Science shorts: Animal Vs plant protein, COVID-19, and cholesterol research in the spotlight

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Read more about latest findings linked to animal Vs plant protein, COVID-19, and more. ©Getty Images
Read more about latest findings linked to animal Vs plant protein, COVID-19, and more. ©Getty Images

Related tags science COVID-19 Protein Muscle Cholesterol

In this round-up of recent scientific developments, we highlight new findings on how animal protein is more beneficial than plant protein in increasing lean mass, new findings on COVID-19 and vitamin D deficiency and more.
Muscle mass: Animal protein more beneficial than plant sources in increasing lean mass in adults below 50

Adults below 50 could gain more absolute lean mass by consuming animal protein such as whey instead of plant protein, a meta-analysis has shown.

Percent lean muscle mass also increased significantly in adults below 50 when they consumed animal protein.

However, the increase in absolute and percent lean muscle mass did not lead to improvements in muscle and grip strength.

LISTEN: Prof Dr Anoop Misra on high blood glucose, its effects on COVID-19 risks, and useful functional foods

Pre-diabetes and diabetes are factors which could increase the risk of COVID-19 infections and mortality, and therefore the consumption of certain functional foods could be beneficial, says the guest​ who stars in the 17th episode of Nutra Champion podcast.

Professor Dr Anoop Misra, chairman of Fortis C Doc Centre of Excellence for diabetes, metabolic diseases, and endocrinology at New Delhi, India, is an endocrinologist who specialises in the treatment and study of diabetes.

An established figure in the healthcare industry, he is also the president of the Diabetes Foundation India, and the editor of several scientific journals.

Cholesterol lowering aid? Swisse to run human clinical trial on practitioner-only formula

Swisse is trialling the efficacy of its multi-ingredient, practitioner-only formula in reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol level.

The trial​ will also assess the formula’s in changing serum lipid concentrations, blood pressure, fat mass, and safety. 

This is the first human clinical trial conducted using the product, with subject recruitment underway from end-March. 

‘Superior properties’: Lactic acid bacteria identified as potential probiotic with cholesterol-reducing ability

A lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus oris) isolated from breast milk and infant faecal material has been identified as a potential effective probiotic for use in functional foods or dietary supplements.

The Lactobacillus​ species isolated from breast milk has been studied plenty, including L. gasseri, L. rhamnosus​ and L. fermentum,​ but there is limited study on L. oris​ and its health promoting properties.

So researchers from Bangladesh isolated L. oris​ and studied it for its probiotic capability. They found that L. oris​ was resistant to acidic pH which is necessary as it passes the stomach to reach the small intestine, had antimicrobial activity and even showed promising cholesterol-lowering properties.

Vitamin D deficiency, obesity and diabetes linked to higher rates of COVID-19 infection and mortality in Asia – Review

Vitamin D deficiency is linked to higher COVID-19 infection and mortality in Asian countries, according to​ the first review of its kind in the region.

In Ireland, researchers called for vitamin D supplementation to reduce severity​ of COVID-19 symptoms, In France, studies found that elderly patients​ who have previously taken vitamin D3 supplements were more likely to survive COVID-19. In an open letter​ to world governments, researchers from UK, US and Europe called for immediate increased vitamin D intake for healthy adults, in a bid to reduce COVID-19 infections, hospitalisations and deaths.

In Asia, individual countries such as China have reported association between vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19 infection and mortality, where serum vitamin D concentration was found to be significantly lower in COVID-19 patients than in controls.

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