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Amazon tribe Tsimane have the healthiest heart : Study

Raghu Kshitiz

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KATHMANDU — Heart disease, a disease that until now doctors have thought inevitably becomes a risk with age, is the biggest killer in the world. But the Tsimane people of the Bolivian Amazon, do not demonstrate the pattern seen in Western and industrialised societies.

The Tsimane people living in the forests of Bolivia as those with the healthiest arteries found anywhere in the world, according to the study, published in The Lancet journal.

A high carbohydrate diet of rice, plantain, manioc and corn, with a small amount of wild game and fish – plus around six hours’ exercise every day — has given the Tsimané people the healthiest hearts in the world, the study said.

The Tsimane have the lowest reported levels of vascular ageing for any population studied, with rates of coronary atherosclerosis five times lower than in the US, researchers said.

For the study, researchers visited 85 Tsimane villages between 2014 and 2015 and took CT scans of the hearts of about 700 adults between the ages of 40 and 94 to measure the extent of the hardening of the coronary arteries among other metrics.

85 percent of the Tsimane people,based on the CT scans, had no risk of heart disease, 13 percent had low risk and only three per cent had moderate or high risk.

The findings continued into old age, where nearly two-thirds of those over 75 years old had almost no risk of heart disease and only eight percent had moderate or high risk.

“These findings are very significant,” said Randall Thompson, from Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, who presented the results of the study at American College of Cardiology (ACC) here.

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“Put another way, the arteries of the Tsimane are 25-30 years younger than the arteries of sedentary urbanites. The data also show that the Tsimane arteries are aging at a much slower rate,” said Thompson.

Age, smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity and diabetes, accompanied by the loss of subsistence diets and lifestyles in contemporary society could become a risk factor for heart disease, the research has suggested.

In the Tsimane population, heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose were also low, possibly as a result of their lifestyle.

“In cities, we can drive to a fast food restaurant and pick up 2,000 calories without getting out of our car,” said co-author Ben Trumble.

But the Tsimane people spend most of every day hunting, fishing, farming and gathering wild fruits and nuts, and follow a carbohydrate-based diet containing little protein and fat.

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Vitamin D deficiency linked higher diabetes risk

Raghu Kshitiz

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KATHMANDU — People with vitamin D deficiency might have a greater risk of developing diabetes, researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Seoul National University said in a new study report.

For the study published in PLOS One, researchers studied 903 healthy adults without pre-diabetes or diabetes during clinic visits from 1997 to 1999, and followed up with them for 10 years, to study their levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin and their medical condition.

Among the study participants, who had a mean age of 74, researchers found 47 new cases of diabetes and 337 new cases of pre-diabetes.

“Further research is needed on whether high 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels might prevent type 2 diabetes or the transition from pre-diabetes to diabetes,” study co-author Dr. Cedric F Garland, adjunct professor in the UC San Diego School of Medicine Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, said in a press release.

“But this paper and past research indicate there is a strong association,” he said.

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The 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which is known as the ‘sunshine’ vitamin because it’s produced in your skin in response to sunlight, also can be received through certain foods and supplements. The vitamin helps in growth and development of bones and teeth, and resistance against certain diseases.

The minimum healthy level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in blood plasma was listed as 30 nanograms per milliliter, which is 10 ng/ml above the level recommended in 2010 by the Institute of Medicine, now part of The National Academies.

“We found that participants with blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D that were above 30 ng/ml had one-third of the risk of diabetes and those with levels above 50 ng/ml had one-fifth of the risk of developing diabetes,” first author Dr. Sue K. Park, of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Seoul National University College of Medicine in South Korea, said.

Those below 30 ng/ml were considered vitamin D deficient and up to five times at greater risk for developing diabetes than those above 50 ng/ml.

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To reach the D levels of 30 ng/ml, Garland said it would require dietary supplements of 3,000 to 5,000 international units per day, but less with moderate daily sun exposure.

The recommended average daily amount of vitamin D is 400 IU for children up to 1 year, 600 IU for ages 1 to 70 years and 800 IU for persons over 70, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Good food sources for vitamin D include egg yolk, shrimp,salmon, sardines, fortified milk, cereal, yogurt and orange juice.

With Agency Inputs

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