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LE Magazine July 2011
In The News

Antioxidants May Protect the Body from CT Radiation

At the Society of Interventional Radiology’s 36th Annual Meeting, Kieran J. Murphy, MD, reports that a combination of antioxidants consumed prior to medical imaging studies involving ionizing radiation could help protect against their damaging effects.*

Dr. Murphy and his colleagues tested the effects of antioxidants on blood samples drawn from two volunteers. Vitamin C and glutathione were administered to the samples prior to irradiation and DNA damage was assessed. Additional samples were tested with higher concentrations of vitamin C prior to receiving diagnostic doses of ionizing radiation. The subjects then were given vitamin C, glutathione, and uric acid orally for five days during which blood was drawn daily and subjected to CT radiation, and DNA injury to white blood cells was evaluated.

The researchers observed a reduction in DNA injury in blood treated with vitamin C and glutathione compared with control samples. Oral administration of the antioxidants also resulted in a reduction in DNA injury.

Editor’s note: These findings indicate that when X-rays and CT scans are medically necessary, consumption of high doses of vitamin C and glutathione precursors like cysteine and SAMe hours and days before may confer some protection against the DNA-damaging, carcinogenic effects of ionizing radiation.

—D. Dye

Reference

* Society of Interventional Radiology’s 36th Annual Scientific Meeting, April, 2011, Chicago.

Low Coenzyme Q10 Associated with Increased Breast Cancer Risk

Low Coenzyme Q10 Associated with Increased Breast Cancer Risk

An article published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention reveals an association between decreased levels of CoQ10 and a greater risk of breast cancer in women.*

The investigation involved participants in The Shanghai Women’s Health Study. Robert V. Cooney at the University of Hawaii and his colleagues matched 340 women with breast cancer to 653 subjects who were free of the disease. Plasma samples were analyzed for coenzyme Q10 and tocopherols.

Women with higher CoQ10 also had higher plasma alpha- and gamma-tocopherol levels. After excluding patients diagnosed within a year of blood draw, a significant relationship was observed between declining plasma CoQ10 levels and increased breast cancer risk. There was a 90% greater risk of breast cancer among those whose levels were among the lowest one-fifth of participants compared to those whose levels were among the third-fifth and higher.

—D. Dye

Reference

* Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2011 Apr 5.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Protect Against Obesity-related Disease

Low Coenzyme Q10 Associated with Increased Breast Cancer Risk

An article published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals a protective effect for high omega-3 fatty acid intake against the development of diseases related to obesity, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.*

Zeina Makhoul, PhD, and colleagues evaluated data from 330 Yup’ik Eskimos. Omega-3 fatty acid intake among the Yup’iks averages twenty times higher than most Americans.

Triglycerides, glucose, insulin, leptin, and C-reactive protein were measured in the participants’ blood samples, and dietary questionnaire responses were analyzed for the intake of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Among subjects with lower blood levels of EPA and DHA, having a high body mass index was correlated with high triglycerides and C-reactive protein, both of which are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and possibly diabetes. “The new finding was that obesity did not increase these risk factors among study participants with high blood levels of omega-3 fats,” senior author Alan Kristal, DrPH, revealed.

Editor’s note: The researchers recommend that a clinical trial be conducted to help confirm whether increased omega-3 fatty acids reduce obesity’s effect on triglycerides and inflammation.

—D. Dye

Reference

* Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011 Mar 23.

Greater Levels of Some Antioxidants Associated with Lower Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

Greater Levels of Some Antioxidants Associated with Lower Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

A report published online in the Journal of Nutrition reveals the results of a study that found a lower risk of metabolic syndrome among those with higher serum levels of vitamin C and carotenoids.*

May A. Beydoun of the NIA and her associates evaluated data from up to 11,845 men and women enrolled in NHANES 2001-2006. Anthropometric measurements and blood pressure were assessed upon enrollment, and blood samples were analyzed for the antioxidant nutrients retinol, retinyl esters, carotenoids, vitamin C and vitamin E, as well as glucose, lipids, C-reactive protein, and other factors.

Participants with metabolic syndrome had significantly lower vitamin D and higher total homocysteine levels. Having higher serum carotenoids or vitamin C was associated with a lower adjusted risk of metabolic syndrome in men and women, while retinol and retinyl esters were associated with a protective effect only in men.

Editor’s note: Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of risk factors that increase the risk of developing diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease.

—D. Dye

Reference

* J Nutr. 2011 Mar 30.

Reduced Vitamin D Levels Linked to Arterial Stiffness

A presentation by Ibhar Al Mheid, MD, at the annual American College of Cardiology meeting revealed the finding of a protective effect for vitamin D against arterial stiffness and impaired blood vessel relaxation.*

Dr. Al Mheid, along with Arshed Quyyumi, MD, evaluated data from participants in the Emory/Georgia Tech Predictive Health Institute’s Center for Health Discovery and Well Being. Endothelial function was evaluated via brachial artery flow-mediated dilation, and microvascular function and arterial stiffness were assessed. Blood samples were analyzed for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, a form of the vitamin that reflects dietary intake and skin production.

Reduced levels of vitamin D correlated with increased arterial stiffness and vascular function impairment. Among those whose vitamin D levels were normalized over a six month period, vascular health improved and blood pressure measurements declined. “We found that people with vitamin D deficiency had vascular dysfunction comparable to those with diabetes or hypertension,” Dr. Al Mheid observed.

Editor’s note: “We are hoping to conduct a study where we have participants take a defined regimen of vitamin D,” Dr. Al Mheid stated.

—D. Dye

Reference

* Annual American College of Cardiology meeting, April 2, 2011.