[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune inflammatory disease, and environmental factors are proposed to exacerbate existing symptoms. One such environmental factor is mercury. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between exposure to mercury (Hg) and disease activity and disease associated damage in Total Hg concentrations in hair and urine were measured in 52 SLE patients. Dental amalgams were quantified. Disease activity was assessed using three indexes including the British Isles Lupus Assessment Group Index (BILAG). Disease associated damage was measured using the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics/American College of Rheumatology SLICC/ACR Damage Index. Pearson’s correlation identified a significant negative correlation between hair Hg and BILAG (r = −0.323, p = 0.029) and SLICC/ACR (r = −0.377, p = 0.038). Multiple regression analysis identified hair Hg as a significant predictor of disease associated damage as determined by SLICC/ACR (β = −0.366, 95% confidence interval (CI): −1.769, −0.155 p = 0.019). Urinary Hg was not related to disease activity or damage. Fish consumption is the primary route of MeHg exposure in humans and the inverse association of hair Hg with disease activity observed here might be explained by the anti-inflammatory effects of n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids also found in fish.
Preview · Article · Dec 2015 · International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent literature suggests that Ca supplements have adverse effects on cardiovascular health. The effects of a Ca-rich supplement administered alone or in combination with short-chain fructo-oligosaccharides (scFOS) on serum lipids in postmenopausal women were examined using secondary data from a 24-month double-blind randomised controlled study. A total of 300 postmenopausal women were randomly assigned to daily supplements of 800 mg of Ca (2·4 g Aquamin) (Ca), 800 mg of Ca with 3 g of scFOS (CaFOS) or control (maltodextrin) (MD). A full lipid profile, body composition, blood pressure and a range of cytokines were measured at baseline and after 24 months. Intention-to-treat ANCOVA assessed treatment effects between the groups. A significant time-by-treatment effect was observed for LDL and total cholesterol for the Ca and CaFOS groups, with both groups having lower LDL and total cholesterol concentrations compared with MD after 24 months. The control group had mean (5·2 mmol/l) total cholesterol concentrations above the normal range (≤5 mmol/l) at 24 months, whereas values remained within the normal range in the treatment groups. There was no significant treatment effect on HDL-cholesterol, TAG, body composition, blood pressure or cytokine concentrations at 24 months, with the exception of IL-4, where there was a significant increase in the CaFOS group compared with the placebo. This study demonstrates a lipid-lowering effect of both the Ca-rich supplement alone and the supplement with scFOS. At the 4-year follow-up, there was no significant difference between the groups for reported diagnosed cardiovascular conditions.
No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · The British journal of nutrition
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Context:
Vitamin D insufficiency is common among the adolescent population, and may have implications for health outcomes in later life. Few studies have investigated the role of vitamin D status in muscle function and cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) during adolescence.
The aim of this study was to investigate the association between vitamin D status and fat free mass (FFM), muscle strength, muscle power and CRF in a representative sample of adolescents from Northern Ireland.
Design, setting and participants:
A cross-sectional study involving 1,015 adolescents (aged 12 and 15 years), who had 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] data available, as part of the Young Hearts Study 2000.
Main outcome measures:
FFM (kg) and FFM corrected for height [fat free mass index (FFMI); FFM (kg)/height (m(2))], muscle strength (kg), peak muscle power (kW) and VO2 max (CRF; ml/kg/min).
Multinomial regression analyses, controlling for environmental and lifestyle factors, demonstrated that boys aged 15 years in the highest tertile of standardized serum 25(OH)D concentration (>51nmol/L) had significantly higher muscle strength (β=3.90, P=<0.001) compared to those in the lowest tertile (<32nmol/L). These results were not evident in any other age-sex group and vitamin D status was not significantly associated with muscle power or CRF in any of the four age-sex groups.
These results support a role for vitamin D in muscle function in adolescent males and indicate the need for more research, in this vulnerable age group.
No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Long-chain n-6 and n-3 PUFA (LC-PUFA), arachidonic acid (AA) (20:4n-6) and DHA (22:6n-3), are critical for optimal brain development. These fatty acids can be consumed directly from the diet, or synthesized endogenously from precursor PUFA by Δ-5 (encoded by FADS1) and Δ-6 desaturases (encoded by FADS2). The aim of this study was to determine the potential importance of maternal genetic variability in FADS1 and FADS2 genes to maternal LC-PUFA status and infant neurodevelopment in populations with high fish intakes. The Nutrition Cohorts 1 (NC1) and 2 (NC2) are longitudinal observational mother-child cohorts in the Republic of Seychelles. Maternal serum LC-PUFA was measured at 28 weeks gestation and genotyping for rs174537 (FADS1), rs174561 (FADS1), rs3834458 (FADS1-FADS2) and rs174575 (FADS2) was performed in both cohorts. The children completed the Bayley Scales of Infant Development II (BSID-II) at 30 months in NC1 and at 20 months in NC2. Complete data were available for 221 and 1310 mothers from NC1 and NC2 respectively. With increasing number of rs3834458 minor alleles, maternal concentrations of AA were significantly decreased (NC1 p=0.004; NC2 p<0.001) and precursor:product ratios for linoleic acid (LA) (18:2n-6)-to-AA (NC1 p<0.001; NC2 p<0.001) and α-linolenic acid (ALA) (18:3n-3)-to-DHA were increased (NC2 p=0.028). There were no significant associations between maternal FADS genotype and BSID-II scores in either cohort. A trend for improved PDI was found among infants born to mothers with the minor rs3834458 allele.In these high fish-eating cohorts, genetic variability in FADS genes was associated with maternal AA status measured in serum and a subtle association of the FADS genotype was found with neurodevelopment.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose
Palmaria palmata (P. Palmata) is reported to contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds albeit no study has investigated these effects in humans.
A randomised parallel placebo-controlled human intervention study was carried out to investigate the effect of consuming P. Palmata (5 g/day) incorporated into a bread on serum markers of inflammation [C-reactive protein (CRP); cytokine analysis] with secondary analysis investigating changes in lipids (cholesterol, triglycerides), thyroid function [thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)] and antioxidant status ferric reducing antioxidant power. ANCOVA with baseline values as covariates, controlling for age, BMI, sex and smoking status, was used to compare differences between treatment groups over time . In vitro studies investigated the inflammatory activity of P. Palmata extracts (hot water, cold water and ethanol extract), protein extracts and associated protein hydrolysates using a Caco-2 inflammation cell model.
Consumption of P. Palmata-enriched bread significantly increased serum CRP (+16.1 %, P = 0.011), triglycerides (+31.9 %, P = 0.001) and TSH (+17.2 %, P = 0.017) when compared to the control group. In vitro evaluation of P. palmata extracts and protein hydrolysates identified a significant induction of IL-8 secretion by Caco-2 cells, and the hot water P. palmata extract was shown to increase adipocyte glycerol release (P < 0.05).
Evidence from this human study suggests that P. palmata stimulates inflammation, increases serum triglycerides and alters thyroid function; however, these changes are not likely to impact health as changes remained within the normal clinical range. The data from the in vitro study provided indications that IL-8 may contribute to the apparent immunostimulation noted in the human study.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · European Journal of Nutrition
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The bran and particularly the aleurone fraction of wheat are high in betaine and other physiological methyl donors, which may exert beneficial physiological effects. We conducted two randomised, controlled, cross-over postprandial studies to assess and compare plasma betaine and other methyl donor-related responses following the consumption of minimally processed bran and aleurone fractions (study A) and aleurone bread (study B). For both studies, standard pharmacokinetic parameters were derived for betaine, choline, folate, dimethylglycine (DMG), total homocysteine and methionine from plasma samples taken at 0, 0·5, 1, 2 and 3 h. In study A (n 14), plasma betaine concentrations were significantly and substantially elevated from 0·5 to 3 h following the consumption of both bran and aleurone compared with the control; however, aleurone gave significantly higher responses than bran. Small, but significant, increases were also observed in DMG measures; however, no significant responses were observed in other analytes. In study B (n 13), plasma betaine concentrations were significantly and substantially higher following consumption of the aleurone bread compared with the control bread; small, but significant, increases were also observed in DMG and folate measures in response to consumption of the aleurone bread; however, no significant responses were observed in other analytes. Peak plasma betaine concentrations, which were 1·7-1·8 times the baseline levels, were attained earlier following the consumption of minimally processed aleurone compared with the aleurone bread (time taken to reach peak concentration 1·2 v. 2·1 h). These results showed that the consumption of minimally processed wheat bran, and particularly the aleurone fraction, yielded substantial postprandial increases in plasma betaine concentrations. Furthermore, these effects appear to be maintained when aleurone was incorporated into bread.
No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · British Journal Of Nutrition
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nutrition plays a fundamental role in supporting the structural and functional development of the human brain from conception, throughout early infancy and extending into later life. A growing body of evidence suggests that folate and the metabolically related B-vitamins are essential for brain health across all age groups, owing to their specific roles in C1 metabolism and particularly in the production of S-adenosylmethionine, a universal methyl donor essential for the production of neurotransmitters. Emerging, though not entirely consistent, evidence suggests that maternal folate status throughout pregnancy may influence neurodevelopment and behaviour of the offspring. Furthermore optimal B-vitamin status is associated with better cognitive health in ageing. Of note, a recent clinical trial provided evidence that supplementation with folic acid and related B-vitamins over a 2-year-period reduced global and regional brain atrophy, as measured by MRI scan in older adults. In terms of potential mechanisms, the effects of these B-vitamins on cognitive health may be independent or may be mediated by nutrient-nutrient and/or relevant gene-nutrient interactions. Furthermore, a new area of research suggests that the in utero environment influences health in later life. Folate, an important cofactor in C1 metabolism, is indirectly involved in DNA methylation, which in turn is considered to be one of the epigenetic mechanisms that may underlie fetal programming and brain development. The present review will explore the evidence that supports a role for folate and the related B-vitamins in brain health across the lifecycle, and potential mechanisms to explain such effects.
No preview · Article · Nov 2014 · Proceedings of The Nutrition Society
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article is based on the British Nutrition Foundation's Annual Lecture 2013, which focused on maternal fish consumption and the effects of methylmercury (MeHg) on fetal development, with respect to current guidance and policy on fish consumption during pregnancy. Fish makes a valuable contribution to nutrient intakes across the globe and is the primary protein source for many individuals, particularly those in the developing world. Populations with a high fish consumption, such as in the Republic of the Seychelles, have a greater exposure to MeHg, which is present in varying amounts in all fish. MeHg is a toxic pollutant, which is known to impair neurodevelopment. The dose of MeHg from fish consumption, however, needed to impair neurodevelopment is unknown. Current UK and US guidance on fish consumption during pregnancy tend to focus more on avoiding risks rather than highlighting the benefits that can be obtained from eating fish. Such recommendations have been mainly based on data arising from epidemiological studies in the Faroe Islands, where MeHg exposure was largely from pilot whale consumption. Although small adverse effects on child development have been reported in data from the Faroe Islands, data from the ongoing Seychelles Child Development Studies have shown no adverse effects of pre-natal MeHg exposure from high maternal fish consumption (9–12 meals containing fish per week) on developmental outcomes. Instead these data suggest that nutrients, including long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs), provided by fish may offer a beneficial effect and attenuate or modify any effects of MeHg on developmental outcomes. Recent expert consultations have concluded that the health benefits of fish consumption outweigh the risks posed by MeHg exposure and have argued the need for improved education and guidance to highlight the importance of consuming nutrients, including LC-PUFAs, from fish for optimal child development and to encourage fish consumption during pregnancy.
No preview · Article · Jun 2014 · Nutrition Bulletin