CNO Report 225
Release Date 04 MAR 2016
Draft Report Compiled by
In This Issue:
1. Compound in green tea found to block rheumatoid arthritis
2. How a waste product of exercise protects neurons from trauma damage
3. Study shows dried plums provide protection from bone loss due to radiation
4. Consuming omega-3 during pregnancy enhances fetal iron metabolism
5. Benefits of taking the natural pigment astaxanthin
6. Dietary link to stunted growth identified
7. One in two Americans have a musculoskeletal condition
8. Agricultural fertilizer could pose risk to human fertility, sheep study finds
9. Study shows broccoli may offer protection against liver cancer
10. Increased protein consumption linked to feelings of fullness: New study
Public Release: 16-Feb-2016
Compound in green tea found to block rheumatoid arthritis
Findings confirmed in animal model
Washington State University
Researchers at Washington State University in Spokane have identified a potential new approach to combating the joint pain, inflammation and tissue damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
Their discovery is featured on the cover of Arthritis and Rheumatology, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology, in print Tuesday, Feb 16.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a debilitating autoimmune disorder that mostly affects the small joints of the hands and feet. It causes painful swelling that progresses into cartilage damage, bone erosion and joint deformity.
“Existing drugs for rheumatoid arthritis are expensive, immunosuppressive and sometimes unsuitable for long-term use,” said Salah-uddin Ahmed, the lead WSU researcher on the project.
His team evaluated a phytochemical called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is a molecule with anti-inflammatory properties found in green tea. Their study suggests that EGCG has high potential as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis because of how effectively the molecule blocks the effects of the disease without blocking other cellular functions.
“This study has opened the field of research into using EGCG for targeting TAK1 – an important signaling protein – through which proinflammatory cytokines transmit their signals to cause inflammation and tissue destruction in rheumatoid arthritis,” said Ahmed.
The researchers confirmed their findings in a pre-clinical animal model of human rheumatoid arthritis, where they observed that ankle swelling in animals given EGCG in a 10-day treatment plan was markedly reduced.
Ahmed has focused his research on studies related to rheumatoid arthritis for the last 15 years.
The WSU team, which includes researchers Anil Singh and Sadiq Umar, has been studying rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases at the WSU College of Pharmacy in Spokane since 2014. They joined with researchers from the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research in Hajipur, India, for this project.
Public Release: 19-Feb-2016
How a waste product of exercise protects neurons from trauma damage
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Researchers led by EPFL have found how lactate, a waste product of glucose metabolism can protect neurons from damage following acute trauma such as stroke or spinal cord injury.
Stroke or spinal cord injury can cause nerve cells to receive excessive stimulation, which ultimately damages and even kills them. This process is known as excitotoxicity, and it is one of the reasons why time following such trauma is critical, while it also implicated in progressive neurodegenerative diseases, e.g. Alzheimer’s disease. A team of scientists led by EPFL has now discovered that lactate, which is produced in the brain and even muscles after intense exercise, can be used to protect neurons against excitotoxicity. The study is published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.
Following acute trauma such as a stroke or spinal cord injury, a certain type of receptors go into overdrive and overwhelm the target neuron with a barrage of electrical signals. This causes a build-up of calcium ions inside the neuron, which triggers toxic biochemical pathways that ultimately damage or kill it.
The receptors that cause this are called NMDA receptors, and interact with the neurotransmitter glutamate. NMDA receptors are a major target in research and medicine, as they are implicated in a number of disorders, including epilepsy, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s and even Alzheimer’s.
A team of researchers led by Pierre Magistretti from EPFL and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, investigated the effects of glutamate on cultured neurons from the brains of mice. The scientists used a new, non-invasive imaging technique called Digital Holographic Microscopy that can visualize cells structure and dynamics with nanometer-level resolution.
Previous studies have suggested that, lactate could protect neurons against excitotoxicity. Lactate is produced in the brain and in muscles after intense exercise as a waste product of glucose metabolism. Nonetheless, how lactate protects neurons has eluded scientists until now.
The researchers tested the effects of glutamate on the mouse neurons with and without lactate. The results were revealing: glutamate killed 65% of the neurons, but when with lactate, that number dropped to 32%.
The researchers then aimed to determine how lactate protects neurons. By using different receptor blockers on the mouse neurons, they determined that lactate triggers the production of ATP, the cell’s energy molecule. In turn, the produced ATP binds and activates another type of receptor in the neuron, which turns on a complex cascade of defense mechanisms. As a result, the neuron can withstand the onslaught of signals from the NMDA receptor.
The breakthrough can advance our understanding of neuroprotection, which could lead to improved pharmacological ways to ameliorate the irreparable damage caused by stroke, spinal cord injury, and other trauma.
Public Release: 22-Feb-2016
Study shows dried plums provide protection from bone loss due to radiation
Texas A&M AgriLife Communications
COLLEGE STATION — Dr. Nancy Turner, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist in College Station, was one of a team of researchers who recently studied different interventions to protect from radiation-induced bone loss.
Their paper, “Dried Plum Protects from Bone Loss Caused by Iodizing Radiation,” was recently published in Scientific Reports and can be found at http://www.nature.com/articles/srep21343 .
Other institutions involved in the study were the Bone and Signaling Laboratory of NASA’s Ames Research Center, the department of radiation oncology at the University of California-Irvine and the division of endocrinology at the University of California-San Francisco.
The study showed consuming dried plums can protect from ionizing radiation that increases oxidative damage in skeletal tissues and results in an imbalance in bone remodeling.
Reduced bone density and osteoporosis are major health conditions affecting millions of people across the world, and osteoporotic patients are increasing with an aging population, said Turner, a research professor in the department of nutrition and food science.
“Bone loss caused by ionizing radiation is a potential health concern for those in occupations or in situations that expose them to radiation,” she said. “This is relevant to not only astronauts in space, but also cancer patients, those undergoing radiotherapy, radiation workers and victims of nuclear accidents.”
“The changes in remodeling activity caused by exposure to radiation can lead to impaired skeletal integrity and fragility both in animals and human radiotherapy patients,” Turner said.
The team investigated interventions they hypothesized might prevent bone damage and oxidative stress-related factors leading to cancellous bone loss, also known as “spongy bone,” from exposure to both low linear energy transfer and high linear energy transfer radiation.
“We evaluated different interventions with antioxidant or anti-inflammatory properties, including an antioxidant cocktail, dihydrolipoic acid, ibuprofen and dried plum, to determine their ability to prevent bone loss and to blunt the expression of genes in marrow cells that lead to the breakdown of bone after irradiation with either gamma rays or simulated space radiation.”
The researchers tested mice using the different interventions and exposing them to ionizing radiation.
“Bone loss caused by ionizing radiation occurs quite rapidly in rodents,” Turner said. “The interventions were evaluated first by using early gene expression markers and then were tested for their ability to prevent radiation-induced bone loss.”
She said of the interventions tested, dried plum was most effective in reducing the expression of genes related to the breakdown of bone and preventing the spongy bone effect caused by irradiation with either photons or heavy ions.
“Dried plums contain biologically active components that may provide effective interventions for loss of structural integrity caused by radiotherapy or unavoidable exposure to space radiation incurred over long-duration spaceflight,” she said. “From this study, we can conclude that inclusion of dried plums in the diet may prevent the skeletal effects of radiation exposures either in space or here on Earth.”
Turner noted purified dried plums contain various bioactive compounds, including polyphenols that are known for their high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Public Release: 22-Feb-2016
Consuming omega-3 during pregnancy enhances fetal iron metabolism
University of Granada
A research has proven, for the first time, that maternal supplementation with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 essential polyunsaturated fatty acid, enhances fetal iron metabolism thanks to a greater expression of key genes regulating its transfer through the placenta. This research has been carried out by scientists from the University of Granada (UGR) and King’s College London, in collaboration with the infant and maternity hospitals from Granada and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria along with the dairy company Lactalis Puleva.
This multidisciplinary work, published in the renowned Journal of Functional Foods magazine, has proven that, in addition to helping in an early brain development, DHA supplementation is also related to iron metabolism in newborn babies. Moreover, it improves iron reserves before birth and helps preventing future postnatal deficiencies and the damage this could cause to the baby’s cognitive development.
In order to carry out their study, the researchers worked with a sample of 110 healthy, pregnant women who gave birth in the maternity hospitals of Granada and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. They were the subjects of a controlled, randomized, double-blind nutritional assessment which started at the sixth month of gestation.
Two groups were established. One of the groups, made up of 54 women, carried out a balanced diet and consumption of fish, and drank 2 glasses of a control dairy drink per day. The other group, made up of 56 women, carried out a balanced diet and consumption of fish, too, but they supplemented it with the consumption of 400 milligrams per day of a dairy product enhanced with fish oil (2 glasses per day).
The researchers took placenta samples after labor, which were processed for their gene and protein expression analysis.
The results showed a beneficial effect of maternal DHA supplements on iron homeostasis through the syncytiotrophoblast, thus enhancing mother-fetus iron transfer and improving fetal iron reserves.
“Therefore, this DHA supplement is postulated as a nutritional strategy that not only helps in the cognitive and visual development of the baby, but also could help in preventing the risk of suffering anemia. In this regard, this maternal supplementation could prevent anemia-related perinatal complications such as low birth weight and late cognitive development”, Javier Díaz Castro and Julio José Ochoa Herrera, researchers from the UGR department of Physiology and lead authors of this work, explain.
Public Release: 22-Feb-2016
Benefits of taking the natural pigment astaxanthin
New light shed on neurogenesis in the hippocampus and the molecular basis for the promotion of spatial memory capacity
University of Tsukuba
A research group led by University of Tsukuba Professor Hideaki Soya and Professor Randeep Rakwal has investigated the effect on hippocampal function of the naturally derived pigment ASX, which is believed to have the most powerful antioxidant activity among carotenoids. Their results showed for the first time that giving ASX to mice for four weeks promoted neurogenesis in the hippocampus in a concentration-dependent manner, and elevated the learning and memory capacity of the hippocampus.
With the recent rise in popularity of naturally-derived supplements to maintain a healthy body, there has been a great deal of attention toward development of the so-called “brain foods”, which can enhance brain function. Of particular importance is the natural red pigment astaxanthin (ASX) abundant in both salmon and in crustaceans such as shrimp and crab. ASX has a powerful antioxidant effect, and it holds promise as a next-generation natural supplement. ASX is capable of penetrating the blood-brain barrier,entering the brain, where it acts directly on nerve cells. ASX is also known to have a neuroprotective effect in neurological animal disease model. However, there are many unanswered questions as to the effects of ASX on hippocampal function, especially whether or not it can increase the neuroplasticity of the hippocampus.
A research group led by University of Tsukuba Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences Professor Hideaki Soya and Professor Randeep Rakwal has investigated the effect on hippocampal function of the naturally-derived pigment ASX, which is believed to have the most powerful antioxidant activity among carotenoids. Their results showed for the first time that giving ASX to mice for four weeks promoted neurogenesis in the hippocampus in a concentration-dependent manner, and elevated the learning and memory capacity of the hippocampus. Furthermore, when the team investigated the molecular mechanism of the ASX activity on the hippocampus using high-throughput DNA microarray technology and bioinformatics analyses such as IPA, it brought to the fore specific molecular pathways that could contribute to improved memory capacity.
By conducting future targeting experiments on the molecular mechanism behind ASX action, as hypothesized from these bioinformatics analyses, aimed at hippocampal tissues and cells with gene deletion methods or specific inhibitors, researchers may be able to clarify the mechanism in greater detail, which could help target mechanisms in the development of medical foods and new drugs.
Public Release: 23-Feb-2016
Dietary link to stunted growth identified
Study links inadequate intake of amino acids to debilitating condition that affects millions
Washington University School of Medicine
National Institutes of Health, Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Aging, Children’s Discovery Institute of Washington University and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Hickey Family Foundation
Worldwide, an estimated 25 percent of children under age 5 suffer from stunted growth and development. The most visible characteristic is short stature, but the effects of stunting are far more profound: The condition prevents children from reaching their cognitive potential; makes them more susceptible to illness and infection; and shortens their life spans.
While nutritional interventions have had a significant impact on reducing deaths from acute malnutrition, their impact on stunting is modest, leaving researchers vexed and the enduring problem of stunting largely unanswered.
But now, a team of researchers led by senior author Mark J. Manary, MD, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has found that inadequate dietary intake of essential amino acids and the nutrient choline is linked to stunting. That knowledge may unlock the door to new approaches to treat the debilitating condition.
The findings are published online in EBioMedicine.
“Stunting affects half of the children in rural Africa and millions more elsewhere in the world,” said Manary, who spends several months a year in Africa treating children with malnutrition. “Many efforts have been undertaken to reduce stunting’s impact — from introducing various food supplements to reducing exposure to infections — but we haven’t really gotten anywhere. But these new findings, obtained with the help of cutting-edge technology, shed light on the biological reasons for this age-old, globally significant problem.”
Manary’s team partnered with researchers at Johns Hopkins University, including first author Richard A. Semba, MD, and scientists at the National Institute of Aging of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the University of Malawi and other institutions in taking a targeted metabolomics approach to evaluate blood samples of 313 children, ages 12-59 months, from rural Malawi, in sub-Saharan Africa. Metabolomics is the study of the metabolites present in an organism, cell or tissue.
At the time of enrollment, children chosen for the study had no evidence of severe acute malnutrition, congenital or chronic disease or diarrhea. After each study participant’s height and weight were measured, health-care workers determined that 64 percent of them were stunted, based on growth curves defined by the World Health Organization.
Using blood samples, the researchers then determined that more than 80 percent of the stunted children in the study had low levels of all nine essential amino acids compared with the children who were not stunted. (Essential amino acids — the building blocks of proteins — are important to human health and can’t be produced by the body. Therefore, they have to come from food.)
The stunted children also had significantly lower concentrations of so-called conditionally essential amino acids, nonessential amino acids and six sphingolipids. Found in cell membranes, sphingolipids keep cell membranes strong and impermeable, reducing exposure to microbes. The stunted children also had alterations in the concentration of another lipid linked to cell membranes of the brain and nervous tissue.
The findings suggest that children at high risk of stunting may not receive a sufficient amount of essential amino acids and choline, a nutrient essential for the synthesis of lipids noted in the study.
“The message here is not that these children are sort of low in one thing or 10 things but that they’re low in all of these amino acids and all of these kinds of fats,” said Manary, the Helene B. Roberson Professor of Pediatrics at Washington University. “And each of these has a role in turning on a key, necessary switch for growth.”
The new research adds to the ever-developing picture of childhood malnutrition. Manary, along with Jeffrey I. Gordon, MD, the Dr. Robert J. Glaser Distinguished University Professor and director of Washington University’s Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology, authored a study published Feb. 18 in Science that points to a dysfunctional community of microbes in the gut as a critical factor in childhood malnutrition. Their study indicates that the effects of gut bacteria may have far-ranging influence in the body and that manipulating the makeup of gut microbes has the potential to provide new ways to treat childhood malnutrition and promote overall healthy growth.
Previous unrelated research indicates that human growth is controlled by what is referred to as the master growth regulation pathway. Manary and his team of researchers believe that when certain amino acids are deficient in the diet, a protein complex that functions as a nutrient sensor inside cells may repress the synthesis of proteins and lipids and cellular growth. That switch also regulates bone growth, which determines height.
“These children don’t seem to have what they need to turn on that switch,” Manary said.
The researchers plan to probe further, with the eventual goal of finding a means — perhaps in the form of a food product or additive — to reduce stunting. Decades-long efforts by Manary and other experts in malnutrition have resulted in the widespread development and use of nutrient-rich ready-to-eat food (RUTF) in Africa, Asia and Central America.
“A possible goal could be to roll out something analogous to RUTF, but for stunting,” Manary said.
Public Release: 1-Mar-2016
One in two Americans have a musculoskeletal condition
New report outlines the prevalence, scope, cost and projected growth of musculoskeletal disorders in the U.S.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
An estimated 126.6 million Americans (one in two adults) are affected by a musculoskeletal condition–comparable to the total percentage of Americans living with a chronic lung or heart condition–costing an estimated $213 billion in annual treatment, care and lost wages, according to a new report issued today by the United States Bone and Joint Initiative (USBJI).
Musculoskeletal disorders–conditions and injuries affecting the bones, joints and muscles–can be painful and debilitating, affecting daily quality of life, activity and productivity. “The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans: Opportunities for Action” outlines the prevalence and projected growth of musculoskeletal disorders in the U.S., and recommends strategies for improving patient outcomes while decreasing rising health and societal costs.
“This report provides the critical data needed to understand the magnitude of the problem, and the burden, of musculoskeletal disease in our country,” said David Pisetsky, MD, USBJI president, and professor of medicine and immunology at Duke University Medical School. “The number of visits to physicians for these disorders, the cost of treating them, and the indirect costs associated with pain and loss of mobility, are proportionately much higher than the resources currently being allocated to combat these conditions and injuries.”
“As a nation, we need to establish greater funding for musculoskeletal research, improve our understanding and strategies for prevention and treatment of these injuries and conditions, and ensure that more adults and children receive appropriate treatment sooner, and on an ongoing basis, to ensure quality of life and productivity,” said Stuart L. Weinstein, MD, co-chair of the report’s Steering Committee and a professor of orthopaedics and rehabilitation at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
Prevalence and predictions
According to the report, the most prevalent musculoskeletal disorders are arthritis and related conditions; back and neck pain; injuries from falls, work, military service and sports; and osteoporosis, a loss of bone density increasing fracture risk, primarily in older women. An estimated 126.6 million Americans were living with a musculoskeletal disorder in 2012. More specifically:
· Arthritis is the most common cause of disability, with 51.8 million–half of U.S. adults age 65 and older–suffering from the disease.
· With the aging of the American population, the report projects arthritis prevalence to increase to 67 million people, or 25 percent of the adult population, by 2030.
· Arthritis is not just a disease for older Americans, with two-thirds of arthritis sufferers under age 65.
· Back and neck pain affects nearly one in three, or 75.7 million adults.
· Osteoporosis affects 10 million Americans, with 19 million more (mostly women) at risk for the disease.
· One in two women and one in four men over the age of 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture, and 20 percent of hip fracture patients over age 50 will die within one year of their injury.
Cost and health care impact
The burden of musculoskeletal conditions is significant in terms of treatment and care, as well as the impact upon of quality of life, mobility, and productivity, and resulting in fewer days at work and in school. In 2011, the annual U.S. cost for treatment and lost wages related to musculoskeletal disorders was $213 billion, or 1.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). When adding the burden of other conditions affecting persons with musculoskeletal conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity, the total indirect and direct costs rose to $874 billion, or 5.7 percent of the GDP in 2015.
Other data on the costs of musculoskeletal diseases and injuries include:
· Eighteen percent of all health care visits in 2010 were related to musculoskeletal conditions, including 52 million visits for low back pain, and 66 million for bone and joint injuries, including 14 million visits for childhood injuries.
· Arthritis and rheumatoid conditions resulted in an estimated 6.7 million annual hospitalizations.
· The average annual cost per person for treatment of a musculoskeletal condition is $7,800.
· The estimated annual cost for medical care to treat all forms of arthritis and joint pain was $580.9 billion, which represented a 131 percent increase (in 2011 dollars) over 2000.
· In 2012, 25.5 million people lost an average of 11.4 days of work due to back or neck pain, for a total of 290.8 million lost workdays in 2012 alone.
· Among children and adolescents, musculoskeletal conditions are surpassed only by respiratory infections as a cause of missed school days.
Opportunities for action
The report provides recommendations to curb the tremendous economic and societal costs of musculoskeletal disorders, including:
· Accelerating research that compares treatment alternatives, develops new treatments and evaluates possible preventative approaches.
· Improving understanding of the role of behavior change in prevention and treatment, including weight loss and self-management of conditions once they arise.
· Ensuring that a higher percentage of the affected population receives access to evidence-based treatments.
· Implementing proven prevention strategies for sports injuries, workplace injuries, and injuries in the military.
· Ensuring that all children with chronic medical and musculoskeletal problems have access to care.
· Promoting better coordination between physicians and other health care providers treating musculoskeletal disorders: primary care physicians, specialists, physical therapists, chiropractors, etc.
· Ensuring that health care providers, especially primary care physicians, have the appropriate training to diagnose, and if necessary, refer patients for appropriate treatment.
· Addressing data limitations, and improve systems, to improve our understanding of these conditions and how best to screen, diagnose and treat them. This includes the impact of sex and gender on musculoskeletal disorders and responses to treatment, and tracking pediatric patients through adulthood to determine the lifelong burden of musculoskeletal disease.
“If we continue on our current trajectory, we are choosing to accept more prevalence and incidence of these disorders, spiraling costs, restricted access to needed services, and less success in alleviating pain and suffering – a high cost,” said Edward H. Yelin, PhD, co-chair of the report’s steering committee, and professor of medicine and health policy at the University of California, San Francisco. “The time to act to change this scenario to one with more evidence-based interventions and effective treatments, while simultaneously focusing on prevention, doing better by our society and economy, is now.”
Public Release: 2-Mar-2016
Agricultural fertilizer could pose risk to human fertility, sheep study finds
University of Nottingham
Eating meat from animals grazed on land treated with commonly-used agricultural fertilisers might have serious implications for pregnant women and the future reproductive health of their unborn children, according to a new study involving sheep.
The study by British and French scientists from the universities of Nottingham, Aberdeen (UK) and Paris-Saclay (France), The James Hutton Institute (Aberdeen) and UMR BDR, INRA, Jouy en Josas (Paris, France) published in the journal Scientific Reports, has shown striking effects of exposure of pregnant ewes – and their female lambs in the womb – to a cocktail of chemical contaminants present in pastures fertilised with human sewage sludge-derived fertiliser.
Dr Richard Lea, of the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science at The University of Nottingham, was lead author on the paper.
He said: “The study highlights potential risks associated with the common practice of grazing livestock on pastures on which human sewage sludge-derived fertiliser has been used.
“More worryingly, since low-level chemical exposure poses a threat to human reproductive development, the consumption of products from animals grazing such pastures may be of considerable environmental concern.”
The research group investigated development of ovaries in the foetal sheep, which is very similar to ovary development in humans, exposing the pregnant sheep to sewage sludge-derived fertiliser to simulate ‘real-life’ exposure. Since the number of eggs present in the ovary at birth is determined while still in the womb, the research shows that the implications of disrupted ovary development could be significant. It suggests that chemicals that interfere with this development process, particularly those that mimic sex steroids, may have long-lasting effects on adult female fertility.
The researchers report that the number of eggs in the foetus’ ovary was reduced even if the period of exposure was limited to 80 days corresponding to early, mid or late gestation. However, a period of mid or late gestation exposure had a greater effect on the development of the foetus and the number of altered genes and proteins in the foetus’ ovary.
Professor Paul Fowler of the University of Aberdeen, who coordinated the €2.9m study funded by the European Commission, said: “The biggest effects on the foetal ovary were seen when the sheep were switched to sewage sludge fertilised fields in the last two to three months of pregnancy. While this suggests that changing exposures to chemical mixtures may be worse than always being exposed to these mixtures, steps to reduce contamination of sewage sludge-derived fertiliser are welcome.”
The study, entitled The fetal ovary exhibits temporal sensitivity to a ‘real-life’ mixture of environmental chemicals, is published in Scientific Reports, was funded by the European Commission Framework 7 Programme (REEF: Reproductive Effects of Environmental chemicals in Females, contract number 212885).
Public Release: 3-Mar-2016
Study shows broccoli may offer protection against liver cancer
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
URBANA, Ill. – Consumption of broccoli has increased in the United States over the last few decades as scientists have reported that eating the vegetable three to five times per week can lower the risk of many types of cancer including breast, prostate, and colon cancers.
A new study from the University of Illinois reports that including broccoli in the diet may also protect against liver cancer, as well as aid in countering the development of fatty liver or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) which can cause malfunction of the liver and lead to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a liver cancer with a high mortality rate.
“The normal story about broccoli and health is that it can protect against a number of different cancers. But nobody had looked at liver cancer,” says Elizabeth Jeffery, a U of I emeritus professor of nutrition. “We decided that liver cancer needed to be studied particularly because of the obesity epidemic in the U.S. It is already in the literature that obesity enhances the risk for liver cancer and this is particularly true for men. They have almost a 5-fold greater risk for liver cancer if they are obese.”
Jeffery says that the majority of the U.S. population eats a diet high in saturated fats and added sugars. However, both of these are stored in the liver and can be converted to body fat. Consuming a high-fat, high-sugar diet and having excess body fat is linked with the development of NAFLD, which can lead to diseases such as cirrhosis and liver cancer.
“We called this a Westernized-style diet in the study because we wanted to model how so many of us are eating today,” Jeffery says.
Previous research suggests that broccoli, a brassica vegetable containing bioactive compounds, may impede the accumulation of fat in the liver and protect against NAFLD in mice. Therefore, Jeffery and her team wanted to find out the impact of feeding broccoli to mice with a known liver cancer-causing carcinogen. The researchers studied four groups of mice; some of which were on a control diet or the Westernized diet, and some were given or not given broccoli.
“We wanted to look at this liver carcinogen in mice that were either obese or not obese,” Jeffery explains. “We did not do it using a genetic strain of obese mice, but mice that became obese the way that people do, by eating a high-fat, high-sugar diet.”
Although the researchers were predominantly interested in broccoli’s impact on the formation and progression of cancerous tumors in the liver, Jeffery explained that they also wanted to observe the health of the liver and how the liver was metabolizing lipids because of the high-fat diet. “There is almost no information about broccoli and high-fat associated diseases,” she says.
The study shows that in mice on the Westernized diet both the number of cancer nodules and the size of the cancer nodules increased in the liver. But when broccoli was added to the diet, the number of nodules decreased. Size was not affected.
“That was what we really set out to show,” Jeffery says. “But on top of that we were looking at the liver health. There are actually two ways of getting fatty liver; one, by eating a high-fat, high-sugar diet and the other by drinking too much alcohol. In this case, it is called non-alcoholic fatty liver, because we didn’t use the alcohol. And it is something that is becoming prevalent among Americans. This disease means you are no longer controlling the amount of fat that is accumulating in your liver.”
With NAFLD, lipid globules form on the liver. During the study, the researchers observed these globules in the livers of the mice on the Westernized diet.
“We found that the Westernized diet did increase fatty liver, but we saw that the broccoli protected against it. Broccoli stopped too much uptake of fat into the liver by decreasing the uptake and increasing the output of lipid from the liver,” she says.
Jeffery notes that adding broccoli to the diet of the mice did not make them “thin,” or affect their body weight, but it did bring the liver under control, ultimately making them healthier. “This is one of the things that makes this very exciting for us,” she says.
“I think it’s very difficult, particularly given the choices in fast food restaurants, for everybody to eat a lower-fat diet. But more and more now you can get broccoli almost everywhere you go. Most restaurants will offer broccoli, and it’s really a good idea to have it with your meal,” Jeffery adds.
Jeffery’s previous research shows that eating broccoli freshly chopped or lightly steamed is the best way to get to the vegetables’ cancer-fighting compound, sulforaphane.
Although the researchers only used broccoli in the study, Jeffery adds that other brassica vegetables, such as cauliflower or Brussel sprouts, may have the same effect.
“Dietary broccoli lessens development of fatty liver and liver cancer in mice given diethylnitrosamine and fed a Western or control diet,” is published in the Journal of Nutrition. Co-authors include Yung-Ju Chen, previously of the U of I, and Matthew Wallig and Elizabeth Jeffery of the U of I.
Funding was provided by the National Cancer Institute (National Institutes of Health).
Public Release: 3-Mar-2016
Increased protein consumption linked to feelings of fullness: New study
Detailed meta-analysis indicates that people with higher protein intake feel more full after meals, reports the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Elsevier Health Sciences
Philadelphia, PA, March 3, 2016 – Many people turn to high-protein foods when trying to lose weight because eating protein-rich meals is commonly believed to make dieters feel fuller. Surprisingly, this idea hadn’t been tested on a large scale. In a new study featured in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, researchers conducted a systematic review of the evidence on the effect of protein intake on perceived fullness and confirmed that protein does, in fact, make us feel fuller.
The recent popularity of low-carb, high-protein diets can partially be attributed to the fact that dieters often feel fuller when protein intake is high, even if they are consuming fewer calories overall. “A good deal of evidence suggests that protein activates satiety hormone release and so should be most strongly tied with fullness ratings,” said lead investigator Richard D. Mattes, MPH, PhD, RD, Distinguished Professor, Department of Nutrition Science, Director of Public Health, and Director of the Ingestive Behavior Research Center at Purdue University, “but individual studies are often conducted in small populations or with different approaches that can make interpretation of results challenging. Our study combined multiple experiments to confirm the presence of an effect.”
The research team used a variety of statistical approaches to make sense of the data. These techniques included a quantitative meta-analysis and a secondary directional analysis using a vote counting procedure. Both the meta-analysis and directional analysis indicated that higher protein loads have a greater effect on fullness than lower protein loads.
With the confirmation that protein intake is related to satiety, defined as fullness between meals, modestly higher protein intake may allow individuals to feel fuller between meals. Yet, while protein may help dieters feel fuller, it is by no means a magic bullet. “Feelings like hunger and fullness are not the only factors that influence intake. We often eat for other reasons. Anyone who has ever felt too full to finish their meal but has room for dessert knows this all too well,” explained Dr. Mattes.
“The exact amount of protein needed to prolong fullness as well as when to consume protein throughout the day is not resolved, and our study did not determine this,” said Heather Leidy, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition & Exercise Physiology at the University of Missouri. So while the researchers encourage the public not to consume protein to the point of excess, people looking to moderate their energy intake by enhancing the sensation of fullness might consider a moderate increment in protein consumption as a first step. “Though this study did not specifically evaluate dieters, feeling fuller could help to reduce food intake, an important factor when dieting,” concluded Dr. Mattes. “If these effects are sustained over the long-term – and our study only looked at short-term effects – increased protein intake may aid in the loss or maintenance of body weight.”