A human hearts beat 100,000 times per day, 35 million times per year, and more than 2.5 billion times during the average lifetime. It pushes about 5.6 liters (6 quarts) of blood around the body three times every minute. An amazing amount of work. Most people understand that omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPFUFA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have heart health benefits. The mechanism of action is presumed to be related to LCPUFA effects on blood lipid concentrations. There may be more to the EPA and DHA story than changes in lipid fractions.
In the US, a supplement is taken orally and intended to “supplement the diet” with ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanical products, amino acids and substances such as metabolites. The Council for Responsible Nutrition reports that 68% of US adults report taking dietary supplements (50% report being regular users). The majority (>95%) use multivitamin-mineral supplements. An overwhelming majority (83%) express confidence in the safety, quality and effectiveness of dietary supplements.
Nutrition science developed from a desire to understand the components of a healthy diet. The goal of nutrition guidance (nutrition policy) is to guide human behavior, including food choices, to favor health and longevity. By helping people understand the 5 food groups in the context of a healthy plate, government agencies hope to influence nutritional value of our diet and ultimately, human health.
There are approximately 56 million Americans living with disabilities, and living with a disability is associated with a higher likelihood of having health issues such as obesity, hypertension, and many others. People with disabilities need to pay attention to their diet and lifestyle to help support their health just like anyone else, but relatively little is known about what these individuals are consuming.
You may already be aware that the FDA has proposed numerous revisions to the ever present “Nutrition Facts” panel present on the side of nearly all foods you buy. In the Personal Health section of Sunday’s New York Times, author Jane Brody wrote about these revisions – praising some changes yet also pointing out areas which she felt that the proposal left things to be desired. Relying on a quote from former FDA commissioner Dr. David Kessler, Ms. Brody was specifically critical of what she felt was a lack of promotion of “real foods” in the new Nutrition Facts panel, saying that “Instead, the new label, like the current one, would focus on specific nutrients and give ‘food companies an incentive to fortify their products so they can make claims such as added fiber’… ”. Given that the average daily intake of dietary fiber is roughly half of the recommendation in certain age/gender groups – why is fortification being painted as a bad thing?
The fatty acids found in the membranes of erythrocytes, also known as red blood cells (RBC), reflect the type of fats (animal, plant, seafood) being consumed and their fatty acid composition (saturated, monosaturated, polyunsaturated). The omega-3 index, the percentage of total fatty acids which are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), found in RBC membranes may be a biomarker of cardiovascular risk, especially cardiac death.
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?
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?