Drinking Cranberry Juice May Prevent Against Urinary Tract Infections
In a randomized, controlled study involving 84 girls aged between 3 and 14 years, results indicate that daily intake of concentrated cranberry juice may significantly reduce the recurrence of urinary tract infections (UTIs). The girls were randomized to 50 mL cranberry juice, 100 mL of Lactobacillus GG or control, 5 days a month, for a period of 6 months. At intervention end, the least number of UTI episodes was observed in the cranberry juice group, compared with the other groups. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, "These data suggest that daily consumption of concentrated cranberry juice can significantly prevent the recurrence of symptomatic UTIs in children."
"Cranberry juice for the prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections: a randomized controlled trial in children," Ferrara P, Cataldi L, et al, Scand J Urol Nephrol, 2009; 43(5): 369-72. (Address: Department of Pediatrics, Catholic University, A. Gemelli Hospital, Rome, Italy. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ).
Acupuncture May Help Reduce Insomnia
In a study involving 47 patients with chronic insomnia, four courses of electroacupuncture therapy (a form of acupuncture) were found to be associated with improvements in sleep quality and social function during the daytime. Specifically, increases in slow wave sleep time and REM sleep time were found. One month post-treatment, the insomnia rebound rate was 23%. The authors conclude, "...electroacupuncture therapy could be a promising avenue of treatment for chronic insomnia." Additional research is warranted.
"Electroacupuncture treatment of chronic insomniacs," Ruan JW, Wang CH, et al, Chin Med J (Eng), 2009; 122(23): 2869-73. (Address: Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Department of Respiratory Medicine (Yan YS), First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510080, China. Email: email@example.com ).
Hibiscus Tea May Reduce Blood Pressure
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial involving 65 pre- and mildly hypertensive adults between the ages of 30 and 70 years who were not on blood pressure-lowering medication, supplementation with hibiscus tea (240 mL servings, 3 times/day) for a period of 6 weeks was found to significantly reduce systolic BP (-7.2 vs -1.3 mm Hg). Diastolic BP was reduced as well, though less significantly (-3.1 vs. -0.5 mm Hg), and arterial pressure reduced as well (-4.5 vs. 0.08 mm Hg), as compared to placebo. Subjects with higher systolic BP at baseline were found to have a greater response to hibiscus treatment. The authors conclude, "These results suggest daily consumption of hibiscus tea, in an amount readily incorporated into the diet, lowers BP in pre- and mildly hypertensive adults and may prove an effective component of the dietary changes recommended for people with these conditions."
"Hibiscus sabdariffa L. tea (tisane) lowers blood pressure in prehypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults," McKay DL, Chen CY, et al, J Nutr, 2010; 140(2): 298-303. (Address: Antioxidants Research Laboratory; Energy Metabolism Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ).
Folate Deficiency May Be Linked to Depressive Symptoms in Men
In a cross-sectional, population-based study involving 1,681 subjects between the ages of 30 and 64 years, men consuming more folate were found to have a reduced odds of experiencing depression. Subjects were administered the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale (CES-D). Subjects in the middle and uppermost tertile of plasma folate were found to have a 39-40% reduced odds of elevated CES-D (> or = 16) in women. However, results of the Health Eating Index (HEI total) was found to confound this association in women and men. According to structural equation modeling, plasma folate was found to completely mediate the inverse HEI(total)-CES-D association in men, particularly for higher intakes of fruits, total vegetables, total grains, whole grains, milk and lower discretionary energy. The authors conclude, "Depressive symptoms in our study may be alleviated by improving overall dietary quality, with plasma folate playing a potential mediating role only a mong men."
"The sex-specific role of plasma folate in mediating the association of dietary quality with depressive symptoms," Beydoun MA, Fanelli K MT, et al, J Nutr, 2010; 140(2): 338-47. (Address: National Institute on Aging, NIH/Intramural Research Program, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA. E-mail: email@example.com ).
Vitamin D Status May Be Inversely Associated With Risk of Colorectal Cancer
In a case-control study involving 229 cases of colorectal cancer and 434 matched-controls, results indicate an inverse association between vitamin D status and risk of colorectal cancer. Using conditional logistic regression adjusted for potential confounders, higher quintiles of circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] were associated with a 32% reduced risk of colorectal cancer. Thus, the authors conclude, "In summary, this study provides evidence of an association between vitamin D status and reduced risk of colorectal cancer in an ethnically diverse population."
"Plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and the risk of colorectal cancer: the multiethnic cohort study," Woolcott CG, Le Marchand L, et al, Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 2010; 19(1): 130-4. (Address: Epidemiology Program, Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, University of Hawaii, 1236 Lauhala Street, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ).
Vitamin D Deficiency and Bone Health in Patients Undergoing Hip or Knee Replacement Surgery
In a study involving 82 women (mean age: 70 yrs) and 35 men (mean age: 68 yrs) undergoing total hip or knee replacement, 84.7% of subjects were found to have vitamin D deficiency. In addition, 37% of men and 43% of women were found to have osteopenia, 20% of men had a T-score below -2.5, and 23% of women were affected by osteoporosis. Prevalence of osteoporosis and osteopenia were not found to be due to immobility. These results elucidate the links between osteoporosis, osteopenia, BMD and vitamin D status in patients undergoing total hip or knee joint replacement surgery.
"Bone mineral density and vitamin D status in female and male patients with osteoarthritis of the knee or hip," Breijawi N, Eckardt A, et al, Eur Surg Res, 2009; 42(1): 1-10.
Adherence to a Low-Salt Diet May Reduce Blood Pressure, Particularly Among Women
In a study involving 1,906 participants, results indicate that adherence to a low-salt diet may reduce blood pressure, particularly in women. The participants underwent a 7-day low-salt dietary intervention (51.3 mmol sodium/day), a 7-day high-salt dietary intervention (307.8 mmol sodium/day), and a 7-day high-salt and potassium dietary intervention (60 mmol potassium/day). The low-salt diet was associated with significantly greater reductions in systolic (-8.1 mm Hg) and diastolic (-4.5 mm Hg) blood pressure in women, as compared to that in men (-7 mm Hg systolic and -3.4 mm Hg diastolic). Similarly, the high-sodium intervention led to a greater increase in blood pressure in women, compared to that in men. Additionally, older subjects showed a greater increase in systolic blood pressure with high-salt intake, while hypertensive subjects showed a greater increase in systolic and diastolic blood pressure with high -salt intake. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, "These results suggest that female gender, older age, and hypertension increase the sensitivity to dietary sodium intervention. Furthermore, low dietary sodium intake may be more effective in reducing BP among these subgroups.
"Gender difference in blood pressure responses to dietary sodium intervention in the GenSalt study," Je J, Whelton PK, et al, J Hypertens, 2009; 27(1): 48-54.
Higher Levels of Omega-3 Fatty Acid May Protect Against Stroke
In a case-control study involving 40 cases of hemorrhagic stroke, 40 cases of ischemic stroke, and 40 controls, results indicate that erythrocyte omega-3 PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids) may protect against hemorrhagic stroke and ischemic stroke. Using multivariate analyses, omega-3 index (20:5n3 + 22:6n3 in erythrocytes) and 22:6n3 were negatively associated with risk of both hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke. Additionally, linoleic acid levels were significantly lower in patients with small-artery occlusion and large-artery atherosclerosis. Lastly, omega-3 index and docosahexaenoic acid were significantly lower in patients with both subtypes of hemorrhagic stroke, subarachnoid and intracerebral hemorrhage, but only in one subtype of ischemic stroke, small-artery occlusion. Thus, the authors conclude, “...The results of our case-control study suggest that erythrocyte omega-3 PUFA may protect against hemorrhagic stroke and ischemic stroke, particularly in the case o f small-artery occlusion.”
“Low level of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in erythrocytes is a risk factor for both acute ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke in Koreans,” Park Y, Ahn H, et al, Nutr Res, 2009; 29(12): 825-30.
Dietary Intake of Omega-6 Fatty Acids May Protect Against Development of Cataracts
In a prospective study involving 12,308 men and women, initially free of cataracts, results indicate that dietary intake of fatty acids, particularly omega-6 fatty acids, may be inversely associated with risk of developing cataracts. Fatty acids intake was assessed using a validated 136-item semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire. During a follow up of up to 6 years, 182 incident cases of cataracts were recorded. After adjusting for confounders, the highest category of dietary intake of omega-6 fatty acids was associated with a 42% reduced risk of cataracts. Similarly, the highest category of dietary intake of fatty acids (saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated omega-6 and polyunsaturated omega-3) was associated with a 46% reduced risk of development of cataracts. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, “High intake of omega-6 fatty acids showed a modest but significant inverse association with the development of cataracts.”
“[Dietary fat intake and incidence of cataracts: The SUN Prospective study in the cohort of Navarra, Spain], Martínez-Lapiscina EH, Moreno-Montañés J, et al, Med Clin (Barc), 2010 Jan 5
Intake of Vitamins and Minerals May Reduce the Risk of Bladder Cancer
In a case-control study involving 322 cases and 239 controls, total intake of various vitamins and minerals were found to be inversely associated with bladder cancer risk. Specifically - comparing the highest versus the lowest quartiles, total intake of vitamin E was associated with an OR of 0.66 and dietary intake of phosphorus was associated with an OR of 0.49. In smokers, vitamin E intake (highest vs lowest quartile) was associated with an OR of 0.58, carotenoids were associated with an OR of 0.62, and niacin was associated with an OR of 0.66. In older adults, higher intakes of carotenoids, vitamin D, thiamin, niacin, and vitamin E were all inversely associated with bladder cancer risk. The authors conclude, "Our findings suggest further investigation of the effect of vitamin E, carotenoids, vitamin D, thiamin, and niacin on bladder cancer risk may be warranted. Future studies should focus on high risk groups such as heavy smokers and older individuals."
“Minerals and vitamins and the risk of bladder cancer: results from the New Hampshire Study,” Brinkman MT, Karagas MR, et al, Cancer Causes Control, 2009 Dec 31
Supplementation with Turmeric Extract May Benefit Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis
In a randomized, controlled study involving 107 patients with primary knee osteoarthritis, results indicate that supplementation with Curcuma domestica (Turmeric) extract may be as efficacious and safe as ibuprofen in reducing pain and improving function. The patients were randomized to 800 mg/day ibuprofen (n=55) or 2 g/day Curcuma domestica extract (n=52), for a period of 6 weeks. Significant improvements in pain on level walking, pain on stairs, and functions of knee assessed by time spent during 100-m walk and going up and down a flight of stairs were observed in both groups with no significant difference. Additionally, there was no significant difference in adverse events between the ibuprofen and turmeric groups. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, “C. domestica extracts seem to be similarly efficacious and safe as ibuprofen for the treatment of knee OA.
“Efficacy and safety of Curcuma domestica extracts in patients with knee osteoarthritis,” Kuptniratsaikul V, Thamlikitkul V, et al, J Altern Complement Med, 2009; 15(8): 891-
Vitamin D Deficiency and Cardiometabolic Disorders
In this systematic review and meta-analysis of studies examining the association between vitamin D status and cardiometabolic disorders, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and the metabolic syndrome, the authors concluded that, “High levels of vitamin D among middle-age and elderly populations are associated with a substantial decrease in cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.” The conclusions were based on results from 28 studies that met the authors’ inclusion criteria, which included data from 99,745 subjects. The highest 25(OH)D levels were associated with a significant (43%) reduction in cardiometabolic disorders (OR=0.57). The authors conclude, “If the relationship proves to be causal, interventions targeting vitamin D deficiency in adult populations could potentially slow the current epidemics of cardiometabolic disorders.”
“Levels of vitamin D and cardiometabolic disorders: Systematic review and meta-analysis,” Parker J, Hashmi O, et al, Maturitas, 2009 Dec 21
Acupuncture vs. Drug Therapy in the Treatment of Hot Flashes in Patients with Breast Cancer: Acupuncture Yields More Sustained Benefits and Significantly Fewer Adverse Effects
In a randomized, controlled trial involving 52 women experiencing hot flashes (vasomotor symptoms) due to anti-estrogen therapy (breast cancer treatment), treatment with acupuncture was found to be as effective as treatment with venlafaxine (Effexor), a drug commonly used to treat hot flashes (vasomotor symptoms), in reducing hot flashes and depressive symptoms, and improving other quality of life parameters and overall mental health, over a period of 12 weeks. Moreover, several subjects in the acupuncture group also experienced increased sex drive and most reported improved energy, clarity of thought, and overall sense of well-being. The subjects were randomized to an acupuncture group and a venlafaxine group. Two weeks post-intervention, subjects in the acupuncture group still experienced fewer hot flashes, while subjects in the venlafaxine group experienced a significant increase in hot flashes. Furthermore, 18 subjects in the venlafaxine group reported adverse effects including dry mouth, nausea, dizziness and anxiety, whereas no adverse effects were found in subjects in the acupuncture group. The authors conclude that acupuncture, “...is a safe, effective and durable treatment for vasomotor symptoms secondary to long-term antiestrogen hormone use in patients with breast cancer.” In other words, acupuncture may be a safe and effective treatment option to breast cancer patients on anti-estrogen therapy experiencing hot flashes, depressive symptoms, and disturbances in overall mental/emotional health and energy.
“Acupuncture Versus Venlafaxine for the Management of Vasomotor Symptoms in Patients With Hormone Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” Walker EM, Rodriguez AI, et al, J Clin Oncol, 2009 Dec 28.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Alzheimer Disease
In a study involving a cohort of 102 patients with Alzheimer disease (AD) without prior vitamin B12 deficiency, whose vitamin B12 levels were greater than 350 ng/L, vitamin B12 deficiency was diagnosed in 7 patients (7.5% incidence) at 3 years follow-up, and 17 patients (22%) were found to have vitamin B12 levels less than 350 ng/L, of the 79 patients available for follow-up. The authors conclude, “Our pilot data indicate that vitamin B12 levels decreased in this cohort of AD patients putting a substantial percentage at risk of deficiency and reaching deficiency state in a meaningful number of patients. Repeat screening for B12 deficiency after approximately 2 years of follow-up seems warranted in order to prevent hematological and neurological manifestations that may significantly alter their quality of life.
“Cumulative incidence of vitamin B12 deficiency in patients with Alzheimer disease,” Prodan CI, Cowan LD, et al, J Neurol Sci, 2009; 284(1-2): 144-8. (Address: Center for Alzheimer and Neurodegenerative Disorders, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Oklahoma City, OK, USA. E-mail: email@example.com ).
Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid Supplementation in the Elderly
In a study involving 56 elderly subjects (30 male, 26 female) between the ages of 60 and 70 years who were healthy working professionals, supplementation with biscuits enriched with vitamin B12 and folic acid for a period of 4 months was found to significantly improve cognitive functions, including short-term memory and attention focus, and reduce plasma tHcy (total homocysteine). Plasma tHcy was found to be significantly correlated with cognitive functions both before and after supplementation. The authors conclude, “We recommend vitamin B12 and folic acid supplementation for elderly.”
“Homocysteine, vitamin B12 and folic acid plasma levels in relation to cognitive functions in an Egyptian elderly group,” Kazem YI, Hussein MM, et al, International Journal of Food Safety, Nutrition and Public Health,” 2009, 2(2): 111-124.
Fish Oil Supplementation May Benefit Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis
In a study involving 83 female patients with rheumatoid arthritis, supplementation with fish oil (1 g/d) for a period of 3 months was found to increase serum levels of osteoprotegerin, and decrease sRANKL, TNFalpha, and sRANKL/osteoprotegerin ratio. sRANKL/osteoprotegerin ratio was found to be significantly positively associated with TNFalpha levels in subjects treated with fish oil. The authors conclude, “FO could decrease the inflammatory response by lowering of serum TNFalpha levels and sRANKL/osteoprotegerin ratio.”
“Fish oil supplementation decreases serum soluble receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappa B ligand/osteoprotegerin ratio in female patients with rheumatoid arthritis,” Kolahi S, Ghorbanihaghjo A, et al, Clin Biochem, 2009 Dec 21.
Dry Eye and Essential Fatty Acids
In a literature review of studies examining the effects of essential fatty acids in patients with dry eye syndrome, based on the evidence reviewed, the authors conclude, “...Supplementation with omega-3 EFA may be beneficial in the treatment and prevention of DES.” The authors searched PubMed, ScienceDirect, and Ovid databases to identify relevant studies for review. Based on the studies identified and analyzed, the authors found that omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids need to be consumed together within a reasonable ratio to be effective. The authors discuss the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids “in the lacrimal gland preventing apoptosis of the secretory epithelial cells.” They go on, “Supplementation clears meibomitis, allowing a thinner, more elastic lipid layer to protect the tear film and cornea.” Based on the evidence identified and reviewed, the authors conclude that patients with dry eye syndrome may benefit from supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids.
“Essential fatty acids for dry eye: A review,” Roncone M, Bartlett H, et al, Cont Lens Anterior Eye, 2009 Dec 21.
Maternal Vitamin D Supplementation During Pregnancy May Benefit Offspring
In a prospective, multi-center, cohort study involving 349 mothers and their offspring, results indicate that maternal vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy may protect against development of atopic diseases in offspring. The gene expressions of ILT3 and ILT4 (immunoglobulin-like transcripts) were analyzed by real-time PCR. Maternal vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy was associated with an increase in the gene expression of ILT3 and ILT4. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, “Vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy may increase the mRNA levels of ILT3 and ILT4 in CB. This finding may point towards an early induction of tolerogenic immune responses by maternal vitamin D intake.”
“Maternal vitamin D intake during pregnancy increases gene expression of ILT3 and ILT4 in cord blood,” Rochat MK, von Mutius E, et al, Clin Exp Allergy, 2009 Dec 16; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Children's Hospital, University of Munich, Munich, Germany).
Corticosteroid Treatment Reduces Magnesium Levels in Asthmatic Children
In a study involving 89 children (aged 5-15 years) with chronic asthma receiving inhaled fluticasone propionate and oral methyl prednisolone (short courses during flare ups) and 27 healthy controls, serum magnesium was found to be significantly lower among asthmatics receiving steroid treatment, as compared to healthy controls and as compared to asthmatics not received steroid treatment. Frequency of oral corticosteroid use was found to be significantly negatively associated with serum magnesium. The authors conclude, “...Use of corticosteroid in asthmatics reduces magnesium level with recovery to normal after steroid cessation. Magnesium supplementation is recommended to those receiving steroid.”
“Magnesium level in chronic asthmatic children - effect of corticosteroid treatment,” Fatouh AAA, Abd Al-Aziz AM, et al, International Journal of Food Safety, Nutrition and Public Health, 2009; 2(2): 101-110.
Low Magnesium Levels among the Elderly
In a cross-sectional study involving 159 patients 65 years of age and older, the incidence of hypomagnesemia was found to be high (36%), of which 18% had severe hypomagnesemia (</=0.7muequiv./l), and 35% had moderate hypomagnesemia (0.8-0.9 muequiv./l). Furthermore, patients with hypomagnesemia were found to have a higher number of comorbid diseases, a lower BMI, a greater likelihood of malnutrition (e.g., low total cholesterol and serum albumin), and a greater prevalence of other electrolyte abnormalities, particularly hypocalcemia and hypokalemia. These results suggest that hypomagnesemia is quite common in long-term care elderly patients. The authors conclude, “Understanding the causes of HM, correction of magnesium level, and definitive and effective treatment of the cause leading to HM is important to improve patient prognosis.”
“Prevalence of hypomagnesemia (HM) in a geriatric long-term care (LTC) setting,” Arinzon Z, Peisakh A, et al, Arch Gerontol Geriatr, 2009 Aug 6.