Thursday, December 27, 2007

Adolescent obesity increases future coronary heart disease risk

A rising trend of adolescent obesity is projected to result in an increase of heart disease events (including death) by up to 16% between the years of 2020 and 2035.

The effect of adolescent obesity on future adult heart disease risk has not been clearly established. In a recent publication, researchers estimated the prevalence of obese 35-year-olds in 2020 on the basis of adolescents overweight in 2000 and historical trends regarding overweight adolescents who become obese adults. A state-transition computer simulation was used to project the annual excess incidence and prevalence of heart disease, the total number of excess heart disease events, and excess deaths from both heart disease and other causes related to obesity from 2020 to 2035.

The number of overweight adolescents is projected to increase the prevalence of obese 35-year-olds in 2020 to a range of 30-37% in men and 34-44% in women. As a result of this increased obesity, an increase in the incidence of heart disease and related deaths is projected to occur in young adulthood. By 2035, it is estimated that the prevalence of heart disease will increase by a range of 5-16%, with more than 100,000 excess cases caused by the increased obesity.
Although projections 25 or more years into the future are subject to numerous uncertainties, based on current data it is a reasonable assumption that adolescent obesity will increase rates of heart disease among future young and middle-aged adults, resulting in substantial increases in disease and death rates.

Researchers concluded that aggressive treatment with currently available therapies to reverse obesity-related risk factors may reduce, but not entirely eliminate, the calculated increase in the number of heart disease events.

Source: Adolescent Overweight and Future Adult Coronary Heart Disease, Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, Pamela Coxson, Mark J. Pletcher, James Lightwood and Lee Goldman, N Engl J Med, 2007 Dec 6; 357(23):2371-9.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Multivitamins and healthy immune function

Adequate intakes of micronutrients are required for the immune system to function efficiently. A good multivitamin/mineral can enhance the immune system by supporting the body's natural defenses on both structural and cellular levels.

A recent article published in the British Journal of Nutrition summarizes the roles of selected vitamins and trace elements in immune function. Adequate intakes of micronutrients are required for the immune system to function efficiently. Micronutrient deficiency suppresses immunity by affecting antibody responses, leading to imbalances in the immune system. This situation increases susceptibility to infections, which increases disease and death risk.

In addition, infections aggravate micronutrient deficiencies by reducing nutrient intake, increasing losses, and interfering with utilization by altering metabolic pathways. Inadequate intakes of micronutrients are common in people with eating disorders, smokers (active and passive), individuals with chronic alcohol abuse, certain diseases, during pregnancy and lactation, and in the elderly. Micronutrients contribute to the body's natural defenses on three levels by supporting physical barriers (skin/mucosa), cellular immunity and antibody production.

Vitamins A, C, E and the mineral zinc assist in enhancing the skin barrier function. The vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E and folic acid and the minerals iron, zinc, copper and selenium work in synergy to support the protective activities of the immune cells. Finally, all these micronutrients, with the exception of vitamin C and iron, are essential for the production of antibodies.

Overall, inadequate intake and status of these vitamins and minerals may lead to a suppressed immune system, which increases the risk of infections and aggravates malnutrition. Therefore, supplementation with a multivitamin/mineral that includes these micronutrients can support the body's natural defense system by enhancing all three levels of immunity.

Source: Selected vitamins and trace elements support immune function by strengthening epithelial barriers and cellular and humoral immune responses, Silvia Maggini, Eva S. Wintergerst, Stephen Beveridge and Dietrich H. Hornig , Br J Nutr. 2007 Oct;98 Suppl 1:S29-35.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Junk food makes up nearly one-third of calories in American diet

According to a large national survey, nutrient-poor food, or "junk food," contributes nearly 30% of all the energy (calories) consumed in the US population. Efforts to reduce obesity should focus on both individual and policy actions to reduce the importance of nutrient-poor foods in the US diet.

A study of 4,700 adults showed that despite the increased popularity of low- carbohydrate diets, almost one-third of Americans' calories are coming from 'empty calorie' foods such as sweets and desserts, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages. Salty snacks and fruit-flavored drinks make up another five percent. Lead researcher Gladys Block, a professor of epidemiology and public health nutrition at University of California, Berkeley, used data from a U.S. government survey called the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

She analyzed the answers of participants interviewed in 1999 and 2000 who were asked to report all the foods they ate in the previous 24 hours. "We know people are eating a lot of junk food, but to have almost one-third of Americans' calories coming from those categories is a shocker. It's no wonder there's an obesity epidemic in this country," Block said in a statement. Sodas contributed 7.1 percent of the total calories eaten. Sweets topped the list, followed by hamburgers, pizza, and potato chips.

By contrast, fruits and vegetables made up only about 10 percent of calories in the diet. "It's important to emphasize that sweets, desserts, snacks, and alcohol are contributing calories without providing vitamins and minerals," said Block. "You can actually be obese and still be undernourished with regard to important nutrients. We shouldn't be telling people to eat less - we should be telling people to eat differently."

Source: Foods contributing to energy intake in the US: data from NHANES III and NHANES 1999–2000, Block G, Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, Volume 17, June-August 2004, 439-447.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Vitamin D and endometrial cancer

New research indicates that low serum vitamin D may be associated with an increased incidence of endometrial cancer.

The November 16, 2007 issue of the journal Preventive Medicine reported an association between ultraviolet light exposure and a reduced risk of endometrial cancer. Two previous investigations have already linked a lower rate of kidney and ovarian cancer with greater UV exposure, which increases the formation of vitamin D3 in the body.

Researchers analyzed data made available through GLOBOCAN, a database of cancer incidence and mortality in 175 countries. In general, the incidence of endometrial cancer was highest at the highest latitudes in both hemispheres. The correlation between low UV exposure and low vitamin D levels and endometrial cancer incidence remained strong even after adjusting for variables such as fat intake, weight, cloud cover, skin pigmentation and others.

Most previous studies have focused on hormone levels and dietary fat intake and their role in the development of the disease. This is the first study linking low serum vitamin D levels to an increased risk of endometrial cancer. Along with other preventive measures, vitamin D adequacy should be considered as part of a comprehensive program for prevention of endometrial cancer.

Source: Vitamin D, ecologic studies and endometrial cancer, Schwartz GG, Porta M., Prev Med 2007 Nov;45(5):323-4.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Zinc supplements decrease incidence of infections in the elderly

Elderly adults are increasingly susceptible to infections, oxidative stress and immune dysfunction. According to new research, supplementing with zinc for one year decreased the incidence of infections and lowered markers of oxidative stress in a group of adults aged 55-87 years.

Adults over the age of 55 years are more susceptible to infections, immune dysfunction, increased oxidative stress, and zinc deficiency. Since zinc has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, new research sought to determine the effect of zinc on the incidence of total infections in the elderly. Researchers also tested the effect of zinc on markers of oxidative stress.

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of zinc supplementation was conducted in 50 healthy subjects of both sexes aged 55-87 years. The zinc- supplemented group received 45 mg of zinc orally for 12 months. Incidence of infections during the supplementation period was documented. Plasma zinc concentrations and markers of oxidative stress were measured at the beginning and after supplementation. After zinc supplementation, the incidence of infections was significantly lower, plasma zinc was significantly higher, and generation of oxidative stress markers was significantly lower in the zinc-supplemented than in the placebo group.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New study finds the more supplements you take, the healthier you are
















An authoritative study, published in the Nutrition Journal, finds that the more supplements a person takes, the healthier they are.

The study, conducted by Dr Gladys Block at the University of California, examined a number of health measures, including blood vitamin levels and disease risk, in three groups of people – those who took no supplements; those who took a multivitamin usually based on basic RDA levels; and those who took a combination of many supplements such as vitamins C, E, D, essential fats, lecithin, coenzyme Q10, glucosamine, B complex and others. Almost nine out of ten of the multiple-supplement users consumed 20 or more different kinds of supplements throughout the year.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The health benefits of turmeric extract (curcumin)


Researchers have long been aware of the health benefits of the curry spice turmeric, which is the source of curcumin (or turmeric extract). In fact, in India where turmeric is used daily Alzheimer's disease is nearly absent in a country (per the population size). Curcumin is the same thing as turmeric extract.



It is a powerful antioxidant and it has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is one of the most destructive processes that damage our cells and organs, leading to disease and aging.



Researchers have long studied the turmeric extract's application in fighting cancer, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and reversing the process underlying Alzheimer's disease.
One of the most important activities in the human body is turmeric extract's ability to inhibit chronic inflammation (by inhibiting activation of transcription factor, nuclear factor-kappa B, NF-kB). What's the big deal? Well, NF-kB activation has been implicated in ALL stages of the development and propagation of cancer; and switching off the NF-kB genes, which turmeric extract seems to do has been a huge subject of intense research.



The National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C. has funded numerous studies on turmeric extract (curcumin) because of the diverse benefits of this antioxidant spice. It affects virtually every organ of the body. The applications include the treatment of cystic fibrosis (the most common genetic disorder in Caucasians), autoimmune diseases, such as sceleroderma, the prevention and treatment of cancer, the prevention and treatment of heart disease, reverse the damage associated with high blood sugar (diabetes), the prevention and treatment of both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, and multiple sclerosis. It may help prevent cataracts; it shows promise as a treatment for skin disorders such as psoriasis; and it helps in the treatment of wounds.



Among other benefits, turmeric extract has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activities. This is not said lightly, and should not be overlooked as a minor benefit, particularly in wound healing.



Of all the benefits of curcumin or turmeric extract, it is the prevention and treatment of cancer that has most scientists in awe. One investigator wrote:






"Curcumin ...has emerged as one of the most powerful chemopreventative and
anticancer agents. It's biological effects range from antioxidant and anti-inflammatory to inhibition of angiogenesis, and is shown to possess
specific anti-tumoral activity."


Source: Curcumin, a dietary component, has anti-cancer, chemosensitization and radiosensitization effects by down-regulating the MDM2 oncogene through the PI3 kinase/mTOR/ETS2 pathway, Li M, Zhang Z, Hill DL, Wang H, Zhang R, Cancer Res 2007 Mar 1:67(5):1988



Although anti-cancer drugs weaken the immune system, turmeric extract strengthens the immune system as it fights cancer at every step of cancer development and propagation.



For cancer to develop, it has to initiate ...turmeric extract stops this. It has to propagate (progression and promotion), ...turmeric extract stops this. New blood vessels have to be formed to feed the new cancer cells so they can survive (angiogenesis), turmeric extract stops this, ... and turmeric extract induces apoptosis, the self-destruction of cancer cells. It does all this while protecting the rest of the body from other diseases and inflammation. Turmeric extract seems to be the perfect designer substance. It appears that man could not design or develop a more perfect substance ....but, that doesn't mean it wouldn't stop them from trying.



Interesting, but not surprising to me (Ladd McNamara), pharmaceutical companies are racing to try and come up with patentable compounds that mimic the actions of turmeric extract so they can make huge profits; when interesting enough the compound and benefits obviously already exist! Ah, the greed of mankind never ceases to amaze me. (But, we saw this with the benefits of the safety and effectiveness of grape seed extract and the eventual development of Vioxx and Celebrex, a Cox 2 inhibitor. How did that work out for Big Pharma? More importantly, how did it work out for the benefit of the patients?)



What specific cancers has turmeric extract (curcumin) been shown to benefit?



In 2007, scientists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham published at report in the Journal of Cancer Research showing how turmeric extract (curmumin) reduced prostate cancer cells' production of a protein MDM2, which is associated with the formation of malignant tumors. Simultaneously, curmumin prompted cells to produce another protein associated with apoptosis (programmed cell death).



It's interesting that India has has one of the lowest incidence of prostate cancer rates in the world. The annual prostate cancer incidence rate in India is ranges from 5.0 to 9.1 per 100,000/year. In contrast, among white males in the U.S., the incidence is 110.4 per 100,000/year! More than ten times higher. For black males in the U.S., it is even HIGHER! Could it be due to the consumption of turmeric? The average intake of turmeric spice in India is 2 - 2.5 grams per day. Thus, it is to our advantage to obtain turmeric extract that would surpass that in its equivalency by at least 3 to 6 fold.



Curcumin (turmeric extract) has been shown to enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy agent, gemcitabine, in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. This chemotherapy agent loses it effectiveness as the cancer progresses, curmcumin (turmeric extract) helps prevent the tumors resistance to the drug.



Curcumin (turmeric extract) interferes with the proliferation of various types of colon cancer, and it enhances the efficacy of existing an existing chemotherapeutic agent, oxaliplatin in the fight against colon cancer.



Curcumin's effect against breast cancer is nothing short of amazing; both against a common variety of breast cancer cells, as well as a mutant line of breast cancer cells that have developed resistance to chemotherapy drugs. Turmeric extract exerts its effects on cell proliferation, cycling and death. Turmeric extract (or curcumin) seems able to adapt its anticancer activity according to need, including in multi-drug resitant tumors of the breast, prostate, and leukemia cell lines.



Lastly, turmeric extract is particularly beneficial in preventing cognitive decline, in the prevention or treatment of major disabling age-related neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and stroke.






A few mechanism of action may account for such benefits. Turmeric extract appears to reduce lead toxicity by raising levels of the antioxidant glutathione, as well as bind to (chelate) heavy metals and remove them. Furthermore, turmeric extract is an antioxidant, protecting oxidative damage to neurons of the brain by promoting production of a protective enzyme hem oxygenase-1 (HO-1). This is a fundamental defense mechanism for neurons exposed to oxidation. (And, to think Pfizer wants us to use high-dose Lipitor to protect everyone from Alzheimer's disease.)



Memory loss begins by age 50, and by age 80, it predicted that half of us will advance to some form of dementia (Alzhemier's or not). Asian epidemiological studies found that those who consumed curry (with the turmeric spice) showed strong evidence of "better cognitive performance" and "less age-related dementia."





Okay, as always, "what about safety?"



Given that turmeric is a food that has been safely consumed for millennia (even by pregnant women), curcumin, or turmeric extract, would appear to be a perfect dietary supplement.








In fact, one researcher wrote:



"Curcumin has an outstanding safety profile and a number of multifunctional actions ..." Phase I clinical trials, using massive doses of curcumin, or turmeric extract (up to 8 grams/day for four months "did not result in discernable toxicities."


Source: Clinical studies with curcumin, Hsu CH, Cheng AL, Adv Exp Med Biol 2007;595:471




Source: Ladd McNamara, M.D. - expert in nutraceutical and anti-aging medicine, Ladd McNamara blog, www.laddmcnamara.com

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Is taking too much vitamin D dangerous?

This post is courtesy of Ladd McNamara, M.D. and is to emphasize the importance and safety of getting at least 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day.

That's well above the US RDA of 400 IU/day, but that is what you want if you understand the benefits.

Let's start out with some good information, and move on to some really great information:

1. Recent research has shown an association between low blood levels of vitamin D and increased cardiovascular disease risk factors (high blood pressure, diabetes, and high triglycerides).

Source: Prevalence of Cardiovascular Risk Factors and the Serum Levels of 25-Hydroxyvitamin D in the United States: Data From the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, David Martins; Myles Wolf; Deyu Pan; Ashraf Zadshir; Naureen Tareen; Ravi Thadhani; Arnold Felsenfeld; Barton Levine; Rajnish Mehrotra; Keith Norris, Arch of Intern Med. 2007, Jun 11;167(11):1159

2. There are well over 89 medical studies showing that greater vitamin D blood levels reduce cancers, including cancers of the colon, rectum, breast, and prostate (some cancers are reduced as much as 50%).

Sources:

Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and colon cancer: eight-year prospective study, Garland CF, Comstock GW, Garland FC, Helsing KJ, Shaw EK, Gorham ED, Lancet 1989, Nov 18:2(8673):1176;

Can colon cancer incidence and death rates be reduced with calcium and vitamin D?, Garland CF, Garland FC, Gorham ED, Am J Clin Nutr 1991 Jul; 54(1 Suppl)193S;

Vitamin D and prevention of breast cancer: pooled analysis. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2007 Mar;103(3-5):708-11, Garland CF, Gorham ED, Mohr SB, et al, J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol 2007 Mar;103(3-5):708;

Vitamin D and prevention of colorectal cancer, Gorham ED, Garland CF, Garland FC, et al, J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2005 Oct;97(1-2):179-94;

Sun exposure, vitamin D receptor gene polymorphisms, and risk of advanced prostate cancer, John EM et al, Cancer Res 2005 Jun 15;65(12):5470;

The Role of Vitamin D in Cancer Prevention, Garland et al, Am J Public Health 2006 Feb;96(2):252;

Luminal and humoral influences on human rectal epithelial cytokinetics, Thomas MG, Ann R Coll Surg Engl 1995 Mar;77(2):85.

3. In fact, the studies are numerous and convincing that it is now undeniable to be able to say that the greater one's vitamin D levels the less risk of acquiring cancer of the breast, prostate, colon, esophagus, pancreas, ovary, rectum, bladder, kidney, lung, and uterus, as well as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and multiple myeloma.

Sources:

Vitamin D status and breast cancer risk, Colston KW, Lowe LC, Mansi JL, Campbell MJ, Anticancer Res 2006 Jul;26(4A):2573;


Prohibitin is a novel target gene of vitamin D involved in its antiproliferative action in breast cancer cells, Xinjian Peng, Rajeshwari Mehta, Sheng Wang, Srikumar Chellappan and Rajendra G. Mehta, Cancer Res 2006 Jul 15:66(14);7361;

Growth inhibition of carcinogen-transformed MCF-12F breast epithelial cells and hormone-sensitive BT-474 breast cancer cells by 1-hydroxyvitamin D5, Erum A. Hussain-Hakimjee, Xinjian Peng, Rajeshwari R. Mehta, and Rajendra G. Mehta, Carcinogenesis 2006 Mar;27(3):551;

Intakes of Calcium and Vitamin D and Breast Cancer Risk in Women, Lin J, Manson JE, Lee IM, Cook NR, Buring JE, Zhang SM, Arch intern Med 2007 May 28;167(10)1050;

Prostate cancer risk and prediagnostic serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels (Finland), Ahonen MH et al, Cancer Causes and Control 2000 Oct;11(9):847;

Exposure to ultraviolet radiation: association with susceptibility and age at presentation with prostate cancer, Luscombe et al, Lancet 2001 Aug 25;358(9282):641;

High-dose weekly oral calcitriol in patients with a rising PSA after prostatectomy or radiation for prostate carcinoma, Beer T, Lemmon D, Lowe B, Henner W, Cancer 2003 Mar 1:97(5):1217;

Effects of vitamin D (calcitriol) on transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder in vitro and in vivo, Konety BR, Lavelle JP, Pirtskalaishvili G, et al, J Urol 2001 Jan:165(1)253

(and about 85 other medical studies that I do not intend to make this the forum to cite).

4a. A ground-breaking double-blind placebo controlled study was published this year in the American Journal of Clnical Nutrition. In this study involving 1,180 postmenopausal women which studied the effects of administering 1,000 IU of vitamin D (with calcium) or a placebo, the researchers found that after ONLY 4 years of taking 1,000 IU of vitamin D the risk of contracting ANY CANCER was reduced by a 60% compared to the placebo group. This was astonishing enough, however, it was about to knock the socks off the researchers.

Source: Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a randomized trial, Joan M Lappe, Dianne Travers-Gustafson, K Michael Davies, Robert R Recker and Robert P Heaney, Am J Clin Nutr 2007 Jun;85(6):1586

4b. When the researchers excluded the cancers that were diagnosed during the first year of the study, which made sense because that would have included cancers that were already present when the study began (as cancers take a while to grow), a more detailed analysis of the data revealed that 1,000 IU of vitamin D (plus calcium) reduced the risk of ALL CANCERS by a whopping 77% compared to the placebo group!

5. What does this mean? If we as a society were to take 1,000 IU of vitamin D each day (with calcium, let alone any other antioxidants and minerals), as many as three-quarters (or more) of all cancers could be prevented in just four years! The impact of this double-blind, placebo controlled study is so profound that EVERYONE should be taking at least 1,000 IU of vitamin D every day!

6. Even children can benefit from greater levels of vitamin D.

Sources:

Vitamin D Deficiency, Michael F. Holick, New Engl J Med 2007 Jul 19:357(3):266;

Risk factors for low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations in otherwise healthy children and adolescents, Francis L Weng, Justine Shults, Mary B Leonard, Virginia A Stallings and Babette S Zemel , Am J Clin Nutr 2007 Jul;86(1):150

7. Vitamin D has also been shown to suppress inflammation by reducing cytokines (inflammatory molecules). Thus, taking at least 1,000 of vitamin D or more per day would help protect against inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, chronic muscle pain (fibromyalgia), congestive heart failure, diabetes, stroke, and mutliple sclerosis.

Sources:

Vitamin D: important for prevention of osteoporosis, cardiovascular heart disease, type 1 diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and some cancers, Holick MF, South Med J 2005 Oct;98(10):1024;

Diet, nutrition, and rheumatoid arthritis, Miggiano GA, Gagliardi L, Clin Ter 2005 May;156(3):115;

Prevalence of severe hypovitaminosis D in patients with persistent, nonspecific musculoskeletal pain, Plotnikoff GA, Quigley JM, Mayo Clinic Proc 2003 Dec;78(12):1463;

Dietary Calcium, Vitamin D, and the Prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome in Middle-Aged and Older U.S. Women , Simin Liu, Yiqing Song, Earl S. Ford, JoAnn E. Manson, Julie E. Buring, and Paul M. Ridker, Diabetes Care 2005 Dec;28(12):2926;

Vitamin D supplementation improves cytokine profiles in patients with congestive heart failure: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, Stefanie S Schleithoff, Armin Zittermann, Gero Tenderich, Heiner K Berthold, Peter Stehle, and Reiner Koerfer, Am J Clin Nutr 2006 Apr;83(4):754


8. What About Safety of Vitamin D?

How much is Too Much?

My Doctor Told Me NOT to go above the RDA of 400 IU of vitamin D.

Frankly, most doctors are not aware of the research over the last 20 years showing the 100 of thousands of lives that could be spared just in the U.S. alone if every American took just 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day... (and, we haven't even touched on a full spectrum of the other vitamins, minerals, or antioxidants ...which would naturally push that number up beyond measure.)

So, let's alleviate the safety concern. Is it possible to get too much vitamin D? The answer is YES! But, how much is too much?

Vitamin D status can be assessed by a blood test. BUT DON'T go by reference ranges, because they only compare you to the "normal population," who are DEFICIENT ... you don't want to be in that category. Optimal levels of vitamin D (25-hdroxyvitamin D) should be in the range of 30 - 50 ng/ml (or 75 - 125 nmol/L).

A study was performed to see how much oral vitamin D was required to increase one's vitamin D levels. Taking 1,000 of vitamin D only increases your blood level of vitamin D by 11.5 ng/ml (that's increases it by that much, not establishes it at that level). The bottom line is this: A daily oral intake between 1,000 to 4,000 IU of vitamin D (depending upon your baseline vitamin D blood levels) is ideal.

9. Vitamin D toxicity does not occur until blood levels reach 150 ng/ml or more; which would generally take an oral dose of 50,000 IU per day! Therefore, doses up to 10,000 IU of vitamin D per day would appear to be safe, and certainly half that much (5,000 IU per day) would absolutely be safe!

Source: Vitamin D Deficiency, Michael F. Holick, N Eng J Med 2007 Jul 19;357(3)266

To make it clear: In order to achieve an optimal serum blood level of vitamin D of approximately 60 ng/ml, a 154 pound (70 kg) person with a baseline vitamin D level of 20 ng/ml would have to take 5,000 of vitamin D to increase their blood levels to the desired levels of 60 ng/ml.

10. The authors of a review study in the July 19, 2007 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine calculate the rates of various diseases affected by vitamin D status and have come up with the following numbers:

a) 78% Reduction in Type I diabetes in children taking 2,000 IU/day of vitamin D in their FIRST YEAR of life.

b) 200% Increase in Type I diabetes in Vitamin D-deficient children

c) 33% reduction in Type II diabetes in those taking 800 IU/day plus calcium

d) 72% reduction in number of falls in elderly people taking high-dose vitamin D (that's well over 1,000 IU/day)

e) 30-50% more cancers in vitamin D-deficient people

f) 42% reduction in multiple sclerosis in women taking MORE than 400 IU/day of vitamin D

The article goes on to state:

1. Human diets do NOT provide sufficient vitamin D
2. Minimum vitamin D blood levels needed to reduce disease risk are 30 ng/ml (and as stated above optimal levels are 60 ng/ml).

The authors then go on to point out that the US government recommendations of 200 IU/day for children, 400 IU/day for adults, and 600 IU/day for those over 70 years old are horribly outdated.

Source: Vitamin D Deficiency, Michael F. Holick, N Eng J Med 2007 Jul 19;357(3)266

Conclusion

The evidence is clear. Vitamin D is both safe and effective in reducing the risk of many chronic degenerative diseases. The old governmental recommendations are outdated. Everyone should be getting at least 1,000 IU/day of vitamin D. Vitamin D, taken up to 5,000 IU/day is safe, and should be safe even up to 10,000 IU/day. However, if one is going to be taking more than 5,000 IU/day it would be prudent to follow blood tests to aim for the optimal blood level of 60 ng/ml. (Toxicity does not occur until blood levels reach 150 ng/ml ... so the range of safety is wide.)

There is much too much TRUE HEALTH to be obtained from taking optimal levels of vitamin D, along with a full spectrum of nutrients, along with a proper diet and a healthy lifestyle.

I hope this has been a help to those who have been worried, or told not to take more than 400 IU/day! Frankly, your health depends upon you being informed that you must take more than that!

Thanks and good health,

Ladd McNamara, M.D.

Source: Ladd McNamara, M.D. - expert in nutraceutical and anti-aging medicine, Ladd McNamara blog, www.laddmcnamara.com

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Widespread Vitamin D deficiency drains billions of dollars from Canadian healthcare system

The Vitamin D society, a Canadian non-profit group organized to increase awareness of the many health conditions strongly linked to vitamin D, has calculated the cost of vitamin D deficiency on the Canadian health care system to be no less than $9 billion dollars annually.

Vitamin D has long been known only for its role in bone health and proper calcium absorption. However, the explosion of research over the past few years has revealed that vitamin D plays a key role in cell growth regulation in the body, and may be related to the prevention of 22 forms of cancer as well as heart disease, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, and many other disorders. Due to what is being considered a Canadian crisis and worldwide problem, the Vitamin D Society is recognizing the month of November as Vitamin D Awareness Month.
For the complete story and more information about the society and vitamin D research, go to the following link:

Friday, October 26, 2007

Quercetin reduces blood pressure in adults with hypertension

Image:

Quercetin, an antioxidant found many foods including onions, berries and apples, is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. Supplementation with quercetin has been shown to reduce hypertension in animal models, but until now has never been tested in hypertensive humans.

Researchers at the University of Utah, in collaboration with USANA Health Sciences, conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study to test the effectiveness of quercetin supplementation in lowering unhealthy blood pressure levels.

The subjects were divided into two groups: prehypertensives (120-139 mm Hg systolic/80-89 mm Hg diastolic) or stage 1 hypertensives (140-159 mm Hg systolic/90-99 mm Hg diastolic). The participants were given either 730 mg quercetin/day or placebo for 28 days. Blood pressure remained unchanged in prehypertensives after supplementation with quercetin. In contrast, stage 1 hypertensive subjects showed significant reductions in both systolic (-7 mm Hg) and diastolic (-2 mm Hg) blood pressure after quercetin supplementation.

This is the first published study to show that quercetin supplementation can reduce blood pressure in hypertensive adult humans. Additionally, it is important to note that quercetin supplementation did not influence the blood pressure of non-hypertensive individuals.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

CoEnzyme Q10 protects nerve cells

CoEnzyme Q10 has shown the ability to protect nerve cells and potentially lower the risk of various degenerative diseases.

Cells in the brain and nervous system depend on optimal mitochondrial function for energy. A research study published in the journal Neurobiology of Disease showed that oxidative stress causes mitochondria to produce excessive free radicals, leading to nerve cell damage and destruction.

Due to its function in the mitochondrial energy process and its role as an antioxidant, researchers evaluated CoEnzyme Q10 for its ability to protect nerve cells. The results of this study revealed that CoEnzyme Q10 inhibits the production of free radicals by the mitochondria and stabilizes the mitochondrial membrane when nerve cells are subjected to oxidative stress.

CoEnzyme Q10 may therefore have a potential benefit in reducing the risk of various neurodegenerative diseases.

Source: Role of mitochondria in neuronal cell death induced by oxidative stress; neuroprotection by Coenzyme Q10, Somayajulu M et al, Neurobiol Dis. 2005 Apr;18(3):618-27

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Macular degeneration risk is reduced in adults with high intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a degenerative eye disease that causes damage to the macula (central retina) of the eye, impairing central vision. In a recent large study, participants with the highest intakes of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin had significantly lower risk of AMD compared to those with low intakes.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a degenerative eye disease that causes damage to the macula (central retina) of the eye, impairing central vision. People affected by Age-Related Macular Degeneration have difficulty reading, driving and performing activities that require clear central vision. AMD is the most common cause of vision loss in developed countries. A recent report published in the September, 2007 issue of the journal Archives of Ophthalmology added more evidence to support previous research showing that carotenoids zeaxanthin and lutein are protective against AMD. Dark green leafy vegetables are the primary dietary sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, but they are also found in some other colorful fruits and vegetables. Average dietary intake in the U.S. is only 2 mg/day, far below the 6 mg/day level most studies indicate as a minimum needed to reduce the risk of AMD. In the current report, members of the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) Research Group evaluated the diets of 4,519 AREDS participants aged 60 to 80 years. Retinal photographs were used to divide the subjects into five categories of macular disease severity, from individuals with little or no evidence of macular degeneration (the control group) to severe, neovascular disease. Dietary questionnaires were analyzed for lutein, zeaxanthin, beta- carotene, lycopene, and other nutrient levels. Participants whose intake of lutein and zeaxanthin were greatest had a significantly lower risk of AMD than those whose intake was least, and were less likely to have large or extensive intermediate drusen, the deposits on the retina or optic nerve that characterize the disease. No risk reductions were associated with the other nutrients examined in this study.

Source:

The Relationship of Dietary Carotenoid and Vitamin A, E, and C Intake With Age-Related Macular Degeneration in a Case-Control Study: Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group AREDS Report No. 22, Arch Ophthalmol. 2007;125(9):1225-1232

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Read This First

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Responsible for this blog: Andrew Wilmot is a non-medical professional who, after university studies in civil engineering and ‘A’ levels in maths, physics and biology, has qualified as a professional civil engineer and project manager. With a keen interest in human health and well-being, he started work for a nutritional research and manufacturing company in 2005 and has been working as a health and well-being club leader and nutritional health writer since 2006.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Vitamin D supplementation in early pregnancy may help prevent preeclampsia

Vitamin D deficiency early in pregnancy is associated with a five-fold increased risk of preeclampsia, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

In newly published research, scientists evaluated data and blood samples taken from women and newborns between 1997 and 2001 enrolled in a study designed to examine risk factors for preeclampsia. This serious complication of pregnancy is marked by elevated blood pressure and edema (swelling) of the hands and feet, and is a leading cause of premature delivery and maternal and neonatal complications including death. The results of the study show that a maternal vitamin D deficiency early in pregnancy is a strong, independent risk factor for preeclampsia. This increase risk continued even after adjusting for other known risk factors such as race, ethnicity and pre-pregnancy body weight.

Another concern was the fact that many of the women were taking prenatal vitamins, which typically contain 200 to 400 IU of vitamin D. "Even a small decline in vitamin D concentration more than doubled the risk of preeclampsia," noted James M. Roberts, M.D., senior author of the study. "And since newborn's vitamin D stores are completely reliant on vitamin D from the mother, low vitamin levels also were observed in the umbilical cord blood of newborns from mothers with preeclampsia." The researchers concluded that maternal vitamin D deficiency may be an independent risk factor for preeclampsia and vitamin D supplementation in early pregnancy should be explored for preventing preeclampsia and promoting neonatal well-being.

About preeclampsia

Source: Maternal Vitamin D Deficiency Increases the Risk of Preeclampsia, Lisa M. Bodnar, Janet M. Catov, Hyagriv N. Simhan, Michael F. Holick, Robert W. Powers, and James M. Roberts, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism September 2007, Vol 92, No.9:3517-22


Friday, September 21, 2007

Vitamin D supplementation lowers fracture risk

Researchers have found that doses of 700 to 800 IU of vitamin D3 per day may reduce the risk of hip fracture by 26 percent and nonvertebral fracture by 23 percent.

The May 11 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association published the results of a meta-analysis of 12 clinical trials involving vitamin D supplementation in the prevention of fracture. The analysis concluded that supplementation with higher than the commonly recommended 400 international unit (IU) doses of vitamin D reduces the risk of hip and nonvertebral fractures in older individuals. The vitamin D studies included a total of 19,114 men and women aged 60 and older. The trials used the form of the vitamin known as cholecalciferol, or vitamin D3, which, according to studies cited in the current review, may be much more effective than the dietary form of the vitamin. The researchers found that doses of 700 to 800 IU of vitamin D3 per day reduced the risk of hip fracture by 26 percent and nonvertebral fracture by 23 percent. Studies that used 400 IU vitamin D3 or less found no significant benefit for either type of fracture. The role of additional calcium supplementation could not clearly be defined from the studies, but it appears that at least 700 milligrams calcium per day may also be necessary for nonvertebral fracture prevention.

Source: Fracture Prevention With Vitamin D Supplementation, Bischoff-Ferrari HA et al, JAMA 2005 May 11;293(18):2257-64.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Supplemental vitamin D and calcium reduces risk of diabetes

The incidence of type-2 diabetes is lower among women who get adequate calcium and supplement with vitamin D. Researchers used data from the Nurses Health Study, which includes over 83,000 women, to study the relationship of calcium and vitamin D intake to type-2 diabetes.

After 20 years of follow-up, it was concluded that a combined daily intake of over 1,200 mg of calcium and more than 800 IU of vitamin D was associated with a 33 percent lower risk of type-2 diabetes. Interestingly, dietary vitamin D intake did not appear to provide any statistically significant benefit. But the women who supplemented with at least 400 IU of vitamin D had a 13% lower risk of diabetes when compared to those who took less than 100 IU per day. Both dietary and supplemental calcium resulted in decreased risk of type-2 diabetes, and those with overall intakes above 1,200 mg had a 21% lower risk than those who got less than 600 mg per day. Elevated intakes of calcium and vitamin D, especially from supplements, are significantly associated with lower incidence of type-2 diabetes.


Source: Vitamin D and Calcium Intake in Relation to Type 2 Diabetes in Women, Anastassios G. Pittas et al, Diabetes Care 29:650-656, 2006

My recommendation: Active Calcium

Friday, August 31, 2007

Are you getting enough Vitamin D?

Recent studies have proven that higher levels of Vitamin D are vitally required in many health areas, including muscular strength, particularly in the elderly.

2. In 2003 the Mayo Clinic Proceedings online Journal contained an article written by Michael Holic, M.D. entitled “Vitamin D Deficiency: What a Pain It Is”.

He concluded his article with these words: “Prevention of vitamin D deficiency not only preserves bone and muscle health but also may help prevent many chronic diseases and preserve overall health and well-being.”

3. More recently the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism stated that Vitamin D deficiency is common among older people and can cause mineralization defects, bone loss, and muscle weakness. They concluded that “ because almost 50% of the population had serum 25-OHD below 20 ng/ml, public health strategies should be aimed at this group.”

Source: Vitamin D status predicts physical performance and its decline in older persons, Wicherts IS, J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Jun;92(6):2058-65.

3. Omega 3 fatty acids are also of benefit in maintaining muscle strength, even as we age. Aging cells can develop insulin resistance which has an effect on our ability to build muscle protein.

According to a brief article in FitnessRx for Men: "Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil improve insulin resistance, which helps older adults build muscle.”

Source: Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids regulate bovine whole-body protein metabolism by promoting muscle insulin signalling to the Akt–mTOR–S6K1 pathway and insulin sensitivity, AndrĂ©e-Anne Gingras et al, Journal of Physiology 579:269-284, 2007.

4. One recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition emphasized the urgent need for higher Levels of Vitamin D and that that “Supplemental intake of 400 IU vitamin D/d has only a modest effect on blood concentrations of 25(OH)D, raising them by 7–12 nmol/L, depending on the starting point. To raise 25(OH)D from 50 to 80 nmol/L requires an additional intake of 1,700 IU vitamin D/d”.

They advised that “Correction of low 25(OH)D concentrations can happen only if some or all of the following are implemented:
  • the encouragement of safe moderate exposure of skin to ultraviolet light;
  • appropriate increases in food fortification with vitamin D; and
  • the provision of higher doses of vitamin D in supplements for adults.
Source: The urgent need to recommend an intake of vitamin D that is effective, Vieth R et al, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 85, No. 3, 649-650, March 2007

Omega-3 fatty acid intake associated with lower heart disease risk

Increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet is associated with lower levels of inflammation and endothelial activation, according to results from a study at Harvard. Dysfunction of the endothelium, which is the inner lining of the blood vessel wall, is an early event in the development of atherosclerosis and subsequent heart disease. Food frequency questionnaires completed in1986 and 1990 by 727 participants in the Nurses' Health study were evaluated for levels of the omega-3 fatty acids alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Alpha-linolenic acid consumption was found to be inversely associated with several plasma markers of inflammation, while EPA and DHA intake was inversely related to platelet aggregration. Results of this study indicate that in addition to reducing triglycerides, platelet aggregation and heart arrhythmias, omega-3 fatty acids may also reduce the body's production of hydrogen peroxide, which is involved in the inflammatory process.

Source: Consumption of (n-3) fatty acids is related to plasma biomarkers of inflammation and endothelial activation in women, Lopez-Garcia E, J Nutr 2004 Jul;134(7):1806-11

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Low Levels of Vitamin D Are Common Among Healthy Children

According to a new study, many kids and adolescents who are otherwise healthy may have inadequate blood levels of vitamin D, a nutrient essential for normal growth and development. A vitamin D deficiency in childhood may lead to muscle weakness, defective bone mineralization and rickets.

A new study published in the July 2007 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that many children may be at risk for a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is essential for normal growth and development and is important for immune function. The researchers from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia assessed dietary and supplemental vitamin D intake, body mass, and measured blood levels of vitamin D in 382 healthy children between six years and 21 years of age living in the northeastern U.S. and found that more than half of the children had low blood levels of vitamin D. Of the subjects, 55 percent of the children had inadequate vitamin D blood levels and 68 percent overall had low blood levels of the vitamin in the wintertime.

African Americans, children aged 9 and older, and those whose vitamin D intake was low were likeliest to have reduced serum vitamin D levels. "The best indicator of a person's vitamin D status is the blood level of a vitamin D compound called 25-hydroxyvitamin D," Dr. Zemel, the lead investigator noted. "Vitamin D deficiency remains an under-recognized problem overall, and is not well studied in children." The researchers added that further study is needed to determine the appropriate blood levels of vitamin D in children, as well as a review of the current recommendations for vitamin D intake.

Source: Risk factors for low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations in otherwise healthy children and adolescents, Francis L Weng, Justine Shults, Mary B Leonard, Virginia A Stallings, and Babette S Zemel, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2007 July; 86(1):150- 8.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Magnesium intake increases bone mineral density and may reduce the risk of osteoporosis

Image: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society has shown that dietary intake of magnesium is associated with an increase in bone mineral density in older men and women.

The study included 2,038 men and women aged 70-79 that were enrolled in the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study. Food frequency questionnaires were used to assess magnesium intakes and document any medications. The data also accounted for variations in age, body mass index (BMI), smoking status, alcohol use, physical activity, estrogen use, and supplemental calcium and vitamin D. Higher magnesium intake through diet and supplements was positively associated with total - body bone mineral density (BMD) in older white men and women. For every 100 mg per day increase in magnesium, there was an approximate 2 per cent increase in whole-body BMD.

The results have important implications since osteoporosis currently affects over 10 million adults in the U.S. alone, with another 34 million suspected to have low bone mass. In addition, earlier dietary surveys have consistently shown that a large portion of adults do not meet the RDA for magnesium.

Source: Magnesium Intake from Food and Supplements Is Associated with Bone Mineral Density in Healthy Older White Subjects , Kathryn M. Ryder MD, MS, Ronald I. Shorr MD, MS, Andrew J. Bush PhD, Stephen B. Kritchevsky PhD, Tamara Harris MD, MPH, Katie Stone PhD, Jane Cauley DrPH, Frances A. Tylavsky DrPH (2005), Journal of the American Geriatrics Society November 2005, Vol 53, No 11, pp 1875-1880

Monday, August 06, 2007

High glycemic index diets increase the risk of chronic degenerative disease

Long-term consumption of high-glycemic foods may increase oxidative stress and the risk of chronic degenerative diseases. Leading U.S. researchers recently concluded that a low-GI diet, not a low carbohydrate diet, appears to be beneficial in reducing the production of free radicals and oxidative stress.

Glycemic index (GI) is a measure of the rate that the carbohydrates in a food or meal are digested and appear in the blood as glucose (sugar). Glycemic load is a way of measuring the total carbohydrates in a meal or diet with a mathematical adjustment for GI. These measurements can be used to simultaneously describe the quality (glycemic index) and quantity of carbohydrate in a meal or diet.

Recent data suggest that the sudden rise in blood sugar associated with a high glycemic load may increase free radical production and the risk of oxidative damage. This increased production has been implicated in many disease processes including chronic heart disease, accelerated aging, and type 2 diabetes.

Investigators from several leading U.S. institutions recently investigated whether a diet with a high GI or GL is associated with greater oxidative stress by taking specific measurements in nearly 300 healthy adults. Participants with a higher GI and GL diet were found to exhibit increases in oxidative stress when compared to those eating a diet lower in glycemic index and load.

Researchers concluded that chronic consumption of high-GI foods may lead to chronically high oxidative stress, increasing the risk for several degenerative diseases. A low-GI diet, not a low carbohydrate diet, appears to be beneficial in reducing oxidative stress.

Source: Relations of glycemic index and glycemic load with plasma oxidative stress markers, Youqing Hu, Gladys Block, Edward P Norkus, Jason D Morrow, Marion Dietrich and Mark Hudes, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 84, No. 1, 70-76, July 2006.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Omega 3 fatty acids reduce colorectal cancer risk

Although diets high in fat have been associated with an increase in cancer risk, a recent study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology concluded that a greater intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may be protective against colorectal cancer.

Researchers paired 1,455 men and women diagnosed with colorectal cancer with an equal number of healthy control subjects matched for age, gender and region of residence. Total fatty acid, as well as saturated fatty acid, monounsaturated fatty acid, omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, trans-fatty acid, and trans-monounsaturated fatty acid intake were determined. Intake levels of individual fatty acids, such as eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA), were also calculated. Greater intake of omega-3 fatty acids, EPA, and DHA were dose-dependently associated with reduced colorectal cancer risk. Compared to those with the lowest intake, participants whose omega-3 intake was in the highest group experienced a 37 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer. Subjects with intakes of EPA and DHA in the top fourth had a reduced risk of 41 and 37 percent, respectively. The authors concluded that the observed effects of different types of fatty acids illustrates the importance of the type of fat in the origins and prevention of colorectal cancer.

Source: Dietary Fatty Acids and Colorectal Cancer: A Case-Control Study, Evropi Theodoratou, Geraldine McNeill, Roseanne Cetnarskyj, Susan M. Farrington, Albert Tenesa, Rebecca Barnetson, Mary Porteous, Malcolm Dunlop, and Harry Campbell, American Journal of Epidemiology 2007 166(2):181-195

High glycemic diets may increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration

New research shows an association between diets high in glycemic index and an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the number one cause of adult blindness.

The number one cause of irreversible blindness in adults is age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which seems to share several carbohydrate-related risk factors with diabetes-related diseases, including retinopathy and cardiovascular disease (CVD). In a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers tested the theory that dietary glycemic index (GI), which has been associated with the risk of diabetes and CVD, may also increase the risk and severity of AMD in elderly populations. Over 4000 participants aged 55-80 years participated in the research and were assigned to groups according to several physical eye characteristics related to AMD. Compared with the eyes in those with the lowest GI diets, eyes in the high GI subjects had significantly higher risk of AMD progression and severity. There was a 49% increase in the risk of advanced AMD for persons who ate a diet higher than average in GI. Researchers noted that the results indicated that 20% of all AMD cases in the study would have been eliminated if the participants consumed diets with a GI below the average. The association between dietary GI and AMD suggests that reducing the dietary GI may provide one way to reduce the risk of AMD in adults.

Source: Association between dietary glycemic index and age-related macular degeneration in nondiabetic participants in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study, Chung-Jung Chiu, Roy C Milton, Gary Gensler and Allen Taylor, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 86, No. 1, 180-188, July 2007

Monday, July 16, 2007

USANA Health Sciences Applauds Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Players' Performance at Wimbledon 2007

Image: ESPN
USANA Health Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: USNA), the official health supplement supplier of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, would like to congratulate the 2007 Wimbledon Women's Doubles Champions.

-- Ladies Doubles - Cara Black (ZIM) & Liezel Huber (RSA) --

Wimbledon, the oldest major championship in tennis, is commonly regarded as the most prestigious international tennis competition.

In late 2006, USANA announced its partnership with the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, introducing USANA's unmatched nutritional products to 400 of the world's most elite athletes in women's tennis.

"Tennis is an extremely rigorous sport and very demanding on the body," said South African native and ladies doubles champion Liezel Huber.

"Since taking USANA products, I have truly experienced a noticeable difference in my health. I firmly believe that USANA's world-class nutritional supplements played a major role in my performance at Wimbledon 2007."

For more information about the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, please visit http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Fish oil lowers heart rate

Fish oil is known to decrease the risk of heart arrhythmias, which are a potential cause of heart disease, stroke and sudden cardiac death. According to a new study, regular intake of fish oil can reduce heart rate and decrease the risk of sudden death by as much as 5% in the overall population.

There is significant evidence that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce arrhythmias, disorders of the regular rhythmic beating of the heart. Arrhythmias can occur in a healthy heart and be of minimal consequence, but they also may indicate a serious problem and lead to heart disease, stroke or sudden cardiac death. A recent meta-analysis published in the journal Circulation further confirms this association. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health combined statistical analysis of thirty studies published from 1996 to 2005. These studies involved nearly 1,700 individuals treated with fish oil or placebo for up to one year. The median combined dose of EPA and DHA was 3.5 grams/day for an average of 8 weeks. The overall estimated change in heart rate of those treated with fish oil was 1.6 beats per minute. The reduction in heart rate was even greater among trials whose participants had higher baseline heart rates. In those studies, treatment with fish oil resulted in a decreased heart rate of 2.5 beats per min. There was no evidence of a dose-response effect, and heart rate was not significantly different between higher and lower doses compared with placebo. Although the overall effect of fish oil on heart rate appears small, researchers estimate that on a population basis this could correspond to as much as a 5% reduction in sudden death.

Source: Effect of fish oil on heart rate in humans. A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, Mozaffarian D, Geelen A, Brouwer IA, Geleijnse JM, Zock PL, Katan MB, Circulation 2005;112:1945-1952.

Friday, July 06, 2007

How to live longer and feel better

Linus Pauling's How to Live Longer and Feel Better appeals to a new generation of readers interested in achieving excellent health. A New York Times bestseller when it was first published in 1986, Pauling's seminal work proposes taking vitamins and minerals to prevent disease and live a long life.

Pauling's simple, inexpensive plan suggests avoiding sugar, stress, and smoking, working in a job that you like, and being happy with your family. To avoid serious illness and enjoy a longer life, he recommends taking vitamins for optimal health and as insurance against disease.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Momentous partnership destined for success

In an event that will certainly be heralded as one of the most pivotal in the company’s 15-year history, USANA announced Monday, June 11, that it will contribute $500,000 per year over the course of 10 years to the Linus Pauling Institute (LPI), giving a radical boost to the research abilities of both great organizations. View the official press release here.

“The partnership between LPI and USANA will significantly enhance the Institute’s research mission, enabling our scientists to better understand the role antioxidants, phytochemicals, and other nutrients play in human health,” said Balz Frei, director of LPI. “We are very excited about this opportunity.”For over a decade, the Linus Pauling Institute, one of the nation’s first Centers of Excellence for Research on Complementary and Alternative Medicine, has been committed to the research of heart disease, cancer, aging, and neurodegenerative diseases. “The Linus Pauling Institute is clearly at the forefront of research in the arenas of nutrition and health,” Dr. Tim Wood declares. “USANA is proud to be supporting their efforts and we look forward to working with LPI in advancing the science of nutrition in both laboratory and clinical settings.”

Nutritional supplements slow aging of brain

A study published in the December 2004 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a correlation between nutritional supplement use and improved cognition later in life. Cognition is the mental process of thought, including perception, reasoning, intuition and memory. The researchers found that supplement users scored higher on mental speed tests than those who did not take supplements. Fish oil supplement users were found to have greater red blood cell membrane omega-3 fatty acid content, which was correlated with improved cognitive function later in life. A greater ratio of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to arachidonic acid was also related to better cognitive function. The results of this study are consistent with previous reports that dietary supplements may reduce dementia risk and suggest that optimizing omega-3 fatty acid intake may improve the retention of cognitive function in the elderly.

Source: Cognitive aging, childhood intelligence, and the use of food supplements: possible involvement of n–3 fatty acids, Lawrence J Whalley, Helen C Fox, Klaus W Wahle, John M Starr and Ian J Deary, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 80, No. 6, 1650- 1657, December 2004

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

USANA founder Dr. Myron Wentz receives Albert Einstein Award

USANA Founder Dr. Myron Wentz was honored June 25 at a special ceremony in Jerusalem with the Albert Einstein Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Life Sciences.

The Albert Einstein Award, given by Global Capital Associates, salutes leaders whose vision and commitment have contributed to the critical advancement of vital life-saving and life-enhancing technology to benefit mankind. Dr. Wentz received the award in recognition of his contributions to nutritional science, as well as his many humanitarian endeavors.

“I am honored and humbled to receive an award that bears the name of Albert Einstein,” Dr. Wentz said. “As both an extraordinary scientist and dedicated humanitarian, he serves as a great inspiration for my life’s work, helping people lead healthier lives through nutritional science.”

The USANA family wishes to congratulate Dr. Wentz for this well-deserved honor.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Calcium, vitamin D and cancer risk

A new study published in the June 2007 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has shown a reduction in cancer rates among postmenopausal women taking vitamin D combined with calcium. This four-year, double blind, randomized placebo-controlled study involved over 1,100 postmenopausal women who were divided into three treatment groups. The first group received a supplement containing calcium and vitamin D, the second group received just calcium, and the third group received a placebo. The researchers found that the women taking the calcium and vitamin D supplement had a 60 percent lower incidence of all cancers than women not taking the supplement. This new study takes an important step in extending several decades of research involving the role of vitamin D in health and disease. The results further strengthen the case made by many specialists that vitamin D may be a powerful cancer preventive and that it is commonly found lacking in the general population, particularly the elderly.

Source: Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a randomized trial, Joan M Lappe, Dianne Travers-Gustafson, K Michael Davies, Robert R Recker and Robert P Heaney, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2007 June; 85(6):1586-91.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Folic acid supplements reduce stroke risk

A meta-analysis published in the most recent issue of The Lancet concluded that supplementing with the B vitamin folic acid can reduce stroke risk by at least 18 percent. Researchers analyzed eight randomized trials involving folic acid and stroke. Participants supplementing with folic acid lowered their risk of stroke by an average of 18 percent compared to those who did not use folic acid supplements. Trials involving folic acid supplementation longer than 3 years showed an even greater reduction in stroke risk (29%). Folic acid supplementation was also more significant in people with reduced homocysteine levels, those with no prior stroke risk, or those who lived in area without folic acid fortification of foods.

It is believed that folic acid's ability to reduce homocysteine, an amino acid found in the blood that is toxic in excess, may be the reason for the lower incidence of strokes.

Source: Efficacy of folic acid supplementation in stroke prevention: a meta-analysis, X. Wang, X. Qin, H. Demirtas, J. Li, G. Mao, Y. Huo, N. Sun, L. Liu, X. Xu, Lancet 2007 June 2;369(9576):1876-82

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Fish and vitamin D intake linked to lower risk of macular degeneration

Two studies published in the May 2007 Archives of Ophthalmology have shown that vitamin D and the omega-3 fatty acids from fish may help lower the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.

Age-related macular degeneration, also known as AMD, is a progressive eye disease of the retina that affects the light-sensing cells in the central area of vision and dims contrast sensitivity and color perception. The condition is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and is most common in people who are age sixty and over. AMD is the leading cause of visual impairment in senior citizens. In the first study, researchers evaluated habitual nutrient intake through food frequency questionnaires of over 4,500 people between ages 60 and 80 who participated in a study by the National Institute of Health's National Eye Institute. Researchers found that higher dietary intakes of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, mainly from fatty fish, reduced the risk of age- related macular degeneration. The researchers speculate that these fatty acids may help promote cell health and survival as well as improve blood vessel function. In the second study, researchers evaluated serum vitamin D and early and advanced macular degeneration in over 7,752 individuals from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (NHANES III). Researchers noted that vitamin D intake was associated with a reduced risk of developing poor visual health that can lead to blindness. Participants were split into five groups based on the level of vitamin D in their blood. Those with the highest level had a 40% reduced risk of developing poor visual health compared with those with the lowest amount of vitamin D in their blood. These results support the idea that lower serum vitamin D levels may lead to progression of chronic diseases, specifically those associated with inflammation. This may be important to the health of older Americans who have a higher risk of insufficient vitamin D intake, the researchers said. While these results are promising, researchers caution that at this time there is insufficient epidemiologic evidence of the relationship between vitamin D and age-related macular degeneration to make recommendations regarding optimum vitamin D levels and fish intake to protect against the eye disease or its progression. These results warrant additional investigation to further confirm the role of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin D in AMD.

Sources:

The Relationship of Dietary Lipid Intake and Age-Related Macular Degeneration in a Case-Control Study: AREDS Report No. 20, Archives of Ophthalmology 2007 May; 125(5):671-9.

Association Between Vitamin D and Age-Related Macular Degeneration in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988 Through 1994, Niyati Parekh, PhD, RD(India); Richard J. Chappell, PhD; Amy E. Millen, PhD; Daniel M. Albert, MD; Julie A. Mares, PhD, Archives of Ophthalmology 2007 May; 125(5):661-669.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Vitamin D levels inadequate in half of women treated with osteoporosis drugs

Despite efforts to increase knowledge and emphasis on osteoporosis prevention and treatment, research indicates that many women treated for osteoporosis have low levels of vitamin D, a nutrient necessary for adequate bone mineralization.

A recent study involved 1,536 postmenopausal women from 61 study sites who had been taking medications for the treatment of osteoporosis for a minimum of three months. Participants were allowed to have used vitamin D supplements as long as the dosage had remained consistent.Overall, 52 percent of the women had vitamin D levels considered inadequate. Sixty-three percent of women who reported a supplemental intake of 400 IU's or less had inadequate vitamin D levels compared to 45 percent of those whose intake was 400 IU's or greater. Lower levels were also associated with the lack of physician counseling regarding the importance of vitamin D in bone health. The results of this study emphasize the need for greater education of the public and physicians regarding the significance of vitamin D status in the care of postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.

Source: Prevalence of Vitamin D inadequacy among postmenopausal North American women receiving osteoporosis therapy, Holick MF, Siris ES, Binkley N, Beard MK, Khan A, Katzer JT, Petruschke RA, Chen E, de Papp AE, J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2005 Jun;90(6):3215-24

Thursday, May 17, 2007

New evidence that sun exposure prevents cancer

An American study scheduled for a June release compared the health of some 1,200 female patients, some of whom took a vitamin D supplement while others didn't. The number of patients who reduced their risk of cancer by taking a vitamin D supplement -- 60 percent -- was so unexpectedly high that some initially believed it to be a typographical error.

This study, and many similar ones, may force conventional medicine to re-evaluate its vitamin D recommendations. A deficiency in vitamin D figures into many diseases in addition to cancer. One researcher pointed out, "We don't really know what the status of chronic disease is in the North American population, until we normalize vitamin D status."

Monday, May 14, 2007

Low vitamin D levels are related to poor physical performance in the elderly

In a recent study, researchers examined the association between vitamin D status and physical performance. Among subjects with low vitamin D levels, physical performance and grip strength were significantly lower than that of participants who did not have reduced levels.

In addition to its role in bone health, vitamin D is thought to play a role in musculoskeletal function. In a recent study, researchers examined the association between vitamin D status and physical performance in a sample of 976 persons over the age of 65. The physical performance of the subjects was analyzed using a short physical performance battery (SPPB) and handgrip strength. The SPPB tests included walking speed, ability to stand from a seated position, and ability to maintain balance in progressively more challenging positions. Over 28% of the women and 13% of the men had vitamin D levels low enough to be considered a deficiency. Nearly three-fourths of the women and over half of the men had vitamin D levels that were considered insufficient. Among subjects with low vitamin D levels, physical performance and grip strength were significantly lower than that of participants who did not have reduced levels. The finding remained valid after taking into consideration other factors such as season of the year and physical activity levels. Given the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in older populations, additional studies examining the association between vitamin D status and physical function are needed. Current vitamin D recommendations are based on its role in bone health, although emerging research indicates vitamin D may also play important roles in preservation of muscle strength and physical function as well as other conditions such as cancer prevention.

Source: Association Between Vitamin D Status and Physical Performance: The InCHIANTI Study, Denise K. Houston, Matteo Cesari, Luigi Ferrucci, Antonio Cherubini, Dario Maggio, Benedetta Bartali, Mary Ann Johnson, Gary G. Schwartz and Stephen B. Kritchevsky, The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 62:440-446 (2007)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Antioxidant supplementation generally safe during cancer therapy

The January/February and March/April 2007 issues of the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine published a two-part article which concluded that, contrary to long-held beliefs, antioxidant and other nutritional supplementation during chemotherapy or radiation does not interfere with these treatments. Researchers stated, "A single, front-page interview in The New York Times in 1997, which was not based on published scientific work, and a single research paper involving mice, along with a press release by its author in 1999, led to the erroneous notion that vitamin C interferes with chemotherapy and radiation in humans. This notion soon applied to all antioxidants as physicians, patients, the media, the American Cancer Society, and scores of websites took the same position without reviewing the scientific evidence." The latest research identified 50 human studies involving the use of dietary supplements along with chemotherapy and/or radiation. Not only were antioxidants and other nutrients found not to interfere with the treatments, but in 47 of the studies supplements were associated with protection of normal tissue and a reduction of side effects. Increased survival rates were found in 15 of the studies. The authors explain that, due to a loss of regulatory mechanisms for the uptake of antioxidants, cancer cells accumulate excessive amounts of the nutrients, while healthy cells do not. This defect decreases the oxidative reactions needed for the generation of the cells' energy. Additionally, the nutrients elicit other effects on cancer cells not related to their antioxidant activity. Dietary food supplements, including antioxidants, are generally safe and can often be used to improve cancer patient care.

Sources:

Antioxidants and other nutrients do not interfere with chemotherapy or radiation therapy and can increase kill and increase survival, Part 1, Simone CB 2nd, Simone NL, Simone V, Simone CB, Altern Ther Health Med. 2007 Jan-Feb;13(1):22-8

Antioxidants and other nutrients do not interfere with chemotherapy or radiation therapy and can increase kill and increase survival, Part 2, Simone CB 2nd, Simone NL, Simone V, Simone CB, Altern Ther Health Med. 2007 Mar-Apr;13(2):40-7.

Note: Dietary food supplements and antioxidants referred to in this study were typical vitamin/mineral/antioxidant supplements, and did not include herbal treatments or products. The information provided here should not be used to replace the advice of the physician. It is intended to be an aid in discussion with the health care specialist regarding appropriate use of nutritional supplements during cancer treatment.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

USANA Health Sciences receives U.S. patent on exclusive self-preserving technology for skin care and beauty products

Image: USANA Health Sciences

- Technology Offers Long-Sought Alternative to Artificial, Paraben Preservatives -



SALT LAKE CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--USANA Health Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:USNA - News) received notice of an official patent, to be released at 10:00am EST from the United States Patent & Trademark Office, for its exclusive self-preserving technology currently used in the company's Sense beautiful science® skin and personal care product line.

This patent covers USANA's formulation for manufacturing the Sense skin and personal care product line so that they are capable of maintaining an industry-standard, two-year shelf life without the need for added chemical preservatives. USANA's now-patented "self-preserving" technology utilizes a variety of proprietary blends of purifying botanicals, antioxidants and other active ingredients in protective liquid crystals to keep the product fresh naturally. The Sense line maintains its shelf life without the use of parabens or other chemical preservatives commonly used in other cosmetics and skin care products. Sense has utilized this self-preserving technology since September 2004 on a patent-pending basis, and it is the only skin care and beauty care product line in the world to implement this scientific advancement.
USANA scientists believe this patented process represents a significant innovation in the skin-care industry, as self-preserving technology will allow users' skin to receive all the benefits of pure, natural, and healthy ingredients without the use of chemicals or potentially harmful preservatives.

"This patent is the result of nearly 10 years of research and development by USANA scientists, and it is an important milestone in our company's drive to become a leader in the skin and beauty care industry. USANA's self-preserving technology has changed skin and beauty care in a meaningful way by allowing for the formulation of healthy, all-natural products," USANA President Dave Wentz said. "Our customers rely on USANA's high-quality products to enhance their quality of life. Just like our pharmaceutical-grade supplements, USANA's Sense skin and beauty care line offers the best - and healthiest - products available. Consumers can now enjoy healthier skin and the peace of mind that comes with safe, self-preserving technology that does not rely on artificial, chemical preservatives."

The Sense skin and beauty care line includes:

Sense:

Gentle Daily Cleanser
Hydrating Toner
Daytime Protective Emulsion
Night Renewal
Perfecting Essence
Serum Intensive
Rice Bran Polisher
Eye Nourisher

Sense Splash:

Intensive Hand Therapy
Energizing Shower Gel
Firming Body Nourisher
Revitalizing Shampoo
Nourishing Conditioner

Source