239 CNO 10 JAN 2017
Release Date 10 JAN 2017
Draft Report Compiled by
In this Issue:
1. Vitamin D improves gut flora and metabolic syndrome
2. Omega-3 supplements can prevent childhood asthma
3. Iron deficiency anemia associated with hearing loss
4. Vitamin D deficiency increases risk of chronic headache
5. Acid suppression medications linked to serious gastrointestinal infections
6. New Midwestern University research suggests appendix may have important function
7. Why high-dose vitamin C kills cancer cells
8. Heartburn pills in pregnancy may be linked to childhood asthma
9. Compound from chicory reveals possible treatment strategy for neurodegenerative disorders
10. Dietary magnesium associated with reduced risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes
11. Study: Running actually lowers inflammation in knee joints
Public Release: 21-Dec-2016
Vitamin D improves gut flora and metabolic syndrome
Extra vitamin D can restore good bacteria in the gut, according to a study in mice, giving hope in the fight against risk factors for diabetes and heart disease
It is well known that a diet high in fat can trigger a metabolic syndrome, a group of symptoms that pose as risk factors for diabetes and heart disease. Scientists have now discovered that vitamin D deficiency is necessary for this syndrome to progress in mice, with underlying disturbances in gut bacteria.
If these findings can be validated in humans, sun bathing and vitamin D supplements may be feasible and affordable approaches to improve or even prevent metabolic syndrome.
“Based on this study, we believe that keeping vitamin D levels high, either through sun exposure, diet or supplementation, is beneficial for prevention and treatment of metabolic syndrome,” says Professor Stephen Pandol, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, USA, who collaborated with Yuan-Ping Han’s research group at Sichuan University, China in the study.
Metabolic syndrome affects nearly a quarter of the world’s adult population, and it is defined by a group of risk factors that put you on the road to diabetes and heart disease. The characteristic symptoms include obesity around the waistline and at least two of the following: high blood sugar levels, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Sufferers usually also have excess fat in their liver.
The main cause of metabolic syndrome appears to be a diet high in fat or carbohydrate. However, observational studies have also linked metabolic syndrome to vitamin D deficiency, which affects 30-60% of the world’s population.
The research team made important advances in understanding the causative role of vitamin D in this syndrome. “A sufficient dietary vitamin D supplement can partially but significantly antagonize metabolic syndrome caused by high fat diet in mice,” says Pandol. “These are amounts equivalent to the dietary recommendations for humans.”
More specifically, they have shown that a high fat diet affects the balance between good and bad bacteria in the gut. This induces modest fatty liver and slightly raises blood sugar levels in mice. Remarkably, an insufficient supply of vitamin D aggravates the imbalance in gut flora, contributing to full-scale fatty liver and metabolic syndrome.
Vitamin D deficiency decreases the production of defensins, which are anti-microbial molecules essential to maintain healthy gut flora. As expected, an oral supply of a synthetic defensin recovers gut bacteria balance, decreases blood sugar levels and improves fatty liver.
In summary, a high fat diet alone is not enough to cause metabolic syndrome but it is needed in combination with vitamin D deficiency. Accordingly, vitamin D supplementation improves metabolic syndrome in mice. The next step would be to validate the results in humans.
“Few studies have indicated that vitamin D supplementation may not improve metabolic disorders in humans. However, these studies are largely based on long-term surveys, which may be hampered by poor compliance and insufficient dosage,” says Hans.
He remains optimistic that the results of their study can be confirmed in humans. “We are planning a clinical study to confirm the link of vitamin D deficiency with gut bacteria disruption, and its association with metabolic syndrome,” says Han.
The study was supported by grants from National Natural Science Foundation of China (31571165), and Science and Technology Department of Sichuan Province (2014SZ0194) to YH, NIH R01 AA019954 P01 CA163200 (AL, SP). Department of Veterans Affairs grants: 5IO BX001991-02F (HT), and I01BX001484 (SP).
Read the full article in Frontiers in Physiology: ‘Vitamin D Signaling through Induction of Paneth Cell Defensins Maintains Gut Microbiota and Improves Metabolic Disorders and Hepatic Steatosis in Animal Models’
Public Release: 29-Dec-2016
Omega-3 supplements can prevent childhood asthma
University of Waterloo
Taking certain omega-3 fatty acid supplements during pregnancy can reduce the risk of childhood asthma by almost one third, according to a new study from the Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood (COPSAC) and the University of Waterloo.
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that women who were prescribed 2.4 grams of long-chain omega-3 supplements during the third trimester of pregnancy reduced their children’s risk of asthma by 31 per cent. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are found in cold water fish, and key to regulating human immune response.
“We’ve long suspected there was a link between the anti-inflammatory properties of long-chain omega-3 fats, the low intakes of omega-3 in Western diets and the rising rates of childhood asthma,” said Professor Hans Bisgaard of COPSAC at the Copenhagen University Hospital. “This study proves that they are definitively and significantly related.”
The study used rapid analytical techniques developed and performed at the University of Waterloo to measure levels of EPA and DHA in pregnant women’s blood. The University of Waterloo is one of a few laboratories in the world equipped to run such tests.
“Measuring the levels of omega-3 fatty acids in blood provides an accurate and precise assessment of nutrient status,” said Professor Ken Stark, Canada Research Chair in Nutritional Lipidomics and professor in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at Waterloo, who led the testing. “Our labs are uniquely equipped to measure fatty acids quickly, extremely precisely, and in a cost-efficient manner.”
The testing also revealed that women with low blood levels of EPA and DHA at the beginning of the study benefitted the most from the supplements. For these women, it reduced their children’s relative risk of developing asthma by 54 per cent.
“The proportion of women with low EPA and DHA in their blood is even higher in Canada and the United States as compared with Denmark. So we would expect an even greater reduction in risk among North American populations,” said Professor Stark. “Identifying these women and providing them with supplements should be considered a front-line defense to reduce and prevent childhood asthma.”
Researchers analyzed blood samples of 695 Danish women at 24 weeks’ gestation and one week after delivery. They then monitored the health status of each participating child for five years, which is the age asthma symptoms can be clinically established.
“Asthma and wheezing disorders have more than doubled in Western countries in recent decades,” said Professor Bisgaard. “We now have a preventative measure to help bring those numbers down.”
Currently, one out of five young children suffer from asthma or a related disorder before school age.
Public Release: 29-Dec-2016
Iron deficiency anemia associated with hearing loss
The JAMA Network Journals
In a study published online by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Kathleen M. Schieffer, B.S., of the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, Pa., and colleagues examined the association between sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss and iron deficiency anemia in adults ages 21 to 90 years in the United States.
In 2014, approximately 15 percent of adults reported difficulty with hearing. Because iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is a common and easily correctable condition, further understanding of the association between IDA and all types of hearing loss may help to open new possibilities for early identification and appropriate treatment. For this study, using data obtained from deidentified electronic medical records from the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pa., iron deficiency anemia was determined by low hemoglobin and ferritin levels for age and sex in 305,339 adults ages 21 to 90 years; associations between hearing loss and IDA were evaluated.
Of the patients in the study population, 43 percent were men; average age was 50 years. There was a 1.6 percent prevalence of combined hearing loss (defined as any combination of conductive hearing loss [hearing loss due to problems with the bones of the middle ear], sensorineural hearing loss, deafness, and unspecified hearing loss) and 0.7 percent prevalence of IDA. Both sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL; when there is damage to the cochlea or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain) (present in 1.1 percent of individuals with IDA) and combined hearing loss (present in 3.4 percent) were significantly associated with IDA. Analysis confirmed increased odds of SNHL and combined hearing loss among adults with IDA.
“An association exists between IDA in adults and hearing loss. The next steps are to better understand this correlation and whether promptly diagnosing and treating IDA may positively affect the overall health status of adults with hearing loss,” the authors write.
Public Release: 4-Jan-2017
Vitamin D deficiency increases risk of chronic headache
University of Eastern Finland
Vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of chronic headache, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. The findings were published in Scientific Reports.
The Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, KIHD, analysed the serum vitamin D levels and occurrence of headache in approximately 2,600 men aged between 42 and 60 years in 1984-1989. In 68% of these men, the serum vitamin D level was below 50 nmol/l, which is generally considered the threshold for vitamin D deficiency. Chronic headache occurring at least on a weekly basis was reported by 250 men, and men reporting chronic headache had lower serum vitamin D levels than others.
When the study population was divided into four groups based on their serum vitamin D levels, the group with the lowest levels had over a twofold risk of chronic headache in comparison to the group with the highest levels. Chronic headache was also more frequently reported by men who were examined outside the summer months of June through September. Thanks to UVB radiation from the sun, the average serum vitamin D levels are higher during the summer months.
The study adds to the accumulating body of evidence linking a low intake of vitamin D to an increased risk of chronic diseases. Low vitamin D levels have been associated with the risk of headache also by some earlier, mainly considerably smaller studies.
In Finland and in other countries far from the Equator, UVB radiation from the sun is a sufficient source of vitamin D during the summer months, but outside the summer season, people need to make sure that they get sufficient vitamin D from food or from vitamin D supplements.
No scientific evidence relating to the benefits and possible adverse effects of long-term use in higher doses yet exists. The Finnish Vitamin D Trial, FIND, currently ongoing at the University of Eastern Finland will shed light on the question, as the five-year trial analyses the effects of high daily doses of vitamin D on the risk factors and development of diseases. The trial participants are taking a vitamin D supplement of 40 or 80 micrograms per day. The trial also investigates the effects of vitamin D supplementation on various pain conditions.
Link: http://rdcu.be/ogtQ (open access) doi: 10.1038/srep39697
Public Release: 5-Jan-2017
Acid suppression medications linked to serious gastrointestinal infections
In a population-based study from Scotland, use of commonly-prescribed acid suppression medications such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) was linked with an increased risk of intestinal infections with C. difficile and Campylobacter bacteria, which can cause considerable illness.
Compared with individuals in the community who did not take acid suppression medications, those who did had 1.7-times and 3.7-times increased risks of C. difficile and Campylobacter, respectively. Among hospitalized patients, those using the medications had 1.4-times and 4.5-times increased risks, respectively.
Although acid suppression therapy is often considered relatively free from side effects, the findings suggest that there are significant adverse gastrointestinal consequences of their use. “Users of these medications should be particularly vigilant about food hygiene as the removal of stomach acid makes them more easily infected with agents such as Campylobacter, which is commonly found on poultry,” said Prof. Thomas MacDonald, senior author of the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology study.
Public Release: 9-Jan-2017
New Midwestern University research suggests appendix may have important function
The human appendix, a narrow pouch that projects off the cecum in the digestive system, has a notorious reputation for its tendency to become inflamed (appendicitis), often resulting in surgical removal. Although it is widely viewed as a vestigial organ with little known function, recent research suggests that the appendix may serve an important purpose. In particular, it may serve as a reservoir for beneficial gut bacteria. Several other mammal species also have an appendix, and studying how it evolved and functions in these species may shed light on this mysterious organ in humans.
Heather F. Smith, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine, is currently studying the evolution of the appendix across mammals. Dr. Smith’s international research team gathered data on the presence or absence of the appendix and other gastrointestinal and environmental traits for 533 mammal species. They mapped the data onto a phylogeny (genetic tree) to track how the appendix has evolved through mammalian evolution, and to try to determine why some species have an appendix while others don’t.
They discovered that the appendix has evolved independently in several mammal lineages, over 30 separate times, and almost never disappears from a lineage once it has appeared. This suggests that the appendix likely serves an adaptive purpose. Looking at ecological factors, such as diet, climate, how social a species is, and where it lives, they were able to reject several previously proposed hypotheses that have attempted to link the appendix to dietary or environmental factors. Instead, they found that species with an appendix have higher average concentrations of lymphoid (immune) tissue in the cecum. This finding suggests that the appendix may play an important role as a secondary immune organ. Lymphatic tissue can also stimulate growth of some types of beneficial gut bacteria, providing further evidence that the appendix may serve as a “safe house” for helpful gut bacteria.
They also found that animals with certain shaped ceca (tapering or spiral-shaped) were more likely to have an appendix than animals with a round or cylindrical cecum. Therefore, they concluded that the appendix isn’t evolving independently, but as part of a larger “cecoappendicular complex” including both the appendix and cecum.
Researchers collaborating with Dr. Smith on this study are William Parker, Ph.D., Department of Surgery, Duke Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina; Sanet H. Kotzé, Ph.D., Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Stellenbosch, Tygerberg, South Africa; and Michel Laurin, Ph.D., from the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in France. Midwestern University Senior Research Associate Brent Adrian also contributed illustrations for the study.
Public Release: 9-Jan-2017
Why high-dose vitamin C kills cancer cells
Low levels of catalase enzyme make cancer cells vulnerable to high-dose vitamin C
University of Iowa Health Care
Vitamin C has a patchy history as a cancer therapy, but researchers at the University of Iowa believe that is because it has often been used in a way that guarantees failure.
Most vitamin C therapies involve taking the substance orally. However, the UI scientists have shown that giving vitamin C intravenously–and bypassing normal gut metabolism and excretion pathways–creates blood levels that are 100 – 500 times higher than levels seen with oral ingestion. It is this super-high concentration in the blood that is crucial to vitamin C’s ability to attack cancer cells.
Earlier work by UI redox biology expert Garry Buettner found that at these extremely high levels (in the millimolar range), vitamin C selectively kills cancer cells but not normal cells in the test tube and in mice. Physicians at UI Hospitals and Clinics are now testing the approach in clinical trials for pancreatic cancer and lung cancer that combine high-dose, intravenous vitamin C with standard chemotherapy or radiation. Earlier phase 1 trials indicated this treatment is safe and well-tolerated and hinted that the therapy improves patient outcomes. The current, larger trials aim to determine if the treatment improves survival.
In a new study, published recently in the December issue of the journal Redox Biology, Buettner and his colleagues have homed in on the biological details of how high-dose vitamin C (also known as ascorbate) kills cancer cells.
The study shows that vitamin C breaks down easily, generating hydrogen peroxide, a so-called reactive oxygen species that can damage tissue and DNA. The study also shows that tumor cells are much less capable of removing the damaging hydrogen peroxide than normal cells.
“In this paper we demonstrate that cancer cells are much less efficient in removing hydrogen peroxide than normal cells. Thus, cancer cells are much more prone to damage and death from a high amount of hydrogen peroxide,” says Buettner, a professor of radiation oncology and a member of Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa. “This explains how the very, very high levels of vitamin C used in our clinical trials do not affect normal tissue, but can be damaging to tumor tissue.”
Normal cells have several ways to remove hydrogen peroxide, keeping it at very low levels so it does not cause damage. The new study shows that an enzyme called catalase is the central route for removing hydrogen peroxide generated by decomposing vitamin C. The researchers discovered that cells with lower amounts of catalase activity were more susceptible to damage and death when they were exposed to high amounts of vitamin C.
Buettner says this fundamental information might help determine which cancers and which therapies could be improved by inclusion of high-dose ascorbate in the treatment.
“Our results suggest that cancers with low levels of catalase are likely to be the most responsive to high-dose vitamin C therapy, whereas cancers with relatively high levels of catalase may be the least responsive,” he explains.
A future goal of the research is to develop methods to measure catalase levels in tumors.
In addition to Buettner, the UI research team included Claire Doskey, Visarut Buranasudja, Brett Wagner, Justin Wilkes, Juan Du, and Joseph Cullen. The study was funded in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), (CA169046, GM073929, CA148062, ES013661, ES005605, CA184051) and The Gateway for Cancer Research.
Public Release: 9-Jan-2017
Heartburn pills in pregnancy may be linked to childhood asthma
University of Edinburgh
Children born to mothers who take heartburn medication during pregnancy may have a greater risk of developing asthma, research suggests.
Those whose mothers had been prescribed medicines to treat acid reflux during pregnancy were more likely to be treated for asthma in childhood, a review of studies found.
However, experts say the potential link – which came to light by reviewing studies that had examined health records – is not conclusive.
They say that the association could be caused by a separate, linked factor and that further research is needed to determine whether the medicines affect the health of children.
Mothers-to-be should follow existing guidelines – to use the medicines as required – and consult with a doctor or nurse if symptoms persist, they recommend.
Heartburn is caused by stomach acid passing from the stomach back into the oesophagus – the tube that connects the stomach to the throat. The condition is very common in pregnancy because of hormonal changes and pressure on the stomach from the growing womb.
Drugs called H2-receptor antagonists and proton pump inhibitors can help to block this acid reflux. They are considered safe to use in pregnancy because they do not affect development of the baby.
Scientists had previously suggested that use of these medicines may increase the risk of allergies in the unborn baby through impacting on the immune system. Studies to investigate a link have been inconclusive.
Researchers led by the Universities of Edinburgh and Tampere in Finland reviewed eight previous studies involving more than 1.3 million children. The research had examined healthcare registries and prescription databases linking information about both mothers and children.
The team found that children born to mothers who had been prescribed acid-blocking drugs during pregnancy were at least one third more likely to have visited a doctor for symptoms of asthma.
Advice for expectant mums should not change based on these findings, the researchers say, but further studies are needed.
The study is published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
Professor Aziz Sheikh, Co-director of the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research at the University of Edinburgh, said: “Our study reports an association between the onset of asthma in children and their mothers’ use of acid-suppressing medication during pregnancy. It is important to stress that this association does not prove that the medicines caused asthma in these children and further research is needed to better understand this link.”
Dr Samantha Walker, Director of Policy and Research at Asthma UK, said: “It is important to stress that this research is at a very early stage and expectant mums should continue to take any medication they need under the guidance of their doctor or nurse.
“We don’t yet know if the heartburn medication itself is contributing to the development of asthma in children, or if there is common factor we haven’t discovered yet that causes both heartburn in pregnant women and asthma in their children. The study points us towards something that needs further investigation which is why we need to see more research carried out into the causes of asthma, a condition that affects 5.4 million people in the UK alone.
“Mums-to-be with any concerns can call the Asthma UK helpline on 0300 222 58000 to speak to a specialist asthma nurse.”
Public Release: 10-Jan-2017
Compound from chicory reveals possible treatment strategy for neurodegenerative disorders
New research in The FASEB Journal suggests that chicoric acid mitigates lipopolysaccharide-induced amyloidogenesis and memory impairment by inhibiting the NFκB signal pathway in mouse models
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
In a new research report published online in The FASEB Journal, scientists used mice to show that chicoric acid, a component of chicory, may help reduce memory impairment associated with Alzheimer’s disease, and possibly other neurodegenerative diseases.
“Chicoric acid, a nutraceutical component of chicory, also exists extensively in Echinacea purpurea, lettuce, dandelion, and other edible plants and vegetables,” said Xuebo Liu, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work at the College of Food Science and Engineering, Northwest A&F University, in Yangling, China. “Chicoric acid mitigated lipopolysaccharide-induced amyloidogenesis and memory impairment via inhibiting NFκB signal pathway, suggesting that chicoric acid supplementation might be a plausible therapeutic intervention for neuroinflammation-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.”
To reach their conclusions, Liu and colleagues used three groups of mice: a control group, a group that received lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and another group that received both LPS and chicoric acid (CA). Learning and memory capabilities were evaluated using two separate behavioral tests (Y-maze and Morris water maze) four hours after LPS injection. They found that the LPS-treated mice took a longer time to find the platform compared to the control group, whereas supplementation with CA significantly decreased the escape latency. Next, the hidden platform was removed to perform a probe trial. Compared with the control group, the mice stimulated by LPS swam across the entire pool and spent less time in the target quadrant, with a lower number of platform crossings. The mice treated with CA plus LPS exhibited a significant increase in the average time spent in the target quadrant, with more crossings of the platform.
“These are provocative findings, but with the caveat that the LPS regime is not likely a model of long-term memory impairment,” said Thoru Pederson, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “But the possibility remains that chicoric acid could prove to be a beneficial human nutraceutical for overall memory acuity.”
Public Release: 7-Dec-2016
Dietary magnesium associated with reduced risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes
A diet rich in magnesium may reduce the risk of diseases including coronary heart disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes according to a new meta-analysis published in the open access journal BMC Medicine. This analysis of the evidence on dietary magnesium and health outcomes is the largest to date, involving data from more than one million people across nine countries.
The researchers, from Zhejiang University and Zhengzhou University in China, found that people in the highest category of dietary magnesium consumption had a 10% lower risk of coronary heart disease, 12% lower risk of stroke and a 26% lower risk of type-2 diabetes compared to those in the lowest category. Their results also indicate that an extra 100mg per day of dietary magnesium could also reduce risk of stroke by 7% and type-2 diabetes by 19%.
Dr Fudi Wang, lead author from the School of Public Health at Zhejiang University, said: “Low levels of magnesium in the body have been associated with a range of diseases but no conclusive evidence has been put forward on the link between dietary magnesium and health risks. Our meta-analysis provides the most up-to-date evidence supporting a link between the role of magnesium in food and reducing the risk of disease.”
Dr Wang added: “The current health guidelines recommend a magnesium intake of around 300mg per day for men and 270mg per day for women. Despite this, magnesium deficiency is relatively common, affecting between 2.5% and 15% of the general population. Our findings will be important for informing the public and policy makers on dietary guidelines to reduce magnesium deficiency related health risks.”
Magnesium is vital for human health and normal biological functions including glucose metabolism, protein production and synthesis of nucleic acids such as DNA. Diet is the main source of magnesium as the element can be found in foods such as spices, nuts, beans, cocoa, whole grains and green leafy vegetables.
In this analysis, data from 40 epidemiological studies covering a period from 1999 to 2016 were used to investigate associations between dietary magnesium and various diseases. In all the studies, levels of dietary magnesium were determined using a self-reported food frequency questionnaire or a 24-hour dietary recall. As the levels of magnesium used to define categories varied widely between the studies, the researchers performed a dose-response analysis for the effect of each 100mg per day increase of dietary magnesium.
This meta-analysis involves observational studies meaning that it is not possible to rule out the effect of other biological or lifestyle factors influencing the results. It is also not possible to determine if magnesium is directly responsible for reducing disease risk. However, the large size of this analysis provides robust data that were stable when adjusting for gender and study location. The authors state that their findings reinforce the notion that increased consumption of magnesium rich foods could be beneficial for overall health.
Public Release: 8-Dec-2016
Study: Running actually lowers inflammation in knee joints
Running may also slow the process that leads to osteoarthritis
Brigham Young University
We all know that running causes a bit of inflammation and soreness, and that’s just the price you pay for cardiovascular health. You know; no pain, no gain.
Well, maybe not. New research from BYU exercise science professors finds that pro-inflammatory molecules actually go down in the knee joint after running.
In other words, it appears running can reduce joint inflammation.
“It flies in the face of intuition,” said study coauthor Matt Seeley, associate professor of exercise science at BYU. “This idea that long-distance running is bad for your knees might be a myth.”
In a study recently published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, Seeley and a group of BYU colleagues, as well as Dr. Eric Robinson from Intermountain Healthcare, measured inflammation markers in the knee joint fluid of several healthy men and women aged 18-35, both before and after running.
The researchers found that the specific markers they were looking for in the extracted synovial fluid–two cytokines named GM-CSF and IL-15–decreased in concentration in the subjects after 30 minutes of running. When the same fluids were extracted before and after a non-running condition, the inflammation markers stayed at similar levels.
“What we now know is that for young, healthy individuals, exercise creates an anti-inflammatory environment that may be beneficial in terms of long-term joint health,” said study lead author Robert Hyldahl, BYU assistant professor of exercise science.
Hyldahl said the study results indicate running is chondroprotective, which means exercise may help delay the onset of joint degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis.
This is potentially great news, since osteoarthritis–the painful disease where cartilage at the end of bones wears down and gradually worsens over time–affects about 27 million people in the United States.
“This study does not indicate that distance runners are any more likely to get osteoarthritis than any other person,” Seeley said. “Instead, this study suggests exercise can be a type of medicine.”
Researchers, which included then undergraduate (and now grad student) Alyssa Evans and PhD student Sunku Kwon, now plan to turn their attention to study subjects with previous knee injuries. Specifically, they’re looking to do similar tests on people who have suffered ACL injuries.
BYU professors Sarah Ridge and Ty Hopkins were also coauthors on the study.