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Nutrient dense nutrition bar shows ‘striking’ metabolic benefits

By Stephen Daniells , 18-May-2012

A low-calorie, high-fiber, nutrient-dense supplement bar may boost the feeling of fullness, and improve a number of health markers like HDL cholesterol and antioxidant defenses, says a new study.

The “CHORI-bar” – named after the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) were it was developed –is intended to help restore optimal nutritional balance in people eating poor diets, and to help transition them to healthier eating habits, say the CHORI researchers, led by the National Medal of Science winner Dr Bruce Ames.

The new study found that two weeks of consumption of the bar by 25 generally healthy adults produced significant increases in certain biomarkers, including HDL-cholesterol (increased by 6.2%) and glutathione (increased by 20%), and a significant decrease in homocysteine of 19%.

Increases in glutathione are important since it is the principal regulator of the cellular redox environment, and is important for preventing oxidative stress. Levels decrease naturally with age. On the other hand, high homocysteine levels have been linked to an increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease and cognitive impairment.

 “The metabolic changes are striking, not only because of the short duration of these trials, but because comparable benefits were seen across a range of baseline BMIs and metabolic parameters,” report the researchers in the FASEB Journal.

“It is possible that longer-term trials would result in a broader spectrum of favorable biomarker changes.”

Study details

CHORI scientists and researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service recruited 25 generally healthy adults and provided them with two CHORI-bars per day for two weeks.

The bar was formulated to contain a comprehensive list of vitamins and minerals, fruit polyphenolics, beta-glucan, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). No guidelines were provided to the participants about when and how to consume the bars.

Results showed that, compared to levels at the start of the study, HDL-cholesterol increased by 6.2%, glutathione increased by 20%, and homocysteine decreased by 19%.

However, no changes to biomarkers of insulin resistance and inflammation were observed.

Further development

The researchers report that two additional bars have been developed that may help improve biomarkers of insulin resistance, inflammation, and LDL cholesterol.

“Efforts are underway to combine attributes of all 3 bars in a single bar. A series of clinical trials have also been initiated that test the efficacy of the CHORI-bar in improving metabolism in individuals with diseases accompanied by metabolic dysregulation favorably impacted by the bar, including obesity, asthma, and hypertension,” they said in a statement.

Source: FASEB Journal
Published online ahead of print, doi:10.1096/fj.11-201558
“A nutrient-dense, high-fiber, fruit-based supplement bar increases HDL cholesterol, particularly large HDL, lowers homocysteine, and raises glutathione in a 2-wk trial”
Authors: M.L. Mietus-Snyder, M.K. Shigenaga,  J.H. Suh, S.V. Shenvi, A. Lal, T. McHugh, D. Olson, J. Lilienstein, R.M. Krauss, G. Gildengoren, J.C. McCann, B.N. Ames

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