|With the right diet and lifestyle, stem cell treatments, probiotic supplements or xylose-laden "functional foods" wouldn't be necessary in the first place.|
In today's installment of what I often call the "Short News", I will discuss three papers that are going to be published in one of the next issues of the peer-reviewed scientific journal Nutrition News.
Studies dealing with a pre-clinical, but promising stem cell therapy for diabetics, the verdict on probiotic supplements (including my evaluation of the scientists' verdict ;-) for weight loss and an update on the effects of the xylitol precursor d-xylose and its effect on mammalian fat cells in vivo.
- Stem Cells as Diabetes Treatment (Xing. 2015) - In software development you'd probably call the latest study from the Cangzhou City Central Hospital an "early alpha version" of an intriguing new way of treating type II diabetes.
In their latest rodent study, Baoheng Xing et al. build on previous experiments in which pancreatic progenitors derived from human embryonic stem cells were shown to be able to effectively treat diabetes in mice (Kroon. 2008). In their study, however, Xing et al. went one step further and developed a system for treating diabetes using human embryonic stem cell–derived pancreatic endoderm in a mouse model of gestational diabetes mellitus.
As the data in Figure 1 goes to show you, the transplant, of which the researchers expect that it could be used in humans, too, greatly improved the glucose metabolism and reproductive outcome of the treated female rats compared with the control groups. With their results Xing et al. do thus contribute to the growing evidence that diabetes may (sooner or later) be a "curable" disease when we are eventually mastering the use of differentiated human embryonic stem cells for treating general and gestational diabetes mellitus patients.
- Probiotics and weight loss - reviewed (Park. 2015): What's the verdict? You will remember that I am still skeptical with respect to the real world benefits of the new en-vogue supplements that contain billions of life or dead bacteria and promise benefits from increased gut health to... you guessed it, the most marketable of all benefits: weight loss!
A recent systematic review by scientists from the Hoseo University and the Keimyung University in Korea presents the first attempt to summarize and critically evaluate the evidence from clinical trials that have tested the effectiveness of probiotics or foods containing probiotics as a treatment for weight loss. Literature searches of electronic databases such as PubMed, Cochrane Library, and EMBASE were conducted. Methodological quality was assessed using body weight and body mass index (BMI). Initial searches yielded 368 articles. Of these, only 9 met the selection criteria. Because of insufficient data, only 4 of the studies were randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that compared the therapeutic efficacy of probiotics with placebo.
As my skepticism would have made me believe, the meta-analysis of these data showed no significant effect of probiotics on body weight and BMI (body weight, n = 196; mean difference, −1.77; 95% confidence interval, −4.84 to 1.29; P = .26; BMI, n = 154; mean difference, 0.77; 95% confidence interval, −0.24 to 1.78; P = .14).
|A lot of choline and potassium, but also a significant amount of fiber, this simple meal has everything US and other inhabitants of the Westernized fast food world don't get enough of - so why even bother w/ supplements if your diet can have it all? | more|
- Overall, I still feel obliged to repeat what I wrote in my recent article on the effects of sweeteners on the microbiome: We still have to learn very much about the effects of probiotics in general and individual types of gut bacteria, in particular, before we can actually give good strain-specific supplement recommendations. It's after all possible that the same strains that work in the obese subjects of studies like Kadooka (2015) won't work or even do the opposite in lean individuals.
- D-Xylose Exerts Epigenetic Anti-Obesity Effects and Stops Fat Cell Growth (Lim. 2015) - Yes, this is not the first study to show that the provision of D-Xylitol or, as in the case of a 2011 study by Amo,et al., its cousin and "artificial sweetener" xylitol can reduce the weight gain due to obesogenic diets. What makes it interesting, though, is that it involved two different, relatively low dosages of D-xylitol as they could easily be added to our own food chain.
- significant reductions in weight and more importantly fat gain
- significant reductions in hepatic steatosis (NAFLD),
- a reduction of the genes that are responsible for the storage of fat to normal (5%) and sub-normal (10% D-Xylose) levels, and
- significant reductions in total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-/high-density lipoprotein, and the important total cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein ratio.
- Amo, Kikuko, et al. "Effects of xylitol on metabolic parameters and visceral fat accumulation." Journal of clinical biochemistry and nutrition 49.1 (2011): 1.
- Kadooka, Yukio, et al. "Effect of Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 in fermented milk on abdominal adiposity in adults in a randomised controlled trial." British Journal of Nutrition 110.09 (2013): 1696-1703.
- Kroon, Evert, et al. "Pancreatic endoderm derived from human embryonic stem cells generates glucose-responsive insulin-secreting cells in vivo." Nature biotechnology 26.4 (2008): 443-452.
- Lim, Eunjin, et al. "d-Xylose suppresses adipogenesis and regulates lipid metabolism genes in high-fat diet–induced obese mice." Nutrition Research (2015).
- Park, Sunmin, and Ji-Hyun Bae. "Probiotics for Weight Loss: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis." Nutrition Research (2015).
- Sanchez, Marina, et al. "Effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus CGMCC1. 3724 supplementation on weight loss and maintenance in obese men and women." Br J Nutr 111.8 (2014): 1507-19.
- Xing, Baoheng, et al. "Human embryonic stem cell-derived pancreatic endoderm alleviates diabetic pathology and improves reproductive outcome in C57BL/KsJ-Lepdb/+ gestational diabetes mellitus mice." Nutrition Research (2015).