Tea Drinking Benefits Older Population
The British Journal of Nutrition published the findings of researchers at Duke University in North Carolina of a beneficial effect for tea consumption among older individuals residing in China.*
Danan Gu and associates analyzed data from 13,429 men and 19,177 women aged 65 years and older who participated in the Chinese Longitudinal Health Longevity Survey. Subject interviews provided data on frequency of tea consumption and other data. Tea drinking was categorized as daily or almost daily, sometimes (two to four times per week), or seldom or never.
Among men, those who reported drinking tea almost every day had up to a 20% lower risk of dying in comparison with men who seldom drank the beverage. Frequency of tea intake did not appear to have an effect on mortality among women in this study. However, the authors did note that for both sexes, high frequency of tea consumption decreases the risk of cognitive impairment, cumulative health deficits, cardiovascular disease, and disability in self-care.
Editor's Note: In their discussion, the authors suggest that the higher prevalence of smoking among older Chinese men in comparison with women could make the protective effects of tea more noticeable in this group.
* Br J Nutr. 2012 Nov;108(9)1686-97.
Review Finds Reduction in Tooth Decay in Association with Increased Vitamin D
A recent issue of the journal Nutrition Reviews published an article by Dr. Philippe Hujoel of the University of Washington in Seattle, which found an association between increased vitamin D and reduced tooth decay in children.*
For his review, Dr. Hujoel selected 24 controlled clinical trials including a total of 2,827 children between the ages of 2 and 16 years. Vitamin D was increased by supplementation with vitamin D2, vitamin D3, cod liver oil, or ultraviolet light. The median follow-up period was 12 months, during which tooth decay was quantified by number of new dental caries that occurred.
In a pooled analysis of subjects, tooth decay was reduced by 47% in children given vitamin D in comparison with those who did not receive it. No significant differences were observed between vitamin D2, vitamin D3, and ultraviolet light exposure.
Editor's Note: Dr. Hujoel observed that the incidence of dental caries in young children is on the rise at a time when vitamin D levels are declining. “Whether this is more than just a coincidence is open to debate," he said. "In the meantime, pregnant women or young mothers can do little harm by realizing that vitamin D is essential to their offspring's health. Vitamin D does lead to teeth and bones that are better mineralized."
* Nutr Rev. 2012 Dec.
Body Mass Index May be Better Predictor of Cardiovascular Disease than Serum Cholesterol
A research letter published in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that body mass index (BMI) could be a better predictor of the development of cardiovascular disease than serum cholesterol levels.* (Body mass index is calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by height in meters squared.)
David Faeh, MD, MPH, and his associates at the University of Zurich analyzed data from 17,791 men and women who participated in a community health promotion initiative. Over up to 31.2 years of follow-up, 2,170 men and 1,761 women died, among whom 749 and 630 deaths were attributable to cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Faeh and colleagues calculated ten year risk models of fatal cardiovascular disease using total serum cholesterol or body mass index values. They found that the BMI model could better discriminate between persons at low and high cardiovascular disease risk.
Editor's Note: Although it is not an infallible indicator of an individual's healthy or unhealthy body weight, BMI can be useful in studies examining large numbers of people, such as the current study. While the results of the study are not to be interpreted as a negation of the relative importance of cholesterol levels in the development of heart disease, the authors remark that traditional cardiovascular disease predictive models such as the Framingham Risk Score fail to take BMI into account.
* Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(22):1766-68.
Apples May Help Lower Cholesterol
Evidence suggests that consumption of apple, or its bioactive components, modulate lipid metabolism and reduce the production of proinflammatory molecules. A recent article in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics sought to study this evidence.*
A trial was designed involving one-hundred sixty qualified postmenopausal from the greater Tallahassee, FL, area during 2007-2009 who were randomly assigned to one of two groups: dried apple (75 g/day) or dried plum (comparative control). Fasting blood samples were collected at baseline, 3, 6, and 12 months to measure various parameters. Physical activity recall and 7-day dietary recall were also obtained.
Over the course of the study, there were no significant differences between the dried apple and dried plum groups in altering serum levels of atherogenic cholesterols except total cholesterol at 6 months. However, when within treatment group comparisons are made, consumption of 75 g dried apple (about two medium-sized apples) can significantly lower atherogenic cholesterol levels as early as 3 months. Furthermore, consumption of dried apple and dried plum are beneficial to human health in terms of anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties.
*J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012 Aug;112(8):1158-68.
Meta-analysis Affirms Benefit for CoQ10 Supplementation in Heart Failure
The results of a meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicate that supplementing with coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is associated with an improvement in ejection fraction in men and women with congestive heart failure.1
Colleagues at Tulane University selected 13 randomized, controlled trials involving CoQ10 supplementation that reported ejection fraction or New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional classification of congestive heart failure patients (which classifies the extent of the disease on a scale of I-IV). Coenzyme Q10 doses ranged from 60 to 300 mg/day, which were given for 4 to 28 weeks.
Pooled analysis of a total of 395 participants found an average net increase in ejection fraction of 3.67% among those supplemented with CoQ10 in comparison with control groups. New York Heart Association classification among CoQ10-supplemented subjects also improved slightly, although the researchers did not consider it significant.
Clinical research by cardiologist Peter Langsjoen in 2008 found that ejection fraction could be boosted from 24% to 45% (the higher the percentage, the better) using 450 mg/day of the ubiquinol form of CoQ10 on congestive heart failure patients.2
Editor's Note: Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart fails to pump in an efficient manner. The condition is assessed by measuring ejection fraction, which represents the fraction of blood pumped out of a heart’s ventricles each time it contracts.
1. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Dec 5.
2. Langsjoen P. 5th Annual International CoQ10 Symposium. Kobe, Japan: November 9-12, 2007.
Vitamin D Supplementation Improves Outcome in Men with Low-Risk Prostate Cancer
An article published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism reports the findings of a trial conducted by researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina which revealed a benefit for supplementing with vitamin D among men whose prostate cancer was at low risk of progressing into a more aggressive form.*
The trial included 48 African-American and Caucasian men with low-risk prostate cancer who received 4,000 IU vitamin D3 for one year. Prostate biopsies were conducted before and after the treatment period. Nineteen men diagnosed with prostate cancer who underwent biopsies at a similar interval served as controls.
Of the vitamin D-treated subjects, 55% had fewer cancerous cores in their biopsied tissue or improved Gleason scores (which evaluate the prognosis of cancerous prostate tumors) at the end of the trial. In contrast, progression occurred in 63% of the men in the untreated control group.
Editor's Note: Men with low risk prostate cancer frequently receive regular monitoring, as opposed to undergoing surgery or radiation which can cause unwanted effects such as urinary incontinence.
* J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Jul;97(7):2315-24.
Reduced CoQ10 Levels Associated with Poor Neurologic Outcome and Greater Risk of Dying Following Cardiac Arrest
The journal Resuscitation published the results of a study conducted by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center which found a reduction in coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) among patients who died while hospitalized subsequent to resuscitation following cardiac arrest.*
The study included 23 post-arrest patients and 16 healthy controls. Blood samples obtained 24 hours after return of spontaneous circulation in the cardiac arrest group were analyzed for plasma CoQ10 and markers of inflammation, and compared to values obtained from the control subjects. Neurologic function among cardiac arrest survivors was assessed at hospital discharge.
Coenzyme Q10 values among cardiac arrest patients averaged less than half of those of healthy subjects. Patients who survived had CoQ10 levels that were nearly twice that of those who died during hospitalization. Similar differences were observed when those with good neurologic outcome were compared to those whose neurologic outcome was poor.
Editor's Note: Cardiac arrest, which occurs when the heart suddenly stops pumping, affects an estimated 350,000 individuals each year in the United States, resulting in a significant incidence of death and neurologic injury.
* Resuscitation. 2012 Aug;83(8):991-5.
Longer Telomeres Linked to Eating Less Fat, More Fruit and Vegetables
A decrease in telomere length, which has been linked with age-related diseases including heart disease, has been found in a recent study to be associated with a reduced intake of vegetables in women and fruit in men. Men also experienced a decrease in average telomere length in association with a greater intake of fat, particularly butter. The study was reported in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.*
Researchers measured white blood cell telomere length in 1,942 men and women. Questionnaire responses were analyzed for the intake of fats, fruits, and vegetables. Higher total fat intake as well as saturated fat was associated with shorter telomeres in men, but not women, however, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats were not associated with telomere length in either gender. Consuming more butter was associated with shorter telomere length among men. Women who ate more vegetables and men who consumed more fruit had longer telomeres.
Editor's Note: Telomeres are bits of DNA at the ends of chromosomes that shorten with cellular aging. Telomere length has been suggested as a marker for biological aging, chronic disease risk, and premature mortality. The authors remark that the increase in inflammation and oxidative stress associated with increased saturated fat intake could explain the adverse effect on telomere length observed in this study. However, fruit and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which could help protect telomeres.
* Eur J Clin Nutr. 2012 Dec;66(12):1290-4.
Omega-3 Supplementation Improves Working Memory in Young Adults
The journal PLOS One published an article recently that reveals a benefit for supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids men and women.*
University of Pittsburgh researchers led by Rajesh Narendran of the Department of Radiology tested the effects of a supplement providing 930 mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 750 mg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in 11 men and women between the ages of 18 and 25. Evaluation of working memory, positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of the brain, and tests for red blood cell fatty acid levels were conducted before and after the six month treatment period.
Participants experienced an increase in plasma omega-3 fatty acid levels and improvement in working memory at the end of six months.
Editor’s Note: “What was particularly interesting about the presupplementation n-back test was that it correlated positively with plasma omega-3,”observed Bita Moghaddam, whose lab conducted the research. “This means that the omega-3s they were getting from their diet already positively correlated with their working memory.”
* PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e46832.
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