The 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?
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In an 11 week trial recently published in The Journal of Physiology, researchers at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo assessed the effect vitamin C and E have on exercise endurance. 54 participants received either 1,000 mg of vitamin C plus 235 mg of vitamin E or placebo and they exercised up to four times a week. Researchers found no difference in performance between the two groups. However, those who took vitamin C and E seemed to produce less of a specific mitochondrial marker in their muscle cells, which suggests of a decrease endurance. What are your thoughts about this study? What are your typical recommendations to patients looking to enhance their exercise endurance?
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Vitamin E and beta carotene consumption have been associated to the progression of premature lung tumors in high-risk patients. A study published Science Translational Medicine may uncover some of the mystery. Researchers found that mice with early lung cancer given vitamin E and N-acetylcysteine had a 2.8 times increase in lung tumors compared to mice with early lung cancer not given antioxidants. The mice supplemented with antioxidants also experienced more invasive and aggressive tumors, and expired twice as rapidly. What investigators found is that although antioxidants decrease DNA damage, the damage becomes so trivial that the cell doesn’t deploy its cancer-defense system, based on the p53 protein. Normally, when the p53 system identifies significant DNA damage, it kills the cell before it can become malignant. Antioxidants allow cancer cells to remain undetected, preventing their destruction. The scientists stressed that the results only apply to supplements, not antioxidant-rich foods.
How often do you encourage your patients to increase consumption of antioxidant rich foods? What are your thoughts on supplementation with food-based antioxidant products?
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