Health claims are an effective means of influencing food choices made by consumers. Foods with Health Claims (FHC) , which are defined according to food labeling standards specified by the Food Labeling Act, comprise three categories: Foods for Specified Health Uses (FOSHU) , Foods with Function Claims (FFC) , and Foods with Nutrient Function Claims (FNFC) . FOSHU, which are also defined according to the Health Promotion Law, are permitted to claim benefits for maintenance and promotion of health, but must obtain approval from the government in order to be offered for sale. FFC, which are a category that was newly established in 2015, can be labeled as having structure and function claims on the basis of scientific evidence, at the responsibility of the manufacturer. For these, it is necessary to submit scientific documentation to the government regarding their function and safety prior to sale. FNFC are a category of standardized foods that can carry nutrient function claims without submission of any notification to the government. In 2015, the estimated market for FOSHU was approximately 640 billion yen, and the combined market for FNFC and so-called health foods was estimated to be 1.5 trillion yen. Since these health claims must be properly understood by consumers, the most important issue is public awareness, and in this context such products play a significant role in the maintenance and promotion of public health.
Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) hydrolyzes several monophosphate esters. It has been suggested that intestinal ALP, localized in the small intestine, is associated with lipid metabolism, although its physiological function has remained elusive. In this study, we investigated the effect of vitamin K2 (menaquinone-4; MK-4) on ALP expression in Caco-2 cells, which differentiate into human intestinal epithelial-like cells. The cells were incubated for 14 days after confluency, and MK-4 was added at 1 μM or 10 μM. ALP activity in both of the MK-4-treated groups was significantly higher than in an untreated control group (0 μM). The intensity of human intestinal ALP gene expression in Caco-2 cells was also significantly higher in the 1 μM MK-4-treated group than in the untreated control group. This is the first reported study to have investigated intestinal ALP expression induced by vitamin K2 in human intestinal epithelial-like Caco-2 cells. These results will be useful for elucidating the novel physiological functions of vitamin K2 through regulation of human intestinal ALP activity.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of fermented black garlic on hepatic function in Japanese adults. TRIAL DESIGN: A placebo-controlled, double-blinded, randomized trial. METHODS: Forty subjects were randomly assigned to either a garlic group (GG) or the placebo group (PG) , and instructed to take the assigned supplements for 12 weeks. Blood tests (hepatic and renal functions, and sugar and lipid metabolism) and physical measurements were conducted before intake (baseline) , and at weeks 6 and 12. RESULTS: The change in the level of ALT, a marker of hepatic function, between the baseline and week 12 was significantly smaller in the GG than in the PG (p＝0.049) , and the change in the level of AST also tended to be smaller in the former than in the latter (p＝0.099) . CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that intake of fermented black garlic for 12 weeks has a beneficial effect on hepatic function in healthy Japanese adults. This study has been registered in UMIN-CTR (UMIN000024771) .
This study investigated the influence of leucine, one of the branched chain amino acids, on bone metabolism. Eighteen male Sprague-Dawley rats (11 weeks old) were divided into two groups: those fed a basic control diet (Cont.; n＝9) , and those fed a basic control diet with 5％ leucine supplementation (Leu; n＝9) . At 28 days after starting the experimental diet, there were no significant differences in the total fat pad, visceral fat pad, subcutaneous fat pad, muscle, or body fat ratio between the Cont. and Leu groups. A calcium (Ca) balance test revealed no significant differences in Ca absorption, the rate of Ca absorption, Ca retention, or the rate of Ca retention between the two groups. Moreover, there were no significant inter-group differences in the alkaline phosphatase-specific activity in the femur, calcium content/dry weight of the femur, bone mineral content of the femur, and bone mineral density of the femur. Thus, the present study found no influence of leucine on bone metabolism.
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