Zinc supplementation in the treatment of anorexia nervosa.
Revista da Associacao Medica Brasileira (1992). 2021;59(4):321-4
Effects of Plant-Based Diets on Weight Status: A Systematic Review.
Plain language summary
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a disorder characterised by significant weight loss, restrictive diets, a search for thinness and a distortion of body image. Zinc is a key micronutrient that plays essential roles in the body including in gene transcription regulation and enzyme reactions. There is a similarity between symptoms of zinc deficiency and AN; namely weight loss, changes in appetite and sexual dysfunction. This review aims to provide healthcare professionals with insight into the nutritional recommendations for zinc in patients with AN. The review suggests that there are clinical studies demonstrating a strong association between AN and low levels of serum zinc and low levels of urinary zinc suggesting a micronutrient deficiency in these individuals. The severity of zinc deficiency is associated with greater weight deficits and longer AN duration. It is also associated with higher levels of anxiety and depression in AN individuals. Zinc is key in smell and taste perception and the brain regions associated with interpreting eating as pleasurable. Reduced food intake and practices like purging and low-zinc diets may exacerbate any low levels and impair zinc absorption. A controlled study showed that oral supplementation resulted in a higher rate of body mass index (BMI) increase and an improvement in neurotransmitters. The review recommends: 1. Check serum levels of zinc in AN patients as it may be low. Zinc status may contribute to eating behaviour including gaining pleasure from eating, smell and taste. 2. Zinc supplementation of 15mg/daily for preventative purposes and 15-20mg/daily if zinc deficiency is identified after testing. The review recommends supplementation for a minimum of 2 months.
Diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity : targets and therapy. 2020;13:3433-3448
Plain language summary
Being overweight or obese is a huge risk factor for many detrimental conditions. It is estimated that around one-third of the world’s population will be overweight or obese by 2025. Hence there is a need to look at dietary strategies in the prevention and treatment of overweight and obesity. Plant-based diets have always existed, however interest in the topic has increased recently and more research is being done on the health-related effects of different plant-based diets. There are many reasons why someone might convert to a plant-based diet, possible health benefits such as weight management are among the most common. The purpose of this review was to evaluate intervention studies assessing the effects of different plant-based diets on body mass index and weight. The results suggest that plant-based diets may improve weight status in some patient groups. It should be noted that only one study out of the 19 included in the review had normal weight, clinically healthy participants. The study populations for the rest were overweight, obese or had type 2 diabetes. Future research should aim to include a representative study population and apply study diets without dietary restrictions.
There is an increasing number of people who convert to a plant-based diet. The desire for health benefits, including weight management, is often a contributing factor behind this dietary choice. The purpose of this review was to evaluate intervention studies assessing the effects of different plant-based diets on body mass index and weight. A literature search was conducted in PubMed until December 2019. Twenty-two publications from 19 studies were included. The majority of them were randomized controlled trials comparing a low-fat vegan diet to an omnivore diet in participants with overweight, type 2 diabetes mellitus and/or cardiovascular disease. All studies reported weight reductions, of which seven revealed significant differences, and four revealed non-significant differences between the intervention and the control groups. The results suggest that plant-based diets may improve weight status in some patient groups. Due to restrictions in fat intake in many studies, followed by reduced energy intake, the effects of the different interventions differ depending on the specific plant-based diets investigated. Future research should aim to include a representative study population and apply study diets without dietary restrictions.
Coping behaviors associated with decreased anxiety and depressive symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.
Journal of affective disorders. 2020;275:80-81
Plain language summary
Worldwide, COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown might increase anxiety and depressive symptoms. The authors conducted an online survey of the general Spanish adult population two weeks after an official lockdown was established across the country as a quarantine. Results showed that: - sixty-five percent of the participants (mean age = 47 years; 73% females) reported anxiety or depressive symptoms (anxiety: 39% mild, 11% moderate, 4% severe; depressive: 29% mild, 9% moderate, 6% severe). - following a balanced diet and not reading news/updates about COVID-19 very often were the best predictors of lower levels of anxiety symptoms. - following a balanced diet, following a routine, not reading news/updates about COVID-19 very often, taking the opportunity to pursue hobbies, and staying outdoors or looking outside were the best predictors of lower levels of depressive symptoms. Authors conclude that simple coping behaviours may protect against anxiety and depressive symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.
BACKGROUND The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown might increase anxiety and depressive symptoms, but some behaviors may protect against them. METHOD To provide a preliminary evidence of the behaviors associated with decreased symptoms in the current COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, we conducted a survey of 5545 adult individuals from the Spanish general population, two weeks after an official lockdown was established across the country. RESULTS Sixty-five percent of the sample reported anxiety or depressive symptoms. Following a healthy/balanced diet and not reading news/updates about COVID-19 very often were the best predictors of lower levels of anxiety symptoms. Following a healthy/balanced diet, following a routine, not reading news/updates about COVID-19 very often, taking the opportunity to pursue hobbies, and staying outdoors or looking outside were the best predictors of lower levels of depressive symptoms. LIMITATIONS Cross-sectional nature and use of sample of convenience. CONCLUSIONS This study suggests that "simple" coping behaviors may protect against anxiety and depressive symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.
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The impact of nutrition on COVID-19 susceptibility and long-term consequences.
Brain, behavior, and immunity. 2020
Plain language summary
The impacts of Covid-19 are being felt across the world, affecting health, healthcare and economies. Statistics from across the world are showing that the elderly, those with underlying medical conditions and under-represented minority groups are particularly vulnerable to severe complications and have a higher risk of dying of Covid-19. This opinion piece presents arguments for the importance of focusing on diet to support health resilience in general and the immune system in particular, to minimise the impact of this and future viruses. Research is presented on excessive intake of saturated fat leading to chronic activation of the innate immune system (first line, rapid defence against infection), resulting in inflammation, and associated heightened susceptibility to complications of viral infection. The standard western diet (high saturated fat, refined carbohydrates and sugars, low levels of fibre, unsaturated fat and antioxidants) has also been shown to affect the adaptive immune system (second line, delayed defence against infection), depressing its action against infection. The piece also discusses possible long-term, future impacts of those recovered from Covid-19 infection, particularly in relation to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The authors call for fresh, healthy wholefoods to be readily available and affordable to everyone in society.
While all groups are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the elderly, underrepresented minorities, and those with underlying medical conditions are at the greatest risk. The high rate of consumption of diets high in saturated fats, sugars, and refined carbohydrates (collectively called Western diet, WD) worldwide, contribute to the prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes, and could place these populations at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 pathology and mortality. WD consumption activates the innate immune system and impairs adaptive immunity, leading to chronic inflammation and impaired host defense against viruses. Furthermore, peripheral inflammation caused by COVID-19 may have long-term consequences in those that recover, leading to chronic medical conditions such as dementia and neurodegenerative disease, likely through neuroinflammatory mechanisms that can be compounded by an unhealthy diet. Thus, now more than ever, wider access to healthy foods should be a top priority and individuals should be mindful of healthy eating habits to reduce susceptibility to and long-term complications from COVID-19.
Individual risk management strategy and potential therapeutic options for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Clinical immunology (Orlando, Fla.). 2020;215:108409
Plain language summary
With the continuing spread of COVID-19 and lack of any approved treatments, this paper examines possible strategies for prevention. The data emerging so far highlights that individual health status plays a critical role in determining clinical severity of COVID-19 symptoms ranging from asymptomatic, mild, moderate, to death. Metabolic status, as determined by a patient’s diet, nutrition, age, sex, medical conditions, lifestyle, and environmental factors can therefore be considered preventative strategies to improve the severity of COVID-19 outcomes. Social distancing and personal hygiene are stated as the most effective strategies to prevent or slow spread of the disease. However individual health status, age and the presence of pre-existing comorbidities influences outcomes, as shown by global data highlighting a prevalence in older, males with metabolic conditions; hypertension in 23.7% patients and diabetes in 16.2% of patients. Older males appear more prone to infectious diseases with high pro-inflammatory immune responses and low adaptive immune responses than an older woman. Diet and healthy intestinal and respiratory tract microbiota may also influence immune system competence. Numerous micronutrients are essential for immunocompetence, particularly vitamin A, C, D, E, Bs, iron, selenium, and zinc. A balanced diet, high in colourful fruits and vegetables with a variation of prebiotic fibres, probiotics, and plant polyphenols and phytonutrients, help promote a healthy, diverse microbiota. Oral probiotics may also be beneficial to vulnerable individuals. Vitamin D supplementation is also proving helpful in prevention of acute respiratory tract infections. Other lifestyle factors such as smoking and exposure to environmental toxins should also be considered. Together these preventative measures may reduce personal risk of getting the disease.
It is an ugly fact that a significant amount of the world's population will contract SARS-CoV-II infection with the current spreading. While a specific treatment is not yet coming soon, individual risk assessment and management strategies are crucial. The individual preventive and protective measures drive the personal risk of getting the disease. Among the virus-contracted hosts, their different metabolic status, as determined by their diet, nutrition, age, sex, medical conditions, lifestyle, and environmental factors, govern the personal fate toward different clinical severity of COVID-19, from asymptomatic, mild, moderate, to death. The careful individual assessment for the possible dietary, nutritional, medical, lifestyle, and environmental risks, together with the proper relevant risk management strategies, is the sensible way to deal with the pandemic of SARS-CoV-II.