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August 2013 - Volume 7, Issue 8

 

In this issue...

-  A new biomarker for aging emerges

-  Is schizophrenia a methylation disorder?

-  Vitamin D is helpful for Crohn's disease

-  Zinc deficiency accelerates plaque formation in arteries

-  Does magnesium deficiency raise blood pressure during pregnancy?

-  Confirmation that vitamin A deficiency impairs male fertility develops

 

                                                                                                                                                 

 

 

 

CLINICAL UPDATE - A new biomarker for aging emerges

In this large study, blood samples from over 6000 people were collected and analyzed for 280 different metabolic markers.  When the researchers correlated biomarkers to clinical aging, they found that one biomarker – glycosylated tryphtophan (C-glyTrp) –  emerged that was particularly interesting since it had not been previously identified as a marker of aging, yet it correlated well with both chronological age and age-related traits such as lung function and bone density.  The authors stated that C-glyTrp  “may point to novel molecular pathways involved in aging,” especially since tryptophan metabolism has previously been linked to aging in animal studies.

(International Journal of Epidemiology, July 2013)
LINK to ABSTRACT  Metabolomic markers reveal novel pathways of ageing and early development in human populations.  LINK to FREE FULL TEXT

 

 

 

 

 

CLINICAL UPDATE - Is schizophrenia a methylation disorder?

Researchers examined the relationship between homocysteine and DNA methylation in 42 diagnosed schizophrenics.   Average homocysteine of schizophrenics was 57% higher than controls (12.4 nmol/mL vs 19.5 nmol/mL).  When the researchers examined the genes of the schizophrenic group, they found significant homocysteine-related changes in DNA methylation, suggesting that “homocysteine may play a role in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia via a molecular mechanism that involves alterations to DNA methylation.”

(Epigenetics, April 2013)
LINK to ABSTRACT Plasma total homocysteine is associated with DNA methylation in patients with schizophrenia.  LINK to FREE FULL TEXT

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLINICAL UPDATE - Vitamin D is helpful for Crohn's disease

Patients diagnosed with Crohn’s disease (n=18) were given vitamin D supplements at various dosages (1000 IU to 5000 IU) until their blood levels of vitamin D reached 40 ng/mL.  After 6 months of supplementation, the average blood level of vitamin D increased almost 300% (to an average of 45 ng/mL) while the symptoms of Crohn’s disease decreased significantly based on an objective scoring of disease activity leading authors to conclude that increasing vitamin D levels may be useful in managing Crohn’s disease.

(Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology, April 2013)
LINK to ABSTRACT Therapeutic effect of vitamin D supplementation in a pilot study of Crohn's patients.  LINK to FREE FULL TEXT

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLINICAL UPDATE - Zinc deficiency accelerates plaque formation in arteries

 

When chronic zinc deprivation was induced in this animal study, researchers found that vascular smooth muscle cells began to proliferate (blockages of blood vessels formed).  The degree in which atherosclerotic plaques formed correlated to the degree of zinc deficiency.

(Atherosclerosis, May 2013)
LINK to ABSTRACT Long-term zinc deprivation accelerates rat vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation involving the down-regulation of JNK1/2 expression in MAPK signaling.

 

 

 

CLINICAL UPDATE - Does magnesium deficiency raise blood pressure during pregnancy?

Pregnant women were given 300mg of magnesium or placebo starting at week 25 in their pregnancy until week 37.  The women taking placebo had 7% higher diastolic blood pressure than those on the magnesium regimen.  Magnesium supplementation also prevented an increase in blood pressure during the last weeks of pregnancy. Authors concluded that pregnancy induced increases in blood pressure “could be due to a lack of magnesium.”

(Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics, May 2013)
LINK to ABSTRACT Magnesium supplementation to prevent high blood pressure in pregnancy: a randomised placebo control trial.

 

 

CLINICAL UPDATE - Confirmation that vitamin A deficiency impairs male fertility develops

New research sheds light on the mechanisms involved in vitamin A and sperm health.  Vitamin A (retinoids) affect cellular growth and differentiation via its role in regulating gene expression.  In this study, researchers identified specific genes that control the production of sperm and that these genes are negatively affected in vitamin A deficiency.

(Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, June 2013)
LINK to ABSTRACT Long-term vitamin A deficiency induces alteration of adult mouse spermatogenesis and spermatogonial differentiation: direct effect on spermatogonial gene expression and indirect effects via somatic cells.