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Fighting Disease by Optimizing Nutrition
CHORI Researchers Develop Low-Calorie Nutritional Bar that Improves Metabolic Biomarkers Linked to Disease Risk in a Two-Week Trial

May 1, 2012 – In a new study published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB J) and available on-line this month, CHORI researchers, in collaboration with the Processed Foods Unit of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Albany, CA, reveal that a two-week trial in healthy individuals of a low-calorie, high-fiber, fruit-based, nutrient-dense bar significantly improved antioxidant defenses and biomarkers linked to increased risk for cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline.

 

“Most people in the US are not getting their full requirements of many vitamins and minerals. We worry that over time the unbalanced diet will catch up with you in terms of disease.”



"The results are particularly exciting for a number of reasons,” says first author and former CHORI Clinical Research Scientist (now Co-Director, Children’s National Obesity Institute in Washington D.C.), Michele Mietus-Snyder, PhD, of the study, which demonstrated that the supplement, named the CHORI-Bar, increased total high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) by 6.2 percent, decreased homocysteine (Hcy) by 19 percent, and increased glutathione (GSH) by 20 percent.

"Increased HDL-c is associated with better protection against cardiovascular disease, while lower Hcy concentrations is associated with better protection against both heart disease and cognitive decline. And glutathione protects the cell against environmental stresses, so increasing GSH is also a very positive sign."

CHORI Senior Scientist Bruce Ames, PhD, and CHORI Assistant Scientist Mark Shigenaga, PhD began the development of the CHORI-Bar over 8 years ago to fill two important gaps in the standard American diet, which is high in calories, fat, and sugar but low in fiber and micronutrients. The CHORI-Bar was specifically designed to address these gaps.

“An unhealthy gut is now recognized to be linked to sub-chronic inflammation and its many associated diseases.”
"Low fiber and other small molecules missing from the American diet are needed to maintain a healthy gut," explains Dr. Shingenaga. "An unhealthy gut is now recognized to be linked to sub-chronic inflammation and its many associated diseases."

Similarly, Dr. Ames' Triage Theory and related research suggest that when the body experiences low-grade micronutrient and vitamin deficiency, it prioritizes functions that are essential to the organism's immediate survival rather than those micronutrient-dependent functions that are more important for long-term health.
As CHORI Associate Staff Scientist and co-author Joyce McCann, PhD explains: "Most people in the US are not getting their full requirements of many vitamins and minerals. While in the short term, these deficiencies do not create acute problems like bleeding gums or broken bones, we're worried that over time the unbalanced diet will catch up with you in terms of disease – diabetes, heart disease, cancer."

Carefully formulated to be both tasty and complete in nutrition, the CHORI-Bar is engineered to provide those nutrients required for maximum function of a healthy gut, while also providing key micronutrients and minerals. In addition, the bar is only 110 calories. And unlike many nutritional interventions that require participants to completely change their diets, the CHORI-Bar is meant to be consumed in the background of an individual's normal diet.

This makes the significance of the metabolic changes observed after a mere two-week trial all the more exciting and surprising.

“The fact that we are able to positively move metabolic markers linked to disease risk in such a short period of time, and in the background of individuals’ normal diets is just amazing.”

As Dr. McCann explains, "It is very difficult to both raise HDL-c and lower homocysteine with drugs and even most special diets, so the ability of the CHORI-bar to do this in only 2-weeks with no special dietary instructions is very enouraging."

In addition, the CHORI-Bar is also a testament to the power of balanced nutrition and the right mixture of nutrients.

"When individual nutrients in the CHORI-Bar are taken separately in supplement form, quite high amounts are needed in order to have effects like those we are seeing with the CHORI-Bar," says Dr. Shigenaga. "What is critically different here is that we are supplying these different nutrients together in a balanced combination at amounts typically found in food. The overall affect of the CHORI-Bar may well be due to the power of delivering them all together with a synergistic effect."

Positive results from additional trials are already being assembled for publication, and the Ames group is planning additional studies, both to evaluate the mechanisms behind the metabolic changes and to quantify differences in metabolic shifts between different types of individuals.

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Sunday, July 29, 2012 12:45 PM

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