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Science Shorts: The latest findings on fatty acids, probiotics and amino acids in Australia, Singapore and China

By Cheryl Tay contact

- Last updated on GMT

Science Shorts: The latest findings on fatty acids, probiotics and amino acids in Australia, Singapore and China

Related tags: Probiotics, omega-3, Omega-6 fatty acids, BCAA

Find out what researchers are saying about omega-6's impact on pregnancy, omega-3's effect on liver fat, the link between probiotics and anxiety, excessive BCAA intake and more in our science news round-up.

High omega-6 intake linked to lower likelihood of male offspring being conceived: Australia study

Eating a diet high in omega-6 could play a role in a lower percentage of male babies​ being conceived, along with a higher risk of pregnancy complications, according to a new Australian study on rats.

The study, High maternal linoleic acid diet in pregnancy​, has been published in The Journal of Physiology​.

Dr Deanne Skelly, Deputy Dean of Learning and Teaching and Senior Lecturer at Australia's Griffith's School of Environment and Science, led the research, which found that a diet with high concentrations of the omega-6 fatty acid, linoleic acid, reduced the percentage of male babies born in an animal model.

Mental health and the microbiome: Mixed findings over probiotics' anxiety impact — Review

Probiotics may not be as effective as non-probiotic methods of intestinal microbiota regulation when it comes to relieving anxiety symptoms​, according to a Chinese systematic review.

With more research being conducted on the gut-brain axis, studies have reported that the gut microbiota plays an important part in regulating brain function.

Taking into account the prevalence of anxiety symptoms in mental diseases and certain physical disorders (particularly those linked to stress), researchers have associated intestinal microbiota dysbiosis with anxiety.

Omega-3 supplementation does not reduce liver fat in overweight but healthy men: Blackmores-backed trial

Three months of omega-3 supplementation did not alter liver fat​ in overweight but otherwise healthy men, according to a new Blackmores-funded trial.

These findings, and the results of previous studies, suggest that while 1000 mg of EPA and DHA per day may be effective at reducing liver fat in those with overt non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, it may not be sufficient to recommend for the sole purpose of reducing hepatic and / or visceral fat in men who, while overweight and at increased risk of NAFLD, are otherwise apparently healthy.

Researchers at the University of Sydney, The Heart Research Institute and the University of Newcastle conducted a clinical study to determine the effects of 12 weeks of fish oil supplementation versus placebo on quantified liver fat, liver tests and body composition, including visceral adipose tissue (VAT).

Tailored for toddlers: Researchers develop index to assess diet quality with Singapore-based GUSTO study

Researchers from Singapore, Ireland and the UK have developed a Diet Quality Index​ (DQI) to aid in the development of dietary interventions for young children.

The DQI was developed under the ongoing GUSTO (Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes) study, which is part of a Translational and Clinical Research (TCR) flagship programme called Developmental Origins: Singapore (DevOS).

Based on the premise that diet in early childhood can have lifelong effects on health outcomes and the lack of diet quality assessment indices for toddlers, especially in Asia, the researchers sought to develop and evaluate a DQI in a multi-ethnic Asian cohort of women and their offspring in order to identify perinatal correlates of early childhood diet.

Excessive BCAA intake linked to over-eating and obesity: Australian mice study

Excessive consumption of branched-chain amino acids​ (BCAAs) may reduce lifespan, negatively impact mood and lead to weight gain, according to new Australian research on mice.

While amino acids have long been touted by the fitness and bodybuilding communities for their muscle-building benefits, researchers from the University of Sydney say less attention had been paid to their possible negative side effects.

A new paper published in the journal Nature Metabolism​ examined the impact dietary BCAAs and other essential amino acids, such as tryptophan, had on the health and body composition of mice.

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