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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals

Archive for 'March 2015'


    Hidden Hunger: Micronutrient Deficiencies Are Prevalent Among US Adolescents

    There are a lot of headlines about obesity in children and adolescents and for good reason; in 2012 nearly 1 in 5 children and adolescents in the US were obese.  However, it is important to recognize that body fat accumulation reflects excess energy and not excess micronutrient like vitamins and minerals or other nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Hidden hunger; adequate energy intake but insufficient micronutrients is a global problem. 

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    Announcing the 2015 Grand Prize for Young Minority Investigator

    Congratulations to Michelle Cardel (@michellecardel) for being selected as the 2015 recipient of the ASN Grand Prize for Young Minority Investigators, sponsored by DSM Nutritional Products LLC. Her presentation was entitled “Self-concept and obesity risk in low income diverse preschoolers”. She is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Colorado, Denver being mentored by Dr James Hill and Susan Johnson. Michelle follows in the footsteps of previous winners: 2014 Monique LeMieux, Texas Tech University, 2013 Christine Hutchinson, Iowa State University; 2012 Wanida Lewis, North Carolina State University, and  2011 Maria Carlota Dao, Tufts University.

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    Think Nutrient Deficiencies are History in US? Think Again

    Nutrient deficiencies are often thought of as a thing of the past. You often hear that Americans are quite well nourished, despite the fact that inadequate intake of nutrients like vitamin D from the diet is nearly ubiquitous in America today. In 2012, the CDC released figures demonstrating the prevalence of individual deficiencies based on nationally representative biochemical assessment data from the latest round of NHANES showing that, contrary to popular belief, deficiencies are very much present in the modern day United States.

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    American Society for Nutrition Annual Meeting

    Experimental Biology 2015 (#ExpBio) starts Saturday in Boston, MA.  The meeting will host nearly 14,000 scientists and exhibitors. The American Society for Nutrition (ASN) will hold its annual meeting bringing together many of its >5,000 members from around the globe.

    DSM Nutritional Products is proud to continue its support of the ASN Minority Affairs and Diversity Committee (MARC). The MARC committee, chaired by Dr Charlotte Pratt, enhances the participation of scientists from minority groups. 

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    Young Children Require Vitamins to Develop

    Poor vitamin status contributes to poor growth in children 6-to 30-months of age. This is the conclusion of Strand and colleagues from a randomized, placebo controlled double-blind study providing twice the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of folic acid and/or vitamin B12 (vs placebo) daily for 6 months.

    While caregivers may sometimes feel they have relinquished control of their lives to their children, the food and cultural experiences of toddlers are set by caregivers. 

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    Vitamin D: Finally Something Experts can Agree Upon

    When did choosing something to eat becomes as confusing as understanding climate change? While experts may argue about the impact of greenhouse gas accumulation on the environment, lives are much shorter. If nutrition is important, our health is the result of daily decisions. In this world of information overload, what should one do about nutrition? Case in point – vitamin D.

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    Marching for Nutrition Changes Lives Forever

    Children are our future. Their health and potential lies in the hands of parents, caregivers, and community members. Children become adults, have babies, and the future becomes the present held by the hands and shaped by the minds of the next generation. To strengthen individuals and communities, DSM supports Thousand Days in its #March4Nutrition campaign to increase awareness of the importance of nutrition during the first 1,000 days of life. 

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    Omega-3 Fatty Acids Support Healthy Aging

    When was the last time you ate fish?  When was the last time you ate fatty fish (fish sticks don’t count) like salmon, herring or sardines?  If you had to pause to think, you are not alone.  Data from the 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey shows that the mean dietary intake of EPA and DHA found mainly in fatty fish and some fortified foods is only 86mg in adults 19 and older.  Intake is slightly higher in adults 70 and older (100mg) but still far below expert recommendations of 250 mg of EPA and DHA per day

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    Using High-Resolution Maps to Address Nutritional Gaps

    Yesterday’s blog was derived out of frustration that a health professional would undermine trust of professional colleagues and council against well-accepted recommendations in a news broadcast. Today we cover the opposite spectrum – a sensible, thought-provoking, rational recommendation to help reduce the risk of poor health in millions of people because of vitamin D insufficiency. Hats off to authors Karras, Anagnostis, Paschou, Kandaraki and Goulis.

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    Don’t be Misled, Vitamin D is Safe and Required for Health

    I wonder if the American Medical Association is pleased with Dr Agus’ insinuation that we shouldn’t trust our doctor. In the CBSNews this morning, he says, “If your doctor says you should be on vitamin D, I want you to say where is the data it will benefit me and challenge for that data.” It is an extreme position for one doctor to casually dismiss evidence that 9 out of 10 Americans are not getting enough vitamin D. When Agus tells Gayle King she is unlikely to have rickets,  does he realize that 31% of African Americans are at risk of vitamin D deficiency? Vitamin D deficiency does indeed cause rickets.

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    Folic Acid Supplements Reduce Stroke Risk

    Skeptics don’t believe that vitamins are absorbed from pills. People are chastised for wasting money on dietary supplements. Researchers review results of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and conclude that vitamin supplements don’t help prevent chronic disease. Experts step up and explain that decades of nutrition research shouldn’t be ignored. The problem is that understanding nutrient-disease relationships requires measuring nutritional status. Proof of this fact can be found in an RCT conducted in China.

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    Vitamins, Obesity, Bariatric Surgery, and Cystic Fibrosis

    Are you worried about getting too many vitamins? It is improbable. Experts informed the Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services that 8 essential nutrients are under-consumed (2015 DGAC Report). About half of American adults (117 million people) have one or more preventable chronic diseases that relate to poor diet and physical inactivity. In addition, ≥ two-thirds of adults and nearly one-third of children and youth are overweight or obese.

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    Reflections on Workshops and Opportunities to Influence Nutrition Policy and Health

    This week Canadian and American federal agencies hosted a workshop Options for Consideration of Chronic Disease Endpoints for Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) at the NIH campus in Bethesda, MD.  The purpose was to bring a panel of experts together to consider chronic disease endpoints (or surrogates) to set future nutrient DRIs. The meeting opened with welcoming comments from representatives of NIH-ODS (Dr Paul Coates) and Health Canada (Dr Amanda MacFarlane). In reviewing the workshop focus and charge, four nutrients deserving of review were identified: omega-3 fatty acids, sodium, magnesium, and vitamin E.  

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    Food Fortification: An Effective Method to Increase Intake of Shortfall Nutrients

    It is finally beginning to feel like spring in the Northeastern United States. The sun is shining and the days are getting longer but that does not mean that we can stop worrying about meeting our vitamin D requirements.  Vitamin D or the “sunshine vitamin” can be synthesized with sun exposure, about 15-20 minutes is needed to reach normal serum 25(OH)D3 concentrations. Sunscreen, skin color, clothing and geographical location all affect vitamin D synthesis.  In the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report vitamin D is named as a ‘shortfall’ nutrient and higher levels of vitamin D intake via fortified foods or supplements is highlighted. 

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    Smartwatches and Nutrition - Welcome to the Future!

    Yesterday brought a major announcement in the technology world: the launch of the Apple Watch. This smartphone that lives on your wrist promises to change our already close relationship with technology. It features the ability to make calls, interact with friends via social media platforms, and even make purchases –  all in a piece of technology that’s just 38mm wide. Fittingly, app developers are hard at work creating novel ways that the Apple Watch can be used. Among the first apps to be launched is actually one centered around nutrient status: a blood glucose monitor.


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    Looking to Improve Your Metabolic Health? Stop Skipping Breakfast

    Metabolic health, insulin and glucose is related to a host of poor health outcomes including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. How can you improve your metabolic health?  Active living and a balanced diet rich in micronutrients may help. A recent study by Thomas and colleagues suggests that improving your metabolic health may be easier than you think.

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    Global Nutrition Report is a Call to Action

    Countries and individuals are confronted with malnutrition which can arise from consuming insufficient amounts of essential nutrients (especially vitamins and minerals) and too much food for our activity level (overweight).  Supported by 1000 Days, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the European Commission, the Government of Canada, Irish Aid, the UK Department of International Development, and the CGIAR Agriculture for Nutrition and Health Programme, the 2014 Global Nutrition Report actions have been published from the 2013 Nutrition for Growth Summit in London.

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    Want to Know if Age or Sex affects Vitamin E Inside the Body?

    Of the 11 vitamins examined by the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), 7 are named as shortfall nutrients - vitamins A, C, D, E, K, choline, and folic acid for women of child-bearing age.  Imagine, of the vitamins, two-thirds are under-consumed. The 2015 DGAC set precedent by identifying vitamin E as a shortfall nutrient. Even though >90% of adults in the US do not consume the estimated average requirement (EAR) for vitamin E (12 mg daily), previous DGACs have overlooked vitamin E. For a better understanding of an EAR with respect to personal needs, see yesterday’s ‘Nutrition Advice for Residents of Lake Wobegon’ post.

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    Nutrition Advice for Residents of Lake Wobegon

    In describing the residents of Lake Wobegon, Garrison Keillor writes it is a community where “all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all our children are above average”. The belief that we are unique, and certainly not average, may partially explain dietary and lifestyle behaviors. When the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) writes that the majority of Americans are not consuming recommended amounts of 8 essential nutrients, we probably think, “glad that doesn't apply to me”. This is an unfortunate misperception for two reasons.

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    National Nutrition Month: Focus on Getting Your Vitamins and Minerals

    March is National Nutrition Month, a nutrition and education campaign ponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Their 2015 theme is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle”. Everyone should try to eat healthier and be more physically active.  Good advice for the more than 7 billion people needing food.

    It is needed. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee identified 8 vitamins and minerals that most Americans fail to meet recommended intakes.  

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    Poverty and Food Insecurity have Harmful Effects on Children

    Being hungry isn’t enjoyable.  Especially when the solution (food) is outside of your control or reach. Because you are reading this on a computer, tablet or smartphone, it is fair to assume that your hunger experience is usually a result of travel interruptions, poor time management, or intention.  Food insecurity is a different story. Food insecurity affects 50 million Americans. 1/3 of US households with working age adults who have disabilities are food insecure

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