polyphenol foods and supplementation

Health & Nutrition in the News

A review of recent health related research stories that made the news with five items comprising: ‘Dietary polyphenols may be associated with longevity’; ‘Frozen fruit and vegetables can be healthier, with higher levels of vitamins’; ‘Vitamin D supplements effect on healthy bones queried’; ‘Researchers claim that sleep detoxes the brain’; and ‘Research confirms Mediterranean diet is good for the mind’.

Dietary polyphenols may be associated with longevity
High dietary intake of polyphenols may be associated with up to a 30% reduction in mortality rates in older adults, according to new research that identifies urinary concentrations of polyphenols as a more accurate measure of intake.

The University of Barcelona 12 year follow up study of over 800 men and women assessed the effect of polyphenol-rich diets – the first time that such a biomarker has been used for an epidemiological or clinical study.

Foods rich in polyphenols have been the subject of much recent research with the focus on their antioxidant, free-radical fighting properties. Some of these foods have been termed ‘superfoods’ by the media and examples are cherries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, citrus fruits, foods with resveratrol, and a wide range of spices, herbs, seeds etc.

Nutraingredients: Dietary polyphenols may be associated with longevity

Frozen fruit and vegetables can be healthier, with higher levels of vitamins and cancer fighting antioxidants, than leafy ‘fresh’ produce. (Daily Mail)

Two independent studies found more beneficial nutrients in everything from frozen broccoli florets and carrots to blueberries. In two out of three cases frozen fruit and vegetables scored better on antioxidant-type compounds – including Vitamin C, polyphenols, anthocyanins, lutein and beta-carotene.

The research comes from Leatherhead Food Research and the University of Chester. What’s really interesting is they comment that the fruit or veg you see on the supermarket shelves (for example) may have taken days or weeks to arrive there following harvest – due to transport and storage. It doesn’t mean it has not got good nutrient content but compared to frozen food which is frozen soon after harvest the nutrient quality would appear to be poorer.

Similarly the vegetables you lovingly grow in your garden or allotment then harvest and eat the same day should be packed with nutrient content. Likewise the organic vegetables you buy from the farm. This all reinforces the notion that the closer we identify the source of the foods we buy (whether fruit, veg or meat) the more likely we are to get the best nutritional quality.

Daily Mail: Frozen food is better than fresh
Cytoplan: The Nutrition Gap

Vitamin D pills’ effect on healthy bones queried. Healthy adults do not need to take vitamin D supplements, suggests a study in The Lancet which found they had no beneficial effect on bone density, a sign of osteoporosis. But experts say many other factors could be at play and people should not stop taking supplements. (The BBC)

The research comes from the University of Auckland and focussed on the role of Vitamin D in relation to bone health. The research was widely reported in the media and a number of notes of caution were made in respect of the research by health experts including the analysis by NHS Choices ‘Behind the Headlines’. The link to their review is below and you can jump to the bottom of their web page to view their conclusions.

Indeed the current recommendation from the chief medical officer for England is that all pregnant and breastfeeding women, children aged six months to five-years-old, people aged 65 years and over and people not exposed to much sun should also take daily vitamin D supplements.

Vitamin D has a number of proven health claims including contributing to the maintenance of strong bones and teeth, contributing to the normal function of the immune system and contributing toward normal muscle functions. So we can see the good levels of Vitamin D are important to help support a range of functions.

BBC: Vitamin D pills’ effect on healthy bones queried
NHS News: Vitamin D supplements & bones
Cytoplan Blog: About Vitamin D

Researchers claim that sleep detoxes the brain. “Why do we sleep? To clean our brains, say US scientists,” The Guardian reports. A US research team, studying mice, has suggested sleep helps clear the brain of ‘waste products’. (NHS Choices News)

The research comes from the Universities of Rochester and New York in the USA and was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Researchers worldwide are keen to identify how sleep patterns and in particular poor sleep may impact on cognitive ailments such as Alzheimer’s. As the NHS review of the research comments:

“This fascinating research has suggested that sleep helps potentially toxic substances to be removed from the brain. How sleep restores us and helps our brains to function is reported to not be well understood. Although this research was in mice rather than humans, despite the difference in size, this type of basic biological function is seems to be very similar to what happens in all vertebrate animal species. Further research in humans will help to confirm this.”

NHS Choices News: Researchers claim that sleep detoxes the brain
The Guardian: Sleep cleans our brains say scientists

Research confirms Mediterranean diet is good for the mind The first systematic review of related research confirms a positive impact on cognitive function, but an inconsistent effect on mild cognitive impairment. (Exeter University Website)

The research from the University of Exeter Medical School had their findings published in Epidemiology and the findings are extremely encouraging. “The team analysed 12 eligible pieces of research, 11 observational studies and one randomised control trial. In nine out of the 12 studies, a higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with better cognitive function, lower rates of cognitive decline and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. However, results for mild cognitive impairment were inconsistent.”

The Mediterranean diet is typified as one high in fruits, vegetables, virgin olive oils, certain nuts and fish; conversely there is a low consumption of dairy products, red meats – and certainly an absence of processed modern foods. At Cytoplan we are fans of the Mediterranean diet (link below for more details) and lead researcher at Exeter Iliana Lourida comments:

“Mediterranean food is both delicious and nutritious, and our systematic review shows it may help to protect the ageing brain by reducing the risk of dementia. While the link between adherence to a Mediterranean diet and dementia risk is not new, ours is the first study to systematically analyse all existing evidence.”

Exeter University: Research confirms Mediterranean diet is good for the mind
Cytoplan Blog: Mediterranean diet cuts heart and stroke risk

If you have any questions regarding this article, any of the health topics raised, or any other health matters please do contact me (Amanda) by phone or email at any time.

Amanda Williams
01684 310099

Last updated on 15th December 2014 by


One thought on “Health & Nutrition in the News

  1. I really love to read and stay informed of the latest research around supplementation and all health matter,

    An excellent blog, thank you


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