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.


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.