Barley Extract (Hordeum vulgare)

Effects of barley intake on glucose tolerance, lipid metabolism, and bowel function in women *


Objective: The low consumption of grains that are rich sources of dietary fiber may be associated with the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases. This study was conducted to observe the effects of high barley (high-fiber diet) intake on glucose tolerance, lipid metabolism, and bowel function in healthy women.

Methods: Ten women volunteers (20.4 +/- 1.3 y, 19.2 +/- 2.0 kg/m²) signed informed consents and received a standard diet and a barley diet, with each diet for a period of 4 wk with a 1-mo interval (randomized cross-over design). Both diets contained the same amounts of carbohydrate, fat, and protein.

Results: The barley intake significantly lowered plasma total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations and reduced plasma triacylglycerol concentration. Barley intake also increased stool volume. There was no significant difference in glucose tolerance between diet regimens.

Conclusions: This study demonstrated that barley intake has beneficial effects on lipid metabolism and bowel function and suggests that the intake of a high-fiber food, i.e., barley, should be recommended to prevent chronic diseases.

Source: Jue Li, Takashi Kaneko, Li Qiang Qin, Jing Wang, Yuan Wang. “Effects of barley intake on glucose tolerance, lipid metabolism, and bowel function in women” Nutrition (2003)19(11-12):926-9.

Gut microbiota mediated benefits of barley kernel products on metabolism, gut hormones, and inflammatory markers as affected by co-ingestion of commercially available probiotics: a randomized controlled study in healthy subjects *


Background and aims: Barley kernel based products have been shown to induce benefits on blood glucose regulation, cardio-metabolic risk markers and appetite regulating hormones in a time perspective of 11–16 h after intake. The mechanisms have been assigned to gut fermentation of indigestible carbohydrates. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate if the modulatory effects of barley on markers of metabolic- and appetite regulation are affected by a dietary background including a mixture of commercially available probiotics.

Methods: Barley kernel bread was included in the normal diet of 21 healthy subjects in two 4-day intervention periods; with (BB-pro) or without (BB) dietary supplement with a combination of probiotics (Bifidobacterium animalis DN-173 010, Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938, and Lactobacillus plantarum 299v). A white flour based bread was included as a reference product (WWB-ref) in a separate 4-day bread intervention period. A cross-over design was applied concerning BB- and WWB-ref; the BB-pro intervention was last in the test sequence. The BB-pro intervention was preceded by 10 days priming with probiotics. The 4 day BB- and WWB-ref intervention periods included dietary supplementation with placebo, and the interventions were preceded with 10 days priming with the placebo. The day after each intervention period, blood samples were collected at fasting and postprandially after a standardized breakfast (0–210 min) for determination of markers of glucose metabolism (blood glucose, serum (s-) insulin), inflammation (s-IL-6, s-IL-18, s-CRP, PAI-1), and concentrations of gut derived hormones involved in satiety and glucose homeostasis (plasma (p-) PYY, p-GLP-1) and intestinal barrier integrity (p-GLP-2). Breath hydrogen was determined as a marker of colonic fermentation.

Results: Four days intervention with BB, in comparison to WWB-ref, lowered blood glucose response after a subsequent standardized breakfast (0–210 min, P < 0.05). BB and BB-pro interventions increased p-GLP-1 (0–120 min, P < 0.05) and breath H2 (0–210 min, P < 0.05). BB-pro intervention, in comparison to BB and WWB-ref, increased levels of s-PAI-1 (P < 0.05), and p-GLP-2 (0–210 min, P < 0.05) after the standardized breakfast.

Conclusions: With the exception of increased p-GLP-2 and an unexpected increase in s-PAI-1 concentrations, co-ingestion of a mixture of probiotics did not affect the metabolic outcome of BB; neither positively nor importantly negatively.

Source: Anne Nilsson, Elin Johansson-Boll, Jonna Sandberg Inger Björck. “Gut microbiota mediated benefits of barley kernel products on metabolism, gut hormones, and inflammatory markers as affected by co-ingestion of commercially available probiotics: a randomized controlled study in healthy subjects” Clinical Nutrition ESPEN (2016): Vol 15, 49-56.

Long-term intake of dietary fiber and decreased risk of cholecystectomy in women *


Background: Epidemiologic studies on the relationship between dietary fiber and gallstone disease are inconclusive, and the effects of different types of dietary fiber are not clear.

Methods: We examined the association between long-term intake of dietary fiber as well as fiber from different sources and risk of cholecystectomy in a cohort of 69,778 women who were aged from 35 to 61 years in 1984 and had no history of gallstone disease. As part of the Nurses' Health Study, the women reported on questionnaires mailed to them every two years both their fiber intake and whether they had undergone cholecystectomy.

Results: During 16 yr of follow-up, we documented 5,771 cases of cholecystectomy. After adjusting for age and other known or suspected risk factors in a multivariate model, compared with women in the lowest quintile of total dietary fiber intake, the relative risk of choleystectomy for those in the highest quintile was 0.87 (95% CI, 0.78-0.96, p for trend = 0.005). For a 5-g increase in total fiber intake, the multivariate relative risk was 0.94 (95% CI, 0.90-0.98). Insoluble fiber, taking soluble fiber into account in the multivariate model, was significantly associated with a reduced risk. The multivariate relative risk was 0.83 (95% CI, 0.73-0.94, p for trend = 0.009) for insoluble fiber, and was 1.01 (95% CI, 0.89-1.15, p for trend = 0.9) for soluble fiber, when extreme quintiles were compared. For a 5-g increase in intake, the relative risk was 0.90 (95% CI, 0.84-0.97) for insoluble fiber, and was 1.01 (95% CI, 0.83-1.23) for soluble fiber.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that increased long-term consumption of dietary fiber, particularly insoluble fiber, can reduce risk of cholecystectomy in women.

Source: Chung-Jyi Tsai, Michael F Leitzmann, Walker C Willet, Edward L. Giovannucci. “ Long-term intake of dietary fiber and decreased risk of cholecystectomy in women” American Journal of Gastroenterology (2004): 99(7):1364-70.

Barley β-glucan improves metabolic condition via short-chain fatty acids produced by gut microbial fermentation in high fat diet fed mice *


Dietary intake of barley β-glucan (BG) is known to affect energy metabolism. However, its underlying mechanism remains poorly understood because studies have presented inconsistent results, with both positive and negative effects reported in terms of satiety, energy intake, weight loss, and glycemic control. The objective of this study was to clarify the physiological role underlying the metabolic benefits of barley BG using a mouse model of high fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity. Male 4-wk-old C57BL/6J mice were fed an HFD with 20% barley flour containing either high BG (HBG; 2% BG) or low BG (LBG; 0.6% BG) levels under conventional and germ-free (GF) conditions for 12 wks. In addition, mice were fed either an HFD with 5% cellulose (HFC; high fiber cellulose) or 5% barley BG (HFB; high fiber β-glucan) for 12 wks. Then, metabolic parameters, gut microbial compositions, and the production of fecal short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) were analyzed. The weight gain and fat mass of HBG-fed mice were lower than those of control mice at 16-wk-old. Moreover, the secretion of the gut hormones PYY and GLP-1 increased in HBG-fed mice, thereby reducing food intake and improving insulin sensitivity by changing the gut microbiota and increasing SCFAs (especially, butyrate) under conventional condi- tion. These effects in HBG-fed mice were abolished under GF conditions. Moreover, the HFB diets also increased PYY and GLP-1 secretion, and decreased food intake compared with that in HFC-fed mice. These results suggest that the beneficial metabolic effects of barley BG are primary due to the suppression of appetite and improvement of insulin sensitivity, which are induced by gut hormone secretion promoted via gut micro- biota-produced SCFAs.

Source: Miyamoto J, Watanabe K, Taira S, Kasubuchi M, Li X, Irie J, et al. “Barley β- glucan improves metabolic condition via short- chain fatty acids produced by gut microbial fermentation in high fat diet fed mice” PLoS ONE (2018): 13(4): e0196579.

Antioxidant composition and activity of barley (Hordeum vulgare) and malt extracts and of isolated phenolic compounds *


Phenolics have been identified and quantified in nine varieties of barley and their corresponding malts as flavan‐3‐ols, flavonols, phenolic acids, and apolar esters. Flavan‐3‐ols are monomers, (+)‐catechin and (−)‐epicatechin, and polymers constituted mainly by units of (+)‐catechin and (+)‐gallocatechin. The most abundant compounds were the dimers procyanidin B3 and prodelphinidin B3. The main trimeric procyanidin was procyanidin C2. After malting, the phenolic content decreased for all varieties. Catechin monomers were the most affected. Besides polyphenols, barley and malt extracts contained other antioxidants: carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin) and tocopherols (α, δ, and γ). The antioxidant activity was measured using three methods: the capacity to react with DPPH. (ARP), inhibition of lipoxygenase activity (LoxI) and inhibition of cooxidation of β‐carotene in a linoleate model system (AOP). The inhibition of cooxidation of β‐carotene in a linoleate model system did not allow varieties to be discriminated. They all have high antioxidative properties. Using this assay, tocopherols were the best antioxidants. The ARP (antiradical power) was correlated positively with the amount of total flavan‐3‐ols (r = 0.89) and increased with the degree of polymerization. The LoxI assay allowed discrimination of the nine varieties of barley and their corresponding malts but was not correlated with any compound, although flavan‐3‐ols were good inhibitors of lipoxygenase activity.

Source: Goupy, Pascale, et al. “Antioxidant composition and activity of barley (Hordeum vulgare) and malt extracts and of isolated phenolic compounds.” Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 79.12 (1999): 1625-1634.

Medicago Sativa Alfalfa Extract

Pancreatic and extra-pancreatic effects of the traditional anti-diabetic plant, Medicago sativa (lucerne) *


Medicago sativa (lucerne) is used as a traditional plant treatment of diabetes. In the present study, administration of lucerne in the diet (62.5 g/kg) and drinking water (2.5 g/l) reduced the hyperglycaemia of streptozotocin-diabetic mice. An aqueous extract of lucerne (1 mg/ml) stimulated 2-deoxy-glucose transport (1.8-fold), glucose oxidation (1.7-fold) and incorporation of glucose into glycogen (1.6-fold) in mouse abdominal muscle. In acute 20 min tests, 0.25-1 mg/ml aqueous extract of lucerne evoked a stepwise 2.5-6.3-fold stimulation of insulin secretion from the BRIN-BD11 pancreatic B-cell line. This effect was abolished by 0.5 mM-diazoxide, and prior exposure to extract did not affect subsequent stimulation of insulin secretion by 10 mM-L-alanine, thereby negating a detrimental effect on cell viability. The effect of extract was potentiated by 16.7 mM-glucose and by 1 mM-3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine. L-Alanine (10 mM) and a depolarizing concentration of KCl (25 mM) did not augment the insulin-releasing activity of lucerne. Activity of the extract was found to be heat stable and largely acetone insoluble, and was enhanced by exposure to acid and alkali (0.1 M-HCl and NaOH) but decreased 25% with dialysis to remove components with molecular mass < 2000 Da. Sequential extraction with solvents revealed insulin-releasing activity in both methanol and water fractions indicating a cumulative effect of more than one extract constituent. The results demonstrate the presence of antihyperglycaemic, insulin-releasing and insulin-like activity in the traditional antidiabetic plant, Medicago sativa.

Source: A.M. Gray, P.R. Flatt. “Pancreatic and extra-pancreatic effects of the traditional anti-diabetic plant, Medicago sativa (lucerne)” British Journal of Nutrition (1997): 78(2):325-34.

Effects of Alfalfa Saponins on Cholesterol Metabolism in Broilers *


This experiment was conducted to evaluate the effect of different levels alfalfa saponins on cholesterol metabolism in broilers. A total of 320 Arbor Acres (AA) broilers of 1 day-old were randomly allotted to 4 treatments with five replicates in each treatment, and with 16 broilers in each replicate. The experiment last 49 days. During the stage from 0 to 3 weeks, broilers in the control group were fed basal diet and birds in the test groups were all fed the basal diets added with 0.02% alfalfa saponins. while from 4 to 7 weeks, birds in the test groups were fed the basal diets added with 0.04%, 0.08% and 0.12% alfalfa saponins, respectively. The results showed that: Supplemented 0.08% and 0.12% alfalfa saponins to broilers diets could significantly decrease cholesterol content of serum and liver (P<0.05), increased HDL-C content in serum and bile acids content in feces (P<0.05), highly decreased LDL-C content and HMG-CoAreductase mRNA abundance (P<0.01), implicating alfalfa saponins could block enterohepatic circulation of bile acids, thus supress the synthesis of cholesterol to some extent. 0.08% alfalfa saponins also could significantly reduce insulin content in serum (P<0.05). Added moderate alfalfa saponins to broilers feed could reduce TG content and Hydrocortisone content in serum to a certain extent, effectively improve cholesterol metabolism.

Source: Ting Liu, Zhentian Li, Tengfei Wang, Xiaoyan Zhu. “Effects of Alfalfa Saponins on Cholesterol Metabolism in Broilers” Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences (2016): 6:5.

Phytochemical and pharmacological potential of Medicago sativa: a review *


Context: Many herbal remedies have so far been employed for the treatment and management of various ailments since the beginning of human civilization. Medicago is an extensive genus of the family Leguminosae, comprising about 83 different species. Medicago sativa (Linn.) has long been used as traditional herbal medicine in China, Iraq, Turkey, India and America for the treatment of a variety of ailments.

Objectives: The aim of this review was to collect all available scientific literature published and combine it into this review. The present review comprises the ethnopharmacological, phytochemical and therapeutic potential of M. sativa.

Methods: The present review includes 117 references compiled from major databases as Chemical Abstracts, Science Direct, SciFinder, PubMed, Dr. Dukes Phytochemical and Ethnobotany, CIMER, and InteliHealth.

Results: An exhaustive survey of literature revealed that saponins, flavonoids, phytoestrogens, coumarins, alkaloids, amino acids, phytosterols, vitamins, digestive enzymes and terpenes constitute major classes of phytoconstituents of this plant. Pharmacological reports revealed that it is used as neuroprotective, hypocholesterolemic, antioxidant, antiulcer, antimicrobial, hypolipidemic, estrogenic, and in the treatment of atherosclerosis, heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and menopausal symptoms in women.

Conclusion: M. sativa seems to hold great potential for in-depth investigation for various biological activities, especially their effects on central nervous and cardiovascular system. Through this review, the authors hope to attract the attention of natural product researchers throughout the world to focus on the unexplored potential of M. sativa, and it may be useful in developing new formulations with more therapeutic value.

Source: Kundan Singh, Anupam Sharma. “Phytochemical and pharmacological potential of Medicago sativa: a review” Pharmaceutical Biology (2011): 49(2):211-20.

Thinopyrum Intermedium Wheatgrass

Inhibition by wheat sprout (Triticum aestivum) juice of bisphenol A-induced oxidative stress in young women *


For health of future generation, fertile young women should be monitored for exposure of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). Among EDCs, bisphenol A (BPA) is suggested to induce reactive oxygen species (ROS) which play an important role in pathologies of female diseases such as endometriosis. On the other hand, previous studies suggested that sprouts of wheat (Triticum aestivum) have antimutagenicity and antioxidant activity. We performed the 2 weeks intervention of wheat sprout juice (100ml/day) to investigate its effects on BPA-exposure and -oxidative toxicity in young women (N=14, age=24.4±4.0). Geometrical mean of urinary BPA levels was 1.81 (GSTD, 4.34)μg/g creatinine. We observed that irregular meals significantly increased levels of urinary BPA approximate 3 times (p=0.03). In addition, we found BPA-induced oxidative stress is correlated with levels of 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) or malondialdehyde (MDA) levels (p=0.18 or 0.03, respectively). We also observed a continuous reduction of urinary BPA during the wheat sprout intervention (p=0.02). In summary, our data suggested potential detoxification of wheat sprouts on BPA-toxicity via antioxidative and interference of absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion (ADME)-mediated mechanisms in young women.

Source: Bitna Yi, Hiroshi Kasai, Ho-Sun Lee, Yunkyeong Kang, Jong Y> Park, Mihi Yang. “Inhibition by wheat sprout (Triticum aestivum) juice of bisphenol A-induced oxidative stress in young women” Mutation Research (2011): 724(1-2):64-8.

The Medical Use of Wheatgrass: Review of the Gap Between Basic and Clinical Applications *


A wide range of health benefits have been attributed to wheatgrass, the young grass of the common wheat plant Triticum aestivum. Its components include chlorophyll, flavonoids, and vitamins C and E. Forms of wheatgrass include fresh juice, frozen juice, tablets, and powders, with compositions varying according to their production processes, as well as to the growing conditions of the wheatgrass. Laboratory in vitro studies, mostly using the fermented wheat germ extract, have demonstrated anti-cancer potential and have identified apoptosis as a possible mechanism. In animal experiments, wheatgrass demonstrated benefits in cancer prevention and as an adjunct to cancer treatment, as well as benefits to immunological activity and oxidative stress. Clinical trials show that wheatgrass may induce synergistic benefits to chemotherapy and may attenuate chemotherapy-related side effects, as well as benefit rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, hematological diseases, diabetes, obesity, and oxidative stress. However, all the trials were small and a number of methodological problems arose. No adverse events of wheatgrass have been reported, although some forms pose problems of tolerability. The popularity of wheatgrass continues to grow. Nevertheless, the advantages seen in the clinical trials need to be proved in larger studies before clinical recommendations for the public can be given.

Source: Gil Bar-Sela, Miri Cohen, Eran Ben-Arye, Ron Epelbaum. “The Medical Use of Wheatgrass: Review of the Gap Between Basic and Clinical Applications” Mini Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry 2015;15(12):1002-10.

Compositional, nutritional, and functional evaluation of intermediate wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium) *


ABSTRACT‘Oahe’ Intermediate Wheatgrass (IWG) seed was found to have higher levels of protein (20.8%), fat (3.21%), and ash (2.64%) than wheat. the IWG protein is nutritionally limiting in lysine, as is wheat, but has higher levels of all other essential amino acids than wheat. A flour beetle larvae bioassay and chemical trypsin inhibitor and hemagglutinin tests demonstrated the absence of significant amounts of antinutrients. IWG kernels were milled with stone, impact, and roller mills. Stone milling resulted in a flour with farinograph characteristics more similar to those of whole wheat flour than did impact and roller milling. No gluten was found in IWG. Bread, muffins, cookies and cake containing various levels of IWG flour were evaluated by a sensory panel and judged to have very favourable appearance, texture, flavor and overall characteristics.

Source: Robert Becker, Peggy Wagoner, Grace Hanners, Robin M. Saunders. “Compositional, nutritional, and functional evaluation of intermediate wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium)” Journal of Food Processing and Preservation (2007): 15(1):63 – 77.

Antioxidant effect of Triticum aestivium (wheat grass) in high-fat diet-induced oxidative stress in rabbits *


Wheat grass is used as a general health tonic and is reported to be effective against several medical disorders, although detailed literature is not available. Besides drug therapy, a number of medicinal plants are effective in treating hyperlipidemia. This study examined the effects of wheat grass on high-fat diet-induced hyperlipidemia in rabbits. Thirty rabbits were divided into 3 groups of 10 rabbits each, group I receiving a control diet, group II a high-fat diet and group III a high-fat diet together with wheat grass over a period of 10 weeks. Fasting serum samples from the animals were analyzed for total cholesterol (TC), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), malondialdehyde (MDA), reduced glutathione (GSH) and vitamin C, and the results were compared. The high-fat diet resulted in hyperlipidemia and an increase in oxidative stress, indicated by a significant rise in MDA levels, whereas antioxidant levels of GSH and vitamin C were significantly reduced. Wheat grass supplementation with a high-fat diet resulted in improved lipid levels (decreased total cholesterol and increased HDL-C) together with significantly reduced MDA levels and increased GSH and vitamin C levels. These results indicate the beneficial role of wheat grass in ameliorating hyperlipidemia and the associated oxidative stress.

Source: J. Sethi, M. Yadav, K. Dahiya, S. Sood, V. Singh, S.B. Battacharya. Methods and Findings in Experimental Clinical Pharmacology (2010): 32(4):233-5.

Broccoli (Brassica Oleracea)

Potential health benefits of broccoli- a chemico-biological overview *


The concept that bioactive components in functional foods are efficacious for the improvement of health, has recently gained much importance. The cruciferous vegetables which include broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower are excellent source of phytochemicals including glucosinolates and their byproducts, phenolics and antioxidant vitamins as well as dietary minerals. Broccoli consumption mediates a variety of functions including providing antioxidants, regulating enzymes and controlling apoptosis and cell cycle. The organosulfur chemicals namely glucosinolates and the S-methyl cysteine sulphoxide found in broccoli in concert with other constituents such as vitamins E, C, K and the minerals such as iron, zinc, selenium and the polyphenols namely kaempferol, quercetin glucosides and isorhamnetin are presumably responsible for various health benefits of broccoli. There exists no comprehensive review on the health promoting effects of phytochemical compounds present in broccoli so far. This review compiles the evidence for the beneficial role of glucosinolates in conjugation with the other phytoconstituents for human health. It also gives an overview on the chemical and biological characterization of potential bioactive compounds of broccoli including the interaction of phytoconstituents on its bioactivity. Further, the molecular basis of the biological activities of the chemicals present in broccoli potentially responsible for health promotion, from chemoprevention to cardio protection, are outlined based on in vitro and in vivo studies with a note on the structure activity relationship of sulforaphane and a few other isothiocyanates.

Source: Hanna R. Vasanthi, Subhendu Mukherjee, Kipak K. Das. “Potential health benefits of broccoli- a chemico-biological overview” Mini Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry (2009): 9(6):749-59.

Clinical and molecular evidence of the consumption of broccoli, glucoraphanin and sulforaphane in humans *


Introduction: Sulforaphane (SFN) is an isothiocyanate derived from glucoraphanin (GRA), which is found in great amounts especially in broccoli. Its consumption has been reported to be associated with a lower risk of myocardial infarction and cancer development. Additionally, its effects have been studied in neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, and atherosclerosis, most of the times using animal models and cell cultures.

Objectives: Given the promising results of SFN, this review aimed to investigate evidence documented in human intervention studies with broccoli, GRA and SFN.

Methods: A search was performed on PubMed and Virtual Health Library databases by two independent researchers using the descriptors "broccoli" or "glucoraphanin" or "sulforaphane", which should appear on the study's title or abstract. This review included randomized clinical trials performed in humans that were published in English and Portuguese from 2003 to 2013 and that considered clinical and molecular parameters of cell damage as outcomes of interest.

Results: Seventeen studies were selected, and the predominant type of intervention was broccoli sprouts. More consistent results were obtained for the clinical parameters blood glucose and lipid profile and for molecular parameters of oxidative stress, indicating that there was an improvement in these parameters after intervention. Less solid evidence was found with regard to decreased inflammation, Helicobacter pylori colonization, and protection against cancer.

Conclusion: Although being relevant, the evidence for the use of broccoli, GRA and SFN in humans are limited; thus, further intervention studies are needed to evaluate outcomes more consistently and reach better grounded conclusions.

Source: Adriana Conzatti, Fernanda Carolina Telles da Silva Froes, Ingrid Dalira Schweigert Perry, Carolina Guerini de Souza. “Clinical and molecular evidence of the consumption of broccoli, glucoraphanin and sulforaphane in humans” Nutricion Hospitaria (2014): 31(2):559-69.

Dietary Sources of Lutein and Zeaxanthin Carotenoids and Their Role in Eye Health *


[Dietary Sources. Lutein and zeaxanthin are the most common xanthophylls in green leafy vegetables (e.g., kale, spinach, broccoli, peas and lettuce) and egg yolks [25] (Table 1).]

The eye is a major sensory organ that requires special care for a healthy and productive lifestyle. Numerous studies have identified lutein and zeaxanthin to be essential components for eye health. Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoid pigments that impart yellow or orange color to various common foods such as cantaloupe, pasta, corn, carrots, orange/yellow peppers, fish, salmon and eggs. Their role in human health, in particular the health of the eye, is well established from epidemiological, clinical and interventional studies. They constitute the main pigments found in the yellow spot of the human retina which protect the macula from damage by blue light, improve visual acuity and scavenge harmful reactive oxygen species. They have also been linked with reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. Research over the past decade has focused on the development of carotenoid-rich foods to boost their intake especially in the elderly population. The aim of this article is to review recent scientific evidences supporting the benefits of lutein and zexanthin in preventing the onset of two major age-related eye diseases with diets rich in these carotenoids. The review also lists major dietary sources of lutein and zeaxanthin and refers to newly developed foods, daily intake, bioavailability and physiological effects in relation to eye health. Examples of the newly developed high-lutein functional foods are also underlined.

Source: El-Sayed M. Abdel-Aal, Humayoun Aktar, Khalid Zaheer, Rashida Ali. “Dietary Sources of Lutein and Zeaxanthin Carotenoids and Their Role in Eye Health” Nutrients (2013): 1169–1185.

Antitumor, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of kaempferol and its corresponding glycosides and the enzymatic preparation of kaempferol *


Kaempferol (kae) and its glycosides are widely distributed in nature and show multiple bioactivities, yet few reports have compared them. In this paper, we report the antitumor, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity differences of kae, kae-7-O-glucoside (kae-7-O-glu), kae-3-O-rhamnoside (kae-3-O-rha) and kae-3-O-rutinoside (kae-3-O-rut). Kae showed the highest antiproliferation effect on the human hepatoma cell line HepG2, mouse colon cancer cell line CT26 and mouse melanoma cell line B16F1. Kae also significantly inhibited AKT phosphorylation and cleaved caspase-9, caspase-7, caspase-3 and PARP in HepG2 cells. A kae-induced increase in DPPH and ABTS radical scavenging activity, inhibition of concanavalin A (Con A)-induced activation of T cell proliferation and NO or ROS production in LPS-induced RAW 264.7 macrophage cells were also seen. Kae glycosides were used to produce kae via environment-friendly enzymatic hydrolysis. Kae-7-O-glu and kae-3-O-rut were hydrolyzed to kae by β-glucosidase and/or α-L-rhamnosidase. This paper demonstrates the application of enzymatic catalysis to obtain highly biologically active kae. This work provides a novel and efficient preparation of high-value flavone-related products.

Source: Jingqiu Wang, Xianying Fang, Lin Ge, Fuliang Cao, Linguo Zhao, ZhenZhong Wang, Wei Xiao. “Antitumor, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of kaempferol and its corresponding glycosides and the enzymatic preparation of kaempferol” PLoS One (2018): 13(5):e0197563.

Green Tea Extract

The Effect of Green Tea Extract on Fat Oxidation at Rest and during Exercise: Evidence of Efficacy and Proposed Mechanisms *


Green tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis L plant, which is rich in polyphenol catechins and caffeine. There is increasing interest in the potential role of green tea extract (GTE) in fat metabolism and its influence on health and exercise performance. A number of studies have observed positive effects of GTE on fat metabolism at rest and during exercise, following both shorter and longer term intake. However, overall, the literature is inconclusive. The fact that not all studies observed effects may be related to differences in study designs, GTE bioavailability, and variation of the measurement (fat oxidation). In addition, the precise mechanisms of GTE in the human body that increase fat oxidation are unclear. The often-cited in vitro catechol-O-methyltransferase mechanism is used to explain the changes in substrate metabolism with little in vivo evidence to support it. Also, changes in expression of fat metabolism genes with longer term GTE intake have been implicated at rest and with exercise training, including the upregulation of fat metabolism enzyme gene expression in the skeletal muscle and downregulation of adipogenic genes in the liver. The exact molecular signaling that activates changes to fat metabolism gene expression is unclear but may be driven by PPAR-γ coactivator 1-α and PPARs. However, to date, evidence from human studies to support these adaptations is lacking. Clearly, more studies have to be performed to elucidate the effects of GTE on fat metabolism as well as improve our understanding of the underlying mechanisms.

Source: Adrian B. Hodgson, Rebecca K. Randell, Asker E. Jeukendrup. “The Effect of Green Tea Extract on Fat Oxidation at Rest and during Exercise: Evidence of Efficacy and Proposed Mechanisms” Advances in Nutrition (2013): 4(2): 129–140.

The effects of green tea consumption on metabolic and anthropometric indices in patients with Type 2 diabetes *


Background: This study aims at investigating the possible effects of different daily doses of green tea (GT) intake for eight weeks on certain anthropometric, metabolic, and oxidative stress biomarkers of diabetic patients.

Materials and Methods: This randomized clinical trial included 63 patients with type 2 diabetes (30 males and 33 females). After a two-week run-in period without green tea, they were randomly assigned into one of the three groups, with a different daily intake of green tea; four cups of green tea per day (n = 24), two cups of green tea per day (n = 25), and the control group (n = 14) with no green tea intake for two months. At baseline and after the intervention, blood tests, dietary, and anthropometric variables were assessed. The patients were instructed to maintain their usual dietary intake and normal physical activity.

Results: Consumption of four cups of GT per day caused a significant decrease in body weight (73.2 to 71.9) (P < 0.001), body mass index (27.4 to 26.9) (P < 0.001), waist circumference (95.8 to 91.5) (P < 0.001), and systolic blood pressure (126.2 to 118.6) (P < 0.05) in this group. No significant change was seen in the other groups and between group comparisons. The metabolic and oxidative stress parameters did not show any significant differences within and between groups.

Conclusion: Drinking four cups of green tea led to a significant reduction in weight and systolic blood pressure.

Source: Ateke Mousavi, Mohammadreza Vafa, Tirang Neyestani, Mohammedebrahim Khamseh, Fatemeh Hoseini. “The effects of green tea consumption on metabolic and anthropometric indices in patients with Type 2 diabetes” Journal of Research in Medical Sciences (2013): 18(12): 1080–1086.

Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans *


Green tea has thermogenic properties and promotes fat oxidation beyond that explained by its caffeine content per se. The green tea extract may play a role in the control of body composition via sympathetic activation of thermogenesis, fat oxidation, or both.

Source: Dulloo, Abdul G., et al. “Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 70.6 (1999): 1040-1045.

Antibacterial Substances in Japanese Green Tea Extract against Streptococcus mutans, a Cariogenic Bacterium *


An extract of Japanese green tea, one of the most popular drinks in Japan, was an inhibitor of the growth of Streptococcus mutans, a bacterium responsible for causing dental caries. The analysis of the extract revealed that the main antibacterial components of the extract were several polyphenolic compounds, especially gallocatechin (GC), epigallocatechin (EGC), and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg). GC was the most active component and its minimum inhibitory concentration against the bacterium was around 250 μg per ml.

Source: Sakanaka, Senji, et al. “Antibacterial substances in Japanese green tea extract against Streptococcus mutans, a cariogenic bacterium.” Agricultural and biological chemistry 53.9 (1989): 2307-2311.

Green tea extract ingestion, fat oxidation, and glucose tolerance in healthy humans *


Acute GTE ingestion can increase fat oxidation during moderate-intensity exercise and can improve insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance in healthy young men.

Source: Venables, Michelle C., et al. “Green tea extract ingestion, fat oxidation, and glucose tolerance in healthy humans.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 87.3 (2008): 778-784.


Spirulina Protects against Hepatic Inflammation in Aging: An Effect Related to the Modulation of the Gut Microbiota? *


Aging predisposes to hepatic dysfunction and inflammation that can contribute to the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Spirulina, a cyanobacterium used as a food additive or food supplement, has been shown to impact immune function. We have tested the potential hepatoprotective effect of a Spirulina in aged mice and to determine whether these effects can be related to a modulation of the gut microbiota. Old mice have been fed a standard diet supplemented with or without 5% Spirulina for six weeks. Among several changes of gut microbiota composition, an increase in Roseburia and Lactobacillus proportions occurs upon Spirulina treatment. Interestingly, parameters related to the innate immunity are upregulated in the small intestine of Spirulina-treated mice. Furthermore, the supplementation with Spirulina reduces several hepatic inflammatory and oxidative stress markers that are upregulated in old mice versus young mice. We conclude that the oral administration of a Spirulina is able to modulate the gut microbiota and to activate the immune system in the gut, a mechanism that may be involved in the improvement of the hepatic inflammation in aged mice. Those data open the way to new therapeutic tools in the management of immune alterations in aging, based on gut microbe-host interactions.

Source: Audrey M. Neyrinck, Bernard Taminiau, Hannah Walgrave, George Daube, Patrice D. Cani, Laure B. Bindels, Natalie M. Delzenne. “Spirulina Protects against Hepatic Inflammation in Aging: An Effect Related to the Modulation of the Gut Microbiota?” Nutrients (2017): 633.

The hepatoprotective and hypolipidemic effects of Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) supplementation in a Cretan population with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a prospective pilot study *


Background: A pilot study was conducted to determine the effects of Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) on Cretan patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Spirulina is a filamentous cyanobacterium taken as a dietary supplement.

Methods: Fifteen adult Cretan outpatients (13 men), median age 48 (range: 29-62) years, with NAFLD were orally supplemented with 6 g of Spirulina (Greek production) per day for six months. Anthropometric characteristics (height, weight, waist circumference), systolic and diastolic blood pressure, complete blood count, biochemical assessments, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) index, health-related quality of life and abdominal sonographic findings were recorded and measured, before and after Spirulina supplementation.

Results: At the end of the 6-month intervention period, the mean levels of aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, gamma-glutamyltransferase, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and the ratio of total cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol were significantly decreased: 38.5%, 37.5%, 26.7%, 24.8%, 9.6%, 9.1%, and 13.5% respectively, whereas the mean levels of high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol and hemoglobin were significantly increased: 4.2% and 4.1% respectively. Spirulina supplementation resulted also in a significant reduction in weight and HOMA-IR index (8.1% and 19.6% respectively) and a significant improvement in health-related quality of life scale. No changes in sonographic findings were observed.

Conclusion: Spirulina supplementation at a high dosage of 6 g daily in NAFLD patients has strong and multiple beneficial metabolic effects and improves their health-related quality of life.

Source: Elias E Mazokopakis, Maria G Papadomanolaki, Andreas A Fousteris, Dimitrios A Kotsiris, Ionna M Lampadakis, Emmanuel S Ganotakis. “The hepatoprotective and hypolipidemic effects of Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) supplementation in a Cretan population with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a prospective pilot study” Annals of Gastroenterology (2014): 27(4):387-394.

Effects of spirulina consumption on body weight, blood pressure, and endothelial function in overweight hypertensive Caucasians: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial *


Objective: Some studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of Spirulina maxima (Arthrospira maxima) consumption on glycemic, lipid, and blood pressure parameters. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of Spirulina maxima on body weight, blood pressure, and endothelial function.

Patients and methods: In this randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial, 40 patients with hypertension but lacking evidence of cardiovascular disease were enrolled to receive daily either 2.0 g Hawaiian spirulina or placebo for three months. Anthropometric parameters, systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and stiffness index (SI) using digital plethysmography were measured before and after the intervention.

Results: After three months, there was no change in body mass index (BMI) or weight in either the spirulina or the placebo group. However, a significant reduction in SBP and SI was observed. The patients in the spirulina group showed significant reductions in BMI (26.9 ± 3.1 vs. 25.0 ± 2.7 kg/m(2), p = 0.0032), weight (75.5 ± 11.8 vs. 70.5 ± 10.3 kg, p < 0.001), SBP (149 ± 7 vs. 143 ± 9 mmHg, p = 0.0023), and SI (7.2 ± 0.6 vs. 6.9 ± 0.7 m/s, p < 0.001). The tested parameters did not change in the placebo group.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that three months of regular consumption of Spirulina maxima not only improves BMI and weight but also results in improvements in blood pressure and endothelial function spirulina in overweight patients with hypertension but lacking evidence of cardiovascular disease.

Source: A Miczke, M Szulinska, R Handsdorfer-Korzon, M Kregielska-Narozna, J Suliburska, J Walkowiak, P Bogdanski. “ Effects of spirulina consumption on body weight, blood pressure, and endothelial function in overweight hypertensive Caucasians: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial” European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences (2016): 20(1):150-6.

Health Benefits of Blue-Green Algae: Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease *


Blue-green algae (BGA) are among the most primitive life forms on earth and have been consumed as food or medicine by humans for centuries. BGA contain various bioactive components, such as phycocyanin, carotenoids, γ-linolenic acid, fibers, and plant sterols, which can promote optimal health in humans. Studies have demonstrated that several BGA species or their active components have plasma total cholesterol and triglyceride-lowering properties due to their modulation of intestinal cholesterol absorption and hepatic lipogenic gene expression. BGA can also reduce inflammation by inhibiting the nuclear factor κ B activity, consequently reducing the production of proinflammatory cytokines. Furthermore, BGA inhibit lipid peroxidation and have free radical scavenging activity, which can be beneficial for the protection against oxidative stress. The aforementioned effects of BGA can contribute to the prevention of metabolic and inflammatory diseases. This review provides an overview of the current knowledge of the health-promoting functions of BGA against cardiovascular disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which are major health threats in the developed countries.

Source: Chai Siah Ku, Yue Yang, Youngi Park, Jiyoung Lee. “Health Benefits of Blue-Green Algae: Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease” Journal of Medicinal Food (2013): 103-111.

Spirulina in Health Care Management *


Spirulina is a photosynthetic, filamentous, spiral-shaped and multicellular edible microbe. It is nature’s richest and most complete source of nutrition. Spirulina has a unique blend of nutrients that no single source can offer. The alga contains a wide spectrum of prophylactic and therapeutic nutrients that include B-complex vitamins, minerals, proteins, γ-linolenic acid and the super anti-oxidants such as β-carotene, vitamin E, trace elements and a number of unexplored bioactive compounds. Because of its apparent ability to stimulate whole human physiology, Spirulina exhibits therapeutic functions such as antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic and antidiabetic and a plethora of beneficial functions. Spirulina consumption appears to promote the growth of intestinal microflora as well. The review discusses the potential of Spirulina in health care management.

Source: Kulshreshtha, Archana, et al. “Spirulina in health care management.” Current pharmaceutical biotechnology 9.5 (2008): 400-405.

Black Currant

Black Currant Anthocyanins Attenuate Weight Gain and Improve Glucose Metabolism in Diet-Induced Obese Mice with Intact, but Not Disrupted, Gut Microbiome *


Black currant (Ribes nigrum L.) is a rich source of anthocyanins; however, the relationship between their apparently limited bioavailability and significant protection against metabolic pathologies is poorly understood. This study examined the gastrointestinal distribution of black currant anthocyanins and their phenolic acid metabolites in lean and diet-induced obese mice with healthy and antibiotic-disrupted microbiomes. Daily consumption of low- or high-fat diet supplemented with 1% black currant powdered extract (32% anthocyanins) for 8 weeks reduced body weight gain and improved glucose metabolism only in mice with the intact gut microbiome. Administration of antibiotic cocktail resulted in a 16-25-fold increase (P < 0.001) in anthocyanin content of feces, and cyanidin-based anthocyanins showed the largest increase in fecal content upon disruption of gut microbiome (92.3 ± 16.3 vs 4719 ± 158 μg/g feces), indicating their high susceptibility to microbial degradation in the gut. A 3-fold enrichment (P < 0.05) in gallic over protocatechuic acid was observed in the jejunum of both intact and antibiotic-treated animals, suggesting that this effect was likely independent of their gut microbiome status. Taken together, the data clearly demonstrate that gut microbiome and the type of the anthocyanin aglycone moiety can alter the protective effect of anthocyanins against obesity and associated insulin resistance.

Source: Deborah Esposito, Thanakorn Damsud, Mickey Wilson, Mary H Grace, Renee Strauch, Xu Li, Mary Ann Lila, Slavko Komarnytsky. “Black Currant Anthocyanins Attenuate Weight Gain and Improve Glucose Metabolism in Diet-Induced Obese Mice with Intact, but Not Disrupted, Gut Microbiome” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (2015): 63(27):6172-80.

Blackcurrant Suppresses Metabolic Syndrome Induced by High-Fructose Diet in Rats *


Increased fructose ingestion has been linked to obesity, hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia, and hypertension associated with metabolic syndrome. Blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum; BC) is a horticultural crop in Europe. To induce metabolic syndrome, Sprague-Dawley rats were fed 60% high-fructose diet. Treatment with BC (100 or 300 mg/kg/day for 8 weeks) significantly suppressed increased liver weight, epididymal fat weight, C-reactive protein (CRP), total bilirubin, leptin, and insulin in rats with induced metabolic syndrome. BC markedly prevented increased adipocyte size and hepatic triglyceride accumulation in rats with induced metabolic syndrome. BC suppressed oral glucose tolerance and protein expression of insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1) and phosphorylated AMP-activated protein kinase (p-AMPK) in muscle. BC significantly suppressed plasma total cholesterol, triglyceride, and LDL content. BC suppressed endothelial dysfunction by inducing downregulation of endothelin-1 and adhesion molecules in the aorta. Vascular relaxation of thoracic aortic rings by sodium nitroprusside and acetylcholine was improved by BC. The present study provides evidence of the potential protective effect of BC against metabolic syndrome by demonstrating improvements in dyslipidemia, hypertension, insulin resistance, and obesity in vivo.

Source: Ji Hun Park, Min Chul Kho, Hye Yoom Kim, You Mee Ahn, Yun Jung Lee, Dae Gill Kang, Ho Sub Lee.“Blackcurrant Suppresses Metabolic Syndrome Induced by High-Fructose Diet in Rats” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2015): 385976.

Beet Root Extract

Nitrate-containing beetroot enhances myocyte metabolism and mitochondrial content *


Beetroot juice consumption is of current interest for improving aerobic performance by acting as a vasodilator and possibly through alterations in skeletal muscle metabolism and physiology. This work explored the effects of a commercially available beetroot supplement on metabolism, gene expression, and mitochondrial content in cultured myocytes. C2C12 myocytes were treated with various concentrations of the beetroot supplement for various durations. Glycolytic metabolism and oxidative metabolism were quantified via measurement of extracellular acidification and oxygen consumption, respectively. Metabolic gene expression was measured using quantitative reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction, and mitochondrial content was assessed with flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. Cells treated with beetroot exhibited significantly increased oxidative metabolism, concurrently with elevated metabolic gene expression including peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator-1 alpha, nuclear respiratory factor 1, mitochondrial transcription factor A, and glucose transporter 4, leading to increased mitochondrial biogenesis. Our data show that treatment with a beetroot supplement increases basal oxidative metabolism. Our observations are also among the first to demonstrate that beetroot extract is an inducer of metabolic gene expression and mitochondrial biogenesis.These observations support the need for further investigation into the therapeutic and pharmacological effects of nitrate-containing supplements for health and athletic benefits.

Source: Roger A. Vaughan, Nicholas P. Gannon, Colin R. Carriker. “Nitrate-containing beetroot enhances myocyte metabolism and mitochondrial content” Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine (2016): 6(1): 17–22.

In vitro effects of beetroot juice and chips on oxidative metabolism and apoptosis in neutrophils from obese individuals *


Oxidative stress and inflammation are involved in the development of obesity. Beetroot (Beta vulgaris var. rubra) is a food ingredient containing betalain pigments that show antioxidant activity. The in vitro effect of beetroot juice and chips on oxidative metabolism and apoptosis in neutrophils from obese individuals has been investigated. Fifteen obese women (aged 45 ± 9 years, BMI >30 kg/m²) and nine healthy controls (women, aged 29 ± 11 years, BMI = 22.2 ± 1.6 kg/m²) were examined. The investigated products were used as concentrates and after transport and digestion in an artificial gastrointestinal tract. Neutrophil oxidant production, in response to phorbol 12‐myristate 13‐acetate, was characterized by luminol‐dependent chemiluminescence and a flow cytometric dichlorofluorescin oxidation assay. Caspase‐3 activity, a marker of apoptosis, was measured by cleavage of the fluorogenic substrate Ac‐DEVD‐AMC. Neutrophils from obese individuals had a significantly higher ROS production compared with the controls (p < 0.05). Beetroot products inhibited neutrophil oxidative metabolism in a concentration‐dependent manner. Also observed were the pro‐apoptotic effects of beetroot at a concentration range of 0.1–10% in 24 h culture of stimulated neutrophils. These natural products (in both the liquid and solid state) have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capacity and could be an important adjunct in the treatment of obesity.

Source: Zielińska‐Przyjemska, Małgorzata, et al. “In vitro effects of beetroot juice and chips on oxidative metabolism and apoptosis in neutrophils from obese individuals.” Phytotherapy Research: An International Journal Devoted to Pharmacological and Toxicological Evaluation of Natural Product Derivatives 23.1 (2009): 49-55.

Strawberries, Raspberries and Blueberries

Strawberries, Blueberries, and Cranberries in the Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Perspectives *


Emerging science supports therapeutic roles of strawberries, blueberries, and cranberries in metabolic syndrome, a prediabetic state characterized by several cardiovascular risk factors. Interventional studies reported by our group and others have demonstrated the following effects: strawberries lowering total and LDL-cholesterol, but not triglycerides, and decreasing surrogate biomarkers of atherosclerosis (malondialdehyde and adhesion molecules); blueberries lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure and lipid oxidation and improving insulin resistance; and low-calorie cranberry juice selectively decreasing biomarkers of lipid oxidation (oxidized LDL) and inflammation (adhesion molecules) in metabolic syndrome. Mechanistic studies further explain these observations as up-regulation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase activity, reduction in renal oxidative damage, and inhibition of the activity of carbohydrate digestive enzymes or angiotensin-converting enzyme by these berries. These findings need confirmation in future studies with a focus on the effects of strawberry, blueberry, or cranberry intervention in clinical biomarkers and molecular mechanisms underlying the metabolic syndrome.

Source:Basu, Arpita, and Timothy J. Lyons. “Strawberries, blueberries, and cranberries in the metabolic syndrome: clinical perspectives.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 60.23 (2011): 5687-5692.

Biotic elicitation as a tool to improve strawberry and raspberry extract potential on metabolic syndrome-related enzymes in vitro *


Background: Raspberry and strawberry are high value-added food products that can contribute to human health due to the abundance of polyphenols that they contain. Polyphenols are secondary metabolites and therefore devoted to improve plant adaptation, these polyphenol profile can be induced applying different stimuli, such as certain bacteria. The aim of this study was twofold: (i) to evaluate the ability of two bacterial strains to modulate secondary metabolisms in strawberry and raspberry, and (ii) to explore the ability of plant extracts to modify enzyme activities related to metabolic syndrome.

Results: Total phenolic and anthocyanin content was higher in strawberries than in raspberries, despite similar antioxidant capacities. Strawberry extracts performed better on the tested enzymes, except on α-glucosidase inhibition capacity. Bacillus amyloliquefaciens stabilized the effects of extracts at different points in time, and Pseudomonas fluorescens modified plant metabolism after more inoculations (spring) in both species, improving the effects of raspberry extracts on α-glucosidase, COX1, and COX2, and of strawberry on α-amylase and COX1.

Conclusion: It is good to include these two fruits in the diet because they improve the activity of metabolic syndrome-related enzymes. Applying either strain during plant growth modifies the bioactive profile of the plants, improving the effects of the fruit extracts on human health. © 2018 Society of Chemical Industry.

Source: Enrique Guitierrez-Albanchez, Ara Kirakosyan, Steven F Bolling, Ana Garcia-Villaraco, Javier Guitierrez-Manero, Beatriz Ramos-Solano. “Biotic elicitation as a tool to improve strawberry and raspberry extract potential on metabolic syndrome-related enzymes in vitro” Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture (2019): 99(6):2939-2946.

Protective Effects of Ellagitannin-Rich Strawberry Extracts on Biochemical and Metabolic Disturbances in Rats Fed a Diet High in Fructose *


The present study compares the effects of two dietary strawberry extracts rich in monomeric (ME) or dimeric (DE) ellagitannins (ETs) on gastrointestinal, blood and tissue biomarkers in Wistar rats fed high-fructose diets. Both strawberry extracts beneficially affect the antioxidant status and lipid profile of the liver and serum. The ME extract shows a greater ability to inhibit lipid peroxidation in kidneys, more effectively decreases serum and liver triglycerides, and exerts greater anti-inflammatory effects in blood serum than the DE extract. The DE extract significantly reduces the activity of microbial enzymes in the cecum. These effects might be associated with higher cecum and urine levels of ET metabolites in rats fed with ME than in rats fed with DE. In conclusion, the diet-induced fructose-related disturbances observed in biochemical parameters are regulated by both extracts; nevertheless, the beneficial effects of the ME extract are mostly associated with systemic parameters, while those of the DE extracts are associated with local microbial activity.

Source: Bartosz Fotschki, Jerzy Juskiewicz, Krzystof Kotodziejczyk, Adam Jurgonski, Monika Kosmala, Joanna Milala, Katarzyna Ognik, Zenon Zdunczyk. “Protective Effects of Ellagitannin-Rich Strawberry Extracts on Biochemical and Metabolic Disturbances in Rats Fed a Diet High in Fructose” Nutrients (2018): 10(4): 445.

Investigation of the impact of blueberries on metabolic factors influencing health *


In this study, ingestion of blueberry fruit by overweight and obese individuals, who were participating in medical nutrition therapy, was investigated. The study was designed to determine the impact on body weight and metabolism (glucose, HbA1c, TSH, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, ALT, AST, uric acid, insulin, insulin resistance, hemoglobin) of obese patients over a 12 week period of time.

Clients were selected based upon their participation in the clinical study as well as measurements which included: body weight, fat, fluid, muscle ratio, and biochemical parameters. The study was conducted with 54 adults (blueberry n = 27 and control n = 27). Midway through the study, the clients in the blueberry group replaced 50 g of carbohydrates with a 50 g serving of blueberries. Blueberry fruit is one of the important antioxidant resources due to the content of anthocyanins and phenolic substances. While positive changes were observed in all values in both groups, significant differences in the intervention group were observed in BMI, insulin levels, insulin resistance, LDL, total cholesterol, and uric acid levels. Those differences were observed between baseline and 12th week values. In the 12th week, weight loss (kg) and body fat reduction (%), in the blueberry group was determined to be 11–14% more in males and 3–1.4% more in females, from the control group. Total cholesterol was changed at the beginning 187.29 ± 34.36 mg/dL; 203.19 ± 41.10 mg/dL for control and for blueberry group. At end of the trial, values had changed between 178.59 ± 29.42 mg/dL; 173.20 ± 33.26 mg/dL for control and blueberry groups respectively. LDL and total cholesterol (18.3–14.75%) values were found statistically significant at the end of 12 weeks in the group which added blueberries to replace carbohydrates.

Source: Nilgun Istek, Ozan Gurbuz. “Investigation of the impact of blueberries on metabolic factors influencing health” Journal of Functional Foods (2017): Volume 8, Part A, Pages 298-307.

Consumption of a single serving of red raspberries per day reduces metabolic syndrome parameters in high-fat fed mice *


Using an animal model for diet-induced metabolic disease, we have shown previously that the addition of raspberry juice concentrate (RJC) and raspberry puree concentrate (RPC) at a level of 10% of kcal, equivalent to four servings per day, to an obesogenic high-fat, western-style diet (HF) significantly reduced body weight gain, serum resistin levels, and altered the expression of hepatic genes related to lipid metabolism and oxidative stress. This study was designed to examine the effect of a lower level of RJC or RPC consumption, at a level representing a single serving of food per day (2.5% of kcal). For ten weeks, four groups of C57BL/6J mice (n = 8 ea.) were fed: low fat (LF), HF, HF + RJC, or HF + RPC diets. Intake of RJC and RPC decreased final body weight. Hepatic lipid accumulation was significantly decreased in HF + RPC- and HF + RJC-fed mice, compared to HF-fed mice. Further, the relative expression of hepatic genes including Heme oxygenase 1 (Hmox1) and Hormone sensitive lipase (Lipe), were altered by RPC or RJC consumption. In this mouse model of diet-induced metabolic disease, consumption of the equivalent of a single daily serving of either RPC or RJC improved metabolism in mice fed HF diet. We hypothesize that the phytochemicals contained in raspberries, and/or their subsequent metabolites, may be acting to influence gene expression and other regulatory pathways, to produce the metabolic improvements observed in this study.

Source: T Luo, O Miranda-Garcia, G Sasaki, N F Shay. “Consumption of a single serving of red raspberries per day reduces metabolic syndrome parameters in high-fat fed mice” Food & Function (2017): 8(11):4081-4088.

Blueberry anthocyanins in health promotion: A metabolic overview *


Diet has gained scientific community attention due to the crucial role in health maintenance, but also in disease treatment, and essential in disease prevention. Several foods and food components, particularly phenolic rich foods, have been investigated as they present themselves as putative functional foods. In the past decades, obesity has reached epidemic proportions and consequently, metabolic syndrome (a set of disorders as impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, abdominal obesity, dyslipidemia, and high blood pressure, which increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes) incidence is increasing worldwide at an alarming rate and this phenolic rich foods, especially berries have been investigated to their potential beneficial effect in these disorders.

In the present work, the chemistry of blueberries (BB) (fruits of some Vaccinium species) was summarised as well as the knowledge about bioavailability and biokinetic of anthocyanins from blueberries with particular emphasis on its implications in metabolic disorders.

Source: Norberto, Sónia, et al. “Blueberry anthocyanins in health promotion: A metabolic overview.” Journal of Functional Foods 5.4 (2013): 1518-1528.

Enhanced task-related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation *


Blueberries are rich in flavonoids, which possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. High flavonoid intakes attenuate age-related cognitive decline, but data from human intervention studies are sparse. We investigated whether 12 weeks of blueberry concentrate supplementation improved brain perfusion, task-related activation, and cognitive function in healthy older adults. Participants were randomized to consume either 30 mL blueberry concentrate providing 387 mg anthocyanidins (5 female, 7 male; age 67.5 ± 3.0 y; body mass index, 25.9 ± 3.3 kg·m−2) or isoenergetic placebo (8 female, 6 male; age 69.0 ± 3.3 y; body mass index, 27.1 ± 4.0 kg·m−2). Pre- and postsupplementation, participants undertook a battery of cognitive function tests and a numerical Stroop test within a 1.5T magnetic resonance imaging scanner while functional magnetic resonance images were continuously acquired. Quantitative resting brain perfusion was determined using an arterial spin labeling technique, and blood biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress were measured. Significant increases in brain activity were observed in response to blueberry supplementation relative to the placebo group within Brodmann areas 4/6/10/21/40/44/45, precuneus, anterior cingulate, and insula/thalamus (p < 0.001) as well as significant improvements in grey matter perfusion in the parietal (5.0 ± 1.8 vs –2.9 ± 2.4%, p = 0.013) and occipital (8.0 ± 2.6 vs –0.7 ± 3.2%, p = 0.031) lobes. There was also evidence suggesting improvement in working memory (2-backtest) after blueberry versus placebo supplementation (p = 0.05). Supplementation with an anthocyanin-rich blueberry concentrate improved brain perfusion and activation in brain areas associated with cognitive function in healthy older adults.

Source: Bowtell, Joanna L., et al. “Enhanced task-related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation.” Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism 42.7 (2017): 773-779.

Blueberries Decrease Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Obese Men and Women with Metabolic Syndrome *


Among all fruits, berries have shown substantial cardio-protective benefits due to their high polyphenol content. However, the investigation of their efficacy in improving the features of metabolic syndrome and related cardiovascular risk factors in obesity is limited. We examined the effects of blueberry supplementation on features of metabolic syndrome, lipid peroxidation, and inflammation in obese men and women. Forty-eight participants with metabolic syndrome [4 males and 44 females; BMI: 37.8 ± 2.3 kg/m²; age: 50.0 ± 3.0 y (mean ± SE)] consumed freeze-dried blueberry beverage (50 g freeze-dried blueberries, #126 350 g fresh blueberries) or equivalent amounts of fluids (controls, 960 mL water) daily for 8 wk in a randomized controlled trial. Anthropometric and blood pressure measurements, assessment of dietary intakes, and fasting blood draws were conducted at screening and at wk 4 and 8 of the study. The decreases in systolic and diastolic blood pressures were greater in the blueberry-supplemented group (−6 and −4%, respectively) than in controls (−1.5 and −1.2%) (P < 0.05), whereas the serum glucose concentration and lipid profiles were not affected. The decreases in plasma oxidized LDL and serum malondialdehyde and hydroxynonenal concentrations were greater in the blueberry group (−28 and −17%, respectively) than in the control group (−9 and −9%) (P < 0.01). Our study shows blueberries may improve selected features of metabolic syndrome and related cardiovascular risk factors at dietary achievable doses.

Source: Basu, Arpita, et al. “Blueberries decrease cardiovascular risk factors in obese men and women with metabolic syndrome.” The Journal of Nutrition 140.9 (2010): 1582-1587.

Anthocyanin profile of red fruits and black carrot juices, purees and concentrates by HPLC‐DAD‐ESI/MS‐QTOF *


A fast and reliable method for anthocyanin extraction and identification by HPLC‐DAD‐ESI/MS‐QTOF was used to analyze the anthocyanin composition of commercial red fruit juices (blackberry, redcurrant, and pomegranate), purees (strawberry, cherry, and raspberry) and concentrates (elderberry, blueberry, and red grape). The anthocyanin profile of black carrot juice is also reported. The extraction and analysis method allowed us to detect and quantify a wide range of individual anthocyanins in a simple and rapid way. Pelargonidin‐3‐glucoside was detected in redcurrant for the first time and petunidin‐3‐galactoside quantified for the first time in blueberries. Considering the health benefits that have been associated with anthocyanin consumption, all these fruit and vegetables processed products could appear like a good source of this group of phytochemical compounds for their direct consumption or their use as ingredients for the design of new food product or food supplements.

Source: Garcia‐Herrera, Patricia, et al. “Anthocyanin profile of red fruits and black carrot juices, purees and concentrates by HPLC‐DAD‐ESI/MS‐QTOF.” International journal of food science & technology 51.10 (2016): 2290-2300.

Acai Fruit Extract

Effects of Açai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) berry preparation on metabolic parameters in a healthy overweight population: A pilot study *


Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of açai fruit pulp on risk factors for metabolic disorders in overweight subjects. The açaí palm (Euterpe oleracea Mart.), which is native to South America, produces a small, black-purple fruit which is edible. The fruit has recently become popular as a functional food due to its antioxidant potential. Although several studies have been conducted in vitro and with animals, little is known about the potential health benefits in humans aside from an increase in plasma anti-oxidant capacity. Metabolic syndrome is a condition which is defined by a cluster of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and/or type-2 diabetes. Preliminary studies indicate that a reduction in reactive oxygen species can assist in the normalization of the metabolic pathways involved in this syndrome.

Methods: This was an open label pilot study conducted with 10 overweight adults (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m² and ≤ 30 kg/m²) who took 100 g açai pulp twice daily for 1 month. The study endpoints included levels of fasting plasma glucose, insulin, cholesterol, triglycerides, exhaled (breath) nitric oxide metabolites (eNO) and plasma levels of high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP). The response of blood glucose, blood pressure and eNO to a standardized meal was determined at baseline and following the 30 day treatment.

Results: Compared to baseline, there were reductions in fasting glucose and insulin levels following the 30 day treatment (both p < 0.02). There was also a reduction in total cholesterol (p = 0.03), as well as borderline significant reductions in LDL-cholesterol and the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL-cholesterol (both p = 0.051). Compared to baseline, treatment with açai ameliorated the post-prandial increase in plasma glucose following the standardized meal, measured as the area under the curve (p = 0.047). There was no effect on blood pressure, hs-CRP or eNO.

Conclusion: In this uncontrolled pilot study, consumption of açai fruit pulp reduced levels of selected markers of metabolic disease risk in overweight adults, indicating that further studies are warranted.

Source: Jay K Udani, Betsy B Singh, Vijay J Sing, Marilyn L Barrett. “Effects of Açai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) berry preparation on metabolic parameters in a healthy overweight population: A pilot study” Open Access (2011): Article number: 45.


Amazon acai: Chemistry and biological activities: A review *


Acai (acai or assai) is one of Amazon’s most popular functional foods and widely used in the world. There are many benefits to its alleged use in the growing market for nutraceuticals. The acai extracts have a range of polyphenolic components with antioxidant properties, some of those present in greater quantity are orienting, isoorientin and vanillic acid, as well as anthocyanins cyanidin-3-glucoside and cyanidin-3-rutinoside. The presence of these substances is linked mainly to the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative and cardioprotective activities. Importantly, there are two main species of the Euterpe genus which produce acai. There are several differences between them but they are still quite unknown, from literature to producers and consumers. In this review are highlighted the chemical composition, botanical aspects, pharmacological, marketing and nutrition of these species based on studies published in the last five years in order to unify the current knowledge and dissimilarities between them.

Source: de Lima Yamaguchi, Klenicy Kazumy, et al. “Amazon acai: Chemistry and biological activities: A review.” Food Chemistry 179 (2015): 137-151.

Effects of Açai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) berry preparation on metabolic parameters in a healthy overweight population: A pilot study *


In this uncontrolled pilot study, consuming 200 g per day of Sambazon® Açai for 1 month reduced fasting levels of plasma glucose, insulin, and total cholesterol compared to baseline levels in a cohort of 10 overweight adults. Administration of Açai for 30 days also attenuated the post-prandial glucose response (AUC) following a standardized meal compared to the pre-treatment response. Sambazon® Açai was administered safely, without adverse events. The results of this study suggest that conducting a larger placebo-controlled trial to determine the effects of acai on risk factors for chronic disease is warranted.

Source: Udani, Jay K., et al. “Effects of Acai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) berry preparation on metabolic parameters in a healthy overweight population: a pilot study.” Nutrition Journal 10.1 (2011): 45.

Pomegranate (Punica Granatum)

Absorption, Metabolism, and Antioxidant Effects of Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) Polyphenols after Ingestion of a Standardized Extract in Healthy Human Volunteers *


The intake of polyphenols has been demonstrated to have health-promoting and disease-preventive effects. The pomegranate (Punica granatum L.), which is rich in several polyphenols, has been used for centuries in ancient cultures for its medicinal purposes. The potential health benefits of pomegranate polyphenols have been demonstrated in numerous in vitro studies and in vivo experiments. This study investigated the absorption and antioxidant effects of a standardized extract from pomegranate in healthy human volunteers after the acute consumption of 800 mg of extract. Results indicate that ellagic acid (EA) from the extract is bioavailable, with an observed Cmax of 33 ng/mL at tmax of 1 h. The plasma metabolites urolithin A, urolithin B, hydroxyl-urolithin A, urolithin A-glucuronide, and dimethyl ellagic acid-glucuronide were identified by HPLC-MS. The antioxidant capacity measured with the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) assay was increased with a maximum effect of 32% after 0.5 h, whereas the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) was not affected. The inflammation marker interleukin-6 (IL-6) was not significantly affected after 4 h after the consumption of the extract. Overall, this study demonstrated the absorbability of EA from a pomegranate extract high in ellagitannin content and its ex vivo antioxidant effects.

Source: Mertens-Talcott, Susanne U., et al. “Absorption, metabolism, and antioxidant effects of pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) polyphenols after ingestion of a standardized extract in healthy human volunteers.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 54.23 (2006): 8956-8961.

Beneficial Effects of Pomegranate on Lipid Metabolism in Metabolic Disorders *


Pomegranate (Punica granatum Linn) is used in the prevention and treatment of metabolic syndrome in recent decades. Imbalances in lipid metabolism are profound features of metabolic disorders. In vivo and in vitro studies have shown that extracts of different pomegranate fractions (peels, flowers, juice, and seeds) regulate lipid metabolism in metabolic-disorder-associated diseases such as atherosclerosis, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and type 2 diabetes, helping to alleviate the development of diseases. Amelioration of oxidative stress and the inflammatory response is considered an important reason underlying the regulation of lipid metabolism by pomegranate extracts. Mitochondria, the major cellular site for lipid oxidation, are strongly associated with cellular oxidative and inflammatory status and are likely to be a target for pomegranate extract action. This review summarizes the main findings about the effects of different pomegranate fraction extracts on lipid metabolism in metabolic-disorder-associated diseases and analyses how pomegranate extracts achieve their effects. Furthermore, it also provides an important basis for the research and development of pomegranate-related nutrients or drugs.

Source: Chen Hou, Weimin Zhang, Jianke Li, Lin Du, Ou Lv, Shengjuan Zhao, Jia Li. “Beneficial Effects of Pomegranate on Lipid Metabolism in Metabolic Disorders” Molecular Nutrition & Food Research (2019): 63(16):e1800773.

Therapeutic Applications of Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.): A Review. *


The pomegranate, Punica granatum L, is an ancient, mystical, unique fruit borne on a small,long-living tree cultivated throughout the Mediterranean region, as far north as the Himalayas, in Southeast Asia, and in California and Arizona in the United States. In addition to its ancient historical uses, pomegranate is used in several systems of medicine for a variety of ailments. The synergistic action of the pomegranate constituents appears to be superior to that of single constituents. In the past decade, numerous studies on the antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties of pomegranate constituents have been published, focusing on treatment and prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dental conditions, erectile dysfunction, bacterial infections and antibiotic resistance, and ultraviolet radiation-induced skin damage. Other potential applications include infant brain ischemia, male infertility, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, and obesity.

Source: Jurenka, Julie. “Therapeutic applications of pomegranate (Punica granatum L.): a review.” Alternative medicine review 13.2 (2008).

Punica granatum (pomegranate) and its potential for prevention and treatment of inflammation and cancer *


The last 7 years have seen over seven times as many publications indexed by Medline dealing with pomegranate and Punica granatum than in all the years preceding them. Because of this, and the virtual explosion of interest in pomegranate as a medicinal and nutritional product that has followed, this review is accordingly launched. The pomegranate tree, Punica granatum, especially its fruit, possesses a vast ethnomedical history and represents a phytochemical reservoir of heuristic medicinal value. The tree/fruit can be divided into several anatomical compartments: (1) seed, (2) juice, (3) peel, (4) leaf, (5) flower, (6) bark, and (7) roots, each of which has interesting pharmacologic activity. Juice and peels, for example, possess potent antioxidant properties, while juice, peel, and oil are all weakly estrogenic and heuristically of interest for the treatment of menopausal symptoms and sequellae. The use of juice, peel, and oil have also been shown to possess anticancer activities, including interference with tumor cell proliferation, cell cycle, invasion, and angiogenesis. These may be associated with plant based anti-inflammatory effects, The phytochemistry and pharmacological actions of all Punica granatum components suggest a wide range of clinical applications for the treatment and prevention of cancer, as well as other diseases where chronic inflammation is believed to play an essential etiologic role.

Source: Lansky, Ephraim P., and Robert A. Newman. “Punica granatum (pomegranate) and its potential for prevention and treatment of inflammation and cancer.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 109.2 (2007): 177-206.

Bioavailability of ellagic acid in human plasma after consumption of ellagitannins from pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) juice *


Background: Ellagic acid (EA) and hydrolyzable ellagitannins (ETs) are dietary polyphenols found in fruits and nuts and implicated with potent antioxidant, anticancer and antiatherosclerotic biological properties. Unfortunately, there are no reports on the bioavailability studies of EA or ETs in the human body. We conducted in vivo studies whereby a human subject consumed pomegranate juice (PJ) (180 ml) containing EA (25 mg) and ETs (318 mg, as punicalagins, the major fruit ellagitannin). Methods: A rapid plasma extraction procedure utilizing acidic precipitation of proteins, followed by HPLC-UV analyses, was employed. Results: EA was detected in human plasma at a maximum concentration (31.9 ng/ml) after 1 h post-ingestion but was rapidly eliminated by 4 h. The calibration curve for quantification of EA was linear (r2=0.9975) over the concentration range from 1000 to 15.6 ng/ml. Conclusions: Since EA has reportedly strong affinity for proteins and poor absorption in small animals, further studies to investigate whether the presence of free EA in human plasma may be due to its release from the hydrolysis of ETs, facilitated by physiological pH and/or gut microflora action, is warranted. EA can be considered as a biomarker for future human bioavailability studies involving consumption of ETs from food sources.

Source: Seeram, Navindra P., Rupo Lee, and David Heber. “Bioavailability of ellagic acid in human plasma after consumption of ellagitannins from pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) juice.” Clinica Chimica Acta 348.1-2 (2004): 63-68.

Impact of Dietary Polyphenols on Carbohydrate Metabolism *


Polyphenols, including flavonoids, phenolic acids, proanthocyanidins, and resveratrol, are a large and heterogeneous group of phytochemicals in plant-based foods, such as tea, coffee, wine, cocoa, cereal grains, soy, fruits, and berries. Growing evidence indicates that various dietary polyphenols may influence carbohydrate metabolism at many levels. In animal models and a limited number of human studies carried out so far, polyphenols and foods or beverages rich in polyphenols have attenuated postprandial glycemic responses and fasting hyperglycemia, and improved acute insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity. The possible mechanisms include inhibition of carbohydrate digestion and glucose absorption in the intestine, stimulation of insulin secretion from the pancreatic b-cells, modulation of glucose release from the liver, activation of insulin receptors and glucose uptake in the insulin-sensitive tissues, and modulation of intracellular signaling pathways and gene expression. The positive effects of polyphenols on glucose homeostasis observed in a large number of in vitro and animal models are supported by epidemiological evidence on polyphenol-rich diets. To confirm the implications of polyphenol consumption for prevention of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and eventually type 2 diabetes, human trials with well-defined diets, controlled study designs, and clinically relevant end-points together with holistic approaches e.g., systems biology profiling technologies are needed.

Source: Hanhineva, Kati, et al. “Impact of dietary polyphenols on carbohydrate metabolism.” International journal of molecular sciences 11.4 (2010): 1365-1402.

Fruit and vegetable preservative *


Minimally processed fruits and vegetables are preserved by the use of a flavonoid. Cut and peeled fruits or vegetables are sprayed or dipped in a solution containing a flavonoid and an anti-oxidant such as ascorbic acid, erythorbic acid or alpha lipoic acid. Juices are also preserved by the addition of a flavonoid and ascorbic acid if it is not already present.

Source: Selleck, Rhonda. “Fruit and vegetable preservative.” U.S. Patent No. 6,749,875. 15 Jun. 2004.


Ginger consumption enhances the thermic effect of food and promotes feelings of satiety without affecting metabolic and hormonal parameters in overweight men: A pilot study *


Objective: Evidence suggests that ginger consumption has anti-inflammatory, anti-hypertensive, glucose-sensitizing, and stimulatory effects on the gastrointestinal tract. This study assessed the effects of a hot ginger beverage on energy expenditure, feelings of appetite and satiety and metabolic risk factors in overweight men.

Methods: Ten men, age 39.1 ± 3.3 y and body mass index (BMI) 27.2 ± 0.3 kg/m², participated in this randomized crossover study. Resting state energy expenditure was measured using indirect calorimetry and for 6 h after consumption of a breakfast meal with or without 2 g ginger powder dissolved in a hot water beverage. Subjective feelings of satiety were assessed hourly using visual analog scales (VAS) and blood samples were taken fasted and for 3 h after breakfast consumption.

Results: There was no significant effect of ginger on total resting energy expenditure (P = 0.43) or respiratory quotient (P = 0.41). There was a significant effect of ginger on thermic effect of food (ginger vs control = 42.7 ± 21.4 kcal/d, P = 0.049) but the area under the curve was not different (P = 0.43). VAS ratings showed lower hunger (P = 0.002), lower prospective food intake (P = 0.004) and greater fullness (P = 0.064) with ginger consumption versus control. There were no effects of ginger on glucose, insulin, lipids, or inflammatory markers.

Conclusions: The results, showing enhanced thermogenesis and reduced feelings of hunger with ginger consumption, suggest a potential role of ginger in weight management. Additional studies are necessary to confirm these findings.

Source: Muhammad S. Mansour, Yu-Ming Ni, Amy L. Roberts, Michael Kelleman, Arindam Roy Choudhury, Marie-Pierre St-Onge. “Ginger consumption enhances the thermic effect of food and promotes feelings of satiety without affecting metabolic and hormonal parameters in overweight men: A pilot study” Metabolism (2012): 61(10): 1347-1352.

Ginger prevents obesity through regulation of energy metabolism and activation of browning in high-fat diet-induced obese mice *


Numerous natural herbs have been proven as safe anti-obesity resources. Ginger, one of the most widely consumed spices, has shown beneficial effects against obesity and related metabolic disorders. The present study aimed to examine whether the antiobesity effect of ginger is associated with energy metabolism. Mice were maintained on either a normal control diet or a high-fat diet (HFD) with or without 500 mg/kg (w/w) ginger supplementation. After 16 weeks, ginger supplementation alleviated the HFD-induced increases in body weight, fat accumulation, and levels of serum glucose, triglyceride and cholesterol. Indirect calorimetry showed that ginger administration significantly increased the respiratory exchange ratio (RER) and heat production in both diet models. Furthermore, ginger administration corrected the HFD-induced changes in concentrations of intermediates in glycolysis and the TCA cycle. Moreover, ginger enhanced brown adipose tissue function and activated white adipose tissue browning by altering the gene expression and protein levels of some brown and beige adipocyte-selective markers. Additionally, stimulation of the browning program by ginger may be partly regulated by the sirtuin-1 (SIRT1)/AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK)/peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator 1α (PGC-1α) pathway. Taken together, these results indicate that dietary ginger prevents body weight gain by remodeling whole-body energy metabolism and inducing browning of white adipose tissue (WAT). Thus, ginger is an edible plant that plays a role in the therapeutic treatment of obesity and related disorders.

Source: JingWang, DaotongLi, PanWang, XiaosongHu, FangChen. “Ginger prevents obesity through regulation of energy metabolism and activation of browning in high-fat diet-induced obese mice” The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry (2019) Volume 70 Pages 105-115.

Cinnamon Bark Extract

Cinnamon effects on the metabolic syndrome: a review based on its mechanisms *


Nowadays, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the major risk factors of death globally. One of the most undeniable reasons for CVDs is metabolic syndrome (MetS). MetS are defined as a complex of diseases including insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, obesity, high blood pressure, and dyslipidemia. The use of complementary medicine such as traditional herbal species can be effective in the treatment of MetS’s complications. Cinnamomum verum (family Lauraceae) is a medicinal global plant which has been used daily by people all over the world. Positive effects of cinnamon in reducing blood pressure, plasma glucose, obesity and ameliorating dyslipidemia which represented in traditional medicine introduced it as probable decreasing MetS’s complications agent. The aim of this review was to investigate the mechanisms of C. verum in reducing the MetS’s complications and CVDs risk factors.

Source: Mollazadeh, Hamid, and Hossein Hosseinzadeh. “Cinnamon effects on the metabolic syndrome: a review based on its mechanisms.” Iranian journal of basic medical sciences 19.12 (2016): 1258.

Cinnamon bark extract improves glucose metabolism and lipid profile in the fructose-fed rat *


Introduction: The present study was designed to investigate whether cinnamon bark extract (CBEt) mitigates the adverse effects of fructose loading on glucose metabolism and lipid profile in rats.

Methods: Adult male albino rats of body weight 150-170 g were divided into five groups and fed with either control or high fructose diet (HFD). CBEt was administered to HFD-fed rats orally at two doses (a low and a high dose) while the control diet-fed rats were treated with a high dose of CBEt. The treatment protocol was carried out for 60 days after which the oral glucose tolerance test was carried out. Biochemical parameters related to glucose metabolism and lipid profile were assayed.

Results: The levels of glucose, insulin and protein-bound sugars were higher and activities of enzymes of glucose metabolism were altered in HFD-fed rats, as compared to control animals. The levels were brought back to near-normal when administered with CBEt at high dose. CBEt also prevented the hyperlipidaemia observed in fructose-fed rats and improved glucose tolerance. CBEt did not show any significant effect in fructose-fed rats when administered at low dose.

Conclusion: These findings indicate the improvement of glucose metabolism in-vivo by CBEt in fructose-fed rats.

Source: Kannappan S, Jayaraman T, Rajasekar P, Ravichandran M K, Anuradha C V. “Cinnamon bark extract improves glucose metabolism and lipid profile in the fructose-fed rat” Singapore Medical Journal (2006): 47(10):858.

Improved Insulin Resistance and Lipid Metabolism by Cinnamon Extract through Activation of Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors *


Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) are transcriptional factors involved in the regulation of insulin resistance and adipogenesis. Cinnamon, a widely used spice in food preparation and traditional antidiabetic remedy, is found to activate PPAR and , resulting in improved insulin resistance, reduced fasted glucose, FFA, LDL-c, and AST levels in high-caloric diet-induced obesity (DIO) and mice in its water extract form. In vitro studies demonstrate that cinnamon increases the expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors and (PPAR/) and their target genes such as LPL, CD36, GLUT4, and ACO in 3T3-L1 adipocyte. The transactivities of both full length and ligand-binding domain (LBD) of PPAR and PPAR are activated by cinnamon as evidenced by reporter gene assays. These data suggest that cinnamon in its water extract form can act as a dual activator of PPAR and , and may be an alternative to PPARactivator in managing obesity-related diabetes and hyperlipidemia.

Introduction: Obesity has become the most common metabolic disorder in the world and is a major risk factor for insulin resistance in the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus [1]. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) have been recognized as therapeutic targets against dyslipidemia and diabetes since their discovery in the early 1990s. PPARs are ligand-activated nuclear hormone receptors that include three isoforms: PPAR, PPAR, and PPAR/. PPAR is expressed mostly in brown adipose tissue and liver, PPAR is mainly expressed in adipose tissue, while PPAR/ is expressed universally in many tissues [2]. Activation of PPAR lowers plasma triglycerides and elevates plasma HDL cholesterol levels [3], while the activation of PPAR increases insulin sensitivity and results in antidiabetic effects [4]. Since PPARs play key roles in regulating carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, most studies have been directed toward developing synthetic PPAR ligands, and current therapeutic strategies are also based on separate treatments of insulin resistance and dyslipidaemia. Fibrates, the PPAR agonists, are now recommended for the treatment of cardiovascular disease and dyslipidemia [5]. Thiazolinediones (TZDs), the PPAR agonists, have been demonstrated by a number of clinical trials in the management of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes [6–8]. However, these agonists can also produce moderate to serious side effects such as edema, weight gain, congestive heart failure, and hepatotoxicity [9, 10]. Thus, the development of drugs of dual or pan PPAR modulators with less side effects is desirable for the management of obesity-related diabetes and dyslipidemia.

Cinnamon is the bark of Cinnamoni cassiae and has been used as traditional folk herbs to treat inflammation for thousands of years in Asia. It is also used in food industry as antioxidant and spicy agent. In recent years, several studies have reported that cinnamon extract has antidiabetic effect on mice and type 2 diabetic patients [11, 12]. Talpur et al. showed that cinnamon oils can improve insulin sensitivity [13] and Roffey et al. reported that cinnamon water extract (CE) increases glucose uptake in 3T3-L1 adipocyte [14]. However, the separated compounds derived from cinnamon displayed little insulin-like or insulin-enhancing activity [15]. In this report, we demonstrate that cinnamon water extract can elevate the expression of both PPAR, and their target genes in 3T3-L1 adipocyte possibly through stimulation of the transactivities of both full length and LBD of PPAR and PPAR. In vivo study reveals that cinnamon water extract improves insulin resistance and lipid metabolism in both high-calorie diet-induced obesity (DIO) mice and mice.

Source: Xiaoyan Sheng, Yuebo Zhang, Zhenwei Gong, Cheng Huang, Ying Qin Zang. “Improved Insulin Resistance and Lipid Metabolism by Cinnamon Extract through Activation of Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors” PPAR Research (2008) Article 581348.

White Tea Extract

White Tea extract induces lipolytic activity and inhibits adipogenesis in human subcutaneous (pre)-adipocytes *


White Tea extract is a natural source that effectively inhibits adipogenesis and stimulates lipolysis-activity. Therefore, it can be utilized to modulate different levels of the adipocyte life cycle.

Source: Söhle, Jörn, et al. “White Tea extract induces lipolytic activity and inhibits adipogenesis in human subcutaneous (pre)-adipocytes.” Nutrition & Metabolism 6.1 (2009): 20.

White Tea Extract Induces Apoptosis in Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer Cells: the Role of Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor-γ and 15-Lipoxygenases *


Emerging preclinical data suggests that tea possess anticarcinogenic and antimutagenic properties. We, therefore, hypothesize that white tea extract (WTE) is capable of favorably modulating apoptosis, a mechanism associated with lung tumorigenesis. We examined the effects of physiologically relevant doses of WTE on the induction of apoptosis in non–small cell lung cancer cell lines A549 (adenocarcinoma) and H520 (squamous cell carcinoma) cells. We further characterized the molecular mechanisms responsible for WTE-induced apoptosis, including the induction of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPAR-γ) and the 15-lipoxygenase (15-LOX) signaling pathways. We found that WTE was effective in inducing apoptosis in both A549 and H520 cells, and inhibition of PPAR-γ with GW9662 partially reversed WTE-induced apoptosis. We further show that WTE increased PPAR-γ activation and mRNA expression, concomitantly increased 15(S)-hydroxy-eicosatetraenoic acid release, and upregulated 15-LOX-1 and 15-LOX-2 mRNA expression by A549 cells. Inhibition of 15-LOX with nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NGDA), as well as caffeic acid, abrogated WTE-induced PPAR-γ activation and upregulation of PPAR-γ mRNA expression in A549 cells. WTE also induced cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1A mRNA expression and activated caspase-3. Inhibition of caspase-3 abrogated WTE-induced apoptosis. Our findings indicate that WTE is capable of inducing apoptosis in non–small cell lung cancer cell lines. The induction of apoptosis seems to be mediated, in part, through the upregulation of the PPAR-γ and 15-LOX signaling pathways, with enhanced activation of caspase-3. Our findings support the future investigation of WTE as an antineoplastic and chemopreventive agent for lung cancer.

Source: Mao, Jenny T., et al. “White tea extract induces apoptosis in non–small cell lung cancer cells: the role of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ and 15-lipoxygenases.” Cancer Prevention Research 3.9 (2010): 1132-1140.

Turmeric Extract

Oral administration of a turmeric extract inhibits LDL oxidation and has hypocholesterolemic effects in rabbits with experimental atherosclerosis *


The oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) plays an important role in the development of atherosclerosis. Curcumin is a yellow pigment obtained from rhizomes of Curcuma longa and is commonly used as a spice and food coloring. Curcumin and turmeric extracts have several pharmacological effects including antitumor, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-infectious activities although the precise mechanisms involved remain to be elicited. We evaluated the effect of an ethanol-aqueous extract obtained from rhizomes of C. longa on LDL oxidation susceptibility and plasma lipids in atherosclerotic rabbits. A total of 18 rabbits were fed for 7 weeks on a diet containing 95.7% standard chow, 3% lard, and 1.3% cholesterol, to induce atherosclerosis. The rabbits were divided into groups, two of which were also orally treated with turmeric extract at doses of 1.66 (group A) and 3.2 (group B) mg/kg body weight, respectively. A third group (group C) acted as a control. Plasma and LDL lipid composition, plasma α-tocopherol, plasma retinol, LDL TBARS, LDL lipid hydroperoxides and analysis of aortic atherosclerotic lesions were assayed. The low but not the high dosage decreased the susceptibility of LDL to lipid peroxidation. Both doses had lower levels of total plasma cholesterol than the control group. Moreover, the lower dosage had lower levels of cholesterol, phospholipids, and triglycerides in LDL than the 3.2-mg dosage. In conclusion, the use of this extract could be useful in the management of cardiovascular disease in which atherosclerosis is important.

Source: Ramırez-Tortosa, M. C., et al. “Oral administration of a turmeric extract inhibits LDL oxidation and has hypocholesterolemic effects in rabbits with experimental atherosclerosis.” Atherosclerosis 147.2 (1999): 371-378.

Turmeric Extract May Improve Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptomology in Otherwise Healthy Adults: A Pilot Study *


Turmeric may help reduce IBS symptomology. Placebo controlled trials are now warranted to confirm these findings.

Source: Bundy, Rafe, et al. “Turmeric extract may improve irritable bowel syndrome symptomology in otherwise healthy adults: a pilot study.” Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine 10.6 (2004): 1015-1018.

Bitter Melon Extract (Momordica charantia)

Bitter Gourd (Momordica charantia): a Dietary Approach to Hyperglycemia *


Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) is a vegetable with a pantropical distribution. It contains substances with antidiabetic properties such as charantin, vicine, and polypeptide-p, as well as other unspecific bioactive components such as antioxidants. Metabolic and hypoglycemic effects of bitter gourd extracts have been demonstrated in cell culture, animal, and human studies. The mechanism of action, whether it is via regulation of insulin release or altered glucose metabolism and its insulin-like effect, is still under debate. Adverse effects are also known. Nevertheless, bitter gourd has the potential to become a component of the diet or a dietary supplement for diabetic and prediabetic patients. Well-designed interdisciplinary research by nutritionists, medical doctors, and agronomists is needed before a dietary recommendation can be given and a product brought to the market.

Source: Krawinkel, Michael B., and Gudrun B. Keding. “Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia): a dietary approach to hyperglycemia.” Nutrition reviews 64.7 (2006): 331-337.

Antidiabetic effects of Momordica charantia (bitter melon) and its medicinal potency *


Diabetes mellitus is among the most common disorder in developed and developing countries, and the disease is increasing rapidly in most parts of the world. It has been estimated that up to one-third of patients with diabetes mellitus use some form of complementary and alternative medicine. One plant that has received the most attention for its anti-diabetic properties is bitter melon, Momordica charantia (M. charantia), commonly referred to as bitter gourd, karela and balsam pear. Its fruit is also used for the treatment of diabetes and related conditions amongst the indigenous populations of Asia, South America, India, and East Africa. Abundant pre-clinical studies have documented in the anti-diabetic and hypoglycaemic effects of M. charantia through various postulated mechanisms. However, clinical trial data with human subjects are limited and flawed by poor study design and low statistical power. The present review is an attempt to highlight the antidiabetic activity as well as phytochemical and pharmacological reports on M. charantia and calls for better-designed clinical trials to further elucidate its possible therapeutic effects on diabetes.

Source: Joseph, Baby, and D. Jini. “Antidiabetic effects of Momordica charantia (bitter melon) and its medicinal potency.” Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease 3.2 (2013): 93-102.

Wild bitter gourd improves metabolic syndrome: A preliminary dietary supplementation trial *


This is the first report to show that WBG improved MetS in human which provides a firm base for further randomized controlled trials to evaluate the efficacy of WBG supplementation.

Source: Tsai, Chung-Huang, et al. “Wild bitter gourd improves metabolic syndrome: a preliminary dietary supplementation trial.” Nutrition Journal 11.1 (2012): 4.

Black Pepper (Piperine)

Recent Developments in Delivery, Bioavailability, Absorption and Metabolism of Curcumin: the Golden Pigment from Golden Spice *


Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) is a yellow pigment present in the spice turmeric (Curcuma longa) that has been associated with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antiviral, and antibacterial activities as indicated by over 6,000 citations. In addition, over one hundred clinical studies have been carried out with curcumin. One of the major problems with curcumin is perceived to be the bioavailability. How curcumin should be delivered in vivo, how bioavailable is it, how well curcumin is absorbed and how it is metabolized, is the focus of this review. Various formulations of curcumin that are currently available are also discussed.

Besides these natural compounds have been also used to increase the bioavailability of curcumin. One of them is piperine, a major component of black pepper, known as inhibitor of hepatic and intestinal glucuronidation and is also shown to increase the bioavailability of curcumin. This effect of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin has been shown to be much greater in humans than in rats. In humans, curcumin bioavailability was increased by 2,000% at 45 minutes after co-administering curcumin orally with piperine, whereas in rats, it has been found that concomitant administration of piperine 20 mg/kg with curcumin 2 g/kg increased the serum concentration of curcumin by 154% for a short period of 1-2 hours post drug. The study shows that in the dosages used, piperine enhances the serum concentration, extent of absorption and bioavailability of curcumin in both rats and humans with no adverse effects [95].

Another study also showed that piperine (20 mg/kg orally) when administered with curcumin (2 g/kg orally) enhances the bioavailability of the latter up to 20-fold more in epileptic rats [111]. Enhanced bioavailability of curcumin was also evidenced by other researcher when curcumin was administered orally concomitant with piperine. Intestinal absorption of curcumin was also found relatively higher when administered concomitantly with piperine, and it stayed significantly longer in the body tissues [112]. In view of these findings, curcumin-piperine (Cu-Pi) nanoparticles has been prepared by various methods [113]. The bioavailability, cellular uptake and biological effects of this nanoparticles are being tested.

Source: Sahdeao Prasad, PhD, Amit K. Tyagi, PhD, Bharat B. Aggarwal, PhD. “Recent Developments in Delivery, Bioavailability, Absorption and Metabolism of Curcumin: the Golden Pigment from Golden Spice” Cancer Research and Treatment (2014): 46(1): 2-18.

Anti-inflammatory properties of culinary herbs and spices that ameliorate the effects of metabolic syndrome *


Obesity and metabolic syndrome are increasing global health problems. In addition to the malnutrition of a sedentary lifestyle, high-calorie intake leads to obesity with many negative health consequences. Macrophages infiltrate adipose tissue and induce chronic inflammation by secreting pro-inflammatory cytokines, including COX-2 and iNOS, among other mediators of inflammation. Free fatty acids mediate adipose tissue signaling through toll-like receptor 4 and the expression of these pro-inflammatory mediators via NF-κB or JNK. PPAR γ activators can inhibit the activation of NF-κB, down-regulating the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Here we provide an overview of how different culinary herbs and spices exert anti-inflammatory activities and the extent to which they activate PPAR α and PPAR γ, inhibit the activation of NF-κB, and enhance expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines. Spices can play essential roles as anti-inflammatory agents in our diet, acting as pan PPAR activators and improving insulin sensitivity, counteracting dyslipidemia and weight gain. The effects of chronic inflammation caused by obesity are counteracted and, consequently, the progression of diseases associated with chronic inflammation slowed.

Source: Jungbauer, Alois, and Svjetlana Medjakovic. “Anti-inflammatory properties of culinary herbs and spices that ameliorate the effects of metabolic syndrome.” Maturitas 71.3 (2012): 227-239.

Inhibition of Protein Glycation by Extracts of Culinary Herbs and Spices *


We tested whether polyphenolic substances in extracts of commercial culinary herbs and spices would inhibit fructose-mediated protein glycation. Extracts of 24 herbs and spices from a local supermarket were tested for the ability to inhibit glycation of albumin. Dry samples were ground and extracted with 10 volumes of 50% ethanol, and total phenolic content and ferric reducing antioxidant potential (FRAP) were measured. Aliquots were incubated in triplicate at pH 7.4 with 0.25 M fructose and 10 mg/mL fatty acid-free bovine albumin. Fluorescence at 370 nm/440 nm was used as an index of albumin glycation. In general, spice extracts inhibited glycation more than herb extracts, but inhibition was correlated with total phenolic content (R2 = 0.89). The most potent inhibitors included extracts of cloves, ground Jamaican allspice, and cinnamon. Potent herbs tested included sage, marjoram, tarragon, and rosemary. Total phenolics were highly correlated with FRAP values (R2 = 0.93). The concentration of phenolics that inhibited glycation by 50% was typically 4–12 μg/mL. Relative to total phenolic concentration, extracts of powdered ginger and bay leaf were less effective than expected, and black pepper was more effective. Prevention of protein glycation is an example of the antidiabetic potential for bioactive compounds in culinary herbs and spices.

Source: Dearlove, Rebecca P., et al. “Inhibition of protein glycation by extracts of culinary herbs and spices.” Journal of medicinal food 11.2 (2008): 275-281.

Black Pepper and its Pungent Principle-Piperine: A Review of Diverse Physiological Effects *


Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is one of the most widely used among spices. It is valued for its distinct biting quality attributed to the alkaloid, piperine. Black pepper is used not only in human dietaries but also for a variety of other purposes such as medicinal, as a preservative, and in perfumery. Many physiological effects of black pepper, its extracts, or its major active principle, piperine, have been reported in recent decades. Dietary piperine, by favorably stimulating the digestive enzymes of the pancreas, enhances the digestive capacity and significantly reduces the gastrointestinal food transit time. Piperine has been demonstrated in in vitro studies to protect against oxidative damage by inhibiting or quenching free radicals and reactive oxygen species. Black pepper or piperine treatment has also been evidenced to lower lipid peroxidation in vivo and beneficially influence cellular thiol status, antioxidant molecules and antioxidant enzymes in a number of experimental situations of oxidative stress. The most far-reaching attribute of piperine has been its inhibitory influence on enzymatic drug biotransforming reactions in the liver. It strongly inhibits hepatic and intestinal aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase and UDP-glucuronyl transferase. Piperine has been documented to enhance the bioavailability of a number of therapeutic drugs as well as phytochemicals by this very property. Piperine’s bioavailability enhancing property is also partly attributed to increased absorption as a result of its effect on the ultrastructure of the intestinal brush border. Although initially there were a few controversial reports regarding its safety as a food additive, such evidence has been questionable, and later studies have established the safety of black pepper or its active principle, piperine, in several animal studies. Piperine, while it is non-genotoxic, has in fact been found to possess anti-mutagenic and anti-tumor influences.

Source: Srinivasan, K. “Black pepper and its pungent principle-piperine: a review of diverse physiological effects.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 47.8 (2007): 735-748.

Comparative analysis of the in vitro antioxidant activity of white and black pepper *


As a result of normal metabolic processes, the human body produces reactive oxygen species capable of oxidizing biomolecules that can damage DNA, cells, and contribute to chronic disease. This process can be attenuated or perhaps reversed by diets containing spices that have the ability to scavenge reactive oxygen species. The present study measured the concentration of polyphenols in peppercorn (black and white) using the Folin-Ciocalteu method and investigated the radical scavenging activities of hydrolyzed and nonhydrolyzed pepper extracts using 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl, the superoxide radical, and the hydroxyl radical as substrates. The hydrolyzed and nonhydrolyzed extracts of black pepper contained significantly (P < .001) more polyphenols compared with those of white pepper. For either of these peppercorns, the hydrolyzed extract contained significantly (P < .001) more polyphenols compared with the nonhydrolyzed extract. A dose-dependent effect was observed in the free radical and reactive oxygen species scavenging activities of all the extracts, with the black pepper extracts being the most effective. Peppercorns especially black pepper, which constitutes an important component in the diet of many sub-Saharan and oriental countries, can, therefore, be promoted for their nutritional importance as antioxidants and radical scavengers.

Source: Agbor, Gabriel A., et al. “Comparative analysis of the in vitro antioxidant activity of white and black pepper.” Nutrition research 26.12 (2006): 659-663.

Lactobacillus Acidophilus

Assimilation of cholesterol by Lactobacillus acidophilus *


Considerable variation was found among strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus isolated from the fecal flora of pigs with regard to the ability to grow well in the presence of bile and to assimilate cholesterol from a laboratory growth medium. The uptake of cholesterol occurred only when the culture(s) was growing in the presence of bile under anaerobic conditions. Consumption of L. acidophilus RP32, which was selected for its ability to grow well in the presence of bile and to assimilate cholesterol from the laboratory medium, significantly inhibited increases in serum cholesterol levels of pigs (P less than 0.05) fed a high-cholesterol diet. Consumption of L. acidophilus P47, which was selected for its ability to grow in the presence of bile and lack of ability to remove cholesterol from the growth medium, failed to have a similar effect. This indicates that certain strains of L. acidophilus act directly on cholesterol in the gastrointestinal tract, and thus may be beneficial in reducing serum cholesterol levels.

Source: Gilliland, S. E., C. R. Nelson, and C. Maxwell. “Assimilation of cholesterol by Lactobacillus acidophilus.” Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 49.2 (1985): 377-381.

Insights into glycogen metabolism in Lactobacillus acidophilus: impact on carbohydrate metabolism, stress tolerance and gut retention *


In prokaryotic species equipped with glycogen metabolism machinery, the co-regulation of glycogen biosynthesis and degradation has been associated with the synthesis of energy storage compounds and various crucial physiological functions, including global cellular processes such as carbon and nitrogen metabolism, energy sensing and production, stress response and cell-cell communication. In addition, the glycogen metabolic pathway was proposed to serve as a carbon capacitor that regulates downstream carbon fluxes, and in some microorganisms the ability to synthesize intracellular glycogen has been implicated in host persistence. Among lactobacilli, complete glycogen metabolic pathway genes are present only in select species predominantly associated with mammalian hosts or natural environments. This observation highlights the potential involvement of glycogen biosynthesis in probiotic activities and persistence of intestinal lactobacilli in the human gastrointestinal tract. In this review, we summarize recent findings on (i) the presence and potential ecological distribution of glycogen metabolic pathways among lactobacilli, (ii) influence of carbon substrates and growth phases on glycogen metabolic gene expression and glycogen accumulation in L. acidophilus, and (iii) the involvement of glycogen metabolism on growth, sugar utilization and bile tolerance. Our present in vivo studies established the significance of glycogen biosynthesis on the competitive retention of L. acidophilus in the mouse intestinal tract, demonstrating for the first time that the ability to synthesize intracellular glycogen contributes to gut fitness and retention among probiotic microorganisms.

Source: Yong Jun Goh, Todd R. Klaenhammer. “Insights into glycogen metabolism in Lactobacillus acidophilus: impact on carbohydrate metabolism, stress tolerance and gut retention” Microbial Cell Factories (2014): 13: 94.

Lactobacillus acidophilus modulates intestinal pain and induces opioid and cannabinoid receptors *


Abdominal pain is common in the general population and, in patients with irritable bowel syndrome, is attributed to visceral hypersensitivity. We found that oral administration of specific Lactobacillus strains induced the expression of μ-opioid and cannabinoid receptors in intestinal epithelial cells, and mediated analgesic functions in the gut—similar to the effects of morphine. These results suggest that the microbiology of the intestinal tract influences our visceral perception, and suggest new approaches for the treatment of abdominal pain and irritable bowel syndrome.

Source: Rousseaux, Christel, et al. “Lactobacillus acidophilus modulates intestinal pain and induces opioid and cannabinoid receptors.” Nature medicine 13.1 (2007): 35.

Lactobacillus Salivarius

Lactic acid-mediated suppression of Helicobacter pylori by the oral administration of Lactobacillus salivarius as a probiotic in a gnotobiotic murine model *


Objectives: We examined whether or not the lactobacilli administered to treat Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection can suppress the colonization of H. pylori, and we also sought to elucidate the mechanism of such suppression. Methods: We used an in vitro culture system and an H. pylori-infected gnotobiotic murine model. Results: Among the lactobacillus species examined in vitro, Lactobacillus salivarius (L. salivarius) but not L. casei or L. acidophilus proved to be capable of producing a high amount of lactic acid and thus completely inhibiting the growth of H. pylori in a mixed culture. The validity of L. salivarius as a probiotic to suppress H. pylori and thus reduce the inflammatory response was again confirmed in vivo by using an H. pylori-infected gnotobiotic murine model. Conclusion: Based on our findings, L. salivarius was found to be a potentially effective probiotic against H. pylori. Aiba, Yuji, et al. “Lactic acid-mediated suppression of Helicobacter pylori by the oral administration of Lactobacillus salivarius as a probiotic in a gnotobiotic murine model.” The American journal of gastroenterology 93.11 (1998): 2097-2101.

Functional modulation of human intestinal epithelial cell responses by Bifidobacterium infantis and Lactobacillus salivarius Intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) and dendritic cells (DCs) play a pivotal role in antigen sampling and the maintenance of gut homeostasis. However, the interaction of commensal bacteria with the intestinal surface remains incompletely understood. Here we investigated immune cell responses to commensal and pathogenic bacteria. HT‐29 human IECs were incubated with Bifidobacterium infantis 35624, Lactobacillus salivarius UCC118 or Salmonella typhimurium UK1 for varying times, or were pretreated with a probiotic for 2 hr prior to stimulation with S. Typhimurium or flagellin. Gene arrays were used to examine inflammatory gene expression. Nuclear factor (NF)‐κB activation, interleukin (IL)‐8 secretion, pathogen adherence to IECs, and mucin‐3 (MUC3) and E‐cadherin gene expression were assayed by TransAM assay, enzyme‐linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), fluorescence, and real‐time reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (RT‐PCR), respectively. IL‐10 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)‐α secretion by bacteria‐treated peripheral blood‐derived DCs were measured using ELISA. S. Typhimurium increased expression of 36 of the 847 immune‐related genes assayed, including NF‐κB and IL‐8. The commensal bacteria did not alter expression levels of any of the 847 genes. However, B. infantis and L. salivarius attenuated both IL‐8 secretion at baseline and S. Typhimurium‐induced pro‐inflammatory responses. B. infantis also limited flagellin‐induced IL‐8 protein secretion. The commensal bacteria did not increase MUC3or E‐cadherin expression or interfere with pathogen binding to HT‐29 cells, but they did stimulate IL‐10 and TNF‐α secretion by DCs. The data demonstrate that, although the intestinal epithelium is immunologically quiescent when it encounters B. infantis or L. salivarius, these commensal bacteria exert immunomodulatory effects on intestinal immune cells that mediate host responses to flagellin and enteric pathogens.

Source: O’hara, Ann M., et al. “Functional modulation of human intestinal epithelial cell responses by Bifidobacterium infantis and Lactobacillus salivarius.” Immunology 118.2 (2006): 202-215.

Lactobacillus Plantarum

A controlled, double-blind, randomized study on the efficacy of Lactobacillus plantarum 299V in patients with irritable bowel syndrome *


LP299V seems to have a beneficial effect in patients with IBS. Further studies on larger cohorts of patients and with longer duration of therapy are required in order to establish the place of L. plantarum in the treatment of IBS.

Source: Niedzielin, Krzysztof, Hubert Kordecki, and Boz ena Birkenfeld. “A controlled, double-blind, randomized study on the efficacy of Lactobacillus plantarum 299V in patients with irritable bowel syndrome.” European journal of gastroenterology & hepatology 13.10 (2001): 1143-1147.

Purification and Characterization of Novel Antifungal Compounds from the Sourdough Lactobacillus Plantarum Strain 21B *


Sourdough lactic acid bacteria were selected for antifungal activity by a conidial germination assay. The 10-fold-concentrated culture filtrate of Lactobacillus Plantarum 21B grown in wheat flour hydrolysate almost completely inhibited Eurotium repens IBT18000, Eurotium rubrum FTDC3228,Penicillium corylophilum IBT6978, Penicillium roqueforti IBT18687, Penicillium expansum IDM/FS2,Endomyces fibuliger IBT605 and IDM3812, Aspergillus niger FTDC3227 and IDM1, Aspergillus flavus FTDC3226,Monilia sitophila IDM/FS5, and Fusarium graminearum IDM623. The nonconcentrated culture filtrate ofL. plantarum 21B grown in whole wheat flour hydrolysate had similar inhibitory activity. The activity was fungicidal. Calcium propionate at 3 mg ml−1 was not effective under the same assay conditions, while sodium benzoate caused inhibition similar toL. plantarum 21B. After extraction with ethyl acetate, preparative silica gel thin-layer chromatography, and chromatographic and spectroscopic analyses, novel antifungal compounds such as phenyllactic and 4-hydroxy-phenyllactic acids were identified in the culture filtrate of L. plantarum 21B. Phenyllactic acid was contained at the highest concentration in the bacterial culture filtrate and had the highest activity. It inhibited all the fungi tested at a concentration of 50 mg ml−1 except forP. roqueforti IBT18687 and P. corylophilumIBT6978 (inhibitory concentration, 166 mg ml−1). L. plantarum 20B, which showed high antimold activity, was also selected. Preliminary studies showed that phenyllactic and 4-hydroxy-phenyllactic acids were also contained in the bacterial culture filtrate of strain 20B. Growth of A. niger FTDC3227 occurred after 2 days in breads started with Saccharomyces cerevisiae 141 alone or with S. cerevisiae andLactobacillus brevis 1D, an unselected but acidifying lactic acid bacterium, while the onset of fungal growth was delayed for 7 days in bread started with S. cerevisiae and selectedL. plantarum 21B.

Source: Lavermicocca, Paola, et al. “Purification and characterization of novel antifungal compounds from the sourdough Lactobacillus plantarum strain 21B.” Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 66.9 (2000): 4084-4090.

Lactobacillus Rhamnosus

Lactobacillus Bacteremia during a Rapid Increase in Probiotic Use of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG in Finland *


Lactobacilli supposedly have low pathogenicity; they are seldom detected in blood culture. Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, which originates indigenously in the human intestine, became available for use as a probiotic in 1990 in Finland. We evaluated the possible effects of the increased probiotic use of L. rhamnosus GG on the occurrence of bacteremia due to lactobacilli. Lactobacilli were isolated in 0.02% of all blood cultures and 0.2% of all blood cultures with positive results in Helsinki University Central Hospital and in Finland as a whole, and no trends were seen that suggested an increase in Lactobacillus bacteremia. The average incidence was 0.3 cases/100,000 inhabitants/year in 1995–2000 in Finland. Identification to the species level was done for 66 cases of Lactobacillus bacteremia, and 48 isolates were confirmed to be Lactobacillus strains. Twenty-six of these strains were L. rhamnosus, and 11 isolates were identical to L. rhamnosus GG. The results indicate that increased probiotic use of L. rhamnosus GG has not led to an increase in Lactobacillus bacteremia.

Source: Salminen, Minna K., et al. “Lactobacillus bacteremia during a rapid increase in probiotic use of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG in Finland.” Clinical infectious diseases 35.10 (2002): 1155-1160.

Bidobacterium Lactis

Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis 420 for Metabolic Health: Review of the Research *


The growing worldwide epidemic of obesity and associated metabolic health comorbidities has resulted in an urgent need for safe and efficient nutritional solutions. The research linking obesity with gut microbiota dysbiosis has led to a hypothesis that certain bacterial strains could serve as probiotics helping in weight management and metabolic health. In the search for such strains, the effect of Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis 420 (B420) on gut microbiota and metabolic health, and the mechanisms of actions, has been investigated in a variety of in vitro, pre-clinical, and clinical studies. In this review, we aim to highlight the research on B420 related to obesity, metabolic health, and the microbiota. Current research supports the hypothesis that gut dysbiosis leads to an imbalance in the inflammatory processes and loss of epithelial integrity. Bacterial components, like endotoxins, that leak out of the gut can invoke low-grade, chronic, and systemic inflammation. This imbalanced state is often referred to as metabolic endotoxemia. Scientific evidence indicates that B420 can slow down many of these detrimental processes via multiple signaling pathways, as supported by mechanistic in vitro and in vivo studies. We discuss the connection of these mechanisms to clinical evidence on the effect of B420 in controlling weight gain in overweight and obese subjects. The research further indicates that B420 may improve the epithelial integrity by rebalancing a dysbiotic state induced by an obesogenic diet, for example by increasing the prevalence of lean phenotype microbes such as Akkermansia muciniphila. We further discuss, in the context of delivering the health benefits of B420: the safety and technological aspects of the strain including genomic characterization, antibiotic resistance profiling, stability in the product, and survival of the live probiotic in the intestine. In summary, we conclude that the clinical and preclinical studies on metabolic health suggest that B420 may be a potential candidate in combating obesity; however, further clinical studies are needed.

Source: Henna-marie Uusitupa, Pia Rasinkangas, Markus J. Lehtinen, Sanna M. Makela, Kaisa Airaksinsen, Heli Anglenius, Arthur C. Ouwehand, Johanna Maukonen. “Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis 420 for Metabolic Health: Review of the Research” Nutrients (2020):12(4): 892.

Bifidobacterium Bifidum

Carbohydrate metabolism in Bifidobacteria *


Members of the genus Bifidobacterium can be found as components of the gastrointestinal microbiota, and are believed to play an important role in maintaining and promoting human health by eliciting a number of beneficial properties. Bifidobacteria can utilize a diverse range of dietary carbohydrates that escape degradation in the upper parts of the intestine, many of which are plant-derived oligo- and polysaccharides. The gene content of a bifidobacterial genome reflects this apparent metabolic adaptation to a complex carbohydrate-rich gastrointestinal tract environment as it encodes a large number of predicted carbohydrate-modifying enzymes. Different bifidobacterial strains may possess different carbohydrate utilizing abilities, as established by a number of studies reviewed here. Carbohydrate-degrading activities described for bifidobacteria and their relevance to the deliberate enhancement of number and/or activity of bifidobacteria in the gut are also discussed in this review.

Source: Karina Pokusaeva, Gerald F. Fitzgerald, Douwe van Sinderen. “Carbohydrate metabolism in Bifidobacteria” Genes and Nutrition (2011): 6(3): 285–306.

Lactobacillus Reuteri and Lactobacillus fermentum

Antiobesity effect of Lactobacillus reuteri 263 associated with energy metabolism remodeling of white adipose tissue in high-energy-diet-fed rats *


Obesity is a serious and costly issue to the medical welfare worldwide. Probiotics have been suggested as one of the candidates to resolve the obesity-associated problems, but how they combat obesity is not fully understood. Herein, we investigated the effects of Lactobacillus reuteri 263 (L. reuteri 263) on antiobesity using four groups of Sprague–Dawley rats (n=10/group), namely, C (normal diet with vehicle treatment), HE [high-energy diet (HED) with vehicle treatment], 1X (HED with 2.1×109 CFU/kg/day of L. reuteri 263) and 5X (HED with 1.05×1010 CFU/kg/day of L. reuteri 263), for 8 weeks. L. reuteri 263 improved the phenomenon of obesity, serum levels of proinflammatory factors and antioxidant enzymes. More importantly, L. reuteri 263 increased oxygen consumption in white adipose tissue (WAT). The mRNA expressions of thermogenesis genes uncoupling protein-1, uncoupling protein-3, carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1 and cell death-inducing DFFA-like effector-a were up-regulated in WAT of the 5X group. Moreover, L. reuteri 263 might induce browning of WAT due to the higher mRNA levels of browning-related genes peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ, PR domain containing-16, Pparγ coactivator-1α, bone morphogenetic protein-7 and fibroblast growth factor-21 in the 1X and 5X groups compared to the HE group. Finally, L. reuteri 263 altered the expressions of genes involved in glucose and lipid metabolisms in WAT, including increasing the levels of glucose transporter type 4 and carbohydrate-responsive element-binding protein and decreasing the expression of Acetyl-CoA carboxylase-1. The results suggest that L. reuteri 263 may treat obesity through energy metabolism remodeling of WAT in the high-energy-diet-induced obese rats.

Source: Li-Han Chen, Yi-Hsing Chen, Kuan-Chen Cheng, Ting-Yi Chien, Ching-Hung Chan, Shu-PingTsao, Hui-YuHuang. “Antiobesity effect of Lactobacillus reuteri 263 associated with energy metabolism remodeling of white adipose tissue in high-energy-diet-fed rats” The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry (2018): Volume 54, 87-94.

Role of Lactobacillus reuteri in Human Health and Diseases *


Lactobacillus reuteri (L. reuteri) is a well-studied probiotic bacterium that can colonize a large number of mammals. In humans, L. reuteri is found in different body sites, including the gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract, skin, and breast milk. The abundance of L. reuteri varies among different individuals. Several beneficial effects of L. reuteri have been noted. First, L. reuteri can produce antimicrobial molecules, such as organic acids, ethanol, and reuterin. Due to its antimicrobial activity, L. reuteri is able to inhibit the colonization of pathogenic microbes and remodel the commensal microbiota composition in the host. Second, L. reuteri can benefit the host immune system. For instance, some L. reuteri strains can reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines while promoting regulatory T cell development and function. Third, bearing the ability to strengthen the intestinal barrier, the colonization of L. reuteri may decrease the microbial translocation from the gut lumen to the tissues. Microbial translocation across the intestinal epithelium has been hypothesized as an initiator of inflammation. Therefore, inflammatory diseases, including those located in the gut as well as in remote tissues, may be ameliorated by increasing the colonization of L. reuteri. Notably, the decrease in the abundance of L. reuteri in humans in the past decades is correlated with an increase in the incidences of inflammatory diseases over the same period of time. Direct supplementation or prebiotic modulation of L. reuteri may be an attractive preventive and/or therapeutic avenue against inflammatory diseases.

Source: Qinghui Mu, Vincent J. Tavella, Xin M. Luo. “Role of Lactobacillus reuteri in Human Health and Diseases” Frontiers in Microbiology (2018): 9: 757.

Comparative Genome Analysis of Lactobacillus reuteri and Lactobacillus fermentum Reveal a Genomic Island for Reuterin and Cobalamin Production *


Lactobacillus reuteri is a heterofermentative lactic acid bacterium that naturally inhabits the gut of humans and other animals. The probiotic effects of L. reuteri have been proposed to be largely associated with the production of the broad-spectrum antimicrobial compound reuterin during anaerobic metabolism of glycerol. We determined the complete genome sequences of the reuterin-producing L. reuteri JCM 1112T and its closely related species Lactobacillus fermentum IFO 3956. Both are in the same phylogenetic group within the genus Lactobacillus. Comparative genome analysis revealed that L. reuteri JCM 1112T has a unique cluster of 58 genes for the biosynthesis of reuterin and cobalamin (vitamin B12). The 58-gene cluster has a lower GC content and is apparently inserted into the conserved region, suggesting that the cluster represents a genomic island acquired from an anomalous source. Two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance (2D-NMR) with 13C3-glycerol demonstrated that L. reuteri JCM 1112T could convert glycerol to reuterin in vivo, substantiating the potential of L. reuteri JCM 1112T to produce reuterin in the intestine. Given that glycerol is shown to be naturally present in feces, the acquired ability to produce reuterin and cobalamin is an adaptive evolutionary response that likely contributes to the probiotic properties of L. reuteri.

Source: Morita, Hidetoshi, et al. “Comparative genome analysis of Lactobacillus reuteri and Lactobacillus fermentum reveal a genomic island for reuterin and cobalamin production.” DNA research 15.3 (2008): 151-161.

Production of a Broad Spectrum Antimicrobial Substance by Lactobacillus reuteri *


Lactobacillus reuteri resides in the gastrointestinal tract of humans, swine, poultry, and other animals. Resting cells of this species convert glycerol into a potent, broad-spectrum antimicrobial substance termed reuterin. Reuterin is a low molecular weight, neutral, water soluble compound, capable of inhibiting growth of species representing all bacterial genera tested thus far, including Escherichia, Salmonella, Shigella, Proteus, Pseudomonas, Clostridium and Staphylococcus. Also affected, but to a lesser degree, are lactic acid bacteria belonging to the genera Streptococcus, Pediococcus, Leuconostoc, and Lactobacillus. In this report, we describe a method to screen lactobacilli for the production of unique antimicrobial substances and the discovery of reuterin.

Source: Axelsson, L. T., et al. “Production of a broad spectrum antimicrobial substance by Lactobacillus reuteri.” Microbial ecology in health and disease 2.2 (1989): 131-136.

Bidobacterium Longum

Carbohydrate metabolism in Bifidobacteria *


Members of the genus Bifidobacterium can be found as components of the gastrointestinal microbiota, and are believed to play an important role in maintaining and promoting human health by eliciting a number of beneficial properties. Bifidobacteria can utilize a diverse range of dietary carbohydrates that escape degradation in the upper parts of the intestine, many of which are plant-derived oligo- and polysaccharides. The gene content of a bifidobacterial genome reflects this apparent metabolic adaptation to a complex carbohydrate-rich gastrointestinal tract environment as it encodes a large number of predicted carbohydrate-modifying enzymes. Different bifidobacterial strains may possess different carbohydrate utilizing abilities, as established by a number of studies reviewed here. Carbohydrate-degrading activities described for bifidobacteria and their relevance to the deliberate enhancement of number and/or activity of bifidobacteria in the gut are also discussed in this review.

Source: Karina Pokusaeva, Gerald F. Fitzgerald, Douwe van Sinderen. “Carbohydrate metabolism in Bifidobacteria” Genes Nutrition (2011): 6(3): 285–306.

The genome sequence of Bifidobacterium longum reflects its adaptation to the human gastrointestinal tract *


Bifidobacteria are Gram-positive prokaryotes that naturally colonize the human gastrointestinal tract (GIT) and vagina. Although not numerically dominant in the complex intestinal microflora, they are considered as key commensals that promote a healthy GIT. We determined the 2.26-Mb genome sequence of an infant-derived strain of Bifidobacterium longum and identified 1,730 possible coding sequences organized in a 60%–GC circular chromosome. Bioinformatic analysis revealed several physiological traits that could partially explain the successful adaptation of these bacteria to the colon. An unexpectedly large number of the predicted proteins appeared to be specialized for catabolism of a variety of oligosaccharides, some possibly released by rare or novel glycosyl hydrolases acting on “nondigestible” plant polymers or host-derived glycoproteins and glycoconjugates. This ability to scavenge from a large variety of nutrients likely contributes to the competitiveness and persistence of bifidobacteria in the colon. Many genes for oligosaccharide metabolism were found in self-regulated modules that appear to have arisen in part from gene duplication or horizontal acquisition. Complete pathways for all amino acids, nucleotides, and some key vitamins were identified; however, routes for Asp and Cys were atypical. More importantly, genome analysis provided insights into the reciprocal interactions of bifidobacteria with their hosts. We identified polypeptides that showed homology to most major proteins needed for the production of glycoprotein-binding fimbriae, structures that could possibly be important for adhesion and persistence in the GIT. We also found a eukaryotic-type serine protease inhibitor (serpin) possibly involved in the reported immunomodulatory activity of bifidobacteria.

Source: Schell, Mark A., et al. “The genome sequence of Bifidobacterium longum reflects its adaptation to the human gastrointestinal tract.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 99.22 (2002): 14422-14427.

Yoghurt with Bifidobacterium longum reduces erythromycin-induced gastrointestinal effects [1987] *


A double-blind, placebo-controlled study assessed whether yogurts containing viable Bifidobacterium longum, found in the normal human intestinal microflora, could prevent antibiotic-associated gastrointestinal effects in 10 healthy adults given erythromycin (EM). Fecal weight, stool frequency, and abdominal complaints increased when EM was given with placebo, but not when EM was given with the bacteria-containing yogurt, suggesting that such yogurts can reduce antibiotic-induced alterations of the intestinal microflora.

Source: (wz) Colombel, J. F., et al. “Yoghurt with Bifidobacterium longum reduces erythromycin-induced gastrointestinal effects.” The Lancet (USA) (1987).


Effect of Xylooligosaccharide on the Growth of Bifidobacteria *


Xylooligosaccharide was found to have a favorable effect on the human intestinal flora. Xylooligosaccharide was utilized by bifidobacteria, but it was not utilized by Escherichia coli and Clostridium spp. in vitro. In vivo, xylooligosaccharide (5 g/day) promoted the growth of bifidobacteria, lowered fecal pH and helped to maintain the fecal water content within a normal range. These results showed that xylooligosaccharide can selectively promote the growth of bifidobacteria and help to establish favorable environmental conditions in the intestines.

Source: Okazaki, Masako, Shigeaki Fujikawa, Nobuya Matsumoto. “Effect of xylooligosaccharide on the growth of bifidobacteria.” Bifidobacteria and Microflora 9.2 (1990): 77-86.

Plant-Derived Prebiotics and Its Health Benefits *



Human gut microbiiota is known to influence and modulate human physiology and health. Probiotic organisms perform several functions to protect and promote human health. Prebiotics are supplements or foods that contain specific nondigestible nutrients that encourages or specific probiotic stimulate bacteria for its growth and activities. The prebiotics may be consumed in the form of raw products in food or as functional foods and pharmaceutical preparations. The most common types of prebiotics include dietary prebiotics that impact human health through various mechanisms such as positive effect on gut microbiota, inhibition of carcinogen toxicity, immune modulation, pathogen inhibition, and nutrient absorption. The clinical trials on prebiotics on human health have been demonstrated and found to exert positive impact. In this chapter, we aimed to provide a brief and updated review of literature on above aspects including extraintestinal effects on human health and its future prospect.

Source: Abdullah Safar Althubiani, Saleh Bakheet Al Ghamdi Samreen, Faizan Abul Qais, Mohammad Shavez Khan, Iqbal Ahmad, Hesham A. Malak. “Plant-Derived Prebiotics and Its Health Benefits” New Look to Phytomedicine (2019): 63-88.