Release Date 18 JUN 2016
Draft Report Compiled by
In this Issue:
1. Dietary fiber intake tied to successful aging, research reveals
2. Walnuts may improve your colon health
3. Dietary supplement may prevent and reverse severe damage to aging brain, research suggests
4. Scientific breakthrough in sports nutrition to change the game for endurance athletes
5. ‘Bitter brake’ activates gut hormones and suppresses food intake
6. Copper is key in burning fat
7. Myricitrin may protect against neuronal loss in Parkinson’s disease
8. Barley lowers not one but two types of ‘bad cholesterol’, review suggests
9. A diet lacking in zinc is detrimental to human and animal health
10. A single species of gut bacteria can reverse autism-related social behavior in mice
11. Many with migraines have vitamin deficiencies, says study
12. Overcome strength-training plateau with accentuated eccentric loading
13. Landmark study suggests cranberries can decrease use of antibiotics
Public Release: 1-Jun-2016
Dietary fiber intake tied to successful aging, research reveals
The Gerontological Society of America
Most people know that a diet high in fiber helps to keep us “regular.” Now Australian researchers have uncovered a surprising benefit of this often-undervalued dietary component.
A new paper — published in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences by scientists from The Westmead Institute for Medical Research — reports that eating the right amount of fiber from breads, cereals, and fruits can help us avoid disease and disability into old age.
Using data compiled from the Blue Mountains Eye Study, a benchmark population-based study that examined a cohort of more than 1,600 adults aged 50 years and older for long-term sensory loss risk factors and systemic diseases, the researchers explored the relationship between carbohydrate nutrition and healthy aging.
They found that out of all the factors they examined — which included a person’s total carbohydrate intake, total fiber intake, glycemic index, glycemic load, and sugar intake — it was the fiber that made the biggest difference to what the researchers termed “successful aging.”
Successful aging was defined as including an absence of disability, depressive symptoms, cognitive impairment, respiratory symptoms, and chronic diseases including cancer, coronary artery disease, and stroke.
According to lead author of the paper, Associate Professor Bamini Gopinath, PhD, from the Institute’s Centre for Vision Research, the study is the first to look at the relationship between carbohydrate intake and healthy aging, and the results were significant enough to warrant further investigation.
“Out of all the variables that we looked at, fiber intake — which is a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest — had the strongest influence,” she said. “Essentially, we found that those who had the highest intake of fiber or total fiber actually had an almost 80 percent greater likelihood of living a long and healthy life over a 10-year follow-up. That is, they were less likely to suffer from hypertension, diabetes, dementia, depression, and functional disability.”
While it might have been expected that the level of sugar intake would make the biggest impact on successful aging, Gopinath pointed out that the particular group they examined were older adults whose intake of carbonated and sugary drinks was quite low.
Although it is too early to use the study results as a basis for dietary advice, Gopinath said the research has opened up a new avenue for exploration.
“There are a lot of other large cohort studies that could pursue this further and see if they can find similar associations. And it would also be interesting to tease out the mechanisms that are actually linking these variables,” she said.
This study backs up similar recent findings by the researchers, which highlight the importance of the overall diet and healthy aging.
In another study published last year in The Journals of Gerontology, Westmead Institute researchers found that, in general, adults who closely adhered to recommended national dietary guidelines reached old age with an absence of chronic diseases and disability, and had good functional and mental health status.
Public Release: 2-Jun-2016
Walnuts may improve your colon health
Eating walnuts changes the gut microbiome and reduces cancer growth
University of Connecticut
Eating walnuts may change gut bacteria in a way that suppresses colon cancer, researchers led by UConn Health report in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.
A team of researchers from UConn Health and The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine found that mice that ate 7-10.5 percent of their total calories as walnuts developed fewer colon cancers. The effect was most pronounced in male mice, which had 2.3 times fewer tumors when fed walnuts as part of a diet similar to the typical American’s. That’s equivalent to a human eating about an ounce of walnuts a day.
“Our results show for the first time that walnut consumption may reduce colon tumor development,” said Principal Investigator Dr. Daniel W. Rosenberg of UConn Health. “There is accumulating evidence that eating walnuts may offer a variety of benefits related to health issues like cancer. This study shows that walnuts may also act as a probiotic to make the colon healthy, which in turn offers protection against colon tumors.”
Walnuts are packed with compounds known to be important nutritionally. They have the most polyunsaturated fatty acids of all the commonly eaten tree nuts, as well as the highest ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, and high levels of a form of Vitamin E with anti-cancer properties.
But walnuts are not merely the sum of their chemical parts, and it may be as a whole food that they pack the most significant anti-cancer punch against colon cancer, the third most common cancer in the world. Other studies have shown walnuts have promise warding off diseases connected to diet and lifestyle, including heart disease, diabetes and neurological disorders.
Rosenberg, a cancer researcher and professor of medicine at UConn Health and Dr. Masako Nakanishi, a research associate in the Center for Molecular Medicine at UConn Health tested the cancer prevention qualities of walnuts on mice fed two different diets. One group of mice ate a standard lab mouse chow, while the other group ate a chow that captured the nutritional profile of the typical American diet. Subsets of both groups were supplemented with walnuts.
Interestingly, male mice fed the Western diet fortified with 10.5 percent walnuts showed the greatest decrease in colon tumors compared with mice fed no walnuts.
To figure out why walnuts were beneficial, the UConn Health team collaborated with Dr. George Weinstock and colleagues at The Jackson Laboratory. Weinstock’s lab took fecal samples from the mice and analyzed the communities of bacteria living in their digestive tracts. They found that walnut consumption tended to push the gut microbiome toward an ecology that was potentially protective against cancer. It’s not clear exactly how this works, but there are clues. For example, previous research has shown that some gut bacteria digest fiber into compounds with anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce tumor initiation. The microbiome analyses also reflected interesting differences between male and female. Males on walnut-free diets tended to have less-diverse gut flora than females. Adding walnuts to the diets of male mice brought their microbiomes closer to those of female mice on either of the diets. Whether this change contributes to the protection seen in male mice remains to be determined.
Because the studies were done only in mice, more testing needs to be done in humans before walnuts can be unequivocally recommended as a cancer-prevention agent. Rosenberg’s group is working with a nutritionist and surveying human colonoscopy patients about their diets as part of a longer term study in humans.
However, Rosenberg isn’t waiting for the final word. Even right now, he says, “I try to eat walnuts every day.”
He adds: “We’re excited about future studies where we will be able to look at food consumption patterns to see how these results apply to humans.”
This research was supported in part by the California Walnut Commission (CWC) and the American Institute for Cancer Research.
Public Release: 2-Jun-2016
Dietary supplement may prevent and reverse severe damage to aging brain, research suggests
A dietary supplement containing a blend of thirty vitamins and minerals–all natural ingredients widely available in health food stores–has shown remarkable anti-aging properties that can prevent and even reverse massive brain cell loss, according to new research from McMaster University.
It’s a mixture scientists believe could someday slow the progress of catastrophic neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, ALS and Parkinson’s.
“The findings are dramatic,” says Jennifer Lemon, research associate in the Department of Biology and a lead author of the study. “Our hope is that this supplement could offset some very serious illnesses and ultimately improve quality of life.”
The formula, which contains common ingredients such as vitamins B, C and D, folic acid, green tea extract, cod liver oil and other nutraceuticals, was first designed by scientists in McMaster’s Department of Biology in 2000.
A series of studies published over the last decade and a half have shown its benefits in mice, in both normal mice and those specifically bred for such research because they age rapidly, experiencing dramatic declines in cognitive and motor function in a matter of months.
The mice used in this study had widespread loss of more than half of their brain cells, severely impacting multiple regions of the brain by one year of age, the human equivalent of severe Alzheimer’s disease.
The mice were fed the supplement on small pieces of bagel each day over the course of several months. Over time, researchers found that it completely eliminated the severe brain cell loss and abolished cognitive decline.
“The research suggests that there is tremendous potential with this supplement to help people who are suffering from some catastrophic neurological diseases,” says Lemon, who conducted the work with co-author Vadim Aksenov, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Biology at McMaster.
“We know this because mice experience the same basic cell mechanisms that contribute to neurodegeneration that humans do. All species, in fact. There is a commonality among us all.”
In addition to looking at the major markers of aging, they also discovered that the mice on the supplements experienced enhancement in vision and most remarkably in the sense of smell–the loss of which is often associated with neurological disease–improved balance and motor activity.
The next step in the research is to test the supplement on humans, likely within the next two years, and target those who are dealing with neurodegenerative diseases.
Public Release: 2-Jun-2016
Scientific breakthrough in sports nutrition to change the game for endurance athletes
BOSTON, MA – June 2, 2016 – Exercise-associated muscle cramps are agonizing. Millions of athletes and fitness enthusiasts suffer from them – even the best trained and most nutritionally-savvy. They’re painful, unpredictable and can rob an athlete of a killer performance and confidence. Existing “remedies” that target the muscle have limited scientific evidence that they work.
Breakthrough research, to be presented today at the American College of Sports Medicine’s Annual Meeting and published in the Journal of the American Medical Athletic Association later this month, has led to the development of a revolutionary new sports shot, HOTSHOT™, that is scientifically proven to prevent and treat muscle cramps by stopping them where they start: at the nerve.
Invented by a Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist and endurance athlete in collaboration with a Harvard Medical School neurobiology professor, HOTSHOT, previously codenamed #ITSTHENERVE, is a 1.7 fluid ounce sports shot comprised of a proprietary formula of GMO-free organic ingredients with a kick. Consumed before, during or after exercise, HOTSHOT facilitates the synchronization of communication between the nerve and muscle thereby giving athletes greater control over the way their nerves and muscles work together, boosting their Neuro Muscular Performance (NMP) to prevent and treat muscle cramps. Now athletes can push harder, train longer and finish stronger.
How Curiosity Killed the Cramp: Invention Inspired by Experience
Rod MacKinnon, MD, a Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist, along with close friend and colleague Bruce Bean, PhD, a neurobiology professor at Harvard Medical School, sought to find a cure for cramping after a life-threatening event occurred off the coast of Cape Cod in 2010. The pair was enjoying a long-distance sea kayaking trip when almost simultaneously their arms seized up miles from shore, in dangerous conditions. Both were surprised by the muscle cramps because they had taken precautions to stay well-hydrated and topped up on electrolytes.
Curious as to what was known about the cause and cure of muscle cramps, MacKinnon and Bean dug into the literature and realized that cramping is not caused by dehydration or electrolyte imbalance, but instead originates from hyper-excited motor-nerves in the spinal cord.
Building off MacKinnon’s Nobel Prize-winning research on ion channels, they hypothesized that activating certain Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) ion channels in sensory nerves in the mouth, throat and esophagus could send signals to calm those hyper-excited motor neurons, thereby stopping muscle cramps before they start.
Over several years, they experimented with numerous natural ingredients that activate certain TRP ion channels and refined the proprietary formula of ingredients found in HOTSHOT – now scientifically proven to prevent and treat muscle cramps.
Neuro Muscular Performance: A New Category in Sports Nutrition
In their pursuit to find a solution for muscle cramps, MacKinnon and Bean accidentally unlocked the power of Neuro Muscular Performance – the way that an athlete’s nerves and muscles work together in an optimal way. New evidence shows that boosting Neuro Muscular Performance also reduces post-exercise muscle soreness. The exercise-associated muscle cramp study of HOTSHOT conducted by Penn State University showed a statistically significant reduction in muscle soreness during the first 20 minutes after a muscle cramp, compared to placebo. And in field studies among athletes using HOTSHOT prior to working out, the majority reported reduced post-exercise soreness.
“This is a brand new concept in sports nutrition: how to stimulate sensory nerves as a way to affect your muscle function,” said MacKinnon. “This is cool science. The breakthrough and what we now know is how to prevent and treat muscle cramps. However, what intrigues me is what I’m hearing from athletes about other potential benefits. This is only the beginning.”
The company’s scientists, in partnership with leading sports science institutions, are continuing to study how HOTSHOT affects boosting an athlete’s Neuro Muscular Performance and how that may translate to additional benefits for athletes.
Supported by Science
HOTSHOT’s formula of strong TRP activators has shown a statistically significant reduction in muscle cramp intensity compared to placebo in two distinct muscle cramp models: 1) electrically induced muscle cramps; and 2) an innovative new model developed by Penn State University in which healthy volunteers maximally contracted one calf muscle until cramping occurred.
A field study of healthy, cramp-prone athletes who consumed HOTSHOT 15-30 minutes before their normal training sessions showed a 50 percent or more reduction in the frequency of exercise-associated muscle cramps compared to the observed baseline frequency. In addition, the athletes reported a quicker return to training when a cramp episode did occur.
“I am not aware of any other consumer product that has demonstrated significant efficacy in mitigating muscle cramps in such a rigorous double-blind scientific study,” said Larry Kenney, Ph.D., FACSM, Marie Underhill Noll Chair in Human Performance and Professor of Physiology and Kinesiology at Penn State University.
Public Release: 2-Jun-2016
‘Bitter brake’ activates gut hormones and suppresses food intake
European Association for the Study of Obesity
New research presented at the European Obesity Summit in Gothenburg (1-4 June) shows that a New Zealand produced bitter plant extract can supress food intake by stimulating the secretion of gut peptide hormones involved in appetite regulation. The study is by Dr John Ingram and colleagues from the New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited and the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
Gut chemosensory mechanisms, particularly those involved in detecting and relaying to the brain the chemical composition of food during digestion, play an important role in regulating appetite and food intake. The researchers hypothesised that activation of specific bitter taste receptors which are expressed throughout the gastrointestinal tract by hormone secreting ‘enteroendocrine’ cells, could also regulate food intake by triggering the release of satiety or ‘fullness’ hormones, a mechanism termed by Ingram and his colleagues as the “bitter brake”.
The team screened over 900 plant extracts for their ability to stimulate enteroendocrine “I cell” hormone release before identifying a highly bitter, non-nutritive plant derived ingredient they have called “Amarasate™ extract” to take forward into clinical testing. Full details of the extract composition will be disclosed in a future publication.
Their aim was to establish the efficacy of the Amarasate™ extract to modify acute energy intake, subjective ratings of appetite and gut peptide hormone concentrations. Twenty lean healthy male volunteers were recruited (mean body mass index 23.4 kg/m2) with 19 completing all three treatments within the randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled cross-over study.
On each of the three treatment days, overnight fasted participants were provided with a standardised 2MJ (578 calorie) energy breakfast at 0900h. Treatments comprising 500 mg Amarasate™ extract or a placebo were administered in either gastric pH resistant (at 1100H AM) or standard (1130H AM) hypromellose capsules for targeted intestinal (duodenal) or stomach (gastric) release, respectively. The site of action within the gut is a key part of the hypothesised “bitter brake” mechanism. To maintain treatment blinding, placebo capsules were also administered as part of each treatment.
Energy intake was recorded at an ad libitum lunch (1200h) and ad libitum snack (1400h), where participants were asked to eat until they felt comfortably full. Blood samples and subjective ratings of appetite were taken throughout the day. This was followed by a minimum of one week rest (‘washout’) period between treatments.
The authors found that, compared with placebo, both gastric and duodenal delivery of the Amarasate™ extract stimulated significant increases in the gut peptide hormones CCK, GLP-1 and PYY while significantly reducing total (lunch plus snack) ad libitum meal energy intake by 911 kJ (218 calories) and 944 kJ (226 calories), respectively. However, no significant treatment effects were observed for any subjective ratings of appetite or nausea.
The authors conclude: “We have demonstrated that activation of the ‘bitter brake’ mechanism by a bitter plant extract can stimulate the release of gut peptide hormones involved in appetite regulation and suppress subsequent feeding behaviour in healthy men.”
Dr Ingram and his colleagues are currently undertaking research to optimise the required dosage of Amarasate™ extract and are working with New Zealand industry partners to develop Amarasate™ extract into a supplement and functional food product.
Public Release: 6-Jun-2016
Copper is key in burning fat
Berkeley scientist says results could provide new target for obesity research
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
A new study is further burnishing copper’s reputation as an essential nutrient for human physiology. A research team led by a scientist at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and at the University of California, Berkeley, has found that copper plays a key role in metabolizing fat.
Long prized as a malleable, conductive metal used in cookware, electronics, jewelry and plumbing, copper has been gaining increasing attention over the past decade for its role in certain biological functions. It has been known that copper is needed to form red blood cells, absorb iron, develop connective tissue and support the immune system.
The new findings, to appear in the July print issue of Nature Chemical Biology but published online today, establishes for the first time copper’s role in fat metabolism.
The team of researchers was led by Chris Chang, a faculty scientist at Berkeley Lab’s Chemical Sciences Division, a UC Berkeley professor of chemistry and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. Co-lead authors of the study are Lakshmi Krishnamoorthy and Joseph Cotruvo Jr, both UC Berkeley postdoctoral researchers in chemistry with affiliations at Berkeley Lab.
“We find that copper is essential for breaking down fat cells so that they can be used for energy,” said Chang. “It acts as a regulator. The more copper there is, the more the fat is broken down. We think it would be worthwhile to study whether a deficiency in this nutrient could be linked to obesity and obesity-related diseases.”
Chang said that copper could potentially play a role in restoring a natural way to burn fat. The nutrient is plentiful in foods such as oysters and other shellfish, leafy greens, mushrooms, seeds, nuts and beans.
According to the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, an adult’s estimated average dietary requirement for copper is about 700 micrograms per day. The Food and Nutrition Board also found that only 25 percent of the U.S. population gets enough copper daily.
“Copper is not something the body can make, so we need to get it through our diet,” said Chang. “The typical American diet, however, doesn’t include many green leafy vegetables. Asian diets, for example, have more foods rich in copper.”
But Chang cautions against ingesting copper supplements as a result of these study results. Too much copper can lead to imbalances with other essential minerals, including zinc.
Copper as a ‘brake on a brake’
The researchers made the copper-fat link using mice with a genetic mutation that causes the accumulation of copper in the liver. Notably, these mice have larger than average deposits of fat compared with normal mice.
The inherited condition, known as Wilson’s disease, also occurs in humans and is potentially fatal if left untreated.
Analysis of the mice with Wilson’s disease revealed that the abnormal buildup of copper was accompanied by lower than normal lipid levels in the liver compared with control groups of mice. The researchers also found that the white adipose tissue, or white fat, of the mice with Wilson’s disease had lower levels of copper compared with the control mice and correspondingly higher levels of fat deposits.
They then treated the Wilson’s disease mice with isoproterenol, a beta agonist known to induce lipolysis, the breakdown of fat into fatty acids, through the cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) signaling pathway. They noted that the mice with Wilson’s disease exhibited less fat-breakdown activity compared with control mice.
The results prompted the researchers to conduct cell culture analyses to clarify the mechanism by which copper influences lipolysis. The researchers used inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS) equipment at Berkeley Lab to measure levels of copper in fat tissue.
They found that copper binds to phosphodiesterase 3, or PDE3, an enzyme that binds to cAMP, halting cAMP’s ability to facilitate the breakdown of fat.
“When copper binds phosphodiesterase, it’s like a brake on a brake,” said Chang. “That’s why copper has a positive correlation with lipolysis.”
Hints from cows
The connection between copper and fat metabolism is not altogether surprising. The researchers actually found hints of the link in the field of animal husbandry.
“It had been noted in cattle that levels of copper in the feed would affect how fatty the meat was,” said Chang. “This effect on fat deposits in animals was in the agricultural literature, but it hadn’t been clear what the biochemical mechanisms were linking copper and fat.”
The new work builds upon prior research from Chang’s lab on the roles of copper and other metals in neuroscience. In support of President Barack Obama’s BRAIN Initiative, Berkeley Lab provided Chang seed funding in 2013 through the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program. Chang’s work continued through the BRAIN Tri-Institutional Partnership, an alliance with Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco.
Of the copper in human bodies, there are particularly high concentrations found in the brain. Recent studies, including those led by Chang, have found that copper helps brain cells communicate with each other by acting as a brake when it is time for neural signals to stop.
While Chang’s initial focus was on the role of copper in neural communications, he branched out to investigations of metals in fat metabolism and other biological pathways. This latest work was primarily funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Public Release: 6-Jun-2016
Myricitrin may protect against neuronal loss in Parkinson’s disease
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News
New Rochelle, NY, June 6, 2016–A new study has shown that myricitrin, a flavinoid with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity that is present inedible plants and fruit, can protect mouse brains from the loss of dopamine-producing neurons caused by neurotoxicity. The reported effects of myricitrin suggest that it could have a role in preventing the neuronal degeneration that occurs in Parkinson’s disease, as described in an article published in Journal of Medicinal Food, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Journal of Medicinal Food website until July 6, 2016.
Heung Deok Kim, Kyoung Hoon Jeong, Un Ju Jung and San Ryong Kim, Kyungpook National University (Daegu) and Pukyong National University (Busan), Korea, demonstrated the ability of myricitrin to help maintain two key functions of mouse neurons exposed to a neurotoxic agent: the enzymatic activity of tyrosine hydroxylase and rapamycin complex 1 activation. The authors present their findings in the article entitled “Myricitrin Ameliorates 6-Hydroxydopamine-Induced Dopaminergic Neuronal Loss in the Substantia Nigra of Mouse Brain.”
Public Release: 8-Jun-2016
Barley lowers not one but two types of ‘bad cholesterol’, review suggests
Barley likely has similar cholesterol-lowering effects as oats
St. Michael’s Hospital
Aging,neurodegeneration,multi-ingredient dietary supplement,oxidative stress,neuroprotectant
TORONTO, June 8, 2016 – Eating barley or foods containing barley significantly reduced levels of two types of “bad cholesterol” associated with cardiovascular risk, a St. Michael’s Hospital research paper has found.
Barley reduced both low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, and non-high-density lipoprotein, or non-HDL, by seven per cent.
The review also indicated that barley had similar cholesterol-lowering effects as oats, which is often the go-to grain for health benefits.
The research review, published today in The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, included 14 studies on clinical trials conducted in seven countries, including Canada.
It is the first study to look at the effects of barley and barley products on both LDL and non-HDL cholesterol in addition to apolipoprotein B, or apoB, a lipoprotein that carries bad cholesterol through the blood. Measuring non-HDL and apoB provides a more accurate assessment for cardiovascular risk, as they account for the total ‘bad cholesterol’ found in the blood.
“The findings are most important for populations at high risk for cardiovascular disease, such as Type 2 diabetics, who have normal levels of LDL cholesterol, but elevated levels of non-HDL or apo B,” said Dr. Vladimir Vuksan, research scientist and associate director of the Risk Factor Modification Centre of St. Michael’s. “Barley has a lowering effect on the total bad cholesterol in these high-risk individuals, but can also benefit people without high cholesterol.”
High cholesterol and diabetes are major risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke, historically treated with medications. However, Dr. Vuksan’s research and work focuses on how dietary and lifestyle changes can reduce these risk factors.
“Barley’s positive effect on lowering cholesterol is well-documented and has been included in the Canadian strategy for reducing cardiovascular risk,” said Dr. Vuksan. “Health Canada, the FDA and several health authorities worldwide have already approved health claims that barley lowers LDL cholesterol, but this is the first review showing the effects on other harmful lipids.”
Despite its benefits Dr. Vuksan said barley is not as well-established as some other health-recommended foods — such as oats. Barley consumption by humans has fallen by 35 per cent in the last 10 years. Canada is one of the top five world producers of barley — almost 10 megatonnes per year — but human consumption accounts for only two per cent of the crop yield, with livestock making up the other 98 per cent. “After looking at the evidence, we can also say that barley is comparably effective as oats in reducing overall risk of cardiovascular disease” said Dr. Vuksan.
Barley is higher in fibre, has twice the protein and almost half the calories of oats, which are important considerations for those with weight or dietary concerns.
Dr. Vuksan said barley can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. He recommends trying to incorporate barley into existing recipes, using it as a substitute for rice or even on its own — just like oatmeal.
About St. Michael’s Hospital
St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.
Public Release: 9-Jun-2016
A diet lacking in zinc is detrimental to human and animal health
Even moderate zinc deficiency is bad for digestion
Technical University of Munich (TUM)
The trace element zinc has an impact on the essential metabolic functions of most living organisms. New research carried out by the Chair of Animal Nutrition at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has found that even minimal zinc deficiency impairs digestion, albeit without any typical symptoms such as skin problems or fatigue. Hence, short-term zinc deficiency in the diet should be avoided.
The test series established that even slight zinc deficiency in an animal’s diet impedes pancreatic digestive activity and results in significant digestive impairment, even at an early stage. The study undertaken by Daniel Brugger of the Chair of Animal Nutrition at TUM was recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
Scientist Brugger charted a new path since all previous studies had compared the functions of animals with clinical zinc deficiency to those of animals that had adequate amounts of this trace element in their bodies. “It is important to note that, in nature, clinical zinc deficiency does not really occur, neither in animals nor in humans”, explains lead author Brugger. Hence, Brugger carried out his study on animals with short-term or subclinical zinc deficiency. As the trace element only exists in small amounts in an organism, it has to be consumed by way of nutrition. In piglets, for instance, a clinical or manifest zinc deficiency can – under feeding conditions applied in practice – only be achieved after about ten days, explains the TUM scientist. This is why he ended his test series early, after just eight days.
How does the metabolism react to a dwindling zinc deposit?
The unnoticed start of zinc depletion occurs without any visible symptoms, but minute changes can be identified in the liver and in the blood. For the purpose of this study, piglets which had just been weaned were fed a diet containing different amounts of zinc to develop early-stage zinc deficiency. This was the only way for the scientists to trace and analyze what effects dwindling zinc deposits would have on the animals’ metabolisms. On one hand, it was observed that the body tried to absorb zinc more efficiently, while on the other, it reduced pancreatic zinc excretion. Since clinical zinc deficiency reduces the test animals’ appetite, “various hypotheses were derived, for example, that zinc deficiency had a direct impact on the vagus nerve. The real reason, however, may be much simpler: the accumulation of undigested food inside the gastrointestinal tract due to zinc deficiency results in feeling less hungry”, says Brugger.
The pancreas requires zinc for digestion
The pancreas is the control center for food digestion and energy homeostasis in the body. It pumps zinc into the gastrointestinal tract in order to maintain a consistent zinc level. Conversely, if an organism is depleted of zinc, it reduces its pancreatic zinc excretion to a minimum. The starting point for Daniel Brugger’s study was the hypothesis that this mechanism may be related to digestion.
Feed digestion is of enormous importance for growing livestock and especially the first few weeks after young animals are weaned from their mothers are of crucial importance. This is a factor that must not be underestimated by farmers.
“We proved that there is a direct correlation between the amount of digestive enzymes inside the pancreas and zinc levels in the organism as a whole”, explains Brugger. “Even short intervals of zinc deficiency in the diet should therefore be avoided. Given the similarities between a pig’s organism and the human organism, we may draw the following conclusion when applying our results to the human body: an egg or two more once in a while can do no harm.” Brugger advises vegans, vegetarians and older people to monitor their zinc intake. Among other things, a subclinical zinc deficiency in humans has been attributed to increased levels of inflammation markers and reduced immunocompetence.
Public Release: 16-Jun-2016
A single species of gut bacteria can reverse autism-related social behavior in mice
Baylor College of Medicine
HOUSTON – (June 16, 2016) – The absence of one specific species of gut bacteria causes social deficits in mice, researchers at Baylor College of Medicine report June 16 in Cell. By adding this bacterial species back to the guts of affected mice, the researchers were able to reverse some of the mice’s behavioral deficits, which are reminiscent of symptoms of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) in humans. The investigators are now looking to explore the effects of probiotics on neurodevelopmental disorders in future work.
“Other research groups are trying to use drugs or electrical brain stimulation as a way to reverse some of the behavioral symptoms associated with neurodevelopmental disorders–but here we have, perhaps, a new approach,” says senior author Dr. Mauro Costa-Mattioli, associate professor of neuroscience at Baylor. “Whether it would be effective in humans, we don’t know yet, but it is an extremely exciting way of affecting the brain from the gut.”
The inspiration for the paper came from human epidemiological studies that have found that maternal obesity during pregnancy could increase children’s risk of developing neurodevelopmental disorders, including ASDs. In addition, some individuals with ASD also report recurring gastrointestinal problems. With emerging research showing how diet can change the gut microbiome and how gut microbes can influence the brain, Costa-Mattioli and his co-authors suspected there could be a connection.
To begin, the researchers fed approximately 60 female mice a high-fat diet that was the rough equivalent of consistently eating fast food multiple times a day. They bred the mice and waited for them to bear young. The offspring stayed with their mother for three weeks and then were weaned onto a normal diet. After a month, these offspring showed behavioral deficits, such as spending less time in contact with their peers and not initiating interactions.
“First we wanted to see whether there was a difference in the microbiome between the offspring of mouse mothers fed a normal diet versus those of mothers fed a high-fat diet. So, we used 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing to determine the bacterial composition of their gut. We found a clear difference in the microbiota of the two maternal diet groups,” says first author Shelly Buffington, a postdoctoral fellow in Costa-Mattioli’s lab. “The sequencing data was so consistent that by looking at the microbiome of an individual mouse we could predict whether its behavior would be impaired.”
Buffington next tested whether the specific differences in the microbiome were causative factors underlying the social impairments in offspring of mothers fed a high-fat diet. Because mice eat each other’s poop, the researchers housed the animals together so that they would acquire microbiota from their cagemates. When socially impaired three-week-old mice born to mothers on a high-fat diet were paired with normal mice, a full restoration of the gut microbiome and a concurrent improvement in behavior was observed within four weeks. The investigators concluded that one or more beneficial bacterial species might be important for normal social behavior. Fecal-transplant experiments in mice without microbiota (germ-free mice) provided causal evidence that an imbalanced microbial ecology in the mice born to mothers on a high-fat diet is responsible for their social deficits.
The investigators next wanted to know the specific bacterial species that could be affecting the social behavior of the mice. Whole-genome shotgun sequencing revealed one type of bacteria, Lactobacillus reuteri, which was reduced more than nine-fold in the microbiome of mice born to mothers on the high-fat diet.
“We cultured a strain of L. reuteri originally isolated from human breast milk and introduced it into the water of the high-fat-diet offspring. We found that treatment with this single bacterial strain was able to rescue their social behavior,” Buffington says. Other ASD-related behaviors, such as anxiety, were not restored by the reconstitution of the bacteria. Interestingly, the authors found that L. reuteri also promoted the production of the “bonding hormone” oxytocin, which is known to play a crucial role in social behavior and has been associated with autism in humans.
The authors wondered whether the reward circuitry in the socially impaired mice was dysfunctional. “We found that in response to social interaction there was a lack of synaptic potentiation in a key reward area of the brain that could be seen in the normal control mice,” Costa-Mattioli says. “When we put the bacteria back in the maternal-high-fat-diet offspring, we could also restore the changes in synaptic function in the reward circuitry.”
The researchers believe that their work, which uses a human bacterial species to promote oxytocin levels and improve social behavioral deficits in deficient mice, could be explored as a probiotic intervention for the treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders in humans. “This is where the science is unexpectedly leading us. We could potentially see this type of approach developing quite quickly not only for the treatment of ASD but also for other neurodevelopmental disorders; anyway, this is my gut feeling,” Costa-Mattioli says.
Others who contributed to the research include Gonzalo Viana Di Prisco, Thomas A. Auchtung, Nadim J. Ajami, and Joseph F. Petrosino, all at Baylor College of Medicine.
The research was supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIMH 096816, NINDS 076708), the Alkek Foundation and the Department of Defense (AR120254).
Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmR_aQhHJLU
Public Release: 10-Jun-2016
Many with migraines have vitamin deficiencies, says study
Researchers uncertain whether supplementation would help prevent migraines
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
A high percentage of children, teens and young adults with migraines appear to have mild deficiencies in vitamin D, riboflavin and coenzyme Q10 — a vitamin-like substance found in every cell of the body that is used to produce energy for cell growth and maintenance.
These deficiencies may be involved in patients who experience migraines, but that is unclear based on existing studies.
“Further studies are needed to elucidate whether vitamin supplementation is effective in migraine patients in general, and whether patients with mild deficiency are more likely to benefit from supplementation,” says Suzanne Hagler, MD, a Headache Medicine fellow in the division of Neurology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and lead author of the study.
Dr. Hagler and colleagues at Cincinnati Children’s conducted the study among patients at the Cincinnati Children’s Headache Center. She will present her findings at 9:55 am Pacific time Friday, June 10, 2016 at the 58th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society in San Diego.
Dr. Hagler’s study drew from a database that included patients with migraines who, according to Headache Center practice, had baseline blood levels checked for vitamin D, riboflavin, coenzyme Q10 and folate, all of which were implicated in migraines, to some degree, by previous and sometimes conflicting studies. Many were put on preventive migraine medications and received vitamin supplementation, if levels were low. Because few received vitamins alone, the researchers were unable to determine vitamin effectiveness in preventing migraines.
She found that girls and young woman were more likely than boys and young men to have coenzyme Q10 deficiencies at baseline. Boys and young men were more likely to have vitamin D deficiency. It was unclear whether there were folate deficiencies. Patients with chronic migraines were more likely to have coenzyme Q10 and riboflavin deficiencies than those with episodic migraines.
Previous studies have indicated that certain vitamins and vitamin deficiencies may be important in the migraine process. Studies using vitamins to prevent migraines, however, have had conflicting success.
Public Release: 14-Jun-2016
Overcome strength-training plateau with accentuated eccentric loading
Learning to train smart with accentuated eccentric loading training can lead to greater strength gains compared to traditional isoinertial loads, shows study
Hitting a plateau in strength training? The answer to overcoming it might lie in accentuated eccentric loading (AEL).
Many experienced strength trainers try to overcome a plateau by trying to adapt their strength programme, however this is sometimes ineffective. In just five weeks accentuated eccentric loading training considerably improved results for experienced strength-trainers, a study recently published in Frontiers in Physiology found.
This method is based on the principle of repetitive muscle contractions applying a greater external load during the muscle’s lengthening, the eccentric phase of the lift, than in the shortening, the concentric phase. The eccentric phase, for example, is the action of lowering the dumbbell back down from the lift during a biceps curl, as long as the dumbbell is lowered slowly rather than letting it drop.
This is different to the very popular isoinertial training where the same weight is used in both stages of the movement.
“It is important to train using actions that are highly specific to normal actions. I have always been interested in trying to optimize training because lots of people train hard, but I want those people to train smart allowing them to get the most out of their efforts; ” explained Dr. Simon Walker from the Department of Biology of Physical Activity at University of Jyväskylä, Finland.
He added: “It was clear that the force production capacity during eccentric actions was not being utilized during traditional isoinertial training.”
To determine the effects of accentuated eccentric loading the scientists conducted a ten week experiment applied to 28 experienced male strength-trainers separated into three groups: two groups (one using AEL and the other isoinertial training) were exposed to supervision, motivation, greater loading intensities, immediate post-training protein consumption and assistance at concentric failure, meanwhile the third group continued their normal unsupervised training program.
The results for the group using the accentuated eccentric load training were remarkable after the fifth week observing an increase of force production, work capacity, muscle activation and resistance compared to the other groups. However, both AEL and isoinertial methods were equally effective to increase the cross-sectional area of the quadriceps muscle, in subjects accustomed to resistance training.
“This information can modify people’s training methods and perhaps highlight contemporary training methods that can be included and periodized into people’s training regimes, this can range from patient groups to the elderly right through to athletes;” said Dr. Walker.
Evidently, the benefits of accentuated eccentric loading in already-trained individuals may take some time to manifest and, therefore, even several sessions of training may be insufficient to produce meaningful improvements.
“This is no magic pill that will suddenly create huge differences over systematic hard work. smart periodization, and nutrition; but it can give a boost or kick start to overcoming a plateau in strength and muscle mass development;” he continued.
However, it would be interesting to examine if adapting to even longer training periods of accentuated eccentric loading in the future will produce continued improvements or if otherwise the continuous high intensity may lead to over-reaching.
“There are lots of unresolved issues still, such as how AEL may affect recovery, training frequency, and also whether training intensity and volume should be adjusted to better suit the individual. Nevertheless, this study alone gives good evidence that athletes can work on a problematic area, for example to develop strength and muscle mass, by using this method when stagnation has occurred;” added Dr. Walker.
Public Release: 14-Jun-2016
Landmark study suggests cranberries can decrease use of antibiotics
Single largest clinical trial of its kind reveals important role for cranberry in reducing symptomatic UTIs and global antibiotic resistance
Weber Shandwick Worldwide
(June 14, 2016 – Lakeville-Middleboro, Mass) – Today leading experts on infectious disease and urinary tract infections (UTIs) will gather in London to discuss the alarming state of antibiotic resistance, and present findings from a landmark study that conclusively shows that cranberries can be a nutritional approach to reducing symptomatic UTIs, and as a result, may be a useful strategy to decrease worldwide use of antibiotics.
According to the study, recently published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, drinking an 8-ounce (240 ml) glass of cranberry juice a day reduces symptomatic UTIs by nearly 40 percent in women with recurrent UTIs – reducing the burden of UTIs and reducing the antibiotic use associated with treating recurrent UTIs.
“Currently the primary approach to reducing symptomatic events of UTI is the use of chronic antibiotics for suppression, an approach associated with side effects and development of antibiotic resistance. This study shows that consuming one 8-ounce (240 ml) glass of cranberry juice a day reduces the number of times women suffer from repeat episodes of symptomatic UTI and avoids chronic suppressive antibiotics,” said Dr. Kalpana Gupta, infectious disease specialist and Professor of Medicine at Boston University’s School of Medicine.
An author on the study and panelist at today’s session, Dr. Gupta believes that cranberries can help to reduce the worldwide use of antibiotics and significantly improve the quality of life for women who suffer from recurrent UTI symptoms.
Single Largest Clinical Trial on Cranberries of its Kind
The 24-week study of 373 women, conducted by researchers at Boston University, Biofortis Innovation Services (a division of Merieux Nutrisciences) and 18 clinical sites throughout the US and France, is the largest clinical trial of its kind examining the effects of cranberry juice consumption on UTIs. This trial adds to more than 50 years of cranberry research and supports the cranberry’s ability to support urinary tract health and reduce symptomatic UTIs among chronic UTI sufferers.
Researchers set out to find whether recurrent (or repeat) UTI sufferers could be protected from repeat infections by drinking cranberry juice. Participants were all healthy women, with an average age of 40, who had experienced at least two UTIs within the past year. During the study, participants were randomly chosen to drink a daily dose of eight ounces (240 ml) of either cranberry juice or a “placebo” beverage without cranberries.
The rate of UTIs decreased significantly among the cranberry drinkers, with just 39 diagnoses during the six-month study compared with 67 in the placebo group.
Compared to some other studies, this trial had greater statistical power to detect differences than others due to its larger sample, use of incidence density to account for the tendency of clinical UTIs to cluster in time within an individual, a high average level of compliance (98%), and a comparatively large percentage of subjects in each group completing the treatment period (86%).
What’s in a Symptom?
Women with symptomatic UTIs experience all the discomforts of a UTI, such as a strong, persistent urge to urinate or a burning sensation when urinating, but may or may not test positive for a bacterial infection upon a consult with a physician. In many instances, women are treated with antibiotics for symptom relief whether bacteria is found or not. According to Gupta, the key to avoiding the situation altogether may very well lay with the cranberry.
“The key to cranberry’s benefit is consuming a glass daily to help avoid the infection altogether,” said Gupta. “Most people wait to drink cranberry juice until they have a UTI, but once the symptoms start they’ll likely need a course of antibiotics.”
The Correlation between UTIs and Antibiotic Resistance
UTIs are among the most common bacterial infections in women worldwide. Up to 60 percent of all women suffer a UTI in their lifetime,(1) and up to 25 percent experience a recurrence within six months.(2) Some 150 million UTIs occur annually worldwide, according to the American Urological Association, resulting in $6 billion in annual health care costs.(3)
Antibiotics are usually the first line of treatment for urinary tract infections, and women who have frequent UTIs may be prescribed low-dose antibiotics. Unfortunately, chronic overuse of these drugs has increased antibiotic resistance at an alarming rate globally. So much in fact, that the World Health Organization (WHO) cites a 50 percent resistance rate to one of the most widely used antibiotics to treat UTIs.(4)
How Cranberries Work
Luckily, cranberries contain a unique combination of compounds including Type-A PACs (or proanthocyanidins) that prevent bacteria from sticking and causing infection. In addition to PACs, new studies have revealed a new class of compounds, xyloglucan oligosaccharides, which have similar anti-bacterial properties against E. coli as PACs.(5) This means there are multiple, unique elements within cranberries working hard for your health.
These unique compounds can be found in a variety of products, including cranberry juice cocktail, 100% cranberry juice, light cranberry juice, dried cranberries and cranberry extract; however most of the research surrounding cranberries and UTIs has been conducted using juice.
Cranberries, a Natural Approach to Better Health
The suggestion that a nutritional approach like cranberry juice could reduce antibiotic use is welcome news given the alarming challenge it presents to public health, one that the WHO refers to as one of the greatest challenges to public health today,(6) and that the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer said could become a threat ‘greater than cancer’.(7)
According to Gupta, those who suffer from UTIs can feel confident that this nutritional approach is a potential solution – further validating more than 50 years of well-documented cranberry research.
Find more information on the study and the health benefits of cranberries at http://www.cranberryhealth.com.