September  2013 – Vol. 7, Issue 9

In This Issue….                                                

-   Remnant lipoprotein stongly linked to inflammation, says study
-   Does zinc help or harm eye patients? Hint – depends on their genes
-   Is estrogen deficiency really a problem for men?
-   Study explains vitamin D’s role in preventing autoimmune diseases
-   Serine makes exercise seem easier
-   Vitamin C deficiency accelerates heart disease
-   Selenium measured in cells more accurate than selenium measured in blood, says study



CLINICAL UPDATE – Remnant lipoprotein strongly linked to inflammation, says study


In this large study out of Denmark, over 60,000 individuals were evaluated for various lipoproteins and markers of inflammation for over 30 years.  In that time, more than 10,000 cases of ischemic heart disease developed.  Researchers found that low density lipoproteins were linked with heart disease but not with inflammation.  However, they did find that remnant lipoprotein (RLP) was specifically and causally associated with a 37% increase in C-reactive proteins levels, a marker of inflammation that is very strongly correlated to heart disease.  The researchers concluded that “remnant cholesterol is causally associated with low-grade inflammation.”
(Circulation, August 2013)
LINK to ABSTRACT Elevated Remnant Cholesterol Causes Both Low-Grade Inflammation and Ischemic Heart Disease, While Elevated Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Causes Ischemic Heart Disease without Inflammation



CLINICAL UPDATE – Does zinc help or harm eye patients? Hint – depends on their genes


In this study called the Age-Related Eye Disease Study on macular degeneration, several hundred patients (n=995) were followed for 10 years and given either antioxidants alone, zinc alone or a combination of both.  Patients with a certain gene derived maximum benefit (vision deteriorated at a slower pace) from only taking zinc supplements.  However, patients with different gene derived maximum benefit from taking only antioxidant supplements, and adding zinc to the antioxidants actually increased progression of the disease.  Authors of the paper allude to targeted supplementation being the key to improved clinical outcomes stating that patients “could benefit from pharmacogenomic selection of nutritional supplements.”
(Ophthalmology, August 2013)
LINK to ABSTRACT CFH and ARMS2 Genetic Polymorphisms Predict Response to Antioxidants and Zinc in Patients with Age-related Macular Degeneration.



CLINICAL UPDATE – Is estrogen deficiency really a problem for men?


Healthy men aged 20 to 50 years old were given a drug that suppresses both endogenous testosterone and estrogen production.  They were then randomly assigned to one of three groups:  (1) those receiving testosterone gel, (2) placebo or (3) a drug that suppresses the conversion of testosterone to estrogen,  thus inducing an estrogen deficiency.  Researchers found, not surprisingly, that testosterone deficiency reduced lean muscle size and strength.  But what they also found was that estrogen deficiency was the leading cause of increased body fat.  They also noted that both testosterone and estrogen deficiency in men contributed to a decline in sexual function, suggesting that evaluation of estrogens, in addition to testosterone, in men is important.
(New England Journal of Medicine, September 2013)
LINK to ABSTRACT Gonadal steroids and body composition, strength, and sexual function in men.



CLINICAL UPDATE – Study explains vitamin D’s role in preventing autoimmune diseases


High dose vitamin D (140,000 IU per month) was given to 60 healthy individuals.  After 3 months, their regulatory T cells (also called Tregs) increased significantly, which are particularly important for helping the body build tolerance to self-antigens .  Since the primary role of  Tregs s is to regulate the immune system so that it does not attack its own tissues, this study gives a mechanistic explanation to vitamin D’s role in reducing autoimmune diseases of all types.
(European Journal of Nutrition, September 2013)
LINK to ABSTRACT High-dose cholecalciferol supplementation significantly increases peripheral CD4+ Tregs in healthy adults without negatively affecting the frequency of other immune cells.



CLINICAL UPDATE – Serine makes exercise seem easier


When given as a supplement following a workout session, serine (in the form of phosphatidylserine) decreased the perception of fatigue post-workout.  In this study on a non-athlete but recreationally active group, changes in workout performance and mental functioning were not affected by serine, but an improvement in fatigue and mood did occur.  This study confirms past research that demonstrates serine’s ability to effectively buffer the body’s response to stress, whether physical or emotional.
(Nutrition Research, June 2013)
LINK to ABSTRACT Phosphatidylserine and caffeine attenuate postexercise mood disturbance and perception of fatigue in humans.



CLINICAL UPDATE – Vitamin C deficiency accelerates heart disease


In a review on the role vitamin C deficiency plays in vascular disease progression, it was found that 10-20% of the American population is likely deficient in this powerful antioxidant. In addition, this deficiency likely contributes to heart disease via several mechanisms including , but not limited to, nitric oxide bioavailability, lipoprotein metabolism and endothelial function.
(Antioxidant and Redox Signaling, June 2013)
LINK to ABSTRACT Does Vitamin C Deficiency Increase Lifestyle-Associated Vascular Disease Progression? Evidence Based on Experimental and Clinical Studies.



CLINICAL UPDATE – Selenium measured in cells more accurate than selenium measured in blood, says study


Researchers found that in patients with systemic inflammation (as measured by C-reactive protein levels) selenium status measured from plasma differs significantly from selenium status measured intracellularly.   They concluded that “plasma selenium is affected by the inflammatory response while erythrocyte [intracellular] selenium concentration is unaffected and can be used to reliably assess selenium status across a wide range of selenium intakes.”
(Clinical Nutrition, October 2013)
LINK to ABSTRACT Erythrocyte selenium concentration as a marker of selenium status.