Latest Research News on Nutritional Aspects : Nov 2020

Seaweed proteins: biochemical, nutritional aspects and potential uses

Seaweeds are traditionally used in human and animal nutrition. Their protein contents differ according to the species and seasonal conditions. Little information is available on the nutritional value of algal proteins and, especially, on the compounds that decrease their digestibility. This paper is a short review of the biochemical and nutritional aspects associated with seaweed proteins. Some perspectives on the potential uses of algal proteins for the development of new foods or additives for human or animal consumption are also discussed. [1]

Nutritional aspects of manganese homeostasis

Manganese (Mn) is an essential mineral. It is present in virtually all diets at low concentrations. The principal route of intake for Mn is via food consumption, but in occupational cohorts, inhalation exposure may also occur (this subject will not be dealt with in this review). Humans maintain stable tissue levels of Mn. This is achieved via tight homeostatic control of both absorption and excretion. Nevertheless, it is well established that exposure to high oral, parenteral or ambient air concentrations of Mn can result in elevations in tissue Mn levels. Excessive Mn accumulation in the central nervous system (CNS) is an established clinical entity, referred to as manganism. It resembles idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (IPD) in its clinical features, resulting in adverse neurological effects both in laboratory animals and humans. This review focuses on an area that to date has received little consideration, namely the potential exposure of parenterally fed neonates to exceedingly high Mn concentrations in parenteral nutrition solutions, potentially increasing their risk for Mn-induced adverse health sequelae. The review will consider (1) the essentiality of Mn; (2) the concentration ranges, means and variation of Mn in various foods and infant formulas; (3) the absorption, distribution, and elimination of Mn after oral exposure and (4) the factors that raise a theoretical concern that neonates receiving total parenteral nutrition (TPN) are exposed to excessive dietary Mn. [2]

Nutritional Aspects of Leukocytic Cytokines

Immune responses result in a variety of metabolic adjustments that are mediated by cytokines of leukocytic origin. Of the dozens of cytokines released during an immune response, interleukin-1 (IL-1), tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) are the major mediators of intermediary metabolism. These three cytokines act in concert to decrease food intake, increase resting energy expenditure, gluconeogenesis, glucose oxidation, and hepatic synthesis of fatty acids and acute phase proteins, decrease fatty acid uptake by adipocytes and alter the distribution of zinc, iron and copper. Most of these activities result from direct interactions between the cytokine and the responding cells. IL-1, TNFα and IL-6 also affect changes in metabolism by changing levels of circulating insulin, glucagon and corticosterone. The nutritional impact of these metabolic changes is dependent upon age. In growing animals, increases in energy expenditure and oxidation of amino acids are balanced by lower needs associated with growth. In adult animals, energy and amino acid requirements are increased by an amount similar to the increased basal metabolic rate and amino acid oxidation, nutrition also influences the release of cytokines and consequently affects regulation of the immune response. For example, protein deficiency results in decreased IL-1 release and impaired tissue responses to IL-1. [3]

Role of Zinc in Plant Nutrition- A Review

Zinc is plant micronutrient which is involved in many physiological functions its inadequate supply will reduce crop yields. Zinc deficiency is the most wide spread micronutrient deficiency problem, almost all crops and calcareous, sandy soils, peat soils, and soils with high phosphorus and silicon are expected to be deficient. Zinc deficiencies can affect plant by stunting its growth, decreasing number of tillers, chlorosis and smaller leaves, increasing crop maturity period, spikelet sterility and inferior quality of harvested products. Beside its role in crop production Zn plays a part in the basic roles of cellular functions in all living organisms and is involved in improving the human immune system, due to its insufficient intake, human body will suffer from hair and memory loss, skin problems and weakness in body muscles. [4]

Customers Purchasing Organic Food – Do They Live Healthier? Results of the German National Nutrition Survey II

Aims: Using national food consumption data this paper addresses issues whether buyers of organic food make healthier food choices and pursue a healthy lifestyle concerning smoking, physical exercise and body weight compared to non-buyers.

Study Design: The German National Nutrition Survey II (NVS II) is a nationwide food consumption study providing additional information on social demographics, health, and lifestyle aspects as well as anthropo¬metric measurements. Using data of several assessment tools, a comparison was conducted between buyers and non-buyers of organic food.

Place and Duration of the Study: From November 2005 to November 2006, data collection took place in about 500 randomly chosen sample points across Germany.

Methodology: 13,074 participants aged 18-80 years were divided into groups of buyers (44.9%) and non-buyers (55.1%) of organic food. According to their purchase frequency, the organic food buyers were further differentiated into intensive, occasional or infrequent purchase groups. A diet history method was applied to assess food consumption, trained staff measured BMI while questionnaires were used for social demographic description and healthy lifestyle factors.

Results: Buyers of organic food consumed 17% more fruit and 23% more vegetables as well as less meat/sausages (25%) and soft drinks (58%) than non-buyers did (P< .001, resp.). These results are more pronounced for women and for intensive buyers. Additionally, buyers of organic food exhibit healthier lifestyle characteristics in respect to smoking behaviour, physical activity, and body weight compared to non-buyers.

Conclusion: German buyers of organic food demonstrate health behaviours complying better with the recommendations for a healthy lifestyle compared with non-buyers. Independent of the discussion whether organically produced food exerts additional health effects, buyers of organic food make healthier food choices than non-buyers, thereby benefiting for their overall health. [5]


[1] Fleurence, J., 1999. Seaweed proteins: biochemical, nutritional aspects and potential uses. Trends in food science & technology, 10(1), pp.25-28.

[2] Aschner, J.L. and Aschner, M., 2005. Nutritional aspects of manganese homeostasis. Molecular aspects of medicine, 26(4-5), pp.353-362.

[3] Klasing, K.C., 1988. Nutritional aspects of leukocytic cytokines. The Journal of nutrition, 118(12), pp.1436-1446.

[4] Hafeez, B., M. Khanif, Y. and Saleem, M. (2013) “Role of Zinc in Plant Nutrition- A Review”, Journal of Experimental Agriculture International, 3(2), pp. 374-391. doi: 10.9734/AJEA/2013/2746.

[5] Eisinger-Watzl, M., Wittig, F., Heuer, T. and Hoffmann, I. (2014) “Customers Purchasing Organic Food – Do They Live Healthier? Results of the German National Nutrition Survey II”, European Journal of Nutrition & Food Safety, 5(1), pp. 59-71. doi: 10.9734/EJNFS/2015/12734.

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