Volume 1 Number 3 August 2003

 

Research Articles
169 The Effects of a Combination of Panax ginseng, Vitamins and Minerals on Mental Performance, Mood and Physical Fatigue in Nurses Working Night Shifts: A Double-blind, Placebo Controlled Trial
K. WESNES, R. LUTHRINGER, L. AMBROSETTI, C. EDGAR AND O. PETRINI[ABSTRACT]
177 Folic acid Supplementation Increases Serum Paraoxonase Activity: Evidence from a Randomized Double Blind Oral Supplementation Trial in Men
S. VOUTILAINEN, TH RISSANEN, JK VIRTANEN, E PORKKALA-SARATAHO, J KAIKKONEN, K SEPP€NEN, T-P TUOMAINEN, T LEHTIM€KI, R RONTU, P H€MELAHTI, I PENTTIL€, J MURSU AND JT SALONEN[ABSTRACT]
Review Articles
185 Dietary Antioxidants Stimulate the Expression of Paraoxonases Which Provide Protection Against Atherosclerosis Development
MICAHEL AVIRAM[ABSTRACT]
193 Huperzine A: An Alkaloid with Nootropic and Neuroprotective Properties
ANDREA ZANGARA[ABSTRACT]
203 Phytoestrogens and Cognitive performance: A Review of the evidence
CLAIRE E. HILL AND LOUISE DYE[ABSTRACT]
213 Health Claims and Scientific Substantiation of Functional Foods Š Japanese System Aiming the Global Standard
TOSHIO SHIMIZU[ABSTRACT]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current Topics in Nutraceutical Research, Volume 1, Number 3, pp. 169-176 (2003)

The Effects of a Combination of Panax ginseng, Vitamins and Minerals on Mental Performance, Mood and Physical Fatigue in Nurses Working Night Shifts: A Double-blind, Placebo Controlled Trial
K. WESNES, R. LUTHRINGER, L. AMBROSETTI, C. EDGAR AND O. PETRINI
ABSTRACT: The present study investigated the usefulness of a combination of Panax ginseng, vitamins and minerals in reducing fatigue-induced deficits to cognitive function and mood. A shift-work model was developed in which nurses were repeatedly evaluated on a variety of cognitive tests and questionnaires immediately prior to undertaking a three-night shift and then again immediately afterwards. On the day before the shift thirty nurses performed a selection of tests from the Cognitive Drug Research (CDR) computerised assessment system, as well as Bond-Lader mood and alertness scales at 0800, 1200, 1400 and 1600 hours. They also completed the Chalder fatigue scale once during this time. On the day immediately following the three-night shift, they returned directly to the laboratory and underwent an identical schedule of testing. The nurses were then assigned randomly to receive either the combination or placebo for the next twelve weeks in a double-blind, parallel group design. The shift model was then repeated six and twelve weeks later using exactly the same schedule of assessments. To confirm that the shift model was effective in impairing cognitive function and inducing fatigue, the data for the shift model run prior to randomisation were initially evaluated. The three-day shift resulted in significant declines in both speed and accuracy of attention, and the ability to store and retrieve information from memory. Deficits to self-rated calmness and contentment were also identified. In addition, increased levels of fatigue were seen on the Chalder fatigue scale. This shift-induced deficit was then used as the major study outcome. The pre-study deficit was used as a baseline, and the deficits measured at weeks 6 and 12 were adjusted to form 'change from baseline shift deficits'. These adjusted scores were then contrasted between the two groups at six and twelve weeks. On the performance assessments, it was found that the combination reduced the deficits resulting from the three-day shift on the Quality of Memory, these effects being significant at the first three time assessments at week 12. The combination also significantly reduced the self-reported decline in calmness at the end of the measurement session at weeks 6 and 12. Further, the combination helped to reduce the increase in self-reported fatigue as assessed by the Chalder fatigue scale. The results suggest that a combination of Ginseng, vitamins and minerals is useful in counteracting not only self-reported increases in fatigue and decreases in calmness resulting from shift-work but also deficits on objective tests of the ability to store and retrieve information in memory.

 

 

 

 

Current Topics in Nutraceutical Research, Volume 1, Number 3, pp. 177-184 (2003)
Folic acid Supplementation Increases Serum Paraoxonase Activity: Evidence from a Randomized Double Blind Oral Supplementation Trial in Men
S. VOUTILAINEN, TH RISSANEN, JK VIRTANEN, E PORKKALA-SARATAHO, J KAIKKONEN, K SEPP€NEN, T-P TUOMAINEN, T LEHTIM€KI, R RONTU, P H€MELAHTI, I PENTTIL€, J MURSU AND JT SALONEN

ABSTRACT: Recent studies suggest that the human serum paraoxonase, antioxidative enzyme in high-density lipoproteins that eliminates radicals in the circulation, protects against atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. As paraoxonase in one of the key enzymes in homocysteine metabolism, our aim was to examine the effect of oral folic acid supplementation on serum paraoxonase activity in a placebo controlled double blind folic acid supplementation trial. Forty healthy voluntary men aged 19-36 years were randomized to receive either 300 mg of folic acid or placebo three times a day for 12 wk. Laboratory analyses were measured before and after supplementation. The greater the increase of erythrocyte folate concentration the larger the elevation of serum paraoxonase activity during the study period (correlation 0.36, P = 0.023). A rise in serum paraoxonase activity was also associated with a reduction in plasma total homocysteine concentration (correlation -0.25, P = 0.121). In a linear regression model the non-genetic variables with the strongest associations with the change in serum paraoxonase activity were the change in erythrocyte folate concentration (standardized coefficient 0.42, P = 0.009), and age (0.27, P = 0.086). Our results indicate that folic acid supplementation can elevate serum paraoxonase activity. This could be a novel mechanism through which folic acid can protect against coronary heart disease.

 

 

 

Current Topics in Nutraceutical Research, Volume 1, Number 3, pp. 185-192 (2003)

Dietary Antioxidants Stimulate the Expression of Paraoxonases Which Provide Protection Against Atherosclerosis Development
MICAHEL AVIRAM

ABSTRACT: Dietary antioxidants can act both as a first line of defense against lipid peroxidation in lipoproteins and in arterial cells (including macrophage foam cells). A second line of defense by antioxidants is related to stimulation of paraoxonases (PONs), enzymes which increase the hydrolysis of atherogenic oxidized lipids in the arterial wall cells and lipoproteins, and in this way can attenuate the development of atherosclerosis. The paraoxonase (PON) gene family includes three members: i.e. PON 1, PON2 and PON3. PON2, unlike PON1 and PON3, is present only cellularly, but not in the circulation. Human serum paraoxonase 1 (PON1) and PON 3 are both physically associated with high density lipoprotein (HDL). The activity of PON1 was shown to be inversely associated with the risk for atherosclerosis development and this phenomenon maybe related to the ability of PON 1 to protect lipids in LDL, HDL and arterial cells against oxidation, secondary to its hydrolytic action on specific oxidized lipids. The mechanisms for the inhibition of oxidative stress and for the attenuation of atherosclerosis development by specific flavonoids antioxidants, as well as by paraoxonases, are studied in our laboratory by molecular and cellular biology techniques , using various macrophage cell lines, transgenic and knockout mice (apolipoprotein E¼ , PON1¼), and atherosclerotic patients. As macrophage foam cell formation, the hallmark of early atherogenesis, is increased under oxidative stress, we questioned the effect of PON1 on macrophage oxidative state, on macrophage foam cell formation and on atherosclerosis development. PON1 was shown to hydrolyze lipid peroxides not only in serum, lipoproteins, but also in macrophages, resulting in a significant reduced macrophage-mediated oxidation of LDL. In PON1- deficient mice, a significant increased oxidative stress was found in serum, as well as in their macrophages, accompanied by increased progression of atherosclerotic lesion formation.PON1 ability to protect LDL against oxidation was accompanied by inactivation of the enzyme. Dietary antioxidants, such as vitamin E, but mainly specific polyphenolic flavonoids found in pomegranate juice (tannins, anthocyannins), red wine (quercetin) or licorice root (glabridin), preserved or even increased serum PON 1 activity. Like serum PON 1, macrophage PON3 (but not PON2) was also shown to be inactivated under oxidative stress. Supplemenation of dietary antioxidants such as vitamin E or pomegranate juice to atherosclerotic mice significantly increased (by 23-40%) macrophage PON 3 activity.

 

 

 

Current Topics in Nutraceutical Research, Volume 1, Number 3, pp. 193-202 (2003)

Huperzine A: An Alkaloid with Nootropic and Neuroprotective Properties
ANDREA ZANGARA

Abstract: Huperzine a (hupa) is extracted from a club moss (huperzia serrata) which has been used in Chinese folk medicine for centuries as a traditional remedy for swelling, fever and blood problems. It is a sesquiterpene alkaloid and a powerful and reversible inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase, and has exhibited memory-enhancing and neuroprotective properties in animals and humans with very low toxicity. Double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials in patients with alzheimerÕs disease (ad) showed improvements both to cognitive function and quality of life. Most of the clinical trials are from china, but ad is a major concern in the west and the potential utility of hupa and its derivatives is therefore increasingly recognised here. In animal studies hupa demonstrated additional pharmacological actions: it can be used as a protective agent against organophosphate intoxication, thus against chemical weapons, and reduces the glutamate-induced cell death observed in many neurodegenerative diseases.

 

 

 

 

Current Topics in Nutraceutical Research, Volume 1, Number 3, pp. 203-212 (2003)

Phytoestrogens and Cognitive performance: A Review of the evidence
CLAIRE E. HILL AND LOUISE DYE

ABSTRACT: In recent years there has been increasing interest in the health benefits of phytoestrogens, plant compounds, especially abundant in soy. Phytoestrogens have a similar chemical structure to endogenous oestrogen and are able to exert both estrogenic and antioestrogenic effects. Epidemiological evidence and clinical trials have established that a diet rich in phytoestrogens can lower the incidence of cardiovascular disease, hormone dependent cancers and osteoporosis. What is less clear is how cognitive functioning may be influenced. Phytoestrogens have the potential to influence cognition through processes operating at both central (neuronal impact) and peripheral (estrogenic activity) levels. Evidence to suggest that phytoestrogens facilitate neurobehavioral actions comes from both animal and human studies. Although the literature is sparse, these studies indicate that gender and menopausal status are important mediators in the cognitive benefits proffered. This paper reviews the current evidence on the extent to which phytoestrogens may affect mental performance and explores potential mechanisms of action for cognition.

 

 

 

 

Current Topics in Nutraceutical Research, Volume 1, Number 3, pp. 213-224 (2003)

Health Claims and Scientific Substantiation of Functional Foods Š Japanese System Aiming the Global Standard
TOSHIO SHIMIZU

ABSTRACT: Health claims should always be substantiated scientifically and be in harmony with global international standards. The evaluation and approval system for health claims should be regulated by an independent organization. The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (MHLW) established a regulatory system of "Foods for Specified Health Use (FOSHU)" in 1991. Its goal is to evaluate the physiological functionality of foods and to provide, when appropriate, FOSHU approval for product-specific health claims. The Enhanced Functional Claims and the Disease Risk Reduction Claims were proposed by both the Codex and EU project in 1999. The Structure/Function Claims were expressed in the Dietary Supplement Health Education Act in the US in 1994. Both FOSHU and Structure/Function Claims are similar to the Enhanced Function Claims.The Nutrient Function Claim was included in the guidelines for use of nutrition claims, which was adopted by the Codex in 1997. The generic claims primarily include nutrient function claims based on well-established, generally accepted knowledge and could be standardized without specific, individual substantiation. Innovative claims such as enhanced function claims or structure/function claims, however, should be evaluated individually by independent experts in order to protect consumers from false or misleading descriptions. For this scientific substantiation, in addition to animal studies and in vitro studies, we also need human intervention studies.