Everyday our team of researchers in Oxford are inundated with scientific, and medical research articles that have the potential to improve health, wellbeing, and longevity. In this blog we highlight a few of them that caught our attention today.
Could taking B and D vitamins help us prevent diseases?
Why is this important: We all know that it is important to eat lots of fruits and vegetables so that we can get all the necessary vitamins and minerals. We also know that vitamin deficiencies deficiency can result in sickness, frailty, and, eventually death. The most common vitamin deficiency diseases are beriberi, rickets, scurvy and pellagra. There is a milder but less studied version of vitamin deficiency known as vitamin insufficiency. Vitamin deficiency happens as we get older and do not get enough vitamins through our food, or cannot absorb enough vitamins due to our aging gut. Vitamin D insufficiency leads to bone fractures, and reduction in bone and muscle mass. We also know that vitamin B12 insufficiency increases our risk for cardiovascular diseases, and cognitive impairment.
Key takeaway(s): Researchers found that as we get older vitamin D insufficiency increases our risk of fracture, falls, coronary heart disease, cancer, and respiratory tract infections. Researchers also found that vitamin B1 insufficiency increases risk of heart failure, while vitamin B6 increases risk of impaired physical function and cognitive decline. Finally, vitamin B9 (folate), and B12 insufficiencies are linked to increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, especially strokes, and fractures. The researchers suggest that much higher doses of vitamins are required to treat vitamin insufficiencies as we get older.
Do social factors play an important role in our risk of disease, and mortality?
Key takeaway(s): Prof. Crimmins research suggests that lower social status, more adverse circumstances, worse psychological states, and poor health behaviors all predict accelerated aging, and worse health outcomes. She also found that only negative psychological states increased the rate of mortality in people. Finally, Prof. Crimmins concludes that collectively both the biological and social hallmarks of aging can explain and predict the age related degradation process in humans, and we could use it as a biomarker of aging.
Can human collagen-derived proteins slow skin aging?
Why is this important: The formation of wrinkles in skin aging appears to be caused by a decline in the production of structural proteins, leading to decreased elasticity. The main structural protein in the skin is collagen type I. Products containing collagen derived from animals and other sources have been used in cosmetics aimed at rejuvenating skin. The benefits of human-derived proteins is unclear, however.
What did the researchers do: In this paper, researchers isolated a peptide derived from one of the chains of the human collagen type I protein (collage type I alpha-2), and studied its potential anti-wrinkle effect.
Key takeaway(s): Human COL1A2-derived peptide enhanced collagen I and elastin production in normal human skin fibroblasts, supporting a significant possible anti-wrinkle effect. The authors add that human collagen alpha-2 type I-derived peptides are practically accessible in both cosmetics and food, with the goal of improving skin condition.