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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals

Archive for 'September 2014'


    Vitamin D supports your health - but what if you're already in the hospital?

    We’ve all heard about the benefits of vitamin D – ranging from bone health, to immune health, to muscle health. Recent data has even shown that vitamin D status is inversely related to mortality and there’s even data to demonstrate that for hospitalized patients, vitamin D deficiency is associated with a higher odds of developing a hospital-borne infection. So what do we know about the impact of vitamin D deficiency on mortality in hospitalized patients?

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    How Does Vitamin D Deficiency Affect Risk of Pregnancy Complications?

    Pregnancy is not a disease. Nevertheless, it is associated with increased risk to the health of the expectant mother, which can in turn affect the unborn child. Regular visits with trained professionals can help to identify and reduce some of the risks of pregnancy. Nutrition is considered to be a modifiable factor that can affect the progress or outcome of a pregnancy. Can vitamin D help pregnant women avoid complications?

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    Choices in Nutrition: What Will You Decide?

    In nutrition, it seems like we are often presented with lifestyle changes that involve two or more seemingly opposing choices. These can be argued passionately, with advocates on both sides producing compelling arguments. How does this relate to a recent study on resveratrol? 

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    Milestone: Our History in Posting this 1000th Blog

    Today, TalkingNutrition posts its 1000th blog. Let’s take a moment to reflect on our history. After months of practice behind the DSM firewall, the TalkingNutrition blog was launched in the real world on July 5, 2010, along with a monthly newsletter and events calendar.

    On August 9, 2010, @DSMNutrition was created. 

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    Why it is Healthy to Eat Foods from Around the World

    We choose to eat at home or away-from-home. Eating at home requires buying groceries. Jahns and colleagues analyzed foods advertised in weekly circulars from one supermarket chain with 8 stores in a predominantly non-Hispanic white, midWestern US city (Jan 1 to Dec 31, 2009). Advertised foods were aggregated into MyPlate food groups:  fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, dairy and oils. 

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    Multivitamins aren’t Drugs but they are Supplements

    Headlines might have you believe vitamin supplements are a wasted investment. How can efforts to achieve recommended nutrient intakes be so distorted? The Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) are nutrient reference values set the by Institute of Medicine of The National Academies. They are intended to serve as a guide for good nutrition.

    The reality is many, many people are not consuming enough vitamin and mineral -rich foods to meet the DRIs

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    Improving Nutritional Status to Support Eye Health: Reading, Listening, Acting

    Of the five senses, sight and sound are the most important for learning. While all senses are important,  many people particularly fear the loss of eyesight. Boyers and colleagues sought to determine if scientific effort is an accurate reflection of the global burden of eye and vision disease.

    Their detailed examination of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found gaps in the literature. Age-related diseases (cataract, glaucoma and macular degeneration) received the most attention, 

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    Heading into Autumn Equinox, Vitamin D is Top of Mind (Again)

    Have all the vitamin D researchers been on vacation? Who would believe that it has been almost a month since our last blog on vitamin D? Today’s blog highlights a new scientific report on the role of vitamin D in older adults. Takehome message: “Plasma 25(OH)D concentrations predict subsequent lower 13-y total mortality and incident cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and fractures.

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    Review Updates on Omega-3 Long-chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids EPA & DHA

    Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA) experts have been busy publishing reviews on the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

    The Early Nutrition Academy supported a systematic review of human studies on the roles of pre- and postnatal LCPUFA. Using the most recent studies (2008-2013), Koletzko and colleagues report:

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    Suboptimal Vitamin E Status may be Affecting Health

    For the past decade, health professionals have ignored vitamin E. Even the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee chose not to identify vitamin E as a ‘nutrient of concern’ although it was identified as one of 10 nutrients (Vitamins A, C, D, E, and K, choline, calcium, magnesium, potassium and dietary fiber) missing from our diet.

    Plants make 8 different forms of vitamin E but only α-tocopherol is maintained in plasma and tissue. Only the 2R-stereoisomeric forms of α-tocopherol reverse vitamin E deficiency and meet human vitamin E requirements

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    A ‘What-If’ Kind of Day…

    Monday morning blues. An ecological analysis of databases by the Food Agricultural Organization (FAO), World Health Organization (WHO), and World Bank finds a direct dose-response association between the adoption of a sedentary lifestyle with western dietary patterns and the global rise in diabetes prevalence. Depressing news.

    What does it take to help people make healthier lifestyle choices? For years as a professor, I thought the answer was in education. This argument was undermined when the percentage of consumers who could associate foods (and nutrients) with health benefits became apparent . 

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    Measuring Biomarkers to Evaluate Nutritional Status

    As a reader, you will know I recommend using nutritional biomarkers to assess health outcomes rather than dietary intake guestimates. Wood and colleagues affirm these statements.  They analyzed dietary and biological data obtained from approximately 2,000 Scottish women who attended a baseline visit between 1990-1993 as part of the Aberdeen Prospective Osteoporosis Screening Study (APOSS).

    Over the 10 years, their age increased (not surprisingly) as did their body weight (+2 kg), total cholesterol (+0.3 mmol/L), and HDL-C (+0.35 mmol/L). 

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    Who is Modeling Preventive Health Behaviors for Children?

    Millions of children are missing important preventive health care opportunities in the US. Boyle and colleagues report wide divides in use of clinical preventive services by race/ethnicity, geography and health care coverage.

    For example, 50% of infants who failed their hearing screening did not receive a follow-up evaluation. Twenty-two percent of children had not had their vision checked professionally by 5y of age. The US has one of the highest per capita incomes but nearly half of American children grow up in families that are poor or near poor (below 199% of the federal poverty level).

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    Possible Concentrations of an Essential Element in the Diet

    Why won’t the Nutrition Elite Treat us like Animals?

    When it comes to writing stories about nutrition, facts seem secondary (or even further down the list). Maybe controversy sells. Maybe rich people not only eat more expensive foods but they buy more books and magazines.

    The food and supplement industry are not evil. Advances in agriculture and technology are feeding the world. Yesterday at the Arkansas Nutrition Conference sponsored by The Poultry Federation, I learned the efficiency of raising chickens (broilers), measured by feed conversion (adjusted to a 2300g bird), has improved by 15% 

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    Ensuring Vitamin A Adequacy: Different Approaches Needed in Different Countries

    The World Health Organisation has named vitamin A deficiency to be a public health problem in over half of all countries. Vitamin A is needed for vision, and also to prevent infections. Various public health measures are used around the world to help people with deficient diets to meet their vitamin A needs, such as food fortification, supplementation programs, improving dietary diversity and increasing the pro-vitamin A content of staples through bio-fortification. But there is no “one size fits all” measure to improve vitamin A status. We explain further.

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    Is Breakfast an Important Part of Children's Diets?

    We’ve been told since we were children that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but why? What have you done for me lately, breakfast? Recently published data shows us that for children and adolescents, regular breakfast consumption is associated with a healthier diet.

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    Are you Familiar with all the Tools to Reduce Prevalence of Iron Deficiency Anemia?

    Whole grains, legumes and nuts provide plenty of minerals. However, they also contain high levels of phytate which binds with iron (Fe), calcium and zinc. Phytate-bound minerals cannot be absorbed. Iron bioavailability from vegetarian diets are lower (5-12%) compared to mixed diets (14-18%) and heme iron present in meat (25%). Phytates are a major reason that vegetarians and others who do not regularly eat red meat can become iron-deficient.

    Iron-deficiency anemia (IDA) is the most common nutritional disorder globally. 

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    Food Security, Micronutrients and Raising Children: A Global Quandary

    The landing page for Scaling Up Nutrition states “When children are properly nourished they can grow up to be healthy and productive.” Proper nourishment refers to the need for adequate amounts of energy (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) and essential nutrients (vitamins and minerals).  We know this to be true.

    Malnutrition can be acute or chronic. Acute malnutrition (starvation) leads to death and often follows earthquakes or other emergencies. Chronic malnutrition causes stunting. The question is: how to prevent malnutrition?

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    Nutritional Supplements help fill Nutrient Gaps

    A new report finds that adults are eating better. We are making healthier food choices. US diets aren’t great but they are improving. The question is: have diets improved enough?

    Wang and colleagues investigated dietary quality trends from 1990 to 2010 in the US using National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data. They used the Alternate Healthy Eating Index 2010 (AHEI-2010) to measure diet quality. 

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    Young Children can Benefit from Multi-Vitamin-Mineral Supplementation

    Scientific progress is much slower than the news cycle. So it is surprising when scientific studies create a media frenzy. After all, assembling the totality of the evidence isn’t  a matter of immediacy. The creation of regulations is even slower.

    Last January, Madden, DeBias & Cook published a market analysis of vitamin supplements in JAMA Pediatrics.  

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