POUR ON THE BORON It may be one of the least glamorous supplements, but boron could actually help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. In the first epidemiologic study of this trace element, researchers have found that men who consume the most boron, 1.8 mcg a day, have a 62% lower chance of developing prostate cancer, compared with those who get half that amount. Where do you find boron? Nuts, wine and fruits and veggies like grapes, prunes and avocado.
BRAVO, BETA! Beta-blockers are routinely prescribed to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack. Now researchers have shown that low doses of the drug may also help prevent clogged arteries. In a study of 800 adults, the blockers cut by 40% the rate at which vital arteries leading to the brain, known as the carotid arteries, built up plaque. Bonus: unclogged carotids may reduce stroke risk.
IT'S NUTS Who would have guessed that an allergy to peanuts could be passed from mother to child not through genes but through breast milk? It turns out, say scientists, that peanut protein in the milk can sensitize susceptible babies to peanut allergens, causing a buildup of antibodies that may trigger a peanut allergy later in life. Doctors caution, if any family member is allergic, a mom should refrain from eating nuts while nursing. Watch for the peanut protein in unexpected places, like tomato sauce, chili con carne and Chinese takeout.
FEEDING FRENZY Though women are encouraged to put on pounds during pregnancy, going overboard may lead to a hungry baby. Scientists found that women whose weight was normal before pregnancy but who gained more than the recommended 25 lbs. to 35 lbs. are nearly twice as likely to fail at breast-feeding. In order to begin lactating, the hormone progesterone must drop to extremely low levels, and fat cells secrete progesterone.
Sources: Good News--Experimental Biology meeting; Circulation (4/3/01). Bad News--Journal of the American Medical Association (4/4/01); Experimental Biology meeting