Tag Archives: children

Carnitine Deficiency and Cancer Survival Rate

Childhood cancer survivors are at higher risk of developing heart disease than the general population, but a study published in brings good news. Testing for carnitine deficiency could prevent the development of congestive heart failure.

Childhood cancer is the second most common cause of death in children between one and 14 in the US. Leukemia is one of the most common of these cancers of children.

Some cancers, including leukemias, are treated by anthracyclines. Anthracyclines work by slowing or even stopping the growth of cancer cells.

They are extremely effective at treating the cancer, but have serious side effects. The most serious side effect is cardiotoxicity, which means the drugs damage the heart. Anthraclyclines could make the heart weaker, leading to less efficient pumping and circulation. This is known as congestive heart failure.

Researchers (Armenian SH, Gelehrter SK, et al) with Population Sciences, City of Hope, sought to investigate the link between anthracyclines and cardiac dysfunction, and if congestive heart failure could be prevented.

Study finds link between carnitine deficiency and heart failure in cancer survivors

The study, published in Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev on April 9, 2014, analyzed the hearts and blood plasma of 150 childhood cancer survivors who had previous been treated with anthracyclines.

Their hearts were tested with echocardiograms (ECG). 23% of the study participants had cardiac dysfunction.

When testing the blood plasma levels, which included testing levels of amino acids, the researchers discovered that the participants with cardiac dysfunction had significantly lower plasma carnitine levels.

The researchers concluded discovering this link to carnitine deficiency could lead to prevention, as a carnitine deficiency can be treated before and during anthracycline administration.

Additionally, testing for low levels of carnitine could become part of the screening process for low for patients at high risk of developing heart failure.

Sources: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24718281

All About Protein for Kids

What are proteins? If you are a kid or just want to learn all about protein in a simple way, then below is a simple explanation of what proteins are and why you need to eat them. Proteins help your body stay strong and builds muscle and other tissues (like organs and immune system) in your body. Some foods contain protein, such as beef, pork, fish, eggs, dairy products (like milk or cheese), nuts (like peanuts or peanut butter, almonds, walnuts) and seeds, as well as legumes (beans, lentils).

Your body knows all about protein because it uses specialized protein molecules to do certain tasks. For example, your body uses protein to make a part of your blood (red blood cells) that carries oxygen through your veins to all the other parts of your body; this part of the red blood cells is called hemoglobin. Another special part that protein is used for is to help keep the cardiac (heart) muscle strong. Proteins make your body parts–like legs and arms and organs–moving and keeps your immune system strong so you don’t catch diseases or get sick.

About protein and amino acids

If you eat protein, like a hamburger patty, then your digestive juices from your stomach and intestines start working to break the protein down into smaller parts called amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Then these amino acids can be used to make more proteins that help maintain your muscles, blood, bones, and organs.

At Kids Health they describe proteins as being like “long necklaces with differently shaped beads. Each bead is a small amino acid. These amino acids can join together to make thousands of different proteins.” There are over 200 different kinds of amino acids (“beads”) but only about 22 amino acids are common. About 13 of these amino acids are called non-essential amino acids because your body makes them automatically, but the other nine amino acids your body must get from food, so these are called essential amino acids (like arginine or leucine).

About protein types – complete and incomplete proteins

Complete proteins that have all nine essential amino acids come from animal sources, like meats and dairy. Vegetable sources of protein tend to be incomplete, however. If you want to know about protein sources that are both from vegetables and that are complete proteins you simply need to mix certain types of foods. Combining certain foods helps vegetarians (people who do not eat meat) get all their essential amino acids without eating animals or their products.

For example, some protein-rich vegetable-source foods that can be combined includes eating beans a rice, which are a staple food around the world for many developing countries. Another example is eating whole-grain bread and peanut butter together.

About proteins – how much do you need?

If you know how much you weigh then you can figure out just how much protein your body actually needs. Kids need about a half of a gram of protein for each pound (.5 kilograms) they weigh. That means they need a gram for every two pounds. If you weight 70 lbs then you need about 35 grams of protein each day. Adults usually need about 60 grams each day of protein.

Make sure you eat a balanced diet and if you want to see a chart about protein grams in food you can check this one out from the Moms Who Think website: http://www.momswhothink.com/diet-and-nutrition/high-protein-foods.html

References:

http://kidshealth.org/kid/nutrition/food/protein.html

http://www.momswhothink.com/diet-and-nutrition/high-protein-foods.html

Amino Acids: Taurine Essential For Brain Development

An interesting study of human brain cells highlights the crucial role the amino acid taurine has on the development of our brains. This amino acid is vital for optimal development of newborn and infant brains.

Taurine is an important inhibitory neurotransmitter. It’s essential for our cardiovascular function, and the development and function of our central nervous system. Every human needs taurine, adults and babies. Adults metabolize taurine from cysteine, using vitamin B6. High levels of B6 are found in shellfish, such as oysters and clams. It’s also present in meat and fish proteins.

Newborns get their taurine from breast milk, and taurine has been added to many infant formulas.

The role of taurine for optimal brain development has been studied in animal trials. Taurine increases the proliferation of neural stem cells in embryonic and adult rodent brains. But what about humans?

Researchers Hernández-Benítez R, Vangipuram SD, et al, from the Instituto de Fisiología Celular, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico, developed a study of taurine’s effect on cell numbers in human neural precursor cells, which are stem cells.

Neural precursor cells can become neurons (nerve cells), and can also become the two other main cell types in the nervous system. They can also be cultured in the laboratory, so have great potential for a variety of transplant treatments.

Effect of Taurine on human brain development

The researchers in this human cell study used neural precursor cells from three fetal brains (14-15 weeks of gestation). The cells were cultured, and then tested with taurine. After four days of culture, taurine induced an impressive increase of neural precursor cells: an increase of up to 188%. Taurine also dramatically increased the percentage of neurons formed: up to 480% in the best case.

These results show the positive effect taurine has on the formation and development of the brain.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23466467

Theanine Amino Acid Improves Sleep Quality For ADHD Children

Fantastic news for parents of ADHD children: the amino acid L-theanine will help their children sleep. A recent Canadian study proved that L-theanine significantly improves sleep quality in ADHD children, which benefits the entire family.

ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a neurobehavioral disorder characterized by either significant difficulties of inattention or hyperactivity and impulsiveness or a combination of the two.

As many as 50% of ADHD children experience sleep problems. ADHD children often resist going to bed, and take a long time to fall asleep. They wake at night, and may also suffer from restless legs syndrome, or sleep apnea. And because they don’t get enough sleep these ADHD children are not alert in the mornings, and are tired during the day.

A Canadian study by researchers (M Lyon, M Kapoor, et al) from the University of British Columbia hoped to prove that a synthesized product of the amino acid L-theanine improved sleep quality in ADHD children.

Theanine is an amino acid primarily found in green tea leaves. It can cross the blood–brain barrier—in fact EEG results show L-theanine inducing changes in brain waves. The amino acid makes our brains produce alpha waves, which are associated with relaxation.

ADHD sleep quality improved by amino acid L-theanine

93 children with ADHD completed the UBC trial. They were given four chewable, fruit-flavored  L-theanine tablets, or a placebo, every day during the 10-week clinical trial. Their sleep quality was measured, using a wristwatch-like monitoring device measuring sleep activity levels, sleep duration, nocturnal awakenings and sleep patterns. In addition, the parents completed a pediatric sleep questionnaire.

Results showed the children who had taken L-theanine tablets had a significantly higher sleep percentage and reduced nocturnal motor activity compared to the placebo group. They slept longer, with less moving around. This improves their attention, memory, emotion and behavior during the day.

L-theanine supplements are valuable new therapies for helping children with ADHD get enough sleep.

Please remember to visit our other health news portals, Medicinal Mushroom Information Center at http://medicinalmushroominfo.com Vancouver Health News at http://VancouverHealthNews.ca and http://todayswordofwisdom.com.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22214254