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September 2011 - Volume 5, Issue 9


In this issue...

- Triage theory of aging gains momentum

- Vitamin B12 deficiency screening guidelines needed, suggest scientists

- Possible explanation for conflicting results of vitamin E supplementation studies

- Link between exercise and telomeres explained

- Omega 3 fatty acids and diabetes – what’s the story?

- Coenzyme Q10 shows promise for Alzheimer treatment

- Zinc supplementation of pregnant women shows long term benefit to offspring






CLINICAL UPDATE - triage theory of aging gains momentum

The triage theory of aging proposes that a single nutrient deficiency will increase age-related diseases because vitamin-dependent proteins needed for short term survival processes (breathing, eating, etc) are protected at the expense of proteins needed for long-term survival processes (immunity, cellular repair, heart function, etc).  Researchers tested this theory with selenium dependent proteins and the results confirm previous evidence – that even modest selenium deficiency compromises long-term health.  In other words, deficiencies that are not severe enough to show obvious clinical symptoms will still significantly compromise cellular function if not corrected.

(Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, June 2011)

LINK to ABSTRACT Adaptive dysfunction of selenoproteins from the perspective of the triage theory: why modest selenium deficiency may increase risk of diseases of aging.





CLINICAL UPDATE - vitamin b12 screening guidelines needed, suggests scientists

Since vitamin B12 deficiency is quite common, often occurring from prolonged use of diabetes drugs or heartburn medications.  Researchers recommend a functional assessment of B12 status since serum B12 may not reliably detect B12 deficiency.

(American Family Physician, June 2011)

LINK to ABSTRACT Update on vitamin B12 deficiency.





CLINICAL UPDATE - possible explanation for conflicting results of vitamin E supplementation studies

In an in vitro study on the various forms of vitamin E, scientists found that the antioxidant properties of α- and γ-tocopherol vary depending on whether the lipoprotein in which they exist is LDL, VLDL or HDL. Specifically, when incorporated into HDL, vitamin E showed pro-oxidant properties but demonstrated anti-oxidant properties in LDL and VLDL.  Researchers concluded that this may explain why some supplementation studies on vitamin E have not been unequivocal.

(Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, June 2011)

LINK to ABSTRACT The two faces of α- and γ-tocopherols: an in vitro and ex vivo investigation into VLDL, LDL and HDL oxidation




CLINICAL UPDATE - Link between telomeres and exercise explained

Evidence is clear that physical activity improves telomere dynamics although the optimum amount of exercise and specific mechanisms have yet to be elucidated.  This review addresses these issues, explaining how exercise induces beneficial changes in inflammatory markers as well as healthy hormonal cascades (reduced cortisol, for example) that positively impact telomere biology.  Moderate physical activity has the most positive effect on telomere biology while extremely high levels such as that seen with endurance athletes may have a negative effect. It may be noted, however, that long-term resistance training in powerlifters show a protective effect on telomeres, indicating that the definition of “moderate” exercise may be more intense exercise than commonly accepted.  

(Journal of Aging Research, February 2011)

LINK to ABSTRACT Physical activity and telomere biology: exploring the link with aging-related disease prevention.




CLINICAL UPDATE - omega 3 fatty acids and diabetes - what's the story?

Conflicting conclusions on the relationship of omega 3 fatty acids and incidence of diabetes have appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition but closer examination of the studies explains the apparent discrepancies.  In one prospective study on over 36,000 women, researchers used a food frequency questionnaire to determine the level of omega 3s and concluded that there was a higher risk of type II diabetes for women who ate more omega 3 fatty acids.   However, estimates of omega 3 fats were made from self-reported fish intake, regardless of the type of fish or the manner in which it was prepared.   In later studies that used objective markers of omega 3 levels or more specific information on the source of omega 3s – one on 3088 men and another on over 43,000 people – found that as levels of omega 3 fatty acids increased, diabetes risk decreased.  This evidence points to further applications for use of the Omega-3 Index as an objective biomarker.

(American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January and August 2011)

(Prostaglandins and Other Lipid Mediators, June 2011)

LINK to ABSTRACT Dietary omega-3 fatty acids and fish consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes.

LINK to ABSTRACT Plasma omega-3 fatty acids and incident diabetes in older adults.

LINK to ABSTRACT Omega-3 fatty acids and incident type 2 diabetes: the Singapore Chinese Health Study.

LINK to ABSTRACT  The Omega-3 Index as a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.




CLINICAL UPDATE - coenzyme q10 shows promise for alzheimer treatment

When coenzyme Q10 was administered in an animal study, results showed decreased levels of oxidative stress in the brain, decreased amyloid plaques (typically seen in Alzheimer patients) in the brain and improved cognitive performance, showing promise for CoQ10 as a potent neuroprotective agent.

(Journal of Alzheimer Disease, July 2011)

LINK to ABSTRACT Coenzyme Q10 Decreases Amyloid Pathology and Improves Behavior in a Transgenic Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease.




CLINICAL UPDATE - zinc supplementation of pregnant women shows long term benefit to offspring

In a trial of 165 pregnant women, researchers found that the heart function of their offspring was stronger  compared to children of women who were not supplemented with zinc.  Interestingly, these results were evident on children at 4 ½ years of age, suggesting that supplementing zinc-deficient women has very long term benefits for neural development that controls automatic physiological processes such as heart function.

(Journal of Nutrition, February 2011)

LINK to ABSTRACT  Maternal Zinc Supplementation during Pregnancy Affects Autonomic Function of Peruvian Children Assessed at 54 Months of Age.