Coffee, Tea, Chocolate, and Multivitamins
Posted Thursday, October 21, 2010

A variety of new research shows promising developments for natural products on several fronts, notably cardiovascular and neurological health.

According to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a daily intake of greater than 100 millilitres of tea or coffee may significantly reduce risk of glioblastoma tumors. The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study was a large-scale cohort study, and its findings showed a significant inverse association for glioma in those consuming more than 100 ml of coffee or tea. No such association was found for other types of brain tumor in relation to consumption. This study goes to further similar evidence found earlier this year in a US study regarding coffee and tea consumption and brain tumor incidence. Researchers stated:

"Given that we did not observe an association between coffee and tea consumption and meningioma risk, it is possible that the effect of coffee, if causal, is acting late in the process of carcinogenesis by preventing tumor growth."

In another study published in the latest issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Swedish researchers have found that daily multivitamin use is associated with lower heart attack rates for women. Within the study, this association grew stronger with long-term use.

In participants with no history of cardiovascular disease, multivitamin use alone was associated with a 27% lower risk of myocardial infraction. One of the largest observations of its sort, claiming a participant population of over 30,000 Swedish women between 49 and 83 years old, this study found an increasingly stronger association between multivitamin use and decreased risk among women who had been taking the supplements for more than five years.

The last bit of news we'll touch on here contains a much smaller test group, but it is too tasty to pass up. Recent research from the Hull University Medical School suggests that dark chocolate could work to reduce cholesterol levels for individuals with diabetes. According to the study published in Diabetic Medicine, people with Type 2 diabetes are two times as likely to develop cardiovascular disease than the general population. It is believed one of the main reasons for this is the greater number of Type 2 diabetics with low level HDL.

This initial study found that dark chocolate appears to be effective in improving cholesterol:HDL ratio in diabetics without affecting weight, inflammatory markers, insulin resistance or glycaemic control. This is certainly encouraging, and while cautioning against radical interpretation of these results, Hull researchers are currently completing further studies, increasing the populations involved in order to have a more thorough understanding of the impact of chocolate on vascular health.

For further info on each of these studies, as well as an excellent Healthnotes guide on how to choose the right multivitamin, please have a look at the links below.

DSIB: What Makes a Good Multivitamin?
AJCN: Coffee and tea intake and risk of brain tumors in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort study
AJCN: Multivitamin use and the risk of myocardial infarction: a population-based cohort of Swedish women
DM: High-cocoa polyphenol-rich chocolate improves HDL cholesterol in Type 2 diabetes patients


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