Special Issue "Dietary Habits, Beneficial Exercise and Chronic Diseases: Latest Advances and Prospects"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 January 2022.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Panagiota Mitrou
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Head of Independent Department of Therapeutic Protocols and Patient Registers, Hellenic Ministry of Health, Athens, Greece
Interests: diabetes; glucose metabolism; lipid metabolism

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Several lines of evidence indicate that healthy diet and exercise can prevent cardiovascular diseases, stroke, diabetes, and some types of cancer such as colon cancer, and smoking-related cancers.

Dietary patterns defined as the quantities, proportions, variety, or combination of different foods and drinks, and the frequency with which they are habitually consumed are also associated with an increased or decreased incidence of chronic diseases. 

Lately, an association has been found between eating habits, exercise, and psychological and/or mental disorders.

This Special Issue of Nutrients, entitled “Dietary Habits, Beneficial Exercise, and Chronic Diseases: Latest Advances and Prospects”, welcomes the submission of manuscripts, either describing original research or reviewing the scientific literature, focused on the relationship between dietary habits (macronutrients, micronutrients, drinks, meal frequency, etc.) and/or exercise with metabolic, cardiovascular, mental, rheumatic, infectious, neoplastic, odontostomatological, and other chronic diseases.

Dr. Panagiota Mitrou
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Nutrients is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Eating
  • Diet
  • Nutrition
  • Energy Drinks
  • Exercise
  • Diabetes
  • Metabolic Diseases
  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Rheumatic Diseases
  • Mental Disorders
  • Odontostomatological Diseases

Published Papers (15 papers)

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Research

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Article
High Fructose Intake Contributes to Elevated Diastolic Blood Pressure in Adolescent Girls: Results from The HELENA Study
Nutrients 2021, 13(10), 3608; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13103608 - 15 Oct 2021
Viewed by 595
Abstract
Background: The association between high fructose consumption and elevated blood pressure continues to be controversial, especially in adolescence. The aim of this study was to assess the association between fructose consumption and elevated blood pressure in an European adolescent population. Methods: A total [...] Read more.
Background: The association between high fructose consumption and elevated blood pressure continues to be controversial, especially in adolescence. The aim of this study was to assess the association between fructose consumption and elevated blood pressure in an European adolescent population. Methods: A total of 1733 adolescents (mean ± SD age: 14.7 ± 1.2; percentage of girls: 52.8%) were analysed from the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence (HELENA) study in eight European countries. Blood pressure was measured using validated devices and methods for measuring systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP). Dietary data were recorded via repeated 24 h recalls (using specifically developed HELENA–DIAT software) and converted into pure fructose (monosaccharide form) and total fructose exposure (pure fructose + fructose from sucrose) intake using a specific fructose composition database. Food categories were separated at posteriori in natural vs. were non-natural foods. Elevated BP was defined according to the 90th percentile cut-off values and was compared according to tertiles of fructose intake using univariable and multivariable mixed logistic regression models taking into account confounding factors: centre, sex, age and z-score–BMI, MVPA (Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity) duration, tobacco consumption, salt intake and energy intake. Results: Pure fructose from non-natural foods was only associated with elevated DBP (DBP above the 10th percentile in the highest consuming girls (OR = 2.27 (1.17–4.40); p = 0.015) after adjustment for cofounding factors. Conclusions: Consuming high quantities of non-natural foods was associated with elevated DBP in adolescent girls, which was in part due to high fructose levels in these foods categories. The consumption of natural foods containing fructose, such as whole fruits, does not impact blood pressure and should continue to remain a healthy dietary habit. Full article
Article
Poor Dietary Quality and Patterns Are Associated with Higher Perceived Stress among Women of Reproductive Age in the UK
Nutrients 2021, 13(8), 2588; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13082588 - 28 Jul 2021
Viewed by 592
Abstract
The aim of this study was to investigate the association between stress and diet quality/patterns among women of reproductive age in UK. In total, 244 reproductive aged women participated in an online survey consisting of the European Prospective into Cancer and Nutrition food [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to investigate the association between stress and diet quality/patterns among women of reproductive age in UK. In total, 244 reproductive aged women participated in an online survey consisting of the European Prospective into Cancer and Nutrition food frequency questionnaire in addition to stress, depression, physical-activity, adiposity, and socioeconomic questions. An a-priori diet quality index was derived by assessing the adherence to Alternate Mediterranean Diet (aMD). A-posteriori dietary-patterns (DPs) were explored through factor analysis. Regression models were used to assess the predictors of the DPs. Participants mainly had medium (n = 113) aMD adherence. Higher stress levels were reported by participants with low aMD adherence. Participants with high aMD adherence were of normal BMI. Factor analysis revealed three DPs: fats and oils, sugars, snacks, alcoholic-beverages, red/processed meat, and cereals (DP-1), fish and seafood, eggs, milk and milk-products (DP-2), and fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds (DP-3). Regression models showed that DP-1 was positively associated with stress (p = 0.005) and negatively with age (p = 0.004) and smoking (p = 0.005). DP-2 was negatively associated with maternal educational-level (p = 0.01) while DP-3 was negatively associated with stress (p < 0.001), BMI (p = 0.001), and white ethnicity (p = 0.01). Stress was negatively associated with healthy diet quality/patterns among reproductive aged women. Full article
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Article
Impact of Dietary Trajectories on Obesity and Dental Caries in Preschool Children: Findings from the Healthy Smiles Healthy Kids Study
Nutrients 2021, 13(7), 2240; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13072240 - 29 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1179
Abstract
This study examines the impact of longitudinal dietary trajectories on obesity and early childhood caries (ECC) in preschool children in Australia. Mother–infant dyads from the Healthy Smiles Healthy Kids study were interviewed at 4 and 8 months, and 1, 2, and 3 years [...] Read more.
This study examines the impact of longitudinal dietary trajectories on obesity and early childhood caries (ECC) in preschool children in Australia. Mother–infant dyads from the Healthy Smiles Healthy Kids study were interviewed at 4 and 8 months, and 1, 2, and 3 years of age. Children underwent anthropometric and oral health assessments between 3 and 4 years of age. Multivariable logistic regression and negative binomial regression analysis were performed for the prevalence of overweight and obesity, and the number of tooth surfaces with dental caries, respectively. The intake of core, discretionary, and sugary foods showed distinct quadratic (n = 3) trajectories with age. The prevalence of overweight or obesity was 10% (n = 72) and that of early childhood caries (ECC) was 33% (mean decayed, missing, and filled tooth surfaces (dmfs) score: 1.96). Children with the highest trajectories of discretionary foods intake were more likely to be overweight or obese (adjusted OR: 2.51, 95 %CI: 1.16–5.42). Continued breastfeeding beyond 12 months was associated with higher dmfs scores (adjusted IRR: 2.17, 95 %CI: 1.27–3.73). Highest socioeconomic disadvantage was the most significant determinant for overweight or obesity (adjusted OR: 2.86, 95 %CI: 1.11–7.34) and ECC (adjusted IRR: 2.71, 95 %CI: 1.48–4.97). Targeted health promotion interventions should be designed to prevent the incidence of two highly prevalent conditions in preschool children. Full article
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Article
Diabetes Mellitus and Associated Factors in Slovakia: Results from the European Health Interview Survey 2009, 2014, and 2019
Nutrients 2021, 13(7), 2156; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13072156 - 23 Jun 2021
Viewed by 651
Abstract
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a high-risk non-communicable disease with an emerging burden for the European Union (EU) member states in the past decades. The unfavorable trend of the burden is striking compared to the declining disease burden due to cardiovascular diseases or stagnation [...] Read more.
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a high-risk non-communicable disease with an emerging burden for the European Union (EU) member states in the past decades. The unfavorable trend of the burden is striking compared to the declining disease burden due to cardiovascular diseases or stagnation of neoplasms. The goal of this study is to describe the temporal changes of diabetes in the adult population of Slovakia through the three European Health Interview Survey (EHIS) waves and to assess the association between DM and socioeconomic and/or lifestyle characteristics. These cross-sectional studies were carried out using microdata derived from Slovakia’s EHISs conducted in the years 2009 (n = 4972), 2014 (n = 5490), and 2019 (n = 5527). The DM variable was compared to the independent variables such as sociodemographic and lifestyle characteristics including dietary patterns and physical activity. DM prevalence for the EHIS in 2009, 2014, and 2019 were 6.1%, 8.2%, and 9.8%, respectively. In bivariate analysis, the relationship between DM and age, education level, job status, BMI, walking for at least 10 min, and physical activity was significant in the three EHISs. In 2014 and 2019, there was an inverse association between the risk of DM and walking regularly. There was no association between the frequency of eating fruits or vegetables and DM, with the exception of 2009, where a negative association between eating vegetables one to six times a week and DM was observed. Present health policies and activities in Slovakia were unable to reverse the increasing DM burden, indicating that a more systematic approach is needed. Complex policy strategies and legislative measures must be developed and implemented at both the national and EU levels. Full article
Article
Effects of a Diet Based on Foods from Symbiotic Agriculture on the Gut Microbiota of Subjects at Risk for Metabolic Syndrome
Nutrients 2021, 13(6), 2081; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13062081 - 17 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1098
Abstract
Diet is a major driver of gut microbiota variation and plays a role in metabolic disorders, including metabolic syndrome (MS). Mycorrhized foods from symbiotic agriculture (SA) exhibit improved nutritional properties, but potential benefits have never been investigated in humans. We conducted a pilot [...] Read more.
Diet is a major driver of gut microbiota variation and plays a role in metabolic disorders, including metabolic syndrome (MS). Mycorrhized foods from symbiotic agriculture (SA) exhibit improved nutritional properties, but potential benefits have never been investigated in humans. We conducted a pilot interventional study on 60 adults with ≥ 1 risk factors for MS, of whom 33 consumed SA-derived fresh foods and 27 received probiotics over 30 days, with a 15-day follow-up. Stool, urine and blood were collected over time to explore changes in gut microbiota, metabolome, and biochemical, inflammatory and immunologic parameters; previous dietary habits were investigated through a validated food-frequency questionnaire. The baseline microbiota showed alterations typical of metabolic disorders, mainly an increase in Coriobacteriaceae and a decrease in health-associated taxa, which were partly reversed after the SA-based diet. Improvements were observed in metabolome, MS presence (two out of six subjects no longer had MS) or components. Changes were more pronounced with less healthy baseline diets. Probiotics had a marginal, not entirely favorable, effect, although one out of three subjects no longer suffered from MS. These findings suggest that improved dietary patterns can modulate the host microbiota and metabolome, counteracting the risk of developing MS. Full article
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Article
Study of Physical Fitness, Bone Quality, and Mediterranean Diet Adherence in Professional Female Beach Handball Players: Cross-Sectional Study
Nutrients 2021, 13(6), 1911; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13061911 - 02 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1200
Abstract
(1) Background: Beach handball is a relatively new type of sport, derived from team handball. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the physical fitness of elite players of this sport by studying some variables of sports performance, including strength, endurance and [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Beach handball is a relatively new type of sport, derived from team handball. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the physical fitness of elite players of this sport by studying some variables of sports performance, including strength, endurance and power, and dietary habits, and to assess bone ultrasonographic variables. (2) Methods: 33 beach handball players have participated in this research; 18 juniors (age: 16.7 ± 0.50) and 15 seniors (age: 24.8 ± 4.71). The athletes’ strength was evaluated using the Handgrip Test on the dominant hand, the height of jump was evaluated by a counter-jump on a contact platform, and velocity, agility, and resistance by the Yo-Yo test. The broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA) and the sound of speed (SOS) through the calcaneus were also measured. The Mediterranean diet adherence (KIDMED) was the questionnaire used to evaluate eating habits. In the statistical analysis, descriptions and correlations were made between the study variables. (3) Results: Both in the case of the dynamometric hand strength test (p < 0.05) and in the lower extremity power test (p < 0.01), senior players presented significantly higher values compared to junior players (35.1 ± 3.84 vs. 31.8 ± 3.37 and 35.1 ± 6.89 vs. 28.5 ± 5.69 with the dynamometry and Abalakov tests, respectively). However, no differences were observed in the variables by playing position. Significant correlations between different variables have been established, highlighting negative correlations between BMI and weight with the Abalakov Jump Test and positive correlations between Yo-Yo and BUA, and, between BMI and BUA. (4) Conclusions: Older and trained players are in better physical fitness; high weight and BMI have a negative influence on power, agility, speed, and endurance. In general, adherence to the Mediterranean diet is moderate and it seems evident that there is a beneficial influence of beach handball on bone condition, as measured by ultrasound. However future research should be carried on, including dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry assessments and food intake registers for a whole week. Full article
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Article
Promoting Health and Food Literacy through Nutrition Education at Schools: The Italian Experience with MaestraNatura Program
Nutrients 2021, 13(5), 1547; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13051547 - 04 May 2021
Viewed by 867
Abstract
MaestraNatura is an innovative nutrition education program aimed at both enhancing awareness about the importance of a healthy food–lifestyle relationship and the ability to transfer the theoretical principles of nutrition guidelines to everyday life. The educational contents of the program resulted from the [...] Read more.
MaestraNatura is an innovative nutrition education program aimed at both enhancing awareness about the importance of a healthy food–lifestyle relationship and the ability to transfer the theoretical principles of nutrition guidelines to everyday life. The educational contents of the program resulted from the analysis of the answers to a questionnaire submitted to students aged 6–13 in order to assess their degree of knowledge about nutritional facts. Educational paths were specifically designed and implemented to address the main knowledge gaps identified through the analysis of the answers and were then tested for teachers’ satisfaction in a sample of 56 schools in the north, centre, and south of Italy, involving 790 classes, 600 teachers, and 15,800 students. The results showed an approval rating from teachers from 90% to 94%. Said paths were designed for primary (6–10 years old) and first-level secondary (11–13 years old) school students. In addition, in a pilot study carried out in nine Educational Institutes located in an area close to Rome (Lazio region), a specific path was tested for effectiveness in increasing students’ knowledge about fruit and vegetables by conducting questionnaires before (T0) and after (T1) the didactic activities. Results showed a significant increase in right answers at T1 with respect to T0 (z = 2.142, p = 0.032). Fisher’s exact probability test showed an answer variability depending on the issue considered. In conclusion, this work could be considered as a first necessary step toward the definition of new educational program, aimed at increasing food literacy and favouring a healthier relationship with food, applicable in a widespread and effective manner, also outside of Italy. Full article
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Review

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Review
Does Folic Acid Protect Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease from Complications?
Nutrients 2021, 13(11), 4036; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13114036 - 12 Nov 2021
Viewed by 644
Abstract
Folic acid, referred to as vitamin B9, is a water-soluble substance, which participates in the synthesis of nucleic acids, amino acids, and proteins. Similarly to B12 and B6, vitamin B9 is involved in the metabolism of homocysteine, which is associated with the MTHFR [...] Read more.
Folic acid, referred to as vitamin B9, is a water-soluble substance, which participates in the synthesis of nucleic acids, amino acids, and proteins. Similarly to B12 and B6, vitamin B9 is involved in the metabolism of homocysteine, which is associated with the MTHFR gene. The human body is not able to synthesize folic acid; thus, it must be supplemented with diet. The most common consequence of folic acid deficiency is anemia; however, some studies have also demonstrated the correlation between low bone mineral density, hyperhomocysteinemia, and folic acid deficiency. Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) frequently suffer from malabsorption and avoid certain products, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, which constitute the main sources of vitamin B9. Additionally, the use of sulfasalazine by patients may result in folic acid deficiency. Therefore, IBD patients present a higher risk of folic acid deficiency and require particular supervision with regard to anemia and osteoporosis prevention, which are common consequences of IBD. Full article
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Review
Dietary Interventions to Prevent Childhood Obesity: A Literature Review
Nutrients 2021, 13(10), 3447; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13103447 - 28 Sep 2021
Viewed by 1054
Abstract
Several dietary interventions have been conducted to prevent/reduce childhood obesity, but most of them are known to have failed in tackling the obesity epidemic. This study aimed to review the existing literature on dietary interventions for the prevention of childhood obesity and their [...] Read more.
Several dietary interventions have been conducted to prevent/reduce childhood obesity, but most of them are known to have failed in tackling the obesity epidemic. This study aimed to review the existing literature on dietary interventions for the prevention of childhood obesity and their effectiveness. A literature search was conducted using PubMed Central®. Only articles published between 2009 and 2021, written in English, conducted in humans, and including children and/or adolescents (<18 years old) were considered. The majority of studies were school-based interventions, with some addressing the whole community, and including some interventions in the food sector (e.g., taxation of high fat/sugar foods, front-of-pack labelling) and through mass media (e.g., restrictions on food advertising for children) that directly or indirectly could help to manage childhood obesity. Most of the programs/interventions conducted focus mainly on person-based educational approaches, such as nutrition/diet education sessions, allied to the promotion of physical activity and lifestyles to students, parents, and school staff, and less on environmental changes to offer healthier food choices. Only a few trials have focused on capacity building and macro-policy changes, such as the adaptation of the built environment of the school, serving smaller portion sizes, and increasing the availability and accessibility of healthy foods and water in schools, and restricting the access to vending machines, for example. Overall, most of the intervention studies showed no consistent effects on changing the body mass index of children; they have only reported small weight reductions, clinically irrelevant, or no effects at all. Little is known about the sustainability of interventions over time. Full article
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Review
Mediterranean Diet as an Antioxidant: The Impact on Metabolic Health and Overall Wellbeing
Nutrients 2021, 13(6), 1951; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13061951 - 06 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1921
Abstract
It has been established, worldwide, that non-communicable diseases such as obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular events account for a high percentage of morbidity and mortality in contemporary societies. Several modifiable risk factors, such as sedentary activities, sleep deprivation, smoking, and unhealthy dietary [...] Read more.
It has been established, worldwide, that non-communicable diseases such as obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular events account for a high percentage of morbidity and mortality in contemporary societies. Several modifiable risk factors, such as sedentary activities, sleep deprivation, smoking, and unhealthy dietary habits have contributed to this increase. Healthy nutrition in terms of adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MD), rich in fruits, legumes, vegetables, olive oil, herbs, spices, and high fiber intake may contribute to the decrease in this pandemic. The beneficial effects of the MD can be mainly attributed to its numerous components rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Moreover, the MD may further contribute to the improvement of reproductive health, modify the risk for neurodegenerative diseases, and protect against depression and psychosocial maladjustment. There is also evidence highlighting the impact of healthy nutrition in female people on the composition of the gut microbiota and future metabolic and overall health of their offspring. It is therefore important to highlight the beneficial effects of the MD on metabolic, reproductive, and mental health, while shaping the overall health of future generations. The beneficial effects of MD can be further enhanced by increased physical activity in the context of a well-balanced healthy lifestyle. Full article
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Review
The Potential Health Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet: A Narrative Review
Nutrients 2021, 13(5), 1654; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13051654 - 13 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 4359
Abstract
Considering the lack of a comprehensive, multi-faceted overview of the ketogenic diet (KD) in relation to health issues, we compiled the evidence related to the use of the ketogenic diet in relation to its impact on the microbiome, the epigenome, diabetes, weight loss, [...] Read more.
Considering the lack of a comprehensive, multi-faceted overview of the ketogenic diet (KD) in relation to health issues, we compiled the evidence related to the use of the ketogenic diet in relation to its impact on the microbiome, the epigenome, diabetes, weight loss, cardiovascular health, and cancer. The KD diet could potentially increase genetic diversity of the microbiome and increase the ratio of Bacteroidetes to Firmicutes. The epigenome might be positively affected by the KD since it creates a signaling molecule known as β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). KD has helped patients with diabetes reduce their HbA1c and reduce the need for insulin. There is evidence to suggest that a KD can help with weight loss, visceral adiposity, and appetite control. The evidence also suggests that eating a high-fat diet improves lipid profiles by lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL), increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and lowering triglycerides (TG). Due to the Warburg effect, the KD is used as an adjuvant treatment to starve cancer cells, making them more vulnerable to chemotherapy and radiation. The potential positive impacts of a KD on each of these areas warrant further analysis, improved studies, and well-designed randomized controlled trials to further illuminate the therapeutic possibilities provided by this dietary intervention. Full article
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Review
The Effects of Pro-, Pre-, and Synbiotics on Muscle Wasting, a Systematic Review—Gut Permeability as Potential Treatment Target
Nutrients 2021, 13(4), 1115; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13041115 - 29 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2066
Abstract
Muscle wasting is a frequently observed, inflammation-driven condition in aging and disease, known as sarcopenia and cachexia. Current treatment strategies target the muscle directly and are often not able to reverse the process. Because a reduced gut function is related to systemic inflammation, [...] Read more.
Muscle wasting is a frequently observed, inflammation-driven condition in aging and disease, known as sarcopenia and cachexia. Current treatment strategies target the muscle directly and are often not able to reverse the process. Because a reduced gut function is related to systemic inflammation, this might be an indirect target to ameliorate muscle wasting, by administering pro-, pre-, and synbiotics. Therefore, this review aimed to study the potential of pro-, pre-, and synbiotics to treat muscle wasting and to elucidate which metabolites and mechanisms affect the organ crosstalk in cachexia. Overall, the literature shows that Lactobacillus species pluralis (spp.) and possibly other genera, such as Bifidobacterium, can ameliorate muscle wasting in mouse models. The beneficial effects of Lactobacillus spp. supplementation may be attributed to its potential to improve microbiome balance and to its reported capacity to reduce gut permeability. A subsequent literature search revealed that the reduction of a high gut permeability coincided with improved muscle mass or strength, which shows an association between gut permeability and muscle mass. A possible working mechanism is proposed, involving lactate, butyrate, and reduced inflammation in gut–brain–muscle crosstalk. Thus, reducing gut permeability via Lactobacillus spp. supplementation could be a potential treatment strategy for muscle wasting. Full article
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Other

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Systematic Review
Effect of Crocus sativus (Saffron) Intake on Top of Standard Treatment, on Disease Outcomes and Comorbidities in Patients with Rheumatic Diseases: Synthesis without Meta-Analysis (SWiM) and Level of Adherence to the CONSORT Statement for Randomized Controlled Trials Delivering Herbal Medicine Interventions
Nutrients 2021, 13(12), 4274; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13124274 - 27 Nov 2021
Viewed by 374
Abstract
Rheumatic diseases (RDs) are often complicated by chronic symptoms and frequent side-effects associated with their treatment. Saffron, a spice derived from the Crocus sativus L. flower, is a popular complementary and alternative medicine among patients with RDs. The present systematic review aimed [...] Read more.
Rheumatic diseases (RDs) are often complicated by chronic symptoms and frequent side-effects associated with their treatment. Saffron, a spice derived from the Crocus sativus L. flower, is a popular complementary and alternative medicine among patients with RDs. The present systematic review aimed to summarize the available evidence regarding the efficacy of supplementation with saffron on disease outcomes and comorbidities in patients with RD diagnoses. PubMed, CENTRAL, clinicaltrials.gov and the grey literature were searched until October 2021, and relevant randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were screened for eligibility using Rayyan. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane’s Risk of Bias-2.0 (RoB) tool. A synthesis without meta-analysis (SWiM) was performed by vote counting and an effect direction plot was created. Out of 125 reports, seven fulfilled the eligibility criteria belonging to five RCTs and were included in the SWiM. The RCTs involved patients with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia, and evaluated outcomes related to pain, disease activity, depression, immune response, inflammation, oxidative stress, health, fatigue and functional ability. The majority of trials demonstrated some concerns regarding overall bias. Moreover, the majority of trialists failed to adhere to the formula elaborations suggested by the CONSORT statement for RCTs incorporating herbal medicine interventions. Standardization of herbal medicine confirms its identity, purity and quality; however, the majority of trials failed to adhere to these guidelines. Due to the great heterogeneity and the lack of important information regarding the standardization and content of herbal interventions, it appears that the evidence is not enough to secure a direction of effect for any of the examined outcomes. Full article
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Systematic Review
Does Sodium Intake Induce Systemic Inflammatory Response? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Studies in Humans
Nutrients 2021, 13(8), 2632; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13082632 - 30 Jul 2021
Viewed by 834
Abstract
Experimental studies suggest that sodium induced inflammation might be another missing link leading to atherosclerosis. To test the hypothesis that high daily sodium intake induces systemic inflammatory response in humans, we performed a systematic review according to PRISMA guidelines of randomized controlled trials [...] Read more.
Experimental studies suggest that sodium induced inflammation might be another missing link leading to atherosclerosis. To test the hypothesis that high daily sodium intake induces systemic inflammatory response in humans, we performed a systematic review according to PRISMA guidelines of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that examined the effect of high versus low sodium dose (HSD vs. LSD), as defined per study, on plasma circulating inflammatory biomarkers. Eight RCTs that examined CRP, TNF-a and IL-6 were found. Meta-analysis testing the change of each biomarker in HSD versus LSD was possible for CRP (n = 5 studies), TNF-a (n = 4 studies) and IL-6 (n = 4 studies). The pooled difference (95% confidence intervals) per biomarker was for: CRP values of 0.1(−0.3, 0.4) mg/L; TNF-a −0.7(−5.0, 3.6) pg/mL; IL-6 −1.1(−3.3 to 1.1) pg/mL. Importantly, there was inconsistency between RCTs regarding major population characteristics and the applied methodology, including a very wide range of LSD (460 to 6740 mg/day) and HSD (2800 to 7452 mg/day). Although our results suggest that the different levels of daily sodium intake are not associated with significant changes in the level of systemic inflammation in humans, this outcome may result from methodological issues. Based on these identified methodological issues we propose that future RCTs should focus on young healthy participants to avoid confounding effects of comorbidities, should have three instead of two arms (very low, “normal” and high) of daily sodium intake with more than 100 participants per arm, whereas an intervention duration of 14 days is adequate. Full article
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Brief Report
Fast Anxiolytic-Like Effect Observed in the Rat Conditioned Defensive Burying Test, after a Single Oral Dose of Natural Protein Extract Products
Nutrients 2021, 13(7), 2445; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13072445 - 17 Jul 2021
Viewed by 663
Abstract
Anxiety appears among the most frequent psychiatric disorders. During recent years, a growing incidence of anxiety disorders can be attributed, at least in part, to the modification of our eating habits. To treat anxiety disorders, clinicians use benzodiazepines, which unfortunately display many side [...] Read more.
Anxiety appears among the most frequent psychiatric disorders. During recent years, a growing incidence of anxiety disorders can be attributed, at least in part, to the modification of our eating habits. To treat anxiety disorders, clinicians use benzodiazepines, which unfortunately display many side effects. Herein, the anxiolytic-like properties of two natural products (αS1–casein hydrolysate and Gabolysat®) were investigated in rats and compared to the efficacy of benzodiazepine (diazepam). Thus, the conditioned defensive burying test was performed after a unique oral dose of 15 mg/kg, at two time-points (60 min and then 30 min post oral gavage) to show potential fast-onset of anxiolytic effect. Both natural products proved to be as efficient as diazepam to reduce the time rats spent burying the probe (anxiety level). Additionally, when investigated as early as 30 min post oral gavage, Gabolysat® also revealed a fast-anxiolytic activity. To date, identification of bioactive peptide, as well as how they interact with the gut–brain axis to sustain such anxiolytic effect, still remains poorly understood. Regardless, this observational investigation argues for the consideration of natural compounds in care pathway. Full article
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