Healthy Reasons to Supplement with Multivitamins
It seems that eating right used to be easier. There were the basics: four food groups, three 'square' meals a day and you took a vitamin because your mom told you to. Fast forward to 2009, and it's not so simple anymore. Now we have a food pyramid, daily values, RDA's, good fats and bad fats. Not to mention those antioxidants and the free radicals that they scavenge. Most people find these recommendations hard to understand and even harder to apply to their busy lives. Meeting even the most basic recommendation of 5 servings of fruit and vegetable a day becomes challenging when eating on the run! Click here for more information.
Final Note - The Backup Game Plan
Every good athlete knows you've got to have a backup game plan. If you can't eat right each and every day, one way to help get all your vitamins and minerals is to supplement your diet with a multivitamin or multivitamin/mineral supplement. A dietary supplement may be a good way to cover all your bases to stay fit and healthy.
A dietary supplement can be a tablet, capsule, or liquid. Typically it contains a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and if it's a really good one, additional nutrition from antioxidant rich fruits and/or vegetables. A multivitamin or multivitamin/mineral supplement helps you get the amount of optimal nutrition you need every day to be on top of your game. Click here for more information.
August 2008 Healthwatch
Stay up-to-date on the latest health and nutrition information with Virtual Health Info's monthly HealthWatch bulletin, America's premier source for health information. The August issue of HealthWatch features the following articles:Keeping Kids Healthy, Eating Right, Get Moving, Fruit Intake During Childhood May Help Curb Cancer Later In Life, Bone Health Impacted by Fruits at any Age. Click here for more information.
Plain and simple, fast food can affect your game plan. Youngsters have been consuming more fast food since the 1970's and, coincidently, there's been a rise in teenage obesity and diabetes. Not fun! Fast foods are high in unhealthy fats (saturated and trans fats), sugar, high fructose corn syrup, chemical flavor enhancers and fake color. Also in highly processed foods, the vitamins and minerals typically get destroyed. Check your local fast food restaurant for fresh, healthy options such as healthy chicken and fish dishes, salads, vegetable soups, fruit plates and low-sugar drinks. When eating at home, it's best to favor low-fat meats, healthy dairy products, whole grains, vegetable dishes, fruit and nuts. If it's hard to eat nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day, a good quality multivitamin can help - it provides "insurance" when it comes to getting a wide spectrum of nutrients each day. Check out Healthcorps.org for additional information.
Nutrients and the Body's Defenses
In order for the immune system to function at its best it must have access to nutrients. For this reason, individuals who are malnourished develop more infections than individuals who are well-nourished. Some of the effects of malnutrition on the body's immune system are a thinning of the skin with less connective tissue, weakness, poor wound healing, and a lack of defense against disease. So, an important key to health and longevity is a nutritionally well balanced diet and supplementation when necessary.
Here is a smal sampling of nutrients and their relationship to a healthy functioning immune system:
- Vitamin A helps support immunity by playing a role in the development of helper cells.
- Vitamin A maintains healthy epithelial tissues to fight infection by preventing the invasion of bacteria and viruses.
- Vitamin C strengthens our resistance to infection.
- Vitamin E protects white and red blood cells, thus participating in the body's defenses against foreign material and disease.
- Iron helps fight infection.
- Magnesium supports normal functioning of the immune system.
- Manganese is a facilitator, with enzymes, of many cell processes.
Source: Understanding Nutrition, 7th Edition
Healthful Bacteria Plus Vitamins and Minerals May Help Common Cold
Researchers recently conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to investigate whether the consumption of a dietary supplement containing probiotic bacteria plus vitamins and minerals over a period of at least three months during winter and spring affects the length, frequency, and severity of symptoms of common cold infections as well as cellular immune parameters. The trial involved 477 healthy men and women who did not receive flu vaccines. The participants were randomly assigned to either the supplement group or a placebo group for three months. The final trial data showed that the intake of a dietary supplement containing probiotic bacteria plus vitamins and minerals during a period of at least three months during cold season may reduce the incidence and severity of common cold symptoms in otherwise healthy adults. For more information go to the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, July 2005.
Micronutrients Help Women's Health and Immune Function According to Review
In a 2001 review article appearing in the journal Nutrition, author Adrianne Bendich summarizes the role of a colleague who researched the impact of nutrition on women's health. Lawrence J. Machlin spent the bulk of his career elucidating the roles of nutrients in optimizing human health, including the support of research in the areas of women's health and immune function. His research found that several essential nutrients have been shown to affect women's health throughout the different stages of their life. One such nutrient is calcium. Calcium supplementation plays a role in significantly reducing physical and emotional issues relating to premenstrual syndrome. It also has a role in preventing osteoporosis. In addition, he found evidence that multivitamins and antioxidant micronutrients enhance many aspects of immune response such as lymphocyteproliferative responses. To learn more about the health findings of Lawrence J. Machlin go to the journal Nutrition, October 2001.
Obesity Rates Rise to Epidemic Proportions and the Consequences are Serious - What Can We Do?
Despite the flood of information available to Americans on the risks of being overweight, obesity has risen to epidemic proportions in the last 20 years. Obesity is defined as having a high amount of body fat with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. With the trend of obesity elevating to this extent, it threatens to overtake tobacco as the No. 1 preventable cause of death.
One of the main concerns surrounding obesity can be expressed by this fact: an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 deaths per year may be attributed to obesity. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, being even moderately overweight (10 to 20 pounds for a person of average height) increases the risk of death, particularly among adults between the ages of 30 to 64 years. People who fall into the obese category have a 50 to 100% increased risk of an early death from all causes, compared to people with a healthy weight.
The number of specific diseases associated with being overweight and obese is vast. Being obese raises one’s chances of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, and elevated triglycerides (blood fat) while lowering HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol).
In adults, a mere 11 to 18 pound increase in weight increases a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Also, type 2 diabetes, previously known as adult-onset diabetes, has dramatically increased in children because of the rising weight levels in our younger population. Other diseases that are impacted by weight are some types of cancer (such as endometrial, breast, prostate and colon), asthma, and arthritis.
The good news is that in most cases, diagnosing and combating being overweight and obese is simple and the rewards are great. It does not require extensive medical tests, repeated doctor visits, and strange treatment modalities. Even losing just 10% of your body weight can have a positive impact on your health.
References: U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
What is body mass index (BMI)?
Body mass index, or BMI, is a new term to most people. However, it is the measurement of choice for many physicians and researchers studying obesity. BMI uses a mathematical formula that takes into account both a person’s weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. (BMI+kg/m2).
How can one determine their own BMI?
Visit the Centers for Disease Control website to use their BMI calculator.
Multivitamins and Minerals May Improve Mental Health in Elderly
A double-blind placebo-controlled trial was recently conducted to determine the effects of nutritional support on depressive symptoms and cognitive function in older patients. The results showed that a daily multivitamin and mineral positively impacted the depressive symptoms of hospitalized acutely ill older people. There was no evidence of a difference in cognitive function scores at 6 months. More research would help to confirm these findings. For additional information go to the journal Clinical Nutrition, 2007. Read More.
Meat and Dairy: Where Have the Minerals Gone?
We continue our series looking at the effect of modern farming on the quality of our food. In this magazine a year ago we highlighted the loss of essential minerals - calcium, magnesium, iron, etc. - from our fruit and vegetable supply. The figures made alarming reading. Read More.
The Effects of a Multivitamin/Mineral Supplement on Micronutrient Status, Antioxidant Capacity and Cytokine Production in Healthy Older Adults Consuming a Fortified Diet
Inadequate micronutrient intake among older adults is common despite the increased prevalence of fortified/enriched foods in the American diet. Although many older adults take multivitamin supplements in an effort to compensate, studies examining the benefits of this behavior are absent. Read More.
Vitamins for Chronic Disease Prevention in Adults: Scientific Review
Context: Although vitamin deficiency is encountered infrequently in developed countries, inadequate intake of several vitamins is associated with chronic disease. Objective: To review the clinically important vitamins with regard to their biological effects, food sources, deficiency syndromes, potential for toxicity, and relationship to chronic disease. Read More.
Vitamins for Chronic Disease Prevention in Adults: Clinical Applications
Vitamin deficiency syndromes such as scurvy and beriberi are uncommon in Western societies. However, suboptimal intake of some vitamins, above levels causing classic vitamin deficiency, is a risk factor for chronic diseases and common in the general population, especially the elderly. Suboptimal folic acid levels, along with suboptimal levels of vitamins B6 and B12 are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, neural tube defects, and colon and breast cancer; low levels of vitamin D contribute to osteopenia and fractures; and low levels of chronic diseases. Most people do not consume an optimal amount of all vitamins by diet alone. Pending strong evidence of effectiveness from randomized trials, it appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements. Read More.
The Role of Vitamin D in Cancer Prevention
Vitamin D status differs by latitude and race, with residents of the northeastern United States and individuals with more skin pigmentation being at increased risk of deficiency. A PubMed database search yielded 63 observational studies of vitamin D status in relation to cancer risk, including 30 of colon, 13 of breast, 26 of prostate, and 7 of ovarian cancer, and several that assessed the association of vitamin D receptor genotype with cancer risk. The majority of studies found a protective relationship between sufficient vitamin D status and lower risk of cancer. The evidence suggests that efforts to improve vitamin D status, for example by vitamin D supplementation, could reduce cancer incidence and mortality at low cost, with few or no adverse effects. Read More.
Vitamin Requirements for the Treatment of Hyperhomocysteinemia in Humans
We have previously shown that a modest vitamin supplement containing folic acid, vitamin B-12 and vitamin B-6 is effective in reducing elevated plasma homocysteine concentrations. The effect of supplementation of the individual vitamins on moderate hyperhomocysteinemia has now been investigated in a placebo-controlled study. One hundred men with hyperhomocysteinemia were randomly assigned to five groups and treated with a daily dose of placebo, folic acid (0.65 md), vitamin B-12 (0.4 mg), vitamin B-6 (10 mg) or a combination of the three vitamins for 6 weeks. Folic acid supplementation reduced plasma homocysteine concentrations by 41.7%, whereas the daily vitamin B-12 supplement lowered homocysteine concentrations by 14.8%. The daily pyridoxine dose did not reduce significantly plasma homocysteine concentrations. Read More.
More Folic Acid for Everyone, Now
Research during the last five years has made it clear that people who do not take folic acid supplements are at increased risk for functional folate deficiency, which has been proven to cause spina bifida and anencephaly and also has been associated with an increased risk for occlusive cardiovascular disease. The overriding folate policy issue is how to increase dramatically the folate consumption of 75% of the population who are not now consuming 0.4 mg of folic acid in a supplement. The most expedious way to increase consumption is through fortification of a food staple. Public health programs are also needed to educate people about the vital importance of increased consumption of folic acid vitamin supplements and of foods rich in natural folates. Read More.
Chronic Intake of Pharmacological Doses of Vitamin E Might Be Useful in Therapy of Elderly Patients with Coronary Heart Disease
Thirty elderly nondiabetic, moderately obese patients with stable effort angina underwent an oral-glucose-tolerance test and a euglycemic hyperinsulinemic glucose clamp before and after vitamin E supplementation (900 mg/d for 4 months). The study was of a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, and crossover design. Anthropometric indexes were stable throughout the study. Read More.
Risk of Angina Pectoris and Plasma Concentrations of Vitamins A, C, and E and Carotene
The relation between risk of angina pectoris and plasma concentrations of vitamins A, C, and E and carotene was examined in a population case-control study of 110 cases of angina, identified by the Chest Pain Questionnaire, and 394 controls selected from a sample of 6000 men aged 35-54. Plasma concentrations of vitamins C and E and carotene were significantly inversely related to the risk of angina. There was no significant relation with Vitamin A. Smoking was a confounding factor. The inverse relation between angina and low plasma was substantially reduced after adjustment for smoking. Vitamin E remained independently and inversely related to the risk of angina after adjustment for age, smoking habit, blood pressure, lipids, and relative weight. Read More.
Low-Dose Vitamin B-6 Effectively Lowers Fasting Plasma Homocysteine in Healthy Elderly Persons Who Are Folate and Riboflavin Replete
Current data suggest that physiologic doses of vitamin B-6 have no significant homocysteine-lowering effect. It is possible that an effect of vitamin B-6 was missed in previous trials because of a much greater effect of folic acid, vitamin B-12, or both. Read More.
Multivitamin/Mineral Supplementation Improves Plasma B-Vitamin Status and Homocysteine Concentration in Healthy Older Adults Consuming Folate-Fortified Diet
Elevated homocysteine has been identified as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease. Although multivitamin use has been associated with low plasma homocysteine concentrations in several observational studies, no clinical trials have been conducted using multivitamin/mineral supplements to lower homocysteine. We determined whether a multivitamin/mineral supplement formulated at about 100% Daily Value will further lower homocysteine concentration and improve B-vitamin status in healthy older adults already consuming a diet fortified with folic acid. Read More.