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TalkingNutrition

Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals

Archive for '2010'

    dietary-supplements

    Consumers Choose Supplements to Augment Diet and Health

    Dietary supplement use in the US continues to increase. The majority report taking only one dietary supplement usually on a daily basis. Scientists from the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported in the Journal of Nutrition (Dec 22) results on dietary supplement use by Americans from National Health and Nutrition Evaluation Survey (NHANES) 2003-2006. Fifty percent of Americans report using dietary supplements with 79% having taken them within the last 30 days.

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    Seeing a Better, Brighter Future…

    The December issue of SIGHT AND LIFE magazine has a great article by L Renzi and BR Hammond on the role of nutrition in maintaining visual health. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 314 million people are visually impaired worldwide and 12 million of these are children.

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    Cardiovascular Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

    With today’s acquisition of Martek, TalkingNutrition will increase its coverage of research pertaining to omega-3 fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Dr Wennberg and associates used a case-control study design within a northern Swedish cohort involving 431 cases of myocardial infarction, including 81 sudden cardiac deaths to study the effects of fish consumption, omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) and red blood cell concentrations of mercury. On average, these people consumed 1.26 fish meals per week. The authors found a protective effect of fish consumption on risk biomarkers. Although they did not find harmful effects of fish consumption, intakes of mercury, EPA and DHA were interrelated. People who ate more fish had higher intakes of DHA, EPA and mercury

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    Ladies: Are you too hot for the holidays?

    Hot flushes are the most common reason for women to seek treatment for postmenopausal symptoms. Isoflavones, found in soybean-based products, bind to estrogen receptors and can modulate hot flushes during menopause. A study published Dec 14 reports a 51% reduction in the number of hot flushes in women using a once-daily 30 mg genistein supplementation regimen.

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    Not Necessary Reading for Southern Californians!

    Everyone living outside of sunny warm geographies like California should be assured that vitamin D is important for cardiovascular health, maintaining strong bones, and a healthy immune system. Don’t be misled by confusing terminologies and misguided headlines. A study published today in the American Journal of Medicine reports that vitamin D levels are not associated with cardiovascular mortality. It is misleading to draw nutrient-disease associations in a subset of people who have the highest serum vitamin D levels in the world. This study should carry “Warning, results seen in southern Californians not typical”.

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    First Baby Born in 2011 is Counting on Mother’s Food Choices Today

    Two very interesting papers published today demonstrate the importance of maternal diet during pregnancy. They show that a newborn baby can lack essential nutrients on the first day of life when the diet of the mother didn’t contain adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E. Essential long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, eg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA),

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    FDA Works with Industry Partners to Benefit Consumers

    The FDA asked for industry support in today’s announcement of their new initiative to rid the market of drugs masquerading as dietary supplements. During the press conference, FDA Principal Deputy Commission Dr Joshua Sharfstein stated that about 300 products have generated warning letters or recalls since 2007. The FDA issued a letter today to manufacturers of dietary supplements focused on products with undisclosed ingredients to promote weight loss, sexual enhancement and body building. Call 1-800-964-3648 if you wish to the recording of the FDA Media Advisory.

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    Fortification: Meeting the Needs of Most but not All

    Mandatory fortification of foods is a one-size fits all approach assuming a normal statistical population distribution. Single substitutions within a gene may lead to bimodal populations. What will guide policy when individuals within one part of the population have different requirements or risks from others? In 1998, the Canadian government began mandatory folic acid fortification of cereal grains. A primary driver of this policy was to increase folate status of women of childbearing years and reduce the incidence of neural tube defects during the first trimester of pregnancy. A Dec 13 study by Dr M Tremblay and colleagues published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal examined red blood cell folate concentrations

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    Supplying Essential Nutrients to Children helps Secure Tomorrow

    Social inequalities contribute greatly to health inequalities. Vitamin A deficiency is a major public health problem worldwide. A Cochrane review of 43 randomized controlled trials (RCT) with almost a quarter of million children between 6 months - 5 years, concluded that vitamin A supplementation reduced the risk of death by 24%. Vitamin A supplementation reduced new occurrences of diarrhea and measles. Severe vitamin D deficiencies across India and Pakistan in all age groups, as well as insufficiency in populations of South-east and East Asia were reported

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    vitamined

    Near Misses: Do You Measure Them by a Hair, Inch, or Millimeter?

    It is important to read the body of articles and not just the heading. A new scientific study has generated headlines today that too much vitamin D may not be beneficial. In reality, the headlines confirm that vitamin D disparities may put some women at greater risk. A Dec 9 Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism study reported a U-shaped risk association between serum 25(OH)D level and risk of frailty in older women. The authors conclude that risk of frailty was lowest among older women with serum 25(OH)D levels between 20-30 ng/mL.

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    Reports on the Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

    Getting old is better than the alternative. New evidence shows that omega-3 fatty acids can benefit the aging process by helping maintain vascular health, mental health, and vision. Vascular aging increases blood pressure, the risk of cardiovascular disease and reduces quality of life. Dr M Pase and colleagues conducted a systematic review of omega-3 fatty acid randomized control trials (RCT) studying vascular function. In a Dec 7 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition paper, they report chronic omega-3 fatty acid supplementation (1.5-25 month) improved measures of vascular function in 8 out of 9 trials.

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    Nutrition Security in the News

    Undernutrition is one of the world’s most serious and least addressed socioeconomic and health problems according to the United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition policy brief “Climate Change & Nutrition Security.” Climate change is predicted to exacerbate the risk of hunger and malnutrition. On Dec 8, UNICEF reports that two of the biggest killers of Pakistani children - acute respiratory infections and malnutrition – will increase as winter approaches. While almost 200 nations are meeting in Mexico this week to consider the impact of climate change (food insecurity and climate change map),

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    What are Experts Saying About Vitamin D?

    The latest controversy in nutrition seems to be the Institute of Medicine’s new vitamin D report. It is confusing when The Wall Street Journal Nov 30 headline is to triple vitamin D intake and The New York Times headline negates the value of extra vitamin D and calcium. Actions speak louder than words. What are the experts doing and saying? According to FDA guidance on evidence-based reviews, significant scientific agreement (SSA) doesn’t require consensus. SSA represents the best judgment by qualified experts. However, the same standards aren’t necessarily applicable to drugs and essential nutrients.

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    Working under stress, remember those antioxidants!

    Long work hours, night shifts, and inadequate social networks contribute to increased stress among people working 24h on-call shifts. Make certain you are getting your antioxidant vitamins – C, E, and beta-carotene. A Dec 3 study in the American Journal of Medical Sciences measured oxidative stress in 70 healthcare shift workers. Dr H Buyukhatipoglu and associates reported that serum total oxidative status decreased significantly and the oxidative stress index increased significantly in this pool of nurses and medical residents after hours of continuous work.

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    Vitamin D Crisis in Ethnic Populations Being Overlooked

    Ethnic disparities aren’t being discussed with regards to new Institute of Medicine (IOM) vitamin D recommendations. They need to be considered because vitamin D is related to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and a Dec 4 publication reports CVD death rates are higher in African-Americans than in whites. While a Watchdog has filed a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to see reports from 14 vitamin D experts who were not on the IOM-appointed committee, it will take time to for this material to be released. In the meantime, let’s consider the IOM press release of Nov 30 which stated that “the majority of Americans and Canadians are getting enough vitamin D“. How is it possible to draw this conclusion when Table I-1 in the report shows non-Hispanic blacks and Mexican Americans have 5- and 2-fold fold higher rates of vitamin D inadequacy (defined as 40 nmol/L) than non-Hispanic whites.

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    Are Dietary Guidelines Right for You and Your Loved Ones?

    Identification of nutrient-gene interactions will transform the development of future dietary recommendations. New research shows that single nucleotide polymorphisms can change an individual’s nutrient requirement. This study challenges the concept of a normal population distribution with an Estimated Average Requirement (EAR). One-carbon metabolism generates precursor molecules needed for neurotransmitters, hormones and cell membranes. Flux through the pathway depends upon a reaction catalyzed by the MTHFR enzyme. Folate is an essential methyl donor in this pathway. Individuals with a nucleotide substitution in MTHFR, known as the MTHFR 677TT genotype, have lower serum folate levels and plasma homocysteine concentrations than those with the 677CC genotype. In a Dec 1 scientific paper, Dr M Caudill and colleagues report

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    carotenoid

    Titles can be Ridiculous: Who Consumes Alpha-Carotene in Isolation?

    Researchers found that serum alpha-carotene concentrations were inversely correlated with risk of death (all causes, cardiovascular, cancer, and other) in over 15,000 US adults >20y. In the preamble, the authors justify their exclusive focus on alpha-carotene because of previous beta-carotene randomized control trials (RCT). Where did they ever find fruits and vegetables which didn’t contain other carotenoids? Drs S Liu and colleagues published their results online in Archives of Internal Medicine on Nov 22, 2010. They concluded that people with 9 ug/dL of alpha-carotene or more and those with 0-1 ug/dL had 39% and 23% lesser chances of early death, respectively. The authors do not report any efforts to determine the effect of beta-carotene or any other carotenoid on mortality.

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    Resveratrol Supplementation Good for the Heart

    Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease.Not surprisingly, diet falls within the top 5 search terms on the American Heart Association website (advanced cardiovascular life support, cholesterol, cpr, diet, and heart attack).If all forms of major cardiovascular disease were eliminated, life expectancy would rise by almost 7 years. Drs PRC Howe and colleagues tested the cardioprotective potential of trans-resveratrol, a polyphenol-rich ingredient found in red wine, grape seeds, tea, and cocoa. They used a technique, flow-mediated dilation (FMD)

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    vitamined

    If the Days are Short, Cold & Dreary, Remember your Vitamin D

    Vitamin D supplementation is more important during winter months when sun exposure is limited and serum 25(OH)D insufficiency may be exacerbated by genetics under these circumstances. According to a report published online in Osteoporosis International (Nov 18, 2010), four times more women are vitamin D deficient in the north of Great Britain than the south.

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    Folic Acid Fortification Examined and Found to be Safe

    Last Thursday, I provided perspective on a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition citing the contribution of mandatory fortification of cereal grains and voluntary fortification in ready-to-eat breakfast cereals to folic acid intakes of American children.This week a very interesting historical summary on the history of folic acid fortification has been published

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    Folic Acid Fortification is a Boon for Kids and Adolescents

    Drs L Yeung and collaborators analyzed usual daily folic intakes of 4 age-groups of children from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Since 1996, the FDA mandated that all cereal grains be fortified with 140ug folic acid/100g flour to prevent the occurrence of neural tube defects in babies as they develop during the first trimester of pregnancy. The study found that 32% of children consumed folic acid only from enriched cereal grain products. In other words, almost 1/3 of children probably wouldn’t have consumed much folic acid if the FDA hadn’t mandated folic fortification. Forty-two percent of children obtained their folic acid from fortified cereal products AND breakfast ready-to-eat cereals.

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    Sorting the Facts from the Hype

    The never-ending publication of new scientific research can be overwhelming. However, it isn’t always new news! As Judy Blatman wrote in the blog for Council for Responsible Nutrition members, old studies are still very relevant. Within the past few weeks, consumers were exposed to many conflicting headlines about omega-3 fatty acids:

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    NYAS and USAID Trying to Make the World a Better Place

    Last night, the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) held their “Science and the City” 7th Annual Gala. The NYAS is focused on ‘Developing a Scientific Agenda for Nutrition’. It was a superb evening featuring the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists. And an incredulous opportunity to have dinner with amazing people such as Nobel laureate, Dr James Watson. The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science was announced.

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    Could lack of enough exposure to sunlight kill you?

    Researchers from Johns Hopkins University reported at the American Heart Association meeting in Chicago that 32.3% of blacks and 6.65 of whites had low vitamin D levels (< 15ng/mL or 37.5 nmol/L). They had examined health records of 7,981 white and black adults from NHANES from 1988 to 1994. Adjusting for age and other risk factors, vitamin D status [serum 25(OH)D] partially explained risk of stroke death in whites but not blacks. Even though blacks were 65% more likely to suffer a stroke, more whites died of stroke than blacks (116 vs 60). Why is this?

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    Did I remember to get my B vitamins today?

    A new prospective cohort study in 202 children under 2y admitted to intensive care in Sao Paulo Brazil reports that 28% had low blood thiamin concentrations. This study was conducted because thiamin deficiency is associated with poorer clinical outcomes in hospital. Low thiamin levels are also associated with elevated C-reactive protein concentrations (>20 ng/dl), a pro-inflammatory cytokine. The prevalence rate in young children was similar to the 33% incidence of thiamin deficiency observed in adult patients hospitalized for congestive heart failure.

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    More Evidence that Antioxidants are Important

    In a cross-sectional study of middle-aged 1,200 Puerto Ricans (45-75y) living in the Boston area, Dr K Tucker and S Bhuparthiraju found that the variety of fruit and vegetable intakes, not the quantity consumed, was inversely associated with reduced measures of inflammation, ie lower C-reactive protein (CRP) levels. These inverse associations can be attributed to nutrients such as beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene and vitamin C. Unfortunately, median fruit and vegetable consumption was only 3.2 servings per day in this study. The NHANES survey also reported people were eating only 3.3 servings daily,

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    A Double Standard Exists for Nutrition vs Drug Studies (and Headlines)

    The Cholesterol Treatment Trialists’ (CTT) Collaborators published a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCT) examining the effect of more vs less intensive statin regimens with interventions of >2y on the average reduction of LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C). The authors concluded that more intensive statin therapy was superior in lowering LDL-C. They found that statin therapy reduced all-cause mortality by 10% per 1.0 mmol/L LDL reduction. They also noted similar reductions in major vascular events with no significant effect on deaths due to stroke. However, it can be seen from Figure 2 that statin therapy increases haemorrhagic stroke events (% per annum) from 57 to 63 (unweighted RR = 1.21 and weighted RR = 1.39). Compare this study and its lack of media attention to the headlines arising from the British Journal of Medicine study on vitamin E and stroke released on Nov 5.

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    Are Vitamins C & E Good for Eye Health or Not?

    A new study reports that vitamin E and C supplementation in 11,545 healthy male doctors (50y +) from Physicians Health Study (PHS II) had little effect on the risk of cataracts. Hopefully, this single study does not lead health care professionals and consumers to conclude that vitamin supplementation isn’t beneficial for eye health. 1. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) clearly demonstrated in a large-scale study that vitamin supplementation reduces the risk of progression to end-state age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

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    Doing Something Meaningful by Tackling Nutrient Disparities

    There is a tendency among people from G8 countries to think that malnutrition only happens elsewhere. This is not true. Hidden hunger and essential micronutrient inadequacies exist everywhere. Just like unemployment may be 9% nationally, there are subpopulations where over 30% can be unemployed. These disparities need to be identified and addressed. Let’s think about nutrient gaps.

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    Vitamin E Supplementation: Nutrient Inadequacy Risk Trumps Stroke Risk

    An analysis of 9 individual trials with 118,765 individuals where half were given placebos and the remainder were given vitamin E supplements. The authors report that vitamin E supplementation had no effect on total stroke risk and significantly reduced the chances of a stroke to part of the brain (ischaemic) by 10%. The authors also noted that there was only a small increased chance of a hemorrhagic stroke (p < 0.045) to 8 per 10,000 people (1 to 1250 as quoted in the study). Many headlines will emphasize the finding that vitamin E increases risk of hemorrhagic stroke. Let’s give some perspective to risk vs benefits of vitamin E supplementation:

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    vitamined

    DHA: Supporting Cognitive Health vs Treating Alzheimer’s

    A randomized controlled trial (RCT) compared supplementing 2g docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) daily vs placebo in 402 individuals with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease for 18 months. The authors measured cognitive processes using Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) and rate of brain atrophy. They concluded that DHA supplementation did not slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in this population and discussed whether the dose may have been too small or the results may have been affected by high omega-6 fatty acid intakes.

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    Identifying Nutrient-Disease Relationships: How Bad Can it Get?

    It was exciting to see the headline “Poor diet may worsen lung function in COPD patients” until I read the press release from the 76th American College of Chest Physicians (AACP) 76th annual meeting and learned that the authors analyzed self-reported food frequency records to estimate dietary intakes of vitamins A, C, D, E and from 13 women and 7 men. One of their conclusions was that 25% of the respondents were deficient

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    Waiting for Godot....and for new Vitamin D Recommendations

    Within weeks, the Institute of Medicine Committee is expected to release the 2010 Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin D and Calcium. At that time, it will become clearer if the committee will build upon clinical practice recommendations targeting vitamin D levels of at least 30-40ng/mL for individuals at risk of osteoporosis, chronic kidney disease and other endocrine-related disorders. What might be some of the recent studies which will guide the IOM on their recommendations for vitamin D?

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    Experts Declare Beta-Carotene an Important Source of Vitamin A

    Experts in the field of carotenoids met to summarize the current knowledge with respect to beta-carotene. The results of this beta-carotene consensus conference were just published in the Journal of Nutrition. The experts established:

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    Remembering Your Thiamin May Help You Later

    Dr L Bettendorff and colleagues published an interesting insight into human requirements for thiamin, vitamin B1. Although the essentiality of thiamin has been known for centuries, its structure was identified in 1911 (almost one century ago), and the reference daily intake (RDI) is established, the amounts found in individual organs/tissues and their relative need for a specific organ/tissue to function optimally has not been established. This is actually the case for many vitamins and essential nutrients.

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    Irritable Bowel Disease Associated with Vitamin D Inadequacy

    In a prospective study conducted on 161 individuals (10-70y) with irritable bowel diseases (IBD), gastroenterologists found that patients with vitamin D deficiency (< 30ng/mL) were 9 times more likely to have abnormal bone density than those with normal levels of vitamin D. They also reported that 22% of patients had abnormal bone density, and 50% of these were under 40y. This finding isn’t a total surprise as genetic variations in vitamin D receptor (VDR) binding sites have been associated with autoimmune diseases.

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    Benefits of Vitamin E Supplementation Confirmed

    Dr Robert Parker and associates studied common variants in cytochrome 450 which catalyzes the hydroxylation reactions in vitamin E metabolism. It has been suggested that individual mutations in the CYP4F2 gene may contribute to 2 common variants in CYP4F2 structure and associated variation in vitamin E status in humans. They found indviduals carrying the W12G allele seemed to have lower plasma and tissue concentrations of vitamin E metabolites and showed less response to vitamin E supplementation.

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    Does Vitamin B12 Support Memory?

    Neurology publishes a study where researchers followed 271 dementia-free subjects (65-79y) for 7y to detect incident Alzheimer’s disease. They measured serum total homocysteine and holotranscobalamin levels and concluded that inadequate vitamin B12 status may be involved in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

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    Supplementing DHA During Pregnancy

    A study published in JAMA examined the effect of docosahexanoic acid (DHA) supplementation in a randomized control study (RCT) involving 2399 women with at approximately 22wk gestation at 5 Australian hospitals. The pregnant women received fish oil capsules (800 mg DHA and 100mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) daily) or matched 500mg vegetable oil capsules (equal proportions of rapeseed, sunflower and palm oil) without DHA from study entry to birth. Women completed a self-administered Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Score (EPDS) at 6wk and 6mo postpartum.

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    Vitamin B12: Seeing is Believing

    Dr G Liu and associates report in Pediatrics on three boys with autism who exhibited optic nerve damage and vision loss related to vitamin B12 deficiency. Treatment with B12 injections helped normalize B12 levels and improve vision. The deficiency came about because of food selectivity and a severely limited diet. The number of autism cases among individuals up to age 22 is increasing annually in the US and outlying areas.

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    Should Labeling of Food Dyes be Required?

    Food dyes are in the news again. Three food colorings – quinoline yellow, sunset yellow, and ponceau 4R – are under review. The United Kingdom Food Standards Agency is asking food businesses for comments on new EU proposals to reduce levels of three food colors in food and drinks. Thus, 3 of 6 food colors used in the Southampton University study associating food colors with hyperactivity in children are under review.

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    Should Recommendations Focus on Eating Less or More?

    The Institute of Medicine Committee charged with examining Front-of-Package Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols released their report. After reviewing 20 different labeling systems, the IOM Committee recommended a nutrient-specific system highlighting four nutrients - calories, trans fat, saturated fat and sodium – in addition to serving size. These four nutrients were chosen because they are routinely over consumed.

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    Genetics Influence Vitamin D Requirements

    Vitamin D status of 310 monozygotic and 200 dizogotic male twins was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Dr P Raggi and colleagues measured the effect of genetics and season on serum 25(OH)D3 levels. During the winter months, 70% of the variation in vitamin D levels was attributable to genetic factors.

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    Antioxidant Vitamins and Vision

    A new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association highlights the increasing prevalence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD leads to vision loss and is associated with genetic and environmental risk factors. With the discovery of new genes associated with AMD risk, it is hoped that abnormalities in the innate immune system and cholesterol metabolism may be targeted to help maintain eyesight.

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    Could MTHFR Polymorpism help explain CVD and Folic Acid?

    Elevated plasma homocysteine levels have been associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Increasing folic acid intakes has been shown to decrease homocysteine levels and to reduce the risk of neural tube defects during pregnancy. A meta-analysis of 8 randomized control trials (RCT) of folic acid supplementation involving 37,485 individuals at increased risk of heart disease found a 25% reduction in plasma homocysteine levels.

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    Vitamins C and E Supplements are Validated

    The haptoglobin protein binds free hemoglobin released from red blood cells to prevent oxidative reactions which can damage cells and even cause mutations to DNA. The haptoglobin gene has 3 common polymorphisms, called HP 1-1, 2-1, and 2-2. In humans, these variants have been shown to bind erythrocytes with different affinity, HP 2-2 being the weakest. A new report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition studied 1046 nonsmoking men and women

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    Keeping Vitamin D Supplementation in Perspective

    Researchers reviewed the scientific literature for randomized control trials (RCT) of vitamin D supplementation for 3 or more months in healthy youth (1m to 20y) with bone density outcomes. They identified 6 RCTs meeting these conditions. From these 6 short-term RCTs with 541 subjects being supplemented with vitamin D, they concluded "the results do not support vitamin D supplementation to improve bone density in healthy children with normal vitamin D levels". They acknowledged that children with low serum 25(OH)D3 levels might benefit from supplements. Try this perspective. The public shouldn’t be distracted from the REAL issue of widespread vitamin D deficiency among people worldwide by headlines that young people with adequate vitamin D

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    Dietary Supplementation, Especially with Omega-3 Fatty Acids

    Dr Andrew Shao, Council for Responsible Nutrition, reminds us that vitamins C, D, E, folate, calcium, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids are shortfall nutrients for most Americans. For this reason, the more than 50% of Americans who use dietary supplements are trying to follow the 3 pillars of health - eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and use supplements to improve their nutrition where needed. In a survey of multivitamin supplement users vs adults who do not use multivitamin supplements, Dr Suzanne Murphy and colleagues found that dietary supplement users were more likely to make more nutritious food choices (vs non-users) and that multivitamin supplements did indeed help

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    Vitamin E, Neuropathy and Burn Injury

    Vitamin E acts as a chain-breaking antioxidant that prevents the propagation of lipid peroxidation. Although overt deficiency is rare, approximately 90% of Americans are not consuming recommended daily intakes. This is important because vitamin E deficiency causes peripheral neuropathy in humans. Burn injury increases the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and upregulates inflammatory responses which then cause damage beyond the initial injury. Dr Maret Traber and associates studied the impact of burn injury on plasma levels and body stores of vitamin E in 8 pediatric patients over the first 30d after burn injury and up to 1y in some individuals. The Recommended Dietary Allowance for these adolescents was 7mg alpha-tocopherol/d. The authors found adipose vitamin E concentrations decreased almost 50%

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    Would Vitamin D Supplementation Help in Zimbabwe?

    The 2010 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplement use in the US reports that 27% of American adults are taking vitamin D supplements, up from 19% in 2009 and 16% in 2008. This is great news given that 59% of males and 68% of females 31-50y are not consuming recommended amounts of vitamin D daily (200 IU/d). And self-reported usual food intakes from vitamin D are only the tip of the iceberg. The REAL concern is the inadequate vitamin D3 status of people worldwide, typically adults most have serum 25(OH)D levels below 80 nmol/L. Tuberculosis (TB) is a case in point. The number of people with TB is increasing worldwide. More than 2 billion people are infected with TB, and HIV epidemics are contributing to its transmission. Dr Elizabeth Corbett and colleagues

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    Is Vitamin D Testing Prevention or Treatment

    How do governments weight investments in disease prevention versus disease treatments? This was a question discussed at the CRN's The Conference by Michael Samuelson, Health & Wellness Institute, and Robert Gould, Partnership for Prevention. It is timely with an ongoing discussion in Canada where the governments of Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and now Ontario may limit vitamin D testing to just people already diagnosed with disease conditions. The Winnipeg Free Press quotes Health Minister Deb Matthews as saying it's important to "ensure that precious health-care dollars are invested in care that is evidence-based."

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    The Burden of Micronutrient Inadequacy

    Two French researchers studied micronutrient adequacy of diets and food consumption behaviors (3 non-consecutive quantitative 24h recalls) of women of child-bearing age in 2 districts of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. Because of the importance of nutritional status for healthy pregnancies and babies, the authors explored the existence of nutrition disparities in a city where more than 33% of the women are overweight.

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    Folic Acid Contraceptives and Healthy Babies

    Folic acid is required to make healthy cells and is essentially important for pregnant women to prevent major birth defects of the brain and spinal cord of their babies as they are developing in the womb during the first trimester of pregnancy. A primary purpose of folic acid fortification of cereals, breads, and pastas and other foods labeled 'enriched' with 140 micrograms of folic acid per 100g of grain implemented by Congress in 1998 was to reduce the incidence of neural tube defects. Since fortification of grain products, the March of Dimes reports the rate of neural tube defects has decreased by one-third in the US. Since some women are not planning to get pregnant and many are uncertain when they conceive, they are often not consuming adequate amounts of folic acid during the first weeks/months of pregnancy. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that women

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    Vitamin D Requirements for Children & Adolescents

    As we await the Institute of Medicine Committee report on Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin D and Calcium in November 2010, a paper published this month in the Journal of Nutriton demonstrates the difficulty in establishing dietary recommendations based on singular biological paradigms (eg bone health) when assessing optimal nutrient status across all subpopulations. In adults, vitamin D adequacy has been classically determined by finding serum 25(OH)D levels which maximally suppress serum parathyroid hormone (PTH). This is important because higher serum PTH levels are

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    Choline, Nutrigenomics and Public Health Policy

    Nutrient-gene interactions are changing the face of nutrition, and ultimately public health policy. Case in point, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that postmenopausal women have higher choline requirements because of their lower estrogen concentrations than do premenopausal women. This conclusion typifies common dietary recommendations based on age and gender. The novel insight is the fact that choline requirements are greater in women with more rs12325817 alleles. This changes everything. As scientists discover nutrient-gene interactions for choline, associate haptoglobin polymorphisms with vitamin E intake and cardiovascular risk, ability to absorb and convert beta-carotene to vitamin A with enzyme variants, and folic acid requirements with genes, it becomes more and more likely that

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    Vitamin C Status Affects Mood

    A new study in Canada found that a significant proportion of emergency patients had acutely low vitamin C and vitamin D levels in their blood upon arrival to the hospital. In a study published in Nutrition, the authors report that approximately 20% of patients had vitamin C levels low enough to be associated with scurvy. Upon admission, patients were randomized to receive different vitamin supplementation regimens. Those patients receiving vitamin C supplementation had significant improvements in mood within 7-10 days.

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    Multivitamin Supplements Support Healthy Heart

    A new American Journal of Clinical Nutrition report analyzes the relationship between multivitamin supplement use and heart attack risk (myocardial infarction, MI) in 31,671 women without a history of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and 2,261 women with a history of CVD in Sweden over an average of 10.2y. Women in the CVD-free group who used multivitamins had a 27% reduced risk vs those who did not. In those with a history of heart disease, multivitamins did not affect risk of a subsequent event. Not surprising since vitamins are nutrients not drugs. Interestingly, those who had used multivitamins for 5y or more had a 40% lower risk of a heart attack. Interestingly, those who used multivitamins for 5y or more

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    Vitamin D and Weight Management

    Participants in the 2y Dietary Intervention Randomized Controlled Trial (DIRECT) were studied to detemine the association of baseline serum vitamin D3 levels [25(OH)D3] levels and dairy calcium intake with weight loss. The results werepublished in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrittion. Baseline serum 25(OH)D3 levels were significantly lower with increasing obesity, measured by

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