Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals
    Baby WFP powder

    Designing a Nutritionally Balanced Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food from Local Ingredients

    The World Health Organisation considers Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) to have “revolutionized” the treatment of severe malnutrition in children. RUTF saves the lives of hundreds of thousands of children every year. RUTF are shelf-stable pastes that can be used at home, and contain a nutritionally-balanced mix of ingredients that provide children with the energy, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals for them to put on weight and treat deficiency. But how can it be developed from local ingredients, and within the demanding nutritional and price-related constraints?

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    Is a milk by any other name just as nutritious?

    Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that supports healthy bones, muscles and more, yet more than 90% of Americans don’t get enough in their diets. This is partly due to the fact that naturally occurring vitamin D is not found in high amounts in many foods, save for fish – a food which Americans certainly do not to eat enough of (see: every article ever posted on Talking Nutrition about Omega-3’s).  As a result, vitamin D intakes in the United States are largely driven by fortified foods and dietary supplements, with the main fortification target being milk and dairy foods. Alternative milk sources such as soy and almond milk are becoming increasingly popular, and yet these aren’t always fortified with vitamin D. So that begs the question – what happens to the vitamin D status of regular drinkers of alternative (that is, non-cow) milks?


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    Full Spectrum Multivitamin and Mineral Supplements: a Source of Essential Nutrients

    Twenty years ago, Congress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), recognizing the role of dietary supplements in health promotion and prevention of chronic diseases. The law established a new regulatory framework and mechanisms to deal with safety issues, labeling, and health claims. It provided guidance on good manufacturing practices. Unfortunately, Congress didn’t guarantee funding for enforcement of DSHEA.

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    Michael at UN General Assembly

    Can Scientists be Social and Translate Science?

    Not everyone is intrigued by science. I get that. However, science (and scientists) is interesting. Three reasons to follow science blogs: 1) By nature, scientists test hypotheses. When considering questions from different perspectives, they challenge the status quo. 2) Scientists have a profound ability to distill a problem into the obvious. And 3), being a scientist can be fun. We may even have friends.

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    Review Articles Emphasize Nutrition for Health over Deficiency Prevention

    Two new reviews were published this week. Barnes and colleagues review nutrients with a role in maintaining cognitive function. Whitehead and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of randomized,  placebo-controlled studies (RCTs) using ≥ 3 g oat beta glucan daily.

    Both reviews focus on nutrient intakes required to optimize health. 

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    DHA Health Claim

    EFSA Approves Health Claim for DHA and Normal Brain Development

    Experts from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a scientific opinion that a cause and effect relationship has been established between the consumption of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and contribution to normal brain development. The Panel noted the well-established role of DHA in normal brain function across all ages, including brain development in infants and children.

    Based on the scientific evidence, the Panel approved the following statement:

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    Young woman jogging on the beach

    Iodine Deficiency: 90 Years of Progress, But Much To Be Done

    Iodine deficiency is one of the top three micronutrient deficiencies that are targeted by the World Health Organization. Shocking statistics estimate that 18 million infants are mentally impaired each year due to frank iodine deficiency. Another report shows that iodine deficiency is relatively common even in well-nourished populations. Why aren't we doing more to solve this problem?

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    Pregnancy and Vitamin D for Healthy Babies

    Humans can synthesize vitamin D when skin is exposed to strong sunlight. Obviously, babies are dependent upon their mother for vitamin D until birth (in utero). Even after birth, depending upon seasonal temperatures, a baby may be bundled in wraps and kept inside. Thus, the vitamin D status of an infant is totally dependent upon his/her mother.

    Zhang and colleagues examined the nutritional requirements for vitamin D in 30 women during pregnancy. 

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