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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.

05 August 2014

Organic tomatoes are smaller but more nutritious

This study was conducted with the objective of testing the hypothesis that tomato fruits from organic farming accumulate more nutritional compounds, such as phenolics and vitamin C as a consequence of the stressing conditions associated with farming system. Growth was reduced in fruits from organic farming while the concentrations in vitamin C, total phenolic and yellow flavonoid content were respectively +55%, +139% and +70% higher when ripe compared to conventional farming. The researchers comment "Our observations suggest that, at least for fruit and vegetable production, growers should not systematically try to reduce stress to maximize yield and fruit size, but should accept a certain level of stress as that imposed by organic farming with the objective of improving certain aspects of product quality".

Oliveira AB, Moura CF, Gomes-Filho E, Marco CA, Urban L, Miranda MR. The impact of organic farming on quality of tomatoes is associated to increased oxidative stress during fruit development. PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e56354.

04 August 2014

Vitamin D deficiency reduces lung function in overweight and obese men

In this Canadian study low vitamin D levels were found to be associated with poorer lung function, particularly in overweight and obese men. Of the 3359 adult participants, 26% had a plasma vitamin D concentration of less than 50 nmol/L, which is considered deficient. This deficiency was more prevalent among men than among women (30% compared with 23%). Regression analysis showed that deficient plasma vitamin D was associated with lower mean residual forced vital capacity and forced expiratory volume in 1 second in men after adjustment for covariates. When further stratified by BMI, the associations were more marked in overweight and obese men.

Khan S, Mai XM, Chen Y. Plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D associated with pulmonary function in Canadian adults with excess adiposity. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Jul;98(1):174-9.

24 July 2014

Acupuncture reduces pain and improves well-being in lung cancer patients

Most lung cancer patients experience multiple symptoms related either to the disease or its treatment. The commonly reported symptoms are pain, depression, anxiety, nausea, and poor well-being. This study investigated the effect of acupuncture as a potential treatment modality in 33 symptomatic lung cancer patients. All patients received 45-minute sessions of acupuncture, 1-2 times weekly for a minimum of 4 sessions. Symptom severity was assessed using the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (esas) before and after completion of acupuncture. The study cohort included 30 patients with non-small- cell lung cancer and 3 with small-cell lung cancer. Most of the patients had advanced-stage cancer (73%) and good performance status (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group 0-1: 88%). Of these patients, 67% received anticancer treatment (chemotherapy or radiotherapy, or both) with acupuncture. Of the remaining 10 patients, 8 received acupuncture after a complete surgical resection of their tumour, and because of their advanced age, 2 received acupuncture and best supportive care. The results showed statistically significant improvements in pain, appetite, nausea, nervousness, and well-being. A clinically important improvement (2 points on the esas) was reported by 61% of patients for pain and by 33% for well-being. A significant positive correlation between improved well-being and the number of acupuncture sessions was observed. This correlation remained significant even after controlling for treatment and narcotic use. Receiver operating characteristic analysis demonstrated that a minimum of 6 acupuncture sessions are required for a 70% chance of a clinically important improvement in well-being. The authors conclude "Acupuncture is a safe and minimally invasive modality, and it may have a particularly useful role in patients undergoing anticancer treatment".

Kasymjanova G, Grossman M, Tran T, Jagoe RT, Cohen V, Pepe C, Small D, Agulnik J. The potential role for acupuncture in treating symptoms in patients with lung cancer: an observational longitudinal study. Curr Oncol. 2013 Jun;20(3):152-7.

23 July 2014

Fruit or Mediterranean diet help prevent menopausal symptoms

In an Australian study, diet was found to influence vasomotor menopausal symptoms (VMSs), such as hot flashes and night sweats, in 6040 middle-aged women. The results showed that a higher consumption of the fruit or Mediterranean-style diet decreased the risk of reporting VMSs whereas consumption of a high-fat and -sugar diet increased the risk of VMSs. The authors conclude "These results may eventually lead to a basis for the development of dietary preventive measures for VMSs".

Herber-Gast GC, Mishra GD. Fruit, Mediterranean-style, and high-fat and -sugar diets are associated with the risk of night sweats and hot flushes in midlife: results from a prospective cohort study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 May;97(5):1092-9.

18 July 2014

Vitamin C may reduce exercise-induced bronchoconstriction

This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to determined whether vitamin C administration influences exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB). All three placebo-controlled trials identified, with a total of 40 participants, showed a reduction in postexercise FEV1 decline when vitamin C was administered before exercise. The author concluded "Given the safety and low cost of vitamin C, and the positive findings for vitamin C administration in the three EIB studies, it seems reasonable for physically active people to test vitamin C when they have respiratory symptoms such as cough associated with exercise. Further research on the effects of vitamin C on EIB is warranted".

Hemilä H. Vitamin C may alleviate exercise-induced bronchoconstriction: a meta-analysis. BMJ Open. 2013 Jun 20;3(6). pii: e002416.

17 July 2014

Auricular acupressure reduces pain after total knee arthroplasty

This study investigated whether auricular acupressure (AA) can alleviate postoperative pain and decrease narcotic consumption and its adverse effects in 90 osteoarthritis patients after total knee arthroplasty (TKA). The AA group received true AA by embedding vaccaria seeds at four specific AA points (knee joint, shenmen, subcortex, sympathesis) ipsilateral to the surgery site, while the control group received four nonacupuncture points on the auricular helix. Visual analog scale (VAS) scores were similar at 12, 24, 36, and 48 hours postsurgery, but AA group scores were lower than those of the control group at 3, 4, 5, and 7 days. Patients in the AA group consumed lower doses of analgesic than those in the control group after surgery. The incidence of analgesia-related adverse effects in the AA group was lower than that in the control group. Although Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) scores were similar in the two groups preoperatively and at 3 months postoperatively, HSS scores 2 weeks postoperatively were higher in the AA group than in the control group, but there was no difference between groups in range of motion. The authors conclude "Applying auricular acupoint acupressure in the perioperative period of TKA is favorable for alleviating postoperative pain, decreasing opioid consumption and its adverse effects, and promoting early rehabilitation. Also, this intervention has the advantage of lower costs, fewer complications, simple application, and high safety".

He BJ, Tong PJ, Li J, Jing HT, Yao XM. Auricular acupressure for analgesia in perioperative period of total knee arthroplasty. Pain Med. 2013 Oct;14(10):1608-13.

14 July 2014

Population wide weight loss lowers rates of diabetes and heart disease

This study evaluated the associations between population-wide loss and gain in weight with diabetes prevalence, incidence, and mortality, as well as cardiovascular and cancer mortality trends, in Cuba over a 30 year interval. The results showed that rapid declines in diabetes and heart disease accompanied an average population-wide loss of 5.5 kg in weight, driven by an economic crisis in the mid-1990s. A rebound in population weight followed in 1995 (33.5% prevalence of overweight and obesity) and exceeded pre-crisis levels by 2010 (52.9% prevalence). The population-wide increase in weight was immediately followed by a 116% increase in diabetes prevalence and 140% increase in diabetes incidence. Six years into the weight rebound phase, diabetes mortality increased by 49% (from 9.3 deaths per 10 000 people in 2002 to 13.9 deaths per 10 000 people in 2010). A deceleration in the rate of decline in mortality from coronary heart disease was also observed. The authors conclude "In relation to the Cuban experience in 1980-2010, there is an association at the population level between weight reduction and death from diabetes and cardiovascular disease; the opposite effect on the diabetes and cardiovascular burden was seen on population-wide weight gain".

Franco M, Bilal U, Orduñez P, Benet M, Morejón A, Caballero B, Kennelly JF, Cooper RS. Population-wide weight loss and regain in relation to diabetes burden and cardiovascular mortality in Cuba 1980-2010: repeated cross sectional surveys and ecological comparison of secular trends. BMJ. 2013 Apr 9;346:f1515.

02 July 2014

Breastfeeding and brain development

In this study researchers used quiet magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to compare measures of white matter microstructure in 133 healthy children from 10 months through 4 years of age, who were either exclusively breastfed a minimum of 3 months; exclusively formula-fed; or received a mixture of breast milk and formula. The relationship between breastfeeding duration and white matter microstructure was also examined. Breastfed children exhibited increased white matter development in later maturing frontal and association brain regions. Positive relationships between white matter microstructure and breastfeeding duration are also exhibited in several brain regions, that are anatomically consistent with observed improvements in cognitive and behavioral performance measures. The authors conclude "our findings provide new insight into the earliest developmental advantages associated with breastfeeding, and support the hypothesis that breast milk constituents promote healthy neural growth and white matter development".

Deoni SC, Dean DC 3rd, Piryatinsky I, O'Muircheartaigh J, Waskiewicz N, Lehman K, Han M, Dirks H. Breastfeeding and early white matter development: A cross-sectional study. Neuroimage. 2013 Nov 15;82:77-86.

30 June 2014

Pumpkin seed oil improves hair growth in men with male pattern baldness

This randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study was designed to investigate the efficacy and tolerability of Pumpkin seed oil (PSO) for treatment of hair growth in male patients with mild to moderate androgenetic alopecia (AGA). 76 male patients with AGA received 400 mg of PSO per day or a placebo for 24 weeks. After 24 weeks of treatment, self-rated improvement score and self-rated satisfaction scores in the PSO-treated group were higher than in the placebo group. The PSO-treated group had more hair after treatment than at baseline, compared to the placebo group. Mean hair count increases of 40% were observed in PSO-treated men at 24 weeks, whereas increases of 10% were observed in placebo-treated men. The authors conclude "this study shows that PSO supplement during 24 weeks has a positive anabolic effect on hair growth and that this is due to the possible effects of 5-reductase inhibition in patients with mild to moderate male pattern hair loss".

Cho YH, Lee SY, Jeong DW, Choi EJ, Kim YJ, Lee JG, Yi YH, Cha HS. Effect of pumpkin seed oil on hair growth in men with androgenetic alopecia: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:549721.

01 June 2014

Higher tomato intake linked to prostate cancer prevention

In a meta-analysis researchers aimed to determine whether intake of lycopene and tomato/tomato products could reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Eleven cohort studies and six nested case-control studies were identified through searching of international journal databases and reference lists of relevant publications. Two reviewers independently assessed the study quality and extracted data from each identified study; only studies with sufficient quality were included in the review. The results showed that higher intakes of raw and cooked tomato, lycopene intake and a higher lycopene serum level reduced prostate cancer risk by 19%, 15%, 7% and 3%, respectively, compared to lower intakes and level. The authors conclude "Further research would be needed to determine the type and quantity of tomato products regarding their potential in preventing prostate cancer".

Chen J, Song Y, Zhang L. Lycopene/tomato consumption and the risk of prostate cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2013;59(3):213-23.