Nutritional Supplement Study Concludes at Utah State University
Thursday, Apr. 05, 2012
A clinical research study on the effects of nutritional supplementation to combat health consequences associated with Cache Valley’s poor air quality has concluded at Utah State University. The Cache Valley AIR Study, a partnership between the Center for Human Nutrition Studies at Utah State University and USANA Health Sciences, a Utah-based global nutritional supplement company, began in November 2011 with 66 participants.
Led by Michael Lefevre, a USTAR professor in USU’s College of Agriculture focusing on overall human health and personalized medicine, the Center for Human Nutritional Studies conducted the clinical research study to understand the connection between dietary antioxidants and the impact of PM2.5, small particulate pollution on the respiratory systems of at-risk groups. More than 60 Cache Valley residents, ages 45-80, participated in the double-blind study.
Cache Valley experiences poor air quality most often during winter months when high-pressure systems act as a lid to trap pollutants. The problem isn’t specific to Cache Valley. Other areas of the state, including the Salt Lake Valley, experience poor air quality and lengthy inversions.
But, the winter months of 2011 and 2012 didn’t cooperate; Cache Valley’s air quality was cleaner than it had been in thirty-five years.
“We had some decisions to make with a group of participants already enrolled and taking part in the study,” said Janet Bergeson, registered nurse and clinic coordinator in the center. “Rather than measuring times of air inversions and high levels of PM2.5, we began to focus on the range of PM2.5 that is considered low or moderate by the EPA.”
PM2.5 lodges in the lung and causes irritation and inflammation that causes airway constriction and reduces lung function. Even low to moderate elevations of PM2.5 can cause respiratory irritation.
Now that the center has finished collecting data for the study, the analysis begins. Lefevre intends to publish results in the future.
“It was important to us at the center to pay specific attention to how the study was conducted,” said Lefevre. “We worked with USANA to establish a double-blind approach with treatment and placebo groups.”
The study was a success, according to Lefevre and Bergeson.
“We had a wonderful group of participants with this study,” said Bergeson. “We’ve become very attached to them and enjoyed working with each of them.”
“Cache Valley is a great place to do research,” said Lefevre. “The people of Cache Valley are especially willing to participate.”
The USTAR BioInnovations Center, a 110,000-square-foot research facility constructed as an investment by the Utah state legislature to build Utah’s knowledge economy through the construction of high-tech research facilities, was dedicated in October 2010. Research space includes a laboratory and a commercial kitchen, as well as a medical clinic, used to assess health of participants. Participants in the Cache Valley AIR Study visited the clinic twice a month for blood and breathing tests.
The Center for Human Nutrition Studies, housed within the USTAR BioInnovations Center on the USU Innovation Campus, works closely with industry partners and research institutions to design and complete studies that fit within carefully controlled parameters. Using state-of-the art laboratory and clinical research space, Center for Human Nutrition Studies staff design and administer research studies that adhere to strict ethics standards as approved by the Institutional Review Board at USU.
Projects within the Center include the Cache Valley AIR Study, the implementation of “Food Dudes” in the United States — a USDA-sponsored project designed to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables in elementary school children, which has resulted in a 40 percent increase of fruit and vegetable consumption in Northern Utah populations and “Gut Check”— a research study that intends to determine whether gut microflora levels in local populations impact overall human health and wellness. For more information on future studies, visit online: https://anr.usu.edu/htm/research-innovation/projects/chns.
About USTAR: The Utah Science Technology and Research initiative (USTAR) is a long-term, state-funded investment to strengthen Utah's "knowledge economy” and generate high-paying jobs. Funded in March 2006 by the state legislature, USTAR is based on three program areas. The first area involves funding for strategic investments at the University of Utah and Utah State University to recruit world-class researchers. The second area is to build state-of-the-art interdisciplinary facilities at these institutions for the innovation teams. The third program area involves teams that work with companies and entrepreneurs across the state to promote science, innovation and commercialization activities. For more information, go to (www.innovationutah.com) or follow USTAR on Twitter at (http://twitter.com/Innovationutah). For USU USTAR information, visit on the web: (http://ustar.usu.edu) or follow on Twitter: (http://twitter.com/USU_USTAR).
Contact and writer: Jacoba Poppleton, 435-797-9608, firstname.lastname@example.org