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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


Actions are Measurable. What Nutritional Choice did you Make Today?

By Michael McBurney

Dietary guidance encourages the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood.  Why? Because far too many people are not consuming recommended amounts of dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin E. As discussed yesterday, most people need to increase their consumption of omega-3 fatty acids to balance n-3:n-6 fatty acid levels in the body. These food groups provide these nutrients.

Golley and colleagues examined dietary intakes and blood nutritional markers of 130 children, 4-13y, living in Australia. Blood concentrations of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and n-3 fatty acids were significantly correlated with dietary intake and there was an association with lutein concentrations. Approximately 4% of plasma fatty acids were n-3 fatty acids. A red blood cell omega-3 index of >8% is desirable.

Carotenoids are found in yellow, red, and orange pigments found in plants. Serum carotenoid concentrations reflect dietary intake and have been inversely associated with non-communicable disease risk. The data from Australian children is similar to that reported in American adults and children. We simply do not consume enough carotenoid-rich foods. And there is often adoption of numerous lifestyle choices, including physical inactivity, which are associated with fat accumulation and health risk.

Finally, >90% of Americans do not consume recommended amounts of vitamin E. Because of suboptimal intake, serum α-tocopherol concentrations are low.  Whole-grains, nuts, and omega-3 oils contain vitamin E. Whole-grains also provide dietary fiber. Nuts provide long-chain fatty acids and fiber.  By choosing nutrient dense foods, especially enriched/fortified foods, people reduce the risk of micronutrient inadequacy.

Fortified foods help ensure nutrient adequacy. Another option is to give your child a multivitamin-mineral supplements. The worst choice is inaction.

Main Citation

Golley RK, McNaughton SA, Hendrie GA. A dietary guideline adherence score is positively associated with dietary biomarkers but not lipid profile in healthy children. 2014 J Nutr doi: 10.3945/jn.114.197970

Other Citations

Harris WS, von Shacky C. The omega-3 index: a new risk factor for death from coronary heart disease. 2004 Prev Med doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2004.02.030

Gruber M, Chappell R, Millen A, LaRowe T, Moeller SM, Iannaccone A, Kritchevsky SB, Mares J. Correlates of serum lutein + zeaxanthin: findings from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. 2004 J Nutr 134:2387-2394

Fulgoni VL, Keast DR, Bailey RL, Dwyer J. Foods, fortificants, and supplements: where do Americans get their nutrients? 2011 J Nutr doi: 10.3945/jn.111.142257

Bailey RL, Gahche JL, Thomas PR, Dwyer JT. Why US children use dietary supplements. 2013 Ped Res doi:10.1038/pr.2013.160

Dwyer JT, Woteki C, Bailey R, Britten P, Carriquiry A, Miller D, Moshfegh A, Murphy MM, Smith Edge M. Fortification: new findings and implications. 2014 Nutr Rev doi: 10.1111/nure.12086