Science shorts: Weight, mood, and infant health in our latest research round-up

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Weight, mood, infant health in our latest research round-up

Related tags Clinical trial Weight management infant health mood

Consuming the right type of edible oil could help reduce body weight, while intake of high cocoa dark chocolate and turmeric has been shown to be mood-lifting, based on our latest round-up of recent scientific findings.
Replacing TAG oil with DAG oil can achieve greater weight reduction in overweight subjects - Meta-analysis

Diacylglycerol (DAG) oil can reduce body weight, body mass index, waist circumference and serum triacylglycerol (TAG) in people with glucose and lipid metabolism-related diseases, compared to those taking TAG oil, according to a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.

Most conventional cooking oil is in the form of TAG, although DAG is a natural component found in edible oils and is currently used in small quantities in foods as an emulsifier.

Typically, TAG is broken down in the gut and then resynthesised by enzymes to be used as energy, while the excess is accumulated and stored in the body, causing increased body fat, fatty liver, and atherosclerosis, and leading to coronary heart disease, hypertension, and other chronic diseases.

First for Japan: Prolacta Bioscience’s human milk-based fortifiers approved for clinical trial on premature infants

US-based Prolacta Bioscience, best known for its human milk-based nutritional fortifiers, is conducting a clinical trial assessing the effect of its products on the growth of premature infants in Japan.

In Japan, Prolacta's human milk-based products are viewed as a pharmaceutical drug, unlike in the US where the products are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The Japanese regulatory authorities have strict requirements for conducting drug trials, and we are proud that our industry-leading quality and safety standards meet their country’s Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) regulations. This allows us the opportunity to conduct this study, another industry first led by Prolacta, and introduce human milk-based nutritional care for preterm infants in Japan​,” Scott Elster, CEO of Prolacta Bioscience, told NutraIngredients-Asia​.

High cocoa dark chocolate intake improves mood and gut microbiome – Korea RCT

The consumption of high cocoa dark chocolate has shown to improve mood and gut microbiome diversity, says a three-week RCT conducted in South Korea.

The study​ compared the effects of how the consumption of chocolates containing 85 per cent and 75 per cent of cocoa would affect a person's mood. 

Subjects taking 85 per cent cocoa chocolate reported significant reduction in negative mood, but this was not seen in the group taking 70 per cent cocoa chocolate and the control group.

Turmeric shown to improve mental health and mood in overweight participants – Japan 12-week RCT

Consumption of turmeric extract for 12 weeks improved mental health and mood disturbance, as well as reducing inflammatory markers, in healthy but overweight participants.

This is according to a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study conducted on middle-aged Japanese subjects to investigate the effect of turmeric extract on low-grade inflammation.

Low-grade inflammation has been recognised as a state where systemic inflammatory mediators are only slightly elevated relative to the levels seen in acute inflammation.

Astaxanthin and arthritis: Combination with medication lowers uric acid levels – China study

Astaxanthin combined with celecoxib, a drug used to treat pain and inflammation, can lower uric acid levels in people with gouty arthritis, more significantly than celecoxib alone.

These findings​ could spur research around novel and effective treatment for gouty arthritis, a form of arthritis caused by hyperuricemia that causes significant pain.

Oxidative stress and inflammation have been reported to be related to the development of gouty arthritis, so anti-inflammatory drugs and uric acid-lowering medicines are widely used in its management. 

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