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  • Multivitamins Plus Omega-3s May Curtail Diabetes Risk

    Friday, July 19, 2019
    New Science
    Multivitamins Plus Omega-3s May Curtail Diabetes Risk

    Diabetes affects 347 million people worldwide, with type 2 diabetes making up 90% of those cases. Fortunately, research has found type 2 diabetes is often preventable by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising. And now, a study published in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Endocrinology may have uncovered another way to help lower diabetes risk, finding that a daily multivitamin plus omega-3 fatty acids was associated with better blood sugar control in people at risk for prediabetes and diabetes.

    The study included data from 1,018 non-diabetic people, ages 25 to 54, participating in two different stages of a community wellness program sponsored by the Pure North S’Energy Foundation. Those participating in the first stage (from 2008 to 2010) received individually determined amounts of vitamin D3, between 1,000 and 20,000 IU per day, to achieve target blood levels; those participating in the second stage (from 2010 to 2012) received the same individually determined amounts of vitamin D3 plus a multivitamin and 600 mg of omega-3 fatty acids (400 mg of EPA and 200 mg of DHA). When researchers examined participants’ serum vitamin D levels and markers of blood sugar control after the first year of each of the two stages of the program, they found:

    • Higher serum vitamin D levels were associated with better markers of blood sugar control in those in the second (full supplement) stage of the program.
    • While 16% of those in the first (vitamin D3 only) stage of the program developed prediabetes or diabetes, only 8% of those in the full supplement stage of the program developed these conditions.
    • Abnormal markers of blood sugar control were more likely to improve in those in the full supplement stage compared with those in the vitamin D3 only stage of the program.

    This suggests vitamin D3 combined with omega-3 fatty acids and a multivitamin may help regulate blood sugar levels and could reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, a direct link can’t be drawn between these supplements and a reduced diabetes risk based on these findings. More clinical trials are needed to verify the possible benefits of a supplement program for diabetes prevention. If you are at risk of diabetes, check with your healthcare provider to see if adding supplements to your diabetes-prevention program makes sense for you.

    Source: Journal of Clinical and Translational Endocrinology

  • Female Athletes at Risk for Iron Deficiency

    Wednesday, July 17, 2019
    Female Athletes at Risk for Iron Deficiency

    According to an article in The Washington Post, it's common for female athletes to have iron deficiency due to monthly blood loss and to diets that often don’t include fortified foods or red meat. It’s important to note that you can be iron deficient without being anemic, although anemia is often caused by low iron and refers specifically to low hemoglobin—the molecule that carries oxygen throughout the body. Lack of iron can lead to feeling tired, cold, and depressed, which can impact performance in a big way. Luckily iron deficiency is completely preventable. Here’s what you need to know:

    • The National Institutes of Health’s recommended iron intake for premenopausal women is 18 mg daily. According to one expert, female athletes may need to take a higher dosage.
    • Aside from red meat and seafood, green-leafy vegetables can also provide iron, especially when consumed along with vitamin C. Avoid eating these foods with ones that interfere with iron uptake, such as coffee and tea.
    • Iron can be taken as a supplement, but it’s important to be screened first to see how deficient you are, as getting too much iron is not healthful.

    Source: The Washington Post

  • Feeding Infants Eggs and Peanuts May Prevent Allergies

    Friday, July 12, 2019
    New Science
    Feeding Infants Eggs and Peanuts May Prevent Allergies

    Timing may be everything when it comes to preventing food allergies in children. According to a review and meta-analysis published in JAMA, feeding infants eggs and peanuts may reduce their risk of later developing allergies to these foods. Researchers discovered evidence of this after reviewing data from 146 intervention and observational studies. The studies investigated the effects of introducing allergenic foods, including eggs, peanuts, and gluten, during the first year of life on the risk of later developing food allergies, celiac disease, and other allergic sensitizations or autoimmune diseases. Although the data was difficult to analyze due to differences in study methods, the researchers did reach some conclusions with varying degrees of certainty:

    • Five trials, including 1,915 participants, provided evidence of moderate certainty that introducing eggs into infants’ diets at four to six months was associated with a reduced risk of egg allergy.
    • Two trials, including 1,550 participants, provided evidence of moderate certainty that introducing peanuts into infants’ diets at four to eleven months was associated with a reduced risk of peanut allergy.
    • There was evidence of high certainty that introducing gluten into infants’ diets at any age was not associated with an increase or decrease in the risk of celiac disease.

    These findings add to a growing body of research showing that introducing certain foods during early childhood and even eating them during pregnancy may reduce the risk of allergies. Based on the changing understanding of how the developing immune system responds to allergen exposures, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology now recommends the introduction of highly allergic foods, including eggs and peanuts, between four and six months of age for most children; however, it’s important to consult with your child’s pediatrician before introducing highly allergic foods if your child has already shown signs of food allergies or any persistent allergic condition, or if your child has siblings with severe food allergies.

    Source: JAMA

  • German Nutrition Society: Vegans Should Take B12 Supplements Permanently

    Wednesday, July 10, 2019
    Breaking News
    German Nutrition Society: Vegans Should Take B12 Supplements Permanently

    A report from the German Nutrition Society asserts that a vegan diet may lead to nutrient deficiencies, particularly in vitamin B12. The report, which is cited on the German government’s website, states that vegans should “permanently” take B12 supplements and have their B12 levels checked regularly by a physician. The report goes on to state that, due to the increased risk of nutrient deficiencies, cutting out all animal products isn’t recommended for pregnant or nursing women, or children and teens of any age. In addition, it recommends that people of all life stages follow “a diet that includes all foods in the nutrition circle—including animal products.”

    Not all health organizations support these recommendations. For example, the report cited three international nutrition organizations, the US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, and the Canadian Paediatric Society, which all hold the position that a well-planned vegan diet, one that includes food supplements and fortified foods, is nutritionally adequate and appropriate for everyone. The Portuguese National Programme for the Promotion of a Healthy Diet also supports veganism but recommends that vegan infants be breastfed for the first two years so they receive enough high-quality milk protein.

    A spokesperson from the pan-EU Vegan Society reiterated these organizations’ position that going vegan requires a little extra knowledge and planning, but added that “. . . you can get everything you need from a vegan diet for great health.” As for specifically getting the B12 you need, some researchers and healthcare practitioners believe that plant sources don’t provide sufficient quantities of B12, although one study found that nori seaweed did contain substantial amounts of B12. If you're concerned about your B12 intake, speak with your healthcare practitioner who can recommend supplements or food sources to correct any deficiencies.

    Source: NutraIngredients

  • Better Together: Vitamin D and Exercise Lower Risk of Injury from Falling in Older Women

    Wednesday, July 03, 2019
    New Science
    Better Together: Vitamin D and Exercise Lower Risk of Injury from Falling in Older Women

    A study found that together, exercise and vitamin D supplements cut the risk of injury from falling in older women by more than half. Published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the study divided 409 women ages 70 to 80 into four groups: one received a placebo and didn’t exercise, a second received vitamin D (800 IU per day) and didn’t exercise, a third received a placebo and exercised, and a fourth received vitamin D (800 IU per day) and exercised. Each of the women had fallen at least once during the previous year, prior to participating in the study. After tracking the women for two years, here’s what the researchers discovered:

    • Exercising and taking vitamin D reduced the risk of injury from falling by 62%.
    • Exercising without taking vitamin D reduced the risk of injury from falling by 53%.
    • Only exercise improved muscle strength and balance; however, vitamin D helped maintain bone mineral density.
    • Neither exercise nor vitamin D reduced the risk of falling itself.

    The findings are especially important because they suggest a possible strategy for preventing the hazards of falling—a leading cause of unintentional injuries and fractures in older adults.

    Source: JAMA Internal Medicine

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2019.