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