Pregnancy is a unique window of opportunity. Nutrition during pregnancy, and up to the child’s second birthday, shapes the life of a child – including the ability to learn, to grow, and long-term health. Two new studies emphasize the importance of maternal nutrition during pregnancy. More importantly, they also demonstrate the need for education, and sometimes changes in policy.
“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.
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.
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.
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.