Vitamin D Deficiency and Bone Health in Patients Undergoing Hip or Knee Replacement Surgery
In a study involving 82 women (mean age: 70 yrs) and 35 men (mean age: 68 yrs) undergoing total hip or knee replacement, 84.7% of subjects were found to have vitamin D deficiency. In addition, 37% of men and 43% of women were found to have osteopenia, 20% of men had a T-score below -2.5, and 23% of women were affected by osteoporosis. Prevalence of osteoporosis and osteopenia were not found to be due to immobility. These results elucidate the links between osteoporosis, osteopenia, BMD and vitamin D status in patients undergoing total hip or knee joint replacement surgery.
"Bone mineral density and vitamin D status in female and male patients with osteoarthritis of the knee or hip," Breijawi N, Eckardt A, et al, Eur Surg Res, 2009; 42(1): 1-10. (Address: Dr. Philipp Drees, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Langenbeckstrasse 1, DE-55101 Mainz, Germany.
Cobalamin(Vitamin B12) Supplementation for Infertile Couples?
In a cross-sectional study involving 171 couples visiting an infertility clinic, results indicate a high prevalence of cobalamin deficiency. Mean cobalamin levels were 259.2 pg/mL in men and 275.1 pg/mL in women, with 35.5% of men and 23.3% of women showing cobalamin deficiency. Additionally, 39% of all men with an abnormal semen analysis showed cobalamin deficiency. Thus, the authors conclude, "This study questions whether higher rates of male infertility in Israel are partially ascribable to cobalamin deficiency. Recommendation for supplementation in both males and females to achieve high-normal levels of cobalamin would be prudent."
"Prevalence of low serum cobalamin in infertile couples," Pront R, Elstein D, et al, Andrologia, 2009; 41(1): 46-50. (Address: Gaucher Clinic, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel).
Higher Dietary Intake of Carotenoids and Lycopene May Reduce the Risk of Hip Fracture in the Elderly
In a prospective study involving 370 men and 576 women (mean age: 75 years), results indicate that higher total carotenoid and lycopene intakes may be associated with a lower risk of hip fracture. The subjects completed a food frequency questionnaire. During 17 years of follow-up, 100 hip fractures were recorded. Using Cox-proportional hazards models adjusted for potential confounders, total carotenoid intake and lycopene intake were both inversely associated with risk of hip fracture. Thus, the authors conclude, "These results suggest a protective role of several carotenoids for bone health in older adults."
"Protective Effect of Total Carotenoid and Lycopene Intake on the Risk of Hip Fracture: A 17-Year Follow-Up From the Framingham Osteoporosis Study," Sahni S, Tucker KL, et al, J Bone Miner Res, 2009 Jan 12; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Dr. Katherine L Tucker, Dietary Assessment and Epidemiology Research Program, Jean Mayer USDA HNRCA at
Adherence to a Low-Salt Diet May Reduce Blood Pressure, Particularly Among Women
In a study involving 1,906 participants, results indicate that adherence to a low-salt diet may reduce blood pressure, particularly in women. The participants underwent a 7-day low-salt dietary intervention (51.3 mmol sodium/day), a 7-day high-salt dietary intervention (307.8 mmol sodium/day), and a 7-day high-salt and potassium dietary intervention (60 mmol potassium/day). The low-salt diet was associated with significantly greater reductions in systolic (-8.1 mm Hg) and diastolic (-4.5 mm Hg) blood pressure in women, as compared to that in men (-7 mm Hg systolic and -3.4 mm Hg diastolic). Similarly, the high-sodium intervention led to a greater increase in blood pressure in women, compared to that in men. Additionally, older subjects showed a greater increase in systolic blood pressure with high-salt intake, while hypertensive subjects showed a greater increase in systolic and diastolic blood pressure with high -salt intake. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, "These results suggest that female gender, older age, and hypertension increase the sensitivity to dietary sodium intervention. Furthermore, low dietary sodium intake may be more effective in reducing BP among these subgroups.
"Gender difference in blood pressure responses to dietary sodium intervention in the GenSalt study," Je J, Whelton PK, et al, J Hypertens, 2009; 27(1): 48-54. (Address: Department of Epidemiology, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112, USA. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ).
Flavonoid-rich Chocolate, Wine, and Tea Linked to Improved Cognitive Function in the Elderly
In a cross-sectional study involving 2,031 male and female subjects between the ages of 70 and 74 years, consumption of flavonoid-containing chocolate, wine, and tea was found to be associated with superior cognitive performance, as compared to subjects who did not consume these three common flavonoid-containing foods. Subjects who consumed these 3 foods had the best test scores and the lowest risk of poor performance. Furthermore, chocolate and wine were both independently dose-dependently associated with cognition, with the maximum effect found at 10/g chocolate and 75 mL/d wine. The association between tea consumption and cognition was found to be linear. The authors conclude, "Thus, in the elderly, a diet high in some flavonoid-rich foods is associated with better performance in several cognitive abilities in a dose-dependent manner."
"Intake of flavonoid-rich wine, tea, and chocolate by elderly men and women is associated with better cognitive test performance," Nurk E, Refsum H, et al, J Nutr, 2009, 139(1): 120-7. (Address: David Smith, Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Ageing and Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford, OX1 3QX Oxford, United Kingdom. E-mail: email@example.com ).
High-dose DHA May Improve Female Preterm Infants Neurodevelopmental Outcomes( DHA, Omega-3 Fatty Acids)
In a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial involving 657 pre-term infants (born at less than 33 weeks gestation), high-dose DHA (1% of total fatty acids) administered through enteral feeds from day 2-4 of life through term corrected age was found to improve Bayley Mental Development Index scores in girls at 18 months' corrected age. Infants were fed either the high-dose DHA or the standard amount of DHA (0.3% total fatty acids). In the group overall, at 18 months, MDI scores were not significantly different between the 2 groups (mean difference: 1.9). However, among girls, a significant difference was found between those who received the high-dose DHA versus those who received the low-dose (mean adjusted difference: 4.5). In addition, among infants born less than 1250 grams, those fed the high-dose DHA were found to have higher MDI scores than those fed low-dose DHA (mean unadjusted difference: 4.7; mean adj usted difference: 3.8). These results suggest that in female preterm infants, being fed a diet containing high-dose DHA may improve neurodevelopmental outcomes.
"Neurodevelopmental outcomes of preterm infants fed high-dose docosahexaenoic acid: a randomized controlled trial," Makrides M, Gibson RA, et al, JAMA, 2009; 301(2): 175-82. (Address: Child Nutrition Research Centre, Women's and Children's Health Research Institute, Women's and Children's Hospital, 72 King William Rd, North Adelaide SA 5006, Australia.
Soy Isoflavone Supplementation May Slow Bone Loss in Postmenopausal Women
In a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 403 postmenopausal women, results indicate that long-term soy-isoflavone supplementation may attenuate whole-body bone loss. The women were randomized to 80 or 120 mg of soy hypocotyl aglycone isoflavones or placebo, plus calcium and vitamin D for a period of 24 months. At 1-year end, daily supplementation with 120 mg soy isoflavones was associated with a significantly smaller reduction in whole-body bone mineral density (BMD), but not regional BMD, compared to women supplemented with placebo. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, “Daily supplementation with 120 mg soy hypocotyl isoflavones reduces whole-body bone loss but does not slow bone loss at common fracture sites in healthy postmenopausal women.”
Reference: “Soy isoflavone supplementation and bone mineral density in menopausal women: a 2-y multicenter clinical trial,” Wong WW, Smith EO, et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2009 Sep 16; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: US Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service, Children's Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA).
Low Vitamin D Status in Older Women Linked to Increased Mortality
In a prospective, population-based study involving 714 community-dwelling women between the ages of 70 and 79 years, low vitamin D status was found to be associated with an increased risk of mortality. During a median follow up of 72 months, during which time 14% (n=100) of the women died, women in the lowest quartile of 25(OH)D (<15.3 ng/mL) were found to have the highest risk of mortality (HR=2.45), as compared to women in the highest quartile (>27.0 ng/mL). These results suggest that older women with low vitamin D status have an increased risk of death. Additional research is needed to assess the effects of supplementation with vitamin D on mortality in this population
“Low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations are associated with greater all-cause mortality in older community-dwelling women,” Semba RD, Houston DK, et al, Nutr Metab, 2009; 29(8): 525-530. (Address: Department of Ophthalmology and the Department of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, MD 21287, USA).
Eating More Fruits and Vegetables May Lower Risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
In a prospective study involving 35,159 women aged 55-69 years, results indicate higher intake of fruits and vegetables may be associated with a lower risk of non-hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), particularly follicular lymphoma. During 19 years of follow-up, 415 cases of NHL, including 90 cases of follicular lymphoma were identified. Diet information was gathered using a validated semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire. After adjusting for potential confounders, the highest quartiles of intake of total fruits and vegetables, yellow/orange vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, broccoli, and apple juice/cider were associated with 31%, 28%,18%, 28%, and 35% reduced risks of NHL, respectively, compared with the corresponding lowest quartiles of intakes. Additionally, the highest quartiles of dietary intakes of vitamin C (22% reduced risk), alpha-carotene (29% reduced risk), proanthocyanidins (30% reduced risk) and manganese (38% reduc ed risk) were independently associated with reduced risks of NHL, compared with the lowest quartiles of dietary intakes. These associations were mainly observed for follicular lymphoma. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, "these results support a role for vegetables and perhaps fruits, and associated antioxidants from food sources, as protective factors against the development of NHL and follicular lymphoma in particular."
"Antioxidant intake from fruits, vegetables and other sources and risk of non-hodgkin lymphoma: The iowa women's health study," Thompson CA, Cerhan JR, et al, Int J Cancer, 2009 Aug 14; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Department of Medicine, College of Medicine Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA
Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Increased Mortality Risk in Hemodialysis Patients
In a study involving 102 hemodialysis patients (57 male, 45 female, mean age: 60.5 years), subjects with 25(OH)D levels < or = 50 nmol/L were found to have significantly higher mortality rates than those with 25(OH)D levels above 50 nmol/L, according to Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. According to Cox multivariable regression modeling, the PTH level was found to be a predictor of mortality in this patient group. The study population as a whole was found to have vitamin D insufficiency. These results suggest that low vitamin D status may increase mortality in hemodialysis patients.
"Vitamin D as a novel nontraditional risk factor for mortality in hemodialysis patients," Pecovnik-Balon B, Jakopin E, et al, There Apher Dial, 2009; 13(4): 268-72. (Address: Department of Nephrology, University Clinical Center Maribor, Maribor, Slovenia).
Vitamin D3 May Benefit Heart Failure Patients
In a cross-sectional study involving 95 heart failure patients (28 women and 67 men of functional classes 1, 2, or 3; mean age: 62 years; mean serum calcium: 2.41 mmol/L; mean serum vitamin D3: 56.78 nmol/L), 84% were found to have hypovitaminosis D (low vitamin D status). Patients with hyperparathyroidism (serum PTH > 65 ng/L) were found to have lower LVEF (27% vs. 32.5%), and NYHA functional class was found to be worse in patients with hyperparathyroidism. The authors hypothesize that hyperparathyroidism in heart failure patients may adversely impact cardiac function. Furthermore, they conclude, "Vitamin D3 might serve as an adjunctive treatment for heart failure patients."
"Calcium and Vitamin D Status in Heart Failure Patients " Garakyaraghi M, Kerdegari M, Siavash M, Biol Trace Elem Res, 2009 Aug 19; [Epub ahead of print].
Acupuncture Treatment May Limit Dose of Anti-Depressant Needed
In a randomized, double-blinded, sham-controlled study involving 80 patients with major depressive disorder, treatment with acupuncture (5 treatments per week for 6 weeks) in addition to a low-dose of the anti-depressant, fluoxetine (10 mg/d) was found to be as effective at improving symptoms of depression as subjects who received a higher dose (the recommended dose) of fluoxetine (20-30 mg/d). Moreover, subjects who received acupuncture reported less side effects of the anti-depressant and greater improvement in symptoms of anxiety. The authors conclude that acupuncture may be beneficial to "depressive patients with severe anxious symptoms and/or intolerable side-effects of antidepressants…."
"Combination of acupuncture and fluoxetine for depression: a randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled trial," Zhang WJ, Yang XB, et al, J Altern Complement Med, 2009
BURNS, WOUND HEALING - Antioxidants, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, Vitamins, Minerals
In a prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study involving 32 burn patients, supplementation with an antioxidant mixture containing vitamin C (1.5 times upper intake level), vitamin E (1.35 times upper intake level), and zinc (2.0 times RDA) for 7 days starting the second day after being admitted to the hospital, time of wound healing was lower among subjects receiving supplementation, as compared to controls. These results suggest that patients admitted to the hospital with burns may reduce the time of wound healing by supplementing with antioxidants such as vitamins C, E, and zinc
"Supplementation of Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and Zinc Attenuates Oxidative Stress in Burned Children: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study," Barbosa E, Faintuch J, et al, J Burn Care Res, 2009 Aug 17; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Postgraduate Program in Nutrition, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, Brazil).
Diet Rich in DHA and EPA May Protect Against Age-Related Macular Degeneration Progression
In a prospective study involving 2,924 eligible AREDS (Age-Related Eye Disease Study) AMD (age-related macular degeneration) trial participants, results indicate that consumption of a diet rich in DHA may reduce progression of AMD. After adjusting for potential confounders, including AREDS supplementation, higher intakes of DHA (>/= 64 mg/d) and EPA (>/= 42.3 mg/d), and reducing dietary glycemic index (< 75.2) were associated with 27%, 26%, and 24% reduced risks for progression to advanced AMD, respectively. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, "Our findings show an association of consuming a diet rich in DHA with lower progression of early AMD. In addition to the AREDS supplement, lower dGI with higher intakes of DHA and EPA was associated with reduced progression to advanced AMD."
"Does eating particular diets alter risk of age-related macular degeneration in users of the age-related eye disease study supplements?," Chiu CJ, Taylor A, et al, Br J Ophthalmol, 2009 Jun 12; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155, United States of America. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ).
Fish Oil Supplementation May Benefit Offspring of Patients with Type 2 Diabetes
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 50 normoglycemic offspring of patients with type 2 diabetes, results indicate that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids may improve endothelial function and reduce pro-inflammatory markers. The participants were randomized to supplementation with fish oil (omega-3 PUFAs; 2 g/day) or placebo for 12 weeks. At intervention end, subjects in the omega-3 supplemented group showed significant improvement in flow-mediated dilation (FMD; 9.1% vs. 11.7%), decrease in plasma triglycerides (117 mg/dL vs. 86 mg/dL), decrease in TNF-alpha levels, and a trend towards increase in plasma adiponectin levels, compared with baseline. No significant change was observed in the placebo group. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, “Dietary supplementation with n-3 PUFA significantly improved endothelial function and reduced pro-inflammatory markers in OPDs. Thus, fish oil consumption may have beneficial cardiovascular and metab olic health effects in otherwise healthy subjects predisposed to diabetes and its vascular complications.”
“Fish oil supplementation improves endothelial function in normoglycemic offspring of patients with type 2 diabetes,” Rizza S, Lauro D, et al, Atherosclerosis, 2009 Mar 19; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Center for Atherosclerosis "Policlinico Tor Vergata" University Hospital, Internal Medicine Department, Rome, Italy).
IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME, ABDOMINAL PAIN, GAS, BLOATING, DIARRHEA, CONSTIPATION - Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine, Traditional East Asian Medicine
In a preliminary, randomized, sham/placebo-controlled trial involving 29 men and women with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), treatment with acupuncture and moxibustion, twice a week for a period of 4 weeks, was found to significantly improve symptoms of abdominal pain/discomfort, intestinal gas, bloating, and stool consistency. Subjects who received real acupuncture and moxibustion therapy were assessed by an acupuncturist according to the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and treated with an individualized acupuncture point prescription. The results of this study are promising, suggesting that acupuncture and moxibustion therapy may be an effective treatment for managing symptoms in patients with IBS.
“Symptom management for irritable bowel syndrome: a pilot randomized controlled trial of acupuncture/moxibustion,” Anastasi JK, McMahon DJ, et al, Gastroenterol Nurs, 2009; 32(4): 243-55. (Address: Columbia University School of Nursing, New York, NY 10032, USA. E-mail: email@example.com ).
Vitamin D Deficiency in the Elderly
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, prospective study involving subjects 60 years of age and older, supplementation with calcium plus vitamin D (cholecalciferol, 150,000 IU, once/month for the first 2 months followed by 90,000 IU/month for the next 4 months) was found to be significantly more effective in improving 25(OH)D levels and lower limb muscle strength, as compared to subjects taking calcium plus a monthly placebo. Specifically, subjects who received vitamin D treatment were found to have a 16.4% improvement in strength of hip flexors and a 24.6% improvement in strength of knee extensors. The authors conclude, “The suggested cholecalciferol supplementation was safe and efficient in enhancing 25(OH)D levels and lower limb muscle strength in the elderly, in the absence of any regular physical exercise practice.”
Reference: “Treatment of Vitamin D Deficiency Increases Lower Limb Muscle Strength in Institutionalized Older People Independently of Regular Physical Activity: A Randomized Double-Blind Controlled Trial,” Moreira-Pfrimer LD, Pedrosa MA, et al, Ann Nutr Metab, 2009; 54(4): 291-300. (Address: Division of Endocrinology, School of Medicine, Federal University of São Paulo/UNIFESP, São Paulo, Brazil).
When Vegetarianism is Just a Cover Story
People choose to become vegetarians for various reasons—to eat a more healthful diet, and to refuse to participate in the killing of animals. But for many teenagers, a new study suggests, swearing off meat might actually be motivated by an eating disorder.
A University of Minnesota study of 2,500 teens found that about 25 percent of the kids who say they’re vegetarians engage in bulimia—binge-eating and vomiting—or extreme weight-loss strategies such as gobbling diet pills and laxatives. That’s more than twice the rate of eating disorders found among meat-eating kids.
Some teens who tell their parents that they want to abstain from eating animals, the study says, may be using vegetarianism as a ploy to justify eating less and losing lots of weight. As seen in The Week, researchers say there’s nothing unhealthful about a vegetarian diet that includes appropriate amounts of calories, protein, iron, and other key nutrients. “Parents should talk to their child about the motivations for embarking on a vegetarian diet,” Dr. Ramona Robinson-O’Brien tells MSNBC.com. If thinness is the real goal, she says, it may be time for a professional psychological intervention. Please take care of your family and bless yourself with the gift of good health.
Getting Bombed on Chocolate
Central Americans were drinking chocolate 3,000 years ago, new evidence scraped from ancient pottery has found. But those first chocolate beverages were a lot more potent than the hot cocoa we drink today. As seen in The Week, back in 1100 B.C. the cacao seed pods were pounded to pulp and fermented to make a strong, bitter cocoa beer, with not even a hint of sweetness. “It was beer with a high kick,” study author Rosemary Joyce tells National Geographic News.
“It would not have tasted anything like the chocolate we have today.” Chocolate beer was apparently highly prized, with Olmecs making special pitchers and drinking cups with which to serve it at celebrations of weddings and births. It wasn’t until about 300 years later that the ancient Hondurans started making cocoa without alcohol. In the 16th century, Spanish explorers brought non-alcoholic chocolate beverages back to Europe. Cheers, may we all be blessed with good health.
Why a Strong Handshake Indicates Strong Genes
A strong handshake, it’s long been said, tells you a lot about a man. Now, says Science, there’s evidence that there may be a good genetic reason for this truism: The firmness of a man’s grip is a good indicator of physical health and aggressiveness.
As seen in The Week, a group of researchers at the State University of New York at Albany measured the hand-grip strength of 143 men and compared it to their life histories. Men in the upper ranges of grip strength had a long history of dominant male behavior: They’d lost their virginity the earliest, had slept with the most women, and were at the top of the pecking order during their teen years. About 65 percent of grip strength is genetically determined (with only 35 percent related to exercise and overall muscularity), so researchers said it appears to indicate innate vitality and dominance. Men with strong grips, they said, are more likely to find mates and pass along their dominant DNA. May you always be blessed with good health.