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Blackcurrant nectar shows exercise benefits for college students: Study
University of the Incarnate Word, September 14, 2022
Daily consumption of blackcurrant nectar for eight days may reduce muscle damage and inflammation after exercise, according to a new study from scientists at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas.
Sixteen ounces per day of the blackcurrant nectar were associated with reductions in the activity of creatine kinase, a blood marker of muscle damage, by 6.7%, compared to 82% increases in activity in the placebo group 48 hours after exercise, report the researchers in the Journal of Dietary Supplements .
Researchers led by Alexander Hutchison, PhD, also report that levels of the inflammatory compound interleukin-6 decreased after exercise in participants in the blackcurrant group, compared with increases seen in the placebo group.
“In partial support of our primary hypotheses, we found that consumption of black currant nectar for four days before and three days after a bout of eccentric leg exercise significantly reduced circulating markers of muscle damage while maintaining circulating antioxidant capacity,” they wrote in their paper. “Although pain scores in the blackcurrant nectar group returned to baseline a day earlier than the placebo group, there were no significant differences observed between groups at any time point after exercise.
The study included 16 college students randomly assigned to consumer either the blackcurrant nectar beverage (CurrantC provided by CropPharms from Staatsburg, NY) or placebo twice a day for eight days. On day 4 the participants performed a bout of knee extension exercises, and blood samples taken 24, 48, and 96 hours after the exercise.
Results showed that ORAC levels in the blood significantly decreased in the placebo group, while no significant decreases from the baseline values were observed in the blackcurrant group. In addition, significant differences between the groups were observed for IL-6 levels 24 hours after exercise, while significant differences were observed in creatine kinase activity between the groups after 48 and 96 hours..
How does what we eat affect our health span and longevity? It’s a complex, dynamic system
Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, September 21, 2022
How does what we eat affect how we age? The answer to this relatively concise question is unavoidably complex, according to a new study at the Butler Columbia Aging Center at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. The findings are published online in the journal BMC Biology.
While most analyses had been concerned with the effects of a single nutrient on a single outcome, a conventional, unidimensional approach to understanding the effects of diet on health and aging no longer provides us with the full picture: A healthy diet must be considered based on the balance of ensembles of nutrients, rather than by optimizing a series of nutrients one at a time. Until now little was known about how normal variation in dietary patterns in humans affects the aging process.
“”This study therefore provides further support to the importance of looking beyond ‘a single nutrient at a time’ as the one size fits all response to the age-old question of how to live a long and healthy life.” Cohen also points that the results are also concordant with numerous studies highlighting the need for increased protein intake in older people, in particular, to offset sarcopenia and decreased physical performance associated with aging.
The researchers analyzed data from 1,560 older men and women, aged 67-84 years selected randomly from the Montreal, Laval, or Sherbrooke areas in Quebec, Canada, who were re-examined annually for three years and followed over four years to assess on a large scale how nutrient intake associates with the aging process.
Aging and age-related loss of homeostasis (physiological dysregulation) were quantified via the integration of blood biomarkers. The effects of diet used the geometric framework for nutrition, applied to macronutrients and 19 micronutrients/nutrient subclasses. Researchers fitted a series of eight models exploring different nutritional predictors and adjusted for income, education level, age, physical activity, number of comorbidities, sex, and current smoking status.
Four broad patterns were observed:
The optimal level of nutrient intake was dependent on the aging metric used. Elevated protein intake improved/depressed some aging parameters, whereas elevated carbohydrate levels improved/depressed others;
There were cases where intermediate levels of nutrients performed well for many outcomes (i.e. arguing against a simple more/less is better perspective);
There is broad tolerance for nutrient intake patterns that don’t deviate too much from norms (“homeostatic plateaus”).
Optimal levels of one nutrient often depend on levels of another (e.g. vitamin E and vitamin C). Simpler analytical approaches are insufficient to capture such associations.
Mediterranean diet could play a key role in preventing cognitive decline
Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University, September 20, 2022
Individuals of minoritized ethnic or racial groups are often underrepresented in research, thus hindering the understanding of risk factors and the efficacy of treatments for diseases in these minoritized groups.
A recent study published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia found that the levels of six plasma metabolites were associated with lower cognitive function across all racial/ethnic groups, and the levels of most of these blood metabolites were associated with adherence to a Mediterranean diet.
Speaking to Medical News Today, the study’s corresponding author Dr. Tamar Sofer, a professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard University, said:
“We identified a few metabolites (small molecules) in blood that their levels are correlated with cognitive function, and they are all related to diet.
Characterizing metabolites associated with cognitive function can help researchers understand the mechanisms underlying the development of dementia. Moreover, blood metabolites can be easily measured and could serve as biomarkers for cognitive function.
A previous study involving older Puerto Rican individuals showed that the levels of 13 blood metabolites were associated with global cognitive function, which is a composite measure of multiple cognitive abilities.
Metabolite levels are influenced by the interplay between genetics, health status, and environmental factors, including diet, other lifestyle factors, and socioeconomic factors, which may differ among and even within ethnic/racial groups.
The meta-analysis showed that six blood metabolites were associated with lower cognitive function across all ethnic/racial groups. Four out of the six metabolites associated with overall cognitive function were sugars, including glucose, ribitol, mannose, and mannitol/sorbitol.
Out of the six metabolites, the analysis revealed a potential causal effect of only ribitol on cognitive function.
The researchers also assessed the association between dietary habits, including adherence to a Mediterranean diet and intake of food groups (i.e. intake of legumes, fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, etc.), and blood metabolite levels.
They found that adhering to a Mediterranean diet or its component food groups was correlated with several blood metabolites assessed in the study.
Notably, the strongest association was observed between beta-cryptoxanthin and fruit intake participants.
Beta-cryptoxanthin is a carotenoid with antioxidant properties found in fruits and vegetables, and beta-cryptoxanthin levels are associated with a lower risk of insulin resistance and liver dysfunction.
“[T]his study is a step in the right direction in relation to examining the role of diet and the body’s metabolism for brain health. It provides suggestive evidence that adherence to a good diet such as the Mediterranean style diet may be beneficial for brain health over a wide age range.”
Indigo Rose Tomatoes Contain An Antioxidant That Fights Diabetes, Cancer and Neurodegenerative Diseases
Oregon State University, September 15, 2022
Not only do dark tomatoes turn heads, but they are also healthier than normal red varieties, according to plant scientists. Indigo Rose Tomatoes were cultivated by breeding red and purple tomato plants, and are being heralded as a new superfood with potent antioxidants.
Scientists bred purple tomatoes containing anthocyanin, an antioxidant said to help fight several diseases, with normal red varieties.
‘There are some dark coloured tomatoes but Indigo Rose is the only real black tomato and is the darkest that has ever been bred. “It’s not genetically modified or GMO-based as many assume,” said Botanist Marjorie Varga. “People often get confused between GMO and hybridization which farmers have been using to cultivate new plant varieties for thousands of years.”
“It is the first improved tomato variety in the world that has anthocyanins in its fruit,” he said.
Myers’ team found some tomatoes with purple pigmentation and tests revealed that anthocyanins were providing the colour, the same as blueberries. They crossed the purple tomatoes with some wild tomatoes and eventually came up with a black strain.
Foot massage effective in improving sleep quality and anxiety in postmenopausal women
Çankiri Karatekin University (Turkey), September 21, 2022
The therapeutic benefits of massage have long been recognized. A new study suggests that foot massage, in particular, can help minimize a number of common menopause symptoms, including sleep disruption, effectively extending sleep duration by an average of an hour per day. Study results are published online today in Menopause.
During the menopause transition, estrogen deficiency can lead to a number of physical and mental health problems, including insomnia, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, headaches and anxiety. Although hot flashes and negative moods commonly seen in in the menopause transition often improve, conditions such as sleep complaints and vaginal dryness tend to persist or worsen over time.
Previous studies have suggested that foot reflexology is an effective intervention in reducing stress and fatigue in premenopausal women. However, no previous studies were found that evaluated the effects of foot massage on anxiety, fatigue and sleep at the same time in postmenopausal women.
In this new, small-scale study, researchers specifically sought to evaluate the effects of foot massage on anxiety, fatigue and sleep in postmenopausal women. Study results determined that foot massage applied during menopause increases the average daily sleep duration—as much as an hour per day—and reduces women’s fatigue and anxiety levels.
“Sleep disturbances, fatigue and anxiety symptoms are common during menopause. This small study in Turkish women shows how a simple, inexpensive intervention such as foot massage can improve these bothersome symptoms in postmenopausal women.
Lack of sleep negatively impacts immune stem cells, increasing risk of inflammatory disorders and heart disease
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, September 21, 2022
Chronic insufficient sleep can negatively affect immune cells, which may lead to inflammatory disorders and cardiovascular disease, according to a new study from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. More specifically, consistently losing an hour and a half of sleep a night potentially increases the risk.
The research, published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, is the first to show that sleep alters the structure of DNA inside the immune stem cells that produce white blood cells—also known as immune cells—and this can have a long-lasting impact on inflammation and contribute to inflammatory diseases. Immune cells fight infection, but if the number of these cells gets too high, they overreact and cause inflammation. The study is also the first to show that catching up on sleep doesn’t reverse the effects of sleep disruption.
“This study begins to identify the biological mechanisms that link sleep and immunological health over the long-term. It shows that in humans and mice, disrupted sleep has a profound influence on the programming of immune cells and rate of their production, causing them to lose their protective effects and actually make infections worse—and these changes are long-lasting. This is important because it is yet another key observation that sleep reduces inflammation and, conversely, that sleep interruption increases inflammation,” says lead author Filip Swirski, Ph.D., Director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute at Icahn Mount Sinai.
“This work emphasizes the importance of adults consistently sleeping seven to eight hours a day to help prevent inflammation and disease, especially for those with underlying medical conditions.”
A team of investigators analyzed 14 healthy adults who regularly sleep eight hours a night. First, researchers monitored them sleeping at least eight hours a night for six weeks. They drew their blood and analyzed their immune cells. Then, the same group of adults reduced their sleep time by 90 minutes every night for six weeks, and had their blood and immune cells reanalyzed.
At the end of the study researchers compared the blood and cell samples from the full night’s sleep and restricted sleep periods. All participants had significant changes in their immune cells (also known as hematopoietic cells) due to a lack of sleep—there were more of them, and the DNA structure was altered. After six weeks of sleep restriction, they had an increased number of immune cells.
Results in humans showed that fragmented sleep had significant changes to their immune stem cells, producing an increased number of immune cells, and also showed evidence of rewiring and reprogramming. A notable finding from the mouse group was that even after sleep recovery, the immune stem cells retained this rewiring structure, and they continued to produce additional white blood cells, making the mice susceptible to inflammation and disease.
“Our findings suggest that sleep recovery is not able to fully reverse the effects of poor-quality sleep. We can detect a molecular imprint of insufficient sleep in immune stem cells, even after weeks of recovery sleep. This molecular imprint can cause the cells to respond in inappropriate ways leading to inflammation and disease,” says co-lead investigator Cameron McAlpine, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) at Icahn Mount Sinai.