Health Sciences Bulletin - September 2009
Shaklee Scientific Research Update
For over 30 years, sound scientific research has been a Shaklee corporate strategy that has resulted in the publication of over 100 scientific papers, 90 of them in peer-reviewed scientific journals. At the Shaklee 2009 Global Conference in St. Louis, we unveiled the latest research studies sponsored by Shaklee, research that advances the state of science in critical nutrition and health issues and supports our scientific credibility and the Shaklee Difference™. Here’s a snapshot of our current scientific research portfolio:
1. The Landmark Study
Usage Patterns, Health, and Nutritional Status of Long-Term Multiple Dietary Supplement Users: A Cross-Sectional Study, originally published in Nutrition Journal, was a collaboration with researchers from the University of California at Berkeley’s School of Public Health. This study was a landmark, first-of-its-kind study that supports the potential benefits of long-term supplementation, which was associated with more favorable blood levels of important nutrients and key heart-health biomarkers. More important, long-term users of multiple dietary supplements generally reported lower prevalence of disease, including diabetes and elevated blood pressure, when compared to those who used only a single multivitamin or no multivitamin at all.
2. The Vitamin D Study
The results from the Landmark Study included an interesting finding related to blood levels of vitamin D. Long-term dietary supplement users had a blood level of 131.5 nmol/L (52.6 ng/dL), well above the blood levels found in most Americans and well within the optimal range recommended by many vitamin D researchers. For example, in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2000–2004 (NHANES), depending on the specific population, 50%–78% of Americans had blood vitamin D levels less than 75 nmol/L (30 ng/dL), a level thought to be inadequate to support optimal health. The higher vitamin D blood levels seen in Landmark Study participants might be of great benefit because, in addition to reducing the risk for osteoporosis, higher blood vitamin D levels have been linked to lower risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain cancers, all-cause mortality, infections, and more, according to recent research.
So we commissioned a follow-up to the Landmark Study. This new study was intended to compare vitamin D blood levels in long-term users, short-term users, and nonusers of vitamin D dietary supplements to compare and identify optimal vitamin D intakes, blood levels, and their impact on cardiovascular disease risk markers. In this cross-sectional study, blood samples were collected from 257 study participants in August 2008, and the results were certainly impressive.
These findings were presented April 30 to May 2, 2009, at the National Lipid Association Annual Scientific Sessions in Miami, Fla.(See attached poster: Shaklee/National Lipid Association Vitamin D Presentation). And hot off the press, the full study manuscript has already been published in the August edition of the Journal of Clinical Lipidology: Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D is independently associated with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and the metabolic syndrome in men and women, and it was accepted without any comments or revisions from the journal reviewers, a nearly unprecedented event in scientific research publication.
The study findings were so compelling that we are already moving forward with the next study, a clinical intervention trial that is intended to confirm that specific vitamin supplementation can increase vitamin D status and HDL cholesterol levels, and decrease risk for metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.
3. Polyphenol Study
Researchers have consistently shown that there is a significant increase in reactive oxygen species or oxidative stress in blood cells following the intake of a high-fat, high-carbohydrate meal. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of a unique polyphenol-resveratrol blend on the modulation of this oxidative stress and inflammatory response to such a meal.
This randomized controlled study was conducted at the State University of New York at Buffalo’s Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism. Ten healthy subjects were given a 900-plus calorie, high-fat fast food breakfast and either the polyphenol-resveratrol blend or a placebo on different test days. Investigators then measured the biological impact on key genetic regulators related to antioxidant defenses, detoxification, cellular survival, and cellular aging for several hours after breakfast and supplement consumption.
The key measurement was that of NF-E2-related factor-2 (Nrf2), a key genetic regulator (or transcription factor) that protects cells and tissues from oxidative stress by activating protective antioxidant and detoxifying enzymes. It’s considered a powerful regulator of antioxidant and cellular defenses and is a critical activator required for genetic expression of key genes related to cellular defenses, for balancing oxidative stress, and for enzymatic detoxification.
Preliminary data analysis shows that Nrf2 activation was significantly increased in the presence of the polyphenol-resveratrol blend compared with the placebo for some hours following polyphenol-resveratrol blend and breakfast consumption. Furthermore, at least one key detoxifying gene regulated by Nrf2 also increased following the meal and supplement consumption, supporting a possible mechanism of action for how this polyphenol blend may be effective in helping to balance the oxidative stress induced by the high-fat meal. Although we don’t recommend intake of high-fat, high-calorie fast food meals, the study findings have significant potential benefits related to reduction of oxidative stress seen with intake of common American high-fat, high-calorie fast food meals.
4. Immune Function Study
Acute respiratory infection is the number one cause of death in children under age 5 resulting in 20% of childhood deaths worldwide. Human parainfluenza virus type 3 (HPIV3) is an important agent of both adult and childhood respiratory disease causing croup, pneumonia, bronchitis, and bronchiolitis. Furthermore, it is an important agent of lower respiratory tract disease in children and it causes several of the most significant childhood viral diseases in both developed and underdeveloped areas of the world and there are no anti-virals or vaccines.
Conducted at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University’s Department of Pediatrics and of Microbiology and Immunology, this research had two distinct goals. The first goal was to develop and confirm a human airway epithelial (HAE) tissue system as an alternative and superior research model compared with the current animal model standard for exploring viral biology and immune function in the human lung. The second goal was to assess the effects of a unique botanical blend on immune response and pathways of inflammation in the HAE research model. Beneficial modulation of lung immunity could have a potentially significant impact on childhood respiratory diseases.
The study, Human Parainfluenza Virus Infection of the Airway Epithelium: Viral Hemagglutinin-Neuraminidase Regulates Fusion Protein Activation and Modulates Infectivity, recently published in the Journal of Virology, confirms that the HAE model is a superior research model for the study of parainfluenza viruses compared with the standard animal model. Further, the HAE tissue research model appears to be an ideal system for assessing the interplay of host cell and viral factors in pathogenesis and for screening for molecules that could be effective in vivo.
Gene microarray analysis conducted on HAE tissue treated with or without the unique botanical blend confirmed that the botanical blend was safe and impacted multiple gene signaling and communication pathways related to immune function and possible pathways of inflammation in the HAE tissue model. Gene systems that were consistently altered relate to natural killer cell activation, signaling, and proliferation. Of 113 genes known to be involved in NK cell signaling, an average of nine of these interrelated genes were significantly altered after experimentation in multiple test runs.
Sample Genetic Pathways Affected by Botanical Blend Administration
5. Meal Replacement Drink and Exercise Study
After age 35, adults may lose 3%–8% of their muscle mass per decade, and higher rates are commonly observed after age 60. Middle-aged men and women seem to be particularly prone to muscle loss, forfeiting about one-half pound to one pound of muscle every year of life. The ability to preserve or regain muscle mass and strength is an important factor with respect to aging, health, and quality of life. Research confirms that post-exercise protein intake benefits both muscle mass and strength. This study, conducted at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Mass., was designed to examine the effects of a strength-training program—with and without a protein-carbohydrate meal-replacement drink—on body composition in healthy adult men and women.
Forty-six middle-aged men and women participated in a supervised, 23-week strength and endurance training program with a frequency of two to three days per week. Twenty-four participants consumed a meal-replacement drink following their training session, and 22 subjects did not receive the supplemental meal replacement. The drink provided about 270 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 35 grams of carbohydrate, and 24 grams of protein, and was fortified with free l-leucine.
After 23 weeks, all 46 exercisers showed improvements in body composition, including a 4.7-pound gain in lean (muscle) weight and 7-pound loss in fat weight. Subjects who ingested the post-exercise drink increased their lean weight by 5.5 pounds and decreased their fat weight by 9 pounds. Those who did not receive supplemental protein increased their lean weight by 3.9 pounds and decreased their fat weight by 4.9 pounds. Published in Fitness Management, Research Update: Protein and Body Composition showed that exercise participants who consumed post-exercise protein added 1.6 pounds more lean weight and lost 4.1 pounds more fat weight than the subjects who exercised without the benefit of the post-exercise meal drink.
Scientific Research is a Key Component of the Shaklee Difference
This is just a sampling or our recent scientific research program intended to advance the state of scientific knowledge in critical nutrition and health issues. Sound scientific research is truly a cornerstone of the Shaklee Difference and our 53-year legacy of scientific integrity. Stay tuned as we will be reporting on more Shaklee scientific research in the coming months.