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24 April 2014

Qigong improves fatigue and depression in chronic fatigue syndrome

Anxiety and depressive symptoms are common in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) -like illness. This study investigated the effects of Qigong on fatigue, anxiety, and depressive symptoms in 137 patients with CFS-like illness. Participants received 10 sessions of Qigong training twice a week for 5 consecutive weeks, followed by home-based practice for 12 weeks. Fatigue, anxiety, and depressive symptoms were assessed at baseline and postintervention. The results showed that total fatigue score, physical fatigue score and depression score were significantly improved and mental fatigue score was marginally significantly improved in the Qigong group compared to controls. The anxiety score was not significantly improved in the Qigong group. The authors conclude "Qigong exercise may be used as an alternative and complementary therapy or rehabilitation program for patients with CFS-like illness".

Chan JS, Ho RT, Wang CW, Yuen LP, Sham JS, Chan CL. Effects of qigong exercise on fatigue, anxiety, and depressive symptoms of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome-like illness: a randomized controlled trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:485341.

22 April 2014

Periodontitis improves with omega-3 supplementation

In a recent study researchers found omega-3 supplementation improved gum health in 60 otherwise healthy subjects with moderate and severe chronic periodontitis. The control group (CG, n=30) was treated with scaling and root planing (SRP) and given a placebo; the treatment group (TG, n=30) was treated with SRP and dietary supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids (300 mg daily for 12 weeks). Periodontal clinical parameters and serum C-reactive protein (CRP) levels were evaluated in all patients at baseline, a 6-week and 12-week period after treatment. The results showed a significant reduction in the gingival index, sulcus bleeding index, pocket depth, and clinical attachment level in the TG compared to the CG at a 12-week period. However, no statistically significant changes in serum CRP levels were found. The authors conclude "Our findings suggest that omega-3 fatty acids can successfully reduce gingival inflammation, pocket depth, and attachment level gain. Dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids may have potential benefits as a host modulatory agent in the prevention and/or adjunctive management of chronic periodontitis".

Deore GD, Gurav AN, Patil R, Shete AR, Naiktari RS, Inamdar SP. Omega 3 fatty acids as a host modulator in chronic periodontitis patients: a randomised, double-blind, palcebo-controlled, clinical trial. J Periodontal Implant Sci. 2014 Feb;44(1):25-32.

14 April 2014

Coenzyme Q10 enhances physical performance in athletes

This study investigated the effect of 300 mg Ubiquinol (coenzyme Q10) supplementation for 6 weeks on physical performance measured as maximum power output in 100 young and healthy elite cyclists. In these 6 weeks all athletes trained individually in preparation for the Olympic Games in London 2012. Both groups, placebo and Ubiquinol, significantly increased their physical performance. The placebo group increased from 3.64 watt/kilogram body weight (W/kg bw) to 3.94 W/kg bw which is an increase of +0.30 W/kg bw or +8.5%. The Ubiquinol group increased performance levels from 3.70 W/kg bw to 4.08 W/kg bw which is an increase of +0.38 W/kg bw or +11.0%. The absolute difference in the enhancement of the physical performance between the placebo and the Ubiquinol group of +0.08 W/kg bodyweight was significant. The authors conclude "This study demonstrates that daily supplementation of 300 mg Ubiquinol for 6 weeks significantly enhanced physical performance measured as maximum power output by +0.08 W/kg bw (+2.5%) versus placebo in young healthy trained German Olympic athletes. While adherence to a training regimen itself resulted in an improvement in peak power output, as observed by improvement in placebo, the effect of Ubiquinol supplementation significantly enhanced peak power production in comparison to placebo".

Alf D, Schmidt ME, Siebrecht SC. Ubiquinol supplementation enhances peak power production in trained athletes: a double-blind, placebo controlled study. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013 Apr 29;10(1):24.

12 April 2014

Heart health benefits from healthy lifestyle and diet

In this study researchers investigated the associations of smoking, weight maintenance, physical activity, and diet with coronary calcium, cardiovascular events, and mortality in 6,229 US participants. The results showed that a combination of regular exercise, adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet, smoking avoidance, and weight maintenance was associated with lower coronary calcium incidence, slower calcium progression, and lower all-cause mortality over 7.6 years.

Ahmed HM, Blaha MJ, Nasir K, Jones SR, Rivera JJ, Agatston A, Blankstein R, Wong ND, Lakoski S, Budoff MJ, Burke GL, Sibley CT, Ouyang P, Blumenthal RS. Low-risk lifestyle, coronary calcium, cardiovascular events, and mortality: results from MESA. Am J Epidemiol. 2013 Jul 1;178(1):12-21.

10 April 2014

Folate improves inflammation and oxidative stress in PCOS

This study investigated the effects of 1mg or 5 mg folate supplementation daily for 8 weeks on inflammatory factors and biomarkers of oxidative stress among 69 women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Supplementation with 5 mg folate resulted in reduced plasma homocysteine, homeostatic model assessment-beta cell function, serum high sensitivity C-reactive protein and plasma malondialdehyde concentrations compared with 1 mg folate and placebo groups. Furthermore, a significant rise in plasma total antioxidant capacity and glutathione levels was also observed following the administration of 5 mg folate supplements compared with 1 mg folate and placebo groups. The authors conclude "folate supplementation (5 mg/d) in women with PCOS had beneficial effects on inflammatory factors and biomarkers of oxidative stress".

Bahmani F, Karamali M, Shakeri H, Asemi Z. The effects of folate supplementation on inflammatory factors and biomarkers of oxidative stress in overweight and obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2014 Mar 15 [Epub ahead of print]

08 April 2014

Acupuncture assists weight loss

In a prospective, randomized, double-blinded study, researchers tested the effects of auricular electroacupuncture on weight loss in 56 obese female patients. Participants were randomized to receive either auricular acupuncture with electrical stimulation with a P-Stim® device or placebo treatment with a P-Stim® dummy for four days. Three auricular acupuncture points were chosen (hunger 18, stomach 87 and colon 91). The treatment was performed once a week for a period of six weeks. A follow-up visit was performed after 4 weeks. At each visit body weight, BMI (Body Mass Index) and body fat were measured. The results found both a reduction in body weight and BMI in the treatment group compared to placebo. The authors conclude "electrical auricular acupuncture could be a safe, additive, non-pharmacological treatment in obese patients".

Schukro RP, Heiserer C, Michalek-Sauberer A, Gleiss A, Sator-Katzenschlager S. The effects of auricular electroacupuncture on obesity in female patients--a prospective randomized placebo-controlled pilot study. Complement Ther Med. 2014 Feb;22(1):21-5.

03 April 2014

Nutraceutical with comparable lipid-lowering activity to pravastatin

In this study researchers evaluated the usefulness of a nutraceutical in 30 patients with moderate dyslipidemia and metabolic syndrome and to compare it with pravastatin treatment. In an 8-week randomized, double-blind crossover study, participants took either placebo or a nutraceutical combination that contained red yeast rice extract, berberine, policosanol, astaxanthin, coenzyme Q10, and folic acid (Armolipid Plus). Subsequently, they were subjected to another 8-week treatment with pravastatin 10 mg/d. Treatment with Armolipid Plus led to a significant reduction of total cholesterol (-12.8%) and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (-21.1%), similar to pravastatin (-16% and -22.6%, respectively), and an increase of high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (4.8%). Armolipid Plus improved the leptin-to-adiponectin ratio, whereas adiponectin levels were unchanged. The authors conclude "These results indicate that this nutraceutical approach shows a lipid-lowering activity comparable to pravastatin treatment. Hence, it may be a safe and useful option, especially in conditions of moderate cardiovascular risk, in which a pharmacologic intervention may not be appropriate".

Ruscica M, Gomaraschi M, Mombelli G, Macchi C, Bosisio R, Pazzucconi F, Pavanello C, Calabresi L, Arnoldi A, Sirtori CR, Magni P. Nutraceutical approach to moderate cardiometabolic risk: results of a randomized, double-blind and crossover study with Armolipid Plus. J Clin Lipidol. 2014 Jan-Feb;8(1):61-8.

02 April 2014

BPA linked to prostate cancer

This study examined the association between urinary bisphenol A (BPA) levels and prostate cancer in 60 urology patients. Researchers found higher levels of urinary BPA (creatinine-adjusted) in prostate cancer patients (5.74 µg/g) than in non-prostate cancer patients (1.43 µg/g). The difference was even more significant in patients <65 years old. A trend toward a negative association between urinary BPA and serum PSA was observed in prostate cancer patients but not in non-prostate cancer patients.

Tarapore P, Ying J, Ouyang B, Burke B, Bracken B, Ho SM. Exposure to bisphenol a correlates with early-onset prostate cancer and promotes centrosome amplification and anchorage-independent growth in vitro. PLoS One. 2014 Mar 3;9(3):e90332.

28 March 2014

Probiotics lower inflammation and reduce disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis

In a clinical trial researchers assessed the effects of probiotic supplementation on disease activity and inflammatory cytokines in 46 patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The patients in the probiotic group received a daily capsule that contained a minimum of 108 colony-forming units of Lactobacillus casei 01 for 8 weeks. The placebo group took capsules filled with maltodextrin for the same time period. The results showed that disease activity score was significantly decreased by the intervention, and there was a significant difference between the two groups at the end of the study. Three of the assessed serum proinflammatory cytokines (tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-6, and interleukin-12) significantly decreased in the probiotic group; however, serum levels of interleukin-1 β were not significantly affected by the probiotic. The serum level of regulatory cytokine (interleukin-10) was increased by the supplementation. The proportion of interleukin-10 to interleukin-12 was significantly increased in the probiotic group as well. The authors conclude "L. casei 01 supplementation improved the disease activity and inflammatory status of patients with RA. Further studies are warranted to confirm these results, and such confirmation may lead to the introduction of probiotics as adjunctive therapy for this population".

Vaghef-Mehrabany E, Alipour B, Homayouni-Rad A, Sharif SK, Asghari-Jafarabadi M, Zavvari S. Probiotic supplementation improves inflammatory status in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Nutrition. 2014 Apr;30(4):430-5.

27 March 2014

DHA may improve sleep in children

This study investigated associations between blood fatty acid concentrations (from fingerstick blood samples) and subjective sleep (using an age-standardized parent questionnaire) in 395 healthy children aged 7-9 years from mainstream UK schools. In a randomized controlled trial, researchers then explored whether 16-week supplementation (600 mg day) with algal docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) versus placebo might improve sleep in a subset of those children (n = 362) who were underperforming in reading. In a randomly selected subsample (n = 43), sleep was also assessed objectively via actigraphy. In 40% of the epidemiological sample, Child Sleep Habits Questionnaire scores indicated clinical-level sleep problems. Furthermore, poorer total sleep disturbance scores were associated weakly but significantly with lower blood DHA and a lower DHA : arachidonic acid ratio. The treatment trial showed no significant effects on subjective sleep measures. However, in the small actigraphy subsample, DHA supplementation led on average to 7 fewer wake episodes and 58 min more sleep per night.

Montgomery P, Burton JR, Sewell RP, Spreckelsen TF, Richardson AJ. Fatty acids and sleep in UK children: subjective and pilot objective sleep results from the DOLAB study - a randomized controlled trial. J Sleep Res. 2014 Mar 8. [Epub ahead of print]

24 March 2014

Healthy diet while pregnant linked to lowered risk of preterm birth

New research published in the British Medical Journal has found a link between maternal dietary patterns and risk of preterm delivery. The diet of 66,000 pregnant women was assessed according to level of adherence to three distinct dietary patterns interpreted as "prudent" (for example, vegetables, fruits, oils, water as beverage, whole grain cereals, fibre rich bread), "Western" (salty and sweet snacks, white bread, desserts, processed meat products), and "traditional" (potatoes, fish). After adjustment for covariates, high scores on the "prudent" pattern were associated with significantly reduced risk of preterm delivery of 12%. The prudent pattern was also associated with a significantly lower risk of late and spontaneous preterm delivery. The "traditional" pattern was associated with reduced risk of preterm delivery of 9%. No independent association with preterm delivery was found for the "Western" pattern. The authors conclude "This study showed that women adhering to a "prudent" or a "traditional" dietary pattern during pregnancy were at lower risk of preterm delivery compared with other women. Although these findings cannot establish causality, they support dietary advice to pregnant women to eat a balanced diet including vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and fish and to drink water".

Englund-Ögge L, Brantsæter AL, Sengpiel V, Haugen M, Birgisdottir BE, Myhre R, Meltzer HM, Jacobsson B. Maternal dietary patterns and preterm delivery: results from large prospective cohort study. BMJ. 2014 Mar 4;348:g1446.

17 March 2014

Exercise reduces stroke risk

This study investigated the effect of physical activity on incident stroke risk in 30,239 US blacks (42%) and whites, aged ≥45 years with follow-up every 6 months for stroke events. Participants reported their frequency of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity at baseline according to 3 categories: none (physical inactivity), 1 to 3×, and ≥4× per week. Stroke and transient ischemic attack cases were identified during an average of 5.7 years of follow-up. The results showed that physical inactivity was reported by 33% of participants and was associated with a 20% increased incident stroke risk.

McDonnell MN, Hillier SL, Hooker SP, Le A, Judd SE, Howard VJ. Physical activity frequency and risk of incident stroke in a national US study of blacks and whites. Stroke. 2013 Sep;44(9):2519-24.

15 March 2014

Green tea reduces fasting glucose and fasting insulin concentrations

In this meta-analysis researchers evaluated the effect of Green tea on glucose control and insulin sensitivity. Seventeen randomized controlled trials comprising a total of 1133 subjects were included in the analysis. Green tea consumption significantly reduced the fasting glucose and hemoglobin A1c (Hb A1c) concentrations by -0.09 mmol/L and -0.30%, respectively. Further stratified analyses from high Jadad score studies showed that Green tea significantly reduced fasting insulin concentrations by -1.16 μIU/mL.

Liu K, Zhou R, Wang B, Chen K, Shi LY, Zhu JD, Mi MT. Effect of green tea on glucose control and insulin sensitivity: a meta-analysis of 17 randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Aug;98(2):340-8.

13 March 2014

Strawberries improve cardiovascular health

In this study healthy volunteers were supplemented with 500 g of strawberries daily for 1 month. Plasma lipid profile, circulating and cellular markers of antioxidant status, oxidative stress and platelet function were evaluated at baseline, after 30 days of strawberry consumption and 15 days after the end of the study. Strawberry consumption beneficially influenced the lipid profile by significantly reducing total cholesterol (-8.78%), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (-13.72%) and triglycerides levels (-20.80%) compared with baseline, while high-density lipoprotein cholesterol remained unchanged. Strawberry supplementation also significant decreased serum malondialdehyde (-31.40%), urinary 8-OHdG (-29.67%) and isoprostanes levels (-27.90%). All the parameters returned to baseline values after the washout period. A significant increase in plasma total antioxidant capacity measured by both ferric reducing ability of plasma and oxygen radical absorbance capacity assays and vitamin C levels (+24.97%, +41.18%, +41.36%, respectively) was observed after strawberry consumption. Moreover, the spontaneous and oxidative hemolysis were significantly reduced (-31.7% and -39.03%, respectively), compared to the baseline point, which remained stable after the washout period. Finally, strawberry intake significantly decreased the number of activated platelets, compared to both baseline and washout values. The authors conclude "Strawberries consumption improves plasma lipids profile, biomarkers of antioxidant status, antihemolytic defenses and platelet function in healthy subjects, encouraging further evaluation on a population with higher cardiovascular disease risk".

Alvarez-Suarez JM, Giampieri F, Tulipani S, Casoli T, Di Stefano G, González-Paramás AM, Santos-Buelga C, Busco F, Quiles JL, Cordero MD, Bompadre S, Mezzetti B, Battino M. One-month strawberry-rich anthocyanin supplementation ameliorates cardiovascular risk, oxidative stress markers and platelet activation in humans. J Nutr Biochem. 2014 Mar;25(3):289-94.

05 March 2014

Vegetarian diet associated with lower blood pressure

This systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials and observational studies examined the association between vegetarian diets and blood pressure (BP). 7 clinical trials and 32 observational studies met the inclusion criteria. In the 7 controlled trials (a total of 311 participants; mean age, 44.5 years), consumption of vegetarian diets was associated with a reduction in mean systolic BP (-4.8 mm Hg) and diastolic BP (-2.2 mm Hg) compared with the consumption of omnivorous diets. In the 32 observational studies (a total of 21,604 participants; mean age, 46.6 years), consumption of vegetarian diets was associated with lower mean systolic BP (-6.9 mm Hg) and diastolic BP (-4.7 mm Hg) compared with the consumption of omnivorous diets. The authors conclude "Consumption of vegetarian diets is associated with lower BP. Such diets could be a useful nonpharmacologic means for reducing BP".

Yokoyama Y, Nishimura K, Barnard ND, Takegami M, Watanabe M, Sekikawa A, Okamura T, Miyamoto Y. Vegetarian Diets and Blood Pressure: A Meta-analysis. JAMA Intern Med. 2014 Feb 24 [Epub ahead of print]

04 March 2014

No association found between egg intake and cardiovascular disease

In this study researchers examines the association between egg intake and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in 380 adolescents. The results showed that egg intake was not associated with lipid profile, adiposity, insulin resistance, blood pressure, cardiorespiratory fitness or the integrated CVD risk score. This lack of association was not influenced by physical activity. The authors conclude "The findings of the present study suggest that egg intake is not associated with a less favorable lipid or CVD risk profile in adolescents".

Soriano-Maldonado A, Cuenca-García M, Moreno LA, González-Gross M, Leclercq C, Androutsos O, Guerra-Hernández EJ, Castillo MJ, Ruiz JR. [Egg intake and cardiovascular risk egg intake and cardiovascular risk activity; the HELENA study]. Nutr Hosp. 2013 May-Jun;28(3):868-77. Article in Spanish

03 March 2014

Higher vitamin D levels associated with better physical fitness

This study investigated how body composition and physical fitness are related to 25-hydroxyvitamin D (vitamin D) concentrations in 1006 European adolescents. Cardiorespiratory fitness in males and upper limbs muscular strength in females were found to be positively associated with vitamin D concentrations. Adiposity in males and low fat free mass in females were related to low levels of vitamin D.

Valtueña J, Gracia-Marco L, Huybrechts I, Breidenassel C, Ferrari M, Gottrand F, Dallongeville J, Sioen I, Gutierrez A, Kersting M, Kafatos A, Manios Y, Widhalm K, Moreno LA, González-Gross M; Helena Study Group. Cardiorespiratory fitness in males, and upper limbs muscular strength in females, are positively related with 25-hydroxyvitamin D plasma concentrations in European adolescents: the HELENA study. QJM. 2013 Sep;106(9):809-21.

01 March 2014

Eating nuts reduces all-cause mortality

This study examined the association between frequency of nut consumption and mortality in 7,216 men and women at high cardiovascular risk from Spain, a Mediterranean country with a relatively high average nut intake per person. Participants were randomized to 1 of 3 interventions; Mediterranean diets supplemented with nuts or olive oil and control diet, in the PREDIMED ('PREvención con DIeta MEDiterránea') study. The results found that nut consumption was associated with a significantly reduced risk of all-cause mortality. Compared to non-consumers, subjects consuming nuts > 3 servings/week (32% of the cohort) had a 39% lower mortality risk. A similar protective effect against cardiovascular and cancer mortality was observed, with a 55% and 40% lower risk respectively. Participants allocated to the Mediterranean diet with nuts group who consumed nuts > 3 servings/week at baseline had the lowest total mortality risk, reduced by 63%. The authors conclude "Increased frequency of nut consumption was associated with a significantly reduced risk of mortality in a Mediterranean population at high cardiovascular risk".

Guasch-Ferré M, Bulló M, Martínez-González MÁ, Ros E, Corella D, Estruch R, Fitó M, Arós F, Wärnberg J, Fiol M, Lapetra J, Vinyoles E, Lamuela-Raventós RM, Serra-Majem L, Pintó X, Ruiz-Gutiérrez V, Basora J, Salas-Salvadó J; PREDIMED study group. Frequency of nut consumption and mortality risk in the PREDIMED nutrition intervention trial. BMC Med. 2013 Jul 16;11:164.doi:10.1186/1741-7015-11-164.

28 February 2014

Being positive reduces coronary artery disease risk

This study investigated whether positive emotions have an effect on incident coronary artery disease (CAD) risk in both a high-risk initially healthy population and a national probability sample. The results showed that positive well-being was associated with nearly a 1/3 reduction in CAD in a high-risk population with a positive family history, a nearly 50% reduction in incident CAD in the highest risk stratum in those with a positive family history, and a 13% reduction in incident CAD in a national probability sample, independent of the traditional CAD risk factors.

Yanek LR, Kral BG, Moy TF, Vaidya D, Lazo M, Becker LC, Becker DM. Effect of positive well-being on incidence of symptomatic coronary artery disease. Am J Cardiol. 2013 Oct 15;112(8):1120-5.

27 February 2014

Vitamin D supplementation benefits hives patients

This study investigated whether vitamin D supplementation decreases Urticaria Symptom Severity (USS) scores and medication burden in patients with chronic urticaria (hives). Using a prospective double-blind design, 42 subjects with chronic urticaria were randomized to high (4,000 IU/d) or low (600 IU/d) vitamin D3 supplementation for 12 weeks. All subjects were provided with a standardized triple-drug therapy (cetirizine, ranitidine, and montelukast) and a written action plan. Data on USS scores, medication use, blood for 25-hydroxyvitamin D (vitamin D) level, and safety measurements were collected. The results showed that triple-drug therapy decreased total USS scores by 33% in the first week. There was a further significant decrease (40%) in total USS scores in the high, but not low, vitamin D3 treatment group by week 12. Compared with low treatment, the high treatment group demonstrated a trend toward lower total USS scores at week 12, which was driven by significant decreases in body distribution and number of days with hives. Beneficial trends for sleep quality and pruritus scores were observed with high vitamin D3. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels increased with high vitamin D3 supplementation, but there was no correlation between 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and USS scores. There was no difference in allergy medication use between groups. No adverse events occurred. The authors conclude "Add-on therapy with high-dose vitamin D3 (4,000 IU/d) could be considered a safe and potentially beneficial immunomodulator in patients with chronic urticaria".

Rorie A, Goldner WS, Lyden E, Poole JA. Beneficial role for supplemental vitamin D3 treatment in chronic urticaria: a randomized study. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2014 Feb 5. [Epub ahead of print]

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