitamin C. They also identified vitamin E and beta-carotene.

The researchers used red delicious apples. They treated cancer cells with apple extract and found that cell proliferation was inhibited.

Using 50 mg of apple extract from the flesh, colon cancer cell growth was inhibited by 29%, while using 50 mg of extract from the apple skins inhibited the growth in the colon cancer cells by 43%.

When using the extracts against human liver cancer cells, the flesh extract inhibited cell proliferation by 40% while the skin extract inhibited proliferation by 50%.

One of the researchers, Prof Chang Yong Lee, started research on the cause of apple browning (oxidation) 15 years ago, and found the antioxidant compounds which led to the current research. The team (led by Prof Rui Hai Liu) has found that the level of phenolic compounds varies with growing region, with the seasons and from year to year.

It must be noted that the study was funded by the New York Apple Research Development Program and the New York Apple Association. It is published in the June 22 issue of the journal Nature.

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