Editor's Choice Articles

Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to authors, or important in this field. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

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Article
Psychological Aspects and Eating Habits during COVID-19 Home Confinement: Results of EHLC-COVID-19 Italian Online Survey
Nutrients 2020, 12(7), 2152; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12072152 - 19 Jul 2020
Cited by 69
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the population with consequences on lifestyles. The aim of the study was to analyse the relationship between eating habits, mental and emotional mood. A survey was conducted online during social isolation, from 24 April [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the population with consequences on lifestyles. The aim of the study was to analyse the relationship between eating habits, mental and emotional mood. A survey was conducted online during social isolation, from 24 April to 18 May 2020, among the Italian population. A total of 602 interviewees were included in the data analysis. A high percentage of respondents experienced a depressed mood, anxious feelings, hypochondria and insomnia (61.3%, 70.4%, 46.2% and 52.2%). Almost half of the respondents felt anxious due to the fact of their eating habits, consumed comfort food and were inclined to increase food intake to feel better. Age was inversely related to dietary control (OR = 0.971, p = 0.005). Females were more anxious and disposed to comfort food than males (p < 0.001; p < 0.001). A strength of our study was represented by the fact that the survey was conducted quickly during the most critical period of the Italian epidemic lockdown. As the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing, our data need to be confirmed and investigated in the future with larger population studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition within and beyond Corona Virus)
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Article
The Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Anacardium occidentale L. Cashew Nuts in a Mouse Model of Colitis
Nutrients 2020, 12(3), 834; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12030834 - 20 Mar 2020
Cited by 29
Abstract
Background: Anacardium occidentale L. is a tropical plant used for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. The goal of the present work was to investigate the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant potential of oral administration of cashew nuts (from Anacardium occidentale L.) in a mouse model [...] Read more.
Background: Anacardium occidentale L. is a tropical plant used for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. The goal of the present work was to investigate the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant potential of oral administration of cashew nuts (from Anacardium occidentale L.) in a mouse model of colitis. Methods: Induction of colitis was performed by intrarectally injection of dinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (DNBS). Cashew nuts were administered daily orally (100 mg/kg) in DNBS-injected mice. Results: Four days after DNBS, histological and macroscopic colon alterations as well as marked clinical signs and increased cytokine production were observed. Neutrophil infiltration, measured by myeloperoxidase (MPO) positive immunostaining, was correlated with up-regulation of adhesion molecules ICAM-1 and P-selectin in colons. Oxidative stress was detected with increased malondialdehyde (MDA) levels, nitrotyrosine, and poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) positive staining in inflamed colons. Oral treatment with cashew nuts reduced histological, macroscopic damage, neutrophil infiltration, pro-inflammatory cytokines and MDA levels, as well as nitrotyrosine, PARP and ICAM-1, and P-selectin expressions. Colon inflammation could be related to nuclear factor (NF)-kB pathway activation and reduced manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) antioxidant activity. Cashew nuts administration inhibited NF-kB and increased MnSOD antioxidant expressions. Conclusions: The results suggested that oral assumption of cashew nuts may be beneficial for the management of colitis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nuts Intake and Human Health)
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Article
Dietary Polyphenol Intake is Associated with HDL-Cholesterol and A Better Profile of other Components of the Metabolic Syndrome: A PREDIMED-Plus Sub-Study
Nutrients 2020, 12(3), 689; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12030689 - 04 Mar 2020
Cited by 21
Abstract
Dietary polyphenol intake is associated with improvement of metabolic disturbances. The aims of the present study are to describe dietary polyphenol intake in a population with metabolic syndrome (MetS) and to examine the association between polyphenol intake and the components of MetS. This [...] Read more.
Dietary polyphenol intake is associated with improvement of metabolic disturbances. The aims of the present study are to describe dietary polyphenol intake in a population with metabolic syndrome (MetS) and to examine the association between polyphenol intake and the components of MetS. This cross-sectional analysis involved 6633 men and women included in the PREDIMED (PREvención con DIeta MEDiterranea-Plus) study. The polyphenol content of foods was estimated from the Phenol-Explorer 3.6 database. The mean of total polyphenol intake was 846 ± 318 mg/day. Except for stilbenes, women had higher polyphenol intake than men. Total polyphenol intake was higher in older participants (>70 years of age) compared to their younger counterparts. Participants with body mass index (BMI) >35 kg/m2 reported lower total polyphenol, flavonoid, and stilbene intake than those with lower BMI. Total polyphenol intake was not associated with a better profile concerning MetS components, except for high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c), although stilbenes, lignans, and other polyphenols showed an inverse association with blood pressure, fasting plasma glucose, and triglycerides. A direct association with HDL-c was found for all subclasses except lignans and phenolic acids. To conclude, in participants with MetS, higher intake of several polyphenol subclasses was associated with a better profile of MetS components, especially HDL-c. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dietary Polyphenols and Human Health)
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Communication
Curcumin and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Prevention and Treatment
Nutrients 2019, 11(8), 1837; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11081837 - 08 Aug 2019
Cited by 56
Abstract
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is an ensemble of metabolic diseases that has reached pandemic dimensions all over the world. The multifactorial nature of the pathology makes patient management, which includes lifelong drug therapy and lifestyle modification, extremely challenging. It is well known [...] Read more.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is an ensemble of metabolic diseases that has reached pandemic dimensions all over the world. The multifactorial nature of the pathology makes patient management, which includes lifelong drug therapy and lifestyle modification, extremely challenging. It is well known that T2DM is a preventable disease, therefore lowering the incidence of new T2DM cases could be a key strategy to reduce the global impact of diabetes. Currently, there is growing evidence on the efficacy of the use of medicinal plants supplements for T2DM prevention and management. Among these medicinal plants, curcumin is gaining a growing interest in the scientific community. Curcumin is a bioactive molecule present in the rhizome of the Curcuma longa plant, also known as turmeric. Curcumin has different pharmacological and biological effects that have been described by both in vitro and in vivo studies, and include antioxidant, cardio-protective, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, nephro-protective, anti-neoplastic, hepato-protective, immunomodulatory, hypoglycaemic and anti-rheumatic effects. In animal models, curcumin extract delays diabetes development, improves β-cell functions, prevents β-cell death, and decreases insulin resistance. The present review focuses on pre-clinical and clinical trials on curcumin supplementation in T2DM and discusses the peculiar mechanisms by which curcumin might ameliorate diabetes management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dietary Curcumin and Human Health)
Article
Natural Dietary Supplementation of Curcumin Protects Mice Brains against Ethanol-Induced Oxidative Stress-Mediated Neurodegeneration and Memory Impairment via Nrf2/TLR4/RAGE Signaling
Nutrients 2019, 11(5), 1082; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11051082 - 15 May 2019
Cited by 38
Abstract
The aim of the current study was to explore the underlying neuroprotective mechanisms of curcumin (50 mg/kg, for six weeks) against ethanol (5 mg/kg i.p., for six weeks) induced oxidative stress and inflammation-mediated cognitive dysfunction in mice. According to our findings, ethanol triggered [...] Read more.
The aim of the current study was to explore the underlying neuroprotective mechanisms of curcumin (50 mg/kg, for six weeks) against ethanol (5 mg/kg i.p., for six weeks) induced oxidative stress and inflammation-mediated cognitive dysfunction in mice. According to our findings, ethanol triggered reactive oxygen species (ROS), apoptosis, neuroinflammation, and memory impairment, which were significantly inhibited with the administration of curcumin, as assessed by ROS, lipid peroxidation (LPO), and Nrf2/HO-1 (nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2/Heme-oxygenase-1) expression in the experimental mice brains. Moreover, curcumin regulated the expression of the glial cell markers in ethanol-treated mice brains, as analyzed by the relative expression TLR4 (Toll like Receptor 4), RAGE (Receptor for Advanced Glycations End products), GFAP (Glial fibrillary acidic protein), and Iba-1 (Ionized calcium binding adaptor molecule 1), through Western blot and confocal microscopic analysis. Moreover, our results showed that curcumin downregulated the expression of p-JNK (Phospo c-Jun N-Terminal Kinase), p-NF-kB (nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells), and its downstream targets, as assessed by Western blot and confocal microscopic analysis. Finally, the expression of synaptic proteins and the behavioral results also supported the hypothesis that curcumin may inhibit memory dysfunction and behavioral alterations associated with ethanol intoxication. Altogether, to the best of our knowledge, we believe that curcumin may serve as a potential, promising, and cheaply available neuroprotective compound against ethanol-associated neurodegenerative diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Central Nervous System)
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Review

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Review
Ultra-Processed Foods and Health Outcomes: A Narrative Review
Nutrients 2020, 12(7), 1955; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12071955 - 30 Jun 2020
Cited by 36
Abstract
The nutrition literature and authoritative reports increasingly recognise the concept of ultra-processed foods (UPF), as a descriptor of unhealthy diets. UPFs are now prevalent in diets worldwide. This review aims to identify and appraise the studies on healthy participants that investigated associations between [...] Read more.
The nutrition literature and authoritative reports increasingly recognise the concept of ultra-processed foods (UPF), as a descriptor of unhealthy diets. UPFs are now prevalent in diets worldwide. This review aims to identify and appraise the studies on healthy participants that investigated associations between levels of UPF consumption and health outcomes. This involved a systematic search for extant literature; integration and interpretation of findings from diverse study types, populations, health outcomes and dietary assessments; and quality appraisal. Of 43 studies reviewed, 37 found dietary UPF exposure associated with at least one adverse health outcome. Among adults, these included overweight, obesity and cardio-metabolic risks; cancer, type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases; irritable bowel syndrome, depression and frailty conditions; and all-cause mortality. Among children and adolescents, these included cardio-metabolic risks and asthma. No study reported an association between UPF and beneficial health outcomes. Most findings were derived from observational studies and evidence of plausible biological mechanisms to increase confidence in the veracity of these observed associations is steadily evolving. There is now a considerable body of evidence supporting the use of UPFs as a scientific concept to assess the ‘healthiness’ of foods within the context of dietary patterns and to help inform the development of dietary guidelines and nutrition policy actions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Nutrition and Public Health)
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Review
Plant-Dominant Low-Protein Diet for Conservative Management of Chronic Kidney Disease
Nutrients 2020, 12(7), 1931; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12071931 - 29 Jun 2020
Cited by 27
Abstract
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects >10% of the adult population. Each year, approximately 120,000 Americans develop end-stage kidney disease and initiate dialysis, which is costly and associated with functional impairments, worse health-related quality of life, and high early-mortality rates, exceeding 20% in the [...] Read more.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects >10% of the adult population. Each year, approximately 120,000 Americans develop end-stage kidney disease and initiate dialysis, which is costly and associated with functional impairments, worse health-related quality of life, and high early-mortality rates, exceeding 20% in the first year. Recent declarations by the World Kidney Day and the U.S. Government Executive Order seek to implement strategies that reduce the burden of kidney failure by slowing CKD progression and controlling uremia without dialysis. Pragmatic dietary interventions may have a role in improving CKD outcomes and preventing or delaying dialysis initiation. Evidence suggests that a patient-centered plant-dominant low-protein diet (PLADO) of 0.6–0.8 g/kg/day composed of >50% plant-based sources, administered by dietitians trained in non-dialysis CKD care, is promising and consistent with the precision nutrition. The scientific premise of the PLADO stems from the observations that high protein diets with high meat intake not only result in higher cardiovascular disease risk but also higher CKD incidence and faster CKD progression due to increased intraglomerular pressure and glomerular hyperfiltration. Meat intake increases production of nitrogenous end-products, worsens uremia, and may increase the risk of constipation with resulting hyperkalemia from the typical low fiber intake. A plant-dominant, fiber-rich, low-protein diet may lead to favorable alterations in the gut microbiome, which can modulate uremic toxin generation and slow CKD progression, along with reducing cardiovascular risk. PLADO is a heart-healthy, safe, flexible, and feasible diet that could be the centerpiece of a conservative and preservative CKD-management strategy that challenges the prevailing dialysis-centered paradigm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Renal Nutrition and Metabolism)
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Review
Gut–Joint Axis: The Role of Physical Exercise on Gut Microbiota Modulation in Older People with Osteoarthritis
Nutrients 2020, 12(2), 574; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12020574 - 22 Feb 2020
Cited by 28
Abstract
Osteoarthritis (OA) is considered one of the most common joint disorders worldwide and its prevalence is constantly increasing due to the global longevity and changes in eating habits and lifestyle. In this context, the role of gut microbiota (GM) in the pathogenesis of [...] Read more.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is considered one of the most common joint disorders worldwide and its prevalence is constantly increasing due to the global longevity and changes in eating habits and lifestyle. In this context, the role of gut microbiota (GM) in the pathogenesis of OA is still unclear. Perturbation of GM biodiversity and function, defined as ‘gut dysbiosis’, might be involved in the development of inflammaging, one of the main risk factors of OA development. It is well known that physical exercise could play a key role in the prevention and treatment of several chronic diseases including OA, and it is recommended by several guidelines as a first line intervention. Several studies have shown that physical exercise could modulate GM composition, boosting intestinal mucosal immunity, increasing the Bacteroidetes–Firmicutes ratio, modifying the bile acid profile, and improving the production of short chain fatty acids. Moreover, it has been shown that low intensity exercise might reduce the risk of gastrointestinal diseases, confirming the hypothesis of a strict correlation between skeletal muscle and GM. However, up to date, there is still a lack of clinical trials focusing on this research field. Therefore, in this narrative, we aimed to summarize the state-of-the-art of the literature regarding the correlation between these conditions, supporting the hypothesis of a ‘gut–joint axis’ and highlighting the role of physical exercise combined with adequate diet and probiotic supplements in rebalancing microbial dysbiosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Prebiotics and Probiotics)
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Review
Modulation of Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage, Inflammation, and Oxidative Markers by Curcumin Supplementation in a Physically Active Population: A Systematic Review
Nutrients 2020, 12(2), 501; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12020501 - 15 Feb 2020
Cited by 18
Abstract
Physical activity, particularly high-intensity eccentric muscle contractions, produces exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD). The breakdown of muscle fibers and the consequent inflammatory responses derived from EIMD affect exercise performance. Curcumin, a natural polyphenol extracted from turmeric, has been shown to have mainly antioxidant and [...] Read more.
Physical activity, particularly high-intensity eccentric muscle contractions, produces exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD). The breakdown of muscle fibers and the consequent inflammatory responses derived from EIMD affect exercise performance. Curcumin, a natural polyphenol extracted from turmeric, has been shown to have mainly antioxidant and also anti-inflammatory properties. This effect of curcumin could improve EIMD and exercise performance. The main objective of this systematic review was to critically evaluate the effectiveness of curcumin supplementation on EIMD and inflammatory and oxidative markers in a physically active population. A structured search was carried out following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines in the databases SCOPUS, Web of Science (WOS), and Medline (PubMed) from inception to October 2019. The search included original articles with randomized controlled crossover or parallel design in which the intake of curcumin administered before and/or after exercise was compared with an identical placebo situation. No filters were applied to the type of physical exercise performed, the sex or the age of the participants. Of the 301 articles identified in the search, 11 met the established criteria and were included in this systematic review. The methodological quality of the studies was assessed using the McMaster Critical Review Form. The use of curcumin reduces the subjective perception of the intensity of muscle pain; reduces muscle damage through the decrease of creatine kinase (CK); increases muscle performance; has an anti-inflammatory effect by modulating the pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-8; and may have a slight antioxidant effect. In summary, the administration of curcumin at a dose between 150–1500 mg/day before and during exercise, and up until 72 h’ post-exercise, improved performance by reducing EIMD and modulating the inflammation caused by physical activity. In addition, humans appear to be able to tolerate high doses of curcumin without significant side-effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Athletic Performance)
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Review
Vitamin and Mineral Supplementation During Pregnancy on Maternal, Birth, Child Health and Development Outcomes in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Nutrients 2020, 12(2), 491; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12020491 - 14 Feb 2020
Cited by 23
Abstract
Almost two billion people are deficient in key vitamins and minerals, mostly women and children in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Deficiencies worsen during pregnancy due to increased energy and nutritional demands, causing adverse outcomes in mother and child, but could be mitigated [...] Read more.
Almost two billion people are deficient in key vitamins and minerals, mostly women and children in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Deficiencies worsen during pregnancy due to increased energy and nutritional demands, causing adverse outcomes in mother and child, but could be mitigated by interventions like micronutrient supplementation. To our knowledge, this is the first systematic review that aimed to compile evidence from both efficacy and effectiveness trials, evaluating different supplementation interventions on maternal, birth, child health, and developmental outcomes. We evaluated randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental studies published since 1995 in peer-reviewed and grey literature that assessed the effects of calcium, vitamin A, iron, vitamin D, and zinc supplementation compared to placebo/no treatment; iron-folic (IFA) supplementation compared to folic acid only; multiple micronutrient (MMN) supplementation compared to IFA; and lipid-based nutrient supplementation (LNS) compared to MMN supplementation. Seventy-two studies, which collectively involved 314 papers (451,723 women), were included. Meta-analyses showed improvement in several key birth outcomes, such as preterm birth, small-for-gestational age (SGA) and low birthweight with MMN supplementation, compared to IFA. MMN also improved child outcomes, including diarrhea incidence and retinol concentration, which are findings not previously reported. Across all comparisons, micronutrient supplementation had little to no effect on mortality (maternal, neonatal, perinatal, and infant) outcomes, which is consistent with other systematic reviews. IFA supplementation showed notable improvement in maternal anemia and the reduction in low birthweight, whereas LNS supplementation had no apparent effect on outcomes; further research that compares LNS and MMN supplementation could help understand differences with these commodities. For single micronutrient supplementation, improvements were noted in only a few outcomes, mainly pre-eclampsia/eclampsia (calcium), maternal anemia (iron), preterm births (vitamin D), and maternal serum zinc concentration (zinc). These findings highlight that micronutrient-specific supplementation should be tailored to specific groups or needs for maximum benefit. In addition, they further contribute to the ongoing discourse of choosing antenatal MMN over IFA as the standard of care in LMICs. Full article
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Review
Molecules Produced by Probiotics and Intestinal Microorganisms with Immunomodulatory Activity
Nutrients 2020, 12(2), 391; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12020391 - 01 Feb 2020
Cited by 21
Abstract
Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. The probiotic microorganisms most commonly used in the food and pharmacy industry belong to Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, and several strains of these genera have demonstrated [...] Read more.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. The probiotic microorganisms most commonly used in the food and pharmacy industry belong to Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, and several strains of these genera have demonstrated beneficial attributes. In addition, some other intestinal bacteria inhabiting the human microbiota, such as Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Akkermansia muciniphila, have recently been discovered and are able to display health-promoting effects in animal and human trials. The beneficial properties of probiotics have been known for a long time, although little is known about the molecular mechanisms and the molecules responsible for their effects. However, in recent years, advances in microbiome studies, and the use of novel analytical and molecular techniques have allowed a deeper insight into their effects at the molecular level. This review summarizes the current knowledge of some of the molecules of probiotics and other intestinal commensal bacteria responsible for their immunomodulatory effect, focusing on those with more solid scientific evidence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Immunonutrient in Human Health and Disease)
Review
Low FODMAP Diet: Evidence, Doubts, and Hopes
Nutrients 2020, 12(1), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12010148 - 04 Jan 2020
Cited by 16
Abstract
Food is often considered to be a precipitating factor of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides, And Polyols), which can be found in many common foods. A low FODMAP [...] Read more.
Food is often considered to be a precipitating factor of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides, And Polyols), which can be found in many common foods. A low FODMAP diet (LFD) is increasingly suggested for IBS treatment. However, long-term, large, randomized controlled studies are still lacking, and certainties and doubts regarding LFDs have grown, often in a disorderly and confused manner. Some potential LFD limitations and concerns have been raised, including nutritional adequacy, cost, and difficulty in teaching the diet and maintaining it. Most of these limitations can be solved with the involvement of a skilled nutritionist, who can clearly explain the different phases of the LFD and ensure nutritional adequacy and compliance. Further studies should focus on new methods of teaching and learning the LFD and on predictors of response. Moreover, particular interest should be focused on the possible use of LFD in gastrointestinal diseases other than functional disorders and, possibly, also in non-gastrointestinal diseases. The aim of the present review was to clarify the effective and appropriate indications and limitations of an LFD and to discuss its possible future uses. Full article
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Review
Role of Zinc in Immune System and Anti-Cancer Defense Mechanisms
Nutrients 2019, 11(10), 2273; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102273 - 22 Sep 2019
Cited by 43
Abstract
The human body cannot store zinc reserves, so a deficiency can arise relatively quickly, e.g., through an improper diet. Severe zinc deficiency is rare, but mild deficiencies are common around the world. Many epidemiological studies have shown a relationship between the zinc content [...] Read more.
The human body cannot store zinc reserves, so a deficiency can arise relatively quickly, e.g., through an improper diet. Severe zinc deficiency is rare, but mild deficiencies are common around the world. Many epidemiological studies have shown a relationship between the zinc content in the diet and the risk of cancer. The anti-cancer effect of zinc is most often associated with its antioxidant properties. However, this is just one of many possibilities, including the influence of zinc on the immune system, transcription factors, cell differentiation and proliferation, DNA and RNA synthesis and repair, enzyme activation or inhibition, the regulation of cellular signaling, and the stabilization of the cell structure and membranes. This study presents selected issues regarding the current knowledge of anti-cancer mechanisms involving this element. Full article
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Review
Equol: A Bacterial Metabolite from The Daidzein Isoflavone and Its Presumed Beneficial Health Effects
Nutrients 2019, 11(9), 2231; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11092231 - 16 Sep 2019
Cited by 51
Abstract
Epidemiological data suggest that regular intake of isoflavones from soy reduces the incidence of estrogen-dependent and aging-associated disorders, such as menopause symptoms in women, osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Equol, produced from daidzein, is the isoflavone-derived metabolite with the greatest estrogenic and antioxidant [...] Read more.
Epidemiological data suggest that regular intake of isoflavones from soy reduces the incidence of estrogen-dependent and aging-associated disorders, such as menopause symptoms in women, osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Equol, produced from daidzein, is the isoflavone-derived metabolite with the greatest estrogenic and antioxidant activity. Consequently, equol has been endorsed as having many beneficial effects on human health. The conversion of daidzein into equol takes place in the intestine via the action of reductase enzymes belonging to incompletely characterized members of the gut microbiota. While all animal species analyzed so far produce equol, only between one third and one half of human subjects (depending on the community) are able to do so, ostensibly those that harbor equol-producing microbes. Conceivably, these subjects might be the only ones who can fully benefit from soy or isoflavone consumption. This review summarizes current knowledge on the microorganisms involved in, the genetic background to, and the biochemical pathways of, equol biosynthesis. It also outlines the results of recent clinical trials and meta-analyses on the effects of equol on different areas of human health and discusses briefly its presumptive mode of action. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dietary Bioactive Compounds and Human Health and Disease)
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Cancer and Mediterranean Diet: A Review
Nutrients 2019, 11(9), 2059; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11092059 - 02 Sep 2019
Cited by 49
Abstract
The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the most worldwide healthy dietary patterns thanks to a combination of foods rich mainly in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients. Many studies have demonstrated a strong and inverse relationship between a high level of Mediterranean diet adherence [...] Read more.
The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the most worldwide healthy dietary patterns thanks to a combination of foods rich mainly in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients. Many studies have demonstrated a strong and inverse relationship between a high level of Mediterranean diet adherence and some chronic diseases (such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, etc.) and cancer. Given its protective effects in reducing oxidative and inflammatory processes of cells and avoiding DNA damages, cell proliferation, and their survival, angiogenesis, inflammations and metastasis, the Mediterranean diet is considered a powerful and manageable method to fight cancer incidence. The aim of this narrative review was to determine the magnitude of interaction between the Mediterranean diet and more widespread types of cancer so as to give a first and useful overview on this relationship identifying, with a nutritional approach, those nutrients of Mediterranean diet able to reduce cancer incidence. Full article
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Review
Glycine Metabolism and Its Alterations in Obesity and Metabolic Diseases
Nutrients 2019, 11(6), 1356; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11061356 - 16 Jun 2019
Cited by 51
Abstract
Glycine is the proteinogenic amino-acid of lowest molecular weight, harboring a hydrogen atom as a side-chain. In addition to being a building-block for proteins, glycine is also required for multiple metabolic pathways, such as glutathione synthesis and regulation of one-carbon metabolism. Although generally [...] Read more.
Glycine is the proteinogenic amino-acid of lowest molecular weight, harboring a hydrogen atom as a side-chain. In addition to being a building-block for proteins, glycine is also required for multiple metabolic pathways, such as glutathione synthesis and regulation of one-carbon metabolism. Although generally viewed as a non-essential amino-acid, because it can be endogenously synthesized to a certain extent, glycine has also been suggested as a conditionally essential amino acid. In metabolic disorders associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes (T2DM), and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLDs), lower circulating glycine levels have been consistently observed, and clinical studies suggest the existence of beneficial effects induced by glycine supplementation. The present review aims at synthesizing the recent advances in glycine metabolism, pinpointing its main metabolic pathways, identifying the causes leading to glycine deficiency—especially in obesity and associated metabolic disorders—and evaluating the potential benefits of increasing glycine availability to curb the progression of obesity and obesity-related metabolic disturbances. This study focuses on the importance of diet, gut microbiota, and liver metabolism in determining glycine availability in obesity and associated metabolic disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protein Metabolism and Glucose Homeostasis)
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Review
Analysis of Association between Vitamin D Deficiency and Insulin Resistance
Nutrients 2019, 11(4), 794; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11040794 - 06 Apr 2019
Cited by 55
Abstract
Recent evidence revealed extra skeleton activity of vitamin D, including prevention from cardiometabolic diseases and cancer development as well as anti-inflammatory properties. It is worth noting that vitamin D deficiency is very common and may be associated with the pathogenesis of insulin-resistance-related diseases, [...] Read more.
Recent evidence revealed extra skeleton activity of vitamin D, including prevention from cardiometabolic diseases and cancer development as well as anti-inflammatory properties. It is worth noting that vitamin D deficiency is very common and may be associated with the pathogenesis of insulin-resistance-related diseases, including obesity and diabetes. This review aims to provide molecular mechanisms showing how vitamin D deficiency may be involved in the insulin resistance formation. The PUBMED database and published reference lists were searched to find studies published between 1980 and 2019. It was identified that molecular action of vitamin D is involved in maintaining the normal resting levels of ROS and Ca2+, not only in pancreatic β-cells, but also in insulin responsive tissues. Both genomic and non-genomic action of vitamin D is directed towards insulin signaling. Thereby, vitamin D reduces the extent of pathologies associated with insulin resistance such as oxidative stress and inflammation. More recently, it was also shown that vitamin D prevents epigenetic alterations associated with insulin resistance and diabetes. In conclusion, vitamin D deficiency is one of the factors accelerating insulin resistance formation. The results of basic and clinical research support beneficial action of vitamin D in the reduction of insulin resistance and related pathologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Insulin Resistance–Beyond Energy Metabolism)
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Review
Dietary Patterns, Skeletal Muscle Health, and Sarcopenia in Older Adults
Nutrients 2019, 11(4), 745; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11040745 - 30 Mar 2019
Cited by 50
Abstract
In recent decades, the significance of diet and dietary patterns (DPs) for skeletal muscle health has been gaining attention in ageing and nutritional research. Sarcopenia, a muscle disease characterised by low muscle strength, mass, and function is associated with an increased risk of [...] Read more.
In recent decades, the significance of diet and dietary patterns (DPs) for skeletal muscle health has been gaining attention in ageing and nutritional research. Sarcopenia, a muscle disease characterised by low muscle strength, mass, and function is associated with an increased risk of functional decline, frailty, hospitalization, and death. The prevalence of sarcopenia increases with age and leads to high personal, social, and economic costs. Finding adequate nutritional measures to maintain muscle health, preserve function, and independence for the growing population of older adults would have important scientific and societal implications. Two main approaches have been employed to study the role of diet/DPs as a modifiable lifestyle factor in sarcopenia. An a priori or hypothesis-driven approach examines the adherence to pre-defined dietary indices such as the Mediterranean diet (MED) and Healthy Eating Index (HEI)—measures of diet quality—in relation to muscle health outcomes. A posteriori or data-driven approaches have used statistical tools—dimension reduction methods or clustering—to study DP-muscle health relationships. Both approaches recognise the importance of the whole diet and potential cumulative, synergistic, and antagonistic effects of foods and nutrients on ageing muscle. In this review, we have aimed to (i) summarise nutritional epidemiology evidence from four recent systematic reviews with updates from new primary studies about the role of DPs in muscle health, sarcopenia, and its components; (ii) hypothesise about the potential mechanisms of ‘myoprotective’ diets, with the MED as an example, and (iii) discuss the challenges facing nutritional epidemiology to produce the higher level evidence needed to understand the relationships between whole diets and healthy muscle ageing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dietary Patterns and Human Health)
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Review
Nutrigenomics of Vitamin D
Nutrients 2019, 11(3), 676; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11030676 - 21 Mar 2019
Cited by 42
Abstract
Nutrigenomics studies how environmental factors, such as food intake and lifestyle, influence the expression of the genome. Vitamin D3 represents a master example of nutrigenomics, since via its metabolite 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, which binds with high-affinity to the vitamin D receptor, [...] Read more.
Nutrigenomics studies how environmental factors, such as food intake and lifestyle, influence the expression of the genome. Vitamin D3 represents a master example of nutrigenomics, since via its metabolite 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, which binds with high-affinity to the vitamin D receptor, the secosteroid directly affects the epigenome and transcriptome at thousands of loci within the human genome. Vitamin D is important for both cellular metabolism and immunity, as it controls calcium homeostasis and modulates the response of the innate and adaptive immune system. At sufficient UV-B exposure, humans can synthesize vitamin D3 endogenously in their skin, but today’s lifestyle often makes the molecule a true vitamin and micronutrient that needs to be taken up by diet or supplementation with pills. The individual’s molecular response to vitamin D requires personalized supplementation with vitamin D3, in order to obtain optimized clinical benefits in the prevention of osteoporosis, sarcopenia, autoimmune diseases, and possibly different types of cancer. The importance of endogenous synthesis of vitamin D3 created an evolutionary pressure for reduced skin pigmentation, when, during the past 50,000 years, modern humans migrated from Africa towards Asia and Europe. This review will discuss different aspects of how vitamin D interacts with the human genome, focusing on nutritional epigenomics in context of immune responses. This should lead to a better understanding of the clinical benefits of vitamin D. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition Intake and Skin Health: Vitamin D and beyond)
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Review
Intermittent Fasting in Cardiovascular Disorders—An Overview
Nutrients 2019, 11(3), 673; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11030673 - 20 Mar 2019
Cited by 48
Abstract
Intermittent fasting is a form of time restricted eating (typically 16 h fasting and 8 h eating), which has gained popularity in recent years and shows promise as a possible new paradigm in the approach to weight loss and the reduction of inflammation, [...] Read more.
Intermittent fasting is a form of time restricted eating (typically 16 h fasting and 8 h eating), which has gained popularity in recent years and shows promise as a possible new paradigm in the approach to weight loss and the reduction of inflammation, and has many potential long term health benefits. In this review, the authors will incorporate many aspects of fasting, mainly focusing on its effects on the cardiovascular system, involving atherosclerosis progression, benefits for diabetes mellitus type 2, lowering of blood pressure, and exploring other cardiovascular risk factors (such as lipid profile and inflammation). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Effects of Intermittent Fasting: How Broad are the Benefits?)
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