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Issue # 61.3 - Importance of Lutein and Calcium
Calcium supplementation in post-menopausal women
This study was designed to investigate whether there was a need for post-menopausal women (who were not using estrogen therapy) to take calcium supplements. It is well known that women are vulnerable to increased calcium loss during and after the menopause due to the decline in estrogen production at this stage of life. Therefore there are two options which can be taken to avoid complications such as osteoporosis and bone fractures. Women can either use hormone replacement therapy or use a high strength calcium supplement.
The results of this study showed that there was a positive effect on bone density in those using calcium supplements and that this kind of supplementation is critical for maintaining bone mass.
J Nutr Health Aging. 2003;7(5):296-9
Nutritional and Clinical Relevance of Lutein in Human Health
Lutein is one of the most widely found carotenoids in the fruits and vegetables we consume on a regular basis. Although lutein is distributed throughout the body, it is mainly found in its highest concentrations in the retina of the eye. Here it helps protect the eye from the potentially damaging effects of UV radiation from sunlight.
Lutein has shown no provitamin A activity (it is not converted to vitamin A as with beta-carotene) in man but has been shown to possess biological activities that have attracted great attention in relation to human health.
This study collected data from numerous studies using lutein and concluded that regular intakes of this carotenoid is associated with a beneficial impact on visual function and possibly, on the development of other chronic diseases.
British Journal of Nutrition 2003, 90, 487-502.
Issue # 61.2 - Immune System
Can good bacteria kill bad bacteria?
The interest in probiotics (friendly bacteria) has grown rapidly over the last few years and this study was designed to investigate their effects on reducing intestinal infection. Escherichia coli (E.coli) has been known to induce intestinal injury which may lead to conditions such as diarrhoea. Human intestinal cells were exposed to E.coli and/or probiotics, including Lactobacillus acidophilus, and they were assessed for pathogenic adhesion. The results showed that the live probiotic bacterial strain interacted with intestinal cells to protect them from the harmful effect of E.coli by interfering with its adhesion to the intestinal cell membrane.
Gut. 2003 Jul; 52(7): 988-97
Can Green Tea boost immunity?
A recent study, carried out by Liverpool John Moores University, was designed to investigate the effects of a Green Tea extract on the immune response. Neutrophils, which are white blood cells involved in the human immune system, were used in this study and the production of superoxide (SO) and myeloperoxidase (MPO) was measured to assess bacteria fighting activity. SO and MPO are released by the neutrophils when they detect the presence of pathogenic bacteria. The results of the study showed that the neutrophils which were treated with the green tea extract produced more SO and MPO than the control cells. These results show that the use of a Green Tea extract could be used to boost immunity for those under an increase level of stress.
Journal of Nutraceuticals, Functional and Medical Foods, Vol. 4(1) 2003.
Issue # 61.1 - Fatty Acids and Heart Health
MUFA\\\'s for heart health?
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of increasing the levels of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) in the diet of students on risk markers for artery disease. 51 students were used in the diet and were randomly allocated to one of two diets. A moderate increase in MUFA or a high increase in MUFA. The study lasted for a total of 16 weeks and the results showed that the diet with high MUFA\\\'s was more effective for decreasing the risk markers associated with artery disease, such as platelet aggregation, than the diet moderate in MUFA\\\'s. In conclusion it was stated that increasing the levels of MUFA\\\'s in the diet is a beneficial alteration as it is associated with maintaining the health of the blood vessels and therefore reducing the risk of artery disease which may lead to a heart attack.
British Journal of Nutrition 2003, 90, 597-606.
Do Omega-3 Fatty Acids reduce Heart Disease?
The importance of regular intakes of essential fatty acids, including omega-3 fatty acids, is well documented. They have been associated with a reduced incidence of inflammation and have been shown to be beneficial for the health of the nervous system. This study investigated the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on the incidence of cardiovascular disease and it concluded that an important cardiac-regulating function exists that is affected by these fatty acids. The particular fatty acids, EPA and DHA were highlighted which appear to play roles in auto-immune diseases, diabetes and arthritis. The mechanism by which these fatty acids protect against heart disease is thought to be due to their resistance against oxidative stress, when compared to saturated fatty acids, which is now known to be the initial stage of plaque formation.
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2003) 57, Suppl 1, S22-S25
Can monounsaturated fat help weight loss?
A recent study was designed to assess whether an increase in monounsaturated fat intake could aid weight loss. It was a randomised crossover study involving eight overweight or obese men who followed the new diets for four weeks. Half of the subjects consumed a diet high in monounsaturated fats and the other half consumed diets high in saturated fat and the results were compared. These results showed that substituting saturated for monounsaturated fat can induce a small but significant loss of body weight and fat mass without a significant change in total energy or fat intake.
British Journal of Nutrition 2003, 90, 717-727