Diet improvement and changes in exercise habits is the infallible formula for weight loss. Most people don’t know individuals can also be hampered by inflammation and oxidative stress when they are overweight or obese.
Director of the Appalachian State University Human Performance Lab at the NC Research Campus (NCRC), David Nieman, DrPH, in collaboration with North Carolina Central University, studied a mix of flavonoids and fish oils. The most recent findings published in the journal Nutrients showed that supplementation could help obese individuals manage inflammation associated with their body weight.
Flavonoids and Fish Oils
In 2011, Nieman and colleagues from the Human Performance Lab, located on the NC Research Campus in Kannapolis, found success with the same supplement in an athletic study. Participants receiving the supplement showed reduced inflammation and oxidative stress after three days of intense exercise compared to a control group. In the present study, Nieman tested the supplement on middle-aged overweight and obese females.
Flavonoids are found in fruits, vegetables, and tea, and they have anti-inflammatory properties that have been shown to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in animal models. Paired with fish oils such as EPA and DHA to enhance the bioavailability and bioactive effects of a flavonoid called quercetin, the supplement mix has the potential to alter biomarkers related to metabolic syndrome, the name given to a group of risk factors that raises an individual’s risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and stroke.
Nieman’s study included 48 overweight and obese females aged 40 to 70 years, assigned either to a placebo group or the flavonoid-fish oil supplement group. Each participant was instructed to take two soft-chew supplements twice daily for 70 days: one first thing in the morning and another around dinnertime. The study participants provided blood samples at 0 and 10 weeks after fasting overnight.
Based on the findings, Nieman saw a significant difference between the placebo group and the supplement group after 70 days of consuming the flavonoid and fish oil mix. Significant elevation of plasma quercetin, EPA, DHA, and DPA, as well as an upregulation of gene pathways related to reduction in inflammation and antiviral mechanisms all occurred in the group receiving the mixed flavonoid-fish oil supplement.
“We know that weight loss through a healthy diet and exercise is the best strategy for reducing inflammation and improving immune function,” Nieman explained. “For people who are struggling with weight loss, this supplement could be added to the lifestyle changes to provide a first-step approach to improving inflammation and viral defense.”
Nieman’s study is also significant because of the use of advanced technology: “the gene expression data captured benefits that were not revealed by more traditional measures,” Nieman added.
By Kara Marker, NCRC Marketing