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Paper: Enzyme that digests vitamin A also may regulate testosterone levels

Editor’s note:  To contact Joshua W. Smith, email joshuasmith@jhu.edu

To contact John Erdman, email jwerdman@illinois.edu

The paper “Mice lacking B-carotene-15,15’-dioxygenase (BCO1) exhibit reduced serum testosterone, prostatic androgen receptor signaling, and prostatic cellular proliferation” is available online from the publisher or from the News Bureau.

Original story posted here: 
https://news.illinois.edu/blog/view/6367/437718 

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In new study, Illinois scientists trace activity of cancer-fighting tomato component

URBANA, Ill. – Years of research in University of Illinois scientist John Erdman’s laboratory have demonstrated that lycopene, the bioactive red pigment found in tomatoes, reduces growth of prostate tumors in a variety of animal models. Until now, though, he did not have a way to trace lycopene’s metabolism in the human body.

“Our team has learned to grow tomato plants in suspension culture that produce lycopene molecules with a heavier molecular weight. With this tool, we can trace lycopene’s absorption, biodistribution, and metabolism in the body of healthy adults. In the future, we will be able to conduct such studies in men who have prostate cancer and gain important information about this plant component’s anti-cancer activity,” said John W. Erdman Jr., a U of I emeritus professor of nutrition.

The U of I team began developing the tomato cultures that would yield heavier, traceable carbon molecules about 10 years ago. Erdman, doctoral student Nancy Engelmann, and “plant gurus” Randy Rogers and Mary Ann Lila first learned to optimize the production of lycopene in tomato cell cultures. They then grew the best lycopene producers with non-radioactive carbon-13 sugars, allowing carbon-13 to be incorporated into the lycopene molecules. Because most carbon in nature is carbon-12, the lycopene containing heavier carbon atoms is easy to follow in the body.

Soon after the carbon-13 technology was established, Engelmann, now Moran, took a postdoctoral research position at Ohio State University in the lab of medical oncologist Steven K. Clinton, and scientists at Illinois and Ohio State initiated human trials.

In this first study, the team followed lycopene activity in the blood of eight persons by feeding them lycopene labeled with the non-radioactive carbon-13. The researchers then drew blood hourly for 10 hours after dosing and followed with additional blood draws 1, 3, and 28 days later.

“The results provide novel information about absorption efficiency and how quickly lycopene is lost from the body. We determined its half-life in the body and now understand that the structural changes occur after the lycopene is absorbed,” Erdman explained.

“Most tomato lycopene that we eat exists as the all-trans isomer, a rigid and straight form, but in the bodies of regular tomato consumers, most lycopene exists as cis isomers, which tend to be bent and flexible. Because cis-lycopene is the form most often found in the body, some investigators think it may be the form responsible for disease risk reduction,” Moran explained.

“We wanted to understand why there is more cis-lycopene in the body, and by mathematically modeling our patients’ blood carbon-13 lycopene concentration data, we found that it is likely due to a conversion of all-trans to cis lycopene, which occurs soon after we absorb lycopene from our food,” she added.

The plant biofactories that produce the heavier, traceable lycopene are now being used to produce heavier versions of other bioactive food components. In another trial, phytoene, a second carbon-13–labeled tomato bioactive molecule, has been produced and tested in four human subjects.

“Our most recent project involves producing a heavy carbon version of lutein, found in green leafy vegetables and egg yolks. Lutein is known to be important for eye and brain health. In this case, we began with carrot suspension cultures and have already produced small quantities of ‘heavy-labeled’ lutein for animal trials,” Rogers said.

Right now, though, the Illinois–Ohio State team is excited about the new information the lycopene study has yielded. “In the future, these new techniques could help us to better understand how lycopene reduces prostate cancer risk and severity. We will be able to develop evidence-based dietary recommendations for prostate cancer prevention,” Erdman said.

This new journal article represents the most thorough study of lycopene metabolism that has been done to date, he added.

“Compartmental and non-compartmental modeling of ¹³C-lycopene absorption, isomerization, and distribution kinetics in healthy adults” appears pre-publication online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Authors are Nancy E. Moran, Morgan J. Cichon, Elizabeth M. Grainger, Steven J. Schwartz, Kenneth M. Riedl, and Steven K. Clinton of The Ohio State University; Janet A. Novotny of the USDA’s Human Nutrition Research Center; and John W. Erdman Jr. of the University of Illinois. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

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ILSI NA: ICPH 2013 – Speaker: John Erdman

Session Title: The road to evidence-based dietary recommendations for flavonoids: how do we get there? 6th International Conference on Polyphenols and Health (ICPH 2013). University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, October 29, 2013. Posted by ILSIGlobal; YouTube page is here.

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John W. Erdman, Jr, PhD, ASN Fellow, Past President (ASN Interview)

Interview with Prof. John W. Erdman by ASNMarketing, posted on August 26, 2013. YouTube page is here.

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ILSI NA — Experimental Biology 2013 (Speaker: John Erdman)

From ASN’s Scientific Sessions at Experimental Biology Meeting, Boston, MA — Sunday, 21 April 2013​. SCIENTIFIC SESSION: Are Dietary Bioactive Components Ready for Review for Recommended Intakes?
Sponsored by the ILSI North America Flavonoids Committee.

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Tomato Wellness – John Erdman, PhD

Dr. John Erdman discusses lycopein in a video by the Tomato Wellness Network. March 3, 2011. YouTube video is here.

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John W. Erdman

Dr. John W. Erdman

Dietary factors that reduce the risk of prostate cancer, bioavailability of carotenoids, biological effects of carotenoid metabolites, influence of lutein and vitamin E on brain function, use of ultrasound techniques to detect prostate cancer progression and tissue alterations due to atherosclerosis or non-alcohol liver disease.


Professor Emeritus; jwerdman@illinois.edu; more detail here.


 

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Nutritious Frozen Foods Can Play Role in Weight-Loss Programs

Research dietician LeaAnn Carson found that packaged frozen entrées helped research subjects loose more weight compared with the subjects who made their own meals following the food pyramid. Photo by Clark Brooks.

Original story posted here.

Molly McElroy, News Bureau 217-333-5802; mmcelroy@illinois.edu

6/8/2005

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Size matters when it comes to meal portions in weight-loss diets, according to researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. And consuming convenient, nutritious frozen dinners may be a way to control portion size.

Research dietitians Sandra M. Hannum and LeaAnn Carson, who work in the laboratory of food science and human nutrition professor John W. Erdman, studied how two diet regimens resulted in weight loss in overweight and obese men. Their findings will appear in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism. The study was placed online by the journal last month.

Subjects following the first of the diets ate a self-selected regimen based on the Food Guide Pyramid, a nutrition plan established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1992. Subjects following the second diet ate two packaged entrées each day plus recommended servings from the food pyramid. Both diets contained about 1,700 daily calories with equal amounts of carbohydrates, protein and fat.

Subjects in the packaged-entrée group chose from 24 varieties of Uncle Ben’s bowls, a brand of frozen entrées produced by Masterfoods USA of Vernon, Calif. Masterfoods provided the meals for the subjects and funded the study.

Prior to the study, subjects in both diet groups reported daily consumption of about 2,400 calories. Subjects weighed about 97 kilograms (214 pounds) with a body mass index (BMI) ranging from 26 to 42 kilogram per meter squared, which qualified them as overweight to obese.

Over the course of the eight-week diet, all subjects reduced their daily caloric intake to about 1,700 calories and lost weight. Many subjects reported their surprise in feeling satiated by the diets.

Subjects who followed the frozen-entrée diet lost more weight (7.4 kg or 16.3 pounds) compared with the subjects who made their own meals following the food pyramid (5.1 kg or 11.2 pounds). Also, the average BMI decrease was one unit greater in subjects following the frozen-entrée diet than subjects following the food-pyramid diet.

These findings replicate the researchers’ findings in overweight and obese women, which were published in the March 2004 issue of the journal Obesity Research.

Hannum and Carson and their colleagues attribute the greater weight loss among the frozen-entrée eaters to the automatic portion control built into that diet, whereas subjects following the pyramid diet had to make their own meals. “The pyramid group had to figure out what to eat, and estimate how much they actually consumed,” Hannum said. “There was much more room for error.”

After the Illinois studies had finished, the USDA announced a new food pyramid, which allows people to customize their diets according to their age, gender and daily levels of physical activity. The greater complexity of the new pyramid may make this diet even more difficult for people to use, Hannum said.

Whether the participants maintain their new weight depends on whether they can maintain permanent diet changes, an ability that varies across individuals. The study succeeded by pointing many of its subjects in the right direction of portion control.

Because of busy lifestyles, many people eat at restaurants rather than take the time to cook at home. Research in other laboratories has shown that people tend to eat the amount of food that they are served, including large restaurant portions.

“Many of our subjects said that the study was the kick they needed to think about portion size,” Hannum said.

Other contributors to the study were Emily L. Petr and Christopher M. Wharton, former graduate students who earned master’s degrees in the food science and human nutrition department at Illinois; Linh Bui of Masterfoods USA; and Ellen Evans, professor of nutritional sciences in the kinesiology and community health department at Illinois.

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