Research - Fatty Acids
Reduction in behavior problems with omega-3 supplementation in children aged 8–16 years: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, stratified, parallel-group trial
- Adrian Raine1,*,
- Jill Portnoy1,
- Jianghong Liu2,
- Tashneem Mahoomed3 and
- Joseph R. Hibbeln4
BackgroundWhile limited evidence suggests that omega-3 supplementation may reduce antisocial behavior in children, studies have not reported on posttreatment follow-up and most treatment periods have been of short duration. This study tests the hypothesis that omega-3 supplementation over 6 months will reduce behavior problems in children both at the end of treatment and at 6 months post treatment.
MethodsIn this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, stratified, parallel-group trial, a community sample of 8–16 year old children were randomized into a treatment group (N = 100) and a placebo-control group (N = 100). The supplementation consisted of a fruit drink containing 1 g/day of omega-3 or a placebo consisting of the same fruit drink without omega-3. Participants, caregivers, and research assistants were blinded to group assignment. The primary outcome measures of externalizing and internalizing behavior problems were reported by both caregivers and their children in a laboratory setting at 0 months (baseline), 6 months (end of treatment) and 12 months (6 months post treatment), together with the secondary outcome measures of parental antisocial behavior. Data were analyzed on an intention-to-treat basis including all participants. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02016079?term=mauritius&rank=2
ResultsSignificant group × time interactions were observed with the treatment group showing long-term improvements in child behavior problems. The average posttreatment effect size was d = −.59. Effects were documented for parent reports, but with the exception of proactive and reactive aggression, child-report data were nonsignificant. Parents whose children took omega-3 showed significant posttreatment reductions in their own antisocial and aggressive behavior. This improvement in caregiver behavior partly mediated the improvements observed in child behavior.
ConclusionsFindings provide initial evidence that omega-3 supplementation can produce sustained reductions in externalizing and internalizing behavior problems. Results are the first to report improvements in caregiver behavior, and to establish this improvement as a part-mechanism for the efficacy of omega-3.
Source : The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
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The Omega-3 Index Is Inversely Associated with Depressive Symptoms among Individuals with Elevated Oxidative Stress Biomarkers1,2,3
- Sherman J Bigornia4,*,
- William S Harris6,
- Luis M Falcón5,
- José M Ordovás7,
- Chao-Qiang Lai5, and
- Katherine L Tucker4
Background: Omega-3 (n–3) fatty acid (FA) consumption is thought to improve depressive symptoms. However, current evidence is limited, and whether this association exists among Puerto Ricans, a population burdened by depression, remains uncertain.
Objectives: We examined the association between ω-3 FA biomarkers and depressive symptoms as well as the potential influence of oxidative stress.
Methods: Baseline and longitudinal analyses were conducted in the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study (n = 787; participants aged 57 ± 0.52 y, 73% women). Urinary 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) concentration, a measure of oxidative stress, and erythrocyte FA composition were collected at baseline. We calculated the omega-3 index as the sum of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids, expressed as a percentage of total FAs. Baseline and 2-y depressive symptoms were characterized by using the Center for Epidemiological Studies–Depression Scale (CES-D). Statistical analyses included linear and logistic regression.
Results: Urinary 8-OHdG concentration tended to modify the relation between the erythrocyte omega-3 index and baseline CES-D score (P-interaction = 0.10). In stratified analyses, the omega-3 index was inversely associated with CES-D score (β = −1.74, SE = 0.88; P = 0.02) among those in the top quartile of 8-OHdG concentration but not among those in the lower quartiles. The relation between the omega-3 index and CES-D at 2 y was more clearly modified by 8-OHdG concentration (P-interaction = 0.04), where the omega-3 index was inversely associated with CES-D at 2 y, adjusted for baseline (β = −1.66, SE = 0.66; P = 0.02), only among those with elevated 8-OHdG concentrations. Among individuals not taking antidepressant medications and in the top tertile of urinary 8-OHdG concentration, the omega-3 index was associated with significantly lower odds of a CES-D score ≥16 at baseline (OR: 0.72; 95% CI: 0.53, 0.96) but not at 2 y (OR: 0.83; 95% CI: 0.60, 1.15).
Conclusions: An inverse association between the omega-3 index and depressive symptoms was observed among participants with elevated oxidative stress biomarkers. These data suggest that oxidative stress status may identify those who might benefit from ω-3 FA consumption to improve depressive symptoms.
Source : The Journal of Nutrition via Sci-hub
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Effects of omega-3 supplementation during pregnancy and youth on neurodevelopment and cognition in childhood: a systematic review and meta-analysis
- Masha L Shulkin1,
- Laura Pimpin1,
- David Bellinger2,3,4,
- Sarah Kranz1,
- Christopher Duggan2,4,
- Wafaie Fawzi4 and
- Dariush Mozaffarian1
BACKGROUND Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are thought to be crucial for optimal neurodevelopment in early life.
OBJECTIVES To investigate the effect of omega-3 supplementation during pregnancy and infancy on child cognitive and developmental outcomes.
METHODS We searched PubMed, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, and PsychInfo through May 2015 without language or publication year restrictions for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of omega-3 supplementation (>3 months) i.e. docosahexanoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and quantitative measure of neurodevelopment or cognition. Full-text inclusion decisions and data extractions were performed independently and in duplicate. Our primary outcome was the standardized mean difference in Bayley Scales of Infant Development (BSID) score between intervention groups in RCTs. Other outcomes included the Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children, Weschler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test, Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children, Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, and other standardized measures.
RESULTS Among 571 abstracts, we identified 15 trials with 20 intervention arms involving 2,525 children. Trials used DHA + EPA (N=6 arms), DHA only (N=2), DHA + arachidonic acid (AA) (N=10), or DHA + EPA + AA (N=2); either prenatally (mean 20 weeks gestation; N=4 arms) or within the first few days of birth (N=16). Mean supplementation duration was 7.3 months; and age at outcome assessment, 16 months. In pooled analyses, both maternal and infant supplementation similarly improved neurodevelopment: standardized mean difference (SMD) in BSID= 0.21 (95% CI: 0.01, 0.41) and 0.24 (0.00, 0.48) respectively (Figure 1). Among BSID subscales, DHA and/or EPA raised the psychomotor developmental index (N=8 arms; SMD 0.40; 95% CI: 0.10, 0.70), while DHA + AA raised the mental developmental index (N=15 arms; SMD 0.17; 95% CI: 0.00, 0.35). Pooled findings for other outcomes will be presented.
CONCLUSION Omega-3 supplementation during either pregnancy or infancy improves child neurodevelopment. These findings indicate the importance of sufficient polyunsaturated fatty acid intake by pregnant women and young children.
Source : The FASEB Journal
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A randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial investigating the behavioural effects of vitamin, mineral and n-3 fatty acid supplementation in typically developing adolescent schoolchildren
Jonathan D. Tammama1 c1, David Steinsaltza2, D. W. Bestera2, Turid Semb-Andenaesa1 and John F. Steina1
a1 Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX1 3PT, UK
a2 Department of Statistics, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX1 3TG, UK
Nutrient deficiencies have been implicated in anti-social behaviour in schoolchildren; hence, correcting them may improve sociability. We therefore tested the effects of vitamin, mineral and n-3 supplementation on behaviour in a 12-week double-blind randomised placebo-controlled trial in typically developing UK adolescents aged 13–16 years (n196). Changes in erythrocyte n-3 and 6 fatty acids and some mineral and vitamin levels were measured and compared with behavioural changes, using Conners’ teacher ratings and school disciplinary records. At baseline, the children’s PUFA (n-3 and n-6), vitamin and mineral levels were low, but they improved significantly in the group treated with n-3, vitamins and minerals (P=0·0005). On the Conners disruptive behaviour scale, the group given the active supplements improved, whereas the placebo group worsened (F=5·555, d=0·35; P=0·02). The general level of disciplinary infringements was low, thus making it difficult to obtain improvements. However, throughout the school term school disciplinary infringements increased significantly (by 25 %; Bayes factor=115) in both the treated and untreated groups. However, when the subjects were split into high and low baseline infringements, the low subset increased their offences, whereas the high-misbehaviour subset appeared to improve after treatment. But it was not possible to determine whether this was merely a statistical artifact. Thus, when assessed using the validated and standardised Conners teacher tests (but less clearly when using school discipline records in a school where misbehaviour was infrequent), supplementary nutrition might have a protective effect against worsening behaviour.
Source : British Journal of Nutrition
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Baseline Omega-3 Index Correlates with Aggressive and Attention Deficit Disorder Behaviours in Adult Prisoners
Barbara J. Meyer , Mitchell K. Byrne, Carole Collier, Natalie Parletta, Donna Crawford, Pia C. Winberg, David Webster, Karen Chapman, Gayle Thomas, Jean Dally, Marijka Batterham, Ian Farquhar, Anne-Marie Martin, Luke Grant
There is emerging evidence that the supplementation of omega-3 contributes to a decrease in aggressive behaviour in prison populations. A challenge of such research is achieving statistical power against effect sizes which may be affected by the baseline omega-3 index. There are no published data on the blood omega-3 index with studies of this kind to assess the variability of the blood omega-3 index in conjunction with aggression and attention deficit assessments.
To determine if the variance of the omega-3 index is correlated with aggressive and attention deficit behaviour in a prison population.
136 adult male prisoners were recruited from South Coast Correctional Centre (SCCC), NSW Australia. A 7 point categorisation was used to quantify levels of aggressive behaviour (4 weeks) from individual SCCC case notes, whereby higher scores correspond to increasingly aggressive behaviour. Study participants completed the Aggression Questionnaire (AQ) and the Brown’s Attention Deficit Disorder Scales (BADDS), provided a blood sample for erythrocyte fatty acid analysis using gas chromatography and the omega-3 index was calculated.
The baseline omega-3 index ranged from 2.3% to 10.3%, indicating that some participants already had substantial omega-3 intake, however a median of 4.7% indicated a lower overall omega-3 intake than the general Australian population. Assessment of aggressive and attention deficit behaviour shows that there were negative correlations between baseline omega-3 index and baseline aggression categorisation scores (r = −0.21, P = 0.016); total AQ score (r = −0.234, P = 0.011); Anger (r = -0.222 p = 0.016); Hostility AQ (r = −0.239, P = 0.009); indirect aggression (r = −0.188 p = 0.042); total BADDS (r = −0.263, p = 0.005); Activation (r = −0.224, p = 0.016); Attention (r = −0.192, p = 0.043); Effort (r = −0.253, p = 0.007); Affect (r = −0.330, p = 0.000) and Memory (r = −0.240, p = 0.010).
There is a high variability in omega-3 status of a NSW prison population, and inmates with lower omega-3 index were more aggressive and had higher ADD scores.
Source : Plos One
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Dietary modulation of the gut microbiota – a randomised controlled trial in obese postmenopausal women
Lena K. Brahea1 †, Emmanuelle Le Chateliera2 †, Edi Priftia2, Nicolas Ponsa2, Sean Kennedya2, Trine Blædela1, Janet Håkanssona3, Trine Kastrup Dalsgaarda4, Torben Hansena5, Oluf Pedersena5, Arne Astrupa1, S. Dusko Ehrlicha2 and Lesli H. Larsena1 c1
a1 Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, Rolighedsvej 26, 1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark
a2 INRA, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, US 1367 Metagenopolis, Jouy-en-Josas, France
a3 Arla Strategic Innovation Centre, Stockholm, Sweden
a4 Department of Food Science, Faculty of Science and Technology, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
a5 Novo Nordisk Foundation Centre for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
The gut microbiota has been implicated in obesity and its progression towards metabolic disease. Dietary interventions that target the gut microbiota have been suggested to improve metabolic health. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of interventions with Lactobacillus paracasei F19 or flaxseed mucilage on the gut microbiota and metabolic risk markers in obesity. A total of fifty-eight obese postmenopausal women were randomised to a single-blinded, parallel-group intervention of 6-week duration, with a daily intake of either L. paracasei F19 (9·4 × 1010 colony-forming units), flaxseed mucilage (10 g) or placebo. Quantitative metagenomic analysis of faecal DNA was performed to identify the changes in the gut microbiota. Diet-induced changes in metabolic markers were explored using adjusted linear regression models. The intake of flaxseed mucilage over 6 weeks led to a reduction in serum C-peptide and insulin release during an oral glucose tolerance test (P< 0·05) and improved insulin sensitivity measured by Matsuda index (P< 0·05). Comparison of gut microbiota composition at baseline and after 6 weeks of intervention with flaxseed mucilage showed alterations in abundance of thirty-three metagenomic species (P< 0·01), including decreased relative abundance of eight Faecalibacterium species. These changes in the microbiota could not explain the effect of flaxseed mucilage on insulin sensitivity. The intake of L. paracasei F19 did not modulate metabolic markers compared with placebo. In conclusion, flaxseed mucilage improves insulin sensitivity and alters the gut microbiota; however, the improvement in insulin sensitivity was not mediated by the observed changes in relative abundance of bacterial species.
Source : British Journal of Nutrition
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A randomized controlled trial of the effects of n-3 fatty acids on resolvins in chronic kidney disease
Emilie Mas1 , Anne Barden1, Valerie Burke, Lawrence J. Beilin, Gerald F. Watts, Rae-Chi Huang, Ian B. Puddey,Ashley B. Irish
, Trevor A. Mori
Background and objectiveThe high incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in chronic kidney disease (CKD) is related partially to chronic inflammation. n-3 Fatty acids have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects and to reduce the risk of CVD. Specialized Proresolving Lipid Mediators (SPMs) derived from the n-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) actively promote the resolution of inflammation. This study evaluates the effects of n-3 fatty acid supplementation on plasma SPMs in patients with CKD.
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled intervention of factorial design, 85 patients were randomized to either n-3 fatty acids (4 g), Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ) (200 mg), both supplements, or control (4 g olive oil), daily for 8 weeks. The SPMs 18-HEPE, 17-HDHA, RvD1, 17R-RvD1, and RvD2, were measured in plasma by liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry before and after intervention.
Seventy four patients completed the 8 weeks intervention. n-3 Fatty acids but not CoQ significantly increased (P < 0.0001) plasma levels of 18-HEPE and 17-HDHA, the upstream precursors to the E- and D-series resolvins, respectively. RvD1 was significantly increased (P = 0.036) after n-3 fatty acids, but no change was seen in other SPMs. In regression analysis the increase in 18-HEPE and 17-HDHA after n-3 fatty acids was significantly predicted by the change in platelet EPA and DHA, respectively.
SPMs are increased after 8 weeks n-3 fatty acid supplementation in patients with CKD. This may have important implications for limiting ongoing low grade inflammation in CKD.
Source : Clinical Nutrition
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Brain atrophy in cognitively impaired elderly: the importance of long-chain ω-3fatty acids and B vitamin status in a randomized controlled trial1,2,3,4
- Fredrik Jernerén⇑,
- Amany K Elshorbagy,
- Abderrahim Oulhaj,
- Stephen M Smith,
- Helga Refsum, and
- A David Smith
Background: Increased brain atrophy rates are common in older people with cognitive impairment, particularly in those who eventually convert to Alzheimer disease. Plasma concentrations of omega-3 (ω-3) fatty acids and homocysteine are associated with the development of brain atrophy and dementia.
Objective: We investigated whether plasma ω-3 fatty acid concentrations (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) modify the treatment effect of homocysteine-lowering B vitamins on brain atrophy rates in a placebo-controlled trial (VITACOG).
Design: This retrospective analysis included 168 elderly people (≥70 y) with mild cognitive impairment, randomly assigned either to placebo (n = 83) or to daily high-dose B vitamin supplementation (folic acid, 0.8 mg; vitamin B-6, 20 mg; vitamin B-12, 0.5 mg) (n = 85). The subjects underwent cranial magnetic resonance imaging scans at baseline and 2 y later. The effect of the intervention was analyzed according to tertiles of baseline ω-3 fatty acid concentrations.
Results: There was a significant interaction (P = 0.024) between B vitamin treatment and plasma combined ω-3 fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) on brain atrophy rates. In subjects with high baseline ω-3fatty acids (>590 μmol/L), B vitamin treatment slowed the mean atrophy rate by 40.0% compared with placebo (P = 0.023). B vitamin treatment had no significant effect on the rate of atrophy among subjects with low baseline ω-3 fatty acids (<390 μmol/L). High baseline ω-3 fatty acids were associated with a slower rate ofbrain atrophy in the B vitamin group but not in the placebo group.
Conclusions: The beneficial effect of B vitamin treatment on brain atrophy was observed only in subjects with high plasma ω-3 fatty acids. It is also suggested that the beneficial effect of ω-3 fatty acids on brain atrophy may be confined to subjects with good B vitamin status. The results highlight the importance of identifying subgroups likely to benefit in clinical trials.
Source : American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
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Vitamin D and the omega-3 fatty acids control serotonin synthesis and action, part 2: relevance for ADHD, bipolar, schizophrenia, and impulsive behavior
Rhonda P. Patrick1 and Bruce N. Ames1
Nutrition and Metabolism Center, Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, Oakland, California, USA
Serotonin regulates a wide variety of brain functions and behaviors. Here, we synthesize previous findings that serotonin regulates executive function, sensory gating, and social behavior and that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and impulsive behavior all share in common defects in these functions. It has remained unclear why supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D improve cognitive function and behavior in these brain disorders. Here, we propose mechanisms by which serotonin synthesis, release, and function in the brain are modulated by vitamin D and the 2 marine omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Brain serotonin is synthesized from tryptophan by tryptophan hydroxylase 2, which is transcriptionally activated by vitamin D hormone. Inadequate levels of vitamin D (∼70% of the population) and omega-3 fatty acids are common, suggesting that brain serotonin synthesis is not optimal. We propose mechanisms by which EPA increases serotonin release from presynaptic neurons by reducing E2 series prostaglandins and DHA influences serotonin receptor action by increasing cell membrane fluidity in postsynaptic neurons. We propose a model whereby insufficient levels of vitamin D, EPA, or DHA, in combination with genetic factors and at key periods during development, would lead to dysfunctional serotonin activation and function and may be one underlying mechanism that contributes to neuropsychiatric disorders and depression. This model suggests that optimizing vitamin D and marine omega-3 fatty acid intake may help prevent and modulate the severity of brain dysfunction.--
Source : The FASEB Journal
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Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation changes intracellular phospholipase A2 activity and membrane fatty acid profiles in
individuals at ultra-high risk for psychosis
S Smesny1, , B Milleit1, , U-C Hipler2, , C Milleit1,2, MR Scha¨ fer3,4, CM Klier3, , M Holub5, , I Holzer5, , GE Berger6
M Otto1, , I Nenadic1, M Berk4,7,8, PD McGorry4, , H Sauer1 and GP Amminger3,4
The identification of an ultra-high risk (UHR) profile for psychosis and a greater understanding of its prodrome have led to increasing interest in early intervention to delay or prevent the onset of psychotic illness. In a randomized placebo-controlled trial, we have identified long-chain ω-3 (ω-3) polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) supplementation as potentially useful, as it reduced the rate of transition to psychosis by 22.6% 1 year after baseline in a cohort of 81 young people at UHR of transition to psychosis. However, the mechanisms whereby the ω-3 PUFAs might be neuroprotective are incompletely understood. Here, we report on the effects of ω-3 PUFA supplementation on intracellular phospholipase A2 (inPLA2) activity, the main enzymes regulating phospholipid metabolism, as well as on peripheral membrane lipid profiles in the individuals who participated in this randomized placebo-controlled trial. Patients were studied cross-sectionally (n=80) and longitudinally (n=65) before and after a 12-week intervention with 1.2 g per dayω-3 PUFAs or placebo, followed by a 40-week observation period to establish the rates of transition to psychosis. We investigated inPLA2 and erythrocyte membrane FAs in the treatment groups (ω-3 PUFAs vs placebo) and the outcome groups (psychotic vs non-psychotic). The levels of membrane ω-3 and ω-6 PUFAs and inPLA2were significantly related. Some of the significant associations (that is, long-chain ω-6 PUFAs, arachidonic acid) with inPLA2activity were in opposite directions in individuals who did (a positive correlation) and who did not (a negative correlation) transition to psychosis. Supplementation with ω-3 PUFA resulted in a significant decrease in inPLA2 activity. We conclude that ω-3 PUFA supplementation may act by normalizing inPLA2 activity and δ-6-desaturase-mediated metabolism of ω-3 and ω-6 PUFAs, suggesting their role in neuroprogression of psychosis.
Source : Molecular Psychiatry
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Antidepressant-like effects of omega-3 fatty acids in postpartum model of depression in rats.
Arbabi L1, Baharuldin MT2, Moklas MA1, Fakurazi S1, Muhammad SI3.Author information
Postpartum depression (PPD) is a psychiatric disorder that occurs in 10-15% of childbearing women. It is hypothesized that omega-3 fatty acids, which are components of fish oil, may attenuate depression symptoms. In order to examine this hypothesis, the animal model of postpartum depression was established in the present study. Ovariectomized female rats underwent hormone-simulated pregnancy (HSP) regimen and received progesterone and estradiol benzoate or vehicle for 23 days, mimicking the actual rat's pregnancy. The days after hormone termination were considered as the postpartum period. Forced feeding of menhaden fish oil, as a source of omega-3, with three doses of 1, 3, and 9g/kg/d, fluoxetine 15mg/kg/d, and distilled water 2ml/d per rat started in five postpartum-induced and one vehicle group on postpartum day 1 and continued for 15 consecutive days. On postpartum day 15, all groups were tested in the forced swimming test (FST) and open field test (OFT), followed by a biochemical assay. Results showed that the postpartum-induced rats not treated with menhaden fish oil, exhibited an increase in immobility time seen in FST, hippocampal concentration of corticosterone and plasmatic level of corticosterone, and pro-inflammatory cytokines. These depression-related effects were attenuated by supplementation of menhaden fish oil with doses of 3 and 9g/kg. Moreover, results of rats supplemented with menhaden fish oil were comparable to rats treated with the clinically effective antidepressant, fluoxetine. Taken together, these results suggest that menhaden fish oil, rich in omega-3, exerts beneficial effect on postpartum depression and decreases the biomarkers related to depression such as corticosterone and pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Source : Behav. Brain Res
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Dietary nutrient intakes and skin-aging appearance among middle-aged American women1,2,3,4
Background: Nutritional factors play a key role in normal dermatologic functioning. However, little is known about the effects of diet on skin-aging appearance.
Objective: We evaluated the associations between nutrient intakes and skin-aging appearance.
Design: Using data from the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, we examined associations between nutrient intakes and skin aging in 4025 women (40–74 y). Nutrients were estimated from a 24-h recall. Clinical examinations of the skin were conducted by dermatologists. Skin-aging appearance was defined as having a wrinkled appearance, senile dryness, and skin atrophy.
Results: Higher vitamin C intakes were associated with a lower likelihood of a wrinkled appearance [odds ratio (OR) 0.89; 95% CI: 0.82, 0.96] and senile dryness (OR: 0.93; 95% CI: 0.87, 0.99). Higher linoleic acid intakes were associated with a lower likelihood of senile dryness (OR: 0.75; 95% CI: 0.64, 0.88) and skin atrophy (OR: 0.78; 95% CI 0.65, 0.95). A 17-g increase in fat and a 50-g increase in carbohydrate intakes increased the likelihood of a wrinkled appearance (OR: 1.28 and 1.36, respectively) and skin atrophy (OR: 1.37 and 1.33, respectively). These associations were independent of age, race, education, sunlight exposure, income, menopausal status, body mass index, supplement use, physical activity, and energy intake.
Conclusions: Higher intakes of vitamin C and linoleic acid and lower intakes of fats and carbohydrates are associated with better skin-aging appearance. Promoting healthy dietary behaviors may have additional benefit for skin appearance in addition to other health outcomes in the population.
Source : American Journal Clinical Nutrition
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Potent Antihypertensive Action of Dietary Flaxseed in Hypertensive Patients
Delfin Rodriguez-Leyva, Wendy Weighell, Andrea L. Edel, Renee LaVallee, Elena Dibrov, Reinhold Pinneker, Thane G. Maddaford, Bram Ramjiawan, Michel Aliani, Randolph Guzman, Grant N. Pierce
- From the Cardiovascular Research Division, V.I. Lenin Universitary Hospital, Holguin, Cuba (D.R.-L.); and Department of Surgery, St Boniface Hospital and the Asper Clinical Research Institute (W.W., R.G.), Canadian Centre for Agri-food Research in Health and Medicine, St Boniface Hospital Research Centre, Department of Physiology, Faculties of Medicine and Pharmacy (A.L.E., R.L., E.D., R.P., T.G.M., B.R., G.N.P.), and Department of Human Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Human Ecology (M.A.), University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Flaxseed contains ω-3 fatty acids, lignans, and fiber that together may provide benefits to patients with cardiovascular disease. Animal work identified that patients with peripheral artery disease may particularly benefit from dietary supplementation with flaxseed. Hypertension is commonly associated with peripheral artery disease. The purpose of the study was to examine the effects of daily ingestion of flaxseed on systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) in peripheral artery disease patients. In this prospective, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized trial, patients (110 in total) ingested a variety of foods that contained 30 g of milled flaxseed or placebo each day over 6 months. Plasma levels of the ω-3 fatty acid α-linolenic acid and enterolignans increased 2- to 50-fold in the flaxseed-fed group but did not increase significantly in the placebo group. Patient body weights were not significantly different between the 2 groups at any time. SBP was ≈10 mm Hg lower, and DBP was ≈7 mm Hg lower in the flaxseed group compared with placebo after 6 months. Patients who entered the trial with a SBP ≥140 mm Hg at baseline obtained a significant reduction of 15 mm Hg in SBP and 7 mm Hg in DBP from flaxseed ingestion. The antihypertensive effect was achieved selectively in hypertensive patients. Circulating α-linolenic acid levels correlated with SBP and DBP, and lignan levels correlated with changes in DBP. In summary, flaxseed induced one of the most potent antihypertensive effects achieved by a dietary intervention.
Source : Journal Hypertension
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Omega-3 Dietary Supplements Pass Blood-Brain Barrier
New research from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden shows that omega-3 fatty acids in dietary supplements can cross the blood brain barrier in people with Alzheimer's disease, affecting known markers for both the disease itself and inflammation. The findings are presented in the Journal of Internal Medicine, and strengthen the evidence that omega-3 may benefit certain forms of this seriously debilitating disease.
"Earlier population studies indicate that omega-3 can protect against Alzheimer's disease, which makes it interesting to study the effects of dietary supplements containing this group of fatty acids in patients who have already developed the disease," says the study's lead author Dr Yvonne Freund-Levi.
Omega-3 and other essential polyunsaturated fatty acids accumulate in the central nervous system (CNS) during gestation. It has been assumed that these acids are continually replaced throughout life, but little is known about how this occurs and whether changes in diet can affect the transport of important fatty acids across the blood-brain barrier. The blood-brain barrier serves to protect the brain from harmful chemicals existing naturally in the blood, but also blocks the delivery of drug substances to the brain.
Several diseases can affect the fatty acid profile of the CNS; in patients with Alzheimer's disease, for example, previous research has observed lower than normal brain concentrations of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid.
In the present study, part of the larger OmegAD project, scientists examined whether omega-3 dietary supplements change the fatty acid profile of the CNS in patients with mild Alzheimer's disease. Thirty-three patients participated in the study, 18 of whom received a daily omega-3 supplement and 15 a placebo for six months. The results show that the first group had higher levels of both DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, another omega-3 fatty acid) in their cerebrospinal fluid (which surrounds the CNS) and blood. No such change was seen in the placebo group.
Moreover, they also found that levels of DHA correlated directly with the degree of change in Alzheimer's disease and inflammatory markers in the cerebrospinal fluid. Researchers in the field have long been interested in this link between Alzheimer's disease and inflammation, but attempts to treat the disease using traditional anti-inflammatory drugs have failed to produce any improvements in memory function.
"In animals, DHA dietary supplements can lead to an increase in DHA concentrations in the CNS," says Professor Jan Palmblad, who initiated the study. "Here we show that the same applies to humans, which suggests that omega-3 fatty acids in dietary supplements cross the blood-brain barrier. However, much work remains to be done before we know how these fatty acids can be used in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease to halt memory loss."
Source : Science Daily
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Combinatorial Treatment of Tart Cherry Extract and Essential Fatty Acids Reduces Cognitive Impairments and Inflammation in the mu-p75 Saporin-Induced Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease
Jessica J. Matchynski,1,2,3 Steven A. Lowrance,1,2 Colleen Pappas,1,2 Julien Rossignol,1,2,4 Nicole Puckett,1,2 Michael Sandstrom,2,5 and Gary L. Dunbar1,2,4,5,6
1Field Neurosciences Laboratory for Restorative Neurology, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, USA
.2Program in Neuroscience, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, USA.
3Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, Rochester College, Rochester, Michigan, USA.
4College of Medicine, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, USA.
5Department of Psychology, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, USA.6Field Neurosciences Institute, Saginaw, Michigan, USA.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects more than five million Americans and is characterized by a progressive loss of memory, loss of cholinergic neurons in the basal forebrain, formation of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, and an increase in oxidative stress. Recent studies indicate that dietary supplements of antioxidants and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may reduce the cognitive deficits in AD patients. The current study tested a combinatorial treatment of antioxidants from tart cherry extract and essential fatty acids from Nordic fish and emu oils for reducing cognitive deficits in the mu-p75 saporin (SAP)–induced mouse model of AD. Mice were given daily gavage treatments of Cerise® Total-Body-Rhythm™ (TBR; containing tart cherry extract, Nordic fish oil, and refined emu oil) or vehicle (methylcellulose) for 2 weeks before intracerebroventricular injections of the cholinergic toxin, mu-p75 SAP, or phosphate-buffered saline. The TBR treatments continued for an additional 17 days, when the mice were tested on a battery of cognitive and motor tasks. Results indicate that TBR decreased the SAP-induced cognitive deficits assessed by the object-recognition, place-recognition, and Morris-water-maze tasks. Histological examination of the brain tissue indicated that TBR protected against SAP-induced inflammatory response and loss of cholinergic neurons in the area around the medial septum. These findings indicate that TBR has the potential to serve as an adjunctive treatment which may help reduce the severity of cognitive deficits in disorders involving cholinergic deficits, such as AD.
Source Journal of Medicinal Food
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Recent findings on the health effects of omega-3 fatty acids and statins, and their interactions: do statins inhibit omega-3?
Michel de Lorgeril1*, Patricia Salen1, Pascal Defaye2 and Mikael Rabaeus3
1 Laboratoire Cœur et Nutrition, TIMC-IMAG CNRS 5525, Université Joseph Fourier, Faculté de Médecine de Grenoble, 38054 La Tronche, France
2 Service de Cardiologie, Hôpital Universitaire Nord, 38054 La Tronche, France
3 Clinique La Prairie, Chemin de la Prairie 2-10, 1815 Clarens, Montreux, Switzerland
Early randomized controlled trials (RCTs) demonstrated the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids (n-3), whereas recent RCTs were negative. We now address the issue, focusing on the temporal changes having occurred: most patients in recent RCTs are no longer n-3 deficient and the vast majority are now treated with statins. Recent RCTs testing n-3 against arrhythmias suggest that n-3 reduce the risk only in patients not taking a statin. Other recent RCTs in secondary prevention were negative although, in a post-hoc analysis separating statin users and non-users, non-significant protection of n-3 was observed among statin non-users whereas statin users had no effect. Recent RCTs testing statins - after the implementation of the New Clinical Trial Regulation in 2007 - are negative (or flawed) suggesting that the lack of effect of n-3 cannot be attributed to a parallel protection by statins. Finally, statins favor the metabolism of omega-6 fatty acids (n-6), which in turn inhibits n-3 and, contrary to n-3, they increase insulin resistance and the risk of diabetes. Thus, n-3 and statins are counteractive at several levels and statins appear to inhibit n-3.
....In conclusion, the present analysis raises several major questions regarding the optimal strategy to prevent the development and complications of CVD.
Given the weak (or lack of) efficiency of statins in recent RCTs and their major toxic side-effects, including inhibition of n-3, what should physicians do?
The priority is to adopt a healthy lifestyle, which is the critical strategy to be actually protected [12,13,54,72,73,84,92,154,155]. Should physicians continue to prescribe statins?
Because of the many insidious side-effects of statins and the lack of independent recent data confirming the benefits of statins in both primary and secondary prevention [136,137], we actually need a new and independent re-evaluation of the benefit/risk ratio of statins.
In contrast, and given the almost total innocuousness of n-3 in most populations, n-3 supplements should be given without restriction to any patient potentially n-3 deficient and systematically in all patients with established n-3 deficiency. This will give time to change the dietary habits - the alternative solution to correct any degree of n-3 deficiency [12-14,38,54,80-84] - of these patients at high risk of fatal CVD complications because of n-3 deficiency.
Definitely, it is time to rethink the use of n-3 supplements and statins (and other cholesterol-lowering drugs) for the prevention of CVD complications. Only scientists and physicians free of conflicts of interest and independent from the pharmaceutical industry, both the n-3 supplement and statin industries, should be invited to review the whole story from the beginning.
Source : BMC Medicine
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Study shows prenatal DHA leads to healthier babies Omega-3 leads to increased birth weight and gestational age
A simple, inexpensive nutritional supplement could increase American infants’ birth weight and gestational age closer to those found in other developed countries.
University of Kansas researchers found that the infants of mothers who were given 600 milligrams of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA during pregnancy weighed more at birth and were less likely to be very low birth weight and born before 34 weeks gestation than infants of mothers who were given a placebo, according to a statement from the university. This result greatly strengthens the case for using the dietary supplement during pregnancy, leading to potentially improved neurodevelopment in infants as well as preventing hospitalizations for preterm birth and reducing the associated costs.
“A reduction in early preterm and very low birth weight delivery could have clear clinical and public health significance,” said Susan Carlson, A.J. Rice Professor of Dietetics and Nutrition at the KU Medical Center, who directed the study with John Colombo, KU professor of psychology and director of the Life Span Institute. The study will be published in the April issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and is available online.
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) occurs naturally in cell membranes. Infants obtains DHA from their mother in utero and postnatally from human milk. The amount received depends upon the mother’s DHA status. American women typically consume less DHA than women in most of the developed world.
“We believe that supplementing U.S. women with DHA could safely increase mean birth weight and gestational age to numbers that are closer to other developed countries such as Norway and Australia,” said Carlson.
The results are from the first five years of a 10-year, double-blind, randomized controlled trial. Researchers will follow up with the same group of babies to see if DHA supplementation benefits their intelligence.
Source : NewHope360
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High Fatty Acid Intake Lessens Risk for CHD
Higher levels of omega-6 fatty acid in the blood were associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), results of a nested case-control study found.
Patients with the highest plasma concentration of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids had a significantly lower risk of CHD compared with those who had the lowest concentrations (adjusted OR 0.84 95% CI 0.76 to 0.92, P<0.0001), according to Kay-Tee Khaw, MA, MSc, FRCP, of the University of Cambridge in the U.K., and colleagues.
They also saw a weak but significant relationship between higher blood levels of saturated fatty acids and greater risk of CHD, Khaw and co-authors wrote in the July issue of PLoS Medicine.
The study assessed the relationship between plasma concentrations of various saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids and incident CHD in 2,424 patients -- including 633 fatal incidents -- versus 4,930 patients who were alive and had no cardiovascular disease.
Participants were gathered through the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC)-Norfolk, and included patients, ages 40 to 79 at baseline, from 1993 to 1997 who were followed until 2009 s.
They completed a questionnaire on medical history, smoking, alcohol intake, physical activity, social class, and education. Blood samples were taken at baseline and were evaluated for concentrations of 22 different phospholipid fatty acids.
The types of fatty acids were grouped into six "families:"
- Even chain saturated
- Odd chain saturated
- Omega-6 polyunsaturated
- Omega-3 polyunsaturated
- Trans-fatty acids
Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid concentration had a significant inverse association with risk of developing CHD, as did odd chain saturated fatty acids (RR 0.67, 95% CI 0.54 to 0.80) when comparing those with highest versus lowest concentrations of plasma fatty acid.
There was "no overall significant relationship between total plasma phospholipid fatty acid concentration and CHD," the researchers wrote. However, there was an increased strength and significance of the association between CHD and saturated fatty acids with adjustment for other fatty acid concentrations (OR 1.83, 95% CI 1.37 to 2.46, P<0.0001) for those with the lowest versus highest concentrations of saturated fatty acids.
The risk was "attenuated after adjusting for cholesterol levels, indicating that much of the association between saturated fatty acid and CHD is likely to be mediated through blood cholesterol levels," Martijn Katan, PhD, of the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, wrote in an editor's summary.
Khaw and colleagues also noted that the lack of association with saturated fat intake and CHD was "unsurprising given the large measurement errors in dietary assessment of fat intake through recall errors, ubiquity of fats leading to quantification difficulties, and, critically, huge variability in fatty acid composition of foods such that discrimination between different fats is problematic."
The authors noted several limitations with the study, including a priori hypotheses for main fatty acid family analyses, only measuring the two most common trans-fatty acids, and use of plasma fatty acid measures from one point in time. Katan added that the study was limited by the exclusion of non-diet factors' contributions to changes in plasma fatty acid levels.
Both Katan and the researchers said future research could include an evaluation of biological and health effects on individual fatty acids. The authors also said that future research should include overall fatty acid profiles and balances between fatty acids.
The team concluded that dietary recommendations should evolve to discriminate between individual fatty acids and their interactions with each other and a patient's metabolism.
Primary source: PLoS Medicine
Khaw KT, et al. "Plasma phospholipid fatty acid concentration and incident coronary heart disease in men and women: the EPIC-Norfolk Prospective Study" PLoS Med 2012;9:e1001255.
Source : Medpage Today
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DHA Helps Make Healthier Cholesterol
Many studies associate DHA intake with a reduction in cardiovascular disease, even though DHA is not considered a nutrient that typically lowers cholesterol. A new study in Eskimos proves that DHA intake influences the quality of cholesterol you have, regardless of whether or not you are overweight.
When you get a basic lab test that shows your LDL, HDL, and total cholesterol, it does not show what kind of condition your cholesterol is in. We are learning more and more that quality, both in terms of LDL and HDL, makes a huge difference to the potential for cardiovascular risk. For example, only damaged LDL cholesterol becomes plaque, regardless of the amount of LDL in your blood. Thus, a person with low LDL can readily be making plaque if free radicals or toxins are damaging the LDL they do have.
Cholesterol testing will undoubtedly improve in the next decade or so as we learn more and more about the nature of cholesterol quality, both for LDL and HDL. Some insight into cholesterol quality can be obtained by measuring the size of cholesterol particles. For example, if VLDL (very low density lipoprotein) particles are larger they have a higher tendency to contribute to disease, whereas if HDL particles are larger in size they tend to be of better quality.
In the new study researchers were able to show that DHA intake was linked to healthier cholesterol particles, thus providing novel insights into one way DHA helps reduce cardiovascular disease risk. The intake of this omega-3 essential fatty acid was linked to having fewer VLDL particles, plus the VLDL was smaller in size. DHA contributed to a higher number of HDL (good cholesterol) and the HDL particles were larger.
You need cholesterol, both LDL and HDL, to carry on many important functions in your body. This study means that DHA contributes to having LDL and HDL that is more metabolically fit and less likely to cause health problems.
Source : Wellness Resources
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Reduced Omega-3 Speeds Brain Aging
By Michael Smith,
Reviewed by Dori F. Zaleznik, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston.
Lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with smaller brain volumes and worse cognitive performance, researchers reported.
The structural findings suggest that people with low levels of the nutrients -- found mainly in fish -- have brains that appear to have aged faster than normal, according to Zaldy Tan, MD, of the University of California Los Angeles, and colleagues.
And the cognitive findings suggest they also are likely to lose some of their ability to think abstractly and remember some things, Tan and colleagues reported in the Feb. 28 issue of Neurology.
Lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids are "associated with markers of accelerated structural and cognitive aging," the researchers concluded.
For instance, Tan said in a statement, the lower brain volumes "were equivalent to about two years of structural brain aging."
But he and colleagues cautioned that the findings are based a snapshot study, so there are no measurements of rates of change of either brain volume or cognitive performance.
The two omega-3 fatty acids under study were docosahexaenoic and eicosapentaenoic acid (DHA and EPA, respectively), which have been related to a reduced risk for dementia, the researchers noted.
But there has been no research on any links between the acids and subclinical markers of future dementia, they added.
To help fill the gap, they turned to participants in the long-running Framingham Offspring cohort who had physical examinations from March, 2005 to January, 2008 (including blood sampling to measure omega-3 levels), followed by brain imaging and a neuropsychological assessment.
All told, the study group included 1,575 people with an average age of 67, who were free of dementia at the time.
The researchers analyzed red blood cell levels of DHA and the so-called omega-3 index, defined as the combination of DHA and EPA, seeking associations between omega-3 levels, imaging findings, and results on cognitive tests involving verbal memory, visual memory, executive function, and abstract thinking.
- Participants with DHA in the lowest quartile had significantly lower total brain and greater white matter hyperintensity volumes (P=0.009 and P=0.049, respectively) than those in the higher quartiles.
- The associations with total brain volume persisted in multivariable analyses.
- Lower DHA levels also were associated in multivariable analyses with poorer scores on tests of visual memory, executive function, and abstract thinking. The differences between the lowest quartile and the higher three groups were significant (P=0.008, P=0.004, and P=0.004, respectively).
- Results were similar for the omega-3 index.
- There was no association between levels of DHA or omega-3 index, and verbal memory.
The study was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Institute on Aging. Tan did not report any financial links with industry.
Primary source: Neurology
Tan ZS, et al "Red blood cell omega-3 fatty acid levels and markers of accelerated brain aging" Neurology 2012; 78: 658–664.
- A study of cognitively normal patients in the Framingham Heart Study offspring cohort found smaller brain volumes associated with lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Note that the study was not longitudinal and did not measure change in omega-3 fatty acid levels, brain volume, or cognitive function over time.
Source : MedPage Today
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Omega-3 can help small babies
.Omega-3 fatty acids may have a role in preventing heart attack or strokes in adults who were small at birth, according to University of Sydney researchers.
The findings published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, suggest the use of supplements for the first five years of a child's life may prevent the development of such life-threatening conditions.
"People who were small at birth have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease," said Dr Michael Skilton, lead author of the paper, from the University's Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders.
The definition of small at birth applies to the lowest 10% of birth weights of all babies born in Australiaeach year and no preventative strategy to address their risk has previously been identified.
"The greater degree of risk is partly due to the development, from early childhood, of arterial wall thickening which is an indicator of early atherosclerosis, leading to a build-up of fat and plaque, and hardening of the blood vessels," Dr Skilton said.
The study followed the same subjects as those taking part in the Childhood Asthma Prevention Study - 616 children born at term.
Participants belonged to one of two groups. The omega-3 group received a 500 milligram daily fish oil supplement from the start of bottle-feeding or six months of age until five years of age. They were also supplied with canola-based margarines and cooking oil for the same period.
The control group received a 500 milligram daily sunflower oil supplement from the start of bottle-feeding or from 6 months of age until 5 years of age. They were supplied with omega-6 fatty acid-rich margarines and cooking oil.
At eight-years of age these children were tested for the presence of arterial wall thickening, an indicator of early atherosclerosis associated with later cardiovascular disease.
The children receiving the sunflower supplement had thicker arterial walls if they were small at birth. This was prevented in the children receiving the omega-3 supplement.
"The results of the paper suggest that babies born small may benefit from a daily omega-3 supplement, however further studies are required to confirm this."
Source : ScienceAlert
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Docosahexaenoic acid: A natural powerful adjuvant that improves efficacy for anticancer treatment with no adverse effects.
Siddiqui RA, Harvey KA, Xu Z, Bammerlin EM, Walker C, Altenburg JD
Cellular Biochemistry Laboratory, Indiana University Health, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA; Department of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Epidemiological studies have linked fish oil consumption to a decreased incidence of cancer. The anticancer effects of fish oil are mostly attributed to its content of omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). However, DHA, because of its unique effect of altering membrane composition, is often regarded as the major omega-3 fatty acid involved in anticancer activity. Although use of DHA as an anticancer drug to prevent or treat human cancer in clinical settings has not yet been well established, recent studies suggest that DHA can be very effective as an adjuvant with other anticancer agents. In this article, we present studies that show the role of DHA in improving anticancer drug efficacy. Several in vitro and animal studies suggest that combining DHA with other anticancer agents often improves efficacy of anticancer drugs and also reduces therapy-associated side effects. Incorporation of DHA in cellular membranes improves drug uptake, whereas increased lipid peroxidation is another mechanism for DHA-mediated enhanced efficacy of anticancer drugs. In addition, several intracellular targets including cyclooxygenase-2, nuclear factor kappa B, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, mitogen-activated protein kinase, AKT, and BCL-2/BAX are found to play an important role in DHA-mediated additive or synergistic interaction with anticancer drugs. The data suggest that DHA is a safe, natural compound that can greatly improve the anticancer properties of anticancer drugs. Use of DHA with anticancer treatments provides an avenue to therapeutic improvement that involves less risk or side effects for patients and reduced regulatory burden for implementation.
Source : Biofactors. 2011 Oct 28. doi: 10.1002/biof.181. [Epub ahead of print]
Link to Abstract as above
Eskimo study supports omega-3 for heart health
High intakes of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of obesity-related chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, according to new findings from a study with Alaskan Eskimos.
Yup’ik Eskimos, the most famous indigenous people of the US’ 49th State, have similar obesity rates to the lower 48 states, but the incidence of type-2 diabetes is only 3.3 percent, compared with 7.7 percent nationally.
According to researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, this apparent reduction in diabetes risk is linked to the observation that the Eskimos’ average consumption of omega-3s from fish is 20 times more than people in the lower 48 states.
“While genetic, lifestyle and dietary factors may account for this difference,” said lead author Zeina Makhoul, PhD., “it is reasonable to ask, based on our findings, whether the lower prevalence of diabetes in this population might be attributed, at least in part, to their high consumption of omega-3-rich fish.”
Furthermore, in Eskimos with low blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids, most notably EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), obesity was found to strongly increase blood triglycerides and C-reactive protein (CRP), a measure of inflammation. Elevated levels of triglycerides and CRP increase the risk of heart disease and, possibly, diabetes.
“Interestingly, we found that obese persons with high blood levels of omega-3 fats had triglyceride and CRP concentrations that did not differ from those of normal-weight persons,” added Makhoul. “It appeared that high intakes of omega-3-rich seafood protected Yup’ik Eskios from some of the harmful effects of obesity.”
Returning to the native people of the north
The new study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, echoes findings from the first studies in this area from 40 years ago, carried out by Dr Jørn Dyerberg and his Danish colleagues amongst the Inuit of Greenland. The Danish scientists sought to understand how the Greenland Eskimos, or Inuit, could eat a high fat diet and still have one of the lowest death rates from cardiovascular disease on the planet.
These studies led to landmark publications in The Lancet and The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Since then, the potential benefits of EPA and DHA have extended to include improvements in blood lipid levels, a reduced tendency of thrombosis, blood pressure and heart rate improvements, and improved vascular function.
From Greenland to Alaska
For the new study the researchers recruited 330 Yup’ik with an average age of 45. Seventy percent of the participants were overweight or obese at the start of the study. Yup’ik literally translates as “real people” from the native language.
Analysis of blood samples showed that, while CRP and triglyceride levels were observed in obese Eskimos with low omega-3 blood levels, such increased levels were not observed in people with high blood levels of EPA and DHA.
“Our findings may have important clinical relevance for the prevention of some obesity-related diseases. Obesity prevalence in the US and worldwide has been increasing over the past decades, with subsequent increases in rates of diabetes and other obesity-associated diseases,” wrote the researchers.
“It is likely that these associations are partly mediated by the positive associations of obesity with triglycerides and CRP, two biomarkers that strongly and independently predict risks of CVD and possibly diabetes.
“Chronic, high EPA and DHA intakes, similar to those of Yup’ik Eskimos, could at least partly ameliorate the obesity-associated disease risks,” they added.
The researchers called for a randomized clinical trial to test whether increasing omega-3 fat intake significantly reduces the effects of obesity on inflammation and blood triglycerides.
“If the results of such a trial were positive, it would strongly suggest that omega-3 fats could help prevent obesity-related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes,” she said.
The study was funded by the National Center for Research Resources, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health.
Know your limitations
Harry Rice, PhD, VP regulatory and scientific affairs at the omega-3 trade association Global Organization for EPA and DHA (GOED), told NutraIngredients-USA that the study's results are "exciting given the potential implications for attenuating obesity-related disease risk.
"While the optimal way to reduce obesity-related disease risk would be to decrease BMI via weight loss, the reality is that there are individuals genetically predisposed to obesity. For those people, this research may have far-reaching implications for long-term survival," said Dr Rice.
"Perhaps as equally impressive as the results is the authors' recognition of the study's limitations, including the fact that the associations observed may not be causal and the need to replicate the results in other populations before generalizing. My experience has been that the best scientists are those that best understand their limitations!"
Source Nutraingredients via European Journal of Clinical Nutrition doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2011.39
“Associations of obesity with triglycerides and C-reactive protein are attenuated in adults with high red blood cell eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids”
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