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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


    A Case Study on the Genetic Basis of Nutritional Variability of Food

    How much vitamin C is in 100g (about two thirds of a cup) of blueberries? Well, that depends. My trusty kitchen companion “The Food Guide” reckons 13mg, my nutrition textbook “Understanding Nutrition” counts 7mg, and the USDA food database has measured 9.7mg in their release 28. What the online USDA food list does not mention is that this value was based on 4 data points, the minimum amount measured was 7.4mg and the maximum was 11.5mg (based on the Access database for release 28). There is a lot of variation in the vitamin content of blueberries, it seems.

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    Vitamin D Screening Provides Valuable Information

    If you live in the US and have just celebrated Thanksgiving, it is quite possible your waistband feels a tad tighter this Monday. You should also know that increased visceral fat may increase your need for vitamin D supplementation. And shortening daylength in the northern hemisphere isn’t any help.

    Zhang and colleagues randomly selected 1,105 adults living in China. Visceral fat accumulation and serum vitamin D concentrations were measured. Men and pre-menopausal women carrying extra visceral fat were more likely to have serum 25(OH)D3 concentrations below 30 µg/L 

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    Time to Get Real About Preventing Neural Tube Defects in Europe

    Babak and co-workers published an analysis of neural tube defect prevalence in Europe over a twenty year period from 1991 to 2011. The data was obtained from the extensive EUROCAT birth defect registry, which collects data from 43 registries in 23 countries in Europe.  It seems that in the past 20 years, the rate of neural tube defects has largely remained unchanged at around 9 pregnancies affected out of every 10,000. In contrast, rates of neural tube defects has fallen over the same period in the US. What is the difference? 

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    Should Iodine be a Nutrient of Concern?

    Do you know your iodine status? I don’t. In fact, rarely do I even look for the iodine content of a food. For people living in regions where the iodine content of soils and ground water is low, consuming crops grown locally can lead to iodine deficiency. In fact, 26-70% of children living in the Great Lakes, Appalachians and Northwestern regions of the US were iodine deficient with clinically apparent goiters in the early 1900’s. Iodization of salt changed their lives and millions of others. However, salt iodization is only effective if people consume iodized salt.

    Anaforoglu and colleagues studied 864 healthy pregnant women from an iodine deficient region of 

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    A Cautionary Tale on Avoiding Carbohydrates and Unintended Pregnancies

    Countries such as the USA and Canada legislated folic acid fortification of flour to help prevent neural tube defects during pregnancy. Mandatory legislation was important because a baby’s brain stem and spine closes during the first trimester of pregnancy – a time when many women do not yet realize they are pregnant. After the first few months of pregnancy, it is too late to begin supplementation to protect the infant.

    According to the CDC, half of pregnancies in the US are unintended. Unintended pregnancies are those which are mistimed, unplanned or unwanted at time of conception. 

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