Category Archives: Vitamins/Minerals

Low Vitamin D in Childhood Linked to Later Heart Risks

sunshine_145918109A long-term Finnish study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism has reported that vitamin D deficiency in childhood may be linked to hardening of the arteries later in life. In 1980 the researchers enrolled 2,148 children aged 3 to 18 who underwent periodic physical exams measuring serum vitamin D levels and other cardiovascular markers until they were 45 years old. During this time, doctors used ultrasound to examine their arteries (including the carotid artery in the neck) for thickening as a marker of increased cardiovascular risk. After adjusting for age, sex and other cardiovascular risk factors, the results showed children in the lowest one-quarter for vitamin D levels were nearly twice as likely to have thickening of the carotid artery as those in the other three quarters. This evidence suggests Vitamin D is important for good artery health. What are your typical sources of Vitamin D? How often do you recommend your patients to get their Vitamin D levels checked?

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Are Vitamin Drinks a Bad Idea?

ID-10020546The vitamins and minerals are in the news again, with all this being related to their addition to sports drinks, water and juices. Scientists suggests that consumers might be ingesting higher than necessary (and sometimes potentially harmful) amounts. When consumed in excess, water-soluble vitamins like B and C are in the urine, but fat soluble-vitamins including A, D, E and K, accumulate in tissues, posing potential risks. Some people (for example, pregnant or lactating women) will require additional vitamins and minerals, but for the majority of the population, these nutrients should be primarily acquired through daily diet. This discussion extends to antioxidants and the lack of information on the long-term supplementation effects. Scientists state that it is impossible to consume too much from foods but the exposure through supplementation may be too great. How do you counsel your patients about healthy diet and vitamin/mineral/antioxidant rich foods? For those who require supplementation, what are your typical recommendations?

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How Vitamin D May Fight Colon Cancer

ID-100130112New observational research performed at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School was just published in the journal Gut.  Researchers have associated higher levels of vitamin D with a reduced risk of colon cancer, stating that the higher the levels in the blood, the less is the likelihood of developing malignant tumors in the colon. The authors discuss how vitamin D boosts immunity in cancer as well as any other type of infection leading to greater number of T cells which target tumor cells and limit their growth. When did you have your vitamin D level check last?

 

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Low vitamin D ‘boosts dementia risk’

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A 6 year research lead by Dr. David Llewellyn and his team at the University of Exeter Medical School, concluded that low levels of vitamin D in older people are linked to the risk of developing dementia. Vitamin D can be found in foods, such as oily fish, supplements, or exposure to sunlight, however elderly people have less efficient skin and must be supplement in other ways. The team found that in 1,169 subjects with sufficient levels of vitamin D, there is a 1 in 10 chance of developing dementia. In 70 subjects with deficiency, there was a 1 in 5 risk of getting dementia. They cannot say that low vitamin D causes dementia but it is worthwhile to continue studying the connection. What are your thoughts on the association of dementia risk with low vitamin D?

 For additional information, please see BBC News.

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Complementary and Integrative Health Practices in the Real World

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The Director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Josephine Briggs, MD shares her thoughts on a recent publication in the journal Headache by Robert Cowan, MD. Both are trying to raise awareness of what patients visiting clinicians might be utilizing in terms of conventional and complementary approaches. There are more Evidence-Based resources available to conventional practitioners on CAM than ever before. What are your thoughts on Dr. Briggs commentary?

 

For additional information please see, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

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Nutrition Basics Help Fight Child Obesity

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The Food and Drug Administration just released Nutrition Basics reminder to help parents look at nutrition facts labels (ingredients, percent daily value, nutrients, and serving size) before buying food for their children. The main goal of this program is to fight childhood obesity with better food choices. How often do you discuss food labeling with your patients?

For additional information, please see the FDA Consumer Update .

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In the severely obese, vitamin D deficiency contributes to poor mobility

LazyThose with vitamin D deficiency, especially among New Englanders, are linked to a multitude of health risks. A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that those who were obese and vitamin D deficient walked slower and were less physically active than their comparators who were not deficient.  The results of this study suggest that vitamin D status may contribute to the reduction of physical functioning, leading to a more sedentary lifestyle. What are some ways you encourage or increase physical activity in your patients? How does this study influence your recommendation of vitamin D?

For additional information, please visit Medical News Today

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Beans and Peas Lower Cholesterol

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A recent six week trial published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal evaluated over 1,000 patients and shown that just one serving of legumes (peas, beans, chickpeas, and lentils) can decrease one’s total LDL by 5 percent. A decrease by 5 percent leads to a 5-6 percent reduction in heart attack and other major cardiovascular events. What are your favorite recipes that incorporate legumes?

For additional information visit NYT

For the study visit CMAJ

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Drinking Milk Linked to Osteoarthritis Relief

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Milk is often advertised for strong bones, however, a new study published by Arthritis Care & Research claims that increasing one’s milk intake may lead to a decrease in osteoarthritis progression. The study evaluated 2,148 patients of both sexes suggesting that osteoarthritis progression was decreased in women who consumed more than 7 glasses a week. The authors noted that although they were unable to establish a definitive link between milk ingestion and decrease in osteoarthritis progression, they encourage readers to drink milk that is low-fat or fat-free regardless of sex. What are your thoughts on this research?  What are your typical recommendations to your patients who are trying to slow down their disease progression?

Read the study at Arthritis Care & Research
For additional information visit The New York Times
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There is Not Enough Evidence in Using Vitamins and Supplements to Prevent Heart Disease and Cancer

spoon-with-colorful-vitamin-medicine-pills-10036718The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has published its recommendations in the latest issue of Annals of Internal Medicine (draft released in November of 2013.) The recommendations suggests that there is not enough evidence to show if there is benefit or harm in taking multivitamins to prevent heart disease and cancer, aside from two exceptions. They recommend against the use of vitamin E and beta-carotene in preventing heart disease and cancer. People who are at a high risk of lung cancer, such as smokers, had a higher chance of developing lung cancer when using beta-carotene. The task force focused only on heart disease and cancer and there are no recommendations on taking vitamins and supplements for overall health and wellness or for filling nutrition gaps.

What do you usually take and recommend vitamins and supplements for? What are your thoughts on these recommendations?How would this change the way you take or recommend vitamins?

For additional information please visit  WebMD

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