Science shorts: Latest findings on omega-3, plant-based beverages, sports nutrition

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Latest scientific findings on omega-3, plant-based beverages, sports nutrition

Related tags omega-3 plant-based beverages Sports nutrition

This round-up looks at the latest health and nutrition research, including the potential of omega-3 as an adjunct therapy for depression and obesity, nutritional differences found in plant-based beverages, and the potential of tempeh and a yam-derived bioactive for use in sports nutrition products.
Omega-3 supplementation is emerging as a potential adjunct therapy for depression and obesity – review​  

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) have been found to have beneficial effects on inflammatory markers, metabolic dysregulation, and depressive symptoms.

For instance, high-dose supplementation (four grams per day) of EPA has demonstrated a greater effectiveness to induce significant changes in body fat and systemic inflammatory markers in people with obesity.

In addition, n-3 PUFAs supplementation has shown beneficial effects on inflammation, mood, and neuro health, with low levels observed in people with depression, a group of researchers wrote in the Journal of Personalized Medicine.

Milk formula shown to improve nutrient intake in picky eaters – Abbott 90-day trial

Consuming oral nutritional supplements rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS) has shown to improve nutrient intake in children who are picky eaters, as compared to those who only received dietary counselling, a 90-day Abbott Nutrition-funded trial conducted in India has shown.

A significantly higher number of children who took the supplement were also consuming nutrients adequately – meaning they met the estimated average requirements (EAR).

Writing in Nutrients, ​researchers from Abbott Nutrition R&D India and various hospitals across the country said the findings showed that the supplements could help children bridge the gap between their usual dietary intake and recommended nutrients intake value.

Low protein, significant nutritional differences noted in plant-based beverages – China study

Chinese researchers have said that plant protein beverages are characterised by low protein content and added sweeteners.

There has been an increasing prevalence of plant-based consumption in China and so researchers at Tsinghua University conducted a study on the nutritional composition, fortification, and additives of plant protein beverages.

Findings showed that plant protein beverages generally have a low protein content ranging from 0.0 to 1.5 g/ 100 mL, while soy beverages were ranked the top with the highest protein content at 3.0 g/100 mL, the researchers said.  

Yam-derived bioactive improves muscle quality in middle-aged adults – Japan RCT

A 12-week RCT conducted in Japan has showed that the supplementation of a yam-derived bioactive could improve muscle quality and reduce glycated haemoglobin among middle-aged adults.

The trial studied the benefits of Dioscorea esculenta, ​also known as lesser yam, produced in Okinawa.

Researchers from Ritsumeikan University, Japan, said that lesser yam has shown to improve glycaemic control in diabetic rats and increase muscle mass in athletes.

Paraprobiotics-rich tempeh shows promise as vegan protein source for athletes and application in functional foods – review​  

The sports performance-enhancing properties of tempeh should be further explored for application in functional foods such as sports drinks, say researchers.

Tempeh is a fermented soybean product originated from Indonesia. It contains amino acids including methionine, threonine, valine, leucine, phenylalanine and isoleucine that have been found to help muscle growth.

Studies have shown that the consumption of a tempeh drink post-exercise had lowered creatine kinase levels more than the placebo group. It was also found to improve muscle strength and muscle soreness 24 hours after exercise.

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