12 January - 20 June 2016

Other headlines

  • Carotenoids may help boost cognitive function in older people
  • Genetic makeup can affect preference for salty foods
  • Can probiotic supplementation improve cognitive function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease?
  • Reducing food waste over the Christmas period - FSA
  • Could marine microalgae be a new sustainable food and fuel source?
  • Aging and excess dietary fat create signals that lead to heart failure after a heart attack
  • Allergies during pregnancy may be a risk factor for ADHD and autism in offspring
  • Could a high protein diet increase the risk of heart failure for older women?
  • Using microbes to turn methane into a high protein food for animals
  • Sharing scientific models - knowledge junction launched by EFSA
  • Are vitamin D, omega-3 good for the heart and longevity?

Carotenoids may help boost cognitive function in older people
A study by researchers from The University of Georgia and published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society suggests that carotenoids, which give colour to plants and vegetables, might be able to help improve brain function in older humans. Previous studies have shown that some carotenoids can help improve eye and cognitive health in the elderly but the relationship between the carotenoids and cognition is not known. The researchers used functional MRI (fMRI) to determine brain activity of more than 40 participants (aged 65 – 86 years) while they were attempting to remember a series of pre-studied word parings. Levels of two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, were determined via blood samples and through flicker photometry (which measures the levels in the eye). The study found that those with higher levels of lutein and zeaxanthin didn’t require as much brain activity to complete the task but found no association between the levels of these carotenoids and the number of words that could be remembered. Lead author Cutter Lindbergh is quoted in a press release as saying that "There's a natural deterioration process that occurs in the brain as people age, but the brain is great at compensating for that. One way it compensates is by calling on more brain power to get a job done so it can maintain the same level of cognitive performance." The study notes that those with higher carotenoid levels were able to complete the task using less brain activity and so were more “neutrally efficient”. Lindbergh added that "It's in the interest of society to look at ways to buffer these decline processes to prolong functional independence in older adults. Changing diets or adding supplements to increase lutein and zeaxanthin levels might be one strategy to help with that." (Science Daily)

RSSL offers a full vitamin analysis service and can analyse for carotenoids in supplements and foodstuffs. For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

Genetic makeup can affect preference for salty foods
A study presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association by researchers from University of Kentucky college of Nursing suggests that people with taste buds that are more sensitive to bitter flavours are almost twice as likely to consume excessive salt. Previous studies have shown that individuals with a variant of the TAS2R38 gene often avoid foods like broccoli and dark leafy greens as they are sensitive to bitter tastes. The present study has shown that the same group were 1.9 times more likely to consume more salt than the recommended level (currently 4.5g sodium per day in the UK) than those without the gene variant. Lead researcher, Jennifer Smith, is quoted as saying “Genetic factors that influence taste aren't necessarily obvious to people, but they can impact heart health by influencing the foods they select”. (Telegraph)

Can probiotic supplementation improve cognitive function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease?
An Iranian randomised control trial published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, highly cited by the media has investigated whether probiotic supplements can improve cognitive function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.  The team examined biomarkers for inflammation and metabolism in 52 patients with Alzheimer’s diseases, who were randomly assigned to either a group that received plain milk, or a group that received 200ml of probiotic milk per day.  The probiotic milk contained Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Bifodobacterium bifidum and Lactobacillus fermentum. Cognitive function was measured at baseline and after the 12 week intervention.  Levels of biomarkers for oxidative stress, an indicator of cells damage, as well as inflammation and metabolic profiles, were measured in blood samples.  Those who consumed the probiotic milk showed improved cognitive test scores after intervention, compare with a decrease in the control group.  However changes in biomarkers for oxidative stress, fasting blood glucose remained insignificant.  (NHS choices)

RSSL's Product and Ingredient Innovation Team, has considerable experience in developing or re-formulating products to include probiotics.  Using RSSL can help speed up your development cycle considerably.  For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

Reducing food waste over the Christmas period - FSA
Leading up till Christmas the Food Standards Agency are publishing a number of messages to help people plan their festive cooking and work out what and when to cook, freeze and defrost in order to have a less stressful and wasteful Christmas. They state in a press release “In the UK we throw away seven million tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year, most of which could have been eaten. Wasting food costs the average household £470 a year. With nearly a third (29%) of people preparing Christmas dinner for more than seven guests, households are particularly wasteful over the festive season.”  The first message is about how freezing food can lead to less food waste. 

Could marine microalgae be a new sustainable food and fuel source?
Marine microalgae, according to a study published in Oceanography, could be a new sustainable food and fuel source.   After removal of lipids for biofuels, the biomass of the microalgae remaining could be used to produce a nutritious animal feed or perhaps consumed by humans, suggest Greene et al.   The remaining biomass is reported to be protein rich and a highly nutritious by-product. According to previous research, feeding chickens algae-supplemented feeds, increased the omega-3 fatty acids in the eggs by three times.  To grow enough algae to meet current global liquid fuel demand, the scientists report, would require an area of about 800,000 square miles.  Greene states in a press release: “I think of algae as providing food security for the world.  It will provide our liquid fuel needs, not to mention its benefit in terms of land use.  We can grow algae for food and fuels in one-tenth to one-hundredth the amount of land we currently grow food and energy crops.

RSSL's Product and Ingredient Innovation Team, has considerable expertise in developing a wide range of food and drink products at a laboratory and pilot scale For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

Aging and excess dietary fat create signals that lead to heart failure after a heart attack
In mouse experiments, University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers have shown how aging and excess dietary fat create signals that lead to heart failure after a heart attack.   Clarifying the mechanisms could be essential to discovering therapeutic treatments.   Halade et al. reporting in Aging found that compared to a lower-fat lab chow diet, a combination of age and excess omega-6 fatty acids (from safflower oil) led to increased heart inflammation. The excess omega-6 fatty acid mice were found to have 1) lower amounts of three types of lipoxygenase enzymes in the dead area of the heart muscle, enzymes that can produce resolving signal lipids such as the resolvins from dietary omega-3 fatty acids; 2) lesser amounts of resolvins and several other lipid signals that help resolve acute inflammation; 3) increased amounts of macrophage immune cells that are pro-inflammatory; and 4) increased kidney injury and increased levels of two signalling cytokines that promote inflammation - tumour necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-1-beta.  (Science Daily)

RSSL has expertise in all aspects of fat analysis and fatty acid profiling. For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

Allergies during pregnancy may be a risk factor for ADHD and autism in offspring
A rat study by Ohio State University researchers, presented at the Annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, has found that allergies during pregnancy are linked to risk for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism in offspring.   The team found that the offspring of the rats exposed to allergens during pregnancy had changes in their brain development and function.  The researchers came to these findings after sensitising females rats to egg white before pregnancy and them exposing them to the allergen during their pregnancy (at 15 weeks) to cause an immune response.  On analysis of the offspring, brains were found to have higher amounts of immune cells called mast cells and lower number of immune cells called mircoglia.  The offspring also displayed ADHD like symptoms. (Science Daily)

Allergen Services: We provide a comprehensive range of testing, training and food allergen consultancy services to help you control and manage allergens within manufacturing and retailing. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

Could a high protein diet increase the risk of heart failure for older women?
Preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Session 2016 has indicated that following a high protein diet could increase the risk of heart failure for women over the age of 50, especially if the protein comes from meat.  Researchers evaluated the self-reported daily diets of 103,878 women aged between 50 to 79 years from 1993 to 1998. A total of 1,711 women from the Women’s Health Initiative Survey developed heart failure over the study period. The rate of heart failure for women with higher total dietary protein intake was significantly higher compared to the women who ate less protein daily or got more of their protein from vegetables. However, while women who ate higher amounts of vegetable protein appeared to have less heart failure, this association was not significant when adjusted for body mass. (Science Daily)

Using microbes to turn methane into a high protein food for animals
A biotechnology company is aiming to set up a factory which converts methane, using microbes, into a high protein food for animals.  The company, Calysta, already produces up to 100 tonnes per year of feed for farmed fish.  The US factory will be set up in collaboration with Cargill, and will produce 200,000 tonnes of feed a year.  The EU has already approved methane produced food for fish and livestock, and Calysta are now seeking approval in the US too, but according to the New Scientist, not just for fish and livestock but also to produce feed for cats and dogs and potentially food for humans.  The process uses methanotrophs, which burn methane to produce energy producing CO2 and water as waste products.  Some of the energy produced is combined with other methane molecules to develop more complex “food” carbon molecules. Using the bacteria, Methylococcus capsulatus, Calysta will produce pellets which have been developed by feeding the bacteria with methane and then drying it.

Sharing scientific models - knowledge junction launched by EFSA
EFSA have developed an online community, "knowledge junction", for sharing scientific models, including models used by EFSA over the last 15 years.  Modelling, which plays a crucial role in scientific risk assessment today, provides simplified representations of reality that can help scientists to understand how things work or could work. In a press release Prof Hans Verhagen, head of risk assessment and scientific support at EFSA, said: “We have set up this new community platform to make all the models we have used available to people interested in food and feed risk assessment. Our aim is to improve transparency, reproducibility and evidence reuse. Anybody is free to use these tools – for example, together with information from EFSA’s Scientific Data Warehouse. “Importantly,” he added, “we encourage others to deposit their own supporting evidence and tools for the benefit of the wider risk assessment community. This will boost scientific capacity and further contribute to food safety in Europe.”

Are vitamin D, omega-3 good for the heart and longevity?
A $2.5 million grant will enable scientists to discover whether the length of telomeres is associated with heart health and longevity, and if vitamin D and omega-3 supplementation really improve both. Dr Dong from Augusta University and Dr Zhu from GPI are examining the length of telomeres of white blood cells which epidemiological studies have indicated are associated with longevity and cardiovascular health.  They are examining these in participants who are involved in VITAL, a vitamin D and Omega-33 trial which is investigating the impact of supplementation in men age 50 and older and women aged 55 and older.  The VITAL study is following 26,000 participants for five years and investigates whether supplementation with vitamin D and/or omega-3 reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke. The scientists are using a subset of 1054 VITAL participants for their telomere length study.   (Medical Xpress)

RSSL provides vitamin analysis in a wide range of matrices including drinks, fortified foods, pre-mixes and multi-vitamin tablets, including the analysis for vitamin D2 and vitamin D3.  For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

share this article
RSSL endeavours to check the veracity of news stories cited in this free e-mail bulletin by referring to the primary source, but cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies in the articles so published. RSSL provides links to other World Wide Web sites as a convenience to users, but cannot be held responsible for the content or availability of these sites. This document may be copied and distributed provided the source is cited as RSSL's Food e-News and the information so distributed is not used for profit.

Previous editions

Load more editions

Make an Enquiry