Monday, July 19, 2010

Study shows Vitamin D supplements taken early in life help in the prevention of osteoporosis

Clinical study at Australian Catholic University indicates the benefits of USANA Active Calcium chewables on bone development in females ages nine to 13

“Eat your veggies,” “Don’t run with scissors” and now “Take your calcium and Vitamin D.”

A clinical study conducted at the School of Exercise Science at Australian Catholic University, has shown that taking high quality calcium supplements like USANA’s Active Calcium could help preadolescent girls set the stage for a lifetime of strong, mineral-rich bones. Study results indicated that a supplement containing high quality calcium plus Vitamin D significantly improved bone density, mass and strength in girls ages nine to 13—exactly what experts want to achieve in that time of life to prevent future skeletal issues.

This study is unique because it’s the first randomized, controlled trial to assess bone responses to calcium in twins. Using twins factors out genetic complications that have plagued studies; in working with the Australian Twin Registry, 20 pairs of female twins between the ages of nine and 13 were selected to participate. Scientists administered one twin in each pair a placebo and one twin USANA’s Active Calcium. After six months the study showed significant improvements in bone development in the twin who received the supplement.
“Experts regard osteoporosis as a pediatric disease because the best time to prevent is during childhood and early adolescence,” says Dr. Tim Wood, Executive Vice President of Research and Development at USANA Health Sciences, Inc. “Women put on 50% of their adult bone mineral mass during their teenage years. As such, this is the best time to grow strong, mineral rich bones and the mosteffective way to prevent osteoporosis later in life.” Dr. Wood adds, “We are particularly excited about these findings because they confirm results previously shown in another study conducted in the U.S. at the University of Utah.”
Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break. If not prevented or if left untreated, osteoporosis can progress painlessly until a bone breaks. While women are four times more likely than men to develop the disease, men also suffer from osteoporosis. It’s important for the body’s bone structure and integrity that bones absorb the right levels of calcium and magnesium, and vitamin D helps this process. USANA’s Active Calcium is a balanced and complete formula of these important ingredients. For a calcium supplement to be effective, it must be absorbable, and USANA’s Active Calcium formula is the outstanding choice among competitors.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Zinc supplementation may protect against heart disease

In a recent study, zinc supplementation demonstrated a protective effect on the heart by functioning as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.

Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress are important risk factors for heart disease. Zinc is an essential mineral with both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant functions. Because of these properties, zinc may play a role in protecting the heart.

To examine the effect of zinc on markers of inflammation, researchers conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of zinc supplementation in elderly subjects. Forty healthy elderly subjects (aged 56-83 years) were randomly assigned to 2 groups. One group received placebo; the other received 45 mg of zinc per day for 6 months.

Compared to the placebo, six months of zinc supplementation increased plasma zinc concentrations and decreased several markers associated with inflammation. Higher zinc levels were also related to a decrease in markers associated with oxidative stress.

The findings of this research suggest that zinc may have a protective effect in coronary artery disease thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Lack of sleep may promote obesity

New research shows a connection between short-term sleep deprivation and increased food intake, indicating that lack of sleep may be a factor that promotes obesity.

It is known that short-term sleep deprivation increases plasma concentrations of ghrelin (a hormone related to increased appetite) and decreases those of leptin (a hormone related to satiety.)

In a randomized crossover study, researchers studied twelve normally healthy non-obese men to observe the effect of sleep deprivation on energy intake and physical activity. During the first night of each 48-hour session, subjects had either 8 hours (from midnight to 8:00 a.m.) or 4 hours (from 02:00 a.m. to 06:00 a.m.) of sleep. All foods consumed thereafter (jam on buttered toast for breakfast, buffet for lunch, and a free menu for dinner) were eaten ad libitum (with no restrictions.) Physical activity was also recorded. Sensations of hunger, perceived pleasantness of the foods, desire to eat some foods, and sleepiness were also evaluated.

In comparison with the 8-hour sleep session, subjects consumed 559 (22%) more calories on the day after sleep restriction, and hunger was higher before breakfast and dinner. Researchers observed no change in the perceived pleasantness of the foods or in the desire to eat the foods. Physical activity was slightly higher after sleep restriction than after 8 hours of sleep, even though the sensation of sleepiness was more apparent.

In this group of healthy men, one night of reduced sleep led to an increase in food intake and, to a lesser extent, physical activity-related energy expenditure. Although further research is needed to confirm the results of this small study, these results suggest that sleep restriction could be a factor that promotes obesity.

Source: Acute partial sleep deprivation increases food intake in healthy men. Laurent Brondel et al Am J Clin Nutr 91: 1550-1559, 2010.

Source: USANA Health Sciences

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

DHA supplementation improves memory in healthy adults with age-related cognitive decline

New research indicates that regular supplementation with DHA may improve memory and learning in older adults with mild age-related memory loss.

Recent research published online in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association illustrates a benefit for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplementation in a clinical trial of individuals with age-related cognitive decline (ARC). DHA is a long-chain omega-3 fatty acids found most prominently in algae, fatty fish and fish oil supplements.

Participants included 485 individuals aged 55 and older with complaints of mild memory loss. The subjects were given a daily dosage of 900 milligrams of DHA or a placebo for 6 months. Memory and learning tests were given at the beginning of the study and at 12 and 24 weeks.

At the end of the study period, the group receiving the DHA supplement had improved test scores that correlated with an increase in plasma DHA levels. At 12 weeks there were no significant differences in the test scores of the two groups. However, at 24 weeks the group taking the DHA had a 2-fold reduction in the number of learning and memory errors tested compared to the placebo group.

The results of this study are the first to clinically confirm that DHA meaningfully improves memory and learning functions in healthy adults with age-related cognitive decline. Since it is estimated that up to one-third of the aging population in the U.S. will experience a decline in cognitive function with age, the benefits of a daily DHA supplement can have a significant impact on public health.

Source: Beneficial effects of docosahexaenoic acid on cognition in age-related cognitive decline, Yurko-Mauro K et al, Alzheimers & Dementia 29 April 2010

Source: USANA Health Sciences

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Soy food & isoflavone intakes reduce breast cancer risk

A recent study among Chinese women showed that those with the highest intakes of soy foods and soy isoflavones had a significantly lower risk of breast cancer.

Research seeking to find a connection between soy food consumption and breast cancer risk has produced conflicting results.

A recent case-control study was conducted to assess the relationship between soy food intake and breast cancer risk according to the estrogen receptor (ER) and/or progesterone receptor (PR) status of breast cancer. Participants included 438 Chinese women with primary breast cancer that were matched by age and residence (rural/urban) with 438 women free of cancer. Dietary intake was assessed by face-to-face interviews using a validated food frequency questionnaire.

Researchers observed a statistically significant inverse association between soy isoflavone and soy protein intake with breast cancer risk. The women in the group with the highest soy isoflavone intake had a 46% decreased cancer risk compared to the group with the lowest intake. Women in the group with the highest soy protein had a 38% reduced cancer risk compared to the lowest intake group. A preventive effect of soy food was found for all subtypes of ER and/or PR status of breast cancer. The inverse association was more evident among premenopausal women.

This study suggests that consumption of soy foods and soy isoflavones may reduce the risk of breast cancer, and that the protective effects of soy do not seem to differ by ER and PR breast cancer status.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Multivitamin supplements unrelated to breast cancer risk in large U.S. study

A recent Harvard Medical School study followed more than 37,000 U.S. women for 10 years and found no correlation between multivitamin use and breast cancer risk.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital recently evaluated possible associations between multivitamin supplements and risk of breast cancer. At the beginning of the study, 37,920 cancer-free U.S. women aged 45 and older provided detailed information on multivitamin supplement use. Throughout an average of 10 years of follow-up, 1,171 cases of breast cancer were documented.

The use of multivitamin supplements was not associated with an overall risk of breast cancer in this large study group. High frequency of use (at least 6 times per week) and duration of supplementation (current use for at least 20 years) were not associated with an increase in risk compared to non-users. A small reduction in breast cancer risk was seen in multivitamin users who consumed 10 grams/day of alcohol or more. There was also a slight decrease in risk of estrogen receptor negative-progesterone receptor negative breast cancer among multivitamin users.

The researchers stated that although there was no overall statistically significant association between multivitamin use and breast cancer, multivitamins may reduce the risk for women consuming alcohol and in certain estrogen receptor negative cancers.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Researchers recommend pregnant women take 4,000 IU Vitamin D a day

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – Taking vitamin D supplements during pregnancy is not only safe for mother and baby, but also can prevent preterm labour/births and infections, according to results of a randomized controlled study to be presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

In the 1950s and ’60s, people were concerned that vitamin D could cause birth defects, according to Carol L. Wagner, MD, lead author of the study and a pediatric researcher at Medical University of South Carolina. It now is known that vitamin D is important for maternal and infant health, including bone health and immune function.

Recent studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy is a serious public health issue.

“Diet doesn’t provide enough vitamin D, and we don’t go in the sun as much as we need,” Dr. Wagner said.

Therefore, she and her colleagues, including Bruce W. Hollis, PhD, who has worked in the field of vitamin D research for the last 30 years, set out to determine the optimal dose of vitamin D supplements for pregnant women without doing harm.

Researchers randomized 494 pregnant women at 12-16 weeks’ gestation into three treatment groups. Group one received 400 International Units (IU) of vitamin D a day until delivery; group two received 2,000 IU and group three received 4,000 IU. The women were evaluated monthly to ensure safety.

“No adverse events related to vitamin D dosing were found in any of the three arms of the study,” Dr. Wagner said.

Investigators also looked at the effects of vitamin D supplementation on complications during pregnancy, including preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, infections, and preterm labor and birth.

“The spectacular part of the study was it showed women replete in vitamin D had lower rates of preterm labor and preterm birth, and lower rates of infection,” Dr. Wagner said.

The greatest effects were seen among women taking 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day. Therefore, the researchers recommend this daily regimen for all pregnant women.

Dr. Wagner will discuss the two parts of the study in separate presentations. The outcomes of vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy will be presented on Saturday, May 1, and the safety of vitamin D supplementation will be presented on Sunday, May 2.

Reporters wanting to interview any of the speakers should call the PAS Press Office at 778-331-7694. Reporters who wish to attend the session must first check in with the PAS Press Office at the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre to receive press credentials.

To view part 1 of the study on safety, go to
To view part 2 of the study on outcomes, go to

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Diets high in B-vitamins reduce risk of death from cardiovascular disease

New research out of Japan reports an inverse association between a diet rich in B-vitamins and risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

Begun in 1988, the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study (JCCS) examined the dietary patterns of 130,000 Japanese adults over nearly ten years. Analyses continue to be performed on the enormous dataset generated by this long-term, large-scale study.

In the latest JCSS analysis (published in the journal Stroke in April 2010), researchers compiled information on dietary levels of folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 as reported in JCSS food frequency questionnaires. They then examined possible correlations between dietary intake of these nutrients and risk of death from common cardiovascular diseases. Data from 23,119 men and 35,611 women (age 40-79 years) met the study criteria, making this one of the largest sample sizes to date for this type of analysis.

Based on the available data, dietary folate and vitamin B6 intakes were inversely associated with mortality from heart failure for men. (Inverse association means that higher dietary levels of folate and vitamin B6 are connected with lower risk of disease.) For women, folate and vitamin B6 intakes were inversely associated with mortality from stroke and coronary heart disease, as well as total cardiovascular disease incidence. Interestingly, these associations remained statistically significant even after adjusting for common cardiovascular disease factors. A statistically significant association could not be determined for vitamin B12 intake and risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

This large-scale collaborative study from Japanese researchers correlates with similar results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) performed in the United States, further confirming the benefits of a diet high in certain B-vitamins.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The benefits of exercise in postmenopausal women

A new study out of Australia shows significant benefits to bone mineral density among postmenopausal women who participate in a twice-weekly exercise program.

A February 2010 research study from the University of New South Wales examined the effect of an aerobic weight-bearing exercise program on bone mineral density (BMD) in postmenopausal women. The purpose of the study was to examine what specific role - if any - regular exercise had on BMD.

30 postmenopausal women were divided into two groups for the study. The first group (19 women, mean age 66.4 years) was assigned a two-year exercise program consisting of twice-weekly aerobic weight-bearing exercises. The second group (11 women, mean age 65.4 years) did not participate in an exercise program. Before and after the two-year study period, bone density measurements were taken at the spine and hip of each study participant.

At the end of the study, women in the exercise group experienced less than one-fourth the spinal BMD loss compared to the control group (-0.8 compared to -3.8, 95% CI 0.3-5.7% difference.) Results were even more impressive for the hip measurement, where the exercise group saw a 9.6% improvement compared to a 4.4% loss in the controls (14.0% difference, 95% CI 4.6-23.5.)

The authors of the study concluded: “this study adds strong evidence that twice-weekly weight-bearing aerobic exercise has a protective effect on bone density in postmenopausal women as well as being associated with other measurable benefits."

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Inadequate DHA intake in infants is related to decreased visual acuity

New research shows that infants receiving milk or formula with adequate docosahaxaenoic acid (DHA) have improved visual acuity compared to infants receiving the lowest levels. Higher dietary intakes of DHA (a fat contained in highest amounts in fish oil) can positively affect levels in milk.

The range of human milk docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) concentrations can vary considerably since maternal diet can greatly influence breast milk fatty acid composition. In one study, average DHA levels in human milk ranged from 0.17% to 0.99%, with U.S. and Canadian women among those with the lowest levels.

New research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition sought to determine the effect of 4 amounts of DHA supplementation on the visual acuity of formula-fed infants. Other objectives were evaluated, including visual acuity maturation, red blood cell fatty acids, tolerance, anthropometric measures, and adverse events.

This double-blind randomized trial included 343 healthy, term, formula-fed infants. The infants were enrolled at 1-9 days of age and randomly assigned to be fed one of four infant formulas containing differing levels of DHA (0%, 0.32%, 0.64% and 0.96%). All other nutrients were equivalent between the formulas. Visual acuity of the infants was measured at the completion of the study at 12 months.

Infants fed control formula (0% DHA) had significantly poorer visual acuity at 12 mo of age than did infants who received any of the DHA-supplemented formulas. There were no significant differences in the visual acuity of the infants fed any of the other DHA-supplemented formulas.

DHA supplementation of infant formula at 0.32% of total fatty acids improves visual acuity. Higher amounts of DHA supplementation do not appear to provide additional improvements to visual acuity.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Osteoarthritis symptoms improve with regular walking & glucosamine sulfate supplementation

New research provides evidence that osteoarthritis sufferers can benefit from a combination of glucosamine sulfate and walking for 30 minutes at least three days per week.

The results of a new clinical trial published in Arthritis Research and Therapy suggest that supplementing with glucosamine and taking regular walks can improve pain, physical function, and overall activity levels in adults with mild to moderate knee or hip osteoarthritis.

Thirty-six low-activity participants (aged 42 to 73 years) were provided with 1500 mg glucosamine sulfate per day for 6 weeks. At the end of six weeks, the participants began a 12-week progressive walking program (while continuing to take glucosamine.)

Study subjects were given a pedometer to monitor step counts. They were then randomized into two groups – one to walk 3 days per week, the other to walk 5 days per week. The length of the walk was gradually increased over the course of the program, with 6000 per day being the goal by the end of the 12-week period. Physical activity levels, physical function, and arthritis symptoms were analyzed at the beginning and at 6, 12, 18 and 24 weeks.

Physical activity levels, physical function, and pain assessment scores improved during the first 6 weeks of the study (glucosamine supplementation only.) Between the start of the walking program (week 6) and the final follow-up (week 24), further improvements were seen, though most improvements happened between weeks 6 and 12. No significant differences were observed between participants who participated in the 3 and 5 day per week programs.

In people with mild to moderate hip or knee osteoarthritis, walking a minimum of 3,000 steps (approximately 30 minutes) at least 3 days per week, in combination with glucosamine sulfate, may reduce some symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Shining Light on the D-lightful Health Benefits of Vitamin D

Michael Holick, Ph.D., M.D.

Boston University Medical Center, Boston, MA

Shining Light on the D-lightful Health Benefits of Vitamin D
(19 minutes) | View Transcript

More information on vitamin D: Source: Linus Pauling Institute

Here is Michael Hollick talking to medical professionals on Vitamin D and the prevention of chronic disease:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Low vitamin B6 status is related to increased oxidative stress

Low vitamin B6 status has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. New research suggests that vitamin B6’s cardioprotective benefits are more far-reaching than originally thought, further emphasizing the essential role of vitamin B6 in supporting a healthy heart.

In a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers measured blood plasma levels of pyridoxal-5'-phosphate (vitamin B6), C-reactive protein (CRP), and an oxidative DNA damage marker (8-OHdG) in over 1200 Massachusetts adults aged 45-75 years. Their goal was to examine the relationship between vitamin B6 levels and markers of inflammation and oxidative stress.

The analysis revealed a strong dose-response relation between plasma vitamin B6 concentration and plasma CRP (a marker of inflammation). Increasing vitamin B6 concentrations were significantly associated with lower CRP levels and decreased urinary 8-OHdG (a marker of oxidative stress). Low plasma vitamin B6 concentrations also correlated with metabolic syndrome, obesity, and diabetes. These negative associations remained even after controlling for homocysteine levels.

The results of this study suggest that low vitamin B6 concentrations may be associated with inflammation, higher oxidative stress, and metabolic conditions in older adults. Additionally, while the relationship between vitamin B6 levels and homocysteine has been known for many years, this new analysis demonstrates that vitamin B6 may influence cardiovascular disease risk through additional mechanisms.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Review of omega-3 fatty acids & heart disease risk

Evidence from three large trials suggests that intake of omega-3 fatty acids, whether from dietary sources or fish oil supplements, should be increased, especially in those with or at risk for coronary artery disease.

The June 2008 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings summarizes the latest findings on omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular health and advocates supplementation for the groups most likely to benefit.

Large trials of over 32,000 participants using fish oil supplements have shown reductions in cardiovascular events (heart attacks, stroke) of 19% to 45%. Researchers recommend consumption of EPA and DHA at 1 gram/day for those with known coronary artery disease, and at least 500 mg/day for those without disease. The recommendation is increased to 3 to 4 grams/day for those with high triglycerides, a dosage shown to lower triglycerides by as much as 20% to 50%.

Since two meals of oily fish per week generally provide only 400 to 500 mg/day of DHA and EPA, people with high triglycerides and heart disease are strongly encouraged to use fish oil supplements to reach beneficial levels. Researchers also state that the combination of omega-3 supplements and statin drugs provide significantly enhanced benefit over statin use alone in improving blood lipid levels.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Vitamin D levels linked to healthy lung function

Vitamin D may play a role in keeping our lungs healthy, with higher concentrations of vitamin D resulting in positive effects on lung function and health.

Low concentrations of vitamin D have been associated with a number of diseases. Research out of New Zealand indicates that serum concentrations of vitamin D may also influence pulmonary (lung) function.

In a study published in the journal Chest, original analysis was performed on data from 14,091 adult subjects (all participants in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted between 1988 and 1994). Lung function was measured in two ways: by the volume of air that could be forcibly blown out in total (forced vital capacity, or FVC), and the volume blown out in one second (forced expiratory volume, or FEV1). Vitamin D was measured using serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, a standard indicator of vitamin D levels.

After adjusting for age, gender, height, body mass index, ethnicity, and smoking history, the difference in lung function between the groups with the highest and lowest vitamin D intake was substantial in both the FVC and FEV1 tests (172 mL and 126 mL respectively, p < 0.0001).>

Although further studies are necessary to determine whether vitamin D supplementation may be beneficial in cases of chronic respiratory disease, this study has shown that vitamin D may have a positive influence on pulmonary health, with greater levels of vitamin D associated with more positive benefits.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Vitamin D deficiency associated with cardiovascular disease prevalence

In a large sample of U.S. adults, new research indicates that vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease.

Inadequate vitamin D levels are known to be associated with certain cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, but until recently the association between vitamin D levels and the prevalence of CVD had not been comprehensively examined in the general U.S. population.

In a recent study published in Atherosclerosis, researchers examined data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a population-based sample of more than 16,000 U.S. adults.

In the total survey population, 1,308 subjects had some form of CVD. Using the standard definition of vitamin D deficiency (a serum level below 20 ng/mL), participants with CVD had a higher incidence of vitamin D deficiency (29.3%) than those without CVD (21.4%). After adjusting for age, gender, race/ethnicity, season of measurement, physical activity, body mass index, smoking status, hypertension, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, chronic kidney disease, and vitamin D use, the researchers showed that subjects deficient in vitamin D had a 20% increased risk of CVD.

The results of this analysis indicate a significant relationship between vitamin D deficiency and CVD prevalence in a large, highly representative sample of the U.S. adult population.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Internet-based lifestyle program improves body composition & markers of metabolic health

Metabolic syndrome involves a cluster of risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. New research confirms the effectiveness of an Internet-based lifestyle change program in supporting weight loss and improvements in cardiovascular and metabolic health.

Metabolic syndrome involves a cluster of risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. These factors include abdominal obesity, elevated blood pressure, atherogenic dyslipidemia, and insulin resistance or glucose intolerance. Metabolic syndrome has become increasingly common as overweight and obesity rates have risen.

Research published in the August 2009 journal Obesity and Weight Management confirms the effectiveness of an Internet-based lifestyle change program in supporting weight loss and improvements in cardiovascular and metabolic health.

Sixty individuals with metabolic syndrome were studied before, during, and after a 12-week online lifestyle intervention program. The 12-week Healthy for Life program was delivered via the internet but involved using standard weight loss tools, including meal replacements, self-monitoring, behavioral change strategies, and low-glycemic diets.

The nutritional supplements, meal replacement shakes, and snack bars used in this study were supplied by USANA Health Sciences.

The intervention resulted in an average weight loss of 5.4%. Fasting insulin was reduced 32.3% while insulin sensitivity was increased by 31.6%. Triglycerides, total cholesterol, and blood pressure were also significantly improved. Nearly half the subjects no longer met the criteria for metabolic syndrome at the conclusion of the study.

The results of this study show that an Internet-based lifestyle change program can result in meaningful weight loss and improved cardiovascular health in overweight individuals with metabolic syndrome. The researchers noted that given the need for strategies to help large numbers of obese individuals achieve weight loss, these results are significant.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Higher intakes of fibre help prevent weight gain & increases in waist circumference

Newly published research shows that adults with high fibre intakes are less likely to gain weight and inches around the waist.

It is known that dietary fibre may play a role in obesity prevention. The role that different individual fibre sources play in weight change is less certain. In a recent paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers investigated the association of total dietary fibre, cereal fibre, and fruit and vegetable fibre with changes in weight and waist circumference.

The prospective cohort study included 89,432 European participants, aged 20–78 years, who were initially free of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Participants were followed for an average of 6.5 years. Adjustments were made for follow-up duration, dietary variables, and baseline anthropometric, demographic, and lifestyle factors.

Total fibre was inversely associated with weight and waist circumference change during the study period. For a 10 gram/day higher total fibre intake, there was an estimated 39 g/year weight loss and waist circumference decreased by 0.08 cm/year. A 10 gram/day fibre intake from cereals results in 77 g/year weight reduction and 0.10 cm/year reduction in waist circumference. Fruit and vegetable fibre was not associated with weight change but had a similar effect on waist circumference as total and cereal fibre intake.

Over a period of 6.5 years, weight gain and increases in waist circumference would be expected in typical adults. The findings of this research may support a beneficial role of higher intake of dietary fibre, especially cereal fibre, in prevention of weight and waist circumference gain.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Moderate soy intake improves survival in breast cancer patients

In a large prospective study of female breast cancer patients treated surgically, moderate soy intake was associated with a significant decrease in death and cancer recurrence during a 4 year follow-up.

A recent study published in the December 9, 2009 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association provides more evidence of the safety of dietary soy intake in breast cancer patients.

Researchers found that a higher intake of soy foods was associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence as well as a lower risk of dying over a four year period following diagnosis.

Participants included 5,033 women in the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study who were surgically treated for breast cancer. The women were enrolled between 2002 and 2006 and followed through June 2009. Intakes of soy protein and soy isoflavones were analyzed from several interviews and dietary questionnaires.

Over an average follow-up of about four years, women whose intake of soy protein was among the top 25 percent of participants had a 29 percent lower risk of death during follow-up and a 32 percent lower risk of recurrence compared to those whose intake was in the lowest quarter. When soy isoflavones were evaluated separately, the risk of dying over follow-up was 21 percent lower and the risk of recurrence was 23 percent lower for those whose intake was highest. The use of tamoxifen and hormone therapy were also associated with improved survival.

In this population-based prospective study, soy food intake was found to be safe and was associated with lower mortality and recurrence among breast cancer patients. The association of soy food intake with mortality and recurrence appears to have followed a linear dose response pattern until soy food intake reached 11 g/day of soy protein. No additional benefits on mortality and recurrence were observed with higher intakes of soy food. This study suggests that moderate soy food intake is safe and potentially beneficial for women with breast cancer.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fitness reduces the risk of death in men with metabolic syndrome

In a study of over 19,000 men, cardiorespiratory fitness significantly decreased risk of death compared to those who were unfit. Over the 17 years of the study, men with metabolic syndrome who were fit had half the death rate compared to men with metabolic syndrome who were not fit.

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of disorders that include abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, and unhealthy cholesterol levels. Up to one in four U.S. adults has metabolic syndrome, significantly increasing their risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, over 19,000 men were recruited to determine the relationship between cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and mortality risk in healthy men and those with metabolic syndrome. The study group, which included 3,757 men with metabolic syndrome, were evaluated for fitness and then followed for up to 17 years.

Healthy men who were out of shape at the beginning of the study were three times as likely as their fit peers to die of cardiovascular disease. While men with metabolic syndrome were 89 percent more likely than healthy men to die of heart disease, men with metabolic syndrome who were unfit had twice the death rate as their fit counterparts.

According to the researchers, “This study strengthens the argument for aggressive public health campaigns aimed at increasing physical activity levels.” Fitness, regardless of body weight, can provide a strong protective effect against premature death in both healthy men and men with metabolic syndrome.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Insufficient vitamin D levels negatively affect strength in girls

Vitamin D deficiency can weaken the muscular and skeletal systems. New research has shown that higher vitamin D levels are positively related to strength and power in adolescent girls.

A paper published in the February 2009 edition of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism reported a link between higher levels of vitamin D and greater strength in adolescent girls.

The participants were 99 girls between the ages of 12 and 14. None of the girls had symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, yet 70% had low blood levels of vitamin D (defined as less than 37.5 nmol/L).

Muscle power and force were analyzed through the use of jumping mechanography, which measures performance in a series of jumping activities. The girls who were low in vitamin D performed worse on the jumping tests compared with girls with higher vitamin D levels. Vitamin D levels were also positively correlated with jump velocity, jump height, muscle power, fitness, and force.

Even in the absence of visible symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, low levels of vitamin D affect the various ways muscles work and can affect overall strength and physical fitness.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Probiotics help reduce upper respiratory tract infections in day care children

New research shows that Lactobacillus GG (LGG), a strain of probiotics, may decrease the risk of upper respiratory tract infections in children attending day care centers.

New research published in the Clinical Nutrition journal shows that Lactobacillus GG (LGG), a strain of probiotics, may decrease the risk of upper respiratory tract infections in children attending day care centers. The researchers also found that the rate of absence due to infection was lower in children receiving LGG when compared to placebo.

281 day-care attending children in Croatia were selected to participate in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Over three months, the treatment group (139 children) received LGG in 100 mL of a fermented milk product. A matching placebo group (142 children) received the same fermented milk product, but without LGG. The children were not allowed to consume any other probiotic or prebiotic products during the study.

During the study, parents were contacted every 10 days and asked whether their child had developed any infections or side effects. Local doctors were responsible for the diagnosis and care of each child, and they were asked to record details of any infections the children experienced during the study period.

At the end of the three-month trial period, the authors found that children in the LGG group had a significantly reduced risk of upper respiratory tract infections when compared to placebo. However, they noted that there was no risk reduction in regard to lower respiratory tract infections as a result of the consumption of the LGG.

The researchers noted several limitations to their study, including the fact that diagnosis and treatment of the children was based only on the clinical judgment of local doctors. Additionally, the rate of severe infections was very low and, therefore, no clear effect of LGG could be proven. They also reported that since the study was conducted during the winter period (November to February), the season with highest risk of gastrointestinal infections (summer) was not included.

Nevertheless, as the paper’s conclusion states, “considering the significant decrease in the number of upper respiratory tract infections in children treated with LGG and knowing that the number needing treatment (NNT) was only five, we can recommend treatment with LGG as a valid measure for the prevention of upper respiratory tract infections in children who attend day care centres.”