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l-Citrulline may improve non-invasive vascular function and cardiometabolic risk markers through increases in l-arginine bioavailability and nitric oxide synthesis. A meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (RCT) was performed to examine longer-term and postprandial effects of l-citrulline supplementation and watermelon consumption on these markers for CVD in adults. Summary estimates of weighted mean differences in vascular function and cardiometabolic risk markers with accompanying 95 % CI were calculated using random or fixed-effect meta-analyses. Seventeen RCT were included involving an l-citrulline intervention, of which six studied postprandial and twelve longer-term effects. Five studies investigated longer-term effects of watermelon consumption and five assessed effects during the postprandial phase. Longer-term l-citrulline supplementation improved brachial artery flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD) by 0·9 %-point (95 % CI 0·7, 1·1, P < 0·001). Longer-term watermelon consumption improved pulse wave velocity by 0·9 m/s (95 % CI 0·1, 1·5, P < 0·001), while effects on FMD were not studied. No postprandial effects on vascular function markers were found. Postprandial glucose concentrations decreased by 0·6 mmol/l (95 % CI 0·4, 0·7, P < 0·001) following watermelon consumption, but no other longer-term or postprandial effects were observed on cardiometabolic risk markers. To conclude, longer-term l-citrulline supplementation and watermelon consumption may improve vascular function, suggesting a potential mechanism by which increased l-citrulline intake beneficially affects cardiovascular health outcomes in adults. No effects on postprandial vascular function markers were found, while more research is needed to investigate the effects of l-citrulline and watermelon on risk markers related to cardiometabolic health.
We conducted a systematic review of randomised controlled trials (RCT) of increased intake of arachidonic acid (ARA) on fatty acid status and health outcomes in humans. We identified twenty-two articles from fourteen RCT. Most studies were conducted in adults. These used between 80 and 2000 mg ARA per d and were of 1–12 weeks duration. Supplementation with ARA doses as low as 80 mg/d increased the content of ARA in different blood fractions. Overall there seem to be few marked benefits for adults of increasing ARA intake from the typical usual intake of 100–200 mg/d to as much as 1000 mg/d; the few studies using higher doses (1500 or 2000 mg/d) also report little benefit. However, there may be an impact of ARA on cognitive and muscle function which could be particularly relevant in the ageing population. The studies reviewed here suggest no adverse effects in adults of increased ARA intake up to at least 1000–1500 mg/d on blood lipids, platelet aggregation and blood clotting, immune function, inflammation or urinary excretion of ARA metabolites. However, in many areas there are insufficient studies to make firm conclusions, and higher intakes of ARA are deserving of further study. Based on the RCT reviewed, there are not enough data to make any recommendations for specific health effects of ARA intake.
Results of intervention studies on the effects of α-linolenic acid (ALA; C18 : 3n-3) on blood pressure (BP) are conflicting. Discrepancies between studies may be due to differences in study population, as subjects with increased baseline BP levels may be more responsive. Therefore, we examined specifically the effects of ALA on 24-h ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) in (pre-)hypertensive subjects. In a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled parallel study, fifty-nine overweight and obese adults (forty males and nineteen females) with (pre-)hypertension (mean age of 60 (sd 8) years) received daily 10 g refined cold-pressed flaxseed oil, providing 4·7 g (approximately 2 % of energy) ALA (n 29) or 10 g of high-oleic sunflower oil as control (n 30) for 12 weeks. Compliance was excellent as indicated by vial count and plasma phospholipid fatty-acid composition. Compared with control, the changes of –1·4 mmHg in mean arterial pressure (MAP; 24 h ABP) after flaxseed oil intake (95 % CI –4·8, 2·0 mmHg, P=0·40) of –1·5 mmHg in systolic BP (95 % CI –6·0, 3·0 mmHg, P=0·51) and of –1·4 mmHg in diastolic BP (95 % CI –4·2, 1·4 mmHg, P=0·31) were not statistically significant. Also, no effects were found for office BP and for MAP, systolic BP, and diastolic BP when daytime and night-time BP were analysed separately and for night-time dipping. In conclusion, high intake of ALA, about 3–5 times recommended daily intakes, for 12 weeks does not significantly affect BP in subjects with (pre-)hypertension.
FFQ, food diaries and 24 h recall methods represent the most commonly used dietary assessment tools in human studies on nutrition and health, but food intake biomarkers are assumed to provide a more objective reflection of intake. Unfortunately, very few of these biomarkers are sufficiently validated. This review provides an overview of food intake biomarker research and highlights present research efforts of the Joint Programming Initiative ‘A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life’ (JPI-HDHL) Food Biomarkers Alliance (FoodBAll). In order to identify novel food intake biomarkers, the focus is on new food metabolomics techniques that allow the quantification of up to thousands of metabolites simultaneously, which may be applied in intervention and observational studies. As biomarkers are often influenced by various other factors than the food under investigation, FoodBAll developed a food intake biomarker quality and validity score aiming to assist the systematic evaluation of novel biomarkers. Moreover, to evaluate the applicability of nutritional biomarkers, studies are presently also focusing on associations between food intake biomarkers and diet-related disease risk. In order to be successful in these metabolomics studies, knowledge about available electronic metabolomics resources is necessary and further developments of these resources are essential. Ultimately, present efforts in this research area aim to advance quality control of traditional dietary assessment methods, advance compliance evaluation in nutritional intervention studies, and increase the significance of observational studies by investigating associations between nutrition and health.
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are important agents in blood pressure (BP) management. It was recently shown that the egg-protein hydrolysate NWT-03 inhibited ACE in Zucker diabetic fatty rats. We therefore designed a dose-finding study to assess the effects of 1, 2 and 5 g NWT-03 on daytime, 36-h, and night-time systolic and diastolic BP (SBP and DBP) in ninety-two generally healthy subjects with normal BP (n 29), high-normal BP (n 34) or mild hypertension (n 29). The study had a cross-over design with six treatment arms (1 g NWT-03 or placebo in period 1 and placebo or 1 g NWT-03 in period 2, 2 g NTW-03 or placebo in period 1 and placebo or 2 g NWT-03 in period 2, or 5 g NTW-03 or placebo in period 1 and placebo or 5 g NTW-03 in period 2). A comparable number of subjects from each BP class were included in each study arm. Duration of both treatments in each arm was 7 d, separated by 5-d wash-out periods. BP was measured with an ambulatory BP monitor before and after the treatments. In mild-hypertensive subjects, 2 g NWT-03 significantly decreased daytime SBP (7·9 mmHg; P=0·006), daytime DBP (4·2 mmHg; P=0·009), 36-h SBP (6·9 mmHg; P=0·015) and 36-h DBP (3·5 mmHg; P=0·035) compared with placebo subjects. In addition, in mild-hypertensive subjects, 5 g NWT-03 significantly decreased night-time SBP (14·8 mmHg; P=0·008) and night-time DBP (8·4 mmHg; P=0·020) compared with that in placebo subjects. To conclude, we found that 2 g NWT-03 lowered daytime and 36-h BP in subjects with mild hypertension, and 5 g NWT-03 lowered night-time BP in subjects with mild hypertension. As no dose–response relationship was evident, these results should be interpreted with care, and additional studies are needed.
Plant sterols and stanols inhibit intestinal cholesterol absorption and consequently lower serum LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) concentrations. The underlying mechanisms are not yet known. In vitro and animal studies have suggested that changes in intestinal sterol metabolism are attributed to the LDL-C-lowering effects of plant stanol esters. However, similar studies in human subjects are lacking. Therefore, we examined the effects of an acute intake of plant stanol esters on gene expression profiles of the upper small intestine in healthy volunteers. In a double-blind cross-over design, fourteen healthy subjects (eight female and six male; age 21–55 years), with a BMI ranging from 21 to 29 kg/m2, received in random order a shake with or without plant stanol esters (4 g). At 5 h after consumption of the shake, biopsies were taken from the duodenum (around the papilla of Vater) and from the jejunum (20 cm distal from the papilla of Vater). Microarray analysis showed that the expression profiles of genes involved in sterol metabolism were not altered. Surprisingly, the pathways involved in T-cell functions were down-regulated in the jejunum. Furthermore, immunohistochemical analysis showed that the number of CD3 (cluster of differentiation number 3), CD4 (cluster of differentiation number 4) and Foxp3+ (forkhead box P3-positive) cells was reduced in the plant stanol ester condition compared with the control condition, which is in line with the microarray data. The physiological and functional consequences of the plant stanol ester-induced reduction of intestinal T-cell-based immune activity in healthy subjects deserve further investigation.
Oxysterols (oxidised cholesterol) may play a role in the pathogenesis of CVD. Similar to cholesterol, plant sterols are susceptible to oxidation. However, less is known about the potential atherogenicity of oxidised plant sterols (oxyphytosterols). In the present study, the atherogenicity of a mixture of oxyphytosterols was examined by feeding female LDL receptor-deficient (LDLR+/ −) mice for 35 weeks a control diet (atherogenic high-fat diet; n 9), an oxysterol diet (control diet+0·025 % (w/w) oxysterols; n 12) or an oxyphytosterol diet (control diet+0·025 % (w/w) oxyphytosterols; n 12). In the LDLR+/ − mice, serum levels of cholesterol, lipoprotein profiles, cholesterol exposure and inflammatory markers at the end of the experiment were comparable between the three diet groups. Nevertheless, the proportion of severe atherosclerotic lesions was significantly higher after oxysterol (41 %; P= 0·004) and oxyphytosterol (34 %; P= 0·011) diet consumption than after control diet consumption (26 %). Oxyphytosterol levels in the lesions were the highest in the oxyphytosterol group. Here, we show that not only dietary oxysterols but also dietary oxyphytosterols increase the proportion of severe atherosclerotic lesions. This suggests that plant sterols when oxidised may increase atherosclerotic lesion severity instead of lowering the size and severity of lesions when fed in their non-oxidised form. Therefore, this finding might give an indication as to where to find the answer in the current hot debate about the potential atherogenicity of plant sterols. However, to what extent these results can be extrapolated to the human situation warrants further investigation.
Studies have suggested that two major milk constituents, casein and Ca, favourably affect postprandial responses. However, effects of milk on postprandial metabolism are unknown. We therefore investigated effects of using milk with a fat-containing meal on lipid and glucose responses in overweight men. To identify the constituent responsible for possible effects, we also studied responses to Ca and protein. A total of sixteen men (BMI >27 kg/m2) participated in four postprandial tests. They consumed a breakfast (44 g of fat) plus a drink: a control drink, low-fat milk or a protein and Ca drink (500 ml). Blood samples were taken before the meals and at regular time points during 6 h thereafter. Compared with control, the incremental AUC (iAUC) for serum TAG was increased by 44 % after the protein meal (P= 0·015). Although the iAUC were not different (P= 0·051), peak glucose concentrations were reduced by 24 % after protein intake, as compared with control (P= 0·021). The decrease of 18 % after milk intake did not reach statistical significance. Compared with the milk meal, the iAUC for insulin was 52 % lower after the control meal (P= 0·035) and 51 % after the protein meal (P= 0·005). The present results indicate that the intake of milk with a fat-containing meal enhances postprandial TAG and insulin responses and may blunt glucose increases. The protein fraction of milk seems to be the main determinant for the effects on TAG and glucose. Ca did not change any of the postprandial responses.
Although increased concentrations of plasma inflammatory markers are not one of the criteria to diagnose the metabolic syndrome, low-grade systemic inflammation is receiving large attention as a metabolic syndrome component and cardiovascular risk factor. As several epidemiological studies have suggested a negative relationship between low-fat dairy consumption and the metabolic syndrome, we decided to investigate the effects of low-fat dairy consumption on inflammatory markers and adhesion molecules in overweight and obese subjects in an intervention study. Thirty-five healthy subjects (BMI>27 kg/m2) consumed, in a random order, low-fat dairy products (500 ml low-fat milk and 150 g low-fat yogurt) or carbohydrate-rich control products (600 ml fruit juice and three fruit biscuits) daily for 8 weeks. Plasma concentrations of TNF-α were decreased by 0·16 (sd 0·50) pg/ml (P = 0·070), and soluble TNF-α receptor-1 (s-TNFR-1) was increased by 110·0 (sd 338·4) pg/ml (P = 0·062) after the low-fat dairy period than after the control period. s-TNFR-2 was increased by 227·0 (sd 449·0) pg/ml (P = 0·020) by the dairy intervention. As a result, the TNF-α index, defined as the TNF-α:s-TNFR-2 ratio, was decreased by 0·000053 (sd 0·00 012) (P = 0·015) after the dairy diet consumption. Low-fat dairy consumption had no effect on IL-6, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, intracellular adhesion molecule-1 and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 concentrations. The present results indicate that in overweight and obese subjects, low-fat dairy consumption for 8 weeks may increase concentrations of s-TNFR compared with carbohydrate-rich product consumption, but that it has no effects on other markers of chronic inflammation and endothelial function.
Jusqu'il y a 15 ou 20 ans, des nombreux nutritionnistes étaient intéressés principalement dans les effets de l'alimentation sur des paramètres de santé comme la pression sanguine et les concentrations de cholestérol dans le sérum. Ces études ont signifié sans doute une contribution très important à la compréhension actuelle de la relation entre l'alimentation et la santé. Cependant, et pour de nombreuses raisons, il n'y a pas eu beaucoup de monde qui a essayé d'expliquer ces effets au niveau moléculaire. Toutefois, il paraîtra qu'aujourd'hui la tendance a était renversé; un grand nombre de travaux de recherche sont dédié a l'exploration des effets des components de l'alimentation à niveau moléculaire. Ce type de recherche a était fait possible grâce, entre autres facteurs, à l'implémentation de techniques des sciences plus fundamentaux à la recherche dans la nutrition. Ce aussi la disponibilité des séquences du génome qui a accéléré ce changement d'intéret. Les objectives de ce projet sont l'obtention d'une information précis sur les réponses métaboliques et moléculaires des cellules et des tissues (ou même de l'organisme entier) aux components diététiques. Dans ces études, les interactions entre l'alimentation et l'héritage génétique, ainsi qu'entre l'alimentation et des conditions physiologiques et psychologiques doivent aussi etre adressées. Cependant, il n'est pas seulement important l'obtention d'information sur les mécanismes, mais aussi sur les conséquences fonctionnelles pour l'organisme. Une dernière question se pose sur l'usage de cette information pour le développement de tests capable de prescrire des conseils diététiques aux subpopulations spécifiques. Ces questions stimulantes peuvent juste etre abordées à travers d'une approximation intégrée combinant l'expertise de plusieurs disciplines.
The metabolic syndrome is an important risk factor for type 2 diabetes mellitus and CVD. Epidemiological studies have now suggested protective effects of dairy product consumption on the development of this syndrome. Here we review the physiological effects and possible mechanisms involved of three main dairy constituents (Ca, protein, fat) on important components of the metabolic syndrome. Ca supplements improve the serum lipoprotein profile, particularly by decreasing serum total and LDL-cholesterol concentrations. They also lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Insufficient evidence exists for a significant role of Ca supplements or dairy in body-weight management. Effects of Ca may be related to intestinal binding to fatty acids or bile acids, or to changes in intracellular Ca metabolism by suppressing calciotropic hormones. Dietary proteins may increase satiety in both the short and longer term, which may result in a reduced energy intake. They have also been reported to improve the serum lipoprotein profile as compared with carbohydrates. Dairy proteins are precursors of angiotensin-I-converting enzyme-inhibitory peptides, which may lower blood pressure. Such effects, however, have inconsistently been reported in human studies. Finally, conjugated linoleic acid, which effectively lowers body weight in animals, has no such effect in humans in the quantities provided by dairy products. To reduce the intake of SFA, the consumption of low-fat instead of high-fat dairy products is recommended. In conclusion, more research is warranted to better understand the physiological effects and the mechanisms involved of dairy products in the prevention and treatment of the metabolic syndrome.
Observational epidemiological studies have shown that low carotenoid intake and/or low carotenoid blood levels increase the risk of degenerative diseases like age-related macular degeneration. Functional foods enriched with plant sterol or stanol esters may lower serum concentrations of fat-soluble carotenoids. Theoretically, as a result the macular pigment optical density (MPOD), a marker for eye health, may change. We carried out a double-blind placebo-controlled human intervention trial with a duration of 18 months to evaluate the possible effects of plant stanol and sterol esters on serum lutein/zeaxanthin concentration in relation to the MPOD. Forty-seven subjects were randomly assigned to one of the three treatment groups: margarine without added plant sterols or stanols, plant sterol-enriched margarine, or plant stanol-enriched margarine. Serum cholesterol and lutein/zeaxanthine concentrations and the MPOD were evaluated at baseline and at study end. Changes in lipid-adjusted serum lutein/zeaxanthine concentrations between baseline and study end differed significantly between the three groups (P = 0·001). We found no differences in the MPOD between the three treatment groups, despite the differences in both absolute and cholesterol-standardized serum lutein/zeaxanthine concentrations. This shows that the observed reduction in serum carotenoid concentrations during 18 months consumption of these functional foods does not affect MPOD.
Consumption of plant sterol- or stanol-enriched margarines by statin users results in an additional LDL-cholesterol reduction of approximately 10 %, which may be larger than the average decrease of 3–7 % achieved by doubling the statin dose. However, whether this effect persists in the long term is not known. Therefore, we examined in patients already on stable statin treatment the effects of 85 weeks of plant sterol and stanol ester consumption on the serum lipoprotein profile, cholesterol metabolism, and bile acid synthesis. For this, a double-blind randomised trial was designed in which fifty-four patients consumed a control margarine with no added plant sterols or stanols for 5 weeks (run-in period). For the next 85 weeks, seventeen subjects continued with the control margarine and the other two groups with either a plant sterol (n 18) or plant stanol (n 19) (2·5 g/d each) ester-enriched margarine. Blood was sampled at the end of the run-in period and every 20 weeks during the intervention period. Compared with the control group, plant sterol and stanol ester consumption reduced LDL-cholesterol by 0·28 mmol/l (or 8·7 %; P = 0·08) and 0·42 mmol/l (13·1 %; P = 0·006) respectively after 85 weeks. No effects were found on plasma concentrations of oxysterols or 7α-hydroxy-4-cholesten-3-one, a bile acid synthesis marker. We conclude that long-term consumption of both plant sterol and stanol esters effectively lowered LDL-cholesterol concentrations in statin users.
Fish oils (FO) – rich in EPA and DHA – may protect against colitis development. Moreover, inflammatory bowel disease patients have elevated colonic arachidonic acid (AA) proportions. So far, effects of dietary AA v. FO on colitis have never been examined. We therefore designed three isoenergetic diets, which were fed to mice for 6 weeks preceding and during 7 d dextran sodium sulfate colitis induction. The control diet was rich in oleic acid (OA). For the other two diets, 1·0 % (w/w) OA was exchanged for EPA+DHA (FO group) or AA. At 7 d after colitis induction, the AA group had gained weight (0·46 (sem 0·54) g), whereas the FO and OA groups had lost weight ( − 0·98 (sem 0·81) g and − 0·79 (sem 1·05) g, respectively; P < 0·01 v. AA). The AA group had less diarrhoea than the FO and OA groups (P < 0·05). Weight and length of the colon, histological scores and cytokine concentrations in colon homogenates showed no differences. Myeloperoxidase concentrations in plasma and polymorphonuclear cell infiltration in colon were decreased in the FO group as compared with the OA group. We conclude that in this mice model an AA-enriched diet increased colonic AA content, but did not result in more colonic inflammation as compared with FO- and OA-enriched diets. As we only examined effects after 7 d and because the time point for evaluating effects seems to be important, the present results should be regarded as preliminary. Future studies should further elucidate differential effects of fatty acids on colitis development in time.
Trans isomers of α-linolenic acid, which are formed by deodorization of refined vegetable oils, can be found in significant amounts in edible oils. Effects of trans α-linolenic acid on plasma lipoproteins are unknown. We therefore investigated the effects of trans α-linolenic acid on plasma lipids and lipoproteins in healthy European men. Eighty-eight healthy men from three European countries (France, Scotland, UK and the Netherlands) first consumed for 6 weeks a diet with experimental oils ‘free’ of trans fatty acids (run-in period). For the next 6 weeks, they were randomly allocated to a diet with experimental oils ‘high’ or ‘low’ in trans α-linolenic acid. Daily total trans α-linolenic acid intake in the high trans group was 1410 (range 583–2642) mg. Experimental oils were provided as such, or incorporated into margarines, cheeses, muffins and biscuits. The high trans α-linolenic acid diet significantly increased the plasma LDL-:HDL-cholesterol ratio by 8.1 % (95 % CI 1.4, 15.3; P=0.02), and the total cholesterol:HDL-cholesterol ratio by 5.1 % (95 % CI 0.4, 9.9; P=0.03) compared with the low-trans diet. This was largely explained by an increase in LDL-cholesterol on the high-trans diet, while no change was observed in the low-trans group (mean treatment effect of 4.7 % (95 % CI -0.8, 10.5; P=0.10). No effects were found on total cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol, triacylglycerols, apolipoprotein B and A-1, and lipoprotein(a) concentrations. In conclusion, trans α-linolenic acid may increase plasma LDL-:HDL-cholesterol and total cholesterol:HDL-cholesterol ratios. Whether diet-induced changes in these ratios truly affects the risk for CHD remains to be established.