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  • The study included 12,164 individuals from three European population-based cohorts.
  • The median age was 59 years and 55% were women. During the baseline study visit, cardiovascular risk factors and comorbidities such as smoking, obesity, diabetes and cholesterol were assessed via a thorough clinical assessment including blood samples.
  • Participants were classified as iron deficient or not according to two definitions: 1) absolute iron deficiency, which only includes stored iron (ferritin); and 2) functional iron deficiency, which includes iron in storage (ferritin) and iron in circulation for use by the body (transferrin).

Dr. Schrage explained: "Absolute iron deficiency is the traditional way of assessing iron status but it misses circulating iron. The functional definition is more accurate as it includes both measures and picks up those with sufficient stores but not enough in circulation for the body to work properly."

"The study showed that iron deficiency was highly prevalent in this middle-aged population, with nearly two-thirds having functional iron deficiency," said Dr. Schrage. "These individuals were more likely to develop heart disease and were also more likely to die during the next 13 years."

Dr. Schrage noted that future studies should examine these associations in younger and non-European cohorts. He said: "If the relationships are confirmed, the next step would be a randomised trial investigating the effect of treating iron deficiency in the general population."

To read the article: Iron deficiency in middle age is linked with higher risk of developing heart disease

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  • A high-fat diet disrupts the biology of the gut's inner lining and its microbial communities -- and promotes the production of a metabolite that may contribute to heart disease, according to a study published Aug. 13 in the journal Science.
  • The discoveries in animal models support a key role for the intestines and microbiota in the development of cardiovascular disease, said Mariana Byndloss, DVM, PhD, assistant professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The intestines, she noted, have been relatively understudied by scientists seeking to understand the impact of obesity. "Before COVID, obesity and metabolic syndrome were considered the pandemic of the 21st century. Right now, roughly 40% of the U.S. population is obese, and that percentage is predicted to climb," Byndloss said. "Our research has revealed a previously unexplored mechanism for how diet and obesity can increase risk of cardiovascular disease -- by affecting the relationship between our intestines and the microbes that live in our gut."

"It was known that exposure to a high-fat diet causes dysbiosis -- an imbalance in the microbiota favoring harmful microbes, but we didn't know why or how this was happening," Byndloss said. "We show one way that diet directly affects the host and promotes the growth of bad microbes."

To read the article: Study reveals missing link between high-fat diet, microbiota and heart disease

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A project developing healthier foods based on the slower release of energy is set to expand its range of products. By using different types of starch, the project hopes to introduce consumer-focused starchy products that can contribute to consumer’s health and reduce the risk of developing diet-related disease.

Highly digestible food products, especially starchy foods, are of concern as they may be digested so rapidly that their metabolic effect is comparable to that of free sugars, resulting in blood glucose peaks and the rapid release of insulin, which is linked to increased risk of type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

To read the article, click here Slower energy release points the way to healthier foods

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Quick Takes

  • Ultra-processed foods have been known to be associated with risk of CVD, cancer, and the obesity epidemic.
  • The fast-food, beverage, and food industries have made progress in reducing the unhealthy ingredients but continue to advertise the unhealthy.
  • Increasing the national and local community investment in health literacy with an emphasis on nutrition could be very cost-effective from the public perspective but have a negative impact on the economy and compete with many other priorities.

To read the article Ultra-Processed Foods and Incident Cardiovascular Disease

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