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The intake of a high-fat/high-fructose (HF/HFr) diet is described to be deleterious to cognitive performances, possibly via the induction of inflammatory factors. An excess of glucocorticoids is also known to exert negative effects on cerebral plasticity. In the present study, we assessed the effects of an unbalanced diet on circulating and central markers of inflammation and glucocorticoid activity, as well as their reversal by dietary cinnamon (CN) supplementation. A group of male Wistar rats were subjected to an immune challenge with acute lipopolysaccharide under a HF/HFr or a standard diet. Another group of Wistar rats were fed either a HF/HFr or a control diet for 12 weeks, with or without CN supplementation, and with or without restraint stress (Str) application before being killed. We evaluated the effects of such regimens on inflammation parameters in the periphery and brain and on the expression of actors of brain plasticity. To assess hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenocortical axis activity, we measured the plasma concentrations of corticosterone and the expression of central corticotrophin-releasing hormone, mineralocorticoid receptor, glucocorticoid receptor and 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase. We found that the HF/HFr diet induced the expression of cytokines in the brain, but only after an immune challenge. Furthermore, we observed the negative effects of Str on the plasma concentrations of corticosterone and neuroplasticity markers in rats fed the control diet but not in those fed the HF/HFr diet. Additionally, we found that CN supplementation exerted beneficial effects under the control diet, but that its effects were blunted or even reversed under the HF/HFr diet. CN supplementation could be beneficial under a standard diet, but deleterious under the unbalanced diet encountered in Western societies.
Given the key role of Zn in many physiological functions, optimal Zn status could be a predictive parameter of successful ageing. However, the benefit of Zn supplementation is still a matter of debate since Zn supplementation has been reported to be associated with the alteration of Cu status and lipid metabolism. As part of the Zenith Project, the present study aimed to investigate, in free-living healthy European middle-aged and older subjects, the effect of Zn supplementation on the biochemical status of Zn, Fe and Cu and on lipid profile. Volunteers aged 55–70 (n 188) and 70–85 (n 199) years old participated in a double-blinded, randomised study and received a daily placebo, or Zn as 15 or 30 mg for 6 months. Zn supplementation did not significantly modify erythrocyte Zn levels or erythrocyte Cu,Zn-superoxide dismutase activity. But Zn supplementation at 15 or 30 mg/d for 6 months increased significantly serum Zn levels and Zn urinary excretion with no major adverse effects on Fe and Cu status or on lipid metabolism. However, Zn supplementation at 30 mg/d showed some age- and sex-dependent alterations in Fe status or lipid profile. Therefore, with respect to the key role of an optimal Zn status in successful ageing, Zn supplementation at 15 mg/d, when necessary, could be safely proposed regarding lipids and the risk of interaction with Fe and Cu.
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