We have identified five phytosterols (Aloe sterols) obtained from Aloe vera gel as functional ingredients. In this study, we investigated the effects of orally ingested Aloe sterols on skin function, which is important for body homeostasis. In an in vitro study, the synthesis and production of collagen and hyaluronan by fibroblasts isolated from human skin were stimulated by addition of Aloe sterols. Aloe sterol supplementation in vivo also suppressed UV-induced reductions of skin hydration, elasticity and dermal collagen content significantly. We then performed a 12-week double blind, randomized controlled trial of daily oral intake of Aloe sterols, and observed significant increases in skin barrier function, skin moisture, skin elasticity and dermal collagen content. The results of these studies confirmed the usefulness of Aloe sterols as functional food material for maintenance and promotion of skin health.
This study investigated the influence of vitamin D restriction on body composition and bone strength in male rats of different ages fed a high-fat diet. Sprague-Dawley rats ［7 (y-) or 14 weeks old］ were divided into four groups: basic control diet (y-C, C), vitamin D-restricted basic diet (y-DR, DR), high-fat diet (y-F, F), and vitamin D-restricted high-fat diet (y-FDR, FDR) groups. At 28 days after starting the experimental diets, the high-fat diet significantly increased the weight of fat, and vitamin D restriction significantly decreased the weight of muscle in male rats aged both 7 and 14 weeks. Furthermore, vitamin D restriction significantly decreased the bone mineral density (BMD), cortical bone thickness, and trabecular bone area ratio of the femur or lumbar vertebrae. Vitamin D restriction also decreased the femoral or lumbar vertebral BMD and muscle weight in rats fed a high-fat diet.
The use of the health foods has been increasing, and therefore their safety has become an important issue. In recent years, health foods thought to have estrogen activity have appeared on the Japanese market, but no method for detecting the estrogen activity of such foods has been available. The present study assessed whether a “Dual-Luciferase Reporter Assay” (luciferase reporter assay) was useful for detection of estrogen activity in health foods. Food showing high estrogen activity in the luciferase reporter assay had high activity in the uterus growth assay using laboratory animals. It is suggested that the luciferase reporter assay could be an effective technique for detection of estrogen activity in health foods.