12 January - 20 June 2016

Other headlines

  • Just the smell of coffee may help boot numerical performance
  • Sugar could help memory, performance and mood in older adults
  • Cochrane review suggests omega 3 supplements have little effect on cardiovascular diseases
  • Exactly how much caffeine do you need to stay alert? Consult an app
  • Full fat dairy: Healthy or not healthy? A new scientific study answers
  • Consumption of nitrates may contribute to mania
  • A new drug containing capsaicin found to cause long term weight loss
  • The effect of rising meat consumption on the environment
  • Demand for camel milk growing in the US

Sugar could help memory, performance and mood in older adults
A study by researchers from the University of Warwick, published in Psychology and Aging, suggests that increasing the blood sugar levels of older adults improves memory, performance and mood. Mantantzis et al. gave groups of younger (18 – 27) or older subjects (65-82) a small glucose drink or a placebo containing artificial sweetener and asked them to complete some memory tasks, recording level of engagement, memory score, mood and participant’s own perception of effort. They found that the while glucose drink helped both young and old groups try harder, the older group were also found to have better scores and improved mood compared to those taking the artificial sweetener. Mantantzis et al. also found that the older group taking the glucose drink felt they had not tried harder even though the researchers’ measurement indicated that had put more effort in. The researchers concluded that the energy available from increased blood sugar levels in the short term could be important in motivating older adults to perform at their highest capacity. Konstantinos Mantantzis is quoted in a press release as saying that “Over the years, studies have shown that actively engaging with difficult cognitive tasks is a prerequisite for the maintenance of cognitive health in older age. Therefore, the implications of uncovering the mechanisms that determine older adults' levels of engagement cannot be understated”.  (MedicalXpress)

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. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

Just the smell of coffee may help boot numerical performance
A study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology and conducted by researchers from Stevens Institute of Technology suggests that the smell of coffee can boost numerical performance. The researchers asked 100 undergraduates to sit a 10 question Graduate Management Aptitude test. Half sat in room containing an “ambient coffee-like scent” while the others took the test in an unscented room. Madzharov et al. found that those in the coffee-scented room performed significantly higher.  A follow-up survey asked over 200 people about their beliefs about scent and their effect on performance and found that many believed they would feel more “alert and energetic” when a coffee smell was around compared to no scent or that of a flower. Professor Adriana Madzharov is quoted as saying that "It's not just that the coffee-like scent helped people perform better on analytical tasks, which was already interesting but they also thought they would do better, and we demonstrated that this expectation was at least partly responsible for their improved performance." Madzharov is now looking to investigate if coffee type scents can affect other types of performance including verbal reasoning. (Science2.0)

Cochrane review suggests omega 3 supplements have little effect on cardiovascular diseases
A Cochrane systematic review, published in the Cochrane Library, suggests that taking omega 3 supplements has little or no effect on the risk of heart disease, stroke or death. Omega 3 fats (alphalinolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)) are essential to stay healthy and increased consumption of omega 3 fat is widely promoted worldwide as there is a “common belief” that omega 3 supplements reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and death. The current review looked at 79 randomised trials involving over 112,000 participants that assessed the effect of higher consumption of omega 3 fats, compare to lower or no intake, on heart and circulatory diseases and reports that of these 79, 25 were assessed as “very trustworthy”. The review found that there was high quality evidence that EPA and DHA had “little or no effect on all-cause deaths and cardiovascular events” and moderate quality evidence that they had no effect on heart irregularities. They note that there is high quality evidence that additional EPA and DHA consumption “slightly reduce serum triglycerides and raise HDL”. The review states that there is moderate – low quality evidence that eating additional ALA “probably makes little or no difference to all-cause or cardiovascular deaths or coronary events” and “probably slightly reduces” risk for some heart and circulatory diseases.

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. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

Exactly how much caffeine do you need to stay alert? Consult an app
The US military have developed an app that reports on exactly how much caffeine is needed to prevent tiredness and keep troops focused. The researchers developed an algorithm, after examining previous studies on sleep-deprivation.  The algorithm takes into account how much sleep a person has had, and works out a basic caffeine regime.  For example those who do not get enough rest consume 200 mg of caffeine, the equivalent to two cups of coffee when they wake up, and another 200mg four hours later.  The Daily Mail quotes one of the scientists as saying “If you could come to work, drink caffeine and have your mental acuity improved by 40 per cent for four hours, wouldn’t you like that? That’s what we’re trying to do here.” Currently the app is not available to the public but the team are reporting they have developed a simplified version on their website and plan to launch a smartphone app in the future.

Full fat dairy: Healthy or not healthy? A new scientific study answers
The consumption of reduced fat products has been dictated by conventional diet adviser for decades. However, a recent study has demonstrated enjoying a full-fat dairy diet is unlikely to send people earlier to the grave. Indeed, this long term study has shown a reducing risk of cardiovascular disease including stroke for daily dairy consumers. Whilst low-fat products contain more added sugar which may lead to poor metabolic health. “The results, consistent with other findings, highlight the importance to revisit the current dietary guidance on dairy”, was said by the author, M. Otto. “Evidence-based research is key to educating people about nutrition. So, people can make more balanced and informed choices in their diet based on scientific fact rather than hearsay,” she added. (Journal of clinical nutrition).

Consumption of nitrates may contribute to mania
According to a study by researchers from John Hopkins Medicine, consumption of nitrates may contribute to mania, an abnormal mood state.  The study, published in Molecular Psychiatry, analysed 1000 people with and without psychiatric disorders, finding that those who were hospitalised with mania had more than three times the odds of having ever eaten nitrate-cured meats than people without a history of a serious psychiatric disorder. The team report that whilst they acknowledge that genetic and other risk factors have been linked to the disorder, those factors have been unable to explain the cause of these mental illnesses.  They continue by stating that their findings add to the evidence that certain diets and potentially the amounts and types of bacteria in the gut may contribute to mania and other disorders that affect the brain. These findings were reached after the scientists analysed records of participants between 2007 and 2017. The participants completed a food frequency questionnaire, although the questionnaire did not ask about the frequency or time frame of consumption, so the researchers couldn't draw conclusions about exactly how much cured meat boosts one's risk of mania, but Yolken, the author of this current study, hopes future studies will address this.

RSSL can determine nitrates in food products. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

A new drug containing capsaicin found to cause long term weight loss
A new drug containing the compound capsaicin, has been found in mice to cause long term weight loss and improve metabolic health. The drug, Metabocin, is reported to slowly release the compound throughout the day.  Thyagarajan et al. report that the drug reversed many damaging effect of a high fat diet. They report at the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behaviour, that the drug targets receptors called TRPV1 which are found in large quantities in fat cells. These receptors, when stimulated, cause white fat cells to start burning energy instead of storing it.  The drug was given to the mice for 8 months, and the team reported at the meeting that no adverse effect were seen during this duration.  They do note that they are carrying out further investigations on long term use and side effects, however they conclude that "Developing Metabocin as a potent anti-obesity treatment shows promise as part of a robust strategy for helping people struggling with obesity." (Science Daily)

RSSL can carry out tests on chilli pepper pungency by HPLC according to the ASTA Method. RSSL can also provide analysis of the red coloured compounds characteristic of capsicums of all kinds. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

The effect of rising meat consumption on the environment
A review published in the journal Science suggests consumption of meat will climb steeply and play a significant role in increasing carbon emissions and reducing biodiversity.  The increase in meat consumption will also lead to an increased risk of colorectal cancer, and potentially cardiovascular disease. In the last 50 years, meat consumed per person has nearly doubled, with recent indications that some countries including the UK, may have reached “peak meat.”  According to the UK’s 2017 National Food Survey, consumption of raw beef, lamb and pork had fallen by 4.2% and that of meat products including sausages, bacon and poultry by nearly 7% since 2012 , whilst countries such as China, and others in East Asia are experiencing a rise. The paper concludes by stating “It is difficult to envisage how the world could supply a population of 10 billion or more people with the quantity of meat currently consumed in most high-income countries without substantial negative effects on the environment.” The review discusses effect on health and the environment, drivers of meat consumption and changing diets.

Demand for camel milk growing in the US
According to Food Safety News demand for camel milk is outstripping supply.  Camel milk is higher in sodium, potassium, zinc, iron, copper, manganese, niacin and vitamin C than cow’s milk, whilst levels of thiamine, riboflavin, folacin, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, vitamin A, lysine and tryptophan are lower than those of cow’s milk.  Whilst it is low in fat, it contains a high percentage of unsaturated fatty acids.  Although demand is high due to its perceived nutritional qualities, the “FAO does not show a difference between camel’s milk and cow’s milk in term of specific health claims by proponents.” Currently the majority of camel’s milk is available to purchase online in the US, and is more expensive at $8 per pint, whereas whole cow’s milk is sold at $3.50 for 8 pints.  Camels typically produce around 2 gallons a day, compared to a cow which can product between 8 to 12 gallons a day.  The article in Food Safety News looks at the three camel dairy farmers: Camelot Dairy, Humpback Dairy, and Oasis Camel Dairy.

RSSL 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. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

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