Elderberry & Gut Health / Mushrooms & Eyes / Probiotic & Muscle Damage

Elderberry Extract May Provide Gut Health Benefits

Elderberry is the dark purple berry of the European elder tree. It is a rich source of antioxidants called anthocyanins. A new study suggests that elderberry extract may provide gut health benefits.

The researchers enrolled 30 adults in the 9-week study. The first 3-week period of the study were used to gather baseline data from the participants. The next 3 weeks were the supplementation period, and the final 3 weeks were the washout period. Participants were given 600 mg of elderberry extract or a placebo daily during the 3-week supplementation period.

During the initial phase of the study, the researchers collected feces, urine, and saliva samples used to evaluate gut microbiota diversity. Blood and fecal samples were taken at week 1, week 6, and week 9.

Participants in the elderberry group saw significant increases in gut microbiota diversity, which indicates a healthy, well-functioning gut. They specifically saw increases in the bacteria Akermansia spp, which helps protect and strengthen the gut lining.

The study was conducted by researchers from Johannes Kepler University. It was published online ahead of print on September 9, 2022 in the Journal of Personalized Medicine.

In a previous study, almonds were found to provide gut health benefits.

article 2Cordycep Mushrooms May Help With Dry Eyes

Cordyceps cicadae is a traditional Chinese medicinal mushroom (or fungus) whose usage has been traced back as far as 1,500 years.  A new study suggests that freeze-dried cordyceps cicadae mycelium powder may help dry eyes by promoting better tear quality. Mycelium is the vegetative part of a mushroom.

Participants in the study included 70 healthy adults with dry eyes. They received 1,050 mg of freeze-dried cordyceps powder or a placebo daily for 90 days. The researchers evaluated dry eye symptoms, intraocular pressure, tear film breakup time, and tear osmolarity.

The cordyceps group saw significant improvements in tear film breakup time, which is the number of seconds that pass between the last eye-blink and the appearance of the first dry spot in the tear film.

They also saw a decrease in tear osmolality. Tear osmolality is a measurement used to determine how much salt is present in tears. Too much salt in tears is considered a risk factor for dry eyes.

No significant changes were seen in tear volume.

The study was conducted by researchers from Chung Shan Medical University Hospital. It was published in the Volume 24, Issue 12, 2000 edition of the International Journal of Medicinal Mushroom

Antioxidants were linked-to protection from age-related eye damage in a previous study.

article 3Honey May Promote Cardiometabolic Health

Honey is a liquid sweetener made by bees from the nectar of flowers. It is comprised of two simple sugars, glucose and fructose, and contains antioxidants. A recent study has found that honey may help promote cardiometabolic health by supporting healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

For their study, researchers from the University of Toronto reviewed the results of 18 controlled trials that included 1,100 participants. They evaluated the effect of honey on blood glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides, and liver health. The average dose of honey used in the trials was 40 grams (approximately 2 tablespoons) and the average trial length was 8 weeks.

The researchers found that daily consumption of honey helped promote healthy levels of  fasting glucose, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and alanine aminotransferase

Robinia honey, clover honey, and raw honey are believed to be the most beneficial.

The study was published online ahead of print on November 16, 2022 in the journal Nutrition Reviews.

A previous study found that ginseng may provide cardiometabolic benefits.

article 4Probiotic May Help Reduce Muscle Damage and Loss After Exercise

Muscle damage can occur during excessive or high-intensity exercise.  It can take between 24 hours to 3 days for muscles to recover, depending on the intensity of the workout. According to a recent study, a probiotic may help recovery from muscle damage and reduce muscle loss.

The researchers recruited 114 university students between the ages of 20 and 40. They were divided into 3 groups and given 10 billion CFUs of Lactobacillus paracasei PS23 live bacteria, 10 billion CFUs of Lactobacillus paracasei PS23 heat-killed bacteria, or a placebo twice daily for 6 weeks.

At the end of the supplementation period, the participants completed 100 maximal vertical jumps to bring about exercise-induced muscle damage. The researchers evaluated exercise performance and blood markers of muscle damage and inflammation before the exercise test, and 3, 24, and 48 hours after the exercise test.

The increase in muscle damage and inflammation markers in both probiotic groups was significantly lower compared to the placebo group. Muscle damage and inflammation benefits were highest in the heat-killed probiotic group.

Both probiotic groups also saw significantly less loss of muscle strength compared to the placebo group.

The study was conducted by researchers from National Taiwan Sport University. It was published online ahead of print on October 30, 2022 in the journal Nutrients.

A recent study found that curcumin and Boswellia serrate may help exercise-induced muscle discomfort.