Archive for November, 2011

Initiating therapy with second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) in children and adolescents has been linked to an increased risk of developing diabetes within 1 year

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Initiating therapy with second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) in children and adolescents has been linked to an increased risk of developing diabetes within 1 year, new research suggests.

A large retrospective study shows previously SGA-naive children and youth may have up to a 4-fold increased rate of incident diabetes mellitus (DM) compared with children not using any psychotropic medications.

“We found an increased incidence of diabetes among children within the first year after initiation of SGA therapy, compared with children who were not using any psychotropic medications. This finding persisted when the incidences of both diabetes and abnormal glucose laboratory values were evaluated,” the researchers write.

However, the study showed no difference in DM rates in children and adolescents taking SGAs and their counterparts initiating therapy with antidepressant medications.

With lead author Susan E. Andrade, ScD, the study was published online November 21 in Pediatrics.

The side effects of the new second-generation antipsychotic medicines vary these medicines are prescribed for conditions such as schizophrenia

Side effects that all these medicines may have include:

  • Feeling sleepy or tired.
  • Gaining weight.
  • Developing high cholesterol
  • Developing high blood sugar

The makers of Risperdal, seroqual , and zyprexa have warned that high blood sugar or type 2 diabetes may be more likely in people who are taking these medicines.

Omega 3 fish oil and the effect it has on oxidative stress / damage on the brain

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

The aims of this study are to investigate the contribution effect of oxidative stress in MK-801-induced experimental psychosis model, and to show that prevention of oxidative stress may improve prognosis.MK-802 is also known as Dizocilpine and is a non competitive antagonist of the  NMDA receptor – a Glutamate receptor . Glutamate is the most common neurotransmitter in the brain and it is always exitatory. Inhibition of NMDA activity (and LTP) is believed to be an important part of the way ethanol affects the brain .

Because oxidative damage has been suggested in the neuropathophysiology of schizophrenia, the possible protecting agents against lipid peroxidation are potential target for the studies in this field. For this purpose, Wistar Albino rats were divided into three groups: the first group was used as control, MK-801 was given to the rats in the second group and MK-801+omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFA) was given to the third group. MK-801 was given intraperitoneally at the dose of 0.5mg/(kgday) once a day for 5 days in experimental psychosis group. In the second group, 0.8g/(kgday), omega-3 FA (eicosapentaenoic acid, 18%, docosahexaenoic acid, 12%) was given to the rats while exposed MK-801. In control group, saline was given intraperitoneally at the same time. After 7 days, rats were killed by decapitation. Prefrontal brain area was removed for histological and biochemical analyses. As a result, malondialdehyde (MDA), as an indicator of lipid peroxidation, protein carbonyl (PC), as an indicator of protein oxidation, nitric oxide (NO) levels and superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activities as antioxidant enzymes, and xanthine oxidase (XO) and adenosine deaminase (AD) activities as an indicator of DNA oxidation was found to be increased significantly in prefrontal cortex (PFC) of MK-801 group (P<0.0001) compared to control group. In omega-3 FA treated rats, prefrontal tissue MDA, PC and NO levels as well as SOD, GSH-Px, XO, and AD enzyme activities were significantly decreased when compared to MK-801 groups (P<0.0001) whereas catalase (CAT) enzyme activity was not changed. Moreover, in the light of microscopic examination of MK-801 groups, a great number of apoptotic cells were observed. omega-3 FA supplementation decreased the apoptotic cell count in PFC. The results of this study revealed that oxidative stress and apoptotic changes in PFC may play an important role in the pathogenesis of MK-801-induced neuronal toxicity. This experimental study also provides some evidences for the protective effects of omega-3 FA on MK-801-induced changes in PFC of rats.

Eczema and omega3 fish oil

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is a group of skin conditions that causes dry, itchy inflammation of the skin
Symptoms of eczema are usually worse with stress . Basically eczema is a pro inflammatory condition and omega3 specifically EPA is the most powerful natural anti inflammatory and works at a cellular level Omega 3 fish oil EPA is the key omega3 for the treatment of stress related disorders as research has shown* – Flax, Borage, and Primrose are also good sources of EFA’s, but are not as powerful as fish oils for healing skin conditions

It’s an interesting fact that the number of people suffering from eczema and allergies in general has been rising steadily over the past few decades and although there are a number of theories as to why this might be, no one really knows for sure. Some researchers reckon that as the increasing number of eczema sufferers coincides with a general decline in fish consumption, then this might play a significant role.
Omega-3 deficiency and inflammatory skin disease
A dietary deficit in essential fatty acid consumption can lead to several negative characteristics and conditions in our skin. Deficits have been shown to lead to dysfunction’s in inflammatory responding, cellular signalling and have led to several clinical disorders such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and even acne (Wright, 1989).

Omega-3 fish oil and skin health

The physiological changes and various characteristics of essential fatty acid (EFA) deficit with respect to our skin are numerous. Deficits have been shown to lead to dysfunction’s in the skin barrier, inflammatory responding, and cellular signalling. Several clinical disorders such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and acne have also been linked to EFA deficits (Wright, 1989). Furthermore, new and exciting research suggests that increasing dietary EFAs rejuvenates the look of our skin and can prevent both chronological and sun-damage induced signs of ageing.

A diet rich in omega-3 can help eczema sufferers reduce the severity of their symptoms, according to research.Patients with the most common atopic, or allergic, form of eczema given high concentration purified fish oil supplements cut their symptoms by almost a fifth.The richest sources of omega-3 are oily fish, particularly mackerel, herring, salmon, fresh tuna and trout or by taking TakeOmega3 which has an unbeatable 750mg EPA per capsule and 50mg DHA with almost 90% concentrate. Humans evolved eating a diet with a lot more omega-3 essential fatty acids than we get from the diet we eat today – today processed and fast foods offer low levels of omega 3 essential fatty acids. Because omega-3s help the body manufacture some important anti-inflammatory hormones, continually falling short could contribute to conditions related to chronic inflammation Symptoms of a severe deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids can be dry skin, hair loss, and an impaired immune system.

A study conducted by Kim et al (2006) discovered that EPA not only prevents UV induced skin ageing but that EPA also rejuvenates the skin. They discovered that EPA administration to sun exposed skin caused an increase in the expression of extra-cellular matrix proteins, such as pro-collagen, tropoelastin, and fibrillin-1 by increasing transformin growth factor-b (TGF-b). An increase in such proteins rebuilds the skin and improves its appearance.

Daily supplements of the omega-3 fatty acid may improve symptoms of eczema, according to research.
Measures of eczema improved by about 23 per cent over eight weeks after consuming the omega 3 fish oil supplements, and this was associated with significant reductions in levels of markers of inflammation, according to results published in the British Journal of Dermatology.
Fish oil and Eczema
In 1984 Manku et al. conducted a study which assessed the relationship between omega-3 fatty acids and eczema. They measured the essential fatty acids found in the plasma phospholipids of adults with atopic eczema and compared them to the results of healthy controls. Alpha-linolenic acid, a short chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid was slightly elevated, while eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, the longer chain omega-3 metabolites were significantly reduced. These results suggested that atopic eczema involves abnormal metabolism of omega-3 fatty acids via the enzyme delta-6-desaturase (Manku et al., 1984). Such a hypothesis is strengthened by the fact that our skin lacks the ability to desaturate the shorter chain fatty acids, such as the conversion of linoleic acid into gamma linoleic acid. The epidermis does however have an elevated level of enzymes involved in the elongation of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (Ziboh, 1994). This suggests that dietary supplementation with EPA and DHA from fish oil could improve symptomology in patients with eczema because they do not rely on the enzyme delta-6-desaturase.

The occurrence of eczema and food allergies was 16 and 13 per cent lower, respectively, in infants of mothers receiving the fish oil supplements during pregnancy and the early months of breast-feeding, compared to placebo, according to findings published in the journal Acta Paediatrica.

“This randomized placebo-controlled double-blind study shows that omega 3 fish oil EPA and DHA supplementation during pregnancy and lactation may reduce the risk of developing allergic sensitization to egg, IgE-associated eczema and food allergy during the first year of life,” wrote the authors, led by Catrin Furuhjelm from Linkoping University Sweden

Immunoglobulin E (IgE) is the predominant antibody associated with an allergic response.

The new study adds to the ever-growing list of studies supporting the potential health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA(eicosapentaenoic acid) andDHA Much of its healthy reputation that is seeping into consumer consciousness is based largely on evidence that it can aid cognitive function and may help protect the heart against cardiovascular disease.

Omega-3 fish oil As Possible Therapeutic Agent In Breast & Prostate Cancers

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Omega-3FA As Possible Therapeutic Agents In Breast & Prostate Cancers

Brown I, Wahle KW, Cascio MG, et al. Omega-3 N-acylethanolamines are endogenously synthesised from omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil ) in different human prostate and breast cancer cell lines. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2011 Oct 11.

Omega-3  fatty acids (fish oil ) inhibit breast and prostate cancer cell growth.

We previously showed that N-acylethanolamine derivatives of n-3 (n-3-NAE) are endocannabinoids, which regulate cancer cell proliferation. These n-3-NAE are synthesised in certain cells/tissues, after supplementing with omega 3 essential fatty acids found in fish oil , however, no one has assessed whether and to what extent this occurs in cancer cells.

We determined levels of endogenous n-3-NAEs in hormone sensitive and insensitive prostate and breast cancer cells and subsequent effects on other endocannabinoids (anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol), before and after supplementing with DHA and EPA fatty acids which are the active ingredient of fish oil , using HPLC tandem mass spectrometry.

This is the first study reporting that omega 3 -NAEs are synthesised from their parent omega 3  fatty acids in cancer cells, regardless of tumour type, hormone status or the presence of fatty acid amide hydrolase.

This could have important implications for the use of omega 3  fatty acids ( fish oil ) as therapeutic agents in breast and prostate cancers expressing cannabinoid receptors.

Omega 3 fish oil supplementation slows growth of prostate cancer cells

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

A low-fat diet with fish oil supplements eaten for four to six weeks prior to prostate removal slowed down the growth of prostate cancer cells — the number of rapidly dividing cells in human prostate cancer tissue compared to a traditional, high-fat Western diet.

Done by researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, the short-term study also found that the men on the low-fat, fish oil supplement diet were able to change the composition of their cell membranes in both the healthy cells and the cancer cells in the prostate.

They had increased levels of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil and decreased levels of omega-6 fatty acids from corn oil in the cell membranes, which may directly affect the biology of the cells, though further studies are needed, said Dr. William Aronson, the study’s first author and a researcher with UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The study also found that blood obtained from patients after the low-fat, fish oil diet program slowed the growth of prostate cancer cells in a test tube as compared to blood from men on the Western diet, which did not slow cancer growth.

“The finding that the low-fat, fish oil diet reduced the number of rapidly dividing cells in the prostate cancer tissue is important because the rate at which the cells are dividing can be predictive of future cancer progression,” Aronson said. “The lower the rate of proliferation, the lesser the chances that the cancer will spread outside the prostate, where it is much harder to treat.”

The study appeared in Cancer Prevention Research, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

The study, which evaluated blood samples before and after the diet commenced and examined tissue from the removed prostate, validated previous studies by Aronson and others done on cell lines and in animal models.

Aronson said the study using human blood and tissue also proved that the changes prompted by what the men were eating were clearly evident in their prostate tissue – the “treatment” was indeed reaching the targeted organ because of the changes in the prostate cell membrane’s fatty acid composition.

“You truly are what you eat,” said Aronson, a clinical professor of urology, who also serves as chief of urologic oncology at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center. “Based on our animal studies, we were hopeful that we would see the same effects in humans. We are extremely pleased about our findings, which suggest that by altering the diet, we may favorable affect the biology of prostate cancer.”

Aronson measured proliferation, or the rate of prostate cancer cell division, by staining tissue obtained from the radical prostatectomy specimens with an antibody against Ki-67, a protein involved in the cell-cycle progression and growth.

“The percentage of prostate cancer cells that stained for Ki-67 was determined by the pathologist, and this gave us an objective measurement of the percentage of cells that were actively dividing and therefore more aggressive,” said Aronson. “Previous studies found that patients with higher levels of Ki-67 in their prostate cancer tissue were more likely to have their prostate cancer progress to advanced stages, and were more likely to die from their prostate cancer. Thus, we are extremely encouraged by our findings that a low-fat diet with fish oil lowered Ki-67 levels and may have the potential to slow the progression of prostate cancer.”

Diet studies often are difficult to evaluate because getting patients to comply with dietary changes can be challenging. However, the food eaten by men in both arms of this study was precisely controlled, Aronson said.

The meals were prepared by chefs in the UCLA Clinical Translational Research Center and delivered in bulk to study participants several times a week. Participants also met with a dietician, kept food diaries and were required to return uneaten food.

“The key to this study was having the meals prepared and delivered to the study participants,” Aronson said. “This resulted in a very high rate of compliance, making the study very well controlled.”

The Western diet consisted of 40 percent of calories from fat, generally equivalent to what many Americans consume today. The fat sources also were typical of the American diet, and included high levels of omega-6 fatty acids from corn oil and low levels of fish oil that provide omega-3 fatty acids.

The low-fat diet consisted of 15 percent of calories from fat. Additionally, the men on this diet took five grams of fish oil per day in five capsules, three with breakfast and two with dinner, to provide fish oil omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to reduce the incidence of heart disease and fight inflammation, and inflammation has been associated with certain cancers.

“Preclinical studies suggest that lowering dietary omega-6 fatty acids from corn oil and increasing omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil decreases the risk of prostate cancer development and progression,” the study states. “We found this diet intervention resulted in a decrease in omega-6 vs. omega-3 fatty acid ratios in benign and malignant prostate tissue and a decrease in malignant cell proliferation.”

Aronson cautioned that he could not recommend dietary changes based on this study because of its short duration and small sample size. However, based on these results he is organizing a much larger study of 100 men with prostate cancers who have elected active surveillance, meaning they’re not getting any treatment for their disease but are getting regular biopsies and check-ups.

The future study will randomly divide the men into a low-fat, fish oil supplement group and a traditional Western diet group and follow them for a year to evaluate the diet effects on prostate cancer proliferation.

Omega-3 key in reducing diabetes and heart disease

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Omega-3 key in reducing diabetes and heart disease
Omega-3 can help to reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease especially as people age, says Massey University nutrition professor Bernhard Breier, co-author of a new international study.

Professor Breier, who leads an international research team, says omega-3s are especially beneficial for health in ageing because they improve carbohydrate and fat metabolism.

His research found a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids helps to burn metabolic fuels (glucose and fat) better, and can regulate energy storage across different tissues. This is despite genetic factors that predispose some people to gain weight more easily, making them potentially more susceptible to conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

“These findings are important because the ageing process is closely linked with a higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome – a clustering of risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and obesity,” says Professor Breier, Chair of Human Nutrition at the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health at Albany.

He says omega-3 fatty acids have been found to stimulate the process known as the insulin signalling cascade, which improves how blood sugar is used in the body. Researchers from Germany, Australia and New Zealand carried out tests on mice, examining the effects of feeding omega-3 rich diets to two groups with distinct, genetically determined traits to model different body types and metabolic responses of humans. One group developed obesity more easily and the second was a leaner variety.

When scientists measured changes to the metabolic responses, results showed the omega-3 rich diet reduced cholesterol and improved insulin action and fat metabolism in both groups of mice. However, the obesity prone mice responded less well than the leaner variety, drawing attention to genetically determined pathways that contribute to obesity.

Professor Breier says this study has shown for the first time that the insulin signalling cascade becomes more active with dietary omega-3 fatty acids. “The omega-3 fatty acids in our diet can help how energy in our body is used.”

Thousands of studies have been done on the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, with indications it may be beneficial in a range of conditions, from arthritis to heart disease. Professor Breier says this study, published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism, is the first to provide direct evidence of its role in specific metabolic processes of how blood sugar and fat in our bodies are used.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for health but the human body cannot make them, unlike other types of fats. Omega-3s are found in oily fish such as salmon and sardines, as well as walnuts, eggs and flaxseed, and have been shown to help prevent heart disease and stroke as well as playing protective roles for healthy bones and healthy muscle.

The research findings coincide with a recent report from the Ministry of Health’s 2008-2009 diet and nutrition survey, which shows the obesity epidemic in New Zealand has surged in recent years. It reveals 28 per cent of men are obese, compared with 17 per cent at the time of the last survey in 1997. For women, the rate had increased from 21 per cent to 28 per cent. Among Måori, the survey found that 40.7 per cent of men and 48.1 per cent of women were obese.

Professor Breier says the statistics are alarming, and reinforce the need for strong public health programmes to encourage people to eat healthier food and get more exercise to prevent obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Link to Professor Breier’s paper:

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