Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Soda pop, blood pressure, sleep deprivation, and funky rats

You can tell if you read this blog much that I'm a member of the melatonin fan club. Here's another reason why.

(Oops, for the benefit of the legal eagles, here's my disclaimer.) This post is going to be one of those studies that either empowers you to make better choices...or provides justification for some of the things you're doing that you know deep inside you might want to change but aren't ready to change. I'm going to give you the information because it's interesting and enlightening, and from that point forward, how you handle the information is your responsibility.

If a big finger just jumped out of the screen and starting shaking at you, and your monitor just let out a huge sigh...that was e-Mom. I hate being e-Mom, so let's get back to research.

Sprague Dawley rats* were divided into two groups for this study. One group was fed a high fructose diet, while the other received regular rat food. Another group of rats was divided and fed in the same two ways, only they were also supplemented with melatonin in their drinking water.

The high fructose diet rose blood pressure, while the rat chow diet did not. In fructose-fed rats who also received melatonin, blood pressure also rose, but to a lesser degree.

What this study might be suggesting:

1. It would behoove you to read labels and learn just how many foods (especially beverages) contain high-fructose corn syrup. If you take me up on this challenge, and you put all those products back on the shelf instead of in your grocery cart, you just might be surprised at how much you shave off of your grocery bill.

2. Paying attention to how much sleep you get, and getting more of it if you've been depriving yourself, may help you keep your blood pressure under control. And if you do THAT, you also might be surprised at how much more you shave off of your medical bills by not needing so much blood pressure medication.

3. If you actually do put all that soda and sweetened juice back on the shelf and decrease your caffeine intake, you might actually be able to get to sleep at a normal hour.

What this study is not advocating:

1. Eat all the junk food and drink all the soda pop you want, just be sure to stop in the supplement section for the bargain size bottle of melatonin on the way to check out.

2. Eat more rat chow.

Have a great day, all.

**I always see "Sprague Dawley rats" in these studies. Interested in why this one breed seems to be the rock star of research animals, I looked them up in Wikipedia. Fascinating little critters. If you're a science nerd like me, here's the link for more information:

Leibowitz A, Peleg E, Sharabi Y, Shabtai Z, Shamiss A, Grossman E. The role of melatonin in the pathogenesis of hypertension in rats with metabolic syndrome. Am J Hypertens. 2008 Mar;21(3):348-51.

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