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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals

Archive for 'June 2012'

    IFT 2010 Chicago Logo

    IFT Reflections: Adding Nutrients to Replacing Artificial Colors

    The IFT Annual Meeting + Food Expo is finished for 2012. It was a busy place (here are some pictures) with lots of great sessions. Two worthy of mention are: Session 212, “Helping Consumers meet DRIs for ‘Nutrients of Concern’ with Processed Foods”. Co-moderator Courtney Gain, (@CourtGaine) ILSI, kicked off the session. The first speaker was Reagan Bailey, NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, who reviewed RDAs, EARs, and ULs and the statistical intricacies used to estimate Usual Intakes from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Dietary supplement users are usually more educated, older and have higher socioeconomic status. They also have higher nutrient intakes from the foods they eat than non-supplement users. Next was Johanna Dwyer, Tufts University, who

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    Low B Vitamin Status Affects Cognition and More

    Grab an enriched/fortified grain product, sit down, take a moment and read the summary of the newest American Journal of Clinical Nutrition report on B vitamins. Guaranteed, you will not be depressed. Moorthy and colleagues wanted to see if the C677T polymorphism in methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene was associated with impaired cognitive function and depression. The MTHFR catalyzes the folate cycle. We need folate, vitamin B12 and B6 to synthesize, repair and maintain DNA, maintain normal homocysteine concentrations, and to synthesize neurotransmitters. Elevated homocysteine levels and low B vitamin status have been associated with cognitive impairment.

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    Oral Contraceptives and Antioxidant Vitamins C and E

    According to the June report from the CDC on pregnancy rates in the US, women are postponing pregnancy until later in life. Using data collected between 1990-2008, pregnancy rates for women in their early 20s have declined to the lowest level in 30 years (163 per 1,000 women) while rates for women in their 30s and early 40s increased. Many women delay pregnancy by using oral contraceptives. Oral contraceptives may increase oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation, potentially contributing to cardiovascular disease risk in women. A new study by Zal and colleagues assesses the effect of daily vitamin E (200 IU) and C (150 mg) supplementation

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    2012 IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo, Las Vegas

    IFT12 scientific program kicks off today. Two years ago, at IFT10, was launched. Since then, rain or snow, travel or not, a blog has been posted on 9 of 10 US working days. Enough celebrating our past at DSM. Let’s discuss IFT12. It is an exciting lineup of speakers, sessions, and symposia. This year people can follow audience engagement on twitter with the hashtag: #IFT12. Here are some particular captivating activities today. 8:30 am: @starbucks CEO, H Schultz will be the keynote speaker on Innovation.

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    Vitamin B6, Epilepsy and First 1,000 Days

    In 1912, the Polish biochemist Casimir Funk isolated the first vitamin (B1) from rice bran. With the discovery of this essential compound, Funk coined the tem “vitamin”, a combination of “vita” (Latin for life) and “amine” because the essential nutrient was nitrogenous in nature. A century later, researchers are still elucidating the role of B vitamins in brain development and function of newborns. Albersen and colleagues studied vitamin B6 concentrations in the cerebrospinal fluid of 36 newborn infants (26 preterm and 10 fullterm). Concentrations of pyridoxal, pyridoxal phosphate, pyridoxamine, and pyridoxic acid levels were 2X higher in preterm than fullterm newborns (>42 wk). Because of these differences, the authors recommend that vitamin B6 concentrations, and deficiency, be considered in the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy.

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    Suitcases Packed for ASN & IFT and CRN Registration Completed?

    If your interests lie in food, beverages and dietary supplements, take note of three upcoming meetings. You need to start packing bags for the first and register for your fall trip. Today, the American Society for Nutrition begins its Advances and Controversies in Clinical Nutrition 2012 (June 22-24) in Chicago, IL. Saturday morning, 8:00-10:30am, will have concurrent sessions discussing the ‘Foods and Supplements’. Watch for live tweeting via #aacn12. The Institute of Food Technologists is holding its Annual Meeting & Food Expo in Las Vegas on Monday, June 25- Thursday, June 28. Finally, it is time to plan your fall trip to the dietary supplement industry’s leading trade association, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), event.

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    Seeing the Value in Eating Your Vegetables

    Getting old is for the birds. Not only does your body change but looking in the mirror isn’t nearly as rewarding. That last sentence assumes the mirror is clear and your vision hasn’t deteriorated. A new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reports diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are the two most common eye diseases. According to data collected from the 2005-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), an astounding 73% of individuals with diabetic retinopathy and 84% of those with AMD are unaware of their condition. What nutrition facts should they know? Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids found in vegetables. Out of 600 carotenoids naturally present in plants,

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    Maintaining a Healthy Blood Pressure isn’t only Affected by Salt Intake

    For decades scientists have explored the relationship between sodium intake and risk of blood pressure. High salt intakes are associated with increased risk of hypertension in some people, but not all. Forman and colleagues prospectively analyzed the association of sodium intake and incident hypertension among 5,556 participants, who were not taking blood pressure medicines. This group was a subset of the 40,856 Dutch persons who responded to participate in the PREVEND study to assess the impact of elevated urinary albumin loss in non-diabetic subjects on future cardiovascular and renal disease. 878 incident cases of hypertension were found during the 6.4y of follow-up. There were significant differences in blood pressure at baseline;

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    Choose Vitamin D3 for Health

    Vitamin D comes in 2 forms. Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is obtained from plant sources, eg yeast exposed to UV irradiation, and found naturally in mushrooms exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) can be synthesized in the skin but most of us spend too much time indoors or wear sunscreen and clothing to meet our vitamin D requirements. So we need to eat vitamin D3 rich foods, eg fatty fish, or fortified foods, eg milk. Even then, most Americans have poor vitamin D status. A new systematic review examined 76 trials including 6207 persons conducted between 1984 and 2011. Autier and colleagues report that vitamin D3 is superior to vitamin D2 in raising serum 25(OH)D concentrations.

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    Calcium, Vitamin D and Bone Health: What’s a Person to Think?

    Can life get any more confusing? The US Preventive Services Task Force issued a draft report on calcium and vitamin D saying it couldn’t be determined if using supplements was beneficial. The Task Force went so far as to recommend against daily supplementation with 400 IU vitamin D and 1000 mg calcium or less by noninstitutionalized postmenopausal women trying to prevent fractures. Really? How can this be? Less than 2 years earlier, Institute of Medicine issued new Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for Calcium and Vitamin D. The IOM expert panel systematically reviewed the literature and evaluated evidence on indicators of adequacy. The IOM recommended that women >19 years should be consuming 1,000 mg calcium and 600 IU vitamin D daily. For women 70 years and older, the DRIs were further increased to 1,200 mg calcium and 800 IU vitamin D3 daily.

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    Pets, People, Antioxidants, and Heart Health

    People shouldn’t be vitamin C deficient. Unfortunately, many are despite the availability of many delicious dietary sources of vitamin C. Why is vitamin C relevant? As an antioxidant, vitamin C protects cells in our body, and their constituents (lipids, nucleic acids, etc), from reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. Vitamin C may also help regenerate other antioxidants like vitamin E. Research suggests that oxidative stress increases sympathetic nervous system activity and the generation of adrenergic signals leading to essential hypertension. Essential hypertension means that the cause of the elevated blood pressure is unknown.

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    Thinking About Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Cognition? Think About Whether You Are Meeting Recommendations

    Omega 3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that must be obtained from the diet because they cannot be produced by the body. They are very important for heart health, and there is considerable interest in their potential role in cognition because of the brain’s high demand for omega-3. A Cochrane Collaboration review team lead by Sydenham published a systematic review today on whether omega-3 supplements can prevent cognitive decline and dementia in healthy older adults.

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    The Goldilocks Principle in Vitamin D Research

    For Goldilocks, the secret to achieving happiness with warm porridge, a well-fitting chair, and a comfortable bed was finding the sweet spot between two extremes. How does this relate to vitamin D nutrition? Two very recent publications demonstrate the principle. A group of researchers lead by Husemoen in Denmark reported yesterday on associations between vitamin D intakes and risk of diabetes. They looked at 5-year follow-up data on over 4000 adults aged 30-65 for whom serum hydroxy-vitamin D levels were measured at baseline, within the larger Inter99 Study. After 5 years, subjects were re-examined and type 2 diabetes was determined. Around 13 percent of the population had frank vitamin D deficiency (below 25 nmol/l vitamin D) and a further 38 percent had an inadequate level (under 50 nmol/l) at baseline.

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    Ethnic Cancer Survival Rates Reported to Reflect Vitamin D Status

    Ethnic disparities in cancer survival rates in the United States have often been attributed to socioeconomic factors, medical insurance coverage, access to medical treatment and stage of cancer at time of diagnosis. A new report by Grant and Peiris suggests that vitamin D status, measured by serum 25(OH)D concentrations, may also be important. Significant inverse correlations were found between 25(OH)D concentrations and cancer survival for all-cancer, breast, colon, colorectal, lung, prostate, chronic lymphocytic leukemia/chronic lyphocytic lymphoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. People with dark skins are less efficient at producing vitamin D from UVB radiation. Prevalence of hypovitaminosis (< 42.5 nmol/L) is 4 times higher in African vs White Americans.

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    100 Years of Vitamins: Can we do Better in the Next Century?

    Dr Manfred Eggersdorfer, Senior Vice President Nutrition and Advocacy, DSM Nutritional Products lectured on the 100 years of vitamins today in Parsippany, NJ. He informed the audience that a Polish scientist, Dr Casimir Funk, coined the term ‘vitamin’ in 2012. By 1941, 13 vitamins had been identified and characterized. In 1934, industrial manufacturing of vitamin C was being developed. Vitamin A manufacturing began in 1946. A century after their discovery, vitamin malnutrition still exists. Because malnutrition during the first 1,000 days of life can cause irreversible damage to the development of children, public-private partnerships such as Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN), Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), and Thousand Days are still active trying to end hidden hunger globally. Malnutrition is associated with increased risk of non-communicable diseases such as elevated blood pressure.

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    Are you Making Budget-Wise Choices for a Healthy Diet?

    Day after day this blog highlights scientific studies explaining the role of micronutrient on the structure and function of cells and organs in the human body. Everyone understands that eating a nutritious diet and exercising regularly is desirable. We get it. But do we live it? We should but often we don’t. Cost may be a factor. The 2012 IFIC Food & Health Survey of Consumer Attitudes toward Food Safety, Nutrition and Health reports that taste (87%), price (73%) drive food and beverage choices more than healthfulness (61%) and convenience (53%). According to a new report by Aggarwal and colleagues, nutrients commonly associated with a lower risk of chronic disease often cost more. But not necessarily.

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    Oh Limey, Where did my Spunk go?

    Is your hair falling out? Do you bruise easily? Are your joints painful and swollen? You might have scurvy; a result of severe vitamin C deficiency. Does this sound preposterous in 2012? It should. But it isn’t. Only days after British finished celebrating the The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in London, Alleva and colleagues published that taking 600 mg vitamin C daily for one week helps protect against oxidative stress. The oxidative stress was induced in vivo with hyperbaric oxygen treatment. The 46 volunteers breathed 100% O2 using a mask under pressure (2.5 atmosphere absolute) in a chamber for three 25 min sessions interrupted by 3 min of air breathing. Vitamin C supplementation increased plasma antioxidant levels and

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    Keeping Vitamin D Levels Optimal for Health

    New research highlights the fact that optimal vitamin D status is not limited to early stages of life - pregnancy and lactation and childhood. The American Journal of Cardiology published a paper reporting that adults with inadequate serum 25(OH)D levels are at much greater risk of heart failure and death. Liu and colleagues examined the relationship between serum vitamin D levels and mortality from heart failure, cardiovascular disease, and premature death. Using data obtained from 13,131 American adults >31y of age collected via the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 1988 and 1994, they report that people with serum 25(OH)D levels <20 ng/mL (50 nmol/L) have a 2-fold greater risk of heart failure death than those with levels >30 ng/mL (75 nmol/L)

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    Vitamin D, Calcium and Pregnancy

    Several very relevant vitamin D studies on the importance of vitamin D (and calcium) during pregnancy (and lactation) have been published. Novakovic and colleagues used a classical twin study design to examine genetic and maternal vitamin D status on neonatal serum 25(OH)D levels. Eighty-six twin pairs were studied. Genetic polymorphisms in maternal vitamin D metabolism genes, CYP2R1 and CYP24A1, were not significantly correlated with neonatal serum 25(OH)D levels. However, maternal 25(OH)D levels were positively correlated with fetal 25(OH)D levels at 28 wk of gestation.

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