OCTOBER 2015 - Volume 2015, Issue 10                     

In This Issue….

  • N-acetylcysteine lowers homocysteine and reduces blood pressure
  • Carnitine may decrease arthritic knee pain
  • Vitamin K makes prediabetic women more sensitive to insulin
  • Vitamin C supplements reduce anxiety in adolescents, says study
  • Vitamin A quenches inflammation in colon by preserving mitochondrial function
  • Is vitamin B1 deficiency at the root of common psychiatric problems?


CLINICAL UPDATE – N-acetylcysteine lowers homocysteine and reduces blood pressure
Two groups of unmedicated, middle-aged men – one group with hyperlipidemia (n=40) and one with normal lipids (n=42) – were given 1.8 grams of N-acetylcysteine or placebo daily. After four weeks, levels of the atherogenic biomarker homocysteine decreased by over 11% in those taking cysteine supplements. In addition, N-acetylcysteine lowered blood pressure in all supplemented men, leading authors to conclude that oral intake of cysteine may be a therapeutic option for prevention of vascular events.  (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, October 2015)

Oral N-acetylcysteine reduces plasma homocysteine concentrations regardless of lipid or smoking status.


CLINICAL UPDATE – Carnitine may decrease arthritic knee pain

Sixty-nine overweight or obese women with knee osteoarthritis were given either 750mg per day of l-carnitine (n=33) or placebo (n=36) for eight weeks. Although oxidative stress markers were not significantly different between the two groups at the end of the study, there were significant improvements in pain intensity and clinical status in the carnitine-supplemented group. (Nutrition Research, August 2015)

LINK to ABSTRACT L-Carnitine supplementation improved clinical status without changing oxidative stress and lipid profile in women with knee osteoarthritis.


CLINICAL UPDATE – Vitamin K makes pre-diabetic women more sensitive to insulin

Eighty-two prediabetic women were given either 1000μm vitamin K1 (n=39) or placebo (n=43) for four weeks. After the trial period, those supplemented with vitamin K1 showed better blood sugar control. Specifically, the supplemented group showed better results on glucose tolerance testing and lower insulin levels after a glucose challenge, indicating better sensitivity to insulin.

The authors mention the relationship between the bone-building, vitamin-K dependent protein, osteocalcin and energy metabolism, suggesting osteocalcin – which regulates pancreatic insulin release and also causes fat cells to release adiponectin, thus sensitizing the body to the effects of insulin – as the mechanism of action for increasing insulin sensitivity via vitamin K supplementation.  (European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 2015)

LINK to ABSTRACT The effect of vitamin K1 supplementation on sensitivity and insulin resistance via osteocalcin in prediabetic women: a double-blind randomized controlled clinical trial.


CLINICAL UPDATE – Vitamin C supplements reduce anxiety in adolescents, says study

In this double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, 42 high school students were given either 500mg of vitamin C per day or placebo. Blood levels of vitamin C were measured before and after the supplementation period, as well as anxiety levels as measured by standardized testing. After two weeks, anxiety and heart rates were lower in those taking vitamin C versus placebo, suggesting that vitamin C can play a therapeutic role for reducing anxiety, possibly via a reduction in oxidative stress which has been linked to neuropsychological disorders. (Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, January 2015)

LINK to ABSTRACT Effects of Oral Vitamin C Supplementation on Anxiety in Students: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial.



CLINICAL UPDATE – Vitamin A quenches inflammation in colon by preserving mitochondrial function, in animal study

In this animal study, rats were given either a normal diet or a high-vitamin A diet for three weeks. Then, on day 22, colitis (inflammation of colon) was chemically induced. Two days later, colonic tissue was removed and examined. In the supplemented group, the colonic tissue remained healthy and intact. Specifically, the vitamin A prevented necrosis (dying tissue) and inflammation of the colon by preserving mitochondrial function in the gastrointestinal tract. Researchers suggest that “vitamin A is therefore a potential therapeutic agent in inflammatory bowel disease.” (Nutrition, November 2015)

LINK to ABSTRACT Vitamin A exerts its antiinflammatory activities in colitis through preservation of mitochondrial activity.




CLINICAL UPDATE – Is vitamin B1 deficiency at the root of common psychiatric problems?

In this review paper from the Cleveland Clinic, the role of vitamin B1 (thiamine) as a key enzymatic cofactor in normal brain metabolism is discussed. Vitamin B1 plays an important role as a cofactor to an enzyme (HACL1) that is responsible for intracellular fatty acid oxidation. Consequently, mild to moderate thiamine deficiency can actually starve the brain of oxygen, which then causes “emotional and stress reflexes of the autonomic nervous system [to be] stimulated and exaggerated, producing symptoms often diagnosed as psychosomatic disease.”

Fortunately, if thiamine deficiency is diagnosed early, the symptoms are “easily reversible” states the author. Conversely, if thiamine deficiency is not addressed and treated, “neurodegeneration follows and results in a variety of chronic brain diseases.” (Medical Hypotheses, February 2015)

LINK to ABSTRACT Thiamine and magnesium deficiencies: keys to disease.