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  • Open access
  • 51 Reads
Dietary Fat Intake: Associations with Dietary Patterns and Postmenopausal Breast Cancer. A Case-Control Study

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in females worldwide. Although fat has been hypothesized to be involved in breast cancer etiology, the results of available studies are inconclusive. The aim of this study was to assess the associations of the individual's percentage energy from dietary fat (Pfat) with dietary patterns (DPs), and occurrence of the peri- and postmenopausal breast cancer (BC). This case-control study obtained 420 women aged 40–79 years from north-eastern Poland, including 190 newly diagnosed BC cases. Dietary data were collected using a food frequency questionnaire (62-item FFQ-6®). The Quick Food Scan of the National Cancer Institute, and the Percentage Energy from Fat Screener scoring procedures were used to estimate Pfat. The odds of BC occurrence was three-times higher in the upper tertile of Pfat >32% (OR: 3.00; 95%Cl: 1.66–5.41; p<0.001; reference: bottom tertile <30%). The odds of Pfat >32% was higher in the upper tertile of the ‘Non-Healthy’ DP (OR: 11.02; 95%Cl: 5.17-23.50; p<0.001; reference: bottom tertile). The odds of Pfat >32% was lower in the higher level of the Polish-aMED® score (5-8 points; OR: 0.19; 95%Cl: 0.11-0.33; p<0.001; reference: lower level 0-4 points), lower with a one-point increase of the ‘Prudent’ DP (OR: 0.80; 95%Cl: 0.64-0.99; p<0.05), and lower in the middle tertile of the ‘Dressings and sweetened-low-fat dairy’ DP (OR: 0.29; 95%Cl: 0.15-0.55; p<0.001; reference: bottom tertile). In conclusion, higher dietary fat intake may contribute to an increased occurrence of peri- and postmenopausal breast cancer. Given that dietary pattern characterized by the consumption of highly processed, high in sugar and animal fat foods was positively linked with dietary fat intake, it is important to avoid this unhealthy diet in breast cancer prevention. Instead, dietary patterns characterized by the frequent consumption of low-processed plant foods and fish, and moderate consumption of low-fat dairy should be recommended since this pro-healthy diet was inversely associated with dietary fat intake.

  • Open access
  • 43 Reads
Effects of Spirulina on CD4+ T-lymphocyte count in patients with HIV infection: a literature review

The aim of this review is to understand if Spirulina can significantly improve the CD4+ cell count in patients with HIV. PubMed was searched up to November 2021 for relevant trials, and seven studies were found to match our inclusion criteria. Overall, available evidence indicates that Spirulina might be useful to improve the CD4+ T-lymphocyte count in patients with HIV. A more pronounced effect is likely to be observed for a 10-gram daily dose of Spirulina, when this supplement is administered for 6 months, while smaller amounts given for shorter periods of time seem to be less effective. High-quality Spirulina-derived products are necessary to ensure the best clinical safety and avoid contaminants. Further studies on the topic are needed.

  • Open access
  • 46 Reads
Effects of Curcumin intake on CVD risk factors and Exercise-induced oxidative stress in healthy volunteers; an exploratory study

Background: Evidence suggests that turmeric or curcumin intake can improve antioxidant defense, blood pressure, ageing and gut microbiota. The effects of turmeric concentrate (curcumin) intake on cardiovascular risk factors and exercise induced oxidative stress were investigated. Methods: A randomized placebo-controlled study was performed to assess the effects of turmeric extract in healthy volunteers before and after a 30 min exercise bout. Participants (n=22) were given either 500mg turmeric concentrate (Curcumin C3, Jarrow Formulas, Los Angeles, CA, USA) or placebo supplements. Anthropometry, blood pressure, pulse wave velocity (PWV), biomarkers of oxidative stress, perceived exertion and lipid peroxidation were assessed. Results: There were no significant differences in all baseline parameters between the placebo and the curcumin groups (p>0.05). In the curcumin group, blood pressure response to exercise following curcumin intake was blunted and the increase was not significant compared to basal values. In the last run, there was a significant difference (before-after) between curcumin and placebo groups (Δ in SBP: 7.3±6.8 vs 13.8±6.3 mmHg, p= 0.007, and Δ in DBP: 2.3±6.9 vs 8.0±6.8 mmHg, p=0.012). Final PWV scores were reduced significantly in the curcumin group (7.2±0.97 to 6.7±0.77 m/s, p=0.033) and this reduction was significant compared to the control (Δ of 0.56 vs 0.21 m/s, p=0.04). A significant increase was observed in urinary antioxidant power (p=0.031) and total polyphenol levels (p=0.022) post curcumin intervention, and those on the placebo did not show significant changes. The increase in exercise-induced MDA levels was blunted only in the curcumin group and before-after difference was significant compared to control (Δ of -0.81 vs +0.205 µmole/day, p=0.032). The distance ran by the participants taking curcumin was significantly longer (p=0.005) and compared to placebo before-after difference was significant (Δ of -0.69 vs +0.28 km, p=0.014). Conclusion: Our study suggests that turmeric concentrate intake can reduce blood pressure and improve antioxidant, anti-inflammatory status, and arterial compliance. Curcumin may improve exercise performance and ameliorates oxidative stress. Larger studies are warranted to validate these findings and test other cardiovascular risk factors.

  • Open access
  • 65 Reads
Cytokinins from plant to human

The plant hormones cytokinins; play a major role in cell division and cell differentiation and affect organogenesis in plant cell cultures and contribute in many other physiological and developmental processes in plants . 60 years ago, was the first discovery of kinetin, the first known member of cytokinines. In market, kinetin is formulated as cosmetic anti-againg topical preparations, without defined dose or mechanism of actions, and till now no systemic formulations with specific dose and mechanism were produced. Some studies reported the effect of kinetin on different human diseases , such as its ability to prevent age-related changes in human skin by protecting the DNA in skin cells from damage (antioxidant effects) and decreasing skin water loss and its therapeutic potential in treatment of the human splicing disease familial dysautonomia in vitro. Our research with kinetin started from studying of its activity in the plants , followed by first screening for the systemic activity of kinetin in mammalian cells at the level of the in vitro study, where we showed for the first time that kinetin exerts anticytotoxic, antioxidant, antigenotoxic and antiapoptotic activities in different cell lines from different origins. The promising in vitro results transferred us to the in vivo stage of the investigations, where we examined the safety of the kinetin for the systemic administration in rats .

  • Open access
  • 78 Reads
Fruit and Vegetable Intake, and Metabolic Syndrome components: a Population-based study

Background Metabolic syndrome (MetS) risk factors have been reported in Uganda, yet, the role of dietary factors of MetS, such as fruit and vegetable (FV) intake is rarely reported. Objective To examine the association between fruit and/or vegetable intake and MetS risk factors in Ugandan adults aged 18-69 years. Methods In this cross-sectional study, data from the 2014 Uganda non-communicable disease risk factor survey was analyzed. The mean intake of fruits and/or vegetables according to the number of MetS risk factors, and the odds ratios of each risk factor according to quartiles (Q) of fruits and/or vegetable servings were computed. Results Overall, 1,396 men and 1,736 women were analyzed. Mean age was 34.4 years, mean daily servings of total FV was 2.6±0.1, and 77.7% of participants were diagnosed with at least a MetS risk factor whereas 2.6% had ≥3 risk factors. Men with ≥3 risk factors consumed less vegetable servings compared to those with no risk factor (1.1±0.1 vs 1.4±0.1, p<0.001). Total FV, and vegetable intake were low in women with ≥3 risk factors than in those with none (total FV: 1.4±0.3 vs 2.2±0.3, p=0.003; vegetables: 1.1±0.1 vs 1.4±0.1, p=0.005). Regarding individual risk factors, higher total FV intake, and only fruit intake were unusually associated with higher odds of low HDL cholesterol in men (total FV: Q1->Q4, p for trend=0.025; fruits: Q1->Q4, p for trend=0.03). Increasing intake of total FV was inversely associated with abdominal obesity in women (Q1->Q4, p for trend=0.04). In addition, fruit, but not vegetable intake, non-significantly reduced the odds of abdominal obesity (p for trend=0.07) and high blood pressure (p for trend=0.06) in women. Conclusion We found low consumption of vegetables in both genders, and low consumption of total fruits and vegetables in women with ≥3 risk factors. In addition, total fruits and vegetable intake was inversely associated with abdominal obesity in women. However, the controversial finding that a high risk of low HDL cholesterol is linked to higher FV or fruit intake in men deserves further research. Results suggest a favorable role of fruits and vegetable intake in metabolic syndrome risk factors in this population.

  • Open access
  • 26 Reads
Protective role of the Mediterranean diet against the development of age-related cognitive disorders: an umbrella review of meta-analyses

This umbrella review was aimed at understanding if the Mediterranean diet can have a protective role against the development of age-related cognitive disorders. PubMed, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, EMBASE, Scopus and the DOAJ were systematically searched for relevant meta-analyses published in the last 10 years (up to October 2021). After the article selection process, 6 research works met inclusion criteria. Pooled results of these meta-analyses indicated that following a Mediterranean diet can be associated with a reduction in the risk of developing cognitive disorders (mild cognitive impairment, vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease), although in one study the overall result was not statistically significant. In particular, people following a Mediterranean diet may be up to 40% less likely to develop age-related neurodegenerative disorders associated with impaired cognition. In consideration of demographic and epidemiological trends that suggest a substantial rise in cognitive disorder prevalence in the near future, promoting the Mediterranean diet can be a useful public health strategy for healthy aging and disease prevention (GRADE 1B). Additional studies are recommended to strengthen current indications.

  • Open access
  • 48 Reads
Modulatory effects of a lunasin-enriched soybean extract on immune response and oxidative stress-associated biomarkers

The immune system, inflammatory and oxidative processes are involved in the etiology and pathogenesis of a wide variety of chronic diseases with high morbidity and mortality rates worldwide1. Therefore, the development of new and alternative preventive and therapeutic strategies against infection, inflammation and oxidative stress is being explored. Regarding natural compounds, and especially among food-derived bioactive peptides, soybean lunasin has emerged as one of the most promising peptides with positive impact on health2.

A soybean extract enriched in lunasin (LES) was obtained and characterized, evaluating its behavior under simulated gastrointestinal conditions. Its radical scavenging capacity was evaluated by biochemical assays. Moreover, the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory properties of LES were investigated in macrophages RAW 264.7, elucidating the potential mechanisms of action of lunasin. The effects on cell viability, phagocytic capacity, and levels of oxidative stress and inflammation-associated biomarkers were studied after different treatment times (8, 16, and 24 h) with different LES doses (0.5-15 µg protein/mL).

Our results showed, that after extraction with an aqueous solvent, an enrichment with soluble proteins and small peptides, such as lunasin, was achieved. After the simulated digestion, lunasin was detected at the end of the digestive process, indicating its partial resistance to the action of gastric and pancreatic enzymes. LES showed radical scavenging activity. Moreover, at low doses, LES reduced reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels in macrophages, while an oxidizing effect was observed at the highest concentration assayed. In addition, LES exerted an immunomodulatory action, with an increase in the production of nitric oxide (NO) in a dose- and time-dependent manner, and in the cellular phagocytic activity at short treatment times. The action of LES on cytokines secretion including both interleukin (IL)-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α allowed confirming the modulatory effects of lunasin and other peptides contained in LES on the immune response.


(1) Furman, D. et al. (2019). Chronic inflammation in the etiology of disease across the life span. Nature Medicine, 25, 1822–1832.

(2) Fernández-Tomé, S. & Hernández-Ledesma, B. (2019). Current state of art after twenty years of the discovery of bioactive peptide lunasin. Food Research International, 116, 71-78.

  • Open access
  • 45 Reads
Beneficals effects of Ketogenic Diet on hepatic inflammation in obese mice model.

Rationale: Obesity is associated with a low-grade inflammation, characterized by the secretion of inflammatory mediators. In the liver, they contribute to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) development and its progression toward higher risk cirrhotic states. Ketogenic diet (KD), a high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet, seems to present anti-inflammatory properties which could reduce NASH development. However, the mechanisms involved in its beneficial effects remain unclear.

Methods: Obesity was induced in C57/Bl6 mice (n=20) by using a high-fat high-sugar diet (HFD). After 16 weeks of HFD, mice were split into 2 groups for 6 weeks: KD mice (n=10) and HFD mice (n=10). At the end of the 22-week protocol, we measured liver weight, hepatic lipid accumulation and inflammatory infiltrates with histological staining, and hepatic gene expression by RT-qPCR. Both HFD and KD were isocaloric and compared with a control diet (Ctrl) group of mice (n=10).

Results: After 22 weeks of HFD, mice developped obesity (+82% of weight gain, p<0.001) associated with an increase of weight liver (+113%, p<0.001) and an hepatic lipid accumulation (+158%, p<0.001), compared with Ctrl. RT-qPCR revealed an increase of TNFa (p<0.05), IL-1 (p<0.05) and collagen 1 (p<0.01) gene expression, but no changes of IL-10, TGFb and IFNg, compared to Ctrl. Histological staining showed an important steatosis and inflammatory infiltrates. Compared to HFD, 6 weeks of KD allow to reduce the liver weight (-31%, p<0.01), the inflammatory inflitratres, and decreased IL-6 (p<0.05) and collagen 1 (p<0.05) gene expression. But KD had no effect on hepatic lipid accumulation and on IL-1, TNFa, IFNg, IL-10 gene expression, compared to HFD.

Conclusions: Isolcaloric KD demonstrates beneficial effects regarding hepatic fibrosis and inflammation, preventing NASH development. These results prove the importance of reducing sugar intake and suggest that KD could be an effective strategy to reduce NASH progression.

  • Open access
  • 56 Reads
Psychological distress and its association with discretionary choices intake in Australian women of reproductive age during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has been disruptive to people’s mental health and lifestyle including dietary intakes. This study aimed to explore psychological distress, lifestyle, and demographic factors and the relationship to discretionary choices, in women of reproductive age (18-50 years) during COVID-19 in Australia. Reproductive aged women (18-50y) in Australia were invited to participate in a national online survey, October and November 2020. Targeted recruitment ensured broad national representativeness across age and state of residence. Psychological distress score, socioeconomic characteristics, physical activity, and frequencies of discretionary choices (sugar-sweetened beverages, alcohol, and discretionary foods) were collected. Using the R statistical software (R Core Team, 2020), logistic regression was performed to analyse data.

A total of 1005 women were included in the study. Around 40% of the women reported to have a high level of psychological distress. About half of all women had higher intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (>1/week) (46%) and alcohol (≥2/week) (49%) and 15% reported higher intake of discretionary foods (≥3/day). Women of Australian, New Zealander, or pacific ethnicity, and women with more sitting times were more likely to have higher consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. Women of older age (45-50 y), women who reported a higher annual household income (≥ AUD100,000), and women who had moderate or high physical activity were more likely to consume high intakes of alcohol. Women with high psychological distress, and those who gained weight during the pandemic, had a greater likelihood of high intake of discretionary foods. Such a high intake of discretionary choices in stressful situations including Covid-19 pandemic needs appropriate public health strategies to avoid further mental and metabolic health issues.

  • Open access
  • 42 Reads

Background The availability of characterized human adipocyte cell models for in vitro studies is currently limited. They may be useful to better understand the role of dysfunctional adipocytes in the pathophysiology of cardio-metabolic diseases and to evaluate the metabolic effects of nutraceutical compounds. In this study, human liposarcoma SW 872 cells, both non-differentiated and differentiated for 7 days with 100 microM oleic acid, have been used as the model system to 1. characterize these cells, concerning metabolic, pro-inflammatory and morphologic features, and 2. begin to evaluate the “healthy” effects of some plant-derived nutraceutical compounds. Methods In SW 872 cells, we evaluated the accumulation of triglycerides, the glucose uptake, the pro-inflammatory cytokine release and the modulation of Akt protein phosphorylation (pAkt), highlighting the differences between differentiated and non-differentiated cells. Results Oleic acid-differentiated SW 872 cells have a higher triglyceride content (p<0.001) than non-differentiated cells, a lower glucose uptake (p<0.001), but a higher insulin response (p<0.05), and a specific activation of the Akt pathway. This cell model has been then chosen for the preliminary evaluation of the effects of some phytochemical complexes on the modulation of these molecular parameters, observing, in some instances, promising effects on reduction of triglyceride content and pro-inflammatory cytokine release as well as on increased glucose uptake. Conclusion Our study suggests that the SW 872 cell model could be useful for studies regarding human adipocyte function and dysfunction and the effects of bioactive compounds on dysfunctional adipose tissue, which will be addressed in future research.