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Miscellaneous Short Articles on Nutrition

Essential Fatty Acids Benefit Infants

A study involving 44 term infants was conducted to establish whether or not supplementation with essential fatty acids would effect learning and cognition. 21 of the infants were given formula with long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) from birth to four months, and 23 infants received a non-LCPUFA containing formula. At 10 months, both groups were assessed by a 3-step problem solving test. Success was significantly higher in the LCPUFA group. Significance resides in the fact that scoring higher on problem-solving tests relates to IQ in later childhood, and supplementation benefits persist beyond the supplementation period.

The Lancet. August, 1998.

Consensus on Relationship of Essential Fatty Acids to Mental Disorders

International scientists gathered in September to discuss the relationship of omega-3 fatty acids in reducing a variety of mental illnesses. Multiple placebo-controlled studies were reviewed ranging from omega-3 effects on bipolar patients, to their relationship to clinical depression. It was also brought to forfront that the "Western" diet consists of very limited omega-3 fats, and that this fact points to the great increase in the incidence of clinical depression.

National Institute's of Health Symposium. Bethsade, Maryland. September 2-3, 1998.

American Children Fail to Meet Daily Dietary Requirements

According to research by the American Academy of Pediatrics only one percent of this country's children get the proper nutrients they need every day. A primary source of key vitamins and minerals is ready-to-eat cereals, and high sugar fruit juices. In addition, findings indicate that low nutrient-dense foods (e.g. french fries, cakes, cookies, etc....) are major contributors of calories, fats and carbohydrates.

Pediatrics. October 7, 1998.

Vitamin C Status Poor

Two recent independent studies conducted by lead researcher CS Johnston prove that vitamin C status in general populations is well below healthy levels, and certainly not optimal. In the first study, a consecutive sample of 350 females and 144 males patients presenting at a HMO laboratory for outpatient procedures was utilized. Six percent of subjects had plasma vitamin C concentrations indicative of deficiency and 30.4 percent of the same sample were vitamin C depleted. In the second study, vitamin C status of two samples (Fall & Winter) of non-smoking college students were examined. Deficiency ranged from 1-2 percent in the sampled campus populations. Marginal vitamin C status was observed in 12 percent of the Fall sample, and 16 percent of the winter sample.

J Am Coll Nutr. March, 1998 & August 1998

Vitamin E May Save Millions in U.S. Health Care Costs

A recent study on vitamin E, puts a new twist on supplementation. Numerous studies have shown the benefits of vitamin E with regard to chronic disease in humans. Now a study exemplifying its cost-effectiveness had been established by comparing supplementation with vitamin E and placebo in heart patients. A savings of $127/person and $578/person were found in the vitamin E group for Australia and the US respectively. Cost savings in the vitamin E group were due primarily to reduction in hospital admissions for acute myocardial infarction (heart attacks).

Am J Cardiol. August, 1998.

Garlic Reduces Cancer Risk

Dr. Lenore Arab and fellow researchers from the University of North Carolina, analyzed 18 studies looking at garlic. Based on six seperate studies, the findings suggest that a higher consumption of garlic, both raw or cooked, decreases the risk of colorectal cancer from 10 percent to nearly 50 percent. Based on the same studies, the date indicated that garlic could reduce the risk of stomach cancer by almost half as well.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 72, 1047-1052, 2000.

Vitamin C Rich Foods Aid in Stroke Prevention

In a recent American Heart Association publication, it was concluded that vegetables with high levels of vitamin C may prevent the risk of stroke. The study followed over 800 men and more than 1200 women over the age of 40 for 20 years. According to the study, strong associations were observed between serum vitamin C concentration and the incidence of stroke. Those who ate Vitamin C-rich vegetables daily suffered fewer strokes than those who ate these foods only once or twice per week. Just imagine what a 100mg supplement of vitamin C might do!

Stroke 31, 2287, 2000.

Lutein Increases Macular Pigment Density

A study conducted at the University Medical Center in Utrecht, Netherlands, indicates that lutein, an antioxidant nutrient, significantly increases the overall health of the eye. During a 12-week study, researchers found that those participating who took the nutrient had an increase in macular pigment density. This is important since degenerative macular pigment causes blindness in older people.

Investigative Ophthalmalogy & Visual Science 41, 3322-3326, 2000.

Vitamin C Helps Prevent Preeclampsia

Still another recent study that shows the benefits, not the harm, of vitmain C. This time for a condition affecting many thousands during pregnanct, preeclampsia. Researchers found that ascorbic acid administration may reverse endothelial dysfunction related to preeclampsia. The study involved 113 women, all with a histroy of preeclampsia, and an additional 48 women without the condition. In this case-controlled study, researchers noted that ascorbic acid improved endothelial function in previously preeclamptic women.

JAMA 285, 16-7-1612, 2001

Oral Zinc Supplementation Aids in Persistent Diarrhea

A recent study led by Robert Black from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health shows that zinc may be helpful in cases of severe diarrhea. Researches from a variety of locations pooled their analyses of the effect of oral zinc during acute or persistent diarrhea. Results indicated that the nutrient was able to improve long-term diarrhea by 24 percent.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 72:6, 1510-1515, 2000.

Multi-Vitamin Supplementation Lowers Risk of Cataracts

Studies have shown that those who use dietary supplements, specifically vitamin supplements have a lower risk of cataract formation. Recently, researchers from the University of Wisconsin examined over 3,000 men and women as part of a larger study. Data was gathered on those who did and did not use regular multi-vitamin supplements. Researchers found that, compared to non-users, vitamin users had a 60% lower risk of developing cataracts than those who did not supplement.

Archives of Ophthalmology 118, 1156-1563, 2000.

B-Complex May Provide Protection from Smoking Related Cancers

It seems that folate or folic acid, a B-complex nutrient, can protect smokers from some forms of cancer. Researchers found that smokers may benefit from dietary and supplemental folate since it seems to reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer. The study found that while cigarette smoking was seen to lead to an increased risk for this type of fatal cancer, those who consumed the most folate had approximately half the risk of developing pancreatic cancer than those who did not supplement the nutrient.

American Journal of Epidemiology 153, 7:680-687, 2001.

Berries and Grapes Yield High Amounts of Antioxidants

The United States Department of Agriculture's Research Service has concluded that fruits such as blueberries, cranberries and huckleberries, as well as several varieties of grapes not only contain significant amount of the powerful antioxidant, resveratrol, but that this antioxidant is really good for us. After analyzing the content of various fruits for the antioxidant compound, it was found that muscadine grapes held the highest level of resveratrol in the seeds and skin. It is now well established that antioxidants, such as these, are responsible for a marked reduction in cardiovascular and cancers risks because they inhibit the formation and activity of a variety of free radicals.

Journal of Nutrition 130, 5:1091-1094, 2000.

Another benefit from omega-3 fatty acids

Yes indeed! New research suggests that foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as canned tuna, seem to help reduce the risk of macular (retinal) degeneration, which has now become the leading cause of blindness in elderly people. The study, which involved more than 70,000 people, concluded that eating canned tuna more than once a week can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration by 40 percent.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 73, 2, 209-218, 2001.

Vitamin B-12 and Folic Acid Reduce Side Effects of Chemotherapy

A study attempting to show benefit to cancer patients from specific vitamin therapy has proven that folic acid and vitamin B-12 can greatly reduce the severe side effects of chemotherapy in those suffering from cancer. The study indicated that those receiving injections of vitamin B-12 and folic acid, for a three month period, experienced a great reduction or even elimination of the side effects from cancer chemotherapy.

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