JANUARY 2016 - Volume 2016, Issue 1                     

In This Issue….                     

  • Glutamine repairs gut lining and protects liver after alcohol-induced damage
  • Taking choline during pregnancy may prevent schizophrenia in offspring
  • Dense LDL more likely to be oxidized than buoyant LDL
  • Can carnitine lower risk for heart disease?
  • Vitamin D lowers breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women
  • Major benefit of omega 3 fatty acids may not be seen in dosages under 1 gram daily

 

CLINICAL UPDATE – Glutamine repairs gut lining and protects liver after alcohol-induced damage
        In this study, rats were administered alcohol which caused damage (permeability) in the lining of the colon epithelial wall. After alcohol-induced intestinal damage was confirmed in the animals, they were given glutamine – an amino acid known to benefit gut permeability – which dose-dependently increased beneficial proteins that protect cells of the colon. In addition, liver damage caused by alcohol was also reduced by glutamine supplementation. (Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, January 2016)

LINK to ABSTRACT Glutamine supplementation attenuates ethanol-induced disruption of apical junctional complexes in colonic epithelium and ameliorates gut barrier dysfunction and fatty liver in mice.

 

 

CLINICAL UPDATE – Taking choline during pregnancy may prevent schizophrenia in offspring
        In this review, the role of choline in the development of schizophrenia is examined, particularly with respect to fetal brain development. The authors suggest that prenatal choline supplements may have a similar impact on reducing rates of schizophrenia that prenatal folate supplements had in the population wide goal of reducing birth defects. There is a genetic link to schizophrenia that suggests supplementation may benefit some more than others – specifically women who carry a choline-regulated and schizophrenia-linked gene.
        Women who took choline supplements during pregnancy had children who exhibited less social withdrawal and inattention in preschool – two hallmark precursors of schizophrenia. Since choline activates receptors in the brain that are linked to the incidence of schizophrenia, and this is especially effective during gestation, the authors suggest choline supplementation for mothers who may have a higher risk of schizophrenia in their children be considered as a public health policy. (Shanghai Archives of Psychiatry, April 2015)

LINK to ABSTRACT Prenatal choline and the development of schizophrenia.
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CLINICAL UPDATE – Dense LDL more likely to be oxidized than buoyant LDL
        Lipoproteins were measured in 31 people with hypercholesterolemia. For each person, lipoprotein subclasses were determined using ultracentrifugation (a separation method for lipoproteins). In addition, the amounts of oxidized lipoproteins were measured before and after statin treatment. Researchers concluded that “the distribution of oxidized LDL in plasma LDL subfractions was more skewed toward the denser subfractions” which suggests that the atherogenic potential of LDL may be two-fold: denser LDL subfractions are not only inherently more atherogenic, but they are also more likely to become oxidized, thus increasing their danger even more. (Journal of Clinical Lipidology, November 2015)

LINK to ABSTRACT Comparison of the effects of low-dose rosuvastatin on plasma levels of cholesterol and oxidized low-density lipoprotein in 3 ultracentrifugally separated low-density lipoprotein subfractions.

 

 

CLINICAL UPDATE – Can carnitine lower risk for heart disease?
        Dietary l-carnitine, a nutrient found primarily in animal products and especially in red meat, is absorbed by the gut and further oxidized to a compound called TMAO (trimethylamine N-oxide) in the liver.  TMAO levels have been associated with atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries) in previous studies. In this study, however, the opposite was found.
        Specifically, mice were given carnitine for 12 weeks, which (not surprisingly) resulted in an increase in blood levels of TMAO compared to mice not given carnitine. But the TMAO levels were inversely correlated to the size of aortic lesions. In other words, when TMAO levels in the blood were increased, the plaque formation in the arteries was smaller. Interestingly, lipoproteins levels were not altered with carnitine treatment, suggesting the effects of TMAO on arteries is independent from lipid changes and that TMAO may actually “have a protective effect against atherosclerosis development in humans.”(Atherosclerosis, January 2016)

LINK to ABSTRACT L-Carnitine intake and high trimethylamine N-oxide plasma levels correlate with low aortic lesions in ApoE(-)(/-) transgenic mice expressing CETP.
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CLINICAL UPDATE – Vitamin D lowers breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women
        Over 57,000 post-menopausal women were included in this study which evaluated breast cancer risk in women taking vitamin D supplements and those not currently taking vitamin D. Those on vitamin D had less chance of breast cancer but interestingly, the breast cancer risk reduction only existed if they were currently taking vitamin D, even if they had taken it in the past but discontinued it for whatever reason. The risk reduction was more pronounced in women on menopausal hormone therapy – taking vitamin D reduced their risk even more. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, October 2015)

LINK to ABSTRACT Interaction between current vitamin D supplementation and menopausal hormone therapy use on breast cancer risk: evidence from the E3N cohort.

 

 

 

CLINICAL UPDATE – Major benefit of omega 3 fatty acids may not be seen in dosages under 1 gram daily
        Twenty men and women were given the omega 3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA at the dosage of 0.25 grams per day for a month and then 0.5 grams per day for a month. Then a small group (n=5) were given 1.0 grams per day for a month after the previous two dosage regimens. Omega 3 fatty acids were measured in whole blood, red blood cells and plasma at the end of each month.
        In all dosages, the blood levels of these omega 3 fatty acids increased in a dose-dependent manner. However, only in the third group did the omega 3 fatty acid status reach levels that are correlated to lowered risk of sudden cardiac death, suggesting that at least 1.0 gram per day of EPA + DHA is the dosage needed to attain the most effective cardiac protection. (Nutrition Research, October 2015)

LINK to ABSTRACT Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid blood biomarkers increase linearly in men and women after tightly controlled intakes of 0.25, 0.5, and 1 g/d of EPA + DHA.