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1.  Inhibition of α-Amylase and α-Glucosidase Activity by Tea and Grape Seed Extracts and their Constituent Catechins 
We evaluated the inhibitory effects of plant-based extracts (grape seed, green tea, and white tea) on α-amylase and α-glucosidase activity, glucosidases required for starch digestion. The abundant flavan-3-ol monomers (catechins) in these extracts were also tested for their inhibitory potential and evaluated against the pharmacological glucosidase inhibitor, acarbose. To evaluate relative potency of these extracts and catechins, the concentrations required for 50 and 90% inhibition of enzyme activity were determined. Maximum enzyme inhibition was used to assess an inhibitor’s relative efficacy. Results showed that grape seed extract strongly inhibited both α-amylase and α-glucosidase activity, with equal and much higher potency, respectively, than acarbose. While tea extracts and individual catechin 3-gallates were less effective inhibitors of α-amylase, they were potent inhibitors of α-glucosidase. Our data show that plant extracts containing catechin 3-gallates are potent inhibitors of α-glucosidase, and suggest that procyanidins found in grape seed extract strongly inhibit α-amylase activity.
PMCID: PMC4356113  PMID: 22697360
α-Amylase; α-glucosidase; enzyme inhibition; tea; grape seed extract; catechins; diabetes
2.  Supplemental vitamin D enhances the recovery in peak isometric force shortly after intense exercise 
Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations associate with skeletal muscle weakness (i.e., deficit in skeletal muscle strength) after muscular injury or damage. Although supplemental vitamin D increases serum 25(OH)D concentrations, it is unknown if supplemental vitamin D enhances strength recovery after a damaging event.
Reportedly healthy and modestly active (30 minute of continuous physical activity at least 3 time/week) adult males were randomly assigned to a placebo (n = 13, age, 31(5) y; BMI, 26.9(4.2) kg/m2; serum 25(OH)D, 31.0(8.2) ng/mL) or vitamin D (cholecalciferol, 4000 IU; n = 15; age, 30(6) y; BMI, 27.6(6.0) kg/m2; serum 25(OH)D, 30.5(9.4) ng/mL) supplement. Supplements were taken daily for 35-d. After 28-d of supplementation, one randomly selected leg performed an exercise protocol (10 sets of 10 repetitive eccentric-concentric jumps on a custom horizontal plyo-press at 75% of body mass with a 20 second rest between sets) intended to induce muscle damage. During the exercise protocol, subjects were allowed to perform presses if they were unable to complete two successive jumps. Circulating chemistries (25(OH)D and alanine (ALT) and aspartate (AST) aminotransferases), single-leg peak isometric force, and muscle soreness were measured before supplementation. Circulating chemistries, single-leg peak isometric force, and muscle soreness were also measured before (immediately) and after (immediately, 1-h [blood draw only], 24-h, 48-h, 72-h, and 168-h) the damaging event.
Supplemental vitamin D increased serum 25(OH)D concentrations (P < 0.05; ≈70%) and enhanced the recovery in peak isometric force after the damaging event (P < 0.05; ≈8% at 24-h). Supplemental vitamin D attenuated (P < 0.05) the immediate and delayed (48-h, 72-h, or 168-h) increase in circulating biomarkers representative of muscle damage (ALT or AST) without ameliorating muscle soreness (P > 0.05).
We conclude that supplemental vitamin D may serve as an attractive complementary approach to enhance the recovery of skeletal muscle strength following intense exercise in reportedly active adults with a sufficient vitamin D status prior to supplementation.
PMCID: PMC4029611  PMID: 24313936
Vitamin D; Muscle strength; Muscle damage; Exercise
3.  Higher Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Concentrations Associate with a Faster Recovery of Skeletal Muscle Strength after Muscular Injury 
Nutrients  2013;5(4):1253-1275.
The primary purpose of this study was to identify if serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations predict muscular weakness after intense exercise. We hypothesized that pre-exercise serum 25(OH)D concentrations inversely predict exercise-induced muscular weakness. Fourteen recreationally active adults participated in this study. Each subject had one leg randomly assigned as a control. The other leg performed an intense exercise protocol. Single-leg peak isometric force and blood 25(OH)D, aspartate and alanine aminotransferases, albumin, interferon (IFN)-γ, and interleukin-4 were measured prior to and following intense exercise. Following exercise, serum 25(OH)D concentrations increased (p < 0.05) immediately, but within minutes, subsequently decreased (p < 0.05). Circulating albumin increases predicted (p < 0.005) serum 25(OH)D increases, while IFN-γ increases predicted (p < 0.001) serum 25(OH)D decreases. Muscular weakness persisted within the exercise leg (p < 0.05) and compared to the control leg (p < 0.05) after the exercise protocol. Serum 25(OH)D concentrations inversely predicted (p < 0.05) muscular weakness (i.e., control leg vs. exercise leg peak isometric force) immediately and days (i.e., 48-h and 72-h) after exercise, suggesting the attenuation of exercise-induced muscular weakness with increasing serum 25(OH)D prior to exercise. Based on these data, we conclude that pre-exercise serum 25(OH)D concentrations could influence the recovery of skeletal muscle strength after an acute bout of intense exercise.
PMCID: PMC3705346  PMID: 23595134
vitamin D; exercise; muscle strength; cytokines; albumin
4.  Different doses of supplemental vitamin D maintain interleukin-5 without altering skeletal muscle strength: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in vitamin D sufficient adults 
Supplemental vitamin D modulates inflammatory cytokines and skeletal muscle function, but results are inconsistent. It is unknown if these inconsistencies are dependent on the supplemental dose of vitamin D. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to identify the influence of different doses of supplemental vitamin D on inflammatory cytokines and muscular strength in young adults.
Men (n = 15) and women (n = 15) received a daily placebo or vitamin D supplement (200 or 4000 IU) for 28-d during the winter. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), cytokine concentrations and muscular (leg) strength measurements were performed prior to and during supplementation. Statistical significance of data were assessed with a two-way (time, treatment) analysis of variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures, followed by a Tukey's Honestly Significant Difference to test multiple pairwise comparisons.
Upon enrollment, 63% of the subjects were vitamin D sufficient (serum 25(OH)D ≥ 30 ng/ml). Serum 25(OH)D and interleukin (IL)-5 decreased (P < 0.05) across time in the placebo group. Supplemental vitamin D at 200 IU maintained serum 25(OH)D concentrations and increased IL-5 (P < 0.05). Supplemental vitamin D at 4000 IU increased (P < 0.05) serum 25(OH)D without altering IL-5 concentrations. Although serum 25(OH)D concentrations correlated (P < 0.05) with muscle strength, muscle strength was not changed by supplemental vitamin D.
In young adults who were vitamin D sufficient prior to supplementation, we conclude that a low-daily dose of supplemental vitamin D prevents serum 25(OH)D and IL-5 concentration decreases, and that muscular strength does not parallel the 25(OH)D increase induced by a high-daily dose of supplemental vitamin D. Considering that IL-5 protects against viruses and bacterial infections, these findings could have a broad physiological importance regarding the ability of vitamin D sufficiency to mediate the immune systems protection against infection.
PMCID: PMC3325895  PMID: 22405472
Vitamin D; Interleukin-5; Skeletal muscle function
5.  Superhydrophobic surfaces of the water bug Notonecta glauca: a model for friction reduction and air retention 
Superhydrophobic surfaces of plants and animals are of great interest for biomimetic applications. Whereas the self-cleaning properties of superhydrophobic surfaces have been extensively investigated, their ability to retain an air film while submerged under water has not, in the past, received much attention. Nevertheless, air retaining surfaces are of great economic and ecological interest because an air film can reduce friction of solid bodies sliding through the water. This opens perspectives for biomimetic applications such as low friction fluid transport or friction reduction on ship hulls. For such applications the durability of the air film is most important. While the air film on most superhydrophobic surfaces usually lasts no longer than a few days, a few semi-aquatic plants and insects are able to hold an air film over a longer time period. Currently, we found high air film persistence under hydrostatic conditions for the elytra of the backswimmer Notonecta glauca which we therefore have chosen for further investigations. In this study, we compare the micro- and nanostructure of selected body parts (sternites, upper side of elytra, underside of elytra) in reference to their air retaining properties. Our investigations demonstrate outstanding air film persistence of the upper side of the elytra of Notonecta glauca under hydrostatic and hydrodynamic conditions. This hierarchically structured surface was able to hold a complete air film under hydrostatic conditions for longer than 130 days while on other body parts with simple structures the air film showed gaps (underside of elytra) or even vanished completely after a few days (sternites). Moreover, the upper side of the elytra was able to keep an air film up to flow velocities of 5 m/s. Obviously the complex surface structure with tiny dense microtrichia and two types of larger specially shaped setae is relevant for this outstanding ability. Besides high air film persistence, the observation of a considerable fluid velocity directly at the air–water interface indicates the ability to reduce friction significantly. The combination of these two abilities makes these hierarchically structured surfaces extremely interesting as a biomimetic model for low friction fluid transport or drag reduction on ship hulls.
PMCID: PMC3148060  PMID: 21977425
air film; aquatic insects; backswimmer; drag reduction; superhydrophobic surfaces

Results 1-5 (5)