In The NewsDecember 2018
Omega-3 Fatty Acid Dose May Have a Significant Impact on Potential Benefits of Supplementation in Diabetics
The largest recent summary of clinical trials of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in patients with diabetes found that it has multiple beneficial effects that reduce risk for cardiovascular disease, including improvement of blood lipid profiles, reduction of inflammatory markers, and better control of blood sugar.
Other meta-analyses on the subject have failed to demonstrate a benefit, leading to disagreement over whether omega-3 supplementation truly has a protective effect.
However, an expert commentary published in Cardiovascular Diabetology suggests that those studies that have failed to find a benefit may have suffered from inadequate dosing of the omega-3 fatty acids, diluting the benefits seen in other studies with higher doses.*
The authors suggest that trials utilizing daily doses below 1,000 mg were inadequate to show a benefit. They propose that consistent benefits in reducing risk factors for heart and blood vessel disease will be found only with dosing of 2,000 mg or higher.
Editor’s Note: While awaiting the results of ongoing trials utilizing higher doses of omega-3s, there is reason to believe that dose has an important impact on the potential benefits of supplementation. Intake of over 2,000 mg daily of EPA/DHA appears most likely to have a significant protective effect against cardiovascular disease.
*Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2018 Aug 28;17(1):119.
Widespread Testosterone Deficiency and Disease Risk
A recent study documents a high prevalence of testosterone deficiency in a sample of U.S. men, which was associated with a greater risk of multiple diseases.*
The study included 2,161 men enrolled in the 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
“Previous studies used clinical cohorts that were not reflective of the current male population in the United States,” said lead author Mark Peterson, PhD, MS.
There was a significantly greater risk of having two or more chronic conditions (type II diabetes, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, stroke, pulmonary disease, high triglycerides, high cholesterol, hypertension or clinical depression) among testosterone-deficient men in the same age groups who were not deficient.
Editor’s Note: “We also found a large dose-response relationship between the age-specific low total testosterone and moderate total testosterone levels and multimorbidity, even after adjusting for obesity and muscle strength capacity,” Dr. Peterson added. “Which means that men should be concerned about declining total testosterone, even if it has not reached a level to warrant a clinical diagnosis.”
* Sci Rep. 2018 Apr 12;8(1):5897.
Vitamin D Aids Malnourished Children
Recent trial findings suggest that treating malnourished children with high-dose vitamin D supplements could improve weight gain and language and motor skill development, all of which are adversely affected by poor nutrition.*
The trial included 185 severely malnourished Pakistani children between the ages of six and 58 months who were treated with a high-energy diet for eight weeks. At two and four weeks the children received 200,000 IU of vitamin D3 or a placebo.
At the end of the trial, children who had received vitamin D gained an average of 0.57 pounds more than those in the placebo group. The vitamin D-treated group also had fewer members with delayed motor, language, and global development.
“High-dose vitamin D significantly boosted weight gain in malnourished children,” concluded lead author Javeria Saleem.
Editor’s Note: “This is the first clinical trial in humans to show that vitamin D can affect brain development, lending weight to the idea that vitamin D has important effects on the central nervous system,” announced senior author Adrian Martineau of Queen Mary University of London. “Further trials in other settings are now needed to see whether our findings can be reproduced elsewhere.”
* Am J Clin Nutr. 2018 May;107(5):725-733.
Green Tea Could Benefit Arteries
A report in the Journal of Biological Chemistry suggests that the green tea compound epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) could help dissolve atherosclerotic plaque associated with heart attack and stroke.*
The compound is currently under investigation for its ability to reduce amyloid plaque in the brain, which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers at Lancaster University and the University of Leeds found that EGCG binds to the amyloid fibers of apolipoprotein A-1 (apoA-1), which can form amyloid deposits in arterial plaques like those that occur in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. These deposits enlarge plaque and make it less stable, which increases the risk of cardiovascular events.
The binding of EGCG to apoA-1 amyloid fibers results in the conversion of the fibers to smaller soluble molecules that are less damaging.
Editor’s Note: “The findings of this round of studies are very encouraging,” commented report coauthor Professor Sheena Radford, who is the Director of the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology at the University of Leeds.
* J Biol Chem. 2018 Aug 17;293(33):12877-12893.