Nutrition in Menopausal Women: A Narrative Review.
Plain language summary
Menopause is the permanent cessation of menstrual cycles following the loss of ovarian follicular activity. It is associated with increased prevalence of obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis. The aim of this narrative review was to discuss the current evidence on the association between dietary patterns and clinical endpoints in postmenopausal women (body composition, bone mass, and risk markers for cardiovascular disease), and thereby providing novel insight into the establishment of optimal dietary guidelines for healthy postmenopausal period. Research shows that: - the changes in weight and fat distribution in women are associated with aging and mainly with the decrease in oestradiol levels during peri- and post-menopause. - calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K, selenium, magnesium, and beta-carotene adequate intake could be linked with better BMD in postmenopausal women. - diet is a major modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease and could be a powerful intervention to reduce cardiovascular risks in postmenopausal women. - the Mediterranean diet is composed of healthy foods that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Authors indicate that future studies evaluating the effects of low-fat, plant-based diets on fat mass in post-menopausal women are needed.
Among the various aspects of health promotion and lifestyle adaptation to the postmenopausal period, nutritional habits are essential because they concern all women, can be modified, and impact both longevity and quality of life. In this narrative review, we discuss the current evidence on the association between dietary patterns and clinical endpoints in postmenopausal women, such as body composition, bone mass, and risk markers for cardiovascular disease. Current evidence suggests that low-fat, plant-based diets are associated with beneficial effects on body composition, but further studies are needed to confirm these results in postmenopausal women. The Mediterranean diet pattern along with other healthy habits may help the primary prevention of bone, metabolic, and cardiovascular diseases in the postmenopausal period. It consists on the use of healthy foods that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and is associated with a small but significant decrease in blood pressure, reduction of fat mass, and improvement in cholesterol levels. These effects remain to be evaluated over a longer period of time, with the assessment of hard outcomes such as bone fractures, diabetes, and coronary ischemia.
Increased emotional eating during COVID-19 associated with lockdown, psychological and social distress.
Plain language summary
After China, Italy was the first country in which the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic rapidly spread. As a consequence, a lockdown was imposed in the entire nation to reduce the spread of infections. The main aim of this study was to investigate how the negative emotions raised by the lockdown and the social features that characterised the quality of life during lockdown interacted with individual characteristics to affect the eating behaviour during the lockdown. This study is based on an anonymous online survey which was shared via social media targeting Italian residents or speakers who were 18 years of age or older. A total of 365 participants were considered for this study. Results indicate that: - increased emotional eating was significantly predicted by higher level of anxiety, depression, and partially, by Quality of Life and Quality of the Relationships. - increased binge eating was predicted by higher stress. - higher alexithymia [a broad term to describe problems with feeling emotions] scores were associated by increased emotional eating and higher body mass index scores were associated with both increased emotional eating and binge eating. - emotional eating and binge eating decreased significantly in Phase 2 compared to Phase 1 of the lockdown period. Authors conclude that future policies during lockdown should also take into consideration the emotional toll on individual well-being and should include measures of psychological support.
Due to the spread of COVID 2019, the Italian government imposed a lockdown on the national territory. Initially, citizens were required to stay at home and not to mix with others outside of their household (Phase 1); eventually, some of these restrictions were lifted (Phase 2). To investigate the impact of lockdown on emotional and binge eating, an online survey was conducted to compare measures of self-reported physical (BMI), psychological (Alexithymia), affective (anxiety, stress, and depression) and social (income, workload) state during Phase 1 and Phase 2. Data from 365 Italian residents showed that increased emotional eating was predicted by higher depression, anxiety, quality of personal relationships, and quality of life, while the increase of bingeing was predicted by higher stress. Moreover, we showed that higher alexithymia scores were associated by increased emotional eating and higher BMI scores were associated with both increased emotional eating and binge eating. Finally, we found that from Phase 1 to Phase 2 binge and emotional eating decreased. These data provide evidence of the negative effects of isolation and lockdown on emotional wellbeing, and, relatedly, on eating behaviour.
The Impact of COVID-19 Stay-At-Home Orders on Health Behaviors in Adults.
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.). 2021;29(2):438-445
Plain language summary
In response to the global outbreak of COVID-19, a wave of quarantine and stay-at-home mandates were issued to attenuate the rapid worldwide spread. The aim of this study was to quantify changes in habitual dietary behaviours, physical activity, sleep, sedentary behaviours, and mental health before and during the initial peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. This study is based on an anonymous survey via paid advertisements on the social media platform Facebook. A total of 7,753 completed the first COVID-19 question and were thus included in the analysis. Results indicate that: - declines in healthful eating behaviours were coincident with reductions in physical activity. These negative behaviours were characteristic of individuals reporting weight gain in response to the pandemic outbreak. - anxiety scores nearly doubled in response to the pandemic and 20% of the sample reported that symptoms were severe enough to interfere with daily routines. - home confinement led to shifts in daily work and household responsibilities which resulted in mental health declines alongside some positive and many negative changes to health behaviours. Authors conclude that with increased cases of weight gain and significant declines to mental health, COVID-19 may impact clinical practice for years to come.
OBJECTIVE Stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic have forced abrupt changes to daily routines. This study assessed lifestyle changes across different BMI classifications in response to the global pandemic. METHODS The online survey targeting adults was distributed in April 2020 and collected information on dietary behaviors, physical activity, and mental health. All questions were presented as "before" and "since" the COVID-19 pandemic. RESULTS In total, 7,753 participants were included; 32.2% of the sample were individuals with normal weight, 32.1% had overweight, and 34.0% had obesity. During the pandemic, overall scores for healthy eating increased (P < 0.001), owing to less eating out and increased cooking (P < 0.001). Sedentary leisure behaviors increased, while time spent in physical activity (absolute time and intensity adjusted) declined (P < 0.001). Anxiety scores increased 8.78 ± 0.21 during the pandemic, and the magnitude of increase was significantly greater in people with obesity (P ≤ 0.01). Weight gain was reported in 27.5% of the total sample compared with 33.4% in participants with obesity. CONCLUSIONS The COVID-19 pandemic has produced significant health effects, well beyond the virus itself. Government mandates together with fear of contracting the virus have significantly impacted lifestyle behaviors alongside declines in mental health. These deleterious impacts have disproportionally affected individuals with obesity.
SARS-CoV-2 and immune-microbiome interactions: Lessons from respiratory viral infections.
International journal of infectious diseases : IJID : official publication of the International Society for Infectious Diseases. 2021;105:540-550
Plain language summary
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is an enveloped RNA beta-coronavirus. This virus caused the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The aim of this review was to investigate the relationship between microbiota, immunity, and COVID-19, with particular focus on how microbiome-associated immune crosstalk can shape outcome of COVID-19. The study included 118 articles which investigated or reviewed COVID-19 or coronavirus and the microbiome of the gut or respiratory tract. Findings indicate that: - an over-activated immune system leads to massive pulmonary damage in COVID-19 patients. - the effect of aging and comorbidities, and the use of antibiotics have an effect on the diversity of the microbiota. - the milieu of gut flora can exert influence on pulmonary immune responses. - a unique cross-talk exists between the pulmonary and gut microbial compartments. Authors conclude by highlighting the need of further studies that delineate the role of the microbiota and their products in the immune dysregulation observed in SARS-CoV-2 infections.
By the beginning of 2020, infection caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) had rapidly evolved into an emergent worldwide pandemic, an outbreak whose unprecedented consequences highlighted many existing flaws within public healthcare systems across the world. While coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is bestowed with a broad spectrum of clinical manifestations, involving the vital organs, the respiratory system transpires as the main route of entry for SARS-CoV-2, with the lungs being its primary target. Of those infected, up to 20% require hospitalization on account of severity, while the majority of patients are either asymptomatic or exhibit mild symptoms. Exacerbation in the disease severity and complications of COVID-19 infection have been associated with multiple comorbidities, including hypertension, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disorders, cancer, and chronic lung disease. Interestingly, a recent body of evidence indicated the pulmonary and gut microbiomes as potential modulators for altering the course of COVID-19, potentially via the microbiome-immune system axis. While the relative concordance between microbes and immunity has yet to be fully elucidated with regards to COVID-19, we present an overview of our current understanding of COVID-19-microbiome-immune cross talk and discuss the potential contributions of microbiome-related immunity to SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis and COVID-19 disease progression.
Evaluation of COVID-19 Disease Awareness and Its Relation to Mental Health, Dietary Habits, and Physical Activity: A Cross-Sectional Study from Pakistan.
The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene. 2021
Plain language summary
Dietary factors and healthy eating habits play a crucial role in human health management. The global pandemic of COVID-19 has significantly changed the dietary patterns and eating habits of the people worldwide, particularly in the area affected by this pandemic. The aim of this study was to assess the knowledge of COVID-19 disease and its association with anxiety, depression, dietary habits, and physical activity during the COVID-19 lockdown. This study was a descriptive cross-sectional survey conducted in the Punjab Province of Pakistan. A total of 1956 participants took part in the study. Results indicate that: - only 7.4% of participants had good knowledge about COVID-19. - the physical activity of the participants was affected as 66.9% of the participants had a decrease in physical activity and around 40% of the participants also gained weight. - around 70% of the participants were suffering from anxiety, and 52% were depressed. Authors conclude that their findings can help formulate concrete policy-making for the Pakistani population in terms of public health prospects. Furthermore, mass-level educational programmes should be launched via print and electronic media to enhance public awareness about COVID-19 and to improve dietary behaviour of people.
Coronavirus infection (COVID-19) has significantly increased the mortality and morbidity rates worldwide. The present study was conducted to assess the general public's awareness of COVID-19 and its association with mental health, dietary habits, and physical activity. A web-based survey was conducted to gather information about demographics, knowledge about COVID-19, dietary habits, mental health, and anthropometry among the general public of Pakistan. Descriptive statistics, chi-square test, and multiple logistic regression were used for data analysis. The majority of the participants were suffering from anxiety (71.0%) and depression (52.0%) during the COVID-19 pandemic; 32.4% of participants had poor COVID-19-related knowledge. COVID-19 lockdown reduced the physical activity of 66.9% of participants and increased weight of 38.8% of the survey participants. Demographic variables, including age, gender, ethnicity, education, employment, family type, and geographical location, were significantly associated with knowledge about COVID-19 (P < 0.05). Depression was inversely associated with COVID-19 knowledge (P < 0.05). Healthy changes in dietary habits including decreased consumption of fast foods, soft and cola drinks, fruit drinks, cooked meat (outside the home), sugar, and fats, and were associated with increased knowledge of COVID-19. Vitamin C and immunity-boosting supplement consumption were significantly associated with increased knowledge regarding COVID-19 (< 0.05). Inadequate knowledge about COVID-19 and the presence of anxiety and depression were found among most of the study participants. There is a need to conduct educational seminars to limit the health consequences resulting from COVID-19 lockdown.
Association between body mass index and fragility fracture in postmenopausal women: a cross-sectional study using Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2008-2009 (KNHANES IV).
BMC women's health. 2021;21(1):60
Plain language summary
Osteoporosis is a musculoskeletal disorder characterized by a decrease in bone density and abnormal changes in bone microstructure. It is one of the most common diseases in postmenopausal women. Additionally, postmenopausal women exhibit a 20% increase in fat mass, especially in central adiposity. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between body mass index and fragility fractures in postmenopausal Korean women. This study is a cross-sectional study based on the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey which is a statutory survey addressing the health behaviour, prevalence of chronic disease, and food and nutrition intake of Korean individuals. Out of the total registered women, 2114 were included as the final participant group. Results indicate that in both the underweight and obese groups, the fragility fracture rates were 5.48 and 3.33 times higher, respectively, compared with the normal weight group. Thus, these findings show that postmenopausal women who were underweight or obese exhibited higher rates of fragility fracture(s). Authors conclude that even though this study showed the impact of the body mass index, further research is required since there are various factors that affect fragility fractures.
BACKGROUND The present study examined the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and the risk for fragility fractures in postmenopausal Korean women. METHODS Among subjects who participated in the 4th Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2008-2009), 2114 women ≥ 40 years of age were included. BMI was based on standards set by the Korean Society for the Study of Obesity, as follows: < 18.5 kg/m , underweight; 18.5 ≤ to < 25 kg/m , normal weight; and ≥ 25 kg/m , obese. Subjects were also divided into three groups according to the location of fragility fracture: spine, hip, or wrist. RESULTS The mean (± SD) rate of fragility fracture was significantly different among the three groups: 5.9 ± 2.9% (underweight), 1.1 ± 0.3% (normal weight), and 3.0 ± 0.7% (obese) (p = 0.001). After correcting for age, family history, and treatment history of osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis, smoking and drinking status, and level of exercise, multivariable regression analysis revealed that the odds ratio for fragility fracture in the underweight group was 5.48 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.80-16.73] and 3.33 (95% CI 1.61-6.87) in the obese group. After subdividing fragility fractures into vertebral and non-vertebral, the odds ratio for vertebral fracture in the underweight group was 5.49 (95% CI 1.31-23.09) times higher than that in the normal weight group; in the obese group, the non-vertebral fracture odds ratio was 3.87 (95% CI 1.45-10.33) times higher. Analysis of non-vertebral fractures in the obese group revealed an odds ratio for fracture 22.05 (95% CI 1.33-365.31) times higher for hip fracture and 3.85 (95% CI 1.35-10.93) times higher for wrist fracture. CONCLUSIONS Obesity and underweight increased the risk for fragility fractures in postmenopausal Korean women.
Probiotics in Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19: Current Perspective and Future Prospects.
Archives of medical research. 2021
Plain language summary
The novel coronavirus pandemic of 2019 (COVID-19), an emerging infectious disease, is caused by multiple strains of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2. The main aim of this study was to outline the potential role of probiotics in fighting the COVID-19. This study focuses on recent evidence on the association between microbiota, probiotics, and COVID-19, the role of probiotics as an immune-modulator and antiviral agent. Findings support probiotics’ role in regulating the immune system, suggesting a definitive role for probiotics in viral infections. Thus, probiotics supplementation could reduce the severity of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality. Authors conclude that supplementation of probiotics in high risk and severely ill patients, and frontline health workers, may help to limit the infection and flatten the COVID-19 curve. However, further studies should be conducted for more conclusive evidence.
Saving lives and flattening the curve are the foremost priorities during the ongoing pandemic spread of SARS-CoV-2. Developing cutting-edge technology and collating available evidence would support frontline health teams. Nutritional adequacy improves general health and immunity to prevent and assuage infections. This review aims to outline the potential role of probiotics in fighting the COVID-19 by covering recent evidence on the association between microbiota, probiotics, and COVID-19, the role of probiotics as an immune-modulator and antiviral agent. The high basic reproduction number (R0) of SARS-CoV-2, absence of conclusive remedies, and the pleiotropic effect of probiotics in fighting influenza and other coronaviruses together favour probiotics supplements. However, further support from preclinical and clinical studies and reviews outlining the role of probiotics in COVID-19 are critical. Results are awaited from many ongoing clinical trials investigating the benefits of probiotics in COVID-19.
Intake and adequacy of the vegan diet. A systematic review of the evidence.
Clinical nutrition (Edinburgh, Scotland). 2021;40(5):3503-3521
Plain language summary
This systematic review investigated vegan diets in the European populations and their adequacy of macro-and micronutrient intake, compared to the recommendations of the World Health Organization. Included were 48 studies and their outcomes regarding protein, carbohydrates, fats and micronutrients summarized. The overall results and their impact on health are discussed in the later sections of the paper. Adequate intake amongst vegans was seen with carbohydrates, fats, Vitamin A, B1, В6, C, E, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, copper and folate. Sodium exceeded recommended intake, whilst protein, Vitamin B2, B3, B12, D, iodine, zinc, calcium, potassium, selenium was of low consumption in a vegan diet. The bioavailability of some nutrients was also acknowledged. In summary, following a vegan diet appears to have positive and negative aspects. A vegan diet profile can contribute to disease prevention with lower incidence rates of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Yet veganism appears to increase the risk for mental health conditions, bone fractures, immune system impairments, anaemias and deficiencies from low nutrient intake. This review yields a comprehensive overview of the positive and negative health consequences of a vegan diet. It may be a useful reference for those looking to support vegans or individuals considering adopting a vegan diet pattern.
Conflicts of interest:
Vegan diets have become increasingly popular in the last ten years. This systematic review of 48 studies investigated the adequacy of vegan diets in European populations. It compared their macro- and micronutrient intakes compared to World Health Organization recommendations. It found that vegan diets tend to be lower in protein and in essential amino acids (lysine, methionine and tryptophan). They
can also be lower in micronutrients especially vitamin B12, zinc, calcium and selenium. However, the lower intakes are not always associated with health impairments.
Implications for practice:
Practitioners should be aware of the potential deficiencies in a vegan diet.
Implications for research:
More research is needed to determine whether lower nutrient intakes in vegans correlated with poor health outcomes.
BACKGROUND Vegan diets, where animal- and all their by-products are excluded from the diet, have gained popularity, especially in the last decade. However, the evaluation of this type of diet has not been well addressed in the scientific literature. This study aimed to investigate the adequacy of vegan diets in European populations and of their macro- and micronutrient intakes compared to World Health Organization recommendations. METHODS A systematic search in PubMed, Web of Science, IBSS, Cochrane library and Google Scholar was conducted and 48 studies (12 cohorts and 36 cross-sectional) were included. RESULTS Regarding macronutrients, vegan diets are lower in protein intake compared with all other diet types. Veganism is also associated with low intake of vitamins B , Niacin (B ), B , D, iodine, zinc, calcium, potassium, selenium. Vitamin B intake among vegans is significantly lower (0.24-0.49 μg, recommendations are 2.4 μg) and calcium intake in the majority of vegans was below recommendations (750 mg/d). No significant differences in fat intake were observed. Vegan diets are not related to deficiencies in vitamins A, B , Β , C, E, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, copper and folate and have a low glycemic load. CONCLUSIONS Following a vegan diet may result in deficiencies in micronutrients (vitamin B , zinc, calcium and selenium) which should not be disregarded. However, low micro- and macronutrient intakes are not always associated with health impairments. Individuals who consume a vegan diet should be aware of the risk of potential dietary deficiencies.
An algorithm for differentiating food antigen-related gastrointestinal symptoms.
Gastroenterology and hepatology from bed to bench. 2021;14(1):8-16
Plain language summary
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a collection of gastrointestinal symptoms. Due to multiple etiologies, the pathogenesis of IBS is poorly understood. The aim of this audit was to assess the outcomes achieved using a lactose and gluten-free diet clinical intervention in patients traditionally diagnosed with IBS. This study was an audit of outcomes from the records of 149 patients presenting with IBS symptoms at secondary and tertiary Gastroenterology outpatients in two UK hospitals. This audit has demonstrated that more than 70% of patients presenting with IBS symptoms improved by following a diet eliminating lactose and gluten containing grains (improvement for >30% in their symptoms). The success of the elimination diet did not seem to be correlated with the body mass index (BMI). The best outcome was recorded in patients with normal BMI and also in the overweight group. Patients with higher BMI >30 or low below 18 also responded well to nutrition therapy. In conclusion, multidisciplinary team management and implementation of detailed nutrition therapy using the audit algorithm might prove to be both cost effective and efficacious a treatment option in IBS.
Aim: The aim of this clinical audit was to assess patient-reported outcomes on the effect of dietary intervention, to enhance our understanding of possible treatment options in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Background: A large number of food-related gastro-intestinal disorders have been attributed to IBS for decades. Methods: Patient-reported outcomes from the records of 149 IBS patients treated at secondary and tertiary Gastroenterology outpatients in two UK hospitals between January 2014 and July 2016 were audited. Patients all presented with symptoms fulfilling Rome III-IV criteria for IBS had negative coeliac serology and did not have other gastrointestinal (GI) conditions. A modified version of a low FODMAP diet had been recommended (gluten and lactose free diet (G/LFD)) and was implemented for 6 weeks. Outcomes and dietary adherence were recorded during outpatient's consultations. Results: A total of 134 patients complied with the diet optimally. The majority had an improvement rate >70% and continued with the diet. Fifty-three percent became completely or almost asymptomatic, while 27.6% had a poor response to the diet (scoring < 30%) to G/LFD. The improvement was excellent in patients with normal BMI and good in overweight and obese and where BMI <18. Over 50% did not require any follow-up within 12 months. Conclusion: Although it is unclear whether symptoms are triggered by gluten, fructans or lactose, elimination of gluten and lactose proved to be an effective treatment in patients with IBS. Multidisciplinary team management and implementation of detailed nutrition therapy using the audit algorithm might prove to be both cost effective and efficacious a treatment option in IBS.
Overweight and Obesity - NED Infobite
Obesity and its impact on the prevalence of diabetes and subsequent cardiovascular disease is one of the major health burdens in Western societies. Intensive lifestyle intervention programmes have been shown to be successful, even in individuals with pre-diabetes. Nutrition and lifestyle interventions targeting blood sugar regulation, fibre intake for microbiome health and healthy habits formed in childhood all have a role to play.