The top hitting science article of the year so far was our report of a study from Danone and UCLA that indicated that daily consumption of a fermented milk product containing five different probiotic strains may affect the parts of the brain linked to emotion and sensation.
The study, published in Gastroenterology (doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2013.02.043), is said to be the first to show chronic intake of a fermented milk product with probiotics can alter brain activity in humans.
Commenting independently on the new study, Prof Glenn Gibson, a world-renowned expert in pre- and probiotics at the University of Reading in the UK, told us: "There is evidence that the gut to brain axis exists, with positive and negative potential outcomes. However, modulating it like this is a big step forward."
Please click here to read: 'A big step forward': Probiotics may alter brain activity in healthy people, says Danone/UCLA data
In at number two, was our in-depth analysis of the various omega-3 forms: Battle of the omega-3 forms: Triglycerides, ethyl esters, or phospholipids?
Vitamin D takes the number three spot on most popular science articles of 2013 to date. Our article – Are vitamin D levels linked to mental health? – reported on a study by researchers from University College London in the UK.
The study, which indicates correlation and not causation, found that people with vitamin D levels of at least 75 nmol/l had a 43% lower risk of depression, compared to people with vitamin D levels lower than 25 nmol/l.
Results published in Clinical Nutrition also indicated that the higher vitamin D levels were associated with a 67% lower risk of panic, compared to the lower levels.
Another in-depth analysis came in at number four, this time as part of January’s special edition on minerals. The article Magnesium – ‘Sky is the limit’ for the ‘hottest ingredient in the mineral category’ explored the science and market dynamics for the mineral.
With between 70 and 80% of the US population not meeting their recommended intakes of magnesium, consumers – and the health care professionals who advise them - are waking up to the importance of the mineral.
Max Motyka, director of sales and marketing at Albion Human Nutrition, told us that his company is seeing a substantial growth in our sales into the dietary supplement industry.
“The magnesium market is second only to calcium, currently, but it has the potential to exceed the calcium market,” he said.
“The sky is the limit on the magnesium market.”
Closing out the top 5 we have the article, The forgotten vitamin: ‘K2 has not even begun to realize its potential’.
Vitamin K2 was back in the headlines with a ‘breakthrough’ study, published in Osteoporosis International, which indicated that vitamin K2 supplements may reduce bone loss and improve bone impact strength in postmenopausal women.
Dr Cees Vermeer, lead investigator for the study from VitaK at Maastricht University, said: “These demonstrated improvements in clinical outcomes are extremely important.
“Despite reports on small or insignificant effects on bone health after clinical interventional studies on vitamin K2 – lasting up to one year - we have documented that MenaQ7 supplementation over three years prevents bone loss in postmenopausal women, confirming that bone health benefits of vitamin K2 is best demonstrated over longer periods than previously thought.”