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The importance of chronic low-grade inflammation in the pathology of numerous age-related chronic conditions is now clear. An unresolved inflammatory response is likely to be involved from the early stages of disease development. The present position paper is the most recent in a series produced by the International Life Sciences Institute's European Branch (ILSI Europe). It is co-authored by the speakers from a 2013 workshop led by the Obesity and Diabetes Task Force entitled ‘Low-grade inflammation, a high-grade challenge: biomarkers and modulation by dietary strategies’. The latest research in the areas of acute and chronic inflammation and cardiometabolic, gut and cognitive health is presented along with the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying inflammation–health/disease associations. The evidence relating diet composition and early-life nutrition to inflammatory status is reviewed. Human epidemiological and intervention data are thus far heavily reliant on the measurement of inflammatory markers in the circulation, and in particular cytokines in the fasting state, which are recognised as an insensitive and highly variable index of tissue inflammation. Potential novel kinetic and integrated approaches to capture inflammatory status in humans are discussed. Such approaches are likely to provide a more discriminating means of quantifying inflammation–health/disease associations, and the ability of diet to positively modulate inflammation and provide the much needed evidence to develop research portfolios that will inform new product development and associated health claims.
Fruit antioxidants have many health benefits including prevention of cancer development. The native Australian bush fruit Illawarra plum (Podocarpus elatus Endl., Podocarpaceae) has a high content of anthocyanin-rich phenolics, with an antioxidant capacity at levels higher than most fruits. In the present study the molecular mechanisms of the anti-proliferative activity of Illawarra plum on colorectal cancer cells were investigated. Non-tumorigenic young adult mouse colonic (YAMC) cells and tumorigenic human colonic (HT-29) cells were treated with a polyphenolic-rich Illawarra plum extract (0–1000 μg/ml). Illawarra plum had anti-proliferative properties in only the cancer cells, with growth suppressed in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Treatment of HT-29 cells with Illawarra plum extract (500 μg/ml; 24 h) was also associated with a 2-fold increase in apoptosis, and a cell cycle delay in the S phase (P< 0·01). Assessment of biomarkers for DNA damage revealed that plum treatment caused a 93 % down-regulation of telomerase activity (P< 0·001) and a decrease in telomere length (up to 75 %; P< 0·01). Treatment with Illawarra plum extract also induced morphological alterations to HT-29 cells that were suggestive of induction of autophagy, as the formation of cytoplasmic vacuoles was observed in many cells. This could be induced by the increased (6-fold) histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity (P< 0·001) and the trend for increased expression of the class III HDAC sirtuin 1. The present study has shown that Illawarra plum extract is able to reduce the proliferation of colon cancer cells by altering the cell cycle, increasing apoptosis and possibly inducing autophagy. The active ingredients in Illawarra plum may provide an alternative chemoprevention strategy to conventional chemotherapy.
Few randomised controlled trials (RCTs) have examined potential preventive agents in high-risk community populations.
To determine whether a mental health literacy intervention, the promotion of physical activity, or folic acid plus vitamin B12 reduce depression symptoms in community-dwelling older adults with elevated psychological distress.
An RCT with a completely crossed 2 × 2 × 2 factorial design: (400 mcg/d folic acid + 100 mcg/d vitamin B12v. placebo)×(physical activity v. nutrition promotion control) × (mental health literacy v. pain information control). The initial target sample size was 2000; however, only 909 adults (60–74 years) met the study criteria. Interventions were delivered by mail with telephone calls. The main outcome was depressive symptoms on the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ–9) at 6 weeks, 6, 12 and 24 months. The Clinicaltrials.gov registration number is NCT00214682.
The drop-out rate was low (13.5%) from randomisation to 24-month assessment. Neither folic acid + B12 (F(3,856) = 0.83, P = 0.476) nor physical activity (F(3,856) = 1.65, P = 0.177) reduced depressive symptoms at any time point. At 6 weeks, depressive symptoms were lower for the mental health literacy intervention compared with its control condition (t(895) = 2.04, P = 0.042).
Mental health literacy had a transient effect on depressive symptoms. Other than this, none of the interventions significantly reduced symptoms relative to their comparator at 6 weeks or subsequently. Neither folic acid plus B12 nor physical activity were effective in reducing depressive symptoms.
It is becoming increasingly evident that (a) risk for developmental and degenerative disease increases with more DNA damage, which in turn is dependent on nutritional status, and (b) the optimal concentration of micronutrients for prevention of genome damage is also dependent on genetic polymorphisms that alter the function of genes involved directly or indirectly in the uptake and metabolism of micronutrients required for DNA repair and DNA replication. The development of dietary patterns, functional foods and supplements that are designed to improve genome-health maintenance in individuals with specific genetic backgrounds may provide an important contribution to an optimum health strategy based on the diagnosis and individualised nutritional prevention of genome damage, i.e. genome health clinics. The present review summarises some of the recent knowledge relating to micronutrients that are associated with chromosomal stability and provides some initial insights into the likely nutritional factors that may be expected to have an impact on the maintenance of telomeres. It is evident that developing effective strategies for defining nutrient doses and combinations or ‘nutriomes’ for genome-health maintenance at the individual level is essential for further progress in this research field.
The link between genome instability and adverse health outcomes during the various stages of life, such as infertility, fetal development and cancer, is briefly reviewed against a background of evidence indicating that genome instability, in the absence of overt exposure to genotoxins, is itself a sensitive marker of nutritional deficiency. The latter is illustrated with cross-sectional and dietary intervention data obtained using the micronucleus assay, an efficient biomarker for diagnosing genome instability and nutritional deficiency. The concept of recommended dietary allowances for genome stability and how this could be achieved is discussed together with the emerging field of nutritional genomics for genome stability. The review concludes with a vision for a disease-prevention strategy based on the diagnosis and nutritional treatment of genome instability, i.e. ‘Genome Health Clinics’.
Nutrigenomics is the study of how constituents of the diet interact with genes, and their products, to alter phenotype and, conversely, how genes and their products metabolise these constituents into nutrients, antinutrients, and bioactive compounds. Results from molecular and genetic epidemiological studies indicate that dietary unbalance can alter gene–nutrient interactions in ways that increase the risk of developing chronic disease. The interplay of human genetic variation and environmental factors will make identifying causative genes and nutrients a formidable, but not intractable, challenge. We provide specific recommendations for how to best meet this challenge and discuss the need for new methodologies and the use of comprehensive analyses of nutrient–genotype interactions involving large and diverse populations. The objective of the present paper is to stimulate discourse and collaboration among nutrigenomic researchers and stakeholders, a process that will lead to an increase in global health and wellness by reducing health disparities in developed and developing countries.
Aleurone flour (ALF) is a rich source of natural folate (>500 μg/100 g wet weight). Our objective was to establish whether intake of ALF in man can significantly improve folate status and reduce plasma homocyst(e)ine. We performed a randomised, controlled intervention, of 16 weeks duration, in free-living healthy individuals (mean age 46–52 years). Participants were assigned to one of three groups: ALF, 175 g bread made with ALF and placebo tablet each day; PCS, 175 g bread made with pericarp seed coat (PCS) flour and placebo tablet each day (low-folate control); or FA, 175 g bread made with PCS flour and tablet containing 640 μg folic acid each day (high-folate control). The daily folate intake contributed by the bread and tablet was 233 μg in the PCS group, 615 μg in the ALF group and 819 μg in the FA group. The number of participants completing all phases of the PCS, ALF and FA interventions was twenty-five, twenty-five and eighteen, respectively. Plasma and red-cell folate increased significantly (P<0·0001) and plasma homocyst(e)ine decreased significantly (P<0·0001) in the ALF and FA groups only. Plasma folate and red-cell folate in the ALF group (mean, 95 % CI) increased from baseline values of 12·9 (9·9, 15·7) nmol/l and 509 (434, 584) nmol/l to 27·1 (22·5, 31·7) nmol/l and 768 (676, 860) nmol/l, respectively. Plasma homocyst(e)ine in the ALF group decreased from 9·1 (8·2, 10·0) μmol/l at baseline to 6·8 (6·2, 7·5) μmol/l after 16 weeks. In conclusion, moderate dietary intake of ALF can increase red-cell folate and decrease plasma homocyst(e)ine substantially.
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