Vitamin B3 May Benefit Those with Parkinson’s Disease

Brain Boosting B Vitamins and Parkinson's DiseaseAccording to researchers individuals with a specific type of Parkinson’s disease (PD) may benefit from increasing their intact of Vitamin B3 (Niacin).

Fruit flies that had a mutated form of the gene (PINK1) that usually protects cells from mitochondrial malfunction due to stress were studied by researchers.  These flies received food supplemented with niacin.  These flies were found to have a reduced number of faulty mitochondria when compared with flies that were fed a regular non supplemented diet.  Additionally the niacin prevented the flies from losing existing neurons.

Cells are prevented from clearing out their mitochondria when there are mutations in the PINK1 gene.  When these mutated genes are accumulated neurons cannot get enough energy and die.  These damaged mitochondria also release toxic molecules that can damage genes encoded with DNA.  Researchers concluded “This study strengthens the therapeutic potential for Vitamin B3/niacin-based dietary interventions in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease”.  Prior studies have suggested a relationship between high dietary levels of niacin and a reduction in the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease exists.

Further research is planned.

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Lutein and Zeaxanthin Levels Linked to Better Cognitive Function

Lutein and Cognitive FunctionA new study has found that higher blood levels of Lutein and Zeaxanthin may be associated with improved memory, cognition and executive function.  Data from this study found higher Zeaxanthin levels were associated with increased processing speeds and higher levels of both Zeaxanthin and Lutein were associated with enriched scores for many cognitive measures.

Data from over 4,000 adults aged 50 and older was analyzed.  Researchers inferred that a good biological basis exists for hypothesizing that Lutein and Zeaxanthin may be neuroprotective due to their anti inflammatory cell signaling properties and due to their antioxidant properties.

A link between eye health and Lutein was established in 1994 when researchers found a link between the consumption of dark leafy vegetables (carotenoid rich foods) and a reduction in the incidence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).  Additional studies now support the effects Lutein has on brain health.  Studies show that the carotenoids found in pediatric brain tissue is 60% Lutein yet only about 12% of the carotenoids found in the average diet contains Lutein.  Researchers have concluded that the brain has a preference for Lutein.

More studies are definitely needed.

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Vitamin E May Enhance Cystic Fibrosis Treatment

Cystic Fibrosis and Vitamin EResearchers have found a certain harmful bacteria, Burkholderia cenocepacia, becomes highly resistant to antibiotics causing severe lung infections in individuals with cystic fibrosis.  A recent study however shows supplementing fat-soluble vitamins may increase the effectiveness of the antibiotics prescribed to treat these lung infections.

The antibiotic capturing proteins, Lipocalins, were found to latch on to fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin E better than to the antibiotics usually given to treat certain infections.  This then frees the antibiotics from the Lipocalins which enables the antibiotics to fight the infection by targeting the bacteria.  Basically the fat soluble vitamins “soak up” the lipocalins before they are able to bind to the antibiotics, which increase the likelihood that the antibiotics will reach the bacteria.

Lung infections, usually caused by bacteria, are a chronic and serious problem for people suffering from cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that mostly affects the lungs and long term may cause breathing issues due to chronic lung infections.

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Resveratrol’s Role in Eye Protection Implied As Metabolites Cross Blood Barriers

Resveratrol and EyesShowing an ability to cross blood-ocular barriers and reinforcing the potential benefits to vision conditions, Resveratrol and its metabolites have been seen in the eye after oral supplementation.  Detection in the inner (Vitreous gel and aqueous fluid) and outer (conjunctiva) structures in the eye of humans have been confirmed by researchers.

35 (15 women and 20 men) individuals undergoing eye surgery after a detached retina participated in this research.  Participants varied in age from 20 to 74 years of age.  Each participant received a trans-resveratrol based supplement orally.  Tissue samples were then taken from the outer eye (conjunctiva) and from the aqueous fluid in the front of the inner eye and from the vitreous gel which fills the back of the eye.  Resveratrol and its three metabolites were detected after oral supplementation and researchers concluded that Resveratrol may play a role in the treatment of diseases of the eyes.

Past research shows the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits of Resveratrol in addition to previous suggestions that Resveratrol may play a role in promoting health in diabetic retinopathy, age related macular degeneration, cataract formation, glaucoma and dry eye.

Further investigation on a wider scale is needed.

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Certain B Vitamins Could Protect Against Air Pollution Risk

Air Pollution B VitaminsResearchers say a daily intake of B Vitamins may help reduce the consequences of air pollution on the epigenome, which consists of a group of chemical changes to the DNA of an organism and can alter gene expression and are hereditary.  The modification of DNA can occur as a natural process of tissue differentiation and development or can be changed as a response to environmental exposures.

A small group of individuals participated in this trial and randomly received a B vitamin supplement, containing 1 mg of Vitamin B12, 50 mg of Vitamin B6 and 2.5 mg of Folic Acid, or a placebo.  Blood levels were taken at the onset of the study.  Participants were than exposed to a totally encompassing amount of pollution containing a particulate matter less than PM2.5, an air pollutant that when levels in the air are high is a concern for people’s health.  PM2.5 are tiny particles in the air reducing visibility and causing the air to be hazy.  The group supplementing with the B Vitamin supplement did not see the “epigenetic changes which included an alteration to methylation of genes involved in mitochondrial oxidative energy metabolism” which was seen in the group given the placebo.

Researchers believe further studies focusing on heavily polluted environments are critical to confirm the outcomes seen in the study.

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Could Probiotic Ease Depression? Mouse study suggests so…..

According to a new animal study using mice, Lactobacillus, a probiotic, could reverse symptoms of depression.  A combination of molecular and computational techniques as well as behavioral techniques were used to test the role these gut microbioata may play in behaviors associated with depression, since these disorders may run in families and the microbiome may be a causative agent or a factor of this disease.

Researchers using a mouse model looked for a biological process, which occurs in living organisms, which may influence mood.  Results of this study found a reduction in levels of Lactobacillus in mice under stress as well as increased levels of circulating Kynurenine levels, which is a form of inflammation that has been linked to depression and suicide risks.

By restoring intestinal Lactobacillus levels improvements in abnormalities in behavior were seen.  Researchers did stress however that the symptoms that they identified in the mice are “depressive-like” behaviors.  It is hard to determine if the mice are actually experiencing depression since mice have no way of communicating their feelings.  Researchers do feel confident that the findings from this study may open new opportunities in the treatment of depression and other conditions like anxiety.

The researchers plan to begin studying the effects of Lactobacillus in people with depression in individuals with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), because MS sufferers often experience depression.

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Can Vitamin D Make You Stronger? Study Makes a Case

Vitamin D-Muscle StrengthIn a new study, scientists found that increased levels of active Vitamin D can aid in enhancing muscle strength.  Researchers in this study found that the active form of Vitamin D in the blood, 1,24-dihydorxyvitamin D3 (1a,25(OH)2D3), was strongly associated with some aspects of lower limb strength including jump height, power, and velocity.

116 people made up of 37 men and 79 women ages 20 – 74 participated in the study.  Participants had their Vitamin D levels identified and evaluated.  Additionally physical characteristics like lean mass and body fat as well as medical histories were also recorded.   Researchers found that participants with increased lean muscle mass and bulk had increased levels of the active form of Vitamin D in their blood.  Also researchers found women with a reduced body fat composition were not as likely to have higher levels of the inactive form of Vitamin D in their blood, which is a marker of a Vitamin D deficiency.  Actually researchers were surprised to find that the active form of Vitamin D was associated with lean mass and not body fat which was what they were expecting.

Looking at the different forms of Vitamin D in the same study makes things more complex for researchers trying to understand the role of Vitamin D and muscle function optimization.  Further studies should be completed.

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