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TalkingNutrition

Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals

Archive for 'February 2011'

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    Practical Nutrition Guidance for Parents

    One of the most daunting moments in life is that moment when you first hold your child in your arms and realize s/he is totally dependent upon you. It can be overwhelming. Like many projects, it is helpful to focus on the first step rather than the entirety. Vitamin D supplementation should be one of the simpler decisions for parents. Initially, babies don’t get out on their own much, and especially without clothes. And without direct sun exposure on the skin surface, vitamin D synthesis is minimal.

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    New Research on Benefits of Vitamin E

    A scientific review published Feb 23 in Nutrition Reviews examines the role of vitamin E and its involvement in signaling pathways affecting insulin action. The authors conclude that vitamin E supplementation may be beneficial for individuals with type 2 diabetes. Almost two decades ago, G Paolisso and associates published that vitamin E supplementation improved glucose metabolism in elderly people. J Salonen and associates studied 944 Finnish men aged 42-50 years old without diabetes for 4 years and reported in 1995 that low vitamin E status was associated with increased risk of diabetes mellitus.

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    Vitamin D Status linked to Immune System

    Dr S Smith and associates report today in the Journal of Nutrition that vitamin D supplementation (2,000 daily or 10,000 IU per week for 6 months) increased serum 25(OH)D levels in Antarctic workers and helped support the immune system. Because vitamin D is fat soluble, individuals with higher body mass index (BMI) did not maintain as high levels of serum 25(OH)D as those with less body fat. Vitamin D insufficiency (< 50nmol/L) was observed in 13 of 41 participants (32%) at baseline. Although doses were structured to achieve serum 25(OH)D levels >80 nmol/L, only 8 of 15 participants in 2,000 IU daily (53%) and 1 of 14 in 10,000 IU weekly (7%), or 31% in total achieved this target level after 6 months of supplementation. Individuals with higher serum 25(OH)D levels were less likely to shed viruses in saliva. This indicator of improved immune function could also decrease exposure to individuals living and working in close proximity.

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    What is the Cost of a Healthy Heart?

    “Eat for a Healthy Heart” was the most viewed consumer update from the US FDA during the first 2 weeks of February. Probably not surprising for American Heart Month when someone will have a coronary event about every 25 seconds and another will die every minute in the US. The sad part is that a diet high in fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of a coronary event. Yet, 2/3 of

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    Maternal n-3 PUFA Status Affects Childhood Health

    Emerging science suggests that the type of polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) consumed by mothers may affect the deposition of fat in their children. Dr E Oken and associates studied midpregnancy fat intakes, maternal polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) concentrations, and umbilical cord plasma PUFA concentrations and correlated these with measures of adiposity in the child at 3y of age. They found that higher plasma levels of n-3 fatty acids (including docosahexaenoic (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)) may influence weight gain in children. This is especially relevant since most men and women living in Europe and North America have low n-3 fatty acids intakes.

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    Folic acid and Breast Cancer: Are you a Rat?

    Undernutrition affects mothers and the development of their children in the womb during pregnancy. So it is unfortunate when studies in rats are extrapolated to provide guidance to women who are pregnant or may become pregnant. Especially, if the interpretation may cause women to be fearful of dietary supplements or fortified foods. Headlines that “Excessive Folic Acid Consumption Linked to Breast Cancer: Study” and “Too much folic acid a cancer risk” are misleading.

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    TalkingNutrition Temporarily Offline

    TalkingNutrition.dsm.com will be offline until Wednesday, February 23 because of server changes. Sorry for the disruption. Michael

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    New Dietary Supplements Newsletter from ODS

    The Office of Dietary Supplements issued an invitation today to attract subscribers to their new newsletter. On the same website, they have updated the Fact Sheets for Health Professionals on Vitamin D and Calcium. Key facts noted for vitamin D are:

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    Omega-3 Fatty Acids and B Vitamins to Better Health (and Thinking)

    A January 26 study published in the Journal of Nutrition finds that genes known to affect cardiovascular risk which require B vitamins may also be influenced by polyunsaturated fatty acid intakes, especially omega-3 fatty acids. Elevated plasma homocysteine (Hcy) levels are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Polymorphisms in methylenetetrathydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) genes affect plasma Hcy levels. Inadequate intakes of folic acid

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    Information Sources for Nutrition

    The Cochrane Collaboration has 12 centers around the world which help coordinate and train members. The United States Cochrane Center, located at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, launched a new website today. The Collaboration was established in 1993, named after Archie Cochrane (1909-1988), a British epidemiologist who believed in randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) to establish healthcare practices. While RCTs make sense to evaluate medical treatments vs placebo, the application of RCTs to nutrition remains controversial because everyone has some level of nutrient intake.

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    What are the links between Obesity, Sodium & Cardiovascular Disease?

    Half of American adults have hypertension or high cholesterol. Three risk factors are associated with cardiovascular disease: blood pressure, total cholesterol, and smoking. A series of papers published in Lancet on Feb 4 evaluating national, regional and global trends from 1980 to 2008 in body mass index, systolic blood pressure, and total cholesterol are relevant. Regardless of income, BMI increased and mean total cholesterol decreased globally. Systolic blood pressure fell dramatically for people with high incomes and increased for those with lower incomes. Why are obesity rates increasing while systolic blood pressure and total cholesterol levels are decreasing?

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    Is the Gut really the Center of the Body?

    It’s late on Friday and still the blog isn’t posted. Looking for content and a previous part of my life beckons me. Two new studies link alterations in intestinal function to diabetes. These artifacts could also affect vitamin uptake and status. Individuals with diabetes can have unusual release of insulinotropic hormones, eg GIP and GLP-1, after meals. Dr Katrine Hansen and colleagues reported today that experimentally-induced glucose excursions

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    Individuals with Diabetes Benefit from Vitamin D Supplementation

    Low serum vitamin D concentrations have been associated with impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes. While some scientists agreed yesterday with the Institute of Medicine that the “data just aren’t there” to link vitamin D status with conditions other than bone health, new evidence may help render this assumption obsolete. A Feb 1 study published by Dr T Neyestani and colleagues in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that consumption of yogurt drinks fortified with vitamin D daily significantly improved glucose metabolism.

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    New Analyses Finds Benefits of Vitamin E

    Benefits of vitamin E supplementation may have been hidden in large randomized, controlled trials (RCT). New evidence suggests that researchers may need to expand their statistical analysis beyond length of supplementation to consider the age of the person being studied and their genes to understand the benefits of increased vitamin E intake. Dr Anne Agler and colleagues published January 21 a post hoc analysis of the Women’s Health Study (38,597 women without chronic lung disease at baseline) randomized in a double-blind, placebo-controlled factorial trial of vitamin E

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    Folic Acid Fortification Vindicated

    Mandatory folic acid fortification of grains given clean bill of health by Dr E Giovanucci and others in the January 26 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Despite impressive reduction in birth defects observed in countries with mandatory folic acid fortification of cereal grains, it has been hypothesized that increased consumption of folic acid may increase risk of colorectal cancer in some people. In the most detailed epidemiologic analyses of the temporal relation of folate intake and colorectal cancer to date,

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