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Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is defined as a collection of clinical risk factors for cardiovascular disease, stroke, kidney disease, and type 2 diabetes. Researchers have pinpointed the role inflammation plays in MetS, yet research has lagged in studying the effect of natural anti-inflammatory agents such as curcumin on MetS.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide, particularly in the elderly. Chondroitin, a substance found in healthy cartilage surrounding joints, is one of the natural therapies most recommended by integrative practitioners to treat OA. But how effective is it? According to a Cochrane review, chondroitin offers a bevy of benefits to OA patients with few side effects as compared with pharmaceutical treatments.

A fascinating study published in the journal Cell describes how genetics shapes the microbiome of the human gastrointestinal system, which can ultimately influence weight.

According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, dietary flavonoids— specifically flavones, flavanones, anthocyanins, and flavonols found in berries, oranges, chocolate, red wine, and onions—increase a woman’s chances of maintaining good health as she ages.

A case-control study published in the British Medical Journal cautions that benzodiazepines—medications like Valium, Xanax, and Ativan prescribed to alleviate anxiety and insomnia—may increase a patient’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Research has shown repeatedly that antioxidants combat free radicals that can cause oxidative damage to cells, but can they affect skeletal health? Researchers in China have attempted to answer that question by investigating whether a high dietary intake of antioxidant nutrients is associated with a reduced risk of hip fracture in the elderly.

Several studies have already noted that vitamin D–deficient people experience more depression and more intense pain, but a study on pregnant women found that expectant mothers with low vitamin D levels experience worse pain during labor.

Another analysis of data from the PREDIMED trial has revealed that the Mediterranean diet may reverse metabolic syndrome. This multicenter, randomized trial was performed between October 2003 and December 2010 and involved men and women (age 55-80 y) at high risk for cardiovascular disease.

A Japanese study suggests that a specific blend of curcumin may be a panacea for osteoarthritis (OA), the most common form of arthritis worldwide. The research, published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Science, posits curcumin as an alternative to nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen.

Postprandial hyperglycemia—or spiking blood sugar after a meal—is a known risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes, obesity, oxidative stress, and cardiovascular diseases. Research has suggested that one approach to better control these spikes is to reduce carbohydrate digestion. Extracts of Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) have shown promise in managing blood glucose, but their effect on inhibiting digestion of carbohydrates has not been thoroughly examined.

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