Can you decipher the vegetable name PIRNUT
Atherosclerosis is one of the main causes of heart attacks and strokes. Researchers have now discovered a new relationship with intestinal bacteria. Apparently they can influence the formation of plaques in the arteries.
In a study, a group of Canadian researchers examined the possible influence of intestinal bacteria on the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). In this disease, cholesterol and other fats etc. are stored in the blood vessels of the arterial walls. These plaques can lead to a reduced supply of oxygen in the hardened arteries, further consequences are feelings of tightness in the chest and blood clots, and heart attacks and strokes can also occur.
The researchers determined the plaque formation in the arteries in 316 participants, as well as the blood values of metabolic products of the intestinal bacteria (metabolites). One group of the participants had a level of build-up as one might suspect from the traditional risk factors. These include, for example, age, male gender, overweight, lack of exercise, smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Another group of participants appeared to be better protected from the development of atherosclerosis. Although they also had high levels of traditional risk factors, their arteries were in normal condition.
In a third group, the atherosclerosis could not be explained. These participants lacked traditional risk factors, but still had high levels of plaque in the arteries. It was found that patients with inexplicable atherosclerosis had significantly higher levels of toxic metabolites in their blood, which were formed by intestinal bacteria. The researchers could not explain this through diet or kidney functions, but rather points to a different development in the intestinal bacteria. In research, the assumption that the function of the intestinal bacteria is more important than their taxonomy (classification scheme) is increasingly gaining ground in the microbiome. In other words, the bacterial community in the gut is determined less by who is there and more by what the bacteria do and what products they make.
This study shows that the gut microbiome plays an important role in the individual risk of developing atherosclerosis. This can open the door to new therapy options for those patients whose atherosclerosis or plaque formation in the arteries could not previously be explained. According to the researchers, the results suggest using probiotics to combat harmful substances in the intestine and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The colonization of the intestine with desired intestinal bacteria changed in this way could be a new approach to the therapy of atherosclerosis.
Our tip: It has not yet been determined which intestinal bacteria could prove themselves best in the prevention of atherosclerosis. In many other studies, however, the administration of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria in particular proved to be useful for improving intestinal health.
Chrysi Bogiatzi et al., Metabolic products of the intestinal microbiome and extremes of atherosclerosis. In: Atherosklerosis, online publication from April 16, 2018, doi: 10.1016 / j-atherosclerosis.2018.04.015.
The Mediterranean diet has been studied in Spain for around 20 years. The latest results confirm the positive effects of this healthy diet.
The Mediterranean diet uses olive oil as the main source of fat, it is rich in plant foods, fruits, nuts, vegetables, legumes, cereals, and seeds. In addition, there is frequent consumption of fish, moderate consumption of wine with meals, and low consumption of meat, especially chicken. The best news, this diet is healthy and tasty. Spanish researchers are now reporting on the key results of the long-term SUN study (Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra), which examines the health effects of the Mediterranean diet. Almost 23,000 Spanish university graduates have taken part in this since 1998. For all of them, diet, lifestyle and clinical diagnosis data were initially collected and updated every two years. The adaptation to the Mediterranean diet can be measured with the MDS (Mediterrannean Diet Score). In the course of around two decades of observation, good health effects were found with a high degree of adaptation to the Mediterranean diet. This reduced the risks for chronic diseases.
The incidence of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes were lower, as were depression and cognitive problems. Further, the deleterious effects of obesity and metabolic syndrome were reduced, and the heart rate improved. It also became apparent that the Mediterranean diet can also promote fertility. Last but not least, chronic inflammation, the "good" HDL cholesterol and the intestinal flora improved. In many of these relationships, the researchers found a “dose” -dependent effect, i.e. the more consistently the Mediterranean diet was followed, the greater the health benefits. The participants with the greatest adaptation to the Mediterranean diet also came more often from health professions, were more physically active and smoked less.
The good health effects of the Mediterranean diet are mainly attributed to the increased intake of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory micro-nutrients, especially from plant-based foods, and the nutrient profile is generally improved. In particular, the increased use of olive oil with its antiatherogenic effects and the reducing influence on oxidative stress contribute to the effect. The same applies to antioxidant polyphenols, e.g. from red wine, which can help protect against cardiovascular diseases. Better glucose homeostasis, lower blood pressure, less abdominal fat and higher HDL cholesterol all contribute to health. It seems biologically understandable that the anti-inflammatory effects of the Mediterranean diet can offset the harmful effects of low-grade inflammation, which is often associated with obesity. The increased intake of healthy omega-3 fatty acids through fish meals could, for example, contribute to a lower heart rate, as could less alcohol, more fruit and vegetables. Since this diet also provides more B vitamins, folate, vitamin E, magnesium and zinc, the protection against depression is likely to increase. The better ratio of polyunsaturated to saturated fatty acids has a positive effect on the brain, additional protection is created by more antioxidant micro-nutrients.
The researchers conclude that the long evaluation time of the SUN study of around 20 years now clearly shows that better adaptation of the Mediterranean diet strengthens health and prevents chronic diseases. The positive health effects are more pronounced in men, and they can be exacerbated by a very physically active lifestyle. High intakes of fruits and vegetables and less meat were independently associated with lower risk and were an important contributor to the observed associations. Good effects were shown, for example, on cardiovascular health, high blood pressure and heart rate, as well as on diabetes. Weight gain was also less common, and participants were less likely to have metabolic syndrome if they adapted well to the Mediterranean diet.
Silvia Carlos et al., Mediterranean Diet and Health Outcomes in the SUN Cohort. In: Nutrients, online publication of March 31, 2018, doi: 10.3390 / nu10040439.
More frequent consumption of high-fat fish, with its healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and legumes can delay the onset of menopause, a new study shows.
With the end of fertility, menopause is an important phase in a woman's life. It lowers the hormone estrogen and increases progesterone levels. This can affect the development of low bone density, osteoporosis, depression and cardiovascular diseases. When menopause occurs is influenced by many factors, diet probably also playing a role. In a study, researchers from the University of Leeds in England looked at how diet affects the onset of menopause. 14,000 women from the English Women's Cohort Study were included. They had taken part in a basic examination and a follow-up examination four years later. In a survey they gave information about their diet. Furthermore, their weight and physical activity were determined and whether they had taken hormone replacement preparations, for example.
Age at the last period and other health data were also recorded. 914 women reached menopause during the course of the study, an average of just over 50 years of age. Some foods and micro-nutrients have shown relationships associated with earlier or later onset of menopause.
The more frequent consumption of refined pasta and rice was associated with an earlier onset of menopause; per serving more daily, the onset of menopause occurred 1.5 years earlier. A high consumption of refined carbohydrates (foods with a high glycemic index) also increases the risk of insulin resistance. This can, among other things, increase estrogen, which releases luteinizing hormones that trigger ovulation. This can lead to more cycles with a faster breakdown of the egg cells and trigger the earlier menopause.
Women who followed a vegetarian diet also reached menopause at an earlier age. Plant-based diets, which are usually high in fiber and contain no animal fats, can affect levels of luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, and the length of the menstrual cycle. Previous studies showed that both high fiber and decreased fat intakes were linked to lower levels of estrogen, which may explain the earlier age of menopause in vegetarians.
Each additional serving of legumes per day, on the other hand, delayed menopause by 0.9 years. Legumes are a good source of antioxidants, which the compound can partly explain. As some previous studies have shown, e.g. the maturation of the egg cell, ovulation and follicle regression are influenced by reactive oxygen species (free radicals). Phenolic compounds (e.g. flavonoids, etc.), vitamins and carotenoids in vegetables counteract this and can thus reduce the proportion of follicles that are subject to regression. Even with a high intake of vitamin B6 and zinc, a later age in menopause was shown, presumably because both also have antioxidant properties. The daily, higher intake of vitamin B6 (per milligram) delayed menopause by 0.6 years and of zinc (per milligram) by 0.3 years. The researchers also refer to an earlier study that showed the relationship between vitamin and mineral supplement use and later menopause.
The women achieved the best results with more frequent fish meals. Each additional serving per day of high-fat fish delayed menopause by about three years. High-fat fish, e.g. herring, mackerel and salmon, provide plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve the antioxidant capacity. Again, the antioxidant properties of fish oils could help reduce excess free radicals. This can reduce the number of follicles that regress and delay the onset of natural menopause.
This is the first study to show that diet is linked to the onset of natural menopause in women. With a higher intake of refined pasta and rice, as well as a vegetarian diet, menopause was associated with a younger age. The more frequent consumption of high-fat fish with the healthy omega-3 fatty acids and legumes, on the other hand, was associated with a later onset of menopause. In addition, the micro-nutrients vitamin B6 and zinc could delay the onset of menopause if they are well supplied.
Our tip: If you don't like fish or only rarely eat it, you can also take the healthy omega-3 fatty acids as a dietary supplement. Attention should be paid to good quality (purity, stability, etc.).
Yashvee Dunneram et al., Dietary intake and age at natural menopause: results from the UK Women's Cohort Study. In: Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, online publication of April 30, 2018, doi: 10.1136 / jech-2017-209887.
Children who were newly diagnosed with gluten intolerance (celiac disease) were more often poorly supplied with vitamins A and D.
Celiac disease is characterized by intolerance to gluten, the “gluten protein” in wheat and other types of grain. The mucous membrane of the small intestine then reacts to the grain protein with intolerance. Among other things, there is an immune reaction of the intestine with chronic inflammation. The disease occurs in families, the cause has not yet been clarified, but genetic factors play a role. Celiac disease often begins in infancy, but can also occur later, into adulthood. It is known that in celiac disease the absorption of nutrients and micro-nutrients in the upper small intestine is disturbed. This can lead to an insufficient supply of vitamins and minerals. The fat-soluble vitamins A and D are particularly affected. A group of Turkish researchers therefore carried out a study for a year (May 2015 - May 2016) to examine the supply of vitamins A and D in healthy children with celiac disease.
102 boys and girls between the ages of five and thirteen took part in the study, 52 children had celiac disease, and the other 50 served as healthy controls. The most common symptoms in children with celiac disease included retarded growth (61.5%), abdominal pain (51.9%), and diarrhea (11.5%). In addition, their levels of vitamins A and D were significantly lower compared to the healthy children. 49 children (92.3%) with celiac disease lacked vitamin D, of which 32 had more severe deficits. The supply of vitamin A was somewhat better, but at least 17 children with celiac disease were not adequately supplied with this vitamin. In the healthy children, the care was significantly better. Only nine children had low levels of vitamin D and only two had significant vitamin D deficiencies. They were adequately supplied with vitamin A. The further investigated values of vitamin E and K1 did not differ in either group.
Since this study is relatively small, the relationships between celiac disease and low vitamin A and D levels should be further explored. According to these results, however, the researchers are already of the opinion that the values of vitamins A and D should also be determined in children newly diagnosed with celiac disease.
Our tip: If the supply is poor, the values of vitamins A and D can be improved with supplements. Especially in children, however, this should only be done after therapeutic advice.
Yakuv Tokgöz et al., Fat soluble vitamin levels in children with newly diagnosed celiac disease, a case control study. In: BMC Pediatrics, online publication of 9.4.2018, doi: 10.1186 / s12887-018-1107-x.
The energy requirement decreases with age, but this does not apply to the requirement for vitamins and minerals, which remain largely the same. A good protein intake should also be ensured in old age.
Metabolism changes with age. These include a reduced basal metabolic rate and calorie requirement, and older people often have less appetite. If you stick to the energy supplies you were used to in the past, your body weight increases, which among other things also contributes to the fact that physical activities are often less. If, on the other hand, one adjusts to the lower number of calories given for age, the body may no longer be adequately supplied with all the necessary micro-nutrients. The need for vitamins as well as minerals and trace substances remains largely high, but then it can usually not be met through food alone. This diverging relationship may result in malnutrition and malnutrition. In the run-up to the 124th congress of the “German Society for Internal Medicine” (DGIM), the internists provided information on how nutrition can also be optimal in old age.
Even in old age, a good supply of micro-nutrients helps to support countless body functions and to reduce the risk of disease.
This is particularly evident in vitamin D and the mineral calcium, both of which are very important for a healthy bone system. The body can largely produce vitamin D itself through the action of sunlight (UV.B component) on the skin. But with increasing age, the ability to produce oneself decreases.On the one hand, this is due to the aging of the skin, which is less able to produce vitamin D. On the other hand, older people often spend less time outdoors, especially when they are ill or need care. The German Society for Internal Medicine (DGIM) therefore recommends that older people take vitamin D supplements.
From the age of 70, older people should make sure that their body weight remains as stable as possible. Strong weight loss mainly affects the muscle tissue, while the risk of sarcopenia (degenerative breakdown of the skeletal muscles) increases, which increases the tendency to fall and break bones. Lost muscle mass can only be rebuilt with difficulty through physical training. But muscle breakdown can be prevented, exercise and a good supply of proteins help. Elderly people should consume around 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. with a body weight of 70 kg, for example, this is 70 to 84 grams. If the muscle mass has already been broken down more, 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight are recommended daily. High-quality dairy products, e.g. hard cheese, and vegetable proteins contribute to the intake.
Muscle fitness can also be impaired in old age by inflammatory processes and oxidative stress. A good intake of antioxidants will help reduce this. Consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables means that you get plenty of antioxidant micro-nutrients. The healthy omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils also have a strong antioxidant effect. The internists draw the conclusion: At any age, a high-quality diet adapted to personal needs is the most important preventative measure, combined with physical exercise if possible. This is the best medicine for aging.
Our tip: Many food supplements are specially designed to meet the needs of the elderly. They can be applied individually as needed.
DGIM (press release), Proper nutrition in old age - as important as medicine. In the run-up to their annual congress, the internists warn of malnutrition and malnutrition in old age, online publication from April 2018.
The ratio of EPA and DHA in the blood can be measured with the omega-3 index. New results from the Framingham Heart Study show that this index is more clearly linked to cardiovascular disease risk than total cholesterol.
The Framingham Offspring Study in the United States enrolled 2,500 people with an average age of 66 years. At the beginning (2005-2008) you did not suffer from cardiovascular diseases. The researchers examined risk factors from demographics and cardiovascular exams in all participants. This concerned, among other things, measurements of red blood cells, the supply of the healthy omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) from fish oils as well as total cholesterol values. The participants were then observed for an average of seven years for their health. The incidence of cardiovascular diseases, coronary heart disease, cancer, etc., as well as deaths, etc. were recorded. During the study, participants developed 245 cardiovascular diseases. Another 350 deaths occurred, 58 from cardiovascular disease, the others from cancer and other causes. The researchers related the results to the omega-3 index and total cholesterol. In the group with the highest omega-3 index (> 6.8%), the general mortality risk decreased by 34%, the risk of cardiovascular disease decreased by 39% compared to the group with a lower omega-3 index (< 4.2%). The relationship with DHA was even stronger.
The omega-3 index determines the total content of EPA and DHA in red blood cells. A value of 8% is considered optimal and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Values of 4 to 8% indicate a medium risk, below 4% the risk for these diseases is high. The study showed that the omega-3 index provides better information about the risk of cardiovascular disease than the values of total cholesterol. They are generally considered to be an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease. This showed that the omega-3 index was much more clearly linked to this risk. The researchers continued to investigate how the omega-3 index can be increased. Consuming 100 g of (farmed) salmon daily or adding fish oil capsules (with 1,300 mg EPA and DHA per day) could be enough to go from a low omega-3 index to a good value. Fish meals should be preferred as they provide other nutrients as well. However, if fish is not eaten or only eaten very little, omega-3 fish oil capsules can improve the intake of EPA and DHA.
The researchers conclude that the omega-3 index can be a marker of overall health. The best values in the omega-3 index reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 39% compared to low values. The researchers believe that the omega-3 index can be useful for many groups in the population to identify health risks, similar to what has long been the case with cholesterol measurements.
Our tip: Omega-3 capsules can supplement EPA and DHA in various doses if there is little or no fish consumption or if there is a health requirement. Attention should be paid to good manufacturing quality (cleaning, stability, etc.).
William S. Harris et al., Erythrocyte long-chain omega-3 fatty acid levels are inversely associated with mortality and with incident cardiovascular disease: The Framingham Heart Study. In: Journal of Clinical Lipidology, online publication of February 24, 2018, doi: 10.1016 / j.jacl.2018.02.010.
Health in old age is influenced by many factors. This also includes the best lifelong, healthy diet. A French study shows that a low inflammatory potential of the diet in middle age increases the chances of better health in old age.
With increasing age, functional impairments and chronic diseases often set in. But not everyone in the same age groups is affected by it. For example, different genetic and environmental factors contribute to this, including diet. It influences, for example, inflammatory processes (systemic inflammation of a low degree) in the body, which usually go unnoticed. They occur more frequently in old age and are linked to the development of various diseases, e.g. cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. There are both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory factors in the diet. Inflammation is a reaction to oxidative stress that requires increased levels of antioxidants. For example, a number of micro-nutrients in food have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect at the same time and, if properly supplied, help reduce inflammation.
However, to date there have been no studies examining the link between the inflammatory potential of diet and healthy aging. French researchers have now analyzed data from around 2,800 participants in the SU.VI.MAX study, a French population study on supplementing antioxidant vitamins and minerals. Participants were 35 to 60 years old at the start of the 1994-1995 study. They were healthy and free from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
During the study period up to 2002, a group of participants received a daily dose of antioxidant food supplements. They contained 120 mg of vitamin C, 6 mg of beta-carotene, 30 mg of vitamin E, 100 mcg of selenium, and 20 mg of zinc. The other group received a placebo for comparison. Years later, from 2007 to 2009, the researchers again examined the health of around 2,800 participants. Good health was considered to be when they had no chronic illnesses, had good physical and cognitive function, were independent in their daily activities, had no symptoms of depression, felt themselves healthy, and had no pain that limited their functions.
The researchers used repeated nutritional protocols to test the potential of the diet for inflammation and related this to the participants' health. In general, energy intake, carbohydrates, proteins, total fat, cholesterol, saturated fatty acids, vitamin B12 and iron were rated as possible pro-inflammatory factors. In contrast, the intake of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6), vitamins B3, B1, B2, B6, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, D, E, folic acid and beta-carotene as well as various Types of secondary plant substances (anthocyanidins, flavan-3-ol, flavonols, flavonones, flavones, isoflavones, garlic, ginger, pepper, onions and tea) are rated as anti-inflammatory factors.
After adapting the data to other influencing factors, a higher inflammatory potential of the diet was associated with a lower risk of good health. Further analysis showed that this association was only significant in participants from the previous placebo group (until 2002). The researchers conclude from these results that a pro-inflammatory diet decreases the prospects for overall good health with age. Conversely, good anti-inflammatory potential in the middle-aged diet also contributes to better health in old age.
Our tip: A number of micronutrients, vitamins, minerals and secondary plant substances etc. have anti-inflammatory effects. These include, for example, the omega-3 fatty acids EPA / DHA, vitamin D, selenium, zinc, curcumin and resveratrol, to name just a few. If properly supplied, they contribute to the anti-inflammatory potential of the diet.
Karen E. Assmann et al., The Inflammatory Potential of the Diet at Midlife Is Associated with Later Healthy Aging in French Adults. In: The Journal of Nutrition Vol. 148, No. 3, 2018, pp. 437-444, doi: 10.1093 / jn / nxx061.
Frequent consumption of foods with high anti-inflammatory potential can help reduce the risk of developing colon cancer. This is shown by two prospective US studies.
Foods have different potentials for influencing inflammation in the body. A distinction is made between foods with a stronger pro- or anti-inflammatory effect. This can play an important role in the development of colon cancer. A diet with a higher anti-inflammatory potential could be an important factor in preventing colon cancer. To investigate this assumption, a research group last year evaluated two population studies that have been ongoing in the USA for many years, the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Since 1976, around 120,000 nurses who were initially 30 to 55 years old have taken part in the first study; since 1986, 52,000 men from health professions between the ages of 40 and 75 have been included in the second study. The researchers evaluated the data from around 74,000 women and 47,000 men for whom an observation period of 26 years was available. Their lifestyle and health were surveyed every two to four years, and they also provided information about their diet.
The researchers determined the respective inflammatory potential from this information. To do this, they used the EDIP index (empirical dietary inflammatory pattern), with which foods from 39 groups can be rated for inflammatory factors - with the inflammation markers IL-6, CRP and TNF-alpha receptor 2. They narrowed the index down to 18 food groups in order to make the evaluation more practicable. Red and processed meat, certain vegetables, fish, tomatoes and soft drinks (e.g. cola) in particular had a high inflammatory potential. In contrast, wine, beer, fruit juices, carrots, sweet potatoes, green vegetables and pizza had only a low inflammatory potential.
In the course of the long observation period, colon cancer was found in 2,699 participants. If the diet had a high inflammatory potential, the risk of developing colon cancer generally increased by 32%. There were differences between the sexes. In men, the risk of colon cancer was increased by 44%, in women it was lower with 22%. With a low inflammatory potential in the diet, the participants had a significantly lower risk of developing colon cancer. The researchers suspect that inflammatory processes are an important link between the consumption of certain foods and the development of colon cancer. They believe it is possible to use certain foods to positively influence the status of inflammation in the body. For example, consuming more green leafy vegetables and less sweetened soft drinks could contribute to this. The relationship between the inflammatory potential of the diet and the risk of colon cancer should be investigated more closely in further studies.
Our tip: A number of micronutrients, vitamins, minerals and secondary plant substances etc. have anti-inflammatory effects. These include, for example, the omega-3 fatty acids EPA / DHA, vitamin D, selenium, zinc, curcumin and resveratrol, to name just a few. If properly supplied, they contribute to the anti-inflammatory potential of the diet.
Fred K. Tagung et al., Association of Dietary Inflammatory Potential With Colectoral Cancer Risk in Men and Women. In: JAMA Oncology Vol. 4, No. 3, 2018, pp. 366-373, doi: 10.1001 / jamaoncol.2017.4844.
Fish meals and supplementing omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils could help reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis. This is shown by a first study, the results of which will be presented at the end of April at the congress of the American Academy of Neurology in Los Angeles.
Multiple sclerosis is an intermittent or chronic disease of the central nervous system in which communication between the brain and the body is impaired. Inflammation occurs primarily in the brain and the immune system attacks the medullary sheaths. They envelop and protect the nerve fibers and consist of myelin, a fat-rich substance that consists of proteins and, above all, lipids. The inflammation and destroyed myelin sheaths disrupt the signals between the brain and the body. Typical symptoms of multiple sclerosis include weakness and tiredness (fatigue), tingling, numbness in the limbs or difficulty walking.
Medication can slow down multiple sclerosis, e.g. reduce the frequency of relapses, but not cure it. A group of American researchers has now examined for the first time whether and how multiple sclerosis can be influenced by simple lifestyle changes. The healthy effects of fish meals have long been known, which are mainly attributed to the content of omega-3 fatty acids. The researchers therefore investigated whether and how eating fish and supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids can influence the risk of multiple sclerosis.
The researchers studied the diets of 1,153 people with an average age of 36 years, around half of whom had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis or had developed early symptoms of the disease. The other half served as healthy controls. All participants gave information about how much fish they usually ate. The fish meals that were most commonly eaten included shrimp, salmon, and tuna. High fish consumption was defined as at least one serving per week, alternatively one to three servings of fish per month in addition to the daily intake of fish oil supplements. Low consumption was accordingly defined as less than one serving of fish per week and fish oil supplements were not taken.
The evaluations showed that a high consumption of fish and the intake of fish oil supplements were associated with a 45% lower risk of multiple sclerosis. Of the patients with multiple sclerosis, only 180 had a high fish intake compared to 251 in the healthy controls. The study also showed that there are apparently two gene variants that play a role in the regulation of fatty acids and can further reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis. Based on these results, the researchers suspect that omega-3 fatty acids and the way in which they are used in the body may contribute to a reduced risk of multiple sclerosis. Further research should now investigate the causes and effects of the link between omega-3 fatty acids and inflammation, metabolism and nerve functions.
Our tip: salmon, sardines, trout and tuna provide good amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil supplements can improve your omega-3 fatty acid intake, which is recommended for those who eat fish sparingly or infrequently. Attention should be paid to good quality (cleaning, stability, etc.).
American Academy of Neurology, Eating Fish may be tied to a reduced Risk of MS. Study Recommends Just How Much Fish May Be Beneficial. Press release from 1.3.2018.
Some studies have already shown that there are relationships between omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils or regular fish consumption and sleep quality. Other studies have found that this improves cognitive functions. Now, for the first time, both functions have been examined together in children with good results.
A group of US researchers conducted the study with 541 children aged 9 to 11 years (54% boys, 46% girls) in China. In a nutrition survey, all children stated how often they had eaten fish in the past few months. All also took an intelligence test at the age of 12, which was adapted to their age group. This was used to test language comprehension, logical thinking, working memory and processing speed, among other things. The children's parents also answer questions about the children's sleep quality, e.g. how long they sleep, how to sleep at night or how tired they are during the day. Socio-demographic data were also included in the evaluation of all data.
Children who ate fish weekly had an average of 4.8 points better on the intelligence quotient scale compared to children who ate fish less or not at all. There was a clear dose-effect relationship. Children who ate fish every now and then were at least 3.3 IQ points above the values of children who never ate fish. Increased fish consumption was also associated with better sleep quality, and sleep disorders then occurred less often. This study only looked at the relationships, not the reasons for these functions. However, the researchers suspect that the influence of fish meals on sleep quality could at least be a link that contributes to improved cognitive performance. Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to the growth and functions of neuronal tissues, they also seem to be involved in sleep regulation, e.g. via their influence on melatonin formation, and sleep can presumably influence cognitive functions.
For the researchers, this confirmed results from previous studies that regular fish consumption has a positive effect on health. According to the researchers, children should be used to eating fish and its taste as early as possible. This could start as early as 10 months, provided the food does not contain bones and is carefully chopped up. However, fish meals should be introduced at least from the age of two. This could improve the children's sleep behavior and thus possibly promote falling asleep in the evening and contribute to better cognitive performance. The researchers now want to examine the relationships between sleep, cognitive performance and fish consumption in older people.
Our tip: If fish is not eaten regularly, supplements with omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils can also improve absorption. Attention should be paid to good quality, e.g. stability.
Jianghong Liu et al., The mediating role of sleep in the fish consumption - cognitive functioning relationship: a cohort study. In: Scientific Reports, online publication of December 21, 2018, doi: 10.1038 / s41598-017-17520-w.
Older women are more likely to suffer from osteoarthritis and impaired wellbeing. Resveratrol supplementation could help reduce pain and improve general wellbeing.
Pain often increases in menopausal women. One of the main reasons for this is that the delicate balance between bone formation and resorption is lost with increasing age, since resorption then outweighs bone formation. This process is exacerbated by factors that are typical of menopause. This includes being overweight with the associated low-grade inflammation and hormonal changes. Osteoarthritis also occurs more frequently at this age with the increased cartilage breakdown in joints. Menopausal women are more likely to be affected by such changes because vascular dysfunction resulting from decreased estrogen plays a key role in the formation and development of age-related bone loss.
Resveratrol is a polyphenol and phytoestrogen that is mainly found in red wine and blue grapes. In addition to its effects on cardiovascular health, it can also affect metabolism and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The effect of resveratrol on metabolic bone disease and osteoporosis is thought to be explained by the increased number and activity of osteoblasts (bone-forming cells) than by the decreased activity of osteoclasts (bone-resorbing cells). A group of Australian researchers examined the effects of resveratrol supplements on 80 postmenopausal women in a (randomized, double-blind) study. They were divided into two groups for 14 weeks and received either 75 mg resveratrol twice a day or a placebo. The researchers used trans-resveratrol, a more stable and more bioavailable form. At the beginning and at the end of the study, aspects of well-being were examined in the women.
These included, for example, pain, menopause symptoms, quality of sleep, moods, depressive symptoms and quality of life in general. Depending on the information provided by the women, this was used to determine an overall well-being score. The researchers also examined certain functions of the brain vessels as markers of cerebrovascular functions. Compared to placebo, the women in the resveratrol group had significantly decreased pain at the end of the study, and they had improved their overall wellbeing. Both correlated with the improved cerebral vascular functions.
From this first study of resveratrol in menopausal women, the researchers conclude that the supplement may have the potential to relieve chronic pain associated with age-related osteoarthritis and improve overall well-being. In further studies, these effects should be examined for their fundamentals.
Our tip: Resveratrol is not very bioavailable from food sources because it is metabolized very quickly. Not only is trans-resveratrol a more stable form of resveratrol, it is also very absorbable.
Rachel H. X. Wong et al., Resveratrol supplementation reduces pain experience by postmenopausal women. In: Menopause, Vol. 24, No. 8, 2017, pp. 916-922, doi: 10.1097 / GME.0000000000000861.
A desire to have children does not always come true. If artificial insemination is initiated, the Mediterranean diet can increase the chances of pregnancy. This applies to women as well as to their partners, as two studies show.
If the desire to have children does not come true, the cause is not always due to medical problems. Many factors affect fertility, including lifestyle and diet. For example, giving up smoking, getting enough exercise and stress, as well as eating a healthy diet can increase the chances of pregnancy. The researchers also focused on some nutrients and food groups. As Greek researchers showed in a study, the Mediterranean diet, for example, can support artificial insemination (assisted reproduction).
244 women between the ages of 22 and 41 years with normal or maximally slightly overweight (BMI below 30) took part in the study. Before their reproductive therapy began, they gave information about their lifestyle and diet, e.g. how often they had eaten certain food groups in the previous six months. The researchers examined how closely the women's diet conformed to the Mediterranean diet. Higher values on the MedDiet score (0 to 55 points) show that the Mediterranean diet is followed more closely. The researchers then related this data to the therapy (in vitro fertilization) and its results.
Depending on their diet, the women were divided into three groups, with low adaptation to the Mediterranean diet (up to 30 points), with medium adaptation (31-35 points) and with high adaptation (from 36 points). Every 5 point improvement on the MedDiät scale increased the likelihood of pregnancy and childbirth by a factor of 2.7. Of the top 86 women who ate more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, fish, olive oil, and less red meat, 50% achieved pregnancy. For those with the lowest scores in the Mediterranean diet, this was only the case for 29%. Similar differences were found in women who gave birth to healthy children. However, there was an age limit; the positive effects of a healthy diet on pregnancy and childbirth applied to women under the age of 35.
This relationship was not found in older women, where other factors presumably play an increasingly important role that reduce the benefits of the Mediterranean diet. This could be due to hormonal changes, lower egg production and other age-related changes that can overshadow the influence of environmental factors or diet. However, a healthy diet is also important to them, the same applies to overweight women and of course to women who achieve pregnancy naturally.
The researchers recommend especially younger women who want to have children not only to hope for the help of reproductive medicine. Lifestyle and diet also play an important role. This not only applies to women, but also to their partners, as another study showed. The researchers looked at 225 partners of women undergoing reproductive therapy. They were 26 to 55 years old, around half were overweight or even obese (severely overweight), and 21% smoked. The men also took part in a nutritional check. In addition, their semen quality was checked in terms of sperm concentration, total number and motility.
A similar result was also found here. If the men followed the Mediterranean diet more strongly, their semen quality improved. Together, these results support the importance of healthy eating for fertility. Couples who want to have children who live a healthy lifestyle and eat a Mediterranean diet have a better chance of realizing their wish.
Dimitrios Karayiannis et al., Adherence to the Mediterranean diet and IVF success rate among non-obese women attempting fertility. In: Human Reproduction Vol. 33, No. 3, 2018, pp. 494-502, doi: 10.1093 / humrep / dey003.
Dimitrios Karayiannis et al., Association between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and semen quality parameters in male partners of couples attempting fertility. In: Human Reproduction Vol. 32, No. 1, 2017, pp. 215-222, doi: 10.1093 / humrep / dew288.
With a good supply of omega-3 fatty acids, healthy bacteria with a variety of species accumulate in the intestine. This is apparently independent of the intake of fiber and probiotics.
The healthy omega-3 fatty acids could in part develop their effects by influencing the composition of the bacteria in the intestine. This could have many health benefits, including lower risk of diabetes, obesity, and inflammatory bowel disease (colitis, Crohn's disease). A group of English researchers therefore conducted a study to investigate the occurrence of intestinal bacteria in a large group of middle-aged to older women. Their supply of omega-3 fatty acids was tested in relation to the composition of the intestinal bacteria.
876 women took part in the study. With the help of nutritional surveys, the researchers determined the intake of omega-3 fatty acids, and they also examined the omega-3 concentrations in the blood serum. They then put these values in relation to the types of bacteria in the intestine (examined with gene sequencing). Both the total levels of omega-3 fatty acids and especially the levels of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) were significantly linked to the variety of healthy bacteria in the intestine. Women with higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids and a better omega-3 index, i.e. the ratio of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA to the total fatty acids in the blood, also had a broader range of beneficial intestinal bacteria. Incidentally, this was true regardless of other influencing factors, both the intake of dietary fiber and probiotics.
The researchers found particularly strong connections between DHA and certain types of bacteria, e.g. from the Lachnospiraceae family. These have been linked to lower inflammation and a lower risk of obesity, among other things. After further investigation, the researchers found a link between omega-3 fatty acids and N-carbamyl glutamate (NCG) in the intestine. NCG is already known from animal studies that it can reduce oxidative stress in the intestine. The researchers suspect that some of the good effects of omega-3 fatty acids in the intestines are due to the fact that they stimulate the bacteria to produce this substance.
For the researchers, it is clear that the omega-3 fatty acids are related to the composition of the intestinal bacteria. This indicates a possible further benefit of omega-3 fatty acids. They could also help improve gut health and increase the variety of healthy gut bacteria.
Our tip: When it comes to omega-3 fatty acids, the quality is very important. This avoids an unpleasant taste or burping, for example.
Cristina Menni et al., Omega-3 fatty acids correlate with gut microbiome diversity and production of N-carbamylglutamate in middle aged and elderly women. In: Scientific Reports, online publication 9/11/2017, doi: 10.1038 / s41598-017-10382-2.
Women of childbearing age often do not have enough iodine. That can potentially affect your ability to get pregnant, a new study shows.
Inadequate iodine supply is relatively common in the United States and Europe. In women, too little iodine intake can not only impair the functions of the thyroid gland, but also contribute to menstrual disorders and possibly reduced fertility. In one study, US researchers examined whether iodine deficiencies are linked to lower fertility in women. Between 2005 and 2009, 501 women took part in the LIFE (Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment) population study, which examined the relationships between fertility, lifestyle and environmental influences. All of them stopped wanting to have children and therefore stopped using contraception at least two months before the start of their studies.
In interviews, the women reported on possible risk factors for infertility and then kept a diary with relevant information. They continued to test whether they were pregnant at the time of an expected menstruation. Their iodine supply was determined in urine samples; values below 50 mcg / g iodine were rated as moderate to severe deficiency. Around 44% of the women were undersupplied with iodine; the deficits were classified as either slight (21.8%), moderate (20.8%) or even severe (1.7%). According to the researchers, these values also reflect the iodine deficits in the general population. They give a few reasons why iodine intake can decrease. Many people today prefer sea salt instead of iodized table salt, which can reduce absorption. Iodine is mainly found in meat and seafood. Vegetarians and vegans can also be undersupplied with iodine, unless they eat algae more often, which are a good source of iodine.
Women with moderate to severe iodine deficiency had a decreased chance of conceiving with each menstrual cycle compared to women who were adequately supplied with iodine. Due to the iodine deficiency, the fertility of the women was reduced by 46%. The evaluations also showed that women who want to get pregnant often need more iodine. It is already known that the iodine requirement increases during pregnancy. For example, the fetus needs this trace element to produce thyroid hormones and promote healthy brain development. In Germany, pregnant women are therefore recommended daily intake of 230 mcg iodine; for breastfeeding women, slightly higher values are set at 260 mcg. The researchers are now recommending that women who want to become pregnant also have their iodine status checked. If deficits are found, this can be easily compensated for with iodine supplements, which improves the conditions for pregnancy.
Our tip: Iodine is offered as a dietary supplement, e.g. in liquid form as potassium iodide, which is very easy to absorb. Iodine is also used in some multipreparations from plant sources, obtained from algae.
J. L. Mills et al., Delayed conception in women with low-urinary iodine concentrations: a population-based prospective cohort study. In: Human Reproduction, online publication from 11.1.2018, doi: 10.1093 / humrep / dex379.
The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin have already improved the cognitive functions of older people. Now a new study shows that younger adults can also use the two carotenoids to improve their cognitive performance.
Diet affects almost all aspects of brain function. Lipids and the highly oxygen-rich structure of the brain play an important role here, as it is more susceptible to inflammatory stress. Depending on its composition, food can have a better or worse effect on the oxidative, inflammatory state of the brain and its functions. This also includes the processes of cellular metabolism and the functions of the mitochondria (the "power plants" of the cells). For example, the brain particularly needs vitamins B6, B12 and folate. What is less well known is that a number of phytonutrients also act on the brain. These include the two carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin (from the group of xanthophylls), which are concentrated in the neuronal tissues.
They are particularly strong in the central retina (retina) and in the macula, which is the point of sharpest vision in the retina. Findings from some previous studies suggest that better supplies of lutein and zeaxanthin not only benefit visual functions, but also improve cognitive functions in older adults. So far, there have been very few similar studies in younger adults. So a group of US researchers examined the effects of the two carotenoids on cognitive functions in younger college students.
51 young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 years took part in the (randomized, placebo-controlled) study. From the end of 2013, 37 participants received a daily supplement with 10 mg lutein and 2 mg zeaxanthin for one year. 19 participants took only one placebo as a control. The supply of lutein and zeaxanthin was measured every four months, for this purpose the MOPD (optical density of the macular pigment) was determined; this value is linked to both visual and cognitive functions. All participants were tested for cognitive performance with a series of tests. With the daily supplementation of lutein and zeaxanthin, the participants' MOPD values increased significantly over the course of the year compared to placebo. The participants also achieved better cognitive performance scores with the two carotenoids. This applied, for example, to tasks on spatial memory, logical thinking and tests that required complex attention.
Our tip: Lutein is sometimes offered individually, but often in combination with zeaxanthin and other carotenoids. Attention should be paid to good quality, e.g. bioavailability.
Lisa M. Renzi-Hammond et al., Effects of a Lutein and Zeaxanthin Intervention on Cognitive Function: A Randomized, Double-Masked, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Younger Healthy Adults. In: Nutrients, online publication of November 14, 2017, doi: 10.3390 / nu9111246.
If children are well supplied with the healthy, polyunsaturated omega-3 and -6 fatty acids by the age of 8, their risk of developing asthma or hay fever decreases a few years later.
Allergic diseases such as asthma or rhinitis (hay fever) are now common all over the world, and they often begin in childhood. Hereditary factors as well as the environment influence the risk of illness. There are indications from previous studies that the long-chain, polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 and -6) can influence the risk of allergic diseases, but the results are not yet consistent. These fatty acids are essential for the body, they cannot be produced by themselves and must therefore be taken from food. Good sources of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and DPA (docosapentaenoic acid) are fish oils, for vegetable omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids it is mainly nuts and various vegetable oils.
In a new and largest study to date, the Institute for Environmental Medicine at the Swedish Karolinska Institute has now examined in more detail the relationship between polyunsaturated fatty acids and the development of allergies in children and adolescents. The study started with 940 children from the Swedish Population Study (BAMSE) aged eight years. The content or the ratio of omega-3 (EPA, DHA, DPA, alpha-linolenic acid) and omega-6 fatty acids (linoleic, arachidonic acid) were examined in blood samples of all children. The children were also asked about allergy symptoms and allergy tests (IgE measurements) were carried out. At the age of 16, the tendency to allergic diseases, asthma and rhinitis, etc., was tested again in the now young participants.
Children who had higher levels of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids by the age of eight were significantly less prone to developing asthma or allergic rhinitis by the age of 16. If they had higher levels of the omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid at the age of eight, this was also associated with a lower allergic risk at the age of 16. Children who had already developed asthma or allergic rhinitis by the age of eight had a good chance of being free of allergic symptoms by the age of 16 if they had a good supply of arachidonic acid.
The researchers conclude that a better ratio of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids in the blood of children eight years old can reduce the risk of allergic diseases a few years later. These results support the recommendations to eat fish two or three times a week, varying between higher fat and lean types.
Our tip: Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can also be consumed with food supplements made from fish and vegetable oils. They are offered individually, but also together in good proportions, and high quality should be ensured.
Jessica Magnussen et al., Polyunsaturated fatty acids in plasma at 8 years and subsequent allergy disease. In: The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, online publication of December 5, 2017, doi: 10.1016 / j.jaci.2017.09.023.
Those who eat nuts regularly have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. This is the largest study ever conducted on the relationship between nut consumption and heart health.
A healthy diet also includes the regular consumption of nuts. They contain plenty of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which can have a positive effect on cholesterol levels. For example, some nuts contain the healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which have a beneficial effect on many body functions, including the cardiovascular system. It also contains fiber and plant sterols (lipoids), which can also contribute to healthier cholesterol levels. Vitamin E and the amino acid arginine also protect the blood vessels. Due to their high fat content (around 80%), nuts have a lot of calories (e.g. walnuts 650 calories per 100 g), so they should be consumed in smaller portions.
So far, nut mixes have often been examined in studies. A US research group has now examined the effects of individual types of nuts in relation to cardiovascular diseases. This included peanuts and peanut butter, walnuts and other tree nuts. Although peanuts are legumes, they were included in the study because their fatty acid and nutrient profiles are similar to those of nuts. The researchers evaluated the data of 210,000 women and men who had participated in three large US population studies for many years, the Nurses' Health Study I (1980 to 2012) and II (1991 to 2013) and the Health Professionals Follow -up Study (1986 to 2012). The observation time of the participants extended up to 32 years. Every two years, the participants' health status and important lifestyle and diet characteristics were assessed. The occurrence of cardiovascular diseases, heart attacks, strokes and coronary heart diseases was recorded. During the course of the studies, a total of 14,136 cases of cardiovascular disease occurred in these large groups of participants.
The evaluation showed a positive effect between the total intake of nuts and cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases compared to participants who did not eat nuts. A portion of nuts was defined as 28 grams. If the researchers differentiated the data according to individual varieties, the consumption of walnuts - once or several times a week - showed a 19% lower risk for cardiovascular and 21% lower risk for coronary heart disease. Participants who ate peanuts or tree nuts two or more times a week were able to reduce their risk for these diseases by 13% and 15%, respectively, and for coronary heart disease it decreased by 15% and 23% respectively. Participants who ate five or more servings of nuts per week had a 14% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 20% lower risk of coronary artery disease.
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