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EPA and DHA Intakes from Marine Sources may be Associated with Improved Breast Cancer Prognosis

In a follow-up study involving 3,081 women who had been diagnosed and treated for early stage breast cancer, results indicate that dietary supplementation with marine fatty acids (EPA and DHA) may be associated with reduced risks of additional breast cancer events and all-cause mortality. The women were followed-up with for a median of 7.3 years. After adjusting for confounders, women with higher intakes of EPA and DHA from marine sources showed a 26% reduced risk of additional breast cancer events and a 41% reduced risk of all-cause mortality, compared to women with the lowest intakes of EPA and DHA from marine sources. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, "The investigation indicates that marine fatty acids from food are associated with reduced risk of additional breast cancer events and all-cause mortality."

Reference:

"Marine Fatty Acid Intake Is Associated with Breast Cancer Prognosis," Patterson RE, Pierce JP, et al, J Nutr, 2010 Dec 22; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA).

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Dietary Garlic Benefits Patients with Hip Osteoarthritis

In a cross-sectional study involving a large, population-based volunteer cohort of twins (median age: 59 years), examining the effect of various dietary factors on osteoarthritis symptoms, followed up with in vitro trials examining the effects of allium-derived compounds, results revealed an inverse association between osteoarthritis of the hip and high intakes of fruits and vegetables, in particular non-citrus fruit and alliums, such as garlic. The in vitro follow up trials found that, "diallyl disulphide, a compound found in garlic and other alliums, represses the expression of matrix-degrading proteases in chondrocyte-like cells, providing a potential mechanism of action." These results suggest that a diet high in vegetables, non-citrus fruit, and alliums such as garlic, may benefit patients with osteoarthritis of the hip.

Reference:

"Dietary garlic and hip osteoarthritis: evidence of a protective effect and putative mechanism of action," Williams FM, Skinner J, et al, BMC Musculoskelet Disord, 2010 Dec 8; 11(1): 280, [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Frances MK Williams PhD, FRCP(E), Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, King's College London, St Thomas' Hospital, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7EH, United Kingdom. E-mail: frances.williams@kcl.ac.uk ).

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Acupuncture Improves Gait in the Elderly

In a multiple-blinded, randomized, controlled, intervention trial involving 60 geriatric patients undergoing rehabilitation, stimulation of one acupuncture point (ST-34, located on the thigh), chosen according to principles of traditional Chinese medicine, led to statistically significant improvements in gait performance (velocity, cadence, stride length, cycle time, step time, single support, double support), as compared to the control group who received needling at a non-acupuncture point. The authors conclude, "If sustainability of effects can be documented, acupuncture may prove to be an inexpensive intervention that may mildly improve motor performance in frail geriatric patients."

Reference:

"Stimulation of Acupoint ST-34 Acutely Improves Gait Performance in Geriatric Patients During Rehabilitation: A Randomized Controlled Trial," Hauer K, Wendt I, et al, Arch Phys Med Rehabil, 2011 Jan; 92(1): 7-14. (Address: Department of Geriatric Research, Bethanien-Hospital/Geriatric Centre at the University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany).

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Selenium and Vitamin E Supplementation in Men with Infertility

In a study involving 690 infertile men (mean age: 28.5 years) with idiopathic asthenoteratospermia, presenting with male factor infertility for at least 1 year, daily supplementation with selenium (200 microg/d) in combination with vitamin E (400 IU) for a period of at least 100 days was found to be associated with significant total improvements in sperm motility, morphology, or both (in 52.6% of cases), and spontaneous pregnancy (10.8% of cases), as compared to no treatment. After 14 weeks of treatment, only 36.6% of subjects were found to have no response to treatment. The authors conclude, "Supplemental Se and vitamin E may improve semen quality and have beneficial and protective effects, especially on sperm motility. We advocate their use for the treatment of idiopathic male infertility diagnosed with asthenoteratospermia or asthenospermia in semen analysis."

Reference:

"Selenium-vitamin E supplementation in infertile men: effects on semen parameters and pregnancy rate," Moslemi MK, Tavanbakhsh S, et al, Int J Gen Med, 2011 Jan 23; 4:99-104.

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Curcumin for the Prevention of Colorectal Neoplasia

In a non-randomized, open-label, clinical trial involving 44 smokers with 8 or more ACF (aberrant crypt foci) on screening colonoscopy, administration of a 4 g dose of curcumin was found to be associated with a significant 40% reduction in ACF number, which was associated with significant, five-fold increase in post-treatment plasma curcumin/conjugate levels. A 2 g dose of curcumin did not yield such benefits. The authors conclude, "Our data suggest that curcumin can decrease ACF number, and this is potentially mediated by curcumin conjugates delivered systemically."

Reference:

"Phase IIa Clinical Trial of Curcumin for the Prevention of Colorectal Neoplasia," Carroll RE, Benya RV, et al, Cancer Prev Res (Phila), 2011 March; 4(3): 354-64. (Address: Department of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, 840 South Wood Street (M/C 787), Chicago, IL 60612, USA. E-mail: rcarroll@uic.edu ).

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Carnitine and Fatigue in Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C

In a study involving 70 patients with chronic hepatitis C, 42 patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and 44 healthy subjects, fatigue was found to be significantly more common in patients with chronic hepatitis C and IBS, as compared to controls, and plasma levels of total and free carnitine (adjusted for fat mass) were significantly lower in patients with chronic hepatitis C, as compared to controls. Fatigue scores were negatively associated with plasma carnitine levels in patients with chronic hepatitis C, and levels of free carnitine were significantly and independently associated with severity of fatigue in patients with chronic hepatitis C (OR=2.019). These results suggest that oral supplementation with carnitine "may be effective to relieve fatigue in chronic hepatitis C."

Reference:

"Plasma carnitine is associated with fatigue in chronic hepatitis C but not in the irritable bowel syndrome," Anty R, Marjoux S, et al, Aliment Pharmacol There, 2011 March 2; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), U895, Nice, Cedex 3, France).

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Vitamin D Supplementation and Breast Cancer

In a retrospective study involving 224 women diagnosed with stage 0-III breast cancer who received treatment at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center, vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency were quite common in this population (66.5%), and supplementation with vitamin D was associated with significant increases in 25(OH)D levels. Subjects received either no vitamin D supplementation; "low dose" supplementation, consisting of 1,000 IU/d vitamin D; or "high-dose" supplementation, consisting of at least 50,000 IU/d vitamin D. 25(OH)D was reassessed in the following 8-16 weeks. High dose supplementation was associated with significantly increased 25(OH)D levels, while low-dose supplementation did not significantly increase those levels. Low vitamin D status was associated with reduced BMD in the spine. The authors conclude, "Clinicians should carefully consider vitamin D supplementation regimens when treating vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency in breast cancer patients."

Reference:

"The effect of various vitamin D supplementation regimens in breast cancer patients," Peppone LJ, Huston AJ, et al, Breast Cancer Res Treat, 2011 March 8; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Rochester Medical Center, 601 Elmwood Ave, Box 704, Rochester, NY, 14642, USA. E-mail: luke_peppone@urmc.rochester.edu ).

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Fish Consumption, Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake May Reduce Cognitive Decline

In a prospective, population-based study involving 3,294 adults, subjects with higher intakes of omega-3 long chain fatty acids and EPA were found to report less cognitive difficulties (OR=0.72 and OR=0.74, respectively, for highest quartile), as compared to subjects in the lowest quartile of omega-3 fatty acid intake, after adjusting for depressive symptoms. In addition, fish consumption was linked to a borderline significant association with reduced cognitive complaints (OR=0.80). The authors conclude, "Cognitive complaints, which may be an early indicator of cognitive decline, are less frequent among the elderly who have a high long-chain omega-3 acids intake, as assessed 13 years earlier."

Reference:

"Thirteen-Year Prospective Study between Fish Consumption, Long-Chain n-3 Fatty Acids Intakes and Cognitive Function," Kesse Guyot E, Peneau S, et al, J Nutr Health Aging, 2011; 15(2): 115-20. (Address: E. Kesse Guyot,INSERM U557; INRA U1125; CNAM; PARIS 13. Human Nutrition Research Center of Ile de France, UFR SMBH Paris 13, SMBH, 74 rue Marcel Cachin, F-93017 Bobigny cedex, France. E-mail: e.kesse@uren.smbh.univ-paris13.fr ).

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Multivitamin Supplementation May be Necessary in the Elderly

In a longitudinal study involving 78 (44 female, 34 male) free-living, elderly subjects between the ages of 70 and 75 years at baseline, after assessing intake of vitamins, the authors concluded that, "Multivitamin supplementation may be necessary, even in healthy individuals, to ensure an adequate micronutrient intake in the elderly." Data was collected at baseline and after 10 years. At baseline, intake of all vitamins except vitamin B1 were sufficient and exceeded the lowest European RDI. However, 10 years later, the prevalence of vitamin B2 and vitamin A deficiencies rose to 50% and vitamin C deficiency rose from 3% to 6% in men and 2.3% to 4.5% in women. The authors conclude, "...a considerable proportion of our successfully aging elderly were already deficient in, or at high risk of becoming deficient in several essential vitamins. Multivitamin supplementation may be necessary, even in healthy individuals, to ensure an adequate micronutrient intake in the elderly."

Reference:

"Ten-year trends in vitamin intake in free-living healthy elderly people: the risk of subclinical malnutrition," Toffanello ED, Inelmen EM, et al, J Nutr Health Aging, 2011; 15(2): 99-103. (Address: E.D. Toffanello, Clinica Geriatrica - Ospedale Giustinianeo (2 piano), via Giustiniani 2, 35128, Padova, Italy. E-mail: elenadebora.toffanello@sanita.padova.it ).

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Low Maternal Vitamin B-12 Status During Pregnancy May Be Linked to Excessive Infant Crying

In a study involving 8,266 pregnant women living in Amsterdam and their newborn children, excessive infant crying (defined as crying, on average, 3 or more hours/day in the past week) was found to be associated with lower vitamin B12 status, after adjusting for various confounders. A stronger association was found among women with psychological problems during pregnancy. No association was found between folate and infant crying. The authors conclude, "First evidence is provided for an early nutritional origin in excessive infant crying. A low maternal vitamin B-12 status during pregnancy could, in theory, affect infant crying behavior through two potential mechanisms: the methionine-homocysteine metabolism and/or the maturation of the sleep-wake rhythm."

Reference:

"Maternal vitamin B-12 and folate status during pregnancy and excessive infant crying," Goedhart G, van der Wal MF, et al, Early Hum Dev, 2011 Feb 14; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Public Health Service, Department of Epidemiology, Documentation and Health Promotion, P.O. Box 2200, 1000 CE Amsterdam, The Netherlands).

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Fish Oil Supplementation Increases First-line Chemotherapy Efficacy in Patients with Non-small Cell Lung Cancer

In a study involving 46 patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), supplementation with fish oil (2.5 g/d EPA + DHA), in addition to standard chemotherapy (carboplatin with vinorelbine or gemcitabine), was found to be associated with an increased response rate and greater clinical benefit, as compared to subjects who received chemotherapy alone (60.0% vs. 25.8% and 80.0% vs. 41.9%). Moreover, subjects who received fish oil were found to have a significantly greater one-year survival rate (60.0% vs. 38.7%). The authors conclude, "Compared with SOC, supplementation with FO results in increased chemotherapy efficacy without affecting the toxicity profile and may contribute to increased survival."

Reference:

"Supplementation with fish oil increases first-line chemotherapy efficacy in patients with advanced nonsmall cell lung cancer," Murphy RA, Mourtzakis M, et al, Cancer, 2011 Feb 15; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Division of Human Nutrition, Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada).

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Probiotics in the Treatment of Childhood Constipation

In a study involving 20 children (75% male, 25% female) between the ages of 3 and 16 years with "functional constipation," supplementation with probiotics (one sachet/day containing 108 - 1010 cfu Bifidobacterium breve) for a period of 4 weeks was found to significantly increase the frequency of defecation from 0.9 at baseline to 4.9 in week 4, increase stool consistency from 2.6 at baseline to 3.5 in week 4, and significantly decrease the number of fecal incontinence episodes per week from 9.0 at baseline to 1.5 in week 4. Furthermore, episodes of abdominal pain significantly decreased from 4.2 at baseline to 1.9 in week 4. No adverse effects were noted.

Reference:

"Is Bifidobacterium breve effective in the treatment of childhood constipation? Results from a pilot study," Tabbers MM, deMilliano I, et al, Nutr J, 2011 Feb 23; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Merit M.M.Tabbers, MD, PhD, Emma Children's Hospital, H7-250, Academic Medical Centre, PO Box 22700, 1100 DD Amsterdam. Email: m.m.tabbers@amc.nl ).

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Spirulina Supplementation May Ameliorate Anemia and Immune Dysfunction in the Elderly

In a study involving 30 male and female subjects aged 50 years or older, with no history of chronic diseases, supplementation with Spirulina for a period of 12 weeks was associated with steady increases in average values of mean corpuscular volume (MCV) and mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), with older women benefiting more rapidly from the supplementation. Furthermore, the majority of subjects were found to have increased indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) activity and white blood cell count. The authors conclude, "Spirulina may ameliorate anemia and immunosenescence in older subjects. We encourage large human studies to determine whether this safe supplement could prove beneficial in randomized clinical trials."

Reference:

"The effects of Spirulina on anemia and immune function in senior citizens," Selmi C, Leung PS, et al, Cell Mol Immunol, 2011 Jan 31; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA, USA).

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Acupuncture Reduces Needs for Fentanyl During Total Hip Anthroplasty

In a randomized, patient-anesthesiologist blinded study involving 120 patients scheduled for total hip arthroplasty (THA), treatment with auricular (ear) acupuncture, with fixed indwelling needles placed in the evening before the surgery and withdrawn on the day after surgery, was found to be associated with a 15% reduced need for fentanyl, as compared to controls (4.6 microg/kg vs. 5.2 microg/kg). Patients received general anesthesia with desflurane, which end-tidal concentration was kept within 3.5 volume % to 5.5 volume % to maintain the Bispectral Index within 40% to 55%, and the anesthesiologists were asked to titrate fentanyl to keep the heart rate and blood pressure within 20% of baseline values. The authors conclude, "...AA should be further investigated for its clinical usefulness for complementary analgesia during the surgery."

Reference:

"The effect of auricular acupuncture on fentanyl requirement during hip arthroplasty: a randomized controlled trial," Wetzel B, Pavlovic D, et al, Clin J Pain, 2011 March-April; 27(3): 262-7. (Address: Departments of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Orthopedic Surgery, Ernst Moritz Arndt University, Greifswald, Germany).

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Vitamin D May Help in the Prevention of Urinary Tract Infections: In Vitro Study Results

In a study involving analysis of bladder tissue obtained from postmenopausal women, infected with uropathogenic E. coli, supplementation with vitamin D3 (2000 IU/d) for a period of three months was found to be associated with significant increases in cathelicidin expression (a human anti-microbial peptide). In human bladder cell lines, vitamin D administration was found to exert an anti-bacterial effect against uropathogenic E. coli. The authors conclude, "In the light of the rapidly growing problem of resistance to common urinary tract antibiotics, we suggest that vitamin D may be a potential complement in the prevention of UTI."

Reference:

"Vitamin D induction of the human antimicrobial Peptide cathelicidin in the urinary bladder," Hertting O, Holm A, et al, PLoS One, 2010 Dec 14; 5(12): e15580. (Address: Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, Division of Clinical Microbiology, Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden).

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L-Citrulline Supplementation May Improve Mild Erectile Dysfunction

In a placebo-controlled, single-blind study involving 24 men with mild ED (erectile dysfunction), results indicate that supplementation with L-citrulline may improve erectile hardness. The men were randomized to placebo or L-citrulline (1.5 g/d) for 1 month each. Erectile hardness score improved from 3 to 4 in 2% of subjects in the placebo group, compared with 50% of subjects in the L-citrulline group. Additionally, the mean number of intercourses per month increased in the L-citrulline group. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, "Although less effective than phosphodiesterase type-5 enzyme inhibitors, at least in the short term, L-citrulline supplementation has been proved to be safe and psychologically well accepted by patients. Its role as an alternative treatment for mild to moderate ED, particularly in patients with a psychologically fear of phosphodiesterase type-5 enzyme inhibitors, deserves further research."

Reference:

"Oral L-citrulline supplementation improves erection hardness in men with mild erectile dysfunction," Cormio L, Carrieri G, et al, Urology, 2011; 77(1): 119-22. (Address: Department of Urology and Renal Transplantation, University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy).

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Low Omega-3 Fatty Acid Index and Conventional Cardiovascular Risk Factors Associated with Major Depressive Disorder

In a case-control study involving 166 adults - 86 inpatients with major depressive disorder but without cardiovascular disease and 80 age- and sex-matched healthy controls - various conventional risk factors of cardiovascular disease (high triglycerides (152 mg/dL vs 100 mg/dL), fasting glucose (96 mg/dL vs 87 mg/dL) greater waist circumference (97 cm vs 87 cm), and higher BMI (26 vs. 24 kg/m(2))) were found to be more prevalent in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), while the omega-3 index (3.9% vs. 5.1%) and levels of individual omega-3 fatty acids were significantly lower in patients with MDD. Moreover, having an omega-3 index less than 4% was found to be associated with higher concentrations of IL-6, a pro-inflammatory cytokine. The authors conclude, "Our results support the employment of strategies to reduce the cardiovascular risk in still cardiovascularly healthy MDD patients by targeting conventional risk factors and the Omega-3 Index." These r esults suggest that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids in order to improve the Omega-3 index, in such a population, may be beneficial.

Reference:

"Major depressive disorder is associated with cardiovascular risk factors and low Omega-3 index," Baghai TC, Varallo-Bedarida G, et al, J Clin Psychiatry, 2010 Dec 14; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Nussbaumstrasse 7, D-80336 Munich, Germany. E-mail: Baghai@med.uni-muenchen.de ).

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Eating more Fruits and Vegetables May Reduce Menstrual Pain in Younger Women

In a cross-sectional study involving 81 Iranian women aged 16 to 56 years of age, results indicate an inverse association between fruit and vegetable intake and dysmenorrhea. After adjusting for potential confounders, high intakes of fruits and vegetables was associated with reduced menstrual pain. Additionally, older age was associated with reduced menstrual pain, whereas higher stress and depression was associated with increased dysmenorrhea. The authors conclude, "The inverse association between fruit and vegetable intake and dysmenorrhea, and reduction of stress and depression need to be further explored and considered in terms of recommendation to reduce dysmenorrhea."

Reference:

"The prevalence of menstrual pain and associated risk factors among Iranian women," Tavallaee M, Mahmoudi Rad M, et al, J Obstet Gynaecol Res, 2011, Jan 5; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada Skin Research Center, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences and Health Services, Tehran, Iran).

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Magnesium Supplementation May Improve Insulin Sensitivity

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 52 normomagnesemic, overweight, insulin resistant, non-diabetic subjects, results indicate that supplementation with magnesium may improve insulin sensitivity. The subjects were randomized to magnesium-aspartate-hydrochloride or placebo for 6 months. At intervention end, significant improvement in fasting glucose and some insulin sensitivity indices were observed in the magnesium group. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, "The results provide significant evidence that oral Mg supplementation improves insulin sensitivity even in normomagnesemic, overweight, non-diabetic subjects emphasizing the need for an early optimisation of Mg status to prevent insulin resistance and subsequently type 2 diabetes."

Reference:

"Oral magnesium supplementation reduces insulin resistance in non-diabetic subjects - a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial," Mooren FC, Kraus A, et al, Diabetes Obes Metab, 2010, Nov 18; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Department of Sports Medicine, Institute of Sports Sciences, Justus-Liebig-University, Kugelberg 62, Giessen 35394, Germany).

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Kefir Improves Efficacy and Tolerability of Triple Therapy in Eradicating H. Pylori

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 82 patients with symptoms of dyspepsia and H. pylori infection, consumption of kefir (250 mL), twice a day, was found to improve the efficacy and tolerability of triple therapy in eradicating H. pylori infection, as compared to treatment with triple therapy (30 mg lansoprazole, 1000 mg amoxicillin, 500 mg clarithromycin) plus a placebo (milk containing a placebo). Forty-five days after beginning treatment, patients completed urea breath tests and results showed significantly more patients who received triple therapy plus kefir achieved eradication of H. pylori (36 of 46, 78%), as compared to patients who received triple therapy plus placebo (18 of 36, 50%). Furthermore, significantly fewer side effects were found among patients who received the kefir. The authors conclude, "...a 14-day regimen of triple therapy with kefir is more effective in achieving H. pylori eradication than is triple therapy alone. "

Reference:

"Kefir Improves the Efficacy and Tolerability of Triple Therapy in Eradicating Helicobacter pylori," Bekar O, Yilmaz Y, Gulten M, J Med Food, 2010 Dec 27; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Department of Internal Medicine, Uludag University Medical School , Bursa, Turkey).

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