Does green tea ward off weight gain? Dr. Richard Bruno, Ph.D., R.D. and Associate Professor of Human Nutrition, hopes to find out. Green tea has always been touted to have medicinal properties, but can it be proved? Bruno’s preliminary lab tests in mice showed lower weights, lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and less signs of fatty liver disease. Currently, Dr. Bruno, along with Drs. Yael Vodovotz and Mark Failla, is working on a new study called “Green tea confections for managing postprandial hyperglycemia-induced vascular endothelial dysfunction,” funded by a 2013 Food Innovation Center seed grant. The study is the first of its type in humans and it aims to confirm what has been observed in rodents.
Another area of research for Dr. Bruno is the bioavailability of vitamin E. He is specifically looking at how much dietary fat is needed to optimize vitamin E absorption. Vitamin E needs dietary fat to be absorbed; Without fat, there is only ~10% absorption. The form of vitamin E looked at in the study is known as gamma-tocopherol, which is not as common as alpha-tocopherol—the type of vitamin E required by humans. Gamma-tocopherol is found in soybean and canola oils, as well as in pistachios, cashews and peanuts.
Bruno has a long history of working on green tea and vitamin E; he has expertise in the areas of phytochemical and antioxidant utilization and metabolism in relation to free radical-mediated toxicology. The research conducted in his laboratory aims to define the mechanisms regulating the bioavailability of phytochemicals, particularly vitamin E and polyphenols, and the mechanisms by which these dietary agents protect against oxidative stress and pro-inflammatory responses that otherwise contribute to vascular endothelial dysfunction and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
Richard Bruno is an Ohio State alumnus. Prior to joining the Ohio State faculty in 2012, Bruno served on the faculty at the University of Connecticut, completed a prestigious post-doctoral training at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, and earned his PhD in Human Nutrition from The Ohio State University nutrition program. When asked about his decision to return to Ohio State, Bruno said, “I was thrilled by the opportunity to come back to my Alma Mater. There are rich opportunities here. The presence of groups like the Food Innovation Center to open doors to new collaborations wouldn’t be available elsewhere.”