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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals

    Reading labels in grocery

    Read Nutrient Facts Panels, Compare Daily Values (DV), Make Informed Choices

    The Fundamentals of Organic Certification” by Ilana Orlofsky describes the growth of organic food and beverage sales and provides a nice summary of regulatory requirements to be certified ‘organic’. As ‘organic’ certification moves outside of agricultural commodities (fruit, vegetables, eggs, meat, dairy) to finished food products, the number of food and  beverage manufacturers entering the category increases.

    Although ‘nutrient vitamins and minerals’ are approved ingredients within the National Organic Program (NOP), many manufacturers of finished organic foods and beverages do not enrich of fortify their products with vitamins and minerals. Why? 

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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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    Vitamin D and Blood Glucose Management

    As summer approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, we look forward to spending more time outdoors. This is good because our skin can synthesize vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. With most people spending most of their days indoors, serum 25(OH)D concentrations are known to decrease through the fall and winter months. The most recent data (NHANES 2007-2014) finds 24% of Americans have insufficient vitamin D levels (<50 nmol/L).

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    March of Dimes Coalition Petitions FDA for Folic Acid Fortification of Corn Flour

    Mandating folic acid enrichment of select cereal grain products reduces the prevalence of neural tube defects (NTD). The number of babies born with NTDs in the US decreased from 4,000 infants in 1995-1996 (before mandatory fortification) to 3,000 infants four years later. 31% and 16% decreases were observed in the prevalence of spina bifida and anencephaly, respectively. As said by Dr Krista Crider, a geneticist with the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities said, “Many put [folic acid fortification] on the list of the most effective public health interventions.” 

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    Pregnancy, Zika Virus, Mosquitoes and B Vitamins

    With growing concerns about the impact of mosquito dissemination of Zika virus among pregnant women, one can forget that a lack of B vitamins can also stunt a baby’s brain development. Folate and B12 deficiency are linked to disruptions in myelination and  normal development of an infant’s central nervous system during pregnancy. Because of the high incidence of neural tube defects, folic acid fortification of enriched cereal grains and cereal grain products was mandated by law in the US in 1996. However, the law was limited to certain standards of identity (bread, rolls, and buns; wheat flours; corn meals; farina; rice; and macaroni and noodle products).

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