Late night snack with cottage cheese has no major adverse metabolic effects

Associate Professor of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences Michael Ormsbee and former Florida state university graduate student Samantha Leyh found that consuming 30 grams of protein about 30 minutes before bed appears to have a positive effect on muscle quality, metabolism, and overall health. They compared protein from whole food (cottage cheese) versus liquid protein shake and placebo. In their results they showed no difference between whole food and liquid protein shake in terms of appetite and metabolic changes. Research suggests that no adverse impact of pre-sleep protein on metabolic activity. Research findings are published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Study participants active young women in their early 20s ate samples of cottage cheese 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime. Researchers specifically wanted to see if this food may have an impact on the metabolic rate and muscle recovery.

“Until now, we presumed that whole foods would act similarly to the data on supplemental protein, but we had no real evidence,” Ormsbee said. “This is important because it adds to the body of literature that indicates that whole foods work just as well as protein supplementation, and it gives people options for presleep nutrition that go beyond powders and shaker bottles.”

Leyh, who is now a research dietitian with the Air Force, said the results serve as a foundation for future research on precise metabolic responses to whole food consumption.

Ormsbee said that his research team will start examining more presleep food options and longer-term studies to learn more about the optimal food choices that can aid individuals in recovery from exercise, repair and regeneration of muscle and overall health.

Citation:Leyh, Samantha M., Brandon D. Willingham, Daniel A. Baur, Lynn B. Panton, and Michael J. Ormsbee. “Pre-sleep Protein in Casein Supplement or Whole-food Form Has No Impact on Resting Energy Expenditure or Hunger in Women.” British Journal of Nutrition120, no. 9 (2018): 988-94. doi:10.1017/s0007114518002416.

Pecan consumption linked to improved cardiovascular and diabetic biomarkers

Researchers have conducted a study to see if eating pecans had an impact on cardiovascular disease and diabetes biomarkers. This study was funded by National Pecan Shellers Association and findings are published in journal Nutrition.

Researchers conducted a placebo-controlled crossover trial of 26 subjects. All subjects were provided with meals to carefully control their food intake. For 4 weeks one group had a diet with 15% of daily calorie intake provided with pecans. Both the control diet and the pecan-rich diet were low in fruits, vegetables, and fiber. Calorie levels, as well as protein, carbohydrate, and total fat, were kept the same. Results of the study showed improvements in serum insulin, insulin resistance, pancreatic beta cell function and cardiovascular disease biomarkers.

“Pecans are naturally high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, so replacing a portion of the saturated fat in the diet with these healthier fats can explain some of the cardioprotective effects we observed,” said lead researcher, Diane McKay, Ph.D. “But pecans also contain a number of bioactive plant compounds as well as vitamins and essential minerals that all likely contributed to this benefit. What’s really interesting is that just one small change – eating a handful of pecans daily – may have a large impact on the health of these at-risk adults.”

Reference: Mckay, Diane, Misha Eliasziw, C. Chen, and Jeffrey Blumberg. “A Pecan-Rich Diet Improves Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Overweight and Obese Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Nutrients 10, no. 3 (2018): 339. doi:10.3390/nu10030339.

Research funding: National Pecan Shellers Association

Adapted from press release by Kellen Communications.

New biomarkers to predict the success of diabetic macular edema treatment

Researchers have found new biomarkers that predict prognosis following current treatments for diabetic macular edema. The research was led by Dr. Rajeev Muni, a vitreoretinal surgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital. The study is published in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology.

Diabetic macular edema is one the common complication of Diabetes. It is associated with the accumulation of fluid in the macula, an area in the center of the retina responsible for sharp vision. The fluid buildup causes the macula to swell and thicken, which causes vision problems. Dr. Muni said diabetic macular edema is the leading cause of vision loss in people under the age of 65 in North America.

Treatment for diabetic macular edema requires a sometimes painful injection in the eye, in some cases as often as once a month. Dr. Rajeev Muni said that while this treatment has been a “game-changer,” preserving and even restoring vision in people who might otherwise have gone blind, some people respond to it better than others.

In this study, researchers took fluid samples from the anterior, chamber of the eyes from 48 patients who were then treated with a ranibizumab injection. They found that low levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and high levels of intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) are associated with the good response following ranibizumab injection.

“Now we have a novel biomarker to determine who will respond best to treatment,” said Dr. Rajeev Muni. “The prospect of ongoing injections in the eye is daunting for patients. The fact that we can now measure a protein in the eye that allows us to predict which patients are less likely respond to treatment could lead to more personalized and tailored medicine and fewer injections. This could alleviate the treatment burden on patients and the health-care system.”

Citation: Hillier, Roxane J., Elvis Ojaimi, David T. Wong, Michael Y. K. Mak, Alan R. Berger, Radha P. Kohly, Peter J. Kertes, Farzin Forooghian, Shelley R. Boyd, Kenneth Eng, Filiberto Altomare, Louis R. Giavedoni, Rosane Nisenbaum, and Rajeev H. Muni. “Aqueous Humor Cytokine Levels and Anatomic Response to Intravitreal Ranibizumab in Diabetic Macular Edema.” JAMA Ophthalmology, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2018.0179.

Research funding: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., Retina Foundation of Canada.

Adapted from press release by St. Michael’s Hospital.

Oral ketone supplements control blood glucose spikes

Researchers have shown that drinking a ketone supplement can lower blood glucose levels, presenting a potential future method to control blood glucose spikes experienced by diabetics.

Previous studies have shown that intravenoous ketones can reduce blood sugar levels. In this study, researchers has shown that a ketone ester supplement given orally can also lower blood sugar levels. Researchers at the University of British Columbia and University of Oxford have demonstrated that a single drink of ketone ester enables better control of blood sugar by reducing spikes. The study is published in journal of physiology.

Twenty healthy individuals participated in the study and on two occasions consumed the ketone monoester supplement or a placebo after a 10-hour fast. Thirty minutes later they consumed a drink containing 75 grams of sugar (i.e., a standard oral glucose tolerance test). Blood samples were collected every 15-30 minutes throughout the entire 2.5 hours protocol for analyses of glucose, lipids, and hormones. Compared to the placebo, the blood sugar spike was reduced on the day that the individuals had consumed the ketone drink.

It should be noted that this study was conducted with healthy young individuals, to reduce the confounding influence of insulin resistance, beta-cell dysfunction, and medications, so more research is required to know whether it will apply to people with prediabetes, type 2 diabetes and obesity. The physiological mechanisms that underpin the improved blood sugar control also need to be understood.

Professor Jonathan Little, from the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan Campus, was part of the research team and said “Our study was done in healthy young participants but if the same responses were seen in people with, or at risk for, type 2 diabetes then it is possible that a ketone monoester supplement could be used to lower glucose levels and improve metabolic health. We are working on these studies at the moment.”

doi: 10.1113/JP275709

Adapted from press release by The Physiological Society.

Animal studies show that naturally occurring peptide catestatin has potential as anti-obesity and type 2 diabetes treatment

Research by team from University of California San Diego School of Medicine shows that treating obese mice with catestatin (CST), a peptide naturally occurring in the body, showed significant improvement in glucose and insulin tolerance and reduced body weight.

In a study published in journal Diabetes, researchers identified catestatins’s role in the recruitment and function of macrophages in the liver as well as regulation of obesity-induced liver inflammation and insulin resistance.

“We have shown that an endogenous peptide, catestatin, can directly suppress glucose production from hepatocytes and can indirectly suppress lipid accumulation in liver as well as macrophage-mediated inflammation in obese mice,” said Sushil K. Mahata, PhD, professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “The net results are improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. Therefore, this peptide has immense potential for an anti-obesity reagent as well as a novel drug to treat type 2 diabetes.”

Treating obese mice with catestatin inhibited the recruitment of monocyte-derived macrophages to the liver and decreased inflammation, suggesting catestatin is an anti-inflammatory peptide. Catestatin treatment also lowered blood sugar and insulin levels to normal, and reduced fatty liver. Administering catestatin had no effect on insulin or glucose tolerance in control lean mice, showing that the effect of catestatin is restricted to obese animals. This difference may be explained by the reduced levels of normal catestatin in obese mice compared to the lean control animals. To confirm the importance of naturally occurring catestatin, the authors studied mice that lacked catestatin. These mice ate more and were heavier but lost weight when treated with catestatin. The researchers theorize that naturally occurring catestatin may help maintain body weight by suppressing hunger and enhancing glucose tolerance.

“The improved glucose and insulin sensitivity with catestatin treatment may be partly explained by the anti-inflammatory effects of catestatin on the liver,” said Mahata. “We have identified a novel pathway for suppression of liver glucose production that could be used to compensate for the loss of naturally occurring catestatin or to bolster its impact. But further studies are needed to uncover how catestatin suppresses liver inflammation to improve metabolism.”

Citation: Ying, Wei, Sumana Mahata, Gautam K. Bandyopadhyay, Zhenqi Zhou, Joshua Wollam, Jessica Vu, Rafael Mayoral, Nai-Wen Chi, Nicholas J.g. Webster, Angelo Corti, and Sushil K. Mahata. “Catestatin Inhibits Obesity-Induced Macrophage Infiltration and Inflammation in the Liver and Suppresses Hepatic Glucose Production Leading to Improved Insulin Sensitivity.” Diabetes, 2018. doi: 10.2337/db17-0788.

Funding:  Department of Veterans Affairs, American Heart Association, National Natural Science Foundation of China, Noland Scholarship.

Adapted from press release by University of California San Diego School of Medicine.

Metformin influences gut microbiome

A recent study at Sahlgrenska Academy and University of Girona indicates thatcontrol of blood glucose by metformin is achieved partly through modulation of the gut microbiota. Results of the study are published in journal Nature Medicine.

Fredrik Bäckhed’s research group at Sahlgrenska Academy has previously shown that the gut microbiota is altered in patients with type 2 diabetes and after bariatric surgery. By conducting a clinical study in patients with new onset diabetes, the group could clarify how the gut microbiomeis affected by metformin.

Sequencing of the microbiome of 22 patients before and after treatment compared with a placebo treated group of patients showed that the gut microbiome was altered dramatically within two months of treatment. Through experiments in the laboratory, the researchers demonstrated that metformin increases the growth of several bacterial species that are linked to improved metabolism.

Citation: Wu, Hao, Eduardo Esteve, Valentina Tremaroli, Muhammad Tanweer Khan, Robert Caesar, Louise Mannerås-Holm, Marcus Ståhlman, Lisa M. Olsson, Matteo Serino, Mercè Planas-Fèlix, Gemma Xifra, Josep M. Mercader, David Torrents, Rémy Burcelin, Wifredo Ricart, Rosie Perkins, José Manuel Fernàndez-Real, and Fredrik Bäckhed. “Metformin alters the gut microbiome of individuals with treatment-naive type 2 diabetes, contributing to the therapeutic effects of the drug.” Nature Medicine, 2017.
Adapted from press release by  the University of Gothenburg.

Brain changes in diabetic patients

A new study published in Diabetologia reveals that overweight and obese individuals with early stage type 2 diabetes (T2D) had more severe and progressive abnormalities in brain structure and cognition compared to normal-weight study participants.

The research conducted by Dr Sunjung Yoon and Dr In Kyoon Lyoo (Ewha Brain Institute, Ewha Womens University, Seoul, South Korea), Hanbyul Cho (The Brain Institute, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA), and colleagues in Korea and the USA looked into the effects of being overweight or obese on the brains and cognitive functions of people with early stage type 2 diabetes.

The study found that grey matter was significantly thinner in clusters in the temporal, prefrontoparietal, motor and occipital cortices of the brains of diabetic study participants when compared to the non-diabetic control group. Further thinning of the temporal and motor cortices was also observed in the overweight/obese diabetic group, compared to normal-weight diabetics. The team also discovered region-specific changes which suggested that the temporal lobe has a particular vulnerability to the combined effects of having type 2 diabetes and being overweight or obese.

Citation: Yoon, Sujung, Hanbyul Cho, Jungyoon Kim, Do-Wan Lee, Geon Ha Kim, Young Sun Hong, Sohyeon Moon, Shinwon Park, Sunho Lee, Suji Lee, Sujin Bae, Donald C. Simonson, and In Kyoon Lyoo. “Brain changes in overweight/obese and normal-weight adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus.” Diabetologia, 2017.
Adapted from press release by Diabetologia.

New tissue-engineered platform for islet cell transplantation found effective in type 1 diabetic patients

Researchers from the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) have produced the clinical results demonstrating that pancreatic islet cells transplanted within a tissue-engineered platform can achieve insulin independence in type 1 diabetes. The research findings are published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Islet cell transplantation omentum minipancreas
Fluorescence microscopy of islets in the omentum transplanted within the biologic scaffold. In red (insulin staining) and blue (DAPI nuclear staining). Credit: Diabetes Research Institute/University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Islet transplantation is an emerging technology. It has demonstrated the ability to restore natural insulin production and eliminate severe hypoglycemia in people with type 1 diabetes. Traditionally the cells are transplanted into the liver, however, this site poses some limitations so researchers used omentum.

This was the first successful tissue-engineered islet transplantation that has achieved long-term insulin independence in a patient with type 1 diabetes. The biological platform was made by combining donor islets with the patient’s own (autologous) blood plasma, which was laparoscopically layered onto the omentum. Clinical-grade thrombin was then layered over the islet/plasma mixture. The technique has been designed to minimize the inflammatory reaction that is normally observed when islets are implanted in the liver or in other sites with immediate contact to blood.

“The results thus far have shown that the omentum appears to be a viable site for islet implantation using this new platform technique,” said lead author David Baidal, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine and member of the DRI’s Clinical Cell Transplant team. “Data from our study and long-term follow-up of additional omental islet transplants will determine the safety and feasibility of this strategy of islet transplantation, but we are quite excited about what we are seeing now.”

Citation: Baidal, David A., Camillo Ricordi, Dora M. Berman, Ana Alvarez, Nathalia Padilla, Gaetano Ciancio, Elina Linetsky, Antonello Pileggi, and Rodolfo Alejandro. “Bioengineering of an Intraabdominal Endocrine Pancreas.” New England Journal of Medicine 376, no. 19 (2017): 1887-889. doi:10.1056/nejmc1613959.
Research funding: Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, JDRF, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, National Institutes of Health, University of Miami.
Adapted from press release by Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Gut microbiome shown to protect against type 2 diabetes

New study form the University of Eastern Finland showed that a high concentration of indolepropionic acid in the serum protects against type 2 diabetes. Indolepropionic acid is a metabolite produced by intestinal bacteria, and its production is boosted by a whole grain products and fibre-rich diet. According to the researchers, the discovery provides additional insight into the role of intestinal bacteria in the interplay between diet, metabolism and health.

The findings were published in Scientific Reports. The study was carried out in the LC-MS Metabolomics Centre of the University of Eastern Finland together with a large number of partners from Finnish and Swedish research institutes.

The study compared two groups participating in the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study, DPS. At the onset of the study, all participants were overweight and had impaired glucose tolerance. The researchers investigated the serum metabolite profile of 200 participants with impaired glucose tolerance, who either developed type 2 diabetes within the first 5 years, or did not convert to type 2 diabetes within a 15-year follow-up. The differences between the groups were analysed by non-targeted metabolomics analysis. The greatest differences in the metabolic profiles of those who developed type 2 diabetes and those who didn’t were observed in the concentrations of indolepropionic acid and certain lipid metabolites. A higher concentration of indolepropionic acid seemed to promote insulin secretion by pancreatic beta cells, which might explain the protective effect.

In addition to the DPS data, the association of indolepropionic acid with the risk of diabetes was also studied in two other population-based datasets: in the Finnish Metabolic Syndrome In Men Study, METSIM, and in the Swedish Västerbotten Intervention Project, VIP. In these datasets too, indolepropionic acid was discovered to protect against diabetes.

The study also identified several new lipid metabolites whose high concentrations were associated with improved insulin resistance and reduced risk of diabetes. The concentrations of these metabolites were also associated with dietary fat: the lower the amount of saturated fat in the diet, the higher the concentrations of these metabolites. Similarly to indolepropionic acid, high concentrations of these lipid metabolites also seemed to protect against low-grade inflammation.

The Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study was the first randomised, controlled lifestyle intervention study to show that in persons with impaired glucose tolerance, type 2 diabetes can be prevented by lifestyle changes. The most important lifestyle changes included weight loss, more exercise and dietary adjustments to include more whole grain products, fruits and vegetables.

Citation: Mello, Vanessa D. De, Jussi Paananen, Jaana Lindström, Maria A. Lankinen, Lin Shi, Johanna Kuusisto, Jussi Pihlajamäki, Seppo Auriola, Marko Lehtonen, Olov Rolandsson, Ingvar A. Bergdahl, Elise Nordin, Pirjo Ilanne-Parikka, Sirkka Keinänen-Kiukaanniemi, Rikard Landberg, Johan G. Eriksson, Jaakko Tuomilehto, Kati Hanhineva, and Matti Uusitupa. “Indolepropionic acid and novel lipid metabolites are associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes in the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study.” Scientific Reports 7 (2017): 46337.
Adapted from press release by University of Eastern Finland.

Research on Allulose, a rare naturally occuring sugar show promise as healthy alternative to Sucrose

Animal research have shown that low calorie natural sugars like allulose could help regulate glucose levels. Researchers are now trying to find out how it works, and their findings are reported in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Sucrose is the natural sweetener what everyone refer to when sugar is on the ingredient list. Allulose, which is 70 percent as sweet as sucrose, and other rare sugars also can be found in fruits and vegetables in very small amounts. Recently researchers discovered an industrial way to produce allulose in large quantities from high-fructose corn syrup. Past studies have suggested that allulose can help control weight gain and control glucose levels. Tomoya Shintani and colleagues wanted to confirm these results and understand how it works.

To find out researchers gave three groups of rats plain water, water with high-fructose corn syrup and water with rare-sugar syrup containing glucose, fructose, allulose and other rare sugars for 10 weeks. The rats drinking rare-sugar syrup infused water gained less weight, had less abdominal fat, and had lower blood glucose and insulin levels compared to the high-fructose corn syrup group. The research showed that rats fed with rare-sugar syrup infused water had increased levels of glucokinase in liver cells. Glucokinase is an enzyme that reduces blood-sugar levels by helping convert glucose to its stored form, glycogen.

Although more research is needed, the scientists say, the findings suggest that rare sugars could be a good alternative sweetener.

Citation: Shintani, Tomoya, Takako Yamada, Noriko Hayashi, Tetsuo Iida, Yasuo Nagata, Nobuaki Ozaki, and Yukiyasu Toyoda. “Rare Sugar Syrup Containing d-Allulose but Not High-Fructose Corn Syrup Maintains Glucose Tolerance and Insulin Sensitivity Partly via Hepatic Glucokinase Translocation in Wistar Rats.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2017. doi:10.1021/acs.jafc.6b05627.
Adapted from press release by American Chemical Society.