December 12, 2010 |
The Institute of Medicine recently upended the health apple cart with a new study that says we don't need as much calcium or vitamin D as we've been told. In fact, taking the kind of megadose that makes you feel virtuous and keeps the supplement industry healthy can lead to kidney stones, with calcium, and kidney or heart damage, with D. If that sounds alarmist, let me quote directly from the Institute of Medicine's statement, which says that "some signals suggest there are greater risks of death and chronic disease associated with long-term high vitamin D intake.
December 6, 2010 |
Every once in a while, some unsung nutrient gets rediscovered and, in the course of a few short years, is rendered virtually magical in the eyes of health professionals and consumers. Foods containing the nutrient come into vogue and supplement use soars. Then, seemingly overnight, the spell is broken. Last week, it was vitamin D's turn to fall from grace. The comedown came courtesy of an expert panel convened by the Institute of Medicine, which advises the government on health issues.
December 1, 2010 |
Vitamin D and calcium, calcium and vitamin D. We've heard the "get more" mantra for so long, small wonder a new report on vitamin D and calcium intakes is creating a buzz. The findings made news headlines because they dispute concerns about Americans being deficient in those nutrients, as this Los Angeles Times story says. But it turns out there are a host of such reports -- and the Institute of Medicine issues regular updates. Here's a plethora of tables that provide dietary guidelines for vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, riboflavin and other nutrients.
December 1, 2010 |
A team of experts convened by the Institute of Medicine sought Tuesday to douse growing concerns that North Americans are deficient in two key nutrients ? calcium and vitamin D ? and that they risk higher rates of a wide range of chronic diseases and cancers as a result. The panel concluded that "with few exceptions, all North Americans are receiving enough calcium and vitamin D" from the foods they eat ? many of which have been fortified with both nutrients. For all but a few, adding more of those nutrients in pill form would be useless at best and, at worst, would risk harm, added the report, which was two years in the making.
November 14, 2010 |
A vitamin D deficiency doubles the risk of fatal strokes in whites, but has no effect on the risk in blacks, even though blacks are more likely to have vitamin D deficiencies and are 65% more likely to die from strokes, researchers said Sunday. The results were puzzling, said Dr. Erin Michos of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore. "We thought maybe the lower vitamin D levels might actually explain why blacks have higher risks for strokes," she said. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States, killing more than 140,000 Americans annually and permanently disabling more than half a million.
November 8, 2010 |
Forgot where you left your keys? The name of your neighbor's kid? Whether you locked the car? Anyone looking for an easy way to boost brain power is likely to come across an increasingly common piece of advice: Up your intake of B vitamins. The vitamins ? including folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 ? are often touted as a way to improve memory and stave off cognitive decline. The claims are based on the finding that levels of the vitamin are low in people with various forms of cognitive impairment, including dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
October 18, 2010
People with a rare, genetic condition that causes skin cancer usually studiously avoid sunlight in order to reduce their cancer risk. But, in doing so, these people increase their risk of vitamin D deficiency, researchers reported Monday. Basal cell nevus syndrome causes people to develop basal cell cancer lesions as early as adolescence. But in a study of 41 people with the condition, more than half were found to be deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin from exposure to sunlight.
October 16, 2010 |
Want to manage your weight, strengthen and whiten your teeth, increase your vitamin intake? Just bored out of your mind? Have some gum. Candy manufacturers are rolling out gums for all occasions to entice people to chew more frequently. Some of the gums seem to have been pulled from science fiction, or at least Willy Wonka's factory. Kraft Foods Inc.'s Stride Shift, for instance, changes flavor while you're chewing. Trident Vitality contains vitamin C for those who can't be bothered to eat fruit.
October 11, 2010 |
It's what Dr. Jean Romagnoli doesn't know about the health of the 33 trapped miners that worries him. As chief medical officer of the team rescuing the miners stuck underground since Aug. 5, Romagnoli has been monitoring their health and preparing for their reentry to life above ground, which could happen as early as Wednesday. Once rescued, they will receive immediate attention at a makeshift clinic near the mine entrance and then two days of treatment at a hospital in nearby Copiapo.
September 9, 2010
High doses of B vitamins can reduce shrinkage of the brain that is frequently a precursor of Alzheimer's disease, British researchers reported Wednesday. In the best circumstances, the supplements reduced shrinkage by as much as 50%, and researchers hope that this may mean that the vitamins can delay the onset of Alzheimer's. A longer trial is now being planned to determine if that is the case. The results are all the more remarkable because of the widely publicized failures of many experimental Alzheimer's treatments.