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TalkingNutrition

Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals

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    B-Vitamins, PUFA and Reducing Homocysteine Levels

    Elevated homocysteine can be bad news: it is associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, adverse neurological outcomes, and poor bone health. Can supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids, both with and without B-vitamins, affect concentrations of homocysteine?

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    Iodine and Thyroid Health: Putting 2 and 2 Together

    According to the American Thyroid Association, >12% of the US population will develop a thyroid condition during their life. Women are 5 times more likely than men to have thyroid problems. Although the causes of thyroid problems are largely unknown, iodine, a trace element found in soil, is an essential component of thyroid hormones – thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Iodine deficiency disorders include hypothyroidism, goiter, cretinism, mental retardation, and developmental abnormalities.

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    Folic Acid Intake, Blood Levels during Pregnancy and Newborn Health

    Researchers from Johns Hopkins University highlight the importance of maintaining normal blood levels of B vitamins in pregnant women. 25 years ago, a Lancet publication established that folic acid supplementation would prevent neural tube defects (NTDs). This was the conclusion from a randomized control trial (RCT) conducted at 33 centers in 7 countries.

    According to the ABCnews, a new epidemiological study finds high levels of folic acid in the blood of pregnant women may not be good for babies. 

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    Advice vs Real Life: How Do Sun-Safe Practices Affect Vitamin D Levels?

    Vitamin D is one of those confusing nutrients. It is hard to consume adequate vitamin D from the diet, and sun exposure can make up for this shortfall. Yet, sun exposure increases risk of skin cancer. Advice to reduce exposure to the sun could therefore concurrently decrease risk of skin cancer while increasing the likelihood of vitamin D deficiency. To make matters more confusing, studies show that behaviors such as wearing sunscreen do not necessarily result in lower sun exposure. What a muddle - is there a way out of this confusing mess?

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    Cancer, PHS II, EPIC and Measuring Vitamin Status

    The Physicians’ Health Study II (PHS II) tested the effects of low-dose multivitamin-mineral supplementation in 18,350 men who had volunteered for a randomized controlled trial (RCT) involving aspirin and/or beta-carotene beginning in 1982.  Multivitamin-mineral use was associated with a 39% reduction in fatal heart attacks (myocardial infarction, MI).

    Rautianinen and colleagues wanted to know if healthy physicians who were using multivitamins at baseline had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Men who said they were using multivitamins at baseline (1982) were more likely to smoke, to be physically active, and less likely to consume alcohol.  Men who reported ≥20 y of multivitamin use at baseline had a lower risk of CVD events. 

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