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TalkingNutrition

Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals

Archive for 'March 2016'

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    Walk the Talk with Your Fork: Do Dietitians Eat Better?

    As a nutrition scientist, part of my training covered dietary recommendations. I know what I should be eating, both in terms of food groups and the nutrients that I can expect to obtain from those foods. As a result, my diet and lifestyle is generally healthy. Even so, I know that there are a few "areas of improvement" in my diet. A recent study compared diets of dietitians with non-dietitians. How did they fare? 

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    Celebrations Galore: Nutrition, Diversity, Empowerment

    Experimental Biology, EB16, is just around the corner. This multidisciplinary, scientific meeting attracts over 14,000 scientists and exhibitors with interest in anatomy, biochemistry and molecular biology, investigative pathology, nutrition, pharmacology and physiology.

    As a Sustaining Partner of the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) Roundtable, DSM is  committed to advancing our knowledge and application of nutrition. Beginning in 2011 and 2012, DSM partnered with the ASN Minority and Diversity Affairs Committee to help nurture and support the development of underrepresented minority scientists to participate in this scientific meeting.

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    Multivitamin Supplements Support Full-Term Pregnancies

    According to the CDC, 11% of women have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a baby to full term. A new study finds that women using a multivitamin-mineral supplement before and during the first term of pregnancy are less likely to miscarry.

    Couples living in Michigan and Texas were recruited to a lifestyle style assessing daily use of multivitamins, cigarettes, caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. 

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    A Lifelong Approach to Cardiovascular Health With Nutrition

    Have you ever calculated your 30-year risk of cardiovascular disease? What about your chance of having a heart attack in the next 10 years? Both tools use general demographic information combined with established risk factors such as smoking status, cholesterol levels and blood pressure to calculate the chance that an individual will develop heart disease or suffer a heart attack within a certain period of time. These tools are also used in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, as described recently by Leening, Berry and Allen in the Journal of the American Medical Association as part of their article on taking a lifespan approach to reducing cardiovascular risk. What role can nutrition play?

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    Are you Maintaining a Healthy Omega-3 Status?

    Have you ever taken a bath where the tub slowly drained? When it does, you have to keep dribbling in water. Otherwise, you are in a puddle not a bath. Of course, too much water too fast isn’t good because the tub soon overflows. Nutrition is similar to taking a bath. We constantly need to add water (nutrients). We don’t want to bathe in a puddle (or be deficient). We don’t want to overfill (excess). The goal is to keep optimal levels of nutrients in our bodies.

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    Do We Need a Dietary Reference Intake for Bioactives?

    The Dietary Reference Intakes were developed in the 1990s to assist nutrition professionals in determining dietary adequacy. The five types of reference intakes (Estimated Average Requirement, Recommended Dietary Allowance, Tolerable Upper Limit, Average Intake, and Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges) are used to work out whether populations or individuals are consuming essential nutrients within a range least likely to be associated with deficiency or toxicity. These reference intakes are also used for nutrition labelling on food product packages. Is it time for a recommended intake for bioactives?

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    The Potential Health Benefits of Antioxidants from Olive Oil

    One of the key components of the heart-healthy Mediterranean Diet is olive oil. Like other vegetable oils, olive oil contains a high proportion of healthy fats. However, the antioxidant content of particularly the extra virgin olive oils is suspected to convey an additional health benefit. What did a recent intervention study with the olive polyphenol hydroxytyrosol show that could promote heart health?

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    The Other Vitamin B12 Controversy: Must We Eat Meat?

    Our second most popular post on TalkingNutrition is one from September 12, 2013 based on some highlights from talks at a conference on controversies in measuring vitamin B12 status. The reason for its popularity is that it comes up at the top of searches for "vitamin B12 controversy". We get about 10 visitors a day to this post. However, it is written for nutrition science experts, and I wonder if it contains the information that the average person is looking for on vitamin B12 controversies. There are several other controversies regarding vitamin B12, and they mostly relate to whether our requirement for vitamin B12 means that we have to eat meat. What is TalkingNutrition's take?

    Our second most popular post on TalkingNutrition is one from September 12, 2013 based on some highlights from talks at a conference on controversies in measuring vitamin B12 status. The reason for its popularity is that it comes up at the top of searches for vitamin B12 controversies. We get about 10 visitors a day to this post. However, the post is written for nutrition science experts, and I wonder if it contains the information that the average person is looking for on vitamin B12 controversies. There are namely several other controversies regarding vitamin B12, and they mostly relate to whether our requirement for vitamin B12 means that we have to eat meat.

    Vitamin B12 is needed for various important processes in the body, including red blood cell formation and normal neurological function (see a factsheet from the Office of Dietary Supplements with a thorough overview on vitamin B12). Rather than merely being a source of cobalt as some websites suggest, the various cobalamins with vitamin B12 activity participate in a number of important biochemical reactions. Vitamin B12 is absolutely essential: deficiency results in permanent neurological damage, and before it was discovered that pernicious anemia could be cured by feeding people large quantities of liver, it was fatal.

    Animal products contain the only “naturally occurring” source of vitamin B12 in the diet, particularly liver and filter-feeding seafood such as mussels, but meat, fish, eggs and dairy products all contain some vitamin B12. However, the ultimate source of vitamin B12 in foods is bacteria and archaea*. Industrial production processes use most commonly Pseudomonas denitricans and Propionibacterium shermanii to make vitamin B12. Fungi and yeasts do not appear to synthesize vitamin B12, although it may be present in some edible fungi due to vitamin B12 absorption from the fungi’s substrate (see Bito, and an excellent, exhaustive discussion on whether plant foods and soil contamination of food can meet vitamin B12 requirements from Norris). Bacteria in the intestinal tract of ruminants such as cows and sheep produce vitamin B12 when sufficient cobalt is provided in the diet. For example, around 3% of dietary cobalt in cows’ diets is converted into vitamin B12. Animals that are more omnivorous such as pigs or chickens obtain sufficient vitamin B12 from small quantities of insects or other animal products that they consume, or from ingesting soil that contains vitamin B12. Farmed animals generally are given vitamin B12 as part of their diet.

    The biological need for vitamin B12 is reflected in our genes. The process for actively absorbing vitamin B12 is complex and relies on a number of carrier proteins such as haptocorrin and intrinsic factor to release it from the food matrix and allow it to be absorbed as a complex via specific receptors on cells in the ileum. Genetic mutations can affect the function of these proteins required for vitamin B12 absorption and metabolism, leading to various inborn deficiency disorders (Watkins and Rosenblatt).

    Animal foods are the only sources of vitamin B12 in the human diet, outside of supplements. The absorption of vitamin B12 is determined by a number of our genes, therefore must have been there over the evolution of humanity. Does this mean that people have to eat animal foods? Does the need for vitamin B12 mean that a 100% plant-based diet is unhealthy? No! The presence or absence of animal-based foods does not affect whether a diet is healthy. The healthiness of a diet is determined by whether it nourishes us, i.e. its actual nutrient content. Advances in nutrition science and industrial production of small, complex molecules have allowed us to produce vitamin B12 without the need for eating animals. Eat meat or avoid it, it’s your choice.

    Even so, vegans are at greater risk of vitamin B12 deficiency than ovo-lactovegetarians or omnivores (see review from Pawlak and co-workers), and this is logical as they do not obtain vitamin B12 from their food. Vegans should be aware of the lack of a source of vitamin B12 in their diet and either undergo regular testing for deficiency, or take a vitamin B12 supplement.

    Citations:

    Bito, T.; Teng, F.; Ohishi, N.; Takenaka, S.; Miyamoto, E.; Sakuno, E.; Terashima, K.; Yabuta, Y.; Watanabe, F. Characterization of vitamin b12 compounds in the fruiting bodies of shiitake mushroom (lentinula edodes) and bed logs after fruiting of the mushroom. Mycoscience 2014, 55, 462-468, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.myc.2014.01.008.

    Martens, J.H.,  Barg, H.,  Warren, M.,  Jahn, D. Microbial production of vitamin B12. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. Volume 58, Issue 3, 2002, Pages 275-285. DOI: 10.1007/s00253-001-0902-7 DOI: 10.1007/s00253-001-0902-7 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11935176

    Pawlak R, Parrott SJ, Raj S, Cullum-Dugan D, Lucus D. How prevalent is vitamin B(12) deficiency among vegetarians? Nutr Rev. 2013 Feb;71(2):110-7. doi: 10.1111/nure.12001. Epub 2013 Jan 2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23356638

    Watkins D, Rosenblatt DS. Inborn errors of cobalamin absorption and metabolism. Am J Med Genet C Semin Med Genet. 2011 Feb 15;157C(1):33-44. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.c.30288. Epub 2011 Feb 10. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21312325

     

    *Vitamin B12-producing genera include: Aerobacter, Agrobacterium, Alcaligenes, Azotobacter, Bacillus, Clostridium, Corynebacterium, Flavobacterium, Micromonospora, Mycobacterium, Norcardia, Propionibacterium, Protaminobacter, Proteus, Pseudomonas, Rhizobium, Salmonella, Serratia, Streptomyces, Streptococcus and Xanthomonas

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    If your Diet isn’t Perfect, You May Wish to Supplement

    For many people, dietary supplements are an important source of vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. The newly released 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans highlight the fact most Americans fail to consume recommended amounts of vitamins A, C, D, E, dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and choline.

    Count them: 9 nutrients with dietary intake recommendations based upon sex, age and physiological state (pregnancy and lactation), If you include iron, often a shortfall nutrient for menstruating females, that makes 10 shortfall nutrients. 

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    Learn about Omega3s and Mobile Nutrient Assessment Tools at Engredea!

    The Natural Products Expo/Engredea is being held March 11-13, 2016 in Anaheim CA. In fulfilling our goal of bringing nutrition and health to more people, DSM Nutritional Products will be offering two educational sessions on Friday, March 11.

    Start the day with breakfast and an entire buffet of information on Omega-3 fatty acids. The session, The Omega-3 Paradox – Essential for Health yet Deficient in the Diet, will begin at 8:30am 

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    Raise Your Spoon to National Cereal Day

    Ready-to-eat cereals were invented over 100 years ago when working families were seeking a convenient, nutritious breakfast solution that didn’t require stoking a wood stove to prepare a hot breakfast.  From humble beginnings, two iconic breakfast cereal  companies – Kellogg’s, Post – emerged in Battle Creek, MI. More have followed. Today, we celebrate National Cereal Day!

    Fortified ready-to-eat cereals are a major contributor of micronutrients within the diet. Children and adolescents who consume breakfast cereals regularly have higher intakes of dietary fiber, vitamins A, D, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc and lower energy from fat. 

    Ready-to-eat cereals were invented over 100 years ago when working families were seeking a convenient, nutritious breakfast solution that didn’t require stoking a wood stove to prepare a hot breakfast.  From humble beginnings, two iconic breakfast cereal  companies – Kellogg’s, Post – emerged in Battle Creek, MI. More have followed. Today, we celebrate National Cereal Day!

    Fortified ready-to-eat cereals are a major contributor of micronutrients within the diet. Children and adolescents who consume breakfast cereals regularly have higher intakes of dietary fiber, vitamins A, D, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc and lower energy from fat. Many of the micronutrient differences are related to the fortification profile of the ready-to-eat breakfast cereals. Never forget this fact as you reach for a box of cereal in the grocery aisle.

    Look at the Nutrition Facts panel  to see if your cereal choice is an good source (10% of the Daily Value, DV) or excellent source (20% DV) of essential vitamins and minerals. If it isn’t a good source for multiple vitamins and minerals, keep looking!

    It is important to choose fortified breakfast cereals. Why? Because the statement that ‘breakfast consumers eat a more nutrient-dense diet and are at reduced risk of micronutrient inadequacy’ is ONLY true if the product is fortified.

    Breakfast and cereal consumption is associated with lower body weight, lower BMI, and lower waist circumference.  Dietary fiber intake and nutrient density is higher among among breakfast consumers and those eating ready-to-eat cereals for breakfast have even higher nutrient intakes (vs  other types of breakfast).

    Choosing fortified breakfast cereals is a cost-effective way to improve vitamin and mineral intake and maintain a healthy body. Raise your spoon to National Cereal Day today, tomorrow, and for the remainder of the year!

    Citations

    Williams PG. The benefits of breakfast cereal consumption: A systematic review of the evidence base. 2014 Adv Nutr doi: 10.1945/an.114.006247

    Fulgoni VL, Buckley RB. The contribution of fortified ready-to-eat cereal to vitamin and mineral intake in the US population, NHANES 2007-2010. 2015 Nutrients doi: 10.3390/nu706349

    Barr SI, DiFrancesco L, Fulgoni VL. Breakfast consumption is positively associated with nutrient adequacy in Canadian children and adolescents. 2014 Br J Nutr doi: 10.1017/S0007114514002190

    Serra-Majem L. Vitamin and mineral intakes in European children. Is food fortification needed? 2001 Publ Health Nutr doi: 10.1079/PHN2000104

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    Has the German Diet Changed for the Better Over the Past Decade?

    The German dietary guidelines are very similar to those in other countries. The ten rules include enjoying a balanced and varied diet, eating whole grain cereals, choosing 5 servings of fruit and vegetables every day, daily consumption of calcium-rich dairy, fish once or twice a week, reducing fat, salt and sugar consumption, adequate liquid intake (particularly water), keeping fit and maintaining a healthy weight. But do German delicacies like sausage, pretzels and sauerkraut fit in with a healthy diet?

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    Lutein and Zeaxanthin: Most Studied Carotenoids for Eye Health

    It is March, National Nutrition Month, and the campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is in full swing. When it comes to making healthy choices, the focus is often on changing dietary patterns to reduce fat, sodium, and sugar intake. Makes sense when the prevalence of obesity hasn’t changed between 2003-2004 and 2011-2012 and 78.6 million American adults are obese.

    Healthy eating involves more than an awareness of satiety signals to manage weight. Specialized cells in our body, like our eyes, require specific nutrients. Of 60 carotenoids in our diet, it is lutein and zeaxanthin that are concentrated in the center of the eye, in the macula where the optic nerve exits to the brain.

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    Maintaining Vitamin E Concentrations in Breast Milk

    Babies born prematurely are at greater  ‘nutritional risk’ because many key nutrients – long-chain omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), vitamin D, and vitamin E - are passed from mother to infant in utero. Without the last trimester of pregnancy to acquire essential nutrients, preterm babies are at risk of being born with low body reserves.

    Maternal vitamin E intake during pregnancy is associated with risk of birth defects in infants. Preterm infants are especially susceptible to vitamin E deficiency. When >90% of US women of child-bearing age are not consuming recommended amounts of vitamin E from food, they can have suboptimal vitamin E status

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