Study under review: Effects of betaine supplementation on cardiovascular markers: A systematic review and Meta-analysis
Complex systems tend to have weak points by nature of being made up of many interwoven parts. Identifying a weak point is a great way to approach what may seem like an insurmountable problem. Many diseases are both complex and can appear overwhelming when it comes to curing them or treating the associated symptoms. But if a disease state has a weak point, those weaknesses can be targeted.
One possible weakness when it comes to targeting cardiovascular disease (CVD) is high homocysteine levels. Homocysteine might be considered the weak point of the complex, metabolic sensing homocysteine-methionine cycle (see sidebar). Elevated homocysteine is a disease biomarker that is generally recognized as an independent risk factor for CVD, suggesting that interventions that lower homocysteine can also lower the risk of CVD. However, this idea is quite controversial because it’s not clear whether high homocysteine is a consequence or a cause of CVD. This uncertainty hasn’t stopped research looking at interventions that reduce homocysteine levels, which is understandable given that CVD is the leading cause of global mortality, and homocysteine levels could be a modifiable risk factor. Beyond ensuring adequate status of vitamins B6, B9 (folate), and B12, which can support the homocysteine-methionine cycle, supplementation of betaine has emerged as a potential homocysteine-lowering intervention, as it is involved in another transmethylation pathway independent of B vitamin intake.
Other Articles in Issue #79 (May 2021)
Mini: Sports nutrition tips for active women
We provide some of the big-picture takeaways from a recent narrative review covering nutritional strategies for active women.
Nulls: January-February 2021
Get a quick rundown of recent studies that found no evidence for an effect in the latest installment of Nulls!
A modified keto diet may slow some declines associated with Alzheimer’s disease
This recent trial found that a keto diet helped people with mild Alzheimer's disease perform activities of daily living while improving their quality of life.
Deeper Dive: Cinnamon may improve biomarkers of metabolic diseases
This meta-analysis found cinnamon supplementation can improve lipid levels, blood pressure, glycemic control, and waist circumference in adults with metabolic diseases. While these results are promising, there are still quite a few open questions.
Deeper Dive: A spoonful of vinegar might make blood sugar go down
Acetic acid may help with glycemic control while lowering triglycerides, but the studies included in this meta-analysis had a high risk of bias.
Deeper Dive: Flavonoids may slightly speed up recovery from muscle-damaging exercise
According to this recent meta-analysis, flavonoid-containing polyphenolic supplements can slightly improve muscle soreness and strength after a single bout of heavy exercise.
Investigating the efficacy of protein supplementation for older people with and without resistance training
This randomized controlled trial found that protein supplementation needs to be paired with heavier resistance training to help keep older people's muscles healthy.