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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals

Archive for '2016'


    Oat-beta-glucan, a natural way to maintain a healthy blood cholesterol


    Numerous clinical studies, meta-analyses and systemic reviews have established that oat beta-glucan lowers plasma low-density-lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) levels. A meta-analysis by Whitehead et al. 2014 (1) showed that oat beta-glucan at doses of 3 g per day significantly decreases both total cholesterol and LDL-C levels. The outcomes suggest that high viscosity oat beta-glucan can reduce cholesterol, while low viscosity products have no significant effect. The physicochemical properties of beta-glucan - notably its molecular weight (MW) and viscosity - are key to the physiological benefits observed with beta-glucan products. The degree of polymerization of the beta-glucan is directly reflected in the viscosity, and the viscosity depends on the molecular weight.


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    Good Nutrition_book blog 2

    Nutrition, health and economic status

    A DSM- and Sight and Life Foundation-led editorial board has launched a new book, Good Nutrition: perspectives for the 21st century, to provide the latest perspectives on the nutrition challenges that are now common to all societies worldwide. The first section of the book sets the scene for nutrition across the globe applying a one-world approach. The second part of the book considers the economic drivers of malnutrition and the relationship between nutrition quality and quality of health.

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    Higher levels of vitamin D associated with lower risk of breast cancer morbidity and mortality

    Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer in women globally. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the diagnosis of breast cancer is growing in the developing world, due to increased life expectancy, increased urbanization and adoption of western lifestyles.[1] A new study suggests higher vitamin D levels are associated with lower risk of breast cancer progression and mortality. [2]

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    Circulatory and cognitive benefits of resveratrol: benefits for an aging population

    A healthy circulation is essential for healthy aging, yet many risk factors that contribute to the increasing rates of disability in our aging society, such as smoking, obesity and other components of metabolic syndrome, do so by undermining circulatory function. This results in adverse effects extending well beyond cardiovascular disease. Apart from deleterious metabolic and inflammatory changes affecting muscles and joints, poor tissue perfusion in the brain has been implicated in the severity of cognitive decline with aging

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    Will new research on the interplay between low vitamin D levels and negative psychotic symptoms affect the market for antidepressants?

    New scientific findings from Norway (1) reveal a strong association between low vitamin D levels in the blood and increased negative psychotic symptoms and depression. Negative psychotic symptoms are loss of positive interpersonal communication functions, such as the lack of emotions and interest in other people and of ideas. In Europe, around 37% of the population is concerned about mental health (2).

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    DSM enforces high-quality nutrition and trusted partnerships as key to achieving sustainable societal and economic progress

    The Micronutrient Forum (MNF) envisions a world where all people have access to essential micronutrients at levels needed to promote health, prevent disease, and bring hidden hunger to an end. The 2016 conference focused on women’s nutrition as a catalyst for the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), whereas nutrition has a role to play in all 17 goals. The health and wellbeing of women and girls are critical to enable healthy human lives, unlocking human potential, and ultimately sustainable development.

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    What do your platelets say about you?

    You may not know this, but your blood platelet behavior can provide a snapshot of your lifestyle and general cardiovascular health.

    The workings of these cell fragments are a mystery to many of us. And yet they hold great power – our platelets govern the liquidity of our blood, and are capable of turning flowing blood into a gel in our vessels, if correctly stimulated. For all their importance, platelets are hostage to our diet and lifestyle, as platelets have no nucleus and rely on the blood plasma contents to supply their needs.

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    A world hungry for nutrition

    A DSM- and Sight and Life Foundation-led editorial board has launched a new book, Good Nutrition: perspectives for the 21st century, to provide the latest perspectives on the nutrition challenges that are now common to all societies worldwide. It argues that the case for good nutrition for all people, in all parts of the globe and throughout the entire life-cycle, is growing stronger and includes contributions from some of the world’s most influential and respected experts in the field. The first section of the book sets the scene for nutrition across the globe applying a one-world approach; below is a summary of the key points discussed in this first section.

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    Power of Programming 1000 days

    What is new in nutrition for the first 1000 days?: DSM Nutritional Products satellite symposium at the Power of Programming

    Manfred Eggersdorfer, Professor for Healthy Ageing at Groningen University and Senior Vice-President for Nutrition Science and Advocacy at DSM Nutritional Products, emphasized the importance of good nutrition during the first 1,000 days – from conception to the child’s second birthday – for life-long health. He then introduced the three experts who were going to discuss the latest science on vitamins K and D and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) in early life.

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    Tolerase key visual

    New study finds AN-PEP enzyme can degrade 86% of gluten in the stomach

    During the recent 38th ESPEN conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, the results of a new study into AN-PEP enzyme were presented. Gluten protein is hard to digest because it contains many proline residues, which are poorly digested by our own enzymes. The AN-PEP enzyme specifically targets proline residues and can efficiently degrade gluten into harmless fragments. Traditional DPP-IV enzymes target only the terminal peptide bonds in gluten protein. However, the AN-PEP enzyme is more efficient than those DPP-IV enzymes as it cleaves the entire gluten protein into small fragments, which are easier to digest.

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    omega 3 pufa map2

    Unlocking Heart Health with Fish Oil

    Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death across the globe. Approximately 17.3 million deaths a year are attributed to CVDs, representing 31% of all deaths worldwide, with at least three quarters of these occurring in low to middle income countries.

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    DSM hosts Vitamin E media roundtable discussion in Vietnam

    A recent roundtable discussion hosted by DSM convened key media in Vietnam to discuss the importance of adequate vitamin E intake. Dr. Haeri Roh-Schmidt presented a new global overview of vitamin E status that has recently been published by DSM. Dr. Luu Ngan Tam then led a session on the latest science behind vitamin E and the risk factors associated with high levels of vitamin E deficiency amongst the Vietnamese population.

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    Only a Fifth of the Global Population Achieves Optimal Vitamin E Status

    A new study, published in the International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research, shows that vitamin E status is inadequate in a high proportion of the global population. Only 21% of the studied population groups reach an adequate serum level. The assessment is the first of its kind to review over 170 publications worldwide on studies into vitamin E intake levels and serum concentrations.

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    Two Studies Recommend DHA Supplementation During Pregnancy

    The last 3 months of pregnancy is a period of rapid increase in brain volume of an infant. It is a time when docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) accumulates in the brain and eye of the developing child. Because humans are extremely inefficient at converting α-linolenic acid (ALA) to DHA, it is important for women, especially when pregnant or lactating, eat seafood or use dietary supplements to obtain adequate amounts of DHA.

    The Kansas University DHA Outcomes Study (KUDOS) examined the effect of supplementing 600 mg DHA per day 

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    Relying upon Diet to Enhance Your Visual Experiences!

    If you live in North America, you can expect to see fireworks this weekend as both Canadians and Americans will be celebrating. Several years ago, my wife and I were flying across the US on July 4th and we could see fireworks below our plane as it descended into Newark airport. We were awed by the contrasting explosions of bright colors against the darkening skies below us. Our visual acuity was aided by xanthophyll carotenoids concentrated in the macula of the retina.

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    Dietary Choices, Organic Foods and Nutrient Intakes

    Based on double-digit growth in sales of organically produced goods, you might think organic foods are healthier choices than conventional foods. Especially given the price premiums for organic products (see USDA Organic Market Overview). Baudry and colleagues investigated the relationships between nutrition and health from 28,245 participants of the NutriNet-Sante study using a semi-quantitative, organic frequent food questionnaire (FFQ) with 264 foods items.

    For each every food item consumed, participants were asked “How often was the product of organic origin”? 

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    Eat More Fiber and Use Clinical Measurements to Monitor Health

    In a JAMA viewpoint, the opening sentence claims the US obesity epidemic costs $190 billion in health care expenditures annually. That is a tremendous cost to society and individual quality of life. Malik and associates explain the new changes to the nutrition and supplements facts panels along with the new Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed (RACCs) and serving sizes. The authors write ‘Careful monitoring of how food manufacturing changes in response to the label changes will be an important step in ensuring nutritional quality of food products.’

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    Can a Micronutrient Powder Help Amazonian Children Avoid Deficiency?

    Reading various blogs, one would expect that the bounties of the Amazon rainforest – guava, manioc and armadillo – are enough to provide all the nutrition that children need. Eating foods that are foraged is apparently the secret to good health. Top Amazonian superfoods include acai berries, raw cacao, passionfruit and sacha inchi seeds. Amazonian tribes are also reported to have the most diverse gut microbiota, with its purported health benefits. So it may be surprising to learn that indigenous populations in South America are actually at a greater nutritional risk than national populations.

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    Terrible to Read 14% of US Toddlers are Iron Deficient

    As one of the richest countries in the world, the United States infant mortality rate is higher than the other 27 wealthiest countries. Babies born in the US are 3 times more likely to die during their first year than one born in Finland or Japan.

    The most common nutrient deficiency among infants and children worldwide is iron. Iron deficiency delays cognitive development. According to new data (NHANES 2007-2010), ~14% of US toddlers (1-2y) and 7% of children 1-5y are iron deficient

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    B-Vitamins, PUFA and Reducing Homocysteine Levels

    Elevated homocysteine can be bad news: it is associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, adverse neurological outcomes, and poor bone health. Can supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids, both with and without B-vitamins, affect concentrations of homocysteine?

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    Iodine and Thyroid Health: Putting 2 and 2 Together

    According to the American Thyroid Association, >12% of the US population will develop a thyroid condition during their life. Women are 5 times more likely than men to have thyroid problems. Although the causes of thyroid problems are largely unknown, iodine, a trace element found in soil, is an essential component of thyroid hormones – thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Iodine deficiency disorders include hypothyroidism, goiter, cretinism, mental retardation, and developmental abnormalities.

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    Folic Acid Intake, Blood Levels during Pregnancy and Newborn Health

    Researchers from Johns Hopkins University highlight the importance of maintaining normal blood levels of B vitamins in pregnant women. 25 years ago, a Lancet publication established that folic acid supplementation would prevent neural tube defects (NTDs). This was the conclusion from a randomized control trial (RCT) conducted at 33 centers in 7 countries.

    According to the ABCnews, a new epidemiological study finds high levels of folic acid in the blood of pregnant women may not be good for babies. 

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    Advice vs Real Life: How Do Sun-Safe Practices Affect Vitamin D Levels?

    Vitamin D is one of those confusing nutrients. It is hard to consume adequate vitamin D from the diet, and sun exposure can make up for this shortfall. Yet, sun exposure increases risk of skin cancer. Advice to reduce exposure to the sun could therefore concurrently decrease risk of skin cancer while increasing the likelihood of vitamin D deficiency. To make matters more confusing, studies show that behaviors such as wearing sunscreen do not necessarily result in lower sun exposure. What a muddle - is there a way out of this confusing mess?

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    Cancer, PHS II, EPIC and Measuring Vitamin Status

    The Physicians’ Health Study II (PHS II) tested the effects of low-dose multivitamin-mineral supplementation in 18,350 men who had volunteered for a randomized controlled trial (RCT) involving aspirin and/or beta-carotene beginning in 1982.  Multivitamin-mineral use was associated with a 39% reduction in fatal heart attacks (myocardial infarction, MI).

    Rautianinen and colleagues wanted to know if healthy physicians who were using multivitamins at baseline had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Men who said they were using multivitamins at baseline (1982) were more likely to smoke, to be physically active, and less likely to consume alcohol.  Men who reported ≥20 y of multivitamin use at baseline had a lower risk of CVD events. 

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    Read Nutrient Facts Panels, Compare Daily Values (DV), Make Informed Choices

    The Fundamentals of Organic Certification” by Ilana Orlofsky describes the growth of organic food and beverage sales and provides a nice summary of regulatory requirements to be certified ‘organic’. As ‘organic’ certification moves outside of agricultural commodities (fruit, vegetables, eggs, meat, dairy) to finished food products, the number of food and  beverage manufacturers entering the category increases.

    Although ‘nutrient vitamins and minerals’ are approved ingredients within the National Organic Program (NOP), many manufacturers of finished organic foods and beverages do not enrich or fortify their products with vitamins and minerals. Why? 

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    How Useful is Screening of Donor Breast Milk?

    Two of our recent posts have looked at donor breast milk for infants: one from February found that donor milk reduced rates of necrotizing enterocolitis in very low birth weight infants, and the other found that 10% of breast milk purchased over the internet contained some cow’s milk. A recent publication by Bloom looked at the frequency of potential infectious agents and contaminants in donated breast milk from screened donors. 

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    Vitamin D and Blood Glucose Management

    As summer approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, we look forward to spending more time outdoors. This is good because our skin can synthesize vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. With most people spending most of their days indoors, serum 25(OH)D concentrations are known to decrease through the fall and winter months. The most recent data (NHANES 2007-2014) finds 24% of Americans have insufficient vitamin D levels (<50 nmol/L).

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    March of Dimes Coalition Petitions FDA for Folic Acid Fortification of Corn Flour

    Mandating folic acid enrichment of select cereal grain products reduces the prevalence of neural tube defects (NTD). The number of babies born with NTDs in the US decreased from 4,000 infants in 1995-1996 (before mandatory fortification) to 3,000 infants four years later. 31% and 16% decreases were observed in the prevalence of spina bifida and anencephaly, respectively. As said by Dr Krista Crider, a geneticist with the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities said, “Many put [folic acid fortification] on the list of the most effective public health interventions.” 

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    Pregnancy, Zika Virus, Mosquitoes and B Vitamins

    With growing concerns about the impact of mosquito dissemination of Zika virus among pregnant women, one can forget that a lack of B vitamins can also stunt a baby’s brain development. Folate and B12 deficiency are linked to disruptions in myelination and  normal development of an infant’s central nervous system during pregnancy. Because of the high incidence of neural tube defects, folic acid fortification of enriched cereal grains and cereal grain products was mandated by law in the US in 1996. However, the law was limited to certain standards of identity (bread, rolls, and buns; wheat flours; corn meals; farina; rice; and macaroni and noodle products).

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    Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Pregnancy, Lactation & Infant Immune Development

    On Tuesday, April 5, Dr Philip C Calder was awarded the 10th Danone International Prize for Nutrition in recognition of his nutrition research contributions at the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition (ASN).  

    In a video interview, Professor Calder discusses his surprise and the personal impact of this award. He highlights the importance of nutrition, especially vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, in the support of the immune system. 

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    Family Dining Al Fresco

    How Do Vitamin or Mineral Deficiencies Affect Wellbeing?

    Some vitamin and mineral deficiencies have symptoms that are well defined enough for us to give the disease that they cause a name: think of scurvy for vitamin C deficiency, pellagra for vitamin B3 deficiency, rickets for vitamin D deficiency in childhood, and beriberi for thiamin deficiency. Others are “silent”, such as vitamin D deficiency in adulthood, which weakens bones but has no overt symptoms. Still others have non-specific symptoms, such as the general fatigue that is found with any of the vitamins or minerals that affect red blood cell production. Can biochemically-defined deficiencies affect how the average person feels?

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    Do Americans Eat Enough Fish for Omega-3 Recommendations?

    In the blog posts from today and tomorrow, I have the chance to discuss two of my own analyses that I conducted for the Experimental Biology 2016 scientific meetings in San Diego. My posters were presented on April 5th from 9 am PST in exhibit halls A-D. My first poster looks at the consumption of fish and how it relates to intakes of omega-3 PUFA.

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    Announcing the 2016 Grand Prize for Young Minority Investigator

    Congratulations to Valerie Darcey, MS RD for being selected as the 2016 recipient of the ASN Grand Prize for Young Minority Investigators, sponsored by DSM Nutritional Products LLC. Her presentation was entitled “Omega-3 status is related to prefrontal cortex-mediated impulse control in adolescents” Ms Darcey is advised by Dr John VanMeter, Georgetown University. Her doctoral research focuses on the relationship between diet, brain and cognitive development in adolescents.

    Valerie follows in the footsteps of previous winners: 2015 Michelle Cardel, University of Colorado, Denver; 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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    Can Biofortification or Reduction of Phytic Acid in Beans Increase Iron Uptake?

    Iron deficiency anemia is the most widespread micronutrient deficiency, according to the World Health Organisation. Eliminating iron deficiency anemia is a world-wide priority, and a three-pronged approach is suggested including increasing intakes of iron, controlling infectious disease with better hygiene and immunization, and improving overall nutrient intakes. Measures to increase iron intakes need to focus not only on increasing the iron content of the diet but also the absorption of iron. How can plant breeding techniques help in reducing iron deficiency anemia. 

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    Walk the Talk with Your Fork: Do Dietitians Eat Better?

    As a nutrition scientist, part of my training covered dietary recommendations. I know what I should be eating, both in terms of food groups and the nutrients that I can expect to obtain from those foods. As a result, my diet and lifestyle is generally healthy. Even so, I know that there are a few "areas of improvement" in my diet. A recent study compared diets of dietitians with non-dietitians. How did they fare? 

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    Celebrations Galore: Nutrition, Diversity, Empowerment

    Experimental Biology, EB16, is just around the corner. This multidisciplinary, scientific meeting attracts over 14,000 scientists and exhibitors with interest in anatomy, biochemistry and molecular biology, investigative pathology, nutrition, pharmacology and physiology.

    As a Sustaining Partner of the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) Roundtable, DSM is  committed to advancing our knowledge and application of nutrition. Beginning in 2011 and 2012, DSM partnered with the ASN Minority and Diversity Affairs Committee to help nurture and support the development of underrepresented minority scientists to participate in this scientific meeting.

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    Multivitamin Supplements Support Full-Term Pregnancies

    According to the CDC, 11% of women have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a baby to full term. A new study finds that women using a multivitamin-mineral supplement before and during the first term of pregnancy are less likely to miscarry.

    Couples living in Michigan and Texas were recruited to a lifestyle style assessing daily use of multivitamins, cigarettes, caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. 

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    A Lifelong Approach to Cardiovascular Health With Nutrition

    Have you ever calculated your 30-year risk of cardiovascular disease? What about your chance of having a heart attack in the next 10 years? Both tools use general demographic information combined with established risk factors such as smoking status, cholesterol levels and blood pressure to calculate the chance that an individual will develop heart disease or suffer a heart attack within a certain period of time. These tools are also used in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, as described recently by Leening, Berry and Allen in the Journal of the American Medical Association as part of their article on taking a lifespan approach to reducing cardiovascular risk. What role can nutrition play?

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    Are you Maintaining a Healthy Omega-3 Status?

    Have you ever taken a bath where the tub slowly drained? When it does, you have to keep dribbling in water. Otherwise, you are in a puddle not a bath. Of course, too much water too fast isn’t good because the tub soon overflows. Nutrition is similar to taking a bath. We constantly need to add water (nutrients). We don’t want to bathe in a puddle (or be deficient). We don’t want to overfill (excess). The goal is to keep optimal levels of nutrients in our bodies.

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    Do We Need a Dietary Reference Intake for Bioactives?

    The Dietary Reference Intakes were developed in the 1990s to assist nutrition professionals in determining dietary adequacy. The five types of reference intakes (Estimated Average Requirement, Recommended Dietary Allowance, Tolerable Upper Limit, Average Intake, and Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges) are used to work out whether populations or individuals are consuming essential nutrients within a range least likely to be associated with deficiency or toxicity. These reference intakes are also used for nutrition labelling on food product packages. Is it time for a recommended intake for bioactives?

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    The Potential Health Benefits of Antioxidants from Olive Oil

    One of the key components of the heart-healthy Mediterranean Diet is olive oil. Like other vegetable oils, olive oil contains a high proportion of healthy fats. However, the antioxidant content of particularly the extra virgin olive oils is suspected to convey an additional health benefit. What did a recent intervention study with the olive polyphenol hydroxytyrosol show that could promote heart health?

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    The Other Vitamin B12 Controversy: Must We Eat Meat?

    Our second most popular post on TalkingNutrition is one from September 12, 2013 based on some highlights from talks at a conference on controversies in measuring vitamin B12 status. The reason for its popularity is that it comes up at the top of searches for "vitamin B12 controversy". We get about 10 visitors a day to this post. However, it is written for nutrition science experts, and I wonder if it contains the information that the average person is looking for on vitamin B12 controversies. There are several other controversies regarding vitamin B12, and they mostly relate to whether our requirement for vitamin B12 means that we have to eat meat. What is TalkingNutrition's take?

    Our second most popular post on TalkingNutrition is one from September 12, 2013 based on some highlights from talks at a conference on controversies in measuring vitamin B12 status. The reason for its popularity is that it comes up at the top of searches for vitamin B12 controversies. We get about 10 visitors a day to this post. However, the post is written for nutrition science experts, and I wonder if it contains the information that the average person is looking for on vitamin B12 controversies. There are namely several other controversies regarding vitamin B12, and they mostly relate to whether our requirement for vitamin B12 means that we have to eat meat.

    Vitamin B12 is needed for various important processes in the body, including red blood cell formation and normal neurological function (see a factsheet from the Office of Dietary Supplements with a thorough overview on vitamin B12). Rather than merely being a source of cobalt as some websites suggest, the various cobalamins with vitamin B12 activity participate in a number of important biochemical reactions. Vitamin B12 is absolutely essential: deficiency results in permanent neurological damage, and before it was discovered that pernicious anemia could be cured by feeding people large quantities of liver, it was fatal.

    Animal products contain the only “naturally occurring” source of vitamin B12 in the diet, particularly liver and filter-feeding seafood such as mussels, but meat, fish, eggs and dairy products all contain some vitamin B12. However, the ultimate source of vitamin B12 in foods is bacteria and archaea*. Industrial production processes use most commonly Pseudomonas denitricans and Propionibacterium shermanii to make vitamin B12. Fungi and yeasts do not appear to synthesize vitamin B12, although it may be present in some edible fungi due to vitamin B12 absorption from the fungi’s substrate (see Bito, and an excellent, exhaustive discussion on whether plant foods and soil contamination of food can meet vitamin B12 requirements from Norris). Bacteria in the intestinal tract of ruminants such as cows and sheep produce vitamin B12 when sufficient cobalt is provided in the diet. For example, around 3% of dietary cobalt in cows’ diets is converted into vitamin B12. Animals that are more omnivorous such as pigs or chickens obtain sufficient vitamin B12 from small quantities of insects or other animal products that they consume, or from ingesting soil that contains vitamin B12. Farmed animals generally are given vitamin B12 as part of their diet.

    The biological need for vitamin B12 is reflected in our genes. The process for actively absorbing vitamin B12 is complex and relies on a number of carrier proteins such as haptocorrin and intrinsic factor to release it from the food matrix and allow it to be absorbed as a complex via specific receptors on cells in the ileum. Genetic mutations can affect the function of these proteins required for vitamin B12 absorption and metabolism, leading to various inborn deficiency disorders (Watkins and Rosenblatt).

    Animal foods are the only sources of vitamin B12 in the human diet, outside of supplements. The absorption of vitamin B12 is determined by a number of our genes, therefore must have been there over the evolution of humanity. Does this mean that people have to eat animal foods? Does the need for vitamin B12 mean that a 100% plant-based diet is unhealthy? No! The presence or absence of animal-based foods does not affect whether a diet is healthy. The healthiness of a diet is determined by whether it nourishes us, i.e. its actual nutrient content. Advances in nutrition science and industrial production of small, complex molecules have allowed us to produce vitamin B12 without the need for eating animals. Eat meat or avoid it, it’s your choice.

    Even so, vegans are at greater risk of vitamin B12 deficiency than ovo-lactovegetarians or omnivores (see review from Pawlak and co-workers), and this is logical as they do not obtain vitamin B12 from their food. Vegans should be aware of the lack of a source of vitamin B12 in their diet and either undergo regular testing for deficiency, or take a vitamin B12 supplement.


    Bito, T.; Teng, F.; Ohishi, N.; Takenaka, S.; Miyamoto, E.; Sakuno, E.; Terashima, K.; Yabuta, Y.; Watanabe, F. Characterization of vitamin b12 compounds in the fruiting bodies of shiitake mushroom (lentinula edodes) and bed logs after fruiting of the mushroom. Mycoscience 2014, 55, 462-468,

    Martens, J.H.,  Barg, H.,  Warren, M.,  Jahn, D. Microbial production of vitamin B12. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. Volume 58, Issue 3, 2002, Pages 275-285. DOI: 10.1007/s00253-001-0902-7 DOI: 10.1007/s00253-001-0902-7

    Pawlak R, Parrott SJ, Raj S, Cullum-Dugan D, Lucus D. How prevalent is vitamin B(12) deficiency among vegetarians? Nutr Rev. 2013 Feb;71(2):110-7. doi: 10.1111/nure.12001. Epub 2013 Jan 2.

    Watkins D, Rosenblatt DS. Inborn errors of cobalamin absorption and metabolism. Am J Med Genet C Semin Med Genet. 2011 Feb 15;157C(1):33-44. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.c.30288. Epub 2011 Feb 10.


    *Vitamin B12-producing genera include: Aerobacter, Agrobacterium, Alcaligenes, Azotobacter, Bacillus, Clostridium, Corynebacterium, Flavobacterium, Micromonospora, Mycobacterium, Norcardia, Propionibacterium, Protaminobacter, Proteus, Pseudomonas, Rhizobium, Salmonella, Serratia, Streptomyces, Streptococcus and Xanthomonas

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    If your Diet isn’t Perfect, You May Wish to Supplement

    For many people, dietary supplements are an important source of vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. The newly released 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans highlight the fact most Americans fail to consume recommended amounts of vitamins A, C, D, E, dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and choline.

    Count them: 9 nutrients with dietary intake recommendations based upon sex, age and physiological state (pregnancy and lactation), If you include iron, often a shortfall nutrient for menstruating females, that makes 10 shortfall nutrients. 

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    Learn about Omega3s and Mobile Nutrient Assessment Tools at Engredea!

    The Natural Products Expo/Engredea is being held March 11-13, 2016 in Anaheim CA. In fulfilling our goal of bringing nutrition and health to more people, DSM Nutritional Products will be offering two educational sessions on Friday, March 11.

    Start the day with breakfast and an entire buffet of information on Omega-3 fatty acids. The session, The Omega-3 Paradox – Essential for Health yet Deficient in the Diet, will begin at 8:30am 

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    Raise Your Spoon to National Cereal Day

    Ready-to-eat cereals were invented over 100 years ago when working families were seeking a convenient, nutritious breakfast solution that didn’t require stoking a wood stove to prepare a hot breakfast.  From humble beginnings, two iconic breakfast cereal  companies – Kellogg’s, Post – emerged in Battle Creek, MI. More have followed. Today, we celebrate National Cereal Day!

    Fortified ready-to-eat cereals are a major contributor of micronutrients within the diet. Children and adolescents who consume breakfast cereals regularly have higher intakes of dietary fiber, vitamins A, D, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc and lower energy from fat. 

    Ready-to-eat cereals were invented over 100 years ago when working families were seeking a convenient, nutritious breakfast solution that didn’t require stoking a wood stove to prepare a hot breakfast.  From humble beginnings, two iconic breakfast cereal  companies – Kellogg’s, Post – emerged in Battle Creek, MI. More have followed. Today, we celebrate National Cereal Day!

    Fortified ready-to-eat cereals are a major contributor of micronutrients within the diet. Children and adolescents who consume breakfast cereals regularly have higher intakes of dietary fiber, vitamins A, D, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc and lower energy from fat. Many of the micronutrient differences are related to the fortification profile of the ready-to-eat breakfast cereals. Never forget this fact as you reach for a box of cereal in the grocery aisle.

    Look at the Nutrition Facts panel  to see if your cereal choice is an good source (10% of the Daily Value, DV) or excellent source (20% DV) of essential vitamins and minerals. If it isn’t a good source for multiple vitamins and minerals, keep looking!

    It is important to choose fortified breakfast cereals. Why? Because the statement that ‘breakfast consumers eat a more nutrient-dense diet and are at reduced risk of micronutrient inadequacy’ is ONLY true if the product is fortified.

    Breakfast and cereal consumption is associated with lower body weight, lower BMI, and lower waist circumference.  Dietary fiber intake and nutrient density is higher among among breakfast consumers and those eating ready-to-eat cereals for breakfast have even higher nutrient intakes (vs  other types of breakfast).

    Choosing fortified breakfast cereals is a cost-effective way to improve vitamin and mineral intake and maintain a healthy body. Raise your spoon to National Cereal Day today, tomorrow, and for the remainder of the year!


    Williams PG. The benefits of breakfast cereal consumption: A systematic review of the evidence base. 2014 Adv Nutr doi: 10.1945/an.114.006247

    Fulgoni VL, Buckley RB. The contribution of fortified ready-to-eat cereal to vitamin and mineral intake in the US population, NHANES 2007-2010. 2015 Nutrients doi: 10.3390/nu706349

    Barr SI, DiFrancesco L, Fulgoni VL. Breakfast consumption is positively associated with nutrient adequacy in Canadian children and adolescents. 2014 Br J Nutr doi: 10.1017/S0007114514002190

    Serra-Majem L. Vitamin and mineral intakes in European children. Is food fortification needed? 2001 Publ Health Nutr doi: 10.1079/PHN2000104


    Has the German Diet Changed for the Better Over the Past Decade?

    The German dietary guidelines are very similar to those in other countries. The ten rules include enjoying a balanced and varied diet, eating whole grain cereals, choosing 5 servings of fruit and vegetables every day, daily consumption of calcium-rich dairy, fish once or twice a week, reducing fat, salt and sugar consumption, adequate liquid intake (particularly water), keeping fit and maintaining a healthy weight. But do German delicacies like sausage, pretzels and sauerkraut fit in with a healthy diet?

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    Lutein and Zeaxanthin: Most Studied Carotenoids for Eye Health

    It is March, National Nutrition Month, and the campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is in full swing. When it comes to making healthy choices, the focus is often on changing dietary patterns to reduce fat, sodium, and sugar intake. Makes sense when the prevalence of obesity hasn’t changed between 2003-2004 and 2011-2012 and 78.6 million American adults are obese.

    Healthy eating involves more than an awareness of satiety signals to manage weight. Specialized cells in our body, like our eyes, require specific nutrients. Of 60 carotenoids in our diet, it is lutein and zeaxanthin that are concentrated in the center of the eye, in the macula where the optic nerve exits to the brain.

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    Maintaining Vitamin E Concentrations in Breast Milk

    Babies born prematurely are at greater  ‘nutritional risk’ because many key nutrients – long-chain omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), vitamin D, and vitamin E - are passed from mother to infant in utero. Without the last trimester of pregnancy to acquire essential nutrients, preterm babies are at risk of being born with low body reserves.

    Maternal vitamin E intake during pregnancy is associated with risk of birth defects in infants. Preterm infants are especially susceptible to vitamin E deficiency. When >90% of US women of child-bearing age are not consuming recommended amounts of vitamin E from food, they can have suboptimal vitamin E status

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    Malnutrition Negatively Affects Hospital Outcomes

    Depending where you live, the prevalence of malnutrition varies. In the US, the prevalence of clinical deficiencies are: vitamin B6 (10.5%), vitamin D (9.5%), vitamin C (6%), and vitamin B12 (2%). Among women 12-49y, 9.5% are iron deficient. These are nationally representative, free-living, apparently healthy individuals.

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    Vitamin B12, the Microstructure of the Hippocampus, and Learning in Older Women

    Vitamin B12 is required for the proper functioning of the brain. There are various ways in which an adequate vitamin B12 status supports neurological function. Vitamin B12 is required for the synthesis of DNA building blocks, and the integrity of DNA, and has epigenetic effects on DNA methylation in the brain. Clinical vitamin B12 deficiency causes neurological symptoms: fatigue, numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, confusion and poor memory. But, can low-normal levels that are above normal deficiency cut-offs also be associated with problems with learning and memory?

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    Using Donor Human Milk in Very Low Birth Weight Infants

    TalkingNutrition has written before on the topic of donor human milk for healthy, term infants. Now, a study from Kantorowska and co-workers has been published looking at the effect of introducing a donor milk program for very low birth weight (VLBW) infants. VLBW infants are defined as having a birth weight of less than 1500 g and make up 1.4% of births in the US, or around 20 million births worldwide.  The most common cause of low birth weight is preterm birth, and VLBW is generally seen in infants born before 30 weeks of gestation, although intrauterine growth restriction is also a cause. How can donor human milk help these infants?

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    Evidence that Inadequate Multivitamin-Mineral Status Affects Metabolism

    Vitamins have many functions and sources. A common function is to be part of an enzyme involved in a metabolic reaction. The brain is particularly metabolically active. In 2002, the Institute of Medicine estimated that 130 grams of carbohydrate were needed daily to provide sufficient glucose for the brain to function.  Thinking requires energy. So it is not surprising to read that increasing one’s intake of vitamins and minerals might impact metabolism and the brain.

    In a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-groups study of 97 healthy females, Kennedy and colleagues studied the effect of increasing doses of multivitamins/minerals 

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    Infant’s Vitamin D Status Depends upon Mom

    One of the most exciting moments, and frightening (at least the first time), is learning you are about to become a parent.  The period  from conception to 2 years of age is known as the “first 1,000 days of life”. Mounting evidence suggests a child’s life is profoundly affected by experiences during this 1,000 days. 

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    Using Plant Leaf Proteins as a Source of Dietary Protein

    The planet’s resources are limited. As the world’s population increases, scientists are looking into new ways to reduce food waste,  and maximize the value of agricultural production. A common theme is the transformation of what is traditionally seen as waste into a new and valuable product, a little like how we can collect kitchen scraps to turn into compost, or use spent coffee grounds to grow gourmet mushrooms. One waste product that is produced in enormous quantities worldwide are the plants left over after crops have been harvested. Think about the leaves of corn, wheat, rice, millet or sugar beet. While these leaves and stalks can simply be left to decompose in the field, or alternatively animals can be allowed to graze on the plants, the plant matter also contains useful compounds such as cellulose that can be converted into bioethanol, and plant protein for human or animal nutrition.

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    Nutrient Density, Healthy Eating Patterns, and Dietary Guidelines

    Skipping meals is never a good idea when one wants to eat a balanced diet, rich in vitamins and minerals. Lunch is an important source of nutrients for school-aged children. New data from 4,755 children and adolescents (NHANES 2009-2012) finds that missing lunch is associated with lower micronutrient intakes

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