Vitamin D and marine omega 3 fatty acid supplementation and incident autoimmune disease: VITAL randomized controlled trial.
BMJ (Clinical research ed.). 2022;376:e066452
Conflicts of interest:
A: Meta-analyses, position-stands, randomized-controlled trials (RCTs)
B: Systematic reviews including RCTs of limited number
C: Non-randomized trials, observational studies, narrative reviews
D: Case-reports, evidence-based clinical findings
E: Opinion piece, other
The authors highlighted that autoimmune conditions are the third highest cause of morbidity in high-income nations and a primary cause of death in females. These diseases bear significant health, economic and social burdens considering the sparsity of remediation. Vitamin D and marine derived, long chain Omega 3 fatty acids are being investigated in this study as potential treatments to attenuate the risk of autoimmune conditions.
To assess whether Vitamin D and marine derived long chain Omega 3 fatty acids can decrease autoimmune disease risk.
Randomized, double blinded, placebo controlled trial in the United States.
12 786 men ≥50 years
13 085 women ≥55 years
- Vitamin D (2000 IU/day) or equivalent placebo, and Omega 3 fatty acids (1000 mg/day) or equivalent placebo were administered to participants.
- Incident autoimmune conditions were self-reported from baseline to a follow up median of 5.3 years. These were validated through a robust assessment of medical records. The principal outcome was confirmation of all incident autoimmune conditions via analysis of these medical records, e.g. autoimmune thyroiditis, inflammatory bowel disorder, polymyalgia rheumatica, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, amongst others.
- Cox proportional hazards models were employed to ascertain the impact of Vitamin D and Omega 3 on the incidence of autoimmune diseases.
- Vitamin D: 123 subjects in the treatment cohort and 155 in the placebo group had a confirmed autoimmune condition (hazard ratio 0.78; 95% confidence interval 0.61 to 0.99; P=0.05).
- Omega 3: 130 subjects in the treatment group and 148 in the placebo cohort had a confirmed autoimmune condition (hazard ratio (HR) 0.85; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.67 to 1.08; P=0.19).
- In comparison with the Vitamin D and Omega 3 control arms (88 with confirmed autoimmune conditions), 63 participants who were administered vitamin D and Omega 3 (HR 0.69; CI 95% 0.49 to 0.96; P=0.03), 60 subjects who were administered only vitamin D (HR 0.68; CI 95% 0.48 to 0.94; P=0.02) and 67 only Omega 3 (HR 0.74 0.54 to 1.03; P=0.07) had confirmed autoimmune diseases.
Vitamin D supplementation for five years, with or without omega 3 diminished autoimmune conditions by 22%; whereas omega 3 supplementation with or without vitamin D reduced autoimmune diseases by 15% (not statistically significant). Both interventions demonstrated more significant effects than the placebos.
Clinical practice applications:
These findings might be useful for Nutritional Therapists and Clinical Practitioners:
- To inform practitioners of the benefits of supplementation of Vitamin D (2000 IU/day) for reducing the risk of certain autoimmune diseases potentially in tandem with Omega 3 supplementation (1000 mg/day). Omega 3 supplementation would require further investigation based on the lack of statistical significance of some of the results.
- To educate clients regarding the benefits of Vitamin D potentially combined with Omega 3 to reduce the risk of certain autoimmune diseases.
Considerations for future research:
- More extensive Omega 3 interventions could investigate the possible benefits of supplementation to reduce the risk of autoimmune disease.
- Other supplements could be assessed as possible therapeutics to decrease the risk of certain autoimmune conditions.
OBJECTIVE To investigate whether vitamin D and marine derived long chain omega 3 fatty acids reduce autoimmune disease risk. DESIGN Vitamin D and omega 3 trial (VITAL), a nationwide, randomized, double blind, placebo controlled trial with a two-by-two factorial design. SETTING Nationwide in the United States. PARTICIPANTS 25 871 participants, consisting of 12 786 men ≥50 years and 13 085 women ≥55 years at enrollment. INTERVENTIONS Vitamin D (2000 IU/day) or matched placebo, and omega 3 fatty acids (1000 mg/day) or matched placebo. Participants self-reported all incident autoimmune diseases from baseline to a median of 5.3 years of follow-up; these diseases were confirmed by extensive medical record review. Cox proportional hazard models were used to test the effects of vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids on autoimmune disease incidence. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES The primary endpoint was all incident autoimmune diseases confirmed by medical record review: rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, autoimmune thyroid disease, psoriasis, and all others. RESULTS 25 871 participants were enrolled and followed for a median of 5.3 years. 18 046 self-identified as non-Hispanic white, 5106 as black, and 2152 as other racial and ethnic groups. The mean age was 67.1 years. For the vitamin D arm, 123 participants in the treatment group and 155 in the placebo group had a confirmed autoimmune disease (hazard ratio 0.78, 95% confidence interval 0.61 to 0.99, P=0.05). In the omega 3 fatty acids arm, 130 participants in the treatment group and 148 in the placebo group had a confirmed autoimmune disease (0.85, 0.67 to 1.08, P=0.19). Compared with the reference arm (vitamin D placebo and omega 3 fatty acid placebo; 88 with confirmed autoimmune disease), 63 participants who received vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids (0.69, 0.49 to 0.96), 60 who received only vitamin D (0.68, 0.48 to 0.94), and 67 who received only omega 3 fatty acids (0.74, 0.54 to 1.03) had confirmed autoimmune disease. CONCLUSIONS Vitamin D supplementation for five years, with or without omega 3 fatty acids, reduced autoimmune disease by 22%, while omega 3 fatty acid supplementation with or without vitamin D reduced the autoimmune disease rate by 15% (not statistically significant). Both treatment arms showed larger effects than the reference arm (vitamin D placebo and omega 3 fatty acid placebo). STUDY REGISTRATION ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01351805 and NCT01169259.
Effects of a low-carbohydrate diet on insulin-resistant dyslipoproteinemia-a randomized controlled feeding trial.
The American journal of clinical nutrition. 2022;115(1):154-162
Plain language summary
Diets high in carbohydrates and particularly processed carbohydrates can increase the risk for developing a dysfunction in the body’s ability to take up sugar from the blood, known as insulin resistance. However how this relates to insulin resistance can contribute to the development of many diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke, which highlights the importance in preventing this dysfunction. This randomised control trial of 148 individuals aimed to determine the role of low, medium, and high carbohydrate diets with varying saturated fat content on measures for insulin resistance. The results showed that regardless of the fat content, it was the level of carbohydrate that determined the effect on measures of insulin resistance. High saturated fat and low-carbohydrate diets improved insulin resistance and low saturated fat high carbohydrate diets worsened insulin resistance. Improvements were also observed in blood lipids with a high fat low carbohydrate diet. It was concluded that a diet low in carbohydrates, but high in saturated fat improved insulin resistance and blood lipid levels. This study could be used by healthcare professionals to understand that a diet, which replaces fat with carbohydrates may be worsening insulin resistance and that low carbohydrate diets may be of benefit.
BACKGROUND Carbohydrate restriction shows promise for diabetes, but concerns regarding high saturated fat content of low-carbohydrate diets limit widespread adoption. OBJECTIVES This preplanned ancillary study aimed to determine how diets varying widely in carbohydrate and saturated fat affect cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors during weight-loss maintenance. METHODS After 10-14% weight loss on a run-in diet, 164 participants (70% female; BMI = 32.4 ± 4.8 kg/m2) were randomly assigned to 3 weight-loss maintenance diets for 20 wk. The prepared diets contained 20% protein and differed 3-fold in carbohydrate (Carb) and saturated fat as a proportion of energy (Low-Carb: 20% carbohydrate, 21% saturated fat; Moderate-Carb: 40%, 14%; High-Carb: 60%, 7%). Fasting plasma samples were collected prerandomization and at 20 wk. Lipoprotein insulin resistance (LPIR) score was calculated from triglyceride-rich, high-density, and low-density lipoprotein particle (TRL-P, HDL-P, LDL-P) sizes and subfraction concentrations (large/very large TRL-P, large HDL-P, small LDL-P). Other outcomes included lipoprotein(a), triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, adiponectin, and inflammatory markers. Repeated measures ANOVA was used for intention-to-treat analysis. RESULTS Retention was 90%. Mean change in LPIR (scale 0-100) differed by diet in a dose-dependent fashion: Low-Carb (-5.3; 95% CI: -9.2, -1.5), Moderate-Carb (-0.02; 95% CI: -4.1, 4.1), High-Carb (3.6; 95% CI: -0.6, 7.7), P = 0.009. Low-Carb also favorably affected lipoprotein(a) [-14.7% (95% CI: -19.5, -9.5), -2.1 (95% CI: -8.2, 4.3), and 0.2 (95% CI: -6.0, 6.8), respectively; P = 0.0005], triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, large/very large TRL-P, large HDL-P, and adiponectin. LDL cholesterol, LDL-P, and inflammatory markers did not differ by diet. CONCLUSIONS A low-carbohydrate diet, high in saturated fat, improved insulin-resistant dyslipoproteinemia and lipoprotein(a), without adverse effect on LDL cholesterol. Carbohydrate restriction might lower CVD risk independently of body weight, a possibility that warrants study in major multicentered trials powered on hard outcomes. The registry is available through ClinicialTrials.gov: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02068885.
Dietary alteration of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids for headache reduction in adults with migraine: randomized controlled trial.
BMJ (Clinical research ed.). 2021;374:n1448
Plain language summary
This study could be of interest to practitioners who are interested in dietary interventions that may decrease the incidence or severity of headaches in women. Omega 3 fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are believed to be precursors for molecules that may have pain reducing properties. Whereas omega 6 fatty acids such as linoleic acid are believed to be precursors for molecules that may have pain promoting effects. The objective of this 3 armed randomised, double blinded controlled trial was to determine whether increasing dietary intake of omega 3 EPA and DHA, whilst either maintaining or decreasing omega 6 linoleic acid, may lead to a decrease in headache frequency and severity. 182 participants were assigned into one of 3 treatment groups, the first, H3 diet, increasing EPA and DHA to 1.5g/day and maintaining linoleic acid, the second, H3-L6 diet, increasing EPA and DHA to 1.5g/day whilst decreasing linoleic acid and the control group maintaining EPA, DHA and linoleic acid. Both the H3 and H3-L6 diets increased the levels of the molecule believed to be involved in reducing pain to a statistically significant level. This was found to be consistent with the results reported by the patients both in headache hours per day and days with headache in the month. The authors conclude that increasing levels of omega 3 fatty acids in the diet whilst decreasing levels of omega 6 fatty acids in the diet may decrease the frequency and severity of headaches. This study was for 16 weeks and predominantly women with a mean age of 38, further studies for longer and on other populations such as men, children and older populations, would be required to see if the same results could be obtained.
OBJECTIVE To determine whether dietary interventions that increase n-3 fatty acids with and without reduction in n-6 linoleic acid can alter circulating lipid mediators implicated in headache pathogenesis, and decrease headache in adults with migraine. DESIGN Three arm, parallel group, randomized, modified double blind, controlled trial. SETTING Ambulatory, academic medical center in the United States over 16 weeks. PARTICIPANTS 182 participants (88% women, mean age 38 years) with migraines on 5-20 days per month (67% met criteria for chronic migraine). INTERVENTIONS Three diets designed with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and linoleic acid altered as controlled variables: H3 diet (n=61)-increase EPA+DHA to 1.5 g/day and maintain linoleic acid at around 7% of energy; H3-L6 diet (n=61)-increase n-3 EPA+DHA to 1.5 g/day and decrease linoleic acid to ≤1.8% of energy; control diet (n=60)-maintain EPA+DHA at <150 mg/day and linoleic acid at around 7% of energy. All participants received foods accounting for two thirds of daily food energy and continued usual care. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES The primary endpoints (week 16) were the antinociceptive mediator 17-hydroxydocosahexaenoic acid (17-HDHA) in blood and the headache impact test (HIT-6), a six item questionnaire assessing headache impact on quality of life. Headache frequency was assessed daily with an electronic diary. RESULTS In intention-to-treat analyses (n=182), the H3-L6 and H3 diets increased circulating 17-HDHA (log ng/mL) compared with the control diet (baseline-adjusted mean difference 0.6, 95% confidence interval 0.2 to 0.9; 0.7, 0.4 to 1.1, respectively). The observed improvement in HIT-6 scores in the H3-L6 and H3 groups was not statistically significant (-1.6, -4.2 to 1.0, and -1.5, -4.2 to 1.2, respectively). Compared with the control diet, the H3-L6 and H3 diets decreased total headache hours per day (-1.7, -2.5 to -0.9, and -1.3, -2.1 to -0.5, respectively), moderate to severe headache hours per day (-0.8, -1.2 to -0.4, and -0.7, -1.1 to -0.3, respectively), and headache days per month (-4.0, -5.2 to -2.7, and -2.0, -3.3 to -0.7, respectively). The H3-L6 diet decreased headache days per month more than the H3 diet (-2.0, -3.2 to -0.8), suggesting additional benefit from lowering dietary linoleic acid. The H3-L6 and H3 diets altered n-3 and n-6 fatty acids and several of their nociceptive oxylipin derivatives in plasma, serum, erythrocytes or immune cells, but did not alter classic headache mediators calcitonin gene related peptide and prostaglandin E2. CONCLUSIONS The H3-L6 and H3 interventions altered bioactive mediators implicated in headache pathogenesis and decreased frequency and severity of headaches, but did not significantly improve quality of life. TRIAL REGISTRATION ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02012790.
Obesity and Sex-Related Associations With Differential Effects of Sucralose vs Sucrose on Appetite and Reward Processing: A Randomized Crossover Trial.
JAMA network open. 2021;4(9):e2126313
Plain language summary
Added sweeteners are increasingly being used in foods to maintain the sweet taste without the added calories, however the health consequences of this are still unclear. Most of the research that exists is in men of normal weight, however women and individuals with obesity have shown to have differing appetite responses. This randomised crossover trial of 74 adults aimed to determine the effect of consuming sweetener compared to sugar on brain, hormone, and appetite responses and whether these differed by sex and obesity status. The results showed that women had increased food related brain responses and consumed greater calories following ingestion of an artificially sweetened drink. In those with obesity food related brain response was also increased following sweetener consumption. Blood glucose hormone response was decreased following sweetener consumption compared to sugar consumption. It was concluded that females and individuals with obesity have differing brain activity following consumption of sweetener. This study could be used by healthcare professionals to understand that the recommendation of artificial sweeteners for weight loss in women and those who are already suffering from obesity may lead to greater calorie consumption. However further research is needed to confirm this.
Importance: Nonnutritive sweeteners (NNSs) are used as an alternative to nutritive sweeteners to quench desire for sweets while reducing caloric intake. However, studies have shown mixed results concerning the effects of NNSs on appetite, and the associations between sex and obesity with reward and appetitive responses to NNS compared with nutritive sugar are unknown. Objective: To examine neural reactivity to different types of high-calorie food cues (ie, sweet and savory), metabolic responses, and eating behavior following consumption of sucralose (NNS) vs sucrose (nutritive sugar) among healthy young adults. Design, Setting, and Participants: In a randomized, within-participant, crossover trial including 3 separate visits, participants underwent a functional magnetic resonance imaging task measuring blood oxygen level-dependent signal in response to visual cues. For each study visit, participants arrived at the Dornsife Cognitive Neuroimaging Center of University of Southern California at approximately 8:00 am after a 12-hour overnight fast. Blood was sampled at baseline and 10, 35, and 120 minutes after participants received a drink containing sucrose, sucralose, or water to measure plasma glucose, insulin, glucagon-like peptide(7-36), acyl-ghrelin, total peptide YY, and leptin. Participants were then presented with an ad libitum meal. Participants were right-handed, nonsmokers, weight-stable for at least 3 months before the study visits, nondieters, not taking medication, and with no history of eating disorders, illicit drug use, or medical diagnoses. Data analysis was performed from March 2020 to March 2021. Interventions: Participants ingested 300-mL drinks containing either sucrose (75 g), sucralose (individually sweetness matched), or water (as a control). Main Outcomes and Measures: Primary outcomes of interest were the effects of body mass index (BMI) status and sex on blood oxygen level-dependent signal to high-calorie food cues, endocrine, and feeding responses following sucralose vs sucrose consumption. Secondary outcomes included neural, endocrine, and feeding responses following sucrose vs water and sucralose vs water (control) consumption, and cue-induced appetite ratings following sucralose vs sucrose (and vs water). Results: A total of 76 participants were randomized, but 2 dropped out, leaving 74 adults (43 women [58%]; mean [SD] age, 23.40 [3.96] years; BMI range, 19.18-40.27) who completed the study. In this crossover design, 73 participants each received water (drink 1) and sucrose (drink 2), and 72 participants received water (drink 1), sucrose (drink 2), and sucralose (drink 3). Sucrose vs sucralose was associated with greater production of circulating glucose, insulin, and glucagon-like peptide-1 and suppression of acyl-ghrelin, but no differences were found for peptide YY or leptin. BMI status by drink interactions were observed in the medial frontal cortex (MFC; P for interaction < .001) and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC; P for interaction = .002). Individuals with obesity (MFC, β, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.38 to 0.83; P < .001; OFC, β, 0.27; 95% CI, 0.11 to 0.43; P = .002), but not those with overweight (MFC, β, 0.02; 95% CI, -0.19 to 0.23; P = .87; OFC, β, -0.06; 95% CI, -0.21 to 0.09; P = .41) or healthy weight (MFC, β, -0.13; 95% CI, -0.34 to 0.07; P = .21; OFC, β, -0.08; 95% CI, -0.23 to 0.06; P = .16), exhibited greater responsivity in the MFC and OFC to savory food cues after sucralose vs sucrose. Sex by drink interactions were observed in the MFC (P for interaction = .03) and OFC (P for interaction = .03) after consumption of sucralose vs sucrose. Female participants had greater MFC and OFC responses to food cues (MFC high-calorie vs low-calorie cues, β, 0.21; 95% CI, 0.05 to 0.37; P = .01; MFC sweet vs nonfood cues, β, 0.22; 95% CI, 0.02 to 0.42; P = .03; OFC food vs nonfood cues, β, 0.12; 95% CI, 0.02 to 0.22; P = .03; and OFC sweet vs nonfood cues, β, 0.15; 95% CI, 0.03 to 0.27; P = .01), but male participants' responses did not differ (MFC high-calorie vs low-calorie cues, β, 0.01; 95% CI, -0.19 to 0.21; P = .90; MFC sweet vs nonfood cues, β, -0.04; 95% CI, -0.26 to 0.18; P = .69; OFC food vs nonfood cues, β, -0.08; 95% CI, -0.24 to 0.08; P = .32; OFC sweet vs nonfood cues, β, -0.11; 95% CI, -0.31 to 0.09; P = .31). A sex by drink interaction on total calories consumed during the buffet meal was observed (P for interaction = .03). Female participants consumed greater total calories (β, 1.73; 95% CI, 0.38 to 3.08; P = .01), whereas caloric intake did not differ in male participants (β, 0.68; 95% CI, -0.99 to 2.35; P = .42) after sucralose vs sucrose ingestion. Conclusions and Relevance: These findings suggest that female individuals and those with obesity may be particularly sensitive to disparate neural responsivity elicited by sucralose compared with sucrose consumption. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02945475.
Digital cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia promotes later health resilience during the coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Plain language summary
The 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has had health consequences that extend well-beyond symptoms of the virus. Mental health problems are already being observed in the context of COVID-19 and have also been documented during previous epidemics. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of prior digital cognitive-behavioural therapy for insomnia (dCBT-I) versus sleep education on health resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study is a follow up study based on a previous randomised controlled trial [SPREAD trial] for which the enrolled participants were divided into two groups: 358 in the dCBT-I condition and 300 in the control condition. For this follow-up study 208 participants (dCBT-I: n = 102; control: n = 106) out of the total 658 participants were enrolled. Results indicate that 67.3% of the sample reported direct impact from the coronavirus, and 26.4% reported living alone during the shelter-in-place orders. Furthermore, those who received dCBT-I reported less insomnia, stress, depression, and better global physical health compared to those who received a sleep education control. Authors conclude that future research should examine the mechanisms by which insomnia treatment may enhance resilience, and the role of dCBT-I in mitigating the adverse health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
STUDY OBJECTIVES Stressful life events contribute to insomnia, psychosocial functioning, and illness. Though individuals with a history of insomnia may be especially vulnerable during stressful life events, risk may be mitigated by prior intervention. This study evaluated the effect of prior digital cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (dCBT-I) versus sleep education on health resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS COVID impact, insomnia, general- and COVID-related stress, depression, and global health were assessed in April 2020 in adults with a history of insomnia who completed a randomized controlled trial of dCBT-I (n = 102) versus sleep education control (n = 106) in 2016-2017. Regression analyses were used to evaluate the effect of intervention conditions on subsequent stress and health during the pandemic. RESULTS Insomnia symptoms were significantly associated with COVID-19 related disruptions, and those who previously received dCBT-I reported less insomnia symptoms, less general stress and COVID-related cognitive intrusions, less depression, and better global health than those who received sleep education. Moreover, the odds for resurgent insomnia was 51% lower in the dCBT-I versus control condition. Similarly, odds of moderate to severe depression during COVID-19 was 57% lower in the dCBT-I condition. CONCLUSIONS Those who received dCBT-I had increased health resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic in adults with a history of insomnia and ongoing mild to moderate mental health symptoms. These data provide evidence that dCBT-I is a powerful tool to promote mental and physical health during stressors, including the COVID-19 pandemic. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION NCT02988375.
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.
A Systematic Review of the Association Between Vegan Diets and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease.
The Journal of nutrition. 2021;151(6):1539-1552
Plain language summary
Plant-based diets have increased in popularity due to concerns for the environment and animal welfare and due to perceived health benefits. The aim of this study was to assess the association between vegan diets and risks of primary, intermediate, and recurrent cardiovascular disease (CVD). This study is a systemic review of 7 epidemiological studies comprising over 73,000 participants, of whom at least 7661 were vegans. Results indicate that there was no significant evidence of an association between adherence to a vegan diet and risks of primary CVD or a coronary heart disease event. Authors conclude that further experimental evidence and research in large diverse cohorts is required in order to better understand the clinical relevance and public health implications of the vegan diet.
BACKGROUND Plant-based diets are gaining attention globally due to their environmental benefits and perceived health-protective role. A vegan diet may have cardiovascular benefits; however, evidence remains conflicting and insufficiently assessed. OBJECTIVES We evaluated the utility of the vegan diet in cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention. METHODS We conducted a systematic review of studies evaluating the association between vegan diets and cardiovascular outcomes. We searched 5 databases (Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science, Scopus, and OpenGrey) through 31 October 2020. Four investigators independently screened the full texts for inclusion, assessed quality, and extracted data from published reports. RESULTS Out of the 5729 identified records, 7 were included, comprising over 73,000 participants, of whom at least 7661 were vegans. Three studies, with at least 73,426 individuals (including at least 7380 vegans), examined risks of primary cardiovascular events (total CVD, coronary heart disease, acute myocardial infarction, total stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, and ischemic stroke) in individuals who followed a vegan diet compared to those who did not. None of the studies reported a significantly increased or decreased risk of any cardiovascular outcome. One study suggested that vegans were at greater risk of ischemic stroke compared to individuals who consumed animal products (HR, 1.54; 95% CI, 0.95-2.48). Yet in another study, vegans showed lower common carotid artery intima-media thickness (0.56 ± 0.1 mm vs. 0.74 ± 0.1 mm in controls; P < 0.001), and in 3 studies of recurrent CVD events, vegans had 0-52% lower rates. Furthermore, endothelial function did not differ between vegans and nonvegans. Using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation approach, evidence was deemed to be of low to very low strength/quality. CONCLUSIONS Among the Western populations studied, evidence weakly demonstrates associations between vegan diets and risk of CVDs, with the direction of associations varying with the specific CVD outcome tested. However, more high-quality research on this topic is needed. This study was registered at PROSPERO as CRD42019146835.
Association of Major Dietary Protein Sources With All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality: Prospective Cohort Study.
Journal of the American Heart Association. 2021;10(5):e015553
Plain language summary
Dietary recommendations for human health focusing on total protein intake without considering specific protein sources may be simplistic and insufficient. The aim of this study was to investigate whether different dietary protein sources would be differentially associated with mortality risk. The study is based on data from a large prospective cohort study with up to 18-years of follow-up to investigate the risks of all-cause and cause-specific mortality in relation to animal and plant protein intake, and major sources of dietary protein. Results indicate that intake of plant protein and substitution of animal protein with plant protein, were associated with lower risk of all-cause, cardiovascular disease, and dementia mortality. Furthermore, substitution of red meat, eggs, dairy products, or legumes with nuts was associated with lower risk of all-cause mortality. Authors conclude that their findings support the need for consideration of protein sources, in addition to the amount of protein intake, in future dietary guidelines.
Background Dietary recommendations regarding protein intake have been focused on the amount of protein. However, such recommendations without considering specific protein sources may be simplistic and insufficient. Methods and Results We included 102 521 postmenopausal women enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative between 1993 and 1998, and followed them through February 2017. During 1 876 205 person-years of follow-up, 25 976 deaths occurred. Comparing the highest with the lowest quintile, plant protein intake was inversely associated with all-cause mortality (hazard ratio [HR], 0.91 [0.86, 0.96]), cardiovascular disease mortality (HR, 0.88 [0.79, 0.97]), and dementia mortality (HR, 0.79 [0.67, 0.94]). Among major protein sources, comparing the highest with the lowest quintile of consumption, processed red meat (HR, 1.06 [1.01, 1.10]) or eggs (HR, 1.14 [1.10, 1.19]) was associated with higher risk of all-cause mortality. Unprocessed red meat (HR, 1.12 [1.02, 1.23]), eggs (HR, 1.24 [1.14, 1.34]), or dairy products (HR, 1.11 [1.02, 1.22]) was associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease mortality. Egg consumption was associated with higher risk of cancer mortality (HR, 1.10 [1.02, 1.19]). Processed red meat consumption was associated with higher risk of dementia mortality (HR, 1.20 [1.05, 1.32]), while consumption of poultry (HR, 0.85 [0.75, 0.97]) or eggs (HR, 0.86 [0.75, 0.98]) was associated with lower risk of dementia mortality. In substitution analysis, substituting of animal protein with plant protein was associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease mortality, and dementia mortality, and substitution of total red meat, eggs, or dairy products with nuts was associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality. Conclusions Different dietary protein sources have varying associations with all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease mortality, and dementia mortality. Our findings support the need for consideration of protein sources in future dietary guidelines.
Prevalence of Depression Symptoms in US Adults Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
JAMA network open. 2020;3(9):e2019686
Plain language summary
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an event that can cause physical, emotional, and psychological harm. Thus, the COVID-19 pandemic can itself be considered a traumatic event. The aim of this study was to (a) assess the burden of depression symptoms in the US during COVID-19 using the same measures deployed in representative national surveys before COVID-19 began, and (b) understand the factors associated with depression symptoms during and before COVID-19. This study is a population-representative survey study of US adults. A total of 1441 participants were included in the final sample out of which 619 participants were aged between 18 and 39 years, 723 were men, and 933 were non-Hispanic White. Results showed that: - prevalence of depression symptoms in the US increased more than 3-fold during the COVID-19 pandemic, from 8.5% before COVID-19 to 27.8% during COVID-19. - there was a shift in depression symptoms, with fewer people with no symptoms and more people with more symptoms during COVID-19 than before COVID-19. - lower income groups were at greater risk of depression symptoms than higher income groups. Authors conclude that the potential for the mental health consequences of COVID-19 to be large in scale, to recognize that these effects can be long-lasting, and to consider preventative action to help mitigate its effects.
Importance: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the policies to contain it have been a near ubiquitous exposure in the US with unknown effects on depression symptoms. Objective: To estimate the prevalence of and risk factors associated with depression symptoms among US adults during vs before the COVID-19 pandemic. Design, Setting, and Participants: This nationally representative survey study used 2 population-based surveys of US adults aged 18 or older. During COVID-19, estimates were derived from the COVID-19 and Life Stressors Impact on Mental Health and Well-being study, conducted from March 31, 2020, to April 13, 2020. Before COVID-19 estimates were derived from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted from 2017 to 2018. Data were analyzed from April 15 to 20, 2020. Exposures: The COVID-19 pandemic and outcomes associated with the measures to mitigate it. Main Outcomes and Measures: Depression symptoms, defined using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 cutoff of 10 or higher. Categories of depression symptoms were defined as none (score, 0-4), mild (score, 5-9), moderate (score, 10-14), moderately severe (score, 15-19), and severe (score, ≥20). Results: A total of 1470 participants completed the COVID-19 and Life Stressors Impact on Mental Health and Well-being survey (completion rate, 64.3%), and after removing those with missing data, the final during-COVID-19 sample included 1441 participants (619 participants [43.0%] aged 18-39 years; 723 [50.2%] men; 933 [64.7%] non-Hispanic White). The pre-COVID-19 sample included 5065 participants (1704 participants [37.8%] aged 18-39 years; 2588 [51.4%] women; 1790 [62.9%] non-Hispanic White). Depression symptom prevalence was higher in every category during COVID-19 compared with before (mild: 24.6% [95% CI, 21.8%-27.7%] vs 16.2% [95% CI, 15.1%-17.4%]; moderate: 14.8% [95% CI, 12.6%-17.4%] vs 5.7% [95% CI, 4.8%-6.9%]; moderately severe: 7.9% [95% CI, 6.3%-9.8%] vs 2.1% [95% CI, 1.6%-2.8%]; severe: 5.1% [95% CI, 3.8%-6.9%] vs 0.7% [95% CI, 0.5%-0.9%]). Higher risk of depression symptoms during COVID-19 was associated with having lower income (odds ratio, 2.37 [95% CI, 1.26-4.43]), having less than $5000 in savings (odds ratio, 1.52 [95% CI, 1.02-2.26]), and exposure to more stressors (odds ratio, 3.05 [95% CI, 1.95-4.77]). Conclusions and Relevance: These findings suggest that prevalence of depression symptoms in the US was more than 3-fold higher during COVID-19 compared with before the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals with lower social resources, lower economic resources, and greater exposure to stressors (eg, job loss) reported a greater burden of depression symptoms. Post-COVID-19 plans should account for the probable increase in mental illness to come, particularly among at-risk populations.
Fructose and hepatic insulin resistance.
Critical reviews in clinical laboratory sciences. 2020;57(5):308-322
Excessive caloric intake in a form of high-fat diet (HFD) was long thought to be the major risk factor for development of obesity and its complications, such as fatty liver disease and insulin resistance. Recently, there has been a paradigm shift and more attention is attributed to the effects of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) as one of the culprits of the obesity epidemic. In this review, we present the data invoking fructose intake with development of hepatic insulin resistance in human studies and discuss the pathways by which fructose impairs hepatic insulin action in experimental animal models. First, we described well-characterized pathways by which fructose metabolism indirectly leads to hepatic insulin resistance. These include unequivocal effects of fructose to promote de novo lipogenesis (DNL), impair fatty acid oxidation (FAO), induce endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and trigger hepatic inflammation. Additionally, we entertained the hypothesis that fructose can directly impede insulin signaling in the liver. This appears to be mediated by reduced insulin receptor and insulin receptor substrate 2 (IRS2) expression, increased protein-tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1b) activity, whereas knockdown of ketohexokinase (KHK), the rate-limiting enzyme of fructose metabolism, increased insulin sensitivity. In summary, dietary fructose intake strongly promotes hepatic insulin resistance via complex interplay of several metabolic pathways, at least some of which are independent of increased weight gain and caloric intake. The current evidence shows that the fructose, but not glucose, component of dietary sugar drives metabolic complications and contradicts the notion that fructose is merely a source of palatable calories that leads to increased weight gain and insulin resistance.