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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


Vitamins: How Much is Enough? What is Optimal Status for Health?

By Michael McBurney

Interested in learning about vitamins? Which ones are most likely to be missing from the diet? What biomarker should be measured to assess vitamin status? What are the health consequences of a suboptimal vitamin levels? Can vitamin deficiencies affect hearing loss? Are vitamin needs affected by body fat content, physical activity, environmental pollutants? And more? Then you should be attending the 3rd International Vitamin Conference in Washington, DC, this week (May 12-15).

Attendees can ask experts questions. For example, Chai and colleagues measured serum concentrations of 3 antioxidants [vitamin E (α –tocopherol), γ-tocopherol, and CoQ10] in 207 young females (13-19y) and 183 premenopausal females (34-47y). They also measured C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation. Adolescent girls had significantly lower antioxidant concentrations relative to premenopausal women: α-tocopherol (6.9 vs 13.5 µg/mL), γ-tocopherol (1.3 vs 1.7 µg/mL) and CoQ10 (374 vs 544 ng/mL). These differences remained significant after adjusting for body mass index (BMI) and race/ethnicity. The authors concluded that the lower serum concentrations coupled with low CRP concentrations suggests a reduced need for antioxidants. So the adolescents have low CRP levels. Does this mean that they have optimal vitamin levels to maintain health? Couldn’t insufficient vitamin intakes contribute to suboptimal nutrient status which could affect responses to inflammatory challenges? What are optimal serum concentrations of vitamin E, its isomers, and CoQ10 for health?

To learn more on this topic, attend the 3rd International Vitamin Conference in Washington, DC on May 12-15. At a Tuesday Lunch & Learn symposium entitled “Transforming Nutrition Assessments with Mobile Platforms”, Dr Manfred Eggersdorfer, Sr Vice President, Nutrition Science & Advocacy, DSM Nutritional Products LLC will affirm the importance of maintaining adequate vitamin status as a powerful way to contribute to wellness and performance. Dr Alain Labrique, Associated Professor at Johns Hopkins University will explore new developments in mobile technologies capable of providing personalized feedback on nutritional status.

Looks to be an exciting week in the science and health benefits of vitamins. Twitter users can follow the meeting at #IVC14.

Main Citation

Chai W, Novotny R, Maskarinec G, Le Marchand L, Franke AA, Cooney RV. Serum Coenzyme Q10, α-tocopherol, γ-tocopherol and C-reactive protein levels and body mass index in adolescent and premenopausal females. 2014 J Am Coll Nutr doi: 10.1080/07315742.2103.862490