Nutrients2014, 6(9), 3431-3450; doi:10.3390/nu6093431 (registering DOI) - published 2 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Increased energy consumption, especially increased consumption of sweet energy-dense food, is thought to be one of the main contributors to the escalating rates in overweight individuals and obesity globally. The individual’s ability to detect or sense sweetness in the oral cavity is thought to be one of many factors influencing food acceptance, and therefore, taste may play an essential role in modulating food acceptance and/or energy intake. Emerging evidence now suggests that the sweet taste signaling mechanisms identified in the oral cavity also operate in the gastrointestinal system and may influence the development of satiety. Understanding the individual differences in detecting sweetness in both the oral and gastrointestinal system towards both caloric sugar and high intensity sweetener and the functional role of the sweet taste system may be important in understanding the reasons for excess energy intake. This review will summarize evidence of possible associations between the sweet taste mechanisms within the oral cavity, gastrointestinal tract and the brain systems towards both caloric sugar and high intensity sweetener and sweet taste function, which may influence satiation, satiety and, perhaps, predisposition to being overweight and obesity.
Nutrients2014, 6(9), 3403-3430; doi:10.3390/nu6093403 (registering DOI) - published 2 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels have been found to be inversely associated with both prevalent and incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors; dyslipidemia, hypertension and diabetes mellitus. This review looks for evidence of a causal association between low 25(OH)D levels and increased CVD risk. We evaluated journal articles in light of Hill’s criteria for causality in a biological system. The results of our assessment are as follows. Strength of association: many randomized controlled trials (RCTs), prospective and cross-sectional studies found statistically significant inverse associations between 25(OH)D levels and CVD risk factors. Consistency of observed association: most studies found statistically significant inverse associations between 25(OH)D levels and CVD risk factors in various populations, locations and circumstances. Temporality of association: many RCTs and prospective studies found statistically significant inverse associations between 25(OH)D levels and CVD risk factors. Biological gradient (dose-response curve): most studies assessing 25(OH)D levels and CVD risk found an inverse association exhibiting a linear biological gradient. Plausibility of biology: several plausible cellular-level causative mechanisms and biological pathways may lead from a low 25(OH)D level to increased risk for CVD with mediators, such as dyslipidemia, hypertension and diabetes mellitus. Experimental evidence: some well-designed RCTs found increased CVD risk factors with decreasing 25(OH)D levels. Analogy: the association between serum 25(OH)D levels and CVD risk is analogous to that between 25(OH)D levels and the risk of overall cancer, periodontal disease, multiple sclerosis and breast cancer. Conclusion: all relevant Hill criteria for a causal association in a biological system are satisfied to indicate a low 25(OH)D level as a CVD risk factor.
Nutrients2014, 6(9), 3382-3402; doi:10.3390/nu6093382 - published 28 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Fish oil dietary supplements and complementary medicines are pitched to play a role of increasing strategic importance in meeting daily requirements of essential nutrients, such as long-chain (≥C20, LC) omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin D. Recently a new product category, derived from Antarctic krill, has been launched on the omega-3 nutriceutical market. Antarctic krill oil is marketed as demonstrating a greater ease of absorption due to higher phospholipid content, as being sourced through sustainable fisheries and being free of toxins and pollutants; however, limited data is available on the latter component. Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP) encompass a range of toxic, man-made contaminants that accumulate preferentially in marine ecosystems and in the lipid reserves of organisms. Extraction and concentration of fish oils therefore represents an inherent nutritional-toxicological conflict. This study aimed to provide the first quantitative comparison of the nutritional (EPA and DHA) versus the toxicological profiles of Antarctic krill oil products, relative to various fish oil categories available on the Australian market. Krill oil products were found to adhere closely to EPA and DHA manufacturer specifications and overall were ranked as containing intermediate levels of POP contaminants when compared to the other products analysed. Monitoring of the pollutant content of fish and krill oil products will become increasingly important with expanding regulatory specifications for chemical thresholds.
Nutrients2014, 6(9), 3363-3381; doi:10.3390/nu6093363 - published 27 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Taste sensitivity to the bitter compound 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP) is considered a marker for individual differences in taste perception that may influence food preferences and eating behavior, and thereby energy metabolism. This review describes genetic factors that may contribute to PROP sensitivity including: (1) the variants of the TAS2R38 bitter receptor with their different affinities for the stimulus; (2) the gene that controls the gustin protein that acts as a salivary trophic factor for fungiform taste papillae; and (3) other specific salivary proteins that could be involved in facilitating the binding of the PROP molecule with its receptor. In addition, we speculate on the influence of taste sensitivity on energy metabolism, possibly via modulation of the endocannabinoid system, and its possible role in regulating body composition homeostasis.
Nutrients2014, 6(9), 3353-3362; doi:10.3390/nu6093353 - published 26 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Hormonal contraceptives may produce side effects that deter women from their use as a method of family planning. In nutritionally vulnerable populations these effects may be more pronounced due to micronutrient deficiencies and health status. Previous studies have been unable to resolve whether micronutrient supplementation may reduce such side effects. Aim: In a longitudinal study, 1011 women obtaining oral contraception through the public health system in rural Cambodia were allocated to either intervention or control groups, receiving either daily Vitamin B6 supplement or care as usual (without placebo). Results: The intervention participants (n = 577) reported fewer side effects in three categories: nausea/no appetite, headache, and depression compared with control group participants (n = 434). Conclusion: Women taking Vitamin B6 supplement were less likely to report side effects in a nutritionally vulnerable population. Underlying nutrition status should be considered by clinicians and reproductive health policy makers in the context of providing contraceptive services. Further investigation into micronutrient supplementation, particularly with B6, in reproductive-aged women using hormonal contraception should be conducted in other settings to determine the potential for widespread adoption.
Nutrients2014, 6(8), 3336-3352; doi:10.3390/nu6083336 - published 22 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: PURPOSE: Piperine, a major alkaloid of black pepper (Piper nigrum) and long pepper (Piper longum), was shown to have anti-inflammatory activity through the suppression of cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 gene expression and enzyme activity. It is also reported to exhibit anti-platelet activity, but the mechanism underlying this action remains unknown. In this study, we investigated a putative anti-platelet aggregation mechanism involving arachidonic acid (AA) metabolism and how this compares with the mechanism by which it inhibits macrophage inflammatory responses; METHODS: Rabbit platelets and murine macrophage RAW264.7 cells were treated with piperine, and the effect of piperine on the activity of AA-metabolizing enzymes, including cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2), COX-1, COX-2, and thromboxane A2 (TXA2) synthase, as well as its effect on AA liberation from the plasma membrane components, were assessed using isotopic labeling methods and enzyme immunoassay kit; RESULTS: Piperine significantly suppressed AA liberation by attenuating cPLA2 activity in collagen-stimulated platelets. It also significantly inhibited the activity of TXA2 synthase, but not of COX-1, in platelets. These results suggest that piperine inhibits platelet aggregation by attenuating cPLA2 and TXA2 synthase activities, rather than through the inhibition of COX-1 activity. On the other hand, piperine significantly inhibited lipopolysaccharide-induced generation of prostaglandin (PG)E2 and PGD2 in RAW264.7 cells by suppressing the activity of COX-2, without effect on cPLA2; CONCLUSION: Our findings indicate that piperine inhibits platelet aggregation and macrophage inflammatory response by different mechanisms.