Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals

    Vitamins and Cancer: Is Nutrient Balance Important?

    Recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Wang and colleague published an article describing follow-up analyses of the high-dose vitamin E and C component of the Physicians Health Study II. This study was exceptional in that it recruited a large number of subjects that were well-nourished (male physicians), randomized them to various dietary supplements, and followed them to track key cardiovascular and cancer-related endpoints for a very long time: follow-up occurred over 14 years. However, some of the results were a little paradoxical. We explain further after the jump. 

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    The Rise and Rise of Yogurt: Using an Ancient Food to Meet Nutrient Needs

    Yogurt is a food known from ancient times. Around 77 AD, Pliny the Elder wrote “the barbarous nations…understand how to thicken milk and form therefrom an acrid kind of liquid with a pleasant flavor” in his famous encyclopedia of the ancient world. This is our first description of yogurt consumption, although it was likely to have developed at least 7000 years prior to its description by the Roman naturalist. Over the past millennia, societies that have bred animals for their milk have learned the art of fermentation with lactic acid bacteria to form delicious and nutritious yogurt. Even today, the last few decades have seen a steady increase in global yogurt consumption, according to a consumer survey from DSM that focuses on how and why people in emerging and established markets in the USA, Brazil, Turkey, Poland, France and China eat yogurt. What is driving this trend, and what does this mean for nutrition?

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    China air pollution

    The Alchemy of Nutrition and Environment to Age with Grace and Tranquility

    Getting  older is only better than the alternative. Everyone’s goal is to age, surrounded by family and friends, in the best of health until the last day. The chances of the ideal scenario depend upon genetics, environment, nutrition and sometimes luck. The 6 leading risk factors for non-communicable diseases  (NCD) globally are high blood pressure, tobacco smoking (including second-hand smoke), household air pollution, diet low in fruits, alcohol use, and high body-mass index.

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    Getting Antioxidants We Need from Fruits and Vegetables

    To counteract the severe oxidative stress created with the production of O2 during photosynthesis, plants load themselves with antioxidants. Antioxidants commonly found in fruits and vegetables are beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Eating a diet with lots of vegetables and fruits is healthy for humans.

    Processing can also affect the bioavailability of antioxidants found in food.  Because most of the compounds are unstable, exposure to oxygen or heat treatment (blanching, cooking, pasteurization, sterilization, dehydration and freezing) can  lead to a significant loss of natural antioxidants

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    60 Years Later, Where is the Fitbit to Measure Nutrition Status?

    Does diet affect health? Of course it does. Vitamin and mineral deficiency diseases are evidence that nutrition is essential. Overweight and obesity are caused by eating more calories than we expend. This implies that obese individuals must eat more. And the insinuation is they probably eat more energy-dense foods too.

    Albar and colleagues used 4 day self-reported dietary records from a nationally representative survey of  636 UK adolescents (11-18y).  

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    gooey chocolate stack

    Eating to Reduce Prescription and Health Care Costs

    A new report finds that the USA has the highest total and public health expenditure per person compared to 5 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, and Switzerland). The average health expenditure per person was $7,212 in 2011. The US spent 17% of GDP on health spending whereas the other 5 nations ranged between 10.6 to 11%. Out-of-pocket health expenditure per person is the highest except for Switzerland. Probably attributable to higher spending on hospital costs ($2,408 vs $909 to $1,501) and pharmaceutical and other medical non-durables ($878 vs $408 to $664). 

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    man on bicycle with helmet

    Are you Feeling your Oats Today?

    The number of people with diabetes mellitus has doubled over the past 3 decades. WHO estimates 150 million people worldwide have diabetes and the number will double by 2025. There is increasing interest in finding nutritional components which may help control healthy blood glucose levels.  Oats are considered unique among cereal grains, partially because they contain β-glucan, a high-molecular weight polysaccharide exhibiting high viscosity at relatively low concentrations. Because of its viscous nature, β-glucan, slows starch digestion and helps slow the absorption of glucose from the gut. 

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    Are you Grilling a Salmon? Why not Increase your Omega-3 Status?

    For our Canadian readers, Happy Canada Day! Enjoy a day of celebrations. National celebrations are associated with special activities – parades, fireworks, and barbecues with family and friends. There may even be birthday cake. Everything can be tasted and savored. July 1 is a special day soon to be followed by the Fourth of July!

    Health is a long-term goal requiring a regular diet supplying essential nutrients. Our plates should be sprinkled with nutrition – some fruit to provide vitamin C, kale rich in folate, carrots for carotenoids 

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