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Life Extension Magazine

Metabolic Syndrome

December 2005

The nutritional phenotype in the age of metabolomics.

The concept of the nutritional phenotype is proposed as a defined and integrated set of genetic, proteomic, metabolomic, functional, and behavioral factors that, when measured, form the basis for assessment of human nutritional status. The nutritional phenotype integrates the effects of diet on disease/wellness and is the quantitative indication of the paths by which genes and environment exert their effects on health. Advances in technology and in fundamental biological knowledge make it possible to define and measure the nutritional phenotype accurately in a cross section of individuals with various states of health and disease. This growing base of data and knowledge could serve as a resource for all scientific disciplines involved in human health. Nutritional sciences should be a prime mover in making key decisions that include: what environmental inputs (in addition to diet) are needed; what genes/proteins/metabolites should be measured; what end-point phenotypes should be included; and what informatics tools are available to ask nutritionally relevant questions. Nutrition should be the major discipline establishing how the elements of the nutritional phenotype vary as a function of diet. Nutritional sciences should also be instrumental in linking the elements that are responsive to diet with the functional outcomes in organisms that derive from them. As the first step in this initiative, a prioritized list of genomic, proteomic, and metabolomic as well as functional and behavioral measures that defines a practically useful subset of the nutritional phenotype for use in clinical and epidemiological investigations must be developed. From this list, analytic platforms must then be identified that are capable of delivering highly quantitative data on these endpoints. This conceptualization of a nutritional phenotype provides a concrete form and substance to the recognized future of nutritional sciences as a field addressing diet, integrated metabolism, and health.

J Nutr. 2005 Jul;135(7):1613-6

Does C-reactive protein identify a subclinical metabolic disease in healthy subjects?

BACKGROUND: Highly sensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) levels are significant predictors of subsequent diabetes and metabolic syndrome (MS). Owing the strong correlations between components of the MS and obesity with hs-CRP levels, previous studies about the associations of hs-CRP with insulin resistance might have been confounded by the inclusion of overweight or dysmetabolic subjects. DESIGN: Our aim was to evaluate the associations between hs-CRP levels and fasting insulin and insulin resistance (evaluated by the Homeostasis Model Assessment: HOMA IR) in a subgroup of subjects with normal body mass index (BMI) and without any metabolic abnormalities. Out of a cohort of 1,658 middle-aged subjects, representative of the local sanitary districts of the province of Asti (north-western Italy) enrolled for metabolic screening: 241 (14.5%) showed normal BMI, glucose tolerance, blood pressure and waist values and no dyslipidaemia. RESULTS: In this subgroup of subjects, those with hs-CRP levels > or = 3 mg L(-1) showed significantly higher median insulin and HOMA-IR values (respectively: 20.4 vs. 6.0 pmol L(-1), and 0.8 vs. 0.2 microU mL(-1)x mmol L(-1)). In a multiple regression model, insulin and insulin resistance remained significantly and independently related to hs-CRP levels, after adjustments for age, sex, BMI, waist, alcohol consumption, level of physical activity and smoking habits. Very f ew individuals within lower fasting insulin quartiles showed hs-CRP values > or = 3 mg L(-1) when compared with approximately 60% of those within the highest quartile. CONCLUSIONS: The novel finding is that a state of low-grade systemic inflammation is present in normal BMI subjects who show subclinical insulin resistance but no other metabolic abnormalities.

Eur J Clin Invest. 2005 Apr;35(4):265-70

Endogenous sex hormones and metabolic syndrome in aging men.

BACKGROUND: Sex hormone levels in men change during aging. These changes may be associated with insulin sensitivity and the metabolic syndrome. METHODS: We studied the association between endogenous sex hormones and characteristics of the metabolic syndrome in 400 independently living men between 40 and 80 yr of age in a cross-sectional study. Serum concentrations of lipids, glucose, insulin, total testosterone (TT), SHBG, estradiol (E2), and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) were measured. Bioavailable testosterone (BT) was calculated using TT and SHBG. Body height, weight, waist-hip circumference, blood pressure, and physical activity were assessed. Smoking and alcohol consumption was estimated from self-report. The metabolic syndrome was defined according to the National Cholesterol Education Program definition, and insulin sensitivity was calculated by use of the quantitative insulin sensitivity check index. RESULTS: Multiple logistic regression analyses showed an inverse relationship according to 1 sd increase for circulating TT [odds ratio (OR) = 0.43; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.32-0.59], BT (OR = 0.62; 95% CI, 0.46-0.83), SHBG (OR = 0.46; 95% CI, 0.33-0.64), and DHEA-S (OR = 0.76; 95% CI, 0.56-1.02) with the metabolic syndrome. Each sd increase in E2 levels was not significantly associated with the metabolic syndrome (OR = 1.16; 95% CI, 0.92-1.45). Linear regression analyses showed that higher TT, BT, and SHBG levels were related to higher insulin sensitivity; beta-coefficients (95% CI) were 0.011 (0.008-0.015), 0.005 (0.001-0.009), and 0.013 (0.010-0.017), respectively, whereas no effects were found for DHEA-S and E2. Estimates were adjusted for age, smoking, alcohol consumption, and physical activity score. Further adjustment for insulin levels and body composition measurements attenuated the estimates, and the associations were similar in the group free of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. CONCLUSIONS: Higher testosterone and SHBG levels in aging males are independently associated with a higher insulin sensitivity and a reduced risk of the metabolic syndrome, independent of insulin levels and body composition measurements, suggesting that these hormones may protect against the development of metabolic syndrome.

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 May;90(5):2618-23

Green coffee bean extract improves human vasoreactivity.

Our previous study revealed the antihypertensive effects of green coffee bean extract (GCE) ingestion in spontaneously hypertensive rats. We suggested that this antihypertensive action was due to the fact that GCE contains chlorogenic acid (CQA) as a major phenolic compound, and CQA in turn contains ferulic acid as a metabolic component that acts on nitric oxide (NO) derived from the vascular endothelium. In this study, the effects of GCE on blood vessels were evaluated in healthy males. The subjects were 20 healthy males with reduced vasodilation responses measured by strain gauge plethysmograms (SPG) to ischemic reactive hyperemia. Of the 20 subjects, 10 (mean age, 37.2 years) ingested a test drink containing GCE (CQA: 140 mg/day), and the other 10 (mean age, 34.8 years) ingested a placebo drink for 4 months. During the ingestion period, SPG, pulse wave velocity (PWV), and serum biochemical parameters were measured, and acceleration plethysmograms (APG) were taken. The reactive hyperemia ratio (RHR) in the test drink group began to increase after ingestion for 1 month and was significantly higher (p <0.05) than that in the placebo group after ingestion for 3 months and 4 months. In addition, after ingestion for 4 months, the test drink group showed a significant decrease (p <0.01) in the plasma total homocysteine level compared with the pre-ingestion level. However, there were no significant differences in PWV or APG between the test drink group and the placebo drink group. The improvement in RHR after ingestion of a drink containing GCE suggested an improvement in vasoreactivity by this component.

Hypertens Res. 2004 Oct;27(10):731-7

A chlorogenic acid-induced increase in GLP-1 production may mediate the impact of heavy coffee consumption on diabetes risk.

Recent prospective epidemiology links heavy coffee consumption to a substantial reduction in risk for type 2 diabetes. Yet there is no evidence that coffee improves insulin sensitivity and, at least in acute studies, caffeine has a negative impact in this regard. Thus, it is reasonable to suspect that coffee influences the risk for beta cell "failure" that precipitates diabetes in subjects who are already insulin resistant. Indeed, there is recent evidence that coffee increases production of the incretin hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), possibly owing to an inhibitory effect of chlorogenic acid (CGA -- the chief polyphenol in coffee) on glucose absorption. GLP-1 acts on beta cells, via cAMP-dependent mechanisms, to promote the synthesis and activity of the transcription factor IDX-1, crucial for maintaining the responsiveness of beta cells to an increase in plasma glucose. Conversely, the "glucolipotoxicity" thought to initiate and sustain beta cell dysfunction in diabetics can suppress expression of this transcription factor. The increased production of GLP-1 associated with frequent coffee consumption could thus be expected to counteract the adverse impact of chronic free fatty acid overexposure on beta cell function in overweight insulin resistant subjects. CGA's putative impact on glucose absorption may reflect the ability of this compound to inhibit glucose-6-phosphate translocase 1, now known to play a role in intestinal glucose transport. Delayed glucose absorption may itself protect beta cells by limiting postprandial hyperglycemia -- though, owing to countervailing effects of caffeine on plasma glucose, and a paucity of relevant research studies, it is still unclear whether coffee ingestion blunts the postprandial rise in plasma glucose. More generally, diets high in "lente carbohydrate", or administration of nutraceuticals/pharmaceuticals which slow the absorption of dietary carbohydrate, should help preserve efficient beta cell function by boosting GLP-1 production, as well as by blunting the glucotoxic impact of postprandial hyperglycemia on beta cell function.

Med Hypotheses. 2005;64(4):848-53

Coffee acutely modifies gastrointestinal hormone secretion and glucose tolerance in humans: glycemic effects of chlorogenic acid and caffeine.

BACKGROUND: Accumulating evidence suggests that certain dietary polyphenols have biological effects in the small intestine that alter the pattern of glucose uptake. Their effects, however, on glucose tolerance in humans are unknown. OBJECTIVE: The objective was to investigate whether chlorogenic acids in coffee modulate glucose uptake and gastrointestinal hormone and insulin secretion in humans. DESIGN: In a 3-way, randomized, crossover study, 9 healthy fasted volunteers consumed 25 g glucose in either 400 mL water (control) or 400 mL caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee (equivalent to 2.5 mmol chlorogenic acid/L). Blood samples were taken frequently over the following 3 h. RESULTS: Glucose and insulin concentrations tended to be higher in the first 30 min after caffeinated coffee consumption than after consumption of decaffeinated coffee or the control (P < 0.05 for total and incremental area under the curve for glucose and insulin). Glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide secretion decreased throughout the experimental period (P < 0.005), and glucagon-like peptide 1 secretion increased 0-120 min postprandially (P < 0.01) after decaffeinated coffee consumption compared with the control. Glucose and insulin profiles were consistent with the known metabolic effects of caffeine. However, the gastrointestinal hormone profiles were consistent with delayed intestinal glucose absorption. CONCLUSIONS: Differences in plasma glucose, insulin, and gastrointestinal hormone profiles further confirm the potent biological action of caffeine and suggest that chlorogenic acid might have an antagonistic effect on glucose transport. Therefore, a novel function of some dietary phenols in humans may be to attenuate intestinal glucose absorption rates and shift the site of glucose absorption to more distal parts of the intestine.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Oct;78(4):728-33

The metabolic syndrome.

The metabolic syndrome is a common metabolic disorder that results from the increasing prevalence of obesity. The disorder is defined in various ways, but in the near future a n ew definition(s) will be applicable worldwide. The pathophysiology seems to be largely attributable to insulin resistance with excessive flux of fatty acids implicated. A proinflammatory state probably contributes to the syndrome. The increased risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease demands therapeutic attention for those at high risk. The fundamental approach is weight reduction and increased physical activity; however, drug treatment could be appropriate for diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk reduction.

Lancet. 2005 Apr 16-22;365(9468):1415-28

Vitamins for chronic disease prevention in adults: scientific review.

CONTEXT: Although vitamin deficiency is encountered infrequently in developed countries, inadequate intake of several vitamins is associated with chronic disease. OBJECTIVE: To revi ew the clinically important vitamins with regard to their biological effects, food sources, deficiency syndromes, potential for toxicity, and relationship to chronic disease. DATA SOURCES AND STUDY SELECTION: We searched MEDLINE for English-language articles about vitamins in relation to chronic diseases and their references published from 1966 through January 11, 2002. DATA EXTRACTION: We revi ewed articles jointly for the most clinically important information, emphasizing randomized trials where available. DATA SYNTHESIS: Our revi ew of 9 vitamins showed that elderly people, vegans, alcohol-dependent individuals, and patients with malabsorption are at higher risk of inadequate intake or absorption of several vitamins. Excessive doses of vitamin A during early pregnancy and fat-soluble vitamins taken anytime may result in adverse outcomes. Inadequate folate status is associated with neural tube defect and some cancers. Folate and vitamins B(6) and B(12) are required for homocysteine metabolism and are associated with coronary heart disease risk. Vitamin E and lycopene may decrease the risk of prostate cancer. Vitamin D is associated with decreased occurrence of fractures when taken with calcium. CONCLUSIONS: Some groups of patients are at higher risk for vitamin deficiency and suboptimal vitamin status. Many physicians may be unaware of common food sources of vitamins or unsure which vitamins they should recommend for their patients. Vitamin excess is possible with supplementation, particularly for fat-soluble vitamins. Inadequate intake of several vitamins has been linked to chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis

JAMA. 2002 Jun 19;287(23):3116-26