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B Vitamins Cut Lung Cancer Risk in Half

Lung cancer is the most common cause of death from cancer in the world today. A 2010 study revealed how improving your intake of B vitamins could reduce your risk of developing this disease by 50 percent or more.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, gathered information about the diet and lifestyle of over 385,000 people in several European countries between 1992 and 2000.

Blood samples were taken at the start of the study and analyzed for levels of B vitamins and related biochemicals, such as methionine, an essential amino acid your body doesn’t produce on its own. Methionine must be consumed in your diet.

These nutrients were studied because they are known to help the synthesis and repair of DNA in the body’s tissues, potentially preventing defects in DNA that can cause cancer.

It was found that the risk of developing lung cancer was reduced by at least 50 percent in people who had high levels of vitamin B6 and methionine. When the B vitamin folate was also present, it cut lung cancer risk by 66 percent.

The study participants had been broken into groups of people who had never smoked, formerly smoked and currently smoked. Interestingly, the risk of developing lung cancer was reduced by the same amounts in all groups.

Researchers were quick to point out that even though B vitamins reduce the risk of developing lung cancer for smokers, this does not detract from the importance of reducing the use of tobacco throughout the world. Smoking is still the number one cause of lung cancer and should be prevented.

It was also noted that long term consumption of adequate B vitamins appears to provide the most benefit and protection against cancer. There is no evidence that short-term doses of B vitamins would be protective.

B vitamin deficiencies tend to be high in many western populations. It’s important to make sure you’re consuming enough B vitamins on an ongoing basis.


How to Get More B Vitamins

Supplements are an easy way to boost your B vitamin intake. B-complex vitamin supplements contain all eight of the known B vitamins. You can also get supplements with one or more of the individual B vitamins, such as B6.

Food may be the best way to get your B vitamins because foods rich in B vitamins are also often packed with other vital nutrients. B vitamins tend to be found in most whole, unprocessed foods.

Excellent sources of B vitamins in general include:

  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Starchy vegetables, such as squash, potatoes and parsnips
  • Animal products, including meat, dairy, and eggs
  • Fruits, such as avocado, dates and berries
  • Legumes, including tempeh and tofu
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Molasses

Foods high in specifically vitamin B6 include fish, organ meats, starchy vegetables and fruit (other than citrus). Chick peas are also a great source of B6, with a one cup serving providing 55 percent of your daily recommended intake.

The amino acid methionine is available as a supplement. In food, it is primarily found in animal products like fish and red meats, as well as dairy and eggs.

Good vegan sources of methionine include spirulina, sesame seeds, soy products, peanuts and lentils. Smaller amounts are also found in many fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, sweet corn, cauliflower and asparagus.

By: Zoe Blarowski     September 13, 2016
Zoe Blarowski is a freelance writer with a bachelor’s in horticulture and a diploma in health information.
A vegetarian for over two decades, she specializes in writing about health, spirit and great food.
She loves to explore the mountains near her home town of Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.
source: www.care2.com


This Is Why Climbing Stairs Leaves You Breathless

A flight of stairs can leave the fittest people feeling out of breath.

It’s happened to all of us: We’re running late for a meeting and it’s only one flight of stairs away, so we dash on up. But when we arrive at the meeting, we’re embarrassed to be huffing and puffing as if we had just sprinted for a mile. It was just one little flight of stairs!

If you’re tempted to take this as a sign that you need to hit the gym more often, think again: Even marathon runners can get winded by the sudden task of vaulting a flight of stairs quickly, because physical fitness has little to do with it. It’s also tempting to assume it’s just a matter of not warming up. Eh, not really.

What happens when we approach a flight of stairs, with the intention of darting up them quickly, is that our brain tells our body to stop breathing.

Wait. What?

Humans (and many of our closest animal relatives) tend to stop or slow their breathing when concentrating on a specific task for a short period of time. When you’re running to make a meeting, you approach the stairs and aim to sprint up them quickly. This activates a specific program in your brain—let’s call it the “concentration on a small task” program. One result is that you slow or even stop your breathing as you approach the stairs, and maybe even continue this for the entire flight.

The outcome, of course, is that we combine a small burst of oxygen consumption by our muscles with a small burst of oxygen deprivation through our reduced respiration. Together, these two forces make our blood oxygen level plummet. After you’ve scaled the steps, the concentration program terminates. Your brain quickly notices the low blood oxygen level and it sends the opposite signal, which initiates rapid breathing to replace the missing oxygen. (It’s actually a spike in carbon dioxide in our blood that triggers this, but oxygen and carbon dioxide concentrations in our blood are inversely related in all normal circumstances.)


So why do we stop breathing right when we should be breathing more?

This reflex evolved to keep our bodies still when focusing on a physical task that requires concentration and precision. Imagine threading a needle, making a surgical incision, aiming a rifle, or throwing a dart. The key to being precise with these coordinated physical tasks is stillness and quiet concentration. By slowing or stopping our breathing, we reduce the background movements of our bodies and, hopefully, achieve better accuracy in the execution of our carefully planned action. That’s the idea, anyway.

Some people even report apnea (temporary suspension of breathing) when they are typing, chopping vegetables, looking for something in a drawer or refrigerator, drawing or painting, or any other task that requires momentary concentration.

One can imagine how useful this feature is for our animal cousins, who must make their living in the wild, as well as how useful it was for our ancestors who lived in the African savannah. From time to time, this trick likely made the difference between eating and not. That’s a clear evolutionary value and a clear selective pressure.

Try this: Next time you are dashing to a meeting, concentrate on your breathing, deliberately take deep breaths as you approach a flight of stairs, and force yourself to continue to breathe as you scale the steps, If you do this every time, it should become a habit and hopefully you’ll never arrive huffing and puffing again.

Posted May 10, 2016
Nathan H. Lents, Ph.D.
Beastly Behavior