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Research Roundup: Studies Show Promise for Vitamin E, Carotenoids, Wellmune, Others

The latest research studies on natural ingredients demonstrated favorable results related to vitamin E, citicoline, chondroitin sulfate, macular carotenoids, Glucevia™ Fraxinus (ash) extract, and Wellmune baker’s yeast beta glucan.

The latest research studies on natural ingredients demonstrated favorable results related to vitamin E, citicoline, chondroitin sulfate, macular carotenoids, Glucevia™ Fraxinus (ash) extract, and Wellmune baker’s yeast beta glucan.

Annatto tocotrienol – composed mainly of delta-tocotrienol – improves cardiovascular risk factors including inflammatory cytokines, nitric oxide (NO) and C-reactive protein (CRP) according to clinical findings published in Clinical & Experimental Cardiology. Four weeks of doses ranging from 125 to 750mg/day (an optimum is 250mg/day), along with a healthy diet, decreased inflammatory and oxidative stress markers significantly. “These results suggest that delta-tocotrienol is a potential candidate for therapeutic applications in the maintenance of health and protection from aging diseases," concluded the researchers, led by Asaf Qureshi of the University of Missouri – Kansas City.

In other news related to vitamin E research, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that the current Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) of vitamin E should be replaced by a newly defined Adequate Intake (AI). DSM responded by highlighting the most recent scientific studies not broadly recognized, and emphasized more research on the micronutrient is needed to precisely define the vitamin E requirement in humans. In particular, this includes the role of vitamin E in protecting polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) from being oxidized in cell membranes and the beneficial effect of adequate blood levels of vitamin E on cardiovascular health. The new research suggests that individual requirements vary in view of the critical interactions between vitamin E and PUFAs and differ for specific groups, such as pregnant and lactating women, as well as being dependent on factors such as age. “Whilst we appreciate the work carried out by the EFSA panel in reviewing the Dietary Reference Values (DRV) for vitamin E, it is important to consider all scientific evidence when defining the value," said Manfred Eggersdorfer, senior vice president, Nutrition Science & Advocacy at DSM and professor for healthy aging at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands.   

Another clinical trial showed Cognizin® citicoline (Jarrow® Formulas) reduced cocaine use, based on urine drug screens, in patients with bipolar disorder and cocaine dependence. The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry in Advance, included 130 outpatients with bipolar I disorder and cocaine dependence, who received either Cognizin® citicoline or placebo add-on therapy for 12 weeks. Citicoline was well-tolerated for the duration of the study, and cocaine use was significantly reduced in the citicoline group. The positive treatment effects suggest that Cognizin® citicoline could be used as part of an augmentation strategy for the treatment of cocaine dependence in bipolar patients.

Chondroitin sulfate may have a beneficial effect on the symptoms and evolution of osteoarthritis, as revealed in a recent international review published in the journal Molecules. The article pinpointed the different biological effects that different chondroitin molecules may have and that some could even lead to the appearance of undesired effects. The thesis of the study is that not all chondroitin sulfate molecules on the market are the same. The investigators would like to see regulation in place to prevent the use of poor quality chondroitin, as it could lead to the appearance of an effect other than the one intended: “Of importance, although some showed anti-inflammatory effects, others demonstrated weak effects, and some instances were even pro-inflammatory. This could be related to contaminants, which depend on the origin, production and purification process," affirmed the article. In this regard, Bioiberica stated that the chondroitin sulfate it markets under the brand CS b-Bioactive® guarantees a robust molecule, its own consistent and traceable manufacturing process, with exhaustive safeguards in place, that it follows pharmaceutical manufacturing standard.

In the realm of eye health, OmniActive Health Technologies presented a poster on the study “Soluble Lutein Inhibits Cholinesterase and Reduces Ultraviolet Radiation-Induced Inflammation and Immunosuppression: In vitro Model" at the recent Macular Carotenoids Conference’s (MCC) annual meeting at Downing College, Cambridge University (UK).  This in vitro study evaluated the effect of the macular carotenoids— lutein and the two zeaxanthin isomers (Lutemax 2020®)— on cholinesterase activity and antioxidant enzymes in response to ultraviolet (UV) irradiation. Lutein and zeaxanthin isomers may ameliorate the effects of mild UV irradiation on Retinal Pigment Epitheleal (RPE) cells, as shown by expression of genes involved in cell proliferation, inflammation, immune function and wound healing. Lutein and zeaxanthin isomers inhibited cholinesterase activity and enhanced catalase activity in cells exposed to mild irradiation. Results suggested inhibition of cholinesterase enzyme and enhancing antioxidant enzymes may have several therapeutic applications such as neurodegenerative disorders and myasthenia gravis.  

Another pre-clinical study on Naturex’s Glucevia™ Fraxinus (ash) extract, derived from seeds and fruit, showed a preventive effect on hepatic steatosis and suggested a mechanism of action through liver metabolism. The study, published in the Journal of Diabetes and Metabolism, showed that Glucevia™ decreased insulin resistance while reducing fatty liver in diabetic mice after seven months of administration. The liver of supplemented mice presented 54 percent less fat droplets than the control group. This demonstrated that non-alcoholic steatosis in the liver was markedly reduced in treated mice thanks to Glucevia™.

And finally, Wellmune®, a proprietary brand of baker’s yeast beta glucan, may help improve mucosal immunity post-exercise among general, non-exercising adults, according to a new clinical study from the University of North Texas. This new study’s findings add to previous peer-reviewed studies in marathoners and fit recreational athletes that demonstrate Wellmune can help athletes stay healthy before and after intense workouts. The double-blind, crossover design study evaluated 109 young men and women (18 to 35 years old) who consumed either 250mg of Wellmune or a placebo for 10 days. Participants then participated in intervals of brisk treadmill walking or light jogging that totaled 90 minutes of exercise in a hot, humid environment. Saliva was collected before exercise and immediately following exercise and at two and four hours after exercise. Salivary IgA was measured to determine the impact on mucosal immunity. According to the researchers, “Supplementation with Baker’s Yeast-glucan represents one way to boost mucosal immunity, thus limiting the loss of training days due to URTI."

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