Science shorts: Latest studies on eye health, blood glucose and weight management

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Latest studies on eye health, blood glucose and weight management

Related tags Astaxanthin Blood glucose levels stunting

This round-up includes the latest scientific findings on functional ingredients beneficial for eye health, how probiotics could regulate blood glucose and how cutting down on sugar-sweetened beverage could lower BMI.
Sugar strategy: Cutting sugar-sweetened beverage intake helps lower BMI in schoolchildren – China RCT  

Lowering the intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) while increasing parental and school health advice could help reduce childhood weight gain.

This is according to a randomised controlled trial conducted in four primary schools in Nanjing, China, from September 2019 to September 2020.

About three in five Chinese children aged between 6 and 17 years drank SSBs at least once a week, based on findings from the China Nutrition and Health Survey (2010-2012).

Probiotics and prediabetes: Data reveals benefits across a number of common factors – new meta-analysis 

Data ‘clearly indicates’ that probiotics may fulfil an important role in the regulation of a number of factors in the prediabetic population, a new meta-analysis and systematic review has confirmed.

The findings, published in the Journal of Translational Medicine, ​said that probiotics could play an active role in blood glucose homeostasis through various mechanisms of action.  

For instance, probiotics could increase the secretion of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), an intestinal hormone critical for stimulating insulin secretion, and enable the proliferation and regeneration of pancreatic beta cells that synthetise, store and release insulin.

Screen shot: Astaxanthin reduces work-induced visual stress in people aged over 40 – BGG trial​ 

Astaxanthin supplementation has been found to reduce visual display terminal (VDT) work-induced visual stress in people aged over 40, according to a new Japan trial sponsored by supplier BGG Japan.

VDT work has increased rapidly in recent years, coupled with rises in screen time due to extensive smart phone use, with the loss of visual acuity an associated effect.

Therefore, researchers from BGG Japan and China undertook a randomised, placebo-controlled study in 60 healthy adults on the effects of astaxanthin supplementation.

India’s nutrition setback: Stunting improvements stagnate and number of children overweight increases – new data

Improvements in stunting have stagnated while the number of children overweight in India has increased over the last five years, in a reversal of improvements seen in the previous decade-and-a-half, new data reveals.

Between 2006 and 2016, child stunting had been reduced and there was stability in the number of children overweight. However, the data from 2016 and 2021 shows a deteriorating picture.

The findings, published in Global Health: Science and Practice, ​showed that from 2006 to 2021, the prevalence of stunting, underweight, and wasting had decreased by 12.3 per cent, 10.3 per cent and 0.7 per cent respectively, while the prevalence of overweight had gone up by 1.9 per cent.

Age-related eye disease: Promising evidence of supplements’ benefits but longer studies needed

The potential for antioxidants and other supplements, including lutein, zeaxanthin, saffron, bilberry and beta-carotene, to help prevent and treat age-related eye diseases has been underlined by new research from Malaysia.

For example, studies have shown that lutein and zeaxanthin intake could decrease the risk of developing age-related macular disease, the researchers said in the Journal of Ophthalmology.

As for saffron, they said it could exert a protective effect in patients with glaucoma. Bilberry extract, meanwhile, may also alleviate the symptoms of dry eye disease.

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