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Cognitive function often declines after a stroke, and the prevalence of dementia in stroke survivors is approximately 30%. In a multicenter, randomized, controlled trial, researchers investigated the effects of Ginkgo biloba extract on neurological deficits and cognitive decline after acute stroke.

Supporting immune function may reduce the frequency of upper respiratory infections (URIs), and probiotics are known to balance both the innate and adaptive immune responses. A randomized controlled trial, published in the European Journal of Nutrition 2011, showed that taking a combination of Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus paracasei reduced the frequency and severity of the common cold in healthy adults. Researchers at the Beijing Chaoyang Hospital then conducted a 12-week intervention trial to further evaluate the effects of probiotic supplementation in adults with frequent URIs.  

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is marked by ovarian cysts, hirsutism, menstrual irregularities, impaired fertility, and mood dysfunction. The biochemical imbalances of PCOS, which include hyperandrogenism, insulin resistance, oxidative stress, and chronic inflammation, increase a woman’s risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Like most metabolic diseases, lifestyle changes and nutritional support are foundational in reducing the risk of disease progression, complications, and comorbidities.

Silybum marianum (milk thistle) seed has a long tradition of use to support liver and gastrointestinal health. Silymarin is a standardized extract of milk thistle seeds, which contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory constituents. Because oxidative stress plays a role in the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes, it is biologically plausible that silymarin might improve the metabolic parameters of this disease.

Vitamin D is thought to be required for cardiovascular health, with mechanistic studies showing that vitamin D may affect endothelial function, fibrosis, and inflammation. Meta-analyses of observational studies have determined that serum vitamin D (25OHD) is inversely related to cardiovascular mortality in healthy individuals, but studies among patients with cardiovascular disease have produced inconsistent results. 

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men worldwide, but rates are lowest in Asian countries. One possible explanation could be the regular inclusion of soy foods in Asian cuisine. Soy isoflavones act as weak estrogen receptor agonists or antagonists, depending on the cell type and estrogen concentration present. Also, the soy isoflavones genistein and daidzein have been shown to accumulate in prostatic tissue, where they may be cytotoxic to cancer cells.

Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species of probiotics have been widely studied to support immune, digestive, and overall health. One previous study evaluated a combination of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Bifidobacterium lactis strain BB-12 in Finnish dental students and found that it improved their gingival health. A second study aimed to evaluate the effect of L. rhamnosus and B. lactis on oral health in adolescent boys in Norway.

Gestational diabetes mellitus is a well-documented risk factor for type 2 diabetes, and 3 previous population-based studies (conducted in Canada, France, and North America) have also reported that gestational diabetes increases the risk for future cardiovascular events. The current study examined the risk of cardiovascular disease in women previously diagnosed with gestational diabetes in the United Kingdom.

Working memory refers to the ability to use and manipulate information stored within short-term memory. Evidence suggests that working memory declines with age, beginning in early adulthood. Working memory is a hippocampal-dependent task, leading researchers to explore therapies that protect or support the hippocampus. Some polyphenols found in plants of the Lamiaceae (mint) family have demonstrated such neuroprotective effects. Rosmarinic acid, found in spearmint (Mentha spicata), has antioxidant effects in hippocampal neurons and tissue.

Survivors of breast cancer often experience cancer-related or treatment-related symptoms months or years after treatment. These symptoms commonly include menopausal symptoms, fatigue, cognitive changes, and hair thinning or hair loss. There is reason to believe that consumption of some phytochemicals in foods might mitigate these late effects of breast cancer treatment. Isoflavones in soy bind to estrogen receptors and exert weak estrogenic effects.

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