What's the buzz

What's the buzz

Processed red meat ups heart failure risk

 A new study suggests that men who eat moderate amounts of processed red meat may have an increased risk of incidence and death from heart failure.

Processed meats are preserved by smoking, curing, salting or adding preservatives. Examples include cold cuts (ham, salami), sausage, bacon and hot dogs.

“Processed red meat commonly contains sodium, nitrates, phosphates and other food additives, and smoked and grilled meats also contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, all of which may contribute to the increased heart failure risk,” Alicja Wolk, DMSc, senior author of the study and professor in the Division of Nutritional Epidemiology at the Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden said. 

“Unprocessed meat is free from food additives and usually has a lower amount of sodium,” Wolk said.

The Cohort of Swedish Men study — the first to examine the effects of processed red meat separately from unprocessed red meat — included 37,035 men 45-79 years old with no history of heart failure, ischemic heart disease or cancer.

Participants completed a questionnaire on food intake and other lifestyle factors and researchers followed them from 1998 to the date of heart failure diagnosis, death or the end of the study in 2010.

After almost 12 years of follow-up, researchers found heart failure was diagnosed in 2,891 men and 266 died from heart failure.

For each 50 gram (e.g. 1-2 slices of ham) increase in daily consumption of processed meat, the risk of heart failure incidence increased by 8 per cent and the risk of death from heart failure by 38 per cent.

The risk of heart failure or death among those who ate unprocessed red meat didn’t increase.

Playing football improves heart function in diabetes patients

New studies suggest that football training produces significant changes in body composition and glycaemic control in type 2 diabetes patients, and effectively lowers blood pressure in men with high blood pressure.

The studies were carried out by the Copenhagen Centre for Team Sport and Health at the University of Copenhagen. The studies show that 24 weeks of twice-weekly recreational football training sessions lower blood pressure and improves heart function in men with high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

Furthermore, men with type 2 diabetes lost 12 per cent of their abdominal fat and reduced their blood sugar 20 per cent more than inactive control subjects. 

These effects are likely to reduce the risk of developing heart diseases including heart failure and myocardial infarction, and the participants had a reduced need for antidiabetic and antihypertensive medication on completion of the studies.

The projects investigated the effects of football training in 21 men with type 2 diabetes and 32 men with high blood pressure aged 30 / 60 years with focus on metabolic and cardiovascular changes. Football training increases heart rate and improves general health.
People with low blood levels of vit D likely to die prematurely

Researchers have found that persons with lower blood levels of vitamin D were twice as likely to die prematurely as people with higher blood levels of vitamin D.

The finding was based on a systematic review of 32 previous studies that included analyses of vitamin D, blood levels and human mortality rates.

The specific variant of vitamin D assessed was 25-hydroxyvitamin D, the primary form found in blood. “Three years ago, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that having a too-low blood level of vitamin D was hazardous,” Cedric Garland, DrPH, professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at University of California, San Diego and lead author of the study said.

“This study supports that conclusion, but goes one step further.

 The 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) blood level cutoff assumed from the IOM report was based solely on the association of low vitamin D with risk of bone disease.

This new finding is based on the association of low vitamin D with risk of premature death from all causes, not just bone diseases,” Garland said. Garland said that the blood level amount of vitamin D associated with about half of the death rate was 30 ng/ml. 

“This study should give the medical community and public substantial reassurance that vitamin D is safe when used in appropriate doses up to 4,000 International Units (IU) per day,” Heather Hofflich, DO, professor in the UC San Diego School of Medicine’s Department of Medicine said.