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This Week’s Articles in PresS Highlights

Bethesda, Md. (July 23, 2015)The American Physiological Society Articles in PresS (AiPS) are the latest findings in physiology and the health sciences published ahead of print. Read this week’s highlights, including a new review article on how the components of the Mediterranean lifestyle—with the exception of wine—work to combat cardiovascular disease risk and how drinking more beet juice can improve exercise performance and lengthen workouts.

Mediterranean Lifestyle May Decrease Cardiovascular Disease by Lowering Blood Triglycerides

Review finds components—except alcohol intake—to have positive cardiovascular effects

Cardiovascular disease remains the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S. Evidence suggests that elevated levels of triglycerides (fats) in the blood after meals, known as postprandial lipemia (PPL), is associated with an increased risk for hardening of the arteries—a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Numerous population studies have associated the Mediterranean lifestyle—marked by high intake of monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), fiber, legumes, dairy and fish; moderate alcohol intake; and increased amounts of better quality sleep—with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Now, a new review article published in the American Journal of Physiology–Endocrinology and Metabolism explores the effects of the “ingredients” of Mediterranean lifestyle as a whole, specifically on PPL.

Through an extensive review of existing research on the Mediterranean lifestyle, the authors found that many of its features do contribute to positive effects on cardiovascular health. “It seems that most components of the Mediterranean lifestyle may reduce PPL, an important CVD risk factor, with the exception of wine. Although olive oil is a main component of this pattern, preliminary results of studies of several other components—such as fish, legumes, herbs and physical activity—are very promising,” the researchers wrote. “Studies are needed in order to investigate whether the effect of the Mediterranean lifestyle and its components on PPL mediate the overall well-established protective role of this lifestyle.”

The article “Update on lifestyle determinants of postprandial triacylglycerolemia with emphasis on the Mediterranean lifestyle” is published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology–Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Drinking Beet Juice Regularly May Lengthen Your Workouts

Beet juice is a dietary source of the molecule nitrate. When converted in the body, nitrate can dilate the blood vessels and increase blood flow, both important factors for exercise performance. In a new study from American Journal of Physiology–Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, healthy male subjects who drank beet juice for 15 days had lower blood pressure and more dilated blood vessels at rest and during exercise. Blood vessels also dilated more easily and the heart consumed less oxygen during exercise with beet juice consumption. According to the researchers, the findings suggest that beet juice can be used as a dietary nutraceutical supplement to enhance oxygen delivery to the muscles and reduce the work the heart does during exercise. Exercise can be “performed at a given workload for a longer period of time before the onset of fatigue,” the researchers added.

The article “Effects of Chronic Dietary Nitrate Supplementation on the Hemodynamic Response to Dynamic Exercise” is published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology–Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: To schedule an interview with a member of the research team, please contact the APS Communications Office or 301-634-7209. Find more research highlights on our website.

Physiology is the study of how molecules, cells, tissues and organs function in health and disease. Established in 1887, the American Physiological Society (APS) was the first U.S. society in the biomedical sciences field. The Society represents more than 10,500 members and publishes 15 peer-reviewed journals with a worldwide readership.