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27 January 2016

An apple a day keeps the doctor away

In Australia, researchers have found that an apple a day does indeed keep the doctor away! This study investigated the association of apple intake with all-cause and disease-specific mortality over 15 years in a cohort of women aged over 70 years. Secondary analyses explored relationships of other fruits with mortality outcomes. Usual fruit intake was assessed in 1456 women using a food frequency questionnaire. During 15 years of follow-up, 607 (41.7%) women died from any cause. Those who consumed an apple a day had a 35% lower risk of mortality compared to those who did not consume apples. The analysis also found that higher apple intake was associated with lower risk for cancer mortality, and that higher total fruit and banana intakes were associated lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality. The authors conclude 'Our results support the view that regular apple consumption may contribute to lower risk of mortality'.

Hodgson JM, Prince RL, Woodman RJ, et al. Apple intake is inversely associated with all-cause and disease-specific mortality in elderly women. Br J Nutr. 2016 Jan 20:1-8. [Epub ahead of print]

20 December 2015

Vitamin C and E improves lung function in exercise-induced asthma

Using a single-blind randomized crossover design researchers investigated if vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and vitamin E (α-tocopherol) supplementation would improve airway function in 8 clinically diagnosed exercise-induced asthma (EIA) subjects and 5 healthy control subjects. Subjects consumed vitamin C 500mg and vitamin E 300IU or placebo daily for three weeks, followed by a three week washout period and then three weeks of the alternative treatment. The results showed supplementation led to significant improvements in lung function in subjects with EIA.

Kurti SP, Murphy JD, Ferguson CS, Brown KR, Smith JR, Harms CA. Improved lung function following dietary antioxidant supplementation in exercise-induced asthmatics. Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2015 Oct 20;220:95-101.

19 December 2015

Cholesterol lowering effect of probiotics

This meta-analysis examined the effect of probiotics on the reduction of lipid components and coexisting risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. A total of 15 studies with 788 subjects were selected for inclusion in the analysis. The results showed statistically significant effects of probiotics on total cholesterol and LDL when the medium was fermented milk or yogurt compared to capsule form, consumption was at least 8 weeks in duration, and the probiotics consisted of multiple strains rather than a single strain. A significant reduction was found in LDL in trials which contained Lactobacillus Acidophilus strain compared to other types of strains. The authors conclude 'Our findings suggest that probiotic supplementation use is effective in lowering the lipid level and coexisting factors associated with cardiovascular disease'.

Sun J, Buys N. Effects of probiotics consumption on lowering lipids and CVD risk factors: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Ann Med. 2015 Sep;47(6):430-40.

24 November 2015

Selenium supplementation leads in a higher regression rate for women with CIN1

In a recent study, researchers have found in women diagnosed with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 1 (CIN1), 200 μg of selenium (Se) daily for 6 months led to a higher rate of regression and positive changes to their metabolic profile compared to placebo. This randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was carried out among 58 women diagnosed with CIN1 randomly assigned to two groups to receive 200 μg Se supplements as Se yeast (n 28) or placebo (n 28) daily for 6 months. After 6 months of taking Se supplements, 88% of women in the Se group had regressed CIN1 compared with 56% in the placebo group. Se supplementation, compared with the placebo, resulted in significant decreases in fasting plasma glucose levels, serum insulin levels, homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance values and a significant elevation in quantitative insulin sensitivity check index. In addition, patients who received Se supplements had significantly decreased serum TAG and increased HDL-cholesterol levels. Plasma total antioxidant capacity and GSH was significantly increased as well as a significant decrease in malondialdehyde levels among those who took Se supplements. The authors conclude 'taking Se supplements among patients with CIN1 led to its regression and had beneficial effects on their metabolic profiles'.

Karamali M, Nourgostar S, Zamani A, Vahedpoor Z, Asemi Z. The favourable effects of long-term selenium supplementation on regression of cervical tissues and metabolic profiles of patients with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Br J Nutr. 2015 Dec;114(12):2039-45.

    16 November 2015

    Guided imagery helps patients wean from mechanical ventilation

    This recent study assessed the effects of guided imagery on sedation levels, sedative and analgesic volume consumption, and physiological responses of patients being weaned from mechanical ventilation. 42 patients were selected from two community acute care hospitals. One hospital served as the comparison group and provided routine care (no intervention) while the other hospital provided the guided imagery intervention. The intervention included two sessions, each lasting 60 minutes, offered during morning weaning trials from mechanical ventilation. The guided imagery group had significantly improved Richmond Agitation-Sedation Scale (RASS) scores and reduced sedative and analgesic volume consumption. During the second session, oxygen saturation levels significantly improved compared to the comparison group. The guided imagery group had 4.88 less days requiring mechanical ventilation and 1.4 reduction in hospital length of stay compared to the comparison group. The authors conclude 'Guided imagery appeared to be effective, safe, and feasible intervention to use in patients being weaned from mechanical ventilation. Future research is needed including a larger randomized controlled trial examining the effect of guided imagery use with a larger sample with a longer tracking period in relation to patient outcomes'.

    Spica L, Hart PL, Gallagher E et al. The Effects of Guided Imagery on Patients Being Weaned from Mechanical Ventilation. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 802865, 9 pages

    04 November 2015

    Type 2 diabetics benefit from Tai Chi

    In a small study with 8 participants, researchers investigated the effects of an 8-week, 3 hour per week Tai Chi intervention on peripheral somatosensation in older adults with type 2 diabetes. After the 8 weeks the participants showed improvements in ankle proprioception, fitness and decreased plantar pressure in the forefoot. The authors conclude 'study results suggest that Tai Chi may be beneficial for older adults with diabetes as it improves ankle proprioception; however, study findings need to be confirmed in a larger sample size randomized controlled trial'.

    Cavegn EI, Riskowski JL. The effects of tai chi on peripheral somatosensation, balance, and fitness in hispanic older adults with type 2 diabetes: a pilot and feasibility study. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Vol 2015 (2015), article ID 767213, 9 pages.

    03 November 2015

    Dietary folate and vitamin B6 protective for nasopharyngeal carcinoma

    In this study researchers investigated the dietary intake of four nutrients, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and methionine, and nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) risk in Chinese adults. The results showed a higher dietary folate or vitamin B6 intake was associated with a lower risk for NPC. The authors conclude 'this study suggests that dietary folate and vitamin B6 may be protective for NPC in a high-risk population'.

    Zeng FF, Liu YT, Lin XL, Fan YY, Zhang XL, Xu CH, Chen YM. Folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and methionine intakes and risk for nasopharyngeal carcinoma in Chinese adults: a matched case-control study. Br J Nutr. 2015 Oct 30:1-8. [Epub ahead of print]

    07 May 2015

    Boron reduces severity and duration of menstrual pain

    Primary dysmenorrhea refers to painful menstrual cramps without pelvic pathology. The condition is highly prevalent among women and exerts negative effects on their quality of life. This study looked at the effects of Boron supplementation on the severity and duration of menstrual pain in 113 female university students. The case group consumed 10 mg/day Boron from two days before the menstrual flow until its third day. The control group received placebo capsules. All subjects were asked to take the capsules for two consecutive menstrual cycles. Pain severity (measured on a visual analog scale) and duration (in hours) were measured at baseline and during the two cycles. The two groups had no significant differences in the severity and duration of pain at baseline. After the intervention, however, the severity and duration of pain were significantly lower in the case group than in the control group. The authors conclude "Based on our findings, Boron supplementation can reduce the severity and duration of menstrual pain through exerting anti-inflammatory effects".

    Nikkhah SDolatian MNaghii MRZaeri FTaheri SM. Effects of boron supplementation on the severity and duration of pain in primary dysmenorrheaComplement Ther Clin Pract. 2015 Apr 4. [Epub ahead of print]

    06 May 2015

    Ginkgo effective for ADHD

    Ginkgo biloba has been found to be an effective complementary therapy for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Children and adolescents with ADHD received methylphenidate (20-30 mg/day) plus either G. biloba (80-120 mg/day) or placebo for 6 weeks. Parent and teacher forms of the ADHD Rating Scale-IV (ADHD-RS-IV) were completed at baseline, week 2, and week 6. Treatment response was defined as 27% improvement from baseline in the ADHD-RS-IV. Compared with placebo, more reduction was observed with G. biloba regarding ADHD-RS-IV parent rating inattention score and total score as well as teacher rating inattention score. Response rate was higher with G. biloba compared with placebo based on parent rating (93.5% vs. 58.6%).

    Shakibaei FRadmanesh MSalari EMahaki B. Ginkgo biloba in the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents. A randomized, placebo-controlled, trial. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2015 Apr 18. [Epub ahead of print]

    05 March 2015

    l-carnitine reduces inflammation in coronary artery disease patients

    This study investigated the effect of l-carnitine supplementation (1000 mg/d) for 12 weeks on inflammation markers in 47 patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). The results showed after l-carnitine supplementation, the levels of inflammation markers were significantly reduced compared with the baseline and those in the placebo group.

    Lee BJ, Lin JS, Lin YC, Lin PT. Antiinflammatory effects of l-carnitine supplementation (1000 mg/d) in coronary artery disease patients. Nutrition. 2015 Mar;31(3):475-9.

    03 March 2015

    Cocoa flavanol drink improves cognitive performance in elderly

    In a double-blind, controlled, parallel-arm study researchers investigated the effect of flavanol consumption on cognitive performance in 90 cognitively intact elderly adults. For 8 weeks participants consumed daily a drink containing 993 mg (high flavonol (HF)), 520 mg (intermediate flavonol (IF)), or 48 mg (low flavonol (LF)) cocoa flavonols (CFs). At the end of 8 weeks cognitive function in the HF and IF groups showed improvement compared to the LF group. Improvements were also found in insulin resistance, blood pressure, and lipid peroxidation. The authors conclude "This dietary intervention study provides evidence that regular CF consumption can reduce some measures of age-related cognitive dysfunction, possibly through an improvement in insulin sensitivity".

    Mastroiacovo D, Kwik-Uribe C, Grassi D, et al. Cocoa flavanol consumption improves cognitive function, blood pressure control, and metabolic profile in elderly subjects: the Cocoa, Cognition, and Aging (CoCoA) Study - a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Mar; 101(3):538-48.

    09 January 2015

    Cholesterol lowering effect of oat β-glucan

    In a meta-analysis of 28 randomized controlled trials, researchers investigated the effect of  ≥3 g/d of oat β-glucan (OBG) on serum cholesterol concentrations. The results showed OBG in doses of ≥3 g/d reduced low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and total cholesterol relative to control by 0.25 mmol/L and 0.30 mmol/L, respectively. There was no significant effect of OBG on high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol or triglycerides and no evidence that dose (range across trials: 3.0-12.4 g/d) or duration of treatment (range: 2-12 wk) influenced the results. LDL cholesterol lowering was significantly greater with higher baseline LDL cholesterol. There was a significantly greater effect for both LDL and total cholesterol in subjects with diabetes compared with those without (although based on few studies). The authors conclude "Adding ≥3 g OBG/d to the diet reduces LDL and total cholesterol by 0.25 mmol/L and 0.30 mmol/L, respectively, without changing HDL cholesterol or triglycerides".

    Whitehead A, Beck EJ, Tosh S, Wolever TM. Cholesterol-lowering effects of oat β-glucan: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Dec;100(6):1413-21.

    12 November 2014

    Adiposity and oxidative stress linked to vitamin D deficiency in schoolchildren

    In a Chinese study of 1488 schoolchildren aged between 7 and 11 years, researchers investigated vitamin D levels and its association with adiposity, inflammation, and oxidative stress. The median serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentration was 18.4 ng/mL, and 56.4% of participants were found to be vitamin D deficient [25(OH)D < 20 ng/mL]. Children in the vitamin D deficiency group had significantly higher body weight, body mass index, waist circumference, percentage of body fat, and significantly lower concentrations of serum superoxide dismutase compared with those in the vitamin D sufficiency group. After adjusting for sex, age, body mass index, and percentage of body fat, a positive association between serum 25(OH)D and superoxide dismutase was found. The authors conclude "Serum 25(OH)D is closely associated with adiposity and superoxide dismutase in schoolchildren, suggesting that vitamin D deficiency potentially increases the risk for diseases caused by higher adiposity and oxidative stress".

    Zhang HQ, Teng JH, Li Y, Li XX, He YH, He X, Sun CH. Vitamin D status and its association with adiposity and oxidative stress in schoolchildren. Nutrition. 2014 Sep;30(9):1040-4.

    11 November 2014

    Dietary fats alters heart failure mortality

    This study looked at dietary fat intake on 1-year mortality in 118 patients with heart failure. The results showed 1-year mortality was significantly reduced by 33% for a higher intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and significantly increased by 15% with saturated fatty acids (SFA). The authors conclude "Limiting dietary SFA and increasing PUFA intake may be advisable in this population".

    Colin-Ramirez E, Castillo-Martinez L, Orea-Tejeda A, Zheng Y, Westerhout CM, Ezekowitz JA. Dietary fatty acids intake and mortality in patients with heart failure. Nutrition. 2014 Nov-Dec;30(11-12):1366-71.

    10 November 2014

    Eating vegetables and fruit reduces risk of glioma

    In a meta-analysis of 32 studies including almost 10,000 cases, a higher intake of fruit and vegetables was found to reduce the risk of glioma. There was a 22% risk reduction for vegetable intake, and for fruit intake and glioma risk, a 43% reduced risk was found in the Asian population, but not in the white population.

    Li Y. Association between fruit and vegetable intake and risk for glioma: A meta-analysis. Nutrition. 2014 Nov-Dec;30(11-12):1272-8.

    31 October 2014

    Flavonoids in diet reduces risk of ovarian cancer

    A recent study of 171,940 women has found that higher intakes of flavonols and flavanones as well as black tea associated with a lower risk of ovarian cancer. During 16-22 years of follow-up, 723 cases of ovarian cancer were confirmed through medical records. The results showed that participants in the highest quintiles of flavonol and flavanone intakes had modestly lower risk, 24% and 21% respectively, of ovarian cancer than did participants in the lowest quintile, although the P-trend was not significant. The association for flavanone intake was stronger for serous invasive and poorly differentiated tumors compared with nonserous and less-aggressive tumors. In food-based analyses used to compare subjects who consumed >1 and ≤1 cup black tea/day, the reduced risk was 32%.

    Cassidy A, Huang T, Rice MS, Rimm EB, Tworoger SS. Intake of dietary flavonoids and risk of epithelial ovarian cancer. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Nov;100(5):1344-51.

    04 September 2014

    Drinking soda increases risk of hip fracture

    This recently published study investigated the association of soda, including specific types of soda, and risk of hip fracture in postmenopausal women. An analysis was conducted in 73,572 postmenopausal women from the Nurses' Health Study cohort. The results showed that each additional serving of total soda per day was associated with a significant 14% increased risk of hip fracture. The attributable risk in our cohort for total soda consumption was 12.5%. Risk was significantly elevated in consumers of both regular soda and diet soda and also did not significantly differ between colas and noncolas or sodas with or without caffeine. The association between soda and hip fractures did not differ by body mass index or diagnosis of diabetes.

    Fung TT, Arasaratnam MH, Grodstein F, Katz JN, Rosner B, Willett WC, Feskanich D. Soda consumption and risk of hip fractures in postmenopausal women in the Nurses' Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Sep;100(3):953-8.

    22 August 2014

    Omega-3 fats lower triglyceride levels

    This review gives a summary of the research for omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) effect on high triglyceride (TG) levels (hypertriglyceridemia). The studies show omega-3 dose-dependently reduce plasma TG levels; the effect tends to be greater in patients with higher TG levels at baseline. Evidence from clinical trials suggests that EPA+DHA doses of ≥ 2 g/day are required to achieve significant effects. The optimal TG-lowering doses of EPA+DHA are 3-4 g/day, with little evidence to support lipid-altering efficacy of doses of EPA and DHA <1g/day. Predicted changes in fasting serum TG levels at the recommended dietary intakes of EPA and/or DHA of 200-500 mg/day are -3.1% to -7.2%. Reductions of plasma TG levels at the optimal doses are from 25-35% up to 45% in the presence of severely elevated TG levels (≥ 500 mg/dl; ≥ 5.65 mmol/l), along with a reduction in non-high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (non-HDL-C) and an increase in HDL-C. This observation has also been confirmed in statin-treated patients.

    Pirillo A, Catapano AL. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the treatment of hypertriglyceridaemia. Int J Cardiol. 2013 Dec 20;170(2 Suppl 1):S16-20.

    21 August 2014

    Reduced mortality risk in vegetarians

    In a large study of 73,308 North American men and women, researchers have found eating a vegetarian diet reduces mortality risk. Diet was assessed at baseline by a quantitative food frequency questionnaire and categorized into 5 dietary patterns: nonvegetarian, semi-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, and vegan. There were 2570 deaths among 73,308 participants during a mean follow-up time of 5.79 years. Vegetarians had a 12% reduced risk of all-cause mortality compared to nonvegetarians. In vegans the risk was reduced by 15%, in lacto-ovo-vegetarians 9%, in pesco-vegetarians 19%, and in semi-vegetarians 8%, compared with nonvegetarians.

    Orlich MJ, Singh PN, Sabaté J, Jaceldo-Siegl K, Fan J, Knutsen S, Beeson WL, Fraser GE. Vegetarian dietary patterns and mortality in Adventist Health Study 2. JAMA Intern Med. 2013 Jul 8;173(13):1230-8.

    14 August 2014

    Obesity linked to low levels of vitamin D

    In a recent Brazilian study researchers have found a relationship between low vitamin D levels and overweight and metabolic disorders. The analysis included a study population of 160 adolescents (seventy-seven eutrophic and eighty-three overweight) aged 15 to 17 years. Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency was observed in 1.25 and 70.6% of adolescents, respectively. Serum vitamin D levels were found to be lower in adolescents with weight excess, abdominal obesity, hypercholesterolaemia, higher levels of parathyroid hormone, insulin resistance, hyperinsulinaemia and hypertension.

    Oliveira RM, Novaes JF, Azeredo LM, Cândido AP, Leite IC. Association of vitamin D insufficiency with adiposity and metabolic disorders in Brazilian adolescents. Public Health Nutr. 2014 Apr;17(4):787-94.