Mediterranean Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism - Volume 4, issue 3
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Mediterranean Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism publishes original scientific papers on metabolism, including diabesity and eating disorders; nutrition (epidemiological, basic, clinical and artificial); dietary and nutritional practices and management and their impact on health from prevention to treatment.
The journal hosts the proceedings of relevant congresses and presents shorter notices focused on the original character of the Mediterranean nutritional civilisation. In addition, this journal is intended as a platform for scientific debate and knowledge-sharing among students and clinical practitioners, and between them and the broader scientific community, and finally as a tool for promoting and enhancing scientific cooperation.
Abstract: Intestinal microbiota and gut-associated lymphoreticular tissue are in a dynamic equilibrium, the rupture of which causes a condition of dysbiosis in the host. Among many natural foods, milk, because of its composition, is able to influence the host–microbiota relationship. Donkey's and goat's milk represents a good alternative to human milk. Healthy effects of both kinds of milk have been reported in either in vitro or in vivo experiments. When administered to elderly subjects, donkey's milk increased the release of interleukins 6 and 8, while goat's milk exerted opposite effects. With special reference to fermented cow's milk, a symbiotic (Gorbach and…Goldin) when administered to another group of elderly people, behaved as donkey's milk upregulating interleukins 6, 8 and also 1. In conclusion, the ability of milk and fermented milk to modulate the altered immune response in senescence needs to be exploited more for maintaining healthy aging.
Abstract: Phytosterols, phytostanols and their esters are a group of steroid alcohols that occur naturally in plants. As natural constituents of plant structures, phytosterols contribute to the regulation of the fluidity and permeability of cell membranes. They are found mostly in vegetable oils, fruits, nuts, cereals and legumes. Themost abundant phytosterols are β-sitosterol, campesterol and stigmasterol. During the last 15 years the market for phytosterols, as dietary supplements, has lead to a rapidly growing worldwide market for functional foods containing phytosterols and stanols. Even though many different clinical trials have clearly demonstrated that phytosterols reduce LDL-cholesterol, it is unclear whether phytosterols…have a positive effect on cardiovascular disease. Until now, there are no data related to the effect of phytosterol consumption on the development of cardiovascular diseases. This review focuses on the biochemistry of phytosterols, their metabolism and role in health and in pathological conditions.
Abstract: Since the beginning of civilization, people have used plants to improve their health. In recent years, there has been a reawakened scientific interest in the fundamental role plants play in many areas, including human health. Beginning from the 20th century, the field of folk tradition experienced a shift from the raw compilation of data to a greater methodological and conceptual reorientation. Research has concentrated mainly on the following periods: the Roman period, the Medieval Ages, the Renaissance, and the Modern Ages, and thousands of documentations focused that Italy and the whole of Europe have a consolidated tradition in the use…of plants for wellness and human health, and not only as food. In Italy, at present there are about 5,000 “erboristeria” shops in which dried herbs and spices are sold packed or unpacked and mixed according to the consumer's request. The purpose of this paper is to underline that a large enough body of evidence has survived to show that the folk tradition was impressively wide in its botanical reach and equally impressive in the range of situations it treated. The review will focus on the links between plants and traditions, art and history of typical Italian and European food plants. There has been a growing body of evidence and research, which studies the efficacy and safety of employing traditional knowledge based on approaches to health and healing. A significant number of food plant and/or plants for wellness have been used successfully for centuries, and in some cases millenniums. Many plants have a long and established history of use, no apparent adverse side effects, and social acceptance.
Keywords: Plant tradition, Traditional use: aromatic plant, Plant food history
Abstract: Diet has had a deep and wide-ranging impact on human evolution. Contemporary genome was originally selected for the lifestyle of ancestral humans. Since human genome has little changed since the emergence of behaviourally modern humans, the study of prehistoric hunter–gatherer diet could be regarded as a paradigm for modern humans. The discordance between our ancestral, genetically determined biology and the nutritional and activity patterns of contemporary western populations could be the common soil for the emergence and wide spreading of metabolic disease, such as obesity and T2 diabetes.
Abstract: Protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) in hospitalized patients is associated with poor outcomes. Prealbumin (PAB) has been shown to be a potentially useful tool in PEM assessment. PAB plasma concentrations are closely related to nutritional state and nutritional intervention. However, PAB is also inversely correlated to C-reactive protein (CRP), making difficult the interpretation of PAB changes during tratment of severely ill patients with inflammation and/or infection. Methods: To assess the confounding role of CRP we investigated the role of two seriate measures of PAB and CRP in monitoring the response to nutritional intervention in 83 hospitalized patients enrolled in a nutritional care…program (group 1). Data were also collected from 60 patients with low PAB not enrolled in any nutritional program (group 2). Results: When nutritional needs were not satisfied (nutritional intake/needs ratio <75%) we found no PAB increase, whereas there was a significant PAB increase in patients with adequate intake (mean delta-PAB 4.2 mg/dL). Covariance analysis showed a statistically significant mean PAB increase of 2.38 mg/dL in the adequate intake subset, value controlled for the confounder delta-CRP (p < 0.005). In the inadequate intake subset and in group 2 an improvement in CRP status was not associated with a proportional improvement in PAB levels. Conclusions: Although the complex interplay between PAB and inflammation cannot be completely solved, we suggest that in subjects receiving an adequate nutritional support a significant improvement of PAB can be considered, at least partially, a real marker of nutrional improvement.
Abstract: This is a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial on a combined nutraceutical non containing statin-like substances in 40 patients affected by primary polygenic hypercholesterolemia. After 4 weeks of ATP III life-style improvement, patients were randomized to assume a combined nutraceutical or placebo 1 pill/day for 8 weeks. The tested nutraceutical contained octacosanols, tocotrienols and polymethoxylated flavones (offered by Ca.Di.Group Srl, Rome, Italy). When comparing the combined nutraceutical effect with the one of placebo, we observed that the combined nutraceutical assumption was associated with a significantly higher decrease in total cholesterol (p < 0.001), LDL-cholesterol (p < 0.001), triglycerides (p < 0.001)…and non HDL-cholesterol (p < 0.001) than the control group. In the short term, the tested combined nutraceutical is well-tolerated and efficacious in reducing plasma lipid levels in subjects affected by primary polygenic hypercholesterolemia.
Abstract: Obesity is an emerging health problem in world wide countries. High fat diet (HFD), which is the main cause of obesity, induces inflammation and affects both lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. This study investigates the effect of inflammation induced by HFD on lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. This study involves two parts, in vivo and in vitro. In the in vivo part, adult male albino rats were fed a HFD for 8 and 14 weeks. After each feeding period, the following parameters were measured (body weight, blood glucose levels, oral glucose tolerance, serum insulin, insulin resistance, total cholesterol, HDLc, LDLc, triglycerides, free…fatty acids, neutrophils percentage and serum CRP levels) in addition to pancreas tissue histopathology. In the in vitro part, insulin release from isolated perfused pancreas preparations was measured. Pancreas preparations were isolated from adult male albino rats fed a HFD for 16 weeks. Feeding rats a HFD for 8 and 14 weeks induced inflammation, impaired lipid profile and carbohydrate metabolism. Feeding rats a HFD for 16 weeks increased in vitro glucose-stimulated insulin release. HFD induces inflammation which plays an important role in the impairment of lipid and carbohydrate metabolism.
Abstract: Botanicals are an alternative option to prescription drugs for the alleviation of symptoms due to anxiety disorders and insomnia. Melissa officinalis L. has been shown as an anti-stress and anxiolytic agent. We previously reported moderate stress improvement in mice in which Cyracos® , a standardized Melissa officinalis L. extract, was administrated. Cyracos® contains phytochemicals that inhibit gamma-aminobutyric acid catabolism. This was a prospective, open-label, 15-day study to evaluate the efficacy of Cyracos® on stressed volunteers, who have mild-to-moderate anxiety disorders and sleep disturbances. Using clinician rating criteria, primary outcomes showed improvement of symptoms. Cyracos® reduced anxiety manifestations…by 18% (p < 0.01), ameliorated anxiety-associated symptoms by 15% (p < 0.01) and lowered insomnia by 42% (p < 0.01). As much as 95% of subjects (19/20) responded to treatment, of which 70% (14/20) achieved full remission for anxiety, 85% (17/20) for insomnia, and 70% (14/20) for both. Our study demonstrates, for the first time that chronic administration of Melissa officinalis L. relieves stress-related effects. It is critical that further studies incorporate a placebo and investigate physiological stress markers.
Keywords: Melissa officinalis L., Anxiety, Insomnia, Free Rating Scale for Anxiety (FRSA), Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD), Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)
Abstract: The primary pathological feature of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is the slow and progressive selective dysfunction and loss of neurons and axons in the central nervous system. Despite different triggering events, a common feature is the involvement of oxidative stress. Several evidences indicate that oxidative stress is critical for neurodegeneration. Here, we review the impact of oxidative stress involvement in neurodegenerative disorders, and discuss its contribution to neurons damage. We also discuss potential antioxidant therapies to modulate oxidative stress in this group of diseases. A better understanding of the imbalance…between the production of reactive oxygen species and the ability of nervous system to remove them or repair the ensuing damage will be crucial for the development of new potential therapeutic strategies.
Abstract: Broccoli is a popular Brassica vegetable widely consumed worldwide for its superior nutritive value and delicious taste. It is also a rich source of several health beneficial phytochemicals. However, sudden fluctuation in temperature, especially in tropical countries spoils the broccoli crop by distorting the heads and puts immense pressure on the farmers by virtue of monetary losses. Usually the broccoli curd is consumed, and the stalk is thrown away which is also of considerable nutritive value. In the present study, the antioxidant potential of the stalk was investigated and it was found to be a rich source of ascorbic acid,…carotene and phenols. It is therefore, concluded that the broccoli stalk would provide a suitable means to add nutritive value to the diet in form of salad dressings, in combination with soups, pastas, fries etc. The optimal utilization of the stalk would provide immense nutritive and health benefits, curb malnutrition, supplement diet with phytochemicals and would also provide monetary benefits to the farmers from the sale of even the spoiled broccoli crops.