Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Inadequate vitamin D may account for over 1/2 of end-stage renal disease in african americans

New research has shown a significant link between vitamin D status and the risk of advanced kidney disease. In a recent study, individuals with the lowest level of vitamin D were 2.6 times more likely to need kidney dialysis than those with the highest levels.

Kidney failure is more common in African Americans than in Caucasians. This disparity is generally attributable to a greater prevalence of hypertension and diabetes in this population.

In the December 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, researchers report a strong association between end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in African Americans and reduced vitamin D levels. Vitamin D deficiencies are more common in this group compared to Caucasians due to increased skin pigmentation, which results in reduced vitamin D synthesis from sun exposure.

Deficiencies in vitamin D (defined as less than 15ng/ml) were found in 34% of African Americans compared to 5% of non-Hispanic Caucasians. Researchers also discovered that individuals with the lowest vitamin D levels were 2.6 times as likely to end up on dialysis compared to those with the highest levels. The researchers determined that vitamin D was responsible for about 58% of the excess risk for renal disease experienced by African Americans.

Follow-up research is needed to confirm the results, but this study adds to previous evidence linking vitamin D deficiency to the progression of kidney disease and the resulting need for dialysis. It also explains a good portion of the increased risk of ESRD in African Americans.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Omega–3 fatty acid intake & the incidence of age-related macular degeneration

Results recently published from a long-term study indicate that people at risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) may significantly reduce the risk of this disease by increasing their dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids from oily fish, nuts and seeds, and fish oil supplements.

Omega-3 fatty acids are important for the vascular and neural health of the retina and may influence the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD). There are two forms of AMD: dry and wet. In the dry form, normal tissue in the macula slowly disappears, leaving a pale area referred to as central geographic atrophy (CGA). In the wet form, or neovascular (NV) AMD, abnormal blood vessels grow underneath the macula. These vessels leak serum or blood and eventually cause the normal macular tissue to be replaced by scar tissue.

Researchers recently investigated whether omega-3 fatty acid intake was associated with a reduced risk of developing both wet and dry forms of AMD. The study involved 1837 people from the Age-Related Eye Diseases Study (AREDS) who were at moderate to high risk of developing AMD. Clinical measurements were obtained in this group over a period of 12 years (from 1992 to 2005).

Participants who reported the highest omega–3 fatty acid intake were 35% less likely than their peers to develop dry (CGA) AMD, and 32% less likely to develop the more common, wet form (NV) AMD.

Over the 12 years of this study, the incidence of CGA and NV AMD was lowest for those reporting the highest consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, which are found primarily in oily fish, nuts and seeds, and fish oil supplements. If these results are applied to the general population, dietary intervention may have a significant preventive effect on the development and progression of AMD.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Daily supplement use and brain function in healthy children

A daily multivitamin and mineral supplement may help improve brain function in healthy children

Vitamins and minerals are essential for optimal neural performance. However, national dietary surveys continue to show that a high percentage of adults and children suffer from deficiencies in one or more vitamins and minerals.

A study published in the November 2008 British Journal of Nutrition examined the effects of multivitamin and multimineral supplements on brain function in children. The study involved 81 healthy children between the ages of 8 and 14. The children were randomly assigned to receive a daily children’s multivitamin and multimineral supplement or a placebo.

During twelve weeks of supplementation, the children were given a series of tests to assess brain function. The children who received daily supplements performed better on two tests of attention than did the children who received placebos. Even more surprising was that the improvements in attention scores were seen within a few hours after administering the first vitamin and mineral dose. Mood, another outcome the authors were researching, was not significantly affected by the supplement.

These results suggest that multivitamin and multimineral supplementation may help to improve brain function in healthy children. However, it is impossible to determine whether the improvement in brain function in the children who took the daily supplement was due to a single ingredient in the supplement or whether it was due to the interaction of multiple vitamins and/or minerals. While additional research will be necessary to further elucidate this point, it may be time to reconsider the role of daily multivitamins in maintaining childhood health.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Total Vitamin C deficiencies declining, but still a problem for some groups

In the last two decades, vitamin C deficiencies in the U.S. have steadily declined, in part because of increased use of dietary supplements. Unfortunately, some population groups still experience high rates of deficiency.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is a continuous annual survey conducted in the United States by the National Center for Health Statistics (a division of the CDC). A recent study used data from two separate NHANES surveys – one from 2003-2004 and another from 1988-1994 – to examine whether or not vitamin C deficiencies have increased or decreased over time.

Using serum vitamin C concentration data collected from 7200 individuals (age 6+) in 2003-2004 and 20,600 individuals (age 6+) in 1988-1994, researchers marked individuals as “deficient” or “not deficient”, where deficiency was classified as serum concentration <11.4┬Ámol/l. style="text-align: justify;">
Encouragingly, vitamin C deficiencies declined across most subgroups, and in many groups the declines were substantial. At least part of this improvement is due to vitamin C supplementation. “In prosperous societies, supplement consumption has a significant effect on body stores and circulating concentrations of vitamin C,” the authors reported. “In NHANES 1999–2000, 52% of adults reported consumption of supplements in the past month…these recent data show increased usage since the overall 40% usage reported during NHANES III [1988-1994] and are likely to explain in part the improved vitamin C status of the U.S. population.”

Unfortunately, certain population groups remain at risk of vitamin C deficiency. Smokers are the highest risk subgroup, with 18% of male smokers and 15.3% of female smokers being vitamin C deficient (compared to 5.3% and 4.2% for male and female non-smokers, respectively). Smoking accelerates vitamin C turnover and lowers serum concentrations, which in turn increases the likelihood of deficiency. Lower income groups were also at higher risk for deficiency, and men were more likely to be deficient than women. Children, teens, and adults over the age of 60 were less likely to be deficient than adults between the ages of 20 and 60.

The study concludes by stating: “…the vitamin C status of the US population appears to have substantially improved from 1988–1994 to 2003–2004. Nevertheless, the prevalence of vitamin C deficiency in various subgroups remains a concern.”

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Flu Fighters—in Your Food

New Research Points to Ways to Boost Immunity by Making Sure Your Diet Has the Right Nutrients

Click on this link to see key ingredients in your food.

Source: Amraj Shanker, Harvard School of Public Health as reported in the Wall Street Journal

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Supplement myths

Myth #1: I get all the vitamins I need from my food.

Research has shown that many people simply may not follow the recommended guidelines for healthy eating. Fast-food and convenience-food consumption, snacking, and soft-drink use have all increased, and it has been shown that many people may not meet even the basic RDAs for key nutrients.

Source: The National Diet & Nutrition Survey: adults aged 19 to 64 years, Ruston et al, HMSO, 2004

Myth #2: All vitamin/mineral supplements are the same.

A study published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences investigated the disintegrating properties of a variety of vitamin and mineral tablets and capsules commercially available on the Canadian market, including USANA’s Multimineral Plus. Researchers found that more than half of the nutritional supplements tested did not disintegrate properly. Products that did not disintegrate were further analyzed using USP disintegration conditions for dietary supplements. Of the 39 tablets tested, only 18 products, including USANA’s Multimineral Plus, disintegrated fully at the first stage.

Source: Investigation of vitamin and mineral tablets and capsules on the Canadian Market. J Pharm Pharmaceut Sci ( 9(1):40-49, 2006.

Source: USANA newspaper

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Multivitamins may lower heart disease death risk

A team of researchers from the University of Washington report that daily use of multivitamins over a 10-year period may reduce the risk of death from heart disease by 16%.

Researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center at the University of Washington recently analyzed the use of multivitamin supplements, vitamin C, and vitamin E over a ten year period. Correlations between 5-year total mortality and death from cancer or cardiovascular disease (CVD) were assessed.

Data from 77,719 Washington residents aged 50 to 76 were obtained by questionnaire. A series of analyses showed that use of multivitamins was associated with a 16% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease (95% CI: 0.01-0.3). Intakes of vitamin E over 215 milligrams per day over the course of ten years were also associated with a 28% reduction in the risk of death from CVD (95% CI: 0.12-0.31).

Multivitamin use alone was not associated with a decreased risk of total mortality, but both vitamin C and E were associated with decreases in risk of total mortality. Similarly, vitamin C did not correlate with a reduced risk of death from CVD while both multivitamins and vitamin E did.

A simple and safe way to beat swine flu

With H1N1 (swine flu) infections on the rise along with growing concerns about the safety of the new vaccine, scientists have discovered a simple and safe way we can protect ourselves from the worst effects of the virus.

A diet that’s rich in antioxidants – vitamins A, C and E – can ward off the most damaging symptoms of swine flu, and of any flu, researchers have discovered this week. The antioxidants protect the lungs from the M2 protein that’s found in every flu virus. The protein stops the lungs from clearing out liquid, and it paves the way for pneumonia and other lung problems.

In laboratory tests, researchers from Alabama have found that antioxidants counteract the M2 protein.

You can increase your levels of antioxidants either by taking supplements, or by eating more green leafy vegetables, broccoli, carrots, oranges, sweet potatoes, and nuts and seeds. Even red wine contains antioxidants.

Source: FASEB Journal, 2009; 23: 3829-42

Source: WDDTY

Should we be taking nutritional supplements?

Source: Dr Gerald Lewis MB ChB, FRCP. FRACP, MD, Cardiologist and a General Physician

Thursday, October 29, 2009

USANA-supported clinical study demonstrates improved bone health in girls

New Study Involving Active Calcium™ Chewable Offers Promising Results

SALT LAKE CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 29, 2009-- USANA Health Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: USNA) announced today that a third-party clinical study led by Dr. David Greene at Australian Catholic University (ACU National) found that use of USANA’s Active Calcium™ Chewable supplement improves bone health in young girls.

The double-blind, placebo-controlled study involved 20 pairs of identical twin girls, ages 9-12 years old, who were randomly assigned to receive USANA’s Active Calcium Chewable or a matching placebo. The results of the study found that after six months of supplementation, Active Calcium Chewable improved measures of bone mineral content, bone mineral density, and bone strength in these girls.

“We are delighted with the results of the ACU National study,” said Dr. Tim Wood, USANA’s Executive Vice President of Research and Development. “These results confirm the findings of a similar 2003 clinical trial conducted at the University of Utah. The ACU National study design, in which one twin received Active Calcium Chewable while her sister received the placebo, goes a step further and factors out genetic influences.”
Results of the ACU National study are particularly significant, because young women accumulate bone mass most rapidly during adolescence, and ideal skeletal development can only be achieved when dietary intakes of calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium are optimal during this period. Dr. Greene of ACU National said maximizing bone during the growing years was essential to offsetting the effects of osteoporosis in later life.

“It is estimated that only 10 to 25 percent of children and teens get adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D,” said Dr. Christine Wood. “My own experience as a pediatrician confirms this when I question my patients about their calcium intakes. Parents and teens need to understand the potential long-term risks of chronic calcium and vitamin D deficiency during adolescence. We can’t turn back the clock as these children age into adults.”
Dr. Christine Wood is an expert in nutritional medicine for children and speaks on healthy lifestyles to parents worldwide. She is also a member of USANA’s Scientific Advisory Council.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Maternal vitamin D status influences early childhood dental health

For the first time, new clinical research out of Canada provides evidence for a relationship between maternal vitamin D levels and select markers of infant dental health.

The relationship between vitamin D and adult bone health is well-understood. However, until recently, less has been known about the relationship between maternal vitamin D status and infant bone health. A new study out of the University of Manitoba sheds new light on this subject by examining the relationship between maternal vitamin D status and two measures of infant dental health: enamel hypoplasia (EH) and early childhood caries (ECC).

206 pregnant women enrolled in the study during their second trimester. Serum vitamin D analyses revealed that more than a third of the women were vitamin D deficient (34.5%, deficiency defined as <= 35 nmol/L). Only 21 women had adequate levels of vitamin D (10.5%, adequacy defined as >= 80 nmol/L).

Over the next two years, 135 infants returned for a dental health examination. 21.6% had EH while 33.6% had ECC. Mothers of children with EH had lower vitamin D concentrations during pregnancy, though the result didn’t quite reach statistical significance (43.2 vs 51.4 nmol/L, p=0.07). However, mothers of children with ECC had significantly lower vitamin D levels than those whose children were caries-free (43.9 vs 52.8 nmol/L, p=0.034).

This study is the first to provide evidence for a correlation between maternal vitamin D levels and infant dental health, and additional research currently underway should shed further light on this important issue.

Source: Influence of maternal vitamin D status on infant oral health, Schroth R, Lavelle C, Moffatt ME,Proc Int Assoc Dent Res Meet, Abs 1646, 2008

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

High lutein and zeaxanthin intake associated with decreased risk of cataracts

Much of the existing lutein and zeaxanthin research has focused on a role in reducing risk of AMD (age-related macular degeneration). New research shows that lutein and zeaxanthin may also play a protective role against cataracts.

According to the World Health Organization, age-related cataracts affect some 18 million people worldwide. Cataracts can be caused by a number of factors, including trauma, disease, diabetes, genetics, and others. Over time, the breakdown of proteins in the lens of the eye results in increasingly poor vision (including reductions in visual clarity, visual acuity, and contrast sensitivity). Once developed, cataracts must be surgically removed.

Fortunately, new research from the Archives of Opthalmology provides evidence of a good correlation between high lutein and zeaxanthin intakes and decreased incidence of nuclear cataracts. A total of 1802 women (aged 50-79) initially recruited for the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study (1994-1998) were re-recruited 4 to 7 years later as part of the Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study.

Researchers selected participants based on whether they could be classified as having high dietary levels of lutein and zeaxanthin (78th percentile and above) or low dietary levels (28th percentile and below). Analyses revealed that women in the high dietary levels group had a 23% lower prevalence of nuclear cataracts than women in the low-level group. Dividing the participants into quintiles revealed that women in the highest quintile were 32% less likely to have nuclear cataracts when compared to women in the lowest quintile (adjusted odds ratio 0.68; P=0.04; adjusted odds ratio 0.68; P=0.01, respectively).

The researchers concluded that diets rich in lutein and zeaxanthin correlate moderately well with decreased prevalence of nuclear cataracts in older women, although additional research will be needed in order to confirm a specific mechanism for this protective effect.

Source: Associations Between Age-Related Nuclear Cataract and Lutein and Zeaxanthin in the Diet and Serum in the Carotenoids in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (CAREDS), an Ancillary Study of the Women's Health Initiative, Moeller et al, 2008, Arch Ophthalmology 126(3):354-64

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dietary zinc intake correlates with DNA strength

Zinc is an essential mineral with a known role in maintaining DNA integrity. A recent study takes this a step further by confirming a correlation between dietary zinc intakes and DNA damage in healthy adult males.

Zinc is an essential mineral with a known role in maintenance of DNA integrity. However, until recently, no human studies have directly examined the role of zinc status on DNA damage in healthy adults.

A study published in the August 2009 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined the effects of varying levels of zinc intake on DNA damage in healthy adult males. Nine healthy men with reported mean daily zinc intakes of 11 mg/day were subjected to three different dietary periods.

  • Days 1-13 = baseline period (11 mg zinc/day)
  • Days 14-55 = zinc depletion (0.6 mg zinc/day for 1 week, then 4 mg zinc/day for 5 weeks)
  • Days 56-83 = zinc repletion (11 mg zinc/day for 4 weeks with 20 mg supplemental zinc for the first 7 days)

Blood samples were collected on days 1, 13, 35, 55, and 83, and three key metrics were analyzed (DNA damage in peripheral blood cells, plasma oxidative stress, and antioxidant defense biomarkers).

As expected, dietary zinc depletion was strongly associated with increased DNA breakage in peripheral blood cells (day 13 compared with day 55, P < p =" 0.006).">

This study provides strong evidence for dietary zinc intake being a critical factor in maintaining DNA integrity in humans.

Source: Dietary zinc restriction and repletion affects DNA integrity in healthy men, Song Y, Chung CS, Bruno RS, Traber MG, Brown KH, King JC, Ho E, 2009, AJCN 90(2):321-8

Source: USANA Health Sciences

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Resveratrol may help protect against Alzheimer's

Research indicates that resveratrol may play a future therapeutic or preventive role in several disorders associated with neurological damage in the brain.

A study published in Journal of Biological Chemistry has shown that resveratrol, a compound found in grapes, red wine, peanuts and berries, lowers the levels of the amyloid-beta peptides, which cause much of the neurological damage associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers administered resveratrol to cells which produce human amyloid-beta and tested the compound's effectiveness by analyzing amyloid-beta levels inside and outside the cells. They found that amyloid-beta levels in the treated cells were much lower than those in untreated cells. It is thought that resveratrol acts by stimulating the degradation of these amyloid-beta peptides.

Although more research is needed, early results suggest that this natural compound may have a therapeutic potential in Alzheimer's disease. Resveratrol is currently being researched for a potential role in fighting other human amyloid-related diseases, including Huntington's, Parkinson's and prion diseases.

Source: Resveratrol Promotes Clearance of Alzheimer’s Disease Amyloid Peptides, Marambaud et al, J. Biol. Chem. Vol. 280; Issue 45: 37377-37382, 11-11-05.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Adequate vitamin D may prevent tooth loss

Periodontal disease is a common chronic inflammatory disease and a major risk factor for tooth loss. Research indicates that vitamin D may reduce the inflammatory response that leads to periodontal disease.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrates a link between low blood levels of vitamin D and the incidence of gum disease. The study group included over 11,000 adults over the age of twenty. Eighty percent of those studied had inadequate vitamin D levels, and the lower their vitamin D serum levels, the greater the risk of tooth loss.

Among the men and women aged 50 and older, those with the lowest vitamin D levels had more than 25 percent more tooth loss than those in the highest range. The researchers suspect that vitamin D may cut down on the inflammatory response that leads to periodontal disease. Given the high prevalence of periodontal disease and vitamin D deficiency, these findings suggest important oral health implications related to vitamin D intake.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

USANA-Supported Clinical Study Results Published in the Journal Obesity and Weight Management

USANA Health Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: USNA) announced today that results of a large, third-party clinical study involving USANA products, conducted at the University of Colorado Denver (UCD), have been published in the August 2009 edition of the journal Obesity and Weight Management.

The recently completed study confirms that lifestyle change can significantly improve outcomes in subjects with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a pre-diabetic state that involves multiple symptoms including central obesity, insulin resistance, elevated blood lipids, elevated blood glucose, and high blood pressure. The 12-week-long study was conducted with 60 people diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. Subjects followed an Internet-based lifestyle modification program that included USANA's nutritional supplements, moderate exercise and a low-glycemic diet including USANA's nutritional shakes and bars.

Over the 12-week program, subjects in the study lost an average of 12 pounds and experienced significant improvements in measures of glycemic control, cardiovascular risk factors, inflammation and antioxidant status. Importantly, by the end of the trial, one-third of the subjects no longer met the criteria for metabolic syndrome.

Holly Wyatt, a physician and faculty member of the University of Colorado's Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes, oversaw the study.

"This is a very promising program that produced some very positive changes in the cardiovascular risk factors associated with the metabolic syndrome," Dr. Wyatt said. "The shifts in dietary habits to calorically restricted low-glycemic meals and the modest increases in physical activity were not only effective but also are realistic behavioral changes many people can make."

“We are thrilled with the results of this clinical study and are excited to see it published in Obesity and Weight Management,” said Tim Wood, USANA’s Executive Vice President of Research and Development. “It is gratifying to have independent confirmation that our products and approaches to healthy lifestyle management work.”

Source: Successful Internet-Based Lifestyle Change Program on Body Weight and Markers of Metabolic Health, Wyatt et al, Obesity and Weight Management, August 2009

Source: Usana Health Sciences

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Prenatal multivitamin supplementation decreases low birth weight risk

New research shows that women who supplement with multivitamins have a lower risk of delivering a low birth weight infant compared to those who receive only standard iron and folic acid supplements.

An inadequate intake of micronutrients during pregnancy increases the possibility of nutritional deficiencies that can affect the normal growth of the baby. Low birth weight is often associated with increased infant mortality.

A new meta-analysis published online on June 9, 2009 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal showed that pregnant women that supplemented with multinutrient formulas experienced a reduced risk of giving birth to low birth weight babies compared with the risk experienced by women who did not receive the extra nutrients.

Researchers identified 13 trials that compared the effects of a multivitamin supplement with a placebo, or with iron and folic acid, which are currently recommended for pregnant women by the World Health Organization. Multivitamin supplements evaluated in the trials included a combination of vitamins A, B1, B6, and folic acid, and the minerals zinc, iron, and copper.

Compared to those receiving a placebo, women who supplemented with multivitamins had a 19 percent lower risk of delivering a low birth weight infant. The multivitamin group also had a 17 percent lower risk than those who received only the standard iron and folic acid supplements. The risk of preterm birth and the risk of delivering infants who were small for their gestational age were approximately the same among treatment and control groups.

Prenatal multivitamin supplementation was associated with a significantly reduced risk of low birth weight when compared with iron-folic acid supplementation alone.

Effects of prenatal multimicronutrient supplementation on pregnancy outcomes: a meta-analysis, Shah et al, CMAJ. 6/2009; 180(12)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Caffeine improves mood and cognitive abilities

Study evidence shows that levels of caffeine consumed by most people have largely positive effects on mood, behavior, and cognitive abilities.

The present placebo-controlled, double-blind, balanced crossover study investigated the short-term cognitive and mood effects of caffeine in habitual users and habitual non-users of caffeine. Following overnight caffeine withdrawal, 24 habitual caffeine consumers and 24 habitual non-consumers received a 150 ml drink containing either 75 or 150 mg of caffeine or a matching placebo, at intervals of at least 48 hours. Cognitive and mood assessments were documented at baseline and 30 minutes after the drink. Assessments included the Cognitive Drug Research computerized test battery, two serial subtraction tasks, a sentence verification task and subjective visual analogue mood scales.

At the beginning of the study, there were no differences between the groups' mood and performance. Following caffeine, both groups showed significant improvements in simple reaction time, digit vigilance reaction time, numeric working memory reaction time and sentence verification accuracy. Both groups showed a reduction in self-rated mental fatigue and ratings of alertness. Habitual consumers tended to outperform non-users for rapid visual information processing false alarms and spatial memory accuracy. Separate analyses of each group’s responses to caffeine revealed overlapping but different responses to caffeine. Caffeine tended to benefit consumers' mood more while improving performance more in the non-consumers.

Although, excessive consumption of caffeine, especially in sensitive individuals, can increase anxiety, impair sleep and fine motor control, the evidence clearly shows that levels of caffeine consumed by most people has largely positive effects on mood, behavior, and cognitive abilities.

Source: Cognitive and mood improvements of caffeine in habitual consumers and habitual non-consumers of caffeine, Haskell et al, Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2005 Jun;179(4):813-25.

Friday, May 01, 2009


Many people may compete with or experience a nutrient deficiency for a variety of reasons:

* Professional athletes have up to 30% more requirements for many vitamins and minerals compared to non-athletes, due to the energy costs of tennis and of muscle repair and building.
* If total energy intake or dietary variety is restricted, as may occur if a person tries to change their weight.
* During prolonged periods of travel, particularly to countries with a limited or unfamiliar food supply.
* During a heavy competitive schedule and intense physical training load which is common among professional players.
* During times of growth, such as puberty and bone maturation (into the early 20s).
* Pregnancy
* Change of diet e.g. becoming vegetarian

Where possible, vitamin and mineral rich foods should be eaten to provide all the nutritional needs.

Even with the best diet, it may be difficult to meet these high nutritional demands. In these circumstances, people may be advised to take supplements to ensure they receive all their nutritional needs.

Types of Supplements
There are two main types of supplementation that people, especially athletes, may need:

Dietary Supplements
* Contain nutrients usually found in food (Examples: multi-vitamins, calcium, iron)
* Used to help meet nutritional demands, especially when the diet is inadequate and during times of heavy training, illness, or injury.

Sports Supplements
* Conveniently packed products that meet physiological and nutritional needs to assist in sport performance. (Examples: sports bars, drinks, and gels)
* Bars are often used as a recovery snack to supply easily digested carbohydrates, protein, and energy.
* Sports drinks include electrolytes and carbohydrates to promote hydration, fluid intake, and glycogen repletion.
* Sports Gels are easily consumed, semi-solid foods; they maintain blood glucose levels.

Below is a list of vitamins/minerals there main function in the body and some good food options they are found in.

Vitamin/Mineral: Main Function (Good Food Option)
Vitamin A: Promotes Strong teeth and bones: Keeps the skin health and supports night vision, boosts the immune system and aids would healing. Betacarotene (bc) has about 1/6th of the most active form of Vitamin A. (Carrots, sweet potato, slice of cheese, 1/2tlbsp butter/marg)

Vitamin B: This group consists of 11 individual vitamins that have specific roles in the body. They are necessary for energy and macronutrient metabolism (Liver, germ and bran of cereal grains, legumes and nuts)

Vitamin C: It is a powerful antioxidant and is necessary for healthy connective tissue, bones, teeth and cartilage; enhances immune system (Orange, green pepper, pawpaw, strawberries)

Calicum: Required for healthy bones and teeth and essential for proper muscle contraction. (Best together with Vitamin D) (Skim milk, yoghurt)

Vitamin D: Required for Calicum and phosphorous metabolism and for healthy bones and teeth (Sunshine. Skim milk)

Folic Acid: It is required for cell division, production of red blood cells and transmission of genetic code to offspring (Liver, spinach leaves, wheat bran)

Iron: Necessary component of hemoglobin, the protein that transports oxygen. If deficient, you are likely to fatigue easily (Lean beef, chicken breast)

Magnesium: Important in energy metabolism, maintaining a healthy nervous system, blood vessels and regulation of blood sugar nutes (Whole wheat bread, wheat bran)

Zinc: Part of > 100 enzymes needed for proper body function. Essential for removing CO2 from your muscles (Pork, turkey breast)

Why and How of Supplements

Why? Signs that you may be lacking in certain nutrients can include symptoms like ongoing fatigue, recurrent illnesses or slow-to-heal injuries.

How? Each persons nutritional needs are different, and you should first consult with your doctor or a qualified sports dietitian for a nutrition assessment.
* It may be recommended that you complete a food diary.
* A sports dietitian can analyze the food diary to determine if extra nutrients are needed.
* Consult your doctor to check for medical reasons for deficiencies.
* Blood tests may be required to accurately determine the extent of the problem and to
assist your team to determine the best supplementation for your needs.
* Athletes must comply with the tennis anti-doping program and are 100% responsible for any sport drink or supplement they take.

In 2006, the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour entered into an agreement with USANA Health Sciences to provide vitamins, minerals and other nutritional supplements to their members. USANA guarantees that products supplied to Sony Ericsson WTA players under their Athlete Guarantee Program are free of substances on the WADA Prohibited List.

USANA products available to players include:
* Body Rox TM and Essentials (multivitamin and mineral supplements)
* Active Calcium (Calcium supplement)
- Poly C (vitamin C supplement).
* Procosa II (glucosamine supplement)
* Iron

A dietitian and USANA scientists are available throughout the year and attend 4-5 tournaments per year to consult with the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour players and answer any questions they may have regarding their nutrition and how it relates to their health and performance.

Thanks to Susie Parker-Simmons for advice on the dietary part of this topic
Sports Dietitian (RD) & Physiologist
Nutrition Advisor,
Sony Ericsson WTA Tour

DISCLAIMER: The contents of the Game, Set, Health site, are for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, psychiatric, psychological, health care or health management advice. The materials herein are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site. Reliance on any information provided herein is solely at your own risk.

Source: Sony Ericsson Womens Tennis Asociation Tour

Friday, March 27, 2009

Low antioxidant levels associated with hardening of the arteries‏

A study looked at 220 men and women without a history of hardening of the arteries. Vitamin A, vitamin E, and Lycopene were decreased by over 50% in the participants who were found out to have hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) when compared to those who did not have any hardening of the arteries. The researchers concluded that regular intake of foods rich in antioxidant vitamins (nutritional supplementation) may slow the progression of hardening of the arteries and its consequences (heart attack or stroke).

Source: Plasma antioxidants and asymptomatic carotid atherosclerotic disease. Riccioni G et al. Ann Nutr Metab, 2008;53 (2):86-90

Source: Dr. Strand Health Nuggets (

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sunlight exposure along with low antioxidant levels increases the risk of macular degeneration

A recent study suggests that protecting the eyes from sunlight exposure (using hats or protective sunglasses) and consuming high levels of dietary antioxidants may significantly reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. The researchers looked at lifetime sunlight exposure and measured blood antioxidant levels of vitamin C, vitamin E, zeaxanthin, and zinc. They evaluated 4,400 older people and found that individuals with the lowest antioxidant levels and greatest sunlight exposure significantly increased the risk of macular degeneration.

Source: Dr. Strand Health Nuggets (

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Vitamin D protects against stroke‏

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death (140,000 per year in the US) in the US and Canada. Adverse drug reactions are the third leading cause of death (180,000 deaths per year in the US) in the US and Canada. Everyone is very concerned about having a stroke because of the major disability it can cause.
A study published in September 2008, revealed that for every small decrease in blood levels of vitamin D there was a startling 86% increase in fatal strokes. The researchers concluded that low levels of 25 hydorxyvitamin D levels are independently predictive of fatal strokes and they suggest that vitamin D supplementation is a promising approach in the prevention of strokes.

Source: Dr. Strand Health Nuggets (

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Magnesium protects against inflammation of your arteries‏

Healthy women who consume more magnesium are less prone to inflammation of their arteries. Investigators noted that the higher your level of magnesium was the lower your C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation) was and the lower your E-selectin (a marker of artery inflammation and function) was. Since oxidative stress and inflammation is the root problem in cardiovascular disease, it is important to have optimal levels of magnesium in your body.

Source: Dr. Strand Health Nuggets (

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Higher Vitamin D levels lowers the risk of MS‏

Harvard scientists used military personnel to determine vitamin D status and risk of developing multiple sclerosis. They found that as vitamin D levels increased there was a decrease in the risk of developing MS. In fact, the white males who had the highest levels of vitamin D had a 62% decreased risk of developing MS when compared to those who had the lowest level of vitamin D. The researchers concluded that vitamin D may have a protective effect against developing multiple sclerosis.

Source: Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and risk of multiple sclerosis. Munger KL, Levin LI, et al. JAMA. 2006 Dec 20;296(23):2832-8.

Source: Dr. Strand Health Nuggets (

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Vitamin B6 may sharply reduce the incidence of colon cancer‏

A large Scottish study has shown that increased intake of dietary and supplemental vitamin B6 is associated with a significant decrease in colon cancers. The investigators found that the higher the level of vitamin B6 intake the lower the risk of colon cancer. Subjects with the highest level of vitamin B6 were about 20% less likely to develop colon cancer than those individuals who had the lowest levels of vitamin B6.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Lower vitamin D levels are linked to greater knee arthritis pain‏

A recent study showed that patients with osteoarthritis of the knee who also had low levels of vitamin D experienced worse knee pain and decreased mobility when compared with those who had higher levels of vitamin D. This research was based on studies that show that vitamin D influences both musculoskeletal health and neuromuscular function.

The researchers looked at over 100 men and women with osteoarthritis of the knee. Nearly half of the participants had vitamin D deficiencies. This deficiency correlated to the severity of knee pain and mobility.
Source: Dr. Strand Health Nuggets (

Friday, February 20, 2009

High Vitamin C level helps to prevent stroke‏

Investigators noted that high vitamin C levels may reflect healthy lifestyles and possible supplementation. They followed 20,649 men for nearly 10 years. People with the highest levels of vitamin C had a 42% lower risk of stroke when compared to those with the lowest levels of vitamin C. All other factors were accounted for in this study.

This is just another study that shows that the higher your level of antioxidants and in this case vitamin C, the lower your risk of having a cardiovascular even like a stroke. Eating a healthy diet that contains 6 to 8 servings of fruits and vegetables along with supplementation is certainly a good idea.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Lycopene and other antioxidants decrease risk of heart disease‏

As you have been learning, oxidized LDL cholesterol and not native LDL is our enemy because it causes such inflammation of our arteries. Fat soluble vitamins are important because they can actually incorporate themselves into the LDL particle. They have been shown to have the ability to then make this LDL cholesterol less likely to be oxidized by excessive free radicals.

Lycopene and other fat soluble vitamins have been shown to protect our LDL cholesterol from becoming oxidized in epidemiological studies and human trials. Therefore, these studies show a decreased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Source: Riccioni G, Mancini B, et al. Protective effect of lycopene in cardiovascular disease. Eur Rev Med pharmacol Sci. 2008 May-June;12(3):183-90.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Carotenoids decrease risk of macular degeneration

One of the most concerning age-related disease is referred to as age-related macular degeneration. It is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly. This leads to the degeneration of an area in our eye called the macula, which is responsible for our central vision. When they look at someone, they are not able to see their face, but are able to see the area around their face.

Researchers have identified that the cause of this disease is oxidative stress. Several studies have been done that show that supplementation with a host of antioxidants including two carotenoids called lutein and zeaxanthin significantly decreases your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.

Source: Neelam K, Hogg Re, et al. Carotenoids and co-antioxidants in age-related maculopathy. Ophthalmic Epidemiology. 2008 Nov-Dec;15(6):389-401.

Source: Dr. Strand Health Nuggets (

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Low Vitamin D levels increase cardiovascular risk‏

A report in the Archives of Internal Medicine (June 11,2007) added more evidence in the link of low vitamin D levels and heart disease. These researchers measured the 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D levels in over 15,000 women. Those women who had the lowest levels of vitamin D had significantly higher prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, and elevated triglyceride levels (the other fat in the blood other than cholesterol). These are all risk factors for heart disease and strokes.
These researchers again pointed out the fact that low vitamin D levels carry a significant risk factor to our health. They concluded that current intake of vitamin D is far to low for optimal health. This is why I recommend that my patients should get their vitamin D levels checked and act accordingly. First, to bring their vitamin D levels back up to the recommended level (at least greater than 50 ng/ml) and second, to maintain these levels by taking at least 1,000 to 1,200 IU of vitamin D in supplementation.

Source: Dr. Strand Health Nuggets (

Thursday, January 29, 2009

How much Vitamin D do you need?‏

When you get your 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D blood level, the normal range is usually reported as 32 to 100 ng/ml. However, researchers are now beginning to believe that desired level of vitamin D should be over 50 ng/ml and some are recommending that it should be greater than 60 ng/ml. Depending on your level of vitamin D you will need to first get your level into the desired range. However, I would at least recommend that you try to achieve a blood level above 50 ng/ml.
Your personal physician should actually prescribe the amount of increased vitamin D that you will need to bring your vitamin D up to the proper level. It should then be rechecked to be sure that this goal has been accomplished. I work with the members of my online medical practice at to achieve this goal through email or phone consultation and bloodwork that I can order for them. Once you have achieved this goal, you then should supplement with 1,000 to 1,200 IU of vitamin D3 daily.

Source: Dr. Strand Health Nuggets (

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Inflammation and Vitamin D‏

Oxidative stress and inflammation is an underlying factor in the development of numerous age-related diseases. In clinical trials, vitamin D has been shown to suppress what is referred to as pro-inflammatory cytokines. This offers additional protection against conditions ranging from rheumatoid arthritis, prediabetes, heart failure, stroke, and heart disease.
It has become evident that those individuals who live in higher altitudes contract multiple sclerosis at much higher rates than those living where they get sunshine throughout the year. Scientists have identified specific vitamin D receptors in the white matter of the brain. The reduction in inflammation, which is the result of adequate vitamin D, may play a role in protecting you against developing multiple sclerosis.

Source: Dr. Strand Health Nuggets (

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Osteoporosis and importance of Vitamin D‏

Osteoporosis is epidemic in the US and Canada and yet physicians seem to focus primarily on calcium supplementation and medication. However, it is a well-known fact that you cannot even absorb calcium from your diet without adequate levels of vitamin D. The most potent vitamin D is vitamin D3. Our nation is in the midst of realizing that over 90% of the population is seriously deficient in vitamin D. This becomes a critical health issue especially when you consider how critical this nutrient is in helping to build and maintain bone density. One interesting report even showed that elderly people with the highest levels of vitamin D suffered far fewer falls and were less frail.

Anyone who has been diagnosed or is concerned about osteopenia (early thinning of the bone) or osteoporosis needs to have their vitamin D blood levels checked. As mentioned in a previous "Health Nugget", the best test is a 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D blood level. You want to have a blood level greater than 50 ng/ml. You can order this blood test at or ask your personal physician to order it for you from your local lab.

Source: Dr. Strand Health Nuggets (

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Desirable Vitamin D blood levels‏

So what are desireable vitamin D blood levels that we want to achieve and how do we find out what our vitamin D level actually is? The most accepted blood test is called a 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D blood level. This test can be done non-fasting; however, it needs to be ordered by a physician. The proposed level for optimal health is 50 to 60 ng/ml. Now some practitioners would even like to see this as high as 80. However, everyone agrees that if this level is less than 20 you have a serious problem and need to address it immediately. A level between 20 and 40 is generally considered to be inadequate and increased supplementation with vitamin D3 is strongly recommended. Those whose level is between 40 and 50 should be sure they are at least supplementing their diet with vitamin D3 at greater than 1,000 IU daily thereafter.

The primary source of vitamin D is normally in the skin when it is exposed to sunlight. However, it has been pointed out in previous Health Nuggets that vitamin D deficiency is still very prevelant throughout the world and especially in those individuals who live in higher latitudes. My advice is to actually check your blood levels of vitamin D and see where you stand. If you are not able to get this blood test through your own personal physician, you also have the option of ordering the blood work through my website at

Source: Dr. Strand Health Nuggets (

Friday, January 09, 2009

Vitamin D prevents and improves several diseases

Vitamin D has been shown to suppress inflammation in diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, congestive heart failure, and even stroke. Clinical studies have also shown that there is a decrease in the risk of both type 1 and 2 diabetes in individuals who supplement with vitamin D. There are far fewer falls in those elderly patients who supplement with vitamin D at this optimal level. Another important aspect is the fact that vitamin D is required for proper immune function. It is also known that those individuals who live in higher latitudes contract multiple sclerosis at far higher rates than those who obtain more sunshine throughout the year. Studies with supplementing even 400 IU of vitamin D have shown significant reduction in the risk of developing multiple sclerosis. The question is now arising that we need to actually be providing our bodies with much more vitamin D than we previously thought.

Source: Dr. Strand Health Nuggets (

Monday, January 05, 2009

Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk‏

A four year clinical was done that involved nearly 1200 women. This is the kind of study physicians love and always talk about when it comes to pharmaceutical trials. However, very few of them realize that there are these kinds of studies regarding the health benefits of taking supplements. Subjects were assigned to take 1400 mg of calcium alone, or 1400 mg of calcium plus 1100 IU of vitamin D, or a placebo. After only 4 years, the risk of developing any type of cancer was 60% lower in the vitamin D group. If you excluded the cancers diagnosed in the first year because these cancers were most likely already present before the study, there was a 77% reduction in all types of cancer in the vitamin D group.

The researchers pointed out that vitamin D has an effect on at least 200 human genes and is critical in the normal functioning of our immune system and cell division. When there is less than an optimal level of vitamin D, the regulatory process involving cell proliferation and differentiation becomes defective. This can lead to abnormal cell division and thus cancer growth. However, if individuals simply supplement their diet with 1100 IU of vitamin D, they can significantly decrease their risk of all cancers.

Source: Dr. Strand Health Nuggets (

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Serious or Competitive Athlete Part 3 - Nutritional Supplementation

January 2009

Most individuals who are in excellent physical condition feel that they are the healthiest people in our society. Now, I don't want to burst anyone's bubble, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the main researcher on the health benefits of exercise, wrote a book back in 1994 called The Antioxidant Revolution warning of the dangers of over exercise. This book focused primarily on warning the serious or competitive athlete that excessive exercise was actually dangerous to their health. He strongly recommended that everyone needed to be consuming nutritional supplements; however, for the competitive athlete it was absolutely essential. This edition of the Healthy for Life Newsletter will focus on why Dr. Cooper would make such dramatic conclusions from his research.


This newsletter has been written by Ray D. Strand, M. D. who is a family physician who has been involved in a private family practice for over 30 years. For the past 12 years, he has focused his practice on nutritional and preventive medicine. He has written several best selling books like What Your Doctor Doesn't Know about Nutritional Medicine, Death by Prescription, and Healthy for Life. He has lectured across the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, and Singapore on preventive and nutritional medicine. He has also appeared on many radio and television shows.

His primary focus is to guide and educate those individuals who desire to become more proactive in protecting their health or regaining their health. His "online" medical practice is located at*** where he shares a wealth of information in regards to those healthy lifestyles that have been shown to truly protect your health or even allow you to regain your health if you have already lost it. Members of his "online" medical practice also have personal access to Dr. Strand via email and phone consults at a very reasonable fee. Members also have access to his specific nutritional recommendations for over 100 different diseases and his bi-monthly newsletter.

There is so much information that is now available on the Internet today and it is hard to know what is true and what is not. Dr. Strand's mission is to be that health care provider that you can trust.

On his website, he also shares his clinical experience along with his extensive research of the medical literature in the following forms:

* Specific Recommendations
* Healthy Lifestyles
* Newsletters
* Health Nuggets