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Gamma-tocopherol supplementation boosts smoking cessation benefits

Gamma-tocopherol supplementation boosts smoking cessation benefits

Friday, May 3, 2013. The results of a double-blinded study reported on April 23, 2013 at the annual Experimental Biology meeting held in Boston suggest a cardiovascular benefit for the form of vitamin E known as gamma-tocopherol among individuals who had recently given up smoking.

"Oxidative stress and inflammation that persist following smoking cessation limits the restoration of vascular endothelial function (VEF)," write authors Richard Bruno of Ohio State University and his colleagues in their summary of the findings. "We hypothesized that smoking cessation with gamma-tocopherol-rich supplementation would decrease oxidative stress and pro-inflammatory responses and improve VEF beyond that of smoking cessation alone."

The study included 30 participants in their twenties who had smoked at least 10 cigarettes per day for one year. Subjects were randomized to receive a solution containing 500 milligrams gamma-tocopherol or a placebo for seven days. Ultrasound evaluation of brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (a measure of blood vessel function) was conducted, and plasma levels of cotinine (a marker of tobacco smoke exposure), vitamin E, malondialdehyde (MDA, a marker of oxidative stress), and pro-inflammatory mediators were measured before and after the treatment period.

Gamma-tocopherol levels significantly increased among those receiving the supplement, as did flow-mediated dilation responses, in comparison with subjects who received a placebo. While the placebo group experienced a 2.8% average increase in flow-mediated dilation by the end of one week, supplementation with gamma-tocopherol resulted in a 4.2% increase. Studies suggest that each 1 percent increase in flow-mediated dilation is associated with a 13 percent reduction in the subsequent risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

"Greater dilatory response is an indicator of vascular health," explained Dr Bruno, who is an associate professor of human nutrition at Ohio State. "People with a long history of smoking tend to have low vasodilatory responses."

Although cotinine and malondialdehyde decreased in both groups of former smokers, only those who received gamma-tocopherol experienced a decline in myeloperoxidase and tumor necrosis factor-alpha, indicating a reduction in inflammation.

"This is a very short-term study that shows very promising effects," Dr Bruno stated. "The underlying rationale is that we know it takes many years before the risk for cardiovascular disease of a former smoker matches that of a nonsmoker. We hope to develop a therapy to combine with smoking cessation that could accelerate the restoration of vascular function and reduce cardiovascular risk."

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Greater trans fat intake linked with increased risk of death from any cause over seven years

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The May, 2013 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the finding of a study funded by the National Institutes of Health which uncovered an association between higher trans fat intake and a greater risk of death from any cause over seven years of follow-up. Although previous research has linked the intake of trans fat with an increased risk of several chronic diseases, no other study has examined the association between trans fat consumption and all-cause mortality to the authors' knowledge.

The current investigation examined data from 18,513 participants in the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study, which enrolled 30,239 African American and Caucasian men and women aged 45 and older between 2003 and 2007. Dietary questionnaires completed upon enrollment provided information on the intake of calories and total and specific fats, including trans fat. Over seven years of follow-up 1,572 deaths occurred.

The risk of dying over follow-up increased with rising trans fat intake levels. Among those whose consumption of trans fat was among the top one-fifth of participants, the adjusted risk of dying from any cause was 24% greater than those whose intake was lowest. A similar risk was observed for men and women whose intake was among the second highest group.

In their explanation of the findings, the authors remark that increased trans fat intake has been associated with such markers of inflammation as interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-alpha and C-reactive protein, and that increased inflammation is involved in the development of cardiovascular disease as well as cancer. "More studies are needed to further evaluate the contribution of trans fatty acids to death from all causes," they conclude.

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