Archive January 2016

Chromium for Type 2 Diabetes?

Although it has been suggested that chromium (Cr) has beneficial effects in type 2 diabetes (T2D), it has not been investigated at the population level. Researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Joslin Diabetes Center wished to examine the use and potential benefits of Cr supplementation in T2D using NHANES data. Diabetes was defined as having an HbA1c value of 6.5 or greater, or having been diagnosed with diabetes. The study cohort included 28,539 people. 58.3% reported consuming a dietary supplement (DS) in the previous 30 days, 28.8 % reported consuming a DS that contained Cr, and 0.7% consumed a DS that contained Cr in the title. The results showed that compared to nonusers, the odds of having T2D were lower in those who consumed CR containing supplements within the previous 30 days than in those who did not. In summary, the researchers showed that Cr supplementation in adults to be associated with significantly lower odds of an individual having diabetes.

DJ McIver, et al. Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Is Lower in US Adults Taking Chromium-Containing Supplements. The J of Nut. Published ahead of print Oct 7, 2015 as doi: 10.3945/jn.115.214569

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Lactobacillus acidophilus, immune regulation and colitis!

Intestinal immune regulatory signals govern gut homeostasis and is tightly controlled by the interaction of gut microbial gene products with pattern recognition receptors. The breakdown of such regulatory mechanisms may result in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Lactobacillus acidophilus contains unique surface layer proteins (Slps), including SlpA, SlpB, SlpX and lipoteichoic acid (LTA), which interact with pattern recognition receptors to mobilize immune responses. To demonstrate the role of SlpA in protective immune regulation, a strain of Lactobacillus acidophilus which solely expressed SlpA was generated. They demonstrated that its purified SlpA bind to the C-type lectin SIGNR3 to exert regulatory signals that result in mitigation of colitis, maintenance of healthy gastrointestinal microbiota, and protected gut mucosal barrier function. Interestingly, such protection was not observed in Slgnr3-/- mice, suggesting that the SlpA/SIGNR3 interaction plays a key regulatory role in colitis.

Lightfoot YL, et al. SIGNR3-dependent immune regulation by Lactobacillus acidophilus surface layer protein A in colitis. The EMBO Journal (2015) 34, 881-895

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Vitamin D for Multiple Sclerosis?

Researchers wishing to evaluate the safety profile and characterize the immunologic effects of high dose vs low dose cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) supplementation in patients with MS, conducted a double-blind, randomized study of 40 patients with relapsing-remitting MS. Patients received 10,400 IU or 800 IU of D3 daily for 6 months. Assessments were conducted at baseline, 3 and 6 months. Results showed a mean increase of 25(OH)D levels was greater in the high dose group vs the low dose group. In the high dose group only, they found a reduction in the proportion of interleukin-17+CD4+ T cells, CD161+CD4+ T cells, and effector memory CD4+ T cells with concomitant increase in central memory CD4+ T cells and naïve CD4+ T cells. In other words, as the levels of vitamin D increased, there was a corresponding decrease in the levels of CD4+ T cells and interleukin-17, a protein they create which is pro-inflammatory. The researchers concluded that vitamin D3 supplementation with 10,400 IU daily is safe and tolerable in patients with MS and exhibits in vivo pleiotropic immunomodulatory effects in MS.

Sotirchos ES, et al. Safety and immunologic effects of high-vs low-dose cholecalciferol in multiple sclerosis. Neurology. 2015

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Vitamin D, Chronic Pain and Hypersensitivity

Researchers from Bern University Hospital and the University of Bern in Switzerland studied 174 patients with chronic pain. Serum 25(OH)D measurements revealed 71% of patients were vitamin D deficient with 25(OH)D levels <50 nmol/L); another 21% had insufficient vitamin D levels with 25(OH)D <75 nmol/L. Researchers found a significant inverse association between continuously scaled 25(OH)D levels and mechanical pain sensitivity, a finding that is in agreement with experimental animal work on provoked pain sensitivity. They concluded that in patients with chronic pain, lowered vitamin D levels are associated with elevated central hypersensitivity, namely increased mechanical pain sensitivity and severity of somatic symptoms. As the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency is high in this population, it may seem good clinical practice to screen for 25(OH)D levels below 75 nmol/L and consider vitamin D supplementation. Von Kanel, et al. Vitamin D and Central Hypersensitivity in Patients with Chronic Pain. Pain Medicine 2014; 15: 1609-1618

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