Archive June 2016

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Protect Cognitive Function in Aging Adults!

In neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or mild cognitive impairment (pre-dementia phase of AD) changes in cognitive function and memory decline occur quicker than in normal aging. In this study, researchers looked at the effects of 2,200 mg of Omega-3 (n3) fatty acids (FA) taken daily for six months on memory function. Using LOCATO, a robust and sensitive tool for assessing object-location memory (OLM) in older adults to evaluate the impact of n3-FA on memory and learning formation, they conducted a double-blind placebo-controlled proof-of-concept study. 44 healthy female participants (50-74 yrs) completed before and after OLM-task (testing). As secondary outcome parameters, performance in Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (AVLT), dietary habits, omega-3-index, and other blood-derived parameters were assessed. They received either n3- FA or placebo for 26 weeks. Omega-3 index increased significantly in the n3-FA group compared to placebo. Recall of object locations was significantly better after n3-FA supplementation compared to placebo, although the AVLT was not significantly affected. This study provides further evidence that n3-FA exert positive effects on memory functions in healthy older adults, and the findings suggest novel strategies to maintain cognitive function into old age.

Külzow N, et al. Impact of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation on Memory Functions in Healthy Older Adults. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Feb 10 2016 doi:10.3233/JAD-150886

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Resveratrol, Inflammation, and Osteoarthritis:

Osteoarthritis (OA), a chronic articular disease characterized by cartilage degradation and osteophyte formation, involves mechanical and hereditary factors. French researchers investigated pro-inflammatory paracrine interactions between human primary chondrocytes and macrophages following interleukin-1-β (IL-1β) treatment, to evaluate the molecular mechanism responsible for the inhibitory effect of resveratrol. They found that the activation of NF-kB in chondrocytes by IL-1β induced IL-6 secretion, which will then activate STAT3 protein in macrophages. Also, STAT3 was able to positively regulate IL-6 secretion, as confirmed by the doubling level of IL-6 in the coculture compared to macrophage monoculture. Resveratrol showed a strong inhibitory effect on the pro-inflammatory marker secretion. The decrease of IL-6 secretion is dependent on the NF-kB inhibition in the chondrocytes, and the reduction of the IL-6 level can limit STAT3 activation in the macrophages, leading to the interruption of the inflammatory amplification loop. Researchers concluded that these results increase our understanding of the anti-inflammatory actions of resveratrol and open new potential approaches to prevent and treat osteoarthritis.

Limagne, E, et al. Resveratrol Interferes with IL1-β-Induced Pro-Inflammatory Paracrine Interaction between Primary Chondrocytes and Macrophages. Nutrients 2016, 8,280; doi: 10.3390/nu8050280

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SAMe for Depression?

A review in Naturopathic Currents looked at SAMe and its impact on mental health (1). Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), the most frequently prescribed antidepressant, are frequently the first line treatment for depression. SSRI often provide inadequate symptom relief for mild-to-moderate depression, or a high relapse rate. Common side effects include fatigue, worsening mood, insomnia, poor concentration, loss of libido and weight gain. A randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study examined the ability of SAMe to augment the effectiveness of SSRI meds (2). Seventy three non-responders to SSRI treatment were enrolled. All continued to receive their SSRI plus 800 mg of oral SAMe BID or placebo. Over 36% of the SAMe group experienced treatment response compared to 17% in the placebo group, and 25% of the SAMe group experienced remission compared to only 11% of the placebo group. Researchers concluded that oral SAMe can be an effective, well-tolerated, and safe adjunctive treatment strategy for SSRI non-responders with major depressive disorder. Secondary analysis was performed on the same patients examining the effect of SAMe on the rate of cognitive-related impairments frequently associated with depression (3). Results showed a greater improvement in the ability to recall information, and a trend toward improved word-finding for the SAMe group vs. placebo. Researchers concluded that SAMe can improve memory-related cognitive symptoms in depressed patients.

1. Rouchotas P. S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe) – Effects on mental health. Naturopathic Currents. Nov 6, 2014

2. Papakostas GI, et al. Evidence for S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) augmentation of serotonin reuptake inhibitors for antidepressant non-responders with major depressive disorder: a double-bling, randomized clinical trial. Amer J. Psychiatry 2010; 167 (8): 942-8.

3. Levkovits Y, et al. Effects of S-adenosylmethionine augmentation of serotonin-reuptake inhibitor antidepressants on cognitive symptoms of major depressive disorder. J. Affect. Disord. 2012; 136(3): 1174-8.

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Vitamin D Supplementation Positively Impacts GI Diseases?

It is well known that vitamin D positively influences human health, but data on its impact on the human gut microbiome are lacking. Researchers conducted a pilot study on sixteen healthy volunteers. They were endoscopically examined to access a total of 7 sites to investigate the effects of oral vitamin D3 supplementation on the human mucosa-associated and stool microbiome, as well as CD8(+) T cells. Supplementation decreased relative abundance of Gammaproteobacteria including Pseudomonas spp. and Escherichia/Shigella spp. and increased bacterial richness. While no major changes occurred in the terminal ileum, appendiceal orifice, ascending colon, and sigmoid colon or in stools, the CD8(+) T cell fraction was significantly increased in the terminal ileum. Researchers concluded vitamin D3 modulates the gut microbiome of the upper GI tract, which might explain its positive influence on GI diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease or bacterial infections, and local effects of vitamin D demonstrate pronounced regional differences in the response of the GI microbiome to external factors.

Bashir M, et al. Effects of high djoses of vitamin D3 on mucosa-associated gut microbiome vary between regions of the human gastrointestinal tract. Eur J Nutr. 2016;55(4): 1479-89. doi: 10.1007/s00394-015-0966-2. Epub 2015 Jul 1.

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