Selenium, Folate, and Colon Cancer
In a large, population-based, case-control study involving 1,691 subjects with colon cancer, subjects with high serum selenium (>140 mcg/l) and high reported folate intake (>354 mcg/d) were found to have a reduced relative risk of colon cancer (OR=0.5). Subjects with high serum selenium but low folate intake did not have a reduced risk (OR=1.1), nor did those with low serum selenium and high folate (OR=0.9) - risk was comparable to those with low serum selenium and low folate. The authors conclude, “High levels of serum selenium and reported folate jointly were associated with a substantially reduced risk of colon cancer
“Selenium, folate, and colon cancer,” Connelly-Frost A, Poole C, et al, Nutr Cancer, 2009; 61(2): 165-78.
Coenzyme Q10 Deficiency in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
In a study involving 58 patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and 22 healthy controls, significantly lower plasma coenzyme Q10 levels were found in patients with ME/CFS. Moreover, significant inverse relationships were found between coenzyme Q10 levels and total score on the FibroFatigue scale, fatigue, and autonomic symptoms. Significantly greater concentration and memory impairments were found in patients with low coenzyme Q10 levels (<390 mug/L). Based on these results, the authors state, “Our results suggest that patients with ME/CFS would benefit from CoQ10 supplementation in order to normalize the low CoQ10 syndrome and the IO&NS disorders.” They add, “The findings that lower CoQ10 is an independent predictor of chronic heart failure (CHF) and mortality due to CHF may explain previous reports that the mean age of ME/CFS patients dying from CHF is 25 years younger than the age of those dying from CHF in the general population. Since statins significantly decrease plasma CoQ10, ME/CFS should be regarded as a relative contraindication for treatment with statins without CoQ10 supplementation.”
“Coenzyme Q10 deficiency in myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is related to fatigue, autonomic and neurocognitive symptoms and is another risk factor explaining the early mortality in ME/CFS due to cardi,” Neuro Endocrinol Lett, 2009; 30(4).
Vitamin E and Alzheimer’s Disease Mortality
In a study involving analysis of data from 847 probable or mixed Alzheimer’s disease patients, supplementation with vitamin E (1000 IU, twice/day) was found to be associated with a reduced adjusted hazard ratio (0.71) of all-cause mortality, when taken alone or with a cholinesterase inhibitor (ChEI). When compared to subjects who received no drug therapy, vitamin E supplementation was associated with a 0.77 adjusted HR, whereas the HR for ChEI use alone was 1.2. The authors point out that previous research has shown that 2,000 IU/d vitamin E may delay progression of Alzheimer’s disease. The results of this study do not support recent concerns that these high doses of vitamin E may have any adverse effects in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The authors state, “The results do not support a concern over increased mortality with high-dose vitamin E supplementation.” In fact, on the contrary, supplementation with vitamin E was associated with a reduced HR of mortality in these patients.
“Vitamin E Use Is Associated with Improved Survival in an Alzheimer's Disease Cohort,” Pavlik VN, Doody RS, et al, Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord, 2009; 28(6): 536-540
Vitamin E Supplementation May Improve Quality of Life in the Elderly
In a study involving 69 elderly subjects, results indicate that vitamin E status may be associated with immune function and quality of life. Quality of life was assessed using the medical outcomes study 36-item short-form health survey (SF-36). Subjects with poor health status showed low circulating concentrations of vitamin E and increased concentrations of inflammatory markers. Additionally, lower concentrations of vitamin E were associated with poor mental health scores. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, “These findings indicate that nutritional status, notably as it relates to vitamin E, is associated with immune function and quality of life in the elderly.”
“Vitamin E status and quality of life in the elderly: influence of inflammatory processes,” Capuron L, Laye S, et al, Br J Nutr, 2009; 102(10): 1390-
Myrrh Facilitates Healing in Cases of Gastric Ulcer or Skin Injury
In a study involving male rats 7-8 weeks of age, treatment with myrrh (commiphora molmol, 500 mg/kg/d) via drinking water starting 4 weeks prior to induction of injury (either skin injury or gastric ulcer) was found to be associated with significant increases in WBCs prior to injury, as well as persisting through the post-injury healing period, as compared to rats who were induced with injury (skin injury or gastric ulcer) who were not treated with myrrh. The authors conclude, “Since myrrh enhanced WBC levels before injury, we conclude that myrrh likely contains substances that could induce an apparent antigen-driven response. As the myrrh also helped maintain elevated WBC levels throughout the healing period, this implied it was also able to induce maturation/differentiation/activation of both myeloid and lymphoid cell types during the effector phase of the immune responses involved in wound healing.”
“Effect of myrrh (Commiphora molmol) on leukocyte levels before and during healing from gastric ulcer or skin injury,” Haffor AS, J Immunotoxicol, 2009 Dec 8.
Dark Chocolate May Protect Against DNA Damage
In a study involving 20 healthy subjects following a typically ‘balanced’ diet (55% carbohydrates, 30% fat, 1 g protein/kg body weight) for a period of 4 weeks, consumption of 45 g of dark chocolate (containing 860 mg polyphenols, of which 58 are epicatechin) over the course of 14 days was found to induce detectable levels of epicatechin while reducing mononuclear blood cells DNA damage, as compared to consumption of 45 g white chocolate. These effects of dark chocolate were observed 2 hours after dark chocolate consumption, and were no longer evident 22 hours after consumption. The authors conclude, “DC may transiently improve DNA resistance to oxidative stress, probably for flavonoid kinetics.”
“Effect of dark chocolate on plasma epicatechin levels, DNA resistance to oxidative stress and total antioxidant activity in healthy subjects,” Spadafranca AS, Martinez Conesca C, et al, Br J Nutr, 2009 Nov 5: 1-7
A Diet Rich In Vegetables, Fruits, Fish and Olive or Sunflower Oil May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
In a prospective cohort study involving 65,374 postmenopausal women, results indicate that adherence to a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, and olive/sunflower oil may significantly reduce risk of breast cancer. During a median follow-up of 9.7 years, 2,381 breast cancer cases were diagnosed. Using factor analysis, two dietary patterns were identified: 1) “alcohol/Western” dietary pattern comprising essentially of meat products, French fries, appetizers, rice/pasta, potatoes, pulses, pizza/pies, canned fish, eggs, alcoholic beverages, cakes, mayonnaise, and butter/cream; 2) “healthy/Mediterranean” dietary pattern comprising essentially of vegetables, fruits, seafood, olive oil, and sunflower oil. Adherence to the Mediterranean diet was inversely associated with risk of breast cancer, whereas adherence to the Western diet was positively associated with breast cancer risk. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, “Adherence to a diet comp rising mostly fruits, vegetables, fish, and olive/sunflower oil, along with avoidance of Western-type foods, may contribute to a substantial reduction in postmenopausal breast cancer risk.”
“Postmenopausal breast cancer risk and dietary patterns in the E3N-EPIC prospective cohort study,” Cottet V, Boutron-Ruault MC, et al, Am J Epidemiol, 2009; 170(10): 1257-67
Pine Bark Extract May Enhance Retinal Blood Circulation in Diabetic Retinopathy
In a study involving 46 diabetic patients with mild to moderate retinal edema (without hemorrhage or hard exudates in macula center), supplementation with pine bark extract (Pycnogenol(R)) for a period of 3 months was found to significantly improve retinal edema score and retinal thickness, as compared to subjects who received a placebo. A significant increase in Laser Doppler flow velocity measurements at the central retinal artery (from 34 to 44 cm/s) was found in patients taking Pycnogenol. Moreover, 18 of the 24 patients taking Pycnogenol reported improvements in vision (subjective perception), and after 2 months of treatment, visual acuity improved from 14/20 to 17/20, assessed using the Snellen chart. The authors conclude, “Pycnogenol taken at this early stage of retinopathy may enhance retinal blood circulation accompanied by regression of edema, which favorably improves vision of patients.
“Pycnogenol ((R)) Improves Microcirculation, Retinal Edema and Visual Acuity in Early Diabetic Retinopathy,” Steigerwalt R, Belcaro G, et al, J Ocul Pharmacol There, 2009 Nov 16.
Magnesium Supplementation May Reduce the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Men
In this review of studies assessing the effects of magnesium supplementation on risk of coronary heart disease, the reviewers conclude that a higher intake of magnesium may be associated with a modest reduction in risk of CHD in men. The authors reviewed randomized, controlled clinical trials and prospective studies. Male subjects with higher magnesium intake were found to have a reduced risk of CHD, while no such association was found in women. In some subjects, higher magnesium intake was associated with a higher frequency of supraventricular beats. No adverse effects of magnesium supplementation were found in any of the studies. The authors conclude, “...it is reasonable to encourage diets high in magnesium as a potential means to lower the risk of CHD.”
“Oral magnesium supplementation in adults with coronary heart disease or coronary heart disease risk,” Mathers TW, Beckstrand RL, et al, J Am Acad Nurse Pract, 2009; 21(12): 651-
Consumption of Oily Fish May Reduce Risk of Developing Rheumatoid Arthritis
In a population-based, case-control study involving 1,889 incident cases of rheumatoid arthritis and 2,145 randomly selected controls, results indicate that daily supplementation with fish oil may be associated with a reduced risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Data on intake of oily fish was collected from the subjects. After adjusting for potential confounders, subjects who consumed oily fish 1-7 times a week showed a 20% reduced risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, compared with subjects who never or seldom consumed oily fish. Similar results were seen for subjects consuming oily fish 1-3 times a month. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, “Intake of oily fish was associated with a modestly decreased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.”
“Dietary Fish and Fish Oil and the Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis,” Rosell M, Alfredsson L, et al, Epidemiology, 2009; 20(6): 896-901
Dose of Vitamin D Needed to Reduce the Risk of Falls: Results of a Meta-Analysis
In a review and meta-analysis of studies examining the effects of oral vitamin D supplementation on risk of falls among older people, doses of vitamin D between 700 and 1000 IU/d were found to reduce the risk of falls by 19%, while doses below 700 IU/d were not found to exert a protective effect. Data from eight randomized, controlled, double-blind trials, including a total of 2,426 subjects, were included in the analysis. The pooled relative risk of falls was 0.81 for subjects receiving 700-1000 IU/d. Achieving serum 25(OH)D of 60 nmol/l or greater was found to reduce falls by 23%, with a pooled relative risk of 0.77. Lower doses of vitamin D (200-600 IU/d) were not found to reduce the risk of falls (pooled relative risk: 1.10), nor was achieving serum 25(OH)D less than 60 nmol/L (pooled relative risk: 1.35). In two trials, an active form of vitamin D was used (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25(OH)2D)), and it was found to reduce the risk of falls by 22% (pooled RR: 0.78). These results suggest that the existing recommendations for dosing of vitamin D are insufficient to reduce the risk of falls; higher doses of vitamin D (at least 700 IU/d) may be needed to reduce the risk of falls in the elderly
“Fall prevention with supplemental and active forms of vitamin D: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials,” Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Dawson-Hughes B, et al, BMJ, 2009; 339: b3692.
Curcumin Holds Promise as Anti-Cancer Agent for Prevention and Treatment of Esophageal Cancer
In a study involving a panel of esophageal cancer cell lines, administration with curcumin was found to reduce the viability of all cell lines within 24 hours of treatment in a 5-50 muM range. Effects of curcumin treatment on the cell lines included: mitotic catastrophe, autophagy, accumulation of poly-ubiquitinated proteins and cyclin B (suggesting disturbance in the ubiquitin-proteasome system), and cytotoxicity. The authors conclude, “Curcumin can induce cell death by a mechanism that is not reliant on apoptosis induction, and thus represents a promising anticancer agent for prevention and treatment of oesophageal cancer.
“Curcumin induces apoptosis-independent death in oesophageal cancer cells,” O’Sullivan-Coyne G, O’Sullivan GC, et al, Br J Cancer, 2009 Oct 6.
Calcium, Vitamin D, and Diabetes Risk
In a study involving data from 59,796 middle-aged older men and women with no history of type 2 diabetes or any other serious chronic disease, among subjects with high dietary vitamin D intake, calcium intake was found to be inversely associated with diabetes risk (OR for the highest versus the lowest intake: 0.62 in men, 0.59 in women). In women, dairy food intake was significantly associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes as well. Calcium intake was not associated with a very significant reduction in type 2 diabetes risk (multivariable OR for the highest vs. lowest quartiles: 0.93 in men, 0.76 in women). The subjects were followed up with for 5 years, during which time 1,114 cases of type 2 diabetes were documented. The authors conclude, “Our finding suggesting a joint action of these nutrients [calcium and vitamin D] against type 2 diabetes warrants further investigation
“Calcium, vitamin D and dairy intake in relation to type 2 diabetes risk in a Japanese cohort,” Kirii K, Mizoue T, et al, Diabetologia, 2009; Oct 13
Intake of Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help Protect Men Against Acute Coronary Syndrome
In a study involving data collected from 57,053 healthy subjects, higher dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids (including EPA, DHA, and DPA) was found to be associated with a lower incidence of acute coronary syndrome. Subjects were followed up with for 7.6 years, during which time 1,150 received a diagnosis of acute coronary syndrome. Subjects with higher omega-3 PUFA intake (>0.39 g/d) were found to have a lower hazard ratio (0.83) for acute coronary syndrome, as compared to men with lower intakes. These results suggest that increasing intakes of EPA, DHA, and DPA may help reduce the risk of acute coronary syndrome in healthy male adults.
“Dietary intake of total marine n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid and docosapentaenoic acid and the risk of acute coronary syndrome - a cohort study,” Joensen AM, Schmidt EB, et al, Br J Nutr, 2009; 14:1-6.
Consumption of Egg Yolks May Improve Macular Pigment Concentrations in Older Adults
In a study involving older adults with low macular pigment taking cholesterol-lowering medications, results indicate that daily consumption of 4 egg yolks, and possibly 2 egg yolks, may improve macular health. The subjects consumed foods containing 2 egg yolks/day for 5 weeks. After a 4-week washout period the subjects consumed foods containing 4 egg yolks/day for another 5 weeks. Subjects with low-MPOD (macular pigment optical density) showed a 31% increase in MPOD with daily intake of 2 egg yolks and increases in MPOD (at most 50%) at the 3 retinal eccentricities with daily intake of 4 egg yolks. Serum lutein and zeaxanthin increases were also observed in the 2 (16% lutein, 36% zeaxanthin) and 4 egg yolks/day (24% lutein, 82% zeaxanthin) interventions. The interventions did not affect serum LDL cholesterol, but were associated with a 5% increase in serum HDL cholesterol. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, “Consumption of 4 egg yolks/d, and possibly of 2 egg yolks/d, for 5 wk benefited macular health in older adults with low MPOD. Serum HDL cholesterol increased without an increase in LDL cholesterol in this study population, most of whom were taking cholesterol-lowering statins.
“Consumption of 2 and 4 egg yolks/d for 5 wk increases macular pigment concentrations in older adults with low macular pigment taking cholesterol-lowering statins,” Vishwanathan R, Nicolosi RJ, et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2009; 90(5): 1272-
Green Tea Consumption May Reduce Risk of Psychological Distress
In a cross-sectional study involving 43,093 Japanese individuals, aged at least 40 years, results indicate that green tea consumption may be inversely associated with psychological distress. Daily green tea intake and psychological distress were assessed in the subjects. Using multiple regression adjusted for potential confounders, subjects who consumed 5 or more cups of green tea daily showed a 20% reduced risk of developing psychological distress, compared with those who consumed 1 cup or less daily. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, “Green tea consumption was inversely associated with psychological distress even after adjustment for possible confounding factors.”
“Green tea consumption is associated with lower psychological distress in a general population: the Ohsaki Cohort 2006 Study,” Hozawa A, Tsuji I, et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2009; 90(5): 1390-6.
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;
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 warrants 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
Prevalence of Vitamin C Deficiency in the United States
In a study aimed at determining the prevalence of vitamin C deficiency in selected subgroups in the United States, serum concentrations of total vitamin C were measured in 7,277 noninstitutionalized subjects 6 years of age or older (from the nationally representative National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2003-4). As compared to results of the NHANES III (1988-1994) which found 13% of the US population to be vitamin C deficient (serum concentrations < 11.4 micromol/L), results of this NHANES (2003-2004) found overall vitamin C status to have improved (prevalence of deficiency: 7.1%). The overall age-adjusted mean serum vitamin C level was 51.4 micromol/L. Low-income persons and smokers were found to have the greatest risk of deficiency. The highest concentrations were found in children and older persons. In every ethnic group, women had higher concentrations than men. Adult smokers had serum vitamin C levels one-third lower than those of non-smokers (35.2 vs. 50.7 micromol/L in men and 38.6 vs. 58.0 micromol/L in women). Considering that, “vitamin C (ascorbic acid) may be the most important water-soluble antioxidant in human plasma,” efforts to increase serum vitamin C levels in low-income persons and smokers are needed
“Serum vitamin C and the prevalence of vitamin C deficiency in the United States: 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES),” Schleicher RL, Carroll MD, et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2009; 90(5): 1252-63.