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TalkingNutrition

Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals

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    Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Brain Volume and Executive Function

    A study of older adults at risk of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease found that those who consumed more omega-3 fatty acids did better than their peers on tests of cognitive flexibility – the ability to efficiently switch between tasks – and had a bigger anterior cingulate cortex, a brain region known to contribute to cognitive flexibility.A direct quote from News-Medical.net

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    When it Comes to Nutrition, Herding Cats is Easier than Humans

    Two interesting vitamin D stories in the news today. In humans, higher vitamin D levels are linked to reduced risk of depression. In animals, low vitamin D status predicts 30 day mortality in hospitalized cats.

    Unlike humans who can produce vitamin D cutaneously, cats cannot. Thus cats are 100% dependent upon dietary sources of vitamin D. Titmarsh and colleagues measured serum 25(OH)D concentrations in hospitalized cats, hypothesizing that vitamin D status would predict mortality. 

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    Are You Someone Who Engages in Healthy Choices?

    More good news on the benefits of meeting dietary recommendations. The European Society of Endocrinology issued a press release emphasizing the importance of vitamin D for pregnant women.

    Based on a systematic review of 2,649 pregnant women and 1,802 newborn babies, the press release summarizes a report by Spiros and colleagues. Women living in the sunny Mediterranean region have have a lower risk of low serum 25(OH)D3 concentrations than those living in Northern Europe but the risk of vitamin D deficiency is still unnecessarily high. 

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    Lack of Vitamin B12 may Increase Heart Disease Risk Among Vegetarians

    For the past 30 years, people have been advised to limit cholesterol, saturated and trans fat intake, often by reducing their consumption of red meat, dairy, and eggs. Not surprisingly, many people conclude that a vegetarian is healthier for the heart. This may not be the case.

    Because plant foods do not contain vitamin B12 unless they are fortified, vegetarians can be vitamin B12 deficient.

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    Making Certain Children Consume Enough Omega-3s

    Developing brains and eyes of children need long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA). Two families of LCPUFA exist, omega-6 and omega-3, with the predominant fatty acid in our diet being linoleic acid (LA) and α-linolenic (ALA), respectively.

    Differences in the number of double bonds in the omega-3 and omega-6 families generate slight modifications in the biochemical structure of their metabolites which can affect cell signaling pathways. For this reason, the balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fats in our diets affects the fatty acid composition of cells in the adult body.

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