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18 Dec 13

**Are vitamins supplements a waste of money?
**Link between low calcium and colon cancer investigated using zebra fish
**Nutritional benefits of organic milk
**Probiotics during pregnancy and infancy won’t prevent asthma
**Effects of three different diets in patients with Type 2 Diabetes
**Scientists review WHO recommendations for sugar intake
**Mediterranean diet may help in the battle against dementia battle
**The effect of caffeine and alcohol on DNA linked to aging and cancer
**Scientists review WHO recommendations for sugar intake

**Are vitamins supplements a waste of money?
Editorials published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine by researchers from John Hopkins University School of Medicine and the University of Warwick has indicated that most multivitamin supplements are ineffective and have no health benefits and are a waste of money.  The editorials include 3 articles which address vitamin and mineral supplements for the prevention of chronic diseases.  One study, which involved 450,000 people, analysed 24 previous trials and found no beneficial effect on mortality from taking vitamin supplements. The second study gave 6,000 men (aged 65 and over) either a daily multivitamin containing vitamins A, B, C, E and beta carotene or a look-alike dummy pill. The study found that multivitamin supplementation had no positive effects on cognitive decline after 12 years.  The final piece followed 1,700 men and women with heart problems and discovered no benefit in those who had taken supplements.

RSSL's Functional Ingredients Laboratory provides vitamin analysis in a wide range of matrices including drinks, fortified foods, pre-mixes and multi-vitamin tablets.  It provides a full vitamin and mineral analysis service to assist with labelling, due diligence, claim substantiation and stability. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**Link between low calcium and colon cancer investigated using zebrafish
University of Michigan researchers have used zebrafish embryo skin and human colon cancer cells to investigate the link between low calcium and colon cancer.  The study by Duan et al and published in the journal Cell Death and Differentiation used a fluorescent protein to mark a type of epithelial cell, which imports calcium into the body.  The cells behave essentially the same in people and zebrafish, but scientists can study the live cells in zebrafish embryos because they sit on the skin, instead of in the intestine and gut, as with humans.  When the researchers placed the zebrafish embryos in calcium-depleted water, they were surprised that it activated a particular growth factor that stimulates division and growth in these epithelial cells. The calcium transporter (TRPV5/6) must be present for this activation, which is an apparent survival mechanism for animals to import calcium into cells in low-calcium environments. (Science Daily)

RSSL’s Metals Laboratory is equipped with AAS and ICP-MS to analyse for a wide range of concentrations of metals in foods, drinks and dietary supplements. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**Nutritional benefits of organic milk
Benbrook et al have investigated the nutritional benefits of organic milk, compared to conventional and report that organic milk contains a significantly higher concentration of fatty acids.  The US study published in PLOS ONE analysed nearly 400 samples of organic and conventional milk over 18 months.  They found that the conventional milk had an average omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio of 5.8, more than twice that of organic milk's ratio of 2.3.   All individual omega-3 fatty acid concentrations were higher in organic milk—α-linolenic acid (by 60%), eicosapentaenoic acid (32%), and docosapentaenoic acid (19%)—as was the concentration of conjugated linoleic acid (18%). The researchers say the far healthier ratio of fatty acids in organic milk is brought about by a greater reliance on pasture and forage-based feeds on organic dairy farms.  The scientists report that the consumption of more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids is a well-known risk factor for a variety of health problems, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, excessive inflammation, and autoimmune diseases. They state that the higher the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, the greater the associated health risk.

RSSL's Lipids Laboratory, part of the Investigative Analysis Team has expertise in all aspects of fat analysis and fatty acid profiling, including the determination of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**Probiotics during pregnancy and infancy won’t prevent asthma
Research led by medical scientists at the University of Alberta and published in the British Medical Journal, has found that taking probiotics during pregnancy or giving babies probiotics won’t prevent asthma in infants.  Azad et al. analysed data from 20 clinical trials in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan that involved more than 4,800 children whose mothers either took probiotics during pregnancy or gave their babies probiotics in the first year.  The scientists found that 11.2% of infants who receive the probiotics had doctor-diagnosed asthma, and of the babies who received the placebo, 10.2% had doctor-diagnosed asthma.  They note that although taking probiotics had no effect on asthma, they did find that babies who received probiotics as infants or in utero had higher incidences of lower respiratory infections, although more research is needed.  Probiotics have been found to benefit infants who are born preterm or suffer from a bowel condition and might prevent eczema. 

RSSL's Product and Ingredient Innovation Team, has considerable experience in re-formulating products to provide more healthy options including low salt, low sugar versions and using pre- and probiotics.  Using RSSL can help speed up your development cycle considerably.  For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**Effects of three different diets in patients with Type 2 Diabetes
A study published in PLOS ONE by scientists at Linköping University in Sweden is reporting that it is better for diabetics to consume a single large meal than several smaller meals throughout the day.  The team investigated the effect of a low fat diet (55% of total energy from carbohydrates), a low carbohydrate diet (20% of total energy from carbohydrate, 50% of total energy from fat) and a Mediterranean diet (black coffee for breakfast and the same total-caloric intake as the other two diets for lunch with red wine, 32–35% energy from carbohydrates on blood glucose and blood lipids.  The scientists’ state: "We found that the low-carbohydrate diet increased blood glucose levels much less than the low-fat diet but that levels of triglycerides tended to be high compared to the low-fat diet.  It is very interesting that the Mediterranean diet, without breakfast and with a massive lunch with wine, did not induce higher blood glucose levels than the low-fat diet lunch, despite such a large single meal. This suggests that it is favourable to have a large meal instead of several smaller meals when you have diabetes, and it is surprising how often one today refers to the usefulness of the so-called Mediterranean diet but forgets that it also traditionally meant the absence of a breakfast. Our results give reason to reconsider both nutritional composition and meal arrangements for patients with diabetes.”

**Scientists review WHO recommendations for sugar intake
Reporting in the Journal of Dental Health, Scientists from Newcastle University, UK have updated evidence on the association between the amount of sugar intake and dental caries and  the effect of restricting sugars intake to < 10% and < 5% energy (E) on caries.  The review commissioned by the World Health Organisation, suggests that halving the threshold for sugar to less than 5% of calories (around 5 teaspoons a day) would provide further benefits, reducing the risk of dental cavities throughout life.  The scientists searched a number of data sources including MEDLINE, EMBASE for studies which reported on the absolute amount of sugars and dental caries, measured as prevalence, incidence, or severity.  They identified 55 studies which were eligible (3 intervention, 8 cohort, 20 population, and 24 cross-sectional).  Studies which examined the influence of fluoride, found that fluorine does protect teeth, but does not eliminate tooth decay.  The scientists used the GRADE process (Grading of Recommendations Assessment Development and Evaluation system GRADE working group 2004) to assess the quality of the evidence, noting that “There is evidence of moderate quality showing that caries is lower when free-sugars intake is < 10% E. With the < 5% E cut-off, a significant relationship was observed, but the evidence was judged to be of very low quality.”

**The effect of caffeine and alcohol on DNA linked to aging and cancer
A study published in PLOS Genetics by researchers at Tel Aviv University's Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology has investigated the effects that coffee and beer have on genome.  Using yeast, which is has genetic similarities with humans, Kupiec et al found that caffeine shortens telomeres (the end point of chromosomal DNA, implicated in ageing and cancer) and alcohol lengthen them.  Every time a cell duplicates, the chromosomes are copied into the new cell with slightly shorter telomeres. Eventually, the telomeres become too short, and the cell dies. Only foetal and cancer cells avoid this mechanisms and continue to reproduce.  Kupiec et al. used a 2004 study by Elizabeth Blackburn, which reported that emotional stress causes the shortening of the telomeres,  characteristic of aging, presumably by generating free radicals in the cells.  To test the effect on telomere length, the scientist grew yeast cell in conditions that generate free radicals and investigated the effect on telomere length.    They also exposed the yeast cells to other environmental stressors, including temperature, pH, drugs and chemicals.  The majority had no effect on telomere length however a low concentration of caffeine, shortened the telomeres and 5-7% of ethanol solution lengthened telomeres.   Using genetic tests the scientists investigated the longest and shortest telomere.  They found that Rap1 and Rif1 genes mediate environmental stresses and telomere length.  The majority of the yeast genes are also present in the human genome.

RSSL’s Functional Ingredients Laboratory can quantify caffeine in foods and beverages.  For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**Mediterranean diet may help in the battle against dementia battle
The popular press is reporting that leading clinicians have written to David Cameron informing him that a Mediterranean diet should be used as a weapon in the fight against dementia.   The letter notes that the diet is high in vegetables, fruit and olive oil with fish eaten twice a week, meat and sugary foods just once a week, and with moderate consumption of wine.  It calls on governments to educate the public about the benefits of a healthy diet and lifestyle, noting that the protective effect of a healthy diet is being “largely ignored.”    The clinicians also state that chronic diseases are not going to be overcome by prescribing pills, saying that the medical profession places too much emphasis on drugs.  They note that the evidence that the Mediterranean diet will help in the prevention of these chronic diseases is over-whelming and is the most effective way of helping to prevent dementia.  Studies have concluded that the diet is associated with better cognitive function, lower rates of cognitive decline, reduced risk of coronary heart disease and blood pressure. The Telegraph report that: “the Prime Minister has pledged to use Britain’s presidency of the G8 to lead coordinated international action on the condition, which currently costs the world an estimated £370 billion a year.”

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