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What does Glutathione have to do with Parkinson’s Disease?

Posted by James on 09/16/2018 | Comment

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s Disease affects approximately 10 million people worldwide, and is ranked as the 14th most common cause of death in the United States. This neurodegenerative disorder affects primarily dopamine-producing neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra.

Symptoms typically develop slowly and often included tremors, bradykinesia, limb rigidity, and gait and balance problems. While there is no cure, treatment options are available (1).

What is Glutathione?

Glutathione is a multifunctional tripeptide, composed of three amino acids including cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine. It acts as an antioxidant and a cofactor for the enzyme glutathione peroxidase (2, 3).

Why is Glutathione beneficial in patients with Parkinson’s Disease?

“Glutathione is depleted early in the course of Parkinson’s Disease, and deficiency has been shown to perpetuate oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, impaired autophagy, and cell death,” (4). Therefore, it has been suggested to replete glutathione as a therapeutic intervention. One particular study investigated intranasal administration of glutathione and found it to increase glutathione levels in the brain (4).

Glutathione is known to play an important role in our mitochondria. If glutathione levels are depleted, our mitochondria may become dysfunctional. In fact, the reverse is also true. Mitochondrial stress and dysfunction are known to deplete glutathione levels (5). However, when there is mitochondrial dysfunction, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) can be used to restore normality. To this point, research has shown a statistically significant reduced rate of the disease progression after the administration of CoQ10 among patients with Parkinson’s Disease (4).

Additional Benefits of Glutathione

  • May support healthy liver function by removing harmful substances
  • May enhance immune response, improve immune cell health, and promote the body’s ability to fight disease
  • Inhibits the activity of tyrosinase and production of melanin to prevention skin pigmentation

 

Recommendations to Raise Glutathione Levels (6)

  • A typical recommended dose of oral glutathione is > 50 mg/day.
  • Cysteine or antioxidant supplementation may raise glutathione levels in the body.
  • Vitamin C plays a similar role to glutathione which suggests a sacrificial role to prevent glutathione from being used.
  • Lipoic acid appears to raise glutathione levels as well.
  • Other supplements that might raise glutathione levels include N-acetylcysteine, glutamine, methionine, and S-adenosyl methionine (7).

 

Recommendations for Patients with Parkinson’s Disease (8) 

  • Aside from increasing glutathione levels, try optimizing your diet by avoiding or reducing alcohol and caffeine which may reduce the toxic load on your body’s detoxification pathways.
  • Reduce homocysteine to a healthy level by including folic acid, vitamin B12 and B6, zinc, and trimethyl-glycine. Some of these nutrients are cofactors for dopamine production
  • Increase omega-3 fatty-acid to boost your mood by consuming fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, trout, pilchards and anchovies.
  • Include vitamin D into your daily routine for its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Improve sleep patterns with magnesium.
  • As previously mentioned, CoQ10 may be beneficial for patients with Parkinson’s Disease due to its ability to restore mitochondrial functionality (6).

 

References

(1) What Is Parkinson’s? Parkinson’s Foundation Web site. http://www.parkinson.org/understanding-parkinsons/what-is-parkinsons Published July 16, 2015. Accessed August 21, 2018.

(2) NCI Drug Dictionary. National Institutes of Health Web site (n.d.) https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-drug Accessed August 21, 2018.

(3) Glutathione. Pubchem Web site. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/124886 (n.d.). Retrieved Accessed August 21, 2018.

(4) Mischley, LK, Conley KE, Shankland EG, Kavanagh TJ, Rosenfeld ME, Duda JE, Padowski JM. Central nervous system uptake of intranasal glutathione in Parkinson’s disease. NPJ Parkinson’s Disease. 2016; 2:16002.

(5) Liddell JR, White, AR. Nexus between mitochondrial function, iron, copper and glutathione in Parkinson’s disease. Neurochemistry International. 2018; 117: 126–138.

(6) Encyclopedia of Natural and Alternative Treatments. ConsumerLab.com Web site. https://www.consumerlab.com/tnp.asp?chunkiid=108306#ref32 Accessed August 21, 2018.

(7) Holmay MJ, Terpstra M, Coles LD, et al. N-acetylcysteine Boosts Brain and Blood Glutathione in Gaucher and Parkinson Diseases: Clinical Neuropharmacology. 2013; 36(4):103-106.

(8) Action plan for Parkinson’s disease. Food for the Brain Web site. (n.d.). http://www.foodforthe brain.org/nutrition-solutions/parkinsons-disease/action-plan-for-parkinsons-disease.aspx Accessed August 21, 2018.

 


 

Written by Nicole Lindel, MS in Nutrition Education from Columbia University

The Role of Nutrition in Cancer Treatment and Management

Posted by James on 08/18/2018 | Comment

One in three women, and one in two men will develop cancer during their lifetime (1)

In 2018, an estimated 1.7 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States (2).

25% of American deaths are due to cancer, making it the 2nd most common cause of death (1).

Cancer, by definition, is a disease of pathological hyperplasia, or uncontrolled cell growth in its extreme form, which created masses of tumors hat invades organs and destroys normal tissues (1)

Why is there a greater prevalence of cancer today compared to a century ago (1)?

  • Cancer is an age-related disease. With people living longer, there is a greater risk of developing cancer and other age-related diseases. For example, the risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 400 for a 30-year-old woman and increases to 1 in 9 for a 70-year-old.
  • Longevity is the most important contributor to the prevalence of cancer in the early 20th century. Today, life expectancy is 78 years old, which is 31 years more than what it was in 1900. Contributing factors to increased life expectancy include better hygiene, introduction of modern refrigeration, pharmaceutical discoveries, such as penicillin, antibiotics and anti-polio, and the opening of many hospitals. Previously, the most common cause of death was tuberculosis, then pneumonia, diarrhea and gastroenteritis, with cancer being the 7th most common cause of death. Now, as previously mentioned, cancer is the 2nd most common cause of death.
  • Our capacity to detect cancer earlier and earlier, and our ability to attribute deaths to cancer accurately, has also dramatically increased in the last century.
  • Changes in the structure of modern life have radically shifted the spectrum of cancers by increasing the incidence of some, decreasing the incidence of others.

 

Primary Care Prevention (3)

  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
  • Be physically active
  • Eat a healthy, primarily plant-based diet
  • Limit your intake of alcohol

 

What enables cancer cells to survive and to be so deadly (1)?

Cancer cells…

  • Acquire an autonomous drive to multiply
  • Inactivate tumor suppressor genes, that normally inhibit growth
  • Suppress and inactivate genes and pathways that normally enable cells to die
  • Have a limitless replicative potential
  • Acquire the capacity to draw out their own supply of blood
  • Acquire the capacity to migrate to other organs, invade other tissues, and colonize these organs, resulting in their spread throughout the body

 

Cancer Therapies (3)

Cancer therapies include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, endocrine therapies, and immunotherapies. There are also diet therapies, such as the ketogenic and macrobiotic diet, and noninvasive integrative medicine practices, such as massage therapy, aromatherapy, and movement therapies.

Surgery (1)

Surgery effects the body through metabolic and physiologic changes, having the most profound mechanical effect on the alimentary canal. Gastrointestinal cancers often result in profound changes in food intake, digestion and tolerance. With that being said, dietary supplementation may be necessary to achieve proper nutrient needs.

Chemotherapy (1)

Chemotherapy is a common form of cancer treatment, which utilizes drugs to destroy cancer cells. It is often used, either alone or with surgery or radiation therapy, to treat cancer that has spread or recurred, or when there is a strong chance that it could recur.

Chemotherapy drugs are most effective when given in combination. The rationale for combination chemotherapy is to use drugs that work by different mechanisms, thereby decreasing the likelihood that resistant cancer cells will develop. When drugs with different effects are combined, each drug can be used at its optimal dose, without intolerable side effects.

Factors to consider when choosing which drugs to use include the type and stage of the cancer, as well as the age and overall health of the patient.

Radiation (1)

Radiation therapy is “the use of high-energy radiation from x-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, protons, and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors,” (4). Radiation therapy is typically given for 10 minutes, 5 days per week, for 2-8 weeks.

Select Steroid and Endocrine Therapies

Steroid therapy is a type of cancer “treatment with corticosteroid drugs to reduce swelling, pain, and other symptoms of inflammation,” while endocrine therapy is a type of cancer “treatment that adds, blocks, or removes hormones,” (4).

Immunotherapies (1)

Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment designed to boost the body’s natural defenses to fight cancer. Specifically, it uses substances to improve or restore immune system function.

Survivorship (3)

Over 14 million in US, or roughly 1:4 Americans survive from cancer

Nutrition Objectives for Cancer Management (3)

  1. Overcome side effects of treatment
  2. Prevent detrimental weight loss or weight gain
  3. Correct existing weight loss and malnutrition
  4. Provide appropriate macro-micronutrient needs
  5. Palliation* and enhancement of Quality of Life (QOL)

 

*Palliative care is to improve quality of life by reducing tumor burden and relieving cancer-related symptoms (1)

 

Macronutrient Needs (3)

Evidence-Based Benefits of Micronutrients

Vitamin D

A prospective study found high doses of vitamin D supplementation to restore 25-(OH)-vitamin D and iPTH values, which are frequently disturbed after gastric cancer resection (5).

Long Chain & Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Cancer often induces cachexia, which refers to a progressive loss of body fat and lean body mass, accompanied by profound weakness, anorexia, and anemia. However, omega-3 fatty acid supplementation has been shown to improve cancer cachexia by increasing skeletal muscle mass in bile duct or pancreatic cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy (6).

Additional Resources

National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov)

American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org)

American Institute for Cancer Research (www.aicr.org)

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (www.eatrightpro.org)

References

(1) Mukherjee S. The emperor of all maladies: A biography of cancer. New York, NY: Scribner; 2011.

(2) Cancer Statistics. National Cancer Institute Web site. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/understanding/statistics Updated April 27, 2018. Accessed August 15, 2018.

(3) Hamilton KK. Prevention and Medical Nutrition Therapy in Cancer Care. 2017 [PowerPoint].

(4) NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms. National Cancer Institute Web site. https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms. Accessed August 15, 2018.

(5) Climent M, Pera M, Aymar I, Ramón JM, Grande L, Nogués X. Bone Health in Long-Term Gastric Cancer Survivors: A Prospective Study of High-Dose Vitamin D Supplementation Using an Easy Administration Scheme. Journal of Bone and Mineral Metabolism. 2018; 36(4):462–69.

(6) Kyohei A, Uwagawa T, Haruki K, Takano Y, Onda S, Sakamoto T, Gocho T, Yanaga K. Effects of ω-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation in Patients with Bile Duct or Pancreatic Cancer Undergoing Chemotherapy. Anticancer Research. 2018; 38(4):2369–75.


 

Written by Nicole Lindel, MS in Nutrition Education from Columbia University

What are the different types and forms of protein powder?

Posted by James on 08/18/2018 | Comment

Protein powder has immensely grown in popularity— not only in body builders and elite athletes, but also in the general population. Everyone is always talking about protein—discussing questions related to the “what”, the “when” and the “how much”. These questions are often complex and difficult to answer. With that being said, the goal of this article is to help you better understand the “ins” and “outs” of protein powder—everything from the different forms to the different types of protein.

PROTEIN FORMS

First, it would be best to define what protein powder is—which is simply a powdered form of protein available as a protein concentrate, isolate, or hydrolysate (1).

Protein concentrates are produced by separating protein from whole foods using heat and acid or enzymes. They typically contain 60-80% of calories from protein and approximately 20-30% of calories from fat and carbohydrates (2).

Protein isolate powders go through an additional filtration that removes additional fats and carbohydrates in order to further concentrate the protein to make up 90-95% of the powder (2)

Protein hydrolysates are produced by further heating with acid or enzymes, which breaks the bonds between amino acids to allow for quick absorption (2). Due to its quicker absorption, casein hydrolysate has also been shown to be approximately 30% more effective in stimulating muscle protein synthesis than intact casein (3).

Protein hydrolysates are commonly used to induce rapid increases in plasma amino acids before, during, and after exercising, which can maximize muscle protein anabolism and serve as an aid for recovery (3). Additional research has also shown protein hydrolysates to have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect on the body (4).

PROTEIN TYPES

Protein powders do not only come in different forms but also in different types, such as whey, casein, soy, and quinoa protein.

Dairy Protein

There is a growing interest in the use of dairy hydrolysates containing bioactive peptides as facilitators for maintaining general health and preventing chronic human diseases (4). For example, a clinical trial found that the consumption of whey protein hydrolysate for 6 weeks reduced of systolic and diastolic blood pressure in hypertensive patients (4).

Milk contains two types of protein, whey and casein, which have been characterized based on their rate of digestion as “fast” and “slow” proteins, respectively. Soy, on the other hand, contains a single homogeneous protein type, which is digested in a manner more similar to whey than casein (6).

Tang and colleagues hypothesized that the consumption of whey hydrolysate, casein, and soy proteins would differentially stimulate muscle protein synthesis, based on the rate at which they are digested both at rest and after resistance exercise (6). Their findings suggest a greater muscle protein synthesis after whey hydrolysate or soy protein than casein both at rest and after resistance exercise. In other words, the fast-digested whey protein promotes muscle protein synthesis while the slow-digested casein inhibits the breakdown of protein (6). These differences may be attributed to the speed at which these proteins are digested or to differences in leucine concentrations of each protein (6).

Additional research supports these ergogenic characteristics of whey hydrolysate by demonstrating greater gains in muscle strength and lean body mass when taking whey protein hydrolysate, compared to casein. However, casein hydrolysate ingestion was shown to prevent increases in plasma creatine kinase and muscle soreness after exercise (3).

Furthermore, whey protein hydrolysate, in combination with exercise, has been shown to aid recovery from intensive exercise by suppressing the signal for muscle breakdown, reducing markers of muscle damage, and improving overall performance (7).

Soy Protein

Soy protein products can be classified into three major categories: soy flour, soy protein concentrate, and soy protein isolate. Soy flour contains about 50% protein and 30-35% carbohydrate, while soy protein isolates contain a higher protein content than both soy flour and soy concentrates, with about 85-90% protein and almost no water-insoluble carbohydrate (8). However, the protein yield from the process can be as low as 45%, making soy protein isolates expensive to produce (8).

Quinoa Protein

Quinoa protein has reasonable concentrations of essential amino acids, with a very high level of lysine (17.13%). In fact, quinoa protein contains higher amounts of essential amino acids than amaranth and chai (9). Its high solubility, digestibility, foaming capacity, and stability makes it an impressive source of protein (10).

Luckily for you, VeganSlim’s High Protein Weight Control Shake contains quinoa protein, along with pea protein isolate, potato protein, chlorella protein, and chia protein. These plant-based proteins contain 25 grams of protein per serving and includes all the essential amino acids your body needs to support lean muscle mass, weight loss, and tissue repair after exercise.

Other types of protein powders include…

  • Peanut
  • Hemp
  • Pea
  • Egg
  • Brown Rice
  • Potato
  • Chlorella
  • Mixed Plants

 

References

(1) Sifferlin A. Is Protein Powder Good For You? Time Web site. http://time.com/4901309/is-protein-powder-good-for-you/. Published August 15, 2017. Accessed August 17, 2018.

(2) Spritzler F. The 7 Best Types of Protein Powder. Healthline Web site. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/best-protein-powder. Published August 29, 2016. Accessed August 17, 2018.

(3) Manninen AH. Protein Hydrolysates in Sports Nutrition. Nutrition & Metabolism. 2009; 6:38.

(4) Hernández-Ledesma B, García-Nebot MJ, Fernández-Tomé S, Amigo L, Recio I. Dairy Protein Hydrolysates: Peptides for Health Benefits. International Dairy Journal. 2014; 38(2):82–100.

(5) Miralles B, del Barrio R, Cueva C, Recio I, Amigo L. Dynamic Gastric Digestion of a Commercial Whey Protein Concentrate†. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.2018; 98(5):1873–79.

(6) Tang JE, Moore DR, Kujbida GW, Tarnopolsky MA, Phillips SM. Ingestion of Whey Hydrolysate, Casein, or Soy Protein Isolate: Effects on Mixed Muscle Protein Synthesis at Rest and Following Resistance Exercise in Young Men. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2009; 107(3):987–92.

(7) Hansen M, Bangsbo J, Jensen J, Bibby BM, Madsen K. Effect of Whey Protein Hydrolysate on Performance and Recovery of Top-Class Orienteering Runners. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 2015; 25(2):97–109.

(8) Loman AA, Islam SM, Li MQ, Ju L. Soybean Bio-Refinery Platform: Enzymatic Process for Production of Soy Protein Concentrate, Soy Protein Isolate and Fermentable Sugar Syrup. Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering. 2016; 39(10): 1501–14.

(9) López DN, Galante M, Robson M, Boeris V, Spelzini D. Amaranth, Quinoa and Chia Protein Isolates: Physicochemical and Structural Properties. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules. 2018; 109:152–59.

(10) Elsohaimy SA, Refaay TM, Zaytoun MA. Physicochemical and Functional Properties of Quinoa Protein Isolate.” Annals of Agricultural Sciences. 2015; 60(2):297–305.


 

Written by Nicole Lindel, MS in Nutrition Education from Columbia University

Bariatric Surgery and Nutritional Status

Posted by James on 08/18/2018 | Comment

Obesity in America

In 2013, 38% of US adults and 17% of US children were classified as obese. During this time, the American Medical Association recognized obesity as a disease. It is to no surprise that obesity increases the risk of other comorbidities such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, and some cancers (1).

Defining Obesity with BMI

Body mass index (BMI) is a great resource and quick do-it-yourself assessment of your weight status. The table below classifies your weight status by using your BMI. If you do not know your BMI, you can enter your weight and height into the National Institutes of Health BMI calculator.

Definition BMI (kg/m2)

Underweight

Below 18.5
Normal 18.5–24.9
Overweight 25.0–29.9
Obesity 30.0 and Above

As convenient as it is to use BMI, it has some significant limitations. BMI does not take muscle mass into account which could be problematic for athletes who have a great deal of muscle because muscle weighs more than fat! Athletes often have higher BMI scores and can wrongfully be classified as overweight or even obese. Older populations must also take caution with their BMI score. BMI tends to underestimate body fat in the elderly population. With that being said, be aware that BMI is a rough estimate of your weight status. For example, a football player with a BMI of 27 kg/m2 would technically be classified as overweight. However, are they really overweight or do they just have a lot of muscle mass?

Guide to Selecting Treatment

Overweight and obesity can often be targeted and successfully managed with diet, exercise, and behavior therapy. The next line of defense, particularly for those with a BMI > 27 kg/m2, is medication prescribed by your doctor. The last and most invasive treatment is for those with a BMI > 30 kg/m2, which involves bariatric surgery. It is important to remember that lifestyle changes are always the first line of defense! More times than not, these changes will help to bring you back to a healthy weight (2).

What is Bariatric Surgery?

“Bariatric surgery is an operation that helps you lose weight by making changes to your digestive system,” (3).

There are different procedures that change your digestive system in different ways. The most popular surgeries include (3):

  • Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding (Figure 1b)
  • Gastric Sleeve Surgery (Figure 1c)
  • Roux-En Y Gastric Bypass (Figure 1a)

 

Bariatric surgery is a potential option for those who are obese, unable to lose weight or keep the weight off, and/or suffering from serious health problems, such as type 2 diabetes (3).

The ASMBS total bariatric procedure numbers are based on the best estimation from available data (BOLD,ACS/MBSAQIP, National Inpatient Sample Data and outpatient estimations)

 

Commonly Performed Surgeries (3)

 

Resolution of Comorbidities After Bariatric Surgery (5)

Micronutrient Absorption

Literature in Review

A 2018 systematic review and meta-analysis sought to evaluate the efficacy of vitamin D supplementation on the prevention of postoperative vitamin D deficiency and found that a daily dosage of more than 800 IU was effective in preventing deficiency and improving 25-OHD levels (6).

A randomized controlled trial investigated whether oral supplementation increases and normalizes low vitamin B12 concentrations in Roux-en Y gastric bypass patients compared to intramuscular injections. Participants randomly assigned to receive vitamin B12 orally, received daily doses of 1000 ug. Vitamin B12 was normalized in all individuals, which indicates that oral vitamin B12 supplementation can be used as an alternative to intramuscular injections, which are typically painful, and require a considerable amount of time and effort from patients and healthcare professionals (7).

A retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data was obtained from patients who underwent a Roux-en Y gastric bypass to assess the long-term outcome of nutritional status after surgery. A total of 35%, 16%, and 55% of the patients had deficiencies for iron, vitamin B12, and vitamin D, respectively. Furthermore, those who used a daily multivitamin had a lower rate of iron, vitamin B12, and vitamin D deficiency, compared to those who did not use a daily multivitamin (8).

Recommended Vitamin Supplementation

Liquid Calcium and Magnesium with 1000 IU of Vitamin D3

Futurebiotics Iron plus C

Physician’s Multi Vitamin Formula

Vitamin B-12 Triple Action Timed Release Formula

Quantum-B Complex

Additional Resources

https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/

https://medlineplus.gov/obesity.html

References

(1) Flegal KM, Kruszon-Moran D, Carroll MD, Fryar CD, Ogden CL. Trends in Obesity Among Adults in the United States, 2005 to 2014. JAMA. 2016; 315(21):2284.

(2) Persaud, A. Nutrition guidelines for bariatric surgery. Bariatric & Metabolic Services: Harlem Hospital. 2017 [PowerPoint].

(3) Types of Bariatric Surgery | NIDDK. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Web site. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/bariatric-surgery/types. Updated July 2016. Accessed August 13, 2018.

(4) Estimate of Bariatric Surgery Numbers, 2011-2017. American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Web site. https://asmbs.org/resources/estimate-of-bariatric-surgery-numbers. Accessed August 10, 2018.

(5) Schwartz SS, Kohl BA. Glycemic Control and Weight Reduction Without Causing Hypoglycemia: The Case for Continued Safe Aggressive Care of Patients With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Avoidance of Therapeutic Inertia. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2010; 85(12):S15–26.

(6) Li Z, Zhou X, Fu W. Vitamin D Supplementation for the Prevention of Vitamin D Deficiency after Bariatric Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2018; 72(8):1061–70.

(7) Schijns W, Homan J, van der Meer L, Janssen IM, van Laarhoven CJ, Berends FJ, Aarts EO. Efficacy of Oral Compared with Intramuscular Vitamin B-12 Supplementation after Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass: A Randomized Controlled Trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2018; 108(1):6–12.

(8) Dogan K, Homan J, Aarts EO, de Boer H, van Laarhoven CJ, Berends FJ. Long-Term Nutritional Status in Patients Following Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery. Clinical Nutrition. 2018; 37(2):612–17.


 

Written by Nicole Lindel, MS in Nutrition Education from Columbia University

Keeping your Furry Friends happy & healthy with DogVites

Posted by James on 08/18/2018 | Comment

Background Articles

As an owner and parent to your wonderful, mushy, fluffy, can-do-no-wrong, furry friend, you want nothing more than to feed them desirable foods and treats that are safe, traceable, and nutritious.

Both cats and dogs share similar digestive-related characteristics including their short GI tract and their inability to synthesize their own vitamin D. However, cats and dogs are undoubtedly different. Dogs are omnivorous, while cats are carnivorous. Dogs have specific genes that are involved in starch digestion and glucose uptake, while cats are able to catabolize and use amino acids as energy for gluconeogenesis. Due to these differences, cats and dogs have different dietary requirements (1).

In order to promote and improve the health of your fluffy child, food scientists and healthcare professionals must work together to provide a better education on new scientific developments and achievements in animal nutrition.

This article explores the promising benefits of probiotics, vitamins, minerals, and coenzyme Q10 on animal health and wellbeing.

Probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer health benefits to the host, such as detoxifying potentially harmful substances in the diet or barricading exogenous pathogenic microorganisms to prevent infection (2). In the case of cats and dogs, probiotics are able to reestablish homeostasis in the digestive system after disruption of normal function by stress, infection or medical therapy (3).

There are many different strains of beneficial bacteria. One strain in particular—Lactobacillus rhamnosus—has been used as a probiotic to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in the stomach and intestines. As a probiotic, Lactobacillus rhamnosus can be used for a variety of different purposes, such as increasing appetite and weight, and improving stool form, intestinal flora, cholesterol, triglyceride and serum protein. Lactobacillus rhamnosus may also have a positive effect on the prevention or treatment of microbial intestinal or nutritional diseases (4). With that being said, DogVites Probiotics 4 Pets utilize this very strain due to its proposed and scientifically validated benefits.

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled intervention study, 60 dogs with acute diarrhea were randomized to either a sour-milk product containing three canine-derived Lactobacillus sp. probiotics in combination of Lactobacillus fermentum VET 9A, L. rhamnosus VET 16A, and L. plantarum VET 14A, or a placebo. The probiotic had a normalizing effect on canine stool consistency, enhanced the well-being of the pet by maintaining appetite and reducing vomiting. Additionally, concentrations of Clostridium perfringens and Enterococcus faecium, which typically increase during diarrhea episodes in dogs, were decreased in probiotic group feces when compared to the placebo group (3).

An additional study found early exposure to Lactobacillus rhamnosus in dogs to significantly decrease allergen-specific IgE and partially prevent atopic dermatitis in the first 6 months of life (5).

A more recent study focused on Lactobacillus rhamnosus and its effect on both weight and appetite in dogs. The results showed that Lactobacillus rhamnosus consumption had a positive effect on both weight and appetite and led to an increase in serum triglyceride and protein, along with a drop in cholesterol. There was also a significant fall in the number of fecal Clostridium perfringens, E. coli, Enterobacters and Campylobacters. The authors of this study concluded that Lactobacillus rhamnosus may have a beneficial effect on the health of dogs, and may decrease harmful intestinal bacteria (4).

Vitamins & Minerals

Research suggests dietary supplementation of Fructo- and Mannan- oligosaccharides in combination with a mixture of vitamins and minerals to be beneficial on colonic health and immune status of dogs (6).

Additionally, research has focused its attention on supplementing with vitamin E, taurine, carnitine, omega-3 fatty acids, and coenzyme Q10, as a form of therapy for dogs and cats with cardiac disease (7).

CoQ10

Coenzyme Q10 is known for its role in energy production. With that being said, it is extremely important to maintain adequate levels—especially in the heart.

Coenzyme Q10 has been shown to prevent DNA damage in cells through the mitochondria and improve immune response, which plays a critical role in the development of cancer. With that being said, a decreased immune response in very old and very young dogs result in an increased susceptibility to the effects of carcinogens (7).

Additional clinical trials have shown a positive impact of coenzyme Q10 in animals with renal failure, by significantly reducing serum creatinine and blood urea, and significantly increasing creatinine clearance and urine output (7).

Lucky enough for you and your fluffball, DogVites—in addition to their Probiotics 4 Pets— have their very own Multi-Vitamin & Mineral Formula and CoQ10! For more information, visit our website at epic4health.com.

References

(1) Di Cerbo A, Morales-Medina JC, Palmieri B, Pezzuto F, Cocco R, Flores G, Iannitti T. Functional foods in pet nutrition: Focus on dogs and cats. Research in Veterinary Science. 2017; 112: 161–166.

(2) O’Mahony D, Murphy KB, MacSharry J, Boileau T, Sunvold G, Reinhart G, Kiely B, Shanahan F, O’Mahony L. Portrait of a canine probiotic Bifidobacterium—From gut to gut. Veterinary Microbiology. 2009; 139(1-2):106-112.

(3) Gómez-Gallego C, Junnila J, Männikkö S, Hämeenoja P, Valtonen E, Salminen S, Beasley S. A canine-specific probiotic product in treating acute or intermittent diarrhea in dogs: A double-blind placebo-controlled efficacy study. Veterinary Microbiology. 2016; 197: 122-128.

(4) Hasiri MA, Gheisari HR, Khademolhosseini AA. LACTOBACILLUS RHAMNOSUS AS A PROBIOTIC FOR THE HEALTH OF ADULT DOGS. International Journal of Probiotics & Prebiotics. 2015;10(2):69-75.

(5) Marsella R, Santoro D, Ahrens K. Early exposure to probiotics in a canine model of atopic dermatitis has long-term clinical and immunological effects. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology. 2012; 146(2):185-189.

(6) Swanson KS, Grieshop CM, Flickinger EA, Bauer LL, Healy HP, Dawson KA, Merchen NR, Fahey GC. Supplemental Fructooligosaccharides and Mannanoligosaccharides Influence Immune Function, Ileal and Total Tract Nutrient Digestibilities, Microbial Populations and Concentrations of Protein Catabolites in the Large Bowel of Dogs, The Journal of Nutrition, 2002; 132(5):980–989.

(7) Freeman LM. Interventional nutrition for cardiac disease. Clinical Techniques in Small Animal Practice. 1998; 13(4):232-237.


 

Written by Nicole Lindel, MS in Nutrition Education from Columbia University

Probiotics: Is there truth to the craze?

Posted by James on 08/18/2018 | Comment

Everyone is talking about probiotics and how great they are— but does anyone know why? Why is everyone seeking out probiotics? What’s so great about them? Better yet—what are they?

The World Health Organization defines a probiotic as “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.” For a product to be considered a probiotic, Lynne McFarland, an associate professor at the University of Washington explains, “…they have to be alive. They can be a bacteria or a yeast. They have to be used in an adequate dose, and they have to have some proven beneficial health effect.”

Data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) indicates that approximately 4 million US adults, and 300,000 children between the ages of 4 and 17, had used either pre- or probiotics in the past 30 days since taking the survey. Furthermore, pre- and probiotics were found to be the third most commonly used dietary supplement among adults, other than vitamins and minerals (1).

The Scientific Literature: Proposed Benefits, Safety, and Efficacy of Probiotics

The probiotic craze has led researchers on a hunt to determine its proposed benefits. Such benefits include its ability to alleviate gastrointestinal disturbances and symptoms of lactose intolerance, enhance nutrient bioavailability, and increase resistance to pathogens, infection, and inflammation—thus reducing Irritable Bowel Syndrome, necrotizing enterocolitis in preterm infants, and respiratory infections.

New findings have shown a benefit of probiotics on immunity, urogenital, and the respiratory tract. In respect to oral health, lactobacilli and bifidobacteria are probiotic microorganisms helpful in the prevention and treatment of oral infectious diseases, including dental caries and periodontal disease. These microorganisms are thought to inhibit oral pathogens, withstand oral environment, and antimicrobial action (2).

The American Journal of Clinical Dermatology published recent findings on probiotic use for the treatment and prevention of adult dermatological diseases. The findings suggest that there is promise with some strains of probiotics for symptomatic and clinical improvement in atopic dermatitis, and as an adjunctive treatment with antibiotics for acne (3).

Additionally, the Seminars in Fetal and Neonatal Medicine published recent findings on probiotic use during pregnancy, lactation, and postnatal life. This study found probiotics to be a “safe and feasible method to alter the maternal and neonatal microbiome, thus improving pregnancy and neonatal outcomes,” (4).

More and more research has been looking at the role of probiotics in the prevention and management of diabetes. For example, a meta-analysis from the Medical Science Monitor demonstrated that probiotic supplementation was associated with significant improvements in HbA1c and fasting insulin in type 2 diabetics (5).

Additionally, the Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism found probiotics to have beneficial effects on the reduction of glucose, insulin and HbA1c for diabetes, especially for type 2 diabetes (6).

Further evidence in the Current Diabetes Reviews supports the hypothesis that probiotics can be effective in the prevention and management of diabetes (7).

Research has found probiotics to be safe for infants, children, adults, and older adults, but caution is advised in immunologically vulnerable populations (8). If you or someone you know is interested in supplementing with a probiotic, seeking out medical advice from a healthcare professional is recommended.

Probiotics can be found in food, dietary supplements, and even in cosmetic products such as skin cream (1). Foods that are known for its source of probiotics include sauerkraut, kimchi, certain yogurts and cheeses, and other dairy products, such as Lactobacillus milk or kefir.

Visit our website to learn more about probiotics and how our products can best serve you!

References

(1) Probiotics: In Depth. National Institutes of Health Web site. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics/ introduction.htm Updated July 31, 2018. Accessed August 6, 2018.

(2) Rastogi P, Saini H, Dixit J, Singhal R. Probiotics and oral health. Natl J Maxillofac Surg. 2011; 2(1):6-9.

(3) Notay M, Foolad N, Vaughn AR, Sivamani RK. Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Synbiotics for the Treatment and Prevention of Adult Dermatological Diseases. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2017; 18(6):721-732.

(4) Sohn K, Underwood MA. Prenatal and postnatal administration of prebiotics and probiotics. Semin Fetal Neonatal Med. 2017; 22(5):284-289.

(5) Yao K, Zeng L, He Q, Wang W, Lei J, Zou X. Effect of Probiotics on Glucose and Lipid Metabolism in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Meta-Analysis of 12 Randomized Controlled Trials. Med Sci Monit. 2017; 23:3044-3053.

(6) Wang X, Juan QF, He YW, Zhuang L, Fang YY, Wang YH. Multiple effects of probiotics on different types of diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, placebo-controlled trials. J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2017; 30(6):611-622.

(7) Rad AH, Abbasalizadeh S, Vazifekhah S, Abbasalizadeh F, Hassanalilou T, Bastani P, Ejtahed HS, Soroush AR, Javadi M, Mortazavian AM, Khalili L. The Future of Diabetes Management by Healthy Probiotic Microorganisms. Curr Diabetes Rev. 2017; 13(6):582-589.

(8) Wilkins T, Sequoia J. Probiotics for Gastrointestinal Conditions: A Summary of the Evidence. Am Fam Physician. 2017; 96(3):170-178.


 

Written by Nicole Lindel, MS in Nutrition Education from Columbia University

The Role of Elderberry in Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolic Dysfunction

Posted by James on 08/18/2018 | Comment

Background

“Black elder or elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.) is a deciduous, tree-like shrub, widespread in almost every continent of the world. It usually blooms from May to July and the berries ripen from August to late September,” (1). The purplish-black berries have been used for centuries for medicinal purposes, attributed to its many phytochemicals (1). Elderberry is also rich in carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fatty acids, organic acids, minerals, vitamins and essential oils (2).

Elderberries contain water-soluble plant pigments, known as anthocyanins, which are found in a variety of dark-colored fruits and vegetables (3), such as red cabbage microgreen, blueberry, blackcurrant, mulberry, cherry, black elderberry, and chokeberry (4). Anthocyanins are known to have antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties which play a role in the prevention and treatment of many chronic diseases (4).

How much and for how long?

A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials suggest that differences in dose and duration of anthocyanin supplementation matter! For example, in one study, 12 weeks of supplementation significantly reduced weight, BMI, HDL, and LDL. However, a different study with less than 12 weeks of supplementation resulted in higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

In terms of dose, one randomized controlled trial found a significant reducing effect of > 300 mg of anthocyanin supplementation on triglycerides and LDL, especially in patients with hypercholesterolemia (3).

Diabetes & Insulin Resistance

Diabetes mellitus is a disorder characterized with persistent high blood sugar. Type 1 diabetes results from a deficiency in insulin secretion and type 2 diabetes results from a resistance to insulin. If not adequately managed, blood sugar can rise and lead to significant damage to vital organs (5).

After systematically reviewing the literature, authors concluded that supplementation with anthocyanin can have beneficial effects on insulin resistance in adults. “HbA1c as a marker for long-term glycemic control, has shown an improvement in response to anthocyanin supplementation. It is expected that weight reduction and controlling obesity are achieved by increasing insulin sensitivity with anthocyanin,” (3). In addition to its effects on insulin resistance, anthocyanin supplementation has been shown to reduce body weight, leading to a restored glucose tolerance (4).

Obesity & Inflammation

What does obesity and insulin resistance have in common? Inflammation.

Chronic inflammation plays a critical role in the development of obesity due to its association with diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, pulmonary diseases and cancer. With that being said, targeting inflammation can be a potential strategy in helping to resolve health problems related to obesity (4).

Supplementation of anthocyanin mixtures have been found to be more influential than anthocyanins alone. For example, combinations of blackberries and raspberries have a synergistic antioxidant capacity which can reduce inflammatory markers in hypercholesterolemic patients (4).

Aside from inflammation, oxidative stress has also been a recurring theme in both obesity and insulin resistance. The role of oxidative stress “under the state of obesity is upregulated while antioxidant defenses diminish over time and this trend is even greater after the onset of diabetes,” (5).

Metabolism & Oxidative Stress

Reactive oxygen species are involved in many physiological processes but too much, or too little, can be harmful to your body (6). An abnormal concentration of reactive oxygen species is referred to as oxidative stress.

A 2016 publication in Food Chemistry found that elderberry extract has the ability to “protect the human colon against the effects of oxidative stress, such as enhanced intracellular reactive oxygen species production, oxidative DNA damage, and mutagenicity,” (6).

Why does elderberry extract have the ability to protect the human colon? It has the ability to prevent overproduction of reactive oxygen species in the intestines, which can cause oxidative stress and act as a trigger for carcinogenesis (6).

References

(1) Senica M, Stampar F, Veberic R, Mikulic-Petkovsek M. Processed elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.) products: A beneficial or harmful food alternative? LWT – Food Science and Technology. 2016; 72: 182-188.

(2) Młynarczyk K, Walkowiak-Tomczaka D, Łysiakb, GP. Bioactive properties of Sambucus nigra L. as a functional ingredient for food and pharmaceutical industry. Journal of Functional Foods. 2018; 40: 377-390.

(3) Daneshzad E, Shab-Bidar S, Mohammadpour Z, Djafarian K. Effect of anthocyanin supplementation on cardio-metabolic biomarkers: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clinical Nutrition. 2018; xxx: 1-13.

(4) Yoon-Mi L, Young Y, Yoon H, Hyun-Min P, Song S, Kyung-Jin Yeum. Dietary anthocyanins against obesity and inflammation. Nutrients. 2017; 9(10):1089.

(5) Belwal T, Nabavi SF, Nabavi SM, Habtemariam S. Dietary Anthocyanins and Insulin Resistance: When Food Becomes a Medicine. Nutrients. 2017; 9(10): 1111.

(6) Olejnik A, Olkowicz M, Kowalska K, Rychlik J, Dembczyński R, Myszka K, Juzwa W, Białas W, Moyer, MP. Gastrointestinal digested Sambucus nigra L. fruit extract protects in vitro cultured human colon cells against oxidative stress. Food Chemistry. 2016; 197(A): 648-657.


 

Written by Nicole Lindel, MS in Nutrition Education from Columbia University

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Posted by James on 08/18/2018 | Comment

How many are affected by the disease (1)?

Approximately 1.6 million Americans have Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) with as many as 70,000 new cases diagnosed each year (1). With a steady rise in the number of people living with IBD, it is important to gain a better understanding of the disease through scientific and evidence-based research.

 

What is it?

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and often leads to intestinal damage and distress. This disease is the umbrella term that covers conditions such as Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis (2).

Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the GI tract but most commonly affects the end of the small intestine, also known as the ileum, where it joins to the colon. Crohn’s disease may appear in “patches,” affecting only some areas of the GI tract while leaving others untouched (1). On the other hand, inflammation resulting from Ulcerative Colitis is confined to the large intestine and the rectum (1).

While the exact cause of IBD is unknown, we know this disease results from a defective immune system. Instead of the immune system protecting our body from foreign invaders, it responds abnormally to environmental triggers, leading to gastrointestinal inflammation. However, there seems to be a genetic component as well. Someone with a family history of IBD is more likely to develop this dysfunctional immune response than someone without a family history of IBD (2).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2), symptoms of IBD include:

  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Rectal bleeding/bloody stools
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue

 

Nutritional deficiencies are common in patients with IBD. If diet alone fails to provide you with the nutrients you need, dietary supplementation may be advantageous (3).

Thiamine

Due to its role in energy metabolism, thiamine may also play a role in improving symptoms of fatigue in patients with IBD. In fact, Costantini and Pala (2013) showed that 600 mg to 1,500 mg of daily thiamine supplementation completely alleviated symptoms of fatigue in 10 out of 12 subjects, with the remaining 2 subjects reporting a significant improvement (4).

Vitamin B12

A 2016 systematic review indicates that Crohn’s Disease patients with ileal resections greater than 20 centimeters should supplement with vitamin B12 (3).

Iron

Iron supplementation should be used in IBD patients with iron deficiency anemia and its route of administration should be tailored to each individual patient (3, 4).

Vitamin D and Calcium

Recent publications support the notion that vitamin D3 supplementation can act as a means of relapse prevention. Furthermore, long-term high-dose vitamin D3 supplementation has been shown to significantly reduce disease score in active IBD.

Although vitamin D3 shows promise in its effectiveness in reducing IBD, the research is limited. More systematic studies need to be conducted to identify factors determining the clinical response to vitamin D and calcium supplementation. With that being said, repletion of vitamin D to normal levels in IBD patients is the only recommendation that can currently be made (3, 5).

Zinc

It has been estimated that 15% of IBD patients are affected by zinc deficiencies and are often associated with poor clinical outcomes. However, these outcomes, such as increased risk of subsequent hospitalizations, surgeries, and disease-related complications, have been shown to improve with normalization of zinc through diet and/or supplementation (4).

Zinc supplementation is also recommended for IBD patients who experience significant diarrhea (3).

Prebiotics

Prebiotics appear to be a basic component to maintain healthy gut flora, but the research is limited on its role in the treatment of IBD (5).

Yet, a 2010 double-blind randomized controlled trial investigating the effects of a synbiotic supplement (the combination of a prebiotic and probiotic) in 35 patients with Crohn’s Disease concluded that synbiotic supplementation seems to be a plausible new alternative therapy for those suffering from Crohn’s Disease (Steed, 2010).

Curcumin

Curcumin appears to be effective in reducing both the symptoms and the inflammatory indices in IBD patients, with no apparent side effects (3). However, further research is needed.

Green Tea

Although the studies are limited, green tea extract may be effective in inducing remission in IBD patients (3).

Recommendations

“Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are common among inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients and warrant supplementation to restore recommended values,” (4). Such deficiencies are likely to contribute to disease severity and associated comorbidities (4).

As there is no one approach in managing IBD, treatments must be individualized. Factors that influence treatment include (1):

  • Disease severity
  • Anatomic location of disease
  • Previous response to medication
  • Side effects of medication
  • Comorbidities

 

Aside from treatments aimed at diet and supplementation, medication and/or surgery (although uncommon) can be used for patients with IBD (2).

For more information about IBD, visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.

References

(1) Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. IBD and Irritable Bowel Syndrome Factbook, Copyright 2014. http://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/assets/pdfs/updatedibdfactbook.pdf

(2) Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website https://www.cdc.gov/ibd/what-is-ibd.htm Updated March 22, 2018. Accessed August 1, 2019.

(3) Rossi RE, Whyand Tara, Murray CD, Hamilton MI, Conte D, Caplin ME. The role of dietary supplements in inflammatory bowel disease: a systematic review. European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology. 2016; 28:1357-1364.

(4) Ghishan FK, Kiela PR. Vitamins and Minerals in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Gastroenterology Clinics of North America. 2017; 46:797-808.

(5) Parian A, Limketkai BN. Dietary Supplement Therapies for Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Current Pharmaceutical Design. 2016; 22:180-188.


 

Written by Nicole Lindel, MS in Nutrition Education from Columbia University

News Brief Article on Green & Black Tea

Posted by James on 08/01/2018 | Comment

Green and Black Tea: Literature in Review

A double blind, randomized controlled trial was conducted to examine the effects of black tea extract as a dietary supplement in participants with borderline hypercholesterolemia (1). Over 3 months, 47 participants consumed either 333 mg of black tea extract or 333 mg of placebo, three times daily before each meal. Blood samples were taken prior to ingestion, in addition to 1, 2, and 3 months after ingestion. Blood samples were analyzed for triacylglycerol (TG), total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, fasting blood glucose, creatinine, C-reactive protein, and various enzymes. Compared to the participants assigned to the placebo, those assigned to the black tea extract experienced a significant increase in HDL (“good” cholesterol) and a significant decrease in mean total cholesterol, LDL (“bad” cholesterol), mean body weight, and TG levels. Furthermore, TG and total cholesterol levels remained significant one month after supplementation was stopped. The authors of this study concluded that black tea extract has advantageous effects on patients with borderline hypercholesterolemia. Findings indicate that black tea extract may be useful not only for improving total blood cholesterol and LDL but also for preventing metabolic syndrome in subjects at risk for heart disease or obesity.

A double blind, randomized controlled trial investigated whether or not green tea supplementation has an effect on insulin resistance and other cardiovascular factors in 56 obese, hypertensive patients (2). Participants consumed a daily supplement of either 379 mg of green tea extract or 379 mg of placebo for 3 months. At baseline and after 3 months of treatment, outcome measures were assessed. Compared to the placebo, blood pressure, total cholesterol, fasting blood glucose, insulin levels, insulin resistance, LDL, TG, TNF-α, and C-reactive protein were significantly decreased in green tea extract participants, while total antioxidant status and HDL were significantly increased. The findings of this study suggest that green tea extract supplementation could be an effective strategy to improve blood pressure, insulin resistance, inflammation, oxidative stress, and lipid profile in patients with obesity-related hypertension.

The findings of both studies provide ample evidence that both green and black tea extract can have an advantageous effect on individuals who are vulnerable to cardiovascular complications. For more information, visit the American Heart Association.

References

(1) Fujita H, Yamagami T. Efficacy and safety of Chinese black tea (Pu-Ehr) extract in healthy and hypercholesterolemic subjects. Ann Nutr Metab. 2008; 53(1):33-42.

(2) Bogdanski P, Suliburska J, Szulinska M, Stepien M, Pupek-Musialik D, Jablecka A. Green tea extract reduces blood pressure, inflammatory biomarkers, and oxidative stress and improves parameters associated with insulin resistance in obese, hypertensive patients. Nutr Res. 2012; 32(6):421-7.


 

Written by Nicole Lindel, MS in Nutrition Education from Columbia University

Collagen: Benefits on skin, Joints, and Exercise

Posted by James on 08/01/2018 | Comment

Collagen: What is it?

As the most abundant protein in the human body, collagen is one of the major building blocks of bones, skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It also functions as a cushion for your joints, a support system for your muscles, organs and arteries, and an elasticity enhancer for your skin (1).

As we age, the amount of available collagen decreases, causing dryness between cells leading to wrinkles, cellulite and even joint pain. Approximately 4,000 people each year undergo cosmetic surgery to inject collagen into their skin to remove wrinkles, creases, and folds. However, the effects are often short-lived (2). Fear not! Sources of collagen can be found in foods, protein powders, dietary supplements, skincare products, and more.

Forever Young Skin

Believe it or not, your skin is the largest organ on your body and weighs about 6 pounds. As you go through life, your skin—amongst other things—is constantly changing. Aging skin involves physiological changes in the underlying tissues and often cause dryness, laxity, and wrinkles. With that being said, it is imperative to take care of your skin, and one such way is through collagen supplementation.

A 2012 pilot study investigated the effects of BioCell Collagen supplementation on reducing visible aging signs in the face (3). After 12 weeks of daily supplementation, participants experienced a reduction in skin dryness and wrinkles, and after 6 weeks, participants experienced a significant increase in the content of hemoglobin and collagen in the skin dermis. Elevated amounts of hemoglobin imply that blood circulation in the skin improved—allowing blood to easily carry oxygen, nutrients, and growth factors to the tissue while removing metabolic wastes.

This study suggests that dietary supplementation with BioCell Collagen elicits several physiological events which can be utilized to counteract natural aging processes to reduce visible aging signs in the human face. However, a controlled study is warranted to verify these observations (3).

Exercise Recovery

Muscle soreness seems to be inevitable after intensive resistance training. The use of mechanical stressors that overload your skeletal muscle result in muscular damage which is known to limit performance in repetitive activities due to a decreased range of motion, decreased force production, and pain (4).

However, such damage paradoxically promotes muscular adaptation to mechanical loading and physical activity. In other words, although you may initially feel sore, your body adapts and eventually provides protection against future injury (4).

Collagen supplementation has been studied for its potential benefits of exercise recovery. A randomized, double-blind, controlled trial was conducted to determine the potential effect of BioCell Collagen supplementation on biomarkers and functional indices of recovery from intense exercise. After 6 weeks of supplementation, 8 healthy and recreationally active individuals completed an upper-body, muscle-damaging resistance exercise on days 43 and 46 to assess functional recovery. The overall trend for the weakened performance suggested that a more robust muscular recovery and adaptive response occurred when using collagen supplementation. With that being said, these findings are promising—especially in those engaged in routine resistance training and cardiovascular exercise (4).

Joint Health

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease of the joints, which involves progressive deterioration of the articular cartilage and causes a significant source of pain and disability. It is the most common form of arthritis, affecting > 10% of the United States population. The onset of arthritis typically begins between the ages of 50 and 60, however the etiology of this joint disorder is unknown. What we do know is that obesity, aging, trauma, repetitive strenuous joint activity, and genetics are risk factors associated with its development (5).

Treatment of osteoarthritis consists of controlling the progression and pain associated with the disease and improving or maintaining range of movement and overall function. Current medical and surgical treatments can be costly and have serious side effects (5). With that being said, clinical trials have been conducted to evaluate the safety, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness of dietary supplementation for the purposes of osteoarthritic treatment. Of these trials, many have demonstrated reduced joint pain.

In particular, BioCell Collagen offers significant advantages by not only targeting cartilage, but also targeting the related tendons, ligaments, and synovial fluids. A randomized, double-blind, controlled trial was conducted to investigate the tolerability and efficacy of BioCell Collagen in the treatment of osteoarthritis symptoms. After 70 days of supplementation, BioCell Collagen was found to be well tolerated and effective in managing symptoms relating to osteoarthritis, thereby improving daily living activities among patients (5). The authors of this study concluded that BioCell Collagen can be considered a potential complement to current osteoarthritis therapies.

Biocell Collagen

The patented BioCell Collagen is an easily absorbed and clinically studied formulation of type 2 hydrolyzed collagen, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid. BioCell Collagen has been tested in numerous human clinical trials for its safety, efficacy, and bioavailability and has been shown to promote joint comfort and mobility, increase skin collagen, and reduce facial fine lines, wrinkles, and skin dryness.

 

 

References

(1) Jennings K. Collagen – What is it and what is it good for? Healthline. September 9, 2016. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/collagen. Accessed July 26, 2018.

(2) Kent, M. collagen. In (Ed.), Food and Fitness: A Dictionary of Diet and Exercise. Oxford University Press. 2016. http://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/978019 1803239.001.0001/acref-9780191803239-e-398. Accessed July 26, 2018

(3) Schwartz SR, Park J. Ingestion of BioCell Collagen, a novel hydrolyzed chicken sternal cartilage extract; enhanced blood microcirculation and reduced facial aging signs. Clinical interventions in aging. 2012; 7: 267.

(4) Lopez HL, Ziegenfuss TN, Park J. Evaluation of the Effects of BioCell Collagen, a Novel Cartilage Extract, on Connective Tissue Support and Functional Recovery From Exercise. Integrative medicine. 2015; 14(3): 30.

(5) Schauss AG, Stenehjem J, Park J, Endres JR, Clewell, A. Effect of the novel low molecular weight hydrolyzed chicken sternal cartilage extract, BioCell Collagen, on improving osteoarthritis-related symptoms: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry. 2012; 60(16): 4096.


 

Written by Nicole Lindel, MS in Nutrition Education from Columbia University