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TalkingNutrition

Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals

Entries filed under 'Julia Bird'

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    Can a Micronutrient Powder Help Amazonian Children Avoid Deficiency?

    Reading various blogs, one would expect that the bounties of the Amazon rainforest – guava, manioc and armadillo – are enough to provide all the nutrition that children need. Eating foods that are foraged is apparently the secret to good health. Top Amazonian superfoods include acai berries, raw cacao, passionfruit and sacha inchi seeds. Amazonian tribes are also reported to have the most diverse gut microbiota, with its purported health benefits. So it may be surprising to learn that indigenous populations in South America are actually at a greater nutritional risk than national populations.

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    B-Vitamins, PUFA and Reducing Homocysteine Levels

    Elevated homocysteine can be bad news: it is associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, adverse neurological outcomes, and poor bone health. Can supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids, both with and without B-vitamins, affect concentrations of homocysteine?

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    Advice vs Real Life: How Do Sun-Safe Practices Affect Vitamin D Levels?

    Vitamin D is one of those confusing nutrients. It is hard to consume adequate vitamin D from the diet, and sun exposure can make up for this shortfall. Yet, sun exposure increases risk of skin cancer. Advice to reduce exposure to the sun could therefore concurrently decrease risk of skin cancer while increasing the likelihood of vitamin D deficiency. To make matters more confusing, studies show that behaviors such as wearing sunscreen do not necessarily result in lower sun exposure. What a muddle - is there a way out of this confusing mess?

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    How Useful is Screening of Donor Breast Milk?

    Two of our recent posts have looked at donor breast milk for infants: one from February found that donor milk reduced rates of necrotizing enterocolitis in very low birth weight infants, and the other found that 10% of breast milk purchased over the internet contained some cow’s milk. A recent publication by Bloom looked at the frequency of potential infectious agents and contaminants in donated breast milk from screened donors. 

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    How Do Vitamin or Mineral Deficiencies Affect Wellbeing?

    Some vitamin and mineral deficiencies have symptoms that are well defined enough for us to give the disease that they cause a name: think of scurvy for vitamin C deficiency, pellagra for vitamin B3 deficiency, rickets for vitamin D deficiency in childhood, and beriberi for thiamin deficiency. Others are “silent”, such as vitamin D deficiency in adulthood, which weakens bones but has no overt symptoms. Still others have non-specific symptoms, such as the general fatigue that is found with any of the vitamins or minerals that affect red blood cell production. Can biochemically-defined deficiencies affect how the average person feels?

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