Regular Consumption of Small Doses of Dark Chocolate May Reduce Inflammation
In a study involving data from 2,141 subjects at least 35 years of age, consumption of small doses of dark chocolate was found to be inversely associated with serum C-reactive protein, after adjusting for various potential confounders. A J-shaped relationship between dark chocolate consumption and serum C-reactive protein was observed. Specifically, subjects consuming up to 1 serving (20 g) of dark chocolate every 3 days were found to have significantly lower serum C-reactive protein concentrations than subjects not consuming any dark chocolate, as well as those consuming higher amounts of dark chocolate. The authors conclude, "Our findings suggest that regular consumption of small doses of dark chocolate may reduce inflammation."
"Regular consumption of dark chocolate is associated with low serum concentrations of C-reactive protein in a healthy Italian population," di Giuseppe R, Di Castelnuovo A, et al, J Nutr, 2008; 138(10): 1939-45.
Antioxidant Supplementation May Benefit Colorectal Cancer Patients
In a study involving 76 subjects, including 36 with colorectal cancer and 40 healthy controls, levels of oxidative stress were found to be significantly greater (higher levels of protein carbonyl, advanced oxidation protein products, serum 8-OHdG), while activity of antioxidative enzymes and serum levels of vitamins C and E were found to be significantly lower in subjects with colorectal cancer, as compared to healthy controls. Additional research is needed to assess the effects of supplementation with antioxidants in the prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer
"Evaluation of oxidative stress in colorectal cancer patients," Chang D, Wang F, et al, Biomed Environ Sci, 2008; 21(4): 286-9
Coenzyme Q10 Shows Potential in Preventing and Treating Diabetic Neuropathy
In a study involving diabetic rats, supplementation with coenzyme Q10 was found to restore conduction velocities which were slowed down as a result of diabetes. In rats, diabetes was found to decrease maximum depolarization area, kinetics, and conduction velocities of both fast and slow nerve fiber groups, and increase time to peak, rheobase and chronaxie values of sciatic nerve compound action potential waveforms. While administration of alpha-lipoic acid was not found to produce statistically significant effects, administration of coenzyme Q10 not only stopped the shift towards slower conduction velocities, but it actually restored conduction velocities to levels found in age-matched non-diabetic control rats. The authors state, "In addition to its effects on mitochondrial alterations, these positive effects of CoQ10 on diabetic neuropathy can be attributed to its antioxidant activity." Additional research is warranted.
"Coenzyme Q(10) and alpha-lipoic acid supplementation in diabetic rats: conduction velocity distributions," Ayaz M, Tuncer S, et al, Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol, 2008; 30(5): 367-74.
High Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency in Women With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
In a study involving 181 women (mean age: 43.2 years) with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE; mean disease duration: 11.9 years), results indicate a high prevalence of low vitamin D levels. Mean 25(OH)D level was found to be 27.1 ng/ml. 62.2% of the SLE patients had 25(OH)D levels <30 ng/ml. Additionally, lower 25(OH)D levels were also significantly associated with higher SLE disease activity and damage scores. Thus, the authors conclude, “This study demonstrates that vitamin D levels are low in women with SLE.”
“25-hydroxyvitamin D and cardiovascular risk factors in women with systemic lupus erythematosus,” Wu PW, Ramsey-Goldman R, et al, Arthritis Rheum, 2009; 61(10): 1387-1395
Low Vitamin D Status Found in Parkinson's disease Patients
In a study involving predominantly white patients with Parkinson's disease, patients with Alzheimer's disease, and controls, a significant percentage of patients with Parkinson's disease (55%) were found to have insufficient vitamin D status, as compared to healthy controls (36%) and as compared to patients with Alzheimer's disease (41%). Patients with Parkinson's disease were found to have significantly lower mean plasma 25(OH)D concentrations (31.9 ng/mL), as compared to controls (37.0 ng/mL) and as compared to patients with Alzheimer's disease (34.8 ng/mL). The results of this study suggest that hypovitaminosis D is quite prevalent in patients with Parkinson's disease. The authors conclude, "Further studies are needed to…elucidate the potential role of vitamin D in pathogenesis and clinical course of PD."
"Prevalence of vitamin d insufficiency in patients with Parkinson disease and Alzheimer disease," Evatt ML, Delong MR, et al, Arch Neurol, 2008; 65(10): 1348-52.
Oral Nutraceutical Containing Coenzyme Q10 Found to Benefit Skin and Reduce Appearance of Wrinkles
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 60 female subjects between the ages of 35 and 60 years, treatment with an oral supplement containing a combination of antioxidants and minerals (coenzyme Q10, beta-carotene, grapeseed extract, fresh maritime pine bark extract, green tea extract, D-alpha-tocopherol acetate, selenium, zinc), along with glycosaminoglycans, for a period of 12 weeks, was found to significantly reduce skin roughness and fine wrinkles (21.2% improvement), as compared to subjects in a control group (1.7% improvement). In addition, pore size and depth of skin roughness and fine wrinkles also were significantly reduced in the treatment group. No change in skin color was found. These results suggest that oral supplementation with the nutraceuticals used in this study may have a beneficial effect on health and appearance of skin
“An oral nutraceutical containing antioxidants, minerals and glycosaminoglycans improves skin roughness and fine wrinkles,” Udompataikul M, Sripiroj P, et al, Int J Cosmet Sci, 2009 June 30;
Selenium Supplementation in Men with Prostate Cancer and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
In a prospective study involving 24 males with prostate cancer, 21 males with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and 21 healthy males, significantly lower whole blood selenium levels were found among patients with prostate cancer, as compared to healthy males. All subjects, including healthy males, were found to have whole blood selenium levels lower than the recommended normal values (85-162 microg/l). The authors conclude that since the selenium levels measured in all the subjects were below normal values, "…our findings may support the recommendation of selenium supplementation."
"Whole blood selenium levels (WBSL) in patients with prostate cancer (PC), benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and healthy male inhabitants (HMI) and prostatic tissue selenium levels (PTSL) in patients with PC and BPH," Muecke R, Klotz T, et al, Acta Oncol, 2008 Oct 14; 1-5,
Milk Protein and Probiotics Reduce Incidence of Infection in Premature Babies
In a prospective, multi-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial involving 472 very low birth weight infants (under 1500 g), supplementation with bovine lactoferrin (100 mg/d), alone or in combination with the probiotic, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (6 x 10(9) cfu/d), was found to reduce the incidence of late-onset sepsis (both bacterial and fungal) - a common and severe complication that develops in premature neonates, particularly those with very low birth weight - when given starting at birth through day 30 of life (or day 45 for neonates < 1000 g at birth). The incidence for late-onset sepsis was 4.6% for subjects receiving lactoferrin plus probiotics (RR=0.27), 5.9% for subjects receiving lactoferrin alone (RR=0.34), as compared to 17.3% for subjects receiving a placebo. These results suggest that very low birth weight neonates may benefit from supplementation with lactoferrin and probiotics.
“Bovine lactoferrin supplementation for prevention of late-onset sepsis in very low-birth-weight neonates: a randomized trial,” Manzoni P, Rinaldi M, et al, JAMA, 2009; 302(13): 1421-8.
Vitamin D Supplementation May Reduce Insulin Resistance in Women
In a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study involving 81 insulin resistant South Asian women with vitamin D deficiency (serum 25(OH)D < 50 nmol/L), aged 23-68 years, results indicate that vitamin D supplementation may improve insulin resistance and insulin sensitivity. The women were randomized to 100 mug vitamin D3 (n=42) or placebo (n=39) for a period of 6 months. Significant improvements in insulin resistance and insulin resistivity were observed in the vitamin D supplemented group, compared with the placebo group, with optimal improvement associated with serum 25(OH)D levels >/= 80 nmol/L. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, “Improving vitamin D status in insulin resistant women resulted in improved IR and sensitivity, but no change in insulin secretion. Optimal vitamin D concentrations for reducing IR were shown to be 80-119 nmol/l, providing further evidence for an increase in the recommended adequate levels
“Vitamin D supplementation reduces insulin resistance in South Asian women living in New Zealand who are insulin resistant and vitamin D deficient - a randomised, placebo-controlled trial,” von Hurst PR, Coad J, et al, Br J Nutr, 2009 Sep 28:1-
Consuming a Mediterranean-style Diet May Help Prevent Depression
In a prospective study involving data from 10,094 initially healthy Spanish subjects, adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet (high in consumption of vegetables, fruit, nuts, cereal, legumes, fish, ratio of monounsaturated fatty acids to saturated fatty acids intake, moderate alcohol intake, and low intake of meat and whole-fat dairy products) was found to be associated with a significantly reduced risk of incident depression. Subjects were followed up with for a median 4.4 years, during which time 480 new cases of depression were identified (324 women, 156 men). Adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet was associated with reduced multiple adjusted hazard ratios (4 upper successive categories of adherence to the diet: 0.74, 0.66, 0.49, 0.58) of incident depression, as compared to subjects with the lowest adherence to the diet. Dose-response relationships were found for consumption of fruits and nuts, legumes, and the monounsaturated-to-saturated fatty acids ratio. The aut hors conclude, “Our results suggest a potential protective role of the MDP with regard to the prevention of depressive disorders; additional longitudinal studies and trials are needed to confirm these findings.”
“Association of the Mediterranean dietary pattern with the incidence of depression: the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra/University of Navarra follow-up (SUN) cohort,” Sanchez-Villegas A, Delgado-Rodriguez M, et al, Arch Gen Psychiatry, 2009; 66(10): 1090-8.
Vitamin D Deficiency May Be Associated With Cognitive Impairment in Elderly Women
In a cross-sectional, population-based study involving 752 women aged 75 years or more, results indicate that vitamin D deficiency may be associated with cognitive impairment. The patients were categorized as vitamin D deficient (< 10 ng/mL; n=129) or non-deficient (>/= 10 ng/mL; n=623). Cognitive impairment was defined as a Pfeiffer Short Portable Mental State Questionnaire (SPMSQ) score <8. Vitamin D deficient women had a lower mean SPMSQ score, and more often had an SPMSQ score <8, compared with non-deficient women. Additionally, after adjusting for confounders, serum 25(OH)D deficiency was associated with cognitive impairment (OR=1.99). Thus, the authors of this study conclude, “25-Hydroxyvitamin D deficiency was associated with cognitive impairment in this cohort of community-dwelling older women.”
“Association of vitamin D deficiency with cognitive impairment in older women. Cross-sectional study,” Annweiler C, Beauchet O, et al, Neurology, 2009 Sep 30;
Vitamin D Status May Be Inversely Associated With Risk of Breast Cancer
In a nested case-control study involving 142 women diagnosed with breast cancer and 420 matched controls, results indicate an inverse association between serum vitamin D levels and risk of breast cancer. Women with breast cancer showed significantly lower plasma 25(OH)D levels, compared with controls. Additionally, women in the highest tertile of 25(OH)D levels showed a 48% reduced risk of breast cancer, compared with women in the lowest tertile. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, “Risk of breast cancer was inversely associated with 25OHD levels. Randomized controlled trials are warranted in order to assess whether a causal relationship exists.”
“Reduced prediagnostic 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in women with breast cancer: a nested case-control study,” Rejnmark L, Mosekilde L, et al, Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 2009; 18(10): 2655-60.
Acupuncture Reduces Pain Following C-Section
In a study involving 60 women who had received spinal anesthesia while undergoing C-section delivery, treatment with acupuncture or electro-acupuncture was found to delay the time of requesting pain relief medication (morphine) by 10-11 minutes, as compared to subjects who didn’t receive acupuncture (control group). In the first 2 hours post-surgery, subjects in the acupuncture and electro-acupuncture groups had lower pain scores, compared to subjects in the control group. Moreover, the dose of patient controlled analgesia used within the first 24 hours was 30-35% less in the acupuncture and electro-acupuncture groups, as compared to the control group. Furthermore, subjects in both the acupuncture and electro-acupuncture groups experienced less side effects from the medication (opioid related side effects, such as dizziness), as compared to subjects in the control group. These results suggest that acupuncture treatment administered to women post-C-section may be of significant benefit in reducing the need for post-operative medication and helping alleviate side effects of opioid medications. These results support the growing body of evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of acupuncture in peri-operative care, including in obstetrics.
“Effects of acupuncture on post-cesarean section pain,” Wu HC, Liu YC, et al, Chin Med J (Engl), 2009; 122(15): 1743-8.
Nutritional Supplementation in Girls Benefits the Growth of Their Children
In a study involving data from 791 children (0-12 years of age) who were offspring of 401 Guatemalan women who, as children, had participated in a nutritional supplementation trial, children born to women who had received nutritional supplementation as a child were found to having a 116 g higher birth weight, were 1.3 cm taller, had a 0.6 cm greater head circumference, had a 0.26 greater height-for-age z score, and had a 0.20 greater weight-for-age z score, as compared to children born to women who did not receive nutritional supplementation as children. The authors conclude, “Nutritional supplementation in girls is associated with substantial increases in their offsprings’ (more for sons) birth weight, height, head circumference, height-for-age z score, and weight-for-age z score.”
“Nutritional supplementation in girls influences the growth of their children: prospective study in Guatemala,” Behrman JR, Calderon MC, et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2009 Sept 30.
Nattokinase with Red Yeast Rice Benefits Blood Lipids in Patients with Hyperlipidemia
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel comparison study involving 47 patients with hyperlipidemia, supplementation with nattokinase (50 mg per capsule, twice daily dose of 2 capsules) along with red yeast rice (300 mg per capsule, twice daily dose of 2 capsules) was found to significantly reduce triglycerides by 15%, total cholesterol by 25%, LDL cholesterol by 41%, TC/HDL-cholesterol by 29.5%, and increase HDL cholesterol by 7.5% - as compared to subjects who received supplementation with nattokinase alone or a placebo. After controlling for baseline levels, as compared to those who received a placebo, subjects who received the combination of nattokinase and red yeast rice were found to have significant improvements in total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and the TC/HDL-cholesterol ratio.
“Combined nattokinase with red yeast rice but not nattokinase alone has potent effects on blood lipids in human subjects with hyperlipidemia,” Yang NC, Chou CW, et al, Asia Pac J Clin Nutr, 2009; 18(3): 310-7.
Probiotic Milk Drink May Reduce Gingival Inflammation
In a parallel-group, non-blinded study involving 50 subjects, supplementation with a probiotic-enhanced milk for a period of 8 weeks was found to reduce gingival inflammation. After drinking the probiotic beverage for 8 weeks, individual mechanical plaque control was interrupted for 96 hours. Various tests were performed at baseline, after 8 weeks of probiotic consumption, and 96 hours after that. Comparing the two groups, subjects in the probiotic group were found to have significantly lower elastase activity and MMP-3 levels, indicating less inflammation, whereas subjects in the control group were found to have a significant increase in MPO activity, indicating greater oxidation. The results of this study led the authors to conclude, “The data suggest a beneficial effect of the probiotic milk drink on gingival inflammation.”
“The influence of a probiotic milk drink on the development of gingivitis: a pilot study,” Staab B, Eick S, et al, J Clin Periodontal, 2009; 36(10): 850-6.
Vitamin D Supplementation May Benefit Patients With Crohn’s Disease
In a study involving 34 patients with Crohn’s disease and 34 matched controls, results indicate a high prevalence of poor vitamin D status in patients with Crohn’s disease. 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were significantly lower in patients with Crohn's disease, as compared to controls (16.3 ng/mL vs. 22.8 ng/mL). Additionally, lower vitamin D levels were independently associated with increased severity of disease activity and lesser duration of sun exposure. Additional research is needed to assess the effects of vitamin D supplementation in patients with Crohn's disease.
“25 (OH) vitamin D level in Crohn's disease: association with sun exposure & disease activity,” Joseph AJ, Chacko A, et al, Indian J Med Res, 2009; 130(2): 133-7
Calcium Supplementation During Pregnancy May Lower Risk of Pre-Eclampsia and Preterm Delivery
In a randomized placebo-controlled study involving 524 healthy primigravidas (first-time pregnant women), results indicate that calcium supplementation during pregnancy may be associated with a reduced risk of pre-eclampsia and preterm delivery. Mean dietary calcium intake was less than the recommended dietary allowances, and blood pressure less than 140/90 mm Hg. The women received 2 g of elemental calcium or placebo, daily, during weeks 12 through 25, and were followed up with until delivery. Calcium supplementation was associated with a 69% reduced risk of pre-eclampsia, and a 49% reduced risk of preterm delivery. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, "Calcium supplementation appears to reduce the occurrence of pre-eclampsia and preterm delivery in primigravidas who have a daily dietary calcium intake less than the recommended dietary allowances."
"Calcium supplementation for the prevention of pre-eclampsia," Kumar A, Shukla DK, et al, Int J Gynaecol Obstet, 2008; 104(1): 32-6.
Tomato Extract May Benefit Patients with Uncontrolled Hypertension
In a double-blind, crossover study involving 54 subjects with moderate uncontrolled hypertension being treated with one or two anti-hypertensive drugs, supplementation with a standardized tomato extract for a period of 6 weeks was found to reduce systolic blood pressure by more than 10 mm Hg and reduce diastolic blood pressure by more than 5 mm Hg. Lycopene levels increased from 0.11 mumol/L at baseline to 0.30 mumol/L after supplementation, and a significant association was found between systolic blood pressure and lycopene levels. No adverse effects were reported. The authors conclude, "Tomato extract when added to patients treated with low doses of ACE inhibition, calcium channel blockers or their combination with low dose diuretics, had a clinically significant effect-reduction of BP by more than 10 mmHg systolic and more than 5 mmHg diastolic pressure."
"The Effects of Natural Antioxidants from Tomato Extract in Treated but Uncontrolled Hypertensive Patients," Paran E, Novack V, et al, Cardiovasc Drugs There, 2008 Dec 4;
Alpha-Lipoic Acid May Benefit Patients with Diabetic Neuropathy
In a multi-center study involving 100 diabetic patients (type 1 and type 2) with symptoms of diabetic polyneuropathy, supplementation with alpha-lipoic acid (600 mg i.v. for 3 weeks, followed by 3 months of 300-600 mg per os) was found to reduce symptoms of diabetic neuropathy in all but 1 of the 100 subjects involved in the study. These results support previous data demonstrating the effectiveness of alpha-lipoic acid in the treatment of patients with diabetic neuropathy.
"The role of alpha-lipoic acid in diabetic polyneuropathy treatment," Burekovic A, Terzic M, et al, Bosn J Basic Med Sci, 2008; 8(4): 341-5