Vladimir Vuksan

PhD

Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Insititute

Biography

Dr. Vuksan is a Research Scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute and Associate Director of the Risk Factor Modification Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital and Professor at the University of Toronto in the Department of Nutritional Sciences. His research focuses on the development of novel nutritional therapies for modifiable, conventional, and emerging risk factors for diabetes mellitus (DM) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Over the past 20 years, his research has identified three therapies including a propriety blend of viscous fibre originating in Asia, an ancient whole grain used by the Aztec civilization, and various types of ginseng roots and their chemical fractions. Preliminary data from these studies have demonstrated that when taken either alone or in combination with conventional medicine and lifestyle changes, these novel therapies effectively improve glycemic control, reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, arterial stiffness, low-grade body inflammation, improved fibrinolysis, as well as reduced appetite. Dr. Vuksan currently holds a grant from the Canadian Diabetes Association to study the effects of combining all three therapies as a complementary strategy for controlling cardiovascular risk factors in Type 2 Diabetes. Dr. Vuksan also holds grants from the National Institute of Horticultural and Herbal Sciences of Korea, Ministry of Research and Innovation, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and many more.

Dr. Vuksan has an extensive track record of publications with an H-factor score of over 40. Additionally, he has served on numerous professional committees, including the Diabetes and Nutrition Study Group (DNSG) of the Nutrition of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), National Health Product Research Society of Canada, Canadian Diabetes Association Peer Review Committee, Health Canada Expert Panel for the Regulation of Novel Food Status, and many more. In 2010, Dr. Vuksan was awarded the Charles H. Best Award presented by the Canadian Diabetes Association in recognition of outstanding research achievements and success in translating findings into practical applications for people with diabetes. Dr. Vuksan is also the recipient of the World Ginseng Science Award in recognition of his work in diabetes management through nutrition and natural health products, and the Graduate Teaching Award presented by the University of Toronto.

 

Research Team

Vladimir Vuksan, Principal Investigator
Alexandra Jenkins, Research Associate
Elena Jovanovski, Research Coordinator
Thanh Ho, Research Assistant
Andreea Zurbau, PhD Student
Fei AuYeung, MSc Student
Featured Projects

Co-administration of three complementary therapies (viscous dietary fiber, whole grain and ginseng) for comprehensive risk reduction in Type 2 Diabetes

Despite the availability of multiple medications for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, patients often continue to have difficulty attaining blood glucose targets. Research by our group and others support the benefits of whole grains, viscous dietary fiber and ginseng in the management of diabetes. Our current study investigates whether the coadministration of a viscous dietary fiber blend, Salba, a grain rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and 2 varieties of ginseng roots will further improve blood sugar control and cardiovascular risk outcomes in individuals with type 2 diabetes already receiving conventional treatments targeted to reduce cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk factors.

Effect of dietary fiber-gel foods on weight loos, glycemic control, and cardiovascular risk factors: A randomized controlled trial in overweight and ovese individuals with type 2 diabetes

Most people living with diabetes are overweight which complicates diabetes management. Konjac fiber gel is a traditionally consumed food in Asia that is gaining rapid popularity for weight loss. It is made from the konjac plant and has negligible calories as it is comprised of 97% water and 3g of fiber. Our preliminary research shows that konjac fibre can also lower blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure. The current trial proposes to conduct the first weight loss study to test whether konjac-gel foods can reduce and then sustain lower body weight and improve diabetes control in overweight people with diabetes.

The effect of dietary nitrate on blood pressure and vascular function: A randomized, controlled trial in individuals with prehypertension and hypertension

Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Canada, where blood pressure management is a chief target for minimizing cardiovascular disease risk. Research suggests that blood pressure response may be highly correlated with nitrite concentrations and mediated by up-regulation of nitric oxide bioavailability. A number of human intervention trials have found directs effects of dietary nitrate  ingestion on blood pressure and endothelial function and accumulating evidence suggests that dietary nitrate supplementation at doses commonly found in vegetable rich diets have the potential for clinically significant vascular benefits. This trial will aim to assess the effect of administering a high-nitrate vegetable intervention for 3 months, compared to a low nitrate vegetable control, on blood pressure in individuals with elevated blood pressure.

Salba weight loss

The prevalence of obesity continues to rise worldwide as does the incidence of type 2 diabetes. Current pharmacological therapies aimed at weight loss are limited in efficacy and hindered by significant adverse effects. Salvia hispanica L (Salba-chia), an ancient grain used as food and remedy by the ancient Aztec civilization, is one of the highest whole food sources of dietary fiber and α-linolenic fatty acids (ALA) per total fat, exceptionally rich in minerals, and a good source of protein. Our preliminary study demonstrated that supplementing 37g/day of Salba-chia added to an isocaloric diet to maintain body weight over 3- months, improved major and emerging CVD risk factors in type 2 diabetes suggesting its cardio protective potential. A subsequent study by our group demonstrated that Salba-chia acutely reduced postprandial glycemia when added to a meal and prolonged satiety, suggesting a possible mechanism of action for the glycemic control seen in the 3-month study. Therefore, the objective of the current study was to determine whether 6-month dietary incorporation of Salba-chia will induce a significant weight reduction in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Systematic Review & Meta-Analysis series of viscous soluble fibres on various risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Viscous soluble fibres as part of a healthy diet may provide protection against cardiovascular disease risk factors. The effect of fiber intake on cholesterol levels have been known for decades and recognized in the form of health claims by many health authorities around the world. Increasing evidence is also emerging relating viscous soluble fibres and glycemic control, blood pressure as well as other emerging cardiovascular disease risk factor. However, clinical trials of fibre supplementation have shown wide variation. Therefore, a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials will be conducted to synthesize the evidence of the effect of individual viscous soluble fibres and several cardiovascular disease risk factors.

Recent Publications

  1. Vuksan, V, Jovanovski, E, Zurbau, A, Komishon, A. Comments to Article by Solah VA et al., Nutrients 2017, 9, 149. Nutrients. 2017;9 (4):. doi: 10.3390/nu9040398. PubMed PMID:28420203 .
  2. Ho, HV, Jovanovski, E, Zurbau, A, Blanco Mejia, S, Sievenpiper, JL, Au-Yeung, F et al.. A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of the effect of konjac glucomannan, a viscous soluble fiber, on LDL cholesterol and the new lipid targets non-HDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2017; :. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.142158. PubMed PMID:28356275 .
  3. Ho, HV, Sievenpiper, JL, Zurbau, A, Blanco Mejia, S, Jovanovski, E, Au-Yeung, F et al.. The effect of oat β-glucan on LDL-cholesterol, non-HDL-cholesterol and apoB for CVD risk reduction: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised-controlled trials. Br. J. Nutr. 2016;116 (8):1369-1382. doi: 10.1017/S000711451600341X. PubMed PMID:27724985 .
  4. Kim, SJ, de Souza, RJ, Choo, VL, Ha, V, Cozma, AI, Chiavaroli, L et al.. Effects of dietary pulse consumption on body weight: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2016;103 (5):1213-23. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.124677. PubMed PMID:27030531 .
  5. Jovanovski, E, Bosco, L, Khan, K, Au-Yeung, F, Ho, H, Zurbau, A et al.. Effect of Spinach, a High Dietary Nitrate Source, on Arterial Stiffness and Related Hemodynamic Measures: A Randomized, Controlled Trial in Healthy Adults. Clin Nutr Res. 2015;4 (3):160-7. doi: 10.7762/cnr.2015.4.3.160. PubMed PMID:26251834 PubMed Central PMC4525132.
  6. Jovanovski, E, Zurbau, A, Vuksan, V. Carbohydrates and endothelial function: is a low-carbohydrate diet or a low-glycemic index diet favourable for vascular health?. Clin Nutr Res. 2015;4 (2):69-75. doi: 10.7762/cnr.2015.4.2.69. PubMed PMID:25954727 PubMed Central PMC4418418.
  7. De Souza, LR, Jenkins, AL, Jovanovski, E, Rahelić, D, Vuksan, V. Ethanol extraction preparation of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L) and Korean red ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer): differential effects on postprandial insulinemia in healthy individuals. J Ethnopharmacol. 2015;159 :55-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2014.10.057. PubMed PMID:25446600 .
  8. Jenkins, AL, Morgan, LM, Bishop, J, Jovanovski, E, Vuksan, V. Randomized clinical trial in healthy individuals on the effect of viscous fiber blend on glucose tolerance when incorporated in capsules or into the carbohydrate or fat component of the meal. J Am Coll Nutr. 2014;33 (5):400-5. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2014.905762. PubMed PMID:25303029 .
  9. Shishtar, E, Sievenpiper, JL, Djedovic, V, Cozma, AI, Ha, V, Jayalath, VH et al.. The effect of ginseng (the genus panax) on glycemic control: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials. PLoS ONE. 2014;9 (9):e107391. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0107391. PubMed PMID:25265315 PubMed Central PMC4180277.
  10. Shishtar, E, Jovanovski, E, Jenkins, A, Vuksan, V. Effects of Korean White Ginseng (Panax Ginseng C.A. Meyer) on Vascular and Glycemic Health in Type 2 Diabetes: Results of a Randomized, Double Blind, Placebo-controlled, Multiple-crossover, Acute Dose Escalation Trial. Clin Nutr Res. 2014;3 (2):89-97. doi: 10.7762/cnr.2014.3.2.89. PubMed PMID:25136536 PubMed Central PMC4135246.
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Affiliations & Other Activities

  • Associate Director, Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre, Division of Endocrinology, St. Michael’s Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
  • Professor, Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
  • Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, St. Michael’s Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, University of Toronto