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PQQ, Fiber, Astaxanthin, and Blueberry

April 2016

By Life Extension


Influence of yeast-derived 1,3/1,6 glucopolysaccharide on circulating cytokines and chemokines with respect to upper respiratory tract infections.

OBJECTIVE: Wellmune WGP is a food supplement containing a refined 1,3/1,6 glucopolysaccharide that improves the antimicrobial activity of the innate immune cells by the priming of lectin sites. This study aimed to investigate whether Wellmune decreases the frequency and severity of upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) symptoms over 90 d during the peak URTI season in healthy university students. The secondary aims included an assessment of plasma cytokine and chemokine levels. METHODS: This was a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial lasting 90 d. One hundred healthy individuals (18-65 y old, mean age ~21 y) were randomized to 250 mg of Wellmune once daily or to an identical rice flour-based placebo. Health was recorded daily and two or more reported URTI symptoms for 2 consecutive days triggered a medical assessment and blood collection within 24 h. The URTI symptom severity was monitored. Plasma cytokines and chemokines were measured at day 0, day 90, and during the confirmed URTI. RESULTS: Ninety-seven participants completed the trial (Wellmune, n = 48; placebo, n = 49). The Wellmune tended to decrease the total number of days with URTI symptoms (198 d, 4.6%, versus 241 d, 5.5% in the control group, P = 0.06). The ability to “breathe easily” was significantly improved in the Wellmune group; the other severity scores showed no significant difference. Cytokines and chemokines were not different between the groups at study entry or day 90, but monocyte chemotactic protein-1 was lower in the Wellmune group during the URTI. CONCLUSION: Wellmune may decrease the duration and severity of URTI. Larger studies are needed to demonstrate this.

Nutrition. 2012 Jun;28(6):665-9

Fiber and prebiotics: mechanisms and health benefits.

The health benefits of dietary fiber have long been appreciated. Higher intakes of dietary fiber are linked to less cardiovascular disease and fiber plays a role in gut health, with many effective laxatives actually isolated fiber sources. Higher intakes of fiber are linked to lower body weights. Only polysaccharides were included in dietary fiber originally, but more recent definitions have included oligosaccharides as dietary fiber, not based on their chemical measurement as dietary fiber by the accepted total dietary fiber (TDF) method, but on their physiological effects. Inulin, fructo-oligosaccharides, and other oligosaccharides are included as fiber in food labels in the US. Additionally, oligosaccharides are the best known “prebiotics”, “a selectively fermented ingredient that allows specific changes, both in the composition and/or activity in the gastrointestinal microflora that confers benefits upon host well-bring and health.” To date, all known and suspected prebiotics are carbohydrate compounds, primarily oligosaccharides, known to resist digestion in the human small intestine and reach the colon where they are fermented by the gut microflora. Studies have provided evidence that inulin and oligofructose (OF), lactulose, and resistant starch (RS) meet all aspects of the definition, including the stimulation of Bifidobacterium, a beneficial bacterial genus. Other isolated carbohydrates and carbohydrate-containing foods, including galactooligosaccharides (GOS), transgalactooligosaccharides (TOS), polydextrose, wheat dextrin, acacia gum, psyllium, banana, whole grain wheat, and whole grain corn also have prebiotic effects.

Nutrients. 2013 Apr 22;5(4):1417-35

Long-term treatment of hypercholesterolemia with dietary fiber.

PURPOSE: To evaluate the hypocholesterolemic effects of long-term treatment (36 to 51 weeks) with a mixture of dietary fibers (guar gum, pectin, soy, pea, corn bran) administered twice a day. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Fifty-nine subjects with moderate hypercholesterolemia who completed a 15-week, placebo-controlled study with the dietary fiber were treated for an additional 36 weeks with 20 g/day of fiber. Subjects were counseled and monitored on a National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Step-One Diet before starting and during treatment. Analyses of changes in lipoprotein values during the additional 36 weeks of treatment took into account changes in weight, diet, and other variables that might have affected the response to treatment. RESULTS: There were no significant effects on the levels of either triglycerides or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). Levels of total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and the LDL/HDL ratio were significantly reduced during treatment. The mean percentage reductions from baseline after 51 weeks of treatment were approximately 5% for TC, 9% for LDL-C, and 11% for the LDL/HDL ratio. Changes were apparent after 3 weeks of treatment, with the maximum reductions occurring by the 15th week of treatment. CONCLUSIONS: For subjects on a Step-One Diet who complied with the treatment regimen, the moderate cholesterol-lowering effects of the fiber persisted throughout the 36-to-51 week treatment period.

Am J Med. 1994 Dec;97(6):504-8

Long-term effects of water-soluble dietary fiber in the management of hypercholesterolemia in healthy men and women.

Fifty-one healthy, moderately hypercholesterolemic men and women consuming their usual fat-modified diets completed a 6-month, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel comparison of 15 g/day supplemental water-soluble dietary fiber (WSDF; a mixture of psyllium, pectin, guar gum, and locust bean gum) and an inactive WSDF control (acacia gum). Compliance with the treatments was > 95%, adverse effects were minimal, and body weights remained constant. The WSDF mixture yielded 6.4% and 10.5% reductions in mean plasma total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations, respectively, after 8 weeks, which were sustained at 16 and 24 weeks. Mean plasma high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations were unchanged. No significant changes in mean plasma lipid or lipoprotein concentrations were observed in the control group. These data demonstrate that a WSDF approach to cholesterol management is effective as an adjunct to a fat-modified diet in healthy, moderately hypercholesterolemic men and women.

Am J Cardiol. 1997 Jan 1;79(1):34-7

Health benefits of dietary fiber.

Dietary fiber intake provides many health benefits. However, average fiber intakes for US children and adults are less than half of the recommended levels. Individuals with high intakes of dietary fiber appear to be at significantly lower risk for developing coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases. Increasing fiber intake lowers blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels. Increased intake of soluble fiber improves glycemia and insulin sensitivity in non-diabetic and diabetic individuals. Fiber supplementation in obese individuals significantly enhances weight loss. Increased fiber intake benefits a number of gastrointestinal disorders including the following: gastroesophageal reflux disease, duodenal ulcer, diverticulitis, constipation, and hemorrhoids. Prebiotic fibers appear to enhance immune function. Dietary fiber intake provides similar benefits for children as for adults. The recommended dietary fiber intakes for children and adults are 14 g/1000 kcal. More effective communication and consumer education is required to enhance fiber consumption from foods or supplements.

Nutr Rev. 2009 Apr;67(4):188-205

Supplementation with dietary fiber improves fecal incontinence.

BACKGROUND: Human studies have shown that dietary fiber affects stool composition and consistency. Because fecal incontinence has been shown to be exacerbated by liquid stools or diarrhea, management strategies that make stool consistency less loose or liquid may be useful. OBJECTIVE: To compare the effects of a fiber supplement containing psyllium, gum arabic, or a placebo in community-living adults who were incontinent of loose or liquid stools. Mechanisms underlying these effects (e.g., fermentation of the fibers and water-holding capacity of stools) were examined. METHODS: Thirty-nine persons with fecal incontinence of loose or liquid stools prospectively recorded diet intake and stool characteristics and collected their stools for 8 days prior to and at the end of a 31-day fiber supplementation period. During the fiber supplementation period, they ingested psyllium, gum arabic, or a placebo by random assignment. RESULTS: In the baseline period, the groups were comparable on all variables measured. In the fiber supplementation period, (a) the proportion of incontinent stools of the groups ingesting the fiber supplements was less than half that of the group ingesting the placebo, (b) the placebo group had the greatest percentage of stools that were loose/unformed or liquid, and (c) the psyllium group had the highest water-holding capacity of water-insoluble solids and total water-holding capacity. The supplements of dietary fiber appeared to be completely fermented by the subjects as indicated by nonsignificant differences in total fiber, short chain fatty acids and pH in stools among the groups in the baseline or fiber supplementation periods. CONCLUSIONS: Supplementation with dietary fiber from psyllium or gum arabic was associated with a decrease in the percentage of incontinent stools and an improvement of stool consistency. Improvements in fecal incontinence or stool consistency did not appear to be related to unfermented dietary fiber.

Nurs Res. 2001 Jul-Aug;50(4):203-13

Soluble or insoluble fibre in irritable bowel syndrome in primary care? Randomised placebo controlled trial.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the effectiveness of increasing the dietary content of soluble fibre (psyllium) or insoluble fibre (bran) in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. DESIGN: Randomised controlled trial. SETTING: General practice. PARTICIPANTS: 275 patients aged 18-65 years with irritable bowel syndrome. INTERVENTIONS: 12 weeks of treatment with 10 g psyllium (n=85), 10 g bran (n=97), or 10 g placebo (rice flour) (n=93). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary end point was adequate symptom relief during at least two weeks in the previous month, analysed after one, two, and three months of treatment to assess both short term and sustained effectiveness. Secondary end points included irritable bowel syndrome symptom severity score, severity of abdominal pain, and irritable bowel syndrome quality of life scale. RESULTS: The proportion of responders was significantly greater in the psyllium group than in the placebo group during the first month (57% v 35%; relative risk 1.60, 95% confidence interval 1.13 to 2.26) and the second month of treatment (59% v 41%; 1.44, 1.02 to 2.06). Bran was more effective than placebo during the third month of treatment only (57% v 32%; 1.70, 1.12 to 2.57), but this was not statistically significant in the worst case analysis (1.45, 0.97 to 2.16). After three months of treatment, symptom severity in the psyllium group was reduced by 90 points, compared with 49 points in the placebo group (P=0.03) and 58 points in the bran group (P=0.61 versus placebo). No differences were found with respect to quality of life. Fifty four (64%) of the patients allocated to psyllium, 54 (56%) in the bran group, and 56 (60%) in the placebo group completed the three month treatment period. Early dropout was most common in the bran group; the main reason was that the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome worsened. CONCLUSIONS: Psyllium offers benefits in patients with irritable bowel syndrome in primary care.

BMJ. 2009 Aug 27;339:b3154

Dietary fiber intake and mortality in the NIH-AARP diet and health study.

BACKGROUND: Dietary fiber has been hypothesized to lower the risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. However, little is known of the effect of dietary fiber intake on total death and cause-specific deaths. METHODS: We examined dietary fiber intake in relation to total mortality and death from specific causes in the NIH (National Institutes of Health)-AARP Diet and Health Study, a prospective cohort study. Diet was assessed using a food-frequency questionnaire at baseline. Cause of death was identified using the National Death Index Plus. Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate relative risks and 2-sided 95% confidence intervals (CIs). RESULTS: During an average of 9 years of follow-up, we identified 20 126 deaths in men and 11 330 deaths in women. Dietary fiber intake was associated with a significantly lowered risk of total death in both men and women (multivariate relative risk comparing the highest with the lowest quintile, 0.78 [95% CI, 0.73-0.82; P for trend, <.001] in men and 0.78 [95% CI, 0.73-0.85; P for trend, <.001] in women). Dietary fiber intake also lowered the risk of death from cardiovascular, infectious, and respiratory diseases by 24% to 56% in men and by 34% to 59% in women. Inverse association between dietary fiber intake and cancer death was observed in men but not in women. Dietary fiber from grains, but not from other sources, was significantly inversely related to total and cause-specific death in both men and women. CONCLUSIONS: Dietary fiber may reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular, infectious, and respiratory diseases. Making fiber-rich food choices more often may provide significant health benefits.

Arch Intern Med. 2011 Jun 27;171(12):1061-8

Guar gum. A review of its pharmacological properties, and use as a dietary adjunct in hypercholesterolaemia.

Guar gum is a dietary fibre advocated for use in lowering serum total cholesterol levels in patients with hypercholesterolaemia. Its mechanism of action is proposed to be similar to that of the bile-sequestering resins. Although guar gum is also employed as an adjunct in non-insulin-dependent diabetic patients this review is restricted to its efficacy as a hypolipidaemic agent. Clinical trials indicate that, when used alone, guar gum may reduce serum total cholesterol by 10 to 15%, although some studies show no significant response. An attenuation of this effect during longer term treatment has been seen but evidence of this effect is equivocal. As an adjunct to established therapies (bezafibrate, lovastatin or gemfibrozil) guar gum has shown some promise: it may produce a further reduction in total cholesterol of about 10% in patients not responding adequately to these drugs alone. Gastrointestinal effects, notably flatulence, occur relatively frequently and may be considered unacceptable by some patients. Standardization of formulations and methods of administration of guar gum is required to clarify its pharmacological and clinical properties. Thus, on the basis of presently available evidence guar gum as monotherapy may be considered at most modestly effective in reducing serum cholesterol levels. Nonetheless, further investigation of guar gum is warranted, particularly its use as an adjunct to produce additional reductions in serum cholesterol in patients not responding optimally to other lipid-lowering agents.

Drugs. 1990 Jun;39(6):917-28