Think Vitamin Supplements Improve Your Heart Health? Think Again!

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Pills Vitamins Macro April 22, 2012 4” by Steven Depolo is licensed under CC BY 2.0David J.A. Jenkins, MD, PhD, DSc
Professor and Canada Research Chair in Nutrition and Metabolism
Department of Nutritional Sciences
University of Toronto 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The study was requested by the editor of JACC (Dr. Valentin Fuster) due to the widespread use of vitamin and mineral supplementation by the public and the requirement to know if there were any benefits or harms for cardiovascular disease.

Our study was a follow-up to the US Preventive Services Task Force 2013 recommendations.

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Better Dream Recall With Vitamin B6?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“New York at Night” by Louis Michel Eilshemius (American, Newark, New Jersey 1864–1941 New York) via The Metropolitan Museum of Art is licensed under CC0 1.0
Dr Denholm Aspy PhD
School of Psychology
University of Adelaide

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: There are many anecdotal reports of vitamin B6 being used to enhance dream recall, and poor dream has sometimes been considered a possible sign of vitamin B6 deficiency by some clinicians. However, until now there was only a single study that investigated this scientifically. This was a small pilot study in 2002 that included only 12 participants. My new study now provides the strongest evidence to date that vitamin B6 does in fact enhance dream recall. The double-blind placebo-controlled study included 100 participants from around Australia who took either Vitamin B6, a B vitamin complex (with a range of other B vitamins as well), or placebo directly before bed for five days. Participants recorded their dream recall using a logbook containing a range of measures each morning. Results showed the people who took B6 recalled around 64% more content from their dreams on average compared to the placebo group, and that this had no negative impact on sleep quality.

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Synthetic Folic Acid Metabolites May Be Associated With Food Allergy in Children

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Emily Clarke McGowan, MD

Assistant Professor, Allergy/Clinical Immunology
Charlottesville, VA 22908-1355

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Folate (vitamin B9) is available in either the natural or synthetic forms and has been shown to reduce the risk of neural tube defects, like spina bifida, in newborns.  Folic acid, the synthetic form of folate, is widely consumed in the United States in infant formula, supplements, vitamins, and fortified grains.  When folic acid is consumed in high quantities, some of this folic acid does not undergo further metabolism and circulates in the blood as “unmetabolized folic acid” (UMFA).

In this study, we measured total folate, UMFA, and 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF), the main folate metabolite involved in biochemical processes in the body, in a subset of children from the Boston Birth Cohort.

While mean levels of total folate at birth were lower among those who developed food allergy, mean levels of the synthetic folic acid derivative, UMFA, were higher.  There was no association between total folate, 5-MTHF, or UMFA levels in early life and the development of food allergy.  Continue reading

Review Finds Antioxidant Supplements of Little to No Benefit in Exercise Recovery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Pills Vitamins Macro April 22, 2012 4” by Steven Depolo is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Dr Mayur Ranchordas, SFHEA
Senior Lecturer in Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
Sport Nutrition Consultant
Chair of the Sport and Exercise Research Ethics Group
Sheffield Hallam University
Academy of Sport and Physical Activity
Faculty of Health and Wellbeing
Sheffield

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? 

Response: People engaging in intense exercise often take antioxidant supplements, such as vitamin C and/or E or antioxidant-enriched foods, before and after exercise in the anticipation that these will help reduce muscle soreness. In a new review published in the Cochrane Library we looked at the evidence from 50 studies. These all compared high-dose antioxidant supplementation with a placebo and their participants all engaged in strenuous exercise that was sufficient to cause muscle soreness. Of the 1089 participants included in the review, nearly nine out of ten of these were male and most participants were recreationally active or moderately trained.

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Older, Frail and Physically Inactive Adults At Risk of Multivitamin Deficiency

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“vitamins” by Colin Mutchler is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Priv.-Doz. Dr. Barbara Thorand 
Helmholtz Zentrum München
German Research Center for Environmental Health
Institute of Epidemiology II
Neuherberg, Germany 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Micronutrients, which include vitamins, minerals (e.g. calcium) and trace elements (e.g. iron), are essential nutrients that are required in minute amounts by the organism for proper growth and good health. Results from the last German National Nutrition Survey (NVS II)* uncovered a high prevalence of insufficient dietary intake of micronutrients in older adults aged 65 years and over in Germany. By means of blood analyses, our study has confirmed these critical results. This is a highly relevant issue, particularly in light of our growing aging population and the high societal relevance of successful healthy aging.

*Max Rubner-Institut: Nationale Verzehrsstudie II, Ergebnisbericht Teil 2 (2008). Die Bundesweite Befragung zur Ernährung von Jugendlichen und Erwachsenen.

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Multivitamins in Pregnancy May Be Associated With Lower Autism Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Elizabeth DeVilbiss, PhD MPH
Dornsife School of Public Health
Drexel University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Unfortunately, not much is known about how diet during pregnancy affects autism risk.  There have been studies in recent years about varied aspects of diet during pregnancy and autism risk involving multivitamins, iron, folic acid, vitamin D, and more, but the evidence is still inconclusive.

After adjusting for several potentially influencing factors in both mothers and children, we found that multivitamin use, with or without additional iron and/or folic acid, was associated with a lower likelihood of child autism spectrum disorder with intellectual disability relative to mothers who did not use folic acid, iron, and multivitamins.

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High Doses of B Vitamins Linked to INCREASED Lung Cancer in Male Smokers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Theodore M. Brasky, PhD Research Assistant Professor The Ohio State University – James Comprehensive Cancer Center Columbus, OH 43201

Dr. Brasky

Theodore M. Brasky, PhD
Research Assistant Professor
The Ohio State University – James Comprehensive Cancer Center
Columbus, OH 43201

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Prior literature has been suggestive of both a protective and harmful effect of certain B vitamins on lung cancer risk. We wanted to examine the association of intakes of vitamins B6, folic acid (B9), and B12 from supplements –which are typically taken at very high doses– and lung cancer risk in a large, prospective study of 77,000 men and women living in Washington State. The study is unique as it was designed specifically to examine associations of dietary supplements with cancer occurrence. We found that men who took high doses of vitamin B6 and B12 from individual supplements over a long period of time (meaning, doses much higher than the US RDA and much greater than what one would receive from taking a multivitamin over the long term) were at nearly 2-fold increased risk of lung cancer compared to men who did not have B6 or B12 intake from any supplemental source. This finding of increased risk appeared to be specific to men who were current smokers. Among them, long term high-dose supplementation was associated with 3-4 fold increases in lung cancer risk. We observed no increased risk for any of the supplements – B6, B12, or folic acid – with lung cancer risk in women or women who smoked.

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Screening Tears, Not Blood, For Vitamin Deficiencies

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Adrienne R. Minerick, Ph.D. Associate Dean for Research & Innovation, College of Engineering Assistant to the Provost for Faculty Development Professor, Chemical Engineering Michigan Technological University Houghton, MI 49931

Dr. Adrienne Minerick

Adrienne R. Minerick, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Research & Innovation, College of Engineering
Assistant to the Provost for Faculty Development
Professor, Chemical Engineering
Michigan Technological University
Houghton, MI 49931

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: With seed funding from the Gerber Foundation, we asked two scientific questions.
1. Are vitamins present in tears and could we reliably detect them?
2. Do the vitamin levels in tears correlate with the vitamin levels in blood?

This research, conducted by recent PhD graduate Maryam Khaksari, illustrated that vitamins are present in tears. The majority of the essential vitamins are water soluble, which were present in tears in higher concentration than fat soluble vitamins. Given that tears are 98% water, this result wasn’t surprising. This study developed up protocols to reliably detect both water and fat soluble vitamins. The limits of detection and limits of quantification did vary by vitamin, so there is ample room to improve this technique.
The second question was answered by a small clinical trial with UP Health: Portage Hospital’s Pediatric Clinic. During the 4-month well-baby check-up, willing parents and their infant each donated both a blood sample and a tear sample. Vitamin concentrations were determined in the samples and correlations quantified. Fat soluble vitamin K showed the strongest concentration correlation between blood and tears. The strength of additional vitamin correlations were noted. These early-stage results demonstrate that vitamin screening from a single drop of tears (35uL or microliters) is feasible – with additional refinement.

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Women Who Can Become Pregnant Should Take Folic Acid

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Alex Kemper, MD, MPH, MS Member,US Preventive Services Task Force Professor of Pediatrics and Professor in Community Medicine Department of Pediatrics Duke University School of Medicine

Dr. Alex Kemper

Dr. Alex Kemper, MD, MPH, MS
Member,US Preventive Services Task Force
Professor of Pediatrics and Professor in Community Medicine
Department of Pediatrics
Duke University School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Neural tube defects, where the brain or spinal cord do not develop properly in a baby, can occur early in pregnancy, even before a woman knows she is pregnant. Taking folic acid before and during pregnancy can help protect against neural tube defects. Most women do not get enough folic acid in their diets, so most clinicians recommend that any woman who could become pregnant take a daily folic acid supplement.

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Vitamin B3 in Pregnancy and Atopic Dermatitis in Childhood

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Sarah El-Heis MBBS, MRCP (London)
Clinical Research Fellow
MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit
University of Southampton
Southampton General Hospital
Southampton

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Atopic eczema is a common, multifactorial and potentially distressing skin condition. Evidence that it partly originates in utero is increasing with some studies suggesting links with aspects of maternal diet during pregnancy.

Nicotinamide is a naturally occurring nutrient that is maintained through the dietary intakes of vitamin B3 and tryptophan. As a topical treatment it has been used in the management of some skin conditions including atopic eczema, and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, to stabilise mast cells and to alter lipids in the outer layers of the skin.

The objective of our study was to examine the link between maternal serum concentrations of nicotinamide and related tryptophan metabolites to the risk of atopic eczema in the offspring.

We found that maternal late pregnancy concentrations of nicotinamide and related metabolite concentrations were not associated with offspring atopic eczema at age 6 months. Higher maternal serum concentrations of nicotinamide and anthranilic acid were, however, associated with a 30% lower risk of eczema at age 12 months.

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Scientists Rejuvenate Old Stem Cells With Common Vitamin

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Keir Menzies PhD Assistant Professor  University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute University of Ottawa

Dr. Keir Menzies

Keir Menzies PhD
Assistant Professor
University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute
University of Ottawa 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Menzies: Currently there is significant amount of research identifying the power of stem cells to regenerate damaged or aging tissue. Our research discovered that reduced stem cell health was linked to unusually low levels of a small molecule called NAD, one of the most important cellular molecules to maintain the performance of mitochondria, the engine of the cell. Then by boosting NAD levels, using a special form of vitamin B3 called nicotinamide riboside, stem cells could be rejuvenated during aging by improving mitochondrial function.  We then go on to show that by improving stem cell function we could prolong the lifespan of mice, even when the treatment began at a relatively old age.

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Miscarriage Risk Reduced by Daily Multivitamins Before and After Conception

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Germaine M. Buck Louis, Ph.D., M.S. Office of the Director, Division of Intramural Population Health Research Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Rockville, Maryland 20852.

Dr-Germaine M. Buck-Louis

Germaine M. Buck Louis, Ph.D., M.S.
Office of the Director
Division of Intramural Population Health Research
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Rockville, Maryland 20852.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: To understand the association between couples’ lifestyles and risk of pregnancy loss.  Couples were recruited upon discontinuing contraception to try for pregnancy and followed daily for up to one year of trying or until pregnancy.  Pregnant women were followed daily for 7 weeks following conception then monthly.

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Brain Levels of Vitamin B12 Decreased in Aging, Autism and Schizophrenia

Dr. Richard Deth PhD Professor of Pharmacology Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences Nova Southeastern University

Dr. Richard Deth

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Richard Deth PhD
Professor of Pharmacology
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Nova Southeastern University

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Deth: Vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in regulating and promoting methylation reactions (the attachment of a carbon atom to molecules), including DNA methylation. Recent research has identified methylation of DNA and consequential changes in gene expression as crucial factors in brain development, as well as in memory formation and maintenance of brain function during aging. More specifically, the cause(s) of neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism remain obscure, although numerous studies have demonstrated oxidative stress and low plasma levels of the antioxidant glutathione (GSH) in autism. 

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Deth: We found that brain levels of vitamin B12, especially the methylation-regulating form known as methylB12, decrease significantly with age, even though blood levels don’t show a similar decrease. Importantly, much lower levels of methylB12 were found in subjects with autism and schizophrenia compared to normal subjects of a similar age. Animal studies showed that impaired GSH formation is associated with decreased brain B12 levels.

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Folic Acid and B12 May Improve Assisted Reproductive Technology Results

Audrey J. Gaskins, Sc.D. Postdoctoral Fellow Department of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA 02115
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Audrey J. Gaskins, Sc.D.  Postdoctoral Fellow
Department  of Nutrition
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Boston, MA 02115

 

 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Gaskins: Infertility, defined as the inability to conceive after 12 months of unprotected intercourse, is a common reproductive disorder affecting ~15% of couples who attempt to become pregnant. Assisted reproductive technologies (ART), which include in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), have become the main treatment modalities for couples facing infertility. Pre-conceptional folate and vitamin B12 have been linked to many beneficial early pregnancy outcomes among couples undergoing assisted reproductive technologies treatment in Europe but mixed results have been found in regards to clinical pregnancy and live birth rates. Therefore, we sought to investigate whether higher levels of serum folate and vitamin B12 could increase reproductive success in a cohort of women undergoing assisted reproductive technologies at an academic medial center in the United States.

We found that high concentrations of folate and vitamin B12 in serum are associated with increased chance of live birth following assisted reproduction. Moreover, women with higher concentrations of both serum folate and vitamin B12 had the greatest likelihood of reproductive success. Analysis of intermediate endpoints suggests that folate and vitamin B12 may exert their favorable effects on pregnancy maintenance following implantation.

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Vitamins C and E Found To Have No Effect On Risk of Cancer

MedicalResearch Interview with:
Dr. Lu Wang MD PhD
Associate Epidemiologist, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Department of Medicine Preventive Medicine
Boston, MA 02115

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Wang: We found that vitamin E supplement 400 IU every other day and vitamin C supplement 500 mg daily had no effect on total cancers, the incidence of prostate cancer and other site-specific cancers during periods of intervention, post-trial observation, or overall.
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No Cardiovascular Benefit Found With Omega 3 Fatty Acids or Macular Xanthophylls Supplementation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Denise Bonds, MD, MPH
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) 

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr.Bonds: We found no cardiovascular benefit to supplementation of the diet with either omega-3 fatty acids or with the macular xanthophyll’s lutein and zeaxanthin.

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