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.
The impact of nutrition and lifestyle on male fertility.
Archivio italiano di urologia, andrologia : organo ufficiale [di] Societa italiana di ecografia urologica e nefrologica. 2020;92(2)
Plain language summary
The impact of environmental, lifestyle and nutritional factors on unexplained male fertility has long been acknowledged. Yet, little research had been dedicated to the topic, despite declining semen quality having become a worldwide phenomena. Available studies have yielded limited, and at times conflicting, evidence. Hence this literature review sought to capture the current knowledge around unexplained male infertility and environmental, lifestyle, diet and nutrients factors. Summarized is the evidence from 69 studies, including population observations and clinical trials. The collected outcomes showed that a Western-type diet, rich in red and processed meats, refined grains, high-energy drinks and sweets, trans and saturated fats was associated with poor semen quality. Whereby higher intakes of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, omega-3 and poultry showed beneficial effects. However, as only selected groups were examined, more research is needed to project such findings onto the wider population. The reviewed evidence also included alcohol consumption, which showed high alcohol intake closely correlated to declining sperm concentrations. Whilst the verdict on caffeine consumption and the impact on sperm quality was inconclusive. In addition, several interventional studies evaluated the effect of dietary supplementation on various parameters of semen, where coenzyme Q10, L-carnitine, vitamin E, antioxidants, combined nutrient formulations and herbal blends all had positive outcomes. The review on zinc and folic acid supplementation yielded mixed results. This brief recap of the current evidence on environmental, lifestyle and nutritional influences on male infertility summarises the dietary foundations for the support of unexplained male infertility.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS Male unexplained infertility has long been suspected to result from environmental, lifestyle and nutritional factors. However, the literature on the subject is still scarce, and clinical studies providing robust evidence are even scarcer. In addition, some similar studies come to different conclusions. Dietary pattern can influence spermatogenesis by its content of fatty acids and antioxidants. Yet, in an age of industrialized mass food production, human bodies become more exposed to the ingestion of xenobiotics, as well as chemicals used for production, preservation, transportation and taste enhancement of foods. We attempted in this paper to collect the available evidence to date on the effect of nutritional components on male fertility. MATERIAL AND METHODS A systematic search of the relevant literature published in PubMed, ScienceDirect and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials Database was conducted. Literature was evaluated according to the Newcastle-Ottawa- Scale. RESULTS Epidemiological observations are concordant in demonstrating an association of low-quality sperm parameters with higher intake of red meat, processed and organ meat and fullfat dairy. On the contrary, better semen parameters were observed in subjects consuming a healthy diet, rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains and fish. Evidences of the negative impact on male fertility of by-products of water disinfection, accumulation in food chain of persistent organochlorine pollutants, pesticides, phthalates from food and water containers and hormones used in breeding cattle have been reported. Clinical trials of the effects of micronutrients on semen parameters and outcomes of assisted fertilization are encouraging, although optimal modality of treatment should be established. CONCLUSIONS Although quality of evidence should be ameliorated, it emerges that environmental factors can influence male fertility. Some nutrients may enhance fertility whereas others will worsen it. With diagnostic analysis on a molecular or even sub-molecular level, new interactions with micronutrients or molecular components of our daily ingested foods and leisure drugs may lead to a better understanding of so far suspected but as yet unexplained effects on male spermatogenesis and fertility.
Health-Promoting Components in Fermented Foods: An Up-to-Date Systematic Review.
Plain language summary
While fermented foods have long been produced, a renewed interest has been observed in Western countries. Several reviews have investigated the health benefits of fermented foods, however none of them have discussed the components that form upon fermentation and their possible effect on health. The purpose of this study was to provide a comprehensive review of the health-promoting components of fermentation in order to better understand their role in healthy diets. This systematic review found fermentation increased antioxidant activity of milks, cereals, fruit, vegetables, meat and fish based on 125 analysed articles. Fermentation of different food categories led to varying health benefits including vitamin content, probiotic activity and anti-hypertensive properties. Based on the existing literature, the authors conclude fermented foods should be consumed regularly and recommend they be included in worldwide dietary guidelines.
Fermented foods have long been produced according to knowledge passed down from generation to generation and with no understanding of the potential role of the microorganism(s) involved in the process. However, the scientific and technological revolution in Western countries made fermentation turn from a household to a controlled process suitable for industrial scale production systems intended for the mass marketplace. The aim of this paper is to provide an up-to-date review of the latest studies which investigated the health-promoting components forming upon fermentation of the main food matrices, in order to contribute to understanding their important role in healthy diets and relevance in national dietary recommendations worldwide. Formation of antioxidant, bioactive, anti-hypertensive, anti-diabetic, and FODMAP-reducing components in fermented foods are mainly presented and discussed. Fermentation was found to increase antioxidant activity of milks, cereals, fruit and vegetables, meat and fish. Anti-hypertensive peptides are detected in fermented milk and cereals. Changes in vitamin content are mainly observed in fermented milk and fruits. Fermented milk and fruit juice were found to have probiotic activity. Other effects such as anti-diabetic properties, FODMAP reduction, and changes in fatty acid profile are peculiar of specific food categories.
A randomised controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression (the 'SMILES' trial).
BMC medicine. 2017;15(1):23
Plain language summary
While extensive observational evidence linking diet quality and mental health exists, a causal relationship between the two has net yet been examined. The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of a dietary intervention for treating patients with moderate to severe depression. 56 participants were randomised to attend either seven nutritional consultations delivered by a dietitian or social support groups in 12 weeks, and depressive symptomology was assessed at baseline and 12 weeks. This study found that participants receiving the dietary intervention had significantly greater improvements in depression symptoms than the social support group. Based on these results, the authors conclude that dietary improvement is an effective treatment strategy for the management of depression, and that clinicians should consider promoting the benefits of dietary improvement for their patients with depression. Future large-scale studies in this field are needed to better understand the mechanisms underlying this link.
BACKGROUND The possible therapeutic impact of dietary changes on existing mental illness is largely unknown. Using a randomised controlled trial design, we aimed to investigate the efficacy of a dietary improvement program for the treatment of major depressive episodes. METHODS 'SMILES' was a 12-week, parallel-group, single blind, randomised controlled trial of an adjunctive dietary intervention in the treatment of moderate to severe depression. The intervention consisted of seven individual nutritional consulting sessions delivered by a clinical dietician. The control condition comprised a social support protocol to the same visit schedule and length. Depression symptomatology was the primary endpoint, assessed using the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) at 12 weeks. Secondary outcomes included remission and change of symptoms, mood and anxiety. Analyses utilised a likelihood-based mixed-effects model repeated measures (MMRM) approach. The robustness of estimates was investigated through sensitivity analyses. RESULTS We assessed 166 individuals for eligibility, of whom 67 were enrolled (diet intervention, n = 33; control, n = 34). Of these, 55 were utilising some form of therapy: 21 were using psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy combined; 9 were using exclusively psychotherapy; and 25 were using only pharmacotherapy. There were 31 in the diet support group and 25 in the social support control group who had complete data at 12 weeks. The dietary support group demonstrated significantly greater improvement between baseline and 12 weeks on the MADRS than the social support control group, t(60.7) = 4.38, p < 0.001, Cohen's d = -1.16. Remission, defined as a MADRS score <10, was achieved for 32.3% (n = 10) and 8.0% (n = 2) of the intervention and control groups, respectively (χ 2 (1) = 4.84, p = 0.028); number needed to treat (NNT) based on remission scores was 4.1 (95% CI of NNT 2.3-27.8). A sensitivity analysis, testing departures from the missing at random (MAR) assumption for dropouts, indicated that the impact of the intervention was robust to violations of MAR assumptions. CONCLUSIONS These results indicate that dietary improvement may provide an efficacious and accessible treatment strategy for the management of this highly prevalent mental disorder, the benefits of which could extend to the management of common co-morbidities. TRIAL REGISTRATION Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Register (ANZCTR): ACTRN12612000251820 . Registered on 29 February 2012.
Favourable effects of consuming a Palaeolithic-type diet on characteristics of the metabolic syndrome: a randomized controlled pilot-study.
Lipids in health and disease. 2014;13:160
Plain language summary
The prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) is increasing rapidly worldwide and is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes (DM2) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Modern lifestyle-induced insulin resistance and chronic systemic low grade inflammation are considered at the root of the MetS. Therefore, dietary patterns of our Palaeolithic ancestors may be ideal for prevention and treatment of metabolic disorders since they are thought to be in line with the evolution of human physiology and metabolism. The aim of this randomized controlled pilot study was to assess the efficacy of a Palaeolithic-type diet in improving the characteristics of MetS, compared to a diet based on healthy eating guidelines. The study included 34 participants with MetS who consumed their allocated diets for two weeks. Efforts were made to prevent weight loss so that any favourable effects could be explained by the dietary intervention and not by the positive health effects of weight loss. The findings of this study showed that the Palaeolithic-type diet significantly lowered blood pressure, total cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as improved HDL-cholesterol, compared to the reference diet. The participants in the Palaeolithic diet intervention also had fewer characteristics of MetS and a tendency to higher insulin sensitivity at the end of the study. Despite efforts to keep body-weight stable, more weight was lost by the participants in the Palaeolithic group. No changes were observed in the secondary outcomes of inflammation, intestinal permeability and salivary cortisol, which the authors explain by the short duration of the intervention and the attempt to prevent weight loss. The authors conclude that future studies should take full additional advantage of the greater weight loss with the Palaeolithic diet, which may be more satiating than other diets, hence allowing weight loss to happen.
BACKGROUND The main goal of this randomized controlled single-blinded pilot study was to study whether, independent of weight loss, a Palaeolithic-type diet alters characteristics of the metabolic syndrome. Next we searched for outcome variables that might become favourably influenced by a Paleolithic-type diet and may provide new insights in the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the metabolic syndrome. In addition, more information on feasibility and designing an innovative dietary research program on the basis of a Palaeolithic-type diet was obtained. METHODS Thirty-four subjects, with at least two characteristics of the metabolic syndrome, were randomized to a two weeks Palaeolithic-type diet (n = 18) or an isoenergetic healthy reference diet, based on the guidelines of the Dutch Health Council (n = 14). Thirty-two subjects completed the study. Measures were taken to keep bodyweight stable. As primary outcomes oral glucose tolerance and characteristics of the metabolic syndrome (abdominal circumference, blood pressure, glucose, lipids) were measured. Secondary outcomes were intestinal permeability, inflammation and salivary cortisol. Data were collected at baseline and after the intervention. RESULTS Subjects were 53.5 (SD9.7) year old men (n = 9) and women (n = 25) with mean BMI of 31.8 (SD5.7) kg/m2. The Palaeolithic-type diet resulted in lower systolic blood pressure (-9.1 mmHg; P = 0.015), diastolic blood pressure (-5.2 mmHg; P = 0.038), total cholesterol (-0.52 mmol/l; P = 0.037), triglycerides (-0.89 mmol/l; P = 0.001) and higher HDL-cholesterol (+0.15 mmol/l; P = 0.013), compared to reference. The number of characteristics of the metabolic syndrome decreased with 1.07 (P = 0.010) upon the Palaeolithic-type diet, compared to reference. Despite efforts to keep bodyweight stable, it decreased in the Palaeolithic group compared to reference (-1.32 kg; P = 0.012). However, favourable effects remained after post-hoc adjustments for this unintended weight loss. No changes were observed for intestinal permeability, inflammation and salivary cortisol. CONCLUSIONS We conclude that consuming a Palaeolithic-type diet for two weeks improved several cardiovascular risk factors compared to a healthy reference diet in subjects with the metabolic syndrome. TRIAL REGISTRATION Nederlands Trial Register NTR3002.