Weekly Roundup: Gencor’s fenugreek extract found to boost sports performance, Vitamin D overload may increase fall risk in seniors

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15 Mar 2019 --- This week in nutrition news, Gencor’s extract of fenugreek has been found to boost lean body mass and exercise performance in healthy men. While in further research news, it has been found that taking three times the recommended daily dose of vitamin D could lead to slower reactions times and increase the risk of falling in older people.

In brief: Research studies
A new study has found that Trigonella foenum-graecum, Gencor’s unique extract of fenugreek known as Testofen, increases strength, aerobic endurance and lean body mass in healthy, exercising men. Fenugreek is an plant in the Fabaceae family and both the leaves and seed can be used in various health applications. This study examined changes in lean body mass, fat mass, upper and lower body muscular strength and endurance in response to an eight-week resistance training program with and without daily supplementation of the fenugreek extract. The findings suggest that Testofen is both effective and acts in a dose-response manner. It concluded that Testofen at a 600mg per day dose in conjunction with an effective exercise regime has superior positive effects in leg strength, aerobic capacity and body composition compared with placebo and a 300mg per day dose.

Click to EnlargeMozuku, a type of brown seaweed, contains exceptionally high levels of fucoidan compared to other seaweeds. Fucoidan is thought to have many health benefits, such as preventing the formation of tumors and blood clots. Credit: OIST. A Rutgers-led study found that overweight and obese older women who took more than three times the recommended daily dose of vitamin D showed improvements in memory and learning – but also had slower reaction times. The researchers hypothesize that slower reaction times may increase the risk of falling among older people. “The slower reaction time may have other negative outcomes such as potentially increasing the risk of falling and fractures,” says senior author Sue Shapses, Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “This is possible since other researchers have found that vitamin D supplementation at about 2,000 IU daily or more increased risk of falls, but they did not understand the cause. Our team’s findings indicating a slower reaction time may be one answer. Many people think that more vitamin D supplementation is better, but this study shows that is not always the case.”

For the first time, researchers have unveiled the genome of ito-mozuku (Nemacystus decipiens), a popular Japanese brown seaweed, providing data that could help farmers better grow the health food. Three years ago, the unit released the first draft genome of another local species of edible seaweed, Cladosiphon okamuranus, called Okinawa mozuku. Both seaweed species contain high concentrations of fucoidan, a slimy substance thought to obstruct the formation of blood clots and cancerous tumors, among other health benefits. The researchers have spotted which genes drive up this fucoidan concentration, a discovery that could have applications in the health food industry. The findings can also be useful in farming the seaweed which is significant because scientists predict that pollution and rising ocean temperatures may blunt the yield of the seaweed, forcing farmers to adopt new cultivation techniques.

The search by scientists to find ways to combat obesity continues. Recently, investigators have been exploring whether they can engage the lymphatic – part of the immune – system to help regulate obesity-induced inflammation of fat (adipose) tissue and restore systemic metabolic fitness. In obesity, adipose tissue expands and becomes dysfunctional, leading to the appearance of a cluster of medical issues known as “the metabolic syndrome.” This includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. Researchers report that augmenting lymphatic vessel formation in obese adipose tissue via vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF-D) signaling reduced obesity-associated immune accumulation and improved metabolic responsiveness, suggesting a new approach to reducing some obesity-associated metabolic issues. These findings highlight the importance of lymphatic expansion in maintaining tissue homeostasis and identify a potential new target in the reduction of the metabolic syndrome associated with obesity.

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