Many clinical and animal studies have shown that certain dietary components exert anti-inflammatory properties that aid in the amelioration of chronic inflammatory diseases. Among the various proposed channels through which dietary components affect immune responses, regulatory T-cells (Tregs) are emerging as key targets for the dietary prevention of chronic inflammatory diseases. In this review, immunoregulation by Tregs is briefly described, followed by a summary of recent advances and possible applications of techniques for the study of Tregs. In addition, this review provides an overview of the current knowledge on Treg regulation by certain dietary components, including vitamins, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and polyphenols. The caveats of previous studies are also discussed in order to highlight the distinctions between dietary studies and immunological approaches. Consequently, this review may help to clarify the means by which nutritional components influence Tregs.
Keywords: nutrition, immunology, regulatory T-cells, Tregs, anti-inflammatory
4. Dietary Regulation of Tregs
Following dietary consumption and absorption in the intestines, water-insoluble vitamin A (all-trans-retinol) is carried by cellular retinol binding protein (CRBP) in an aqueous environment to be transported into the cytoplasm. Subsequently, retinol is oxidized to retinal by retinol dehydrogenase, and then retinal is further oxidized to retinoic acid by retinal dehydrogenase . With respect to the role of vitamin A in the development of Tregs, Bai et al.  demonstrated that the population of Tregs derived from biopsies of ulcerative colitis patients increases following ex vivo culture in the presence of retinoic acid, a potent metabolite of vitamin A. In the same study, using a chemical (2,4,6-trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid, TNBS)-induced murine colitis model, it was further elucidated that dietary vitamin A ameliorated colitis, which is accompanied by an increased population of Tregs. Wu et al.  further reported that intraperitoneal administration of all-trans retinoic acid aided in the attenuation of airway inflammation by inducing Treg development in a model of experimental allergic asthma. Moreover, a dietary study demonstrated that retinal intervention in mice upregulated Tregs, which further assisted in the treatment of autoimmune inflammatory disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis . Overall, these animal studies indicate that vitamin A and its metabolites affect populations of Tregs, thereby suppressing chronic inflammatory diseases. However, it remains unclear whether vitamin A affects Tregs directly, indirectly, or both. Indeed, Chang et al. demonstrated that dendritic cells also promote the generation of Tregs in response to retinoic acid, at least in vitro , exemplifying that in vivo models are more complicated for elucidating the mechanism of action of dietary components.
With respect to water-soluble vitamins, Kunisawa et al.  showed that Tregs express high levels of vitamin B9 (folic acid) receptor on their cell surfaces. Furthermore, vitamin B9 was demonstrated to be a survival factor for Tregs; in a vitamin B9-deficient culture, naïve CD4+ T-cells successfully differentiated into Foxp3+ Tregs but failed to survive. Moreover, it was found that mice fed a vitamin B9-deficient diet exhibited a decreased number of Tregs in the small intestine, where vitamin B9 is absorbed.
4.2. Dietary Fatty Acids
A significant quantity of data has indicated that dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) may prevent or ameliorate chronic inflammatory diseases, including inflammatory bowel diseases [31,32,33,34]. These studies have identified multiple anti-inflammatory mechanisms of omega-3 PUFA: cytokine production, antagonism to omega-6 PUFA metabolism, binding to nuclear receptors as ligands, the alteration of signaling protein acylation, and the modulation of signaling platform lipid rafts in various immune cell models. With respect to CD4+ T-cell mediated inflammatory responses, several studies using dietary intervention with either purified omega-3 PUFA or fish oil (which is rich in omega-3 PUFA) demonstrated that CD4+ T-cell functions, as assessed by cytokine production and proliferation, were suppressed in both humans [35,36,37] and experimental animals [38,39].
As for the effect of omega-3 PUFA on Tregs, it was shown that the omega-3 PUFA abundant in fermented fish oil enhanced the development of Foxp3+ Tregs in vivo . Moreover, intraperitoneal injection of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), an omega-3 PUFA, resulted in prolongation of graft survival in a murine transplant model, accompanied by an increased population of Tregs . However, those studies do not conclusively demonstrate a direct function of omega-3 PUFA on the differentiation and/or function of Tregs, given the caveat that in vivo administration of omega-3 PUFA can affect diverse types of accessory cells. Indeed, it was found that dendritic cells cultured in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, an omega-3 PUFA)-rich conditions facilitated the development of Tregs, at least in vitro , indicating an indirect modulation of Treg development by omega-3 PUFA. However, despite the increase in the development of Tregs, the favorable effect of omega-3 PUFA on Tregs is still controversial because it has also been observed that DHA inhibited the suppressive effect of Tregs on effector T-cell proliferations in a dose-dependent manner in vitro .
4.3. Dietary Polyphenols
Dietary polyphenols are well known for their antioxidant properties, which can further suppress inflammatory responses by reducing nitric oxide. In addition to their archetypal antioxidant capacities, immunoregulatory effects of select polyphenols on Tregs have been characterized as follows. Wang et al.  reported that ex vivo development of CD4+ Foxp3+ Tregs was induced in the presence of the flavonoid naringenin in part via activation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor, a transcription factor. As well, increased Treg differentiation suppressed the proliferation of effector T-cells. In addition, dietary naringenin was found to suppress cholesterol-induced systemic inflammation, metabolic dysregulation, atherosclerosis, and allergen-induced airway inflammation [45,46], although it was not clear whether those inhibitory effects were Treg-dependent. In a mouse model of T-cell mediated inflammatory disease of the central nervous system, dietary intake of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a catechin derivative, exerted a favorable effect, in part by increasing the Treg population in the spinal cord . Furthermore, fermented grape marc (FGM) was found to promote Treg differentiation of human CD4+ T-cells .Go to:
Due to the relatively short history of studies on Tregs, investigations of the direct effects of a variety of dietary components on Treg conversion are limited at present (summarized in Table 1 and previously reviewed elsewhere ). It seems that a majority of the anti-inflammatory functional studies have been conducted in vivo by observing physiological outcomes, such as symptoms of chronic inflammation and accumulation of certain immune cell types. Even though in vivo studies are indispensable for nutritional studies, simpler model systems must be developed to dissect the detailed mechanisms by which dietary components regulate physiological systems. Therefore, further studies using more sophisticated and appropriate in vivo model systems are needed to draw solid conclusions. In this regard, as introduced in this review, the protocol for Treg differentiation from naïve CD4+ T cells could be effectively utilized to determine the direct effects of a variety of promising dietary Treg modulators present in foods.
Published: October 28th 2013
The Concept Of Sticky Foods
Question: You talked about yeasty foods, the breads, the cheeses and the milk forming mucous; I do not quite understand that concept. It does not form mucous in itself… does not the peristaltic action get it out of the system?
No, we are talking about a mucous that is formed from foods that feed yeast when food stays too long in the body. When foods or liquids are sticky (starches, grains and meats), they do not have enough lubrication, so they do not get through the system quick enough; and if you do not have enough oxygen in your reserve bank account, these unfriendly critters come in, eat it, and form the bad mucous bacteria.
Question: Yeast is just a sticky substance, eventually your body gets rid of it does not it; or you eliminate it?
No, not if you do not have enough oxygen or lubrication (mucus membranes that produce lubricant). Will become a hard mass attaching itself to the intestinal tract.
Excerpts from : Total Harmony.pdf
More from this Author : Not Eating The Right Fats
Gupta AK, et al.
The ability to measure brain tissue chemistry has led to valuable information regarding pathophysiological changes in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Over the last few years, the focus has been on monitoring changes in brain tissue oxygen to determine thresholds of ischemia that affect outcome. However, the variability of this measurement suggests that it may not be a robust method. We have therefore investigated the relationship of brain tissue pH (pH(b)) and outcome in patients with TBI. We retrospectively analyzed prospectively collected data of 38 patients admitted to the Neurosciences Critical Care Unit with TBI between 1998 and 2003, and who had a multiparameter tissue gas sensor inserted into the brain. All patients were managed using an evidence-based protocol targeting CPP > 70 mm Hg. Physiological variables were averaged over 4 min and analyzed using a generalized least squares random effects model to determine the temporal profile of pH(b) and its association with outcome. Median (IQR) minimum pH(b) was 7.00 (6.89, 7.08), median (IQR) maximum pH(b) was 7.25 (7.18, 7.33), and median (IQR) patient averaged pH(b) was 7.13 (7.07, 7.17). pH(b) was significantly lower in those who did not survive their hospital stay compared to those that survived. In addition, those with unfavorable neurological outcome had lower pH(b) values than those with favorable neurological outcome. pH(b) differentiated between survivors and non-survivors. Measurement of pH(b) may be a useful indicator of outcome in patients with TBI.
PMID 15253796 [Indexed for MEDLINE]
Recently, a number of studies have demonstrated the profound relationship between gut microbiota (GM) alterations and behavioral changes. Glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH) have been shown to induce behavioral impairments, and it is possible that they mediate the effects through an altered GM. In this study, we investigated the toxic effects of GBH on GM and its subsequent effects on the neurobehavioral functions in mice following acute, subchronic and chronic exposure to 250 or 500 mg/kg/day.
The effect of these acute and repeated treatments was assessed at the behavioural level using the open field, the elevated plus maze, the tail suspension and splash tests. Then, mice were sacrificed and the intestinal samples were collected for GM analysis.
Subchronic and chronic exposure to GBH induced an increase of anxiety and depression-like behaviors.
In addition, GBH significantly altered the GM composition in terms of relative abundance and phylogenic diversity of the key microbes. Indeed, it decreased more specifically, Corynebacterium, Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes and Lactobacillus in treated mice.
These data reinforce the essential link between GM and GBH toxicity in mice and suggest that observed intestinal dysbiosis could increase the prevalence of neurobehavioral alterations.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original link – here
This article also appeared in the 2017, volume 3 issue of ARI’s Autism Research Review International newsletter.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may involve an acid/ alkaline imbalance in the brain, according to a new study.
Hideo Hagihara and colleagues say that low brain pH (indicating greater acidity) has been reported in postmortem studies of individuals with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and ASD. However, they say, this was believed to be an artifact caused by secondary factors such as antipsychotic use.
To determine whether low brain pH might instead be a primary feature of a number of psychiatric disorders, the researchers first conducted a meta-analysis of datasets from ten postmortem studies of individuals with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. They found that both groups of patients had low brain pH levels, even when the researchers factored in variables such as age at death, postmortem interval, and history of antipsychotic use.
Next, the researchers investigated brain pH levels using five mouse models of psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and ASD. In all five models, brain pH was significantly lower than in controls. In addition, the researchers detected elevated levels of lactate in the brains of the mice and found that the higher the lactate was, the lower the pH level was. They note that the increase in lactate may explain the decreased brain pH levels, because lactate acts as a strong acid.
The researchers comment that “brain acidosis influences a number of brain functions, such as anxiety, mood, and cognition.” In addition, they say, acidosis may affect the structure and function of several types of brain cells including GABAergic neurons and oligodendrocytes. “Alterations in these types of cells have been well-documented in the brains of patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and ASD,” they say, “and may underlie some of the cognitive deficits associated with these disorders.”
The researchers say that based on the assumption that low brain pH is an artifact, researchers have typically attempted to match postmortem samples based on tissue pH. In the process, they say, they may have obscured pathological features associated with changes in pH, such as neuronal hyper-excitation and inflammation.
“Decreased brain pH as a shared endophenotype of psychiatric disorders,” Hideo Hagihara, Vibeke S. Catts, Yuta Katayama, Hirotaka Shoji, Tsuyoshi Takagi, Freesia L. Huang, Akito Nakao, Yasuo Mori, Kuo-Ping Huang, Shunsuke Ishii, Isabella A. Graef, Keiichi I. Nakayama, Cynthia Shannon Weickert, and Tsuyoshi Miyakawa, Neuropsychopharmacology, August 4, 2017 (epub prior to print publication). Address: Tsuyoshi Miyakawa, Division of Systems Medical Science, Institute for Comprehensive Medical Science, Fujita Health University, Kutsukake-cho, Toyoake, Aichi 470-1192, Japan, firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Increased brain acidity in psychiatric disorders,” news release, Fujita Health University, August 7, 2017.127118310
Today I see an article in the British Medical Journal :
Progress made through the 20th century in adding years to life is now stalling and, in some countries, going into reverse, finds research carried out by Scotland’s Public Health Observatory. It looked at trends in life expectancy across 24 high income countries over periods of five years from 1992 to 2016.1 The stalling was evident in several countries across western Europe and North America.
The research report cites austerity measures introduced in many of the world’s richest countries after the 2008 economic recession as one of the possible causes of a slowing improvement in life …View Full Text
ChooseLife : This may have some truth in it, however much more compelling to me is the ‘top of the hill’ theory, which suggests that there is a generational lag in rates, such as life expectancy, and healthy life expectancy.
This data confounds the supposition in the BMJ: Okinawa also has the highest prevalence of centenarians in Japan despite long-standing socioeconomic disadvantages relative to other Japanese (Cockerham et al. 2000)
Why might this generational lag be of profound importance? Recorded levels of nutrients have dropped significantly during the past 100 years. During times of war (in particular) the focus shifted from quality of produce, to volume of produce. Sadly, after the wars ended this trend reversal was not quashed, leading to a long term drop in nutrient density, the rise of the supermarket only served to compound this problem, demands for low price high volumes cheats the next generation of mineral density, and, brings with it a multitude of ailments and consequences to health and vitality.
Dirt Poor: Have Fruits and Vegetables Become Less Nutritious?
Because of soil depletion, crops grown decades ago were much richer in vitamins and minerals than the varieties most of us get today
Dear EarthTalk: What’s the nutritional difference between the carrot I ate in 1970 and one I eat today? I’ve heard that that there’s very little nutrition left. Is that true?—Esther G., Newark, N.J.
It would be overkill to say that the carrot you eat today has very little nutrition in it—especially compared to some of the other less healthy foods you likely also eat—but it is true that fruits and vegetables grown decades ago were much richer in vitamins and minerals than the varieties most of us get today. The main culprit in this disturbing nutritional trend is soil depletion: Modern intensive agricultural methods have stripped increasing amounts of nutrients from the soil in which the food we eat grows. Sadly, each successive generation of fast-growing, pest-resistant carrot is truly less good for you than the one before.
A landmark study on the topic by Donald Davis and his team of researchers from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry was published in December 2004 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. They studied U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional data from both 1950 and 1999 for 43 different vegetables and fruits, finding “reliable declines” in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C over the past half century. Davis and his colleagues chalk up this declining nutritional content to the preponderance of agricultural practices designed to improve traits (size, growth rate, pest resistance) other than nutrition.
“Efforts to breed new varieties of crops that provide greater yield, pest resistance and climate adaptability have allowed crops to grow bigger and more rapidly,” reported Davis, “but their ability to manufacture or uptake nutrients has not kept pace with their rapid growth.” There have likely been declines in other nutrients, too, he said, such as magnesium, zinc and vitamins B-6 and E, but they were not studied in 1950 and more research is needed to find out how much less we are getting of these key vitamins and minerals.
The Organic Consumers Association cites several other studies with similar findings: A Kushi Institute analysis of nutrient data from 1975 to 1997 found that average calcium levels in 12 fresh vegetables dropped 27 percent; iron levels 37 percent; vitamin A levels 21 percent, and vitamin C levels 30 percent. A similar study of British nutrient data from 1930 to 1980, published in the British Food Journal,found that in 20 vegetables the average calcium content had declined 19 percent; iron 22 percent; and potassium 14 percent. Yet another study concluded that one would have to eat eight oranges today to derive the same amount of Vitamin A as our grandparents would have gotten from one.
What can be done? The key to healthier produce is healthier soil. Alternating fields between growing seasons to give land time to restore would be one important step. Also, foregoing pesticides and fertilizers in favor of organic growing methods is good for the soil, the produce and its consumers. Those who want to get the most nutritious fruits and vegetables should buy regularly from local organic farmers.
UT’s Davis warns that just because fruits and vegetables aren’t as healthy as they used to be doesn’t mean we should avoid them. “Vegetables are extraordinarily rich in nutrients and beneficial phytochemicals,” he reported. “They are still there, and vegetables and fruits are our best sources for these.”
ChooseLife : These falling rates must be seen in the context of when we are growing, those who are in their 90’s now, were nurtured on soils before World War II, in the 1920’s and 1930’s, as their bodies grew, there was much greater nutrient density to grow nutrient dense bodies to carry them through later life. With each period of decline, we see rises in diseases related to lack of key nutrients, such as Calcium and Magnesium and exploding Osteoporosis.
Given the parallel increase in mineral striped fast foods, especially white flour and sugar (white sugar is antagonistic to Calcium as is well known, for example), it is no surprise to hear reports of Okinawan Centennials outliving their grandchildren who have adopted ‘Western Diets’.
Is obesity really a condition based in Nutrient craving?
Related research, showing how Calcium intake during key growth phases may be profoundly important to health lifespans :
The effect of calcium carbonate supplementation on bone growth and mineral accretion was studied in 143 boys aged 16-18 yr, randomized to 1000 mg Ca/d or a matching placebo for 13 months. Anthropometry and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry of the whole body, lumbar spine, hip, and forearm were performed before, during, and after the intervention. The intervention resulted in greater bone mineral content (BMC) of the whole body (+1.3%, P = 0.02), lumbar spine (+2.5%, P = 0.004), and hip (total +2.3%, P = 0.01; neck +2.4%, P = 0.02; intertrochanter +2.7%, P = 0.01). This was associated with greater height (+0.4%, P = 0.0004, equivalent to 7 mm), lean mass (+1.3%, P = 0.02), and lumbar spine bone area (+1.5%, P = 0.003). The increases in BMC diminished after size adjustment, suggesting that the intervention effect was mediated through an effect on growth. The BMC response at the intertrochanter was greater in subjects with high physical activity (+4.4%, P = 0.05). There were no other significant interactions with physical activity, plasma testosterone, calcium intake, or tablet compliance. We conclude that calcium carbonate supplementation of adolescent boys increased skeletal growth, resulting in greater stature and bone mineral acquisition. Follow-up studies will determine whether this reflects a change in the tempo of growth or an effect on skeletal size that persists into adulthood.
Calcium supplementation and bone mineral accretion in Chinese adolescents aged 12-14 years: a 12-month, dose-response, randomised intervention trial.
A 12-month, dose-response, randomised, intervention trial was conducted to determine adequate Ca intake levels for Chinese adolescents by investigating the effect of Ca supplementation on bone mineral accretion. A total of 220 Han adolescents (111 girls and 109 boys) aged 12-14 years were recruited. All subjects were randomly divided into three groups. The bone mineral content (BMC) and bone mineral density (BMD) of the whole body, lumbar spine (L1-L4), left hip and femoral neck were measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Girls in the high-Ca group (actual Ca intake: 1243 (sd 193) mg/d) exhibited greater increases in the femoral neck BMC compared with those in the low-Ca group (9·7 v. 6·4 %, P =0·04) over the 1-year intervention period. The increases in femoral neck BMC were greater in boys in the high-Ca and medium-Ca groups (actual Ca intake: 985 (sd 168) mg/d) than in those in the low-Ca group (15·7 v. 11·7 %, P =0·03; 15·8 v. 11·7 %, P =0·03). Ca supplementation had significant effects on the whole-body BMC and BMD in subjects with physical activity levels>34·86 metabolic equivalents and on the spine BMD and BMC and BMD of most sites in subjects with Tanner stage < 3. Increasing Ca intake levels with Ca supplementation enhanced femoral neck mineral acquisition in Chinese adolescents. Furthermore, high physical activity levels and low Tanner stage appeared to significantly contribute to the effect of Ca supplementation on bone mass. Whether this is a lasting beneficial effect leading to the optimisation of peak bone mass needs to be determined in other long-term prospective studies.
To be continued… Charles Northern, Western Price and Carey Reams.
By : Tim Newman
Published Wed 31 Oct 2018
The potential benefits of eating a plant-based diet have expanded once again. A new paper concludes that, for people with diabetes, cutting out animal products improves glucose control and well-being in addition to boosting weight loss.
Over recent years, vegetarianism and veganism have steadily moved from the fringe to the mainstream.
With many hailing it as a more healthful option, researchers seem to be adding to the evidence in favor of a plant-based diet on a weekly basis.
The most recent study to scrutinize the effects of a reduced meat intake considered its impact on people with diabetes.
Specifically, the scientists wanted to understand whether reducing animal-based food intake could help improve both glucose control and overall psychological well-being. To investigate this, they reanalyzed and combined data from existing studies.
Diabetes: Physical and mental
It is possible to moderate the negative impact of type 2 diabetes with medication and lifestyle changes, but, without proper control, there can be severe consequences. For example, diabetes increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, nephropathy (kidney damage), and vision loss.
Aside from the physical impact of diabetes, it can have substantial psychological effects, too. People with diabetes often report lower levels of psychological well-being. The risk of depression among people with type 2 diabetes is almost twice as high as that of the general population.
The psychological aspects of diabetes can create a negative spiral, as depression makes it more difficult for people to eat healthfully, exercise regularly, and follow medication routines. This causes stress, which can make depression worse.
With these findings in mind, the authors delved into existing research that looked at how diet influences psychological well-being in these individuals.
There is scientific evidence that eating large quantities of red meat increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Similarly, research has shown that a diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds but low in animal products can reduce the risk of developing this disease.
Consequently, experts now consider a plant-based diet to be the best option for both preventing and controlling diabetes.
In 2018, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the American College of Endocrinology released new guidelines. They write that people with diabetes “should strive to attain and maintain an optimal weight through a primarily plant-based meal plan.”
Although the links between a plant-based diet and the physical impact of diabetes are fairly well-documented, fewer studies record the psychological effects of these dietary changes.
To this end, the researchers carried out a review. In total, they found 11 relevant randomized control trials with a total of 433 participants. The results of their meta-analysis featured recently in the journal BMJ.
The benefits of eating fewer animal products
The analysis showed that individuals who ate a plant-based or vegan diet experienced significant improvements in their physical and emotional health. Individuals who had depressive symptoms also noted improvements.
Specifically, nerve pain (neuropathy) relating to diabetes improved more in the plant-based groups than in the other experimental groups. Also, fasting glucose levels fell more sharply, which is a sign of improved glucose control.
Similarly, levels of HbA1c — a marker of average blood glucose over recent weeks or months — also dropped for these individuals.
Weight loss improved in the participants who reduced their intake of animal products; in fact, they lost almost twice the amount of weight. Additionally, levels of fat in the blood dropped more quickly in the groups who ate a plant-based or vegan diet.
Fat in the blood and carrying excess weight are both risk factors for cardiovascular disease, so this is an important finding. The authors conclude:
“Plant-based diets accompanied by educational interventions can significantly improve psychological health, quality of life, HbA1c levels, and weight, and therefore the management of diabetes.”
In six of the studies that the researchers analyzed, individuals who followed the plant-based or vegan diets were able to either stop taking or reduce their medication for diabetes or blood pressure.
These findings support earlier claims of the physical benefits of plant-based diets. However, when it comes to psychological factors, cumulative evidence is, to date, rather scant. This study adds to the existing body of research, but, as the authors note, “The included studies had rather small sample sizes.” More work will be necessary.
Research has already shown that limiting meat intake can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and give people who have diabetes more control over their blood sugar levels. Now, it seems that it might also assist with the psychological aspects of the disease.
Moving toward a more plant-based diet is a simple and cost-effective intervention. If it has a significant impact on both the physical and emotional health of individuals with diabetes, it is an intervention worth investigating thoroughly.
Full Article : Link
By : Lisa Rapaport
(Reuters Health) – Women who eat lots of fruits and vegetables may experience fewer physical and mental health symptoms of menopause than those who prefer to dine on sweets, fats and snacks, an Iranian study suggests.
Researchers surveyed 400 women who had already gone through menopause about their eating habits as well as their recollection of how often they experienced symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, muscle and joint problems and bladder issues.
The study team also identified three distinct eating patterns: some women’s diets were abundant in fruits and vegetables; others consumed plenty of mayonnaise, oils, sweets and desserts; and a third group favored a wide variety of fatty foods and snacks.
Then, researchers sorted women into groups according to how closely they adhered to one of these three dietary patterns. Compared to women who consumed the fewest fruits and vegetables, women who had the most greens in their diets found menopause had a much smaller impact on their general wellbeing and physical and mental health.
By contrast, women who ate the most fatty foods and snacks were much more likely to suffer menopause symptoms that impaired their quality of life and impacted their physical and mental health than those who ate the most greens.
“The high-fat and -sugar dietary pattern has high amounts of simple carbohydrates and unhealthy fats, especially saturated and trans fats, and a relatively low content of fiber, which can increase the levels of inflammatory biomarkers and body weight, all of them are related to menopausal symptoms,” said senior study author Gity Sotoudeh of Tehran University of Medical Sciences.
“On the other hand, fruits and vegetables are low in fat, are a good source of micronutrients, antioxidants, as they help the body to lower the inflammation and maintain a healthy body weight during the menopause,” Sotoudeh said by email. “Fruits and vegetables are also rich in fiber, which can modify the estrogen metabolism and decrease the fluctuation in levels of estrogen, which all decrease the risk of symptoms.”
Women go through menopause when they stop menstruating, typically between ages 45 and 55. As the ovaries curb production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone in the years leading up to menopause and afterward, women can experience symptoms ranging from vaginal dryness to mood swings, joint pain and insomnia.
Obesity, inactivity, smoking and alcohol consumption have all been linked to an increased risk of more severe or frequent menopause symptoms, the study authors write in the journal Menopause.
Some previous research has also linked diets low in fat and high in whole grains, fruits and vegetables with fewer hot flashes and night sweats, the authors also note.
In the current study, participants were in typically in their mid- to late-50s and had gone through menopause around 7 to 9 years earlier. They were generally obese or overweight, and most were married, widowed or divorced.
The study can’t prove whether or how specific eating habits might directly impact menopause symptoms. Another limitation is that the group of women in the study was too small to draw broad conclusions about how diet might influence menopause symptoms, the researchers note.
Still, eating fats and sweets in moderation can have other health benefits, Sotoudeh said.
“We suggest that women cut down or avoid fast food, sweet and sugary food as much as they can, and start adding foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, especially colorful and green leafy vegetables and whole grain into their diet if they are not getting enough of them,” Sotoudeh advised. “Because it not only helps them to have lower menopausal symptoms, it would help with preventing of weight gain and some diseases that menopausal women are at a higher risk of.”
SOURCE: bit.ly/2O4LGU9 Menopause, online October 22, 2018.