Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals

    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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    Mozambique woman with child on back

    What does the recent Ebola situation have in common with the global malnutrition crisis?

    It seems like the only health-related news these days deals with the recent cases of Ebola that have appeared in Texas. In many ways, the Ebola situation in Africa draws parallels to the malnutrition crisis observed in developing nations, where millions are affected by deficiencies of essential nutrients such as vitamin A, iron, and iodine. But if we in the Western world are hardly impacted to the same degree by either Ebola or malnutrition, why should we feel compelled to help?

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    EFSA Finds no Safety Concerns with Algal EPA and/or DHA and Increases Upper Intake Level

    Experts from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a scientific opinion that supplemental DHA and EPA from algal oil sources (Schizochytrium species) can be safely increased from 3 grams daily to 5 grams daily as there is no safety concerns for adults.

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    The Road to Good Nutrition

    Another Study Reports Inadequate Vitamin E Intake

    Zhao and colleagues assessed dietary adequacy and plasma vitamin E (α-tocopherol and ϒ-tocopherol) concentrations in the plasma of Irish adults. Food sources were not sufficient. Two-thirds of women were not consuming recommended amounts of vitamin E. Supplementation was important, contributing 29% of their vitamin E. People who didn’t supplement with vitamin E had much lower plasma α-tocopherol concentrations. 

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    Processed Food: Can’t We Just Say What We Mean?

    It is a slow day today for nutrition science, but it seems that there is an article in the mass media every day about processed foods and how they can and should be avoided. These articles can be a little confusing to me as a nutrition scientist. The confusion stems from the use of the word “processed”. Isn't there a better way to say what we mean?

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