Calcium Supplementation in Persons with Low Dietary Calcium Intake May Benefit Blood Pressure
In a randomized, placebo-controlled trial involving 323 generally healthy men, supplementation with calcium (1200 mg/d) was found to be associated with downward trends in blood pressure, particularly in subjects with low baseline intakes of calcium (below the median value of 785 mg/d), with systolic BP reduced by 4.2 mm Hg and diastolic by 3.3 mm Hg. Low intake of magnesium showed a similar interaction. Calcium supplementation was not found to be associated with changes in the ratio of HDL to LDL cholesterol, weight, fat mass, lean mass, triglycerides, or total, LDL, or HDL cholesterol levels. The authors conclude, “Calcium supplementation in those with low dietary intakes may benefit blood pressure control.”
“Effects of calcium supplementation on lipids, blood pressure, and body composition in healthy older men: a randomized controlled trial,” Reid IR, Ames R, et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2009 Nov 11;
Magnesium Supplementation May Help Prevent Migraine Headaches
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 40 patients with migraine headaches (with aura), supplementation with magnesium (600 mg/d) for a period of 3 months was found to reduce the frequency, severity, and P1 amplitude in visual evoked potential examination. In addition, those treated with magnesium were found to have reductions in post/pre-treatment ratios of migraine attack frequency, severity, and P1 amplitude. Significant increases in cortical blood flow in inferolateral frontal, inferolateral temporal, and insular regions were found after magnesium treatment. The authors conclude, “These results have made us think that magnesium is a beneficial agent in prophylaxis of migraine without aura and might work with both vascular and neurogenic mechanisms.”
“The effects of magnesium prophylaxis in migraine without aura,” Koseoglu E, Talaslioglu A, et al, Magnes Res, 2009; 21(2): 101-
Drinking Tart Cherry Juice Following Strenuous Exercise May Be Beneficial
In a placebo-controlled study involving 20 recreational marathon runners, results indicate that consumption of tart cherry juice may enable recovery following a marathon run. The subjects were assigned to consume cherry juice or placebo for 5 days before, the day of and for 48 h following a marathon run. Isometric strength recovery was significantly faster in the cherry juice group, compared with the placebo group. Additionally, inflammation and TBARS (thiobarbituric acid reactive species) were reduced and total antioxidant status increased in the cherry juice group. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, “The cherry juice appears to provide a viable means to aid recovery following strenuous exercise by increasing total antioxidative capacity, reducing inflammation, lipid peroxidation and so aiding in the recovery of muscle function
“Influence of tart cherry juice on indices of recovery following marathon running,” Howatson G, Howatson SA, et al, Scand J Med Sci Sports, 2009 Oct 21;
Supplementation With Micronutrients Containing Folic Acid And Depression in Women
In a randomized, controlled study involving 459 Guatemalan women, results indicate that supplementation with micronutrients containing folic acid may be associated with a lower risk of developing depression. The women were randomized to 1 of 4 groups for 12 weeks: 1) received weekly 5,000 microg folic acid (FA) plus iron, zinc and vitamin B-12; 2) received weekly 2,800 microg folic acid (FA) plus iron, zinc and vitamin B-12; 3) received daily 400 microg folic acid (FA) plus iron, zinc and vitamin B-12; 4) received daily 200 microg folic acid (FA) plus iron, zinc and vitamin B-12. Depression was measured using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression 20-item Scale. At baseline, the prevalence of depression was 49.3%. Results indicated that women in the lowest tertile of red blood cell folate (RBC) showed a 70% increased risk of depression, compared with women in the highest tertile of RBC folate. Additionally, prevalence of depression decreased in the folic acid co ntaining micronutrients-supplemented groups. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, “Supplementation with FA-containing micronutrients may be equally efficacious in improving symptoms of depression when provided daily or weekly. Our findings that poor folate status may increase depression needs to be further investigated
“Micronutrient supplementation may reduce symptoms of depression in Guatemalan women,” Nguyen PH, Martorell R, et al, Arch Latinoam Nutr, 2009; 59(3): 278-86
Kiwi Fruit Consumption May Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
In a study involving 43 subjects with hyperlipidemia (30 females, 13 males), consumption of 2 kiwi fruit per day for a period of 8 weeks was found to significantly increase levels of HDL cholesterol, vitamin C and vitamin E, and significantly decrease LDL cholesterol/HDL cholesterol ratio and total cholesterol/HDL cholesterol ratio. Moreover, significant changes in the lag time of LDL oxidation and malondialdehyde + 4-hydroxy-2(E)-nonenal were associated with kiwi fruit consumption as well. The authors conclude, “Regular consumption of kiwifruit might exert beneficial effects on the antioxidative status and the risk factors for CVD in hyperlipidemic subjects.”
“Effects of kiwifruit consumption on serum lipid profiles and antioxidative status in hyperlipidemic subjects,” Chang WH, Liu JF, et al, Int J Food Sci Nutr, 2009; 60(8): 709-716
Diets High in Certain Fats May Increase Risk of Intermediate Age-Related Macular Degeneration
In a study involving women between the ages of 50 and 79 years of age, intakes of omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids were associated with 2-fold higher prevalence of intermediate age-related macular degeneration (AMD), comparing subjects in the highest versus the lowest quintiles of intakes. Intakes of total fat and saturated fatty acids were associated with increased prevalence of AMD (multivariate adjusted odds ratios: 1.7 for the highest versus the lowest quintile of total fat, and 1.6 for the highest vs. the lowest quintile of saturated fats) in women under 75 years of age (n=1325), with the associations reversed in women 75 years of age or older. The authors conclude, “These results support a growing body of evidence suggesting that diets high in several types of fat may contribute to the risk of intermediate AMD and that diets high in monounsaturated fatty acids may be protective.”
“Association between dietary fat intake and age-related macular degeneration in the Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study (CAREDS): an ancillary study of the Women's Health Initiative,” Parekh N, Voland RP, et al, Arch Ophthalmol, 2009; 127(11): 1483-93.
Eating More Fruits and Vegetables and Less Refined Cereals May be Associated with Lower Risk of Stomach Cancer
In a case-control study involving 230 subjects with incident histologically confirmed stomach cancer and 547 healthy controls, regular consumption of fruits and vegetables may exert a protective effect against risk of stomach cancer, whereas higher intake of refined cereals may increase the risk of stomach cancer. After adjusting for potential confounders, the highest quintile for refined cereal intake was associated with more than a two-fold increased risk of stomach cancer, compared with the lowest quintiles of intake. Similar associations were observed for consumption of potatoes and soups. On the other hand, highest quintiles of intake of fruits and vegetables were associated with 47% and 53% reduced risks of stomach cancer, respectively, compared with the corresponding lowest quintiles of intake. Thus, the authors conclude, "The results of this study confirm a protective role of vegetables and fruit against stomach cancer and suggest a detrimental effect of ( ;refined) cereals on this neoplasm."
"Food groups and alcoholic beverages and the risk of stomach cancer: a case-control study in Italy," Lucenteforte E, Scita V, et al, Nutr Cancer, 2008; 60(5): 577-84
Higher Levels of Vitamin D May Be Associated with a Lower Risk of Lung Cancer in Women and Younger Subjects
In a prospective study involving 6,937 men and women, higher levels of vitamin D were associated with a significantly lower risk of lung cancer in women and younger participants. During a maximum follow-up of 24 years, 122 cases of lung cancer were identified. After adjusting for potential confounders, higher serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were associated with reduced risk of lung cancer risk in women (84% reduced risk) and younger participants (66% reduced risk). No association was observed between vitamin D status and lung cancer risk in men and older participants. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, "…although there was no overall association between vitamin D and lung cancer risk, women and young participants with a higher level of vitamin D were observed to have a lower lung cancer risk.
"Vitamin D status and the risk of lung cancer: a cohort study in Finland," Kilkkinen A, Knekt P, et al, Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 2008; 17(11): 3274-8.
Ginger Supplementation May Exert a Beneficial Effect on Lipid Profile in Subjects with Hyperlipidemia
In a randomized, placebo-controlled study involving 85 patients with hyperlipidemia, results indicate that consumption of ginger may exert a lipid lowering effect. The patients were randomized to ginger (ginger capsules 3g/day) or placebo for a period of 45 days. At intervention end, significant reductions in mean triglycerides and LDL cholesterol and increases in HDL cholesterol were observed in the ginger group, compared with the placebo group. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, "The results show that ginger has a significant lipid lowering effect compared to placebo."
"Investigation of the effect of ginger on the lipid levels. A double blind controlled clinical trial," Alizadeh-Navaei R, Roozbeh F, et al, Saudi Med J, 2008; 29(9): 1280-84.
Curcumin Supplementation May Reduce Glycemia and Risk of Vascular Inflammation in Diabetics
In this study, involving a cell culture study and an animal study (diabetic rat model), results found that the detrimental effects of high glucose on lipid peroxidation, IL-6, IL-8, MCP-1, and TNF-alpha secretion were inhibited by curcumin in cultured monocytes. In rats, diabetes was found to increase blood levels of IL-6, MCP-1, TNF-alpha, glucose, HbA(1), and oxidative stress. These levels significantly decreased in rats treated with curcumin. The authors conclude, "Thus, curcumin can decrease markers of vascular inflammation and oxidative stress levels in both a cell-culture model and in the blood of diabetic rats. This suggests that curcumin supplementation can reduce glycemia and the risk of vascular inflammation in diabetes." Additional research is warranted.
"Curcumin Supplementation Lowers TNF-alpha, IL-6, IL-8, and MCP-1 Secretion in High Glucose-Treated Cultured Monocytes and Blood Levels of TNF-alpha, IL-6, MCP-1, Glucose, and Glycosylated Hemoglobin in Diabetic Rats," Jain SK, Rains J, et al, Antioxi Redox Signal, 2008 Oct 31
Gingko Biloba Extract May Improve Neuropsychiatric Symptoms of Dementia
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 22-week study involving 400 patients with dementia, treatment with a gingko biloba extract (240 mg/d EGb 761®) was found to be associated with improvements in SKT test battery score and neuropsychiatric symptoms. In addition, the mean caregiver distress score reduced significantly among caregivers of patients in the intervention group, as compared to a worsening found among caregivers of patients on the placebo. Significant differences between the active and placebo groups were found for apathy/indifference, anxiety, irritability/lability, depression/dysphoria, and sleep/nighttime behavior. These results suggest that supplementing with an extract of gingko biloba such as the one used in this study may benefit patients with dementia.
"Effects of Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761 on neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia: findings from a randomised controlled trial," Scripnikov A, Khomenko A, et al, Wien Med Wochenschr, 2007; 157(13-14): 295-300.
Probiotics May Reduce the Risk of Clostridium difficile-associated Disease in Critically Ill Patients
In a study involving 22 ICU patients being treated with antibiotics, supplementation with the probiotic, Lactobacillus plantarum 299v (given in the form of fermented oatmeal gruel) was found to reduce colonization with Clostridium difficile. 19% of patients who were not given the probiotic-rich gruel were found to have colonization with C. difficile, while none of the patients treated with probiotics were found to be colonized with C. difficile. Given the high risk of Clostridium difficile-associated disease (CDAD) in hospitalized patients treated with antibiotics, these results are promising, suggesting that probiotics offer an effective way of reducing the risk of CDAD in this population of patients.
"Lactobacillus plantarum 299v reduces colonisation of Clostridium difficile in critically ill patients treated with antibiotics," Klarin B, Wullt M, et al, Acta Anaesthesiol Scand, 2008; 52(8): 1096-102
Supplementation with Folate, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12 on Risk of Breast Cancer
In a randomized, placebo-controlled study involving 5,442 women 42 years of age or older, with pre-existing cardiovascular disease or three or more coronary risk factors, supplementation with 2.5 mg/d folic acid, 50 mg/d vitamin B6, and 1 mg/d vitamin B12 for a period of 7.3 years, supplementation with these vitamins in women over the age of 65 was found to be associated with a 38% reduced risk of breast cancer and a 25% reduced risk of other invasive cancers. On the other hand, no significant difference in risk was found in the study population as a whole. The study began in 1998, after folic acid fortification of grains became mandatory in the United States, suggesting that even women in the placebo group were ingesting folic acid through consumption of grain products as part of their diet. Additional research is needed to further investigate the possibility that combined supplementation with folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 may reduce the risk of breast cancer and other invasive cancers in women over the age of 65.
"Effect of combined folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 on cancer risk in women: a randomized trial," Zhang SM, Cook NR, et al, JAMA, 2008; 300(17): 2012-21.
Multivitamin and Mineral Supplements Improve Brain Function in Children
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group study involving 81 healthy children between the ages of 8 and 14 years of age, supplementation with a supplement containing multi vitamins and minerals for a period of 12 weeks was found to improve brain function. Specifically, children receiving the multi vitamins and minerals were found to perform better on 2 attention tasks. Mood, another outcome the authors were researching, was not significantly affected in any interpretable manner. The authors conclude, "Whilst it is possible that the significant improvements following treatment were due to non-significant numerical differences in performance at baseline, these results would seem to suggest that vitamin/mineral supplementation has the potential to improve brain function in healthy children. This proposition requires further investigation."
"Cognitive and mood effects in healthy children during 12 weeks' supplementation with multi-vitamin/minerals," Haskell CF, Scholey AB, et al, Br J Nutr, 2008; 100(5): 1086-96
Eating More Fruits and Vegetables May Lead To Better Academic Performance in Children
In a study involving 325 junior high school students, results indicate that eating more fruits and vegetables may be associated with improved academic performance. Dietary data was collected from the students to assess fruit and vegetable consumption and milk intake. Mean daily intakes of fruits and vegetables (4.3 servings) and milk (1.7 servings) were found to be below recommended levels. After adjusting for potential confounders, higher intakes of fruits and vegetables were associated with higher academic performance (average grades above 90%). No significant association was found between milk intake and academic performance. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, "The association between VF [vegetable and fruit] intake and academic performance supports the need for further research with a larger, more representative sample."
"Food intake and academic performance among adolescents," MacLellan D, Taylor J, et al, Can J Diet Pract Res, 2008; 69(3): 141-4.
Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency in South Asians With Type 2 Diabetes
In a cross-sectional study involving 170 South Asians with type 2 diabetes and 40 without (aged more than 40 years), results indicate a significantly higher prevalence of hypovitaminosis D and impaired glycemic control in diabetics. 83% of type 2 diabetics showed hypovitaminosis D, compared with 70% of controls. In men, 82.5% of diabetics had vitamin D deficiency, compared with 57.9% of controls. Among women, HbA1c was significantly higher in vitamin D deficient women, compared with controls. Using logistic regression, type 2 diabetes was an independent predictor of hypovitaminosis D, and vitamin D deficiency was independently associated with HbA1c in women with type 2 diabetes. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, “Hypovitaminosis D remains a major public health issue in the Asian population and is exaggerated in patients with T2DM. The fact that vitamin D deficient women had higher HbA1c levels raises the possibility that vitamin D replacement may improve g lycaemic control.”
“The prevalence of vitamin D abnormalities in South Asians with type 2 diabetes mellitus in the UK,” Tahrani AA, Bates A, et al, Int J Clin Pract, 2009 Oct 27;
Vitamin D Status, in African Americans and Progression of Kidney Disease
In a study involving data collected from 13,328 subjects, 34% of non-Hispanic black subjects were found to have low vitamin D status (25(OH)D < 15 ng/ml), as compared to 5% of non-Hispanic white subjects. Over the course of 9.1 years, 65 subjects were found to develop end stage renal disease (ESRD). After adjusting for various potential confounders, subjects with 25(OH)D < 15 ng/ml were found to have a 2.6-fold greater incidence of ESRD, as compared to those with levels >/=15 ng/ml (incidence rate ratio: 2.64). After adjusting for various clinical covariates but not 25(OH)D, Black subjects were found to have a 2.83-fold higher risk for developing ESRD, as compared to white subjects, and after adjusting for 25(OH)D levels, this reduced the risk by 58%. The authors conclude, “Low 25(OH)D levels may account for a substantial proportion of the increased risk for ESRD experienced by black individuals.”
“25-Hydroxyvitamin D Levels, Race, and the Progression of Kidney Disease,” Melamed ML, Astor B, et al, J Am Soc Nephrol, 2009 Oct 29
Coenzyme Q10 and Primary Hypertension: Blood Pressure Lowering Effects
In a review of randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel or crossover studies investigating the effects of supplementation with coenzyme Q10 supplementation for at least 3 weeks on blood pressure in patients with primary hypertension, the authors conclude that, “Treatment with coenzyme Q10 in subjects with systolic BP (SBP) > 140 mmHg or diastolic BP (DBP) > 90 mmHg resulted in mean decreases in SBP of 11 mmHg (95% CI 8, 14) and DBP of 7 mmHg (95% CI 5, 8).” However, they caution that the quality of some of the studies included in the analysis were not optimal, therefore, additional research is needed before any definitive conclusions can be drawn.
“Blood pressure lowering efficacy of coenzyme Q10 for primary hypertension,” Ho MJ, Bellusci A, et all, Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2009; 7(4): CD007435
Nutrition and Risk of Perinatal Depression: Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Folate, B Vitamins, Iron, Calcium
In a review examining the role of nutrition in perinatal depression, the authors discuss the prevalence of antenatal (during pregnancy) depression (as high as 20%) and postnatal/postpartum (12 months post-delivery) depression (12-16%). The reviewers found that according to numerous randomized controlled trials, cohort studies, and ecological studies, low levels of omega-3 fatty acids were linked to a higher incidence of maternal depression. In addition, the authors point out that studies have showed links between low levels of folate, vitamin B12, calcium, iron, selenium, and zinc, and mood in general. Various studies have reported inadequate intakes of omega-3 fatty acids, folate, B vitamins, iron, and calcium in pregnant women. The authors conclude, “Depletion of nutrient reserves throughout pregnancy can increase a woman's risk for maternal depression.” The impact of nutritional supplementation in pregnant women on the risk of perinatal depression war rants further investigation.
“Perinatal depression: prevalence, risks, and the nutrition link--a review of the literature,” Leung BM, Kaplan BJ, et al, J Am Diet Assoc, 2009; 109(9): 1566-75.
Curcumin and Green Tea Catechins in Combination May Help Prevent Colon Cancer
In an animal study involving male Wistar rats, treatment with curcumin and green tea catechins, individually and in combination, was found to significantly reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer (reduction in total number of colorectal aberrant crypt foci, increased apoptotic index, decreased proliferation index), as compared to rats in a control group who did not receive the treatment. Treatment with the combination of curcumin and green tea catechins was found to exert the most potent inhibitory effect. The authors conclude, “Our findings suggest that the combination of curcumin and catechins may produce a synergistic colon cancer-preventative effect that would be more potent than each of the compounds alone.”
“Combination of curcumin and green tea catechins prevents dimethylhydrazine-induced colon carcinogenesis,” Xu G, Ren G, et al, Food Chem Toxicol, 2009 Oct 24