Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals

    Improving Nutritional Status to Support Eye Health: Reading, Listening, Acting

    Of the five senses, sight and sound are the most important for learning. While all senses are important,  many people particularly fear the loss of eyesight. Boyers and colleagues sought to determine if scientific effort is an accurate reflection of the global burden of eye and vision disease.

    Their detailed examination of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found gaps in the literature. Age-related diseases (cataract, glaucoma and macular degeneration) received the most attention, 

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    Heading into Autumn Equinox, Vitamin D is Top of Mind (Again)

    Have all the vitamin D researchers been on vacation? Who would believe that it has been almost a month since our last blog on vitamin D? Today’s blog highlights a new scientific report on the role of vitamin D in older adults. Takehome message: “Plasma 25(OH)D concentrations predict subsequent lower 13-y total mortality and incident cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and fractures.

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    breastfeeding mother and infant

    Review Updates on Omega-3 Long-chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids EPA & DHA

    Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA) experts have been busy publishing reviews on the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

    The Early Nutrition Academy supported a systematic review of human studies on the roles of pre- and postnatal LCPUFA. Using the most recent studies (2008-2013), Koletzko and colleagues report:

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    man on bicycle with helmet

    Suboptimal Vitamin E Status may be Affecting Health

    For the past decade, health professionals have ignored vitamin E. Even the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee chose not to identify vitamin E as a ‘nutrient of concern’ although it was identified as one of 10 nutrients (Vitamins A, C, D, E, and K, choline, calcium, magnesium, potassium and dietary fiber) missing from our diet.

    Plants make 8 different forms of vitamin E but only α-tocopherol is maintained in plasma and tissue. Only the 2R-stereoisomeric forms of α-tocopherol reverse vitamin E deficiency and meet human vitamin E requirements

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    A ‘What-If’ Kind of Day…

    Monday morning blues. An ecological analysis of databases by the Food Agricultural Organization (FAO), World Health Organization (WHO), and World Bank finds a direct dose-response association between the adoption of a sedentary lifestyle with western dietary patterns and the global rise in diabetes prevalence. Depressing news.

    What does it take to help people make healthier lifestyle choices? For years as a professor, I thought the answer was in education. This argument was undermined when the percentage of consumers who could associate foods (and nutrients) with health benefits became apparent . 

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    Measuring Biomarkers to Evaluate Nutritional Status

    As a reader, you will know I recommend using nutritional biomarkers to assess health outcomes rather than dietary intake guestimates. Wood and colleagues affirm these statements.  They analyzed dietary and biological data obtained from approximately 2,000 Scottish women who attended a baseline visit between 1990-1993 as part of the Aberdeen Prospective Osteoporosis Screening Study (APOSS).

    Over the 10 years, their age increased (not surprisingly) as did their body weight (+2 kg), total cholesterol (+0.3 mmol/L), and HDL-C (+0.35 mmol/L). 

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    Child about to eat an enormous cookie

    Who is Modeling Preventive Health Behaviors for Children?

    Millions of children are missing important preventive health care opportunities in the US. Boyle and colleagues report wide divides in use of clinical preventive services by race/ethnicity, geography and health care coverage.

    For example, 50% of infants who failed their hearing screening did not receive a follow-up evaluation. Twenty-two percent of children had not had their vision checked professionally by 5y of age. The US has one of the highest per capita incomes but nearly half of American children grow up in families that are poor or near poor (below 199% of the federal poverty level).

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    Possible Concentrations of an Essential Element in the Diet

    Why won’t the Nutrition Elite Treat us like Animals?

    When it comes to writing stories about nutrition, facts seem secondary (or even further down the list). Maybe controversy sells. Maybe rich people not only eat more expensive foods but they buy more books and magazines.

    The food and supplement industry are not evil. Advances in agriculture and technology are feeding the world. Yesterday at the Arkansas Nutrition Conference sponsored by The Poultry Federation, I learned the efficiency of raising chickens (broilers), measured by feed conversion (adjusted to a 2300g bird), has improved by 15% 

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