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Archive for the ‘Nutrition and Phytochemistry’ Category


Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.

 

Research about marijuana and fertility is limited but some previous studies suggested that it might harm semen quality. Smoking of any type is also known to be a risk factor for male infertility. So, men who have smoked cannabis are expected to have worse measures of fertility but the data from a recent study suggested the opposite. The finding contradicts all conventional knowledge on how weed affects sperm. This may be because previous research typically focused on men with drug abuse history but this present study simply asked men if they had smoked more than two joints in their life.

 

Analysis of 1,143 semen samples from 662 men collected between 2000 and 2017 at the Fertility Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital showed that those who had smoked weed at some point in their life had a mean sperm concentration of 62.7 million sperm per milliliter (mL) of ejaculate, while men who avoided marijuana entirely had mean concentrations of 45.4 million/mL. Added to this only 5% of weed smokers had sperm concentrations below the 15 million/mL threshold the World Health Organization has set for a “normal” sperm count, versus 12% of men who never smoked marijuana.

 

The study has some imperfections such as the participants are not necessarily representative of the general population. They were predominantly college educated men with a mean age of 36, and were all seeking treatment at a fertility center. Further research is needed to support the findings. Two possibilities are put forward by the researchers as the reason behind such data. The first is that low levels of marijuana could have a positive effect on the endocannabinoid system, the neurotransmitters in the nervous system that bind to cannabinoid receptors, and are known to regulate fertility. The second is that may be weed-smokers are just bigger risk takers and men with higher testosterone levels and thus have better sperm count.

 

But, there’s certainly no medical recommendation to smoke weed as a fertility treatment but this study, at least, suggests that a little marijuana doesn’t hurt and might benefit sperm production in some way. But, the researchers specified that their finding does not necessarily mean that smoking cannabis increases the chances of fatherhood.

 

References:

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30726923

 

https://www.bloomberg.com/amp/news/articles/2019-02-06/cannabis-smoking-associated-with-higher-sperm-count-study-finds?__twitter_impression=true

 

https://qz.com/1543564/smoking-weed-linked-to-higher-sperm-count-in-a-harvard-study/

 

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/world/2019/02/06/cannabis-smoking-associated-with-higher-sperm-count-study-finds/

 

http://time.com/5520421/smoking-marijuana-sperm-fertility/

 

https://www.health.com/infertility/marijuana-sperm-count

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Micronutrients, Macronutrients and Dietary Patterns: Nutrition and Fertility

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Folic acid. Folic acid is important for germ cell production and pregnancy. The recommended daily dose to prevent neural tube defects is 400-800 µg. Women who take folic acid-containing multivitamins are less likely to be anovulatory, and the time to achieve a pregnancy is reduced. Those who consume more than 800 µg of folic acid daily are more likely to conceive with assisted reproductive technology (ART) than those whose daily intake is less than 400 µg.

Vitamin D. Vitamin D may affect fertility through receptors found in the ovaries and endometrium. An extremely low vitamin D level (< 20 ng/mL) is associated with higher risk for spontaneous miscarriage risk. Some reports suggest that women with adequate vitamin D levels (> 30 ng/mL) are more likely to conceive after ART when compared with those whose vitamin D levels are insufficient (20-30 ng/mL), or deficient (< 20 ng/mL). These findings, however, are inconclusive.

Carbohydrates. Dietary carbohydrates affect glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity, and by these mechanisms can affect reproduction. The impact is most pronounced among women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). In women with PCOS, a reduction in glycemic load improves insulin sensitivity as well as ovulatory function. Whole grains have antioxidant effects and also improve insulin sensitivity, thereby positively influencing reproduction.

Omega-3 supplements. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids lower the risk for endometriosis. Increased levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are associated with higher clinical pregnancy and live birth rates.

Protein and dairy. Some reports suggest that dairy protein intake lowers ovarian reserve. Other reports suggest improved ART outcomes with increased dairy intake. Meat, fish, and dairy products, however, can also serve as vehicles for environmental contamination that may adversely affect the embryo. Fish, on the other hand, has been shown to exert positive effects on fertility.

Dietary approach. In general, a Mediterranean diet is favored (high intake of fruits, vegetables, fish, chicken, and olive oil) among women diagnosed with infertility.

Recommendations

A well-balanced diet, rich in vegetables and fruits, is preferred for infertile women and should provide the required micro- and macronutrients. It remains common for patients consume a wide variety of vitamin, mineral, and micronutrient supplements daily.[4] Supplements should not replace food sources of vitamins and trace elements because of differences in bioavailability (natural versus synthetic), and inaccuracy of label declarations may result in suboptimal intake of important nutrients.[5,6] Furthermore, naturally occurring vitamins and micronutrients are more efficiently absorbed.

With respect to overall diet, women are advised to follow a caloric intake that won’t contribute to being overweight or obese. Obesity is on the rise among younger people, including children. Obese women have a lower chance of conceiving and are less likely to have an uncomplicated pregnancy.[7] Proper weight can be maintained with an appropriate diet and regular exercise.

Finally, women must abstain from substances that are potentially harmful to pregnancy (eg, smoking, alcohol, recreational drugs, high caffeine intake).

Causes of Infertility

  • ovulatory defect,
  • tubal occlusion,
  • low sperm counts), and many

Factors lower the chance of pregnancy

  • older age,
  • lower ovarian reserve,
  • endometriosis

Factors can’t be altered

  • age and
  • ovarian reserve

Modifiable Factors:

  • body weight and
  • lifestyle habits

 

REFERENCES

SOURCE

http://Peter Kovacs. Food and Fertility: What Should Women Consume When Trying to Conceive? – Medscape – Dec 06, 2018.

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Live 11:00 AM- 12:00 Mediterranean Diet and Lifestyle: A Symposium on Diet and Human Health : Opening Remarks October 19, 2018

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

11:00 Welcome

 

 

Prof. Antonio Giordano, MD, PhD.

Director and President of the Sbarro Health Research Organization, College of Science and Technology, Temple University

Welcome to this symposium on Italian lifestyle and health.  This is similar to a symposium we had organized in New York.  A year ago Bloomberg came out with a study on higher longevity of the italian population and this study was concluded that this increased longevity was due to the italian lifestyle and diet especially in the southern part of Italy, a region which is older than Rome (actually founded by Greeks and Estonians).  However this symposium will delve into the components of this healthy Italian lifestyle which contributes to this longevity effect.  Some of this work was done in collaboration with Temple University and sponsored by the Italian Consulate General in Philadelphia ( which sponsors programs in this area called Ciao Philadelphia).

Greetings: Fucsia Nissoli Fitzgerald, Deputy elected in the Foreign Circumscription – North and Central America Division

Speaking for the Consulate General is Francesca  Cardurani-Meloni.   I would like to talk briefly about the Italian cuisine and its evolution, from the influence of the North and South Italy, economic factors, and influence by other cultures.  Italian cooking is about simplicity, cooking with what is in season and freshest.  The meal is not about the food but about comfort around the table, and comparible to a cullinary heaven, about sharing with family and friends, and bringing the freshest ingredients to the table.

Consul General, Honorable Pier Attinio Forlano, General Consul of Italy in Philadelphia

 

11:30 The Impact of Environment and Life Style in Human Disease

Prof. Antonio Giordano MD, PhD.

 

 

 

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Omega-3 fats Supplements Effect on Cardiovascular Health: EPA and DHA has little or no effect on Mortality or Cardiovascular Health

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Jul 18;7:CD003177. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD003177.pub3. [Epub ahead of print]

Omega-3 fatty acids for the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Researchers have suggested that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids from oily fish (long-chain omega-3 (LCn3), including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)), as well as from plants (alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)) benefit cardiovascular health. Guidelines recommend increasing omega-3-rich foods, and sometimes supplementation, but recent trials have not confirmed this.

OBJECTIVES:

To assess effects of increased intake of fish- and plant-based omega-3 for all-cause mortality, cardiovascular (CVD) events, adiposity and lipids.

SEARCH METHODS:

We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE and Embase to April 2017, plus ClinicalTrials.gov and World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry to September 2016, with no language restrictions. We handsearched systematic review references and bibliographies and contacted authors.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that lasted at least 12 months and compared supplementation and/or advice to increase LCn3 or ALA intake versus usual or lower intake.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

Two review authors independently assessed studies for inclusion, extracted data and assessed validity. We performed separate random-effects meta-analysis for ALA and LCn3 interventions, and assessed dose-response relationships through meta-regression.

MAIN RESULTS:

We included 79 RCTs (112,059 participants) in this review update and found that 25 were at low summary risk of bias. Trials were of 12 to 72 months’ duration and included adults at varying cardiovascular risk, mainly in high-income countries. Most studies assessed LCn3 supplementation with capsules, but some used LCn3- or ALA-rich or enriched foods or dietary advice compared to placebo or usual diet.Meta-analysis and sensitivity analyses suggested little or no effect of increasing LCn3 on all-cause mortality (RR 0.98, 95% CI 0.90 to 1.03, 92,653 participants; 8189 deaths in 39 trials, high-quality evidence), cardiovascular mortality (RR 0.95, 95% CI 0.87 to 1.03, 67,772 participants; 4544 CVD deaths in 25 RCTs), cardiovascular events (RR 0.99, 95% CI 0.94 to 1.04, 90,378 participants; 14,737 people experienced events in 38 trials, high-quality evidence), coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality (RR 0.93, 95% CI 0.79 to 1.09, 73,491 participants; 1596 CHD deaths in 21 RCTs), stroke (RR 1.06, 95% CI 0.96 to 1.16, 89,358 participants; 1822 strokes in 28 trials) or arrhythmia (RR 0.97, 95% CI 0.90 to 1.05, 53,796 participants; 3788 people experienced arrhythmia in 28 RCTs). There was a suggestion that LCn3 reduced CHD events (RR 0.93, 95% CI 0.88 to 0.97, 84,301 participants; 5469 people experienced CHD events in 28 RCTs); however, this was not maintained in sensitivity analyses – LCn3 probably makes little or no difference to CHD event risk. All evidence was of moderate GRADE quality, except as noted.Increasing ALA intake probably makes little or no difference to all-cause mortality (RR 1.01, 95% CI 0.84 to 1.20, 19,327 participants; 459 deaths, 5 RCTs),cardiovascular mortality (RR 0.96, 95% CI 0.74 to 1.25, 18,619 participants; 219 cardiovascular deaths, 4 RCTs), and it may make little or no difference to CHD events (RR 1.00, 95% CI 0.80 to 1.22, 19,061 participants, 397 CHD events, 4 RCTs, low-quality evidence). However, increased ALA may slightly reduce risk of cardiovascular events (from 4.8% to 4.7%, RR 0.95, 95% CI 0.83 to 1.07, 19,327 participants; 884 CVD events, 5 RCTs, low-quality evidence), and probably reduces risk of CHD mortality (1.1% to 1.0%, RR 0.95, 95% CI 0.72 to 1.26, 18,353 participants; 193 CHD deaths, 3 RCTs), and arrhythmia (3.3% to 2.6%, RR 0.79, 95% CI 0.57 to 1.10, 4,837 participants; 141 events, 1 RCT). Effects on stroke are unclear.Sensitivity analysis retaining only trials at low summary risk of bias moved effect sizes towards the null (RR 1.0) for all LCn3 primary outcomes except arrhythmias, but for most ALA outcomes, effect sizes moved to suggest protection. LCn3 funnel plots suggested that adding in missing studies/results would move effect sizes towards null for most primary outcomes. There were no dose or duration effects in subgrouping or meta-regression.There was no evidence that increasing LCn3 or ALA altered serious adverse events, adiposity or lipids, although LCn3 slightly reduced triglycerides and increased HDL. ALA probably reduces HDL (high- or moderate-quality evidence).

AUTHORS’ CONCLUSIONS:

This is the most extensive systematic assessment of effects of omega-3 fats on cardiovascular health to date. Moderate- and high-quality evidence suggests that increasing EPA and DHA has little or no effect on mortality or cardiovascular health (evidence mainly from supplement trials). Previous suggestions of benefits from EPA and DHA supplements appear to spring from trials with higher risk of bias. Low-quality evidence suggests ALA may slightly reduce CVD event risk, CHD mortality and arrhythmia.

PMID:
30019766
DOI:
10.1002/14651858.CD003177.pub3

SOURCE

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Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.

 

A heart-healthy diet has been the basis of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) prevention and treatment for decades. The potential cardiovascular (CV) benefits of specific individual components of the “food-ome” (defined as the vast array of foods and their constituents) are still incompletely understood, and nutritional science continues to evolve.

 

The scientific evidence base in nutrition is still to be established properly. It is because of the complex interplay between nutrients and other healthy lifestyle behaviours associated with changes in dietary habits. However, several controversial dietary patterns, foods, and nutrients have received significant media exposure and are stuck by hype.

 

Decades of research have significantly advanced our understanding of the role of diet in the prevention and treatment of ASCVD. The totality of evidence includes randomized controlled trials (RCTs), cohort studies, case-control studies, and case series / reports as well as systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Although a robust body of evidence from RCTs testing nutritional hypotheses is available, it is not feasible to obtain meaningful RCT data for all diet and health relationships.

 

Studying preventive diet effects on ASCVD outcomes requires many years because atherosclerosis develops over decades and may be cost-prohibitive for RCTs. Most RCTs are of relatively short duration and have limited sample sizes. Dietary RCTs are also limited by frequent lack of blinding to the intervention and confounding resulting from imperfect diet control (replacing 1 nutrient or food with another affects other aspects of the diet).

 

In addition, some diet and health relationships cannot be ethically evaluated. For example, it would be unethical to study the effects of certain nutrients (e.g., sodium, trans fat) on cardiovascular disease (CVD) morbidity and mortality because they increase major risk factors for CVD. Epidemiological studies have suggested associations among diet, ASCVD risk factors, and ASCVD events. Prospective cohort studies yield the strongest observational evidence because the measurement of dietary exposure precedes the development of the disease.

 

However, limitations of prospective observational studies include: imprecise exposure quantification; co-linearity among dietary exposures (e.g., dietary fiber tracks with magnesium and B vitamins); consumer bias, whereby consumption of a food or food category may be associated with non-dietary practices that are difficult to control (e.g., stress, sleep quality); residual confounding (some non-dietary risk factors are not measured); and effect modification (the dietary exposure varies according to individual/genetic characteristics).

 

It is important to highlight that many healthy nutrition behaviours occur with other healthy lifestyle behaviours (regular physical activity, adequate sleep, no smoking, among others), which may further confound results. Case-control studies are inexpensive, relatively easy to do, and can provide important insight about an association between an exposure and an outcome. However, the major limitation is how the study population is selected or how retrospective data are collected.

 

In nutrition studies that involve keeping a food diary or collecting food frequency information (i.e., recall or record), accurate memory and recording of food and nutrient intake over prolonged periods can be problematic and subject to error, especially before the diagnosis of disease.

 

The advent of mobile technology and food diaries may provide opportunities to improve accuracy of recording dietary intake and may lead to more robust evidence. Finally, nutrition science has been further complicated by the influences of funding from the private sector, which may have an influence on nutrition policies and practices.

 

So, the future health of the global population largely depends on a shift to healthier dietary patterns. Green leafy vegetables and antioxidant suppliments have significant cardio-protective properties when consumed daily. Plant-based proteins are significantly more heart-healthy compared to animal proteins.

 

However, in the search for the perfect dietary pattern and foods that provide miraculous benefits, consumers are vulnerable to unsubstantiated health benefit claims. As clinicians, it is important to stay abreast of the current scientific evidence to provide meaningful and effective nutrition guidance to patients for ASCVD risk reduction.

 

Available evidence supports CV benefits of nuts, olive oil and other liquid vegetable oils, plant-based diets and plant-based proteins, green leafy vegetables, and antioxidant-rich foods. Although juicing may be of benefit for individuals who would otherwise not consume adequate amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, caution must be exercised to avoid excessive calorie intake. Juicing of fruits / vegetables with pulp removal increases calorie intake. Portion control is necessary to avoid weight gain and thus cardiovascular health.

 

There is currently no evidence to supplement regular intake of antioxidant dietary supplements. Gluten is an issue for those with gluten-related disorders, and it is important to be mindful of this in routine clinical practice; however, there is no evidence for CV or weight loss benefits, apart from the potential caloric restriction associated with a gluten free diet.

 

References:

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28254181

 

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0735109713060294?via%3Dihub

 

http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/119/8/1161

 

http://refhub.elsevier.com/S0735-1097(17)30036-0/sref6

 

https://www.scopus.com/record/display.uri?eid=2-s2.0-0031709841&origin=inward&txGid=af40773f7926694c7f319d91efdcd40c

 

https://www.magonlinelibrary.com/doi/10.12968/hosp.2000.61.4.1875

 

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2548255

 

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2018/05/31/supplements-offer-little-cv-benefit-and-some-are-linked-to-harm-in-j-am-coll-cardiol/

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ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE: Dr. Andrew M. Freeman, Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, National Jewish Health, 1400 Jackson Street, J317, Denver, Colorado 80206. E-mail: andrew@docandrew.com.

Item Level of Evidence Available and Included in This Paper Recommendations for Patients Dietary pattern with added fats, fried food, eggs, organ and processed meats, and sugar-sweetened beverages (Southern diet pattern) Prospective studies Avoid Dietary cholesterol RCTs and prospective studies along with meta-analyses Limit Canola oil RCT meta-analyses show improvement in lipids but no prospective studies or RCTs for CVD outcomes In moderation Coconut oil RCT meta-analyses and observational studies on adverse lipid effects. No prospective studies or RCTs for CVD outcomes Avoid Sunflower oil No prospective studies or RCTs for CVD outcomes In moderation Olive oil RCTs supporting improved CVD outcomes In moderation Palm oil RCTs and observation studies showing worsened CVD outcomes Avoid Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables RCTs and observational studies showing improved CVD outcomes and improvements in blood lipids Frequent Antioxidant supplements RCTs and prospective and observational studies show potential harm Avoid Nuts RCT and large prospective and meta-analysis studies showing improved CVD outcomes In moderation Green leafy vegetables Large meta-analyses and variably sized observational studies as well as a large prospective study Frequent Protein from plant sources Large observational and prospective studies Frequent Gluten-containing foods Observational studies and RCTs Avoid if sensitive or allergic
CENTRAL ILLUSTRATION Evidence for Cardiovascular Health Impact of Foods Reviewed Summary of heart-harmful and heart-healthy foods/diets Coconut oil and palm oil are high in saturated fatty acids and raise cholesterol Extra-virgin olive oil reduces some CVD outcomes when Blueberries and strawberries (>3 servings/week) induce protective antioxidants 30 g serving of nuts/day. Portion control is necessary to avoid weight gain.† Green leafy vegetables have significant cardioprotective properties when consumed daily Plant-based proteins are significantly more heart-healthy compared to animal proteins Eggs have a serum cholesterol-raising effect Juicing of fruits/vegetables with pulp removal increases Southern diets caloric concentration* (added fats and oils, fried foods, eggs, organ and processed meats, sugar-sweetened drinks) High-dose antioxidant supplements Juicing of fruits/vegetables without pulp removal* Gluten-containing foods (for people without gluten-related disease) Evidence of harm; limit or avoid Evidence of benefit; recommended Inconclusive evidence; for harm or benefit Sunflower oil and other liquid vegetable oils consumed in moderate quantities Freeman, A.M. et al. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2017;69(9):1172–87. This figure summarizes the foods discussed in this paper that should be consumed often, and others that should be avoided from a cardiovascular health perspective. *It is important to note that juicing becomes less of a benefit if calorie intake increases because of caloric concentration with pulp removal. †Moderate quantities are required to prevent caloric excess.
Source: J Am Coll Cardiol
Curated by: Emily Willingham, PhD
May 30, 2018

Takeaway

  • Antioxidants and niacin are tied to increased all-cause mortality, and other popular supplements offer little detectable cardiovascular (CV) benefit.
  • Folic acid and B6 and B12 might offer some stroke protection.

Why this matters

  • Supplements, including multivitamins, vitamins C and D, and calcium, remain hugely popular.
  • These authors evaluated supplement-related randomized controlled trials published before and since the US Preventive Services Task Force’s 2013 evidence review and 2014 recommendation statement.

Keyresults

  • 4 most common supplements (vitamins D and C, calcium, multivitamins) had no effect on CV outcomes, all-cause mortality.
  • With folic acid
    • Modest stroke reduction (2 studies: relative risk [RR], 0.80; P=.003).
    • CV disease reduction (5 studies: RR, 0.83; P=.002).
  • Other supplements
    • B-complex: reduced stroke risk, 9/12 trials (RR, 0.90; P=.04).
    • Niacin: taken with statin, tied to 10% increased all-cause mortality (P=.05).
    • Antioxidants: increased all-cause mortality, 21 trials (RR, 1.06; P=.05; without selenium: RR, 1.09 [95% CI, 1.04-1.13; P=.0002]).
    • No effect of vitamins A, B6, E, beta-carotene, minerals.

Study design

  • Meta-analysis, 179 randomized controlled trials (15 since 2013/2014).
  • Outcomes: all-cause/CV mortality, total CV disease risk/related outcomes.
  • Funding: Canada Research Chair Endorsement, others.

Limitations

  • No long-term cohort studies included.

  • Selected populations in clinical trials.

  • Supplement differences possible.

SOURCE

http://univadis.com/player/ykvkttzwr?m=1_20180531&partner=unl&rgid=5wrwznernxgefmacwqyebgmyb&ts=2018053100&o=tile_01_id

Other related articles in this Open Access Online Scientific Journal include the following: 

Nutrition: Articles of Note @PharmaceuticalIntelligence.com

Author and Curator: Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP and Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2016/03/28/nutrition-articles-of-note-pharmaceuticalintelligence-com/

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Benefits of Fiber in Diet

Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.

 

UPDATED on 1/15/2019

This is How Much Daily Fiber to Eat for Better Health – More appears better in meta-analysis — as in more than 30 g/day

by Ashley Lyles, Staff Writer, MedPage Today

In the systematic review, observational data showed a 15% to 30% decline in cardiovascular-related death, all-cause mortality, and incidence of stroke, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer among people who consumed the most dietary fiber compared to those consuming the lowest amounts.

Whole grain intake yielded similar findings.

Risk reduction associated with a range of critical outcomes was greatest when daily intake of dietary fibre was between 25 g and 29 g. Dose-response curves suggested that higher intakes of dietary fibre could confer even greater benefit to protect against cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal and breast cancer.

https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(18)31809-9.pdf

Eating more dietary fiber was linked with lower risk of disease and death, a meta-analysis showed.

According to observational studies, risk was reduced most for a range of critical outcomes from all-cause mortality to stroke when daily fiber consumption was between 25 grams and 29 grams, reported Jim Mann, PhD, of University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, and colleagues in The Lancet.

By upping daily intake to 30 grams or more, people had even greater prevention of certain conditions: colorectal and breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, according to dose-response curves the authors created.

Quantitative guidelines relating to dietary fiber have not been available, the researchers said. With the GRADE method, they determined that there was moderate and low-to-moderate certainty of evidence for the benefits of dietary fiber consumption and whole grain consumption, respectively.

Included in the systematic review were 58 clinical trials and 185 prospective studies for a total of 4,635 adult participants with 135 million person-years of information (one trial in children was included, but analyzed separately from adults). Trials and prospective studies assessing weight loss, supplement use, and participants with a chronic disease were excluded.

 

Food is digested by bathing in enzymes that break down its molecules. Those molecular fragments then pass through the gut wall and are absorbed in our intestines. But our bodies make a limited range of enzymes, so that we cannot break down many of the tough compounds in plants. The term “dietary fiber” refers to those indigestible molecules. These dietary fibers are indigestible only to us. The gut is coated with a layer of mucus, on which sits a carpet of hundreds of species of bacteria, part of the human microbiome. Some of these microbes carry the enzymes needed to break down various kinds of dietary fibers.

 

Scientists at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden are running experiments that are yielding some important new clues about fiber’s role in human health. Their research indicates that fiber doesn’t deliver many of its benefits directly to our bodies. Instead, the fiber we eat feeds billions of bacteria in our guts. Keeping them happy means our intestines and immune systems remain in good working order. The scientists have recently reported that the microbes are involved in the benefits obtained from the fruits-and-vegetables diet. Research proved that low fiber diet decreases the gut bacteria population by tenfold.

 

Along with changes to the microbiome there were also rapid changes observed in the experimental mice. Their intestines got smaller, and its mucus layer thinner. As a result, bacteria wound up much closer to the intestinal wall, and that encroachment triggered an immune reaction. After a few days on the low-fiber diet, mouse intestines developed chronic inflammation. After a few weeks, they started putting on fat and developing higher blood sugar levels. Inflammation can help fight infections, but if it becomes chronic, it can harm our bodies. Among other things, chronic inflammation may interfere with how the body uses the calories in food, storing more of it as fat rather than burning it for energy.

 

In a way fiber benefits human health is by giving, indirectly, another source of food. When bacteria finished harvesting the energy in the dietary fiber, they cast off the fragments as waste. That waste — in the form of short-chain fatty acids — is absorbed by intestinal cells, which use it as fuel. But the gut’s microbes do more than just make energy. They also send messages. Intestinal cells rely on chemical signals from the bacteria to work properly. The cells respond to the signals by multiplying and making a healthy supply of mucus. They also release bacteria-killing molecules. By generating these responses, gut bacteria help to maintain a peaceful coexistence with the immune system. They rest on the gut’s mucus layer at a safe distance from the intestinal wall. Any bacteria that wind up too close get wiped out by antimicrobial poisons.

 

A diet of fiber-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, reduces the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. Eating more fiber seems to lower people’s mortality rate, whatever be the cause. Researchers hope that they will learn more about how fiber influences the microbiome to use it as a way to treat disorders. Lowering inflammation with fiber may also help in the treatment of immune disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease. Fiber may also help reverse obesity. They found that fiber supplements helped obese people to lose weight. It’s possible that each type of fiber feeds a particular set of bacteria, which send their own important signals to our bodies.

 

References:

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/01/science/food-fiber-microbiome-inflammation.html

 

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29276171

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29276170

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29486139

 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983

 

https://nutritiouslife.com/eat-empowered/high-fiber-diet/

 

http://www.eatingwell.com/article/287742/10-amazing-health-benefits-of-eating-more-fiber/

 

http://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/nutrition-101/what-is-a-high-fiber-diet

 

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/high-fiber-foods.htm

 

https://www.gicare.com/diets/high-fiber-diet/

 

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“Minerals in Medicine” –  40 Minerals that are crucial to Human Health and Biomedicine: Exhibit by NIH Clinical Center and The Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

Friday, September 9, 2016

NIH Clinical Center and The Smithsonian Institution partner to launch Minerals in Medicine Exhibition

What

The National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, in partnership with The Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, will open a special exhibition of more than 40 minerals that are crucial to human health and biomedicine. “Minerals in Medicine” is designed to enthrall and enlighten NIH Clinical Center’s patients, their loved ones, and the NIH community. Media are invited into America’s Research Hospital, the NIH Clinical Center, to experience this unique exhibition during a ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday September 12 at 4pm.

Beyond taking in the minerals’ arresting beauty, spectators can learn about their important role in keeping the human body healthy, and in enabling the creation of life-saving medicines and cutting edge medical equipment that is used in the NIH Clinical Center and healthcare facilities worldwide. The exhibition, which is on an eighteen-month loan from the National Museum of Natural History, includes specimens that were handpicked from the museum’s vast collection by NIH physicians in partnership with Smithsonian Institution geologists. Some of the minerals on display were obtained regionally as they are part of the Maryland and Virginia landscape.

Who

  • John I. Gallin, M.D., Director of the NIH Clinical Center
  • Jeffrey E. Post, Ph.D., Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, Chair of the Department of Mineral Sciences and Curator of the National Gem and Mineral Collection

When

Monday, September 12, 2016, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Where

NIH Clinical Center (Building 10), 10 Center Drive, Bethesda, MD, 20892; 1st Floor near Admissions

How

RSVP encouraged, but not required, to attend in person. NIH Visitors Map: http://www.ors.od.nih.gov/maps/Pages/NIH-Visitor-Map.aspx

About the NIH Clinical Center: The NIH Clinical Center is the clinical research hospital for the National Institutes of Health. Through clinical research, clinician-investigators translate laboratory discoveries into better treatments, therapies and interventions to improve the nation’s health. More information: http://clinicalcenter.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

SOURCE

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-clinical-center-smithsonian-institution-partner-launch-minerals-medicine-exhibition

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Nuts and health in aging

Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP, Curator

LPBI

 

 

Nut consumption and age-related disease

Giuseppe GrossoRamon Estruch

MATURITAS · OCT 2015     http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.maturitas.2015.10.014

Current knowledge on the effects of nut consumption on human health has rapidly increased in recent years and it now appears that nuts may play a role in the prevention of chronic age-related diseases. Frequent nut consumption has been associated with better metabolic status, decreased body weight as well as lower body weight gain over time and thus reduce the risk of obesity. The effect of nuts on glucose metabolism, blood lipids, and blood pressure are still controversial. However, significant decreased cardiovascular risk has been reported in a number of observational and clinical intervention studies. Thus, findings from cohort studies show that increased nut consumption is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality (especially that due to cardiovascular-related causes). Similarly, nut consumption has been also associated with reduced risk of certain cancers, such as colorectal, endometrial, and pancreatic neoplasms. Evidence regarding nut consumption and neurological or psychiatric disorders is scarce, but a number of studies suggest significant protective effects against depression, mild cognitive disorders and Alzheimer’s disease. The underlying mechanisms appear to include antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions, particularly related to their mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids (MUFA and PUFA, as well as vitamin and polyphenol content. MUFA have been demonstrated to improve pancreatic beta-cell function and regulation of postprandial glycemia and insulin sensitivity. PUFA may act on the central nervous system protecting neuronal and cell-signaling function and maintenance. The fiber and mineral content of nuts may also confer health benefits. Nuts therefore show promise as useful adjuvants to prevent, delay or ameliorate a number of chronic conditions in older people. Their association with decreased mortality suggests a potential in reducing disease burden, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and cognitive impairments.

 

Global life expectancy has increased from 65 years in 1990 to about 71 years in 2013 [1]. As life expectancy has increased, the number of healthy years lost due to disability has also risen in most countries, consistent with greater morbidity [2]. Reduction of mortality rates in developed countries has been associated with a shift towards more chronic non-communicable diseases [1]. Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and related risk factors, such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, hypercholesterolemia, and obesity are the top causes of death globally, accounting for nearly one-third of all deaths worldwide [3]. Equally, the estimated incidence, mortality, and disability- adjusted life-years (DALYs) for cancer rose to 14.9 million incident cancer cases, 8.2 million deaths, and 196.3 million DALYs, with the highest impact of prostate and breast cancer in men and women, respectively [4]. Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide (in terms of total years lost due to disability), especially in high-income countries, increasing from 15th to 11th rank (37% increase) and accounting for 18% of total DALYs (almost 100 million DALYs) [5]. Overall, the global rise in chronic non-communicable diseases is congruent with a similar rise in the elderly population. The proportion of people over the age of 60 is growing faster than any other age group and is estimated to double from about 11% to 22% within the next 50 years [6]. Public health efforts are needed to face this epidemiological and demographic transition, both improving the healthcare systems, as well as assuring a better health in older people. Accordingly, a preventive approach is crucial to dealing with an ageing population to reduce the burden of chronic disease.

In this context, lifestyle behaviors have demonstrated the highest impact for older adults in preventing and controlling the morbidity and mortality due to non- communicable diseases [7]. Unhealthy behaviors, such as unbalanced dietary patterns, lack of physical activity and smoking, play a central role in increasing both cardiovascular and cancer risk [7]. Equally, social isolation and depression in later life may boost health decline and significantly contribute to mortality risk [8]. The role of diet in prevention of disability and death is a well-established factor, which has an even more important role in geriatric populations. Research has focused on the effect of both single foods and whole dietary patterns on a number of health outcomes, including mortality, cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer and mental health disorders (such as cognitive decline and depression) [9-13]. Plantbased dietary patterns demonstrate the most convincing evidence in preventing chronic non-communicable diseases [14-17]. Among the main components (including fruit and vegetables, legumes and cereals), only lately has attention focused on foods such as nuts. Knowledge on the effect of nut consumption on human health has increased rapidly in recent years. The aim of this narrative review is to examine recent evidence regarding the role of nut consumption in preventing chronic disease in older people.

Tree nuts are dry fruits with an edible seed and a hard shell. The most popular tree nuts are almonds (Prunus amigdalis), hazelnuts (Corylus avellana), walnuts (Juglans regia), pistachios (Pistachia vera), cashews (Anacardium occidentale), pecans (Carya illinoiensis), pine nuts (Pinus pinea), macadamias (Macadamia integrifolia), Brazil nuts (Bertholletia excelsa), and chestnuts (Castanea sativa). When considering the “nut” group, researchers also include peanuts (Arachis hypogea), which technically are groundnuts. Nuts are nutrient dense foods, rich in proteins, fats (mainly unsaturated fatty acids), fiber, vitamins, minerals, as well as a number of phytochemicals, such as phytosterols and polyphenols [18]. Proteins account for about 10-25% of energy, including individual aminoacids, such as L-arginine, which is involved in the production of nitric oxide (NO), an endogenous vasodilatator [19].

The fatty acids composition of nuts involves saturated fats for 415% and unsaturated fatty acids for 30-60% of the content. Unsaturated fatty acids are different depending on the nut type, including monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA, such as oleic acid in most of nuts, whereas polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA, such as alpha-linolenic acid) in pine nuts and walnuts [20]. Also fiber content is similar among most nut types (about 10%), although pine nuts and cashews hold the least content. Vitamins contained in nuts are group B vitamins, such as B6 (involved in many aspects of macronutrient metabolism) and folate (necessary for normal cellular function, DNA synthesis and metabolism, and homocysteine detoxification), as well as tocopherols, involved in anti-oxidant mechanisms [21]. Among minerals contained in vegetables, nuts have an optimal content in calcium, magnesium, and potassium, with an extremely low amount of sodium, which is implicated on a number of pathological conditions, such as bone demineralization, hypertension and insulin resistance[22]. Nuts are also rich in phytosterols, non-nutritive components of certain plant-foods that exert both structural (at cellular membrane phospholipids level) and hormonal (estrogen-like) activities [23]. Finally, nuts have been demonstrated to be a rich source of polyphenols, which account for a key role in their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

 

Metabolic disorders are mainly characterized by obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and hyperglycemia/ hyperinsulinemia/type-2 diabetes, all of which act synergistically to increase morbidity and mortality of aging population.

Obesity Increasing high carbohydrate and fat food intake in the last decades has contributed significantly to the rise in metabolic disorders. Nuts are energy-dense foods that have been thought to be positively associated with increased body mass index (BMI). As calorie-dense foods, nuts may contain 160–200 calories per ounce. The recommendation from the American Heart  Association to consume 5 servings per week (with an average recommended serving size of 28 g) corresponds to a net increase of 800–1000 calories per week, which may cause weight gain. However, an inverse relation between the frequency of nut consumption and BMI has been observed in large cohort studies [24]. Pooling the baseline observations of BMI by category of nut consumption in 5 cohort studies found a significant decreasing trend in BMI values with increasing nut intake [24]. While the evidence regarding nut consumption and obesity is limited, findings so far are encouraging [25, 26]. When the association between nut consumption and body weight has been evaluated longitudinally over time, nut intake was associated with a slightly lower risk of weight gain and obesity [25]. In the Nurses’ Health Study II (NHS II), women who eat nuts ≥2 times per week had slightly less weight gain (5.04 kg) than did women who rarely ate nuts (5.55 kg) and marginally significant 23% lower risk of obesity after 9-year follow-up [25]. Further evaluation of the NHS II data and the Physicians’ Health Study (PHS) comprising a total of 120,877 US women and men and followed up to 20 years revealed that 4-y weight change was inversely associated with a 1-serving increment in the intake of nuts (20.26 kg) [27]. In the “Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra” (SUN) cohort study, a significant decreased weight change has been observed over a period of 6 years [26]. After adjustment for potential confounding factors the analysis was no longer significant, but overall no weight gain associated with >2 servings per week of nuts has been observed. Finally, when considering the role of the whole diet on body weight, a meta-analysis of 31 clinical trials led to the conclusion of a null effect of nut intake on body weight, BMI, and waist circumference [28].

Glucose metabolism and type-2 diabetes The association between nut consumption and risk of type-2 diabetes in prospective cohort studies is controversial [29-32]. A pooled analysis relied on the examination of five large cohorts, including the NHS, the Shanghai Women’s Health Study, the Iowa Women’s Health Study, and the PHS, and two European studies conducted in Spain (the PREDIMED trial) and Finland including a total of more than 230,000 participants and 13,000 cases, respectively. Consumption of 4 servings per week was associated with 13% reduced risk of type-2 diabetes without effect modification by age [29]. In contrast, other pooled analyses showed non-significant reduction of risk for increased intakes of nuts, underlying that the inverse association between the consumption of nuts and diabetes was attenuated after adjustment for confounding factors, including BMI [30]. However, results from experimental studies showed promising results. Thus, nut consumption has been demonstrated to exert beneficial metabolic effects due to their action on post-prandial glycemia an insulin sensitivity. A number of RCTs have demonstrated positive effects of nut consumption on post-prandial glycemia in healthy individuals [33-38]. Moreover, a meta-analysis of RCTs on the effects of nut intake on glycemic control in diabetic individuals including 12 trials and a total of 450 participants showed that diets with an emphasis on nuts (median dose = 56 g/d) significantly lowered HbA1c (Mean Difference [MD] : -0.07%; 95% confidence interval [CI]: -0.10, -0.03%; P = 0.0003) and fasting glucose (MD : -0.15 mmol/L; 95% CI: -0.27, -0.02 mmol/L; P = 0.03) compared with control diets [39]. No significant treatment effects were observed for fasting insulin and homeostatic model assessment (HOMA-IR), despite the direction of effect favoring diet regimens including nuts.

Blood lipids and hypertension Hypertension and dyslipidemia are major risk factors for CVD. Diet alone has a predominant role in blood pressure and plasma lipid homeostasis. One systematic review [40] and 3 pooled quantitative analyses of RCTs [41-43] evaluated the effects of nut consumption on lipid profiles. A general agreement was relevant on certain markers, as daily consumption of nuts (mean = 67 g/d) induced a pooled reduction of total cholesterol concentration (10.9 mg/dL [5.1% change]), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration (LDL-C) (10.2 mg/dL [7.4% change]), ratio of LDL-C to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration (HDL-C) (0.22 [8.3% change]), and ratio of total cholesterol concentration to HDL-C (0.24 [5.6% change]) (P <0.001 for all) [42]. All meta-analyses showed no significant effects of nut (including walnut) consumption on HDL cholesterol or triglyceride concentrations in healthy individuals [41], although reduced plasma triglyceride levels were found in individuals with hypertriglyceridemia [42]. Interestingly, the effects of nut consumption were dose related, and different types of nuts had similar effects on blood lipid concentrations.

There is only limited evidence from observational studies to suggest that nuts have a protective role on blood pressure. A pooled analysis of prospective cohort studies on nut consumption and hypertension reported a decreased risk associated with increased intake of nuts [32]. Specifically, only a limited number of cohort studies have been conducted exploring the association between nut consumption and hypertension (n = 3), but overall reporting an 8% reduced risk of hypertension for individuals consuming >2 servings per week (Risk Ratio [RR] = 0.92, 95% CI: 0.87-0.97) compared with never/rare consumers, whereas consumption of nuts at one serving per week had similar risk estimates (RR = 0.97, 95% CI: 0.83, 1.13) [32]. These findings are consistent with results obtained in a pooled analysis of 21 experimental studies reporting the effect of consuming single or mixed nuts (in doses ranging from 30 to 100 g/d) on systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) [44]. A pooled analysis found a significant reduction in SBP in participants without type2 diabetes [MD: -1.29 mmHg; 95% CI: -2.35, -0.22; P = 0.02] and DBP (MD: -1.19; 95% CI: -2.35, -0.03; P = 0.04), whereas subgroup analyses of different nut types showed that pistachios, but not other nuts, significantly reduced SBP (MD: -1.82; 95% CI: -2.97, -0.67; P = 0.002) and SBP (MD: -0.80; 95% CI: -1.43, -0.17; P = 0.01) [44].

Nut consumption and CVD risk Clustering of metabolic risk factors occurs in most obese individuals, greatly increasing risk of CVD. The association between nut consumption and CVD incidence [29-31] and mortality [24] has been explored in several pooled analyses of prospective studies. The overall risk calculated for CVD on a total of 8,862 cases was reduced by 29% for individuals consuming 7 servings per week (RR = 0.71, 95% CI: 0.59, 0.85) [30]. A meta-analysis including 9 studies on coronary artery disease (CAD) including 179,885 individuals and 7,236 cases, reporting that 1-serving/day increment would reduce risk of CAD of about 20% (RR = 0.81, 95% CI: 0.72, 0.91) [31]. Similar risk estimates were calculated for ischemic heart disease (IHD), with a comprehensive reduced risk of about 25-30% associated with a daily intake of nuts [29, 30]. Findings from 4 prospective studies have been pooled to estimate the association between nut consumption and risk of stroke, and a non-significant/borderline reduced risk was found [29-31, 45]. CVD mortality was explored in a recent meta-analysis including a total of 354,933 participants, 44,636 cumulative incident deaths, and 3,746,534 cumulative person-years [24]. One serving of nuts per week and per day resulted in decreased risk of CVD mortality (RR = 0.93, 95% CI: 0.88, 0.99 and RR =0.61, 95% CI: 0.42, 0.91, respectively], primarily driven by decreased coronary artery disease (CAD) deaths rather than stroke deaths [24]. Overall, all pooled analyses demonstrated a significant association between nut consumption and cardiovascular health. However, it has been argued that nut consumption was consistently associated with healthier background characteristics reflecting overall healthier lifestyle choices that eventually lead to decreased CVD mortality risk.

Nut consumption and cancer risk Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the elderly population. After the evaluation of the impact on cancer burden of food and nutrients, it has been concluded that up to one third of malignancies may be prevented by healthy lifestyle choices. Fruit and vegetable intake has been the focus of major attention, but studies on nut consumption and cancer are scarce. A recent metaanalysis pooled together findings of observational studies on cancer incidence, including a total of 16 cohort and 20 casecontrol studies comprising 30,708 cases, compared the highest category of nut consumption with the lowest category and found a lower risk of any cancer of 25% (RR = 0.85, 95% CI: 0.86, 0.95) [46]. When the analysis was conducted by cancer site, highest consumption of nuts was associated with decreased risk of colorectal (RR = 0.76, 95% CI: 0.61, 0.96), endometrial (RR = 0.58, 95% CI: 0.43, 0.79), and pancreatic cancer (RR = 0.71, 95% CI: 0.51, 0.99), with only one cohort study was conducted on the last [46]. The potential protective effects of nut consumption on cancer outcomes was supported also by pooled analysis of 3 cohort studies [comprising the PREDIMED, the NHS, the HPS, and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS) cohorts] showing a decreased risk of cancer death for individuals consuming 3-5 servings of nuts per week compared with never eaters (RR = 0.86, 95% CI: 0.75, 0.98) [24]. The analysis was recently updated by including results from the Netherlands Cohort Study reaching a total of 14,340 deaths out of 247,030 men and women observed, confirming previous results with no evidence of between-study heterogeneity (RR = 0.85, 95% CI: 0.77, 0.93) [47]. However, a dose- response relation showed the non-linearity of the association, suggesting that only moderate daily consumption up to 5 g reduced risk of cancer mortality, and extra increased intakes were associated with no further decreased risk.

Nut consumption and affective/cognitive disorders Age-related cognitive decline is one of the most detrimental health problems in older people. Cognitive decline is a paraphysiological process of aging, but timing and severity of onset has been demonstrated to be affected by modifiable lifestyle factors, including diet. In fact, the nature of the age- related conditions leading to a mild cognitive impairment (MCI) differs by inflammation-related chronic neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and depression. Evidence restricted to nut consumption alone is scarce, but a number of studies have been conducted on dietary patterns including nuts as a major component. A pooled analysis synthesizing findings of studies examining the association between adherence to a traditional Mediterranean diet and risk of depression (n = 9), cognitive decline (n = 8), and Parkinson’s disease (n = 1) showed a reduction of risk of depression (RR = 0.68, 95% CI: 0.54, 0.86) and cognitive impairment (RR = 0.60, 95% CI: 0.43, 0.83) in individuals with increased dietary adherence [10].

The study that first found a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease in individuals highly adherent to the Mediterranean diet was conducted in over 2,000 individuals in the Washington/Hamilton Heights-Inwood Columbia Aging Project (WHICAP), a cohort of non-demented elders aged 65 and older living in a multi-ethnic community of Northern Manhattan in the US (Hazard Ratio [HR] = 0.91, 95% CI: 0.83, 0.98) [48]. These results have been replicated in further studies on the Mediterranean diet, however nut consumption was not documented [49, 50]. A number of observational studies also demonstrated a significant association between this dietary pattern and a range of other cognitive outcomes, including slower global cognitive decline [51]. However, evidence from experimental studies is limited to the PREDIMED trial, providing interesting insights on the association between the Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts and both depression and cognitive outcomes. Regarding depression, the nutritional intervention with a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts showed a lower risk of about 40% in participants with type-2 diabetes (RR = 0.59, 95% CI: 0.36, 0.98) compared with the control diet [52]. However the effect was not significant in the whole cohort overall [52]. Regarding cognitive outcomes after a mean follow-up of 4.1 years, findings from the same trial showed significant improvements in memory and global cognition tests for individuals allocated to the Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts [adjusted differences: -0.09 (95% CI: -0.05, 0.23), P = 0.04 and -0.05 (95% CI: -0.27, 0.18), P = 0.04, respectively], compared to control group, showing that Mediterranean diet plus mixed nuts is associated with improved cognitive function [53].

 

Potential mechanisms of protection of nut consumption Despite the exact mechanisms by which nuts may ameliorate human health being largely unknown, new evidence has allowed us to start to better understand the protection of some high-fat, vegetable, energy-dense foods such as nuts. Non- communicable disease burden related with nutritional habits is mainly secondary to exaggerated intakes of refined sugars and saturated fats, such as processed and fast- foods. Nuts provide a number of nutrient and non-nutrient compounds and it is only recently that scientists have tried to examine their effects on metabolic pathways.

Metabolic and cardiovascular protection With special regard to body weight and their potential effects in decreasing the risk of obesity (or weight gain, in general), nuts may induce satiation (reduction in the total amount of food eaten in a single meal) and satiety (reduction in the frequency of meals) due to their content in fibers and proteins, which are associated with increased release of glucagon-like protein 1 (GLP-1) and cholecystokinin (CCK), gastrointestinal hormones with satiety effects [54, 55]. The content in fiber of nuts may also increase thermogenesis and resting energy expenditure, and reduce post- prandial changes of glucose, thus ameliorating inflammation and insulin resistance. Moreover, the specific content profile of MUFA and PUFA provides readily oxidized fats than saturated or trans fatty acids, leading to reduced fat accumulation [56, 57]. The beneficial effects of nuts toward glucose metabolism may be provided by their MUFA content that improves the efficiency of pancreatic beta-cell function by enhancing the secretion of GLP1, which in turn helps the regulation of postprandial glycemia and insulin sensitivity [58]. MUFA and PUFA are also able to reduce serum concentrations of the vasoconstrictor thromboxane 2, which might influence blood pressure regulation. Together with polyphenols and anti-oxidant vitamins, nuts may also ameliorate inflammatory status at the vascular level, reducing circulating levels of soluble cellular adhesion molecules, such as intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), and E-selectin, which are released from the activated endothelium and circulating monocytes [59]. Moreover, nuts may improve vascular reactivity due to their content in L-arginine, which is a potent precursor of the endogenous vasodilator nitric oxide. Nuts content in microelements is characterized by a mixture that may exert a direct effect in modulating blood pressure, including low content of sodium and richness in magnesium, potassium and calcium, which may interact to beneficially influence blood pressure
Despite the exact mechanisms by which nuts may ameliorate human health being largely unknown, new evidence has allowed us to start to better understand the protection of some high-fat, vegetable, energy-dense foods such as nuts. Non- communicable disease burden related with nutritional habits is mainly secondary to exaggerated intakes of refined sugars and saturated fats, such as processed and fast- foods. Nuts provide a number of nutrient and non-nutrient compounds and it is only recently that scientists have tried to examine their effects on metabolic pathways.

Cancer protection The potential mechanisms of action of nuts that may intervene in the prevention of cancer have not been totally elucidated. Numerous hypotheses have been proposed on the basis of basic research exploring the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds characterizing nuts [61]. Vitamin E can regulate cell differentiation and proliferation, whereas polyphenols (particularly flavonoids such as quercetin and stilbenes such as resveratrol) have been shown to inhibit chemically-induced carcinogenesis [62]. Polyphenols may regulate the inflammatory response and immunological activity by acting on the formation of the prostaglandins and pro-inflammatory cytokines, which may be an important mechanism involved in a number of cancers, including colorectal, gastric, cervical and pancreatic neoplasms [62]. Among other compounds contained in nuts, dietary fiber may exert protective effects toward certain cancers (including, but not limited to colorectal cancer) by the aforementioned metabolic effects as well as increasing the volume of feces and anaerobic fermentation, and reducing the length of intestinal transit. As a result, the intestinal mucosa is exposed to carcinogens for a reduced time and the carcinogens in the colon are diluted [62]. Finally, there is no specific pathway demonstrating the protective effect of PUFA intake against cancer, but their interference with cytokines and prostaglandin metabolism may inhibit a state of chronic inflammation that may increase cancer risk [63].

Cognitive aging and neuro-protection There is no universal mechanism of action for nuts with regard to age-related conditions. A number of systemic biological conditions, such as oxidative stress, inflammation, and reduced cerebral blood flow have been considered as key factors in the pathogenesis of both normal cognitive ageing and chronic neurodegenerative disease [64]. Nuts, alone or as part of healthy dietary patterns, may exert beneficial effects due to their richness in antioxidants, including vitamins, polyphenols and unsaturated fatty acids, that may be protective against the development of cognitive decline and depression [65, 66]. Both animal studies and experimental clinical trials demonstrated vascular benefits of nuts, including the aforementioned lowering of inflammatory markers and improved endothelial function, which all appear to contribute to improved cognitive function [67]. The antioxidant action may affect the physiology of the ageing brain directly, by protecting neuronal and cell-signaling function and maintenance. Moreover, certain compounds contained in nuts may directly interact with the physiology and functioning of the brain. For instance, walnuts are largely composed of PUFA, especially ALA, which have been suggested to induce structural change in brain areas associated with affective experience [66]. Moreover, PUFA have been associated with improved symptoms in depressed patients, suggesting an active role in the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms [68]. Thus, the mechanisms of action of nut consumption on age-related cognitive and depressive disorders are complex, involving direct effects on brain physiology at the neuronal and cellular level and indirect effects by influencing inflammation.

 

Summary From an epidemiological point of view, nut eaters have been associated with overall healthier lifestyle habits, such as increased physical activity, lower prevalence of smoking, and increased consumption of fruits and vegetables [24]. These variables represent strong confounding factors in determining the effects of nuts alone on human health and final conclusions cannot be drawn. Nevertheless, results from clinical trials are encouraging. Nuts show promise as useful adjuvants to prevent, delay or ameliorate a number of chronic conditions in older people.

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Adenosine Receptor Agonist Increases Plasma Homocysteine

Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP, Curator

LPBI

 

The Adenosine Receptor Agonist 5’-N-Ethylcarboxamide-Adenosine Increases Mouse Serum Total Homocysteine Levels, Which Is a Risk Factor for Cardiovascular Diseases

Spring Zhou Editor at Scientific Research Publishing

I would like to share this paper with you. Any comments on this article are welcome.

 

An increase in total homocysteine (Hcy) levels (protein-bound and free Hcy in the serum) has been identified as a risk factor for vascular diseases. Hcy is a product of the methionine cycle and is a precursor of glutathione in the transsulfuration pathway. The methionine cycle mainly occurs in the liver, with Hcy being exported out of the liver and subsequently bound to serum proteins. When the non-specific adenosine receptor agonist 5’-N-ethylcarboxamide-adenosine (NECA; 0.1 or 0.3 mg/kg body weight) was intraperitoneally administered to mice that had been fasted for 16 h, total Hcy levels in the serum significantly increased 1 h after its administration. The NECA treatment may have inhibited transsulfuration because glutathione levels were significantly decreased in the liver. After the intraperitoneal administration of a high dose of NECA (0.3 mg/kg body weight), elevations in total Hcy levels in the serum continued for up to 10 h. The mRNA expression of methionine metabolic enzymes in the liver was significantly reduced 6 h after the administration of NECA. NECA-induced elevations in total serum Hcy levels may be maintained in the long term through the attenuated expression of methionine metabolic enzymes.

 

Comments:

  1.  Is level of protein consumption a factor?
  2. Is reliance on plant food products a factor?
  3. What are the levels of transthyretin?
  4. Is there a concomitant decrease in vitamin A or vitamin D?

 

 

The Adenosine Receptor Agonist 5’-N-Ethylcarboxamide-Adenosine Increases Mouse Serum Total Homocysteine Levels, Which Is a Risk Factor for Cardiovascular Diseases

Shigeko Fujimoto Sakata*, Koichi Matsuda, Yoko Horikawa, Yasuto Sasaki     Faculty of Nutrition, Kobe Gakuin University, Kobe, Japan.

http://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperInformation.aspx    DOI: 10.4236/pp.2015.610048

Cite this paper

Sakata, S. , Matsuda, K. , Horikawa, Y. and Sasaki, Y. (2015) The Adenosine Receptor Agonist 5’-N-Ethylcarboxamide-Adenosine Increases Mouse Serum Total Homocysteine Levels, Which Is a Risk Factor for Cardiovascular Diseases. Pharmacology & Pharmacy, 6, 461-470. doi: 10.4236/pp.2015.610048.
An increase in total serum homocysteine levels (total Hcy: serum protein-bound and free Hcy) has been identified as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease [1] [2] and liver fibrosis [3]. The normal range of total Hcy in adults is typically 5 – 15 μM, with the mean level being approximately 10 μM [2]. Plasma Hcy concentrations were previously found to be strongly associated with the presence and number of small infarctions, or infarction of the putamen in elderly diabetic patients [4]. High levels of Hcy have been shown to induce endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and increase the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) [5]. Hcy has strong reducibility and modifies disulfide bonds in proteins. Only 1% to 2% of Hcy occurs as thiol homocysteine in the serum; 75% of Hcy has been suggested to bind to proteins through disulfide bonds with protein cysteines [6]. Hcy is formed as an intermediary in methionine metabolism [7] [8]. Methionine metabolism mainly occurs in the livers of mammals. Methionine receives an adenosine group from ATP to become S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet) in the methionine cycle. This reaction is catalyzed in the liver by liver-specific methionine adenosyltransferase I/III (MAT I/III), which is encoded by the methionine adenosyltransferase 1A (MAT1A) gene [9]. AdoMet then transfers its methyl group to a large number of compounds, a process that is catalyzed by various methyltransferases (e.g., glycine N-methyltransferase: GNMT; DNA methyltransferase; phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyl- transferase), to produce S-adenosylhomocysteine (AdoHcy). Hcy is formed from AdoHcy by AdoHcy hydrolase (SAHH). The reaction that generates Hcy from AdoHcy is reversible, and AdoHcy from Hcy is shown to be thermodynamically favored over the synthesis of Hcy [10]. A previous study reported that Hcy levels were very low in the liver [11]. This reaction then proceeds toward the synthesis of Hcy when the products (Hcy and adenosine) are removed by further metabolism [12]. Three enzymes metabolize Hcy, with the betaine-homocysteine S-methyltransferase (BHMT) and methionine synthase (MS) reactions both yielding methionine. A large proportion of Hcy in the liver is remethylated by BHMT [3]. The third enzyme, cystathionine β-synthase (CBS) catalyzes Hcy to cystathionine in the transsulfuration pathway. Previous studies of whole body methionine kinetics demonstrated that 62% of Hcy was converted to cystathionine during each cycle in males fed a basal diet, resulting in the production of glutathione (GSH), while 38% of Hcy was remethylated to methionine [13]. Hcy is located at an important regulatory branch point: remethylation to methionine; conversion to cystathionine; export from the cells.
A decrease in intracellular ATP levels, accompanied by the accumulation of 5’-AMP and subsequently adenosine, is known to follow ischemia. Adenosine levels in interstitial fluids were shown to increase 100 – 1000- fold from basal levels (10 – 300 nM) with ischemia [14]. Furthermore, adenosine levels in hepatocytes were increased by a hypoxic challenge, with excess amounts of adenosine being exported out of cells [14]. Adenosine levels were also found to increase 10-fold due to hypoxia, stress, and inflammation [15]. Adenosine has been shown to activate A1, A2a, and A3 receptors with EC50 values in the range of 0.2 – 0.7 μM, and also A2b receptors with an EC50 of 24 μM [16]. A1 and A3 receptors have been classified as adenylate cyclase inhibitory receptors, and A2a and A2b receptors as adenylate cyclase-activating receptors [17]. The activation of adenosine receptors accompanied by ischemia may increase total Hcy levels in the serum because hepatic ischemia is known to decrease the content of GSH and activity of MAT [18].
We previously reported that the non-specific adenosine receptor agonist 5’-N-ethylcarboxamide-adenosine (NECA) increased serum glucose levels and the expression of a glucogenic enzyme (glucose 6-phosphatase) in the liver [19] [20]. Based on the dose of NECA administered in these studies and plasma concentrations after the administration of other adenosine agonists [21], it was inferred that the serum NECA concentration was in the μM range and also that NECA activated adenosine A2b receptors. In the present study, we measured methionine metabolites, including Hcy, in NECA-treated mice in order to determine whether the activation of adenosine receptors increased total Hcy levels in the serum. The results obtained clearly demonstrated that NECA increased total Hcy levels in the serum.
Measurement of Methionine Metabolites AdoMet and AdoHcy levels in the liver were measured using an HPLC method [25] and total GSH in the liver was measured using a microtiter plate assay [26], as described previously [23]. Total Hcy and total cysteine levels (total Cys: free and protein-bound cysteine) in the serum were measured using an HPLC method [27]. Briefly, a mixture of 50 μL of serum, 25 μL of an internal standard, and 25 μL of phosphate-buffered saline (PBS, pH 7.4) was incubated with 10 μL of 100 mg/mL TCEP for 30 min at room temperature in order to reduce and release protein-bound thiols. After this incubation, 90 μL of 100 mg/mL trichloroacetic acid containing 1 mmol/L EDTA was added for deproteinization, centrifuged at 15,000 ×g for 10 min, and 50 μL of the supernatant was added to a tube containing 10 μL of 1.55 mol/L NaOH; 125 μL of 0.125 mol/L borate buffer containing 4 mmol/L EDTA, pH 9.5; and 50 μL of 1 mg/mL SBD-F in the borate buffer. The sample was then incubated for 60 min at 60˚C. HPLC was performed on a Waters M-600 pump equipped with a Waters 2475 Multi λ Fluorescence Detector (385 nm excitation, 515 nm emission). The separation of SBD-derivatized thiols was performed on a μ-BONDASPHERE C18 column (Waters, 5 μm, 100 A, 150 × 3.9 mm) with a 20-μL injection volume and 0.1 mol/L acetate buffer, pH 5.5, containing 30 ml/L methanol as the mobile phase at a flow rate of 1.0 mL/min and column temperature of 29˚C.
3.1. Effects of NECA on Total Hcy and Total Cys Levels in the Serum As shown in Table 1, serum total Hcy and total Cys levels significantly increased after 16 h of fasting. The administration of a low dose of NECA (NECA0.1 group) to mice fasted for 16 h resulted in higher serum total Hcy levels than those in the control group at 1 h (Experiment 1). Serum total Hcy levels were also significantly elevated at 3 h (Experiment 2), but were not significantly different from those in the control group at 6 h (Experiment 3). The administration of a high dose of NECA (NECA0.3 group) resulted in significantly higher serum total Hcy levels than those in the control group at 1 h, 3 h, 6 h, and 10 h (Experiments 4, 5, 6, and 7), gradually increasing Hcy levels to 19.7 μM. The effects of NECA on serum total Cys levels were the same as those on total Hcy levels.
Table 1. Effects of NECA on the content of total homocysteine and total cysteine in the serum.

3.2. Effects of NECA on Other Methionine Metabolite Levels in the Liver We previously reported that fasting for 16 h decreased AdoMet and GSH levels, and increased AdoHcy levels in the livers of mice [23]. In the present study, as shown in Table 2, the administration of a low dose of NECA (NECA0.1 group) to mice fasted for 16 h resulted in lower liver GSH levels than those in the control group at 1 h (Experiment 1). Liver GSH levels were also significantly lower at 3 h (Experiment 2), while GSH levels were not significantly different from those in the control group at 6 h (Experiment 3). The administration of a high dose of NECA (NECA0.3 group) resulted in liver GSH levels that were significantly lower than those in the control group at 1 h, 6 h, and 10 h (Experiments 4, 6, and 7). The effects of NECA on total Hcy levels in the serum and GSH levels in the liver were similar at each dose and time. Furthermore, the low and high doses of NECA both led to significantly higher AdoMet levels than those in the control group at 1 h (Experiments 1 and 4). AdoMet levels at 3 h, 6 h, and 10 h were not significantly different from those in the control group (Experiments 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7). AdoHcy levels were significantly lower in the NECA0.3 group than in the control group 6 h and 10 h after the administration of NECA (Experiments 6 and 7), while the administration of a low dose of NECA had less of an impact on AdoHcy levels.

Table 2. Effects of NECA on the content of methionine metabolites in the liver.

3.3. Effects of NECA on mRNA Expression of Methionine Cycle Enzymes in the Liver Figure 1 shows changes in the mRNA expression of methionine cycle enzymes in Experiments 4, 5, and 6. The expression of methionine cycle enzymes did not significantly change 1 h after the administration of NECA. The expression of MAT1A mRNA was significantly decreased in the liver 6 h after the NECA treatment, while that of MAT2A was increased. The changes observed in the expression of MAT in the present study were consistent with previous findings obtained in ischemic livers [18] or with liver regeneration [28]. The expression of GNMT, which eliminates excess AdoMet, was significantly decreased 6 h after the NECA treatment. The expression of CBS, which converts Hcy to cystathionine through the transsulfuration pathway, and BHMT, which converts Hcy to methionine, was also decreased at 6 h.

Figure 1 shows changes in the mRNA expression of methionine cycle enzymes in Experiments 4, 5, and 6. The expression of methionine cycle enzymes did not significantly change 1 h after the administration of NECA. The expression of MAT1A mRNA was significantly decreased in the liver 6 h after the NECA treatment, while that of MAT2A was increased. The changes observed in the expression of MAT in the present study were consistent with previous findings obtained in ischemic livers [18] or with liver regeneration [28]. The expression of GNMT, which eliminates excess AdoMet, was significantly decreased 6 h after the NECA treatment. The expression of CBS, which converts Hcy to cystathionine through the transsulfuration pathway, and BHMT, which converts Hcy to methionine, was also decreased at 6 h.
Figure 1. Effects of NECA on the mRNA expression of methionine cycle enzymes in the mouse liver. Northern hybridization was performed on the liver RNA of mice in experiments 4, 5, and 6. The mean ± SEM of the ratio of each enzyme mRNA to the level of the 18S rRNA signal is shown as an arbitrary unit. Unpaired Student’s t-tests were used to compare NECA- treated groups with the control groups. *p < 0.05, **p < 0.01: significantly different from each control.
4. Discussion In the present study, an increase in total Hcy levels and AdoMet levels, and decrease in GSH levels occurred 1 h after the NECA treatment. These results were not due to changes in the expression of methionine metabolic enzymes, which remained unchanged 1 h after the NECA treatment (Figure 1). The effects of NECA on methionine metabolism are summarized in Figure 2. No previous study has demonstrated that adenosine has the ability to directly affect CBS; however, the overproduction of carbon monoxide (CO), which is generated by heme oxygenase (HO), is found to inhibit transsulfuration [11]. CO has been shown to inhibit CBS activity and increase AdoMet concentrations [11]. Adenosine and NECA were previously reported to markedly induce HO in macrophages [29]. Hcy, which is a substrate of CBS, may be increased by NECA via the CO-induced inhibition of CBS, and GSH may be decreased by the CO-induced inhibition of transsulfuration. However, the mechanism by which NECA affects transsulfuration in the short term has not yet been elucidated.
Figure 2. Effects of NECA on the methionine metabolic pathway. MAT: methionine adenosyltransferase, GNMT: glycine N-methyltransferase, CBS: cystathionine β-synthase, BHMT: betaine-homocysteine S-methyltransferase, MS: methionine synthase (Map is based on Sakata SF 2005).
GSH was maintained at a low level for up to 10 h by the NECA0.3 treatment and transsulfuration may have been continuously inhibited by the NECA0.3 treatment. Total Hcy levels were also continuously increased for up to 10 h by the NECA0.3 treatment, and decreased AdoHcy levels were observed 6 h and 10 h after the NECA0.3 treatment. Long-term elevations in serum total Hcy levels by NECA may be maintained by attenuating the expression of methionine metabolic enzymes via the following mechanisms: The expression of methionine metabolic enzymes in the liver was reduced 6 h after the NECA0.3 treatment (Figure 1); the flow of the methionine cycle may have been decreased by changes in the expression of MAT (decreased liver-specific MAT1A expression and increased non-liver type MAT2A expression) because MATIII (Km for methionine: 215 μM – 7 mM) is the true liver-specific isoform responsible for methionine metabolism [30] and the generation rate of AdoMet by MATII (non-liver type enzyme) was modest with a low Km (80 μM for methionine) [31]; inhibition of the methyltransferases, BHMT [32] and GNMT [33], induces hyperhomocysteinemia; decreases in AdoHcy levels may be caused by reductions in methyltransferase levels. However, the mechanisms by which NECA continuously increased total Hcy levels have not yet been elucidated in detail. 5. Conclusion The present study confirmed that the non-specific adenosine receptor agonist NECA continuously increased total Hcy levels in the serum. The inhibition of adenosine receptors may decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases because an increase in serum total Hcy levels is a known risk factor.

References

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