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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

Western Human Nutrition Research Center

Improving the quality of life through nutrition research

Recent accomplishments


Recent WHNRC research has revealed:


••         Rapid cholesterol- and lipid-lowering health benefits of specific foods, including strawberries and citrus limonoids, and diets based on the U.S. Dietary Guidelines.

••         Eating 3-4 servings of low fat dairy products in a weight loss diet does not affect the amount of weight loss, body composition or metabolism, but does improve vitamin D status and prevent bone loss.

••         Dairy protein and carbohydrates strongly reduce inflammation and body fatness in mice fed a high fat, obesity-promoting diet.

••         When obese women went on a weight-loss regimen, less weight was lost in those who displayed larger increases in the stress hormone cortisol.

••         Acylcarnitines, molecules that accumulate when tissue fat is not burned efficiently, activate pro-inflammatory pathways associated with type 2 diabetes.

••         One mechanism by which saturated fat increases risk of chronic inflammation and related diseases is through its activation of an immune cell receptor complex (the inflammasome).

••         Trans fat increased blood markers of cardiovascular risk, based on assessment of multiple lipids using metabolomics.

••         Omega-3 fatty acid supplements lowered pro-inflammatory metabolites.

••         African Americans with a common genetic variant of the 5-lipoxygenase gene, which appears to increase risk of cardiovascular disease, also have altered activity of this gene, suggesting a causal relationship.     

••         B-cryptoxanthin, a pro-vitamin A carotenoid in tangerines and other citrus fruit, is absorbed 7 times better than B-carotene.

••         Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in pregnant women, breastfed infants and young children in Northern California.  

••         Based on the novel method of labeling vitamin B12 with 14C, eggs are a good source of bioavailable vitamin B12, but the percent of the vitamin absorbed from a meal falls markedly with higher intakes.

••         Zinc metabolism in tissues and pancreas of mice influences body weight regulation, blood sugar control and release of the sugar-regulating hormone insulin.

••         A protein containing selenium, SEPW1, is a key regulator of the cell cycle.


Ongoing research is described under the Scientist's home pages.

Last Modified: 8/13/2016
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