Special Issue "Nutraceutical Approaches to Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases: Evidence and Opportunities"

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643). This special issue belongs to the section "Clinical Nutrition".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 July 2021) | Viewed by 32090

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Paolo Magni
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Pharmacological and Biomolecular Sciences, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy
Interests: metabolic diseases; obesity and adipokines; insulin resistance and diabetes; cardiovascular disease; atherosclerosis; nutraceuticals; nutrition; metabolic biomarkers
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Andrea Baragetti
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Pharmacological and Biomolecular Sciences, University of Milan, 20133 Milan, Italy
Interests: internal medicine; cardiovascular pharmacology; cardiovascular genomic; translational immunometabolism
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Andrea Poli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Nutrition Foundation of Italy, 20124 Milan, Italy
Interests: human nutrition; cardiovascular and metabolic nutraceutics; cardiovascular risk

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Cardiovascular and metabolic diseases are still the major cause of mortality, morbidity and disability worldwide. Their prevention and treatment should take advantage of lifestyle changes and, when appropriate, of pharmacological approaches. These may be integrated by the nutraceutical option, which, according to an increasing number of research papers, appears to be an additional and effective asset in this biomedical field. However, several issues still remain open regarding the efficacy and the safety of nutraceutical products for managing cardiometabolic diseases. Among them, the quality of evidence required to inform guidelines, the quality of nutraceutical products and the related regulatory aspects, and the actual role of probiotics in this area.

These and other critical issues, along with the most robust evidence from clinical trials, will be addressed in this Special Issue of Nutrients, which aims to implement a qualified and open evidence-based discussion on the use of nutraceutical products for cardiometabolic health, thus providing an up-to-date set of information useful for basic, translational and clinical readers. 

Prof. Dr. Paolo Magni
Dr. Andrea Baragetti
Dr. Andrea Poli
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • nutraceutics
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • metabolic diseases
  • dyslipidemia
  • vascular health
  • chronic inflammation
  • integrative medicine

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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Article
Hydroethanolic Extract of Prunus domestica L.: Metabolite Profiling and In Vitro Modulation of Molecular Mechanisms Associated to Cardiometabolic Diseases
Nutrients 2022, 14(2), 340; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14020340 - 14 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1275
Abstract
High consumption of fruit and vegetables has an inverse association with cardiometabolic risk factors. This study aimed to chemically characterize the hydroethanolic extract of P. domestica subsp. syriaca fruit pulp and evaluate its inhibitory activity against metabolic enzymes and production of proinflammatory mediators. [...] Read more.
High consumption of fruit and vegetables has an inverse association with cardiometabolic risk factors. This study aimed to chemically characterize the hydroethanolic extract of P. domestica subsp. syriaca fruit pulp and evaluate its inhibitory activity against metabolic enzymes and production of proinflammatory mediators. Ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography high-resolution mass spectrometry(UHPLC-HRMS) analysis showed the presence of hydroxycinnamic acids, flavanols, and glycoside flavonols, while nuclear magnetic resonance(NMR) analysis showed, among saccharides, an abundant presence of glucose. P. domestica fruit extract inhibited α-amylase, α-glucosidase, pancreatic lipase, and HMG CoA reductase enzyme activities, with IC50 values of 7.01 mg/mL, 6.4 mg/mL, 6.0 mg/mL, and 2.5 mg/mL, respectively. P. domestica fruit extract inhibited lipopolysaccharide-induced production of nitrite, interleukin-1 β and PGE2 in activated J774 macrophages. The findings of the present study indicate that P. domestica fruit extracts positively modulate in vitro a series of molecular mechanisms involved in the pathophysiology of cardiometabolic diseases. Further research is necessary to better characterize these properties and their potential application for human health. Full article
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Article
Cameroonian Spice Extracts Modulate Molecular Mechanisms Relevant to Cardiometabolic Diseases in SW 872 Human Liposarcoma Cells
Nutrients 2021, 13(12), 4271; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13124271 - 26 Nov 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1238
Abstract
The molecular pathophysiology of cardiometabolic diseases is known to be influenced by dysfunctional ectopic adipose tissue. In addition to lifestyle improvements, these conditions may be managed by novel nutraceutical products. This study evaluatedthe effects of 11 Cameroonian medicinal spice extracts on triglyceride accumulation, [...] Read more.
The molecular pathophysiology of cardiometabolic diseases is known to be influenced by dysfunctional ectopic adipose tissue. In addition to lifestyle improvements, these conditions may be managed by novel nutraceutical products. This study evaluatedthe effects of 11 Cameroonian medicinal spice extracts on triglyceride accumulation, glucose uptake, reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and interleukin secretion in SW 872 human adipocytes after differentiation with 100 µM oleic acid. Triglyceride content was significantly reduced by all spice extracts. Glucose uptake was significantly increased by Tetrapleura tetraptera, Aframomum melegueta and Zanthoxylum leprieurii. Moreover, Xylopia parviflora, Echinops giganteus and Dichrostachys glomerata significantly reduced the production of ROS. Concerning pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion, we observed that Tetrapleura tetraptera, Echinops giganteus, Dichrostachys glomerata and Aframomum melegueta reduced IL-6 secretion. In addition, Xylopia parviflora, Monodora myristica, Zanthoxylum leprieurii, and Xylopia aethiopica reduced IL-8 secretion, while Dichrostachys glomerata and Aframomum citratum increased it. These findings highlight some interesting properties of these Cameroonian spice extracts in the modulation of cellular parameters relevant to cardiometabolic diseases, which may be further exploited, aiming to develop novel treatment options for these conditions based on nutraceutical products. Full article
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Article
Urinary Tartaric Acid, a Biomarker of Wine Intake, Correlates with Lower Total and LDL Cholesterol
Nutrients 2021, 13(8), 2883; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13082883 - 22 Aug 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3400
Abstract
Postmenopausal women are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases due to changes in lipid profile and body fat, among others. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association of urinary tartaric acid, a biomarker of wine consumption, with anthropometric (weight, [...] Read more.
Postmenopausal women are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases due to changes in lipid profile and body fat, among others. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association of urinary tartaric acid, a biomarker of wine consumption, with anthropometric (weight, waist circumference, body mass index (BMI), and waist-to-height ratio), blood pressure, and biochemical variables (blood glucose and lipid profile) that may be affected during the menopausal transition. This sub-study of the PREDIMED (Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea) trial included a sample of 230 women aged 60–80 years with high cardiovascular risk at baseline. Urine samples were diluted and filtered, and tartaric acid was analyzed by liquid chromatography coupled to electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS/MS). Correlations between tartaric acid and the study variables were adjusted for age, education level, smoking status, physical activity, BMI, cholesterol-lowering, antihypertensive, and insulin treatment, total energy intake, and consumption of fruits, vegetables, and raisins. A strong association was observed between wine consumption and urinary tartaric acid (0.01 μg/mg (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.01, 0.01), p-value < 0.001). Total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol were inversely correlated with urinary tartaric acid (−3.13 μg/mg (−5.54, −0.71), p-value = 0.016 and −3.03 μg/mg (−5.62, −0.42), p-value = 0.027, respectively), whereas other biochemical and anthropometric variables were unrelated. The results suggest that wine consumption may have a positive effect on cardiovascular health in postmenopausal women, underpinning its nutraceutical properties. Full article
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Article
Reduction of Cardio-Metabolic Risk and Body Weight through a Multiphasic Very-Low Calorie Ketogenic Diet Program in Women with Overweight/Obesity: A Study in a Real-World Setting
Nutrients 2021, 13(6), 1804; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13061804 - 26 May 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3229
Abstract
Background: The prevention and treatment of obesity and its cardio-metabolic complications are relevant issues worldwide. Among lifestyle approaches, very low-calorie ketogenic diets (VLCKD) have been shown to lead to rapid initial weight loss, resulting in better long-term weight loss maintenance. As no information [...] Read more.
Background: The prevention and treatment of obesity and its cardio-metabolic complications are relevant issues worldwide. Among lifestyle approaches, very low-calorie ketogenic diets (VLCKD) have been shown to lead to rapid initial weight loss, resulting in better long-term weight loss maintenance. As no information on VLCKD studies carried on in a real-world setting are available, we conducted this multi-centre study in a real-world setting, aiming at assessing the efficacy and the safety of a specific multiphasic VLCKD program in women with overweight or obesity. Methods: A multi-center, prospective, uncontrolled trial was conducted in 33 outpatient women (age range 27–60 y) with overweight or obesity (BMI: 30.9 ± 2.7 kg/m2; waist circumference: 96.0 ± 9.4 cm) who started a VLCKD dietary program (duration: 24 weeks), divided into four phases. The efficacy of VLCKD was assessed by evaluating anthropometric measures and cardiometabolic markers; liver and kidney function biomarkers were assessed as safety parameters. Results: The VLCKD program resulted in a significant decrease of body weight and BMI (−14.6%) and waist circumference (−12.4%). At the end of the protocol, 33.3% of the participants reached a normal weight and the subjects in the obesity range were reduced from 70% to 16.7%. HOMA-IR was markedly reduced from 3.17 ± 2.67 to 1.73 ± 1.23 already after phase 2 and was unchanged thereafter. Systolic blood pressure decreased after phase 1 (−3.5 mmHg) and remained unchanged until the end of the program. Total and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides were significantly reduced by VLCKD along with a significant HDL cholesterol increase. Liver, kidney and thyroid function markers did not change and remained within the reference range. Conclusions: The findings of a multi-center VLCKD program conducted in a real-world setting in a cohort of overweight/obese women indicate that it is safe and effective, as it results in a major improvement of cardiometabolic parameters, thus leading to benefits that span well beyond the mere body weight/adiposity reduction. Full article
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Article
Interactions of Oxysterols with Atherosclerosis Biomarkers in Subjects with Moderate Hypercholesterolemia and Effects of a Nutraceutical Combination (Bifidobacterium longum BB536, Red Yeast Rice Extract) (Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study)
Nutrients 2021, 13(2), 427; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13020427 - 28 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1719
Abstract
Background: Oxysterol relationship with cardiovascular (CV) risk factors is poorly explored, especially in moderately hypercholesterolaemic subjects. Moreover, the impact of nutraceuticals controlling hypercholesterolaemia on plasma levels of 24-, 25- and 27-hydroxycholesterol (24-OHC, 25-OHC, 27-OHC) is unknown. Methods: Subjects (n = 33; 18–70 [...] Read more.
Background: Oxysterol relationship with cardiovascular (CV) risk factors is poorly explored, especially in moderately hypercholesterolaemic subjects. Moreover, the impact of nutraceuticals controlling hypercholesterolaemia on plasma levels of 24-, 25- and 27-hydroxycholesterol (24-OHC, 25-OHC, 27-OHC) is unknown. Methods: Subjects (n = 33; 18–70 years) with moderate hypercholesterolaemia (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C:): 130–200 mg/dL), in primary CV prevention as well as low CV risk were studied cross-sectionally. Moreover, they were evaluated after treatment with a nutraceutical combination (Bifidobacterium longum BB536, red yeast rice extract (10 mg/dose monacolin K)), following a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled design. We evaluated 24-OHC, 25-OHC and 27-OHC levels by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry analysis. Results: 24-OHC and 25-OHC were significantly correlated, 24-OHC was correlated with apoB. 27-OHC and 27-OHC/total cholesterol (TC) were higher in men (median 209 ng/mL and 77 ng/mg, respectively) vs. women (median 168 ng/mL and 56 ng/mg, respectively); 27-OHC/TC was significantly correlated with abdominal circumference, visceral fat and, negatively, with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). Triglycerides were significantly correlated with 24-OHC, 25-OHC and 27-OHC and with 24-OHC/TC and 25-OHC/TC. After intervention, 27-OHC levels were significantly reduced by 10.4% in the nutraceutical group Levels of 24-OHC, 24-OHC/TC, 25-OHC, 25-OHC/TC and 27-OHC/TC were unchanged. Conclusions: In this study, conducted in moderate hypercholesterolemic subjects, we observed novel relationships between 24-OHC, 25-OHC and 27-OHC and CV risk biomarkers. In addition, no adverse changes of OHC levels upon nutraceutical treatment were found. Full article
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Article
Gut Microbiota Functional Dysbiosis Relates to Individual Diet in Subclinical Carotid Atherosclerosis
Nutrients 2021, 13(2), 304; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13020304 - 21 Jan 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2033
Abstract
Gut Microbiota (GM) dysbiosis associates with Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Diseases (ACVD), but whether this also holds true in subjects without clinically manifest ACVD represents a challenge of personalized prevention. We connected exposure to diet (self-reported by food diaries) and markers of Subclinical Carotid Atherosclerosis [...] Read more.
Gut Microbiota (GM) dysbiosis associates with Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Diseases (ACVD), but whether this also holds true in subjects without clinically manifest ACVD represents a challenge of personalized prevention. We connected exposure to diet (self-reported by food diaries) and markers of Subclinical Carotid Atherosclerosis (SCA) with individual taxonomic and functional GM profiles (from fecal metagenomic DNA) of 345 subjects without previous clinically manifest ACVD. Subjects without SCA reported consuming higher amounts of cereals, starchy vegetables, milky products, yoghurts and bakery products versus those with SCA (who reported to consume more mechanically separated meats). The variety of dietary sources significantly overlapped with the separations in GM composition between subjects without SCA and those with SCA (RV coefficient between nutrients quantities and microbial relative abundances at genus level = 0.65, p-value = 0.047). Additionally, specific bacterial species (Faecalibacterium prausnitzii in the absence of SCA and Escherichia coli in the presence of SCA) are directly related to over-representation of metagenomic pathways linked to different dietary sources (sulfur oxidation and starch degradation in absence of SCA, and metabolism of amino acids, syntheses of palmitate, choline, carnitines and Trimethylamine n-oxide in presence of SCA). These findings might contribute to hypothesize future strategies of personalized dietary intervention for primary CVD prevention setting. Full article
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Review

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Review
Nutraceuticals for Dyslipidaemia and Glucometabolic Diseases: What the Guidelines Tell Us (and Do Not Tell, Yet)
Nutrients 2022, 14(3), 606; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14030606 - 30 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1991
Abstract
Background: The use of nutraceutical products and functional foods in the cardiovascular and metabolic field is rising in several countries. Preparation and implementation of guidelines are pivotal for translating research-derived knowledge and evidence-based medicine to the clinical practice. Based on these considerations, the [...] Read more.
Background: The use of nutraceutical products and functional foods in the cardiovascular and metabolic field is rising in several countries. Preparation and implementation of guidelines are pivotal for translating research-derived knowledge and evidence-based medicine to the clinical practice. Based on these considerations, the aim of this paper is to explore if and how nutraceutical products are discussed by the most recent international guidelines related to cardio-metabolic diseases (dyslipidaemia, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention). Some, but not all, guidelines for dyslipidaemia mention nutraceutical products as potential useful options for the treatment of mild dyslipidaemia, but also indicate the low level of evidence associated to their effects on hard endpoints (myocardial infarction, stroke, CVD-related death). In the most recent guidelines on obesity, it is mentioned that no safe and effective dietary supplement nor nutraceutical product is available for the management of weight loss in this condition, and more high-quality studies are necessary in this field. The examined guidelines for T2DM do not mention any specific nutraceutical approach to this disease, nor to milder forms, such as insulin resistance and pre-diabetes. Conclusions: The focus on nutraceutical products in the main international guidelines for cardio-metabolic disease management remains limited. Since robust scientific evidence is the background of useful and effective guidelines, the implementation of high-quality clinical research is strongly needed in the field of nutraceutical products for cardio-metabolic diseases. Full article
Review
Molecular Immune-Inflammatory Connections between Dietary Fats and Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease: Which Translation into Clinics?
Nutrients 2021, 13(11), 3768; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13113768 - 25 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1309
Abstract
Current guidelines recommend reducing the daily intake of dietary fats for the prevention of ischemic cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Avoiding saturated fats while increasing the intake of mono- or polyunsaturated fatty acids has been for long time the cornerstone of dietary approaches in cardiovascular [...] Read more.
Current guidelines recommend reducing the daily intake of dietary fats for the prevention of ischemic cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Avoiding saturated fats while increasing the intake of mono- or polyunsaturated fatty acids has been for long time the cornerstone of dietary approaches in cardiovascular prevention, mainly due to the metabolic effects of these molecules. However, recently, this approach has been critically revised. The experimental evidence, in fact, supports the concept that the pro- or anti-inflammatory potential of different dietary fats contributes to atherogenic or anti-atherogenic cellular and molecular processes beyond (or in addition to) their metabolic effects. All these aspects are hardly translatable into clinics when trying to find connections between the pro-/anti-inflammatory potential of dietary lipids and their effects on CVD outcomes. Interventional trials, although providing stronger potential for causal inference, are typically small sample-sized, and they have short follow-up, noncompliance, and high attrition rates. Besides, observational studies are confounded by a number of variables and the quantification of dietary intakes is far from optimal. A better understanding of the anatomic and physiological barriers for the absorption and the players involved in the metabolism of dietary lipids (e.g., gut microbiota) might be an alternative strategy in the attempt to provide a first step towards a personalized dietary approach in CVD prevention. Full article
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Review
Nuts: Natural Pleiotropic Nutraceuticals
Nutrients 2021, 13(9), 3269; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13093269 - 19 Sep 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 4574
Abstract
Common nuts (tree nuts and peanuts) are energy-dense foods that nature has gifted with a complex matrix of beneficial nutrients and bioactives, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, high-quality protein, fiber, non-sodium minerals, tocopherols, phytosterols, and antioxidant phenolics. These nut components synergize to [...] Read more.
Common nuts (tree nuts and peanuts) are energy-dense foods that nature has gifted with a complex matrix of beneficial nutrients and bioactives, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, high-quality protein, fiber, non-sodium minerals, tocopherols, phytosterols, and antioxidant phenolics. These nut components synergize to favorably influence metabolic and vascular physiology pathways, ameliorate cardiovascular risk factors and improve cardiovascular prognosis. There is increasing evidence that nuts positively impact myriad other health outcomes as well. Nut consumption is correlated with lower cancer incidence and cancer mortality, and decreased all-cause mortality. Favorable effects on cognitive function and depression have also been reported. Randomized controlled trials consistently show nuts have a cholesterol-lowering effect. Nut consumption also confers modest improvements on glycemic control, blood pressure (BP), endothelial function, and inflammation. Although nuts are energy-dense foods, they do not predispose to obesity, and in fact may even help in weight loss. Tree nuts and peanuts, but not peanut butter, generally produce similar positive effects on outcomes. First level evidence from the PREDIMED trial shows that, in the context of a Mediterranean diet, consumption of 30 g/d of nuts (walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts) significantly lowered the risk of a composite endpoint of major adverse cardiovascular events (myocardial infarction, stroke, and death from cardiovascular disease) by ≈30% after intervention for 5 y. Impressively, the nut-supplemented diet reduced stroke risk by 45%. As they are rich in salutary bioactive compounds and beneficially impact various health outcomes, nuts can be considered natural pleiotropic nutraceuticals. Full article
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Review
Nutraceuticals for the Control of Dyslipidaemias in Clinical Practice
Nutrients 2021, 13(9), 2957; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13092957 - 25 Aug 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2161
Abstract
Dyslipidaemias result in the deposition of cholesterol and lipids in the walls of blood vessels, chronic inflammation and the formation of atherosclerotic plaques, which impede blood flow and (when they rupture) result in acute ischaemic episodes. Whilst recent years have seen enormous success [...] Read more.
Dyslipidaemias result in the deposition of cholesterol and lipids in the walls of blood vessels, chronic inflammation and the formation of atherosclerotic plaques, which impede blood flow and (when they rupture) result in acute ischaemic episodes. Whilst recent years have seen enormous success in the reduction of cardiovascular risk using conventional pharmaceuticals, there is increasing interest amongst patients and practitioners in the use of nutraceuticals to combat dyslipidaemias and inflammation in cardiovascular disease. Nutraceutical is a portmanteau term: ‘ceutical’ indicate pharmaceutical-grade preparations, and ‘nutra’ indicates that the products contain nutrients from food. Until relatively recently, little high-quality evidence relating to the safety and efficacy of nutraceuticals has been available to prescribers and policymakers. However, as a result of recent randomised-controlled trials, cohort studies and meta-analyses, this situation is changing, and nutraceuticals are now recommended in several mainstream guidelines relating to dyslipidaemias and atherosclerosis. This article will summarise recent clinical-practice guidance relating to the use of nutraceuticals in this context and the evidence which underlies them. Particular attention is given to position papers and recommendations from the International Lipid Expert Panel (ILEP), which has produced several practical and helpful recommendations in this field. Full article
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Review
Phytosterols, Cholesterol Control, and Cardiovascular Disease
Nutrients 2021, 13(8), 2810; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13082810 - 16 Aug 2021
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 3974
Abstract
The use of phytosterols (or plant sterols) for the control of plasma cholesterol concentrations has recently gained traction because their efficacy is acknowledged by scientific authorities and leading guidelines. Phytosterols, marketed as supplements or functional foods, are formally classified as food in the [...] Read more.
The use of phytosterols (or plant sterols) for the control of plasma cholesterol concentrations has recently gained traction because their efficacy is acknowledged by scientific authorities and leading guidelines. Phytosterols, marketed as supplements or functional foods, are formally classified as food in the European Union, are freely available for purchase, and are frequently used without any health professional advice; therefore, they are often self-prescribed, either inappropriately or in situations in which no significant advantage can be obtained. For this reason, a panel of experts with diverse medical and scientific backgrounds was convened by NFI—Nutrition Foundation of Italy—to critically evaluate and summarize the literature available on the topic, with the goal of providing medical doctors and all health professionals useful information to actively govern the use of phytosterols in the context of plasma cholesterol control. Some practical indications to help professionals identify subjects who will most likely benefit from the use of these products, optimizing the therapeutic outcomes, are also provided. The panel concluded that the use of phytosterols as supplements or functional foods to control Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels should be preceded by the assessment of some relevant individual characteristics: cardiovascular risk, lipid profile, correct understanding of how to use these products, and willingness to pay for the treatment. Full article
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Review
A Systematic Review of Carotenoids in the Management of Diabetic Retinopathy
Nutrients 2021, 13(7), 2441; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13072441 - 16 Jul 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3904
Abstract
Diabetic retinopathy, which was primarily regarded as a microvascular disease, is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. With obesity at epidemic proportions, diabetes-related ocular problems are exponentially increasing in the developed world. Oxidative stress due to hyperglycemic states and its associated inflammation [...] Read more.
Diabetic retinopathy, which was primarily regarded as a microvascular disease, is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. With obesity at epidemic proportions, diabetes-related ocular problems are exponentially increasing in the developed world. Oxidative stress due to hyperglycemic states and its associated inflammation is one of the pathological mechanisms which leads to depletion of endogenous antioxidants in retina in a diabetic patient. This contributes to a cascade of events that finally leads to retinal neurodegeneration and irreversible vision loss. The xanthophylls lutein and zeaxanthin are known to promote retinal health, improve visual function in retinal diseases such as age-related macular degeneration that has oxidative damage central in its etiopathogenesis. Thus, it can be hypothesized that dietary supplements with xanthophylls that are potent antioxidants may regenerate the compromised antioxidant capacity as a consequence of the diabetic state, therefore ultimately promoting retinal health and visual improvement. We performed a comprehensive literature review of the National Library of Medicine and Web of Science databases, resulting in 341 publications meeting search criteria, of which, 18 were found eligible for inclusion in this review. Lutein and zeaxanthin demonstrated significant protection against capillary cell degeneration and hyperglycemia-induced changes in retinal vasculature. Observational studies indicate that depletion of xanthophyll carotenoids in the macula may represent a novel feature of DR, specifically in patients with type 2 or poorly managed type 1 diabetes. Meanwhile, early interventional trials with dietary carotenoid supplementation show promise in improving their levels in serum and macular pigments concomitant with benefits in visual performance. These findings provide a strong molecular basis and a line of evidence that suggests carotenoid vitamin therapy may offer enhanced neuroprotective effects with therapeutic potential to function as an adjunct nutraceutical strategy for management of diabetic retinopathy. Full article
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