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«PFNDAI Bulletin April 2009 Editorial Staying healthy is extremely important in today’s context as medical care has become very expensive and is ...»

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From: Soytech E-News March 20, 2009 Trans Fatty Acids (TFA) Are Largely Consumed From Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils "In both developed and developing countries, trans fatty acids (TFA) are largely consumed from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (see also http://www.newsrx.com/library/topics/Life-Sciences.html"Life Sciences). This article focuses on TFA as a modifiable dietary risk factor for cardiovascular disease, reviewing the evidence for lipid and non-lipid effects; the relations of trans fat intake with clinical endpoints; and current policy and legislative issues," scientists in the United States report.

"In both observational cohort studies and randomized clinical trials, TFA adversely affect lipid profiles (including raising LDL and triglyceride levels, and reducing HDL levels), systemic inflammation, and endothelial function. More limited but growing evidence suggests that TFA also exacerbate visceral adiposity and insulin resistance. These potent effects of TFA on a multitude of cardiovascular risk factors are consistent with the strong associations seen in prospective cohort studies between TFA consumption and risk of myocardial infarction and coronary heart disease (CHD) death. The documented harmful effects of TFA along with the feasibility of substituting partially hydrogenated vegetable oils with healthy alternatives indicate little reason for continued presence of industrially produced TFA in food preparation and manufacturing or in home cooking fats/oils," wrote R. Micha and colleagues, Brigham and Women's Hospital.

The researchers concluded: "A comprehensive strategy to eliminate the use of industrial TFA in both developed and developing countries, including education, food labeling, and policy and legislative initiatives, would likely prevent tens of thousands of CHD events worldwide each year."

Micha and colleagues published their study in Prostaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids (Trans fatty acids: Effects on cardiometabolic health and implications for policy. Prostaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 2008;79(3-5 Sp. Is):147From: Soytech E-News February 23, 2009 Vitamin Studies Suggest Protective Health Impact Three new studies published in the Archives of Internal Medicine demonstrate the positive role certain vitamins and minerals play in supporting health and preventing disease conditions.

The first study suggests that women with higher intakes of calcium from both food and supplements—up to 1300 mg/day—appear to have a lower risk of cancer overall, and both men and women with high calcium intakes have lower risks of colorectal cancer and other cancers of the digestive system.

An additional study showed that women who took a combination of B vitamins, including folic acid (2.5 mg/day), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6, 50 mg/day) and cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12, 1 mg/day), decreased their risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of severe irreversible vision loss for older Americans. The third study suggests that higher blood levels of vitamin D are inversely associated with the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections.

“These results are encouraging and may lead us in new directions of research,” said Andrew Shao, PhD, vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs, for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), Washington, D.C. “We’ve known for many years that these essential nutrients play important roles in health—vitamin D and calcium for bone health and folic acid for the prevention of neural tube birth defects—but these latest studies suggest new and exciting benefits that need further exploration.” Previous observational studies have shown an inconsistent relationship between calcium intake and cancer. This large prospective study, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) AARP Diet and Health Study, followed 293,907 men and 198,903 women, ages 50 to 71. Participants were given a food frequency questionnaire when they enrolled in the study, asking how much and how often they consumed dairy, as well as other conventional foods, and whether they took supplements.

After seven years of follow-up, the study found that women with a calcium intake of up to 1300 mg/day, from a combination of conventional foods and supplements, had a decreased risk of total cancer. The study also found that women who were in the top onefifth of calcium consumption (1881 mg/day from a combination of conventional food and supplements) had a 23% lower risk of digestive types of cancer, particularly colorectal cancer, than those in the bottom one-fifth (494 mg/day). Men who consumed the most calcium from conventional foods and supplements (about 1530 mg/day) also had a 16% lower risk of digestive types of cancer than those who consumed the least calcium.

“What this means for consumers is that there may be benefits to calcium supplementation that go beyond bone health; but more research is still needed to help explain the observed differences in gender and to better assess the effects on other non-digestive cancers,” said Dr. Shao. “It’s also interesting to point out that the women in this study who had the highest calcium intakes—and lower risks of cancer—had lower body mass indexes, tended to be physically active, and were less likely to smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol.

This further reinforces the notion that good health is truly a combination of overall healthy practices—and vitamins and other supplements are an important part of that formula.” Regarding the second trial, previous observational studies have suggested an association between lower homocysteine concentrations in the blood and lower risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), while intervention studies have shown that folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 may lower homocysteine levels. However, no intervention study had yet examined the effect of B vitamin supplementation on AMD risk.

This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, part of the Women’s Antioxidant and Folic Acid Cardiovascular Study (WAFACS), followed 5442 female healthcare professionals, age 40 years or older, who already had or were at high risk for heart disease for about seven years. Participants were assigned to receive a placebo or a combination of folic acid (2.5 mg/day), vitamin B6 (50 mg/day) and vitamin B12 (1 mg/day). After two years, the beneficial effects on women taking B vitamins emerged and persisted throughout the entire trial. After 7.3 years of follow-up, women taking the supplements had a 34% lower risk of any AMD and a 41% lower risk of visually significant AMD.

Finally, vitamin D inadequacy has reemerged recently, resulting in the resurfacing of diseases such as rickets in children. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, “Older adults, people with dark skin, and people exposed to insufficient ultraviolet band radiation (i.e., sunlight) should consume extra vitamin D from vitamin D-fortified foods and/or supplements.” In a secondary analysis of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a survey of the U.S. population, found that individuals with low blood levels of a vitamin D marker (25-hydroxyvitamin D) were also more likely to have an upper respiratory tract infection (URTI). Specifically, the analysis found that compared to those with levels greater than 30 nanograms/milliliter (ng/ml), individuals with less than 10 ng/ml had a 36% higher risk of having a recent URTI; those with 10 to less than 30 ng/ml had 24% higher odds.

“The bottom line for consumers is that vitamins are an important component of good health,” said Dr. Shao. “Science is an evolving process, and this recent good news about vitamins should certainly be encouraging to consumers, particularly those who take them consistently over the long-term in combination with other healthy habits.”

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